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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A trip to the Gaza Strip (4)

Quite unusually, after the poetical, "fading out" ending of canto 16, canto 17 of Gerusalemme Conquistata restarts from the same subject -- Gaza -- with a "technical" description. The description, based on second-hand reports, is not very accurate anyway, since the Gaza hill is not high at all. But this wrong detail makes the city's look more fascinating, also recalling Jerusalem.

[GC 17: 1]

Gaza è città de la Giudea nel fine,
Su quella via ch'inver Pelusio mena,
Posta in un alto colle, et ha vicine
Deserte solitudini d'arena;
Le quai, com'Austro suol l'onde marine,
Mesce il turbo spirante, ond'a gran pena
Ritrova il peregrin riparo o scampo
Ne le tempeste de l'instabil campo.

Gaza is a city at the border of Judea, along the road that leads to Pelusium [in Egypt]; it rises on a high hill and is encircled by lonely places of sand which, as the South wind does with the sea waves, are whirled by blowing swirls, so that a traveler can hardly find shelter or refuge among the storms in that unstable field.