Rose Punts??

Not sure how I could have missed this after five or ten re-reads, but the ERC nerds spotted what seems to be a blatant punt in Rose’s translation of Orlando Furioso (XIII.7).

When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
That freedom in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

But Mr. Alspaugh, Mr. Alspaugh!  I thought Orlando Furioso was composed in ottava rima!  Doesn’t ottava mean eight?

Erk.  Yes.  Rose has omitted line four, the second b rhyme.  Good heavens, man, why?  To the textual criticism we go!

What follows is an epic misadventure leading to greater knowledge.  

First, do we have a scanning error in my copy of use?  I left sacred-texts and headed over to Project Gutenberg, where I found the same error.  Foolishly, oh so foolishly, I left it at that and went to the Italian:

Il qual poi che far pruove in campo vidi
miracolose di cavalleria
fui presa del suo amore; e non m’avidi,
ch’io mi conobbi piu non esser mia
E pur, ben che ‘l suo amor cosi mi guidi,
mi giova sempre avere in fantasia
ch’io non misi il mio core in luogo immondo,
ma nel piu dengo e bel ch’oggi sia al mondo.

That sure looks like eight lines to me.  A quick look at Croker’s Italian-English version (1760s?) shows eight lines of English rendering…so what is Rose’s problem?  When he omits to translate lines he’s pretty upfront about the matter (propriety–Rose don’t do smut).  Did he find this difficult to render?  Did even Rose nod?

I spent the day fiddling around and my office mate came up with his own shot at what should replace Rose’s omitted fourth line:

When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
For I knew no more resiliency,
That freedom in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

Attractive, getting a nice long word to rhyme with chivalry and phantasy (nevermind that it has to really drag to make the meter).  Still, on hindsight, Rose couldn’t have figured out how to end the fourth line with me or see or something?  That’s pretty weird…

Turns out, I need to return my tattered guild card to Fr. Fitzmyer when it comes to text criticism.  This whole thing was built on a house of cards starting with my idiotic decision not to test whether or not sacred-texts directly depended on Project Gutenberg.  Derp.  The archive.org pdf of Rose’s masterpiece translation is perfectly ottava and rima to boot:

When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
That freedom was forever lost to me.
Yet following in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

What a classic manuscript error!

Well now.  I apologize to that good man’s fine name!  When you aim for the king, don’t miss, say the kids.  Or: check your sources with something more than house-fly attention span.  But at least I got to hunt around, learn some more translators, and find something to mail to the sacred-text administrator!

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