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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 119

At their strange pomp and customs new they gazed:
But when the show they had beholden long,
An hideous yell the wicked miscreants raised,
That with vile blasphemies the mountain hoar,
The woods, the waters, and the valleys roar.

But yet with sacred notes the hosts proceed,
Though blasphemies they hear and cursed things;
So with Apollo's harp Pan tunes his reed,
So adders hiss where Philomela sings;
Nor flying darts nor stones the Christians dreed,
Nor arrows shot, nor quarries cast from slings;
But with assured faith, as dreading naught,
The holy work begun to end they brought.

A table set they on the mountain's height
To minister thereon the sacrament,
In golden candlesticks a hallowed light
At either end of virgin wax there brent;
In costly vestments sacred William dight,
With fear and trembling to the altar went,
And prayer there and service loud begins,
Both for his own and all the army's sins.

Humbly they heard his words that stood him nigh,
The rest far off upon him bent their eyes,
But when he ended had the service high,
"You servants of the Lord depart," he cries:
His hands he lifted then up to the sky,
And blessed all those warlike companies;
And they dismissed returned the way they came,
Their order as before, their pomp the same.

Within their camp arrived, this voyage ended,
Toward his tent the duke himself withdrew,
Upon their guide by heaps the bands attended,
Till his pavilion's stately door they view,
There to the Lord his welfare they commended,
And with him left the worthies of the crew,
Whom at a costly and rich feast he placed,
And with the highest room old Raymond graced.

Now when the hungry knights sufficed are
With meat, with drink, with spices of the best,
Quoth he, "When next you see the morning star,
To assault the town be ready all and prest:
To-morrow is a day of pains and war,
This of repose, of quiet, peace, and rest;
Go, take your ease this evening, and this night,
And make you strong against to-morrow's fight."

They took their leave, and Godfrey's heralds rode
To intimate his will on every side,
And published it through all the lodgings broad,
That gainst the morn each should himself provide;
Meanwhile they might their hearts of cares unload,
And rest their tired limbs that eveningtide;
Thus fared they till night their eyes did close,
Night friend to gentle rest and sweet repose.

With little sign as yet of springing day
Out peeped, not well appeared the rising morn,
The plough yet tore not up the fertile lay,
Nor to their feed the sheep from folds return,
The birds sate silent on the greenwood spray
Amid the groves unheard was hound and horn,
When trumpets shrill, true signs of hardy fights,
Called up to arms the soldiers, called the knights:

"Arm, arm at once!" an hundred squadrons cried,
And with their cry to arm them all begin.
Godfrey arose, that day he laid aside
His hauberk strong he wonts to combat in,
And donned a breastplate fair, of proof untried,
Such one as footmen use, light, easy, thin.

* * *

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