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means of a confidant; and before thou wert baptised (which is a ceremony
that takes place in Ethiopia later than elsewhere) committed thee to my
care to be brought up at a distance. Who shall relate the tears which
thy mother poured forth, and the sighs and sobs with which they were
interrupted? How many times, when she thought she had given thee the
last embrace, did she not gather thee to her bosom once more! At length,
raising her eyes to heaven, she said, 'O Thou that seest into the hearts
of mortals, and knowest in this matter the spotlessness of mine, dark
though it be otherwise with frailty and with sin, save, I pray thee,
this innocent creature who is denied the milk of its mother's breast.
Vouchsafe that she resemble her hapless parent in nothing but a chaste
life. And thou, celestial warrior, that didst deliver the maiden out of
the serpent's mouth, if I have ever lit humble taper on thine altar, and
set before thee offerings of gold and incense, be, I implore thee, her
advocate. Be her advocate to such purpose, that in every turn of fortune
she may be enabled to count on thy good help.' Here she ceased, torn to
her very heart-strings, with a face painted of the colour of death; and
I, weeping myself, received thee, and bore thee away, hidden in a sweet
covering of flowers and leaves.

"I journeyed with thee along a forest, where a tiger came upon us with
fury in its eyes. I betook me, alas, to a tree, and left thee lying on
the ground, such terror was in me; and the horrible beast looked down
upon thee. But it fell to licking thee with its dreadful tongue, and thou
didst smile to it, and put thy little hand to its jaws; and, lo, it gave
thee suck, being a mother itself; and then, wonderful to relate, it
returned into the woods, leaving me to venture down from the tree, and
bear thee onward to my place of refuge. There, in a little obscure
cottage, I had thee nursed for more than a year; till, feeling that I
grew old, I resolved to avail myself of the riches the queen had given
me, and go into my own country, which was Egypt. I set out for it
accordingly, and had to cross a torrent where thieves threatened me on
one side, and the fierce water on the other. I plunged in, holding thee
above the torrent with one hand, till I came to an eddy that tore thee
from me. I thought thee lost. What was my delight and astonishment, on
reaching the bank, to find that the water itself had tossed thee upon it
in safety!

"But I had a dream at night, which seemed to shew me the cause of
thy good fortune. A warrior appeared before me with a threatening
countenance, holding a sword in my face, and saying in an imperious
voice, 'Obey the commands of the child's mother and of me, and baptise
it. She is favoured of Heaven, and her lot is in my keeping. It was I
that put tenderness in the heart of the wild beast, and even a will to
save her in the water. Woe to thee, if thou believest not this vision. It
is a message from the skies.'

"The spirit vanished, and I awoke and pursued my journey; but thinking my
own creed the true one, and therefore concluding the dream to be false, I
baptised thee not; I bred thee what I was myself, a Pagan; and thou didst
grow up, and become great and wonderful in arms, surpassing the deeds
of men, and didst acquire riches and lands; and what thy life has been
since, then knowest as well as I; ay, and thou knowest mine own ways too,
how I have followed and cautiously waited on thee ever, being to thee
both as a servant and father.

"Now yesterday morning, as I lay heavily asleep, in consequence of my
troubled mind, the same figure of the warrior made its appearance, but
with a countenance still more threatening, and speaking in a louder
voice. 'Wretch,' it exclaimed, 'the hour is approaching when Clorinda
shall end both her life and her belief. She is mine in despite of thee.
Misery be thine.' With these words it darted away as though it flew.

"Consider then, delight of my soul, what these dreams may portend. They
threaten thee terrible things; for what reason I know not. Can it be,
that mine own faith is the wrong one, and that of thy parents the right?
Ah! take thought at least, and repress this daring courage. Lay aside
these arms that frighten me."

Tears hindered the old man from saying more. Clorinda grew thoughtful,
and felt something of dread, for she had had a like kind of dream. At
length, however, cheerfully looking up, she said, "I must follow the
faith I was bred in; the faith which thou thyself bred'st me in,
although thy words would now make me doubt it. Neither can I give up the
enterprise that calls me forth. Such a withdrawal is not to be expected
of an honourable soul. Death may put on the worst face it pleases. I
shall not retreat."

The intrepid maiden, however, did her best to console her good friend;
but the time having arrived for the adventure, she finally bade him be of
good heart, and so left him.

