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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (11)

[16: 43]

Pur tragge alfin la spada, e con gran forza
Percote l'alta pianta: o maraviglia!
Manda fuor sangue la recisa scorza
E fa la terra intorno a sé vermiglia.
Tutto si raccapriccia, e pur rinforza
Il colpo, e 'l fin vederne ei si consiglia;
E quasi d'un sepolcro uscire ei sente
Un sospiroso gemito dolente
. . .

This notwithstanding, he draws his sword and
Hits the tall tree powerfully -- and lo!
From its very bark, broken off, blood spouts (*)
That makes the ground all around him red.
However horrified, he repeats his
Blow to see what will happen in the end;
And as from a sepulchre, he then hears
A sighing moan that echoes with sorrow. . .

(*) An impressive variation on a topos of fantasy literature from Virgil and Dante, see Aeneid 3: 22 ff. and Inferno 13: 31 ff. See also, more humorously, Ariosto in Orlando Furioso 6: 26-28.