The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 10: Adventures of Bernardo



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.



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.



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.


Notes to the Fourteenth Canto, Part 2

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

12. Orada. Seems to be imaginary.
28. My quotation from Chaucer does not reflect any such quotation in the original.
35. Fiordelisa was the lady’s name. This is the first time Boiardo names her. I have taken the liberty of naming her sooner.
40. Uberto dal Leon. This is the real Uberto dal Leon, not Angelica’s brother Argalía back from the dead.

Book I, Canto III, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto III, Stanzas 61-81

But like a man whose limbs are strong and stout,
He grabs Don Ferragu, and soon above
His foes he finds himself, and starts to clout
Him on the face and head with iron gloves,
But Ferraguto pulls his dagger out,
And where his armor guards him not, he shoves
It through the chink as far as it will go.
Ah, God of Heaven, what a dreadful blow!

While that this youth was in this world alive,
There was no knight so courteous and free,
Nor any who so ardently would strive.
He lacked for nought but Christianity.
Now he, perceiving that his death arrives,
With anguished effort, speaks up quietly
As towards Ferragu he turns his head,
“I beg a gift of thee, since I am dead.

“I beg of thee, as th’art a worthy knight,
And baron courteous, do not say nay!
But take and throw me and my armor bright,
Into the river, ere thou wend thy way,
Lest someone, ignorant about our fight,
Should find me, put my armor on, and say
“A vile knight this must have been who bore
Such arms as these, and still was slain in war.”

Don Ferraguto’s face is wet with tears,
Just as a block of ice beneath the sun.
He says to Argalía, “Worthy peer,
God knows how much I grieve thy course is run.
What happed between us was misfortune drear,
But what Fate wills to happen must be done.
For glory only did I hunt thee down,
And sought not for thy death, but my renown.

“But I must wander among Christian men.
I beg thee, lest I should be recognized,
For but four days to me thine helmet lend,
Then shall I throw it where thy body lies.”
Don Argalía softly gives assent,
Then lays his head back on the ground and dies.
When Ferraguto saw his life was fled,
He knelt beside him; bitter tears he shed.

He takes the helmet off his vanquished foe,
And as he did, into fresh weeping burst,
Then laced it onto his own head, although
He cut the crest off of its summit first.
Then mounts he, with the corpse before him. Slow
He lets his charger pace, led by its thirst.
It took him shortly to a stream, into
Whose waters Argalía’s corpse he threw.

A little while stood he silent there,
Then rode beside the river, plunged in thought
I want to tell you how Orlando fares.
He’s searched through all the wilderness, but caught
No glimpses of Angelica the fair.
Beyond all measure wrathful and distraught,
He blasphemes Fortune as unkind and fell,
When suddenly he sees the damosel.

Sleeping, she seemed so lovely that no power
You have to picture her, nor I to write.
She seemed to have been brought forth from the flowers,
As if the stream were made for her delight.
Whoever now is lovely, at the hour
When she looked fairest, at her beauty’s height,
Recked ‘gainst Angelica, would be outdone
As stars by Dian, or she by the sun.

The count stands silently, as he beholds
Her beauty, like a man whose spirit flies.
To wake her from her sleep he is not bold,
But simply gazes on her where she lies
And with himself soft conversation holds,
“Am I on Earth, or else in Paradise?
I see her there, but it is only seeming,
For I am fast asleep and only dreaming.”

Gazing this way upon the girl delights
The worthy baron, lost in daydreams vain.
Ah! How much better can he win a fight,
Then can he win the favors of a dame!
For opportunity will soon take flight,
And void and empty will his hand remain.
For at this very moment, someone nears
Who shall with bitterness his pleasure pierce.

Because Don Ferraguto hither rides,
Glad that the forest to a clearing yields.
And when the Count Orlando he espied,
Because he did not recognize his shield,
He wondered who he was, but then descried
The damsel sleeping in the open field:
Her he has recognized without a falter.
His face and feelings in an instant alter.

He has no doubts, but is completely sure
This knight is standing there to be her guard.
He runs to him, commences to adjure
The cavalier with haughty words and hard.
“I loved the lady long ere thou ever knew her,
And it is time for thou and she to part.
Give up the lady, or give up thy life,
Or try to take mine own from me in strife.”

The Cont Orlando, sorely grieved at heart
To see his fortune slipping from his hands,
Responds, “O cavalier, thoud’st best depart,
And not make such impertinent demands.
Though, on my faith, I do not wish to start
A fight with thee, or any other man,
Thy presence here is an offense so great,
Thy death alone will serve to expiate.”

