Book I, Canto XIV, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto XIV, Stanzas 1-20

ARGUMENT
Rinaldo kills the monster, but too late.
Angelica by moonlight slips away
To seek for succor, but is captured straight.
Meanwhile, in the garden of the fay
Orlando and the rest from their hard fate
Are rescued. Gallantly they make their way
Towards Albracca, where they see the camp,
But nothing can their ardent spirits damp.

1
You’ve heard already of the battle made
By Don Rinald, just risen from his bed,
And how the twisted monster threw the maid
Across his croup and with her swiftly fled.
You need not wonder if she felt afraid.
She trembled like a leaf, her face looked dead.
But still, as loudly as she could, she shouted
For aid from Don Rinaldo the redoubted.

2
The light-foot monster gallops on apace,
While the fair lady o’er his croup is spread.
Often he turns to her his ugly face,
And gripped her tightly as he onwards sped.
Rinaldo mounts his steed to give him chase,
And wishes that he had Baiard instead.
The beast already was so far away,
He thought no other horse would serve that day.

3
But when he held the bridle richly trimmed
Of the best horse which ever felt a spur,
He felt like he was carried by the wind.
Rides he or flies he? He is scarcely sure.
Nothing so fast has ever  hap’d to him.
All things before his eyes are but a blur.
Hills, mountains, valleys, plains, he looks on, just
Ere Rabicano leaves them in the dust.

4
And yet he hadn’t bent a blade of grass,
So lightly trod he wheresoe’er he’d gone,
And none could track the way that horse had passed,
Though sparkling dew had fallen with the dawn.
As thus he galloped on, unearthly fast,
Rinaldo came upon a river strong.
And as the one bank of the stream he nighed,
The centaur, wading though it, he espied.

5
The wicked monster did not wait a minute
When he arrived, but turning in the stream,
At once he threw the lovely lady in it,
And she was swept away along the bream.
Where she arrived, her ‘ventures nigh infinite,
I’ll tell you later on, but now it seems
The centaur, with this burden off his back
Is getting ready for Rinald’s attack.

6
Now in the stream begins a battle great,
With merciless assaults with strength and vim.
It’s true that Don Rinald has mail and plate,
And nought the centaur has except his skin,
But mighty is the monster, full of hate.
More tough than leather is the hide of him.
And the new horse of Montalbano’s lord
He almost matched for speed – within the ford.

7
The river came to Don Rinado’s knees,
The bed was treacherous and full of rocks.
The centaur swings his mighty mace with ease
But not for this is Don Rinaldo shocked.
He wields Fusberta skillfully and sees
Blood on it from the blade to pommel-block.
His shield is ruined by the mace’s blow,
But more than thirty times he’s pricked his foe.

8
The bloody monster fleeth to the shore.
Rinaldo follows as a brave knight ought.
He went a couple yards, or barely more
Before by Rabicano he was caught.
There in the field he lies, his life days o’er.
The Lord of Montalban now stands in thought.
He knows not where he is, or where to ride.
He’s lost the dame that should have been his guide.

9
Alone beside a forest vast he’s mired.
How large it was he had no way to tell.
His chance of finding passage through seems dire.
He thinks of turning back, his spirits quelled.
But so much do his heart and soul desire
To free the Count Orlando from his spell
That he resolves to carry on his quest,
Or else, in seeking, find eternal rest.

10
To Tramontana is his course now set,
Whither the lady was supposed to lead.
And on the way, beside a fountain met
A knight in armor, mounted on a steed,
But Turpin doesn’t tell what happened yet,
And rather turns to tell the noble deeds
Of Agricane, King of Tartary.
With Albracca’s ramparts trapped is he.

11
Though they have trapped him, ’tis his foes who quiver.
He wreaks destruction everywhere around.
The army of his foes to bits he shivers.
Albracca, you must know, was on strong ground,
On a tall rock, beside a mighty river,
The inner bank of which a rampart bounds.
With stone and water thus is feet the foot,
While at the peak the fortress proper’s put.

12
Above the river rose the towering walls,
Where turrets pleasure and defense afforded.
Orada was the mighty river called.
Summer or winter, it could not be forded.
The siege had made part of the rampart fall,
But the defenders hadn’t yet restored it,
Because the river was so swift and wide
They did not fear invasion from that side.

13
Now Agricane, as I’ve said before,
Was fighting bravely in the citadel;
King Sacripante and his men of war,
For all they tried, could not his spirit quell.
Their mighty feats, how nobly these two bore
Themselves, I do not need again to tell.
I left off, when a new brigade attacked
The valiant Agricane from the back.

14
The valiant king is not the least dismayed,
But turns around and roars his battle cry.
With both his hands he swings his bloody blade.
This ambush on the King of Tartary
A stout and battle-loving baron made:
The Turk Torindo, followed closely by
Many and many of his valiant Turks,
Not a man of them all his duty shirks.

15
The Tartar spurs Baiard into the Turks,
And splits and skewers them to left and right;
Now Sacripante, never known to shirk,
Follows his rival through the thickest fight.
Nor deer’s nor leopards’ limbs as swiftly work
As that Circassian kings, the truth to write.
King Agricane’s strength will not avail.
Against so many, even he must fail.

16
Thronged are the streets, the fight is far extended,
The men are packed so tight their mail can’t rattle.
The troops upon the walls have all descended,
And ev’ry man is rushing to the battle.
The wall is left with no one to defend it,
And those outside the walls, that massive rabble,
Some rushing though the gate, some climb the wall,
All crying: “Kill them, kill them, kill them all!”

17
They force back Sacripante, wounded sore,
And King Torindo back into the keep;
Angelica has entered long befroe,
And Trufaldino, who was first to creep.
All of his men have been destroyed by war;
Of the great death, no mortal words can speak.
Dead is Varano, and great Savaron,
King of the Medes, whose prowess oft had shone.

18
These two are slain as they defend the gate,
While the great battle rages on the plain.
Brunaldo likewise met a bitter fate.
By Radamanto’s hand has he been slain.
This Radamant sends to the next world straight
The bold Ungiano, beating out his brain.
A mighty phalanx he had led to war;
Not one of them will see their homes once more.

19
All of the city by its foes is ta’en;
Compassion never has been so well-founded.
Here and there the buildings are aflame,
The slaughter of the people was unbounded.
The keep alone above the strife remains,
On a high rock, by sturdy walls surrounded.
All of the city elsewhere is on fire,
And goes to ruin in a blazing pyre.

20
Angelica in desperation thinks
What she can do, caught in these dire straits.
Within the keep is neither food nor drink.
After a day, starvation for her waits.
If you had seen her cheek, so sweet and pink
All wet with tears, and heard her sad complaints,
Had you a lion’s or a dragon’s heart,
You would have filled with pity for her part.

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Notes

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