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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 173

"Suppose not, cruel, that I come to vow
Or pray, as ladies do their loves and lords;
Such were we late, if thou disdain it now,
Or scorn to grant such grace as love affords,
At least yet as an enemy listen thou:
Sworn foes sometimes will talk and chaffer words,
For what I ask thee, may'st thou grant right well,
And lessen naught thy wrath and anger fell.

"If me thou hate, and in that hate delight,
I come not to appease thee, hate me still,
It's like for like; I bore great hate and spite
Gainst Christians all, chiefly I wish thee ill:
I was a Pagan born, and all my might
Against Godfredo bent, mine art and skill:
I followed thee, took thee, and bore thee far,
To this strange isle, and kept thee safe from war.

"And more, which more thy hate may justly move,
More to thy loss, more to thy shame and grief,
I thee inchanted, and allured to love,
Wicked deceit, craft worthy sharp reprief;
Mine honor gave I thee all gifts above,
And of my beauties made thee lord and chief,
And to my suitors old what I denayed,
That gave I thee, my lover new, unprayed.

"But reckon that among, my faults, and let
Those many wrongs provoke thee so to wrath,
That hence thou run, and that at naught thou set
This pleasant house, so many joys which hath;
Go, travel, pass the seas, fight, conquest get,
Destroy our faith, what shall I say, our faith?
Ah no! no longer ours; before thy shrine
Alone I pray, thou cruel saint of mine;

"All only let me go with thee, unkind,
A small request although I were thy foe,
The spoiler seldom leaves the prey behind,
Who triumphs lets his captives with him go;
Among thy prisoners poor Armida bind,
And let the camp increase thy praises so,
That thy beguiler so thou couldst beguile,
And point at me, thy thrall and bondslave vile.

"Despised bondslave, since my lord doth hate
These locks, why keep I them or hold them dear?
Come cut them off, that to my servile state
My habit answer may, and all my gear:
I follow thee in spite of death and fate,
Through battles fierce where dangers most appear,
Courage I have, and strength enough perchance,
To lead thy courser spare, and bear thy lance:

"I will or bear, or be myself, thy shield,
And to defend thy life. will lose mine own:
This breast, this bosom soft shall be thy bield
Gainst storms of arrows, darts and weapons thrown;
Thy foes, pardie, encountering thee in field,
Will spare to strike thee, mine affection known,
Lest me they wound, nor will sharp vengeance take
On thee, for this despised beauty's sake.

"O wretch! dare I still vaunt, or help invoke
From this poor beauty, scorned and disdained?"
She said no more, her tears her speeches broke,
Which from her eyes like streams from springs down rained:
She would have caught him by the hand or cloak,
But he stepped backward, and himself restrained,
Conquered his will, his heart ruth softened not,
There plaints no issue, love no entrance got.

Love entered not to kindle in his breast,
Which Reason late had quenched, his wonted flame;
Yet entered Pity in the place at least,

* * *

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