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First Line: Zerbin, the brave orlando's steps to find
Last Line: May emulating dames thy virtue praise.

Zerbin, the brave Orlando's steps to find,
Left lawns, vales, mountains and long woods behind
And Isabella fair with equal speed
Spurr'd her fleet Palfrey by her Hero's steed.
At length afar they spy'd a glitt'ring ray
That from the plain threw back the dazling day;
But when they nearer to the lustre drew
Orlando's arms, and burnish'd helme they knew:
They saw his Horse, they saw the sword he wore,
Then sighing cry'd, Orlando is no more!
Now with swift strides advanc'd along the vale
Beside the stream, a Swain aghast and pale;
That very Swain who from the mountain's height,
Had seen the raging fury of the knight,
How far and wide his shining Arms he threw,
How tore, how rav'd, and how the Shepherds slew!
Zerbin demands. Whence are these arms? The Swain
Describ'd the frantick knight, the Shepherds slain.
The Story touch'd his soul. he sought around,
And gather'd up the spoils that strow'd the ground,
Then on a Pine in gracefull Order rais'd
Against the Sun the glorious Trophy blaz'd;
And on the bark he grav'd in letters fair,
Which thus defys. That bold presumptuous knight
Who takes these Arms shall with Orlando fight.
When lo! intrepid Mandricard drew nigh
And on the Trophy fixt his haughty eye.
Zerbin with tears Orlando's Story told.
Beware, proud Saracin, be not too bold!
This Menace nought dismay'd the Pagan Lord,
But to the Pine he sprung and snatch'd the Sword.
Lives there a man (he cryd) whose valour vain
Shall dare attempt this Armor to regain?
Throughout the world I seek that vent'rous knight,
Perpetual Conquest shall support my right.
Orlando fear'd the dangers of that day,
And in feign'd madness flung the spoils away;
As Cowardice, his Madness I despise
Reason and valour bid me seise the prize.
Zerbin incens'd replyd. Rash Prince, forbear
Nor think without dispute these arms to wear:
If you the Mail of Hector thus obtain'd
It was by fraud and not by reason gain'd.
So saying. Each pours on to meet his foe,
With equal might impends the desp'rate blow;
Now with a hundred strokes resounds the air,
The horrid prelude of the doubtfull war.
When Durindana fells with fatal aim;
Swift as keen lightning shoots its waving flame,
Zerbin avoids the stroke; and like the Doe,
Alert, his nimble steed bounds to and fro:
And it behov'd him well to turn the rein
For that enchanted sword neer smote invain,
One blow had sent his pale enamor'd Ghost,
A fleeting wand'rer to the Stygian Coast.
As the swift Dog amid a spacious plain
Upon the furious boar pours on amain
When near advanc'd stops short, then winds around,
While the tusk'd foe prepares one deadly wound.
Thus if the sword hung low, or wav'd on high
Zerbin each motion watch'd with cautious eye,
To save his fame and life at once he trys,
In the same instant stands, wheels, fights, and flys.
But when the Pagan monarch wav'd his blade
And in the whizzing Air bright circles made,
It seem'd, as when march winds with fury blow,
The lofty forrest nods his leafy brow
Proud Oaks to earth their stubborn bodys bend,
And whirl'd in Air the shatter'd boughs ascend.
Zerbin with watchfull guard each stroke defends
Till wing'd with rage a mighty blow descends,
Between his sword and shield it swiftly fell,
Nor Mail nor breast-plate could the wound repell,
The trenchant blade his steely vest divides
And to the saddle down his Cuirass glides,
Had not aslant the thirsty weapon past,
It, (like a reed) had cleft him to the waste
The shallow razing wound scarce gives him pain,
Rills of warm blood his burnish'd Armor stain.
So when the beauty who commands my heart
On some rich work employs her curious art
I've seen her iv'ry hand the needle guide,
And purple streaks the silver ground divide.
Nought in this combat Zerbin's arm prevail'd,
Here skill and strength and hardy prowess fail'd;
With greater force the Tartar's nerves were strung,
And on his keener blade enchantment hung,
The wound was slight, yet Isabella's heart
With icy shiv'rings felt the deepest smart.
Now Zerbin, (burning with despite and ire,
While from his eye-balls shot resentfull fire)
Rais'd with both hands his sword, his sword fell strong,
And on the fated Helme the fauchion rung,
The haughty Tartar felt the stunning blow,
And bow'd his helmet to the saddle-bow;
Had not enchanted fire the metal try'd
His cloven skull had fell on either side.
