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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 90

Who used erst to wield this precious brand
That so brave blade unused should remain;
But that it pass from strong to stronger hand,
Who with like force can wield the same again,
And longer shall in grace of fortune stand,
And with the same shall bitter vengeance take
On him that Sweno slew, for Sweno's sake.

" `Great Solyman killed Sweno, Solyman
For Sweno's sake, upon this sword must die.
Here, take the blade, and with it haste thee than
Thither where Godfrey doth encamped lie,
And fear not thou that any shall or can
Or stop thy way, or lead thy steps awry;
For He that doth thee on this message send,
Thee with His hand shall guide, keep and defend.

" `Arrived there it is His blessed will,
With true report that thou declare and tell
The zeal, the strength, the courage and the skill
In thy beloved lord that late did dwell,
How for Christ's sake he came his blood to spill,
And sample left to all of doing well,
That future ages may admire his deed,
And courage take when his brave end they read.

" `It resteth now, thou know that gentle knight
That of this sword shall be thy master's heir,
It is Rinaldo young, with whom in might
And martial skill no champion may compare,
Give it to him and say, "The Heavens bright
Of this revenge to him commit the care."
While thus I listened what this old man said,
A wonder new from further speech us stayed;

"For there whereas the wounded body lay,
A stately tomb with curious work, behold,
And wondrous art was built out of the clay,
Which, rising round, the carcass did enfold;
With words engraven in the marble gray,
The warrior's name, his worth and praise that told,
On which I gazing stood, and often read
That epitaph of my dear master dead.

" `Among his soldiers,' quoth the hermit, `here
Must Sweno's corpse remain in marble chest,
While up to heaven are flown their spirits dear,
To live in endless joy forever blest,
His funeral thou hast with many a tear
Accompanied, it's now high time to rest,
Come be my guest, until the morning ray
Shall light the world again, then take thy way.'

"This said, he led me over holts and hags,
Through thorns and bushes scant my legs I drew
Till underneath a heap of stones and crags
At last he brought me to a secret mew;
Among the bears, wild boars, the wolves and stags,
There dwelt he safe with his disciple true,
And feared no treason, force, nor hurt at all,
His guiltless conscience was his castle's wall.

"My supper roots; my bed was moss and leaves;
But weariness in little rest found ease:
But when the purple morning night bereaves
Of late usurped rule on lands and seas,
His loathed couch each wakeful hermit leaves,
To pray rose they, and I, for so they please,
I congee took when ended was the same,
And hitherward, as they advised me, came."

The Dane his woful tale had done, when thus
The good Prince Godfrey answered him, "Sir knight,
Thou bringest tidings sad and dolorous,
For which our heavy camp laments of right,
Since so brave troops and so dear friends to us,

* * *

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