Book I, Canto IX, Part 2

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

21
She ceased her talk, descended to the ground,
Where the beast lurked, prepared for fresh attacks,
And there the knotted cord the dame unwound,
And from its pan she threw the cake of wax.
The monster snatched it in its jaws, but found
Its teeth stuck fast, and it began to wax
Exceeding wroth, and snorted, shook, and leapt,
And straightway got entangled in the net.

22
The damsel left it in its hempen prison,
And flew away as swiftly as she’d come.
By that time was the lovely star arisen
Which mounts up in the East before the sun.
The growing light brought to Rinaldo’s vision
The beast, whose jaws were sealed and who had run
Smack-dab into a mazy web of knots.
It could not move a hands-breadth from its spot.

23
Immediately he leaps down to the ground,
Where the ferocious freak of nature lies
And bellows so that all the folk around,
Despite their wall, with fear are paralyzed.
Rinaldo quickly his Fusberta found,
And to assault the monster great he tried.
But such thick skin possessed the beast accurst,
It seemed Fusberta would be broken first.

24
Rinaldo searches for its weakest place.
He strikes the right side now, and now the left,
And now he stabs its legs, and now its face,
But still the monster’s skin he hasn’t cleft.
Fusbert can split a rock or iron mace,
But of incisions is the beast bereft.
But bold Rinaldo isn’t took aback.
At once he switches to another tack.

25
To leap upon the monster’s back he rushed,
And threw his arms around its ugly throat,
His knees into the monster’s flanks he pushed.
This is the wildest steed he ever rode!
The baron’s visage crimson red was flushed.
All of his power in this fight he showed,
More strength than he had ever used before,
Till the abomination breathed no more.

26
After he beast’s completely suffocated,
Rinaldo starts to ponder how to fly.
The field was circumscribed (as I have stated)
By an enormous wall both thick and high.
There was one window only, which was grated
With latticed iron work. Rinaldo tries
To slice it open with Fusberta, but
The grate’s too thick and strong for him to cut.

27
Rinaldo realizes at this pass
He’s still a pris’ner in this castle vile.
The folk won’t life him o’er the wall, alas!
And with starvation he must reconcile.
He searches all around, till on the grass
He finds, just lying there, a massive file.
Angelica had left it on the sod.
The baron thinks it must have come from God.

28
The magic file swiftly cuts the bars.
The knight’s about to make his getaway.
From the bright heaven disappear the stars,
As rosy-fingered dawn leads forth the day.
But lo! a giant strolling by, who mars
Rinaldo’s plans not in the slightest way.
For when he sees the knight, he gives a yelp,
And turns, and runs away, and shouts, “Help! Help!”

29
Rinaldo’s sawed completely through the grate,
And from the window he removes the bars,
But the scared outcries of the giant great
Have summon all the wicked folk to arms.
Rinaldo issues from the window straight.
He has Fusberta drawn. He must look sharp,
For ‘gainst him come the people of the castle,
More than six hundred armed and angry vassals.

30
The worthy baron doesn’t care at all;
Were they six times their strength, he’d face them yet.
Leading the rabble is a giant tall,
Who tries to snare Rinaldo in a net.
That false poltroon, whose virtues are but small,
Rinaldo dodges, and he does not fret,
But strikes the giant just below the knee,
Without his legs upon the earth fell he.

31
He left him there; against the rest he sped.
Death and destruction with Fusbert he rained,
And soon he stood alone; the rest were fled.
Not one of all the Saracens remained.
Some left their arms behind, and some their heads.
The courtyard now is even more blood-stained.
The old hag in the keep is barricaded.
With her last soldiers for Rinald she waited.

32
The other giant in the room there stood.
Rinald arrives and doesn’t gape or gawk,
But strikes the door and batters through the wood
Until the door is off its hinges knocked.
The mighty giant in confusion stood,
In terror and embarrassment and shock.
Although he armored is from head to toe,
Not till the door is open does he go

33
Leaping out, brings his club down with a roar;
On Don Rinaldo’s head his great blow fell.
Rinaldo merely laughed at him and swore
“I do thee honor, wretched infidel.
To take thy death from Montalbano’s lord –
Thou wilt be honored for it, down in Hell,
Where thou wilt shortly meet, I dare assert, a
Mighty host I’ve sent there with Fusberta.”

34
The worthy cavalier’s discourse is brief.
He strikes a mighty blow and does not flag
Till he has cleft the giant to the teeth.
The others flee; Rinaldo does not lag,
But hunts and slays them all, with no relief.
But the black-hearted, unrepentant hag
Is standing on a narrow balcony,
And leaps down when the cavalier she sees.

35
The balcony rose up a hundred feet.
You may be well assured the hag is dead.
When Don Rinaldo saw that mighty leap,
“Go to the Devil with thy men!” he said.
The blood upon the chamber floor was deep;
But Don Rinaldo, sword in hand, still sped
In hot pursuit, but, not to tell it all,
He left no soul alive within the walls.

36
And then he left and walked back to the sea.
He did not trust the magic bark; instead
Traipsing along the coastline traveled he,
Until he met a lady fair, who said,
“Alas! Ah, woeful wight! Ah, misery!
My life is dreary, would that I were dead!”
But Turpin speaks no more about her here,
And turns to Don Astolfo, England’s peer.

37
Astolfo had departed lovely France;
Upon the good Baiardo travels he.
In gilded armor, with the golden lance.
Alone he journeys, without company.
He passes through the region of Mayence,
And through great Germany, fair Hungary,
The Danube, Transylvania he’s gone,
And through White Russia till he saw the Don.

38
Reaching this place, to the right hand he swings,
And into mountainous Circasse he’s come.
All of that territory’s bustling.
He sees the folk in armor, every one,
For Sacripante, the Circassian king
A mighty war had recently begun
With Agricane, king of Tartary.
Both of the lords were full of chivalry.

39
The war did not begin for reasons of
A recent insult, nor for ancient hate,
Nor for one king another king to shove
Off of his throne, or to extend the state,
But all these men were armed to fight for Love.
For Agricane wanted as his mate
Angelica, and with her he would wed.
She answered him, she’d rather she were dead.

40
She sent out messengers through ev’ry land,
Both near and far, to palaces and tents,
To knights most lowly and to knights most grand,
Inviting one and all to her defense.
And so a myriad, uncounted band
To save the lady, ready their offense.
But Sacripante’s first of all the throng,
Because this worthy king has loved her long.

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