Book I, Canto III, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto III, Stanzas 61-81

61
But like a man whose limbs are strong and stout,
He grabs Don Ferragu, and soon above
His foes he finds himself, and starts to clout
Him on the face and head with iron gloves,
But Ferraguto pulls his dagger out,
And where his armor guards him not, he shoves
It through the chink as far as it will go.
Ah, God of Heaven, what a dreadful blow!

62
While that this youth was in this world alive,
There was no knight so courteous and free,
Nor any who so ardently would strive.
He lacked for nought but Christianity.
Now he, perceiving that his death arrives,
With anguished effort, speaks up quietly
As towards Ferragu he turns his head,
“I beg a gift of thee, since I am dead.

63
“I beg of thee, as th’art a worthy knight,
And baron courteous, do not say nay!
But take and throw me and my armor bright,
Into the river, ere thou wend thy way,
Lest someone, ignorant about our fight,
Should find me, put my armor on, and say
“A vile knight this must have been who bore
Such arms as these, and still was slain in war.”

64
Don Ferraguto’s face is wet with tears,
Just as a block of ice beneath the sun.
He says to Argalía, “Worthy peer,
God knows how much I grieve thy course is run.
What happed between us was misfortune drear,
But what Fate wills to happen must be done.
For glory only did I hunt thee down,
And sought not for thy death, but my renown.

65/66
“But I must wander among Christian men.
I beg thee, lest I should be recognized,
For but four days to me thine helmet lend,
Then shall I throw it where thy body lies.”
Don Argalía softly gives assent,
Then lays his head back on the ground and dies.
When Ferraguto saw his life was fled,
He knelt beside him; bitter tears he shed.

67
He takes the helmet off his vanquished foe,
And as he did, into fresh weeping burst,
Then laced it onto his own head, although
He cut the crest off of its summit first.
Then mounts he, with the corpse before him. Slow
He lets his charger pace, led by its thirst.
It took him shortly to a stream, into
Whose waters Argalía’s corpse he threw.

68
A little while stood he silent there,
Then rode beside the river, plunged in thought
I want to tell you how Orlando fares.
He’s searched through all the wilderness, but caught
No glimpses of Angelica the fair.
Beyond all measure wrathful and distraught,
He blasphemes Fortune as unkind and fell,
When suddenly he sees the damosel.

69
Sleeping, she seemed so lovely that no power
You have to picture her, nor I to write.
She seemed to have been brought forth from the flowers,
As if the stream were made for her delight.
Whoever now is lovely, at the hour
When she looked fairest, at her beauty’s height,
Recked ‘gainst Angelica, would be outdone
As stars by Dian, or she by the sun.

70
The count stands silently, as he beholds
Her beauty, like a man whose spirit flies.
To wake her from her sleep he is not bold,
But simply gazes on her where she lies
And with himself soft conversation holds,
“Am I on Earth, or else in Paradise?
I see her there, but it is only seeming,
For I am fast asleep and only dreaming.”

71
Gazing this way upon the girl delights
The worthy baron, lost in daydreams vain.
Ah! How much better can he win a fight,
Then can he win the favors of a dame!
For opportunity will soon take flight,
And void and empty will his hand remain.
For at this very moment, someone nears
Who shall with bitterness his pleasure pierce.

72
Because Don Ferraguto hither rides,
Glad that the forest to a clearing yields.
And when the Count Orlando he espied,
Because he did not recognize his shield,
He wondered who he was, but then descried
The damsel sleeping in the open field:
Her he has recognized without a falter.
His face and feelings in an instant alter.

73
He has no doubts, but is completely sure
This knight is standing there to be her guard.
He runs to him, commences to adjure
The cavalier with haughty words and hard.
“I loved the lady long ere thou ever knew her,
And it is time for thou and she to part.
Give up the lady, or give up thy life,
Or try to take mine own from me in strife.”

74
The Cont Orlando, sorely grieved at heart
To see his fortune slipping from his hands,
Responds, “O cavalier, thoud’st best depart,
And not make such impertinent demands.
Though, on my faith, I do not wish to start
A fight with thee, or any other man,
Thy presence here is an offense so great,
Thy death alone will serve to expiate.”

75
“From what thou sayest, it is plain to see
That either thou or I must quit this place.
But I assure thee that I shall not flee,
Nor shalt thou stand for long before my face,
For I shall make thee so afraid of me,
That if before thee was a furnace’ blaze,
Thou’lt rush into it, if I thee pursue.”
Such ardent words as spoke by Ferragu.

