Dante's Birth

Dante’s Birth

This Year marks the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth (born c. May 21-June 20, 1265). Our Society will commemorate the anniversary with a special event as part of a series of celebrations by our sister societies in other cities during the month of June. We use Salvador Dali’s illustration of Dante in Paradise (from the Divine Comedy, Paradise, primo canto) together with a reading of its opening verses in outer space by first Italian woman in space astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as part of the celebration of the anniversary. These are words she read in Italian with the English translation.

Primo canto Paradiso: the Ascent to the First Heaven. The Sphere of Fire

La gloria di colui che tutto move
per l’universo penetra, e risplende
in una parte più e meno altrove.

Nel ciel che più de la sua luce prende
fu’ io, e vidi cose che ridire
né sa né può chi di là sù discende;

perché appressando sé al suo disire,
nostro intelletto si profonda tanto,
che dietro la memoria non può ire.

Veramente quant’ io del regno santo
ne la mia mente potei far tesoro,
sarà ora materia del mio canto.


The glory of Him who moveth everything
Doth penetrate the universe, and shine
In one part more and in another less.

Within that heaven which most his light receives
Was I, and things beheld which to repeat
Nor knows, nor can, who from above descends;

Because in drawing near to its desire
Our intellect engulfs itself so far,
That after it the memory cannot go.

Truly whatever of the holy realm
I had the power to treasure in my mind
Shall now become the subject of my song.