Eighth Book

A messenger to Godfrey sage doth tell
The Prince of Denmark's valour, death and end:
The Italians, trusting signs untrue too well,
Think their Rinaldo slain: the wicked fiend
Breeds fury in their breasts, their bosoms swell
With ire and hate, and war and strife forth send:
They threaten Godfrey; he prays to the Lord,
And calms their fury with his look and word.

Now were the skies of storms and tempests cleared,
Lord Aeolus shut up his winds in hold,
The silver-mantled morning fresh appeared,
With roses crowned, and buskined high with gold;
The spirits yet which had these tempests reared,
Their malice would still more and more unfold;
And one of them that Astragor was named,
His speeches thus to foul Alecto framed.

"Alecto, see, we could not stop nor stay
The knight that to our foes new tidings brings,
Who from the hands escaped, with life away,
Of that great prince, chief of all Pagan kings:
He comes, the fall of his slain lord to say,
Of death and loss he tells, and such sad things,
Great news he brings, and greatest dangers is,
Bertoldo's son shall be called home for this.

"Thou knowest what would befall, bestir thee than;
Prevent with craft, what force could not withstand,
Turn to their evil the speeches of the man,
With his own weapon wound Godfredo's hand;
Kindle debate, infect with poison wan
The English, Switzer, and Italian band,
Great tumult move, make brawls and quarrels rife,
Set all the camp on uproar and at strife.

"This act beseems thee well, and of the deed
Much may'st thou boast before our lord and king."
Thus said the sprite. Persuasion small did need,
The monster grants to undertake the thing.
Meanwhile the knight, whose coming thus they dread,
Before the camp his weary limbs doth bring,
And well-nigh breathless, "Warriors bold," he cried,
"Who shall conduct me to your famous guide?"

An hundred strove the stranger's guide to be,
To hearken news the knights by heaps assemble,
The man fell lowly down upon his knee,
And kissed the hand that made proud Babel tremble;
"Right puissant lord, whose valiant acts," quoth he,
"The sands and stars in number best resemble,
Would God some gladder news I might unfold,"
And there he paused, and sighed; then thus he told:

"Sweno, the King of Denmark's only heir,
The stay and staff of his declining eild,
Longed to be among these squadrons fair
Who for Christ's faith here serve with spear and shield;
No weariness, no storms of sea or air,
No such contents as crowns and sceptres yield,
No dear entreaties of so kind a sire,
Could in his bosom quench that glorious fire.

"He thirsted sore to learn this warlike art
Of thee, great lord and master of the same;
And was ashamed in his noble heart,
That never act he did deserved fame;
Besides, the news and tidings from each part
Of young Rinaldo's worth and praises came:
But that which most his courage stirred hath,
Is zeal, religion, godliness, and faith.

"He hasted forward, then without delay,
And with him took of knights a chosen band,
Directly toward Thrace we took the way,
To Byzance old, chief fortress of that land,
There the Greek monarch gently prayed him stay,
And there an herald sent from you we fand,
How Antioch was won, who first declared,
And how defended nobly afterward.

"Defended gainst Corbana, valiant knight,
That all the Persian armies had to guide,
And brought so many soldiers bold to fight,
That void of men he left that kingdom wide;
He told thine acts, thy wisdom and thy might,
And told the deeds of many a lord beside,
His speech at length to young Rinaldo passed,
And told his great achievements, first and last:

"And how this noble camp of yours, of late
Besieged had this town, and in what sort,
And how you prayed him to participate
Of the last conquest of this noble fort.
In hardy Sweno opened was the gate
Of worthy anger by this brave report,
So that each hour seemed five years long,
Till he were fighting with these Pagans strong.

"And while the herald told your fights and frays,
Himself of cowardice reproved he thought,
And him to stay that counsels him, or prays,
He hears not, or, else heard, regardeth naught,
He fears no perils but whilst he delays,
Lest this last work without his help be wrought:
In this his doubt, in this his danger lies,
No hazard else he fears, no peril spies.

