History of Literature









Torquato Tasso




"Jerusalem Delivered"



BOOKS 1-10, BOOKS 11-20




 

 




Jerusalem Delivered

 

 

 



Translated by Edward Fairfax (1560-1635),
first published in London, 1600.
 

 

 


 

 

 


Louis Lagrenee
Rinaldo and Armida

 

 

 



Eleventh Book

THE ARGUMENT.
With grave procession, songs and psalms devout
Heaven's sacred aid the Christian lords invoke;
That done, they scale the wall which kept them out:
The fort is almost won, the gates nigh broke:
Godfrey is wounded by Clorinda stout,
And lost is that day's conquest by the stroke;
The angel cures him, he returns to fight,
But lost his labor, for day lost his light.

I
The Christian army's great and puissant guide,
To assault the town that all his thoughts had bent,
Did ladders, rams, and engines huge provide,
When reverend Peter to him gravely went,
And drawing him with sober grace aside,
With words severe thus told his high intent;
"Right well, my lord, these earthly strengths you move,
But let us first begin from Heaven above:

II
"With public prayer, zeal and faith devout,
The aid, assistance, and the help obtain
Of all the blessed of the heavenly rout,
With whose support you conquest sure may gain;
First let the priests before thine armies stout
With sacred hymns their holy voices strain.
And thou and all thy lords and peers with thee,
Of godliness and faith examples be."

III
Thus spake the hermit grave in words severe:
Godfrey allowed his counsel, sage, and wise,
"Of Christ the Lord," quoth he, "thou servant dear,
I yield to follow thy divine advice,
And while the princes I assemble here,
The great procession, songs and sacrifice,
With Bishop William, thou and Ademare,
With sacred and with solemn pomp prepare."

IV
Next morn the bishops twain, the heremite,
And all the clerks and priests of less estate,
Did in the middest of the camp unite
Within a place for prayer consecrate,
Each priest adorned was in a surplice white,
The bishops donned their albes and copes of state,
Above their rochets buttoned fair before,
And mitres on their heads like crowns they wore.

V
Peter alone, before, spread to the wind
The glorious sign of our salvation great,
With easy pace the choir come all behind,
And hymns and psalms in order true repeat,
With sweet respondence in harmonious kind
Their humble song the yielding air doth beat,
"Lastly, together went the reverend pair
Of prelates sage, William and Ademare,

VI
The mighty duke came next, as princes do,
Without companion, marching all alone,
The lords and captains then came two and two,
The soldiers for their guard were armed each one;
With easy pace thus ordered, passing through
The trench and rampire, to the fields they gone,
No thundering drum, no trumpet shrill they hear,
Their godly music psalms and prayers were.

VII
To thee, O Father, Son, and sacred Sprite,
One true, eternal, everlasting King;
To Christ's dear mother, Mary, vlrgin bright,
Psalms of thanksgiving and of praise they sing;
To them that angels down from heaven to fight
Gainst the blasphemous beast and dragon bring;
To him also that of our Saviour good,
Washed the sacred font in Jordan's flood.

VIII
Him likewise they invoke, called the Rock
Whereon the Lord, they say, his Church did rear,
Whose true successors close or else unlock
The blessed gates of grace and mercy dear;
And all the elected twelve the chosen flock,
Of his triumphant death who witness bear;
And them by torment, slaughter, fire and sword
Who martyrs died to confirm his word;

IX
And them also whose books and writings tell
What certain path to heavenly bliss us leads;
And hermits good, and ancresses that dwell
Mewed up in walls, and mumble on their beads,
And virgin nuns in close and private cell,
Where, but shrift fathers, never mankind treads:
On these they called, and on all the rout
Of angels, martyrs, and of saints devout.

X
Singing and saying thus, the camp devout
Spread forth her zealous squadrons broad and wide';
Toward mount Olivet went all this route,
So called of olive trees the hills which hide,
A mountain known by fame the world throughout,
Which riseth on the city's eastern side,
From it divided by the valley green
Of Josaphat, that fills the space between.

XI
Hither the armies went, and chanted shrill,
That all the deep and hollow dales resound;
From hollow mounts and caves in every hill,
A thousand echoes also sung around,
It seemed some clever, that sung with art and skill,
Dwelt in those savage dens and shady ground,
For oft resounds from the banks they hear,
The name of Christ and of his mother dear.

XII
Upon the walls the Pagans old and young
Stood hushed and still, amated and amazed,
At their grave order and their humble song,
At their strange pomp and customs new they gazed:
But when the show they had beholden long,
An hideous yell the wicked miscreants raised,
That with vile blasphemies the mountain hoar,
The woods, the waters, and the valleys roar.

XIII
But yet with sacred notes the hosts proceed,
Though blasphemies they hear and cursed things;
So with Apollo's harp Pan tunes his reed,
So adders hiss where Philomela sings;
Nor flying darts nor stones the Christians dreed,
Nor arrows shot, nor quarries cast from slings;
But with assured faith, as dreading naught,
The holy work begun to end they brought.

XIV
A table set they on the mountain's height
To minister thereon the sacrament,
In golden candlesticks a hallowed light
At either end of virgin wax there brent;
In costly vestments sacred William dight,
With fear and trembling to the altar went,
And prayer there and service loud begins,
Both for his own and all the army's sins.

XV
Humbly they heard his words that stood him nigh,
The rest far off upon him bent their eyes,
But when he ended had the service high,
"You servants of the Lord depart," he cries:
His hands he lifted then up to the sky,
And blessed all those warlike companies;
And they dismissed returned the way they came,
Their order as before, their pomp the same.

XVI
Within their camp arrived, this voyage ended,
Toward his tent the duke himself withdrew,
Upon their guide by heaps the bands attended,
Till his pavilion's stately door they view,
There to the Lord his welfare they commended,
And with him left the worthies of the crew,
Whom at a costly and rich feast he placed,
And with the highest room old Raymond graced.

XVII
Now when the hungry knights sufficed are
With meat, with drink, with spices of the best,
Quoth he, "When next you see the morning star,
To assault the town be ready all and prest:
To-morrow is a day of pains and war,
This of repose, of quiet, peace, and rest;
Go, take your ease this evening, and this night,
And make you strong against to-morrow's fight."

XVIII
They took their leave, and Godfrey's heralds rode
To intimate his will on every side,
And published it through all the lodgings broad,
That gainst the morn each should himself provide;
Meanwhile they might their hearts of cares unload,
And rest their tired limbs that eveningtide;
Thus fared they till night their eyes did close,
Night friend to gentle rest and sweet repose.

XIX
With little sign as yet of springing day
Out peeped, not well appeared the rising morn,
The plough yet tore not up the fertile lay,
Nor to their feed the sheep from folds return,
The birds sate silent on the greenwood spray
Amid the groves unheard was hound and horn,
When trumpets shrill, true signs of hardy fights,
Called up to arms the soldiers, called the knights:

XX
"Arm, arm at once!" an hundred squadrons cried,
And with their cry to arm them all begin.
Godfrey arose, that day he laid aside
His hauberk strong he wonts to combat in,
And donned a breastplate fair, of proof untried,
Such one as footmen use, light, easy, thin.
Scantly the warlord thus clothed had his gromes,
When aged Raymond to his presence comes.

XXI
And furnished to us when he the man beheld,
By his attire his secret thought he guessed,
"Where is," quoth he, "your sure and trusty shield?
Your helm, your hauberk strong? where all the rest?
Why be you half disarmed? why to the field
Approach you in these weak defences dressed?
I see this day you mean a course to run,
Wherein may peril much, small praise be won.

XXII
"Alas, do you that idle prise expect,
To set first foot this conquered wall above?
Of less account some knight thereto object
Whose loss so great and harmful cannot prove;
My lord, your life with greater care protect,
And love yourself because all us you love,
Your happy life is spirit, soul, and breath
Of all this camp, preserve it then from death."

XXIII
To this he answered thus, "You know," he said,
"In Clarimont by mighty Urban's hand
When I was girded with this noble blade,
For Christ's true faith to fight in every land,
To God even then a secret vow I made,
Not as a captain here this day to stand
And give directions, but with shield and sword
To fight, to win, or die for Christ my Lord.

XXIV
"When all this camp in battle strong shall be
Ordained and ordered, well disposed all,
And all things done which to the high degree
And sacred place I hold belongen shall;
Then reason is it, nor dissuade thou me,
That I likewise assault this sacred wall,
Lest from my vow to God late made I swerve:
He shall this life defend, keep and preserve."

XXV
Thus he concludes, and every hardy knight
His sample followed, and his brethren twain,
The other princes put on harness light,
As footmen use: but all the Pagan train
Toward that side bent their defensive might
Which lies exposed to view of Charles's wain
And Zephyrus' sweet blasts, for on that part
The town was weakest, both by side and art.

XXVI
On all parts else the fort was strong by site,
With mighty hills defenced from foreign rage,
And to this part the tyrant gan unite
His subjects born and bands that serve for wage,
From this exploit he spared nor great nor lite,
The aged men, and boys of tender age,
To fire of angry war still brought new fuel,
Stones, darts, lime, brimstone and bitumen cruel.

XXVII
All full of arms and weapons was the wall,
Under whose basis that fair plain doth run,
There stood the Soldan like a giant tall,
So stood at Rhodes the Coloss of the sun,
Waist high, Argantes showed himself withal,
At whose stern looks the French to quake begun,
Clorinda on the corner tower alone,
In silver arms like rising Cynthia shone.

XXVIII
Her rattling quiver at her shoulders hung,
Therein a flash of arrows feathered weel.
In her left hand her bow was bended strong,
Therein a shaft headed with mortal steel,
So fit to shoot she singled forth among
Her foes who first her quarries' strength should feel,
So fit to shoot Latona's daughter stood
When Niobe she killed and all her brood.

XXIX
The aged tyrant tottered on his feet
From gate to gate, from wall to wall he flew,
He comforts all his bands with speeches sweet,
And every fort and bastion doth review,
For every need prepared in every street
New regiments he placed and weapons new.
The matrons grave within their temples high
To idols false for succors call and cry,

XXX
"O Macon, break in twain the steeled lance
On wicked Godfrey with thy righteous hands,
Against thy name he doth his arm advance,
His rebel blood pour out upon these sands;"
These cries within his ears no enterance
Could find, for naught he hears, naught understands.
While thus the town for her defence ordains,
His armies Godfrey ordereth on the plains;

XXXI
His forces first on foot he forward brought,
With goodly order, providence and art,
And gainst these towers which to assail he thought,
In battles twain his strength he doth depart,
Between them crossbows stood, and engines wrought
To cast a stone, a quarry, or a dart,
From whence like thunder's dint or lightnings new
Against the bulwark stones and lances flew.

XXXII
His men at arms did back his bands on foot,
The light horse ride far off and serve for wings,
He gave the sign, so mighty was the rout
Of those that shot with bows and cast with slings,
Such storms of shafts and stones flew all about,
That many a Pagan proud to death it brings,
Some died, some at their loops durst scant outpeep,
Some fled and left the place they took to keep.

XXXIII
The hardy Frenchmen, full of heat and haste,
Ran boldly forward to the ditches large,
And o'er their heads an iron pentice vast
They built, by joining many a shield and targe,
Some with their engines ceaseless shot and cast,
And volleys huge of arrows sharp discharge,
Upon the ditches some employed their pain
To fill the moat and even it with the plain.

XXXIV
With slime or mud the ditches were not soft,
But dry and sandy, void of waters clear,
Though large and deep the Christians fill them oft,
With rubbish, fagots, stones, and trees they bear:
Adrastus first advanced his crest aloft,
And boldly gan a strong scalado rear,
And through the falling storm did upward climb
Of stones, darts, arrows, fire, pitch and lime:

XXXV
The hardy Switzer now so far was gone
That half way up with mickle pain he got,
A thousand weapons he sustained alone,
And his audacious climbing ceased not;
At last upon him fell a mighty stone,
As from some engine great it had been shot,
It broke his helm, he tumbled from the height,
The strong Circassian cast that wondrous weight;

XXXVI
Not mortal was the blow, yet with the fall
On earth sore bruised the man lay in a swoon.
Argantes gan with boasting words to call,
"Who cometh next? this first is tumbled down,
Come, hardy soldiers, come, assault this wall,
I will not shrink, nor fly, nor hide my crown,
If in your trench yourselves for dread you hold,
There shall you die like sheep killed in their fold."

XXXVII
Thus boasted he; but in their trenches deep,
The hidden squadrons kept themselves from scath,
The curtain made of shields did well off keep
Both darts and shot, and scorned all their wrath.
But now the ram upon the rampiers steep,
On mighty beams his head advanced hath,
With dreadful horns of iron tough tree great,
The walls and bulwarks trembled at his threat.

XXXVIII
An hundred able men meanwhile let fall
The weights behind, the engine tumbled down
And battered flat the battlements and wall:
So fell Taigetus hill on Sparta town,
It crushed the steeled shield in pieces small,
And beat the helmet to the wearers' crown,
And on the ruins of the walls and stones,
Dispersed left their blood their brains and bones.

XXXIX
The fierce assailants kept no longer close
Undcr the shelter of their target fine,
But their bold fronts to chance of war expose,
And gainst those towers let their virtue shine,
The scaling ladders up to skies arose,
The ground-works deep some closely undermine,
The walls before the Frenchmen shrink and shake,
And gaping sign of headlong falling make:

XL
And fallen they had, so far the strength extends
Of that fierce ram and his redoubted stroke,
But that the Pagan's care the place defends
And saved by warlike skill the wall nigh broke:
For to what part soe'er the engine bends,
Their sacks of wool they place the blow to choke,
Whose yielding breaks the strokes thereon which light,
So weakness oft subdues the greatest might.

XLI
While thus the worthies of the western crew
Maintained their brave assault and skirmish hot,
Her mighty bow Clorinda often drew,
And many a sharp and deadly arrow shot;
And from her bow no steeled shaft there flew
But that some blood the cursed engine got,
Blood of some valiant knight or man of fame,
For that proud shootress scorned weaker game.

XLII
The first she hit among the Christian peers
Was the bold son of England's noble king,
Above the trench himself he scantly rears,
But she an arrow loosed from the string,
The wicked steel his gauntlet breaks and tears,
And through his right hand thrust the piercing sting;
Disabled thus from fight, he gan retire,
Groaning for pain, but fretting more for ire.

XLIII
Lord Stephen of Amboise on the ditch's brim,
And on a ladder high, Clotharius died,
From back to breast an arrow pierced him,
The other was shot through from side to side:
Then as he managed brave his courser trim,
On his left arm he hit the Flemings' guide,
He stopped, and from the wound the reed out-twined,
But left the iron in his flesh behind.

XLIV
As Ademare stood to behold the fight
High on the bank, withdrawn to breathe a space,
A fatal shaft upon his forehead light,
His hand he lifted up to feel the place,
Whereon a second arrow chanced right,
And nailed his hand unto his wounded face,
He fell, and with his blood distained the land,
His holy blood shed by a virgin's hand.

XLV
While Palamede stood near the battlement,
Despising perils all, and all mishap,
And upward still his hardy footings bent,
On his right eye he caught a deadly clap,
Through his right eye Clorinda's seventh shaft went,
And in his neck broke forth a bloody gap;
He underneath that bulwark dying fell,
Which late to scale and win he trusted well.

XLVI
Thus shot the maid: the duke with hard assay
And sharp assault, meanwhile the town oppressed,
Against that part which to his campward lay
An engine huge and wondrous he addressed,
A tower of wood built for the town's decay
As high as were the walls and bulwarks best,
A turret full of men and weapons pent,
And yet on wheels it rolled, moved, and went.

XLVII
This rolling fort his nigh approaches made,
And darts and arrows spit against his foes,
As ships are wont in fight, so it assayed
With the strong wall to grapple and to close,
The Pagans on each side the piece invade,
And all their force against this mass oppose,
Sometimes the wheels, sometimes the battlement
With timber, logs and stones, they broke and rent,

XLVIII
So thick flew stones and darts, that no man sees
The azure heavens, the sun his brightness lost,
The clouds of weapons, like to swarms of bees,
Move the air, and there each other crossed:
And look how falling leaves drop down from trees,
When the moist sap is nipped with timely frost,
Or apples in strong winds from branches fall;
The Saracens so tumbled from the wall.

XLIX
For on their part the greatest slaughter light,
They had no shelter gainst so sharp a shower,
Some left on live betook themselves to flight,
So feared they this deadly thundering tower:
But Solyman stayed like a valiant knight,
And some with him, that trusted in his power,
Argantes with a long beech tree in hand,
Ran thither, this huge engine to withstand:

L
With this he pushed the tower, and back it drives
The length of all his tree, a wondrous way,
The hardy virgin by his side arrives,
To help Argantes in this hard assay:
The band that used the ram, this season strives
To cut the cords, wherein the woolpacks lay,
Which done, the sacks down in the trenches fall,
And to the battery naked left the wall.

LI
The tower above, the ram beneath doth thunder,
What lime and stone such puissance could abide?
The wall began, new bruised and crushed asunder,
Her wounded lap to open broad and wide,
Godfrey himself and his brought safely under
The shattered wall, where greatest breach he spied,
Himself he saves behind his mighty targe,
A shield not used but in some desperate charge.

LII
From hence he sees where Solyman descends,
Down to the threshold of the gaping breach,
And there it seems the mighty prince intends
Godfredo's hoped entrance to impeach:
Argantes, and with him the maid, defends
The walls above, to which the tower doth reach,
His noble heart, when Godfrey this beheld,
With courage new with wrath and valor swelled.

LIII
He turned about and to good Sigiere spake,
Who bare his greatest shield and mighty bow,
"That sure and trusty target let me take,
Impenetrable is that shield I know,
Over these ruins will I passage make,
And enter first, the way is eath and low,
And time requires that by some noble feat
I should make known my strength and puissance great."

LIV
He scant had spoken, scant received the charge,
When on his leg a sudden shaft him hit,
And through that part a hole made wide and large,
Where his strong sinews fastened were and knit.
Clorinda, thou this arrow didst discharge,
And let the Pagans bless thy hand for it,
For by that shot thou savedst them that day
From bondage vile, from death and sure decay.

LV
The wounded duke, as though he felt no pain,
Still forward went, and mounted up the breach
His high attempt at first he nould refrain,
And after called his lords with cheerful speech;
But when his leg could not his weight sustain,
He saw his will did far his power outreach,
And more he strove his grief increased the more,
The bold assault he left at length therefore:

LVI
And with his hand he beckoned Guelpho near,
And said, "I must withdraw me to my tent,
My place and person in mine absence bear,
Supply my want, let not the fight relent,
I go, and will ere long again be here;
I go and straight return: "this said, he went,
On a light steed he leaped, and o'er the green
He rode, but rode not, as he thought, unseen.

LVII
When Godfrey parted, parted eke the heart, .
The strength and fortune of the Christian bands,.
Courage increased in their adverse part,
Wrath in their hearts, and vigor in their hands:
Valor, success, strength, hardiness and art,
Failed in the princes of the western lands,
Their swords were blunt, faint was their trumpet's blast,
Their sun was set, or else with clouds o'ercast.

LVIII
Upon the bulwarks now appeared bold
That fearful band that late for dread was fled!
The women that Clorinda's strength behold,
Their country's love to war encouraged,
They weapons got, and fight like men they would,
Their gowns tucked up, their locks were loose and spread,
Sharp darts they cast, and without dread or fear,
Exposed their breasts to save their fortress dear.

LIX
But that which most dismayed the Christian knights,
And added courage to the Pagans most,
Was Guelpho's sudden fall in all men's sights,
Who tumbled headlong down, his footing lost,
A mighty stone upon the worthy lights,
But whence it came none wist, nor from what coast;
And with like blow, which more their hearts dismayed,
Beside him low in dust old Raymond laid:

LX
And Eustace eke within the ditches large,
To narrow shifts and last extremes they drive,
Upon their foes so fierce the Pagans charge,
And with good-fortune so their blows they give,
That whom they hit, in spite of helm or targe,
They deeply wound, or else of life deprive.
At this their good success Argantes proud,
Waxing more fell, thus roared and cried aloud:

LXI
"This is not Antioch, nor the evening dark
Can help your privy sleights with friendly shade,
The sun yet shines, your falsehood can we mark,
In other wise this bold assault is made;
Of praise and glory quenched is the spark
That made you first these eastern lands invade,
Why cease you now? why take you not this fort?
What! are you weary for a charge so short?"

LXII
Thus raged he, and in such hellish sort
Increased the fury in the brain-sick knight,
That he esteemed that large and ample fort
Too strait a field, wherein to prove his might,
There where the breach had framed a new-made port,
Himself he placed, with nimble skips and light,
He cleared the passage out, and thus he cried
To Solyman, that fought close by his side:

LXIII
"Come, Solyman, the time and place behold,
That of our valors well may judge the doubt,
What sayest thou? amongst these Christians bold,
First leap he forth that holds himself most stout:"
While thus his will the mighty champion told,
Both Solyman and he at once leaped out,
Fury the first provoked, disdain the last,
Who scorned the challenge ere his lips it passed.

LXIV
Upon their foes unlooked-for they flew,
Each spited other for his virtue's sake,
So many soldiers this fierce couple slew,
So many shields they cleft and helms they break,
So many ladders to the earth they threw,
That well they seemed a mount thereof to make,
Or else some vamure fit to save the town,
Instead of that the Christians late beat down.

LXV
The folk that strove with rage and haste before
Who first the wall and rampire should ascend,
Retire, and for that honor strive no more,
Scantly they could their limbs and lives defend,
They fled, their engines lost the Pagans tore
In pieces small, their rams to naught they rend,
And all unfit for further service make
With so great force and rage their beams they brake.

LXVI
The Pagans ran transported with their ire,
Now here, now there, and woful slaughters wrought,
At last they called for devouring fire,
Two burning pines against the tower they brought,
So from the palace of their hellish sire,
When all this world they would consume to naught,
The fury sisters come with fire in hands,
Shaking their snaky locks and sparkling brands:

LXVII
But noble Tancred, who this while applied
Grave exhortations to his bold Latines,
When of these knights the wondrous acts he spied,
And saw the champions with their burning pines,
He left his talk, and thither forthwith hied,
To stop the rage of those fell Saracines.
And with such force the fight he there renewed,
That now they fled and lost who late pursued.

LXVIII
Thus changed the state and fortune of the fray,
Meanwhile the wounded duke, in grief and teen,
Within his great pavilion rich and gay,
Good Sigiere and Baldwin stood between;
His other friends whom his mishap dismay,
With grief and tears about assembled been:
He strove in haste the weapon out to wind,
And broke the reed, but left the head behind.

LXIX
He bade them take the speediest way they might,
Of that unlucky hurt to make him sound,
And to lay ope the depth thereof to sight,
He willed them open, search and lance the wound,
"Send me again," quoth he, "to end this fight,
Before the sun be sunken under ground;"
And leaning on a broken spear, he thrust
His leg straight out, to him that cure it must.

LXX
Erotimus, born on the banks of Po,
Was he that undertook to cure the knight,
All what green herbs or waters pure could do,
He knew their power, their virtue, and their might,
A noble poet was the man also,
But in this science had a more delight,
He could restore to health death-wounded men,
And make their names immortal with his pen.

LXXI
The mighty duke yet never changed cheer,
But grieved to see his friends lamenting stand;
The leech prepared his cloths and cleansing gear,
And with a belt his gown about him band,
Now with his herbs the steely head to tear
Out of the flesh he proved, now with his hand,
Now with his hand, now with his instrument
He shaked and plucked it, yet not forth it went.

LXXII
His labor vain, his art prevailed naught,
His luck was ill, although his skill were good,
To such extremes the wounded prince he brought,
That with fell pain he swooned as he stood:
But the angel pure, that kept him, went and sought
Divine dictamnum, out of Ida wood,
This herb is rough, and bears a purple flower,
And in his budding leaves lies all his power.

LXXIII
Kind nature first upon the craggy clift
Bewrayed this herb unto the mountain goat,
That when her sides a cruel shaft hath rift,
With it she shakes the reed out of her coat;
This in a moment fetched the angel swift,
And brought from Ida hill, though far remote,
The juice whereof in a prepared bath
Unseen the blessed spirit poured hath.

LXXIV
Pure nectar from that spring of Lydia than,
And panaces divine therein he threw,
The cunning leech to bathe the wound began,
And of itself the steely head outflew;
The bleeding stanched, no vermile drop outran,
The leg again waxed strong with vigor new:
Erotimus cried out, "This hurt and wound
No human art or hand so soon makes sound:

LXXV
"Some angel good I think come down from skies
Thy surgeon is, for here plain tokens are
Of grace divine which to thy help applies,
Thy weapon take and haste again to war."
In precious cloths his leg the chieftain ties,
Naught could the man from blood and fight debar;
A sturdy lance in his right hand he braced,
His shield he took, and on his helmet laced:

LXXVI
And with a thousand knights and barons bold,
Toward the town he hasted from his camp,
In clouds of dust was Titan's face enrolled,
Trembled the earth whereon the worthies stamp,
His foes far off his dreadful looks behold,
Which in their hearts of courage quenched the lamp,
A chilling fear ran cold through every vein,
Lord Godfrey shouted thrice and all his train:

LXXVII
Their sovereign's voice his hardy people knew,
And his loud cries that cheered each fearful heart;
Thereat new strength they took and courage new,
And to the fierce assault again they start.
The Pagans twain this while themselves withdrew
Within the breach to save that battered part,
And with great loss a skirmish hot they hold
Against Tancredi and his squadron bold.

LXXVIII
Thither came Godfrey armed round about
In trusty plate, with fierce and dreadful look;
At first approach against Argantes stout
Headed with poignant steel a lance he shook,
No casting engine with such force throws out
A knotty spear, and as the way it took,
It whistled in the air, the fearless knight
Opposed his shield against that weapon's might.

LXXIX
The dreadful blow quite through his target drove,
And bored through his breastplate strong and thick,
The tender skin it in his bosom rove,
The purple-blood out-streamed from the quick;
To wrest it out the wounded Pagan strove
And little leisure gave it there to stick;
At Godfrey's head the lance again he cast,
And said, "Lo, there again thy dart thou hast."

LXXX
The spear flew back the way it lately came,
And would revenge the harm itself had done,
But missed the mark whereat the man did aim,
He stepped aside the furious blow to shun:
But Sigiere in his throat received the same,
The murdering weapon at his neck out-run,
Nor aught it grieved the man to lose his breath,
Since in his prince's stead he suffered death.

LXXXI
Even then the Soldan struck with monstrous main
The noble leader of the Norman band,
He reeled awhile and staggered with the pain,
And wheeling round fell grovelling on the sand:
Godfrey no longer could the grief sustain
Of these displeasures, but with flaming brand,
Up to the breach in heat and haste he goes,
And hand to hand there combats with his foes;

LXXXII
And there great wonders surely wrought he had,
Mortal the fight, and fierce had been the fray,
But that dark night, from her pavilion sad,
Her cloudy wings did on the earth display,
Her quiet shades she interposed glad
To cause the knights their arms aside to lay;
Godfrey withdrew, and to their tents they wend,
And thus this bloody day was brought to end.

LXXXIII
The weak and wounded ere he left the field,
The godly duke to safety thence conveyed,
Nor to his foes his engines would he yield,
In them his hope to win the fortress laid;
Then to the tower he went, and it beheeld,
The tower that late the Pagan lords dismayed
But now stood bruised, broken, cracked and shivered,
From some sharp storm as it were late delivered.

LXXXIV
From dangers great escaped, but late it was,
And now to safety brought well-nigh it seems,
But as a ship that under sail doth pass
The roaring billows and the raging streams,
And drawing nigh the wished port, alas,
Breaks on some hidden rocks her ribs and beams;
Or as a steed rough ways that well hath passed,
Before his inn stumbleth and falls at last:

LXXXV
Such hap befell that tower, for on that side
Gainst which the Pagans' force and battery bend,
Two wheels were broke whereon the piece should ride,
The maimed engine could no further wend,
The troop that guarded it that part provide
To underprop with posts, and it defend
Till carpenters and cunning workmen came
Whose skill should help and rear again the same.

LXXXVI
Thus Godfrey bids, and that ere springing-day,
The cracks and bruises all amend they should,
Each open passage, and each privy way
About the piece, he kept with soldiers bold:
But the loud rumor, both of that they say,
And that they do, is heard within the hold,
A thousand lights about the tower they view,
And what they wrought all night both saw and knew.

 

 

 


Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Rinaldo and Armida
 

 

 




Twelfth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
Clorinda hears her eunuch old report
Her birth, her offspring, and her native land;
Disguised she fireth Godfrey's rolling fort.
The burned piece falls smoking on the sand:
With Tancred long unknown in desperate sort
She fights, and falls through pierced with his brand:
Christened she dies; with sighs, with plaints and tears.
He wails her death; Argant revengement swears.

I
Now in dark night was all the world embarred;
But yet the tired armies took no rest,
The careful French kept heedful watch and ward,
While their high tower the workmen newly dressed,
The Pagan crew to reinforce prepared
The weakened bulwarks, late to earth down kest,
Their rampiers broke and bruised walls to mend,
Lastly their hurts the wounded knights attend.

II
Their wounds were dressed, part of the work was brought
To wished end, part left to other days,
A dull desire to rest deep midnight wrought,
His heavy rod sleep on their eyelids lays:
Yet rested not Clorinda's working thought,
Which thirsted still for fame and warlike praise,
Argantes eke accompanied the maid
From place to place, which to herself thus said:

III
"This day Argantes strong, and Solyman,
Strange things have done, and purchased great renown,
Among our foes out of the walls they ran,
Their rams they broke and rent their engines down:
I used my bow, of naught else boast I can,
My self stood safe meanwhile within this town,
And happy was my shot, and prosperous too,
But that was all a woman's hand could do.

IV
"On birds and beasts in forests wild that feed
It were more fit mine arrows to bestow,
Than for a feeble maid in warlike deed
With strong and hardy knights herself to show.
Why take I not again my virgin's weed,
And spend my days in secret cell unknow?"
Thus thought, thus mused, thus devised the maid,
And turning to the knight, at last thus said:

V
"My thoughts are full, my lord, of strange desire
Some high attempt of war to undertake,
Whether high God my mind therewith inspire
Or of his will his God mankind doth make,
Among our foes behold the light and fire,
I will among them wend, and burn or break
The tower, God grant therein I have my will
And that performed, betide me good or ill.

VI
"But if it fortune such my chance should be,
That to this town I never turn again,
Mine eunuch, whom I dearly love, with thee
I leave my faithful maids, and all my train,
To Egypt then conducted safely see
Those woful damsels and that aged swain,
Help them, my lord, in that distressed case,
Their feeble sex, his age, deserveth grace."

VII
Argantes wondering stood, and felt the effect
Of true renown pierce through his glorious mind,
"And wilt thou go," quoth he, "and me neglect,
Disgraced, despised, leave in this fort behind?
Shall I while these strong walls my life protect
Behold thy flames and fires tossed in the wind,
No, no, thy fellow have I been in arms,
And will be still, in praise, in death, in harms.

VIII
"This heart of mine death's bitter stroke despiseth,
For praise this life, for glory take this breath."
"My soul and more," quoth she, "thy friendship prizeth,
For this thy proffered aid required uneath,
I but a woman am, no loss ariseth
To this besieged city by my death,
But if, as God forbid, this night thou fall,
Ah! who shall then, who can, defend this wall!"

IX
"Too late these 'scuses vain," the knight replied,
"You bring; my will is firm, my mind is set,
! follow you whereso you list me guide,
Or go before if you my purpose let."
This said, they hasted to the palace wide
About their prince where all his lords were met,
Clorinda spoke for both, and said, "Sir king,
Attend my words, hear, and allow the thing:

X
"Argantes here, this bold and hardy knight,
Will undertake to burn the wondrous tower,
And I with him, only we stay till night
Bury in sleep our foes at deadest hour."
The king with that cast up his hands on height,
The tears for joy upon his cheeks down pour.
"Praised," quoth he, "be Macon whom we serve,
This land I see he keeps and will preserve:

XI
"Nor shall so soon this shaken kingdom fall,
While such unconquered hearts my state defend:
But for this act what praise or guerdon shall
I give your virtues, which so far extend?
Let fame your praises sound through nations all,
And fill the world therewith to either end,
Take half my wealth and kingdom for your meed?
You are rewarded half even with the deed."

XII
Thus spake the prince, and gently 'gan distrain,
Now him, now her, between his friendly arms:
The Soldan by, no longer could refrain
That noble envy which his bosom warms,
"Nor I," quoth he, "bear this broad sword in vain,
Nor yet am unexpert in night alarms,
Take me with you: ah." Quoth Clorinda, "no!
Whom leave we here of prowess if you go?"

XIII
This spoken, ready with a proud refuse
Argantes was his proffered aid to scorn,
Whom Aladine prevents, and with excuse
To Solyman thus gan his speeches torn:
"Right noble prince, as aye hath been your use
Your self so still you bear and long have borne,
Bold in all acts, no danger can affright
Your heart, nor tired is your strength with fight.

XIV
"If you went forth great things perform you would,
In my conceit yet far unfit it seems
That you, who most excel in courage bold,
At once should leave this town in these extremes,
Nor would I that these twain should leave this hold,
My heart their noble lives far worthier deems,
If this attempt of less importance were,
Or weaker posts so great a weight could bear.

XV
"But for well-guarded is the mighty tower
With hardy troops and squadrons round about,
And cannot harmed be with little power,
Nor fit the time to send whole armies out,
This pair who passed have many a dreadful stowre,
And proffer now to prove this venture stout,
Alone to this attempt let them go forth,
Alone than thousands of more price and worth.

XVI
"Thou, as it best beseems a mighty king,
With ready bands besides the gate attend,
That when this couple have performed the thing,
And shall again their footsteps homeward bend,
From their strong foes upon them following
Thou may'st them keep, preserve, save and defend:"
Thus said the king, "The Soldan must consent,"
Silent remained the Turk, and discontent.

XVII
Then Ismen said, "You twain that undertake
This hard attempt, awhile I pray you stay,
Till I a wildfire of fine temper make,
That this great engine burn to ashes may;
Haply the guard that now doth watch and wake,
Will then lie tumbled sleeping on the lay;"
Thus they conclude, and in their chambers sit,
To wait the time for this adventure fit.

XVIII
Clorinda there her silver arms off rent,
Her helm, her shield, her hauberk shining bright,
An armor black as jet or coal she hent,
Wherein withouten plume herself she dight;
For thus disguised amid her foes she meant
To pass unseen, by help of friendly night,
To whom her eunuch, old Arsetes, came,
That from her cradle nursed and kept the dame.

XIX
This aged sire had followed far and near,
Through lands and seas, the strong and hardy maid,
He saw her leave her arms and wonted gear,
Her danger nigh that sudden change foresaid:
By his white locks from black that changed were
In following her, the woful man her prayed,
By all his service and his taken pain,
To leave that fond attempt, but prayed in vain.

XX
"At last," quoth he, "since hardened to thine ill,
Thy cruel heart is to thy loss prepared,
That my weak age, nor tears that down distil,
Not humble suit, nor plaint, thou list regard;
Attend awhile, strange things unfold I will,
Hear both thy birth and high estate declared;
Follow my counsel, or thy will that done,"
She sat to hear, the eunuch thus begun:

XXI
"Senapus ruled, and yet perchance doth reign
In mighty Ethiop, and her deserts waste,
The lore of Christ both he and all his train
Of people black, hath kept and long embraced,
To him a Pagan was I sold for gain,
And with his queen, as her chief eunuch, placed;
Black was this queen as jet, yet on her eyes
Sweet loveliness, in black attired, lies.

XXII
"The fire of love and frost of jealousy,
Her husband's troubled soul alike torment,
The tide of fond suspicion flowed high,
The foe to love and plague to sweet content,
He mewed her up from sight of mortal eye,
Nor day he would his beams on her had bent:
She, wise and lowly, by her husband's pleasure,
Her joy, her peace, her will, her wish did measure.

XXIII
"Her prison was a chamber, painted round
With goodly portraits and with stories old,
As white as snow there stood a virgin bound,
Besides a dragon fierce, a champion bold
The monster did with poignant spear through wound,
The gored beast lay dead upon the mould;
The gentle queen before this image laid.
She plained, she mourned, she wept, she sighed, she prayed:

XXIV
"At last with child she proved, and forth she brought,
And thou art she, a daughter fair and bright,
In her thy color white new terror wrought,
She wondered on thy face with strange affright,
But yet she purposed in her fearful thought
To hide thee from the king, thy father's sight,
Lest thy bright hue should his suspect approve,
For seld a crow begets a silver dove.

XXV
"And to her spouse to show she was disposed
A negro's babe late born, in room of thee,
And for the tower wherein she lay enclosed,
Was with her damsels only wond and me,
To me, on whose true faith she most reposed,
She gave thee, ere thou couldest christened be,
Nor could I since find means thee to baptize,
In Pagan lands thou knowest it's not the guise.

XXVI
"To me she gave thee, and she wept withal,
To foster thee in some far distant place.
Who can her griefs and plaints to reckoning call,
How oft she swooned at the last embrace:
Her streaming tears amid her kisses fall,
Her sighs, her dire complaints did interlace?
And looking up at last, ` O God,' quoth she,
`Who dost my heart and inward mourning see,

XXVII
"`If mind and body spotless to this day,
If I have kept my bed still undefiled,
Not for myself a sinful wretch I pray,
That in thy presence am an abject vilde,
Preserve this babe, whose mother must denay
To nourish it, preserve this harmless child,
Oh let it live, and chaste like me it make,
But for good fortune elsewhere sample take.

XXVIII
"'Thou heavenly soldier which delivered hast
That sacred virgin from the serpent old,
If on thine altars I have offerings placed,
And sacrificed myrrh, frankincense and gold,
On this poor child thy heavenly looks down cast,
With gracious eye this silly babe behold;'
This said, her strength and living sprite was fled,
She sighed, she groaned, she swooned in her bed.

XXIX
"Weeping I took thee, in a little chest,
Covered with herbs and leaves, I brought thee out
So secretly, that none of all the rest
Of such an act suspicion had or doubt,
To wilderness my steps I first addressed,
Where horrid shades enclosed me round about,
A tigress there I met, in whose fierce eyes
Fury and wrath, rage, death and terror lies:

XXX
"Up to a tree I leaped, and on the grass,
Such was my sudden fear, I left thee lying,
To thee the beast with furious course did pass,
With curious looks upon thy visage prying,
All suddenly both meek and mild she was,
With friendly cheer thy tender body eying:
At last she licked thee, and with gesture mild
About thee played, and thou upon her smiled.

XXXI
"Her fearful muzzle full of dreadful threat,
In thy weak hand thou took'st withouten dread;
The gentle beast with milk-outstretched teat,
As nurses' custom, proffered thee to feed.
As one that wondereth on some marvel great,
I stood this while amazed at the deed.
When thee she saw well filled and satisfied,
Unto the woods again the tigress hied.

XXXII
"She gone, down from the tree I came in haste,
And took thee up, and on my journey wend,
Within a little thorp I stayed at last,
And to a nurse the charge of thee commend,
And sporting with thee there long time I passed,
Till term of sixteen months were brought to end,
And thou begun, as little children do,
With half clipped words to prattle, and to go.

XXXIII
"But having passed the August of mine age,
When more than half my tap of life was run,
Rich by rewards given by your mother sage,
For merits past, and service yet undone,
I longed to leave this wandering pilgrimage,
And in my native soil again to won,
To get some seely home I had desire,
Loth still to warm me at another's fire.

XXXIV
"To Egypt-ward, where I was born, I went,
And bore thee with me, by a rolling flood,
Till I with savage thieves well-nigh was hent;
Before the brook, the thieves behind me stood:
Thee to forsake I never could consent,
And gladly would I 'scape those outlaws wood,
Into the flood I leaped far from the brim,
My left hand bore thee, with the right I swim.

XXXV
"Swift was the current, in the middle stream
A whirlpool gaped with devouring jaws,
The gulf, on such mishap ere I could dream,
Into his deep abyss my carcass draws,
There I forsook thee, the wild waters seem
To pity thee, a gentle wind there blows
Whose friendly puffs safe to the shore thee drive,
Where wet and weary I at last arrive:

XXXVI
"I took thee up, and in my dream that night,
When buried was the world in sleep and shade,
I saw a champion clad in armor bright
That o'er my head shaked a flaming blade,
He said, 'I charge thee execute aright,
That charge this infant's mother on thee laid,
Baptize the child, high Heaven esteems her dear,
And I her keeper will attend her near:

XXXVII
"`I will her keep, defend, save and protect,
I made the waters mild, the tigress tame,
O wretch that heavenly warnings dost reject!'
The warrior vanished having said the same.
I rose and journeyed on my way direct
When blushing morn from Tithon's bed forth came,
But for my faith is true and sure I ween,
And dreams are false, you still unchristened been.

