Divine Comedy - Purgatory

Play Audio | Get the Book | Del.icio.us

CANTO XXVI. Seventh Ledge: the Lustful.--Sinners in the fire, going in opposite directions.--Guido Guinicelli.--Arnaut Daniel.

CANTO XXVII. Seventh Ledge: the Lustful.--Passage through the Flames.--Stairway in the rock.--Night upon the stairs.--Dream of Dante.--Morning.--Ascent to the Earthly Paradise.--Last words of Virgil.

CANTO XXVIII. The Earthly Paradise.--The Forest.--A Lady gathering flowers on the bank of a little stream.--Discourse with her concerning the nature of the place.

CANTO XXIX. The Earthly Paradise.--Mystic Procession or Triumph of the Church.

CANTO XXX. The Earthly Paradise.--Beatrice appears.--Departure of Virgil.--Reproof of Dante by Beatrice.

CANTO XXXI. The Earthly Paradise.--Reproachful discourse of Beatrice, and confession of Dante.--Passage of Lethe.--Appeal of the Virtues to Beatrice.--Her Unveiling.

CANTO XXXII. The Earthly Paradise.--Return of the Triumphal procession.--The Chariot bound to the Mystic Tree.--Sleep of Dante.--His waking to find the Triumph departed.--Transformation of the Chariot.--The Harlot and the Giant.

CANTO XXXIII. The Earthly Paradise.--Prophecy of Beatrice concerning one who shall restore the Empire.--Her discourse with Dante.--The river Eunoe.--Dante drinks of it, and is fit to ascend to Heaven.


CANTO I. Invocation to the Muses.--Dawn of Easter on the shore of Purgatory.--The Four Stars.--Cato.--The cleansing of Dante from the stains of Hell.

To run over better waters the little vessel of my genius now hoists its sails, and leaves behind itself a sea so cruel; and I will sing of that second realm where the human spirit is purified and becomes worthy to ascend to heaven.

But here let dead poesy rise again, O holy Muses, since yours I am, and here let Calliope somewhat mount up, accompanying my song with that sound of which the wretched Picae felt the stroke such that they despaired of pardon.[1]

[1] The nine daughters of Pieros, king of Emathia, who, contending in song with the Muses, were for their presumption changed to magpies.

A sweet color of oriental sapphire, which was gathering in the serene aspect of the sky, pure even to the first circle,[1] renewed delight to my eyes soon as I issued forth from the dead air that had afflicted my eyes and my breast. The fair planet which incites to love was making all the Orient to smile, veiling the Fishes that were in her train.[2] I turned me to the right hand, and fixed my mind upon the other pole, and saw four stars never seen save by the first people.[3] The heavens appeared to rejoice in their flamelets. O widowed northern region, since thou art deprived of beholding these!

[1] By "the first circle," Dante seems to mean the horizon.

[2] At the spring equinox Venus is in the sign of the Pisces, which immediately precedes that of Aries, in which is the Sun. The time indicated is therefore an hour or more before sunrise on Easter morning, April 10.

When I had withdrawn from regarding them, turning me a little to the other pole, there whence the Wain had already disappeared, I saw close to me an old man alone, worthy in look of so much reverence that no son owes more unto his father.[1] He wore a long beard and mingled with white hair, like his locks, of which a double list fell upon his breast. The rays of the four holy stars so adorned his face with light, that I saw him, as if the sun had been in front.

[1] These stars are the symbols of the four Cardinal Virtues,-- Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice,--the virtues of active life, sufficient to guide men in the right path, but not to bring them to Paradise. By the first people arc probably meant Adam and Eve, who from the terrestrial Paradise, on the summit of the Mount of Purgatory, had seen these stars, visible only from the Southern hemisphere. According to the geography of the time Asia and Africa lay north of the equator, so that even to their inhabitants these stars were invisible. Possibly the meaning is that these stars, symbolizing the cardinal virtues, had been visible only in the golden age.

Next Page