76
Wroth beyond measure is the Count to hear
These words. His cheeks a crimson hue displayed.
“I am Orlando, and if ‘gainst me here
Were all the world, I wouldn’t be dismayed.
And such a one as thou I no more fear
Than I would fear a squalling new-born babe,
Thou vile ribald, thou son of a whore!”
And with these words, he pulls out his good sword.

77
Now could you see begin the greatest brawl
That ever was between two cavaliers.
Pieces of armor like a shower fall,
Hacked off by awful blows from men most fierce.
Each hopes his foe will quickly fade and pall,
So that he can possess the dame who cheers
His heart so much, for she may yet desert them
And vainly then in battle they’ll exert them.

78
But at that moment does their tumult wake
The lovely damsel whom they wish to gain.
Fear and terror make her sorely quake,
To see the armor scattered on the plain,
And the ferocious battle that they make.
She mounts her palfrey, and lets fall the rein,
And swiftly off into the woods she goes,
At which the Count Orlando halts his blows,

79
And says, “Sir Cavalier, grant in the name
Of chivalry, that we postpone this strife
And let me follow after my sweet dame,
And I shall reckon thou hast saved my life.
Besides, to fight without a prize to claim,
Or any quarrel, is with folly rife.
The girl is fled, for whom we came to blows.
For God’s sake, let me follow where she goes!”

80
“No, no, put such a thought out of thy mind,”
Says Ferraguto, and his head he shook,
“If towards fighting thou art disinclined,
Thy lady rightly such a man forsook.
I swear that only one of us shall wind
Throughout this forest for the dame to look.
If I thee slay, I shall resume my quest.
If thou slay me, do as it likes thee best.”

81
“Thou shalt gain no advantage from this tussle,”
Responds Orlando, “By Our Blessed Lord!”
Now they begin the fight with wit and muscle,
As in another canto I’ll record.
You’ll see there Count Orlando fight and hustle
More stoutly than he ever has with sword.
Of Ferraguto I shall say no more,
But he was angrier than e’er before.

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Book I, Canto III, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto III, Stanzas 41-60

41
She tied her palfrey to the pine right soon,
And softly closer to Rinald she goes.
Watching the cavalier, she nearly swooned.
How she could stand to leave him, nought she knows.
The meadow with sweet flowers was festooned,
The silver lily and the gentle rose.
She plucks an armful of them in that place,
And lays them gently on Rinaldo’s face.

42
At this, Rinaldo wakens from his sleep,
And sees above him the resplendent maid
Who hails him joyfully, with greeting sweet.
His face shows clearly that he is dismayed,
And instantly upon his horse he leaps,
And to her pleasant words no heed he paid.
Back to the greenwood he pursues his flight.
She mounts her palfrey and pursues the knight.

43
As she speeds on, she cries in woeful tone,
Oh, worthy cavalier, why dost thou flee?
Thy life is dearer to me than mine own,
And thou repayest it by slaying me.
Dost thou think I’m Ginamo of Bayonne,
Seeking thee here and full of treachery?
I’m not Macario, I’m not Gan the snake.
I hate them one and all for thy love’s sake.

44
Why dost thou flee from me in such disdain?
More than my very self I love thee, dear,
Only turn round, and look upon the pain
Thou causest me. Dost thou have so much fear
Of my sweet face, thou ridest without rein
Into this forest, desolate and drear?
Oh, wilt thou only spur thy steed less hard,
I’d be content to follow from afar.

45
For if, in galloping, thou chance to fall,
‘Twould be my fault, for thou art fleeing me.
My life would be as bitter as is gall –
If I could live through so much misery!
Look back a bit; see who I am who call,
Art thou not shamed from a mere maid to flee?
My face is not one thou shouldst flee in fright,
But one thou shouldst run after with delight.”

46
The girl says this, and many sweet words more,
As she rides on, but says them all in vain.
Baiardo from the forest issued forth,
And vanished from her sight across the plain.
The damsel beats her breast and sighs full sore.
There are no words that could describe her pain.
Broken-hearted she proclaims the stars,
The sun, and Heaven are most cruel and hard.

47
But calls Rinaldo cruel beyond compare,
In soft lamentings, full of tenderness.
“Who would have ever thought a face so fair –
She says – could hide a heart so merciless?
Love rules my heart, yet leaves me well aware
That no such passion flares within the breast
Of my belov’d Rinaldo for my charms.
But, still, he shoudn’t flee so from my arms.

