sense, the beauteous Bradamant
Finds sage Melissa
in the vaulted tomb,
from her of many a famous plant
warrior, who shall issue from her womb.
release Rogero from the haunt
Atlantes, learns how from the groom,
hight, his virtuous ring to take;
the knight's and others' fetters break.
vouchsafe me voice that shall ascend
As high as
I would raise my noble theme?
afford befitting words, and lend
Wings to my
verse, to soar the pitch I scheme?
fiercer fire for such illustrious end,
was wont, may well my song beseem.
fair portion to my lord is due
the sires from whom his lineage grew.
fair line, 'mid those by heavenly grace
minister this earth below,
not, Phoebus, in your daily race,
One that in
peace or war doth fairer show;
that hath longer kept its place;
shall keep it, if the lights which glow
but aright inspire my soul,
While the blue
heaven shall turn about the pole.
I seek at full its worth to blaze,
were needful, but that noble lyre
sounded at your touch the thunderer's praise,
the giants sank in penal fire.
you instruments, more fit to raise
work, bestow, as I desire,
and all thought will I combine,
and shadow forth the great design.
this chisel may suffice to scale
and give my lines a right direction;
future study may avail,
the stubborn labour to perfection.
now to him, to whom the mail
shield, and helm, were small protection:
I speak of
Pinabel the Maganzeze,
the damsel's death, whose fall he sees.
traitor thought that damsel sweet
perished on the darksome cavern's floor,
pale visages hurried his retreat
through him contaminated door.
returning, clomb into his seat:
one who a wicked spirit bore,
another sin to evil deed,
with him the warlike virgin's steed.
sometime the wretch who, while he layed
another, wrought his proper doom;
And turn we
to the damsel he betrayed,
nigh found at once her death and tomb.
rising from the rock, dismayed
shrewd fall, and gazing through the gloom,
passed that inner door, which gave
other and more spacious cave.
first cavern in a second ended,
in form of church, and large and square;
by cunning architect extended
of alabaster rich and rare.
of a clear-burning lamp ascended
central altar; and the glare,
all the space about,
through the gate, and lit the cave without.
with the sanctifying thoughts which wait
spirit in a holy place,
with eager lips, and heart elate,
To the Disposer
of all earthly grace:
kneeling, hears a secret wicket grate
opposing wall; whence, face to face,
issuing forth, the maid addresses,
ungirt, and with dishevelled tresses.
generous Bradamant," the matron cried,
thine arrival in this hallowed hold
unauthorized of heavenly guide:
prophetic ghost of Merlin told,
this cave shouldst come by path untried,
covers the renowned magician's mould.
have I long time awaited thee,
what is the heavens' pronounced decree.
is the ancient memorable cave
Merlin, that enchanter sage, did make:
have heard how that magician brave
by the Lady of the Lake.
the cavern, is the grave
his bones; where, for that lady's sake,
(for such her will) the wizard spread.
laid him there, and lies there dead.
lives the spirit of immortal strain;
the enchanter's corpse, till to the skies
call it, or to endless pain,
As it with
dove or raven's wing shall rise.
the voice, and thou shalt hear how plain
sepulchral case of marble cries:
Since this has
still the past and future taught
wight that has its counsel sought.
days have passed since I from distant land
did to this cemetery steer,
That in the
solemn mysteries I scanned,
me the truth should better clear;
compassed the design I planned,
beyond, for thee, have tarried here;
Merlin, still with certain knowledge summing
prefixed this moment for thy coming."
daughter of Duke Aymon stood aghast,
listened to the speech; while she
sore marvelling at all that passed,
If 'twere a
dream or a reality.
with modest brow, and eyes down cast,
(like one that was all modesty),
is this wrought for me? and have I merit
workings of prophetic spirit?"