"Thus hasting on, he hasted on his death,
Death that to him and us was fatal guide.
The rising morn appeared yet aneath,
When he and we were armed, and fit to ride,
The nearest way seemed best, o'er hold and heath
We went, through deserts waste, and forests wide,
The streets and ways he openeth as he goes,
And sets each land free from intruding foes.

"Now want of food, now dangerous ways we find,
Now open war, now ambush closely laid;
Yet passed we forth, all perils left behind,
Our foes or dead or run away afraid,
Of victory so happy blew the wind,
That careless all the heedless to it made:
Until one day his tents he happed to rear,
To Palestine when we approached near.

"There did our scouts return and bring us news,
That dreadful noise of horse and arms they hear,
And that they deemed by sundry signs and shows
There was some mighty host of Pagans near.
At these sad tidings many changed their hues,
Some looked pale for dread, some shook for fear,
Only our noble lord was altered naught,
In look, in face, in gesture, or in thought.

"But said, `A crown prepare you to possess
Of martyrdom, or happy victory;
For this I hope, for that I wish no less,
Of greater merit and of greater glory.
Brethren, this camp will shortly be, I guess,
A temple, sacred to our memory,
To which the holy men of future age,
To view our graves shall come in pilgrimage.'

"This said, he set the watch in order right
To guard the camp, along the trenches deep,
And as he armed was, so every knight
He willed on his back his arms to keep.
Now had the stillness of the quiet night
Drowned all the world in silence and in sleep,
When suddenly we heard a dreadful sound,
Which deafed the earth, and tremble made the ground.

" `Arm, arm,' they cried; Prince Sweno at the same,
Glistering in shining steel leaped foremost out,
His visage shone, his noble looks did flame,
With kindled brand of courage bold and stout,
When lo, the Pagans to assault us came,
And with huge numbers hemmed us round about,
A forest thick of spears about us grew,
And over us a cloud of arrows flew:

"Uneven the fight, unequal was the fray,
Our enemies were twenty men to one,
On every side the slain and wounded lay
Unseen, where naught but glistering weapons shone:
The number of the dead could no man say,
So was the place with darkness overgone,
The night her mantle black upon its spreads,
Hiding our losses and our valiant deeds.

"But hardy Sweno midst the other train,
By his great acts was well descried I wot,
No darkness could his valor's daylight stain,
Such wondrous blows on every side he smote;
A stream of blood, a bank of bodies slain,
About him made a bulwark of bodies slain,
And when soe'er he turned his fatal brand,
Dread in his looks and death sate in his hand.

"Thus fought we till the morning bright appeared,
And strewed roses on the azure sky,
But when her lamp had night's thick darkness cleared,
Wherein the bodies dead did buried lie,
Then our sad cries to heaven for grief we reared,
Our loss apparent was, for we descry
How all our camp destroyed was almost,
And all our people well-nigh slain and lost;

"Of thousands twain an hundred scant survived.
When Sweno murdered saw each valiant knight,
I know not if his heart in sunder rived
For dear compassion of that woful sight;
He showed no change, but said: `Since so deprived
We are of all our friends by chance of fight,
Come follow them, the path to heaven their blood
Marks out, now angels made, of martyrs good.'

"This said, and glad I think of death at hand,
The signs of heavenly joy shone through his eyes,
Of Saracens against a mighty band,
With fearless heart and constant breast he flies;
No steel could shield them from his cutting bran
But whom he hits without recure he dies,
He never struck but felled or killed his foe
And wounded was himself from top to toe.

"Not strength, but courage now, preserved on live
This hardy champion, fortress of our faith,
Strucken he strikes, still stronger more they strive,
The more they hurt him, more he doth them scathe,
When toward him a furious knight gan drive,
Of members huge, fierce looks, and full of wrath,
That with the aid of many a Pagan crew,
After long fight, at last Prince Sweno slew.

"Ah, heavy chance! Down fell the valiant youth,
Nor mongst us all did one so strong appear
As to revenge his death: that this is truth,
By his dear blood and noble bones I swear,
That of my life I had not care nor ruth,
No wounds I shunned, no blows I would off bear,
And had not Heaven my wished end denied,
Even there I should, and willing should, have died.

