Bulfinch's Mythology
Thomas Bulfinch

Part 14 out of 19

western side, close to the sea, was the palace, built of marble,
so clear and polished that it reflected the landscape about it.
Rinaldo leapt ashore, and soon met a lady, who invited him to
enter. The house was as beautiful within as without, full of rooms
adorned with azure and gold, and with noble paintings. The lady
led the knight into an apartment painted with stories, and opening
to the garden, through pillars of crystal, with golden capitals.
Here he found a bevy of ladies, three of whom were singing in
concert, while another played on an instrument of exquisite
accord, and the rest danced round about them. When the ladies
beheld him coming they turned the dance into a circuit round him,
and then one of them, in the sweetest manner, said, "Sir knight,
the tables are set, and the hour for the banquet is come;" and,
with these words, still dancing, they drew him across the lawn in
front of the apartment, to a table that was spread with cloth of
gold and fine linen, under a bower of damask roses by the side of
a fountain.

Four ladies were already seated there, who rose, and placed
Rinaldo at their head, in a chair set with pearls. And truly
indeed was he astonished. A repast ensued, consisting of viands
the most delicate, and wines as fragrant as they were fine, drunk
out of jewelled cups; and, when it drew towards its conclusion,
harps and lutes were heard in the distance, and one of the ladies
said in the knight's ear: "This house and all that you see in it
are yours; for you alone was it built, and the builder is a queen.
Happy indeed must you think yourself, for she loves you, and she
is the greatest beauty in the world! Her name is Angelica."

The moment Rinaldo heard the name he so detested he started up,
with a changed countenance, and, in spite of all that the lady
could say, broke off across the garden, and never ceased hastening
till he reached the place where he landed. The bark was still on
the shore. He sprang into it, and pushed off, though he saw nobody
in it but himself. It was in vain for him to try to control its
movements, for it dashed on as if in fury, till it reached a
distant shore covered with a gloomy forest. Here Rinaldo,
surrounded by enchantments of a very different sort from those
which he had lately resisted, was entrapped into a pit.

The pit belonged to a castle called Altaripa, which was hung with
human heads, and painted red with blood. As the paladin was
viewing the scene with amazement a hideous old woman made her
appearance at the edge of the pit, and told him that he was
destined to be thrown to a monster, who was only kept from
devastating the whole country by being supplied with living human
flesh. Rinaldo said, "Be it so; let me but remain armed as I am,
and I fear nothing." The old woman laughed in derision. Rinaldo
remained in the pit all night, and the next morning was taken to
the place where the monster had his den. It was a court surrounded
by a high wall. Rinaldo was shut in with the beast, and a terrible
combat ensued. Rinaldo was unable to make any impression on the
scales of the monster, while he, on the contrary, with his
dreadful claws, tore away plate and mail from the paladin. Rinaldo
began to think his last hour was come, and cast his eyes around
and above to see if there was any means of escape. He perceived a
beam projecting from the wall at the height of some ten feet, and,
taking a leap almost miraculous, he succeeded in reaching it, and
in flinging himself up across it. Here he sat for hours, the
hideous brute continually trying to reach him. All at once he
heard the sound of something coming through the air like a bird,
and suddenly Angelica herself alighted on the end of the beam. She
held something in her hand towards him, and spoke to him in a
loving voice. But the moment Rinaldo saw her he commanded her to
go away, refused all her offers of assistance, and at length
declared that, if she did not leave him, he would cast himself
down to the monster, and meet his fate.

Angelica, saying she would lose her life rather than displease
him, departed; but first she threw to the monster a cake of wax
she had prepared, and spread around him a rope knotted with
nooses. The beast took the bait, and, finding his teeth glued
together by the wax, vented his fury in bounds and leaps, and,
soon getting entangled in the nooses, drew them tight by his
struggles, so that he could scarcely move a limb.

Rinaldo, watching his chance, leapt down upon his back, seized him
round the neck, and throttled him, not relaxing his gripe till the
beast fell dead.

Another difficulty remained to be overcome. The walls were of
immense height, and the only opening in them was a grated window
of such strength that he could not break the bars. In his distress
Rinaldo found a file, which Angelica had left on the ground, and,
with the help of this, effected his deliverance.

What further adventures he met with will be told in another


At the very time when Charlemagne was holding his plenary court
and his great tournament his kingdom was invaded by a mighty
monarch, who was moreover so valiant and strong in battle that no
one could stand against him. He was named Gradasso, and his
kingdom was called Sericane. Now, as it often happens to the
greatest and the richest to long for what they cannot have, and
thus to lose what they already possess, this king could not rest
content without Durindana, the sword of Orlando, and Bayard, the
horse of Rinaldo. To obtain these he determined to war upon
France, and for this purpose put in array a mighty army.

He took his way through Spain, and, after defeating Marsilius, the
king of that country, in several battles, was rapidly advancing on
France. Charlemagne, though Marsilius was a Saracen, and had been
his enemy, yet felt it needful to succor him in this extremity
from a consideration of common danger, and, with the consent of
his peers, despatched Rinaldo with a strong body of soldiers
against Gradasso.

There was much fighting, with doubtful results, and Gradasso was
steadily advancing into France. But, impatient to achieve his
objects, he challenged Rinaldo to single combat, to be fought on
foot, and upon these conditions: If Rinaldo conquered, Gradasso
agreed to give up all his prisoners and return to his own country;
but if Gradasso won the day, he was to have Bayard.

The challenge was accepted, and would have been fought had it not
been for the arts of Malagigi, who just then returned from
Angelica's kingdom with set purpose to win Rinaldo to look with
favor upon the fair princess who was dying for love of him.
Malagigi drew Rinaldo away from the army by putting on the
semblance of Gradasso, and, after a short contest, pretending to
fly before him, by which means Rinaldo was induced to follow him
into a boat, in which he was borne away, and entangled in various
adventures, as we have already related.

The army, left under the command of Ricciardetto, Rinaldo's
brother, was soon joined by Charlemagne and all his peerage, but
experienced a disastrous rout, and the Emperor and many of his
paladins were taken prisoners. Gradasso, however, did not abuse
his victory; he took Charles by the hand, seated him by his side,
and told him he warred only for honor. He renounced all conquests,
on condition that the Emperor should deliver to him Bayard and
Durindana, both of them the property of his vassals, the former of
which, as he maintained, was already forfeited to him by Rinaldo's
failure to meet him as agreed. To these terms Charlemagne readily

Bayard, after the departure of his master, had been taken in
charge by Ricciardetto, and sent back to Paris, where Astolpho was
in command, in the absence of Charlemagne. Astolpho received with
great indignation the message despatched for Bayard, and replied
by a herald that "he would not surrender the horse of his kinsman
Rinaldo without a contest. If Gradasso wanted the steed he might
come and take him, and that he, Astolpho, was ready to meet him in
the field."

Gradasso was only amused at this answer, for Astolpho's fame as a
successful warrior was not high, and Gradasso willingly renewed
with him the bargain which he had made with Rinaldo. On these
conditions the battle was fought. The enchanted lance, in the
hands of Astolpho, performed a new wonder; and Gradasso, the
terrible Gradasso, was unhorsed.

He kept his word, set free his prisoners, and put his army on the
march to return to his own country, renewing his oath, however,
not to rest till he had taken from Rinaldo his horse, and from
Orlando his sword, or lost his life in the attempt.

Charlemagne, full of gratitude to Astolpho, would have kept him
near his person and loaded him with honors, but Astolpho preferred
to seek Rinaldo, with the view of restoring to him his horse, and
departed from Paris with that design.

Our story now returns to Orlando, whom we left fascinated with
the sight of the sleeping beauty, who, however, escaped him while
engaged in the combat with Ferrau. Having long sought her in vain
through the recesses of the wood, he resolved to follow her to her
father's court. Leaving, therefore, the camp of Charlemagne, he
travelled long in the direction of the East, making inquiry
everywhere, if, perchance, he might get tidings of the fugitive.
After many adventures, he arrived one day at a place where many
roads crossed, and meeting there a courier, he asked him for news.
The courier replied that he had been despatched by Angelica to
solicit the aid of Sacripant, king of Circassia, in favor of her
father Galafron, who was besieged in his city, Albracca, by
Agrican, king of Tartary. This Agrican had been an unsuccessful
suitor to the damsel, whom he now pursued with arms. Orlando thus
learned that he was within a day's journey of Albracca; and,
feeling now secure of Angelica, he proceeded with all speed to her

Thus journeying he arrived at a bridge, under which flowed a
foaming river. Here a damsel met him with a goblet, and informed
him that it was the usage of this bridge to present the traveller
with a cup. Orlando accepted the offered cup and drank its
contents. He had no sooner done so than his brain reeled, and he
became unconscious of the object of his journey, and of everything
else. Under the influence of this fascination he followed the
damsel into a magnificent and marvellous palace. Here he found
himself in company with many knights, unknown to him and to each
other, though if it had not been for the Cup of Oblivion of which
they all had partaken they would have found themselves brothers in

Astolpho, proceeding on his way to seek Rinaldo, splendidly
dressed and equipped, as was his wont, arrived in Circassia, and
found there a great army encamped under the command of Sacripant,
the king of that country, who was leading it to the defence of
Galafron, the father of Angelica. Sacripant, much struck by the
appearance of Astolpho and his horse, accosted him courteously,
and tried to enlist him in his service; but Astolpho, proud of his
late victories, scornfully declined his offers, and pursued his
way. King Sacripant was too much attracted by his appearance to
part with him so easily, and having laid aside his kingly
ornaments, set out in pursuit of him.

Astolpho next day encountered on his way a stranger knight, named
Sir Florismart, Lord of the Sylvan Tower, one of the bravest and
best of knights, having as his guide a damsel, young, fair, and
virtuous, to whom he was tenderly attached, whose name was
Flordelis. Astolpho, as he approached, defied the knight, bidding
him yield the lady, or prepare to maintain his right by arms.
Florismart accepted the contest, and the knights encountered.
Florismart was unhorsed and his steed fell dead, while Bayard
sustained no injury by the shock.

Florismart was so overwhelmed with despair at his own disgrace and
the sight of the damsel's distress, that he drew his sword, and
was about to plunge it into his own bosom. But Astolpho held his
hand, told him that he contended only for glory, and was contented
to leave him the lady.

While Florismart and Flordelis were vowing eternal gratitude King
Sacripant arrived, and coveting the damsel of the one champion as
much as the horse and arms of the other, defied them to the joust.
Astolpho met the challenger, whom he instantly overthrew, and
presented his courser to Florismart, leaving the king to return to
his army on foot.

The friends pursued their route, and ere long Flordelis
discovered, by signs which were known to her, that they were
approaching the waters of Oblivion, and advised them to turn back,
or to change their course. This the knights would not hear of,
and, continuing their march, they soon arrived at the bridge where
Orlando had been taken prisoner.

The damsel of the bridge appeared as before with the enchanted
cup, but Astolpho, forewarned, rejected it with scorn. She dashed
it to the ground, and a fire blazed up which rendered the bridge
unapproachable. At the same moment the two knights were assailed
by sundry warriors, known and unknown, who, having no recollection
of anything, joined blindly in defence of their prison-house.
Among these was Orlando, at sight of whom Astolpho, with all his
confidence not daring to encounter him, turned and fled, owing his
escape to the strength and fleetness of Bayard.

