The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto XIII, Stanzas 41-58
Polindo did not dare to speak a word,
Lest with himself he make his lady die;
What agony he in his wrath endured,
With Trufaldin untouchable, though nigh.
That king soon parchment and a pen procured,
And bade the lady to her brother write,
Claiming by Don Polindo she’d been seized,
While she was riding underneath the trees.
And that as prisn’r she was being kept
Beneath three henchmen’s not-too-watchful eyes;
But if he swiftly to the greenwood sped,
Then all the four of them he could surprise;
And she’ll explain why overnight she fled..
That she had motives good, he’ll realize,
When she explains it was part of a plan
To save his life from Trufaldino’s hands.
The lady answers she would gladly die
Ere she betrayed her brother and her kin.
Though threats and pleasant speech by turns he tries,
She will not lay a finger on the pen.
The king into a fit of fury flies,
“Bring on the tortures!” he calls to his men.
Glowing-hot pincers he procured with haste,
And touched the gentle damsel on her face.
He tears into her cheek with red-hot steel.
She weeps not, speaks not, not an inch recoils;
Her blush alone betrays the pain she feels.
In agony, Polindo’s blood nigh boils.
He can do nought at all; his senses reel.
But to his lady, now as ever, loyal,
His noble spirit can endure no more.
For grief he falleth dead upon the floor.
The little book relateth all these things,
Though in far better words than my poor skill;
Rinaldo seemed to hear their voices ring,
And hear the lovers speak of love their fill,
And see their faces in that suffering.
Polindo grievéd not that he was killed,
But all for Albarosa was his woe,
And hers for him, they loved each other say.
As Don Rinaldo read the woeful tale,
Time and again his eyes were filled with tears;
His face was racked with grief and oft turned pale
With pity for these lovers’ woes and fears.
Again he swears that he will never fail
To venge King Trufaldino’s cru’lty fierce
And then this cavalier pursues his course
On Rabicano (such was named the horse).
Upon the same, Rinaldo rides with glee,
With him the lady on their journey swept.
Till, then the twilight gathered gloomily,
The two of them down from the saddle stepped.
Rinaldo slumbered underneath a tree,
And not far off from him the lady slept.
The spell of Merlin’s fountain so much sways
The Paladin, he’s lost his wonted ways.
A lovely lady sleepeth him beside,
And the bold baron simply doesn’t care.
The time has been when all the ocean wide
Would not have turned him from his course a hair.
A wall, a mountain he would have destroyed
To be united to a dame so fair.
But now to slumber only is he bent;
I cannot say if she was quite content.
The air already started growing bright,
Though not yet had the sun his head upraised.
With many stars the heavens yet were dight.
Amidst the boughs the birds sang joyous lays.
Though not yet day, it was no longer night.
The damsel on the bold Rinaldo gazed,
For though the rosy-fingered dawn was creeping
The baron still upon the grass was sleeping.
For he was at the age when youth is fairest,
Strong, and limber, with a lovely face,
Straight-limbed, and muscular from chest to bare wrist,
A handsome beard was growing on apace.
The damsel watches him with pleasure rarest.
She almost dies of pleasure in that place;
And in beholding him takes such delight,
She lists to nothing, heeds no other sight.
The lady nigh was from her senses rapt,
Watching that knight sleep on the forest floor,
But in that wild and dismal forest happed
To live a centaur, horrible and coarse.
You never saw a monster so unapt,
Because it had the body of a horse,
Up to its shoulders, but thereat began
The chest and head and members of a man.
This monster lived for nothing but the chase.
Through all that massive wasteland did he rove.
He bore three darts, a shield, and one large mace,
And went a-hunting over field and grove.
Today a mighty lion he embraced;
The half-dead beast within his arms he hove.
The lion roared, and made an awful sound,
Which made the damsel swiftly turn around.
And all at once the savage beast beheld
The beauty of the damsel, and he thought
That if Rinaldo he could only kill,
Then ’twixt him and the lady would stand naught.
The damsel cries aloud both sharp and shrill,
“O King of Heaven, help before I’m caught!”
Her shouting woke Rinaldo from his sleep,
To see a centaur right before him leap.
Rinaldo starteth up and grabs his shield,
Though by the giant it’s been sorely mangled.
The centaur, with his hatred unconcealed,
Throws down the lion which he erst had strangled.
Rinaldo chased the brute across the field,
Which galloped of a ways, then turned and jangled
Its darts, then lifted one and let it fly;
Rinaldo watches with unblinking eye
As the dart missed him by a decent breadth.
Another dart at him the centaur sped.
His helmet saves Rinald from certain death,
For this one glances off his armored head.
The last is thrown no better than the rest,
But still the centaur’s hopes are far from fled.
He lifts his massive wooden club amain
And gallops angrily across the plain,
With such velocity and rapid speed,
Rinaldo starts to think he’s up a crick.
He realizes all his skill he’ll need.
The monster reaches him and strikes so quick,
He has no time to mount his late-won steed.
It runs him round so fast he’s nearly sick.
To stand against the pine he is not slack,
So that the might trunk will guard his back.
That hideous and odd mis-shapen man
Is leaping, darting in with speed intense,
But the good prince, who has Fusbert in hand
Keeps him at bay, till slightly he relents.
The centaur sees he’ll have to change his plan,
Since Don Rinaldo makes such good defense.
He turns his head and sees the lady bright,
Who for pure terror had gone wholly white.
Immediately Rinaldo he forsakes.
Across his back he slings the damosel,
Whose face turns icy and whose body shakes.
The fate in store for her she knows too well.
This canto’s long enough. No more I’ll make,
Until next time, when I’ll the story tell
Of this fair dame, and, as I said before
Of Sacripant and Agrican once more.