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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Queue-jumper (3)

[7: 33]

E veloce così, ch'in selva il pardo
O tigre segue il cacciator men presta,
Corre a ferire il cavalier gagliardo
Che d'altra parte la gran lancia arresta.
Si scote allhor Tancredi, e dal suo tardo
Pensier, quasi dal sonno, alfin si desta,
E grida ei ben: - La pugna è mia, rimanti! -
Ma troppo Ivone è già trascorso avanti.

So speedily that even a leopard in a forest,
Or a tiger, is slower in chasing the hunter,
The valiant knight(*) runs to attack, setting
His big lance in rest, from the opposite side.
Then Tancred shakes himself, awakening
From his benumbing thoughts as from sleep,
And shouts, "The battle is up to me! Stop!"
But Ives has already passed too far away.

(*) Argantes. The simile of a wild beast chasing a hunter, not vice versa, comes from the Iliad. So does the first attack being carried on with a big lance, though in Homer's poem the opponents threw their spears while standing at a certain distance; here, instead, they move against each other on horseback. Both in the Iliad and in the Renaissance poems, the second attack -- if the first proves unsuccessful -- is carried on with the swords. A third Homeric 'battle technique' consisted in hurling a heavy rock against the enemy; this also will happen in Gerusalemme Conquistata, but very seldom.