XXXVIII
"A Pagan therefore thee I fostered have,
Nor of thy birth the truth did ever tell,
Since you increased are in courage brave,
Your sex and nature's-self you both excel,
Full many a realm have you made bond and slave,
Your fortunes last yourself remember well,
And how in peace and war, in joy and teen,
I have your servant, and your tutor been.

XXXIX
"Last morn, from skies ere stars exiled were,
In deep and deathlike sleep my senses drowned,
The self-same vision did again appear,
With stormy wrathful looks, and thundering sound,
`Villain,' quoth he, `within short while thy dear
Must change her life, and leave this sinful ground,
Thine be the loss, the torment, and the care,'
This said, he fled through skies, through clouds and air.

XL
"Hear then my joy, my hope, my darling, hear,
High Heaven some dire misfortune threatened hath,
Displeased pardie, because I did thee lere
A lore repugnant to thy parents' faith;
Ah, for my sake, this bold attempt forbear;
Put off these sable arms, appease thy wrath."
This said, he wept, she pensive stood and sad,
Because like dream herself but lately had.

XLI
With cheerful smile she answered him at last,
"I will this faith observe, it seems me true,
Which from my cradle age thou taught me hast;
I will not change it for religion new,
Nor with vain shows of fear and dread aghast
This enterprise forbear I to pursue,
No, not if death in his most dreadful face
Wherewith he scareth mankind, kept the place."

XLII
Approachen gan the time, while thus she spake,
Wherein they ought that dreadful hazard try;
She to Argantes went, who should partake
Of her renown and praise, or with her die.
Ismen with words more hasty still did make
Their virtue great, which by itself did fly,
Two balls he gave them made of hollow brass,
Wherein enclosed fire, pitch, and brimstone was.

XLIII
And forth they went, and over dale and hill
They hasted forward with a speedy pace,
Unseen, unmarked, undescried, until
Beside the engine close themselves they place,
New courage there their swelling hearts did fill,
Rage in their breasts, fury shown in their face,
They yearned to blow the fire, and draw the sword.
The watch descried them both, and gave the word.

XLIV
Silent they passed on, the watch begun
To rear a huge alarm with hideous cries,
Therewith the hardy couple forward run
To execute their valiant enterprise:
So from a cannon or a roaring gun
At once the noise, the flame, and bullet flies,
They run, they give the charge, begin the fray,
And all at once their foes break, spoil and slay.

XLV
They passed first through thousand thousand blows,
And then performed their designment bold,
A fiery ball each on the engine throws,
The stuff was dry, the fire took quickly hold,
Furious upon the timber-work it grows,
How it increased cannot well be told,
How it crept up the piece, and how to skies
The burning sparks and towering smoke upflies.

XLVI
A mass of solid fire burning bright
Rolled up in smouldering fumes, there bursteth out,
And there the blustering winds add strength and might
And gather close the sparsed flames about:
The Frenchmen trembled at the dreadful light,
To arms in haste and fear ran all the rout,
Down fell the piece dreaded so much in war,
Thus what long days do make one hour doth mar.

XLVII
Two Christian bands this while came to the place
With speedy haste, where they beheld the fire,
Argantes to them cried with scornful grace,
"Your blood shall quench these flames, and quench mine ire:"
This said, the maid and he with sober pace
Drew back, and to the banks themselves retire,
Faster than brooks which falling showers increase
Their foes augment, and faster on them press.

XLVIII
The gilden port was opened, and forth stepped
With all his soldiers bold, the Turkish king,
Ready to aid the two his force he kept,
When fortune should them home with conquest bring,
Over the bars the hardy couple leapt
And after them a band of Christians fling,
Whom Solyman drove back with courage stout,
And shut the gate, but shut Clorinda out.

XLIX
Alone was she shut forth, for in that hour
Wherein they closed the port, the virgin went,
And full of heat and wrath, her strength and power
Gainst Arimon, that struck her erst, she bent,
She slew the knight, nor Argant in that stowre
Wist of her parting, or her fierce intent,
The fight, the press, the night, and darksome skies
Care from his heart had ta'en, sight from his eyes.

L
But when appeased was her angry mood,
Her fury calmed, and settled was her head,
She saw the gates were shut, and how she stood
Amid her foes, she held herself for dead;
While none her marked at last she thought it good,
To save her life, some other path to tread,
She feigned her one of them, and close her drew
Amid the press that none her saw or knew:

LI
Then as a wolf guilty of some misdeed
Flies to some grove to hide himself from view,
So favored with the night, with secret speed
Dissevered from the press the damsel flew:
Tancred alone of her escape took heed,
He on that quarter was arrived new,
When Arimon she killed he thither came,
He saw it, marked it, and pursued the dame.

LII
He deemed she was some man of mickle might,
And on her person would he worship win,
Over the hills the nymph her journey dight
Toward another port, there to get in:
With hideous noise fast after spurred the knight,
She heard and stayed, and thus her words begin,
"What haste hast thou? ride softly, take thy breath,
What bringest thou?" He answered, "War and death."

LIII
"And war and death," quoth she, "here mayest thou get
If thou for battle come," with that she stayed:
Tancred to ground his foot in haste down set,
And left his steed, on foot he saw the maid,
Their courage hot, their ire and wrath they whet,
And either champion drew a trenchant blade,
Together ran they, and together stroke,
Like two fierce bulls whom rage and love provoke.

LIV
Worthy of royal lists and brightest day,
Worthy a golden trump and laurel crown,
The actions were and wonders of that fray
Which sable knight did in dark bosom drown:
Yet night, consent that I their acts display
And make their deeds to future ages known,
And in records of long enduring story
Enrol their praise, their fame, their worth and glory.

LV
They neither shrunk, nor vantage sought of ground,
They traverse not, nor skipped from part to part,
Their blows were neither false nor feigned found,
The night, their rage would let them use no art,
Their swords together clash with dreadful sound,
Their feet stand fast, and neither stir nor start,
They move their hands, steadfast their feet remain,
Nor blow nor loin they struck, or thrust in vain.

LVI
Shame bred desire a sharp revenge to take,
And vengeance taken gave new cause of shame:
So that with haste and little heed they strake,
Fuel enough they had to feed the flame;
At last so close their battle fierce they make,
They could not wield their swords, so nigh they came,
They used the hilts, and each on other rushed,
And helm to helm, and shield to shield they crushed.

LVII
Thrice his strong arms he folds about her waist,
And thrice was forced to let the virgin go,
For she disdained to be so embraced, .
No lover would have strained his mistress so:
They took their swords again, and each enchased
Deep wounds in the soft flesh of his strong foe,
Till weak and weary, faint, alive uneath,
They both retired at once, at once took breath.

LVIII
Each other long beheld, and leaning stood
Upon their swords, whose points in earth were pight,
When day-break, rising from the eastern flood,
Put forth the thousand eyes of blindfold night;
Tancred beheld his foe's out-streaming blood,
And gaping wounds, and waxed proud with the sight,
Oh vanity of man's unstable mind,
Puffed up with every blast of friendly wind!

LIX
Why joy'st thou, wretch? Oh, what shall be thy gain?
What trophy for this conquest is't thou rears?
Thine eyes shall shed, in case thou be not slain,
For every drop of blood a sea of tears:
The bleeding warriors leaning thus remain,
Each one to speak one word long time forbears,
Tancred the silence broke at last, and said,
For he would know with whom this fight he made:

LX
"Evil is our chance and hard our fortune is
Who here in silence, and in shade debate,
Where light of sun and witness all we miss
That should our prowess and our praise dilate:
If words in arms find place, yet grant me this,
Tell me thy name, thy country, and estate;
That I may know, this dangerous combat done,
Whom I have conquered, or who hath me won."

LXI
"What I nill tell, you ask," quoth she, "in vain,
Nor moved by prayer, nor constrained by power,
But thus much know, I am one of those twain
Which late with kindled fire destroyed the tower."
Tancred at her proud words swelled with disdain,
"That hast thou said," quoth he, "in evil hour;
Thy vaunting speeches, and thy silence both,
Uncivil wretch, hath made my heart more wroth."

LXII
Ire in their chafed breasts renewed the fray,
Fierce was the fight, though feeble were their might,
Their strength was gone, their cunning was away,
And fury in their stead maintained the fight,
Their swords both points and edges sharp embay
In purple blood, whereso they hit or light,
And if weak life yet in their bosoms lie,
They lived because they both disdained to die.

LXIII
As Aegean seas when storms be calmed again
That rolled their tumbling waves with troublous blasts,
Do yet of tempests past some shows retain,
And here and there their swelling billows casts;
So, though their strength were gone and might were vain,
Of their first fierceness still the fury lasts,
Wherewith sustained, they to their tackling stood,
And heaped wound on wound, and blood on blood.

LXIV
But now, alas, the fatal hour arrives
That her sweet life must leave that tender hold,
His sword into her bosom deep he drives,
And bathed in lukewarm blood his iron cold,
Between her breasts the cruel weapon rives
Her curious square, embossed with swelling gold,
Her knees grow weak, the pains of death she feels,
And like a falling cedar bends and reels.

LXV
The prince his hand upon her shield doth stretch,
And low on earth the wounded damsel layeth,
And while she fell, with weak and woful speech,
Her prayers last and last complaints she sayeth,
A spirit new did her those prayers teach,
Spirit of hope, of charity, and faith;
And though her life to Christ rebellious were,
Yet died she His child and handmaid dear.

LXVI
"Friend, thou hast won, I pardon thee, nor save
This body, that all torments can endure,
But save my soul, baptism I dying crave,
Come wash away my sins with waters pure:"
His heart relenting nigh in sunder rave,
With woful speech of that sweet creature,
So that his rage, his wrath, and anger died,
And on his cheeks salt tears for ruth down slide.

LXVII
With murmur loud down from the mountain's side
A little runnel tumbled near the place,
Thither he ran and filled his helmet wide,
And quick returned to do that work of grace,
With trembling hands her beaver he untied,
Which done he saw, and seeing, knew her face,
And lost therewith his speech and moving quite,
Oh woful knowledge, ah unhappy sight!

LXVIII
He died not, but all his strength unites,
And to his virtues gave his heart in guard,
Bridling his grief, with water he requites
The life that he bereft with iron hard,
And while the sacred words the knight recites,
The nymph to heaven with joy herself prepared;
And as her life decays her joys increase,
She smiled and said, "Farewell, I die in peace."

LXIX
As violets blue mongst lilies pure men throw,
So paleness midst her native white begun;
Her looks to heaven she cast, their eyes I trow
Downward for pity bent both heaven and sun,
Her naked hand she gave the knight, in show
Of love and peace, her speech, alas, was done,
And thus the virgin fell on endless sleep, --
Love, Beauty, Virtue, for your darling weep!

LXX
But when he saw her gentle soul was went,
His manly courage to relent began,
Grief, sorrow, anguish. sadness, discontent,
Free empire got and lordship on the man,
His life within his heart they close up pent,
Death through his senses and his visage ran:
Like his dead lady, dead seemed Tancred good,
In paleness, stillness, wounds and streams of blood.

LXXI
And his weak sprite, to be unbodied
From fleshly prison free that ceaseless strived,
Had followed her fair soul but lately fled
Had not a Christian squadron there arrived,
To seek fresh water thither haply led,
And found the princess dead, and him deprived
Of signs of life; yet did the knight remain
On live, nigh dead, for her himself had slain.

LXXII
Their guide far off the prince knew by his shield,
And thither hasted full of grief and fear,
Her dead, him seeming so, he there beheld,
And for that strange mishap shed many a tear;
He would not leave the corpses fair in field
For food to wolves, though she a Pagan were,
But in their arms the soldiers both uphent,
And both lamenting brought to Tancred's tent.

LXXIII
With those dear burdens to their camp they pass,
Yet would not that dead seeming knight awake,
At last he deeply groaned, which token was
His feeble soul had not her flight yet take:
The other lay a still and heavy mass,
Her spirit had that earthen cage forsake;
Thus were they brought, and thus they placed were
In sundry rooms, yet both adjoining near.

LXXIV
All skill and art his careful servants used
To life again their dying lord to bring,
At last his eyes unclosed, with tears suffused,
He felt their hands and heard their whispering,
But how he thither came long time he mused,
His mind astonished was with everything;
He gazed about, his squires in fine he knew,
Then weak and woful thus his plaints out threw:

LXXV
"What, live I yet? and do I breathe and see
Of this accursed day the hateful light?
This spiteful ray which still upbraideth me
With that accursed deed I did this night,
Ah, coward hand, afraid why should'st thou be;
Thou instrument of death, shame and despite,
Why should'st thou fear, with sharp and trenchant knife,
To cut the thread of this blood-guilty life?

LXXVI
"Pierce through this bosom, and my cruel heart
In pieces cleave, break every string and vein;
But thou to slaughters vile which used art,
Think'st it were pity so to ease my pain:
Of luckless love therefore in torments' smart
A sad example must I still remain,
A woful monster of unhappy love,
Who still must live, lest death his comfort prove:

LXXVII
"Still must I live in anguish, grief, and care;
Furies my guilty conscience that torment,
The ugly shades, dark night, and troubled air
In grisly forms her slaughter still present,
Madness and death about my bed repair,
Hell gapeth wide to swallow up this tent;
Swift from myself I run, myself I fear,
Yet still my hell within myself I bear.

LXXVIII
"But where, alas, where be those relics sweet,
Wherein dwelt late all love, all joy, all good?
My fury left them cast in open street,
Some beast hath torn her flesh and licked her blood,
Ah noble prey! for savage beast unmeet,
Ah sweet! too sweet, and far too precious food,
Ah, seely nymph! whom night and darksome shade
To beasts, and me, far worse than beasts, betrayed.

LXXIX
"But where you be, if still you be, I wend
To gather up those relics dear at least,
But if some beast hath from the hills descend,
And on her tender bowels made his feast,
Let that fell monster me in pieces rend,
And deep entomb me in his hollow chest:
For where she buried is, there shall I have
A stately tomb, a rich and costly grave."

LXXX
Thus mourned the knight, his squires him told at last,
They had her there for whom those tears he shed;
A beam of comfort his dim eyes outcast,
Like lightning through thick clouds of darkness spread,
The heavy burden of his limbs in haste,
With mickle pain, he drew forth of his bed,
And scant of strength to stand, to move or go,
Thither he staggered, reeling to and fro.

LXXXI
When he came there, and in her breast espied
His handiwork, that deep and cruel wound,
And her sweet face with leaden paleness dyed,
Where beauty late spread forth her beams around,
He trembled so, that nere his squires beside
To hold him up, he had sunk down to ground,
And said, "O face in death still sweet and fair!
Thou canst not sweeten yet my grief and care:

LXXXII
"O fair right hand, the pledge of faith and love?
Given me but late, too late, in sign of peace,
How haps it now thou canst not stir nor move?
And you, dear limbs, now laid in rest and ease,
Through which my cruel blade this flood-gate rove,
Your pains have end, my torments never cease,
O hands, O cruel eyes, accursed alike!
You gave the wound, you gave them light to strike.

LXXXIII
"But thither now run forth my guilty blood,
Whither my plaints, my sorrows cannot wend."
He said no more, but, as his passion wood
Inforced him, he gan to tear and rend
His hair, his face, his wounds, a purple flood
Did from each side in rolling streams descend,
He had been slain, but that his pain and woe
Bereft his senses, and preserved him so.

LXXXIV
Cast on his bed his squires recalled his sprite
To execute again her hateful charge,
But tattling fame the sorrows of the knight
And hard mischance had told this while at large:
Godfrey and all his lords of worth and might,
Ran thither, and the duty would discharge
Of friendship true, and with sweet words the rage
Of bitter grief and woe they would assuage.

LXXXV
But as a mortal wound the more doth smart
The more it searched is, handled or sought;
So their sweet words to his afflicted heart
More grief, more anguish, pain and torment brought
But reverend Peter that would set apart
Care of his sheep, as a good shepherd ought,
His vanity with grave advice reproved
And told what mourning Christian knights behoved:

LXXXVI
"O Tancred, Tancred, how far different
From thy beginnings good these follies be?
What makes thee deaf? what hath thy eyesight blent?
What mist, what cloud thus overshadeth thee?
This is a warning good from heaven down sent,
Yet His advice thou canst not hear nor see
Who calleth and conducts thee to the way
From which thou willing dost and witting stray:

LXXXVII
"To worthy actions and achievements fit
For Christian knights He would thee home recall;
But thou hast left that course and changed it,
To make thyself a heathen damsel's thrall;
But see, thy grief and sorrow's painful fit
Is made the rod to scourge thy sins withal,
Of thine own good thyself the means He makes,
But thou His mercy, goodness, grace forsakes.

LXXXVIII
"Thou dost refuse of heaven the proffered
And gainst it still rebel with sinful ire,
Oh wretch! Oh whither doth thy rage thee chase?
Refrain thy grief, bridle thy fond desire,
At hell's wide gate vain sorrow doth thee place,
Sorrow, misfortune's son, despair's foul fire:
Oh see thine evil, thy plaint and woe refrain,
The guides to death, to hell, and endless pain."

LXXXIX
This said, his will to die the patient
Abandoned, that second death he feared,
These words of comfort to his heart down went,
And that dark night of sorrow somewhat cleared;
Yet now and then his grief deep sighs forth sent,
His voice shrill plaints and sad laments oft reared,
Now to himself, now to his murdered love,
He spoke, who heard perchance from heaven above.

XC
Till Phoebus' rising from his evening fall
To her, for her, he mourns, he calls, he cries;
The nightingale so when her children small
Some churl takes before their parents' eyes,
Alone, dismayed, quite bare of comforts all,
Tires with complaints the seas, the shores, the skies,
Till in sweet sleep against the morning bright
She fall at last; so mourned, so slept the knight.

XCI
And clad in starry veil, amid his dream,
For whose sweet sake he mourned, appeared the maid,
Fairer than erst, yet with that heavenly beam.
Not out of knowledge was her lovely shade,
With looks of ruth her eyes celestial seem
To pity his sad plight, and thus she said,
"Behold how fair, how glad thy love appears,
And for my sake, my dear, forbear these tears.

XCII
"Thine be the thanks, my soul thou madest flit
At unawares out of her earthly nest,
Thine be the thanks, thou hast advanced it
In Abraham's dear bosom long to rest,
There still I love thee, there for Tancred fit
A seat prepared is among the blest;
There in eternal joy, eternal light,
Thou shalt thy love enjoy, and she her knight;

XCIII
"Unless thyself, thyself heaven's joys envy,
And thy vain sorrow thee of bliss deprive,
Live, know I love thee, that I nill deny,
As angels, men: as saints may wights on live:"
This said, of zeal and love forth of her eye
An hundred glorious beams bright shining drive,
Amid which rays herself she closed from sigh,
And with new joy, new comfort left her knight.

XCIV
Thus comforted he waked, and men discreet
In surgery to cure his wounds were sought,
Meanwhile of his dear love the relics sweet,
As best he could, to grave with pomp he brought:
Her tomb was not of varied Spartan greet,
Nor yet by cunning hand of Scopas wrought,
But built of polished stone, and thereon laid
The lively shape and portrait of the maid.

XCV
With sacred burning lamps in order long
And mournful pomp the corpse was brought to ground
Her arms upon a leafless pine were hung,
The hearse, with cypress; arms, with laurel crowned:
Next day the prince, whose love and courage strong
Drew forth his limbs, weak, feeble, and unsound,
To visit went, with care and reverence meet,
The buried ashes of his mistress sweet:

XCVI
Before her new-made tomb at last arrived,
The woful prison of his living sprite,
Pale, cold, sad, comfortless, of sense deprived,
Upon the marble gray he fixed his sight,
Two streams of tears were from his eyes derived:
Thus with a sad "Alas!" began the knight,
"0 marble dear on my dear mistress placed!
My flames within, without my tears thou hast.

XCVII
"Not of dead bones art thou the mournful grave,
But of quick love the fortress and the hold,
Still in my heart thy wonted brands I have
More bitter far, alas! but not more cold;
Receive these sighs, these kisses sweet receive,
In liquid drops of melting tears enrolled,
And give them to that body pure and chaste,
Which in thy bosom cold entombed thou hast.

XCVIII
"For if her happy soul her eye doth bend
On that sweet body which it lately dressed,
My love, thy pity cannot her offend,
Anger and wrath is not in angels blessed,
She pardon will the trespass of her friend,
That hope relieves me with these griefs oppressed,
This hand she knows hath only sinned, not I,
Who living loved her, and for love now die:

XCIX
"And loving will I die, oh happy day
Whene'er it chanceth! but oh far more blessed
If as about thy polished sides I stray,
My bones within thy hollow grave might rest,
Together should in heaven our spirits stay,
Together should our bodies lie in chest;
So happy death should join what life doth sever,
0 Death, 0 Life! sweet both, both blessed ever."

C
Meanwhile the news in that besieged town
Of this mishap was whispered here and there,
Forthwith it spread, and for too true was known,
Her woful loss was talked everywhere,
Mingled with cries and plaints to heaven upthrown,
As if the city's self new taken were
With conquering foes, or as if flame and fire,
Nor house, nor church, nor street had left entire.

CI
But all men's eyes were on Arsetes bent,
His sighs were deep, his looks full of despair,
Out of his woful eyes no tear there went,
His heart was hardened with his too much care,
His silver locks with dust he foul besprent,
He knocked his breast, his face he rent and tare,
And while the press flocked to the eunuch old,
Thus to the people spake Argantes bold:

CII
"I would, when first I knew the hardy maid
Excluded was among her Christian foes,
Have followed her to give her timely aid,
Or by her side this breath and life to lose,
What did I not, or what left I unsaid
To make the king the gates again unclose?
But he denied, his power did aye restrain
My will, my suit was waste, my speech was vain:

CIII
"Ah, had I gone, I would from danger free
Have brought to Sion that sweet nymph again,
Or in the bloody fight, where killed was she,
In her defence there nobly have been slain:
But what could I do more? the counsels be
Of God and man gainst my designments plain,
Dead is Clorinda fair, laid in cold grave,
Let me revenge her whom I could not save.

CIV
"Jerusalem, hear what Argantes saith,
Hear Heaven, and if he break his oath and word,
Upon this head cast thunder in thy wrath:
I will destroy and kill that Christian lord
Who this fair dame by night thus murdered hath,
Nor from my side I will ungird this sword
Till Tancred's heart it cleave, and shed his blood,
And leave his corpse to wolves and crows for food."

CV
This said, the people with a joyful shout
Applaud his speeches and his words approve,
And calmed their grief in hope the boaster stout
Would kill the prince, who late had slain his love.
O promise vain! it otherwise fell out:
Men purpose, but high gods dispose above,
For underneath his sword this boaster died
Whom thus he scorned and threatened in his pride.

 

 

 


Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Rinaldo Leaving the Garden of Armida

 

 

 




Thirteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
Ismeno sets to guard the forest old
The wicked sprites, whose ugly shapes affray
And put to flight the men, whose labor would
To their dark shades let in heaven's golden ray:
Thither goes Tancred hardy, faithful, bold,
But foolish pity lets him not assay
His strength and courage: heat the Christian power
Annoys, whom to refresh God sends a shower.

I
But scant, dissolved into ashes cold,
The smoking tower fell on the scorched grass,
When new device found out the enchanter old
By which the town besieged secured was,
Of timber fit his foes deprive he would,
Such terror bred that late consumed mass:
So that the strength of Sion's walls to shake,
They should no turrets, rams, nor engines make.

II
From Godfrey's camp a grove a little way
Amid the valleys deep grows out of sight,
Thick with old trees whose horrid arms display
An ugly shade, like everlasting night;
There when the sun spreads forth his clearest ray,
Dim, thick, uncertain, gloomy seems the light;
As when in evening, day and darkness strive
Which should his foe from our horizon drive.

III
But when the sun his chair in seas doth steep,
Night, horror, darkness thick the place invade,
Which veil the mortal eyes with blindness deep
And with sad terror make weak hearts afraid,
Thither no groom drives forth his tender sheep
To browse, or ease their faint in cooling shade,
Nor traveller nor pilgrim there to enter,
So awful seems that forest old, dare venture.

IV
United there the ghosts and goblins meet
To frolic with their mates in silent night,
With dragons' wings some cleave the welkin fleet,
Some nimbly run o'er hills and valleys light,
A wicked troop, that with allurements sweet
Draws sinful man from that is good and right,
And there with hellish pomp their banquets brought
They solemnize, thus the vain Parians thought.

V
No twist, no twig, no bough nor branch, therefore,
The Saracens cut from that sacred spring;
But yet the Christians spared ne'er the more
The trees to earth with cutting steel to bring:
Thither went Ismen old with tresses hoar,
When night on all this earth spread forth her wing,
And there in silence deaf and mirksome shade
His characters and circles vain he made:

VI
He in the circle set one foot unshod,
And whispered dreadful charms in ghastly wise,
Three times, for witchcraft loveth numbers odd,
Toward the east he gaped, westward thrice,
He struck the earth thrice with his charmed rod
Wherewith dead bones he makes from grave to rise,
And thrice the ground with naked foot he smote,
And thus he cried loud, with thundering note:

VII
"Hear, hear, you spirits all that whilom fell,
Cast down from heaven with dint of roaring thunder;
Hear, you amid the empty air that dwell
And storms and showers pour on these kingdoms under;
Hear, all you devils that lie in deepest hell
And rend with torments damned ghosts asunder,
And of those lands of death, of pain and fear,
Thou monarch great, great Dis, great Pluto, hear!

VIII
"Keep you this forest well, keep every tree,
Numbered I give you them and truly told;
As souls of men in bodies clothed be
So every plant a sprite shall hide and hold,
With trembling fear make all the Christians flee,
When they presume to cut these cedars old:"
This said, his charms he gan again repeat,
Which none can say but they that use like feat.

IX
At those strange speeches, still night's splendent fires
Quenched their lights, and shrunk away for doubt,
The feeble moon her silver beams retires,
And wrapt her horns with folding clouds about,
Ismen his sprites to come with speed requires,
"Why come you not, you ever damned rout?
Why tarry you so long? pardie you stay
Till stronger charms and greater words I say.

X
"I have not yet forgot for want of use,
What dreadful terms belong this sacred feat,
My tongue, if still your stubborn hearts refuse,
That so much dreaded name can well repeat,
Which heard, great Dis cannot himself excuse,
But hither run from his eternal seat,
O great and fearful!" -- More he would have said,
But that he saw the sturdy sprites obeyed.

XI
Legions of devils by thousands thither come,
Such as in sparsed air their biding make,
And thousands also which by Heavenly doom
Condemned lie in deep Avernus lake,
But slow they came, displeased all and some
Because those woods they should in keeping take,
Yet they obeyed and took the charge in hand,
And under every branch and leaf they stand.

XII
When thus his cursed work performed was,
The wizard to his king declared the feat,
"My lord, let fear, let doubt and sorrow pass,
Henceforth in safety stands your regal seat,
Your foe, as he supposed, no mean now has
To build again his rams and engines great:"
And then he told at large from part to part,
All what he late performed by wondrous art.

XIII
"Besides this help, another hap," quoth he,
"Will shortly chance that brings not profit small.
Within few days Mars and the Sun I see
Their fiery beams unite in Leo shall;
And then extreme the scorching heat will be,
Which neither rain can quench nor dews that fall,
So placed are the planets high and low,
That heat, fire, burning all the heavens foreshow:

XIV
"So great with us will be the warmth therefore,
As with the Garamants or those of Inde;
Yet nill it grieve us in this town so sore,
We have sweet shade and waters cold by kind:
Our foes abroad will be tormented more,
What shield can they or what refreshing find?
Heaven will them vanquish first, then Egypt's crew
Destroy them quite, weak, weary, faint and few:

XV
"Thou shalt sit still and conquer; prove no more
The doubtful hazard of uncertain fight.
But if Argantes bold, that hates so sore
All cause of quiet peace, though just and right,
Provoke thee forth to battle, as before,
Find means to calm the rage of that fierce knight,
For shortly Heaven will send thee ease and peace,
And war and trouble mongst thy foes increase."

XVI
The king assured by these speeches fair,
Held Godfrey's power, his might and strength in scorn,
And now the walls he gan in part repair,
Which late the ram had bruised with iron horn,
With wise foresight and well advised care
He fortified each breach and bulwark torn,
And all his folk, men, women, children small,
With endless toil again repaired the wall.

XVII
But Godfrey nould this while bring forth his power
To give assault against that fort in vain,
Till he had builded new his dreadful tower,
And reared high his down-fallen rams again:
His workmen therefore he despatched that hour
To hew the trees out of the forest main,
They went, and scant the wood appeared in sight
When wonders new their fearful hearts affright:

XVIII
As silly children dare not bend their eye
Where they are told strange bugbears haunt the place,
Or as new monsters, while in bed they lie,
Their fearful thoughts present before their face;
So feared they, and fled, yet wist not why,
Nor what pursued them in that fearful chase.
Except their fear perchance while thus they fled,
New chimeras, sphinxes, or like monsters bred:

XIX
Swift to the camp they turned back dismayed,
With words confused uncertain tales they told,
That all which heard them scorned what they said
And those reports for lies and fables hold.
A chosen crew in shining arms arrayed
Duke Godfrey thither sent of soldiers bold,
To guard the men and their faint arms provoke
To cut the dreadful trees with hardy stroke:

XX
These drawing near the wood where close ypent
The wicked sprites in sylvan pinfolds were,
Their eyes upon those shades no sooner bent
But frozen dread pierced through their entrails dear;
Yet on they stalked still, and on they went,
Under bold semblance hiding coward fear,
And so far wandered forth with trembling pace,
Till they approached nigh that enchanted place:

XXI
When from the grove a fearful sound outbreaks,
As if some earthquake hill and mountain tore,
Wherein the southern wind a rumbling makes,
Or like sea waves against the scraggy shore;
There lions grumble, there hiss scaly snakes,
There howl the wolves, the rugged bears there roar,
There trumpets shrill are heard and thunders fell,
And all these sounds one sound expressed well.

XXII
Upon their faces pale well might you note
A thousand signs of heart-amating fear,
Their reason gone, by no device they wot
How to press nigh, or stay still where they were,
Against that sudden dread their breasts which smote,
Their courage weak no shield of proof could bear,
At last they fled, and one than all more bold,
Excused their flight, and thus the wonders told:

XXIII
"My lord, not one of us there is, I grant,
That dares cut down one branch in yonder spring,
I think there dwells a sprite in every plant,
There keeps his court great Dis infernal king,
He hath a heart of hardened adamant
That without trembling dares attempt the thing,
And sense he wanteth who so hardy is
To hear the forest thunder, roar and hiss."

XXIV
This said, Alcasto to his words gave heed,
Alcasto leader of the Switzers grim,
A man both void of wit and void of dreed,
Who feared not loss of life nor loss of limb.
No savage beasts in deserts wild that feed
Nor ugly monster could dishearten him,
Nor whirlwind, thunder, earthquake, storm, or aught
That in this world is strange or fearful thought.

XXV
He shook his head, and smiling thus gan say,
"The hardiness have I that wood to fell,
And those proud trees low in the dust to lay
Wherein such grisly fiends and monsters dwell;
No roaring ghost my courage can dismay,
No shriek of birds, beast's roar, or dragon's yell;
But through and through that forest will I wend,
Although to deepest hell the paths descend."

XXVI
Thus boasted he, and leave to go desired,
And forward went with joyful cheer and will,
He viewed the wood and those thick shades admired,
He heard the wondrous noise and rumbling shrill;
Yet not one foot the audacious man retired,
He scorned the peril, pressing forward still,
Till on the forest's outmost marge he stepped,
A flaming fire from entrance there him kept.

XXVII
The fire increased, and built a stately wall
Of burning coals, quick sparks, and embers hot,
And with bright flames the wood environed all,
That there no tree nor twist Alcasto got;
The higher stretched the flames seemed bulwarks tall,
Castles and turrets full of fiery shot,
With slings and engines strong of every sort; --
What mortal wight durst scale so strange a fort?

XXVIII
Oh what strange monsters on the battlement
In loathsome forms stood to defend the place?
Their frowning looks upon the knight they bent,
And threatened death with shot, with sword and mace:
At last he fled, and though but slow he went,
As lions do whom jolly hunters chase;
Yet fled the man and with sad fear withdrew,
Though fear till then he never felt nor knew.

XXIX
That he had fled long time he never wist,
But when far run he had discoverd it,
Himself for wonder with his hand he blist,
A bitter sorrow by the heart him bit,
Amazed, ashamed, disgraced, sad, silent, trist,
Alone he would all day in darkness sit,
Nor durst he look on man of worth or fame,
His pride late great, now greater made his shame.

XXX
Godfredo called him, but he found delays
And causes why he should his cabin keep,
At length perforce he comes, but naught he says,
Or talks like those that babble in their sleep.
His shamefacedness to Godfrey plain bewrays
His flight, so does his sighs and sadness deep:
Whereat amazed, "What chance is this ?" quoth he.
"These witchcrafts strange or nature's wonders be.

XXXI
"But if his courage any champion move
To try the hazard of this dreadful spring,
I give him leave the adventure great to prove,
Some news he may report us of the thing:"
This said, his lords attempt the charmed grove,
Yet nothing back but fear and flight they bring,
For them inforced with trembling to retire,
The sight, the sound, the monsters and the fire.

XXXII
This happed when woful Tancred left his bed
To lay in marble cold his mistress dear,
The lively color from his cheek was fled,
His limbs were weak his helm or targe to bear;
Nathless when need to high attempts him led,
No labor would he shun, no danger fear,
His valor, boldness, heart and courage brave,
To his faint body strength and vigor gave.

XXXIII
To this exploit forth went the venturous knight,
Fearless, yet heedful; silent, well advised,
The terrors of that forest's dreadful sight,
Storms, earthquakes, thunders, cries, he all despised:
He feared nothing, yet a motion light,
That quickly vanished, in his heart arised
When lo, between him and the charmed wood,
A fiery city high as heaven up stood.

XXXIV
The knight stepped back and took a sudden pause,
And to himself, "What help these arms?" quoth he,
"If in this fire, or monster's gaping jaws
I headlong cast myself, what boots it me?
For common profit, or my country's cause,
To hazard life before me none should be:
But this exploit of no such weight I hold,
For it to lose a prince or champion bold.

XXXV
But if I fly, what will the Pagans say?
If I retire, who shall cut down this spring?
Godfredo will attempt it every day.
What if some other knight perform the thing?
These flames uprisen to forestall my way
Perchance more terror far than danger bring.
But hap what shall;" this said, he forward stepped,
And through the fire, oh wondrous boldness, leapt!

XXXVI
He bolted through, but neither warmth nor heat!
He felt, nor sign of fire or scorching flame;
Yet wist he not in his dismayed conceit,
If that were fire or no through which he came;
For at first touch vanished those monsters great,
And in their stead the clouds black night did frame
And hideous storms and showers of hail and rain;
Yet storms and tempests vanished straight again.

XXXVII
Amazed but not afraid the champion good
Stood still, but when the tempest passed he spied,
He entered boldly that forbidden wood,
And of the forest all the secrets eyed,
In all his walk no sprite or phantasm stood
That stopped his way or passage free denied,
Save that the growing trees so thick were set,
That oft his sight, and passage oft they let.

XXXVIII
At length a fair and spacious green he spied,
Like calmest waters, plain, like velvet, soft,
Wherein a cypress clad in summer's pride,
Pyramid-wise, lift up his tops aloft;
In whose smooth bark upon the evenest side,
Strange characters he found, and viewed them oft,
Like those which priests of Egypt erst instead
Of letters used, which none but they could read.

XXXIX
Mongst them he picked out these words at last,
Writ in the Syriac tongue, which well he could,
"Oh hardy knight, who through these woods hast passed:
Where Death his palace and his court doth hold!
Oh trouble not these souls in quiet placed,
Oh be not cruel as thy heart is bold,
Pardon these ghosts deprived of heavenly light,
With spirits dead why should men living fight?"

XL
This found he graven in the tender rind,
And while he mused on this uncouth writ,
Him thought he heard the softly whistling wind
His blasts amid the leaves and branches knit
And frame a sound like speech of human kind,
But full of sorrow grief and woe was it,
Whereby his gentle thoughts all filled were
With pity, sadness, grief, compassion, fear.

XLI
He drew his sword at last, and gave the tree
A mighty blow, that made a gaping wound,
Out of the rift red streams he trickling see
That all bebled the verdant plain around,
His hair start up, yet once again stroke he,
He nould give over till the end he found
Of this adventure, when with plaint and moan,
As from some hollow grave, he heard one groan.

XLII
"Enough, enough!" the voice lamenting said,
"Tancred, thou hast me hurt, thou didst me drive
Out of the body of a noble maid
Who with me lived, whom late I kept on live,
And now within this woful cypress laid,
My tender rind thy weapon sharp doth rive,
Cruel, is't not enough thy foes to kill,
But in their graves wilt thou torment them still?

XLIII
"I was Clorinda, now imprisoned here,
Yet not alone within this plant I dwell,
For every Pagan lord and Christian peer,
Before the city's walls last day that fell,
In bodies new or graves I wot not clear,
But here they are confined by magic's spell,
So that each tree hath life, and sense each bough,
A murderer if thou cut one twist art thou."

XLIV
As the sick man that in his sleep doth see
Some ugly dragon, or some chimera new,
Though he suspect, or half persuaded be,
It is an idle dream, no monster true,
Yet still he fears, he quakes, and strives to flee,
So fearful is that wondrous form to view;
So feared the knight, yet he both knew and thought
All were illusions false by witchcraft wrought:

XLV
But cold and trembling waxed his frozen heart,
Such strange effects, such passions it torment,
Out of his feeble hand his weapon start,
Himself out of his wits nigh, after went:
Wounded he saw, he thought, for pain and smart,
His lady weep, complain, mourn, and lament,
Nor could he suffer her dear blood to see,
Or hear her sighs that deep far fetched be.

XLVI
Thus his fierce heart which death had scorned oft,
Whom no strange shape or monster could dismay,
With feigned shows of tender love made soft,
A spirit false did with vain plaints betray;
A whirling wind his sword heaved up aloft,
And through the forest bare it quite away.
O'ercome retired the prince, and as he came,
His sword he found, and repossessed the same,

XLVII
Yet nould return, he had no mind to try
His courage further in those forests green;
But when to Godfrey's tent he proached nigh,
His spirits waked, his thoughts composed been,
"My Lord." quoth he, "a witness true am I
Of wonders strange, believe it scant though seen,
What of the fire, the shades, the dreadful sound
You heard, all true by proof myself have found;

XLVIII
"A burning fire, so are those deserts charmed,
Built like a battled wall to heaven was reared;
Whereon with darts and dreadful weapons armed,
Of monsters foul mis-shaped whole bands appeared;
But through them all I passed, unhurt, unharmed,
No flame or threatened blow I felt or feared,
Then rain and night I found, but straight again
To day, the night, to sunshine turned the rain.

XLIX
"What would you more? each tree through all that wood
Hath sense, hath life, hath speech, like human kind,
I heard their words as in that grove I stood,
That mournful voice still, still I bear in mind:
And, as they were of flesh, the purple blood
At every blow streams from the wounded rind;
No, no, not I, nor any else, I trow,
Hath power to cut one leaf, one branch, one bough."

L
While thus he said, the Christian's noble guide
Felt uncouth strife in his contentious thought,
He thought, what if himself in perzon tried
Those witchcrafts strange, and bring those charms to naught,
For such he deemed them, or elsewhere provide
For timber easier got though further sought,
But from his study he at last abraid,
Called by the hermit old that to him said:

LI
"Leave off thy hardy thought, another's hands
Of these her plants the wood dispoilen shall,
Now, now the fatal ship of conquest lands,
Her sails are struck, her silver anchors fall,
Our champion broken hath his worthless bands,
And looseth from the soil which held him thrall,
The time draws nigh when our proud foes in field
Shall slaughtered lie, and Sion's fort shall yield."

LII
This said, his visage shone with beams divine,
And more than mortal was his voice's sound,
Godfredo's thought to other acts incline,
His working brain was never idle found.
But in the Crab now did bright Titan shine,
And scorched with scalding beams the parched ground,
And made unfit for toil or warlike feat
His soldiers, weak with labor, faint with sweat:

LIII
The planets mild their lamps benign quenched out,
And cruel stars in heaven did signorize,
Whose influence cast fiery flames about
And hot impressions through the earth and skies,
The growing heat still gathered deeper rout,
The noisome warmth through lands and kingdoms flies,
A harmful night a hurtful day succeeds,
And worse than both next morn her light outspreads.

