Dante Alighieri The
On the half-way of life I – Dante – got lost in a dense forest. Scary, wild animals all around – allegories of vices; to go nowhere. And here is a ghost that turned out to be the shadow of my beloved ancient Roman poet Virgil. I ask him for help. He promises to take me away from here on a journey through the afterlife so that I can see Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. I’m ready to follow him.
Yes, but can I have such a journey? I was stunned and hesitated. Virgil rebuked me, saying that Beatrice herself (my late beloved) descended to him from Paradise to Hell and asked me to be my guide in the wanderings of the grave. If so, you can not hesitate, you need determination. Lead me, my teacher and mentor!
The first circle of Hell is Limb. Here, the souls of unbaptized infants and glorious pagans – warriors, sages, poets (including Virgil) languish. They do not suffer, but only mourn that they as non-Christians have no place in Paradise. Virgil and I joined the great poets of antiquity, the first of which was Homer. They walked in a gradual manner and talked about the unearthly.
At the descent into the second circle of the underworld, the demon Minos determines which sinner in which place Hell should be cast down. He reacted to me in the same way as Charon, and Virgil also pacified him. We saw the souls of the sensualists carried away by the hellish vortex (Cleopatra, Elena Perfect, and others). Among them, Francesca, and here inseparable with her lover. The immense mutual passion led them to a tragic death. Deeply
In the circle of the third the beast-like dog Cerberus rages. Barked at us, but Virgil pacified him. Here they lie in mud, under a heavy downpour, souls that have sinned with gluttony. Among them is my fellow countryman, Florentine Chakko. We talked about the fate of our native city. Chakko asked me to remind the living people of him when I return to earth.
The demon guarding the fourth circle, where the wasteful and the miser are executed (among the latter there are a lot of clergymen-popes, cardinals) – Plutos. Virgil also had to lay siege to get rid of him. Of the fourth, they descended into the fifth circle, where angry and lazy people were tormented, mired in the marshes of the Stygian lowland. We went to a tower.
This is a whole fortress, there is a vast pond around it, in the canoe – a rower, the demon Flegius. After another squabble, we sat down to him, sailing. Some sinner tried to cling to the side, I cursed him, and Virgil pushed him away. Before us is the hellish city of Diet. Every dead evil spirits prevents us from entering it. Virgil, leaving me (oh,
scary one!), Went to find out what was wrong, returned anxious, but reassured.
And here also the infernal furies before us appeared, threatening. A sudden heavenly messenger suddenly appeared, curbing their anger. We entered the Diet. Everywhere the tombs embraced by the flame, from which the groans of heretics come. On the narrow road we make our way between the tombs.
From one tomb suddenly grew a mighty figure. This is Farinata, my ancestors were his political opponents. In me, after hearing my conversation with Virgil, he guessed by the tone of the fellow countryman. He seemed to despise the whole abyss of Hell, We argued with him, and then another head poked out from the next tomb: yes it’s the father of my friend Guido! He imagined that I was dead and that his son also died, and he fell down in despair. Farinata, calm him down; Live Guido!
Near the descent from the sixth circle in the seventh, above the grave of the heretical baron Anastasia, Virgil explained to me the arrangement of the remaining three circles of Hell, tapering downwards (to the center of the earth), and what sins in which belt of which circle are being punished.
The seventh circle is compressed by mountains and guarded by the demon-half-breath of the Minotaur, who roared at us with a menacing fury. Virgil shouted at him, and we hurried to move away. They saw a stream boiling with blood, in which tyrants and robbers are cooked, and from the shore in them centaurs shoot from bows. The centaur Ness became our escort, told about the executed rapists and helped to cross the boiling river for a wade.
