Orlando Furioso, by Lodovico Ariosto

Canto 36

Argument

While with the fierce Marphisa at despite

Duke Aymon’s daughter wages fierce affray,

One and the other host engage in fight.

With Bradamant Rogero wends his way.

With other war disturbs their great delight

Marphisa bold; but when that martial may

Has for her brother recognized the peer,

They end their every strife with joyous cheer.

I

Where’er they be, all hearts of gentle strain

Still cannot choose but courtesy pursue;

For they from nature and from habit gain

What they henceforth can never more undo.

Alike the heart that is of churlish vein,

Where’er it be, its evil kind will shew.

Nature inclines to ill, through all her range,

And use is second nature, hard to change.

II

Among the warriors of antiquity

Much gentleness and courtesy appear,

Virtues but seldom seen with us; while we

Of evil ways, on all sides, see and hear.

Hippolytus, when you, with ensignry

Won from the foe, and with his captive gear

Adorned our temples; and his galleys bore,

Laden with prey, to your paternal shore;

III

All the inhuman deeds which wrought by hand

Of Moor, or Turk, or Tartar ever were,

(Yet not by the Venetians’ ill command,

That evermore the praise of justice bear,)

Were practised by that foul and evil band

Of soldiers, who their mercenaries are.

Of those so many fires not now I tell

Which on our farms and pleasant places fell.

IV

Though a foul vengeance in that blow was meant

Mainly at you, who being at Caesar’s side,

When Padua by his leaguering host was pent,

’Twas known, that oft, through you, was turned aside

More than one ravening flame, and oft was spent

The fire, in fane and village blazing wide:

What time the destined mischief ye withstood,

As to your inborn courtesy seemed good.

V

This will I pass, nor their so many more

Discourteous and despiteous doings tell,

Save one alone, whereat from rock-stone hoar

Whene’er the tale is told warm tears might well.

That day you sent your family before,

Thither, my lord, where, under omens fell,

Your foes into a well protected seat,

Abandoning their barks, had made retreat.

VI

As Hector and Aeneas, mid the flood,

Fire to the banded fleet of Greece applied,

I Hercules and Alexander viewed,

Urged by too sovereign ardour, side by side,

Spurring before all others in their mood,

Even within the hostile ramparts ride;

And prick so far, the second ‘scaped with pain,

And on the foremost closed the opposing train.

VII

Feruffine ‘scaped, the good Cantelmo left,

What counsel, Sora’s duke, was thine, what heart,

When thy bold son thou saw’st, of helm bereft,

Amid a thousand swords, when — dragged apart —

Thou saw’st his young head from his shoulders cleft,

A shipboard, on a plank? I, on my part,

Marvel, that seeing but the murder done,

Slew thee not, as the faulchion slew thy son.

VIII

Cruel Sclavonian! say, whence hast thou brought

Thy ways of warfare? By what Scythian rite

To slay the helpless prisoner is it taught,

Who yields his arms, nor fends himself in fight?

Was it a crime he for his country fought?

Ill upon thee the sun bestows his light.

Remorseless aera, which hast filled the page

With Atreus’, Tantalus’, Thyestes’ rage!

IX

Barbarian! thou madest shorter by the head

The boldest of his age, on whom did beam

The sun ‘twixt pole and pole, ‘twixt Indus’ bed

And where he sinks in Ocean’s western stream;

Whose years and beauty might have pity bred

In Anthropophagus, in Polypheme;

Not thee; that art in wickedness outdone

By any Cyclops, any Lestrigon.

X

I ween, mid warriors in the days of yore,

No such example was; they all, in field,

Were full of gentleness and courteous lore,

Nor against conquered foe their bosom steeled.

Not only gentle Bradamant forbore

To harm the knights whom, smitten on the shield,

Her lance unhorsed; but for the vanquished crew

Detained their steeds, that they might mount anew.

XI

I of that lady fair, of mickle might,

Told you above, how she had overthrown

Serpentine of the Star in single fight,

Grandonio and Ferrau, and then upon

Their coursers had replaced each baffled knight.

I told moreover how the third was gone

Rogero to defy to the career,

Upon her call, who seemed a cavalier.

