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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Look who it is! (4)

[8: 28]

Turbossi, udendo il glorïoso nome,
L'empio guerriero, e scolorissi in viso.
Pur, celando il timor, gli disse: - Hor come
Vieni al contrasto, ove rimanga ucciso?
Qui saran le tue forze oppresse e dome
E 'l tuo capo superbo hoggi reciso,
Se non t'inchini a lei che scioglie e lega
Come e chi vuol, né pace o gratia niega -.

Hearing that glorious name, there trembled
The ungodly warrior, and his face turned pale. (*)
But hiding his fears, he said, "Do you dare
Come here to fight, where you will be killed?
Your strength will be tamed and your proud
Head cut off if you don't bow before her,
Who frees and ties whom and how she wills,
Nor will she deny peace and grace." (**)

(*) Ironically quoting Dante, Inferno 5: 131, that also hints at the sinful love affair between the warrior and Armida. In the Bible, phrases referring to sex with prostitutes were a symbol of apostasy from God.
(**) Again echoes from Dante, see Purgatorio 2: 95 and Inferno 5: 81. In the manuscript, whose text is reported here, Tasso wrote niega ("denies") after Dante; in the printed version the verb was spelled as in current Italian, nega.