Dante's Paradiso: The Vision of Paradise from The Divine Comedy (First Avenue Classics)
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Paradiso is the third and final part of Italian poet Dante Alighieri's epic poem Divine Comedy and describes Dante's journey through heaven. He is now led by Beatrice, who joined him at the end of Purgatorio. Beatrice takes Dante into the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. From the First Sphere, where they find those who were good but did not keep their vows, to the Ninth Sphere and the Empyrean, the home of the angels and God, Dante experiences the blessings given to those who live a life faithful to God. Dante wrote his narrative poem between 1308 and 1321. This version is taken from a 1901 English edition, featuring British author Rev. H. F. Cary's blank verse translation and woodcut illustrations by French artist Gustave Doré.
minist’ring. Then silence brake, Amid th’ accordant sons of Deity, That luminary, in which the wondrous life Of the meek man of God was told to me; And thus it spake: “One ear o’ th’ harvest thresh’d, And its grain safely stor’d, sweet charity Invites me with the other to like toil. “Thou know’st, that in the bosom, whence the rib Was ta’en to fashion that fair cheek, whose taste All the world pays for, and in that, which pierc’d By the keen lance, both after and before Such satisfaction offer’d,
seen, I leave in silence here: nor through distrust Of my words only, but that to such bliss The mind remounts not without aid. Thus much Yet may I speak; that, as I gaz’d on her, Affection found no room for other wish. While the everlasting pleasure, that did full On Beatrice shine, with second view From her fair countenance my gladden’d soul Contented; vanquishing me with a beam Of her soft smile, she spake: “Turn thee, and list. These eyes are not thy only Paradise.” As here we sometimes in
wond’ring and suspense, Replied: “I see that thou believ’st these things, Because I tell them, but discern’st not how; So that thy knowledge waits not on thy faith: As one who knows the name of thing by rote, But is a stranger to its properties, Till other’s tongue reveal them. Fervent love And lively hope with violence assail The kingdom of the heavens, and overcome The will of the Most high; not in such sort As man prevails o’er man; but conquers it, Because ’t is willing to be conquer’d,
rov’d my ken, and its general form All Paradise survey’d: when round I turn’d 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, 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,
shower’d, From holy spirits, winging that profound; That, whatsoever I had yet beheld, Had not so much suspended me with wonder, Or shown me such similitude of God. And he, who had to her descended, once, On earth, now hail’d in heav’n; and on pois’d wing. “Ave, Maria, Gratia Plena,” sang: To whose sweet anthem all the blissful court, From all parts answ’ring, rang: that holier joy Brooded the deep serene. “Father rever’d: Who deign’st, for me, to quit the pleasant place, Wherein thou sittest, by