Agramant, king of Africa, assembles his council for advice respecting an intended invasion of France, and is exhorted to seek out Rogero, as necessary to the success of his enterprise. Rinaido, with Astolpho, Iroldo and Prasildo, leaves the camp before Albracca, in search of Orlando, with whom he is impatient to terminate his quarrel. On his way, he falls in with a damsel, in whose behalf he combats with an enchanted man, who plunges with him into a lake, in which they both disappear. Agramant, in the meantime, is unable to find Rogero, and Rodomont of Sarza, one of his vassal kings, determines to undertake the expedition alone. Orlando, who had been dispatched by Angelica on a perilous quest, achieves this and other adventures. She is in the meantime robbed of her magic ring by Brunello, who steals his horse from Sacripant, and her sword from Marphisa. Rodomont, who threatened to invade France alone, embarks for that country in a storm, and makes good his descent. Orlando now falls in with the enchanted man, who had regained the shore after leaving Rinaido below the waves, and a long combat ensues between them on land and under water. Orlando at length vanquishes him, and makes the conquest of Morgana’s garden, of which he was the champion. From this Orlando delivers all her prisoners, except Ziliantes, son of Monodontes, her minion; and more especially Rinaldo, to whom he is reconciled. The Christian knights delivered, excepting Orlando, depart to the succour of Charlemagne; but Rinaldo, with his friends, soon falls into a new snare. Orlando, accompanied by Brandimart, returns towards Angelica, in Albracca; but, by the way, encounters Brunello, pursued by Marphisa, and is himself plundered by the fugitive of his sabre and his horn. He is afterwards entrapped by the same spell as the others, and carried prisoner to Damogir, in the empire of Monodontes. This adventure leads to the discovery, that Brandimart is the eldest son of Monodontes; for whom his younger son, Ziliantes, is also recovered by Orlando, who a second time makes himself master of Morgana. Rinaldo, Astolpho, and the rest, again delivered from prison by him, pursue their way to France; but Astolpho is seduced from his companions by the devices of Alcina. Rinaldo and Rodomont meet in battle in France; but are separated. The invasion of this country is to be attempted by a yet more formidable force than that of Rodomont; for Agramant, having received from Brunello the booty he had made, discovers, by help of the magic ring, the abode of Rogero, and allures him into his service. Orlando, with Angelica, whose covert object is the pursuit of Rinaldo, takes his way to France: she, drinking, however, of the fountain of Disdain, while Rinaldo now drinks of the fountain of Love in the forest of Arden, the two exchange passions; he becomes her lover, and she now mortally detests him, who is involved by his present pursuit of her in a desperate duel with Orlando. Charlemagne, to end the strife, gives Angelica in charge to Namus, duke of Bavaria. Agramant having this while landed in France, pursues the war with various success. The main actions are, as in the first book, diversified with a great variety of episodes.
THE theme, announced as I before stated, begins with the threatened invasion of France; to consult on which, Agramant calls a council of his tributary kings. Here Sobrino strongly opposes the measure; but finding his opposition useless, observes that the only thing which can render it effectual, will be to get possession of Rogero, a youth who is the cousin of Agramant by the mother’s side, and now detained a prisoner by the African, Atlantes, on the mountain of Carena. This advice is better listened to than the former, and the council breaks up after it has been adopted, and the king has commanded a search to be prosecuted for him, on whose presence so much appears to depend.
The scene now again shifts to Albracca, from before the walls of which, still besieged by Marphisa, Rinaldo departs in pursuit of his new enemy, Orlando, accompanied by Astolpho, Iroldo, and Prasildo.
Astolpho was at the head of this party when they fell in with a weeping damsel, who, being questioned as to her cause of sorrow, related that, on lately crossing a neighbouring bridge, a wretch had issued from a tower which commanded it, and seized upon her sister that accompanied her, whom he made prisoner, and whipt bitterly; having first stript her, and tied her naked to a cypress. Astolpho immediately places the weeping sister behind him on his horse, and all proceed together to effect the deliverance of the damsel.
The damsel, bridge, tower, and scourging warder are soon descried. Iroldo and Prasildo first encounter the oppressor, but are successively defeated; and the ruffian casts their bodies into a lake, into which the river, bestrid by the bridge, disembogues itself. Rinaldo now attacks him with as little success, and is beat down with an iron mace; but when the conqueror attempts to dispose of him like the others, he makes such violent efforts to free himself, that the savage, being unable to throw him, springs with him into the lake; where they both disappear.
Astolpho remains a long time in affliction upon the banks, but is at last persuaded by the two damsels (for one sister had in the meantime freed the other) to depart.
He accordingly mounts Bayardo, gives Rabican to one of the damsels, and one of the Babylonian knights’ horses to the other; and they both, thus mounted, go forth under his guidance.
At this tune, Brandimart (who, it may be remembered, was in Albracca) hearing of Orlando’s departure, determines to pursue him.
The same resolution is taken by Gryphon and Aquilant; and these, arriving at the shore, find a castle situated upon the beach, with an open gallery towards the sea. In this, damsels are dancing; and the brothers are informed by two maids, who are passing with hawks upon their fists, that it is their usage to detain every passenger; who is obliged to join in their dance, and to pass a night under their roof.
The brothers consent to submit to this joyous usage, but have soon reason to repent their complaisance. They soon see a damsel approaching upon Brigliadoro, which she had stolen from Orlando, as was told in the former book, and who, being interrogated as to the manner hi which she had become mistress of him, said that he was the horse of a knight (describing his ensigns as those of Orlando) whom she had found dead upon a plain, with the body of a giant by his side.
The two brothers are much distressed by this falsehood, which leaves them little inclination to enjoy the festivities of the castle, in which they had been compelled to join.
To add to their misfortune, they are surprised the ensuing night in their beds; and, having been detained for some days in chains, are, together with the damsel, who had also arrived mounted on Brigliadoro, led forth for execution. As they are however conducting to the place of punishment, a stranger knight is seen approaching; but here the author breaks off, and carries his readers back to the war before Albracca.
Marphisa had now encountered and worsted every one of the defenders of Angelica, in an attack which they made upon her camp, when she was assailed by Sacripant, who had hitherto been confined to the fortress from the effects of a former wound.
A desperate combat ensues, in which the Circassian is much assisted by the speed and docility of his horse Frontilatte. In the heat of this a courier brings him news of the invasion of his kingdom by Mandricardo, the. son of Agricaiu As he and Marphisa, however, cannot agree upon the conditions of a truce, this occasions but a short interruption of the duel; which is at last only broken off by the author, that he may give some account of the search made for Rogero, in consequence of what was determined at the council of Agramant.
The emissary of the king returns, reporting the inutility of his journey, made through the mountain of Carena, and Rodomont, enraged at the delay, sets out with his own forces for the invasion of France. In the mean time Agramant is assured that Rogero is upon Mount Carena; though the garden, where he is confined, is invisible; and that the possession of Angelica’s ring would enable him to succeed in his enterprise.
Agramant now promises a kingdom to whoever shall obtain for him this prize, and the theft is confidently promised by a dwarf, who is entitled Brunello.
This while, Orlando, robbed by the damsel of Brigliadoro, was plodding upon his way a-foot: when he one day fell in with an escort of armed men, leading two knights as prisoners, whom he immediately recognized for Gryphon and Aquilant, and the damsel who had carried off his courser.
The escort was, it seems, carrying off these to be devoured by the serpent of the garden of Orgagna; but Orlando immediately routs the guard, and sets the prisoners at liberty.
He has scarcely looked the damsel in the face, when he forgets the wrongs he has received; and Gryphon, who had exchanged hearts with her, almost at sight, is yet more fascinated by her graces. Orlando observing this, under some pretence sends the two brothers away, that he may keep her to himself; and sitting down by her on the grass, begins to woo her with such courtesy as he can.
While he is thus engaged, another damsel approaches on a white palfrey, who warns Orlando of impending danger, and informs him he is close to the garden of Orgagna. Orlando is delighted at the intelligence, and entreats her to inform him how he is to procure admittance.
She promises him full instructions; and, as the first of these, tells him he must keep himself chaste for three days, previous to attempting the adventure, if he would preserve himself from being devoured by the dragon, who guards the gate. She then says she will give him a book, in which he will find painted the garden and all it contains, together with the palace of the false enchantress, which she had only entered the day before, for the purpose of executing a magic work in which she was engaged.
