Fourteenth Book

THE ARGUMENT.
The Lord to Godfrey in a dream doth show
His will; Rinaldo must return at last;
They have their asking who for pardon sue:
Two knights to find the prince are sent in haste,
But Peter, who by vision all foreknew,
Sendeth the searchers to a wizard, placed
Deep in a vault, who first at large declares
Armida's trains, then how to shun those snares.


I
Now from the fresh, the soft and tender bed
Of her still mother, gentle night out flew,
The fleeting balm on hills and dales she shed,
With honey drops of pure and precious dew,
And on the verdure of green forests spread
The virgin primrose and the violet blue,
And sweet-breathed Zephyr on his spreading wings,
Sleep, ease, repose, rest, peace and quiet brings.

II
The thoughts and troubles of broad-waking day,
They softly dipped in mild Oblivion's lake;
But he whose Godhead heaven and earth doth sway,
In his eternal light did watch and wake,
And bent on Godfrey down the gracious ray
Of his bright eye, still ope for Godfrey's sake,
To whom a silent dream the Lord down sent.
Which told his will, his pleasure and intent.

III
Far in the east, the golden gate beside
Whence Phoebus comes, a crystal port there is,
And ere the sun his broad doors open wide
The beam of springing day uncloseth this,
Hence comes the dreams, by which heaven's sacred guide
Reveals to man those high degrees of his,
Hence toward Godfrey ere he left his bed
A vision strange his golden plumes bespread.

IV
Such semblances, such shapes, such portraits fair,
Did never yet in dream or sleep appear,
For all the forms in sea, in earth or air,
The signs in heaven, the stars in every sphere
All that was wondrous, uncouth, strange and rare,
All in that vision well presented were.
His dream had placed him in a crystal wide,
Beset with golden fires, top, bottom, side,

V
There while he wondereth on the circles vast,
The stars, their motions, course and harmony,
A knight, with shining rays and fire embraced,
Presents himself unwares before his eye,
Who with a voice that far for sweetness passed
All human speech, thus said, approaching nigh:
"What, Godfrey, knowest thou not thy Hugo here?
Come and embrace thy friend and fellow dear!"

VI
He answered him, "Thy glorious shining light
Which in thine eyes his glistering beams doth place,
Estranged hath from my foreknowledge quite
Thy countenance, thy favor, and thy face:"
This said, three times he stretched his hands outright
And would in friendly arms the knight embrace,
And thrice the spirit fled, that thrice he twined
Naught in his folded arms but air and wind.

VII
Lord Hugo smiled, "Not as you think," quoth he,
"I clothed am in flesh and earthly mould,
My spirit pure, and naked soul, you see,
A citizen of this celestial hold:
This place is heaven, and here a room for thee
Prepared is among Christ's champions bold:"
"Ah when," quoth he, "these mortal bonds unknit,
Shall I in peace, in ease and rest there sit?"

VIII
Hugo replied, "Ere many years shall run,
Amid the saints in bliss here shalt thou reign;
But first great wars must by thy hand be done,
Much blood be shed, and many Pagans slain,
The holy city by assault be won,
The land set free from servile yoke again,
Wherein thou shalt a Christian empire frame,
And after thee shall Baldwin rule the same.

IX
"But to increase thy love and great desire
To heavenward, this blessed place behold,
These shining lamps, these globes of living fire,
How they are turned, guided, moved and rolled;
The angels' singing hear, and all their choir;
Then bend thine eyes on yonder earth and mould,
All in that mass, that globe and compass see,
Land, sea, spring, fountain, man, beast, grass and tree.

X
"How vile, how small, and of how slender price,
Is their reward of goodness, virtue's gain!
A narrow room our glory vain upties,
A little circle doth our pride contain,
Earth like an isle amid the water lies,
Which sea sometime is called, sometime the main,
Yet naught therein responds a name so great,
It's but a lake, a pond, a marish strait."

