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No sooner to my list’ning ear had come
The brief assurance, than I understood
New virtue into me infus’d, and sight
Kindled afresh, with vigour to sustain
Excess of light, however pure. I look'd;
And in the likeness of a river saw
Light flowing, from whose amber-seeming waves
Flash'd up effulgence, as they glided on
'Twixt banks, on either side, painted with spring,
Incredible how fair; and, from the tide,
There ever and anon, outstarting, flew
Sparkles instinct with life; and in the flow'rs
Did set them, like to rubies chas'd in gold;
Then, as if drunk with odors, plung'd again
Into the wondrous flood; from which, as one
Re’enter'd, still another rose. - The thirst
Of knowledge high, whereby thou art inflam'd,
To search the meaning of what here thou seest,
The more it warms thee, pleases me the more.
But first behoves thee of this water drink,
Or ere that longing be allay'd.” So spake
The day-star of mine eyes; then thus subjoin'd:
“ This stream, and these, forth issuing from its gulf,
And diving back, a living topaz each,
With all this laughter on its bloomy shores,
Are but a preface, shadowy of the truth
They emblem: not that, in themselves, the things
Are crude; but on thy part is the defect,
For that thy views not yet aspire so high.”
Never did babe, that had outslept his wont,
Rush, with such eager straining, to the milk,
As I toward the water, bending me,
To make the better mirrors of mine eyes
In the refining wave; and, as the eaves
Of mine eyelids did drink of it, forthwith
Seem'd it unto me turn’d from length to round.
Then as a troop of maskers, when they put
Their vizors off, look other than before,
The counterfeited semblance thrown aside;
So into greater jubilee were chang’d

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Those flowers and sparkles, and distinct I saw 95
Before me either court of heav'n display'd.

O prime enlightener ! thou who gav'st me strength
On the high triumph of thy realm to gaze !
Grant virtue now to utter what I kenn'd,

There is in heav'n a light, whose goodly shine 100
Makes the Creator visible to all
Created, that in seeing him alone
Have peace; and in a circle spreads so far,
That the circumf'rence were too loose a zone
To girdle in the sun. All is one beam,

105 Reflected from the summit of the first, That moves, which being hence and vigour takes, And as some cliff, that from the bottom eyes Its image mirror'd in the crystal flood, As if 't admire its brave appareling

110 Of verdure and of flowers; so, round about, Eyeing the light, on more than million thrones, Stood, eminent, whatever from our earth Has to the skies return’d. How wide the leaves Extended to their utmost of this rose,

115 Whose lowest step embosoms such a space Of ample radiance! Yet, nor amplitude Nor height impeded, but my view with ease Took in the full dimensions of that joy. Near or remote, what there avails, where God 120 Immediate rules, and Nature, awed, suspends Her sway? Into the yellow of the rose Perennial, which in bright expansiveness, Lays forth its gradual blooming, redolent Of praises to the never-wint’ring sun,

125 As one, who fain would speak yet holds his peace, Beatrice led me; and, “Behold," she said, " This fair assemblage ! stoles of snowy

white How numberless! The city, where we dwell, Behold how vast! and these our seats so throng'd 130 Few now are wanting here! In that proud stall, On which, the crown, already o'er its state Suspended, holds thine eyes-or ere thyself Mayst at the wedding sup, shall rest the soul

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Of the great Harry, he who, by the world
Augustus haild, to Italy must come,
Before her day be ripe. But ye are sick,
And in your tetchy wantonness as blind,
As is the bantling, that of hunger dies,
And drives away the nurse.

Nor

may
That he, who in the sacred forum sways,
Openly or in secret, shall with him
Accordant walk : whom God will not endure
I'th' holy office long; but thrust him down
To Simon Magus, where Alagna's priest
Will sink beneath him: such will be his meed."

it be,

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CANTO XXXI.

