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THE beasts, that haunt the wood or graze the plain,
Or tame or savage, mutual peace maintain;
But if sometimes they chance to mix in war,
The generous males with females never jar:
The she-bear from the other never flies,
The lioness beside the lion lies :
The she-wolf with her mate securely lives,
Nor the bull terror to the heifer gives.
What strife, or what Megæra has possest The deep recesses of the human breast,
10 That oft the husband and the wife engage In worldly conflict; oft with impious rage, Against each other aim the vengeful blow, While gushing tears the genial bed o’erflow; Nor tears alone, but some, by fury led,
15 In crimson streams the vital current shed?
Accurst is he, and born in evil hour,
Who dares rebel against the sovereign power
Of nature's laws, to strike the weeping fair,
Or from her tresses rend a single hair :
But he, whose breast such small remorse can feel,
T' attempt her life with poison, or with steel,
I ne'er can deem a man; but, 'scap'd from woe,
Some fiend infernal from the realms below.
The two assassins, such we justly name,
25 Driv'n by the brave Rinaldo from the dame; Whom to that lonely vale their guile betray'd To hide their dreadful crime in dreary shade: I left the dame preparing to relate, The secret cause of her unhappy state,
30 To good Rinaldo, her preserver-knight; And thus, pursuing, I the tale recite.
ΤΙ damsel now began : Prepare hear
Such deeds as never yet have reach'd the ear,
As never stain'd the most inhuman crew :
Not such Mycenæ, Thebes, or Argos knew!
If yonder sun that darts his beams around,
Shines more remotely on our native ground,
?Tis doubtless that he shuns this hated place,
With horror viewing such an impious race.
That men on foes exert their dreadful rage,
Examples have been seen in every age;
But that dire mind what savage fury sways,
Who friendship’s warmth with fiend-like ill repays !
That, undisguis’d, you all the truth may know,
I will from first the cause impartial show.
Ver. 33. The damsel now began:] There is scarcely any part of the poem more simple and unadorned than this tale, and which admits of so little elevation in an English version.
Wly these anmessins did with ba: bacis ire
Againsi my blooming tomer youth coneiro
know the!), my loril, Iseli girl, was sent
To court, apkl to Ciencitri's service went;
By her receii'il, I turn in het grare,
And in the palace held an hutoin id plae.
But cruel love my stwie sich envy Sill',
And soon, alas! -du' me to his law:
lle marle, oi' piery Foruth and comely knigh',
The duke of libaly misoke vidlight.
We hear the posch, we see the looks exprest,
But who can view the necrets of the brease?
Ilis love, avouel, my bosom first inspir’d
With tender thuught-, with cutle wishes fir'd:
So far at length my fond belici' was led,
That I receiv'l him to m; virgin ber!,
Nor that alone; but that recess I chose
In which sometimes ile princess would repose;
In which conceai'd her choicest treasure Ties,
A close retreat, remote from vulgar eres !
There by a gall’ry to the window join'd,
A favour'd friend might lisy entrance find.
By this I often introduc'd my love,
A silken ladder throwing from above.
'Twas thus I did the enamour'l duke receive,
Whene'er Geneura's alssence gave me leave;
Who us’d to change her bed, sometimes to fly
The burning heat, soinetimes the frerzing sky.,
Securely oft we met, and void of fear
Indulg'd our fame, for 'gainst the palace here
Some lonely ruins stood, where night or day
None cver pass'd his visits to survey.
For many a month to all the court unknown, In frequent joys our secret hours had flown;
80 So blind was I, I ne'er discover'd yet That little truth was his, but much deceit; Though the base treasons of his faithless breast Were plainly by a thousand signs exprest. At length, without disguise, he durst confess 85 His close design Geneura to possess : Nor know I, if his love was then begun, Or ere he yet my giddy thoughts had won. Judge, in my bosom if he bore a part, Or rather, if he rul'd not all my heart; He own’d his purpos’d suit, nor blush'd with shame To ask my friendly aid to win the dame; But vow'd his ardor feign’d, in hopes alone To form a near alliance to the throne; As none, among the nobles of the blood,
95 Except the king, in rank before him stood. And promis'd, should my counsel e'er ensure His sovereign's favour, and the bride secure; The service, ever present to his mind, In ties of gratitude his soul should bind:
100 That I alone, his wife, his friends above, Should reign the unrivall’d partner of his love.
I (that his happiness endeavour'd still,
Nor e’er in thought or deed control'd his will)
Took all occasions that I saw to raise
In fair Geneura's ear my lover's praise.
Heaven knows how truly I employ'd my art
To serve him with a just and faithful heart !
But vain th' attempt my much-lov'd duke to place
With many a trial in the fair one's grace.
Another love was kinded in her briit,
Another lover all her s I possonid:
A comely courteous kuislitluri ni hatarie,
A knight, who from a foreign rien caine :
Hle, with his cuihtu! I'rother, leti the pori
Of distant Italy, for Scotland's court;
Where soon in arms Ich vasi renown liivinil,
No son of Britain greater praisa obtain'd:
The king estetin'd him, and his firrur showi',
By gifts of honour and of wealth bestow:
Castles and towns he rive to his command,
And rank'd lim midst the barotis of the land.
This knight the name of Triolantes bore,
The monarch lov'll him much, his dunghter more:
The warrior's valiant deeds with warmth inspir’d
ller gentle soul, but more the lover fir’d:
Since well she knew, for her what tlame possess'd
The gentle Ariodantes' constant breast.
Iler growing passion made the virrin hear
Ny lover's praises with averted ear:
The more, to gain his suit, with prayers I strove,
The more her hatred rose, and spurn'd his love.
I sooth’d his grief, and oft essay'd to make
Th’ambitious duke his vain design forsake.
I show'd him how the damsel's soul possest
With Ariodant, for him alonn confess'd
The darts of love: when Polinesso heard
(Such was his name) what little hopes appear’d
T'obtain his wish, cach thought of tender kind
Driv'n from his soul, his fierce revengeful mind,
Enrag’d to see another favour'd more,
To hate converted what was love before ;