ページの画像
PDF
ePub

A courteous knight I saw with pious pains
Collect the mail and weapons from the plains, 315
And thcsc collecting on a sapling near
In martial pomp the splendid trophy rear.
But thither came, on that ill-fated day,
The son of Agrican, who bore away
The hapless champion's sword---think what disgrace,
What loss may thus attend the Christian race, 321
That Durindana, by the Tartar worn,
Should once again a Pagan's side adorn).
With this lie Brigliadoro thence convey'd,
That near unrein'd without a master stray'd. 325
Few days are pa s’u since 1 Orlando left
Naked, devoid of shame, of sense bereft:
Who (strange to tell) unhous'd, ushelter'd lics,
And fills each cave and wood with dreadful cries.
She said; and told how on the bridge she view'd, 330
Where closc engag'd with Rodomont he stood,
Till hoth, embrac’d, fell headlong in the flood.
To every chief that held Orlando dear,
(The dame pursu'd) to every courteous ear
The tale I tell, till one with pious care

S35
To Paris or some friendly place shall bear
The wretched chief, and art or medicine find
To cure the frenzy of his moon-struck mind:
And ah! could Brandimart his suffesings know,
llow would his soul with tender pity glow, 340
And every means essay to heal his kinsman's woe!

Ver. 314. A courteous knight I saw---] Flordelis, as the reader may recollect, was present when Zerbino and Isabella collected to. gether the arms of Orlando, and was witness to the combat between Zerbino and Mandricardo, in which the former received his death's wound; but it does not appear that Flordelis knew either Zerbino or Isabella,

315

3.30

This dame was Flordelis, the lovely wite
Of Brandimart, far dearer than his life :
At Paris him she sought, but sought in vain :
And now she told how, midst the Pagan train,
Debate and hatred for that famous sword
Embroil'd Graciasso and the Tartar lord ;
Till Mandricardo stern of life bereft,
The fatal sword was to Gradasso left.

Struck with the news Rinaldo stood opprest,
And thrilling sorrow fill’d his noble breast :
His heart in melting softness seem'd to run,
Like fleecy snows dissolving to the sun;
Resolv’d, where'er forlorn Orlando stray'd,
To trace his steps, and yield him friendly aid;
But since by chance, or Heaven's all-ruling mind,
He saw near Paris' walls his squadron join'd,
He first decreed to raise the siege, and chase
From royal Charles th' exulting Pagan race;
But, anxious for th’ event, delay'd th' assault,
Till night had shaded o'er th' ethereal vault,
And through the camp the toils of day had shed
Lethean sleep on every drowsy head.

Far in the wood to wait th' appointed hour
All day conceald he kept his banded power;
But when the sun the darkening skies forsook,
And to the lower world his journey took ;
When harmless serpents, bears, and all the train
Of fabled beasts, adorn the starry plain,

353

360

365

Ver. 368. Il'hen harmless serpents,---] By this expression is meant the constellations of stars, to which the poets have affixed the names of the goat, the bull, the lion, the serpent, and other animals, feigueu to have been placed in the Ileavens.

Unseen in presence of the greater light,

370) Rinaldo leads his troop, and to their might With livian, Guido's, Sansonetto's fame, Adds Gryphon, Aquilant, llardo's name. IIis first attack surpriz'd the sleeping guardi, And these he slew; for no defence prepar’d: 375 The trembling Moors, in evil hour perceive No cause for mirth but ample cause to grieve. How sliould a naked, timorous, feeble train With such a force th’unequal strife maintain? To strike the Saracens with deeper dread,

380 When to the charge his band Rinaldo led, Ile pour'd the horn and truinpet's clangor round, And bade each tongue his well-known name resound. Touch'd by the spur Bayardo seem'd not slow, But leapt at once the trenches of the foe:

385 The foot he trampled, and the horse o'er-turn’d, And tents to carth and rich pavilions spurn’d. Amid the Pagans none so bold appeard, But every hair was bristled when they heard Rinaldo's name above the tumults rise,

390 And Mount Albano echo'd to the skies! Swift Aed the troops of Spain, as swift the Voor, None stay'd behind their riches to secure. Him Guido follow'd, and with equal might The sons of Olivero rush'd to fight.

39.5 Not less Richardo, nor Alardo less, With Aldiger and Vivian, cleave the press : Guichardo next with Richardetto moves, And each in arms his single valour proves. Seven hundred that in Mount Albano dwell’d 100 And round the neighbouring towns, Rinaldo held

Beneath his rule: these rais'd the fearless lan'l,
In heat or cold, a firm determin'd band.
Not braver troops of old Achilles swayil,
Though the gaunt Myrmidons his word obey'd. 405
Each in himself such dauntless force compriz'd,
A hundred here a thousand focs de pis’d.
Though good Rinaldo might not boast to hold
Extended land, or heaps of treasur'd gold:
Yet such his conduct, such his fair regard

410)
To every warrior, while with all he shard
His little store, that none amidst the crew
For proffer'd favour from his side withdrew.
From Mount Albano ne'er these bands he took,
But when some weighty cause their arms bespoke 415
In parts remote; and now to aid his prince
He left his castle-walls with weak defence.
This train, assaulting now the Moorish host,
This matchless train whose valour's praise I boast,
So rag'd, as on Galesus' verdant mead,

420 The savage wolf amidst the woolly breed :

Ver. 408. Though good Rinaldo---} The low state of Rinaldo's finances is mentioned in several of the old romances; and in the adventure of the fairy of riches in Boyardo, where he is set at liberty by Orlando, he attempts to carry off a chair of solid gold, alledging that it will furnish the pay of his troops; this action of Rinaldo, and some other passages in the romances, will serve to explain the observation of the curate and barber in their scrutiny of Don Quixotte's library, where Rinaldo and his train are called greater thieves than Cacus. Ariosto in taking up the story, has judiciously dropt this part of his character.

Ver. 420.---Galesus --] Galesus, a river near Tarentum, where the shecp, from the fertility of the pasture, had remarkable thicks wool,

Or oft as near Ciniphius' held in chace,
The lordly lion rends the bearded race.

Imperial Charles (who heard Albano's force,
Prepar'd t’ attack the camp with silent course) 425
Stood rearly arm'd, and at th' expected hour
Join’d, with his Paladins, Rinaldo's power.
With him came wealthy Monodontes' * son,
Whose love and truth fair Flordelis had won.
IIim long she sought, and now, from far reveald,

430 Observ'd his buckler blazing o'er the field. When Brandimart liis dearest consort view'd, The fight forgotten, gentler thoughts ensud: Ile ran, he held her close in speechless bliss, And press’d her lips with many an ardent kiss. 135

Great was the trust of ancient times display'd In the fair consort or the blooming maid. Who, unaccompany'd, could safely rove In lands unknown, through mountain, field, or grove. And, when returning, found their dear-held name Clear as their form from breath of tainting fame!

Here to her lord the dame began to tell What dreadful chance Anglante's knight befel : Not from report the fatal tale she drew, IIcr mournful eyes had prov'd th’event too true: 445 Then of the bridge she told where every knight Was stay'd by Rodomont in dangerous fight;

# Brandimart.

Ver. 422.---Ciniphius---] The Cyniphians were a people of Africa, whose country was extremely fruitful.

Ver. 427.---with his Paladins,] In the xxviith Book, ver. 234, he tells us that the Paladins, except Ugero and Olivero, were made prisoners, and no mention has been since made of their deliverance,

« 前へ次へ »