LIV
When Phoebus rose he left his golden weed,
And donned a gite in deepest purple dyed,
His sanguine beams about his forehead spread,
A sad presage of ill that should betide,
With vermeil drops at even his tresses bleed,
Foreshows of future heat, from the ocean wide
When next he rose, and thus increased still
Their present harms with dread of future ill,

LV
While thus he bent gainst earth his scorching rays,
He burnt the flowers, burnt his Clytie dear,
The leaves grew wan upon the withered sprays,
The grass and growing herbs all parched were,
Earth cleft in rifts, in floods their streams decays,
The barren clouds with lightning bright appear,
And mankind feared lest Climenes' child again
Had driven awry his sire's ill-guided wain.

LVI
As from a furnace flew the smoke to skies,
Such smoke as that when damned Sodom brent,
Within his caves sweet Zephyr silent lies,
Still was the air, the rack nor came nor went,
But o'er the lands with lukewarm breathing flies
The southern wind, from sunburnt Afric sent,
Which thick and warm his interrupted blasts
Upon their bosoms, throats, and faces casts.

LVII
Nor yet more comfort brought the gloomy night,
In her thick shades was burning heat uprolled,
Her sable mantle was embroidered bright
With blazing stars and gliding fires for gold,
Nor to refresh, sad earth, thy thirsty sprite,
The niggard moon let fall her May dews cold,
And dried up the vital moisture was,
In trees, in plants, in herbs, in flowers, in grass.

LVIII
Sleep to his quiet dales exiled fled
From these unquiet nights, and oft in vain
The soldiers restless sought the god in bed,
But most for thirst they mourned and most complain;
For Juda's tyrant had strong poison shed,
Poison that breeds more woe and deadly pain,
Than Acheron or Stygian waters bring,
In every fountain, cistern, well and spring:

LIX
And little Siloe that his store bestows
Of purest crystal on the Christian bands,
The pebbles naked in his channel shows
And scantly glides above the scorched sands,
Nor Po in May when o'er his banks he flows,
Nor Ganges, waterer of the Indian lands,
Nor seven-mouthed Nile that yields all Egypt drink,
To quench their thirst the men sufficient think.

LX
He that the gliding rivers erst had seen
Adown their verdant channels gently rolled,
Or falling streams which to the valleys green
Distilled from tops of Alpine mountains cold,
Those he desired in vain, new torments been,
Augmented thus with wish of comforts old,
Those waters cool he drank in vain conceit,
Which more increased his thirst, increased his heat.

LXI
The sturdy bodies of the warriors strong,
Whom neither marching far, nor tedious way,
Nor weighty arms which on their shoulders hung,
Could weary make, nor death itself dismay;
Now weak and feeble cast their limbs along,
Unwieldly burdens, on the burned clay,
And in each vein a smouldering fire there dwelt,
Which dried their flesh and solid bones did melt.

LXII
Languished the steed late fierce, and proffered grass,
His fodder erst, despised and from him cast,
Each step he stumbled, and which lofty was
And high advanced before now fell his crest,
His conquests gotten all forgotten pass,
Nor with desire of glory swelled his breast,
The spoils won from his foe, his late rewards,
He now neglects, despiseth, naught regards.

LXIII
Languished the faithful dog, and wonted care
Of his dear lord and cabin both forgot,
Panting he laid, and gathered fresher air
To cool the burning in his entrails hot:
But breathing, which wise nature did prepare
To suage the stomach's heat, now booted not,
For little ease, alas, small help, they win
That breathe forth air and scalding fire suck in.

LXIV
Thus languished the earth, in this estate
Lay woful thousands of the Christians stout,
The faithful people grew nigh desperate
Of hoped conquest, shameful death they doubt,
Of their distress they talk and oft debate,
These sad complaints were heard the camp throughout:
"What hope hath Godfrey? shall we still here lie
Till all his soldiers, all our armies die?

LXV
"Alas, with what device, what strength, thinks he
To scale these walls, or this strong fort to get?
Whence hath he engines new? doth he not see,
How wrathful Heaven gainst us his sword doth whet?
These tokens shown true signs and witness be
Our angry God our proud attempts doth let,
And scorching sun so hot his beams outspreads,
That not more cooling Inde nor Aethiop needs.

LXVI
"Or thinks he it an eath or little thing
That us despised, neglected, and disdained,
Like abjects vile, to death he thus should bring,
That so his empire may be still maintained?
Is it so great a bliss to be a king,
When he that wears the crown with blood is stained
And buys his sceptre with his people's lives?
See whither glory vain, fond mankind drives.

LXVII
"See, see the man, called holy, just, and good,
That courteous, meek, and humble would be thought,
Yet never cared in what distress we stood
If his vain honor were diminished naught,
When dried up from us his spring and flood
His water must from Jordan streams be brought,
And how he sits at feasts and banquets sweet
And mingleth waters fresh with wines of Crete."

LXVIII
The French thus murmured, but the Greekish knight
Tatine, that of this war was weary grown:
"Why die we here," quoth he, "slain without fight,
Killed, not subdued, murdered, not overthrown?
Upon the Frenchmen let the penance light
Of Godfrey's folly, let me save mine own,"
And as he said, without farewell, the knight
And all his comet stole away by night.

LXIX
His bad example many a troop prepares
To imitate, when his escape they know,
Clotharius his band, and Ademare's,
And all whose guides in dust were buried low,
Discharged of duty's chains and bondage snares,
Free from their oath, to none they service owe,
But now concluded all on secret flight,
And shrunk away by thousands every night.

LXX
Godfredo this both heard, and saw, and knew,
Yet nould with death them chastise though he mought,
But with that faith wherewith he could renew
The steadfast hills and seas dry up to naught
He prayed the Lord upon his flock to rue,
To ope the springs of grace and ease this drought,
Out of his looks shone zeal, devotion, faith,
His hands and eyes to heaven he heaves, and saith:

LXXI
"Father and Lord, if in the deserts waste
Thou hadst compassion on thy children dear,
The craggy rock when Moses cleft and brast,
And drew forth flowing streams of waters clear,
Like mercy, Lord, like grace on us down cast;
And though our merits less than theirs appear,
Thy grace supply that want, for though they be
Thy first-born son, thy children yet are we."

LXXII
These prayers just, from humble hearts forth sent,
Were nothing slow to climb the starry sky,
But swift as winged bird themselves present
Before the Father of the heavens high:
The Lord accepted them, and gently bent
Upon the faithful host His gracious eye,
And in what pain and what distress it laid,
He saw, and grieved to see, and thus He said:

LXXIII
"Mine armies dear till now have suffered woe,
Distress and danger, hell's infernal power
Their enemy hath been, the world their foe,
But happy be their actions from this hour:
What they begin to blessed end shall go,
I will refresh them with a gentle shower;
Rinaldo shall return, the Egyptian crew
They shall encounter, conquer, and subdue."

LXXIV
At these high words great heaven began to shake,
The fixed stars, the planets wandering still,
Trembled the air, the earth and ocean quake,
Spring, fountain, river, forest, dale and hill;
From north to east, a lightning flash outbrake,
And coming drops presaged with thunders shrill:
With joyful shouts the soldiers on the plain,
These tokens bless of long-desired rain.

LXXV
A sudden cloud, as when Helias prayed,
Not from dry earth exhaled by Phoebus' beams,
Arose, moist heaven his windows open laid,
Whence clouds by heaps out rush, and watery streams,
The world o'erspread was with a gloomy shade,
That like a dark mirksome even it seems;
The crashing rain from molten skies down fell,
And o'er their banks the brooks and fountains swell.

LXXVI
In summer season, when the cloudy sky
Upon the parched ground doth rain down send,
As duck and mallard in the furrows dry
With merry noise the promised showers attend,
And spreading broad their wings displayed lie
To keep the drops that on their plumes descend,
And where the streams swell to a gathered lake,
Therein they dive, and sweet refreshing take:

LXXVII
So they the streaming showers with shouts and cries
Salute, which heaven shed on the thirsty lands,
The falling liquor from the dropping skies
He catcheth in his lap, he barehead stands,
And his bright helm to drink therein unties,
In the fresh streams he dives his sweaty hands,
Their faces some, and some their temples wet,
And some to keep the drops large vessels set.

LXXVIII
Nor man alone to ease his burning sore,
Herein doth dive and wash, and hereof drinks,
But earth itself weak, feeble, faint before,
Whose solid limbs were cleft with rifts and chinks,
Received the falling showers and gathered store
Of liquor sweet, that through her veins down sinks,
And moisture new infused largely was
In trees, in plants, in herbs, in flowers, in grass.

LXXIX
Earth, like the patient was, whose lively blood
Hath overcome at last some sickness strong,
Whose feeble limbs had been the bait and food
Whereon this strange disease depastured long,
But now restored, in health and welfare stood,
As sound as erst, as fresh, as fair, as young;
So that forgetting all his grief and pain,
His pleasant robes and crowns he takes again.

LXXX
Ceased the rain, the sun began to shine,
With fruitful, sweet, benign, and gentle ray,
Full of strong power and vigor masculine,
As be his beams in April or in May.
0 happy zeal! who trusts in help divine
The world's afflictions thus can drive away,
Can storms appease, and times and seasons change,
And conquer fortune, fate, and destiny strange.

 

 

 



Antonio Bellucci
Rinaldo and Armida


 

 

 




Fourteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The Lord to Godfrey in a dream doth show
His will; Rinaldo must return at last;
They have their asking who for pardon sue:
Two knights to find the prince are sent in haste,
But Peter, who by vision all foreknew,
Sendeth the searchers to a wizard, placed
Deep in a vault, who first at large declares
Armida's trains, then how to shun those snares.

I
Now from the fresh, the soft and tender bed
Of her still mother, gentle night out flew,
The fleeting balm on hills and dales she shed,
With honey drops of pure and precious dew,
And on the verdure of green forests spread
The virgin primrose and the violet blue,
And sweet-breathed Zephyr on his spreading wings,
Sleep, ease, repose, rest, peace and quiet brings.

II
The thoughts and troubles of broad-waking day,
They softly dipped in mild Oblivion's lake;
But he whose Godhead heaven and earth doth sway,
In his eternal light did watch and wake,
And bent on Godfrey down the gracious ray
Of his bright eye, still ope for Godfrey's sake,
To whom a silent dream the Lord down sent.
Which told his will, his pleasure and intent.

III
Far in the east, the golden gate beside
Whence Phoebus comes, a crystal port there is,
And ere the sun his broad doors open wide
The beam of springing day uncloseth this,
Hence comes the dreams, by which heaven's sacred guide
Reveals to man those high degrees of his,
Hence toward Godfrey ere he left his bed
A vision strange his golden plumes bespread.

IV
Such semblances, such shapes, such portraits fair,
Did never yet in dream or sleep appear,
For all the forms in sea, in earth or air,
The signs in heaven, the stars in every sphere
All that was wondrous, uncouth, strange and rare,
All in that vision well presented were.
His dream had placed him in a crystal wide,
Beset with golden fires, top, bottom, side,

V
There while he wondereth on the circles vast,
The stars, their motions, course and harmony,
A knight, with shining rays and fire embraced,
Presents himself unwares before his eye,
Who with a voice that far for sweetness passed
All human speech, thus said, approaching nigh:
"What, Godfrey, knowest thou not thy Hugo here?
Come and embrace thy friend and fellow dear!"

VI
He answered him, "Thy glorious shining light
Which in thine eyes his glistering beams doth place,
Estranged hath from my foreknowledge quite
Thy countenance, thy favor, and thy face:"
This said, three times he stretched his hands outright
And would in friendly arms the knight embrace,
And thrice the spirit fled, that thrice he twined
Naught in his folded arms but air and wind.

VII
Lord Hugo smiled, "Not as you think," quoth he,
"I clothed am in flesh and earthly mould,
My spirit pure, and naked soul, you see,
A citizen of this celestial hold:
This place is heaven, and here a room for thee
Prepared is among Christ's champions bold:"
"Ah when," quoth he, "these mortal bonds unknit,
Shall I in peace, in ease and rest there sit?"

VIII
Hugo replied, "Ere many years shall run,
Amid the saints in bliss here shalt thou reign;
But first great wars must by thy hand be done,
Much blood be shed, and many Pagans slain,
The holy city by assault be won,
The land set free from servile yoke again,
Wherein thou shalt a Christian empire frame,
And after thee shall Baldwin rule the same.

IX
"But to increase thy love and great desire
To heavenward, this blessed place behold,
These shining lamps, these globes of living fire,
How they are turned, guided, moved and rolled;
The angels' singing hear, and all their choir;
Then bend thine eyes on yonder earth and mould,
All in that mass, that globe and compass see,
Land, sea, spring, fountain, man, beast, grass and tree.

X
"How vile, how small, and of how slender price,
Is their reward of goodness, virtue's gain!
A narrow room our glory vain upties,
A little circle doth our pride contain,
Earth like an isle amid the water lies,
Which sea sometime is called, sometime the main,
Yet naught therein responds a name so great,
It's but a lake, a pond, a marish strait."

XI
Thus said the one, the other bended down
His looks to ground, and half in scorn he smiled,
He saw at once earth, sea, flood, castle, town,
Strangely divided, strangely all compiled,
And wondered folly man so far should drown,
To set his heart on things so base and vild,
That servile empire searcheth and dumb fame,
And scorns heaven's bliss, yet proffereth heaven the same.

XII
Wherefore he answered, "Since the Lord not yet
Will free my spirit from this cage of clay,
Lest worldly error vain my voyage let,
Teach me to heaven the best and surest way:"
Hugo replied, "Thy happy foot is set
In the true path, nor from this passage stray,
Only from exile young Rinaldo call,
This give I thee in charge, else naught at all.

XIII
"For as the Lord of hosts, the King of bliss,
Hath chosen thee to rule the faithful band;
So he thy stratagems appointed is
To execute, so both shall win this land:
The first is thine, the second place is his,
Thou art this army's head, and he the hand,
No other champion can his place supply,
And that thou do it doth thy state deny.

XIV
"The enchanted forest, and her charmed treen,
With cutting steel shall he to earth down hew,
And thy weak armies which too feeble been
To scale again these walls reinforced new,
And fainting lie dispersed on the green,
Shall take new strength new courage at his view,
The high-built towers, the eastern squadrons all,
Shall conquered be, shall fly, shall die, shall fall."

XV
He held his peace; and Godfrey answered so:
"Oh, how his presence would recomfort me!
You that man's hidden thoughts perceive and know:
If I say truth, or if I love him, see.
But say, what messengers shall for him go?
What shall their speeches, what their errand be?
Shall I entreat, or else command the man?
With credit neither well perform I can."

XVI
"The eternal Lord," the other knight replied,
"That with so many graces hath thee blest,
Will, that among the troops thou hast to guide,
Thou honored be and feared of most and least:
Then speak not thou lest blemish some betide
Thy sacred empire if thou make request;
But when by suit thou moved art to ruth,
Then yield, forgive, and home recall the youth.

XVII
"Guelpho shall pray thee, God shall him inspire,
To pardon this offence, this fault commit
By hasty wrath, by rash and headstrong ire,
To call the knight again; yield thou to it:
And though the youth, enwrapped in fond desire,
Far hence in love and looseness idle sit,
Year fear it not, he shall return with speed,
When most you wish him and when most you need.

XVIII
"Your hermit Peter, to whose sapient heart
High Heaven his secrets opens, tells and shews,
Your messengers direct can to that part,
Where of the prince they shall hear certain news,
And learn the way, the manner, and the art
To bring him back to these thy warlike crews,
That all thy soldiers, wandered and misgone,
Heaven may unite again and join in one.

XIX
"But this conclusion shall my speeches end:
Know that his blood shall mixed be with thine,
Whence barons bold and worthies shall descend,
That many great exploits shall bring to fine."
This said, he vanished from his sleeping friend,
Like smoke in wind, or mist in Titan's shine;
Sleep fled likewise, and in his troubled thought,
With wonder, pleasure; joy, with marvel fought.

XX
The duke looked up, and saw the azure sky
With argent beams of silver morning spread,
And started up, for praise axed virtue lie
In toil and travel, sin and shame in bed:
His arms he took, his sword girt to his thigh,
To his pavilion all his lords them sped,
And there in council grave the princes sit,
For strength by wisdom, war is ruled by wit.

XXI
Lord Guelpho there, within whose gentle breast
Heaven had infused that new and sudden thought,
His pleasing words thus to the duke addressed:
"Good prince, mild, though unasked, kind, unbesought,
Oh let thy mercy grant my just request,
Pardon this fault by rage not malice wrought;
For great offence, I grant, so late commit,
My suit too hasty is, perchance unfit.

XXII
But since to Godfrey meek benign and kind,
For Prince Rinaldo bold, I humbly sue,
And that the suitor's self is not behind
Thy greatest friends in state or friendship true;
I trust I shall thy grace and mercy find
Acceptable to me and all this crew;
Oh call him home, this trespass to amend,
He shall his blood in Godfrey's service spend.

XXIII
"And if not he, who else dares undertake
Of this enchanted wood to cut one tree?
Gainst death and danger who dares battle make,
With so bold face, so fearless heart as he?
Beat down these walls, these gates in pieces break,
Leap o'er these rampires high, thou shalt him see,
Restore therefore to this desirous band
Their wish, their hope, their strength, their shield, their hand;

XXIV
"To me my nephew, to thyself restore
A trusty help, when strength of hand thou needs,
In idleness let him consume no more,
Recall him to his noble acts and deeds!
Known be his worth as was his strength of yore
Wher'er thy standard broad her cross outspreads,
Oh, let his fame and praise spread far and wide,
Be thou his lord, his teacher and his guidel"

XXV
Thus he entreated, and the rest approve
His words, with friendly murmurs whispered low.
Godfrey as though their suit his mind did move
To that whereon he never thought tell now,
"How can my heart," quoth he, "if you I love,
To your request and suit but bend and bow?
Let rigor go, that right and justice be
Wherein you all consent and all agree.

XXVI
"Rinaldo shall return; let him restrain
Henceforth his headstrong wrath and hasty ire,
And with his hardy deeds let him take pain
To correspond your hope and my desire:
Guelpho, thou must call home the knight again,
See that with speed he to these tents retire,
The messengers appoint as likes thy mind,
And teach them where they should the young man find."

XXVII
Up start the Dane that bare Prince Sweno's brand,
"I will," quoth he, "that message undertake,
I will refuse no pains by sea or land,
To give the knight this sword, kept for his sake."
This man was bold of courage, strong of hand,
Guelpho was glad he did the proffer make:
"Thou shalt," quoth he, "Ubaldo shalt thou have
To go with thee, a knight, stout, wise, and grave."

XXVIII
Ubaldo in his youth had known and seen
The fashions strange of many an uncouth land,
And travelled over all the realms between
The Arctic circle and hot Meroe's strand,
And as a man whose wit his guide had been,
Their customs use he could, tongues understand,
Forthy when spent his youthful seasons were
Lord Guelpho entertained and held him dear.

XXIX
To these committed was the charge and care
To find and bring again the champion bold,
Guelpho commands them to the fort repair,
Where Boemond doth his seat and sceptre hold,
For public fame said that Bertoldo's heir
There lived, there dwelt, there stayed; the hermit old,
That knew they were misled by false report,
Among them came, and parleyed in this sort:

XXX
"Sir knights," quoth he, "if you intend to ride,
And follow each report fond people say,
You follow but a rash and truthless guide
That leads vain men amiss and makes them stray;
Near Ascalon go to the salt seaside,
Where a swift brook fails in with hideous sway,
An aged sire, our friend, there shall you find,
All what he saith, that do, that keep in mind.

XXXI
"Of this great voyage which you undertake,
Much by his skill, and much by mine advise
Hath he foreknown, and welcome for my sake
You both shall be, the man is kind and wise."
Instructed thus no further question make
The twain elected for this enterprise,
But humbly yielded to obey his word,
For what the hermit said, that said the Lord.

XXXII
They took their leave, and on their journey went,
Their will could brook no stay, their zeal, no let;
To Ascalon their voyage straight they bent,
Whose broken shores with brackish waves are wet,
And there they heard how gainst the cliffs, besprent
With bitter foam, the roaring surges bet,
A tumbling brook their passage stopped and stayed,
Which late-fall'n rain had proud and puissant made,

XXXIII
So proud that over all his banks he grew,
And through the fields ran swift as shaft from bow,
While here they stopped and stood, before them drew
An aged sire, grave and benign in show,
Crowned with a beechen garland gathered new,
Clad in a linen robe that raught down low,
In his right hand a rod, and on the flood
Against the stream he marched, and dry shod yode.

XXXIV
As on the Rhene, when winter's freezing cold
Congeals the streams to thick and hardened glass,
The beauties fair of shepherds' daughters bold
With wanton windlays run, turn, play and pass;
So on this river passed the wizard old,
Although unfrozen soft and swift it was,
And thither stalked where the warriors stayed,
To whom, their greetings done, he spoke and said:

XXXV
"Great pains, great travel, lords, you have begun,
And of a cunning guide great need you stand,
Far off, alas! is great Bertoldo's son,
Imprisoned in a waste and desert land,
What soil remains by which you must not run,
What promontory, rock, sea, shore or sand
Your search must stretch before the prince be found,
Beyond our world, beyond our half of ground!

XXXVI
But yet vouchsafe to see my cell I pray,
In hidden caves and vaults though builded low,
Great wonders there, strange things I will bewray,
Things good for you to hear, and fit to know:"
This said, he bids the river make them way,
The flood retired, backward gan to flow,
And here and there two crystal mountains rise,
So fled the Red Sea once, and Jordan thrice.

XXXVII
He took their hands, and led them headlong down
Under the flood, through vast and hollow deeps,
Such light they had as when through shadows brown
Of thickest deserts feeble Cynthia peeps,
Their spacious caves they saw all overflown,
There all his waters pure great Neptune keeps,
And thence to moisten all the earth he brings
Seas, rivers, floods, lakes, fountains, wells and springs:

XXXVIII
Whence Ganges, Indus, Volga, Ister, Po,
Whence Euphrates, whence Tigris' spring they view,
Whence Tanais, whence Nilus comes also,
Although his head till then no creature knew,
But under these a wealthy stream doth go,
That sulphur yields and ore, rich, quick and new,
Which the sunbeams doth polish, purge and fine,
And makes it silver pure, and gold divine.

XXXIX
And all his banks the rich and wealthy stream
Hath fair beset with pearl and precious stone
Like stars in sky or lamps on stage that seem,
The darkness there was day, the night was gone,
There sparkled, clothed in his azure-beam,
The heavenly sapphire, there the jacinth shone,
The carbuncle there flamed, the diamond sheen,
There glistered bright, there smiled the emerald green.

XL
Amazed the knights amid these wonders passed,
And fixed so deep the marvels in their thought,
That not one word they uttered, till at last
Ubaldo spake, and thus his guide besought:
"O father, tell me by what skill thou hast
These wonders done? and to what place us brought?
For well I know not if I wake or sleep,
My heart is drowned in such amazement deep."

XLI
"You are within the hollow womb," quoth he,
"Of fertile earth, the nurse of all things made,
And but you brought and guided are by me,
Her sacred entrails could no wight invade;
My palace shortly shall you splendent see,
With glorious light, though built in night and shade.
A Pagan was I born, but yet the Lord
To grace, by baptism, hath my soul restored.

XLII
"Nor yet by help of devil, or aid from hell,
I do this uncouth work and wondrous feat,
The Lord forbid I use or charm or spell
To raise foul Dis from his infernal seat:
But of all herbs, of every spring and well,
The hidden power I know and virtue great,
And all that kind hath hid from mortal sight,
And all the stars, their motions, and their might.

XLIII
"For in these caves I dwell not buried still
From sight of Heaven. but often I resort
To tops of Lebanon or Carmel hill,
And there in liquid air myself disport,
There Mars and Venus I behold at will!
As bare as erst when Vulcan took them short,
And how the rest roll, glide and move, I see,
How their aspects benign or froward be."

XLIV
"And underneath my feet the clouds I view,
Now thick, now thin, now bright with Iris' bow,
The frost and snow, the rain, the hail, the dew,
The winds, from whence they come and whence they blow,
How Jove his thunder makes and lightning new,
How with the bolt he strikes the earth below,
How comate, crinite, caudate stars are framed
I knew; my skill with pride my heart inflamed.

XLV
"So learned, cunning, wise, myself I thought,
That I supposed my wit so high might climb
To know all things that God had framed or wrought,
Fire, air, sea, earth, man, beast, sprite, place and time;
But when your hermit me to baptism brought,
And from my soul had washed the sin and crime,
Then I perceived my sight was blindness still,
My wit was folly, ignorance my skill.

XLVI
"Then saw I, that like owls in shining sun,
So gainst the beams of truth our souls are blind,
And at myself to smile I then begun,
And at my heart, puffed up with folly's wind,
Yet still these arts, as I before had done,
I practised, such was the hermit's mind:
Thus hath he changed my thoughts, my heart, my will,
And rules mine art, my knowledge, and my skill.

XLVII
"In him I rest, on him my thoughts depend,
My lord, my teacher, and my guide is he,
This noble work he strives to bring to end,
He is the architect, the workmen we,
The hardy youth home to this camp to send
From prison strong, my care, my charge shall be;
So He commands, and me ere this foretold
Your coming oft, to seek the champion bold."

XLVIII
While this he said, he brought the champions twain
Down to a vault, wherein he dwells and lies,
It was a cave, high, wide, large, ample, plain,
With goodly rooms, halls, chambers, galleries,
All what is bred in rich and precious vein
Of wealthy earth, and hid from mortal eyes,
There shines, and fair adorned was every part
With riches grown by kind, not framed by art:

XLIX
An hundred grooms, quick, diligent and neat,
Attendance gave about these strangers bold,
Against the wall there stood a cupboard great
Of massive plate, of silver, crystal, gold.
But when with precious wines and costly meat
They filled were, thus spake the wizard old:
"Now fits the time, sir knights, I tell and show
What you desire to hear, and long to know.

L
"Armida's craft, her sleight and hidden guile
You partly wot, her acts and arts untrue,
How to your camp she came, and by what wile
The greatest lords and princes thence she drew;
You know she turned them first to monsters vile,
And kept them since closed up in secret mew,
Lastly, to Gaza-ward in bonds them sent,
Whom young Rinaldo rescued as they went.

LI
"What chanced since I will at large declare,
To you unknown, a story strange and true.
When first her prey, got with such pain and care,
Escaped and gone the witch perceived and knew,
Her hands she wrung for grief, her clothes she tare,
And full of woe these heavy words outthrew:
`Alas! my knights are slain, my prisoners free,
Yet of that conquest never boast shall he,

LII
" `He in their place shall serve me, and sustain
Their plagues, their torments suffer, sorrows bear,
And they his absence shall lament in vain,
And wail his loss and theirs with many a tear:'
Thus talking to herself she did ordain
A false and wicked guile, as you shall hear;
Thither she hasted where the valiant knight
Had overcome and slain her men in fight.

LIII
"Rinaldo there had dolt and left his own,
And on his back a Pagan's harness tied,
Perchance he deemed so to pass unknown,
And in those arms less noted false to ride.
A headless corse in fight late overthrown,
The witch in his forsaken arms did hide,
And by a brook exposed it on the sand
Whither she wished would come a Christian band:

LIV
"Their coming might the dame foreknow right well,
For secret spies she sent forth thousand ways,
Which every day news from the camp might tell,
Who parted thence, booties to search or preys:
Beside, the sprites conjured by sacred spell,
All what she asks or doubts, reveals and says,
The body therefore placed she in that part
That furthered best her sleight, her craft. and art;

LV
"And near the corpse a varlet false and sly
She left, attired in shepherd's homely weed,
And taught him how to counterfeit and lie
As time required, and he performed the deed;
With him your soldiers spoke, of jealousy
And false suspect mongst them he strewed the seed,
That since brought forth the fruit of strife and jar,
Of civil brawls, contention, discord, war.

LVI
"And as she wished so the soldiers thought
By Godfrey's practice that the prince was slain,
Yet vanished that suspicion false to naught
When truth spread forth her silver wings again
Her false devices thus Armida wrought,
This was her first deceit, her foremost train;
What next she practised, shall you hear me tell,
Against our knight, and what thereof befell.

LVII
"Armida hunted him through wood and plain,
Till on Orontes' flowery banks he stayed,
There, where the stream did part and meet again
And in the midst a gentle island made,
A pillar fair was pight beside the main,
Near which a little frigate floating laid,
The marble white the prince did long behold,
And this inscription read, there writ in gold:

LVIII
" `Whoso thou art whom will or chance doth bring
With happy steps to flood Orontes' sides,
Know that the world hath not so strange a thing,
Twixt east and west, as this small island hides,
Then pass and see, without more tarrying.'
The hasty youth to pass the stream provides,
And for the cogs was narrow, small and strait,
Alone he rowed, and bade his squires there wait;

LIX
"Landed he stalks about, yet naught he sees
But verdant groves, sweet shades, and mossy rocks
With caves and fountains, flowers, herbs and trees,
So that the words he read he takes for mocks:
But that green isle was sweet at all degrees,
Wherewith enticed down sits he and unlocks
His closed helm, and bares his visage fair,
To take sweet breath from cool and gentle air.

LX
"A rumbling sound amid the waters deep
Meanwhile he heard, and thither turned his sight,
And tumbling in the troubled stream took keep
How the strong waves together rush and fight,
Whence first he saw, with golden tresses, peep
The rising visage of a virgin bright,
And then her neck, her breasts, and all, as low
As he for shame could see, or she could show.

LXI
"So in the twilight does sometimes appear
A nymph, a goddess, or a fairy queen,
And though no siren but a sprite this were
Yet by her beauty seemed it she had been
One of those sisters false which haunted near
The Tyrrhene shores and kept those waters sheen,
Like theirs her face, her voice was, and her sound,
And thus she sung, and pleased both skies and ground:

LXII
" `Ye happy youths, who April fresh and May
Attire in flowering green of lusty age,
For glory vain, or virtue's idle ray,
Do not your tender limbs to toil engage;
In calm streams, fishes; birds, in sunshine play,
Who followeth pleasure he is only sage,
So nature saith, yet gainst her sacred will
Why still rebel you, and why strive you still?

LXIII
" `O fools who youth possess, yet scorn the same,
A precious, but a short-abiding treasure,
Virtue itself is but an idle name,
Prized by the world 'bove reason all and measure,
And honor, glory, praise, renown and fame,
That men's proud harts bewitch with tickling pleasure,
An echo is, a shade, a dream, a flower,
With each wind blasted, spoiled with every shower.

LXIV
" `But let your happy souls in joy possess
The ivory castles of your bodies fair,
Your passed harms salve with forgetfulness,
Haste not your coming evils with thought and care,
Regard no blazing star with burning tress,
Nor storm, nor threatening sky, nor thundering air,
This wisdom is, good life, and worldly bliss,
Kind teacheth us, nature commands us this.'

LXV
"Thus sung the spirit false, and stealing sleep,
To which her tunes enticed his heavy eyes,
By step and step did on his senses creep,
Still every limb therein unmoved lies,
Not thunders loud could from this slumber deep,
Of quiet death true image, make him rise:
Then from her ambush forth Armida start,
Swearing revenge, and threatening torments smart.

LXVI
"But when she looked on his face awhile,
And saw how sweet he breathed, how still he lay,
How his fair eyes though closed seemed to smile,
At first she stayed, astound with great dismay,
Then sat her down, so love can art beguile,
And as she sat and looked, fled fast away
Her wrath, that on his forehead gazed the maid,
As in his spring Narcissus tooting laid;

LXVII
"And with a veil she wiped now and then
From his fair cheeks the globes of silver sweat,
And cool air gathered with a trembling fan,
To mitigate the rage of melting heat,
Thus, who would think it, his hot eye-glance can
Of that cold frost dissolve the hardness great
Which late congealed the heart of that fair dame,
Who late a foe, a lover now became.

LXVIII
"Of woodbines, lilies, and of roses sweet,
Which proudly flowered through that wanton plain,
All platted fast, well knit, and joined meet,
She framed a soft but surely holding chain,
Wherewith she bound his neck his hands and feet;
Thus bound, thus taken, did the prince remain,
And in a coach which two old dragons drew,
She laid the sleeping knight, and thence she flew:

LXIX
"Nor turned she to Damascus' kingdoms large,
Nor to the fort built in Asphalte's lake,
But jealous of her dear and precious charge,
And of her love ashamed, the way did take,
To the wide ocean whither skiff or barge
From us doth seld or never voyage make,
And there to frolic with her love awhile,
She chose a waste, a sole and desert isle.

LXX
"An isle that with her fellows bears the name
Of Fortunate, for temperate air and mould,
There in a mountain high alight the dame,
A hill obscured with shades of forests old,
Upon whose sides the witch by art did frame
Continual snow, sharp frost and winter cold,
But on the top, fresh, pleasant, sweet and green,
Beside a lake a palace built this queen.

LXXI
"There in perpetual sweet and flowering spring,
She lives at ease, and joys her lord at will;
The hardy youth from this strange prison bring
Your valors must, directed by my skill,
And overcome each monster and each thing,
That guards the palace or that keeps the hill,
Nor shall you want a guide, or engines fit,
To bring you to the mount, or conquer it.

LXXII
"Beside the stream, yparted shall you find
A dame, in visage young, but old in years,
Her curled locks about her front are twined,
A party-colored robe of silk she wears:
This shall conduct you swift as air or wind,
Or that flit bird that Jove's hot weapon bears,
A faithful pilot, cunning, trusty, sure,
As Tiphys was, or skilful Palinure.

LXXIII
"At the hill's foot, whereon the witch doth dwell,
The serpents hiss, and cast their poison vilde,
The ugly boars do rear their bristles fell,
There gape the bears, and roar the lions wild;
But yet a rod I have can easily quell
Their rage and wrath, and make them meek and mild.
Yet on the top and height of all the hill,
The greatest danger lies, and greatest ill:

LXXIV
"There welleth out a fair, clear, bubbling spring,
Whose waters pure the thirsty guests entice,
But in those liquors cold the secret sting
Of strange and deadly poison closed lies,
One sup thereof the drinker's heart doth bring
To sudden joy, whence laughter vain doth rise,
Nor that strange merriment once stops or stays,
Till, with his laughter's end, he end his days:

LXXV
"Then from those deadly, wicked streams refrain
Your thirsty lips, despise the dainty cheer
You find exposed upon the grassy plain,
Nor those false damsels once vouchsafe to hear,
That in melodious tunes their voices strain,
Whose faces lovely, smiling, sweet, appear;
But you their looks, their voice, their songs despise,
And enter fair Armida's paradise.

LXXVI
"The house is builded like a maze within,
With turning stairs, false doors and winding ways,
The shape whereof plotted in vellum thin
I will you give, that all those sleights bewrays,
In midst a garden lies, where many a gin
And net to catch frail hearts, false Cupid lays;
There in the verdure of the arbors green,
With your brave champion lies the wanton queen.

LXXVII
"But when she haply riseth from the knight,
And hath withdrawn her presence from the place,
Then take a shield I have of diamonds bright,
And hold the same before the young man's face,
That he may glass therein his garments light,
And wanton soft attire, and view his case,
That with the sight shame and disdain may move
His heart to leave that base and servile love.

LXXVIII
"Now resteth naught that needful is to tell,
But that you go secure, safe, sure and bold,
Unseen the palace may you enter well,
And pass the dangers all I have foretold,
For neither art, nor charm, nor magic spell,
Can stop your passage or your steps withhold,
Nor shall Armida, so you guarded be,
Your coming aught foreknow or once foresee:

LXXIX
"And eke as safe from that enchanted fort
You shall return and scape unhurt away;
But now the time doth us to rest exhort,
And you must rise by peep of springing day."
This said, he led them through a narrow port,
Into a lodging fair wherein they lay,
There glad and full of thoughts he left his guests,
And in his wonted bed the old man rests.

 

 

 



Francesco Hayez
 Rinaldo and Armida


 

 

 




Fifteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The well instructed knights forsake their host,
And come where their strange bark in harbor lay,
And setting sail behold on Egypt's coast
The monarch's ships and armies in array:
Their wind and pilot good, the seas in post
They pass, and of long journeys make short way:
The far-sought isle they find; Armida's charms
They scorn, they shun her sleights, despise her arms.

I
The rosy-fingered morn with gladsome ray
Rose to her task from old Tithonus' lap
When their grave host came where the warriors lay,
And with him brought the shield, the rod, the map.
"Arise," quoth he, "ere lately broken day,
In his bright arms the round world fold or wrap,
All what I promised, here I have them brought,
Enough to bring Armida's charms to naught."

II
They started up, and every tender limb
In sturdy steel and stubborn plate they dight,
Before the old man stalked, they followed him
Through gloomy shades of sad and sable night,
Through vaults obscure again and entries dim,
The way they came their steps remeasured right;
But at the flood arrived, "Farewell," quoth he,
"Good luck your aid, your guide good fortune be."

III
The flood received them in his bottom low
And lilt them up above his billows thin;
The waters so east up a branch or bough,
By violence first plunged and dived therein:
But when upon the shore the waves them throw,
The knights for their fair guide to look begin,
And gazing round a little bark they spied,
Wherein a damsel sate the stern to guide.

IV
Upon her front her locks were curled new,
Her eyes were courteous, full of peace and love;
In look a saint, an angel bright in show,
So in her visage grace and virtue strove;
Her robe seemed sometimes red and sometimes blue,
And changed still as she did stir or move;
That look how oft man's eye beheld the same
So oft the colors changed, went and came.

V
The feathers so, that tender, soft, and plain,
About the dove's smooth neck close couched been,
Do in one color never long remain,
But change their hue gainst glimpse of Phoebus' sheen;
And now of rubies bright a vermeil chain,
Now make a carknet rich of emeralds green;
Now mingle both, now alter, turn and change
To thousand colors, rich, pure, fair, and strange.

VI
"Enter this boat, you happy men," she says,
"Wherein through raging waves secure I ride,
To which all tempest, storm, and wind obeys,
All burdens light, benign is stream and tide:
My lord, that rules your journeys and your ways,
Hath sent me here, your servant and your guide."
This said, her shallop drove she gainst the sand,
And anchor cast amid the steadfast land.

VII
They entered in, her anchors she upwound,
And launched forth to sea her pinnace flit,
Spread to the wind her sails she broad unbound,
And at the helm sat down to govern it,
Swelled the flood that all his banks he drowned
To bear the greatest ship of burthen fit;
Yet was her fatigue little, swift and light,
That at his lowest ebb bear it he might.

VIII
Swifter than thought the friendly wind forth bore
The sliding boat upon the rolling wave,
With curded foam and froth the billows hoar
About the cable murmur roar and rave;
At last they came where all his watery store
The flood in one deep channel did engrave,
And forth to greedy seas his streams he sent,
And so his waves, his name, himself he spent.

IX
The wondrous boat scant touched the troubled main
But all the sea still, hushed and quiet was,
Vanished the clouds, ceased the wind and rain,
The tempests threatened overblow and pass,
A gentle breathing air made even and plain
The azure face of heaven's smooth looking-glass,
And heaven itself smiled from the skies above
With a calm clearness on the earth his love.

X
By Ascalon they sailed, and forth drived,
Toward the west their speedy course they frame,
In sight of Gaza till the bark arrived,
A little port when first it took that name;
But since, by others' loss so well it thrived
A city great and rich that it became,
And there the shores and borders of the land
They found as full of armed men as sand.

XI
The passengers to landward turned their sight,
And there saw pitched many a stately tent,
Soldier and footman, captain, lord and knight,
Between the shore and city, came and went:
Huge elephants, strong camels, coursers light,
With horned hoofs the sandy ways outrent,
And in the haven many a ship and boat,
With mighty anchors fastened, swim and float;

XII
Some spread their sails, some with strong oars sweep
The waters smooth, and brush the buxom wave,
Their breasts in sunder cleave the yielding deep,
The broken seas for anger foam and rave,
When thus their guide began, "Sir knights, take keep
How all these shores are spread with squadrons brave
And troops of hardy knights, yet on these sands
The monarch scant hath gathered half his bands.

XIII
"Of Egypt only these the forces are,
And aid from other lands they here attend,
For twixt the noon-day sun and morning star,
All realms at his command do bow and bend;
So that I trust we shall return from far,
And bring our journey long to wished end,
Before this king or his lieutenant shall
These armies bring to Zion's conquered wall."

XIV
While thus she said, as soaring eagles fly
Mongst other birds securely through the air,
And mounting up behold with wakeful eye,
The radiant beams of old Hyperion's hair,
Her gondola so passed swiftly by
Twixt ship and ship, withouten fear or care
Who should her follow, trouble, stop or stay,
And forth to sea made lucky speed and way.

