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Friday, June 3, 2016

In the dark, dark forest (3)

[16: 4]

Perché dove tagliò l'infame bosco
E la statua spezzò fiera e sanguigna
Il buono Osia, al ciel più scuro e fosco
Quel terren si rinselva e si ralligna;
E piante ombrose con amaro tosco
Luce vi fan più incerta e più maligna;
E s'udìa spesso in quel medesmo loco
Quasi di trombe un suon turbato e roco.

In fact, where the infamous wood was cut
And the fierce, bloodstained statue was broken
By good Hosea, under the darkest sky
That soil keeps growing wilder and wilder;
There, shady trees full of bitter poison
Make the light more uncertain and evil;
In that very place one could often hear
A vague and hoarse sound like that of trumpets.


Notes
This stanza was missing in Gerusalemme Liberata; and in the final printed version of the Conquistata, Tasso would add one more octave specifying that in that same place the idol of god Moloch had existed. But he erroneously ascribes the Hebrew religious reformation to King Hosea instead of Hezekiah (in 716-687 BC, or so; see 2 Kings 18-20) and Josiah (640-609 BC, or so; see 2 Kings 22-23).
The description of the forest recalls, in part, Dante in Inferno 13, but auditory horror is especially a literary feature of Tasso. He himself suffered from very annoying auditory hallucinations.