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Torquato Tasso
Jerusalem Delivered
page 222

She hit him, where with gold and rich anmail,
His diadem did on his helmet flame,
She broke and cleft the crown, and caused him veil
His proud and lofty top, his crest down came,
Strong seemed her arm that could so well assail:
The Pagan shook for spite and blushed for shame,
Forward he hed, and would at once requite
Shame with disgrace, and with revenge despite.

Right on the front he gave that lady kind
A blow so huge, so strong, so great, so sore,
That out of sense and feeling, down she twined:
But her dear knight his love from ground upbore,
Were it their fortune, or his noble mind,
He stayed his hand and strook the dame no more:
A lion so stalks by, and with proud eyes
Beholds, but scorns to hurt a man that lies.

This while Ormondo false, whose cruel hand
Was armed and prest to give the trait'rous blow,
With all his fellows mongst Godfredo's band
Entered unseen, disguised that few them know:
The thievish wolves, when night o'ershades the land,
That seem like faithful dogs in shape and show,
So to the closed folds in secret creep,
And entrance seek; to kill some harmless sheep.

He proached nigh, and to Godfredo's side
The bloody Pagan now was placed near:
But when his colors gold and white he spied,
And saw the other signs that forged were,
"See, see, this traitor false!" the captain cried,
"That like a Frenchman would in show appear,
Behold how near his mates and he are crept!"
This said, upon the villain forth he leapt;

Deadly he wounded him, and that false knight
Nor strikes nor wards nor striveth to be gone;
But, as Medusa's head were in his sight,
Stood like a man new turned to marble stone,
All lances broke, unsheathed all weapons bright,
All quivers emptied were on them alone,
In parts so many were the traitors cleft,
That those dead men had no dead bodies left.

When Godfrey was with Pagan blood bespread,
He entered then the fight and that was past
Where the bold Persian fought and combated,
Where the close ranks he opened, cleft and brast;
Before the knight the troops and squadrons fled,
As Afric dust before the southern blast;
The Duke recalled them, in array them placed,
Stayed those that fled, and him assailed that chased.

The champions strong there fought a battle stout,
Troy never saw the like by Xanthus old:
A conflict sharp there was meanwhile on foot
Twixt Baldwin good and Muleasses bold:
The horsemen also near the mountains rout,
And in both wings, a furious skirmish hold,
And where the barbarous duke in person stood,
Twixt Tisiphernes and Adrastus proud;

With Emiren Robert the Norman strove,
Long time they fought, yet neither lost nor won;
The other Robert's helm the Indian clove,
And broke his arms, their fight would soon be done:
From place to place did Tisiphernes rove,
And found no match, against him none dust run,
But where the press was thickest thither flew
The knight, and at each stroke felled, hurt, or slew.

Thus fought they long, yet neither shrink nor yield,
In equal balance hung their hope and fear:
All full of broken lances lay the field,

* * *

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