Silently, and in the middle of the night, Argantes and Clorinda took
their way down the hills of Jerusalem, and, quitting the gates, went
stealthily towards the site of the tower. But its ever-watchful guards
were alarmed. They demanded the watch-word; and, not receiving it, cried
out, "To arms! to arms!" The dauntless adventurers plunged forwards with
their swords; they dashed aside every assailant, pitched the balls of
sulphur into the machine, and in a short time, in the midst of a daring
conflict, had the pleasure of seeing the smoke and the flame arise, and
the whole tower blazing to its destruction. A terrible sight it was to
the Christians. Waked up, they came crowding to the place; and the two
companions, notwithstanding their skill and audacity, were compelled to
make a retreat. The besieged, with the king at their head, now arrived
also, crowding on the walls; and the gate was opened to let the
adventurers in. The Soldan issued forth at the same moment to cover the
retreat. Argantes was forced through the gate by Clorinda in spite of
himself; and she, but for a luckless antagonist, would have followed him;
but a soldier aiming at her a last blow, she rushed back to give the man
his death; and, in the confusion of the moment, the warders, believing
her to have entered, shut up the gate, and the heroine was left without.

Behind Clorinda was the gate - before and round about her was a host of
foes; and surely at that moment she thought that her life was drawing to
its end. Finding, however, that her dark armour befriended her in
the tumult, she mingled with the enemy as though she had been one of
themselves, and so, by degrees, picked her way through the confusion
caused by the fire. As the wolf, with its bloody mouth, seeks covert
in the woods, even so Clorinda got clear out of the multitude into the
darkness and the open country.

Not, however, so clear, alas, but that Tancred perceived her - Tancred,
her foe in creed, but her adoring lover, whose heart she had conquered in
the midst of strife, and whose passion for her she knew. But now she knew
not that he had seen her; nor did he, poor valiant wretch, know that
the knight in black armour whom he pursued, was a woman, and Clorinda.
Tancred had seen the warrior strike down the assailant at the gate; he
had watched him as he picked his way to escape; and Clorinda now heard
the unknown Tancred coming swiftly on horseback behind her as she was
speeding round towards another gate in hopes of being let in.

The heroine at length turned, and said, "How now, friend? - what is thy
business?"

"Death!" answered the pursuer.

"Thou shalt have it," replied the maiden.

The knight, as his enemy was on foot, dismounted, in order to render
the combat equal; and their swords are drawn in fury, and the fight
begins.[4]

Worthy of the brightest day-time was that fight - worthy of a theatre full
of valiant be-holders. Be not displeased, O. Night! that I draw it out of
thy bosom, and set it in the serene light of renown: the splendour will
but the more exhibit the great shade of thy darkness.

No trial was this of skill - no contest of warding and traversing and
taking heed - no artful interchange of blows now pretended, now given in
earnest, now glancing. Night-time and rage flung aside all consideration.
The swords horribly clashed and hammered on one another. Not a cut
descended in vain - not a thrust was without substance. Shame and fury
aggravated one another. Every blow became fiercer than the last. They
closed - they could use their blades no longer; they dashed the pummels of
their swords at one another's faces; they butted and shouldered with helm
and buckler. Three times the man threw his arms round the woman with
other embraces than those of love - three times they returned to their
swords, and cut and slashed one another's bleeding bodies; till at length
they were obliged to hold back for the purpose of taking breath.

Tancred and Clorinda stood fronting one another in the darkness, leaning
on their swords for want of strength. The last star in the heavens was
fading in the tinge of dawn; and Tancred saw that his enemy had lost more
blood than himself, and it made him proud and joyful. Oh, foolish mind of
us humans, elated at every fancy of success! Poor wretch! for what dost
thou rejoice? How sad will be thy victory! What a misery to look back
upon, thy delight! Every drop of that blood will be paid for with worlds
of tears!

Dimly thus looking at one another stood the combatants, bleeding a while
in peace. At length Tancred, who wished to know his antagonist, said, "It
hath been no good fortune of ours to be compelled thus to fight where
nobody can behold us; but we have at least become acquainted with the
good swords of one another. Let me request, therefore (if to request any
thing at such a time be not unbecoming), that I may be no stranger to thy
name. Permit me to learn, whatever be the result, who it is that shall
honour my death or my victory."

