Book I, Canto V, Part 3

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

41
Rinaldo instantly repays his foe
With a great backthrust to Gradasso’s chest.
Now this way, and now that, the battle goes,
Their ardent spirits swelling in their breasts.
Rinaldo soon decides its time to show
All of his strength. One mighty blow is best.
His shield he casts adown upon the strand,
And lifts Fusberta up with both his hands

42
With painful fury, with his mind on height,
With full abandon he swings Fusbert down.
Down on the earth he knocks the pennon white,
He drives Fusberta through the golden crown;
Nasal and visor from the helm he smites;
Straight through the shield of bone the blow resounds;
From crest to base the shield in twain was split,.
Fusbert sinks in the earth five finger’s width.

43
The demon sees his opportunity.
He turns his back on him and runs away.
Rinaldo sees him and is filled with glee,
Thinking his foe is weary of the fray.
That cunning scoundrel runs toward the sea;
Rinaldo follows swiftly as he may,
Calling, “O braggart king, oh, wait a bit,
Or on Baiardo’s back thou’lt never sit.

44
Is it a kingly deed to flee from battle?
Art thou not shamed to let me see thy back?
Come back with me to see Baiard, and that’ll
Show thee he is no worthless jade or hack.
I shoed him yesterday, and bought a saddle
And harnessings so fine they nothing lack.
Come thou, and take him; he’s fit for a lord.
Thou shalt behold him – if thou pass my sword!”

45
But that false king seems carried by the wind,
So swift he runs, but not a word lets slip.
He jumps into the water, and he swims,
Swift as a dolphin, and climbs on the ship.
Undaunted, Don Rinaldo too jumps in,
And pulls himself up with an iron grip.
When on the deck he stands, he sees his foe,
But ere he strikes him, he leaps down below.

46
Rinaldo follows, even fiercer now,
Bearing Fusberta with uplifted hand.
The demon scrambles up into the prow.
The ship is swiftly sailing from the land.
Rinaldo notes not how the ship doth plow
The waves. Naught but his fight he understands.
They had gone seven miles ere the sprite
Dissolved in smoke and disappeared from sight.

47
Rinaldo was astonished to behold
Gradasso vanishing into thin air.
He searched upon the deck; he searched the hold,
But couldn’t find his foeman anywhere.
The ropes were trim, the sails were all unrolled,
The ship moved swiftly, for the wind stood fair.
Rinaldo stood upon the deck, alone.
Oh, how that worthy baron made his moan:

48
“Ah, God of Heaven,” said he, “for what crime
Hast thou decreed that I should suffer so?
Though I confess I have sinned many a time,
This penance is too hard to undergo.
Dishonor, long as I shall live, is mine,
For in my mind I have no doubt, I know,
That if to tell this story I desire,
I’ll speak the truth, but will be thought a liar.

49
“My lord with all his army me endowered.
He left his empire within my hands.
Then I, vile, false, and fickle treacherous coward,
I fled to sea and left them on the land.
O, how the heathen troops will be empowered!
I seem to hear the tumult of that band,
I hear my bold companions rush to war,
I see Alfrera kill them by the score.

50
“Dear Ricciardet, how could I leave a lad
As young as thou amidst thy foes, alone?
And ye, my kin, Gradasso’s pris’ners sad,
Guizard, my brave Alardo, and Ivon?
Alas, the fame and honor that I had
When I first came to Spain, they all are flown.
Then was I bold and expert in the fight,
But this shame hath mine honor stolen quite.

51
“Nought will avail; how can I be excused,
When men shall call me coward to my face?
I, once a paragon, shall be accused
Of being no more a knight, but reprobate.
‘Tis by Lanfusa’s son I am abused,
By him I’ve been imprisoned in this place.
He means for me to die in torments great.
I see no way I can avert my fate.

52
What will they say of me in Charles’ court,
When what I’ve done to all of France is known?
Oh, how Mongrana’s house will grieve full sore
To know such traitors were among their own!
How they will triumph, how they’ll jest and sport,
Gano, and Pinabello, and Grifon!
Alas, I once could call them traitors base.
No more! For e’en as them am I disgraced.”

53
These words and many more the baron grand
Says as he sadly on the deck laments.
Thrice doth he take his goodly sword in hand,
Thinking of all his woes to make an end.
Thrice on the galley’s railing doth he stand;
To jump all armed and drown is his intent.
But ev’ry time his fearing for his soul
Rebukes his wrath and grants him self-control.

54
The ship so quickly through the waters raced
It had already gone three hundred miles.
No dolphin ever had so swift a pace
As this enchanted ship. After a while,
It turned towards the left and set its face
Eastward, but not to catch the west wind mild,
For magic moved it, and its speed increased
As it set off into the furthest East.

55
The ship was furnished with all things a fine
Sailing ship ought to have, except a crew.
The holds were filled with finest bread and wine,
But Don Rinaldo had no lust thereto.
He knelt adown and made the holy sign,
And as he prayed, there came into his view
A garden and a place fair to see,
Upon a tiny island in the sea.

56
But now I wish to leave him in this place,
Where such great marvels all around him pressed,
And sing of Count Orlando for a space.
As I have told you, love so filled his breast
That stoutly to the East he set his face.
Neither by night or day did he take rest,
Only to find Angelica the fair,
But he could hear no tidings anywhere.

57
The river Don he now has put behind,
And journeys on alone, this baron bold.
All day he rode, but no man did he find,
Until at eve, he met a palmer old.
His beard was gray, and sorely he repined,
Crying, “O Fortune, pitiless and cold!
Thou hast deprived me of my only joy!
I leave thee in God’s hands, my darling boy!”

58/59
“As may God help thee, pilgrim, tell to me
What is the reason thou lamentest so?”
Thus said Orlando, and then bitterly
The wretch continued to pour out his woe,
Saying, “Alas! A luckless wretch you see.
In but one day I have been brought this low!”
He stopped, o’ercome by grief. Orlando waited
To hear his story, and his breath was bated.