Around the thorny thicket without greens. I broke a branch, and black blood blew from it, and the trunk groaned. It turns out that these bushes are souls of suicides (rapists over their own flesh). They are pecked by the infernal birds of the Harpy, tramping past the running dead, causing them unbearable pain. One trampled bush asked me to collect the broken twigs and return them to him. It turned out that the unfortunate is my fellow countryman. I fulfilled his request, and we went on. We see – the sand, flakes of fire fling on top of him, singing sinners, who scream and moan – all but one: he lies in silence. Who is it? King of Kapanes, a proud and gloomy atheist, defeated by the gods for his obstinacy. He is still true to himself: either he is silent, or he curses the gods loudly. “You are your own tormentor!” Virgil shouted…
But to meet us, tormented by fire, the souls of new sinners are moving. Among them I hardly recognized my highly respected teacher Brunetto Latini. He is among those who are guilty of a propensity for same-sex love. We talked. Brunetto predicted that glory exists in the world of the living, but there will be many hardships that must be resisted. Teacher bequeathed me to cherish his main work, in which he is alive, – “Treasure”.
And three more sinners (sin is the same) dance in fire. All Florentines, former respected citizens. I talked to them about the misfortunes of our hometown. They asked me to tell the living compatriots that I had seen them. Then Virgil led me to a deep failure in the eighth circle. We will put the hellish beast there. He already climbs to us from there.
This is a motley-tailed Gerion. While he is preparing to descend, there is still time to look at the last martyrs of the seventh circle – the moneylenders, sweating in a whirlwind of burning dust. With their necks hang multicolored wallets with different coats of arms. I did not talk to them. Let’s hit the road! We sit down with Virgil riding on Gerion and – oh horror! – smoothly we fly to failure, to new torments. Have gone down. Geryon flew away immediately.
The eighth circle is divided into ten ditches, called Zlopazuhi. In the first ditch pimps and women seducers are executed, and flatterers in the second. Brutes are brutally beaten by horned demons, flatterers are sitting in the liquid mass of stinking feces – the stench is unbearable. By the way, one whore is punished here not because she was fornication, but for flattering her lover, saying that she was fine with him.
The next ditch (the third sinus) is lined with a stone, with numerous round holes, from which the burning feet of high-ranking clergymen who traded church posts stick out. Their heads and their bodies are clamped by boreholes of a stone wall. Their successors, when they die, will also in their place jerk with flaming feet, completely squeezing the stone of their predecessors. This was explained to me by Pope Orsini, initially taking me for his successor.
In the fourth bosom sorcerers, astrologers, witches are tormented. Their necks are twisted so that, sobbing, they irrigate themselves with tears, not the chest, but the backside. I myself sobbed when I saw such mockery of people, and Virgil shamed me; sin to spare sinners! But he also with sympathy told me about his countrywoman, the prophetess Manto, whose name was named Mantua – the birthplace of my glorious mentor.
The fifth ditch is flooded with boiling tar, into which the devils of the Zlokhvaty, black, winged, drop bribe takers and ensure that they do not stick out, or they will pod the sinner with hooks and finish in the most cruel way. The devil’s nicknames are: Zlochvost, Kosokryly, etc. Part of the further way we will have to go through in their horrible company. They are twisted, they show the languages, their chief made a deafening, indecent sound behind them. This I have not yet heard! We go along with them along the ditch, sinners dive into the tar – hide, and one hesitated, and he was immediately dragged out by hooks, intending to torment, but allowed us to talk to him first. The poor man lulled the Zlokhvatov’s vigilance with cunning and ducked back-they did not catch him. Annoyed devils fought among themselves, two fell into the pitch. In the turmoil, we hurried off, but it was not there! They’re flying after us. Virgil, picking me up, I barely managed to run into the sixth bosom, where they are not masters. Here the hypocrites languish under the weight of leaden gilt garments. But the crucified (nailed to the ground by the cola) Jewish high priest, insisting on the execution of Christ. He is trampled by the feet of the hypnotized hypocrites.
