Matteo Maria Boiardo.

The Orlando innamorato online

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precious stones as the sky is full of stars.

Over this was thrown a bridge, only half a
palm wide, and at each end was stationed an
iron figure with a mace. Orlando no sooner
attempted to pass this, than the figures smote
upon it, and it was instantly engulphed in the
stream. Orlando however, being resolved to
accompHsh the adventure or perish in the at-
tempt, leapt the river and arrived in the field,
which contained the treasures of the fairy.

When he had arrived at the other extremity
of this, he entered a building, where he beheld
the likeness of a king, surrounded by his peers,
and encompassed by all the pomp and magni-
ficence of royalty. The monarch appeared to
be seated at a banquet, with a naked sword
suspended over his head, and on the table before
him was a live coal, supported on a golden lily,

which gave light to the apartment. On his left

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* * - ^



stood a figure with a bended bow in guise of one
A »! who waits the crossing of the stag ; and on the
\ ef j right, the form of one, who, from his likeness
./ I to the king, appeared to be his brother, and

/ y 1 who bore in one hand a writing illustrative of
Y s 6^ \ the vanity of his worldly pursuits.
P \ The troubled countenance of the king seemed

-^^^ to bear witness to the truth of the inscription ;
X and Orlando, having satisfied his curiosity, de-

parted through the door opposite to that by
which he had entered. He was however no
sooner out of the apartment, than all was

After wandering for some time at random,
he bethought himself of the coal, which was
burning before the king, and returned in or-
^. / der to take it. He had however no sooner
laid his hand upon this, than the archer let fly
his arrow, which extinguished it, and night
followed. This was rendered terrible by an



earthquake, which shook the world to its centre.
The earthquake at last ceased, the light re-
kindled of itself, and all was as before. Again
Orlando issued through the dark passage, again
was compelled to return in search of the coal,
and again witnessed the same effect.

A third attempt was more successful : he
intercepted the arrow with his shield, and car-
ried off the light in safety. Using this as a
lamp, Orlando arrived where the way divided ;
and turning to the left, instead of the right
(which would have conducted him out of the
building) took the road which led to the dun-
geons of Morgana. Here were imprisoned Ri-
naldo, Dudon, Brandimart, and others who had
fallen into the power of Morgana; but the
count did not immediately arrive at their place
of confinement. Still guiding himself by his
light, he came to a cleft in the rock, through
which he passed into a flowery meadow, planted
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with trees covered with friiit and flowers, and
full of all imaginable delights.

In the middle of this was a fountain, and fast
by it lay Morgana asleep ; a lady of a lovely
aspect, dressed in white and vermilion gar-
ments ; her fore head well furnished with hair,
but with scarcely j|,ny behind^

While Orlando stood in silence, contem-
plating her beauty, he heard a voice exclaim,
" Seize the fairy by the forelock if thou hopest
fair success ;" Orlando turning, and advancing
in the direction from which the voice came,
discovered a prison of crystal in which he
beheld the captives of Morgana.

At the sight of these, he raised his sabre to
smite the wall ; but was advertised by a female
prisoner that all attempts to release them would
only be productive of new misery to those he
sought to benefit, unless he could take Mor-
gana herself, and force from her the keys of
their prison-house.


Thus admonished, he returned towards the
fountam. But the fairy, who was awake and
risen, was now dancing round its border with
the hghtness of a leaf, and timing her steps to
the following song :

" Who in this world would wealth and treasure
" Honour, delight, and state, and what is best,
" Quick let him catch me by the lock of hair
" Which flutters from my forehead, and be blest;
" But let him not the proifered good forbear,
" Nor, till he seize the fleeting blessing, rest.
" For present loss is sought in vain to-morrow,
" And the deluded wretch is left in sorrow.**

The fairy, however, no sooner set eyes on the
count, than she bounded off, and fled from the
flowery meadow over a high and inhospitable
mountain. Orlando pursued her through
thorns and rocks, though the sky, on her gain-


ing this dreary scene, became overcast, and he
was assailed by tempest, lightning and hail.

