Kate Milner Rabb
Part 7 out of 8
After Doralice had decided the quarrel between Mandricardo and Rodomont,
Rogero and the Tartar met in the lists to decide their quarrel over their
bearings. The battle was fearful, and when both fell to the ground it was
supposed that Mandricardo was the victor. But when the crowd rushed to the
lists they found the Tartar dead and Rogero only wounded. But the cheers
of the crowd gave little pleasure to the hero, who grieved that he must
lie on a sick-bed instead of seeking Bradamant, according to his promise.
Bradamant too, who had looked forward so eagerly to the day he had set,
wept when it came without her lover. Soon she heard that Rogero's coming
was prevented by his wounds; but when she also heard that he was attended
by the warrior maid Marphisa, and that their names were frequently coupled
in the pagan camp, she at once felt the pangs of jealousy. Unable to
endure it longer, she armed herself, changing her usual vest for one whose
colors denoted her desperation and desire to die, and set forth to meet
and slay Marphisa, taking with her the spear left her by Astolpho, whose
magic properties she did not know. With this she overthrew Rodomont and
caused him to depart from his tomb and free his captives, and then,
proceeding to Aries, challenged Rogero, who was sadly puzzled, not
recognizing his challenger on account of her changed vest. Several knights
attacked her before Rogero came forth, only to be overthrown by the spear,
and then Marphisa, who had rushed forth before Rogero could arm, met her,
and the two women fought like tigers. When Rogero at last went forth he
recognized Bradamant's voice, and suspecting the cause of her hostility,
implored her to withdraw with him to a wood near by to hear his
explanation. Marphisa followed them and attacked Bradamant so fiercely
that Rogero was forced to her rescue, and lifting his sword would have
struck the maid had he not been stopped by a voice from a tomb near by. It
was that of Atlatites, who announced to Rogero and Marphisa that they were
brother and sister, children of Rogero of Pisa and Galiciella; that Rogero
had been treacherously slain and his town betrayed to Almontes, who cast
Galiciella adrift on the sea. Atlantes rescued her, and took her children
when she died; but Marphisa was stolen from him by a band of Arabs.
From this speech it was plainly the duty of Rogero and Marphisa to espouse
the cause of Charlemagne and take arms against Agramant, who was their
enemy. Bradamant and Marphisa then embraced, bade Rogero farewell, and
proceeded to Charlemagne's camp, where Marphisa was received with honor
and baptized, while Rogero promised to follow them as soon as he could
find an excuse to leave Agramant.
When Astolpho left Bradamant in the forest, he quickly rose in the air and
passed rapidly over the kingdoms of the world, Aragon, Navarre, Cadiz,
Egypt, Morocco, Fez, over the sandy desert until he reached the kingdom of
Nubia, whose king he rescued from the harpies by the sound of his magic
horn. Then, mounted on his hippogrif again, he rose to the terrestrial
Paradise, where he was welcomed by John, who informed him that he was sent
thither by the grace of God that he might get instruction how to furnish
aid to Charles and the Church, who were sorely in need of it. With John he
rose in a chariot to the Heaven of the Moon, where, after seeing many
strange things, he was given the wits of Orlando enclosed in a vial. They
had been taken from him as a punishment for his loving a pagan, but were
now to be restored to him that he might aid Charlemagne in conquering the
Moors. Astolpho then descended to Nubia, restored sight to its king, and
asking for his forces, went with them into Africa and attacked Biserta,
the city of Agramant.
When these tidings were borne to Agramant he was greatly troubled, and
desiring to end the war in Europe and hasten to his own country, he
proposed to Charlemagne that the war be decided by single combat between
two champions. Great was the agony of Rogero, the pagan champion, when he
recognized in his opponent Rinaldo, the brother of Bradamant. He would
never dare to slay him, so he parried the blows rained upon him, and
struck back so feebly that the spectators, not understanding his motives,
deemed him unable to cope with Rinaldo. But Melissa, determined that
Merlin's prophecy should come true, appeared to Agramant in the guise of
Rodomont, and urged him to break the compact and fall upon the Christians.
Delighted to have the mighty king with him again, Agramant did not scruple
to break his word, and rushed upon the Christian forces, breaking up the
combat. After a sharp conflict, the Saracens were put to flight and
Agramant hastened into Africa.
His people in Biserta, their strength drained by the long war, were unable
to withstand the Christian foe, soon re-enforced by a powerful enemy. One
day, as Astolpho and his friends were standing on the beach, a madman came
raging towards them, whom Astolpho recognized as Orlando. The warriors
attempted in vain to hold him until Astolpho ordered the ship's hawsers to
be brought, and knotting them flung them at the count's limbs, and so
threw him down and tied him. Then, after having had his body cleansed from
mud and filth, he stopped his mouth with herbs so that he could breathe
only through his nostrils, and holding the vial there, the lost senses
were quickly inhaled, and Orlando was himself again, astonished and
delighted to find himself with his friends.
With Orlando's help, Biserta was soon taken, and Agramant, who had met the
Christian fleet under the leadership of Dudon and had barely escaped with
his life, saw from afar the flames devouring his beloved city.
Landing with Sobrino upon a little isle, he found there King Sericane, who
advised him to challenge the Christians to single combat in order to
decide the outcome of the war, he, Gradasso, and Sobrino to stand in the
lists against three Christian champions. Orlando agreed to do so, and
selected for his companions in the fight Brandimart and Olivier. But the
pagans were no match for Orlando, whom no weapon could injure, and
Agramant and Gradasso soon fell, while Sobrino was wounded. But the joy
over the Christian victory was not unalloyed by sorrow, for Olivier was
severely wounded and the beloved Brandimart was slain.
The champions were now joined by Rinaldo, who after the breaking of the
pact by Agramant, had set off for India in search of Angelica, whom he
still madly loved. But Disdain guided his steps to the Fountain of Hate,
one draught of which changed his love to loathing, so that he abandoned
his undertaking and hastened to join the Christian forces in Africa.
Olivier's wound proved slow to heal, and when at last the warriors heard
of a hermit on a lonely isle who could help him, they hastened to take
their wounded comrade thither. There they found Rogero, who had been
shipwrecked while sailing to Africa, and had been baptized by the hermit,
who was warned in a dream of his coming. The Christian warriors gladly
welcomed Rogero to their ranks, for they knew of his valor; and Rinaldo,
who had learned how the young hero had saved the life of Richardetto and
had preserved Vivian and Malagigi, embraced him, and at the suggestion of
the hermit, plighted him to his sister. Before they left the isle, Sobrino
was converted by the pious hermit, and Olivier's wound was healed.
The knights were received with the greatest honor by Charlemagne,
especially Rogero, the new convert. But what unhappiness awaited him! In
his absence Bradamant's father had promised the maid to Leo, the son of
the Greek emperor, Constantine, in spite of her prayers and entreaties.
Although Bradamant declared that she would die sooner than wed another,
the heart-broken Rogero hastily departed for Constantinople to slay his
rival. In his absence, Bradamant besought Charlemagne not to compel her to
marry Leo unless he could defeat her in single combat; and her angry
parents, on learning of this, took her from the court and shut her up in
the tower of Rocca Forte. Rogero, in the mean time, reached Leo's realms
just as the Greeks engaged in battle with the Bulgarians. Because of his
hatred for Leo, he fought with the Bulgarians, and when their king fell he
rallied their scattered troops and put the Greeks to flight. Rogero then
followed the fleeing Greeks unaccompanied, and being recognized, was taken
captive that night as he slept in a hostelry. At the entreaty of a
kinswoman whose son Rogero had slain that day, the emperor surrendered his
captive to her, and he was thrust into a gloomy dungeon, where he suffered
agonies from hunger and cold. But Leo, who had admired his valor in battle
and had longed to know him, rescued him, recovered his horse and armor,
and by his generosity compelled Rogero to admire him as much as he had
before hated him. The news of Charlemagne's decree now reached Leo, and
he, fearing to fight Bradamant, asked the unknown knight of the unicorn to
take his place. Rogero's heart sank within him, but he dared not refuse.
His life was Leo's, and he must sacrifice himself for him, must either
slay Bradamant, or be slain by her for his deliverer's sake. He
accompanied Leo to France, and feigning a cheerfulness he did not feel,
changed armor and steed that he might not be known, and, while Leo
remained in his tent outside the city, entered the lists and encountered
Bradamant, who was determined to slay her hated suitor. Rogero was equally
determined not to slay her nor to allow himself to be conquered. When
twilight fell and king and court saw that while the young knight had not
overcome the maid, he had not allowed himself to be overcome, they
declared that the couple were well matched and that they should wed.
The hopeless Rogero hastened back to Leo's camp, changed armor and steed,
and during the night stole away from the hateful place to the greenwood
that he might die there, since he could never possess his beloved. At the
same time, Bradamant gave way to her grief in such a manner that Marphisa,
already indignant at the treatment of her brother, appeared before the
king in his behalf. She declared that Rogero and Bradamant had already
exchanged all the vows of those who marry and therefore she was not free
to wed another. She then suggested that since the matter had gone so far,
Leo and Rogero should meet in the lists to decide to whom the lady
Leo at once set out in search of his knight of the unicorn, who he
believed would defend him from all peril, and found him in the forest,
almost fainting from fasting and sleeplessness. The Greek embraced Rogero
tenderly and implored him to betray the cause of his grief, and so tender
were his words and so gracious his manner that Rogero could not but
unbosom himself. And when Leo learned that his unknown champion was no
other than Rogero himself he declared that he would gladly forego
Bradamant for him, and would rather have forfeited his life than caused
such grief to such a faithful friend.
Joy filled the court when the story of Rogero's fidelity was made known,
and the joy was increased when ambassadors came from Bulgaria, seeking the
unknown knight of the unicorn that they might offer their throne to him.
Duke Aymon and his wife were reconciled when they found that Rogero was to
be a king, and the wedding was celebrated with the greatest splendor,
Charlemagne providing for Bradamant as though she were his daughter.
In the midst of the celebrations Rodomont appeared to defy Rogero, and
that knight, nothing loath, met him in the lists. The Moor fell under
Rogero's blows, and all the Christian court rejoiced to see the last of
the pagan knights fall by the hand of their champion.
SELECTION FROM THE ORLANDO FURIOSO.
THE DEATH OF ZERBINO.
As Orlando talked with Zerbino, whose life he had saved and to whom he had
given his lady Isabel, also rescued by him, Mandricardo the Tartar king
came up and challenged Orlando to single combat. While they fought,
Mandricardo's steed, from which Orlando had slipped the rein, became
unmanageable, and fled with its rider. Orlando asked Zerbino and Isabel to
tell Mandricardo, if they overtook him, that he would wait for him in that
place for three days to renew the battle. But while waiting, Orlando
learned of Angelica's love for Medoro, and losing his senses from grief,
threw away his armor, and went wandering through France. Zerbino and
Isabel returned to the place to see if Mandricardo had returned, and there
learned of Orlando's condition.
