Orlando Furioso, by Lodovico Ariosto

Canto 1

Argument

Angelica, whom pressing danger frights,

Flies in disorder through the greenwood shade.

Rinaldo’s horse escapes: he, following, fights

Ferrau, the Spaniard, in a forest glade.

A second oath the haughty paynim plights,

And keeps it better than the first he made.

King Sacripant regains his long-lost treasure;

But good Rinaldo mars his promised pleasure.

I

OF LOVES and LADIES, KNIGHTS and ARMS, I sing,

Of COURTESIES, and many a DARING FEAT;

And from those ancient days my story bring,

When Moors from Afric passed in hostile fleet,

And ravaged France, with Agramant their king,

Flushed with his youthful rage and furious heat,

Who on king Charles’, the Roman emperor’s head

Had vowed due vengeance for Troyano dead.

II

In the same strain of Roland will I tell

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme,

On whom strange madness and rank fury fell,

A man esteemed so wise in former time;

If she, who to like cruel pass has well

Nigh brought my feeble wit which fain would climb

And hourly wastes my sense, concede me skill

And strength my daring promise to fulfil.

III

Good seed of Hercules, give ear and deign,

Thou that this age’s grace and splendour art,

Hippolitus, to smile upon his pain

Who tenders what he has with humble heart.

For though all hope to quit the score were vain,

My pen and pages may pay the debt in part;

Then, with no jealous eye my offering scan,

Nor scorn my gifts who give thee all I can.

IV

And me, amid the worthiest shalt thou hear,

Whom I with fitting praise prepare to grace,

Record the good Rogero, valiant peer,

The ancient root of thine illustrious race.

Of him, if thou wilt lend a willing ear,

The worth and warlike feats I shall retrace;

So thou thy graver cares some little time

Postponing, lend thy leisure to my rhyme.

V

Roland, who long the lady of Catay,

Angelica, had loved, and with his brand

Raised countless trophies to that damsel gay,

In India, Median, and Tartarian land,

Westward with her had measured back his way;

Where, nigh the Pyrenees, with many a band

Of Germany and France, King Charlemagne

Had camped his faithful host upon the plain.

VI

To make King Agramant, for penance, smite

His cheek, and rash Marsilius rue the hour;

This, when all trained with lance and sword to fight,

He led from Africa to swell his power;

That other when he pushed, in fell despite,

Against the realm of France Spain’s martial flower.

’Twas thus Orlando came where Charles was tented

In evil hour, and soon the deed repented.

VII

For here was seized his dame of peerless charms,

(How often human judgment wanders wide)!

Whom in long warfare he had kept from harms,

From western climes to eastern shores her guide

In his own land, ‘mid friends and kindred arms,

Now without contest severed from his side.

Fearing the mischief kindled by her eyes,

From him the prudent emperor reft the prize.

VIII

For bold Orlando and his cousin, free

Rinaldo, late contended for the maid,

Enamored of that beauty rare; since she

Alike the glowing breast of either swayed.

But Charles, who little liked such rivalry,

And drew an omen thence of feebler aid,

To abate the cause of quarrel, seized the fair,

And placed her in Bavarian Namus’ care.

IX

Vowing with her the warrior to content,

Who in that conflict, on that fatal day,

With his good hand most gainful succour lent,

And slew most paynims in the martial fray.

But counter to his hopes the battle went,

And his thinned squadrons fled in disarray;

Namus, with other Christian captains taken,

And his pavilion in the rout forsaken.

X

There, lodged by Charles, that gentle bonnibel,

Ordained to be the valiant victor’s meed,

Before the event had sprung into her sell,

And from the combat turned in time of need;

Presaging wisely Fortune would rebel

That fatal day against the Christian creed:

And, entering a thick wood, discovered near,

In a close path, a horseless cavalier.

XI

With shield upon his arm, in knightly wise,

Belted and mailed, his helmet on his head;

The knight more lightly through the forest hies

Than half-clothed churl to win the cloth of red.

