Canto 11 & Canto 12
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #10a
CANTO 11 ARGUMENT Assisted by the magic ring she wears, Angelica evanishes from view. Next in a damsel, whom a giant bears Beneath his arm, his bride Rogero true Beholds. Orlando to the shore repairs, Where the fell orc so many damsels slew; Olympia frees, and spoils the beast of life: Her afterwards Oberto takes to wife. I Although a feeble rein, in mid career, Will oft suffice to stop courageous horse; 'Tis seldom Reason's bit will serve to steer Desire, or turn him from his furious course, When pleasure is in reach: like headstrong bear, Whom from the honeyed meal 'tis ill to force, If once he scent the tempting mess, or sup A drop, which hangs upon the luscious cup. II What reason then Rogero shall withhold From taking with Angelica delight, -- That gentle maid, there naked in his hold, In the lone forest, and secure from sight? Of Bradamant he thinks not, who controlled His bosom erst: and foolish were the knight, If thinking of that damsel as before, By this he had not set an equal store; III Warmed by whose youthful beauties, the severe Xenocrates would not have been more chaste. The impatient Child had dropt both shield and spear, And hurrying now his other arms uncased; When, casting down her eyes in shame and fear, The virtuous ring upon her finger placed, Angelica descried, and which of yore From her Brunello in Albracca bore. IV This is the ring she carried into France, When thither first the damsel took her way; With her the brother, bearer of the lance, After, the paladin, Astolpho's prey. With this she Malagigi's spells and trance Made vain by Merlin's stair; and on a day Orlando freed, with many knights and good, From Dragontina's cruel servitude: V With this passed viewless from the turret-cell, Where her that bad old man had mewed; but why Recount its different wonders, if as well You know the virtues of the ring as I? From her this even in her citadel, His monarch Agramant to satisfy, Brunello took: since where she had been crost By Fortune, till her native realm was lost. VI Now that she this upon her hand surveys, She is so full of pleasure and surprise, She doubts it is a dream, and, in amaze, Hardly believes her very hand and eyes. Then softly to her mouth the hoop conveys, And, quicker than the flash which cleaves the skies, From bold Rogero's sight her beauty shrowds, As disappears the sun, concealed in clouds. VII Yet still Rogero gazed like wight distraught, And hurried here and there with fruitless speed: But when he had recalled the ring to thought, Foiled and astounded, cursed his little heed. And now the vanished lady, whom he sought, Of that ungrateful and discourteous deed Accusing stood, wherewith she had repaid, (Unfitting recompense) his generous aid. VIII "Ungrateful damsel! and is this the pay You render for the service done?" (said he) "Why rather would you steal my ring away Than have it as a welcome gift from me? Not only this, (but use me as you may) I, and my shield and courser, yours shall be; So you no more conceal your beauteous cheer. Cruel, though answering not, I know you hear." IX So saying, like one blind, with bootless care, Feeling his way about the fount he strayed. How often he embraced the empty air, Hoping in this to have embraced the maid! Meanwhile, now far removed, the flying fair Had halted not, till to a cave conveyed. Formed in a mountain was that harbour rude; Spacious, and for her need supplied with food. X 'Twas here an aged herdsman, one who tended A numerous troop of mares, had made his won: These, seeking pasture, through the valley wended, Where the green grass was fed by freshening run: While stalls on either side the cave, defended His charge from the oppressive noon-tide sun; Angelica, within, that livelong day, Unseen of prying eyes, prolonged her stay; XI And about evening, when refreshed with rest And food, she deemed her course she might renew; In certain rustic weeds her body dressed: How different from those robes of red, or blue, Green, yellow, purple, her accustomed vest, So various in its fashion, shape, and hue! Yet her not so that habit misbecame, But that she looked the fair and noble dame. XII Then Phillis' and Neaera's praise forbear, And ye who sing of Amaryllis cease, Or flying Galataea, not so fair, Tityrus and Melibaeus, with your peace! 'Twas here the beauteous lady took a mare, Which liked her best, of all that herd's increase. Then, and then first conceived the thought, again To seek in the Levant her antient reign. XIII This while Rogero, after he had passed Long space in hope the maid might re-appear, Awakened from his foolish dream at last, And found she was not nigh, and did not hear. Then to remount his griffin-courser cast, In earth and air accustomed to career. But, having slipt his bit, the winged horse Had towered and soared in air a freer course. XIV To his first ill addition grave and sore Was to have lost the bird of rapid wing, Which he no better than the mockery bore Put on him by the maid; but deeper sting Than this or that, implants, and pains him more, The thought of having lost the precious ring; Not for its power so much, esteemed above Its worth, as given him by his lady love. XV Afflicted beyond measure, he, with shield Cast on his shoulder, and new-cased in mail, Left the sea-side, and through a grassy field Pursued his way, towards a spacious vale: Where he beheld a path, by wood concealed, The widest and most beaten in the dale. Nor far had wound the closest shades within, Ere on his right he heard a mighty din. XVI He heard a din, and fearful clashing sound Of arms, and hurrying on with eager pace 'Twixt tree and tree, two furious champions found, Waging fierce fight in close and straightened place: Who to each other (warring on what ground I know not) neither showed regard nor grace. The one a giant was of haughty cheer, And one a bold and gallant cavalier. XVII Covered with shield and sword, one, leaping, sped Now here now there, and thus himself defended, Lest a two-handed mace upon his head Should fall, with which the giant still offended: -- On the field lay his horse, already dead. Rogero paused, and to the strife attended: And straight his wishes leant towards the knight, Whom he would fain see conqueror in the fight: XVIII Yet not for this would lend the champion aid, But to behold the cruel strife stood nigh. Lo! a two-handed stroke the giant made Upon the lesser warrior's casque, and by The mighty blow the knight was overlaid: The other, when astound he saw him lie, To deal the foe his death, his helm untied, So that the warrior's face Rogero spied. XIX Of his sweet lady, of his passing fair, And dearest Bradamant Rogero spies The lovely visage of its helmet bare; Towards whom, to deal her death, the giant hies: So that, advancing with his sword in air, To sudden battle him the Child defies, But he, who will not wait for new alarm, Takes the half-lifeless lady in his arm, XX And on his shoulder flings and bears away; As sometimes wolf a little lamb will bear, Or eagle in her crooked claws convey Pigeon, or such-like bird, through liquid air. Rogero runs with all the speed he may, Who sees how needed is his succour there. But with such strides the giant scours the plain, Him with his eyes the knight pursues with pain. XXI This flying and that following, the two Kept a close path which widened still, and they Piercing that forest, issued forth to view On a wide meadow, which without it lay. -- No more of this. Orlando I pursue, That bore Cymosco's thunder-bolt away; And this had in the deepest bottom drowned, That never more the mischief might be found. XXII But with small boot: for the impious enemy Of human nature, taught the bolt to frame, After the shaft, which darting from the sky