The transition was difficult: a rocky path into the seventh bosom. Here live thieves, bitten by monstrous poisonous snakes. From these bites they crumble to dust, but then recover in their guise. Among them, Vanni Fuchchi, who robbed the sacristy and blamed the other. A man is rude and blaspheming: God sent “on figs,” lifting up two cookies. Immediately, snakes attacked him (I love them for this). Then I watched as a certain snake merged with one of the thieves, then took on his appearance and rose to his feet, and the thief crawled away, becoming a reptile. Miracles! Such metamorphosis can not be found in Ovid,
Rejoice, Florence: these thieves are your offspring! It’s a shame… And in the eighth ditch there are cunning advisers. Among them are the streets (Odysseus), his soul is imprisoned in a flame, capable of speaking! So, we heard Ulysses’ story about his death: he who wanted to know the unknown, he swam away with a handful of daredevils to the other end of the world, was shipwrecked and drowned with his friends far from the inhabited world,
Another speaking flame, in which the soul of a person who did not name himself sly adviser, told me about his sin:
This counselor helped the pope in one unrighteous cause – counting on the fact that the pope would let him sins. To the simple-hearted sinner, the heavens are more tolerant than to those who hope to be saved by repentance. We crossed into the ninth ditch, where the sowers of the Troubles are executed.
Here they are, instigators of bloody strife and religious confusion. The devil will maim them with a heavy sword, cut off the noses and ears, crush the skulls. Here and Mohammed, and inducing Caesar to civil war Curio, and beheaded warrior troubadour Bertrand de Born (head in hand carries like a lantern, and she exclaims: “Woe!”).
Next, I met my family, angry with me for the fact that his violent death was unavenged. Then we crossed into the tenth ditch, where the alchemists are swallowed by an eternal itch. One of them was burned for jokingly boasting, as if he knows how to fly, – he became a victim of denunciation. In Hell, it was not for this, but as an alchemist. Here, those who pretend to be other people, counterfeiters and generally liars are executed. Two of them fought among themselves and then they were scolding for a long time (master Adam, who mixed copper in gold coins, and the ancient Greek Sinon, who deceived the Trojans). Virgil reproached me for the curiosity with which I listened to them.
Our journey to Zlopazuham ends. We approached the well, leading from the eighth circle of Hell in the ninth. There are ancient giants, titans. Among them, Nemrod, angrily shouting to us something in an incomprehensible language, and Antey, who, at the request of Virgil, lowered us on his huge palm to the bottom of the well, and immediately straightened himself.
So, we are at the bottom of the universe, near the center of the globe. Before us is an ice lake, into which the betrayers of their relatives have frozen. One I accidentally touched my head with a foot, he yelled, but refused to identify himself. Then I grabbed his hair, and then someone called him by his name. Scoundrel, now I know who you are, and I will tell people about you! And he: “Lie, whatever you want, about me and about others!” But the ice pit, in it one dead man gnaws at the skull to another. I ask: for what? Tearing off his victim, he answered me. He, Count Ugolino, takes revenge on the betrayer of his former adherent, Archbishop Rudzhieri, who killed him and his children with hunger, imprisoning them in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The nesters were their sufferings, the children died before the eyes of their father, he died last. Shame on Pisa! We go further. And who is this in front of us? Alberigo? But he, as far as I know, did not die, so how did you end up in Hell? There is also such: the body of the villain still lives, and the soul is already in the underworld.
In the center of the earth, the frozen ruler of Hell Lucifer, cast down from heaven and continuing in the fall of the abyss of the underworld, is disfigured, three-faced. From the first of his jaws sticks out Judas, from the second Brutus, from the third Cassius, He chews them and tears them with claws. Worst of all is the most heinous traitor – Judas. From Lucifer stretches a well, leading to the surface of the opposite terrestrial hemisphere. We squeezed into it, rose to the surface and saw the stars.
May the Muses help me to sing the second kingdom! His guardian elder Cato met us unfriendly: who are they? how dare they come here? Virgil explained and, wishing to propitiate Cato, warmly responded to his wife Marcia. What does Marcia have to do with it? Go to the seashore, you need to wash! We are going. Here it is, the sea distance. And in the coastal herbs – abundant dew. Her Virgil washed away the soot of abandoned Hell from my face.