And full of
joy the adventure strange pursues,
ready haste behind the dame,
her to the sepulchre which mews
and spirit, erst of Merlin's name.
of hardest stone which masons use,
smooth and lucid, and as red as flame.
although no sun-beam pierced the gloom,
splendour lit the subterraneous room.
be the native operation
stones, to shine like torch i' the dark,
force of spell or fumigation,
that seems to come more near the mark)
made under mystic constellation,
that came from the sepulchral ark
sculpture, colour, gems, and gilding,
else adorned the building.
had Bradamant above the sill
foot, and trod the secret cave,
live spirit, in clear tones that thrill,
the martial virgin from the grave;
Fortune, chaste and noble maid, fulfil
wish!" exclaimed the wizard brave.
from thy womb a princely race shall spring,
through Italy and earth shall ring.
noble blood derived from ancient Troy,
thee its two most glorious streams,
the ornament, and flower, and joy
lineage on which Phoebus beams,
genial stars lend warmth, or cold annoy,
Indus, Tagus, Nile, or Danube gleams;
And in thy
progeny and long drawn line
counts, dukes and Caesers shine.
and cavaliers shall spring from thee,
Who both by
knightly lance and prudent lore,
again to widowed Italy
praise and fame in arms restore;
And in her
realms just lords shall seated be,
and Augustus were of yore),
their government, benign and sage,
re-create on earth the golden age.
that the will of Heaven be duly brought
To a fair
end through thee, in fitting date,
the first to bless thy love has wrought,
destined young Rogero for thy mate,
interpose to break that thought,
tread the path perscribed by fate;
aught stay thee till the thief be thrown
By thy good
lance, who keeps thee from thine own."
ceased, that for the solemn feat
might prepare with fitting spell,
bold Bradamant, in aspect meet,
who her illustrious race should swell.
Hence many sprites
she chose; but from what seat
know not, or if called from hell;
gathered in one place (so bade the dame),
garb and guise the shadows came.
into the church she called the maid,
had drawn a magic ring, as wide
contain the damsel, prostrate laid;
full measure of a palm beside.
And on her
head, lest spirit should invade,
for more assurance tied.
So bade her
hold her peace, and stand and look,
and schooled the demons from her book.
of that first cave what countless swarm
upon the circle's sacred round,
they would the magic rampart storm,
way barred as if by fosse or mound;
the rabble turns of various form;
And when it
thrice with bending march has wound
circle, troops into the cave,
stands that beauteous urn, the wizard's grave.
tell at large the puissant acts and worth,
And name of
each who, figured in a sprite,
to our eyes before his birth,"
Melissa to the damsel bright;
tell the deeds which they shall act on earth,
not to finish with the night.
shall call few worthies of thy line,
As time and
fair occasion shall combine.
yonder first-born of thy noble breed,
reflects thy fair and joyous face;
of thine and of Rogero's seed,
in Italy thy generous race.
behold who shall distain the mead,
good sword with blood of Pontier base;
wrong chastised, and traitor's guilt,
By whom his
princely father's blood was spilt.
him King Desiderius shall be pressed,
leader of the Lombard horde:
And of the
fiefs of Calaon and Este;
imperial Charles shall make him lord.
grandson, comes behind; the best
with arms and belted sword:
defend the church from barbarous foes,
than once assure her safe repose.
next, unconquered captain, see,
trophies shall so many fanes array.
bold son, is with the sire, and he
conquer Milan, and the snakes display.
next approaching form shall be,
And, his good
brother dead, the Insubri sway.
by whose rede undone,
Berengarius banished, and his son.
him shall the imperial Otho join
worthily his daughter fair.
lo! another Hugh! O noble line!
O! sire succeeded by an equal heir!
thwarting with just cause their ill design,
thrash the Romans' pride who overbear;
their hands the sovereign pontiff take,
third Otho, and their leaguer break.
Fulke, who to his brother will convey
Italian birth-right, and command
To take a
mighty dukedom far away
fair home, in Almayn's northern land.
the house of Saxony shall stay,
the ruin with his saving hand;
This in his
mother's right he shall possess,
his progeny maintain and bless.
famed for courtesy than warlike deed,
second, he who next repairs!
and Albertazo are his seed:
lo! the father walkes between his heirs.
walls I see the Germans bleed,
second Henry quelled; such trophy bears
renowned in story's future page:
shall wed Matilda, chaste and sage.
virtues shall deserve so fair a flower,
(And in his
age, I wot, no common grace)
To hold the
half of Italy in dower,
descendent of first Henry's race.
shall succeed him in his power,
Bertoldo's wedded love, and chase
Frederick Barbarossa's hireling bands,
church from his rapacious hands.
Azo rules Verona's town,
fair fields; and two great chiefs this while
the papal, one the imperial crown),
Marquis of Ancona style.
