Then certain of them [the Lustful] came as close to me
as they were able to while, cautiously,
they never left the boundaries of their burning. (Purg. XXVI, 13-15)
But Virgil had deprived us of himself,
Virgil, the gentlest father, Virgil, he
to whom I gave my self for my salvation;
and even all our ancient mother lost
was not enough to keep my cheeks, though washed
with dew, from darkening again with tears.
“Dante, though Virgil’s leaving you, do not
yet weep, do not weep yet; you’ll need your tears
for what another sword must yet inflict.” (Purg. XXX, 49-57)
[Beatrice]: “He [Dante] fell so far there were no other means
to lead him to salvation, except this:
to let him see the people who were lost.
For this I visited the gateway of
the dead; to him who guided him above
my prayers were offered even as I wept.
The deep design of God would have been broken
if Lethe had been crossed and he had drunk
such waters but had not discharged the debt
of penitence that’s paid when tears are shed.” (Purg. XXX, 136-145)