Canto IX

 

Beautiful Clemence, after that thy Charles

  Had me enlightened, he narrated to me

  The treacheries his seed should undergo;

 

But said: "Be still and let the years roll round;"

5  So I can only say, that lamentation

  Legitimate shall follow on your wrongs.

 

And of that holy light the life already

  Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,

  As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.

 

10Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious,

  Who from such good do turn away your hearts,

  Directing upon vanity your foreheads!

 

And now, behold, another of those splendours

  Approached me, and its will to pleasure me

15  It signified by brightening outwardly.

 

The eyes of Beatrice, that fastened were

  Upon me, as before, of dear assent

  To my desire assurance gave to me.

 

"Ah, bring swift compensation to my wish,

20  Thou blessed spirit," I said, "and give me proof

  That what I think in thee I can reflect!"

 

Whereat the light, that still was new to me,

  Out of its depths, whence it before was singing,

  As one delighted to do good, continued:

 

25"Within that region of the land depraved

  Of Italy, that lies between Rialto

  And fountain-heads of Brenta and of Piava,

 

Rises a hill, and mounts not very high,

  Wherefrom descended formerly a torch

30  That made upon that region great assault.

 

Out of one root were born both I and it;

  Cunizza was I called, and here I shine

  Because the splendour of this star o'ercame me.

 

But gladly to myself the cause I pardon

35  Of my allotment, and it does not grieve me;

  Which would perhaps seem strong unto your vulgar.

 

Of this so luculent and precious jewel,

  Which of our heaven is nearest unto me,

  Great fame remained; and ere it die away

 

40This hundredth year shall yet quintupled be.

  See if man ought to make him excellent,

  So that another life the first may leave!

 

And thus thinks not the present multitude

  Shut in by Adige and Tagliamento,

45  Nor yet for being scourged is penitent.

 

But soon 'twill be that Padua in the marsh

  Will change the water that Vicenza bathes,

  Because the folk are stubborn against duty;

 

And where the Sile and Cagnano join

50  One lordeth it, and goes with lofty head,

  For catching whom e'en now the net is making.

 

Feltro moreover of her impious pastor

  Shall weep the crime, which shall so monstrous be

  That for the like none ever entered Malta.

 

55Ample exceedingly would be the vat

  That of the Ferrarese could hold the blood,

  And weary who should weigh it ounce by ounce,

 

Of which this courteous priest shall make a gift

  To show himself a partisan; and such gifts

60  Will to the living of the land conform.

 

Above us there are mirrors, Thrones you call them,

  From which shines out on us God Judicant,

  So that this utterance seems good to us."

 

Here it was silent, and it had the semblance

65  Of being turned elsewhither, by the wheel

  On which it entered as it was before.

 

The other joy, already known to me,

  Became a thing transplendent in my sight,

  As a fine ruby smitten by the sun.

 

70Through joy effulgence is acquired above,

  As here a smile; but down below, the shade

  Outwardly darkens, as the mind is sad.

 

"God seeth all things, and in Him, blest spirit,

  Thy sight is," said I, "so that never will

75  Of his can possibly from thee be hidden;

 

Thy voice, then, that for ever makes the heavens

  Glad, with the singing of those holy fires

  Which of their six wings make themselves a cowl,

 

Wherefore does it not satisfy my longings?

80  Indeed, I would not wait thy questioning

  If I in thee were as thou art in me."

 

"The greatest of the valleys where the water

  Expands itself," forthwith its words began,

  "That sea excepted which the earth engarlands,

 

85Between discordant shores against the sun

  Extends so far, that it meridian makes

  Where it was wont before to make the horizon.

 

I was a dweller on that valley's shore

  'Twixt Ebro and Magra that with journey short

90  Doth from the Tuscan part the Genoese.

 

With the same sunset and same sunrise nearly

  Sit Buggia and the city whence I was,

  That with its blood once made the harbour hot.

 

Folco that people called me unto whom

95  My name was known; and now with me this heaven

  Imprints itself, as I did once with it;

 

For more the daughter of Belus never burned,

  Offending both Sichaeus and Creusa,

  Than I, so long as it became my locks,

 

100Nor yet that Rodophean, who deluded

  was by Demophoon, nor yet Alcides,

  When Iole he in his heart had locked.

 

Yet here is no repenting, but we smile,

  Not at the fault, which comes not back to mind,

105  But at the power which ordered and foresaw.

 

Here we behold the art that doth adorn

  With such affection, and the good discover

  Whereby the world above turns that below.

 

But that thou wholly satisfied mayst bear

110  Thy wishes hence which in this sphere are born,

  Still farther to proceed behoveth me.

 

Thou fain wouldst know who is within this light

  That here beside me thus is scintillating,

  Even as a sunbeam in the limpid water.

 

115Then know thou, that within there is at rest

  Rahab, and being to our order joined,

  With her in its supremest grade 'tis sealed.

 

Into this heaven, where ends the shadowy cone

  Cast by your world, before all other souls

120  First of Christ's triumph was she taken up.

 

Full meet it was to leave her in some heaven,

  Even as a palm of the high victory

  Which he acquired with one palm and the other,

 

Because she favoured the first glorious deed

125  Of Joshua upon the Holy Land,

  That little stirs the memory of the Pope.

 

Thy city, which an offshoot is of him

  Who first upon his Maker turned his back,

  And whose ambition is so sorely wept,

 

130Brings forth and scatters the accursed flower

  Which both the sheep and lambs hath led astray

  Since it has turned the shepherd to a wolf.

 

For this the Evangel and the mighty Doctors

  Are derelict, and only the Decretals

135  So studied that it shows upon their margins.

 

On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;

  Their meditations reach not Nazareth,

  There where his pinions Gabriel unfolded;

 

But Vatican and the other parts elect

140  Of Rome, which have a cemetery been

  Unto the soldiery that followed Peter

 

Shall soon be free from this adultery."