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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 137


In pieces cleave, break every string and vein;
But thou to slaughters vile which used art,
Think'st it were pity so to ease my pain:
Of luckless love therefore in torments' smart
A sad example must I still remain,
A woful monster of unhappy love,
Who still must live, lest death his comfort prove:

LXXVII
"Still must I live in anguish, grief, and care;
Furies my guilty conscience that torment,
The ugly shades, dark night, and troubled air
In grisly forms her slaughter still present,
Madness and death about my bed repair,
Hell gapeth wide to swallow up this tent;
Swift from myself I run, myself I fear,
Yet still my hell within myself I bear.

LXXVIII
"But where, alas, where be those relics sweet,
Wherein dwelt late all love, all joy, all good?
My fury left them cast in open street,
Some beast hath torn her flesh and licked her blood,
Ah noble prey! for savage beast unmeet,
Ah sweet! too sweet, and far too precious food,
Ah, seely nymph! whom night and darksome shade
To beasts, and me, far worse than beasts, betrayed.

LXXIX
"But where you be, if still you be, I wend
To gather up those relics dear at least,
But if some beast hath from the hills descend,
And on her tender bowels made his feast,
Let that fell monster me in pieces rend,
And deep entomb me in his hollow chest:
For where she buried is, there shall I have
A stately tomb, a rich and costly grave."

LXXX
Thus mourned the knight, his squires him told at last,
They had her there for whom those tears he shed;
A beam of comfort his dim eyes outcast,
Like lightning through thick clouds of darkness spread,
The heavy burden of his limbs in haste,
With mickle pain, he drew forth of his bed,
And scant of strength to stand, to move or go,
Thither he staggered, reeling to and fro.

LXXXI
When he came there, and in her breast espied
His handiwork, that deep and cruel wound,
And her sweet face with leaden paleness dyed,
Where beauty late spread forth her beams around,
He trembled so, that nere his squires beside
To hold him up, he had sunk down to ground,
And said, "O face in death still sweet and fair!
Thou canst not sweeten yet my grief and care:

LXXXII
"O fair right hand, the pledge of faith and love?
Given me but late, too late, in sign of peace,
How haps it now thou canst not stir nor move?
And you, dear limbs, now laid in rest and ease,
Through which my cruel blade this flood-gate rove,
Your pains have end, my torments never cease,
O hands, O cruel eyes, accursed alike!
You gave the wound, you gave them light to strike.

LXXXIII
"But thither now run forth my guilty blood,
Whither my plaints, my sorrows cannot wend."
He said no more, but, as his passion wood
Inforced him, he gan to tear and rend
His hair, his face, his wounds, a purple flood
Did from each side in rolling streams descend,
He had been slain, but that his pain and woe
Bereft his senses, and preserved him so.

LXXXIV
Cast on his bed his squires recalled his sprite
To execute again her hateful charge,
But tattling fame the sorrows of the knight
And hard mischance had told this while at large:
Godfrey and all his lords of worth and might,

* * *

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