Matteo Maria Boiardo.

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a Turcoman by nation, was I wedded ; a man
valiant in the field, but, as to the rest, little
capable of winning a lady's love. This man,
who was jealous in proportion to the grounds
he gave me for disgust, was compelled to join
an expedition against Yatarone the emperor of
Greece. Departing, he left me in care of a
slave called pambone, a monster of deformity,
whom he commanded never to stir from my
side. He had not been long absent, when
Theodore arrived at Bursa, and having cor-
rupted Gambone, obtained access to my bed.


^ Our intercourse was long continued, to our
mutual satisfaction, when Usbeck arrived sud-
denly one night at Bursa, and demanded instant
entrance into his house. Our courage did not
desert us under these circumstances, and Theo-
dore, slipping down stairs in the dark, escaped
at the same time that Usbeck was admitted.
Our danger, however, did not end here ; for
my husband's suspicions had been awakened by
his detention at the door, and searching every
part of my chamber, he found a mantle which
my lover had left behind him in his retreat.

His suspicions being now confirmed, he burst
into a transport of jealous fury, and ordered the
slave Gambone for instant execution. According
to the custom of the country, his other slaves
were conducting him for that purpose, through
the city with a horn sounding before him, when
Theodore met the procession, and falling upon
the criminal, reproadied him, amid a shower of
blows, with having robbed him of his mantle.


This trick of Theodore's, who was unknown to
Usbeck, saved the slave, and effaced the sus-
picions which he entertained of my fideUty.
New offences, however, on my part, for I still
continued my intercourse with Theodore, re-
newed his jealousy, and he at last shut me up
in the enchanted palace whence you delivered
me ; though it was not then kept by the giant
and serpent, which were the afterwork of a
necromancer who wrought for him."

The damsel was here interrupted by an out-
cry, and the party was instantly set upon by
thieves. These were, however, beaten off, and
their leader taken prisoner by Brandimart.
He, throwing himself at the feet of the cavalier,
entreated him not to carry him to Lissa, as
he dreaded the vengeance of Doliston, the
prince of that country, for having formerly
carried off his eldest daughter, whom he had
sold to the lord of the Syltran Tower.


Brandimart, however, who has secret reasons
(as will be shortly seen) for being pleased at
this account, insists upon carrying him to Lissa;
and arriving before Doliston's capital, finds it
besieged by Theodore, in revenge for the
monarch's having refused him Doristella. / All
^ now is cleared up. Flordelis turns out to be
the missing daughter of Doliston, who had been
wooed by Brandimart in the Sylvan Tower;
and no further obstacle existing to the union of
.' Theodore ^and. Doristella. these two^ as well^
^randinjart and Flordelis, are united in mar-
'iage; Doliston and Theodora having previously
lade peace.

After long festivities in honour of these double
espousals, Brandimart and Flordelis, still anxi-
ous to pursue Orlando, embark for France with
a prosperous wind. This, however, changes ;
increases to a tempest ; and finally drives them
on the shores of Carthage. Here Brandimart,


less anxious for his dWn safety than for that of
Flordelis and his companions, conceals his
being a Christian, and announcing hUnselfjonly
as son of Monodontes, king of the Distant^
Isles, declares that it was his purpose to visit
Agramant in Biserta.

He accordingly sets off, always attended by
Flordelis, for that capital ; where he is mag-
nificently received, and is afterwards carried off
by Agramant, together with Rogero, on his
expedition against France.

Agramant, leaving Dudon a prisoner at large
in Biserta, which was to be governed in his
absence by a vice-roy, embarks upon his long
meditated enterprise, disembarks in Spain,
and arrives, by forced marches, near Mount
Albano, in the neighbourhood of which the
armies of Charlemagne and Marsilius were lefit^

The strife was still continued with unabated


fury; and in this RinaRlo was matched with
Ferrau, king Grandonio with the marquis
Oliviero, Serpentine with Ogier the Dane, and
MarsiUus himself against Charlemagne.

These duels were, however, of httle account,
compared with that which raged between Ro-
domont and Bradamant. Of this desperate
contest Orlando was a witness ; who would not
turn his arms against Rodomont while he was
engaged with so formidable an adversary.

While Orlando thus played the part of a
looker-on, he was surprised by the sound of an
approaching enemy, and casting his eyes in
that direction, saw a plump of spears, with
banners and pennons, descending the sides of
a mountain. He immediately stooped from
his saddle to pick up a weighty lance which was
lying on the ground, and thus prepared himself
for the encounter of what proved to be the army
of Agramant.


This sovereign had in the meantime dis-
patched one of his vassal kings, named Pina-
doro, towards the field of battle, with orders to
bring him one or more prisoners, who might
inform him of the state of the Christian army.
Pinadoro and Orlando meet and tilt together ;
but the feudatory king, instead of accomplishing
the orders of his sovereign, remains the prisoner
of the count. He is, however, no sooner taken
than liberated by his conqueror, who bids him
return to his army in peace. The report of his
ill success does not frighten Agramant from his
purpose; and the Moorish army descends like
a torrent into the plain.

At the sight of these new enemies, Charles left
Marsilius, who was closely pressed by him, and
ordered Rinaldo also to give a respite to Fer-
rau, and lead a squadron against the approaching
troops, whom he divined to be what they really
were. Other divisions of the army followed in


support of one another, and a bloody battle
ensued, with various and very doubtfiil success.
Meantime Orlando, who wished such measure
of misfortune to Charlemagne as should make
his assistance necessary, and ensure him the
possession of Angelica as his reward, had re-
tired from the medley into a neighbouring
wood, and was praying devoutly for the dis-
comfiture of the Christians. By accident, Fer-
rau, fatigued by his long contest with Rinaldo,
and lately as hard pressed by him as Marsilius
was by Charlemagne, had sought shelter in the
^ uy same retreat. Here, stooping to drink^fromj^e
^r"; banks of a river, he dropt his helmet in the
. v: ^>:'' water, and was engaged in a vain attempt to ^
'A^ recover it, when he was discovered by Orlando.

The count, however, was too generous to attack
ah enemy under such disadvantages, and
weakened as Ferrau evidently was by the
combat he had previously waged against Ri-




naldo. He accordingly, after a short conference
with him, in which he learned the state of
things, spurred his courser, in order to join the
army of Charlemagne.

Here he performs high feats of valour, and,
after the slaughter of many adversaries, is ad-
vancing against Rogero, when Atlantes, who
had accompanied the youth, (since he could not
restrain him from following his destiny,) diverts
Orlando from his object by the vision of a tri-
umphant Pagan squadron, and of the personal
danger of Charlemagne. Fascinated by this
illusion, he follows the supposed Saracens into
the forest of Arden. Here the vision dis-
appears ; and the count, wearied with the fruit-
less chace, ligh ts fi'om BrigHadoro near a fountain.
Stooping to drink, he sees a crystal palace at f
the bottom, through the walls of which he
beholds a dance of ladies, and, unable to resist
the temptation of an adventure, plunges, armed


as he is, into the fountain.








The third book opens with the j introduction of a new cha-
racter, Mandricardo, son of Agrican, the Tartar king, who,
pursuing ,his"way lb France in order to avenge his father's
death, is made the prisoner of a fairy. He frees himself,
acquires the arms of Hector, and is, as well as other knights,
involved in various adventures, till the story returns to the
invasion of France, which is suddenly interrupted in the

R 2



The author opens this book by stating, that
he is called away to the north. Here a mighty
storm was gathering ; and France, already sore-
bested, was suddenly threatened by a new storm
from the remote quarter of Tartary.

The emperor of this region, named Mandri-
cardo, having wasted it by his violences, was
proceeding in a course of imperious tyranny,
when an old man threw himself in his way, and,
reproaching him with his outrages, bade him
desist from warring upon the innocent and
defenceless, and seek to revenge the death of
his father upon one who was worthy of his
R 3


wrath ; to wit, upon Orlando, the murderer of
king Agrican.

Stung to the heart by the old man's re-
proaches, Mandricardo, determining to owe his
success in the enterprise on which he resolved
to his own individual valour, leaves his king-
dom incognito, and departs, without horse
or arms, towards the west. Travelling thus
alone and a-foot, he had passed the confines
of Armenia, when he spied upon a day a pavi-
lion, pitched near a fountain ; and imagining
that he might there find what he was deter-
mined to win by force, entered it, with the
view of searching for the horse and arms of
which he stood in need. There was none to
defend the entrance, and he was already
within the pavilion, when a voice was heard
to murmur from the waters, that he was a
prisoner to the power, whose possession he had


Mandricardo, however, heard not, or else
disregarded the voice ; and pursuing his search,
found a suit of armour, disposed upon a carpet,
and a courser fastened to a neighbouring pine.

He immediately clothed himself in the
arms, and seized upon the steed, with which he
was departing, when a fire suddenly sprang
up before him, that, spreading itself, de-
stroyed the pine, and left the fountain and
pavilion alone untouched. Mandricardo is
himself embraced by the flames, which destroy
his armour and clothing even to his shirt.
To escape the torture, he leaps from his horse,
every thing which he had on him being con-
sumed, and casts himself into the water. Here,
he is received into the arms of a naked dam-
sel of incomparable beauty, who kisses him,
and bids him be of good cheer, informing
him that he is taken in the snare of a fairy,
but that if he has heart and discretion, he
R 4


may rescue not only himself, but so many dam-
sels and cavaliers, that he shall reap immortal
glory from the achievement. •'^'>- ^'— - ^ ...n
. She pursued her story, informing him, that
the fountain was the work of a fairy, who had
imprisoned there king Gradasso of Sericane,
Gryphon and Aquilant, and many other knights

Tand ladies. " Beyond the hiU," said she,
" which you see before you, is situated a castle,
where this fairy has laid up the arms of HectO Ti
with the exception of his sword. On his being
slain treacherously by Achilles, a queen, named
Penthesilea, possessed herself of this. At her
I ^r^death it passed to Almontes, and from him was

-^ taken by Orlando. This weapon was called
p - /^ Durind ana. The remainder of his arms was
' j^ ^aved and carried off by -^neas, from whom they
were received by her, in recompence of a mar-
vellous service which she had bestowed upon
him. If you have the coui'age to attempt die


acquisition of these arms, secured in yonder
castle by enchantment, I will be your guide."

Mandricardo was enraptured at the pro-
posal, and only hesitated at the idea of exposing
himself naked. This difficulty was, however,
got over by the lady, who, letting down her
hair, which was bound about her head in
braids, furnished a complete covering for her-
self and the cavalier. Being sheltered from
sight by this, they issued, linked arm in arm,
from the water, and took their way together to
the pavilion.

Entering this, which, as was said, remained
untouched by the fire, they reposed for some
time upon flowers. At length the damsel gave
the signal for departure, and having clothed
Mandricardo in armour, conducted him where
a courser was m waiting. Upon this he leapt,
all armed as he was; and the lady having
mounted on a palfrey, both set forward on their


They had ridden about a mile, when the
damsel, explaining the dangers of the quest,
informed Mandricardo that he would have to
combat with Gradasso, the conqueror of
Gryphon, who had at first maintained the field
against all comers.

Thus speaking, they arrived at the castle,
which was of alabaster, overlaid with gold.
Before this, on a lawn, enclosed with a barrier
of live myrtles, sat an armed knight on horse-
back, and who was no other than Gradasso.
Mandricardo, upon seeing hun, dropt his vizor,
and laid his lance in the rest. The champion of
the castle was as ready, and each spurred
towards his opponent. They splintered their
spears with equal force, and again returning
to the charge, encountered with their swords.
This contest was long and doubtful, when
Mandricardo, determining to bring it to an
issue, threw his arms about Gradasso, and the
two horsemen, grappling together, tumbled to


the ground. In the struggle, however, Man-
dricardo fell uppermost, and preserving his
advantage, made Gradasso prisoner. The
damsel now interfered, proclaiming the victory
of the new comer, and consoling the vanquished
as she could, for his discomfiture.

In the meantime, the sun had set upon the
strife, and it was too late for Mandricardo to
enter the enchanted castle, which the damsel
informed him would be only accessible after
sunrise. She invites him, therefore, to lie down
amongst the flowers with which the meadow is
enamelled, proffering to be his guard ; but
informs him, that there is harbourage to be
obtained at a neighbouring castle, though it can
only be purchased by exposure to notable peril.
This, she says, is kept by a kind and courteous
lady, who is often disturbed, in the exercise of
her hospitality, by a giant named Malapresa,
whom he would do well to avoid, as he has
already sufficient toil and danger on his hands.


