Matteo Maria Boiardo.

The Orlando innamorato online

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carried away his daughter. Pursuing the thief,
Rinaldo falls into a pit-fall, and is carried away
prisoner by a giant ; who bears him to a cas-
tle, situated upon a promontory, the walls of
which were covered with maimed bodies and
heads, some of which yet quivered with the re-
mains of life.

The giant, entering the building, casts Ri-
naldo down before an old woman of stern and
forbidding appearance ; who thus addresses
him : —

" Haply, Sir Knight, thou hast not heard display
" Our castle's use," exclaims the beldame old ;
" In the short time thou hast to live, — a day
" Is yet thine own, — the story shall be told :
" Then listen to the legend, whilst thou may,
" And I the melancholy tale unfold.
" Thou in that space may'st hear the tale of

" And witness to its truth in blood to-morrow."


She pursues her story * thus : " Know, Sir
Stranger, that ^biifi - Casde^ was formerly held
by a rich lord, famous for his magnificence
and hospitality, and yet more so, for the in-
comparable beauty of the lady whom he had
to wife. This castellan was hight Gryphon,
his castle Altaripa, and Stella was the name
of his wife. It was his favourite pleasure
to disport himself in the green-wood near the
shore, where thou arrived'st this morning, and
roving one day through this, he heard the
hunting-horn of a stranger, whom he invited
to his castle. The guest was Marchino, lord of
Aronda, and my husband ; who was so smitten

* I have thought it the duty of a translator, to preserve this
story ; but I veould say to my readers, in the words of
Ariosto, —

Lasciate questo canto, che senz* esso
Pub star V istoria, e non sark men' chiara.
Mettendolo Turpino, anch' io 1' ho messo.

Leave otU this canto; since the tale will tell
Without itf and the story is as clear :
Which, told hy Turpiny I relate as well.

£ 4


by the beauty of Stella, that he could not rest
till he had made her his own. He, however,
dissembled his evil intentions, and took a
friendly leave of his entertainer. This was
only to return, as a treacherous enemy. He,
accordingly, bearing some resemblance to Gry-
phon, counterfeited his ensigns, and came back
with a party of his retainers, whom he concealed,
as well as those, in the neighbouring wood.
He, in the mean time, pursued the chace un-
armed. Gj fyphon again sought him out, and
finding him apparently distressed by the loss of
a hound, joined him in his search. He was
thus decoyed into the ambuscade, and assassi-
nated. Marchino, having disposed of his rival,
entered Altaripa under the disguise of Gry-
phon's ensigns, where he did not leave a soul
alive, with the exception of Stella. She,
while preserved by the conqueror, brooded in
secret over schemes of vengeance, and after
pondering some time, determined to have re-


course to that animal whose wrath is the most
intolerable, namely, the wife who has been
once loved, and after slighted for another.
This was no other than myself, and the cruel-
ties which I perpetrated, well justified her ex-
pectation. Two children, whom I had by
Marchino, I killed and quartered. — Think
upon this : yet know that I still triumph in the
recollection of my vengeance. Their heads
.only, I preserved: the remainder I cooked,
[ and served up to the wretched father for his
supper. This done, I departed secretly for
the court of the king of ^Orgagna, who had
long been a wooer to me, without success.
Him I stirred up to vengeance against Mar-
chino, and brought in arms against his newly-
acquired castle of Altaripa.

While I was gone on this errand, Stella, with
dishevelled hair, a smile upon her lips, but
bitterness in her heart, presented herself before
the murderer of her husband, with the heads of


his two children in a charger, and disclosed to
him the horrid tragedy, at which he had been
an unwitting assistant. The traitor hesitated
for a moment, as if suspended between the de-
sire of lust and vengeance, and then slew the lady,
and satiated both ; nay, as if in outrage of God
and man, pursued his impious loves with the
body, till I returned with the king of Orgagna.

After a desperate resistance, we possessed
ourselves of Altaripa, and Marchino, having
been made prisoner, perished in such tortures
as he had deserved.

The king of Orgagna now departed, leaving
me mistress of the conquered castle, with three
giants for my defence, having first buried the
unfortunate Stella, together with the body of
Gryphon, which had been left exposed and sub-
jected to outrage by the barbarous Marchino.

