1265-1321 Dante Alighieri.

The Divine comedy of Dante Alighieri (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 12)
Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe Divine comedy of Dante Alighieri (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 12)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Mil



THE DIVINE COMEDY



OF



DANTE ALIGHIERI



TRANSLATED BY

CHARLES ELIOT NORTON

II
PURGATORY



BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
grfo fitoerjji&e tyresa,
1896



Copyright, 1891,
BY CHARLES ELIOT NORTON.

All rights reserved.



SEVENTH EDITION.



The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mast., U. S. A.
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.



CONTENTS.



CANTO I.

MM

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 . . 1

CANTO II.

Sunrise. The Poets on the shore. Coming of a boat,
guided by an angel, bearing souls to Purgatory.
Their landing. Casella and his song. Cato hurries
the souls to the mountain 8

CANTO HI.

Ante-Purgatory. Souls of those who have died in con-
tumacy of the Church. Manfred 14

CANTO IV.

Ante-Purgatory. Ascent to a shelf of the mountain.
The negligent, who postponed repentance to the
last hour. Belacqua 20

CANTO V.

Ante-Purgatory. Spirits who had delayed repentance,
and met with death by violence, but died repentant.



IV CONTENTS.

Jacopo del Cassero. Buonconte da Montef eltro.

Pia de' Tolomei , 26



CANTO VI.

Ante-Purgatory. More spirits who had deferred re-
pentance till they were overtaken by a violent death.
Efficacy of prayer. Sordello. Apostrophe to
Italy 32

CANTO VII.

Virgil makes himself known to Sordello. Sordello
leads the Poets to the Valley of the Princes who
have been negligent of salvation. He points them
out by name 39

CANTO VIII.

Valley of the Princes. Two Guardian Angels. Nino
Visconti. The Serpent. Corrado Malaspina . . 46

*

CANTO IX.

Slumber and Dream of Dante. The Eagle. Lucia.

The Gate of Purgatory. The Angelic Gate-
keeper. Seven P's inscribed on Dante's Forehead.

Entrance to the First Ledge 53

CANTO X.

First Ledge : the Proud. Examples of Humility
sculptured on the Rock 61



CONTENTS. V

CANTO XI.

First Ledge : the Proud. Prayer. Omberto Aldo-
brandeschi. Oderisi d' Agubbio. Provinzan Sal-
vani 67



CANTO XII.

First Ledge : the Proud. Examples of the punish-
ment of Pride graven on the pavement. Meeting
with an Angel who removes one of the P's. As-
cent to the Second Ledge 73

CANTO XIII.

Second Ledge : the Envious. Examples of Love.
The Shades in haircloth, and with sealed eyes.
Sapla of Siena 80

CANTO XIV.

Second Ledge : the Envious. Guido del Duca.
Binieri de' Calboli. Examples of the punishment
of Envy 87

CANTO XV.

Second Ledge : the Envious. An Angel removes the
second P from Dante's forehead. Discourse con-
cerning the Sharing of Good. Ascent to the Third
Ledge : the Wrathful. Examples of Forbearance
seen in Vision ,93



Vl CONTENTS.

CANTO XVI.

Third Ledge : the Wrathful. Marco Lombardo.
His discourse on Free Will, and the Corruption of the
World 99

CANTO XVII.

Third Ledge : the Wrathful. Issue from the Smoke.

Vision of examples of Anger. Ascent to the
Fourth Ledge, where Sloth is purged. Second
Nightfall. Virgil explains how Love is the root of
Virtue and of Sin 106

CANTO XVIII.

Fourth Ledge : the Slothful. Discourse of Virgil on
Love and Free Will. Throng of Spirits running in
haste to redeem their Sin. The Abbot of San Zeno.

Dante falls asleep 112

CANTO XIX.

Fourth Ledge : the Slothful. Dante dreams of the
Siren. The Angel of the Pass. Ascent to the Fifth
Ledge. Pope Adrian V 119

CANTO XX.

Fifth Ledge : the Avaricious. The Spirits celebrate
examples of Poverty and Bounty. Hugh Capet.
His discourse on his descendants. Trembling of the
Mountain . . . 126



CONTENTS. Vil

CANTO XXI.

Fifth Ledge : the Avaricious. Statius. Cause of the
trembling of the Mountain. Statius does honor to
Virgil 133

CANTO XXII.

Ascent to the Sixth Ledge. Discourse of Statius and
Virgil. Entrance to the Ledge : the Gluttonous.
The Mystic Tree. Examples of Temperance . . . 139

CANTO XXIII.

Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. Forese Donati.
Nella. Rebuke of the women of Florence .... 146

CANTO XXIV.

Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. Forese Donati.
Bonagiunta of Lucca. Pope Martin IV. Ubaldin
dalla Pila. Bouifazio. Messer Marchese. Pro-
phecy of Bonagiunta concerning Gentucca, and of
Forese concerning Corso de' Donati. Second Mystic
Tree. The Angel of the Pass 151

CANTO XXV.

Ascent to the Seventh Ledge. Discourse of Statius
on generation, the infusion of the Soul into the body,
and the corporeal semblance of Souls after death.
The Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. The mode of
their Purification . 158



Vlll CONTENTS.

CANTO XXVI.

Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. Sinners in the fire,
going in opposite directions. Guido Guinicelli.
Arnaut Daniel 165

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 . . .171

CANTO XXVIII.

The Earthly Paradise. The Forest. A Lady gath-
ering flowers on the bank of a little stream. Dis-
course with her concerning the nature of the place . 177

CANTO XXIX.

The Earthly Paradise. Mystic Procession or Triumph
of the Church 183

CANTO XXX.

The Earthly Paradise. Beatrice appears. Departure
of Virgil. Reproof of Dante by Beatrice .... 190

CANTO XXXI.

The Earthly Paradise. Reproachful discourse of Bea-
trice, and confession of Dante. Passage of Lethe.
Appeal of the Virtues to Beatrice. Her Unveiling . 196



CONTENTS. ix

CANTO XXXII.

The Earthly Paradise. Return of the Triumphal pro-
cession. 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 ........... 202



CANTO XXXIII.

The Earthly Paradise. Prophecy of Beatrice concern-
ing one who shall restore the Empire. Her dis-
course with Dante. The river Eunoe. Dante
drinks of it, and is fit to ascend to Heaven .... 210



PURGATORY



PURGATORY.



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 be-
comes 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

A soft color of oriental sapphire which was gath-
ered in the serene aspect of the air, pure even
to the first circle, 2 renewed delight to my eyes

1 The nine daughters of Pieros, king of Emathia, who, contend-
ing in song with the Muses, were for their presumption changed
to magpies.

2 By " the first circle," Dante seems to mean the horizon.



2 PUBGATORY.

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. 1 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. 2 The heavens appeared
to rejoice in their flamelets. O widowed northern
region, since thou art deprived of beholding these !
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. 3
He wore a long beard and mingled with white hair,

1 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 hefore sunrise on
Easter morning, April 10.

2 These stars are the symhols 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 are 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 mean-
ing is that these stars, symbolizing the cardinal virtues, had been
visible only in the golden age.

8 This old man, as soon appears, is the younger Gato, and the



CANTO I. 3

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.

" Who are ye that counter to the blind stream
have fled from the eternal prison ? " said he, mov-
ing those venerable plumes. " Who has guided
you? Or who was a lamp to you, issuing forth
from the deep night that ever makes the infernal

office here given to him of warden of the souls in the outer region
of Purgatory was suggested by the position assigned to him by
Virgil in the JSneid, viii. 670. " Secretosque pios, his dantem jura
Catonem."

It has been objected to Virgil's thus putting him in Elysium,
that as a suicide his place was in the Mourning Fields. A similar
objection may be made to Dante's separating him from the other
suicides in the seventh circle of Hell (Canto XIII.). " But," says
Conington, "Virgil did not aim at perfect consistency. It was
enough for him that Cato was one who from his character in life
might be justly conceived of as lawgiver to the dead." So Dante
using Cato as an allegoric figure, regards him as one who, before
the coming of Christ, practised the virtues which are required to
liberate the soul from sin, and who, as he says in the De Mo-
narchia (ii. 5), "that he might kindle the love of liberty in the
world, showed how precious it was, by preferring death with lib-
erty to life without it. ' ' This liberty is the type of that spiritual
freedom which Dante is seeking, and which, being the perfect
conformity of the human will to the will of God, is the aim and
fruition of all redeemed souls.