"Alive I fell among my fellows slain,
Yet wounded so that each one thought me dead,
Nor what our foes did since can I explain,
So sore amazed was my heart and head;
But when I opened first mine eyes again,
Night's curtain black upon the earth was spread,
And through the darkness to my feeble sight,
Appeared the twinkling of a slender light.

"Not so much force or judgement in me lies
As to discern things seen and not mistake,
I saw like them who ope and shut their eyes
By turns, now half asleep, now half awake;
My body eke another torment tries,
My wounds began to smart, my hurts to ache;
For every sore each member pinched was
With night's sharp air, heaven's frost and earth's cold grass.

"But still the light approached near and near,
And with the same a whispering murmur run,
Till at my side arrived both they were,
When I to spread my feeble eyes begun:
Two men behold in vestures long appear,
With each a lamp in hand, who said, `O son
In that dear Lord who helps his servants, trust,
Who ere they ask, grants all things to the just.'

"This said, each one his sacred blessings flings
Upon my corse, with broad our-stretched hand,
And mumbled hymns and psalms and holy things,
Which I could neither hear nor understand;
`Arise,' quoth they, with that as I had wings,
All whole and sound I leaped up from the land.
Oh miracle, sweet, gentle, strange and true!
My limbs new strength received, and vigor new.

"I gazed on them like one whose heart denieth
To think that done, he sees so strangely wrought;
Till one said thus, `O thou of little faith,
What doubts perplex thy unbelieving thought?
Each one of us a living body hath,
We are Christ's chosen servants, fear us naught,
Who to avoid the world's allurements vain,
In wilful penance, hermits poor remain.

" `Us messengers to comfort thee elect
That Lord hath sent that rules both heaven and hell;
Who often doth his blessed will effect,
By such weak means, as wonder is to tell;
He will not that this body lie neglect,
Wherein so noble soul did lately dwell
To which again when it uprisen is
It shall united be in lasting bliss.

" `I say Lord Sweno's corpse, for which prepared
A tomb there is according to his worth,
By which his honor shall be far declared,
And his just praises spread from south to north:"
But lift thine eyes up to the heavens ward,
Mark yonder light that like the sun shines forth
That shall direct thee with those beams so clear,
To find the body of thy master dear.'

"With that I saw from Cynthia's silver face,
Like to a falling star a beam down slide,
That bright as golden line marked out the place,
And lightened with clear streams the forest wide;
So Latmos shone when Phoebe left the chase,
And laid her down by her Endymion's side,
Such was the light that well discern I could,
His shape, his wounds, his face, though dead, yet bold.

"He lay not grovelling now, but as a knight
That ever had to heavenly things desire,
So toward heaven the prince lay bolt upright,
Like him that upward still sought to aspire,
His right hand closed held his weapon bright,
Ready to strike and execute his ire,
His left upon his breast was humbly laid,
That men might know, that while he died he prayed.

"Whilst on his wounds with bootless tears I wept,
That neither helped him, nor eased my care,
One of those aged fathers to him stepped,
And forced his hand that needless weapon spare:
`This sword,' quoth he, `hath yet good token kept,
That of the Pagans' blood he drunk his share,
And blusheth still he could not save his lord,
Rich, strong and sharp, was never better sword.

" `Heaven, therefore, will not, though the prince be slain,
Who used erst to wield this precious brand
That so brave blade unused should remain;
But that it pass from strong to stronger hand,
Who with like force can wield the same again,
And longer shall in grace of fortune stand,
And with the same shall bitter vengeance take
On him that Sweno slew, for Sweno's sake.

" `Great Solyman killed Sweno, Solyman
For Sweno's sake, upon this sword must die.
Here, take the blade, and with it haste thee than
Thither where Godfrey doth encamped lie,
And fear not thou that any shall or can
Or stop thy way, or lead thy steps awry;
For He that doth thee on this message send,
Thee with His hand shall guide, keep and defend.

