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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Solyman rising (3)

[7: 13, Argantes speaks]

Vengane pur, quasi celeste messo,
Liberator del popolo pagano;
Ch'io, quanto a me, bastar credo a me stesso,
E sol vo' libertà da questa mano.
Hor nel riposo altrui mi sia concesso
Ch'io già discenda a guerreggiar nel piano:
Privato cavalier, non tuo campione,
Verrò co' Franchi a singolar tenzone.

"Let him freely come as a heavenly envoy, (*)
As the Liberator of the pagan people. (**)
As to me, I have no need for others
And only ask this hand of mine for freedom.
So, right here and now, while others rest,
Let me go down to the plain and give battle.
As a private knight, not as your champion,
I will defy the Franks in single combat." (***)

(*) Ironically quoting Dante, Inferno 9: 85, see also lines 79-80.
(**) It sounds odd, to our ears, that Argantes should call "pagan" his own people. But, as far as much Medieval and Renaissance literature witnesses, in the Christian countries no specific term existed to indicate Islam.
(***) This new request, to fight the Franks simply as proof of his personal valor, not in order to settle the war, makes the duel much less significant, though.