小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Torquato Tasso, one of the three great Italian poets, was born at Sorrento in 1544, and, after receiving his education in various Italian cities, conceived, while at the University of Padua, the idea of writing an epic poem, using an episode in the First Crusade as his theme. In 1572 Tasso became attached to the court of Ferrara, where the duke and his two sisters delighted in his verses, admired his pastoral Aminta, and urged him to finish his projected epic.

During his sojourn at this court Tasso fell in love with Eleonora, sister of the duke, to whom he read the various parts of his epic as he completed them, and for whose sake he lingered at Ferrara, refusing offers of preferment at Paris and at Florence. Although he completed his epic in 1575, he did not immediately publish it, but sent copies to Rome and Padua for criticism. The learned men to whom he submitted his poem criticised it so freely that the poet's sensitive nature was greatly injured thereby. Almost at the same time the duke discovered the poet's passion for his sister. Furious to think Tasso should have raised his eyes to a princess, yet afraid he should carry his talents elsewhere, the duke, pretending to deem him insane, placed him under close surveillance. While Tasso was thus a prisoner, sundry false accusations were brought against him and his poem was published without his consent.

Although Tasso contrived several times to escape from Ferrara, he invariably came back there, hoping to be reconciled to the duke. It was only in 1586 that he left this place for good and betook himself to Rome and Naples, where he was forced to live on charity. Just as he was about to be publicly crowned in Rome for his epic, he died there, at the age of fifty-two (1595).

The epic "Jerusalem Delivered" contains an account of the Crusade of 1099 and extends over a period of forty days. It is divided into twenty cantos, written in ottava rima, or eight-rhymed stanzas, and, owing to its rhythmic perfection, is still sung by Italian bards to popular audiences.

Canto I. After stating exactly what task he proposes to perform in his poem, the poet describes how the Eternal Father, sitting on His heavenly throne, gazes down upon the plain of Tortosa, where the Crusaders are assembled. Six years have elapsed since they set out from Europe, during which time they have succeeded in taking Nicaea and Antioch, cities now left in charge of influential Crusaders. But Godfrey of Bouillon is pushing on with the bulk of the army, because he is anxious to wrest Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels and restore it to the worship of the true God. While he is camping on this plain, God sends Gabriel to visit him in sleep and inspire him with a desire to assemble a council, where, by a ringing speech, he will rouse the Christians to immediate action.

On awakening from this vision, Godfrey loses no time in convening such an assembly, and there eloquently urges the Christians to fight, declaring their efforts have failed hitherto mainly because they have lacked purpose and unity. Hearing this, Peter the Hermit suggests the Crusaders should select one chief, whose orders they will obey, and thereupon the warriors present unanimously elect Godfrey of Bouillon as leader. Having secured this exalted post, Godfrey reviews his force, thus giving the poet an occasion to enumerate the leaders of the different corps, or armies, and explain from what countries they come. Amongst other resounding names, the poet specially mentions Edward and his fair bride Gildippe, who, unwilling to be parted from her spouse, has donned a man's armor and followed him to the Crusade. Among the bravest fighters there, he also quotes Tancred, who, however, seems listless, and has accomplished no deed of valor since he beheld near a fountain and fell in love with Clorinda, a fair Amazon.

  To the same warbling of fresh waters drew,
  Arm'd, but unmhelm'd and unforeseen, a maid;
  She was a pagan, and came thither too
  To quench her thirst beneath the pleasant shade;
  Her beautiful fair aspect, thus display'd,
  He sees; admires; and, touch'd to transport, glows
  With passion rushing to its fountain head,
  The heart; 'tis strange how quick the feeling grows;
  Scarce born, its power in him no cool calm medium knows.

Another hero is Rinaldo (the same as the French Renaud de Montauban), who, although but a boy, escaped from his foster mother, Queen Mathilda, to go and fight for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre. His review completed, Godfrey of Bouillon orders his force to march on toward Jerusalem, whence he wishes to oust the Sultan Aladine (Saladin), who at present is sorely taxing the Christians to obtain funds enough to make war against the advancing Crusaders.

