"The sky, lit heretofore by him alone,
Straight reappears, with myriad lights made quick,
And all reflected splendor of the one."
(Canto XX. 4-6)
Creator of the Stars of Night
|1. Creator of the stars of night,
Thy peoples everlasting Light;
Jesus, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear thy servants when they call.
|2. Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death an universe,
Hast found the medcine, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruind race.
|3. Thou camst, the Bridegroom of the Bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a Virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.
When the Eagle ceased to speak it brought to Dante's mind the starry night sky which the living lights of just rulers outshined by their song which he unfortunately he no longer remembers. So, I have included above an appropriate song.
Now Dante hears the sound like that of a bagpipe emerging from the throat of the eagle which forms words. It tells Dante to fix his gaze on its head and look upon the chief souls of this heavenly dimension. The light in the pupil of the Eagle's eye is David.
"Midpoint, as 'twere the pupil, burns the spark
Which was the minstrel of the Holy Spirit,
And once from town to town bare forth the ark."
(Canto XX. 37-39)
This is King David, the second king to rule Israel (1010-970 BC). He was brought to Israel's court by king Saul to play and sing so as to drive away the ugly moods of the king. David was a man very aware of God's role in human life. When king Saul out of jealousy was seeking to kill David and he had a chance to kill Saul, he refused saying, "God forbid that I should lay an hand on the LORD'S anointed". On another occasion when a man was cursing at him and his men wanted to kill him he prevented them saying, maybe it is God who told him to curse me. When he did wrong he repented saying, "Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness, in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense." (Ps 51:1) He promoted the worship of God by bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. He was deeply aware that his strength came from God as he prayed, "O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, the rock of my refuge!" (2Sam 22:2) God promised David that his house or kingdom would last forever and this was realized in Christ, the descendant of David in his human nature.
"Five in the eyebrow's arch - mark these again!
The one nearest to the beak doth sit
Consoled the widow when her son was slain
And now he knows how dear they pay for it
Who serve not Christ, by his experience
of this sweet life and of the opposite."
(Canto XX. 43-48)
Here Dante refers to Emperor Trajan who in 99 AD entered Rome on foot amidst the rejoicing people, embraced each senator and even walked among the common people. "To the people he restored the elective power; to the senate, liberty of speech and of action; to the magistrates, their former authority. He abolished the law of treason (lex maiestatis), and assumed his proper place as the chief magistrate of the empire." In the above Dante indicates an event in Trajan' life which we still find sculptured on Trajan's Column in Rome. Trajan was on his way with troops when a widow approached him weeping and pleading for justice for the death of her son. To Dante Trajan seems to say to her "wait till I return" but what if you don't return? Then he may have said, "my successor will hear your case". "What good shall someone else's Good deeds do you if you ignore me now?" (Purgatorio: Canto X. 89-90). So Trajan halted his journey to do justice for this widow. When Pliny the Younger asked Trajan how he should deal with the Christians of Pontus, he told him to leave them alone unless they were practicing their religion openly. He was such a good emperor that the Senate added the title OPTIMUS (the Best) after his imperial title.
In the image above you see Trajan, who was a pagan, sacrificing to the Roman gods. Dante does not understand how Trajan who did not believe in Christ could be saved. The scene of Trajan interceding for the sorrowful widow moved Pope Gregory the Great (590-604 AD) to pray for the salvation of Trajan and Dante adopted the medieval legend which said that Trajan soul's resumed his body so that he could be converted and believe in Christ.
"And, so believing, loved, with ardent flame
So bright, that at the second death 'twas found
Worthy to join our high celestial game."
(Canto XX. 115-117)
Canto XX: Jupiter... (Continued)