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Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica, economica e scientifica in lingua inglese con audio di ReadSpeaker e traduttore automatico interattivo FGA Translate

  1. Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
  2. Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
  3. Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
  4. Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
  5. Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
  6. Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
  7. Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
  8. Anonimo - BEOWULF
  9. Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
  10. Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
  11. Austen, Jane - EMMA
  12. Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
  13. Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
  14. Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
  15. Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
  16. Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
  18. Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
  21. Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
  22. Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
  23. Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
  24. Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
  25. Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
  26. Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
  28. Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
  30. Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
  31. Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
  32. Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
  33. Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
  34. Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
  35. Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
  37. Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
  38. Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
  39. Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
  40. Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
  41. Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
  42. Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
  43. Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  44. Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
  45. Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
  46. Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
  47. Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
  49. Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
  50. Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
  51. Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
  52. Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
  53. Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
  54. Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
  55. Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
  56. Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
  60. Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
  62. Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
  65. Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
  66. Collodi - PINOCCHIO
  67. Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
  68. Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
  69. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
  70. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
  71. Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
  72. Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
  73. Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
  74. Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
  75. Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
  76. Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
  77. Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
  78. Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
  79. Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
  80. Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
  85. Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
  87. Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
  88. Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
  89. Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
  90. Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
  93. Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
  94. Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
  95. Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
  96. Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
  97. Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
  98. Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
  99. Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
  100. Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
  101. Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
  102. Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
  103. Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
  104. Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
  105. Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
  106. Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
  107. Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
  108. Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
  109. Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
  110. Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
  111. Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
  112. Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
  113. Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
  114. Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
  115. Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
  116. Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
  117. Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
  118. Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
  119. Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
  120. Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
  121. Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
  123. Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  124. Esopo - FABLES
  125. Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
  126. Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
  127. France, Anatole - THAIS
  128. France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
  129. France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
  130. France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
  131. Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
  132. Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
  133. Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  134. Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
  135. Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
  136. Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
  137. Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
  138. Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
  139. Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
  140. Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
  141. Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
  142. Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
  143. Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
  144. Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
  145. Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
  146. Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
  147. Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
  148. Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
  149. Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
  150. Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
  151. Goethe - FAUST
  152. Gogol - DEAD SOULS
  153. Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
  154. Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
  155. Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
  156. Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
  158. Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
  159. Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
  160. Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
  161. Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
  162. Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
  164. Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
  165. Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
  167. Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
  168. Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
  169. Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
  170. Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
  171. Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
  172. Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
  173. Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
  174. Homer - THE ILIAD
  175. Homer - THE ODYSSEY
  180. Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
  181. Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
  182. Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
  183. Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
  184. Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
  185. Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
  186. Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
  187. Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
  188. Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
  189. Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
  190. James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
  191. James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
  192. James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
  193. James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
  194. James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
  195. James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
  196. Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
  197. Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
  198. Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
  199. Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
  200. Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
  201. Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
  203. Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
  204. Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
  205. Joyce, James - ULYSSES
  206. Keats, John - ENDYMION
  207. Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
  208. Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
  209. King James - THE BIBLE
  210. Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
  211. Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
  212. Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
  213. Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
  214. Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
  215. Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
  216. Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
  217. Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
  218. Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
  219. Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
  220. Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
  221. Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
  222. Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
  223. Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
  224. Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
  225. Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
  226. Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
  227. Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
  229. Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
  231. Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
  232. Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
  233. Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
  234. Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
  235. Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
  236. Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
  237. London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
  238. London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
  239. London, Jack - WHITE FANG
  240. Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
  241. Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
  242. Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
  243. Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
  244. Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
  245. Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
  246. Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
  247. Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
  249. Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
  251. Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
  252. Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
  253. More, Thomas - UTOPIA
  254. Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
  256. Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
  257. Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
  258. Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
  259. Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
  260. Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
  261. Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
  262. Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
  263. Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
  264. Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
  265. Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
  266. Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
  267. Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
  268. Plato - THE REPUBLIC
  269. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
  270. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
  271. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
  272. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
  273. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
  274. Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
  275. Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
  276. Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
  277. Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
  279. Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
  280. Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
  281. Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
  284. Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
  285. Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
  286. Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
  287. Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
  288. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
  289. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
  290. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
  291. Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
  292. Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
  293. Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
  294. Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
  295. Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
  296. Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
  297. Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
  298. Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
  299. Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
  300. Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
  301. Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
  302. Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
  303. Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
  304. Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
  305. Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
  306. Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
  307. Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
  308. Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
  311. Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
  312. Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
  313. Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
  314. Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
  315. Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
  316. Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
  317. Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
  318. Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
  319. Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
  320. Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
  321. Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
  322. Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
  323. Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
  324. Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
  325. Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
  326. Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
  327. Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
  328. Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
  329. Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
  331. Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
  332. Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
  333. Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
  334. Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
  335. Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
  336. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
  337. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
  338. Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
  339. Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
  340. Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
  341. Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
  342. Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
  343. Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
  344. Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
  345. Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
  346. Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
  347. Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
  348. Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
  349. Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
  350. Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
  351. Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
  354. Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
  355. Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
  356. Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
  357. Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
  359. Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
  360. Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
  361. Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
  362. Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
  363. Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
  364. Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
  366. Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
  367. Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
  368. Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
  369. Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
  370. Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
  371. Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
  372. Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
  373. Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
  376. Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
  377. Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
  378. Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
  379. Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
  380. White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
  381. Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
  382. Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
  383. Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
  384. Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
  385. Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
  386. Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
  387. Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
  388. Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
  391. Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
  392. Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
  393. Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
  394. Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
  395. Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
  396. Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
  397. Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
  398. Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
  399. Wordsworth, William - POEMS
  400. Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
  401. Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN




Non si può dire di conoscere l'inglese se non si è in grado di capire le grandi opere che sono state scritte in questa lingua: i classici. E in questa sezione te ne offriamo una notevole selezione. Come strumenti ausiliari per la comprensione e la pronuncia trovi il dizionario di Babylon, il lettore automatico di ReadSpeaker e la traduzione interattiva di FGA Translate. Per attivarla basta selezionare una porzione qualsiasi di testo e, immediatamente, la traduzione in italiano comparirà in una finestrella. Qualora si desideri evitare la sovrapposizione della traduzione e dell'audio di ReadSpeaker è possibile deselezionare la casella della traduzione interattiva on/off. Dato che la pagina contiene tutta l'opera, per ascoltare le porzioni di testo successive a quelle iniziali anziché premere il pulsante Ascolta il testo si può selezionare la porzione di testo che si vuole ascoltare e poi cliccare sul simbolino di altoparlante che apparirà vicino alla porzione di testo selezionato.

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ARGUMENT Angelica, whom pressing danger frights, Flies in disorder through the greenwood shade. Rinaldo's horse escapes: he, following, fights Ferrau, the Spaniard, in a forest glade. A second oath the haughty paynim plights, And keeps it better than the first he made. King Sacripant regains his long-lost treasure; But good Rinaldo mars his promised pleasure.

I OF LOVES and LADIES, KNIGHTS and ARMS, I sing, Of COURTESIES, and many a DARING FEAT; And from those ancient days my story bring, When Moors from Afric passed in hostile fleet, And ravaged France, with Agramant their king, Flushed with his youthful rage and furious heat, Who on king Charles', the Roman emperor's head Had vowed due vengeance for Troyano dead.

II In the same strain of Roland will I tell Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme, On whom strange madness and rank fury fell, A man esteemed so wise in former time; If she, who to like cruel pass has well Nigh brought my feeble wit which fain would climb And hourly wastes my sense, concede me skill And strength my daring promise to fulfil.

III Good seed of Hercules, give ear and deign, Thou that this age's grace and splendour art, Hippolitus, to smile upon his pain Who tenders what he has with humble heart. For though all hope to quit the score were vain, My pen and pages may pay the debt in part; Then, with no jealous eye my offering scan, Nor scorn my gifts who give thee all I can.

IV And me, amid the worthiest shalt thou hear, Whom I with fitting praise prepare to grace, Record the good Rogero, valiant peer, The ancient root of thine illustrious race. Of him, if thou wilt lend a willing ear, The worth and warlike feats I shall retrace; So thou thy graver cares some little time Postponing, lend thy leisure to my rhyme.

V Roland, who long the lady of Catay, Angelica, had loved, and with his brand Raised countless trophies to that damsel gay, In India, Median, and Tartarian land, Westward with her had measured back his way; Where, nigh the Pyrenees, with many a band Of Germany and France, King Charlemagne Had camped his faithful host upon the plain.

VI To make King Agramant, for penance, smite His cheek, and rash Marsilius rue the hour; This, when all trained with lance and sword to fight, He led from Africa to swell his power; That other when he pushed, in fell despite, Against the realm of France Spain's martial flower. 'Twas thus Orlando came where Charles was tented In evil hour, and soon the deed repented.

VII For here was seized his dame of peerless charms, (How often human judgment wanders wide)! Whom in long warfare he had kept from harms, From western climes to eastern shores her guide In his own land, 'mid friends and kindred arms, Now without contest severed from his side. Fearing the mischief kindled by her eyes, From him the prudent emperor reft the prize.

VIII For bold Orlando and his cousin, free Rinaldo, late contended for the maid, Enamored of that beauty rare; since she Alike the glowing breast of either swayed. But Charles, who little liked such rivalry, And drew an omen thence of feebler aid, To abate the cause of quarrel, seized the fair, And placed her in Bavarian Namus' care.

IX Vowing with her the warrior to content, Who in that conflict, on that fatal day, With his good hand most gainful succour lent, And slew most paynims in the martial fray. But counter to his hopes the battle went, And his thinned squadrons fled in disarray; Namus, with other Christian captains taken, And his pavilion in the rout forsaken.

X There, lodged by Charles, that gentle bonnibel, Ordained to be the valiant victor's meed, Before the event had sprung into her sell, And from the combat turned in time of need; Presaging wisely Fortune would rebel That fatal day against the Christian creed: And, entering a thick wood, discovered near, In a close path, a horseless cavalier.

XI With shield upon his arm, in knightly wise, Belted and mailed, his helmet on his head; The knight more lightly through the forest hies Than half-clothed churl to win the cloth of red. But not from cruel snake more swiftly flies The timid shepherdess, with startled tread, Than poor Angelica the bridle turns When she the approaching knight on foot discerns.

XII This was that Paladin, good Aymon's seed, Who Mount Albano had in his command; And late Baiardo lost, his gallant steed, Escaped by strange adventure from his hand. As soon as seen, the maid who rode at speed The warrior knew, and, while yet distant, scanned The angelic features and the gentle air Which long had held him fast in Cupid's snare.

XIII The affrighted damsel turns her palfrey round, And shakes the floating bridle in the wind; Nor in her panic seeks to choose her ground, Nor open grove prefers to thicket blind. But reckless, pale and trembling, and astound, Leaves to her horse the devious way to find. He up and down the forest bore the dame, Till to a sylvan river's bank he came.

XIV Here stood the fierce Ferrau in grisly plight, Begrimed with dust, and bathed with sweat and blood Who lately had withdrawn him from the fight, To rest and drink at that refreshing flood: But there had tarried in his own despite, Since bending from the bank, in hasty mood, He dropped his helmet in the crystal tide, And vainly to regain the treasure tried.

XV Thither at speed she drives, and evermore In her wild panic utters fearful cries; And at the voice, upleaping on the shore, The Saracen her lovely visage spies. And, pale as is her cheek, and troubled sore, Arriving, quickly to the warrior's eyes (Though many days no news of her had shown) The beautiful Angelica is known.

XVI Courteous, and haply gifted with a breast As warm as either of the cousins two; As bold, as if his brows in steel were dressed, The succour which she sought he lent, and drew His faulchion, and against Rinaldo pressed, Who saw with little fear the champion true. Not only each to each was known by sight, But each had proved in arms his foeman's might.

XVII Thus, as they are, on foot the warriors vie In cruel strife, and blade to blade oppose; No marvel plate or brittle mail should fly, When anvils had not stood the deafening blows. It now behoves the palfrey swift to ply His feet; for while the knights in combat close, Him vexed to utmost speed, with goading spurs, By waste or wood the frighted damsel stirs.

XVIII After the two had struggled long to throw Each other in the strife, and vainly still; Since neither valiant warrior was below His opposite in force and knightly skill: The first to parley with his Spanish foe Was the good master of Albano's hill (As one within whose raging breast was pent A reckless fire which struggled for a vent).

XIX "Thou think'st," he said, "to injure me alone, But know thou wilt thyself as much molest: For if we fight because yon rising sun This raging heat has kindled in thy breast. What were thy gain, and what the guerdon won, Though I should yield my life, or stoop my crest; If she shall never be thy glorious meed, Who flies, while vainly we in battle bleed?

XX "Then how much better, since our stake's the same, Thou, loving like myself, should'st mount and stay To wait this battle's end, the lovely dame, Before she fly yet further on her way. The lady taken, we repeat our claim With naked faulchion to that peerless prey: Else by long toil I see not what we gain But simple loss and unrequited pain."

XXI The peer's proposal pleased the paynim well. And so their hot contention was foregone; And such fair truce replaced that discord fell, So mutual wrongs forgot and mischief done; That for departure seated in his sell, On foot the Spaniard left not Aymon's son; But him to mount his courser's crupper prayed; And both united chased the royal maid.

XXII Oh! goodly truth in cavaliers of old! Rivals they were, to different faith were bred. Not yet the weary warriors' wounds were cold -- Still smarting from those strokes so fell and dread. Yet they together ride by waste and wold, And, unsuspecting, devious dingle thread. Them, while four spurs infest his foaming sides, Their courser brings to where the way divides.

XXIII And now the warlike pair at fault, for they Knew not by which she might her palfrey goad, (Since both, without distinction, there survey The recent print of hoofs on either road), Commit the chase to fortune. By this way The paynim pricked, by that Rinaldo strode. But fierce Ferrau, bewildered in the wood, Found himself once again where late he stood.

XXIV Beside the water, where he stoop'd to drink, And dropt the knightly helmet, -- to his cost, Sunk in the stream; and since he could not think Her to retrieve, who late his hopes had crossed. He, where the treasure fell, descends the brink Of that swift stream, and seeks the morion lost. But the casque lies so bedded in the sands, 'Twill ask no light endeavour at his hands.

XXV A bough he severs from a neighbouring tree, And shreds and shapes the branch into a pole: With this he sounds the stream, and anxiously Fathoms, and rakes, and ransacks shelf and hole. While angered sore at heart, and restless, he So lingered, where the troubled waters roll, Breast-high, from the mid river rose upright, The apparition of an angry knight.

XXVI Armed at all points he was, except his head, And in his better hand a helmet bore: The very casque, which in the river's bed Ferrau sought vainly, toiling long and sore. Upon the Spanish knight he frowned, and said: "Thou traitor to thy word, thou perjured Moor, Why grieve the goodly helmet to resign, Which, due to me long since, is justly mine?

XXVII "Remember, pagan, when thine arm laid low The brother of Angelica. That knight Am I; -- thy word was plighted then to throw After my other arms his helmet bright. If Fortune now compel thee to forego The prize, and do my will in thy despite, Grieve not at this, but rather grieve that thou Art found a perjured traitor to thy vow.

XXVIII "But if thou seek'st a helmet, be thy task To win and wear it more to thy renown. A noble prize were good Orlando's casque; Rinaldo's such, or yet a fairer crown; Almontes', or Mambrino's iron masque: Make one of these, by force of arms, thine own. And this good helm will fitly be bestowed Where (such thy promise) it has long been owed."

XXIX Bristled the paynim's every hair at view Of that grim shade, uprising from the tide, And vanished was his fresh and healthful hue, While on his lips the half-formed accents died. Next hearing Argalia, whom he slew, (So was the warrior hight) that stream beside, Thus his unknightly breach of promise blame, He burned all over, flushed with rage and shame.

XXX Nor having time his falsehood to excuse, And knowing well how true the phantom's lore, Stood speechless; such remorse the words infuse. Then by Lanfusa's life the warrior swore, Never in fight, or foray would he use Helmet but that which good Orlando bore From Aspramont, where bold Almontes paid His life a forfeit to the Christian blade.

XXXI And this new vow discharged more faithfully Than the vain promise which was whilom plight; And from the stream departing heavily, Was many days sore vexed and grieved in sprite; And still intent to seek Orlando, he Roved wheresoe'er he hoped to find the knight. A different lot befel Rinaldo; who Had chanced another pathway to pursue.

XXXII For far the warrior fared not, ere he spied, Bounding across the path, his gallant steed, And, "Stay, Bayardo mine," Rinaldo cried, "Too cruel care the loss of thee does breed." The horse for this returned not to his side, Deaf to his prayer, but flew with better speed. Furious, in chase of him, Rinaldo hies. But follow we Angelica, who flies.

XXXIII Through dreary woods and dark the damsel fled, By rude unharboured heath and savage height, While every leaf or spray that rustled, bred (Of oak, or elm, or beech), such new affright, She here and there her foaming palfrey sped By strange and crooked paths with furious flight; And at each shadow, seen in valley blind, Or mountain, feared Rinaldo was behind.

XXXIV As a young roe or fawn of fallow deer, Who, mid the shelter of its native glade, Has seen a hungry pard or tiger tear The bosom of its bleeding dam, dismayed, Bounds, through the forest green in ceaseless fear Of the destroying beast, from shade to shade, And at each sapling touched, amid its pangs, Believes itself between the monster's fangs,

XXXV One day and night, and half the following day, The damsel wanders wide, nor whither knows; Then enters a deep wood, whose branches play, Moved lightly by the freshening breeze which blows. Through this two clear and murmuring rivers stray: Upon their banks a fresher herbage grows; While the twin streams their passage slowly clear, Make music with the stones, and please the ear.

XXXVI Weening removed the way by which she wends, A thousand miles from loathed Rinaldo's beat, To rest herself a while the maid intends, Wearied with that long flight and summer's heat. She from her saddle 'mid spring flowers descends And takes the bridle from her courser fleet. And loose along the river lets him pass, Roving the banks in search of lusty grass.

XXXVII Behold! at hand a thicket she surveys Gay with the flowering thorn and vermeil rose: The tuft reflected in the stream which strays Beside it, overshadowing oaks enclose. Hollow within, and safe from vulgar gaze, It seemed a place constructed for repose; With bows so interwoven, that the light Pierced not the tangled screen, far less the sight.

