SiStan ChapLee

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Tasso Revised Version (4)

[2: 62]

Chi giova al suo vicin, né face inganno,
E non s'avanza con iniqua frode;
Chi l'or non presta avaro, e d'anno in anno
Non fa il ricolto d'auro, e sprezza lode:
Chi non vuol d'innocente o morte o danno
Per caro dono ond'arrichisce e gode:
Mosso non sarà mai; non tema alfine
Se cade il mondo rotto, alte ruine.

Who benefits his neighbor, nor does he deceive,
And does not seek success by unjust fraud;
Who doesn't lend gold to usury, and year by year
Doesn't harvest gold, and despises praise;
Who doesn't like the innocent's death or injury
For any dear gift so as to get rich and enjoy.
He will never be shaken, and let him finally not fear
If the broken world falls in high ruins.

From the viewpoint of language, it is interesting to notice the two words used to say gold, i.e. "or[o]" that is the still current Italian term, and "auro" that follows the Latin aurum more closely. In fact, Tasso employed so many Latinizing words and structures that some critics said he would better write the poem directly in Latin - see Milton who, "in writing Paradise Lost, forgot he was English."

The "world falling in ruins" is a typical Tassian refrain, see especially the final verses in his long poem Il Mondo Creato.