Part 5 out of 10
"Come, come, this sword the passage open shall
Into their camp, and on their bodies slain
We will pass o'er their rampire and their wall;
This blade, as scythes cut down the fields of grain,
Shall cut them so, Christ's kingdom now shall fall,
Asia her freedom, you shall praise obtain."
Thus he inflamed his soldiers to the fight,
And led them on through silence of the night.
The sentinel by starlight, lo, descried
This mighty Soldan and his host draw near,
Who found not as he hoped the Christians' guide
Unware, ne yet unready was his gear:
The scouts, when this huge army they descried,
Ran back, and gan with shouts the 'larum rear;
The watch stert up and drew their weapons bright,
And busked them bold to battle and to fight.
The Arabians wist they could not come unseen,
And therefore loud their jarring trumpets sound,
Their yelling cries to heaven upheaved been,
The horses thundered on the solid ground,
The mountains roared, and the valley green,
The echoes sighed from the caves around,
Alecto with her brand, kindled in hell,
Tokened to them in David's tower that dwell.
Before the rest forth pricked the Soldan fast,
Against the watch, not yet in order just,
As swift as hideous Boreas' hasty blast
From hollow rocks when first his storms outburst,
The raging floods, that trees and rocks down cast,
Thunders, that towns and towers drive to dust:
Earthquakes, to tear the world in twain that threat,
Are naught, compared to his fury great.
He struck no blow, but that his foe he hit;
And never hit, but made a grievous wound:
And never wounded, but death followed it;
And yet no peril, hurt or harm he found,
No weapon on his hardened helmet bit,
No puissant stroke his senses once astound,
Yet like a bell his tinkling helmet rung,
And thence flew flames of fire and sparks among.
Himself well nigh had put the watch to flight,
A jolly troop of Frenchmen strong and stout,
When his Arabians came by heaps to fight,
Covering, like raging floods, the fields about;
The beaten Christians run away full light,
The Pagans, mingled with the flying rout,
Entered their camp, and filled, as they stood,
Their tents with ruin, slaughter, death and blood.
High on the Soldan's helm enamelled laid
An hideous dragon, armed with many a scale,
With iron paws, and leathern wings displayed,
Which twisted on a knot her forked tail,
With triple tongue it seemed she hissed and brayed,
About her jaws the froth and venom trail,
And as he stirred, and as his foes him hit,
So flames to cast and fire she seemed to spit.
With this strange light, the Soldan fierce appeared
Dreadful to those that round about him been,
As to poor sailors, when huge storms are reared,
With lightning flash the rafting seas are seen;
Some fled away, because his strength they feared,
Some bolder gainst him bent their weapons keen,
And forward night, in evils and mischiefs pleased,
Their dangers hid, and dangers still increased.
Among the rest that strove to merit praise,
Was old Latinus, born by Tiber's bank,
To whose stout heart in fights and bloody frays,
For all his eild, base fear yet never sank;
Five sons he had, the comforts of his days,
That from his side in no adventure shrank,
But long before their time, in iron strong
They clad their members, tender, soft and young.
The bold ensample of their father's might
Their weapons whetted and their wrath increased,
"Come let us go," quoth he, "where yonder knight
Upon our soldiers makes his bloody feast,
Let not their slaughter once your hearts affright,
Where danger most appears, there fear it least,
For honor dwells in hard attempts, my sons,
And greatest praise, in greatest peril, wons."
Her tender brood the forest's savage queen,
Ere on their crests their rugged manes appear,
Before their mouths by nature armed been,
Or paws have strength a silly lamb to tear,
So leadeth forth to prey, and makes them keen,
And learns by her ensample naught to fear
The hunter, in those desert woods that takes
The lesser beasts whereon his feast he makes.
The noble father and his hardy crew
Fierce Solyman on every side invade,
At once all six upon the Soldan flew,
With lances sharp, and strong encounters made,
His broken spear the eldest boy down threw,
And boldly, over-boldly, drew his blade,
Wherewith he strove, but strove therewith in vain,
The Pagan's steed, unmarked, to have slain.
But as a mountain or a cape of land
Assailed with storms and seas on every side,
Doth unremoved, steadfast, still withstand
Storm, thunder, lightning, tempest, wind, and tide:
The Soldan so withstood Latinus' band,
And unremoved did all their justs abide,
And of that hapless youth, who hurt his steed,
Down to the chin he cleft in twain the head.
Kind Aramante, who saw his brother slain,
To hold him up stretched forth his friendly arm,
Oh foolish kindness, and oh pity vain,
To add our proper loss, to other's harm!
The prince let fall his sword, and cut in twain
About his brother twined, the child's weak arm.
Down from their saddles both together slide,
Together mourned they, and together died.
That done, Sabino's lance with nimble force
He cut in twain, and 'gainst the stripling bold
He spurred his steed, that underneath his horse
The hardy infant tumbled on the mould,
Whose soul, out squeezed from his bruised corpse,
With ugly painfulness forsook her hold,
And deeply mourned that of so sweet a cage
She left the bliss, and joys of youthful age.
But Picus yet and Lawrence were on live,
Whom at one birth their mother fair brought out,
A pair whose likeness made the parents strive
Oft which was which, and joyed in their doubt:
But what their birth did undistinguished give,
The Soldan's rage made known, for Picus stout
Headless at one huge blow he laid in dust,
And through the breast his gentle brother thrust.
Their father, but no father now, alas!
When all his noble sons at once were slain,
In their five deaths so often murdered was,
I know not how his life could him sustain,
Except his heart were forged of steel or brass,
Yet still he lived, pardie, he saw not plain
Their dying looks, although their deaths he knows,
It is some ease not to behold our woes.
He wept not, for the night her curtain spread
Between his cause of weeping and his eyes,
But still he mourned and on sharp vengeance fed,
And thinks he conquers, if revenged he dies;
He thirsts the Soldan's heathenish blood to shed,
And yet his own at less than naught doth prize,
Nor can he tell whether he liefer would,
Or die himself, or kill the Pagan bold.
At last, "Is this right hand," quoth he, "so weak,
That thou disdain'st gainst me to use thy might?
Can it naught do? can this tongue nothing speak
That may provoke thine ire, thy wrath and spite?"
With that he struck, his anger great to wreak,
A blow, that pierced the mail and metal bright,
And in his flank set ope a floodgate wide,
Whereat the blood out streamed from his side.
Provoked with his cry, and with that blow,
The Turk upon him gan his blade discharge,
He cleft his breastplate, having first pierced through,
Lined with seven bulls' hides, his mighty targe,
And sheathed his weapons in his guts below;
Wretched Latinus at that issue large,
And at his mouth, poured out his vital blood,
And sprinkled with the same his murdered brood.
On Apennine like as a sturdy tree,
Against the winds that makes resistance stout,
If with a storm it overturned be,
Falls down and breaks the trees and plants about;
So Latine fell, and with him felled he
And slew the nearest of the Pagans' rout,
A worthy end, fit for a man of fame,
That dying, slew; and conquered, overcame.
Meanwhile the Soldan strove his rage
To satisfy with blood of Christian spilled,
The Arabians heartened by their captain stern,
With murder every tent and cabin filled,
Henry the English knight, and Olipherne,
O fierce Draguto, by thy hands were killed!
Gilbert and Philip were by Ariadene
Both slain, both born upon the banks of Rhone.
Albazar with his mace Ernesto slew,
Under Algazel Engerlan down fell,
But the huge murder of the meaner crew,
Or manner of their deaths, what tongue can tell?
Godfrey, when first the heathen trumpets blew,
Awaked, which heard, no fear could make him dwell,
But he and his were up and armed ere long,
And marched forward with a squadron strong.
He that well heard the rumor and the cry,
And marked the tumult still grow more and more,
The Arabian thieves he judged by and by
Against his soldiers made this battle sore;
For that they forayed all the countries nigh,
And spoiled the fields, the duke knew well before,
Yet thought he not they had the hardiment
So to assail him in his armed tent.
All suddenly he heard, while on he went,
How to the city-ward, "Arm, arm!" they cried,
The noise upreared to the firmament,
With dreadful howling filled the valleys wlde:
This was Clorinda, whom the king forth sent
To battle, and Argantes by her side.