In fashion, as a snow-white rose, lay then
Before my view the saintly multitude,
Which in his own blood Christ espous'd. Meanwhile
That other host, that soar aloft to gaze
And celebrate his glory, whom they love,

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Hover'd around; and, like a troop of bees,
Amid the vernal sweets alighting now,
Now, clustering, where their fragrant labour glows,
Flew downward to the mighty flow'r, or rose
From the redundant petals, streaming back

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Unto the steadfast dwelling of their joy.
Faces had they of flame, and wings of gold ;
The rest was whiter than the driven snow.
And as they fitted down into the flower,
From range to range, fanning their plumy loins, 15
Whisper'd the peace and ardour, which they won
From that soft winnowing. Shadow none, the vast
Interposition of such numerous flight
Cast, from above, upon the flower, or view
Obstructed aught. For, through the universe, 20
Wherever merited, celestial light
Glides freely, and no obstacle prevents.

All there, who reign in safety and in bliss,
Ages long past or new, on one sole mark

Their love and vision fix’d. O trinal beam

25 Of individual star, that charmst them thus, Vouchsafe one glance to gild our storm below!

If the grim brood, from Arctic shores that roan'd, (Where Helice, forever, as she wheels, Šparkles a mother's fondness on her son)

30 Stood in mute wonder 'mid the works of Rome, When to their view the Lateran arose In greatness more than earthly; I, who then From human to divine had past, from time Unto eternity, and out of Florence

35 To justice and to truth, how might I choose But marvel too? "Twixt gladness and amaze, In sooth no will had I to utter aught, Or hear. And, as a pilgrim, when he rests Within the temple of his vow, looks round

40 In breathless awe, and hopes some time to tell Of all its goodly state: e’en so mine eyes Cours'd

up

and down along the living light, Now low, and now aloft, and now around, Visiting every step. Looks I beheld,

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Where charity in soft persuasion sat,
Smiles from within and radiance from above,
And in each gesture grace and honour high.

So rov'd my ken, and its general form
All Paradise survey'd : when round I turn'd

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With purpose of my lady to inquire
Once more of things, that held my thought suspense,
But answer found from other than I ween'd;
For, Beatrice, when I thought to see,
I saw instead a senior, at my side,

55 Rob'd, as the rest, in glory. Joy benign Glow'd in his eye, and o'er his cheek diffus’d, With gestures such as spake a father's love. And, “Whither is she vanish'd ?” straight I ask'd. “By Beatrice summon'd," he replied,

60 “I come to aid thy wish. Looking aloft To the third circle from the highest, there Behold her on the throne, wherein her merit Hath plac'd her.” Answering not, mine eyes I rais’d,

And saw her, where aloof she sat, her brow

65 A wreath reflecting of eternal beams. Not from the centre of the sea so far Unto the region of the highest thunder, As was my ken from hers; and yet the form Came through that medium down, unmix'd and pure, 70

“O Lady! thou in whom my hopes have rest !
Who, for my safety, hast not scorn'd, in hell
To leave the traces of thy footsteps mark’d!
For all mine eyes have seen, I, to thy power
And goodness, virtue owe and grace. Of slave, 75
Thou hast to freedom brought me; and no means,
For

my deliverance apt, hast left untried.
Thy liberal bounty still toward me keep.
That, when my spirit, which thou madest whole,
Is loosen'd from this body, it may find

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Favour with thee.” So I my suit preferrd:
And she, so distant, as appear’d, look'd down,
And smild; then tow'rds th' eternal fountain turn’d.

And thus the senior, holy and rever'd : “ That thou at length mayst happily conclude 85 Thy voyage (to which end I was despatch’d, By supplication mov'd and holy love) Let thy upsoaring vision range, at large, This garden through: for so, by ray divine Kindled, thy ken a higher flight shall mount;

90 And from heav’n’s queen, whom fervent I adore, All gracious aid befriend us; for that I Am her own faithful Bernard.” Like a wight, Who haply from Croatia wends to see Our Veronica, and the while 't is shown,

95 Hangs over it with never-sated gaze, And, all that he hath heard revolving, saith Unto himself in thought : “And didst thou look E'en thus, 0 Jesus, my true Lord and God? And was this semblance thine ?” So gaz'd I then 100 Adoring; for the charity of him, Who musing, in the world that peace enjoy’d, Stood livelily before me. “Child of grace!” Thus he began : “ thou shalt not knowledge gain

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