Florismart, meanwhile, overlaid by fearful odds, was compelled to
yield to necessity, and comply with the usage of the fairy. He
drank of the cup and remained prisoner with the rest. Flordelis,
deprived of her two friends, retired from the scene, and devoted
herself to untiring efforts to effect her lover's deliverance.
Astolpho pursued his way to Albracca, which Agrican was about to
besiege. He was kindly welcomed by Angelica, and enrolled among
her defenders. Impatient to distinguish himself, he one night
sallied forth alone, arrived in Agrican's camp, and unhorsed his
warriors right and left by means of the enchanted lance. But he
was soon surrounded and overmatched, and made prisoner to Agrican.

Relief was, however, at hand; for as the citizens and soldiers
were one day leaning over their walls they descried a cloud of
dust, from which horsemen were seen to prick forth, as it rolled
on towards the camp of the besiegers. This turned out to be the
army of Sacripant, which immediately attacked that of Agrican,
with the view of cutting a passage through his camp to the
besieged city. But Agrican, mounted upon Bayard, taken from
Astolpho, but not armed with the lance of gold, the virtues of
which were unknown to him, performed wonders, and rallied his
scattered troops, which had given way to the sudden and unexpected
assault. Sacripant, on the other hand, encouraged his men by the
most desperate acts of valor, having as an additional incentive to
his courage the sight of Angelica, who showed herself upon the
city walls.

There she witnessed a single combat between the two leaders,
Agrican and Sacripant. In this, at length, her defender appeared
to be overmatched, when the Circassians broke the ring, and
separated the combatants, who were borne asunder in the rush.
Sacripant, severely wounded, profited by the confusion, and
escaped into Albracca, where he was kindly received and carefully
tended by Angelica.

The battle continuing, the Circassians were at last put to flight,
and, being intercepted between the enemy's lines and the town,
sought for refuge under the walls. Angelica ordered the drawbridge
to be let down, and the gates thrown open to the fugitives. With
these Agrican, not distinguished in the crowd, entered the place,
driving both Circassians and Cathayans before him, and the
portcullis being dropped, he was shut in.

For a time the terror which he inspired put to flight all
opposers, but when at last it came to be known that few or none of
his followers had effected an entrance with him, the fugitives
rallied and surrounded him on all sides. While he was thus
apparently reduced to the last extremities, he was saved by the
very circumstance which threatened him with destruction. The
soldiers of Angelica, closing upon him from all sides, deserted
their defences; and his own besieging army entered the city in a
part where the wall was broken down.

In this way was Agrican rescued, the city taken, and the
inhabitants put to the sword. Angelica, however, with some of the
knights who were her defenders, among whom was Sacripant, saved
herself in the citadel, which was planted upon a rock.

The fortress was impregnable, but it was scantily victualled, and
ill provided with other necessaries. Under these circumstances
Angelica announced to those blockaded with her in the citadel her
intention to go in quest of assistance, and, having plighted her
promise of a speedy return, she set out, with the enchanted ring
upon her finger. Mounted upon her palfrey, the damsel passed
through the enemy's lines, and by sunrise was many miles clear of
their encampment.

It so happened that her road led her near the fatal bridge of
Oblivion, and as she approached it she met a damsel weeping
bitterly. It was Flordelis, whose lover, Florismart, as we have
related, had met the fate of Orlando and many more, and fallen a
victim to the enchantress of the cup. She related her adventures
to Angelica, and conjured her to lend what aid she might to rescue
her lord and his companions. Angelica, accordingly, watching her
opportunity and aided by her ring, slipped into the castle unseen,
when the door was opened to admit a new victim. Here she speedily
disenchanted Orlando and the rest by a touch of her talisman. But
Florismart was not there. He had been given up to Falerina, a more
powerful enchantress, and was still in durance. Angelica conjured
the rescued captives to assist her in the recovery of her kingdom,
and all departed together for Albracca.

The arrival of Orlando, with his companions, nine in all, and
among the bravest knights of France, changed at once the fortunes
of the war. Wherever the great paladin came, pennon and standard
fell before him. Agrican in vain attempted to rally his troops.
Orlando kept constantly in his front, forcing him to attend to
nobody else. The Tartar king at length bethought him of a
stratagem. He turned his horse, and made a show of flying in
despair. Orlando dashed after him as he desired, and Agrican fled
till he reached a green place in a wood, where there was a

The place was beautiful, and the Tartar dismounted to refresh
himself at the fountain, but without taking off his helmet, or
laying aside any of his armor. Orlando was quickly at his back,
crying out, "So bold, and yet a fugitive! How could you fly from a
single arm and think to escape?"

The Tartar king had leaped on his saddle the moment he saw his
enemy, and when the paladin had done speaking, he said in a mild
voice, "Without doubt you are the best knight I ever encountered,
and fain would I leave you untouched for your own sake, if you
would cease to hinder me from rallying my people. I pretended to
fly, in order to bring you out of the field. If you insist upon
fighting I must needs fight and slay you, but I call the sun in
the heavens to witness I would rather not. I should be very sorry
for your death."

The Count Orlando felt pity for so much gallantry, and he said,
"The nobler you show yourself the more it grieves me to think that
in dying without a knowledge of the true faith you will be lost in
the other world. Let me advise you to save body and soul at once.
Receive baptism, and go your way in peace."

Agrican replied: "I suspect you to be the paladin Orlando. If you
are I would not lose this opportunity of fighting with you to be
king of Paradise. Talk to me no more about your things of another
world, for you will preach in vain. Each of us for himself, and
let the sword be umpire."

The Saracen drew his sword, boldly advancing upon Orlando, and a
combat began, so obstinate and so long, each warrior being a
miracle of prowess, that the story says it lasted from noon till
night. Orlando then seeing the stars come out was the first to
propose a respite.

"What are we to do," said he, "now that daylight has left us?"

Agrican answered readily enough, "Let us repose in this meadow,
and renew the combat at dawn."

The repose was taken accordingly. Each tied up his horse, and
reclined himself on the grass, not far from the other, just as if
they had been friends, Orlando by the fountain, Agrican beneath a
pine. It was a beautiful clear night, and, as they talked together
before addressing themselves to sleep, the champion of
Christendom, looking up at the firmament, said, "That is a fine
piece of workmanship, that starry spectacle; God made it all, that
moon of silver, and those stars of gold, and the light of day, and
the sun,--all for the sake of human kind."

"You wish, I see, to talk of matters of faith," said the Tartar.
"Now I may as well tell you at once that I have no sort of skill
in such matters, nor learning of any kind. I never could learn
anything when I was a boy. I hated it so that I broke the man's
head who was commissioned to teach me; and it produced such an
effect on others that nobody ever afterwards dared so much as show
me a book. My boyhood was therefore passed, as it should be, in
horsemanship and hunting, and learning to fight. What is the good
of a gentleman's poring all day over a book? Prowess to the
knight, and preaching to the clergyman, that is my motto."

"I acknowledge," returned Orlando, "that arms are the first
consideration of a gentleman; but not at all that he does himself
dishonor by knowledge. On the contrary, knowledge is as great an
embellishment of the rest of his attainments, as the flowers are
to the meadow before us; and as to the knowledge of his Maker, the
man that is without it is no better than a stock or a stone or a
brute beast. Neither without study can he reach anything of a due
sense of the depth and divineness of the contemplation."

"Learned or not learned," said Agrican, "you might show yourself
better bred than by endeavoring to make me talk on a subject on
which you have me at a disadvantage. If you choose to sleep I wish
you good night; but if you prefer talking I recommend you to talk
of fighting or of fair ladies. And, by the way, pray tell me, are
you not that Orlando who makes such a noise in the world? And what
is it, pray, that brings you into these parts? Were you ever in
love? I suppose you must have been; for to be a knight, and never
to have been in love, would be like being a man without a heart in
his breast."

The count replied: "Orlando I am, and in love I am. Love has made
me abandon everything, and brought me into these distant regions,
and, to tell you all in one word, my heart is in the hands of the
daughter of King Galafron. You have come against him with fire and
sword, to get possession of his castles and his dominions; and I
have come to help him, for no object in the world but to please
his daughter and win her beautiful hand. I care for nothing else
in existence."

Now when the Tartar king, Agrican, heard his antagonist speak in
this manner, and knew him to be indeed Orlando, and to be in love
with Angelica, his face changed color for grief and jealousy,
though it could not be seen for the darkness. His heart began
beating with such violence that he felt as if he should have died.
"Well," said he to Orlando, "we are to fight when it is daylight,
and one or other is to be left here, dead on the ground. I have a
proposal to make to you--nay, an entreaty. My love is so
excessive for the same lady that I beg you to leave her to me. I
will owe you my thanks, and give up the siege and put an end to
the war. I cannot bear that any one should love her, and that I
should live to see it. Why, therefore, should either of us perish?
Give her up. Not a soul shall know it."

"I never yet," answered Orlando, "made a promise which I did not
keep, and nevertheless I own to you that, were I to make a promise
like that, and even swear to keep it, I should not. You might as
well ask me to tear away the limbs from my body, and the eyes out
of my head. I could as well live without breath itself as cease
loving Angelica."

Agrican had hardly patience to let him finish speaking, ere he
leapt furiously on horseback, though it was midnight. "Quit her,"
said he, "or die!"

Orlando seeing the infidel getting up, and not being sure that he
would not add treachery to fierceness, had been hardly less quick
in mounting for the combat. "Never," exclaimed he; "I never could
have quitted her if I would, and now I would not if I could. You
must seek her by other means than these."

Fiercely dashed their horses together, in the nighttime, on the
green mead. Despiteful and terrible were the blows they gave and
took by the moonlight. Agrican fought in a rage, Orlando was
cooler. And now the struggle had lasted more than five hours, and
day began to dawn, when the Tartar king, furious to find so much
trouble given him, dealt his enemy a blow sharp and violent beyond
conception. It cut the shield in two as if it had been made of
wood, and, though blood could not be drawn from Orlando, because
he was fated, it shook and bruised him as if it had started every
joint in his body.

His body only, however, not a particle of his soul. So dreadful
was the blow which the paladin gave in return, that not only
shield, but every bit of mail on the body of Agrican was broken in
pieces, and three of his ribs cut asunder.

The Tartar, roaring like a lion, raised his sword with still
greater vehemence than before, and dealt a blow on the paladin's
helmet, such as he had never yet received from mortal man. For a
moment it took away his senses. His sight failed, his ears
tingled, his frightened horse turned about to fly; and he was
falling from the saddle, when the very action of falling threw his
head upwards, and thus recalled his recollection.

"What a shame is this!" thought he; "how shall I ever again dare
to face Angelica! I have been fighting hour after hour with this
man, and he is but one, and I call myself Orlando! If the combat
last any longer I will bury myself in a monastery, and never look
on sword again."

Orlando muttered with his lips closed and his teeth ground
together; and you might have thought that fire instead of breath
came out of his nose and mouth. He raised his sword Durindana with
both his hands, and sent it down so tremendously on Agrican's
shoulder that it cut through breastplate down to the very haunch,
nay, crushed the saddle-bow, though it was made of bone and iron,
and felled man and horse to the earth. Agrican turned as white as
ashes, and felt death upon him. He called Orlando to come close to
him, with a gentle voice, and said, as well as he could: "I
believe on Him who died on the cross. Baptize me, I pray thee,
with the fountain, before my senses are gone. I have lived an evil
life, but need not be rebellious to God in death also. May He who
came to save all the rest of the world save me!" And he shed
tears, that great king, though he had been so lofty and fierce.