The duke, this heard, to Guelpho turned, and prayed
Him his lieutenant be, and to him said:
"You hear this new alarm from yonder part,
That from the town breaks out with so much rage,
Us needeth much your valor and your art
To calm their fury, and their heat to 'suage;
Go thither then, and with you take some part
Of these brave soldiers of mine equipage,
While with the residue of my champions bold
I drive these wolves again out of our fold."
They parted, this agreed on them between,
By divers paths, Lord Guelpho to the hill,
And Godfrey hasted where the Arabians keen
His men like silly sheep destroy and kill;
But as he went his troops increased been,
From every part the people flocked still,
That now grown strong enough, he 'proached nigh
Where the fierce Turk caused many a Christian die.
So from the top of Vesulus the cold,
Down to the sandy valleys, tumbleth Po,
Whose streams the further from the fountain rolled
Still stronger wax, and with more puissance go;
And horned like a bull his forehead bold
He lifts, and o'er his broken banks doth flow,
And with his horns to pierce the sea assays,
To which he proffereth war, not tribute pays.
The duke his men fast flying did espy,
And thither ran, and thus, displeased, spake,
"What fear is this? Oh, whither do you fly?
See who they be that this pursuit do make,
A heartless band, that dare no battle try,
Who wounds before dare neither give nor take,
Against them turn your stern eye's threatening sight,
An angry look will put them all to flight."
This said, he spurred forth where Solyman
Destroyed Christ's vineyard like a savage boar,
Through streams of blood, through dust and dirt he ran,
O'er heaps of bodies wallowing in their gore,
The squadrons close his sword to ope began,
He broke their ranks, behind, beside, before,
And, where he goes, under his feet he treads
The armed Saracens, and barbed steeds.
This slaughter-house of angry Mars he passed,
Where thousands dead, half-dead, and dying were.
The hardy Soldan saw him come in haste,
Yet neither stepped aside nor shrunk for fear,
But busked him bold to fight, aloft he cast
His blade, prepared to strike, and stepped near,
These noble princes twain, so Fortune wrought
From the world's end here met, and here they fought:
With virtue, fury; strength with courage strove,
For Asia's mighty empire, who can tell
With how strange force their cruel blows they drove?
How sore their combat was? how fierce, how fell?
Great deeds they wrought, each other's harness clove;
Yet still in darkness, more the ruth, they dwell.
The night their acts her black veil covered under,
Their acts whereat the sun, the world might wonder.
The Christians by their guide's ensample hearted,
Of their best armed made a squadron strong,
And to defend their chieftain forth they started:
The Pagans also saved their knight from wrong,
Fortune her favors twixt them evenly parted,
Fierce was the encounter, bloody, doubtful, long;
These won, those lost; these lost, those won again;
The loss was equal, even the numbers slain.
With equal rage, as when the southern wind,
Meeteth in battle strong the northern blast,
The sea and air to neither is resigned,
But cloud gainst cloud, and wave gainst wave they cast:
So from this skirmish neither part declined,
But fought it out, and kept their footings fast,
And oft with furious shock together rush,
And shield gainst shield, and helm gainst helm they crush.
The battle eke to Sionward grew hot,
The soldiers slain, the hardy knights were killed,
Legions of sprites from Limbo's prisons got,
The empty air, the hills and valleys filled,
Hearting the Pagans that they shrinked not,
Till where they stood their dearest blood they spilled;
And with new rage Argantes they inspire,
Whose heat no flames, whose burning need no fire.
Where he came in he put to shameful flight
The fearful watch, and o'er the trenches leaped,
Even with the ground he made the rampire's height,
And murdered bodies in the ditch unheaped,
So that his greedy mates with labor light,
Amid the tents, a bloody harvest reaped:
Clorinda went the proud Circassian by,
So from a piece two chained bullets fly.
Now fled the Frenchmen, when in lucky hour
Arrived Guelpho, and his helping band,
He made them turn against this stormy shower,
And with bold face their wicked foes withstand.
Sternly they fought, that from their wounds downpour
The streams of blood and run on either hand:
The Lord of heaven meanwhile upon this fight,
From his high throne bent down his gracious sight.
From whence with grace and goodness compassed round,
He ruleth, blesseth, keepeth all he wrought,
Above the air, the fire, the sea and ground,
Our sense, our wit, our reason and our thought,
Where persons three, with power and glory crowned,
Are all one God, who made all things of naught,
Under whose feet, subjected to his grace,
Sit nature, fortune, motion, time and place.
This is the place, from whence like smoke and dust
Of this frail world the wealth, the pomp and power,
He tosseth, tumbleth, turneth as he lust,
And guides our life, our death, our end and hour:
No eye, however virtuous, pure and just,
Can view the brightness of that glorious bower,
On every side the blessed spirits be,
Equal in joys, though differing in degree.
With harmony of their celestial song
The palace echoed from the chambers pure,
At last he Michael called, in harness strong
Of never yielding diamonds armed sure,
"Behold," quoth he, "to do despite and wrong
To that dear flock my mercy hath in cure,
How Satan from hell's loathsome prison sends
His ghosts, his sprites, his furies and his fiends.
"Go bid them all depart, and leave the care
Of war to soldiers, as doth best pertain:
Bid them forbear to infect the earth and air;
To darken heaven's fair light, bid them refrain;
Bid them to Acheron's black flood repair,
Fit house for them, the house of grief and pain:
There let their king himself and them torment,
So I command, go tell them mine intent."
This said, the winged warrior low inclined
At his Creator's feet with reverence due;
Then spread his golden feathers to the wind,
And swift as thought away the angel flew,
He passed the light, and shining fire assigned
The glorious seat of his selected crew,
The mover first, and circle crystalline,
The firmament, where fixed stars all shine;
Unlike in working then, in shape and show,
At his left hand, Saturn he left and Jove,
And those untruly errant called I trow,
Since he errs not, who them doth guide and move:
The fields he passed then, whence hail and snow,
Thunder and rain fall down from clouds above,
Where heat and cold, dryness and moisture strive,
Whose wars all creatures kill, and slain, revive.
The horrid darkness, and the shadows dun
Dispersed he with his eternal wings,
The flames which from his heavenly eyes outrun
Beguiled the earth and all her sable things;
After a storm so spreadeth forth the sun
His rays and binds the clouds in golden strings,
Or in the stillness of a moonshine even
A falling star so glideth down from Heaven.
But when the infernal troop he 'proached near,
That still the Pagans' ire and rage provoke,
The angel on his wings himself did bear,
And shook his lance, and thus at last he spoke:
"Have you not learned yet to know and fear
The Lord's just wrath, and thunder's dreadful stroke?
Or in the torments of your endless ill,
Are you still fierce, still proud, rebellious still?
"The Lord hath sworn to break the iron bands
The brazen gates of Sion's fort which close,
Who is it that his sacred will withstands?
Against his wrath who dares himself oppose?
Go hence, you cursed, to your appointed lands,
The realms of death, of torments, and of woes,
And in the deeps of that infernal lake
Your battles fight, and there your triumphs make.
"There tyrannize upon the souls you find
Condemned to woe, and double still their pains;
Where some complain, where some their teeth do grind,
Some howl, and weep, some clank their iron chains:"
This said they fled, and those that stayed behind,
With his sharp lance he driveth and constrains;
They sighing left the lands, his silver sheep
Where Hesperus doth lead, doth feed, and keep.
And toward hell their lazy wings display,
To wreak their malice on the damned ghosts;
The birds that follow Titan's hottest ray,
Pass not in so great flocks to warmer coasts,
Nor leaves in so great numbers fall away
When winter nips them with his new-come frosts;
The earth delivered from so foul annoy,
Recalled her beauty, and resumed her joy.
But not for this in fierce Argantes' breast
Lessened the rancor and decreased the ire,
Although Alecto left him to infest
With the hot brands of her infernal fire,
Round his armed head his trenchant blade he blest,
And those thick ranks that seemed moist entire
He breaks; the strong, the high, the weak, the low,
Were equalized by his murdering blow.