This, which was the manufacture of a sword, capable of cutting through even enchanted substances, she only pursued on moonless nights.
The object of this labour was the destruction of a knight of the west, hight Orlando; who, she had read in the book of Fate, was destined to demolish her garden. To this, the damsel adds, that the garden can only be entered at sunrise; and, having presented him with a book of instructions, departs.
Orlando, who finds he must delay his enterprize till the next morning, now lies down, and is soon asleep. In the mean time, Origilla, who was still with him, meditated her escape, in order to rejoin Gryphon; and yielding to the impulse of her evil nature, was about to slay Orlando with his own sword, which she had drawn for the purpose. Afraid, however, to execute her design, she mounts Brigliadoro, and gallops off, carrying away Durindana.
Orlando wakes, in such indignation as may be supposed, on the discovery of the theft; but, like a good knight and true, is not to be diverted from his enterprise. He tears off a huge branch of elm to supply the place of his sword, and, the sun rising, takes his way towards the eastern gate, where the dragon was on his watch.
This he slays by repeated blows upon the spine; but finds that the wall of the enchanted garden, which he had entered, was closed upon him. Looking round him, he saw a fair fountain of water, which overflowed into a river, and in the centre of the fountain was a figure, on whose forehead was written,
“The stream which waters violet and rose,
From hence to the enchanted palace flows.”
Following the banks of this flowery stream, and rapt in the delights of the delicious garden, Orlando arrives at the palace, and entering it, finds the mistress, clad in white, and with a crown of gold upon her head, in the act of viewing herself in the surface of the fatal sword.
He surprises her before she can escape, deprives her of the weapon, and holding her fast by her long hair, which floated behind, threatens her with immediate death if she does not instruct him in the means of retreat.
Falerina, however, was firm of purpose, and refused. Hence Orlando, being unable to move her either by threats or kindness, was under the necessity of binding her to a beech. Having thus secured his prisoner, he renewed his questions, but she still refused to point out the gate of the garden.
He now bethinks him of his book, and consulting it, finds there is an entrance to the south but that it is watched by a bull, with one horn of iron, and another of flame.
Moreover, before arriving at this, there is another impediment: a lake is to be passed, pregnant with new danger; but to provide against this, he is instructed by his book. According to its directions,
He, still his path pursuing, gathers posies
Of flowers, which every where about him spring,
And filling well his casque and ears with roses,
Lists if he hears the birds in green-wood sing:
He sees the gaping beak, the swelling throat,
And ruffled plumes, but cannot catch a note.
Having thus proved the force of his defence, he proceeds towards the lake, which was small but deep; and so clear and tranquil, that the eye could penetrate to the bottom.
He is no sooner arrived upon the banks, than the waters are seen to gurgle; and a syren, rising midway out of the pool, sings so sweetly, that birds and beasts troop to the water-side, attracted by her song. Of this the count hears nothing; but feigning to yield to the charm, sinks down beside the water; from which the syren issues with the intent to accomplish his destruction. Orlando, however, seizes her by the hair, and, while singing yet louder (song being her only defence), cuts off her head, and (so instructed by the book) stains himself all over with her blood.
Having done this as a protection against the horns of the bull, and taken the roses from his helmet and ears, he proceeds towards the southern gate.
Here he is encountered by the bull, whose horn of iron he severs at a stroke. His horn of flame was however yet left, and by this Orlando, but for the virtue of the syren’s blood, would have been consumed. Guarded by this, he pursues his advantage, and at last slaughters his enemy. The bull is, however, no sooner slain, than the gate, of which he is the guardian, disappears, the wall closes, and Orlando again finds himself a prisoner, without the means of escape.
Again resorting to his book, he finds that another river, running westward, leads to a gate formed of jewels, which is kept by an enchanted ass.
Taking his course towards this, he arrives at a tree of surprising height, and again consulting his book, razes off his crest, and makes a penthouse of his shield for the protection of his sight. Covering himself with it, he advances with his eyes fixed upon the ground, towards the miraculous tree.
On approaching it, a harpy with a beautiful female head, and crowned with strangely coloured plumes, flutters out from the branches, and hovering above the count, squirts her ordure at his head. This is fortunately protected by his shield, on which it hisses like boiling oil. Orlando, distracted by the yells of the harpy, is often tempted to raise his eyes: he however perseveres in keeping them fixed to the ground till he is near the tree, when he falls, as if blinded by the burning liquor. The bird now swoops to the ground, and having darted her talons into his breast-plate, attempts to drag him towards the trunk. The count sees his time is come, and dispatches her with a back-handed stroke of his sword.
The harpy demolished, he re-adjusted his crest, the gift of Angelica, braced his shield anew, and took his way towards the western gate. Nothing was ever seen more beautiful than this, with respect to the materials, or the workmanship. Nor was the animal who kept it less extraordinary; being an ass, armed with scales of gold, and ears of such length and strength, as to be able to seize, and drag to himself by the aid of them, whatever was within his reach; his tail cut like a trenchant sword, and his bray made the forest tremble.
Though his golden scales had resisted all other weapons, they were not impenetrable by Orlando’s steel, and he smote off his head at a blow.
A strange wonder followed; the earth swallowed the carcase of the ass, this gate too disappeared, and the walls again closed upon Orlando.
He is now directed by his instructions to a a northern entrance, and, strong in patience, proceeds in this direction. On his way thither he sees a table spread in the wilderness. He is tempted by the viands; but recurring to the book, is informed of his danger, and refrains.
From this he learns that a faun lay conceale amongst the neighbouring thorns and roses, provided with a chain, with which she snared whoever tasted of the banquet. She fled from Orlando on his approaching her haunt, dragging after her a serpent’s tail, till then concealed, which was as loathsome as her face was lovely. Being overtaken, she made no defence and was slaughtered at a blow.
The count now arrives at the northern gate, which he finds guarded by a giant. Orlando had so often been engaged with enemies of this description, that he thought little of the combat in which he was going to engage. In effect, his expectations were in part justified, as he slew his adversary. This was, however, but the beginning of his labour; for, from the blood of the slaughtered enemy sprang a fire, and from this issued two other giants yet fiercer than the first. Orlando sees that to spill the blood of these, would be but to multiply his foes, and accordingly, changing his mode of proceeding, grapples with one of the two in the hopes of squeezing him to death. He is, however, still interrupted by the other, before he can accomplish his purpose; and at last sees the necessity of separating them.
To effect this, he feigns to fly, but the giants, instead of pursuing, return to keep guard over the enchanted gate. If, however, Orlando was disappointed in his hope of dividing them, his stratagem was productive of another advantage. He saw the chain lying on the ground, which was spread for his destruction by the faun. Returning with this, he nooses the giants and then again recurs to the book for his future proceedings.
This informs him, that the total destruction of the garden (the task imposed by Angelica) can only be accomplished by tearing off a certain branch of a lofty tree, in which was involved the destiny of this fairy creation.
According to the rules which he received, he returned through a spacious valley towards the palace, passing Falerina, whom he had left fastened to the beech. He soon descries the fatal tree, which is of an immeasurable height: while the stem, even at the bottom, is no more than a palm in girt.
No thicker; but from this close branch and spray
Bristled, whence foliage green and narrow grew.
The leaves which died and sprouted every day,
Conceal’d within sharp pointed thorns from view:
Apples of gold the loaded twigs display;
Apples in form, but burnish’d gold in hue,
Suspended from small stalks, so slight in show,
The man had periled life who walked below.
To obviate this danger (and we are afterwards told that the fruit was as large as the human head), Orlando forms a sort of grating of boughs of trees, and, under cover of this, proceeds towards the tree, amidst a shower of the golden apples, which fall, loosened by the vibration of the soil beneath his feet. Having reached it, he severs the trunk close to the root, and every thing is instantly involved in darkness.
The cloud at length clears away, and the sun shines forth upon a wild landscape; where no vestige is to be seen of the garden, or trace of the adventure, except in the appearance of the fairy Falerina, who remains in the middle of the wilderness, fastened to the beech.
Her tone is now changed, and she entreats Orlando’s mercy, assuring him that many lives depend upon the preservation of hers. She explains herself by saying, that she had constructed the garden and a neighbouring snare in a bridge over a torrent, in order to be revenged on a knight called Ariantes, and an infamous woman of the name of Origilla, who, though many had fallen into her toils, had both hitherto escaped.
