Canto 9 & Canto 10
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #10a
CANTO 9 ARGUMENT So far Orlando wends, he comes to where He of old Proteus' hears the cruel use But feels such pity for Olympia fair, Wronged by Cymosco, who in prison mews Her plighted spouse, that ere he makes repair Further, he gives her hope to venge the abuse: He does so, and departs; and with his spouse Departs Bireno, to repeat his vows. I What cannot, when he has a heart possess'd This false and cruel traitor Love? since he Can banish from Orlando's faithful breast Such tried allegiance and due loyalty? Wise, full of all regards, and of the blest And glorious church the champion wont to be, Now, little for himself or uncle, driven By a vain love, he cares, and less for heaven. II But I excuse him well, rejoiced to know I have like partner in my vice: for still To seek my good I too am faint and slow, But sound and nimble in pursuit of ill. The count departs, disguised in sable show, Nor for so many friends, with froward will, Deserted cares; and comes where on the plain Are camped the hosts of Afric and of Spain; III Rather uncamped: for, in less troops or more, Rains under shed and tree had driven the band. Here ten, there twenty, seven or eight, or four, Near or further off, Orlando scanned. Each sleeps, oppressed with toil and wearied sore; This stretched on earth, that propped upon his hand: They sleep, and many might the count have slain, Yet never bared his puissant Durindane. IV So generous is Orlando's heart, he base Esteems it were to smite a sleeping foe. Now this he seeks, and now that other place; Yet cannot track his lady, high or low. If he finds any one in waking case, Sighing, to him he paints her form and show; Then prays him that for courtesy, he where The damsel is, will reach him to repair. V And when the day its shining light displayed, He wholly searched the Moorish army through. In that the gentle warrior was arrayed In Arab weeds, he this might safely do; And of his purpose came alike in aid That other tongues beside the French he knew; And in the African so well was read, He seemed in Tripoly one born and bred: VI He sojourns there three days, the camp to see; Still seeking nought beside: next up and down, Within, without, both burgh and city he Spies; nor surveys the realm of France alone; But fair Auvergne, and even Gascony Revisits, to its farthest little town. Roves from Provence to Brittany's domain, And from the Picards to the bounds of Spain. VII Between October and November's moon, In that dull season when the leafy vest Is stript from trembling plant, whose limbs are shown Of all their mantling foliage dispossess'd And in close flights the swarming birds are flown, Orlando enters on his amorous quest: This he pursues the livelong winter through, Nor quits when gladsome spring returns anew. VIII As (such his wont) from land to land he goes, A river's side he reaches on a day; Which to the neighbouring sea in quiet flows. Bretons and Normans parting on its way: But, swoln with mountain rain and melted snows, Then thundered, white with foam and flashing-spray: And with impetuous stream had overtopt Its brim, and burst the bridge, and passage stopt. IX The paladin this bank and the other eyed, Along the river's channel, to explore, Since neither fish nor fowl, if from his side He could gain footing on the adverse shore; When, with a damsel in the poop, he spied A ready pinnace that towards him bore: She steered, as if she would approach the strand; But would not let her shallop make the land. X Steered not to land; as haply with suspicion To take a lading, in her own despite. To her the good Orlando made petition To put him o'er the stream; and she: "No knight Passes this ferry, but upon condition He shall his faith and promise duly plight, That he will do a battle, at my prayer, Upon the justest quarrel and most fair. XI "So that if thou on that other shore to land Dost by my aid, Sir cavalier, desire, Promise me, ere the month which is at hand" (The damsel so pursued her speech) "expire, That thou wilt join the Hibernian monarch's hand, Who forms a fair armada, in his ire, To sack Ebuda's isle; of all compress'd By ocean's circling waves, the cruellest. XII "Know, beyond Ireland, in the briny flood, An island, amid many others, lies; Ebuda is its name; whose people rude (Such is their law), in search of plunder hies; And all the women that it takes, for food To a voracious animal supplies; Which every day to shore for this does speed, And finds new wife or maid whereon to feed: XIII "For of these merchant still and Corsair sell A large supply, and most of those most fair. Reckoning one slain a-day, you thus may well Compute what wives and maids have perished there. But if compassion in your bosom dwell, Nor you to Love an utter rebel are, Be you contented with this band to wend, United for such profitable end." XIV To hear the whole Orlando scarce could bear, Ere to be first in that emprize he swore, As one who evil deed misliked to hear, And with impatience like relation bore: Hence first induced to think, and next to fear, Angelica is captive on that shore: Since he so long the missing maid pursues, Nor of the damsel yet can gather news. XV Breaking his every scheme, this phantasy The troubled cavalier did so confound, That will all speed to that fell island he Resolved to navigate; nor yet the round Of a new sun was buried in the sea, Ere he a vessel at St. Malo's found; In which, embarking on his quest, the count Put forth, and cleared that night St. Michael's Mount. XVI Breac and Landriglier past on the left hand, Orlando's vessel skims the Breton shore; Then shapes her course towards the chalky strand, Whence England's isle the name of Albion bore: But the south wind, which had her canvas fanned, Shifts to north-west, and freshening, blows so sore, The mariners are fain to strike all sail, And wear and scud before the boisterous gale. XVII A distance traversed in four days, in one Backwards the ceaseless wind the frigate bore; The helmsman kept the sea, lest she should run Aground, and break like glass upon the shore. The wind upon the fifth day changed its tune, So loud and furious through the other four; And let, without more strife, the vessel gain A port, where Antwerp's river met the main. XVIII As soon as harboured there in shattered plight, The weary mariners their frigate moor, Out of a city, seated on the right Of that fair stream, descends upon the shore, As his gray hairs may warrant him, a wight Stricken in years; who, full of courteous lore, Turns to the county, after greetings due, Reputing him the leader of that crew. XIX And prays him, on a damsel's part, `that he To her would think not irksome to repair; Whom of unequalled affability And sweetness, he would find, as well as fair; Or otherwise would be content, that she Should to his bark resort, to seek him there, Nor prove less pliant than had been before All the knights errant, who had sought that shore: XX For hitherto, by land or sea conveyed, No cavalier had journeyed to that place That had refused to parlay with the maid, And give her counsel in a cruel case.' Orlando, hearing this, no more delayed, But issued from the bark with hurried pace, And, in all kind and courteous usage bred, His way directed where the ancient led. XXI With him did Roland to the city go, And at the bottom of a palace-stair, Conducted by that elder, full of woe A lady found, if face may grief declare, And sable cloth, with which (a mournful show) Chamber, and hall, and gallery, furnished were; Who, after honourable welcome paid, Seated the paladin, and sadly said: XXII "The daughter of the Count of Holland," (cried The Lady) "know in me, Sir cavalier. Though not his only offspring (for beside Myself two brothers were) to him so dear, That, for whatever favour I applied, I never met refusal from the peer. I living glady in this happy sort, A duke by chance was guested at our court; XXIII "The Duke of Zealand, meaning for Biscay; With purpose there to war upon the Moor; His youth and beauty, then in manhood's May, And force of love, unfelt by me before, Made me, with little strife, his easy prey: Persuaded by his outward cheer yet more, I thought, and think, and still shall think, the peer Loved me, and loves me yet with heart sincere. XXIV "Those days, whenas the wind was contrary, (Which fair for me, if foul for others blew) To others forty seemed, an hour to me; So upon speedy wings the moments flew. This while, we oftentimes held colloquy, When, to be given with solemn right and due, I promised him, and he to me, his hand, On his return, in wedlock's holy band. XXV "Bireno hardly from our court was gone, For such the name my faithful lover bore, When Friesland's king, whose realm is from our own No further than this stream from Ocean's shore, Designing to bestow me on his son, Arbantes hight (the monarch had no more), To Holland sent the worthiest of his land, Me of the count, my father, to demand. XXVI "I without power to falsify that vow, Which to my gentle lover I had plight; Nor though I had the