Orlando Furioso, by Lodovico Ariosto

Canto 11

Argument

Assisted by the magic ring she wears,

Angelica evanishes from view.

Next in a damsel, whom a giant bears

Beneath his arm, his bride Rogero true

Beholds. Orlando to the shore repairs,

Where the fell orc so many damsels slew;

Olympia frees, and spoils the beast of life:

Her afterwards Oberto takes to wife.

I

Although a feeble rein, in mid career,

Will oft suffice to stop courageous horse;

’Tis seldom Reason’s bit will serve to steer

Desire, or turn him from his furious course,

When pleasure is in reach: like headstrong bear,

Whom from the honeyed meal ’tis ill to force,

If once he scent the tempting mess, or sup

A drop, which hangs upon the luscious cup.

II

What reason then Rogero shall withhold

From taking with Angelica delight, —

That gentle maid, there naked in his hold,

In the lone forest, and secure from sight?

Of Bradamant he thinks not, who controlled

His bosom erst: and foolish were the knight,

If thinking of that damsel as before,

By this he had not set an equal store;

III

Warmed by whose youthful beauties, the severe

Xenocrates would not have been more chaste.

The impatient Child had dropt both shield and spear,

And hurrying now his other arms uncased;

When, casting down her eyes in shame and fear,

The virtuous ring upon her finger placed,

Angelica descried, and which of yore

From her Brunello in Albracca bore.

IV

This is the ring she carried into France,

When thither first the damsel took her way;

With her the brother, bearer of the lance,

After, the paladin, Astolpho’s prey.

With this she Malagigi’s spells and trance

Made vain by Merlin’s stair; and on a day

Orlando freed, with many knights and good,

From Dragontina’s cruel servitude:

V

With this passed viewless from the turret-cell,

Where her that bad old man had mewed; but why

Recount its different wonders, if as well

You know the virtues of the ring as I?

From her this even in her citadel,

His monarch Agramant to satisfy,

Brunello took: since where she had been crost

By Fortune, till her native realm was lost.

VI

Now that she this upon her hand surveys,

She is so full of pleasure and surprise,

She doubts it is a dream, and, in amaze,

Hardly believes her very hand and eyes.

Then softly to her mouth the hoop conveys,

And, quicker than the flash which cleaves the skies,

From bold Rogero’s sight her beauty shrowds,

As disappears the sun, concealed in clouds.

VII

Yet still Rogero gazed like wight distraught,

And hurried here and there with fruitless speed:

But when he had recalled the ring to thought,

Foiled and astounded, cursed his little heed.

And now the vanished lady, whom he sought,

Of that ungrateful and discourteous deed

Accusing stood, wherewith she had repaid,

(Unfitting recompense) his generous aid.

VIII

“Ungrateful damsel! and is this the pay

You render for the service done?” (said he)

“Why rather would you steal my ring away

Than have it as a welcome gift from me?

Not only this, (but use me as you may)

I, and my shield and courser, yours shall be;

So you no more conceal your beauteous cheer.

Cruel, though answering not, I know you hear.”

IX

So saying, like one blind, with bootless care,

Feeling his way about the fount he strayed.

How often he embraced the empty air,

Hoping in this to have embraced the maid!

Meanwhile, now far removed, the flying fair

Had halted not, till to a cave conveyed.

Formed in a mountain was that harbour rude;

Spacious, and for her need supplied with food.

X

’Twas here an aged herdsman, one who tended

A numerous troop of mares, had made his won:

These, seeking pasture, through the valley wended,

Where the green grass was fed by freshening run:

While stalls on either side the cave, defended

His charge from the oppressive noon-tide sun;

Angelica, within, that livelong day,

Unseen of prying eyes, prolonged her stay;

XI

And about evening, when refreshed with rest

And food, she deemed her course she might renew;

In certain rustic weeds her body dressed:

How different from those robes of red, or blue,

Green, yellow, purple, her accustomed vest,

So various in its fashion, shape, and hue!

