« PreviousContinue »
conquering course through Asia; denly in love with him than did delivering the oppressed, and earn- Dido with her Trojan guest. Her ing a title to the gratitude of trav- palfrey, as she returns to the city, ellers by destroying two knights is led by the Christian knight. (brothers likewise of Mambrino), With her he enters her palacewho, the one by fraud, the other richly furnished with cloth-of-gold by force, had long been their terror. hangings from its ivory cornices,
Over the two months so spent, and Persian carpets of exceeding Tasso passes hastily to arrive at beauty on its floors—to banquet the least pleasing episode of his with her at the table, loaded with poem, — borrowed, without much massive gold and silver, embossed judgment, from Virgil, in oblivion with stories of the Median kings. of the total difference of the cir- While the song resounds during cumstances of Æneas and Rinaldo, the feast to the music of the golden and only interesting as a sort of first lyre, Floriana has eyes for Rinaldo sketch of the great episode of Ar- only. When it is over, she lends a mida in the 'Jerusalem Delivered.' willing ear to his tales of Roland
Floriana, Queen of Media, is and of Charlemagne, whose fame is holding her court on a flowery not unknown to her; and bids him plain, overshadowed by pleasant tell how, while yet almost a child, trees, when the two knights-errant he had defended his mother's honappear before her. Struck by their our, and forced her calumniator, martial bearing, she at once sends with his lance, to recant the slana page to invite them to a joust ders with which he had defamed with her warriors. They accept her. the challenge. Eight approved Forgetful that love, the pastime cavaliers, whose names are given, of Virgil's hero, is the business of are overthrown by them in rapid his own, and that Rinaldo's engagesuccession; and the nameless throng ment to Clarice is so entirely his that succeeds them meets with a poem's mainspring, that its violalike fate. A stroke-the last re- tion is as grave an artistic as it is ceived in the conflict--which de- a moral defect, Tasso proceeds to prives Rinaldo of his helmet, shows make his hero return Floriana's the queen that the stranger is as passion, and forget in her society, handsome as he is valiant; and for a while, the lady of his vows. while her ladies are applauding his The ancient flame is rekindled in victory, she is falling more sud- his bosom by a dream :
Love's gracious star was in the heaven displaying
Yet did such splendour that grieved face adorn,
Which leads back beauteous day by him was seen.
their newly made captives, whom young man hears his long-despised he at once restores to liberty, were rival's name; the blood rushes to destined by them for their mon- his brow, and he declares himself arch's harem. Auristella, the beau- ready to maintain with his sword tiful queen of Arabia, with a train that Francardo is of all men most of fair damsels and her attendant unworthy of the privilege of placing knights, owes freedom and honour his thoughts so high. At this deto Rinaldo, whom she would have fiance, the Paynim straightway asgladly gifted with the treasures of sails him, without taking time to the ship to which he restores her. put on his armour. Rinaldo, reAccepting her thanks only, the two fusing the encounter on such unfriends return to their magic skiff, equal terms, stands merely on the which, after it has landed them defensive. Francardo, too enraged and their horses on an unknown to observe the laws of chivalry, shore, shoots back as swiftly as it rains blows on him notwithstandcame to Posilippo, there to await ing; till Florindo's reproaches make the coming of fresh adventurers. him turn his arms against him.
