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[85] Hitherto he had celebrated beauty and goodness in the creature; henceforth he was to celebrate them in the Creator whose praise they were.1 We give an extempore translation of this sonnet, in which the meaning is preserved so far as is possible where the grace is left out. We remember with some compunction as we do it, that Dante has said, ‘know every one that nothing harmonized by a musical band can be transmuted from its own speech to another without breaking all its sweetness and harmony,’2 and Cervantes was of the same mind:3

Beyond the sphere that hath the widest gyre
Passeth the sigh4 that leaves my heart below;
A new intelligence doth love bestow
On it with tears that ever draws it higher;
When it wins thither where is its desire,
A Lady it beholds who honor so
And light receives, that, through her splendid glow,

1 Beatrice, loda di Dio vera, Inferno, II. 103. ‘Surely vain are all men by nature who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is, neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the work-master. . . . . . For, being conversant in his works, they search diligently and believe their sight, because the things are beautiful that are seen. Howbeit, neither are they to be pardoned.’ (Wisdom of Solomon, XIII. 1, 7, 8.) Non adorar debitamente Dio. ‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead; so that they are without excuse.’ It was these ‘invisible things’ whereof Dante was beginning to get a glimpse.

2 Convtto, Tr. I c. 7.

3 ‘And here we would have forgiven Mr. Captain if he had not betrayed him (traido, traduttore traditore) to Spain and made him a Castilian, for he took away much of his native worth, and so will all those do who shall undertake to turn a poem into another tongue; for with all the care they take and ability they show, they will never reach the height of its original conception,’ says the Curate, speaking of a translation of Ariosto. (Don Quixote, P. I. c. 6.)

4 In his own comment Dante says, ‘I tell whither goes my thought, calling it by the name of one of its effects.’

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