Book I, Canto XII, Part 3

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

41
The path led up a narrow, dang’rous slope,
Nor without clamor was the gate unbarred.
Few were the times that saw that gateway ope,
Sometimes by Toil, but more oft by Fraud.
Many are they who towards the portal grope,
But few to find it open are well-starred.
Prasildo found it open on that day,
Because one-half the branch he’d had to pay.

42
Leaving that place, he rides on swift and steady,
Now judge, Sir Knight, if happy he him deemd,
Who longed to be in Babylon already,
And each day to him like a hundred seemed.
Through Nubia, for quicker travel, sped he,
His boat soon through Arabian waters streamed.
By night and day he sped so far and fast,
That into Babylon he came at last.

43
He sends his squire to the lady how
Her will is done, her knight is faithful still,
And, when she wishes to behold the bough,
She need but name what place and time she will,
And to remind her that the time is now
When likewise she her promise must fulfill,
And if her plighted word she altereth,
She may be certain she will cause his death.

44
What pain at heart, and how much cause to mourn
This woeful message brings Tisbina bright!
She throws herself upon her bed, forlorn.
To her there comes no rest by day or night.
“Alas for me!” she says, “Why was I born?
Or in the cradle could I not have died?
Death is the remedy for ev’ry ill,
But not for mine; my word I must fulfill.

45
“For if I slay myself with my own hand,
My oath is broken and I am a coward.
How foolish was I not to understand
That there is nothing that’s beyond Love’s power.
Beneath his sway are sky and sea and land,
With rule o’er mind and body he’s endowered.
Prasild came back alive, and sore I rue it;
Who would have ever thought that he could do it?

46
“Luckless Iroldo, ah, what wilt thou do,
When thy Tisbina is forever lost
And thine own fault it is that thou must rue,
Thy plan the cause that by distress I’m tossed.
Ah, luckless wretch, why wilt thou speak words new?
Thy words already had so great a cost.
Such woe has come from what my mouth said then,
I swear I’ll never make an oath again!”

47
Iroldo came, and heard his love lament,
And saw her lying face-down on her bed,
Because she had a message to him sent,
To come at once, where all her woes she said.
Without a word, across the bed he leant,
And took her in his arms; she laid her head
Upon his breast, and neither one could speak,
Nor any other thing could do but weep.

48
They seemed two blocks of ice beneath the sun,
For down their faces ran such woeful tears.
They tried to speak, but only sobs would come,
But finally, Iroldo’s voice appears:
“What grieves me most is that what I have done
Has brought such pain to thee, my love, my dear.
For nothing hath the power to be a spite
To me, which is to thee a sweet delight.

49
“But thou art well aware, my love, my all,
For thou such wisdom hast and such discretion,
That if once Love to Jealousy should fall,
The world knows not a more intensive passion.
This misadventure grieves me more than gall,
For our unhappiness myself have fashioned.
‘Twas I and I alone who made thee swear;
‘Tis I alone deserve the pain to bear.

50
“’Tis I alone who ought to be in pain,
Who did induce thee to thy woeful plight.
But still, I beg thee, as thou bliss wouldst gain,
And by the love which gave me once delight,
That thou wilt keep thine honor without stain,
And let Prasildo with reward be dight
For his great enterprise and perils vast,
Which at thy bidding he has overpassed.

51
“But please, oh, grant it not till I am dead,
For I am sure I shall not last the day.
Let Fortune heap up wrongs upon my head
But never living shall I see thee stray
And down in Hell I shall be comfortéd,
Knowing I made thee happy for a day;
But when I know thou art no longer mine,
Though I be dead, I’ll die a second time.”

52
He would have ‘plained his sorrow even more,
But his voice broke, he was so much distressed;
He stands insensible, and stunned, so sore
His grief; his heart beat high within his chest.
And fair Tisbina no less sorrow bore.
Woe of all color did her face divest.
But, turning now to look upon her love,
She spoke, as soft and gentle as a dove:

53
“Thinkest thou, such a fickle heart is mine,
That I could live without thee anywhere?
And what hath happened to that love of thine,
Of which so often thou wast wont to swear,
That if you hadst a heaven, or all nine,
Thou couldst not stand to live without me there?
And now thou thinkest thou wilt live in Hell,
And leave me wretched upon Earth to dwell?

54
“I am and have been thine since first we met,
And shall be thine beyond the gates of death,
If after dying, Love surviveth yet,
And mem’ry in the soul still lingereth.
It never shall of me be writ or said,
‘Another man Tisbina comforteth.’
‘Tis true that at thy death I shall not cry,
For at the news, immediately I’ll die.

55
“But hearken now, for I have found a way
That I may keep my promise to Prasild.
That curséd promise, which shall soon me slay;
Once it’s fulfilled, myself to death I’ll yield.
Together in the afterlife we’ll stay
While in one tomb our bodies lie concealed.
I beg thee, by the love thou bearest me,
To let me die the self-same time as thee.

56
“This shall be finished through a pleasant poison,
The which in such a manner hath been brewed,
That slowly from our bodies leaves the foison,
And in five hours with life they’re not imbued.
Time for Prasild to see the face he joys in,
And I shall keep my honor whitely hued,
And soon thereafter, with my death shall cease
All of the evils that disturb our peace.

57
And thus, and thus, they do their death ordain,
Two hapless lovers, to each other dear.
They stand, their faces by their grieving stained,
Now more then ever are they choked with tears.
Nor wish they ought, but only to remain
Together. Oft they clasp each other near.
At last Tisbina for the poison sent,
And to an agéd doctor’s shop she went.

58
The doctor gave to her a little vial,
And would not take of her a thing in fee.
Iroldo, when he stared at it a while,
Began, “No other path is offered me,
To change my darling’s sorrows to a smile.
Ah, Fortune, safely may I mock at thee,
For Death has power greater far than thine,
And thy dominion soon I’ll leave behind.”

59
He swallows half the contents of the flask,
Nor hesitates to drunk the poison sweet.
But not yet to Tisbina’s hand it passed.
He had no fear himself his death to meet,
But did not wish to make hers come more fast;
But when he saw the tears run down her cheek,
He stared down at the ground, and passed the drink,
And seemed to be already on death’s brink,

60
Not from the toxin, but alone from woe,
That she whom he so dearly loved must die.
Tisbin, with icy heart and motion slow,
And trembling hand, lifts up the vial high.
She blasphemes Fate and Love that forced her so
Unto this cruel end. She brings it nigh
Her ruby lips, and swallows ev’ry drop,
Then on the floor she lets the vial drop.

Notes

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Book I, Canto XII, Part 2

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

21
“But let my death, O gracious God, be hid
Within these woods, and never let her know
How I and she at once of grief were rid.
Let none lament me, none feel any woe.
May sorrow never damp her gen’rous lids,
And make her wish that pity she had shown.
Although she pains me so, I love her yet,
Even in death, my love I’ll ne’er forget!”

