LA DIVINA COMMEDIA
vid’ ïo scritte al sommo d’una porta;
per ch’io: «Maestro, il senso lor m’è duro».
«Qui si convien lasciare ogne sospetto;
ogne viltà convien che qui sia morta.
che tu vedrai le genti dolorose
c’hanno perduto il ben de l’intelletto».
con lieto volto, ond’ io mi confortai,
mi mise dentro a le segrete cose.
risonavan per l’aere sanza stelle,
per ch’io al cominciar ne lagrimai.
parole di dolore, accenti d’ira,
voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle
sempre in quell’ aura sanza tempo tinta,
come la rena quando turbo spira.
dissi: «Maestro, che è quel ch’i’ odo?
e che gent’ è che par nel duol sì vinta?».
tegnon l’anime triste di coloro
che visser sanza ’nfamia e sanza lodo.
de li angeli che non furon ribelli
né fur fedeli a Dio, ma per sé fuoro.
né lo profondo inferno li riceve,
ch’alcuna gloria i rei avrebber d’elli».
a lor che lamentar li fa sÌ forte?».
Rispuose: «Dicerolti molto breve.
e la lor cieca vita è tanto bassa,
che ‘nvidiosi son d’ogne altra sorte.
misericordia e giustizia li sdegna:
non ragioniam di lor, ma guarda e passa
Through me the way is to eternal dole;
Through me the way among the people lost.
Created me divine Omnipotence,
The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.
Only eterne, and I eternal last.
All hope abandon, ye who enter in!
Door mij gaat men naar het eeuwig lijden.
Door mij gaat men tot de mensen die verloren zijn.
ik ben het werk van de goddelijke Macht,
de hoogste Wijsheid en de eerste Liefde.
en ook ik blijf eeuwig voortbestaan.
Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?”
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive
them even the wicked cannot glory in them.”
these souls, compelling them to wail so loud?”
He answered: “I shall tell you in few words.
and their blind life is so abject that they
are envious of every other fate.
both justice and compassion must disdain them;
let us not talk of them, but look and pass.
Canto XIII: The Thorn forest
Da che fatto fu poi di sangue bruno,
Then dark with dripping blood it gave a howl
and cried again: 'Our damaged branches ache!
Your pillage maims me! Can't you feel at all?
You'd grant us your respect and stay your hand
were we a thicket not of souls but snakes.'
and from its unlit end the burning stick
drips sap, and hisses with escaping wind,
of words and blood: a frothy babbling gore.
I dropped the branch. My fear had made me sick.
my sage replied, 'what now he sees is true,
and blindly trusted in poetic lore,
But as there was no other way to learn
I urged him to a test that grieved me too.
can set your honor freshly back in style
among those he will teach when he returns.
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
If I thought that my reply were given
to anyone who might return to the world,
this flame would stand forever still;
but since never from this deep place
has anyone returned alive, if what I hear is true, without fear of infamy I answer thee.
As doves when they are picking up
wheat or weed seeds all together, quietly feeding
without their usual puffed-up displaying,
if something should appear that frightens them
suddenly abandon what had tempted them,
seized as they are by what matters more to them,
so I saw that fresh troop abandon
the singing and wheel away toward the slope
like one who goes without knowing the direction
nor were we less prompt in our leaving.
My son, you've seen the temporary fire
and the eternal fire; you have reached
the place past which my powers cannot see.
I've brought you here through intellect and art;
from now on, let your pleasure be your guide;
you're past the steep and past the narrow paths.
Look at the sun that shines upon your brow;
look at the grasses, flowers, and the shrubs
born here, spontaneously, of the earth.
Among them, you can rest or walk until
the coming of the glad and lovely eyes--
those eyes that weeping, sent me to your side.
Await no further word or sign from me:
your will is free, erect, and whole-- to act
against that will would be to err: therefore
I crown and miter you over yourself
that forest-dense, alive with green, divine-
which tempered the new day before my eyes,
and took the plain, advancing slowly, slowly
across the ground where every part was fragrant.
within itself, was striking at my brow
but with no greater force than a kind wind's,
bent eagerly-incline in the direction
of morning shadows from the holy mountain;
as to disturb the little birds upon
the branches in the practice of their arts;
and leaves supplied the burden to their rhymes-
along the shore of Classe, through the pines
when Aeolus has set Sirocco loose.
into the ancient forest that I could
no longer see where I had made my entry;
the path of my advance; its little waves
bent to the left the grass along its banks.
when matched against that stream, would seem to be
touched by impurity; it hides no thing-
the never-ending shadows, which allow
no ray of sun or moon to reach those waters.
the farther bank, to look at the abundant
variety of newly-flowered boughs;
most suddenly, repels all other thoughts,
so great is the astonishment it brings,
singing, and gathering up flower on flower-
the flowers that colored all of her pathway.
yourself with rays of love, if I may trust
your looks-which often evidence the heart-
ahead and closer to this river, so
that I may understand what you are singing.
just when her mother was deprived of her
and she deprived of spring-Proserpina was."
her soles close to the ground and to each other
and scarcely lets one foot precede the other,
and yellow flowers, to me, no differently
than would a virgin, lowering chaste eyes.
for she approached so close that the sweet sound
that reached me then became intelligible.
fair river's waves could barely bathe the grass,
than she gave me this gift: lifting her eyes.
beneath the lids of Venus when her son
pierced her in extraordinary fashion.
her hands entwining varicolored flowers,
which that high land, needing no seed, engenders.