XI
Thus said the one, the other bended down
His looks to ground, and half in scorn he smiled,
He saw at once earth, sea, flood, castle, town,
Strangely divided, strangely all compiled,
And wondered folly man so far should drown,
To set his heart on things so base and vild,
That servile empire searcheth and dumb fame,
And scorns heaven's bliss, yet proffereth heaven the same.

XII
Wherefore he answered, "Since the Lord not yet
Will free my spirit from this cage of clay,
Lest worldly error vain my voyage let,
Teach me to heaven the best and surest way:"
Hugo replied, "Thy happy foot is set
In the true path, nor from this passage stray,
Only from exile young Rinaldo call,
This give I thee in charge, else naught at all.

XIII
"For as the Lord of hosts, the King of bliss,
Hath chosen thee to rule the faithful band;
So he thy stratagems appointed is
To execute, so both shall win this land:
The first is thine, the second place is his,
Thou art this army's head, and he the hand,
No other champion can his place supply,
And that thou do it doth thy state deny.

XIV
"The enchanted forest, and her charmed treen,
With cutting steel shall he to earth down hew,
And thy weak armies which too feeble been
To scale again these walls reinforced new,
And fainting lie dispersed on the green,
Shall take new strength new courage at his view,
The high-built towers, the eastern squadrons all,
Shall conquered be, shall fly, shall die, shall fall."

XV
He held his peace; and Godfrey answered so:
"Oh, how his presence would recomfort me!
You that man's hidden thoughts perceive and know:
If I say truth, or if I love him, see.
But say, what messengers shall for him go?
What shall their speeches, what their errand be?
Shall I entreat, or else command the man?
With credit neither well perform I can."

XVI
"The eternal Lord," the other knight replied,
"That with so many graces hath thee blest,
Will, that among the troops thou hast to guide,
Thou honored be and feared of most and least:
Then speak not thou lest blemish some betide
Thy sacred empire if thou make request;
But when by suit thou moved art to ruth,
Then yield, forgive, and home recall the youth.

XVII
"Guelpho shall pray thee, God shall him inspire,
To pardon this offence, this fault commit
By hasty wrath, by rash and headstrong ire,
To call the knight again; yield thou to it:
And though the youth, enwrapped in fond desire,
Far hence in love and looseness idle sit,
Year fear it not, he shall return with speed,
When most you wish him and when most you need.

XVIII
"Your hermit Peter, to whose sapient heart
High Heaven his secrets opens, tells and shews,
Your messengers direct can to that part,
Where of the prince they shall hear certain news,
And learn the way, the manner, and the art
To bring him back to these thy warlike crews,
That all thy soldiers, wandered and misgone,
Heaven may unite again and join in one.

XIX
"But this conclusion shall my speeches end:
Know that his blood shall mixed be with thine,
Whence barons bold and worthies shall descend,
That many great exploits shall bring to fine."
This said, he vanished from his sleeping friend,
Like smoke in wind, or mist in Titan's shine;
Sleep fled likewise, and in his troubled thought,
With wonder, pleasure; joy, with marvel fought.

XX
The duke looked up, and saw the azure sky
With argent beams of silver morning spread,
And started up, for praise axed virtue lie
In toil and travel, sin and shame in bed:
His arms he took, his sword girt to his thigh,
To his pavilion all his lords them sped,
And there in council grave the princes sit,
For strength by wisdom, war is ruled by wit.

XXI
Lord Guelpho there, within whose gentle breast
Heaven had infused that new and sudden thought,
His pleasing words thus to the duke addressed:
"Good prince, mild, though unasked, kind, unbesought,
Oh let thy mercy grant my just request,
Pardon this fault by rage not malice wrought;
For great offence, I grant, so late commit,
My suit too hasty is, perchance unfit.

XXII
But since to Godfrey meek benign and kind,
For Prince Rinaldo bold, I humbly sue,
And that the suitor's self is not behind
Thy greatest friends in state or friendship true;
I trust I shall thy grace and mercy find
Acceptable to me and all this crew;
Oh call him home, this trespass to amend,
He shall his blood in Godfrey's service spend.

