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Torquato Tasso
Jealem Delivered
page 226

Of life, and would meet death with constant breast,
Furious and fierce he did the gates unbar,
And sudden rage brought forth, and sudden war.

Nor stayed he till the folk on whom he cried
Assemble might, but out alone he flies,
A thousand foes the man alone defied,
And ran among a thousand enemies:
But with his fury called from every side,
The rest run out, and Aladine forth hies,
The cowards had no fear, the wise no care,
This was not hope, nor courage, but despair.

The dreadful Turk with sudden blows down cast
The first he met, nor gave them time to plain
Or pray, in murdering them he made such haste
That dead they fell ere one could see them slain;
From mouth to mouth, from eye to eye forth passed
The fear and terror, that the faithful train
Of Syrian folk, not used to dangerous fight,
Were broken, scattered, and nigh put to flight.

But with less terror, and disorder less,
The Gascoigns kept array, and kept their ground,
Though most the loss and peril them oppress,
Unwares assailed they were, unready found.
No ravening tooth or talon hard I guess
Of beast or eager hawk, doth slay and wound
So many sheep or fowls, weak, feeble, small,
As his sharp sword killed knights and soldiers tall.

It seemed his thirst and hunger 'suage he would
With their slain bodies, and their blood poured out,
With him his troops and Aladino old
Slew their besiegers, killed the Gascoign rout:
But Raymond ran to meet the Soldan bold,
Nor to encounter him had fear or doubt,
Though his right hand by proof too well he know,
Which laid him late for dead at one huge blow.

They met, and Raymond fell amid the field,
This blow again upon his forehead light,
It was the fault and weakness of his eild,
Age is not fit to bear strokes of such might,
Each one lift up his sword, advanced his shield,
Those would destroy, and these defend the knight.
On went the Soldan, for the man he thought
Was slain, or easily might be captive brought.

Among the rest he ran, he raged, he smote,
And in small space, small time, great wonders wrought
And as his rage him led and fury hot,
To kill and murder, matter new he sought:
As from his supper poor with hungry throat
A peasant hastes, to a rich feast ybrought;
So from this skirmish to the battle great
He ran, and quenched with blood his fury's heat.

Where battered was the wall he sallied out,
And to the field in haste and heat he goes,
With him went rage and fury, fear and doubt
Remained behind, among his scattered foes:
To win the conquest strove his squadron stout,
Which he unperfect left; yet loth to lose
The day, the Christians fight, resist and die,
And ready were to yield, retire and fly.

The Gascoign bands retired, but kept array,
The Syrian people ran away outright,
The fight was near the place where Tancred lay,
His house was full of noise and great affright,
He rose and 1ooked forth to see the fray,
Though every limb were weak, faint, void of might;
He saw the country lie, his men o'erthrown,
Some beaten back, some killed, some felled down.

* * *

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