Orlando dismounted quickly, with his own face in tears. He
gathered the king tenderly in his arms, and took and laid him by
the fountain, on a marble rim that it had, and then he wept in
concert with him heartily, and asked his pardon, and so baptized
him in the water of the fountain, and knelt and prayed to God for
him with joined hands.

He then paused and looked at him; and when he perceived his
countenance changed, and that his whole person was cold, he left
him there on the marble rim of the fountain, all armed as he was,
with the sword by his side, and the crown upon his head.


We left Rinaldo when, having overcome the monster, he quitted the
castle of Altaripa, and pursued his way on foot. He soon met with
a weeping damsel, who, being questioned as to the cause of her
sorrow, told him she was in search of one to do battle to rescue
her lover, who had been made prisoner by a vile enchantress,
together with Orlando and many more. The damsel was Flordelis, the
lady-love of Florismart, and Rinaldo promised his assistance,
trusting to accomplish the adventure either by valor or skill.
Flordelis insisted upon Rinaldo's taking her horse, which he
consented to do, on condition of her mounting behind him.

As they rode on through a wood, they heard strange noises, and
Rinaldo, reassuring the damsel, pressed forward towards the
quarter from which they proceeded. He soon perceived a giant
standing under a vaulted cavern, with a huge club in his hand, and
of an appearance to strike the boldest spirit with dread. By the
side of the cavern was chained a griffin, which, together with the
giant, was stationed there to guard a wonderful horse, the same
which was once Argalia's. This horse was a creature of
enchantment, matchless in vigor, speed, and form, which disdained
to share the diet of his fellow-steeds,--corn or grass,--and fed
only on air. His name was Rabican.

This marvellous horse, after his master Argalia had been slain by
Ferrau, finding himself at liberty, returned to his native cavern,
and was here stabled under the protection of the giant and the
griffin. As Rinaldo approached, the giant assailed him with his
club. Rinaldo defended himself from the giant's blows, and gave
him one in return, which, if his skin had not been of the
toughest, would have finished the combat. But the giant, though
wounded, escaped, and let loose the griffin. This monstrous bird
towered in air, and thence pounced down upon Rinaldo, who,
watching his opportunity, dealt her a desperate wound. She had,
however, strength for another flight, and kept repeating her
attacks, which Rinaldo parried as he could, while the damsel stood
trembling by, witnessing the contest.

The battle continued, rendered more terrible by the approach of
night, when Rinaldo determined upon a desperate expedient to bring
it to a conclusion. He fell, as if fainting from his wounds, and,
on the close approach of the griffin, dealt her a blow which
sheared away one of her wings. The beast, though sinking, griped
him fast with her talons, digging through plate and mail; but
Rinaldo plied his sword in utter desperation, and at last
accomplished her destruction.

Rinaldo then entered the cavern, and found there the wonderful
horse, all caparisoned. He was coal-black, except for a star of
white on his forehead, and one white foot behind. For speed he was
unrivalled, though in strength he yielded to Bayard. Rinaldo
mounted upon Rabican, and issued from the cavern.

As he pursued his way he met a fugitive from Agrican's army, who
gave such an account of the prowess of a champion who fought on
the side of Angelica, that Rinaldo was persuaded this must be
Orlando, though at a loss to imagine how he could have been freed
from captivity. He determined to repair to the scene of the
contest to satisfy his curiosity, and Flordelis, hoping to find
Florismart with Orlando, consented to accompany him.

While these things were doing, all was rout and dismay in the
Tartarian army, from the death of Agrican. King Galafron, arriving
at this juncture with an army for the relief of his capital,
Albracca, assaulted the enemy's camp, and carried all before him.
Rinaldo had now reached the scene of action, and was looking on as
an unconcerned spectator, when he was espied by Galafron. The king
instantly recognized the horse Rabican, which he had given to
Argalia when he sent him forth on his ill-omened mission to Paris.
Possessed with the idea that the rider of the horse was the
murderer of Argalia, Galafron rode at Rinaldo, and smote him with
all his force. Rinaldo was not slow to avenge the blow, and it
would have gone hard with the king had not his followers instantly
closed round him and separated the combatants.

Rinaldo thus found himself, almost without his own choice,
enlisted on the side of the enemies of Angelica, which gave him no
concern, so completely had his draught from the fountain of hate
steeled his mind against her.

For several successive days the struggle continued, without any
important results, Rinaldo meeting the bravest knights of
Angelica's party, and defeating them one after the other. At
length he encountered Orlando, and the two knights bitterly
reproached one another for the cause they had each adopted, and
engaged in a furious combat. Orlando was mounted upon Bayard,
Rinaldo's horse, which Agrican had by chance become possessed of,
and Orlando had taken from him as the prize of victory. Bayard
would not fight against his master, and Orlando was getting the
worse of the encounter, when suddenly Rinaldo, seeing Astolpho,
who for love of him had arrayed himself on his side, hard beset by
numbers, left Orlando to rush to the defence of his friend. Night
prevented the combat from being renewed; but a challenge was given
and accepted for their next meeting.

But Angelica, sighing in her heart for Rinaldo, was not willing
that he should be again exposed to so terrible a venture. She
begged a boon of Orlando, promising she would be his if he would
do her bidding. On receiving his promise, she enjoined him to set
out without delay to destroy the garden of the enchantress
Falerina, in which many valiant knights had been entrapped, and
were imprisoned.

Orlando departed on his horse Brigliadoro, leaving Bayard in
disgrace for his bad deportment the day before. Angelica, to
conciliate Rinaldo, sent Bayard to him; but Rinaldo remained
unmoved by this as by all her former acts of kindness.

When Rinaldo learned Orlando's departure, he yielded to the
entreaties of the lady of Florismart, and prepared to fulfil his
promise, and rescue her lover from the power of the enchantress.
Thus both Rinaldo and Orlando were bound upon the same adventure,
but unknown to one another.

The castle of Falerina was protected by a river, which was crossed
by a bridge, kept by a ruffian, who challenged all comers to the
combat; and such was his strength that he had thus far prevailed
in every encounter, as appeared by the arms of various knights
which he had taken from them, and piled up as a trophy on the
shore. Rinaldo attacked him, but with as bad success as the rest,
for the bridge-ward struck him so violent a blow with an iron mace
that he fell to the ground. But when the villain approached to
strip him of his armor, Rinaldo seized him, and the bridge-ward,
being unable to free himself, leapt with Rinaldo into the lake,
where they both disappeared.

Orlando, meanwhile, in discharge of his promise to Angelica,
pursued his way in quest of the same adventure. In passing through
a wood he saw a cavalier armed at all points, and mounted, keeping
guard over a lady who was bound to a tree, weeping bitterly.
Orlando hastened to her relief, but was exhorted by the knight not
to interfere, for she had deserved her fate by her wickedness. In
proof of which he made certain charges against her. The lady
denied them all, and Orlando believed her, defied the knight,
overthrew him, and, releasing the lady, departed with her seated
on his horse's croup.

While they rode another damsel approached on a white palfrey, who
warned Orlando of impending danger, and informed him that he was
near the garden of the enchantress. Orlando was delighted with the
intelligence, and entreated her to inform him how he was to gain
admittance. She replied that the garden could only be entered at
sunrise and gave him such instructions as would enable him to gain
admittance. She gave him also a book in which was painted the
garden and all that it contained, together with the palace of the
false enchantress, where she had secluded herself for the purpose
of executing a magic work in which she was engaged. This was the
manufacture of a sword capable of cutting even through enchanted
substances The object of this labor, the damsel told him, was the
destruction of a knight of the west, by name Orlando, who she had
read in the book of Fate was coming to demolish her garden. Having
thus instructed him, the damsel departed.

Orlando, finding he must delay his enterprise till the next
morning, now lay down and was soon asleep. Seeing this, the base
woman whom he had rescued, and who was intent on making her escape
to rejoin her paramour, mounted Brigliadoro, and rode off,
carrying away Durindana.

When Orlando awoke, his indignation, as may be supposed, was great
on the discovery of the theft; but, like a good knight and true,
he was not to be diverted from his enterprise. He tore off a huge
branch of an elm to supply the place of his sword; and, as the sun
rose, took his way towards the gate of the garden, where a dragon
was on his watch. This he slew by repeated blows, and entered the
garden, the gate of which closed behind him, barring retreat.
Looking round him, he saw a fair fountain, which overflowed into a
river, and in the centre of the fountain a figure, on whose
forehead was written:

"The stream which waters violet and rose,
From hence to the enchanted palace goes."

Following the banks of this flowing stream, and rapt in the
delights of the charming garden, Orlando arrived at the palace,
and entering it, found the mistress, clad in white, with a crown
of gold upon her head, in the act of viewing herself in the
surface of the magic sword. Orlando surprised her before she could
escape, deprived her of the weapon, and holding her fast by her
long hair, which floated behind, threatened her with immediate
death if she did not yield up her prisoners, and afford him the
means of egress. She, however, was firm of purpose, making no
reply, and Orlando, unable to move her either by threats or
entreaties, was under the necessity of binding her to a beech, and
pursuing his quest as he best might.

He then bethought him of his book, and, consulting it, found that
there was an outlet to the south, but that to reach it a lake was
to be passed, inhabited by a siren, whose song was so entrancing
as to be quite irresistible to whoever heard it; but his book
instructed him how to protect himself against this danger.
According to its directions, while pursuing his path, he gathered
abundance of flowers, which sprung all around, and filled his
helmet and his ears with them; then listened if he heard the birds
sing. Finding that, though he saw the gaping beak, the swelling
throat, and ruffled plumes, he could not catch a note, he felt
satisfied with his defence, and advanced toward the lake. It was
small but deep, and so clear and tranquil that the eye could
penetrate to the bottom.

He had no, sooner arrived upon the banks than the waters were seen
to gurgle, and the siren, rising midway out of the pool, sung so
sweetly that birds and beasts came trooping to the water-side to
listen. Of this Orlando heard nothing, but, feigning to yield to
the charm, sank down upon the bank. The siren issued from the
water with the intent to accomplish his destruction. Orlando
seized her by the hair, and while she sang yet louder (song being
her only defence) cut off her head. Then, following the directions
of the book, he stained himself all over with her blood.

Guarded by this talisman, he met successively all the monsters set
for defence of the enchantress and her garden, and at length found
himself again at the spot where he had made captive the
enchantress, who still continued fastened to the beech. But the
scene was changed. The garden had disappeared, and Falerina,
before so haughty, now begged for mercy, assuring him that many
lives depended upon the preservation of hers. Orlando promised her
life upon her pledging herself for the deliverance of her

This, however, was no easy task. They were not in her possession,
but in that of a much more powerful enchantress, Morgana, the Lady
of the Lake, the very idea of opposing whom made Falerina turn
pale with fear. Representing to him the hazards of the enterprise,
she led him towards the dwelling of Morgana. To approach it he had
to encounter the same uncourteous bridge-ward who had already
defeated and made captive so many knights, and last of all,
Rinaldo. He was a churl of the most ferocious character, named
Arridano. Morgana had provided him with impenetrable armor, and
endowed him in such a manner that his strength always increased in
proportion to that of the adversary with whom he was matched. No
one had ever yet escaped from the contest, since, such was his
power of endurance, he could breathe freely under water. Hence,
having grappled with a knight, and sunk with him to the bottom of
the lake, he returned, bearing his enemy's arms in triumph to the

While Falerina was repeating her cautions and her counsels Orlando
saw Rinaldo's arms erected in form of a trophy, among other spoils
made by the villain, and, forgetting their late quarrel,
determined upon revenging his friend. Arriving at the pass, the
churl presuming to bar the way, a desperate contest ensued, during
which Falerina escaped. The churl finding himself overmatched at a
contest of arms, resorted to his peculiar art, grappled his
antagonist, and plunged with him into the lake. When he reached
the bottom Orlando found himself in another world, upon a dry
meadow, with the lake overhead, through which shone the beams of
our sun, while the water stood on all sides like a crystal wall.
Here the battle was renewed, and Orlando had in his magic sword an
advantage which none had hitherto possessed. It had been tempered
by Falerina so that no spells could avail against it. Thus armed,
and countervailing the strength of his adversary by his superior
skill and activity, it was not long before he laid him dead upon
the field.