Canto II. Advised by the sorcerer Ismeno, Aladine steals the image of the Virgin from the Christian temple, and sets it up in his mosque, where he resorts to all manner of spells and incantations to destroy her power. During the night, however, the Virgin's image disappears from the mosque and cannot be found, although Aladine offers great rewards for its restoration. Finally, he decrees that, unless the perpetrator of the theft denounces himself, he will slay all the Christians in the town. He is about to execute this cruel threat when Sophronia, a Christian maid, suddenly decides to sacrifice herself to save her co-religionists. She therefore appears before Aladine, declaring she stole the image from the temple, whereupon the sultan in anger orders her bound to the stake and burned alive.

    Doom'd in tormenting fire to die, they lay
    Hands on the maid; her arms with rough cords twining,
    Rudely her mantle chaste they tear away,
    And the white veil that o'er her droop'd declining:
    This she endured in silence unrepining,
    Yet her firm breast some virgin tremors shook;
    And her warm cheek, Aurora's late outshining,
    Waned into whiteness, and a color took,
  Like that of the pale rose or lily of the brook.

Scarcely has Sophronia been fastened there, and while she is praying for God's aid to endure martyrdom without flinching, Olindo, a young Christian, deeming it impossible to allow a girl to sacrifice her life, rushes forward, declaring he alone committed the crime, but that the maiden, out of love for him, has assumed his guilt to save his life. Only then does he discover that the maiden tied to the stake is the very one he loves, but who hitherto has received his advances coldly! On hearing the youth accuse himself of having stolen the image, Aladine questions the maiden, who denies it, insisting she alone is to blame. Thereupon the sultan decrees both shall perish in the flames, and orders them tied to the stake back to back. It is in this position, and while in imminent peril of death, that the young man deplores the fact he is to die beside the one he hoped to marry and with whom he expected to spend a long and happy life. The executioners are about to set fire to the pyre where these generous young lovers are to end their days, when a young knight steps forward loudly proclaiming none of the Christians are to blame for the disappearance of the image, since Allah himself removed it from the temple because he considered it desecration to have such an image within its walls. This young knight turns out to be the warrior maid Clorinda, who not only convinces Aladine that the young people are guiltless, but bribes him to release them, in exchange for her services in the coming war. Touched by each other's devotion, the young couple marry as soon as released, and, instead of dying, live together as husband and wife.

    Restored to life and liberty, how blest,
    How truly blest was young Olindo's fate!
    For sweet Sophronia's blushes might attest,
    That Love at length has touch'd her delicate
    And generous bosom; from the stake in state
    They to the altar pass; severely tried,
    In doom and love already made his mate,
    She now objects not to become his bride,
  And grateful live with him who would for her have died.

Meanwhile two ambassadors have come from Egypt to visit Godfrey in his camp, and try first by persuasions and then by threats to dissuade him from his projected attack upon Jerusalem. In spite of all Alethes and Argantes can say, Godfrey insists upon carrying out his purpose, and, after dismissing these ambassadors with a haughty speech, marches on with his host.

   "Know, then, that we have borne all this distress
   By land and sea,—war, want, reverses—all!
   To the sole end that we might gain access
   To sacred Salem's venerable wall;
   That we might free the Faithful from their thrall,
   And win from God His blessing and reward:
   From this no threats our spirit can appal,
   For this no terms will be esteem'd too hard—
  Life, honors, kingdoms lost, or dignity debarr'd."

Canto III. When they come within sight of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, overjoyed, hail the Holy City with cries of rapture, and, falling on their knees, swear to deliver it from the hands of the infidels. Seeing them advance, the pagans make hasty preparations to oppose them, and Clorinda, at the head of a small force, volunteers to make a sortie and boldly attacks the vanguard of the Crusaders.

