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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 186

Who of all Italy the marquis hight,
And Tuscan whole possessed as his right.

After Tebaldo, puissant Boniface
And Beatrice his dear possessed the stage;
Nor was there left heir male of that great race,
To enjoy the sceptre, state and heritage;
The Princess Maud alone supplied the place,
Supplied the want in number, sex and age;
For far above each sceptre, throne and crown,
The noble dame advanced her veil and gown.

With manlike vigor shone her noble look,
And more than manlike wrath her face o'erspread,
There the fell Normans, Guichard there forsook
The field, till then who never feared nor fled;
Henry the Fourth she beat, and from him took
His standard, and in Church it offered;
Which done, the Pope back to the Vatican
She brought, and placed in Peter's chair again.

As he that honored her and held her dear,
Azzo the Fifth stood by her lovely side;
But the fourth Azzo's offspring far and near
Spread forth, and through Germania fructified;
Sprung from the branch did Guelpho bold appear,
Guelpho his son by Cunigond his bride,
And in Bavaria's field transplanted new
The Roman graft flourished, increased and grew.

A branch of Est there in the Guelfian tree
Engrafted was, which of itself was old,
Whereon you might the Guelfoes fairer see,
Renew their sceptres and their crowns of gold,
Of which Heaven's good aspects so bended be
That high and broad it spread and flourished bold,
Till underneath his glorious branches laid
Half Germany, and all under his shade.

This regal plant from his Italian rout
Sprung up as high, and blossomed fair above,
Fornenst Lord Guelpho, Bertold issued out,
With the sixth Azzo whom all virtues love;
This was the pedigree of worthies stout,
Who seemed in that bright shield to live and move.
Rinaldo waked up and cheered his face,
To see these worthies of his house and race.

To do like acts his courage wished and sought,
And with that wish transported him so far
That all those deeds which filled aye his thought,
Towns won, forts taken, armies killed in war,
As if they were things done indeed and wrought,
Before his eyes he thinks they present are,
He hastily arms him, and with hope and haste,
Sure conquest met, prevented and embraced.

But Charles, who had told the death and fall
Of the young prince of Danes, his late dear lord,
Gave him the fatal weapon, and withal,
"Young knight," quoth he, "take with good luck this sword,
Your just, strong, valiant hand in battle shall
Employ it long, for Christ's true faith and word,
And of his former lord revenge the wrongs,
Who loved you so, that deed to you belongs."

He answered, "God for his mercy's sake,
Grant that this hand which holds this weapon good
For thy dear master may sharp vengeance take,
May cleave the Pagan's heart, and shed his blood."
To this but short reply did Charles make,
And thanked him much, nor more on terms they stood:
For lo, the wizard sage that was their guide
On their dark journey hastes them forth to ride.

"High time it is," quoth he, "for you to wend

* * *

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