XXXVIII Within soft moss and herbage form a bed; And to delay and rest the traveller woo. 'Twas there her limbs the weary damsel spread, Her eye-balls bathed in slumber's balmy dew. But little time had eased her drooping head, Ere, as she weened, a courser's tramp she knew. Softly she rises, and the river near, Armed cap-a-pie, beholds a cavalier.

XXXIX If friend or foe, she nothing comprehends, (So hope and fear her doubting bosom tear) And that adventure's issue mute attends, Nor even with a sigh disturbs the air. The cavalier upon the bank descends; And sits so motionless, so lost in care, (His visage propt upon his arm) to sight Changed into senseless stone appeared the knight.

XL Pensive, above an hour, with drooping head, He rested mute, ere he began his moan; And then his piteous tale of sorrow said, Lamenting in so soft and sweet a tone, He in a tiger's breast had pity bred, Or with his mournful wailings rent a stone. And so he sighed and wept; like rivers flowed His tears, his bosom like an Aetna glowed.

XLI "Thought which now makes me burn, now freeze with hate, Which gnaws my heart and rankles at its root! What's left to me," he said, "arrived too late, While one more favoured bears away the fruit? Bare words and looks scarce cheered my hopeless state, And the prime spoils reward another's suit. Then since for me nor fruit nor blossom hangs, Why should I longer pine in hopeless pangs?

XLII "The virgin has her image in the rose Sheltered in garden on its native stock, Which there in solitude and safe repose, Blooms unapproached by sheperd or by flock. For this earth teems, and freshening water flows, And breeze and dewy dawn their sweets unlock: With such the wistful youth his bosom dresses. With such the enamored damsel braids her tresses.

XLIII "But wanton hands no sooner this displace From the maternal stem, where it was grown, Than all is withered; whatsoever grace It found with man or heaven; bloom, beauty, gone. The damsel who should hold in higher place Than light or life the flower which is her own, Suffering the spoiler's hand to crop the prize, Forfeits her worth in every other's eyes.

XLIV "And be she cheap with all except the wight On whom she did so large a boon bestow. Ah! false and cruel Fortune! foul despite! While others triumph, I am drown'd in woe. And can it be that I such treasure slight? And can I then my very life forego? No! let me die; 'twere happiness above A longer life, if I must cease to love."

XLV If any ask who made this sorrowing, And pour'd into the stream so many tears, I answer, it was fair Circassia's king, That Sacripant, oppressed with amorous cares. Love is the source from which his troubles spring, The sole occasion of his pains and fears; And he to her a lover's service paid, Now well remembered by the royal maid.

XLVI He for her sake from Orient's farthest reign Roved thither, where the sun descends to rest; For he was told in India, to his pain, That she Orlando followed to the west. He after learned in France that Charlemagne Secluded from that champion and the rest, As a fit guerdon, mewed her for the knight Who should protect the lilies best in fight.

XLVII The warrior in the field had been, and viewed, Short time before, king Charlemagne's disgrace; And vainly had Angelica pursued, Nor of the damsel's footsteps found a trace. And this is what the weeping monarch rued, And this he so bewailed in doleful case: Hence, into words his lamentations run, Which might for pity stop the passing sun.

XLVIII While Sacripant laments him in this plight, And makes a tepid fountain of his eyes; And, what I deem not needful to recite, Pours forth yet other plaints and piteous cries; Propitious Fortune will his lady bright Should hear the youth lament him in such wise: And thus a moment compassed what, without Such chance, long ages had not brought about.

XLIX With deep attention, while the warrior weeps, She marks the fashion of the grief and tears And words of him, whose passion never sleeps; Nor this the first confession which she hears. But with his plaint her heart no measure keeps, Cold as the column which the builder rears. Like haughty maid, who holds herself above The world, and deems none worthy of her love.

L But her from harm amid those woods to keep, The damsel weened she might his guidance need; For the poor drowning caitiff, who, chin-deep, Implores not help, is obstinate indeed. Nor will she, if she let the occasion sleep, Find escort that will stand her in such stead: For she that king by long experience knew Above all other lovers, kind and true.

LI But not the more for this the maid intends To heal the mischief which her charms had wrought, And for past ills to furnish glad amends In that full bliss by pining lover sought. To keep the king in play are all her ends, His help by some device or fiction bought, And having to her purpose taxed his daring, To reassume as wont her haughty bearing.

LII An apparition bright and unforeseen, She stood like Venus or Diana fair, In solemn pageant, issuing on the scene From out of shadowy wood or murky lair. And "Peace be with you," cried the youthful queen, "And God preserve my honour in his care, Nor suffer that you blindly entertain Opinion of my fame so false and vain!"

LIII Not with such wonderment a mother eyes, With such excessive bliss the son she mourned As dead, lamented still with tears and sighs, Since the thinned files without her boy returned. -- Not such her rapture as the king's surprise And ecstasy of joy when he discerned The lofty presence, cheeks of heavenly hue, And lovely form which broke upon his view.

LIV He, full of fond and eager passion, pressed Towards his Lady, his Divinity; And she now clasped the warrior to her breast, Who in Catay had haply been less free. And now again the maid her thoughts addressed Towards her native land and empery: And feels, with hope revived, her bosom beat Shortly to repossess her sumptuous seat.

LV Her chances all to him the damsel said, Since he was eastward sent to Sericane By her to seek the martial monarch's aid, Who swayed the sceptre of that fair domain; And told how oft Orlando's friendly blade Had saved her from dishonour, death, and pain; And how she so preserved her virgin flower Pure as it blossomed in her natal hour.

LVI Haply the tale was true; yet will not seem Likely to one of sober sense possessed: But Sacripant, who waked from worser dream, In all without a cavil acquiesced: Since love, who sees without one guiding gleam, Spies in broad day but that which likes him best: For one sign of the afflicted man's disease Is to give ready faith to things which please.

LVII "If good Anglante's lord the prize forbore, Nor seized the fair occasion when he might, The loss be his, if Fortune never more Him to enjoy so fair a prize invite. To imitate that lord of little lore I think not," said, apart, Circassa's knight. "To quit such proffered good, and, to my shame, Have but myself on after-thought to blame.

LVIII "No! I will pluck the fresh and morning rose, Which, should I tarry, may be overblown. To woman, (this my own experience shows), No deed more sweet or welcome can be done. Then, whatsoever scorn the damsel shows, Though she awhile may weep and make her moan, I will, unchecked by anger, false or true, Or sharp repulse, my bold design pursue."

LIX This said, he for the soft assault prepares, When a loud noise within the greenwood shade Beside him, rang in his astounded ears, And sore against his will the monarch stayed. He donned his helm (his other arms he wears), Aye wont to rove in steel, with belted blade, Replaced the bridle on his courser fleet, Grappled his lance, and sprang into his seat.

LX With the bold semblance of a valiant knight, Behold a warrior threads the forest hoar. The stranger's mantle was of snowy white, And white alike the waving plume he wore. Balked of his bliss, and full of fell despite, The monarch ill the interruption bore, And spurred his horse to meet him in mid space, With hate and fury glowing in his face.

LXI Him he defies to fight, approaching nigh, And weens to make him stoop his haughty crest: The other knight, whose worth I rate as high, His warlike prowess puts to present test; Cuts short his haughty threats and angry cry, And spurs, and lays his levelled lance in rest. In tempest wheels Circassia's valiant peer, And at his foeman's head each aims his spear.

LXII Not brindled bulls or tawny lions spring To forest warfare with such deadly will As those two knights, the stranger and the king. Their spears alike the opposing bucklers thrill: The solid ground, at their encountering, Trembles from fruitful vale to naked hill: And well it was the mail in which they dressed Their bodies was of proof, and saved the breast.

LXIII Nor swerved the chargers from their destined course; Who met like rams, and butted head to head. The warlike Saracen's ill-fated horse, Well valued while alive, dropt short and dead: The stranger's, too, fell senseless; but perforce Was roused by rowel from his grassy bed. That of the paynim king, extended straight, Lay on his battered lord with all his weight.

LXIV Upright upon his steed, the knight unknown, Who at the encounter horse and rider threw, Deeming enough was in the conflict done, Cares not the worthless warfare to renew; But endlong by the readiest path is gone, And measures, pricking frith and forest through, A mile, or little less, in furious heat, Ere the foiled Saracen regains his feet.

LXV As the bewildered and astonished clown Who held the plough (the thunder storm o'erpast) There, where the deafening bolt had beat him down, Nigh his death-stricken cattle, wakes aghast, And sees the distant pine without its crown, Which he saw clad in leafy honours last; So rose the paynim knight with troubled face, The maid spectatress of the cruel case.

LXVI He sighs and groans, yet not for mischief sore Endured in wounded arm or foot which bled; But for mere shame, and never such before Or after, dyed his cheek so deep a red, And if he rued his fall, it grieved him more His dame should lift him from his courser dead. He speechless had remained, I ween, if she Had not his prisoned tongue and voice set free.

LXVII "Grieve not," she said, "sir monarch, for thy fall; But let the blame upon thy courser be! To whom more welcome had been forage, stall, And rest, than further joust and jeopardy; And well thy foe the loser may I call, (Who shall no glory gain) for such is he Who is the first to quit his ground, if aught Angelica of fighting fields be taught."

LXVIII While she so seeks the Saracen to cheer, Behold a messenger with pouch and horn, On panting hackney! -- man and horse appear With the long journey, weary and forlorn. He questions Sacripant, approaching near, Had he seen warrior pass, by whom were borne A shield and crest of white; in search of whom Through the wide forest pricked the weary groom.

LXIX King Sacripant made answer, "As you see, He threw me here, and went but now his way: Then tell the warrior's name, that I may be Informed whose valour foiled me in the fray." To him the groom, -- "That which you ask of me I shall relate to you without delay: Know that you were in combat prostrate laid By the tried valour of a gentle maid.

LXX "Bold is the maid; but fairer yet than bold, Nor the redoubted virgin's name I veil: 'Twas Bradamant who marred what praise of old Your prowess ever won with sword and mail." This said, he spurred again, his story told, And left him little gladdened by the tale. He recks not what he says or does, for shame, And his flushed visage kindles into flame.

LXXI After the woeful warrior long had thought Upon his cruel case, and still in vain, And found a woman his defeat had wrought, For thinking but increased the monarch's pain, He climbed the other horse, nor spake he aught; But silently uplifted from the plain, Upon the croup bestowed that damsel sweet, Reserved to gladder use in safer seat.

LXXII Two miles they had not rode before they hear The sweeping woods which spread about them, sound With such loud crash and trample, far and near, The forest seemed to tremble all around; And shortly after see a steed appear, With housings wrought in gold and richly bound; Who clears the bush and stream, with furious force And whatsoever else impedes his course.

LXXIII "Unless the misty air," the damsel cries, "And boughs deceive my sight, yon noble steed Is, sure, Bayardo, who before us flies, And parts the wood with such impetuous speed. -- Yes, 'tis Bayardo's self I recognize. How well the courser understands our need! Two riders ill a foundered jade would bear, But hither speeds the horse to end that care."

LXXIV The bold Circassian lighted, and applied His hand to seize him by the flowing rein, Who, swiftly turning, with his heels replied, For he like lightning wheeled upon the plain. Woe to the king! but that he leaps aside, For should he smite, he would not lash in vain. Such are his bone and sinew, that the shock Of his good heels had split a metal rock.

LXXV Then to the maid he goes submissively, With gentle blandishment and humble mood; As the dog greets his lord with frolic glee, Whom, some short season past, he had not viewed. For good Bayardo had in memory Albracca, where her hands prepared his food, What time the damsel loved Rinaldo bold; Rinaldo, then ungrateful, stern, and cold.

LXXVI With her left hand she takes him by the bit, And with the other pats his sides and chest: While the good steed (so marvellous his wit), Lamb-like, obeyed the damsel and caressed. Meantime the king, who sees the moment fit, Leapt up, and with his knees the courser pressed. While on the palfrey, eased of half his weight, The lady left the croup, and gained the seat.

LXXVII Then, as at hazard, she directs her sight, Sounding in arms a man on foot espies, And glows with sudden anger and despite; For she in him the son of Aymon eyes. Her more than life esteems the youthful knight, While she from him, like crane from falcon, flies. Time was the lady sighed, her passion slighted; 'Tis now Rinaldo loves, as ill requited.

LXXVIII And this effect two different fountains wrought, Whose wonderous waters different moods inspire. Both spring in Arden, with rare virtue fraught: This fills the heart with amorous desire: Who taste that other fountain are untaught Their love, and change for ice their former fire. Rinaldo drank the first, and vainly sighs; Angelica the last, and hates and flies.

LXXIX Mixed with such secret bane the waters glide, Which amorous care convert to sudden hate; The maid no sooner had Rinaldo spied, Than on her laughing eyes deep darkness sate: And with sad mien and trembling voice she cried To Sacripant, and prayed him not to wait The near approach of the detested knight, But through the wood with her pursue his flight.

LXXX To her the Saracen, with anger hot: "Is knightly worship sunk so low in me, That thou should'st hold my valour cheap, and not Sufficient to make yonder champion flee? Already are Albracca's fights forgot, And that dread night I singly stood for thee? That night when I, though naked, was thy shield Against King Agrican and all his field?"

LXXXI She answers not, and knows not in her fear What 'tis she does; Rinaldo is too nigh: And from afar that furious cavalier Threats the bold Saracen with angry cry, As soon as the known steed and damsel dear, Whose charms such flame had kindled, meet his eye. But what ensued between the haughty pair I in another canto shall declare.


ARGUMENT A hermit parts, by means of hollow sprite, The two redoubted rivals' dangerous play; Rinaldo goes where Love and Hope invite, But is dispatched by Charles another way; Bradamont, seeking her devoted knight, The good Rogero, nigh becomes the prey Of Pinabel, who drops the damsel brave Into the dungeon of a living grave.

I Injurious love, why still to mar accord Between desires has been thy favourite feat? Why does it please thee so, perfidious lord, Two hearts should with a different measure beat? Thou wilt not let me take the certain ford, Dragging me where the stream is deep and fleet. Her I abandon who my love desires, While she who hates, respect and love inspires.

II Thou to Rinaldo show'st the damsel fair, While he seems hideous to that gentle dame; And he, who when the lady's pride and care, Paid back with deepest hate her amorous flame, Now pines, himself, the victim of despair, Scorned in his turn, and his reward the same. By the changed damsel in such sort abhorred, She would choose death before that hated lord.

III He to the Pagan cries: "Forego thy theft, And down, false felon, from that pilfer'd steed; I am not wont to let my own be reft. And he who seeks it dearly pays the deed. More -- I shall take from thee yon lovely weft; To leave thee such a prize were foul misdeed; And horse and maid, whose worth outstrips belief, Were ill, methinks, relinquished to a thief."

IV "Thou liest," the haughty Saracen retorts, As proud, and burning with as fierce a flame, "A thief thyself, if Fame the truth reports: But let good deeds decide our dubious claim, With whom the steed or damsel fair assorts: Best proved by valiant deeds: though, for the dame, That nothing is so precious, I with thee (Search the wide world throughout) may well agree."

V As two fierce dogs will somtimes stand at gaze, Whom hate or other springs of strife inspire, And grind their teeth, while each his foe surveys With sidelong glance and eyes more red than fire, Then either falls to bites, and hoarsely bays, While their stiff bristles stand on end with ire: So from reproach and menace to the sword Pass Sacripant and Clermont's angry lord.

VI Thus kindling into wrath the knights engage: One is on foot, the other on his horse: Small gain to this; for inexperienced page Would better rein his charger in the course. For such Baiardo's sense, he will not wage War with his master, or put out his force. For voice, nor hand, nor manage, will he stir, Rebellious to the rein or goading spur.

VII He, when the king would urge him, takes the rest, Or, when he curbs him, runs in giddy rings; And drops his head beneath his spreading chest, And plays his spine, and runs an-end and flings. And now the furious Saracen distressed, Sees 'tis no time to tame the beast, and springs, With one hand on the pummel, to the ground; Clear of the restless courser at a bound.

VIII As soon as Sacripant, with well-timed leap, Is from the fury of Bayardo freed, You may believe the battle does not sleep Between those champions, matched in heart and deed. Their sounding blades such changeful measure keep, The hammer-strokes of Vulcan with less speed Descend in that dim cavern, where he heats, And Jove's red thunders on his anvil beats.

IX Sometimes they lunge, then feign the thrust and parry: Deep masters of the desperate game they play; Or rise upon the furious stroke, and carry Their swords aloft, or stoop and stand at bay. Again they close, again exhausted tarry; Now hide, now show themselves, and now give way, And where one knight an inch of ground has granted, His foeman's foot upon that inch is planted.

X When, lo! Rinaldo, now impatient grown, Strikes full at Sacripant with lifted blade; And he puts forth his buckler made of bone, And well with strong and stubborn steel inlaid: Though passing thick, Fusberta cleaves it: groan Greenwood, and covert close, and sunny glade. The paynim's arm rings senseless with the blow, And steel and bone, like ice, in shivers go.

XI When the fair damsel saw, with timid eye, Such ruin follow from the faulchion's sway, She, like the criminal, whose doom is nigh, Changed her fair countenance through sore dismay, And deemed that little time was left to fly If she would not be that Rinaldo's prey, Rinaldo loathed by her as much, as he Doats on the scornful damsel miserably.

XII So turned her horse into the gloomy chase, And drove him through rough path and tangled ally And oftentimes bent back her bloodless face, And saw Rinaldo from each thicket sally. Nor flying long had urged the frantic race, Before she met a hermit in a valley. Devotion in his aspect was expressed, And his long beard descended on his breast.