Not far from him amid the blood and dust,
Heads, arms, and legs, Clorinda strewed wide
Her sword through Berengarius' breast she thrust,
Quite through the heart, where life doth chiefly bide,
And that fell blow she struck so sure and just,
That at his back his life and blood forth glide;
Even in the mouth she smote Albinus then,
And cut in twain the visage of the man.
Gernier's right hand she from his arm divided,
Whereof but late she had received a wound;
The hand his sword still held, although not guided,
The fingers half alive stirred on the ground;
So from a serpent slain the tail divided
Moves in the grass, rolleth and tumbleth round,
The championess so wounded left the knight,
And gainst Achilles turned her weapon bright.
Upon his neck light that unhappy blow,
And cut the sinews and the throat in twain,
The head fell down upon the earth below,
And soiled with dust the visage on the plain;
The headless trunk, a woful thing to know,
Still in the saddle seated did remain;
Until his steed, that felt the reins at large,
With leaps and flings that burden did discharge.
While thus this fair and fierce Bellona slew
The western lords, and put their troops to flight,
Gildippes raged mongst the Pagan crew,
And low in dust laid many a worthy knight:
Like was their sex, their beauty and their hue,
Like was their youth, their courage and their might;
Yet fortune would they should the battle try
Of mightier foes, for both were framed to die.
Yet wished they oft, and strove in vain to meet,
So great betwixt them was the press and throng,
But hardy Guelpho gainst Clorinda sweet
Ventured his sword to work her harm and wrong,
And with a cutting blow so did her greet,
That from her side the blood streamed down along;
But with a thrust an answer sharp she made,
And 'twixt his ribs colored somedeal her blade.
Lord Guelpho struck again, but hit her not,
For strong Osmida haply passed by,
And not meant him, another's wound he got,
That cleft his front in twain above his eye:
Near Guelpho now the battle waxed hot,
For all the troops he led gan thither hie,
And thither drew eke many a Paynim knight,
That fierce, stern, bloody, deadly waxed the fight.
Meanwhile the purple morning peeped o'er
The eastern threshold to our half of land,
And Argillano in this great uproar
From prison loosed was, and what he fand,
Those arms he hent, and to the field them bore,
Resolved to take his chance what came to hand,
And with great acts amid the Pagan host
Would win again his reputation lost.
As a fierce steed 'scaped from his stall at large,
Where he had long been kept for warlike need,
Runs through the fields unto the flowery marge
Of some green forest where he used to feed,
His curled mane his shoulders broad doth charge
And from his lofty crest doth spring and spreed,
Thunder his feet, his nostrils fire breathe out,
And with his neigh the world resounds about.
So Argillan rushed forth, sparkled his eyes,
His front high lifted was, no fear therein,
Lightly he leaps and skips, it seems he flies,
He left no sign in dust imprinted thin,
And coming near his foes, he sternly cries,
As one that forced not all their strength a pin,
"You outcasts of the world, you men of naught
What hath in you this boldness newly wrought?
"Too weak are you to bear a helm or shield
Unfit to arm your breast in iron bright,
You run half-naked trembling through the field,
Your blows are feeble, and your hope in flight,
Your facts and all the actions that you wield,
The darkness hides, your bulwark is the night,
Now she is gone, how will your fights succeed?
Now better arms and better hearts you need."
While thus he spoke, he gave a cruel stroke
Against Algazel's throat with might and main;
And as he would have answered him, and spoke,
He stopped his words, and cut his jaws in twain;
Upon his eyes death spread his misty cloak,
A chilling frost congealed every vein,
He fell, and with his teeth the earth he tore,
Raging in death, and full of rage before.
Then by his puissance mighty Saladine,
Proud Agricalt and Muleasses died,
And at one wondrous blow his weapon fine,
Did Adiazel in two parts divide,
Then through the breast he wounded Ariadine,
Whom dying with sharp taunts he gan deride,
He lifting up uneath his feeble eyes,
To his proud scorns thus answereth, ere he dies:
"Not thou, whoe'er thou art, shall glory long
Thy happy conquest in my death, I trow,
Like chance awaits thee from a hand more strong,
Which by my side will shortly lay thee low:"
He smiled, and said, "Of mine hour short or long
Let heaven take care; but here meanwhile die thou,
Pasture for wolves and crows," on him his foot
He set, and drew his sword and life both out.
Among this squadron rode a gentle page,
The Soldan's minion, darling, and delight,
On whose fair chin the spring-time of his age
Yet blossomed out her flowers, small or light;
The sweat spread on his cheeks with heat and rage
Seemed pearls or morning dews on lilies white,
The dust therein uprolled adorned his hair,
His face seemed fierce and sweet, wrathful and fair.
His steed was white, and white as purest snow
That falls on tops of aged Apennine,
Lightning and storm are not so 'swift I trow
As he, to run, to stop, to turn and twine;
A dart his right hand shaked, prest to throw;
His cutlass by his thigh, short, hooked, fine,
And braving in his Turkish pomp he shone,
In purple robe, o'erfret with gold and stone.
The hardy boy, while thirst of warlike praise
Bewitched so his unadvised thought,
Gainst every band his childish strength assays,
And little danger found, though much he sought,
Till Argillan, that watched fit time always
In his swift turns to strike him as he fought,
Did unawares his snow-white courser slay,
And under him his master tumbling lay:
And gainst his face, where love and pity stand,
To pray him that rich throne of beauty spare,
The cruel man stretched forth his murdering hand,
To spoil those gifts, whereof he had no share:
It seemed remorse and sense was in his brand
Which, lighting flat, to hurt the lad forbare;
But all for naught, gainst him the point he bent
That, what the edge had spared, pierced and rent.
Fierce Solyman that with Godfredo strived
Who first should enter conquest's glorious gate,
Left off the fray and thither headlong drived,
When first he saw the lad in such estate;
He brake the press, and soon enough arrived
To take revenge, but to his aid too late,
Because he saw his Lesbine slain and lost,
Like a sweet flower nipped with untimely frost.
He saw wax dim the starlight of his eyes,
His ivory neck upon his shoulders fell,
In his pale looks kind pity's image lies,
That death even mourned, to hear his passing bell.
His marble heart such soft impression tries,
That midst his wrath his manly tears outwell,
Thou weepest, Solyman, thou that beheld
Thy kingdoms lost, and not one tear could yield.
But when the murderer's sword he hapt to view
Dropping with blood of his Lesbino dead,
His pity vanished, ire and rage renew,
He had no leisure bootless tears to shed;
But with his blade on Argillano flew,
And cleft his shield, his helmet, and his head,
Down to his throat; and worthy was that blow
Of Solyman, his strength and wrath to show:
And not content with this, down from his horse
He lights, and that dead carcass rent and tore,
Like a fierce dog that takes his angry course
To bite the stone which had him hit before.
Oh comfort vain for grief of so great force,
To wound the senseless earth that feels no sore!
But mighty Godfrey 'gainst the Soldan's train
Spent not, this while, his force and blows in vain.
A thousand hardy Turks affront he had
In sturdy iron armed from head to foot,
Resolved in all adventures good or bad,
In actions wise, in execution stout,
Whom Solyman into Arabia lad,
When from his kingdom he was first cast out,
Where living wild with their exiled guide
To him in all extremes they faithful bide;
All these in thickest order sure unite,
For Godfrey's valor small or nothing shrank,
Corcutes first he on the face did smite,
Then wounded strong Rosteno in the flank,
At one blow Selim's head he stroke off quite,
Then both Rossano's arms, in every rank
The boldest knights, of all that chosen crew,
He felled, maimed, wounded, hurt and slew.
While thus he killed many a Saracine
And all their fierce assaults unhurt sustained,
Ere fortune wholly from the Turks decline,
While still they hoped much, though small they gained,
Behold a cloud of dust, wherein doth shine
Lightning of war in midst thereof contained,
Whence unawares burst forth a storm of swords,
Which tremble made the Pagan knights and lords.
These fifty champions were, mongst whom there stands,
In silver field, the ensign of Christ's death,
If I had mouths and tongues as Briareus hands,
If voice as iron tough, if iron breath,
What harm this troop wrought to the heathen bands,
What knights they slew, I could recount uneath
In vain the Turks resist, the Arabians fly;
If they fly, they are slain; if fight, they die.
