The Triumph of Christ Capitolo del Trionfo di Cristo

For seven years the zodiac's whirled round,
for seven years I've watched the seasons change,
and each day's minutes have been gotten through,
for seven years ago in a great ring
of endless light my sweet sun returned home.

His strength and goodness lifted, no, drove him
to God--my charioteer, with what ease
and grace he passed Orion's enemy,
Scorpio; and, as ever, wise Chiron
by his side, he entered the still harbour.

And then when Aurora rose, and slowly
crimsoned glimmering skies as she looked her
farewell to the last fading star, and glimpsed
his lovely hair, just then laced with twilight's

gold flakes, I woke to know I had lost him.
I know how unreasonable this lashing
against invisible bars, but gripped, scourged
when the day comes round yet once more to mark
when I first knew this ancient grief, reason
rebels. Bitter crying. Then my single
consolation, what I feed my heart on,

exhausted I turn and remember him,
and feel myself gathered into his arms,
sheltered by his characteristic strength;
oh he would raise me from this earth to look
far above this world; and with this image

sleep came, sleep, it is a blessed thing, sweet
more welcome than ever, nectar. My soul,
as if freed from her prison, flew from one
dream to the next, higher and higher, all
calm and bright beneath to where Love saw me,

saw my torch make his unearthly splendor
burn more brightly, become yet more alive.
Separated, far from my body, where
the mind's darkness blindly and against all reason
yields to this earth's deluded pleasures, where
body and soul part absolutely, he,

who, in a breath of time, gives, takes from me
all peace, all struggle, so used am I to
make his will mine, his light my desire,
his road and steps mine to flee each phantom--

he gave swift wings and I attained the Sun,
gone that mist, ignorance, unconsciousness
which dims and obscures what we mortals see,

and I heard him say: "Why do you always
involve yourself with all this viciousness?
Come with me and see souls who have not this
"merit," not equal to you, and yet look...

Ah but you must first fix your eyes on me,
humbly absorb the lightning that flashes,
gleams, fill your eyes little by little with
this light, accustom them so that pure flame,
dazzling brightness hurts not, rather removes

the pain people come here with, the sorrow--
thus you will come to understand why and
how people up here forget, enraptured,

know it hurts us to see someone we loved
shattered, broken on the rocks her boat beat
up against, body and soul in peril,

for while we are at long last rewarded,
know deep peace of mind when we gaze into
the One who is Love, made love, loved first and
will love us forever no matter what,

our natural passions are not altered,
we love back, we love to be loved so much
the more--true unswervable charity
here just takes another lovelier form;
my love for you is not a whit the less."

"You can see," I then said, "how I'm trembling,
how I'm burning up alive; it takes all
my strength to stand before you--how hope, dread
feel so heavy in my thighs, press inwards--

since the day I placed my fate in your hands,
my heart has ached from the burns your fire
left, from the piercing stabs of your keen dart,

but I would forget our human mistakes,
and be let to be what I am--be my
guide, help me build a desire mortals
are not given--to want something other

than you." He took me gaily by the hand,
said nothing to what I had said, just pressed
me to him, and I could see nothing but

his splendor; encircled, hidden, sheltered,
as in a glass I saw through his prayers
a vision before my eyes as some veil

was suddenly ripped away, and a brisk
fresh wind warm on my skin awakened me,
and from within that drawing sensation
as of eager love pulled at me. Dear Love,

who made, who saved this world, give me the strength
to say once again what unnerves me just
to remember, and I'll do you justice.

I saw a chariot that encircled--
it seemed to contain sky, earth, oceans, bathe
them in bright, gay, shimmering radiance.

Upon it sat the Prince of Heaven, He
who came down to earth to deliver us
from bitter slavery and ruthless death;

ah, however many have crammed their greed,
their insatiable envy with every
prize they could steal in order to triumph
over others--this animal drive which
rules the world, and wears away all feeling--

He is still Victor; when He gave Himself,
He gave us a new world; when His blood washed
away our stain, He beat them; we are His,

I, Vittoria, am his; and pardon,
mercy is ours; His death gave life to us--
we whom a potent enemy had preyed

upon. For so many years tormented
by too many people to count--countless
books too--to express sadness in a sigh

was my joy. But now in this new presence
I didn't need the guide I had been lent:
my mind was clear--wrong doubtful thoughts vanished.