Far off, he [Zerbino] saw that something shining lay,
And spied Orlando's corselet on the ground;
And next his helm; but not that head-piece gay
Which whilem African Almontes crowned:
He in the thicket heard a courser neigh,
And, lifting up his visage at the sound,
Saw Brigliadoro the green herbage browse,
With rein yet hanging at his saddle-bows,
For Durindane, he sought the greenwood, round,
Which separate from the scabbard met his view;
And next the surcoat, but in tatters, found;
That, in a hundred rags, the champaign strew,
Zerbino and Isabel, in grief profound,
Stood looking on, nor what to think they knew:
They of all matters else might think, besides
The fury which the wretched count misguides.
Had but the lovers seen a drop of blood,
They might have well believed Orlando dead:
This while the pair, beside the neighboring flood,
Beheld a shepherd coming, pale with dread.
He just before, as on a rock he stood,
Had seen the wretch's fury; how he shed
His arms about the forest, tore his clothes,
Slew hinds, and caused a thousand other woes.
Questioned by good Zerbino, him the swain
Of all which there had chanced, informed aright.
Zerbino marvelled, and believed with pain,
Although the proofs were clear: This as it might,
He from his horse dismounted on the plain,
Full of compassion, in afflicted plight;
And went about, collecting from the ground
The various relics which were scattered round.
Isabel lights as well; and, where they lie
Dispersed, the various arms uniting goes.
* * * * *
Here Prince Zerbino all the arms unites,
And hangs like a fair trophy, on a pine.
And, to preserve them safe from errant knights,
Natives or foreigners, in one short line
Upon the sapling's verdant surface writes,
ORLANDO'S ARMS, KING CHARLES'S PALADINE.
As he would say, "Let none this harness move,
Who cannot with its lord his prowess prove!"
Zerbino having done the pious deed,
Is bowning him to climb his horse; when, lo!
The Tartar king arrives upon the mead.
He at the trophied pine-tree's gorgeous show,
Beseeches him the cause of this to read;
Who lets him (as rehearsed) the story know.
When, without further pause, the paynim lord
Hastes gladly to the pine, and takes the sword.
"None can (he said) the action reprehend,
Nor first I make the faulchion mine to-day;
And to its just possession I pretend
Where'er I find it, be it where it may.
Orlando, this not daring to defend,
Has feigned him mad, and cast the sword away;
But if the champion so excuse his shame,
This is no cause I should forego my claim."
"Take it not thence," to him Zerbino cried,
"Nor think to make it thine without a fight:
If so thou tookest Hector's arms of pride,
By theft thou hadst them, rather than by right."
Without more parley spurred upon each side,
Well matched in soul and valor, either knight.
Already echoed are a thousand blows;
Nor yet well entered are the encountering foes.
In 'scaping Durindane, a flame in show
(He shifts so swiftly), is the Scottish lord.
He leaps about his courser like a doe,
Where'er the road best footing does afford.
And well it is that he should not forego
An inch of vantage; who, if once that sword
Smite him, will join the enamored ghosts, which rove
Amid the mazes of the myrtle grove.
As the swift-footed dog, who does espy
Swine severed from his fellows, hunts him hard,
And circles round about; but he lies by
Till once the restless foe neglect his guard;
So, while the sword descends, or hangs on high,
Zerbino stands, attentive how to ward,
How to save life and honor from surprise;
And keeps a wary eye, and smites and flies.
On the other side, where'er the foe is seen
To threaten stroke in vain, or make it good,
He seems an Alpine wind, two hills between,
That in the month of March shakes leafy wood;
Which to the ground now bends the forest green,
Now whirls the broken boughs, at random strewed.
Although the prince wards many, in the end
One mighty stroke he cannot 'scape or fend.
In the end he cannot 'scape one downright blow,
Which enters, between sword and shield, his breast.
As perfect was the plate and corselet, so
Thick was the steel wherein his paunch was drest:
But the destructive weapon, falling low,
Equally opened either iron vest;
And cleft whate'er it swept in its descent,
And to the saddle-bow, through cuirass, went.
And, but that somewhat short the blow descends
It would Zerbino like a cane divide;
But him so little in the quick offends,
This scarce beyond the skin is scarified.
More than a span in length the wound extends;
Of little depth: of blood a tepid tide
To his feet descending, with a crimson line,
Stains the bright arms which on the warrior shine.
'T is so, I sometimes have been wont to view
A hand more white than alabaster, part
The silver cloth with ribbon red of hue;
A hand I often feel divide my heart.
Here little vantage young Zerbino drew
From strength and greater daring, and from art;
For in the temper of his arms and might,
Too much the Tartar king excelled the knight.
The fearful stroke was mightier in show,
Than in effect, by which the prince was prest;
So that poor Isabel, distraught with woe,
Felt her heart severed in her frozen breast.
The Scottish prince, all over in a glow,
With anger and resentment was possest,
And putting all his strength in either hand,
Smote full the Tartar's helmet with his brand.
Almost on his steed's neck the Tartar fell,
Bent by the weighty blow Zerbino sped;
And, had the helmet been unfenced by spell
The biting faulchion would have cleft his head.
The king, without delay, avenged him well,
"Nor I for you till other season," said,
"Will keep this gift;" and levelled at his crest,
Hoping to part Zerbino to the chest.
Zerbino, on the watch, whose eager eye
Waits on his wit, wheels quickly to the right;
But not withal so quickly, as to fly
The trenchant sword, which smote the shield outright,
And cleft from top to bottom equally;
Shearing the sleeve beneath it, and the knight
Smote on his arm; and next the harness rended,
And even to the champion's thigh descended.
Zerbino, here and there, seeks every way
By which to wound, nor yet his end obtains;
For, while he smites upon that armor gay,
Not even a feeble dint the coat retains.
On the other hand, the Tartar in the fray
Such vantage o'er the Scottish prince obtains,
Him he has wounded in seven parts or eight,
And reft his shield and half his helmet's plate.
He ever wastes his blood; his energies
Fail, though he feels it not, as't would appear;
Unharmed, the vigorous heart new force supplies
To the weak body of the cavalier.
His lady, during this, whose crimson dyes
Were chased by dread, to Doralice drew near,
And for the love of Heaven, the damsel wooed
To stop that evil and disastrous feud.
Doralice, who as courteous was as fair,
And ill-assured withal, how it would end,
Willingly granted Isabella's prayer,
And straight to truce and peace disposed her friend.
As well Zerbino, by the other's care,
Was brought his vengeful anger to suspend;
And, wending where she willed, the Scottish lord,
Left unachieved the adventure of the sword.
For to leave Durindana such misdeed
To him appeared, it past all other woes;
Though he could hardly sit upon his steed,
Through mighty loss of life-blood, which yet flows.
Now, when his anger and his heat secede,
After short interval, his anguish grows;
His anguish grows, with such impetuous pains,
He feels that life is ebbing from his veins.
For weakness can the prince no further hie,
And so beside a fount is forced to stay:
Him to assist the pitying maid would try,
But knows not what to do, nor what to say.
For lack of comfort she beholds him die;
Since every city is too far away,
Where in this need she could resort to leech,
Whose succor she might purchase or beseech.
She, blaming fortune, and the cruel sky,
Can only utter fond complaints and vain.
"Why sank I not in ocean," (was her cry),
"When first I reared my sail upon the main?"
Zerbino, who on her his languid eye
Had fixt, as she bemoaned her, felt more pain
Than that enduring and strong anguish bred,
Through which the suffering youth was well-nigh dead.
"So be thou pleased, my heart," (Zerbino cried),
"To love me yet, when I am dead and gone,
As to abandon thee without a guide,
And not to die, distresses me alone.
For did it me in place secure betide
To end my days, this earthly journey done,
I cheerful, and content, and fully blest
Would die, since I should die upon thy breast
"But since to abandon thee, to whom a prize
I know not, my sad fate compels, I swear,
My Isabella, by that mouth, those eyes,
By what enchained me first, that lovely hair;
My spirit, troubled and despairing, hies
Into hell's deep and gloomy bottom; where
To think, thou wert abandoned so by me,
Of all its woes the heaviest pain will be."
At this the sorrowing Isabel, declining
Her mournful face, which with her tears o'erflows,
Towards the sufferer, and her mouth conjoining
To her Zerbino's, languid as a rose;
Rose gathered out of season, and which, pining
Fades where it on the shadowy hedgerow grows,
Exclaims, "Without me think not so, my heart,
On this your last, long journey to depart.
"Of this, my heart, conceive not any fear.
For I will follow thee to heaven or hell;
It fits our souls together quit this sphere,
Together go, for aye together dwell.
No sooner closed thine eyelids shall appear,
Than either me internal grief will quell,
Or, has it not such power, I here protest,
I with this sword to-day will pierce my breast.
"I of our bodies cherish hope not light,
That they shall have a happier fate when dead;
Together to entomb them, may some wight,
Haply by pity moved, be hither led."
She the poor remnants of his vital sprite
Went on collecting, as these words she said;
And while yet aught remains, with mournful lips,
The last faint breath of life devoutly sips.
'T was here his feeble voice Zerbino manned,
Crying, "My deity, I beg and pray,
By that love witnessed, when thy father's land
Thou quittedst for my sake; and, if I may
In anything command thee, I command,
That, with God's pleasure, thou live-out thy day;
Nor ever banish from thy memory,
That, well as man can love, have I loved thee.
"God haply will provide thee with good aid,
To free thee from each churlish deed I fear;
As when in the dark cavern thou wast stayed,
He sent, to rescue thee. Andante's peer;
So he (grammercy!) succored thee dismayed
At sea, and from the wicked Biscayneer.
And, if thou must choose death, in place of worse,
Then only choose it as a leaser curse."
I think not these last words of Scotland's knight
Were so exprest, that he was understood:
With these, he finished, like a feeble light,
Which needs supply of wax, or other food.
--Who is there, that has power to tell aright
The gentle Isabella's doleful mood?
When stiff, her loved Zerbino, with pale face,
And cold as ice, remained in her embrace.
On the ensanguined corse, in sorrow drowned,
The damsel throws herself, in her despair,
And shrieks so loud that wood and plain resound
For many miles about; nor does she spare
Bosom or cheek; but still, with cruel wound,
One and the other smites the afflicted fair;
And wrongs her curling locks of golden grain,
Aye calling on the well-loved youth in vain.
She with such rage, such fury, was possest,
That, in her transport, she Zerbino's glaive
Would easily have turned against her breast,
Ill keeping the command her lover gave;
But that a hermit, from his neighboring rest,
Accustomed oft to seek the fountain-wave,
His flagon at the cooling stream to fill,
Opposed him to the damsel's evil will.
The reverend father, who with natural sense
Abundant goodness happily combined,
And, with ensamples fraught and eloquence,
Was full of charity towards mankind,
With efficacious reasons her did fence,
And to endurance Isabel inclined;
Placing, from ancient Testament and new,
Women, as in a mirror, for her view.
The holy man next made the damsel see,
That save in God there was no true content,
And proved all other hope was transitory,
Fleeting, of little worth, and quickly spent;
And urged withal so earnestly his plea,
He changed her ill and obstinate intent;
And made her, for the rest of life, desire
To live devoted to her heavenly sire.
Not that she would her mighty love forbear
For her dead lord, nor yet his relics slight;
These, did she halt or journey, everywhere
Would Isabel have with her, day and night.
The hermit therefore seconding her care,
Who, for his age, was sound and full of might,
They on his mournful horse Zerbino placed,
And traversed many a day that woodland waste.
