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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 132


And bore thee with me, by a rolling flood,
Till I with savage thieves well-nigh was hent;
Before the brook, the thieves behind me stood:
Thee to forsake I never could consent,
And gladly would I 'scape those outlaws wood,
Into the flood I leaped far from the brim,
My left hand bore thee, with the right I swim.

XXXV
"Swift was the current, in the middle stream
A whirlpool gaped with devouring jaws,
The gulf, on such mishap ere I could dream,
Into his deep abyss my carcass draws,
There I forsook thee, the wild waters seem
To pity thee, a gentle wind there blows
Whose friendly puffs safe to the shore thee drive,
Where wet and weary I at last arrive:

XXXVI
"I took thee up, and in my dream that night,
When buried was the world in sleep and shade,
I saw a champion clad in armor bright
That o'er my head shaked a flaming blade,
He said, 'I charge thee execute aright,
That charge this infant's mother on thee laid,
Baptize the child, high Heaven esteems her dear,
And I her keeper will attend her near:

XXXVII
"`I will her keep, defend, save and protect,
I made the waters mild, the tigress tame,
O wretch that heavenly warnings dost reject!'
The warrior vanished having said the same.
I rose and journeyed on my way direct
When blushing morn from Tithon's bed forth came,
But for my faith is true and sure I ween,
And dreams are false, you still unchristened been.

XXXVIII
"A Pagan therefore thee I fostered have,
Nor of thy birth the truth did ever tell,
Since you increased are in courage brave,
Your sex and nature's-self you both excel,
Full many a realm have you made bond and slave,
Your fortunes last yourself remember well,
And how in peace and war, in joy and teen,
I have your servant, and your tutor been.

XXXIX
"Last morn, from skies ere stars exiled were,
In deep and deathlike sleep my senses drowned,
The self-same vision did again appear,
With stormy wrathful looks, and thundering sound,
`Villain,' quoth he, `within short while thy dear
Must change her life, and leave this sinful ground,
Thine be the loss, the torment, and the care,'
This said, he fled through skies, through clouds and air.

XL
"Hear then my joy, my hope, my darling, hear,
High Heaven some dire misfortune threatened hath,
Displeased pardie, because I did thee lere
A lore repugnant to thy parents' faith;
Ah, for my sake, this bold attempt forbear;
Put off these sable arms, appease thy wrath."
This said, he wept, she pensive stood and sad,
Because like dream herself but lately had.

XLI
With cheerful smile she answered him at last,
"I will this faith observe, it seems me true,
Which from my cradle age thou taught me hast;
I will not change it for religion new,
Nor with vain shows of fear and dread aghast
This enterprise forbear I to pursue,
No, not if death in his most dreadful face
Wherewith he scareth mankind, kept the place."

XLII
Approachen gan the time, while thus she spake,
Wherein they ought that dreadful hazard try;
She to Argantes went, who should partake
Of her renown and praise, or with her die.
Ismen with words more hasty still did make

* * *

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