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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 89

For every sore each member pinched was
With night's sharp air, heaven's frost and earth's cold grass.

"But still the light approached near and near,
And with the same a whispering murmur run,
Till at my side arrived both they were,
When I to spread my feeble eyes begun:
Two men behold in vestures long appear,
With each a lamp in hand, who said, `O son
In that dear Lord who helps his servants, tt,
Who ere they ask, grants all things to the just.'

"This said, each one his sacred blessings flings
Upon my corse, with broad our-stretched hand,
And mumbled hymns and psalms and holy things,
Which I could neither hear nor understand;
`Arise,' quoth they, with that as I had wings,
All whole and sound I leaped up from the land.
Oh miracle, sweet, gentle, strange and true!
My limbs new strength received, and vigor new.

"I gazed on them like one whose heart denieth
To think that done, he sees so strangely wrought;
Till one said thus, `O thou of little faith,
What doubts perplex thy unbelieving thought?
Each one of us a living body hath,
We are Christ's chosen servants, fear us naught,
Who to avoid the world's allurements vain,
In wilful penance, hermits poor remain.

" `Us messengers to comfort thee elect
That Lord hath sent that rules both heaven and hell;
Who often doth his blessed will effect,
By such weak means, as wonder is to tell;
He will not that this body lie neglect,
Wherein so noble soul did lately dwell
To which again when it uprisen is
It shall united be in lasting bliss.

" `I say Lord Sweno's corpse, for which prepared
A tomb there is according to his worth,
By which his honor shall be far declared,
And his just praises spread from south to north:"
But lift thine eyes up to the heavens ward,
Mark yonder light that like the sun shines forth
That shall direct thee with those beams so clear,
To find the body of thy master dear.'

"With that I saw from Cynthia's silver face,
Like to a falling star a beam down slide,
That bright as golden line marked out the place,
And lightened with clear streams the forest wide;
So Latmos shone when Phoebe left the chase,
And laid her down by her Endymion's side,
Such was the light that well discern I could,
His shape, his wounds, his face, though dead, yet bold.

"He lay not grovelling now, but as a knight
That ever had to heavenly things desire,
So toward heaven the prince lay bolt upright,
Like him that upward still sought to aspire,
His right hand closed held his weapon bright,
Ready to strike and execute his ire,
His left upon his breast was humbly laid,
That men might know, that while he died he prayed.

"Whilst on his wounds with bootless tears I wept,
That neither helped him, nor eased my care,
One of those aged fathers to him stepped,
And forced his hand that needless weapon spare:
`This sword,' quoth he, `hath yet good token kept,
That of the Pagans' blood he drunk his share,
And blusheth still he could not save his lord,
Rich, strong and sharp, was never better sword.

" `Heaven, therefore, will not, though the prince be slain,

* * *

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