* * * * *
He thought to bear her to Provence, where, near
The city of Marseilles, a borough stood,
Which had a sumptuous monastery; here
Of ladies was a holy sisterhood.
_Rose's Translation, Canto XXIV_.
"The discovery of Mozambique, of Melinda, and of Calcutta has been sung by
Camoens, whose poem has something of the charm of the Odyssey and of the
magnificence of the Aeneid."
The Portuguese epic, the Lusiad, so-called from Lusitania, the Latin name
for Portugal, was written by Luis de Camoens.
He was born in Lisbon in 1524, lost his father by shipwreck in infancy,
and was educated by his mother at the University of Coimbra. On leaving
the university he appeared at court, where his graces of person and mind
soon rendered him a favorite. Here a love affair with the Donna Catarina
de Atayde, whom the king also loved, caused his banishment to Santarem. At
this place he began the Lusiad, and continued it on the expedition against
the Moors in Africa sent out by John III., an expedition on which he
displayed much valor and lost an eye. He was recalled to court, but
jealousies soon drove him thence to India, whither he sailed in 1553,
exclaiming, "Ungrateful country, thou shall not possess my bones." In
India his bravery and accomplishments won him friends, but his imprudences
soon caused his exile to China, where he accumulated a small fortune and
finished his poem. Happier circumstances permitted him to return to Goa;
but on the way the ship laden with his fortune sank, and he escaped,
saving only his poem. After sixteen years of misfortune abroad, Camoens
returned to Lisbon in 1569. The pestilence that was then raging delayed
the publication of the Lusiad until 1572. The poem received little
attention; a small pension was bestowed on the poet, but was soon
withdrawn, and the unfortunate Camoens was left to die in an almshouse. On
his death-bed he deplored the impending fate of his country, which he
alone could see. "I have loved my country. I have returned not only to die
on her bosom, but to die with her."
The Lusiad tells the story of the voyage of Vasco da Gama. The sailors of
Prince Henry of Portugal, commander of the Portuguese forces in Africa,
had passed Cape Nam and discovered the Cape of Storms, which the prince
renamed the Cape of Good Hope. His successor Emmanuel, determined to carry
out the work of his predecessor by sending out da Gama to undertake the
discovery of the southern passage to India. The Portuguese were generally
hostile to the undertaking, but da Gama, his brother, and his friend
Coello gathered a company, part of which consisted of malefactors whose
sentence of death was reversed on condition that they undertake the
voyage, and reached India.
The Lusiad is divided into ten cantos, containing one thousand one hundred
and two stanzas. Its metre is the heroic iambic, in rhymed octave stanzas.
The Lusiad is marred by its mythological allusions in imitation of Homer
and Virgil, but these are forgotten when the poet sings in impassioned
strains of his country's past glory.
The Lusiad is simple in style; its subject is prosaic; it is a constant
wonder that out of such unpromising materials Camoens could construct a
poem of such interest. He could not have done so had he not been so great
a poet, so impassioned a patriot.
Camoens was in one sense of the word a practical man, like Ariosto; he had
governed a province, and governed it successfully. But he had also taken
up arms for his country, and after suffering all the slights that could be
put upon him by an ungrateful and forgetful monarch, still loved his
native land, loved it the more, perhaps, that he had suffered for it and
was by it neglected. He foresaw, also, as did no one else, the future ruin
of his country, and loved it the more intensely, as a parent lavishes the
fondest, most despairing affection on a child he knows doomed to early
The Lusiad is sometimes called the epic of commerce; it could be called
far more appropriately the epic of patriotism.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE LUSIAD.
J. Adamson's Memoirs of Life and Writing of Camoens, 2 vols., 1820 (vol.
2, account of works of Camoens in Portuguese and other languages, and of
the works founded on his life or suggested by his writings);
R. F. Burton's Camoens, his Life and his Lusiad, 2 vols., 1881;
M. W. Shelley's Lives of the most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of
Italy, Spain, and Portugal, vol. 3;
F. Bouterwek's History of Spanish and Portuguese Literature, 1823 (Tr. by
Chambers's Repository, no. 32, Spirit of Camoens's Lusiad;
W. T. Dobson's Classic Poets, pp. 240-278;
Montgomery's Men of Italy, iii., 295;
Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, ii., 475-528;
Southey's Sketch of Portuguese Literature in vol. i. of Quarterly Review,
Fortnightly Review, i., 184;
Quarterly, i., 235;
Monthly Review, clx., 505;
Edinburgh Review, 1805, vi., 43;
New England Magazine, liii., 542;
Revue de Deux Mondes, 1832, vi., 145.
STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE LUSIAD. The Lusiad, Tr. by J. J.
Aubertin, 2 vols., 1881 (Portuguese text and English Tr., in verse);
The Lusiad, Englished by R. F. Burton, 2 vols., 1881;
The Lusiad, Tr. into Spenserian verse by R. F. Duff, 1880;
The Lusiad, Tr. by Sir Richard Fanshawe, 1655;
The Lusiad, Tr. by W. J. Mickle, 3 vols., Ed. 5, 1807;
The Lusiad, Tr. by T. M. Musgrave (blank verse), 1826;
The Lusiad, Tr. by Edward Quillinan, with notes by John Adamson, 1853.
THE STORY OF THE LUSIAD.
When Jupiter, looking down from Olympus, saw the Lusitanian fleet sailing
over the heretofore untravelled seas, he called the gods together, and
reviewing the past glory of the Portuguese, their victories over the
Castilians, their stand against the Romans, under their shepherd-hero
Viriatus, and their conquest of Africa, he foretold their future glories
and their discovery and conquest of India.
Bacchus, who had long since made conquests in India, fearful lest his
ancient honors should be forgotten, bitterly opposed the scheme of the
Portuguese; Venus, however, was favorable to them, and Mars interceded,
counselling Jove not to heed Bacchus, but to permit the Lusitanians to
reach India's shore in safety.
When the council of the gods was dismissed, Mercury was sent to guide the
Armada, which made its first landing at Mozambique. Canoes with curious
palm-leaf sails, laden with dark-skinned natives, swarmed round the ships
and were hailed with joy by Gama and his men, who invited them on board. A
feast was spread for them, and to them Gama declared his intention of
seeking India. Among them was a Moor who had at first thought the
Portuguese Moors, on account of their dark skins. Feigning cordiality
while plotting their ruin, he offered them a pilot to Quiloa, where, he
assured them, they would find a Christian colony. He and his friends also
laid a plot to place some soldiers in ambush to attack Gama's men when
they landed next day to get water; in this way many would be destroyed,
and certain death awaited the survivors at Quiloa, whither the promised
pilot would conduct them. But the Moors had not counted on the strength of
the Portuguese. Gama's vengeance was swift and certain. The thunder of his
guns terrified the Moors, and the regent implored his pardon, and with
make-believe tears insisted on his receiving at his hands the promised
Many questions were asked by Gama concerning the spicy shores of India, of
the African coasts, and of the island to the north. "Quiloa, that,"
replied the Moor, "where from ancient times, the natives have worshipped
the blood-stained image of the Christ." He knew how the Moorish
inhabitants hated the Christians, and was secretly delighted when Gama
directed him to steer thither.
A storm swept the fleet past Quiloa, but the pilot, still determined on
revenge, pointed out the island town of Mombaca, as a stronghold of the
Christians, and steering the fleet thither, anchored just outside the bar.
Bacchus, now intent on the destruction of the Lusitanians, assumed the
character of a priest to deceive the heralds sent ashore by Gama, who
assured their commander that they saw a Christian priest performing divine
rites at an altar above which fluttered the banner of the Holy Ghost. In a
few moments the Christian fleet would have been at the mercy of the Moors,
but Cytherea, beholding from above the peril of her favorites, hastily
descended, gathered together her nymphs, and formed an obstruction, past
which the vessels strove in vain to pass. As Gama, standing high on the
poop, saw the huge rock in the channel, he cried out, and the Moorish
pilots, thinking their treason discovered, leaped into the waves.
Warned in a dream by Mercury that the Moors were preparing to cut his
cables, De Gama roused his fleet and set sail for Melinda, whose monarch,
Mercury had told him, was both powerful and good.
The fleet, decorated with purple streamers and gold and scarlet tapestry
in honor of Ascension Day sailed with drums beating and trumpets sounding,
into the harbor of Melinda, where they were welcomed by the kind and
truthful people. The fame of the Lusitanians had reached Melinda, and the
monarch gladly welcomed them to his land. His herald entreated them to
remain with him, and brought them sheep, fowls, and the fruits of the
earth, welcome gifts to the mariners. Gama had vowed not to leave the ship
until he could step on Indian ground, so the next day the king and the
commander, clad in their most splendid vestments, met in barges, and the
monarch of Melinda asked Gama to tell him of the Lusian race, its origin
and climate, and of all his adventures up to the time of his arrival at
"O king," said Gama, "between the zones of endless winter and eternal
summer lies beautiful Europe, surrounded by the sea. To the north are the
bold Swede, the Prussian, and the Dane; on her south-eastern line dwelt
the Grecian heroes, world-renowned, and farther south are the ruins of
proud Rome. Among the beauteous landscapes of Italy lies proud Venice,
queen of the sea, and north of her tower the lofty Alps. The olive groves
and vineyards of fair Gallia next greet the eye, and then the valorous
fields of Spain, Aragon, Granada, and--the pride of Spain--Castile. On the
west, a crown to it, lies Lusitania, on whom last smiles the setting
sun,--against whose shores roll the waves of the western sea.
"Noble are the heroes of my country. They were the first to rise against
the Moors and expel them from the kingdom. The forces of Rome were routed
by our shepherd-hero, Viriatus. After his death our country languished
until Alonzo of Spain arose, whose renown spread far and wide because of
his battles against the Moors.
"Alonzo rewarded generously the heroes who fought under him, and to Prince
Henry of Hungaria he gave the fields through which the Tagus flows and the
hand of his daughter. To them was born a son, Alfonso, the founder of the
Lusian throne. After the death of his father Henry, Alfonso's mother
became regent, and ere long wedded her minister Perez and plotted to
deprive her young son of his inheritance. The eighteen year old son arose,
won the nobility to his side, and defeated his guilty mother and her
husband in the battle of Guimaraens. Forgetful of the reverence due to
parents, he cruelly imprisoned his mother, whose father, the king of
Spain, indignant at such treatment of his daughter, now marched against
the young prince and defeated him. As he lay in prison, his faithful
guardian Egas knelt before the king, and vowed that his master, if
released, would pay homage to him. Well he knew that his master would
never bow his proud head to pay homage to Castile. So when the day
arrived, Egas, and all his family, clad in gowns of white like sentenced
felons, with unshod feet, and with the halter around their necks, sought
Castile. 'O king, take us as a sacrifice for my perjured honor. Turn in
friendship to the prince thy grandson, and wreak thy vengeance on us
"Fortunately Alonzo was noble enough to release the self-sacrificing Egas,
and to forgive his grandson.
