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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tancred vs Argantes (3)

[7: 59]

Tacque; e 'l nemico, al sofferir poco uso,
Rodesi dentro e di furor si strugge.
Risponder vuol, ma n'esce il suon confuso
Sì come strido d'animal che rugge;
E com'apre le nubi ond'egli è chiuso
Impetüoso il fulmine, e se 'n fugge,
O come spirto da sulfurea tomba,
Così dal petto acceso il tuon rimbomba.

He(*) stopped -- and his enemy, (**) not much accustomed to grin and bear, eats his heart out and is consumed with rage. Argantes tries to reply, but just a muddled sound comes out, like the squeal of a roaring beast; and, as a lightning bolt breaks the clouds that enclose it and slips away, or as a spirit from a sulfurous grave does, (***) so a thunder echoes from his burning chest.

(*) Tancred
(**) There was 'l pagano, "the Pagan," in the manuscript; then edited.
(***) The natural description of fumes from underground is mixed with the appearance of a spectre, playing on the original -- Hebrew, Greek, Latin -- meaning of the word "spirit" (ruach, pneuma, spiritus). The rhyme of tomba/rimbomba, "grave/echoes," comes from Dante, Inferno 6: 97, 99. The most interesting anthropological remark, however, concerns the crash of speech faculty in parallel with the explosion of a 'more ancient,' basic, 'animal,' visceral feeling.