WE left Rinaldo when, having overcome the monster, he quitted the
castle of Altaripa, and pursued his way on foot. He soon met with a
weeping damsel, who, being questioned as to the cause of her sorrow,
told him she was in search of one to do battle to rescue her lover,
who had been made prisoner by a vile enchantress, together with
Orlando and many more. The damsel was Flordelis, the lady-love of
Florismart, and Rinaldo promised his assistance, trusting to
accomplish the adventure either by valor or skill. Flordelis
insisted upon Rinaldo's taking her horse, which he consented to do, on
condition of her mounting behind him.
As they rode on through a wood, they heard strange noises, and
Rinaldo, reassuring the damsel, pressed forward towards the quarter
from which they proceeded. He soon perceived a giant standing under
a vaulted cavern, with a huge club in his hand, and of an appearance
to strike the boldest spirit with dread. By the side of the cavern was
chained a griffin, which, together with the giant, was stationed there
to guard a wonderful horse, the same which was once Argalia's. This
horse was a creature of enchantment, matchless in vigor, speed, and
form, which disdained to share the diet of his fellow-steeds,- corn or
grass,- and fed only on air. His name was Rabican.
This marvellous horse, after his master Argalia had been slain by
Ferrau, finding himself at liberty, returned to his native cavern, and
was here stabled under the protection of the giant and the griffin. As
Rinaldo approached, the giant assailed him with his club. Rinaldo
defended himself from the giant's blows, and gave him one in return,
which, if his skin had not been of the toughest, would have finished
the combat. But the giant, though wounded, escaped, and let loose
the griffin. This monstrous bird towered in air, and thence pounced
down upon Rinaldo, who, watching his opportunity, dealt her a
desperate wound. She had, however, strength for another flight, and
kept repeating her attacks, which Rinaldo parried as he could, while
the damsel stood trembling by, witnessing the contest.
The battle continued, rendered more terrible by the approach of
night, when Rinaldo determined upon a desperate expedient to bring
it to a conclusion. He fell, as if fainting from his wounds, and, on
the close approach of the griffin, dealt her a blow which sheared away
one of her wings. The beast, though sinking, gripped him fast with her
talons, digging through plate and mail; but Rinaldo plied his sword in
utter desperation, and at last accomplished her destruction.
Rinaldo then entered the cavern, and found there the wonderful
horse, all caparisoned. He was coal-black, except for a star of
white on his forehead, and one white foot behind. For speed he was
unrivalled, though in strength he yielded to Bayard. Rinaldo mounted
upon Rabican, and issued from the cavern.
As he pursued his way, he met a fugitive from Agrican's army, who
gave such an account of the prowess of a champion who fought on the
side of Angelica, that Rinaldo was persuaded this must be Orlando,
though at a loss to imagine how he could have been freed from
captivity. He determined to repair to the scene of the contest to
satisfy his curiosity, and Flordelis, hoping to find Florismart with
Orlando, consented to accompany him.
While these things were doing, all was rout and dismay in the
Tartarian army, from the death of Agrican. King Galafron, arriving
at this juncture with an army for the relief of his capital, Albracca,
assaulted the enemy's camp, and carried all before him. Rinaldo had
now reached the scene of action, and was looking on as an
unconcerned spectator, when he was espied by Galafron. The king
instantly recognized the horse Rabican, which he had given to
Argalia when he sent him forth on his ill-omened mission to Paris.
Possessed with the idea that the rider of the horse was the murderer
of Argalia, Galafron rode at Rinaldo, and smote him with all his
force. Rinaldo was not slow to avenge the blow, and it would have gone
hard with the king had not his followers instantly closed round him
and separated the combatants.
Rinaldo thus found himself, almost without his own choice,
enlisted on the side of the enemies of Angelica, which gave him no
concern, so completely had his draught from the fountain of hate
steeled his mind against her.