XXIII
"And if not he, who else dares undertake
Of this enchanted wood to cut one tree?
Gainst death and danger who dares battle make,
With so bold face, so fearless heart as he?
Beat down these walls, these gates in pieces break,
Leap o'er these rampires high, thou shalt him see,
Restore therefore to this desirous band
Their wish, their hope, their strength, their shield, their hand;

XXIV
"To me my nephew, to thyself restore
A trusty help, when strength of hand thou needs,
In idleness let him consume no more,
Recall him to his noble acts and deeds!
Known be his worth as was his strength of yore
Wher'er thy standard broad her cross outspreads,
Oh, let his fame and praise spread far and wide,
Be thou his lord, his teacher and his guidel"

XXV
Thus he entreated, and the rest approve
His words, with friendly murmurs whispered low.
Godfrey as though their suit his mind did move
To that whereon he never thought tell now,
"How can my heart," quoth he, "if you I love,
To your request and suit but bend and bow?
Let rigor go, that right and justice be
Wherein you all consent and all agree.

XXVI
"Rinaldo shall return; let him restrain
Henceforth his headstrong wrath and hasty ire,
And with his hardy deeds let him take pain
To correspond your hope and my desire:
Guelpho, thou must call home the knight again,
See that with speed he to these tents retire,
The messengers appoint as likes thy mind,
And teach them where they should the young man find."

XXVII
Up start the Dane that bare Prince Sweno's brand,
"I will," quoth he, "that message undertake,
I will refuse no pains by sea or land,
To give the knight this sword, kept for his sake."
This man was bold of courage, strong of hand,
Guelpho was glad he did the proffer make:
"Thou shalt," quoth he, "Ubaldo shalt thou have
To go with thee, a knight, stout, wise, and grave."

XXVIII
Ubaldo in his youth had known and seen
The fashions strange of many an uncouth land,
And travelled over all the realms between
The Arctic circle and hot Meroe's strand,
And as a man whose wit his guide had been,
Their customs use he could, tongues understand,
Forthy when spent his youthful seasons were
Lord Guelpho entertained and held him dear.

XXIX
To these committed was the charge and care
To find and bring again the champion bold,
Guelpho commands them to the fort repair,
Where Boemond doth his seat and sceptre hold,
For public fame said that Bertoldo's heir
There lived, there dwelt, there stayed; the hermit old,
That knew they were misled by false report,
Among them came, and parleyed in this sort:

XXX
"Sir knights," quoth he, "if you intend to ride,
And follow each report fond people say,
You follow but a rash and truthless guide
That leads vain men amiss and makes them stray;
Near Ascalon go to the salt seaside,
Where a swift brook fails in with hideous sway,
An aged sire, our friend, there shall you find,
All what he saith, that do, that keep in mind.

XXXI
"Of this great voyage which you undertake,
Much by his skill, and much by mine advise
Hath he foreknown, and welcome for my sake
You both shall be, the man is kind and wise."
Instructed thus no further question make
The twain elected for this enterprise,
But humbly yielded to obey his word,
For what the hermit said, that said the Lord.

XXXII
They took their leave, and on their journey went,
Their will could brook no stay, their zeal, no let;
To Ascalon their voyage straight they bent,
Whose broken shores with brackish waves are wet,
And there they heard how gainst the cliffs, besprent
With bitter foam, the roaring surges bet,
A tumbling brook their passage stopped and stayed,
Which late-fall'n rain had proud and puissant made,

XXXIII
So proud that over all his banks he grew,
And through the fields ran swift as shaft from bow,
While here they stopped and stood, before them drew
An aged sire, grave and benign in show,
Crowned with a beechen garland gathered new,
Clad in a linen robe that raught down low,
In his right hand a rod, and on the flood
Against the stream he marched, and dry shod yode.