In the region of Purgatory outside the gate, the souls have not
yet attained this freedom ; they are on the way to it, and Cato is
allegorically fit to warn and spur them on.



4 PUEGATOBY.

valley black? Are the laws of the abyss thus
broken? or is a new design changed in heaven
that, being, damned, ye come unto my rocks ? "

My Leader then took hold of me, and with words,
and with hands, and with signs, made my legs and
my brow reverent. Then he answered him, " Of
myself I came not ; a Lady descended from Heaven,
through whose prayers I succored this man with
my company. But since it is thy will that more of
our condition be unfolded to thee as it truly is,
mine cannot be that to thee this be denied. This
man has not seen his last evening, but through his
folly was so near thereto that very little time there
was to turn. Even as I have said, I was sent to
him to rescue him, and there was no other way
than this, along which I have set myself. I have
shown to him all the guilty people ; and now I in-
tend to show him those spirits that purge them-
selves under thy ward. How I have led him, it
would be long to tell thee ; from on high descends
power that aids me to conduct him to see thee and
to hear thee. Now may it please thee to approve
his coming. He goes seeking liberty, which is so
dear, as he knows who for her refuses life. Thou
knowest it, for death for her sake was not bitter to
thee in Utica, where thou didst leave the garment
that on the great day shall be so bright. The eter-
nal edicts are not violated by us, for this one is



CANTO I. 5

alive, and Minos doth not bind me ; but I am of
the circle where are the chaste eyes of thy Marcia,
who in her look still prays thee, O holy breast,
that for thine own thou hold her. For her love,
then, incline thyself to us; let us go on through
thy seven realms. 1 Thanks unto thee will I carry
back to her, if to be mentioned there below thou
deign."

"Marcia so pleased my eyes while I was on
earth," said he then, " that whatsoever grace she
wished from me I did it ; now, that on the other
side of the evil stream she dwells, she can no more
move me, by that law which was made when thence
I issued forth. 2 But if a Lady of Heaven move
and direct thee, as thou sayest, there is no need of
flattery ; suffice it fully to thee that for her sake
thou askest me. Go then, and see thou gird this one
with a smooth rush, and that thou wash his face
so that thou remove all sully from it, for it were
not befitting to go with eye overcast by any cloud
before the first minister that is of those of Para-
dise. This little island, round about at its base,
down there yonder where the wave beats it, bears
rushes upon its soft ooze. No plant of other kind,
that might put forth leaf or grow hard, can there

1 The seven circles of Purgatory.

2 The law that the redeemed cannot be touched by other than
heavenly affections.



6 PUBGATOET.

have life, because it yields not to the shocks.
Thereafter let not your return be this way ; the
Sun which now is rising will show you to take the
mountain by easier ascent."

So he disappeared, and I rose up, without speak-
ing, and drew me close to my Leader, and turned
my eyes to him. He began, " Son, follow my steps ;
let us turn back, for this plain slopes that way to
its low limits."

The dawn was vanquishing the matin hour which
fled before it, so that from afar I discerned the
trembling of the sea. We set forth over the soli-
tary plain like a man who turns unto the road
which he has lost, and, till he come to it, seems to
himself to go in vain. When we were where the
dew contends with the sun, and, through being in
a place where there is shade, is little dissipated,
my Master softly placed both his hands outspread
upon the grass. Whereon I, who perceived his de-
sign, stretched toward him my tear-stained cheeks.
Here he wholly uncovered that color of mine which
hell had hidden on me. 1

We came, then, to the desert shore that never saw
navigate its waters one who afterwards had experi-
ence of return. Here he girt me, even as pleased

1 Allegorically, when the soul has entered- upon the way of
purification Reason, with the dew of repentance, washes off the
stain of sin, and girds the spirit with humility.



CANTO I.



the other. O marvel ! that such as he plucked the
humble plant, it instantly sprang up again there
whence he tore it. 1

1 The goods of the spirit are not diminished by appropriation.



CANTO H.

Sunrise. The Poets on the shore. Coming of a boat,
guided by an angel, bearing souls to Purgatory. Their land-
ing. Casella and his song. Cato hurries the souls to the
mountain.