XIII Wasted he was as much by fasts as age, And on an ass was mounted, slow and sure; His visage warranted that never sage Had conscience more precise or passing pure. Though in his arteries time had stilled the rage Of blood, and spake him feeble and demure, At sight of the delighted damsel, he Was inly stirred for very charity.

XIV The lady prayed that kindly friar, that he Would straight conduct her to some haven near, For that she from the land of France might flee, And never more of loathed Rinaldo hear. The hermit, who was skilled in sorcery, Ceased not to soothe the gentle damsel's fear. And with the promise of deliverance, shook His pocket, and drew forth a secret book.

XV This opened, quick and mighty marvel wrought; For not a leaf is finished by the sage, Before a spirit, by his bidding brought, Waits his command in likeness of a page: He, by the magic writ constrained and taught, Hastes where the warriors face to face engage, In the cool shade -- but not in cool disport -- And steps between, and stops their battle short.

XVI "In courtesy," he cried, "let either show What his foe's death to either can avail, And what the guerdon conquest will bestow On him who in the battle shall prevail, If Roland, though he has not struck a blow, Or snapt in fight a single link of mail, To Paris-town conveys the damsel gay, Who has engaged you in this bitter fray.

XVII "Within an easy mile I saw the peer Pricking to Paris with that lady bright; Riding, in merry mood, with laugh and jeer, And mocking at your fierce and fruitless fight. Sure it were better, while they yet are near, To follow peer and damsel in their flight: For should he once in Paris place his prize The lady never more shall meet your eyes."

XVIII You might have seen those angry cavaliers Change at the demon's tale for rage and shame; And curse themselves as wanting eyes and ears, To let their rival cheat them of the dame. Towards his horse the good Rinaldo steers, Breathing forth piteous sighs which seem of flame; And, if he joins Orlando -- ere they part -- Swears in his fury he will have his heart.

XIX So, passing where the prompt Bayardo stood, Leaps on his back, and leaves, as swift as wind, Without farewell, his rival in the wood; Much less invites him to a seat behind. The goaded charger, in his heat of blood, Forces whate'er his eager course confined, Ditch, river, tangled thorn, or marble block; He swims the river, and he clears the rock.

XX Let it not, sir, sound strangely in your ear Rinaldo took the steed thus readily, So long and vainly followed far and near; For he, endued with reasoning faculty, Had not in vice lured on the following peer, But fled before his cherished lord, that he Might guide him whither went the gentle dame, For whom, as he had heard, he nursed a flame.

XXI For when Angelica, in random dread, From the pavilion winged her rapid flight, Bayardo marked the damsel as she fled, His saddle lightened of Mount Alban's knight; Who then on foot an equal combat sped, Matched with a baron of no meaner might; And chased the maid by woods, and floods, and strands, In hopes to place her in the warrior's hands.

XXII And, with desire to bring him to the maid, Gallopped before him still with rampant play; But would not let his master mount, afraid That he might make him take another way. So luring on Rinaldo through the shade, Twice brought him to his unexpected prey; Twice foiled in his endeavour: once by bold Ferrau; then Sacripant, as lately told.

XXIII Now good Bayardo had believed the tiding Of that fair damsel, which produced the accord; And in the devil's cunning tale confiding, Renewed his wonted service to his lord. Behold Rinaldo then in fury riding, And pushing still his courser Paris-ward! Though he fly fast, the champion's wishes go Faster; and wind itself had seemed too slow.

XXIV At night Rinaldo rests his steed, with pain To meet Anglante's lord he burned so sore; And lent such credit to the tidings vain Of the false courier of that wizard hoar: And that day and the next, with flowing rein, Rode, till the royal city rose before His eyes; where Charlemagne had taken post, With the sad remnant of his broken host.

XXV He, for he fears the Afric king's pursuit, And sap and siege, upon his vassals calls To gather in fresh victual, and recruit And cleanse their ditches, and repair their walls. And what may best annoy the foes, and suit For safety, without more delay forestalls; And plans an embassy to England, thence To gather fresher forces for defence.

XXVI For he is bent again to try the fate Of arms in tented field, though lately shamed; And send Rinaldo to the neighbouring state Of Britain, which was after England named. Ill liked the Paladin to cross the strait; Not that the people or the land he blamed, But that King Charles was sudden; nor a day Would grant the valiant envoy for delay.

XXVII Rinaldo never executed thing Less willingly, prevented in his quest Of that fair visage he was following, Whose charms his heart had ravished from his breast. Yet, in obediance to the christian king, Prepared himself to do the royal hest. To Calais the good envoy wends with speed, And the same day embarks himself and steed.

XXVIII And there, in scorn of cautious pilot's skill (Such his impatience to regain his home), Launched on the doubtful sea, which boded ill, And rolled its heavy billows, white with foam. The wind, enraged that he opposed his will, Stirred up the waves; and, 'mid the gathering gloom, So the loud storm and tempest's fury grew, That topmast-high the flashing waters flew.

XXIX The watchful mariners, in wary sort, Haul down the mainsail, and attempt to wear; And would put back in panic to the port, Whence, in ill hour, they loosed with little care. -- "Not so," exclaims the wind, and stops them short, "So poor a penance will not pay the dare." And when they fain would veer, with fiercer roar Pelts back their reeling prow and blusters more.

XXX Starboard and larboard bears the fitful gale, And never for a thought its ire assuages; While the strained vessel drives with humble sail Before the billows, as the tempest rages. But I, who still pursue a varying tale, Must leave awhile the Paladin, who wages A weary warfare with the wind and flood; To follow a fair virgin of his blood.

XXXI I speak of that famed damsel, by whose spear O'erthrown, King Sacripant on earth was flung; The worthy sister of the valiant peer, From Beatrix and good Duke Aymon sprung. By daring deeds and puissance no less dear To Charlemagne and France: Since proved among The first, her prowess, tried by many a test, Equal to good Rinaldo's shone confessed.

XXXII A cavalier was suitor to the dame, Who out of Afric passed with Agramant; Rogero was his valiant father's name, His mother was the child of Agolant. And she, who not of bear or lion came, Disdained not on the Child her love to plant, Though cruel Fortune, ill their wishes meeting, Had granted to the pair a single greeting.

XXXIII Alone thenceforth she sought her lover (he Was named of him to whom he owed his birth), And roved as safe as if in company Of thousands, trusting in her single worth. She having made the king of Circassy Salute the visage of old mother earth, Traversed a wood, and that wood past, a mountain; And stopt at length beside a lovely fountain.

XXXIV Through a delicious mead the fountain-rill, By ancient trees o'ershaded, glides away; And him whose ear its pleasing murmurs fill, Invites to drink, and on its banks to stay; On the left side a cultivated hill Excludes the fervors of the middle day. As first the damsel thither turns her eyes, A youthful cavalier she seated spies;

XXXV A cavalier, who underneath the shade, Seems lost, as in a melancholy dream; And on the bank, which gaudy flowers displayed, Reposing, overhangs the crystal stream. His horse beneath a spreading beech is laid, And from a bough the shield and helmet gleam. While his moist eyes, and sad and downcast air, Speak him the broken victim of despair.

XXXVI Urged by the passion lodged in every breast, A restless curiosity to know Of others' cares, the gentle maid addressed The knight, and sought the occasion of his woe. And he to her his secret grief confessed, Won by her gentle speech and courteous show, And by that gallant bearing, which at sight, Prepared who saw her for nimble knight.

XXXVII "Fair sir, a band of horse and foot," he said, "I brought to Charlemagne; and thither pressed, Where he an ambush for Marsilius spread, Descending from the Pyrenean crest; And in my company a damsel led, Whose charms with fervid love had fired my breast. When, as we journey by Rhone's current, I A rider on a winged courser spy.

XXXVIII "The robber, whether he were man or shade, Or goblin damned to everlasting woe, As soon as he beheld my dear-loved maid, Like falcon, who, descending, aims its blow, Sank in a thought and rose; and soaring, laid Hands on his prize, and snatched her from below. So quick the rape, that all appeared a dream, Until I heard in air the damsel's scream.

XXXIX "The ravening kite so swoops and plunders, when Hovering above the shelterd yard, she spies A helpless chicken near unwatchful hen, Who vainly dins the thief with after cries. I cannot reach the mountain-robber's den, Compassed with cliffs, or follow one who flies. Besides, way-foundered is my weary steed, Who 'mid these rocks has wasted wind and speed.

XL "But I, like one who from his bleeding side Would liefer far have seen his heart out-torn, Left my good squadrons masterless, to ride Along the cliffs, and passes least forlorn; And took the way (love served me for a guide) Where it appeared the ruthless thief had born, Ascending to his den, the lovely prey, What time he snatched my hope and peace away.

XLI "Six days I rode, from morn to setting sun, By horrid cliff, by bottom dark and drear; And giddy precipice, where path was none, Nor sign, nor vestiges of man were near. At last a dark and barren vale I won, Where caverned mountains and rude cliffs appear; Where in the middle rose a rugged block, With a fair castle planted on the rock.

XLII "From far it shone like flame, and seemed not dight Of marble or of brick; and in my eye More wonderful the work, more fair to sight The walls appeared, as I approached more nigh. I, after, learned that it was built by sprite Whom potent fumes had raised and sorcery: Who on this rock its towers of steel did fix, Case-hardened in the stream and fire of Styx.

XLIII "Each polished turret shines with such a ray That it defies the mouldering rust and rain: The robber scours the country night and day, And after harbours in this sure domain. Nothing is safe which he would bear away; Pursued with curses and with threats in vain. There (fruitless every hope to foil his art) The felon keeps my love, oh! say my heart.

XLIV "Alas! what more is left me but to eye Her prison on that cliff's aerial crest? Like the she-fox, who hears her offspring cry, Standing beneath the ravening eagle's nest; And since she has not wings to rise and fly, Runs round the rugged rock with hopeless quest. So inaccessible the wild dominion To whatsoever has not plume and pinion.

XLV "While I so lingered where those rocks aspire, I saw a dwarf guide two of goodly strain; Whose coming added hope to my desire (Alas! desire and hope alike were vain) Both barons bold, and fearful in their ire: The one Gradasso, King of Sericane, The next, of youthful vigour, was a knight, Prized in the Moorish court, Rogero hight.

XLVI "The dwarf exclaimed, `These champions will assay Their force with him who dwells on yonder steep, And by such strange and unattempted way Spurs the winged courser from his mountain-keep.' And I to the approaching warriors say, `Pity, fair sirs, the cruel loss I weep, And, as I trust, yon daring spoiler slain, Give my lost lady to my arms again.'

XLVII "Then how my love was ravished I make known, Vouching with bitter tears my deep distress. They proffer aid, and down the path of stone Which winds about the craggy mountain, press. While I, upon the summit left alone, Look on, and pray to God for their success. Beneath the wily wizard's castle strong Extends a little plain, two bow-shots long.

XLVIII "Arrived beneath the craggy keep, the two Contend which warrior shall begin the fight. When, whether the first lot Gradasso drew, Or young Rogero held the honor light, The King of Sericane his bugle blew, And the rock rang and fortress on the height; And, lo! apparelled for the fearful course, The cavalier upon his winged horse!

XLIX "Upwards, by little and by little, springs The winged courser, as the pilgrim crane Finds not at first his balance and his wings, Running and scarcely rising from the plain; But when the flock is launched and scattered, flings His pinions to the wind, and soars amain. So straight the necromancer's upward flight, The eagle scarce attempts so bold a height.

L "When it seems fit, he wheels his courser round, Who shuts his wings, and falling from the sky, Shoots like a well trained falcon to the ground, Who sees the quarry, duck or pigeon, fly: So, through the parting air, with whizzing sound, With rested lance, he darted from on high; And while Gradasso scarcely marks the foe He hears him swooping near, and feels the blow.

LI "The wizard on Gradasso breaks his spear, He wounds the empty air, with fury vain. This in the feathered monster breeds no fear; Who to a distance shifts, and swoops again. While that encounter made the Alfana rear, Thrown back upon her haunches, on the plain. The Alfana that the Indian monarch rode, The fairest was that ever man bestrode.

LII "Up to the starry sphere with swift ascent The wizard soars, then pounces from the sky, And strikes the young Rogero, who, intent Upon Gradasso, deems no danger nigh. Beneath the wizard's blow the warrior bent, Which made some deal his generous courser ply; And when to smite the shifting foe he turned, Him in the sky, and out of reach discerned.

LIII "His blows Rogero, now Gradasso, bruise On forehead, bosom, back, or flanks, between; While he the warrior's empty blows eschews, Shifting so quickly that he scarce is seen. Now this, now that, the wizard seems to choose, The monster makes such spacious rings and clean, While the enchanter so deceives the knights, They view him not, and know not whence he smites.

LIV "Between the two on earth and him o' the sky, Until that hour the warfare lasted there, Which, spreading wide its veil of dusky dye, Throughout the world, discolours all things fair. What I beheld, I say; I add not, I, A tittle to the tale; yet scarcely dare To tell to other what I stood and saw; So strange it seems, so passing Nature's law.

LV "Well covered in a goodly silken case, He, the celestial warrior, bore his shield; But why delayed the mantle to displace I know not, and its lucid orb concealed. Since this no sooner blazes in his face, Than his foe tumbles dazzled on the field; And while he, like a lifeless body, lies, Becomes the necromancer's helpless prize.

LVI "LIke carbuncle, the magic buckler blazed, No glare was ever seen which shone so bright: Nor could the warriors choose but fall, amazed And blinded by the clear and dazzling light. I, too, that from a distant mountain gazed, Fell senseless; and when I regained my sight, After long time, saw neither knights nor page, Nor aught beside a dark and empty stage.

LVII "This while the fell enchanter, I supposed, Dragged both the warriors to his prison-cell; And by strange virtue of the shield disclosed, I from my hope and they from freedom fell: And thus I to the turrets, which enclosed My heart, departing, bade a last farewell. Now sum my griefs, and say if love combine Other distress or grief to match with mine."

LVIII The knight relapsed into his first disease, After his melancholy tale was done. This was Count Pinabel, the Maganzese, Anselmo d'Altaripa's faithless son. He, where the blood ran foul through all degrees, Disdained to be the only virtuous one; Nor played a simple part among the base, Passing in vice the villains of his race.

LIX With aspect changing still, the beauteous dame Hears what the mournful Maganzese narrates; And, at first mention of Rogero's name, Her radiant face with eager joy dilates. But, full of pity, kindles into flame As Pinabel his cruel durance states. Nor finds she, though twice told, the story stale; But makes him oft repeat and piece his tale.

LX And, after, when she deemed that all was clear, Cried to the knight, "Repose upon my say. To thee may my arrival well be dear, And thou as fortunate account this day. Straight wend me to the keep, sir cavalier, Which holds a jewel of so rich a ray: Nor shalt thou grudge thy labour and thy care, If envious Fortune do but play me fair."

LXI The knight replied, "Then nought to me remains But that I yonder mountain-passes show; And sure 'tis little loss to lose my pains, Where every thing is lost I prize below. But you would climb yon cliffs, and for your gains Will find a prison-house, and be it so! Whate'er betide you, blame yourself alone; You go forewarned to meet a fate foreshown."

LXII So said, the cavalier remounts his horse, And serves the gallant damsel as a guide; Who is prepared Rogero's gaol to force, Or to be slain, or in his prison stied. When lo! a messenger, in furious course, Called to the dame to stay, and rode and cried. This was the post who told Circassa's lord What valiant hand had stretched him on the sward.

LXIII The courier, who so plied his restless heel, News of Narbonne and of Montpelier bore: How both had raised the standard of Castile, All Acquamorta siding with the Moor; And how Marseilles' disheartened men appeal To her, who should protect her straightened shore; And how, through him, her citizens demand Counsel and comfort at their captain's hand.

LXIV This goodly town, with many miles of plain, Which lie 'twixt Var and Rhone, upon the sea, To her was given by royal Charlemagne: Such trust he placed in her fidelity. Still wont with wonder on the tented plain The prowess of that valiant maid to see. And now the panting courier, as I said, Rode from Marseilles to ask the lady's aid.

LXV Whether or not she should the call obey, The youthful damsel doubts some little space; Strong in one balance Fame and Duty weigh, But softer thoughts both Fame and Duty chase: And she, at length, resolved the emprize to assay, And free Rogero from the enchanted place: Or, should her valour in the adventure fail, Would with the cherished lover share his jail.

LXVI And did with such excuse that post appay, He was contented on her will to wait: Then turned the bridle to resume her way With Pinabel, who seemed no whit elate. Since of that line he knows the damsel gay, Held in such open and such secret hate; And future trouble to himself foresees, Were he detected as a Maganzese.

LXVII For 'twixt Maganza's and old Clermont's line There was an ancient and a deadly feud: And oft to blows the rival houses came, And oft in civil blood their hands embrued. And hence some treason to this gentle dame In his foul heart, the wicked County brewed; Or, as the first occasion served, would stray Out of the road, and leave her by the way.

LXVIII And so the traitor's troubled fancy rack Fear, doubt, and his own native, rancorous mood, That unawares he issued from the track, And found himself within a gloomy wood: Where a rough mountain reared its shaggy back, Whose stony peak above the forest stood; The daughter of Dodona's duke behind, Dogging his footsteps through the thicket blind.

LXIX He, when he saw himself within the brake, Thought to abandon his unweeting foe; And to the dame -- " 'Twere better that we make For shelter ere the gathering darkness grow; And, yonder mountain past, (save I mistake) A tower is seated in the vale below. Do you expect me then, while from the peak I measure the remembered place I seek."