Orlando then made all haste to return to the upper air, and,
passing through the water, which opened a way before him (such was
the power of the magic sword), he soon regained the shore, and
found himself in a field as thickly covered with precious stones
as the sky is with stars.

Orlando crossed the field, not tempted to delay his enterprise by
gathering any of the brilliant gems spread all around him. He next
passed into a flowery meadow planted with trees, covered with
fruit and flowers, and full of all imaginable delights.

In the middle of this meadow was a fountain, and fast by it lay
Morgana asleep; a lady of a lovely aspect, dressed in white and
vermilion garments, her forehead well furnished with hair, while
she had scarcely any behind.

While Orlando stood in silence contemplating her beauty he heard a
voice exclaim: "Seize the fairy by the forelock, if thou hopest
fair success." But his attention was arrested by another object,
and he heeded not the warning. He saw on a sudden an array of
towers, pinnacles and columns, palaces with balconies and windows,
extended alleys with trees, in short a scene of architectural
magnificence surpassing all he had ever beheld. While he stood
gazing in silent astonishment the scene slowly melted away and
disappeared. [Footnote: This is a poetical description of a
phenomenon which is said to be really exhibited in the strait of
Messina, between Sicily and Calabria. It is called Fata Morgana,
or Mirage.]

When he had recovered from his amazement he looked again toward
the fountain. The fairy had awaked and risen, and was dancing
round its border with the lightness of a leaf, timing her
footsteps to this song:

"Who in this world would wealth and treasure share,
Honor, delight, and state, and what is best,
Quick let him catch me by the lock of hair
Which flutters from my forehead; and be blest.

"But let him not the proffered good forbear,
Nor till he seize the fleeting blessing rest;
For present loss is sought in vain to-morrow,
And the deluded wretch is left in sorrow."

The fairy, having sung thus, bounded off, and fled from the
flowery meadow over a high and inaccessible mountain. Orlando
pursued her through thorns and rocks, while the sky gradually
became overcast, and at last he was assailed by tempest,
lightning, and hail.

While he thus pursued, a pale and meagre woman issued from a cave,
armed with a whip, and, treading close upon his steps, scourged
him with vigorous strokes. Her name was Repentance, and she told
him it was her office to punish those who neglected to obey the
voice of Prudence, and seize the fairy Fortune when he might.

Orlando, furious at this chastisement, turned upon his tormentor,
but might as well have stricken the wind. Finding it useless to
resist, he resumed his chase of the fairy, gained upon her, and
made frequent snatches at her white and vermilion garments, which
still eluded his grasp. At last, on her turning her head for an
instant, he profited by the chance, and seized her by the
forelock. In an instant the tempest ceased, the sky became serene,
and Repentance retreated to her cave.

Orlando now demanded of Morgana the keys of her prison, and the
fairy, feigning a complacent aspect, delivered up a key of silver,
bidding him to be cautious in the use of it, since to break the
lock would be to involve himself and all in inevitable
destruction; a caution which gave the Count room for long
meditation, and led him to consider

How few amid the suitors who importune
The dame, know how to turn the keys of Fortune.

Keeping the fairy still fast by the forelock, Orlando proceeded
toward the prison, turned the key, without occasioning the
mischiefs apprehended, and delivered the prisoners.

Among these were Florismart, Rinaldo, and many others of the
bravest knights of France. Morgana had disappeared, and the
knights, under the guidance of Orlando, retraced the path by which
he had come. They soon reached the field of treasure. Rinaldo,
finding himself amidst this mass of wealth, remembered his needy
garrison of Montalban, and could not resist the temptation of
seizing part of the booty. In particular a golden chain, studded
with diamonds, was too much for his self-denial, and he took it
and was bearing it off, notwithstanding the remonstrances of
Orlando, when a violent wind caught him and whirled him back, as
he approached the gate. This happened a second and a third time,
and Rinaldo at length yielded to necessity, rather than to the
entreaties of his friends, and cast away his prize.

They soon reached the bridge and passed over without hindrance to
the other side, where they found the trophy decorated with their
arms. Here each knight resumed his own, and all, except the
paladins and their friends, separated as their inclinations or
duty prompted. Dudon, the Dane, one of the rescued knights,
informed the cousins that he had been made prisoner by Morgana
while in the discharge of an embassy to them from Charlemagne, who
called upon them to return to the defence of Christendom. Orlando
was too much fascinated by Angelica to obey this summons, and,
followed by the faithful Florismart, who would not leave him,
returned towards Albracca. Rinaldo, Dudon, Iroldo, Prasildo, and
the others took their way toward the west.


Agramant, King of Africa, convoked the kings, his vassals, to
deliberate in council. He reminded them of the injuries he had
sustained from France, that his father had fallen in battle with
Charlemagne, and that his early years had hitherto not allowed him
to wipe out the stain of former defeats. He now proposed to them
to carry war into France.

Sobrino, his wisest councillor, opposed the project, representing
the rashness of it; but Rodomont, the young and fiery king of
Algiers, denounced Sobrino's counsel as base and cowardly,
declaring himself impatient for the enterprise. The king of the
Garamantes, venerable for his age and renowned for his prophetic
lore, interposed, and assured the King that such an attempt would
be sure to fail, unless he could first get on his side a youth
marked out by destiny as the fitting compeer of the most puissant
knights of France, the young Rogero, descended in direct line from
Hector of Troy. This prince was now a dweller upon the mountain
Carena, where Atlantes, his foster-father, a powerful magician,
kept him in retirement, having discovered by his art that his
pupil would be lost to him if allowed to mingle with the world. To
break the spells of Atlantes, and draw Rogero from his retirement,
one only means was to be found. It was a ring possessed by
Angelica, Princess of Cathay, which was a talisman against all
enchantments. If this ring could be procured all would go well;
without it the enterprise was desperate.

Rodomont treated this declaration of the old prophet with scorn,
and it would probably have been held of little weight by the
council, had not the aged king, oppressed by the weight of years,
expired in the very act of reaffirming his prediction. This made
so deep an impression on the council that it was unanimously
resolved to postpone the war until an effort should be made to win
Rogero to the camp.

King Agramant thereupon proclaimed that the sovereignty of a
kingdom should be the reward of whoever should succeed in
obtaining the ring of Angelica. Brunello the dwarf, the subtlest
thief in all Africa, undertook to procure it.

In prosecution of this design, he made the best of his way to
Angelica's kingdom, and arrived beneath the walls of Albracca
while the besieging army was encamped before the fortress. While
the attention of the garrison was absorbed by the battle that
raged below he scaled the walls, approached the Princess
unnoticed, slipped the ring from her finger, and escaped
unobserved. He hastened to the seaside, and, finding a vessel
ready to sail, embarked, and arrived at Biserta, in Africa. Here
he found Agramant impatient for the talisman which was to foil the
enchantments of Atlantes and to put Rogero into his hands. The
dwarf, kneeling before the king, presented him with the ring, and
Agramant, delighted at the success of his mission, crowned him in
recompense King of Tingitana.

All were now anxious to go in quest of Rogero. The cavalcade
accordingly departed, and in due time arrived at the mountain of

At the bottom of this was a fruitful and well-wooded plain,
watered by a large river, and from this plain was descried a
beautiful garden on the mountain-top, which contained the mansion
of Atlantes; but the ring, which discovered what was before
invisible, could not, though it revealed this paradise, enable
Agramant or his followers to enter it. So steep and smooth was the
rock by nature, that even Brunello failed in every attempt to
scale it. He did not, for this, despair of accomplishing the
object; but, having obtained Agramant's consent, caused the
assembled courtiers and knights to celebrate a tournament upon the
plain below. This was done with the view of seducing Rogero from
his fastness, and the stratagem was attended with success.

Rogero joined the tourney, and was presented by Agramant with a
splendid horse, Frontino, and a magnificent sword. Having learned
from Agramant his intended invasion of France, he gladly consented
to join the expedition.

Rodomont, meanwhile, was too impatient to wait for Agramant's
arrangements, and embarked with all the forces he could raise,
made good his landing on the coast of France, and routed the
Christians in several encounters. Previously to this, however,
Gano, or Ganelon (as he is sometimes called), the traitor, enemy
of Orlando and the other nephews of Charlemagne, had entered into
a traitorous correspondence with Marsilius, the Saracen king of
Spain, whom he invited into France. Marsilius, thus encouraged,
led an army across the frontiers, and joined Rodomont. This was
the situation of things when Rinaldo and the other knights who had
obeyed the summons of Dudon set forward on their return to France.

When they arrived at Buda in Hungary they found the king of that
country about despatching his son, Ottachiero, with an army to the
succor of Charlemagne. Delighted with the arrival of Rinaldo, he
placed his son and troops under his command. In due time the army
arrived on the frontiers of France, and, united with the troops of
Desiderius, king of Lombardy, poured down into Provence. The
confederate armies had not marched many days through this gay
tract before they heard a crash of drums and trumpets behind the
hills, which spoke the conflict between the paynims, led by
Rodomont, and the Christian forces. Rinaldo, witnessing from a
mountain the prowess of Rodomont, left his troops in charge of his
friends, and galloped towards him with his lance in rest. The
impulse was irresistible, and Rodomont was unhorsed. But Rinaldo,
unwilling to avail himself of his advantage, galloped back to the
hill, and having secured Bayard among the baggage, returned to
finish the combat on foot.

During this interval the battle had become general, the Hungarians
were routed, and Rinaldo, on his return, had the mortification to
find that Ottachiero was wounded, and Dudon taken prisoner. While
he sought Rodomont in order to renew the combat a new sound of
drums and trumpets was heard, and Charlemagne, with the main body
of his army, was descried advancing in battle array.

Rodomont, seeing this, mounted the horse of Dudon, left Rinaldo,
who was on foot, and galloped off to encounter this new enemy.

Agramant, accompanied by Rogero, had by this time made good his
landing, and joined Rodomont with all his forces. Rogero eagerly
embraced this first opportunity of distinguishing himself, and
spread terror wherever he went, encountering in turn and
overthrowing many of the bravest knights of France. At length he
found himself opposite to Rinaldo, who, being interrupted, as we
have said, in his combat with Rodomont, and unable to follow him,
being on foot, was shouting to his late foe to return and finish
their combat. Rogero also was on foot, and seeing the Christian
knight so eager for a contest, proffered himself to supply the
place of his late antagonist. Rinaldo saw at a glance that the
Moorish prince was a champion worthy of his arm, and gladly
accepted the defiance. The combat was stoutly maintained for a
time; but now fortune declared decisively in favor of the infidel
army, and Charlemagne's forces gave way at all points in
irreparable confusion. The two combatants were separated by the
crowd of fugitives and pursuers, and Rinaldo hastened to recover
possession of his horse. But Bayard, in the confusion, had got
loose, and Rinaldo followed him into a thick wood, thus becoming
effectually separated from Rogero.

Rogero, also seeking his horse in the medley, came where two
warriors were engaged in mortal combat. Though he knew not who
they were, he could distinguish that one was a paynim and the
other a Christian; and moved by the spirit of courtesy he
approached them and exclaimed, "Let him of the two who worships
Christ pause, and hear what I have to say. The army of Charles is
routed and in flight, so that if he wishes to follow his leader he
has no time for delay." The Christian knight, who was none other
than Bradamante, a female warrior, in prowess equal to the best of
knights, was thunderstruck with the tidings, and would gladly
leave the contest undecided, and retire from the field; but
Rodomont, her antagonist, would by no means consent. Rogero,
indignant at his discourtesy, insisted upon her departure, while
he took up her quarrel with Rodomont.

The combat, obstinately maintained on both sides, was interrupted
by the return of Bradamante. Finding herself unable to overtake
the fugitives, and reluctant to leave to another the burden and
risk of a contest which belonged to herself, she had returned to
reclaim the combat. She arrived, however, when her champion had
dealt his enemy such a blow as obliged him to drop both his sword
and bridle. Rogero, disdaining to profit by his adversary's
defenceless situation, sat apart upon his horse, while that of
Rodomont bore his rider, stunned and stupefied, about the field.

Bradamante approached Rogero, conceiving a yet higher opinion of
his valor on beholding such an instance of forbearance. She
addressed him, excusing herself for leaving him exposed to an
enemy from his interference in her cause; pleading her duty to her
sovereign as the motive. While she spoke Rodomont, recovered from
his confusion, rode up to them. His bearing was, however, changed;
and he disclaimed all thoughts of further contest with one who, he
said, "had already conquered him by his courtesy." So saying, he
quitted his antagonist, picked up his sword, and spurred out of

Bradamante was now again desirous of retiring from the field, and
Rogero insisted on accompanying her, though yet unaware of her

As they pursued their way, she inquired the name and quality of
her new associate; and Rogero informed her of his nation and
family. He told her that Astyanax, the son of Hector of Troy,
established the kingdom of Messina in Sicily. From him were
derived two branches, which gave origin to two families of renown.
From one sprang the royal race of Pepin and Charlemagne, and from
the other, that of Reggio, in Italy. "From that of Reggio am I
derived," he continued. "My mother, driven from her home by the
chance of war, died in giving me life, and I was taken in charge
by a sage enchanter, who trained me to feats of arms amidst the
dangers of the desert and the chase."

Having thus ended his tale, Rogero entreated a similar return of
courtesy from his companion, who replied, without disguise, that
she was of the race of Clermont, and sister to Rinaldo, whose fame
was perhaps known to him. Rogero, much moved by this intelligence,
entreated her to take off her helmet, and at the discovery of her
face remained transported with delight.

While absorbed in this contemplation, an unexpected danger
assailed them. A party which was placed in a wood, in order to
intercept the retreating Christians, broke from its ambush upon
the pair, and Bradamante, who was uncasqued, was wounded in the
head. Rogero was in a fury at this attack; and Bradamante,
replacing her helmet, joined him in taking speedy vengeance on
their enemies. They cleared the field of them, but became
separated in the pursuit, and Rogero, quitting the chase, wandered
by hill and vale in search of her whom he had no sooner found than

While pursuing this quest he fell in with two knights, whom he
joined, and engaged them to assist him in the search of his
companion, describing her arms, but concealing, from a certain
feeling of jealousy, her quality and sex.

It was evening when they joined company, and having ridden
together through the night the morning was beginning to break,
when one of the strangers, fixing his eyes upon Rogero's shield,
demanded of him by what right he bore the Trojan arms. Rogero
declared his origin and race, and then, in his turn, interrogated
the inquirer as to his pretensions to the cognizance of Hector,
which he bore. The stranger replied, "My name is Mandricardo, son
of Agrican, the Tartar king, whom Orlando treacherously slew. I
say treacherously, for in fair fight he could not have done it. It
is in search of him that I have come to France, to take vengeance
for my father, and to wrest from him Durindana, that famous sword,
which belongs to me, and not to him." When the knights demanded to
know by what right he claimed Durindana, Mandricardo thus related
his history:

"I had been, before the death of my father, a wild and reckless
youth. That event awakened my energies, and drove me forth to seek
for vengeance. Determined to owe success to nothing but my own
exertions, I departed without attendants or horse or arms.
Travelling thus alone, and on foot, I espied one day a pavilion,
pitched near a fountain, and entered it, intent on adventure. I
found therein a damsel of gracious aspect, who replied to my
inquiries that the fountain was the work of a fairy, whose castle
stood beyond a neighboring hill, where she kept watch over a
treasure which many knights had tried to win, but fruitlessly,
having lost their life or liberty in the attempt. This treasure
was the armor of Hector, prince of Troy, whom Achilles
treacherously slew. Nothing was wanting but his sword, Durindana,
and this had fallen into the possession of a queen named
Penthesilea, from whom it passed through her descendants to
Almontes, whom Orlando slew, and thus became possessed of the
sword. The rest of Hector's arms were saved and carried off by
Aeneas, from whom this fairy received them in recompense of
service rendered. 'If you have the courage to attempt their
acquisition,' said the damsel, 'I will be your guide.'"

Mandricardo went on to say that he eagerly embraced the proposal,
and being provided with horse and armor by the damsel, set forth
on his enterprise, the lady accompanying him.

As they rode she explained the dangers of the quest. The armor was
defended by a champion, one of the numerous unsuccessful
adventurers for the prize, all of whom had been made prisoners by
the fairy, and compelled to take their turn, day by day, in
defending the arms against all comers. Thus speaking they arrived
at the castle, which was of alabaster, overlaid with gold. Before
it, on a lawn, sat an armed knight on horseback, who was none
other than Gradasso, king of Sericane, who, in his return home
from his unsuccessful inroad into France, had fallen into the
power of the fairy, and was held to do her bidding. Mandricardo,
upon seeing him, dropt his visor, and laid his lance in rest. The
champion of the castle was equally ready, and each spurred towards
his opponent. They met one another with equal force, splintered
their spears, and, returning to the charge, encountered with their
swords. The contest was long and doubtful, when Mandricardo,
determined to bring it to an end, threw his arms about Gradasso,
grappled with him, and both fell to the ground. Mandricardo,
however, fell uppermost, and, preserving his advantage, compelled
Gradasso to yield himself conquered. The damsel now interfered,
congratulating the victor, and consoling the vanquished as well as
she might.

Mandricardo and the damsel proceeded to the gate of the castle,
which they found undefended. As they entered they beheld a shield
suspended from a pilaster of gold. The device was a white eagle on
an azure field, in memory of the bird of Jove, which bore away
Ganymede, the flower of the Phrygian race. Beneath was engraved
the following couplet:

"Let none with hand profane my buckler wrong
Unless he be himself as Hector strong."

The damsel, alighting from her palfrey, made obeisance to the
arms, bending herself to the ground. The Tartar king bowed his
head with equal reverence; then advancing towards the shield,
touched it with his sword. Thereupon an earthquake shook the
ground, and the way by which he had entered closed. Another and an
opposite gate opened, and displayed a field bristling with stalks
and grain of gold. The damsel, upon this, told him that he had no
means of retreat but by cutting down the harvest which was before
him, and by uprooting a tree which grew in the middle of the
field. Mandricardo, without replying, began to mow the harvest
with his sword, but had scarce smitten thrice when he perceived
that every stalk that fell was instantly transformed into some
poisonous or ravenous animal, which prepared to assail him.
Instructed by the damsel, he snatched up a stone and cast it among
the pack. A strange wonder followed; for no sooner had the stone
fallen among the beasts, than they turned their rage against one
another, and rent each other to pieces. Mandricardo did not stop
to marvel at the miracle, but proceeded to fulfil his task, and
uproot the tree. He clasped it round the trunk, and made vigorous
efforts to tear it up by the roots. At each effort fell a shower
of leaves, that were instantly changed into birds of prey, which
attacked the knight, flapping their wings in his face, with horrid
screeching. But undismayed by this new annoyance, he continued to
tug at the trunk till it yielded to his efforts. A burst of wind
and thunder followed, and the hawks and vultures flew screaming

But these only gave place to a new foe; for from the hole made by
tearing up the tree issued a furious serpent, and, darting at
Mandricardo, wound herself about his limbs with a strain that
almost crushed him. Fortune, however, again stood his friend, for,
writhing under the folds of the monster, he fell backwards into
the hole, and his enemy was crushed beneath his weight.

Mandricardo, when he was somewhat recovered, and assured himself
of the destruction of the serpent, began to contemplate the place
into which he had fallen, and saw that he was in a vault,
incrusted with costly metals, and illuminated by a live coal. In
the middle was a sort of ivory bier, and upon this was extended
what appeared to be a knight in armor, but was in truth an empty
trophy, composed of the rich and precious arms once Hector's, to
which nothing was wanting but the sword. While Mandricardo stood
contemplating the prize a door opened behind him, and a bevy of
fair damsels entered, dancing, who, taking up the armor piece by
piece, led him away to the place where the shield was suspended;
where he found the fairy of the castle seated in state. By her he
was invested with the arms he had won, first pledging his solemn
oath to wear no other blade but Durindana, which he was to wrest
from Orlando, and thus complete the conquest of Hector's arms.


Mandricardo, having completed his story, now turned to Rogero, and
proposed that arms should decide which of the two was most worthy
to bear the symbol of the Trojan knight.

Rogero felt no other objection to this proposal than the scruple
which arose on observing that his antagonist was without a sword.
Mandricardo insisted that this need be no impediment, since his
oath prevented him from using a sword until he should have
achieved the conquest of Durindana.

This was no sooner said than a new antagonist started up in
Gradasso, who now accompanied Mandricardo. Gradasso vindicated his
prior right to Durindana, to obtain which he had embarked (as was
related in the beginning) in that bold inroad upon France. A
quarrel was thus kindled between the kings of Tartary and
Sericane. While the dispute was raging a knight arrived upon the
ground, accompanied by a damsel, to whom Rogero related the cause
of the strife. The knight was Florismart, and his companion
Flordelis. Florismart succeeded in bringing the two champions to
accord, by informing them that he could bring them to the presence
of Orlando, the master of Durindana.

Gradasso and Mandricardo readily made truce, in order to accompany
Florismart, nor would Rogero be left behind.

As they proceeded on their quest they were met by a dwarf, who
entreated their assistance in behalf of his lady, who had been
carried off by an enchanter, mounted on a winged horse. However
unwilling to leave the question of the sword undecided, it was not
possible for the knights to resist this appeal. Two of their
number, Gradasso and Rogero, therefore accompanied the dwarf.
Mandricardo persisted in his search for Orlando, and Florismart,
with Flordelis, pursued their way to the camp of Charlemagne.

Atlantes, the enchanter, who had brought up Rogero, and cherished
for him the warmest affection, knew by his art that his pupil was
destined to be severed from him, and converted to the Christian
faith through the influence of Bradamante, that royal maiden with
whom chance had brought him acquainted. Thinking to thwart the
will of Heaven in this respect, he now put forth all his arts to
entrap Rogero into his power. By the aid of his subservient demons
he reared a castle on an inaccessible height, in the Pyrenean
mountains, and to make it a pleasant abode to his pupil, contrived
to entrap and convey thither knights and damsels many a one, whom
chance had brought into the vicinity of his castle. Here, in a
sort of sensual paradise, they were but too willing to forget
glory and duty, and to pass their time in indolent enjoyment

It was by the enchanter that the dwarf had now been sent to tempt
the knights into his power.

