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.
George Frideric Handel - Deidamia, HWV42 (opera) - Classical Archives
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.
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.
Deidamia, HWV42 (opera)
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. Constrain to simple back and forward steps.
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