Hurrah for Asiatic Venus!" "You are no true Christian knight," I said. "Your Rinaldos and Sir Guyons always waste your gardens of voluptuous delight, and wipe out their abominations." "Yes," he retorted, "all but the abomination of desolation."
The Renaissance took up the old epic-romantic materials and made out of them works of art; but works of art which, as I said before, were playthings gets written for its delectation the comic-tragic novels of rapscallions, panders, prostitutes, and card-sharpers, which, from "Lazarillo de Tormes" to "Gil Bias," and from "Gil Bias" to "Tom Jones," finally replace the romances of the Launcelots, Galahads, Rinaldos, and Orlandos.
Ariosto's enchantress Alcina was the model for Tasso's better-known Armida, who provided both Lulli and Gluck with one of their most dramatic heroines, and Burney says, with some justice, that Handel's Alcina gave birth to all the Armidas and Rinaldos of modern times.
There is a great deal of rapid love-making between too gallant knights and too impressionable ladies; licentious amours which we moderns lay at the door of Boiardo and Ariosto, not knowing that the licentiousness of the Olivers and Ogiers and Guerins and Huons of mediæval poetry, of the sentimental Amadises, Galaors, and Lisvarts of the fourteenth century, whom the Renaissance has toned down in Rogers and Rinaldos and Ricciardettos, is by many degrees worse.