Matteo Maria Boiardo.

The Orlando innamorato online

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is unable to clear it, and tumbles down the

Mandricardo quit of his foe, descends to the
shore, in search of Gradasso and Lucina, (for
so was named the lady chained to the rock,)
and proceeds in company with them along the
beach. From this they behold a ship in the
distance, which bears the flag of Tibiano, king
of Cyprus and Rhodes, the father of Lucina, and
who w^as then seeking his daughter. Lucina,
oveijoyed at the sight, makes a signal of her vest,
and waves the galley to the land. On board this
she embarks, together with her defenders ; but


the vessel has scarcely shown her stern to the
shore, when the Ork re-appeafs, with a mon-
strous fi-agment of a mountain on his shoulders :
This he heaves into the sea, which flashes above
her topmast head, and all cower at the bottom
of the vessel for refuge ; but the mass misses
the mark at which it was hurled, and a loud
land-wind rising at the moment, the vessel is
blown off to sea.

One danger is only substituted for another;
the storm increases, and all is darkness and
dismay. In this situation, the night closes
in, during which they drift at the mercy of the
winds. The succeeding day dawns upon them
under better auspices; and they find them-
selves, in the morning, upon the shore of Acqua-
morte, where a mountain separates France and

Here they land in the neighbourhood of a
^ave, called Runa, without having any know-
ledge of the coast upon which they are cast.
s 4


Leaving there Tibiano and Lucina, Gradasso
and Mandricardo proceed, armed and mounted,
in search of intelligence.

They have not proceeded far, before they
hear the noise of battle, and pushing their
Thorses towards the sound, find Agramant en-
gaged with Charlemagne.

The main story is thus brought back to the
point where the christian and paynim armies
were left, and where the tide of conquest was
fluctuating between the hostile forces. Retiring
from the medley, Ferrau had withdrawn intg^
a neighbouring .wood, and was fishing for his
helmet, in a stream in which he had lost it as -
he stooped to drink. At this period fortune
declares decisively in favour of the infidels;
and, while Rogero and Rinaldo are engaged
in a single combat on foot, Charlemagne's
forces give way at all points, in irreparable

The duel of the two champions is inter-


riipted by the crowd of fugitives and pursuers ;
and Rinaldo, now seeing jBayardo loose in the

field, attempts to get possession of him. The
horse, however, will not be taken; and Rinaldo,^
following him into a thick wood, is left there by^
the author, who returns to Rogero.

Rogero was also a -foot, and grieving for the
loss of his own horse, ^frontino, whom he how-
ever recovered in the rout.^ He now finds ,^ J ^^ *f
Bradamant and Rodomont engaged in combat, t^t^^i'^
Though he knew not who they were, he could ^ '^^
distinguish that one was a paynim, and the
other a Christian ; and, moved by the spirit of
courtesy, approached them, and exclaimed,
" Let him of the two, who worships Christ,
pause, and hear what I have to say. The
army of Charles is routed, and in flight; so
that if he wishes to follow his leader, he
has no time for delay." Bradamant, who is
thunderstruck with the tidings, desires imme-
diately to leave the field ; but this is refused by


her antagonist : and Rogero, indignant at his
discourtesy, insists upon her departure, while
he takes up the quarrel with Rodomont.

This, long and obstinately maintained on
both sides, is interrupted by the return of

/ Bradamant, who, not being able to overtake
the fligitives, and being divided in her feelings,
as to what she owed on the one side to her

f, emperor, and on the other to the stranger who
'' had so generously taken her part, yields at last
to what was the stronger impulse, and comes
back to his assistance.

She arrives, however, when he was least in
need of it ; and when he had smote his enemy
such a blow, as obliged him to drop both his
sword and bridle. Rogero, however, disdaining
to profit by his defenceless situation, sate apart
upon his horse, whilst that of Rodomont bore
his rider, stunned and stupefied, about the field.
Rogero was at this juncture approached
by Bradamant; who conceived a yet higher


notion of his valour, on beholding such an
instance of forbearance. She addressed him,
by excusing herself for leaving him exposed to
an enemy from his interference in her cause,
pleading her attachment to her sovereign as
the motive ; and was engaged in conference with
him, when Rodomont recovered from his con-
fusion. His bearing was however changed,
and he disclaimed all thoughts of further con-
test with one '' who he said, had already van-
quished him by his courtesy." So saying, he
quitted his antagonist, picked up his sword, and
spurred out of sight.