More than eight months had now passed
when a horrid cry was heard from the mar-
ble sepulchre, in which Gryphon and Stella



were laid, and we fled in dismay from the
somid. Only one of my giants, more daring
than his fellows, approached the tomb, and
lifted the lid ; when a monster thrust forth its
claw, and having dragged him into the grave,
devoured him alive. We immediately walled
up the space about the monument, as a pro-
tection against its attacks, and the monster,
having made its way out of the sepulchre,
remains thus enclosed between the defences
which we have constructed. But such is his
rage and craving for human flesh, that we
supply him with this, lest he should tear
down the wall in his fury. Hence the usage of
this castle; which is to seize on all strangers,
in order to provide him with food. The
quarters which you see exposed on the walls,
are the leavings of the beast: for though the
custom sprung out of necessity, my heart is
become hardened with cruelty, and I now live
for no other pleasure."


Rinaldo hears the hag with stern composure,
and desires no other favour than that of being
Exposed to the monster, clad in armour, as he
is, and with Fusberta in his hand. This the
beldam grants, with a bitter smile of mockery,
and the night closes upon him in his dungeon.

The succeeding morning, he is lowered down
from the wall into the space tenanted by the beast,
the horrible fruit of Marchino*s intercourse with
the body of Stella. A desperate combat now
ensues, Rinaldo being unable to make any im-
pression on the scales of the monster : while
he, on the contrary, shears away plate and
mail from the paladin. While he is engaged
in this hopeless struggle, the beast seizes Fus-
berta with his teeth, and disarms Rinaldo, who
is left without defence.

The author here leaves him, as he says, to
speak of a spirit hardly less afflicted, though in
another manner: he means Angelica; who ex-
pects in trembling, the effect of Malagigi's


attempt. He arrives, and states his failure,
but would comfort tbe damsel with the thoughts
of vengeance ; relating to what a perilous pass
he had brought the miserable Rinaldo; for
it was by his stratagem that he was conveyed
to Altaripa. She, however, is in despair at his
danger, and overwhelms Malagigi with re-
poaches. He tells her, it is not yet too late
to save him, and furnishes her with the means.
These are a rope, with a noose at the distance
of every palm, a cake of wax, and a file. Fur-
nished with these implements, and instructed by
Malagigi in the use of them, Angelica flies
through the air to the succour of Rinaldo.

The miserable paladin had, in the mean
time, sprang upon a beam, which projected
irom the wall, and thus remained hanging
between heaven and earth, with little hope
even of present safety ; since the monster con-
tinually leapt at him, and, often, all but


reached him with his claws. It was now even-
ing, when Rinaldo was surprised by the shadow
o(F a woman, and soon after by the sight of
Angehca, kneehng before him, self-suspended
in air. She reproaches herself for having
brought him into this peril, and opening her
arms, entreats him to take refuge in them, and
escape. Such, however, are the effects of the
fountain of hate, that Rinaldo spurns at the
proposal, and vows if she does not immediately
depart, he will cast himself down from the
beam. After long and fruitless efforts to move
him, she at length descends, throws her cake
of wax to the monster, and immediately flings
her rope, knotted with nooses, before him.
The beast, who takes the bait, finding his
teeth glued together by the wax, vents his fiiry
in bounds, and leaping into one of the snares
is noosed by Angelica, who leaves him thus
entangled, and departs.


Though the monster is delivered over to
him gagged and bound, so invulnerable is
his hide, that Rinaldo makes long and
fruitless efforts to destroy him ; till, at length,
leaping upon his neck, he squeezes his eyes
out of their sockets ; and the beast expires
under the gripe.

Another difficulty yet remained to be over-
come. The walls were of immense height, and
the only opening in them was a grated window,
of such strength that Fusberta was unable to
separate the bars. In his distress, however,
Rinaldo perceived the file which had been left by
Angelica on the ground, and, with the help of
this, effected his deliverance.

He is immediately discovered and surrounded,
but he charges and slays his pursuers ; and the
beldam, having witnessed the destruction of her
followers, throws herself headlong from a bal-
cony of three hundred feet in height.


Departing hence, Rinaldo returns to the sea-
side; but, unwilling to trust himself again to
the bark, pursues his way along the shore.