Fear, cruelty, grief, horror, sorrow, pain,
Run through the field, disguised in divers shapes,
Death might you see triumphant on the plain,
Drowning in blood him that from blows escapes.
The king meanwhile with parcel of his train
Comes hastily out, and for sure conquest gapes,
And from a bank whereon he stood, beheld
The doubtful hazard of that bloody field.
But when he saw the Pagans shrink away,
He sounded the retreat, and gan desire
His messengers in his behalf to pray
Argantes and Clorinda to retire;
The furious couple both at once said nay,
Even drunk with shedding blood, and mad with ire,
At last they went, and to recomfort thought
And stay their troops from flight, but all for nought.
For who can govern cowardice or fear?
Their host already was begun to fly,
They cast their shields and cutting swords arrear,
As not defended but made slow thereby,
A hollow dale the city's bulwarks near
From west to south outstretched long doth lie,
Thither they fled, and in a mist of dust,
Toward the walls they run, they throng, they thrust.
While down the bank disordered thus they ran,
The Christian knights huge slaughter on them made;
But when to climb the other hill they gan,
Old Aladine came fiercely to their aid:
On that steep brae Lord Guelpho would not than
Hazard his folk, but there his soldiers stayed,
And safe within the city's walls the king .
The relics small of that sharp fight did bring:
Meanwhile the Soldan in this latest charge
Had done as much as human force was able,
All sweat and blood appeared his members large,
His breath was short, his courage waxed unstable,
His arm grew weak to bear his mighty targe,
His hand to rule his heavy sword unable,
Which bruised, not cut, so blunted was the blade
It lost the use for which a sword was made.
Feeling his weakness, he gan musing stand,
And in his troubled thought this question tossed,
If he himself should murder with his hand,
Because none else should of his conquest boast,
Or he should save his life, when on the land
Lay slain the pride of his subdued host,
"At last to fortune's power," quoth he, "I yield,
And on my flight let her her trophies build.
"Let Godfrey view my flight, and smile to see
This mine unworthy second banishment,
For armed again soon shall he hear of me,
From his proud head the unsettled crown to rent,
For, as my wrongs, my wrath etern shall be,
At every hour the bow of war new bent,
I will rise again, a foe, fierce, bold,
Though dead, though slain, though burnt to ashes cold."
Ismen from sleep awakes the Soldan great,
And into Sion brings the Prince by night
Where the sad king sits fearful on his seat,
Whom he emboldeneth and excites to fight;
Godfredo hears his lords and knights repeat
How they escaped Armida's wrath and spite:
Rinaldo known to live, Peter foresays
His Offspring's virtue, good deserts, and praise.
A gallant steed, while thus the Soldan said,
Came trotting by him, without lord or guide,
Quickly his hand upon the reins he laid,
And weak and weary climbed up to ride;
The snake that on his crest hot fire out-braid
Was quite cut off, his helm had lost the pride,
His coat was rent, his harness hacked and cleft,
And of his kingly pomp no sign was left.
As when a savage wolf chased from the fold,
To hide his head runs to some holt or wood,
Who, though he filled have while it might hold
His greedy paunch, yet hungreth after food,
With sanguine tongue forth of his lips out-rolled
About his jaws that licks up foam and blood;
So from this bloody fray the Soldan hied,
His rage unquenched, his wrath unsatisfied.
And, as his fortune would, he scaped free
From thousand arrows which about him flew,
From swords and lances, instruments that be
Of certain death, himself he safe withdrew,
Unknown, unseen, disguised, travelled he,
By desert paths and ways but used by few,
And rode revolving in his troubled thought
What course to take, and yet resolved on naught.
Thither at last he meant to take his way,
Where Egypt's king assembled all his host,
To join with him, and once again assay
To win by fight, by which so oft he lost:
Determined thus, he made no longer stay,
But thitherward spurred forth his steed in post,
Nor need he guide, the way right well he could,
That leads to sandy plains of Gaza old.
Nor though his smarting wounds torment him oft,
His body weak and wounded back and side,
Yet rested he, nor once his armor doffed,
But all day long o'er hills and dales doth ride:
But when the night cast up her shade aloft
And all earth's colors strange in sables dyed,
He light, and as he could his wounds upbound,
And shook ripe dates down from a palm he found.
On them he supped, and amid the field
To rest his weary limbs awhile he sought,
He made his pillow of his broken shield
To ease the griefs of his distempered thought,
But little ease could so hard lodging yield,
His wounds so smarted that he slept right naught,
And, in his breast, his proud heart rent in twain,
Two inward vultures, Sorrow and Disdain.
At length when midnight with her silence deep
Did heaven and earth hushed, still, and quiet make,
Sore watched and weary, he began to steep
His cares and sorrows in oblivion's lake,
And in a little, short, unquiet sleep
Some small repose his fainting spirits take;
But, while he slept, a voice grave and severe
At unawares thus thundered in his ear:
"O Solyman! thou far-renowned king,
Till better season serve, forbear thy rest;
A stranger doth thy lands in thraldom bring,
Nice is a slave, by Christian yoke oppressed;
Sleepest thou here, forgetful of this thing,
That here thy friends lie slain, not laid in chest,
Whose bones bear witness of thy shame and scorn!
And wilt thou idly here attend the morn?"
The king awoke, and saw before his eyes
A man whose presence seemed grave and old,
A writhen staff his steps unstable guies,
Which served his feeble members to uphold.
"And what art thou?" the prince in scorn replies,
"What sprite to vex poor passengers so bold,
To break their sleep? or what to thee belongs
My shame, my loss, my vengeance or my wrongs."
"I am the man of thine intent," quoth he,
"And purpose new that sure conjecture hath,
And better than thou weenest know I thee:
I proffer thee my service and my faith.
My speeches therefore sharp and biting be,
Because quick words the whetstones are of wrath, --
Accept in gree, my lord, the words I spoke,
As spurs thine ire and courage to provoke.
"But now to visit Egypt's mighty king,
Unless my judgment fall, you are prepared,
I prophesy, about a needless thing
You suffer shall a voyage long and hard:
For though you stay, the monarch great will bring
His new assembled host to Juda-ward,
No place of service there, no cause of fight,
Nor gainst our foes to use your force and might.
"But if you follow me, within this wall
With Christian arms hemmed in on every side,
Withouten battle, fight, or stroke at all,
Even at noonday, I will you safely guide,
Where you delight, rejoice, and glory shall
In perils great to see your prowess tried.
That noble town you may preserve and shield,
Till Egypt's host come to renew the field."
While thus he parleyed, of this aged guest
The Turk the words and looks did both admire,
And from his haughty eyes and furious breast
He laid apart his pride, his rage and ire,
And humbly said, "I willing am and prest
To follow where thou leadest, reverend sire,
And that advice best fits my angry vein
That tells of greatest peril, greatest pain."
The old man praised his words, and for the air
His late received wounds to worse disposes,
A quintessence therein he poured fair,
That stops the bleeding, and incision closes:
Beholding then before Apollo's chair
How fresh Aurora violets strewed and roses,
"It's time," he says, "to wend, for Titan bright
To wonted labor summons every wight."
And to a chariot, that beside did stand,
Ascended he, and with him Solyman,
He took the reins, and with a mastering hand
Ruled his steeds, and whipped them now and than,
The wheels or horses' feet upon the land
Had left no sign nor token where they ran,
The coursers pant and smoke with lukewarm sweat
And, foaming cream, their iron mouthfuls eat.
The air about them round, a wondrous thing,
Itself on heaps in solid thickness drew,
The chariot hiding and environing,
The subtle mist no mortal eye could view;
And yet no stone from engine cast or sling
Could pierce the cloud, it was of proof so true;
Yet seen it was to them within which ride,
And heaven and earth without, all clear beside.