Pierces the cloud and comes to ground in flame, Who, when he tempted Eve to eat and die With the apple, hardly wrought more scathe and shame, Some deal before, or in our grandsires' day, Guided a necromancer where it lay. XXIII More than a hundred fathom buried so, Where hidden it had lain a mighty space, The infernal tool by magic from below Was fished and born amid the German race; Who, by one proof and the other, taught to know Its powers, and he who plots for our disgrace, The demon, working on their weaker wit, As last upon its fatal purpose hit. XXIV To Italy and France, on every hand The cruel art among all people past: And these the bronze in hollow mould expand, First in the furnace melted by the blast: Others the iron bore, and small or grand, Fashion the various tube they pierce or cast. And bombard, gun, according to its frame, Or single cannon this, or double, name. XXV This saker, culverine, or falcon hight, I hear (all names the inventor has bestowed); Which splits or shivers steel and stone outright, And, where the bullet passes, makes a road. -- Down to the sword, restore thy weapons bright, Sad soldier, to the forge, a useless load; And gun or carbine on thy shoulder lay, Who without these, I wot, shalt touch no pay. XXVI How, foul and pestilent discovery, Didst thou find place within the human heart? Through thee is martial glory lost, through thee The trade of arms became a worthless art: And at such ebb are worth and chivalry, That the base often plays the better part. Through thee no more shall gallantry, no more Shall valour prove their prowess as of yore. XXVII Through thee, alas! are dead, or have to die, So many noble lords and cavaliers Before this war shall end, which, Italy Afflicting most, has drowned the world in tears, That, if I said the word, I err not, I, Saying he sure the cruellest appears And worst, of nature's impious and malign, Who did this hateful engine first design: XXVIII And I shall think, in order to pursue The sin for ever, God has doomed to hell That cursed soul, amid the unhappy crew, Beside the accursed Judas there to dwell. But follow we the good Orlando, who So burns to seek Ebuda's island fell, Whose foul inhabitants a monster sate With flesh of women, fair and delicate. XXIX But no less slow than eager was the knight: The winds appear, which still his course delay; Who, whether blowing on the left or right, Or poop, so faintly in his canvas play, His bark makes little speed; and, spent outright, The breeze which wafts her sometimes dies away, Or blows so foul, that he is fain to steer Another course, or to the leeward veer. XXX It was the will of Heaven that he, before The King of Ireland, should not reach the land, The he with greater ease upon that shore Might act what shortly you shall understand. "Make for the isle. Now" (said he) "may'st thou moor," (Thus issuing to the pilot his command), "And give me for my need the skiff; for I Will to the rock without more company. XXXI "The biggest cable that thou hast aboard, And biggest anchor to my hands consign; Thou shalt perceive why thus my boat is stored, If I but meet that monster of the brine." He bade them lower the pinnace overboard, With all things that befitted his design: His arms he left behind, except his blade, And singly for the rocky island made. XXXII Home to his breast the count pulls either oar, With the island at his back, to which he wends, In guise that, crawling up the sandy shore, The crooked crab from sea or marsh ascends. It was the hour Aurora gay before The rising sun her yellow hair extends (His orb as yet half-seen, half-hid from sight) Not without stirring jealous Tithon's spite. XXXIII Approaching to the naked rock as near As vigorous hand might serve to cast a stone, He knew not if he heard, or did not hear A cry, so faint and feeble was the moan. When, turning to the left, the cavalier, His level sight along the water thrown, Naked as born, bound to a stump, espied A dame whose feet were wetted by the tide. XXXIV Because she distant is, and evermore Holds down her face, he ill can her discern: Both sculls he pulls amain, and nears the shore, With keen desire more certain news to learn: But now the winding beach is heard to roar, And wood and cave the mighty noise return; The billows swell, and, lo! the beast! who pressed, And nigh concealed the sea beneath his breast. XXXV As cloud from humid vale is seen to rise, Pregnant with rain and storm, which seems withal To extinguished day, and charged with deeper dyes Than night, to spread throughout this earthly ball, So swims the beast, who so much occupies Of sea, he may be said to keep it all. Waves roar: collected in himself, the peer Looks proudly on, unchanged in heart and cheer. XXXVI He, as one well resolved in his intent, Moved quickly to perform the feat he planned; And, for he would the damsel's harm prevent, And would with that assail the beast at hand, Between her and the orc the boat he sent, Leaving within the sheath his idle brand, Anchor and cable next he takes in hold, And waits the foe with constant heart and bold. XXXVII As soon as him the monster has descried, And skiff at little interval, his throat The fish, to swallow him, expands so wide, That horse and horseman through his jaws might float. Here Roland with the anchor, and beside (Unless I am mistaken) with the boat Plunged, and engulphed the parted teeth betwixt, His anchor in the tongue and palate fixt; XXXVIII So that the monster could no longer drop Or raise his horrid jaws, which this extends. 'Tis thus who digs the mine is wont to prop The ground, and where he works the roof suspends, Lest sudden ruin whelm him from atop, While he incautiously his task intends. Roland (so far apart was either hook) But by a leap could reach the highest crook. XXXIX The prop so placed, Orlando now secure That the fell beast his mouth no more can close, Unsheathes his sword, and, in that cave obscure, Deals here and there, now thrusts, now trenchant blows. As well as citadel, whose walls immure The assailants, can defend her from her foes, The monster, harassed by the war within, Defends himself against the Paladin. XL Now floats the monstrous beast, o'ercome with pain, Whose scaly flanks upon the waves expand; And now descends into the deepest main, Scowers at the bottom, and stirs up the sand. The rising flood ill able to sustain, The cavalier swims forth, and makes for land. He leaves the anchor fastened in his tongue, And grasps the rope which from the anchor hung. XLI So swimming till the island is attained, With this towards the rock Orlando speeds: He hawls the anchor home (a footing gained), Pricked by whose double fluke, the monster bleeds. The labouring orc to follow is constrained, Dragged by that force which every force exceeds; Which at a single sally more achieves Than at ten turns the circling windlass heaves. XLII As a wild bull, about whose horn is wound The unexpected noose, leaps here and there, When he has felt the cord, and turns him round, And rolls and rises, yet slips not the snare; So from his pleasant seat and ancient bound, Dragged by that arm and rope he cannot tear, With thousands of strange wheels and thousand slides, The monster follows where the cable guides. XLIII This the red sea with reason would be hight To-day, such streams of blood have changed its hue; And where the monster lashed it in his spite, The eye its bottom through the waves might view. And now he splashed the sky, and dimmed the light Of the clear sun, so high the water flew. The noise re-echoing round, the distant shore And wood and hill rebound the deafening roar. XLIV Forth from his grotto aged Proteus hies, And mounts above the surface at the sound; And having seen Orlando dive, and rise From the orc, and drag the monstrous fish to ground, His