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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Under accusation (4)

[6: 49]

Soggiunge all'hor Tancredi: - Hor ti sovegna,
Alto signor, chi sia Riccardo e quale,
Qual per se stesso honor a lui convegna
E de l'opere sue gloria immortale;
E qual per tutti noi. Non dee chi regna
A tutti i falli dar la pena eguale.
Vario è l'istesso error ne' gradi vari,
E sol la paritate è giusta a' pari -.

Tancred then adds, "Noble Lord [Godfrey], please remember who and what Richard is, both the honor that is due to him in himself, with the immortal glory of his deeds, and the honor due to him for the sake of us all. Rulers should not punish any fault in the same way. The same error is different when made by people different in degree; parity is fair only among peers."

Richard's second great defender is Tancred, the male co-protagonist of the poem, based on a historical personage. His key-role in both Jerusalem-poems had been summarized here. In these lines, Tancred expresses the chivalric/Renaissance scale of values, essentially opposite to the Christian one; this "transvaluation of values," clearly evident in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, will be retrieved by Friedrich Nietzsche (who was no Nazi at all, incidentally).