From the topmost tier of Jerusalem's ramparts, the Sultan Aladine watches their sortie, having beside him Erminia, daughter of the late king of Antioch, whom the Crusaders have sent on to Jerusalem, because they do not care to detain her a prisoner. During her sojourn in her father's town, Erminia has learned to know by sight all the Crusaders, and during her brief captivity she has fallen in love with Tancred, who was detailed to guard her. She can therefore give the Sultan Aladine all the information he wishes, and acts as cicerone while the battle is going on. From this point of vantage the sultan and princess watch Clorinda and Tancred meet, and behold how, after a lively encounter, Tancred strikes off the helmet of his opponent, whose sex is revealed by the streaming of her long golden hair. At sight of the wonderful maiden with whom he has fallen in love, Tancred refuses to continue the fight, although Clorinda urges him to strike. Undaunted by the fact that she is his foe, Tancred not only refuses to strike, but immediately begins to sue the beautiful maiden, who refuses to listen to him, and is soon swept away by Saracen forces, which intervene between her and Tancred.

A battle now rages, in the course of which various knights perform great deeds, but, although Godfrey proves victor on this occasion, he loses Dudon, chief of his Adventurous Band and one of the bravest warriors in his army. While giving her explanations to Aladine in regard to the fight waged beneath their eyes, Erminia carefully explains she feels deadly hatred for Tancred, although the truth is she loves him dearly and is greatly relieved to see him escape from the fray uninjured.

Many people having died in the course of this action, a truce is agreed upon so that both sides may bury their dead, and so, many funerals are celebrated with all due pomp and ceremony. Next the crusading force decides that siege-engines and towers will be necessary to enable them to scale the high walls of Jerusalem. They therefore send out a force of woodsmen to hew the trees which are to serve for the construction of the required towers.

    The duke, when thus his piety had paid
    The fun'ral rites, and shed his duteous tears,
    Sent all his skill'd mechanics to invade
    The forest, guarded by a thousand spears;
    Veil'd by low hills it stood, the growth of years,—
    A Syrian shepherd pointed out the vale,
    And thither brought the camp-artificers
    To fabricate the engines doom'd to scale
  The City's sacred towers and turn her people pale.

Canto IV. The scene now changes to the infernal regions, where Satan deems it time to frustrate the Christians' aims, because it would ill-suit diabolical ends to have them recover possession of Jerusalem. Not only does Satan stimulate his hosts by reminding them of their forfeited bliss, but he encourages them to thwart the Christians by reminding them of the great deeds they have already done. His eloquence is not expended in vain, for the fiends all approve of his suggestions, and, when the council is over, flit forth, intent upon fomenting dissension among the leaders of the Crusade, and hindering their attempts in every other way possible.

One demon in particular is to determine a wizard to send his niece Armida to ensnare the Christians. This enchantress, decked out with all the charms beauty and toilet can bestow, soon appears in the Christian camp, where, falling at Godfrey's feet, she proceeds to relate a tale of fictitious wrongs, claiming to be heiress of the city of Damascus, whence she has been ejected, and vowing if she could only secure the aid of a few knights she would soon recover her realm. In return for such aid as she implores from the Christians, she promises to do homage to them for her realm, and even pledges herself to receive baptism. Her artful speeches, the flattery which she lavishes upon Godfrey, and her languishing glances are all calculated to persuade him to grant her request; but the Crusader is so bent upon the capture of Jerusalem that nothing can turn him aside from his purpose.

But, although Godfrey himself is proof against all Armida's blandishments, his knights are not, and among those who succumb to the lady's charms is his own brother Eustace, who begs his permission to take ten knights and accompany the damsel to Damascus. Although Armida professes great gratitude for this help, she entices many other Crusaders to desert the camp, by casting languishing glances at them and making each man whom she looks upon believe she loves him only.

    All arts th' enchantress practised to beguile
    Some new admirer in her well-spread snare;
    Nor used with all, nor always the same wile,
    But shaped to every taste her grace and air:
    Here cloister'd is her eye's dark pupil, there
    In full voluptuous languishment is roll'd;
    Now these her kindness, those her anger bear,
    Spurr'd on or check'd by bearing frank or cold,
  As she perceived her slave was scrupulous or bold.

Canto V. Not content with beguiling many knights, Armida further foments a quarrel between Rinaldo and Gernando, Prince of Norway, in regard to the command of the Adventurous Band, which is now without a leader. In the course of this quarrel, Rinaldo is so sorely taunted by his opponent that, although the Crusaders are pledged not to fight each other, he challenges and slays Gernando. Then, afraid to be called to trial and sentenced to death for breaking the rules of the camp, Rinaldo flees to Egypt.