I saw instead of a crown of stars, of
diffuse starlight round His head, He endured
a circle of piercingly sharp thorns--and

His hands--which made the heavens move, gave light
to the sun, life to mortals, goodness and
strength to the earth, and eternal splendor

to paradise--were wounded. And on His
shoulders--so that in Paradise these
bodies of ours might find welcome--I saw
the cross our first error made which always

makes me cry, yet it's a unbreakable
promise of joy--clasp your hands when you pray
to it--it supported Him and He is

your true support. But, you know, the real weight
is not on His shoulders--it's in His mind
as he remembers how we live and how
we die, that's what weighs grievously--compared
to that the cross feels light. To His right

I saw the virgin seated on a throne,
a woman, pattern of all virtues, who
can help us to escape eternal hell;

she was God's temple before all other
temples, and I saw how she could walk on
oblivious of the pitiless and
proud; beyond their ken her humility.

At His feet I saw the woman honored
with the same name, she ached with joyful love,
radiant, her crown her thick gold-blond hair.

True devotion, true compassion moved her
to cry while on this earth; now God wills she
reap from misery's seeds--what she endured--

an equal measure of bliss. As she is
beyond doubt, her faith can't waver; her feet
never move in another direction--
she'll never have to hold back tears, rather
with a resolved heart and loving care, there

stay, alone, under the shelter of his
cloak; comforted by his tireless strength
and goodness, she learnt what it is to long
for a noble world, what is a great soul.

At his grave she searched for Him; He appeared
alive and when she had cried her sea of
tears, provided her with sanctuary.

Blessed is she who scorned this earth's riches,
their sources and pleasures, now from her Lord
she knows a sweetness felt along the heart's
veins, a peace endlessly renewable.

I have seen another sun in a dawn
of unearthly loveliness, felt a warm
more deep than what opens this earth's flowers
and gives them their hues and tincts. Uncanny.

I kept my eyes fixed and my thoughts on these
alone; I wished never to wake again.

Poichè 'l mio sol, d'eterni raggi cino,
Nel bel cerchio di latte fe' ritorno
Dalla priopria virtute alzato e spinto:

Già sette volte avea girato intorno
I segni, ove ne fa cangiar stagione,
Chi porta seco in ogni parte il giorno;

E lasciando 'l nemico d'Orione,
Spronando i suoi corsier, leggier entrava
Ad albergar col suo saggio Chirone.

Tutta ornata di rose allor alzava
Gli occhi a licenziar l'ultime stelle
L'Aurora, e i bei crin d'or larga mostrava:

Quand'io le volgie alla ragion rubelle
Conobbi, essendo 'l dì che 'l duolo antico
Fa che con maggior forza io rinnovelle.

Alor del pianot amaro al dolce amico
Pensier, che mi consola, e ben può darmi
Tutto quel bene onde 'l mio cor nutrico,

Stanca mi volsi: e ricordar pur parmi,
Ch'egli allor preso avea l' usate penne
Per poter poi da terra alta levarmi.

Ma più che nettar dolce un sonno venne,
E l'alma, quasi del suo carcer fuore,
Quel che dall' un volea, dall'altro ottenne:

E tanto ad alto, ove la scorse amore,
Volò, ch'io vidi la mia luce ardente
Mostrar più vivo il suo divin splendore.

Era ancor lungi sì, ch' un' altra mente
Non la vedrai: chè 'l piacer falso in terra
Contra 'l dritto voler cieco consente;

Ma colui, ch' in un punto pace e guerra
Può darmi e tor, tanto al suo dolce lume
M'avvezza, che non sempre il desir' erra.

Onde strada al mio andar fece il costume
Di seguir l'orme chiare e fuggir l'ombra,
E diede al mio voler veloci piume.

E giunsi al sol ch'agli occhi miei disgombra
Quel d'ignoranza vel, che a noi mortali
Spesso 'l veder intorno appanna e adombra.

Ed udii dir: Perchè tra tanti mali
T'intrichi ognor? vien meco, acciò là scorga
Spirti ch'al merto tuo non sono uguali.

Ma pria convien che tutta umil mi porga
Gli occhi, e intenti sì, che di qual poco
Raggio, che in me lampeggia, almen t'accorga:

Onde la vista accesa a poco a poco
Acquisti tal vigor, che non l'offenda
Maggior di questo assai più puro foco.

Convien, che 'l modo e la ragion tu intenda
Come a chi qua su vien dolor si tolga,
E di vero piacer la veste prenda;

E che sappi tra noi quanto si dolga
Che in terra vegga alcun, ch'abbia già amato,
Ch' in ver gli scogli la sua barca volga.

Chè se s'appaga e gode ogni beato
Nel mirar solo il primo eterno amante,
Il natural desio non è cangiato

D'amar chi ama: anzi è ferma e costante
Carità vera quì, che non si scema
Pel variar dell'opre o del sembiante.

Tu scorgi allor, diss'io com'arde e trema
Dinanzi ai raggi tuoi la mia virtute;
E qual speme e timor l'ingombri e prema.

