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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In the dark, dark forest (10)

[16: 11, Ismen speaks]

Per lungo disusar già non si scorda
L'arte a cui dà la morte ampio tributo,
E so con lingua anch'io, di sangue lorda,
Quel nome risonar grande e temuto
A cui né Dite mai ritrosa o sorda
Né trascurato in ubbedir fu Pluto.
Ma ecco io già. . . - Voleva più dire, e 'ntanto
Conobbe ch'ubbedìano al fero incanto.

"A long disuse could not make me forget
The art to which Death gives a huge tribute; (*)
I also know how, with a bloodstained tongue,
To utter that great and dreaded name (**)
To which Dis(***) isn't reluctant or deaf
In obeying, nor does Pluto neglect to. (****)
But, lo! I. . ." and he meant to say more when
He saw that they obeyed his fierce spell. (*****)


(*) Black magic. The text was plainer in Gerusalemme Liberata (13: 10): "The most efficient help of cruel arts."
(**) Probably Demogorgon, according to scholars. The King of Fairies according to some traditions retrieved in the Renaissance, he will play a cameo role in Milton's Paradise Lost. Theologically speaking, He whom all necessarily obey should be God/Christ, but this would not fit in well with the context.
(***) Here feminine, therefore meaning the "city" i.e. hell in general, not Satan.
(****) "Neglect" (trascurato) corresponds to Tasso's text in GL and in the GC manuscript; in the final printed version of GC it will be modified into tracotato: "Pluto would not dare to."
(*****) To be noticed the theatrical dramatization of Ismen's actions and words. Theater was, for Tasso, the key category to understand the universe.