LXX So said, he pushed his courser up the height Of that lone mountain; in his evil mind Revolving, as he went, some scheme or sleight To rid him of the gentle dame behind. When lo! a rocky cavern met his sight, Amid those precipices dark and blind: Its sides descended thirty yards and more, Worked smooth, and at the bottom was a door.

LXXI A void was at the bottom, where a wide Portal conducted to an inner room: From thence a light shone out on every side, As of a torch illumining the gloom. Fair Bradamant pursued her faithless guide, Suspended there, and pondering on her doom: And came upon the felon where he stood, Fearing lest she might lose him in the wood.

LXXII When her approach the County's first intent Made vain, the wily traitor sought to mend His toils, and some new stratagem invent To rid her thence, or bring her to her end. And so to meet the approaching lady went, And showed the cave, and prayed her to ascend; And said that in its bottom he had seen A gentle damsel of bewitching mien.

LXXIII Who, by her lovely semblance and rich vest, Appeared a lady of no mean degree; But melancholy, weeping, and distressed, As one who pined there in captivity: And that when he towards the entrance pressed, To learn who that unhappy maid might be, One on the melancholy damsel flew, And her within that inner cavern drew.

LXXIV The beauteous Bradamant, who was more bold Than wary, gave a ready ear; and, bent To help the maid, imprisoned in that hold, Sought but the means to try the deep descent. Then, looking round, descried an elm-tree old, Which furnished present means for her intent: And from the tree, with boughs and foliage stored, Lopt a long branch, and shaped it with her sword.

LXXV The severed end she to the count commended, Then, grasping it, hung down that entrance steep. With her feet foremost, by her arms suspended: When asking if she had the skill to leap, The traitor, with a laugh, his hands extended. And plunged his helpless prey into the deep. "And thus," exclaimed the ruffian, "might I speed With thee each sucker of thy cursed seed!"

LXXVI But not, as was the will of Pinabel, Such cruel lot fair Bradamant assayed; For striking on the bottom of the cell, The stout elm-bough so long her weight upstayed, That, though it split and splintered where it fell, It broked her fall, and saved the gentle maid. Some while astounded there the lady lay, As the ensuing canto will display.


ARGUMENT Restored to sense, the beauteous Bradamant Finds sage Melissa in the vaulted tomb, And hears from her of many a famous plant And warrior, who shall issue from her womb. Next, to release Rogero from the haunt Of old Atlantes, learns how from the groom, Brunello hight, his virtuous ring to take; And thus the knight's and others' fetters break.

I Who will vouchsafe me voice that shall ascend As high as I would raise my noble theme? Who will afford befitting words, and lend Wings to my verse, to soar the pitch I scheme? Since fiercer fire for such illustrious end, Than what was wont, may well my song beseem. For this fair portion to my lord is due Which sings the sires from whom his lineage grew.

II Than whose fair line, 'mid those by heavenly grace Chosen to minister this earth below, You see not, Phoebus, in your daily race, One that in peace or war doth fairer show; Nor lineage that hath longer kept its place; And still shall keep it, if the lights which glow Within me, but aright inspire my soul, While the blue heaven shall turn about the pole.

III But should I seek at full its worth to blaze, Not mine were needful, but that noble lyre Which sounded at your touch the thunderer's praise, What time the giants sank in penal fire. Yet should you instruments, more fit to raise The votive work, bestow, as I desire, All labour and all thought will I combine, To shape and shadow forth the great design.

IV Till when, this chisel may suffice to scale The stone, and give my lines a right direction; And haply future study may avail, To bring the stubborn labour to perfection. Return we now to him, to whom the mail Of hawberk, shield, and helm, were small protection: I speak of Pinabel the Maganzeze, Who hopes the damsel's death, whose fall he sees.

V The wily traitor thought that damsel sweet Had perished on the darksome cavern's floor, And with pale visages hurried his retreat From that, through him contaminated door. And, thence returning, clomb into his seat: Then, like one who a wicked spirit bore, To add another sin to evil deed, Bore off with him the warlike virgin's steed.

VI Leave we sometime the wretch who, while he layed Snares for another, wrought his proper doom; And turn we to the damsel he betrayed, Who had nigh found at once her death and tomb. She, after rising from the rock, dismayed At her shrewd fall, and gazing through the gloom, Beheld and passed that inner door, which gave Entrance to other and more spacious cave.

VII For the first cavern in a second ended, Fashioned in form of church, and large and square; With roof by cunning architect extended On shafts of alabaster rich and rare. The flame of a clear-burning lamp ascended Before the central altar; and the glare, Illuminating all the space about, Shone through the gate, and lit the cave without.

VIII Touched with the sanctifying thoughts which wait On worthy spirit in a holy place, She prays with eager lips, and heart elate, To the Disposer of all earthly grace: And, kneeling, hears a secret wicket grate In the opposing wall; whence, face to face, A woman issuing forth, the maid addresses, Barefoot, ungirt, and with dishevelled tresses.

IX "O generous Bradamant," the matron cried, "Know thine arrival in this hallowed hold Was not unauthorized of heavenly guide: And the prophetic ghost of Merlin told, Thou to this cave shouldst come by path untried, Which covers the renowned magician's mould. And here have I long time awaited thee, To tell what is the heavens' pronounced decree.

X "This is the ancient memorable cave Which Merlin, that enchanter sage, did make: Thou may'st have heard how that magician brave Was cheated by the Lady of the Lake. Below, beneath the cavern, is the grave Which holds his bones; where, for that lady's sake, His limbs (for such her will) the wizard spread. Living he laid him there, and lies there dead.

XI "Yet lives the spirit of immortal strain; Lodged in the enchanter's corpse, till to the skies The trumpet call it, or to endless pain, As it with dove or raven's wing shall rise. Yet lives the voice, and thou shalt hear how plain From its sepulchral case of marble cries: Since this has still the past and future taught To every wight that has its counsel sought.

XII "Long days have passed since I from distant land My course did to this cemetery steer, That in the solemn mysteries I scanned, Merlin to me the truth should better clear; And having compassed the design I planned, A month beyond, for thee, have tarried here; Since Merlin, still with certain knowledge summing Events, prefixed this moment for thy coming."

XIII The daughter of Duke Aymon stood aghast, And silent listened to the speech; while she Knew not, sore marvelling at all that passed, If 'twere a dream or a reality. At length, with modest brow, and eyes down cast, Replied (like one that was all modesty), "And is this wrought for me? and have I merit Worthy the workings of prophetic spirit?"

XIV And full of joy the adventure strange pursues, Moving with ready haste behind the dame, Who brings her to the sepulchre which mews The bones and spirit, erst of Merlin's name. The tomb, of hardest stone which masons use, Shone smooth and lucid, and as red as flame. So that although no sun-beam pierced the gloom, Its splendour lit the subterraneous room.

XV Whether it be the native operation O certain stones, to shine like torch i' the dark, Or whether force of spell or fumigation, (A guess that seems to come more near the mark) Or sign made under mystic constellation, The blaze that came from the sepulchral ark Discovered sculpture, colour, gems, and gilding, And whatsoever else adorned the building.

XVI Scarcely had Bradamant above the sill Lifter her foot, and trod the secret cave, When the live spirit, in clear tones that thrill, Addressed the martial virgin from the grave; "May Fortune, chaste and noble maid, fulfil Thine every wish!" exclaimed the wizard brave. "Since from thy womb a princely race shall spring, Whose name through Italy and earth shall ring.

XVII "The noble blood derived from ancient Troy, Mingling in thee its two most glorious streams, Shall be the ornament, and flower, and joy Of every lineage on which Phoebus beams, Where genial stars lend warmth, or cold annoy, Where Indus, Tagus, Nile, or Danube gleams; And in thy progeny and long drawn line Shall marquises, counts, dukes and Caesers shine.

XVIII "Captains and cavaliers shall spring from thee, Who both by knightly lance and prudent lore, Shall once again to widowed Italy Her ancient praise and fame in arms restore; And in her realms just lords shall seated be, (Such Numa and Augustus were of yore), Who with their government, benign and sage, Shall re-create on earth the golden age.

XIX "Then, that the will of Heaven be duly brought To a fair end through thee, in fitting date, Which from the first to bless thy love has wrought, And destined young Rogero for thy mate, Let nothing interpose to break that thought, But boldly tread the path perscribed by fate; Nor let aught stay thee till the thief be thrown By thy good lance, who keeps thee from thine own."

XX Here Merlin ceased, that for the solemn feat Melissa might prepare with fitting spell, To show bold Bradamant, in aspect meet, The heirs who her illustrious race should swell. Hence many sprites she chose; but from what seat Evoked, I know not, or if called from hell; And gathered in one place (so bade the dame), In various garb and guise the shadows came.

XXI This done, into the church she called the maid, Where she had drawn a magic ring, as wide As might contain the damsel, prostrate laid; With the full measure of a palm beside. And on her head, lest spirit should invade, A pentacle for more assurance tied. So bade her hold her peace, and stand and look, Then read, and schooled the demons from her book.

XXII Lo! forth of that first cave what countless swarm Presses upon the circle's sacred round, But, when they would the magic rampart storm, Finds the way barred as if by fosse or mound; Then back the rabble turns of various form; And when it thrice with bending march has wound About the circle, troops into the cave, Where stands that beauteous urn, the wizard's grave.

XXIII "To tell at large the puissant acts and worth, And name of each who, figured in a sprite, Is present to our eyes before his birth," Said sage Melissa to the damsel bright; "To tell the deeds which they shall act on earth, Were labour not to finish with the night. Hence I shall call few worthies of thy line, As time and fair occasion shall combine.

XXIV "See yonder first-born of thy noble breed, Who well reflects thy fair and joyous face; He, first of thine and of Rogero's seed, Shall plant in Italy thy generous race. In him behold who shall distain the mead, And his good sword with blood of Pontier base; The mighty wrong chastised, and traitor's guilt, By whom his princely father's blood was spilt.

XXV "By him King Desiderius shall be pressed, The valiant leader of the Lombard horde: And of the fiefs of Calaon and Este; For this imperial Charles shall make him lord. Hubert, thy grandson, comes behind; the best Of Italy, with arms and belted sword: Who shall defend the church from barbarous foes, And more than once assure her safe repose.

XXVI "Alberto next, unconquered captain, see, Whose trophies shall so many fanes array. Hugh, the bold son, is with the sire, and he Shall conquer Milan, and the snakes display. Azo, that next approaching form shall be, And, his good brother dead, the Insubri sway. Lo! Albertazo! by whose rede undone, See Berengarius banished, and his son.

XXVII "With him shall the imperial Otho join In wedlock worthily his daughter fair. And lo! another Hugh! O noble line! O! sire succeeded by an equal heir! He, thwarting with just cause their ill design, Shall thrash the Romans' pride who overbear; Shall from their hands the sovereign pontiff take, With the third Otho, and their leaguer break.

XXVIII "See Fulke, who to his brother will convey All his Italian birth-right, and command To take a mighty dukedom far away From his fair home, in Almayn's northern land. There he the house of Saxony shall stay, And prop the ruin with his saving hand; This in his mother's right he shall possess, And with his progeny maintain and bless.

XXIX "More famed for courtesy than warlike deed, Azo the second, he who next repairs! Bertoldo and Albertazo are his seed: And, lo! the father walkes between his heirs. By Parma's walls I see the Germans bleed, Their second Henry quelled; such trophy bears The one renowned in story's future page: The next shall wed Matilda, chaste and sage.

XXX "His virtues shall deserve so fair a flower, (And in his age, I wot, no common grace) To hold the half of Italy in dower, With that descendent of first Henry's race. Rinaldo shall succeed him in his power, Pledge of Bertoldo's wedded love, and chase Fierce Frederick Barbarossa's hireling bands, Saving the church from his rapacious hands.

XXXI "Another Azo rules Verona's town, With its fair fields; and two great chiefs this while (One wears the papal, one the imperial crown), The baron, Marquis of Ancona style. But to show all who rear the gonfalon Of the consistory, amid that file, Were task too long; as long to tell each deed Achieved for Rome by thy devoted seed.

XXXII "See Fulke and Obyson, more Azos, Hughs! Both Henrys! -- mark the father and his boy. Two Guelphs: the first fair Umbria's land subdues, And shall Spoleto's ducal crown enjoy. Behold the princely phantom that ensues, Shall turn fair Italy's long grief to joy; I speak of the fifth Azo of thy strain, By whom shall Ezelin be quelled and slain.

XXXIII "Fierce Ezelin, that most inhuman lord, Who shall be deemed by men a child of hell. And work such evil, thinning with the sword Who in Ausonia's wasted cities dwell; Rome shall no more her Anthony record, Her Marius, Sylla, Nero, Cajus fell. And this fifth Azo shall to scathe and shame Put Frederick, second Caeser of the name.

XXXIV "He, with his better sceptre well contented, Shall rule the city, seated by the streams, Where Phoebus to his plaintive lyre lamented The son, ill-trusted with the father's beams; Where Cygnus spread his pinions, and the scented Amber was wept, as fabling poet dreams. To him such honour shall the church decree; Fit guerdon of his works, and valour's fee.

XXXV "But does no laurel for his brother twine, Aldobrandino, who will carry cheer To Rome (when Otho, with the Ghibelline, Into the troubled capital strikes fear), And make the Umbri and Piceni sign Their shame, and sack the cities far and near; Then hopeless to relieve the sacred hold, Sue to the neighbouring Florentine for gold:

XXXVI "And trust a noble brother to his hands, Boasting no dearer pledge, the pact to bind: And next, victorious o'er the German bands, Give his triumphant ensigns to the wind: To the afflicted church restore her lands, And take due vengeance of Celano's kind. Then die, cut off in manhood's early flower, Beneath the banners of the Papal power?

XXXVII "He, dying, leaves his brother Azo heir Of Pesaro and fair Ancona's reign, And all the cities which 'twixt Tronto are, And green Isauro's stream, from mount to main; With other heritage, more rich and rare, Greatness of mind, and faith without a strain. All else is Fortune's in this mortal state; But Virtue soars beyond her love and hate.

XXXVIII "In good Rinaldo equal worth shall shine, (Such is the promise of his early fire) If such a hope of thine exalted line. Dark Fate and Fortune wreck not in their ire. Alas! from Naples in this distant shrine, Naples, where he is hostage for his sire, His dirge is heard: A stripling of thy race, Young Obyson, shall fill his grandsire's place.

XXXIX "This lord to his dominion shall unite Gay Reggio, joined to Modena's bold land. And his redoubted valour lend such light, The willing people call him to command. Sixth of the name, his Azo rears upright The church's banner in his noble hand: Fair Adria's fief to him in dower shall bring The child of second Charles, Sicilia's king.

XL "Behold in yonder friendly group agreed. Many fair princes of illustrious name; Obyson, Albert famed for pious deed, Aldobrandino, Nicholas the lame. But we may pass them by, for better speed, Faenza conquered, and their feats and fame; With Adria (better held and surer gain) Which gives her title to the neighbouring main:

XLI "And that fair town, whose produce is the rose, The rose which gives it name in Grecian speech: That, too, which fishy marshes round enclose, And Po's two currents threat with double breach; Whose townsmen loath the lazy calm's repose, And pray that stormy waves may lash the beach. I pass, mid towns and towers, a countless store, Argenta, Lugo, and a thousand more.

XLII "See Nicholas, whom in his tender age, The willing people shall elect their lord; He who shall laugh to scorn the civil rage Of the rebellious Tideus and his horde; Whose infantine delight shall be to wage The mimic fight, and sweat with spear and sword: And through the discipline such nurture yields, Shall flourish as the flower of martial fields.

XLIII "By him rebellious plans are overthrown, And turned upon the rash contriver's head; And so each stratagem of warfare blown, That vainly shall the cunning toils be spread. To the third Otho this too late is known, Of Parma and the pleasant Reggio dread; Who shall by him be spoiled in sudden strife, Of his possessions and his wretched life.

XLIV "And still the fair dominion shall increase, And without wrong its spreading bounds augment; Nor its glad subjects violate the peace, Unless provoked some outrage to resent, And hence its wealth and welfare shall not cease; And the Divine Disposer be content To let it flourish (such his heavenly love!) While the celestial spheres revolve above.

XLV "Lo! Lionel! lo! Borse great and kind! First duke of thy fair race, his realm's delight; Who reigns secure, and shall more triumphs find In peace, than warlike princes win in fight. Who struggling Fury's hands shall tie behind Her back, and prison Mars, removed from sight. His fair endeavours bent to bless and stay The people, that his sovereign rule obey.

XLVI "Lo! Hercules, who may reproach his neighbour, With foot half burnt, and halting gait and slow, That at Budrio, with protecting sabre, He saved his troops from fatal overthrow; Not that, for guerdon of his glorious labour, He should distress and vex him as a foe; Chased into Barco. It were hard to say, If most he shine in peace or martial fray.

XLVII "Lucania, Puglia, and Calabria's strand, Shall with the rumour of his prowess ring: Where he shall strive in duel, hand to hand, And gain the praise of Catalonia's king. Him, with the wisest captains of the land His worth shall class; such fame his actions bring; And he the fief shall win like valiant knight, Which thirty years before was his of right.

