Among these were Florismart, Rinaldo, and many others of the bravest knights of France. Morgana had disappeared, and the knights, under the guidance of Orlando, retraced the path by which he had come. They soon reached the field of treasure. Rinaldo, finding himself amidst this mass of wealth, remembered his needy garrison of Montalban, and could not resist the temptation of seizing part of the booty. In particular a golden chain, studded with diamonds, was too much for his self-denial, and he took it and was bearing it off, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Orlando, when a violent wind caught him and whirled him back, as he approached the gate. This happened a second and a third time, and Rinaldo at length yielded to necessity, rather than to the entreaties of his friends, and cast away his prize.
They soon reached the bridge and passed over without hindrance to the other side, where they found the trophy decorated with their arms. Here each knight resumed his own, and all, except the paladins and their friends, separated as their inclinations or duty prompted. Dudon, the Dane, one of the rescued knights, informed the cousins that he had been made prisoner by Morgana while in the discharge of an embassy to them from Charlemagne, who called upon them to return to the defence of Christendom. Orlando was too much fascinated by Angelica to obey this summons, and, followed by the faithful Florismart, who would not leave him, returned towards Albracca. Rinaldo, Dudon, Iroldo, Prasildo, and the others took their way toward the west.
THE INVASION OF FRANCE
Agramant, King of Africa, convoked the kings, his vassals, to deliberate in council. He reminded them of the injuries he had sustained from France, that his father had fallen in battle with Charlemagne, and that his early years had hitherto not allowed him to wipe out the stain of former defeats. He now proposed to them to carry war into France.
Sobrino, his wisest councillor, opposed the project, representing the rashness of it; but Rodomont, the young and fiery king of Algiers, denounced Sobrino’s counsel as base and cowardly, declaring himself impatient for the enterprise. The king of the Garamantes, venerable for his age and renowned for his prophetic lore, interposed, and assured the King that such an attempt would be sure to fail, unless he could first get on his side a youth marked out by destiny as the fitting compeer of the most puissant knights of France, the young Rogero, descended in direct line from Hector of Troy. This prince was now a dweller upon the mountain Carena, where Atlantes, his foster-father, a powerful magician, kept him in retirement, having discovered by his art that his pupil would be lost to him if allowed to mingle with the world. To break the spells of Atlantes, and draw Rogero from his retirement, one only means was to be found. It was a ring possessed by Angelica, Princess of Cathay, which was a talisman against all enchantments. If this ring could be procured all would go well; without it the enterprise was desperate.