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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And in fact, Argantes. . . (6)

[8: 49]

Tronca Argante gli indugi al fero suono
Del corno, onde quel monte e 'l pian rimbomba
Come al romor di spaventoso tuono,
E fugge al nido il corvo e la colomba.
Già i principi fedeli accolti sono
Ne la gran tenda al chiaro suon di tromba.
Qui le disfide rinovò l'araldo,
Trovando in pochi il cor sì fermo e saldo.

Argantes is now stirred by the fierce sound
Of a horn that shakes the mountain(*) and plain
Like the noise of a frightening thunder
Making both crows and doves flee to their nests.
Already the faithful(**) princes are gathered
In the wide tent by the blaring trumpet.
The herald recalled the challenge rules;
Only few hearts remained firm and steady.

(*) Jerusalem
(**) Both in Gerusalemme Liberata and in the first handwritten version of this line, Tasso employed the word "Christian." The change probably aims at stressing the fight of "the faithful" against "the infidels" since, at that time, both Christians and Muslims used these terms to indicate respectively themselves and the others. The -- supposed, planned, expected -- duel of Tancred and Argantes would not (as the parallel fight in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, c. 38, Rinaldo vs Ruggiero, should have done) determine the result of the whole war; it was only a private challenge, but it had a great symbolical meaning anyway.