In the strange land in which he In the duel which ensues between finds himself, Rinaldo is speedily Rinaldo's friend and Rinaldo's rival, reminded of his absent lady; for a the former receives a severe wound, pavilion, palatial in size and decor- but the latter is slain. A general ations, which attracts his notice, mêlée follows. Francardo's solproves to have been erected to the diers rush from the surrounding glory of Clarice by the enamoured tents to avenge their general's fall, Francardo. Her image stands on They are headed by his cousin, an alabaster column in the midst Mambrino's brother Clarello, the of the sumptuous tabernacle; and Warrior of the Lion, - So called before it sacrifices smoke and in- from the single combat in which cense burns continually. Hard by he subdued an enormous lion, which the Paynim lover stands, sword now follows him faithfully to the in hand, to demand the homage of field. Both attack Rinaldo; but all comers for his beauteous idol. Bayard's kicks keep the king of By the clear light shining from beasts at bay, till both he and his the altar-flame Rinaldo discerns master fall before the paladin; who, through the air, thick with Arabian however, mindful of the generosity perfumes, the eyes whence love first with which the creature strove to wounded him, the smile to him so avenge Clarello, chang es his coginexpressibly sweet, and the love- nisance thenceforth, in his honlocks that first bound his heart. our, from the panther to the lion. But while he gazes, Francardo's Meantime Florindo is getting hard voice summons him harshly to dis- pressed by the other warriors, till mount, and offer sacrifice to the Rinaldo, coming to his assistance, image ; confessing the while that makes their mutual victory comnone but he who thus presides plete. The survivors take to flight, over her worship is worthy to be and no one remains to dispute her lover. “Who art thou ? and Rinaldo's right to fair Clarice's what thy desert ?” is Rinaldo's re- image ; which he lifts from its pedjoinder : “my present purpose is estal, kisses, and bears away with to agree to the first, and dispute him. the second, proposition." This pur- So soon as Florindo's wounds pose grows doubly strong when the are healed, the friends pursue their which had already figured so largely knight raises his visor, and is in the more famous accounts by received with great joy by his other poets of his later adven- father and by the whole court. tures ? Accordingly-defying pro- Only Clarice looks sad and draws bability with as much boldness as back in tears. For she was herheretofore-he saves Bayard and self the damsel whose charms Rinaldo's armour in the boat Grifon—though not by her perwhich brings the ship's crew to mission had been so highly exaltland before him. They are sold ing. She forgets that Rinaldo by the sailors to a knight, who could not know this; and only speedily has to fight with their remembers that he has avouched old owner for their possession, another lady to be her superior, and is left senseless by him on whom she hastily concludes to be the ground, though not till he has the fair one depicted on his shield. slightly wounded Rinaldo with his Now that shield was the property own sword. Bayard neighs with of the cavalier from whom Rinjoy to feel his rightful master on aldo reclaimed his horse and his back again, and caresses him armour: in doing which, having like a faithful dog.
spoiled his own, the paladin had After this Rinaldo rides back seized on the shield of his vanto Paris, where he finds Charle- quished antagonist, whose own magne—his campaign against the lady-love is painted on it. The Saracens ended-once more hold- sight of this apparently successful ing peaceful jousts. As the young rival to her charms stings Clarice cavalier presents himself on the with jealousy, “the cruel daughter field, he is at once challenged by of fear and love, that daughter Grifon to acknowledge the superi- who often slays her parent.” Rinority of an unnamed lady. “Less aldo comes forward to lift her on beautiful by much than my own,” to her palfrey, and to guide it back is the instant reply; and suiting to the city, as other favoured the action to the word, Rinaldo knights were doing to their ladies; speedily lays his adversary in the but Clarice receives him with such dust. All beg to know the name coldness that he exclaims :of so stalwart a champion. The
Ah ! bad it is from beggar's hand to steal
Shall then that pain in many wanderings borne,
-Canto xi. 11, 12.
Clarice interrupts this expostulation sharply with the words
Get aid in this your ill, get aid from her
But even emblazoned on your shield you bear ; and, refusing to listen to any ex- voked to kill him, Banished on planation, she denies him leave to this account from the city, he devisit her in Paris. To add to parts without having made his Rinaldo's difficulties he is shortly peace with Clarice-nay, knowing after engaged in a dispute for the that she now holds him for wholly hand of the fair Alda in the dance, false and fickle. Too late, he
-a privilege which he only sought flings the shield, the primary cause in order to invoke her intercession of his troubles, into the Seine. with the offended Clarice; in con- No consoling message from his sequence of which he is insulted lady follows him. He rides on, by Anselm of Maganza, one of the he knows not and cares not old enemies of his family, and pro- whither, —
“The while eight times all vermeil in the sky
The dawn appeared, while pearly dew-drops flowed
Straying by devious and uncertain road;” and, on the ninth day, finds him- a master who gives way to sorrow self in the Valley of Grief.