XLVIII "To him his grateful city owes a debt, The greatest subjects to their lord can owe; Not that he moves her from a marsh, to set Her stones, where Ceres' fruitful treasures grow. Nor that he shall enlarge her bounds, nor yet That he shall fence her walls against the foe; Nor that he theatre and dome repairs, And beautifies her streets and goodly squares;

XLIX "Not that he keeps his lordship well defended From the winged lions' claws and fierce attacks; Nor that, when Gallic ravage is extended, And the invader all Italia sacks, His happy state alone is unoffended; Unharassed, and ungalled by toll or tax. Not for these blessings I recount, and more His grateful realm shall Hercules adore;

L "So much as that from him shall spring a pair Of brothers, leagued no less by love than blood; Who shall be all that Leda's children were; The just Alphonso, Hippolite the good. And as each twin resigned the vital air His fellow to redeem from Stygian flood, So each of these would gladly spend his breath, And for his brother brave perpetual death.

LI "In these two princes' excellent affection, Their happy lieges more assurance feel, Than if their noble town, for its protection, Were girded twice by Vulcan's works of steel. And so Alphonso in his good direction, Justice, with knowledge and with love, shall deal, Astrea shall appear returned from heaven, To this low earth to varying seasons given.

LII "Well is it that his wisdom shines as bright As his good sire's, nor is his valour less; Since here usurping Venice arms for fight, And her full troops his scanty numbers press, There she (I know not if more justly hight Mother or stepmother) brings new distress; But, if a mother, scarce to him more mild Than Progue or Medea to her child.

LIII "This chief, what time soever he shall go Forth with his faithful crew, by night or day, By water or by land, will shame the foe, With memorable rout and disarray; And this too late Romagna's sons shall know. Led against former friends in bloody fray, Who shall bedew the campaign with their blood, By Santern, Po, and Zaniolus' flood.

LIV "This shall the Spaniard know, to his dismay, 'Mid the same bounds, whom papal gold shall gain, Who shall from him Bastia win and slay, With cruel rage, her hapless Castellain, The city taken; but shall dearly pay; His crime, the town retrieved, and victor slain: Since in the rescued city not a groom Is left alive, to bear the news to Rome.

LV " 'Tis he, who with his counsel and his lance, Shall win the honours of Romagna's plain, And open to the chivalry of France The victory over Julius, leagued with Spain. Paunch-deep in human blood shall steeds advance In that fierce strife, and struggle through the slain, 'Mid crowded fields, which scarce a grace supply, Where Greek, Italian, Frank, and Spaniard die.

LVI "Lo! who in priestly vesture clad, is crowned With purple hat, conferred in hallowed dome! 'Tis he, the wise, the liberal, the renowned Hippolitus, great cardinal of Rome; Whose actions shall in every region sound, Where'er the honoured muse shall find a home: To whose glad era, by indulgent heaven, As to Augustus' is a Maro given.

LVII "His deeds adorn his race, as from his car The glorious sun illumes the subject earth More than the silver moon or lesser star; So far all others he transcends in worth. I see this captain, ill bested for war, Go forth afflicted, and return in mirth: Backed by few foot, and fewer cavaliers, He homeward barks, and fifteen gallies steers.

LVIII "Two Sigismonds, the first, the second, see; To these Alphonso's five good sons succeed; Whose glories spread o'er seas and land shall be. The first shall wed a maid of France's seed. This is the second Hercules; and he, (That you may know their every name and deed), Hippolitus; who with the light shall shine, Of his wise uncle, gilding all his line.

LIX "Francis the third comes next; the other two Alphonsos both; -- but yet again I say, Thy line through all its branches to pursue, Fair virgin, would too long protract thy stay; And Phoebus, many times, to mortal view, Would quench and light again the lamp of day. Then, with thy leave, 'tis time the pageant cease, And I dismiss the shades and hold my peace."

LX So with the lady's leave the volume closed, Whose precepts to her will the spirits bent. And they, where Merlin's ancient bones reposed, From the first cavern disappearing, went. Then Bradamant her eager lips unclosed, Since the divine enchantress gave consent; "And who," she cried, "that pair of sorrowing mien, Alphonso and Hippolitus between?

LXI "Sighing, those youths advanced amid the show, Their brows with shame and sorrow overcast, With downward look, and gait subdued and slow: I saw the brothers shun them as they passed." Melissa heard the dame with signs of woe, And thus, with streaming eyes, exclaim'd at last: "Ah! luckless youths, with vain illusions fed, Whither by wicked men's bad counsel led!

LXII "O, worthy seed of Hercules the good, Let not their guilt beyond thy love prevail; Alas! the wretched pair are of thy blood, So many prevailing pity turn the scale!" And in a sad and softer tone pursued, "I will not further press the painful tale. Chew on fair fancy's food: Nor deem unmeet I will not with a bitter chase the sweet.

LXIII "Soon as to-morrow's sun shall gild the skies With his first light, myself the way will show To where the wizard knight Rogero sties; And built with polished steel the ramparts glow: So long as through deep woods thy journey lies, Till, at the sea arrived, I shall bestow Such new instructions for the future way, That thou no more shalt need Melissa's stay."

LXIV All night the maid reposes in the cave, And the best part in talk with Merlin spends; While with persuasive voice the wizard grave To her Rogero's honest love commends; Till from the vault goes forth that virgin brave, As through the sky the rising sun ascends, By path, long space obscure on either side, The weird woman still her faithful guide.

LXV They gain a hidden glen, which heights inclose, And mountains inaccessible to man: And they all day toil on, without repose, Where precipices frowned and torrents ran. And (what may some diversion interpose) Sweet subjects of discourse together scan, In conference, which best might make appear The rugged road less dismal and severe.

LXVI Of these the greater portion served to guide (Such the wise woman's scope) the warlike dame; And teach by what device might be untied Rogero's gyves, if stedfast were her flame. "If thou wert Mars himself, or Pallas," cried The sage Melissa, "though with thee there came More than King Charles or Agramant command, Against the wizard foe thou could'st not stand.

LXVII "Besides that it is walled about with steel, And inexpugnable his tower, and high; Besides that his swift horse is taught to wheel, And caracol and gallop in mid sky, He bears a mortal shield of power to seal, As soon as 'tis exposed, the dazzled eye; And so invades each sense, the splendour shed, That he who sees the blaze remains as dead.

LXVIII "And lest to shut thine eyes, thou should'st suppose Might serve, contending with the wizard knight; How would'st thou know, when both in combat close, When he strikes home, or when eschews the fight? But to escape the blaze which blinds his foes, And render vain each necromantic sleight, Have here a speedy mean which cannot miss; Nor can the world afford a way but this.

LXIX "King Agramant of Africa a ring. Thieved from an Indian queen by subtle guiles, Has to a baron of his following Consigned, who now precedes us by few miles; Brunello he. Who wears the gift shall bring To nought all sorceries and magic wiles. In thefts and cheats Brunello is as well Instructed, as the sage in charm and spell.

LXX "Brunello, he so practised and so sly As now I tell thee, by his king is sent, That he with aid of mother wit may try, And of this ring, well proved in like event, To take Rogero from the castle high; So has he boasted, by the wizard pent: And to his lord such promise did impart, Who has Rogero's presence most at heart.

LXXI "That his escape to thee alone may owe, Not to the king, the youthful cavalier, How to release Rogero from his foe And his enchanted cage, prepare to hear. Three days along the shingle shalt thou go, Beside the sea, whose waves will soon appear; Thee the third day shall to a hostel bring, Where he shall come who bears the virtuous ring.

LXXII "That thou may'st recognise the man, in height Less than six palms, observe one at this inn Of black and curly hair, the dwarfish wight! Beard overgrown about the cheek and chin; With shaggy brow, swoln eyes, and cloudy sight, A nose close flattened, and a sallow skin; To this, that I may make my sketch complete, Succinctly clad, like courier, goes the cheat.

LXXIII "Thy conversation with this man shall turn Upon enchantment, spell, and mystic pact; And thou shalt, in thy talk, appear to yearn To prove the wizard's strength, as is the fact. But, lady, let him not thy knowledge learn Of his good ring, which mars all magic act: He shall propose to bring thee as a guide To the tall castle, whither thou would'st ride.

LXXIV "Follow him close, and viewing (for a sign), Now near, the fortress of the enchanter hoar; Let no false pity there thy mind incline To stay the execution of my lore. Give him his death; but let him not divine Thy thought, nor grant him respite; for before Thine eyes, concealed by it, the caitiff slips If once he place the ring between his lips."

LXXV Discoursing thus, they came upon the sea Where Garonne near fair Bordeaux meets the tide; Here, fellow travellers no more to be, Some natural tears they drop and then divide. Duke Aymon's child, who slumbers not till she Release her knight, holds on till even-tide: 'Twas then the damsel at a hostel rested, Where Sir Brunello was already guested.

LXXVI The maid Brunello knows as soon as found (So was his image on her mind impressed), And asks him whence he came, and whither bound; And he replies and lies, as he is pressed. The dame, who is forewarned, and knows her ground, Feigns too as well as he, and lies her best: And changes sex and sect, and name and land, And her quick eye oft glances at his hand;

LXXVII Oft glances at his resless hand, in fear That he might undetected make some prize; Nor ever lets the knave approach too near, Well knowing his condition: In this guise The couple stand together, when they hear A sudden sound: but what that sound implies I, sir, shall tell hereafter with its cause; But first shall break my song with fitting pause.


ARGUMENT The old Atlantes suffers fatal wreck, Foiled by the ring, and young Rogero freed, Who soars in air till he appears a speck, Mounted upon the wizard's winged steed. Obediant to the royal Charles's beck, He who had followed Love's imperious lead, Rinaldo, disembarks on British land, And saves Genevra, doomed to stake and brand.

I Though an ill mind appear in simulation, And, for the most, such quality offends; 'Tis plain that this in many a situation Is found to further beneficial ends, And save from blame, and danger, and vexation; Since we converse not always with our friends, In this, less clear than clouded, mortal life, Beset with snares, and full of envious strife.

II If after painful proof we scarcely find A real friend, through various chances sought, To whom we may communicate our mind, Keeping no watch upon our wandering thought; What should the young Rogero's lady kind Do with Brunello, not sincere, but fraught With treasons manifold, and false and tainted, As by the good enchantress truly painted?

III She feigns as well with that deceitful scout; (Fitting with him the father of all lies) Watches his thievish hands in fear and doubt; And follows every motion with her eyes. When lo! a mighty noise is heard without! "O mighty mother! king of heaven!" she cries, "What thing is this I hear?" and quickly springs Towards the place from whence the larum rings,

IV And sees the host and all his family, Where, one to door, and one to window slips, With eyes upturned and gazing at the sky, As if to witness comet or eclipse. And there the lady views, with wondering eye, What she had scarce believed from other's lips, A feathered courser, sailing through the rack, Who bore an armed knight upon his back.

V Broad were his pinions, and of various hue; Seated between, a knight the saddle pressed, Clad in steel arms, which wide their radiance threw, His wonderous course directed to the west: There dropt among the mountains lost to view. And this was, as that host informed his guest, (And true the tale) a sorcerer, who made Now farther, now more near, his frequent raid.

VI "He, sometimes towering, soars into the skies; Then seems, descending, but to skim the ground: And of all beauteous women makes a prize, Who, to their mischief, in these parts are found. Hence, whether in their own or other's eyes, Esteemed as fair, the wretched damsels round, (And all in fact the felon plunders) hine; As fearing of the sun to be descried.

VII "A castle on the Pyrenean height The necromancer keeps, the work of spell." (The host relates) "of steel, so fair and bright, All nature cannot match the wonderous shell. There many cavaliers, to prove their might, Have gone, but none returned the tale to tell. So that I doubt, fair sir, the thief enthralls Or slays whoever in the encounter falls."

VIII The watchful maid attends to every thing, Glad at her heart, and trusting to complete (What she shall compass by the virtuous ring) The downfall of the enchanter and his seat. Then to the host -- "A guide I pray thee bring, Who better knows than me the thief's retreat. So burns my heart. (nor can I choose but go) To strive in battle with this wizard foe."

IX "It shall not need," exclaimed the dwarfish Moor, "For I, myself, will serve you as a guide; Who have the road set down, with other lore, So that you shall rejoice with me to ride." He meant the ring, but further hint forbore; Lest dearly he the avowed should abide. And she to him -- "Your guidance gives me pleasure." Meaning by this she hoped to win his treasure.

X What useful was to say, she said, and what Might hurt her with the Saracen, concealed. Well suited to her ends, the host had got A palfrey, fitting for the road or field. She bought the steed, and as Aurora shot Her rosy rays, rode forth with spear and shield: And maid and courier through a valley wind, Brunello now before and now behind.

XI From wood to wood, from mount to mountain hoar, They clomb a summit, which in cloudless sky Discovers France and Spain, and either shore. As from a peak of Apennine the eye May Tuscan and Sclavonian sea explore, There, whence we journey to Camaldoli. Then through a rugged path and painful wended, Which thence into a lowly vale descended.

XII A rock from that deep valley's centre springs; Bright walls of steel about its summit go: And this as high that airy summit flings, As it leaves all the neighbouring cliffs below. He may not scale the height who has not wings, And vainly would each painful toil bestow. "Lo! where his prisoners!" Sir Brunello cries, "Ladies and cavaliers, the enchanter sties."

XIII Scarped smooth upon four parts, the mountain bare Seemed fashioned with the plumb, by builder's skill Nor upon any side was path or stair, Which furnished man the means to climb the hill. The castle seemed the very nest and lair Of animal, supplied with plume and quill. And here the damsel knows 'tis time to slay The wily dwarf, and take the ring away.

XIV But deems it foul, with blood of man to stain Unarmed and of so base a sort, her brand; For well, without his death, she may obtain The costly ring; and so suspends her hand. Brunello, off his guard, with little pain, She seized, and strongly bound with girding band: Then to a lofty fir made fast the string; But from his finger first withdrew the ring.

XV Neither by tears, nor groans, nor sound of woe, To move the stedfast maid the dwarf had power: She down the rugged hill descended slow, Until she reached the plain beneath the tower. Then gave her bugle breath, the keep below, To call the castled wizard to the stower: And when the sound was finished, threatening cried, And called him to the combat and defied.

XVI Not long within his gate the enchanter stayed, After he heard the voice and bugle ring. Against the foe, who seemed a man, arrayed In arms, with him the horse is on the wing. But his appearance well consoled the maid, Who, with small cause for fear, beheld him bring Nor mace, nor rested lance, nor bitting sword, Wherewith the corselet might be bruised or gored.

XVII On his left arm alone his shield he took, Covered all o'er with silk of crimson hue; In his right-hand he held an open book, Whence, as the enchanter read, strange wonder grew: For often times, to sight, the lance he shook; And flinching eyelids could not hide the view; With tuck or mace he seemed to smite the foe: But sate aloof and had not struck a blow.

XVIII No empty fiction wrought by magic lore, But natural was the steed the wizard pressed; For him a filly to griffin bore; Hight hippogryph. In wings and beak and crest, Formed like his sire, as in the feet before; But like the mare, his dam, in all the rest. Such on Riphaean hills, though rarely found, Are bred, beyond the frozen ocean's bound.

XIX Drawn by enchantment from his distant lair, The wizard thought but how to tame the foal; And, in a month, instructed him to bear Saddle and bit, and gallop to the goal; And execute on earth or in mid air, All shifts of manege, course and caracole; He with such labour wrought. This only real, Where all the rest was hollow and ideal.

XX This truth by him with fictions was combined, Whose sleight passed red for yellow, black for white: But all his vain enchantments could not blind The maid, whose virtuous ring assured her sight: Yet she her blows discharges at the wind; And spurring here and there prolongs the fight. So drove or wheeled her steed, and smote at nought, And practised all she had before been taught.

XXI When she sometime had fought upon her horse, She from the courser on her feet descends: To compass and more freely put in force, As by the enchantress schooled, her wily ends. The wizard, to display his last resource, Unweeting the defence, towards her wends. He bares the shield, secure to blind his foe, And by the magic light, astonished, throw.

XXII The shield might have been shown at first, nor he Needed to keep the cavaliers at bay; But that he loved some master-stroke to see, Achieved by lance or sword in single fray. As with the captive mouse, in sportive glee, The wily cat is sometimes seen to play; Till waxing wroth, or weary of her prize, She bites, and at a snap the prisoner dies.

XXIII To cat and mouse, in battles fought before, I liken the magician and his foes; But the comparison holds good no more: For, with the ring, the maid against him goes; Firm and attentive still, and watching sore, Lest upon her the wizard should impose: And as she sees him bare the wondrous shield, Closes her eyes and falls upon the field.

XXIV Not that the shining metal could offend, As wont those others, from its cover freed; But so the damsel did, to make descend The vain enchanter from his wondrous steed. Nor was in ought defeated of her end; For she no sooner on the grassy mead Had laid her head, than wheeling widely round, The flying courser pitched upon the ground.

XXV Already cased again, the shield was hung, By the magician, at his sadle bow. He lights and seeks her, who like wolf among The bushes, couched in thicket, waits the roe; She without more delay from ambush sprung, As he drew near, and grappled fast the foe. That wretched man, the volume by whose aid He all his battles fought, on earth had laid:

XXVI And ran to bind her with a chain, which he, Girt round about him for such a purpose, wore; Because he deemed she was no less to be Mastered and bound than those subdued before. Him hath the dame already flung; by me Excused with reason, if he strove not more. For fearful were the odds between that bold And puissant maid, and warrior weak and old!

XXVII Intending to behead the fallen foe, She lifts her conquering hand; but in mid space, When she beholds his visage, stops the blow, As if disdaining a revenge so base. She sees in him, her prowess has laid low, A venerable sire, with sorrowing face; Whose hair and wrinkles speak him, to her guess, Of years six score and ten, or little less.

XXVIII "Kill me, for love of God!" (afflicted sore, The old enchanter full of wrath did cry). But the victorious damsel was not more Averse to kill, than he was bent to die. To know who was the necromancer hoar The gentle lady had desire, and why The tower he in that savage place designed, Doing such outrage foul to all mankind.

