SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (7)

[16: 39]

Stupido sì, ma intrepido rimane
Tancredi; e poi che il tutto intorno è cheto,
Ne le soglie di morte empie e profane
Entra securo, e spia l'alto secreto.
Né più apparenze inusitate o strane
Né trova alcun, tra via, scontro o divieto,
Se non se il nero bosco horrido troppo,
Che per se stesso a' passi è duro intoppo.

Tancred, however amazed, (*) keeps his head;
And since everything around (**) is now still,
Into the evil, ungodly realm of death
He walks safely, peeking at that mystery.
No more unusual, strange appearances,
No enemies or obstacles he sees,
Except the black forest, all too horrid,
Which simply by itself hampers his steps. (***)

(*) Tasso had used the adjective stupido, that in old Italian meant "amazed" but means "stupid" in more modern parlance, so he finally replaced it with a synonym, maraviglioso. The former term is spelled stupito in current Italian; the latter, meravigliato.
(**) "The sky" is still, in the final printed version of the poem.
(***) That is the meaning of the words selvaggia, aspra, and forte in Dante, Inferno 1: 5.