SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This is a thriller night (13)

[7: 126]

Ma come volle la sua dura sorte,
I duo fratei qui tesi havean gli aguati
Di cui pose Clorinda il padre a morte,
Et hora difendean quel passo armati
Là 've menar solean notturne scorte
Armenti e gregge dagli herbosi prati;
E se l'altro passò, fu perch'ei torse
Lunge il cavallo, e subito trascorse.

But as fixed by her fate, there were
In ambush precisely the two brothers (*)
Whose father Clorinda herself had killed,
And they now defended that pass
Where the shepherds used to lead
Herd and flocks from pastures by night. 
(Her servant succeeded in passing for
His horse galloped farther and swift.) (**)

(*) The first draft of Gerusalemme Conquistata indicated their names, Alcandro and Poliferno, as Gerusalemme Liberata already did (6: 107), but Tasso now uses a more general phrase because he -- or his editor -- realized that only one brother had been killed by Clorinda, see GL 3: 35 and GC 4: 41.
(**) The words e subito trascorse, lit. "and it/he immediately passed on," recall Dante, Inferno 25: 34 and Purgatorio 29: 16. Noticeably, Tasso feels the need to explain the different "fates" of Nicaea's servant and Nicaea herself since, for the plot's sake, the former had to be able to pass and the latter had not to.