Book I, Canto I, Part 5

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 5 and final, Stanzas 82-91.

The two combatants fall upon the plain,
The one half-dead, the other wholly so.
And Argalía leaves his horse amain,
And drags the knight beside the fountain’s flow,
And gently laves him, till he slowly gains
Once more his senses, whereupon his foe
Lifts him again to take him to the tent,
But Ferraguto’s wrath is still not spent.

“It’s naught to me what Emp’ror Charles said,
About Angelica, or how we’d battle
I’m not his vassal, I don’t eat his bread,
I’m not obliged to listen to his prattle.
I’ll keep on fighting with you till I’m dead,
Or am too weak to sit up in the saddle.
The love I bear thy sister is so true,
I’d die for lack of her,” said Ferragu.

Astolfo is awakened by his shout,
Who just before was wrapped in slumbers deep,
Quite undisturbed by noise of battle rout,
No fighting giants keep him from his sleep.
But now, alarmed, he wakes and rushes out,
And sees them arguing. He tries to keep
Them calm and bring them to a sweet accord.
His words by Ferraguto are ignored.

Quoth Argalía, “Dost thou not perceive,
O worthy baron, that thou art disarmed?
Hast thou a helmet? Dost thou not believe
That thine lies shattered? Wert thou not alarmed
To feel that blow? However much thou grieve
Within my prison thou wilt not be harmed.
But if thou fight with nought upon thine head,
‘Twill take me but one blow to strike thee dead.”

Responds Don Ferragu, “I’m not afraid
To fight against thee without helm or mail
Or shield. In fact, I would not be dismayed
To fight thee naked. My heart would not fail,
If by so doing I could win the maid.
I trust in Love, which always shall prevail.”
He speaks the truth. So great is his desire,
That for her sake he’d leap into a fire.

Don Argalía is quite irritated
To find himself held in esteem so low.
Never before has anybody rates
Him so low as to fight him without clothes.
Though twice brought low, his foe is unabated.
In fact, his arrogance and daring grow.
To him, then, “Cavalier, thou hast an itch
For battle, and I’ll scratch it, if thou wish.

Rise up, and mount thy horse, and show thy skill,
And I shall fight with thee in combat fair
But have no hope that e’er my heart shall fill
With pity when I see thy head is bare.
Thou camest here today to seek thine ill,
And I shall give it to thee. Rise up, there,
Defend thyself, and do not waste thy breath,
For now is come the hour of thy death.

Don Ferraguto laughs to hear him say
These words, as one who reckons them but slight.
He leaps upon his horse without delay,
And says, “Attend to me, O worthy knight.
If thou wilt render me that lovely may,
Then I shall let thee go without a fight.
But if thou wilt not, I won’t run or hide,
But I shall fight till one of us has died.

Don Argalía is consumed with fury,
To hear his arrogant and boastful screed.
He whirls his horse away with madcap hurry.
So wroth he is, he doesn’t even heed
The words he’s shouting. And now with the spur, he
Goads Rabicano to his utmost speed,
With his sword drawn. His lance has slipped his mind.
He left it leaning on the mighty Pine.

His horse a-gallop and his sword on high,
His soul with anger burning, bears he down,
In all the world you could not find a knight
Whose strength surpassed those heroes of renown..
Perhaps Orlando or Rinaldo might
In equal fight with them be equals found.
In short, my lords, it was a dreadful brawl –
Come back next time, and I will tell you all.


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