I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God
|I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God
|"[During Easter 1193 Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor] assembled the diet [at Speyer], before whom Richard [I of England] appeared as a criminal. He was accused of having unjustly captured Cyprus,—of having insulted the Duke of Austria,—of having assassinated the Marquis of Montferrat; moreover, he was charged with attempting to gain possession of Sicily, corresponding with Saladin, and with having concluded a truce of three years with the Saracens". Here is Richard's reply to the charge
(Duncan, Jonathan (1839). The dukes of Normandy, from the times of Rolls to the expulsion of king John. London:: Joseph Rickerby, and Harvey & Darton, 290, 291. ).
I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God, to whom alone I am responsible for my actions; but they are so pure and honourable that I voluntarily and cheerfully render an account of them to the whole world. The treaties I have concluded with the King of Sicily contain no infraction of the law of nations. I do not understand how I can be reproached for the conquest of Cyprus. I avenged my own injuries and those of the human race, in punishing a tyrant and dethroning an usurper; and by bestowing my conquest on a prince worthy of the throne, I have shown that I was not prompted by avarice or ambition; so much so, that the Emperor of Constantinople, who alone had any right to complain, has been wholly silent on the subject. In reference to the Duke of Austria, he ought to have avenged the insult on the spot, or long since to have forgotten it; moreover, my detention and captivity by his orders should have satisfied his revenge. I need not justify myself against the crime of having caused the assassination of the Marquis of Montferrat; he himself exonerated me from that foul charge, and had I my freedom, who would dare to accuse me of deliberate murder? My pretended correspondence with Saladin is equally unfounded; my battles and victories alone disprove the false assertion: and if I did not drive the Saracen prince from Jerusalem, blame not me, but blame the King of France, the Duke of Burgundy, the Duke of Austria himself, all of whom deserted the cause, and left me almost single-handed to war against the infidel. It is said that I was corrupted by presents from the sultan, and that I joined the crusade from the love of money; but did I not give away all the wealth I seized in capturing the Bagdad caravan, and what have I reserved out of all my conquests? Nothing, but the ring I wear on my finger. Do you, then, render justice to me; have compassion on a monarch who has experienced such unworthy treatment, and put more faith in my actions, than in the calumnies of my deadly foes.