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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Solyman rising (1)

[7: 9.1-2, 10.1-8]

Rispose il Re: - La tua virtute ardente
Non sdegni il fren di questa età senile
. . .

Ma quel ch'altrui si tien celato ad arte
Essere al figlio dee chiaro e palese:
Soliman di Nicea, che brama in parte
Di vendicar le ricevute offese,
Degli Arabi le schiere erranti e sparte
Raccolte ha già sin da l'arene accese;
E spera portar, quasi di corso,
Danno a' feri nemici, a noi soccorso.

The King replied, "Let not your burning valor despise the curb of this old age of mine . . .  But what, on purpose, is being kept hidden to all must now be made clear to my own son: Solyman of Nicaea, who longs(*) for vengeance for the injuries he received,(**) has already gathered the wandering and scattered armies of the Arabians in the land of fiery-hot sands; and he hopes to be able to hasten here so as to bring damages to our fierce enemies, help to us."

(*) The text adds in parte, "partly," but it is simply a filler for the sake of rhyme.
(**) The final printed text remarks gravi e 'ndegne offese, "great and humiliating injuries."

The personages
Both Argantes and Solyman already appeared in Gerusalemme Liberata as the main Muslim heroes, together with Clorinda. Both, however, undergo important changes in the Conquistata. Here, Argantes is no longer an ally of the King of Jerusalem but his very son; this will cause some inconsistencies in the plot because Argantes often keeps behaving like a foreign guest, as he did in the Liberata. As for Solyman, in the Conquistata he becomes the father of a princess with the same name as the city: Nicaea, the character who was called Erminia in the Liberata, and wasn't his daughter. This also will bring about inconsistencies. For example, Solyman never meets his daughter, even though both, independently, have taken shelter in Jerusalem. Nicaea, in her turn, will mourn the death of Argantes rather than her father's.