scattered flock forgot, o'er ocean flies; While so the din increases, that, astound, Neptune bids yoke his dolphins, and that day For distant Aethiopia posts away. XLV With Melicerta on her shoulders, weeping Ino, and Nereids with dishevelled hair, The Glauci, Tritons, and their fellows, leaping They know not whither, speed, some here, some there. Orlando draws to land, the billows sweeping, That horrid fish, but might his labour spare: For, with the torment worn, and travel sore, The brute, exhausted, died, ere dragged ashore. XLVI Of the islanders had trooped no petty throng, To witness that strange fight, who by a vain And miserable superstition stung, Esteemed such holy deed a work profane; And said that this would be another wrong To Proteus, and provoke his ire again; Make him his herds pour forth upon the strand, And with the whole old warfare vex the land; XLVII And that it better were to sue for peace, First from the injured god, lest worse ensue; And Proteus from his cruel hate would cease, If they into the sea the offender threw. As torch to torch gives fire, and lights increase, Until the flame is spread the country through, Even so from heart to heart the fury spread, Which in the waves would doom Orlando dead. XLVIII These, armed with sling or bow, upon the shore, And these supplied with spear or sword descend; And on each side, behind him and before, Distant and near, as best they can, offend. At such a brutal insult wonders sore The peer, who sees that mischief they intend, In vengeance for the cruel monster slain, Whence he had glory hoped, and praise to gain. XLIX But as the usage is of surly bear, By sturdy Russ or Lithuanian led, Little to heed the dogs in crowded fair, Nor even at their yelps to turn his head, The clamour of the churls assembled there Orlando witnessed with as little dread; Who knew that he the rout which threatened death, Had power to scatter at a single breath: L And speedily he made them yield him place, When turned on them, he grasped his trenchant blade. Misjudging of his worth, the foolish race Deemed that he would have short resistance made; Since him they saw no covering buckler brace, Uncuirassed, nor in other arms arrayed; But knew not that, from head to foot, a skin More hard than diamond cased the Paladin. LI What by Orlando others cannot do, The knight by others can; at half a score Of blows in all he thirty killed; by few He passed that measure, if the strokes were more: And had already turned him to undo The naked lady, having cleared the shore, When other larum sounds, and other cries From a new quarter of the island rise. LII While so the Paladin had kept in play The barbarous islanders, upon that hand, The men of Ireland, without let or fray, Had poured from many quarters on the strand: And now, without remorse or pity, slay The inhabitants, through all the wasted land; And, was it justice moved, or cruel rage, Slaughter without regard to sex or age. LIII Little or no defender the island-crew Attempt; in part as taken unaware, In part that in the little place are few, And that those few without a purpose are. 'Mid sack and fire, the wasted country through, The islanders are slain, and everwhere The walls are upon earth in ruin spread, Nor in the land is left a living head. LIV As if the mighty tumult which he hears, And shriek and ruin had concerned him nought, The naked rock the bold Orlando nears, Where she was placed, to feed the monster brought. He looks, and known to him the dame appears, And more appears, when nigher her he sought: Olympia she appears, and is indeed Olympia, whose faith reaped so ill a meed. LV Wretched Olympia; whom, beside the scorn Which Love put on her, Fortune too pursued, Who sent the corsairs fell, which her had born That very day to the island of Ebude. She Roland recollects on his return Landward; but, for the damsel naked stood, Not only nought she to the warrior said, But dared not raise her eyes, and dropt her head. LVI Orlando asks what evil destiny Her to that cruel island had conveyed From where she in as much felicity Was with her consort left as could be said: "I know not (cried the weeping dame) if I Have thanks to render thee for death delayed, Or should lament me that, through means of thee, This day did not my woes concluded see. LVII "I have to thank thee that from death, too dread And monstrous, thy good arm deliverance gave; Which would have been too monstrous, had I fed The beast, and in his belly found a grave: But cannot thank thee that I am not dead, Since death alone can me from misery save, Well shall I thank thee for that wished relief, Which can deliver me from every grief." LVIII Next she related, with loud sobs and sighs, How her false spouse betrayed her as she lay Asleep, and how of pirates made the prize, They bore her from the desert isle away. And, as she spake, she turned her in the guise Of Dian, framed by artists, who pourtray Her carved or painted, as in liquid font She threw the water in Actaeon's front. LIX For, as she can, her waist she hides, and breast, More liberal of flowing flank and reins. Roland desires his ship, to find a vest To cover her, delivered from her chains: While he is all intent upon this quest, Oberto comes; Oberto, he that reigns O'er Ireland's people, who had understood How lifeless lay the monster of the flood; LX And, swimming, how, amid the watery roar, A knight a weighty anchor in his throat Had fix'd, and so had dragged him to the shore, As men against the current track a boat. This while Oberto comes; who, if his lore, Who told the tale, were true, desires to note; While his invading army, far and wide, Ebuda burn and waste on every side. LXI Oberto, though the Paladin to sight Was dripping, and with water foul and gore; With gore, that from the orc, emerged to light, Whom he had entered bodily, he bore, He for the country knew the stranger knight As he perused his face; so much the more, That he had thought when told the tidings, none Save Roland could such mighty fear have done; LXII Knew him, because a page of honour he Had been in France, and for the crown, his right Upon his father's death, had crossed the sea The year before. So often he the knight Had seen, and had with him held colloquy, Their times of meeting had been infinite. He doffed his casque, with festive welcome pressed Towards the count, and clasped him to the breast. LXIII Orlando is no less rejoined to see The king, than is the king that champion true. After with friendly cheer and equal glee Had once or twice embraced the noble two, To Oberto Roland told the treachery Which had been done the youthful dame, and who Had done it, -- false Bireno -- that among All men should least have sought to do her wrong. LXIV To him he told the many proofs and clear By which the dame's affection had been tried; And how she for Bireno kin and geer Had lost, and would in fine for him have died. And how he this could warrant, and appear To vouch for much, as witness on her side. While thus to him her griefs Orlando showed, The lady's shining eyes with tears o'erflowed. LXV Her face was such as sometimes in the spring We see a doubtful sky, when on the plain A shower descends, and the sun, opening His cloudy veil, looks out amid the rain. And as the nightingale then loves to sing From branch of verdant stem her dulcet strain, So in her beauteous tears his pinions bright Love bathes, rejoicing in the chrystal light. LXVI The stripling heats his golden arrow's head At her bright eyes, then slacks the weapon's glow In streams, which falls between white flowers and red; And, the shaft tempered, strongly draws his bow, And roves at him, o'er whom no shield is spread, Nor iron rind, nor double mail below; Who, gazing on her tresses, eyes, and brow, Feels that his heart is pierced, he knows not