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Friday, June 5, 2015

The reasons of the heart (7)

[7: 82]

E da la torre che sublime sorge
Tra 'l Borea e l'Euro in su l'antiche mura
Mirar le genti suol, ch'indi si scorge,
Vaga di morte e del suo mal secura.
Quivi, da che 'l suo lume il sol ne porge
Insin che poi la notte il mondo oscura,
S'asside, e i suoi begli occhi al campo gira,
E co' pensier suoi parla e sospira.

And from the high tower that rises on
The North-East side of those ancient walls, (*)
She often looks at the people down there,
Sure of her pain while longing for death. (**)
There, since the hour in which the sun first gives
Its light until night darkens the world,
She sits and turns her beautiful eyes around,
And sighing, speaks to her own thoughts.

(*) The Antonia Fortress, presumably. Jerusalem -- in the poem as well as in history -- will be besieged by the Crusaders from under the Northern wall.
(**) These lines are not very clear; they were quite different, and clearer, in GL 6: 62. The words del suo mal secura might also mean "safe from her dangers," but the broader context suggests the other solution.