SiStan ChapLee

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A trip to the Gaza Strip (3)

[GC 16: 88]

Altre spiegar le vele al ciel sereno,
Altre i remi trattar veloci e snelle;
E da' remi e da' rostri il molle seno
Spumar percosso in queste parti e 'n quelle.
Molte, lentando al lungo corso il freno,
Parean lunge portar vere novelle
Dal Rosso Mare, e donde irriga e frange
I salsi lidi biancheggiando il Gange.

Some ships unfurled the sails in the clear sky;
Others, swift and tapered, employed the oars;
Hit by oars and bows, he(*) saw, the liquid
Bosom foamed on this and the other sides.
Many, hastening after their long course,
Seemed to be delivering the true news (**)
From the Red Sea and whence, white with foam,
The Ganges waters and breaks salty shores. (***)

(*) Vafrino
(**) With a quotation from Dante, Inferno 32: 111.
(***) The adjective salsi, "salty," replaces in the final printed text the evocative but impossible tanti, "many," in the manuscript. The -- fictional -- connections of the Muslim army in Jerusalem with Egypt and India stress Tasso's treatment of the First Crusade as a "first world war." But especially, in this last octave of the canto the description of war preparations fades out into a romantic sea vision, that is quite typical of Tasso's poetry.