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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 213

And there I lived in groves and forests wild,
With gentle grooms and shepherds' daughters mild.

"But when hot love which fear had late suppressed,
Revived again, there nould I longer sit,
But rode the way I came, nor e'er took rest,
Till on like danger, like mishap I hit,
A troop to forage and to spoil addressed,
Encountered me, nor could I fly from it:
Thus was I ta'en, and those that had me caught,
Egyptians were, and me to Gaza brought,

"And for a present to their captain gave,
Whom I entreated and besought so well,
That he mine honor had great care to save,
And since with fair Armida let me dwell.
Thus taken oft, escaped oft I have,
Ah, see what haps I passed, what dangers fell,
So often captive, free so oft again,
Still my first bands I keep, still my first chain.

"And he that did this chain so surely bind
About my heart, which none can loose but he,
Let him not say, `Go, wandering damsel, find
Some other home, thou shalt not bide with me,'
But let him welcome me with speeches kind,
And in my wonted prison set me free:"
Thus spake the princess, thus she and her guide
Talked day and night, and on their journey ride.

Through the highways Vafrino would not pass,
A path more secret, safe and short, he knew,
And now close by the city's wall he was,
When sun was set, night in the east upflew,
With drops of blood besmeared he found the grass,
And saw where lay a warrior murdered new,
That all be-bled the ground, his face to skies
He turns, and seems to threat, though dead he lies:

His harness and his habit both betrayed
He was a Pagan; forward went the squire,
And saw whereas another champion laid
Dead on the land, all soiled with blood and mire,
"This was some Christian knight," Vafrino said:
And marking well his arms and rich attire,
He loosed his helm, and saw his visage plain,
And cried, "Alas, here lies Tancredi slain!"

The woful virgin tarried, and gave heed
To the fierce looks of that proud Saracine,
Till that high cry, full of sad fear and dread,
Pierced through her heart with sorrow, grief and pine,
At Tancred's name thither she ran with speed,
Like one half mad, or drunk with too much wine,
And when she saw his face, pale, bloodless, dead,
She lighted, nay, she stumbled from her steed:

Her springs of tears she 1ooseth forth, and cries,
"Hither why bring'st thou me, ah, Fortune blind?
Where dead, for whom I lived, my comfort lies,
Where war for peace, travail for rest I find;
Tancred, I have thee, see thee, yet thine eyes
Looked not upon thy love and handmaid kind,
Undo their doors, their lids fast closed sever,
Alas, I find thee for to lose thee ever.

"I never thought that to mine eyes, my dear,
Thou couldst have grievous or unpleasant been;
But now would blind or rather dead I were,
That thy sad plight might be unknown, unseen!
Alas! where is thy mirth and smiling cheer?
Where are thine eyes' clear beams and sparkles sheen?
Of thy fair cheek where is the purple red,
And forehead's whiteness? are all gone, all dead?

"Though gone, though dead, I love thee still, behold;

* * *

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