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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 204


And with them both let fall his weighty blade.
Tancred to ward his blow his sword up slung,
But that it smote aside, nor there it stayed,
But from his shoulder to his side along
It glanced, and many wounds at once it made:
Yet Tancred feared naught, for in his heart
Found coward dread no place, fear had no part.

XXIV
His fearful blow he doubled, but he spent
His force in waste, and all his strength in vain;
For Tancred from the blow against him bent,
Leaped aside, the stroke fell on the plain.
With thine own weight o'erthrown to earth thou went,
Argantes stout, nor could'st thyself sustain,
Thyself thou threwest down, O happy man,
Upon whose fall none boast or triumph can!

XXV
His gaping wounds the fall set open wide,
The streams of blood about him made a lake,
Helped with his left hand, on one knee he tried
To rear himself, and new defence to make:
The courteous prince stepped back, and "Yield thee!" cried,
No hurt he proffered him, no blow he strake.
Meanwhile by stealth the Pagan false him gave
A sudden wound, threatening with speeches brave:

XXVI
Herewith Tancredi furious grew, and said,
"Villain, dost thou my mercy so despise?"
Therewith he tht and tht again his blade,
And through his ventil pierced his dazzled eyes,
Argantes died, yet no complaint he made,
But as he furious lived he careless dies;
Bold, proud, disdainful, fierce and void of fear
His motions last, last looks, last speeches were.

XXVII
Tancred put up his sword, and praises glad
Gave to his God that saved him in this fight;
But yet this bloody conquest feebled had
So much the conqueror's force, strength and might,
That through the way he feared which homeward led
He had not strength enough to walk upright;
Yet as he could his steps from thence he bent,
And foot by foot a heavy pace forth-went;

XXVIII
His legs could bear him but a little stound,
And more he hastes, more tired, less was his speed,
On his right hand, at last, laid on the ground
He leaned, his hand weak like a shaking reed,
Dazzled his eyes, the world on wheels ran round,
Day wrapped her brightness up in sable weed;
At length he swooned, and the victor knight
Naught differed from his conquered foe in fight.

XXIX
But while these lords their private fight pursue,
Made fierce and cruel through their secret hate,
The victor's ire destroyed the faithless crew
From street to street, and chased from gate to gate.
But of the sacked town the image true
Who can describe, or paint the woful state,
Or with fit words this spectacle express
Who can? or tell the city's great distress?

XXX
Blood, murder, death, each street, house, church defiled,
There heaps of slain appear, there mountains high;
There underneath the unburied hills up-piled
Of bodies dead, the living buried lie;
There the sad mother with her tender child
Doth tear her tresses loose, complain and fly,
And there the spoiler by her amber hair
Draws to his lust the virgin chaste and fair.

XXXI
But through the way that to the west-hill yood
Whereon the old and stately temple stands,
All soiled with gore and wet with lukewarm blood
Rinaldo ran, and chased the Pagan bands;
Above their heads he heaved his curtlax good,

* * *

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