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Friday, May 6, 2016

Understandable worries (5)

[8: 55, John speaks]

Così pur far solea l'invitto Carlo,
Ch'io già seguii contra Sansogna in guerra
E contra Desidèro; e se narrarlo
Altrui presume, in van ragiona ed erra.
Quel mio famoso Augusto, ond'hor ti parlo,
Liberò questa sacra e nobil terra;
Et io qui prima (e ben di ciò m'essalto)
Fui con Orlando al periglioso assalto.

"So (*) did the unconquered Charlemagne,
Whom I followed in war against the Saxons
And against Desiderius -- if somebody else
Presumes to recount it, he speaks in vain.
The glorious Emperor I refer to
Freed this very noble and holy land;
I myself was here, oh what a feeling! (**)
With Roland through the perilous fight."

(*) To command the troops but not by jeopardizing his own life.
(**) The Italian wording echoes Dante, Inferno 4: 120, precisely while seeing, in the Limbo, the great heroes of ancient times -- though not Charlemagne and Roland, who are in heaven (Paradiso 18: 43).