|Web source reworked by Selkis|
Tal ch'il maligno spirito d'Averno
Ch'in lui strada sì larga aprir si vede
Tacito in sen gli serpe, et al governo
De' suoi pensieri lusingando siede;
E qui sempre lo sdegno e l'odio interno
Acceso infiamma, e 'l cor avampa e fiede,
E quasi nube che si squarcia e tona
Mesta voce ne l'alma a lui risona:
. . .
So much so that the evil spirit of Hell,
Who sees such a broad road open in him, (*)
Silently snakes into him, and flattering
Sits in command of his thoughts;
Here, he lights and inflames Gernand's
Scorn and hate, firing up, hurting his heart.
Like a cloud breaking and thundering,
A sad voice echoes in his soul,
. . .
(*) Gernand. Tasso 'exactly' -- as far as we can understand -- describes the process by which the devil enters someone's mind so as to orient it according to his will. The "discernment of spirits" was one of the main concerns in St. Ignatius of Loyola's method, linking spirituality and psychology, that marked Tasso's epoch. There is an obvious pun in the word "serpe," (to) snake.