power, would Love allow Me so to play the ingrate, if I might, (The treaty, well on foot, to overthrow, And nigh concluded) with afflicted sprite, Cried to my father, I would rather shed My very life-blood, than in Friesland wed. XXVII "My gracious father, he who took but pleasure In what pleased me, nor would my will constrain; Marking my grief, broke off the intended measure, To give me comfort and relieve my pain. At this proud Friesland's sovereign such displeasure Conceived, and entertained such high disdain, He entered Holland, and the war began, In which my kin were slaughtered to a man. XXVIII "Besides, that both his puissance and his might Are such, as in our age are matched of few, Such is in evil deeds his cunning sleight, He laughs to scorn what wit and force can do. Strange arms he bears, unknown to any wight, Save him, of the ancient nations or the new: A hollow iron, two yards long, whose small Channel he loads with powder and a ball XXIX "He, where 'tis closed behind, in the iron round, Touches with fire a vent, discerned with pain; In guise that skilful surgeon tries his ground, Where need requires that he should breathe a vein. Whence flies the bullet with such deafening sound, That bolt and lightening from the hollow cane Appear to dart, and like the passing thunder, Burn what they smite, beat-down or rend asunder. XXX "Twice broken, he our armies overthrew With this device, my gentle brethren slain; The first the shot in our first battle slew, Reaching his heart, through broken plate and chain; The other in the other onset, who Was flying from the fatal field in vain. The ball his shoulder from a distance tore Behind, and issued from his breast before. XXXI "My father next, defending on a day The only fortress which he still possessed, The others taken which about it lay, Was sent alike to his eternal rest: Who going and returning, to purvey What lacked, as this or that occasion pressed, Was aimed at from afar, in privy wise, And by the traytour struck between the eyes. XXXII "And I remaining, sire and brethren dead, The isle of Holland's only heir, the king Of Friesland, who by the desire was led Of better there his power establishing, To me, and also to my people said, I peace and quiet to my state might bring, Would I (when I before would not accord) Now take his son Arbantes for my lord. XXXIII "I, not so much for deadly hate I bear To him and all his kindred, by whose spite My sire and both my brothers slaughtered were, My country sacked and waste, as that the knight I would not wrong, to whom I fealty sware, And had my solemn word already plight That me to wedlock man should woo in vain, Till he to Holland should return from Spain. XXXIV "For one ill-born, a hundred yet behind, Will bear (replied) to hazard all content, -- Slain, burnt alive, to let them to the wind Scatter my ashes, rather than consent. -- My people seek to move my stedfast mind, By prayer and by protest, from this intent; And threat to yield my city up and me, Lest all be lost through my obduracy. XXXV "When in my fixt and firm resolve they read, That prayer and protest are alike in vain; My town and me, with Friesland's king agreed, Surrendered, as they vowed, my vassal train. Not doing by me any shameful deed, Me he assured of life and of domain, So I would soften my obdurate mood, And be to wed with his Arbantes wooed. XXXVI "I who would have consented to forego My life to scape from him, reflection made, That, save I first avenged myself, all woe Endured, would be by this regret outweighed. -- Long time I muse, and to my misery know, 'Tis only simulation which can aid. Not simple willingness, I feign desire, To win his grace, and have him for my sire. XXXVII " Mid many in my father's service, I Select two brothers fitted for my view, Of valiant heart and great ability But more approved for truth, as followers, who Bred in my father's court, from infancy Had with myself grown up; the brothers two So wholly bound to me, they would have thought My safety with their lives was cheaply bought. XXXVIII "To them I tell my project, and the pair Of brethren promise me their faithful aid: To Flanders this, a pinnace to prepare, I sent, and that with me in Holland stayed. Now, while both foreigners and natives were, Of Friesland's kingdom, to our nuptials prayed, Bireno in Biscay (the tidings went) For Holland had equipt an armament. XXXIX "Since on the issue of the earliest fray, When in the rout one hapless brother fell, I had dispatched a courier to Biscay, Who the sad news should to Bireno tell: While he toils sore his squadron to array, Proud Friesland's arms our wretched remnant quell. Bireno, who knew nought of this, had weighed, And with his barks put forth to bring us aid. XL "These tidings told to Friesland's monarch, he Confiding to his son the wedding's care, To meet Bireno's squadron puts to sea, And (so chance willed) burns, sinks, or routs them there, Leading him off into captivity; -- But none to us as yet the tidings bear. This while I to the amorous youth am wed, Who, when the sun sought his, would seek my bed. XLI "Behind the curtains, I had hid the tried And faithful follower, of whom I said, Who moved not till the bridegroom he descried, Yet waited not till he in bed was laid: But raised a hatchet, and so well applied Behind the stripling's head the ponderous blade, Of speech and life it reft him; I, who note The deed, leap lightly up and cut his throat. XLII "As falls the bullock upon shamble-sill, Thus fell the ill-starred stripling, in despite Of king Cymosco, worst among the ill; So was the impious king of Friesland hight Who did my brothers and my father kill, And, in my state to found a better right; In wedlock wished to join me with his son, Haply to slay me when his end was won. XLIII "Ere new disturbance interrupt the deed, Taking what costliest was and lightest weighed, Me my companion by a chord, with speed, Drops from a window, where with boat purveyed In Flanders (as related) for my need, His brother, watchful of our motions, stayed: We dip the oar, we loose the sail, and driven By both, escape, as was the will of Heaven. XLIV "The daring feat achieved, I cannot say If Friesland's king more sorrowed for his son, Or raged at me: he there arrived, the day Ensuing, where the dreadful deed was done, Proud he returned, both he and his array, Of the duke taken, and the victory won: And thought to feast and nuptials he was bound, But in his home all grief and darkness found. XLV "His pity for his son, the hate he fed Towards me, torment the father day and night; But as lamenting will not raise the dead, And vengeance is a vent for smothered spite; That portion of his thoughts, which should have led The king, to ease by sighs his troubled sprite, Now willingly takes counsel with his hate, To seize me, and his vengeance satiate. XLVI "All known or said to by my friends, or who Were friends of those that, chosen from my train, Had aided me the deadly deed to do, Their goods and chattels burnt, were doomed or slain: And he had killed Bireno, since he knew No other trouble could inflict such pain; But that he, saving him in malice, thought He had a net wherewith I might be caught. XLVII "Yet him a cruel proposition made, Granting a year his purpose to complete; Condemned to privy death, till then delayed, Save in that time, through force or through deceit, He by his friends' and kindred's utmost aid, Doing or plotting, me from my retreat Conveyed into his prisons; so that he Can only saved by my destruction be. XLVIII "What for his safety could be done, behold, Short of my own destruction, had been tried. Six towns I had in Flanders: these I sold, And (great or small the produce set aside) A part of it, to wily persons told, That it to tempt his guards might be applied; The rest of it dispensed to move and arm Germans or English, to the miscreant's harm. XLIX "My agents, whether they their trust betrayed, Or that they could in truth perform no more, Me with vain words instead of help have paid, And scorn me, having drained my scanty store: And now the term is nigh expired, when aid, Whether of open force or treasured ore, No longer will arrive in time to save My cherished spouse from torture and the grave. L "Through him, from me was my dominion rent; Through him, my father and my brethren slain; Through him, the little treasure left me, spent (What served alone existence to sustain) To rescue him, in cruel durance pent; Nor other means to succour him remain; Save I, to liberate him from prison, go And yield myself to such a cruel foe. LI "If nothing more be left me then to try, Nor other way for his escape appear, Than his with this my wretched life to buy, This life I gladly will lay down: one fear Alone molests me; and it is that I Can never my conditions make so clear, As to assure me, that with new deceit, Me, when his prey, the tyrant will not cheat. LII "I fear, when I shall be in captive plight, And he has put all tortures upon me, He may not loose Bireno, and the knight Have not to thank me for his liberty: Like perjured king, and full of foul despite, Who