His beetle brows the Turk amazed bent,
He wrinkled up his front, and wildly stared
Upon the cloud and chariot as it went,
For speed to Cynthia's car right well compared:
The other seeing his astonishment
How he bewondered was, and how he fared,
All suddenly by name the prince gan call,
By which awaked thus he spoke withal:
"Whoe'er thou art above all worldly wit
That hast these high and wondrous marvels brought,
And know'st the deep intents which hidden sit
]n secret closet of man's private thought,
If in thy skilful heart this lot be writ,
To tell the event of things to end unbrought;
Then say, what issue and what ends the stars
Allot to Asia's troubles, broils and wars.
"But tell me first thy name, and by what art
Thou dost these wonders strange, above our skill;
For full of marvel is my troubled heart,
Tell then and leave me not amazed still."
The wizard smiled and answered, "In some part
Easy it is to satisfy thy will,
Ismen I hight, called an enchanter great,
Such skill have I in magic's secret feat;
"But that I should the sure events unfold
Of things to come, or destinies foretell,
Too rash is your desire, your wish too bold,
To mortal heart such knowledge never fell;
Our wit and strength on us bestowed I hold,
To shun the evils and harms, mongst which we dwell,
They make their fortune who are stout and wise,
Wit rules the heavens, discretion guides the skies.
"That puissant arm of thine that well can rend
From Godfrey's brow the new usurped crown,
And not alone protect, save and defend
From his fierce people, this besieged town,
Gainst fire and sword with strength and courage bend,
Adventure, suffer, trust, tread perils down,
And to content, and to encourage thee,
Know this, which as I in a cloud foresee:
"I guess, before the over-gliding sun
Shall many years mete out by weeks and days,
A prince that shall in fertile Egypt won,
Shall fill all Asia with his prosperous frays,
I speak not of his acts in quiet done,
His policy, his rule, his wisdom's praise,
Let this suffice, by him these Christians shall
In fight subdued fly, and conquered fall.
"And their great empire and usurped state
Shall overthrown in dust and ashes lie,
Their woful remnant in an angle strait
Compassed with sea themselves shall fortify,
From thee shall spring this lord of war and fate."
Whereto great Solyman gan thus reply:
"0 happy man to so great praise ybore!"
Thus he rejoiced, but yet envied more;
And said, "Let chance with good or bad aspect
Upon me look as sacred Heaven's decree,
This heart to her I never will subject,
Nor ever conquered shall she look on me;
The moon her chariot shall awry direct
Ere from this course I will diverted be."
While thus he spake, it seemed he breathed fire,
So fierce his courage was, so hot his ire.
Thus talked they, till they arrived been
Nigh to the place where Godfrey's tents were reared,
There was a woful spectacle yseen,
Death in a thousand ugly forms appeared,
The Soldan changed hue for grief and teen,
On that sad book his shame and loss he lead,
Ah, with what grief his men, his friends he found;
And standards proud, inglorious lie on ground!
And saw one visage of some well-known friend.
In foul despite, a rascal Frenchman tread,
And there another ragged peasant rend
The arms and garments from some champion dead,
And there with stately pomp by heaps they wend,
And Christians slain roll up in webs of lead;
Lastly the Turks and slain Arabians, brought
On heaps, he saw them burn with fire to naught.
Deeply he sighed, and with naked sword
Out of the coach he leaped in the mire,
But Ismen called again the angry lord,
And with grave words appeased his foolish ire.
The prince content remounted at his sword,
Toward a hill on drove the aged sire,
And hasting forward up the bank they pass,
Till far behind the Christian leaguer was.
There they alight and took their way on foot,
The empty chariot vanished out of sight,
Yet still the cloud environed them about.
At their left hand down went they from the height
Of Sion's Hill, till they approached the route
On that side where to west he looketh right,
There Ismen stayed, and his eyesight bent
Upon the bushy rocks, and thither went.
A hollow cave was in the craggy stone,
Wrought out by hand a number years tofore,
And for of long that way had walked none,
The vault was hid with plants and bushes hoar,
The wizard stooping in thereat to gone,
The thorns aside and scratching brambles bore,
His right hand sought the passage through the cleft,
And for his guide he gave the prince his left:
"What," quoth the Soldan, "by what privy mine,
What hidden vault behoves it me to creep?
This sword can find a better way than thine,
Although our foes the passage guard and keep."
"Let not," quoth he, "thy princely foot repine
To tread this secret path, though dark and deep;
For great King Herod used to tread the same,
He that in arms had whilom so great fame.
"This passage made he, when he would suppress
His subjects' pride, and them in bondage hold;
By this he could from that small forteress
Antonia called, of Antony the bold,
Convey his folk unseen of more and less
Even to the middest of the temple old,
Thence, hither; where these privy ways begin,
And bring unseen whole armies out and in.
"But now saye I in all this world lives none
That knows the secret of this darksome place,
Come then where Aladine sits on his throne,
With lords and princes set about his grace;
He feareth more than fitteth such an one,
Such signs of doubt show in his cheer and face;
Fitly you come, hear, see, and keep you still,
Till time and season serve, then speak your fill."
This said, that narrow entrance passed the knight,
So creeps a camel through a needle's eye,
And through the ways as black as darkest night
He followed him that did him rule and guie;
Strait was the way at first, withouten light,
But further in, did further amplify;
So that upright walked at ease the men
Ere they had passed half that secret den,
A privy door Ismen unlocked at last,
And up they clomb a little-used stair,
Thereat the day a feeble beam in cast,
Dim was the light, and nothing clear the air;
Out of the hollow cave at length they passed
Into a goodly hall, high, broad and fair,
Where crowned with gold, and all in purple clad
Sate the sad king, among his nobles sad.
The Turk, close in his hollow cloud imbarred,
Unseen, at will did all the prease behold,
These heavy speeches of the king he heard,
Who thus from lofty siege his pleasure told;
"My lords, last day our state was much impaired,
Our friends were slain, killed were our soldiers bold,
Great helps and greater hopes are us bereft,
Nor aught but aid from Egypt land is left:
"And well you see far distant is that aid,
Upon our heels our danger treadeth still,
For your advice was this assembly made,
Each what he thinketh speak, and what he will."
A whisper soft arose when this was said,
As gentle winds the groves with murmur fill,
But with bold face, high looks and merry cheer,
Argantes rose, the rest their talk forbear.
"0 worthy sovereign," thus began to say
The hardy young man to the tyrant wise,
"What words be these? what fears do you dismay?
Who knows not this, you need not our advice!
But on your hand your hope of conquest lay,
And, for no loss true virtue damnifies,
Make her our shield, pray her us succors give,
And without her let us not wish to live.
"Nor say I this for that I aught misdeem
That Egypt's promised succors fail us might,
Doubtful of my great master's words to seem
To me were neither lawful, just, nor right!
I speak these words, for spurs I them esteem
To waken up each dull and fearful sprite,
And make our hearts resolved to all assays,
To win with honor, or to die with praise."
Thus much Argantes said, and said no more,
As if the case were clear of which he spoke.
Orcano rose, of princely stem ybore,
Whose presence 'mongst them bore a mighty stroke,
A man esteemed well in arms of yore,
But now was coupled new in marriage yoke;
Young babes he had, to fight which made him loth,
He was a husband and a father both.
"My lord," quoth he, "I will not reprehend
The earnest zeal of this audacious speech,
From courage sprung, which seld is close ypend
In swelling stomach without violent breach:
And though to you our good Circassian friend
In terms too bold and fervent oft doth preach,
Yet hold I that for good, in warlike feat
For his great deeds respond his speeches great.
"But if it you beseem, whom graver age
And long experience hath made wise and sly,
To rule the heat of youth and hardy rage,
Which somewhat have misled this knight awry,
In equal balance ponder then and gauge
Your hopes far distant, with your perils nigh;
This town's old walls and rampires new compare
With Godfrey's forces and his engines rare.
"But, if I may say what I think unblamed,
This town is strong, by nature, site and art,
But engines huge and instruments are framed
Gainst these defences by our adverse part,
Who thinks him most secure is eathest shamed;
I hope the best, yet fear unconstant mart,
And with this siege if we be long up pent,
Famine I doubt, our store will all be spent.
"For all that store of cattle and of grain
Which yesterday within these walls you brought,
While your proud foes triumphant through the plain
On naught but shedding blood, and conquest thought,
Too little is this city to sustain,
To raise the siege unless some means be sought;
And it must last till the prefixed hour
That it be raised by Egypt's aid and power.
