SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rebel With a Cause (1)

[6: 30] The tragedy looms

Hor quivi allhor che v'è turba più folta,
Pur come è suo destin, Riccardo accusa,
E quasi acuto strale in lui rivolta
La lingua, del venen d'Averno infusa;
E vicino è Guiscardo, e quasi ascolta,
Ma pur l'ira tenendo in sé rinchiusa,
A lui s'appressa e dice: - A te concedo
L'alto grado, Signor, se troppo io chiedo.

Here, when the place is most crowded,
As his fate leads him, he(*) blames Richard,
Pointing his tongue as a sharp arrow,
Dipped in hell's poison, against him.
Guiscard is nearby, and partly listens,
But, keeping his wrath closed in himself,
He approaches and says, "I will grant you
This rank, Lord, if I don't deserve it."

(*) Gernand. As to his adversary's name, in the GC manuscript, Tasso keeps dithering between "Richard" and "Guiscard," as a tribute to the Medieval warlord Robert Guiscard (whom Dante mentions in Paradiso 18: 48 together with Godfrey of Boullion), and sometimes he even writes "Rinaldo" as in the Liberata. In the final version of the poem, his name will definitively be Richard.