like a woman. As he follows, he This dolorous vale is shaded by finds his way through the dark weird trees, from amidst whose wood by the light of the captor's dark and poisonous leaves black armour, which casts bright gleams ill-omened birds send cries which through its gloomy recesses. pierce the heart with a sense of Presently the dusky shades are desolation. Rinaldo, overwhelmed left behind, and he finds himself by a sudden feeling of unutter- in an open and smiling country able sadness, flings himself from where all looks cheerful and glad, his horse and joins a sufferer, and where he feels his mind lightwhom he finds crouching on the ened of his burden. Bayard is ground, in his lamentations. restored to him; and hope revives There he spends a miserable day in his heart at the sight of the fish and night amid the varied forms darting through clear water, the of horror which beset that woful gay flowers that enliven the mead dale. And there might the young and the fresh green grass in which warrior have easily mourned his they bloom. life away, had not the ever-watchful Nor do the happy presentiments Malagigi come timely to the res- so inspired deceive him. For cue. A sudden movement startles when, on hearing a sudden clang Rinaldo from his lethargy; and of arms, Rinaldo hastens to the looking up he sees that a knightly fray, and helps a single knight beform has grasped Bayard's bridle set by many assailants to complete and is leading him away. Rin- their overthrow, he has the delight aldo rouses himself to the pursuit of discovering in him the Florindo stung by hearing the stranger say whom he believed (as the other bethat such a courser is too good for lieved him) to have been drowned in their shipwreck. He learns who had been stolen from him in from his equally delighted friend, his infancy by corsairs. Nor had how, cast inanimate on the sea- he refused to embrace the faith of beach near Ostia and tenderly his ancestors when his father ennursed by a Roman knight, the treated him to do so: the piety descendant of Scipio, he had been so conspicuous afterwards in the discovered, by means of an indeli- “Jerusalem Delivered' appearing, ble mark on his side, to be that as in germ, when Lelius says of his very knight's long-lost son Lelius, conversion,
I, by his wise paternal counsel led,
-Canto xi. 95.
The reason why Lelius (as he is ing the brave show in arms of henceforth called) has so speedily Lelius, he detached this unlucky left his new-found home, and been troop to capture and bring him met by Rinaldo in the south of after him. Their defeat can give France, is his hope that Olinda Rinaldo no pleasure now that he may now no longer despise his has learned his lady's imminent suit, which he is on his way to peril. For a moment he feels a Spain to prosecute. As he cannot chill as of death strike through explain why the strange soldiers him; the next instant, flaming attacked him, Rinaldo asks the with wrath, he is spurring Bayard reason of one of the few who have forward, with but faint hope of insurvived the combat, and hears tercepting Clarice and her captors from him heavy tidings. Mam- before they can reach the sea. An brino himself is their leader, come impassable torrent after a while to Europe both for love of the as bars the road against him and the yet unseen Clarice, and from hate faithful Lelius. They are ferried to Rinaldo; upon whom he burns across it, nevertheless, by the everto avenge the rescue of Auristella ready Malagigi ; who has provided, from his sailors, and the death moreover, a strong horse for the of his own three brothers. And one, and a fresh suit of armour for though he has not as yet attained the other. Galloping on through his second object, yet, as the sol- the night, the cavaliers come up at dier says, he has been complete- daybreak with the enemy's squadly successful in his first; for, as ron; in the midst of which rides Clarice fearlessly disported herself fair Clarice, sad, and so weary in the open air not far from Paris, that she can hardly keep her seat Mambrino, who was lurking near upon her palfrey. Overcome by in ambush, rushed forth and car- wrath and pity, Rinaldo rushes ried her away. Swiftly traversing forward to deliver her; and unFrance, he had come near to the happy in very deed, says the poet, Mediterranean, on which he meant was he who first opposed himself to put to sea with her, when, see- to his fury. The usual catalogue