Biography of Torquato Tasso
Torquato Tasso was born in Sorrento, near Naples in Italy, in 1544. As a young man he was educated by Jesuits at the Court of the Dukes of Urbino and later studied law and philosophy at the University of Padua. He completed his studies at the University of Bologna, from where he later received an invitation, in 1565, to join the brilliant court of the Este at Ferrara, where he remained for many years. There he wrote a number of beautiful, ltrical poems. He had already achieved fame prior to this when, aged just 18, he published his chivlaric poem Rinaldo in 1562.
Other works by Tasso include the pastoral play Aminta (1573) and his masterpiece Gerusalemme Liberata (Jeusralem Delivered) - an epic of the exploits of Godfrey of Boulogne during the First Crusade. To some extent, Tasso was a victim to his own religious scruples and desire not to violate the rules of good literature which were then commonly accepted. Before publication, he would offer up his work to scrunity from his friends, as well as the church authorities. However, their sometimes harsh criticisms led him to develop an persecution complex. He was also concerned that actions in life, in which he had sometimes been carried away by storms of passion, were not free from reproach. Psychologically unstable, and following a fit of violence, Tasso washe confined, first in a convent, then intermittently (1579–87) in a hospital.
In his last years, he lived with the Gonzagas in Mantua and then wandered restlessly throughout Italy searching for ideal working conditions at other courts. He died at a monastery in Rome in 1595, just one day before he was to have been crowned poet laureate.
Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered has since been lauded both as the embodiment of lyric sentiment and as the greatest poem of the Counter-Reformation. The religious motif is strong, the subplots of love and adventure are well developed, and chivalric exploits are recounted in a majestic classical style. The work had enormous influence on English poets, especially Milton. The legend of Tasso's doomed love for Leonora d'Este was immortalized in works by Byron, Goethe, and others and made Tasso a romantic hero.
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Torquato Tasso Poems
Hedge, That Divides The Lovely
Hedge, that divides the lovely Garden, and myself from me, Never in you so fair a rose I see
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 01 - Part 01
THE ARGUMENT. God sends his angel to Tortosa down, Godfrey unites the Christian Peers and Knights; And all the Lords and Princes of renown
Ecco Mormorar L'Onde (Now The Waves Murm...
Ecco mormorar l'onde, E tremolar le fronde A l'aura mattutina, e gli arboscelli, E sovra i verdi rami i vaghi augelli
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 01 - Part 03
XXVI "Turks, Persians conquered, Antiochia won, Be glorious acts, and full of glorious praise, By Heaven's mere grace, not by our prowess done:
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 03 - Part 02
XVI Soon was the prey out of their hands recovered, By step and step the Frenchmen gan retire, Till on a little hill at last they hovered,
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 02 - Part 07
LXXXVI "But if our sins us of his help deprive, Of his high justice let no mercy fall; Yet should our deaths us some contentment give,
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 01 - Part 02
XI Thus when the Lord discovered had, and seen The hidden secrets of each worthy's breast, Out of the hierarchies of angels sheen
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 02 - Part 04
XXXI Thus spake the nymph, yet spake but to the wind, She could not alter his well-settled thought; O miracle! O strife of wondrous kind!
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 01 - Part 07
LXXXVI "I see," quoth he, "some expectation vain, In these false Christians, and some new content, Our common loss they trust will be their gain,
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 01 - Part 05
LVI Guascher and Raiphe in valor like there was. The one and other Guido, famous both, Germer and Eberard to overpass,
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 02 - Part 06
LXVI "True labour in the vineyard of thy Lord, Ere prime thou hast the imposed day-work done, What armies conquered, perished with thy sword?
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 02 - Part 02
XI But when the angry king discovered not What guilty hand this sacrilege had wrought, His ireful courage boiled in vengeance hot
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 04 - Part 02
XVII 'Among the knights and worthies of their train, Let some like outlaws wander uncouth ways, Let some be slain in field, let some again
Jerusalem Delivered - Book 04 - Part 03
XXXIII Thus passed she, praised, wished, and wondered at, Among the troops who there encamped lay,
Once We Were Happy
Once we were happy, I
Loving and beloved,
You loved and loving, sweetly moved.
Then you became the enemy
Of love, and I to disdain
Found youthful passion change.
Disdain demands I speak,
Disdain, that in my breast
Keeps the shame of my neglected offering fresh: