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Torquato Tasso – Gather ye rosebuds.

March 26, 2015

‘The gently budding rose,’ quoth she, ‘behold,
That first scant peeping forth with virgin beams,
Half ope, half shut, her beauties doth upfold
In their dear leaves, and less seen, fairer seems,
And after spreads them forth more broad and bold,
Then languisheth and dies in last extremes,
      Nor seems the same, that deckéd bed and bower
      Of many a lady late, and paramour;

‘So, in the passing of a day, doth pass
The bud and blossom of the life of man,
Nor e’er doth flourish more, but like the grass
Cut down, becometh withered, pale and wan”
Oh gather then the rose while time thou hast
Short is the day, done when it scant began,
      Gather the rose of love, while yet thou mayest,
      Loving, be loved; embracing, be embraced.’

(from Jerusalem Delivered [1581], translated by Edward Fairfax; the lovely Arminda is speaking to, let’s face it, the equally lovely Rinaldo)

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