PARADISO I OUTLINE proem looking back at the completed journey and the promise to narrate the rest of its course invocation fifth in the poem the aid of Apollo invocation proper result of such inspiration justification for it the narrative begins Dante still in earthly paradise the constellation Aries noon Dante looking as Beatrice looks into the sun simile the sun in her eyes and reflecting rays Dante can look directly at the sun the ascent toward the Moon rising, Dante seems to see a second sun above him he looks back to see the stars reflected in her eyes simile Glaucus and Dante s own transhumanation the poet cannot say whether he ascended in body reaching the sublunary ring of fire son et lumiere Dante s questions and Beatrice s responses the first question where is he and the response the second how can he pass through air and fire response the upward inclination of all things response how things diverge from their true goal response but not Dante, now freed from sincoda Beatrice looks back up PARADISO I La gloria di colui che tutto move per l universo penetra, e risplendein una parte piu e meno altrove Nel ciel che piu de la sua luce prende fu io, e vidi cose che ridirene sa ne puo chi di la su discende perche appressando se al suo disire, nostro intelletto si profonda tanto,che dietro la memoria non puo ire Veramente quant io del regno santo ne la mia mente potei far tesoro,sara ora materia del mio canto O buono Appollo, a l ultimo lavoro fammi del tuo valor si fatto vaso,come dimandi a dar l amato alloro Infino a qui l un giogo di Parnaso assai mi fu ma or con amenduem e uopo intrar ne l aringo rimaso Entra nel petto mio, e spira tue si come quando Marsia traestide la vagina de le membra sue O divina virtu, se mi ti presti tanto che l ombra del beato regnosegnata nel mio capo io manifesti, vedra mi al pie del tuo diletto legno venire, e coronarmi de le foglieche la materia e tu mi farai degno The glory of Him who moves all things pervades the universe and shinesin one partand in another less I was in that heaven which receivesof His light He who comes down from therecan neither know nor tell what he has seen, for, drawing near to its desire, so deeply is our intellect immersedthat memory cannot follow after it Nevertheless, as much of the holy kingdom as I could store as treasure in my mindshall now become the subject of my song O good Apollo, for this last labor make me a vessel worthyof the gift of your beloved laurel Up to this point, one peak of Mount Parnassus has been enough, but now I need them bothin order to confront the struggle that awaits Enter my breast and breathe in me as when you drew out Marsyas,out from the sheathing of his limbs O holy Power, if you but lend me of yourself enough that I may show the merest shadowof the blessed kingdom stamped within my mind, you shall find me at the foot of your beloved tree, crowning myself with the very leavesof which my theme and you will make me worthy Si rade volte, padre, se ne coglie per triunfare o cesare o poeta,colpa e vergogna de l umane voglie, che parturir letizia in su la lieta delfica deita dovria la frondapeneia, quando alcun di se asseta Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda forse di retro a me con miglior vocisi preghera perche Cirra risponda Surge ai mortali per diverse foci la lucerna del mondo ma da quellache quattro cerchi giugne con tre croci, con miglior corso e con migliore stella esce congiunta, e la mondana cerapiu a suo modo tempera e suggella Fatto avea di la mane e di qua sera tal foce, e quasi tutto era la biancoquello emisperio, e l altra parte nera, quando Beatrice in sul sinistro fianco vidi rivolta e riguardar nel soleaguglia si non li s affisse unquanco E si come secondo raggio suole uscir del primo e risalire in suso,pur come pelegrin che tornar vuole, cosi de l atto suo, per li occhi infuso ne l imagine mia, il mio si fece,e fissi li occhi al sole oltre nostr uso Molto e licito la, che qui non lece a le nostre virtu, merce del locofatto per proprio de l umana spece So rarely, father, are they gathered to mark the triumph of a Caesar or a poetfault and shame of human wishes that anyone s even longing for them, those leaves on the Peneian bough, should makethe joyous Delphic god give birth to joy Great fire leaps from the smallest spark Perhaps, in my wake, prayer will be shapedwith better words so Cyrrha may respond The lamp of the world rises on us mortals at different points But, by the one that joinsfour