For several successive days the struggle continued, without any
important results, Rinaldo meeting the bravest knights of Angelica's
party, and defeating them one after the other. At length he
encountered Orlando, and the two knights bitterly reproached one
another for the cause they had each adopted, and engaged in a
furious combat. Orlando was mounted upon Bayard, Rinaldo's horse,
which Agrican had by chance become possessed of, and Orlando had taken
from him as the prize of victory. Bayard would not fight against his
master, and Orlando was getting the worse of the encounter, when
suddenly Rinaldo, seeing Astolpho, who for love of him had arrayed
himself on his side, hard beset by numbers, left Orlando, to rush to
the defence of his friend. Night prevented the combat from being
renewed; but a challenge was given and accepted for their next
But Angelica, sighing in her heart for Rinaldo, was not willing that
he should be again exposed to so terrible a venture. She begged a boon
of Orlando, promising she would be his, if he would do her bidding. On
receiving his promise, she enjoined him to set out without delay to
destroy the garden of the enchantress Falerina, in which many
valiant knights had been entrapped, and were imprisoned.
Orlando departed, on his horse Brigliadoro, leaving Bayard in
disgrace for his bad deportment the day before. Angelica, to
conciliate Rinaldo, sent Bayard to him; but Rinaldo remained unmoved
by this, as by all her former acts of kindness.
When Rinaldo learned Orlando's departure, he yielded to the
entreaties of the lady of Florismart, and prepared to fulfil his
promise, and rescue her lover from the power of the enchantress.
Thus both Rinaldo and Orlando were bound upon the same adventure,
but unknown to one another.
The castle of Falerina was protected by a river, which was crossed
by a bridge, kept by a ruffian, who challenged all comers to the
combat; and such was his strength that he had thus far prevailed in
every encounter, as appeared by the arms of various knights which he
had taken from them, and piled up as a trophy on the shore. Rinaldo
attacked him, but with as bad success as the rest, for the bridge-ward
struck him so violent a blow with an iron mace, that he fell to the
ground. But when the villain approached to strip him of his armor,
Rinaldo seized him, and the bridge-ward, being unable to free himself,
leapt with Rinaldo into the lake, where they both disappeared.
Orlando meanwhile, in discharge of his promise to Angelica,
pursued his way in quest of the same adventure. In passing through a
wood he saw a cavalier armed at all points, and mounted, keeping guard
over a lady who was bound to a tree, weeping bitterly. Orlando
hastened to her relief, but was exhorted by the knight not to
interfere, for she had deserved her fate by her wickedness. In proof
of which he made certain charges against her. The lady denied them
all, and Orlando believed her, defied the knight, overthrew him,
and, releasing the lady, departed with her seated on his horse's
While they rode, another damsel approached on a white palfrey, who
warned Orlando of impending danger, and informed him that he was
near the garden of the enchantress. Orlando was delighted with the
intelligence, and entreated her to inform him how he was to procure
access. She replied that the garden could only be entered at
sunrise, and gave him such instructions as would enable him to gain
admittance. She gave him also a book in which was painted the garden
and all that it contained, together with the palace of the false
enchantress, where she had secluded herself for the purpose of
executing a magic work in which she was engaged. This was the
manufacture of a sword capable of cutting even through enchanted
substances. The object of this labor, the damsel told him, was the
destruction of a knight of the west, by name Orlando, who, she had
read in the book of Fate, was coming to demolish her garden. Having
thus instructed him, the damsel departed.
Orlando, finding he must delay his enterprise till the next morning,
now lay down and was soon asleep. Seeing this, the base woman whom
he had rescued, and who was intent on making her escape to rejoin
her paramour, mounted Brigliadoro, and rode off, carrying away
When Orlando awoke, his indignation, as may be supposed, was great
on the discovery of the theft; but, like a good knight and true, he
was not to be diverted from his enterprise. He tore off a huge
branch of an elm to supply the place of his sword; and, as the sun
rose, took his way towards the gate of the garden, where a dragon
was on his watch. This he slew by repeated blows, and entered the
garden, the gate of which closed behind him, barring retreat.
Looking around him, he saw a fair fountain, which overflowed into a
river, and in the centre of the fountain a figure, over whose forehead
"The stream which waters violet and rose,
From hence to the enchanted palace goes."
