Dante Alighieri (G.K. Chesterton translation)
“Then was my vision mightier than man’s speech;
Speech snapt before it like a flying spell;
And memory and all that time can teach
Before that splendid outrage failed and fell.
As when one dreameth and remembereth not
Waking, what were his pleasures or his pains,
With every feature of the dream forgot,
The printed passion of the dream remains:—
Even such am I; within whose thoughts resides
No picture of that sight or any part,
Nor any memory: in whom abides
Only a happiness within the heart,
A secret happiness that soaks the heart
As hills are soaked by slow unsealing snow,
Or secret as that wind without a chart
Whereon did the wild leaves of Sibyl go.
O light uplifted from all mortal knowing,
Send back a little of that glimpse of thee,
That of its glory I may kindle glowing
One tiny spark for all men yet to be.”
Note: The lines above (49-72) come the concluding section of Dante Alighieri’s “Paradiso” – as translated into English by English journalist and writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936). M.D. Aeschliman, a great scholar of Literature, described this sequence as “one of the greatest passages of praise in the history of literature.” Aeschliman is publishing reflections on “praise, resistance, and consolation,” in one of which he included the Chesterton translation. Dante, who lived 1265-1321, wrote the masterful “Divine Comedy” triology (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) in Italian. Pat McGuigan, founder of CapitolBeatOK and publisher of The City Sentinel newspaper, chose this selection for online posting after attending the “Rededication of The Cathedral of Our Lady ofPerpetual Help & Dedication of the Altar” in Oklahoma City, on November 16, 2019. McGuigan studied at Oklahoma State University, earning a B.A. with Honors, and a Master of Arts in History. He specialized in church history, writing a thesis on the life of parish priests in the diocese of Lincoln, England, during the Thirteenth Century.