59/60
“At the top of this cliff there grows no grass,
Nothing but rocks, and soil red as flame.
I heard a roar from there, but I don’t know
From what infernal beast that dread noise came.
Along the base, a rapid river flows,
Spanned by a bridge as black as coal. The same
Is closed to travellers by a diamond gate,
And on a tower thereof a giant waits.

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Notes to the Fifth Canto, Part 3

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

50. Guizard. One of Rinaldo’s brothers.
Alard. Another brother.
Ivon. The brother of Rinaldo’s wife Clarice, and lord of Gascony.
51. Lanfusa. Malagise’s mother, wife of Buovo, or Bevis, of Agremont.
52. Mongrana’s house. Another name for the house of Clairmont, to which Orlando, Rinaldo, Astolfo, and Malagise belong. [their fathers, Milo, Aymon, Otto, and Buovo, are four brothers].
53. Suicide is a mortal sin, and Rinaldo will go to Hell if he commits it deliberately while of sound mind.

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On to Part 4

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 14: Broadside Ballads

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 following ballads are what are known as Broadside or Stall Ballads in English. They are not founded in folk tradition, and usually have little literary value. The ones which follow are all from the eighteenth century, written for street peddlers to sell and beggars to sing.

JUAN JOSEF LOPEZ’ CYCLE OF FIERABRAS AND RONCESVALLES

1253, HAVING CONQUERED ROME AND CARRIED OFF THE HOLY RELICS, THE ALMIRANTE BALAN INVADES FRANCE, AND HOW HIS SON THE GIANT FIERABRAS DEFIED THE TWELVE PEERS, AND FOUGHT A REMARKABLE DUEL WITH THE FAMOUS OLIVEROS.
Balan, the Almirante of Turkey, has a fifteen foot son, Fierabras of Alexandria. When said son is twenty, they sack Rome and kill the Pope. Charlemagne rides forth with his twelve Peers. They make camp, and Fierabras taunts him and challenges the Peers. Roldan won’t fight, because Charles had teased him the other day about not being as good as the older knights. Charles is about to kill him for his insubordination, but is prevented. Oliveros and his squire Guarin go to fight Fierabras. Guarin runs ahead to challenge the giant, who is amused and sends him back. Oliveros arrives, and the fight begins.

1254, THE BATTLE ‘TWIXT OLIVEROS AND FIERABRAS CONTINUES. FIERABRAS IS DEFEATED AND WOUNDED SORE, AND CARRIED TO CHARLEMAGNE’S CAMP, WHERE HE SEEKS AND OBTAINS BAPTISM. ALTHOUGH THE CHRISTIANS VANQUISH THE TURKS, OLIVEROS AND FOUR OTHER PEERS ARE CAPTURED.
The title says it all. Fierabras is baptized in Saint Peter’s, by an archbishop. Roldan and Oliveros’ father [unnamed] are his sponsors.

1255, HOW FLORIPES, BALAN’S DAUGHTER, SUCCORED AND ARMED THE CHRISTIANS AND DECLARED HER LOVE FOR GUI OF BORGOÑA, AND ALSO HOW THE ALMIRANTE SENT AMBASSADORS TO CHARLEMAGNE, FOR THE RANSOM OF FIERABRAS, AND HOW THEY MET WITH THOSE CHARLEMAGNE SENT TO THE PAGAN TO EXHORT HIM TO CONVERT AND RETURN THE RELICS. OF THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE HERALDS: HOW SEVEN CHRISTIANS VANQUISHED FOURTEEN TURKS, AND CONTINUED THEIR JOURNEY TO THE ENEMY COURT.
The title says it all. Oger is here mentioned to be one of the captives.

1256, HOW THE ALMIRANTE SIEZED THE AMBASSADORS, AND FLORIPES CLEVERLY SAVED THEM FROM IMMEDIATE DEATH; AND HOW SHE ARMED AND REUNITED THEM WITH THE OTHERS, TOOK REFUGE IN A TOWERT AND DEFENDED IT, AND WEDDED GUI OF BORGOÑA.
Roldan and Naymes are among the ambassadors. Ricarte is in the tower, though whether he was with the first or the second batch of captives is not stated.

1257, BALAN BESIEGES THE TOWER, AND IS ROUTED IN A SALLY THE KNIGHTS MAKE. HE RETIRES WITH GUI OF BORGOÑA CAPTIVE, AND ORDERS HIM HANGED IN FRONT OF THE BESIEGED, WHO RESCUE HIM. RICARTE ESCAPES THE TOWER AND TELLS CHARLEMAGNE THE PERIL OF THE BESIEGED. HE RIDES TO THEIR AID, AND CROSSED MANTRIBLE, KILLING THE GIANT WHO DEFENDS IT.
The title says it all, literally. Mantrible is a [fictional] bridge.

1258, THE BATTLE TWIXT THE TROOPS OF BALAN AND THOSE OF CHARLEMAGNE. BALAN IS BEATEN, TAKEN, AND AT LAST PUT TO DEATH BY HIS OWN SON FIERABRAS, BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO BE BAPTIZED.
To cross the bridge of Mantrible, the knights pretend to be merchants. Ricarte kills the giant who guards the near side of the bridge. Fierabras kills the one on the far side, named Anteon. Anteon’s wife, Damieta, seeks revenge, and Fierabras kills her, too. Her two sons, four months old but twelve and a half palms tall, are baptized by Charlemagne and called Roldan and Oliveros, but they die after being christened. Roldan’s father is unhorsed in the great battle, but it is unclear if he survives or not.

