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With banners white and red, blue, black, and green,
The cover'd ground on no side could be seen.

This stanza is remarkable, not only for the striking and picturesque manner in which the advance of "numbers numberless" is described, but for the introduction of a simile, in the line printed in italic, copied from Dante, (Inf. XV.)

"Come 'l vecchio sartor far ne la cruna.”

The words of Zinabi are,

"Si come la nell ago il vecchio sarto.*"

Perhaps, after all, this might be a proverbial expression, in the time of both the poets. Oliver hastens to awaken his cousin Orlando, and to tell him of the danger; but the son of Aglante, vexed to be roused out of his sleep so early, replies somewhat angrily, and with a degree of coarseness not well suited to our modern ideas of refinement.

"Tu puzzi da vino, e sei ancora imbriaco."

He is, nevertheless, soon convinced, by his own eyes, that the terrible enemy is at hand. Oliver requires Orlando to blow his_powerful horn, that Charles might hear it at St. Jean piè de Porto, and come instantly to their assistance; but Orlando entertains too much contempt for the Pagans to comply:

Why should I sound it in such fearful haste?
Why should I throw on that my strength away?
The road that leads to Charles is quickly past;
Nor would I willingly that men should say,
I did not struggle bravely to the last,

But sounded frighten'd by such poor array.
If thou hast fear, and tremble to advance,
Away, and take the speediest road to France.'
"Lead on, brave cousin!' Oliver replied,

'With Durlindana, thy good sword, in hand:
My lance as deep in blood shall soon be dyed,
Fearless as thou against that Pagan band.
But death from us great Charles shall aye divide;
And Aldabella, with her accents bland,


Shall never greet thee more with love's delight:
We both must fall with pitiless despite!"

* It is printed Si come la nel lago, &c.; but this is only an error of the press.

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Nobody but Orlando would think of charging Oliver with cowardice; and throughout the poem the latter is less of the mere hero, and more of the human being, with the feelings and pulses of humanity, than his somewhat boastful and perhaps fool-hardy cousin. This is especially shewn in the two stanzas, last quoted; and we may say of Orlando and Oliver, what every body feels, and therefore has been over and over again said, of Achilles and Hector, that though we may admire the first, we love the last the one interests the curiosity, the other the heart. While pointing out this distinction between Orlando and Oliver, we may take the opportunity of praising the general individuality, and the absence of mere abstraction, in all the characters in this poem. There is always some point, some peculiarity, that differs one Paladin, or one personage, from another. Upon the illustration of this position, we regret that we have not more space to dwell.

The Christians prepare on the instant, and the dreadful conflict begins; Turpin having addressed the Christians in a vigorous speech, ending,

"Since on the rood for us our Saviour died,
To die for him be it this day our pride!"

All the peers perform wonders; and among them, Baldwin, the young son of Ganelon, greatly distinguishes himself. By noon, the first hundred thousand of the Pagans are disposed of; but nine thousand Christians are killed, and two thousand more wounded. The fight is then renewed under Grandonio, who leads two hundred thousand Pagans to the field. Here, again, we find the peculiar bravery of young Baldwin dwelt upon, for the sake of introducing an incident of a peculiar kind. Baldwin, in presence of Orlando, mentions the success he had met with; when the Paladin openly attributes it to an agreement made between Ganelon and the Pagans, that they should not assail his son's person, whose armour and device he had made known to them.

"Baldwin reply'd, 'My father's treachery,

If he be false, proves not his son so too.
I ne'er consented to such villainy

As now is charg'd against my sire by you.
But if this day we 'scape with victory,

I swear, by our just God, if it be true,
With my own hand a full revenge to take,
Ev'n upon him, for truth and honour's sake!'
"Orlando answer'd, 'If you wish to show

That by your father we are not betray'd,

Cast off that shield and crest the Pagans know,
And let harness all aside be laid :-
Then to the field, and we shall see, I trow,

If Gan have not this damned compact made.'
Baldwin his hauberk cast away, and there
Forsook his shield, and laid his temples bare.

"Now more than all his gen'rous valour shines:
For the hot fray the Paladin he left,
And rushing through the Pagan's thickest lines,
Of life at once a Saracen him reft;

Nor paus'd the foe, nor at the blow repines.

Orlando saw young Baldwin's forehead cleft,
Saw his fair limbs upon the earth display'd,
And now was certain Gan had all betray'd."

This test was not only cruel, but most unfair; however, Orlando makes amends by taking instant vengeance on the enemy. Four of the Paladins are killed by the army of Grandonio, and several others wounded; and towards the evening, Balsinello, King of Barbary, takes his station on the field with one hundred thousand fresh troops. The Christians, weak, reduced, and disheartened, still maintain their stand, and Orlando and Oliver, embracing, agree to die struggling to the last extremity. We now approach the catastrophe, the interest of which is worked up with considerable force and ingenuity.