“Many,” pursues the fairy, “ were entrapped in my garden, and yet more at the bridge; and here it was that I took a certain enchantress, daughter of king Galaphron, who by some secret means escaped, and effected the deliverance of her fellow prisoners. Many more, however, have been taken since, and all these will perish, if you are resolved on my destruction.” Orlando immediately promised her life, upon her pledging herself for the deliverance of the captives.
With this view they proceed together, towards the bridge; but the author snaps this thread, to take up that of the story of Albracca.
Here Sacripant and Marphisa were left engaged in a single combat, which was still continued with mutual animosity; while Angelica, surrounded by a group of warriors, sate contemplating the fight from the ramparts of the citadel. While the attention of all was thus engaged, Brunello, who (it will be remembered) had undertaken to steal Angelica’s ring, arrived beneath the walls of Albracca, scaled the rock and walls of the fortress, while the crowd was watching the duel, and disputing on its probable result, approached the princess unobserved, and, slipping the ring from her finger, escaped amid the confusion which followed.
Having descended safely to the ground, and swam a water by which the citadel was surrounded, the dwarf perceived that the two combatants had separated for an interval of repose, and immediately meditated a new exercise of his art. With this view, he approached Sacripant, who, absorbed in an amorous reverie, sate apart, upon his courser, and having first loosened the girths, and supported the saddle by a piece of wood, withdrew the horse from under him.24
24 The reader will recollect the imitation of this absurd incident in “Don Quixote,” whoso squire’s ass, Dapple, is stolen in a similar manner.
Marphisa, who was at a little distance, witnessed this with wonder, and, before she recovered from her astonishment, was herself plundered of her sword. Marphisa is no sooner aware of the theft, than she pursues the robber; but he, mounted upon Frontilatte, his new acquisition, soon distances the pursuer.
While Angelica, who felt her misfortune yet more than the others, is in despair at the loss of her treasure, an alarm is given by the warder, who reports the arrival of a new army before Albracca. This was a Turkish force, led by Caramano, brother of Torindo, one of the princes who had been seized and imprisoned by Truffaldino, and who, having refused to enter into the engagement to which the others agreed, on his delivering them from durance, now brought this brother against Albracca.
Angelica’s last hopes of deliverance rest upon Gradasso; who, it seems, was her relation, and who was meditating anew the invasion of France. Hence Sacripant undertakes a secret embassy to this prince, with the view of soliciting his succour.
Rodomont, this while, who was too impatient to wait for Agramanfs attack upon Charlemagne, had already sailed for France. A tremendous storm wrecked his fleet upon the coast of that kingdom; but he, landing with such force as the tempest had left him, made good his footing, and routed the Christians in more engagements than one: though the balance at last turned in their favour.
Previous, however, to this, Gano, or Ganelon, (as he is sometimes called) enters into a traitorous correspondence with Marsilius, whom he invites into France.
While great events are preparing in this quarter, the author resumes the story of Orlando, who was journeying with Falerina towards the bridge, where so many prisoners were entrapped. On their way thither, however, they arrived at a yet more perilous pass: this was the bridge, and lake into which the felon warrior leaped with Rinaldo in his arms. Falerina, enchantress as she was, turned pale at the sight of this place, and cursed the hour in which they had taken the road which conducted them thither; informing Orlando that they were approaching a snare, laid by Morgana; who plotted revenge against a knight who had destroyed many of her spells, and set at nought her riches and her power.
For this purpose she had formed the lake; and selected, as a defender of the pass, a man named Arridano, a churl of the most ferocious and pitiless character she could find. Him she had clothed in invulnerable arms, and charmed in such a manner, that his strength always increased in a six-fold proportion to that of the adversary with whom he was matched. Hence, no one had hitherto escaped from the contest; since, such was his strength and power of endurance, that he could breathe freely under water. Hence, having grappled with a knight, and sunk with him to the bottom of the lake, he returned, bearing his arms in triumph to the top.
While Falerina is explaining the danger of the enterprise, Orlando sees Rinaldo’s arms, erected in form of a trophy, amongst other spoils made by the villain; and forgetting their late quarrel, determines upon revenging his friend. A desperate contest ensues between the churl and the knight, during which Falerina flies. The combatants (as in the case of Rinaldo) both grapple, and sink together in the water. Arrived at the bottom, Orlando finds himself in another world, upon a dry meadow, with the lake overhead, through which shone the beams of our sun; the meadow being on all sides surrounded by a crystal wall. Here the battle was renewed, and in this Orlando had an advantage, which none had hitherto possessed. Besides that lie was himself invulnerable, he was now in possession of the sword, tempered by Falerina, against which no spells could avail. Thus armed, and countervailing the strength of his adversary by his superior skill and activity, he had the good fortune to lay him dead upon the field.
Orlando having slain his foe, discovers a gate in the crystal wall; and having passed through a dark labyrinth, comes at last where it is lighted by a carbuncle, whose lustre was equal to that of day. This discovered to his view a river little less than twenty-yards over, and beyond this was seen a field as thickly covered with precious stones as the sky is full of stars.
Over this was thrown a bridge, only half a palm wide, and at each end was stationed an iron figure with a mace. Orlando no sooner attempted to pass this, than the figures smote upon it, and it was instantly engulphed in the stream. Orlando however, being resolved to accomplish the adventure or perish in the attempt, leapt the river and arrived in the field, which contained the treasures of the fairy.
When he had arrived at the other extremity of this, he entered a building, where he beheld the likeness of a king, surrounded by his peers, and encompassed by all the pomp and magnificence of royalty. The monarch appeared to be seated at a banquet, with a naked sword suspended over his head, and on the table before him was a live coal, supported on a golden lily, which gave light to the apartment. On his left stood a figure with a bended bow in guise of one who waits the crossing of the stag; and on the right, the form of one, who, from his likeness to the king, appeared to be his brother, and who bore in one hand a writing illustrative of the vanity of his worldly pursuits.
The troubled countenance of the king seemed to bear witness to the truth of the inscription; and Orlando, having satisfied his curiosity, departed through the door opposite to that by which he had entered. He was however no sooner out of the apartment, than all was darkness.
After wandering for some time at random, he bethought himself of the coal, which was burning before the king, and returned in order to take it. He had however no sooner laid his hand upon this, than the archer let fly his arrow, which extinguished it, and night followed. This was rendered terrible by an earthquake, which shook the world to its centre. The earthquake at last ceased, the light rekindled of itself, and all was as before. Again Orlando issued through the dark passage, again was compelled to return in search of the coal, and again witnessed the same effect.
A third attempt was more successful: he intercepted the arrow with his shield, and carried off the light in safety. Using this as a lamp, Orlando arrived where the way divided; and turning to the left, instead of the right (which would have conducted him out of the building) took the road which led to the dungeons of Morgana. Here were imprisoned Rinaldo, Dudon, Brandimart, and others who had fallen into the power of Morgana; but the count did not immediately arrive at their place of confinement. Still guiding himself by his light, he came to a cleft in the rock, through which he passed into a flowery meadow, planted with trees covered with fruit and flowers, and full of all imaginable delights.
In the middle of this was a fountain, and fast by it lay Morgana asleep; a lady of a lovely aspect, dressed in white and vermilion garments; her forehead well furnished with hair, but with scarcely any behind.
While Orlando stood in silence, contemplating her beauty, he heai’d a voice exclaim, “Seize the fairy by the forelock if thou hopest fair success;” Orlando turning, and advancing in the direction from which the voice came, discovered a prison of crystal in which he beheld the captives of Morgana.
At the sight of these, he raised his sabre to smite the wall; but was advertised by a female prisoner that all attempts to release them would only be productive of new misery to those he sought to benefit, unless he could take Morgana herself, and force from her the keys of their prison-house.
Thus admonished, he returned towards the fountain. But the fairy, who was awake and risen, was now dancing round its border with the lightness of a leaf, and timing her steps to the following song:
“Who in this world would wealth and treasure share,
“Honour, delight, and state, and what is best,
“Quick let him catch me by the lock of hair
“Which flutters from my forehead, and be blest;
“But let him not the proffered good forbear,
“Nor, till he seize the fleeting blessing, rest.
“For present loss is sought in vain to-morrow,
“And the deluded wretch is left in sorrow.”