Bradamant was now again desirous of retir-^ -^i^.
ing from the field, and Rogero insisted on ac- ^
companying her, though yet unconscious of her

As they pursued their way, she enquired
the name and quality of her new associate;
and Rogero informed her of his nation and
family. Beginning from the destruction of


Troy, he told her that Astyanax, who was pre-
served by a stratagem of the Greeks, having
estabhshed the kingdom of Messina, in Sicily,
perished by the treachery of a priest, named
CEgystus. The widow of this prince, being
then big with child, flying from her enemies,
escaped to Rheggio. Here she brought forth
a son, who was christened Polydore. From
this Polydore descended Polydantes, and from
him twin branches, who gave origin to two
other famiUes of renown. From one of these
sprang the royal race of Pepin and Charle-
magne; and from the other, two illustrious
houses, one of which took root at Rheggio,
(' once called Risa') and the other at Ancona.
" From that of Rheggio am I derived," continu-
ed he ; " and am son of Rogero,.the«Mi-^ Ago-
lant and Gallicella. She flying when big with,
me, from a horrible persecution which she
endured during the absence of her husband,
then engaged in war, brought me forth in a


foreign land, and died in giving me life. It
was here that a jnagiciiiii took charge of me,
who trained me to feats of arms amidst the
dangers of tlie desert and of the chace."

Having thus ended his tale, Rogero entreated
a similar return of courtesy from his compa-
nion; who replied, without disguise, that she^
was of the race of Clermont, and s^gf^er to.,,
Rj^ldo, the fame of whom was perhaps known
to him. Rogero, much moved by this intel-
ligence, entreats her to take off her helmet;
and, at the discovery of her face, remains
transported with pleasure.

Whilst he is contemplating this with rap-
ture, an unexpected danger hangs over the
future lovers. A party which was placed in a
wood, in order to intercept the retreating Chris-
tians, breaks from its ambush upon the pair;
and Bradamant, who was uncasqued, is wounded
in the head. Rogero is in fury at this attack ;
and Bradamant, replacing her helmet, joins him



in taking speedy vengeance on their enemies.
Of these they clear the field, but separate in
the pursuit; and the author first resumes the
story of Rogero.

Quitting the chace, and wandering by hill
and vale, in search of her whom he had no
sooner found than losta JR,ogero now fnllc jji^^
with^two, Jkjogights, whom he joins, and who
promise to assist him in the search of his
companion, whose arms he^ jfflrrihfini'ii con-
cealing, from a vague feeling of jealousy, her
quality and^geji:.

It was evening when they joined company',
and having journeyed together through the
night, the morning was beginning to break,
when one of the strangers, fixing his eyes upon
Rogero's shield, demanded of him by what
right he bore the device pourtrayed upon it.
Rogero, in return interrogated the enquirer
as to his pretensions to the bearing of Hec-
tor, who proclaimed himself to be Mandri-


cardo, declared how he had won it, and pro-
posed that arms should decide which of the
two was most worthy to bear the symbol of
the Trojan knight.

Roger o felt no other objection to this pro-
posal, than the scruple which rose out of the
observation, that his antagonist was without a
sword. Mandricardo, however, insisted that
this need be no impediment; and then in-
formed him of the vow which he had taken,
never to wear a sword till he had completed
the acquisition of Hector's arms by the conquest
of Durindana.

This was no sooner said, than a new anta-
gonist started up in Gradasso, in whom the
reader will have recognised the companion of
Mandricardo. Gradasso now vindicates his •
prior right to the quest of Durindana, to obtain
which he had embarked (as was related in the
beginning) in that fearful war upon France, i
A quarrel is thus kindled between the kings of


Tartary mid Sericane^ Mandricardo uproots
a young elm-tree, to supply the place of a
sword; and Gradasso, disdaining to combat
with unequal weapons, arms himself with a
pine. Being thus furnished for offence, they
encounter one another with fury, while Rogero
laughs and looks upon the strife.

He, nevertheless, several times attempts to se-
parate the combatants, but always without suc-
cess. While the conflict is thus raging, a
\M knight arrives upon the ground, accompanied

d^ by a damsel, to whom Rogero relates the cause
^? t'V4^^ and progress of the strife. This turns out Jo be^
j^.- Brandimart, accompanied by Flordelis. . He

also interposes his mediation, and succeeds
better in bringing the two champions to accord.
TM? bfr fifferts^ by informing them that he can
conduct them to the presence of Orla ndo, th e
master of Durindana. '•

" If," said he, " you can heal hijn of a strange
enchantment, it is from him that you may


claim the sword ; nor is he one who will refuse
you a fair field for obtaining it. Two leagues
from hence," continued Brandimart, " is a
water, called the River of Laughter, but which
would be better entitled the Stream of Tears.
Here Orlando is enchanted. An African ma-
gician made this known to me, and I had
already disposed myself to free him, or perish
by his side, but being insufficient by myself
for such an enterprise, Heaven has willed that
I should light upon you to assist me in the

Gradasso and Mandricardo instantly make
truce, in order to accompany Brandimart in his
quest, nor will Rogero be left behind.

