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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

And in fact, Argantes. . . (2)

[8: 44]

La notte che precede, il pagan fero
A pena inchina per dormir la fronte;
E sorge poi ch'anchora è 'l ciel sì nero
Che non dà luce in su la cima al monte.
- Portami (grida) l'arme - al suo scudiero,
E quello haveale apparecchiate e pronte:
Non le solite sue, ma del Re sono
Dateli queste, e pretïoso è 'l dono.

The night before, the fierce pagan has
Scarcely laid down his head to sleep;
And rises when the sky is still so dark
That the mountain's top is not illumined.
"Bring me my arms!" he cries to his squire,
Who already kept them set and ready:
Not his usual ones, since these are a gift
Of the King, (*) a very precious gift.

(*) Emir Ducat of Jerusalem. These lines were identical in Gerusalemme Liberata, but there seems to have occurred a shift in meaning meanwhile, insofar as in the Liberata the precious weapons were a gift of the other king, Godfrey of Bouillon, who gave them to Argantes when the latter came to the Christian camp as an ambassador. That episode has been modified by Tasso here in the Conquistata, so the very same words must now be interpreted in a different way, and Argantes' own king -- and father, in GC -- Ducat becomes the giver.