But not from cruel snake more swiftly flies

The timid shepherdess, with startled tread,

Than poor Angelica the bridle turns

When she the approaching knight on foot discerns.

XII

This was that Paladin, good Aymon’s seed,

Who Mount Albano had in his command;

And late Baiardo lost, his gallant steed,

Escaped by strange adventure from his hand.

As soon as seen, the maid who rode at speed

The warrior knew, and, while yet distant, scanned

The angelic features and the gentle air

Which long had held him fast in Cupid’s snare.

XIII

The affrighted damsel turns her palfrey round,

And shakes the floating bridle in the wind;

Nor in her panic seeks to choose her ground,

Nor open grove prefers to thicket blind.

But reckless, pale and trembling, and astound,

Leaves to her horse the devious way to find.

He up and down the forest bore the dame,

Till to a sylvan river’s bank he came.

XIV

Here stood the fierce Ferrau in grisly plight,

Begrimed with dust, and bathed with sweat and blood

Who lately had withdrawn him from the fight,

To rest and drink at that refreshing flood:

But there had tarried in his own despite,

Since bending from the bank, in hasty mood,

He dropped his helmet in the crystal tide,

And vainly to regain the treasure tried.

XV

Thither at speed she drives, and evermore

In her wild panic utters fearful cries;

And at the voice, upleaping on the shore,

The Saracen her lovely visage spies.

And, pale as is her cheek, and troubled sore,

Arriving, quickly to the warrior’s eyes

(Though many days no news of her had shown)

The beautiful Angelica is known.

XVI

Courteous, and haply gifted with a breast

As warm as either of the cousins two;

As bold, as if his brows in steel were dressed,

The succour which she sought he lent, and drew

His faulchion, and against Rinaldo pressed,

Who saw with little fear the champion true.

Not only each to each was known by sight,

But each had proved in arms his foeman’s might.

XVII

Thus, as they are, on foot the warriors vie

In cruel strife, and blade to blade oppose;

No marvel plate or brittle mail should fly,

When anvils had not stood the deafening blows.

It now behoves the palfrey swift to ply

His feet; for while the knights in combat close,

Him vexed to utmost speed, with goading spurs,

By waste or wood the frighted damsel stirs.

XVIII

After the two had struggled long to throw

Each other in the strife, and vainly still;

Since neither valiant warrior was below

His opposite in force and knightly skill:

The first to parley with his Spanish foe

Was the good master of Albano’s hill

(As one within whose raging breast was pent

A reckless fire which struggled for a vent).

XIX

“Thou think’st,” he said, “to injure me alone,

But know thou wilt thyself as much molest:

For if we fight because yon rising sun

This raging heat has kindled in thy breast.

What were thy gain, and what the guerdon won,

Though I should yield my life, or stoop my crest;

If she shall never be thy glorious meed,

Who flies, while vainly we in battle bleed?

XX

“Then how much better, since our stake’s the same,

Thou, loving like myself, should’st mount and stay

To wait this battle’s end, the lovely dame,

Before she fly yet further on her way.

The lady taken, we repeat our claim

With naked faulchion to that peerless prey:

Else by long toil I see not what we gain

But simple loss and unrequited pain.”

XXI

The peer’s proposal pleased the paynim well.

And so their hot contention was foregone;

And such fair truce replaced that discord fell,

So mutual wrongs forgot and mischief done;

That for departure seated in his sell,

On foot the Spaniard left not Aymon’s son;

But him to mount his courser’s crupper prayed;

And both united chased the royal maid.

XXII

Oh! goodly truth in cavaliers of old!

Rivals they were, to different faith were bred.

Not yet the weary warriors’ wounds were cold —

Still smarting from those strokes so fell and dread.

Yet they together ride by waste and wold,

And, unsuspecting, devious dingle thread.

Them, while four spurs infest his foaming sides,

Their courser brings to where the way divides.

XXIII

And now the warlike pair at fault, for they

Knew not by which she might her palfrey goad,

(Since both, without distinction, there survey

The recent print of hoofs on either road),

Commit the chase to fortune. By this way

The paynim pricked, by that Rinaldo strode.