Mandricardo rejects this kind intimation,
and insists upon being guided to the lady's

He and the damsel accordingly set off in that
direction, and soon arrive at the palace, which
is illuminated with a thousand lights. It ap-
peared as if a watch was kept for friends or
foes ; and a dwarf was posted in a gallery over
the entrance, whose duty it was to give notice
of all comers. On the winding of his horn, if
there were cause for suspicion, the house-
hold, armed with missile weapons, assembled in
the balconies : but if it were an er rant knight,
in search of hospitality, damsels came forth to
salute him, and conduct him into the castle. _^

In this manner was Mandricardo received,
who was afterwards magnificently entertained
by the lady of the mansion. Their festivity is,
however, interrupted by the dwarTs horn, which
sounds an alarum. The signal is hardly given,
before Malapresa has forced the gate, and


appears in the middle of the guests, armed with
an enormous mace. A furious combat now en-
sues between him and the Tartar king, in which
the giant is slain, and cast into the castle ditch.
This event occasions only a short interruption
of the festivity, which is prolonged late into the
night. The revellers at length retire; and
Mandricardo amongst the rest, who is as mag-
nificently lodged, as he had been feasted, by the
lady of the castle.

At sun-rise he starts from his couch, descends
into the castle-garden, washes himself at a
fountain ; then puts on his armour, and, guided
by his former conductress, proceeds upon his

On arriving at the eastern entrance of the
outer wall of the enchanted castle, which was
not more magnificent than extensive, and which
entrance Mandricardo found undefended, he
was informed, that he must plight an oath upon
the threshold, to touch a shield which was sus-


p^ndedUliere from a j)ilaster of gold. The bear-
ing of this was a white eagle on an azure field,
in memory of the bird of Jove, who bore away
Ganymede, the flower of the Phrygian race.
Beneath was engraved the following legend :

Let none, uoith hand profane, my buckler wrong,
Unless he be himself as Hector strong.

The damsel immediately, alighting fi-om her
palfrey, inclined herself to the ground ; the
Tartar king bent himself with equal reverence,
and afterwards passed the threshold without
an obstacle.

Advancing through the eastern entrance of
the enclosure towards the shield, Mandricardo
touched it with his sword. An earthquake
immediately shook the place, and the way by
which he had entered closed. Another, and
an opposite gate, however, opened, and dis-
played a field, bristling with stalks and grain of
gold. The damsel upon this told hun, that he


who had entered had no means of departure
but by cutting down the harvest which was
before him, and in uprooting a tree which
grew in the middle of the field. The cham-
pion, without answering, prepared himself for
his work, and immediately began to mow the
harvest with his sword. A strange effect fol-
lowed; and every grain was instantly trans-
formed into some ravenous animal, — lion,
panther, or unicorn, who all flew in fury at the

Mandricardo, thus assailed, snatched up a
stone, without knowing what virtue resided in
it, and cast it amongst the herd. This stone
was party-coloured, green, vermilion, white,
azure and gold. A strange wonder followed :
for it no sooner lighted amongst the beasts,
than they turned their rage one against the
other, and perished by mutual wounds. Man-
dricardo did not stop to marvel at the mi-
racle, but proceeded to fulfil his task, and


uproot the tree. This, which was lofty and
full of leaves, he embraced by the trunk, mak-
ing vigorous efforts to tear it up by the roots.
At each of these fell a shower of leaves, which
were instantly changed into birds of prey, who
attacked the knight, as the beasts had done
before. Undismayed, however, by this new
annoyance, he continued to tug at the trunk till
it yielded to his efforts. A burst of wind and
thunder followed, and the hawks and vultures
were dispersed.

These, however, only gave place to a new
foe ; for from the hole made by tearing up the
tree, issued a furious serpent with many tails,
who darted at Mandricardo, wound herself
about his limbs, and was about to devour him.
Fortune, however, again stood his friend; for,
writhing under the folds of the monster, and
struggling to free himself, he fell backwards
into the hole, and his enemy was crushed
beneath his weight.


