At length he feign'd a madness to conceal

420 His dastard feelings, for he knew too well, While this he wore, lie still his trenibling life With me must risk in never-ending strife. The beaver thus, who sees the woodland crew Near and more near his hunted steps pursuie,

425 Well conscious what they seek, behind him leaves The sought-for treasure, and his life reprieves.

Ere yet he ceas'd, Gradasso took thc word : To thee, nor any, will I yiell the sword. Justly I claim what long I toild to gain,

130 Ny gold expended and my people slain! Some other weapon seek---nor deem it strange That this I challenge------let Orlando range Frantic or wild, where'er this sword I hold, The sword is minc---thou, as thyself hast told, 433 Found'st it far distant from its owner thrown, But, found by me, I claim it for my own. This falchion shall the right I plead maintain--The list shall be my judge---prepare to gain This sword by force, if this thou seek’st in fight, 440

4407 To wield on Rodomont; since every knight Who uses arms, should win them by his might.

At this the Tartar rais'd his daring head : What sweeter sound can reach my ears (he said) Than aught that speaks of war :---But first, in field, 4-15 To thee his iuru the Sarzan prince must yield. Procure with me the foremost fight to wage, And let the second Rodomont engage : Doubt not I stand prepar’d for thee---for all--To answer thine and every mortal call.

450 Rogero then increasing strife to breed: Think not l'infringe the terms so late agreed.

Be Rodomont the first in list to join,
Or, if he change, his fight must follow mine.
Grant what Gradasso pleads, that in the field

A knight must win his arms who arms would wield.
Shalt thou my bird with argent wings display,
Till from my grasp thou rend'st the shield away?
Lo! here I stand t abide the lot's decree;
The first to Rodomont--the next to me!

460 If thou persist our treaty to confound, I spurn all order, and despise all bound : Nor will I for a moment wave my right, But call thee forth this instant to the fight. Let each of you be Mars, (then made reply

405 Fierce Mandricardo) each his prowess try: What arm shall dare forbid me here to wield The trusty falchion or the glorious shield? Then fir’d to wrath, with steely gauntlet bent, At Sericana's king a stroke he sent,

470 Whose better hand at unawares it took, And Durindana strait his grasp forsook. Gradasso, bursting then with rage, beheld The sword disputed from his hand compell’d. Indignant shame, despite, and burning ire,

475 Flush'd all his face; his eyeballs sparkled fire : Fierce for revenge a backward step he made, And stood in act to draw the deadly blade: But Mandricardo, ever unappallid, Him and Rogero to the battle call’d.

480 Come, both at once--come, Rodomont! (he cry’d) To make the third, and come all three defy'd. Come, Spain and Afric! all of human race, No flight shall c'er my glories past disgrace.

Thus he who nothing fear'd; and as he spoke, 485
In his right hand Almontes' weapon shook,
Firmly embrac'd his shield, for fight prepar'd,
And good Rogero and Gradasso dar'd.
Leave him to me, and soon this sovereign steel,
(Exclaims Gradasso) shall his frenzy heal.

Not so (Rogero cries) to me resign
Yon boasting chief-----the combat first is mine.
Go thou---the fight is mine---by turns they cry’d---
Then all at once each other loud defy’d.
Nor this nor that would yield; and now enrag'd 495
All three at once a medley war had wag’d;
When numbers present as the warriors clos'd,
With ill advice amidst them interpos’d;
And to their cost had soon his fortune known,
Who for another's safety risks his own :

500 Not all the world their souls to



But lo! the Spanish monarch, with the son
Of great Troyano came, whose presence quell’d
Their frantic rage, and cach in reverence held.

Now Agramant demands, what sudden cause 505
To new contention thus each warrior draws.
Th’occasion known, he strives with every art
To calm the rage of stern Gradasso's heart;
That he to Mandricardo might afford
One single day the loan of Hector's sword, 510
Till the dire fight was wag'd with Sarza's lord.

While Agramant with soothing words addrest,
Assays by turns t'appease each angry breast,
New sounds of tumult in the western tent,
From Rodomont and Sacripant were sent.

515 Circassia's monarch stood with Sarza's knight, (As late we told) to arm him for the fight,

And with Ferrau had on the champion brac'd
Those arms which once his proud forefather grac’d.
And now they came to where the courser stood, 520
Who dash'd around the whitening foam, and chew'd
The golden bit: this steed, Frontino nam'd,
Was that whose loss Rogero's wrath intlam’d.
Meanwhile the generous Sacripant, whose care
Must such a champion for the list prepare,

Observ'd the gallant steed with nearer view,
When soon his marks and faultless limbs he knew,
And own'd his Frontaletto, for whose sake
Ile went on foot, nor other steed would, take:
Stoln by Brunello, on that fatal day,

530 When from the fair* he bore her ring away; When Balisarda and his horn he reft From great Anglante's carl with impious theft; When from her side Marphisa's sword he bore, And with his plunder reach'd Biserta's shore; 533 Then gave Rogero Balisarda fam’d, With this good courser, since Frontino nam’d. Each certain proof the fierce Circassian weigh’d, Then turning to the Sarzan king, he said : Know, chief! this steed is mine---by fraud purloin'd 5-10 Before Albracca---numbers left behind Could witness what I tell--hehold my sword Shall full conviction of the truth afford. But since together for awhile we far'd In friendly sort, and mutual converse shar'd; 545

* Angelica.

Ver. 532. ....- his horn he reft ---] This horn was won by Orlando from Almontes, when he slew him at the fountain.

See Aspramont.

And since thy want I know---to thee I yield
My generous courser for ihe listed field,
My right acknowledge first; else hope in vain
To keep a steed which only arms can gain.

Stern Rodomont, than whom no prouder knight 550
E'er wielded weapon in the list of fight,
Thus answer’d---llad another's lips declar'd
Such ill-judu'd words as Sacripant has dar'd,
Ile to his cost micht lind 'twere better far,
That speechless born he breath'd the vital air; 555
But as thou urgest, for the friendship lato
Between us held, in this I wave debate,
To bid thee now (and heed what I advise)
Defer awhile tby arduous errterprize,
Till thou hast mark'd the issue of the fight,

560 This day, between me and the Tartar knight, When his example shall thy prudence wake, To beg me as thy gift this steed to take. With thee 'tis courteous to be brutal (cries Fierce Sacripant, with lightening in his eyes) 505 But mark me plainer now--henceforth take hecd Ilow far thou dar’st usurp my trusty steed: I here forbid thee, while this better hand Can, grasp'd aloft, the vengeful sword command. If other means should fail, unarm’d I fight,

570 And stand with tooth and nail to guard my right.

Cries, threats succeed, and ire enkindles ire : Less swift ihrough stubble runs the blaze of fire. Fierce Rodomont complete his armour wears, But Sacripant nor helm nor cuirass bears,

575 Yet seems (so well he knew his sword to wield) Securely fenc'd as with a covering shield :

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