The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 10: Adventures of Bernardo

SECTION I

BERNARDO AND DON BUESO

Subsection 1: Chronicles

PCG Chapter 651: Year 7 of Alfonso III’s reign [872]. Don Bueso of France invades Spain. King Alfonso meets him in battle by Ordeion in Castile, near castle Amaya. Some say in their cantares segund cuenta la estoria that Buseo was Bernaldo’s cousin. Bernaldo killed Bueso in the fray. After the battle, Bernaldo kissed Alfonso’s hand and asked for the liberty of his father, and called to mind all the times he had helped him against the Moors. But Alfonso refused, and Bernaldo renounced his service for a year.

Ocampo places the story in the 35th year of Alfonso the Chaste’s reign, the fourth of Louis the Pious, AD 814 [really 817].

Subsection 2: Ballads

Burgillos Durán 630, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 6. “Estando en paz y sosiego”

Don Bueso of France invades Alfonso the Chaste’s lands. Bernardo leads the Spanish army to fight the French near Osejo in Castile. Bernardo kills Bueso in the battle, and the French flee. Alfonso, in gratitude, promises to free Bernardo’s father, but when he is back in safety, changes his mind. Bernardo, sorrowful, refuses to serve at court any longer.

Those scholars who believe that Bernardo was formed from two or three legends disagree as to which included the story of Don Bueso. Horrent ascribes it to the Carpian story; most others to the Carolingian.

SECTION II

OTHER ADVENTURES

Bernardo and Urgel “En la cortes de León.” Wolf 14, Class II. Pidal Romances Viejos 3. First printed in a broadside c. 1560-1565.

King Alfonso holds court in Leon, and the knights are making merry with various games, when a stranger rides into the hall, and issues a challenge. Let anyone ride with him to the forest, and he will prove that he is a better knight and serves a better king. By his discourteous words, they know him to be Don Urgel el Esforzado [literally: The Striving], one of the Twelve Peers. None dare to challenge him, and their cowardice makes Alfonso fume and the ladies weep. At last Alfonso goes to look for Bernardo, and finds him in the great church, praying to Saint James. King Alfonso explains the situation. Bernardo asks for his father’s liberty, which Alfonso promises. Bernardo dons his armor and jousts against Urgel. Their combat continues for three hours. Bernardo invites the Frank to surrender, but Urgel answers that while he can die in battle, he cannot live with dishonor, and expires from loss of blood. Bernardo thus humiliated France, as he would later do at Roncesvalles.

This romance was doubtless written to be printed as a broadside. Pidal thinks it inspired by Bernardo’s combat with Don Bueso and the legend of El Reto de Zamora [The vows of Zamora].1 This Urgel may be supposed to be Ogier the Dane, though that knight is usually known as Urgel de las Marchas in Spanish, and, of course, Ogier did not die but was taken by Morgan le Fay to Avalon.

1 Pidal. Romancero Tradicional vol. I. p. 194.

Perhaps this ballad was the inspiration for Durán 422, wherein a Moor named Urgel is slain by Bradamante.2

2 Milá y Fontanals, Manuel. De La Poesia Heroico-Popular Castellana. Barcelona, 1959. “Obras de Manuel Milá y Fontanals I. [orig. pub. 1874]. p. 585.

Lucas Rodriguez: Bernardo and Estela Durán 632, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 1. “Con ansia extrema y lloroso” Printed 1584.

The Moors lay siege to Bernardo’s castle of El Carpio, where his beloved Estela is. He arrives, and learns the current situation from his friend Ascanio. He proceeds to save the day.

This is an invention of Rodriguez’ from beginning to end. Estela and Ascanio are completely unknown outside of this ballad.

Bernardo and His Nurse Pidal Artificiosos 27. “¡Altas y soberbias torres” From a Chilean manuscript dated 1605.

Bernardo curses the high and proud towers on the borders of France, with the cypress trees under their walls, where his lady Doña Blanca is imprisoned, she who raised him at her breast to make him a son of Spain. The towers and walls guard her unjustly, for she is without guilt. He swears that he will never forgive them, and they only way they can prevent him from avenging and freeing her is for them to kill him and her both.

Lucas Rodriguez: Bernardo and Lepolemo Durán 644, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 1. “Cuando el padre Faeton” or “La mañana de San Juan”. First printed in a broadside c. 1570.

On Saint John’s Day [June 24] in the morning, three damsels ride, weeping, through the forest, 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 ballad. It is merely the sort of adventure that happens to Amadis or Lancelot every day.

SECTION III

LA CASA DE CELOS

This insipid play by Miguel de Cervantes is generally regarded as one of his worst works, and I see no reason to challenge that opinion. Full title, Comedia Famosa de la Casa de los Celos y Selvas de Ardenia [“Famous Comedy of the House of Jealousy and the Forest of Arden”]

ACT I: Reinaldos complains to Malgesi that Roldan and Galalon were making fun of his poverty. Roldan and Galalon enter, and Reinaldos confronts them. Galalon slips away, leaving Roldan to deny the accusations. Galalon returns with Charlemagne, but explanations are interrupted by a page announcing the arrival of Angelia. Charlemagne bids Malgesi scry her motivations, and Malgesi summons a demon who presents, in phantasm, Angelica, two savages in grass skirts who guard her, and her duenna. Malgesi admits he does not know who they are, and the phantasms vanish. Then the visitors enter in the flesh, and Angelica tells her sad story, how she, King Galafrone’s daughter and heir, has been exiled, and how her brother Argalía will be waiting by Merlin’s Postilion for challengers, and any he can conquer must help them reclaim their kingdom. The train leaves, and Roldan and Reinaldos immediately begin quarreling over Angelica. Malgesi informs the court that Angelica intends to kidnap the Peers with help of her brother’s magic lance, but the love-besotted court ignore him.