But we must now return to Rinaldo, whom we left interrupted in his
combat with Rodomont. In search of his late antagonist and intent
on bringing their combat to a decision he entered the forest of
Arden, whither he suspected Rodomont had gone. While engaged on
this quest he was surprised by the vision of a beautiful child
dancing naked, with three damsels as beautiful as himself. While
he was lost in admiration at the sight the child approached him,
and, throwing at him handfuls of roses and lilies, struck him from
his horse. He was no sooner down than he was seized by the
dancers, by whom he was dragged about and scourged with flowers
till he fell into a swoon. When he began to revive one of the
group approached him, and told him that his punishment was the
consequence of his rebellion against that power before whom all
things bend; that there was but one remedy to heal the wounds that
had been inflicted, and that was to drink of the waters of Love.
Then they left him.

Rinaldo, sore and faint, dragged himself toward a fountain which
flowed near by, and, being parched with thirst, drank greedily and
almost unconsciously of the water, which was sweet to the taste,
but bitter to the heart. After repeated draughts he recovered his
strength and recollection, and found himself in the same place
where Angelica had formerly awakened him with a rain of flowers,
and whence he had fled in contempt of her courtesy.

This remembrance of the scene was followed by the recognition of
his crime; and, repenting bitterly his ingratitude, he leaped upon
Bayard, with the intention of hastening to Angelica's country, and
soliciting his pardon at her feet.

Let us now retrace our steps, and revert to the time when the
paladins having learned from Dudon the summons of Charlemagne to
return to France to repel the invaders, had all obeyed the command
with the exception of Orlando, whose passion for Angelica still
held him in attendance on her. Orlando, arriving before Albracca,
found it closely beleaguered. He, however, made his way into the
citadel, and related his adventures to Angelica, from the time of
his departure up to his separation from Rinaldo and the rest, when
they departed to the assistance of Charlemagne. Angelica, in
return, described the distresses of the garrison, and the force of
the besiegers; and in conclusion prayed Orlando to favor her
escape from the pressing danger, and escort her into France.
Orlando, who did not suspect that love for Rinaldo was her secret
motive, joyfully agreed to the proposal, and the sally was
resolved upon.

Leaving lights burning in the fortress, they departed at
nightfall, and passed in safety through the enemy's camp. After
encountering numerous adventures they reached the sea-side, and
embarked on board a pinnace for France. The vessel arrived safely,
and the travellers, disembarking in Provence, pursued their way by
land. One day, heated and weary, they sought shelter from the sun
in the forest of Arden, and chance directed Angelica to the
fountain of Disdain, of whose waters she eagerly drank.

Issuing thence, the Count and damsel encountered a stranger-
knight. It was no other than Rinaldo, who was just on the point of
setting off on a pilgrimage in search of Angelica, to implore her
pardon for his insensibility, and urge his new found passion.
Surprise and delight at first deprived him of utterance, but soon
recovering himself, he joyfully saluted her, claiming her as his,
and exhorting her to put herself under his protection. His
presumption was repelled by Angelica with disdain, and Orlando,
enraged at the invasion of his rights, challenged him to decide
their claims by arms.

Terrified at the combat which ensued, Angelica fled amain through
the forest, and came out upon a plain covered with tents. This was
the camp of Charlemagne, who led the army of reserve destined to
support the troops which had advanced to oppose Marsilius. Charles
having heard the damsel's tale, with difficulty separated the two
cousins, and then consigned Angelica, as the cause of quarrel, to
the care of Namo, Duke of Bavaria, promising that she should be
his who should best deserve her in the impending battle.

But these plans and hopes were frustrated. The Christian army,
beaten at all points, fled from the Saracens; and Angelica,
indifferent to both her lovers, mounted a swift palfrey and
plunged into the forest, rejoicing, in spite of her terror, at
having regained her liberty. She stopped at last in a tufted
grove, where a gentle zephyr blew, and whose young trees were
watered by two clear runnels, which came and mingled their waters,
making a pleasing murmur. Believing herself far from Rinaldo, and
overcome by fatigue and the summer heat, she saw with delight a
bank covered with flowers so thick that they almost hid the green
turf, inviting her to alight and rest. She dismounted from her
palfrey, and turned him loose to recruit his strength with the
tender grass which bordered the streamlets. Then, in a sheltered
nook tapestried with moss and fenced in with roses and hawthorn-
flowers, she yielded herself to grateful repose.

She had not slept long when she was awakened by the noise made by
the approach of a horse. Starting up, she saw an armed knight who
had arrived at the bank of the stream. Not knowing whether he was
to be feared or not, her heart beat with anxiety. She pressed
aside the leaves to allow her to see who it was, but scarce dared
to breathe for fear of betraying herself. Soon the knight threw
himself on the flowery bank, and leaning his head on his hand fell
into a profound reverie. Then arousing himself from his silence he
began to pour forth complaints, mingled with deep sighs. Rivers of
tears flowed down his cheeks, and his breast seemed to labor with
a hidden flame. "Ah, vain regrets!" he exclaimed; "cruel fortune!
others triumph, while I endure hopeless misery! Better a thousand
times to lose life, than wear a chain so disgraceful and so

Angelica by this time had recognized the stranger, and perceived
that it was Sacripant, king of Circassia, one of the worthiest of
her suitors. This prince had followed Angelica from his country,
at the very gates of the day, to France, where he heard with
dismay that she was under the guardianship of the Paladin Orlando,
and that the Emperor had announced his decree to award her as the
prize of valor to that one of his nephews who should best deserve

As Sacripant continued to lament, Angelica, who had always opposed
the hardness of marble to his sighs, thought with herself that
nothing forbade her employing his good offices in this unhappy
crisis. Though firmly resolved never to accept him as a spouse,
she yet felt the necessity of giving him a gleam of hope in reward
for the service she required of him. All at once, like Diana, she
stepped forth from the arbor. "May the gods preserve thee," she
said, "and put far from thee all hard thoughts of me!" Then she
told him all that had befallen her since she parted with him at
her father's court, and how she had availed herself of Orlando's
protection to escape from the beleaguered city. At that moment the
noise of horse and armor was heard as of one approaching; and
Sacripant, furious at the interruption, resumed his helmet,
mounted his horse, and placed his lance in rest. He saw a knight
advancing, with scarf and plume of snowy whiteness. Sacripant
regarded him with angry eyes, and, while he was yet some distance
off, defied him to the combat. The other, not moved by his angry
tone to make reply, put himself on his defence. Their horses,
struck at the same moment with the spur, rushed upon one another
with the impetuosity of a tempest. Their shields were pierced each
with the other's lance, and only the temper of their breastplates
saved their lives. Both the horses recoiled with the violence of
the shock; but the unknown knight's recovered itself at the touch
of the spur; the Saracen king's fell dead, and bore down his
master with him. The white knight, seeing his enemy in this
condition, cared not to renew the combat, but, thinking he had
done enough for glory, pursued his way through the forest, and was
a mile off before Sacripant had got free from his horse.

As a ploughman, stunned by a thunder-clap which has stricken dead
the oxen at his plough, stands motionless, sadly contemplating his
loss, so Sacripant stood confounded and overwhelmed with
mortification at having Angelica a witness of his defeat. He
groaned, he sighed, less from the pain of his bruises than for the
shame of being reduced to such a state before her. The princess
took pity on him, and consoled him as well as she could. "Banish
your regrets, my lord," she said, "this accident has happened
solely in consequence of the feebleness of your horse, which had
more need of rest and food than of such an encounter as this. Nor
can your adversary gain any credit by it, since he has hurried
away, not venturing a second trial." While she thus consoled
Sacripant they perceived a person approach, who seemed a courier,
with bag and horn. As soon as he came up, he accosted Sacripant,
and inquired if he had seen a knight pass that way, bearing a
white shield and with a white plume to his helmet. "I have,
indeed, seen too much of him," said Sacripant, "it is he who has
brought me to the ground; but at least I hope to learn from you
who that knight is." "That I can easily inform you," said the man;
"know then that, if you have been overthrown, you owe your fate to
the high prowess of a lady as beautiful as she is brave. It is the
fair and illustrious Bradamante who has won from you the honors of

At these words the courier rode on his way, leaving Sacripant more
confounded and mortified than ever. In silence he mounted the
horse of Angelica, taking the lady behind him on the croup, and
rode away in search of a more secure asylum. Hardly had they
ridden two miles when a new sound was heard in the forest, and
they perceived a gallant and powerful horse, which, leaping the
ravines and dashing aside the branches that opposed his passage,
appeared before them, accoutred with a rich harness adorned with

"If I may believe my eyes, which penetrate with difficulty the
underwood," said Angelica, "that horse that dashes so stoutly
through the bushes is Bayard, and I marvel how he seems to know
the need we have of him, mounted as we are both on one feeble
animal." Sacripant, dismounting from the palfrey, approached the
fiery courser, and attempted to seize his bridle, but the
disdainful animal, turning from him, launched at him a volley of
kicks enough to have shattered a wall of marble. Bayard then
approached Angelica with an air as gentle and loving as a faithful
dog could his master after a long separation. For he remembered
how she had caressed him, and even fed him, in Albracca. She took
his bridle in her left hand, while with her right she patted his
neck. The beautiful animal, gifted with wonderful intelligence,
seemed to submit entirely. Sacripant, seizing the moment to vault
upon him, controlled his curvetings, and Angelica, quitting the
croup of the palfrey, regained her seat.

But, turning his eyes toward a place where was heard a noise of
arms, Sacripant beheld Rinaldo. That hero now loves Angelica more
than his life, and she flies him as the timid crane the falcon.

The fountain of which Angelica had drunk produced such an effect
on the beautiful queen that, with distressed countenance and
trembling voice, she conjured Sacripant not to wait the approach
of Rinaldo, but to join her in flight.

"Am I, then," said Sacripant, "of so little esteem with you that
you doubt my power to defend you? Do you forget the battle of
Albracca, and how, in your defence, I fought single-handed against
Agrican and all his knights?"

Angelica made no reply, uncertain what to do; but already Rinaldo
was too near to be escaped. He advanced menacingly to the
Circassian king, for he recognized his horse.

"Vile thief," he cried, "dismount from that horse, and prevent the
punishment that is your due for daring to rob me of my property.
Leave, also, the princess in my hands; for it would indeed be a
sin to suffer so charming a lady and so gallant a charger to
remain in such keeping."

The king of Circassia, furious at being thus insulted, cried out,
"Thou liest, villain, in giving me the name of thief, which better
belongs to thyself than to me. It is true, the beauty of this lady
and the perfection of this horse are unequalled; come on, then,
and let us try which of us is most worthy to possess them."