48
I should not feel that I was lacking aught,
If but in sight of him once more I came.
If but to gaze upon him I were brought,
‘Twould cool a little my sore passion’s flames.
To flee from Love, my Reason says I ought,
But where Love is, unheard are Reason’s claims.
I call him traitor, villain, false, and fell
But while I call him thus, I love him well.”

49
Lamenting thus, the girl forsakes her quest,
And makes her weary way back to the pine.
“O blessed flowers – says she – grass most blest,
Who touched his gracious cheek, in you I find
A rival, and I envy how you pressed.
Your lot is far more fortunate than mine.
If I should lay by him, I know that I
O’erwhelmed by happiness, would surely die.”

50
With such laments, she tugs her palfrey’s rein,
And lights upon the plain, that wretched lass,
And kneeling where Rinaldo erst had lain,
Waters with tears and kisses much the grass.
Thinking this way to cool her burning flames,
But quite the contrary she brings to pass.
Worn out by sorrow, she does naught but weep,
And lies there till she cries herself to sleep.

51
My lords, I know that you are wondering
Why of Gradasso I’ve made no report
In all this time. I’ll tell you that the king
Is still a ways away from Charles’ court.
Across Iberia his host he brings,
But I don’t wish to tell you anymore,
Until th’adventures I have told to you
Of our knights errant; firstly, Ferragu.

52
The lover through the woods pursues his quest,
Brooding and cursing, beyond measure wroth.
His love and ire so inflame his breast,
His life he reckons hardly worth a straw
Unless that lovely lady he possessed,
Or met her brother, ‘gainst him for to draw
His sword, for he wished to avenge him quick
Upon the knight who’d played him such a trick.

53
With such intent, upon his way he sweeps.
Looking on ev’ry side, he chanced to see a
Cavalier beneath a tree asleep
And recognized that it was Argalía.
His charger had been tied beneath a beech.
He cut the rope, and then cuts from the tree a
Switch, and beats the horse until it flees
And vanished from sight among the trees.

54
His own horse he dismounts, and to a branch
He ties him. Then beneath a verdant laurel
He seats himself, and then waits for the man
To waken so they can resume their quarrel.
Although the sight of him his fury fans
And for revenge he longs, it were immoral
And most unchivalrous to kill a knight
Asleep, or with a weary one to fight.

55
But in a little while the knight awoke,
And realised his goodly steed had fled,
At which discovery he was provoked,
To think that he would have to walk in steade.
But Ferragu arose and to him spoke.
“Be not disturbed by this, O knight,” he said,
“For thou or I will meet with death today,
And he who lives may ride my horse away.

56
“I chased thine own away for fear lest thou
Shouldst once again attempt to turn and flee.
Thou’lt have to keep thy chest towards me now,
And ne’er again I hope thy back to see.
Thou didst deceive me last time, but I vow
I shall make thee regret thy villainy.
If thou canst not defend thyself in strife
With honor, thou deservest not thy life.

57
Don Argalía says without alarm,
“Of what thou chargest me, I stand confessed.
But by my hand I swear, and my right arm,
And by the heart that beats within my breast,
I fled not from our fight for fear of harm,
Or weakness, or because I needed rest,
But solely to oblige my sister, who
Desired of me that this deed I’d do.

58
If thy desire still rages uncontrolled,
Then thou hast need of me to be afraid.
The choice ‘twixt peace and battle thou dost hold.
But recollect thou’st seen my strength displayed!”
With such words speaks the baron young and bold,
But Ferraguto is no whit dismayed.
His face contorts, and with an angry shout,
He cries “Engarde!” and pulls his broadsword out.

59
Against each other run these valiant knights,
With blows and batterings full stout and good.
So lustily with sword and shield they smite,
That for a mile it echoes through the wood.
Don Argalía leapt aloft with might,
Holding his sword as high up as he could,
To himself thinking, “With this mighty blow,
I’ll send this villain to the realms below.”

60
He deals a blow that is exceeding grim,
And had it hit the fight would have been through.
But Ferraguto rushes up to him,
And grabs him, and to wrestling fall the two.
More strong is Argalía in his limbs;
More quick and dexterous is Ferragu.
Now has one got the other on the ground –
Don Argalía underneath is found.

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