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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 148

His fodder erst, despised and from him cast,
Each step he stumbled, and which lofty was
And high advanced before now fell his crest,
His conquests gotten all forgotten pass,
Nor with desire of glory swelled his breast,
The spoils won from his foe, his late rewards,
He now neglects, despiseth, naught regards.

Languished the faithful dog, and wonted care
Of his dear lord and cabin both forgot,
Panting he laid, and gathered fresher air
To cool the burning in his entrails hot:
But breathing, which wise nature did prepare
To suage the stomach's heat, now booted not,
For little ease, alas, small help, they win
That breathe forth air and scalding fire suck in.

Thus languished the earth, in this estate
Lay woful thousands of the Christians stout,
The faithful people grew nigh desperate
Of hoped conquest, shameful death they doubt,
Of their distress they talk and oft debate,
These sad complaints were heard the camp throughout:
"What hope hath Godfrey? shall we still here lie
Till all his soldiers, all our armies die?

"Alas, with what device, what strength, thinks he
To scale these walls, or this strong fort to get?
Whence hath he engines new? doth he not see,
How wrathful Heaven gainst us his sword doth whet?
These tokens shown true signs and witness be
Our angry God our proud attempts doth let,
And scorching sun so hot his beams outspreads,
That not more cooling Inde nor Aethiop needs.

"Or thinks he it an eath or little thing
That us despised, neglected, and disdained,
Like abjects vile, to death he thus should bring,
That so his empire may be still maintained?
Is it so great a bliss to be a king,
When he that wears the crown with blood is stained
And buys his sceptre with his people's lives?
See whither glory vain, fond mankind drives.

"See, see the man, called holy, just, and good,
That courteous, meek, and humble would be thought,
Yet never cared in what distress we stood
If his vain honor were diminished naught,
When dried up from us his spring and flood
His water must from Jordan streams be brought,
And how he sits at feasts and banquets sweet
And mingleth waters fresh with wines of Crete."

The French thus murmured, but the Greekish knight
Tatine, that of this war was weary grown:
"Why die we here," quoth he, "slain without fight,
Killed, not subdued, murdered, not overthrown?
Upon the Frenchmen let the penance light
Of Godfrey's folly, let me save mine own,"
And as he said, without farewell, the knight
And all his comet stole away by night.

His bad example many a troop prepares
To imitate, when his escape they know,
Clotharius his band, and Ademare's,
And all whose guides in dust were buried low,
Discharged of duty's chains and bondage snares,
Free from their oath, to none they service owe,
But now concluded all on secret flight,
And shrunk away by thousands every night.

Godfredo this both heard, and saw, and knew,
Yet nould with death them chastise though he mought,
But with that faith wherewith he could renew
The steadfast hills and seas dry up to naught
He prayed the Lord upon his flock to rue,

* * *

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