Tancred to Clorinda
It’s not as though I sued your swordsmanship,
or that your brutish tactics wouldn’t hurt
my pride, if you were burly as your grip.
Nor were you ever dangerously curt,
as when we fought while donning cuirassiers.
But incognito in the mail you’d worn
to skirt convention, troubadours and peers,
you opened dormant passions when I’d shorn
the armor that concealed your lithesome sex.
Accordingly my putative disgrace
before your pluck was checked. For you’d annex
with flair, a bent I ardently embrace
which, if you were a burly Amazon,
would make me keep my body armor on.
But what use breastplate I was wont to wear
against the darts of Cupid in a fray?
For brazenly you utilized my dare
as grist, till your impassioned will held sway
and stormed the portals of my heart’s divide.
And though I’m apprehensive of romance,
you forced me to dismount the steed I ride,
then pricked my sluggish passion with your lance.
Yet, though a bashful bridegroom, I’d be healed
had not a shroud replaced your bride’s trousseau,
when you were borne from battlefield with shield
that failed to block my frantic counterblow.
And so you die a warrior at peace
while my conflicted yearnings never cease.