with my murder will not satiate be; But by Bireno neither less nor more Will do, than he had done by me before. LIII "The occasion now that I confer with you, And tell my case to all who seek the land, Both lords and knights, is with the single view, That taking counsel of so large a band, Some one may indicate assurance due, That when before the cruel king I stand, No longer he Bireno shall detain; Nor, after I am killed, the duke be slain. LIV "Warrior to went with me, I in my need, When I shall be to Friesland given, have prayed; But so he promise, that the exchange agreed Shall be between us in such manner made, That from his bonds Bireno shall be freed When I am to the monarch's hands conveyed: Thus I, when I am slain, shall die content, Who to my spouse shall life by death have lent. LV "Not to this day have chanced upon a wight Who on his faith will give me warranty, That if the king refuse to loose the knight, When I am offered, from captivity, He will not suffer that in my despite (So feared those weapons!) I shall taken be. So feared those weapons, upon every hand! Which, howsoever thick, no plates withstand. LVI "Now, if as strong Herculean port and bold Appear to vouch, such worth to you belong; And you believe to give me or withhold Is in your power, should he intend me wrong; Be with me, when committed to his hold, Since I shall fear not, in your convoy strong, When you are with me, that my lord, though I Be after slain, shall by his order die." LVII Here her discourse, wherewith were interposed Loud sobs, the lady ceased, and silent stood: Orlando, when her lips the damsel closed, Whose ready will ne'er halts in doing good, Briefly to her replies, as indisposed To idle speeches of his natural mood: But plights his solemn word, that better aid She should from him receive than that she prayed. LVIII 'Tis not his scheme to place her in the hand Of her foul foe, to have Bireno freed; He will save both the lovers, if his brand And wonted valour fail him not at need. Embarked that very day, they put from land With a clear sky and prosperous wind to speed. The county hastes in his impatient heat, Eager to reach that isle, the monster's seat. LIX Through the still deeps, on this or the other side, The skipper veered his canvas to the wind: This isle, and that of Zealand, they descried, One seen before, and one shut in behind. The third day, from the harboured vessel's side, In Holland, Roland disembarks, not joined By the complaining dame; whom to descend He will not till she hear that tyrant's end. LX Armed at all points, the county passed ashore, Borne on a horse 'twixt brown and black, the breed Of Denmark, but in Flanders nurtured, more Esteemed for weight and puissance than for speed: For when the paladin embarked before, In Brittany he left the gallant steed, His Brigliador; so nimble and so fair, That but Bayardo could with him compare. LXI Orlando fares to Dordrecht, where he views A numerous squadron, which the gate maintain; As well, because suspicion still ensues On the foundation of a new domain; As that before they had received the news, That out of Zealand, backed with armed train, Was coming with a fleet of many sail, A cousin of the lord here pent in jail. LXII One, good Orlando to the monarch's ear Bade bear a message, `that an errant knight Oh him would prove himself, with sword and spear; But would lay down this pact before the fight: -- That if the king unhorsed the cavalier, Her who Arbantes slew, he, as his right, Should have, that, at the cavalier's command, Was ready for delivery to his hand; LXIII `And willed the king should on his side agree, If him the knight in combat overbore, Forthwith released from his captivity, Bireno to full freedom to restore.' To him the footman does his embassy; But he, who knightly worth or courteous lore Had never known, directs his whole intent The count by treacherous fraud to circumvent. LXIV He hopes as well, if he the warrior slay, To have the dame, whom, so aggrieved, he hates, If in the knight's disposal, and the say Of that strange knight, the footman well relates. Hence thirty men dispatched by other way Than to the portal led, where Roland waits; Who with a long and privy circuit wind, And come upon the paladin behind. LXV He all this while had made his guard delay The knight with words, till horse and foot he spied Arrived, where he this ambuscade did lay; When from the gate he with as many hied: As is the practised hunter's wonted way, To circle wood and beasts on every side: As nigh Volana, with his sweeping nets, The wary fisher fish and pool besets. LXVI 'Tis thus the king bars every path which lies Free for the warrior's flight, with armed train: He him alive, and in no other guise, Would have, and lightly hopes his end to gain; Nor for the earthly thunderbolt applies, That had so many and so many slain: Which here he deems would serve his purpose ill, Where he desires to take and not to kill. LXVII As wary fowler, bent on greater prey, Wisely preserves alive the game first caught, That by the call-bird and his cheating play, More may within the circling net be brought; Such cunning art Cymosco would assay: But Roland would not be so lightly bought; Like them by the first toil that springs betrayed; And quickly forced the circle which was made. LXVIII Where he perceives the assailants thickest stand, He rests his lance, and sticks in his career First one and afterwards another, and Another, and another, who appear Of paste; till six he of the circling band Of foes impales upon a single spear; A seventh left out, who by the push is slain, Since the clogged weapon can no more contain. LXIX No otherwise, upon the further shore Of fosse or of canal, the frogs we spy, By cautious archer, practised in his lore, Smote and transfixed the one the other nigh; Upon the shaft, until it hold no more, From barb to feathers full, allowed to lie. The heavy lance Orlando from him flung, And to close combat with his faulchion sprung. LXX The lance now broke, his sword the warrior drew, That sword which never yet was drawn in vain, And still with cut or thrust some soldier slew; Now horse, now footman of the tyrant's train. And, ever where he dealt a stroke, changed blue, Yellow, green, white and black, to crimson stain. Cymosco grieves, when most his need require, Not to have now his hollow cane and fire; LXXI And with loud voice and menacing command Bids these be brought, but ill his followers hear; For those who have found safety of his band, To issue from the city are in fear. He, when he sees them fly on either hand, Would fly as well from that dread cavalier; Makes for the gate, and would the drawbridge lift, But the pursuing county is too swift. LXXII The monarch turns his back, and leaves the knight Lord of the drawbridge and of either gate. Thanks to his swifter steed, the rest in flight He passes: good Orlando will not wait (Intent the felon, not his band, to smite) Upon the vulgar herd to wreck his hate. But his slow horse seems restive; while the king's, More nimble, flies as if equipt with wings. LXXIII From street to street, before the count he made; And vanished clean; but after little stay, Came with new arms, with tube and fire purveyed; Which, at his hest, this while his men convey. And posted at a corner, he waylaid: His foe, as hunter watches for his prey, In forest, with armed dogs and spear, attending The boar in fury from the hill descending, LXXIV Who rends the branch and overthrows the stone; And wheresoe'er he turns his haughty front, Appears (so loud the deafening crash and groan) As if he were uprending wood and mount, Intent to make him his bold deed atone, Cymosco at the pass expects the count; As soon as he appears, with ready light Touches the hole, and fires upon the knight. LXXV Behind, the weapon flames in lightning's guise, And vents the thunder from before; the ground Shakes under foot and city wall; the skies The fearful echo all about rebound. The burning bolt with sudden fury flies, Not sparing aught which in its course is found. Hissing and whizzing through the skies it went; But smote not, to the assassin's foul intent. LXXVI Whether it was his great desire to kill That baron, or his hurry made him fail, Or trembling heart, like leaf which flutters still, Made hand and arm together flinch and quail; Or that it was not the Creator's will The church so soon her champion should bewail; The glancing stroke his courser's belly tore, Outstretched on earth, from thence to rise no more. LXXVII To earth fall horse and rider: this the knight Scarce touched; the other thundering pressed the plain: For the first rose so ready and so light, He from the fall seemed breath and force to gain. As African Anteus, in the fight, Rose from the sand with prouder might and main; So when Orlando touched the ground, to view He rose with doubled force and vigour new. LXXVIII He who has seen the thunder, from on high, Discharged by Jove with such a horrid sound, Descend where nitre, coal, and sulphur lie, Stored up for use in magazine profound, Which scarce has reached -- but touched it, ere