how. LXVII Olympia's beauties are of those most rare, Nor is the forehead's beauteous curve alone Excellent, and her eyes and cheeks and hair, Mouth, nose, and throat, and shoulders; but, so down Descending from the lady's bosom fair, Parts which are wont to be concealed by gown, Are such, as haply should be placed before Whate'er this ample world contains in store. LXVIII In whiteness they surpassed unsullied snow, Smooth ivory to the touch: above were seen Two rounding paps, like new-pressed milk in show, Fresh-taken from its crate of rushes green; The space betwixt was like the valley low, Which oftentimes we see small hills between, Sweet in its season, and now such as when Winter with snows has newly filled the glen. LXIX The swelling hips and haunches' symmetry, The waist more clear than mirror's polished grain, And members seem of Phidias' turnery, Or work of better hand and nicer pain. As well to you of other parts should I Relate, which she to hide desired in vain. To sum the beauteous whole, from head to feet, In her all loveliness is found complete. LXX And had she in the Idaean glen unveiled In ancient days before the Phrygian swain, By how much heavenly Venus had prevailed I know not, though her rivals strove in vain. Nor haply had the youth for Sparta sailed, To violate the hospitable reign; But said: "With Menelaus let Helen rest! No other prize I seek, of this possest"; LXXI Or in Crotona dwelt, where the divine Zeuxis in days of old his work projected, To be the ornament of Juno's shrine, And hence so many naked dames collected; And in one form perfection to combine, Some separate charm from this or that selected, He from no other model need have wrought. Since joined in her were all the charms he sought. LXXII I do not think Bireno ever viewed Naked that beauteous form; for sure it were He never could have been so stern of mood, As to have left her on that desert lair. That Ireland's king was fired I well conclude, Nor hid the flame that he within him bare. He strives to comfort her, and hope instill, That future good shall end her present ill. LXXIII And her to Holland promises to bear, And vows till she is to her state restored, And just and memorable vengeance there Achieved upon her perjured, traitor lord, He never will unceasing war forbear, Waged with all means that Ireland can afford; And this with all his speed. He, up and down, Meantime bids seek for female vest and gown. LXXIV Now will it need to send in search of vest Beyond the savage island's narrow bound, Since thither every day in such came dressed, Some dame, to feed the beast, from countries round. Nor long his followers there pursued the quest, Ere many they of various fashions found. So was Olympia clothed; while sad of mood Was he, not so to clothe her as he wou'd. LXXV But never silk so choice or gold so fine Did the industrious Florentine prepare, Nor whosoever broiders gay design, Though on his task be spent time, toil, and care, Nor Lemnos' god, nor Pallas' art divine, Form raiment worthy of those limbs so fair, That King Oberto cannot choose but he Recalls them at each turn to memory. LXXVI To see that love so kindled by the dame, On many grounds Orlando was content; Who not alone rejoiced that such a shame Put upon her, Bireno should repent; But, that in the design on which he came, He should be freed from grave impediment. Not for Olympia thither had he made, But, were his lady there, to lend her aid. LXXVII To him, that there she was not, soon was clear, But clear it was not if she had been there, Or no; since of those islesmen, far and near, One was not left the tidings to declare. The following day they from the haven steer, And all united in one squadron fare. The Paladin with them to Ireland hies, From whence to France the warrior's passage lies. LXXVIII Scarcely a day in Ireland's realm he spends: And for no prayers his purposed end forbore: Love, that in quest of his liege-lady sends The knight upon this track, permits no more. Departing, he Olympia recommends To the Irish monarch, who to serve her swore: Although this needed not; since he was bent More than behoved, her wishes to content: LXXIX So levied in few days his warlike band, And (league with England's kind and Scotland's made) In Holland and in Friesland left no land To the false duke, so rapid was the raid. And to rebel against that lord's command His Zealand stirred; nor he the war delayed, Until by him Bireno's blood was spilt: A punishment that ill atoned his guilt. LXXX Oberto takes to wife Olympia fair, And her of countess makes a puissant queen. But be the Paladin again our care, Who furrows , night and day, the billows green, And strikes his sails in the same harbour, where They to the wind erewhile unfurled had been All armed, he on his Brigliadoro leaps, And leaves behind him winds and briny deeps. LXXXI The remnant of the winter, he with shield And spear achieved things worthy to be shown, I ween; but these were then so well concealed, It is no fault of mine they are not blown; For good Orlando was in fighting field, Prompter to do, than make his prowess known. Nor e'er was bruited action of the knight, Save when some faithful witness was in sight. LXXXII That winter's remnant he so passed that feat Of his was known not to the public ear; But when within that animal discreet Which Phryxus bore, the sun illumed the sphere, And Zephyrus returning glad and sweet, Brought back with him again the blooming year, The wondrous deeds Orlando did in stower, Appeared with the new grass and dainty flower. LXXXIII From plain to hill, from champaign flat to shore, Oppressed with grief and pain the County fares, When a long cry, entering a forest hoar, -- A load lamenting smites upon his ears. He grasps his brand and spurs his courser sore, And swiftly pricks toward the sound he hears. But I shall at another season say What chanced, and may be heard in future lay. CANTO 12 ARGUMENT Orlando, full of rage, pursues a knight Who bears by force his lady-love away, And comes where old Atlantes, by his sleight Had raised a dome, Rogero there to stay. Here too Rogero comes; where getting sight Of his lost love, the County strives in fray With fierce Ferrau, and, after slaughter fell Amid the paynim host, finds Isabel. I Ceres, when from the Idaean dame in haste Returning to the lonely valley, where Enceladus the Aetnaean mountain placed On his bolt-smitten flanks, is doomed to bear, Her girl she found not, on that pathless waste, By her late quitted, having rent her hair, And marked cheeks, eyes, and breast, with livid signs, At the end of her lament tore up two pines, II And lit at Vulcan's fire the double brand, And gave them virtue never to be spent; And, afterwards, with one in either hand, Drawn by two dragons, in her chariot went, Searching the forest, hill, and level land, Field, valley, running stream, or water pent, The land and sea; and having searched the shell Of earth above, descended into hell. III Had Roland of Eleusis' deity The sovereign power possessed no less than will, He for Angelica had land and sea Ransacked, and wood and field, and pool and rill, Heaven, and Oblivion's bottom: but since he Had not, his pressing purpose to fulfil, Her dragon and her car, the unwearied knight Pursued the missing maid as best he might. IV Through France he sought her, and will seek her through The realms of Italy and of Almayn, And thence through the Castiles, both old and new, So passing into Libya out of Spain. While bold Orlando has this plan in view, He hears, or thinks he hears, a voice complain: He forward spurs, and sees on mighty steed A warrior trot before him on the mead; V Who in his arms a captive damsel bears, Sore grieving, and across the pommel laid; She weeps and struggles, and the semblance wears Of cruel woe, and ever calls