Midway in the journey of our lifeHell I vv. 1-3
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Into that hidden passage my guide and I
entered, to find again the world of light,
and, without thinking of a moment’s rest,
we climbed up, he first and I behind him,
far enough to see, through a round opening,
a few of those fair things the heavens bear.
Then we came forth, to see again the stars.Hell XXXIV vv. 133-139
From those most holy watersPurgatory XXXIII, vv. 142-145
I came away remade, as are new plants
renewed with new-sprung leaves,
pure and prepared to rise up to the stars.
Here my exalted vision lost its power.Heaven, XXXIII, 142-145
But now my will and my desire, like wheels revolving
with an even motion, were turning with
the Love that moves the sun and all the other stars.
As in the arsenal of the Venetians
in wintertime they boil the viscous pitch
to caulk their unsound ships
because they cannot sail — one rebuilds
his ship, while still another plugs
the seams of his, weathered by many a voyage:
one hammers at the stem, another at the stern,
this one makes the oars, that one twists the ropes
for rigging, another patches jib and mainsail —
so, not with fire, but by the art of God,Hell XXI, 7-18
a thick pitch boiled there,
sticking to the banks on either side.
And I saw light that flowed as flows a river,
pouring its golden splendor between two banks
painted with the wondrous colors of spring.
From that torrent issued living sparks
and, on either bank, they settled on the flowers,
like rubies ringed in gold.
Then, as though intoxicated by the odors,Heaven, XXX, 61-69
they plunged once more into the marvelous flood,
and, as one submerged, another would come forth.
O greed, it is you who plunge all mortalsHeaven, XVII, vv. 121-123
so deep into your depths that not one has the power
to lift his eyes above your waves!
When I turned back and my eyes were struck
by what appears on that revolving sphere —
if one but contemplates its circling —
I saw a point that flashed a beam of light
so sharp the eye on which it burns
must close against its piercing brightness.
The star that, seen from here below, seems smallestHeaven, XXVIII, 13-21
would seem a moon if put beside it,
as when one star is set beside another.
And as birds risen from the river’s edge,
seeming to celebrate their pleasure in their food,
form now a rounded arc, and now another shape,
so, radiant within their lights, the holy creaturesHeaven XVIII, 73-78
sang as they flew and shaped themselves
in figures, now D, now I, now L.
As, in cold weather, the wings of starlings
bear them up in wide, dense flocks,
so does that blast propel the wicked spirits.
Here and there, down and up, it drives them.
Never are they comforted by hope
of rest or even lesser punishment.
Just as cranes chant their mournful songs,
making a long line in the air,
thus I saw approach, heaving plaintive sighs,
shades lifted on that turbulence,Hell V 40-49