the sky Is in a flame, as well as burning ground, Firm walls are split, and solid marbles riven, And flying stones cast up as high as heaven; LXXIX Let him imagine, when from earth he sprung, Such was the semblance of the cavalier; Who moved in mode to frighten Mars among The Gods, so fierce and horrid was his cheer. At this dismay'd, the King of Friesland stung His horse, and turned his rein, to fly the peer: But fierce Orlando was upon his foe Faster than arrow flies from bended bow: LXXX And, what before he could not, when possest Of his good courser, now afoot will do. His speed outgoes all thought in every breast, Exceeds all credence, save in those who view. The tyrant shortly joined, he on the crest Smote at his head so well, he cleft it through; And to the neck divided by the blow, Sent it, to shake its last on earth below. LXXXI Lo! in the frighted city other sound Was heard to rise, and other crash of brands, From troop, who, thither in his guidance bound, Followed Bireno's cousin from his lands: Who, since the unguarded gates he open found, Into the city's heart had poured his bands; Where the bold paladin had struck such fear, He without let might scour it far and near. LXXXII In rout the people fly, who cannot guess Who these may be, or what the foes demand: But, when this man and that by speech and dress As Zealand-men distinguishes the band, Carte blanche they proffer, and the chief address, Bidding him range them under his command; Against the Frieslanders to lend him aid, Who have their duke in loathsome prison stayed. LXXXIII To Friesland's king that people hatred bore With all his following: who their ancient lord Had put to death, and who by them yet more, As evil and rapacious, was abhorred. Orlando interposed with kindly lore, As friend of both, the parties to accord: By whom, so joined, no Frieslander was left But was of life or liberty bereft. LXXXIV They would not wait to seek the dungeon-key, But breaking-down the gate, their entrance made; Bireno to the count with courtesy And grateful thanks the service done repaid. Thence they, together with large company, Went where Olympia in her vessel stayed: For so was the expecting lady hight, To whom that island's crown belonged of right. LXXXV She who had thither good Orlando brought, Not hoping that he would have thriven so well; -- Enough for her, if by her misery bought, Her spouse were rescued from the tyrant's cell! -- Her, full of love and loyal homage, sought The people one and all: Twere long to tell How she caressed Bireno, he the maid, -- What thanks both lovers to the county paid. LXXXVI The people, throned in her paternal reign, Replace the injured dame, and fealty swear: She on the duke, to whom in solid chain Love with eternal knot had linked the fair, The empire of herself and her domain Conferred: He, called away by other care, Left in the cousin's guardian care this while His fortresses, and all the subject isle. LXXXVII Since he to visit Zealand's duchy planned, His faithful consort in his company; And thence, upon the king of Friesland's land, Would try his fortune (as he said), for he A pledge, he rated highly, had in hand, Which seemed of fair success the warranty, The daughter of the king: who here forsaken, With many others had been prisoner taken. LXXXVIII To a younger brother, her, the duke pretends, To be conjoined in wedlock, he conveyed. The Roman senator thence parting wends Upon the very day Bireno weighed; But he to nothing else his hand extends Of all the many, many prized made, Save to that engine, found amid the plunder, Which in all points I said resembled thunder. LXXXIX Not with intent, in his defence to bear What he had taken, of the prize possest; For he still held it an ungenerous care To go with vantage on whatever quest: But with design to cast the weapon where It never more should living wight molest; And, what was appertaining to it, all Bore off as well, the powder and the ball. XC And thus, when of the tidesway he was clear, And in the deepest sea his bark descried, So that no longer distant signs appear Of either shore on this or the other side, He seized the tube, and said: "That cavalier May never vail through thee his knightly pride, Nor base be rated with a better foe, Down with thee to the darkest deep below! XCI "O loathed, O cursed piece of enginery, Cast in Tartarean bottom, by the hand Of Beelzebub, whose foul malignity The ruin of this world through thee has planned! To hell, from whence thou came, I render thee." So said, he cast away the weapon: fanned Meanwhile, with flowing sheet, his frigate goes, By wind, which for the cruel island blows. XCII Such was the paladin's desire to explore If in the place his missing lady were; Whom he prefers the united world before, Nor can an hour of life without her bear. He fears, if he set foot on Ireland's shore, Some other chance may interrupt him there: So that he after have in vain to say, "Why hasted I no faster on my way?" XCIII Nor he in England nor in Ireland port Will make, nor on the coast that's opposite. But let him go, the naked archer's sport, Sore smitten in the heart! -- ere I indite Yet more of him, to Holland I resort, And you to hear me company invite. For well I wot that you as well as me 'Twould grieve that bridal should without us be. XCIV Sumptuous and fair the bridal there is made; But neither yet so sumptuous nor so fair As it will be in Zealand, it is said: But 'tis not my design you should repair Thither; since by new accidents delayed The feast will be, of which be it my care, In other strain, the tidings to report; If you to hear that other strain resort. CANTO 10 ARGUMENT Another love assails Bireno's breast, Who leaves one night Olympia on the shore. To Logistilla's holy realm addressed, Rogero goes, nor heeds Alcina more: Him, of that flying courser repossest, The hippogryph on airy voyage bore: Whence he the good Rinaldo's levy sees, And next Angelica beholds and frees. I Of all the loves, of all fidelity Yet proved, of all the constant hearts and true, Of all the lovers, in felicity Or sorrow faithful found, a famous crew, To Olympia I would give the first degree Rather than second: if this be not due, I well may say that hers no tale is told Of truer love, in present times or old. II And this she by so many proofs and clear, Had made apparent to the Zealand lord, No woman's faith more certain could appear To man, though he her open heart explored: And if fair truth such spirits should endear, And they in mutual love deserve reward, Bireno as himself, nay, he above Himself, I say, should kind Olympia love. III Not only should he nevermore deceive Her for another, were that woman she Who so made Europe and wide Asia grieve, Or fairer yet, if one more fair there be; But rather that quit her the light should leave, And what is sweet to taste, touch, hear, and see, And life and fame, and all beside; if aught More precious can in truth be styled, or thought. IV If her Bireno loved, as she had loved Bireno, if her love he did repay With faith like hers, and still with truth unmoved, Veered not his shifting sail another way; Or ingrate for such service -- cruel proved For such fair love and faith, I now will say; And you with lips comprest and eye-brows bent, Shall listen to the tale for wonderment; V And when you shall have heard the impiety, Which of such passing goodness was the meed, Woman take warning from this perfidy, And let none make a lover's word her creed. Mindless that God does all things hear and see, The lover, eager his desires to speed, Heaps promises and vows, aye prompt to swear, Which afterwards all winds disperse in air. VI The promises and empty vows dispersed In air, by winds all dissipated go, After these lovers have the greedy thirst Appeased, with which their fevered palates glow. In this example which I offer, versed, Their prayers and tears to credit be more slow. Cheaply, dear ladies mine, is wisdom bought By those who wit at other's cost are taught. VII Of those in the first flower of youth beware, Whose visage is so soft and smooth to sight: For past, as soon as bred, their fancies are; Like a straw fire their every appetite. So the keen hunter follows up the hare In heat and cold, on shore, or mountain-height; Nor, when 'tis taken, more esteems the prize; And only hurries after that which flies. VIII Such is the practise of these striplings who, What time you treat them with austerity, Love and revere you, and such homage do, As those who pay their service faithfully; But vaunt no sooner victory, than you From mistresses shall servants grieve to be; And mourn to see the fickle love they owed, From you diverted, and elsewhere bestowed. IX I not for this (for that were wrong) opine That you should cease to love; for you, without A lover, like uncultivated vine, Would be, that has no prop to wind about. But the first down I pray you to decline, To fly the volatile, inconstant rout; To make your choice the riper fruits among, Nor yet to gather what too long has hung. X A daughter they have found (above was said) Of the proud king who ruled the Friesland