for aid Upon Anglantes' prince; and now appears To him, as he surveys the youthful maid, She, for whom, night and day, with ceaseless pain, Inside and out, he France had searched in vain. VI I say not is, but that she to the sight Seems the Angelica he loves so dear. He who is lady-love and goddess' flight Beholds, borne off in such afflicted cheer, Impelled by fury foul, and angry spite, Calls back with horrid voice the cavalier; Calls back the cavalier, and threats in vain, And Brigliadoro drives with flowing rein. VII That felon stops not, nor to him replies, On his great gain intent, his glorious prey; And with such swiftness through the greenwood hies, Wind would not overtake him on his way. The one pursues while him the other flies, And with lament resounds the thicket gray. They issue in a spacious mead, on which Appears a lofty mansion, rare and rich. VIII Of various marbles, wrought with subtle care, Is the proud palace. He who fast in hold Bears off upon his arm the damsel fair, Sore pricking, enters at a gate of gold. Nor Brigliador is far behind the pair, Backed by Orlando, angry knight and bold. Entering, around Orlando turns his eyes, Yet neither cavalier nor damsel spies. IX He suddenly dismounts, and thundering fares Through the inmost palace, seeking still his foe, And here and there in restless rage repairs, Till he has seen each bower, each galleried row; With the same purpose he ascends the stairs, Having first vainly searched each room below. Nor spends less labour, on his task intent, Above, than he beneath had vainly spent. X Here beds are seen adorned with silk and gold; Nor of partition aught is spied or wall: For these, and floor beneath, throughout that hold, Are hid by curtains and by carpets all. Now here, now there, returns Orlando bold, Nor yet can glad his eyes, in bower or hall, With the appearance of the royal maid, Or the foul thief by whom she was conveyed. XI This while, as here and there in fruitless pain He moves, oppressed with thought and trouble sore, Gradasso, Brandimart, and him of Spain, Ferrau, he finds, with Sacripant and more; Who ever toiling, like himself, in vain Above, that building, and beneath explore, And as they wander, curse with one accord The malice of the castle's viewless lord. XII All in pursuit of the offender speed, And upon him some charge of robbery lay: One knight complains that he has stolen his steed, One that he has purloined his lady gay. Other accuses him of other deed: And thus within the enchanted cage they stay, Nor can depart; while in the palace pent, Many have weeks and months together spent. XIII Roland, when he round that strange dome had paced Four times or six, still vainly seeking, said Within himself, at last, "I here might waste My time and trouble, still in vain delayed, While haply her the robber whom I chased Has far away, through other gate conveyed." So thinking, from the house he issued out Into the mead which girt the dome about. XIV While Roland wanders round the sylvan Hall, Still holding close his visage to the ground, To see if recent print or trace withal Can, right or left, upon the turf be found, He from a neighbouring window hears a call, And looks, and thinks he hears that voice's sound, And thinks he sees the visage by which he Was so estranged from what he wont to be. XV He thinks he hears Angelica, and she "Help, help!" entreating cries, and weeping sore, "More than for life and soul, alas! of thee Protection for my honour I implore. Then shall it in my Roland's presence be Ravished by this foul robber? Oh! before Me to such miserable fate you leave, Let me from your own hand my death receive!" XVI These words repeated once, and yet again, Made Roland through each chamber, far and near, Return with passion, and with utmost pain; But tempered with high hope. Sometimes the peer Stopt in his search and heard a voice complain, Which seemed to be Angelica's: if here The restless warrior stand, it sounds from there, And calls for help he knows not whence nor where, XVII Returning to Rogero, left, I said, When through a gloomy path, upon his steed, Following the giant and the dame who fled, He from the wood had issued on the mead; I say that he arrived where Roland dread Arrived before him, if I rightly read. The giant through the golden portal passed, Rogero close behind, who followed fast. XVIII As soon as he his foot has lifted o'er The threshold, he through court and gallery spies; Nor sees the giant or the lady more, And vainly glances here and there his eyes. He up and down returns with labour sore, Yet not for that his longing satisfies; Nor can imagine where the felon thief Has hid himself and dame in space so brief. XIX After four times or five he so had wound Above, below, through bower and gallery fair, He yet returned, and, having nothing found, Searched even to the space beneath the stair. At length, in hope they in the woodlands round Might be, he sallied; but the voice, which there Roland recalled, did him no less recall, And made as well return within the Hall. XX One voice, one shape, which to Anglantes' peer Seemed his Angelica, beseeching aid. Seemed to Rogero Dordogne's lady dear. Who him a truant to himself had made: If with Gradasso, or with other near He spake, of those who through the palace strayed. To all of them the vision, seen apart, Seemed that which each had singly most at heart. XXI This was a new and unwonted spell, Which the renowned Atlantes had composed, That in this toil, this pleasing pain, might dwell So long Rogero, by these walls enclosed, From him should pass away the influence fell, -- Influence which him to early death exposed. Though vain his magic tower of steel, and vain Alcina's art, Atlantes plots again. XXII Not only he, but others who stood high For valour, and in France had greatest fame, That by their hands Rogero might not die, Brought here by old Atlantes' magic came: While these in the enchanted mansion lie, That food be wanting not to knight or dame, He has supplied the dome throughout so well, That all the inmates there in plenty dwell. XXIII But to Angelica return we, who Now of that ring so wondrous repossessed, (Which, in her mouth, concealed the maid from view, Preserved from spell when it the finger pressed,) Was in the mountain-cavern guided to Whatever needed, viands, mare, and vest, And had conceived the project to pursue Her way to her fair Indian realm anew. XXIV King Sacripant, or Roland, willingly The damsel would have taken for her guide; Not that, propitious to their wishes, she (Averse from both) inclined to either side; But, since her eastern journey was to be Through town and city, scattered far and wide, She needed company, and ill had found More trusty guides than these for such a round. XXV Now this, now that she sought with fruitless care, Before she lit on either warrior's trace, By city or by farm, now here, now there, In forest now, and now in other place. Fortune, at length, where caged with Roland are Ferrau and Sacripant, directs her chase; Rogero, with Gradasso fierce, and more, Noosed with strange witcheries by Atlantes hoar. XXVI She enters, hidden from the enchanter's eyes, And by the ring concealed, examines all; And Roland there, and Sacripant espies, Intent to seek her vainly through the Hall; And with her image cheating both, descries Atlantes old. The damsel doubts withal Which of the two to take, and long revolves This in her doubtful thought, nor well resolves. XXVII She knows not which with her will best accord, The Count Orlando or Circassia's knight. As of most powers, her would Rogero ward In passage perilous, with better might. But should she make the peer her guide, her lord, She knew not if her champion she could slight, If him she would depress with altered cheer, Or into France send back the