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Ralph, Rosimond, and Eberard request,
A Scottish, an Irish, and an English lord,
Whose lands the seas divide far from the rest,
And for the fight did likewise humbly sue,
Edward and his Gildippes, lovers true.
But Raymond more than all the rest doth sue
Upon that Pagan fierce to wreak his ire,
Now wants he naught of all his armors due
Except his helm that shone like flaming fire.
To whom Godfredo thus; "O mirror true
Of antique worth! thy courage doth inspire
New strength in us, of Mars in thee doth shine
The art, the honor and the discipline.
"If ten like thee of valor and of age,
Among these legions I could haply find,
I should the best of Babel's pride assuage,
And spread our faith from Thule to furthest Inde;
But now I pray thee calm thy valiant rage,
Reserve thyself till greater need us bind,
And let the rest each one write down his name,
And see whom Fortune chooseth to this game, --
"Or rather see whom God's high judgement taketh,
To whom is chance, and fate, and fortune slave."
Raymond his earnest suit not yet forsaketh,
His name writ with the residue would he have,
Godfrey himself in his bright helmet shaketh
The scrolls, with names of all the champions brave:
They drew, and read the first whereon they hit,
Wherein was "Raymond, Earl of Tholouse," writ.
His name with joy and mighty shouts they bless;
The rest allow his choice, and fortune praise,
New vigor blushed through those looks of his;
It seemed he now resumed his youthful days,
Like to a snake whose slough new changed is,
That shines like gold against the sunny rays:
But Godfrey most approved his fortune high,
And wished him honor, conquest, victory.
Then from his side he took his noble brand,
And giving it to Raymond, thus he spake:
"This is the sword wherewith in Saxon land,
The great Rubello battle used to make,
From him I took it, fighting hand to hand,
And took his life with it, and many a lake
Of blood with it I have shed since that day,
With thee God grant it proves as happy may."
Of these delays meanwhile impatient,
Argantes threateneth loud and sternly cries,
"O glorious people of the Occident!
Behold him here that all your host defies:
Why comes not Tancred, whose great hardiment,
With you is prized so dear? Pardie he lies
Still on his pillow, and presumes the night
Again may shield him from my power and might.
"Why then some other come, by hand and hand,
Come all, come forth on horseback, come on foot,
If not one man dares combat hand to hand,
In all the thousands of so great a rout:
See where the tomb of Mary's Son doth stand,
March thither, warriors hold, what makes you doubt?
Why run you not, there for your sins to weep
Or to what greater need these forces keep?"
Thus scorned by that heathen Saracine
Were all the soldiers of Christ's sacred name:
Raymond, while others at his words repine,
Burst forth in rage, he could not bear this shame:
For fire of courage brighter far doth shine
If challenges and threats augment the same;
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