As soon as that majestic force,
which had already pierced me once
before I had outgrown my childhood, struck my eyes,
I turned to my left with the confidence
a child has running to his mamma
when he is afraid or in distress
to say to Virgil: 'Not a single drop of blood
remains in me that does not tremble--
I know the signs of the ancient flame.'
But Virgil had departed, leaving us bereft:
Virgil, sweetest of fathers,
Virgil, to whom I gave myself for my salvation.
And not all our ancient mother lost
could save my cheeks, washed in the dew,
from being stained again with tears.”
PARADISO / PARADISE
del suo lume fa 'l ciel sempre quïeto
nel qual si volge quel c'ha maggior fretta;
cen porta la virtù di quella corda
che ciò che scocca drizza in segno lieto.
molte fïate a l'intenzion de l'arte,
perch' a risponder la materia è sorda,
talor la creatura, c'ha podere
di piegar, così pinta, in altra parte;
foco di nube, sì l'impeto primo
l'atterra torto da falso piacere.
lo tuo salir, se non come d'un rivo
se d'alto monte scende giuso ad imo.
d'impedimento, giù ti fossi assiso,
com' a terra quïete in foco vivo."
Quinci rivolse inver' lo cielo il viso.
forever quiets—with Its light—that heaven
in which the swiftest of the spheres revolves;
are carried by the power of the bow
that always aims its shaft at a glad mark.
may, often, not accord with art’s intent,
since matter may be unresponsive, deaf,
because he has the power, once impelled,
to swerve elsewhere; as lightning from a cloud
when man has been diverted by false pleasure,
turn him toward earth. You should—if I am right—
you would were you considering a stream
that from a mountain’s height falls to its base.
no longer hindered, you remained below,
as if, on earth, a living flame stood still.”
Then she again turned her gaze heavenward.
fulvido di fulgore, intra due rive
dipinte di mirabil primavera.
Di tal fiumana uscian faville vive,
e d’ogne parte si mettien ne’ fiori,
66 quasi rubin che oro circunscrive;
poi, come inebrïate da li odori,
riprofondavan sé nel miro gurge,
e s’una intrava, un’altra n’uscia fori.
light flashing, reddish-gold, between two banks
painted with wonderful spring flowerings.
Out of that stream there issued living sparks,
which settled on the flowers on all sides,
like rubies set in gold; and then, as if
intoxicated with the odors, they
again plunged into the amazing flood:
as one spark sank, another spark emerged.
O Light Eterne, sole in thyself that dwellest,
Sole knowest thyself, and, known unto thyself
And knowing, lovest and smilest on thyself!
That circulation, which being thus conceived
Appeared in thee as a reflected light,
When somewhat contemplated by mine eyes,
Within itself, of its own very colour
Seemed to me painted with our effigy,
Wherefore my sight was all absorbed therein.
Adown the sevenfold spheres from deep to deep
I turned my glance; and lo! So paltry seemed
Our globe, I saw and smiled.
LA VITA NUOVA
Now all is spent of that first wealth of joy
that sprang to earth from Love's bright treasury;
I live in poverty,
in writing's place comes insecurity.
And therefore I have sought to be like those
who cover up their poverty for shame:
I dress in happiness
but in my heart I weep and waste away.
The mind of God receives an angel's prayer
that says: 'My Lord, on earth is seen
a living miracle proceeding from
a soul whose light reaches as far as here.'
Heaven, that lacks its full perfection only
in lacking her, asks for her of its Lord,
and every saint is begging for this favour.
Compassion for his creatures still remains,
for God replies, referring to my lady:
'My chosen ones, now suffer peacefully,
and while it pleases me, let your hope stay
with one down there who dreads the loss of her,
who when in hell shall say unto the damned,
"I have beheld the hope of heaven's blessed."'
When she greets any one, that scarce the eye
Such modesty and brightness can endure,
And the tongue, trembling, falters in reply.
Some in their speech, and many with a pen,
But meekly moves, as if sent down to earth
To show another miracle to men!
On him who gazeth, while she passeth by,
A sense of sweetness that no mortal knows
Is woke to worship, and a spirit flows
Forth from her face that seems to whisper, “Sigh!