cavalier: XXVIII But Sacripant at pleasure could depose, Though him she had uplifted to the sky. Hence him alone she for her escort chose, And feigned to trust in his fidelity. The ring she from her mouth withdraws, and shows Her face, unveiled to the Circassian's eye: She thought to him alone; but fierce Ferrau And Roland came upon the maid, and saw. XXIX Ferrau and Roland came upon the maid; For one and the other champion equally Within the palace and without it strayed In quest of her, who was their deity. And now, no longer by the enchantment stayed, Each ran alike towards the dame, for she Had placed the ring upon her hand anew, Which old Atlantes' every scheme o'erthrew. XXX Helm on the head and corselet on the breast Of both the knights, of whom I sing, was tied; By night or day, since they into this rest Had entered, never doffed and laid aside: For such to wear were easy as a vest, To these, so wont the burden to abide. As well was armed, except with iron masque, Ferrau, who wore not, nor would wear, a casque. XXXI Till he had that erst wrested by the peer, Orlando, from the brother of Troyane; For so had sworn the Spanish cavalier, What time he Argalia's helm in vain Sought in the brook; yet though the count was near, Has not stretched forth his hand the prize to gain. For so it was, that neither of the pair Could recognise the other knight while there. XXXII Upon the enchanted dome lay such a spell, That they from one another were concealed; They doffed not, night nor day, the corselet's shell, Not sword, nor even put aside the shield. Saddled, with bridle hanging at the sell, Their steeds were feeding, ready for the field, Within a chamber, near the palace door, With straw and barley heaped in plenteous store. XXXIII Nor might nor mean in old Atlantes lies To stop the knights from mounting, who repair To their good steeds, to chase the bright black eyes, The fair vermillion cheeks and golden hair Of the sweet damsel, who before them flies, And goads to better speed her panting mare; Ill pleased the three assembled to discern, Though haply she had taken each in turn. XXXIV And when these from the magic palace she Had ticed so far, that she no more supposed The warriors to the wicked fallacy Of the malign enchanter were exposed, The ring, which more than once from misery Had rescued her, she 'twixt her lips enclosed, Hence from their sight she vanished in a thought, And left them wondering there, like men distraught. XXXV Although she first the scheme had entertained Roland or Sacripant to have released, To guide her thither, where her father reigned, King Galaphron, who ruled i' the farthest East, The aid of both she suddenly disdained, And in an instant from her project ceased; And deemed, without more debt to count or king, In place of either knight sufficed the ring. XXXVI In haste, they through the forest, here and there, So scorned of her, still gaze with stupid face; Like questing hound which loses sight of hare Or fox, of whom he late pursued the trace, Into close thicket, ditch, or narrow lair, Escaping from the keen pursuer's chase. Meantime their ways the wanton Indian queen Observes, and at their wonder laughs unseen. XXXVII In the mid wood, where they the maid did lose, Was but a single pathway, left or right; Which they believed the damsel could not choose But follow, when she vanished from their sight. Ferrau halts not, and Roland fast pursues, Nor Sacripant less plies the rowels bright. Angelica, this while, retrains her steed, And follows the three warriors with less speed. XXXVIII When pricking thus they came to where the way Was in the forest lost, with wood o'ergrown, And had begun the herbage to survey For print of recent footsteps, up and down, The fierce Ferrau, who might have borne away From all that ever proudest were, the crown, With evil countenance, to the other two Turned him about, and shouted "Whence are you?" XXXIX "Turn back or take another road, save here, In truth, you covet to be slain by me. Nor when I chase or woo my lady dear, Let any think I bear with company." And -- "What more could he say, sir cavalier," (Orlando cried to Sacripant) "if we Were known for the two basest whores that pull And reel from spindle-staff the matted wool?" XL Then turning to Ferrau,, "But that thine head, Thou brutish sot, as I behold, is bare, If thy late words were ill or wisely said, Thou should'st perceive, before we further fare." To him Ferrau: "For that which breeds no dread In me, why should'st thou take such sovereign care? What I have said unhelmed will I prove true, Here, single as I am, on both of you." XLI "Oh!" (to Circassia's king cried Roland dread) "Thy morion for this man let me entreat, Till I have driven such folly from his head; For never with like madness did I meet." -- "Who then would be most fool?" the monarch said; "But if indeed you deem the suit discreet, Lend him thine own; nor shall I be less fit Haply than thee to school his lack of wit." XLII -- "Fools, both of you!" (the fierce Ferrau replied) "As if, did I to wear a helm delight, You would not be without your casques of pride, Already reft by me in your despite; But know thus much, that I by vow am tied To wear no helm, and thus my promise quite; Roaming without, till that fine casque I win Worn by Orlando, Charles's paladin." XLIII -- "Then" (smiling, to the Spaniard said the count) "With naked head, thou thinkest to repeat On Roland what he did in Aspramont, By Agolant's bold son: but shouldst thou meet The warrior whom thou seekest, front to front, I warrant thou wouldst quake from head to feet; Nor only wouldst forego the casque, but give The knight thine other arms to let thee live." XLIV -- "So oft have I had Roland on the hip, And oft," (exclaimed the boaster) "heretofore; From him it had been easy task to strip What other arms, beside his helm, he wore; And if I still have let the occasion slip, -- We sometimes think of things unwished before: Such wish I had not; I have now; and hope To compass easily my present scope." XLV The good Orlando could no more forbear, And cried, "Foul miscreant, liar, marched with me, Say, caitiff, in what country, when and where Boast you to have obtained such victory? That paladin am I, o'er whom you dare To vaunt, and whom you distant deemed: now see If you can take my helm, or I have might To take your other arms in your despite. XLVI "Nor I o'er you the smallest vantage wou'd." He ended, and his temples disarrayed, And to a beech hung up the helmet good, And nigh as quickly bared his trenchant blade. Ferrau stands close, and in such attitude, (His courage not for what had chanced dismayed) Covered with lifted shield and naked sword, As might best shelter to his head afford. XLVII 'Twas thus those warriors two, with faulchions bare, Turning their ready steeds, began to wheel; And where the armour thinnest was, and where The meeting plates were joined, probed steel with steel; Nor was there in the world another pair More fitted to be matched in fierce appeal: Equal their daring, equal was their might, And safe alike from wound was either knight. XLVIII By you, fair sir, already, I presume, That fierce Ferrau was charmed is understood, Save where the child, enclosed within the womb Of the full mother, takes its early food; And hence he ever, till the squalid tomb Covered his manly face, wore harness good (Such was his wont) the doubtful part to guard, Of seven good plates of metal, tempered hard. XLIX Alike a charmed life Orlando bore, Safe every where, except a single part: Unfenced beneath his feet, which evermore By him were guarded with all care and art. The rest than diamond dug from mountain hoar More hard, unless report from truth depart; And armed to battle either champion went, Less for necessity than ornament. L Waxing more fierce