Now had the sun reached the horizon whose
meridian circle covers Jerusalem with its highest
point ; and the night which circles opposite to it
was issuing forth from Ganges with the Scales that
fall from her hand when she exceeds ; 1 so that
where I was the white and red cheeks of the beau-
tiful Aurora by too much age were becoming
orange.

We were still alongside the sea, like folk who
are thinking of their road, who go in heart and
linger in body ; and lo ! as, at approach of the
morning, through the dense vapors Mars glows

1 Purgatory and Jerusalem are antipodal, and in one direction
the Ganges or India was arbitrarily assumed to be their common
horizon. The night is here taken as the point of the Heavens op-
posite the sun, and the sun being in Aries, the night is in Libra.
When night exceeds, that is, at the autumnal equinox, when the
night becomes longer than the day, the Scales may be said to drop
from her hand, since the sun enters Libra.



CANTO II. 9

ruddy, down in the west above the ocean floor, such
appeared to me, so may.I again behold it! a
light along the sea coming so swiftly that no flight
equals its motion. From which when I had a little
withdrawn my eye to ask my Leader, again I saw
it, brighter become and larger. Then on each side
of it appeared to me a something, I know not
what, white, and beneath, little by little, another
came forth from it. My Master still said not a
word, until the first white things showed themselves
wings ; then, when he clearly recognized the pilot,
he cried out, " Mind, mind, thou bend thy knees.
Lo ! the Angel of God : fold thy hands ; henceforth
shalt thou see such officials. See how he scorns
human means, so that he wills not oar, or other
sail than his own wings between such distant shores.
See, how he holds them straight toward heaven,
stroking the air with his eternal feathers that are
not changed like mortal hair."

Then, as nearer and nearer toward us came the
Bird Divine, the brighter he appeared ; so that near
by my eye endured him not, but I bent it down :
and he came on to the shore with a small vessel,
very swift and light so that the water swallowed
naught of it. At the stern stood the Celestial
Pilot, such that if but described he would make
blessed ; and more than a hundred spirits sat within.
" In exitu Israel de Egypto " 1 they all were singing

1 "When Israel went out of Egypt." Psalm cxiv.



10 PURGATORY.

together with one voice, with whatso of that psalm
is after written. Then he made the sign of holy
cross upon them ; whereon they all threw themselves
upon the strand ; and he went away swift as he had
come.

The crowd which remained there seemed strange
to the place, gazing round about like him who of
new things makes essay. On all sides the Sun,
who had with his bright arrows chased from mid-
heaven the Capricorn, 1 was shooting forth the day,
when the new people raised their brow toward us,
saying to us, " If ye know, show us the way to go
unto the mountain." And Virgil answered, " Ye
believe, perchance, that we are acquainted with this
place, but we are pilgrims even as ye are. Just
now we came, a little before you, by another way,
which was so rough and difficult that the ascent
henceforth will seem play to us."

The souls who had become aware concerning me
by my breathing, that I was still alive, marvelling
became deadly pale. And as to a messenger who
bears an olive branch the folk press to hear news,
and no one shows himself shy of crowding, so, at
the sight of me, those fortunate souls stopped still,
all of them, as if forgetting to go to make them-
selves fair.

1 When Aries, in which the Sun was rising, is on the horizon,
Capricorn is at the zenith.



CANTO II. 11

I saw one of them drawing forward to embrace
me with so great affection that it moved me to do
the like. O shades empty save in aspect ! Three
times behind it I clasped my hands and as oft re-
turned with them unto my breast. With marvel,
I believe, I painted me ; wherefore the shade smiled
and drew back, and I, following it, pressed forward.
Gently it said, that I should pause ; then I knew
who it was, and I prayed it that to speak with me
it would stop a little. It replied to me, " So as I
loved thee in the mortal body, so loosed from it I
love thee ; therefore I stop ; but wherefore goest
thou?"

" Casella mine, in order to return another time
to this place where I am, do I make this journey,"
said I, " but from thee how has so much time been
taken?" 1

And he to me, " No wrong has been done me if
he 2 who takes both when and whom it pleases
him of ttimes hath denied to me this passage ; for
of a just will 3 his own is made. Truly for three
months he has taken with all peace whoso has
wished to enter. Wherefore I who was now turned

1 " How has thy coining hither heen delayed so long since thy
death ? "

2 The Celestial Pilot.

8 That is, of the Divine Will ; but there is no explanation of
the motive of the delay.



12 PURGATORY.

to the seashore where the water of Tiber grows
salt was benignantly received by him. l To that
outlet has he now turned his wing, because always
those assemble there who towards Acheron do not
descend.'*

And I, " If a new law take not from thee mem-
ory or practice of the song of love which was wont
to quiet in me all my longings, may it please thee
therewith somewhat to comfort my soul, which
coming hither with its body is so wearied."