" `Arrived there it is His blessed will,
With true report that thou declare and tell
The zeal, the strength, the courage and the skill
In thy beloved lord that late did dwell,
How for Christ's sake he came his blood to spill,
And sample left to all of doing well,
That future ages may admire his deed,
And courage take when his brave end they read.

" `It resteth now, thou know that gentle knight
That of this sword shall be thy master's heir,
It is Rinaldo young, with whom in might
And martial skill no champion may compare,
Give it to him and say, "The Heavens bright
Of this revenge to him commit the care."
While thus I listened what this old man said,
A wonder new from further speech us stayed;

"For there whereas the wounded body lay,
A stately tomb with curious work, behold,
And wondrous art was built out of the clay,
Which, rising round, the carcass did enfold;
With words engraven in the marble gray,
The warrior's name, his worth and praise that told,
On which I gazing stood, and often read
That epitaph of my dear master dead.

" `Among his soldiers,' quoth the hermit, `here
Must Sweno's corpse remain in marble chest,
While up to heaven are flown their spirits dear,
To live in endless joy forever blest,
His funeral thou hast with many a tear
Accompanied, it's now high time to rest,
Come be my guest, until the morning ray
Shall light the world again, then take thy way.'

"This said, he led me over holts and hags,
Through thorns and bushes scant my legs I drew
Till underneath a heap of stones and crags
At last he brought me to a secret mew;
Among the bears, wild boars, the wolves and stags,
There dwelt he safe with his disciple true,
And feared no treason, force, nor hurt at all,
His guiltless conscience was his castle's wall.

"My supper roots; my bed was moss and leaves;
But weariness in little rest found ease:
But when the purple morning night bereaves
Of late usurped rule on lands and seas,
His loathed couch each wakeful hermit leaves,
To pray rose they, and I, for so they please,
I congee took when ended was the same,
And hitherward, as they advised me, came."

The Dane his woful tale had done, when thus
The good Prince Godfrey answered him, "Sir knight,
Thou bringest tidings sad and dolorous,
For which our heavy camp laments of right,
Since so brave troops and so dear friends to us,
One hour hath spent, in one unlucky fight;
And so appeared hath thy master stout,
As lightning doth, now kindled, now quenched out.

"But such a death and end exceedeth all
The conquests vain of realms, or spoils of gold,
Nor aged Rome's proud stately capital,
Did ever triumph yet like theirs behold;
They sit in heaven on thrones celestial,
Crowned with glory, for their conquest bold,
Where each his hurts I think to other shows,
And glory in those bloody wounds and blows.

"But thou who hast part of thy race to run,
With haps and hazards of this world ytost,
rejoice, for those high honors they have won,
Which cannot be by chance or fortune crossed:
But for thou askest for Bertoldo's son,
Know, that he wandereth, banished from this host,
And till of him new tidings some man tell,
Within this camp I deem it best thou dwell."

These words of theirs in many a soul renewed
The sweet remembrance of fair Sophia's child,
Some with salt tears for him their cheeks bedewed,
Lest evil betide him mongst the Pagans wild,
And every one his valiant prowess showed,
And of his battles stories long compiled,
Telling the Dane his acts and conquests past,
Which made his ears amazed, his heart aghast.

Now when remembrance of the youth had wrought
A tender pity in each softened mind,
Behold returned home with all they caught
The bands that were to forage late assigned,
And with them in abundance great they brought
Both flocks and herds of every sort and kind.
And corn, although not much, and hay to feed
Their noble steeds and coursers when they need.

They also brought of misadventure sad
Tokens and signs, seemed too apparent true,
Rinaldo's armor, frushed and hacked they had,
Oft pierced through, with blood besmeared new;
About the camp, for always rumors bad
Are farthest spread, these woful tidings flew.
Thither assembled straight both high and low,
Longing to see what they were loth to know.

His heavy hauberk was both seen and known,
And his brand shield, wherein displayed flies
The bird that proves her chickens for their own
By looking against the sun with open eyes;
That shield was to the Pagans often shown,
In many a hard and hardy enterprise,
But now with many a gash and many a stroke
They see, and sigh to see it, frushed and broke.

