The Rescue

Image: 

Jacopo Robusti, called Tintoretto, The Rescue of Arsinoe (c.1556). Oil on canvas. 153 x 251 cm. Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. http://cavallinitoveronese.co.uk/general/view_artist/79, 15 September 2015.

Tintoretto

The Dresden Gallery
 

GREY tower, green sea, dark armour and clear curves 
Of shining flesh ; the tower built far into the sea 
And the dark armour that of one coming to set her free 
Who, white against the chamfered base,
From fetters that her noble limbs enlace 
Bows to confer 
Herself on her deliverer : 
He, dazzled by the splendid gift, 
Steadies himself against his oar, ere he is strong to lift 
And strain her to his breast : 
Her powerful arms lie in such heavy rest 
Across his shoulder, though he swerves 
And staggers with her weight, though the wave buoys, 
Then slants the vessel, she maintains his form in poise. 

Her sister-captive, seated on the side 
Of the swayed gondola, her arched, broad back in strain, 
Strikes her right ankle, eager to discumber it of chain,
Intent upon her work, as though 
It were full liberty ungyved to go. 
She will not halt, 
But spring delighted to the salt, 
When fetterless her ample form 
Can beat the refluence of the waves back to their crested storm. 
Has she indeed caught sight 
Of that blithe tossing pinnace on the white 
Scum of the full, up-bearing tide? 
The rose-frocked rower-boy, in absent fit 
Or modesty, surveys his toe and smiles at it. 

Her bondage irks not ; she has very truth 
Of freedom who within her lover's face can seek 
For answer to her eyes, her breath, the blood within her cheek— 
A soul so resolute to bless 
She has forgot her shining nakedness 
And to her peer 
Presents immunity from fear : 
As one half-overcome, half-braced, 
The man's hand searches as he grips her undulating waist : 
So these pure twain espouse 
And without ravishment, mistrust, or vows 
Of constancy fulfil their youth ; 
In the rough niches of the wall behind 
Their meeting heads, how close the trails of ivy wind ! 

 

Tintoretto

The Dresden Gallery
 

GREY tower, green sea, dark armour and clear curves 
Of shining flesh ; the tower built far into the sea 
And the dark armour that of one coming to set her free 
Who, white against the chamfered base,
From fetters that her noble limbs enlace 
Bows to confer 
Herself on her deliverer : 
He, dazzled by the splendid gift, 
Steadies himself against his oar, ere he is strong to lift 
And strain her to his breast : 
Her powerful arms lie in such heavy rest 
Across his shoulder, though he swerves 
And staggers with her weight, though the wave buoys, 
Then slants the vessel, she maintains his form in poise. 

Her sister-captive, seated on the side 
Of the swayed gondola, her arched, broad back in strain, 
Strikes her right ankle, eager to discumber it of chain,
Intent upon her work, as though 
It were full liberty ungyved to go. 
She will not halt, 
But spring delighted to the salt, 
When fetterless her ample form 
Can beat the refluence of the waves back to their crested storm. 
Has she indeed caught sight 
Of that blithe tossing pinnace on the white 
Scum of the full, up-bearing tide? 
The rose-frocked rower-boy, in absent fit 
Or modesty, surveys his toe and smiles at it. 

Her bondage irks not ; she has very truth 
Of freedom who within her lover's face can seek 
For answer to her eyes, her breath, the blood within her cheek— 
A soul so resolute to bless 
She has forgot her shining nakedness 
And to her peer 
Presents immunity from fear : 
As one half-overcome, half-braced, 
The man's hand searches as he grips her undulating waist : 
So these pure twain espouse 
And without ravishment, mistrust, or vows 
Of constancy fulfil their youth ; 
In the rough niches of the wall behind 
Their meeting heads, how close the trails of ivy wind !