Yet her not so that habit misbecame,

But that she looked the fair and noble dame.

XII

Then Phillis’ and Neaera’s praise forbear,

And ye who sing of Amaryllis cease,

Or flying Galataea, not so fair,

Tityrus and Melibaeus, with your peace!

’Twas here the beauteous lady took a mare,

Which liked her best, of all that herd’s increase.

Then, and then first conceived the thought, again

To seek in the Levant her antient reign.

XIII

This while Rogero, after he had passed

Long space in hope the maid might re-appear,

Awakened from his foolish dream at last,

And found she was not nigh, and did not hear.

Then to remount his griffin-courser cast,

In earth and air accustomed to career.

But, having slipt his bit, the winged horse

Had towered and soared in air a freer course.

XIV

To his first ill addition grave and sore

Was to have lost the bird of rapid wing,

Which he no better than the mockery bore

Put on him by the maid; but deeper sting

Than this or that, implants, and pains him more,

The thought of having lost the precious ring;

Not for its power so much, esteemed above

Its worth, as given him by his lady love.

XV

Afflicted beyond measure, he, with shield

Cast on his shoulder, and new-cased in mail,

Left the sea-side, and through a grassy field

Pursued his way, towards a spacious vale:

Where he beheld a path, by wood concealed,

The widest and most beaten in the dale.

Nor far had wound the closest shades within,

Ere on his right he heard a mighty din.

XVI

He heard a din, and fearful clashing sound

Of arms, and hurrying on with eager pace

‘Twixt tree and tree, two furious champions found,

Waging fierce fight in close and straightened place:

Who to each other (warring on what ground

I know not) neither showed regard nor grace.

The one a giant was of haughty cheer,

And one a bold and gallant cavalier.

XVII

Covered with shield and sword, one, leaping, sped

Now here now there, and thus himself defended,

Lest a two-handed mace upon his head

Should fall, with which the giant still offended:—

On the field lay his horse, already dead.

Rogero paused, and to the strife attended:

And straight his wishes leant towards the knight,

Whom he would fain see conqueror in the fight:

XVIII

Yet not for this would lend the champion aid,

But to behold the cruel strife stood nigh.

Lo! a two-handed stroke the giant made

Upon the lesser warrior’s casque, and by

The mighty blow the knight was overlaid:

The other, when astound he saw him lie,

To deal the foe his death, his helm untied,

So that the warrior’s face Rogero spied.

XIX

Of his sweet lady, of his passing fair,

And dearest Bradamant Rogero spies

The lovely visage of its helmet bare;

Towards whom, to deal her death, the giant hies:

So that, advancing with his sword in air,

To sudden battle him the Child defies,

But he, who will not wait for new alarm,

Takes the half-lifeless lady in his arm,

XX

And on his shoulder flings and bears away;

As sometimes wolf a little lamb will bear,

Or eagle in her crooked claws convey

Pigeon, or such-like bird, through liquid air.

Rogero runs with all the speed he may,

Who sees how needed is his succour there.

But with such strides the giant scours the plain,

Him with his eyes the knight pursues with pain.

XXI

This flying and that following, the two

Kept a close path which widened still, and they

Piercing that forest, issued forth to view

On a wide meadow, which without it lay.

— No more of this. Orlando I pursue,

That bore Cymosco’s thunder-bolt away;

And this had in the deepest bottom drowned,

That never more the mischief might be found.

XXII

But with small boot: for the impious enemy

Of human nature, taught the bolt to frame,

After the shaft, which darting from the sky

Pierces the cloud and comes to ground in flame,

Who, when he tempted Eve to eat and die

With the apple, hardly wrought more scathe and shame,

Some deal before, or in our grandsires’ day,

Guided a necromancer where it lay.

XXIII

More than a hundred fathom buried so,

Where hidden it had lain a mighty space,

The infernal tool by magic from below

Was fished and born amid the German race;

Who, by one proof and the other, taught to know

Its powers, and he who plots for our disgrace,

The demon, working on their weaker wit,

As last upon its fatal purpose hit.