RIME O CANZONIERE
son giunto, lasso!, ed al bianchir de’ colli,
quando si perde lo color ne l’erba;
e ’l mio disio però non cangia il verde,
si è barbato ne la dura petra
che parla e sente come fosse donna.
si sta gelata come neve a l’ombra;
che non la move, se non come petra,
il dolce tempo che riscalda i colli
e che li fa tornar di bianco in verde
perché li copre di fioretti e d’erba.
trae de la mente nostra ogn’altra donna;
perché si mischia il crespo giallo e ’l verde
sì bel, ch’Amor lì viene a stare a l’ombra,
che m’ha serrato intra piccioli colli
più forte assai che la calcina petra.
e ’l colpo suo non può sanar per erba;
ch’io son fuggito per piani e per colli,
per potere scampar da cotal donna;
e dal suo lume non mi può far ombra
poggio né muro mai né fronda verde.
sì fatta, ch’ella avrebbe messo in petra
l’amor ch’io porto pur a la sua ombra;
ond’io l’ho chesta in un bel prato d’erba
innamorata, com’anco fu donna,
e chiuso intorno d’altissimi colli.
prima che questo legno molle e verde
s’infiammi, come suol far bella donna,
di me; che mi torrei dormire in petra
tutto il mio tempo e gir pascendo l’erba,
sol per veder do’ suoi panni fanno ombra.
sotto un bel verde la giovane donna
la fa sparer, com’uom petra sott’erba.
I've come, alas and to the paling hills
When all the colors have vanished from the grass
Where yet, my longing loses not its green
As it becomes so barbed in stone,
Which speaks and hears as though it were a woman.
Frozen like snow beneath the shadow;
She is not moved much like a stone
By the sweet season that warms the hills
And makes them turn from white to green
Because it covers them with flowers and grass.
She overshadows every other woman
For she weaves with beauty yellow and green
Such that Love comes to lie in her shadow,
Which has locked me inside those little hills
With greater force than any calcined stone.
Her blows one cannot treat with any grass;
For I have fled on every plane and every hill
In order to escape such a woman;
But from her light there is no shadow
Either by wall, or knoll or fronds of green.
So clad that she would have instilled in stone
The love which I now bear her shadow:
Thus have I beckoned her on fields of green,
She seemed as much in love as any woman
Who’s all around enclosed by climbing hills.
Before this wood so soft and green
Becomes inflamed as does this woman
Who burns my soul. For I’d gladly sleep on stone
As long as it need be, and go on grazing grass
For just a chance to see her cast a shadow.
Beneath the sweet green that fair woman
Makes each one vanish as grass hides stone.
Of Beatrice de Portinari
Last All Saints' holy-day, even now gone by,
I met a gathering of damozels:
She that came first, as one doth who excels,
Had Love with her, bearing her company:
A flame burn'd forward through her steadfast eye,
As when in living fire a spirit dwells:
So, gazing with the boldness which prevails
O'er doubt, I saw an angel visibly.
As she pass'd on, she bow'd her mild approof
And salutation to all men of worth,
Lifting the soul to solemn thoughts aloof.
In Heaven itself that lady had her birth,
I think, and is with us for our behoof:
Blessed are they that meet her on the earth.
translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
To the Lady Pietra degli Scrovigni ( This poem is also attributed Cino de PISTOIA)
My curse be on the day when first I saw
The brightness in those treacherous eyes of thine,-
The hour when from my heart thou cam'st to draw
My soul away, that both might fail and pine -
My curse be on the skill that smooth'd each line
Of my vain songs, - the music and just law
Of art, by which it was my dear design
That the whole world should yield thee love and awe.
Yea, let me curse mine own obduracy,
Which firmly holds what doth itself confound -
To wit, thy fair perverted face of scorn:
For whose sake Love is oftentimes forsworn
So that men mock at him; but most at me
Who would hold fortune's wheel and turn it round.
translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Whatever Comes Over Me
Whatever while the thought comes over me
That I may not again
Behold that lady whom I mourn for now,
About my heart my mind brings constantly
So much of extreme pain
That I say, Soul of mine, who stayest thou?
Truly the anguish, soul, that we must bow
Beneath, until we win out of this life,
Gives me full oft a fear that trembleth:
So that I call on Death
Even as on Sleep one calleth after strife,
Saying, Come unto me. Life showeth grim
And bare; and if one dies, I envy him,
For ever, among all my sighs which burn,
There is a piteous speech
That clamors upon death continually:
Yea, unto him doth my whole spirit turn
Since first his hand did reach
My lady's life with most foul cruelty.
But from the height of woman's fairness she,
Going up from us with the joy we had,
Grew perfectly and spiritually fair;
That so she treads even there
A light of Love which makes the Angels glad,
And even unto their subtle minds can bring
A certain awe of profound marveling.