Dante Alighieri - Diligite iustitiam

Dante sparks Dore Par 18



E come augelli surti di rivera,

quasi congratulando a lor pasture,

fanno di sé or tonda or altra schiera,           75



As birds just risen from the water’s edge,

as if in celebration for their food,

flock now in circles, now in drawn-out lines,


sì dentro ai lumi sante creature

volitando cantavano, e faciensi

or D, or I, or L in sue figure.                         78


so there, within those lights the blessed beings

were circling as they sang, turning themselves

first to a D, then I, then L


Prima, cantando, a sua nota moviensi;

poi, diventando l'un di questi segni,

un poco s'arrestavano e taciensi.                  81


They first flew, singing, to their music’s rhythm,

then having made a letter of themselves,

they held their form and stopped their song a while.


O diva Pegasea che li 'ngegni

fai gloriosi e rendili longevi,

ed essi teco le cittadi e ' regni,                      84


O sacred Muse of Pegasus who gives

glory to men of genius and long life,

as they, through you, give it o realms and towns -


illustrami di te, sì ch'io rilevi

le lor figure com'io l'ho concette:

paia tua possa in questi versi brevi!            87


let your light shine on me that I may show

these letter-shapes of souls fixed in my mind;

let your power show through these few lines of mine!


Mostrarsi dunque in cinque volte sette

vocali e consonanti; e io notai

le parti sì, come mi parver dette.                 90


They showed themselves to me in five times seven

vowels and consonants, and I was able

to understand the written words they formed.



fur verbo e nome di tutto 'l dipinto;

'QUI IUDICATIS TERRAM', fur sezzai.     93


The first words of the message, verb and noun:




Poscia ne l'emme del vocabol quinto

rimasero ordinate; sì che Giove

pareva argento lì d'oro distinto.                   96


And in the final letter, in the M

of the fifth word they stayed aligned – and Jove’s

silver became the background of their gold.


E vidi scendere altre luci dove

era il colmo de l'emme, e lì quetarsi

cantando, credo, il ben ch'a sé le move      99


I saw more lights descend, and they alighted

upon the M, and from its peak they sang,

I think, about the Good that summons them.


Poi, come nel percuoter d'i ciocchi arsi

surgono innumerabili faville,

onde li stolti sogliono agurars                    102


Just as one sees innumerable sparks

Go flying up when smoldering logs are poked

(which once encouraged fools to prophesy),


resurger parver quindi più di mille

luci e salir, qual assai e qual poco,

sì come 'l sol che l'accende sortille;           105


so, there I seemed to see more than a thousand

lights rising up, mounting to different heights,

as chosen by the Sun that kindles them;


e quietata ciascuna in suo loco,

la testa e 'l collo d'un'aguglia vidi

rappresentare a quel distinto foco            108


and once each spark had found its place of rest,

I saw the crest and neck of a great eagle

now patterned in the fire of those sparks.




Alighieri, Dante. Paradiso XVIII:73-108. In General Sources. The Cantos Project. Web.

Alighieri, Dante. The Portable Dante. Trans. and Ed. Mark Musa. London: Penguin, 1995.

The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2