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The mystic procession and the apparition of Beatrice

At the end of the Earthly Paradise, Dante meets Beatrice, surrounded by ranks of angels and clouds of flowers. She is seated on a triumphal chariot pulled by a griffin at the centre of a mystical procession, where the various figures take on a precise allegorical meaning. Like a mother with a child, Beatrice scolds Dante harshly. She reproaches him for having abandoned himself to worldly affairs after her death, when he tried to recall her by loving other women. To him, her death would instead have been a model that would have shown him how to devote himself to heavenly things.

"Shouldst thou be silent, or deny
What thou confessest, not less manifest
Would be thy fault, by such a Judge 'tis known.
But when from one's own cheeks comes bursting forth
The accusal of the sin, in our tribunal
Against the edge the wheel doth turn itself.
But still, that thou mayst feel a greater shame
For thy transgression, and another time
Hearing the Sirens thou mayst be more strong,
Cast down the seed of weeping and attend;
So shalt thou hear, how in an opposite way
My buried flesh should have directed thee.
Never to thee presented art or nature
Pleasure so great as the fair limbs wherein
I was enclosed, which scattered are in earth.
And if the highest pleasure thus did fail thee
By reason of my death, what mortal thing
Should then have drawn thee into its desire?
Thou oughtest verily at the first shaft
Of things fallacious to have risen up
To follow me, who was no longer such.
Thou oughtest not to have stooped thy pinions downward
To wait for further blows, or little girl,
Or other vanity of such brief use.
The callow birdlet waits for two or three,
But to the eyes of those already fledged,
In vain the net is spread or shaft is shot."

Purgatory, XXXI, 37-63.

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