THE VISION OF PURGATORY, PART 3 ***
Produced by David Widger
HELL, PURGATORY, AND PARADISE
BY DANTE ALIGHIERI
THE REV. H. F. CARY
Cantos 11 - 18
"O thou Almighty Father, who dost make The heavens thy dwelling, not in bounds confin'd, But that with love intenser there thou view'st Thy primal effluence, hallow'd be thy name: Join each created being to extol Thy might, for worthy humblest thanks and praise Is thy blest Spirit. May thy kingdom's peace Come unto us; for we, unless it come, With all our striving thither tend in vain. As of their will the angels unto thee Tender meet sacrifice, circling thy throne With loud hosannas, so of theirs be done By saintly men on earth. Grant us this day Our daily manna, without which he roams Through this rough desert retrograde, who most Toils to advance his steps. As we to each Pardon the evil done us, pardon thou Benign, and of our merit take no count. 'Gainst the old adversary prove thou not Our virtue easily subdu'd; but free From his incitements and defeat his wiles. This last petition, dearest Lord! is made Not for ourselves, since that were needless now, But for their sakes who after us remain."
Thus for themselves and us good speed imploring, Those spirits went beneath a weight like that We sometimes feel in dreams, all, sore beset, But with unequal anguish, wearied all, Round the first circuit, purging as they go, The world's gross darkness off: In our behalf If there vows still be offer'd, what can here For them be vow'd and done by such, whose wills Have root of goodness in them? Well beseems That we should help them wash away the stains They carried hence, that so made pure and light, They may spring upward to the starry spheres.
"Ah! so may mercy-temper'd justice rid Your burdens speedily, that ye have power To stretch your wing, which e'en to your desire Shall lift you, as ye show us on which hand Toward the ladder leads the shortest way. And if there be more passages than one, Instruct us of that easiest to ascend; For this man who comes with me, and bears yet The charge of fleshly raiment Adam left him, Despite his better will but slowly mounts." From whom the answer came unto these words, Which my guide spake, appear'd not; but 'twas said:
"Along the bank to rightward come with us, And ye shall find a pass that mocks not toil Of living man to climb: and were it not That I am hinder'd by the rock, wherewith This arrogant neck is tam'd, whence needs I stoop My visage to the ground, him, who yet lives, Whose name thou speak'st not him I fain would view. To mark if e'er I knew himnd to crave His pity for the fardel that I bear. I was of Latiun, of a Tuscan horn A mighty one: Aldobranlesco's name My sire's, I know not if ye e'er have heard. My old blood and forefathers' gallant deeds Made me so haughty, that I clean forgot The common mother, and to such excess, Wax'd in my scorn of all men, that I fell, Fell therefore; by what fate Sienna's sons, Each child in Campagnatico, can tell. I am Omberto; not me only pride Hath injur'd, but my kindred all involv'd In mischief with her. Here my lot ordains Under this weight to groan, till I appease God's angry justice, since I did it not Amongst the living, here amongst the dead."
List'ning I bent my visage down: and one (Not he who spake) twisted beneath the weight That urg'd him, saw me, knew me straight, and call'd, Holding his eyes With difficulty fix'd Intent upon me, stooping as I went Companion of their way. "O!" I exclaim'd,
"Art thou not Oderigi, art not thou Agobbio's glory, glory of that art Which they of Paris call the limmer's skill?"
"Brother!" said he, "with tints that gayer smile, Bolognian Franco's pencil lines the leaves. His all the honour now; mine borrow'd light. In truth I had not been thus courteous to him, The whilst I liv'd, through eagerness of zeal For that pre-eminence my heart was bent on. Here of such pride the forfeiture is paid. Nor were I even here; if, able still To sin, I had not turn'd me unto God. O powers of man! how vain your glory, nipp'd E'en in its height of verdure, if an age Less bright succeed not! imbue thought To lord it over painting's field; and now The cry is Giotto's, and his name eclips'd. Thus hath one Guido from the other snatch'd The letter'd prize: and he perhaps is born, Who shall drive either from their nest. The noise Of worldly fame is but a blast of wind, That blows from divers points, and shifts its name Shifting the point it blows from. Shalt thou more Live in the mouths of mankind, if thy flesh Part shrivel'd from thee, than if thou hadst died, Before the coral and the pap were left, Or ere some thousand years have passed? and that Is, to eternity compar'd, a space, Briefer than is the twinkling of an eye To the heaven's slowest orb. He there who treads So leisurely before me, far and wide Through Tuscany resounded once; and now Is in Sienna scarce with whispers nam'd: There was he sov'reign, when destruction caught The madd'ning rage of Florence, in that day Proud as she now is loathsome. Your renown Is as the herb, whose hue doth come and go, And his might withers it, by whom it sprang Crude from the lap of earth." I thus to him: "True are thy sayings: to my heart they breathe The kindly spirit of meekness, and allay What tumours rankle there. But who is he Of whom thou spak'st but now?"--"This," he replied, "Is Provenzano. He is here, because He reach'd, with grasp presumptuous, at the sway Of all Sienna. Thus he still hath gone, Thus goeth never-resting, since he died. Such is th' acquittance render'd back of him, Who, beyond measure, dar'd on earth." I then: "If soul that to the verge of life delays Repentance, linger in that lower space, Nor hither mount, unless good prayers befriend, How chanc'd admittance was vouchsaf'd to him?"