And as a ray descending from the sky (from The Paradiso, Canto I)

by Dante Alighieri

English version by John Ciardi
Original Language Italian

And as a ray descending from the sky
     gives rise to another, which climbs back again,
     as a pilgrim yearns for home; so through my eye

her action, like a ray into my mind,
     gave rise to mine: I stared into the Sun
     so hard that here it would have left me blind;

but much is granted to our senses there,
     in that garden made to be man's proper place,
     that is not granted us when we are here.

I had to look away soon, and yet not
     so soon but what I saw him spark and blaze
     like new-tapped iron when it pours white-hot.

And suddenly, as it appeared to me,
     day was added to day, as if He who can
     had added a new Sun to Heaven's glory.

Beatrice stared at the eternal spheres
     entranced, unmoving; and I looked away
     from the Sun's height to fix my eyes on hers.

And as I looked, I felt begin within me
     what Glaucus felt eating the herb that made him
     a god among the others in the sea.

How speak trans-human change to human sense?
     Let the example speak until God's grace
     grants the pure spirit the experience.

-- from The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, the Purgatorio, and the Paradiso, by Dante Alighieri / Translated by John Ciardi

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Recommended Books: Dante Alighieri

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, the Purgatorio, and the Paradiso Dark Way to Paradise: Dante's Inferno in Light of the Spiritual Path





And as a ray