But fierce Ferrau, bewildered in the wood,

Found himself once again where late he stood.

XXIV

Beside the water, where he stoop’d to drink,

And dropt the knightly helmet, — to his cost,

Sunk in the stream; and since he could not think

Her to retrieve, who late his hopes had crossed.

He, where the treasure fell, descends the brink

Of that swift stream, and seeks the morion lost.

But the casque lies so bedded in the sands,

’Twill ask no light endeavour at his hands.

XXV

A bough he severs from a neighbouring tree,

And shreds and shapes the branch into a pole:

With this he sounds the stream, and anxiously

Fathoms, and rakes, and ransacks shelf and hole.

While angered sore at heart, and restless, he

So lingered, where the troubled waters roll,

Breast-high, from the mid river rose upright,

The apparition of an angry knight.

XXVI

Armed at all points he was, except his head,

And in his better hand a helmet bore:

The very casque, which in the river’s bed

Ferrau sought vainly, toiling long and sore.

Upon the Spanish knight he frowned, and said:

“Thou traitor to thy word, thou perjured Moor,

Why grieve the goodly helmet to resign,

Which, due to me long since, is justly mine?

XXVII

“Remember, pagan, when thine arm laid low

The brother of Angelica. That knight

Am I; — thy word was plighted then to throw

After my other arms his helmet bright.

If Fortune now compel thee to forego

The prize, and do my will in thy despite,

Grieve not at this, but rather grieve that thou

Art found a perjured traitor to thy vow.

XXVIII

“But if thou seek’st a helmet, be thy task

To win and wear it more to thy renown.

A noble prize were good Orlando’s casque;

Rinaldo’s such, or yet a fairer crown;

Almontes’, or Mambrino’s iron masque:

Make one of these, by force of arms, thine own.

And this good helm will fitly be bestowed

Where (such thy promise) it has long been owed.”

XXIX

Bristled the paynim’s every hair at view

Of that grim shade, uprising from the tide,

And vanished was his fresh and healthful hue,

While on his lips the half-formed accents died.

Next hearing Argalia, whom he slew,

(So was the warrior hight) that stream beside,

Thus his unknightly breach of promise blame,

He burned all over, flushed with rage and shame.

XXX

Nor having time his falsehood to excuse,

And knowing well how true the phantom’s lore,

Stood speechless; such remorse the words infuse.

Then by Lanfusa’s life the warrior swore,

Never in fight, or foray would he use

Helmet but that which good Orlando bore

From Aspramont, where bold Almontes paid

His life a forfeit to the Christian blade.

XXXI

And this new vow discharged more faithfully

Than the vain promise which was whilom plight;

And from the stream departing heavily,

Was many days sore vexed and grieved in sprite;

And still intent to seek Orlando, he

Roved wheresoe’er he hoped to find the knight.

A different lot befel Rinaldo; who

Had chanced another pathway to pursue.

XXXII

For far the warrior fared not, ere he spied,

Bounding across the path, his gallant steed,

And, “Stay, Bayardo mine,” Rinaldo cried,

“Too cruel care the loss of thee does breed.”

The horse for this returned not to his side,

Deaf to his prayer, but flew with better speed.

Furious, in chase of him, Rinaldo hies.

But follow we Angelica, who flies.

XXXIII

Through dreary woods and dark the damsel fled,

By rude unharboured heath and savage height,

While every leaf or spray that rustled, bred

(Of oak, or elm, or beech), such new affright,

She here and there her foaming palfrey sped

By strange and crooked paths with furious flight;

And at each shadow, seen in valley blind,

Or mountain, feared Rinaldo was behind.

XXXIV

As a young roe or fawn of fallow deer,

Who, mid the shelter of its native glade,

Has seen a hungry pard or tiger tear

The bosom of its bleeding dam, dismayed,

Bounds, through the forest green in ceaseless fear

Of the destroying beast, from shade to shade,

And at each sapling touched, amid its pangs,

Believes itself between the monster’s fangs,

XXXV

One day and night, and half the following day,

The damsel wanders wide, nor whither knows;

Then enters a deep wood, whose branches play,

Moved lightly by the freshening breeze which blows.

