Purgatorio Canto XXXII

Purgatorio 32

I saw a giant who stood beside her,
perhaps to prevent her being taken from him.
They kissed each other again and again.

vv. 151-153

The Earthly Paradise. – Return of the Triumphal procession. – The Chariot bound to the Mystic Tree. – Sleep of Dante. – His waking to find the Triumph departed. – Transformation of the Chariot. – The Harlot and the Giant.

The chariot has been turned around and begun moving into the forest; Dante, Statius, and the woman follow. After much walking, Beatrice descends from the car. In front of them is a massive tree, “stripped of its leaves.” She tells the three that “This is how the seed of justice is preserved,” and they watch as the griffin grafts a shaft onto the tree; miraculously, life and color return to it. Soon, Dante falls asleep. The woman wakes him, and Dante finds himself confused, wondering where Beatrice has gone. She turns his attention to her, sitting under the tree. She stands “as if left behind to guard the chariot,” when suddenly an eagle descends on the chariot. The car reels “like a ship tossed in a tempest,” and then a fox steals into it; Beatrice beats the fox back. The eagle swoops again and covers the chariot in feathers, then a dragon appears, shattering its bottom with its tail. The chariot sprouts heads, and Dante sees “a disheveled harlot” on top of it. A giant is next to her, and angry at her provocative glances, he hits and turns the chariot into the wood.

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