and fell the combat rages, Of fear and horror full, between the twain: The fierce Ferrau such dreadful battle wages, That stroke or thrust is never dealt in vain: Each mighty blow from Roland disengages And loosens, breaks, or shatters, plate and chain. Angelica alone, secure from view, Regards such fearful sight, and marks the two. LI For, during this, the king of Circassy, Who deemed Angelica not far before, When Ferrau and Orlando desperately Closing in fight were seen, his horse did gore Along the way by which he deemed that she Had disappeared; and so that battle sore Was witnessed 'twixt the struggling foes, by none, Beside the daughter of king Galaphron. LII After the damsel had sometime descried This dread and direful combat, standing nigh; And it appearing that on either side With equal peril both the warriors vie, She, fond of novelty, the helm untied Designs to take; desirous to espy What they would do when they perceived the wrong; But, without thought to keep her plunder long. LIII To give it to Orlando was she bent, But first she would upon the warrior play: The helmet she took down with this intent And in her bosom hid, and marked the fray: Next thence, without a word to either went, And from the scene of strife was far away Ere either of the two had marked the feat; So were they blinded by their angry heat. LIV But Ferrau, who first chanced the loss to see, From Roland disengaged himself, and cried, "How like unwary men and fools are we Treated by him, who late with us did ride! What meed, which worthiest of the strife might be, If this be stolen, the victor shall abide?" Roland draws back, looks upward, and with ire, Missing the noble casque, is all on fire: LV And in opinion with Ferrau agreed, That he the knight, who was with them before, Had born away the prize: hence turned his steed. And with the spur admonished Brigliador. Ferrau, who from the field beheld him speed. Followed him, and when Roland and the Moor Arrived where tracks upon the herbage green Of the Circassian and the maid were seen, LVI Towards a vale upon the left the count Went off, pursuing the Circassian's tread; The Spaniard kept the path more nigh the mount, By which the fair Angelica had fled. Angelica, this while, has reached a fount, Of pleasant site, and shaded overhead; By whose inviting shades no traveller hasted, Nor ever left the chrystal wave untasted. LVII Angelica, the sylvan spring beside, Reposes, unsuspicious of surprise; And thinking her the sacred ring will hide, Fears not that evil accident can rise. On her arrival at the fountain's side, She to a branch above the helmet ties; Then seeks the fittest sapling for her need, Where, fastened to its trunk, her mare may feed. LVIII The Spanish cavalier the stream beside Arrived, who had pursued her traces there: Angelica no sooner him espied, Than she evanished clean, and spurred her mare: The helm this while had dropt, but lay too wide To be recovered of the flying fair. As soon as sweet Angelica he saw, Towards her full of rapture sprang Ferrau. LIX She disappeared, I say, as forms avaunt At sleep's departure: toiling long and sore He seeks the damsel there, 'twixt plant and plant, Now can his wretched eyes behold her more. Blaspheming his Mahound and Termagant, And cursing every master of his lore, Ferrau returned towards the sylvan fount, Where lay on earth the helmet of the count. LX This he soon recognised, for here he read Letters upon the margin, written fair, Which how Orlando won the helmet said; And from what champion took, and when and where. With it the paynim armed his neck and head, Who would not for his grief the prize forbear; His grief for loss of her, conveyed from sight, As disappear the phantoms of the night. LXI When in this goodly casque he was arrayed, He deemed nought wanting to his full content, But the discovery of the royal maid, Who like a flash of lightning came and went: For her he searches every greenwood shade, And when all hope of finding her is spent, He for the vain pursuit no longer tarries, But to the Spanish camp returns near Paris; LXII Tempering the grief which glowed within his breast, For such sore disappointment, with the thought That he was with Orlando's morion blest, As sworn. By good Anglante's count, when taught That the false Saracen the prize possest, Long time the Spanish knight was vainly sought; Nor Roland took the helmet from his head, Till he between two bridges laid him dead. LXIII Angelica thus, viewless and alone, Speeds on her journey, but with troubled front; Grieved for the helmet, in her haste foregone On her departure from the grassy fount. "Choosing to do what I should least have done," (She said) "I took his helmet from the count. This for his first desert I well bestow; A worthy recompense for all I owe! LXIV "With good intentions, as God knows, I wrought; Though these an ill and different end produce; I took the helmet only with the thought To bring that deadly battle to a truce; And not that this foul Spaniard what he sought Should gain, or I to his intent conduce." So she, lamenting, took herself to task For having robbed Orlando of his casque. LXV By what appeared to her the meetest way, Moody and ill-content she eastward pressed; Ofttimes concealed, sometimes in face of day, As seemed most opportune and pleased her best. After much country seen, a forest gray She reached, where, sorely wounded in mid breast, Between two dead companions on the ground, The royal maid a bleeding stripling found. LXVI But of Angelica I now no more Shall speak, who first have many things to say; Nor shall to the Circassian or the Moor Give for long space a rhyme; thence called away By good Anglante's prince, who wills, before I of those others tell, I should display The labours and the troubles he sustained, Pursuing the great good he never gained. LXVII At the first city, whither he was brought (Because to go concealed he had good care), He a new helmet donned; but took no thought What was the head-piece he designed to bear. So safe is he in fairy spell, it nought Imports, if hard or soft its temper were. Orlando, covered thus, pursues the quest, Nor him day, night, or rain, or sun arrest. LXVIII It was the hour that our of Ocean's bed Dan Phoebus drew his dripping steeds, and high And low, still scattering yellow flowers and red, Aurora stained the heavens with various dye, And Stars had cast their veils about their head, Departing from their revels in the sky; When passing on a day fair Paris near, Orlando made his mighty worth appear. LXIX Two squadrons he encountered; one an old Saracen, Manilardo clept, obeyed; King of Noritia, whilom fierce and bold. But fitter now to counsel than to aid. The next beneath the standard was enrolled Or Tremisena's monarch, who was said 'Mid Africans to be a perfect knight; Alzirdo he by those who knew him, hight: LXX These, with the other Saracen array, Cantoned throughout the winter months had lain, Some near the city, some more far away, All lodged nigh town or hamlet on the plain. For since King Agramant had many a day Spent in attacking Paris' walls in vain, He (for no other means remained to try) Would lastly with a siege the city ply; LXXI And to do this had people infinite: Since he, beside the host that with him came, And that of Spain which followed to the fight The Spanish King Marsilius' oriflame, Many of France did in his pay unite: For all from Paris he to Arles's stream, With part of Gascony, some straggling tower Excepted, had reduced beneath his power. LXXII The quivering brook, as warmer breezes blew, Beginning now from ice its waves to free, And the fresh-springing grass and foliage new, To cloathe again the field and greenwood tree, All those King Agramant assembled, who Had followed him in his prosperity; To muster in review the