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Divina Commedia.

49

II.

How

strange the sculptures that adorn these towers !

This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves Birds baild their nests; while canopied with

leaves Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers, And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers !

But fiends and dragons on the gargoyler

eaves

Watch the dead Christ between the living

thieves, And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers !

D

50

Divina Commedia.

Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain,

What exultations trampling on despair,
What tenderness, what tears, what hate of

wrong,
What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,

Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
This medieval miracle of song !

Divina Commedia.

51

III.

I

ENTER, and I see thee in the gloom
Of the long aisles, O poet saturnine !
And strive to make my steps keep pace

with thine.

The air is filled with some unknown per

fume;

The congregation of the dead make room

For thee to pass; the votive tapers shine;
Like rooks that haunt Ravenna's

ز

groves of

pine The hovering echoes fly from tomb to

tomb.

52

Divina Commedia.

From the confessionals I hear arise

Rehearsals of forgotten tragedies,

And lamentations from the crypts below; And then a voice celestial, that begins With the pathetic words, “ Although your

sins As scarlet le," and ends with “as the

snow."

Divina Commedia.

53

IV.

I

LIFT mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
With forms of saints and holy men who

died,
Here martyred and hereafter glorified ;
And the great Rose upon its leaves dis-

plays Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays With splendour upon splendour multi

plied ; And Beatrice again at Dante's side No more rebukes, but smiles her words of

praise.

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