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Torquato Tasso
Jealem Delivered
page 225

By which, to which exchanged, I might find grace?
For in my knights, and all that take my part,
I see no help; no hope, no tt I place;
To his great prowess, might, and valiant heart,
All strength is weak, all courage vile and base."
This said she, for she saw how through the field
Her champions fly, faint, tremble, fall and yield.

Nor left alone can she her person save,
But to be slain or taken stands in fear,
Though with a bow a javelin long she have,
Yet weak was Phebe's bow, blunt Pallas' spear.
But, as the swan, that sees the eagle brave
Threatening her flesh and silver plumes to tear,
Falls down, to hide her mongst the shady brooks:
Such were her fearful motions, such her looks.

But Altamore, this while that strove and sought
From shameful flight his Persian host to stay,
That was discomfit and destroyed to nought,
Whilst he alone maintained the fight and fray,
Seeing distressed the goddess of his thought,
To aid her ran, nay flew, and laid away
All care both of his honor and his host:
If she were safe, let all the world be lost.

To the ill-guarded chariot swift he flew,
His weapon made him way with bloody war:
Meanwhile Lord Godfrey and Rinaldo slew
His feeble bands, his people murdered are,
He saw their loss, but aided not his crew,
A better lover than a leader far,
He set Armida safe, then turned again
With tardy succor, for his folk were slain.

And on that side the woful prince beheld
The battle lost, no help nor hope remained;
But on the other wing the Christians yield,
And fly, such vantage there the Egyptians gained,
One of the Roberts was nigh slain in field;
The other by the Indian strong constrained
To yield himself his captive and his slave;
Thus equal loss and equal foil they have.

Godfredo took the time and season fit
To bring again his squadrons in array,
And either camp well ordered, ranged and knit,
Renewed the furious battle, fight and fray,
New streams of blood were shed, new swords them hit;
New combats fought, new spoils were borne away,
And unresolved and doubtful, on each side,
Did praise and conquest, Mars and Fortune ride.

Between the armies twain while thus the fight
Waxed sharp, hot, cruel, though renewed but late,
The Soldan clomb up to the tower's height,
And saw far off their strife and fell debate,
As from some stage or theatre the knight
Saw played the tragedy of human state,
Saw death, blood, murder, woe and horror strange,
And the great acts of fortune, chance, and change.

At first astonished and amazed he stood
Then burnt with wrath, and self-consuming ire,
Swelled his bosom like a raging flood,
To be amid that battle; such desire,
Such haste he had; he donned his helmet good,
His other arms he had before entire,
"Up, up!" he cried, "no more, no more, within
This fortress stay, come follow, die or win."

Whether the same were Providence divine
That made him leave the fortress he possessed,
For that the empire proud of Palestine
This day should fall, to rise again more blessed;
Or that he breaking felt the fatal line

* * *

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