While all his soldiers whispered under hand,
And here and there the fault and cause do lay,
Godfrey before him called Aliprand
Captain of those that brought of late this prey,
A man who did on points of virtue stand,
Blameless in words, and true whate'er he say,
"Say," quoth the duke, "where you this armor had,
Hide not the truth, but tell it good or bad."

He answered him, "As far from hence think I
As on two days a speedy post well rideth,
To Gaza-ward a little plain doth lie,
Itself among the steepy hills which hideth,
Through it slow falling from the mountains high,
A rolling brook twixt bush and bramble glideth,
Clad with thick shade of boughs of broad-leaved treen,
Fit place for men to lie in wait unseen.

"Thither, to seek some flocks or herds, we went
Perchance close hid under the green-wood shaw,
And found the springing grass with blood besprent,
A warrior tumbled in his blood we saw,
His arms though dusty, bloody, hacked and rent,
Yet well we knew, when near the corse we draw;
To which, to view his face, in vain I started,
For from his body his fair head was parted;

"His right hand wanted eke, with many a wound
The trunk through pierced was from back to breast,
A little by, his empty helm we found
The silver eagle shining on his crest;
To spy at whom to ask we gazed round,
A child then toward us his steps addressed,
But when us armed by the corse he spied,
He ran away his fearful face to hide:

"But we pursued him, took him, spake him fair,
Till comforted at last he answer made,
How that, the day before, he saw repair
A band of soldiers from that forest shade,
Of whom one carried by the golden hair
A head but late cut off with murdering blade,
The face was fair and young, and on the chin
No sign of heard to bud did yet begin.

"And how in sindal wrapt away he bore
That head with him hung at his saddle-bow.
And how the murtherers by the arms they wore,
For soldiers of our camp he well did know;
The carcass I disarmed and weeping sore,
Because I guessed who should that harness owe,
Away I brought it, but first order gave,
That noble body should be laid in grave.

"But if it be his trunk whom I believe,
A nobler tomb his worth deserveth well."
This said, good Aliprando took his leave,
Of certain troth he had no more to tell,
Sore sighed the duke, so did these news him grieve,
Fears in his heart, doubts in his bosom dwell,
He yearned to know, to find and learns the truth,
And punish would them that had slain the youth.

But now the night dispread her lazy wings
O'er the broad fields of heaven's bright wilderness,
Sleep, the soul's rest, and ease of careful things,
Buried in happy peace both more and less,
Thou Argillan alone, whom sorrow stings,
Still wakest, musing on great deeds I guess,
Nor sufferest in thy watchful eyes to creep
The sweet repose of mild and gentle sleep.

This man was strong of limb, and all his 'says
Were bold, of ready tongue, and working sprite,
Near Trento born, bred up in brawls and frays,
In jars, in quarrels, and in civil fight,
Which exiled, the hills and public ways
He filled with blood, and robberies day and night
Until to Asia's wars at last he came,
And boldly there he served, and purchased fame.

He closed his eyes at last when day drew near.
Yet slept he not, but senseless lay opprest
With strange amazedness and sudden fear
Which false Alecto breathed in his breast,
His working powers within deluded were,
Stone still he quiet lay, yet took no rest,
For to his thought the fiend herself presented,
And with strange visions his weak brain tormented.

A murdered body huge beside him stood,
Of head and right hand both but lately spoiled,
His left hand bore the head, whose visage good,
Both pale and wan, with dust and gore defoiled,
Yet spake, though dead, with whose sad words the blood
Forth at his lips in huge abundance boiled,
"Fly, Argillan, from this false camp fly far,
Whose guide, a traitor; captains, murderers are.

