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Chapter 9 Cunizza da Romano, Folco of Marseilles, and Rahab. Neglect of th_oly Land.

  • Beautiful Clemence, after that thy Charles
  • Had me enlightened, he narrated to me
  • The treacheries his seed should undergo;
  • But said: "Be still and let the years roll round;"
  • So I can only say, that lamentation
  • Legitimate shall follow on your wrongs.
  • And of that holy light the life already
  • Had to the Sun which fills it turned again,
  • As to that good which for each thing sufficeth.
  • Ah, souls deceived, and creatures impious,
  • Who from such good do turn away your hearts,
  • Directing upon vanity your foreheads!
  • And now, behold, another of those splendours
  • Approached me, and its will to pleasure me
  • It signified by brightening outwardly.
  • The eyes of Beatrice, that fastened were
  • Upon me, as before, of dear assent
  • To my desire assurance gave to me.
  • "Ah, bring swift compensation to my wish,
  • Thou blessed spirit," I said, "and give me proof
  • That what I think in thee I can reflect!"
  • Whereat the light, that still was new to me,
  • Out of its depths, whence it before was singing,
  • As one delighted to do good, continued:
  • "Within that region of the land depraved
  • Of Italy, that lies between Rialto
  • And fountain-heads of Brenta and of Piava,
  • Rises a hill, and mounts not very high,
  • Wherefrom descended formerly a torch
  • That made upon that region great assault.
  • Out of one root were born both I and it;
  • Cunizza was I called, and here I shine
  • Because the splendour of this star o'ercame me.
  • But gladly to myself the cause I pardon
  • Of my allotment, and it does not grieve me;
  • Which would perhaps seem strong unto your vulgar.
  • Of this so luculent and precious jewel,
  • Which of our heaven is nearest unto me,
  • Great fame remained; and ere it die away
  • This hundredth year shall yet quintupled be.
  • See if man ought to make him excellent,
  • So that another life the first may leave!
  • And thus thinks not the present multitude
  • Shut in by Adige and Tagliamento,
  • Nor yet for being scourged is penitent.
  • But soon 'twill be that Padua in the marsh
  • Will change the water that Vicenza bathes,
  • Because the folk are stubborn against duty;
  • And where the Sile and Cagnano join
  • One lordeth it, and goes with lofty head,
  • For catching whom e'en now the net is making.
  • Feltro moreover of her impious pastor
  • Shall weep the crime, which shall so monstrous be
  • That for the like none ever entered Malta.
  • Ample exceedingly would be the vat
  • That of the Ferrarese could hold the blood,
  • And weary who should weigh it ounce by ounce,
  • Of which this courteous priest shall make a gift
  • To show himself a partisan; and such gifts
  • Will to the living of the land conform.
  • Above us there are mirrors, Thrones you call them,
  • From which shines out on us God Judicant,
  • So that this utterance seems good to us."
  • Here it was silent, and it had the semblance
  • Of being turned elsewhither, by the wheel
  • On which it entered as it was before.
  • The other joy, already known to me,
  • Became a thing transplendent in my sight,
  • As a fine ruby smitten by the sun.
  • Through joy effulgence is acquired above,
  • As here a smile; but down below, the shade
  • Outwardly darkens, as the mind is sad.
  • "God seeth all things, and in Him, blest spirit,
  • Thy sight is," said I, "so that never will
  • Of his can possibly from thee be hidden;
  • Thy voice, then, that for ever makes the heavens
  • Glad, with the singing of those holy fires
  • Which of their six wings make themselves a cowl,
  • Wherefore does it not satisfy my longings?
  • Indeed, I would not wait thy questioning
  • If I in thee were as thou art in me."
  • "The greatest of the valleys where the water
  • Expands itself," forthwith its words began,
  • "That sea excepted which the earth engarlands,
  • Between discordant shores against the sun
  • Extends so far, that it meridian makes
  • Where it was wont before to make the horizon.
  • I was a dweller on that valley's shore
  • 'Twixt Ebro and Magra that with journey short
  • Doth from the Tuscan part the Genoese.
  • With the same sunset and same sunrise nearly
  • Sit Buggia and the city whence I was,
  • That with its blood once made the harbour hot.
  • Folco that people called me unto whom
  • My name was known; and now with me this heaven
  • Imprints itself, as I did once with it;
  • For more the daughter of Belus never burned,
  • Offending both Sichaeus and Creusa,
  • Than I, so long as it became my locks,
  • Nor yet that Rodophean, who deluded
  • was by Demophoon, nor yet Alcides,
  • When Iole he in his heart had locked.
  • Yet here is no repenting, but we smile,
  • Not at the fault, which comes not back to mind,
  • But at the power which ordered and foresaw.
  • Here we behold the art that doth adorn
  • With such affection, and the good discover
  • Whereby the world above turns that below.
  • But that thou wholly satisfied mayst bear
  • Thy wishes hence which in this sphere are born,
  • Still farther to proceed behoveth me.
  • Thou fain wouldst know who is within this light
  • That here beside me thus is scintillating,
  • Even as a sunbeam in the limpid water.
  • Then know thou, that within there is at rest
  • Rahab, and being to our order joined,
  • With her in its supremest grade 'tis sealed.
  • Into this heaven, where ends the shadowy cone
  • Cast by your world, before all other souls
  • First of Christ's triumph was she taken up.
  • Full meet it was to leave her in some heaven,
  • Even as a palm of the high victory
  • Which he acquired with one palm and the other,
  • Because she favoured the first glorious deed
  • Of Joshua upon the Holy Land,
  • That little stirs the memory of the Pope.
  • Thy city, which an offshoot is of him
  • Who first upon his Maker turned his back,
  • And whose ambition is so sorely wept,
  • Brings forth and scatters the accursed flower
  • Which both the sheep and lambs hath led astray
  • Since it has turned the shepherd to a wolf.
  • For this the Evangel and the mighty Doctors
  • Are derelict, and only the Decretals
  • So studied that it shows upon their margins.
  • On this are Pope and Cardinals intent;
  • Their meditations reach not Nazareth,
  • There where his pinions Gabriel unfolded;
  • But Vatican and the other parts elect
  • Of Rome, which have a cemetery been
  • Unto the soldiery that followed Peter
  • Shall soon be free from this adultery."