Book I, Canto III, Part 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto III, Stanzas 21-40

21
Astolfo has collided with Raineri,
And knocked his from his seat with legs spread out.
His limbs he stretches, his lance lifts with nary
A fear, and starts to turn his horse about.
Anselmo rushes at the duke unwary,
With guile and teachery, his foe he clouts
Upon the side with his unyielding lance.
He makes it seem not ill intent, but chance.

22
Astolfo headlong fell upon the plain,
And to the heavens was upturned his face.
You need not wonder if he was in pain.
He pulled himself up to his feet apace,
And drew his sword in ire and disdain,
And, uttering curses against all the race
Of false Maganza and of Ganelon,
He smote upon the helmet Don Grifon,
23
Who’s saved from certain death by his steel crest.
Now could you see a mighty brawl commence.
Macario, Gan, and Ugolino pressed,
With swords on high, against the English prince.
But Naimo, Turpin, and Ricard addressed
Themselves to bring their friend aid and defense.
On either side the cavaliers join in.
King Charles plunges in amidst the din,

24
Giving great whacks and blows to all about.
He cracked the crowns of thirty men at least.
“Who is the traitor, who the rebel lout
Who dared to start a quarrel at my feast?”
He spurs into the middle of the bout.
At his approach, all the barons ceased
Their fighting. Some for shame bowed down their heads,
And some for terror of his anger fled.

25
He says to Gan: “What art thou fighting for?”
And to Astolfo he says: “Now explain
Thy conduct.” Then Grifone, bleeding sore,
Falls on his knees before King Charlemagne,
And with a shout that almost is a roar,
“Justice!” he cries, and thus makes his complaint,
“Justice, my lord, august and elevated,
In whose high presence I’m assassinated.

26
“Make inquiries of all men here, my lord,
For ev’ryone can tell you what was done.
If thou find I was first to draw my sword,
Or spoke a threat’ning word to anyone,
They call me liar, bind me with a cord,
And have be quartered ere the set of sun.
But if thou find the opposite is true,
Than let the ill return to whence it grew!”

27
So wroth Astolfo is, his reason flies,
And of King Charlemagne he takes no heed,
But, “Villain, false and treacherous – he cries –
Thou worthy flower of a wicked seed!
I’ll tear thy heart out of thy breast alive
Before I leave this place, and I shall feed –”
Grifone interrupts him, “Have no fear.
I’ll fight with thee soon as we’re gone from here.

28
“But here I keep my anger within bounds,
For to our king such reverence I bear.”
Astolfo keeps on talking, “Felon hound,
Thou thief and ribald, what will thou not dare?”
King Charlemagne for anger glared and frowned,
And said, “Astolfo, by Our Lord I swear,
More court’ously thou shalt make thine appeal,
Or thou’lt have time enough to cool thy heels.”

29
Astolfo of his words takes no account.
So wroth was he, I doubt he even heard.
Like one who’s truly wronged, his anger mounts,
He speaks more villany with ev’ry word.
Behold Anselmo, the malicious count,
By his ill chance, towards King Charles spurred.
Astolfo saw this, and could not restrain him
From rushing forward with his sword to brain him.

30
And certainly he would have struck him dead,
If he had not been stopped by Charlemagne.
The men heap blame on Don Astolfo’s head,
And Charles bids them tie him up amain.
Now quickly to the palace was he led,
And in the dungeon given ball and chain,
Where of his folly he received the flower,
And languished there for many a weary hour.

31
But he is happier in his new abode
Than are those other three enamored knights
Whom love for fair Angelica so goads
They have no respite, nor by day nor night.
Each of the three, along a diff’rent road
To Arden Forest has pursued her flight.
Rinaldo reached it first, thanks to the speed
Incredible of Baiard his good steed.

32
Once in the woods, the lover looks around,
Searching and wondering which way to go.
A shady grove of little trees he found,
‘Round which a clear and sparkling streamlet flowed.
Thinking the lady might perhaps be bound
For such a joyous shelter, in he rode.
Therein he saw a pleasant fountain stand,
Which never had been built by human hands.

33
The fountain that was to his eyes displayed
Was wrought of alabaster pure and white.
With gold so richly was the stone inlaid,
It bathed the trees and flowers in gentle light.
Merlin it was who had the fountain made,
So Don Tristano, that redoubted knight,
Should drink its water and the Queen forsake,
Ere they should die for one another’s sake.

34
But poor Tristano, by his sad mischance,
Ne’er came upon that fountain fresh and clear.
Though oftentimes he sojourned in fair France
And through the forest hunted boar and deer.
But still the fountain has such strange puissance,
That whatsoever loving cavalier
Drinks of its waters, all his love abates,
And her he once adored now wholly hates.

35
The sun was high up and the day was hot.
Much heat and thirst Rinaldo had endured,
Before he stumbled on that pleasant spot
And by the smoothly running waters lured,
Off of his noble steed Baiard he got.
Of thirst and love alike he’s promptly cured,
For as the waters he imbibed, no part
Was left unchanged of his enamored heart.

36
Alongside those is vanished all his will
In quest of such a silly thing to fare.
No longer does his inmost being thrill
Rememb’ring her he thought beyond compare.
Such is the power of that wondrous rill,
Not only was his heart of love swept bare,
But changed completely, so that he abhorred
The sweet Angelica he once adored.

37
Out of the forest with contented mind,
Returns that warrior without a fear.
And on his way, a little stream he finds
Of living water, crystalline and clear.
Nature had decked its banks with ev’ry kind
Of flower which in springtime sweet appears.
And to give shade, she’d placed beside the stream
A beech, an olive, and an evergreen.

38
This was the Stream of Love, which was not wrought
By wise old Merlin, or by magic art,
But of its nature made the soul distraught,
And filled with frenzy and with love the heart.
Many a knight in error had been caught
By drinking of its water, but no part
Rinaldo had therein, for he had erst,
In drinking at the fountain, quenched his thirst.

39
When the proud knight came to that pleasant burn
He thought for rest it seemed a goodly place.
He loosed the bridle of Baiard, and turned
Him loose within the field, his fill to graze.
He laid him down to rest, all unconcerned,
Beside the river banks, beneath the shade.
The baron slumbered and was unaware
When somebody perceived him lying there.

40
Angelica, once she had turned and fled
From that great fight wherein those two knights vied,
Came to the river, and by thirst was led
To drink. She walks now by her palfrey’s side.
Now will she fell as she has ne’er felt yet,
For Love desired to rebuke her pride.
She saw Rinald among the flowers sleeping;
At once her heart for fear and joy was leaping.

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Notes

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