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Of all the numbers that her arts believ'd,
Thou know'st what recompence their loves receiv'd.
But that you may Alcina's faith behold,
I will her frauds and each disguise unfold.
This ring receive; and to the dame repair;
Then mark if she deserves the name of fair.
She ceas’d; nor aught abash'd Rogero said,
But, silent, hung to earth his drooping head.
Meantime she on his finger fix'd the ring,
That could once more his wandering senses bring:
Soon as the knight returning truth confess'd, 410
Such deep remorse his conscious soul depress'd,
He wish'd that yawning earth would open wide,
His visage, from the face of man, to hide.
Her task perform’d, aside the enchantress threw
Her borrow'd form, and stood disclos'd to view; 415
Then to the wondering youth her name reveald,
Nor kept the cause, for which she came, conceald:
Sent by the fairest of her sex, whose care
No longer could her lover's absence bear;
To free him thence, where magic bands control, 420
In shameful servitude, his manly soul:
That old Atlantes' horrow'd form she chose
A deeper reverence on his sense t' impose.
That gentle maid, whose fond affections burn
For thee, and merit well a kind return :
To whom, reflect what gratitude demands
For freedom late recover'd at her hands,
This ring, a safe defence from spelful art,
Here sends by me, and would have sent her heart,
If aught her heart avail'd to give thee aid :
The love of Bradamant she then display'd,
And, with her other noble virt!!en join'ii,
Extoll’ol the courage of her dauniless mind:
Till clearly banish'd from Rogero's breast,
She made him soon Alcina's name detest,
So late ador'd !--ihe ring his fve disarms,
Preserves him safe from future magic harms,
And strips Alcina of her borrow'l charms.
As when a child, who ripen’d fruit has stor'd,
In time forgetful of his former hoard,
By fortune to the place again convey'd,
Where many days before his trust was laid,
Beholds the unthought of change with vast surprise,
Obscene and putrici, hateful to his eyes !
Rogero thus, by sage Melissa sent,
When 10 Alcina's sight wzain he went,
For that fair dame', the firest of the fair,
Whom late he left, now, wondrous to declare,
A shape so loathsome saw, that search around,
One more deform’d and old could ne'er be found.
Ver. 417. For thut fair dame,] The allegory is here closely kept up; where the eyes of the understanding being cleared by the ring (reason), vice, which before appeared beautiful to the depraved imagination, then resumes it- natural deformity.
“Spenser's Duessa, who had before appeared young and beautiful, divested or her richippan?, is discovered to be a loathsome old woman. She is a copy or Ariosto’s Alcina. The circumstances of Duessa's discovery are literally translated from the Italian poet.
Sce Fairy Queen.
A loathly wrinkled hag, ill-favour'd, old
Hler crafty head was altogether bald
Was overgrown with scurf and filthy scald,
Her teeth out of her rotten gums were fled.”
Warton's Obs. on Spense?'.
Her face was wrinkled, sharp, and pale of hue,
Her hair was turn'd to grey, and thinly grew;
Six spans in stature could she scarcely boast,
And every tooth her gums, disarm’d, had lost;
As if her life more length of years
Than Cuma's prophetess, or Priam's queen.
Yet such the force of spells, and magic power,
She seem'd in prime of age and beauty's flower :
But soon Rogero banish'd her his thought,
When all her useless wiles to light were brought. 400
Yet, by Melissa warn’d, he still suppress'd
The secret purpose
At length his arms he seiz’d, that long had laid
Neglected, and his manly limbs array'd:
But first, each light suspicion to remove,
He told Alcina he desir'd to prove
If, living thus a recreant from the field,
His hands could yet their wonted weapons wield.
Then Balisarda girding to his side,
So was his falchion nam’d, of temper try'd,
470 He took the buckler, whose enchanted blaze Distracts the fainting eyes of all that gaze; And with the silken covering o'er it hung, The massy weight across his shoulders flung. Then to the stall he went, and bade with speed 476 To fit the reins and saddle on a steed Of coal-black hue: Melissa chose the horse; For well she knew his swiftness in the course.
Ver. 469. --- Balisarda ---} The sword stolen from Orlando by Brunello, and given to Rogero.
Him, Rabicano nam'd, and once the right
Of fam'd Astolpho, with that hapless knight
Who late was fix'd a myrtle on the shore,
The watry monster to this island bore.
Rogero might the griffin-horse unbind,
That next to Rabicano stood confin'd;
But here Melissa warn’d him to refrain,
As he but ill obey'd the curbing rein,
And promis'd soon t' instruct him to bestride
The flying courser, and his fury guide;
And less they would su-pect his flight design'd,
If, parting thence, he left his steed behind.
Rogero all the maid’s aclvice pursu'il,
Who, still invisible, beside him stood;
Then from the fatal palace swift he rošle,
That ancient harlot's infamous abode;
And with impatience to the portal fled,
That tow'rds the realms of Logistilla led.
Here, on the guard at unawares be fell,
And fore'd his passage through with pointed steel:
While some he decpiy wounded, some he slew,
Then o'er the bridge with speed impetuous flew;
Rabicanos j Boyardo relates, that this horse was produced by enchantment, and nourished only with the air. He was at first the property of Argalia, but when Ferrau drove him loose, (see General View of Boyardo's Story) he returned to the cave where he was bred, and whence he was taken by Argalia, Rinaldo, having lost his horse Bayardo, arrives at this care where Rabican was kept; he kills a giant and two griffins that guarded him, and gets possession of the horse: Rinaldo afterwards going to Albracca, recovers his own from Astolpho, and leaves Rabican with him in his stead,
Sce Orlando Innam,
And soon was distant far, ere spreading fame
Could to Alcina's ears his flight proclaim.
Th’ ensuing book shall tell what course he past, Till he to Logistilla came at last.