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Friday, July 31, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (10)

[7: 98]

Da tai speranze lusingata (ahi stolta!)
Somma felicità finge e figura;
Ma pur si trova in mille dubbi avolta,
Come partir si possa indi secura,
Perché vegghian le guardie, e sempre in volta
Vanno d'intorno a le guardate mura,
Né porta alcuna in perigliosa guerra
Senza grave ragion mai si diserra.

Cajoled by such hopes -- oh, you fool! -- (*)
She figures out the greatest happiness.
But she then feels inside a maze of doubts,
How she may leave safely from there, (**) since
The guards watch, and continuously in turn
They go all around the guarded walls;
And among the dangers of war no gates
Can be opened without a grave reason. (***)

(*) This may freely be a comment of Tasso on his own life.
(**) Jerusalem
(***) The last two lines have been modified in the final printed version: Sin che si mostra il dì ne l'orizonte / Né mai s'apre la porta o cala il ponte, ". . . [walls] so long as the sun is above the horizon; / No gates are opened, no drawbridges lowered."

The next GerusalemmeConquistata post will be online on September 1. Have a nice summer!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (9)

[7: 97, Love speaks]

Parte anchor poi ne le sue lodi havresti,
E ne l'opre di lui, alte e famose;
E lieta ei ti farìa di baci honesti,
O di nozze (o ch'io spero) al volgo ascose.
Poi glorïosa et honorata andresti
Tra le più liete e più felici spose
Là nella bella Italia, ov'alta sede
Ha 'l valor vero e la più vera fede -.

"You would then partake in his(*) praise
And in his deeds, so noble and famous;
He would cheer you up with chaste kisses,
Or -- hopefully -- with a secret wedding. (**)
Then, glorious and honored, you would go
Among the most joyful and happy spouses
To beautiful Italy, (***) the noble seat
Of true valor and of the truest faith." (****)

(*) Tancred's
(**) Interfaith marriages were inconceivable. But Nicaea is not ready, either, to convert to Christianity so as to make things easier, in spite of her mad love: in fact, converts -- from Islam to Christianity, or vice versa -- were basically despised even by their new brothers in faith. Nicaea is a princess, after all. Noblesse oblige.
(***) The literary character Tancred is based on a historical personage, a Norman warlord from Southern Italy.
(****) Cf. Dante, Inferno 2: 19-24.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

La rabbia esaudita: Dei Sepolcri


nella notte il grido

dell'upupo mannaro.


Pausa estiva. Con questa rubrica ci si rivede a settembre, ciao!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (8)

[7: 96, Love speaks]

Deh, ben fora, a l'incontra, officio humano,
E ben havresti tu gioia e diletto,
Se la pietosa tua medica mano
Avvicinassi al valoroso petto;
Ché per te fatto il tuo signor poi sano,
Colorirebbe il suo smarrito aspetto,
Né ti saria di sua bellezza avaro,
O d'altro don che sia gradito e caro.

"Oh, but it would be such a humane service,
And you would get such great joy and delight
If you could bring your compassionate, 
Medicating hand near to his(*) valiant chest;
After having been healed by you, your Lord
Would make his pale(**) face more colorful,
Nor would he then skimp on his own beauty ----
Or on some other dear and welcome gift." (***)

(*) Tancred
(**) The meaning of smarrito -- literally: lost, bewildered -- as "pale" comes from Dante.
(***) A hint at sex, like in Tasso's Prologue to his juvenile pastoral play Aminta.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (7)

[7: 95, Love speaks]

Sana tu pur Argante, acciò che poi
Il tuo liberator sia spinto a morte:
Così disciolti havrai gli oblighi tuoi
E sì bel premio fia ch'ei ne riporte.
È possibil però che non t'annoi
Questo officio crudel per dura sorte?
E non basta la noia e l'horror solo
A far che tu di qua te 'n fugga a volo?

"Yes, heal Argantes! And as a consequence
Your liberator(*) will be led to death:
So you will fulfill your obligations,
And he will truly get a fine reward.
But, how can you not be annoyed(**) by this
Cruel duty, given you by a hard fate?
Are annoyance and horror not enough
To make you fly away from such a place?"

(*) Tancred, who was given Nicaea as a war slave, but freed her.
(**) Noia means "boredom" in current Italian, and annoiarsi, "to get bored"; but in Medieval and Renaissance Italian they had the same meaning as the English words with the root (an)noy-.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (6)

[7: 94, Love speaks]

"Vattene homai dove il desio t'invoglia.
Ma qual ti fingi vincitor crudele?
Non sai com'egli al tuo dolor si doglia,
E si turbi al tuo pianto, a le querele?
Crudel sei tu, ne la feminea spoglia,
Che dar nieghi salute al tuo fedele.
Langue, o fera et ingrata, il pio Tancredi,
E tu de l'altrui vita a cura hor siedi."