XXIV

To Italy and France, on every hand

The cruel art among all people past:

And these the bronze in hollow mould expand,

First in the furnace melted by the blast:

Others the iron bore, and small or grand,

Fashion the various tube they pierce or cast.

And bombard, gun, according to its frame,

Or single cannon this, or double, name.

XXV

This saker, culverine, or falcon hight,

I hear (all names the inventor has bestowed);

Which splits or shivers steel and stone outright,

And, where the bullet passes, makes a road.

— Down to the sword, restore thy weapons bright,

Sad soldier, to the forge, a useless load;

And gun or carbine on thy shoulder lay,

Who without these, I wot, shalt touch no pay.

XXVI

How, foul and pestilent discovery,

Didst thou find place within the human heart?

Through thee is martial glory lost, through thee

The trade of arms became a worthless art:

And at such ebb are worth and chivalry,

That the base often plays the better part.

Through thee no more shall gallantry, no more

Shall valour prove their prowess as of yore.

XXVII

Through thee, alas! are dead, or have to die,

So many noble lords and cavaliers

Before this war shall end, which, Italy

Afflicting most, has drowned the world in tears,

That, if I said the word, I err not, I,

Saying he sure the cruellest appears

And worst, of nature’s impious and malign,

Who did this hateful engine first design:

XXVIII

And I shall think, in order to pursue

The sin for ever, God has doomed to hell

That cursed soul, amid the unhappy crew,

Beside the accursed Judas there to dwell.

But follow we the good Orlando, who

So burns to seek Ebuda’s island fell,

Whose foul inhabitants a monster sate

With flesh of women, fair and delicate.

XXIX

But no less slow than eager was the knight:

The winds appear, which still his course delay;

Who, whether blowing on the left or right,

Or poop, so faintly in his canvas play,

His bark makes little speed; and, spent outright,

The breeze which wafts her sometimes dies away,

Or blows so foul, that he is fain to steer

Another course, or to the leeward veer.

XXX

It was the will of Heaven that he, before

The King of Ireland, should not reach the land,

The he with greater ease upon that shore

Might act what shortly you shall understand.

“Make for the isle. Now” (said he) “may’st thou moor,”

(Thus issuing to the pilot his command),

“And give me for my need the skiff; for I

Will to the rock without more company.

XXXI

“The biggest cable that thou hast aboard,

And biggest anchor to my hands consign;

Thou shalt perceive why thus my boat is stored,

If I but meet that monster of the brine.”

He bade them lower the pinnace overboard,

With all things that befitted his design:

His arms he left behind, except his blade,

And singly for the rocky island made.

XXXII

Home to his breast the count pulls either oar,

With the island at his back, to which he wends,

In guise that, crawling up the sandy shore,

The crooked crab from sea or marsh ascends.

It was the hour Aurora gay before

The rising sun her yellow hair extends

(His orb as yet half-seen, half-hid from sight)

Not without stirring jealous Tithon’s spite.

XXXIII

Approaching to the naked rock as near

As vigorous hand might serve to cast a stone,

He knew not if he heard, or did not hear

A cry, so faint and feeble was the moan.

When, turning to the left, the cavalier,

His level sight along the water thrown,

Naked as born, bound to a stump, espied

A dame whose feet were wetted by the tide.

XXXIV

Because she distant is, and evermore

Holds down her face, he ill can her discern:

Both sculls he pulls amain, and nears the shore,

With keen desire more certain news to learn:

But now the winding beach is heard to roar,

And wood and cave the mighty noise return;

The billows swell, and, lo! the beast! who pressed,

And nigh concealed the sea beneath his breast.

XXXV

As cloud from humid vale is seen to rise,

Pregnant with rain and storm, which seems withal

To extinguished day, and charged with deeper dyes

Than night, to spread throughout this earthly ball,

So swims the beast, who so much occupies

Of sea, he may be said to keep it all.

