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With joy he view'd Marphisa's mien and face,
That worthy seem’d the bravest knight to grace;
And sudden every chief he there beheld
Ile call’d to joust, and dar'd them to the field.
Vivian and Malagigi, ready drest
In helmet, plate, and mail to guard the rest,
Upstarted from their scats, prepard to fight
With each advancing chief; but Sarza's knight,
Who came not thither in the jousts to run,
Stood still, and left the champions one to one. 530
First Vivian, with a heart unus'd to fear,
Firm in the rest declin’d a ponderous spear :
The Pagan monarch with superior force
Appear'd well vers’d in every dreadful course :
Each aim'd his weapon, where he deem'd the blow 535
Might surest take---full on his helm the foe
From gallant Vivian's hand receiv'd the stroke;
But he nor fell, nor bow'd beneath the shock.
The Pagan king his tougher spear impelld,
Which broke, like ice, the plates of Vivian's shield; 510
Hurl'd from his seat, amid the flowery way,
Stretch'd on his side the hapless warrior lay.
Then Malagigi, rouz’d at honour's call,
In haste advanc'd t'avenge his brother's fall;
But unadvis'd his haste---so ill he far’d,
Ile less aveng’d him than his fortune shar'd.
The third brave brother, cager for the fight,
Before his kinsman on his courser light
Leaps clad in arms, the Saracen defies,
Throws up the reins, and to the trial flies.
550 Fierce on the Pagan's temper'd helm, below The vizor's sight, resounds the forceful blow
Shiver'd in four, the spear to heaven ascends :
Firm sits the knight, nor in the saddle bends.
The Tartar champion, in the furious course,
On Aldiger's left side with cruel force
Ilis weapon drove---The shield oppos’d in vain,
And less the cuirass could the stroke sustain :
Through his white shoulder pass’d the ruthless steel,
And wounded Aldiger began to reel ;
360 Then falling, on the flowery turf lay spread, All pale his features, and his armour red !
Next Richardetto to th’encounter press'd, And coming, plac'd so huge a spear iu rest, And prov'd how justly (often prov'd before)
The name of Paladin of France he bore.
Well on the Pagan knight his spear he bent,
Ilad forsuring fortune answer'd his intent,
B! ¿ headlong on the ground he lay o’erthrow,
Ilis falling courser's fault, and not his own. 570
No knight appearing more whose venturous hand
With Mandricardo in the joust might stand,
The Pagan deem'd his arms had won the dame,
And where she sate he near the fountain came,
And thus began---Thou, damsel, art my prize,
If in thy cause no other champion rise
To rein the stecd---thy charms revert to me,
For so, thou know'st, the laws of arms decree.
Marphisa, raising with indignant pride Her hanghty looks---Thy judgment errs (she cry’d) 580 I grant the plea (nor should thy right decline) That I by laws of war were justly thine;
Ver. 562. All pale his features, &c.] Literal from the Italian,
Rosso så l'arme e pallido nel volto,
Did I, of these thy spear to earth has thrown,
One for my lord, or for my champion own.
I own no lord, to none have subject been,
And he who wins me, from myself must win.
I wield the buckler, and the lance sustain,
And many a knight by me has press’d the plain.
My arms and steed !--The fiery virgin said,
And, at her word, the ready squires obey'd.
Stripp'd off her flowing robe, in vesture light
She stands with well-turn'd limbs reveal’d to sight;
Beauty and strength uniting in her frame,
All save her face the God of war proclaim.
And now with plate and mail encompass'd round, 59,5
Iler sword she girts, and, with an active hound,
Bestrides her steed, which, govern’d by her hand,
Rears, turns, and wheels subservient to command.
Now boldly shie the Pagan prince defies,
Vields her strong lance, and to tl' encounter flies. 600
Penthesilea thus, in battle prov'd,
Through Trojan fields to meet Achilles mor'il.
Close to the grasp, like brittle glass, were rent
The crashing spears; but neither rider bent
One foot, one inch-o-then fir'd with generoits rage,
To prove how well her daring fue could wage
A closer fight, Marphisa bar'd the sword,
And rush'd intrepid on the Tartar lord.
The Tartar, who the dame unhurt espies,
Blasphemes each element, and threats the skies; 610
While she, who hop'd his shield to rend in twain,
Accuses heaven in no less angry strain.
Each wields the gleaming sword, while batter'd round,
Their jointed arms like beaten anvils sound,
Alike in arms of fated steel attird,
616 Arms never more than on this day requir'd: So strong the helm, the cuirass, plate, and greave, No point could pierce them, and no edge could cleave. The strise had lasted till the setting light, Nor yet th’ ensuing day had clos'd the fight, 620 But Rodomont rush'd in their rage to stay, And chide his rival for ill-tim'd delay.
If war thou seek'st (the king of Algiers cry’d) First let us two our late dispute decide. Thiou know'st (he said) cur truce was made to give 645 Our monarch succour, and his camp relieve; Nor must we, ere our friends are freed from harms, Engage in jousts, or mis in fiercer arms. Then to Marphisa, with a courteous air, Ile turn'd, and show'd the regal messenger,
6,70 And told her how from Agramant he came, To ask their swords to save the Moorish name; And hop'd, at his request her valour won, Would aid the cause of king Troyano's son: By this 'twere better far, with generous aim, 633 To lift 10 licaven the pinions of her fame, Than by low brawls defeat the great design, Against the common jöe their strength to join.
Long bad Mahisa wish’d, with sword and lance, To prove, in equal field, the peers of France, 610 Who fouglii fui Charles; and hence the dame agreed To assist their sovereign at his greatest need, Till from the Christian powers the camp was freed.
Meanwhile Rogero, with the guiding maid, The rugged path that up the hill convey'd,
Pursu'd in vain, for when the vale they gain’d,
No longer there fierce Rodomont remain'd.
Rogero thence, to reach the fount that stood,
By Merlin rais'd, with eager speed pursu'd
The late-worn track that in the turf he view'd.
He willd lippalca then, without delay,
Should Mount Albano seek, that distant lay
A day's short journey---but a different road
The traveller to Merlin's fountain show'd.
He bade her trust in him, nor trust in vain,
His arm, ere long, Frontino would regain;
To her he gave the tender lines to bear,
Which late, at Agrismont, his anxious care
Had penn'd to ease the dear expecting maid,
And hither, in his breast conceal’d, convey'd.
To this he added many a gentle charge,
To speak his love, and plead his cause at large.
All these Hippalca promis'd to retain;
Then bade adieu, and turn'd her palfrey's rein.
Swift on her way the trusty envoy goes,
And Mount Albano sees at evening close.
Rogero then the Sarzan prince pursu'd,
With anxious speed, till near the fount he view'd
The king, with Mandricardo at his side,
And Doralis in peace and friendship ride.
Now to the place in haste Rogero drew,
And by Frontino well his rider knew :
Low o'er his spear the youth impatient bent,
And to the chief a stern defiance sent:
'Ver. 666. And Mount Albano sees, &c.] He returns to Ilippalca, Book xxx. ver, 518.