Hor sieda ogni altro in pace, e da sicura
Parte miri otïoso il mio periglio;
Su, su, datemi l'arme - e l'armatura
Gli fu recata ad un girar di ciglio.
L'antichissimo franco, a cui non fura
La quarta etade il senno e 'l buon consiglio,
La fronte allhora alzò da l'ampio seggio
E disse: - Il meglio in questo rischio è 'l peggio -.
[Godfrey of Bouillon speaks]
"Now sit peacefully, all of you, and watch
The dangers I undergo safely from afar.
C'mon! My weapons!" His armor was
Brought him in the twinkling of an eye.
The amazingly old Frank, (*) whose age
Did not rob him of wisdom and discretion,
Now lifted his forehead from on his chair
And said, "Here the best is for the worse." (**)
(*) Giovanni/John, a character who did not appear in Gerusalemme Liberata. Modelled after Nestor in the Iliad, he is some 300 years old, thus providing a "living link" with the Epic of Charlemagne, whom he actually met; he even fought by the Frank Emperor's side. Gerusalemme Conquistata adds much fantasy and science fiction to the Liberata.
(**) That is, Godfrey's replacing Tancred in the duel against Argantes would be the best solution. . . as well as the worse, in case he happened to be defeated or killed. See the next post.