TALKING DANTE: EPISODE 22 – What appears to Dante so suddenly, like a bolt from the blue (come un fulmine a ciel sereno) is this strange animal, the lonza – the spotted (maculato) wildcat (gatto sevatico). We know that the lonza (sometimes also called a leonza) was a member of the cat family (felini), but it is not so clear exactly what sort of animal it is.
It is cunning (astuto, furbo in senso negativo), which is an adjective that means crafty (scaltro) or full of deceit (imbrogli, inganni).
It was lithe (agile), which means flexible or supple (flessibile, flessuoso)
It feinted, and feint (fare un movimento per ingannare, simile a una finta) is a verb that means make a sham (fasullo) or fake (falso) movement to divert (deviare) the attention of or to fool (ingannare) an opponent.
It veered to the left, to the right, and veer (virare, schivare) is a verb that means change direction all of a sudden (tutto ad un tratto).
Its pace (ritmo, andatura) was very fast, and your pace is your rate (velocità) of progression.
It darted and danced, and dart (scattare, guizzare) is a verb that means go or move quickly, rapidly, suddenly – for example, dart into a shop.
It blocked Dante’s way and as well as that (inoltre) it beat him back (respingere, far tornare indietro), which means that it drove him back (lo ricacciò) towards the waste (the wilderness – la selva) at the bottom of the hill (at the hill’s base).
I think this animal was a lynx (una lince). I tell you why next week.