XV
Themselves fornenst old Raffia's town they fand,
A town that first to sailors doth appear
As they from Syria pass to Egypt land:
The sterile coasts of barren Rhinocere
They passed, and seas where Casius hill doth stand
That with his trees o'erspreads the waters near,
Against whose roots breaketh the brackish wave
Where Jove his temple, Pompey hath his grave:

XVI
Then Damiata next, where they behold
How to the sea his tribute Nilus pays
By his seven mouths renowned in stories old,
And by an hundred more ignoble ways:
They pass the town built by the Grecian bold,
Of him called Alexandria till our days,
And Pharaoh's tower and isle removed of yore
Far from the land, now joined to the shore:

XVII
Both Crete and Rhodes they left by north unseen,
And sailed along the coasts of Afric lands,
Whose sea towns fair, but realms more inward been
All full of monsters and of desert sands:
With her five cities then they left Cyrene,
Where that old temple of false Hammon stands:
Next Ptolemais, and that sacred wood
Whence spring the silent streams of Lethe flood.

XVIII
The greater Syrte, that sailors often cast
In peril great of death and loss extreme,
They compassed round about, and safely passed,
The Cape Judeca and flood Magra's stream;
Then Tripoli, gainst which is Malta placed,
That low and hid, to lurk in seas doth seem:
The little Syrte then, and Alzerhes isle,
Where dwelt the folk that Lotos ate erewhile.

XIX
Next Tunis on the crooked shore they spied,
Whose bay a rock on either side defends,
Tunis all towns in beauty, wealth and pride
Above, as far as Libya's bounds extends;
Gainst which, from fair Sicilia's fertile side,
His rugged front great Lilybaeum bends.
The dame there pointed out where sometime stood
Rome's stately rival whilom, Carthage proud;

XX
Great Carthage low in ashes cold doth lie,
Her ruins poor the herbs in height scant pass,
So cities fall, so perish kingdoms high,
Their pride and pomp lies hid in sand and grass:
Then why should mortal man repine to die,
Whose life, is air; breath, wind; and body, glass?
From thence the seas next Bisert's walls they cleft,
And far Sardinia on their right hand left.

XXI
Numidia's mighty plains they coasted then,
Where wandering shepherds used their flocks to feed,
Then Bugia and Argier, the infamous den
Of pirates false, Oran they left with speed,
All Tingitan they swiftly overren,
Where elephants and angry lions breed,
Where now the realms of Fez and Maroc be,
Gainst which Granada's shores and coasts they see.

XXII
Now are they there, where first the sea brake in
By great Alcides' help, as stories feign,
True may it be that where those floods begin
It whilom was a firm and solid main
Before the sea there through did passage win
And parted Afric from the land of Spain,
Abila hence, thence Calpe great upsprings,
Such power hath time to change the face of things.

XXIII
Four times the sun had spread his morning ray
Since first the dame launched forth her wondrous barge
And never yet took port in creek or bay,
But fairly forward bore the knights her charge;
Now through the strait her jolly ship made way,
And boldly sailed upon the ocean large;
But if the sea in midst of earth was great,
Oh what was this, wherein earth hath her seat?

XXIV
Now deep engulphed in the mighty flood
They saw not Gades, nor the mountains near,
Fled was the land, and towns on land that stood,
Heaven covered sea, sea seemed the heavens to bear.
"At last, fair lady," quoth Ubaldo good,
"That in this endless main dost guide us here,
If ever man before here sailed tell,
Or other lands here be wherein men dwell."

XXV
"Great Hercules," quoth she, "when he had quailed
The monsters fierce in Afric and in Spain,
And all along your coasts and countries sailed,
Yet durst he not assay the ocean main,
Within his pillars would he have impaled
The overdaring wit of mankind vain,
Till Lord Ulysses did those bounders pass,
To see and know he so desirous was.

XXVI
"He passed those pillars, and in open wave
Of the broad sea first his bold sails untwined,
But yet the greedy ocean was his grave,
Naught helped him his skill gainst tide and wind;
With him all witness of his voyage brave
Lies buried there, no truth thereof we find,
And they whom storm hath forced that way since,
Are drowned all, or unreturned from thence:

XXVII
"So that this mighty sea is yet unsought,
Where thousand isles and kingdoms lie unknown,
Not void of men as some have vainly thought,
But peopled well, and wonned like your own;
The land is fertile ground, but scant well wrought,
Air wholesome, temperate sun, grass proudly grown."
"But," quoth Ubaldo, "dame, I pray thee teach
Of that hid world, what be the laws and speech?"

XXVIII
"As diverse be their nations," answered she,
"Their tongues, their rites, their laws so different are;
Some pray to beasts, some to a stone or tree,
Some to the earth, the sun, or morning star;
Their meats unwholesome, vile, and hateful be,
Some eat man's flesh, and captives ta'en in war,
And all from Calpe's mountain west that dwell,
In faith profane, in life are rude and fell."

XXIX
"But will our gracious God," the knight replied,
"That with his blood all sinful men hath bought,
His truth forever and his gospel hide
From all those lands, as yet unknown, unsought?"
"Oh no," quoth she, "his name both far and wide
Shall there be known, all learning thither brought,
Nor shall these long and tedious ways forever
Your world and theirs, their lands, your kingdoms sever.

XXX
"The time shall come that sailors shall disdain
To talk or argue of Alcides' streat,
And lands and seas that nameless yet remain,
Shall well be known, their boundaries, site and seat,
The ships encompass shall the solid main,
As far as seas outstretch their waters great,
And measure all the world, and with the sun
About this earth, this globe, this compass, run.

XXXI
"A knight of Genes shall have the hardiment
Upon this wondrous voyage first to wend,
Nor winds nor waves, that ships in sunder rent,
Nor seas unused, strange clime, or pool unkenned,
Nor other peril nor astonishment
That makes frail hearts of men to bow and bend,
Within Abilas' strait shall keep and hold
The noble spirit of this sailor bold.

XXXII
"Thy ship, Columbus, shall her canvas wing
Spread o'er that world that yet concealed lies,
That scant swift fame her looks shall after bring,
Though thousand plumes she have, and thousand eyes;
Let her of Bacchus and Alcides sing,
Of thee to future age let this suffice,
That of thine acts she some forewarning give,
Which shall in verse and noble story live."

XXXIII
Thus talking, swift twixt south and west they run,
And sliced out twixt froth and foam their way;
At once they saw before, the setting sun;
Behind, the rising beam of springing day;
And when the morn her drops and dews begun
To scatter broad upon the flowering lay,
Far off a hill and mountain high they spied,
Whose top the clouds environ, clothe and hide;

XXXIV
And drawing near, the hill at ease they view,
When all the clouds were molten, fallen and fled,
Whose top pyramid-wise did pointed show,
High, narrow, sharp, the sides yet more outspread,
Thence now and then fire, flame and smoke outflew,
As from that hill, whereunder lies in bed
Enceladus, whence with imperious sway
Bright fire breaks out by night, black smoke by day.

XXXV
About the hill lay other islands small,
Where other rocks, crags, cliffs, and mountains stood,
The Isles Fortunate these elder time did call,
To which high Heaven they reigned so kind and good,
And of his blessings rich so liberal,
That without tillage earth gives corn for food,
And grapes that swell with sweet and precious wine
There without pruning yields the fertile vine.

XXXVI
The olive fat there ever buds and flowers,
The honey-drops from hollow oaks distil,
The falling brook her silver streams downpours
With gentle murmur from their native hill,
The western blast tempereth with dews and showers
The sunny rays, lest heat the blossoms kill,
The fields Elysian, as fond heathen sain,
Were there, where souls of men in bliss remain.

XXXVII
To these their pilot steered, "And now," quoth she,
"Your voyage long to end is brought well-near,
The happy Isles of Fortune now you see,
Of which great fame, and little truth, you hear,
Sweet, wholesome, pleasant, fertile, fat they be,
Yet not so rich as fame reports they were."
This said, toward an island fresh she bore,
The first of ten, that lies next Afric's shore;

XXXVIII
When Charles thus, "If, worthy governess,
To our good speed such tarriance be no let,
Upon this isle that Heaven so fair doth bless,
To view the place, on land awhile us set,
To know the folk and what God they confess,
And all whereby man's heart may knowledge get,
That I may tell the wonders therein seen
Another day, and say, there have I been."

XXXIX
She answered him, "Well fits this high desire
Thy noble heart, yet cannot I consent;
For Heaven's decree, firm, stable, and entire,
Thy wish repugns, and gainst thy will is bent,
Nor yet the time hath Titan's gliding fire
Met forth, prefixed for this discoverment,
Nor is it lawful of the ocean main
That you the secrets know, or known explain.

XL
"To you withouten needle, map or card
It's given to pass these seas, and there arrive
Where in strong prison lies your knight imbarred,
And of her prey you must the witch deprive:
If further to aspire you be prepared,
In vain gainst fate and Heaven's decree you strive."
While thus she said, the first seen isle gave place,
And high and rough the second showed his face.

XLI
They saw how eastward stretched in order long,
The happy islands sweetly flowering lay;
And how the seas betwixt those isles enthrong,
And how they shouldered land from land away:
In seven of them the people rude among
The shady trees their sheds had built of clay,
The rest lay waste, unless wild beasts unseen,
Or wanton nymphs, roamed on the mountains green.

XLII
A secret place they found in one of those,
Where the cleft shore sea in his bosom takes,
And 'twixt his stretched arms doth fold and close
An ample bay, a rock the haven makes,
Which to the main doth his broad back oppose,
Whereon the roaring billow cleaves and breaks,
And here and there two crags like turrets high,
Point forth a port to all that sail thereby:

XLIII
The quiet seas below lie safe and still,
The green wood like a garland grows aloft,
Sweet caves within, cool shades and waters shrill,
Where lie the nymphs on moss and ivy soft;
No anchor there needs hold her frigate still,
Nor cable twisted sure, though breaking oft:
Into this desert, silent, quiet, glad,
Entered the dame, and there her haven made.

XLIV
"The palace proudly built," quoth she, "behold,
That sits on top of yonder mountain's height,
Of Christ's true faith there lies the champion bold
In idleness, love, fancy, folly light;
When Phoebus shall his rising beams unfold,
Prepare you gainst the hill to mount upright,
Nor let this stay in your bold hearts breed care,
For, save that one, all hours unlucky are;

XLV
"But yet this evening, if you make good speed,
To that hill's foot with daylight might you pass."
Thus said the dame their guide, and they agreed,
And took their leave and leaped forth on the grass;
They found the way that to the hill doth lead,
And softly went that neither tired was,
But at the mountain's foot they both arrived,
Before the sun his team in waters dived.

XLVI
They saw how from the crags and clefts below
His proud and stately pleasant top grew out,
And how his sides were clad with frost and snow,
The height was green with herbs and flowerets sout,
Like hairy locks the trees about him grow,
The rocks of ice keep watch and ward about,
The tender roses and the lilies new,
Thus art can nature change, and kind subdue.

XLVII
Within a thick, a dark and shady plot,
At the hill's foot that night the warriors dwell,
But when the sun his rays bright, shining, hot,
Dispread of golden light the eternal well,
"Up, up," they cried, and fiercely up they got,
And climbed boldly gainst the mountain fell;
But forth there crept, from whence I cannot say,
An ugly serpent which forestalled their way.

XLVIII
Armed with golden scales his head and crest
He lifted high, his neck swelled great with ire,
Flamed his eyes, and hiding with his breast
All the broad path, he poison breathed and fire,
Now reached he forth in folds and forward pressed,
Now would he back in rolls and heaps retire,
Thus he presents himself to guard the place,
The knights pressed forward with assured pace:

XLIX
Charles drew forth his brand to strike the snake;
Ubaldo cried, "Stay, my companion dear,
Will you with sword or weapon battle make
Against this monster that affronts us here?"
This said, he gan his charmed rod to shake,
So that the serpent durst not hiss for fear,
But fled, and dead for dread fell on the grass,
And so the passage plain, eath, open was.

L
A little higher on the way they met
A lion fierce that hugely roared and cried,
His crest he reared high, and open set
Of his broad-gaping jaws the furnace wide,
His stern his back oft smote, his rage to whet,
But when the sacred staff he once espied
A trembling fear through his bold heart was spread,
His native wrath was gone, and swift he fled.

LI
The hardy couple on their way forth wend,
And met a host that on them roar and gape,
Of savage beasts, tofore unseen, unkend,
Differing in voice, in semblance, and in shape;
All monsters which hot Afric doth forthsend,
Twixt Nilus, Atlas, and the southern cape,
Were all there met, and all wild beasts besides
Hyrcania breeds, or Hyrcane forest hides.

LII
But yet that fierce, that strange and savage host
Could not in presence of those worthies stand,
But fled away, their heart and courage lost,
When Lord Ubaldo shook his charming wand.
No other let their passage stopped or crossed;
Till on the mountain's top themselves they land,
Save that the ice, the frost, and drifted snow,
Oft made them feeble, weary, faint and slow.

LIII
But having passed all that frozen ground,
And overgone that winter sharp and keen,
A warm, mild, pleasant, gentle sky they found,
That overspread a large and ample green,
The winds breathed spikenard, myrrh, and balm around,
The blasts were firm, unchanged, stable been,
Not as elsewhere the winds now rise now fall,
And Phoebus there aye shines, sets not at all.

LIV
Not as elsewhere now sunshine bright now showers,
Now heat now cold, there interchanged were,
But everlasting spring mild heaven down pours, --
In which nor rain, nor storm, nor clouds appear, --
Nursing to fields, their grass; to grass, his flowers;
To flowers their smell; to trees, the leaves they bear:
There by a lake a stately palace stands,
That overlooks all mountains, seas and lands:

LV
The passage hard against the mountain steep
These travellers had faint and weary made,
That through those grassy plains they scantly creep;
They walked, they rested oft, they went, they stayed,
When from the rocks, that seemed for joy to weep,
Before their feet a dropping crystal played
Enticing them to drink, and on the flowers
The plenteous spring a thousand streams down pours,

LVI
All which, united in the springing grass,
Ate forth a channel through the tender green
And underneath eternal shade did pass,
With murmur shrill, cold, pure, and scantly seen;
Yet so transparent, that perceived was
The bottom rich, and sands that golden been,
And on the brims the silken grass aloft
Proffered them seats, sweet, easy, fresh and soft.

LVII
"See here the stream of laughter, see the spring,"
Quoth they, "of danger and of deadly pain,
Here fond desire must by fair governing
Be ruled, our lust bridled with wisdom's rein,
Our ears be stopped while these Sirens sing,
Their notes enticing man to pleasure vain."
Thus passed they forward where the stream did make
An ample pond, a large and spacious lake.

LVIII
There on a table was all dainty food
That sea, that earth, or liquid air could give,
And in the crystal of the laughing flood
They saw two naked virgins bathe and dive,
That sometimes toying, sometimes wrestling stood,
Sometimes for speed and skill in swimming strive,
Now underneath they dived, now rose above,
And ticing baits laid forth of lust and love.

LIX
These naked wantons, tender, fair and white,
Moved so far the warriors' stubborn hearts,
That on their shapes they gazed with delight;
The nymphs applied their sweet alluring arts,
And one of them above the waters quite,
Lift up her head, her breasts and higher parts,
And all that might weak eyes subdue and take,
Her lower beauties veiled the gentle lake.

LX
As when the morning star, escaped and fled
From greedy waves, with dewy beams up flies,
Or as the Queen of Love, new born and bred
Of the Ocean's fruitful froth, did first arise:
So vented she her golden locks forth shed
Round pearls and crystal moist therein which lies:
But when her eyes upon the knights she cast,
She start, and feigned her of their sight aghast.

LXI
And her fair locks, that in a knot were tied
High on her crown, she 'gan at large unfold;
Which falling long and thick and spreading wide,
The ivory soft and white mantled in gold:
Thus her fair skin the dame would clothe and hide,
And that which hid it no less fair was hold;
Thus clad in waves and locks, her eyes divine,
From them ashamed did she turn and twine.

LXII
Withal she smiled and she blushed withal,
Her blush, her smilings, smiles her blushing graced:
Over her face her amber tresses fall,
Whereunder Love himself in ambush placed:
At last she warbled forth a treble small,
And with sweet looks her sweet songs interlaced;
"Oh happy men I that have the grace," quoth she,
"This bliss, this heaven, this paradise to see.

LXIII
"This is the place wherein you may assuage
Your sorrows past, here is that joy and bliss
That flourished in the antique golden age,
Here needs no law, here none doth aught amiss:
Put off those arms and fear not Mars his rage,
Your sword, your shield, your helmet needless is;
Then consecrate them here to endless rest,
You shall love's champions be, and soldiers blest.

LXIV
"The fields for combat here are beds of down,
Or heaped lilies under shady brakes;
But come and see our queen with golden crown,
That all her servants blest and happy makes,
She will admit you gently for her own,
Numbered with those that of her joy partakes:
But first within this lake your dust and sweat
Wash off, and at that table sit and eat."

LXV
While thus she sung, her sister lured them nigh
With many a gesture kind and loving show,
To music's sound as dames in court apply
Their cunning feet, and dance now swift now slow:
But still the knights unmoved passed by,
These vain delights for wicked charms they know,
Nor could their heavenly voice or angel's look,
Surprise their hearts, if eye or ear they took.

LXVI
For if that sweetness once but touched their hearts,
And proffered there to kindle Cupid's fire,
Straight armed Reason to his charge up starts,
And quencheth Lust, and killeth fond Desire;
Thus scorned were the dames, their wiles and arts
And to the palace gates the knights retire,
While in their stream the damsels dived sad,
Ashamed, disgraced, for that repulse they had.

 

 

 



Guercino
Erminia discovers the wounded Tancred


 

 

 




Sixteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The searchers pass through all the palace bright
Where in sweet prison lies Rinaldo pent,
And do so much, that full of rage and spite,
With them he goes sad, shamed, discontent:
With plaints and prayers to retain her knight
Armida strives; he hears, but thence he went,
And she forlorn her palace great and fair
Destroys for grief, and flies thence through the air.

I
The palace great is builded rich and round,
And in the centre of the inmost hold
There lies a garden sweet, on fertile ground,
Fairer than that where grew the trees of gold:
The cunning sprites had buildings reared around
With doors and entries false a thousandfold,
A labyrinth they made that fortress brave,
Like Daedal's prison, or Porsenna's grave.

II
The knights passed through the castle's largest gate,
Though round about an hundred ports there shine,
The door-leaves framed of carved silver-plate,
Upon their golden hinges turn and twine.
They stayed to view this work of wit and state.
The workmanship excelled the substance fine,
For all the shapes in that rich metal wrought,
Save speech, of living bodies wanted naught.

III
Alcides there sat telling tales, and spun
Among the feeble troops of damsels mild,
He that the fiery gates of hell had won
And heaven upheld; false Love stood by and smiled:
Armed with his club fair Iole forth run,
His club with blood of monsters foul defiled,
And on her back his lion's skin had she,
Too rough a bark for such a tender tree.

IV
Beyond was made a sea, whose azure flood
The hoary froth crushed from the surges blue,
Wherein two navies great well ranged stood
Of warlike ships, fire from their arms outflew,
The waters burned about their vessels good,
Such flames the gold therein enchased threw,
Caesar his Romans hence, the Asian kings
Thence Antony and Indian princes brings.

V
The Cyclades seemed to swim amid the main,
And hill gainst hill, and mount gainst mountain smote,
With such great fury met those armies twain;
Here burnt a ship, there sunk a bark or boat,
Here darts and wild-fire flew, there drowned or slain
Of princes dead the bodies fleet and float;
Here Caesar wins, and yonder conquered been
The Eastern ships, there fled the Egyptian queen:

VI
Antonius eke himself to flight betook,
The empire lost to which he would aspire,
Yet fled not he nor fight for fear forsook,
But followed her, drawn on by fond desire:
Well might you see within his troubled look,
Strive and contend, love, courage, shame and ire;
Oft looked he back, oft gazed he on the fight,
But oftener on his mistress and her flight.

VII
Then in the secret creeks of fruitful Nile,
Cast in her lap, he would sad death await,
And in the pleasure of her lovely smile
Sweeten the bitter stroke of cursed fate:
All this did art with curious hand compile
In the rich metal of that princely gate.
The knights these stories viewed first and last,
Which seen, they forward pressed, and in they passed:

VIII
As through his channel crooked Meander glides
With turns and twines, and rolls now to, now fro,
Whose streams run forth there to the salt sea sides
Here back return and to their springward go:
Such crooked paths, such ways this palace hides;
Yet all the maze their map described so,
That through the labyrinth they got in fine,
As Theseus did by Ariadne's line.

IX
When they had passed all those troubled ways,
The garden sweet spread forth her green to show,
The moving crystal from the fountains plays,
Fair trees, high plants, strange herbs and flowerets new,
Sunshiny hills, dales hid from Phoebus' rays,
Groves, arbors, mossy caves, at once they view,
And that which beauty moat, most wonder brought,
Nowhere appeared the art which all this wrought.

X
So with the rude the polished mingled was
That natural seemed all and every part,
Nature would craft in counterfeiting pass,
And imitate her imitator art:
Mild was the air, the skies were clear as glass,
The trees no whirlwind felt, nor tempest smart,
But ere the fruit drop off, the blossom comes,
This springs, that falls, that ripeneth and this blooms.

XI
The leaves upon the self-same bough did hide
Beside the young the old and ripened fig,
Here fruit was green, there ripe with vermeil side,
The apples new and old grew on one twig,
The fruitful vine her arms spread high and wide
That bended underneath their clusters big,
The grapes were tender here, hard, young and sour,
There purple ripe, and nectar sweet forth pour.

XII
The joyous birds, hid under greenwood shade,
Sung merry notes on every branch and bough,
The wind that in the leaves and waters played
With murmur sweet, now sung, and whistled now;
Ceased the birds, the wind loud answer made,
And while they sung, it rumbled soft and low;
Thus were it hap or cunning, chance or art,
The wind in this strange music bore his part.

XIII
With party-colored plumes' and purple bill,
A wondrous bird among the rest there flew,
That in plain speech sung love-lays loud and shrill,
Her leden was like human language true;
So much she talked, and with such wit and skill,
That strange it seemed how much good she knew,
Her feathered fellows all stood hush to hear,
Dumb was the wind, the waters silent were.

XIV
"The gently budding rose," quoth she, "behold,
That first scant peeping forth with virgin beams,
Half ope, half shut, her beauties doth upfold
In their dear leaves, and less seen, fairer seems,
And after spreads them forth more broad and bold,
Then languisheth and dies in last extremes,
Nor seems the same, that decked bed and bower
Of many a lady late, and paramour;

XV
"So, in the passing of a day, doth pass
The bud and blossom of the life of man,
Nor e'er doth flourish more, but like the grass
Cut down, becometh withered, pale and wan:
Oh gather then the rose while time thou hast
Short is the day, done when it scant began,
Gather the rose of love, while yet thou mayest,
Loving, be loved; embracing, be embraced."

XVI
He ceased, and as approving all he spoke,
The choir of birds their heavenly tunes renew,
The turtles sighed, and sighs with kisses broke,
The fowls to shades unseen by pairs withdrew;
It seemed the laurel chaste, and stubborn oak,
And all the gentle trees on earth that grew,
It seemed the land, the sea, and heaven above,
All breathed out fancy sweet, and sighed out love.

XVII
Through all this music rare, and strong consent
Of strange allurements, sweet bove mean and measure,
Severe, firm, constant, still the knights forthwent,
Hardening their hearts gainst false enticing pleasure,
Twixt leaf and leaf their sight before they sent,
And after crept themselves at ease and leisure,
Till they beheld the queen, set with their knight
Besides the lake, shaded with boughs from sight:

XVIII
Her breasts were naked, for the day was hot,
Her locks unbound waved in the wanton wind;
Some deal she sweat, tired with the game you wot,
Her sweat-drops bright, white, round, like pearls of Ind;
Her humid eyes a fiery smile forthshot
That like sunbeams in silver fountains shined,
O'er him her looks she hung, and her soft breast
The pillow was, where he and love took rest.

XIX
His hungry eyes upon her face he fed,
And feeding them so, pined himself away;
And she, declining often down her head,
His lips, his cheeks, his eyes kissed, as he lay,
Wherewith he sighed, as if his soul had fled
From his frail breast to hers, and there would stay
With her beloved sprite: the armed pair
These follies all beheld and this hot fare.

XX
Down by the lovers' side there pendent was
A crystal mirror, bright, pure, smooth, and neat,
He rose, and to his mistress held the glass,
A noble page, graced with that service great;
She, with glad looks, he with inflamed, alas,
Beauty and love beheld, both in one seat;
Yet them in sundry objects each espies,
She, in the glass, he saw them in her eyes:

XXI
Her, to command; to serve, it pleased the knight;
He proud of bondage; of her empire, she;
"My dear," he said, "that blessest with thy sight
Even blessed angels, turn thine eyes to me,
For painted in my heart and portrayed right
Thy worth, thy beauties and perfections be,
Of which the form; the shape and fashion best,
Not in this glass is seen, but in my breast.

XXII
"And if thou me disdain, yet be content
At least so to behold thy lovely hue,
That while thereon thy looks are fixed and bent
Thy happy eyes themselves may see and view;
So rare a shape no crystal can present,
No glass contain that heaven of beauties true;
Oh let the skies thy worthy mirror be!
And in dear stars try shape and image see."

XXIII
And with that word she smiled, and ne'ertheless
Her love-toys still she used, and pleasures bold!
Her hair, that done, she twisted up in tress,
And looser locks in silken laces rolled,
Her curles garlandwise she did up-dress,
Wherein, like rich enamel laid on gold,
The twisted flowers smiled, and her white breast
The lilies there that spring with roses dressed.

XXIV
The jolly peacock spreads not half so fair
The eyed feathers of his pompous train;
Nor golden Iris so bends in the air
Her twenty-colored bow, through clouds of rain;
Yet all her ornaments, strange, rich and rare,
Her girdle did in price and beauty stain,
Nor that, with scorn, which Tuscan Guilla lost,
Igor Venus Ceston, could match this for cost.

XXV
Of mild denays, of tender scorns, of sweet
Repulses, war, peace, hope, despair, joy, fear,
Of smiles, jests, mirth, woe, grief, and sad regreet,
Sighs, sorrows, tears, embracements, kisses dear,
That mixed first by weight and measure meet,
Then at an easy fire attempered were,
This wondrous girdle did Armida frame,
And, when she would be loved, wore the same.

XXVI
But when her wooing fit was brought to end,
She congee took, kissed him, and went her way;
For once she used every day to wend
Bout her affairs, her spells and charms to say:
The youth remained, yet had no power to bend
One step from thence, but used there to stray
Mongst the sweet birds, through every walk and grove
Alone, save for an hermit false called Love.

XXVII
And when the silence deep and friendly shade
Recalled the lovers to their wonted sport,
In a fair room for pleasure built, they laid,
And longest nights with joys made sweet and short.
Now while the queen her household things surveyed,
And left her lord her garden and disport,
The twain that hidden in the bushes were
Before the prince in glistering arms appear:

XXVIII
As the fierce steed for age withdrawn from war
Wherein the glorious beast had always wone,
That in vile rest from fight sequestered far,
Feeds with the mares at large, his service done,
If arms he see, or hear the trumpet's jar,
He neigheth loud and thither fast doth run,
And wiseth on his back the armed knight,
Longing for jousts, for tournament and fight:

XXIX
So fared Rinaldo when the glorious light
Of their bright harness glistered in his eyes,
His noble sprite awaked at that sight
His blood began to warm, his heart to rise,
Though, drunk with ease, devoid of wonted might
On sleep till then his weakened virtue lies.
Ubaldo forward stepped, and to him hield
Of diamonds clear that pure and precious shield.

XXX
Upon the targe his looks amazed he bent,
And therein all his wanton habit spied,
His civet, balm, and perfumes redolent,
How from his locks they smoked and mantle wide,
His sword that many a Pagan stout had shent,
Bewrapped with flowers, hung idly by his side,
So nicely decked that it seemed the knight
Wore it for fashion's sake but not for fight.

XXXI
As when, from sleep and idle dreams abraid,
A man awaked calls home his wits again;
So in beholding his attire he played,
But yet to view himself could not sustain,
His looks he downward cast and naught he said,
Grieved, shamed, sad, he would have died fain,
And oft he wished the earth or ocean wide
Would swallow him, and so his errors hide.

XXXII
Ubaldo took the time, and thus begun,
"All Europe now and Asia be in war,
And all that Christ adore and fame have won,
In battle strong, in Syria fighting are;
But thee alone, Bertoldo's noble son,
This little corner keeps, exiled far
From all the world, buried in sloth and shame,
A carpet champion for a wanton dame.

XXXIII
"What letharge hath in drowsiness up-penned
Thy courage thus? what sloth doth thee infect?
Up, up, our camp and Godfrey for thee send,
Thee fortune, praise and victory expect,
Come, fatal champion, bring to happy end
This enterprise begun, all that sect
Which oft thou shaken hast to earth full low
With thy sharp brand strike down, kill, overthrow."

XXXIV
This said, the noble infant stood a space
Confused, speechless, senseless, ill-ashamed;
But when that shame to just disdain gave place,
To fierce disdain, from courage sprung untamed,
Another redness blushed through his face,
Whence worthy anger shone, displeasure flamed,
His nice attire in scorn he rent and tore,
For of his bondage vile that witness bore;

XXXV
That done, he hasted from the charmed fort,
And through the maze passed with his searchers twain.
Armida of her mount and chiefest port
Wondered to find the furious keeper slain,
Awhile she feared, but she knew in short,
That her dear lord was fled, then saw she plain,
Ah, woful sight! how from her gates the man
In haste, in fear, in wrath, in anger ran.

XXXVI
"Whither, O cruel! leavest thou me alone?"
She would have cried, her grief her speeches stayed,
So that her woful words are backward gone,
And in her heart a bitter echo made;
Poor soul, of greater skill than she was one
Whose knowledge from her thus her joy conveyed,
This wist she well, yet had desire to prove
If art could keep, if charms recall her love.

XXXVII
All what the witches of Thessalia land,
With lips unpure yet ever said or spake,
Words that could make heaven's rolling circles stand,
And draw the damned ghosts from Limbo lake,
All well she knew, but yet no time she fand
To use her knowledge or her charms to make,
But left her arts, and forth she ran to prove
If single beauty were best charm for love.

XXXVIII
She ran, nor of her honor took regard,
Oh where be all her vaunts and triumphs now?
Love's empire great of late she made or marred,
To her his subjects humbly bend and bow,
And with her pride mixed was a scorn so hard,
That to be loved she loved, yet whilst they woo
Her lovers all she hates; that pleased her will
To conquer men, and conquered so, to kill.

XXXIX
But now herself disdained, abandoned,
Ran after him; that from her fled in scorn,
And her despised beauty labored
With humble plaints and prayers to adorn:
She ran and hasted after him that fled,
Through frost and snow, through brier, bush and thorn,
And sent her cries on message her before,
That reached not him till he had reached the shore.

XL
"Oh thou that leav'st but half behind," quoth she,
"Of my poor heart, and half with thee dost carry,
Oh take this part, or render that to me,
Else kill them both at once, ah tarry, tarry:
Hear my last words, no parting kiss of thee
I crave, for some more fit with thee to marry
Keep them, unkind; what fear'st thou if thou stay?
Thou may'st deny, as well as run away."

XLI
At this Rinaldo stopped, stood still, and stayed,
She came, sad, breathless, weary, faint and weak,
So woe-begone was never nymph or maid
And yet her beauty's pride grief could not break,
On him she looked, she gazed, but naught she said,
She would not, could not, or she durst not speak,
At her he looked not, glanced not, if he did,
Those glances shamefaced were, close, secret, hid.

XLII
As cunning singers, ere they strain on high,
In loud melodious tunes, their gentle voice,
Prepare the hearers' ears to harmony
With feignings sweet, low notes and warbles choice:
So she, not having yet forgot pardie
Her wonted shifts and sleights in Cupid's toys,
A sequence first of sighs and sobs forthcast,
To breed compassion dear, then spake at last:

XLIII
"Suppose not, cruel, that I come to vow
Or pray, as ladies do their loves and lords;
Such were we late, if thou disdain it now,
Or scorn to grant such grace as love affords,
At least yet as an enemy listen thou:
Sworn foes sometimes will talk and chaffer words,
For what I ask thee, may'st thou grant right well,
And lessen naught thy wrath and anger fell.

XLIV
"If me thou hate, and in that hate delight,
I come not to appease thee, hate me still,
It's like for like; I bore great hate and spite
Gainst Christians all, chiefly I wish thee ill:
I was a Pagan born, and all my might
Against Godfredo bent, mine art and skill:
I followed thee, took thee, and bore thee far,
To this strange isle, and kept thee safe from war.

XLV
"And more, which more thy hate may justly move,
More to thy loss, more to thy shame and grief,
I thee inchanted, and allured to love,
Wicked deceit, craft worthy sharp reprief;
Mine honor gave I thee all gifts above,
And of my beauties made thee lord and chief,
And to my suitors old what I denayed,
That gave I thee, my lover new, unprayed.

XLVI
"But reckon that among, my faults, and let
Those many wrongs provoke thee so to wrath,
That hence thou run, and that at naught thou set
This pleasant house, so many joys which hath;
Go, travel, pass the seas, fight, conquest get,
Destroy our faith, what shall I say, our faith?
Ah no! no longer ours; before thy shrine
Alone I pray, thou cruel saint of mine;

XLVII
"All only let me go with thee, unkind,
A small request although I were thy foe,
The spoiler seldom leaves the prey behind,
Who triumphs lets his captives with him go;
Among thy prisoners poor Armida bind,
And let the camp increase thy praises so,
That thy beguiler so thou couldst beguile,
And point at me, thy thrall and bondslave vile.

XLVIII
"Despised bondslave, since my lord doth hate
These locks, why keep I them or hold them dear?
Come cut them off, that to my servile state
My habit answer may, and all my gear:
I follow thee in spite of death and fate,
Through battles fierce where dangers most appear,
Courage I have, and strength enough perchance,
To lead thy courser spare, and bear thy lance:

XLIX
"I will or bear, or be myself, thy shield,
And to defend thy life. will lose mine own:
This breast, this bosom soft shall be thy bield
Gainst storms of arrows, darts and weapons thrown;
Thy foes, pardie, encountering thee in field,
Will spare to strike thee, mine affection known,
Lest me they wound, nor will sharp vengeance take
On thee, for this despised beauty's sake.

L
"O wretch! dare I still vaunt, or help invoke
From this poor beauty, scorned and disdained?"
She said no more, her tears her speeches broke,
Which from her eyes like streams from springs down rained:
She would have caught him by the hand or cloak,
But he stepped backward, and himself restrained,
Conquered his will, his heart ruth softened not,
There plaints no issue, love no entrance got.

LI
Love entered not to kindle in his breast,
Which Reason late had quenched, his wonted flame;
Yet entered Pity in the place at least,
Love's sister, but a chaste and sober dame,
And stirred him so, that hardly he suppressed
The springing tears that to his eyes up came;
But yet even there his plaints repressed were,
And, as he could, he looked, and feigned cheer.

LII
"Madam," quoth he, "for your distress I grieve,
And would amend it, if I might or could.
From your wise heart that fond affection drive:
I cannot hate nor scorn you though I would,
I seek no vengeance, wrongs I all forgive,
Nor you my servant nor my foe I hold,
Truth is, you erred, and your estate forgot,
Too great your hate was, and your love too hot.

LIII
"But those are common faults, and faults of kind,
Excused by nature, by your sex and years;
I erred likewise, if I pardon find
None can condemn you, that our trespass hears;
Your dear remembrance will I keep in mind,
In joys, in woes, in comforts, hopes and fears,
Call me your soldier and your knight, as far
As Christian faith permits, and Asia's war.

LIV
"Ah, let our faults and follies here take end,
And let our errors past you satisfy,
And in this angle of the world ypend,
Let both the fame and shame thereof now die,
From all the earth where I am known and kenned,
I wish this fact should still concealed lie:
Nor yet in following me, poor knight, disgrace
Your worth, your beauty, and your princely race.

LV
"Stay here in peace, I go, nor wend you may
With me, my guide your fellowship denies,
Stay here or hence depart some better way,
And calm your thoughts, you are both sage and wise."
While thus he spoke, her passions found no stay,
But here and there she turned and rolled her eyes,
And staring on his face awhile, at last
Thus in foul terms, her bitter wrath forth brast:

LVI
"Of Sophia fair thou never wert the child,
Nor of the Azzain race ysprung thou art,
The mad sea-waves thee hare, some tigress wild
On Caucasus' cold crags nursed thee apart;
Ah, cruel man l in whom no token mild
Appears, of pity, ruth, or tender heart,
Could not my griefs, my woes, my plaints, and all
One sigh strain from thy breast, one tear make fall?

LVII
"What shall I say, or how renew my speech?
He scorns me, leaves me, bids me call him mine:
The victor hath his foe within his reach;
Yet pardons her, that merits death and pine;
Hear how he counsels me; how he can preach,
Like chaste Xenocrates, gainst love divine;
O heavens, O gods! why do these men of shame,
Thus spoil your temples and blaspheme your name?

LVIII
"Go cruel, go, go with such peace, such rest,
Such joy, such comfort, as thou leavest me here:
My angry soul discharged from this weak breast,
Shall haunt thee ever, and attend thee near,
And fury-like in snakes and firebrands dressed,
Shall aye torment thee, whom it late held dear:
And if thou 'scape the seas, the rocks, and sands
And come to fight among the Pagan bands,

LIX
"There lying wounded, mongst the hurt and slain,
Of these my wrongs thou shalt the vengeance bear,
And oft Armida shalt thou call in vain,
At thy last gasp; this hope I soon to hear:"
Here fainted she, with sorrow, grief and pain,
Her latest words scant well expressed were,
But in a swoon on earth outstretched she lies,
Stiff were her frozen limbs, closed were her eyes.

LX
Thou closed thine eyes, Armida, heaven envied
Ease to thy grief, or comfort to thy woe;
Ah, open then again, see tears down slide
From his kind eyes, whom thou esteem'st thy foe,
If thou hadst heard, his sighs had mollified
Thine anger, hard he sighed and mourned so;
And as he could with sad and rueful look
His leave of thee and last farewell he took.

LXI
What should he do? leave on the naked sand
This woful lady half alive, half dead?
Kindness forbade, pity did that withstand;
But hard constraint, alas! did thence him lead;
Away he went, the west wind blew from land
Mongst the rich tresses of their pilot's head,
And with that golden sail the waves she cleft,
To land he looked, till land unseen he left.

LXII
Waked from her trance, foresaken, speechless, sad,
Armida wildly stared and gazed about,
"And is he gone," quoth she, "nor pity had
To leave me thus twixt life and death in doubt?
Could he not stay? could not the traitor-lad
From this last trance help or recall me out?
And do I love him still, and on this sand
Still unrevenged, still mourn, still weeping stand?

LXIII
"Fie no! complaints farewell! with arms and art
I will pursue to death this spiteful knight,
Not earth's low centre, nor sea's deepest part,
Not heaven, nor hell, can shield him from my might,
I will o'ertake him, take him, cleave his heart,
Such vengeance fits a wronged lover's spite,
In cruelty that cruel knight surpass
I will, but what avail vain words, alas?

LXIV
"O fool! thou shouldest have been cruel than,
For then this cruel well deserved thine ire,
When thou in prison hadst entrapped the man,
Now dead with cold, too late thou askest fire;
But though my wit, my cunning nothing can,
Some other means shall work my heart's desire,
To thee, my beauty, thine be all these wrongs,
Vengeance to thee, to thee revenge belongs.

LXV
"Thou shalt be his reward, with murdering brand
That dare this traitor of his head deprive,
O you my lovers, on this rock doth stand
The castle of her love for whom you strive,
I, the sole heir of all Damascus land,
For this revenge myself and kingdom give,
If by this price my will I cannot gain,
Nature gives beauty; fortune, wealth in vain.

LXVI
"But thee, vain gift, vain beauty, thee I scorn,
I hate the kingdom which I have to give,
I hate myself, and rue that I was born,
Only in hope of sweet revenge I live."
Thus raging with fell ire she gan return
From that bare shore in haste, and homeward drive,
And as true witness of her frantic ire,
Her locks waved loose, face shone, eyes sparkled fire.

LXVII
When she came home, she called with outcries shrill,
A thousand devils in Limbo deep that won,
Black clouds the skies with horrid darkness fill,
And pale for dread became the eclipsed sun,
The whirlwind blustered big on every hill,
And hell to roar under her feet begun,
You might have heard how through the palace wide,
Some spirits howled, some barked, some hissed, some cried.

