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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.