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TORQUATO TASSO Jerusalem Delivered

 
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TORQUATO TASSO
Jerusalem Delivered
page 25


Departs a foe, in act, in word, in thought,
The law of nations or the lore of war,
If he transgresses or no, he recketh naught,
Thus parted they, and ere he wandered far
The friendly star-light to the walls him brought:
Yet his fell heart thought long that little way,
Grieved with each stop, tormented with each stay.

XCVI
Now spread the night her spangled canopy,
And summoned every restless eye to sleep;
On beds of tender grass the beasts down lie,
The fishes slumbered in the silent deep,
Unheard were serpent's hiss and dragon's cry,
Birds left to sing, and Philomen to weep,
Only that noise heaven's rolling circles kest,
Sung lullaby to bring the world to rest.

XCVII
Yet neither sleep, nor ease, nor shadows dark,
Could make the faithful camp or captain rest,
They longed to see the day, to hear the lark
Record her hymns and chant her carols blest,
They yearned to view the walls, the wished mark
To which their journeys long they had addressed;
Each heart attends, each longing eye beholds
What beam the eastern window first unfolds.





Third Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The camp at great Jerusalem arrives:
Clorinda gives them battle, in the breast
Of fair Erminia Tancred's love revives,
He jousts with her unknown whom he loved best;
Argant th' adventurers of their guide deprives,
With stately pomp they lay their Lord in chest:
Godfrey commands to cut the forest down,
And make strong engines to assault the town.


I
The purple morning left her crimson bed,
And donned her robes of pure vermilion hue,
Her amber locks she crowned with roses red,
In Eden's flowery gardens gathered new.
When through the camp a murmur shrill was spread,
Arm, arm, they cried; arm, arm, the trumpets blew,
Their merry noise prevents the joyful blast,
So hum small bees, before their swarms they cast.

II
Their captain rules their courage, guides their heat,
Their forwardness he stayed with gentle rein;
And yet more easy, haply, were the feat
To stop the current near Charybdis main,
Or calm the blustering winds on mountains great,
Than fierce desires of warlike hearts restrain;
He rules them yet, and ranks them in their haste,
For well he knows disordered speed makes waste.

III
Feathered their thoughts, their feet in wings were dight,
Swiftly they marched, yet were not tired thereby,
For willing minds make heaviest burdens light.
But when the gliding sun was mounted high,
Jerusalem, behold, appeared in sight,
Jerusalem they view, they see, they spy,
Jerusalem with merry noise they greet,
With joyful shouts, and acclamations sweet.

IV
As when a troop of jolly sailors row
Some new-found land and country to descry,
Through dangerous seas and under stars unknowe,
Thrall to the faithless waves, and trothless sky,
If once the wished shore begun to show,
They all salute it with a joyful cry,
And each to other show the land in haste,
Forgetting quite their pains and perils past.

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