The Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE
former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
Conference Committee:
Suri Ratnapala, Professor of Public Law, UQ
Thomas John, Chair, European Focus Group, LCA
Nicholas Aroney, Reader in Law, UQ
Hendryk Flaegel, International Law Section, LCA

She could say no more

She could say no more: her words were suffocated by a torrent of tears. But she sought to take his hand, to arrest him by his mantle--in vain. He could scarcely, it is true, restrain his tears: but he did. He looked sorrowful, but composed; and at length he said: "Armida, would I could do as thou wishest; but I cannot. I would relieve thee instantly of all this tumult of emotion. No hate is there in him that must quit thee; no such disdain as thou fanciest; nothing but the melancholy and impetuous sense of his duty. Thou hast erred, it is true--erred both in love and hate; but have I not erred with thee? and can I find excuse which is not found for thyself? Dear and honoured ever wilt thou be with Rinaldo, whether in joy or sorrow. Count me, if it please thee, thy champion still, as far as my country and my faith permit; but here, in this spot, must be buried all else--buried, not for my sake only, but for that of thy beauty, thy worthiness, thy royal blood. Consent to disparage thyself no longer. Peace be with thee. I go where I have no permission to take thee with me. Be happy; be wise." While Rinaldo was speaking in this manner, Armida changed colour; her bosom heaved; her eyes took a new kind of fire; scorn rose upon her lip. When he finished, she looked at him with a bitterness that rejected every word he had said; and then she exclaimed: "Thou hast no such blood in thine own veins as thou canst fear to degrade. Thy boasted descent is a fiction: base, and brutish, and insensible was thy stock. What being of gentle blood could quit a love like mine without even a tear--a sigh? What but the mockery of a man could call me his, and yet leave me? vouchsafe me his pardon, as if I had offended him? excuse my guilt and my tenderness; he, the sage of virtue, and me, the wretch! O God! and these are the men that take upon them to slaughter the innocent, and dictate faiths to the world! Go, hard heart, with such peace as thou leavest in this bosom. Begone; take thine injustice from my sight for ever. My spirit will follow thee, not as a help, but as a retribution. I shall die first, and thou wilt die speedily: thou wilt perish in the battle. Thou wilt lie expiring among the dead and bleeding, and wilt call on Armida in thy last moments, and I shall hear it--yes, I shall hear it; I shall look for that."

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