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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 170


Till they beheld the queen, set with their knight
Besides the lake, shaded with boughs from sight:

XVIII
Her breasts were naked, for the day was hot,
Her locks unbound waved in the wanton wind;
Some deal she sweat, tired with the game you wot,
Her sweat-drops bright, white, round, like pearls of Ind;
Her humid eyes a fiery smile forthshot
That like sunbeams in silver fountains shined,
O'er him her looks she hung, and her soft breast
The pillow was, where he and love took rest.

XIX
His hungry eyes upon her face he fed,
And feeding them so, pined himself away;
And she, declining often down her head,
His lips, his cheeks, his eyes kissed, as he lay,
Wherewith he sighed, as if his soul had fled
From his frail breast to hers, and there would stay
With her beloved sprite: the armed pair
These follies all beheld and this hot fare.

XX
Down by the lovers' side there pendent was
A crystal mirror, bright, pure, smooth, and neat,
He rose, and to his mistress held the glass,
A noble page, graced with that service great;
She, with glad looks, he with inflamed, alas,
Beauty and love beheld, both in one seat;
Yet them in sundry objects each espies,
She, in the glass, he saw them in her eyes:

XXI
Her, to command; to serve, it pleased the knight;
He proud of bondage; of her empire, she;
"My dear," he said, "that blessest with thy sight
Even blessed angels, turn thine eyes to me,
For painted in my heart and portrayed right
Thy worth, thy beauties and perfections be,
Of which the form; the shape and fashion best,
Not in this glass is seen, but in my breast.

XXII
"And if thou me disdain, yet be First
At least so to behold thy lovely hue,
That while thereon thy looks are fixed and bent
Thy happy eyes themselves may see and view;
So rare a shape no crystal can present,
No glass contain that heaven of beauties true;
Oh let the skies thy worthy mirror be!
And in dear stars try shape and image see."

XXIII
And with that word she smiled, and ne'ertheless
Her love-toys still she used, and pleasures bold!
Her hair, that done, she twisted up in tress,
And looser locks in silken laces rolled,
Her curles garlandwise she did up-dress,
Wherein, like rich enamel laid on gold,
The twisted flowers smiled, and her white breast
The lilies there that spring with roses dressed.

XXIV
The jolly peacock spreads not half so fair
The eyed feathers of his pompous train;
Nor golden Iris so bends in the air
Her twenty-colored bow, through clouds of rain;
Yet all her ornaments, strange, rich and rare,
Her girdle did in price and beauty stain,
Nor that, with scorn, which Tuscan Guilla lost,
Igor Venus Ceston, could match this for cost.

XXV
Of mild denays, of tender scorns, of sweet
Repulses, war, peace, hope, despair, joy, fear,
Of smiles, jests, mirth, woe, grief, and sad regreet,
Sighs, sorrows, tears, embracements, kisses dear,
That mixed first by weight and measure meet,
Then at an easy fire attempered were,
This wondrous girdle did Armida frame,
And, when she would be loved, wore the same.

XXVI
But when her wooing fit was brought to end,

* * *

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