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Friday, September 5, 2014

A fine reward! (3)

[6: 67] Richard's reply to John and Godfrey - follows

Dunque non sia guerrier ned huom ch'ardisca
Stendere in me l'imperïosa mano
Perch'i suoi detti io tema o reverisca,
O correrà di sangue intorno il piano;
Ma la sua nova gloria e l'età prisca
Con gli altri essalti il cavalier soprano -.
Così diceva, e si partìa guardando
Se v'è chi pensi vendicar Gernando.

"So, let no knight or any other man dare stretch out his imperious(*) hand against me, hoping to make me fear or revere his words; otherwise, this very plain will be flooded with blood -- but may, instead, the Supreme Knight(**), as well as all others, exalt his(***) new glory and old age." By so saying, he left, glancing whether anyone meant to avenge Gernand.

(*) Imperiosa in the manuscript, but more consistently ingiuriosa, offensive (in both senses), in the printed version.
(**) Godfrey of Bouillon
(***) The veiled threat hidden in this apparent good wish has a general meaning in theory, but more specifically, it addresses John. In this episode, Richard seems to have lost all virtues of chivalry; or rather, he has not yet attained them.