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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Understandable worries (6)

[8: 56, John speaks]

Di questo sacro e mal guardato nido
Cacciammo empi ladroni un'altra volta,
Gloria et honor portando al nostro lido,
Più caro d'auree spoglie o preda accolta.
Però se voi talhor rampogno e sgrido,
Faccio 'l per troppo amor di chi m'ascolta;
Ch'altre arme, altre contese, altri perigli,
E i miglior di voi conobbi, o figli.

"Out of this holy and ill-watched place (*) we already chased such ungodly robbers in past times, thus bringing back to our own countries glory and honor, which is more precious than any gold loot.(**) So, if I sometimes take the liberty of reprimanding you, I do so because of the excess of love I feel for all those who hear me, for I saw other arms, other battles, other dangers, and warriors greater than you, O sons."

(*) Literally, "nest": Jerusalem. John, who currently i.e. in the 11th century is 300 years old, refers to Charlemagne who actually, far from "chasing" the Muslims out of Jerusalem, maintained good relationships with Caliph Harun al-Rashid (the famous Caliph of the Arabian Nights). This e.g. let the Frankish king -- not yet officially Emperor -- to restore the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 797.
(**) According to the Bible, wisdom, rather than chivalric honor, is more precious than gold.