LXVIII
A shadow, blacker than the mirkest night,
Environed all the place with darkness sad,
Wherein a firebrand gave a dreadful light,
Kindled in hell by Tisiphone the mad;
Vanished the shade, the sun appeared in sight,
Pale were his beams, the air was nothing glad,
And all the palace vanished was and gone,
Nor of so great a work was left one stone.

LXIX
As oft the clouds frame shapes of castles great
Amid the air, that little time do last,
But are dissolved by wind or Titan's heat,
Or like vain dreams soon made, and sooner past:
The palace vanished so, nor in his seat
Left aught but rocks and crags, by kind there placed;
She in her coach which two old serpents drew,
Sate down, and as she used, away she flew.

LXX
She broke the clouds, and cleft the yielding sky,
And bout her gathered tempest, storm and wind,
The lands that view the south pole flew she by,
And left those unknown countries far behind,
The Straits of Hercules she passed, which lie
Twixt Spain and Afric, nor her flight inclined
To north or south, but still did forward ride
O'er seas and streams, till Syria's coasts she spied.

LXXI
Now she went forward to Damascus fair,
But of her country dear she fled the sight,
And guided to Asphaltes' lake her chair,
Where stood her castle, there she ends her flight,
And from her damsels far, she made repair
To a deep vault, far from resort and light,
Where in sad thoughts a thousand doubts she cast,
Till grief and shame to wrath gave place at last.

LXXII
"I will not hence," quoth she, "till Egypt's lord
In aid of Zion's king his host shall move;
Then will I use all helps that charms afford,
And change my shape or sex if so behove:
Well can I handle bow, or lance, or sword,
The worthies all will aid me, for my love:
I seek revenge, and to obtain the same,
Farewell, regard of honor; farewell, shame.

LXXIII
"Nor let mine uncle and protector me
Reprove for this, he most deserves the blame,
My heart and sex, that weak and tender be,
He bent to deeds that maidens ill became;
His niece a wandering damsel first made he,
He spurred my youth, and I cast off my shame,
His be the fault, if aught gainst mine estate
I did for love, or shall commit for hate."

LXXIV
This said, her knights, her ladies, pages, squires
She all assembleth, and for journey fit
In such fair arms and vestures them attires
As showed her wealth, and well declared her wit;
And forward marched, full of strange desires,
Nor rested she by day or night one whit,
Till she came there, where all the eastern bands,
Their kings and princes, lay on Gaza's sands.

 

 

 



Eugène Delacroix
Clorinda Rescues Olindo and Sophronia



 

 

 




Seventeenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
Egypt's great host in battle-ray forth brought,
The Caliph sends with Godfrey's power to fight;
Armida, who Rinaldo's ruin sought,
To them adjoins herself and Syria's might.
To satisfy her cruel will and thought,
She gives herself to him that kills her knight:
He takes his fatal arms, and in his shield
His ancestors and their great deeds beheld.

I
Gaza the city on the frontier stands
Of Juda's realm, as men to Egypt ride,
Built near the sea, beside it of dry sands
Huge wildernesses lie and deserts wide
Which the strong winds lift from the parched lands
And toss like roaring waves in roughest tide,
That from those storms poor passengers almost
No refuge find, but there are drowned and lost.

II
Within this town, won from the Turks of yore
Strong garrison the king of Egypt placed,
And for it nearer was, and fitted more
That high emprise to which his thoughts he cast,
He left great Memphis, and to Gaza bore
His regal throne, and there, from countries vast
Of his huge empire all the puissant host
Assembled he, and mustered on the coast.

III
Come say, my Muse, what manner times these were,
And in those times how stood the state of things,
What power this monarch had, what arms they bear,
What nations subject, and what friends he brings;
From all lands the southern ocean near,
Or morning star, came princes, dukes and kings,
And only thou of half the world well-nigh
The armies, lords, and captains canst descry.

IV
When Egypt from the Greekish emperor
Rebelled first, and Christ's true faith denied,
Of Mahomet's descent a warrior
There set his throne and ruled that kingdom wide,
Caliph he hight, and Caliphs since that hour
Are his successors named all beside:
So Nilus old his kings long time had seen
That Ptolemies and Pharaohs called had been.

V
Established was that kingdom in short while,
And grew so great, that over Asia's lands
And Lybia's realms it stretched many a mile,
From Syria's coasts as far as Cirene sands,
And southward passed gainst the course of Nile,
Through the hot clime where burnt Syene stands,
Hence bounded in with sandy deserts waste,
And thence with Euphrates' rich flood embraced.

VI
Maremma, myrrh and spices that doth bring,
And all the rich red sea it comprehends,
And to those lands, toward the morning spring
That lie beyond that gulf, it far extends;
Great is that empire, greater by the king
That rules it now, whose worth the land amends,
And makes more famous, lord thereof by blood,
By wisdom, valor, and all virtues good.

VII
With Turks and Persians war he oft did wage,
And oft he won, and sometimes lost the field,
Nor could his adverse fortune aught assuage
His valor's heat or make his proud heart yield,
But when he grew unfit for war through age,
He sheathed his sword and laid aside his shield:
But yet his warlike mind he laid not down,
Nor his great thirst of rule, praise and renown,

VIII
But by his knights still cruel wars maintained.
So wise his words, so quick his wit appears,
That of the kingdom large o'er which he reigned,
The charge seemed not too weighty for his years;
His greatness Afric's lesser kings constrained
To tremble at his name, all Ind him fears,
And other realms that would his friendship hold;
Some armed soldiers sent, some gifts, some gold.

IX
This mighty prince assembled had the flower
Of all his realms, against the Frenchmen stout,
To break their rising empire and their power,
Nor of sure conquest had he fear or doubt:
To him Armida came, even at the hour
When in the plains, old Gaza's walls without,
The lords and leaders all their armies bring
In battle-ray, mustered before their king.

X
He on his throne was set, to which on height
Who clomb an hundred ivory stairs first told,
Under a pentise wrought of silver bright,
And trod on carpets made of silk and gold;
His robes were such as best beseemen might
A king, so great, so grave, so rich, so old,
And twined of sixty ells of lawn and more
A turban strange adorned his tresses hoar.

XI
His right hand did his precious sceptre wield,
His beard was gray, his looks severe and grave,
And from his eyes, not yet made dim with eild,
Sparkled his former worth and vigor brave,
His gestures all the majesty upheild
And state, as his old age and empire crave,
So Phidias carved, Apelles so, pardie,
Erst painted Jove, Jove thundering down from sky.

XII
On either side him stood a noble lord,
Whereof the first held in his upright hand
Of severe justice the unpartial sword;
The other bare the seal, and causes scanned,
Keeping his folk in peace and good accord,
And termed was lord chancellor of the land;
But marshal was the first, and used to lead
His armies forth to war, oft with good speed.

XIII
Of bold Circassians with their halberts long,
About his throne his guards stood in a ring,
All richly armed in gilden corslets strong,
And by their sides their crooked swords down hing:
Thus set, thus seated, his grave lords among,
His hosts and armies great beheld the king,
And every band as by his throne it went,
Their ensigns low inclined, and arms down bent:

XIV
Their squadrons first the men of Egypt show,
In four troops, and each his several guide,
Of the high country two, two of the low
Which Nile had won out of the salt seaside,
His fertile slime first stopped the waters' flow,
Then hardened to firm land the plough to bide,
So Egypt still increased, within far placed
That part is now where ships erst anchor cast.

XV
The foremost band the people were that dwelled
In Alexandria's rich and fertile plain,
Along the western shore, whence Nile expelled
The greedy billows of the swelling main;
Araspes was their guide, who more excelled
In wit and craft than strength or warlike pain,
To place an ambush close, or to devise
A treason false, was none so sly, so wise.

XVI
The people next that gainst the morning rays
Along the coasts of Asia have their seat,
Arontes led them, whom no warlike praise
Ennobled, but high birth and titles great,
His helm ne'er made him sweat in toilsome frays,
Nor was his sleep e'er broke with trumpet's threat,
But from soft ease to try the toil of fight
His fond ambition brought this carpet knight.

XVII
The third seemed not a troop or squadron small,
But an huge host; nor seemed it so much grain
In Egypt grew as to sustain them all;
Yet from one town thereof came all that train,
A town in people to huge shires equal,
That did a thousand streets and more contain,
Great Caire it hight, whose commons from each side
Came swarming out to war, Campson their guide.

XVIII
Next under Gazel marched they that plough
The fertile lands above that town which lie
Up to the place where Nilus tumbling low
Falls from his second cataract from high;
The Egyptians weaponed were with sword and bow,
No weight of helm or hauberk list they try,
And richly armed, in their strong foes no dreed
Of death but great desire of spoil they breed.

XIX
The naked folk of Barca these succeed,
Unarmed half, Alarcon led that band,
That long in deserts lived, in extreme need,
On spoils and preys purchased by strength of hand.
To battle strong unfit, their king did lead
His army next brought from Zumara land.
Then he of Tripoli, for sudden fight
And skirmish short, both ready, bold, and light.

XX
Two captains next brought forth their bands to show
Whom Stony sent and Happy Araby,
Which never felt the cold of frost and snow,
Or force of burning heat, unless fame lie,
Where incense pure and all sweet odors grow,
Where the sole phoenix doth revive, not die,
And midst the perfumes rich and flowerets brave
Both birth and burial, cradle hath and grave.

XXI
Their clothes not rich, their garments were not gay,
But weapons like the Egyptian troops they had,
The Arabians next that have no certain stay,
No house, no home, no mansion good or bad,
But ever, as the Scythian hordes stray,
From place to place their wandering cities gad:
These have both voice and stature feminine,
Hair long and black, black face, and fiery eyne.

XXII
Long Indian canes, with iron armed, they bear,
And as upon their nimble steeds they ride,
Like a swift storm their speedy troops appear,
If winds so fast bring storms from heavens wide:
By Syphax led the first Arabians were;
Aldine the second squadron had no guide,
And Abiazar proud, brought to the fight
The third, a thief, a murderer, not a knight.

XXIII
The islanders came then their prince before
Whose lands Arabia's gulf enclosed about,
Wherein they fish and gather oysters store,
Whose shells great pearls rich and round pour out;
The Red Sea sent with them from his left shore,
Of negroes grim a black and ugly rout;
These Agricalt and those Osmida brought,
A man that set law, faith and truth at naught.

XXIV
The Ethiops next which Meroe doth breed,
That sweet and gentle isle of Meroe,
Twixt Nile and Astrabore that far doth spread,
Where two religions are, and kingdoms three,
These Assimiro and Canario led,
Both kings, both Pagans, and both subjects be
To the great Caliph, but the third king kept
Christ's sacred faith, nor to these wars outstepped.

XXV
After two kings, both subjects also, ride,
And of two bands of archers had the charge,
The first Soldan of Ormus placed in the wide
Huge Persian Bay, a town rich, fair, and large:
The last of Boecan, which at every tide
The sea cuts off from Persia's southern marge,
And makes an isle; but when it ebbs again,
The passage there is sandy, dry and plain.

XXVI
Nor thee, great Altamore, in her chaste bed
Thy loving queen kept with her dear embrace,
She tore her locks, she smote her breast, and shed
Salt tears to make thee stay in that sweet place,
"Seem the rough seas more calm, cruel," she said,
"Than the mild looks of thy kind spouse's face?
Or is thy shield, with blood and dust defiled,
A dearer armful than thy tender child?"

XXVII
This was the mighty king of Samarcand,
A captain wise, well skilled in feats of war,
In courage fierce, matchless for strength of hand,
Great was his praise, his force was noised far;
His worth right well the Frenchmen understand,
By whom his virtues feared and loved are:
His men were armed with helms and hauberks strong,
And by their sides broad swords and maces hong.

XXVIII
Then from the mansions bright of fresh Aurore
Adrastus came, the glorious king of Ind,
A snake's green skin spotted with black he wore,
That was made rich by art and hard by kind,
An elephant this furious giant bore,
He fierce as fire, his mounture swift as wind;
Much people brought he from his kingdoms wide,
Twixt Indus, Ganges, and the salt seaside.

XXIX
The king's own troop come next, a chosen crew,
Of all the camp the strength, the crown, the flower,
Wherein each soldier had with honors due
Rewarded been, for service ere that hour;
Their arms were strong for need, and fair for show,
Upon fierce steeds well mounted rode this power,
And heaven itself with the clear splendor shone
Of their bright armor, purple, gold and stone.

XXX
Mongst these Alarco fierce, and Odemare
The muster master was, and Hidraort,
And Rimedon, whose rashness took no care
To shun death's bitter stroke, in field or fort,
Tigranes, Rapold stem, the men that fare
By sea, that robbed in each creek and port,
Ormond, and Marlabust the Arabian named,
Because that land rebellious he reclaimed.

XXXI
There Pirga, Arimon, Orindo are,
Brimarte the scaler, and with him Suifant
The breaker of wild horses brought from far;
Then the great wresteler strong Aridamant,
And Tisapherne, the thunderbolt of war,
Whom none surpassed, whom none to match durst vaunt
At tilt, at tourney, or in combat brave,
With spear or lance, with sword, with mace or glaive.

XXXII
A false Armenian did this squadron guide,
That in his youth from Christ's true faith and light
To the blind lore of Paganism did slide,
That Clement late, now Emireno, hight;
Yet to his king he faithful was, and tried
True in all causes, his in wrong and right:
A cunning leader and a soldier bold,
For strength and courage, young; for wisdom, old.

XXXIII
When all these regiments were passed and gone,
Appeared Armide, and came her troop to show;
Set in a chariot bright with precious stone,
Her gown tucked up, and in her hand a bow;
In her sweet face her new displeasures shone,
Mixed with the native beauties there which grow,
And quickened so her looks that in sharp wise
It seems she threats and yet her threats entice.

XXXIV
Her chariot like Aurora's glorious wain,
With carbuncles and jacinths glistered round:
Her coachman guided with the golden rein
Four unicorns, by couples yoked and bound;
Of squires and lovely ladies hundreds twain,
Whose rattling quivers at their backs resound,
On milk-white steeds, wait on the chariot bright,
Their steeds to manage, ready; swift, to flight.

XXXV
Followed her troop led forth by Aradin,
Which Hidraort from Syria's kingdom sent,
As when the new-born phoenix doth begin
To fly to Ethiop-ward, at the fair bent
Of her rich wings strange plumes and feathers thin
Her crowns and chains with native gold besprent,
The world amazed stands; and with her fly
An host of wondering birds, that sing and cry:

XXXVI
So passed Armida, looked on, gazed on, so,
A wondrous dame in habit, gesture, face;
There lived no wight to love so great a foe
But wished and longed those beauties to embrace,
Scant seen, with anger sullen, sad for woe,
She conquered all the lords and knights in place,
What would she do, her sorrows passed, think you,
When her fair eyes, her looks and smiles shall woo?

XXXVII
She passed, the king commanded Emiren
Of his rich throne to mount the lofty stage,
To whom his host, his army, and his men,
He would commit, now in his graver age.
With stately grace the man approached then;
His looks his coming honor did presage:
The guard asunder cleft and passage made,
He to the throne up went, and there he stayed.

XXXVIII
To earth he cast his eyes, and bent his knee:
To whom the king thus gan his will explain,
"To thee this sceptre, Emiren, to thee
These armies I commit, my place sustain
Mongst them, go set the king of Judah free,
And let the Frenchmen feel my just disdain,
Go meet them, conquer them, leave none alive;
Or those that scape from battle, bring captive."

XXXIX
Thus spake the tyrant. and the sceptre laid
With all his sovereign power upon the knight:
"I take this sceptre at your hand," he said,
"And with your happy fortune go to fight,
And trust, my lord, in your great virtue's aid
To venge all Asia's harms, her wrongs to right,
Nor e'er but victor will I see your face;
Our overthrow shall bring death, not disgrace.

XL
"Heavens grant if evil, yet no mishap I dread,
Or harm they threaten against this camp of thine,
That all that mischief fall upon my head,
Theirs be the conquest, and the danger mine;
And let them safe bring home their captain dead,
Buried in pomp of triumph's glorious shine."
He ceased, and then a murmur loud up went,
With noise of joy and sound of instrument.

XLI
Amid the noise and shout uprose the king,
Environed with many a noble peer
That to his royal tent the monarch bring,
And there he feasted them and made them cheer,
To him and him he talked, and carved each thing,
The greatest honored, meanest graced were;
And while this mirth, this joy and feast doth last,
Armida found fit time her nets to cast:

XLII
But when the feast was done, she, that espied
All eyes on her fair visage fixed and bent,
And by new notes and certain signs described,
How love's empoisoned fire their entrails brent,
Arose, and where the king sate in his pride,
With stately pace and humble gestures, went;
And as she could in looks in voice she strove
Fierce, stern, bold, angry, and severe to prove.

XLIII
"Great Emperor, behold me here," she said.
"For thee, my country, and my faith to fight,
A dame, a virgin, but a royal maid;
And worthy seems this war a princess hight,
For by the sword the sceptre is upstayed,
This hand can use them both with skill and might,
This hand of mine can strike, and at each blow
Thy foes and ours kill, wound, and overthrow.

XLIV
"Nor yet suppose this is the foremost day
Wherein to war I bent my noble thought,
But for the surety of thy realms, and stay
Of our religion true, ere this I wrought:
Yourself best know if this be true I say,
Or if my former deeds rejoiced you aught,
When Godfrey's hardy knights and princes strong
I captive took, and held in bondage long.

XLV
"I took them, bound them, and so sent them bound
To thee, a noble gift, with whom they had
Condemned low in dungeon under ground
Forever dwelt, in woe and torment sad:
So might thine host an easy way have found
To end this doubtful war, with conquest glad,
Had not Rinaldo fierce my knights all slain,
And set those lords, his friends, at large again.

XLVI
"Rinaldo is well known," and there a long
And true rehearsal made she of his deeds,
"This is the knight that since hath done me wrong,
Wrong yet untold, that sharp revengement needs:
Displeasure therefore, mixed with reason strong,
This thirst of war in me, this courage breeds;
Nor how he injured me time serves to tell,
Let this suffice, I seek revengement fell,

XLVII
"And will procure it, for all shafts that fly
Light not in vain; some work the shooter's will,
And Jove's right hand with thunders cast from sky
Takes open vengeance oft for secret ill:
But if some champion dare this knight defy
To mortal battle, and by fight him kill,
And with his hateful head will me present,
That gift my soul shall please, my heart content:

XLVIII
"So please, that for reward enjoy he shall,
The greatest gift I can or may afford,
Myself, my beauty, wealth, and kingdoms all,
To marry him, and take him for my lord,
This promise will I keep whate'er befall,
And thereto bind myself by oath and word:
Now he that deems this purchase worth his pain,
Let him step forth and speak, I none disdain."

XLIX
While thus the princess said, his hungry eyne
Adrastus fed on her sweet beauty's light,
"The gods forbid," quoth he, "one shaft of thine
Should be discharged gainst that discourteous knight,
His heart unworthy is, shootress divine,
Of thine artillery to feel the might;
To wreak thine ire behold me prest and fit,
I will his head cut off, and bring thee it.

L
"I will his heart with this sharp sword divide,
And to the vultures cast his carcass out."
Thus threatened he, but Tisapherne envied
To hear his glorious vaunt and boasting stout,
And said, "But who art thou, that so great pride
Thou showest before the king, me, and this rout?
Pardie here are some such, whose worth exceeds
Thy vaunting much yet boast not of their deeds."

LI
The Indian fierce replied, "I am the man
Whose acts his words and boasts have aye surpassed;
But if elsewhere the words thou now began
Had uttered been, that speech had been thy last."
Thus quarrelled they; the monarch stayed them than,
And 'twixt the angry knights his sceptre cast:
Then to Armida said, "Fair Queen, I see
Thy heart is stout, thy thoughts courageous be;

LII
"Thou worthy art that their disdain and ire
At thy commands these knights should both appease,
That gainst thy foe their courage hot as fire
Thou may'st employ, both when and where you please,
There all their power and force, and what desire
They have to serve thee, may they show at ease."
The monarch held his peace when this was said,
And they new proffer of their service made.

LIII
Nor they alone, but all that famous were
In feats of arms boast that he shall be dead,
All offer her their aid, all say and swear,
To take revenge on his condemned head:
So many arms moved she against her dear,
And swore her darling under foot to tread,
But he, since first the enchanted isle he left,
Safe in his barge the roaring waves still cleft.

LIV
By the same way returned the well-taught boat
By which it came, and made like haste, like speed;
The friendly wind, upon her sail that smote,
So turned as to return her ship had need:
The youth sometimes the Pole or Bear did note,
Or wandering stars which dearest nights forthspread:
Sometimes the floods, the hills, or mountains steep,
Whose woody fronts o'ershade the silent deep.

LV
Now of the camp the man the state inquires,
Now asks the customs strange of sundry lands;
And sailed, till clad in beams and bright attires
The fourth day's sun on the eastern threshold stands:
But when the western seas had quenched those fires,
Their frigate struck against the shore and sands;
Then spoke their guide, "The land of Palestine
This is, here must your journey end and mine."

LVI
The knights she set upon the shore all three,
And vanished thence in twinkling of an eye,
Uprose the night in whose deep blackness be
All colors hid of things in earth or sky,
Nor could they house, or hold, or harbor see,
Or in that desert sign of dwelling spy,
Nor track of man or horse, or aught that might
Inform them of some path or passage right.

LVII
When they had mused what way they travel should,
From the west shore their steps at last they twined,
And lo, far off at last their eyes behold
Something, they wist not what, that clearly shined
With rays of silver and with beams of gold
Which the dark folds of night's black mantle lined.
Forward they went and marched against the light,
To see and find the thing that shone so bright.

LVIII
High on a tree they saw an armor new,
That glistered bright gainst Cynthia's silver ray,
Therein, like stars in skies, the diamonds show
Fret in the gilden helm and hauberk gay,
The mighty shield all scored full they view
Of pictures fair, ranged in meet array;
To keep them sate an aged man beside,
Who to salute them rose, when them he spied.

LIX
The twain who first were sent in this pursuit
Of their wise friend well knew the aged face:
But when the wizard sage their first salute
Received and quitted had with kind embrace,
To the young prince, that silent stood and mute,
He turned his speech, "In this unused place
For you alone I wait, my lord," quoth he,
"My chiefest care your state and welfare be.

LX
"For, though you wot it not, I am your friend,
And for your profit work, as these can tell,
I taught them how Armida's charms to end,
And bring you thither from love's hateful cell,
Now to my words, though sharp perchance, attend,
Nor be aggrieved although they seem too fell,
But keep them well in mind, till in the truth
A wise and holier man instruct thy youth.

LXI
"Not underneath sweet shades and fountains shrill,
Among the nymphs, the fairies, leaves and flowers;
But on the steep, the rough and craggy hill
Of virtue stands this bliss, this good of ours:
By toil and travel, not by sitting still
In pleasure's lap, we come to honor's bowers;
Why will you thus in sloth's deep valley lie?
The royal eagles on high mountains fly.

LXII
"Nature lifts up thy forehead to the skies,
And fills thy heart with high and noble thought,
That thou to heavenward aye shouldst lift thine eyes,
And purchase fame by deeds well done and wrought;
She gives thee ire, by which not courage flies
To conquests, not through brawls and battles fought
For civil jars, nor that thereby you might
Your wicked malice wreak and cursed spite.

LXIII
"But that your strength spurred forth with noble wrath,
With greater fury might Christ's foes assault,
And that your bridle should with lesser scath
Each secret vice, and kill each inward fault;
For so his godly anger ruled hath
Each righteous man beneath heaven's starry vault,
And at his will makes it now hot, now cold,
Now lets it run, now doth it fettered hold."

LXIV
Thus parleyed he; Rinaldo, hushed and still,
Great wisdom heard in those few words compiled,
He marked his speech, a purple blush did fill
His guilty checks, down went his eyesight mild.
The hermit by his bashful looks his will
Well understood, and said, "Look up, my child,
And painted in this precious shield behold
The glorious deeds of thy forefathers old.

LXV
"Thine elders' glory herein see and know,
In virtue's path how they trod all their days,
Whom thou art far behind, a runner slow
In this true course of honor, fame and praise:
Up, up, thyself incite by the fair show
Of knightly worth which this bright shield bewrays,
That be thy spur to praise!" At last the knight
Looked up, and on those portraits bent his sight.

LXVI
The cunning workman had in little space
Infinite shapes of men there well expressed,
For there described was the worthy race
And pedigree of all of the house of Est:
Come from a Roman spring o'er all the place
Flowed pure streams of crystals east and west,
With laurel crowned stood the princes old,
Their wars the hermit and their battles told.

LXVII
He showed them Caius first, when first in prey
To people strange the falling empire went,
First Prince of Est, that did the sceptre sway
O'er such as chose him lord by tree consent;
His weaker neighbors to his rule obey,
Need made them stoop, constraint doth force content;
After, when Lord Honorius called the train
Of savage Goths into his land again,

LXVIII
And when all Italy did burn and flame
With bloody war, by this fierce people mad,
When Rome a captive and a slave became,
And to be quite destroyed was most afraid,
Aurelius, to his everlasting fame,
Preserved in peace the folk that him obeyed:
Next whom was Forest, who the rage withstood
Of the bold Huns, and of their tyrant proud.

LXIX
Known by his look was Attila the fell,
Whose dragon eyes shone bright with anger's spark,
Worse faced than a dog, who viewed him well
Supposed they saw him grin and heard him bark;
But when in single fight he lost the bell,
How through his troops he fled there might you mark,
And how Lord Forest after fortified
Aquilea's town, and how for it he died.

LXX
For there was wrought the fatal end and fine,
Both of himself and of the town he kept:
But his great son renowned Acarine,
Into his father's place and honor stepped:
To cruel fate, not to the Huns, Altine
Gave place, and when time served again forth leapt,
And in the vale of Po built for his seat
Of many a village a small city great;

LXXI
Against the swelling flood he banked it strong,
And thence uprose the fair and noble town
Where they of Est should by succession long
Command, and rule in bliss and high renown:
Gainst Odoacer then he fought, but wrong
Oft spoileth right, fortune treads courage down,
For there he died for his dear country's sake,
And of his father's praise did so partake.

LXXII
With him died Alforisio, Azzo was
With his dear brother into exile sent,
But homeward they in arms again repass --
The Herule king oppressed -- from banishment.
His front through pierced with a dart, alas,
Next them, of Est the Epaminondas went,
That smiling seemed to cruel death to yield,
When Totila was fled, and safe his shield.

LXXIII
Of Boniface I speak; Valerian,
His son, in praise and power succeeded him,
Who durst sustain, in years though scant a man,
Of the proud Goths an hundred squadrons trim:
Then he that gainst the Sclaves much honor wan,
Ernesto, threatening stood with visage grim;
Before him Aldoard, the Lombard stout
Who from Monselce boldly erst shut out.

LXXIV
There Henry was and Berengare the bold
That served great Charles in his conquest high,
Who in each battle give the onset would,
A hardy soldier and a captain sly;
After, Prince Lewis did he well uphold
Against his nephew, King of Italy,
He won the field and took that king on live:
Next him stood Otho with his children five.

LXXV
Of Almeric the image next they view,
Lord Marquis of Ferrara first create,
Founder of many churches, that upthrew
His eyes, like one that used to contemplate;
Gainst him the second Azzo stood in rew,
With Berengarius that did long debate,
Till after often change of fortune stroke,
He won, and on all Italy laid the yoke.

LXXVI
Albert his son the Germans warred among,
And there his praise and fame was spread so wide,
That having foiled the Danes in battle strong,
His daughter young became great Otho's bride.
Behind him Hugo stood with warfare long,
That broke the horn of all the Romans' pride,
Who of all Italy the marquis hight,
And Tuscan whole possessed as his right.

LXXVII
After Tebaldo, puissant Boniface
And Beatrice his dear possessed the stage;
Nor was there left heir male of that great race,
To enjoy the sceptre, state and heritage;
The Princess Maud alone supplied the place,
Supplied the want in number, sex and age;
For far above each sceptre, throne and crown,
The noble dame advanced her veil and gown.

LXXVIII
With manlike vigor shone her noble look,
And more than manlike wrath her face o'erspread,
There the fell Normans, Guichard there forsook
The field, till then who never feared nor fled;
Henry the Fourth she beat, and from him took
His standard, and in Church it offered;
Which done, the Pope back to the Vatican
She brought, and placed in Peter's chair again.

LXXIX
As he that honored her and held her dear,
Azzo the Fifth stood by her lovely side;
But the fourth Azzo's offspring far and near
Spread forth, and through Germania fructified;
Sprung from the branch did Guelpho bold appear,
Guelpho his son by Cunigond his bride,
And in Bavaria's field transplanted new
The Roman graft flourished, increased and grew.

LXXX
A branch of Est there in the Guelfian tree
Engrafted was, which of itself was old,
Whereon you might the Guelfoes fairer see,
Renew their sceptres and their crowns of gold,
Of which Heaven's good aspects so bended be
That high and broad it spread and flourished bold,
Till underneath his glorious branches laid
Half Germany, and all under his shade.

LXXXI
This regal plant from his Italian rout
Sprung up as high, and blossomed fair above,
Fornenst Lord Guelpho, Bertold issued out,
With the sixth Azzo whom all virtues love;
This was the pedigree of worthies stout,
Who seemed in that bright shield to live and move.
Rinaldo waked up and cheered his face,
To see these worthies of his house and race.

LXXXII
To do like acts his courage wished and sought,
And with that wish transported him so far
That all those deeds which filled aye his thought,
Towns won, forts taken, armies killed in war,
As if they were things done indeed and wrought,
Before his eyes he thinks they present are,
He hastily arms him, and with hope and haste,
Sure conquest met, prevented and embraced.

LXXXIII
But Charles, who had told the death and fall
Of the young prince of Danes, his late dear lord,
Gave him the fatal weapon, and withal,
"Young knight," quoth he, "take with good luck this sword,
Your just, strong, valiant hand in battle shall
Employ it long, for Christ's true faith and word,
And of his former lord revenge the wrongs,
Who loved you so, that deed to you belongs."

LXXXIV
He answered, "God for his mercy's sake,
Grant that this hand which holds this weapon good
For thy dear master may sharp vengeance take,
May cleave the Pagan's heart, and shed his blood."
To this but short reply did Charles make,
And thanked him much, nor more on terms they stood:
For lo, the wizard sage that was their guide
On their dark journey hastes them forth to ride.

LXXXV
"High time it is," quoth he, "for you to wend
Where Godfrey you awaits, and many a knight,
There may we well arrive ere night doth end,
And through this darkness can I guide you right."
This said, up to his coach they all ascend,
On his swift wheels forth rolled the chariot light,
He gave his coursers fleet the rod and rein,
And galloped forth and eastward drove amain;

LXXXVI
While silent so through night's dark shade they fly,
The hermit thus bespake the young man stout:
"Of thy great house, thy race, thine offspring high,
Here hast thou seen the branch, the bole, the root,
And as these worthies born to chivalry
And deeds of arms it hath tofore brought out,
So is it, so it shall be fertile still,
Nor time shall end, nor age that seed shall kill.

LXXXVII
"Would God, as drawn from the forgetful lap
Of antique time, I have thine elders shown;
That so I could the catalogue unwrap
Of thy great nephews yet unborn, unknown,
That ere this light they view, their fate and hap
I might foretell, and how their chance is thrown,
That like thine elders so thou mightst behold
Thy children, many, famous, stout and bold.

LXXXVIII
"But not by art or skill, of things future
Can the plain truth revealed be and told,
Although some knowledge doubtful, dark, obscure
We have of coming haps in clouds uprolled;
Nor all which in this cause I know for sure
Dare I foretell: for of that father old,
The hermit Peter, learned I much, and he
Withouten veil heaven's secrets great doth see.

LXXXIX
"But this, to him revealed by grace divine,
By him to me declared, to thee I say,
Was never race Greek, barbarous, or Latine,
Great in times past, or famous at this day,
Richer in hardy knights than this of thine;
Such blessings Heaven shall on thy children lay
That they in fame shall pass, in praise o'ercome,
The worthies old of Sparta, Carthage, Rome.

XC
"But mongst the rest I chose Alphonsus bold,
In virtue first, second in place and name,
He shall be born when this frail world grows old,
Corrupted, poor, and bare of men of fame,
Better than he none shall, none can, or could,
The sword or sceptre use or guide the same,
To rule in peace or to command in fight,
Thine offspring's glory and thy house's light.

XCI
"His younger age foretokens true shall yield
Of future valor, puissance, force and might,
From him no rock the savage beast shall shield;
At tilt or tourney match him shall no knight:
After, he conquer shall in pitched field
Great armies and win spoils in single fight,
And on his locks, rewards for knightly praise,
Shall garlands wear of grass, of oak, of bays.

XCII
"His graver age, as well that eild it fits,
Shall happy peace preserve and quiet blest,
And from his neighbors strong mongst whom he sits
Shall keep his cities safe in wealth and rest,
Shall nourish arts and cherish pregnant wits,
Make triumphs great, and feast his subjects best,
Reward the good, the evil with pains torment,
Shall dangers all foresee, and seen, prevent.

XCIII
"But if it hap against those wicked bands
That sea and earth invest with blood and war,
And in these wretched times to noble lands
Give laws of peace false and unjust that are,
That he be sent, to drive their guilty hands
From Christ's pure altars and high temples far,
Oh, what revenge, what vengeance shall he bring
On that false sect, and their accursed king!

XCIV
"Too late the Moors, too late the Turkish king,
Gainst him should arm their troops and legions bold
For he beyond great Euphrates should bring,
Beyond the frozen tops of Taurus cold,
Beyond the land where is perpetual spring,
The cross, the eagle white, the lily of gold,
And by baptizing of the Ethiops brown
Of aged Nile reveal the springs unknown."

XCV
Thus said the hermit, and his prophecy
The prince accepted with content and pleasure,
The secret thought of his posterity
Of his concealed joys heaped up the measure.
Meanwhile the morning bright was mounted high,
And changed Heaven's silver wealth to golden treasure,
And high above the Christian tents they view
How the broad ensigns trembled, waved and blew,

XCVI
When thus again their leader sage begun,
"See how bright Phoebus clears the darksome skies,
See how with gentle beams the friendly sun
The tents, the towns, the hills and dales descries,
Through my well guiding is your voyage done,
From danger safe in travel off which lies,
Hence without fear of harm or doubt of foe
March to the camp, I may no nearer go."

XCVII
Thus took he leave, and made a quick return,
And forward went the champions three on foot,
And marching right against the rising morn
A ready passage to the camp found out,
Meanwhile had speedy fame the tidings borne
That to the tents approached these barons stout,
And starting from his throne and kingly seat
To entertain them, rose Godfredo great.

 

 

 


Nicholas Poussin
Rinaldo and Armida
 

 

 




Eighteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The charms and spirits false therein which lie
Rinaldo chaseth from the forest old;
The host of Egypt comes; Vafrin the spy
Entereth their camp, stout, crafty, wise and bold;
Sharp is the fight about the bulwarks high
And ports of Zion, to assault the hold:
Godfrey hath aid from Heaven, by force the town
Is won, the Pagans slain, walls beaten down.

I
Arrived where Godfrey to embrace him stood,
"My sovereign lord," Rinaldo meekly said,
"To venge my wrongs against Gernando proud
My honor's care provoked my wrath unstayed;
But that I you displeased, my chieftain good,
My thoughts yet grieve, my heart is still dismayed,
And here I come, prest all exploits to try
To make me gracious in your gracious eye."

II
To him that kneeled, folding his friendly arms
About his neck, the duke this answer gave:
"Let pass such speeches sad, of passed harms.
Remembrance is the life of grief; his grave,
Forgetfulness; and for amends, in arms
Your wonted valor use and courage brave;
For you alone to happy end must bring
The strong enchantments of the charmed spring.

III
"That aged wood whence heretofore we got,
To build our scaling engines, timber fit,
Is now the fearful seat, but how none wot,
Where ugly fiends and damned spirits sit;
To cut one twist thereof adventureth not
The boldest knight we have, nor without it
This wall can battered be: where others doubt
There venture thou, and show thy courage stout."

IV
Thus said he, and the knight in speeches few
Proffered his service to attempt the thing,
To hard assays his courage willing flew,
To him praise was no spur, words were no sting;
Of his dear friends then he embraced the crew
To welcome him which came; for in a ring
About him Guelpho, Tancred and the rest
Stood, of the camp the greatest, chief and best.

V
When with the prince these lords had iterate
Their welcomes oft, and oft their dear embrace,
Toward the rest of lesser worth and state,
He turned, and them received with gentle grace;
The merry soldiers bout him shout and prate,
With cries as joyful and as cheerful face
As if in triumph's chariot bright as sun,
He had returned Afric or Asia won.

VI
Thus marched to his tent the champion good,
And there sat down with all his friends around;
Now of the war he asked, now of the wood,
And answered each demand they list propound;
But when they left him to his ease, up stood
The hermit, and, fit time to speak once found,
"My lord," he said, "your travels wondrous are,
Far have you strayed, erred, wandered far.

VII
"Much are you bound to God above, who brought
You safe from false Armida's charmed hold,
And thee a straying sheep whom once he bought
Hath now again reduced to his fold,
And gainst his heathen foes these men of naught
Hath chosen thee in place next Godfrey bold;
Yet mayest thou not, polluted thus with sin,
In his high service war or fight begin.

VIII
"The world, the flesh, with their infection vile
Pollute the thoughts impure, thy spirit stain;
Not Po, not Ganges, not seven-mouthed Nile,
Not the wide seas, can wash thee clean again,
Only to purge all faults which thee defile
His blood hath power who for thy sins was slain:
His help therefore invoke, to him bewray
Thy secret faults, mourn, weep, complain and pray."

IX
This said, the knight first with the witch unchaste
His idle loves and follies vain lamented;
Then kneeling low with heavy looks downcast,
His other sins confessed and all repented,
And meekly pardon craved for first and last.
The hermit with his zeal was well contented,
And said, "On yonder hill next morn go pray
That turns his forehead gainst the morning ray.

X
"That done, march to the wood, whence each one brings
Such news of furies, goblins, fiends, and sprites,
The giants, monsters, and all dreadful things
Thou shalt subdue, which that dark grove unites:
Let no strange voice that mourns or sweetly sings,
Nor beauty, whose glad smile frail hearts delights,
Within thy breast make ruth or pity rise,
But their false looks and prayers false despise."

XI
Thus he advised him, and the hardy knight
Prepared him gladly to this enterprise,
Thoughtful he passed the day, and sad the night;
And ere the silver morn began to rise,
His arms he took, and in a coat him dight
Of color strange, cut in the warlike guise;
And on his way sole, silent, forth he went
Alone, and left his friends, and left his tent.

XII
It was the time when gainst the breaking day
Rebellious night yet strove, and still repined,
For in the east appeared the morning gray
And yet some lamps in Jove's high palace shined,
When to Mount Olivet he took his way,
And saw, as round about his eyes he twined,
Night's shadows hence, from thence the morning's shine,
This bright, that dark; that earthly, this divine.

XIII
Thus to himself he thought, how many bright
And splendent lamps shine in heaven's temple high,
Day hath his golden sun, her moon the night,
Her fixed and wandering stars the azure sky,
So framed all by their Creator's might
That still they live and shine, and ne'er shall die
Till, in a moment, with the last day's brand
They burn, and with them burn sea, air, and land.

XIV
Thus as he mused, to the top he went,
And there kneeled down with reverence and fear,
His eyes upon heaven's eastern face he bent,
His thoughts above all heavens uplifted were:
"The sins and errors, which I now repent,
Of mine unbridled youth, O Father dear,
Remember not, but let thy mercy fall,
And purge my faults and mine offences all."

XV
Thus prayed he, with purple wings upflew
In golden weed the morning's lusty queen,
Begilding with the radiant beams she threw
His helm, his harness, and the mountain green;
Upon his breast and forehead gently blew
The air, that balm and nardus breathed unseen,
And o'er his head let down from clearest skies
A cloud of pure and precious clew there flies.

XVI
The heavenly dew was on his garments spread,
To which compared, his clothes pale ashes seem,
And sprinkled so, that all that paleness fled
And thence, of purest white, bright rays outstream;
So cheered are the flowers late withered
With the sweet comfort of the morning beam,
And so, returned to youth, a serpent old
Adorns herself in new and native gold.

XVII
The lovely whiteness of his changed weed,
The Prince perceived well, and long admired;
Toward the forest marched he on with speed,
Resolved, as such adventures great required;
Thither he came whence shrinking back for dread
Of that strange desert's sight the first retired,
But not to him fearful or loathsome made
That forest was, but sweet with pleasant shade:

XVIII
Forward he passed, mid in the grove before
He heard a sound that strange, sweet, pleasing was;
There rolled a crystal brook with gentle roar,
There sighed the winds as through the leaves they pass,
There did the nightingale her wrongs deplore,
There sung the swan, and singing died, alas!
There lute, harp, cittern, human voice he heard,
And all these sounds one sound right well declared.