But to show
all who rear the gonfalon
consistory, amid that file,
too long; as long to tell each deed
for Rome by thy devoted seed.
Fulke and Obyson, more Azos, Hughs!
Henrys! -- mark the father and his boy.
the first fair Umbria's land subdues,
Spoleto's ducal crown enjoy.
princely phantom that ensues,
fair Italy's long grief to joy;
I speak of
the fifth Azo of thy strain,
shall Ezelin be quelled and slain.
Ezelin, that most inhuman lord,
be deemed by men a child of hell.
such evil, thinning with the sword
Ausonia's wasted cities dwell;
no more her Anthony record,
Sylla, Nero, Cajus fell.
fifth Azo shall to scathe and shame
Frederick, second Caeser of the name.
with his better sceptre well contented,
the city, seated by the streams,
Phoebus to his plaintive lyre lamented
ill-trusted with the father's beams;
Cygnus spread his pinions, and the scented
wept, as fabling poet dreams.
To him such
honour shall the church decree;
of his works, and valour's fee.
no laurel for his brother twine,
who will carry cheer
(when Otho, with the Ghibelline,
troubled capital strikes fear),
the Umbri and Piceni sign
shame, and sack the cities far and near;
hopeless to relieve the sacred hold,
Sue to the
neighbouring Florentine for gold:
trust a noble brother to his hands,
dearer pledge, the pact to bind:
victorious o'er the German bands,
triumphant ensigns to the wind:
afflicted church restore her lands,
due vengeance of Celano's kind.
cut off in manhood's early flower,
banners of the Papal power?
dying, leaves his brother Azo heir
and fair Ancona's reign,
And all the
cities which 'twixt Tronto are,
Isauro's stream, from mount to main;
heritage, more rich and rare,
of mind, and faith without a strain.
All else is
Fortune's in this mortal state;
But Virtue soars
beyond her love and hate.
good Rinaldo equal worth shall shine,
the promise of his early fire)
If such a
hope of thine exalted line.
and Fortune wreck not in their ire.
Alas! from Naples in this distant shrine,
where he is hostage for his sire,
is heard: A stripling of thy race,
Obyson, shall fill his grandsire's place.
lord to his dominion shall unite
joined to Modena's bold land.
And his redoubted
valour lend such light,
people call him to command.
the name, his Azo rears upright
church's banner in his noble hand:
Adria's fief to him in dower shall bring
of second Charles, Sicilia's king.
in yonder friendly group agreed.
princes of illustrious name;
Albert famed for pious deed,
Nicholas the lame.
But we may
pass them by, for better speed,
conquered, and their feats and fame;
With Adria (better
held and surer gain)
her title to the neighbouring main:
that fair town, whose produce is the rose,
which gives it name in Grecian speech:
which fishy marshes round enclose,
two currents threat with double breach;
townsmen loath the lazy calm's repose,
that stormy waves may lash the beach.
I pass, mid
towns and towers, a countless store,
Lugo, and a thousand more.
Nicholas, whom in his tender age,
people shall elect their lord;
shall laugh to scorn the civil rage
rebellious Tideus and his horde;
infantine delight shall be to wage
fight, and sweat with spear and sword:
the discipline such nurture yields,
flourish as the flower of martial fields.
him rebellious plans are overthrown,
upon the rash contriver's head;
And so each
stratagem of warfare blown,
shall the cunning toils be spread.
third Otho this too late is known,
and the pleasant Reggio dread;
by him be spoiled in sudden strife,
possessions and his wretched life.
still the fair dominion shall increase,
wrong its spreading bounds augment;
glad subjects violate the peace,
provoked some outrage to resent,
its wealth and welfare shall not cease;
Divine Disposer be content
To let it
flourish (such his heavenly love!)
celestial spheres revolve above.
lo! Borse great and kind!
of thy fair race, his realm's delight;
secure, and shall more triumphs find
than warlike princes win in fight.
struggling Fury's hands shall tie behind
and prison Mars, removed from sight.
endeavours bent to bless and stay
that his sovereign rule obey.
"Lo! Hercules, who may reproach his neighbour,
half burnt, and halting gait and slow,
Budrio, with protecting sabre,
his troops from fatal overthrow;
for guerdon of his glorious labour,
distress and vex him as a foe;
Barco. It were hard to say,
If most he
shine in peace or martial fray.