"The young Alfonso, pardoned by his grandfather, proceeded to Ourique,
whither marched five Moorish kings. Over his head appeared the sacred
cross; but he prayed heaven to show it to his army instead, that they
might be inspired with the hope of victory. Filled with joy at the token,
the Portuguese defeated the Moors, and on the bloody battle-field Alfonso
was proclaimed King of Portugal, and from that day placed on his hitherto
unadorned buckler five azure shields, arranged as a cross. He continued
the wars with the Moors until, wounded and taken prisoner at Badajoz, he
resigned the throne to his son, Don Sancho, who in turn won many
victories. Alfonso II., Sancho II., Alfonso III., and Alfonso the Brave
succeeded him. At the court of the latter was a beautiful maiden, Inez de
Castro, whom Alfonso's son Don Pedro had married secretly. The courtiers,
fearful lest Pedro should show favor to the Castilians because Inez was
the daughter of a Castilian, told the king of his son's amour. In the
absence of Pedro, Inez was led before the king, bringing with her her
children, to help her to plead for mercy. But the king was merciless, his
counsellors, brutal, and at his signal they stabbed her. Pedro never
recovered from the shock given him by the fate of his beautiful wife, and
after his succession to the throne, as a partial atonement for her
suffering, he had her body taken from the grave and crowned Queen of
"The weak Fernando, who took his wife Eleanora from her lawful husband,
succeeded Pedro, and their daughter Beatrice not being recognized by the
Portuguese, at his death Don John, a natural brother, came to the throne.
In the mean time a Spanish prince had married Beatrice and invaded
Portugal, claiming it as his right. The Portuguese were divided until Nuno
Alvarez Pereyra came forward. 'Has one weak reign so corrupted you?' he
cried. 'Have you so soon forgotten our brave sires? Fernando was weak, but
John, our godlike king, is strong. Come, follow him! Or, if you stay, I
myself will go alone; never will I yield to a vassal's yoke; my native
land shall remain unconquered, and my monarch's foes, Castilian or
Portuguese, shall heap the plain!'
"Inspired by Nuno's eloquence the Lusians took the field and defeated the
Spanish in the battle of Aljubarota. Still dissatisfied, Nuno pressed into
Spain and dictated the terms of peace at Seville. Having established
himself upon the throne of Portugal, John carried the war into Africa,
which wars were continued after his death by his son Edward. While laying
siege to Tangier, Edward and his brother Fernando were taken prisoners,
and were allowed to return home only on promise to surrender Ceuta. Don
Fernando remained as the hostage they demanded. The Portuguese would not
agree to surrender Ceuta, and Don Fernando was forced to languish in
captivity, since the Moors would accept no other ransom. He was a
patriotic prince than whom were none greater in the annals of Lusitania.
"Alfonso V., victorious over the Moors, dreamed of conquering Castile, but
was defeated, and on his death was succeeded by John II., who designed to
gain immortal fame in a way tried by no other king. His sailors sought a
path to India, but 'though enriched with knowledge' they perished at the
mouth of the Indus. To his successor, Emmanuel, in a dream appeared the
rivers Ganges and Indus, hoary fathers, rustic in aspect, yet with a
majestic grace of bearing, their long, uncombed beards dripping with
water, their heads wreathed with strange flowers, and proclaimed to him
that their countries were ordained by fate to yield to him; that the fight
would be great, and the fields would stream with blood, but that at last
their shoulders would bend beneath the yoke. Overjoyed at this dream,
Emmanuel proclaimed it to his people. I, O king, felt my bosom burn, for
long had I aspired to this work. Me the king singled out, to me the dread
toil he gave of seeking unknown seas. Such zeal felt I and my youths as
inspired the Mynian youths when they ventured into unknown seas in the
Argo, in search of the golden fleece.
"On the shore was reared a sacred fane, and there at the holy shrine my
comrades and I knelt and joined in the solemn rites. Prostrate we lay
before the shrine until morning dawned; then, accompanied by the 'woful,
weeping, melancholy throng' that came pressing from the gates of the city,
we sought our ships.
"Then began the tears to flow; then the shrieks of mothers, sisters, and
wives rent the air, and as we waved farewell an ancient man cried out to
us on the thirst for honor and for fame that led us to undertake such a
"Soon our native mountains mingled with the skies, and the last dim speck
of land having faded, we set our eyes to scan the waste of sea before us.
From Madeira's fair groves we passed barren Masilia, the Cape of Green,
the Happy Isles, Jago, Jalofo, and vast Mandinga, the hated shore of the
Gorgades, the jutting cape called by us the Cape of Palms, and southward
sailed through the wild waves until the stars changed and we saw
Callisto's star no longer, but fixed our eyes on another pole star that
rises nightly over the waves. The shining cross we beheld each night in
the heavens was to us a good omen.
"While thus struggling through the untried waves, and battling with the
tempests, now viewing with terror the waterspouts, and the frightful
lightnings, now comforted by the sight of mysterious fire upon our masts,
we came in sight of land, and gave to the trembling negro who came to us
some brass and bells. Five days after this event, as we sailed through the
unknown seas, a sudden darkness o'erspread the sky, unlighted by moon or
star. Questioning what this portent might mean, I saw a mighty phantom
rise through the air. His aspect was sullen, his cheeks were pale, his
withered hair stood erect, his yellow teeth gnashed; his whole aspect
spoke of revenge and horror.
"'Bold are you,' cried he, 'to venture hither, but you shall suffer for
it. The next proud fleet that comes this way shall perish on my coast, and
he who first beheld me shall float on the tide a corpse. Often, O Lusus,
shall your children mourn because of me!' 'Who art thou?' I cried. 'The
Spirit of the Cape,' he replied, 'oft called the Cape of Tempests.'"
The king of Melinda interrupted Gama. He had often heard traditions among
his people of the Spirit of the Cape. He was one of the race of Titans who
loved Thetis, and was punished by Jove by being transformed into this
Gama continued: "Again we set forth, and stopped at a pleasant coast to
clean our barks of the shell-fish. At this place we left behind many
victims of the scurvy in their lonely graves. Of the treason we met with
at Mozambique and the miracle that saved us at Quiloa and Mombas, you know
already, as well as of your own bounty."
Charmed with the recital of Gama, the King of Melinda had forgotten how
the hours passed away. After the story was told the company whiled away
the hours with dance, song, the chase, and the banquet, until Gama
declared that he must go on to India, and was furnished with a pilot by
the friendly king.
Bacchus, enraged at seeing the voyage so nearly completed, descended to
the palace of Neptune, with crystal towers, lofty turrets, roofs of gold,
and beautiful pillars inwrought with pearls. The sculptured walls were
adorned with old Chaos's troubled face, the four fair elements, and many
scenes in the history of the earth. Roused by Bacchus, the gods of the sea
consented to let loose the winds and the waves against the Portuguese.
During the night, the Lusians spent the time in relating stories of their
country. As they talked, the storm came upon them, and the vessels rose
upon the giant waves, so that the sailors saw the bottom of the sea swept
almost bare by the violence of the storm. But the watchful Venus perceived
the peril of her Lusians, and calling her nymphs together, beguiled the
storm gods until the storm ceased. While the sailors congratulated
themselves on the returning calm, the cry of "Land!" was heard, and the
pilot announced to Gama that Calicut was near.
Hail to the Lusian heroes who have won such honors, who have forced their
way through untravelled seas to the shores of India! Other nations of
Europe have wasted their time in a vain search for luxury and fame instead
of reclaiming to the faith its enemies! Italy, how fallen, how lost art
thou! and England and Gaul, miscalled "most Christian!" While ye have
slept, the Lusians, though their realms are small, have crushed the
Moslems and made their name resound throughout Africa, even to the shores
At dawn Gama sent a herald to the monarch; in the mean time, a friendly
Moor, Moncaide, boarded the vessel, delighted to hear his own tongue once
more. Born at Tangiers, he considered himself a neighbor of the Lusians;
well he knew their valorous deeds, and although a Moor, he now allied
himself to them as a friend. He described India to the eager Gama: its
religions, its idolaters, the Mohammedans, the Buddhists, the Brahmins. At
Calicut, queen of India, lived the Zamorin, lord of India, to whom all
subject kings paid their tribute.
His arrival having been announced, Gama, adorned in his most splendid
garments, and accompanied by his train, also in bright array, entered the
gilded barges and rowed to the shore, where stood the Catual, the
Zamorin's minister. Moncaide acted as an interpreter. The company passed
through a temple on their way to the palace, in which the Christians were
horrified at the graven images there worshipped. On the palace walls were
the most splendid pictures, relating the history of India. One wall,
however, bore no sculptures; the Brahmins had foretold that a foreign foe
would at some time conquer India, and that space was reserved for scenes
from those wars.
Into the splendid hall adorned with tapestries of cloth of gold and
carpets of velvet, Gama passed, and stood before the couch on which sat
the mighty monarch. The room blazed with gems and gold; the monarch's
mantle was of cloth of gold, and his turban shone with gems. His manner
was majestic and dignified; he received Gama in silence, only nodding to
him to tell his story.
Gama proclaimed that he came in friendship from a valorous nation that
wished to unite its shores with his by commerce. The monarch responded
that he and his council would weigh the proposal, and in the mean time
Gama should remain and feast with them.
The next day the Indians visited the fleet, and after the banquet Gama
displayed to his guests a series of banners on which were told the history
of Portugal and her heroes. First came Lusus, the friend of Bacchus, the
hero-shepherd Viriatus, the first Alonzo, the self-sacrificing Egas, the
valiant Fuaz, every hero who had strengthened Lusitania and driven out her
foes, down to the gallant Pedro and the glorious Henry.
Awed and wondering at the deeds of the mighty heroes, the Indians returned
home. In the night Bacchus appeared to the king, warning him against the
Lusians and urging him to destroy them while in his power. The Moors
bought the Catual with their gold. They also told the king that they would
leave his city as soon as he allied himself with the odious strangers.
When Gama was next summoned before the king he was received with a frown.
"You are a pirate! Your first words were lies. Confess it; then you may
stay with me and be my captain."
"I know the Moors," replied Gama. "I know their lies that have poisoned
your ears. Am I mad that I should voluntarily leave my pleasant home and
dare the terrors of an unknown sea? Ah, monarch, you know not the Lusian
race! Bold, dauntless, the king commands, and we obey. Past the dread Cape
of Storms have I ventured, bearing no gift save friendly peace, and that
noblest gift of all, the friendship of my king. I have spoken the truth.
Truth is everlasting!"
A day passed and still Gama was detained by the power of the Catual, who
ordered him to call his fleets ashore if his voyage was really one of
"Never!" exclaimed Gama. "My fleet is free, though I am chained, and they
shall carry to Lisbon the news of my discovery."
As he spoke, at a sign from the Catual, hostile ships were seen
surrounding the Lusian vessels. "Not one shall tell on Lisbon's shores
Gama smiled scornfully, as the fleet swept on towards his vessels. Loud
sounded the drums, shrill the trumpets. The next moment sudden lightning
flashed from Gama's ships and the skies echoed with the thunder of the
No word fell from Gama's lips as, the battle over, they saw the sea
covered with the torn hulks and floating masts; but the populace raged
around the palace gates, demanding justice to the strangers.
The troubled king sought to make peace with Gama.
"My orders have been given. To-day, when the sun reaches its meridian,
India shall bleed and Calicut shall fall. The time is almost here. I make
no terms. You have deceived me once."
The Moors fell fainting on the floor; the monarch trembled. "What can save
us?" he cried.