Now hung the Pagan's fauchion o'er his Crest,
And aim'd at once to cleave him to the breast;
Zerbin the threaten'd death with caution ey'd,
His Steed obey'd the rein and sprung aside
Yet fell not now the pond'rous sword invain,
But edg'd with fury, split the shield in twain
And pierc'd his Arm; thence glancing to his side
Drove through the steel, forth gush'd the sanguine tide.
But in no part could Zerbin's arm prevail
For not one dent imprest the Pagan's Mail
While many a gash had Zerbin's armor stain'd
His helme was split, no shield his arm sustain'd,
His less'ning strength pour'd forth at ev'ry wound,
And ebbing Life impurpled all the ground,
Though scarce his spirits could his limbs uphold,
In undiminish'd force his heart was bold.
The trembling Isabella pale & wan
Now wing'd with fear to Doralice ran,
Fair Doralice's love the Pagan rul'd,
And as she will'd his anger burn'd or cool'd;
The tim'rous Dame with tears her aid implor'd,
To part the fight and stay the hanging sword,
The courteous Doralice gave consent,
For she too trembled for the dread event;
Peace she commanded, & a peace was made
And Isabella sheath'd her hero's blade;
So Zerbin follow'd where she led the way,
And undetermin'd left the dang'rous fray.
No life-preserving cares employ'd his mind,
He burn'd for Durindana left behind,
Till time allayd the feaver of his heart;
Then of each wound he felt the bitter Smart
And each wound rack'd him with such raging pain
That scarce his limbs could feeble life sustain.
Weak, pale and fainting now the rein he stays,
And on the ground his drooping body lays
Near a cool fountain's side. O ruefull maid,
All Comfort's vain, invain you call for aid;
Far many a league the busy city lyes,
Remote from human skill, forlorn he dyes;
No learn'd Physician shall his death retard,
Mov'd by kind pity, or more kind reward!
What shall she do? the tears a passage find
She curses fortune, calls the stars unkind.
'When my toss'd ship (she crys) the storm obeyd
'Why was I not beneath the billows laid?
Zerbin at this his languid head uprears,
His feeble eyes beheld her gushing tears,
And in those tears more tender pain he found,
Than in the torture of his deadly wound.
'And will my Love her Zerbin's fate deplore
'When these weak eyes shall see thy charms no more?
'What's the last pang of death to that I prove
'To leave without a Guardian her I love
'Thus in these dang'rous wilds? my latest breath
'I could resign in peace, and smile on death
'Wert thou but safe; far from this savage place,
'And dye with joy thus gazing on thy face.
'But how can this severer fate be born,
'To leave my Treasure thus expos'd, forlorn,
'To leave thee thus? By those bright eyes I swear,
'By those sweet lips, and by that gracefull hair
'Which first engag'd my heart, o'erwhelm'd with woe
'I sink into the dreary realms below,
'Where when I think thee left to grief, to fear
'Not Hell's worst pains will equal my despair.
These his fond words her heaving bosom stung,
With look enamour'd o'er her Lord she hung,
Then clasp'd him fainting to her throbbing breast,
And fervent kisses on his lips imprest,
Upon those lips where now no crimson glows,
All pale and faded like the gather'd rose,
The rose that never knew the Season's pride,
But sickned on his stalk and op'ning dy'd.
'Think not, my Love, (she cryd) I here will stay
'When my dear Zerbin's Spirit flits away
'Fear not for me, with thee I'll take my flight
'To the clear realms of day, or depths of Night.
'Dart forth, my Soul; together let us soar
'Together mount to Joys, to part no more!
'Soon as thy closing eyes be barr'd from day,
'My Life in gusts of grief will force its way;
'If sorrow fail; this Sword my Soul shall free
'To mingle in immortal Love with thee.
'O may some pious stranger tread these plains,
'And view with weeping eye our cold remains,
'One grave perhaps these bodys shall confine
'And ev'n my smallest dust be mixt with thine!
So saying, o'er her dying Love she hangs,
Warms him with kisses in his latest pangs,
Upon his trembling lips in transport lyes,
And drinks his vital Spirit as it flys.
Collecting all at once his fault'ring breath,
Zerbin thus spoke before the gasp of Death.
'O Let my Angell hear this last request;
'By all the sacred vows you first profest
'When for my sake you left your native land,
'(Nay, I command you, if I may command)
'That no rash insult to thy life be giv'n,
'But with firm patience wait the will of Heav'n
'And never, never from thy thought remove
'Thy faithfull Zerbin, and his matchless Love.
'Heav'n will protect thee. -- Further speech he try'd
But on his tongue the broken accents dy'd.
