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Friday, November 11, 2016

We do need another hero (1)

[16: 52]

Così dice egli, e 'l sommo duce ondeggia
In gran tempesta de' pensieri intanto;
Pensa s'egli medesmo andar là deggia
(Ché tal lo stima) a ritentar l'incanto,
O se pur di materia altra proveggia,
Lontana più, ma non difficil tanto.
Ma 'l pio romito dal pensiero profondo
Il rappella, ch'al core è grave pondo:
. . .

So he(*) speaks, and the supreme chief meanwhile
Wavers in the midst of a storm of thoughts; (**)
He ponders whether he should go there himself
To test the spell (as he deems it to be)
Or provide the materials from elsewhere,
In a farther but less difficult place.
But the pious hermit(***) calls him back from
The worries that weigh so much on his heart:
. . .

(*) Tancred
(**) One of the most interesting novelties in Gerusalemme Conquistata is Godfrey of Bouillon's doubts not only about particular problems, but about his very mission in the Holy Land. In Gerusalemme Liberata he appeared more unshakable.
(***) Peter of Amiens, aka Peter the Hermit, a historical personage who was among the main promoters of the Crusade.