22
The lamentations of that noble lord
With broken words and mixed with sighing came,
And from its scabbard he withdrew his sword,
As pale as if already he were slain,
And ever called on her whom he adored,
Hoping to die and speak Tisbina’s name,
For calling on that name he hoped to rise
Alongside that fair name to Paradise.

23
But she, with her beloved, stood nearby,
And all the baron’s burning woes she hears.
Iroldo’s breast with pity swelleth high,
And all his face was covered with his tears;
And with his lady he resolves to try
To fend of this catastrophe which nears.
Iroldo hidden in the thicket stays,
While Tisbin shows her to her lover’s gaze.

24
That she has heard his plaints she gives no clue,
Nor that she’s heard him call her cruel and cold.
But as the branches she is pushing through,
She feigns astonishment, him to behold,
And says, “Prasildo, if thy love is true,
Which oft before thou didst to me unfold,
Do not abandon me in my great need.
For if thou fail me, I am doomed indeed.

25
“And if I were not in a woeful plight,
About to lose my life and my good name,
To such a task I would not thee invite,
For all the world holds not a greater shame
Than asking help from him one’s held in spite.
Thou burnest for me with so great a frame,
And I have always been to thee so hard;
But henceforth shall I hold thee in regard.

26
Upon my honor now I swear to thee,
I’ll pledge my love to thee beyond recall
If thou wilt but fulfill this quest for me;
I trust thy fate no longer hard thou’lt call.
Beside a wood in far-off Barbary,
There lives a garden with an iron wall.
There are four gates which this fair garden hath.
One is the gate of Life, and one of Death.

27
One is of Riches, one of Poverty.
Who comes by one, must out the other go,
And in the midst of it there grows a tree,
Too tall to shoot its top branch with a bow.
All those who see it stand amazedly,
For pearls thereon instead of flowers grow.
The Treasure Tree ‘tis called, I have been told,
Its fruits are emeralds; its boughs are gold.

28
And I must have  a branch of this same tree,
For otherwise I am undone for aye,
And by thy services I shall well see
If thou hast love as much as thou dost say.
I’ll love thee even more than thou dost me,
If thou wilt start thy quest without delay,
My hand and heart together shall reward
Thy laboring; of this be well assured.

29
When Don Prasildo hears he has a chance
To win the love of her who hath no peer,
So much his ardor and desire advance,
He swears to seek the branch, devoid of fear.
He would have offered, for a kindly glance,
To fetch a star, the moon, the sun so dear.
All of the oceans, all the land and air
He would have offered to this lady fair.

30
Without delay upon his quest he goes
To fetch the branch, his lady’s love to claim.
He leaves the city, dressed in pilgrim’s clothes.
Now must thou know Iroldo and his dame
Had sent Prasildo to this garden-close
(The Bower of Medusa was its name)
So that the labor and the flow of time
Would drive Tisbina’s image from his mind.

31
The lovers knew another thing, besides,
That this Medusa was a damsel fair
Who ‘neath the shady Treasure Tree abides,
And whoso spies her lovely visage there
Forgets at once whatever cause him guides.
But he, with word or sign, who greets her there,
Or touches her, or who beside her sits,
Loses at once his mem’ry and his wits.

32
The ardent lover on his journey rides,
Alone with love to keep him company.
O’er the Red Sea within a boat he glides,
And soon Egyptian land behind leaves he.
The Barca mountains finally he nighed,
When an old palmer there he chanced to see;
The ancient man he courteously addressed,
And as they spoke, he told him all his quest.

33
The old man says to him, “Thy kindly fate
It was that guided thee to meet me now.
All of thy doubts and fears thou mayst abase,
For I shall show thee how to win the bough.
Thou only thinkest how to find the gate,
But thy true danger cometh once ‘tis found:
The gates of Life and Death thou must leave be.
Come to Medusa but by Poverty.

34
“Ignorant of this dame I think thou art,
Thou didst not name her, telling of thy quest.
This is the damsel who is joyed at heart
To guard the shining Tree withouten rest.
From him who sees her, memory departs,
And of all wit and sense she him divests.
But if she ever saw her face herself,
She’d flee the garden and forsake her wealth.

35
“No shield except a mirror shalt thou bear,
Wherein the dame her loveliness may see.
Carry no arms, let all thy limbs be bare,
For thou must enter in through Poverty.
More cruel appearances that gate doth wear
Than any worldly thing, believe thou me.
Not only are all evil things there hatched,
But he who passes by is sorely thrashed.

36
“But at the other gate when thou’lt attempt
To leave, thou’lt meet with Wealth upon her throne.
All of creation holds she in contempt,
Hated by all, she loves herself alone.
Part of thy branch thou must to her extend.
Without a gift, she will not let thee roam,
For Avarice beside her guards the door,
Who, though she owneth much,  yet longs for more.”

37
Prasildo listens with attention close,
And thanks the pilgrim old with all his power,
Then takes his leave and through the desert goes,
And after thirty days draws nigh the bower,
And since the secrets of the place he knows,
He heads for Poverty and does not cower
Although the gate is terrible and vile.
The garden’s treasure makes it all worthwhile.

38
The garden seemed to be a Paradise
Of flowers, bushes, all things lush and green.
The baron held a mirror before his eyes
So that Medusa’s face would go unseen.
Straight forward through the garden walks he hies,
Hoping to find the Tree of golden sheen.
The lady, when she hears him drawing nearer,
Lifts up her head and looks into the mirror.

39
She sees her face, and she is left astounded.
She’d thought her skin was snow, her lips a rose.
Her thoughts of her own beauty were unfounded.
A hideous dragon’s face the mirror shows.
In terror leapt she up; away she bounded.
Died in the distance her laments and woes.
Soon as the knight no longer hears her cries,
He brings the mirror-shield down from his eyes.

40
He goes towards the trunk, from which hath fled
Medusa, that deceitful, ribald witch.
At sight of her own face discomfortéd,
She had abandoned clean her treasure rich.
Prasild breaks off the branch above his head,
And joys that all has gone without a hitch.
He comes towards the gate which Richesse guards,
Who all noblesse and virtue disregards.

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Book I, Canto XII, Part 1

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

ARGUMENT

Dame Fiordelisa tells Rinald a tale,
Their tedious journey somewhat to beguile,
Of how Prasild of Babylon was pale
With love for fair Tisbina, who by guile
Bade him within Medusa’s garden’s rail
Fetch her a branch. He traveled many a mile,
Ere he returned to please his lady fair,
Who tried to kill herself in her despair.

1
I sung already of the battle drear
Were all day long the noise of battle roared
‘Twixt Sacripante, he who knows not fear,
And Agrican, that free and lofty lord,
But no more bitterness will strike your eat,
And a sweet tale of love I shall record,
If it will please you, lords, to call to mind
Where Don Rinaldo we had left last time.