The fairy, however, no sooner set eyes on the count, than she bounded off, and fled from the flowery meadow over a high and inhospitable mountain. Orlando pursued her through thorns and rocks, though the sky, on her gaining this dreary scene, became overcast, and he was assailed by tempest, lightning and hail.
While Orlando thus pursues, enveloped in storm, a pale and meagre woman issues from a cave, armed with a whip, and treading close upon the pursuer, scourges him, till his skin is raised in furrows. She infbrms him, while she inflicts this discipline, that she is Penitence, and sent to punish him for having neglected to seize Morgana, when he found her sleeping by the fountain. Orlando, determined to resist this chastisement, turns upon his tormentor; but might as well seek to wound the wind. Convinced at last of the shadowy nature of his persecutor, and observing that Morgana gained upon him, while he was thus hopelessly engaged, he determines to pursue the fairy without being diverted by the molestation of Penitence.
Chasing Morgana, then, over rock and hill, he mode sundry snatches at her white and vermilion garments, which still eluded his grasp. On the fairy, however, turning her. head for an instant, he profited by the chance, and seized her by the forelock. In an instant the tempest ceased, the sky became serene, and Penitence retreated into her cave.
Orlando now demanded of Morgana the keys of her dungeon; and the fairy, feigning a complacent aspect, told him that these were at his disposal; entreating him, though he should free all her other prisoners, to leave her a youthful son of Monodontes, who was her darling. Orlando consented to this, and the fairy delivered up a key of silver, bidding him be cautious in the use of it; since, to break the lock, would be to involve himself and all, in inevitable destruction; a caution which gave the count room for long meditation, and led him to consider
How few amid the suitors, who importune
The dame, know how to guide the keys of Fortune.
Keeping the fairy still fast by the forelock, Orlando proceeded towards the prison, turned the key without occasioning the mischief apprehended, and delivered the prisoners.
Amongst these were Brandimart, Rinaldo, and all the knights, baptized or infidel, who had been taken at the bridge. The only unhappy person amid this joyous band was Ziliantes, the minion of Morgana. This youth remained behind weeping; and time will come, says the author, when Orlando will repent of having yielded to the entreaties of the fairy.
The others, now delivered from their captivity, together with Orlando, ascending a lofty stair” issued into the field of treasure, where was to be seen the king and his court, all composed of the richest materials in the world. Rinaldo, on finding himself amid this mass of wealth, could not resist the temptation of seizing a gold seat that stood in his way, which, he observed, would feed his hungry garrison of Mont Albano. This he was bearing off, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Orlando, when a violent wind blew him back as often as he approached the gate, by which they were retiring. Rinaldo at length yielded to necessity, rather than to the entreaties of his comrades, and cast away his prize. All now climbing another immeasurable stair, ascended into the upper world, and found themselves in the field decorated with their arms.
Here each knight resumed his own; and all except the paladins and their friends, separated, as their inclinations or duty prompted. It was now that Dudon informed the cousins that he had been made prisoner by Morgana, when in the discharge of an — embassy to them from Charlemagne, who called upon them to return to the defence of Christendom. Orlando is too much fascinated by Angelica, to obey this summons; and, followed by the faithful Brandimart, returns towards Albracca. Rinaldo, accompanied by Dudon, Iroldo and Prasildo, takes his way towards the west.
These, though unprovided with horses, (for their coursers were lost at the bridge,) went laughing and talking on their way. Their journey was without adventures till the sixth day, when they heard a horn sound from a neighbouring castle. From this they were divided by a river, and near the opposite bank was a small bark, with a damsel in the stern, who proflercd them a passage.
Arrived on the other shore, she tells them they must account for this with the warder, who was then approaching. This was an old man mounted on a heavy steed, and surrounded by a numerous escort. He informs the knights, that they are upon the territory of the king Monodontes, from which they will not be suffered to depart, before they have rendered him a day’s service. This was to avenge him of a certain enemy named Balisardo, at once a giant and enchanter, who kept a bridge, flanked with towers, near the mouth of the river which they had crossed, and who had put many scorns upon that monarch and those who travelled to his realm.
Nothing more agreeable could have been proposed to the warriors, and they reimbark in the damsel’s skiff for the purpose of seeking the necromancer.
The event of the combat was, however, very different from what they had anticipated. Encountering the giant singly, they all became the victims of his enchantments, and were cast into his dungeons, already peopled with illustrious knights, amongst whom’ was Astolpho of England.
This prince, in company with the two damsels before mentioned, had gone about the world, with Bayardo and Rabican, weeping the loss of Rinaldo, whom he saw go to the bottom of the enchanted lake with Arridano. Wandering thence, he had arrived on the same spot where Rinaldo and his comrades afterwards found themselves; like them he had ferried the river in die damsel’s boat, like them, had been dispatched against Balisardo; and, like them, had been made prisoner by the wizard, who ensnared him, under” the form of a damsel.
In the mean time, Orlando, who had parted company with Rinaldo, and the rest, was returning, with Brandimart, towards Albracca On his way thither he, to his surprise, saw Marphisa in chase of Brunello, and contemp — lating the two, was himself robbed of his horn, and Balisarda.
As both he and Brandimart were on foot, to chase the robber was useless; leaving, therefore, Marphisa still in pursuit, the two warriors proceeded on their way. Pursuing this, they too arrived at die same ferry as Rinaldo had, and there found two damsels assailing each other with reproaches, the one in a boat, and the other on horseback. Orlando immediately recognized the latter for Origilla, who had stolen Brigliadoro and Durindana, previous to his entering the garden of Orgagna. His resentment, however, was forgotten on seeing her; and he received her again into his company, embarking, as the others had done, for the adventure of Balisardo.
In this his usual fortune deserted him, and having been vanquished by the enchantments of the giant, he was cast on board a miserable prison-ship, in order to be transported to some distant dungeons.
From this he is, however, delivered by the valour of Brandimart25, who slays the giant, and rescues Orlando from captivity. The two champions now interrogate the master of the prison-ship; who tells them that the wizard-giant was the instrument of a certain king, called Monodontes, who dwelt in Damogir, an island situated in the ocean; where he had amassed riches, which surpassed the imagination to conceive. As, something is always wanting to the completion of human happiness, this prince was miserable in the loss of his two only sons, the first of whom was carried off, in his childhood, by a slave of the name of Bardino, and the second taken and imprisoned by a fairy named Morgana, who was said to be enamoured of the youth.
25 The reader will have remarked that a vein of allegory, more or less apparent, runs through the whole of the romance. This observation will, perhaps, serve to explain the defeat of Orlando, and the subsequent triumph of Brandimart. Orlando, by his love of vice, as figured in Origilla, has derogated from his natural self, and forfeited the protection of Providence, while Brandimart, the model of purity and constancy, is proof against all the powers of hell.
The ship-master, pursuing his story, stated that the fairy had offered to surrender the stripling to his father, upon his putting her in possession of a certain knight, entitled Orlando, with whom she was at enmity, on account of his having destroyed her enchantments. This the necromancer, overcome by Brandimart, had offered to effect for Monodontes, but had never succeeded, though he had crowded his dungeons with champions; amongst whom were Rinaldo, Astolpho, Dudon, Gryphon and Aquilant, and others, too many to mention.
Orlando listened to the narration in silence: then, after some secret conference with the ship-master, bade him make sail for Damogir, as he and Brandimart were now masters of the vessel, for he was minded to put this Orlando into the hands of Monodontes. He obeys his command, and the ship, after traversing the ocean, arrives with them at the island.
Here the proposal was renewed by the knights, and accepted by Monodontes; who, waiting the accomplishment of their promise, lodged them in a magnificent palace near his own. Here too was guested the infamous Origilla, who was privy to Orlando’s design. She having her mind entirely set upon Gryphon, who (it will be remembered) was amongst the prisoners of Monodontes, and thinking she was possessed of sure means of delivering him, secretly presented herself before the king, and informed him that Orlando was in his power.
As the covenanted reward of her service, Monodontes ordered Gryphon to be delivered up to her; and he refusing freedom, unless Aquilant was at the same time freed, both were set at liberty, and departed with Origilla.
To take Orlando was a more difficult enterprise; but this was accomplished through the means of a potion, by which both he and Brandimart were put to sleep, and, while stupefied by the liquor, lodged in the dungeons of Monodontes.’ In the solitude of their prison Orlando converts Brandimart to the Christian faith; and this knight, who appears to be the type of friendship and virtuous love, upon the guards of the monarch coming in search of Orlando, announces himself as the person sought for, and as such presents himself to Monodontes.
