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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Whatcha gonna do now, Tancred? (9)

[16: 41]

Fra i segni ignoti alcune note ha scorte
Del sermon di Sorìa, ch'ei ben possede:
- Tu che ne' chiostri de l'avara Morte
Osasti por, guerrero audace, il piede,
Deh, se non sei crudel quanto sei forte,
Deh, non turbar questa secreta sede.
Perdona a l'alme homai di luce prive:
Non dee guerra co' morti haver chi vive -.

Among those unknown signs he recognizes
Some words in Arabic, (*) which he masters:
"You, who in the sanctuary of greedy Death
Dared set foot, O brave-hearted warrior,
If you are not so cruel as you are strong,
Oh, please don't violate this secret place.
Have pity on souls now devoid of light:
Let the living wage no war on the dead."

(*) Literally, "in the language of Syria," where "Syria" meant the Middle East in general. Paladin Roland also could read and speak Arabic, and precisely this caused his fury and ruin in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
While the Egyptian hieroglyphs in the previous octave conveyed a sense of mystery, these words in Arabic refer to Clorinda as their alleged author, since she was a Muslim.