My eyes were so intent and fixed on her
         To satisfy the thirst of those ten years
         That every other sense was quenched in me.
         On one side and the other, my eyes were walled
5        By indifference to all else: the holy smile
         So drew them to itself with the old net
         When I was forced to turn my face leftward
         By those three goddesses because I heard
         From them the words, "You gaze too fixedly!"
10       And my sight was in such a state as when
         The eyes have just been struck by too much sun,
         So that for some time I could make out nothing;
         But when my sight grew used to lesser objects
         (I say "to lesser" in relation to
15       The greater one from whom I turned by force),
         I saw that the magnificent army there
         Had wheeled round to the right, and now was turning
         With faces toward the sun and the seven flames.
         Just as a squadron, underneath their shields,
20       Turn to retreat and, with the standard, wheel
         Around before the rest can swing about,
         So the militia of the celestial realm
         In the advanced guard passed in front of us
         Before the chariot circled on its pole.
25       At that the women turned back to the wheels,
         And then the griffin pulled his blissful burden
         In such a way none of his feathers stirred.
         The lovely woman who towed me at the ford,
         And Statius, and I, were following
30       The wheel that makes the smaller arc in turning.
         So pacing through the soaring forest, empty
         Because of her who trusted in the serpent,
         Our steps kept time to an angelic tune.
         We had advanced about the distance covered
35       By three flights of an arrow shot from its bow,
         When Beatrice stepped down from the chariot.
         I heard them all there murmuring "Adam,"
         And then they gathered round a tree stripped bare,
         On every branch, of foliage and flowers.
40       Its branches, which spread wider as they grow
         Higher up, would, with their towering height,
         Make even Indians marvel in their forests.
         "Blessed are you, griffin, that your beak
         Tears nothing from this sweetly-tasting tree
45       Which sadly racks the stomach afterward!"
         Around the sturdy tree, the others cried
         These words; and the two-natured animal:
         "So is preserved the seed of all justice."
         And turning to the pole-shaft he had pulled,
50       He dragged it to the foot of the widowed trunk
         And tied it to the wood from which it came.
         Just as our trees, when the strong light of spring
         Streams downward mingled with the rays that glow
         Behind the stars of the celestial Fish,
55       Swell into bud, and then renew themselves
         In each one’s coloring, before the sun
         Yokes its steeds under a new constellation,
         So, showing color less deep than the rose
         But darker than the violet, the tree
60       That first had boughs so barren was renewed.
         I did not understand — it is not sung
         On earth — the hymn that company sang there,
         Nor could I hear the music to the end.
         Could I portray the ruthless eyes of Argus
65       Lulled to sleep, hearing the tale of Syrinx —
         The eyes whose long-kept watching cost so dear —
         Then like a painter who paints from a model,
         I here would picture how I fell asleep,
         But let whoever wants to depict sleeping!
70       I move on, then, to when I came awake,
         And I tell you a bright light rent the veil
         Of sleep, and a voice: "What are you doing? Rise!"
         Just as, when brought to see the blossoms of
         The apple tree whose fruit the angels crave
75       And makes an endless marriage-feast in heaven,
         Peter and John and James were overpowered
         And, coming to themselves at that same word
         By which slumbers more profound were broken,
         They saw their company dwindle away
80       When Moses and Elijah disappeared,
         And viewed their Master’s raiment changed again:
         So I came to myself and saw that same
         Compassionate woman standing over me
         Who first had led my steps along the shore.
85       And all perplexed, I asked, "Where is Beatrice?"
         She answered, "See her seated on the roots
         Of that tree there with its fresh foliage.
         "See all the company surrounding her;
         The rest behind the griffin rise to heaven
90       With sweeter and with deeper melodies."
         If she said more than this I do not know,
         For already my eyes filled with sight of her
         Who shut me off from every other thought.
         She sat there all alone on the bare ground,
95       Left like a lookout for the chariot
         Which I had seen the two-form animal tie.
         In a ring the seven nymphs now fashioned
         A shelter for her; in their hands they held
         The lamps the north and south winds cannot quench.
100     "Here, for a short time, you'll be a forest wayfarer;
         Then you shall live with me a citizen
         Forever of that Rome where Christ is Roman.
         "To benefit the world, then, that lives badly,
         Fix your eyes on the chariot. What you see,
105     Make sure you write it down when you return there."
         So Beatrice spoke. And I, who at the feet
         Of her commands was all obedience,
         Attached my mind and eyesight where she wished.
         Lightning never fell with such swift motion
110     Down from the densest cloud, when it descends
         From out the region that lies most remote,
         As did the bird of Jove which I watched swoop
         Down through the tree, tearing at the bark
         And also at the flowers and new leaves.
115     It struck the chariot with its full force,
         Making it reel like a ship in a storm,
         Tossed, now to starboard, now to port, by waves.
         Then I saw leaping up into the body
         Of the triumphal vehicle a fox
120     Seemingly starved of wholesome nourishment.
         But, reprimanding it for foul offenses,
         My lady sent it flying off as fast
         As those bones bare of flesh would let it go.
         Then, from the tree where it had flown before,
125     I saw the eagle dive inside the chariot
         And leave it coated over with its feathers.
         And, as a voice breaks from a heart in grief,
         There came a voice from heaven and it cried,
         "O my small ship, how you are laden down!"
130     Then the ground, it seemed to me, opened up
         Between the two wheels, and I saw a dragon

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