This monarch tells Brandimart, whom he imagines to be Orlando, that he seeks the liberation of his son Ziliantes; and as he knows no method of obtaining him from the fairy, but by such a sacrifice, is reluctantly compelled. to offer hun in exchange for the royal captive. To which Brandimart replies, that if he only seeks this, he may obtain his end without such a breach of hospitality, as his comrade is ready to descend to the dungeons of Morgana, where he has already been, and rescue him by force. That in the meantime he will remain as his hostage, and if he whom he is to free does not, within a month, return with Ziliantes, the king can, at the worst, accomplish the deliverance of his son, by giving him up (the king believing him to be Orlando) to the vengeance of Morgana.
Monodontes accedes to this proposal, and the real Orlando is suffered to depart.
In the meantime Brandimart, always under the name of Orlando, remains for some time a prisoner at large; when the secret is discovered, through the indiscretion of Astolpho, and Monodontes in fury orders Brandimart to be cast into a dungeon, preparatory to his expiating his imposture by death. Orlando this while is bound upon his adventure, and arriving at the lake formerly kept by Arridano, finds upon its banks a beautiful lady weeping over a dead dragon.
While Orlando contemplates this spectacle with surprise, the lady snatches up the dragon in her arms, and embarks with it in a Little pinnace, which was moored hard by. She now loosens from the shore, sets her sail, and having reached the middle of the lake, sinks to the bottom with her enchanted barque.
Orlando was yet absorbed in wonder at what he had witnessed, when another damsel arrived upon the bank, mounted on a palfrey, and accompanied by a single sergeant, who called upon the count by name, and expressed the greatest pleasure at his sight.
This damsel was no other than Flordelis, the lady-love of Brandimart; the damsel of the barque, it will be easily divined, was Morgana.
This fairy, upon the departure of Orlando from her enchanted garden, transformed Ziliantes, by the aid of certain witcheries, into a dragon, meaning that he should supply the place of Arridano and keep the avenues of her territory. Whether, however, from some error in her enchantments or other cause, the transformation was no sooner completed than the youth uttered a shriek and expired. Hence the fairy, distracted with her loss, had embarked with him in the pinnace, and descended to the bottom of the lake, hi the hope of re-animating him in her world below.
As soon as Flordelis, who was immediately recognised by the count, had set eyes upon him, she conjured him to lend her his assistance; and, that he might understand for what purpose, entreated him to listen to her story, which she began in the following words.
“I was wandering in search of Brandimart, when I fell in with the sergeant, whom you see with me; and who, by a strange fortune, turned out to be one who was also in search of him. His story was yet more extraordinary than the accident which brought us together, and is the cause of my present distress. He informed me that he was formerly a slave of the king Monodontes, and named Bardino; who, to avenge himself upon the monarch for some wrong, conveyed away from him his eldest son, and sold him to the lord of the Svlvan Tower; who conceived such fondness for him, that he brought him up as his son, and dying, left him his possessions.
“His love of arms, however, carried him away from the Tower, of which he had made Bardino castellan; and this was attacked by a neighbour named Rupardo, in his absence, with such forces as rendered a defence hopeless. Under these circumstances Bardino, had cast lots to learn the fate of Brandimart, and found that he was prisoner to Morgana. Hence it is,” pursued the damsel, “ that I entreat you to lend your assistance to recover him from her power.”
Orlando related in return what had since happened to Brandimart, and, lastly, how he had left him in the power of Monodontes, meaning to redeem him, by the recovery of Ziliantes, from the prisons of Morgana.
The damsel heard Orlando’s recital with gratitude, and, throwing herself on her knees, prayed devoutly for the success of his undertaking.
He immediately entered upon his adventure. Descending by the entrance, through which he had formerly ascended into the upper air, and which he remembered, though concealed by briars and thorns, he again traversed the field of treasure, and saw the golden seat, lying in the very place where Rinaldo had been obliged to abandon it.
Thus pursuing his old path, he came upon Morgana near the fountain, where he had formerly found her disporting herself.
She was this time engaged in a very different occupation, and was caressing Ziliantes, who had now resumed the human form, but remained yet pale, and terrified by the effects of the metamorphose. The count does not again neglect his opportunity, but, seizing the fairy by the forelock, compels her to abandon her prisoner. Orlando returning into light with Ziliantes by the ancient staircase, finds Flordelis yet engaged in prayer, and now all journeying to the coast, which was near, and embarking upon the ocean, arrive safely at Damogir.
The delight of Monodontes at the recovery of his two sons, when he had despaired of even retrieving Ziliantes, may be easily imagined: king and people become Christians; Rinaldo, Astolpho, Dudon, and the other prisoners are set at liberty; all is festivity, and the offence of Bardino is forgiven, in consequence of his subsequent attachment to Brandimart. To complete the general joy, a lady arrives at this period, who is recognized as the daughter of Monodontes and the damsel of the golden apples.
But human life is chequered by light and shade. The long continued festivities of Damogir are broken in upon by Dudon the Dane, who reminds the princes of their obligation to hurry to the defence of Christendom.
Rinaldo and all the Franks obey the summons, with the exception of Orlando; who, accompanied by Brandimart, his inseparable companion, returns towards Albracca. In the meantime Rinaldo, Iroldo, Prasildo, and the others, with Astolpho in the midst, armed with his lance of gold, set forward on their return to France.
Travelling thus, north about, into Europe, the knights found themselves one morning in front of a beautiful castle and garden on the sea-shore. This was the domain of Alcina, sister of Morgana, and queen of the Atarberi. The fay herself was standing on the beach, and amusing herself with taking fish, which she inveigled by her enchantments.
She herself was ensnared by the beauties of Astolpho, whom she invited to pass into a neighbouring island, in order to hear the music of a syren who frequented it.
Astolpho crosses on horseback into the island, which lay close to the shore; but this is in motion as soon as he reaches it, and proves to be a large whale, which was a minister of the fairy. Rinaldo and Dudon instantly swim off to his assistance, but the horse of Dudon sinking with his rider, Rinaldo is. compelled to swim Bayardo to the relief of the Dane, whom he succeeds in bringing to shore.. Meantime the whale floats out of sight, and a terrible tempest obscures both sky and ocean. —
To succour Astolpho’ was now’ impossible, 1 and the confederated champions continued their journey to the westward.
Pursuing this, they at last arrived at Buda in Hungary, whence the king of that country was dispatching his son Ottachiero with a large army to the succour of Charlemagne. Delighted with the arrival of Rinaldo, he placed his son and troops under this conduct, and these having, after long and distant marches, united themselves with the troops of Desiderius king of Lombardy, passed the Genovese Alps, and poured down into Provence.
The confederate armies had not marched many days through this gay tract, before they heard a crash of drums and trumpets behind the hills, which spoke the conflict between the paynims, led by Rodomont, and the Christian forces.
Rinaldo, witnessing from a mountain the prowess of Rodomont, leaves his troops in charge of his friends, and gallops towards him with “his lance in the rest. The impulse is irresistible, and Rodomont is unhorsed. Rinaldo, however, in a high spirit of chivalry, gallops back to the hill from which he had descended, secures Bayardo amongst the baggage, and returns to pursue the combat with his former antagonist on foot.
During this interval the battle had become general, the Hungarians were routed by Rodomont, and Rinaldo, on his return, had the mortification to find that Ottachiero was. wounded, and Dudon a prisoner.
He now again engages Rodomont; when in the midst of their strife, a new sound of drums and trumpets was heard, and die army of Charlemagne was descried advancing in battalia.
Rodomont, who had in the meantime mounted the horse of Dudon, leaves Rinaldo, who was on foot, and gallops to the attack of the enemy. A desperate battle ensues, but night separates the combatants.
Rodomont now thinks only of Rinaldo, and deceived by a false report, sets off in pursuit of him towards the forest of Arden.
Rinaldo, however, having this time gone in search of Bayardo, was returning towards the field upon that courser, when he fell in with the Saracens, engaged in carrying aboard their ships the plunder, and the prisoners made in battle. Some of these had already sailed for Africa with Dudon, while Rinaldo, still seeking Rodomont, makes a tremendous carnage among the rest.