Puglia, and Calabria's strand,
the rumour of his prowess ring:
shall strive in duel, hand to hand,
the praise of Catalonia's king.
the wisest captains of the land
shall class; such fame his actions bring;
And he the
fief shall win like valiant knight,
thirty years before was his of right.
him his grateful city owes a debt,
subjects to their lord can owe;
Not that he
moves her from a marsh, to set
where Ceres' fruitful treasures grow.
Nor that he
shall enlarge her bounds, nor yet
shall fence her walls against the foe;
Nor that he
theatre and dome repairs,
beautifies her streets and goodly squares;
that he keeps his lordship well defended
winged lions' claws and fierce attacks;
when Gallic ravage is extended,
invader all Italia sacks,
His happy state
alone is unoffended;
and ungalled by toll or tax.
these blessings I recount, and more
grateful realm shall Hercules adore;
much as that from him shall spring a pair
brothers, leagued no less by love than blood;
be all that Leda's children were;
Alphonso, Hippolite the good.
And as each
twin resigned the vital air
to redeem from Stygian flood,
So each of
these would gladly spend his breath,
And for his
brother brave perpetual death.
these two princes' excellent affection,
lieges more assurance feel,
their noble town, for its protection,
twice by Vulcan's works of steel.
Alphonso in his good direction,
with knowledge and with love, shall deal,
shall appear returned from heaven,
To this low
earth to varying seasons given.
is it that his wisdom shines as bright
As his good
sire's, nor is his valour less;
Since here usurping
Venice arms for fight,
full troops his scanty numbers press,
(I know not if more justly hight
stepmother) brings new distress;
But, if a
mother, scarce to him more mild
or Medea to her child.
chief, what time soever he shall go
his faithful crew, by night or day,
By water or
by land, will shame the foe,
memorable rout and disarray;
too late Romagna's sons shall know.
former friends in bloody fray,
bedew the campaign with their blood,
Po, and Zaniolus' flood.
shall the Spaniard know, to his dismay,
same bounds, whom papal gold shall gain,
from him Bastia win and slay,
rage, her hapless Castellain,
taken; but shall dearly pay;
the town retrieved, and victor slain:
the rescued city not a groom
alive, to bear the news to Rome.
he, who with his counsel and his lance,
the honours of Romagna's plain,
And open to
the chivalry of France
over Julius, leagued with Spain.
in human blood shall steeds advance
fierce strife, and struggle through the slain,
crowded fields, which scarce a grace supply,
Greek, Italian, Frank, and Spaniard die.
"Lo! who in priestly vesture clad, is crowned
hat, conferred in hallowed dome!
the wise, the liberal, the renowned
great cardinal of Rome;
actions shall in every region sound,
the honoured muse shall find a home:
glad era, by indulgent heaven,
Augustus' is a Maro given.
deeds adorn his race, as from his car
glorious sun illumes the subject earth
the silver moon or lesser star;
So far all
others he transcends in worth.
I see this
captain, ill bested for war,
afflicted, and return in mirth:
few foot, and fewer cavaliers,
barks, and fifteen gallies steers.
Sigismonds, the first, the second, see;
Alphonso's five good sons succeed;
glories spread o'er seas and land shall be.
The first shall
wed a maid of France's seed.
This is the
second Hercules; and he,
may know their every name and deed),
who with the light shall shine,
Of his wise
uncle, gilding all his line.
the third comes next; the other two
both; -- but yet again I say,
through all its branches to pursue,
virgin, would too long protract thy stay;
Phoebus, many times, to mortal view,
quench and light again the lamp of day.
thy leave, 'tis time the pageant cease,
dismiss the shades and hold my peace."
So with the
lady's leave the volume closed,
precepts to her will the spirits bent.
where Merlin's ancient bones reposed,
first cavern disappearing, went.
Bradamant her eager lips unclosed,
divine enchantress gave consent;
who," she cried, "that pair of sorrowing mien,
and Hippolitus between?
those youths advanced amid the show,
with shame and sorrow overcast,
downward look, and gait subdued and slow:
I saw the
brothers shun them as they passed."
heard the dame with signs of woe,
with streaming eyes, exclaim'd at last:
luckless youths, with vain illusions fed,
wicked men's bad counsel led!
worthy seed of Hercules the good,
their guilt beyond thy love prevail;
Alas! the wretched pair are of thy blood,
prevailing pity turn the scale!"