While Orlando thus pursues, enveloped in
storm, a pale and meagre woman issues from
a cave, armed with a whip, and treading close
upon the pursuer, scourges him, till his skin is
raised in ftirrows. She informs him, while she
inflicts this discipline, that she is Penitence, and
\ sent to punish him for having neglected to seize
\ Morgana, when he found her sleeping by the
fountain. Orlando, determined to resist this
chastisement, turns upon his tormentor; but
might as well seek to wound the wind.
Convinced at last of the shadowy nature
of his persecutor, and observing that Mor-
gana gained upon him, while he was thus
\ hopelessly engaged, he determines to pursue
the fairy without being diverted by the molest-
ation of Penitence.

Chasing Morgana, then, over rock and hill,
he made sundry snatches at her white and



vermilion garments, which still eluded his grasp.
On the fairy, however, turning her head for an
instant, he profited by the chance, and seized
her by the. forelock. In an instant the tem-
pest ceased, the sky became serene, and Peni-
tence retreated into her cave.
^ . Orlando now demanded of Morgana the keys
|jOf her dungeon ; and the fairy, feigning a com-
placent aspect, told him that these were at his
disposal; entreating him, though he should
free all her other prisoners, to leave her a
youthful son of Monodontes, who was her darl-
ing. Orlando consented to this, and the fairy
delivered up a key of silver, bidding him be
cautious in the use of it; since, to break the
lock, would be to involve himself and all, in
inevitable destruction; a caution which gave
the count room for long meditation, and led
him to consider

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


Keeping the fairy still fast by the forelock,
Orlando proceeded towards the prison, turned
the key without occasioning the mischief ap-
prehended, and delivered the prisoners.

Amongst these were Brandimart, Rinaldo,
and aU the knights, baptized or infidel, who
had been taken at the bridge. The only
unhappy person amid this joyous band was
Ziliantes, the minion of Morgana. This youth
remained behind weeping ; and time will come,
says the author, when Orlando will repent of
having yielded to the entreaties of the fairy.

The others, now delivered fi-om their cap-
tivity, together with Orlando, ascending a lofty
stair issued into the field of treasure, where
was to be seen the king and his court, all com-
posed of the richest materials in the world.
Rinaldo, on finding himself amid this mass of
wealth, could not resist the temptation of seizing
a gold seat that stood in his way, which, he


observed, would feed his hungry garrison of
Mont Albano. This he was bearing oflP, notwith-
standing the remonstrances of Orlando, when
a violent wind blew him back as often as he
approached the gate, by which they were re-
tiring. Rinaldo at length yielded to necessity,
rather than to the entreaties of his comrades,
and cast away his prize. All now climbing
another immeasurable stair, ascended into the
uppe r worl d, and found themselves in the field
decorated with their arms.

Here each knight resumed his own ; and all
except the paladins and their friends, separated,
as their inclinations or duty prompted. It
was now that Dudon informed the cousins
that he had been made prisoner by Morgana,
when in the discharge of an embassy to them
from Charlemagne, who called upon them to
return to the defence of Christendom. Orlando^
is too much fascinated by Angelica, to obey this
summons; and, followed by the faithful Bran-



dimart, returns towards Albracca. Rinaldo,
accompanied by Dudon, Iroldo and Prasildo,
takes his way towards the west.

These, though unprovided with horses, (for
their coursers were lost at the bridge,) went
laughing and talking on their way. Their
journey was without adventures till the sixth
day, when they heard a horn sound from a
neighbouring castle. From this they were
divided by a river, and near the opposite bank
was a small bark, with a damsel in the stern,
who proffered them a passage^

Arrived on the other shore, she tells them
they must account for this with the warder,
who was then approaching. This was an old
man mounted on a heavy steed, and surrounded

\ by a numerous escort. He informs the knights,
that they are upon the territory of the king
Monodontes, from which they will not be suf-
fered to depart, before they have rendered him

^ a day's service. This was to avenge him


of a certain enemy named Balisardo, at once
a giant and enchanter, who kept a bridge,
flanked with towers, near the mouth of the
river which they had crossed, and who had
put many scorns upon that monarch and those
who travelled to his realm.

