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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 142


Yet they obeyed and took the charge in hand,
And under every branch and leaf they stand.

XII
When thus his cursed work performed was,
The wizard to his king declared the feat,
"My lord, let fear, let doubt and sorrow pass,
Henceforth in safety stands your regal seat,
Your foe, as he supposed, no mean now has
To build again his rams and engines great:"
And then he told at large from part to part,
All what he late performed by wondrous art.

XIII
"Besides this help, another hap," quoth he,
"Will shortly chance that brings not profit small.
Within few days Mars and the Sun I see
Their fiery beams unite in Leo shall;
And then extreme the scorching heat will be,
Which neither rain can quench nor dews that fall,
So placed are the planets high and low,
That heat, fire, burning all the heavens foreshow:

XIV
"So great with us will be the warmth therefore,
As with the Garamants or those of Inde;
Yet nill it grieve us in this town so sore,
We have sweet shade and waters cold by kind:
Our foes abroad will be tormented more,
What shield can they or what refreshing find?
Heaven will them vanquish first, then Egypt's crew
Destroy them quite, weak, weary, faint and few:

XV
"Thou shalt sit still and conquer; prove no more
The doubtful hazard of uncertain fight.
But if Argantes bold, that hates so sore
All cause of quiet peace, though just and right,
Provoke thee forth to battle, as before,
Find means to calm the rage of that fierce knight,
For shortly Heaven will send thee ease and peace,
And war and trouble mongst thy foes increase."

XVI
The king assured by these speeches fair,
Held Godfrey's power, his might and strength in scorn,
And now the walls he gan in part repair,
Which late the ram had bruised with iron horn,
With wise foresight and well advised care
He fortified each breach and bulwark torn,
And all his folk, men, women, children small,
With endless toil again repaired the wall.

XVII
But Godfrey nould this while bring forth his power
To give assault against that fort in vain,
Till he had builded new his dreadful tower,
And reared high his down-fallen rams again:
His workmen therefore he despatched that hour
To hew the trees out of the forest main,
They went, and scant the wood appeared in sight
When wonders new their fearful hearts affright:

XVIII
As silly children dare not bend their eye
Where they are told strange bugbears haunt the place,
Or as new monsters, while in bed they lie,
Their fearful thoughts present before their face;
So feared they, and fled, yet wist not why,
Nor what pursued them in that fearful chase.
Except their fear perchance while thus they fled,
New chimeras, sphinxes, or like monsters bred:

XIX
Swift to the camp they turned back dismayed,
With words confused uncertain tales they told,
That all which heard them scorned what they said
And those reports for lies and fables hold.
A chosen crew in shining arms arrayed
Duke Godfrey thither sent of soldiers bold,
To guard the men and their faint arms provoke
To cut the dreadful trees with hardy stroke:

XX
These drawing near the wood where close ypent

* * *

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