Waves roar: collected in himself, the peer

Looks proudly on, unchanged in heart and cheer.

XXXVI

He, as one well resolved in his intent,

Moved quickly to perform the feat he planned;

And, for he would the damsel’s harm prevent,

And would with that assail the beast at hand,

Between her and the orc the boat he sent,

Leaving within the sheath his idle brand,

Anchor and cable next he takes in hold,

And waits the foe with constant heart and bold.

XXXVII

As soon as him the monster has descried,

And skiff at little interval, his throat

The fish, to swallow him, expands so wide,

That horse and horseman through his jaws might float.

Here Roland with the anchor, and beside

(Unless I am mistaken) with the boat

Plunged, and engulphed the parted teeth betwixt,

His anchor in the tongue and palate fixt;

XXXVIII

So that the monster could no longer drop

Or raise his horrid jaws, which this extends.

’Tis thus who digs the mine is wont to prop

The ground, and where he works the roof suspends,

Lest sudden ruin whelm him from atop,

While he incautiously his task intends.

Roland (so far apart was either hook)

But by a leap could reach the highest crook.

XXXIX

The prop so placed, Orlando now secure

That the fell beast his mouth no more can close,

Unsheathes his sword, and, in that cave obscure,

Deals here and there, now thrusts, now trenchant blows.

As well as citadel, whose walls immure

The assailants, can defend her from her foes,

The monster, harassed by the war within,

Defends himself against the Paladin.

XL

Now floats the monstrous beast, o’ercome with pain,

Whose scaly flanks upon the waves expand;

And now descends into the deepest main,

Scowers at the bottom, and stirs up the sand.

The rising flood ill able to sustain,

The cavalier swims forth, and makes for land.

He leaves the anchor fastened in his tongue,

And grasps the rope which from the anchor hung.

XLI

So swimming till the island is attained,

With this towards the rock Orlando speeds:

He hawls the anchor home (a footing gained),

Pricked by whose double fluke, the monster bleeds.

The labouring orc to follow is constrained,

Dragged by that force which every force exceeds;

Which at a single sally more achieves

Than at ten turns the circling windlass heaves.

XLII

As a wild bull, about whose horn is wound

The unexpected noose, leaps here and there,

When he has felt the cord, and turns him round,

And rolls and rises, yet slips not the snare;

So from his pleasant seat and ancient bound,

Dragged by that arm and rope he cannot tear,

With thousands of strange wheels and thousand slides,

The monster follows where the cable guides.

XLIII

This the red sea with reason would be hight

To-day, such streams of blood have changed its hue;

And where the monster lashed it in his spite,

The eye its bottom through the waves might view.

And now he splashed the sky, and dimmed the light

Of the clear sun, so high the water flew.

The noise re-echoing round, the distant shore

And wood and hill rebound the deafening roar.

XLIV

Forth from his grotto aged Proteus hies,

And mounts above the surface at the sound;

And having seen Orlando dive, and rise

From the orc, and drag the monstrous fish to ground,

His scattered flock forgot, o’er ocean flies;

While so the din increases, that, astound,

Neptune bids yoke his dolphins, and that day

For distant Aethiopia posts away.

XLV

With Melicerta on her shoulders, weeping

Ino, and Nereids with dishevelled hair,

The Glauci, Tritons, and their fellows, leaping

They know not whither, speed, some here, some there.

Orlando draws to land, the billows sweeping,

That horrid fish, but might his labour spare:

For, with the torment worn, and travel sore,

The brute, exhausted, died, ere dragged ashore.

XLVI

Of the islanders had trooped no petty throng,

To witness that strange fight, who by a vain

And miserable superstition stung,

Esteemed such holy deed a work profane;

And said that this would be another wrong

To Proteus, and provoke his ire again;

Make him his herds pour forth upon the strand,

And with the whole old warfare vex the land;

XLVII

And that it better were to sue for peace,

First from the injured god, lest worse ensue;

And Proteus from his cruel hate would cease,

If they into the sea the offender threw.

