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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 179



XVIII
Next under Gazel marched they that plough
The fertile lands above that town which lie
Up to the place where Nilus tumbling low
Falls from his second cataract from high;
The Egyptians weaponed were with sword and bow,
No weight of helm or hauberk list they try,
And richly armed, in their strong foes no dreed
Of death but great desire of spoil they breed.

XIX
The naked folk of Barca these succeed,
Unarmed half, Alarcon led that band,
That long in deserts lived, in extreme need,
On spoils and preys purchased by strength of hand.
To battle strong unfit, their king did lead
His army next brought from Zumara land.
Then he of Tripoli, for sudden fight
And skirmish short, both ready, bold, and light.

XX
Two captains next brought forth their bands to show
Whom Stony sent and Happy Araby,
Which never felt the cold of frost and snow,
Or force of burning heat, unless fame lie,
Where incense pure and all sweet odors grow,
Where the sole phoenix doth revive, not die,
And midst the perfumes rich and flowerets brave
Both birth and burial, cradle hath and grave.

XXI
Their clothes not rich, their garments were not gay,
But weapons like the Egyptian troops they had,
The Arabians next that have no certain stay,
No house, no home, no mansion good or bad,
But ever, as the Scythian hordes stray,
From place to place their wandering cities gad:
These have both voice and stature feminine,
Hair long and black, black face, and fiery eyne.

XXII
Long Indian canes, with iron armed, they bear,
And as upon their nimble steeds they ride,
Like a swift storm their speedy troops appear,
If winds so fast bring storms from heavens wide:
By Syphax led the first Arabians were;
Aldine the second squadron had no guide,
And Abiazar proud, brought to the fight
The third, a thief, a murderer, not a knight.

XXIII
The islanders came then their prince before
Whose lands Arabia's gulf enclosed about,
Wherein they fish and gather oysters store,
Whose shells great pearls rich and round pour out;
The Red Sea sent with them from his left shore,
Of negroes grim a black and ugly rout;
These Agricalt and those Osmida brought,
A man that set law, faith and truth at naught.

XXIV
The Ethiops next which Meroe doth breed,
That sweet and gentle isle of Meroe,
Twixt Nile and Astrabore that far doth spread,
Where two religions are, and kingdoms three,
These Assimiro and Canario led,
Both kings, both Pagans, and both subjects be
To the great Caliph, but the third king kept
Christ's sacred faith, nor to these wars outstepped.

XXV
After two kings, both subjects also, ride,
And of two bands of archers had the charge,
The first Soldan of Ormus placed in the wide
Huge Persian Bay, a town rich, fair, and large:
The last of Boecan, which at every tide
The sea cuts off from Persia's southern marge,
And makes an isle; but when it ebbs again,
The passage there is sandy, dry and plain.

XXVI
Nor thee, great Altamore, in her chaste bed
Thy loving queen kept with her dear embrace,
She tore her locks, she smote her breast, and shed

* * *

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