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Friday, October 10, 2014

A temporary farewell to arms (5)

[6: 82, Richard speaks]

- O fratello, e compagno amato e caro,
Me lungi porterà cavallo o barca
Da questo campo, ov'il mio Duce avaro,
Anzi il mio fato ha man severa e parca;
Né forse havrò più dì sereno e chiaro,
Né per me bianco filo invida Parca
Dove a te si recida; e son vicine
L'hore del pianto e 'l troppo acerbo fine.

"Oh, brother, and you dear, beloved comrade, (*)
A horse or a ship will now take me far away (**)
From this Camp, where my stern Captain,
Or rather my Fate has a severe, sparing hand.
Maybe I will enjoy no more clear, serene days,
Nor will the envious Parca have any thread
Left for me after cutting yours; (***) close at hand
Is the time of weeping, the too bitter end."

(*) As we already know, Rupert is Richard's (be)loved comrade/mate in the 'strong' sense of the term. But this becomes clear only on second reading.
(**) Oddly enough, although these verses have been added by Tasso in Gerusalemme Conquistata, the reference to a ship would have fitted in with the Liberata, not here.
(***) Richard means his own death, but actually forebodes Rupert's: a tragedy that will activate the events in the whole final section of the poem. In part, and in a very different context, Richard's words echo St. Paul's farewell discourse in Acts of the Apostles 20: 22-25.