XII

Rogero heard the call in joyous vein,

And bade his arms be brought; now while in view

Of Agramant he donned the plate and chain,

Those lords the former question moved anew;

Who was the knight, that on the martial plain

The manage of the lance so quaintly knew?

And of Ferrau, who spake with him whilere,

Craved, if to him was known that cavalier.

XIII

“Be ye assured,” to them Ferrau replied,

“He is not one of those I hear you cite

To me (for I his open face descried).

Rinaldo’s youthful brother seemed the knight.

But since his doughty valour I have tried,

And wot not such is Richardetto’s might,

I ween it is his sister, who, I hear,

Resembles much in mien that martial peer.

XIV

“The damsel equals well, so Rumour tells,

Rinaldo, and every paladin in fray.

But brother she and cousin both excels,

Measured by that which I have seen today.”

Hearing him, while upon her praise he dwells,

As the sky reddens with the morning ray,

Rogero’s face is flushed with crimson hue,

And his heart throbs, nor knows he what to do.

XV

Stung, at these tidings, by the amorous dart —

Within, new fire inflames the cavalier;

And strait, together with the burning smart,

Shoots through his bones a chill, produced by fear;

Fear, that new wrath had stifled in her heart

That mighty love, wherewith she burned whilere.

Confused he stands, irresolute and slow,

And undecided if to stay or go.

XVI

Now fierce Marphisa, who was there, and prest

By huge desire to meet the stranger wight,

And armed withal (for, save in iron vest,

Her seldom would you find by day or night).

Hearing Rogero is in armour drest,

Fearing to lose the honour of the fight,

If first that champion with the stranger vies;

Thinks to prevent the youth and win the prize.

XVII

She leapt upon her horse, and thither hied

Where Aymon’s daughter on the listed plain,

With palpitating heart, upon her side,

Waited Rogero; whom the damsel fain

Would make her prisoner, and but schemed to guide

Her lance in mode the stripling least to pain.

Marphisa from the city portal fares,

And on her gallant helm a phoenix wears.

XVIII

Whether the maid would publish, in her pride,

That she was single in the world, for might;

Or whether by that symbol signified,

That she would live, exempt from bridal rite.

Her closely Aymon’s martial daughter eyed;

When seeing not those features, her delight,

She craves the damsel’s name before they move,

And hears that it is she who joys her love:

XIX

Or rather she, that gentle lady thought,

Had joyed her love; and whom she hated so,

Her to Death’s door her anger would have brought,

Unless she venged her sorrow on the foe.

She wheeled her courser round, with fury fraught,

Less with desire to lay her rival low,

Than with the lance to pierce her in mid breast,

And put her every jealousy at rest.

XX

Parforce to ground must go the royal maid,

To prove it hard or soft the listed plain,

And be with such unwonted scorn appaid,

That she is nearly maddened by disdain.

Scarce was she thrown, before her trenchant blade

She bared, and hurried to avenge the stain.

Cried Aymon’s daughter, no less proud of heart,

“What art thou doing? Thou my prisoner art.”

XXI

“Though I have courtesy for others, none”

(She said) “from me, Marphisa, shalt thou find.

Since evermore I hear of thee, as one

To pride and every churlishness inclined.”

Marphisa, at these words, was heard to groan,

As roars in some sea-rock the prisoned wind.

She screamed an answer; but its sense was drowned

(Such rage confused that damsel) in the sound.

XXII

She whirls this while her faulchion, and would fain

Wound horse or rider in the paunch or breast;

But Aymon’s watchful daughter turns the rein;

And on one side her courser leaps; possest

With furious anger and with fierce disdain,

She at her opposite her lance addrest;

And hardly touched the damsel, ere, astound,

Marphisa fell, reversed upon the ground.

XXIII

Scarce down, Marphisa started from the plain,

Intent fell mischief with her sword to do,

Bradamant couched her golden spear again,

And yet again the damsel overthrew.

Yet Bradamant, though blest with might and main,

Was not so much the stronger of the two

As to have flung the maid in every just,

But that such power was in the lance’s thrust.

