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The darkness there was day, the night was gone,
There sparkled, clothed in his azure-beam,
The heavenly sapphire, there the jacinth shone,
The carbuncle there flamed, the diamond sheen,
There glistered bright, there smiled the emerald green.
Amazed the knights amid these wonders passed,
And fixed so deep the marvels in their thought,
That not one word they uttered, till at last
Ubaldo spake, and thus his guide besought:
"O father, tell me by what skill thou hast
These wonders done? and to what place us brought?
For well I know not if I wake or sleep,
My heart is drowned in such amazement deep."
"You are within the hollow womb," quoth he,
"Of fertile earth, the nurse of all things made,
And but you brought and guided are by me,
Her sacred entrails could no wight invade;
My palace shortly shall you splendent see,
With glorious light, though built in night and shade.
A Pagan was I born, but yet the Lord
To grace, by baptism, hath my soul restored.
"Nor yet by help of devil, or aid from hell,
I do this uncouth work and wondrous feat,
The Lord forbid I use or charm or spell
To raise foul Dis from his infernal seat:
But of all herbs, of every spring and well,
The hidden power I know and virtue great,
And all that kind hath hid from mortal sight,
And all the stars, their motions, and their might.
"For in these caves I dwell not buried still
From sight of Heaven. but often I resort
To tops of Lebanon or Carmel hill,
And there in liquid air myself disport,
There Mars and Venus I behold at will!
As bare as erst when Vulcan took them short,
And how the rest roll, glide and move, I see,
How their aspects benign or froward be."
"And underneath my feet the clouds I view,
Now thick, now thin, now bright with Iris' bow,
The frost and snow, the rain, the hail, the dew,
The winds, from whence they come and whence they blow,
How Jove his thunder makes and lightning new,
How with the bolt he strikes the earth below,
How comate, crinite, caudate stars are framed
I knew; my skill with pride my heart inflamed.
"So learned, cunning, wise, myself I thought,
That I supposed my wit so high might climb
To know all things that God had framed or wrought,
Fire, air, sea, earth, man, beast, sprite, place and time;
But when your hermit me to baptism brought,
And from my soul had washed the sin and crime,
Then I perceived my sight was blindness still,
My wit was folly, ignorance my skill.
"Then saw I, that like owls in shining sun,
So gainst the beams of truth our souls are blind,
And at myself to smile I then begun,
And at my heart, puffed up with folly's wind,
Yet still these arts, as I before had done,
I practised, such was the hermit's mind:
Thus hath he changed my thoughts, my heart, my will,
And rules mine art, my knowledge, and my skill.
"In him I rest, on him my thoughts depend,
My lord, my teacher, and my guide is he,
This noble work he strives to bring to end,
He is the architect, the workmen we,
The hardy youth home to this camp to send
From prison strong, my care, my charge shall be;
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