On perceiving how greatly his army is weakened by the desertion of so many brave men, Godfrey is dismayed—all the more so because he hears the Egyptian army is coming to attack him, and because the supplies which he expected have been cut off.

Canto VI. The Egyptian army boasts of no braver warrior than Argantes, who sallies forth to challenge the Christians, bidding Clorinda follow him at a short distance, and come to his rescue should it be necessary. Although Argantes has summoned Godfrey to come forth and fight him, it is Tancred who is chosen as champion for the Christians, but as he draws near his opponent a glimpse of the fair Clorinda's face makes him forget everything but her.

    He noted not where the Circassian rear'd
    His frightful face to the affronted skies,
    But to the hill-top where his Love appear'd,
    Turn'd, slack'ning his quick pace, his am'rous eyes,
    Till he stood steadfast as a rock, all ice
    Without, all glowing heat within;—the sight
    To him was as the gates of Paradise;
    And from his mind the mem'ry of the fight
  Pass'd like a summer cloud, or dream at morning light.

One of the knights in his train, seeing he is not going to fight, spurs forward and meets Argantes, by whom he is defeated. On seeing this knight fall, Tancred, suddenly brought to his senses, starts forward to avenge him, and combats with such fury that Argantes' armor fairly rings with the blows which rain down upon him. Argantes, however, is nearly as brave as Tancred, so the battle rages until nightfall, when the heroes are separated by the heralds, although both vow they will renew the struggle on the morrow. But, when they have ceased fighting and both discover they have serious wounds, their respective armies decree a six-days' truce and pledge themselves to await the result of the duel.

The wounded Argantes has returned to Jerusalem, where Erminia uses her magic balsams to heal his wounds, secretly wishing meanwhile that she might lavish her care upon Tancred, whom she still loves. So ardent is her desire to behold him, that she finally appropriates Clorinda's armor and rides off to the Christian camp, sending a messenger ahead to announce a lady is coming to heal Tancred if he will give her a safe-conduct to his tent. Tancred immediately sends word the lady will be welcome, but meanwhile the Christians, catching a glimpse of the waiting Erminia, and mistaking her for Clorinda owing to her armor, endeavor to capture her.

Canto VII. To escape from her pursuers, Erminia flees into a trackless forest, where, after wandering some time, she meets a shepherd, who gives her an asylum in his hut. There she turns shepherdess, but does not forget Tancred, whose name she carves in many a tree. Meantime the news spreads through the camp that Clorinda has been seen and is even now closely pursued by a troop of Christians. Hearing this Tancred, disregarding his wounds, sets out to find her. While wandering thus in the forest, weakened by loss of blood, he is captured by Armida, the enchantress, who detains him in a dungeon, where he eats his heart out for shame because he will not be able to respond when the trumpets sound for the renewal of his duel with Argantes.

The moment having come for this battle and the Crusaders' champion being absent, old Count Raymond volunteers to meet Argantes, and is about to get the better of him, when an archer from the wall suddenly discharges a shaft at him. Such treachery exasperates the Christians, who, exclaiming the truce has been broken, precipitate themselves upon their foes, and in the general battle which ensues many deeds of valor are performed.

Canto VIII. During this battle a great storm arises, and the Christians, who, notwithstanding their courage, have been worsted, beat a retreat, finding on their return to camp that one of their companions, defeated and mortally wounded, has despatched a messenger to carry his sword to Rinaldo. The Italian force thereupon accuses Godfrey of having done away with Rinaldo, but he not only succeeds in refuting such an accusation, but sentences his chief detractor to death.

Canto IX. Sultan Solyman of Nicae, who has joined Sultan Aladine of Jerusalem, now comes to attack the Christians by night, assisted by many fiends, but the archangel Michael warns the crusaders of what is coming and enables them to get the better of their foes by bringing back the troops which followed Armida to Damascus. In this encounter a Christian knight slays a page of the sultan, who, seeing this child dead, experiences such grief that, after avenging his death, he wishes to withdraw temporarily from the battle.