"Convey me and my train to the fleet. Command at once; it is even now
Once more safe within his ship, with him the faithful Moncaide, who had
kept him informed of the treason of the Moors, his ships laden with
cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and gems, proofs of his visit, Gama, rejoicing,
set sail for home.
Venus saw the fleet setting out, and planned a resting-place for the weary
sailors, a floating isle with golden sands, bowers of laurel and myrtle,
beautiful flowers and luscious fruits. Here the sea nymphs gathered,
Thetis, the most beautiful, being reserved for Gama, and here days were
spent in joyance.
At the banquet the nymphs sang the future glories of the Lusians, and
taking Gama by the hand, led him and his men to a mountain height, whence
they could look upon a wondrous globe, the universe. The crystal spheres
whirled swiftly, making sweet music, and as they listened to this, they
saw the sun go by, the stars, Apollo, the Queen of Love, Diana, and the
"yellow earth, the centre of the whole." Asia and Africa were unrolled to
their sight, and the future of India, conquered by the Lusians, Cochin
China, China, Japan, Sumatra,--all these countries given to the world by
their voyage around the terrible cape.
"Spread thy sails!" cried the nymphs; "the time has come to go!"
The ships departed on their homeward way, and the heroes were received
with the wildest welcome by the dwellers on Tago's bosom.
SELECTIONS FROM THE LUSIAD.
INEZ DE CASTRO.
During the reign of Alfonso the Brave, his son Don Pedro secretly wedded
a beautiful maiden of the court, Inez de Castro. The courtiers, jealous
because Inez was a Castilian, betrayed Pedro's secret to the king, who, in
the absence of his son, had Inez brought before him and slain by hired
While glory, thus, Alonzo's name adorn'd,
To Lisbon's shores the happy chief return'd,
In glorious peace and well-deserv'd repose,
His course of fame, and honor'd age to close.
When now, O king, a damsel's fate severe,
A fate which ever claims the woful tear,
Disgraced his honors--On the nymph's 'lorn head
Relentless rage its bitterest rancor shed:
Yet, such the zeal her princely lover bore,
Her breathless corse the crown of Lisbon wore.
'Twas thou, O Love, whose dreaded shafts control
The hind's rude heart, and tear the hero's soul;
Thou, ruthless power, with bloodshed never cloy'd,
'Twas thou thy lovely votary destroy'd.
Thy thirst still burning for a deeper woe,
In vain to thee the tears of beauty flow;
The breast that feels thy purest flames divine,
With spouting gore must bathe thy cruel shrine.
Such thy dire triumphs!--Thou, O nymph, the while,
Prophetic of the god's unpitying guile,
In tender scenes by love-sick fancy wrought,
By fear oft shifted, as by fancy brought,
In sweet Mondego's ever-verdant bowers,
Languish'd away the slow and lonely hours:
While now, as terror wak'd thy boding fears,
The conscious stream receiv'd thy pearly tears;
And now, as hope reviv'd the brighter flame,
Each echo sigh'd thy princely lover's name.
Nor less could absence from thy prince remove
The dear remembrance of his distant love:
Thy looks, thy smiles, before him ever glow,
And o'er his melting heart endearing flow:
By night his slumbers bring thee to his arms,
By day his thoughts still wander o'er thy charms:
By night, by day, each thought thy loves employ,
Each thought the memory, or the hope, of joy.
Though fairest princely dames invok'd his love,
No princely dame his constant faith could move:
For thee, alone, his constant passion burn'd,
For thee the proffer'd royal maids he scorn'd.
Ah, hope of bliss too high--the princely dames
Refus'd, dread rage the father's breast inflames;
He, with an old man's wintry eye, surveys
The youth's fond love, and coldly with it weighs
The people's murmurs of his son's delay
To bless the nation with his nuptial day.
(Alas, the nuptial day was past unknown,
Which, but when crown'd, the prince could dare to own.)
And, with the fair one's blood, the vengeful sire
Resolves to quench his Pedro's faithful fire.
Oh, thou dread sword, oft stain'd with heroes' gore,
Thou awful terror of the prostrate Moor,
What rage could aim thee at a female breast,
Unarm'd, by softness and by love possess'd!
Dragg'd from her bower, by murd'rous ruffian hands,
Before the frowning king fair Inez stands;
Her tears of artless innocence, her air
So mild, so lovely, and her face so fair,
Mov'd the stern monarch; when, with eager zeal,
Her fierce destroyers urg'd the public weal;
Dread rage again the tyrant's soul possess'd,
And his dark brow his cruel thoughts confess'd;
O'er her fair face a sudden paleness spread,
Her throbbing heart with gen'rous anguish bled,
Anguish to view her lover's hopeless woes,
And all the mother in her bosom rose.
Her beauteous eyes, in trembling tear-drops drown'd,
To heaven she lifted (for her hands were bound);
Then, on her infants turn'd the piteous glance,
The look of bleeding woe; the babes advance,
Smiling in innocence of infant age,
Unaw'd, unconscious of their grandsire's rage;
To whom, as bursting sorrow gave the flow,
The native heart-sprung eloquence of woe,
The lovely captive thus:--"O monarch, hear,
If e'er to thee the name of man was dear,
If prowling tigers, or the wolf's wild brood
(Inspired by nature with the lust of blood),
Have yet been mov'd the weeping babe to spare,
Nor left, but tended with a nurse's care,
As Rome's great founders to the world were given;
Shall thou, who wear'st the sacred stamp of Heaven
The human form divine, shalt thou deny
That aid, that pity, which e'en beasts supply!
Oh, that thy heart were, as thy looks declare,
Of human mould, superfluous were my prayer;
Thou couldst not, then, a helpless damsel slay,
Whose sole offence in fond affection lay,
In faith to him who first his love confess'd,
Who first to love allur'd her virgin breast.
In these my babes shalt thou thine image see,
And, still tremendous, hurl thy rage on me?
Me, for their sakes, if yet thou wilt not spare,
Oh, let these infants prove thy pious care!
Yet, Pity's lenient current ever flows
From that brave breast where genuine valor glows;
That thou art brave, let vanquish'd Afric tell,
Then let thy pity o'er my anguish swell;
Ah, let my woes, unconscious of a crime,
Procure mine exile to some barb'rous clime:
Give me to wander o'er the burning plains
Of Libya's deserts, or the wild domains
Of Scythia's snow-clad rocks, and frozen shore;
There let me, hopeless of return, deplore:
Where ghastly horror fills the dreary vale,
Where shrieks and howlings die on every gale,
The lion's roaring, and the tiger's yell,
There with my infant race, consigned to dwell,
There let me try that piety to find,
In vain by me implor'd from human kind:
There, in some dreary cavern's rocky womb,
Amid the horrors of sepulchral gloom,
For him whose love I mourn, my love shall glow,
The sigh shall murmur, and the tear shall flow:
All my fond wish, and all my hope, to rear
These infant pledges of a love so dear,
Amidst my griefs a soothing glad employ,
Amidst my fears a woful, hopeless joy."
In tears she utter'd--as the frozen snow
Touch'd by the spring's mild ray, begins to flow,
So just began to melt his stubborn soul,
As mild-ray'd Pity o'er the tyrant stole;
But destiny forbade: with eager zeal
(Again pretended for the public weal),
Her fierce accusers urg'd her speedy doom;
Again, dark rage diffus'd its horrid gloom
O'er stern Alonzo's brow: swift at the sign,
Their swords, unsheath'd, around her brandish'd shine.
O foul disgrace, of knighthood lasting stain,
By men of arms a helpless lady slain!
Thus Pyrrhus, burning with unmanly ire,
Fulfilled the mandate of his furious sire;
Disdainful of the frantic matron's prayer,
On fair Polyxena, her last fond care,
He rush'd, his blade yet warm with Priam's gore,
And dash'd the daughter on the sacred floor;
While mildly she her raving mother eyed,
Resigned her bosom to the sword, and died.
Thus Inez, while her eyes to heaven appeal,
Resigns her bosom to the murd'ring steel:
That snowy neck, whose matchless form sustain'd
The loveliest face, where all the graces reign'd,
Whose charms so long the gallant prince enflam'd,
That her pale corse was Lisbon's queen proclaim'd,
That snowy neck was stain'd with spouting gore,
Another sword her lovely bosom tore.
The flowers that glisten'd with her tears bedew'd,
Now shrunk and languished with her blood embru'd.
As when a rose ere-while of bloom so gay,
Thrown from the careless virgin's breast away,
Lies faded on the plain, the living red,
The snowy white, and all its fragrance fled;
So from her cheeks the roses died away,
And pale in death the beauteous Inez lay:
With dreadful smiles, and crimson'd with her blood,
Round the wan victim the stern murd'rers stood,
Unmindful of the sure, though future hour,
Sacred to vengeance and her lover's power.
O Sun, couldst thou so foul a crime behold,
Nor veil thine head in darkness, as of old
A sudden night unwonted horror cast
O'er that dire banquet, where the sire's repast
The son's torn limbs supplied!--Yet you, ye vales!
Ye distant forests, and ye flow'ry dales!
When pale and sinking to the dreadful fall,
You heard her quiv'ring lips on Pedro call;
Your faithful echoes caught the parting sound,
And Pedro! Pedro! mournful, sigh'd around.
Nor less the wood-nymphs of Mondego's groves
Bewail'd the memory of her hapless loves:
Her griefs they wept, and, to a plaintive rill
Transform'd their tears, which weeps and murmurs still.
To give immortal pity to her woe
They taught the riv'let through her bowers to flow,
And still, through violet-beds, the fountain pours
Its plaintive wailing, and is named Amours.
Nor long her blood for vengeance cried in vain:
Her gallant lord begins his awful reign,
In vain her murderers for refuge fly,
Spain's wildest hills no place of rest supply.
The injur'd lover's and the monarch's ire,
And stern-brow'd Justice in their doom conspire:
In hissing flames they die, and yield their souls in fire.
_Mickle's Translation, Canto III._
THE SPIRIT OF THE CAPE.
Vasco de Gama relates the incidents of his voyage from Portugal to the
King of Melinda. The southern cross had appeared in the heavens and the
fleet was approaching the southern point of Africa. While at anchor in a
bay the Portuguese aroused the hostility of the savages, and hastily set
"Now, prosp'rous gales the bending canvas swell'd;
From these rude shores our fearless course we held:
Beneath the glist'ning wave the god of day
Had now five times withdrawn the parting ray,
When o'er the prow a sudden darkness spread,
And, slowly floating o'er the mast's tall head
A black cloud hover'd: nor appear'd from far
The moon's pale glimpse, nor faintly twinkling star;
So deep a gloom the low'ring vapor cast,
Transfix'd with awe the bravest stood aghast.
Meanwhile, a hollow bursting roar resounds,
As when hoarse surges lash their rocky mounds;
Nor had the black'ning wave nor frowning heav'n
The wonted signs of gath'ring tempest giv'n.
Amazed we stood. 'O thou, our fortune's guide,
Avert this omen, mighty God!' I cried;
'Or, through forbidden climes adventurous stray'd,
Have we the secrets of the deep survey'd,
Which these wide solitudes of seas and sky
Were doom'd to hide from man's unhallow'd eye?
