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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (5)

[16: 37, Tancred speaks]

Pur, gli altri che diran? S'indarno io riedo,
Quale altra selva ho di troncar speranza?
Né intentato lasciar vorrà Goffredo
Mai questo varco: hor, s'oltre alcun s'avanza?
Forse l'incendio, che quo sorto io vedo,
Fia d'effetto minor che di sembianza.
Ma sia che può; se fosse ancor l'inferno,
Io 'l passo! - O degno adir di nome eterno!

"But, what will they say? If I fail and go
Back, which other wood will I ever fell?
Nor will Godfrey leave this opportunity
Unattempted. . . So, what about advancing? (*)
Maybe this fire that I see here burning
Will actually prove weaker than it seems. (**)
So be it. It might be hell itself: I go!"
Oh bravery deserving eternal fame! (***)

(*) In Gerusalemme Liberata the wording was the same, but with a plainer punctuation: Hor, s'oltre alcun s'avanza, forse l'incendio. . ., "Now, if you move forward, maybe this fire. . ." Is the new punctuation simply a matter of style, or does it suggest a different meaning? That is, "Now, what about somebody else advancing [and acquiring glory instead of me]? Well, maybe this fire. . ."
(**) See, in part, Dante, Purgatorio 27, especially lines 16-18, 25-27.
(***) Possibly ironic, in the light of the following events.