Nothing more agreeable could have been
proposed to the warriors, and they reimbark in
the damsePs skiff for the purpose of seeking
the necromancer.

The event of the combat was, however, very
different from what they had anticipated.
Encountering the giant singly, they all became
the victims of his enchantments, aiid were cast
into his dungeons, already peopled with illus-
trious knights, amongst whom was^ Astolpho
of England.

This prince, in company with the two damsels
before mentioned, had gone about the world,
with Bay^rdo and Rabican, weeping the loss of
Rinaldo, whom he saw go to the bottom of the


enchanted lake with Arridano. Wandering
thence, he had arrived on the same spot where
Rinaldo and his comrades afterwards found
themselves ; like them he had ferried the river
in the damsel's boat, like them, had been dis-
patched against Balisardo ; and, like them, had
been made prisoner by the wizard, who en-
snared him, under the form of a damsel.

In the mean time, Orlando, who had parted
company with Rinaldo, and the rest, was re-
1 turning, with Brandimart, towards Albracca
I On his way thither he, to his surprise, saw
iMarphisa in chase of Brunello, and contemp-
lating the two, was himself robbed of his horn,
and Baiisarda.

As both he and Brandimart were on foot, to
chase the robber was useless; leaving, therefore,
Marphisa still in pursuit, the two warriors pro-
ceeded on their way. Pursuing this, they too
arrived at the same ferry as Rinaldo had, and
there found two damsels assailing each other


with reproaches, the one m a boat, and the
other on horseback. Orlando ♦ immediately
recognized the latter for Origilla, who had
stolen BrigHadoro and Durindana, previous to
his entering the garden of Orgagna. His re-
sentment, however, was forgotten on seeing her;
and he received her again into his company,
embarking, as the others had done, for the
adventure of Balisardo.

In this his usual fortune deserted him, and
having been vanquished by the enchantments of
the giant, he was cast on board a miserable
prison-ship, in order to be transported to some
distant dungeons.

From this he is, however, delivered by the
valour of Brandimart*, who slays the giant,

* The reader will have remarked that a vein of allegory,
more or less apparent, runs through the whole of the romance.
This observation will, perhaps, serve to explain the defeat of
Orlando, and the subsequent triumph of Brandimart. Or-
lando, by his love of vice, as figured in Origilla, has dero£;ated


and rescues Orlando from captivity. The two
champions now interrogate the master of the pri-
son-ship; who tells them that the wizard-giant was
the instrument of a certain king, called Mono-
dontes, who dwelt in Damogir, an island situ-
ated in the ocean; where he had amassed
riches, which surpassed the imagination to
conceive.) As, something is always wanting to
the completion of human happiness, this prince
was miserable in the loss of his two only sons,
the first of whom was carried off, in his child-
hood, by a slave of the name of Bardino, and
the second taken and imprisoned by a fairy
named Morgana, who was said to be ena-
moured of the youth.

The ship-master, pursuing his stor}^ stated
that the fairy had offered to surrender the

from his natural self, and forfeited the protection of Pro-
vidence, while Brandimartjt the model of purity and constancy,
is proof against all the powers of hell. "" " "" """ ~— -nr-^.*—



Stripling to his father, upon his putting her
in possession of a certain knight, entitled Or-
lando, with whom she was at enmity, on ac-
count of his having destroyed her enchant-
ments. This the necromancer, overcome by
Brandimart, had offered to effect for Mono-
dontes, but had never succeeded, though he had
crowded his dungeons with champions ; amongst
whom were Rinaldo, Astolpho, Dudon, Gryphon
and Aquilant, and others, too many to mention.
Orlando listened to the narration in silence :
then, after some secret conference with the
ship-master, bade him make sail for Damogir,
as he and Brandimart were now masters of the
vessel, for he was minded to put this Orlando
into the hands of Monodontes. He obeys his
command, and the ship, after traversing the
ocean, arrives with them at the island.

