"The love that makes me fair
Draws me to speak about the other leader,
By whom so well is spoken here of mine.
'Tis right, where one is, to bring in the other,
That, as they were united in their warfare,
Together likewise may their glory shine.
The soldiery of Christ, which it had cost
So dear to arm again, behind the standard
Moved slow and doubtful and in numbers few,
When the Emperor who reigneth evermore
Provided for the host that was in peril,
Through grace alone and not that it was worthy;
And, as was said, he to his Bride brought succour
With champions twain, at whose deed, at whose word
The straggling people were together drawn.
Within that region where the sweet west wind
Rises to open the new leaves, wherewith
Europe is seen to clothe herself afresh,
Not far off from the beating of the waves,
Behind which in his long career the sun
Sometimes conceals himself from every man,
Is situate the fortunate Calahorra,
Under protection of the mighty shield
In which the Lion subject is and sovereign.
Therein was born the amorous paramour
Of Christian Faith, the athlete consecrate,
Kind to his own and cruel to his foes;
And when it was created was his mind
Replete with such a living energy,
That in his mother her it made prophetic.
As soon as the espousals were complete
Between him and the Faith at holy font,
Where they with mutual safety dowered each other,
The woman, who for him had given assent,
Saw in a dream the admirable fruit
That issue would from him and from his heirs;
And that he might be construed as he was,
A spirit from this place went forth to name him
With His possessive whose he wholly was.
Dominic was he called; and him I speak of
Even as of the husbandman whom Christ
Elected to his garden to assist him.
Envoy and servant sooth he seemed of Christ,
For the first love made manifest in him
Was the first counsel that was given by Christ.
Silent and wakeful many a time was he
Discovered by his nurse upon the ground,
As if he would have said, 'For this I came.'
O thou his father, Felix verily!
O thou his mother, verily Joanna,
If this, interpreted, means as is said!
Not for the world which people toil for now
In following Ostiense and Taddeo,
But through his longing after the true manna,
He in short time became so great a teacher,
That he began to go about the vineyard,
Which fadeth soon, if faithless be the dresser;
And of the See, (that once was more benignant
Unto the righteous poor, not through itself,
But him who sits there and degenerates,)
Not to dispense or two or three for six,
Not any fortune of first vacancy,
'Non decimas quae sunt pauperum Dei,'
He asked for, but against the errant world
Permission to do battle for the seed,
Of which these four and twenty plants surround thee.
Then with the doctrine and the will together,
With office apostolical he moved,
Like torrent which some lofty vein out-presses;
And in among the shoots heretical
His impetus with greater fury smote,
Wherever the resistance was the greatest.
Of him were made thereafter divers runnels,
Whereby the garden catholic is watered,
So that more living its plantations stand.”
Paradise, XII, 31-105.