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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Don't name the messenger (1)

[6: 86]

Poi che partendo il cavalier feroce
Da' cari amici suoi prese congedo,
Non indugia Ruperto, anzi veloce
Va dove estima ritrovar Goffredo.
Lo qual, come lui vide, alza la voce:
- Signor (dicendo), a punto hor te richiedo,
E mandato pur dianzi a ricercarti
Haveva i nostri araldi in varie parti -.

After the fierce knight (Richard) has gone away taking leave of his dear friends, Rupert(*) does not tarry, he indeed hurries where he thinks he may find Godfrey. And as soon as the latter sees him, he speaks and says, "Milord, I was precisely in need of you, I had just sent our heralds to look for you everywhere."

(*) This is the name we read in the printed version, but the manuscript had "Tancred," showing, once again, that only in the second place did Tasso decide to introduce the new character Rupert, with all the premises and consequences.
Usually, when such discrepancies occur in Gerusalemme Conquistata, the older text version simply echoed the wording of Gerusalemme Liberata, but this is not the case: in fact, in the corresponding passage in GL (5: 53), the messenger who here met Godfrey was not Tancred but Guelfo/Guelf, a member of the German branch of the Este family, and fictionally the uncle of Rinaldo -- who meanwhile has been renamed into Riccardo/Richard. Guelf was based on a historical personage, who however did not take part in the Crusade, probably.
Summing it up, the man who pleaded on behalf of Richard was (1) his good uncle, then (2) his best friend, and finally (3) his secret lover. A quite significant shift.