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The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Paradise, Volume 3

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Astounded, to the guardian of my stepsI turn'd me, like the chill, who always runsThither for succour, where he trusteth most,And she was like the mother, who her sonBeholding pale and breathless, with her voiceSoothes him, and he is cheer'd; for thus she spake,Soothing me: "Know'st not thou, thou art in heav'n?And know'st not thou, whatever is in heav'n,Is holy, and that nothing there is doneBut is done zealously and well?  Deem now,What change in thee the song, and what my smilehad wrought, since thus the shout had pow'r to move thee.In which couldst thou have understood their prayers,The vengeance were already known to thee,Which thou must witness ere thy mortal hour,The sword of heav'n is not in haste to smite,Nor yet doth linger, save unto his seeming,Who in desire or fear doth look for it.But elsewhere now l bid thee turn thy view;So shalt thou many a famous spirit behold."Mine eyes directing, as she will'd, I sawA hundred little spheres, that fairer grewBy interchange of splendour.  I remain'd,As one, who fearful of o'er-much presuming,Abates in him the keenness of desire,Nor dares to question, when amid those pearls,One largest and most lustrous onward drew,That it might yield contentment to my wish;And from within it these the sounds I heard.     "If thou, like me, beheldst the charityThat burns amongst us, what thy mind conceives,Were utter'd.  But that, ere the lofty boundThou reach, expectance may not weary thee,I will make answer even to the thought,Which thou hast such respect of.  In old days,That mountain, at whose side Cassino rests,Was on its height frequented by a raceDeceived and ill dispos'd: and I it was,Who thither carried first the name of Him,Who brought the soul-subliming truth to man.And such a speeding grace shone over me,That from their impious worship I reclaim'dThe dwellers round about, who with the worldWere in delusion lost.  These other flames,The spirits of men contemplative, were allEnliven'd by that warmth, whose kindly forceGives birth to flowers and fruits of holiness.Here is Macarius; Romoaldo here:And here my brethren, who their steps refrain'dWithin the cloisters, and held firm their heart."     I answ'ring, thus; "Thy gentle words and kind,And this the cheerful semblance, I beholdNot unobservant, beaming in ye all,Have rais'd assurance in me, wakening itFull-blossom'd in my bosom, as a roseBefore the sun, when the consummate flowerHas spread to utmost amplitude.  Of theeTherefore entreat I, father! to declareIf I may gain such favour, as to gazeUpon thine image, by no covering veil'd."     "Brother!"  he thus rejoin'd, "in the last sphereExpect completion of thy lofty aim,For there on each desire completion waits,And there on mine: where every aim is foundPerfect, entire, and for fulfillment ripe.There all things are as they have ever been:For space is none to bound, nor pole divides,Our ladder reaches even to that clime,And so at giddy distance mocks thy view....