The first team of knights comes back in a hurry, frightened, from the enchanted forest. Another knight, after mocking them, volunteers to go there and accomplish the mission. His name is Alcasto in Gerusalemme Liberata and in the draft of Gerusalemme Conquistata; it will become Drogo in the final version of GC.
Crollava il capo e sorridea, dicendo:
- Dove costui non osa, io gir confido.
Io sol quel bosco di troncare intendo,
Che di torbidi sogni è fatto nido.
Già no 'l mi vieterà fantasma horrendo,
Non di selva o d'augei fremito o grido,
O pur tra quei sì spaventosi chiostri
D'ir ne l'inferno il varco a me si mostri -.
He shook his head and smiled, and then said,
"Where this(*) does not dare, I will surely go.
I mean to cut down that wood alone,
Which proved such a nest of gloomy dreams.
No dreadful phantom will prevent me,
Nor will the noises of the trees or birds,
Even if in those frightening places
I were to see the very gates of hell." (**)
(*) The knight who reported to Godfrey of Bouillon.
(**) A wink to the reader: Since Dante's "dark forest" lay near Jerusalem, it can be supposed to be the same as the wood now entered by the Crusaders.