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Based on The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Canto XXXIII


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problem that has faced humanity since before the recorded time...

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How to describe the undescribable? 5


Iʼll explain,

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humanity has always needed proof of the existence of a higher being, and has tried to do this through songs, literature, and art 7


Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son

Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio

Paradiso Canto 33 starts with an eloquent prayer uttered by St. Bernard to the Virgin Mother. The first verse of the Canto “Vergine madre, figlia del tuo figlio” shows the embodiment of the paradoxes in Dante’s Paradiso.

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DanteĘźs Paradiso Canto 33 is an artistĘźs attempt to describe the moment of Divine Enlightenment 11


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To the noblest I pray,

Dante rise up from the lowest

This verse refers to the journey Dante Alighieri, the writer of the Divine Comedy has gone through. With the help of his guide, Virgil, he went through the circles of Hell (Inferno), the terraces of Purgatory (Purgatorio) and spheres of Heaven (Paradiso).

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How would any of us do this? 15


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Uplift himself so he may be higher towards salvation

Burned by his vision - Carried stronger by affection

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Dante described his experience by literally going through Hell to meet his Friend, God, the Maker, in the Tenth Heaven, Empyrean. 19


Bernard proffer to thee that thou scatter his mortality

St. Bernard’s final moments of prayer asks Mary to take the cloud of Dante’s mortality away, to help him remain pure so that he may see God, as He is as his mortality interfere with his vision.

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Cause thy compassion and benignity gives succour for those who are in need Bernard appeals to Mother Mary’s compassion, saying that those who would advance even higher than the last sphere of heaven may not be able make it further without her lovingkindness. She is known for helping al l those who plead for her kindness, as well as others have not yet done so.

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You see this in many artforms. In paintings, songs, films, sculptures, and across many religions. 25


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Beatrice and all the blessed joined In prayer, In gratitude, In devotion In Paradiso XXXI.88-90, Dante himself beseeches Beatrice for heavenly assistance. Beatrice smiled and together with the blessed prayed. The Virgin is gratified by the prayers of the devout and turns her gaze (as did Beatrice) back up to God.

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Dante, remember what you saw in your mission Because she gazed down with approval 29


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or as Dante did... 31


Thus Bernard smiled and noded And so the desire within me ended

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Then did my flesh sight, purified 34


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Through the beauty of language itself, trying to describe something that words could only suggest. 37


Bright light I rise into, no doubt no fight, my mind blown through Bernard appeals to Mother Mary’s compassion, saying that those who would advance even higher than the last sphere of heaven may not be able make it further without her lovingkindness. She is known for helping all those who plead for her kindness, as well as others have not yet done so.

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Wholly in suspense, steadfast In the presence of the light

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Does yield the memory and vision Dream and passion turned into sweetness 42


Of which my speech is feeble Like snow melts under the sun 43


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How to describe Divine Enlightenment. 45


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I begged for the memory so may be conveyed thy glory

In my poetry, for people of the future, a paradise more of thy victory 47


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Oh, how my language fall short - Light so bright, my perception be lost

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In it, the knowledge of the world - Compiled in one volume, bound by love

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How unbelievable, this one moment brings more forgetfulness to me The original Dante’s Italian poetry use the word letargo which means forgetting although he refers to it as a form of visionary experience. Neptune, the roman sea god had longed to see his kingdom, inhabited as was the land. Therefore, he took great joy in seeing the first ship, Argo and has been painfully forgetting it (without satisfaction, he longs to see it everyday) for 2,500 years ever since. Yet Dante’s a minute of awareness, now lost, is more painful than Neptune’s far longer period.

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Than twenty five centuries of wonder NeptuneĘźs vision of ArgoĘźs shadow 53


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All things seem flawed Compared to the ray, IĘźm in awe

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And fragile like infant at his motherĘźs breast Pure yet ever changing like I may, I withdraw 56


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Under the deep luminance, appeared to me Three Circles of three colours

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Same dimension with two reflecting each other and third breathed by two it was equal

Dante reassures us that he harbors no heretical notions about God’s nature(s); if He is three, that does not mean that He is other than one; if He is one, that does not mean that He is other than three. Even his vastly improved powers still have a visionary capacity to reach, one in which he will be able to experience the undescribable. He describes it as three circles inhering in a single space, distinguished only by their colors, not their sizes, which are identical.

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Painted with itʼs very own colour If our effigy is a colour After a little while, Dante notices, the second circle “within itself and colored like itself, to me seemed painted with our effigy.” Wait, seeing a figure the same color as its surroundings? That’s not possible, right? Dante agrees and tries to figure out how this can be, but his efforts are futile.

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Incomprehensible, like squaring the circle - Futile, as I try to find the principle 61


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I wish to see, I wish to understand, I wish to know how to comprehend 63


But, my wings were not enough Yet, my wish was fulfilled by a light

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Finally, I get to see the solution Finally, I get my desire apart Finally, I get to be moved by the love 67


The love that moves the sun and the other stars 68


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Wholly in Suspense Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo figlio To the noblest I pray, Dante rise up from the lowest Uplift himself so he may be higher towards salvation Burned by his vision, carried stronger by affection Bernard proffer to thee that thou scatter his mortality Cause thy compassion and benignity gives succour for those who are in need Beatrice and all the blessed joined In prayer, In gratitude, In devotion Dante, remember what you saw in your mission Because she gazed down with approval Thus Bernard smiled and noded And so the desire within me ended Then did my flesh sight, purified, Bright light I rise into,

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No doubt no fight, my mind blown through Wholly in suspense, steadfast In the presence of the light Does yield the memory and vision Dream and passion turned into sweetness Of which my speech is feeble Like snow melts under the sun I begged for the memory so may be conveyed thy glory In my poetry for people of the future A paradise more of thy victory Oh, how my language fall short Light so bright, my perception be lost In it, the knowledge of the world Compiled in one volume, bound by love How unbelievable, this one moment Brings more forgetfulness to me Than twenty five centuries of wonder Neptune’s vision of Argo’s shadow


Artworks by Gustave Doré Poetry adapted from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, Paradiso Canto XXXIII

All things seem flawed Compared to the ray, I’m in awe And fragile, like infants at his mothers breast Pure yet ever changing like I may, I withdraw

Finally, I get to see the solution Finally, I get my desire apart Finally, I get to be moved by the love The love that moves the sun and the other stars

Under the deep luminance Appeared to me Three Circles of three colours Same dimension with two reflecting each other And third breathed by two it was equal Painted with it’s very own colour If our effigy is a colour Incomprehensible, like squaring the circle Futile, as I try to find the principle I wish to see, I wish to understand, I wish to know how to comprehend But, my wings were not enough Yet, my wish was fulfilled by a light

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AG A blackletter script font designed by Leonardo Tanuwijaya

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Wholly in Suspense  

The Divine Comedy is beautiful Italian literature which originally by the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. Most of the modern translation of t...

Wholly in Suspense  

The Divine Comedy is beautiful Italian literature which originally by the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. Most of the modern translation of t...

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