"I am not accustomed," answered the fierce maiden, "to disclose who I am;
nor shall I disclose it now. Suffice to hear, that thou seest before thee
one of the burners of the tower."

Tancred was exasperated at this discovery. "In an evil moment," cried he,
"hast thou said it. Thy silence and thy speech alike disgust me." Into
the combat again they dash, feeble as they were. Ferocious indeed is the
strife in which skill is not thought of, and strength itself is dead; in
which valour rages instead of contends, and feebleness becomes hate and
fury. Oh, the gates of blood that were set open in wounds upon wounds!
If life itself did not come pouring forth, it was only because scorn
withheld it.

As in the Ægean Sea, when the south and north winds have lost the
violence of their strength, the billows do not subside nevertheless, but
retain the noise and magnitude of their first motion; so the continued
impulse of the combatants carried them still against one another,
hurling them into mutual injury, though they had scarcely life in their
bodies.[5]

And now the fatal hour has come when Clorinda must die. The sword of
Tancred is in her bosom to the very hilt. The stomacher under the cuirass
which enclosed it is filled with a hot flood.

Her legs give way beneath her. She falls - she feels that she is
departing. The conqueror, with a still threatening countenance, prepares
to follow up his victory, and treads on her as she lies.

But a new spirit had come upon her - the spirit which called the beloved
of Heaven to itself; and, speaking in a sorrowing voice, she thus uttered
her last words:

"My friend, thou hast conquered - I forgive thee. Forgive thou me, not for
my body's sake, which fears nothing, but for the sake, alas, of my soul.
Baptise me, I beseech thee."

There was something in the voice, as the dying person spake these words,
that went, he knew not why, to the heart of Tancred. The tears forced
themselves into his eyes. Not far off there was a little stream, and the
conqueror went to it and filled his helmet; and returning, prepared for
the pious office by unlacing his adversary's helmet. His hands trembled
when he first beheld the forehead, though he did not yet know it; but
when the vizor was all down, and the face disclosed, he remained without
speech and motion.

Oh, the sight! oh, the recognition!

He did not die. He summoned up all the powers within him to support his
heart for that moment. He resolved to hold up his duty above his misery,
and give life with the sweet water to her whom he had slain with sword.
He dipped his fingers in it, and marked her forehead with the cross, and
repeated the words of the sacred office; and while he was repeating them,
the sufferer changed countenance for joy, and smiled, and seemed to say,
in the cheerfulness of her departure, "The heavens are opening - I go in
peace." A paleness and a shade together then came over her countenance,
as if lilies had been mixed with violets. She looked up at heaven, and
heaven itself might be thought for very tenderness to be looking at her;
and then she raised a little her hand towards that of the knight (for she
could not speak), and so gave it him in sign of goodwill; and with his
pressure of it her soul passed away, and she seemed asleep.

But Tancred no sooner beheld her dead, than all the strength of mind
which he had summoned up to support him fell flat on the instant. He
would have given way to the most frantic outcries; but life and speech
seemed to be shut up in one point in his heart; despair seized him like
death, and he fell senseless beside her. And surely he would have died
indeed, had not a party of his countrymen happened to come up. They were
looking for water, and had found it, and they discovered the bodies at
the same time. The leader knew Tancred by his arms. The beautiful body of
Clorinda, though he deemed her a Pagan, he would not leave exposed to
the wolves; so he directed them both to be carried to the pavilion of
Tancred, and there placed in separate chambers.

Dreadful was the waking of Tancred - not for the solemn whispering around
him - not for his aching wounds, terrible as they were, - but for the agony
of the recollection that rushed upon him. He would have gone staggering
out of the pavilion to seek the remains of his Clorinda, and save them
from the wolves; but his friends told him they were at hand, under the
curtain of his own tent. A gleam of pleasure shot across his face, and be
staggered into the chamber; but when he beheld the body gored with his
own hand, and the face, calm indeed, but calm like a pale night without
stars, he trembled so, that he would have sunk to the ground but for his
supporters.

"O sweet face!" he exclaimed; "thou mayst be calm now; but what is to
calm me? O hand that was held up to me in sign of peace and forgiveness!
to what have I brought thee? Wretch that I am, I do not even weep. Mine
eyes are as cruel as my hands. My blood shall be shed instead."

