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Saturday, October 12, 2013

From long-continued silence hoarse (3)

A Roman Catholic believer like Torquato Tasso could 'borrow' practically anything from the pagan Virgil; even prayers, just changing [the] God's name. But there is one subject matter on which Tasso does not follow Virgil - and Homer - and draws on completely different sources. And this is death.

In Aeneid 11: 36-41, Aeneas enters the place in which the dead Pallas has been arranged. And . . .
ut uero Aeneas foribus sese intulit altis
ingentem gemitum tunsis ad sidera tollunt
pectoribus, maestoque immugit regia luctu.
ipse caput niuei fultum Pallantis et ora
ut uidit leuique patens in pectore uulnus
cuspidis Ausoniae, lacrimis ita fatur obortis:
. . .

Tasso repeats the scene in a very similar way when Godfrey finds himself in front of the corpse of Guidon (see), but when he starts to speak, his words have nothing in common with Aeneas' words, that ran like this:

Just you, miserable lad, has envious Fortune - while showing up so happy - taken away from me, so that you may not see our kingdom, nor be exalted as a hero in your father's palace?