armed swarm, And give to his affairs a better form: LXXIII Hence did the King of Tremisen' repair, With him who had Noritia in command, To be in time at that full muster, where Each squadron, good or bad, was to be scanned Orlando thus by chance encountered there, As I have told you, this united hand; Who, as his usage was, went seeking her, By whom he had been made Love's prisoner. LXXIV Alzirdo, as the approaching count he eyes, Who in this world for valour has no peer, With such a haughty front, and in such guise, The God of war would less in arms appear, The features known before astounded spies, The fierce, disdainful glance and furious cheer; And him esteems a knight of prowess high, Which, fondly, he too sore desires to try. LXXV Arrogant, young, and of redoubted force, Alzirdo was, and prized for dauntless mind; Who bent to joust pricked forth his foaming horse, Happier had he remained in line behind! Met by Anglante's prince in middle course, Who pierced his heart as they encountering joined. Frighted, the lightened courser scoured the plain, Without a rider to direct the rein. LXXVI Rises a sudden and a horrid cry, And air on every side repeats the scream; As his scared band the falling youth descry, And issuing from his wound so wide a stream: Disordered, they the count in fury ply, And, raised to cut or thrust, their weapons gleam. Against that flower of knights, their feathered reeds, A thicker squadron yet in tempest speeds. LXXVII With sound like that, with which from hill repair, Or from the champaign's flat the hurrying swine, (If the Wolf, issue from his grot, or Bear, Descending to the mountains' lower line, Some bristly youngling take away and tear, Who with loud squeal and grunt is heard to pine) Came driving at the count the barbarous rout; "Upon him!" and "upon him!" still their shout. LXXVIII At once spears, shafts, and swords, his corslet bore By thousands, and as many pierce his shield. This threatens on one side, and that before, And those the ponderous mace behind him wield. But he esteems the craven rout no more. He, who did never yet to terror yield, Than hungry Wolf in twilight makes account To what the number of the flock may mount. LXXIX He held unsheathed that thundering sword in hand, Which with so many foes has heaped the plain, That he who thinks to count the slaughtered band, Has undertaken, hard emprize and vain. The road ran red, ensanguined by his brand, And scarce capacious of the many slain. For neither targe nor head-piece good defends, Where fatal Durindana's blade descends. LXXX Nor safety cotton vest, nor cloths supply, In thousand folds about the temples spread: Nor only groan and lamentation fly Through air, but shoulder, arm, and severed head, Death roams the field in strange variety Of horrid forms, and all inspiring dread; And says, "For hundreds of my scythes may stand His Durindana in Orlando's hand." LXXXI His ceaseless strokes scarce one the other wait: Speedily all his foemen are in flight. And when before they came at furious rate, They hoped to swallow quick the single knight. None is there who, in that unhappy straight, Stops for his comrade, flying from the fight. Here one man speeds afoot, one gallops there; None stays to question if the road be fair. LXXXII His mirror Valour bore about, and here Each blemish of the soul was seen confest: None looked therein, except an aged peer, Whose blood was chilled, but courage unreprest. That death were better deems this cavalier Than life in flight, and in disgrace possest: I mean Noritia's king, who lays his lance In rest against the paladin of France; LXXXIII He broke it on the border of the shield Of the intrepid count, with stedfast hand, Who, by the stroke unshaken, nothing reeled: And smote the king, in passing, with his brand. Him Fortune saved; for as Orlando wheeled The blade, it turned, descending, in his hand. Although an-edge he guides not still the sword, Stunned from his saddle reels the paynim lord. LXXXIV Astounded from his saddle reels the king, Nor him Orlando turns about to see. He cuts, and cleaves, and slays his following; Who all believe him at their backs to be. As through the spacious air, with troubled wing, The starlings from the daring merlin flee; So, of that broken squadron, scattered round, Some fly, some dip, and some fall flat to ground. LXXXV He ceased not his ensanguined blade to sway Till living wight remained not in his view. Orlando doubted to resume his way, Although the country all about he knew. Does he the right or left-hand road assay, His thoughts still rove from what his steps pursue, And he to seek the damsel is in dread Through other path than that by which she fled. LXXXVI Through wood and field his courser did he goad, Often inquiring for the royal dame: Beside himself, he strayed beside his road, And to the foot of rising mountain came, Whence (it was night-time) through a fissure glowed The distant flicker of a quivering flame. Orlando to the rock approached, to spy If there Angelica concealed might lie. LXXXVII As where low junipers o'er shade her lair, Or in the stubble of the open lay, What time the hunters seek the fearful hare Through traversed woods, and through uncertain way, -- Lest peradventure she be hidden there, They every bramble, every bush assay; Even so, where hope the toiling warrior leads, Searching his lady-love, Orlando speeds. LXXXVIII Pricking in haste towards that ray, the count Arrived where in the wood the light was shed, Forth-streaming from a crevice in the mount, Within whose womb a spacious grotto spread; And there, like wall or bank, discerned in front, Of thorns and underwood a bristly bed, To hide the grotto's inmates, and defend From scathe or scorn, which others might intend. LXXXIX By day it had been hidden evermore; But the clear flame betrayed the haunt by night. Its use he guessed; but would the place explore, And better certify himself by sight. When he without had tied his Brigliador, In silence to the grotto stole the knight; Threading the shrubs; nor calling for a guide, Entered the passage in the mountain's side. XC By a long flight of steps was the descent Into the cave; where, in the rocky tomb, Buried were living folk. Of wide extent, The grot was chiselled into vaulted room; Nor was, although its entrance little lent, All daylight wanting to disperse the gloom: For much was furnished by a window dight, Within a natural fissure on the right. XCI In the mid cave, beside a fire was seen A gentle maid of pleasing look and guise; Who seemed to Roland little past fifteen, As far as at first sight he might surmise. With that so fair she made the rugged scene Seem in the warrior's sight a paradise. Although this while her eyes with tears o'erflow, Clear tokens of a heart oppressed with woe. XCII An aged dame was with her, and the pair Wrangled, as oftentimes is women's way; But when the County was descending there, Concluded the dispute and wordy fray. Orlando hastens to salute them fair (As still is due to womankind) and they To welcome him rise lightly form their seat, And with benign return the warrior greet. XCIII 'Tis true, that when that sudden voice they hear, Somedeal confused in look they seem to be, At the same time beholding thus appear So fierce a wight, and harnessed cap-a-pee. "What wight" (demands Anglantes' cavalier) So barbarous is, and void of courtesy, That he keeps buried, in this rude repair, A face so gentle and so passing fair?" XCIV With pain the virgin to the count replies, As he inquires of her unhappy doom, In sweet and broken accents, which by sighs Impelled, through rows of pearl and coral come: And between rose and lily, from her eyes Tears fall so fast, she needs must swallow some. In other canto, sir, be pleased to attend The rest, for here 'tis time my strain should end.