Canto 1 - 33CANTO I
His glory, by whose might all things are mov'd,Pierces the universe, and in one partSheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. In heav'n,That largeliest of his light partakes, was I,Witness of things, which to relate againSurpasseth power of him who comes from thence;For that, so near approaching its desireOur intellect is to such depth absorb'd,That memory cannot follow. Nathless all,That in my thoughts I of that sacred realmCould store, shall now be matter of my song.
Benign Apollo! this last labour aid,And make me such a vessel of thy worth,As thy own laurel claims of me belov'd.Thus far hath one of steep Parnassus' browsSuffic'd me; henceforth there is need of bothFor my remaining enterprise Do thouEnter into my bosom, and there breatheSo, as when Marsyas by thy hand was dragg'dForth from his limbs unsheath'd. O power divine!If thou to me of shine impart so much,That of that happy realm the shadow'd formTrac'd in my thoughts I may set forth to view,Thou shalt behold me of thy favour'd treeCome to the foot, and crown myself with leaves;For to that honour thou, and my high themeWill fit me. If but seldom, mighty Sire!To grace his triumph gathers thence a wreathCaesar or bard (more shame for human willsDeprav'd) joy to the Delphic god must springFrom the Pierian foliage, when one breastIs with such thirst inspir'd. From a small sparkGreat flame hath risen: after me perchanceOthers with better voice may pray, and gainFrom the Cirrhaean city answer kind.
Through diver passages, the world's bright lampRises to mortals, but through that which joinsFour circles with the threefold cross, in bestCourse, and in happiest constellation setHe comes, and to the worldly wax best givesIts temper and impression. Morning there,Here eve was by almost such passage made;And whiteness had o'erspread that hemisphere,Blackness the other part; when to the leftI saw Beatrice turn'd, and on the sunGazing, as never eagle fix'd his ken.As from the first a second beam is wontTo issue, and reflected upwards rise,E'en as a pilgrim bent on his return,So of her act, that through the eyesight pass'dInto my fancy, mine was form'd; and straight,Beyond our mortal wont, I fix'd mine eyesUpon the sun. Much is allowed us there,That here exceeds our pow'r; thanks to the placeMade for the dwelling of the human kind
I suffer'd it not long, and yet so longThat I beheld it bick'ring sparks around,As iron that comes boiling from the fire.And suddenly upon the day appear'dA day new-ris'n, as he, who hath the power,Had with another sun bedeck'd the sky.
Her eyes fast fix'd on the eternal wheels,Beatrice stood unmov'd; and I with kenFix'd upon her, from upward gaze remov'dAt her aspect, such inwardly becameAs Glaucus, when he tasted of the herb,That made him peer among the ocean gods;Words may not tell of that transhuman change:And therefore let the example serve, though weak,For those whom grace hath better proof in store
If I were only what thou didst create,Then newly, Love!...