The day was going, and the tawny sky. was taking earthly creatures from their. weariness, while, alone, the only one, I,. was preparing myself for war, to bear. the kind of journey, the kind of pity,. to be retraced by memory without err0r. O Muses, O high genius, now assist me!.
The day was going, and the tawny sky
was taking earthly creatures from their
weariness, while, alone, the only one, I,
was preparing myself for war, to bear
the kind of journey, the kind of pity,
to be retraced by memory without err0r.
O Muses, O high genius, now assist me!
And you—whatever I saw you’d transcribe:
Your greatness will be obvious here, O memory!
I began: “Poet, now my guide,
first check my strength, for power enough to bother.
Is your faith that I’ll manage the profound pass justified?
You say Silvius’ parent (that is, his father),
when he was perishable, went to the deathless
world alertly, each sense as alive as the other.
But if evil of every kind’s Antagonist
was courteous, out of consideration for the high effect
he’d have on doers and deeds to come, well this
cannot seem out of order to a man of intellect.
Who else, to be spiritual and imperial
Rome’s father, did empyrean heaven select?
Both the one and the other, truth to tell,
were set up as the sacred locality
where the greatest Peter’s successor dwells.
On this trip—for which you provide credibility—
he learned the things to be the vehicle
for his triumph and papal authority.
Later another went—the Chosen Receptacle,
for reinforcements for the convictions
that begin the way to salvation’s pinnacle.
But why would I go there? On whose authorization?
I am not Aeneas. I am not Paul.
Worthy? Me? Not in my—or anyone’s—opinion.
Say I decide to give this journey my all.
It would be the journey, is my fear, of an idiot.
You’re wise. You know me when I don’t speak at all.”
Unwanting something after you’ve wanted it,
having a new thought, a change of interest,
and now your beginning’s completely uprooted—
that was me on the beach of that dark slope’s chest,
reconsidering it to nothing—the mission
that had started out so fast.
“Your words, if I’m correct, are an admission—”
replied that magnificent soul’s ghost,
“Timidity’s insulted your soul into submission,
which often interferes till it’s got a man engrossed,
then rolls him away from what he’s honestly tried:
The beast false shadows spook, no true foot farther goes.
But so that these fears of yours will subside,
I’ll tell you why I came and what I comprehended
that moment that—over you!—I cried.
I was among the ones who are suspended
when a lady beckoned, saintly and spectacular.
Command me anything! I demanded.
Her eyes sent out more light than the star.
She began to speak—to me—gently and low,
as she alone can, in the voice all angels acquire.
‘O noble Mantuan soul,
whose fame in the world proceeds without flux,
and will proceed for as far as the world will go,
my friend, but not good luck’s,
has been to the desert, and is now on
his way back—too many setbacks, no guts.
His sense of right direction is so far gone
my fear is I’ve roused to his rescue too late.
Which I’ve heard heaven say about him all along.
Move. Get out your words. Be ornate.
Whatever you’ve got that could save him, unlock.
Help him, console me. With his rescued state.
I am Beatrice who makes you walk.
I come from where I cannot wait to be again.
The love that moved me makes me talk.
When I have returned I will often
sing my Lord your praises at His throne.’
She was silent. And then I began:
‘O lady of the power that alone
is why the human race outsoars
all within heaven’s smallest circle’s zone,
they please me so, these commandments of yours,
that if I’d obeyed them already, I’m tardy.
Merely open to me, whatever they are, your desires.
But do tell me why so uncowardly
descending down into this core here
from wideness you want back to so ardently?’
‘Since it’s your will to know the inner layer,
I’ll summarize,’ she answered me,
‘why it is I fearlessly enter the interior.
One should only fear things in the category
Able to Harm—that have a hurtful touch.
Nothing else is scary.
I’m made by God, thanks be to His mercy, such
that I’m somebody your misery doesn’t upset.
Nor do this firestorm’s flames—they can’t get rough.
In heaven, a woman of refinement wept
so long over this blocked life I send you to,
it broke rules up there too strict to accept.
She called in Lucy, with something for her to do.
“He needs you now,” she said—“your faithful
one. And so I entrust him to you.”
Lucy, to whom harsh is hateful,
got moving, and came to the place
where I sat by Old-Testament Rachel,
and said, “Beatrice, you’re God’s true praise
and not rescuing the one whose love’s undying,
who for you left behind the crowd’s popular ways?
Can’t you hear his pitiful crying?
Or see death attack him by the overflowing river
the sea doesn’t reach, and so can’t take pride in?”
No one ever in the world ran swifter
to profit or from pain
than I, once these words were delivered,
left my heavenly seat. Down I came,
all my faith placed in your honest words’ poetry,
which brings you honor, and the listener the same.’
And after she’d said this to me,
she turned her shining eyes—I could see tears—away,
which got me here the more hastily.
And so I came to you. She got her way.
You face a wild beast. I liberate.
(Your shortcut up the lovely hill’s her prey.)
Well? What is it? How, how can you wait?
How can a heart give so much cowardice a bed?
Why isn’t freedom and fire all that you radiate?
When three such women, each blessèd,
look after you from the court that is heaven’s,
and so much is promised by what I’ve said?”
The way little flowers frost over when it darkens,
and slump, and seal up, and then in the white sunlight
open themselves on their stems, and each straightens,
so with me and my lack of fight.
My heart, like that, filled with such good fire
I began to speak like a man set free tonight:
“The compassion of my rescuer!
The nobility of your obedience
to her words (which couldn’t have been truer).
I’ve got a heart now that has to experience
going there, and it’s thanks to your words’ truths.
I’m turned around, I’m back, to where I was at first.
Go: thy will and mine are both in you.
You’re leader, you’re master, you’re teacher to me.”
I told him that. And when he was moved to move,
I entered a profound, savage journey.