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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 122

On mighty beams his head advanced hath,
With dreadful horns of iron tough tree great,
The walls and bulwarks trembled at his threat.

An hundred able men meanwhile let fall
The weights behind, the engine tumbled down
And battered flat the battlements and wall:
So fell Taigetus hill on Sparta town,
It ched the steeled shield in pieces small,
And beat the helmet to the wearers' crown,
And on the ruins of the walls and stones,
Dispersed left their blood their brains and bones.

The fierce assailants kept no longer close
Undcr the shelter of their target fine,
But their bold fronts to chance of war expose,
And gainst those towers let their virtue shine,
The scaling ladders up to skies arose,
The ground-works deep some closely undermine,
The walls before the Frenchmen shrink and shake,
And gaping sign of headlong falling make:

And fallen they had, so far the strength extends
Of that fierce ram and his redoubted stroke,
But that the Pagan's care the place defends
And saved by warlike skill the wall nigh broke:
For to what part soe'er the engine bends,
Their sacks of wool they place the blow to choke,
Whose yielding breaks the strokes thereon which light,
So weakness oft subdues the greatest might.

While thus the worthies of the western crew
Maintained their brave assault and skirmish hot,
Her mighty bow Clorinda often drew,
And many a sharp and deadly arrow shot;
And from her bow no steeled shaft there flew
But that some blood the cursed engine got,
Blood of some valiant knight or man of fame,
For that proud shootress scorned weaker game.

The first she hit among the Christian peers
Was the bold son of England's noble king,
Above the trench himself he scantly rears,
But she an arrow loosed from the string,
The wicked steel his gauntlet breaks and tears,
And through his right hand tht the piercing sting;
Disabled thus from fight, he gan retire,
Groaning for pain, but fretting more for ire.

Lord Stephen of Amboise on the ditch's brim,
And on a ladder high, Clotharius died,
From back to breast an arrow pierced him,
The other was shot through from side to side:
Then as he managed brave his courser trim,
On his left arm he hit the Flemings' guide,
He stopped, and from the wound the reed out-twined,
But left the iron in his flesh behind.

As Ademare stood to behold the fight
High on the bank, withdrawn to breathe a space,
A fatal shaft upon his forehead light,
His hand he lifted up to feel the place,
Whereon a second arrow chanced right,
And nailed his hand unto his wounded face,
He fell, and with his blood distained the land,
His holy blood shed by a virgin's hand.

While Palamede stood near the battlement,
Despising perils all, and all mishap,
And upward still his hardy footings bent,
On his right eye he caught a deadly clap,
Through his right eye Clorinda's seventh shaft went,
And in his neck broke forth a bloody gap;
He underneath that bulwark dying fell,
Which late to scale and win he tted well.

* * *

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