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TIHE

SEVENTH BOOK

OF

ORLANDO FURIOSO.

WHO travels into forcign climes, shall find
What ne'er before was imag’d to his mind;
Which, when he tells, the hearers shall despise;
And deem his strange adventures empty lies.
The herd unletter'd nothing will believe
But what their senses plainly can perceive;

Ver. 5. The heril unletter'l---] The author here plainly declares, that the wonderful tales related by him have a concealed allegory:: . Berni, Orlando Innam. B. i. C. xxv.

Questi draghi fatati, questi incanti,
Questi giardini, e libri, e corni, e cani,
Ed huonini selvatichi, e giganti,
E fiere, e mostri, ch' hanno visi umani,
Son fatti per dar pasto agli ignoranti,
Ma voi, ch'avete gl' intelletti sani,
Mirate la dottrina, che si asconde
Sotte queste coperte alte e profonde.

These fated dragons, every magic change,
These books, and horns, and dogs, and gardens strange:

Hence I shall ne'er with conimon minds prevail,
But little credit will they yield my tale.
Yet what imports to me the vulgar ear,
When these my words, without conception, hear? 10
To you I write, whose judgment can descry
The secret truths that, veil'd in fable, lie.
I left you there, when to the bridge and stream
By Eriphila kept, thę warrior came.
A coat of mail of finest steel she wore,

15 With gems

of various colours cover'd o'er;
The ruby red, the chrysolite was seen,
The yellow topaz, and the emerald green.
Iler giant bulk no common steed bestrode;
A mighty wolf sustain'd her ponderous load :
A wolf she rode; and o'er the river crost,
With stately trappings of no vulgar cost..

These savage men, these shapes of giant race,
And beasts and monsters with a human face,
Are feign’d to please the vulgar ear: but you,
Whom favouring pow'rs with better sense endue,
Can see the doctrine sage, that hidden lies
Beneath these mystic fables deep disguise.

Thus Milton:

And if aught else great bard's beside:
In sage and solemn tunes have sung
Of turneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests and enchantments diear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.

I Penseroso, Ver. 11. To you I write ---] Some suppose that Ariosto here parti. cularly addresses himself to lippolitu and Alphonso; but it rather seems a general apostrophe to every reader of taste and discern. ment.

Ver. 20. A mighty wolf---] By the wolf, which is represented. without reins, may be signified the insatiable nature of avarice, which is not to be restrained.

A beast so large Apulia never bred;
lligh as an ox he rear'd his towering head :
liis frothy mouth no curbing bit restrain'd,

25
Nor know I how his foaming course she rein'd;
Her scarf a sandy hue display'd to sight,
And o'er her armour cast a sullen light:
Rais'd on her crest, and in her tarye she held
A pictur’d toad with loathsome poison swell’d. 30
The damsels show'd her to the expecting knight,
Where, from the bridge, she stood prepar'd for fight;
And, as her custom was, his course to stay:
Soon as she saw Rogero on the way,
Fiercely she bade him turn: he nought reply'd, 35
But grasp'd his spear, and her to fight defy’d.
Nor less the giantess, with active heat,
Spurr'd her huge wolf, and fix'd her in the seat;
And, as she ran, her spear in rest she took,
While trembling earth beneath her fury shook : 40
But soon, o'erthrown, supine her limbs were spread;
So strong Rogero struck beneath her head,
That, forc'd before the dreadful lance to yield,
Six feet beyond she tumbled on the field.
Then swift he drew his falchion from his side, 45
Her head from her huge body to divide;
As well he might, while in the flowery way,
Already senseless Eriphila lay.
But here the ladies cry'd---Enough, sir knight,
No further

urge
the
vengeance
of the fight:

50

Ver. 48.---already senscless---) Eriphila, being overthrown, but not killed, is said to denote that liberality used at the instigation of vice, is not perfect virtue, which entirely roots up avarice.

Behold her quell'd---then sheath your conquering sword, Let us our way resume, and pass the ford.

This said: they for awhile their course pursu'd Amidst the covert of a mazy wood, There through a narrow craggy path they went, 55 And reach'd at length the hill, with steep ascent; Where, on a spacious plain, the youth beheld A sumptuous pile that every pile excell’d. First of her court, the fair Alcina press’d, Impatient to receive the stranger guest:

60 Before the portal, with a comely grace, She gave him courteous welcome to the place; While all such honour paid the noble knight, As if some God had left his realms of light, The palace with resplendent lustre shin'd

65 Above the boasted wealth of human kind : Fair is the dome; but fairer are the train Whose angel forms its stately walls contain ! Alcina yet excels the rest by far, As Phoebus' rays obscure each feeble star.

Her matchless person every charm combinu Form'd in th' idea of a painter's mind. Bound in a knot behind, her ringlets rollid Down her soft neck, and seem'd like waving gold. Her cheeks with lilies mix the blushing rose: 75 Her forehead high, like polish'd iv'ry shows. Beneath two arching brows with splendor shone Her sparkling eyes, each eye a radiant sun!

Ver. 71. IIer matchless person--} This luxnriant description of the beauty of Alcina, is quoted at large, as an idea of perfect beauty, by Dolce, in his dialogue on painting; of which the English reader has been tavoured with an ingenious translation

80

TIere artful glances, winning looks appcar,
And wanton Cupid lies in ambush here:
'Tis hence he bends his bow, he points his dart,
'Tis hence he steals th' unwary gazer's heart.
Iler nose so truly shap'd, the faultless frame
Not envy can deface, nor art can blame.
Her lips beneath, with pure vermilion bright. 85
Present two rows of orient pearl to sight:
Jlere those soft words are form’d whose power detains
Th' obdurate soul in love's alluring chains;
And here the smiles receive their infant birth,
Whose sweets reveal a paradise on earth.
Jler neck and breast were white as filling snow;
Round was her neck, and full her bosom roso,
Firm as the budding fruit, with gentle swell,
Each lovely breast alternate rose and fell.
Thus, on the margin of the peaceful scas,
'The waters heave before the tanning breezc.
ller arins well turn'd, and of a dazzling huc,
With perfect beauty gratify'd the view.

Ver. 93. Pirm as the budding fruit ,---] The expression in the Italian is:

due pome acerbe

...... two unripe apples : Spenser has much the same image in his description of Belphæbc:

ller dainty paps, which like yomg fruit in May,
Now little 'gan to swell, and being ly'd
Through their ilin veil their places only signify’ıl.

Bii, C.iiia

Dryrien, in his Cymon and Iphigenia, copies Spenser:

lier bosom to the view was only bare,
Where two beginning paps were scarcely spyd,
For yet their places were but signity'l.

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