From the sea, an angel-driven canoe floats toward us. In it are the souls of the deceased, who were fortunate enough not to go to Hell. Moored, went ashore, and the angel swam away. The shadows of the arrivals crowded around us, and in one I recognized my friend, the singer Coselle. I wanted to embrace him, but in fact the shadow is incorporeal – I embraced myself. Cosella, at my request, began to sing about love, everyone heard it, but then Cato appeared, yelled at everyone (did not do anything!), And we hurried to the mountain of Purgatory.
Virgil was dissatisfied with himself: he gave an excuse to shout at himself… Now we need to explore the road ahead. Let’s see where the incoming shadows move. And they just noticed that I am
not a shadow: I do not let light through me. They were surprised. Virgil explained everything to them. “Come with us,” they invited.
So, we hurry to the foot of the purgatory. But is everyone in a hurry, is everyone so impatient? There is a group of people not very hurrying to climb up near the big rock: they say, it will be successful; climb the one who does it. Among these sloths, I recognized my friend Belakwu. It’s nice to see that he, and in life an enemy of every hurry, is true to himself.
In the foothills of Purgatory I happened to communicate with the shadows of victims of violent death. Many of them were fair sinners, but, having said goodbye to their life, managed to sincerely repent and therefore did not fall into Hell. That’s the annoyance for the devil who lost his booty! He, however, found how to recoup: not having gained power over the soul of a repentant fallen sinner, outraged his dead body.
Not far from all this we saw the regal-majestic shadow of Sordello. He and Virgil, having recognized each other in the poet-fellow countrymen (Mantuan), embraced brotherly. Here’s an example for you, Italy, a dirty brothel, where the bonds of brotherhood are completely torn! Especially you, my Florence, is good, you will not say anything… Wake up, look at yourself…
Sordello agrees to be our guide to Purgatory. It is a great honor for him to help the highly esteemed Virgil. With a little conversation, we came to a flourishing fragrant valley, where, in preparation for a night’s lodging, the shadows of high-ranking individuals – European sovereigns – settled. We watched them from afar, listening to their consonant singing.
The evening hour has come, when the desires attract the departed back to the beloved, and remember the bitter moment of parting; when he knows the sadness of the pilgrim and he hears how the distant ring weeps sobbing about the day irretrievably… The treacherous serpent of temptation crawled into the valley of rest of the earthly rulers, but the angels who flown by drove him out.
I lay down on the grass, fell asleep and was transferred to the gates of Purgatory in a dream. The angel guarding them seven times inscribed the same letter on my forehead – the first one in the word “sin” (seven deadly sins, these letters will be alternately erased from my forehead as I climb the purgatory mountain). We entered the second kingdom of the grave, the gates closed behind us.
The ascent began. We are in the first circle of Purgatory, where sinners are atoned for their sin. In the shame of pride, sculptures are erected here, embodying the idea of a high feat – humility. And here are the shadows of cleansing proud people: they are unbending during their lifetimes, here they are bent under the weight of the boulders piled on them for punishment for their sin.
“Our Father…” – this prayer was sung by the haughty arrogant. Among them is the artist-miniaturist Oderiz, who, during his lifetime, boasted of his famous glory. Now, he says, he realized that there is nothing to boast about:
Everyone is equal in the face of death – the old old man, and the babe babbling “yum-yum”, and the glory comes and goes. The sooner you understand this and find the strength to curb your pride, to accept it, the better.
Under our feet we have bas-reliefs with sealed scenes of punished pride: Lucifer and Briaray, King Saul, Holofernes and others, cast down from heaven. Our stay in the first round ends. The appearing angel erased one of the seven letters from my forehead – in a sign that the sin of pride was overcome by me. Virgil smiled at me,
Rose in the second round. Here envious people, they are temporarily blinded, their former “envious” eyes see nothing. Here is a woman who out of jealousy wished for her fellow countrymen and rejoiced at their failures… In this circle, after the death, I will not be cleansed for long, for I rarely and hardly envied anyone. But in the passed circle of the proud – probably long.
Here they are, blinded sinners, whose blood once burned envy. In silence, the words of the first envious Cain sounded thunderous: “The one who meets me will kill me!” In fear, I pried to Virgil, and the wise leader told me bitter words that the highest eternal light is not accessible to envious persons, carried away by terrestrial baits.