2
The damsel lightly off her palfrey came,
And offers to the cavalier her seat.
Rinaldo answers her, “Thou dost me shame
To think that I could do so ill a deed.”
With speedy words then answered him the dame
That she can’t let him travel on his feet.
At last (for too-long tales make listeners droop)
He swings to saddle, and she takes the croup.

3
At first, the lady felt a little fear
For virtue’s sake, whih she was cautious of,
But all day long she rode, and didn’t hear
Rinaldo speak a single word of love.
Till somewhat reassured, she makes good cheer
And says to him, “O knight all knights above,
Now through a mighty forest must we wend
A hundred leagues across from end to end.

4
“And so that not so long will seem the way,
Through this oppressive and deserted wood,
I’d like to tell a story, if I may,
Which I think thou wilt like. It’s very good.
If ever th’art in Babylon some day,
Ask anyone, they’ll tell thee how it stood.
For a true story, not a fable, I’ll tell,
And all folk in that city know it well.

5
“There was a cavalier, Iroldo hight,
And a fair lady who was called Tisbin.
Such love for him possessed this lady bright
As Tristan had from fair Isold the Queen.
And in return he loved her with such might,
That always, from the dusk to morn’s first beam,
And from dawn’s birth to when the daylight died,
He thinks of her alone and naught beside.

6
“There was a knight, who dwelt nearby these two,
Reckoned of Babylon the finest knight.
This was the common talk, and it was true,
For he was full of courtesy and might.
His many riches which he had, he’d strew
Lavishly, so to keep his honor bright.
Pleasant at feasts and dreadful in the fight,
A courtly lover and an honest knight.

7
This worthy knight, (Prasildo was his name)
Was once invited, to his sore mishap,
Into a garden, where the knights and dames,
Tisbin among them, played a game. One sat
Amidst them, as the mistress of the game,
And one knight hid his head within her lap,
Then she would point to one to tap his hand,
And he must guess who thus obeyed the command.

8
Prasildo stood awhile and watched the fun,
Until Tisbina signalled him to hit.
He tapped the palm of the blind, kneeling one,
Who quickly guessed him, and now he was It.
Face in her lap, he felt such fire run
Through all his veins, and felt his heart so lit,
His only thought is how to answer wrong,
For no time in her lap can seem too long.

9
After the game is over and the feast,
The flame that’s burning in his heart won’t quail.
But all that day its violence increased.
At night, more sharp and bitter pains assail.
He cannot fathom why his face has ceased
To bear its wonted glow and turned so pale,
And why he cannot find repose in sleep.
He finds no place where he his rest can keep.

10
His pillow seems to him to be so hard,
That he would gladly change it for a stone.
The lively sorrow grows within his heart,
From which all other thoughts away have flown.
Sighs without number from his lips depart.
What grief he had, is but to lovers known.
For I can not describe, and no one can,
What love is like to an unloving man.

11
His hunting horses and his hunting hounds
Which he once raised and raced devotedly,
No longer with them is he ever found.
Now he delights in jolly company.
To feasts and parties is he always bound.
Verses he writes and gives them melody.
He often jousts and enters tournaments,
With great destriers and rich apparellments.

12
And if he had some courtesy before,
Now by a hundred times ‘tis multiplied.
For ev’ry virtue always grows the more,
Which finds itself with faithful love allied.
I’ve never known a man who virtue bore,
Which didn’t blossom, having Love for guide.
But this Prasildo, he who loved so greatly,
Grew still more courtly, courteous, and stately.

13
He found himself a faithful advocate,
Who was among Tisbina’s dearest friends,
Who ev’ry evening of Prasildo prates.
Nor did she think the first rebuff the end,
But all for naught. Tisbina wasn’t swayed.
To oaths and prayers would she never bend.
But still the lady didn’t cease attempting;
She knew full well a change is always tempting.

14
She often wheedles her, “O lady fair,
Does not hear opportunity now knock.
When thou hast such a lover, past compare,
Who thinks none fairer under Heaven walks
Than thou? Although thou art of beauty rare,
Yet swift time at thy fading beauty mocks.
Take the delight, and while th’art young, be merry,
Or when th’art old, thou wilt forever tarry.

15
Youth with beauty and with pleasure glows,
The young with merriment and glee should go,
For in an instant all its fairness goes,
As when the morning sun dissolves the snow,
Or in one day the bright vermillion rose
Loses its scent and color, even so
Youth flies away, and none can him retain.
No one can hold him, for he has no rein.

16
Often these words and similar ones she wields
Against Tisbina, but she fights in vain.
But, when the violets sprouted in the fields,
And all the earth was gladdened by the rain,
And winter’s ice to solar radiance yields,
The lofty knight was sunk so deep in pain,
And had been brought to such a woeful state,
For death and death alone he hopes and waits.

17
No longer does he celebrate and feast.
He’s pained by pleasure and his eyes are bleary.
His chalky pallor ev’ry day increased.
He stayed away from happy men and cheery.
He knew of naught by which he would be pleased,
Except to swiftly leave this world so dreary.
He often went alone into the forest,
There to lament when agony was sorest.

18
He did this often, till one morning came
Iroldo riding out, on game intent.
Beside him was Tisbina, lovely dame.
They heard a voice that through the branches went,
With sighs and sobs the broken voice complained.
Prasild so sweetly did his love lament,
And with such gentle words he made his moan
He could wake pity in the very stones.

19
“Hear me, ye flowers and ye woods,” he said,
“For she, ah, cruel she! Her ears are closed.
Hear what misfortunes fall upon my head!
And thou, O sun, that only now arose,
And ye, bright stars, thou moon of gentle tread,
Hear only once the story of my woes;
For these my final words are. Soon will I,
A most cruel death for my belovéd die.

20
“With such extremities I am content,
Because my live contains nought else but bad,
Since heaven such a cruel soul hath sent
To one who such a gracious virtue had,
She would be joyous if my life were shent,
So I shall kill myself to make her glad.
There is no other thing I more delight in
Than to make her sweet face a little brighten.”

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Notes

Book I, Canto XI, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto XI, Stanzas 41-53

41
Redoubted Sacripante leads the rest,
And doesn’t seem to hold his life too dear,
For he no armor had upon his chest.
You’d think the ending of his life was near,
But his agility is of the best,
As is his strength, and so he has no fear.
Nothing protects him but a copper shield,
But still, his sword with deadly skill he wields.

42
Sometimes a rock he throws, sometimes a dart,
And now he fights his foes with spear in hand,
Now he stands with his shield, a ways apart,
And strikes his enemies with his good brand.
So well he fights that Agricane starts
To think this battle may not go as planned.
His vigor and his prowess are in vain.
By now, three hundred of his men are slain.

