1265-1321 Dante Alighieri.

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,vos o(D}ies


Mólte erviSere


òoLoR^cneus c^^v^


Aunr fkm


INE times already since my

birth had the heaven of light

returned to the self-same

point almost, as concerns its

own revolution, when first

the glorious Lady of my mind

was made manifest to mine

eyes ; even she who was called Beatrice

by many who knew not wherefore. She

had already been in this life for so

?9 M s ; ■'



la Dita IRuova

as that, within her time, the starry heaven had
moved towards the Eastern quarter one of the twelve
parts of a degree ; so that she appeared to me at the
beginning of her ninth year almost, and I saw her
almost at the end of my ninth year.

Her dress, on that day, was of a most noble colour,
a subdued and goodly crimson, girdled and adorned
in such sort as best suited with her very tender age.
At that moment, I say most truly that the spirit of
life, which hath its dwelling in the secretest chamber
of the heart, began to tremble so violently that the
least pulses of my body shook therewith ; and in
trembling it said these words : Ecce dens jortior me,
qui ventens dominahitur mihi. At that moment the
animate spirit, which dwelleth in the lofty chamber
whither all the senses carry their perceptions, was
filled with wonder, and speaking more especially unto
the spirits of the eyes, said these words : Apparuit
jam beatitudo vestra. At that moment the natural
spirit, which dwelleth there where our nourishment
is administered, began to weep, and in weeping said
these words : Heu miser ! quia frequenter impeditus
ero deinceps.

SAY that, from that time forward. Love quite
governed my soul ; which was immediately
espoused to him, and with so safe and un-
disputed a lordship (by virtue of strong
imagination) that I had nothing left for it
but to do all his bidding continually. He often-

Xa tDita IRuova

times commanded me to seek if I might see this
youngest of the Angels : wherefore I in my boy-
hood often went in search of her, and found her so
noble and praiseworthy that certainly of her might
have been said those words of the poet Homer, * She
seemed not to be the daughter of a mortal man, but
of witbout
appeal !
Since tbou alone bast inaòe m^
beart to feel
XTbis sadness ano unweal,
/H>^ tonane upbratòctb tbec wttbout rcltct.

Hiiò now (tor 5 must rio tb's name ot rutb)

JSeboves me speaf? tbe trutb

XToucbinG tb^ cruelty? anb wichcòncss:

Bot tbat tbes be not ftnown; but nc'ertbeless

5 woulò Qivc bate more stress

tUlitb tbem tbat tccò on love tn v>cr^ sootb.

(J)ut ot tbis worlò tbou bast brtvcn courtesy,
Hnò virtue, &earlp prl3eò in womanbooO;
Hnb out ot ^outb's aa^ mooò

Zbc lovelp liGbtncss is quite Gone tbrouQb tbec.

Mbom now 5 mourn, no man sball Icarn from me
Save b? tbe measure of tbese praises aiven.
Mboso Deserves not Ijeaven

/IDa^ never bopc to bave ber company.


la Dita IHuova

This poem is divided into four parts. In the first
I address Death by certain proper names of hers.
In the second, speaking to her, I tell the reason why
I am moved to denounce her. In the third I rail
against her. In the fourth, I turn to speak to
a person undefined, although defined in my oum
conception. The second part commences here : * Since
thou alone' ; the third here : 'And now (for I must)* ;
hoso deserves not.


Xa Dita IRuova

" OME days after the death of this lady, I had

occasion to leave the city I speak of, and
^to go thitherwards where she abode who had
formerly been my protection ; albeit the end of
my journey reached not altogether so far. And not-
withstanding that I was visibly in the company of
many, the journey was so irksome that I had scarcely
sighing enough to ease my heart's heaviness ; seeing
that as I went, I left my beatitude behind me. Where-
fore it came to pass that he who ruled me by virtue
of my most excellent lady was made visible to
my mind, in the light habit of a traveller, coarsely
fashioned. He appeared to me troubled, and looked
always on the ground ; saving only that sometimes
his eyes were turned towards a river which was clear
and rapid, and which flowed along the path I was
taking. And then I thought that Love called me and
said to me these words : ' I come from that lady who
was so long thy surety ; for the matter of whose
return, I know that it may not be. Wherefore I
have taken that heart which I made thee leave with
her, and do bear it unto another lady, who, as she
was, shall be thy surety' ; (and when he named her, I
knew her well). ' And of these words I have spoken,
if thou shouldst speak any again, let it be in such
sort as that none shall perceive thereby that thy love
was feigned for her, which thou must now feign for
another.' And when he had spoken thus, all my

^ p^i^l^^^^g^iS^S^LJ^^^S^;^^^


Xa Dita IRuova

imagining was gone suddenly, for it seemed to me
that Love became a part of myself : so that, changed
as it were in mine aspect, I rode on full of thought
the whole of that day, and with heavy sighing.


Hnò tbc òai? bctna over
5 wrote tbis sonnet

Xa Dita IRuova

^a^ agone, as 3 robe sullenly

XDlpon a certain patb tbat liheò me not,

3 met Xove mtbwa^ wbile tbe air was

Clotbeò liabtls as a wayfarer miflbt be,
Hn& tor tbe cbeer be sbowb, be seem'ò to me
Hs one wbo batb lost lorbsbip be baò got;
HOvancina tovv'rbs me full of sorrowful tbouflbt,
JSowing bis forebeaO so tbat none sboulb see. v
XTben as 3 went, be call'ò me bp ms name,
Savina: '5 journei? since tbe morn was Mm
XTbence wbere 3 mabe tb^ beart to be:
wbicb now
5 neebs must bear unto anotber bame/
Mberewitb so mucb pass'O into me of bim
Cbat be was gone anb S biscern'b not bow.


