SiStan ChapLee

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.