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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ummah (6)

[GC 17: 34]

Né te, Altamoro, entro al pudico letto
Potuto ha ritener la sposa amata:
Pianse, e percosse il biondo crine e 'l petto
Per distornar la tua fatale andata.
- Dunque (dicea), crudel, più che 'l mio aspetto
Del mar l'horrida faccia a te fia grata?
Fian l'arme al braccio tuo più caro peso
Che 'l dolce figlio a' dolci scherzi inteso? -

Nor you, Altamoor, (*) in your chaste (**) bed
Could be detained by your beloved spouse:
She wept, and hit her blond hair and breast
To prevent your fate-ordained journey. (***)
"So," she said, "cruel man, more than my face
Will you like the sea's frightening face?
Will weapons be a dearer weight to your arms
Than your sweet child with his sweet games?" (****)

(*) The wise and valiant King of Samarkand (in current Uzbekistan. Nowadays, the old, 'legendary' city of Samarkand has become 'fashionable' again since it is included in China's project for a New Silk Road.) A fictional character, Altamoor will not die in the Crusade.
(**) In the ancient sense of the word, i.e. a faithful marriage, without betrayals.
(***) From Dante, Inferno 5: 22.
(****) The Muslim hero Argantes will have to face the same dilemma later on in Gerusalemme Conquistata -- not so in the Liberata. Both episodes, as well as that of Mandricardo in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, are inspired by Homer's Hector. It is not clear, however, why Altamoor should reach the Holy Land, from central Asia, by sea.