Following the banks of this flowing stream, and rapt in the delights
of the charming garden, Orlando arrived at the palace, and entering
it, found the mistress, clad in white, with a crown of gold upon her
head in the act of viewing herself in the surface of the magic
sword, Orlando surprised her before she could escape, deprived her
of the weapon, and holding her fast by her long hair, which floated
behind, threatened her with immediate death if she did not yield up
her prisoners, and afford him the means of egress. She, however,
was, firm of purpose, making no reply, and Orlando, unable to move her
either by threats or entreaties, was under the necessity of binding
her to a beech, and pursuing his quest as he best might.
He then bethought him of his book, and consulting it, found that
there was an outlet to the south, but that to reach it, a lake was
to be passed, inhabited by a siren, whose song was so entrancing as to
be quite irresistible to whoever heard it; but his book instructed him
how to protect himself against this danger. According to its
directions, while pursuing his path, he gathered abundance of flowers,
which sprung all around, and filled his helmet and his ears, with
them; then listened if he heard the birds sing. Finding that, though
he saw the gaping beak, the swelling throat, and ruffled plumes, he
could not catch a note, he felt satisfied with his defence, and
advanced toward the lake. It was small but deep, and so clear and
tranquil that the eye could penetrate to the bottom.
He had no sooner arrived upon the banks than the waters were seen to
gurgle, and the siren, rising midway out of the pool, sung so
sweetly that birds and beasts came trooping to the water-side, to
listen. Of this Orlando heard nothing, but, feigning to yield to the
charm, sank down upon the bank. The siren issued from the water with
the intent to accomplish his destruction. Orlando seized her by the
hair, and while she sang yet louder (song being her only defence)
cut off her head. Then, following the directions of his book, he
stained himself all over with her blood.
Guarded by this talisman, he met successively all the monsters,
set for defence of the enchantress and her garden, and at length found
himself again at the spot where he had made captive the enchantress,
who still continued fastened to the beech. But the scene was
changed. The garden had disappeared, and Falerina, before so
haughty, now begged for mercy; assuring him that many lives depended
upon the preservation of hers. Orlando promised her life upon her
pledging herself for the deliverance of her captives.
This, however, was no easy task. They were not in her possession,
but in that of a much more powerful enchantress, Morgana, the Lady
of the Lake, the very idea of opposing whom made Falerina turn pale
with fear. Representing to him the hazards of the enterprise, she
led him towards the dwelling of Morgana. To approach it he had to
encounter the same uncourteous bridge-ward who had already defeated
and made captive so many knights, and last of all, Rinaldo. He was a
churl of the most ferocious character, named Arridano. Morgana had
provided him with impenetrable armor, and endowed him in such a manner
that his strength always increased in proportion to that of the
adversary with whom he was matched. No one had ever yet escaped from
the contest, since, such was his power of endurance, he could
breathe freely under water. Hence, having grappled with a knight,
and sunk with him to the bottom of the lake, he returned, bearing
his enemy's arms in triumph to the surface.
While Falerina was repeating her cautions and her counsels,
Orlando saw Rinaldo's arms erected in form of a trophy, among other
spoils made by the villain, and, forgetting their late quarrel,
determined upon revenging his friend. Arriving at the pass, the
churl presuming to bar the way, a desperate contest ensued, during
which Falerina escaped. The churl finding himself overmatched at a
contest of arms, resorted to his peculiar art, grappled his
antagonist, and plunged with him into the lake. When he reached the
bottom Orlando found himself in another world, upon a dry meadow, with
the lake overhead, through which shone the beams of our sun, while the
water stood on all sides like a crystal wall. Here the battle was
renewed, and Orlando had in his magic sword an advantage which none
had hitherto possessed. It had been tempered by Falerina so that no
spells could avail against it. Thus armed, and countervailing the
strength of his adversary by his superior skill and activity, it was
not long before he laid him dead upon the field.
Orlando then made all haste to return to the upper air, and, passing
through the water, which opened a way before him, (such was the
power of the magic sword,) he soon regained the shore, and found
himself in a field, as thickly covered with precious stones as the sky
is with stars.
Orlando crossed the field, not tempted to delay his enterprise by
gathering any of the brilliant gems spread all around him. He next
passed into a flowery meadow, planted with trees, covered with fruit
and flowers, and full of all imaginable delights.
