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Discord, also summoned by Michael to the aid of the Christians, informed Rodomont on his return to the camp of the capture of Doralice, and the chief set forth raging, in search of Mandricardo, thoughtlessly abandoning King Agramant, struggling against the English re-inforcements. As night fell on a furious battle, the Moors were driven back, and Charlemagne pitched his tents without the city, opposite those of the Moors.
In the Moorish camp were two youths who loved one another with a love passing wonderful, Medoro and Cloridan. Both served Dardinello, and had crossed the sea with him. As they stood on guard that night they talked of their lord's death on the field that day, and Medoro suggested that they go in search of his body and bury it. Cloridan agreed, and they crept through the sleeping lines of the Christians, slaughtering many, found the body, and were hurrying into the forest when they heard the troops of Zerbino. Cloridan fled, fancying that Medoro would do the same, but on finding himself unaccompanied, retraced his footsteps, only to see his friend surrounded by a troop of horsemen. From his ambush he shot his arrows at the foe, until Zerbino in wrath seized Medoro by the throat, exclaiming, “Thou shalt die for this !” But when Medoro prayed to be allowed first to bury his lord, pity touched Zerbino, and he freed the youth, who fell, however, wounded by a thrust from a churlish horseman, in pursuit of whom Zerbino at once fled. Cloridan sprang in among the horsemen and fell dead by their thrusts at the side of the unconscious Medoro.
The bleeding youth was found by Angelica, who passed by, clad in rustic raiment; and the maid, struck with his beauty, recalled her knowledge of chirurgery and revived him. After Dardinello was buried, she and a shepherd assisted Medoro to a neighboring cottage, where she attended him until his wound was healed. But as he grew well, Angelica, who had scorned the suit of the proudest knights, fell sick of love for the humble youth, and resolved to take him with her to Cathay.
When Astolpho left the castle of Logistilla he carried with him as her gift a book from which he could learn to overcome all magic cheats, and a horn whose sound would put the boldest man to flight. Following her directions, he sailed past Scythia and India into the Persian Gulf, and there disembarking, passed through Arabia and along the Red Sea. There he overcame the giant Caligorantes, slew Orillo, who guarded the outlet of the Nile, and met there the brother knights Gryphon and Aquilant. Gryphon, led astray by an unworthy love, stole away from his brother, but was found again after many adventures, and the three, together with Sansonet and Marphisa, a warlike virgin, embarked for France. A great storm arose, and the vessel was forced to land in Syria. This was the land of the Amazons, and the troop escaped only by the warning and assistance of Guido, the savage, who was a bondsman in the land.
Astolpho became separated from the rest of the party and reached Europe alone. One day, while he was stooping to drink at a spring in the forest, a rustic sprang from a thicket, and leaping upon Rabican, rode him away. Astolpho, hastening after him, entered the enchanted castle of Atlantes, and soon recognized it as a house of magic. He broke the spell by the aid of his book, freed the captive knights, and finding the hippogrif, which he had learned to guide from Melissa, mounted it and rode away.
When the castle was destroyed, Rogero recognized Bradamant and clasped her in his arms, rejoicing to find her again. The maid, anxious to avoid further separation, promised to wed him if he would become a Christian, and demand her of her father, Duke Aymon. Rogero gladly promised to do so. and the two were hastening to Vallombrosa that he might be baptized when they encountered a maid, who prayed them to hasten to the relief of a youth doomed to death by fire. They hurried on, but paused to free Guido the savage, Gryphon. Aquilant, and Sansonet, who had been imprisoned by Pinabel, and Bradamant, pursuing Pinabel into the forest, slew him. But there, unfortunately, she lost her way, and while she was wandering about, Rogero, ignorant of her
whereabouts, pushed on and freed the youth, who proved to be Bradamant's brother.
As Bradamant wandered through the forest she found Astolpho, who had just made a bridle for the hippogrif, and recognizing him, took his horse and spear in charge. A long time she wandered forlorn. She did not know the way to Vallombrosa ; she did not know the whereabouts of Rogero. Her home was in sight, but if her mother saw her she would not again be suffered to depart. As she stood debating with herself, she was recognized by one of her brothers, and was forced to accompany him home. Thence she secretly sent her maid Hippalca to Vallombrosa with Rogero's horse Frontino, and a message explaining her absence.
