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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Satanic Verses (1)

[6: 23, the devil speaks]

- Teco giostra Riccardo; hor tanto vale
Quel suo numero van d'antichi Heroi?
Narri costui, ch'a te vuol farsi eguale,
Le genti serve e i tributari suoi;
Vanti gli scettri, e 'n degnità regale
Paragoni i suoi morti a' vivi tuoi:
Ah quanto osa un signor d'indegno stato,
Signor che ne la serva Italia è nato!

"Richard vies with you . . .  Is that vain
Number of old heroes of his so valiant?
Let this guy, who tries to prove your equal,
List his subjected and tributary peoples!
Let him boast the scepters, and royally
Compare his dead to your living peers.
Ha, too bold is the Lord of an unworthy State,
A Lord who was born in servile Italy!"


Note 1
This octave is noteworthy for several reasons. First of all, the text in the manuscript (here reported) is the same as in Gerusalemme Liberata 5: 19, but the final printed version will wind up completely different, and it will run like that:

- Teco giostra Riccardo; a te s'agguaglia
Quel che si vanta pur degli avi suoi,
Quasi huom per corseggiare in pregio saglia,
E i ladroni del mar sien degni heroi.
Deh, quali arti di pace e di battaglia
Già fra gli Occidentali e fra gli heroi
Da lor usate ei narra? E non si scorna
Mentre de' suoi prede e rapine adorna?

"Richard vies with you . . .   He makes himself your equal, he who even boasts his ancestors as if someone may gain honor by practising piracy, and the sea thieves may be true heroes. Ha, which arts of peace and war can he talk about, among those employed by Westerners and heroes? Doesn't he feel ashamed at all, as he embellishes the plunders and robberies of his people?"

( . . .  to be continued . . . )