1259, HAVING CONQUERED THE KINGDOM OF BALAN, CHARLEMAGNE RETURNS TO FRANCE, WHERE, LIVING PEACEFULLY, HE SEES IN THE SKY A ROAD OF STARS WHICH LEADS FROM ITALY TO GALICIA. BY A REVELATION FROM SAINT JAMES, HE DEPARTS TO CONQUER THIS PLACE, AND TO FIND AND HONOR THE BODY OF THE APOSTLE. A BATTLE IN WHICH FERRAGUZ IS DEFEATED AND KILLED BY ROLDAN.
Balan’s kingdom is Aguas-Muertas. Charles adorns Saint James’ body with a very rich tomb, but the Almirante of Babilon [probably Cairo], brooding on the death of Aigolante when he hears of Charles’ pilgrimage, sends Ferraguz, who is seventeen and a half palms tall, with thirty thousand men. Ferraguz overthrows Oger, Reinaldos, Constantino of Rome, and others. Eventually Charles sends two paladins at once, but they still lose. Finally, Roldan comes. They fight, and discuss theology. Ferraguz declares that the winner of the fight must be on God’s side. Roldan agrees, and wounds him so badly that his shouts rouse all the camp, and the battle becomes general. All the Moors are killed, and the Christians return to France.

1260, THE BATTLE OF RONCESVALLES. THE DEATH OF ROLDAN. CHARLEMAGNE COMES TO HIS MEN AND AVENGES THEM, DEFEATING THE MOORS. THE PUNISHMENT OF THE TRAITOR GALALON.
The Almirante of Babylon [Cairo], after Ferraguz dies, summons Marsilius and his brother Belengandus, with a hundred and fifty thousand knights, to war against Charlemagne. Galalon, Charles’ ambassador, arranges the treason. He tells Charlemagne that Marsilius and Belengandus have agreed to covnert. In the field of Roncesvalles, the Christians are caught unaware. After a great battle, all are killed. Roldan, sorely wounded, grabs a Turk and asks to be led to Marsilius. The Turk points him out, and tells how he gave great gifts to “your ambassador”. Roldan slaughters Marsilius and his guard, and retreats up the mountain, where he begs mercy from God, bids farewell to his sword [unnamed], and tries to break it, but only succeeds in breaking the rock. He sounds his horn, and Charlemagne comes. Tierri and Valdovinos [Baldwin, Roldan’s half-brother] find Roldan first. He begs Valdovinos for water, who leaves, but can’t find any. As he searches, he finds Charlemagne and tells him all. Meanwhile, Roldan has confessed his sins to Tierri and died. Charles laments, orders Roldan embalmed, and finds Oliveros, with two great gashes and twelve spears sticking out of his body. He is embalmed and laid by Roldan. Charlemagne pursues the Moors, and kills six thousand. Many more drown in the Ebro, trying to flee his wrath. Galalon is torn by four horses. Juan Josef Lopez wrote this; pray for him.

VALENTINE AND ORSON

1281, DON CLAUDIO Y DOÑA MARGARITA – I. Anonymous. “Hoy, señores, hoy se alienta”
Harken to the sufferings of a highborn lady. In France their lived a knight named Don Claudio. He loves this lady, and meets her in a garden. He confesses his love, and she grants hers. They are wed. They hire as their steward Don Alberto, who falls in love with the lady. When Don Claudio goes to war, Don Alberto begins his suit. She rejects him with insults, and he swears vengeance. When Claudio comes home, Alberto murders her page, and pretends it was because he found the lad in bed with the lady. The lady faints at this false accusation, which Claudio takes as proof of her guilt. He laments his Margarita’s infidelity, but orders his men to take her to the woods and cut her heart out and her finger off, and bring them back. His two servants lead her out, but spare her life, instead bringing back the heart and finger of a recently deceased woman at a hospital. As Margarita wanders in the wild, she gives birth to two sons, one of whom is carried off by a bear. She saves the other, and goes looking for water to baptize him. She meets a shepherd, who takes her in and baptizes her son Valentin.

1282, DON CLAUDIO Y DOÑA MARGARITA – II. “Ya dijo el primer romance”
Lady Margarita and Valentin live with the shepherds. Meanwhile, her other son is raised by a bear in a cave. He grows up to be a wild man, and so terrorizes the local shepherds that they send to Paris for help. Don Claudio, with Don Alberto, goes to hunt this monster. He lodges for the night with the same shepherds who took in Margarita. He notices how much she resembles his wife, and sighs. She recognizes him, and tries not to be recognized. In the morning, the knights ride to the hunt. Margarita finds a place where she can lament alone, but is found by Valentin, and is obliged to explain everything. Valentin catches up with the hunt, stabs Alberto, and demands that he confess his treason. He confesses, and dies. Don Claudio is reunited with his wife and one son thus, and when they find the other boy, he recognizes his father by natural instinct. He follows him home to Margarita and Valentin, and recognizes them too. They all ride back to Paris, with the bear following behind. The wild youth is baptized Orson, and Don Claudio gives many gifts to Our Lady.

Notes to the Fifth Canto, Parts 1 and 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation. Book I, Canto V, Stanzas 1-40 Notes

31. Malagise has run the risk of damnation by his practice of magic. Practitioners of magic such as Cornelius Agrippa insisted that there was no sin in summoning demons so long as the wizard refused to serve or worship them, and used their powers to good ends. The Church considered this mere sophistry, and condemned outright all invocations to or of demons.
35. Almanzor. Almanzor was a vizier of Moorish Spain in the late 900’s. How his name became corrupted into a title, I do not know.
Sword of wood. Carried by heralds, as a sign of their office.

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Back to Part 2

On to Part 3

Book I, Canto V, Part 2

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

21
“And if to do a favor thou art fain
To me, who brought thee out of that dark cave,
Thou canst bring me from death to life again
If thou wilt send to me thy cousin brave,
Rinaldo, he who causes me such pain.
To hide me woes from thee I do not crave.
Love hath lit in my heart so great a fire,
That night and day nought else do I desire.

