Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The omen

Suddenly, General Argantes is approached by his brother Norandin, whose death had just been described! (see) It may depend on the fact that either Tasso—while trying to manage the many brothers of Argantes on stage—confused a name with another, or revealed Norandin's death in advance for dramatic purposes, then went back to the main course of events. But the text structure in not clear at all: Norandin's words and actions in fact flow without a break from his horse ride towards the ships to his death, to his speech to Argantes. It might have been interpreted, too, as a classical epic scene in which a dead warrior appears to a living one, but this is not the case as Norandin is seen by Argantes as his brother in the flesh. Anyway, here is his message:

[GC 17: 105.7 - 107.8]

. . .  "Now yield to my advice, let
somebody replace you in your great peril.
You are tired, perhaps; we all are,
after the fights of one day and another,
so, we could leave this place to the rocks     = to itself
and the mob, and go away from here.
And, I won't hide, even against your
prohibition, and being mocked for this,
that Heaven, dreams, and omens I fear.
Ah, may this not be our last assault!"
He meant to add more, but surly-eyed,
fierce, Argantes looked at him and said,
"Norandin, I do dislike the cowards;
if Heaven established right today as     inshallah
the day of my death or doom, here I am.
I don't care about stars, fixed or errant,     (*)
nor about spectres and night dreams.
You—are you not ashamed of yourself?"

(*) During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church 'officially' denied and attacked astrology. See here an interesting story about this.