43
Although his strength and efforts he redoubles,
And darts and arrows on his foe he rains,
King Sacripante gives him still more trouble,
And the Circassians new courage gain.
His plume is gone, his crest broke like a bubble.
Less than a quarter of his shield remains.
Rocks strike his head and make his helm resound;
All up and down his body wounds are found.

44
As when, force by an angry crowd of men,
A raging lion’s driven to the wood
But scorns to seem a coward even then,
He often turns his head, as if he would
Come back to fight, and swings his tail, and when
He roars, he stands like mighty kings have stood,
Even so Agricane, forced to flight,
Shows courage more than many do in fight.

45
At ev’ry thirty steps he turns around,
And breathes defiance, fronts his foes with scorn,
But far too many of them press him round,
All through the city, and his hope’s forlorn.
Rushing from ev’ry side new folk are found;
Behold a fresh battalion there is born.
With newfound heart and vigor they attack,
Pressing close up to Agricane’s back.

46
But even so, they can’t alarm the king,
Who strikes among them, dealing woe and ruin.
Footmen and cavaliers to earth he flings,
In desperation growling like a bruin.
Now shall I leave him, as his sword he swings,
I wish to sing about Rinaldo’s doings,
Who recently has left the Cruel Rock,
And now along the seashore takes a walk.

47
My lords, remember how I told before
How on a woeful damosel he came,
Who seemed to wish for death, such grief she bore.
The baron courteously hailed the dame,
And begged her, but whatever love she bore,
And by whatever can her love most claim,
And by the God of Heaven and by Mahound,
To tell him why she was in sorrow drowned.

48
With weeping answers him the dame forlorn,
“All thou art fain to know I will thee tell.
Oh, God! Why couldn’t I have ne’er been born,
Or died in bliss, before to woe I fell?
I’ve searched this land, and will search many more,
But have no even found a hope of help.
For I must find, to save me from this plight,
One who can fight alone against nine knights.”

49
“Rinaldo answers, “I care not to boast,
That I could fight with two, much less with nine,
But thy sad speech and plight me slay almost.
Such pity stir they in this heart of mine,
That I will fight for thee against a host
To prove what I can do for thee and thine.
Take heart, for I’ll be ever at thy side,
Till in thy cause I’ve conquered or I’ve died.”

50
She said, “God bless thee for thy fair design!
And for the noble goal thou hast in aim.
But half unknown to thee’s this task of thine.
When thou know’st all, thou’lt leave me as I came,
For Count Orland is among the nine.
Thou hast perhaps, heard somewhat of his fame.
The others also all are men of might.
Thou wilt not go with honor from this fight.

51
When Don Rinaldo hears the damosel
And hears his cousin Count Orlando’s name,
At once he gently asks if she will tell
All that she’s heard of Count Orlando’s fame.
The lady tells him all that her befell:
The stream that robs all mem’ry from the brain,
And all things else she tells of as they happed,
And how Orlando with the rest was trapped.

52
When he hears ev’rything the lady says,
And how she parted was from Brandimart,
Rinald immediately boldly prays
That with all speed she’ll guide him to those parts,
And swears and promises upon his faith
To use his utmost strength and utmost art,
Whether in fighting, or in feigning love,
To save them all from her they’re pris’ners of.

53
The lady sees the baron resolute,
And of his person ev’ry limb was strong,
As if all noble deeds were his pursuit,
And he who gave him knighthood did no wrong.
But though this canto’s short, here stops my lute,
Because the next one will be very long,
Wherein I’ll tell a pleasant tale in rhyme
The damsel told to him to pass the time.

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Book I, Canto XI, Part 2

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

21
“But thou shalt have a suitable reward,
When my men cut thine down upon the plain.”
One of tthem this way, one the other spurred,
As the battalions met and clashed amain.
They chopped so swiftly that their swords seemed blurred.
Never has such a multitude been slain.
Thirty good scythes could not cut so much wheat
As men that day were taken off their feet.

22
King Agricane Trufaldin attacks,
That scoundrel sees his doom is close at hand.
To leap upon the ground he is not slack,
And shouts, “A noble feet indeed thou’st planned,
To throw me off of my pathetic hack
When thy horse hath no peer in any land.
Give up thy vantage, as is just and right,
I challenge thee on foot with me to fight!”

23
For fame and honor Agricane thirsts.
He leaps to ground; a count he trusted kept
The reins of him who was Rinaldo’s erst,
For no less trusted guard would he accept.
At the right time, King Trufaldin, th’accurst,
Seized on his reins and to his saddle leapt,
And, before Agricane grasped his plight,
Into the fray he lunged and passed from sight.

24
The Tartars now are masters of the battle.
Across the field Circassians all they drive.
The soldiers of Baghdad, that ugly rabble
Flee with those Syrians who are still alive.
Shields, lances, swords they drop in their mad scramble,
Bows, arrows, darts won’t help them to survive.
None to the Tartar onslaught dare respond.
The Turks flee, and the men of Trebisond.

25
On the brink of the moat the army’s clumped,
Sunk in the earth, which keeps Albracca safe.
Some are pushed off the edge, and others jump.
The bridge is raised, and lowered is the gate.
Angelica looks on; her spirits slunmp
To see her people die at such a rate.
She bids the gate to rise, the bridge to fall;
A lack of men would please her not at all.

26
Once thus the way to safety is disclosed,
The common thought is “Devil take the hindmost!”
The Tartars chased them boldly, nor reposed.
The gate drops; some are in, but far behind most.
Of all who by the lattice are enclosed,
King Agricane had for slaughter mind most.
Three hundred knights who serve his beck and call
Are with their lord shut in Albracca’s wall.

27
Upon Baiardo gallantly he rides.
Never was seen a warrior so fierce.
Bordacco of Damascus soon espied
The king, and spurred towards the cavalier,
Defying him with arrogance and pride:
“Now has thy strength, O King, met with its peer.
The fine Baiardo is of no avail!
Thy war and all thy scheming now will fail!

28
Do what thou wilt, thou art about to die!
Thou canst not show thy strength nor make defense.”
King Agricane laughs with scornful eye,
“With words, indeed, thou show’st a good offense.
Enough of talk! Come on, sir knight, and try
To take my life away, and I’ll commence
By sending thee down to the netherworld,
The first of many who’ll by me by hurled.”

29
The King Bordacco wields an iron chain,
Which has for head a massive leaden ball.
A two-hand blow at Agrican he aims,
Who with his shield deflects it ere he sprawls.
And not content to thus avert his bane,
Slices the chain, which in two pieces falls.
The Tartar shouts aloud, “Thou soon wilt feel
Which of our weapons is the better steel!”

30
And with those words, that most redoubted lord,
With both his hands, he strikes his foeman’s crest.
Down through his skull and brainpan drives his sword,
Slices through chin and neck down to the breast.
The folk perceive how King Bordacco’s gored.
They flee, their faces show that they’re distressed.
While such great fear the fleeing crowd evinces,
The Tartar king pursues and he them minces.

