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"For, though you wot it not, I am your friend,
And for your profit work, as these can tell,
I taught them how Armida's charms to end,
And bring you thither from love's hateful cell,
Now to my words, though sharp perchance, attend,
Nor be aggrieved although they seem too fell,
But keep them well in mind, till in the truth
A wise and holier man instruct thy youth.
"Not underneath sweet shades and fountains shrill,
Among the nymphs, the fairies, leaves and flowers;
But on the steep, the rough and craggy hill
Of virtue stands this bliss, this good of ours:
By toil and travel, not by sitting still
In pleasure's lap, we come to honor's bowers;
Why will you thus in sloth's deep valley lie?
The royal eagles on high mountains fly.
"Nature lifts up thy forehead to the skies,
And fills thy heart with high and noble thought,
That thou to heavenward aye shouldst lift thine eyes,
And purchase fame by deeds well done and wrought;
She gives thee ire, by which not courage flies
To conquests, not through brawls and battles fought
For civil jars, nor that thereby you might
Your wicked malice wreak and cursed spite.
"But that your strength spurred forth with noble wrath,
With greater fury might Christ's foes assault,
And that your bridle should with lesser scath
Each secret vice, and kill each inward fault;
For so his godly anger ruled hath
Each righteous man beneath heaven's starry vault,
And at his will makes it now hot, now cold,
Now lets it run, now doth it fettered hold."
Thus parleyed he; Rinaldo, hushed and still,
Great wisdom heard in those few words compiled,
He marked his speech, a purple blush did fill
His guilty checks, down went his eyesight mild.
The hermit by his bashful looks his will
Well understood, and said, "Look up, my child,
And painted in this precious shield behold
The glorious deeds of thy forefathers old.
"Thine elders' glory herein see and know,
In virtue's path how they trod all their days,
Whom thou art far behind, a runner slow
In this true course of honor, fame and praise:
Up, up, thyself incite by the fair show
Of knightly worth which this bright shield bewrays,
That be thy spur to praise!" At last the knight
Looked up, and on those portraits bent his sight.
The cunning workman had in little space
Infinite shapes of men there well expressed,
For there described was the worthy race
And pedigree of all of the house of Est:
Come from a Roman spring o'er all the place
Flowed pure streams of crystals east and west,
With laurel crowned stood the princes old,
Their wars the hermit and their battles told.
He showed them Caius first, when first in prey
To people strange the falling empire went,
First Prince of Est, that did the sceptre sway
O'er such as chose him lord by tree consent;
His weaker neighbors to his rule obey,
Need made them stoop, constraint doth force First;
After, when Lord Honorius called the train
Of savage Goths into his land again,
And when all Italy did burn and flame
With bloody war, by this fierce people mad,
When Rome a captive and a slave became,
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