XXIV

This while some knights (some knights upon our side,

I say) forth issuing from the city, go

Towards the field of strife, which did divide

The squadrons, here and there, of either foe

— Not half a league of one another wide —

Seeing their knight such mighty prowess show;

Their knight, but whom no otherwise they knew

Than as a warrior of the Christian crew.

XXV

Troyano’s generous son, who had espied

This band approaching to the city-wall,

For due defence would every means provide,

And every peril, every case forestall:

And orders many to take arms, who ride

Forth from the ramparts, at the monarch’s call.

With them Rogero goes, in armour cased,

Balked of the battle by Marphisa’s haste.

XXVI

The enamoured youth, with beating heart, intent,

Stood by, the issue of the just to view.

For his dear cousin fearing the event,

In that he well Marphisa’s valour knew;

— At the beginning I would say — when, bent

On mischief, fiercely closed the furious two:

But when that duel’s turn the stripling eyes,

He stands amazed and stupid with surprize;

XXVII

And when he saw unfinished was the fight,

At the first onset, like the justs whilere,

Misdoubting some strange accident, in sprite,

Sore vexed, this while remained the cavalier.

To either maid wished well that youthful knight;

For both were loved, but not alike were dear.

For this the stripling’s love was fury, fire;

For that ’twas rather fondness than desire.

XXVIII

If so Rogero could with honour do,

He willingly the warriors would divide;

But his companions, in the fear to view

Victory with King Charles’s knight abide,

Esteeming him the better of the two,

Break in between and turn their arms aside;

Upon the other part, the Christian foes

Advance, and both divisions come to blows.

XXIX

On this side and that other, rings the alarm,

Which in those camps is sounded every day,

Bidding the unmounted mount, the unarmed arm,

And all their standards seek, without delay,

Where, under separate flags, the squadrons swarm,

More than one shrilling trump is heard to bray;

And as their rattling notes the riders call,

Rousing the foot, beat drum and ataball.

XXX

As fierce as thought could think, ‘twixt either host

Kindled the fell and sanguinary fray.

The daring damsel, fair Dordona’s boast,

Sore vexed and troubled, that in the affray

She cannot compass what she covets most,

— Marphisa with avenging steel to slay, —

Now here, not there, amid the medley flies,

Hoping to see the youth for whom she sighs.

XXXI

By the eagle argent on the shield of blue

She recognized Rogero, mid the rest.

With eyes and thought intent, she stops to view

The warrior’s manly shoulders and his breast,

Fair face and movements full of graceful shew;

And then the maid, with mickle spite possest,

Thinking another joys the stripling’s love,

Thus speaks, as sovereign rage and fury move.

XXXII

“Shall then another kiss those lips so bright

And sweet, if those fair lips are lost to me?

Ah! never other shall in thee delight;

For it not mine, no other’s shalt thou be.

Rather than die alone and of despite,

I with this hand will slay myself and thee,

That if I lose thee here, at least in hell

With thee I to eternity may dwell.

XXXIII

“If thou slay’st me, there is good reason, I

The comfort too of vengeance should obtain;

In that all edicts and all equity

The death of him that causes death ordain;

Nor, since you justly, I unjustly, die,

Deem I that thine is equal to my pain.

I him who seeks my life, alas! shall spill,

Thou her that loves and worships thee wouldst kill.

XXXIV

“My hand, why hast thou not the hardiment

To rive with steel the bosom of my foe,

That me so many times to death has shent,

Under the faith of love, in peaceful show;

Him, who to take my life can now consent,

Nor even have pity of my cruel woe?

Dare, valiant heart, this impious man to slay,

And let his death my thousand deaths appay!”

XXXV

So said, she spurred at him amid the throng;

But, first — “Defend thee, false Rogero!” — cried.

“No more, if I have power, in spoil and wrong,

Done to a virgin heart, shalt thou take pride.”

Hearing that voice the hostile ranks among,

He deems — and truly deems — he hears his bride;

Whose voice the youth remembers in such wise,

That mid a thousand would he recognize.