"On ev'ry side was great Orlando found,

Giving and taking most despiteful blows,
Strewing the Pagans on the loaded ground,

While from their wounds in tides the black blood flows.
Nor Oliver, I ween, did less astound

And spread destruction 'mid his coward foes;
While bold Angolier equal glory wins
That fatal day among the Paladins.

"Walter Montlion, although wounded sore

As he fought reckless in his fierce despite,
Still drove the enemy dismay'd before,

Who fled whene'er he desp'rate came in sight;
At length exhausted he could slay no more.

Thus but six Paladins were left to fight,
And King Corbaces with eight thousand men
Renew'd the strife for the dark Sarasen."

Marsilio now enters the field with a large reserve, but Orlando hunts him over the plain until he takes shelter in a cavern.

At this period, Orlando, Oliver, and Turpin, are the only Paladins left alive, the rest being overwhelmed by a torrent of enemies, yet dying upon heaps of Pagans that had fallen by their hands. We know nothing finer or more impressive of its kind than the death of the hardy generous Oliver, whom the reader follows over the bloody field with most earnest anxiety. In almost his last moments it will be seen that he affords another instance of the prevalence of those affections that distinguish him so importantly from Orlando. We should mention that, independently of many mortal hurts before inflicted, he has just received a fatal wound from the gigantic Caliph of Baldracha. Nevertheless,

"He scour'd that memorable field amain

Till now all sight and consciousness he lost,
And in the madness of his rage and pain

Orlando, that great Paladin, he crost,
Bowing 'ev'n him upon the splashy plain

By one dread blow upon his helm embost:
Orlando, at the stroke, in daz'd surprise
To Oliver uprais'd his doubting eyes.

'My dear and noble cousin (then he said)
Why against me is thus thy rage directed?
Art thou on sudden turn'd a renegade,

Hast thou our faith, our God, and Christ, rejected?"
'Pardon!' (cry'd Oliver) nor me upbraid;


I knew you not, nor here to meet expected :
Wounded to death, I cannot see the day :
But, brother, if thou haply 'scape, I pray,

'That to my sister, whom so dear you prize,
You will commend me ever lovingly;
And as in death these Pagans I despise,

Amidst the hottest battle let me die !'
Orlando's grief all utterance denies,

He scarce had strength remaining to comply,
While taking by the rein his cousin's horse
Into the thickest fight he turn'd his course.

'Now strongly strike, my valiant coz! (he cried)
Thy death but proves thy noble prowess more!'
Oliver spurr'd his starting charger's side,

And woe to him his way that came before.

* They were brothers, by marriage, as well as cousins.

Full thirty Pagans by his weapon died

Weak as he was, with ev'ry sense forlore: Him and his steed could no obstruction stay 'Till he cut through the scatter'd foes' array."

His horse carries him to his tent, and, alighting, Oliver dies upon his knees in the act of prayer. This is a noble incident, and worthily related by the author. The death of Turpin is not so striking: he and Orlando retire from the field for a few moments, when the bold archbishop dies of fatigue and loss of blood; and the angels,

"Amid sweet songs and hymns of joy and grace,
Bore Turpin's soul to Heaven's holy place."

Orlando is then only left by all his great companions, and he fervently prays to be allowed to die upon the spot. A voice from Heaven promises that he shall soon rejoin the Paladins, and just afterwards his young squire, Terigi, arrives.

"The count receiv'd him with a kindly gladness,
And said, 'To yonder mountain let us go.'
Orlando and his squire both mov'd in sadness,

On foot towards the hill with progress slow:
Then on a rock Orlando, as in madness,

With Durlindana struck a furious blow,
Thinking to shatter thus his well-prov'd brand,
But the hard rock could not its edge withstand.

Full oftentimes again he struck his sword

Upon the jagged rock its blade to break,
With all the strength that in his arm was stor❜d;
But vainly struck, the rock was all too weak.
Ceasing his fruitless efforts, he ador'd

Th' unequall'd God, and of his sword 'gan speak :
'Oh noble steel, so strong the rocks to hew,
Until this hour thy worth I never knew.

'Had I but known thy virtue from the first

I ne'er had doubted, temper'd as thou art,
Prov'd in this latest trial, hardest, worst.'

Then putting horn to mouth, his mighty heart,
Ev'n with the force of his own blowing, burst,

And from his visage made the red blood start.
The Sarasens, who on the field had stay'd,
Fled in confusion by the blast dismay'd."

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