XXIX "Nor I, by malice moved, alas! poor wight," (The weeping necromancer answer made,) "Built the fair castle on the rocky height, Nor yet for rapine ply the robber's trade; But only to redeem a gentle knight From danger sore and death, by love was swayed; Who, as the skies foreshow, in little season, Is doomed to die a Christian, and by treason.

XXX "The sun beholds not 'twixt the poles, a Child So excellent as him, and passing fair; Who from his infancy, Rogero styled, (Atlantes I) was tutored by my care. By love of fame and evil stars beguiled, He follows into France Troyano's heir. Him, in my eyes, than son esteemed more dear, I seek to snatch from France and peril near.

XXXI "I only built the beauteous keep to be Rogero's dungeon, safely harboured there; Who whilom was subdued in fight by me, As I to-day had hoped thyself to snare, And dames and knights, and more of high degree, Have to this tower conveyed, his lot to share, That with such partners of his prison pent, He might the loss of freedom less lament.

XXXII "Save they should seek to break their dungeon's bound, I grant my inmates every other pleasure. For whatsoever in the world is found, Search its four quarters, in this keep I treasure; (Whatever heart can wish or tongue can sound) Cates, brave attire, game, sport, or mirthful measure. My field well sown, I well had reaped my grain. But that thy coming makes my labour vain.

XXXIII "Ah! then unless thy heart less beauteous be Than thy sweet face, mar not my pious care; Take my steel buckler, this I give to thee, And take that horse, which flies so fast in air, Nor meddle with my castle more; or free One or two captive friends, the rest forbear -- Or (for I crave but this) release them all, So that Rogero but remain my thrall.

XXXIV "Or if disposed to take him from my sight, Before the youth be into France conveyed, Be pleased to free my miserable sprite From its now rotted bark, long decayed." "Prate as thou wilt, I shall restore the knight To liberty," replied the martial maid, "Nor offer shield and courser to resign, Which are not in thy gift, -- already mine.

XXXV "Nor were they thine to take or to bestow, Would it appear that such exchange were wise; Thou sayest to save him from what stars foreshow, And cheat an evil influence of the skies Rogero is confined. Thou canst not know, Or knowing, canst not change his destinies: For, if unknown an ill so near to thee, Far less mayest thou another's fate foresee.

XXXVI "Seek not thy death from me; for the petition Is made in vain; but if for death thou sigh, Though the whole world refused the requisition, A soul resolved would find the means to die. But ope thy gates to give thy guests dismission Before thine hand the knot of life untie." So spake the scornful dame with angry mock, Speeding her captive still towards the rock.

XXXVII Round by the conqueror with the chain he bore, Atlantes walked, the damsel following nigh, Who trusted not to the magician hoar, Although he seemed subdued in port and eye. Nor many paces went the pair, before They at the mountain's foot the cleft espy, With steps by which the rugged hill to round; And climb, till to the castle-gate they wound:

XXXVIII Atlantes from the threshold, graved by skill, With characters and wondrous signs, upturned A virtuous stone, where, underneath the sill, Pots, with perpetual fire and secret, burned. The enchanter breaks them; and at once the hill To an inhospitable rock is turned. Nor wall nor tower on any side is seen, As if no castle there had ever been.

XXXIX Then from the lady's toils the wizard clears His limbs, as thrush escapes the fowler's snare; With him as well his castle disappears, And leaves the prisoned troop in open air; From their gay lodgings, dames and cavaliers, Unhoused upon that desert, bleak and bare. And many at the freedom felt annoy, Which dispossessed them of such life of joy.

XL There is Gradasso, there is Sacripant, There is Prasildo, noble cavalier, Who with Rinaldo came from the Levant; Iroldo, too, Prasildo's friend sincere. And there, at last, the lovely Bradamant Discerns Rogero, long desired and dear; Who, when assured it was that lady, flew With joyful cheer to greet the damsel true;

XLI As her he prized before his eyes, his heart, His life; from that day cherished when she stood Uncasqued for him, and from the fight apart; And hence an arrow drank her virgin blood. 'Twere long to tell who launched the cruel dart, And how the lovers wandered in the wood; Now guided by the sun, and now benighted, Here first since that encounter reunited.

XLII Now that the stripling sees her here, and knows Alone she freed him from the wizard's nest, He deems, his bosom with such joy overflows, That he is singly fortunate and blest. Thither, where late the damsel conquered, goes The band, descending from the mountain's crest; And finds the hippogryph, who bore the shield, But in its case of crimson silk concealed.

XLIII To take him by the rein the lady there Approached, and he stood fast till she was nigh, Then spread his pinions to the liquid air, And at short distance lit, half-mountain high: And, as she follows him with fruitless care, Not longer flight nor shorter will he try. 'Tis thus the raven, on some sandy beach, Lures on the dog, and flits beyond his reach.

XLIV Gradasso, Sacripant, Rogero, who With all those other knights below were met, Where'er, they hope he may return, pursue The beast, and up and down, each pass beset. He having led those others, as he flew, Often to rocky height, and bottom wet, Among the rocks of the moist valley dropt, And at short distance from Rogero stopt.

XLV This was Atlantes the enchanter's deed, Whose pious wishes still directed were, To see Rogero from his peril freed: This was his only thought, his only care; Who for such end dispatched the winged steed, Him out of Europe by this sleight to bear. Rogero took his bridle, but in vain; For he was restive to the guiding rein.

XLVI Now the bold youth from his Frontino flings (Frontino was his gentle courser hight) Then leaps on him who towers in air, and stings And goads his haughty heart with rowels bright. He runs a short career; then upward springs. And through mid ether soars a fairer flight Than hawk, from which the falconer plucks away In time the blinding hood, and points her prey.

XLVII When her Rogero the fair dame discerned, In fearful peril, soar so high a strain, She stood long space amazed, ere she returned To her right judgement, and sound wits again: And what she erst of Ganymede had learned, Snatched up to heaven from his paternal reign, Feared might befall the stripling, born through air, As gentle as young Ganymede and fair.

XLVIII She on Rogero looks with stedfast eyes As long as feeble sight can serve her use; And in her mind next tracks him through the skies, When sight in vain the cherished youth pursues. And still renewing tears, and groans, and sighs, Will not afford her sorrow peace or truce. After the knight had vanished from her view, Her eyes she on the good Frontino threw.

XLIX And lest the courser should become the prey Of the first traveller, who passed the glen, Him will not leave; but thence to bear away Resolves, in trust to see his lord again. The griffin soars, nor can Rogero stay The flying courser; while, beneath his ken, Each peak and promontory sinks in guise, That he discerns not flat from mountain-rise.

L After the hippogryph has won such height, That he is lessened to a point, he bends His course for where the sun, with sinking light, When he goes round the heavenly crab, descends; And shoots through air, like well-greased bark and light, Which through the sea a wind propitious sends. Him leave we on his way, who well shall speed, And turn we to Rinaldo in his need.

LI Day after day the good Rinaldo fares, Forced by the wind, the spacious ocean through; Now westward borne, and now toward the Bears; For night and day the ceaseless tempest blew. Scotland at last her dusky coast uprears, And gives the Caledonian wood to view; Which, through its shadowy groves of ancient oak, Oft echoes to the champion's sturdy stroke.

LII Through this roves many a famous cavalier, Renowned for feat in arms, of British strain; And throng from distant land, or country near, French, Norse, of German knights, a numerous train. Let none, save he be valiant, venture here, Where, seeking glory, death may be his gain. Here Arthur, Galahalt, and Gauvaine fought, And well Sir Launcelot and Tristram wrought.

LIII And other worthies of the table round; (Of either table, whether old or new) Whose trophies yet remain upon the ground; Proof of their valiant feats, Rinaldo true Forthwith his armour and Bayardo found, And landed on the woody coast: The crew He bade, with all the haste they might, repair To Berwick's neighbouring port, and wait him there.

LIV Without a guide or company he went Through that wide forest; choosing now this way, Now that, now other, as it might present Hope of adventurous quest or hard assay: And, ere the first day's circling sun is spent, The peer is guested in an abbey gray: Which spends much wealth in harbouring those who claim Its shelter, warlike knight or wandering dame.

LV The monks and abbot to Mount Alban's peer A goodly welcome in their house accord; Who asked, but not before with savoury cheer He amply had his wearied strength restored, If in that tract, by errant cavalier, Often adventurous quest might be explored, In which a man might prove, by dangerous deed, If blame or glory were his fitting meed.

LVI They answered, in those woods he might be sure Many and strange adventures would be found; But deeds, there wrought, were, like the place, obscure, And, for the greater part, not bruited round. "Then seek (they said) a worthier quest, secure Your works will not be buried underground. So that the glorious act achieved, as due, Fame may your peril and your pain pursue.

LVII "And if you would your warlike worth assay, Prepare the worthiest enterprize to hear, That, e'er in times of old or present day, Was undertaken by a cavalier. Our monarch's daughter needs some friendly stay, Now sore bested, against a puissant peer: Lurcanio is the doughty baron's name, Who would bereave her both of life and fame.

LVIII "Her he before her father does pursue, Perchance yet more for hatred than for right; And vouches, to a gallery she updrew A lover, seen by him, at dead of night. Hence death by fire will be the damsel's due, Such is our law, unless some champion fight On her behalf, and, ere a month go by, (Nigh spent) upon the accuser prove the lie.

LIX "Our impious Scottish law, severe and dread, Wills, that a woman, whether low or high Her state, who takes a man into her bed, Except her husband, for the offence shall die. Nor is there hope of ransom for her head, Unless to her defence some warrior hie; And as her champion true, with spear and shield, Maintain her guiltless in the listed field.

LX "The king, sore grieving for Geneura bright, For such is his unhappy daughter's name, Proclaims by town and city, that the knight Who shall deliver her from death and shame, He to the royal damsel will unite, With dower, well suited to a royal dame; So that the valiant warrior who has stood In her defence, be come of gentle blood.

LXI "But if within a month no knight appear, Or coming, conquer not, the damsel dies. A like emrpize were worthier of your spear Than wandering through these woods in lowly guise. Besides, the eternal trophy you shall rear, You by the deed shall gain a glorious prize, The sweetest flower of all the ladies fair That betwixt Ind and Atlas' pillars are.

LXII "And you with wealth and state shall guerdoned be, So that you evermore may live content, And the king's grace, if through your means he see His honour raised anew, now well-nigh spent. Besides, you by the laws of chivalry Are bound to venge the damsel foully shent. For she, whose life is by such treason sought, Is chaste and spotless in the common thought."

LXIII Rinaldo mused awhile, and then replied, "And must a gentle damsel die by fire, Because she with a lover's wish complied, And quenched within her arms his fond desire? Cursed be the law by which the dame is tried! Cursed he who would permit a doom so dire! Perish (such fate were just!) who cruel proves! Not she that life bestows on him who loves.

LXIV "Or true or false Geneura's tale of shame; If she her lover blessed I little heed: For this my praise the lady well might claim, If manifest were not that gentle deed. My every thought is turned to aid the dame. Grant me but one to guide my steps, and lead Quickly to where the foul accuser stands, I trust in God to loose Geneura's bands.

LXV "I will not vouch her guiltless in my thought, In fear to warrant what is false; but I Boldly maintain, in such an act is nought For which the damsel should deserve to die; And ween unjust, or else of wit distraught, Who statutes framed of such severity; Which, as iniquitous, should be effaced, And with a new and better code replaced.

LXVI "If like desire, and if an equal flame Move one and the other sex, who warmly press To that soft end of love (their goal the same) Which to the witless crowd seems rank excess; Say why shall woman -- merit scathe or blame, Though lovers, one or more, she may caress; While man to sin with whom he will is free, And meets with praise, not mere impunity?

LXVII "By this injurious law, unequal still, On woman is inflicted open wrong; And to demonstrate it a grievous ill, I trust in God, which has been borne too long." To good Rinaldo's sentence, with one will, Deeming their sires unjust, assents the throng, Their sires who such outrageous statute penned, And king, who might, but does not, this amend.

LXVIII When the new dawn, with streaks of red and white, Broke in the east, and cleared the hemisphere, Rinaldo took his steed and armour bright: A squire that abbey furnished to the peer. With him, for many leagues and miles, the knight Pricked through the dismal forest dark and drear; While they towards the Scottish city ride, Where the poor damsel's cause is to be tried.

LXIX Seeking their way to shorten as they wound, They to the wider track a path preferred; When echoing through the gloomy forest round, Loud lamentations nigh the road were heard. Towards a neighbouring vale, whence came the sound, This his Bayardo, that his hackney spurred; And viewed, between two grisly ruffians there, A girl, who seemed at distance passing fair.

LXX But woe begone and weeping was the maid As ever damsel dame, or wight was seen: Hard by the barbarous twain prepared the blade, To deluge with that damsel's blood the green. She to delay her death awhile essayed, Until she pity moved with mournful mien. This when Rinaldo near approaching eyes, He thither drives with threats and furious cries.

LXXI The ruffians turn their backs and take to flight As soon as they the distant succour view, And squat within a valley out of sight: Nor cares the good Rinaldo to pursue. To her approaching, sues Mount Alban's knight, To say what on her head such evil drew; And, to save time, commands his squire to stoop, And take the damsel on his horse's croup.

LXXII And as the lady nearer he surveyed, Her wise behaviour marked and beauty's bloom; Though her fait countenance was all dismayed, And by the fear of death o'erspread with gloom. Again to know, the gentle knight essayed, Who had prepared for her so fell a doom; And she began to tell in humble tone What to another canto I postpone.


ARGUMENT Lurcanio, by a false report abused, Deemed by Geneura's fault his brother dead, Weening the faithless duke, whom she refused, Was taken by the damsel to her bed; And her before the king and peers accused: But to the session Ariodantes led, Strives with his brother in disguise. In season Rinaldo comes to venge the secret treason.

I Among all other animals who prey On earth, or who unite in friendly wise, Whether they mix in peace or moody fray, No male offends his mate. In safety hies The she bear, matched with hers, through forest gray: The lioness beside the lion lies: Wolves, male and female, live in loving cheer; Nor gentle heifer dreads the wilful steer.

II What Fury, what abominable Pest Such poison in the human heart has shed, That still 'twixt man and wife, with rage possessed, Injurious words and foul reproach are said? And blows and outrage hase their peace molest, And bitter tears still wash the genial bed; Not only watered by the tearful flood, But often bathed by senseless ire with blood?

III Not simply a rank sinner, he appears To outrage nature, and his God to dare, Who his foul hand against a woman rears, Or of her head would harm a single hair. But who what drug the burning entrail sears, Or who for her would knife or noose prepare, No man appears to me, though such to sight He seem, but rather some infernal sprite.

IV Such, and no other were those ruffians two, Whom good Rinaldo from the damsel scared, Conducted to these valleys out of view, That none might wot of her so foully snared. I ended where the damsel, fair of hue, To tell the occasion of her scathe prepared, To the good Paladin, who brought release; And in conclusion thus my story piece.

V "Of direr deed than ever yet was done," The gentle dame began, "Sir cavalier, In Thebes, Mycene, Argos, or upon Other more savage soil, prepare to hear; And I believe, that if the circling sun To these our Scottish shores approach less near Than other land, 'tis that he would eschew A foul ferocious race that shocks his view.

VI "All times have shown that man has still pursued With hair, in every clime, his natural foe; But to deal death to those who seek our good Does from too ill and foul a nature flow. Now, that the truth be better understood, I shall from first to last the occasion show, Why in my tender years, against all right, Those caitiffs would have dome me foul despite.

VII " 'Tis fitting you should know, that in the spring Of life, I to the palace made resort; There served long time the daughter of the king, And grew with her in growth, well placed in court. When cruel love, my fortune envying, Willed I should be his follower and his sport; And made, beyond each Scottish lord and knight, Albany's duke find favour in my sight.

VIII "And for he seemed to cherish me above All mean; his love a love as ardent bred. We hear, indeed, and see, but do not prove Man's faith, nor is his bosom's purpose read. Believing still, and yielding to my love, I ceased not till I took him to my bed; Nor, of all chambers, in that evil hour, Marked I was in Geneura's priviest bower.

IX "Where, hoarded, she with careful privacy Preserved whatever she esteemed most rare; There many times she slept. A gallery From thence projected into the open air. Here oft I made my lover climb to me, And (what he was to mount) a hempen stair, When him I to my longing arms would call, From the projecting balcony let fall.

X "For here my passion I as often fed As good Geneura's absence made me bold; Who with the varying season changed her bed, To shun the burning heat or pinching cold, And Albany, unseen and safely sped; For, fronting a dismantled street, and old, Was built that portion of the palace bright; Nor any went that way by day or night.

XI "So was for many days and months maintained By us, in secrecy, the amorous game; Still grew by love, and such new vigour gained, I in my inmost bosom felt the flame; And that he little loved, and deeply feigned Weened not, so was I blinded to my shame: Though, in a thousand certain signs betrayed, The faithless knight his base deceit bewrayed.

XII "After some days, of fair Geneura he A suitor showed himself; I cannot say If this began before he sighed for me, Or, after, of this love he made assay: But judge, alas! with what supremacy He ruled my heart, how absolute his sway! Since this he owned, and thought no shame to move Me to assist him in his second love.

XIII "Unlike what he bore me, he said, indeed, That was not true which he for her displayed; But so pretending love, he hoped to speed, And celebrate due spousals with the maid. He with her royal sire might well succeed, Were she consenting to the boon he prayed; For after our good king, for wealth and birth In all the realm, was none of equal worth.

