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[NOTE: These sample chapters are currently just plain text from the work in question. They do not include the formatting, footnotes, or illustrations (where appropriate) of the actual, published books. I hope to get more representative samples up here eventually, but these will have to do for now.]
For on the sudden did appear in sight
Four Giants great and strong of limb and bone,
And in the midst of them a Damsel bright
Attended on with one sole Knight alone,
A star she seemed, so glorious was this Wight ,
Like her no flower on earth has ever grown:
In brief the truth to tell, she all did pass,
Never before her, like for Beauty was.
Yet was sweet Galerana in that place,
And Alda wife unto Orlando bold:
Clarice, and Armelina fair in face,
And divers other Ladies left untold,
Who beauteous were and full of lovely grace:
Beauteous indeed, framed right in Natures mold:
But when 'mongst them appeared this Flower so gay,
The prize of Beauty straight she reft away.
Each Baron brave, and Prince of Christendom,
On that rare Object do their eyes still cast,
The barbarous Pagans rise from ground and run
To honor her, who makes them all aghast,
Whilst with so sweet a smile shines this clear Sun,
As she is able, a stony heart at last
To melt for love, and to her self to win,
And thus to speak she smiling doth begin.
"Most mighty Lord, thy virtue more than great,
And wondrous valor of thy Peers of fame,
Whose prowess so far throughout the world doth beat,
As any seas their utmost bounds contain,
Give me some hope; the travel, and the sweat
Of us poor Pilgrims shall not be in vain:
Since both thy Court and thee we comen are
To honor from the world his end afar.
"And that I may not hold thee over long,
Know this the reason is I came to thee,
This is Uberto (surnamed Leo) strong,
A Noble born and Knight of chivalry,
Expulsed from out his kingdom by much wrong,
Wronged like him could never any be,
And I that was banished with him that day,
His sister am, and called Angelica.
"From hence 200 days journey at least,
At Tana,where our Country is, we have
Heard much of this thy royal Jousts, and Feast
And of the assembly of these Gallants brave,
And that who best deserves, is not possesst
Of gold or pearl, (gifts for a servile slave)
But to enhance his virtuous honor more,
The Conqueror, a crown of roses wore.
"This is the cause Uberto brother mine
Means for to try his force and valor here,
'Mongst all the flower of Barons of this time:
All will he try, although he buy it dear,
Be he a Christian or a Saracen,
Without the City gates he will appear,
Hard at the Pine within the meadow green,
Which Merlin's tomb is called as I ween.
"But yet with this condition will he joust
As I'll repeat, that all may know the same;
Who shall unhorsed be, and from saddle thrust,
No more shall run his honor to regain,
But yield himself as prisoner to him must;
And who Uberto lays on sandy plain,
My person shall enjoy to him for pray,
And he with Giants his shall wend their way."
Thus having said, 'fore Charles she kneels on ground,
Expecting his short answer speedily,
Her feature rare doth make them all astound,
And chiefly stout Orlando who draws nigh
To her with trembling heart, through Love's deep wound,
Although it to conceal he had an eye:
Casting his looks ofttimes on the earth below
As one ashamed thereof he well did show.
"Alas fond man," he to him self then said,
"Why giv'st thou so large rein unto thy will?
Perceiv'st thou not in errors thou dost wade?
And 'gainst thy God (as perverse) sinnest still?
Ah how am I by Fortune overlaid!
I see my fault, yet cannot mend this ill:
I that the world's greatest force did set at naught,
Am by a silly girl o'ercome and caught.
"To part from her sweet face I have no power,
My life upon her lovely looks doth stay,
Withouten her I languish every hour,
And soul from out this body wends her way:
Now see I well no force, nor frowning shower
Can love withstand, whom I must now obey:
'Wisdom helps not, nor good advice to choose,
What's best I know, yet best I do refuse.'
"She is a Heathen, I a Christian born,
Nor know I if she me will ever like,
May be she'll other love, and me will scorn,
(And yet for him she is, that best can fight).
I know not if my fortune be forlorn,
Yet for her sake, I'll try her brother's might:
My hope's that soon shall ended be this strife,
Either I'll win her, or I'll lose my life."
Thus to himself laments this Baron bold,
Of his new Love, uncertain of her grace;
The like Duke Namo did though he were old,
('Wood old and dry burns soon in such a case,')
He shakes as one troubled with ague cold,
And all his blood doth run from out his face:
In brief, her pleasing beauty rare was such,
As Charles himself (with each one) liked her much.
All stood stone still as they were in a maze,
Staring upon her with no small delight,
But youthful Ferraw, whose heat was no blaze
But sparkling fire, thrice meant by force of might,
To take her from the Giants, and thrice stays,
As loath the rest of Barons to despite.
Therefore his first intent he soon let fall,
Lest he should be condemned of them all.
He stamps and leaps as if he trod on briar,
He shakes his head, nor knows he what to do;
Rinaldo with the rest his heart's on fire,
As soon as he began her for to view;
But Malagi that knew her, coming nigh her,
(Quoth he unto himself) "I'll make thee rue
That here thou cam'st, enchantress false and vile,
'For to deceive deceivers 'tis no guile.'"
King Charles a long discourse makes pleasantly,
Unto this Damsel whom he doth adore,
The longer for to have her company,
He wondering talks, and talking wonders more,
Nor dares he (what she doth request) deny,
But all confirms, though he repent therefore,
Swearing to keep what he fore her doth say,
Wherewith she, pleased, wends with her troop away.
Scarce were they passed through the City wall,
But Malagigi takes his Book in hand,
Four devils from depth of hell he forth doth call,
Whom (what shall hap) to tell he doth command,
But soon his frightful mind they did appall,
When he by them was given to understand,
King Charles no better was then one that's dead,
And all his court undone, dishonored.
For this young maid surpassing beauty fair,
Sole daughter was unto King Galafron,
Full of deceit, in falsehood passing rare,
And of enchanted spells knew every one,
Come was she hither for to bring much care,
To Christian Knights, and sent by that old crone,
With her brother, who Argalia had to name,
and not Uberto, as she false did feign.
A wondrous horse this old man gave his son,
As black as coal, more swift then whirling wind,
A target and a breast-plate fair that shone,
With helmet such, and sword he him assigned,
All which by magic art were wrought and done,
(For dear he loved him, and to him was kind:)
Withal a lance he had of glittering gold,
Most rich and strangely wrought for to behold.
His Father sent him with this armor brave,
Thinking (through this) he was invincible.
Besides a precious Ring he to him gave,
Though he it used not, yet it did excel;
For being in one's mouth, it men did save
Unseen, and kept them as invisible;
Holding it on the left side, without harm,
And worn on hand, all witchcrafts did uncharm.
But chiefly that Angelica should go
With him in company was his device,
Because he knew her flattering face as though,
Each Baron bold to combat would entice,
Whom, when she could by witchcraft overthrow,
She should bring with her, as her beauty's prize:
Bound fast in chains to Galafron, where he
Would use them worse then curs or mastiffs be.
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