And with these words he began tearing off the bandages which the surgeons
had put upon him; and he thrust his fingers into his wounds, and would
have slain himself thus outright, had not the pain made him faint away.

He was then taken back to his own chamber. Godfrey came in the mean
time with the venerable hermit Peter; and when the sufferer awoke, they
addressed him in kind words, which even his impatience respected; but it
was not to be calmed till the preacher put on the terrors of religion,
remonstrating with him as an ingrate to God, and threatening him with the
doom of a sinner. The tears then crept into his eyes, and he tried to be
patient, and in some degree was so - only breaking out ever and anon, now
into exclamations of horror, and now into fond lamentations, talking as
if with the shade of his beloved.

Thus lay Tancred for days together, ever woful; till, falling asleep one
night towards the dawn, the shade of Clorinda did indeed appear to him,
more beautiful than ever, and clad in light and joy. She seemed to stoop
and wipe the tears from his eyes; and then said, "Behold how happy I am.
Behold me, O beloved friend, and see how happy, and bright, and beautiful
I am; and consider that it is all owing to thyself. 'Twas thou that
took'st me out of the false path, and made me worthy of admission among
saints and angels. There, in heaven, I love and rejoice; and there I look
to see thee in thine appointed time; after which we shall both love the
great God and one another for ever and ever. Be faithful, and command
thyself, and look to the end; for, lo, as far as it is permitted to a
blessed spirit to love mortality, even now I love thee!"

With these words the eyes of the vision grew bright beyond mortal beauty;
and then it turned and was hidden in the depth of its radiance, and
disappeared.

Tancred slept a quiet sleep; and when he awoke, he gave himself patiently
up to the will of the physician; and the remains of Clorinda were
gathered into a noble tomb.[6]


[Footnote 1: St. George.]

[Footnote 2: This fiction of a white Ethiop child is taken from the Greek
romance of Heliodorus, book the fourth. The imaginative principle on
which it is founded is true to physiology, and Tasso had a right to use
it; but the particular and excessive instance does not appear happy in
the eyes of a modern reader acquainted with the history of _albinos._]

[Footnote 3: The conceit is more antithetically put in the original

"Ch'egli avria del candor che in te si vede
Argomentato in lei non bianca fede."

Canto xii. st. 24.]

[Footnote 4: The poet here compares his hero and heroine to two jealous

"bulls," no happy comparison certainly.

"Vansi a ritrovar non altrimenti
Che duo tori gelosi." St. 53.]

[Footnote 5:

"Qual l'alto Egeo, perchè Aquilone o Noto
Cessi, che tutto prima il volse e scosse,
Non s'accheta però, ma 'l suono e 'l moto
Ritien de l'onde anco agitate e grosse;
Tal, se ben manca in lor col sangue voto
Quel vigor che le braccia ai colpi mosse,
Serbano ancor l'impeto primo, e vanno
Da quel sospinti a giunger danno a danno."
Canto xii. st. 63.]

[Footnote 6: This tomb, Tancred says, in an address which he makes to it,

"has his flames inside of it, and his tears without:"
"Che dentro hai le mie fiamme, e fuori il pianto." St. 96.]

I am loath to disturb the effect of a really touching story; but if I do
not occasionally give instances of these conceits, my translations will
belie my criticism.]


RINALDO AND ARMIDA:

WITH THE

ADVENTURES OF THE ENCHANTED FOREST.

Argument.

PART I. - Satan assembles the fiends in council to consider the best means
of opposing the Christians. Armida, the niece of the wizard king of
Damascus, is incited to go to their camp under false pretences, and
endeavour to weaken it; which she does by seducing away many of the
knights, and sowing a discord which ends in the flight of Rinaldo.

PART II. - Armida, after making the knights feel the power of her magic,
dismisses them bound prisoners for Damascus. They are rescued on their
way by Rinaldo. Armida pursues him in wrath, but falls in love with him.

PART III. - The magician Ismeno succeeds in frightening the Christians in
their attempt to cut wood from the Enchanted Forest. Rinaldo is sent for,
as the person fated to undo the enchantment.

PART IV. - Rinaldo and Armida, in love with each other, pass their time in
a bower of bliss. He is fetched away by two knights, and leaves her in
despair.

PART V. - Rinaldo disenchants the forest, and has the chief hand in the
taking of Jerusalem. He meets and reconciles Armida. RINALDO AND ARMIDA,
ETC.

