But it behoves that, ere the rest I say,
I Bradamant and good Rogero find.
After the horn had ceased, and, far away,
The beauteous pair had left the dome behind,
Rogero looked, and knew what till that day
He had seen not, by Atlantes rendered blind.
Atlantes had effected by his power,
They should not know each other till that hour.
Rogero looks on Bradamant, and she
Looks on Rogero in profound surprise
That for so many days that witchery
Had so obscurred her altered mind and eyes.
Rejoiced, Rogero clasps his lady free,
Crimsoning with deeper than the rose's dyes,
And his fair love's first blossoms, while he clips
The gentle damsel, gathers from her lips.XXXIIIXXXIV
A thousand times they their embrace renew,
And closely each is by the other prest;
While so delighted are those lovers two,
Their joys are ill contained within their breast.
Deluded by enchantments, much they rue
That while they were within the wizard's rest,
They should not e'er have one another known,
And have so many happy days foregone.
The gentle Bradamant, who was i' the vein
To grant whatever prudent virgin might,
To solace her desiring lover's pain,
So that her honour should receive no slight;
— If the last fruits he of her love would gain,
Nor find her ever stubborn, bade the knight,
Her of Duke Aymon through fair mean demand;
But be baptized before he claimed her hand.
The story of Bradamant/Bradamante and Ruggiero/Rogero/Roger is my favorite part of the Carolovingian tales; when I was in high school I did a re-write of their story (based on the version in Bulfinch's Mythology) which I called The Unicorns. Bradamante is interesting, because she is a knight, and, indeed, the stories are all quite clear that she is one of the best knights in France (and Ariosto makes quite clear that she is the equal of her brother, Rinaldo/Renault/Renaud, who is among the creme-de-la-creme of Carlovingian knighthood). She has a magic lance that never fails to unhorse its target and a magic ring that nullifies all enchantments, but even when she doesn't have these things she is virtually always successful. She rides around like any other knight, usually rescuing maidens in distress; the ruffian-knights she unhorses are often quite put out when later they discover that they were outmatched in arms by a woman. However, she happens to fall in love with a Moorish knight, who is Roger. She ends up having to rescue him from the clutches of an evil enchanter (getting captured by enchanters is almost as common for these Carlovingian knights as losing their horses), and in the course of this quest she meets Merlin, or, rather, his spirit, who is in the care of a good enchantress named Melissa. Merlin prophesies her great destiny. She manages to free Roger, but unfortunately a hippogriff absconds with him and Roger ends up flying away to many adventures, leaving Bradamante once more to look for him. Roger ends up finally getting the hippogriff to stop, and when he does, he finds Astolphe/Astolfo, her English cousin, who having been kidnapped by a whale had become turned into a myrtle tree. It's a long story. Anyway, they get into a terrible situation with the enchantress Alcina; but Melissa comes along to the save the day. Both Roger and Bradamante are eventually captured -- by an enchanter, as it happens -- and Astolphe, who has lost his horse Rabican but found the hippogriff, comes flying in to save them. This leads to the scene above. Now, finally, they are able to express their love -- at least, as Ariosto carefully notes, "whatever prudent virgin might" -- and they definitely want to marry. But there is an impediment: Bradamante is a good Catholic girl, of course, but Roger is Muslim. However, Roger for a number of reasons is somewhat cool at this point toward Moorish chivalry, and Bradamante is, after all, not only an extraordinary knight but a beautiful woman, so he'll be baptized and they'll marry. Since the end of the book hasn't come yet, it turns out not to be that easy.