Whate'er this prodigy, it threatens more
Than midnight tempests, and the mingled roar,
When sea and sky combine to rock the marble shore.'
"I spoke, when rising through the darken'd air,
Appall'd, we saw a hideous phantom glare;
High and enormous o'er the flood he tower'd,
And 'thwart our way with sullen aspect lower'd:
An earthy paleness o'er his cheeks was spread,
Erect uprose his hairs of wither'd red;
Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose,
Sharp and disjoin'd, his gnashing teeth's blue rows;
His haggard beard flow'd quiv'ring on the wind,
Revenge and horror in his mien combin'd;
His clouded front, by with'ring lightnings scar'd,
The inward anguish of his soul declar'd.
His red eyes, glowing from their dusky caves,
Shot livid fires: far echoing o'er the waves
His voice resounded, as the cavern'd shore
With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar.
Cold gliding horrors thrill'd each hero's breast,
Our bristling hair and tott'ring knees confess'd
Wild dread, the while with visage ghastly wan,
His black lips trembling, thus the fiend began:--
"'O you, the boldest of the nations, fir'd
By daring pride, by lust of fame inspir'd,
Who, scornful of the bow'rs of sweet repose,
Through these my waves advance your fearless prows,
Regardless of the length'ning wat'ry way,
And all the storms that own my sov'reign sway,
Who, mid surrounding rocks and shelves explore
Where never hero brav'd my rage before;
Ye sons of Lusus, who with eyes profane
Have view'd the secrets of my awful reign,
Have passed the bounds which jealous Nature drew
To veil her secret shrine from mortal view;
Hear from my lips what direful woes attend,
And, bursting soon, shall o'er your race descend.
"'With every bounding keel that dares my rage,
Eternal war my rocks and storms shall wage,
The next proud fleet that through my drear domain,
With daring search shall hoist the streaming vane,
That gallant navy, by my whirlwinds toss'd,
And raging seas, shall perish on my coast:
Then he, who first my secret reign descried,
A naked corpse, wide floating o'er the tide,
Shall drive--Unless my heart's full raptures fail,
O Lusus! oft shall thou thy children wail;
Each year thy shipwreck'd sons thou shalt deplore,
Each year thy sheeted masts shall strew my shore.
"'With trophies plum'd behold a hero come,
Ye dreary wilds, prepare his yawning tomb.
Though smiling fortune bless'd his youthful morn,
Though glory's rays his laurell'd brows adorn,
Full oft though he beheld with sparkling eye
The Turkish moons in wild confusion fly,
While he, proud victor, thunder'd in the rear,
All, all his mighty fame shall vanish here.
Quiloa's sons, and thine, Mombaz, shall see
Their conqueror bend his laurell'd head to me;
While, proudly mingling with the tempest's sound,
Their shouts of joy from every cliff rebound.
"'The howling blast, ye slumb'ring storms prepare,
A youthful lover and his beauteous fair
Triumphant sail from India's ravag'd land;
His evil angel leads him to my strand.
Through the torn hulk the dashing waves shall roar,
The shatter'd wrecks shall blacken all my shore.
Themselves escaped, despoil'd by savage hands,
Shall, naked, wander o'er the burning sands,
Spar'd by the waves far deeper woes to bear,
Woes, e'en by me, acknowledg'd with a tear.
Their infant race, the promis'd heirs of joy,
Shall now, no more, a hundred hands employ;
By cruel want, beneath the parents' eye,
In these wide wastes their infant race shall die;
Through dreary wilds, where never pilgrim trod
Where caverns yawn, and rocky fragments nod,
The hapless lover and his bride shall stray,
By night unshelter'd, and forlorn by day.
In vain the lover o'er the trackless plain
Shall dart his eyes, and cheer his spouse in vain.
Her tender limbs, and breast of mountain snow,
Where, ne'er before, intruding blast might blow,
Parch'd by the sun, and shrivell'd by the cold
Of dewy night, shall he, fond man, behold.
Thus, wand'ring wide, a thousand ills o'er past,
In fond embraces they shall sink at last;
While pitying tears their dying eyes o'erflow,
And the last sigh shall wail each other's woe.
"'Some few, the sad companions of their fate,
Shall yet survive, protected by my hate,
On Tagus' banks the dismal tale to tell,
How, blasted by my frown, your heroes fell.'
"He paus'd, in act still further to disclose
A long, a dreary prophecy of woes:
When springing onward, loud my voice resounds,
And midst his rage the threat'ning shade confounds.
"'What art thou, horrid form that rid'st the air?
By Heaven's eternal light, stern fiend, declare.'
His lips he writhes, his eyes far round he throws,
And, from his breast, deep hollow groans arose,
Sternly askance he stood: with wounded pride
And anguish torn, 'In me, behold,' he cried,
While dark-red sparkles from his eyeballs roll'd,
'In me the Spirit of the Cape behold,
That rock, by you the Cape of Tempests nam'd,
By Neptune's rage, in horrid earthquakes fram'd,
When Jove's red bolts o'er Titan's offspring flam'd.
With wide-stretch'd piles I guard the pathless strand,
And Afric's southern mound, unmov'd, I stand:
Nor Roman prow, nor daring Tyrian oar
Ere dash'd the white wave foaming to my shore;
Nor Greece nor Carthage ever spread the sail
On these my seas, to catch the trading gale.
You, you alone have dar'd to plough my main,
And with the human voice disturb my lonesome reign."
"He spoke, and deep a lengthen'd sigh he drew,
A doleful sound, and vanish'd from the view:
The frighten'd billows gave a rolling swell,
And, distant far, prolong'd the dismal yell,
Faint and more faint the howling echoes die,
And the black cloud dispersing, leaves the sky.
High to the angel-host, whose guardian care
Had ever round us watch'd, my hands I rear,
And Heaven's dread King implore: 'As o'er our head
The fiend dissolv'd, an empty shadow fled;
So may his curses, by the winds of heav'n,
Far o'er the deep, their idle sport, be driv'n!'"
With sacred horror thrill'd, Melinda's lord
Held up the eager hand, and caught the word.
"Oh, wondrous faith of ancient days," he cries,
"Concealed in mystic lore and dark disguise!
Taught by their sires, our hoary fathers tell,
On these rude shores a giant spectre fell,
What time from heaven the rebel band were thrown:
And oft the wand'ring swain has heard his moan.
While o'er the wave the clouded moon appears
To hide her weeping face, his voice he rears
O'er the wild storm. Deep in the days of yore,
A holy pilgrim trod the nightly shore;
Stern groans he heard; by ghostly spells controll'd,
His fate, mysterious, thus the spectre told:
"'By forceful Titan's warm embrace compress'd,
The rock-ribb'd mother, Earth, his love confess'd:
The hundred-handed giant at a birth,
And me, she bore, nor slept my hopes on earth;
My heart avow'd my sire's ethereal flame;
Great Adamastor, then, my dreaded name.
In my bold brother's glorious toils engaged,
Tremendous war against the gods I waged:
Yet, not to reach the throne of heaven I try,
With mountain pil'd on mountain to the sky;
To me the conquest of the seas befell,
In his green realm the second Jove to quell.
Nor did ambition all my passions hold,
'Twas love that prompted an attempt so bold.
Ah me, one summer in the cool of day,
I saw the Nereids on the sandy bay,
With lovely Thetis from the wave advance
In mirthful frolic, and the naked dance.
In all her charms reveal'd the goddess trod,
With fiercest fires my struggling bosom glow'd;
Yet, yet I feel them burning in my heart,
And hopeless, languish with the raging smart.
For her, each goddess of the heavens I scorn'd,
For her alone my fervent ardor burn'd.
In vain I woo'd her to the lover's bed,
From my grim form, with horror, mute she fled.
Madd'ning with love, by force I ween to gain
The silver goddess of the blue domain;
To the hoar mother of the Nereid band
I tell my purpose, and her aid command:
By fear impell'd, old Doris tried to move,
And win the spouse of Peleus to my love.
The silver goddess with a smile replies,
'What nymph can yield her charms a giant's prize!
Yet, from the horrors of a war to save,
And guard in peace our empire of the wave,
Whate'er with honor he may hope to gain,
That, let him hope his wish shall soon attain.'
The promis'd grace infus'd a bolder fire,
And shook my mighty limbs with fierce desire.
But ah, what error spreads its dreadful night,
What phantoms hover o'er the lover's sight!
"The war resign'd, my steps by Doris led,
While gentle eve her shadowy mantle spread,
Before my steps the snowy Thetis shone
In all her charms, all naked, and alone.
Swift as the wind with open arms I sprung,
And, round her waist with joy delirious clung:
In all the transports of the warm embrace,
A hundred kisses on her angel face,
On all its various charms my rage bestows,
And, on her cheek, my cheek enraptur'd glows.
When oh, what anguish while my shame I tell!
What fix'd despair, what rage my bosom swell!
Here was no goddess, here no heavenly charms,
A rugged mountain fill'd my eager arms,
Whose rocky top, o'erhung with matted brier,
Received the kisses of my am'rous fire.
Wak'd from my dream, cold horror freez'd my blood;
Fix'd as a rock, before the rock I stood;
'O fairest goddess of the ocean train,
Behold the triumph of thy proud disdain;
Yet why,' I cried, 'with all I wish'd decoy,
And, when exulting in the dream of joy,
A horrid mountain to mine arms convey?'
Madd'ning I spoke, and furious sprung away.
Far to the south I sought the world unknown,
Where I, unheard, unscorn'd, might wail alone,
My foul dishonor, and my tears to hide,
And shun the triumph of the goddess' pride.
My brothers, now, by Jove's red arm o'erthrown,
Beneath huge mountains pil'd on mountains groan;
And I, who taught each echo to deplore,
And tell my sorrows to the desert shore,
I felt the hand of Jove my crimes pursue,
My stiff'ning flesh to earthy ridges grew,
And my huge bones, no more by marrow warm'd,
To horrid piles, and ribs of rock transform'd,
Yon dark-brow'd cape of monstrous size became,
Where, round me still, in triumph o'er my shame,
The silv'ry Thetis bids her surges roar,
And waft my groans along the dreary shore.'"
_Mickle's Translation, Canto V_.
THE JERUSALEM DELIVERED.
The Gerusalemme Liberata, or Jerusalem Delivered, was written by Torquato
Tasso, who was born at Sorrento, March 11, 1544. He was educated at
Naples, Urbino, Rome, Venice, Padua, and Bologna. In 1572 he attached
himself to the court of Ferrara, which he had visited in 1565 in the suite
of the Cardinal d'Este, and by whose duke he had been treated with great
consideration. Here his pastoral drama "Aminta" was written and performed,
and here he began to write his epic. The duke, angry because of Tasso's
affection for his sister Eleanora, and fearful lest the poet should
dedicate his poem to the Medicis, whom he visited in 1575, and into whose
service he was asked to enter, kept him under strict surveillance, and
pretended to regard him as insane. Feigning sympathy and a desire to
restore his mind, he had the unfortunate poet confined in a mad-house.
Tasso escaped several times, but each time returned in the hope of a
reconciliation with the duke. During his confinement his poem was
published without his permission: first in 1580, a very imperfect version;
in 1581, a genuine one. This at once brought him great fame; but while its
publishers made a fortune, Tasso received nothing. Neither did the duke
relent, although powerful influences were brought to bear on him. Tasso
was not released until 1586, and then, broken in health, he passed the
rest of his life in Rome and Naples, living on charity, though treated
with great honor. He died in Rome, April 25, 1595, just before he was to
have been crowned at the capitol.
