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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 134

Then as a wolf guilty of some misdeed
Flies to some grove to hide himself from view,
So favored with the night, with secret speed
Dissevered from the press the damsel flew:
Tancred alone of her escape took heed,
He on that quarter was arrived new,
When Arimon she killed he thither came,
He saw it, marked it, and pursued the dame.

He deemed she was some man of mickle might,
And on her person would he worship win,
Over the hills the nymph her journey dight
Toward another port, there to get in:
With hideous noise fast after spurred the knight,
She heard and stayed, and thus her words begin,
"What haste hast thou? ride softly, take thy breath,
What bringest thou?" He answered, "War and death."

"And war and death," quoth she, "here mayest thou get
If thou for battle come," with that she stayed:
Tancred to ground his foot in haste down set,
And left his steed, on foot he saw the maid,
Their courage hot, their ire and wrath they whet,
And either champion drew a trenchant blade,
Together ran they, and together stroke,
Like two fierce bulls whom rage and love provoke.

Worthy of royal lists and brightest day,
Worthy a golden trump and laurel crown,
The actions were and wonders of that fray
Which sable knight did in dark bosom drown:
Yet night, consent that I their acts display
And make their deeds to future ages known,
And in records of long enduring story
Enrol their praise, their fame, their worth and glory.

They neither shrunk, nor vantage sought of ground,
They traverse not, nor skipped from part to part,
Their blows were neither false nor feigned found,
The night, their rage would let them use no art,
Their swords together clash with dreadful sound,
Their feet stand fast, and neither stir nor start,
They move their hands, steadfast their feet remain,
Nor blow nor loin they struck, or tht in vain.

Shame bred desire a sharp revenge to take,
And vengeance taken gave new cause of shame:
So that with haste and little heed they strake,
Fuel enough they had to feed the flame;
At last so close their battle fierce they make,
They could not wield their swords, so nigh they came,
They used the hilts, and each on other hed,
And helm to helm, and shield to shield they ched.

Thrice his strong arms he folds about her waist,
And thrice was forced to let the virgin go,
For she disdained to be so embraced, .
No lover would have strained his mistress so:
They took their swords again, and each enchased
Deep wounds in the soft flesh of his strong foe,
Till weak and weary, faint, alive uneath,
They both retired at once, at once took breath.

Each other long beheld, and leaning stood
Upon their swords, whose points in earth were pight,
When day-break, rising from the eastern flood,
Put forth the thousand eyes of blindfold night;
Tancred beheld his foe's out-streaming blood,
And gaping wounds, and waxed proud with the sight,
Oh vanity of man's unstable mind,
Puffed up with every blast of friendly wind!

Why joy'st thou, wretch? Oh, what shall be thy gain?
What trophy for this conquest is't thou rears?
Thine eyes shall shed, in case thou be not slain,

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