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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 163

Of the broad sea first his bold sails untwined,
But yet the greedy ocean was his grave,
Naught helped him his skill gainst tide and wind;
With him all witness of his voyage brave
Lies buried there, no truth thereof we find,
And they whom storm hath forced that way since,
Are drowned all, or unreturned from thence:

"So that this mighty sea is yet unsought,
Where thousand isles and kingdoms lie unknown,
Not void of men as some have vainly thought,
But peopled well, and wonned like your own;
The land is fertile ground, but scant well wrought,
Air wholesome, temperate sun, grass proudly grown."
"But," quoth Ubaldo, "dame, I pray thee teach
Of that hid world, what be the laws and speech?"

"As diverse be their nations," answered she,
"Their tongues, their rites, their laws so different are;
Some pray to beasts, some to a stone or tree,
Some to the earth, the sun, or morning star;
Their meats unwholesome, vile, and hateful be,
Some eat man's flesh, and captives ta'en in war,
And all from Calpe's mountain west that dwell,
In faith profane, in life are rude and fell."

"But will our gracious God," the knight replied,
"That with his blood all sinful men hath bought,
His truth forever and his gospel hide
From all those lands, as yet unknown, unsought?"
"Oh no," quoth she, "his name both far and wide
Shall there be known, all learning thither brought,
Nor shall these long and tedious ways forever
Your world and theirs, their lands, your kingdoms sever.

"The time shall come that sailors shall disdain
To talk or argue of Alcides' streat,
And lands and seas that nameless yet remain,
Shall well be known, their boundaries, site and seat,
The ships encompass shall the solid main,
As far as seas outstretch their waters great,
And measure all the world, and with the sun
About this earth, this globe, this compass, run.

"A knight of Genes shall have the hardiment
Upon this wondrous voyage first to wend,
Nor winds nor waves, that ships in sunder rent,
Nor seas unused, strange clime, or pool unkenned,
Nor other peril nor astonishment
That makes frail hearts of men to bow and bend,
Within Abilas' strait shall keep and hold
The noble spirit of this sailor bold.

"Thy ship, Columbus, shall her canvas wing
Spread o'er that world that yet concealed lies,
That scant swift fame her looks shall after bring,
Though thousand plumes she have, and thousand eyes;
Let her of Bacchus and Alcides sing,
Of thee to future age let this suffice,
That of thine acts she some forewarning give,
Which shall in verse and noble story live."

Thus talking, swift twixt south and west they run,
And sliced out twixt froth and foam their way;
At once they saw before, the setting sun;
Behind, the rising beam of springing day;
And when the morn her drops and dews begun
To scatter broad upon the flowering lay,
Far off a hill and mountain high they spied,
Whose top the clouds environ, clothe and hide;

And drawing near, the hill at ease they view,
When all the clouds were molten, fallen and fled,
Whose top pyramid-wise did pointed show,
High, narrow, sharp, the sides yet more outspread,
Thence now and then fire, flame and smoke outflew,

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