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Within a month, (now hastening to an end)
Hier life against th' accuser to defend.
The cruel laws of Scotland's realm decree,

430
That every maid of high or low degree,
Accus'd of yielding to the luring fire
Of lawless love, in torment shall expire :
Nor aught can save the wretched damsel's life,
Unless some warrior dare the generous strife. 435
The king, who for Geneura's safety fears,
(Such is the name his hapless daughter bears)
Proclaims through every city, far and near,
That he who dares in her defence appear,
Whose arm shall lay her proud accuser low, 440
(If he his birth to noble parents owe)
Shall for his bride the royal maid receive,
With such a dower as fits a prince to give.
A deed like this should more your sword demand,
Than wandering thus amid the forest land.

445 You will the flower of beauteous dames obtain, 'Twixt distant India and th’ Atlantic main; With power and wealth, and knighthood's envy'd praise, To crown with blessings all your future days. Our king shall fix on you his sovereign grace,

450
Whose arm preserv'd the honour of his race.
Yet more, the law of chivalry demands,
To save from infamous and treacherous hands
A maid, who, by the world's consent, may claim
Among the chastest minds the foremost name. 455

Rinaldo mus'd awhile, then made reply:
And must a damsel be condemn’d to die
Because she circld in her yielding arms,
And kindly bless'd her lover with her charms?

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Accurst be those that could such law procure!
Accurst be those that still such laws endure!
Let cruel virgins rather cease to live,
Not those who life to faithful lovers rive:
Nor ask I now if with consenting car,
Geneura deign'd her suitor's vows to hear;
In her defence shall all my force be try'l:
Procure me speedily a skilrul guide;
And give me but th’accuser's face to see,
I trust, in heaven, to set Gencura free.
I mean not now (w hat truth purchance denies)
T'affirm that guiltless of the deed she clie's;
But mcan to show whai madne-s filld his mind,
Who first devis'd this law for woman-kind,
When man to multitudes hi- love displays,
Nor meets alone impunity, but price,
And soon I hope, in heaven, to prove the wrong,
To suffer tamely such an act so lons.

The rest with good Rinaldo deemil the same,
While all agreed their ancestors to blame:
Nor could the king escape from ccnsure free,
Whose justice ne'er revers' the harsh decree.

Soon as the rosy morn, with pleador bright,
Reveald the hemisphere of rising light,
Rinaldo arm’d, and mounted on his stecd,
He took a trusty squire the way to lead;
Then left the abbey, and his course pursu’d,
For many miles along the gloomy wood,
To seek the city destin'd for the strise,
On which depended fair Geneura's life.
To make the shorter way, they chanc'd to take
A path more lonely, and the road forsake.

-180

185

490

When near at hand they hear a screaming sou

sound, The forest echoes to the noise around, One spurs Bayardo, t'other spurs

his steed, To search the valley whence the crics proceed.

435 Beisist tvo mien a dinisel there was seen, Who distant seem'l of fair and comely mein; Bui ne'er before did dame or damsel show Looks more deprest with anguish or with woe. On either side the ruflians ready stood

500 With naked swords to dye the ground with blood; While she with prayers and many a ilowing tear, Did for a while ihe dreadful stroke defer.. Rinaldo comes, and when the fair he spies, Ile hastens to her aid with threatening crics.. 505

Soon as the murderers saw th’approaching knight, At once they turn’d their backs in sudden flight; Through the dark vale precipitate they flew; Nor would the Paladin their steps pursue, But, drawing near the damsel, sought to hear 510 Her deep distress, and whence her death so near; Then, for dispatch, commands the squire to bear Behind him, on their way, the weeping fair; While, as they rode, he better mark'd her face, Her beauteous features, and her pleasing grace 515 That savour'd of a court; though still appear Upon her troubl’d looks the marks of fear. Again Rinaldo ask'd, what cruel fate Had so depress’d, her to this wretched state?

She then, with lowly voice, began to tell What in th’ ensuing book we shall reveal.

520

END OF TILE FOURTH BOOK.

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THE ARGUMENT.

RINALDO hears, from Dalinda, the tale of the loves of Ariodantes

and Geneura, with the treachery of Polinesso, who had contrived to blacken the reputation of Geneura, and caused her to be openly accused of incontinence; in consequence of whiclı, by the laws of Scotland, she was condemned to death. Rinaldo takes up her cause before the king, and enters the list with her enemy

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