XIX
A dreadful thunder-clap at last he heard,
The aged trees and plants well-nigh that rent;
Yet heard the nymphs and sirens afterward,
Birds, winds, and waters, sing with sweet consent:
Whereat amazed he stayed, and well prepared
For his defence, heedful and slow forth went:
Nor in his way his passage aught withstood,
Except a quiet, still, transparent flood.

XX
On the green banks which that fair stream inbound,
Flowers and odors sweetly smiled and smelled,
Which reaching out his stretched arms around,
All the large desert in his bosom held,
And through the grove one channel passage found;
That in the wood; in that, the forest dwelled:
Trees clad the streams; streams green those trees aye made
And so exchanged their moisture and their shade.

XXI
The knight some way sought out the flood to pass,
And as he sought, a wondrous bridge appeared,
A bridge of gold, a huge and weighty mass,
On arches great of that rich metal reared;
When through that golden way he entered was,
Down fell the bridge, swelled the stream, and weared
The work away, nor sign left where it stood,
And of a river calm became a flood.

XXII
He turned, amazed to see it troubled so,
Like sudden brooks increased with molten snow,
The billows fierce that tossed to and fro,
The whirlpools sucked down to their bosoms low;
But on he went to search for wonders mo,
Through the thick trees there high and broad which grow,
And in that forest huge and desert wide,
The more he sought, more wonders still he spied.

XXIII
Whereso he stepped, it seemed the joyful ground
Renewed the verdure of her flowery weed,
A fountain here, a wellspring there he found;
Here bud the roses, there the lilies spread
The aged wood o'er and about him round
Flourished with blossoms new, new leaves, new seed,
And on the boughs and branches of those treen,
The bark was softened, and renewed the green.

XXIV
The manna on each leaf did pearled lie,
The honey stilled from the tender rind;
Again he heard that wondrous harmony,
Of songs and sweet complaints of lovers kind,
The human voices sung a triple high,
To which respond the birds, the streams, the wind,
But yet unseen those nymphs, those singers were,
Unseen the lutes, harps, viols which they bear.

XXV
He looked, he listened, yet his thoughts denied
To think that true which he both heard and see,
A myrtle in an ample plain he spied,
And thither by a beaten path went he:
The myrtle spread her mighty branches wide,
Higher than pine or palm or cypress tree:
And far above all other plants was seen
That forest's lady and that desert's queen.

XXVI
Upon the trees his eyes Rinaldo bent,.
And there a marvel great and strange began;
An aged oak beside him cleft and rent,
And from his fertile hollow womb forth ran,
Clad in rare weeds and strange habiliment,
A nymph, for age able to go to man,
An hundred plants beside, even in his sight,
Childed an hundred nymphs, so great, so dight.

XXVII
Such as on stages play, such as we see
The Dryads painted whom wild Satyrs love,
Whose arms half-naked, locks untrussed be,
With buskins laced on their legs above,
And silken robes tucked short above their knee;
Such seemed the sylvan daughters of this grove,
Save that instead of shafts and boughs of tree,
She bore a lute, a harp, or cittern she.

XXVIII
And wantonly they cast them in a ring,
And sung and danced to move his weaker sense,
Rinaldo round about environing,
As centres are with their circumference;
The tree they compassed eke, and gan to sing,
That woods and streams admired their excellence;
"Welcome, dear lord, welcome to this sweet grove,
Welcome our lady's hope, welcome her love.

XXIX
"Thou com'st to cure our princess, faint and sick
For love, for love of thee, faint, sick, distressed;
Late black, late dreadful was this forest thick,
Fit dwelling for sad folk with grief oppressed,
See with thy coming how the branches quick
Revived are, and in new blosoms dressed:"
This was their song, and after, from it went
First a sweet sound, and then the myrtle rent.

XXX
If antique times admired Silenus old
That oft appeared set on his lazy ass,
How would they wonder if they had behold
Such sights as from the myrtle high did pass?
Thence came a lady fair with locks of gold,
That like in shape, in face and beauty was
To sweet Armide; Rinaldo thinks he spies
Her gestures, smiles, and glances of her eyes.

XXXI
On him a sad and smiling look she cast,
Which twenty passions strange at once bewrays:
"And art thou come," quoth she, "returned at last
To her from whom but late thou ran'st thy ways?
Com'st thou to comfort me for sorrows past?
To ease my widow nights and careful days?
Or comest thou to work me grief and harm?
Why nilt thou speak? -- why not thy face disarm?

XXXII
"Com'st thou a friend or foe? I did not frame
That golden bridge to entertain my foe,
Nor opened flowers and fountains as you came,
To welcome him with joy that brings me woe:
Put off thy helm, rejoice me with the flame
Of thy bright eyes, whence first my fires did grow.
Kiss me, embrace me, if you further venture,
Love keeps the gate, the fort is eath to enter."

XXXIII
Thus as she woos she rolls her rueful eyes
With piteous look, and changeth oft her cheer,
An hundred sighs from her false heart upflies,
She sobs, she mourns, it is great ruth to hear;
The hardest breast sweet pity mollifies,
What stony heart resists a woman's tear?
But yet the knight, wise, wary, not unkind,
Drew forth his sword and from her careless twined.

XXXIV
Toward the tree he marched, she thither start,
Before him stepped, embraced the plant and cried,
"Ah, never do me such a spiteful part,
To cut my tree, this forest's joy and pride,
Put up thy sword, else pierce therewith the heart
Of thy forsaken and despised Armide;
For through this breast, and through this heart unkind
To this fair tree thy sword shall passage find."

XXXV
He lift his brand, nor cared though oft she prayed,
And she her form to other shape did change;
Such monsters huge when men in dreams are laid
Oft in their idle fancies roam and range:
Her body swelled, her face obscure was made,
Vanished her garments, her face and vestures strange,
A giantess before him high she stands,
Like Briareus armed with an hundred hands.

XXXVI
With fifty swords, and fifty targets bright,
She threatened death, she roared, cried and fought,
Each other nymph in armor likewise dight,
A Cyclops great became: he feared them naught,
But on the myrtle smote with all his might,
That groaned like living souls to death nigh brought,
The sky seemed Pluto's court, the air seemed hell,
Therein such monsters roar, such spirits yell.

XXXVII
Lightened the heavens above, the earth below
Roared loud, that thundered, and this shook;
Blustered the tempests strong, the whirlwinds blow,
The bitter storm drove hailstones in his look;
But yet his arm grew neither weak nor slow,
Nor of that fury heed or care he took,
Till low to earth the wounded tree down bended;
Then fled the spirits all, the charms all ended.

XXXVIII
The heavens grew clear, the air waxed calm and still,
The wood returned to his wonted state,
Of withcrafts free, quite void of spirits ill;
Of horror full, but horror there innate;
He further proved if aught withstood his will
To cut those trees as did the charms of late,
And finding naught to stop him, smiled, and said,
"O shadows vain! O fools, of shades afraid!"

XXXIX
From thence home to the campward turned the knight,
The hermit cried, upstarting from his seat,
"Now of the wood the charms have lost their might,
The sprites are conquered, ended is the feat,
See where he comes!" In glistering white all dight
Appeared the man, bold, stately, high and great,
His eagle's silver wings to shine begun
With wondrous splendor gainst the golden sun.

XL
The camp received him with a joyful cry,
A cry the dales and hills about that flied;
Then Godfrey welcomed him with honors high,
His glory quenched all spite, all envy killed:
"To yonder dreadful grove," quoth he, "went I,
And from the fearful wood, as me you willed,
Have driven the sprites away, thither let be
Your people sent, the way is safe and free."

XLI
Sent were the workmen thither, thence they brought
Timber enough, by good advice select,
And though by skilless builders framed and wrought
Their engines rude and rams were late elect,
Yet now the forts and towers from whence they fought
Were framed by a cunning architect,
William, of all the Genoese lord and guide,
Which late ruled all the seas from side to side;

XLII
But forced to retire from him at last,
The Pagan fleet the seas moist empire won,
His men with all their stuff and store in haste
Home to the camp with their commander run,
In skill, in wit, in cunning him surpassed
Yet never engineer beneath the sun,
Of carpenters an hundred large he brought,
That what their lord devised made and wrought.

XLIII
This man began with wondrous art to make,
Not rams, not mighty brakes, not slings alone,
Wherewith the firm and solid walls to shake,
To cast a dart, or throw a shaft or stone;
But framed of pines and firs, did undertake
To build a fortress huge, to which was none
Yet ever like, whereof he clothed the sides
Against the balls of fire with raw bull's hides.

XLIV
In mortices and sockets framed just,
The beams, the studs and puncheons joined he fast;
To beat the city's wall, beneath forth brust
A ram with horned front, about her waist
A bridge the engine from her side out thrust,
Which on the wall when need she cast;
And from her top a turret small up stood,
Strong, surely armed, and builded of like wood.

XLV
Set on an hundred wheels the rolling mass,
On the smooth lands went nimbly up and down,
Though full of arms and armed men it was,
Yet with small pains it ran, as it had flown:
Wondered the camp so quick to see it pass,
They praised the workmen and their skill unknown,
And on that day two towers they builded more,
Like that which sweet Clorinda burned before.

XLVI
Yet wholly were not from the Saracines
Their works concealed and their labors hid,
Upon that wall which next the camp confines
They placed spies, who marked all they did:
They saw the ashes wild and squared pines,
How to the tents, trailed from the grove, they slid:
And engines huge they saw, yet could not tell
How they were built, their forms they saw not well.

XLVII
Their engines eke they reared, and with great art
Repaired each bulwark, turret, port and tower,
And fortified the plain and easy part,
To bide the storm of every warlike stoure,
Till as they thought no sleight or force of Mart
To undermine or scale the same had power;
And false Ismeno gan new balls prepare
Of wicked fire, wild, wondrous, strange and rare.

XLVIII
He mingled brimstone with bitumen fell
Fetched from that lake where Sodom erst did sink,
And from that flood which nine times compassed hell
Some of the liquor hot he brought, I think,
Wherewith the quenchless fire he tempered well,
To make it smoke and flame and deadly stink:
And for his wood cut down, the aged sire
Would thus revengement take with flame and fire.

XLIX
While thus the camp, and thus the town were bent,
These to assault, these to defend the wall,
A speedy dove through the clear welkin went,
Straight o'er the tents, seen by the soldiers all;
With nimble fans the yielding air she rent,
Nor seemed it that she would alight or fall,
Till she arrived near that besieged town,
Then from the clouds at last she stooped down:

L
But lo, from whence I nolt, a falcon came,
Armed with crooked bill and talons long,
And twixt the camp and city crossed her game,
That durst nor bide her foe's encounter strong;
But right upon the royal tent down came,
And there, the lords and princes great among,
When the sharp hawk nigh touched her tender head
In Godfrey's lap she fell, with fear half dead:

LI
The duke received her, saved her, and spied,
As he beheld the bird, a wondrous thing,
About her neck a letter close was tied,
By a small thread, and thrust under her wing,
He loosed forth the writ and spread it wide,
And read the intent thereof, "To Judah's king,"
Thus said the schedule, "honors high increase,
The Egyptian chieftain wisheth health and peace:

LII
"Fear not, renowned prince, resist, endure
Till the third day, or till the fourth at most,
I come, and your deliverance will procure,
And kill your coward foes and all their host."
This secret in that brief was closed up sure,
Writ in strange language, to the winged post
Given to transport; for in their warlike need
The east such message used, oft with good speed.

LIII
The duke let go the captive dove at large,
And she that had his counsel close betrayed,
Traitress to her great Lord, touched not the marge
Of Salem's town, but fled far thence afraid.
The duke before all those which had or charge
Or office high, the letter read, and said:
"See how the goodness of the Lord foreshows
The secret purpose of our crafty foes.

LIV
"No longer then let us protract the time,
But scale the bulwark of this fortress high,
Through sweat and labor gainst those rocks sublime
Let us ascend, which to the southward lie;
Hard will it be that way in arms to climb,
But yet the place and passage both know I,
And that high wall by site strong on that part,
Is least defenced by arms, by work and art.

LV
"Thou, Raymond, on this side with all thy might
Assault the wall, and by those crags ascend,
My squadrons with mine engines huge shall fight
And gainst the northern gate my puissance bend,
That so our foes, beguiled with the sight,
Our greatest force and power shall there attend,
While my great tower from thence shall nimbly slide,
And batter down some worse defended side;

LVI
"Camillo, thou not far from me shalt rear
Another tower, close to the walls ybrought."
This spoken, Raymond old, that sate him near,
And while he talked great things tossed in his thought,
Said, "To Godfredo's counsel, given us here,
Naught can be added, from it taken naught:
Yet this I further wish, that some were sent
To spy their camp, their secret and intent,

LVII
"That may their number and their squadrons brave
Describe, and through their tents disguised mask."
Quoth Tancred, "Lo, a subtle squire I have,
A person fit to undertake this task,
A man quick, ready, bold, sly to deceive,
To answer, wise, and well advised to ask;
Well languaged, and that with time and place,
Can change his look, his voice, his gait, his grace."

LVIII
Sent for, he came, and when his lord him told
What Godfrey's pleasure was and what his own,
He smiled and said forthwith he gladly would.
"I go," quoth he, "careless what chance be thrown,
And where encamped be these Pagans bold,
Will walk in every tent a spy unknown,
Their camp even at noon-day I enter shall,
And number all their horse and footmen all;

LIX
"How great, how strong, how armed this army is,
And what their guide intends, I will declare,
To me the secrets of that heart of his
And hidden thoughts shall open lie and bare."
Thus Vafrine spoke, nor longer stayed on this,
But for a mantle changed the coat he ware,
Naked was his neck, and bout his forehead bold,
Of linen white full twenty yards he rolled.

LX
His weapons were a Syrian bow and quiver,
His gestures barbarous, like the Turkish train,
Wondered all they that heard his tongue deliver
Of every land the language true and plain:
In Tyre a born Phoenician, by the river
Of Nile a knight bred in the Egyptian main,
Both people would have thought him; forth he rides
On a swift steed, o'er hills and dales that glides.

LXI
But ere the third day came the French forth sent
Their pioneers to even the rougher ways,
And ready made each warlike instrument,
Nor aught their labor interrupts or stays;
The nights in busy toll they likewise spent
And with long evenings lengthened forth short days,
Till naught was left the hosts that hinder might
To use their utmost power and strength in fight.

LXII
That day, which of the assault the day forerun,
The godly duke in prayer spent well-nigh,
And all the rest, because they had misdone,
The sacrament receive and mercy cry;
Then oft the duke his engines great begun
To show where least he would their strength apply;
His foes rejoiced, deluded in that sort,
To see them bent against their surest port:

LXIII
But after, aided by the friendly night,
His greatest engine to that side he brought
Where plainest seemed the wall, where with their might
The flankers least could hurt them as they fought;
And to the southern mountain's greatest height
To raise his turret old Raymondo sought;
And thou Camillo on that part hadst thine,
Where from the north the walls did westward twine.

LXIV
But when amid the eastern heaven appeared
The rising morning bright as shining glass,
The troubled Pagans saw, and seeing feared,
How the great tower stood not where late it was,
And here and there tofore unseen was reared
Of timber strong a huge and fearful mass,
And numberless with beams, with ropes and strings,
They view the iron rams, the barks and slings.

LXV
The Syrian people now were no whit slow,
Their best defences to that side to bear,
Where Godfrey did his greatest engine show,
From thence where late in vain they placed were:
But he who at his back right well did know
The host of Egypt to be proaching near,
To him called Guelpho, and the Roberts twain,
And said, "On horseback look you still remain,

LXVI
"And have regard, while all our people strive
To scale this wall, where weak it seems and thin,
Lest unawares some sudden host arrive,
And at our backs unlooked-for war begin."
This said, three fierce assaults at once they give,
The hardy soldiers all would die or win,
And on three parts resistance makes the king,
And rage gainst strength, despair gainst hope doth bring.

LXVII
Himself upon his limbs with feeble eild
That shook, unwieldy with their proper weight,
His armor laid and long unused shield,
And marched gainst Raymond to the mountain's height;
Great Solyman gainst Godfrey took the field;
Fornenst Camillo stood Argantes straight
Where Tancred strong he found, so fortune will
That this good prince his wonted foe shall kill.

LXVIII
The archers shot their arrows sharp and keen,
Dipped in the bitter juice of poison strong,
The shady face of heaven was scantly seen,
Hid with the clouds of shafts and quarries long;
Yet weapons sharp with greater fury been
Cast from the towers the Pagan troops among,
For thence flew stones and clifts of marble rocks,
Trees shod with iron, timber, logs and blocks.

LXIX
A thunderbolt seemed every stone, it brake
His limbs and armors on whom so it light,
That life and soul it did not only take
But all his shape and face disfigured quite;
The lances stayed not in the wounds they make,
But through the gored body took their flight,
From side to side, through flesh, through skin and rind
They flew, and flying, left sad death behind.

LXX
But yet not all this force and fury drove
The Pagan people to forsake the wall,
But to revenge these deadly blows they strove,
With darts that fly, with stones and trees that fall;
For need so cowards oft courageous prove,
For liberty they fight, for life and all,
And oft with arrows, shafts, and stones that fly,
Give bitter answer to a sharp reply.

LXXI
This while the fierce assailants never cease,
But sternly still maintain a threefold charge,
And gainst the clouds of shafts draw nigh at ease,
Under a pentise made of many a targe,
The armed towers close to the bulwarks press,
And strive to grapple with the battled marge,
And launch their bridges out, meanwhile below
With iron fronts the rams the walls down throw.

LXXII
Yet still Rinaldo unresolved went,
And far unworthy him this service thought,
If mongst the common sort his pains he spent;
Renown so got the prince esteemed naught:
His angry looks on every side he bent,
And where most harm, most danger was, he fought,
And where the wall high, strong and surest was,
That part would he assault, and that way pass.

LXXIII
And turning to the worthies him behind,
All hardy knights, whom Dudon late did guide,
"Oh shame," quoth he, "this wall no war doth find,
When battered is elsewhere each part, each side;
All pain is safety to a valiant mind,
Each way is eath to him that dares abide,
Come let us scale this wall, though strong and high,
And with your shields keep off the darts that fly."

LXXIV
With him united all while thus he spake,
Their targets hard above their heads they threw,
Which joined in one an iron pentise make
That from the dreadful storm preserved the crew.
Defended thus their speedy course they take,
And to the wall without resistance drew,
For that strong penticle protected well
The knights, from all that flew and all that fell.

LXXV
Against the fort Rinaldo gan uprear
A ladder huge, an hundred steps of height,
And in his arm the same did easily bear
And move as winds do reeds or rushes light,
Sometimes a tree, a rock, a dart or spear,
Fell from above, yet forward clomb the knight,
And upward fearless pierced, careless still,
Though Mount Olympus fell, or Ossa hill:

LXXVI
A mount of ruins, and of shafts a wood
Upon his shoulders and his shield he bore,
One hand the ladder held whereon he stood,
The other bare his targe his face before;
His hardy troop, by his example good
Provoked, with him the place assaulted sore,
And ladders long against the wall they clap,
Unlike in courage yet, unlike in hap:

LXXVII
One died, another fell; he forward went,
And these he comforts, and he threateneth those,
Now with his hand outstretched the battlement
Well-nigh he reached, when all his armed foes
Ran thither, and their force and fury bent
To throw him headlong down, yet up he goes,
A wondrous thing, one knight whole armed bands
Alone, and hanging in the air, withstands:

LXXVIII
Withstands, and forceth his great strength so far,
That like a palm whereon huge weight doth rest,
His forces so resisted stronger are,
His virtues higher rise the more oppressed,
Till all that would his entrance bold debar,
He backward drove, upleaped and possessed
The wall, and safe and easy with his blade,
To all that after came, the passage made.

LXXIX
There killing such as durst and did withstand,
To noble Eustace that was like to fall
He reached forth his friendly conquering hand,
And next himself helped him to mount the wall.
This while Godfredo and his people land
Their lives to greater harms and dangers thrall,
For there not man with man, nor knight with knight
Contend, but engines there with engines fight.

LXXX
For in that place the Paynims reared a post,
Which late had served some gallant ship for mast,
And over it another beam they crossed,
Pointed with iron sharp, to it made fast
With ropes which as men would the dormant tossed,
Now out, now in, now back, now forward cast.
In his swift pulleys oft the men withdrew
The tree, and oft the riding-balk forth threw:

LXXXI
The mighty beam redoubted oft his blows,
And with such force the engine smote and hit,
That her broad side the tower wide open throws,
Her joints were broke, her rafters cleft and split;
But yet gainst every hap whence mischief grows,
Prepared the piece, gainst such extremes made fit,
Launch forth two scythes, sharp, cutting, long and broad
And cut the ropes whereon the engine rode:

LXXXII
As an old rock, which age or stormy wind
Tears from some craggy hill or mountain steep,
Doth break, doth bruise, and into dust doth grind
Woods, houses, hamlets, herds, and folds of sheep,
So fell the beam, and down with it all kind
Of arms, of weapons, and of men did sweep,
Wherewith the towers once or twice did shake,
Trembled the walls, the hills and mountains quake.

LXXXIII
Victorious Godfrey boldly forward came,
And had great hope even then the place to win;
But lo, a fire, with stench, with smoke and flame
Withstood his passage, stopped his entrance in:
Such burning Aetna yet could never frame,
When from her entrails hot her fires begin,
Nor yet in summer on the Indian plain,
Such vapors warm from scorching air down rain.

LXXXIV
There balls of wildfire, there fly burning spears,
This flame was black, that blue, this red as blood;
Stench well-nigh choked them, noise deafs their ears,
Smoke blinds their eyes, fire kindleth on the wood;
Nor those raw hides which for defence it wears
Could save the tower, in such distress it stood;
For now they wrinkle, now it sweats and fries,
Now burns, unless some help come down from skies.

LXXXV
The hardy duke before his folk abides,
Nor changed he color, countenance or place,
But comforts those that from the scaldered hides
With water strove the approaching flames to chase:
In these extremes the prince and those he guides
Half roasted stood before fierce Vulcan's face,
When lo, a sudden and unlooked-for blast
The flames against the kindlers backward cast:

LXXXVI
The winds drove back the fire, where heaped lie
The Pagans' weapons, where their engines were,
Which kindling quickly in that substance dry,
Burnt all their store and all their warlike gear:
O glorious captain! whom the Lord from high
Defends, whom God preserves, and holds so dear;
For thee heaven fights, to thee the winds, from far,
Called with thy trumpet's blast, obedient are!

LXXXVII
But wicked Ismen to his harm that saw
How the fierce blast drove back the fire and flame,
By art would nature change, and thence withdraw
Those noisome winds, else calm and still the same;
'Twixt two false wizards without fear or awe
Upon the walls in open sight he came,
Black, grisly, loathsome, grim and ugly faced,
Like Pluto old, betwixt two furies placed;

LXXXVIII
And now the wretch those dreadful words begun,
Which trouble make deep hell and all her flock,
Now trembled is the air, the golden sun
His fearful beams in clouds did close and lock,
When from the tower, which Ismen could not shun,
Out fled a mighty stone, late half a rock,
Which light so just upon the wizards three,
That driven to dust their bones and bodies be.

LXXXIX
To less than naught their members old were torn,
And shivered were their heads to pieces small,
As small as are the bruised grains of corn
When from the mill dissolved to meal they fall;
Their damned souls, to deepest hell down borne
Far from the joy and light celestial,
The furies plunged in the infernal lake:
O mankind, at their ends ensample take!

XC
This while the engine which the tempest cold
Had saved from burning with his friendly blast,
Approached had so near the battered hold
That on the walls her bridge at ease she cast:
But Solyman ran thither fierce and bold,
To cut the plank whereon the Christians passed.
And had performed his will, save that upreared
High in the skies a turret new appeared;

XCI
Far in the air up clomb the fortress tall,
Higher than house, than steeple, church or tower;
The Pagans trembled to behold the wall
And city subject to her shot and power;
Yet kept the Turk his stand, though on him fall
Of stones and darts a sharp and deadly shower,
And still to cut the bridge he hopes and strives,
And those that fear with cheerful speech revives.

XCII
The angel Michael, to all the rest
Unseen, appeared before Godfredo's eyes,
In pure and heavenly armor richly dressed,
Brighter than Titan's rays in clearest skies;
"Godfrey," quoth he, "this is the moment blest
To free this town that long in bondage lies,
See, see what legions in thine aid I bring,
For Heaven assists thee, and Heaven's glorious King:

XCIII
"Lift up thine eyes, and in the air behold
The sacred armies, how they mustered be,
That cloud of flesh in which for times of old
All mankind wrapped is, I take from thee,
And from thy senses their thick mist unfold,
That face to face thou mayest these spirits see,
And for a little space right well sustain
Their glorious light and view those angels plain.

XCIV
"Behold the souls of every lord and knight
That late bore arms and died for Christ's dear sake,
How on thy side against this town they fight,
And of thy joy and conquest will partake:
There where the dust and smoke blind all men's sight,
Where stones and ruins such an heap do make,
There Hugo fights, in thickest cloud imbarred,
And undermines that bulwark's groundwork hard.

XCV
"See Dudon yonder, who with sword and fire
Assails and helps to scale the northern port,
That with bold courage doth thy folk inspire
And rears their ladders gainst the assaulted fort:
He that high on the mount in grave attire
Is clad, and crowned stands in kingly sort,
Is Bishop Ademare, a blessed spirit,
Blest for his faith, crowned for his death and merit.

XCVI
"But higher lift thy happy eyes, and view
Where all the sacred hosts of Heaven appear."
He looked, and saw where winged armies flew,
Innumerable, pure, divine and clear;
A battle round of squadrons three they show
And all by threes those squadrons ranged were,
Which spreading wide in rings still wider go,
Moved with a stone calm water circleth so.

XCVII
With that he winked, and vanished was and gone;
That wondrous vision when he looked again,
His worthies fighting viewed he one by one,
And on each side saw signs of conquest plain,
For with Rinaldo gainst his yielding lone,
His knights were entered and the Pagans slain,
This seen, the duke no longer stay could brook,
But from the bearer bold his ensign took:

XCVIII
And on the bridge he stepped, but there was stayed
By Solyman, who entrance all denied,
That narrow tree to virtue great was made,
The field as in few blows right soon was tried,
"Here will I give my life for Sion's aid,
Here will I end my days," the Soldan cried,
"Behind me cut or break this bridge, that I
May kill a thousand Christians first, then die."

XCIX
But thither fierce Rinaldo threatening went,
And at his sight fled all the Soldan's train,
"What shall I do? If here my life be spent,
I spend and spill," quoth he, "my blood in vain!"
With that his steps from Godfrey back he bent,
And to him let the passage free remain,
Who threatening followed as the Soldan fled,
And on the walls the purple Cross dispread:

C
About his head he tossed, he turned, he cast,
That glorious ensign, with a thousand twines,
Thereon the wind breathes with his sweetest blast,
Thereon with golden rays glad Phoebus shines,
Earth laughs for joy, the streams forbear their haste,
Floods clap their hands, on mountains dance the pines,
And Sion's towers and sacred temples smile
For their deliverance from that bondage vile.

CI
And now the armies reared the happy cry
Of victory, glad, joyful, loud, and shrill.
The hills resound, the echo showereth high,
And Tancred bold, that fights and combats still
With proud Argantes, brought his tower so nigh,
That on the wall, against the boaster's will,
In his despite, his bridge he also laid,
And won the place, and there the cross displayed.

CII
But on the southern hill, where Raymond fought
Against the townsmen and their aged king,
His hardy Gascoigns gained small or naught;
Their engine to the walls they could not bring,
For thither all his strength the prince had brought,
For life and safety sternly combating,
And for the wall was feeblest on that coast,
There were his soldiers best, and engines most.

CIII
Besides, the tower upon that quarter found
Unsure, uneasy, and uneven the way,
Nor art could help, but that the rougher ground
The rolling mass did often stop and stay;
But now of victory the joyful sound
The king and Raymond heard amid their fray;
And by the shout they and their soldiers know,
The town was entered on the plain below.

CIV
Which heard, Raymondo thus bespake this crew,
"The town is won, my friends, and doth it yet
Resist? are we kept out still by these few?
Shall we no share in this high conquest get?"
But from that part the king at last withdrew,
He strove in vain their entrance there to let,
And to a stronger place his folk he brought,
Where to sustain the assault awhile he thought.

CV
The conquerors at once now entered all,
The walls were won, the gates were opened wide,
Now bruised, broken down, destroyed fall
The ports and towers that battery durst abide;
Rageth the sword, death murdereth great and small,
And proud 'twixt woe and horror sad doth ride.
Here runs the blood, in ponds there stands the gore,
And drowns the knights in whom it lived before.

 

 

 


Nicholas Poussin
Rinaldo and Armida



 

 

 



Nineteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
Tancred in single combat kills his foe,
Argantes strong: the king and Soldan fly
To David's tower, and save their persons so;
Erminia well instructs Vafrine the spy,
With him she rides away, and as they go
Finds where her lord for dead on earth doth lie;
First she laments, then cures him: Godfrey hears
Ormondo's treason, and what marks he bears.

I
Now death or fear or care to save their lives
From their forsaken walls the Pagans chase:
Yet neither force nor fear nor wisdom drives
The constant knight Argantes from his place;
Alone against ten thousand foes he strives,
Yet dreadless, doubtless, careless seemed his face,
Nor death, nor danger, but disgrace he fears,
And still unconquered, though o'erset, appears.

II
But mongst the rest upon his helmet gay
With his broad sword Tancredi came and smote:
The Pagan knew the prince by his array,
By his strong blows, his armor and his coat;
For once they fought, and when night stayed that fray,
New time they chose to end their combat hot,
But Tancred failed, wherefore the Pagan knight
Cried, "Tancred, com'st thou thus, thus late to fight?

III
"Too late thou com'st, and not alone to war,
But yet the fight I neither shun nor fear,
Although from knighthood true thou errest far,
Since like an engineer thou dost appear,
That tower, that troop, thy shield and safety are,
Strange kind of arms in single fight to bear;
Yet shalt thou not escape, O conqueror strong
Of ladies fair, sharp death, to avenge that wrong."

IV
Lord Tancred smiled, with disdain and scorn,
And answerd thus, "To end our strife," quoth he,
"Behold at last I come, and my return,
Though late, perchance will be too soon for thee;
For thou shalt wish, of hope and help forlorn,
Some sea or mountain placed twixt thee and me,
And well shalt know before we end this fray
No fear of cowardice hath caused my stay.

V
"But come aside, thou by whose prowess dies
The monsters, knights and giants in all lands,
The killer of weak women thee defies."
This said, he turned to his fighting bands,
And bids them all retire. "Forbear," he cries,
"To strike this knight, on him let none lay hands;
For mine he is, more than a common foe,
By challenge new and promise old also."

VI
"Descend," the fierce Circassian gan reply,
"Alone, or all this troop for succor take
To deserts waste, or place frequented high,
For vantage none I will the fight forsake:"
Thus given and taken was the bold defy,
And through the press, agreed so, they brake,
Their hatred made them one, and as they went,
Each knight his foe did for despite defend:

VII
Great was his thirst of praise, great the desire
That Tancred had the Pagan's blood to spill,
Nor could that quench his wrath or calm his ire
If other hand his foe should foil or kill.
He saved him with his shield, and cried "Retire!"
To all he met, "and do this knight none ill:"
And thus defending gainst his friends his foe,
Through thousand angry weapons safe they go.

VII
They left the city, and they left behind
Godfredo's camp, and far beyond it passed,
And came where into creeks and bosoms blind
A winding hill his corners turned and cast,
A valley small and shady dale they find
Amid the mountains steep so laid and placed
As if some theatre or closed place
Had been for men to fight or beasts to chase.

IX
There stayed the champions both with rueful eyes,
Argantes gan the fortress won to view;
Tancred his foe withouten shield espies,
And far away his target therefore threw,
And said, "Whereon doth thy sad heart devise?
Think'st thou this hour must end thy life untrue?
If this thou fear, and dost foresee thy fate,
Thy fear is vain, thy foresight comes too late."

X
"I think," quoth he, "on this distressed town,
The aged Queen of Judah's ancient land,
Now lost, now sacked, spoiled and trodden down,
Whose fall in vain I strived to withstand,
A small revenge for Sion's fort o'erthrown,
That head can be, cut off by my strong hand."
This said, together with great heed they flew,
For each his foe for bold and hardy knew.

XI
Tancred of body active was and light,
Quick, nimble, ready both of hand and foot;
But higher by the head, the Pagan knight
Of limbs far greater was, of heart as stout:
Tancred laid low and traversed in his fight,
Now to his ward retired, now struck out,
Oft with his sword his foe's fierce blows he broke,
And rather chose to ward-than bear his stroke.

XII
But bold and bolt upright Argantes fought,
Unlike in gesture, like in skill and art,
His sword outstretched before him far he brought,
Nor would his weapon touch, but pierce his heart,
To catch his point Prince Tancred strove and sought,
But at his breast or helm's unclosed part
He threatened death, and would with stretched-out brand
His entrance close, and fierce assaults withstand.

XIII
With a tall ship so doth a galley fight,
When the still winds stir not the unstable main;
Where this in nimbleness as that in might
Excels; that stands, this goes and comes again,
And shifts from prow to poop with turnings light;
Meanwhile the other doth unmoved remain,
And on her nimble foe approaching nigh,
Her weighty engines tumbleth down from high.

XIV
The Christian sought to enter on his foe,
Voiding his point, which at his breast was bent;
Argantes at his face a thrust did throw,
Which while the Prince awards and doth prevent,
His ready hand the Pagan turned so,
That all defence his quickness far o'erwent,
And pierced his side, which done, he said and smiled,
"The craftsman is in his own craft beguiled."

XV
Tancredi bit his lip for scorn and shame,
Nor longer stood on points of fence and skill,
But to revenge so fierce and fast he came
As if his hand could not o'ertake his will,
And at his visor aiming just, gan frame
To his proud boast an answer sharp, but still
Argantes broke the thrust; and at half-sword,
Swift, hardy, bold, in stepped the Christian lord.

XVI
With his left foot fast forward gan he stride,
And with his left the Pagan's right arm bent,
With his right hand meanwhile the man's right side
He cut, he wounded, mangled, tore and rent.
"To his victorious teacher," Tancred cried,
"His conquered scholar hath this answer sent;"
Argantes chafed, struggled, turned and twined,
Yet could not so his captive arm unbind:

XVII
His sword at last he let hang by the chain,
And griped his hardy foe in both his hands,
In his strong arms Tancred caught him again,
And thus each other held and wrapped in bands.
With greater might Alcides did not strain
The giant Antheus on the Lybian sands,
On holdfast knots their brawny arms they cast,
And whom he hateth most, each held embraced:

XVIII
Such was their wrestling, such their shocks and throws
That down at once they tumbled both to ground,
Argantes, -- were it hap or skill, who knows,
His better hand loose and in freedom found;
But the good Prince, his hand more fit for blows,
With his huge weight the Pagan underbound;
But he, his disadvantage great that knew,
Let go his hold, and on his feet up flew:

XIX
Far slower rose the unwieldy Saracine,
And caught a rap ere he was reared upright.
But as against the blustering winds a pine
Now bends his top, now lifts his head on height,
His courage so, when it 'gan most decline,
The man reinforced, and advanced his might,
And with fierce change of blows renewed the fray,
Where rage for skill, horror for art, bore sway.

XX
The purple drops from Tancred's sides down railed,
But from the Pagan ran whole streams of blood,
Wherewith his force grew weak, his courage quailed
As fires die which fuel want or food.
Tancred that saw his feeble arm now failed
To strike his blows, that scant he stirred or stood,
Assuaged his anger, and his wrath allayed,
And stepping back, thus gently spoke and said:

XXI
"Yield, hardy knight, and chance of war or me
Confess to have subdued thee in this fight,
I will no trophy, triumph, spoil of thee,
Nor glory wish, nor seek a victor's right
More terrible than erst;" herewith grew he
And all awaked his fury, rage and might,
And said, "Dar'st thou of vantage speak or think,
Or move Argantes once to yield or shrink?

XXII
"Use, use thy vantage, thee and fortune both
I scorn, and punish will thy foolish pride:"
As a hot brand flames most ere it forth go'th,
And dying blazeth bright on every side;
So he, when blood was lost, with anger wroth,
Revived his courage when his puissance died,
And would his latest hour which now drew nigh,
Illustrate with his end, and nobly die.

XXIII
He joined his left hand to her sister strong,
And with them both let fall his weighty blade.
Tancred to ward his blow his sword up slung,
But that it smote aside, nor there it stayed,
But from his shoulder to his side along
It glanced, and many wounds at once it made:
Yet Tancred feared naught, for in his heart
Found coward dread no place, fear had no part.

XXIV
His fearful blow he doubled, but he spent
His force in waste, and all his strength in vain;
For Tancred from the blow against him bent,
Leaped aside, the stroke fell on the plain.
With thine own weight o'erthrown to earth thou went,
Argantes stout, nor could'st thyself sustain,
Thyself thou threwest down, O happy man,
Upon whose fall none boast or triumph can!

XXV
His gaping wounds the fall set open wide,
The streams of blood about him made a lake,
Helped with his left hand, on one knee he tried
To rear himself, and new defence to make:
The courteous prince stepped back, and "Yield thee!" cried,
No hurt he proffered him, no blow he strake.
Meanwhile by stealth the Pagan false him gave
A sudden wound, threatening with speeches brave:

XXVI
Herewith Tancredi furious grew, and said,
"Villain, dost thou my mercy so despise?"
Therewith he thrust and thrust again his blade,
And through his ventil pierced his dazzled eyes,
Argantes died, yet no complaint he made,
But as he furious lived he careless dies;
Bold, proud, disdainful, fierce and void of fear
His motions last, last looks, last speeches were.

XXVII
Tancred put up his sword, and praises glad
Gave to his God that saved him in this fight;
But yet this bloody conquest feebled had
So much the conqueror's force, strength and might,
That through the way he feared which homeward led
He had not strength enough to walk upright;
Yet as he could his steps from thence he bent,
And foot by foot a heavy pace forth-went;

XXVIII
His legs could bear him but a little stound,
And more he hastes, more tired, less was his speed,
On his right hand, at last, laid on the ground
He leaned, his hand weak like a shaking reed,
Dazzled his eyes, the world on wheels ran round,
Day wrapped her brightness up in sable weed;
At length he swooned, and the victor knight
Naught differed from his conquered foe in fight.

XXIX
But while these lords their private fight pursue,
Made fierce and cruel through their secret hate,
The victor's ire destroyed the faithless crew
From street to street, and chased from gate to gate.
But of the sacked town the image true
Who can describe, or paint the woful state,
Or with fit words this spectacle express
Who can? or tell the city's great distress?

XXX
Blood, murder, death, each street, house, church defiled,
There heaps of slain appear, there mountains high;
There underneath the unburied hills up-piled
Of bodies dead, the living buried lie;
There the sad mother with her tender child
Doth tear her tresses loose, complain and fly,
And there the spoiler by her amber hair
Draws to his lust the virgin chaste and fair.

XXXI
But through the way that to the west-hill yood
Whereon the old and stately temple stands,
All soiled with gore and wet with lukewarm blood
Rinaldo ran, and chased the Pagan bands;
Above their heads he heaved his curtlax good,
Life in his grace, and death lay in his hands,
Nor helm nor target strong his blows off bears,
Best armed there seemed he no arms that wears;

XXXII
For gainst his armed foes he only bends
His force, and scorns the naked folk to wound;
Them whom no courage arms, no arms defends,
He chased with his looks and dreadful sound:
Oh, who can tell how far his force extends?
How these he scorns, threats those, lays them on ground?
How with unequal harm, with equal fear
Fled all, all that well armed or naked were:

XXXIII
Fast fled the people weak, and with the same
A squadron strong is to the temple gone
Which, burned and builded oft, still keeps the name
Of the first founder, wise King Solomon;
That prince this stately house did whilom frame
Of cedar trees, of gold and marble stone;
Now not so rich, yet strong and sure it was,
With turrets high, thick walls, and doors of brass.

XXXIV
The knight arrived where in warklike sort
The men that ample church had fortified.
And closed found each wicket, gate and port,
And on the top defences ready spied,
He left his frowning looks, and twice that fort
From his high top down to the groundwork eyed,
And entrance sought, and twice with his swift foot
The mighty place he measured about.