XXXVI

Her further meaning well did he divine,

Weening that him she in that speech would blame,

For having broke their pact; and — with design,

The occasion of his failure to proclaim, —

Of his desire for parley made a sign:

But she, with vizor closed, already came,

Raging and grieved, intent, with vengeful hand,

To fling the youth; nor haply upon sand.

XXXVII

Rogero, when he saw her so offended,

Fixed himself firmly in his arms and seat,

He rests his lance, but holds the stave suspended,

So that it shall not harm her when they meet,

She that to smite and pierce the Child intended,

Pitiless, and inflamed with furious heat,

Has not the courage, when she sees him near,

To fling, or do him outrage with the spear.

XXXVIII

Void of effect, ’tis thus their lances go;

And it is well; since Love with burning dart,

Tilting this while at one and the other foe,

Has lanced the enamoured warriors in mid-heart.

Unable at the Child to aim her blow,

The lady spent her rage in other part,

And mighty deeds achieved, which fame will earn,

While overhead the circling heavens shall turn.

XXXIX

Above three hundred men in that affray

In little space by her dismounted lie,

Alone that warlike damsel wins the day;

From her alone the Moorish people fly.

To her Rogero, circling, threads his way,

And says: “Unless I speak with you I die.

Hear me, for love of heaven! — what done I done,

Alas! that ever mine approach ye shun?”

XL

As when soft southern breezes are unpent,

Which with a tepid breath from seaward blow,

The snows dissolve, and torrents find a vent,

And ice, so hard erewhile, is seen to flow;

At those entreaties, at that brief lament,

Rinaldo’s sister’s heart is softened so;

Forthwith compassionate and pious grown;

Which anger fain had made more hard than stone.

XLI

Would she not, could she not, she nought replied,

But spurred aslant the ready Rabicane,

And, signing to Rogero, rode as wide

As she could wend from that embattled train;

Then to a sheltered valley turned aside,

Wherein embosomed was a little plain.

In the mid lawn a wood of cypress grew,

Whose saplings of one stamp appeared to view.

XLII

Within that thicket, of white marble wrought,

Is a proud monument, and newly made;

And he that makes enquiry, here is taught

In few brief verses who therein is laid.

But of those lines, methinks, took little thought,

Fair Bradamant, arriving in that glade.

Rogero spurred his courser, and pursued

And overtook that damsel in the wood.

XLIII

But turn we to Marphisa, that anew

During this space was seated on her steed,

And sought again the valiant champion, who

At the first onset cast her on the mead;

And saw, how from the mingling host withdrew

Rogero, after that strange knight to speed;

Nor deemed the youth pursued in love; she thought

He but to end their strife and quarrel sought.

XLIV

She pricks her horse behind the two, and gains,

Well nigh as soon as they, that valley; how

Her coming thither either lover pains,

Who lives and loves, untaught by me, may know:

But sorest vext sad Bradamant remains;

Beholding her whence all her sorrows flow.

Who shall persuade the damsel but that love

For young Rogero brings her to that grove?

XLV

And him perfidious she anew did name.

— “Perfidious, was it not enough (she said)

That I should know thy perfidy from fame,

But must the witness of thy guilt be made?

I wot, to drive me from thee is thine aim;

And I, that thy desires may be appaid,

Will die; but strive, in yielding up my breath,

She too shall die, the occasion of my death.”

XLVI

Angrier than venomed viper, with a bound,

So saying, she upon Marphisa flies;

And plants so well the spear, that she, astound,

Fell backward on the champaigne in such guise,

Nigh half her helm was buried in the ground:

Nor was the damsel taken by surprise:

Nay, did her best the encounter to withstand;

Yet with her helmed head she smote the sand.

XLVII

Bradamant who will die, or in that just

Will put to death Marphisa, rages so,

She has no mind again with lance to thrust,

Again that martial maid to overthrow:

But thinks her head to sever from the bust,

Where it half buried lies, with murderous blow:

Away the enchanted lance that damsel flings,

Unsheathes the sword, and from her courser springs.

XLVIII

But is too slow withal; for on her feet

She finds Marphisa, with such fierce disdain

Inflamed, at being in that second heat

So easily reversed upon the plain,

She hears in vain exclaim, in vain entreat,

Rogero, who beholds their strife with pain.

