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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 136

And lost therewith his speech and moving quite,
Oh woful knowledge, ah unhappy sight!

He died not, but all his strength unites,
And to his virtues gave his heart in guard,
Bridling his grief, with water he requites
The life that he bereft with iron hard,
And while the sacred words the knight recites,
The nymph to heaven with joy herself prepared;
And as her life decays her joys increase,
She smiled and said, "Farewell, I die in peace."

As violets blue mongst lilies pure men throw,
So paleness midst her native white begun;
Her looks to heaven she cast, their eyes I trow
Downward for pity bent both heaven and sun,
Her naked hand she gave the knight, in show
Of love and peace, her speech, alas, was done,
And thus the virgin fell on endless sleep, --
Love, Beauty, Virtue, for your darling weep!

But when he saw her gentle soul was went,
His manly courage to relent began,
Grief, sorrow, anguish. sadness, disFirst,
Free empire got and lordship on the man,
His life within his heart they close up pent,
Death through his senses and his visage ran:
Like his dead lady, dead seemed Tancred good,
In paleness, stillness, wounds and streams of blood.

And his weak sprite, to be unbodied
From fleshly prison free that ceaseless strived,
Had followed her fair soul but lately fled
Had not a Christian squadron there arrived,
To seek fresh water thither haply led,
And found the princess dead, and him deprived
Of signs of life; yet did the knight remain
On live, nigh dead, for her himself had slain.

Their guide far off the prince knew by his shield,
And thither hasted full of grief and fear,
Her dead, him seeming so, he there beheld,
And for that strange mishap shed many a tear;
He would not leave the corpses fair in field
For food to wolves, though she a Pagan were,
But in their arms the soldiers both uphent,
And both lamenting brought to Tancred's tent.

With those dear burdens to their camp they pass,
Yet would not that dead seeming knight awake,
At last he deeply groaned, which token was
His feeble soul had not her flight yet take:
The other lay a still and heavy mass,
Her spirit had that earthen cage forsake;
Thus were they brought, and thus they placed were
In sundry rooms, yet both adjoining near.

All skill and art his careful servants used
To life again their dying lord to bring,
At last his eyes unclosed, with tears suffused,
He felt their hands and heard their whispering,
But how he thither came long time he mused,
His mind astonished was with everything;
He gazed about, his squires in fine he knew,
Then weak and woful thus his plaints out threw:

"What, live I yet? and do I breathe and see
Of this accursed day the hateful light?
This spiteful ray which still upbraideth me
With that accursed deed I did this night,
Ah, coward hand, afraid why should'st thou be;
Thou instrument of death, shame and despite,
Why should'st thou fear, with sharp and trenchant knife,
To cut the thread of this blood-guilty life?

"Pierce through this bosom, and my cruel heart

* * *

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