Through this two clear and murmuring rivers stray:

Upon their banks a fresher herbage grows;

While the twin streams their passage slowly clear,

Make music with the stones, and please the ear.

XXXVI

Weening removed the way by which she wends,

A thousand miles from loathed Rinaldo’s beat,

To rest herself a while the maid intends,

Wearied with that long flight and summer’s heat.

She from her saddle ‘mid spring flowers descends

And takes the bridle from her courser fleet.

And loose along the river lets him pass,

Roving the banks in search of lusty grass.

XXXVII

Behold! at hand a thicket she surveys

Gay with the flowering thorn and vermeil rose:

The tuft reflected in the stream which strays

Beside it, overshadowing oaks enclose.

Hollow within, and safe from vulgar gaze,

It seemed a place constructed for repose;

With bows so interwoven, that the light

Pierced not the tangled screen, far less the sight.

XXXVIII

Within soft moss and herbage form a bed;

And to delay and rest the traveller woo.

’Twas there her limbs the weary damsel spread,

Her eye-balls bathed in slumber’s balmy dew.

But little time had eased her drooping head,

Ere, as she weened, a courser’s tramp she knew.

Softly she rises, and the river near,

Armed cap-a-pie, beholds a cavalier.

XXXIX

If friend or foe, she nothing comprehends,

(So hope and fear her doubting bosom tear)

And that adventure’s issue mute attends,

Nor even with a sigh disturbs the air.

The cavalier upon the bank descends;

And sits so motionless, so lost in care,

(His visage propt upon his arm) to sight

Changed into senseless stone appeared the knight.

c01-039

XL

Pensive, above an hour, with drooping head,

He rested mute, ere he began his moan;

And then his piteous tale of sorrow said,

Lamenting in so soft and sweet a tone,

He in a tiger’s breast had pity bred,

Or with his mournful wailings rent a stone.

And so he sighed and wept; like rivers flowed

His tears, his bosom like an Aetna glowed.

XLI

“Thought which now makes me burn, now freeze with hate,

Which gnaws my heart and rankles at its root!

What’s left to me,” he said, “arrived too late,

While one more favoured bears away the fruit?

Bare words and looks scarce cheered my hopeless state,

And the prime spoils reward another’s suit.

Then since for me nor fruit nor blossom hangs,

Why should I longer pine in hopeless pangs?

XLII

“The virgin has her image in the rose

Sheltered in garden on its native stock,

Which there in solitude and safe repose,

Blooms unapproached by sheperd or by flock.

For this earth teems, and freshening water flows,

And breeze and dewy dawn their sweets unlock:

With such the wistful youth his bosom dresses.

With such the enamored damsel braids her tresses.

XLIII

“But wanton hands no sooner this displace

From the maternal stem, where it was grown,

Than all is withered; whatsoever grace

It found with man or heaven; bloom, beauty, gone.

The damsel who should hold in higher place

Than light or life the flower which is her own,

Suffering the spoiler’s hand to crop the prize,

Forfeits her worth in every other’s eyes.

XLIV

“And be she cheap with all except the wight

On whom she did so large a boon bestow.

Ah! false and cruel Fortune! foul despite!

While others triumph, I am drown’d in woe.

And can it be that I such treasure slight?

And can I then my very life forego?

No! let me die; ’twere happiness above

A longer life, if I must cease to love.”

XLV

If any ask who made this sorrowing,

And pour’d into the stream so many tears,

I answer, it was fair Circassia’s king,

That Sacripant, oppressed with amorous cares.

Love is the source from which his troubles spring,

The sole occasion of his pains and fears;

And he to her a lover’s service paid,

Now well remembered by the royal maid.

XLVI

He for her sake from Orient’s farthest reign

Roved thither, where the sun descends to rest;

For he was told in India, to his pain,

That she Orlando followed to the west.