XIV "Me he persuades, if through my ministry He the king's son-in-law elected were, For I must know he next the king would be Advanced as high, as subject could repair, The merit should be mine, and ever he So great a benefit in mind would bear; And he would cherish me above his bride, And more than every other dame beside.

XV "I, who to please him was entirely bent, Who never could or would gainsay his will, Upon those days alone enjoy content, When I find means his wishes to fulfil: And snatch at all occasions which present A mode, his praise and merits to instil: And for my lover with all labour strain, And industry, Geneura's love to gain.

XVI "With all my heart, in furtherance of his suit, I wrought what could be done, God truly knows; But with Geneura this produced no friut, Nor her to grace my duke could I dispose. For that another love had taken root In her, whose every fond affection flows Towards a gentle knight of courteous lore, Who sought our Scotland from a distant shore:

XVII "And with a brother, then right young, to stay In our king's court, came out of Italy: And there of knightly arms made such assay, Was none in Britain more approved than he; Prized by the king, who (no ignoble pay), Rewarding him like his nobility, Bestowed upon the youth, with liberal hand, Burghs, baronies, and castles, woods and land.

XVIII "Dear to the monarch, to the daughter still This lord was dearer, Ariodantes hight. Her with affection might his valour fill; But knowledge of his love brought more delight. Nor old Vesuvius, nor Sicilia's hill, Nor Troy-town, ever, with a blaze so bright, Flamed, as with all his heart, the damsel learned, For love of her young Ariodantes burned.

XIX "The passion which she bore the lord, preferred And loved with perfect truth and all her heart, Was the occassion I was still unheard; Nor hopeful answer would she e'er impart: And still the more my lover's suit I stirred, And to obtain his guerdon strove with art, Him she would censure still, and ever more Was strengthened in the hate she nursed before.

XX "My wayward lover often I excite So vain and bootless an emprize to quit; Nor idly hope to turn her stedfast sprite, Too deeply with another passion smit; And make apparent to the Scottish knight, Ariodantes such a flame had lit In the young damsel's breast, that seas in flood Would not have cooled one whit her boiling blood.

XXI "This Polinesso many times had heard From me (for such the Scottish baron's name) Well warranted by sight as well as word, How ill his love was cherished by the dame. To see another to himself preferred Not only quenched the haughty warrior's flame, But the fond love, which in his bosom burned Into despiteful rage and hatred turned.

XXII "Between Geneura and her faithful knight Such discord and ill will he schemed to shed, And put betwixt the pair such foul despite. No time should heal the quarrel he had bred; Bringing such scandal on that damsel bright, The stain should cleave to her, alive or dead: Nor, bent to wreck her on this fatal shelf, Counselled with me, or other but himself.

XXIII " `Dalinda mine,' he said, his project brewed, (Dalinda is my name) `you needs must know, That from the root although the trunk be hewed, Successive suckers many times will grow. Thus my unhappy passion is renewed, Tenacious still of life, and buds; although Cut off by ill success, with new increase: Nor, till I compass my desire, will cease.

XXIV " `Nor hope of pleasure this so much has wrought, As that to compass my design would please; And, if not in effect, at least in thought To thrive, would interpose some little ease. Then every time your bower by me is sought, When in her bed Geneura slumbers, seize What she puts off, and be it still your care To dress yourself in all her daily wear.

XXV " `Dispose your locks and deck yourself as she Goes decked; and, as you can, with cunning heed, Imitate her; then to the gallery You, furnished with the corded stair, shall speed: I shall ascend it in the phantasy That you are she, of whom you wear the weed: And hope, that putting on myself this cheat, I in short time shall quench my amorous heat.'

XXVI "So said the knight; and I, who was distraught, And all beside myself, was not aware That the design, in which he help besought, Was manifestly but too foul a snare; And in Geneura's clothes disguised, as taught, Let down (so oft I used) the corded stair. Nor I the traitor's foul deceit perceived, Until the deadly mischief was achieved.

XXVII "The duke, this while, to Ariodantes' ears Had these, or other words like these, addressed; (For leagued in friendship were the cavaliers, Till, rivals, they pursued this common quest) "I marvel, since you are of all my peers He, whom I must have honoured and caressed, And held in high regard, and cherished still, You should my benefits repay so ill.

XXVIII " `I am assured you comprehend and know Mine and Geneura's love, and old accord; And, in legitimate espousal, how I am about to claim her from my lord: Then why disturb my suit, and why bestow Your heart on her who offers no reward? By Heaven, I should respect your claim and place, Were your condition mine, and mine your case.'

XXIX " `And I,' cried Ariodantes, `marvel more' (In answer to the Scottish lord) `at you, Since I of her enamoured was, before That gentle damsel ever met your view; And know, you are assured how evermore We two have loved; -- was never love more true -- Are certain she alone would share my lot; And are as well assured she loves you not.

XXX " `Why have not I from you the same respect, To which, for friendship past, you would pretend From me; and I should bear you in effect, If your hope stood more fair to gain its end? No less than you, to wed her I expect; And if your fortunes here my wealth transcend, As favoured of the king, as you, above You, am I happy in his daughter's love.'

XXXI " `Of what a strange mistake,' (to him replied The duke) `your foolish passion is the root! You think yourself beloved; I, on my side, Believe the same; this try we by the fruit. You of your own proceeding nothing hide, And I will tell the secrets of my suit: And let the man who proves least favoured, yield, Provide himself elsewhere, and quit the field.

XXXII " `I am prepared, if such your wish, to swear Nothing of what is told me to reveal; And will that you assure me, for your share, You shall what I recount as well conceal.' Uniting in the pact, the rival pair Their solemn vows upon the Bible seal: And when they had the mutual promise plighted, Ariodantes first his tale recited.

XXXIII "Then plainly, and by simple facts averred, How with Geneura stood his suit, avows; And how, engaged by writing and by word, She swore she would not be another's spouse. How, if to him the Scottish king demurred, Virgin austerity she ever vows; And other bridal bond for aye eschewed, To pass her days in barren solitude.

XXXIV "Then added, how he hoped by worth, which he Had more than once avouched, with knightly brand, And yet might vouch, to the prosperity And honour of the king, and of his land, To please so well that monarch, as to be By him accounted worthy of the hand Of his fair child, espoused with his consent: Since he in this her wishes would content.

XXXV "Then so concludes -- `I stand upon this ground, Nor I intruder fear, encroaching nigh; Nor seek I more; 'tis here my hopes I bound; Nor, striving for Geneura's love, would I Seek surer sign of it than what is found, By God allowed, in wedlock's lawful tie; And other suit were hopeless, am I sure, So excellent she is, and passing pure.'

XXXVI "When Ariodantes had, with honest mind, Told what reward he hoped should quit his pain, False Polinesso, who before designed To make Geneura hateful to her swain, Began -- `Alas! you yet are far behind My hopes, and shall confess your own are vain; And say, as I the root shall manifest Of my good fortune, I alone am blest.

XXXVII " `With you Geneura feigns, nor pays nor prizes Your passion, which with hopes and words is fed; And, more than this, your foolish love despises: And this to me the damsel oft has said, Of hers I am assured; of no surmises, Vain, worthless words, or idle promise bred. And I to you the fact in trust reveal, Though this I should in better faith conceal.

XXXVIII " `There passes not a month, but in that space Three nights, four, six, and often ten, the fair Receives me with that joy in her embrace, Which seems to second so the warmth we share. This you may witness, and shall judge the case; If empty hopes can with my bliss compare. Then since my happier fortune is above Your wishes, yield, and seek another love.'

XXXIX " `This will I not believe,' in answer cried Ariodantes, `well assured you lie, And that you have this string of falsehoods tied, To scare me from the dear emprize I try. But charge, so passing foul, you shall abide, And vouch what you have said in arms; for I Not only on your tale place no reliance; But as a traitor hurl you my defiance.'

XL "To him rejoined the duke, 'I ween 'twere ill To take the battle upon either part, Since surer mean our purpose may fulfill; And if it please, my proof I can impart.' Ariodantes trembled, and a chill Went through his inmost bones; and sick at heart, Had he in full believed his rival's boast, Would on the spot have yielded up the ghost.

XLI "With wounded heart, and faltering voice, pale face, And mouth of gall, he answered, 'When I see Proofs of thy rare adventure, and the grace With which the fair Geneura honours thee, I promise to forego the fruitless chase Of one, to thee so kind, so cold to me. But think not that thy story shall avail, Unless my very eyes confirm the tale.'

XLII " `To warn in due time shall be my care.' (Said Polinesso) and so went his way. Two nights were scarecly passed, ere his repair To the known bower was fixed for the assay. And, ready now to spring his secret snare, He sought his rival on the appointed day, And him to hide, the night ensuing, prayed I' the street, which none their habitation made.

XLIII "And to the youth a station over-right The balcony, to which he clambered, shows. Ariodantes weened, this while, the knight Would him to seek that hidden place dispose, As one well suited to his fell despite, And, bent to take his life, this ambush chose, Under the false pretence to make him see What seemed a sheer impossibility.

XLIV "To go the peer resolved, but in such guise, He should not be with vantage overlaid; And should he be assaulted by surprise, He need not be by fear of death dismay'd. He had a noble brother, bold and wise, First of the court in arms; and on his aid, Lurcanio hight, relied with better heart Than if ten others fought upon his part.

XLV "He called him to his side, and willed him take His arms; and to the place at evening led: Yet not his secret purpose would be break; Nor this to him, or other would have read: Him a stone's throw removed he placed, and spake: ` -- Come if thou hearest he cry,' the warrior said; `But as thou lovest me (whatsoe'er befall) Come not and move not, brother, till I call.'

XLVI " `Doubt not' (the valiant brother said) `but go'; And thither went that baron silently, And hid within the lonely house, and low, Over against my secret gallery. On the other side approached the fraudful foe, So pleased to work Geneura's infamy; And, while I nothing of the cheat divine, Beneath my bower renews the wonted sign.

XLVII "And I in costly robe, in which were set Fair stripes of gold upon a snowy ground, My tresses gathered in a golden net, Shaded with tassels of vermillion round, Mimicking fashions, which were only met In fair Geneura, at the accustomed sound, The gallery mount, constructed in such mode, As upon every side my person showed.

XLVIII "This while Lurcanio, either with a view To snares which might beset his brother's feet, Or with the common passion to pursue, And play the spy on other, where the street Was darkest, and its deepest shadows threw, Followed him softly to his dim retreat: And not ten paces from the knight aloof, Bestowed himself beneath the self same roof.

XLIX "Suspecting nought, I seek the balcony, In the same habits which I mentioned, dressed; As more than once or twice (still happily) I did before; meanwhile the goodly vest Was in the moonlight clearly seen, and I, In aspect not unlike her, in the rest Resembling much Geneura's shape and cheer, One visage well another might appear.

L "So much the more, that there was ample space Between the palace and the ruined row: Hence the two brothers, posted in that place, Were lightly cheated by the lying show. Now put yourself in his unhappy case, And figure what the wretched lover's woe, When Polinesso climbed the stair, which I Cast down to him, and scaled the gallery.

LI "Arrived, my arms about his neck I throw, Weening that we unseen of others meet, And kiss his lips and face with loving show, As him I hitherto was wont to greet; And he assayed, with more than wonted glow, Me to caress, to mask his hollow cheat. Led to the shameful spectacle, aghast, That other, from afar, viewed all that passed,

LII "And fell into such fit of deep despair, He there resolved to die; and, to that end, Planted the pommel of his falchion bare I' the ground, its point against his breast to bend. Lurcanio, who with marvel by that stair, Saw Polinesso to my bower ascend, But knew not who the wight, with ready speed Sprang forward, when he saw his brother's deed.

LIII "And hindered him in that fell agony From turning his own hand against his breast. Had the good youth been later, or less nigh, To his assistance he had vainly pressed. Then, `Wretched brother, what insanity.' (He cried) `your better sense has dispossessed? Die for a woman! rather let her kind Be scattered like the mist before the wind!

LIV " `Compass her death! 'tis well deserved; your own Reserve, as due to more illustrious fate. 'Twas well to love, before her fraud was shown, But she, once loved, now more deserves your hate: Since, witnessed by your eyes, to you is known A wanton of what sort you worshipped late. Her fault before the Scottish king to attest, Reserve those arms you turn against your breast.'

LV "Ariodantes, so surprised, forewent, Joined by his brother, the design in show; But resolute to die, in his intent Was little shaken: Rising thence to go, He bears away a heart not simply rent, But dead and withered with excess of woe: Yet better comfort to Lurcanio feigns, As if the rage were spent which fired his veins.

LVI "The morn ensuing, without further say To his good brother, or to man beside, He from the city took his reckless way With deadly desperation for his guide; Nor, save the duke and knight, for many a day Was there who knew what moved the youth to ride: And in the palace, touching this event, And in the realm, was various sentiment.

LVII "But eight days past or more, to Scotland's court A traveller came, and to Geneura he Related tidings of disastrous sort; That Ariodantes perished in the sea: Drowned of his own free will was the report, No wind to blame for the calamity! Since from a rock, which over ocean hung, Into the raging waves he headlong sprung;

LVIII " `Who said, before he reached that frowning crest, To me, whom he encountered by the way, Come with me, that your tongue may manifest, And what betides me to Geneura say; And tell her, too, the occasion of the rest, Which you shall witness without more delay; In having seen too much, the occasion lies; Happy had I been born without these eyes!"

LIX " `By chance, upon a promontory we Were standing, overright the Irish shore; When, speaking thus on that high headland, he Plunged from a rock amid the watery roar. I saw him leap, and left him in the sea; And, hurrying thence, to you the tidings bore.' Geneura stood amazed, her colour fled, And, at the fearful tale, remained half dead.

LX "O God! what said, what did she, when alone, She on her faithful pillow layed her head! She beat her bosom, and she tore her gown, And in despite her golden tresses shed; Repeating often, in bewildered tone, The last sad words which Ariodantes said; -- That the sole source of such despair, and such Disaster, was that he had seen too much.

LXI "Wide was the rumour scattered that the peer Had slain himself for grief; nor was the cry By courtly dame, or courtly cavalier, Or by the monarch, heard with tearless eye. But, above all the rest, his brother dear Was whelmed with sorrow of so deep a dye, That, bent to follow him, he well nigh turned His hand against himself, like him he mourned.

LXII "And many times repeating in his thought, It was Geneura who his brother slew, Who was to self-destruction moved by nought But her ill deed, which he was doomed to view, So on his mind the thirst of vengeance wrought, And so his grief his season overthrew; That he thought little, graced of each estate, To encounter king and people's common hate;

LXIII "And, when the throng was fullest in the hall, Stood up before the Scottish king, and said, `Of having marred my brother's wits withal, Sir king, and him to his destruction led, Your daughter only can I guilty call: For in his inmost soul such sorrow bred The having seen her little chastity, He loathed existence, and preferred to die.

LXIV " `He was her lover; and for his intent Was honest, this I seek not, I, to veil; And to deserve her by his valour meant Of thee, if faithful service might avail; But while he stood aloof, and dared but scent The blossoms, he beheld another scale, Scale the forbidden tree with happier boot, And bear away from him the wished-for fruit.'

LXV "Then added, how into the gallery came Geneura, and how dropped the corded stair; And how into the chamber of the dame Had climbed a leman of that lady fair; Who, for disguise (he knew not hence his name), Had changed his habits, and concealed his hair; And, in conclusion, vowed that every word So said, he would avouch with lance and sword.

LXVI "You may divine how grieves the sire, distraught With woe, when he the accusation hears: As well that what he never could have thought, He of his daughter learns with wondering ears, As that he knows, if succour be not brought By cavalier, that in her cause appears, Who may upon Lurcanio prove the lie, He cannot choose, but doom the maid to die.

LXVII "I do not think our Scottish law to you Is yet unknown, which sentences to fire The miserable dame, or damsel, who Grants other than her wedded lord's desire. She dies, unless a champion, good and true, Arm on her side before a month expire; And her against the accuser base maintain Unmeriting such death, and free from stain.

LXVIII "The king has made proclaim by town and tower, (For he believes her wronged, his child to free) Her he shall have to wife, with ample dower, Who saves the royal maid from infamy. But each to the other looks, and to this hour No champion yet, 'tis said, appears: for he, Lurcanio, is esteemed so fierce in fight, It seems as he were feared of every knight.

"And evil Fate has willed her brother dear, Zerbino, is not here the foe to face; Since many months has roved the cavalier, Proving his matchless worth with spear and mace; For if the valiant champion were more near, (Such is his courage) or in any place, Whither in time the news might be conveyed, He would not fail to bear his sister aid.

LXX "The king, mean time, who would the quest pursue, And by more certain proof than combat, try If the accuser's tale be false or true, And she deserve, or merit not, to die, Arrests some ladies of her retinue, That, as he weens, the fact can verify. Whence I foresaw, that if I taken were, Too certain risque the duke and I must share.

LXXI "That very night I from the palace flee, And to the duke repair, escaped from court; And, were I taken, make him plainly see How much it either's safety would import: He praised, and bade me of good courage be, And, for his comfort, prayed me to resort To a strong castle which he held hard by; And gave me two to bear me company.

LXXII "With what full proofs, sir stranger, you have heard, I of my love assured the Scottish peer; And clearly can discern, if so preferred, That lord was justly bound to hold me dear. Mark, in conclusion, what was my reward; The glorious meed of my great merit hear! And say if woman can expect to earn, However well she love, her love's return.

LXXIII "For this perfidious, foul, ungrateful man, At length suspicious of my faith and zeal, And apprehending that his wily plan, In course of time, I haply might reveal, Feigned that meanwhile the monarch's anger ran Too high, he would withdraw me, and conceal Within a fortress of his own, where I (Such was his real end) was doomed to die.