    "Let Godfrey view once more, and smile to view
    My second exile;—soon shall he again
    See me in arms return'd, to vex anew
    His haunted peace and never stable reign:
    Yield I do not; eternal my disdain
    Shall be as are my wrongs; though fires consume
    My dust, immortal shall my hate remain;
    And aye my naked ghost fresh wrath assume,
  Through life a foe most fierce, but fiercer from the tomb!"

Canto X. The sultan, after journeying part way back to Egypt, pauses to rest, and is visited by a wizard, who spirits him over the battle-field and back to Jerusalem in a magic chariot. This pauses at a hidden cave, the entrance to an underground passage, by which they secretly enter the sultan's council chamber.

    Ismeno shot the lock; and to the right
    They climb'd a staircase, long untrod, to which
    A feeble, glimm'ring, and malignant light
    Stream'd from the ceiling through a window'd niche;
    At length by corridors of loftier pitch
    They sallied into day, and access had
    To an illumined hall, large, round, and rich;
    Where, sceptred, crown'd, and in dark purple clad,
  Sad sat the pensive king amid his nobles sad.

Solyman, overhearing as he enters some of the nobles propose a disgraceful peace and the surrender of Jerusalem, hotly opposes such a measure, and thus infuses new courage into their breasts.

Canto XI. Meantime Godfrey of Bouillon, having buried his dead, questions the knights who were lured away by Armida, and they relate that, on arriving near the Dead Sea, they were entertained at a sumptuous banquet, where they were given a magic draught, which transformed them for a time into sportive fishes. Armida, having thus demonstrated her power over them, threatened to use it to keep them prisoners forever unless they would promise to abjure their faith. One alone yielded, but the rest, delivered as prisoners to an emissary from Egypt, were met and freed from their bonds by the brave Rinaldo, who, instead of accompanying them back to camp, rode off toward Antioch.

The Christians now prepare for their final assault, and, advised by Peter the Hermit, walk in solemn procession to the Mount of Olives, where, after singing hymns, all devoutly receive Communion. Thus prepared for anything that may betide, they set out on the morrow to scale the city walls, rolling ahead of them their mighty engines of war, by means of which they hope to seize the city.

Most of the Crusaders have laid aside their heavy armor and assumed the light gear of foot-soldiers the better to scale the walls, upon which Clorinda is posted, and whence she shoots arrow after arrow at the assailants. Wounded by one of the missiles flung from the wall, Godfrey seeks his tent, where, the physician failing to extract the barb, an angel brings a remedy from heaven which instantly cures the wound.

Canto XII. After awhile, seeing she does not do as much execution as she would like, Clorinda proposes to Argantes that they steal out of the city by night, and by chemical means set fire to the engines with which the Christians are threatening to capture the city. Willingly Argantes promises to accompany her in this perilous venture, but her slave, hoping to dissuade her, now reveals to her for the first time, the story of her birth, and informs her she is the daughter of a Christian. He adds her dying mother besought him to have her child baptized, a duty he had failed to perform, although repeatedly warned by visions to repair his neglect. But, although similar visions have frequently haunted the dreams of Clorinda herself, she persists in her undertaking to set fire to the war machines.

She has no sooner done so, however, than the Christians, aroused, set out in pursuit of her and of her companions. Bravely covering their retreat so they can re-enter the city safely, Clorinda delays her own until the gates closed. But with great presence of mind, the warrior-maid, who is wearing black armor, mingles in the darkness with the Crusaders. None of these suspects she does not belong to their ranks, save Tancred, who follows her to a remote place beneath the walls, where he challenges her to a deadly fight, little divining who she is. The battle proves fierce, and both combatants strike until Tancred runs his sword through his opponent. Dying, Clorinda reveals her name and faintly begs Tancred to baptize her before life leaves her body.

    "Friend! thou hast won; I pardon thee, and O
    Forgive thou me! I fear not for this clay,
    But my dark soul—pray for it, and bestow
    The sacred rite that laves all stains away:"
    Like dying hymns heard far at close of day,
    Sounding I know not what in the sooth'd ear
    Of sweetest sadness, the faint words make way
    To his fierce heart, and, touch'd with grief sincere,
  Streams from his pitying eye th' involuntary tear.

