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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 151

"What, Godfrey, knowest thou not thy Hugo here?
Come and embrace thy friend and fellow dear!"

He answered him, "Thy glorious shining light
Which in thine eyes his glistering beams doth place,
Estranged hath from my foreknowledge quite
Thy countenance, thy favor, and thy face:"
This said, three times he stretched his hands outright
And would in friendly arms the knight embrace,
And thrice the spirit fled, that thrice he twined
Naught in his folded arms but air and wind.

Lord Hugo smiled, "Not as you think," quoth he,
"I clothed am in flesh and earthly mould,
My spirit pure, and naked soul, you see,
A citizen of this celestial hold:
This place is heaven, and here a room for thee
Prepared is among Christ's champions bold:"
"Ah when," quoth he, "these mortal bonds unknit,
Shall I in peace, in ease and rest there sit?"

Hugo replied, "Ere many years shall run,
Amid the saints in bliss here shalt thou reign;
But first great wars must by thy hand be done,
Much blood be shed, and many Pagans slain,
The holy city by assault be won,
The land set free from servile yoke again,
Wherein thou shalt a Christian empire frame,
And after thee shall Baldwin rule the same.

"But to increase thy love and great desire
To heavenward, this blessed place behold,
These shining lamps, these globes of living fire,
How they are turned, guided, moved and rolled;
The angels' singing hear, and all their choir;
Then bend thine eyes on yonder earth and mould,
All in that mass, that globe and compass see,
Land, sea, spring, fountain, man, beast, grass and tree.

"How vile, how small, and of how slender price,
Is their reward of goodness, virtue's gain!
A narrow room our glory vain upties,
A little circle doth our pride contain,
Earth like an isle amid the water lies,
Which sea sometime is called, sometime the main,
Yet naught therein responds a name so great,
It's but a lake, a pond, a marish strait."

Thus said the one, the other bended down
His looks to ground, and half in scorn he smiled,
He saw at once earth, sea, flood, castle, town,
Strangely divided, strangely all compiled,
And wondered folly man so far should drown,
To set his heart on things so base and vild,
That servile empire searcheth and dumb fame,
And scorns heaven's bliss, yet proffereth heaven the same.

Wherefore he answered, "Since the Lord not yet
Will free my spirit from this cage of clay,
Lest worldly error vain my voyage let,
Teach me to heaven the best and surest way:"
Hugo replied, "Thy happy foot is set
In the true path, nor from this passage stray,
Only from exile young Rinaldo call,
This give I thee in charge, else naught at all.

"For as the Lord of hosts, the King of bliss,
Hath chosen thee to rule the faithful band;
So he thy stratagems appointed is
To execute, so both shall win this land:
The first is thine, the second place is his,
Thou art this army's head, and he the hand,
No other champion can his place supply,
And that thou do it doth thy state deny.

"The enchanted forest, and her charmed treen,

* * *

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