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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 201

Shall we no share in this high conquest get?"
But from that part the king at last withdrew,
He strove in vain their entrance there to let,
And to a stronger place his folk he brought,
Where to sustain the assault awhile he thought.

The conquerors at once now entered all,
The walls were won, the gates were opened wide,
Now bruised, broken down, destroyed fall
The ports and towers that battery durst abide;
Rageth the sword, death murdereth great and small,
And proud 'twixt woe and horror sad doth ride.
Here runs the blood, in ponds there stands the gore,
And drowns the knights in whom it lived before.

Nineteenth Book

Tancred in single combat kills his foe,
Argantes strong: the king and Soldan fly
To David's tower, and save their persons so;
Erminia well instructs Vafrine the spy,
With him she rides away, and as they go
Finds where her lord for dead on earth doth lie;
First she laments, then cures him: Godfrey hears
Ormondo's treason, and what marks he bears.

Now death or fear or care to save their lives
From their forsaken walls the Pagans chase:
Yet neither force nor fear nor wisdom drives
The constant knight Argantes from his place;
Alone against ten thousand foes he strives,
Yet dreadless, doubtless, careless seemed his face,
Nor death, nor danger, but disgrace he fears,
And still unconquered, though o'erset, appears.

But mongst the rest upon his helmet gay
With his broad sword Tancredi came and smote:
The Pagan knew the prince by his array,
By his strong blows, his armor and his coat;
For once they fought, and when night stayed that fray,
New time they chose to end their combat hot,
But Tancred failed, wherefore the Pagan knight
Cried, "Tancred, com'st thou thus, thus late to fight?

"Too late thou com'st, and not alone to war,
But yet the fight I neither shun nor fear,
Although from knighthood true thou errest far,
Since like an engineer thou dost appear,
That tower, that troop, thy shield and safety are,
Strange kind of arms in single fight to bear;
Yet shalt thou not escape, O conqueror strong
Of ladies fair, sharp death, to avenge that wrong."

Lord Tancred smiled, with disdain and scorn,
And answerd thus, "To end our strife," quoth he,
"Behold at last I come, and my return,
Though late, perchance will be too soon for thee;
For thou shalt wish, of hope and help forlorn,
Some sea or mountain placed twixt thee and me,
And well shalt know before we end this fray
No fear of cowardice hath caused my stay.

"But come aside, thou by whose prowess dies
The monsters, knights and giants in all lands,
The killer of weak women thee defies."
This said, he turned to his fighting bands,
And bids them all retire. "Forbear," he cries,
"To strike this knight, on him let none lay hands;
For mine he is, more than a common foe,
By challenge new and promise old also."

"Descend," the fierce Circassian gan reply,
"Alone, or all this troop for succor take

* * *

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