"But what if that appointed day they miss?
Or else, ere we expect, what if they came?
The victory yet is not ours for this,
Oh save this town from ruin, us from shame!
With that same Godfrey still our warfare is,
These armies, soldiers, captains are the same
Who have so oft amid the dusty plain
Turks, Persians, Syrians and Arabians slain.
"And thou Argantes wotest what they be;
Oft hast thou fled from that victorious host,
Thy shoulders often hast thou let them see,
And in thy feet hath been thy safeguard most;
Clorinda bright and I fled eke with thee,
None than his fellows had more cause to boast,
Nor blame I any; for in every fight
We showed courage, valor, strength and might.
"And though this hardy knight the certain threat
Of near-approaching death to hear disdain;
Yet to this state of loss and danger great,
From this strong foe I see the tokens plain;
No fort how strong soe'er by art or seat,
Can hinder Godfrey why he should not reign:
This makes me say, -- to witness heaven I bring,
Zeal to this state, love to my lord and king --
"The king of Tripoli was well advised
To purchase peace, and so preserve his crown:
But Solyman, who Godfrey's love despised,
Is either dead or deep in prison thrown;
Else fearful is he run away disguised,
And scant his life is left him for his own,
And yet with gifts, with tribute, and with gold,
He might in peace his empire still have hold."
Thus spake Orcanes, and some inkling gave
In doubtful words of that he would have said;
To sue for peace or yield himself a slave
He durst not openly his king persuade:
But at those words the Soldan gan to rave,
And gainst his will wrapt in the cloud he stayed,
Whom Ismen thus bespake, "How can you bear
These words, my lord? or these reproaches hear?"
"Oh, let me speak," quoth he, "with ire and scorn
I burn, and gains, my will thus hid I stay!"
This said. the smoky cloud was cleft and torn,
Which like a veil upon them stretched lay,
And up to open heaven forthwith was borne,
And left the prince in view of lightsome day,
With princely look amid the press he shined,
And on a sudden, thus declared his mind.
"Of whom you speak behold the Soldan here,
Neither afraid nor run away for dread,
And that these slanders, lies and fables were,
This hand shall prove upon that coward's head,
I, who have shed a sea of blood well near,
And heaped up mountains high of Christians dead,
I in their camp who still maintained the fray,
My men all murdered, I that run away.
"If this, or any coward vile beside,
False to his faith and country, dares reply;
And speak of concord with yon men of pride,
By your good leave, Sir King, here shall he die,
The lambs and wolves shall in one fold abide,
The doves and serpents in one nest shall lie,
Before one town us and these Christians shall
In peace and love unite within one wall."
While thus he spoke, his broad and trenchant sword
His hand held high aloft in threatening guise;
Dumb stood the knights, so dreadful was his word;
A storm was in his front, fire in his eyes,
He turned at last to Sion's aged lord,
And calmed his visage stern in humbler wise:
"Behold," quoth he, "good prince, what aid I bring,
Since 5olyman is joined with Juda's king."
King Aladine from his rich throne upstart
And said, "Oh how I joy thy face to view,
My noble friend! it lesseneth in some part
My grief, for slaughter of my subjects true;
My weak estate to stablish come thou art,
And mayest thine own again in time renew,
If Heavens consent:" with that the Soldan bold
In dear embracements did he long enfold.
Their greetings done, the king resigned his throne
To Solyman, and set himself beside,
In a rich seat adorned with gold and stone,
And Ismen sage did at his elbow bide,
Of whom he asked what way they two had gone,
And he declared all what had them betide:
Clorinda bright to Solyman addressed
Her salutations first, then all the rest.
Among them rose Ormusses' valiant knight,
Whom late the Soldan with a convoy sent,
And when most hot and bloody was the fight,
By secret paths and blind byways he went,
Till aided by the silence and the night
Safe in the city's walls himself he pent,
And there refreshed with corn and cattle store
The pined soldiers famished nigh before.
With surly countenance and disdainful grace,
Sullen and sad, sat the Circassian stout,
Like a fierce lion grumbling in his place,
His fiery eyes that turns and rolls about;
Nor durst Orcanes view the Soldan's face,
But still upon the floor did pore and tout:
Thus with his lords and peers in counselling,
The Turkish monarch sat with Juda's king.
Godfrey this while gave victory the rein,
And following her the straits he opened all;
Then for his soldiers and his captains slain,
He celebrates a stately funeral,
And told his camp within a day or twain
He would assault the city's mighty wall,
And all the heathen there enclosed doth threat,
With fire and sword, with death and danger great.
And for he had that noble squadron known,
In the last fight which brought him so great aid,
To be the lords and princes of his own
Who followed late the sly enticing maid,
And with them Tancred, who had late been thrown
In prison deep, by that false witch betrayed,
Before the hermit and some private friends,
For all those worthies, lords and knights, he sends;
And thus he said, "Some one of you declare
Your fortunes, whether good or to be blamed,
And to assist us with your valors rare
In so great need, how was your coming framed?"
They blush, and on the ground amazed stare,
For virtue is of little guilt ashamed,
At last the English prince with countenance bold,
The silence broke, and thus their errors told:
"We, not elect to that exploit by lot,
With secret flight from hence ourselves withdrew,
Following false Cupid, I deny it not,
Enticed forth by love and beauty's hue;
A jealous fire burnt in our stomachs hot,
And by close ways we passed least in view,
Her words, her looks, alas I know too late,
Nursed our love, our jealousy, our hate.
"At last we gan approach that woful clime,
Where fire and brimstone down from Heaven was sent
To take revenge for sin and shameful crime
Gainst kind commit, by those who nould repent;
A loathsome lake of brimstone, pitch and lime,
O'ergoes that land, erst sweet and redolent,
And when it moves, thence stench and smoke up flies
Which dim the welkin and infect the skies.
"This is the lake in which yet never might
Aught that hath weight sink to the bottom down,
But like to cork or leaves or feathers light,
Stones, iron, men, there fleet and never drown;
Therein a castle stands, to which by sight
But o'er a narrow bridge no way is known,
Hither us brought, here welcomed us the witch,
The house within was stately, pleasant, rich.
"The heavens were clear, and wholsome was the air,
High trees, sweet meadows, waters pure and good;
For there in thickest shade of myrtles fair
A crystal spring poured out a silver flood;
Amid the herbs, the grass and flowers rare,
The falling leaves down pattered from the wood,
The birds sung hymns of love; yet speak I naught
Of gold and marble rich, and richly wrought.
"Under the curtain of the greenwood shade,
Beside the brook upon the velvet grass,
In massy vessel of pure silver made,
A banquet rich and costly furnished was,
All beasts, all birds beguiled by fowler's trade,
All fish were there in floods or seas that pass,
All dainties made by art, and at the table
An hundred virgins served, for husbands able.
"She with sweet words and false enticing smiles,
Infused love among the dainties set,
And with empoisoned cups our souls beguiles,
And made each knight himself and God forget:
She rose and turned again within short whiles,
With changed looks where wrath and anger met,
A charming rod, a book with her she brings,
On which she mumbled strange and secret things.
"She read, and change I felt my will and thought,
I longed to change my life, and place of biding,
That virtue strange in me no pleasure wrought,
I leapt into the flood myself there hiding,
My legs and feet both into one were brought,
Mine arms and hands into my shoulders sliding,
My skin was full of scales, like shields of brass,
Now made a fish, where late a knight I was.
"The rest with me like shape, like garments wore,
And dived with me in that quicksilver stream,
Such mind, to my remembrance, then I bore,
As when on vain and foolish things men dream;
At last our shade it pleased her to restore,
Then full of wonder and of fear we seem,
And with an ireful look the angry maid
Thus threatened us, and made us thus afraid.
" `You see,' quoth she, `my sacred might and skill,
How you are subject to my rule and power,
In endless thraldom damned if I will
I can torment and keep you in this tower,
Or make you birds, or trees on craggy hill,
To bide the bitter blasts of storm and shower;
Or harden you to rocks on mountains old,
Or melt your flesh and bones to rivers cold:
" `Yet may you well avoid mine ire and wrath,
If to my will your yielding hearts you bend,
You must forsake your Christendom and faith,
And gainst Godfredo false my crown defend.'