At these words the king of Circassia and Rinaldo attacked one
another with all their force, one fighting on foot, the other on
horseback. You need not, however, suppose that the Saracen king
found any advantage in this; for a young page, unused to
horsemanship, could not have failed more completely to manage
Bayard than did this accomplished knight. The faithful animal
loved his master too well to injure him, and refused his aid as
well as his obedience to the hand of Sacripant, who could strike
but ineffectual blows, the horse backing when he wished him to go
forward, and dropping his head and arching his back, throwing out
with his legs, so as almost to shake the knight out of the saddle.
Sacripant, seeing that he could not manage him, watched his
opportunity, rose on his saddle, and leapt lightly to the earth;
then, relieved from the embarrassment of the horse, renewed the
combat on more equal terms. Their skill to thrust and parry were
equal; one rises, the other stoops; with one foot set firm they
turn and wind, to lay on strokes or to dodge them. At last
Rinaldo, throwing himself on the Circassian, dealt him a blow so
terrible that Fusberta, his good sword, cut in two the buckler of
Sacripant, although it was made of bone, and covered with a thick
plate of steel well tempered. The arm of the Saracen was deprived
of its defence, and almost palsied with the stroke. Angelica,
perceiving how victory was likely to incline, and shuddering at
the thought of becoming the prize of Rinaldo, hesitated no longer.
Turning her horse's head, she fled with the utmost speed; and, in
spite of the round pebbles which covered a steep descent, she
plunged into a deep valley, trembling with the fear that Rinaldo
was in pursuit. At the bottom of this valley she encountered an
aged hermit, whose white beard flowed to his middle, and whose
venerable appearance seemed to assure his piety.

This hermit, who appeared shrunk by age and fasting, travelled
slowly, mounted upon a wretched ass. The princess, overcome with
fear, conjured him to save her life; and to conduct her to some
port of the sea, whence she might embark and quit France, never
more to hear the odious name of Rinaldo.

The old hermit was something of a wizard. He comforted Angelica,
and promised to protect her from all peril. Then he opened his
scrip, and took from thence a book, and had read but a single page
when a goblin, obedient to his incantations, appeared, under the
form of a laboring man, and demanded his orders. He received them,
transported himself to the place where the knights still
maintained their conflict, and boldly stepped between the two.

"Tell me, I pray you," he said, "what benefit will accrue to him
who shall get the better in this contest? The object you are
contending for is already disposed of; for the Paladin Orlando,
without effort and without opposition, is now carrying away the
princess Angelica to Paris. You had better pursue them promptly;
for if they reach Paris you will never see her again."

At these words you might have seen those rival warriors
confounded, stupefied, silently agreeing that they were affording
their rival a fair opportunity to triumph over them. Rinaldo,
approaching Bayard, breathes a sigh of shame and rage, and swears
a terrible oath that, if he overtakes Orlando, he will tear his
heart out. Then mounting Bayard and pressing his flanks with his
spurs, he leaves the king of Circassia on foot in the forest.

Let it not appear strange that Rinaldo found Bayard obedient at
last, after having so long prevented any one from even touching
his bridle; for that fine animal had an intelligence almost human;
he had fled from his master only to draw him on the track of
Angelica, and enable him to recover her. He saw when the princess
fled from the battle, and Rinaldo being then engaged in a fight on
foot, Bayard found himself free to follow the traces of Angelica.
Thus he had drawn his master after him, not permitting him to
approach, and had brought him to the sight of the princess. But
Bayard now, deceived like his master with the false intelligence
of the goblin, submits to be mounted and to serve his master as
usual, and Rinaldo, animated with rage, makes him fly toward
Paris, more slowly than his wishes, though the speed of Bayard
outstripped the winds. Full of impatience to encounter Orlando, he
gave but a few hours that night to sleep. Early the next day he
saw before him the great city, under the walls of which the
Emperor Charles had collected the scattered remains of his army.
Foreseeing that he would soon be attacked on all sides, the
Emperor had caused the ancient fortifications to be repaired, and
new ones to be built, surrounded by wide and deep ditches. The
desire to hold the field against the enemy made him seize every
means of procuring new allies. He hoped to receive from England
aid sufficient to enable him to form a new camp, and as soon as
Rinaldo rejoined him he selected him to go as his ambassador into
England, to plead for auxiliaries. Rinaldo was far from pleased
with his commission, but he obeyed the Emperor's commands, without
giving himself time to devote a single day to the object nearest
his heart. He hastened to Calais, and lost not a moment in
embarking for England, ardently desiring a hasty despatch of his
commission, and a speedy return to France.


Bradamante, the knight of the white plume and shield, whose
sudden appearance and encounter with Sacripant we have already
told, was in quest of Rogero, from whom chance had separated her,
almost at the beginning of their acquaintance. After her encounter
with Sacripant Bradamante pursued her way through the forest, in
hopes of rejoining Rogero, and arrived at last on the brink of a
fair fountain.

This fountain flowed through a broad meadow. Ancient trees
overshadowed it, and travellers, attracted by the sweet murmur of
its waters, stopped there to cool themselves. Bradamante, casting
her eyes on all sides to enjoy the beauties of the spot,
perceived, under the shade of a tree, a knight reclining, who
seemed to be oppressed with the deepest grief

Bradamante accosted him, and asked to be informed of the cause of
his distress. "Alas! my lord," said he, "I lament a young and
charming friend, my affianced wife, who has been torn from me by a
villain,--let me rather call him a demon,--who, on a winged horse,
descended from the air, seized her, and bore her screaming to his
den. I have pursued them over rocks and through ravines till my
horse is no longer able to bear me, and I now wait only for
death." He added that already a vain attempt on his behalf had
been made by two knights, whom chance had brought to the spot.
Their names were Gradasso, king of Sericane, and Rogero, the Moor.
Both had been overcome by the wiles of the enchanter, and were
added to the number of the captives, whom he held in an
impregnable castle, situated on the height of the mountain. At the
mention of Rogero's name Bradamante started with delight, which
was soon changed to an opposite sentiment when she heard that her
lover was a prisoner in the toils of the enchanter. "Sir Knight,"
she said, "do not surrender yourself to despair; this day may be
more happy for you than you think, if you will only lead me to the
castle which enfolds her whom you deplore."

The knight responded, "After having lost all that made life dear
to me I have no motive to avoid the dangers of the enterprise, and
I will do as you request; but I forewarn you of the perils you
will have to encounter. If you fall impute it not to me."

Having thus spoken, they took their way to the castle, but were
overtaken by a messenger from the camp, who had been sent in quest
of Bradamante to summon her back to the army, where her presence
was needed to reassure her disheartened forces, and withstand the
advance of the Moors.

The mournful knight, whose name was Pinabel, thus became aware
that Bradamante was a scion of the house of Clermont, between
which and his own of Mayence there existed an ancient feud. From
this moment the traitor sought only how he might be rid of the
company of Bradamante, from whom he feared no good would come to
him, but rather mortal injury, if his name and lineage became
known to her. For he judged her by his own base model, and,
knowing his ill deserts, he feared to receive his due.

Bradamante, in spite of the summons to return to the army, could
not resolve to leave her lover in captivity, and determined first
to finish the adventure on which she was engaged. Pinabel leading
the way, they at length arrived at a wood, in the centre of which
rose a steep, rocky mountain. Pinabel, who now thought of nothing
else but how he might escape from Bradamante, proposed to ascend
the mountain to extend his view, in order to discover a shelter
for the night, if any there might be within sight. Under this
pretence he left Bradamante, and advanced up the side of the
mountain till he came to a cleft in the rock, down which he
looked, and perceived that it widened below into a spacious
cavern. Meanwhile Bradamante, fearful of losing her guide, had
followed close on his footsteps, and rejoined him at the mouth of
the cavern. Then the traitor, seeing the impossibility of escaping
her, conceived another design. He told her that before her
approach he had seen in the cavern a young and beautiful damsel,
whose rich dress announced her high birth, who with tears and
lamentations implored assistance; that before he could descend to
relieve her a ruffian had seized her, and hurried her away into
the recesses of the cavern.

Bradamante, full of truth and courage, readily believed this lie
of the Mayencian traitor. Eager to succor the damsel, she looked
round for the means of facilitating the descent, and seeing a
large elm with spreading branches she lopped off with her sword
one of the largest, and thrust it into the opening. She told
Pinabel to hold fast to the larger end, while, grasping the
branches with her hands, she let herself down into the cavern.

The traitor smiled at seeing her thus suspended, and, asking her
in mockery, "Are you a good leaper?" he let go the branch with
perfidious glee, and saw Bradamante precipitated to the bottom of
the cave. "I wish your whole race were there with you," he
muttered, "that you might all perish together."

But Pinabel's atrocious design was not accomplished. The twigs and
foliage of the branch broke its descent, and Bradamante, not
seriously injured, though stunned with her fall, was reserved for
other adventures.

As soon as she recovered from the shock Bradamante cast her eyes
around and perceived a door, through which she passed into a
second cavern, larger and loftier than the first. It had the
appearance of a subterranean temple. Columns of the purest
alabaster adorned it, and supported the roof; a simple altar rose
in the middle; a lamp, whose radiance was reflected by the
alabaster walls, cast a mild light around.

Bradamante, inspired by a sense of religious awe, approached the
altar, and, falling on her knees, poured forth her prayers and
thanks to the Preserver of her life, invoking the protection of
his power. At that moment a small door opened, and a female issued
from it with naked feet, and flowing robe and hair, who called her
by her name, and thus addressed her: "Brave and generous
Bradamante, know that it is a power from above that has brought
you hither. The spirit of Merlin, whose last earthly abode was in
this place, has warned me of your arrival, and of the fate that
awaits you. This famous grotto," she continued, "was the work of
the enchanter Merlin; here his ashes repose. You have no doubt
heard how this sage and virtuous enchanter ceased to be. Victim of
the artful fairy of the lake, Merlin, by a fatal compliance with
her request, laid himself down living in his tomb, without power
to resist the spell laid upon him by that ingrate, who retained
him there as long as he lived. His spirit hovers about this spot,
and will not leave it, until the last trumpet shall summon the
dead to judgment. He answers the questions of those who approach
his tomb, where perhaps you may be privileged to hear his voice."

Bradamante, astonished at these words, and the objects which met
her view, knew not whether she was awake or asleep. Confused, but
modest, she cast down her eyes, and a blush overspread her face.
"Ah, what am I," said she, "that so great a prophet should deign
to speak to me!" Still, with a secret satisfaction, she followed
the priestess, who led her to the tomb of Merlin. This tomb was
constructed of a species of stone hard and resplendent like fire.
The rays which beamed from the stone sufficed to light up that
terrible place, where the sun's rays never penetrated; but I know
not whether that light was the effect of a certain phosphorescence
of the stone itself, or of the many talismans and charms with
which it was wrought over.

Bradamante had hardly passed the threshold of this sacred place
when the spirit of the enchanter saluted her with a voice firm and
distinct: "May thy designs be prosperous, O chaste and noble
maiden, the future mother of heroes, the glory of Italy, and
destined to fill the whole world with their fame. Great captains,
renowned knights, shall be numbered among your descendants, who
shall defend the Church and restore their country to its ancient
splendor. Princes, wise as Augustus and the sage Numa, shall bring
back the age of gold. [Footnote: This prophecy is introduced by
Ariosto in this place to compliment the noble house of Este, the
princes of his native state, the dukedom of Ferrara.] To
accomplish these grand destinies it is ordained that you shall wed
the illustrious Rogero. Fly then to his deliverance, and lay
prostrate in the dust the traitor who has snatched him from you,
and now holds him in chains!"

Merlin ceased with these words, and left to Melissa, the
priestess, the charge of more fully instructing the maiden in her
future course. "To-morrow," said she, "I will conduct you to the
castle on the rock where Rogero is held captive. I will not leave
you till I have guided you through this wild wood, and I will
direct you on your way so that you shall be in no danger of
mistaking it."