He after learned in France that Charlemagne

Secluded from that champion and the rest,

As a fit guerdon, mewed her for the knight

Who should protect the lilies best in fight.

XLVII

The warrior in the field had been, and viewed,

Short time before, king Charlemagne’s disgrace;

And vainly had Angelica pursued,

Nor of the damsel’s footsteps found a trace.

And this is what the weeping monarch rued,

And this he so bewailed in doleful case:

Hence, into words his lamentations run,

Which might for pity stop the passing sun.

XLVIII

While Sacripant laments him in this plight,

And makes a tepid fountain of his eyes;

And, what I deem not needful to recite,

Pours forth yet other plaints and piteous cries;

Propitious Fortune will his lady bright

Should hear the youth lament him in such wise:

And thus a moment compassed what, without

Such chance, long ages had not brought about.

XLIX

With deep attention, while the warrior weeps,

She marks the fashion of the grief and tears

And words of him, whose passion never sleeps;

Nor this the first confession which she hears.

But with his plaint her heart no measure keeps,

Cold as the column which the builder rears.

Like haughty maid, who holds herself above

The world, and deems none worthy of her love.

L

But her from harm amid those woods to keep,

The damsel weened she might his guidance need;

For the poor drowning caitiff, who, chin-deep,

Implores not help, is obstinate indeed.

Nor will she, if she let the occasion sleep,

Find escort that will stand her in such stead:

For she that king by long experience knew

Above all other lovers, kind and true.

LI

But not the more for this the maid intends

To heal the mischief which her charms had wrought,

And for past ills to furnish glad amends

In that full bliss by pining lover sought.

To keep the king in play are all her ends,

His help by some device or fiction bought,

And having to her purpose taxed his daring,

To reassume as wont her haughty bearing.

LII

An apparition bright and unforeseen,

She stood like Venus or Diana fair,

In solemn pageant, issuing on the scene

From out of shadowy wood or murky lair.

And “Peace be with you,” cried the youthful queen,

“And God preserve my honour in his care,

Nor suffer that you blindly entertain

Opinion of my fame so false and vain!”

LIII

Not with such wonderment a mother eyes,

With such excessive bliss the son she mourned

As dead, lamented still with tears and sighs,

Since the thinned files without her boy returned.

— Not such her rapture as the king’s surprise

And ecstasy of joy when he discerned

The lofty presence, cheeks of heavenly hue,

And lovely form which broke upon his view.

LIV

He, full of fond and eager passion, pressed

Towards his Lady, his Divinity;

And she now clasped the warrior to her breast,

Who in Catay had haply been less free.

And now again the maid her thoughts addressed

Towards her native land and empery:

And feels, with hope revived, her bosom beat

Shortly to repossess her sumptuous seat.

LV

Her chances all to him the damsel said,

Since he was eastward sent to Sericane

By her to seek the martial monarch’s aid,

Who swayed the sceptre of that fair domain;

And told how oft Orlando’s friendly blade

Had saved her from dishonour, death, and pain;

And how she so preserved her virgin flower

Pure as it blossomed in her natal hour.

LVI

Haply the tale was true; yet will not seem

Likely to one of sober sense possessed:

But Sacripant, who waked from worser dream,

In all without a cavil acquiesced:

Since love, who sees without one guiding gleam,

Spies in broad day but that which likes him best:

For one sign of the afflicted man’s disease

Is to give ready faith to things which please.

LVII

“If good Anglante’s lord the prize forbore,

Nor seized the fair occasion when he might,

The loss be his, if Fortune never more

Him to enjoy so fair a prize invite.

To imitate that lord of little lore

I think not,” said, apart, Circassa’s knight.

“To quit such proffered good, and, to my shame,

Have but myself on after-thought to blame.

LVIII

“No! I will pluck the fresh and morning rose,

Which, should I tarry, may be overblown.

To woman, (this my own experience shows),

No deed more sweet or welcome can be done.

