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Friday, July 1, 2016

In the dark, dark forest (11)

[16: 12]

Venieno innumerabili, infiniti
Spirti, parte che 'n aria alberga ed erra,
Parte di quei che son del fondo usciti
Caliginoso de l'opaca terra;
Lenti, e del gran divieto anco smarriti
Ch'impedì loro il trattar l'arme in guerra;
Ma qui venirne hor non si vieta e toglie,
E ne' tronchi albergar e tra le foglie.

And there came countless, endless spirits,
Partly those who dwell and roam in the air,
Partly among those who rise out of the
Dark bottom of the opaque earth --
Slowly, still puzzled by God's ban which
Prevented them from partaking in the war; (*)
But this place is not forbidden to them,
Nor to dwell in the trunks, among the leaves. (**)

(*) Recap: In the long GC section we had to skip, God authoritatively stopped all forays of the devils into the Crusaders' camp, commanding them not to mix up with the battles any more. Declaring the forest "extraterritorial" is a literary trick to let them re-enter the stage.
(**) This line was modified in the final printed version, probably to avoid a repetition of the verb albergare (to dwell) already used in line 2, so that the new text reads: "It is not forbidden to them to come to this place / Among the hard trunks and the sylvan leaves."