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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 219

Their leaders heard, obeyed, or followed be,
Their loss, their flight, their death I will foresee.

"Their captain clad in purple, armed in gold,
That seems so fierce, so hardy, stout and strong,
The Moors or weak Arabians vanquish could,
Yet can he not resist your valors long.
What can he do, though wise, though sage, though bold,
In that confusion, trouble, tht and throng?
Ill known he is, and worse he knows his host,
Strange lords ill feared are, ill obeyed of most.

"But I am captain of this chosen crew,
With whom I oft have conquered, triumphed oft,
Your lands and lineages long since I knew,
Each knight obeys my rule, mild, easy, soft,
I know each sword, each dart, each shaft I view,
Although the quarrel fly in skies aloft,
Whether the same of Ireland be, or France,
And from what bow it comes, what hand perchance.

"I ask an easy and a usual thing,
As you have oft, this day, so win the field,
Let zeal and honor be your virtue's sting,
Your lives, my fame, Christ's faith defend and shield,
To earth these Pagans slain and wounded bring,
Tread on their necks, make them all die or yield, --
What need I more exhort you? from your eyes
I see how victory, how conquest flies."

Upon the captain, when his speech was done,
It seemed a lamp and golden light down came,
As from night's azure mantle oft doth run
Or fall, a sliding star, or shining flame;
But from the bosom of the burning sun
Proceeded this, and garland-wise the same
Godfredo's noble head encompassed round,
And, as some thought, foreshowed he should be crowned.

Perchance, if man's proud thought or saucy tongue
Have leave to judge or guess at heavenly things,
This was the angel which had kept him long,
That now came down, and hid him with his wings.
While thus the Duke bespeaks his armies strong,
And every troop and band in order brings.
Lord Emiren his host disposed well,
And with bold words whet on their courage fell;

The man brought forth his army great with speed,
In order good, his foes at hand he spied,
Like the new moon his host two horns did spreed,
In midst the foot, the horse were on each side,
The right wing kept he for himself to lead,
Great Altamore received the left to guide,
The middle ward led Muleasses proud,
And in that battle fair Armida stood.

On the right quarter stood the Indian grim,
With Tisipherne and all the king's own band;
But when the left wing spread her squadrons trim
O'er the large plain, did Altamoro stand,
With African and Persian kings with him,
And two that came from Meroe's hot sand,
And all his crossbows and his slings he placed,
Where room best served to shoot, to throw, to cast.

Thus Emiren his host put in array,
And rode from band to band, from rank to rank,
His truchmen now, and now himself, doth say,
What spoil his folk shall gain, what praise, what thank.
To him that feared, "Look up, ours is the day,"
He says, "Vile fear to bold hearts never sank,
How dareth one against an hundred fight?
Our cry, our shade, will put them all to flight."

But to the bold, "Go, hardy knight," he says,

* * *

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