He at last learns that his adversary, following a false scent, is gone towards Merlin’s fountain, in the forest of Arden, when he quits the pursuit of the Saracens, in order to follow him.
Rodomont was in the meantime far advanced upon his way, when he fell in with a strange cavalier, that proved to be Ferrau, who had, it seems, returned to France, in search of Angelica. The two knights mixing in conversation, their talk, according to the practice of chivalry, turned upon love, when Ferrau spoke of Doralice, daughter of Stordilano, king of Granada, as a lady to whom he had been a suitor. Rodomont, kindling at this, avowed his passion for her, declared he would bear with no rival in his love, and bade him resign all pretensions to her, or take his ground and defend himself. Ferrau replied, that he had loved her and left her; but that he would now love her in his despite.
A duel ensues, but the author leaves the knights engaged, in order to pursue the story of Rinaldo. He, still seeking his pursuer, Rodomont, misses him, whilst he is engaged in combat with Ferrau; and wandering into a sylvan lawn, in the middle of the forest of Arden, is surprised by the vision of a beautiful child, dancing naked, with three damsels, as naked and as beautiful as himself. While he is lost in admiration at the sight, the child approaches him, and smiting on his helmet with a bunch of roses and lilies, strikes him from his horse. He is no sooner down than he is seized by the dancers, by whom he is dragged about and scourged with flowers till he falls into a swoon. While he is yet absorbed in this, one of the group approaches him, who says her name is Pasiphae; that his punishment is the consequence of his rebellion against that power, before whom every thing bends; and that there is but one remedy that can heal the wounds which have been inflicted; and this is, to drink of the waters of Love.
Rinaldo, sore and faint, drags himself into the neighbouring wood, and being parched with thirst, drinks greedily, and almost unconsciously, of a spring which he finds there. After repeated draughts of the water, which is sweet to the taste, but bitter at the heart, he recovers his strength and recollection, and finds himself in the same place where Angelica had formerly awakened him with a rain of flowers, and whence he had fled in contempt of her courtesy.
His remembrance of the scene is followed by the recognition of his crime; and, repenting bitterly of his ingratitude, he leaps upon Bayardo with the intention of following Angelica to India, and soliciting his pardon at her feet. He has not ridden far with this intention, when he beholds, at a distance, a damsel mounted upon a palfrey, attended by a cavalier who bore a burning mountain for his device: but, before explaining who were the damsel and knight, the author returns to Marphisa, lately left in pursuit of Brunello.
She had now hunted him for fifteen days. Her horse had sunk under her during the chase; and she had cast away her arms, to be the better able to pursue him.
Her pains were thrown away. Brunello arrived before her at the sea-side, and finding a vessel ready to sail, embarked, and arrived at Biserta, in Africa. Here he found Agramant, who was impatient for the ring, which was to foil the enchantments of Atlantes and to put Rogero into his hands. The dwarf, now kneeling be-; fore die king, related his story, and presented him with the ring of Angelica, and the horn stolen from Orlando; when Agramant, delighted at the success of his mission, crowned him, in recompense, king of Tingitana.
All are now anxious to go in quest of Rogero, nor will Brunello be left behind. The cavalcade accordingly departs, and having traversed the Great Desert, arrives at the mountain of Carena.
At the bottom of this was a fruitful and well-wooded plain, watered by a large river, which traversed it in its way to the sea; and.from this plain was descried a beautiful garden on the mountain-top, which contained the mansion of Atlantes: but the ring, which discovered what was before invisible, could not, though it revealed this paradise, enable Agramant or his followers to enter it. So steep and smooth was the rock by nature, that none could scale it; and even Brunello was obliged to renounce the attempt. He did not, however, for this, despair of accomplishing the object of the enterprise; and, having obtained Agramant’s approbation, caused the assembled courtiers and knights to celebrate a tournament upon the plain below. This was done with the view of seducing Rogero from his fastness, and the stratagem was attended with success.
Rogero joins the tourney, presented by Brunello with Sacripant’s horse, Frontilatte, (whose name is afterwards changed into Frontino,) and with Balisarda, the sword of Orlando. In the medley he is treacherously wounded, but avenges himself of the traitor; and, returning to the summit of the mountain, is healed by the skill and attention of Atlantes, having previously learned from Brunello the preparations which were making for the invasion of France, and having indeed received his horse and arms, as an earnest for his service in the expedition.
The author now leaves him again on the mountain of Carena, to accompany Orlando and Brandimart.
These two, having separated from Rinaldo, Astolpho, and the rest, were pursuing their journey through India, when they found themselves near a stone, situated by a fountain, where sate a lady, having her eyes fixed upon the ground, while a bridge, which divided two roads hard by, was kept by an armed knight.
While Orlando and Brandimart were engaged in a friendly contest, who should first encounter him, a pilgrim advanced towards the bridge, notwithstanding the prohibition of him who kept it; and finding that the knight approached in order to enforce his threat, cast off his pilgrim’s slough, and showed that he was armed cap-a-pe. A fierce combat now ensued, between him and the warder of the bridge, whom both Brandimart and Orlando thought they had seen before, but could not recognise, through the strangeness of his disguise. In this strife the pilgrim at last succeeded in making the warder give ground, and retire slowly from his post.
On the other side of the bridge, and near the fountain which formed the stream, was a monument, which an inscription proclaimed to be the sepulchre of Narcissus.
Contemplating himself in the neighbouring fountain, he had pined away; and his death was productive of new calamities. The fairy Silvanella, as her evil destiny would have it, passing near the body, fell in love with the dead youth, whom she entombed in this mausoleum of alabaster. Here, too, consumed by hopeless passion, she perished, and left this dying curse upon the waters; that who contemplated them should see pourtrayed there such a vision of beauty, that they should become incapable of departing from the place.
Many, who had arrived upon the banks of the river, in consequence of her malediction, remained gazing upon the stream, till they expired. Among these was the gentle king Larbiho, who came there with his leman Calidora, who remained inconsolable for his loss, and took up her dwelling in the meadow, where he died. This is she, who sits weeping by the water-side, and whose champion maintains the bridge against all comers.
And such was the tale she told Orlando, whom she conjured, in favour of her pious intentions, to aid her cavalier, hard pressed by the pilgrim.
Orlando, moved by her prayer, thrust himself between the combatants, whom he separated, and recognized one for Sacripant, and the other for Isoliero. Isoliero had accompanied the lady from Spain to India, for the purpose of rendering her this service; and Sacripant had been dispatched (as was said) by Angelica, to king Gradasso, for assistance, towards whose kingdom he was now upon his way.
When the count had learned from this monarch the object of his journey, and the peril of Angelica, he fled with Brandimart, from the dangerous water, mindful of the fate of those that had perished there; leaving Isoliero, who had been severely wounded by Sacripant, in the company of Calidora.
While Orlando took his way to Albracca, Sacripant took up the pilgrim’s garb and staff, and pursued his towards the kingdom of Gradasso.
Orlando, arriving before Albracca, finds it closely beleaguered. He, however, makes his way into the citadel, and relates his adventures to Angelica, from the time of his departure, up to his separation from Rinaldo and the rest, when they departed to the assistance of Charlemagne. Angelica, in return, described the distresses of the garrison, and the force of the besiegers; and in conclusion, prayed Orlando to favour her escape from the pressing danger, and escort her into France. Orlando, who did not suspect that love for Rinaldo, who had returned thither, was her secret motive, joyfully agreed to the proposal, and the sally was resolved.
Leaving lights burning in the fortress, they departed at night-fall, and passed in safety through the enemy’s camp. On the ensuing day, however, the besiegers discovered the deceit, stormed and sacked the citadel, and then pursued the deserters.
Of these, Orlando went first, escorting Angelica and Flordelis, while Brandimart covered their retreat. In consequence of this arrangement, Brandimart was separated one night from his companions, while Orlando and the two damsels were advancing on their way.
As these last, sorely tormented by hunger, were entering a valley at sunset, they saw, at the other extremity, a party of Lestrigonians, seated at their supper, and immediately galloped towards them; Orlando first, but followed by the damsels. Arriving amongst these cannibals, he prayed them, either for courtesy or hire, to give them food; and, being received with a feigned hospitality, had already dismounted from his horse, in order to take some refreshment, when the leader of the party, coming behind him, dealt a blow with his club, that laid him senseless on the ground. The damsels, who had just come up, terrified at this catastrophe, fled different ways, pursued by a party of the Lestrigonians.
