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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This is Istanbul (1)

[3: 22]

Altrove la città vedeasi intesta
A cui diè Costantin l'imperio e 'l nome,
Tre fronti alzando incoronar la testa,
Donna di genti tributarie e dome;
Quivi Goffredo e i Duci han d'or la vesta
Sovra l'arme lucenti e d'or le chiome,
Quai Gretia le dipinse al biondo Apollo,
E d'oro hanno il monil, di latte il collo.

Elsewhere woven you could see the city
To which Constantin gave the power and the name,
Her head crowned, raise three foreheads,
Lady of tributary and tamed peoples.
There Godfrey and the Chiefs wear gold
On shining weapons, their hair golden
As Greece did paint to blond Apollo,
And gold their jewels, their necks like milk.

This octave contains no special novelties, but it has been chosen for its beauty. It describes another episode shown in the representative tent; the verb "intesta" (woven) may simply mean "told," or more specifically refer to tapestry - therefore, not a painting. Once again, the Mediterranean protagonists have a Nordic look. But the warriors' enchanting features possibly hint at the Bible too, see Song of Songs 4: 4, 11, 14, and 7: 5, etc.