XXXIV
As on the Rhene, when winter's freezing cold
Congeals the streams to thick and hardened glass,
The beauties fair of shepherds' daughters bold
With wanton windlays run, turn, play and pass;
So on this river passed the wizard old,
Although unfrozen soft and swift it was,
And thither stalked where the warriors stayed,
To whom, their greetings done, he spoke and said:

XXXV
"Great pains, great travel, lords, you have begun,
And of a cunning guide great need you stand,
Far off, alas! is great Bertoldo's son,
Imprisoned in a waste and desert land,
What soil remains by which you must not run,
What promontory, rock, sea, shore or sand
Your search must stretch before the prince be found,
Beyond our world, beyond our half of ground!

XXXVI
But yet vouchsafe to see my cell I pray,
In hidden caves and vaults though builded low,
Great wonders there, strange things I will bewray,
Things good for you to hear, and fit to know:"
This said, he bids the river make them way,
The flood retired, backward gan to flow,
And here and there two crystal mountains rise,
So fled the Red Sea once, and Jordan thrice.

XXXVII
He took their hands, and led them headlong down
Under the flood, through vast and hollow deeps,
Such light they had as when through shadows brown
Of thickest deserts feeble Cynthia peeps,
Their spacious caves they saw all overflown,
There all his waters pure great Neptune keeps,
And thence to moisten all the earth he brings
Seas, rivers, floods, lakes, fountains, wells and springs:

XXXVIII
Whence Ganges, Indus, Volga, Ister, Po,
Whence Euphrates, whence Tigris' spring they view,
Whence Tanais, whence Nilus comes also,
Although his head till then no creature knew,
But under these a wealthy stream doth go,
That sulphur yields and ore, rich, quick and new,
Which the sunbeams doth polish, purge and fine,
And makes it silver pure, and gold divine.

XXXIX
And all his banks the rich and wealthy stream
Hath fair beset with pearl and precious stone
Like stars in sky or lamps on stage that seem,
The darkness there was day, the night was gone,
There sparkled, clothed in his azure-beam,
The heavenly sapphire, there the jacinth shone,
The carbuncle there flamed, the diamond sheen,
There glistered bright, there smiled the emerald green.

XL
Amazed the knights amid these wonders passed,
And fixed so deep the marvels in their thought,
That not one word they uttered, till at last
Ubaldo spake, and thus his guide besought:
"O father, tell me by what skill thou hast
These wonders done? and to what place us brought?
For well I know not if I wake or sleep,
My heart is drowned in such amazement deep."

XLI
"You are within the hollow womb," quoth he,
"Of fertile earth, the nurse of all things made,
And but you brought and guided are by me,
Her sacred entrails could no wight invade;
My palace shortly shall you splendent see,
With glorious light, though built in night and shade.
A Pagan was I born, but yet the Lord
To grace, by baptism, hath my soul restored.

XLII
"Nor yet by help of devil, or aid from hell,
I do this uncouth work and wondrous feat,
The Lord forbid I use or charm or spell
To raise foul Dis from his infernal seat:
But of all herbs, of every spring and well,
The hidden power I know and virtue great,
And all that kind hath hid from mortal sight,
And all the stars, their motions, and their might.

XLIII
"For in these caves I dwell not buried still
From sight of Heaven. but often I resort
To tops of Lebanon or Carmel hill,
And there in liquid air myself disport,
There Mars and Venus I behold at will!
As bare as erst when Vulcan took them short,
And how the rest roll, glide and move, I see,
How their aspects benign or froward be."

XLIV
"And underneath my feet the clouds I view,
Now thick, now thin, now bright with Iris' bow,
The frost and snow, the rain, the hail, the dew,
The winds, from whence they come and whence they blow,
How Jove his thunder makes and lightning new,
How with the bolt he strikes the earth below,
How comate, crinite, caudate stars are framed
I knew; my skill with pride my heart inflamed.

XLV
"So learned, cunning, wise, myself I thought,
That I supposed my wit so high might climb
To know all things that God had framed or wrought,
Fire, air, sea, earth, man, beast, sprite, place and time;
But when your hermit me to baptism brought,
And from my soul had washed the sin and crime,
Then I perceived my sight was blindness still,
My wit was folly, ignorance my skill.

