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"And well I know their army and their host
Within a day or two will here arrive:
But thee Rinaldo it behoveth most
To keep thy noble head, for which they strive,
For all the chief in arms or courage boast
They will the same to Queen Armida give,
And for the same she gives herself in price,
Such hire will many hands to work entice.
"The chief of these that have thy murder sworn,
Is Altamore, the king of Samarcand!
Adrastus then, whose realm lies near the morn,
A hardy giant, bold, and strong of hand,
This king upon an elephant is borne,
For under him no horse can stir or stand;
The third is Tisipherne, as brave a lord
As ever put on helm or girt on sword."
This said, from young Rinaldo's angry eyes,
Flew sparks of wrath, flames in his visage shined,
He longed to be amid those enemies,
Nor rest nor reason in his heart could find.
But to the Duke Vafrine his talk applies,
"The greatest news, my lord, are yet behind,
For all their thoughts, their crafts and counsels tend
By treason false to bring thy life to end."
Then all from point to point he gan expose
The false compact, how it was made and wrought,
The arms and ensigns feigned, poison close,
Ormondo's vaunt, what praise, what thank he sought,
And what reward, and satisfied all those
That would demand, inquire, or ask of aught.
Silence was made awhile, when Godfrey thus, --
"Raymondo, say, what counsel givest thou us?"
"Not as we purposed late, next morn," quoth he,
"Let us not scale, but round besiege this tower,
That those within may have no issue free
To sally out, and hurt us with their power,
Our camp well rested and refreshed see,
Provided well gainst this last storm and shower,
And then in pitched field, fight, if you will;
If not, delay and keep this fortress still.
"But lest you be endangered, hurt, or slain,
Of all your cares take care yourself to save,
By you this camp doth live, doth win, doth reign,
Who else can rule or guide these squadrons brave?
And for the traitors shall be noted plain,
Command your guard to change the arms they have,
So shall their guile be known, in their own net
So shall they fall, caught in the snare they set."
"As it hath ever," thus the Duke begun,
"Thy counsel shows thy wisdom and thy love,
And what you left in doubt shall thus be done,
We will their force in pitched battle prove;
Closed in this wall and trench, the fight to shun,
Doth ill this camp beseem, and worse behove,
But we their strength and manhood will assay,
And try, in open field and open day.
"The fame of our great conquests to sustain,
Or bide our looks and threats, they are not able,
And when this army is subdued and slain
Then is our empire settled, firm and stable,
The tower shall yield, or but resist in vain,
For fear her anchor is, despair her cable."
Thus he concludes, and rolling down the west
Fast set the stars, and called them all to rest.
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