Such a request cannot be disregarded, so, although Tancred is frantic with grief at the thought of having slain his beloved, he hurries to a neighboring stream, draws water in his helmet, and, after baptizing his dying sweetheart, swoons over her body. His companions, finding him there, convey him and Clorinda's body to his tent, where they vainly try to rouse him, but he is so overcome with melancholy that he thinks of nothing but joining Clorinda in her tomb.

Canto XIII. Meantime the foe, having heard of Clorinda's death, vow to avenge her, while the Crusaders seek materials to reconstruct their towers. Hastening to a forest near by, they discover a wizard has cast such a spell upon it that all who try to enter are frightened away. Finally Tancred enters this place, and, although he is met by earthquakes and other portents, he disregards them all, and starts to cut down a tree. But, when blood gushes from its stem, and when Clorinda's voice informs him he has wounded her again, he flees without having accomplished his purpose. Heat and drought now cause further desertions and discourage the Crusaders, until Godfrey, full of faith in the justice of their cause, prays so fervently that rain is vouchsafed them.

Canto XIV. In a dream Godfrey is now admonished to proceed, and told, if he can only persuade Rinaldo to return, Jerusalem will soon fall into the hands of the Christians. Because no one knows where Rinaldo has gone, Godfrey despatches two knights in quest of him. After some difficulty they interview a wizard, who, after exhibiting to them his magic palace, tells them Armida, to punish Rinaldo for rescuing his companions from her clutches, has captured him by magic means and borne him off to her wonderful garden in the Fortunate Isles. The hermit then bestows upon them a golden wand which will defeat all enchantments, and bids them hasten to the Fortunate Isles.

Canto XV. Hastening off to the sea-shore armed with this golden wand, these two knights find a magic vessel, wherein they sail with fabulous speed over the sea, and through the Strait of Gibraltar, out into the western ocean, the nymph at the helm meanwhile informing them that this is the road Columbus is destined to travel. Sailing thus they reach the Fortunate Isles, where, notwithstanding many enchantments and temptations brought to bear to check their advance, they, thanks to the golden wand, force their way into Armida's wonderful garden.

Canto XVI.

    These windings pass'd, the garden-gates unfold,
    And the fair Eden meets their glad survey,—
    Still waters, moving crystals, sands of gold,
    Herbs, thousand flowers, rare shrubs, and mosses gray;
    Sunshiny hillocks, shady vales; woods gay,
    And grottoes gloomy, in one view combined,
    Presented were; and what increased their play
    Of pleasure at the prospect, was, to find
  Nowhere the happy Art that had the whole design'd.

    So natural seem'd each ornament and site,
    So well was neatness mingled with neglect,
    As though boon Nature for her own delight
    Her mocker mock'd, till fancy's self was check'd;
    The air, if nothing else there, is th' effect
    Of magic, to the sound of whose soft flute
    The blooms are born with which the trees are deck'd;
    By flowers eternal lives th' eternal fruit,
  This running richly ripe, while those but greenly shoot.

Then, peeping cautiously through the trees, they behold Rinaldo reclining amid the flowers, his head resting in the enchantress' lap. Biding their time they watch Armida leave the enamoured knight, then step forward and bid him gaze into the magic mirror they have brought. On beholding in its surface a reflection of himself as he really is, Rinaldo, horrified, is brought to such a sense of his depraved idleness, that he springs to his feet and proposes to leave immediately with his companions. They are about to depart without bidding farewell to the fair enchantress, when she pursues them, and, after vainly pleading with Rinaldo to stay with her, proposes to join him in any quality. When he abruptly rejects her advances and sails away, Armida, disappointed and infuriated because she has been scorned, hastens off to the Egyptian camp.

Canto XVII. There she joins the Christians' enemies, declaring she dreams of naught save slaying Rinaldo, and takes an important part in the review which the poet describes minutely. To compass her ends the artful Armida, whose charms have so lavishly been displayed that they have fired every breast, promises to belong to the warrior who will bring her Rinaldo's head. Meanwhile this hero has returned to Palestine, and is met by the wizard, who, after reproving him for his dalliance, gives him wonderful armor, and exhibits on the shield the great deeds of ancestors of the Duke of Ferrara.