31
Hs heart is ardent, and his fear is nought.
He always longs for battle or for raid.
If he had only stopped, and only thought
To turn around and open up the gate,
The castle easily he would have caught,
Angelica his pris’ner he’d have made,
But wrath, which dulls the sense and clouds the mind
Solely to chase the army him inclined.

32
The battle rages, the two hosts betwixt,
Horrible, cruel, confusing all around;
For one side and the other are so mixed
Some die, and some within the moat are drowned.
So many sliced and hacked were, and transfixed,
That the blood ran so much that in the ground
It formed a stream which in its channel flowed,
Till it cascaded right into the moat.

33
Now by fresh terror is the army marred,
And sights still crueler to their eyes appear.
The King in fury charges on Baiard,
A sight so terrible, all fill with fear.
The world has never seen a fight so hard
Nor where so many lost their lives as here;
So many men the Pagan king has slain,
So many corpses leaves he on the plain.

34
But ere Albracca’s gates had been transgressed,
As you have heard, by him of Tartary.
Already had there entered, seeking rest
King Sacripante, full of chivalry.
Disarmed, there tend him leeches of the best,
But so much blood already lost had he
He could not even sit in bed upright,
But lay there stilly, his face pale and white.

35
Now turn we back to Agrican once more,
Who sweepeth onward like a hurricane.
His bloody sword in both his hands he bore.
No one was ever of so many the bane.
Hearing the woeful cries and weeping sore,
That from the wounded and the dying came,
King Sacripante, lying on his cot,
Spoke up and for the noise’s reason sought.

36
Weeping, his squire to the monarch tells,
“King Agricane’s entered in, that hound,
And puts to martyrdom the citadel.”
This herd, the monarch from his sickbed bounds.
All those about, to hold him back try well,
But he escapes them and them all confounds.
Nothing except his shield and sword he bears,
Save for his smock; no other clothes he wears.

37
He meets his army, filled with indignation.
None of them dares their angry king to face.
He cries to them: “Alas, thou shameless nation!
When but one cavalier can all you chase,
How do you live through such humiliation?
How can you dare to look me in the face?
Throw down your shields, go home, and sell your armor,
You’re only fit to live as churlish farmers!

38
“See how I’ve come, without my armor dight,
And nearly naked, honor so I prize.”
The army is arrested in its flight,
Full up of admiration and surprise.
Ev’ry last one of them turns back to fight,
Because his fame resounded to the skies,
And when they saw the tales of him were true,
They thought, “There’s nothing that our king can’t do.”

39
Lo! Agricne thund’ring through the streets,
As the defeated, fleeing troops he routs,
Until the newly-heartened men he meets,
And Sacriptant, who boldly leads them out.
Another battle now begins. Great feats
Are done; this is a far more bloody bout
Than was the last. The Tartar host is small,
But their great leader gives them courage all.

40
But nonetheless, such multitudes are lain
Upon the earth by that Circassian king,
That no one thinks retreat will bring him shame,
And they take flight, while the Albraccans fling
Jav’lins and darts, wherewith are many slain.
The clash of weapons makes the welkin ring.
No battlefield could ever be more dread;
None stay within the courtyards save the dead.

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Notes

Book I, Canto XI, Part 1

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

CANTO XI

ARGUMENT

King Agrican and Sacripant agree
To fight in single combat, one on one.
But when the valiant King Torindo sees
Sacripant losing, to the duel he runs,
And war resumes. The Tartar valiantly
Enters the keep. Great deeds by him are done,
Ere Sacripant compels him to retreat.
Rinaldo and Don Fiordelisa meet.

1
You’ve heard already of the ruinous course
King Agricane ran, that spirit fierce.
As when a wave destroys a fleet by force,
Or when a cannon through an army sheers,
E’en thus that king attacks without remorse,
Chopping the standards, smiting cavaliers,
Slicing his foes and hacking his own men.
For wrath the king made no distinction then.

2
Circassians and Tartars all are one.
Of friend or enemy he takes no heed.
He cut down all who in his pathway came.
And now that worthy knight advanced with speed
To where he saw the high emprises done
Which Sacripant performed upon his steed.
He saw his men flee fast as legs could carry them,
And the Circassian monarch sorely harry them.

3
“You curst, degen’rate breed, out of my sight!”
King Agricane cries, “You worthless flock!
My vassals nevermore will you be hight.
I won’t be king of such a wretched stock.
Go where the hell you want, and let me fight,
For I can better stand the foeman’s shock
Alone, just as I am, in this fierce battle,
Than I can do with you, you useless rabble.”

4
These words once said, he seeks his foeman out,
And Sacripant to combat he invites.
My lords, believe me, ye need have no doubt
He instantly accepts, that ardent sprite.
He sends a squire through the battle rout
Up to Albracca, to the lady bright,
Praying her that upon the wall she’ll stand,
So that her sight will strengthen his right hand.

5
The damsel stands upon Albracca’s wall,
And to King Sacripant a sword she sends,
That will stay sharp, whatever may befall.
Now grief King Agricane’s bosom rends.
He mutters soft, “I do not care at all,
Because that sword will be mine in the end,
So will Albracca. Sacripant will grovel,
So will that dirty slut and all her brothel.

6
“Hast thou no shame at all, thou ugly witch?
To scorn my love, how is it that thou durst?
When I could make thee happy, make thee rich,
And make thee of all earthly queens the first?
Women, ’tis true, a thousand times will switch
Their minds, and always settle on the worst.
The King of Kings at thy feet doth abase him,
And thou art lusting for a vile Circassian!”

7
Having thus spoke, he turns around and glowers
As from his foe he spurs across the ground.
His mighty lance into its rest he lowers,
As on the other side now turns around
King Sacripant, who comes with strength and power.
The one and th’other clash. The noise resounds
With such a fracas and so great a din,
It seems the sky will fall, the world will end.

8
Each of them strikes the other’s helmet front
With their immeasurably enormous lances,
But neither can his foe from saddle shunt.
Each lance up to its hilt in splinters glances,
Though each was three palms wide, without affront
To truth. To swords the combat now advances.
They fall on one another, raging high,
For each of them desires to win or die.

9
If in a field you’ve ever seen two bulls
Who madly for a milk-white heifer fought,
And seen them locking horns and clashing skulls
And heard their bellowing, with dreadness fraught,
You know how seemed those knights of valor full,
Who for Love’s sake esteemed their lives as nought.
Their shields, in pieces hacked, they cast away,
And fight with more abandon in the fray.