LXXIV "For secretly the duke enjoined the guide, Who with me through the gloomy forest went, The worthy guerdon of a faith so tried, To slay me; and had compassed his intent, But for your ready succour, when I cried. Behold! what wages love's poor slaves content." Thus to Rinaldo did Dalinda say, As they together still pursued their way.

LXXV Above all other fortune, to the knight Was welcome to have found the gentle maid, Who the whole story of Geneura bright, And her unblemished innocence displayed; And, if he hoped, although accused with right, To furnish the afflicted damsel aid, Persuaded of the calumny's disproof, He with more courage warred in her behoof.

LXXVI And for St. Andrew's town, with eager speed, Where was the king with all his family, And where the single fight, in listed mead, Upon his daughter's quarrel, was to be, The good Rinaldo pricked, nor spared his steed, Until, within an easy distance, he Now near the city, met a squire who brought More recent tidings than the damsel taught:

LXXVII That thither had repaired a stranger knight, To combat in Geneura's quarrel bent, With ensigns strange, not known of living wight, Since ever close concealed the warrior went; Not, since he had been there, had bared to sight His visage, aye within his helmet pent: And that the very squire who with him came, Swore that he knew not what the stranger's name.

LXXVIII Not far they ride before the walls appear, And now before the gate their coursers stand. To advance the sad Dalinda was in fear, Yet followed, trusting in Rinaldo's brand. The gate was shut, and to the porter near, What this implies Rinaldo makes demand: To him was said, the people, one and all, Were trooped to see a fight without the wall:

LXXIX Beyond the city, fought upon accord, Between Lurcanio and a stranger knight; Where, on a spacious meadow's level sward, The pair already had begun the fight. The porter opened to Mount Alban's lord, And straight behind the peer the portal hight. Rinaldo through the empty city rode, But in a hostel first the dame bestowed:

LXXX And will that she (he will not long delay To seek her there) till his return repose; And quickly to the lists pursued his way, Where the two made that fell exchange of blows, And strove and struggled yet in bloody fray. Lurcanio's heart with vengeful hatred glows Against Geneura; while that other knight As well maintains the quarrel for her right.

LXXXI Six knights on foot within the palisade Stand covered with the corslet's iron case; Beneath the Duke of Albany arrayed, Borne on a puissant steed of noble race: Who there, as lord high-constable obeyed, Was keeper of the field and of the place, And joyed Geneura's peril to espy With swelling bosom and exulting eye.

LXXXII Rinaldo pierces through the parted swarm, (So wide is felt the good Bayardo's sway,) And he who hears the courser come in storm, Halts not, in his desire to make him way: Above is seen Rinaldo's lofty form, The flower of those who mix in martial fray. He stops his horse before the monarch's chair, While all to hear the paladin repair.

LXXXIII "Dread sir," to him the good Rinaldo said, "Let not the pair this combat longer ply; Since whichsoever of the two falls dead, Know, that you let him perish wrongfully: This thinks that he is right, and is misled, Vouches the false, and knows not 'tis a lie: Since that which brought his brother to his end, Moves him in causeless battle contend.

LXXXIV "That, in pure gentleness, with little care If what he here maintains be wrong or right, Because he would preserve a maid so fair, Perils his person in the furious fight. To injured innocence I safety bear, And to the evil man its opposite. But first, for love of God, the battle stay; Then list, sir king, to what I shall display."

LXXXV So moved the king the grave authority Of one who seemed so worthy, by his cheer, That he made sign the battle should not be Further continued then with sword or spear: To whom, together with his chivalry, And barons of the realm and others near Rinaldo all the treacherous plot displayed, Which Polinesso for Geneura layed.

LXXXVI Next that he there in arms would testify The truth of what he vouched, the warrior cried. False Polinesso, called, with troubled eye, Stood forth, but daringly the tale denied. To him the good Rinaldo in reply; "By deeds be now the doubtful quarrel tried." The field was cleared, and, ready armed, the foes, Without more let, in deadly duel close.

LXXXVII How was the hope to king and people dear, The proof might show Geneura innocent! All trust that God will make the treason clear, And show she was accused with foul intent: For Polinesso, greedy and severe, And proud was held, and false and fraudulent. So that none there, of all assembled, deemed It marvel, if the knight such fraud had schemed.

LXXXVIII False Polinesso, with a mien distressed, A pallid cheek, and heart which thickly beat, At the third trumpet, laid his lance in rest; As well Rinaldo spurred the knight to meet, And levelled at his evil foeman's breast, Eager to finish at a single heat. Nor counter to his wish was the event; Since through the warrior half his weapon went.

LXXXIX Him, through his breast, impaled upon the spear, More than six yards beyond his horse he bore. With speed alighted Mount Albano's peer, And, ere he rose, unlaced the helm he wore: But he for mercy prayed with humble cheer, Unfit to strive in joust or warfare more: And, before king and court, with faltering breath, Confessed the fraud which brought him to his death.

XC He brings not his confession to a close, And pangs of death the failing accents drown: The prince, who ended saw his daughter's woes, Redeemed from death and scorn, her virtue shown, With more delight and rapture overflows, Than if he, having lost his kingly crown, Then saw it first upon his head replaced; So that he good Rinaldo singly graced.

XCI And when, through his uplifted casque displaid, Features, well known before, the king descried, His thanks to God with lifted hands he paid, That he had deigned such succour to provide. That other cavalier, who bared his blade, Unknown of all, upon Geneura's side, And thither came from far, his aid to impart, Looked upon all that passed, and stood apart.

XCII Him the good king entreated to declare His name, or, at the least, his visage shew; That he might grace him with such guerdon fair, As to his good intent was justly due. The stranger, after long and earnest prayer, Lifted to covering casque, and bared to view What in the ensuing canto will appear, If you are fain the history to hear.


ARGUMENT Ariodantes has, a worthy meed, With his loved bride, the fief of Albany. Meantime Rogero, on the flying steed, Arrives in false Alcina's empery: There from a myrtle-tree her every deed, A human myrtle hears, and treachery, And thence would go; but they who first withdrew Him from one strife, engage him in a new.

I Wretched that evil man who lives in trust His secret sin is safe in his possession! Since, if nought else, the air, the very dust In which the crime is buried, makes confession, And oftentimes his guilt compels the unjust, Though sometime unarraigned in worldly session, To be his own accuser, and bewray, So God has willed, deeds hidden from the day.

II The unhappy Polinesso hopes had nursed, Wholly his secret treason to conceal. By taking off Dalinda, who was versed In this, and only could the fact reveal; And adding thus a second to his first Offence, but hurried on the dread appeal, Which haply he had stunned, at least deferred; But he to self-destruction blindly spurred.

III And forfeited estate, and life, and love Of friends at once, and honour, which was more. The cavalier unknown, I said above, Long of the king and court entreated sore, At length the covering helmet did remove, And showed a visage often seen before, The cherished face of Ariodantes true, Of late lamented weeping Scotland through;

IV Ariodantes, whom with tearful eye His brother and Geneura wept as dead, And king, and people, and nobility: Such light his goodness and his valour shed. The pilgrim therefore might appear to lie In what he of the missing warrior said. Yet was it true that from a headland, he Had seen him plunge into the foaming sea.

V But, as it oft befalls despairing wight, Who grisly Death desires till he appear; But loathes what he had sought, on nearer sight; So painful seems the cruel pass and drear. Thus, in the sea engulphed, the wretched knight, Repentant of his deed, was touched with fear; And, matchless both for spirit and for hand, Beat back the billows, and returned to land.

VI And, now despising, as of folly bred, The fond desire which did to death impell, Thence, soaked and dripping wet, his way did tread, And halted at a hermit's humble cell: And housed within the holy father's shed, There secretly awhile designed to dwell; Till to his ears by rumour should be voiced, If his Geneura sorrowed or rejoiced.

VII At first he heard that, through excess of woe, The miserable damsel well-nigh died: For so abroad the doleful tidings go, 'Twas talked of in the island, far and wide: Far other proof than that deceitful show, Which to his cruel grief he thought he spied! And next against the fair Geneura heard Lurcanio to her sire his charge preferred:

VIII Nor for his brother felt less enmity Than was the love he lately bore the maid; For he too foul, and full of cruelty, Esteemed the deed, although for him essayed; And, hearing after, in her jeopardy, That none appeared to lend the damsel aid, Because so puissant was Lurcanio's might, All dreaded an encounter with the knight,

IX And that who well the youthful champion knew, Believed he was so wary and discreet, That, had what he related been untrue, He never would have risqued so rash a feat, -- For this the greater part the fight eschew, Fearing in wrongful cause the knight to meet -- Ariodantes (long his doubts are weighed) Will meet his brother in Geneura's aid.

X "Alas! (he said) I cannot bear to see Thus by my cause the royal damsel die; My death too bitter and too dread would be, Did I, before my own, her death descry; For still my lady, my divinity She is; -- the light and comfort of my eye. Her, right or wrong, I cannot choose but shield, And for her safety perish in the field.

XI "I know I choose the wrong, and be it so! And in the cause shall die: nor this would move; But that, alas! my death, as well I know, Will such a lovely dame's destruction prove, To death I with one only comfort go, That, if her Polinesso bears her love, To her will manifestly be displayed, That hitherto he moves not in her aid.

XII "And me, so wronged by her, the maid shall view Encounter death in her defence; and he, My brother, who such flames of discord blew, Shall pay the debt of vengeance due to me. For well I ween to make Lurcanio rue (Informed of the event) his cruelty, Who will have thought to venge me with his brand, And will have slain me with his very hand."

XIII He, having this concluded in his thought, Made new provision of arms, steed, and shield; Black was the vest and buckler which he bought, Where green and yellow striped the sable field: By hazard found, with him a squire he brought, A stranger in that country; and, concealed (As is already told) the unhappy knight, Against his brother came, prepared for fight.

XV And yielding to his natural inclination, And at the suit of all his court beside, And mostly at Rinaldo's instigation, Assigned the youth the damsel as his bride. Albany's duchy, now in sequestration, Late Polinesso's, who in duel died, Could not be forfeited in happier hour; Since this the monarch made his daughter's dower.

XVI Rinaldo for Dalinda mercy won; Who from her fault's due punishment went free. She, satiate of the world, (and this to shun, The damsel so had vowed) to God will flee: And hence, in Denmark's land, to live a nun, Straight from her native Scotland sailed the sea. But it is time Rogero to pursue, Who on his courser posts the welkin through.

XVII Although Rogero is of constant mind, Not from his cheek the wonted hues depart. I ween that faster than a leaf i' the wind Fluttered within his breast the stripling's heart. All Europe's region he had left behind In his swift course; and, issuing in that part, Passed by a mighty space, the southern sound Where great Alcides fixed the sailor's bound.

XVIII That hippogryph, huge fowl, and strange to sight, Bears off the warrior with such rapid wing, He would have distanced, in his airy flight, The thunder bearing bird of Aether's king: Nor other living creature soars such height, Him in his mighty swiftness equalling. I scarce believe that bolt, or lightning flies, Or darts more swiftly from the parted skies.

XIX When the huge bird his pinions long had plied, In a straight line, without one stoop or bend, He, tired of air, with sweeping wheel and wide, Began upon an island to descend; Like that fair region, whither, long unspied Of him, her wayward mood did long offend, Whilom in vain, through strange and secret sluice, Passed under sea the Virgin Arethuse.

XX A more delightful place, wherever hurled Through the whole air, Rogero had not found: And, had he ranged the universal world, Would not have seen a lovelier in his round, Than that, where, wheeling wide, the courser furled His spreading wings, and lighted on the ground, 'Mid cultivated plain, delicious hill, Moist meadow, shady bank, and crystal rill.

XXI Small thickets, with the scented laurel gay, Cedar, and orange, full of fruit and flower, Myrtle and palm, with interwoven spray, Pleached in mixed modes, all lovely, form a bower; And, breaking with their shade the scorching ray, Make a cool shelter from the noontide hour. And nightingales among those branches wing Their flight, and safely amorous descants sing.

XXII Amid red roses and white lilies there, Which the soft breezes freshen as they fly, Secure the cony haunts, and timid hare, And stag, with branching forehead broad and high. These, fearless of the hunter's dart or snare, Feed at their ease, or ruminating lie: While, swarming in those wilds, from tuft or steep Dun deer or nimble goat, disporting, leap.

XXIII When the hyppogryph above the island hung, And had approached so nigh that landscape fair, That, if his rider from the saddle sprung, He might the leap with little danger dare, Rogero lit the grass and flowers among, But held him, lest he should remount the air: And to a myrtle, nigh the rolling brine, Made fast, between a bay-tree and a pine.

XXIV And there, close-by where rose a bubbling fount, Begirt the fertile palm and cedar-tree, He drops the shield, the helmet from his front Uplifts, and, either hand from gauntlet free, Now turning to the beach, and now the mount, Catches the gales which blow from hill or sea, And, with a joyous murmur, lightly stir The lofty top of beech, or feathery fir:

XXV And, now, to bathe his burning lips he strains; Now dabbles in the crystal wave, to chase The scorching heat which rages in his veins, Caught from the heavy corslet's burning case. Nor is it marvel if the burden pains; No ramble his in square or market-place! Three thousand miles, without repose, he went, And still, at speed, in ponderous armour pent.

XXVI Meanwhile the courser by the myrtle's side, Whom he left stabled in the cool retreat, Started at something in the wood descried, Scared by I know not what; and in his heat So made the myrtle shake where he was tied, He brought a shower of leaves about his feet; He made the myrtle shake and foliage fall, But, struggling, could not loose himself withal.

XXVII As in a stick to feed the chimney rent, Where scanty pith ill fills the narrow sheath, The vapour, in its little channel pent, Struggles, tormented by the fire beneath; And, till its prisoned fury find a vent, Is heard to hiss and bubble, sing and seethe: So the offended myrtle inly pined, Groaned, murmured, and at last unclosed its rind:

XXVIII And hence a clear, intelligible speech Thus issued, with a melancholy sound; "If, as thy cheer and gentle presence teach, Thou courteous art and good, his reign unbound, Release me from this monster, I beseech: Griefs of my own inflict sufficient wound: Nor need I, compassed with such ills about, Other new pain to plague me from without."

XXIX At the first sound, Rogero turns to see Whence came the voice, and, in unused surprise, Stands, when he finds it issues from the tree; And swiftly to remove the courser hies. Then, with a face suffused with crimson, he In answer to the groaning myrtle, cries; "Pardon! and, whatsoe'er thou art, be good, Spirit of man, or goddess of the wood!

XXX "Unweeting of the wonderous prodigy Of spirit, pent beneath the knotty rind, To your fair leaf and living body I Have done this scathe and outrage undesigned. But not the less for that, to me reply, What art thou, who, in rugged case confined, Dost live and speak? And so may never hail From angry heaven your gentle boughs assail!

XXXI "And if I now or ever the despite I did thee can repair, or aid impart, I, by that lady dear, my promise plight, Who in her keeping has my better part, To strive with word and deed, till thou requite The service done with praise and grateful heart." Rogero said; and, as he closed his suit, That gentle myrtle shook from top to root.

XXXII Next drops were seen to stand upon the bark, As juice is sweated by the sapling-spray, New-severed, when it yields to flame and spark, Sometime in vain kept back and held at bay. And next the voice began: "My story dark, Forced by thy courteous deed, I shall display; -- What once I was -- by whom, through magic lore, Changed to a myrtle on the pleasant shore.

XXXIII "A peer of France, Astolpho was my name, Whilom a paladin, sore feared in fight; Cousin I was to two of boundless fame, Orlando and Rinaldo. I by right Looked to all England's crown; my lawful claim After my royal father, Otho hight. More dames than one my beauty served to warm, And in conclusion wrought my single harm.

XXXIV "Returning from those isles, whose eastern side The billows of the Indian ocean beat, Where good Rinaldo and more knights beside With me were pent in dark and hollow seat, Thence, rescued by illustrious Brava's pride, Whose prowess freed us from that dark retreat, Westward I fared along the sandy shores, On which the stormy north his fury pours.

XXXV "Pursuing thus our rugged journey, we Came (such our evil doom) upon the strand, Where stood a mansion seated by the sea: Puissant Alcina owned the house and land. We found her, where, without her dwelling, she Had taken on the beach her lonely stand; And though nor hook nor sweeping net she bore, What fish she willed, at pleasure drew to shore.

XXXVI "Thither swift dolphins gambol, inly stirred, And open-mouthed the cumbrous tunnies leap; Thither the seal or porpus' wallowing herd Troop at her bidding, roused from lazy sleep; Raven-fish, salmon, salpouth, at her word, And mullet hurry through the briny deep, With monstrous backs above the water, sail Ork, physeter, sea-serpent, shark, and whale.

XXXVII "There we behold a mighty whale, of size The hugest yet in any water seen: More than eleven paces, to our eyes, His back appears above the surface green: And (for still firm and motionless he lies, And such the distance his two ends between) We all are cheated by the floating pile, And idly take the monster for an isle.

XXXVIII "Alcina made the ready fish obey By simple words and by mere magic lore: Born with Morgana -- but I cannot say If at one birth, or after or before. As soon as seen, my aspect pleased the fay; Who showed it in the countenance she wore: Then wrought with art, and compassed her intent, To part me from the friends with whom I went.

XXXIX "She came towards us with a cheerful face, With graceful gestures, and a courteous air, And said: 'So you my lodging please to grace, Sir cavalier, and will with me repair, You shall behold the wonders of my chace, And note the different sorts of fish I snare; Shaggy or smooth, or clad in scales of light, And more in number than the stars of



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