XXXV
Like as a wolf about the closed fold
Rangeth by night his hoped prey to get,
Enraged with hunger and with malice old
Which kind 'twixt him and harmless sheep hath set:
So searched he high and low about that hold,
Where he might enter without stop or let,
In the great court he stayed, his foes above
Attend the assault, and would their fortune prove.

XXXVI
There lay by chance a posted tree thereby,
Kept for some needful use, whate'er it were,
The armed galleys not so thick nor high
Their tall and lofty masts at Genes uprear;
This beam the knight against the gates made fly
From his strong hands all weights which lift and bear,
Like a light lance that tree he shook and tossed,
And bruised the gate, the threshold and the post.

XXXVII
No marble stone, no metal strong outbore
The wondrous might of that redoubled blow,
The brazen hinges from the wall it tore,
It broke the locks, and laid the doors down low,
No iron ram, no engine could do more,
Nor cannons great that thunderbolts forth throw,
His people like a flowing stream inthrong,
And after them entered the victor strong;

XXXVIII
The woful slaughter black and loathsome made
That house, sometime the sacred house of God,
O heavenly justice, if thou be delayed,
On wretched sinners sharper falls thy rod!
In them this place profaned which invade
Thou kindled ire, and mercy all forbode,
Until with their hearts' blood the Pagans vile
This temple washed which they did late defile.

XXXIX
But Solyman this while himself fast sped
Up to the fort which David's tower is named,
And with him all the soldiers left he led,
And gainst each entrance new defences framed:
The tyrant Aladine eke thither fled,
To whom the Soldan thus, far off, exclaimed,
"Come, come, renowned king, up to this rock,
Thyself, within this fortress safe uplock:

XL
"For well this fortress shall thee and thy crown
Defend, awhile here may we safe remain."
"Alas!" quoth he, "alas, for this fair town,
Which cruel war beats down even with the plain,
My life is done, mine empire trodden down,
I reigned, I lived, but now nor live nor reign;
For now, alas! behold the fatal hour
That ends our life, and ends our kingly power."

XLI
"Where is your virtue, where your wisdom grave,
And courage stout?" the angry Soldan said,
"Let chance our kingdoms take which erst she gave,
Yet in our hearts our kingly worth is laid;
But come, and in this fort your person save,
Refresh your weary limbs and strength decayed:"
Thus counselled he, and did to safety bring
Within that fort the weak and aged king.

XLII
His iron mace in both his hands he hent,
And on his thigh his trusty sword he tied,
And to the entrance fierce and fearless went,
And kept the strait, and all the French defied:
The blows were mortal which he gave or lent,
For whom he hit he slew, else by his side
Laid low on earth, that all fled from the place
Where they beheld that great and dreadful mace.

XLIII
But old Raymondo with his hardy crew
By chance came thither, to his great mishap;
To that defended path the old man flew,
And scorned his blows and him that kept the gap,
He struck his foe, his blow no blood forth drew,
But on the front with that he caught a rap,
Which in a swoon, low in the dust him laid,
Wide open, trembling, with his arms displayed.

XLIV
The Pagans gathered heart at last, though fear
Their courage weak had put to flight but late,
So that the conquerors repulsed were,
And beaten back, else slain before the Gate:
The Soldan, mongst the dead beside him near
That saw Lord Raymond lie in such estate,
Cried to his men, "Within these bars," quoth he,
"Come draw this knight, and let him captive be."

XLV
Forward they rushed to execute his word,
But hard and dangerous that emprise they found,
For none of Raymond's men forsook their lord,
But to their guide's defence they flocked round,
Thence fury fights, hence pity draws the sword,
Nor strive they for vile cause or on light ground,
The life and freedom of that champion brave,
Those spoil, these would preserve, those kill, these save.

XLVI
But yet at last if they had longer fought
The hardy Soldan would have won the field;
For gainst his thundering mace availed naught
Or helm of temper fine or sevenfold shield:
But from each side great succor now was brought
To his weak foes, now fit to faint and yield,
And both at once to aid and help the same
The sovereign Duke and young Rinaldo came.

XLVII
As when a shepherd, raging round about
That sees a storm with wind, hail, thunder, rain,
When gloomy clouds have day's bright eye put out,
His tender flocks drives from the open plain
To some thick grove or mountain's shady foot,
Where Heaven's fierce wrath they may unhurt sustain,
And with his hook, his whistle and his cries
Drives forth his fleecy charge, and with them flies:

XLVIII
So fled the Soldan, when he gan descry
This tempest come from angry war forthcast,
The armor clashed and lightened gainst the sky,
And from each side swords, weapons, fire outbrast:
He sent his folk up to the fortress high,
To shun the furious storm, himself stayed last,
Yet to the danger he gave place at length,
For wit, his courage; wisdom ruled his strength.

XLIX
But scant the knight was safe the gate within,
Scant closed were the doors, when having broke
The bars, Rinaldo doth assault begin
Against the port, and on the wicket stroke
His matchless might, his great desire to win,
His oath and promise, doth his wrath provoke,
For he had sworn, nor should his word be vain,
To kill the man that had Prince Sweno slain.

L
And now his armed hand that castle great
Would have assaulted, and had shortly won,
Nor safe pardie the Soldan there a seat
Had found his fatal foes' sharp wrath to shun,
Had not Godfredo sounded the retreat;
For now dark shades to shroud the earth begun,
Within the town the duke would lodge that night,
And with the morn renew the assault and fight.

LI
With cheerful look thus to his folk he said,
"High God hath holpen well his children dear,
This work is done, the rest this night delayed
Doth little labor bring, less doubt, no fear,
This tower, our foe's weak hope and latest aid,
We conquer will, when sun shall next appear:
Meanwhile with love and tender ruth go see
And comfort those which hurt and wounded be;

LII
"Go cure their wounds which boldly ventured
Their lives, and spilt their bloods to get this hold,
That fitteth more this host for Christ forth led,
Than thirst of vengeance, or desire of gold;
Too much, ah, too much blood this day is shed!
In some we too much haste to spoil behold,
But I command no more you spoil and kill,
And let a trumpet publish forth my will."

LIII
This said, he went where Raymond panting lay,
Waked from the swoon wherein he late had been.
Nor Solyman with countenance less gay
Bespake his troops, and kept his grief unseen;
"My friends, you are unconquered this day,
In spite of fortune still our hope is green,
For underneath great shows of harm and fear,
Our dangers small, our losses little were:

LIV
"Burnt are your houses, and your people slain,
Yet safe your town is, though your walls be gone,
For in yourselves and in your sovereign
Consists your city, not in lime and stone;
Your king is safe, and safe is all his train
In this strong fort defended from their fone,
And on this empty conquest let them boast,
Till with this town again, their lives be lost;

LV
"And on their heads the loss at last will light,
For with good fortune proud and insolent,
In spoil and murder spend they day and night,
In riot, drinking, lust and ravishment,
And may amid their preys with little fight
At ease be overthrown, killed, slain and spent,
If in this carelessness the Egyptian host
Upon them fall, which now draws near this coast.

LVI
"Meanwhile the highest buildings of this town
We may shake down with stones about their ears,
And with our darts and spears from engines thrown,
Command that hill Christ's sepulchre that bears:"
Thus comforts he their hopes and hearts cast down,
Awakes their valors, and exiles their fears.
But while the things hapt thus, Vafrino goes
Unknown, amid ten thousand armed foes.

LVII
The sun nigh set had brought to end the day,
When Vafrine went the Pagan host to spy,
He passed unknown a close and secret way;
A traveller, false, cunning, crafty, sly,
Past Ascalon he saw the morning gray
Step o'er the threshold of the eastern sky,
And ere bright Titan half his course had run,
That camp, that mighty host to show begun.

LVIII
Tents infinite, and standards broad he spies,
This red, that white, that blue, this purple was,
And hears strange tongues, and stranger harmonies
Of trumpets, clarions, and well-sounding brass:
The elephant there brays, the camel cries.
The horses neigh as to and fro they pass:
Which seen and heard, he said within his thought,
Hither all Asia is, all Afric, brought.

LIX
He viewed the camp awhile, her site and seat,
What ditch, what trench it had, what rampire strong,
Nor close, nor secret ways to work his feat
He longer sought, nor hid him from the throng;
But entered through the gates, broad, royal, great,
And oft he asked, and answered oft among,
In questions wise, in answers short and sly;
Bold was his look, eyes quick, front lifted high:

LX
On every side he pried here and there,
And marked each way, each passage and each tent:
The knights he notes, their steeds, and arms they bear,
Their names, their armor, and their government;
And greater secrets hopes to learn, and hear,
Their hidden purpose, and their close intent:
So long he walked and wandered, till he spied
The way to approach the great pavilions' side:

LXI
There as he looked he saw the canvas rent,
Through which the voice found eath and open way
From the close lodgings of the regal tent
And inmost closet where the captain lay;
So that if Emireno spake, forth went
The sound to them that listen what they say,
There Vafrine watched, and those that saw him thought
To mend the breach that there he stood and wrought.

LXII
The captain great within bare-headed stood,
His body armed and clad in purple weed,
Two pages bore his shield and helmet good,
He leaning on a bending lance gave heed
To a big man whose looks were fierce and proud,
With whom he parleyed of some haughty deed,
Godfredo's name as Vafrine watched he heard,
Which made him give more heed, take more regard:

LXIII
Thus spake the chieftain to that surly sir,
"Art thou so sure that Godfrey shall be slain?"
"I am," quoth he, "and swear ne'er to retire,
Except he first be killed, to court again.
I will prevent those that with me conspire:
Nor other guerdon ask I for my pain
But that I may hang up his harness brave
At Gair, and under them these words engrave:

LXIV
" `These arms Ormondo took in noble fight
From Godfrey proud, that spoiled all Asia's lands,
And with them took his life, and here on high,
In memory thereof, this trophy stands.' "
The duke replied, "Ne'er shall that deed, bold knight,
Pass unrewarded at our sovereign's hands,
What thou demandest shall he gladly grant,
Nor gold nor guerdon shalt thou wish or want.

LXV
"Those counterfeited armors then prepare,
Because the day of fight approacheth fast."
"They ready are," quoth he; then both forbare
From further talk, these speeches were the last.
Vafrine, these great things heard, with grief and care
Remained astound, and in his thoughts oft cast
What treason false this was, how feigned were
Those arms, but yet that doubt he could not clear.

LXVI
From thence he parted, and broad waking lay
All that long night, nor slumbered once nor slept:
But when the camp by peep of springing day
Their banner spread, and knights on horseback leapt,
With them he marched forth in meet array,
And where they pitched lodged, and with them kept,
And then from tent to tent he stalked about,
To hear and see, and learn this secret out;

LXVII
Searching about, on a rich throne he fand
Armida set with dames and knights around,
Sullen she sat, and sighed, it seemed she scanned
Some weighty matters in her thoughts profounds,
Her rosy cheek leaned on her lily hand,
Her eyes, love's twinkling stars, she bent to ground,
Weep she, or no, he knows not, yet appears
Her humid eyes even great with child with tears.

LXVIII
He saw before her set Adrastus grim,
That seemed scant to live, move, or respire,
So was he fixed on his mistress trim,
So gazed he, and fed his fond desire;
But Tisiphern beheld now her now him,
And quaked sometime for love, sometime for ire,
And in his cheeks the color went and came,
For there wrath's fire now burnt, now shone love's flame.

LXIX
Then from the garland fair of virgins bright,
Mongst whom he lay enclosed, rose Altamore,
His hot desire he hid and kept from sight,
His looks were ruled by Cupid's crafty lore,
His left eye viewed her hand, her face, his right
Both watched her beauties hid and secret store,
And entrance found where her thin veil bewrayed
The milken-way between her breasts that laid.

LXX
Her eyes Armida lift from earth at last,
And cleared again her front and visage sad,
Midst clouds of woe her looks which overcast
She lightened forth a smile, sweet, pleasant, glad;
"My lord," quoth she, "your oath and promise passed,
Hath freed my heart of all the griefs it had,
That now in hope of sweet revenge it lives,
Such joy, such ease, desired vengeance gives."

LXXI
"Cheer up thy looks," answered the Indian king,
"And for sweet beauty's sake, appease thy woe,
Cast at your feet ere you expect the thing,
I will present the head of thy strong foe;
Else shall this hand his person captive bring
And cast in prison deep;" he boasted so.
His rival heard him well, yet answered naught,
But bit his lips, and grieved in secret thought.

LXXII
To Tisipherne the damsel turning right,
"And what say you, my noble lord ?" quoth she.
He taunting said, "I that am slow to fight
Will follow far behind, the worth to see
Of this your terrible and puissant knight,"
In scornful words this bitter scoff gave he.
"Good reason," quoth the king, "thou come behind,
Nor e'er compare thee with the Prince of Ind."

LXXIII
Lord Tisiphernes shook his head, and said,
"Oh, had my power free like my courage been,
Or had I liberty to use this blade,
Who slow, who weakest is, soon should be seen,
Nor thou, nor thy great vaunts make me afraid,
But cruel love I fear, and this fair queen."
This said, to challenge him the king forth leapt,
But up their mistress start, and twixt them stepped:

LXXIV
"Will you thus rob me of that gift," quoth she,
"Which each hath vowed to give by word and oath?
You are my champions, let that title be
The bond of love and peace between you both;
He that displeased is, is displeased with me,
For which of you is grieved, and I not wroth?"
Thus warned she them, their hearts, for ire nigh broke,
In forced peace and rest thus bore love's yoke."

LXXV
All this heard Vafrine as he stood beside,
And having learned the truth, he left the tent,
That treason was against the Christian's guide
Contrived, he wist, yet wist not how it went,
By words and questions far off, he tried
To find the truth; more difficult, more bent
Was he to know it, and resolved to die,
Or of that secret close the intent to spy.

LXXVI
Of sly intelligence he proved all ways,
All crafts, all wiles, that in his thoughts abide,
Yet all in vain the man by wit assays,
To know that false compact and practice hid:
But chance, what wisdom could not tell, bewrays,
Fortune of all his doubt the knots undid,
So that prepared for Godfrey's last mishap
At ease he found the net, and spied the trap.

LXXVII
Thither he turned again where seated was,
The angry lover, 'twixt her friends and lords,
For in that troop much talk he thought would pass,
Each great assembly store of news affords,
He sided there a lusty lovely lass,
And with some courtly terms the wench he boards,
He feigns acquaintance, and as bold appears
As he had known that virgin twenty years.

LXXVIII
He said, "Would some sweet lady grace me so,
To chose me for her champion, friend and knight,
Proud Godfrey's or Rinaldo's head, I trow,
Should feel the sharpness of my curtlax bright;
Ask me the head, fair mistress, of some foe,
For to your beauty wooed is my might;"
So he began, and meant in speeches wise
Further to wade, but thus he broke the ice.

LXXIX
Therewith he smiled, and smiling gan to frame
His looks so to their old and native grace,
That towards him another virgin came,
Heard him, beheld him, and with bashful face
Said, "For thy mistress choose no other dame
But me, on me thy love and service place,
I take thee for my champion, and apart
Would reason with thee, if my knight thou art."

LXXX
Withdrawn, she thus began, "Vafrine, pardie,
I know thee well, and me thou knowest of old,"
To his last trump this drove the subtle spy,
But smiling towards her he turned him bold,
"Ne'er that I wot I saw thee erst with eye,
Yet for thy worth all eyes should thee behold,
Thus much I know right well, for from the same
Which erst you gave me different is my name.

LXXXI
"My mother bore me near Bisertus wall,
Her name was Lesbine, mine is Almansore!"
"I knew long since," quoth she, "what men thee call,
And thine estate, dissemble it no more,
From me thy friend hide not thyself at all,
If I betray thee let me die therefore,
I am Erminia, daughter to a prince,
But Tancred's slave, thy fellow-servant since;

LXXXII
"Two happy months within that prison kind,
Under thy guard rejoiced I to dwell,
And thee a keeper meek and good did find,
The same, the same I am; behold me well."
The squire her lovely beauty called to mind,
And marked her visage fair: "From thee expel
All fear," she says, "for me live safe and sure,
I will thy safety, not thy harm procure.

LXXXIII
"But yet I pray thee, when thou dost return,
To my dear prison lead me home again;
For in this hateful freedom even and morn
I sigh for sorrow, mourn and weep for pain:
But if to spy perchance thou here sojourn,
Great hap thou hast to know these secrets plain,
For I their treasons false, false trains can say,
Which few beside can tell, none will betray."

LXXXIV
On her he gazed, and silent stood this while,
Armida's sleights he knew, and trains unjust,
Women have tongues of craft, and hearts of guile,
They will, they will not, fools that on them trust,
For in their speech is death, hell in their smile;
At last he said, "If hence depart you lust,
I will you guide; on this conclude we here,
And further speech till fitter time forbear."

LXXXV
Forthwith, ere thence the camp remove, to ride
They were resolved, their flight that season fits,
Vafrine departs, she to the dames beside
Returns, and there on thorns awhile she sits,
Of her new knight she talks, till time and tide
To scape unmarked she find, then forth she gets,
Thither where Vafrine her unseen abode,
There took she horse, and from the camp they rode.

LXXXVI
And now in deserts waste and wild arrived,
Far from the camp, far from resort and sight,
Vafrine began, "Gainst Godfrey's life contrived
The false compacts and trains unfold aright:"
Then she those treasons, from their spring derived,
Repeats, and brings their hid deceits to light,
"Eight knights," she says, "all courtiers brave, there are,
But Ormond strong the rest surpasseth far:

LXXXVII
"These, whether hate or hope of gain them move,
Conspired have, and framed their treason so,
That day when Emiren by fight shall prove
To win lost Asia from his Christian foe,
These, with the cross scored on their arms above,
And armed like Frenchmen will disguised go,
Like Godfrey's guard that gold and white do wear,
Such shall their habit be, and such their gear:

LXXXVIII
"Yet each will bear a token in his crest,
That so their friends for Pagans may them know:
But in close fight when all the soldiers best
Shall mingled be, to give the fatal blow
They will keep near, and pierce Godfredo's breast,
While of his faithful guard they bear false show,
And all their swords are dipped in poison strong,
Because each wound shall bring sad death ere long.

LXXXIX
"And for their chieftain wist I knew your guise,
What garments, ensigns, and what arms you carry,
Those feigned arms he forced me to devise,
So that from yours but small or naught they vary;
But these unjust commands my thoughts despise,
Within their camp therefore I list not tarry,
My heart abhors I should this hand defile
With spot of treason, or with act of guile.

XC
"This is the cause, but not the cause alone:"
And there she ceased, and blushed, and on the main
Cast down her eyes, these last words scant outgone,
She would have stopped, nor durst pronounce them plain.
The squire what she concealed would know, as one
That from her breast her secret thoughts could strain,
"Of little faith," quoth he, "why would'st thou hide
Those causes true, from me thy squire and guide?"

XCI
With that she fetched a sigh, sad, sore and deep,
And from her lips her words slow trembling came,
"Fruitless," she said, "untimely, hard to keep,
Vain modesty farewell, and farewell shame,
Why hope you restless love to bring on sleep?
Why strive you fires to quench, sweet Cupid's flame?
No, no, such cares, and such respects beseem
Great ladies, wandering maids them naught esteem.

XCII
"That night fatal to me and Antioch town,
Then made a prey to her commanding foe,
My loss was greater than was seen or known,
There ended not, but thence began my woe:
Light was the loss of friends, of realm or crown;
But with my state I lost myself also,
Ne'er to be found again, for then I lost
My wit, my sense, my heart, my soul almost.

XCIII
"Through fire and sword, through blood and death, Vafrine,
Which all my friends did burn, did kill, did chase,
Thou know'st I ran to thy dear lord and mine,
When first he entered had my father's place,
And kneeling with salt ears in my swollen eyne;
`Great prince,' quoth I, `grant mercy, pity, grace,
Save not my kingdom, not my life I said,
But save mine honor, let me die a maid.'

XCIV
"He lift me by the trembling hand from ground,
Nor stayed he till my humble speech was done;
But said, `A friend and keeper hast thou found,
Fair virgin, nor to me in vain you run:'
A sweetness strange from that sweet voice's sound
Pierced my heart, my breast's weak fortress won,
Which creeping through my bosom soft became
A wound, a sickness, and a quenchless flame.

XCV
"He visits me, with speeches kind and grave
He sought to ease my grief, and sorrows' smart.
He said, `I give thee liberty, receive
All that is thine, and at thy will depart:'
Alas, he robbed me when he thought he gave,
Free was Erminia, but captived her heart,
Mine was the body, his the soul and mind,
He gave the cage but kept the bird behind.

XCVI
"But who can hide desire, or love suppress?
Oft of his worth with thee in talk I strove,
Thou, by my trembling fit that well could'st guess
What fever held me, saidst, `Thou art in love;'
But I denied, for what can maids do less?
And yet my sighs thy sayings true did prove,
Instead of speech, my looks, my tears, mine eyes,
Told in what flame, what fire thy mistress fries.

XCVII
"Unhappy silence, well I might have told
My woes, and for my harms have sought relief,
Since now my pains and plaints I utter bold,
Where none that hears can help or ease my grief.
From him I parted, and did close upfold
My wounds within my bosom, death was chief
Of all my hopes and helps, till love's sweet flame
Plucked off the bridle of respect and shame,

XCVIII
"And caused me ride to seek my lord and knight,
For he that made me sick could make me sound:
But on an ambush I mischanced to light
Of cruel men, in armour clothed round,
Hardly I scaped their hand by mature flight.
And fled to wilderness and desert ground,
And there I lived in groves and forests wild,
With gentle grooms and shepherds' daughters mild.

XCIX
"But when hot love which fear had late suppressed,
Revived again, there nould I longer sit,
But rode the way I came, nor e'er took rest,
Till on like danger, like mishap I hit,
A troop to forage and to spoil addressed,
Encountered me, nor could I fly from it:
Thus was I ta'en, and those that had me caught,
Egyptians were, and me to Gaza brought,

C
"And for a present to their captain gave,
Whom I entreated and besought so well,
That he mine honor had great care to save,
And since with fair Armida let me dwell.
Thus taken oft, escaped oft I have,
Ah, see what haps I passed, what dangers fell,
So often captive, free so oft again,
Still my first bands I keep, still my first chain.

CI
"And he that did this chain so surely bind
About my heart, which none can loose but he,
Let him not say, `Go, wandering damsel, find
Some other home, thou shalt not bide with me,'
But let him welcome me with speeches kind,
And in my wonted prison set me free:"
Thus spake the princess, thus she and her guide
Talked day and night, and on their journey ride.

CII
Through the highways Vafrino would not pass,
A path more secret, safe and short, he knew,
And now close by the city's wall he was,
When sun was set, night in the east upflew,
With drops of blood besmeared he found the grass,
And saw where lay a warrior murdered new,
That all be-bled the ground, his face to skies
He turns, and seems to threat, though dead he lies:

CIII
His harness and his habit both betrayed
He was a Pagan; forward went the squire,
And saw whereas another champion laid
Dead on the land, all soiled with blood and mire,
"This was some Christian knight," Vafrino said:
And marking well his arms and rich attire,
He loosed his helm, and saw his visage plain,
And cried, "Alas, here lies Tancredi slain!"

CIV
The woful virgin tarried, and gave heed
To the fierce looks of that proud Saracine,
Till that high cry, full of sad fear and dread,
Pierced through her heart with sorrow, grief and pine,
At Tancred's name thither she ran with speed,
Like one half mad, or drunk with too much wine,
And when she saw his face, pale, bloodless, dead,
She lighted, nay, she stumbled from her steed:

CV
Her springs of tears she 1ooseth forth, and cries,
"Hither why bring'st thou me, ah, Fortune blind?
Where dead, for whom I lived, my comfort lies,
Where war for peace, travail for rest I find;
Tancred, I have thee, see thee, yet thine eyes
Looked not upon thy love and handmaid kind,
Undo their doors, their lids fast closed sever,
Alas, I find thee for to lose thee ever.

CVI
"I never thought that to mine eyes, my dear,
Thou couldst have grievous or unpleasant been;
But now would blind or rather dead I were,
That thy sad plight might be unknown, unseen!
Alas! where is thy mirth and smiling cheer?
Where are thine eyes' clear beams and sparkles sheen?
Of thy fair cheek where is the purple red,
And forehead's whiteness? are all gone, all dead?

CVII
"Though gone, though dead, I love thee still, behold;
Death wounds, but kills not love; yet if thou live,
Sweet soul, still in his breast, my follies bold
Ah, pardon love's desires, and stealths forgive;
Grant me from his pale mouth some kisses cold,
Since death doth love of just reward deprive;
And of thy spoils sad death afford me this,
Let me his mouth, pale, cold and bloodless, kiss;

CVIII
"O gentle mouth! with speeches kind and sweet
Thou didst relieve my grief, my woe and pain,
Ere my weak soul from this frail body fleet,
Ah, comfort me with one dear kiss or twain!
Perchance if we alive had happed to meet,
They had been given which now are stolen, O vain,
O feeble life, betwixt his lips out fly,
Oh, let me kiss thee first, then let me die!

CIX
"Receive my yielding spirit, and with thine
Guide it to heaven, where all true love hath place:"
This said, she sighed, and tore her tresses fine,
And from her eyes two streams poured on his face,
The man revived, with those showers divine
Awaked, and opened his lips a space;
His lips were open; but fast shut his eyes,
And with her sighs, one sigh from him upflies.

CX
The dame perceived that Tancred breathed and sighed,
Which calmed her grief somedeal and eased her fears:
"Unclose thine eyes," she says, "my lord and knight,
See my last services, my plaints and tears,
See her that dies to see thy woful plight,
That of thy pain her part and portion bears;
Once look on me, small is the gift I crave,
The last which thou canst give, or I can have."

CXI
Tancred looked up, and closed his eyes again,
Heavy and dim, and she renewed her woe.
Quoth Vafrine, "Cure him first, and then complain,
Medicine is life's chief friend; plaint her most foe:"
They plucked his armor off, and she each vein,
Each joint, and sinew felt, and handled so,
And searched so well each thrust, each cut and wound,
That hope of life her love and skill soon found.

CXII
From weariness and loss of blood she spied
His greatest pains and anguish most proceed,
Naught but her veil amid those deserts wide
She had to bind his wounds, in so great need,
But love could other bands, though strange, provide,
And pity wept for joy to see that deed,
For with her amber locks cut off, each wound
She tied: O happy man, so cured so bound!

CXIII
For why her veil was short and thin, those deep
And cruel hurts to fasten, roll and blind,
Nor salve nor simple had she, yet to keep
Her knight on live, strong charms of wondrous kind
She said, and from him drove that deadly sleep,
That now his eyes he lifted, turned and twined,
And saw his squire, and saw that courteous dame
In habit strange, and wondered whence she came.

CXIV
He said, "O Vafrine, tell me, whence com'st thou?
And who this gentle surgeon is, disclose;"
She smiled, she sighed, she looked she wist not how,
She wept, rejoiced, she blushed as red as rose.
"You shall know all," she says, "your surgeon now
Commands you silence, rest and soft repose,
You shall be sound, prepare my guerdon meet,"
His head then laid she in her bosom sweet.

CXV
Vafrine devised this while how he might bear
His master home, ere night obscured the land,
When lo, a troop of soldiers did appear,
Whom he descried to be Tancredi's band,
With him when he and Argant met they were;
But when they went to combat hand for hand,
He bade them stay behind, and they obeyed,
But came to seek him now, so long he stayed.

CXVI
Besides them, many followed that enquest,
But these alone found out the rightest way,
Upon their friendly arms the men addressed
A seat whereon he sat, he leaned, he lay:
Quoth Tancred, "Shall the strong Circassian rest
In this broad field, for wolves and crows a prey?
Ah no, defraud not you that champion brave
Of his just praise, of his due tomb and grave:

CXVII
"With his dead bones no longer war have I,
Boldly he died and nobly was he slain,
Then let us not that honor him deny
Which after death alonely doth remain:"
The Pagan dead they lifted up on high,
And after Tancred bore him through the plain.
Close by the virgin chaste did Vafrine ride,
As he that was her squire, her guard, her guide.

CXVIII
"Not home," quoth Tancred, "to my wonted tent,
But bear me to this royal town, I pray,
That if cut short by human accident
I die, there I may see my latest day,
The place where Christ upon his cross was rent
To heaven perchance may easier make the way,
And ere I yield to Death's and Fortune's rage,
Performed shall be my vow and pilgrimage."

CXIX
Thus to the city was Tancredi borne,
And fell on sleep, laid on a bed of down.
Vafrino where the damsel might sojourn
A chamber got, close, secret, near his own;
That done he came the mighty duke beforn,
And entrance found, for till his news were known,
Naught was concluded mongst those knights and lords,
Their counsel hung on his report and words.

CXX
Where weak and weary wounded Raymond laid,
Godfrey was set upon his couch's side,
And round about the man a ring was made
Of lords and knights that filled the chamber wide;
There while the squire his late discovery said,
To break his talk, none answered, none replied,
"My lord," he said, "at your command I went
And viewed their camp, each cabin, booth and tent;

CXXI
"But of that mighty host the number true
Expect not that I can or should descry,
All covered with their armies might you view
The fields, the plains, the dales and mountains high,
I saw what way soe'er they went and drew,
They spoiled the land, drunk floods and fountains dry,
For not whole Jordan could have given them drink,
Nor all the grain in Syria, bread, I think.

CXXII
"But yet amongst them many bands are found
Both horse and foot, of little force and might,
That keep no order, know no trumpet's sound,
That draw no sword, but far off shoot and fight,
But yet the Persian army doth abound
With many a footman strong and hardy knight,
So doth the King's own troop which all is framed
Of soldiers old, the Immortal Squadron named.

CXXIII
"Immortal called is that band of right,
For of that number never wanteth one,
But in his empty place some other knight
Steps in, when any man is dead or gone:
This army's leader Emireno hight,
Like whom in wit and strength are few or none,
Who hath in charge in plain and pitched field,
To fight with you, to make you fly or yield.

CXXIV
"And well I know their army and their host
Within a day or two will here arrive:
But thee Rinaldo it behoveth most
To keep thy noble head, for which they strive,
For all the chief in arms or courage boast
They will the same to Queen Armida give,
And for the same she gives herself in price,
Such hire will many hands to work entice.

CXXV
"The chief of these that have thy murder sworn,
Is Altamore, the king of Samarcand!
Adrastus then, whose realm lies near the morn,
A hardy giant, bold, and strong of hand,
This king upon an elephant is borne,
For under him no horse can stir or stand;
The third is Tisipherne, as brave a lord
As ever put on helm or girt on sword."

CXXVI
This said, from young Rinaldo's angry eyes,
Flew sparks of wrath, flames in his visage shined,
He longed to be amid those enemies,
Nor rest nor reason in his heart could find.
But to the Duke Vafrine his talk applies,
"The greatest news, my lord, are yet behind,
For all their thoughts, their crafts and counsels tend
By treason false to bring thy life to end."

CXXVII
Then all from point to point he gan expose
The false compact, how it was made and wrought,
The arms and ensigns feigned, poison close,
Ormondo's vaunt, what praise, what thank he sought,
And what reward, and satisfied all those
That would demand, inquire, or ask of aught.
Silence was made awhile, when Godfrey thus, --
"Raymondo, say, what counsel givest thou us?"

CXXVIII
"Not as we purposed late, next morn," quoth he,
"Let us not scale, but round besiege this tower,
That those within may have no issue free
To sally out, and hurt us with their power,
Our camp well rested and refreshed see,
Provided well gainst this last storm and shower,
And then in pitched field, fight, if you will;
If not, delay and keep this fortress still.

CXXIX
"But lest you be endangered, hurt, or slain,
Of all your cares take care yourself to save,
By you this camp doth live, doth win, doth reign,
Who else can rule or guide these squadrons brave?
And for the traitors shall be noted plain,
Command your guard to change the arms they have,
So shall their guile be known, in their own net
So shall they fall, caught in the snare they set."

CXXX
"As it hath ever," thus the Duke begun,
"Thy counsel shows thy wisdom and thy love,
And what you left in doubt shall thus be done,
We will their force in pitched battle prove;
Closed in this wall and trench, the fight to shun,
Doth ill this camp beseem, and worse behove,
But we their strength and manhood will assay,
And try, in open field and open day.

CXXXI
"The fame of our great conquests to sustain,
Or bide our looks and threats, they are not able,
And when this army is subdued and slain
Then is our empire settled, firm and stable,
The tower shall yield, or but resist in vain,
For fear her anchor is, despair her cable."
Thus he concludes, and rolling down the west
Fast set the stars, and called them all to rest.

 

 

 


Nicholas Poussin
 Rinaldo and Armida


 

 

 




Twentieth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The Pagan host arrives, and cruel fight
Makes with the Christians and their faithful power;
The Soldan longs in field to prove his might,
With the old king quits the besieged tower;
Yet both are slain, and in eternal night
A famous hand gives each his fatal hour;
Rinald appeased Armida; first the field
The Christians win, then praise to God they yield.

I
The sun called up the world from idle sleep,
And of the day ten hours were gone and past
When the bold troop that had the tower to keep
Espied a sudden mist, that overcast
The earth with mirksome clouds and darkness deep,
And saw it was the Egyptian camp at last
Which raised the dust, for hills and valleys broad
That host did overspread and overload.

II
Therewith a merry shout and joyful cry
The Pagans reared from their besieged hold;
The cranes from Thrace with such a rumor fly,
His hoary frost and snow when Hyems old
Pours down, and fast to warmer regions hie,
From the sharp winds, fierce storms and tempests cold;
And quick, and ready this new hope and aid,
Their hands to shoot, their tongues to threaten made.

III
From whence their ire, their wrath and hardy threat
Proceeds, the French well knew, and plain espied,
For from the walls and ports the army great
They saw; her strength, her number, pomp, and pride,
Swelled their breasts with valor's noble heat;
Battle and fight they wished, "Arm, arm!" they cried;
The youth to give the sign of fight all prayed
Their Duke, and were displeased because delayed

IV
Till morning next, for he refused to fight;
Their haste and heat he bridled, but not brake,
Nor yet with sudden fray or skirmish light
Of these new foes would he vain trial make.
"After so many wars," he says, "good right
It is, that one day's rest at least you take,"
For thus in his vain foes he cherish would
The hope which in their strength they have and hold.

V
To see Aurora's gentle beam appear,
The soldiers armed, prest and ready lay,
The skies were never half so fair and clear
As in the breaking of that blessed day,
The merry morning smiled, and seemed to wear
Upon her silver crown sun's golden ray,
And without cloud heaven his redoubled light
Bent down to see this field, this fray, this fight.

VI
When first he saw the daybreak show and shine,
Godfrey his host in good array brought out,
And to besiege the tyrant Aladine
Raymond he left, and all the faithful rout
That from the towns was come of Palestine
To serve and succor their deliverer stout,
And with them left a hardy troop beside
Of Gascoigns strong, in arms well proved, oft tried.

VII
Such was Godfredo's countenance, such his cheer,
That from his eye sure conquest flames and streams,
Heaven's gracious favors in his looks appear,
And great and goodly more than erst he seems;
His face and forehead full of noblesse were,
And on his cheek smiled youth's purple beams,
And in his gait, his grace, his acts, his eyes,
Somewhat, far more than mortal, lives and lies.

VIII
He had not marched far ere he espied
Of his proud foes the mighty host draw nigh;
A hill at first he took and fortified
At his left hand which stood his army by,
Broad in the front behind more strait uptied
His army ready stood the fight to try,
And to the middle ward well armed he brings
His footmen strong, his horsemen served for wings.

IX
To the left wing, spread underneath the bent
Of the steep hill that saved their flank and side,
The Roberts twain, two leaders good, he sent;
His brother had the middle ward to guide;
To the right wing himself in person went
Down, where the plain was dangerous, broad and wide,
And where his foes with their great numbers would
Perchance environ round his squadrons bold.

X
There all his Lorrainers and men of might,
All his best armed he placed, and chosen bands,
And with those horse some footmen armed light,
That archers were, used to that service, stands;
The adventurers then, in battle and in fight
Well tried, a squadron famous through all lands,
On the right hand he set, somedeal aside,
Rinaldo was their leader, lord and guide.

XI
To whom the Duke, "In thee our hope is laid
Of victory, thou must the conquest gain,
Behind this mighty wing, so far displayed,
Thou with thy noble squadron close remain;
And when the Pagans would our backs invade,
Assail them then, and make their onset vain;
For if I guess aright, they have in mind
To compass us, and charge our troops behind."

XII
Then through his host, that took so large a scope,
He rode, and viewed them all, both horse and foot;
His face was bare, his helm unclosed and ope,
Lightened his eyes, his looks bright fire shot out;
He cheers the fearful, comforts them that hope,
And to the bold recounts his boasting stout,
And to the valiant his adventures hard,
These bids he look for praise, those for reward.

XIII
At last he stayed where of his squadrons bold
And noblest troops assembled was best part;
There from a rising bank his will he told,
And all that heard his speech thereat took heart:
And as the mountain snow from mountains cold
Runs down in streams with eloquence and art,
So from his lips his words and speeches fell,
Shrill, speedy, pleasant, sweet, and placed well.

XIV
"My hardy host, you conquerors of the East,
You scourge wherewith Christ whips his heathen fone,
Of victory behold the latest feast,
See the last day for which you wished alone;
Not without cause the Saracens most and least
Our gracious Lord hath gathered here in one,
For all your foes and his assembled are,
That one day's fight may end seven years of war.

XV
"This fight shall bring us many victories,
The danger none, the labor will be small,
Let not the number of your enemies
Dismay your hearts, grant fear no place at all;
For strife and discord through their army flies,
Their bands ill ranked themselves entangle shall,
And few of them to strike or fight shall come,
For some want strength, some heart, some elbow-room.

XVI
"This host, with whom you must encounter now,
Are men half naked, without strength or skill,
From idleness, or following the plough,
Late pressed forth to war against their will,
Their swords are blunt, shields thin, soon pierced through,
Their banners shake, their bearers shrink, for ill
Their leaders heard, obeyed, or followed be,
Their loss, their flight, their death I will foresee.

XVII
"Their captain clad in purple, armed in gold,
That seems so fierce, so hardy, stout and strong,
The Moors or weak Arabians vanquish could,
Yet can he not resist your valors long.
What can he do, though wise, though sage, though bold,
In that confusion, trouble, thrust and throng?
Ill known he is, and worse he knows his host,
Strange lords ill feared are, ill obeyed of most.

XVIII
"But I am captain of this chosen crew,
With whom I oft have conquered, triumphed oft,
Your lands and lineages long since I knew,
Each knight obeys my rule, mild, easy, soft,
I know each sword, each dart, each shaft I view,
Although the quarrel fly in skies aloft,
Whether the same of Ireland be, or France,
And from what bow it comes, what hand perchance.

XIX
"I ask an easy and a usual thing,
As you have oft, this day, so win the field,
Let zeal and honor be your virtue's sting,
Your lives, my fame, Christ's faith defend and shield,
To earth these Pagans slain and wounded bring,
Tread on their necks, make them all die or yield, --
What need I more exhort you? from your eyes
I see how victory, how conquest flies."

XX
Upon the captain, when his speech was done,
It seemed a lamp and golden light down came,
As from night's azure mantle oft doth run
Or fall, a sliding star, or shining flame;
But from the bosom of the burning sun
Proceeded this, and garland-wise the same
Godfredo's noble head encompassed round,
And, as some thought, foreshowed he should be crowned.

XXI
Perchance, if man's proud thought or saucy tongue
Have leave to judge or guess at heavenly things,
This was the angel which had kept him long,
That now came down, and hid him with his wings.
While thus the Duke bespeaks his armies strong,
And every troop and band in order brings.
Lord Emiren his host disposed well,
And with bold words whet on their courage fell;

XXII
The man brought forth his army great with speed,
In order good, his foes at hand he spied,
Like the new moon his host two horns did spreed,
In midst the foot, the horse were on each side,
The right wing kept he for himself to lead,
Great Altamore received the left to guide,
The middle ward led Muleasses proud,
And in that battle fair Armida stood.

XXIII
On the right quarter stood the Indian grim,
With Tisipherne and all the king's own band;
But when the left wing spread her squadrons trim
O'er the large plain, did Altamoro stand,
With African and Persian kings with him,
And two that came from Meroe's hot sand,
And all his crossbows and his slings he placed,
Where room best served to shoot, to throw, to cast.

XXIV
Thus Emiren his host put in array,
And rode from band to band, from rank to rank,
His truchmen now, and now himself, doth say,
What spoil his folk shall gain, what praise, what thank.
To him that feared, "Look up, ours is the day,"
He says, "Vile fear to bold hearts never sank,
How dareth one against an hundred fight?
Our cry, our shade, will put them all to flight."