10
Now Sacripant, with all his strength, brings down
A blow dispiteous, uncouth, two-handed,
On Agricane’s head. He splits his crown,
But not his helmet, for that is enchanted.
At the same time the Tartar of renown
A blow on Sacripante’s left flank planted.
Vengeance is all the thought within their heads,
To pay back cake where they were given bread.

11
So swiftly fall not rain, nor hail thus rattles,
Nor in such numbers fall the flakes of snow,
As in that bitter and imperiled battle
Fell the strokes of the broadswords, blow on blow.
Blood runs down from their helmets to their saddles.
No crueler fight can any his’try show.
Each one is wounded sore in places twenty,
And yet of fury they heap up more plenty.

12
But Sacripant fared worse, I have to say.
The blood ran down his leg whene’er he strove.
But little did he prize his life that day,
And thinking of Angelica above
All else, he said, “O King of Heaven, I pray
That all the deeds I do today for love,
Angelica will watch,  and grateful be.
Then care I not for death or injury.

13
“I’d be content to know my death is nigh
If that sweet creature held me in regard.
Oh, if I only once could hear her sigh,
‘I am too cruel and make my heart too hard,
To make this cavalier for Love’s sake die,
When for my love, his life he disregards!’
If but these gentle words mine ears caressed,
In life or death I’d be forever blest.”

14
And with these thoughts he is so much inflamed
That of all cowardice he was bereft.
With ev’ry blow, he shouts his lady’s name,
Striking great blows upon his right and left.
His only thought is how to please the dame.
He cares not for the wounds by which he’s cleft;
But as he loses blood, his spirits fail,
Although he still fights on, his face is pale.

15
The other kings look from afar and wait,
Watching the dreadful combat of their chiefs.
To each of them, it seems a damage great
To watch him die, and bring him no relief.
But, above all, his pity can’t abate
The Turk Torindo, and he’s filled with grief
To see King Sacripante in distress
And not be able to bring him redress.

16
And to the others he begins to say,
That certainly a grievous sin it were
To watch their king die and lend him no aid.
He bursts out: “Ingrates! How can ye endure
To look upon his death without dismay?
The worthiest king that ever vassal served.
We fled, all routed, overwhelmed by strife;
Sacripant saved our honor and our life.

17/18
Be not afraid of them, for all their might,
For with our swords we’ll cut them down to size!
Don’t think it treason to disrupt the fight.
But we’ll be traitors all if our king dies!
’Tis simple duty, ’tis not treason hight,
To save one’s king. If any blame here lies,
Be the blame mine and be the glory yours!”
And with these words he spurs his gallant horse.

18/19
His lance in rest, against the crowd he runs,
Flooring the first and second men he meets.
The third and fourth to him likewise succumb.
A mighty outcry his aggression greets,
As ev’ry Turk and each Circassian comes,
And Trebisond and Syria are fleet,
Following King Torindo down the line.
Russians, Mongolians, and Tartars join

19/20
With mighty Trufaldino of Baghdad.
The dust flew thick, and many men were flayed.
King Trufaldin a hundred thousand had
Who came behind him in a vast brigade.
When Agricane sees this mishap sad
And how his army sorely was dismayed,
To Sacripante thus he speaks: “Sir Knight,
Thy men have done a deed against all right.”

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No notes to this part.

Book I, Canto X, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto X, Stanzas 41-53

41
Who with him brings a host of troops so vast
One hundred thousand men form his brigade.
Damascus’ king his lot with them has cast.
There’s twenty thousand ‘neath this giant’s flag.
He’s called Bordacco. Sacripant is last,
Circassia’s ruler, vigorous and brave,
With a strong body and a prudent soul,
And eighty thousand under his control.

42
They reach Albracca fortress on the day
After Astolf was caught for lack of wit.
They fall upon the camp without delay,
Though Agricane’s host is infinite.
It was at Prime that they began the fray,
And by the rosy dawn the sky was lit,
When the ferocious battle was begun
In which so many lab’rous deeds were done.

43
Of the cruel battle who could even try
To put the seventh part of it in words?
The bitter fighting, blows on ev’ry side,
The shrieks that from the wretched men are heard
Of either army when they fall and die?
Who could set forth the blood that paints the earth,
The crashing metal, and the flags’ advances,
And the field covered with the splintered lances?

44
‘Tis King Vorano strikes the foremost blow.
Without a trace of fear he leads the van.
He’s made sure that all of his soldiers know
To take no pris’ners, but kill ev’ry man.
With speed and without warning his troops go.
“To arms! To arms!” throughout the Tartars ran.
This one defends himself, and that one arms,
And that one hides and flees in his alarm.

45
But they the wisest are who run away;
The enemy’s already in their tents.
The Tartars with the sword and lance they slay.
Not one of all th’Armenians relents.
Through woods and fields, and down the roads and ways
The Tartar army flees, by terror sent.
Behold another reason to abscond:
Here comes the Emperor of Trebisond.

46
With all his men the Tartars he attacks.
Next is the great Ungiano’s prowess shown.
Leading his men, no knightly skill he lacks.
And now Torindo and brave Savaron
Amidst the Tartar army slash and hack.
And still, beneath their banner gently blown,
Sacripant and Bordac are in reserve,
With Trufaldino, treach’rous cur of curs.

47
The sprawling battle engulfs all the crowd.
Some here, some there across the fields take flight.
Of dust the armies kick up such a cloud
That all are hidden from each other’s sight.
And so disorganized is all the rout
It can’t be helped by all the strength and might
Of Agricane, though his force is dread.
He sees before him all his people dead.

48
The king, as sorrow o’er his spirit came,
Left his brigade behind and charged ahead,
And called on all his barons bold by name,
Uldano, Saritron, Argante dread,
King Pandragone, worthy of great fame,
Lurcan and giant Radamant the Red,
With Santaría, Polferom, Brontin,
Summoning one and all to battle keen.

49
Upon Baiard doth Agrican advance,
Before all others, with his lance at rest.
Not one of all his foes against him stands.
With such great wrath across the field he pressed,
He strikes men down without a backwards glance,
And now to King Varano he addressed,
And on his helmet lands a mighty blow
That sends him loudly to the ground below.

50
Brunaldo is unseated from his horse
By Polifermo; look at strong Argante
Who overthrows King Savaron by force;
And see the cruel giant Radamante
Meets with Ungiano and that worthy floors.
Now well perceives the knightly Sacripante
That all his people will be dead or routed
Unless himself he something does about it.

51
He left his troops, that king of valor true
And spurred his charger, laid in rest his lance,
And Poliferm with one blow overthrew;
Brontin and Pandragon to him advance,
The worthy Emperor Argante, too,
Who all fall with a blow of Sacripant’s.
And then he takes into his hand his sword
And drove back to retreat the Tartar horde.

52
Elsewhere is fighting Agricane grand,
And does great deeds of wonder on his own.
He sees how by the hills and level lland
His people have from Sacripante flown.
For ire great he gnaws on both his hands
And cruelly into battle he has thrown
Himself, and cuts down anyone he can,
Whether his own or Sacripante’s man.

