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The tyrant muttered a cry that might Heaven appal:
“On thee alone, then, my avenging wrath shall fall.”
Stung to fury he dooms the maid to death by fire;
They tear her veil and vestment off, her womanly attire;
Twist cords around those arms so delicate and fair.
Still she spake not; her soul bowed not to despair,
E’en though her countenance faded to death's hue,
Yet dazzling in its beauty, fair to view.
Hither had the people drawn, Olindo with the throng.
When he beheld his lady bound, yet guilty of no wrong,
He hurls the crowd aside—“Not she, not she, O King,
Is guilty, 'twas I who did the wicked thing !
“Sire, by me was removed the image in the shrine ;
I climbed to the place where the mosque did shine.
The deed and punishment both are my right;
I did the wrong in shade of darkest night.
" Those chains are mine - for me is lit the fire;
Forgive the maiden, she is blameless, sire ! ”
Sophronia turned toward him, her eyes shining clear,
Yet filled with soft compassion's tear:
“Why comest thou? What is it brings thee here?
Can I not the King's wrath bear, howe'er severe ?"
Thus spake she to her lover, but the King's rage,
By neither word nor sign could they assuage.
And he chafes the more that she and he
Themselves inculpate with such urgency.
“ Believe them both,” he cries; “let both succeed!”
He nods to his vassals, who advance with speed
To bind the young man with their chains,
For the King's wrath two victims claims.
Both are fastened to the stake, back turned to back,
Face from face away; o'erhead the sky is low ring black.
And now the funeral-pyre is laid, the flames arise,
While groans burst from Olindo, and deep he sighs:
“Alas! are these, then, the ties that unite us ?
Do the gods we worship thus plight us?”
Thus spake he wailing. Sweetly she replied,
And in these words mildly began to chide :
“Far other thoughts and other griefs, my friend,
Should now employ us as we near life's end.
“Be patient, Olindo; we suffer in God's name,
Who to save the faithful from Heaven came.
Behold how fair is Heaven! And, dear one, there,
If true, we may live, and in its beauty share.”
A cry of anguish from the Pagans loudly pealed,
The faithful, too, wailed pity, ne'er before revealed;
E’en from the King's hard breast a moan
Escaped, yet he disdained his grief to own.
Sudden appears, in stately guise, a warrior,
So she seems, of semblance high, in strange attire.
The tiger-crest which on her helmet gleams,
Draws toward it every eye; Clorinda's device it seems.
For she had from childhood felt but idle chains,
The small adornments of her sex. From Persia’s plains
Hither she has come to oppose the Christian host
With might and at whatever cost.
Eager to see and learn, soon she found
Sophronia and Olindo, ʼmid the throng, with fagots bound.
The crowds give way, she urges on her steed,
To learn why such sacrifice hath been decreed.
Clorinda's heart was melted in pity for the twain
Without delay she questioned of a wondering swain:
“I prithee, who are these? Tell me, my friend,
What fate or fault brings them to this sad end ?”
Stunned by the tale, swift did she decide
To o'erthrow their doom, let what will betide.
She hails the guard : “ Are there none who dare
Declare against this cruel task?” With defiant air
She sought the King: “I am Clorinda! Dost know
My name, 0 King ?” Thus did her accents flow;
“I came to join thee and defend thy throne
Against a common foe; for this alone
I came; to lift the standard of our faith, nor yield
The land to any, e'en on battle-field.
Ready am I to lift thy standard on 'leaguered walls;
Nor thought of death or harm my heart appals.”
She ceased. The King replied : “ Clorinda, hail !
Aided by thy sword, the might of allied foes cannot prevail.
Valiant thou art in glittering armor bright;
As though of old some far-renowned knight."
Then spake the warrior maiden in reply,
With courteous thanks for praise so high :
“O King, service I would to thee give. It may cost thee dear
Yet ’tis all I ask-bestow on me the culprits there.
“ The Christian took the image, and I plainly see
The act was sacrilegious to our holy law; but verily
We know 'tis not meet our temples should possess
Idols at all, and, O King, it should be others' idols less.
“Up to Mohammed this miracle I joy to trace,
For ’tis not lawful e'en you his temple should debase,
Or its shrines offend with religion that is new ;
To show you this I am here. O King, believe it true.
“Let, then, Ismeno attempt all that spells can do,
Only 'tis not meet we should such course pursue ;
By the sword alone we warriors should be known;
This is our faith, our hope be this alone!”
Here ceased she, and the King replied :
“ To such a pleader naught can be denied,
Justice or pardon, let it be; this pair,
Guiltless, absolve I, and, if guilty, spare."
Thus were they freed from death. Olindo's fortune proved
Most truly blest; from their funeral-pyre they moved,
Guided by Love and fair Hymen's torch alight;
And soon their nuptials did the gods delight.
AFE stands our simple shed, despised our little store;
Despised by others, but so dear to me, That gems and crowns I hold in less esteem; From pride, from avarice, is my spirit free,
And mad ambition's visionary dream.
My thirst I quench in the pellucid stream, Nor fear lest poison the pure wave pollutes;
With flocks my fields, my fields with herbage teem; My garden-plot supplies nutritious roots; And my brown orchard bends with autumn's wealthiest fruits.
Few are our wishes, few our wants; man needs
But little to preserve the vital spark.
These are my sons; they keep the flock that feeds,
And rise in the gray morning with the lark.
Thus in my hermitage I live; now mark The goats disport amid the budding brooms;
Now the slim stags bound through the forest dark : The fish glide by, the bees hum round the blooms, And the birds spread to Heaven the splendor of their plumes.
Time was (these gray hairs then were golden locks)
When other wishes wantoned in my veins;
I scorned the simple charge of tending flocks,
And fled disgusted from my native plains.
Awhile in Memphis I abode, where reigns
The mighty Caliph; he admired my port,
And made me keeper of his flower-domains;
And though to town I rarely made resort,
Much have I seen and known of the intrigues of court.
Long by presumptuous hopes was I beguiled,
And many, many a disappointment bore;
But when with youth false hope no longer smiled,
And the scene palled that charmed so much before,
I sighed for my lost peace, and brooded o'er
The abandoned quiet of this humble shed;
Then farewell State's proud palaces! Once more
To these delightful solitudes I fled;
And in their peaceful shades harmonious days have led.
UNA AND THE RED CROSS KNIGHT.
GENTLE knight was pricking on the plaine,
Ycladd in mightie armes and silver shielde, Wherein old dints of deepe woundes did remaine,
The cruell markes of many a bloody fielde ;
Yet armes till that time did he never wield.
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield.
Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.
And on his brest a bloodie crosse he bore
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,