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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 80


So that, upon his steed he mounted light,
Which Aquilino for his swiftness hight.

LXXVI
This jennet was by Tagus bred; for oft
The breeder of these beasts to war assigned,
When first on trees burgeon the blossoms soft
Pricked forward with the sting of fertile kind,
Against the air casts up her head aloft
And gathereth seed so from the fruitful wind
And thus conceiving of the gentle blast,
A wonder strange and rare, she foals at last.

LXXVII
And had you seen the beast, you would have said
The light and subtile wind his father was;
For if his course upon the sands he made
No sign was left what way the beast did pass;
Or if he menaged were, or if he played,
He scantly bended down the tender grass:
Thus mounted rode the Earl, and as he went,
Thus prayed, to Heaven his zealous looks upbent.

LXXVIII
"O Lord, that diddest save, keep and defend
Thy servant David from Goliath's rage,
And broughtest that huge giant to his end,
Slain by a faithful child of tender age;
Like grace, O Lord, like mercy now extend!
Let me this vile blasphemous pride assuage,
That all the world may to thy glory know,
Old men and babes thy foes can overthrow!"

LXXIX
Thus prayed the County, and his prayers dear
Strengthened with zeal, with godliness and faith,
Before the throne of that great Lord appear,
In whose sweet grace is life, death in his wrath,
Among his armies bright and legions clear,
The Lord an angel good selected hath,
To whom the charge was given to guard the knight,
And keep him safe from that fierce Pagan's might.

LXXX
The angel good, appointed for the guard
Of noble Raymond from his tender eild,
That kept him then, and kept him afterward,
When spear and sword he able was to wield,
Now when his great Creator's will he heard,
That in this fight he should him chiefly shield,
Up to a tower set on a rock he flies,
Where all the heavenly arms and weapons lies:

LXXXI
There stands the lance wherewith great Michael slew
The aged dragon in a bloody fight,
There are the dreadful thunders forged new,
With storms and plagues that on poor sinners light;
The massy trident mayest thou pendant view
There on a golden pin hung up on height,
Wherewith sometimes he smites this solid land,
And throws down towns and towers thereon which stand.

LXXXII
Among the blessed weapons there which stands
Upon a diamond shield his looks he bended,
So great that it might cover all the lands,
Twixt Caucasus and Atlas hills extended;
With it the lord's dear flocks and faithful bands,
The holy kings and cities are defended,
The sacred angel took his target sheen,
And by the Christian champion stood unseen.

LXXXIII
But now the walls and turrets round about,
Both young and old with many thousands fill;
The king Clorinda sent and her brave rout,
To keep the field, she stayed upon the hill:
Godfrey likewise some Christian bands sent out
Which armed, and ranked in good array stood still,
And to their champions empty let remain
Twixt either troop a large and spacious plain.

LXXXIV
Argantes looked for Tancredi bold,

* * *

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