Book I, Canto III, Part 3

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.”

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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