And in a
sad and softer tone pursued,
will not further press the painful tale.
fair fancy's food: Nor deem unmeet
I will not
with a bitter chase the sweet.
as to-morrow's sun shall gild the skies
first light, myself the way will show
the wizard knight Rogero sties;
with polished steel the ramparts glow:
So long as
through deep woods thy journey lies,
the sea arrived, I shall bestow
instructions for the future way,
That thou no
more shalt need Melissa's stay."
the maid reposes in the cave,
best part in talk with Merlin spends;
persuasive voice the wizard grave
Rogero's honest love commends;
the vault goes forth that virgin brave,
the sky the rising sun ascends,
long space obscure on either side,
woman still her faithful guide.
They gain a
hidden glen, which heights inclose,
mountains inaccessible to man:
all day toil on, without repose,
precipices frowned and torrents ran.
may some diversion interpose)
subjects of discourse together scan,
conference, which best might make appear
road less dismal and severe.
the greater portion served to guide
wise woman's scope) the warlike dame;
by what device might be untied
gyves, if stedfast were her flame.
thou wert Mars himself, or Pallas," cried
Melissa, "though with thee there came
King Charles or Agramant command,
wizard foe thou could'st not stand.
that it is walled about with steel,
inexpugnable his tower, and high;
that his swift horse is taught to wheel,
and gallop in mid sky,
He bears a
mortal shield of power to seal,
As soon as
'tis exposed, the dazzled eye;
invades each sense, the splendour shed,
That he who
sees the blaze remains as dead.
lest to shut thine eyes, thou should'st suppose
serve, contending with the wizard knight;
would'st thou know, when both in combat close,
strikes home, or when eschews the fight?
escape the blaze which blinds his foes,
vain each necromantic sleight,
Have here a
speedy mean which cannot miss;
Nor can the
world afford a way but this.
Agramant of Africa a ring.
from an Indian queen by subtle guiles,
Has to a
baron of his following
who now precedes us by few miles;
he. Who wears the gift shall bring
all sorceries and magic wiles.
and cheats Brunello is as well
as the sage in charm and spell.
he so practised and so sly
As now I
tell thee, by his king is sent,
with aid of mother wit may try,
And of this
ring, well proved in like event,
Rogero from the castle high;
So has he
boasted, by the wizard pent:
And to his
lord such promise did impart,
Rogero's presence most at heart.
his escape to thee alone may owe,
Not to the
king, the youthful cavalier,
release Rogero from his foe
enchanted cage, prepare to hear.
along the shingle shalt thou go,
sea, whose waves will soon appear;
third day shall to a hostel bring,
shall come who bears the virtuous ring.
thou may'st recognise the man, in height
six palms, observe one at this inn
and curly hair, the dwarfish wight!
overgrown about the cheek and chin;
brow, swoln eyes, and cloudy sight,
close flattened, and a sallow skin;
that I may make my sketch complete,
like courier, goes the cheat.
conversation with this man shall turn
enchantment, spell, and mystic pact;
shalt, in thy talk, appear to yearn
the wizard's strength, as is the fact.
let him not thy knowledge learn
Of his good
ring, which mars all magic act:
propose to bring thee as a guide
To the tall
castle, whither thou would'st ride.
him close, and viewing (for a sign),
the fortress of the enchanter hoar;
false pity there thy mind incline
To stay the
execution of my lore.
his death; but let him not divine
thought, nor grant him respite; for before
concealed by it, the caitiff slips
If once he
place the ring between his lips."
thus, they came upon the sea
Garonne near fair Bordeaux meets the tide;
fellow travellers no more to be,
natural tears they drop and then divide.
child, who slumbers not till she
knight, holds on till even-tide:
the damsel at a hostel rested,
Brunello was already guested.
Brunello knows as soon as found
(So was his
image on her mind impressed),
him whence he came, and whither bound;
replies and lies, as he is pressed.
who is forewarned, and knows her ground,
as well as he, and lies her best:
sex and sect, and name and land,
quick eye oft glances at his hand;
at his resless hand, in fear
might undetected make some prize;
lets the knave approach too near,
knowing his condition: In this guise
stand together, when they hear
sound: but what that sound implies
shall tell hereafter with its cause;
shall break my song with fitting pause.