We all refused, for speedy death each prayeth,
Save false Rambaldo, he became her friend,
We in a dungeon deep were helpless cast,
In misery and iron chained fast.
"Then, for alone they say falls no mishap,
Within short while Prince Tancred thither came,
And was unwares surprised in the trap:
But there short while we stayed, the wily dame
In other folds our mischiefs would upwrap.
From Hidraort an hundred horsemen came,
Whose guide, a baron bold to Egypt's king,
Should us disarmed and bound in fetters bring.
"Now on our way, the way to death we ride,
But Providence Divine thus for us wrought,
Rinaldo, whose high virtue is his guide
To great exploits, exceeding human thought,
Met us, and all at once our guard defied,
And ere he left the fight to earth them brought.
And in their harness armed us in the place,
Which late were ours, before our late disgrace.
"I and all these the hardy champion knew,
We saw his valor, and his voice we heard;
Then is the rumor of his death untrue,
His life is safe, good fortune long it guard,
Three times the golden sun hath risen new,
Since us he left and rode to Antioch-ward;
But first his armors, broken, hacked and cleft,
Unfit for service, there he doft and left."
Thus spake the Briton prince, with humble cheer
The hermit sage to heaven cast up his eyne,
His color and his countenance changed were,
With heavenly grace his looks and visage shine,
Ravished with zeal his soul approached near
The seat of angels pure, and saints divine,
And there he learned of things and haps to come,
To give foreknowledge true, and certain doom.
At last he spoke, in more than human sound,
And told what things his wisdom great foresaw,
And at his thundering voice the folk around
Attentive stood, with trembling and with awe:
"Rinaldo lives," he said, "the tokens found
From women's craft their false beginnings draw,
He lives, and heaven will long preserve his days,
To greater glory, and to greater praise.
"These are but trifles yet, though Asia's kings
Shrink at his name, and tremble at his view,
I well foresee he shall do greater things,
And wicked emperors conquer and subdue;
Under the shadow of his eagle's wings
Shall holy Church preserve her sacred crew,
From Caesar's bird he shall the sable train
Pluck off, and break her talons sharp in twain.
"His children's children at his hardiness
And great attempts shall take example fair,
From emperors unjust in all distress
They shall defend the state of Peter's chair,
To raise the humble up, pride to suppress,
To help the innocents shall be their care.
This bird of east shall fly with conquest great,
As far as moon gives light or sun gives heat;
"Her eyes behold the truth and purest light,
And thunders down in Peter's aid she brings,
And where for Christ and Christian faith men fight,
There forth she spreadeth her victorious wings,
This virtue nature gives her and this might;
Then lure her home, for on her presence hings
The happy end of this great enterprise,
So Heaven decrees, and so command the skies."
These words of his of Prince Rinaldo's death
Out of their troubled hearts, the fear had rased;
In all this joy yet Godfrey smiled uneath.
In his wise thought such care and heed was placed.
But now from deeps of regions underneath
Night's veil arose, and sun's bright lustre chased,
When all full sweetly in their cabins slept,
Save he, whose thoughts his eyes still open kept.
With grave procession, songs and psalms devout
Heaven's sacred aid the Christian lords invoke;
That done, they scale the wall which kept them out:
The fort is almost won, the gates nigh broke:
Godfrey is wounded by Clorinda stout,
And lost is that day's conquest by the stroke;
The angel cures him, he returns to fight,
But lost his labor, for day lost his light.
The Christian army's great and puissant guide,
To assault the town that all his thoughts had bent,
Did ladders, rams, and engines huge provide,
When reverend Peter to him gravely went,
And drawing him with sober grace aside,
With words severe thus told his high intent;
"Right well, my lord, these earthly strengths you move,
But let us first begin from Heaven above:
"With public prayer, zeal and faith devout,
The aid, assistance, and the help obtain
Of all the blessed of the heavenly rout,
With whose support you conquest sure may gain;
First let the priests before thine armies stout
With sacred hymns their holy voices strain.
And thou and all thy lords and peers with thee,
Of godliness and faith examples be."
Thus spake the hermit grave in words severe:
Godfrey allowed his counsel, sage, and wise,
"Of Christ the Lord," quoth he, "thou servant dear,
I yield to follow thy divine advice,
And while the princes I assemble here,
The great procession, songs and sacrifice,
With Bishop William, thou and Ademare,
With sacred and with solemn pomp prepare."
Next morn the bishops twain, the heremite,
And all the clerks and priests of less estate,
Did in the middest of the camp unite
Within a place for prayer consecrate,
Each priest adorned was in a surplice white,
The bishops donned their albes and copes of state,
Above their rochets buttoned fair before,
And mitres on their heads like crowns they wore.
Peter alone, before, spread to the wind
The glorious sign of our salvation great,
With easy pace the choir come all behind,
And hymns and psalms in order true repeat,
With sweet respondence in harmonious kind
Their humble song the yielding air doth beat,
"Lastly, together went the reverend pair
Of prelates sage, William and Ademare,
The mighty duke came next, as princes do,
Without companion, marching all alone,
The lords and captains then came two and two,
With easy pace thus ordered, passing through
The trench and rampire, to the fields they gone,
No thundering drum, no trumpet shrill they hear,
Their godly music psalms and prayers were.
To thee, O Father, Son, and sacred Sprite,
One true, eternal, everlasting King;
To Christ's dear mother, Mary, vlrgin bright,
Psalms of thanksgiving and of praise they sing;
To them that angels down from heaven to fight
Gainst the blasphemous beast and dragon bring;
To him also that of our Saviour good,
Washed the sacred font in Jordan's flood.
Him likewise they invoke, called the Rock
Whereon the Lord, they say, his Church did rear,
Whose true successors close or else unlock
The blessed gates of grace and mercy dear;
And all the elected twelve the chosen flock,
Of his triumphant death who witness bear;
And them by torment, slaughter, fire and sword
Who martyrs died to confirm his word;
And them also whose books and writings tell
What certain path to heavenly bliss us leads;
And hermits good, and ancresses that dwell
Mewed up in walls, and mumble on their beads,
And virgin nuns in close and private cell,
Where, but shrift fathers, never mankind treads:
On these they called, and on all the rout
Of angels, martyrs, and of saints devout.
Singing and saying thus, the camp devout
Spread forth her zealous squadrons broad and wide';
Toward mount Olivet went all this route,
So called of olive trees the hills which hide,
A mountain known by fame the world throughout,
Which riseth on the city's eastern side,
From it divided by the valley green
Of Josaphat, that fills the space between.
Hither the armies went, and chanted shrill,
That all the deep and hollow dales resound;
From hollow mounts and caves in every hill,
A thousand echoes also sung around,
It seemed some clever, that sung with art and skill,
Dwelt in those savage dens and shady ground,
For oft resounds from the banks they hear,
The name of Christ and of his mother dear.
Upon the walls the Pagans old and young
Stood hushed and still, amated and amazed,
At their grave order and their humble song,
At their strange pomp and customs new they gazed:
But when the show they had beholden long,
An hideous yell the wicked miscreants raised,
That with vile blasphemies the mountain hoar,
The woods, the waters, and the valleys roar.
But yet with sacred notes the hosts proceed,
Though blasphemies they hear and cursed things;
So with Apollo's harp Pan tunes his reed,
So adders hiss where Philomela sings;
Nor flying darts nor stones the Christians dreed,
Nor arrows shot, nor quarries cast from slings;
But with assured faith, as dreading naught,
The holy work begun to end they brought.
A table set they on the mountain's height
To minister thereon the sacrament,
In golden candlesticks a hallowed light
At either end of virgin wax there brent;
In costly vestments sacred William dight,
With fear and trembling to the altar went,
And prayer there and service loud begins,
Both for his own and all the army's sins.
