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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (13)

[16: 45]

Clorinda fui, né sol qui spirto humano
Aspetto il suon de la divina tromba,
Ma ciascun altro ancor, franco o pagano,
Ch'al Ciel non può volar, quasi colomba,
Astretto è qui dal suo destin sovrano,
Non so s'io dica in corpo o 'n viva tomba.
Son di senso animati i rami e i tronchi,
E micidial sei tu se legno hor tronchi.

"I was Clorinda, and not only my human
Spirit waits here for the divine trumpet, (*)
But all others, either Christians or Muslims (**)
Who cannot fly dove-like towards heaven (***)
Are fastened by their supreme fate to these --
Whatever, either bodies or living graves.
Both the branches and the trunks are sentient: (****)
If you fell a tree, you will prove a killer."

(*) The signal of Doomsday; usually imagined to be played by Archangel Michael.
(**) An unusual, interesting case of interfaith event.
(***) See, in part, the legend about the final destiny of King Arthur, who will rise either as a dove or as a raven, depending on the eternal sentence on him. Tasso, by mixing such imagery and Dante's (see previous post on this episode), presents the forest as a sort of permanent limbo. It must be recollected, anyway, that all this is a hallucinogenic effect created by devils.
(****) The manuscript endows the trees with senso in the singular. In the final printed version the word was changed into sensi in the plural, meaning the "senses" in a more general way. Sentient trees existed in Paradise, according to some Jewish Rabbis whose opinion Tasso reports in Il Mondo Creato, and he seems to accept it.