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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Madison Square Garden (2)

[8: 30]

L'intrepido guerriero infiamma e desta
A la battaglia l'ardimento e l'ire,
Ne su 'l debol cavallo assiso ei resta
Quando il nemico a piede ha tanto ardire:
Vien chiuso ne lo scudo, e l'elmo ha in testa,
La spada nuda, e 'n atto è di ferire.
Gli muove incontra il cavalier feroce
Con occhi ardenti e con terribil voce.

The brave-hearted warrior spurs his own
Valiance and wrath for the battle,
Nor does he remain on his -- tired -- horse
As his enemy advances boldly on foot: (*)
He comes behind his shield, with helmet
And unsheathed sword, ready to strike.
The fierce knight now moves against him
With burning eyes and frightening shouts.

(*) It was against the rules of chivalry to fight on horseback against a dismounted adversary, or an adversary who lost his horse during the battle itself. Whenever this 'unkindness' occurred, poets did stress it, or took it for granted that the knight who behaved like that was a "villain" in the original sense of the word: a "rough peasant" (villano in Italian, from Latin villa) i.e. a boor.