As oer the wax-spent torch with doubtfull rays
The glimm'ring light now swells and now decays,
If some new taper touch the hov'ring fires
It kindles as the trembling flame expires.
How Isabella shall thy grief be told
When Zerbin lay extended, pale and cold
Lock'd in thy clasping arms? Herself she throws
On her dead Lord; a stream of sorrow flows
And baths the purple wounds; woods, hills & skys
Resound her bitter groans and piercing crys;
She beats her breast her glowing cheeks she tears,
Plucks up and scatters wide her golden hairs,
O Spare thy locks, thy savage hands restrain;
Nor fondly call thy Zerbin's name invain!
Now mad with grief she drew the pointed Sword,
In this one deed forgetfull of her Lord;
Deep in her bosom had the steel been drown'd,
Had not a holy hermit stay'd the wound;
Who at his wonted hour his thirst to slake,
Sought the refreshment of thy crystal lake.
She heard the doctrine of the reverend guide,
Heav'n with persuasive power his words supplyd,
Faith taught her patience and a soul resign'd,
And to celestial hope improv'd her mind
She saw the vanity of earthly joy,
A passing Shadow, and a fading toy,
And strait resolv'd (such faith, such hope was given)
To dedicate her lifes remains to Heaven.
But could she Zerbin from her heart remove?
Alive or dead, she could not quit her Love.
Wher'ere her lot is cast, she'll Zerbin bear,
And on his ashes drop a daily tear.
The holy Hermit lent his pious aid,
And the lank body cross the Palfrey laid;
Then march'd they on with solemn pace & slow
Through the long desart wood in silent woe.
The cautious Father turn'd not to his cell;
Such charms might make the coolest blood rebell;
He knew his power, who had his virtue try'd,
Nor dares in prudence nor in Age confide.
Where the brown mountains thymy odours breathe,
And overlook Marsilia's shores beneath
A stately Monast'ry its turret's rears
Where Dames devote their life to Priests & prayers
Thither they journey'd but through ways untrod
For with adventures swarm'd the common road.
At length advancing with full speed, from far
They spyd a furious knight that menac'd war,
Nearer and nearer still the Terror drew,
And now insulting Rhodomont they knew.
In pensive beauty when he saw the Dame,
Soften'd to love in courteous guise he came,
And in his gentlest voice address'd the Fair,
Enquir'd her State, and why that sad despair.
She told him how she past a life of cares,
And how she vow'd to heav'n her future years.
The haughty Pagan who all Faith defy'd
Thus with vain mock and scornfull smile reply'd.
'With justice is the Miser sinfull found
'Who hides his golden treasure in the ground
'Not his own pleasures are from thence supplyd
'And its just use to all mankind denyd.
'In Dens are monsters bears and Lions pent
'But why confine the Fair and innocent?
The pious Hermit trembled while he spoke
Lest his fair Novice should her Vow revoke
And like a Pilot kept her in the way;
Lest adverse tempests blow her faith astray
He places heavenly banquets in her sight,
The Joys of Angells and the realms of light.
The Pagan who despis'd his Christian Schemes
As idle legends and Monastic dreams
Attempts to still the Father's zealous tongue,
The Father prov'd his Lungs and zeal were strong,
Louder and louder the good end pursu'd,
'Till the proud Pagan's patience was subdu'd.
Now burn'd his fury, on the Priest he flew,
And by the beard his hoary reverence drew,
Rage gives him strength, he tuggs his silver hairs
And from his chin a grasp of wisdom tears.
Then, close as pincers join, his throat he strains,
And lifts the sprawling Preacher from the Plains,
High oer his head in rapid wheel he's tost
And flung aloft in middle ocean lost.
The Priest remov'd, no more his Fury burn'd
With courteous eye he to the Lady turn'd
Who stood dismay'd and pale; he bow'd, address'd
And thus in Courtier's phrase his Love profess'd.
'My Joy, my Hope, my Charmer, Angell fair,
'Life of my life, and all my Soul holds dear!
Disdain and wonted pride his heart forsook,
And his eye languish'd with imploring look,
No ruffling Force shall discompose her charms.
Who meets a willing Beauty in his arms
Heightens his transport. Still with tender Art
He strove to gain on Isabella's heart.
When the chast Dame the horrid place survey'd
Desart and wild, remote from human aid
Not the young Lamb more dreadfull dangers awe,
When underneath the sportive Tyger's paw.
Lest brutal rape her spotless vertue stain
She casts her cautious eye around the plain
And meditates escape; resolv'd to dye
And never with his base desires comply.
