Canto 2 - Ante-Purgatory: The Celestial Pilot. Casella. The Departure

The poets see a light swiftly moving across the water towards them. This is the Angel of Purgatory, pilot of a ship powered only by his wings and filled with souls of The Redeemed singing Psalm 114 "When Israel came out of Egypt", a Biblical song of freedom. The pilgrims disembark and ask Virgil the way, but he explains that they, too, are strangers in this land:-

My Master yet had uttered not a word
while the first whiteness into wings unfolded;
but when he clearly recognized the pilot,

he cried: "Make haste, make haste to bow the knee!
Behold the Angel of God! Fold thou thy hands!
Henceforward shalt thou see such officers!

The Celestial Pilot

Dante recognizes a musician friend, Casella, who proceeds to sing one of Dante's own poems set to music. Everyone is entranced, and Cato has to break up the party, urging them to get on with the task in hand. From this time on, there would never exist for them, circumstances favorable to even the most refined of earthly pleasures."

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