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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 126

But grieved to see his friends lamenting stand;
The leech prepared his cloths and cleansing gear,
And with a belt his gown about him band,
Now with his herbs the steely head to tear
Out of the flesh he proved, now with his hand,
Now with his hand, now with his instrument
He shaked and plucked it, yet not forth it went.

His labor vain, his art prevailed naught,
His luck was ill, although his skill were good,
To such extremes the wounded prince he brought,
That with fell pain he swooned as he stood:
But the angel pure, that kept him, went and sought
Divine dictamnum, out of Ida wood,
This herb is rough, and bears a purple flower,
And in his budding leaves lies all his power.

Kind nature first upon the craggy clift
Bewrayed this herb unto the mountain goat,
That when her sides a cruel shaft hath rift,
With it she shakes the reed out of her coat;
This in a moment fetched the angel swift,
And brought from Ida hill, though far remote,
The juice whereof in a prepared bath
Unseen the blessed spirit poured hath.

Pure nectar from that spring of Lydia than,
And panaces divine therein he threw,
The cunning leech to bathe the wound began,
And of itself the steely head outflew;
The bleeding stanched, no vermile drop outran,
The leg again waxed strong with vigor new:
Erotimus cried out, "This hurt and wound
No human art or hand so soon makes sound:

"Some angel good I think come down from skies
Thy surgeon is, for here plain tokens are
Of grace divine which to thy help applies,
Thy weapon take and haste again to war."
In precious cloths his leg the chieftain ties,
Naught could the man from blood and fight debar;
A sturdy lance in his right hand he braced,
His shield he took, and on his helmet laced:

And with a thousand knights and barons bold,
Toward the town he hasted from his camp,
In clouds of dust was Titan's face enrolled,
Trembled the earth whereon the worthies stamp,
His foes far off his dreadful looks behold,
Which in their hearts of courage quenched the lamp,
A chilling fear ran cold through every vein,
Lord Godfrey shouted thrice and all his train:

Their sovereign's voice his hardy people knew,
And his loud cries that cheered each fearful heart;
Thereat new strength they took and courage new,
And to the fierce assault again they start.
The Pagans twain this while themselves withdrew
Within the breach to save that battered part,
And with great loss a skirmish hot they hold
Against Tancredi and his squadron bold.

Thither came Godfrey armed round about
In tty plate, with fierce and dreadful look;
At first approach against Argantes stout
Headed with poignant steel a lance he shook,
No casting engine with such force throws out
A knotty spear, and as the way it took,
It whistled in the air, the fearless knight
Opposed his shield against that weapon's might.

The dreadful blow quite through his target drove,
And bored through his breastplate strong and thick,
The tender skin it in his bosom rove,
The purple-blood out-streamed from the quick;
To wrest it out the wounded Pagan strove

* * *

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