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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nobody knows the troubles I've seen (3)

As a matter of fact, in some verses here not reported, Godfrey also promised Armida that the Crusaders will help her as soon as their main mission is over. But she (pretends she) isn't out of danger by that . . .  [5: 72]

E perché legge d'honestate e zelo
Non vuol che qui sì lungamente indugi,
A cui ricovro intanto? ove mi celo,
O quai contra il Tiranno havrò refugi?
Nessun sì chiuso loco è sotto il cielo
Che a l'or non s'apra; hor perché tanti indugi?
Veggio la morte, e se 'l fuggirla è vano,
Incontra lei n'andrò con questa mano.

"And since the laws of honesty and [religious?] zeal prevent me from lingering here for so long, where will I shelter meanwhile? Where can I hide, where can I find a refuge against the Tyrant? No place on earth is so closed that gold cannot open it . . .  So, why so many delays? I see Death, and if fleeing from him proves useless, I will go and meet him by this my hand."

Threatening to commit suicide, or actually trying to, is a quite usual psychological strategy in the poems of chivalry. In the case of Tasso, however, it was something more than literary commonplace, given that he once wrote to a friend, "I would have already killed myself, if my Christian faith hadn't prevented me from doing so."