Abbildungen der Seite

And then I heard: "The ancient and the new

Postulates, that to thee are so conclusive,

Why dost thou take them for the word divine?" And I: "The proof, which shows the truth to me,

Are the works subsequent, whereunto Nature

Ne'er heated iron yet, nor anvil beat." '1' was answered me: "Say, who assureth thee

That those works ever were? the thing itself

We wish to prove, nought else to thee affirms it." "Were the world to Christianity converted,"

I said, "withouten miracles, this one

Is such, the rest arc not its hundredth part; For thou didst enter destitute and fasting

Into the field to plant there the good plant,

Which was a vine and has become a thorn!" This being finished, the high, holy Court

Resounded through the spheres, "One God we praise I"

In melody that there above is chanted. And then that Baron, who from branch to branch, ,„ th'>M,ddl', AgM^^^

Examining, had thus conducted me. tluf we,re. •""l"TMi"giten

to the saints. Thus, Boccao

Till the remotest leaves we were approachmg, cio speaks or Earn* lUtmr

Did recommence once more: "The Grace that lords it

Over thy intellect thy mouth has opened,

Up to this point, as it should opened be, So that I do approve what forth emerged;

But now thou must express what thou believest,

And whence to thy belief it was presented." u O holy father! O thou spirit, who seest

What thou believedst, so that thou o'urcamest,

Towards the sepulchre, more youthful feet," St. John, It. 8-8. at . John

Began I, '< thou dost wish me to declare ^uioh^but at.'££ £

Forthwith the manner of my prompt belief, fiat to enter It.

And likewise thou the cause thereof demandest. And I respond: In one God I believe,

Sole and eterne, who all the heaven doth move,

Himself unmoved, with love and with desire; And of such faith not only have I proofs

Physical and metaphysical, but gives them•

Likewise the truth that from this place rains down Through Moses, through the Prophets and the Psalms,

Through the Evangel, and through you, who wrote

After the fiery Spirit sanctified you; 8t . p'!Ur mnd Ott ^

In Persons three eterne believe I, and these AposUes after Peoteoost.

One essence I believe, so one and trine,

They bear conjunction both with stint and est. With the profound conjunction and divine,

Which now I touch upon, doth stamp my mind

Ofttimes the doctrine evangelical. This the beginning is, this is the spark

Which afterwards dilates to vivid flame,

And, like a star in heaven, is sparkling in me."

Even as a lord, who hears what pleases him,
His servant straight embraces, giving thanks
For the good news, as soon as he is silent;

So, giving me its benediction, singing,
Three times encircled me, when I was silent,
The apostolic light, at whose command

I spoken had, in speaking I so pleased him.


Ir e'er it happen that the Poem Sacred,

To which both heaven and earth have set their hand
Till it hath made mo meagre many a year,

O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out
From the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,
Obnoxious to the wolves that war upon it,

With other voice henceforth, with other fleece
Will I return as poet, and at my font
Baptismal will I take the laurel-crown;

Because into the Faith that maketh known
All souls to God there entered I, and then
Peter for her sake so my brow encircled.

Thereafterward towards us moved a light
Out of that band whence issued the first-fruits
Which of his vicars Christ behind him left,

And then, my Lady, full of ecstasy,

Said unto me: "Look, look I behold the Baron
For whom below Galicia is frequented." •

In the same way as, when a dove alights
Near his companion, both of them pour forth,
Circling about and murmuring, their affection,

So I beheld one by the other grand
Prince glorified to be with welcome greeted,
Lauding the food that there above is eaten.

But when their gratulations were completed,
Silently coram me each one stood still,
So incandescent it o'ercame my sight.

Smiling thereafterwards, said Beatrice:
"Spirit august, by whom the beneTaotions
Of our Basilica have been described,

Make Hope reverberate in this altitude;
Thou knowest as oft thou dost personify it
As Jesus to the three gave greater light" —

"Lift up thy head, and make thyself assured;
For what comes hither from the mortal world
Must needs be ripened in our radiance."

This exhortation from the second fire
Came; and mine eyes I lifted to the hills,
Which bent them down before with too great weight.

"Since, through his grace, our Emperor decrees
Thou shouldst confronted be, before thy death,
In the most secret chamber, with his Counts,

Thls " Divlna Commedia.' In which human scieuce or Philosophy is symbolized in Virgil, and divine science- or Theology in Beatrice.