XLVI
"Then saw I, that like owls in shining sun,
So gainst the beams of truth our souls are blind,
And at myself to smile I then begun,
And at my heart, puffed up with folly's wind,
Yet still these arts, as I before had done,
I practised, such was the hermit's mind:
Thus hath he changed my thoughts, my heart, my will,
And rules mine art, my knowledge, and my skill.

XLVII
"In him I rest, on him my thoughts depend,
My lord, my teacher, and my guide is he,
This noble work he strives to bring to end,
He is the architect, the workmen we,
The hardy youth home to this camp to send
From prison strong, my care, my charge shall be;
So He commands, and me ere this foretold
Your coming oft, to seek the champion bold."

XLVIII
While this he said, he brought the champions twain
Down to a vault, wherein he dwells and lies,
It was a cave, high, wide, large, ample, plain,
With goodly rooms, halls, chambers, galleries,
All what is bred in rich and precious vein
Of wealthy earth, and hid from mortal eyes,
There shines, and fair adorned was every part
With riches grown by kind, not framed by art:

XLIX
An hundred grooms, quick, diligent and neat,
Attendance gave about these strangers bold,
Against the wall there stood a cupboard great
Of massive plate, of silver, crystal, gold.
But when with precious wines and costly meat
They filled were, thus spake the wizard old:
"Now fits the time, sir knights, I tell and show
What you desire to hear, and long to know.

L
"Armida's craft, her sleight and hidden guile
You partly wot, her acts and arts untrue,
How to your camp she came, and by what wile
The greatest lords and princes thence she drew;
You know she turned them first to monsters vile,
And kept them since closed up in secret mew,
Lastly, to Gaza-ward in bonds them sent,
Whom young Rinaldo rescued as they went.

LI
"What chanced since I will at large declare,
To you unknown, a story strange and true.
When first her prey, got with such pain and care,
Escaped and gone the witch perceived and knew,
Her hands she wrung for grief, her clothes she tare,
And full of woe these heavy words outthrew:
`Alas! my knights are slain, my prisoners free,
Yet of that conquest never boast shall he,

LII
" `He in their place shall serve me, and sustain
Their plagues, their torments suffer, sorrows bear,
And they his absence shall lament in vain,
And wail his loss and theirs with many a tear:'
Thus talking to herself she did ordain
A false and wicked guile, as you shall hear;
Thither she hasted where the valiant knight
Had overcome and slain her men in fight.

LIII
"Rinaldo there had dolt and left his own,
And on his back a Pagan's harness tied,
Perchance he deemed so to pass unknown,
And in those arms less noted false to ride.
A headless corse in fight late overthrown,
The witch in his forsaken arms did hide,
And by a brook exposed it on the sand
Whither she wished would come a Christian band:

LIV
"Their coming might the dame foreknow right well,
For secret spies she sent forth thousand ways,
Which every day news from the camp might tell,
Who parted thence, booties to search or preys:
Beside, the sprites conjured by sacred spell,
All what she asks or doubts, reveals and says,
The body therefore placed she in that part
That furthered best her sleight, her craft. and art;

LV
"And near the corpse a varlet false and sly
She left, attired in shepherd's homely weed,
And taught him how to counterfeit and lie
As time required, and he performed the deed;
With him your soldiers spoke, of jealousy
And false suspect mongst them he strewed the seed,
That since brought forth the fruit of strife and jar,
Of civil brawls, contention, discord, war.

LVI
"And as she wished so the soldiers thought
By Godfrey's practice that the prince was slain,
Yet vanished that suspicion false to naught
When truth spread forth her silver wings again
Her false devices thus Armida wrought,
This was her first deceit, her foremost train;
What next she practised, shall you hear me tell,
Against our knight, and what thereof befell.

