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 Canto XIX
      The Poet, after describing his dream, relates how, at the summoning of an
 Angel, he ascends with Virgil to the fifth cornice, where the sin of avarice
 is cleansed, and where he finds Pope Adrian the fifth.
 It was the hour,[1] when of diurnal heat
 No reliques chafe the cold beams of the moon,
 O'erpower'd by earth, or planetary sway
 Of Saturn; and the geomancer[2] sees
 His Greater Fortune up the east ascend,
 Where gray dawn checkers first the shadowy cone,
 [1: "The hour." Near the dawn.]
 [2: "The geomancer." The geomancers, when they divined, drew a figure
 consisting of sixteen marks, named from so many stars which constitute the end
 of Aquarius and the beginning of Pisces. One of these they called "the greater
 When, 'fore me in my dream, a woman's shape[3]
 There came, with lips that stammer'd, eyes aslant,
 Distorted feet, hands maim'd, and colour pale.
 [3: "A woman's shape." Worldly happiness. This allegory reminds us of
 the "Choice of Hercules."]
 I look'd upon her: and, as sunshine cheers
 Limbs numb'd by nightly cold, e'en thus my look
 Unloosed her tongue; next, in brief space, her form
 Decrepit raised erect, and faded face
 With love's own hue illumed. Recovering speech,
 She forthwith, warbling, such a strain began,
 That I, how loth soe'er, could scarce have held
 Attention from the song. "I," thus she sang,
 "I am the Syren, she, whom mariners
 On the wide sea are wilder'd when they hear;
 Such fullness of delight the listener feels.
 I, from his course, Ulysses[4] by my lay
 Enchanted drew. Whoe'er frequents me once,
 Parts seldom: so I charm him, and his heart
 Contented knows no void." Or ere her mouth
 Was closed, to shame her, at my side appear'd
 A dame[5] of semblance holy. With stern voice
 She utter'd: "Say, O Virgil! who is this?"
 Which hearing, he approach'd, with eyes still bent
 Toward that goodly presence: the other seized her,
 And, her robes tearing, open'd her before,
 And show'd the belly to me, whence a smell,
 Exhaling loathsome, waked me. Round I turn'd
 Mine eyes: and thus the teacher: "At the least
 Three times my voice hath call'd thee. Rise, begone.
 Let us the opening find where thou mayst pass."
 [4: "Ulysses." It is not easy to determine why Ulysses, contrary to
 the authority of Homer, is said to have been drawn aside from his course by
 the song of the Siren. No improbable way of accounting for the contradiction
 is, to suppose that she is here represented as purposely deviating from the
 truth. Or Dante may have followed some legend of the Middle Ages.]
 [5: "A dame." Philosophy, or perhaps Truth.]
 I straightway rose. Now day, pour'd down from high,
 Fill'd all the circuits of the sacred mount;
 And, as we journey'd, on our shoulder smote
 The early ray. I follow'd, stooping low
 My forehead, as a man, o'ercharged with thought,
 Who bends him to the likeness of an arch
 That midway spans the flood; when thus I heard,
 "Come, enter here," in tone so soft and mild,
 As never met the ear on mortal strand.
 With swan - like wings dispred and pointing up,
 Who thus had spoken marshal'd us along,
 Where, each side of the solid masonry,
 The sloping walls retired; then moved his plumes,
 And fanning us, affirm'd that those, who mourn,[6]
 Are blessed, for that comfort shall be theirs.
 [6: "Who mourn." "Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be
 comforted." - Matt. v. 4]
 "What aileth thee, that still thou look'st to earth?"
 Began my leader; while the angelic shape
 A little over us his station took.
 "New vision," I replied, "hath raised in me
 Surmisings strange and anxious doubts, whereon
 My soul int nt allows no other thought
 Or room, or entrance." - "Hast thou seen," said he
 "That old enchantress, her, whose wiles alone
 The spirits o'er us weep for? Hast thou seen
 How man may free him of her bonds? Enough.
 Let thy heels spurn the earth; and thy raised ken
 Fix on the lure, which Heaven's eternal King
 Whirls in the rolling spheres." As on his feet
 The falcon first looks down, then to the sky
 Turns, and forth stretches eager for the food,
 That woos him thither; so the call I heard:
 So onward, far as the dividing rock
 Gave way, I journey'd, till the plain was reach'd.
