SeeStan ChapLee

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What are friends for (3)

[6: 70, 73]

Sorrise allhor Riccardo, e con un volto
In cui tra l'ira lampeggiò lo sdegno:

[ripete la solita prosopopea: "io qui, io là", poi...]

Ma s'a' meriti miei questa mercede
Goffredo rende, e vuole homai legarme
Pur com'io fossi un huom del volgo, e crede
A l'indegna pregion deluso trarme:
Venga egli, o mande, io terrò fermo il piede.
Giudici fian tra noi la sorte e l'arme;
Fera tragedia vuol che s'appresenti
Per lor trastullo a le nemiche genti -.

Then Richard sneered, and with an expression in which disdain flashed among wrath, he said [the usual thundering self-commendation, then . . . ] "But if this is the reward that Godfrey gives to my merits, and he now means to tie me as if I were one of the vulgar herd, and thinks he can trick(*) me and drag me to a shameful jail, let him come here, or send anybody else: I will keep steady. Judges between the two of us will be Luck(**) and Arms: a fierce tragedy is to be(***) acted to the benefit of our enemies, to their delight!"

(*) Here the Italian verb deludere, currently meaning "to disappoint," maintains its original meaning (from Latin ludere, to play) as the English word "delusion" still does.
(**) Sorte has a quite wide range of meanings, from mere chance to one's deepest rooted destiny. A typical Renaissance concern, revived e.g. in Tolkien's sagas.
(***) The verb vuol might be translated as "(he, Godfrey) wants," but more probably, it is an impersonal construction referring to something that is likely to happen. In this passage, once again, the tension of Renaissance heroism vs Christian virtues can be clearly perceived. Tasso believed in both.