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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let he who loves me follow me (3)

[6: 117]

Se da l'arida terra alto germoglia
Arbor talvolta in sventurati campi,
Maturi pomi infra la verde foglia
Son quasi tocchi da fulminei lampi,
Che non guastando la purpurea spoglia,
Avien che quel di dentro arda et avampi,
E da l'ira del ciel così destrutto,
Cenere ne l'aprir somiglia il frutto.

If from that dry soil a tree ever sprouts
And grows in those accursed fields,

The ripe fruits among its green leaves
Seem to have been struck by lightning,
Which, while leaving the red peel intact,
Burns and sets ablaze the inner parts;
So that, destroyed by heaven's wrath,
The opened fruit will look like ash.

Sodom, i.e. Armida's place, recalls an inverted Eden. This description will probably be echoed by John Milton in Paradise Lost 10, when Satan and all devils with him are punished by God for the Fall of Man by turning them into snakes and forcing them to eat fruits whose pulp turns out to be ash. And another landscape like that will appear in Lovecraft's masterpiece The Colour Out of Space.