state; That with Bireno's brother was to wed, As far as rumour tells; but to relate The truth, a longing in Bireno bred The sight of food so passing delicate; And he to talk his palate deemed would be, For other's sake, a foolish courtesy. XI The gentle damsel had not past fourteen, Was beautiful and fresh, and like a rose, When this first opening from its bud is seen, And with the vernal sun expands and grows. To say Bireno loved the youthful queen Were little; with less blaze lit tinder glows, Or ripened corn, wherever envious hand Of foe amid the grain has cast a brand, XII Than that which on Bireno's bosom fed, And to his marrow burned; when, weeping sore The fate of her unhappy father dead, He saw her bathed in ceaseless tears deplore: And, as cold water, on the cauldron shed, Shops short the bubbling wave, which boiled before; So was the raging rife Olympia blew Within his breast, extinguished by a new. XIII Nor feels Bireno mere satiety; He loathes her so, he ill endures her sight; And, if his hope he long deferred, will die: For other such his fickle appetite! Yet till the day prefixed to satisfy His fond desire, so feigns the wary knight, Olympia less to love than to adore He seems, and but her pleasure to explore. XIV And if the other he too much caress, Who cannot but caress her, there are none See evil in the deed, but rather guess It is in pity, is in goodness done: Since to raise up and comfort in distress Whom Fortune's wheel beats down in changeful run, Was never blamed; with glory oftener paid; -- So much the more, a young -- a harmless maid. XV Almighty God! how fallible and vain Is human judgment, dimmed by clouds obscure! Bireno's actions, impious and profane, By others are reputed just and pure. Already stooping to their oars, the train Have loosed his vessel from the port secure, And with the duke and his companions steer For Zealand through the deep, with meery cheer. XVI Already Holland and its headlands all Are left astern, and now descried no more; Since to shun Friesland they to larboard hawl. And keep their course more nigh the Scottish shore: When they are overtaken by a squall, And drive three days the open sea before: Upon the third, when now, near eventide, A barren and unpeopled isle is spied. XVII As soon as they were harboured in a hight, Olympia landed and the board was spread; She there contented, with the faithless knight, Supt, unsuspecting any cause for dread. Thence, with Bireno, where a tent was pight In pleasant place, repaired, and went to bed. The others of their train returned abroad, And rested in their ship, in haven moored. XVIII The fear and late sea sorrow, which had weighed So long upon the dame and broke her rest, The finding herself safe in greenwood shade Removed from noise, and, for her tranquil breast (Knowing her lover was beside her laid) No further thoughts, no further cares molest, Olympia lap in slumber so profound, No sheltered bear or dormouse sleeps more sound. XIX The lover false, who, hatching treason lies, Stole from his bed in silence, when he knew She slept: his clothes he in a bundle ties, Nor other raiment on his body threw. Then issuing forth from the pavilion hies, As if on new-born wings, towards his crew; Who, roused, unmoor without a cry, as he Commands, and loosen thence and put to sea. XX Behind the land was left; and there to pine Olympia, who yet slept the woods among; Till from her gilded wheels the frosty rhine Aurora upon earth beneath had flung; And the old woe, beside the tumbling brine, Lamenting, halcyons mournful descant sung; When she, 'twixt sleep and waking, made a strain To reach her loved Bireno, but in vain. XXI She no one found: the dame her arm withdrew; She tried again, yet no one found; she spread Both arms, now here, now there, and sought anew; Now either leg; but yet no better sped. Fear banished sleep; she oped her eyes: in view Was nothing: she no more her widowed bed Would keep, but from the couch in fury sprung, And headlong forth from the pavilion flung. XXII And seaward ran, her visage tearing sore, Presaging, and now certain of her plight: She beat her bosom, and her tresses tore, And looked (the moon was shining) if she might Discover any thing beside the shore; Nor, save the shore, was any thing in sight. She calls Bireno, and the caverns round, Pitying her grief, Bireno's name rebound. XXIII On the far shore there rose a rock; below Scooped by the breaker's beating frequently: The cliff was hollowed underneath, in show Of arch, and overhung the foaming sea. Olympia (MIND such vigour did bestow) Sprang up the frowning crest impetuously, And, at a distance, stretched by favouring gale, Thence saw her cruel lord's departing sail. XXIV Saw it, or seemed to see: for ill her eyes, Things through the air, yet dim and hazy, view. She falls, all-trembling, on the ground, and lies With face than snow more cold and white in hue: But when she has again found strength to rise, Guiding her voice towards the bark which flew, Calling with all her might, the unhappy dame Calls often on her cruel consort's name. XXV Where unavailing was the feeble note, She wept and clapt her hands in agony. "Without its freight," she cried, "thy ship does float. -- Where, cruel, dost thou fly so swiftly? -- Me Receive as well: -- small hinderance to thy boat, Which bears my spirit, would my body be." And she her raiment waving in her hand, Signed to the frigate to return to land. XXVI But the loud wind which, sweeping ocean, bears The faithless stripling's sail across the deep, Bears off as well the shriek, and moan, and prayers Of sad Olympia, sorrowing on the steep. Thrice, cruel to herself, the dame prepares From the high rock amid the waves to leap. But from the water lifts at length her sight, And there returns where she had passed the night. XXVII Stretched on the bed, upon her face she lay, Bathing it with her tears. "Last night in thee Together two found shelter," did she say; "Alas! why two together are not we At rising? False Bireno! cursed day That I was born! What here remains to me To do? What can be done? -- Alone, betrayed -- Who will console me, who afford me aid? XXVIII "Nor man I see, nor see I work, which shows That man inhabits in this isle; nor I See ship, in which (a refuge from my woes), Embarking, I from hence may hope to fly. Here shall I starve; nor any one to close My eyes, or give me sepulture, be by, Save wolf perchance, who roves this wood, a tomb Give me, alas! in his voracious womb. XXIX "I live in terror, and appear to see Rough bear or lion issue even now, Or tiger, from beneath the greenwood tree, Or other beast with teeth and claws: but how Can ever cruel beast inflict on me, O cruel beast, a fouler death than thou? Enough for them to slay me once! while I Am made by thee a thousand deaths to die. XXX "But grant, e'en now, some skipper hither fare, Who may for pity bear me hence away; And that I so eschew wolf, lion, bear, Torture, and dearth, and every horrid way Of death; to Holland shall he take me, where For thee is guarded fortilage and bay; Or take me to the land where I was born, If this thou hast from me by treachery torn? XXXI "Thou, with pretence, from me my state didst wrest Of our connection and of amity; And quickly of my land thy troops possest, To assure the rule unto thyself. Shall I Return to Flanders where I sold the rest, Though little, upon which I lived, to buy Thee needful succour and from prison bear? Wretch, whither shall I go? -- I know not where. XXXII "Can I to Friesland go, where I to reign As queen was called, and this for thee forewent; Where both my brethren and my sire were slain, And every other good from me was rent? -- Thee would I not, thou ingrate, with my pain Reproach, not therefore deal thee punishment: As well as I, the story dost thou know; Now, see the meed thou dost for this bestow! XXXIII "Oh! may I but escape the wild corsair, Nor taken be, and after sold for slave! Rather than this may lion, wolf, or bear, Tiger, or other beast, if fiercer rave, Me with his claws and rushes rend and tear, And drag my bleeding body to his cave." So saying she her golden hair offends, And lock by lock the scattered tresses rends. XXXIV She to the shore's extremest verge anew, Tossing her head, with hair dishevelled, run; And seemed like maid beside herself, and who Was by ten fiends possessed, instead of one; Of like the frantic Hecuba, at view Of murdered Polydore, her infant son; Fixed on a stone she gazed upon the sea, Nor less than real stone seemed stone to be. XXXV But let her grieve till my return. To show Now of the Child I wish: his weary way Rogero, in the noon's intensest glow, Takes by the shore: the burning sunbeams play Upon the hill and thence rebound; below Boils the white sand; while heated with the ray, Little is wanting in that journey dire, But that the arms he wears are all on fire. XXXVI While to the warrior thirst and labour sore, Still toiling through that heavy sand, as he Pursued his path along the sunny shore, Were irksome and displeasing company, Beneath the shadow of a turret hoar, Which rose beside the beach, amid the sea, He found three ladies of Alcina's court, As such distinguished by their dress and port. XXXVII Reclined on Alexandrian carpets rare The ladies joyed the cool in great delight; About them various wines in vessels were, And every sort of comfit nicely dight; Fast by, and sporting with the ripple there, Lay, waiting on their needs, a pinnace light, Until a breeze should fill her sail anew: For then no breath upon the waters blew. XXXVIII They, who beheld along the shifting sand Rogero wend, upon his way intent, And saw thirst figured on his lips, and scanned His troubled visage, all with sweat besprent, Began to pray, `on what he had in hand He would not show his heart so deeply bent, But that he in the cool and grateful shade Would rest his weary limbs, beside them laid.' XXXIX To hold the stirrup one approaching near, Would aid him to alight: the other bore A cup of chrystal to the cavalier, With foaming wine, which raised his thirst the more; But to the music of their speech no ear He lent, who weened if he his way forbore For anything, each lett would time supply To Alcina to arrive, who now was nigh. XL Now so saltpetre fine and sulphur pure, Touched with the fiery spark, blaze suddenly; Not so loud ocean raves, when the obscure Whirlwind descends and camps in middle sea, As viewing thus the knight proceed secure Upon his journey, and aware that he Scorns them, who yet believe they beauteous are, Kindled the third of those three damsels fair. XLI As loud as she could raise her voice, she said, "Thou art not gentle, nor art thou a knight; And hast from other arms and horse conveyed: Which never could be thine by better right. So be thy theft, if well I guess, appaid By death, which this may worthily requite! Foul thief, churl, haughty ingrate, may I thee Burned, gibbeted, or cut in quarters see!" XLII Beside all these and more injurious cries, Which the proud damsel at the warrior throws, Though to her taunts Rogero nought replies, Who weens small fame from such a contest flows; She with her sisters to the frigate hies, Which waits them, and aboard the tender goes; And plying fast her oars, pursues the knight Along the sandy beach, still kept in sight. XLIII On him with threat and curse she ever cried; Whose tongue collected still fresh cause for blame. Meanwhile, where to the lovelier fairy's side The passage lay across a straight, he came; And there an ancient ferryman espied Put from the other shore with punctual aim, As if forewarned and well prepared, the seer Waited the coming of the cavalier. XLIV The ferryman put forth the Child to meet, To bear him to a better shore rejoicing: he Appeared as all benign and all discreet, If of the heart the face is warranty. Giving God thanks, Rogero took his seat Aboard the bark, and passed the quiet sea, Discoursing with that ancient pilot, fraught With wisdom, and by long experience taught. XLV He praised Rogero much, that he had fled In time from false Alcina, and before To him the dame had given the chalice dread, Her lover's final guerdon evermore. Next that he had to Logistilla sped, Where he should duly witness holy lore, And beauty infinite and grace enjoy, Which feed and nourish hearts they never cloy. XLVI "Her shall you, struck with wonderment, revere," (He said), "when first you shall behold the fay; But better contemplate her lofty cheer, And you no other treasure shall appay. In this her love from other differs; fear And hope in other on the bosom prey: In hers Desire demands not aught beside, And with the blessing seen is satisfied. XLVII "You shall in nobler studies be professed, Tutored by her, than bath and costly fare, Song, dance, and perfumes; as how fashioned best, Your thoughts may tower more high than hawks in air; And how some of the glory of the blest You here may in the mortal body share." So speaking, and yet distant from the shore, To the safe bank approached the pilot hoar. XLVIII When he beholds forth-issuing from the strand, A fleet of ships, which all towards him steer. With these came wronged Alcina, with a band Of many vassals, gathered far and near; To risk the ruin of herself and land, Or repossess the thing she held so dear. Love, no light cause, incites the dame aggrieved, Nor less the bitter injury received. XLIX Such choler she had never felt before As that which now upon her bosom fed: And hence she made her followers ply the oar Till the white foam on either bank was shed The deafening noise and din o'er sea and shore, By echo every where repeated, spread, "Now -- now, Rogero, bare the magic shield, Or in the strife be slain, or basely yield": L Thus Logistilla's pilot; and beside, So saying, seized the pouch, wherein was dight The buckler, and the covering torn aside, Exposed to open view the shining light. The enchanted splendor, flashing far and wide, So sore offends the adversaries' sight, They from their vessels drop amazed and blind, Tumbling from prow before, and poop behind. LI One who stood sentry on the citadel Descried the navy of the invading dame, And backwards rang the castle larum-bell, Whence speedy succours to the haven came. The artillery rained like storm, whose fury fell On all who would Rogero scathe and shame: So that such aid was brought him in the strife, As saved the warrior's liberty and life. LII Four ladies are arrived upon the strand, Thither by Logistilla sped in haste: Leagued with the valiant Anrondica stand Fronesia sage, Dicilla good, and chaste Sofrosina, who, as she has in had More than the others, 'mid the foremost placed, Conspicuous flames. Forth issues from the fort A matchless host, and files towards the port. LIII Beneath the castle, safe from wind and swell, Of many ships and stout, a squadron lay; Which, in the harbour, at a sound from bell, -- A word, were fit for action, night or day; And thus by land and sea was battle, fell And furious, waged on part of either fay: Whence was Alcina's realm turned upside down, Of which she had usurped her sister's crown. LIV Oh! of how many battles the success Is different from what was hoped before! Not only failed the dame to repossess, As thought, her lover flying from her shore, But out of ships, even now so numberless, That ample ocean scarce the navy bore, From all her vessels, to the flames a prey, But with one bark escaped the wretched fay. LV Alcina flies; and her sad troop around Routed and taken, burnt or sunk, remains To have lost Rogero, sorrow more profound Wakes in her breast than all her other pains; And she in bitter tears for ever drowned, Of the Child's loss by night and day complains; And bent to end her woes, with many a sigh, Often laments her that she cannot die. LVI No fairy dies, or can, while overhead The sun shall burn, or heaven preserve their stile, Or Clotho had been moved to cut her thread, Touched by such grief; or, as on funeral pile Fair Dido, she beneath the steel had bled; Or, haply, like the gorgeous Queen of Nile, In mortal slumber would have closed her eye: But fairies cannot at their pleasure die. LVII Return we, where eternal fame is due, Leaving Alcina in her trouble sore: I speak of valorous Rogero, who Had disembarked upon the safer shore. He turned his back upon the waters blue, Giving God thanks for all with pious lore; And on dry ground now landed, made repair Towards the lofty castle planted there. LVIII Than this a stronger or more bright in show Was never yet before of mortal sight, Or after, viewed; with stones the ramparts glow More rich than carbuncle or diamond bright. We of like gems discourse not here below, And he who would their nature read aright Must thither speed: none such elsewhere, I ween, Except perhaps in heaven above, are seen. LIX What gives to them superiority O'er every other sort of gem, confessed, Is, man in these his very soul may see; His vices and his virtues see expressed. Hence shall he after heed no flattery, Nor yet by wrongful censure be depressed. His form he in the lucid mirror eyes, And by the knowledge of himself grows wise. LX Their rays, which imitate the sunshine, fill All round about with such a flood of light, That he who has them, Phoebus, may at will Create himself a day, in thy despite. Nor only marvellous the gems; the skill Of the artificer and substance bright So well contend for mastery, of the two, 'Tis hard to judge where preference is due. LXI On arches raised, whereon the firmament Seemed to repose as props, so fair in show Are lovely gardens, and of such extent, As even would be hard to have below. Clustering 'twixt lucid tower or battlement, Green odoriferous shrubs are seen to grow, Which through the summer and the winter shoot, And teem with beauteous blossom and ripe fruit. LXII Never in any place such goodly tree Is grown, except within these gardens fine; Or rose, or violet of like quality, Lilies, or amaranth, or jessamine. Elsewhere it seems as if foredoomed to be Born with one sun, to live and to decline, Upon its widowed stalk the blossom dies, Subject to all the changes of the skies. LXIII But here the verdure still is permanent, Still permanent the eternal blossoms are; Not