Mandricardo, when he had somewhat re-
covered from the shock, and assured himself
of the destruction of the dragon, began to con-
template the place into which he had fallen, and
saw that he was in a vault, encrusted with
costly metals, and illuminated by a live coal.
In the middle was a sort of ivory bier, and upon
this was extended, what appeared to be a knight
in armour, but what was in truth, an empty
trophy, composed of the rich and precious
arms, once Hector's, and to which nothing
was wanting but the sword. While Man-
dricardo stood contemplating the prize, a door
opened behind him, and a bevy of fair damsels
entered dancing, who bore him away to the
place where the shield was suspended, and
where he found the fairy of the castle seated
in state. By her he was invested with the
arms which he had won, he first swearing, at
her injunction, to wear no other blade but the
sword Durindana^which he was to ravish from


Orlando, and thus complete t he conquest o f
Hector's arms^ _^

TTie adventure was now accomplished, and
the champion departed in order to achieve the
great purpose, for which he left his realm of
Tartary. Many illustrious knights issued at
the same time from the dungeons of the fairy,
who had remained prisoners on a failure of
their enterprise, and who had been now liber-
ated by his success. Amongst these were
Gradasso, Isolier, Sacripant, Gryphon, and
Aquilant, with many others.

Mandricardo himself pursued his journey, in
company with Gradasso. Of the others. Gry-
phon and Aquilant, who knew the language of
the Saracens, travelled through strange coun-
tries ; and thus journeying along the sea-shore,
fell injwith two damsels, the one clothed in white,
and the other in black, and attended by two
dwarfs. As the colour of their respective ladies,
such was that of their dwarfs, and of the palfreys


which they rode : saving in this, they were so
aUke, as to be un distinguishable one from the
other ; and were equals in beauty and grace.

" Sister," said one of these, addressing her-
self to her companion, " there is no defence
against destiny ; yet wisdom may in some sort,
controul fortune : then let us detain these,
at least awhile, from the fate which is reserved
for them in France." — Thus spoke the sable
to the white dasmel, unheard of the two knights
who were approaching, and who saluted them
with all the courtesy due to their bearing and

One of the ladies demanded a boon of the
two cavaliers ; who both as instantly vowed to
perform whatever was enjoined them. This
was to take the field against a miscreant, named
Orrilo, engendered of a goblin and faiiy, who
inhabited a tower upon the Nile, where he
kept (says the story) a kind of dragon, termed
a crocodile, and fed it with human flesh. The
s 2


damsels go on to state, that hitherto no one
has been able to prevail against the wretch,
who, in dying, renews himself like the phoenix.
This account does not discourage the brothers,
who again proffer their assistance.

Aquilant accordingly encounters Orrilo, where
he keeps the way against travellers ; and he
being sore pressed, flies to the tower, and turns
out his crocodile.

Gryphon now deems himself justified in
assisting his brother; and the crocodile is at
length slain. Orrilo, however, though often
worsted, appears to be irresistible : for though
he is frequently unhorsed, and is jactually se-
vered into two parts by one of the brothers,
he^onstantly re-unites himself, and renews the
contest The day is now closing, and the two
brothers are in despair.

While things are in this state, a new per-
former appears upon the theatre. This is
a knight, who dragged a giant captive: but


here the author leaves Gryphon and Aquilant,
as well as the knight and his prisoner, and
resumes the story of Mandricardo and Gra-
dasso, who were left journeying together towards

This pair, after traversing various regions,
arrive upon the sea-coast, where they find a
lady chained and exposed upon the beach.
On their interrogating her, she tells them,
that she awaits the approach of a furious
Ork, who will devour her alive ; and entreats
them, as an act of compassion, rather to put
her to an immediate death, than to leave her
exposed to so horrible a fate. The only favour
that she requests of them, besides this dreadful
grace, is, (should they fall in with him,) to
inform Norandino, king of Damascus, of her
death, and dying sentiments of aifection to him.

The knights, however, insist on defending
her, and a dreadftil conflict ensues between
them and the Ork, who is represented as some-
s 3


thing indistinct, monstrous and gigantic. Gra-
dasso is soon overpowered, and Mandricardo,
who, in conformity to his vow, was unprovided
with a sword, is obliged to fly before the pest.

He, however, finds his deliverance in flight;
for, speeding his steps along the cliffs, he ar-
rives at a frightful chasm, at which he springs
in utter desperation. The Ork following him,

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Online LibraryMatteo Maria BoiardoThe Orlando innamorato → online text (page 12 of 13)