Part the First

ARMIDA IN THE CHRISTIAN CAMP.

The Christians had now commenced their attack on Jerusalem, and brought a
great rolling tower against the walls, built from the wood of a forest in
the neigbbourhood; when the Malignant Spirit, who has never ceased his
war with Heaven, cast in his mind how he might best defeat their purpose.
It was necessary to divide their forces; to destroy their tower; to
hinder them from building another; and to make one final triumphant
effort against the whole progress of their arms.

Forgetting how the right arm of God could launch its thunderbolts, the
Fiend accordingly seated himself on his throne, and ordered his powers to
be brought together. The Tartarean trumpet, with its hoarse voice, called
up the dwellers in everlasting darkness. The huge black caverns trembled
to their depths, and the blind air rebellowed with the thunder. The bolt
does not break forth so horribly when it comes bursting after the flash
out of the heavens; nor had the world before ever trembled with such an
earthquake.[1]

The gods of the abyss came thronging up on all sides through the
gates; - terrible-looking beings with unaccountable aspects, dispensers of
death and horror with their eyes; - some stamping with hoofs, some rolling
on enormous spires, - their faces human, their hair serpents. There were
thousands of shameless Harpies, of pallid Gorgons, of barking Scyllas,
of Chimeras that vomited ashes, and of monsters never before heard or
thought of, with perverse aspects all mixed up in one.

The Power of Evil sat looking down upon them, huger than a rock in the
sea, or an alp with forked summits. A certain horrible majesty augmented
the terrors of his aspect. His eyes reddened; his poisonous look hung in
the air like a comet; the mouth, as it opened in the midst of clouds of
beard, seemed an abyss of darkness and blood; and out of it, as from a
volcano, issued fires, and vapours, and disgust.

Satan laid forth to his dreadful hearers his old quarrel with Heaven,
and its new threats of an extension of its empire. Christendom was to be
brought into Asia; their worshippers were to perish; souls were to be
rescued from their devices, and Satan's kingdom on earth put an end to.
He exhorted them therefore to issue forth once for all and prevent this
fatal consummation by the destruction of the Christian forces. Some of
the leaders he bade them do their best to disperse, others to slay,
others to draw into effeminate pleasures, into rebellion, into the ruin
of the whole camp, so that not a vestige might remain of its existence.

The assembly broke up with the noise of hurricanes. They issued forth
to look once more upon the stars, and to sow seeds every where of
destruction to the Christians. Satan himself followed them, and entered
the heart of Hydraotes, king of Damascus.

Hydraotes was a wizard as well as a king, and held the Christians in
abhorrence. But he was wise enough to respect their valour; and with
Satan's help he discerned the likeliest way to counteract it. He had a
niece, who was the greatest beauty of the age. He had taught her his art:
and he concluded, that the enchantments of beauty and magic united would
prove irresistible. He therefore disclosed to her his object. He told her
that every artifice was lawful, when the intention was to serve one's
country and one's faith; and he conjured her to do her utmost to separate
Godfrey himself from his army, or in the event of that not being
possible, to bring away as many as she could of his noblest captains.

Armida (for that was her name), proud of her beauty, and of the unusual
arts that she had acquired, took her way the same evening, alone, and by
the most sequestered paths, - a female in gown and tresses issuing forth
to conquer an army.[2]

She had not travelled many days ere she came in sight of the Christian
camp, the outskirts of which she entered immediately. The Frenchmen all
flocked to see her, wondering who she was, and who could have sent them
so lovely a messenger. Armida passed onwards, not with a misgiving air,
not with an unalluring, and yet not with an immodest one. Her golden
tresses she suffered at one moment to escape from under her veil, and
at another she gathered them again within it. Her rosy mouth breathed
simplicity as well as voluptuousness. Her bosom was so artfully draped,
as to let itself be discerned without seeming to intend it. And thus she
passed along, surprising and transporting every body. Coming at length
among the tents of the officers, she requested to be shewn that of the
leader; and Eustace eagerly stepped forward to conduct her.

Eustace was the younger brother of Godfrey. He had all the ardour of his
time of life, and the gallantry, in every respect, of a Frenchman. After
paying her a profusion of compliments, and learning that she was a
fugitive in distress, he promised her every thing which his brother's
authority and his own sword could do for her; and so led her into


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