SiStan ChapLee

Friday, September 11, 2015

The die is cast (4)

[7: 102]

E tra sé dice sospirando: - O quanto
Felice è la fortissima donzella!
Quanto io l'invidio, e non l'invidio il vanto
E 'l pregio femminil de l'esser bella.
A lei non tarda i passi il lungo manto
Né 'l suo valor rinchiude invida cella,
Ma veste l'arme, e se d'uscirne agogna,
Vassene, e non la tien tema o vergogna.

She sighs and thinks, "Oh, how great
The happiness of the strongest of ladies!
I envy her so much -- and not because
Of the female honor and glory of beauty.
No long cloak ever hinders her steps,
No jealous room jails her valor: She
Takes up arms, and if she wants to leave,
She leaves, undaunted by fear or shame."

This rebellion against the standard condition of woman distinguishes another character in Tasso's works: Princess Rosmonda in Il Re Torrismondo (King Thorismond), a Shakespearean tragedy set in Scandinavia in the seventh century or so, i.e. basically in the same era and half-heathen society as in Beowulf.