Passed the second circle. Again the angel appeared to us, and here on my forehead there were only five letters, from which it is necessary to get rid in the further. We are in the third round. Before our eyes, a cruel vision of human rage swept through the crowd (the crowd hammered a meek young man with stones). In this circle, those possessed with anger are cleansed.
Even in the darkness of Hell, there was no such black darkness as in this circle, where the fury of the angry is reconciled. One of them, Lombard Marco, talked with me and suggested that it is impossible to understand everything that is happening in the world as a consequence of the activities of the higher heavenly forces: this would mean denying the freedom of the human will and removing from the person responsibility for what he did.
Reader, did you happen to wander in the mountains in a foggy evening, when you hardly see the sun? So we… I felt the touch of the angel’s wing against my forehead – another letter was erased. We climbed into the fourth circle, illuminated by the last ray of sunset. Here the lazy ones are cleansed, whose love for the good was slow.
Sloths here must run fast, not allowing any indulgence to their inanimate sin. Let them be inspired by examples of the most holy Virgin Mary, who, as is known, had to hurry, or Caesar with his amazing quickness. They ran past us, disappeared. I want to sleep. I sleep and I see a dream…
A disgusting woman, who turned into a beauty before my very eyes, was immediately disgraced and turned into an even worse ugly creature (here she is, the imaginary attraction of vice!). Another letter from my forehead disappeared: I, therefore, defeated such a vice as laziness. We rise in circle the fifth – to misers and spendthrifts.
Miserliness, greed, greed for gold – disgusting vices. Molten gold once poured into the throat of one obsessed with greed: drink to your health! I’m uncomfortable surrounded by misers, and then there was an earthquake. From what? I do not know by my ignorance…
It turned out that the shaking of the mountain was caused by glee over the fact that one of the souls was cleansed and ready for ascension: it is the Roman poet Stacius, the admirer of Virgil, delighted that now he will accompany us en route to the purgatory peak.
From my forehead one more letter was erased, denoting the sin of stinginess. By the way, is it that Stacy, who was languishing in the fifth round, was stingy? On the contrary, it is wasteful, but these two extremes are punishable collectively. Now we are in the circle of the sixth, where the gluttons are cleansed. Here it would be inarticulate to remember that the Christian ascetics were not characterized by gluttony.
Former gluttonists are destined for hunger pangs: they let them go, skin and bones. Among them I found my late friend and fellow countryman Foreze. Talked about his, scolded Florence, Foreze condemned the debauched ladies of this city. I told my friend about
Virgil and my hopes of seeing my beloved Beatrice in the afterlife.
With one of the gluttons, a former poet of the old school, I had a conversation about literature. He recognized that my supporters, supporters of the “new sweet style”, have achieved much more in love poetry than he and the masters who are close to him. Meanwhile, the penultimate letter from my forehead has been erased, and the way to the highest, seventh circle of Purgatory has been opened to me.
And I remember all the lean, hungry gluttons: how did they let it go? After all, these are shadows, not bodies, and they should not starve. Virgil explained: the shadows, though incorporeal, are exactly the same as the outlines of the implied bodies (which would have thinned out without food). The same here, in the seventh circle, purgators are cleared by fire sensualists. They burn, sing and glorify examples of abstinence and chastity.
The sensualists captured by the flames were divided into two groups: those who submitted to same-sex love and did not know the measures in bisexual coititions. Among the latter – the poets Guido Gvinicelli and Provencal Arnald, exquisitely welcomed us in his dialect.
And now we have to go through the wall of fire ourselves. I was frightened, but my mentor said that this is the way to Beatrice (to the Earthly Paradise located on top of the purgatory). And now the three of us (the Stacians with us) are walking, burning with flame. Gone, we go further, dusk, stopped for a rest, I slept; and when he woke up, Virgil turned to me with the last word of parting and approval, Everything, from now on he will shut up…
We are in Terrestrial Paradise, in a blossoming grove of birds, blown up by the twittering. I saw a beautiful donna singing and collecting flowers. She said that there was a golden age here, innocence was observed, but then, among these flowers and fruits, the happiness of the first people was ruined in sin. Hearing this, I looked at Virgil and Station: both smiled blissfully.