"Ftorfnza la oeWa," Florence the Fair. In one of his CansonI, Dante says, —

"O mountain-eon^ o' mine, tboa

ffoeu thy way; Florence niv town ihou ah»H

perchance behold, Which bars me from itaerf, Devoid or iore end naked o'

companion." *

This aMnskra to the Church of San Giovanni, " it mio bet San Giovanni," as Dante calls it elsewhere, (Inf. xix. 17,) is a fitting prelude to the Canto in which St. John la to appear. Like the " laugh ing of the gnus" in Cant* xxx. 77, it is a "foreshadowing preface," ombrifero prtfazio, of what follows.

See Canto xxiv. 150.

"So, rivinr me ita benediction,

e'ating, Three umee encircled in.,

when I wae aiient, The apoetonc ligtii."

St. Peter. "That we should be a kind of first-fruits or his creatures." Epistie of St. James, i. 18.

St. James. Pilgrimages are made to his tomb at Comaoatella in Galicia.

The General Epistle of St. James, called the Epistola Canolica, i. 17. •• Bvery good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comet li down from the Father of lights." Our Basilica: Paradise: the Church Triumphant.

Peter, James, and John, representing the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity, and distinguished above the other apostles by clearer manifestations of their Master's favor.

St. James speaks.

The three Apostles, luminous above him, overwhelming him with light.

"I will lift up mine eyel unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." Psalm exxl. 1.

The most august spirits of the Celestial City.

So that, the truth beholding of this court,
Hope, which below there rightly fascinates,
In thee and others may thereby be strengthened;

Say what it is, and how is flowering with it

Thy mind, and say from whence it came to thee ":
Thus did the second light continue still.

And the Compassionate, who piloted
The plumage of my wings in such high flight,
In the reply did thus anticipate me:

"No child whatever the Church Militant
Of greater hope possesses, as is written
In that Sun which irradiates all our band;

Therefore it is conceded him from Egypt
To come into Jerusalem to see,
Or ever yet his warfare is completed.

The other points, that not for knowledge' sake
Have been demanded, but that he report
How much this virtue unto thee is pleasing,

To him I leave; for hard he will not find them,
Nor to be boasted of; them let him answer;
And may the grace of God in this assist him I"

As a disciple, who obeys his teacher,
Ready and willing, where he is expert,
So that his excellence may be revealed,

"Hope," said I, "is the certain expectation
Of glory in the hereafter, which proceedeth
From grace divine and merit precedent.

Prom many stars this light comes unto nte;
But he instilled it first into my heart,
Who was chief singer unto the chief captain.

Hope they in Ihee, in the high Theody
He says, all those who recognize thy name;
And who does not, if he my faith possesses?

Thou didst instil me, then, with his instilling
In the Epistle, so that I am full,
And upon others rain again your rain."

While I was speaking, in the living bosom
Of that effulgence quivered a sharp flash,
Sudden and frequent, in the guise of lightning.

Then breathed: "The love wherewith I am intlamed
Towards the virtue still, which followed me
Unto the palm and issue of the field,

"Wills that I whisper thee, thou take delight
In her; and grateful to me is thy saying
Whatever things Hope promises to thee."

And I: "The ancient Scriptures and the new
The mark establish, and this shows it me,
Of all the souls whom God has made his friends.

Isaiah saith, that each one garmented
In his own land shall be with twofold garments,
And his own land is this delicious life.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Thy brother, too, far more explicitly,
There where he treateth of the rubes of white,
This revelation manifests to us."
And first, and near the ending of these words,
Sperent in te from over us was heard,
To which responsive answered all the carols.
Thcreafterward among them gleamed a light,
So that, if Cancer such a crystal had,
Winter would have a month of one sole day.

And as uprises, goes, and enters the dance
A joyous maiden, only to do honor
To the new bride, and not i'rom any failing,

So saw I the illuminated splendor
Approach the two, who in a wheel revolved,
As was beseeming to their ardent love.

It joined itself there in the song and music:
And fixed on them my Lady kept her look,
Even as a bride, silent and motionless.

- This is the one who lay upon the breast
Of him our Pelican; and this is he
To the great office from the cross elected."

My Lady thus; but therefore none the more
Removed her sight from its fixed contemplation,
Before or afterward, these words of hers.

Even as a man who gazes, and endeavors
To see the eclipsing of the sun a little,
And who, by seeing, sightless doth become,

So I became before that latest fire, •

While it was said, "Why dost thou daze thyself
To see a thing which here has no existence?