During this time, the. others had stript Orlando of his arms; and were handling him, to see if he was fat, when he was awakened by the operation. Possessing himself of Durindana, he soon cleared the field of the cannibals, and was seeking an outlet from the valley, when he recognized Angelica, hunted by those who had pursued her and Flordelis. To save her, and avenge her of the miscreants, was the work of a moment.
It was said that the two damsels separated in their flight; in directing which, chance conducted each towards her natural protector; for Flordelis, flying east, whilst Angelica fled west, galloped towards a wood, where Brandimart was sleeping, after having long sought his companions in vain. Brandimart was as prompt in rescuing her, as Orlando was in saving Angelica. It is needless to describe his transports on this occasion: these were, however, of short duration; and he heard, with the bitterest regret, the narrative of Flordelis, who, relating what she believed she had witnessed, informed him she had left Orlando dead upon the field.
Returning with Brandimart towards the spot where she had left the count, a strange adventure for a long time delayed their search; for they had not ridden far, before they fell in with a cavalier on foot, unarmed, except as to his sword, who defied Brandimart to battle; and while he, in a spirit of generosity, refused the challenge, snatched Flordelis from her palfrey, and running up a steep rock with his burden, threatened to throw her down a precipice, unless Brandimart ransomed her with his armour and his steed.
As Brandimart’s armour rendered it impossible for him to pursue, he consented to the sacrifice; and the stranger appropriated the spoils. This was Marphisa, who had thrown by her arms, in order to pursue Brunello, and who, finding the chace hopeless, took this method to equip herself anew.
Brandimart, now reduced to his tunick, and deprived of his courser, mounted the damsel’s palfrey, seated her on the croup, and proceeded on his way.
They were doomed to experience new dangers and interruptions. For journeying thus, they fell in with a band of robbers, from whom Brandimart fled, in the hope of finding some means of defence. His hope was realized; for, penetrating a wood, he arrived at a fountain, near which a king lay dead, who was armed cap-a-pe. Providing himself with his sword, Brandimart turned to bay, and soon made his pursuers repent of their temerity. These slain or put to flight, he clothed himself reluctantly in the other arms of the monarch, leaving him his crown and regal ornaments. This king was no other than Agrican, so preserved by a visible miracle.
An after-combat with the captain of these corsairs put the knight in possession of a steed, and thus re-equipt, he accompanied Flordelis in search of Orlando.
This paladin, having recovered Angelica (as has been related) had journeyed as far homeward as the sea-coast of Syria without impediment. Here he found a vessel ready to carry the king of Damascus, Norandino, to the island of Cyprus, where he was to make his first essay of arms.
This was to be made for love of a lady whose name was Lucina, and whose father, Tibiano was king of Cyprus. This sovereign had proclaimed a tournament, of which the princess was to be the prize, and thither went Norandino, who invited Orlando to accompany him. The count, disguising his name and country, and feigning himself a Circassian, called Rotolante, accepted the offer, and, together with Angelica, joined Norandino, who was accompanied by a brilliant train of adventurers. He was scarcely on ship-board before a breeze sprang up from the land, and the galley was under sail.
For the tournament which was preparing, many Greeks and many Pagans had assembled, among whom were Basaldo and Morbeco, Turks, and Gostanzo a Greek. This Gostanzo was the son of Vataron, emperor of Constantinople, and had brought Gryphon and Aquilant in his company, who, together with Origilla, had sought the hospitality of the Grecian court.
In the tourney the combatants are ranged under the banner of this Gostanzo on the one side, and that of Norandino on the other. Gryphon and Aquilant serve under the first, and Orlando under the second. They are, however, disguised from each other by borrowed devices, and Gryphon only suspects a knight who bore away the honors of the first day, to be Orlando, from his superior prowess, and from the presence of Angelica, whom he had observed seated amongst the ladies that honoured the spectacle with their presence.
Imparting his suspicions to Gostanzo after the trumpets had blown to lodging, the wily Greek determined to rid himself of so formidable an adversary. He accordingly introduced himself secretly to Orlando, and informed him of a treason which (as he said) the king of Cyprus meditated against him, at the instigation of Ganelon, offering him at the same tune the means of escape. This was a pinnace moored in a creek, in which Orlando, breathing vengeance against the Maganzese, embarked with Angelica, for France.
Disembarking in Provence, they pursued their way by land, and arriving hot, and weary, in the forest of Arden, where Rinaldo had lately drunk of the fountain of Love, chance directed Angelica to the waters of Disdain, of which she drank.
Issuing thence, the count and damsel encountered a stranger knight. This was no other than Rinaldo, who had missed Rodomont, then engaged in combat with Ferrau; and who, on a nearer approach, recognised Angelica with joy, though his new arms and ensigns disguised Orlando, who accompanied her. The consequences of such a meeting are easily foreseen. Angelica views Rinaldo with disgust, and a new cause of strife is kindled between the kinsmen.
Terrified at the combat which ensued, Angelica fled amain through the forest, and came out upon a plain, covered with tents. This was the camp of Charlemagne, who led the army of reserve, destined to support the troops which had advanced to oppose the descent of Rodomont. Charles, having heard the damsel’s tale, with difficulty separates the two cousins, and then consigns Angelica, as the cause of quarrel, to the care of Namus duke of Bavaria, promising she shall be his who best deserves her, in the first battle with the Saracens.
The author here returns to Agramant, who was left holding a tournament at the foot of Mount Carena in Africa. He having heard of the knight who was slain, and that, contrary to his orders, (which were only to employ courteous weapons,) determined to take vengeance upon his murderer, and supposing Brunello to be the criminal, (since Rogero had appeared with his arms and steed,) ordered him to be hanged upon the spot.
The danger of him who was about to suffer for his sake, now again brought “Rogero from his retreat. He routed the troops appointed to watch over the execution, rescued Brunello, and then, presenting himself to Agramant, related every thing as it had passed.
Agramant, too happy to find the object of his search in the youth who had performed such wonders, forgave the death of the slaughtered cavalier, knighted Rogero, and carried him off to Biserta, where his vassal kings and barons assembled for the invasion of Christendom.
While they are in the midst of their revelry, a messenger reports the return of Rodomont’s fleet, whose followers brought with them, as a prisoner, Dudon the Dane; but could give no account of Rodomont their leader.
He was this while engaged in battle with Ferrau, with whom we left him quarrelling about Doralice; but their strife was soon interrupted by the arrival of a messenger, who brought news that Marsilius was, at the instigation of Ganelon, besieging Mount Albano. On hearing this, the duellists make peace, and ride together to join the besiegers.
On their way they fall in with Vivian and Malagigi, sons of duke Aymon, of Mount Albano, who are proceeding towards Paris, to demand succour of Charlemagne; and Malagigi, retiring with Vivian into a wood, performs a magic rite, by which he ascertains the design of the approaching warriors Rodomont and Ferrau. To frustrate this, he conjures up a bevy of fiends, armed and mounted as knights, divides them into two squadrons, takes the command of one himself, and gives that of the other to Vivian. Thus accompanied, the Christian knights charge their adversaries. But the Pagans are too strong for them, take Malagigi and Vivian prisoners, and send their demons howling back to hell.
Here the author exclaims,
But that I would not seem with folly tainted,
I own I would have fain beheld the attack;
So great is my desire to be acquainted
With those the wizard brought his cause to back:
And prove with my own eyes, if truly painted,
The devil be so very foul and black;
More; that his pictures differ as to nail,
And horn, and hoof, and length and breadth of tail.
To return to the story, Rodomont and Ferrau arrive in the Spanish camp before Mount Albano, which is shortly afterwards attacked by the army of Charlemagne. Divers feats of prowess are achieved on both sides; but the most interesting circumstance is a single combat between Rodomont and Bradamant; which the author breaks off in order to resume the story of Brandimart.
This knight, having obtained a steed and armour, as has been before related, proceeds with Flordelis towards Europe.
Thus journeying, the pair arrived in front of a magnificent palace. Here a damsel, standing in a balcony, motioned to them to take another way; but in vain; for Brandimart, feigning not to understand the purport of her signs, rode boldly up to the gate. He is now opposed by a giant, armed with a serpent, which he uses as a sword. Him the knight vanquishes after a long battle, in which he is opposed by a variety of enchantments; the giant and serpent exchanging forms, as one or the other is slain He next kills a knight who kept a sepulchre in the inner court, and opposed his further progress.