" Love which in my mind discourseth with me," 2
began he then so sweetly that the sweetness still
within me sounds. 3 My Master, and I, and that
folk who were with him, appeared so content as
if naught else could touch the mind of any.

We were all fixed and attentive to his notes ;

1 The Tiber is the local symbol of the Church of Rome, from
whose bosom those who die at peace with her pass to Purgatory.
The Jubilee, proclaimed by Boniface VIII., had begun at Christ-
mas, 1299, so that for three months now the Celestial Pilot had
received graciously all who had taken advantage of it to gain
remission of their sins.

2 The first verse of a canzone by Dante ; the canzone is the
second of those upon which he comments in his Convito.

8 Every English reader recalls Milton's Sonnet to Mr. Henry

Lawes:

" Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher

Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing,
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory."

Nothing is known of Casella beyond what is implied in Dante's
affectionate record of their meeting.



CANTO II. 13

and lo! the venerable old man crying, "What is
this, ye laggard spirits? What negligence, what
stay is this ? Run to the mountain to strip off the
slough that lets not God be manifest to you,"

As, when gathering grain or tare, the doves as-
sembled at their feeding, quiet, without display of
their accustomed pride, if aught appear of which
they are afraid, suddenly let the food alone, be-
cause they are assailed by a greater care, so I saw
that fresh troop leave the song, and go towards
the hill-side, like one that goes but knows not where
he may come out. Nor was our departure less
speedy.



CANTO m.

Ante-Purgatory. Souls of those who have died in con-
tumacy of the Church. Manfred.

INASMUCH as the sudden flight had scattered
them over the plain, turned to the mount whereto
reason spurs us, I drew me close to my trusty
companion. And how should I without him have
run ? Who would have drawn me up over the
mountain ? He seemed to me of his own self re-
morseful. O conscience, upright and stainless, how
bitter a sting to thee is little fault !

When his feet left the haste that takes the seem-
liness from every act, my mind, which at first had
been restrained, let loose its attention, as though
eager, and I turned my face unto the hill that
towards the heaven rises highest from the sea. The
sun, which behind was flaming ruddy, was broken
in front of me by the figure that the staying of its
rays upon me formed. When I saw the ground
darkened only in front of me, I turned me to
my side with fear of being abandoned : and my
Comfort, wholly turning to me, began to say, " Why
dost thou still distrust ? Dost thou not believe me



CANTO III. 15

.with thee, and that I guide thee ? It is now even-
ing there where the body is buried within which I
cast a shadow ; Naples holds it, and from Brundu-
sium it is taken ; if now in front of me there is no
shadow, marvel not more than at the heavens of
which one hinders not the other's radiance. To
suffer torments, both hot and cold, bodies like this
the Power ordains, which wills not that how it acts
be revealed to us. Mad is he who hopes that
our reason can traverse the infinite way which One
Substance in Three Persons holds. Be content,
human race, with the quia ; l for if ye had been
able to see everything, need had not been for Mary
to bear child : and ye have seen desiring fruit-
lessly men such 2 that their desire would have
been quieted, which is given them eternally for a
grief. I speak of Aristotle and of Plato, and of
many others ; " and here he bowed his front, and
said no more, and remained disturbed.

We had come, meanwhile, to the foot of the
mountain ; here we found the rock so steep, that
there the legs would be agile in vain. Between
Lerici and Turbia 3 the most deserted, the most

1 Quia is used here, as often in mediaeval Latin, for quod. The
meaning is, Be content to know that the thing is, seek not to
know why or how propter quid it is as it is.

2 If human knowledge sufficed.

8 Lerici on the Gulf of Spezzia, and Turbia, just above Monaco,
are at the two ends of the Riviera; between them the moun-



16 PUEGATORY.

secluded way is a stair easy and open, compared


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe Divine comedy of Dante Alighieri (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 12)