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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,
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
500 Not all the world their souls to
Now Agramant demands, what sudden cause 505
While Agramant with soothing words addrest,
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
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
Ver. 532. ....- his horn he reft ---] This horn was won by Orlando from Almontes, when he slew him at the fountain.
And since thy want I know---to thee I yield
Stern Rodomont, than whom no prouder knight 550
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 :