53
As when, about the thawing time of Spring,
A river from a mighty mountain flows,
And oversteps its banks, to ruin bring,
So swollen ’tis with showers and with snows,
Just so advances that impetuous king.
With ire great and tumult fierce he goes,
And on that day performs a mighty feat,
Of which in my next canto I will treat.

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Notes

Book I, Canto X, Part 2

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

21
The lady pays his boasting slight attention.
She knows full well he’s an amusing braggart.
Of Don Rinaldo she makes no more mention,
Hearing him blasphemed pierced her like a dagger,
And she knew all about Astolf’s inventions,
For when in Paris, she had been no laggard
T’examine all the worthies of the court
And find out what their rank and what their sort.

22
She treats Astolfo with utmost respect.
To dight a chamber for her guest she hies,
When, lo, outside a cry begins to spread,
Because a messenger just then arrives.
With dust the man was covered, and with sweat.
“To arms! To arms!” to one and all he cries.
Ev’ry man arms and turns out on the ground,
Because the fortress bells the signal sound.

23
Three thousand cavaliers were kept inside,
One thousand footmen made the Rock their bower.
The lady, with Astolfo at her side,
Consults with them, of all her knights the flower.
To stay within the fortress they decide,
And guard Albracca’s walls and lofty towers.
The grounds and fort so wondrously are shapen
That never in a war can they be taken.

24
They think to trust in their defenses good,
Which may for fifteen years withstand all strife.
Astolfo answers, “If I thought I would
Waste here a single day out of my life,
Besieged and fighting not at all, I should
Be glad to end myself with rope or knife.
And for eternity may I be damned,
If on this day I take not lance in hand!”

25
No sooner silent, then he took to arming,
And mounted on Baiard he leaves the fort,
Shouting things stupefying and alarming,
Which might stop e’en the boldest warrior short.
“You knights will wish you’d spent your whole lives farming,
When I get through with you!” Astolfo roared,
“None of your soldiers can against me stand,
I’ll cut down all your men with my two hands!”

26
Twenty two hundred thousand, maybe bigger,
The size was of the troops of Agrican.
Good Bishop Turpin ‘tis who gives this figure.
Astolf didn’t count, but charged straight on.
Truly, a hair this valiant knight could trigger.
That day such obstacles he came upon,
That somewhat of his rashness he repents,
And ever after had a bit more sense.

27
For now, though, all the army he defied,
Calling on Radamant and Saritrone.
For Polifermo and Argant he cried;
Insults Brontino and King Pandragone,
And Agrican, their master and their guide,
And strong Uldano, and the false Lurcone,
And Santaría, ruler of the Swedes.
Outrage and threats against them al he breathed.

28
The siegers arm themselves in madcap fury.
You never saw so humorous a sight
As was this multitude in such a hurry
To arm themselves against a single knight.
Loudly they cry, and eagerly they scurry.
The noises echo off the mountains’ height.
The flags are raised, batallions are arrayed,
Ten kings together march in one brigade.

29
When Don Astolf alone there they espied,
They are ashamed that such a host they’ve led.
Emp’ror Argante not a bit delayed,
But left his troops and to Astolfo sped.
Six palms could fit between his shoulder blades.
You never saw such an enormous head.
His nose is flat and broad; his eyes are slits;
The dog is ugly, but he has good wits.

30
With head aloft, the challenger advanced,
Upon a fine destrier with pelt of sorrel.
The Frankish duke, thanks to his golden lance,
Knocks him down from his seat and ends their quarrel.
The hosts assembled look at him askance.
Uldano lays his lance in rest. With laurels
He often has been crowned, this cavalier.
He’s cousin german to the good Ogier.

31
Astolfo with the lance his foeman clouts,
And on the ground Uldano takes his place.
The other kings are seized with awe and doubt.
They dare not look each other in the face.
There rose from ev’ry side a mighty shout,
“Kill him! Kill him!” thus the cry is raised,
And all together, the uncounted rabble
Charge at Astolfo and begin the battle.

32
He, on the other side, stands firm, secure,
And all that charging army he awaits
Just like a rock behind high walls endures,
Ready with Baiard to perform feats great.
By all the dust, the heavens are obscured,
Raised by the feet of that accurséd race.
Four of them lead the vanguard: Saritrone,
Radamont, Agrican, and Pandragone.

33
Now Saritrone first accosts the knight,
And of his horse and saddle he’s bereft.
But Radamonto charges on his right,
And strikes the English duke, while on his left
At the same time, king Agricane strikes,
While charging head-on, with a blow most deft
King Pandragone strikes Astolfo, too,
And these three blows him from his saddle threw.

34
Half-dead, upon the earth he lies distended,
From the three mighty blows he had received.
King Radamanto from his steed descended
And Don Astolf as prisoner he seized.
Astolf now no more himself defended.
He was alone. Nobody him relieved.
What Agricane held in more regard
Than Duke Astolfo was his horse, Baiard.

35
I do not know, my lords, if that destrier
No longer being in his master’s hands
No longer was to Saracens as fierce,
Or if his being in a foreign land
Made all his hopes of fleeing disappear.
At any rate, to Agrican’s command,
As gentle as a gelding, he submits,
Unforced by rein or bridle or by bit.

36
Taken Astolfo is, and lost Baiard,
And the rich harness and the lance of gold.
In all Albracca, not one has the heart
The field against their enemies to hold,
But on the walls they stay, their foes regard
With drawbridge up and with portcullis closed,
For days they stand upon the wall and wait,
Until a host arrives before their gate.

37
Who are these people in this newcome horde,
Who make a noise that echoes up to heaven?
Here is the terrible Circassian lord,
King Sacripante, who has boldly striven
To raise the army with which now he warred.
An emperor is there, beside kings seven,
Who all have come to bring the lady aid.
And who they were, for you I will relate.

38
The foremost of them is a Christian knight,
Although he’s strongly stained with heresy,
King of Armenia, Varone hight,
Of ardor and of vigor full is he.
Full thirty thousand march with him to fight
Who all are excellent at archery.
The second, just a little ways beyond
Is the great Emperor of Trebisond.

39
Brunaldo hight this worthy most renowned.
Twenty-six thousand warriors round him throng.
The third is ruler of Roase crowned;
He’s named Ungiano, and he’s very strong.
Full fifty thousand in his camp are found.
And next two kings, to each of whom belongs
Much honor, vast dominion, mighty works.
One rules the Medes, the other rules the Turks.

40
Torindo is the Turkish leader named,
And Savarone ‘tis who rules the Medes.
Thirty-six thousand soldiers with him came,
And forty thousand Turks Torindo leads.
The land of Babylon is widely famed,
And Baghdad is renowned for valiant deeds.
The lord thereof is come, his foes to meet:
King Trufaldino, master of deceit.