Bernardo del Carpio and his Biscayan squire rest in the Forest of Arden where they are seeking the tomb of the demon-born wizard Merlin. As the squire departs in search of Ferraguto, Bernardo’s friend from whom they have been separated, Bernardo unwittingly falls asleep beside Merlin’s Postilion, which is also his tomb. Argalía enters, monologues, and exits. Angelica and her train arrive, Argalía reenters, and all retire to their pavilion. Merlin’s ghost arises, predicts Bernardo’s future glory, and bids him enter his tomb under the postilion. Bernardo does so. Reinaldos arrives and lays down to sleep. Roldan arrives and falls asleep, too. Reinaldos awakes, listens to Roldan sleeptalk about Angelica, awakens him and challenges him to a duel. As they draw their swords, fire erupts between them. Roldan accuses Reinaldos of relying on Malgesi’s magic, but Reinaldos denies it. Merlin speaks, bidding Bernardo make peace between the cousins. Bernardo tries but fails, and Roldan calls him a marrano [crypto-Jew]. Bernardo now wants to fight them both, but at this juncture Marfisa enters on the hilltop at the back of the stage, sees the fight, and wishes to join. She exits to make her way down the mountain, and Angelica and the Biscayan enter on the ground, Angelica lamenting that Ferraguto has slain her brother. Roldan now wishes to fight Bernardo for being Ferraguto’s friend. Marfisa’s arrival distracts the men and lets Angelica run away. The cousins pursue her, leaving Marfisa to introduce herself to Bernardo.

ACT II: Shepherds exposit their romantic problems and extol country life, until Angelica arrives among them seeking shelter, which they grant.

Elsewhere, Reinaldos comes to a horrible cave, out of which Malgesi comes, disguised as Horror. He shows Reinaldos a pageant of Fear, Suspicion, Curiosity, Despair, and Jealousy. This fails to cure Reinaldos’ love, at which Malgesi professes bafflement, but Merlin’s voice tells him that he needs the grass which grows by the banks of his spring, the one which cures love. Malgesi dismisses the spirits and heads to Merlin’s tomb to get the grass. However, Venus arrives at this juncture, riding in a fiery chariot drawn by two lions. She has heard of Reinaldos’ condition and summons Cupid, who tells her about the nearby spring that cures love. Reinaldos (it is unclear if he can see the deities) leaves, and the shepherds (whom Angelica has now joined) arrive. They can definitely see them, and do them homage. Venus resolves their romantic problems, and all exeunt content.

Bernardo and his squire find Roldan. Bernardo challenges him, but Roldan has gone mad and doesn’t remember him. A vision of Angelica appears, which Roldan pursues, only for her to turn into Ill Fame, who threatens him in a long monologue which cures his madness. Roldan now recognizes Bernardo, but Marfisa’s entrance at this point somehow causes Roldan to relapse. He chases another vision of Angelica, which turns into Good Fame, whose long monologue effects a longer-lasting cure. All depart, heading for Paris.

ACT III: The shepherds prate of country things until Reinaldos stumbles upon them, causing Angelica to flee. However, Reinaldos soon hears her cries for help, as she has been captured by two satyrs. He is too late to save her, and they kill her. Luckily, Malgesi reveals it was all one of his illusions, and Reinaldos is cured. At Paris, Galalon and Charles receive Marfisa and Bernardo, who announce that Marfisa will be challenging all comers at Merlin’s Postilion.

Meanwhile, in Arden, Roldan and Ferraguto enter, quarreling over Ferraguto’s killing of Argalía. Ferraguto leaves, swearing to settle the issue later. Roldan sees a vision of Angelica and throws himself at her feet. But it is Malgesi’s illusion, and Malgesi now cures Roldan’s love, and they depart for Paris. Bernardo and Marfisa arrive at Merlin’s Postilion and set up camp, and Galalon arrives to challenge the woman. However, Malgesi sends the satyrs to carry him off. Marfisa and Bernardo marvel at this turn of events, then Bernardo goes to sleep. The Spirit of Castile arrives to prophecy Bernardo’s glory and to carry him away, leaving Marfisa more baffled than ever. She resolves to get out of this enchanted forest and seek Agramonte’s camp.

Elsewhere, Angelica proposes to Corinte, one of the shepherds, and they make their plans to return to Cathay and reign thereover. Unfortunately, Roldan and Reinaldos find them, and immediately begin fighting over her, which causes Corinte to flee in a panic. Malgesi sends a magic cloud to envelop the three remaining figures, and the scene changes.

Galalon, with his arm in a sling, tells Charles that he has conquered Marfisa. Malgesi arrives with Galalon’s battered shield, and Galalon slinks away before Malgesi can reveal the truth. Roldan, Reinaldos, and Angelica arrive in the cloud. Angelica is furious about being separated from her lover, but Malgesi summons the spirit of Paris, who proclaims the imminent war, which finally convinces the cousins to forget Angelica and get ready for battle. The play ends here.

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