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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 161

Vanished the clouds, ceased the wind and rain,
The tempests threatened overblow and pass,
A gentle breathing air made even and plain
The azure face of heaven's smooth looking-glass,
And heaven itself smiled from the skies above
With a calm clearness on the earth his love.

By Ascalon they sailed, and forth drived,
Toward the west their speedy course they frame,
In sight of Gaza till the bark arrived,
A little port when first it took that name;
But since, by others' loss so well it thrived
A city great and rich that it became,
And there the shores and borders of the land
They found as full of armed men as sand.

The passengers to landward turned their sight,
And there saw pitched many a stately tent,
Soldier and footman, captain, lord and knight,
Between the shore and city, came and went:
Huge elephants, strong camels, coursers light,
With horned hoofs the sandy ways outrent,
And in the haven many a ship and boat,
With mighty anchors fastened, swim and float;

Some spread their sails, some with strong oars sweep
The waters smooth, and bh the buxom wave,
Their breasts in sunder cleave the yielding deep,
The broken seas for anger foam and rave,
When thus their guide began, "Sir knights, take keep
How all these shores are spread with squadrons brave
And troops of hardy knights, yet on these sands
The monarch scant hath gathered half his bands.

"Of Egypt only these the forces are,
And aid from other lands they here attend,
For twixt the noon-day sun and morning star,
All realms at his command do bow and bend;
So that I tt we shall return from far,
And bring our journey long to wished end,
Before this king or his lieutenant shall
These armies bring to Zion's conquered wall."

While thus she said, as soaring eagles fly
Mongst other birds securely through the air,
And mounting up behold with wakeful eye,
The radiant beams of old Hyperion's hair,
Her gondola so passed swiftly by
Twixt ship and ship, withouten fear or care
Who should her follow, trouble, stop or stay,
And forth to sea made lucky speed and way.

Themselves fornenst old Raffia's town they fand,
A town that first to sailors doth appear
As they from Syria pass to Egypt land:
The sterile coasts of barren Rhinocere
They passed, and seas where Casius hill doth stand
That with his trees o'erspreads the waters near,
Against whose roots breaketh the brackish wave
Where Jove his temple, Pompey hath his grave:

Then Damiata next, where they behold
How to the sea his tribute Nilus pays
By his seven mouths renowned in stories old,
And by an hundred more ignoble ways:
They pass the town built by the Grecian bold,
Of him called Alexandria till our days,
And Pharaoh's tower and isle removed of yore
Far from the land, now joined to the shore:

Both Crete and Rhodes they left by north unseen,
And sailed along the coasts of Afric lands,
Whose sea towns fair, but realms more inward been
All full of monsters and of desert sands:
With her five cities then they left Cyrene,
Where that old temple of false Hammon stands:

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