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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 218

A hill at first he took and fortified
At his left hand which stood his army by,
Broad in the front behind more strait uptied
His army ready stood the fight to try,
And to the middle ward well armed he brings
His footmen strong, his horsemen served for wings.

To the left wing, spread underneath the bent
Of the steep hill that saved their flank and side,
The Roberts twain, two leaders good, he sent;
His brother had the middle ward to guide;
To the right wing himself in person went
Down, where the plain was dangerous, broad and wide,
And where his foes with their great numbers would
Perchance environ round his squadrons bold.

There all his Lorrainers and men of might,
All his best armed he placed, and chosen bands,
And with those horse some footmen armed light,
That archers were, used to that service, stands;
The adventurers then, in battle and in fight
Well tried, a squadron famous through all lands,
On the right hand he set, somedeal aside,
Rinaldo was their leader, lord and guide.

To whom the Duke, "In thee our hope is laid
Of victory, thou must the conquest gain,
Behind this mighty wing, so far displayed,
Thou with thy noble squadron close remain;
And when the Pagans would our backs invade,
Assail them then, and make their onset vain;
For if I guess aright, they have in mind
To compass us, and charge our troops behind."

Then through his host, that took so large a scope,
He rode, and viewed them all, both horse and foot;
His face was bare, his helm unclosed and ope,
Lightened his eyes, his looks bright fire shot out;
He cheers the fearful, comforts them that hope,
And to the bold recounts his boasting stout,
And to the valiant his adventures hard,
These bids he look for praise, those for reward.

At last he stayed where of his squadrons bold
And noblest troops assembled was best part;
There from a rising bank his will he told,
And all that heard his speech thereat took heart:
And as the mountain snow from mountains cold
Runs down in streams with eloquence and art,
So from his lips his words and speeches fell,
Shrill, speedy, pleasant, sweet, and placed well.

"My hardy host, you conquerors of the East,
You scourge wherewith Christ whips his heathen fone,
Of victory behold the latest feast,
See the last day for which you wished alone;
Not without cause the Saracens most and least
Our gracious Lord hath gathered here in one,
For all your foes and his assembled are,
That one day's fight may end seven years of war.

"This fight shall bring us many victories,
The danger none, the labor will be small,
Let not the number of your enemies
Dismay your hearts, grant fear no place at all;
For strife and discord through their army flies,
Their bands ill ranked themselves entangle shall,
And few of them to strike or fight shall come,
For some want strength, some heart, some elbow-room.

"This host, with whom you must encounter now,
Are men half naked, without strength or skill,
From idleness, or following the plough,
Late pressed forth to war against their will,
Their swords are blunt, shields thin, soon pierced through,
Their banners shake, their bearers shrink, for ill

* * *

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