In the middle of this meadow was a fountain, and, fast by it lay
Morgana asleep; a lady of a lovely aspect, dressed in white and
vermilion garments, her forehead well furnished with hair, while she
had scarcely any behind.
While Orlando stood in silence contemplating her beauty, he heard
a voice exclaim, "Seize the fairy by the forelock, if thou hopest fair
success." But his attention was arrested by another object, and he
heeded not the warning. He saw on a sudden an array of towers,
pinnacles and columns, palaces, with balconies and windows, extended
alleys with trees, in short a scene of architectural magnificence
surpassing all he had ever beheld. While he stood gazing in silent
astonishment, the scene slowly melted away and disappeared.*
* This is a poetical description of a phenomenon which is said to be
really exhibited in the strait of Messina, between Sicily and
Calabria. It is called Fata Morgana, or Mirage.
When he had recovered from his amazement, he looked again toward the
fountain. The fairy had awaked and risen, and was dancing round its
border with the lightness of a leaf, timing her footsteps to this
"Who in this world would wealth and treasure share,
Honor, delight, and state, and what is best,
Quick let him catch me by the lock of hair
Which flutters from my forehead; and be blest.
But let him not the proffered good forbear,
Nor till he seize the fleeting blessing rest;
For present loss is sought in vain to-morrow,
And the deluded wretch is left in sorrow."
The fairy, having sung thus, bounded off, and fled from the
flowery meadow over a high and inaccessible mountain. Orlando
pursued her through thorns and rocks, while the sky gradually became
overcast, and at last he was assailed by tempest, lightning, and hail.
While he thus pursued, a pale and meagre woman issued from a cave,
armed with a whip, and, treading close upon his steps, scourged him
with vigorous strokes. Her name was Repentance, and she told him it
was her office to punish those who neglected to obey the voice of
Prudence, and seize the fairy Fortune when he might.
Orlando, furious at this chastisement turned upon his tormentor, but
might as well have stricken the wind. Finding it useless to resist, he
resumed his chase of the fairy, gained upon her, and made frequent
snatches at her white and vermilion garments, which still eluded his
grasp. At last, on her turning her head for an instant, he profited by
the chance and seized her by the forelock. In an instant the tempest
ceased, the sky became serene, and Repentance retreated to her cave.
Orlando now demanded of Morgana the keys of her prison, and the
fairy, feigning a complacent aspect, delivered up a key of silver,
bidding him to be cautious in the use of it, since to break the lock
would be to involve himself and all in inevitable destruction; a
caution which gave the Count room for long meditation, and led him
How few amid the suitors who importune
The dame, know how to turn the keys of Fortune.
Keeping the fairy still fast by the forelock, Orlando proceeded
toward the prison, turned the key, without occasioning the mischiefs
apprehended, and delivered the prisoners.
Among these were Florismart, Rinaldo, and many others of the bravest
knights of France. Morgana had disappeared, and the knights, under the
guidance of Orlando, retraced the path by which he had come. They soon
reached, the field of treasure. Rinaldo, finding himself amidst this
mass of wealth, remembered his needy garrison of Montalban, and
could not resist the temptation of seizing part of the booty. In
particular a golden chain, studded with diamonds, was too much for his
self-denial, and he took it and was bearing it off, notwithstanding
the remonstrances of Orlando, when a violent wind caught him and
whirled him back, as he approached the gate. This happened a second
and a third time, and Rinaldo at length yielded to necessity, rather
than to the entreaties of his friends, add cast away his prize.
They soon reached the bridge and passed over without hindrance to
the other side, where they found the trophy decorated with their arms.
Here each knight resumed his own, and all, except the paladins and
their friends, separated as their inclinations or duty prompted.
Dudon, the Dane, one of the rescued knights, informed the cousins that
he had been made prisoner by Morgana while in the discharge of an
embassy to them from Charlemagne, who called upon them to return to
the defence of Christendom. Orlando was too much fascinated by
Angelica to obey this summons, and, followed by the faithful
Florismart, who would not leave him, returned towards Albracca.
Rinaldo, Dudon, Iroldo, Prasildo, and the others, took their way
toward the west.