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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 203


And pierced his side, which done, he said and smiled,
"The craftsman is in his own craft beguiled."

XV
Tancredi bit his lip for scorn and shame,
Nor longer stood on points of fence and skill,
But to revenge so fierce and fast he came
As if his hand could not o'ertake his will,
And at his visor aiming just, gan frame
To his proud boast an answer sharp, but still
Argantes broke the tht; and at half-sword,
Swift, hardy, bold, in stepped the Christian lord.

XVI
With his left foot fast forward gan he stride,
And with his left the Pagan's right arm bent,
With his right hand meanwhile the man's right side
He cut, he wounded, mangled, tore and rent.
"To his victorious teacher," Tancred cried,
"His conquered scholar hath this answer sent;"
Argantes chafed, struggled, turned and twined,
Yet could not so his captive arm unbind:

XVII
His sword at last he let hang by the chain,
And griped his hardy foe in both his hands,
In his strong arms Tancred caught him again,
And thus each other held and wrapped in bands.
With greater might Alcides did not strain
The giant Antheus on the Lybian sands,
On holdfast knots their brawny arms they cast,
And whom he hateth most, each held embraced:

XVIII
Such was their wrestling, such their shocks and throws
That down at once they tumbled both to ground,
Argantes, -- were it hap or skill, who knows,
His better hand loose and in freedom found;
But the good Prince, his hand more fit for blows,
With his huge weight the Pagan underbound;
But he, his disadvantage great that knew,
Let go his hold, and on his feet up flew:

XIX
Far slower rose the unwieldy Saracine,
And caught a rap ere he was reared upright.
But as against the blustering winds a pine
Now bends his top, now lifts his head on height,
His courage so, when it 'gan most decline,
The man reinforced, and advanced his might,
And with fierce change of blows renewed the fray,
Where rage for skill, horror for art, bore sway.

XX
The purple drops from Tancred's sides down railed,
But from the Pagan ran whole streams of blood,
Wherewith his force grew weak, his courage quailed
As fires die which fuel want or food.
Tancred that saw his feeble arm now failed
To strike his blows, that scant he stirred or stood,
Assuaged his anger, and his wrath allayed,
And stepping back, thus gently spoke and said:

XXI
"Yield, hardy knight, and chance of war or me
Confess to have subdued thee in this fight,
I will no trophy, triumph, spoil of thee,
Nor glory wish, nor seek a victor's right
More terrible than erst;" herewith grew he
And all awaked his fury, rage and might,
And said, "Dar'st thou of vantage speak or think,
Or move Argantes once to yield or shrink?

XXII
"Use, use thy vantage, thee and fortune both
I scorn, and punish will thy foolish pride:"
As a hot brand flames most ere it forth go'th,
And dying blazeth bright on every side;
So he, when blood was lost, with anger wroth,
Revived his courage when his puissance died,
And would his latest hour which now drew nigh,
Illustrate with his end, and nobly die.

XXIII
He joined his left hand to her sister strong,

* * *

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