As torch to torch gives fire, and lights increase,

Until the flame is spread the country through,

Even so from heart to heart the fury spread,

Which in the waves would doom Orlando dead.

XLVIII

These, armed with sling or bow, upon the shore,

And these supplied with spear or sword descend;

And on each side, behind him and before,

Distant and near, as best they can, offend.

At such a brutal insult wonders sore

The peer, who sees that mischief they intend,

In vengeance for the cruel monster slain,

Whence he had glory hoped, and praise to gain.

XLIX

But as the usage is of surly bear,

By sturdy Russ or Lithuanian led,

Little to heed the dogs in crowded fair,

Nor even at their yelps to turn his head,

The clamour of the churls assembled there

Orlando witnessed with as little dread;

Who knew that he the rout which threatened death,

Had power to scatter at a single breath:

L

And speedily he made them yield him place,

When turned on them, he grasped his trenchant blade.

Misjudging of his worth, the foolish race

Deemed that he would have short resistance made;

Since him they saw no covering buckler brace,

Uncuirassed, nor in other arms arrayed;

But knew not that, from head to foot, a skin

More hard than diamond cased the Paladin.

LI

What by Orlando others cannot do,

The knight by others can; at half a score

Of blows in all he thirty killed; by few

He passed that measure, if the strokes were more:

And had already turned him to undo

The naked lady, having cleared the shore,

When other larum sounds, and other cries

From a new quarter of the island rise.

LII

While so the Paladin had kept in play

The barbarous islanders, upon that hand,

The men of Ireland, without let or fray,

Had poured from many quarters on the strand:

And now, without remorse or pity, slay

The inhabitants, through all the wasted land;

And, was it justice moved, or cruel rage,

Slaughter without regard to sex or age.

LIII

Little or no defender the island-crew

Attempt; in part as taken unaware,

In part that in the little place are few,

And that those few without a purpose are.

‘Mid sack and fire, the wasted country through,

The islanders are slain, and everwhere

The walls are upon earth in ruin spread,

Nor in the land is left a living head.

LIV

As if the mighty tumult which he hears,

And shriek and ruin had concerned him nought,

The naked rock the bold Orlando nears,

Where she was placed, to feed the monster brought.

He looks, and known to him the dame appears,

And more appears, when nigher her he sought:

Olympia she appears, and is indeed

Olympia, whose faith reaped so ill a meed.

LV

Wretched Olympia; whom, beside the scorn

Which Love put on her, Fortune too pursued,

Who sent the corsairs fell, which her had born

That very day to the island of Ebude.

She Roland recollects on his return

Landward; but, for the damsel naked stood,

Not only nought she to the warrior said,

But dared not raise her eyes, and dropt her head.

LVI

Orlando asks what evil destiny

Her to that cruel island had conveyed

From where she in as much felicity

Was with her consort left as could be said:

“I know not (cried the weeping dame) if I

Have thanks to render thee for death delayed,

Or should lament me that, through means of thee,

This day did not my woes concluded see.

LVII

“I have to thank thee that from death, too dread

And monstrous, thy good arm deliverance gave;

Which would have been too monstrous, had I fed

The beast, and in his belly found a grave:

But cannot thank thee that I am not dead,

Since death alone can me from misery save,

Well shall I thank thee for that wished relief,

Which can deliver me from every grief.”

LVIII

Next she related, with loud sobs and sighs,

How her false spouse betrayed her as she lay

Asleep, and how of pirates made the prize,

They bore her from the desert isle away.

And, as she spake, she turned her in the guise

Of Dian, framed by artists, who pourtray

Her carved or painted, as in liquid font

She threw the water in Actaeon’s front.

LIX

For, as she can, her waist she hides, and breast,

More liberal of flowing flank and reins.

Roland desires his ship, to find a vest

To cover her, delivered from her chains:

While he is all intent upon this quest,

Oberto comes; Oberto, he that reigns

O’er Ireland’s people, who had understood

How lifeless lay the monster of the flood;

LX

And, swimming, how, amid the watery roar,

A knight a weighty anchor in his throat

Had fix’d, and so had dragged him to the shore,

As men against the current track a boat.

