In Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata, Canto Primo, Octave 58 we see:

  Ma il fanciullo Rinaldo, e sovra questi 
  e sovra quanti in mostra eran condutti,
  dolcemente feroce alzar vedresti
  la regal fronte, e in lui mirar sol tutti.
  L'età precorse e la speranza, e presti
  pareano i fior quando n'usciro i frutti;
  se 'l miri fulminar ne l'arme avolto,
  Marte lo stimi; Amor, se scopre il volto.

I know Spanish, French and some Latin good enough to deduce the meaning of most of words here, but those from the title still remain a mystery for me. I take it alzar here might be a relative of alzare and mean something like 'ampiezza', but could this be a noun as well? Or a shortened form of the verb?

What is avolto? A participle, an ajective, or a noun?

And, last but not least, what is pareano? Does it stand for 'similar to' (like French pareil) or something different?

  • I would like to note that I don't understand where ancient-Italian and poetry related questions fall into the scope of this SE. Modern Italian is different from ancient Italian, that's all (the same happens for Greek language) May 4, 2017 at 16:36
  • 1
    @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ See 'language history' and 'cause and effect'. Both modern languages derive from their ancestors, so it doesn't matter whether the topics concern their modern Italian or old Italian (and it's not 'ancient', it's just 'auld', because 'Ancient Italian' means 'Latin'), Ancient Greek or Modern Greek.
    – Manjusri
    May 4, 2017 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Alzar is the verb "alzare" (with the elision of the last vowel) = to raise, to lift up, to grow.

Avolto seems a poetic form for "avvolto" (past participle) (here the same verses have "avvolto" https://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Gerusalemme_liberata/Canto_primo) = wrapped.

Pareano is a poetic form for for "parevano" = they seemed, they looked like.

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