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Friday, June 26, 2015

A noble witch (2)

[7: 88]

Ella l'amato medicar desìa
E curar il nemico a lei conviene.
Pensa talhor d'herba nocente e ria
Succo sparger in lui, che l'avelene;
Ma schiva poi la man cortese e pia
Trattar l'arti maligne, e se n'astiene.
Brama ella almen ch'in uso tal sia vota
Di sua virtute ogni herba et ogni nota.

She would like to treat her beloved one,
While forced to medicate his enemy. (*)
Sometimes she thinks about using the juice
Of a noxious herb so as to poison him;
But her gentle, generous hand refuses
To perform such evil arts, and she refrains.
She wishes, at least, that now any herb,
Any formula(**) may prove powerless.

(*) Nicaea would like to heal the wounded Tancred, but must medicate Argantes instead. The theme of magic is mixed with the typical Renaissance theme of the paradoxes of love.
(**) The reference to magic/healing formulas (meant by the technical term nota) had been deleted in the former stanza; here however, in a more indirect context, Tasso preserves it.