If in his power he were equal to
The goddess, as in his desire he is,
To find Angelica, Orlando too
Would search the world, the heaven and the seas,
In every secret corner, through and through,
Descending then to plumb Hell's mysteries;
But as no snakes he has, nor chariot,
He manages as best he can without.
He's looked for her in France; now he prepares
To search Italian shores and Germany;
Next, new and old Castile; from Spain, when there's
A ship, to Libya he will cross the sea.
Then, as he ponders on his plans, he hears
A plaintive voice lamenting piteously,
And pressing forward, he beholds a knight
Advancing on a charger of great height.
Upon his saddle-bow, clasped in one arm,
This knight a damsel holds against her will.
Weeping and struggling and in great alarm,
To valorous Orlando in appeal
She calls; to rescue her at once from harm
Is his intent, for, drawing closer still,
He takes her for the one whom night and day
He's sought throughout all France in such dismay.
I do not say myself that it was she,
But that she seemed to be the one he loved;
So when his lady and his goddess he
Beheld, as he believed, Orlando, moved
By violent and frenzied agony
Of mind, in a loud voice, as it behoved,
Meaning them as no idle promises,
Challenged the knight with fearful menaces.
The villain did not wait, nor answer make,
Upon his priceless booty being intent,
But galloped off through every briar and brake;
Orlando followed but the other went
So fast, the wind he seemed to overtake.
The woods re-echoed with the Maid's lament.
Towards a meadow finally they rode,
Where, in its midst, a costly mansion stood.