But here, since I am yours, o holy Muses,
may this poem rise again from Hell’s dead realm;
and may Calliope rise somewhat here,
accompanying my singing with that music
whose power struck the poor Pierides
so forcefully that they despaired of pardon. (Purg. I, 7-12)
[Dante to Casella]: And I: “If there’s no new law that denies
you memory or practice of the songs
of love that used to quiet all my longings,
then may it please you with those songs to solace
my soul somewhat; for – having journeyed here
together with my body – it is weary.”
“Love that discourses to me in my mind”
he then began to sing – and sang so sweetly
that I still hear that sweetness sound in me.
My master, I, and all that company
around the singer seemed so satisfied,
as if no other thing might touch our minds.
We all were motionless and fixed upon
the notes, when all at once the grave old man [Cato]
cried out: “what have we here, you laggard spirits?” (Purg. II, 106-121)
Gold and fine silver, cochineal, white lead,
and Indian lychnite, highly polished, bright,
fresh emerald at the moment it is dampened,
if placed within that valley, all would be
defeated by the grass and flowers’ colors,
just as the lesser gives way to the greater.
And nature there not only was a painter,
but from the sweetness of a thousand odors,
she had derived an unknown, mingled scent.
Upon the green grass and the flowers, I
saw seated spirits singing “Salve, Regina”;
they were not visible from the outside. (Purg. VII, 73-84)