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Friday, August 26, 2016

Trees are tough (5)

[16: 23]

Esce allhor da la selva un suon repente
Che par rimbombo di terren che trema;
E d'euro e d'austro il mormorar si sente,
E quel de l'onda che si rompa e gema.
Come rugga il leon, fischii il serpente,
Com'urli il lupo e come l'orso frema
V'odi, e v'odi co 'l tuono ancor la tromba:
Di così vari tuoni un tuon rimbomba.

From the forest a sudden sound then comes
That recalls the echo of an earthquake; (*)
They hear the whisper of Euros and Auster (**)
Together with breaking and moaning waves.
As if a lion were roaring, a serpent hissing,
A wolf howling, a bear growling they hear,
And a trumpet mixed with thunderbolts: from
So many different tones one tone blows. (***)

(*) Renaissance Italy experienced some disastrous earthquakes.
(**) The western and southern winds in Greek parlance.
(***) Tasso plays on the double meaning of the 16th century word tuono: thunder (the same as in current Italian) and musical tone (tono in current Italian). This "acoustic horror" is quite typical of him, who often suffered from auditory hallucinations.
Unfortunately, the pun disappeared in the final printed text, which in line 8 simply reads "sounds . . . sound" (suono instead of tuono). Some other stylistic variations were introduced, but preserving the general description.