After the capture of Doralice, Mandricardo hastened on, and overtook Orlando just as he had freed Zerbino and united him to Isabel. Recognizing Orlando by his crest as the chief who had destroyed the squadrons, the Tartar challenged him to combat. In courtesy to his foe, who would bear no sword until he could have Durindana, Orlando hung the blade on a tree, and the two knights spurred their steeds and broke their lances together. Then grappling, each endeavored to unhorse the other. The breaking of Orlando's saddle girth caused his fall just as he had slipped the bridle from the head of his enemy's horse, and the frightened steed, freed from its rein, ran madly through the wood, followed by Doralice.
Orlando told Zerbino to inform Mandricardo if he overtook him that he would wait in that spot three days for him to return and renew the combat, and bade the lovers farewell. As he wandered through the region while waiting, he found a peaceful little spot where a limpid rill rippled through a meadow dotted here and there with trees. Here the weary warrior sought repose ; but as he looked about him he espied the name of Angelica carved on the trees, entwined with that of Medoro. Persuading himself that this was a fanciful name by which the maid intended to signify himself, he entered a little ivy-covered grotto, arching over a fountain, and there discovered on the rocky wall some verses in which
Medoro celebrated his union with Angelica. For a moment he stood as if turned to stone. Unable to weep, he again mounted his horse and sought a peasant's house to pass the night. There he heard the story of Angelica's infatuation, and saw the bracelet she had left them in return for their hospitality. The unhappy Orlando passed a sleepless night, weeping and groaning, and the next morning hastened to the forest that he might give way to his grief unobserved. There madness came upon him, and he uprooted the hateful trees, cut the solid stone of the grotto with his sword, making a desolation of the beautiful spot, and, casting off his armor, ran naked through the country, pillaging, burning, and slaying.
Zerbino and Isabel sought the spot in a few days to learn if Mandricardo had returned, found the scattered armor, and heard of Orlando's madness from a shepherd. Lamenting over their protector's misfortune, they gathered up the armor, hung it on a sapling, and wrote thereon Orlando's name. But while they were thus engaged, Mandricardo arrived, took the long coveted sword, and gave Zerbino, who attempted to prevent the theft, a mortal wound. The unhappy Isabel, intent on self-destruction, was comforted by a hermit, who promised to take her to a monastery near Marseilles.
Mandricardo had had but a few moments for repose after this combat with Zerbino, when the furious Rodomont overtook him and a terrible combat between the two began, the beautiful cause of it looking on with interest.
But so strong were the champions that the struggle might have been prolonged indefinitely had not a messenger announced to the knights that they must postpone their private quarrels for a moment and hasten to the relief of King Agramant.
After Rogero had freed Richardetto, Bradamant's brother, and had attempted in vain to find Bradamant, he was troubled by the thought of King Agramant. He was determined to wed the warrior maid and become a Christian, but first came his vow to the pagan king. He therefore wrote her a note, saying that honor required his presence with Agramant for at least fifteen or twenty days, but after that time he would find means to justify himself with Agramant and would meet her at Vallombrosa to be baptized.
He, with Richardetto, Aldigier, and Marphisa, whom they met on her way to the pagan camp, rode on together, and freed Vivian and Malagigi from the Moors and Manganese. While they rested at a little fountain, Hippalca rode up, and told them that she had just met Rodomont, who took Frontino from her. She also managed secretly to give Rogero Bradamant's message and receive his letter in return.
While the party still remained at the fountain, Rodomont came up with Mandricardo and Doralice, and all engaged in a fierce battle, which was at last interrupted by Malagigi, who, versed in wizard arts, conjured a demon into Doralice's horse so that it ran away; and Rodomont and Mandricardo, frightened by her screams, started in pursuit.
With the assistance of Rogero, Marphisa, Rodomont, and Mandricardo, Agramant was enabled to drive Charlemagne back into Paris, where he was saved only by the interposition of Discord, who stirred up the old quarrels between Rodomont, Mandricardo, Rogero, and Gradasso over weapons, bearings, and horses, until Agramant announced that they should settle their difficulties by single combat, drawing lots to see who should first engage in battle. But when they were ready for the lists, fresh quarrels broke out, until the king despaired of ever having peace in his ranks. Finally, at his command, Doralice publicly declared Mandricardo her choice, and the furious Rodomont fled from the camp. On his way to Africa he found a little abandoned church between France and Spain, and decided to remain there instead of returning home. From this spot he saw Isabel on her way to Marseilles, and falling in love with her, he slew the hermit, dragged her to his retreat, and tried to win her. But she, loathing him and faithful to Zerbino, caused him to slay her, pretending that she was rendered invulnerable by an ointment which she had prepared, and the secret of which she would impart to him. The unhappy Rodomont walled up the church to form her tomb, and threw a narrow