This while Oberto comes; who, if his lore,

Who told the tale, were true, desires to note;

While his invading army, far and wide,

Ebuda burn and waste on every side.

LXI

Oberto, though the Paladin to sight

Was dripping, and with water foul and gore;

With gore, that from the orc, emerged to light,

Whom he had entered bodily, he bore,

He for the country knew the stranger knight

As he perused his face; so much the more,

That he had thought when told the tidings, none

Save Roland could such mighty fear have done;

LXII

Knew him, because a page of honour he

Had been in France, and for the crown, his right

Upon his father’s death, had crossed the sea

The year before. So often he the knight

Had seen, and had with him held colloquy,

Their times of meeting had been infinite.

He doffed his casque, with festive welcome pressed

Towards the count, and clasped him to the breast.

LXIII

Orlando is no less rejoined to see

The king, than is the king that champion true.

After with friendly cheer and equal glee

Had once or twice embraced the noble two,

To Oberto Roland told the treachery

Which had been done the youthful dame, and who

Had done it, — false Bireno — that among

All men should least have sought to do her wrong.

LXIV

To him he told the many proofs and clear

By which the dame’s affection had been tried;

And how she for Bireno kin and geer

Had lost, and would in fine for him have died.

And how he this could warrant, and appear

To vouch for much, as witness on her side.

While thus to him her griefs Orlando showed,

The lady’s shining eyes with tears o’erflowed.

LXV

Her face was such as sometimes in the spring

We see a doubtful sky, when on the plain

A shower descends, and the sun, opening

His cloudy veil, looks out amid the rain.

And as the nightingale then loves to sing

From branch of verdant stem her dulcet strain,

So in her beauteous tears his pinions bright

Love bathes, rejoicing in the chrystal light.

LXVI

The stripling heats his golden arrow’s head

At her bright eyes, then slacks the weapon’s glow

In streams, which falls between white flowers and red;

And, the shaft tempered, strongly draws his bow,

And roves at him, o’er whom no shield is spread,

Nor iron rind, nor double mail below;

Who, gazing on her tresses, eyes, and brow,

Feels that his heart is pierced, he knows not how.

LXVII

Olympia’s beauties are of those most rare,

Nor is the forehead’s beauteous curve alone

Excellent, and her eyes and cheeks and hair,

Mouth, nose, and throat, and shoulders; but, so down

Descending from the lady’s bosom fair,

Parts which are wont to be concealed by gown,

Are such, as haply should be placed before

Whate’er this ample world contains in store.

LXVIII

In whiteness they surpassed unsullied snow,

Smooth ivory to the touch: above were seen

Two rounding paps, like new-pressed milk in show,

Fresh-taken from its crate of rushes green;

The space betwixt was like the valley low,

Which oftentimes we see small hills between,

Sweet in its season, and now such as when

Winter with snows has newly filled the glen.

LXIX

The swelling hips and haunches’ symmetry,

The waist more clear than mirror’s polished grain,

And members seem of Phidias’ turnery,

Or work of better hand and nicer pain.

As well to you of other parts should I

Relate, which she to hide desired in vain.

To sum the beauteous whole, from head to feet,

In her all loveliness is found complete.

LXX

And had she in the Idaean glen unveiled

In ancient days before the Phrygian swain,

By how much heavenly Venus had prevailed

I know not, though her rivals strove in vain.

Nor haply had the youth for Sparta sailed,

To violate the hospitable reign;

But said: “With Menelaus let Helen rest!

No other prize I seek, of this possest”;

LXXI

Or in Crotona dwelt, where the divine

Zeuxis in days of old his work projected,

To be the ornament of Juno’s shrine,

And hence so many naked dames collected;

And in one form perfection to combine,

Some separate charm from this or that selected,

He from no other model need have wrought.