Then, whatsoever scorn the damsel shows,

Though she awhile may weep and make her moan,

I will, unchecked by anger, false or true,

Or sharp repulse, my bold design pursue.”

LIX

This said, he for the soft assault prepares,

When a loud noise within the greenwood shade

Beside him, rang in his astounded ears,

And sore against his will the monarch stayed.

He donned his helm (his other arms he wears),

Aye wont to rove in steel, with belted blade,

Replaced the bridle on his courser fleet,

Grappled his lance, and sprang into his seat.

LX

With the bold semblance of a valiant knight,

Behold a warrior threads the forest hoar.

The stranger’s mantle was of snowy white,

And white alike the waving plume he wore.

Balked of his bliss, and full of fell despite,

The monarch ill the interruption bore,

And spurred his horse to meet him in mid space,

With hate and fury glowing in his face.

LXI

Him he defies to fight, approaching nigh,

And weens to make him stoop his haughty crest:

The other knight, whose worth I rate as high,

His warlike prowess puts to present test;

Cuts short his haughty threats and angry cry,

And spurs, and lays his levelled lance in rest.

In tempest wheels Circassia’s valiant peer,

And at his foeman’s head each aims his spear.

LXII

Not brindled bulls or tawny lions spring

To forest warfare with such deadly will

As those two knights, the stranger and the king.

Their spears alike the opposing bucklers thrill:

The solid ground, at their encountering,

Trembles from fruitful vale to naked hill:

And well it was the mail in which they dressed

Their bodies was of proof, and saved the breast.

LXIII

Nor swerved the chargers from their destined course;

Who met like rams, and butted head to head.

The warlike Saracen’s ill-fated horse,

Well valued while alive, dropt short and dead:

The stranger’s, too, fell senseless; but perforce

Was roused by rowel from his grassy bed.

That of the paynim king, extended straight,

Lay on his battered lord with all his weight.

LXIV

Upright upon his steed, the knight unknown,

Who at the encounter horse and rider threw,

Deeming enough was in the conflict done,

Cares not the worthless warfare to renew;

But endlong by the readiest path is gone,

And measures, pricking frith and forest through,

A mile, or little less, in furious heat,

Ere the foiled Saracen regains his feet.

LXV

As the bewildered and astonished clown

Who held the plough (the thunder storm o’erpast)

There, where the deafening bolt had beat him down,

Nigh his death-stricken cattle, wakes aghast,

And sees the distant pine without its crown,

Which he saw clad in leafy honours last;

So rose the paynim knight with troubled face,

The maid spectatress of the cruel case.

LXVI

He sighs and groans, yet not for mischief sore

Endured in wounded arm or foot which bled;

But for mere shame, and never such before

Or after, dyed his cheek so deep a red,

And if he rued his fall, it grieved him more

His dame should lift him from his courser dead.

He speechless had remained, I ween, if she

Had not his prisoned tongue and voice set free.

LXVII

“Grieve not,” she said, “sir monarch, for thy fall;

But let the blame upon thy courser be!

To whom more welcome had been forage, stall,

And rest, than further joust and jeopardy;

And well thy foe the loser may I call,

(Who shall no glory gain) for such is he

Who is the first to quit his ground, if aught

Angelica of fighting fields be taught.”

LXVIII

While she so seeks the Saracen to cheer,

Behold a messenger with pouch and horn,

On panting hackney! — man and horse appear

With the long journey, weary and forlorn.

He questions Sacripant, approaching near,

Had he seen warrior pass, by whom were borne

A shield and crest of white; in search of whom

Through the wide forest pricked the weary groom.

LXIX

King Sacripant made answer, “As you see,

He threw me here, and went but now his way:

Then tell the warrior’s name, that I may be

Informed whose valour foiled me in the fray.”

To him the groom, — “That which you ask of me

I shall relate to you without delay:

Know that you were in combat prostrate laid

By the tried valour of a gentle maid.

LXX

“Bold is the maid; but fairer yet than bold,

Nor the redoubted virgin’s name I veil:

’Twas Bradamant who marred what praise of old

Your prowess ever won with sword and mail.”