The next morning Melissa conducted Bradamante between rocks and
precipices, crossing rapid torrents, and traversing intricate
passes, employing the time in imparting to her such information as
was necessary to enable her to bring her design to a successful

"Not only would the castle, impenetrable by force, and that winged
horse of his baffle your efforts, but know that he possesses also
a buckler whence flashes a light so brilliant that the eyes of all
who look upon it are blinded. Think not to avoid it by shutting
your eyes, for how then will you be able to avoid his blows, and
make him feel your own? But I will teach you the proper course to

"Agramant, the Moorish prince, possesses a ring stolen from a
queen of India, which has power to render of no avail all
enchantments. Agramant, knowing that Rogero is of more importance
to him than any one of his warriors, is desirous of rescuing him
from the power of the enchanter, and has sent for that purpose
Brunello, the most crafty and sagacious of his servants, provided
with his wonderful ring, and he is even now at hand, bent on this
enterprise. But, beautiful Bradamante, as I desire that no one but
yourself shall have the glory of delivering from thraldom your
future spouse, listen while I disclose the means of success.
Following this path which leads by the seashore, you will come ere
long to a hostelry, where the Saracen Brunello will arrive shortly
before you. You will readily know him by his stature, under four
feet, his great disproportioned head, his squint eyes, his livid
hue, his thick eyebrows joining his tufted beard. His dress,
moreover, that of a courier, will point him out to you.

"It will be easy for you to enter into conversation with him,
announcing yourself as a knight seeking combat with the enchanter,
but let not the knave suspect that you know anything about the
ring. I doubt not that he will be your guide to the castle of the
enchanter. Accept his offer, but take care to keep behind him till
you come in sight of the brilliant dome of the castle. Then
hesitate not to strike him dead, for the wretch deserves no pity,
and take from him the ring. But let him not suspect your
intention, for by putting the ring into his mouth he will
instantly become invisible, and disappear from your eyes."

Saying thus, the sage Melissa and the fair Bradamante arrived near
the city of Bordeaux, where the rich and wide river Garonne pours
the tribute of its waves into the sea. They parted with tender
embraces. Bradamante, intent wholly on her purpose, hastened to
arrive at the hostelry, where Brunello had preceded her a few
moments only. The young heroine knew him without difficulty. She
accosted him, and put to him some slight questions, to which he
replied with adroit falsehoods. Bradamante, on her part, concealed
from him her sex, her religion, her country, and the blood from
whence she sprung. While they talk together, sudden cries are
heard from all parts of the hostelry. "O queen of heaven!"
exclaimed Bradamante, "what can be the cause of this sudden
alarm?" She soon learned the cause. Host, children, domestics,
all, with upturned eyes, as if they saw a comet or a great
eclipse, were gazing on a prodigy which seemed to pass the bounds
of possibility. She beheld distinctly a winged horse, mounted with
a cavalier in rich armor, cleaving the air with rapid flight. The
wings of this strange courser were wide extended, and covered with
feathers of various colors. The polished armor of the knight made
them shine with rainbow tints. In a short time the horse and rider
disappeared behind the summits of the mountains.

"It is an enchanter," said the host, "a magician who often is seen
traversing the air in that way. Sometimes he flies aloft as if
among the stars, and at others skims along the land. He possesses
a wonderful castle on the top of the Pyrenees. Many knights have
shown their courage by going to attack him, but none have ever
returned, from which it is to be feared they have lost either
their life or their liberty."

Bradamante, addressing the host, said, "Could you furnish me a
guide to conduct me to the castle of this enchanter?" "By my
faith," said Brunello, interrupting, "that you shall not seek in
vain; I have it all in writing, and I will myself conduct you."
Bradamante, with thanks, accepted him for her guide.

The host had a tolerable horse to dispose of, which Bradamante
bargained for, and the next day, at the first dawn of morning, she
took her route by a narrow valley, taking care to have the Saracen
Brunello lead the way.

They reached the summit of the Pyrenees, whence one may look down
on France, Spain, and the two seas. From this height they
descended again by a fatiguing road into a deep valley. From the
middle of this valley an isolated mountain rose, composed of rough
and perpendicular rock, on whose summit was the castle, surrounded
with a wall of brass. Brunello said, "Yonder is the stronghold
where the enchanter keeps his prisoners; one must have wings to
mount thither; it is easy to see that the aid of a flying horse
must be necessary for the master of this castle, which he uses for
his prison and for his abode."

Bradamante, sufficiently instructed, saw that the time had now
come to possess herself of the ring; but she could not resolve to
slay a defenceless man. She seized Brunello before he was aware,
bound him to a tree, and took from him the ring which he wore on
one of his fingers. The cries and entreaties of the perfidious
Saracen moved her not. She advanced to the foot of the rock
whereon the castle stood, and, to draw the magician to the combat,
sounded her horn, adding to it cries of defiance.

The enchanter delayed not to present himself, mounted on his
winged horse. Bradamante was struck with surprise mixed with joy
when she saw that this person, described as so formidable, bore no
lance nor club, nor any other deadly weapon. He had only on his
arm a buckler, covered with a cloth, and in his hand an open book.
As to the winged horse, there was no enchantment about him. He was
a natural animal, of a species which exists in the Riphaean
mountains. Like a griffin, he had the head of an eagle, claws
armed with talons, and wings covered with feathers, the rest of
his body being that of a horse. This strange animal is called a

The heroine attacked the enchanter on his approach, striking on
this side and on that, with all the energy of a violent combat,
but wounding only the wind; and after this pretended attack had
lasted some time dismounted from her horse, as if hoping to do
battle more effectually on foot. The enchanter now prepares to
employ his sole weapon, by uncovering the magic buckler which
never failed to subdue an enemy by depriving him of his senses.
Bradamante, confiding in her ring, observed all the motions of her
adversary, and, at the unveiling of the shield, cast herself on
the ground, pretending that the splendor of the shield had
overcome her, but in reality to induce the enchanter to dismount
and approach her.

It happened according to her wish. When the enchanter saw her
prostrate he made his horse alight on the ground, and,
dismounting, fixed the shield on the pommel of his saddle, and
approached in order to secure the fallen warrior. Bradamante, who
watched him intently, as soon as she saw him near at hand, sprang
up, seized him vigorously, threw him down, and, with the same
chain which the enchanter had prepared for herself, bound him
fast, without his being able to make any effectual resistance.

The enchanter, with the accents of despair, exclaimed, "Take my
life, young man!" but Bradamante was far from complying with such
a wish. Desirous of knowing the name of the enchanter, and for
what purpose he had formed with so much art this impregnable
fortress, she commanded him to inform her.

"Alas!" replied the magician, while tears flowed down his cheeks,
"it is not to conceal booty, nor for any culpable design that I
have built this castle; it was only to guard the life of a young
knight, the object of my tenderest affection, my art having taught
me that he is destined to become a Christian, and to perish,
shortly after, by the blackest of treasons.

"This youth, named Rogero, is the most beautiful and most
accomplished of knights. It is I, the unhappy Atlantes, who have
reared him from his childhood. The call of honor and the desire of
glory led him from me to follow Agramant, his prince, in his
invasion of France, and I, more devoted to Rogero than the
tenderest of parents, have sought the means of bringing him back
to this abode, in the hope of saving him from the cruel fate that
menaces him.

"For this purpose I have got him in my possession by the same
means as I attempted to employ against you; and by which I have
succeeded in collecting a great many knights and ladies in my
castle. My purpose was to render my beloved pupil's captivity
light, by affording him society to amuse him, and keep his
thoughts from running on subjects of war and glory. Alas! my cares
have been in vain! Yet, take, I beseech you, whatever else I have,
but spare me my beloved pupil. Take this shield, take this winged
courser, deliver such of your friends as you may find among my
prisoners, deliver them all if you will, but leave me my beloved
Rogero; or if you will snatch him too from me, take also my life,
which will cease then to be to me worth preserving."

Bradamante replied: "Old man, hope not to move me by your vain
entreaties. It is precisely the liberty of Rogero that I require.
You would keep him here in bondage and in slothful pleasure, to
save him from a fate which you foresee. Vain old man! how can you
foresee his fate when you could not foresee your own? You desire
me to take your life. No, my aim and my soul refuse the request."
This said, she required the magician to go before, and guide her
to the castle. The prisoners were set at liberty, though some, in
their secret hearts, regretted the voluptuous life which was thus
brought to an end. Bradamante and Rogero met one another with
transports of joy.

They descended from the mountain to the spot where the encounter
had taken place. There they found the Hippogriff, with the magic
buckler in its wrapper, hanging to his saddle-bow. Bradamante
advanced to seize the bridle; the Hippogriff seemed to wait her
approach, but before she reached him he spread his wings and flew
away to a neighboring hill, and in the same manner, a second time,
eluded her efforts. Rogero and the other liberated knights
dispersed over the plain and hilltops to secure him, and at last
the animal allowed Rogero to seize his rein. The fearless Rogero
hesitated not to vault upon his back, and let him feel his spurs,
which so roused his mettle that, after galloping a short distance,
he suddenly spread his wings, and soared into the air. Bradamante
had the grief to see her lover snatched away from her at the very
moment of reunion. Rogero, who knew not the art of directing the
horse, was unable to control his flight. He found himself carried
over the tops of the mountains, so far above them that he could
hardly distinguish what was land and what water. The Hippogriff
directed his flight to the west, and cleaved the air as swiftly as
a new-rigged vessel cuts the waves, impelled by the freshest and
most favorable gales.


In the long flight which Rogero took on the back of the Hippogriff
he was carried over land and sea, unknowing whither. As soon as he
had gained some control over the animal he made him alight on the
nearest land. When he came near enough to earth Rogero leapt
lightly from his back, and tied the animal to a myrtle-tree. Near
the spot flowed the pure waters of a fountain, surrounded by
cedars and palm-trees. Rogero laid aside his shield, and, removing
his helmet, breathed with delight the fresh air, and cooled his
lips with the waters of the fountain. For we cannot wonder that he
was excessively fatigued, considering the ride he had taken. He
was preparing to taste the sweets of repose when he perceived that
the Hippogriff, which he had tied by the bridle to a myrtle-tree,
frightened at something, was making violent efforts to disengage
himself. His struggle shook the myrtle-tree so that many of its
beautiful leaves were torn off, and strewed the ground.

A sound like that which issues from burning wood seemed to come
from the myrtle-tree, at first faint and indistinct, but growing
stronger by degrees, and at length was audible as a voice which
spoke in this manner: "O knight, if the tenderness of your heart
corresponds to the beauty of your person, relieve me, I pray you,
from this tormenting animal. I suffer enough inwardly without
having outward evils added to my lot."

Rogero, at the first accents of this voice, turned his eyes
promptly on the myrtle, hastened to it, and stood fixed in
astonishment when he perceived that the voice issued from the tree
itself. He immediately untied his horse, and, flushed with
surprise and regret, exclaimed, "Whoever thou art, whether mortal
or the goddess of these woods, forgive me, I beseech you, my
involuntary fault. Had I imagined that this hard bark covered a
being possessed of feeling, could I have exposed such a beautiful
myrtle to the insults of this steed? May the sweet influences of
the sky and air speedily repair the injury I have done! For my
part, I promise by the sovereign lady of my heart to do everything
you wish in order to merit your forgiveness."

At these words the myrtle seemed to tremble from root to stem, and
Rogero remarked that a moisture as of tears trickled down its
bark, like that which exudes from a log placed on the fire. It
then spoke:

"The kindness which inspires your words compels me to disclose to
you who I once was, and by what fatality I have been changed into
this shape. My name was Astolpho, cousin of Orlando and Rinaldo,
whose fame has filled the earth. I was myself reckoned among the
bravest paladins of France, and was by birth entitled to reign
over England, after Otho, my father. Returning from the distant


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