22
If thou wilt swear upon thy sacrament,
To make Rinaldo come before me here,
A fight I’ll give which shall thee well content,
For nothing else, I think, thou hold’st so dear:
Thy book I’ll give thee, which from thee I rent.
But if thou thinkest to prove insincere,
I warn thee that a magic ring I bear.
No spells can touch me while this ring I wear.”

23
Don Malagise makes no long reply,
But swears exactly as the dame directs.
He knows not how Rinaldo’s feelings lie,
And thinks his oath will easily be kept.
The sun was sinking in the western sky,
But, as the darkling night upon earth crept,
Don Malagise calls a fiend to bear
Him swiftly onward through the dusky air.

24
The demon keeps the wizard entertained
As they fly onward through the gloomy night
By telling him about the war in Spain,
And how Don Ricciardet fared in the fight,
And how the single combat was ordained.
In fact, whatever had occurred, the sprite
Told Malagise, and some things beside;
His conscience smote him if he hadn’t lied.

25
Soon were they come to Barcelona town,
About an hour ere the break of day.
The demon gently set the wizard down,
Who through the tents begins to make his way,
Seeking where Don Rinaldo might be found.
At last he found the hero where he lay
Upon his cot, enwrapped in slumber deep.
The wizard enters, and disturbs his sleep.

26
When Don Rinaldo sees his cousin’s face,
He’s gladder than he’s ever been before.
He leaps up, grabs him in a glad embrace,
And showers him with kisses by the score.
Don Malagise tells him, “Now make haste,
For I am here because an oath I swore.
If thou art willing, thou canst set me free.
If not, a prisoner again I’ll be.

27
But put thy mind at ease and have no dread,
That I shall lead thee into perils rare.
I’ll only lead thee to a damsel’s bed,
Who’s bright like amber and like lilies fair.
I from despair, and thou to joy art led.
This rosy-visaged girl beyond compare
Is one thou’st never thought of, I dare say:
Angelica, the princess of Cathay.

28
When Don Rinaldo hears ‘twill be his quest
To seek out her whom he despiseth so,
What mighty sorrow wells up in his breast!
And how the color from his visage goes!
Now one response, and now another pressed
Against his lips, and nowise did he know
What he should do, or what he ought to say;
He leans now one, and now the other way.

29
At last, he, like a man of valor true,
In whom lies and deceptions have no place,
Says, “Hear me, Malagise. I will do
Anything else. I’ll undergo disgrace,
Run any risk, no peril I’ll eschew,
My life I’ll hazard, any for I’ll face,
To set thee free I’ll suffer any woe,
But to Angelica I will not go.”

30
When Malagise this response hath heard,
Which he was not expecting him to make,
He begs Rinaldo to take back his words,
Not for his merit, but for mercy’s sake,
And not to leave him in his jail interred.
Now he appeals to him for kinship’s sake,
And now he swears that he will well repay him,
But all in vain. His words can nowise sway him.

31
A little longer, still in vain, he pleads.
Then says, “Look here, Rinaldo, it is said
Ungrateful men won’t recognize good deeds
Even if one should knock them on the head.
I’ve nearly damned myself to Hell for thee,
And thou wilt leave me prisoned till I’m dead.
From this time forth, thou art my enemy.
I shall bring thee to shame or injury.”

32
And with these words, no leave the wizard took,
But stormed off, angrier than I could tell
And for a dark and secret place he looks
(From prying eyes of sentries hidden well)
And there he searches throuhg his magic book,
And then the wizard calls up fiends from Hell
Names Draginazo and Falserta, and
Binds them to do whatever he commands.

33
Falserta of a herald takes the form,
Who served within the household of Marsil.
The costume by the evil spirit worn
Is counterfeited without flaw or weal.
A message for Gradasso hath he born,
Pretending that Rinaldo, like a leal
And worthy knight, will be beside the sea
At the ninth hour, as they did agree.

34
Gradass rejoices when the news he hears,
And gives the messenger a cup of gold.
Soon as the fiend from eyesight disappears,
He takes a novel form, and leaves his old.
His rings aren’t on his fingers, but his ears.
His clothing hangs on him in sumptuous folds,
With patterns traced thereon in golden thread.
Now he’s Gradasso’s messenger instead.

35
He seems to be a Persian almansor,
With mighty bugle and a sword of wood.
He went to meet the French and Spanish lords,
And when in presence of them all he stood,
He gave his message, that his noble lord
At Prime, without excuse or failure, should
Be found alone at the appointed place,
Ready to meet Rinaldo face to face.

36
Soon is Rinaldo armed from toe to head.
He sent away the barons who were there;
But Ricciardetto to the side he led,
And recommended Baiard to his care.
“Whether or not I e’er return,” he said,
“I trust in God, Who rules how all wars fare.
And if His will it is that I be slain,
Lead thou our army back to Charlemagne.”

37
I ought to serve him while my life abides,
Though I have often failed in many ways,
Sometimes through wrath, and other times through pride,
But whosoe’er to kick a wall essays
Will bruise his foot and ‘complish nought beside.
To that lord, worthiest of all men’s praise,
And whom I’ve ever held in high regard,
If I am slain, I leave him my Baiard.”

38
Many another thing the knight did say,
Then kissed him on the mouth, with weeping sore.
Alone towards the sea he took his way,
On foot, concurrent with the oath he swore.
He came, but saw no human in that place.
Naught but a boar at anchor on the shore,
On whose decks nobody was seen to go.
Rinaldo stands and waits to meet his foe.

39
Now Draginazo comes into his view,
Shaped like Gradasso; he a surcoat bears
Of gold that’s crossed with bars of sapphire blue.
A crown of gold upon his head he wears.
His shield, his scimitar made sharp to hew,
And his white horn with which he rends the air,
And on his helm he bears a pennon white.
In short, he seems the king to all men’s sight.