O Eve! It was so good, you ruined everything with your daring! By us floating live lights, righteous elders in white robes, crowned with roses and lilies, march beneath them, wonderful beauties dance. I could not look at this amazing picture. And suddenly I saw her – the one I love. Shocked, I
He made an involuntary movement, as if trying to cuddle up to Virgil. But he disappeared, my father and savior! I sobbed. “Dante, Virgil will not return, but you will not have to cry for him.” Look at me, it’s me, Beatrice, how did you get here? ” she asked angrily. Then a certain voice asked her why she was so strict towards me. I answered that I, being seduced by the bait of pleasures, was unfaithful to her after her death. Do I admit my guilt? Oh yes, I am strangled by tears of shame and remorse, I lowered my head. “Raise your beard!” she said sharply, not wanting to take her eyes off her. I lost my senses, and woke up immersed in oblivion – the river that gives oblivion to the perfect sins. Beatrice, now look at the one who is so devoted to you and so longed for you. After a ten-year separation, I looked into her eyes, and my vision dimmed for a time from their dazzling brilliance.
Beatrice deeply mourned, realizing how much evil lies in these visions, but she expressed confidence that the forces of good will eventually defeat evil. We approached the river Evno, drinking from which you strengthen the memory of the good you have done. I and the Stations washed in this river. A sip of her sweetest water poured new strength into me. Now I am clean and worthy to climb the stars.
From Earthly Paradise Beatrice and I together fly to Heavenly, inaccessible to the comprehension of mortal heights. I did not notice how they took off, staring at the sun. Is it possible that I, being alive, are capable of this? However, Beatrice was not surprised: the cleansed person is spiritual, and not a spirit burdened with sins is easier than ether.
Friends, let’s part here – do not read further: disappear in the vastness of the incomprehensible! But if you are unquenchable with the spirit of spiritual food – then go ahead, follow me! We are in the first heaven Heaven – in the sky of the Moon, which Beatrice named the first star; immersed in its depths, although it is difficult to imagine a force capable of containing one closed body (which I am) into another closed body (to the Moon).
In the depths of the Moon we met the souls of nuns abducted from monasteries and forcibly given away in marriage. It was not their fault, but they did not keep the vow of virginity when they were tonsured, and therefore higher heaven is inaccessible to them. Do they regret it? Oh no! Pity would mean disagreeing with the higher righteous will.
But still I’m puzzled: why are they guilty of submitting to violence? Why can not they rise above the sphere of the moon? You should not blame the victim, but the rapist! But Beatrice explained that the victim also has a certain responsibility for the violence committed over her, if she did not show heroic resistance when resisting.
Failure to fulfill the vow, says Beatrice, is almost irreplaceable by good deeds (there is too much to do by redeeming the guilt). We flew to the second heaven of Paradise – to Mercury. Here dwell the souls of ambitious righteous people. This is not shadows, unlike the previous inhabitants of the afterlife, but the lights: they shine and radiate. One of them flared especially brightly, rejoicing in communicating with me. It turned out to be a Roman emperor, legislator Justinian. He realizes that staying in the sphere of Mercury (and not higher) is the limit for him, for ambitious people, doing good deeds for their own glory (that is, loving themselves above all), have missed the ray of true love for the deity.
The light of Justinian merged with the circle of lights – other righteous souls, I thought, and the course of my thoughts led me to the question: why did God-the-Father sacrifice his son? You could just be so, with the supreme will, to forgive people the sin of Adam! Beatrice explained: higher justice required that humanity itself redeemed its guilt. It is incapable of this, and it was necessary to impregnate the earthly woman so that the son (Christ), combining the human with the divine, could do this.
