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And then, as nearer and more near us came
The Bird of Heaven, more glorious he appeared,
So that the eye could not sustain his presence,
But down I cast it; and he came to shore
With a small vessel, gliding swift and light,
So that the water swallowed nought thereof.
Upon the stern stood the Celestial Pilot !
Beatitude seemed written in his face!
And more than a hundred spirits sat within.
In exitu Israel out of Egypt !
Thus sang they all together in one voice,
With whatso in that Psalm is after written.
Then made he sign of holy rood upon them,
Whereat all cast themselves upon the shore,
And he departed swiftly as he came.
THE TERRESTRIAL PARADISE.
FROM DANTE. PURGATORIO, XXVIII.
LONGING already to search in and round
The heavenly forest, dense and living-green,
Which to the eyes tempered the new-born day,
Withouten more delay, I left the bank,
Crossing the level country slowly, slowly,
Over the soil, that everywhere breathed fragrance.
A gently-breathing air, that no mutation Had in itself, smote me upon the forehead, No heavier blow, than of a pleasant breeze,
Whereat the tremulous branches readily
Did all of them bow downward towards that side
Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain.
Yet not from their true inclination bent,
So that the little birds upon their tops
Should cease the practice of their tuneful art ;
But with full-throated joy, the hours of prime Singing received they in the midst of foliage That made monotonous burden to their rhymes,
Even as from branch to branch it gathering swells, Through the pine forests on the shore of Chiassi, When Æolus unlooses the Sirocco.
Already my slow steps had led me on
Into the ancient wood so far, that I
Could see no more the place where I had entered.
And lo! my farther course cut off a river,
Which, towards the left hand, with its little waves,
Bent down the grass, that on its margin sprang.
All waters that on earth most limpid are,
Would seem to have within themselves some mis-
ture, Compared with that, which nothing doth conceal,
Although it moves on with a brown, brown current,
Under the shade perpetual, that never
Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.
DANTE PURGATORIO, XXX. XXXI.
Even as the Blessed, in the new covenant,
Shall rise up quickened, each one from his grave,
Wearing again the garments of the flesh,
So, upon that celestial chariot,
A hundred rose ad vocem tanti senis,
Ministers and messengers of life eternal.
They all were saying; Benedictus qui venis, And scattering flowers above and round about, Manibus o date lilia plenis.