Since joined in her were all the charms he sought.

LXXII

I do not think Bireno ever viewed

Naked that beauteous form; for sure it were

He never could have been so stern of mood,

As to have left her on that desert lair.

That Ireland’s king was fired I well conclude,

Nor hid the flame that he within him bare.

He strives to comfort her, and hope instill,

That future good shall end her present ill.

LXXIII

And her to Holland promises to bear,

And vows till she is to her state restored,

And just and memorable vengeance there

Achieved upon her perjured, traitor lord,

He never will unceasing war forbear,

Waged with all means that Ireland can afford;

And this with all his speed. He, up and down,

Meantime bids seek for female vest and gown.

LXXIV

Now will it need to send in search of vest

Beyond the savage island’s narrow bound,

Since thither every day in such came dressed,

Some dame, to feed the beast, from countries round.

Nor long his followers there pursued the quest,

Ere many they of various fashions found.

So was Olympia clothed; while sad of mood

Was he, not so to clothe her as he wou’d.

LXXV

But never silk so choice or gold so fine

Did the industrious Florentine prepare,

Nor whosoever broiders gay design,

Though on his task be spent time, toil, and care,

Nor Lemnos’ god, nor Pallas’ art divine,

Form raiment worthy of those limbs so fair,

That King Oberto cannot choose but he

Recalls them at each turn to memory.

LXXVI

To see that love so kindled by the dame,

On many grounds Orlando was content;

Who not alone rejoiced that such a shame

Put upon her, Bireno should repent;

But, that in the design on which he came,

He should be freed from grave impediment.

Not for Olympia thither had he made,

But, were his lady there, to lend her aid.

LXXVII

To him, that there she was not, soon was clear,

But clear it was not if she had been there,

Or no; since of those islesmen, far and near,

One was not left the tidings to declare.

The following day they from the haven steer,

And all united in one squadron fare.

The Paladin with them to Ireland hies,

From whence to France the warrior’s passage lies.

LXXVIII

Scarcely a day in Ireland’s realm he spends:

And for no prayers his purposed end forbore:

Love, that in quest of his liege-lady sends

The knight upon this track, permits no more.

Departing, he Olympia recommends

To the Irish monarch, who to serve her swore:

Although this needed not; since he was bent

More than behoved, her wishes to content:

LXXIX

So levied in few days his warlike band,

And (league with England’s kind and Scotland’s made)

In Holland and in Friesland left no land

To the false duke, so rapid was the raid.

And to rebel against that lord’s command

His Zealand stirred; nor he the war delayed,

Until by him Bireno’s blood was spilt:

A punishment that ill atoned his guilt.

LXXX

Oberto takes to wife Olympia fair,

And her of countess makes a puissant queen.

But be the Paladin again our care,

Who furrows, night and day, the billows green,

And strikes his sails in the same harbour, where

They to the wind erewhile unfurled had been

All armed, he on his Brigliadoro leaps,

And leaves behind him winds and briny deeps.

LXXXI

The remnant of the winter, he with shield

And spear achieved things worthy to be shown,

I ween; but these were then so well concealed,

It is no fault of mine they are not blown;

For good Orlando was in fighting field,

Prompter to do, than make his prowess known.

Nor e’er was bruited action of the knight,

Save when some faithful witness was in sight.

LXXXII

That winter’s remnant he so passed that feat

Of his was known not to the public ear;

But when within that animal discreet

Which Phryxus bore, the sun illumed the sphere,

And Zephyrus returning glad and sweet,

Brought back with him again the blooming year,

The wondrous deeds Orlando did in stower,

Appeared with the new grass and dainty flower.

LXXXIII

From plain to hill, from champaign flat to shore,

Oppressed with grief and pain the County fares,

When a long cry, entering a forest hoar,

— A load lamenting smites upon his ears.

He grasps his brand and spurs his courser sore,

And swiftly pricks toward the sound he hears.

But I shall at another season say

What chanced, and may be heard in future lay.

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