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Notes

Book I, Canto X, Part 1

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

CANTO X

ARGUMENT

The bold Astolfo turns his tail and flees.
Then Agricane’s army he descries.
He beats them to Albracca. When he sees
The siege begun at last, then out he hies.
His golden lance gives him some victories,
But then he’s conquered. Sacripant arrives
To save Angelica. He fiercely wars,
And all day long the noise of battle roars.

1
Orlando after Duke Astolfo spurred,
Quick as he could, but no reward it brings.
For Baiard, “marvellous” is not the word,
He runs as swiftly as if he had wings.
Off the road, to the woods, Astolfo turned.
The though of leaving Brandimart stings.
He’d been a true companion n the trail,
And now he left him in a worse than jail.

2
But mighty Durindan so much he feared,
Which in his cousin-german’shand remained,
That in the wild wood he disappeared.
Orlando tried to follow, but in vain.
He climbed a hill, and all around he peered,
But could not see him, in the woods or plain.
Out in the fields he makes no longer stay,
But rides back to the bower without delay.

3
There still is raging an intensive fight,
For yet high in the saddle Brandimart
Now King Ballon, now Chiarïone strikes,
Hammering them, and makes them sorely smart,
The while his lady pleads with all her might
That he will leave the battle and depart,
And with the two enchanted knights make peace,
And strive the lady Dragontin to please.

4
For by no other means could he evade
Having to drink of the enchanted glass,
Which would wipe clean his thoughts and mem’ry’s slate,
But when she saw the fay tread o’er the grass,
Certainly with intent her knights to aid,
She dared not tarry, but the frightened lass
Swiftly turned roundabout her palfrey good,
And galloped till she reached the shadowed wood.

5
Ballan and Chiarïon now draw apart.
The fairy’s will is law throughout her palace.
And Dragontina takes Sir Brandimart,
Off’ring a drink from her enchanted  chalice,
Which from the magic stream she filled by art.
The cavalier falls victim to her malice.
Forgetting ev’rything he once knew, he
Completely changed from what he used to be.

6
O pleasant liquor, bev’rage sweet and clear,
Which thus can snatch a man out of his mind!
Now Brandimarte’s love has disappeared,
Which did his heart in silken cords once bind.
He hopes for nothing; he has no more fear
To lose his honor, or disgrace to find.
On Dragontina centers all his thought,
And of all things beside he reckons nought.

7
Back to the garden comes the Count, astounded,
And before Dragontina’s feet he kneels.
He makes excuses, in which long words abounded.
No knight so eloquently e’er appealed.
The Paladin was perfectly confounded
That a mere boy outdid him in the field,
Speaking of which, I ought to go and find him.
He thinks Orlando ever right behind him,

8
So constantly he travels on his way,
By day and night, that hero stout and good.
Nothing at all he finds the foremost day,
Travelling through a vast deserted wood,
But on the second morn his eyes survey
Where on a plain, a vast encampment stood.
Astolfo asks a herald to explain
Why all these people gathered on this plain.

9
The herald shows a banner to the knight,
Which fluttered in the center of the horde,
And says, “Here lodges, with his men of might,
The king of kings, the Tartars’ sov’reign lord.
That is his royal banner, black as night,
The one that has a rampant silver horse.
It’s decked with pearls and precious stones and gold.
The world does not a richer treasure hold.

10
“The white flag, there, that has the sun of gold,
Marks great Mongolia’s monarch, Saritron.
The world knows not a knight so frank and bold.
That green one, where the lion white is shown,
Belongs to Radamant the Uncontrolled,
Who measures twenty feet, it’s widely known.
Beyond the mountains, holds he ‘neath his hand
Moscow the mighty and the Coman land.

11
“That golden moon upon the flag of red
Is Polifermo’s, a great king who reigns
Over Orgagna. He’s a man to dread
And often shows his prowess on the plain.
I wish to speak of ev’ry flag outspread,
So that unknown no standard will remain,
So thou mayst tell out might to friend or foe
Into whatever country thou mayst go.

12
“The mighty king of Gothland there is shown.
King Pandragone is this worthy hight.
The emperor of Russia’s flag is blown;
He’s called Argante. He’s a man of might.
See Santaría and the fierce Lurcon.
The first is ruler of the Swedes by right,
The next of Norway. See on his right hand
The banner of the king of Norman land.

13
“Brontino is this mighty ruler called.
His is the green flag with the burning heart.
Camped next to him, the Danish monarch tall,
Who’s named Uldano. Well he plays his part.
King Agricane, master of them all,
Summoned these vassals when he wished to start
A war, and all have gathered on this plain
To give King Gallifrone bitter pain.

14
“This Gallifrone is from India, where
He rules a vast dominion called Cathay.
He has a daughter, with whom can’t compare
The freshest rose that blossoms in the May.
Such love for her King Agricane bears
He thinks of nothing else by night or day,
Save how to have the lady for his own.
He cares not for his kingdom or his throne.

15
“Yesterday, Gallifron to us addressed
A message, by one of his heralds sent.
With many words, his majesty confessed
He could not yield the girl, though his intent
Had been to do so, for she was impressed
With madness, had defied the king, and went
To the Rock of Albracca, where she claimed
She would remain unwed till death her claimed.

16
“So now it’s likely that this massive throng
Before Albracca will begin a siege.
Because her father has done nothing wrong,
If his fair daughter cannot love my liege.
But I believe (and my belief is strong)
The damsel won’t have any remedies
To make a very lengthy war of it;
It would be better for her to submit.”

17
As soon as Don Astolf the reason hears
For the assembly of this people vast,
He sets out journeying, that cavalier,
Riding by day and night exceeding fast.
Albracca Rock at length the hero nears
And to the lovely damsel comes at last.
She, when she saw Astolfo face to face,
Knew him at once, and gladly him embraced.

18
“Welcome a thousand times!” the lady cried,
“Welcome a thousand more, Sir Paladin,
Thou who to succor the distressed dost ride!
Would that Rinaldo with thee had come in!
This castle gladly would I cast aside
And all my kingdom reck not at a pin,
To have that worthy baron with us here;
All of the world beside I would not fear.”

19
Astolfo says, “I wish not to deny
Rinaldo is a valiant cavalier,
But I would have you recollect that I
In battle am more fearsome than that peer.
Many a time we two our strength have tried,
And he has had the worst of it, I fear.
For I have made him sweat, and made him sore,
And made him say, ‘I yield, I can no more.’

20
“And of Orlando, too, thou mayst record,
The standard-bearer of all chivalry,
That were he missing Durindan, his sword,
The way my other cousin’s lost his steed,
He would not be as famous as before,
Nor so intimidating would he be.
Not like myself, you see, for when we fight,
No matter what my arms, I beat those knights.”

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