Matteo Maria Boiardo.

The Orlando innamorato online

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I wandered, almost deprived of my reason ; but
time at last brought with it some alleviation of
my sorrow. To this common remedy of grief
was united the reflection that I had resigned
her to the most virtuous and most courteous of
men ; and that, however dear it might cost me,
it was impossible to repent my sacrifice.

" While I was thus wandering, my evil fortune
led me into Orgagna, whose rightful king, Po-
liphernus, was absent with the army of Agrican ;
his kingdom having, during his absence, fallen
into the possession of an evil woman, who makes
all strangers her prey. This enchantress (for
such she is), whose name is F alerina ^ has a
beautiful garden, which is only open towards
the east; where a serpent keeps the gate, to
whom Falerina gives her unfortunate prisoners
to be devoured. The names of these are
paired, a cavalier and a lady, according to the
order of their arrival; and a couple is thus
every day offered to the monster.


" I was amongst the prisoners of Falerina;
when tidings of my imprisonment, for my
greater misfortune, reached the ears o fPrasildo,
the noble gentleman to whom I had relin-
quished Tisbina. Unknown to me, he imme-
diately set out for the enchanted garden, loaded
with treasure, with which he attempted to
accomplish my release. iUl , Jiis.. £Ci(ieaYi?.ursj
however, were vain ; and desperate of accom-
plishing it in any other way, he offered himself
as a victim in my place. This offer was ac-
cepted : I was thrust out of the dungeon, and
he remains a prisone r in my stead. This day
is that appointed for his sacrifice, which shall
not be consummated, whilst I am alive : for it
is my resolution, when he is led out of prison to
be conducted to the place of punishment, to
attack his guards and perish in his defence.
My single source of grief is, that I shall not be
able to purchase his deliverance with my life."
I Rinaldo bids the stranger be of better


cheer, and offers to join him in the attack of
Prasildo's guards, to which Iroldo, who con-
ceives this will be a useless sacrifice of life, very
unwillingly accedes.

The issue of the attempt is, however, very
different from what Iroldo had anticipated.
The rabble, who were conducting two prisoners
to the place of execution, are set upon by the
knights, and scattered on all sides ; principally I
by the valour of Rinaldo.

In the male prisoner Iroldo recognizes Pra-
sildo, as he had expected ; and the damsel turns
out to be Flordehs . Rinaldo is now impatient
to crown his victory with the destruction of
the enchanted garden ; but ^ ^e ^amsel. hk
formey ff^ltf,^- ^^er vainly seeking to terrify him
by a description of the various monsters and
enchantments by which it was guarded, reminds
him of the imprisonment of Orlando2^and,lji§ ..
unaccomplished promise to achieve the destruc- ..
tion of the garden of Dragontina. This con-


sideration prevails over his anxiety to demolish
that of Falerina; an d in company with his
two friends and the damsel, who all become
C^hristians in admiration of his prowess and in
gratitude for their deliverance, proceeds on his
journey towards the garden of Dragontina.

This however had been previously de-
stroyed and effaced, even to the last vestige, by
the talisman of Angelica.

The knights, pursuing their journey towards
its former situation, meet on their way a fu-
gitive from Agrican's army ; who gives such an
account of the prowess of a champion who
fought upon the part of Angelica, that Rinaldo
is persuaded this must have been Orlando;
though all are at a loss to imagine how he
could have been freed. They had not pro-
ceeded much farther, when they saw a warrior
under some trees, to whom a damsel was pre-
senting a horse. This warrior Flordehs recog-
nized by her bearhigs for Marphisa, and whwr


she especially counselled her companions to
avoid. They, however, and more especially
Rinaldo, treated the caution with contempt, \
and made boldly towards the virago.

