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WITH THE WORLD'S GREAT WRITERS
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TORQUATO Tasso, an eminent Italian poet. Born at Sorrento, Italy,
March 11, 1544; died at Rome, April 25, 1595. Author of “Rinaldo,”
“Aminta,” “ Jerusalem Delivered," "Jerusalem Conquered” and “Toris-
mondo.” Nothing is more pitifully tragic than the story of this poet's life,
in striking contrast to the splendor of his genius and the grandeur of his
(From “ JERUSALEM DELIVERED”)
THE odorous air, morn's messenger, now spread
Its wings to herald, in serenest skies,
Aurora issuing forth, her radiant head
Adorned with roses plucked in Paradise;
When in full panoply the hosts arise,
And loud and spreading murmurs upward fly,
Ere yet the trumpet sings; its melodies
They miss not long, the trumpet's tuneful cry
Gives the command to march, shrill sounding to the sky.
The skilful Captain, with a gentle rein
Guides their desires, and animates their force;
And though 'twould seem more easy to restrain
Charybdis in its mad volubil course,
Or bridle Boreas in, when gruffly hoarse
He tempests Apenninus and the gray
Ship-shaking Ocean to its deepest source,
He ranks them, urges, rules them on the way;
Swiftly they march, yet still with swiftness under sway.
Wing'd is each heart, and winged every heel;
They fly, yet notice not how fast they fly;
But by the time the dewless meads reveal
The fervent sun's ascension in the sky,
Lo, towered Jerusalem salutes the eye!
A thousand pointing fingers tell the tale;
"Jerusalem !" a thousand voices cry,
“All hail, Jerusalem !” hill, down, and dale Catch the glad sounds, and shout, “ Jerusalem, all hail !”
Thus, when a crew of fearless voyagers
Seeking new lands, spread their audacious sails
In the hoar Arctic, under unknown stars,
Sport of the faithless waves and treacherous gales;
If, as their little bark the billow scales,
One views the long-wished headland from the mast,
With merry shouts the far-off coast he hails,
Each points it out to each, until at last
They lose in present joy the troubles of the past.
To the pure pleasure which that first far view
In their reviving spirits sweetly shed,
Succeeds a deep contrition, feelings new, —
Grief touched with awe, affection mixed with dread;
Scarce dare they now upraise the abject head,
Or turn to Zion their desiring eyes,
The chosen city! where Messias bled,
Defrauded Death of his long tyrannies,
New clothed his limbs with life, and reassumed the skies!
Low accents, plaintive whispers, groans profound,
Sighs of a people that in gladness grieves,
And melancholy murmurs float around,
Till the sad air a thrilling sound receives,
Like that which sobs amidst the dying leaves,
When with autumnal winds the forest waves;