So blinded are the pair with spite and rage,

That they with desperate fury battle wage.

XLIX

At half-sword’s engage the struggling foes;

And — such their stubborn mood — with shortened brand

They still approach, and now so fiercely close,

They cannot choose but grapple, hand to hand.

Her sword, no longer needful, each foregoes;

And either now new means of mischief planned.

Rogero both implores with earnest suit:

But supplicates the twain with little fruit.

L

When he entreaties unavailing found,

The youth prepared by force to part the two;

Their poniards snatched away, and on the ground,

Beneath a cypress-tree, the daggers threw.

When they no weapons have wherewith to wound,

With prayer and threat, he interferes anew:

But vainly; for, since better weapons lack,

Each other they with fists and feet attack.

LI

Rogero ceased not from his task; he caught,

By hand or arm, the fiercely struggling pair,

Till to the utmost pitch of fury wrought

The fell Marphisa’s angry passions were.

She, that this ample world esteemed at nought,

Of the Child’s friendship had no further care.

Plucked from the foe, she ran to seize her sword,

And fastened next upon that youthful lord.

LII

“Like a discourteous man and churl ye do,

Rogero, to disturb another’s fight;

A deed (she cried) this hand shall make ye rue,

Which I intend, shall vanquished both.” The knight

Sought fierce Marphisa’s fury to subdue

With gentle speech; but full of such despite

He found her, and inflamed with such disdain,

All parley was a waste of time and pain.

LIII

At last his faulchion young Rogero drew;

For ire as well had flushed that cavalier:

Nor is it my belief, that ever shew

Athens or Rome, or city whatsoe’er

Witnessed, which ever so rejoiced the view,

As this rejoices, as this sight is dear

To Bradamant, when, through their strife displaced,

Every suspicion from her breast is chased.

LIV

Bradamant took her sword, and to descry

The duel of those champions stood apart.

The god of war, descended from the sky,

She deemed Rogero, for his strength and art:

If he seemed Mars, Marphisa to the eye

Seemed an infernal Fury, on her part.

’Tis true, that for a while the youthful knight

Against that damsel put not forth his might.

LV

He knew the virtues of that weapon well,

Such proof thereof the knight erewhile had made.

Where’er it falls parforce is every spell

Annulled, or by its stronger virtue stayed.

Hence so Rogero smote, it never fell

Upon its edge or point, but still the blade

Descended flat: he long this rule observes;

Yet once he from his patient purpose swerves.

LVI

In that, a mighty stroke Marphisa sped,

Meaning to cleave the brainpan of her foe:

He raised the buckler to defend his head,

And the sword smote upon its bird of snow,

Nor broke nor bruised the shield, by spell bested;

But his arm rang astounded by the blow;

Nor aught but Hector’s mail the sword had stopt,

Whose furious blow would his left arm have lopt;

LVII

And had upon his head descended shear,

Whereat designed to strike the savage fair.

Scarce his left arm can good Rogero rear;

Can scarce the shield and blazoned bird upbear.

All pity he casts off, and ‘twould appear

As in his eyes a lighted torch did glare.

As hard as he can smite, he smites; and woe

To thee, Marphisa, if he plants the blow!

LVIII

I cannot tell you truly in what wise,

That faulchion swerves against a cypress-stock,

In such close-serried ranks the saplings rise,

Buried above a palm within the block.

As this the mountain and the plain that lies

Beneath it, with a furious earthquake rock;

And from that marble monument proceeds

A voice, that every mortal voice exceeds.

LIX

The horrid voice exclaims, “Your quarrel leave;

For ’twere a deed unjust and inhumane,

That brother should of life his sister reave,

Or sister by her brother’s hand be slain.

Rogero and Marphisa mine, believe!

The tale which I deliver is not vain.

Seed of one father, on one womb ye lay;

And first together saw the light of day.

LX

“Galaciella’s children are ye, whom

She to Rogero, hight the second, bare.