He and Flordelis, who had followed her lover, now seek the gate by which they had entered, but all appearance of it was lost.
While they are vainly seeking the means of escape, they are addressed by the damsel who had at first waved them from the palace; and who informed Brandimart, he must open the sepulchre, and kiss whatever issued from it, if he expected deliverance from his prison. Brandimart, little terrified by the injunction, promised compliance; but started back, and put his hand to his sword, on the appearance of a dragon. Reproached by the damsel of the castle for his breach of promise, he manned his spirits for the encounter, and kissed the monster in the mouth. A sudden cold ran through his bones at coming hi contact with her: but what was his surprise, on seeing the dragon trans formed into a beautiful damsel!
This was a fay so transmuted, who, grateful for her deliverance, offered to enchant the horse and arms of Brandimart, at the same time entreating him to conduct the lady of the castle, who was named Doristella, into Syria.
This promised, the gate re-appeared, the fay enchanted the steed and arms of Brandimart, and he, accompanied by the two ladies, departed upon the quest enjoined.
They had ridden some time in silence, when Doristella, rallying the knight for his taciturnity, proposed to beguile the way with the relation of her adventures. The offer was gratefully received, and the damsel began her story as follows:
“My father, king Doliston,” said she, “ had two daughters, the eldest of whom, while yet a child, was carried off by a thief from the shore of Lissa. Of this daughter, who was the promised spouse of Theodore the son of a neighbouring king, nothing was ever afterwards heard.”
“And what was the name of the mother?” exclaimed Flordelis; but Brandimart having checked her for her interruption, Doristella continued her narrative in her own way. “ My intended brother-in-law,” said the damsel, “ still kept up his connection with my family, and he and I soon became mutually enamoured of one another. The young man at length unbosomed himself to my father, and demanded me in marriage; but my father, to his mortification, told him, that he had that very day promised me to the wretch, whom you slew in the palace.
“To this wretch, named Usbeck of Bursa, a Turcoman by nation, was I wedded; a man valiant in the field, but, as to the rest, little capable of winning a lady’s love. This man, who was jealous in proportion to the grounds he gave me for disgust, was compelled to join an expedition against Vatarone the emperor of Greece. Departing, he left me in care of a slave called Gambone, a monster of deformity, whom he commanded never to stir from my side. He had not been long absent, when Theodore arrived at Bursa, and having corrupted Gambone, obtained access to my bed. Our intercourse was long continued, to our mutual satisfaction, when Usbeck arrived suddenly one night at Bursa, and demanded instant entrance into his house. Our courage did not desert us under these circumstances, and Theodore, slipping down stairs in the dark, escaped at the same time that Usbeck was admitted. Our danger, however, did not end here; for my husband’s suspicions had been awakened by his detention at the door, and searching every part of my chamber, he found a mantle which my lover had left behind him in his retreat.
His suspicions being now confirmed, he burst into a transport of jealous fury, and ordered the slave Gambone for instant execution. According to the custom of the country, his other slaves were conducting him for that purpose, through the city with a horn sounding before him, when Theodore met the procession, and falling upon the criminal, reproached him, amid a shower of blows, with having robbed him of his mantle.
This trick of Theodore’s, who was unknown to Usbeck, saved the slave, and effaced the suspicions which he entertained of my fidelity. New offences, however, on my part, for I still continued my intercourse with Theodore, renewed his jealousy, and he at last shut me up in the enchanted palace whence you delivered me; though it was not then kept by the giant and serpent, which were the afterwork of a necromancer who wrought for him.”
The damsel was here interrupted by an outcry, and the party was instantly set upon by thieves. These were, however, beaten off, and their leader taken — prisoner by Brandimart. He, throwing himself at the feet of the cavalier, entreated him not to carry him to Lissa, as he dreaded the vengeance of Doliston, the prince of that country, for having formerly carried off his eldest daughter, whom he had sold to the lord of the Sylvan Tower.
Brandimart, however, who has secret reasons (as will be shortly seen) for being pleased at this account, insists upon carrying him to Lissa; and arriving before Doliston’s capital, finds it besieged by Theodore, in revenge for the monarch’s having refused him Doristella. All now is cleared up. Flordelis turns out to be the missing daughter of Doliston, who had been wooed by Brandimart in the Sylvan Tower; and no further obstacle existing to the union of Theodore and Doristella, these two, as well as Brandimart and Flordelis, are united in marriage; Doliston and Theodore having previously made peace.
After long festivities in honour of these double espousals, Brandimart and Flordelis, still anxious to pursue Orlando, embark for France with a prosperous wind. This, however, changes; increases to a tempest; and finally drives them on the shores of Carthage. Here Brandimart, less anxious for his own safety than for that of Flordelis and his companions, conceals his being a Christian, and announcing himself only as son of Monodontes, king of the Distant Isles, declares that it was his purpose to visit Agramant in Biserta.
He accordingly sets off, always attended by Flordelis, for that capital; where he is magnificently received, and is afterwards carried off by Agramant, together with Rogero, on his expedition against France.
Agramant, leaving Dudon a prisoner at large in Biserta, which was to be governed in his absence by a vice-roy, embarks upon his long meditated enterprise, disembarks in Spain, and arrives, by forced marches, near Mount Albano, in the neighbourhood of which the armies of Charlemagne and Marsilius were left engaged.
The strife was still continued with unabated fury; and in this Rinaldo was matched with Ferrau, king Grandonio with the marquis Oliviero, Serpentine with Ogier the Dane, and Marsilius himself against Charlemagne.
These duels were, however, of little account, compared with that which raged between Rodomont and Bradamant. Of this desperate contest Orlando was a witness; who would not turn his arms against Rodomont while he was engaged with so formidable an adversary.
While Orlando thus played the part of a looker-on, he was surprised by the sound of an approaching enemy, and casting his eyes in that direction, saw a plump of spears, with banners and pennons, descending the sides of a mountain. He immediately stooped from his saddle to pick up a weighty lance which was lying on the ground, and thus prepared himself for the encounter of what proved to be the army of Agramant.
This sovereign had in the meantime dispatched one of his vassal kings, named Pinadoro, towards the field of battle, with orders to bring him one or more prisoners, who might inform him of the state of the Christian army. Pinadoro and Orlando meet and tilt together: but the feudatory king, instead of accomplishing the orders of his sovereign, remains the prisoner of the count He is, however, no sooner taken than liberated by his conqueror, who bids him return to his army in peace. The report of his ill success does not frighten Agraniant from his purpose; and the Moorish army descends like a torrent into the plain.
At the sight of these new enemies, Charles left Marsilius, who was closely pressed by him, and ordered Rinaldo also to give a respite to Ferrau, and lead a squadron against the approaching troops, whom he divined to be what they really were. Other divisions of the army followed in support of one another, and a bloody battle ensued, with various and very doubtful success. Meantime Orlando, who wished such measure of misfortune to Charlemagne as should make his assistance necessary, and ensure him the possession of Angelica as his reward, had retired from the medley into a neighbouring wood, and was praying devoutly for the discomfiture of the Christians. By accident, Ferrau, fatigued by his long contest with Rinaldo, and lately as hard pressed by him as Marsilius was by Charlemagne, had sought shelter in the same retreat Here, stooping to drink from the banks of a river, he dropt his helmet in the water, and was engaged in a vain attempt to recover it, when he was discovered by Orlando. The count, however, was too generous to attack an enemy under such disadvantages, and weakened as Ferrau evidently was by the combat he had previously waged against Rinaldo. He accordingly, after a short conference with him, in which he learned the state of things, spurred his courser, in order to join the army of Charlemagne.
Here he performs high feats of valour, and, after the slaughter of many adversaries, is advancing against Rogero, when Atlantes, who had accompanied the youth, (since he could not restrain him from following his destiny,) diverts Orlando from his object by the vision of a triumphant Pagan squadron, and of the personal danger of Charlemagne. Fascinated by this illusion, he follows the supposed Saracens into the forest of Arden. Here the vision disappears; and the count, wearied with the fruitless chace, lights from Brigliadoro near a fountain. Stooping to drink, he sees a crystal palace at the bottom, through the walls of which he beholds a dance of ladies, and, unable to resist the temptation of an adventure, plunges, armed as he is, into the fountain.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48