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by Dante Alighieri

Paradiso Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.

Quote #7

If it should happen…If this sacred poem –
this work so shared by heaven and by earth
that it has made me lean through these long years –
can ever overcome the cruelty
that bars me from the fair fold where I slept,
a lamb opposed to wolves that war on it,
by then with other voice, with other fleece,
I shall return as poet and put on,
at my baptismal font, the laurel crown;
for there I first found entry to that faith
which makes souls welcome unto God, and then,
for that faith, Peter garlanded my brow. (Par. XXV, 1-12)

This passage begins Canto XXV, where St. James tests Dante on hope. It is fitting that the canto begins with Dante's deepest personal hope, which is that he will one day be recognized by his own people (the Florentines) as a superb poet. Because of his virtue and God-given skill, Dante is certain that this day of "future glory" will come.

Quote #8

[Adam]: "The tongue I spoke was all extinct before
the men of Nimrod set their minds upon
the unaccomplishable task; for never
has any thing produced by human reason
been everlasting – following the heavens,
men seek the new, they shift their predilections." (Par. XXVI, 124-129)

Adam's discussion of the transience of human language illustrates the concept that only God's creations are everlasting. Anything made by other powers – including human – must always "seek the new…shift their predilections," and eventually die.

Quote #9

No other heaven measures this sphere's motion,
but it serves as the measure for the rest,
even as half and fifth determine ten;
and now it can be evident to you
how time has roots within this vessel and,
within the other vessels, has its leaves. (Par. XXVII, 115-120)

This passage discusses the Ninth Heaven: the Primum Mobile. If we look at this sphere's name, it becomes obvious why "time has its roots within this vessel." "Primum Mobile" means "first moving" and as the highest and most blessed finite sphere, is the Heaven that God created first. And since His creation of the universe marked the beginning of time, we can assume that time began here. This implies that anything beyond this sphere is beyond time, and indeed the Empyrean – where God and his blessed reside – is timeless and eternal.

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