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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 104

Pass not in so great flocks to warmer coasts,
Nor leaves in so great numbers fall away
When winter nips them with his new-come frosts;
The earth delivered from so foul annoy,
Recalled her beauty, and resumed her joy.

But not for this in fierce Argantes' breast
Lessened the rancor and decreased the ire,
Although Alecto left him to infest
With the hot brands of her infernal fire,
Round his armed head his trenchant blade he blest,
And those thick ranks that seemed moist entire
He breaks; the strong, the high, the weak, the low,
Were equalized by his murdering blow.

Not far from him amid the blood and dust,
Heads, arms, and legs, Clorinda strewed wide
Her sword through Berengarius' breast she tht,
Quite through the heart, where life doth chiefly bide,
And that fell blow she struck so sure and just,
That at his back his life and blood forth glide;
Even in the mouth she smote Albinus then,
And cut in twain the visage of the man.

Gernier's right hand she from his arm divided,
Whereof but late she had received a wound;
The hand his sword still held, although not guided,
The fingers half alive stirred on the ground;
So from a serpent slain the tail divided
Moves in the grass, rolleth and tumbleth round,
The championess so wounded left the knight,
And gainst Achilles turned her weapon bright.

Upon his neck light that unhappy blow,
And cut the sinews and the throat in twain,
The head fell down upon the earth below,
And soiled with dust the visage on the plain;
The headless trunk, a woful thing to know,
Still in the saddle seated did remain;
Until his steed, that felt the reins at large,
With leaps and flings that burden did discharge.

While thus this fair and fierce Bellona slew
The western lords, and put their troops to flight,
Gildippes raged mongst the Pagan crew,
And low in dust laid many a worthy knight:
Like was their sex, their beauty and their hue,
Like was their youth, their courage and their might;
Yet fortune would they should the battle try
Of mightier foes, for both were framed to die.

Yet wished they oft, and strove in vain to meet,
So great betwixt them was the press and throng,
But hardy Guelpho gainst Clorinda sweet
Ventured his sword to work her harm and wrong,
And with a cutting blow so did her greet,
That from her side the blood streamed down along;
But with a tht an answer sharp she made,
And 'twixt his ribs colored somedeal her blade.

Lord Guelpho struck again, but hit her not,
For strong Osmida haply passed by,
And not meant him, another's wound he got,
That cleft his front in twain above his eye:
Near Guelpho now the battle waxed hot,
For all the troops he led gan thither hie,
And thither drew eke many a Paynim knight,
That fierce, stern, bloody, deadly waxed the fight.

Meanwhile the purple morning peeped o'er
The eastern threshold to our half of land,
And Argillano in this great uproar
From prison loosed was, and what he fand,
Those arms he hent, and to the field them bore,
Resolved to take his chance what came to hand,

* * *

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