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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ummah (3)

The fictional, Homeric show must go on. Now, near Gaza, the King of Egypt reviews the many armies that have gathered from all over the Muslim world. Since Tasso "is not Charlie," he provides a powerful description of the Sultan.

[17: 14]

Lo scettro ha ne la destra, e per canuta
Barba è più venerabile e severo;
E dagli occhi, ch'il tempo ancor non muta,
Spira l'ardire e 'l suo valor primiero;
E mostra, s'ei risponde o pur saluta,
La maestà de gli anni e de l'impero;
Apelle forse o Fidia in tal sembiante
Giove formò, ma Giove allhor tonante.

The scepter he keeps in his hand, a white
Beard makes him more venerable and stern;
From his eyes, that time has not modified yet,
His old boldness and valor still radiate.
When answering or greeting, (*) he shows
The majesty of his age and empire:
Apelles maybe, or Phidias, did shape
Jove like that -- but Jove thundering, then.

(*) With a humorous echo from Dante's and Petrarch's stereotypes (their descriptions of Beatrice and Laura), using them in a completely different context.