circles with three crossings, it comes forth on a better course and in conjunction with a better sign Then it tempers and imprintsthe wax of the worldto its own fashion Its rising near that point had brought out morning there and evening here, and that hemispherewas arrayed in light, this one in darkness, when I saw that Beatrice had turned toward her left and now was staring at the sunnever had eagle so fixed his gaze on it And, as a second ray will issue from the first and rise again up to its source,even as a pilgrim longs to go back home, so her gaze, pouring through my eyes on my imagination, made itself my own, and I,against our practice, set my eyes upon the sun Much that our powers here cannot sustain is there allowed by virtue of the nature of the placecreated as the dwelling fit for man Io nol soffersi molto, ne si poco, ch io nol vedessi sfavillar dintorno,com ferro che bogliente esce del foco e di subito parve giorno a giorno essere aggiunto, come quei che puoteavesse il ciel d un altro sole addorno Beatrice tutta ne l etterne rote fissa con li occhi stava e io in leile luci fissi, di la su rimote Nel suo aspetto tal dentro mi fei, qual si fe Glauco nel gustar de l erbache l fe consorto in mar de li altri dei Trasumanar significar per verba non si poria pero l essemplo bastia cui esperienza grazia serba S i era sol di me quel che creasti novellamente, amor che l ciel governi,tu l sai, che col tuo lume mi levasti Quando la rota che tu sempiterni desiderato, a se mi fece attesocon l armonia che temperi e discerni, parvemi tanto allor del cielo acceso de la fiamma del sol, che pioggia o fiumelago non fece alcun tanto disteso La novita del suono e l grande lume di lor cagion m accesero un disiomai non sentito di cotanto acume Ond ella, che vedea me si com io, a quietarmi l animo commosso,pria ch io a dimandar, la bocca aprio I could not bear it long, yet not so brief a time as not to see it sparking everywhere,like liquid iron flowing from the fire Suddenly it seemed a day was added to that day, as if the One who has the powerhad adorned the heavens with a second sun Beatrice had fixed her eyes upon the eternal wheels and I now fixedmy sight on her, withdrawing it from above As I gazed on her, I was changed within, as Glaucus was on tasting of the grassthat made him consort of the gods in the sea To soar beyond the human cannot be described in words Let the example be enough to onefor whom grace holds this experience in store Whether I was there in that part only which you created last is known to you alone, O Love who rulethe heavens and drew me up there with your light When the heavens you made eternal, wheeling in desire, caught my attentionwith the harmony you temper and attune, then so much of the sky seemed set on fire by the flaming sun that neither rain nor riverever fed a lake so vast The newness of the sound and the bright light lit in me such keen desire to know their causeas I had never with such sharpness felt before And she, who knew me as I knew myself, to calm my agitated mindbefore I even had begun to speak, parted her lips e comincio Tu stesso ti fai grosso col falso imaginar, si che non vedicio che vedresti se l avessi scosso Tu non se in terra, s come tu credi ma folgore, fuggendo il proprio sito,non corse come tu ch ad esso riedi S io fui del primo dubbio disvestito per le sorrise parolette brevi,dentro ad un nuovo piu fu inretito e dissi Gia contento requievi di grande ammirazion ma ora ammirocom io trascenda questi corpi levi Ond ella, appresso d un pio sospiro, li occhi drizzo ver me con quel sembianteche madre fa sovra figlio deliro, e comincio Le cose tutte quante hanno ordine tra loro, e questo e formache l universo a Dio fa simigliante Qui veggion l alte creature l orma de l etterno valore, il qual e fineal quale e fatta la toccata norma Ne l ordine ch io dico sono accline tutte nature, per diverse sorti,pi al principio loro e men vicine onde si muovono a diversi porti per lo gran mar de l essere, e ciascunacon istinto a lei dato che la porti Questi ne porta il foco inver la luna questi ne cor mortali e permotorequesti la terra in se stringe e aduna and said You make yourself dull witted with false notions, so that you cannot seewhat you would understand, had you but cast them off You are not still on earth, as you believe Indeed, lightning darting from its sourcenever sped as fast as you return to yours If I was stripped of my earlier confusion by her brief and smiling words,I was