Earth upon earth my body is, and shall be
With all the others there, until our number
With the eternal proposition tallies;

With the two garments in the blessed cloister
Are the two lights alone that have ascended:
And this shalt thou take back into your world."

And at this utterance the flaming circle
Grew quiet, with the dulcet intermingling
Of sound that by the trinal breath was made,

As to escape from danger or fatigue
The oars that erst were in the water beaten
Are all suspended at a whistle's sound.

Ah, how much in my mind was I disturbed,
When I turned round to look on Beatrice,
At not beholding her, although I was

Close at her side and in the Happy World I

St. John, In tho Apocalypw, vil. 9. "A great m . !tituda which uo niuu could

number clothed with

white robes."

Dances and Mmgs commingled ; the circling choirs, tho celuitial choristers.

St. John the Evangelist.

In winter the constellation Cancer risex at onusct; mid If it had one nsr as bright as thlc, it would turn uight Into day.

Such an vanity, ontrnh tion, or the like.

St. Peter and St. Jam are joined by St. John.

Christ. "Then tuith h» to the disciple, , Behold tli.v mother!' And from that hour that disciple took her unto bin own home." St. John, xix. 27.

St. John.

"If I will that he tarry till I come, wlmt Li thut to thee."

Till the predeotined number of the elect i8 complete.

The two garments: th* glorified spirit and the gloriOed body.

The two liu'lits: Christ and the Virgin Mary.

Carry back them tiding!.

The Mend trio of St. Peter, St. James, and St. John.


Tncs far we have examined chiefly the internal structure of the glacier; let us look now at its external appearance, and at the variety of curious phenomena connected with the deposit of foreign materials upon its surface, some of which seem quite inexplicable at first sight. Among the most striking of these are the large boulders elevated on columns of ice, standing sometimes ten feet or more above the level of the glacier, and the sand-pyramids, those conical hills of sand which occur not infrequently on all the large Alpine glaciers. One is at first quite at a loss to explain the presence of these pyramids in the midst of a frozen ice-field, and yet it has a very simple cause.

I have spoken of the many little rills arising on the surface of the ice in consequence of its melting. Indeed, the voice of the waters is rarely still on the glacier during the warm season, except at night. On a summer's day, a thousand streams are born before noontide, and die again at sunset; it is no uncommon thing to see a full cascade come rushing out from the lower end of a glacier during the heat of the day, and vanish again at its decline. Suppose one of these rivulets should fall into a deep, circular hole, such as often occur on the glacier, and the nature of which I shall presently explain, and that this cylindrical opening narrows to a mere crack at a greater or less depth within the ice, the water will find its way through the crack and filter down into the deeper mass; but the dust and sand carried along with it will be caught there, and form a deposit at the bottom of the hole. As day after day. throughout the summer, the rivulet is renewed, it carries with it an additional supply of these light materials, until the opening is gradually filled and the sand is brought to a level with the surface of the ice. We have already seen, that, in consequence of evaporation, melting, and other dis

integrating causes, the level of the glacier sinks annually at the rate of from five to ten feet, according to stations. The natural consequence, of course, must be, that the sand is left standing above the surface of the ice, forming a mound which would constantly increase in height in proportion to the sinking of the surrounding ice, had it sufficient solidity to retain its original position. But a heap of sand, if unsupported, must very soon subside and be dispersed; and, indeed, these pyramids, which are often quite lofty, and yet look as if they would crumble at a touch, prove, on nearer examination, to be perfectly solid, and are, in fact, pyramids of ice with a thin sheet of sand spread over them. A word will explain how this transformation is brought about. As soon as the level of the glacier falls below the sand, thus depriving it of support, it sinks down and spreads slightly over the surrounding surface. In this condition it protects the ice immediately beneath it from the action of the sun. In proportion as the glacier wastes, this protected area rises above the general mass and becomes detached from it. The sand, of course, slides down over it, spreading toward its base, so as to cover a wider space below, and an ever-narrowing one above, until it gradually assumes the pyramidal form in which we find it, covered with a thin coating of sand. Every stage of this process may occasionally be seen upon the same glacier, in a number of sand-piles raised to various heights above the surface of the ice, approaching the perfect pyramidal form, or fdling to pieces after standing for a short time erecf.

The phenomenon of the large boulders, supported on tall pillars of ice, is of a similar character. A mass of rock, having fallen on the surface of the glacier, protects the ice immediately beneath it from the action of the sun; and as the level of the glacier sinks all around it, in

« ZurückWeiter »