The Divine Comedy describes Dante's journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso), guided first by the Roman poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, the subject of his love and of another of his works, La Vita Nuova. While the vision of Hell, the Inferno, is vivid for modern readers, the theological niceties presented in the other books require a certain amount of patience and knowledge to appreciate. Purgatorio, the most lyrical and human of the three, also has the most poets in it; Paradiso, the most heavily theological, has the most beautiful and ecstatic mystic passages in which Dante tries to describe what he confesses he is unable to convey (e.g., when Dante looks into the face of God: "e;all'alta fantasia qui manco possa"e; - "e;at this high moment, ability failed my capacity to describe,"e; Paradiso, XXXIII, 142).His glory, by whose might all things are mov'd,Pierces the universe, and in one partSheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. In heav'n,That largeliest of his light partakes, was I,Witness of things, which to relate againSurpasseth power of him who comes from thence;For that, so near approaching its desireOur intellect is to such depth absorb'd,That memory cannot follow. Nathless all,That in my thoughts I of that sacred realmCould store, shall now be matter of my song.Benign Apollo! this last labour aid,And make me such a vessel of thy worth,As thy own laurel claims of me belov'd.Thus far hath one of steep Parnassus' browsSuffic'd me; henceforth there is need of bothFor my remaining enterprise Do thouEnter into my bosom, and there breatheSo, as when Marsyas by thy hand was dragg'dForth from his limbs unsheath'd. O power divine!If thou to me of shine impart so much,That of that happy realm the shadow'd formTrac'd in my thoughts I may set forth to view,Thou shalt behold me of thy favour'd treeCome to the foot, and crown myself with leaves;For to that honour thou, and my high themeWill fit me. If but seldom, mighty Sire!To grace his triumph gathers thence a wreathCaesar or bard (more shame for human willsDeprav'd) joy to the Delphic god must springFrom the Pierian foliage, when one breastIs with such thirst inspir'd. From a small sparkGreat flame hath risen: after me perchanceOthers with better voice may pray, and gainFrom the Cirrhaean city answer kind.About Dante:Durante degli Alighieri, simply referred to as Dante (1265-1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called La Comedia and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta ("e;the Supreme Poet"e;) or just il Poeta. He, Petrarch and Boccaccio are also known as "e;the three fountains"e; or "e;the three crowns"e;. Dante is also called the "e;Father of the Italian language"e;.