Canto XXV

 

If e'er it happen that the Poem Sacred,

  To which both heaven and earth have set their hand,

  So that it many a year hath made me lean,

 

O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out

5  From the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,

  An enemy to the wolves that war upon it,

 

With other voice forthwith, with other fleece

  Poet will I return, and at my font

  Baptismal will I take the laurel crown;

 

10Because into the Faith that maketh known

  All souls to God there entered I, and then

  Peter for her sake thus my brow encircled.

 

Thereafterward towards us moved a light

  Out of that band whence issued the first-fruits

15  Which of his vicars Christ behind him left,

 

And then my Lady, full of ecstasy,

  Said unto me: "Look, look! behold the Baron

  For whom below Galicia is frequented."

 

In the same way as, when a dove alights

20  Near his companion, both of them pour forth,

  Circling about and murmuring, their affection,

 

So one beheld I by the other grand

  Prince glorified to be with welcome greeted,

  Lauding the food that there above is eaten.

 

25But when their gratulations were complete,

  Silently coram me each one stood still,

  So incandescent it o'ercame my sight.

 

Smiling thereafterwards, said Beatrice:

  "Illustrious life, by whom the benefactions

30  Of our Basilica have been described,

 

Make Hope resound within this altitude;

  Thou knowest as oft thou dost personify it

  As Jesus to the three gave greater clearness." -

 

"Lift up thy head, and make thyself assured;

35  For what comes hither from the mortal world

  Must needs be ripened in our radiance."

 

This comfort came to me from the second fire;

  Wherefore mine eyes I lifted to the hills,

  Which bent them down before with too great weight.

 

40"Since, through his grace, our Emperor wills that thou

  Shouldst find thee face to face, before thy death,

  In the most secret chamber, with his Counts,

 

So that, the truth beholden of this court,

  Hope, which below there rightfully enamours,

45  Thereby thou strengthen in thyself and others,

 

Say what it is, and how is flowering with it

  Thy mind, and say from whence it came to thee."

  Thus did the second light again continue.

 

And the Compassionate, who piloted

50  The plumage of my wings in such high flight,

  Did in reply anticipate me thus:

 

"No child whatever the Church Militant

  Of greater hope possesses, as is written

  In that Sun which irradiates all our band;

 

55Therefore it is conceded him from Egypt

  To come into Jerusalem to see,

  Or ever yet his warfare be completed.

 

The two remaining points, that not for knowledge

  Have been demanded, but that he report

60  How much this virtue unto thee is pleasing,

 

To him I leave; for hard he will not find them,

  Nor of self-praise; and let him answer them;

  And may the grace of God in this assist him!"

 

As a disciple, who his teacher follows,

65  Ready and willing, where he is expert,

  That his proficiency may be displayed,

 

"Hope," said I, "is the certain expectation

  Of future glory, which is the effect

  Of grace divine and merit precedent.

 

70From many stars this light comes unto me;

  But he instilled it first into my heart

  Who was chief singer unto the chief captain.

 

'Sperent in te,' in the high Theody

  He sayeth, 'those who know thy name;' and who

75  Knoweth it not, if he my faith possess?

 

Thou didst instil me, then, with his instilling

  In the Epistle, so that I am full,

  And upon others rain again your rain."

 

While I was speaking, in the living bosom

80  Of that combustion quivered an effulgence,

  Sudden and frequent, in the guise of lightning;

 

Then breathed: "The love wherewith I am inflamed

  Towards the virtue still which followed me

  Unto the palm and issue of the field,

 

85Wills that I breathe to thee that thou delight

  In her; and grateful to me is thy telling

  Whatever things Hope promises to thee."

 

And I: "The ancient Scriptures and the new

  The mark establish, and this shows it me,

90  Of all the souls whom God hath made his friends.

 

Isaiah saith, that each one garmented

  In his own land shall be with twofold garments,

  And his own land is this delightful life.

 

Thy brother, too, far more explicitly,

95  There where he treateth of the robes of white,

  This revelation manifests to us."

 

And first, and near the ending of these words,

  "Sperent in te" from over us was heard,

  To which responsive answered all the carols.

 

100Thereafterward a light among them brightened,

  So that, if Cancer one such crystal had,

  Winter would have a month of one sole day.

 

And as uprises, goes, and enters the dance

  A winsome maiden, only to do honour

105  To the new bride, and not from any failing,

 

Even thus did I behold the brightened splendour

  Approach the two, who in a wheel revolved

  As was beseeming to their ardent love.

 

Into the song and music there it entered;

110  And fixed on them my Lady kept her look,

  Even as a bride silent and motionless.

 

"This is the one who lay upon the breast

  Of him our Pelican; and this is he

  To the great office from the cross elected."

 

115My Lady thus; but therefore none the more

  Did move her sight from its attentive gaze

  Before or afterward these words of hers.

 

Even as a man who gazes, and endeavours

  To see the eclipsing of the sun a little,

120  And who, by seeing, sightless doth become,

 

So I became before that latest fire,

  While it was said, "Why dost thou daze thyself

  To see a thing which here hath no existence?

 

Earth in the earth my body is, and shall be

125  With all the others there, until our number

  With the eternal proposition tallies.

 

With the two garments in the blessed cloister

  Are the two lights alone that have ascended:

  And this shalt thou take back into your world."

 

130And at this utterance the flaming circle

  Grew quiet, with the dulcet intermingling

  Of sound that by the trinal breath was made,

 

As to escape from danger or fatigue

  The oars that erst were in the water beaten

135  Are all suspended at a whistle's sound.

 

Ah, how much in my mind was I disturbed,

  When I turned round to look on Beatrice,

  That her I could not see, although I was

 

Close at her side and in the Happy World!