Canto XVIII. Newly armed, Rinaldo now returns to the crusaders' camp, apologizes to Godfrey for breaking the rules of the crusade, relates his adventures, and, after humbly confessing his sins, starts forth to brave the spells of the magic forest. Not only does he penetrate within its precincts, but, undeterred by all Armida's enchantments, cuts down a tree, although, in hopes of staying his hand, her voice accuses him of cruelly wounding her! No sooner has this tree fallen than the spell is broken; so other trees are cut down without difficulty, engines built, and all is prepared for a new assault on Jerusalem.

Godfrey is particularly eager to make this new attempt immediately, because a carrier-pigeon has been caught bearing a message from the Egyptians to the Sultan of Jerusalem, apprising him that within five days they will come to his aid. During this assault of Jerusalem, a sorcerer on the walls, working against the Christians, is slain by a rock.

Soon after, thanks to the efforts of the Crusaders, the banner with the Cross floats over the walls of Jerusalem!

    Then raised the Christians all their long loud shout
    Of Victory, joyful, resonant, and high;
    Their words the towers and temples lengthen out;
    To the glad sound the mountains make reply:

* * * * *

    Then the whole host pours in, not o'er the walls
    Alone, but through the gates, which soon unclose,
    Batter'd or burnt; and in wide ruin falls
    Each strong defence that might their march oppose.
    Rages the sword; and Death, the slaught'rer, goes
    'Twixt Wo and Horror with gigantic tread,
    From street to street; the blood in torrents flows,
    And settles in lagoons, on all sides fed,
  And swell'd with heaps on heaps of dying and of dead.

Canto XIX. Tancred, scaling a fortress, meets and slays Argantes, receiving at the same time so grievous a wound that he swoons on the battle-field. Meantime Godfrey has sent a spy to the Egyptian camp to find out whether the army is really coming on to Jerusalem. This spy, meeting Erminia there, induces her not only to reveal all the Egyptians' plans (including a plot to slay Godfrey), but to go back with him. While they journey along together to rejoin the Christian forces, Erminia relates her adventures, saying that while she was playing shepherdess, some freebooters seized her and carried her to the Egyptian camp, where she was placed under Armida's protection. Her story is just finished when they perceive what appears to be a lifeless warrior. By the red cross on his armor the spy recognizes a Christian, and further investigation enables him to identify Tancred. Erminia—who has owned she loves him—now takes possession of him, binds up his wounds with her hair (!), and vows she will nurse him back to health.

Canto XX. Warned by his spy that the Egyptians mean to send sundry of their number to mix, during the battle, with his body-guard and kill him, Godfrey changes the ensigns of his men, and thus discovers the conspirators, who are promptly put to death. Seeing the Egyptian army advance, Godfrey, in a stirring speech, urges his men to do their best for the Holy Sepulchre, and thereby stimulates them to fight so bravely that many of them lose their lives. Among the slain are Gildippe and her husband, who, having fought together side by side throughout the campaign, die together and are buried in the same tomb. The other party, however, is far more unfortunate, for the Saracens lose the sultans Aladine and Solyman, the former slain by Godfrey and the latter by Rinaldo.

Meantime Armida, wavering between love and hate, tries to shoot Rinaldo, then flees, but, a little later, seeing him slay Solyman, she tries to kill herself. It is at this moment that Rinaldo approaches her, and offers to marry her provided she will be converted. Not only does she now promise conversion and marriage, but accompanies Rinaldo back to the camp.

The Crusaders having completely defeated their foes and secured possession of Jerusalem, march, with solemn hymns of praise to the Holy Sepulchre, where all kneel, thanking God for permitting them to deliver it from the hands of the heathen. It is with these thanks that the poem ends.

    Thus conquer'd Godfrey; and as yet there glow'd
    A flush of glory in the fulgent West,
    To the freed City, the once loved abode
    Of Christ, the pious chief and armies press'd:
    Arm'd as he was, and in his sanguine vest,
    With all his knights in solemn cavalcade,
    He reach'd the Temple; there, supremely bless'd,
    Hung up his arms, his banner'd spoils display'd,
  And at the sacred Tomb his vow'd devotions paid.


©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533