"Godfrey hath murdered me by treason vile,
What favor then hope you my trusty friends?
His villain heart is full of fraud and guile,
To your destruction all his thoughts he bends,
Yet if thou thirst of praise for noble stile,
If in thy strength thou trust, thy strength that ends
All hard assays, fly not, first with his blood
Appease my ghost wandering by Lethe flood;

"I will thy weapon whet, inflame thine ire,
Arm thy right hand, and strengthen every part."
This said; even while she spake she did inspire
With fury, rage, and wrath his troubled heart:
The man awaked, and from his eyes like fire
The poisoned sparks of headstrong madness start,
And armed as he was, forth is he gone,
And gathered all the Italian bands in one.

He gathered them where lay the arms that late
Were good Rinaldo's; then with semblance stout
And furious words his fore-conceived hate
In bitter speeches thus he vomits out;
"Is not this people barbarous and ingrate,
In whom truth finds no place, faith takes no rout?
Whose thirst unquenched is of blood and gold,
Whom no yoke boweth, bridle none can hold.

"So much we suffered have these seven years long,
Under this servile and unworthy yoke,
That thorough Rome and Italy our wrong
A thousand years hereafter shall be spoke:
I count not how Cilicia's kingdom strong,
Subdued was by Prince Tancredi's stroke,
Nor how false Baldwin him that land bereaves
Of virtue's harvest, fraud there reaped the sheaves:

"Nor speak I how each hour, at every need,
Quick, ready, resolute at all assays,
With fire and sword we hasted forth with speed,
And bore the brunt of all their fights and frays;
But when we had performed and done the deed,
At ease and leisure they divide the preys,
We reaped naught but travel for our toil,
Theirs was the praise, the realms, the gold, the spoil.

"Yet all this season were we willing blind,
Offended unrevenged, wronged but unwroken,
Light griefs could not provoke our quiet mind,
But now, alas! the mortal blow is stroken,
Rinaldo have they slain, and law of kind,
Of arms, of nations, and of high heaven broken,
Why doth not heaven kill them with fire and thunder?
To swallow them why cleaves not earth asunder?

"They have Rinaldo slain, the sword and shield
Of Christ's true faith, and unrevenged he lies;
Still unrevenged lieth in the field
His noble corpse to feed the crows and pies:
Who murdered him? who shall us certain yield?
Who sees not that, although he wanted eyes?
Who knows not how the Italian chivalry
Proud Godfrey and false Baldwin both envy

"What need we further proof? Heaven, heaven, I swear,
Will not consent herein we be beguiled,
This night I saw his murdered sprite appear,
Pale, sad and wan, with wounds and blood defiled,
A spectacle full both of grief and fear;
Godfrey, for murdering him, the ghost reviled.
I saw it was no dream, before mine eyes,
Howe'er I look, still, still methinks it flies.

"What shall we do? shall we be governed still
By this false hand, contaminate with blood?
Or else depart and travel forth, until
To Euphrates we come, that sacred flood,
Where dwells a people void of martial skill,
Whose cities rich, whose land is fat and good,
Where kingdoms great we may at ease provide,
Far from these Frenchmen's malice, from their pride;

"Then let us go, and no revengement take
For this brave knight, though it lie in our power:
No, no, that courage rather newly wake,
Which never sleeps in fear and dread one hour,
And this pestiferous serpent, poisoned snake,
Of all our knights that hath destroyed the flower,
First let us slay, and his deserved end
Example make to him that kills his friend.

"I will, I will, if your courageous force,
Dareth so much as it can well perform,
Tear out his cursed heart without remorse,
The nest of treason false and guile enorm."
Thus spake the angry knight with headlong course;
The rest him followed with a furious storm,
"Arm, arm." they cried, to arms the soldiers ran.
And as they run, "Arm, arm," cried every man.

Mongst them Alecto strowed wasteful fire,
Envenoming the hearts of most and least,
Folly, disdain, madness, strife, rancor, ire,
Thirst to shed blood, in every breast increased,
This ill spread far, and till it set on fire
With rage the Italian lodgings, never ceased,
From thence unto the Switzers' camp it went,
And last infected every English tent.

