Canto VII

 

"Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaoth,

  Superillustrans claritate tua

  Felices ignes horum malahoth!"

 

In this wise, to his melody returning,

5  This substance, upon which a double light

  Doubles itself, was seen by me to sing,

 

And to their dance this and the others moved,

  And in the manner of swift-hurrying sparks

  Veiled themselves from me with a sudden distance.

 

10Doubting was I, and saying, "Tell her, tell her,"

  Within me, "tell her," saying, "tell my Lady,"

  Who slakes my thirst with her sweet effluences;

 

And yet that reverence which doth lord it over

  The whole of me only by B and ICE,

15  Bowed me again like unto one who drowses.

 

Short while did Beatrice endure me thus;

  And she began, lighting me with a smile

  Such as would make one happy in the fire:

 

"According to infallible advisement,

20  After what manner a just vengeance justly

  Could be avenged has put thee upon thinking,

 

But I will speedily thy mind unloose;

  And do thou listen, for these words of mine

  Of a great doctrine will a present make thee.

 

25By not enduring on the power that wills

  Curb for his good, that man who ne'er was born,

  Damning himself damned all his progeny;

 

Whereby the human species down below

  Lay sick for many centuries in great error,

30  Till to descend it pleased the Word of God

 

To where the nature, which from its own Maker

  Estranged itself, he joined to him in person

  By the sole act of his eternal love.

 

Now unto what is said direct thy sight;

35  This nature when united to its Maker,

  Such as created, was sincere and good;

 

But by itself alone was banished forth

  From Paradise, because it turned aside

  Out of the way of truth and of its life.

 

40Therefore the penalty the cross held out,

  If measured by the nature thus assumed,

  None ever yet with so great justice stung,

 

And none was ever of so great injustice,

  Considering who the Person was that suffered,

45  Within whom such a nature was contracted.

 

From one act therefore issued things diverse;

  To God and to the Jews one death was pleasing;

  Earth trembled at it and the Heaven was opened.

 

It should no longer now seem difficult

50  To thee, when it is said that a just vengeance

  By a just court was afterward avenged.

 

But now do I behold thy mind entangled

  From thought to thought within a knot, from which

  With great desire it waits to free itself.

 

55Thou sayest, 'Well discern I what I hear;

  But it is hidden from me why God willed

  For our redemption only this one mode.'

 

Buried remaineth, brother, this decree

  Unto the eyes of every one whose nature

60  Is in the flame of love not yet adult.

 

Verily, inasmuch as at this mark

  One gazes long and little is discerned,

  Wherefore this mode was worthiest will I say.

 

Goodness Divine, which from itself doth spurn

65  All envy, burning in itself so sparkles

  That the eternal beauties it unfolds.

 

Whate'er from this immediately distils

  Has afterwards no end, for ne'er removed

  Is its impression when it sets its seal.

 

70Whate'er from this immediately rains down

  Is wholly free, because it is not subject

  Unto the influences of novel things.

 

The more conformed thereto, the more it pleases;

  For the blest ardour that irradiates all things

75  In that most like itself is most vivacious.

 

With all of these things has advantaged been

  The human creature; and if one be wanting,

  From his nobility he needs must fall.

 

'Tis sin alone which doth disfranchise him,

80  And render him unlike the Good Supreme,

  So that he little with its light is blanched,

 

And to his dignity no more returns,

  Unless he fill up where transgression empties

  With righteous pains for criminal delights.

 

85Your nature when it sinned so utterly

  In its own seed, out of these dignities

  Even as out of Paradise was driven,

 

Nor could itself recover, if thou notest

  With nicest subtilty, by any way,

90  Except by passing one of these two fords:

 

Either that God through clemency alone

  Had pardon granted, or that man himself

  Had satisfaction for his folly made.

 

Fix now thine eye deep into the abyss

95  Of the eternal counsel, to my speech

  As far as may be fastened steadfastly!

 

Man in his limitations had not power

  To satisfy, not having power to sink

  In his humility obeying then,

 

100Far as he disobeying thought to rise;

  And for this reason man has been from power

  Of satisfying by himself excluded.

 

Therefore it God behoved in his own ways

  Man to restore unto his perfect life,

105  I say in one, or else in both of them.

 

But since the action of the doer is

  So much more grateful, as it more presents

  The goodness of the heart from which it issues,

 

Goodness Divine, that doth imprint the world,

110  Has been contented to proceed by each

  And all its ways to lift you up again;

 

Nor 'twixt the first day and the final night

  Such high and such magnificent proceeding

  By one or by the other was or shall be;

 

115For God more bounteous was himself to give

  To make man able to uplift himself,

  Than if he only of himself had pardoned;

 

And all the other modes were insufficient

  For justice, were it not the Son of God

120  Himself had humbled to become incarnate.

 

Now, to fill fully each desire of thine,

  Return I to elucidate one place,

  In order that thou there mayst see as I do.

 

Thou sayst: 'I see the air, I see the fire,

125  The water, and the earth, and all their mixtures

  Come to corruption, and short while endure;

 

And these things notwithstanding were created;'

  Therefore if that which I have said were true,

  They should have been secure against corruption.

 

130The Angels, brother, and the land sincere

  In which thou art, created may be called

  Just as they are in their entire existence;

 

But all the elements which thou hast named,

  And all those things which out of them are made,

135  By a created virtue are informed.

 

Created was the matter which they have;

  Created was the informing influence

  Within these stars that round about them go.

 

The soul of every brute and of the plants

140  By its potential temperament attracts

  The ray and motion of the holy lights;

 

But your own life immediately inspires

  Supreme Beneficence, and enamours it

  So with herself, it evermore desires her.

 

145And thou from this mayst argue furthermore

  Your resurrection, if thou think again

  How human flesh was fashioned at that time

 

When the first parents both of them were made."