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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Crusaders Go in Procession to Mass, Preparatory to the Assault
By Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)
 
From ‘Jerusalem Delivered’: Translation of Edward Fairfax

NEXT morn the bishops twain, the heremite,
  And all the clerks and priests of less estate,
Did in the middest of the camp unite
  Within a place for prayer consecrate:
Each priest adorned was in a surplice white,        5
  The bishops donned their albes and copes of state;
Above their rochets buttoned fair before,
And mitres on their heads like crowns they wore.
 
Peter alone, before, spread to the wind
  The glorious sign of our salvation great:        10
With easy pace the choir came all behind,
  And hymns and psalms in order true repeat;
With sweet respondence in harmonious kind,
  Their humble song the yielding air doth beat.
Lastly together went the reverend pair        15
Of prelates sage, William and Ademare.
 
The mighty duke came next, as princes do,
  Without companion, marching all alone;
The lords and captains came by two and two;
  The soldiers for their guard were armed each one.        20
With easy pace thus ordered, passing through
  The trench and rampire, to the fields they gone;
No thundering drum, no trumpet shrill they hear,—
Their godly music psalms and prayers were.
 
To thee, O Father, Son, and sacred Spright,        25
  One true, eternal, everlasting King,
To Christ’s dear mother Mary, virgin bright,
  Psalms of thanksgiving and of praise they sing;
To them that angels down from heaven, to fight
  ’Gainst the blasphemous beast and dragon, bring;        30
To him also that of our Savior good
Washèd the sacred front in Jordan’s flood;
 
Him likewise they invoke, callèd the rock
  Whereon the Lord, they say, his Church did rear,
Whose true successors close or else unlock        35
  The blessed gates of grace and mercy dear;
And all th’ elected twelve, the chosen flock,
  Of his triumphant death who witness bear;
And them by torment, slaughter, fire, and sword,
Who martyrs dièd to confirm his word;        40
 
And them also whose books and writings tell
  What certain path to heavenly bliss us leads;
And hermits good and anch’resses, that dwell
  Mewed up in walls, and mumble on their beads;
And virgin nuns in close and private cell,        45
  Where (but shrift fathers) never mankind treads:
On these they callèd, and on all the rout
Of angels, martyrs, and of saints devout.
 
Singing and saying thus, the camp devout
  Spread forth her zealous squadrons broad and wide;        50
Towards Mount Olivet went all this rout,—
  So called of olive-trees the hill which hide;
A mountain known by fame the world throughout,
  Which riseth on the city’s eastern side,
From it divided by the valley green        55
Of Josaphat, that fills the space between.
 
Hither the armies went, and chaunted shrill,
  That all the deep and hollow dales resound;
From hollow mounts and caves in every hill
  A thousand echoes also sung around:        60
It seemed some choir that sung with art and skill
  Dwelt in those savage dens and shady ground,
For oft resounded from the banks they hear
The name of Christ and of his mother dear.
 
 
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