Xa Dita fluova

This sonnet has three parts. In the first
part I tell how I met Love, and of his aspect.
In the second, I tell what he said to me,
although not in full, through the fear I had
of discovering my secret. In the third, I say
how he disappeared. The second part com-
mences here : ' Then as I went ' ; the third
here : ' Wherewith so much.'


Xa Dita IRuova

N my return, I set myself to seek out
that lady whom my master had named
to me while I journeyed sighing. And
ecause I would be brief, I will now
narrate^ that in a short while I made her my
surety, in such sort that the matter was spoken of by
many in terms scarcely courteous ; through the which
I had oftenwhiles many troublesome hours. And by
this it happened (to wit : by this false and evil
rumour which seemed to misfame me of vice) that
she who was the destroyer of all evil and the queen
of all good, coming where I was, denied me her
most sweet salutation, in the which alone was my

And here it is fitting for me to depart a little
from the present matter, that it may be rightly
understood of what surpassing virtue her salutation
was to me. To the which end I say that when
she appeared in any place, it seemed to me, by the
I hope of her excellent salutation, that there was
no man mine enemy any longer ; and such warmth

la Dita IRuova

of charity carne upon me that most certainly in
that moment I would have pardoned whosoever had
done me an injury ; and if one should then have
questioned me concerning any matter, I could only
have said unto him, * Love,' with a countenance
clothed in humbleness. And what time she made
ready to salute me, the spirit of Love, destroying
all other perceptions, thrust forth the feeble spirits
of my eyes, saying, ' Do homage unto your mistress,'
and putting itself in their place to obey : so that
he who would, might then have beheld Love,
beholding the lids of mine eyes shake. And when x
this most gentle lady gave her salutation. Love, y
so far from being a medium beclouj ing_^iiine^ j
intolerable beatitude, then bred m mesuch an I
overpowermg sweetness that my body, being all ' '
subjected thereto, remained many times helpless
and passive. Whereby it is made manifest that
in her salutation alone was there any beatitude
for me, which then very often went beyond my
endurance. And now, resuming my discourse, I will
go on to relate that when, for the first time, this
beatitude was denied me, I became possessed with


Xa IDita IRuova

^such grief that, parting myself from others, I
^ent into a lonely place to bathe the ground
with most bitter tears : and when, by this heat
of weeping, I was somewhat relieved, I betook
myself to my chamber, where I could lament
unheard. And there, having prayed to the
lalip o! all 0ltVtitSi, and having said also,
' O LfOve, aid thou thy servant,' I went
suddenly asleep like a beaten sobbing child.
And in my sleep, towards the middle of it,
I seemed to see in the room, seated at

Xa Dita IHuova

my side, a youth in very white raiment, who
kept his eyes fixed on me in deep thought. And
when he had gazed some time, I thought that he
sighed and called to me in these words : ' Fili ndy
tempus est ut preetemdttantur simulata nostra.^ And
thereupon I seemed to know him ; for the voice
was the same wherewith he had spoken at other
times in my sleep. Then looking at him, I
perceived that he was weeping piteously, and that
he seemed to be waiting for me to speak. Wherefore,
taking heart, I began thus : *Why weepest thou.
Master of all honour ? * And he made answer
to me : * Ego tanquam centrum circuii, cut simili modo
se habent circumjer entice partes : tu autem non sic.*
And thinking upon his words, they seemed to me
obscure ; so that again compelHng myself unto speech,
I asked of him : ' What thing is this, Master, that
thou hast spoken thus darkly ? ' To the which he
made answer in the vulgar tongue : ' Demand no
more than may be useful to thee.' Whereupon I
began to discourse with him concerning her salutation
which she had denied me ; and when I questioned
him of the cause, he said these words : ' Our Beatrice
hath heard from certain persons, that the lady whom


Xa IDita muova

I named to thee while thou journey dst full of sighs,
is sorely disquieted by thy solicitations : and therefore
this most gracious creature, who is the enemy of
all disquiet, being fearful of such disquiet, refused
to salute thee. For the which reason (albeit, in
very sooth, thy secret must needs have become known
to her by familiar observation) it is my will that
thou compose certain things in rhyme, in the which
thou shalt set forth how strong a mastership I have
obtained over thee, through her ; and how thou
wast hers even from thy childhood. Also do thou
call upon him that knoweth these things to bear
witness to them, bidding him to speak with her
thereof ; the which I, who am he, will do willingly.
And thus she shall be made to know thy desire ;
knowing which, she shall know likewise that they
were deceived who spake of thee to her. And so
write these things, that they shall seem rather to be
spoken by a third person ; and not directly by thee
to her, which is scarce fitting. After the which, send
them, not without me, where she may chance to hear
J them ; but have them fitted with a pleasant music,
into the which I will pass whensoever it needeth.'
With this speech he was away, and my sleep was
broken up.

Whereupon, remembering me, I knew that I had
beheld this vision during the ninth hour of the day ;




Xa Dita Buova

and I resolved that I would make a ditty, before I
left my chamber, according to the words my master
had spoken.


jfjnd this is the dittq thM I mevdc

OUG, 'tis mtjivill that thou do scckoutjpucjlndgoiurth


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him Loh

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Online Library1265-1321 Dante AlighieriThe new life → online text (page 1 of 5)