Sunday, November 13, 2011

Purgatory 3/7

Darkness of hell and of a night deprived
Of every planet under a poor sky,
As much as may be tenebrous with cloud,

Ne'er made unto my sight so thick a veil,
As did that smoke which there enveloped us,
Nor to the feeling of so rough a texture;

For not an eye it suffered to stay open;
Whereat mine escort, faithful and sagacious,
Drew near to me and offered me his shoulder.

E'en as a blind man goes behind his guide,
Lest he should wander, or should strike against
Aught that may harm or peradventure kill him,

So went I through the bitter and foul air,
Listening unto my Leader, who said only,
Look that from me thou be not separated.

Voices I heard, and every one appeared
To supplicate for peace and misericord
The Lamb of God who takes away our sins.

Still Agnus Dei their exordium was;
One word there was in all, and metre one,
So that all harmony appeared among them.

Master,I said, are spirits those I hear?
And he to me: Thou apprehendest truly,
And they the knot of anger go unloosing.

Now who art thou, that cleavest through our smoke
And art discoursing of us even as though
Thou didst by calends still divide the time?

After this manner by a voice was spoken;
Whereon my Master said: Do thou reply,
And I: O creature that dost cleanse thyself

To return beautiful to Him who made thee,
Thou shalt hear marvels if thou follow me.
Thee will I follow far as is allowed me,

He answered; and if smoke prevent our seeing,
Hearing shall keep us joined instead thereof.
Thereon began I: With that swathing band

Which death unwindeth am I going upward,
And hither came I through the infernal anguish.
And if God in his grace has me infolded,

So that he wills that I behold his court
By method wholly out of modern usage,
Conceal not from me who ere death thou wast,

But tell it me, and tell me if I go
Right for the pass, and be thy words our escort.
Lombard was I, and I was Marco called;

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