40
And as the demon walks beside the sea
He even counterfeits Gradasso’s gait.
He could have fooled his mother, certainly.
He draws his scimatar with war-cries great.
Rinaldo, who had no desire to be
Caught off his guard, lifts up his sword and waits
But Draginazo, not a word he said,
But struck Rinald a blow upon his head.

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 13: Bernardo Meets his Father

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.

654, THE KING DESIRES TO TAKE BERNARDO BY SURPRISE, BUT IS PREVENTED, AND FLEES IN FEAR. Class I. “Con cartas sus mensajeros”
The King sends letters to Bernardo. Bernardo suspects treason, and tells the messenger to say as much to the King. Bernardo has four hundred men. He leaves a hundred to guard the castle of Carpio, one hundred to guard the frontiers of his fief, and takes two hundred to see the King. The King tries to reclaim Carpio. Bernardo says it is his own by right. The King calls him a traitor, and bids his men seize him, whereupon Bernardo calls on his two hundred. The King pretends it was a mere joke. Bernardo says it wasn’t a very funny one, and says that the King can have Carpio; it will be easy for him to recapture it.
Wright.

655, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Con solos diez de los suyos”
Bernardo comes with ten men before the King. The King accuses him of treason. Bernardo denies it. The King orders his men to seize Bernardo. No one moves, for they see Bernardo put hand on his sword hilt. Bernardo tells the King that his men are right to be afraid of him. His men shout “Viva Bernardo!” and all take up the cry. The King pretends it was a joke, and Bernardo says he knew it was a joke all along, and leaves with his men. The King fumes and plots vengeance.
Lockhart.

656, BERNARDO OBTAINS HIS FATHER’S FREEDOM, ONCE HE IS ALREADY DEAD. Class VIII. “Antes que barbas tuviese”
Bernardo rebukes Alfonso for not releasing his father. Alfonso swears to release him before Mass is sung tomorrow in the Lateran. He does so, but first he blinds and kills him.

657, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Hincado está de rodillas”
Bernardo kneels before his father to kiss his hand, but feels it icy cold. Realizing what has happened, he laments, and runs off to seek Alfonso.

658, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. By Lorenzo de Sepúlveda. Class IV. “En Leon y las Asturias”
Alfonso III the Great reigns in Leon and Asturias. Bernardo asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso refuses, and Bernardo revolts. The barons persuade Alfonso to release Count Sancho Diaz. Alfonso agrees, if Bernardo will render up Carpio. He agrees, and Alfonso sends Don Tibalte and Don Arias to Luna to kill the Count and bring his body from prison. They dress him up, and invite Bernardo to the palace to see him. Bernardo kisses his father’s hand, discovers the trick, and laments.
Versification of a chronicle.

659, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Mal mis servicios pagaste”
Bernardo laments, and storms out of the palace to raise a revolt.

660, BERNARDO SWEARS TO AVENGE HIS FATHER’S DEATH. Class VIII. “Retraido en su aposento”
Bernardo, safe in his own castle, weeps and laments, and swears to avenge his father.

661, BERNARDO REPROACHS THE KING FOR HIS INGRATITUDE. Class VIII. “¡Inhumano rey Alfonso!”
Bernardo rebukes his uncle King Alfonso of Leon, saying his is ill-repaid for all the times he has saved him, including from Charlemagne at Roncesvalles.
Combines with #655 by Lockhart.

662, BERNARDO SALLIES FORTH TO AVENGE HIS FATHER’S DEATH. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “Aspero llanto hacia”
Bernardo, safe at Carpio, laments, swears vengeance, and sallies forth, upon a light-brown steed with black caparison. His shield is black with a red heart on it. Three hundred noblemen follow him from Carpio.

663, BERNARDO WEEPS FOR HIS FATHER AND CELEBRATES HIS FUNERAL. Class VIII. “Las obsequias funerales”
Bernardo, at the funeral, weeps by his father’s side, and laments.

664, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. Bernardo, his kin and friends kneel by a black tomb in a church. It is that of Count Sancho. Bernardo laments. At last he rises, turns around, and, heedless of the holy place, rebukes King Alfonso, in ottava rima.
Lockhart, though much abridged.

Felicia Hemans’ poem Bernardo Del Carpio is not a translation of any Spanish ballad.

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads 12: Bernardo at Roncesvalles

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.

648, BERNARDO AND HIS MEN SALLY TO THE FIELD AGAINST THE FRENCH. Class VIII. “Aguardando que amanezca”
Bernardo surveys the field from a mountain top, and bids his three hundred men fear not, for ten Spaniards are a match for a thousand foreigners. They join with the Saracens, and ride to battle.

649, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Con los mejores de Astúrias”
Benardo leaves Leon with the best men of Asturias, to stop Charlemagne from usurping the crown Alfonso the Chaste has offered him. He gives a rousing speech to his men, then spurs his horse, shouting, “Follow me, all you who are sons of the brave!”

650, THE FRENCH PREPARE CONFIDENTLY FOR THE BATTLE OF RONCESVALLES. Class VIII. “Blasonando está el frances”
The French are encamped at Roncesvalles. Roldan, the twelve Peers, and Charlemagne are confident that soon they will quarter the fleur-de-lis with a castle and a lion [the arms of Spain], and that no one on earth can stand against them.

651, BERNARDO, THE CHAMPION OF RONCESVALLES, WITH THE DEATH OF ROLDAN AND THE TWELVE PEERS OF FRANCE. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “Con crespa y dorada crin”
Charles the Frank leads his massive army into Roncesvalles at dawn, to conquer Spain, with his twelve Peers behind him. Alfonso of Castile and Marsilio of Aragon, are waiting for him, with their respective champions, Bernardo and Bravonel. After a long and bloody fight, the Spaniards are victorious. Roldan and Oliveros are dead, with the flower of France. Charlemagne flees, with the greatest losses ever known.
Number 652 is a reworking of this one, with many unaltered lines, but much less detail.

652, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Con crespa y dorada crin.”
The Gauls lead a massive army into Roncesvalles at dawn. Bernardo and Marsilio are waiting for them. After a long and bloody fight, Bernardo and Bravonel are victorious. The French flee, leaving their banner behind.

653, BERNARDO DEFEATS AND KILLS ROLDAN. Class VIII. “El invencible frances”
The invincible Frenchman, the senator of Rome, who converted Agrican, defeated Almonte, held off an army at Abraca by himself, is dead. Brava’s lord could not defeat El Carpio’s. After slaying Dudon, Oliveros, Aquilante and Grifone, and spilling a lake of French blood, Alfonso’s nephew attacked Charles’, and slew him.
No mention is made of Roland’s invincibility requiring Bernardo to strangle him.

For the other Spanish ballads of Roncesvalles, see this page.

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 11: Bernardo Prepares for Roncesvalles

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.

638, ALFONSO THE CHASTE OFFERS CHARLEMAGNE THE CROWN OF SPAIN, IF HE WILL HELP HIM EXPEL THE MOORS. Class IV. “Andados los años treinta”
In the thirtieth year of Alfonso’s reign, the year 841 [!], Alfonso sends messengers to Emperor Charlemagne, offering him the crown of Spain if he will drive the Moors out, since he (Alfonso) has no son of his own. The nobles do not like this, and Bernardo likes it still less.
Duran thinks this is Timoneda’s rewriting of a traditional ballad. More likely it is his versification of a chronicle.

639, BERNARDO REBUKES THOSE WHO WOULD CALL HIM A BASTARD. Class I. “Por las riberas de Arlanza”
Bernardo rides along the banks of the Arlanza. The folk of Burgos see him, and marvel. So does Alfonso, saying this knight must be either Bernardo del Carpio, or Muza de Granada. It is Bernardo. He rebukes the king for calling him a bastard, and for offering the kingdom to the French. He announces that he is gathering the men of every Spanish kingdom to repel the Frankish invaders.
Wright.

640, BERNARDO RESISTS THE CONCESSIONS THE KING HAS MADE TO CHARLEMAGNE OF HIS COUNTRY, AND DEPARTS TO OPPOSE THE FRENCH ARMY. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “El valeroso Bernardo”
Bernardo takes the road to Leon, gathering followers on the way. He enters Alfonso’s hall, and rebukes him. He then departs for Saragossa. Alfonso and his courtiers repent their decision, and send word to Charlemagne revoking their offer of the crown of Castile. Charlemagne is furious, and decides to take it anyway.

641, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. By Lorenzo de Sepúlveda. Class IV. “No tiene heredero alguno”
Alfonso the Chaste has no heir, so he offers Charlemagne the crown of Castile, if he will help him fight the Moors. Charles, Roldan, and the Peers rejoice at the message, but the nobles of Spain are displeased. Most of all, Bernardo del Carpio is angry. He persuades Alfonso to revoke his offer, at which Charlemagne, furious, invades. Bernardo and Alfonso defeat him at Roncesvalles, and Bernardo kills Roldan, and many other Frenchmen.
A versification of the old chronicles, like most of Lorenzo’s work on Bernardo.

642, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Retirado en su palacio”
The barons of Castile debate whether to support Alfonso’s offering of the crown to Charlemagne. The nays carry the day, and Bernardo, their leader, begins rallying the army to fend off Charles.

643, BERNARDO, BANISHED FOR OPPOSING THE SURRENDER OF THE CROWN TO CHARLEMAGNE, GOES TO GRANADA, AND BECOMES FRIENDS WITH MUZA. Class VIII. “Desterró el rey Alfonso”
Alfonso banishes Bernardo for opposing his plan to leave the kingdom to Charlemagne. Bernardo sends a messanger to Alfonso saying he will not return until he has fought Orlando, despite his magic helmet [sic]. He comes to Granada, where a tournament is being held. He overthrows Muza, the Moorish champion, and wins the tournament, along with Muza’s friendship.
A purely literary invention. Muza is unknown to the old chronicles.

644, BERNARDO, TO AVENGE DAMSELS, KILLS LEPOLEMO IN A DUEL. By Lucas Rodriguez. Class VIII. “Cuando el padre Faeton”
Three damsels ride, weeping, through the forest at evening, with four squires before them. They meet Bernardo, and tell him their woe: Lepolemo has killed their brother and occupied their castle. Bernardo kills him and restores their castle.
There is no traditional basis for this. It is merely the sort of adventure that happens to Amadis or Lancelot every day.

645, BERNARDO MAKES ALLIANCE WITH THE MOORS OF ARAGON, AGAINST THE FRENCH OF CHARLEMAGNE. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “Las varias flores despoja”
Bernardo, dressed like a Moor, rides to Saragossa, where he makes alliance with King Marsilio and meets the mighty Bravonel, who is in love with the Mooress Acoyza. They dine, and make plans, and sally forth for Roncesvalles.

646, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Con tres mil y mas leoneses”
Bernardo leaves the city with 3,000 men of Leon, followed and cheered by all the folk, the laborers, the shepherds, the peasants, the children, who all cheer their deliver and shout for liberty and independence. They arrive at Saragossa, where the Holy Pillar is, and join Alfonso, Marsilio, and Bravonel to fight the French.
Lockhart.

647, BERNARDO REBUKES AND SHAMES THOSE WHO WOULD GIVE THE KINGDOM TO THE FRENCH. Class VIII. “No os llamo canalla vil”
Bernardo gives a rousing speech before the battle of Roncesvalles.

The Legend of King Rother

The legend of King Rother is found in only one version, König Rother, a German poem in octosyllabic couplets from around 1160. Translated by Robert Lichtenstein, into octosyllabic couplets, in 1962, as volume 36 of the University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic Languages and Literatures. Available surprisingly cheap on Amazon.

