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Jerusalem Delivered - Book 04 - part 06

Torquato Tasso 1544 (Sorrento) – 1595 (Rome)

LXXXI

'Ah! be it not pardie declared in France,
Or elsewhere told where courtesy is in prize,
That we forsook so fair a chevisance,
For or that might from fight arise;
Else, here surrender I both sword and lance,
And swear no more to use this martial guise;
For ill deserves he to be termed a knight,
That bears a blunt sword in a lady's right.'

LXXXII

Thus parleyed he, and with sound,
The approved what the gallant said,
Their general their knights encompassed round,
With humble grace, and earnest suit they prayed:
'I yield,' quoth he, 'and it be found,
What I have granted, let her have your aid:
Yours be the thanks, for yours the danger is,
If aught succeed, as much I, amiss.

LXXXIII

'But if with you my words may credit find,
Oh temper then this heat misguides you so!'
Thus much he said, but they with fancy blind,
his grant, and let his counsel go.
What works not beauty, man's relenting
Is eath to move with plaints and shows of woe:
Her lips cast forth a chain of sugared words,
That captive led most of the Christian lords.

LXXXIV

Eustace recalled her, and bespake her thus:
'Beauty's chief darling, let those be,
For such assistance shall you find in us
As with your need, or will, may best agree:'
With that she cheered her forehead dolorous,
And smiled for, that Phoebus blushed to,
And had she deigned her veil for to remove,
The God once more had fallen in love.

LXXXV

With that she broke the silence once again,
And gave the knight great thanks in little speech,
She said she would his handmaid poor remain,
So far as honor's laws received no breach.
Her humble gestures made the residue plain,
Dumb eloquence, persuading more than speech:
Thus women, and thus they use the guise,
To enchant the valiant, and beguile the.

LXXXVI

And when she her enterprise had got
Some wished mean of quick and proceeding,
She to strike the iron that was hot,
For every action hath his hour of speeding:
Medea or false Circe changed not
So far the shapes of men, as her eyes spreading
Altered their hearts, and with her syren's sound
In lust, their, their hearts, in love she drowned.

LXXXVII

All wily sleights that subtle women,
Hourly she used, to catch some lover new.
None kenned the bent of her unsteadfast bow,
For with the time her her looks renew,
From some she cast her modest eyes below,
At some her gazing glances roving flew,
And while she thus pursued her wanton sport,
She spurred the slow, and reined the forward short.

LXXXVIII

If some, as hopeless that she would be won,
Forebore to love, because they durst not move her,
On them her gentle looks to smile begun,
As who say she is kind if you dare prove her
On every heart thus shone this lustful sun,
All strove to serve, to please, to woo, to love her,
And in their hearts that chaste and bashful were,
Her eye's hot glance dissolved the frost of.

LXXXIX

On them who durst with fingering bold assay
To the softness of her tender skin,
She looked as coy, as if she list not play,
And made as things of worth were hard to win;
Yet tempered so her deignful looks alway,
That outward scorn showed store of grace within:
Thus with false hope their longing hearts she fired,
For hardest gotten things are most.

XC

Sometimes she walked in secret where,
To ruminate upon her discontent,
Within her eyelids the swelling tear,
Not poured forth, though sprung from sad lament,
And with this craft a thousand well near
In snares of foolish ruth and love she hent,
And kept as slaves, by which we fitly prove
That witless breedeth fruitless love.

XCI

Sometimes, as if her hope unloosed had
The chains of grief, wherein her lay fettered,
Upon her minions looked she blithe and glad,
In that lore so was she lettered;
Not glorious Titan, in his brightness clad,
The sunshine of her face in lustre bettered:
For when she list to cheer her beauties so,
She smiled away the clouds of grief and woe.

XCII

Her double charm of smiles and sugared words,
Lulled on sleep the of their senses,
Reason shall aid gainst those assaults affords,
no warrant from those sweet offences;
Cupid's deep rivers have their shallow fords,
His griefs, bring ; his losses, recompenses;
He breeds the sore, and cures us of the:
Achilles' lance that wounds and heals again.

XCIII

While thus she them torments twixt frost and fire,
Twixt and grief, twixt hope and restl
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Torquato Tasso

Torquato Tasso was an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata, in which he depicts a highly imaginative version of the combats between Christians and Muslims at the end of the First Crusade, during the siege of Jerusalem. He suffered from mental illness and died a few days before he was due to be crowned as the king of poets by the Pope. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Tasso remained one of the most widely read poets in Europe. more…

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