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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 66

Thy lord will judge thou sinnest beyond measure,
If vainly thus thou waste so rich a treasure."

The sly deceiver Cupid thus beguiled
The simple damsel, with his filed tongue:
"Thou wert not born," quoth he, "in desert wild
The cruel bears and savage beasts among,
That you shouldest scorn fair Citherea's child,
Or hate those pleasures that to youth belong,
Nor did the gods thy heart of iron frame;
To be in love is neither sin nor shame.

"Go then, go, whither sweet desire inviteth,
How can thy gentle knight so cruel be?
Love in his heart thy grief and sorrows writeth,
For thy laments how he complaineth, see.
Oh cruel woman, whom no care exciteth
To save his life, that saved and honored thee!
He languished, one foot thou wilt not move
To succor him, yet say'st thou art in love.

"No, no, stay here Argantes' wounds to cure,
And make him strong to shed thy darling's blood,
Of such reward he may himself assure,
That doth a thankless woman so much good:
Ah, may it be thy patience can endure
To see the strength of this Circassian wood,
And not with horror and amazement shrink,
When on their future fight thou hap'st to think?

"Besides the thanks and praises for the deed,
Suppose what joy, what comfort shalt thou win,
When thy soft hand doth wholesome plaisters speed,
Upon the breaches in his ivory skin,
Thence to thy dearest lord may health succeed,
Strength to his limbs, blood to his cheeks so thin,
And his rare beauties, now half dead and more,
Thou may'st to him, him to thyself restore.

"So shall some part of his adventures bold
And valiant acts henceforth be held as thine;
His dear embracements shall thee straight enfold,
Together joined in marriage rites divine:
Lastly high place of honor shalt thou hold
Among the matrons sage and dames Latine,
In Italy, a land, as each one tells,
Where valor true, and true religion dwells."

With such vain hopes the silly maid abused,
Promised herself mountains and hills of gold;
Yet were her thoughts with doubts and fears confused
How to escape unseen out of that hold,
Because the watchman every minute used
To guard the walls against the Christians bold,
And in such fury and such heat of war,
The gates or seld or never opened are.

With strong Clorinda was Erminia sweet
In surest links of dearest friendship bound,
With her she used the rising sun to greet,
And her, when Phoebus glided under ground,
She made the lovely partner of her sheet;
In both their hearts one will, one thought was found;
Nor aught she hid from that virago bold,
Except her love, that tale to none she told.

That kept she secret, if Clorinda heard
Her make complaints, or secretly lament,
To other cause her sorrow she referred:
Matter enough she had of disFirst,
Like as the bird that having close imbarred
Her tender young ones in the springing bent,
To draw the searcher further from her nest,
Cries and complains most where she needeth least.

Alone, within her chamber's secret part,

* * *

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