illustrates her position by a subtle remark on ‘the lulling spell of an intellectual and sensitive delight in good running parallel with a voluntary and actual indulgence in evil.’
The dead Beatrice
beckoned him toward the life of contemplation, and it was precisely during this period that he attempted to find happiness in the life of action.
‘Verily it is to be known that we may in this life have two felicities, following two ways, good and best, which lead us thither.
The one is the active, the other the contemplative life, the which (though by the active we may attain, as has been said, unto good felicity) leads us to the best felicity and blessedness.’1
‘The life of my heart, that is, of my inward self, was wont to be a sweet thought which went many times to the feet of God, that is to say, in thought I contemplated the kingdom of the Blessed.
And I tell the final cause why I mounted thither in thought when I say, “Where it [the sweet thought] beheld a lady in glory,” that I might make it understood that I was and am certain, by her gracious revelation, that she was in heaven
, [not on earth, as I had vainly imagined,] whither I went in thought, so often as was possible to me, as it were rapt.’2
This passage exactly answers to another in Purgatorio
, XXX. 115-138:—
Not only by the work of those great wheels
That destine every seed unto some end,
According as the stars are in conjunction,
But by the largess of celestial graces,
Such had this man become in his New Life
Potentially, that every righteous habit
Would have made admirable proof in him;
Some time I did sustain him with my look (volto);
Revealing unto him my youthful eyes,Zzz