Not public loss of their beloved knight,
Alone stirred up their rage and wrath untamed,
But fore-conceived griefs, and quarrels light,
The ire still nourished, and still inflamed,
Awaked was each former cause of spite,
The Frenchmen cruel and unjust they named,
And with bold threats they made their hatred known,
Hate seld kept close, and oft unwisely shown:

Like boiling liquor in a seething pot,
That fumeth, swelleth high, and bubbleth fast,
Till o'er the brims among the embers hot,
Part of the broth and of the scum is cast,
Their rage and wrath those few appeased not
In whom of wisdom yet remained some taste,
Camillo, William, Tancred were away,
And all whose greatness might their madness stay.

Now headlong ran to harness in this heat
These furious people, all on heaps confused,
The roaring trumpets battle gan to threat,
As it in time of mortal war is used,
The messengers ran to Godfredo great,
And bade him arm, while on this noise he mused,
And Baldwin first well clad in iron hard,
Stepped to his side, a sure and faithful guard.

Their murmurs heard, to heaven he lift his een,
As was his wont, to God for aid he fled;
"O Lord, thou knowest this right hand of mine
Abhorred ever civil blood to shed,
Illumine their dark souls with light divine,
Repress their rage, by hellish fury bred,
The innocency of my guiltless mind
Thou knowest, and make these know, with fury blind."

Tis said he felt infused in each vein,
A sacred heat from heaven above distilled,
A heat in man that courage could constrain
That his brave look with awful boldness filled.
Well guarded forth he went to meet the train
Of those that would revenge Rinaldo killed;
And though their threats he heard, and saw them bent
To arms on every side, yet on he went.

Above his hauberk strong a coat he ware,
Embroidered fair with pearl and rich stone,
His hands were naked, and his face was bare,
Wherein a lamp of majesty bright shone;
He shook his golden mace, wherewith he dare
Resist the force of his rebellious foe:
Thus he appeared, and thus he gan them teach,
In shape an angel, and a God in speech:

"What foolish words? what threats be these I hear?
What noise of arms? who dares these tumults move?
Am I so honored? stand you so in fear?
Where is your late obedience? where your love?
Of Godfrey's falsehood who can witness bear?
Who dare or will these accusations prove?
Perchance you look I should entreaties bring,
Sue for your favors, or excuse the thing.

"Ah, God forbid these lands should hear or see
Him so disgraced at whose great name they quake;
This sceptre and my noble acts for me
A true defence before the world can make:
Yet for sharp justice governed shall be
With clemency, I will no vengeance take
For this offence, but for Rinaldo's love,
I pardon you, hereafter wiser prove.

"But Argillano's guilty blood shall wash
This stain away, who kindled this debate,
And led by hasty rage and fury rash,
To these disorders first undid the gate;"
While thus he spoke, the lightning beams did flash
Out of his eyes of majesty and state,
That Argillan, -- who would have thought it? -- shook
For fear and terror, conquered with his look.

The rest with indiscreet and foolish wrath
Who threatened late with words of shame and pride,
Whose hands so ready were to harm and scath,
And brandished bright swords on every side;
Now hushed and still attend what Godfrey saith,
With shame and fear their bashful looks they hide,
And Argillan they let in chains be bound,
Although their weapons him environed round.

So when a lion shakes his dreadful mane,
And beats his tail with courage proud and wroth,
If his commander come, who first took pain
To tame his youth, his lofty crest down goeth,
His threats he feareth, and obeys the rein
Of thralldom base, and serviceage, though loth,
Nor can his sharp teeth nor his armed paws,
Force him rebel against his ruler's laws.

Fame as a winged warrior they beheld,
With semblant fierce and furious look that stood,
And in his left hand had a splendent shield
Wherewith he covered safe their chieftain good,
His other hand a naked sword did wield,
From which distilling fell the lukewarm blood,
The blood pardie of many a realm and town,
Whereon the Lord his wrath had poured down.

Thus was the tumult, without bloodshed, ended.
Their arms laid down, strife into exile sent.
Godfrey his thoughts to greater actions bended.
And homeward to his rich pavilion went,
For to assault the fortress he intended
Before the second or third day were spent;
Meanwhile his timber wrought he oft surveyed
Whereof his ram and engines great he made.


1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20