Humbly they heard his words that stood him nigh,
The rest far off upon him bent their eyes,
But when he ended had the service high,
"You servants of the Lord depart," he cries:
His hands he lifted then up to the sky,
And blessed all those warlike companies;
And they dismissed returned the way they came,
Their order as before, their pomp the same.
Within their camp arrived, this voyage ended,
Toward his tent the duke himself withdrew,
Upon their guide by heaps the bands attended,
Till his pavilion's stately door they view,
There to the Lord his welfare they commended,
And with him left the worthies of the crew,
Whom at a costly and rich feast he placed,
And with the highest room old Raymond graced.
Now when the hungry knights sufficed are
With meat, with drink, with spices of the best,
Quoth he, "When next you see the morning star,
To assault the town be ready all and prest:
To-morrow is a day of pains and war,
This of repose, of quiet, peace, and rest;
Go, take your ease this evening, and this night,
And make you strong against to-morrow's fight."
They took their leave, and Godfrey's heralds rode
To intimate his will on every side,
And published it through all the lodgings broad,
That gainst the morn each should himself provide;
Meanwhile they might their hearts of cares unload,
And rest their tired limbs that eveningtide;
Thus fared they till night their eyes did close,
Night friend to gentle rest and sweet repose.
With little sign as yet of springing day
Out peeped, not well appeared the rising morn,
The plough yet tore not up the fertile lay,
Nor to their feed the sheep from folds return,
The birds sate silent on the greenwood spray
Amid the groves unheard was hound and horn,
When trumpets shrill, true signs of hardy fights,
Called up to arms the soldiers, called the knights:
"Arm, arm at once!" an hundred squadrons cried,
And with their cry to arm them all begin.
Godfrey arose, that day he laid aside
His hauberk strong he wonts to combat in,
And donned a breastplate fair, of proof untried,
Such one as footmen use, light, easy, thin.
Scantly the warlord thus clothed had his gromes,
When aged Raymond to his presence comes.
And furnished to us when he the man beheld,
By his attire his secret thought he guessed,
"Where is," quoth he, "your sure and trusty shield?
Your helm, your hauberk strong? where all the rest?
Why be you half disarmed? why to the field
Approach you in these weak defences dressed?
I see this day you mean a course to run,
Wherein may peril much, small praise be won.
"Alas, do you that idle prise expect,
To set first foot this conquered wall above?
Of less account some knight thereto object
Whose loss so great and harmful cannot prove;
My lord, your life with greater care protect,
And love yourself because all us you love,
Your happy life is spirit, soul, and breath
Of all this camp, preserve it then from death."
To this he answered thus, "You know," he said,
"In Clarimont by mighty Urban's hand
When I was girded with this noble blade,
For Christ's true faith to fight in every land,
To God even then a secret vow I made,
Not as a captain here this day to stand
And give directions, but with shield and sword
To fight, to win, or die for Christ my Lord.
"When all this camp in battle strong shall be
Ordained and ordered, well disposed all,
And all things done which to the high degree
And sacred place I hold belongen shall;
Then reason is it, nor dissuade thou me,
That I likewise assault this sacred wall,
Lest from my vow to God late made I swerve:
He shall this life defend, keep and preserve."
Thus he concludes, and every hardy knight
His sample followed, and his brethren twain,
The other princes put on harness light,
As footmen use: but all the Pagan train
Toward that side bent their defensive might
Which lies exposed to view of Charles's wain
And Zephyrus' sweet blasts, for on that part
The town was weakest, both by side and art.
On all parts else the fort was strong by site,
With mighty hills defenced from foreign rage,
And to this part the tyrant gan unite
His subjects born and bands that serve for wage,
From this exploit he spared nor great nor lite,
The aged men, and boys of tender age,
To fire of angry war still brought new fuel,
Stones, darts, lime, brimstone and bitumen cruel.
All full of arms and weapons was the wall,
Under whose basis that fair plain doth run,
There stood the Soldan like a giant tall,
So stood at Rhodes the Coloss of the sun,
Waist high, Argantes showed himself withal,
At whose stern looks the French to quake begun,
Clorinda on the corner tower alone,
In silver arms like rising Cynthia shone.
Her rattling quiver at her shoulders hung,
Therein a flash of arrows feathered weel.
In her left hand her bow was bended strong,
Therein a shaft headed with mortal steel,
So fit to shoot she singled forth among
Her foes who first her quarries' strength should feel,
So fit to shoot Latona's daughter stood
When Niobe she killed and all her brood.
The aged tyrant tottered on his feet
From gate to gate, from wall to wall he flew,
He comforts all his bands with speeches sweet,
And every fort and bastion doth review,
For every need prepared in every street
New regiments he placed and weapons new.
The matrons grave within their temples high
To idols false for succors call and cry,
"O Macon, break in twain the steeled lance
On wicked Godfrey with thy righteous hands,
Against thy name he doth his arm advance,
His rebel blood pour out upon these sands;"
These cries within his ears no enterance
Could find, for naught he hears, naught understands.
While thus the town for her defence ordains,
His armies Godfrey ordereth on the plains;
His forces first on foot he forward brought,
With goodly order, providence and art,
And gainst these towers which to assail he thought,
In battles twain his strength he doth depart,
Between them crossbows stood, and engines wrought
To cast a stone, a quarry, or a dart,
From whence like thunder's dint or lightnings new
Against the bulwark stones and lances flew.
His men at arms did back his bands on foot,
The light horse ride far off and serve for wings,
He gave the sign, so mighty was the rout
Of those that shot with bows and cast with slings,
Such storms of shafts and stones flew all about,
That many a Pagan proud to death it brings,
Some died, some at their loops durst scant outpeep,
Some fled and left the place they took to keep.
The hardy Frenchmen, full of heat and haste,
Ran boldly forward to the ditches large,
And o'er their heads an iron pentice vast
They built, by joining many a shield and targe,
Some with their engines ceaseless shot and cast,
And volleys huge of arrows sharp discharge,
Upon the ditches some employed their pain
To fill the moat and even it with the plain.
With slime or mud the ditches were not soft,
But dry and sandy, void of waters clear,
Though large and deep the Christians fill them oft,
With rubbish, fagots, stones, and trees they bear:
Adrastus first advanced his crest aloft,
And boldly gan a strong scalado rear,
And through the falling storm did upward climb
Of stones, darts, arrows, fire, pitch and lime:
The hardy Switzer now so far was gone
That half way up with mickle pain he got,
A thousand weapons he sustained alone,
And his audacious climbing ceased not;
At last upon him fell a mighty stone,
As from some engine great it had been shot,
It broke his helm, he tumbled from the height,
The strong Circassian cast that wondrous weight;
Not mortal was the blow, yet with the fall
On earth sore bruised the man lay in a swoon.
Argantes gan with boasting words to call,
"Who cometh next? this first is tumbled down,
Come, hardy soldiers, come, assault this wall,
I will not shrink, nor fly, nor hide my crown,
If in your trench yourselves for dread you hold,
There shall you die like sheep killed in their fold."
Thus boasted he; but in their trenches deep,
The hidden squadrons kept themselves from scath,
The curtain made of shields did well off keep
Both darts and shot, and scorned all their wrath.
But now the ram upon the rampiers steep,
On mighty beams his head advanced hath,
With dreadful horns of iron tough tree great,
The walls and bulwarks trembled at his threat.
An hundred able men meanwhile let fall
The weights behind, the engine tumbled down
And battered flat the battlements and wall:
So fell Taigetus hill on Sparta town,
It crushed the steeled shield in pieces small,
And beat the helmet to the wearers' crown,
And on the ruins of the walls and stones,
Dispersed left their blood their brains and bones.
The fierce assailants kept no longer close
Undcr the shelter of their target fine,
But their bold fronts to chance of war expose,
And gainst those towers let their virtue shine,
The scaling ladders up to skies arose,
The ground-works deep some closely undermine,
The walls before the Frenchmen shrink and shake,
And gaping sign of headlong falling make:
And fallen they had, so far the strength extends
Of that fierce ram and his redoubted stroke,
But that the Pagan's care the place defends
And saved by warlike skill the wall nigh broke:
For to what part soe'er the engine bends,
Their sacks of wool they place the blow to choke,
Whose yielding breaks the strokes thereon which light,