Era giá l’ora che volge il disio

Dante Alighieri

from Purgatorio, Canto VIII

Era giá l’ora che volge il disio
ai navicanti e ’ntenerisce il core
lo dá c’han detto ai dolci amici addio;
It was now the hour that turns a sailor’s yearning
and softens the heart of those
who have bid farewell to their sweet friends,
e che lo novo peregrin d’amore
punge, se ode squilla di lontano
che paia il giorno pianger che si more;
and that, if he hears a far-off ringing
that sounds like the tears of a dying day,
pricks the new pilgrim of love,
quand’io incominciai a render vano
l’udire e a mirare una de l’alme
surta, che l’ascoltar chiedea con mano.
when I began to lose interest in the chatter,
and to behold one of the souls,
who, rising, beckoned our attention by hand.
Ella giunse e levá ambo le palme,
ficcando li occhi verso l’oriente,
come dicesse a Dio: “D’altro non calme.”
She joined and raised both her palms,
fixing her eyes to the east,
as if she were saying to God, “Nothing else will calm me.”
Te lucis ante sá devotamente
le uscio di bocca e con sá dolci note,
che fece me a me uscir di mente;
So devotedly did the Te Lucis Ante
float from her lips, and with such sweet notes,
that it made me lose myself,
e l’altre poi dolcemente e devote
seguitar lei per tutto l’inno intero,
avendo li occhi a le superne rote.
and the others sweetly and devotedly
followed her through the entire hymn,
setting their eyes on the celestial orb.
Aguzza qui, lettor, ben li occhi al vero,
chá ’l velo á ora ben tanto sottile,
certo che ’l trapassar dentro á leggero.
Dear reader, here sharpen your eyes on the truth,
for the veil is now quite subtle,
and passing within it is certainly easy.
Io vidi quello essercito gentile
tacito poscia riguardare in sue
quasi aspettando, palido e umile;
I saw that noble assembly
now look quietly upwards
pale and humble, as if they awaited something;
e vidi uscir de l’alto e scender giue
due angeli con due spade affocate,
tronche e private de le punte sue.
and I saw emerge from on high and descend to earth
two angels with two fiery swords
blunted and deprived of their blades.
Verdi come fogliette pur mo nate
erano in veste, che da verdi penne
percosse traean dietro e ventilate.
As green as newly budded leaves
was their vesture, rustled by the beating of green wings
and trailing behind them in the wind.
L’un poco sovra a noi a star si venne,
e l’altro scese in l’opposita sponda,
sá che la gente in mezzo si contenne.
One of them came to stand a little above us,
and the other descended onto the opposite bank,
placing the crowd between them.
Ben discernea in lor la testa bionda;
ma ne la faccia l’occhio si smarria,
come virtá ch’a troppo si confonda.
We saw clearly their blonde heads;
but in gazing on their faces the eye lost its way,
as if confused by an excess of virtue.