Friday, March 13, 2015

Words of Wisdom from Dante

And let this weigh as lead to slow your steps, 
to make you move as would a weary man
to yes or no when you do not see clearly:

whether he would affirm or would deny,
he who decides without distinguishing
must be among the most obtuse of men;

opinion—hasty—often can incline
to the wrong side, and then affection for
one’s own opinion binds, confines the mind.

Far worse than uselessly he leaves the shore
(more full of error than he was before)
who fishes for the truth but lacks the art.

. . . .
So, too, let men not be too confident
in judging—witness those who, in the field,
would count the ears before the corn is ripe;

for I have seen, all winter through, the brier
display itself as stiff and obstinate,
and later, on its summit, bear the rose;

and once I saw a ship sail straight and swift
through all its voyaging across the sea,
then perish at the end, at harbor entry.

Let not Dame Bertha or Master Martin think
that they have shared God’s Counsel when they see
one rob and see another who donates:

the last may fall, the other may be saved.

Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, Canto XIII (Mandelbaum translation)

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