An epic in twenty books, by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595). The crusaders, encamped on the plains of Tortosa, chose Godfrey for their chief, and Alandine, King of Jerusalem, made preparations of defence. The overtures of Argantes to Godfrey being declined, he declared war in the name of the king of Egypt. The Christian army having reached Jerusalem, the king of Damascus sent Armida to beguile the Christians; she told an artful tale by which she drew off several of the most puissant. It was found that Jerusalem could never be taken without the aid of Rinaldo; but Rinaldo had withdrawn from the army, because Godfrey had cited him to answer for the death of Girnando, slain in a duel. Godfrey, being informed that the hero was dallying with Armida in the enchanted island, sent to invite him back to the army; he returned, and Jerusalem was taken in a night attack. As for Armida, after setting fire to her palace, she fled into Egypt, and offered to marry any knight who slew Rinald; but when she found the Christian army was successful she fled from the field. The love of Rinaldo returned; he pursued her and she relented. The poem concludes with the triumphant entry of the Christian army into the Holy City, and their devotions at the tomb of the Redeemer. The two chief episodes are the loves of Olindo (q.v.) and Sephronia, and of Tancred (q.v.) and Corinda.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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