If God placed that dazzling lamp in the sky

If God placed that dazzling lamp in the sky
to set the earth aflame, to instill us
with passion for our own good, why this ice
thick-ribbed around the heart, why these cold minds?

How does ice slow fire? God's vast, virtue
potent: with his just eye He sees which soul
wings eagerly, which crawls reluctantly
to purify the self in flaming light.

Discord, war, fiery torches menace
us tonight, they dare us to defy death
and torture only to have done so before

we subside into peace--death or quiet.
Make our tears burn, breathe stir, flames surround us,
make us yearn for an end in Paradise.

An image of the Italian text from Visconti's 1840 edition
From V XX:180. See also B S1:51:110; R XXIIII:445. Key

Amaro Lagrimar
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Page Last Updated 6 January 2003