Those ancients who in poetry presented the golden age, who sang its happy state,perhaps, in their Parnassus, dreamt this place. Here, mankind's root was innocent; and herewere every fruit and never-ending spring; these streams--the nectar of which poets sing.
Open thy mind; take in what I explain and keep it there; because to understand is not to know, if thou dost not retain...
your soul is sunken in that cowardice that bears down many men, turning their course and resolution by imagined perils, as his own shadow turns the frightened horse.
I felt for the tormented whirlwindsDamned for their carnal sinsCommitted when they let their passions rule their reason.
Within her presence, I had once been usedto feeling—trembling—wonder, dissolution;but that was long ago. Still, though my soul,now she was veiled, could not see her directly,by way of hidden force that she could move,I felt the mighty power of old love.
…I am left with lessthan one drop of my blood that does not tremble.I recognize the the signs of the old flame.
When you are nearer, you will understand how much your eyesight is deceived by distance. Therefore, push yourself a little harder.
And what will bow your shoulders downwill be the vicious and worthless company with whom you will fall into this abyss.
Here sighs and cries and shrieks of lamentation echoed throughout the starless air of Hell;at first these sounds resounding made me weep:tongues confused, a language strained in anguishwith cadences of anger, shrill outcriesand raucous groans that joined with sounds of hands,raising a whirling storm that turns itselfforever through that air of endless black,like grains of sand swirling when a whirlwind blows.And I, in the midst of all this circling horror,began, Teacher, what are these sounds I hear?What souls are these so overwhelmed by grief?And he to me: This wretched state of beingis the fate of those sad souls who lived a lifebut lived it with no blame and with no praise.They are mixed with that repulsive choir of angelsneither faithful nor unfaithful to their God,who undecided stood but for themselves.Heaven, to keep its beauty, cast them out,but even Hell itself would not receive them,for fear the damned might glory over them.And I. Master, what torments do they sufferthat force them to lament so bitterly?He answered: I will tell you in few words:these wretches have no hope of truly dying,and this blind life they lead is so abjectit makes them envy every other fate.The world will not record their having been there;Heaven's mercy and its justice turn from them.Let's not discuss them; look and pass them by...
I, answering in the end, began: 'Alas,how many yearning thoughts, what great desire,have lead them through such sorrow to their fate?
For certain he hath seen all perfectnessFor certain he hath seen all perfectness. Who among other ladies hath seen mine: They that go with her humbly should combine To thank their God for such peculiar grace. So perfect is the beauty of her face That it begets in no wise any sign Of envy, but draws round her a clear line Of love, and blessed faith, and gentleness. Merely the sight of her inakes all things bow: Not she herself alone is holier Than all: but hers, through her, are raised above. From all her acts such lovely graces flow That truly one may never think of her Without a passion of exceeding love.
If you, free as you are of every weighthad stayed below, then that would be as strangeas living flame on earth remaining still.And then she turned her gaze up toward the heavens.
Put off this sloth,' the master said, 'for shame!Sitting on feather-pillows, lying reclined Beneath the blanket is no way to fame -Fame, without which man's life wastes out of mind, Leaving on earth no more memorialThan foam in water or smoke upon the wind
Come on, shake off the covers of this sloth, for sitting softly cushioned, or tucked in bed, is no way to win fame.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
High justice would in no way be debased if ardent love should cancel instantly the debts these penitents must satisfy.
...Because the sacred fire that lights all nature liveliest of all in its own image glows. All these prerogatives the human creature possesses, and if one of them should fail, he must diminish from his noble stature. Sin only can disenfranchise him, and veil his likeness to the Highest Good; whereby the light in him is lessened and grows pale. Ne'er can he win back dignities so high till the void made by guilt be all filled in with just amends paid for by illicit joy. Now, when your nature as a whole did sin in its first root, it lost these great awards, and lost the Eden of its origin; nor might they be recovered afterwards by any means, as if thou search thou'lt see, except by crossing one of these two fords; either must God, of his sole courtesy, remit, or man must pay with all that's his, the debt of sin in its entirety. Within the Eternal Counsel's deep abyss rivet thine eye, and with a heed as good as thou canst give me, do thou follow this. Man from his finite assets never could make satisfaction; ne'er could he abase him so low, obey thereafter all he would, as he'd by disobedience sought to raise him; and for this cause man might not pay his due himself, nor from the debtor's roll erase him. Needs then must God, by his own ways, renew man's proper life, and reinstate him so; his ways I say - by one, or both of two. And since the doer's actions ever show more gracious as the style of them makes plain the goodness of the heart from which they flow, that most high Goodness which is God was fain - even God, whose impress Heaven and earth display - by all His ways to lift you up again; nor, between final night and primal day, was e'er proceeding so majestical and high, nor shall not be, by either way; for God's self-giving, which made possible that man should raise himself, showed more largesse than if by naked power He'd cancelled all; and every other means would have been less than justice, if it had not pleased God's Son to be humiliate in fleshliness.
Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground
That infinite and indescribable good which is there above races as swiftly to love as a ray of light to a bright body.It gives of itself according to the ardor it finds, so that as charity spreads farther the eternal good increases upon it,and the more souls there are who love, up there, the more there are to love well, and the more love they reflect to each other, as in a mirror.
The mind which is created quick to love, is responsive to everything that is pleasing, soon as by pleasure it is awakened into activity. Your apprehensive faculty draws an impression from a real object, and unfolds it within you, so that it makes the mind turn thereto. And if, being turned, it inclines towards it, that inclination is love; that is nature, which through pleasure is bound anew within you.
Through me is the way to the city of woe. Through me is the way to sorrow eternal. Through me is the way to the lost below. Justice moved my architect supernal. I was constructed by divine power,supreme wisdom, and love primordial. Before me no created things were. Save those eternal, and eternal I abide. Abandon all hope, you who enter.