King Rother rules in Bari, and seeks a wife. His vassal, Lupold, suggests the princess of Constantinople, whose father kills all her suitors. Rother, intrigued by the challenge, sends a dozen ambassadors led by Lupold to ask her hand in marriage. He plays three melodies on his harp, by which the ambassadors may recognize him if anything goes wrong and he must come save them. Things do go wrong, and Constantine throws the ambassadors in the dungeon, only sparing their lives because they were his guests. A year and a day go by, and Rother asks Berchter, Lupold’s father, for advice. The barons agree that Rother will go in disguise as an exiled knight, alias Dieterich, pretending to be fleeing from Rother’s wrath. With “Dieterich” go Berchter, the giant Asprian and some of his giant vassals, including Widolt, and others. They leave Berchter’s son Amalger as regent.

They come to Constantinople, and are unimpressed by Constantine’s attempts to dazzle them. At dinner, Constantine allows his pet lion to roam the hall and eat whatever it wants. When it tries to eat Asprian’s food, he picks it up and dashes its brains out. Dietrich takes up residence in Constantinople, and gives gifts with largesse, impressing everyone except Constantine, including the Emperor’s wife and daughter. After a brawl at a second banquet, the love-stricken princess plots with her nurse Herlint how to see Dieterich. Herlint carries messages, and at last Dieterich makes two pairs of shoes, one silver and one gold, and sends both left shoes to the princess. When she sends for the right shoes, he refuses unless he can deliver them in person. The two meet at last in her chamber, and he puts her leg in his lap as he puts the shoes on [this was an old betrothal rite]. The princess is quite pleased at thus being tricked into engagement, especially when she learns that Dieterich is really Rother.

She tells her father that she wishes to do penance by serving the imprisoned ambassadors. He lets them out of prison for her to feed and clothe, and Dieterich offers himself as pledge for their return to prison. He reveals himself to them by his harping, and they dig a secret tunnel to the prison, to bring food in, and men out. Meanwhile, King Ymelot, the sultan of Babylon [Cairo], invades. Dieterich and his men ride out with Constantine. As the armies sleep in their camps before the battle Dieterich and the giants sneak into the enemy camp and kidnap Ymelot, and bring him before Constantine. They then ride as messengers to Constantinople, where they pretend that all is lost, and that the princess must board their boat and flee with them. Once all Rother’s men are aboard, he reveals his deception, and sails away. The Queen laughs, and returns home to await her husband.

Amalgar is dead, but Rother quickly restores order, weds his dear, and gets her with child. Constantine is furious when he gets home, and in the resulting uproar, Ymelot escapes. The Emperor hires a merchant to steal his daughter back. He sails to Italy, and pretends to have a magic stone which, if held by a queen on a boat, will cure any cripple she touches with it. A cripple is found, and the good-hearted queen goes to try the cure. (Rother is away in Germany on business). She is kidnapped. Rother returns home at the news, pardons the knights who were supposed to guard her, and summons his men. They arrive, incognito, in, just in time for a pre-wedding feast, for Ymelot has returned, and forced Constantine to give his daughter to his son Basilistium. They slip into the feast and crawl under the table, where Rother puts his ring on his bride’s finger. Basilistium notices the new ring, and sounds the alert. Rother reveals himself, and is sentenced to be hanged. His last request is to choose the place of his execution, and he chooses a place where his men are waiting in ambush. The pagans are routed, and Constantine is forgiven. Rother and his wife return home, where she gives birth to Pippin, who grows up to marry Bertha, and begets Charlemagne and Saint Gertrude. Rother reigns long and well, and at last retires to a monastery, leaving the empire to Pippin.

THE SOURCES OF THE LEGEND

Bride-stealings are a dime a dozen in folklore, and no specific source need be sought for this poem. It features perhaps the most positive portrayal of giants in medieval romance. Very rarely is any giant represented as Christian, brave, and intelligent. A whole country of such giants, as in this poem, is a marvel indeed.

The real Saint Gertrude of Nivelles (626-659) was the daughter of Pippin of Landen (580-640), who was Mayor of the Palace under Dagobert I and Sigebert III, and was the founder of the Carolingian line. Saint Gertrude is depicted with mice and rats at her feet, for reasons no one knows. Some say it is because mice were symbols of the soul in German paganism, and Saint Gertrude guides souls to Heaven. Others say it is because she is invoked against mice, rats, and other vermin. Still others say it is because she was so absorbed in prayer once that a mouse crawled all over her without her noticing. Her feast day is March 17. For more details, see The Catholic Encyclopedia, and Sabine Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints and Curious Myths of the Middle Ages.

Let thus much suffice for the legend of King Rother, and let us now speak of Charles the Hammer, who is more commonly said to be the grandfather of Charlemagne.

Book I, Canto V, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation, Book I, Canto V, Stanzas 1 – 20.

ARGUMENT

Rinaldo and Gradass will fight a duel.
Angelica frees from his dark abode
Don Malagise, who must bring his cruel
Cousin to her. When conversation bodes
No good, by magic he his cousin fools.
Orlando meets a pilgrim on the road,
Then fights a giant, but he little thinks
That his next combat will be with a sphinx.

1
If you remember, lords, then it is meet,
How last time Don Rinaldo was distraught
To see his brother carried by the feet.
Of King Gradasso he had no more thought,
But charged ahead, the giant fierce to meet,
Who was as naked as when he was brought
Into the world. His black skin was so hard
That shields and armor he could disregard.

2
Rinaldo swiftly from his horse alights,
For he was sore afraid for Baiard’s sake,
When of that giant’s tree he caught a sight.
Now must he neither hesitate nor slake.
Fierce Orïon has never met a knight
Who looked at him and didn’t start to quake,
Or who was bold enough to give him battle.
He laughs, and thinks Rinaldo’s wits are addled.