XXV
But to the bold, "Go, hardy knight," he says,
"His prey out of this lion's paws go tear:"
To some before his thoughts the shape he lays,
And makes therein the image true appear,
How his sad country him entreats and prays,
His house, his loving wife, and children dear:
"Suppose," quoth he, "thy country doth beseech
And pray thee thus, suppose this is her speech.

XXVI
"Defend my laws, uphold my temples brave,
My blood from washing of my streets withhold,
From ravishing my virgins keep, and save
Thine ancestors' dead bones and ashes cold!
To thee thy fathers dear and parents grave
Show their uncovered heads, white, hoary, old,
To thee thy wife -- her breasts with tears o'erspread --
Thy sons, their cradles, shows, thy marriage bed."

XXVII
To all the rest, "You for her honor's sake
Whom Asia makes her champions, by your might
Upon these thieves, weak, feeble, few, must take
A sharp revenge, yet just, deserved and right."
Thus many words in several tongues he spake,
And all his sundry nations to sharp fight
Encouraged, but now the dukes had done
Their speeches all, the hosts together run.

XXVIII
It was a great, a strange and wondrous sight,
When front to front those noble armies met,
How every troop, how in each troop each knight
Stood prest to move, to fight, and praise to get,
Loose in the wind waved their ensigns light,
Trembled the plumes that on their crests were set;
Their arms, impresses, colors, gold and stone,
Against the sunbeams smiled, flamed, sparkled, shone.

XXIX
Of dry topped oaks they seemed two forests thick,
So did each host with spears and pikes abound,
Bent were their bows, in rests their lances stick,
Their hands shook swords, their slings held cobbles round:
Each steed to run was ready, prest and quick,
At his commander's spur, his hand, his sound,
He chafes, he stamps, careers, and turns about,
He foams, snorts, neighs, and fire and smoke breathes out.

XXX
Horror itself in that fair fight seemed fair,
And pleasure flew amid sad dread and fear;
The trumpets shrill, that thundered in the air,
Were music mild and sweet to every ear:
The faithful camp, though less, yet seemed more rare
In that strange noise, more warlike, shrill and clear,
In notes more sweet, the Pagan trumpets jar,
These sung, their armors shined, these glistered far.

XXXI
The Christian trumpets give the deadly call,
The Pagans answer, and the fight accept;
The godly Frenchmen on their knees down fall
To pray, and kissed the earth, and then up leapt
To fight, the land between was vanished all,
In combat close each host to other stepped;
For now the wings had skirmish hot begun,
And with their battles forth the footmen run.

XXXII
But who was first of all the Christian train,
That gave the onset first, first won renown?
Gildippes thou wert she, for by thee slain
The King of Orms, Hircano, tumbled down,
The man's breastbone thou clov'st and rent in twain,
So Heaven with honor would thee bless and crown,
Pierced through he fell, and falling hard withal
His foe praised for her strength and for his fall.

XXXIII
Her lance thus broke, the hardy dame forth drew
With her strong hand a fine and trenchant blade,
And gainst the Persians fierce and bold she flew,
And in their troop wide streets and lanes she made,
Even in the girdling-stead divided new
In pieces twain, Zopire on earth she laid;
And then Alarco's head she swept off clean,
Which like a football tumbled on the green.

XXXIV
A blow felled Artaxerxes, with a thrust
Was Argeus slain, the first lay in a trance,
Ismael's left hand cut off fell in the dust,
For on his wrist her sword fell down by chance:
The hand let go the bridle where it lust,
The blow upon the courser's ears did glance,
Who felt the reins at large. and with the stroke
Half mad, the ranks disordered, troubled, broke.

XXXV
All these, and many mo, by time forgot,
She slew and wounded, when against her came
The angry Persians all, cast on a knot,
For on her person would they purchase fame:
But her dear spouse and husband wanted not
In so great need, to aid the noble dame;
Thus joined, the haps of war unhurt they prove,
Their strength was double, double was their love.

XXXVI
The noble lovers use well might you see,
A wondrous guise, till then unseen, unheard,
To save themselves forgot both he and she,
Each other's life did keep, defend, and guard;
The strokes that gainst her lord discharged be,
The dame had care to bear, to break, to ward,
His shield kept off the blows bent on his dear,
Which, if need be, his naked head should bear.

XXXVII
So each saved other, each for other's wrong
Would vengeance take, but not revenge their own:
The valiant Soldan Artabano strong
Of Boecan Isle, by her was overthrown,
And by his hand, the bodies dead among,
Alvante, that durst his mistress wound, fell down,
And she between the eyes hit Arimont,
Who hurt her lord, and cleft in twain his front.

XXXVIII
But Altamore who had that wing to lead
Far greater slaughter on the Christians made;
For where he turned his sword, or twined his steed,
He slew, or man and beast on earth down laid,
Happy was he that was at first struck dead,
That fell not down on live, for whom his blade
Had speared, the same cast in the dusty street
His horse tore with his teeth, bruised with his feet.

XXXIX
By this brave Persian's valor, killed and slain
Were strong Brunello and Ardonia great;
The first his head and helm had cleft in twain,
The last in stranger-wise he did intreat,
For through his heart he pierced, and his seat,
Where laughter hath his fountain and his seat,
So that, a dreadful thing, believed uneath,
He laughed for pain, and laughed himself to death.

XL
Nor these alone with that accursed knife,
Of this sweet light and breath deprived lie;
But with that cruel weapon lost their life
Gentonio, Guascar, Rosimond, and Guy;
Who knows how many in that fatal strife
He slew? what knights his courser fierce made die?
The names and countries of the people slain
Who tells? their wounds and deaths who can explain?

XLI
With this fierce king encounter durst not one.
Not one durst combat him in equal field,
Gildippes undertook that task alone;
No doubt could make her shrink, no danger yield,
By Thermodont was never Amazone,
Who managed steeled axe, or carried shield,
That seemed so bold as she, so strong, so light,
When forth she run to meet that dreadful knight.

XLII
She hit him, where with gold and rich anmail,
His diadem did on his helmet flame,
She broke and cleft the crown, and caused him veil
His proud and lofty top, his crest down came,
Strong seemed her arm that could so well assail:
The Pagan shook for spite and blushed for shame,
Forward he rushed, and would at once requite
Shame with disgrace, and with revenge despite.

XLIII
Right on the front he gave that lady kind
A blow so huge, so strong, so great, so sore,
That out of sense and feeling, down she twined:
But her dear knight his love from ground upbore,
Were it their fortune, or his noble mind,
He stayed his hand and strook the dame no more:
A lion so stalks by, and with proud eyes
Beholds, but scorns to hurt a man that lies.

XLIV
This while Ormondo false, whose cruel hand
Was armed and prest to give the trait'rous blow,
With all his fellows mongst Godfredo's band
Entered unseen, disguised that few them know:
The thievish wolves, when night o'ershades the land,
That seem like faithful dogs in shape and show,
So to the closed folds in secret creep,
And entrance seek; to kill some harmless sheep.

XLV
He proached nigh, and to Godfredo's side
The bloody Pagan now was placed near:
But when his colors gold and white he spied,
And saw the other signs that forged were,
"See, see, this traitor false!" the captain cried,
"That like a Frenchman would in show appear,
Behold how near his mates and he are crept!"
This said, upon the villain forth he leapt;

LXVI
Deadly he wounded him, and that false knight
Nor strikes nor wards nor striveth to be gone;
But, as Medusa's head were in his sight,
Stood like a man new turned to marble stone,
All lances broke, unsheathed all weapons bright,
All quivers emptied were on them alone,
In parts so many were the traitors cleft,
That those dead men had no dead bodies left.

LXVII
When Godfrey was with Pagan blood bespread,
He entered then the fight and that was past
Where the bold Persian fought and combated,
Where the close ranks he opened, cleft and brast;
Before the knight the troops and squadrons fled,
As Afric dust before the southern blast;
The Duke recalled them, in array them placed,
Stayed those that fled, and him assailed that chased.

LXVIII
The champions strong there fought a battle stout,
Troy never saw the like by Xanthus old:
A conflict sharp there was meanwhile on foot
Twixt Baldwin good and Muleasses bold:
The horsemen also near the mountains rout,
And in both wings, a furious skirmish hold,
And where the barbarous duke in person stood,
Twixt Tisiphernes and Adrastus proud;

XLIX
With Emiren Robert the Norman strove,
Long time they fought, yet neither lost nor won;
The other Robert's helm the Indian clove,
And broke his arms, their fight would soon be done:
From place to place did Tisiphernes rove,
And found no match, against him none dust run,
But where the press was thickest thither flew
The knight, and at each stroke felled, hurt, or slew.

L
Thus fought they long, yet neither shrink nor yield,
In equal balance hung their hope and fear:
All full of broken lances lay the field,
All full of arms that cloven and shattered were;
Of swords, some to the body nail the shield,
Some cut men's throats, and some their bellies tear;
Of bodies, some upright, some grovelling lay,
And for themselves eat graves out of the clay.

LI
Beside his lord slain lay the noble steed,
There friend with friend lay killed like lovers true,
There foe with foe, the live under the dead,
The victor under him whom late he slew:
A hoarse unperfect sound did eachwhere spread,
Whence neither silence, nor plain outcries flew:
There fury roars, ire threats, and woe complains,
One weeps, another cries, he sighs for pains.

LII
The arms that late so fair and glorious seem,
Now soiled and slubbered, sad and sullen grow,
The steel his brightness lost, the gold his beam;
The colors had no pride nor beauty's show;
The plumes and feathers on their crests that stream,
Are strowed wide upon the earth below:
The hosts both clad in blood, in dust and mire,
Had changed their cheer, their pride, their rich attire.

LIII
But now the Moors, Arabians, Ethiops black,
Of the left wing that held the utmost marge,
Spread forth their troops, and purposed at the back
And side their heedless foes to assail and charge:
Slingers and archers were not slow nor slack
To shoot and cast, when with his battle large
Rinaldo came, whose fury, haste and ire,
Seemed earthquake, thunder, tempest, storm and fire.

LIV
The first he met was Asimire, his throne
That set in Meroe's hot sunburnt land,
He cut his neck in twain, flesh, skin and bone,
The sable head down tumbled on the sand;
But when by death of this black prince alone
The taste of blood and conquest once he fand,
Whole squadrons then, whole troops to earth he brought,
Things wondrous, strange, incredible he wrought.

LV
He gave more deaths than strokes, and yet his blows
Upon his feeble foes fell oft and thick,
To move three tongues as a fierce serpent shows,
Which rolls the one she hath swift, speedy, quick,
So thinks each Pagan; each Arabian trows
He wields three swords, all in one hilt that stick;
His readiness their eyes so blinded hath,
Their dread that wonder bred, fear gave it faith.

LVI
The Afric tyrants and the negro kings
Fell down on heaps, drowned each in other's blood,
Upon their people ran the knights he brings,
Pricked forward by their guide's example good,
Killed were the Pagans, broke their bows and slings:
Some died, some fell; some yielded, none withstood:
A massacre was this, no fight; these put
Their foes to death, those hold their throats to cut.

LVII
Small while they stood, with heart and hardy face,
On their bold breasts deep wounds and hurts to bear,
But fled away, and troubled in the chase
Their ranks disordered be with too much fear:
Rinaldo followed them from place to place,
Till quite discomfit and dispersed they were.
That done, he stays, and all his knights recalls,
And scorns to strike his foe that flies or falls.

LVIII
Like as the wind stopped by some wood or hill,
Grows strong and fierce, tears boughs and trees in twain,
But with mild blasts, more temperate, gentle, still,
Blows through the ample field or spacious plain;
Against the rocks as sea-waves murmur shrill,
But silent pass amid the open main:
Rinaldo so, when none his force withstood,
Assuaged his fury, calmed his angry mood;

LIX
He scorned upon their fearful backs that fled
To wreak his ire and spend his force in vain,
But gainst the footmen strong his troops he led,
Whose side the Moors had open left and plain,
The Africans that should have succored
That battle, all were run away or slain,
Upon their flank with force and courage stout
His men at arms assailed the bands on foot:

LX
He brake their pikes, and brake their close array,
Entered their battle, felled them down around,
So wind or tempest with impetuous sway
The ears of ripened corn strikes flat to ground:
With blood, arms, bodies dead, the hardened clay
Plastered the earth, no grass nor green was found;
The horsemen running through and through their bands,
Kill, murder, slay, few scape, not one withstands.

LXI
Rinaldo came where his forlorn Armide
Sate on her golden chariot mounted high,
A noble guard she had on every side
Of lords, of lovers, and much chivalry:
She knew the man when first his arms she spied,
Love, hate, wrath, sweet desire strove in her eye,
He changed somedeal his look and countenance bold,
She changed from frost to fire, from heat to cold.

LXII
The prince passed by the chariot of his dear
Like one that did his thoughts elsewhere bestow,
Yet suffered not her knights and lovers near
Their rival so to scape withouten blow,
One drew his sword, another couched his spear,
Herself an arrow sharp set in her bow,
Disdain her ire new sharped and kindled hath,
But love appeased her, love assuaged her wrath.

LXIII
Love bridled fury, and revived of new
His fire, not dead, though buried in displeasure,
Three times her angry hand the bow updrew,
And thrice again let slack the string at leisure;
But wrath prevailed at last, the reed outflew,
For love finds mean, but hatred knows no measure,
Outflew the shaft, but with the shaft, this charm,
This wish she sent: Heaven grant it do no harm:

LXIV
She bids the reed return the way it went,
And pierce her heart which so unkind could prove,
Such force had love, though lost and vainly spent,
What strength hath happy, kind and mutual love?
But she that gentle thought did straight repent,
Wrath, fury, kindness, in her bosom strove,
She would, she would not, that it missed or hit,
Her eyes, her heart, her wishes followed it.

LXV
But yet in vain the quarrel lighted not,
For on his hauberk hard the knight it hit,
Too hard for woman's shaft or woman's shot,
Instead of piercing, there it broke and split;
He turned away, she burnt with fury hot,
And thought he scorned her power, and in that fit
Shot oft and oft, her shafts no entrance found,
And while she shot, love gave her wound on wound.

LXVI
"And is he then unpierceable," quoth she,
"That neither force nor foe he needs regard?
His limbs, perchance, armed with that hardness be,
Which makes his heart so cruel and so hard,
No shot that flies from eye or hand I see
Hurts him, such rigor doth his person guard,
Armed, or disarmed; his foe or mistress kind
Despised alike, like hate, like scorn I find.

LXVII
"But what new form is left, device or art,
By which, to which exchanged, I might find grace?
For in my knights, and all that take my part,
I see no help; no hope, no trust I place;
To his great prowess, might, and valiant heart,
All strength is weak, all courage vile and base."
This said she, for she saw how through the field
Her champions fly, faint, tremble, fall and yield.

LXVIII
Nor left alone can she her person save,
But to be slain or taken stands in fear,
Though with a bow a javelin long she have,
Yet weak was Phebe's bow, blunt Pallas' spear.
But, as the swan, that sees the eagle brave
Threatening her flesh and silver plumes to tear,
Falls down, to hide her mongst the shady brooks:
Such were her fearful motions, such her looks.

LXIX
But Altamore, this while that strove and sought
From shameful flight his Persian host to stay,
That was discomfit and destroyed to nought,
Whilst he alone maintained the fight and fray,
Seeing distressed the goddess of his thought,
To aid her ran, nay flew, and laid away
All care both of his honor and his host:
If she were safe, let all the world be lost.

LXX
To the ill-guarded chariot swift he flew,
His weapon made him way with bloody war:
Meanwhile Lord Godfrey and Rinaldo slew
His feeble bands, his people murdered are,
He saw their loss, but aided not his crew,
A better lover than a leader far,
He set Armida safe, then turned again
With tardy succor, for his folk were slain.

LXXI
And on that side the woful prince beheld
The battle lost, no help nor hope remained;
But on the other wing the Christians yield,
And fly, such vantage there the Egyptians gained,
One of the Roberts was nigh slain in field;
The other by the Indian strong constrained
To yield himself his captive and his slave;
Thus equal loss and equal foil they have.

LXXII
Godfredo took the time and season fit
To bring again his squadrons in array,
And either camp well ordered, ranged and knit,
Renewed the furious battle, fight and fray,
New streams of blood were shed, new swords them hit;
New combats fought, new spoils were borne away,
And unresolved and doubtful, on each side,
Did praise and conquest, Mars and Fortune ride.

LXXIII
Between the armies twain while thus the fight
Waxed sharp, hot, cruel, though renewed but late,
The Soldan clomb up to the tower's height,
And saw far off their strife and fell debate,
As from some stage or theatre the knight
Saw played the tragedy of human state,
Saw death, blood, murder, woe and horror strange,
And the great acts of fortune, chance, and change.

LXXIV
At first astonished and amazed he stood
Then burnt with wrath, and self-consuming ire,
Swelled his bosom like a raging flood,
To be amid that battle; such desire,
Such haste he had; he donned his helmet good,
His other arms he had before entire,
"Up, up!" he cried, "no more, no more, within
This fortress stay, come follow, die or win."

LXXV
Whether the same were Providence divine
That made him leave the fortress he possessed,
For that the empire proud of Palestine
This day should fall, to rise again more blessed;
Or that he breaking felt the fatal line
Of life, and would meet death with constant breast,
Furious and fierce he did the gates unbar,
And sudden rage brought forth, and sudden war.

LXXVI
Nor stayed he till the folk on whom he cried
Assemble might, but out alone he flies,
A thousand foes the man alone defied,
And ran among a thousand enemies:
But with his fury called from every side,
The rest run out, and Aladine forth hies,
The cowards had no fear, the wise no care,
This was not hope, nor courage, but despair.

LXXVII
The dreadful Turk with sudden blows down cast
The first he met, nor gave them time to plain
Or pray, in murdering them he made such haste
That dead they fell ere one could see them slain;
From mouth to mouth, from eye to eye forth passed
The fear and terror, that the faithful train
Of Syrian folk, not used to dangerous fight,
Were broken, scattered, and nigh put to flight.

LXXVIII
But with less terror, and disorder less,
The Gascoigns kept array, and kept their ground,
Though most the loss and peril them oppress,
Unwares assailed they were, unready found.
No ravening tooth or talon hard I guess
Of beast or eager hawk, doth slay and wound
So many sheep or fowls, weak, feeble, small,
As his sharp sword killed knights and soldiers tall.

LXXIX
It seemed his thirst and hunger 'suage he would
With their slain bodies, and their blood poured out,
With him his troops and Aladino old
Slew their besiegers, killed the Gascoign rout:
But Raymond ran to meet the Soldan bold,
Nor to encounter him had fear or doubt,
Though his right hand by proof too well he know,
Which laid him late for dead at one huge blow.

LXXX
They met, and Raymond fell amid the field,
This blow again upon his forehead light,
It was the fault and weakness of his eild,
Age is not fit to bear strokes of such might,
Each one lift up his sword, advanced his shield,
Those would destroy, and these defend the knight.
On went the Soldan, for the man he thought
Was slain, or easily might be captive brought.

LXXXI
Among the rest he ran, he raged, he smote,
And in small space, small time, great wonders wrought
And as his rage him led and fury hot,
To kill and murder, matter new he sought:
As from his supper poor with hungry throat
A peasant hastes, to a rich feast ybrought;
So from this skirmish to the battle great
He ran, and quenched with blood his fury's heat.

LXXXII
Where battered was the wall he sallied out,
And to the field in haste and heat he goes,
With him went rage and fury, fear and doubt
Remained behind, among his scattered foes:
To win the conquest strove his squadron stout,
Which he unperfect left; yet loth to lose
The day, the Christians fight, resist and die,
And ready were to yield, retire and fly.

LXXXIII
The Gascoign bands retired, but kept array,
The Syrian people ran away outright,
The fight was near the place where Tancred lay,
His house was full of noise and great affright,
He rose and 1ooked forth to see the fray,
Though every limb were weak, faint, void of might;
He saw the country lie, his men o'erthrown,
Some beaten back, some killed, some felled down.

LXXXIV
Courage in noble hearts that ne'er is spent,
Yet fainted not, though faint were every limb,
But reinforced each member cleft and rent,
And want of blood and strength supplied in him;
In his left hand his heavy shield he hent,
Nor seemed the weight too great, his curtlax trim
His right hand drew, nor for more arms he stood
Or stayed, he needs no more whose heart is good:

LXXXV
But coming forth, cried, "Whither will you run,
And leave your leader to his foes in prey?
What! shall these heathen of his armor won,
In their vile temples hang up trophies gay?
Go home to Gascoign then, and tell his son
That where his father died, you ran away:"
This said, against a thousand armed foes,
He did his breast weak, naked, sick, oppose.

LXXXVI
And with his heavy, strong and mighty targe,
That with seven hard bulls' hides was surely lined,
And strengthened with a cover thick and large
Of stiff and well-attempered steel behind,
He shielded Raymond from the furious charge,
From swords, from darts, from weapons of each kind,
And all his foes drove back with his sharp blade,
That sure and safe he lay, as in a shade.

LXXXVII
Thus saved, thus shielded, Raymond 'gan respire,
He rose and reared himself in little space,
And in his bosom burned the double fire
Of vengeance; wrath his heart; shame filled his face;
He looked around to spy, such was his ire,
The man whose stroke had laid him in that place,
Whom when he sees not, for disdain he quakes,
And on his people sharp revengement takes.

LXXXVIII
The Gascoigns turn again, their lord in haste
To venge their loss his hand recorded brings,
The troop that durst so much now stood aghast,
For where sad fear grew late, now boldness springs,
Now followed they that fled, fled they that chased;
So in one hour altereth the state of things,
Raymond requites his loss, shame, hurt and all,
And with an hundred deaths revenged one fall.

LXXXIX
Whilst Raymond wreaked thus his just disdain
On the proud-heads of captains, lords and peers,
He spies great Sion's king amid the train,
And to him leaps, and high his sword he rears,
And on his forehead strikes, and strikes again,
Till helm and head he breaks, he cleaves, he tears;
Down fell the king, the guiltless land he bit,
That now keeps him, because he kept not it.

XC
Their guides, one murdered thus, the other gone,
The troops divided were, in diverse thought,
Despair made some run headlong gainst their fone,
To seek sharp death that comes uncalled, unsought;
And some, that laid their hope on flight alone,
Fled to their fort again; yet chance so wrought,
That with the flyers in the victors pass,
And so the fortress won and conquered was.

XCI
The hold was won, slain were the men that fled,
In courts, halls, chambers high; above, below,
Old Raymond fast up to the leads him sped,
And there, of victory true sign and show,
His glorious standard to the wind he spread,
That so both armies his success might know.
But Solyman saw not the town was lost,
For far from thence he was. and near the host;

XCII
Into the field he came, the lukewarm blood
Did smoke and flow through all the purple field,
There of sad death the court and palace stood,
There did he triumphs lead, and trophies build;
An armed steed fast by the Soldan yood,
That had no guide, nor lord the reins to wield,
The tyrant took the bridle, and bestrode
The courser's empty back, and forth he rode.

XCIII
Great, yet but short and sudden was the aid
That to the Pagans, faint and weak, he brought,
A thunderbolt he was, you would have said,
Great, yet that comes and goes as swift as thought
And of his coming swift and flight unstayed
Eternal signs in hardest rocks hath wrought,
For by his hand a hundred knights were slain,
But time forgot hath all their names but twain;

XCIV
Gildippes fair, and Edward thy dear lord,
Your noble death, sad end, and woful fate,
If so much power our vulgar tongue afford,
To all strange wits, strange ears let me dilate,
That ages all your love and sweet accord,
Your virtue, prowess, worth may imitate,
And some kind servant of true love that hears,
May grace your death, my verses, with some tears.

XCV
The noble lady thither boldly flew,
Where first the Soldan fought, and him defied,
Two mighty blows she gave the Turk untrue,
One cleft his shield, the other pierced his side;
The prince the damsel by her habit knew,
"See, see this mankind strumpet, see," he cried,
"This shameless whore, for thee fit weapons were
Thy neeld and spindle, not a sword and spear."

XCVI
This said, full of disdain, rage and despite,
A strong, a fierce, a deadly stroke he gave,
And pierced her armor, pierced her bosom white,
Worthy no blows, but blows of love to have:
Her dying hand let go the bridle quite,
She faints, she falls, 'twixt life and death she strave,
Her lord to help her came, but came too late,
Yet was not that his fault, it was his fate.

XCVII
What should he do? to diverse parts him call
Just ire and pity kind, one bids him go
And succor his dear lady, like to fall,
The other calls for vengeance on his foe;
Love biddeth both, love says he must do all,
And with his ire joins grief, with pity woe.
What did he then? with his left hand the knight
Would hold her up, revenge her with his right.

XCVIII
But to resist against a knight so bold
Too weak his will and power divided were;
So that he could not his fair love uphold,
Nor kill the cruel man that slew his dear.
His arm that did his mistress kind enfold,
The Turk cut off, pale grew his looks and cheer,
He let her fall, himself fell by her side,
And, for he could not save her, with her died.

XCIX
As the high elm, whom his dear vine hath twined
Fast in her hundred arms and holds embraced,
Bears down to earth his spouse and darling kind
If storm or cruel steel the tree down cast,
And her full grapes to naught doth bruise and grind,
Spoils his own leaves, faints, withers, dies at last,
And seems to mourn and die, not for his own,
But for her death, with him that lies o'erthrown:

C
So fell he mourning, mourning for the dame
Whom life and death had made forever his;
They would have spoke, but not one word could frame,
Deep sobs their speech, sweet sighs their language is,
Each gazed on other's eyes, and while the same
Is lawful, join their hands, embrace and kiss:
And thus sharp death their knot of life untied,
Together fainted they, together died.

CI
But now swift fame her nimble wings dispread,
And told eachwhere their chance, their fate, their fall,
Rinaldo heard the case, by one that fled
From the fierce Turk and brought him news of all.
Disdain, good-will, woe, wrath the champion led
To take revenge; shame, grief, for vengeance call;
But as he went, Adrastus with his blade
Forestalled the way, and show of combat made.

CII
The giant cried, "By sundry signs I note
That whom I wish, I search, thou, thou art he,
I marked each worthy's shield, his helm, his coat,
And all this day have called and cried for thee,
To my sweet saint I have thy head devote,
Thou must my sacrifice, my offering be,
Come let us here our strength and courage try,
Thou art Armida's foe, her champion I."

CIII
Thus he defied him, on his front before,
And on his throat he struck him, yet the blow
His helmet neither bruised, cleft nor tore,
But in his saddle made him bend and bow;
Rinaldo hit him on the flank so sore,
That neither art nor herb could help him now;
Down fell the giant strong, one blow such power,
Such puissance had; so falls a thundered tower.

CIV
With horror, fear, amazedness and dread,
Cold were the hearts of all that saw the fray,
And Solyman, that viewed that noble deed,
Trembled, his paleness did his fear bewray;
For in that stroke he did his end areed,
He wist not what to think, to do, to say,
A thing in him unused, rare and strange,
But so doth heaven men's hearts turn, alter, change.

CV
As when the sick or frantic men oft dream
In their unquiet sleep and slumber short,
And think they run some speedy course, and seem
To move their legs and feet in hasty sort,
Yet feel their limbs far slower than the stream
Of their vain thoughts that bears them in this sport,
And oft would speak, would cry, would call or shout,
Yet neither sound, nor voice, nor word send out:

CVI
So run to fight the angry Soldan would,
And did enforce his strength, his might, his ire,
Yet felt not in himself his courage old,
His wonted force, his rage and hot desire,
His eyes, that sparkled wrath and fury bold,
Grew dim and feeble, fear had quenched that fire,
And in his heart an hundred passions fought,
Yet none on fear or base retire he thought.

CVII
While unresolved he stood, the victor knight
Arrived, and seemed in quickness, haste and speed,
In boldness, greatness, goodliness and might,
Above all princes born of human seed:
The Turk small while resists, not death nor fight
Made him forget his state or race, through dreed,
He fled no strokes, he fetched no groan nor sigh,
Bold were his motions last, proud, stately, high.

CVIII
Now when the Soldan, in these battles past
That Antheus-like oft fell oft rose again,
Evermore fierce, more fell, fell down at last
To lie forever, when this prince was slain,
Fortune, that seld is stable, firm or fast,
No longer durst resist the Christian train,
But ranged herself in row with Godfrey's knights,
With them she serves, she runs, she rides, she fights.

CIX
The Pagan troops, the king's own squadron fled,
Of all the east, the strength, the pride, the flower,
Late called Immortal, now discomfited,
It lost that title proud, and lost all power;
To him that with the royal standard fled,
Thus Emireno said, with speeches sour,
"Art not thou he to whom to bear I gave
My king's great banner, and his standard brave?

CX
"This ensign, Rimedon, I gave not thee
To be the witness of thy fear and flight,
Coward, dost thou thy lord and captain see
In battle strong, and runn'st thyself from fight?
What seek'st thou? safety? come, return with me,
The way to death is path to virtue right,
Here let him fight that would escape; for this
The way to honor, way to safety is."

CXI
The man returned and swelled with scorn and shame,
The duke with speeches grave exhorts the rest;
He threats, he strikes sometime, till back they came,
And rage gainst force, despair gainst death addressed.
Thus of his broken armies gan he frame
A battle now, some hope dwelt in his breast,
But Tisiphernes bold revived him most,
Who fought and seemed to win, when all was lost;

CXII
Wonders that day wrought noble Tisipherne,
The hardy Normans all he overthrew;
The Flemings fled before the champion stern,
Gernier, Rogero, Gerard bold he slew;
His glorious deeds to praise and fame etern
His life's short date prolonged, enlarged and drew,
And then, as he that set sweet life at nought,
The greatest peril, danger, most he sought.

CXIII
He spied Rinaldo, and although his field
Of azure purple now and sanguine shows,
And though the silver bird amid his shield
Were armed gules; yet he the champion knows.
And says, "Here greatest peril is, heavens yield
Strength to my courage, fortune to my blows,
That fair Armida her revenge may see,
Help, Macon, for his arms I vow to thee."

CXIV
Thus prayed he, but all his vows were vain,
Mahound was deaf, or slept in heavens above,
And as a lion strikes him with his train,
His native wrath to quicken and to move,
So he awaked his fury and disdain,
And sharped his courage on the whetstone love;
Himself he saved behind his mighty targe,
And forward spurred his steed and gave the charge.

CXV
The Christian saw the hardy warrior come,
And leaped forth to undertake the fight,
The people round about gave place and room,
And wondered on that fierce and cruel sight,
Some praised their strength, their skill and courage some,
Such and so desperate blows struck either knight,
That all that saw forgot both ire and strife,
Their wounds, their hurts, forgot both death and life.

CXVI
One struck, the other did both strike and wound,
His arms were surer, and his strength was more;
From Tisipheme the blood streamed down around;
His shield was deft, his helm was rent and tore.
The dame, that saw his blood besmear the ground,
His armor broke, limbs weak, wounds deep and sore,
And all her guard dead, fled, and overthrown,
Thought, now her field lay waste, her hedge lay down:

CXVII
Environed with so brave a troop but late,
Now stood she in her chariot all alone,
She feared bondage, and her life did hate,
All hope of conquest and revenge was gone,
Half mad and half amazed from where she sate,
She leaped down, and fled from friends' and fone,
On a swift horse she mounts, and forth she rides
Alone, save for disdain and love, her guides.

CXVIII
In days of old, Queen Cleopatra so
Alone fled from the fight and cruel fray,
Against Augustus great his happy foe,
Leaving her lord to loss and sure decay.
And as that lord for love let honor go,
Followed her flying sails and lost the day:
So Tisipherne the fair and fearful dame
Would follow, but his foe forbids the same.

CXIX
But when the Pagan's joy and comfort fled,
It seemed the sun was set, the day was night,
Gainst the brave prince with whom he combated
He turned, and on the forehead struck the knight:
When thunders forged are in Typhoius' bed,
Not Brontes' hammer falls so swift, so right;
The furious stroke fell on Rinaldo's crest,
And made him bend his head down to his breast.

CXX
The champion in his stirrups high upstart,
And cleft his hauberk hard and tender side,
And sheathed his weapon in the Pagan's heart,
The castle where man's life and soul do bide;
The cruel sword his breast and hinder part
With double wound unclosed, and opened wide;
And two large doors made for his life and breath,
Which passed, and cured hot love with frozen death.

CXXI
This done, Rinaldo stayed and looked around,
Where he should harm his foes, or help his friends;
Nor of the Pagans saw he squadron sound:
Each standard falls, ensign to earth descends;
His fury quiet then and calm he found,
There all his wrath, his rage, and rancor ends,
He called to mind how, far from help or aid,
Armida fled, alone, amazed, afraid:

CXXII
Well saw he when she fled, and with that sight
The prince had pity, courtesy and care;
He promised her to be her friend and knight
When erst he left her in the island bare:
The way she fled he ran and rode aright,
Her palfrey's feet signs in the grass outware:
But she this while found out an ugly shade,
Fit place for death, where naught could life persuade.

CXXIII
Well pleased was she with those shadows brown,
And yet displeased with luck, with life, with love;
There from her steed she lighted, there laid down
Her bow and shafts, her arms that helpless prove.
"There lie with shame," she says, "disgraced, o'erthrown,
Blunt are the weapons, blunt the arms I move,
Weak to revenge my harms, or harm my foe,
My shafts are blunt, ah, love, would thine were so!

CXXIV
Alas, among so many, could not one,
Not one draw blood, one wound or rend his skin?
All other breasts to you are marble stone,
Dare you then pierce a woman's bosom thin?
See, see, my naked heart, on this alone
Employ your force this fort is eath to win,
And love will shoot you from his mighty bow,
Weak is the shot that dripile falls in snow.

CXXV
"I pardon will your fear and weakness past,
Be strong, mine arrows, cruel, sharp, gainst me,
Ah, wretch, how is thy chance and fortune cast,
If placed in these thy good and comfort be?
But since all hope is vain all help is waste,
Since hurts ease hurts, wounds must cure wounds in thee;
Then with thine arrow's stroke cure stroke of love,
Death for thy heart must salve and surgeon prove.

CXXVI
"And happy me if, being dead and slain,
I bear not with me this strange plague to hell:
Love, stay behind, come thou with me disdain,
And with my wronged soul forever dwell;
Or else with it turn to the world again
And vex that knight with dreams and visions fell,
And tell him, when twixt life and death I strove
My last wish, was revenge -- last word, was love."

CXXVII
And with that word half mad, half dead, she seems,
An arrow, poignant, strong and sharp she took,
When her dear knight found her in these extremes,
Now fit to die, and pass the Stygian brook,
Now prest to quench her own and beauty's beams;
Now death sat on her eyes, death in her look,
When to her back he stepped, and stayed her arm
Stretched forth to do that service last, last harm.

CXXVIII
She turns and, ere she knows, her lord she spies,
Whose coming was unwished, unthought, unknown,
She shrieks, and twines away her sdainful eyes
From his sweet face, she falls dead in a swoon,
Falls as a flower half cut, that bending lies:
He held her up, and lest she tumble down,
Under her tender side his arm he placed,
His hand her girdle loosed, her gown unlaced;

CXXIX
And her fair face, fair bosom he bedews
With tears, tears of remorse, of ruth, of sorrow.
As the pale rose her color lost renews
With the fresh drops fallen from the silver morrow,
So she revives, and cheeks empurpled shows
Moist with their own tears and with tears they borrow;
Thrice looked she up, her eyes thrice closed she;
As who say, "Let me die, ere look on thee."

CXXX
And his strong arm, with weak and feeble hand
She would have thrust away, loosed and untwined:
Oft strove she, but in vain, to break that band,
For he the hold he got not yet resigned,
Herself fast bound in those dear knots she fand,
Dear, though she feigned scorn, strove and repined:
At last she speaks, she weeps, complains and cries;
Yet durst not, did not, would not see his eyes.

CXXXI
"Cruel at thy departure, at return
As cruel, say, what chance thee hither guideth,
Would'st thou prevent her death whose heart forlorn
For thee, for thee death's strokes each hour divideth?
Com'st thou to save my life? alas, what scorn,
What torment for Armida poor abideth?
No, no, thy crafts and sleights I well descry,
But she can little do that cannot die.

CXXXII
"Thy triumph is not great nor well arrayed
Unless in chains thou lead a captive dame:
A dame now ta'en by force, before betrayed,
This is thy greatest glory, greatest fame:
Time was that thee of love and life I prayed,
Let death now end my love. my life, my shame.
Yet let not thy false hand bereave this breath,
For if it were thy gift, hateful were death.

CXXXIII
"Cruel, myself an hundred ways can find,
To rid me from thy malice, from thy hate,
If weapons sharp, if poisons of all kind,
If fire, if strangling fail, in that estate,
Yet ways enough I know to stop this wind:
A thousand entries hath the house of fate.
Ah, leave these flatteries, leave weak hope to move,
Cease, cease, my hope is dead, dead is my love."

CXXXIV
Thus mourned she, and from her watery eyes
Disdain and love dropped down, rolled up in tears;
From his pure fountains ran two streams likewise,
Wherein chaste pity and mild ruth appears:
Thus with sweet words the queen he pacifies,
"Madam, appease your grief, your wrath, your fears,
For to be crowned, not scorned, your life I save;
Your foe nay, but your friend, your knight, your slave.

CXXXV
"But if you trust no speech. no oath, no word;
Yet in mine eyes, my zeal, my truth behold:
For to that throne, whereof thy sire was lord,
I will restore thee, crown thee with that gold,
And if high Heaven would so much grace afford
As from thy heart this cloud this veil unfold
Of Paganism, in all the east no dame
Should equalize thy fortune, state and fame."

CXXXVI
Thus plaineth he, thus prays, and his desire
Endears with sighs that fly and tears that fall;
That as against the warmth of Titan's fire,
Snowdrifts consume on tops of mountains tall,
So melts her wrath; but love remains entire.
"Behold," she says, "your handmaid and your thrall:
My life, my crown, my wealth use at your pleasure;"
Thus death her life became, loss proved her tensure.

CXXXVII
This while the captain of the Egyptian host, --
That saw his royal standard laid on ground,
Saw Rimedon, that ensign's prop and post,
By Godfrey's noble hand killed with one wound,
And all his folk discomfit, slain and lost,
No coward was in this last battle found,
But rode about and sought, nor sought in vain,
Some famous hand of which he might be slain;

CXXXVIII
Against Lord Godfrey boldly out he flew,
For nobler foe he wished not, could not spy,
Of desperate courage showed he tokens true,
Where'er he joined, or stayed, or passed by,
And cried to the Duke as near he drew,
"Behold of thy strong hand I come to die,
Yet trust to overthrow thee with my fall,
My castle's ruins shall break down thy wall."

CXXXIX
This said, forth spurred they both, both high advance
Their swords aloft, both struck at once, both hit,
His left arm wounded had the knight of France,
His shield was pierced, his vantbrace cleft and split,
The Pagan backward fell, half in a trance,
On his left ear his foe so hugely smit,
And as he sought to rise, Godfredo's sword
Pierced him through, so died that army's lord.

CXL
Of his great host, when Emiren was dead,
Fled the small remnant that alive remained;
Godfrey espied as he turned his steed,
Great Altamore on foot, with blood all stained,
With half a sword, half helm upon his head,
Gainst whom a hundred fought, yet not one gained.
"Cease, cease this strife," he cried: "and thou, brave knight,
Yield, I am Godfrey, yield thee to my might!"

CXLI
He that till then his proud and haughty heart
To act of humbleness did never bend,
When that great name he heard, from the north part
Of our wide world renowned to Aethiop's end,
Answered, "I yield to thee, thou worthy art,
I am thy prisoner, fortune is thy friend:
On Altamoro great thy conquest bold
Of glory shall be rich, and rich of gold:

CXLII
"My loving queen, my wife and lady kind
Shall ransom me with jewels, gold and treasure."
"God shield," quoth Godfrey, "that my noble mind
Should praise and virtue so by profit measure,
All that thou hast from Persia and from Inde
Enjoy it still, therein I take no pleasure;
I set no rent on life, no price on blood,
I fight, and sell not war for gold or good."

CXLIII
This said, he gave him to his knights to keep
And after those that fled his course he bent;
They to their rampiers fled and trenches deep,
Yet could not so death's cruel stroke prevent:
The camp was won, and all in blood doth steep
The blood in rivers streamed from tent to tent,
It soiled, defiled, defaced all the prey,
Shields, helmets, armors, plumes and feathers gay.

CXLIV
Thus conquered Godfrey, and as yet the sun
Dived not in silver waves his golden wain,
But daylight served him to the fortress won
With his victorious host to turn again,
His bloody coat he put not off, but run
To the high temple with his noble train,
And there hung up his arms, and there he bows
His knees, there prayed, and there performed his vows.

 

 

 
     
         
 

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