And now, with the reflected lights that glow
before the dawn and, rising, are most welcome
to pilgrims as, returning, they near home,
the shadows fled upon all sides; my sleep
fled with them; and at this, I woke and saw
that the great teachers had already risen.
“Today your hungerings will find their peace
through that sweet fruit the care of mortals seeks
among so many branches.” This, the speech,
the solemn words, that Virgil spoke to me;
and there were never tidings to compare,
in offering delight to me, with these.
My will on will to climb above was such
that at each step I took I felt the force
within my wings was growing for the flight.
When all the staircase lay beneath us and
we’d reached the highest step, then Virgil set
his eyes insistently on me and said:
“My son, you’ve seen the temporary fire
and the eternal fire; you have reached
the place past which my powers cannot see.
I’ve brought you here through intellect and art;
from now on, let your pleasure be your guide;
you’re past the steep and past the narrow paths.
Look at the sun that shines upon your brow;
look at the grasses, flowers, and the shrubs
born here, spontaneously, of the earth.
Among them, you can rest or walk until
the coming of the glad and lovely eyes –
those eyes that, weeping, sent me to your side.
Await no further word or sign from me:
your will is free, erect, and whole – to act
against that will would be to err: therefore
I crown and miter you over yourself.”
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