 On the fifth circle when I stood at large,
 A race appear'd before me, on the ground
 All downward lying prone and weeping sore.
 "My soul hath cleaved to the dust," I heard
 With sighs so deep, they well nigh choked the words.
 "O ye elect of God! whose penal woes
 Both hope and justice mitigate, direct
 Towards the steep rising our uncertain way."
 "If ye approach secure from this our doom,
 Prostration, and would urge your course with speed,
 See that ye still to rightward keep the brink."
 So them the bard besought; and such the words,
 Beyond us some short space, in answer came.
 I noted what remain'd yet hidden from them:[7]
 Thence to my liege's eyes mine eyes I bent,
 And he, forthwith interpreting their suit,
 Beckon'd his glad assent. Free then to act
 As pleased me, I drew near, and took my stand
 Over that shade whose words I late had mark'd.
 And, "Spirit!" I said, "in whom repentant tears
 Mature that blessed hour when thou with God
 Shalt find acceptance, for a while suspend
 For me that mightier care. Say who thou wast;
 Why thus ye grovel on your bellies prone;
 And if, in aught, ye wish my service there,
 Whence living I am come." He answering spake:
 "The cause why Heaven our back towards his cope
 Reverses, shalt thou know: but me know first,
 The successor of Peter,[8] and the name
 And title of my lineage, from that stream[9]
 That 'twixt Chiaveri and Siestri draws
 His limpid waters through the lowly glen.
 A month and little more by proof I learnt,
 With what a weight that robe of sovereignty
 Upon his shoulder rests, who from the mire
 Would guard it; that each other fardel seems
 But feathers in the balance. Late, alas!
 Was my conversion: but, when I became
 Rome's pastor, I discerned at once the dream
 And cozenage of life; saw that the heart
 Rested not there, and yet no prouder height
 Lured on the climber: whereof, of that life
 No more enamor'd, in my bosom love
 Of purer being kindled. For till then
 [7: "I noted what remain'd yet hidden from them." They were ignorant,
 it appeared, whether Dante was come there to be purged of his sins.]
 [8: "The successor of Peter." Ottobuono, of the family of Fieschi,
 Counts of Lavagno, died thirty - nine days after he became Pope, with the
 title of Adrian V, in 1276.]
 [9: "That stream." The river Lavagno, in the Genoese territory; to
 the east of which territory are situated Siestri and Chiaveri.]
 I was a soul in misery, alienate
 From God, and covetous of all earthly things;
 Now, as thou seest, here punish'd for my doting.
 Such cleansing from the taint of avarice,
 Do spirits, converted, need. This mount inflicts
 No direr penalty. E'en as our eyes
 Fasten'd below, nor e'er to loftier clime
 Were lifted; thus hath justice level'd us,
 Here on the earth. As avarice quench'd our love
 Of good, without which is no working; thus
 Here justice holds us prison'd, hand and foot
 Chain'd down and bound, while Heaven's just Lord shall please,
 So long to tarry, motionless, outstretch'd."
 My knees I stoop'd, and would have spoke; but he,
 Ere my beginning, by his ear perceived
 I did him reverence; and "What cause," said he,
 "Hath bow'd thee thus?" - "Compunction," I rejoin'd,
 "And inward awe of your high dignity."
 "Up," he exclaim'd, "brother! upon thy feet
 Arise; err not: thy fellow - servant I,
 (Thine and all others') of one Sovran Power.
 If thou hast ever mark'd those holy sounds
 Of gospel truth, 'nor shall be given in marriage,'
 Thou mayst discern the reasons of my speech.
 Go thy ways now; and linger here no more.
 Thy tarrying is a let unto the tears,
 With which I hasten that whereof thou spakest.
 I have on earth a kinswoman;[10] her name
 Alagia, worthy in herself, so ill
 Example of our house corrupt her not:
 And she is all remaineth of me there."
 [10: "A kinswoman." Alagia is said to have been the wife of the
 Marchese Marcello Malaspina, one of the Poet's protectors during his exile.
 See Canto viii. 133.]