Whose brothers, having, by unrighteous doom,

Of your unhappy sire deprived that fair,

Not heeding that she carried in her womb

Ye, who yet suckers of their lineage are,

Her in a rotten carcase of a boat,

To founder in mid ocean, set afloat.

LXI

“But Fortune, that had destined you whilere,

And yet unborn, to many a fair emprize,

Your mother to that lonely shore did steer,

Which overright the sandy Syrtes lies.

Where, having given you birth, that spirit dear

Forthwith ascended into Paradise.

A witness of the piteous case was I,

So Heaven had willed, and such your destiny!

LXII

“I to the dame as descent burial gave

As could be given upon that desert sand.

Ye, well enveloped in my vest, I save,

And bear to Mount Carena from the strand;

And make a lioness leave whelps and cave,

And issue from the wood, with semblance bland.

Ye, twice ten months, with mickle fondness bred,

And from her paps the milky mother fed.

LXIII

“Needing to quit my home upon a day,

And journey through the country, (as you can

Haply remember by an Arab clan.

Those robbers thee, Marphisa, bore away:

While young Rogero ‘scaped, who better ran.

Bereaved of thee, they woful loss I wept,

And with more watchful care thy brother kept.

LXIV

“Rogero, if Atlantes watched thee well,

While yet he was alive, thou best dost know.

I the fixed stars had heard of thee foretell,

That thou shouldst perish by a treacherous foe

In Christian land; and still their influence fell

Was ended, laboured to avert the blow;

Nor having power in fine thy will to guide,

I sickened sore, and of my sorrow died.

LXV

“But here, before my death, for in this glade

I knew thou should’st with bold Marphisa fight,

I with huge stones, amassed by hellish aid,

Had this fair monument of marble dight;

And I to Charon with loud outcries said;

I would not he should hence convey my sprite,

Till here, prepared in deadly fray to strive,

Rogero and his sister should arrive.

LXVI

“Thus has my spirit for this many a day

Waited thy coming in these beauteous groves;

So be no more to jealous fears a prey,

O Bradamant, because Rogero loves.

But me to quit the cheerful realms of day,

And seek the darksome cloisters it behoves.”

Here ceased the voice; which in the Child amazed

And those two damsels mighty marvel raised.

LXVII

Gladly a sister in the martial queen

Rogero, she in him a brother knows;

Who now embrace, nor move her jealous spleen,

That with the love of young Rogero glows;

And citing what, and when, and where had been

Their childish deeds, as they to memory rose,

In summing up past times, more sure they hold

The things whereof the wizard’s spirit told.

LXVIII

Rogero from Marphisa does not hide,

How Bradamant to him at heart is dear;

And by what obligations he is tied

In moving words relates the cavalier;

Nor ceases till he has, on either side,

Turned to firm love the hate they bore whilere.

When, as a sign of peace, and discord chased,

They, at his bidding, tenderly embraced.

LXIX

Marphisa to Rogero makes request

To say what sire was theirs, and what their strain;

And how he died; by banded foes opprest,

Or at close barriers, was the warrior slain?

And who it was had issued the behest

To drown their mother in the stormy main?

For of the tale, if ever heard before,

Little or nothing she in memory bore.

LXX

“Of Trojan ancestors are we the seed,

Through famous Hector’s line,” (Rogero said,)

“For after young Astyanax was freed,

From fierce Ulysses and the toils he spread,

Leaving another stripling in his stead,

Of his own age, he out of Phrygia fled.

Who, after long and wide sea-wandering, gained

Sicily’s shore, and in Messina reigned.

LXXI

“Part of Calabria within Faro held

The warrior’s heirs, who after a long run

Of successors, departed thence and dwelled

In Mars’ imperial city: more than one

Famed king and emperor, who that list have swelled,

In Rome and other part has filled the throne;

And from Constantius and good Constantine,

Stretched to the son of Pepin, is their line.

LXXII

“Rogero, Gambaron, Buovo hence succeed;

And that Rogero, second of the name,

Who filled our fruitful mother with his seed;

As thou Atlantes may’st have heard proclaim.

Of our fair lineage many a noble deed

Shalt thou hear blazed abroad by sounding Fame.”