The author now returns to Astolpho, who
had set out in search of his cousins, Orlando
and Rinaldo, splendidly dressed and equipt, as
was his use, and mounted on Bayardo; in
the intention of returning him to his lord.
Having arrived in Circassia, he finds there a
great army, encamped under the command of
Sacripant, the king of that country ; who was
leading it to the defence of Galaphron, the
father of Angelica. Astolpho visits the camp
of this faithful, but ill-requited lover of the^
princess; and not having the leopard on his
buckler, which was of gold, is known through
the Circassian army as the Tcnight of the golden
shield. Sacripant, much struck by the appear-
ance of Astolpho and his horse, accosts him
affably, and




Demands how his assistance may be bought,
And bids him make his price of service known,

" — With gift of this fair host, whom thou hast

" To war in Indian fields from tower and town ;"
The British duke replies, "With this, or nought. —

" Leave me, or make me at this price thine own.

" Nor will I serve, sir king, for other pay,

" Born to command, unweeting to obey."

This, with other more extravagant speeches,
leads the Circassian captains to consider him as
a madman, and Astolpho is left to pursue his
journey. King Sacripant, however, has been
too much struck with the appearance of his
horse and armour, to part with him so easily,
and having divested himself of his kingly orna-
ments, he determines to pursue him.

Astolpho was in the meantime advanced a
day's journey upon his road, when he was over-
taken by a strange warrior :


The stranger knight was named sir Brandimart,
Lord of the Sylvan Tower and its domain :
Through paynim countries, and in every part
Bruited for glorious feats, by hill and plain.
Well versed in tilt and tourney's valiant art ;
In his appearance graceful and humane :
Courteous, with that : and over and above
His other virtues, famed for^ioastant love.

A gentle damsel had the knight for guide,
Who with Astolpho bold encountered there ;
Blooming in early youth and beauty's pride ;
And in his faithful eyes as dear as fair.
Him from afar the British duke * defied.
And proudly bade him for the joust prepare
And wheel and take his ground, and guard his

*" Or leave his lady love, a prize to better knight."

Brandimart is as ready for battle as Astolpho;
but observes, as the latter has no lady, he may
wager his horse ; as it was but fair that each
should deposit his stake. The proposal is

* Astolpho.


acceded to, and the knights encounter. Bran-
dimart is unhorsed, and his steed falls dead,
while Bayardo remains uninjured by the shock.

The paynim knight observing the discon-
solate looks of the damsel, is so overwhelmed
with despair, that he draws his sword and is
about to plunge it into his own bosom. Astol-
pho, however, holds his hand, and exclaims that
he contended but for glory, and having won
the honours of the fight, was contented to leave
him the lady.

While Brandimart is vowing eternal service
and gratitude, king Sacripant arrives, and now
longing for the damsel of the one as well as the
steed and arms of the other, defies them to the
joust. Astolpho, as mounted, meets the chal-
lenger, whom he instantly overthrows, and pre-
sents Brandimart "trith his courser; leaving the
king to return to his army on foot. This dis-
position is scarcely made, when Brandimart's
damsel changes colour, and tells them they are
F 2


approaching the waters of Oblivion, and advises
them either to turn back, or to change their
direction. Both refuse; and pursuing their padi,
arrive ^t the bridge where Orlando was left.

The damsel, as before, appears with th e en-
chanted chalice, which is rejected by Astolpho
with contumely. She immediately dashes
it to the ground, and £\, fire blazes up, which
renders the bridge impassable. Upon this the
damsel, who accompanied them, seizes each by
the hand, runs with them along the river, and
brings them to another secret and narrow bridge,
which they cross in safety, and find themselves
beside the enchanted gard^i.

Brandimart instantly batters down the gate,
and the two warriors entering, are attacked by
sundry kni^its known and unknown, who,
having, no^ecollection of nny thing, join blindly
in the defence of thek prison-house. While these
are engaged by Brandimart, Astolpho entering
the garden and pursuing his career, meets with



Orlan do, who being, like the rest, mindless of
kindred or of country, makes at the English duke,
who only escapes by the activity of Bayardo.
He clears the wall, and bears off his rider.

The author pauses to tell us that the enchanted '
water signifies the affection, impression, or opi-
nion which man takes from others, either at
si^t, or upon trust ; and the cup, which the
damsel lets fall, is that which gives its colour-
ing to the thing seen.

Bayardo, this time, continues to gain upon
Orlando's horse; and while Astolpho is thus
born out of danger, Brandimart is overlaid with
fe^faLoddft. iiL^the enchanted garden ; and his
lady, trembling for the issue of the battle, en-
treats him to yield to necessity, and comply
with the usage of the fairy. So saying, she
flies ; and Brandimart, obeying her commands,
yields, and drinking of the cup, becomes as
intoxicated as the rest.

