Canto X


Looking into his Son with all the Love

  Which each of them eternally breathes forth,

  The Primal and unutterable Power


Whate'er before the mind or eye revolves

5  With so much order made, there can be none

  Who this beholds without enjoying Him.


Lift up then, Reader, to the lofty wheels

  With me thy vision straight unto that part

  Where the one motion on the other strikes,


10And there begin to contemplate with joy

  That Master's art, who in himself so loves it

  That never doth his eye depart therefrom.


Behold how from that point goes branching off

  The oblique circle, which conveys the planets,

15  To satisfy the world that calls upon them;


And if their pathway were not thus inflected,

  Much virtue in the heavens would be in vain,

  And almost every power below here dead.


If from the straight line distant more or less

20  Were the departure, much would wanting be

  Above and underneath of mundane order.


Remain now, Reader, still upon thy bench,

  In thought pursuing that which is foretasted,

  If thou wouldst jocund be instead of weary.


25I've set before thee; henceforth feed thyself,

  For to itself diverteth all my care

  That theme whereof I have been made the scribe.


The greatest of the ministers of nature,

  Who with the power of heaven the world imprints

30  And measures with his light the time for us,


With that part which above is called to mind

  Conjoined, along the spirals was revolving,

  Where each time earlier he presents himself;


And I was with him; but of the ascending

35  I was not conscious, saving as a man

  Of a first thought is conscious ere it come;


And Beatrice, she who is seen to pass

  From good to better, and so suddenly

  That not by time her action is expressed,


40How lucent in herself must she have been!

  And what was in the sun, wherein I entered,

  Apparent not by colour but by light,


I, though I call on genius, art, and practice,

  Cannot so tell that it could be imagined;

45  Believe one can, and let him long to see it.


And if our fantasies too lowly are

  For altitude so great, it is no marvel,

  Since o'er the sun was never eye could go.


Such in this place was the fourth family

50  Of the high Father, who forever sates it,

  Showing how he breathes forth and how begets.


And Beatrice began: "Give thanks, give thanks

  Unto the Sun of Angels, who to this

  Sensible one has raised thee by his grace!"


55Never was heart of mortal so disposed

  To worship, nor to give itself to God

  With all its gratitude was it so ready,


As at those words did I myself become;

  And all my love was so absorbed in Him,

60  That in oblivion Beatrice was eclipsed.


Nor this displeased her; but she smiled at it

  So that the splendour of her laughing eyes

  My single mind on many things divided.


Lights many saw I, vivid and triumphant,

65  Make us a centre and themselves a circle,

  More sweet in voice than luminous in aspect.


Thus girt about the daughter of Latona

  We sometimes see, when pregnant is the air,

  So that it holds the thread which makes her zone.


70Within the court of Heaven, whence I return,

  Are many jewels found, so fair and precious

  They cannot be transported from the realm;


And of them was the singing of those lights.

  Who takes not wings that he may fly up thither,

75  The tidings thence may from the dumb await!


As soon as singing thus those burning suns

  Had round about us whirled themselves three times,

  Like unto stars neighbouring the steadfast poles,


Ladies they seemed, not from the dance released,

80  But who stop short, in silence listening

  Till they have gathered the new melody.


And within one I heard beginning: "When

  The radiance of grace, by which is kindled

  True love, and which thereafter grows by loving,


85Within thee multiplied is so resplendent

  That it conducts thee upward by that stair,

  Where without reascending none descends,


Who should deny the wine out of his vial

  Unto thy thirst, in liberty were not

90  Except as water which descends not seaward.


Fain wouldst thou know with what plants is enflowered

  This garland that encircles with delight

  The Lady fair who makes thee strong for heaven.


Of the lambs was I of the holy flock

95  Which Dominic conducteth by a road

  Where well one fattens if he strayeth not.


He who is nearest to me on the right

  My brother and master was; and he Albertus

  Is of Cologne, I Thomas of Aquinum.


100If thou of all the others wouldst be certain,

  Follow behind my speaking with thy sight

  Upward along the blessed garland turning.


That next effulgence issues from the smile

  Of Gratian, who assisted both the courts

105  In such wise that it pleased in Paradise.


The other which near by adorns our choir

  That Peter was who, e'en as the poor widow,

  Offered his treasure unto Holy Church.


The fifth light, that among us is the fairest,

110  Breathes forth from such a love, that all the world

  Below is greedy to learn tidings of it.


Within it is the lofty mind, where knowledge

  So deep was put, that, if the true be true,

  To see so much there never rose a second.


115Thou seest next the lustre of that taper,

  Which in the flesh below looked most within

  The angelic nature and its ministry.


Within that other little light is smiling

  The advocate of the Christian centuries,

120  Out of whose rhetoric Augustine was furnished.


Now if thou trainest thy mind's eye along

  From light to light pursuant of my praise,

  With thirst already of the eighth thou waitest.


By seeing every good therein exults

125  The sainted soul, which the fallacious world

  Makes manifest to him who listeneth well;


The body whence 'twas hunted forth is lying

  Down in Cieldauro, and from martyrdom

  And banishment it came unto this peace.


130See farther onward flame the burning breath

  Of Isidore, of Beda, and of Richard

  Who was in contemplation more than man.


This, whence to me returneth thy regard,

  The light is of a spirit unto whom

135  In his grave meditations death seemed slow.


It is the light eternal of Sigier,

  Who, reading lectures in the Street of Straw,

  Did syllogize invidious verities."


Then, as a horologe that calleth us

140  What time the Bride of God is rising up

  With matins to her Spouse that he may love her,


Wherein one part the other draws and urges,

  Ting! ting! resounding with so sweet a note,

  That swells with love the spirit well disposed,


145Thus I beheld the glorious wheel move round,

  And render voice to voice, in modulation

  And sweetness that can not be comprehended,


Excepting there where joy is made eternal.