As she is just mounting, to defy them to the
joust, she is approached by an elderly man, all
in tears, who relates the overthrow of Gala-
phron's vanguard, and entreats her assistance ;
which she promises to bestow, as soon as she |
shall have unhorsed and taken the approaching I

Advancing against them, she first encounters

and overthrows Iroldo and Prasildo in suc-

^^- - .. ...... .. . ^ ,, , , _^

cession, who are made prisoners by some of y^^\ ilf^'^
Marphisa's followers, that were in waiting, to- ^
gether with the attendant damsel. She next Qt/X^
meets Rinaldo, and breaks upon him an enor-
mous lance, which had never yet failed her.
Rinaldo too breaks his upon the damsel, and
both, casting away their broken spears, encoun-
ter with their swords. Here Rinalda's .dextrous


skill in defence, and the superior temper of
Fusberta, give him a temporary advantage;
and in parrying a blow of his opponent, he
beats the faulchion out of her hand. Full of
fury, the virago deals him a deadly blow on the
face with her gauntletted hand in return, and
makes him reel in his saddle; while Rabican

wheels round and carries off his half-stupefied
rider. Marphisa instantly springs to ground
and regains her sword, and Rinaldo recovering
himself, again spurs his courser to the en-

In the mean time, Orlando, at the command
of Angelica, had galloped to the assistance of
Galaphron, at the head of his brave companions,
and had again changed the fortune of the day.
He and Agrican now meet a second time in
the medley, and renew the contest with more
fury than before; and Agrican, being at last
convinced that it will be impossible for him to


effect any thing against Albracca but by the
destruction of Orlando, determines to bring the
battle to a desperate issue, and in order to get
his adversary into a place where they shall be
secure from interruption, feigns to fly; and is
followed by Orlando to an open space in a wood,
in the middle of which is a fountain. Here,
after mutual reproaches, they again charge
each other with their swords, and still with
doubtful success. Night closes upon the com-
batants, who have passed the greater part of
the day in the interchange of blows.

The two champions again suspend their
combat almost of necessity, and agree upon a
truce till day-light. They accordingly lie ^
down together and engage in a friendly con- I Ii/ijlj^
versation. During this Agrican makes out his j
antagonist to be Orlando; and Orlando seizes
the opportunity to attempt his conversion. 1
Agrican, however, receives the proposal with 1


Utter contempt, and observes that love and
arms are the only subjects of conversation
becoming a knight.

This change of theme almost necessarily
leads to the mention of AngeUca, and the
rivals, being kindled by the discourse which
ensues between them, into new animosity, re-
mount their horses and attack each other in
the dark.

The contest is thus continued with various
success, and day breaks upon this desperate
and unheard-of duel. At length, however, the
fortune of Orlando prevails, and he after re-
ceiving many desperate contusions (for wounded
he could not be), inflicts a deadly gash in his
adversary's side.
I Agrican is now deserted by his lofty spirit,
^'and demands baptism from the hands of
Orlando :


While tears descending bathed his manly face,
The gentle count dismounted to his aid,
Then locked the wounded knight in his embrace,
Upon the fountain's grassy border laid :
And kiss'd his fading lips, and sought his grace,
And of the mischief done forgiveness prayed.
The speechless Tartar king his head inclin'd,
And with the cross his brows Orlando sign'd.

When having to his sorrow found that he
Was breathless, and all vital warmth was fled ;
He weened his gallant spirit was set free,
And by the crystal fountain left him dead ;
Clad as he was in armour cap-a-pe,
With sword in hand, and crown upon his head :
Then first towards his courser turn'd his view,
And in that steed the good Bayardo knew.

He is assured of this by a closer examination
of the gentle horse, who comes neighing to
greet the kinsman and comrade of his master.


Mounted upon him, and leading his own Brig -
liadoro, the count leaves the place, ^but has not
rode far, before he hears the clash of weapons ;
when, having first secured Brigliadoro, he rides
in the direction of the sound ; and, guided by it,
discovers a damsel, whom three giants were
conducting, with a camel and much treasure,
which they had carried away by force. One of
the giants had charge of the lady; while the
other two maintained a combat with a cavalier :
but this story is broken off, by the author, who
hastens to tell the effects, pj;gduced by the death
of A grican.

*^^"A11 was rout and dismay in the Tartarian
army; and Galaphron entering the enemy's
camp, set free Astolpho and the other prison-
ers, who were detained there. Astdptg^ is
sc arcely presente d to Angelica, before he de-
mands the means of avenging himself on the
enemy, and being furnished with a horse and
arms, immediately returns into the field. Here


he is fortunate enough to meet one clad in his own
armour, and armed with the enchanted lance.