The Jerusalem Delivered has for its subject the first Crusade, and the
events recorded in its twenty cantos comprise the happenings in the camp
of the Crusaders during forty days of the campaign of 1099. Its metre is
the _octava rima_, the eight lined rhymed stanza.
Tasso was not so successful in the delineation of character and in the
description of actions as in the interpretation of feeling, being by
nature a lyric rather than an epic poet. But his happy choice of
subject,--for the Crusades were still fresh in the memory of the people,
and chivalry was a thing of the present--his zeal for the Christian cause,
his impassioned delineations of love, and his exquisitely poetical
treatment of his whole theme, rendered his epic irresistible.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM, THE JERUSALEM DELIVERED.
J. Black's Life of Tasso (with a historical and critical account of his
writings), 2 vols. 1810;
E. J. Hasell's Tasso, 1882;
Rev. Robert Milman's Life of Tasso, 2 vols. 1850;
Dennistown's Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, 1851, iii., 292-316;
Hallam's Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the 15th, 16th, and
17th Centuries, 1839, ii., 192-199;
Leigh Hunt's Stories from Italian Poets, 1888, ii., 289-474;
Longfellow's Poets and Poetry of Europe, 1845, pp. 568-577;
Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, Ed. 2, 1846, i., 359-391;
J. A. Symonds's Renaissance in Italy, 1886, vol. 2, chapters 7-8;
Edin. Rev., Oct. 1850, xcii., 294-302;
Blackwood, 1845, lvii., 401-414;
Quarterly Review, Jan. 1857, ci., 59-68.
STANDARD ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS, THE JERUSALEM DELIVERED.
Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. from the Italian by John Hoole. First American
from Eighth London Edition, 2 vols., 1810;
Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. into English Spenserian verse with life of the
author by J. H. Wiffen. New ed., 1883;
Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. by Sir John Kingston James, 2 vols., 1884;
Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. into the metre of the original by C. L. Smith,
Jerusalem Delivered, Tr. by Sir Edward Fairfax and edited by Prof. Henry
THE STORY OF THE JERUSALEM DELIVERED.
The Eternal Father looked down from His lofty throne upon the Christian
powers in Syria. In the six years they had spent in the East they had
taken Nice and Antioch. Now, while inactive in winter quarters, Bohemond
was strengthening himself in Antioch, and the other chiefs were thinking
of glory or love; but Godfrey, to whom renown was the meanest of glories,
was burning to win Jerusalem and restore it to the faith. Inspired by
Gabriel, despatched by the Eternal Father, Godfrey called a council, and
with an eloquence and fire more than mortal, roused the Christians to
action. "We came not here to raise empires; the period has come when all
the world is waiting for our next step. Now is the propitious moment. If
we delay longer, Egypt will step in to the aid of our Syrian foe!"
Godfrey was unanimously elected chief, and immediate arrangements were
made for the setting out to Jerusalem. Godfrey first reviewed the army. A
thousand men marched under the lilied banner of Clotharius; a thousand
more from the Norman meads under Robert; from Orange and Puy, troops came
under the priests William and Ademar. Baldwin led his own and Godfrey's
bands, and Guelpho, allied to the house of Este, brought his strong
Carinthians. Other troops of horse and foot were led by William of
England. After him came the young Tancred, the flower of chivalry,
blighted now, alas! by unrequited love. He had seen by chance the pagan
maid Clorinda, the Amazon, drinking at a pool in the forest, and had
forgot all else in his love for her. After him came the small Greek force
under Tatine; next, the invincible Adventurers under Dudon, bravest of
men. Following these were Otho, Edward and his sweet bride Gildippe, who,
unwilling to be separated from her husband, fought at his side, and,
excellent above all others, the young Rinaldo, whose glorious deeds were
yet but a promise of his great future. While but a boy he had escaped from
the care of his foster mother, Queen Matilda, and hastened to join the
Crusaders. The review was closed by the array of foot soldiers led by
Raymond, Stephen of Amboise, Alcasto, and Camillus. The pageant having
passed by, Godfrey despatched a messenger to summon Sweno the Dane, who
with his forces was still tarrying in Greece, and at once set out for
Swift rumor had conveyed the tidings of his approach to Aladine, King of
Jerusalem, a merciless tyrant, who, enraged, immediately laid heavier
taxes upon the unfortunate Christians in his city. Ismeno, a sorcerer,
once a Christian, but now a pagan who practised all black arts, penetrated
to the presence of the king and advised him to steal from the temple of
the Christians an image of the Virgin and put it in his mosque, assuring
him that he would thus render his city impregnable. This was done, and
Ismeno wrought his spells about the image, but the next morning it had
disappeared. After a fruitless search for the image and the offender, the
angry king sentenced all the Franks to death. The beautiful maid
Sophronia, determined to save her people, assumed the guilt, and was
sentenced to be burned. As she stood chained to the stake, her lover,
Olindo, to whom she had ever been cold, saw her, and in agony at her
sacrifice, declared to the king that Sophronia had lied and that he was
the purloiner of the image. The cruel monarch ordered him also to be tied
to the stake, that they might die together; and the flames had just been
applied when the two were saved by the Amazon Clorinda, who convinced the
king that the Christians were innocent and that Allah himself, incensed at
the desecration, had snatched away the image.
To the camp of Godfrey at Emmaus came two ambassadors from the king of
Egypt, Alethes, a supple crafty courtier of low lineage, and Argantes, a
haughty and powerful warrior. But their efforts to keep Godfrey from
Jerusalem, first by persuasion, and then by threats, were in vain.
They were dismissed from the camp, and the army proceeded on its way.
When the walls and towers of the city where Messias died came in sight,
the Christian army, crying "All Hail, Jerusalem!" laid aside their
casques, and, shedding tears, trod barefoot the consecrated way.
At sight of the Franks, the pagans hastened to strengthen the
fortifications of their city, and Aladine from a lofty tower watched
Clorinda attack a band of Franks returning from a foray. At his side was
the lovely Erminia, daughter of the King of Antioch, who had sought
Jerusalem after the downfall of her city.
Erminia instructed Aladine of the various crusaders, and when she pointed
out the noble Tancred, who had treated her with such consideration in
Antioch, she felt her love for him revive, though she pretended to the
king to hate him for his cruelty. Tancred recognized among the leaders of
the pagans Clorinda, bereft of her helmet, and for love of her, refused to
fight her. The pagans, driven back by the Christians, were rallied by
Argantes, but only to be met by the matchless Adventurers under Dudon.
When Dudon fell, the troops under Rinaldo, burning for revenge,
reluctantly obeyed Godfrey's summons to return.
The funeral rites over, the artificers were sent to the forest to fell the
trees, that engines might be fabricated for the destruction of the city
Angry at the success of the Franks, Satan stirred up the infernal regions,
and set loose his friends to work destruction to the Christians. One he
despatched to the wizard Idraotes, at Damascus, who conceived the scheme
of sending his beautiful niece Armida to ensnare the Christians. In a few
days Armida appeared among the white pavilions of the Franks, attracting
the attention and winning the love of all who saw her. Her golden locks
appeared through her veil as the sunshine gleams through the stormy skies;
her charms were sufficiently hidden to make them the more alluring. So
attired, modestly seeking the camp of Godfrey, she was met by Eustace, his
young brother, and taken to the prince.
With many tears and sighs, she told her pitiful story. She had been driven
from her kingdom, an orphan, by the envy and wickedness of her uncle, and
had come to ask the Christians to aid her in regaining her rights.
Unfortunately for her success, she and her uncle had not calculated on
Godfrey's absorption in his divine undertaking. He was proof against her
charms, and was determined not to be delayed longer in laying siege to the
city. It required the utmost persuasion of Eustace to induce him to permit
ten of the Adventurers to accompany her. Armida, though disappointed in
Godfrey's lack of susceptibility, employed her time so well while in camp
that when she departed with the ten Adventurers chosen by lot, she was
followed secretly by Eustace and many others who had not been chosen, but
who were madly in love with her.
Before his departure, Eustace, jealous of Rinaldo, whom he was fearful
Armida might admire, had persuaded him to aspire to the place of Dudon, to
whom a successor must be elected. Gernando of Norway desired the same
place, and, angry that the popular Rinaldo should be his rival, scattered
through the camp rumors disparaging to his character: Rinaldo was vain and
arrogant; Rinaldo was rash, not brave; Rinaldo's virtues were all vices.
At last, stung past endurance by his taunts and insinuations, Rinaldo gave
the lie to his traducer, and slew him in fair fight. False reports were
taken to Godfrey by Rinaldo's enemies; and the ruler determined to punish
the youth severely; but he, warned by his friends, escaped from camp and
fled to Antioch. To Godfrey, deprived thus of Rinaldo and many of his
brave Adventurers, was brought the tidings that the Egyptian expedition
was on its way, and that a ship laden with provisions had been intercepted
on its way to his camp.
The bold Argantes, weary of the restraint of the siege, sent a challenge
to the Christians, saying he would meet any Frank, high-born or low, in
single combat, the conditions being that the vanquished should serve the
victor. A thousand knights burned to accept the challenge, but Godfrey
named Tancred, who proudly buckled on his armor and called for his steed.
As he approached the field, he saw among the pagan hosts, who stood around
to view the combat, the fair face of Clorinda, and stood gazing at her,
forgetful of all else. Otho, seeing his delay, spurred on his horse, and
fought till vanquished. Then Tancred woke from his stupor, and, burning
with shame, rushed forward. The battle raged until night fell, and the
weary warriors ceased, pledging themselves to return on the morrow.
Erminia, shut up in Jerusalem, mourned over the wounds of Tancred. She
knew many healing balms, by which, were she with him, she might heal him
and make him ready for the morrow's fight; but she was forced to
administer them to his enemy instead. Unable to endure the suspense
longer, she put on her friend Clorinda's armor and fled to the Christian
camp to find her beloved. The Franks, who spied her, supposed her
Clorinda, and pursued her; but she succeeded in reaching a woodland
retreat, where she determined to remain with the kind old shepherd and his
wife who had fled from the disappointments of the court and had here
sought and found peace in their humble home. When Tancred heard from his
followers that they had driven Clorinda from the camps, he determined to
pursue and speak with her. Rising from his bed he sought the forest only
to fall into the wiles of Armida, and be lured into a castle, in whose
dungeon he lay, consumed with shame at the thought of his unexplained
absence from the morrow's combat.
When morning dawned and Tancred did not appear, the good old Count Raymond
went forth to meet Argantes. When he was about to overcome his antagonist,
an arrow shot from the pagan ranks brought on a general conflict, in which
the Christians were successful until a storm, summoned by the powers of
darkness, put an end to the battle. The next morning a knight came to the
camp of Godfrey to tell of Sweno's defeat and slaughter. He, the sole
survivor of the band, had been commissioned by some supernatural visitants
to bring Sweno's sword to Rinaldo.