that kind nature, in her government, So nicely tempers here the genial air, But that, unneeding any influence lent By planet, Logistilla's zeal and care Ever keep fast (what may appear a thing Impossible) her own perpetual spring. LXIV That such a gentle lord had sought her rest, Did much the prudent Logistilla please, And she commanded he should be carest, And all should seek to do him courtesies. Sometime had Sir Astolpho been her guest, Whom with a joyful heart Rogero sees. There in few days resorted all the crew, Changed by Melissa to their shapes anew. LXV When they a day or more their weariness Had eased, Rogero sought the prudent fay; With him the duke Astolpho, who no less Desired to measure back his western way. Melissa was for both embassadress, And for the warlike pair, with humble say To favour, warn and help them, prayed the dame; So that they might return from whence they came. LXVI "I" (said the fay) "will think upon this need, And in two days the pair will expedite." Then thought how good Rogero she should speed. And afterwards how aid the English knight. She wills the first shall, on the griffin steed, To the Aquitanian shores direct his flight; But first will fashion for the flying-horse A bit, to guide him and restrain his course. LXVII She shows him what to do, if he on high Would make him soar, or down to earth would bring, And what, would he in circles make him fly, Or swiftly speed, or pause upon the wing. And all that skilful horsemen use to try Upon plain ground, beneath her tutoring, Rogero learned in air, and gained dominion Over the griffin-steed of soaring pinion. LXVIII When at all points Rogero was prepared, He bade farewell to the protecting fay, For ever to the loving knight endeared, And issued from her realm upon his way. I first of him, who on his journey fared In happy hour, and afterwards shall say Of the English knight, who spent more time and pain Seeking the friendly court of Charlemagne. LXIX Rogero thence departs; but as before Takes not the way he took in his despite, When him above the sea the courser bore, And seldom was the land beneath in sight. But taught to make him beat his wings and soar, Here, there, as liked him best, with docile flight, Returning, he another path pursued; As Magi erst, who Herod's snare eschewed. LXX Borne hither, good Rogero, leaving Spain, Had sought, in level line, the Indian lands, Where they are watered by the Eastern main; Where the two fairies strove with hostile bands. He now resolved to visit other reign Than that where Aeolus his train commands; And finish so the round he had begun, Circling the world beneath him like the sun. LXXI Here the Catay, and there he Mangiane, Passing the great Quinsay beheld; in air Above Imavus turned, and Sericane Left on the right; and thence did ever bear From the north Scythians to the Hyrcanian main: So reached Sarmatia's distant land; and, where Europe and Asia's parted climes divide, Russ, Prussian, he and Pomeranian spied. LXXII Although the Child by every wish was pressed Quickly to seek his Bradamant, yet he With taste of roving round the world possest, Would not desist from it, till Hungary He had seen; and Polacks, Germans, and the rest Should in his wide extended circuit see, Inhabiting that horrid, northern land; And came at last to England's farthest strand. LXXIII Yet think not, sir, that in so long a flight, The warrior is for ever on the wing. Who lodges, housed in tavern every night, As best as can, through his capacious ring. So nights and days he passes: such delight Prospects to him of land and ocean bring. Arrived one morn nigh London-town, he stopt; And over Thames the flying courser dropt. LXXIV Where he in meadows to the city nigh Saw troops of men at arms, and footmen spread; Who, to the drum and trumpet marching by, Divided into goodly bands, were led Before Rinaldo, flower of chivalry; He that (if you remember it) was said To have been sent by Charlemagne, and made His envoy to these parts in search of aid. LXXV Rogero came exactly as the show Of that fair host was made without the town, And of a knight the occasion sought to know; But from the griffin-horse first lighted down: And he who courteous was, informed him how Of kingdoms holding of the British crown, English, Scotch, Irish, and the Islands nigh, Those many banners were, upreared on high: LXXVI And added, having ended this display Of arms, the troops would file towards the strand, Where vessels anchored in the harbour lay, Waiting to bear them to another land. "The French beseiged, rejoice in this array, And hope (he said) deliverance through the band. But that I may of all inform you well, I of each troop shall separately tell. LXXVII "Lo! where yon mighty banner planted stands, Which pards and flower-de-luces does unfold, That our great captain to the wind expands, Under whose ensign are the rest enrolled: The warrior's name, renowned throughout these lands, Is Leonetto, flower of all the bold; Lancaster's duke, and nephew to the king, Valiant in war, and wise in counselling. LXXVIII "That next the royal gonfalon, which stirred By fluttering wind, is borne towards the mount, Which on green field, three pinions of a bird Bears agent, speaks Sir Richard, Warwick's count. The Duke of Gloucester's blazon is the third, Two antlers of a stag, and demi-front; The Duke of Clarence shows a torch, and he Is Duke of York who bears that verdant tree. LXXIX "Upon the Duke of Norfolk's gonfalon You see a lance into three pieces broke; The thunder on the Earl of Kent's; upon Pembroke's a griffin; underneath a yoke; In Essex's, conjoined, two snakes are shown: By yonder lifted balance is bespoke The Duke of Suffolk; and Northumbria's Earl A garland does on azure field unfurl. LXXX "Arundel's Earl is yonder cavalier, Whose banner bears a foundering bark! In sight The next, is Berkeley's noble Marquis; near Are March and Richmond's Earls: the first on white Shows a cleft mount; a palm the second peer; A pine amid the waves the latter knight. The next of Dorset and Southampton's town, Are earls; this bears a car, and that a crown. LXXXI "The valiant Raymond, Earl of Devon, bears The hawk, which spreads her wings above her nest; While or and sable he of Worcester wears: Derby's a dog, a bear is Oxford's crest. There, as his badge, a cross of chrystal rears Bath's wealthy prelate, camped among the rest. The broken seat on dusky field, next scan, Of Somerset's good duke, Sir Ariman. LXXXII "Forty-two thousand muster in array, The men at arms and mounted archers there. By a hundred I misreckon not, or they, The fighting footmen, twice as many are. Those ensigns yellow, brown, and green, survey, And that striped blue and black. The foot repair Each to his separate flag where these are spread; By Godfrey, Henry, Hermant, Edward, led. LXXXIII "The first is the Duke of Buckingham; and he, The next, is Henry, Earl of Salisbury; Old Hermant Aberga'nny hold in fee, That Edward is the Earl of Shrewsbury. In those who yonder lodge, the English see Camped eastward; and now westward turn your eye, Where you shall thirty thousand Scots, a crew Led by their monarch's son, Zerbino, view. LXXXIV "The lion 'twixt two unicorns behold Upon the standard of the Scottish king! Which has a sword of silver in its hold. There camps his son: of all his following Is none so beauteous: nature broke the mould In which she cast him, after fashioning Her work: Is none in whom such chivalry And valour shines. The Duke of Rothsay he! LXXXV "Behold the Earl of Huntley's flag display Upon an azure field a gilded bar: In that a leopard in the toils survey, The bearing of the noble Duke of Mar. With many birds, and many colours gay, See Alcabrun's, a valiant man in war; Who neither duke, nor count, nor marquis hight, Is in his savage country first of right. LXXXVI "The Duke of Strathforth shows the bird, who strains His daring eyes to keep the sun in view; The Earl Lurcanio, that in Angus reigns, A bull, whose flanks are torn by deerhounds two. See there the Duke of Albany, who stains His ensign's field with colours white and blue. The Earl of Buchan next his banner bears, In which a dragon vert a vulture tears. LXXXVII "Herman, the lord of Forbes, conducts that band, And stripes his gonfalon with black and white; With Errol's earl upon his better hand, Who on a field of green displays a light. Now see the Irish, next the level land, Into two squadrons ordered for the fight. Kildare's redoubted earl commands the first; Lord Desmond leads the next, in mountains nursed. LXXXVIII "A burning pine by Kildare is displayed; By Desmond on white field a crimson bend. Nor only England, Scotland, Ireland, aid King Charlemagne; but to assist him wend The Swede and Norse, and succours are conveyed From Thule, and the farthest Iceland's end. All lands that round them lie, in fine, increase His host, by nature enemies to peace. LXXXIX "Issued from cavern and from forest brown, They sixteen thousand are, or little less; Visage, legs, arms, and bosom overgrown With hair, like beasts. Lo! yonder, where they press About a standard white, the level