Of Agolant’s inroad next the stripling told,

With Agramant and with Almontes bold;

LXXIII

And how a lovely daughter, who excelled

In feats of arms, that king accompanied;

So stout she many paladins had quelled;

And how, in fine, she for Rogero sighed;

And for his love against her sire rebelled;

And was baptized, and was Rogero’s bride;

And how a traitor loved (him Bertram name)

His brother’s wife with an incestuous flame;

LXXIV

And country, sire, and brethren two betrayed,

Hoping he so the lady should have won;

How Risa open to the foe he laid,

By whom all scathe was on those kinsmen done;

How Agolant’s two furious sons conveyed

Their mother, great with child, and six months gone,

Aboard a helmless boat, and with its charge,

In wildest winter, turned adrift the barge.

LXXV

Valiant Marphisa, with a tranquil face,

Heard young Rogero thus his tale pursue,

And joyed to be descended of a race

Which from so fair a font its waters drew:

Whence Clermont, whence renowned Mongrana trace

Their noble line, the martial damsel knew;

Blazoned through years and centuries by Fame,

Unrivalled, both, in arms of mighty name.

LXXVI

When afterwards she from her brother knew

Agramant’s uncle, sire, and grandsire fell,

In treacherous wise, the first Rogero slew

And brought to cruel pass Galacielle,

Marphisa could not hear the story through:

To him she cries, “With pardon, what you tell,

Brother, convicts you of too foul a wrong,

In leaving thus our sire unvenged so long.

LXXVII

“Could’st thou not in Almontes and Troyane,

As dead whilere, your thirsty faulchion plant,

By you those monarch’s children might be slain.

Are you alive, and lives King Agramant?

Never will you efface the shameful stain,

That ye, so often wronged, not only grant

Life to that king, but as your lord obey;

Lodge in his court, and serve him for his pay?

LXXVIII

“Here heartily in face of Heaven I vow,

That Christ my father worshipped, to adore;

And till I venge my parents on the foe

To wear this armour, and I will deplore

Your deed, Rogero, and deplore even now,

That you should swell the squadrons of the Moor,

Or other follower of the Moslem faith,

Save sword in hand, and to the paynim’s scathe.”

LXXIX

Ah! how fair Bradamant uplifts again

Her visage at that speech, rejoiced in sprite!

Rogero she exhorts in earnest vein

To do as his Marphisa counsels right;

And bids him seek the camp of Charlemagne,

And have himself acknowledged in his sight,

Who so reveres and lauds his father’s worth,

He even deems him one unmatched on earth.

LXXX

In the beginning so he should have done,

(Warily young Rogero answer made,)

But, for the tale was not so fully known,

As since, the deed had been too long delaid.

Now, seeing it was fierce Troyano’s son

That had begirt him with the knightly blade,

He, as a traitor, well might be abhorred,

If he slew one, accepted as his lord.

LXXXI

But, as to Bradamant whilere, he cries,

He will all measures and all means assay,

Whereby some fair occasion may arise

To leave the king; and had there been delay,

And he whilere had done in otherwise,

She on the Tartar king the fault must lay:

How sorely handled that redoubted foe

Had left him in their battle, she must know;

LXXXII

And she, that every day had sought his bed,

Must of this truth the fittest witness be.

Much upon this was answered, much was said,

Between those damsels, who at last agree;

And as their last resolve, last counsel read,

He should rejoin the paynim’s ensignry,

Till he found fair occasion to resort

From Agramant’s to Charles’s royal court.

LXXXIII

To Bradamant the bold Marphisa cries:

“Let him begone, nor doubt am I, before

Many days pass, will manage in such wise,

That Agramant shall be his lord no more.”

So says the martial damsel, nor implies

The secret purpose which she has in store.

Making his congees to the friendly twain,

To join his king Rogero turns the rein.

LXXXIV

When a complaint is heard from valley near:

All now stand listening, to the noise attent;

And to that plaintive voice incline their ear,

A woman’s (as ‘twould seem) that makes lament.

But I this strain would gladly finish here,

And, that I finish it, be ye content:

For better things I promise to report,

If ye to hear another strain resort.

c36-tail

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