theentangled in new doubt and said I was content to be released from my amazement, but now I am amazedthat I can glide through these light bodies Then she, having sighed with pity, bent her eyes on me with just that looka mother casts on her delirious child, and said All things created have an order in themselves, and this begets the formthat lets the universe resemble God Here the higher creatures see the imprint of the eternal Worth, the endfor which that pattern was itself set forth In that order, all natures have their bent according to their different destinies,whether nearer to their source or farther from it They move, therefore, toward different harbors upon the vastness of the sea of being,each imbued with an instinct that impels it on its course This instinct carries fire toward the moon, this is the moving force in mortal hearts,this binds the earth to earth and makes it one ne pur le creature che son fore d intelligenza quest arco saetta,ma quelle c hanno intelletto e a La provedenza, che cotanto assetta, del suo lume fa l ciel sempre quietonel qual si volge quel c ha maggior fretta e ora li, come a sito decreto, cen porta la virtu di quella cordache cio che scocca drizza in segno lieto Vero e che, come forma non s accorda molte fiate a l intenzion de l arte,perch a risponder la materia e sorda, cosi da questo corso si diparte talor la creatura, c ha poderedi piegar, cosi pinta, in altra parte e si come veder si puo cadere foco di nube, si l impeto primol atterra torto da falso piacere Non dei piu ammirar, se bene stimo, lo tuo salir, se non come d un rivose d alto monte scende giuso ad imo Maraviglia sarebbe in te se, privo d impedimento, giu ti fossi assiso, com a terra quiete in foco vivoQuinci rivolse inver lo cielo il viso This bow impels not just created things that lack intelligence, but also thosethat have both intellect and love Providence, which regulates all this, makes with its light forever calm the heaventhat contains the one that whirls with greatest speed, and there now, as to a place appointed, the power of that bowstring bears us,aimed, as is all it shoots, at a joyful target It is true that as a work will often fail to correspond to its intended form, its matterdeaf and unresponsive to the craftsman s plan, so sometimes a creature, having the capacity to swerve, will, thus impelled, head off another way,in deviation from the better course and, just as sometimes we see fire falling from a cloud, just so the primal impulse,diverted by false pleasure, turns toward earth If I am correct, you should nowonder at your rising than at a stream s descentfrom a mountain s peak down to its foot It would be as astounding if you, set free from every hindrance, had remained below, as if on earth a living flame held stillThen she turned her face up to the heavens PARADISO I Dante clearly offers these verses as an introduction to the third and final cantica as a whole So much is dealt with in them, and in precisely such a way as to set Paradiso off from the rest of the poem, that it is perhaps worth considering them as a unit before attempting to come to grips with particular lines One burden of these remarks and of the specific glosses that follow them is that Dante is once again see, eg Purg XXIVplaying a dangerous game as he addresses his role as poet He presents himself, if in hidden ways in modern political parlance, he preserves deniability , as being inspired by God to write this part of the poem a barely hidden claim in the first two canticles as well At the same time he allows us to believe, if we are uncomfortable with that claim here, that he is only doing what all poets do, invoking deities for poetic inspiration as has been conventional since Homer s timeA beautiful translation of the astonishing fourteenth century poem The best on the market If you haven t read the Divine Comedy now is the time The New Yorker Paradiso contains some of the most exhilarating poetry ever written Robert Hollander is one of the pre eminent Dante scholars of our time The New York TimesFor our time and for an incalculable future the Hollander translation of The Divine Comedy will be the one used by serious readers Splendid as this new translation is, the endlessly valuable notes are what make this edition supplant all others National ReviewThe Hollanders version is supple and clear, a triumph The Los Angeles TimesVery likely the most enduring, both as a literary achievement and for its commentaries Atlantic Montly