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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 196

The sacrament receive and mercy cry;
Then oft the duke his engines great begun
To show where least he would their strength apply;
His foes rejoiced, deluded in that sort,
To see them bent against their surest port:

But after, aided by the friendly night,
His greatest engine to that side he brought
Where plainest seemed the wall, where with their might
The flankers least could hurt them as they fought;
And to the southern mountain's greatest height
To raise his turret old Raymondo sought;
And thou Camillo on that part hadst thine,
Where from the north the walls did westward twine.

But when amid the eastern heaven appeared
The rising morning bright as shining glass,
The troubled Pagans saw, and seeing feared,
How the great tower stood not where late it was,
And here and there tofore unseen was reared
Of timber strong a huge and fearful mass,
And numberless with beams, with ropes and strings,
They view the iron rams, the barks and slings.

The Syrian people now were no whit slow,
Their best defences to that side to bear,
Where Godfrey did his greatest engine show,
From thence where late in vain they placed were:
But he who at his back right well did know
The host of Egypt to be proaching near,
To him called Guelpho, and the Roberts twain,
And said, "On horseback look you still remain,

"And have regard, while all our people strive
To scale this wall, where weak it seems and thin,
Lest unawares some sudden host arrive,
And at our backs unlooked-for war begin."
This said, three fierce assaults at once they give,
The hardy soldiers all would die or win,
And on three parts resistance makes the king,
And rage gainst strength, despair gainst hope doth bring.

Himself upon his limbs with feeble eild
That shook, unwieldy with their proper weight,
His armor laid and long unused shield,
And marched gainst Raymond to the mountain's height;
Great Solyman gainst Godfrey took the field;
Fornenst Camillo stood Argantes straight
Where Tancred strong he found, so fortune will
That this good prince his wonted foe shall kill.

The archers shot their arrows sharp and keen,
Dipped in the bitter juice of poison strong,
The shady face of heaven was scantly seen,
Hid with the clouds of shafts and quarries long;
Yet weapons sharp with greater fury been
Cast from the towers the Pagan troops among,
For thence flew stones and clifts of marble rocks,
Trees shod with iron, timber, logs and blocks.

A thunderbolt seemed every stone, it brake
His limbs and armors on whom so it light,
That life and soul it did not only take
But all his shape and face disfigured quite;
The lances stayed not in the wounds they make,
But through the gored body took their flight,
From side to side, through flesh, through skin and rind
They flew, and flying, left sad death behind.

But yet not all this force and fury drove
The Pagan people to forsake the wall,
But to revenge these deadly blows they strove,
With darts that fly, with stones and trees that fall;
For need so cowards oft courageous prove,
For liberty they fight, for life and all,

* * *

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