The one who guides me so from good to better
is Beatrice, and on our path her acts
have so much swiftness that they span no time. (Par. X, 37-39)
[Cacciaguida]: "Florence, within her ancient ring of walls –
that ring from which she still draws tierce and nones –
sober and chaste, lived in tranquility.
No necklace and no coronal were there,
and no embroidered gowns; there was no girdle
that caught the eye more than the one who wore it.
No daughter's birth brought fear unto her father,
for age and dowry then did not imbalance –
to this side and to that – the proper measure.
There were no families that bore no children;
and Sardanapalus was still a stranger –
not come as yet to teach in the bedchamber.
Not yet had your Uccellatoio's rise
outdone the rise of Monte Mario,
which, too will be outdone in its decline.
I saw Bellincione Berti girt
with leather and with bone, and saw his wife
come from her mirror with her face unpainted.
I saw dei Nerli and del Vecchio
content to wear their suits of unlined skins,
and saw their wives at spindle and at spool.
O happy wives! Each one was sure of her
own burial place, and none – for France's sake –
as yet was left deserted in her bed. (Par. XV, 97-120)
[Cacciaguida]: "All things that you possess, possess their death,
just as you do; but in some things that last
long, death can hide from you whose lives are short.
And even as the heaven of the moon,
revolving, respiteless, conceals and then
reveals the shores, so Fortune does with Florence;
therefore, there is no cause for wonder in
what I shall tell of noble Florentines
of those whose reputations time has hidden." (Par. XVI, 79-87)