This resolution, however, gave rise to a
serious difficulty; for the number to be em-
ployed in the adventure was to be unequal, as
Brandimart was instructed ; and one must
therefore necessarily be rejected. Who should
be rejected, it was now determined to decide



by lot ; and chance pronounced against Man-
dricardo^ who departed with reluctance from
the field, and wandering long, arrived at last
in Agramant's camp, who had sate down before
Paris. ^"

The story of Orland o is now resumed, where
it was left by the author at the conclusion of
the second book. The count having plunged
into the fountain, termed the River of Laughter,
is so delighted with the company of Naiads,
and with the pleasures which he finds beneath
the waters, that he remains jhere a willing

About this water extended an enchanted
wood, thick with evergreen trees; and here
arrived Rogero, Gradasso, Brandimart, and
Flordelis, determined to attempt the deliver-
ance of Orlando.

This forest seemed impenetrable; but by
the advice of Flordelis, the knights descended
from their horses, and determined to cut them-


selves a passage. Rogero, in pursuance of
this resolution, hews down a^ laurel with his
sword. The tree is no sooner overthrown,
than a beautiful damsel starts from its trunk, V
and claims the compassion of the knight.
She informs him, that the trees which he be-
holds, as well as that which he has felled, con-
tain sister nymphs, the victims of enchantment ;
the nature of which is such^ that they remain
transformed till liberated, as she had been, by
the destruction of the plant in which they are
imprisoned. " This deliverance is, however,
as yet incomplete," pursued the damsel ; " and,
to perfect it, you must accompany me to the
water, if you would not see me again rooted
in the forest." Rogero yields to her prayer,
accompanies her^. to the water, and, seduced ^
by the enchantment, leaps hand in hand with
her into the fountain.

In the meantime, Gradasso, attempting to
clear his way, cuts down an ash, which is
T 2


converted into a courser. He immediately
momits it; when the horse transports him
through the air, and plunges with him into the
enchanted stream, where he remains a prisoner
with the rest. *

Bran dimart, counselled by Flordelis, pur-
sues the adventure with better success; and
resisting every species of temptation which is
presented to him, at length arrives at the banks
of the fountain. Here, however, he would have
yielded to the same fascination as the others,
but for the wise precautions of Flordelis, —

Who, for a safeguard, round his brow disposes
A mystic garland of enchanted roses, f

* The reader will see in this adventure, more especially in
the author's fitting the temptations to the character of the
knights, the hint which Tasso turned to so much better account
in his creation of the forest of Armida.

f The idea of roses being a solvent of enchantments, is as
old as Apuieius and Lucian j and, like most of the mysticisms
to be found in those authors, is probably to be traced to a
much more ancient source.


She had also furnished him with the same
ornaments for the others whom he was to
dehver from the pool. Armed with these
wreaths, he approaches the knights, whom he
fmds in the bowers of crystal, into which he
plunged, and crowns them with the garlands.
The charm forthwith operates ; their perverse
inclination ceases, and they gladly return with
their deUverer to the surface.

They are scarcely safe from the spell, when
Gradasso bethinks him of his long quest, and
a fierce battle ensues between him and Orlando,
for the possession of Durindana. They are,
however, induced to suspend this by the in-
stances of their companions, and the entreaties
of a stranger dwarf, who appears, mounted on
a palfrey, and entreats the assistance of some of
the knights.

These accordingly divide ; Orlando, attended
by Brandimart and Flordelis, taking his way
towards Paris, and Rogero and Gradasso ac-
companying the dwarf.


The author accompanies Orlando and his
friends, who arrive before Paris, besieged by
the forces of Agramant, amid whose ranks
were to be found assembled, Rodomont, Man-
dricardo, Ferrau, the newly arrived Gradasso,
and all the worthies of the paynim army,
Flordelis now retires into a wood for safety,
while the two champions approach the camp
of the besiegers. At this crisis Charlemagne
makes a desperate sally, which is seconded by
Orlando and Brandimart, and the fortune of
the day seems balanced between the contending

The author here leaves things thus suspended,
and takes up the story of Bradamant, who lately
separated form Rogero,. in repulsing the am-
buscade of the paynims. She journeying alone,
and still suffering from her wound, at length
reaches a hermitage, the tenant of which ex-
amines her head, cuts off her hair and with this
bandages, and finally heals the gash which she
had received.


Departing from his hermitage, and still pur-
suing her way alone, she alights from her horse,
and reposes J^ g r self i n a wood, where she Js.
surprised sleeping by Flordgggma, who, de-
ceived by the appearance of her hair, takes
her for a man. This princess, who was engaged
with her damsels in the chase, by a strata-
gem detains Bradamant in the forest, where
they pursue their sports in company.

But, exclaims the poet, while I sing these
lays of ladies and of loves, I see France arming
against Italy, and the horizon bright with
flames. Hereafter, if it shall be permitted me

I will piece the tale which I leave unfinished.

* » * « *

So ends the story of the Orlando Innamorato,
" To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures neU),'

LoNnoN ;

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoode,

New- Street- Square.


Page xlviii. 5tlj line of Stanza 43., tjike out the semicolon
after " eye-brows," and place it after " sharp."
li. 7th line of Stanza 49., for " bed" read " sea."
5. line 8th from Iwttom, for « But" read " Yet."
71. line 1st, after " army" read " that."





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