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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Congedo at the Conclusion of the ‘Rinaldo’
By Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)
 
Written at the Age of Eighteen

Dedicated to Cardinal Luigi d’Esté

Translation of Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen

THUS have I sung, in battle-field and bower,
  Rinaldo’s cares, and prattled through my page,
Whilst other studies claimed the irksome hour,
  In the fourth lustre of my verdant age;
Studies from which I hoped to have the power        5
  The wrongs of adverse fortune to assuage;
Ungrateful studies, whence I pine away
Unknown to others, to myself a prey.
 
Yet oh! if Heaven should e’er my wishes crown
  With ease, released from law’s discordant maze,        10
To spend on the green turf, in forests brown,
  With bland Apollo whole harmonious days,
Then might I spread, Luigi, thy renown,
  Where’er the sun darts forth resplendent rays;
Thyself the genial spirit should infuse,        15
And to thy virtues wake a worthier Muse.
 
Be thou, first fruit of fancy and of toil,
  Child of few hours and those most fugitive!
Dear little book, born on the sunny soil
  By Brenta’s wave! may all kind planets give        20
To thee the spring no winter shall despoil,
  Life to go forth when I have ceased to live;
Gathering rich fame beyond our country’s bounds,
And mixed with songs with which the world resounds.
 
Yet ere I bid thy truant leaves adieu,        25
  Ere yet thou seek’st the prince whose name, impressed
Deep in my heart, upon thy front we view,—
  Too poor a portal for so great a guest!—
Go, find out him from whom my birth I drew,
  Life of my life! and whose the rich bequest        30
Has been, if aught of beautiful or strong
Adorns my life and animates my song.
 
He, with that keen and searching glance which knows
  To pierce beyond the veil of dim disguise,
Shall see the faults that lie concealed so close        35
  To the short vision of my feeble eyes,
And with that pen which joins the truth of prose
  To tuneful fable, shall the verse chastise
(Far as its youth the trial can endure),
And grace thy page with beauties more mature.        40
 
 
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