Bayard was the name of Rinaldo's faithful and intelligent war horse, in the many legends about Charlemagne's paladins.

In Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Rinaldo finds Bayard running wild in the forest of Arden. The horse had been enchanted by a spell that kept him wild until he should be tamed by a knight descended from Amadis of Gaul; his hide was impervious to even the keenest sword. But if he were thrown off his feet by the right knight, he would become instantly tame.

Rinaldo wrestled Bayard to the ground and rode him in many battles. They were fiercely loyal to each other. Orlando Furioso basically has three plot variations: a knight is cruelly separated from either his beloved lady, from his sword, or from his horse. Bayard constantly strays off and is captured, enchanted, and imprisoned, as much as the human characters of the story.

He was a bay horse with a white star on his forehead and white rear feet.

Bay"ard (?), n.

1. [OF. bayard, baiart, bay horse; bai bay + -ard. See Bay, a., and -ard.]

Properly, a bay horse, but often any horse. Commonly in the phrase blind bayard, an old blind horse.

Blind bayard moves the mill. Philips.

2. [Cf. F. bayeur, fr. bayer to gape.]

A stupid, clownish fellow.

[Obs.]

B. Jonson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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