This said, he spurred again, his story told,

And left him little gladdened by the tale.

He recks not what he says or does, for shame,

And his flushed visage kindles into flame.

LXXI

After the woeful warrior long had thought

Upon his cruel case, and still in vain,

And found a woman his defeat had wrought,

For thinking but increased the monarch’s pain,

He climbed the other horse, nor spake he aught;

But silently uplifted from the plain,

Upon the croup bestowed that damsel sweet,

Reserved to gladder use in safer seat.

LXXII

Two miles they had not rode before they hear

The sweeping woods which spread about them, sound

With such loud crash and trample, far and near,

The forest seemed to tremble all around;

And shortly after see a steed appear,

With housings wrought in gold and richly bound;

Who clears the bush and stream, with furious force

And whatsoever else impedes his course.

LXXIII

“Unless the misty air,” the damsel cries,

“And boughs deceive my sight, yon noble steed

Is, sure, Bayardo, who before us flies,

And parts the wood with such impetuous speed.

— Yes, ’tis Bayardo’s self I recognize.

How well the courser understands our need!

Two riders ill a foundered jade would bear,

But hither speeds the horse to end that care.”

LXXIV

The bold Circassian lighted, and applied

His hand to seize him by the flowing rein,

Who, swiftly turning, with his heels replied,

For he like lightning wheeled upon the plain.

Woe to the king! but that he leaps aside,

For should he smite, he would not lash in vain.

Such are his bone and sinew, that the shock

Of his good heels had split a metal rock.

LXXV

Then to the maid he goes submissively,

With gentle blandishment and humble mood;

As the dog greets his lord with frolic glee,

Whom, some short season past, he had not viewed.

For good Bayardo had in memory

Albracca, where her hands prepared his food,

What time the damsel loved Rinaldo bold;

Rinaldo, then ungrateful, stern, and cold.

LXXVI

With her left hand she takes him by the bit,

And with the other pats his sides and chest:

While the good steed (so marvellous his wit),

Lamb-like, obeyed the damsel and caressed.

Meantime the king, who sees the moment fit,

Leapt up, and with his knees the courser pressed.

While on the palfrey, eased of half his weight,

The lady left the croup, and gained the seat.

LXXVII

Then, as at hazard, she directs her sight,

Sounding in arms a man on foot espies,

And glows with sudden anger and despite;

For she in him the son of Aymon eyes.

Her more than life esteems the youthful knight,

While she from him, like crane from falcon, flies.

Time was the lady sighed, her passion slighted;

’Tis now Rinaldo loves, as ill requited.

LXXVIII

And this effect two different fountains wrought,

Whose wonderous waters different moods inspire.

Both spring in Arden, with rare virtue fraught:

This fills the heart with amorous desire:

Who taste that other fountain are untaught

Their love, and change for ice their former fire.

Rinaldo drank the first, and vainly sighs;

Angelica the last, and hates and flies.

LXXIX

Mixed with such secret bane the waters glide,

Which amorous care convert to sudden hate;

The maid no sooner had Rinaldo spied,

Than on her laughing eyes deep darkness sate:

And with sad mien and trembling voice she cried

To Sacripant, and prayed him not to wait

The near approach of the detested knight,

But through the wood with her pursue his flight.

LXXX

To her the Saracen, with anger hot:

“Is knightly worship sunk so low in me,

That thou should’st hold my valour cheap, and not

Sufficient to make yonder champion flee?

Already are Albracca’s fights forgot,

And that dread night I singly stood for thee?

That night when I, though naked, was thy shield

Against King Agrican and all his field?”

LXXXI

She answers not, and knows not in her fear

What ’tis she does; Rinaldo is too nigh:

And from afar that furious cavalier

Threats the bold Saracen with angry cry,

As soon as the known steed and damsel dear,

Whose charms such flame had kindled, meet his eye.

But what ensued between the haughty pair

I in another canto shall declare.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au//data/web/ebooks/canto1.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 12:59