3
But of Fusbert the giant took no note;
Rinaldo’s strength he doesn’t understand,
Or he’d have wished to have a strong steel coat.
The prince of chivalry, with both his hands,
Upon the giant’s thigh with power smote.
When Orïon felt how the hot blood ran
Adown his leg, he threw his captive down,
And bellowed like a bull, that heathen hound.

4
Don Ricciardet lies sprawled upon the ground,
Bereft of sense, and stunned, and nearly dead.
While that great giant whips his tree around,
Rinaldo’s eyes are on his foeman set.
When Orïone brings a great blow down,
Not only knights, but mountains ought to dread.
Rinaldo carefully steps back some paces,
And sees Gradasso, who towards him races.

5
Rinaldo wasn’t certain what to do,
And, truth to say, he felt a tinge of fear,
He, who in all the world no equal knew.
He struck a blow so strong it had no peer.
He felt Fusberta slicing through and through
Don Orïone’s waist, and felt it sheer
Down through his flank, and come out in the air.
The giant tumbled in two pieces there.

6
The worthy baron takes no moment’s rest.
He does not even watch the giant fall.
Immediately upon his steed he leapt,
And spurred him on against Gradasso tall,
Who could not possible be more impressed.
He thought all feats compared with that are small.
He sheathed his mighty sword and raised his hand,
So that Rinald might see and understand

7
He wished to parley. He addressed him thus:
“O baron, it would be a grievous sin
If one as ardent and as valorous
As thou has shown thyself this day within
This field, should die in manner villainous.
Thou knowest that my army hems thee in,
And thou canst not escape, and that thou must
Become my prisoner, or bite the dust.

8
But God forbid that I should be so poor
In honor, as to shame so great a knight!
For honor’s sake I’ve settled on this course:
That since today hath little left of light,
Tomorrow we shall duel to end this war,
And both of us without our steeds shall fight:
Because the virtue of a cavalier
Is not the same as that of his destrier.

9
But let our battle be on these conditions:
If thou slayst me, or canst me prisoner make,
All of the Frankish lords I hold in prison
And King Marsilio’s men, too, for thy sake,
Shall all be freed, nor pay for their remission.
But if I conquer thee, thy steed I’ll take.
Whether I win or lose, I and my band
Will leave and war no more upon this land.

10
Rinaldo is so pleased, he does not wait
Before he answers him, “Exalted lord,
This battle which we two shall undertake
Can only make my honor grow the more.
Thy prowess is so singularly great
That if I am defeated by thy sword
It cannot be a shame at all to me,
But glory, to receive my death from thee.

11
And as for what thou saidst at first, I say,
I thank thee for they generosity,
But not because I am in such dismay
As forces me to beg my life from thee.
If all the world were here in arms today
They could not stop me if I wished to flee,
Still less thy host alone, as thou mayst find,
If of my words thou doubtest in thy mind.

12
The cavaliers right speedily agree
On all things else that to their duel pertain.
The place shall be on the coast of the sea,
Six miles distant from the battle plain.
Each one shall arm himself full suitable,
With sword and armor only. Upon pain
Of forfeit, they shall bring no lance nor mace,
Or any escort to the dueling-place.

13
Next morning at the dawning of the light,
Each knight’s prepared for what the day might bring.
About each other’s strength they’ve mulled all night,
Of parries, thrusts, and feints, and such like things.
But ere they have arrived for their great fight,
About Angelica I wish to sing,
Who by her magic arts, as I’ve recorded,
Back to Cathay had swiftly been transported.

14
She cannot pluck Rinaldo from her heart,
Although the distance ‘twixt them is so wide.
As when a deer is stricken by a dart,
Its pain increases as the time goes by,
And, when it runs the fastest, then doth start
The wound to bleed the most, pains grow most high,
Just so the damsel’s fire grows each hour,
Which she bears for Rinald, that peerless flower.

15
And when the night has come, she cannot sleep,
Onerous thoughts oppress and grieve her so.
And if, worn out at last by sufferings deep,
She hopes till dawn she may forget her woe,
Even in slumbering her grief she keeps,
For in her dreams, she sees Rinaldo go
As swiftly from her as he did that day
In Arden Wood, and she is as dismayed.

16
Towards the west the damsel keeps her face.
Oftimes she wept, and oftentimes she sighed,
And said, “In what far land, among what race
Does that bold, handsome, daring knight reside?
Alas! Within his mind I have no place,
And that alone causes my grief t’abide.
He’s hard and cruel as a stone, but still,
He forces me to love him ‘gainst my will.

17
With words and spells I know well how to do
Marvelous things, and often have I done;
I’ve plucked strange herbs whenas the moon was new,
And dug up roots when darkened was the sun,
But still I have no charms or spells or brews
That by their potency can overcome
This suffering that holds my heart in thrall.
Nothing can help me, for Love conquers all.

18
Perhaps he soon will come to free from jail
His wizard cousin, whom I keep in chains?
How could he know? I have not spread the tale
Of how that wretch here in Cathay remains.
But I shall free him shortly, without fail,
If that ungrateful vagabond will deign
To recognize my great benevolence
To give his ill deeds such a recompense.

19
And with these words she heads towards the sea,
Where Malagise is as prisoner held.
She has herself conveyed there magically,
For otherwise it’s hard to reach his cell.
When Malagise hears her enter, he
Is certain that some demon’s come from Hell
To execute him, for he has not seen
A man so long as in that cave he’s been.

20
The damsel enters where he lies in thrall
And springs him, leading him to sunlight sweet,
And when they stand within her lovely hall,
She takes the fetters off his wrists with speed.
But all this time, no words has she let fall,
Till she removes the weights from round his feet.
When this is finished, she says, “Baron, thou
Hast been my prisoner, but art free now.

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