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Friday, November 29, 2013

She, Armida (16)

[5: 45, Armida speaks to Godfrey]

Figlia io son di Arbilan, che 'l regno tenne
Di Maraclea, e voi tutti accolse e i vostri;
Ma del suocero suo gli stati ottenne
Ne la Fenicia, e d'or ricco fu e d'ostri.
Con la sua morte il nascer mio prevenne
Mia madre, ascesa a gli stellanti chiostri:
E giunse invidïosa empia fortuna
La sua tomba, in un giorno, e la mia cuna.

"I am the daughter of Arbilan, who ruled the city of Maraclea and welcomed all of you and your soldiers; he also got the territories of his father-in-law in Phoenicia, and he was rich with gold and purple. My mother, who has by now ascended to the starry courts, died just before my birth: the evil-eyed, ungodly Fortune united her grave and my cradle on the very same day."

Verse 3 actually begins with "Ma," literally: "But." Tasso often uses it in the sense of the Greek , that can be rendered as "on the other hand, to be sure, indeed," or simply "and." Here it has been translated as "he also."
"Starry courts": literally "starry cloisters," but the latter word has a general meaning. Tasso used the phrase "stellanti chiostri" in his long poem Il Mondo Creato too.
"Evil-eyed" translates "invidiosa," literally "envious," but it must be interpreted in the etymological sense Dante gave to the word: invidiosa, from Latin in-videre, "to see something/someone negatively."

by Selkis

Some more comments on this: see next Tuesday (Dec. 3).