Book I, Canto IV, Part 3

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

Rinald left his battalion in the hands
Of King Ivone and of good Alard,
Then climbed a height, and all the battle scanned.
And saw that giant strike our men so hard,
And how he was so terrible and grand.
There was no time to waste. He sent a guard
To bid Alardo come without delay,
Then spurred Baiard and rode into the fray.

The giant’s armor was nor chain nor plate
But dragon-hide, so that he was not hurt
Though Don Rinaldo struck a blow so great
His giraffe and he were tumbling in the dirt.
He spurs Baiard into the tumult straight,
And with Fusberta doth his strength exert.
The Christian troops upon their foemen fall,
The Saracens have no relief at all.

Across the plain they scatter in despair,
And leave their tattered banner where it lies.
Perhaps two hundred thousand flee from there.
Now see the terrible Alfrera rise,
Who’s still so dreadful he’s beyond compare,
But when he sees how his battalion flies,
He follows them, but I do not know why;
Perhaps to rally them, perhaps to fly.

Meanwhile Rinaldo on the rear-guard smote.
To right and left he slashes with his brand.
He cuts off arms and slices open throats;
Heads, still in helmets, on the greensward land.
Just like a panicked, fleeing flock of goats
They seem now, flying from Rinaldo’s hand.
Still greater deeds he’ll have to do anon,
For King Faraldo and his troops come on.

Of all Arabia this king has holder,
And seemed unrivalled for his great puissance,
But on that day his strength had no beholders,
Because Rinaldo promptly drave his lance
In through his ribs and out between his shoulders,
Then spurred Baiard without a backwards glance
Among the Arabs, and in their despite
He cut and hacked them down to left and right.

Rinaldo had beside him many knights
And warriors, whose courage matched his own.
Guizard and Ricciardet on left and right,
Alardo, Angiolier, and King Ivon.
Now Serpentino’s soldiers join the fight.
The cavaliers’ prowess and valor shone.
But of them all, Rinaldo was the flower.
No one could stand against his mighty power.

Every soldier of Arabia flees,
Upon their camels and their dromedaries.
Rinaldo chases them more than a league.
Now comes Framarte, Persia’s king, who carries
His golden banner, waving in the breeze.
The Lord of Montalban sees him, nor tarries
To lay his lance in rest and to attack;
He drove it seven feet beyond his back.

The might king upon the plain falls dead,
His troops’ advance into retreat is changed.
Gallant Rinaldo followed where they fled,
And with Fusberta struck down all in range.
Behold advancing Orion the dread.
You never saw a man as wild or strange,
As was this coal-black giant Orion.
He wore no mail; his skin was hard as bone.

The mighty giant, God confound him, ran
Into the fight. His weapon was a tree.
He split and scattered all the Christian band,
No shields avail against this enemy.
Rinaldo, seeing things get out of hand,
And fearful lest his men should turn and flee,
Sounds the retreat, and leads away his troop,
So he can start to rally and regroup.

But while the lords to hasty counsel draw,
And draw their men up and reform the ranks,
They scarce laid lance in rest before the saw
Alfrera come once more upon the Franks,
With troops so many they were filled with awe.
Behold arriving on their other flank
The great Balorza; with so great a host
That each brigade could seven thousand boast.

So great a cry went up from this vast horde,
It shook the earth, the heavens, and the sea.
Ivon and Serpentin and every lord
Said that they ought to call for their relief.
Rinaldo said: “I am not in accord.
You, if you wish, may call for aid or flee,
And I alone (this is no idle boast)
Will rout and overthrow th’entire host.”

And with these words, the knight his parley ceases.
He grinds his teeth and rides into the fight.
Shortly, the hero’s lance is split in pieces.
He draws Fusberta and shows so much might
He clearly needs no help. His wrath increases,
And in his arrogance he cries on height,
“Flee, vile rabble, here no longer dwell,
Or I today will send you all to Hell!”

Marsilio from the mountain saw the crew
Uncountable of enemies arrive.
He sent a messenger to Ferragu
To bid him join the fight and fiercely strive.
Rinald by now was lost to his friends’ view,
Among his foemen whom he rent and rived,
Covered with heathen blood from head to toe.
None ever met so terrible a foe.

And now the battle grows intenser still.
Don Ferraguto is beyond compare
The best of Pagans, fighting him, fared ill.
Morgant and Matalista gamely fare,
And Isolier, all strong and highly skilled.
The Amirant and Argalif are there,
To succor Don Alardo and Serpentino,
Ivon and Ricciardet and Angelino.

The King Balorza, of the dusky face,
Tucks Ricciardetto underneath his arm,
And keeps on fighting, nor doth slack his pace
Nor do his blows deal any bit less harm.
The knights attempt to rescue him apace,
But the fierce giant is no whit alarmed.
Alard, Ivon, and Angelin move in
At once against him, but he simply grins.

The terrible Alfrera has uplifted
Don Isolier off of his steed in spite.
To him has Ferragu’s attention shifted;
He won’t give up his friend without a fight.
Although it’s true the Spaniard’s horse is gifted,
He cannot hope to match Alfrera’s flight,
For his giraffe, that creature most bizarre,
Outpaces any horse alive by far.

No man is grabbed by cruel Orion,
Who slays a multitude with his great tree.
The blood he’s covered with is not his own.
Lances and swords can never make him flee,
Because his skin is harder far than bone.
Now let us turn back to Rinald the free,
Whose showed clearly that he was upset
To see Balorza carry Ricciardet.

If soon Rinaldo doesn’t bring relief,
Then nevermore will he display his strength.
He nearly dies from agony and grief,
He and his brother by such love are linked.
In his great wrath the hero grinds his teeth,
And rolls his eyes up, and is on the brink
Of madness, but I have to leave him here,
For of another thing you ought to hear.

I told you how in Barcelona town
Grandonio stayed, and stoutly had defied
The Indians, and he who wore their crown,
Who pressed the city upon ev’ry side.
Turpin within his hist’ry wrote this down,
Because no war was e’er so fiercely plied.
The city is well seated for defense.
Now could you see the mighty siege commence.

At midday, where the waters lap the sand,
Rested an army of infinite power.
The elephants were lined up on the land,
And each of them bore on its back a tower.
The black-skinned archers’ volley was so grand
That ev’ry Spaniard on his belly cowered.
They rise, and flee for terror one and all.
Grandonio stands alone upon the wall.

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