We flew to the third heaven – to Venus, where the souls of lovers are blissful, shining in the fiery depths of this star. One of these lights is the Hungarian King Karl Martell who, speaking to me, expressed the idea that a person can realize his abilities, only acting in the field that meets the needs of his nature: it is bad if a born warrior becomes a priest…
Sweet radiance other loving souls. How much is the blessed light, the heavenly laughter! And underneath (in Hell), shadows drowned in gloom and gloom… One of the lights spoke to me (Troubadour Folco) – condemned the church authorities, self-interested popes and cardinals. Florence is the city of the devil. But nothing, he believes, will soon become better.
The fourth star is the Sun, the abodes of the wise. Here shines the spirit of the great theologian Thomas Aquinas. He joyfully greeted me, showed me other sages. Their consonant singing reminded me of a church service.
Thomas told me about Francis of Assisi – the second (after Christ) wife of Poverty. This is by his example the monks, including his closest disciples, began to walk barefoot. He lived a holy life and died – a naked man on bare earth – in the bosom of Poverty.
Not only I, but also the lights – the spirits of the wise – listened to Thomas’s speech, stopping singing and spinning in the dance. Then Franciscan Bonaventure took the floor. In response to the praise of his teacher, given by the Dominican Thomas, he praised the teacher Thomas – Dominic, farmer and servant of Christ. Who now continued his work? Worthy not.
And again Thomas took the floor. He discusses the great virtues of King Solomon: he asked himself for God’s mind, wisdom – not to solve theological questions, but to reasonably rule the people, that is, the royal wisdom, which was given to him. People, do not judge each other hurriedly! This one is busy with a good deed, the one is evil, but suddenly the first will fall, and the second will arise?
What will happen to the inhabitants of the Sun on the day of judgment, when the spirits will find flesh? They are so bright and spiritual that it is difficult to imagine them materialized. Finished our stay here, we flew to the fifth heaven – to Mars, where the sparkling spirits of the warriors for the faith settled in the form of a cross and a sweet hymn sounds.
One of the lights that make up this marvelous cross, without going beyond its limits, is moved downward, closer to me. This is the spirit of my valiant great-great-grandfather, the warrior of Kaczagvida. Welcomed me and praised that glorious time in which he lived on earth and which – alas! – passed, replaced by the worst time.
I am proud of my ancestor, my origin (it turns out, not only on a vanity land you can feel this feeling, but in
Paradise!). Kachchagvida told me about himself and his ancestors, born in Florence, whose coat of arms – a white lily – is now painted with blood.
I want to learn from him, the clairvoyant, about his future destiny. What lies ahead for me? He replied that I would be expelled from Florence, in desolate wanderings I would learn the bitterness of someone else’s bread and the steepness of other people’s stairs. To my credit, I will not be involved with impure political groups, but I will become my own party. In the end, my opponents will be put to shame, and I will be triumphant.
Kaczagwid and Beatrice cheered me up. Finished stay on Mars. Now – from the fifth sky to the sixth, from the red Mars to the white Jupiter, where the souls of the fair are hovering. Their lights turn into letters, into letters – first into a call to justice, and then into the figure of an eagle, a symbol of a fair imperial power, an unknown, sinful, suffering earth, but confirmed in heaven.
This majestic eagle came into conversation with me. He calls himself “I”, but I hear “we” (fair power is collegial!). He understands that I myself can not understand why the Paradise is open only to Christians. What is bad is a virtuous Hindu who does not know Christ at all? So I do not understand. And the truth, – admits the eagle, – that a bad Christian is worse than a glorious Persian or Ethiopian, the
Eagle personifies the idea of justice, and he does not have claws or a beak, but a vision eye made up of the most worthy light-spirits. The pupil is the soul of the king and psalmist David, the souls of the pre-Christian righteous shine in the eyelashes (and after all I just talked casually about Paradise “only for Christians”? That’s how to give vent to doubts!).
We ascended to the seventh heaven – to Saturn. This is the abode of contemplatives. Beatrice became even more beautiful and brighter. She did not smile at me – otherwise she would have incinerated me and blinded me. The blessed spirits of contemplatives were silent, did not sing – otherwise they would have deafened me. This was told to me by the sacred light – theologian Pietro Damiano.
