Monday, June 15, 2009

Quotations from Dante - Sound Words from the First Cornice of Purgatory

The First Cornice is for those who bore the stain of pride. One of the souls there - who seems to be well on his way to overcoming that stain, if the following is any measure - says to Dante:
A breath of wind - no more - is earthly fame,
And now this way it blows and that way now,
And as it changes quarter, changes name.

Ten centuries hence what greater fame hast thou,
Stripping the flesh off late, than if thou'dst died
Ere thou wast done with gee-gee and bow-wow?

Ten centuries hence - and that's a briefer tide,
Matched with eternity, than one eye-wink
To that wheeled course Heaven's tardiest sphere must ride.

[Canto XI, 100-108; italics in original; bold added]
How true it is! We get so bound up in trying to look good, as if a moment's glory (even if it's a lifetime) is worth anything compared to eternity.

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