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Yet all their blows were waste, their onsets vain,
But while Argantes thus his prizes played,
And seemed alone this skirmish to sustain,
The duke his brother called and thus he spake,
"Go with thy troop, fight for thy Saviour's sake;
"There enter in where hottest is the fight,
Thy force against the left wing strongly bend."
This said, so brave an onset gave the knight,
That many a Paynim bold there made his end:
The Turks too weak seemed to sustain his might,
And could not from his power their lives defend,
Their ensigns rent, and broke was their array,
And men and horse on heaps together lay.
O'erthrown likewise away the right wing ran,
Nor was there one again that turned his face,
Save bold Argantes, else fled every man,
Fear drove them thence on heaps, with headlong chase:
He stayed alone, and battle new began,
Five hundred men, weaponed with sword and mace,
So great resistance never could have made,
As did Argantes with his single blade:
The strokes of swords and thts of many a spear,
The shock of many a joust he long sustained,
He seemed of strength enough this charge to bear,
And time to strike, now here, now there, he gained
His armors broke, his members bruised were,
He sweat and bled, yet courage still he feigned;
But now his foes upon him pressed so fast,
That with their weight they bore him back at last.
His back against this storm at length he turned,
Whose headlong fury bore him backward still,
Not like to one that fled, but one that mourned
Because he did his foes no greater ill,
His threatening eyes like flaming torches burned,
His courage thirsted yet more blood to spill,
And every way and every mean he sought,
To stay his flying mates, but all for naught.
This good he did, while thus he played his part,
His bands and troops at ease, and safe, retired;
Yet coward dread lacks order, fear wants art,
Deaf to attend, commanded or desired.
But Godfrey that perceived in his wise heart,
How his bold knights to victory aspired,
Fresh soldiers sent, to make more quick pursuit,
And help to gather conquest's precious fruit.
But this, alas, was not the appointed day,
Set down by Heaven to end this mortal war:
The western lords this time had borne away
The prize, for which they travelled had so far,
Had not the devils, that saw the sure decay
Of their false kingdom by this bloody war,
At once made heaven and earth with darkness blind,
And stirred up tempests, storms, and blustering wind.
Heaven's glorious lamp, wrapped in an ugly veil
Of shadows dark, was hid from mortal eye,
And hell's grim blackness did bright skies assail;
On every side the fiery lightnings fly,
The thunders roar, the streaming rain and hail
Pour down and make that sea which erst was dry.
The tempests rend the oaks and cedars brake,
And make not trees but rocks and mountains shake.
The rain, the lightning, and the raging wind,
Beat in the Frenchmen's eyes with hideous force,
The soldiers stayed amazed in heart and mind,
The terror such that stopped both man and horse.
Surprised with this evil no way they find,
Whither for succor to direct their course,
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