down Of lances seems a bristling wilderness. Such Moray's flag, the savage squadron's head, Who means with Moorish blood to paint it red." XC What time Rogero sees the fair array, Whose bands to succour ravaged France prepare, And notes and talks of ensigns they display, And names of British lords, to him repair One and another, crowding to survey His courser, single of its kind, or rare: All thither hasten, wondering and astound, And compassing the warrior, form a round. XCI So that to raise more wonder in the train. And to make better sport, as him they eyed, Rogero shook the flying courser's rein, And lightly with the rowels touched his side: He towards heaven, uprising, soared amain, And left behind each gazer stupefied. Having from end to end the English force So viewed, he next for Ireland shaped his course; XCII And saw fabulous Hibernia, where The goodly, sainted elder made the cave, In which men cleansed from all offences are; Such mercy there, it seems, is found to save. Thence o'er that sea he spurred, through yielding air, Whose briny waves the lesser Britain lave; And, looking down, Angelica descried In passing, to the rock with fetters tied; XCIII Bound to the naked rock upon the strand, In the isle of tears; for the isle of tears was hight, That which was peopled by the inhuman band, So passing fierce and full of foul despite; Who (as I told above) on every hand Cruized with their scattered fleet by day or night; And every beauteous woman bore away, Destined to be a monster's evil prey: XCIV There but that morning bound in cruel wise; Where (to devour a living damsel sped) The orc, that measureless sea-monster, hies, Which on abominable food is fed. How on the beach the maid became the prize Of the rapacious crew, above was said, Who found her sleeping near the enchanter hoar, Who her had thither brought by magic lore. XCV The cruel and inhospitable crew To the voracious beast the dame expose Upon the sea-beat shore, as bare to view As nature did at first her work compose. Not even a veil she had, to shade the hue Of the white lily and vermillion rose, Which mingled in her lovely members meet, Proof to December-snow and July-heat. XCVI Her would Rogero have some statue deemed Of alabaster made, or marble rare, Which to the rugged rock so fastened seemed By the industrious sculptor's cunning care, But that he saw distinct a tear which streamed Amid fresh-opening rose and lily fair, Stand on her budding paps beneath in dew, And that her golden hair dishevelled flew. XCVII And as he fastened his on her fair eyes, His Bradamant he called to mind again. Pity and love within his bosom rise At once, and ill he can from tears refrain: And in soft tone he to the damsel cries, (When he has checked his flying courser's rein) "O lady, worthy but that chain to wear, With which Love's faithful servants fettered are, XCVIII "And most unworthy this or other ill, What wretch has had the cruelty to wound And gall those snowy hands with livid stain, Thus painfully with griding fetters bound?" At this she cannot choose but show like grain, Of crimson spreading on an ivory ground; Knowing those secret beauties are espied, Which, howsoever lovely, shame would hide; XCIX And gladly with her hands her face would hood, Were they not fastened to the rugged stone: But with her tears (for this at least she could) Bedewed it, and essayed to hold it down. Sobbing some while the lovely damsel stood; Then loosed her tongue and spake in feeble tone; But ended not; arrested in mid-word, By a loud noise which in the sea was heard. C Lo! and behold! the unmeasured-beast appears, Half surging and half hidden, in such sort As sped by roaring wind long carack steers From north or south, towards her destined port. So the sea monster to his food repairs: And now the interval between is short. Half dead the lady is through fear endured, Ill by that other's comfort reassured. CI Rogero overhand, not in the rest Carries his lance, and beats, with downright blow, The monstrous orc. What this resembled best, But a huge, writhing mass, I do not know; Which wore no form of animal exprest, Save in the head, with eyes and teeth of sow. His forehead, 'twixt the eyes, Rogero smites, But as on steel or rock the weapon lights. CII When he perceives the first of no avail, The knight returns to deal a better blow; The orc, who sees the shifting shadow sail Of those huge pinions on the sea below, In furious heat, deserts his sure regale On shore, to follow that deceitful show: And rolls and reels behind it, as it fleets. Rogero drops, and oft the stroke repeats. CIII As eagle, that amid her downward flight, Surveys amid the grass a snake unrolled, Or where she smoothes upon a sunny height, Her ruffled plumage, and her scales of gold, Assails it not where prompt with poisonous bite To hiss and creep; but with securer hold Gripes it behind, and either pinion clangs, Lest it should turn and wound her with its fangs; CIV So the fell orc Rogero does not smite With lance or faulchion where the tushes grow, But aims that 'twixt the ears his blow may light; Now on the spine, or now on tail below. And still in time descends or soars upright, And shifts his course, to cheat the veering foe: But as if beating on a jasper block, Can never cleave the hard and rugged rock. CV With suchlike warfare is the mastiff vext By the bold fly in August's time of dust, Or in the month before or in the next, This full of yellow spikes and that of must; For ever by the circling plague perplext, Whose sting into his eyes or snout is thrust: And oft the dog's dry teeth are heard to fall; But reaching once the foe, he pays for all. CVI With his huge tail the troubled waves so sore The monster beats, that they ascend heaven-high; And the knight knows not if he swim, or soar Upon his feathered courser in mid sky; And oft were fain to find himself ashore: For, if long time the spray so thickly fly, He fears it so will bathe his hippogryph, That he shall vainly covet gourd or skiff. CVII He then new counsel took, and 'twas the best, With other arms the monster to pursue; And lifting from his shield the covering vest, To dazzle with the light his blasted view. Landward towards the rock-chained maid he pressed, And on her little finger, lest a new Mischance should follow, slipt the ring, which brought The enchantment of the magic shield to nought. CVIII I say the ring, which Bradamant, to free Rogero, from Brunello's hand had rent, And which, to snatch him from Alcina, she Had next to India by Melissa sent. Melissa (as before was said by me), In aid of many used the instrument; And to Rogero this again had born; By whom 'twas ever on his finger worn. CIX He gave it now Angelica; for he Feared lest the buckler's light should be impaired, And willed as well those beauteous eyes should be Defended, which had him already snared. Pressing beneath his paunch full half the sea, Now to the shore the monstrous whale repaired: Firm stood Rogero, and the veil undone, Appeared to give the sky another sun. CX He in the monster's eyes the radiance throws, Which works as it was wont in other time. As trout or grayling to the bottom goes In stream, which mountaineer disturbs with lime; So the enchanted buckler overthrows The orc, reversed among the foam and slime. Rogero here and there the beast astound Still beats, but cannot find the way to wound. CXI This while the lady begs him not to bray Longer the monster's rugged scale in vain. "For heaven's sake turn and loose me" (did she say, Still weeping) "ere the orc awake again. Bear me with thee, and drown me in mid-way. Let me not this foul monster's food remain." By her just plaint Rogero moved, forebore, Untied the maid, and raised her from the shore. CXII Upon the beach the courser plants his feet, And goaded by the rowel, towers in air, And gallops with Rogero in mid seat, While on the croup behind him sate the fair; Who of his banquet so the monster cheat; For him too delicate and dainty fare. Rogero turns and with thick kisses plies The lady's snowy breast and sparkling eyes. CXIII He kept no more the way, as he before Proposed, for compassing the whole of Spain: But stopt his courser on the neighbouring shore Where lesser Britain runs into the main. Upon the bank there rose an oakwood hoar, Where Philomel for ever seemed to plain; I' the middle was a meadow with a fountain, And, at each end, a solitary mountain. CXIV 'Twas here the wishful knight first checked the rein, And dropping in the meadow, made his steed Furl, yet not shut so close, his wings again, As he had spread them wide for better speed. Down lights Rogero, and forbears with pain From other leap; but this his arms impede: His arms impede; a bar to his desire, And he must doff them would he slake the fire. CXV Now here, now there, confused by different throng, Rogero did his shining arms undo: Never the task appeared to him so long; For where he loosed one knot, he fastened two. But, sir, too long continued is this song, And haply may as well have wearied you; So that I shall delay to other time, When it may better please, my tedious rhyme.