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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 147


A harmful night a hurtful day succeeds,
And worse than both next morn her light outspreads.

LIV
When Phoebus rose he left his golden weed,
And donned a gite in deepest purple dyed,
His sanguine beams about his forehead spread,
A sad presage of ill that should betide,
With vermeil drops at even his tresses bleed,
Foreshows of future heat, from the ocean wide
When next he rose, and thus increased still
Their present harms with dread of future ill,

LV
While thus he bent gainst earth his scorching rays,
He burnt the flowers, burnt his Clytie dear,
The leaves grew wan upon the withered sprays,
The grass and growing herbs all parched were,
Earth cleft in rifts, in floods their streams decays,
The barren clouds with lightning bright appear,
And mankind feared lest Climenes' child again
Had driven awry his sire's ill-guided wain.

LVI
As from a furnace flew the smoke to skies,
Such smoke as that when damned Sodom brent,
Within his caves sweet Zephyr silent lies,
Still was the air, the rack nor came nor went,
But o'er the lands with lukewarm breathing flies
The southern wind, from sunburnt Afric sent,
Which thick and warm his interrupted blasts
Upon their bosoms, throats, and faces casts.

LVII
Nor yet more comfort brought the gloomy night,
In her thick shades was burning heat uprolled,
Her sable mantle was embroidered bright
With blazing stars and gliding fires for gold,
Nor to refresh, sad earth, thy thirsty sprite,
The niggard moon let fall her May dews cold,
And dried up the vital moisture was,
In trees, in plants, in herbs, in flowers, in grass.

LVIII
Sleep to his quiet dales exiled fled
From these unquiet nights, and oft in vain
The soldiers restless sought the god in bed,
But most for thirst they mourned and most complain;
For Juda's tyrant had strong poison shed,
Poison that breeds more woe and deadly pain,
Than Acheron or Stygian waters bring,
In every fountain, cistern, well and spring:

LIX
And little Siloe that his store bestows
Of purest crystal on the Christian bands,
The pebbles naked in his channel shows
And scantly glides above the scorched sands,
Nor Po in May when o'er his banks he flows,
Nor Ganges, waterer of the Indian lands,
Nor seven-mouthed Nile that yields all Egypt drink,
To quench their thirst the men sufficient think.

LX
He that the gliding rivers erst had seen
Adown their verdant channels gently rolled,
Or falling streams which to the valleys green
Distilled from tops of Alpine mountains cold,
Those he desired in vain, new torments been,
Augmented thus with wish of comforts old,
Those waters cool he drank in vain conceit,
Which more increased his thirst, increased his heat.

LXI
The sturdy bodies of the warriors strong,
Whom neither marching far, nor tedious way,
Nor weighty arms which on their shoulders hung,
Could weary make, nor death itself dismay;
Now weak and feeble cast their limbs along,
Unwieldly burdens, on the burned clay,
And in each vein a smouldering fire there dwelt,
Which dried their flesh and solid bones did melt.

LXII
Languished the steed late fierce, and proffered grass,

* * *

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