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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 127

And little leisure gave it there to stick;
At Godfrey's head the lance again he cast,
And said, "Lo, there again thy dart thou hast."

The spear flew back the way it lately came,
And would revenge the harm itself had done,
But missed the mark whereat the man did aim,
He stepped aside the furious blow to shun:
But Sigiere in his throat received the same,
The murdering weapon at his neck out-run,
Nor aught it grieved the man to lose his breath,
Since in his prince's stead he suffered death.

Even then the Soldan struck with monstrous main
The noble leader of the Norman band,
He reeled awhile and staggered with the pain,
And wheeling round fell grovelling on the sand:
Godfrey no longer could the grief sustain
Of these displeasures, but with flaming brand,
Up to the breach in heat and haste he goes,
And hand to hand there combats with his foes;

And there great wonders surely wrought he had,
Mortal the fight, and fierce had been the fray,
But that dark night, from her pavilion sad,
Her cloudy wings did on the earth display,
Her quiet shades she interposed glad
To cause the knights their arms aside to lay;
Godfrey withdrew, and to their tents they wend,
And thus this bloody day was brought to end.

The weak and wounded ere he left the field,
The godly duke to safety thence conveyed,
Nor to his foes his engines would he yield,
In them his hope to win the fortress laid;
Then to the tower he went, and it beheeld,
The tower that late the Pagan lords dismayed
But now stood bruised, broken, cracked and shivered,
From some sharp storm as it were late delivered.

From dangers great escaped, but late it was,
And now to safety brought well-nigh it seems,
But as a ship that under sail doth pass
The roaring billows and the raging streams,
And drawing nigh the wished port, alas,
Breaks on some hidden rocks her ribs and beams;
Or as a steed rough ways that well hath passed,
Before his inn stumbleth and falls at last:

Such hap befell that tower, for on that side
Gainst which the Pagans' force and battery bend,
Two wheels were broke whereon the piece should ride,
The maimed engine could no further wend,
The troop that guarded it that part provide
To underprop with posts, and it defend
Till carpenters and cunning workmen came
Whose skill should help and rear again the same.

Thus Godfrey bids, and that ere springing-day,
The cracks and bruises all amend they should,
Each open passage, and each privy way
About the piece, he kept with soldiers bold:
But the loud rumor, both of that they say,
And that they do, is heard within the hold,
A thousand lights about the tower they view,
And what they wrought all night both saw and knew.

Twelfth Book

Clorinda hears her eunuch old report
Her birth, her offspring, and her native land;
Disguised she fireth Godfrey's rolling fort.
The burned piece falls smoking on the sand:
With Tancred long unknown in desperate sort

* * *

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