LVII
"Armida hunted him through wood and plain,
Till on Orontes' flowery banks he stayed,
There, where the stream did part and meet again
And in the midst a gentle island made,
A pillar fair was pight beside the main,
Near which a little frigate floating laid,
The marble white the prince did long behold,
And this inscription read, there writ in gold:

LVIII
" `Whoso thou art whom will or chance doth bring
With happy steps to flood Orontes' sides,
Know that the world hath not so strange a thing,
Twixt east and west, as this small island hides,
Then pass and see, without more tarrying.'
The hasty youth to pass the stream provides,
And for the cogs was narrow, small and strait,
Alone he rowed, and bade his squires there wait;

LIX
"Landed he stalks about, yet naught he sees
But verdant groves, sweet shades, and mossy rocks
With caves and fountains, flowers, herbs and trees,
So that the words he read he takes for mocks:
But that green isle was sweet at all degrees,
Wherewith enticed down sits he and unlocks
His closed helm, and bares his visage fair,
To take sweet breath from cool and gentle air.

LX
"A rumbling sound amid the waters deep
Meanwhile he heard, and thither turned his sight,
And tumbling in the troubled stream took keep
How the strong waves together rush and fight,
Whence first he saw, with golden tresses, peep
The rising visage of a virgin bright,
And then her neck, her breasts, and all, as low
As he for shame could see, or she could show.

LXI
"So in the twilight does sometimes appear
A nymph, a goddess, or a fairy queen,
And though no siren but a sprite this were
Yet by her beauty seemed it she had been
One of those sisters false which haunted near
The Tyrrhene shores and kept those waters sheen,
Like theirs her face, her voice was, and her sound,
And thus she sung, and pleased both skies and ground:

LXII
" `Ye happy youths, who April fresh and May
Attire in flowering green of lusty age,
For glory vain, or virtue's idle ray,
Do not your tender limbs to toil engage;
In calm streams, fishes; birds, in sunshine play,
Who followeth pleasure he is only sage,
So nature saith, yet gainst her sacred will
Why still rebel you, and why strive you still?

LXIII
" `O fools who youth possess, yet scorn the same,
A precious, but a short-abiding treasure,
Virtue itself is but an idle name,
Prized by the world 'bove reason all and measure,
And honor, glory, praise, renown and fame,
That men's proud harts bewitch with tickling pleasure,
An echo is, a shade, a dream, a flower,
With each wind blasted, spoiled with every shower.

LXIV
" `But let your happy souls in joy possess
The ivory castles of your bodies fair,
Your passed harms salve with forgetfulness,
Haste not your coming evils with thought and care,
Regard no blazing star with burning tress,
Nor storm, nor threatening sky, nor thundering air,
This wisdom is, good life, and worldly bliss,
Kind teacheth us, nature commands us this.'

LXV
"Thus sung the spirit false, and stealing sleep,
To which her tunes enticed his heavy eyes,
By step and step did on his senses creep,
Still every limb therein unmoved lies,
Not thunders loud could from this slumber deep,
Of quiet death true image, make him rise:
Then from her ambush forth Armida start,
Swearing revenge, and threatening torments smart.

LXVI
"But when she looked on his face awhile,
And saw how sweet he breathed, how still he lay,
How his fair eyes though closed seemed to smile,
At first she stayed, astound with great dismay,
Then sat her down, so love can art beguile,
And as she sat and looked, fled fast away
Her wrath, that on his forehead gazed the maid,
As in his spring Narcissus tooting laid;

LXVII
"And with a veil she wiped now and then
From his fair cheeks the globes of silver sweat,
And cool air gathered with a trembling fan,
To mitigate the rage of melting heat,
Thus, who would think it, his hot eye-glance can
Of that cold frost dissolve the hardness great
Which late congealed the heart of that fair dame,
Who late a foe, a lover now became.