"Go wherever your own desire leads you!
What cruel conqueror(*) are you envisaging?
Don't you know that he suffers from your pain,
Upset by your tears, by your lamentations?
Cruel are you, though in a female body,
Who deny health to your faithful lover.
O fierce, ungrateful woman! The good Tancred
Languishes, and you take care of another." (**)

(*) Tancred as had been described by Honor. Love obviously exaggerates in the opposite direction.
(**) Argantes, whom Nicaea, as a herbalist, had to nurse in Jerusalem after his duel against Tancred.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The American Tasso: The video clip

Original text  Torquato Tasso, Il Mondo Creato, 1592
Translation  International Authors
Art  The Magic Trio (website)
Video editing  Selkis, The Magic Trio
Original soundtrack  Nicola "Fumo" Frattegiani (soundcloud)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (5)

[7: 93]

Da l'altra parte il consiglier fallace
Dolce l'alletta, e dolce ancor lusinga:
- Già tu nata non sei d'orsa rapace
O di scoglio che 'l mar percota e cinga:
Perché sprezzi d'Amor l'arco e la face,
E lunge fuggi il tuo piacer solinga?
Né petto hai tu di ferro o di diamante,
Che vergogna ti sia l'essere amante.

On the other hand, the deceptive counselor(*)
Entices her sweetly, and sweetly cajoles,
"You were not born of a fierce bear, nor of
A rock enclosed and beaten by the sea:
Why do you despise Love's bow and torch,
Running away from your(**) pleasure, all alone?
Your heart is not made with iron or adamant, (***)
So as to make you be ashamed of love."

(*) Love, Eros, Cupid. He is called "deceptive" not so much in general as, in advance, with reference to Nicaea's unlucky attempt. His examples: the bear, the rock, iron, etc., were currency in love poetry; another one was the tiger, here not mentioned. Honor and Love act like the devil and the angel in the widespread representations of temptation.
(**) Suo, "his," that is Love's, in the original manuscript; then modified in the printed version.
(***) In Renaissance poetry diamante did not mean diamond.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (4)

[7: 92, Honor speaks]

Dunque il titolo tu d'esser pudica
Sì poco estimi, e d'honestate il pregio,
Che te ne andrai fra gente a' tuoi nemica,
Notturna amante, a ricercar dispregio?
Onde il superbo vincitor ti dica:
"Perdesti il regno, e 'n un l'animo regio;
Non sei di me tu degna", e ti conceda
Vulgare essempio altrui d'ignobil preda -.

"So, do you prize the name of chastity
And the value of honesty so little as
To go among your people's enemies
As a lover by night, looking for dishonor? --
So that your proud conqueror(*) may say,
You lost kingdom and royal heart alike,
You are not worthy of me, and show you
As a base example of ignoble prey."

(*) Tancred, whom Honor tries to paint more scary than he is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (3)

[7: 91]

- Vergine (dice l'un) d'amor rubbella,
Che le mie leggi insino ad hor serbasti:
Io, mentre ch'eri de' nemici ancella,
Ti conservai la mente e i membri casti,
E tu, libera, hor vuoi perder la bella
Verginità ch'in prigionia serbasti?
Ahi, nel tenero cor questi pensieri
Chi svegliar pò? Che pensi (ohimè!), che speri?

The one(*) says, "O virgin, O rebel to Love,
You who have always observed my laws:
As long as you were your enemies' slave,
I did keep your mind and your limbs chaste,
But do you, now free, want to lose that good
Virginity which you preserved in prison?
Alas, who awakened such thoughts in your
Frail heart? (**) What are you thinking -- hoping -- about?"

(*) Honor
(**) The phrase heart's thoughts is both an echo from the paradoxes in Medieval love poetry and a medical description, insofar as the brain receives powerful impulses from something deeper. That's true, though not literally from the heart as a muscle. Honor's voice, in spite of itself, seems to unveil Nicaea's repressed thoughts of the time when she still was a prisoner of Tancred.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Artists' Progress

click to enlarge

The International John Bunyan Society (see) just published their online newsletter. It kindly includes a couple of pictures showing the fight between Christian the Pilgrim and the demon Apollyon: the first has been made by yours truly, the second has been reworked by Selkis of the Magic Trio. 

For high-definition pictures: here and here.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The choice of Nicaea (2)

[7: 90]

E crederebbe al ciel oscuro e fosco
(In guisa ogni temenza Amor disgombra)
Errar secura, e 'n mar turbato, e 'n bosco
Ardita disprezzar tempesta, ed ombra,
E di belve africane artiglio e tosco;
Ma duolsi poi che chiara fama adombra
E fan dubbia contesa in gentil core
Due possenti nemici: Honore e Amore.

She would dare under a dark and clouded sky
(So strongly Love can dispel all fears)
To wander quietly; and in a sea, or wood,
To despise storms boldly, or shadows, and
The claws and poisons of African beasts.
But she regrets, then, the fading of fame,
And two strong enemies in a noble heart
Quarrel on equal terms: Honor and Love.

The fight between Love (feelings, 'subjective' motives) and Honor (duty, 'objective' motives) is typical of Renaissance poetry. Usually, Love wins first, then Honor takes revenge. See e.g. Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso 42: 53 ff, where the role of Honor is played by Sdegno, Disdain, literally the contrary of degno, "worth," meaning that one's former love is no longer worth caring about.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wizard Mail-in

A very fine postcard from a dear friend who has just been on holiday in Brittany. Art by Bruno Brucero. Many, many thanks, Elena!