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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Minority Report (2)

[16: 51]

Ancor dirò: ch'a gli arbori dà vita
Spirito human, che sente e che ragiona;
Io il so per prova, e n'ho la voce udita,
Che nel cor flebilmente ancor mi suona;
Stilla sangue de' tronchi ogni ferita,
Quasi di molle carne habbian persona.
No, no, non più potrei -- vinto mi chiamo --
Né corteccia scorzar né sveller ramo.

"And more than this, the trees receive life
From a human spirit that feels and speaks;
I did experience this, I heard that voice,
Which still echoes, though faintly, in my heart.
Blood does drip from every wound in the trunks,
As if they possessed a body (*) of soft flesh.
No, no, I give up, I would not be able
To bark one more tree, tear off a branch."

(*) Here Tasso uses the word persona in its original sense: the outward appearance of a human being. Line 4, in Italian, has the same cadence as Dante's verse Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona, "Love, who speaks inside my mind."
Tancred's description of his experience in the "dark forest," while omitting the most important detail, is filled with true, delicate sentiment.