O hapless Zerbin, couldst thou see her now,
Her Love sincere, her unrepented vow,
How would it glad thy soul? She'll force despise
And with unsully'd Virtue mount the skys
Now with desire the Pagan's Looks rebell,
How shall weak Woman stronger man repell!
He glows he burns her honour to destroy:
To grasp by violence the secret joy.
How shall she save her fame, what arts invent
What wile shall guard her from the foul intent?
Thus boldly resolute she sav'd her Fame,
And latest Ages shall adore her name.
Soon as his civil continence gave way
And his eye menac'd with enamour'd ray,
When looks and Actions spoke his inward fire,
And Force prepar'd to gratifye desire,
Thus spoke the pensive Dame. 'My honour spare,
'May my chast Vow no sudden insult fear,
'So shall the Curtesie be doubly paid,
'And lasting gratitude my guardian aid,
'Resolve the transient moment to despise,
'Protect me, and accept a solid prize;
'Think, courteous knight, the world with Beauty swarms,
'Think, thou mayst satiate Love with willing charms,
'A thousand Eyes with keener radiance glow,
'But I alone this secret can bestow.
'A Plant I know; I saw it in the vale
'As I past by; with rue, & ivy pale
'Let it be mingled; burn a Cypress brand,
'And let it o'er the blaze fermenting stand,
'Then let unblemish'd fingers press the juice.
'Great are its virtues, wonderfull its use;
'Who three times in it baths shall fire endure,
'And from the sword his harden'd skin secure.
'Let each revolving moon a Bath supply,
'For in one moon its secret virtues dye:
'May I this day the wondrous charm provide,
'So shall the liquor and my faith be try'd,
'Nor let my Lord the proffer'd boon despise,
'For Europe's conquest is a meaner prize.
'But in return, swear by thy Faith profest
'Nor word nor deed my Honour shall molest.
He longs to brave unhurt the hottest wars
Like Cygnus and Achilles proof from scars;
Intent upon the Gift the Pagan swore
To keep with strictness all she ask'd & more,
And he with strictness will his passions rein,
And keep his Oath, 'till he the gift obtain,
But that obtain'd, no more his Oaths shall bind,
No conscience checks an unbeliever's mind;
A thousand times he promis'd, swore, and ly'd,
For he the saints and King of Heaven defy'd.
O'er the brown mountains and green vales they pass;
She culls with curious eye each tuft of grass
The Pagan followd close his lovely guide.
Her search with various roots and herbs supply'd,
Backward to seek the humble shed she fares,
And for the perils of the night prepares;
Around the boiling herbs the Cypress flame
Ascends, still Rhodomont observes the Dame.
To speed the hours, he calls his trusty Squires.
The heat, the steam, the smoke, the smoth'ring fires
Awake their thirst, they drink, they joke, they laugh,
And Grecian wine in mighty Goblets quaff.
(Two Casks his Squires had seiz'd as lawfull prey,
From certain Merchants trav'ling on the way)
Soon ev'ry object doubles to their eyes,
The reeling Cave in rapid circle flys
For by their Prophet Africk's Sons are taught
Never to taste the grape's inflaming draught.
Meanwhile with carefull hand the busy dame,
The boiling Cauldron lifts from off the flame,
'Bespeaking thus the knight; Let proof ensue,
'Let proof demonstrate that thy Servant's true
'Let the strong virtues of the Charm appear
'Nor let Suspicion banefull poyson fear,
'But lest my Lord in guilefull words confide,
'May my anointed neck the test abide,
'With this I bath me, lift thy sword on high,
'I dare secure the heaviest blow defye.
So saying on her head the juice she throws,
The streaming liquor down her bosom flows.
She stretch'd her naked neck, as undismay'd;
The drunken Saracen the wine obey'd,
Wine that can render wit & wisdom vain,
And banish caution from the prudent brain.
High blaz'd his sword, swift fell the fatal wound,
The sever'd head dropt gasping on the ground,
That gracefull head, where Love & beauty reign'd
Lept from its bounding trunk with blood distain'd
Warm Life still gurgled in the rattling throat,
And Zerbin's name was her last dying note.
To meet her Lord thus fled she to the Skies,
The Pagan stood amaz'd in fixt surprise.
O spotless soul, who to support thy truth
Could life forgo, and all the spring of youth,
Go hence in peace, ascend to realms above,
Seize thy reward of everlasting love,
O may my verse thy virtuous deed record,
And be thy name in future times ador'd,
Go hence in peace, and ev'n in latest days
May emulating Dames thy virtue praise.

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