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Friday, February 7, 2014

With many thanks (3)

[5: 85]

Quinci, veggendo che fortuna arriso
Al gran principio degli inganni havea,
Prima che 'l suo pensier le sia preciso
Dispon di trarre al fin opra sì rea
E meraviglie far co 'l chiaro viso
Più che con l'arti lor Circe o Medea;
E 'n voce di sirena a' dolci accenti
Addormentar le più svegliate menti.

So, seeing that Fortune has smiled on the first fundamental phase of her deceits, [Armida] decides to bring her evil work to an end before her plan may suffer any kind of interruption. With her beautiful face, she will work more marvels than Circe or Medea with their arts; and with the sweet sounds of her mermaid voice, numb the most awakened minds.


Notes
Circe and Medea were the symbols par excellence of witchery, associated with beauty and dangerousness. If in Gerusalemme Liberata likening Armida to a mermaid was a plain metaphor, here in Gerusalemme Conquistata it becomes a reference to her actual being. In fact, in the second version of his Jerusalem-poem, Tasso 'pumps' all narrative elements of the first version: more history, more fantasy, more horror, more sex, more theology, etc.