Jerusalem Delivered - Book 04 - part 06

Torquato Tasso

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"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."


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.


"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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


While thus she them torments twixt frost and fire,
Twixt and grief, twixt hope and restless,
The sly enchantress her gain the nigher,
These were her flocks that golden fleeces bear:
But if someone durst utter his,
And by complaining make his griefs appear,
He labored hard rocks with plaints to move,
She had not learned the gamut then of love.


For down she bet her bashful eyes to ground,
And donned the weed of women's modest grace,
Down from her eyes welled the pearls round,
Upon the bright enamel of her face;
Such honey drops on springing flowers are found
When Phoebus holds the crimson morn in chase;
Full seemed her looks of, and of shame;
Yet shone transparent through the same.


If she by his outward cheer,
That any would his love by talk bewray,
Sometimes she him, sometimes stopped her ear,
And played fast and loose the livelong day:
Thus all her lovers kind deluded were,
Their earnest suit got neither yea nor nay;
But like the sort of weary huntsmen fare,
That hunt all day, and lose at night the hare.


These were the arts by which she captived
A thousand of young and lusty knights;
These were the arms wherewith love conquered
Their feeble hearts subdued in wanton fights:
What wonder if Achilles were misled,
Of great Alcides at their ladies' ,
Since these champions of the Lord above
Were thralls to beauty, yielden slaves to lore.

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