| Quote #13
“Gloria in excelsis Deo,” they all cried –
When the mountain trembles, signaling the complete purgation of one soul and his readiness for Heaven, all the penitents rejoice. Not surprisingly, they express their joy in song. This hymn that they sing translates to “Glory to God in the highest,” originally sung by the angels to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds. Thus, we are supposed to equate the newly cleansed soul to baby Jesus – an image of ultimate purity.
| Quote #14
[Statius]: “I had sufficient fame beyond,” that spirit
Here is the exemplar of useful art. Virgil’s Aeneid, a pagan work, inspired Statius so much that he turned to the faith of Christianity. Statius compares Virgil’s poetry to a “holy fire” that “warmed [him]” and gave him “seeds of ardor.” This latter comparison to “seeds” suggests that poetry, like plants, can produce a new generation of its art through inspiration.
| Quote #15
And – there! – “Labi mea, Domine”
This hymn, sung on the sixth terrace by the Gluttonous, has the opening lines, “O, Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” This is especially appropriate because the Gluttonous used to open their mouths only to satisfy their physical hunger; now they give thanks to God with the same mouths, but reformed.