Of these he immediately repossesses himself, ■
and jqins Galaphron and his troops, who had
pursued the flying enemy to the banks of a river,
fast by where Rinaldo and Marphisa were still
engaged. Marphisa w^as protected by enchant- I
ed harness, yet was armed with but half a
sword ; which, as related, was severed by Fus-
berta. On the other hand, the greater part of
Rinaldo's defensive armour had been hewed

Galaphron instantly knows Marphisa by her
cogriizance, but is at a loss to distinguish Ri-
naldo; till, observing Rabican, who had be-
longed to Argalia, he conceived that h§ saw in ^
him the murderer of his son. Under this
persuasion he rode at Rinaldo, and smote him
with all his force, when Marphisa, enraged at \
this interference, immediately turned her arms
against her aged commander. Brandimart and
I 2




others coming up, rescue him from the hands

of the virago, whom they take for some war-

\ rior of the Tartar troops ; when Rinaldo, as

generous as Marphisa, not enduring to see his

p^ \^ former enemy overlaid with odds, joins her
Q^ ^against those with whom she is now engaged.
The main body of Galaphron's army coming up,
reinforces the enemies of Marphisa ; who is on
her part supported by the arrival of her own
division, by whose succour, joined to tliat of
Rinaldo, she is enabled to repel the assailants.

All this time, Iroldo, Prasildo, and Flordelis,
were standing at some distance, and the damsel
of Marphisa, was entertaining them with a
history of the feats and prowess of her mis-
tress. Flordelis is by this alarmed for the
safety of Brandimart, one of the first who had
assailed Marphisa, and goes in search of him

M.- ^' amongst the warriors, who m t he virago and

*J* ^ Rinaldo had scattered, and who were making,
\ /"* in utter rout and confusion, for Albracca. She,


however, to her infinite content, finds him safe
and standing apart from the fray, he having
separated from the enemies of Marphisa,
after she was oppressed by numbers. The
happy lovers, thus re-united, retire into a
neighbouring wood, and after giving a loose
J;o their mutual tenderness fall asleep upon the

Here, however, a new and unexpected peril
was impending. Their caresses were unfortu-
nately overseen by a hermit, who dabbled in
necromancy, and who, excited by the beauties
of Flordelis, determined on making her his
prize. Among other secrets, he was possessed
of a root, which had the faculty of throwing
the person to whom it was applied, provided
it touched any part of the naked body, into a
profound and indissoluble sleep. Armed with
this, he approaches Flordelis, lifts her coats,
and applies it to her thigh. Having thus so
riveted her natural slumber, that he was surie
I 3


she could not wake for an hour to come, the
hermit snatches her up, and bears her off;
being afraid to try the virtues of his root upon
Brandimart, lest he should awake before the
charm was consummated.

Brandimart slept soundly till he was awaken-
ed by a loud noise. At the same moment he
missed Flordelis : yet, notwithstanding his un-
utterable grief, approached the quarter, from
whence the sound proceeded, in which he dis-
tinguished the cries of a woman in distress.

On his arrival he found three giants, who
were conducting a file of camels. Two of them
followed, and another preceded the string,
leading one, on which was seated a. damse l,
with dishevelled hair and weeping bitterly. In
her Brafidimart believed that he recognised Flor-
delis,, and galloped in fury against the ravishers.

The giants instantly prepare to resist him,
and in the combat which follows, he is put to
great peril, and loses his horse.


It is at this moment that Orlando, who had
lately slain Agrican, comes to his succour. His
assistance renders the combat more equal : but
Brandimart, though he has killed one of the
giants, is beaten down by another. Orlando,
however, avenges him on his enemy, and clears
the field. He has now leisure to look to his
bleeding friend, and finding there is yet life in
him, consigns him to the care of th e rescued
damsel^ who applies the proper medicaments to
his wounds.

Marphisa and Rinaldo were this while still
in full pursuit of their enemies, who found
refiige within the citadel of Albracca. Marphisa
having chased them up to the gates, menaced
Galaphron with_vengeance ; and, indeed, she
and Rinaldo had now a common cause. Mar-
phisa on account of her recent quarrel with
her former leader; and Rinaldo since the
fountain of hate had disposed him to enmity
with Angelica, and the oath, he had sworn on



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Online LibraryMatteo Maria BoiardoThe Orlando innamorato → online text (page 7 of 13)