LXVIII
"Of woodbines, lilies, and of roses sweet,
Which proudly flowered through that wanton plain,
All platted fast, well knit, and joined meet,
She framed a soft but surely holding chain,
Wherewith she bound his neck his hands and feet;
Thus bound, thus taken, did the prince remain,
And in a coach which two old dragons drew,
She laid the sleeping knight, and thence she flew:

LXIX
"Nor turned she to Damascus' kingdoms large,
Nor to the fort built in Asphalte's lake,
But jealous of her dear and precious charge,
And of her love ashamed, the way did take,
To the wide ocean whither skiff or barge
From us doth seld or never voyage make,
And there to frolic with her love awhile,
She chose a waste, a sole and desert isle.

LXX
"An isle that with her fellows bears the name
Of Fortunate, for temperate air and mould,
There in a mountain high alight the dame,
A hill obscured with shades of forests old,
Upon whose sides the witch by art did frame
Continual snow, sharp frost and winter cold,
But on the top, fresh, pleasant, sweet and green,
Beside a lake a palace built this queen.

LXXI
"There in perpetual sweet and flowering spring,
She lives at ease, and joys her lord at will;
The hardy youth from this strange prison bring
Your valors must, directed by my skill,
And overcome each monster and each thing,
That guards the palace or that keeps the hill,
Nor shall you want a guide, or engines fit,
To bring you to the mount, or conquer it.

LXXII
"Beside the stream, yparted shall you find
A dame, in visage young, but old in years,
Her curled locks about her front are twined,
A party-colored robe of silk she wears:
This shall conduct you swift as air or wind,
Or that flit bird that Jove's hot weapon bears,
A faithful pilot, cunning, trusty, sure,
As Tiphys was, or skilful Palinure.

LXXIII
"At the hill's foot, whereon the witch doth dwell,
The serpents hiss, and cast their poison vilde,
The ugly boars do rear their bristles fell,
There gape the bears, and roar the lions wild;
But yet a rod I have can easily quell
Their rage and wrath, and make them meek and mild.
Yet on the top and height of all the hill,
The greatest danger lies, and greatest ill:

LXXIV
"There welleth out a fair, clear, bubbling spring,
Whose waters pure the thirsty guests entice,
But in those liquors cold the secret sting
Of strange and deadly poison closed lies,
One sup thereof the drinker's heart doth bring
To sudden joy, whence laughter vain doth rise,
Nor that strange merriment once stops or stays,
Till, with his laughter's end, he end his days:

LXXV
"Then from those deadly, wicked streams refrain
Your thirsty lips, despise the dainty cheer
You find exposed upon the grassy plain,
Nor those false damsels once vouchsafe to hear,
That in melodious tunes their voices strain,
Whose faces lovely, smiling, sweet, appear;
But you their looks, their voice, their songs despise,
And enter fair Armida's paradise.

LXXVI
"The house is builded like a maze within,
With turning stairs, false doors and winding ways,
The shape whereof plotted in vellum thin
I will you give, that all those sleights bewrays,
In midst a garden lies, where many a gin
And net to catch frail hearts, false Cupid lays;
There in the verdure of the arbors green,
With your brave champion lies the wanton queen.

LXXVII
"But when she haply riseth from the knight,
And hath withdrawn her presence from the place,
Then take a shield I have of diamonds bright,
And hold the same before the young man's face,
That he may glass therein his garments light,
And wanton soft attire, and view his case,
That with the sight shame and disdain may move
His heart to leave that base and servile love.

LXXVIII
"Now resteth naught that needful is to tell,
But that you go secure, safe, sure and bold,
Unseen the palace may you enter well,
And pass the dangers all I have foretold,
For neither art, nor charm, nor magic spell,
Can stop your passage or your steps withhold,
Nor shall Armida, so you guarded be,
Your coming aught foreknow or once foresee:

LXXIX
"And eke as safe from that enchanted fort
You shall return and scape unhurt away;
But now the time doth us to rest exhort,
And you must rise by peep of springing day."
This said, he led them through a narrow port,
Into a lodging fair wherein they lay,
There glad and full of thoughts he left his guests,
And in his wonted bed the old man rests.

 

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