Here the proposal was renewed by the
knights, and accepted by Monodontes; who,
waiting the accomplishment of their promise,
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lodged them in a magnificent palace near his
own. Here too was guested the infamous
Origilla, who was privy to Orlando's de-
sign. She having her mind entirely set upon-
Gryphon, who (it will be remembered) was
amongst the prisoners of Monodontes, and
thinking she was possessed of sure means of
delivering him, secretly presented herself before
the king, and informed him that Orlando was
in his power.

As the covenanted reward of her service,
Monodontes ordered Gryphon to be delivered
up to her; and he refusing freedom, unless
Aquilant was at the same time freed, both were
set at liberty, and departed with Origilla.

To take Orlando was a more difficult enter-
prise; but this was accomplished through the
means of a potion, by which both he and Brandi-
mart were put to sleep, and, while stupefied by the
liquor, lodged in the dungeons of Monodontes.
In the solitude of their prison Orlando converts


Brandimart to the Christian faith; and this
knight, whcTappears to be the type of friendships^
and virtuous love, upon the guards of the mo-
narch coming in search of Orlando, announces
liimself as the person sought for, and as such
presents himself to Monodontes.

This monarch tells Brandimart, whom he
imagines to be Orlando, that he seeks the
liberation of his son Ziliantes ; and as he knows
no method of obtaining him from the fauy, but
by such a sacrifice, is reluctantly compelled
to offer him in exchange for the royal captive.
To which Brandimart replies, that if he only
seeks this, he may obtain his end without
such a breach of hospitality, as his comrade
is ready to descend to the dungeons of Mor-
gana, where he has already been, and rescue
him by force. That in the meantime he will
remain as his hostage, and if he whom he is to
free does not, within a month, return with
Ziliantes, the king can, at the worst, accomplish
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the deliverance of his son, by giving him up
(the king believing him to be Orlando) to the
vengeance of Morgana.

Monodontes accedes to this proposal, and the
real Orlando is suffered to depart.

In the meantime Brandimart, always under
the name of Orlando, remains for some time a
prisoner at large ; when the secret is discovered,
through the indiscretion of Astolpho, and Mo-
nodontes in fury orders Brandimart to be cast
into a dungeon, preparatory to his expiating
his imposture by death. Orlando this while is
bound upon his adventure, and arriving at the
lake formerly kept by Arridano, finds upon its
/banks a beautiful lady weeping over a dead
I dragon.
r^ While Orlando contemplates this spectacle
Y with surprise, the lady snatches up the dragon

in her arms, and embarks with it in a little i
pinnace, which was moored hard by. She now
loosens from the shore, sets her sail, and having


reached the middle of the lake, sinks to the
bottom with her enchanted barque.

Orlando was yet absorbed in wonder at what
he had witnessed, when another damsel ar-
rived upon the bank, mounted on a palfrey,
and accompanied by a single sergeant, who
called upon the count by name, and expressed
the greatest pleasure at his sight.

This damsel was no other than Flordelis, the
lady-love of Brandimart ; the damsel of the
barque, it will be easily divined, was Morgana.

'^his fairy, upon the departure of Orlando
from her enchanted garden, transformed 2Sli-
antes, by the aid of certain witcheries, into a
dragon, meaning that he should supply the
place of Arridano and keep the avenues of her
territory. Whether, however, from some error
in her enchantments or other cause, the trans-
formation was no sooner completed than the
youth uttered a shriek and expired. Hence
the fairy, distracted with her loss, had embarked
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with him in the pinnace, and descended to the
bottom of the lake, in the hope of re-animating
him in her, world below.

As soon as Flordelis, who was immediately
recognised by the count, had set eyes upon
him, she conjured him to lend her his assist-
ance ; and, that he might understand for what
purpose, entreated him to listen to her story,
which she began in the following words.

" I was wandering in search of Brandimart,
when I fell in with the sergeant, whom you see
with me ; and who, by a strange fortune, turn-
ed out to be one who was also in search of him.
His story was yet more extraordinary than the
accident which brought us together, and is the
K cause of my present distress. He informed me
that he was formerly a slave of the king Moil

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Online LibraryMatteo Maria BoiardoThe Orlando innamorato → online text (page 10 of 13)