The scene is taken from Torquato Tasso's epic poem, La Gerusalemme Liberata published in 1575. Erminia, a pagan princess in love with the crusader, Tancred, disguises herself in armour to follow him. She is chased from the Christian camp and flees to Arcadia where she meets an old shepherd weaving baskets. The reversal of gender roles was a popular theme amongst the playwrights of the period.
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