While Godfrey's heart was wrung by this disaster, the camp of Italians,
led to suppose by some bloody armor found in a wood that Rinaldo had been
treacherously slain with the connivance of Godfrey, accused the chief and
stirred up the camp to revolt; but Godfrey, praying to Heaven for strength
to meet his enemies, walked through the camp firmly and unfalteringly,
unarmed and with head bare, his face still bright with the heavenly light
left there by spiritual communion, and silenced the tumult by a few
well-chosen words. His arch-accuser Argillan he sentenced to death; the
others crept back to their tents in shame.
The Soldan Solyman, driven from Nice at its capture, had joined the Turks,
and, spurred on by hate and fury, made a night attack on the Frankish
camp. The Franks, saved only by the interposition of the angel Michael,
and by the troops just returned, released from Armida's enchantment,
fought fiercely, and at dawn put Solyman to flight. By the arts of Ismeno
he was conveyed to Jerusalem by a secret way, where he cheered the
Before attempting to storm the city, the Christian troops, by the advice
of Peter the Hermit, walked in a long procession to Mt. Olivet, filling
the heavens with melody, and there partook of the communion administered
by the warrior priests, William and Ademar. The next morning, Godfrey, in
the light armor of a foot-soldier, appeared with his barons, prepared for
the storm. The troops were arranged carefully, the huge engines were moved
forward, and the Franks made a bold attempt against the walls, from the
top of which Clorinda aimed her arrows, wounding and slaying many men.
Godfrey himself was wounded, but was healed by divine aid, and immediately
returned to the field to rally his troops. Night fell, and the contest was
deferred until another day.
Clorinda, burning to distinguish herself, determined to fire the huge
towers of the Christians. Her eunuch tried to dissuade her because he had
been warned in a dream that she would this night meet her death. He told
her her history. Her mother was a Christian who had been compelled to put
her infant away from her. This eunuch had rescued her from death and
brought her up, failing, however, to obey an angel's command to have her
baptized a Christian.
Clorinda would not heed his caution, but went forth and fired the Frankish
machines. She and the fleeing pagans were pursued by the Christians; and
while her companions reached the city in safety, she was accidentally shut
out and met Tancred in mortal combat. She refused to tell her name until
she felt her death-wound, and then she prayed her enemy to baptize her,
that she might die a Christian. The broken-hearted Tancred fell fainting
on her corpse, and was found there the next morning by the Franks. Neither
his comrades, nor Godfrey and Peter the Hermit, were able to rouse him
from his melancholy.
Their machines destroyed, timbers were needed by the Franks to construct
new ones. Knowing this, Ismeno laid spells on the forest, so that the
warriors sent thither by Godfrey were frightened away by the sights they
saw therein. Even Tancred was put to flight when one of the demons took
the form of his beloved Clorinda. To add to the discomfort of the Franks,
excessive heat overpowered them, and they suffered tortures from lack of
water until the prayers of Godfrey moved the Ruler of the Earth with pity,
and He sent down the longed-for showers.
Delighted with the piety of Godfrey, the Great King sent him a dream by
which he might know the will of Heaven. Lifted through the whirling
spheres, his ears charmed with their music, his eyes dazzled by the
brilliancy of the stars, he saw Duke Hugo, who told him that Rinaldo must
be sought out before the conquest of Jerusalem could be accomplished. The
same Power influenced the princes in council so that by the will of all,
two knights, one of them him to whom Sweno's sword had been given, were
despatched to seek Rinaldo. Instructed by Peter the Hermit, they sought
the sea-coast, and found a wizard, who, after showing them the splendor of
his underground abode beneath the river's bed, revealed to them the way in
which they were to overcome the wiles of Armida.
A beautiful maid with dove-like eyes and radiant smile received them in
her small bark, and they were soon flying over the sea, marvelling at the
rich cities and vast fleets by which they passed. Leaving rich Cadiz and
the Pillars of Hercules, they sped out into the unknown sea, while the
maiden told them of how some day Columbus would venture into unknown seas
to find a new continent. On, on they flew, past the Happy Isles, the
Fortunate, long the song of the poet; where the olive and honey made happy
the land, and the rivers swept down from the mountains in silver
streamlets; where every bird-song was heavenly music, a place so divine
that there were placed of old the Elysian fields. To one of these islands
the lady steered, and the knights disembarked, and started on their
perilous journey up the mountain. Following the wizard's instructions,
they waved the golden rod at the monstrous serpents hissing in their
pathway, and they vanished; they steeled their hearts against the charms
of the voluptuous maids bathing in the lake, and passed without tasting
the fountain of laughter. Then the spacious palace met their eyes. Built
round a garden, its marble courts and unnumbered galleries formed a
trackless maze through which they could never have found their way without
the aid of the wizard's map. As they trod the marble floors they paused
many times to view the matchless carvings on the silver doors, which told
anew the beautiful old stories of love triumphant.
Once through the winding ways, they entered the wonderful garden which art
and nature combined to render the most beautiful spot on earth. The same
trees bore ripe fruit, buds, and blossoms; the birds sang joyfully in the
green bowers; and the faint breezes echoed their song. One bird sang a
song of love, and when the tender melody was done the other birds took it
up and sang until the forest rang with melody, and all was love, love,
love. Then the knights saw Rinaldo, lying in the grove, his head in the
lap of the enchantress. His sword was gone from his side, and in its place
hung a mirror in which he sometimes gazed at Armida's reflection. When
Armida left him alone for a few hours, the knights surprised Rinaldo, and
turned the wizard's diamond shield upon him. For the first time he saw
himself as others saw him, and, blushing with shame, announced himself
ready to return with them to rescue Jerusalem. Tearing off his ornaments,
he hastened down the mountain, but not soon enough to escape Armida.
Tears, prayers, threats she used in vain. She had captured him when he
fled from the camp, intending to slay him; but moved by his beauty, she
had spared him, and falling in love with him, had reared this palace that
they might in it revel in love's pleasures. Now, miserable, she saw him
desert her, and destroying the beautiful haunt, she drove her swift
chariot across the seas to the camp of the Egyptian king, who was
hastening towards Jerusalem. Intent on the slaughter of Rinaldo, her love
for whom had changed to bitter hate, she offered the warriors of the
Egyptian king, all of whom had fallen victims to her charms, her hand as a
reward to the slayer of Rinaldo.
When Rinaldo and his rescuers reached the abode of the wizard they found
him waiting with new arms for the young hero. The sage reproached him
gently for his dalliance, and then, seeing the blush of shame upon his
countenance, showed him the shield, which bore the illustrious deeds of
his ancestors of the house of Este. Great as were their past glories,
still greater would be those of the family which he should found, greatest
of whom would be the Duke Alphonso.
Rinaldo, having told his story to Godfrey, and confessed his wrong-doing
to Peter the Hermit, proceeded to the enchanted forest; and though as
beauteous scenes, and as voluptuous sirens displayed themselves to him as
dwelt in Armida's garden, yea, though one tree took the semblance of
Armida herself, he boldly hacked the trunk and broke the magic spell.
Joyfully the Franks set to work to fell the huge trees and construct
vaster, stronger engines than before, under the direction of a master
mechanic. At the same time, Vafrino, a cunning squire of Tancred, was
commissioned to go forth in disguise and inspect the camp of the coming
Egyptian king. Even before he departed, a carrier pigeon, driven back by a
hawk, fell into Godfrey's hands, bearing a message to Aladine from Egypt,
saying that in four or five days he would be with him in Jerusalem.
Godfrey, determined to take the city before that day should come, made the
utmost exertions to have the machines completed. In Jerusalem, also, great
preparations were made, machines built, and a fearful fire concocted by
Ismeno with which to drive the assaulters from the wall.
Shriven by the priests, the Christian army went forth to battle. Godfrey
took his stand against the northern gate; Raymond was assigned to the
steep sharp crags at the southwest walls, and Guelph and the two Roberts
were stationed on the track to Gaza to watch for the Egyptians.
The pagans fought with great fury, bringing out new instruments to oppose
the huge battering rams, raining down arrows, and throwing the suffocating
fire. But Rinaldo, to whom all this work appeared too slow, urged on his
bold Adventurers to form a tortoise, hastened to the wall, seized a
scaling ladder, and, unmoved by any missile, mounted the wall and assisted
his followers, in spite of the multitudes who surrounded him, attempting
to hurl him down. But as Godfrey advanced, Ismeno launched his terrible
fire-balls, more horrible than the flames of Mt. Etna; they affected even
the vast tower, swelling and drying the heavy skins that covered its sides
until protecting Heaven sent a breeze that drove the flames back to the
city. Ismeno, accompanied by two witches, hurried to the wall, but was
crushed by a stone that ground his and their bones to powder. Godfrey,
inspired by a vision of the slain soldiery fighting in his ranks, leaped
upon the wall and planted the red-cross flag. Raymond was also successful,
and the Christians rushed over the walls into the town, following Aladine,
who hastened to shut himself up in the citadel.
While the battle was raging, but success was assured to the Christians,
Tancred and the terrible Argantes met, and glad of an opportunity to
settle their quarrel, withdrew to a glade in the forest. Tancred, stung by
the taunts of cowardice for his former failure to keep his appointment,
fought bitterly. He had not the sheer strength of his antagonist, but his
sleight at last overcame, and Argantes fell. Weakened by pain and loss of
blood, Tancred fell senseless, and was thus found by Erminia, who had met
Vafrino the spy in the camp of the Egyptians and had fled with him. They
revived Tancred, and carried him home to be nursed by the delighted
Vafrino had seen Armida in the camp and had learned through Erminia not
only the princes' designs on Rinaldo, but also that they meant to assume
the signs of the red-cross knights and thus reach the neighborhood of
Godfrey and slay him. On this intelligence Godfrey changed the signs of
his men that they might recognize the Egyptians on the following day and
put them to death.
Terrible to the Franks was the sight of the Egyptian army when they opened
their eyes upon it next morning. Clouds of dust obscured all the heavens,
hills, and valleys, so great was the coming host. But Godfrey, with an
eloquence that fired each soul, told them of the helplessness of the
enemy, of how many of them were slaves, scourged to the battle, and
reminded them of the great undertaking before them, the saving of the
Sepulchre, until fired with zeal, and burning to fight, they rushed into
battle and dispersed the Egyptians. Many of the Christians fell by the
sword of the terrible Soldan, among them Gildippe and her husband, united
in death as in life. Rinaldo, hearing of their slaughter, speedily avenged
it by laying the Soldan low on the battle-field.
One after another of Armida's champions attacked Rinaldo, determined to
win the prize, but his good sword sent them to earth, and Armida was left
alone and unprotected. Rinaldo, having seen her fly away over the plain
and knowing the victory achieved, followed and found her ready to put
herself to death in a lonely glade. He snatched the sword from her hand
and speedily changed back her hate to love. She fell upon his breast, and
with the promise to become a Christian and give her life to him,
accompanied him back to the city.
During the battle, Aladine and those who were imprisoned in the citadel
overpowered Count Raymond, and rushed out to battle, only to be overcome
and slain. Prince Altamore, who, covered with blood, remained alone on the
field, yielded himself to Godfrey, and was given his life and his kingdom.
Then, from the field covered with spoil and floating with blood, the
conquering troops, clad in their bloody armor, marched in solemn cavalcade
to the Temple and paid their, vowed devotions at the sacred tomb.
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