Guido Guinizzelli, purifying myself
already because I repented before the end.”
As the two sons became during the sorrow
of Lycurgus, when they saw their mother again,
I became, without rising to their expression,
hearing my father and the father of others
my betters and whoever has come to use
sweet graceful rhymes of love say his own name,
and without hearing or speaking I walked on
a long way, thoughtful, gazing at him,
but because of the fire went no closer.
When my sight had feasted enough upon him
I offered my self at once to his service
with that earnestness that makes others believe.
And he to me: “You leave a mark so deep,
through what I hear, and see clearly, in me
that Lethe cannot wash it out nor fade it.
But if it is the truth which you have promised,
tell why it is that your face and speech
make it apparent that you hold me so dear.”
And I to him, “The sweet song of yours
that so long as our present words endure
will make precious the ink in which they were written.”
"Oh brother," he said, "the one at whom I am pointing
with my finger,” indicating a spirit before him,
“was a better workman in the mother tongue:
verses of love and stories of romance,
he was peerless in all of them, and let the fools babble
who believe that the Limousin writes better.
They attend fashion rather than the truth.
and in that way they make up their opinion
before they give heed to art or reason.
That was the way many did with Guittone,
shout after shout all giving the prize to him
until the truth overcame most of them.
Now if so vast a privilege is yours
that you are free to walk on to the cloister
in which Christ is the abbot of the college,
recite to Him there a Paternoster for me,
insofar as we need one in this world
where the power to sin is ours no longer.”
Then, it may be to make room for another
who was close to him, he vanished through the fire
like a fish going into the deepest water.
I moved forward a little toward the one
who had been pointed out and said to him
that my wish had made a welcome for his name.
Freely he began to speak to me:
“Your courteous question gives such pleasure to me
that I will not and cannot conceal myself from you.
I am Arnaut who weep and go singing.
With anguish of mind I see my old folly
and with joy see before me the hoped-for day.
Now I beg of you by that power
that is leading you to the top of the stair,
while there is time remember how I suffer!”
Then hid himself in the fire that refines them.