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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The ancestor of NSA (4)

Jerusalem in Gustave Dore's illustrations
for Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso

Godfrey of Bouillon comments on the intercepted message with his knights.

[16: 61]

Ma qual d'aquila volo, o di colomba,
Veloce è come la celeste aita?
Qui dove hebbe il Figliol tormenti e tomba
Aspettar noi debbiam vittoria e vita.
Né vi turbi il romor, ch'alto rimbomba,
D'innumerabil turba o d'infinita:
Ché nostre fian le lor sì care salme,
E cresceranno a voi trïonfi e palme.

"But what flight of an eagle or a dove 
Is so rapid as the heavenly help?
Here, where the Son(*) had sufferings and grave,
We must expect both victory and life.
Don't be afraid of the resounding noise
Of their countless, even endless army:
Ours will be, in the end, their dearest spoils, (**)
Your triumphs and trophies will keep increasing."

(*) "Jesus" in the final printed version. The octave had undergone a thorough editing already in the manuscript. "Life" in the following line does not only refer to the Christian knights' success in the war but also to their eternal reward in heaven. And once in a while, the reason of the whole crusade is recalled: the reconquest of the Holy Sepulcher.
(**) The city of Jerusalem with its holy places.