The spirit of Benedict, named after one of the monastic orders, angrily condemned modern self-serving monks. After listening to it, we rushed to the eighth sky, to the constellation of Gemini,
under which I was born, first saw the sun and breathed the air of Tuscany. From its height, I looked down, and my gaze, passing through seven paradise spheres visited by us, fell on a ridiculously small earthly ball, this handful of dust with all its rivers and mountain steeps.
In the eighth heaven, thousands of fires burn – these are the triumphant spirits of the great righteous. Humbled by them, my vision grew stronger, and now even Beatrice’s smile will not blind me. She smiled marvelously at me and again induced me to turn to the luminous spirits singing the hymn to the queen of heaven – the holy virgin Mary.
Beatrice asked the apostles to talk with me. How far did I penetrate the sacraments of the sacred truths? The apostle Peter asked me about the essence of faith. My answer: faith is the argument in favor of the invisible; mortals can not see with their own eyes what is being revealed here in Paradise – but they believe in a miracle, without demonstrative proof of its truth. Peter was pleased with my answer.
Will I, the author of the sacred poem, see my homeland? Will I be crowned with laurels where I was baptized? The apostle James asked me the question of the essence of hope. My answer: hope is the expectation of a future well-deserved and God-given glory. The delighted Jacob lit up.
The next question is about love. He asked me the Apostle John. Answering, I did not forget to say that love turns us to God, to the word of truth. All rejoiced. The exam (what is Faith, Hope, Love?) Was successfully completed. I saw the radiant soul of the forefather of our Adam, who lived for a short time in the Earthly Paradise, expelled from there to the earth; after death for a long time in Limba; then moved here.
The four lights burn before me: the three apostles and Adam. Suddenly Peter turned purple and exclaimed: “The throne is my throne, my throne, my throne!” Peter is hated by his successor – the Pope. And it’s time for us to part with the eighth heaven and to ascend to the ninth, supreme and crystal. With unearthly joy, laughing, Beatrice threw me into a rapidly rotating sphere and ascended herself.
The first thing I saw in the sphere of the ninth heaven is the dazzling point, the symbol of the deity. Round it revolve the lights – nine concentric angelic circles. The nearest to the deity and therefore smaller are the seraphim and cherubim, the most distant and vast are the archangels and just angels. On earth, we are accustomed to think that the great is more small, but here, apparently, everything is the opposite.
Angels, told me Beatrice, coevals of the universe. Their rapid rotation is the source of all the movement that takes place in the universe. Hastened to fall away from their host, they were thrown into Hell, and the remaining ones are still rushing in paradise, and they need not think, want, remember: they are completely satisfied!
The Ascension in Empires – the highest region of the universe – is the last. I again looked at the one whose rising beauty in Paradise lifted me from the high places to the heights. We are surrounded by pure light. Sparks and flowers everywhere are angels and blissful souls. They merge into a kind of shining river, and then they take on the form of a huge paradise rose.
Contemplating the rose and comprehending the general plan of Paradise, I wanted to ask Beatrice something, but I saw not her, but a clear-eyed old man in white. He pointed up. I look at her in an unattainable height, and I cried to her: “O Donna, who left a trace in Hell, granting me help, in all that I see, I understand your good.” Behind you I walked from slavery to freedom. Keep me in future that my spirit worthy of you be freed from the flesh! ” She looked at me with a smile and turned to the eternal shrine. All.
The old man in white is Saint Bernard. From now on, he is my mentor. We continue to contemplate with it the rose of Empires. It shines and the souls of immaculate babies. This is understandable, but why in the Hell were the souls of babies here and there – can not they be vicious in contrast to these? God knows better what kind of potencies – good or bad – in which the infant’s soul is laid. So Bernard explained and began to pray.
Bernard prayed to the Virgin Mary for me – to help me. Then he signaled me to look up. Peering closely, I see the supreme and brightest light. At the same time he was not blind, but he gained the highest truth. I contemplate the deity in his luminous trinity. And Love attracts me to him, which moves both the sun and the stars.