SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Never mess with Vikings (1)

[6: 15.3 - 16.8]

. . .
Allhora il lascia Eustatio, e va piegando
De' suoi compagni al suo voler gli affetti.
Ma chiede a prova il principe Gernando
Quel grado, e bench'Armida in lui saetti,
Men può nel cor superbo amor di donna
Di quel desio d'honor ch'in lui s'indonna.

Sceso Gerando è da gran re norvegi,
Che di molte province hebber l'impero,
E le corone d'oro e i scettri regi
E del padre e degli avi il fanno altero.
Altero è l'altro de' suoi propri fregi
Più che de l'opre ch'i passati fêro,
Anchor che gli avi suoi cento e più lustri
Stati sian chiari in pace e 'n guerra illustri.

Then Eustace leaves him [Richard] and starts to bend his comrades' feelings according to his plan. But that grade is asked for by Prince Gernand too; even though Armida does shoot love arrows into him, in his proud heart the love of a woman is less powerful than the desire for honor, which rules(*) it. Gernand descends from great Norwegian kings, who were the Lords of many lands, and the gold crowns and royal scepters of his own father and his ancestors make him arrogant. While his rival [Richard] is proud of his own deeds rather than those of past people, in spite of his ancestors having been famous in peace and glorious in war for centuries.

(*) Tasso here uses the verb "s'indonna" that was invented by Dante, literally meaning "becomes the Mistress of" ("si in-donna," from Latin domina). Just, in Dante this verb obviously depended on a feminine noun, while Tasso here oddly uses it in reference to "desio" (desire), that is masculine. This, consciously or not, has the side effect of stressing the rivalry between two loves, Honor and Armida.