Di fiamme vie e di saette acute
Arso e punto fu il core il giorno, ch'io
Posi nelle tue man la mia salute.

Vorrei gli umani error porre in oblio:
Ch'essendomi tu guida, a maggior cose,
Ch'a mio stato non lice, ergo 'l desio.

Per man lieto mi prese, e non rispose
Ai detti miei: ma allor seco mi strinse
Sì, che nel suo splendor tutta m'ascose.

On'io potea (sì del suo bel mi cinse)
Veder quasi in un specchio quel che 'l cielo
Sol per suoi prieghi agli occhi miei dipinse.

Ma pria sentii com'un squarciar di velo
A me d'intorno, e caldo e puro vento
Tutta infiammarmi d'amorso zelo.

Fa, ch'io possa ridir quel che pavento,
Tu che lo stato e la salute al mondo.
Amor, donasti, e sei di te contento!

Io vidi allor un carro tal, ch'a tondo
Il ciel, la terra, il mar cinger parea
Col suo chiaro splendor vago e giocondo;

Sovra l'imperador del cielo avea,
Qual che scese fra noi per noi scampare
Del sevir grave e della morte rea.

E come molti empir l'invidie avare
De' beni altrui, superbi trionfando,
Vil voglie d'un ingordo empio regnare;

Costui vinse e donò 'l suo regno, quando
In sacrificio se medesmo diede,
Col puro sangue il nostro error lavando.

Sua la vittoria, e nostra è la mercede:
Fece, che vita abbaim del suo morire
Noi ch'eravam de gran nemico prede.

Io avea già di tanto aspro martire
Da mille inteso, e in mille carte letto;
E con sospir di quel solea gioire:

Però dinanzi sì novo cospetto
Non mi fu dunque la mia scorta presta
A trar d'errore e dubbio l'intelletto.

Io vedea l'onorata e sacra testa,
Che suole aver di stelle ampia corona,
di spine averla acute ora contesta:

E piagata la man, che toglie e dona
Al ciel corso, al sol luce, ai mortal vita,
Qui virtù, là su gloria eterna e buona.

Su gli omer santi, acciò ch'al ciel gradita
Sia l'umil nostra spoglia, io vidi 'l legno
Ch'a pianger sempre il primo error m'invita;
Quel del nostro gioir securo pegno,
Ch'adorar con le man giunte si deve,
Perch'ei sostenne il nostro ver sostegno.

Non fu alle sante spalle il peso greve,
Quanto dovrebbe, oimè, del nostro affanno
Tal rimembranza farne il peso lieve!

Sul carro, alla man destra, in real scanno
La vergin era d'ogni virtù esempio,
Per cui possiam fuggir l'eterno danno.

Costei fu innanzi a tutti i tempi tempio
A dio sacrato: e vidi, e sapea come
Con umiltà calcò 'l superbo e l'empio.

Ai santi piè colei, che simil nome
Onora, vidi ardendo d'amor lieta
Risplender cinta dell'aurate chiome.

La mosse a pianger qui ben degna pieta;
Onde 'l ceil vuol, che con egual misera,
In vece del dolor, la gloria or mieta:

Poi che la rese la sua fe secura,
Non volse 'l piè fedel, nè strinse 'l pianto;
Ma con cor fermo e con pietosa cura

Sola rimase, e dentro al suo bel manto
Mille chiare virtù davan conforto
All' alta voglia, al grande animo santo.

Al sepolcro cercando il Signor morto,
L'apparve vivo, e diede alto e felice
Al gran mar delle sue lagrime porto.

Beata lei, che 'l frutto e la radice
Sprezzò del mndo, e del suo Signor ora
Altra dolcessa e sempiterna elice!

Io che da un altro sol più vaga aurora
Illustrata vedea, con altro caldo
Di quel che i nosti fiori apre e 'ncolora,
Tenni qui gli occhi fisi e 'l pensier saldo.


This piece is sometimes said to be influenced by Savonarola's Triumphus Crucis though Dante generally and specifically in Paradiso and Petrarch's six Triumphs (in terza rima) lie behind this poem just as strongly.


V, "Capitolo Del Trionfo di Cristo," 369-377. See also B S2:36:195-199; Ruscelli, "Trionfo della Croce," 472-501 (with interspersed commentary; follows Visconti's text when the V differs from B in lines 10-2, 22, 48, 99; there are small changes in tense or spelling between V & B); no MSs; not in 1546 but in 1548 Valgrisi; 1760 Rota.

Previous translations:

No previous complete translation into English or French, though pieces have been translated into both languages.
Amaro Lagrimar
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 6 January 2003