Orlando returns from the fruitless pursuit of
F 3


Astolpho, and excuses himself to the fairy, who
was named Dragontina, for not having been
able to overtake her enemy; who pursues his
way to Albracca, which African is about to
besiege. Here he is wdcqmed kindly by An-
gelica, though she is somewhat outraged by
his rhodomontades. He is not long before
he attempts to put them in practice. For
having one night ordered the drawbridge to be
lowered, he sallies out alone, arrives in Agri-
can'scam^, and unhorses his warriors, right
and left, by m ea n s_ of ^the enchanted lance.
Being, however, surrounded and taken, his cap-
ture spreads consternation among the besieged,
and the author says that no one dared sally from
the city.

'^'Relief, was, however at hand; for, as the
burghers and soldiers, are one day, leaning
over their walls, they descry a cloud of dust,
from which horsemen are seen to pridk forth,
as it rolls on towai-ds the camp of the besiegers.


which lay between the town and the new armj^ifcsA'*^^
was approaching.

Tliis turns out to be the army of Sacrlpant,
which, arriving the morning after the capture
of Astolpho, attacks that of Agrican, with the
view of cutting a passage through his camp into
the besieged city. Agrican, however, mounted
on Bayardo, taken from Astolpho, but not
armed with the lance of gold, with the virtues
of which he appears to have been unacquainted,
performs prodigies, and rallies his scattered
troops, which had given way to the sudden
and unexpected assault. Sacripant, on the
other hand, encourages his own by the most
desperate acts of valour, and, as an additional
incentive to his courage, sends a messenger to
Angelica, entreating that she will appear upon
the walls. She not only complies with this in-
vitation, but sends him a sword as an earnest
of her favour.

She arrives in time to see a swi n gl e combat
F 4



Jbetw een th g, two leader s, Agrica n an^^^Sacxi-
pant: in this, however, her defender appears
to be rather overmatched, when the Cir-
cassians break the ring, and separate the two
combatants, who are borne asunder by the
crowd. Sacrij)antj,_gho^ was^everely woundedj
profits by the occasion, and escapes into Albracca,
where he is put to bed and carefully attended.

The duel is an omen of the event of the
b attlcg and the Circassians, who had at first
penetrated within their enemies' lines, are now
routed and fly in confiision towards the town.
Angelica orders the drawbridge to be lowered,
and the gates to be thrown open to the fugi-
tives. With these .4grican, who was not distin-
guished in the hurly-burly, enters the place
pell mell, driving both Circassians and Catayans
before him, and the portcullis is instantly dropt.

Thus shut into the besieged city, the Tartar
king continues the chase, regardless of his re-
treat being Intercepted, and deluges the streets
with blood. Sacripaiit, heaiing tlie tumult, and


learning the cause, leaps from bed, naked and I
wounded as he was, and armed only with his |
sword and shield, opposes himself to his fury. /
His example and his reproaches take effect.
Her allies the flyers, and, fresh forces coming
to his assistance, and pouring in upon Agrican
from all sides, the Tartar king slowly and re-
luctantly retreats. «,.»«.-.»e*«-— '^-

The author here suspends this story, to

speak ofRir^aJdn; wlin|n wp. 1^ issninf>

castle.^cif .Altarjipja, and pursuing his way along
the beach. Here he meets with a weeping
damsel, who, being questioned as to the cause of
her sorrow, tells him she wanders upon a hopeless
quest, andi is. in search of one who will do battle
with iiing. knights, amongst whom is Orlando.
TTiisJsjhe lady loved of Brandimart ; to whom
Rinaldo promises his assistance, trusting to ac-
complish the adventure either by valour or by
skill. The author here pauses from his nar-
rative, and exclaims,


To the grim winter and the dismal night

Succeed the balmy spring and cheerful day.
That battle had so fill'd me with affright,
That I was all confusion and dismay :
But now the strife is over, and 'tis light,
Of ladies and of love shall be my lay ;
And I will piece mjjjjrpkeijj^ and tell
What good Rinaldo and the maid befell. ,

The damsel, on their setting out together on
the adventure, insists upon Rinaldo's taking
her horse. This he refuses, and a contest of
courtesy follows, which is ended by Rinaldo's
accepting the palfrey, on condition of her m
mounting upon the croup. This she does,
in some fear for her honour ; but finding th% if^

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Online LibraryMatteo Maria BoiardoThe Orlando innamorato → online text (page 5 of 13)