Jerusalem Delivered – Book 05 – Part 03 By Torquato Tasso

Jerusalem Delivered – Book 05 – Part 03

XXXIII

Arnoldo, minion of the Prince thus slain,
Augments the fault in telling it, and saith,
This Prince murdered, for a quarrel vain,
By young Rinaldo in his desperate wrath,
And with that sword that should Christ’s law maintain,
One of Christ’s champions bold he killed hath,
And this he did in such a place and hour,
As if he scorned your rule, despised your power.

XXXIV

And further adds, that he deserved death
By law, and law should inviolate,
That none offence could greater be uneath,
And yet the place the fault did aggravate:
If he escapes, that mischief would take breath,
And flourish bold in spite of rule and;
And that Gernando’s friends would venge the wrong,
Although to justice that did first belong,

XXXV

And by that means, should discord, and strife
Raise mutinies, and what therefore ensueth:
Lastly he praised the dead, and still had rife
All words he could vengeance move or rut
Against him Tancred argued for life,
With honest reasons to excuse the youth:
The Duke all, but with such sober cheer,
As banished hope, and still increased.

XXXVI

‘Great Prince,’ quoth Tancred; ‘set before thine eyes
Rinaldo’s worth and courage what it is,
How much our hope of conquest in him lies;
Regard that princely house and race of his;
He that correcteth every fault he spies,
And judgeth all alike, doth all amiss;
For faults, you, are greater or less,
As is the person’s that doth transgress.’

XXXVII

Godfredo answered him; ‘If high and low
Of sovereign power alike should the stroke,
Then, Tancred, ill you counsel us, I trow;
If lords should no law, as erst you spoke,
How vile and base our empire were you,
If none but slaves and peasants bear the yoke;
Weak is the sceptre and the power is small
That such provisos bring annexed withal.

XXXVIII

‘But mine was freely given ere ’twas sought,
Nor that it lessened be I now consent;
Right well I both when and where I ought
To give condign reward and punishment,
Since you are all in like subjection brought,
Both high and low obey, and be content.’
This , Tancredi stayed his words,
Such weight the sayings have of kings and lords.

XXXIX

Old Raymond praised his speech, for old men
They ever seem when most severe,
‘ ‘Tis best,’ quoth he, ‘to make these great ones shrink,
The people love him whom the :
There must the rule to all disorders sink,
Where pardons more than punishments appear;
For feeble is each kingdom, frail and weak,
Unless his basis be this I speak.’

XL

These words Tancredi and pondered well,
And by them how Godfrey’s were bent,
Nor list he longer with these old men dwell,
But turned his horse and to Rinaldo went,
Who, when his foe death-wounded fell,
Withdrew him softly to his gorgeous tent;
There Tancred found him, and at large declared
The words and speeches sharp which late you.

XLI

And said, ‘Although I the outward show
Is not witness of the secret,
For that some men so subtle are, I trow,
That what they purpose most appeareth naught;
Yet dare I say Godfredo means, I,
Such hath his looks and speeches wrought,
You shall first prisoner be, and then be tried
As he shall deem it and law provide.’

XLII

With that a smile well might you
Rinaldo cast, with scorn and high disdain,
‘Let them in fetters plead their cause,’ quoth he,
‘That are base peasants, born of servile stain,
I was free born, I live and will die free
Before these feet be fettered in a chain:
These hands were made to shake sharp spears and swords,
Not to be tied in gyves and twisted cords.

XLIII

‘If my service reap this recompense,
To be clapt up in close and secret mew,
And as a thief be after dragged from thence,
To suffer punishment as law finds due;
Let Godfrey come or send, I will not hence
Until we who shall this bargain rue,
That of our tragedy the late done fact
May be the first, and this the second, act.

XLIV

‘Give me mine arms,’ he cried; his squire them brings,
And clad his head, and dressed in iron strong,
About his neck his silver shield he flings,
Down by his side a cutting sword there hung;
Among this earth’s brave lords and mighty kings,
Was none so stout, so fierce, so fair, so young,
God Mars he seemed descending from his sphere,
Or one whose looks could make great Mars to.

XLV

Tancredi labored with some speech
His fierce and courage to appease;
‘Young Prince, thy valor,’ thus he gan to preach,
‘Can chastise all that do thee wrong, at ease,
I your can your enemies teach,
That you can venge you when and where you please:
But God forbid this day you lift your arm
To do this camp and us your friends such harm.

XLVI

‘Tell me what will you do? why would you stain
Your hands in our unguilty blood?
By wounding Christians, will you again
Pierce Christ, whose parts they are and members?
Will you destroy us for your glory vain,
Unstayed as rolling waves in ocean flood?
Far be it from you so to prove your strength,
And let your zeal appease your rage at length.

XLVII

‘For God’s love stay your heat, and just displeasure,
Appease your wrath, your courage fierce assuage,
a praise; is a treasure;
Suffrance, an angel’s is; a monster, rage;
At least you actions by example measure,
And how I in mine unbridled age
Was wronged, yet I would not revengement take
On all this camp, for one offender’s sake.

XLVIII

‘Cilicia conquered I, as all men,
And there the glorious cross on high I reared,
But Baldwin came, and what I got
Bereft me falsely when I least him;
He seemed my friend, and I discovered not
His secret covetise which since appeared;
Yet strive I not to get mine own by fight,
Or civil war, although perchance I might.

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