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Friday, March 18, 2016

Entrapped (2)

[8: 39]

Qual, dove ad humil turba e mezzo ignuda
Stagna in placidi seni il nostro mare,
Fugge da tempesta e s'impaluda
Il pesce, e vive pur ne l'acque amare,
E vien che da se stesso ei si rinchiuda
In palustre prigion, né pò tornare
Ché quel serraglio è con mirabile uso
Sempre a l'entrare aperto, a l'uscir chiuso
. . .

As among humble and half-naked people
Our Sea(*) becomes swampy and quiet;
And there the fish flee away from storms
While remaining under salty waters,
Till they chance to shut themselves inside
A marshy prison whence they cannot exit
Because that trap is conceived so as to
Offer open entrances and no way out
. . .

(*) The Mediterranean. The place described is the Swamps of Comacchio (Ferrara) as it was expressly indicated in the parallel passage in Gerusalemme Liberata 7: 46; the fish therefore being eels, snared by means of a typical system of nets called cogollo.