The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 7: Ballads Based on the Italian Epics 2

Spain is home to a large number of beautiful ballads, called romances. Some of these ballads are about lovers. Many are about the Moors who ruled Spain for so many long centuries. There are a large number about the famous Cid who fought the Moors. There is also a large cycle about the Paladins of France, and about Bernardo del Carpio, who, the Spaniards say, killed the mighty Roland in the battle of Roncesvalles. While there are several collections of English translations of the Spanish ballads, scholars and translators tend to focus on the Moorish and love ballads. It is difficult to find any complete account of this branch of the Carolingian legend, which is why I decided to write a summary of every Spanish ballad related to Charlemagne. I quickly discovered that this is an impossible task. The folk tradition is still alive and well, not only in Iberia, but in every land to which the Spanish Jews moved after being exiled by Ferdinand and Isabella. New variants are constantly being recorded, and no Professor Child has yet arisen to make a complete collection of the folksongs and to standardize the titles by which they are known.
The closest thing to a definitive collection of Spanish ballads that currently exists is the Romancero General of Agustin Duran, published in 1877, which includes every ballad printed prior to the 1800’s. This means it does not include any folksongs from the Spain of his day, or, naturally, from later. These folksongs sometimes contain very interesting variants from the printed texts. Many of these later folksongs can be found at the Pan-Hispanic Ballad Project and Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, two confusingly arranged messes of websites which I leave it to you to sift through if my dozen posts on Duran’s ballads leave you wanting more.
Duran’s magnum opus is in two volumes, which are volumes 10 and 14 of the Biblioteca des Autores Españoles. The numbers of the ballads below are those of this collection, as are the divisions into classes, based on antiquity.
Class I ballads are pure folksongs.
Class III are productions of uneducated or scarcely educated minstrels.
Class V are early literary ballads, attempts to imitate the oral tradition.
Class VIII are Renaissance or Siglo d’Oro literary ballads, which do not attempt to imitate the oral tradition.

Also note that most of the titles were supplied by Duran. Spanish ballads are usually identified by their first lines.

The principal English translations of Spanish ballads are:
Thomas Rodd, Most Celebrated Ancient Spanish Ballads relating to the Twelve Peers of France mentioned in Don Quixote. 1812.
John Gibson Lockhart, Ancient Spanish Ballads. 1823.
John Bowring, Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain. 1824.
James Young Gibson, The Cid Ballads and other Poems and Translation from Spanish and German. 1887.
Roger Wright, Spanish Ballads, 1987.

BALLADS FROM THE ITALIAN EPICS

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THE ORLANDO INNAMORATO AND THE ORLANDO FURIOSO. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

All these ballads, naturally, are class VIII. There are no translations unless noted.

420, DORALICE LAMENTS THE DEATH OF MANDRICARDO. By Lucas Rodriguez. “Llanto hacia Doralice”
Exactly what it says on the tin.

421, THE DEATH OF AGRICAN. “Roja de sangre la espuela”
Agricane lies dying, and is, at his request, baptized.

422, BRADAMANTE SLAYS THE MOOR URGEL. By Lucas Rodriguez. “Ya se parte el moro Urgel.”
Urgel the Moor leaves Granada and comes to Montalbano to challenge Bradamante. He pretends to be a Christian knight looking for a friendly joust. Ricardeto and Alardo insist on fighting first, and are overthrown and made captives. The Moor is about to leave with them, when Bradamante comes out, challenges him, and splits his head open.
I don’t know whence Rodriguez had this story, but it was not from Ariosto or Boiardo.

423, THE JEALOUSY OF BRADAMANTE. “Suelta las riendas al llanto.”
Bradamante is jealous of Rugero’s absence, and laments.

424, THE CONVERSION OF RUGERO. “En un caballo ruano”
Not a ballad, but a lyric. Rugero arrives in Paris to be baptized by Charlemagne.

425, RUGERO DEFEATS AND BAPTIZES SACRIPANTE. By Lucas Rodriguez. “De los muros de Paris”
Rugero meets Sacripante in the woods near Paris for a duel, and wins. As he lays dying, Sacripante asks for baptism, and for Rugero to tell Angelica he loves her.
Once again, not from Ariosto. Probably from one of the innumerable sequels, but I don’t know which, if any.

426, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – I. By Pedro de Padilla. “A Grecia parte Rugero”
Rugero leaves for Greece, seeking to challenge Leon Augusto to a duel, since that prince has been betrothed to his beloved Bradamante. He comes to Belgrade, where the Emperor of Greece, Leon’s father, is besieging the Bulgarians. Rugero succors the Bulgarians
From the end of the Furioso.

427, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – II. By Pedro de Padilla. “Cuando con mayor sosiego”
Rugero, sleeping after the battle, is seized by the Greeks and made prisoner. He laments.
From the end of the Furioso.

428, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – III. By Pedro de Padilla. “De sospechas ofendida”
Bradamante laments. Meanwhile, Leon frees Rugero from prison, out of admiration for his valor. Bradamante has announced that she will marry no one who cannot unhorse her in a joust. Leon, not knowing Rugero’s love for her, asks him to help him win her. Rugero, obliged to him, agrees, and they go to Paris.
From the end of the Furioso.

429, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – IV. By Lucas Rodriguez. “La hermosa Bradamante”
Bradamante obtains from Charles the right to marry no one who cannot overcome her in a duel, much to her parents’ annoyance. Leon asks Rugero to joust for him. Rugero, owing his freedom to Leon, agrees. The fight is intense.
From the end of the Furioso.

430, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – V. By Pedro de Padilla. “Al tiempo que el sol salia”
Rugero defeats Bradamante in a difficult battle.
From the end of the Furioso.

431, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – VI. By Pedro de Padilla. “Si Rugero se congoja”
Bradamante is in despair.
From the end of the Furioso.

432, RUGERO AND LEON AUGUSTO – VII. By Pedro de Padilla. “Estaba la triste dama”
Marfisa angrily advocates her brother’s claim to Bradamante’s hand. The fairy Melisa arrives and resolves everything.
From the end of the Furioso.

433, RUGERO AND RODAMONTE – I. “Rotas las sangrientas armas”
Rodamonte dies, in a duel with Rugero, fought because he arrived in the hall of Charlemagne and defied him.
Unusual for telling its story backwards. Rodamonte’s defiance is in ottova rima.

434, RUGERO AND RODAMONTE – II. “Rendidas armas y vida”
Everyone rejoices at Rugero’s victory.
Not in Ariosto, but easy to imagine. Probably not from any sequel.

435, FLOR DE LIS LAMENTS THE DEATH OF BRANDIMARTE. By Lucas Rodriguez. “No se atreve el duque Astolfo”
Astolfo and Sansoneto cannot comfort Flor de Lis [Fiordilisa], who laments. Roldan, coming to visit Brandimarte’s tomb, finds her still there, weeping.

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