“From what thou sayest, it is plain to see
That either thou or I must quit this place.
But I assure thee that I shall not flee,
Nor shalt thou stand for long before my face,
For I shall make thee so afraid of me,
That if before thee was a furnace’ blaze,
Thou’lt rush into it, if I thee pursue.”
Such ardent words as spoke by Ferragu.

Wroth beyond measure is the Count to hear
These words. His cheeks a crimson hue displayed.
“I am Orlando, and if ‘gainst me here
Were all the world, I wouldn’t be dismayed.
And such a one as thou I no more fear
Than I would fear a squalling new-born babe,
Thou vile ribald, thou son of a whore!”
And with these words, he pulls out his good sword.

Now could you see begin the greatest brawl
That ever was between two cavaliers.
Pieces of armor like a shower fall,
Hacked off by awful blows from men most fierce.
Each hopes his foe will quickly fade and pall,
So that he can possess the dame who cheers
His heart so much, for she may yet desert them
And vainly then in battle they’ll exert them.

But at that moment does their tumult wake
The lovely damsel whom they wish to gain.
Fear and terror make her sorely quake,
To see the armor scattered on the plain,
And the ferocious battle that they make.
She mounts her palfrey, and lets fall the rein,
And swiftly off into the woods she goes,
At which the Count Orlando halts his blows,

And says, “Sir Cavalier, grant in the name
Of chivalry, that we postpone this strife
And let me follow after my sweet dame,
And I shall reckon thou hast saved my life.
Besides, to fight without a prize to claim,
Or any quarrel, is with folly rife.
The girl is fled, for whom we came to blows.
For God’s sake, let me follow where she goes!”

“No, no, put such a thought out of thy mind,”
Says Ferraguto, and his head he shook,
“If towards fighting thou art disinclined,
Thy lady rightly such a man forsook.
I swear that only one of us shall wind
Throughout this forest for the dame to look.
If I thee slay, I shall resume my quest.
If thou slay me, do as it likes thee best.”

“Thou shalt gain no advantage from this tussle,”
Responds Orlando, “By Our Blessed Lord!”
Now they begin the fight with wit and muscle,
As in another canto I’ll record.
You’ll see there Count Orlando fight and hustle
More stoutly than he ever has with sword.
Of Ferraguto I shall say no more,
But he was angrier than e’er before.

Keep reading


Book I, Canto III, Part 3

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

She tied her palfrey to the pine right soon,
And softly closer to Rinald she goes.
Watching the cavalier, she nearly swooned.
How she could stand to leave him, nought she knows.
The meadow with sweet flowers was festooned,
The silver lily and the gentle rose.
She plucks an armful of them in that place,
And lays them gently on Rinaldo’s face.

At this, Rinaldo wakens from his sleep,
And sees above him the resplendent maid
Who hails him joyfully, with greeting sweet.
His face shows clearly that he is dismayed,
And instantly upon his horse he leaps,
And to her pleasant words no heed he paid.
Back to the greenwood he pursues his flight.
She mounts her palfrey and pursues the knight.

As she speeds on, she cries in woeful tone,
Oh, worthy cavalier, why dost thou flee?
Thy life is dearer to me than mine own,
And thou repayest it by slaying me.
Dost thou think I’m Ginamo of Bayonne,
Seeking thee here and full of treachery?
I’m not Macario, I’m not Gan the snake.
I hate them one and all for thy love’s sake.

Why dost thou flee from me in such disdain?
More than my very self I love thee, dear,
Only turn round, and look upon the pain
Thou causest me. Dost thou have so much fear
Of my sweet face, thou ridest without rein
Into this forest, desolate and drear?
Oh, wilt thou only spur thy steed less hard,
I’d be content to follow from afar.

For if, in galloping, thou chance to fall,
‘Twould be my fault, for thou art fleeing me.
My life would be as bitter as is gall –
If I could live through so much misery!
Look back a bit; see who I am who call,
Art thou not shamed from a mere maid to flee?
My face is not one thou shouldst flee in fright,
But one thou shouldst run after with delight.”

The girl says this, and many sweet words more,
As she rides on, but says them all in vain.
Baiardo from the forest issued forth,
And vanished from her sight across the plain.
The damsel beats her breast and sighs full sore.
There are no words that could describe her pain.
Broken-hearted she proclaims the stars,
The sun, and Heaven are most cruel and hard.

But calls Rinaldo cruel beyond compare,
In soft lamentings, full of tenderness.
“Who would have ever thought a face so fair –
She says – could hide a heart so merciless?
Love rules my heart, yet leaves me well aware
That no such passion flares within the breast
Of my belov’d Rinaldo for my charms.
But, still, he shoudn’t flee so from my arms.

I should not feel that I was lacking aught,
If but in sight of him once more I came.
If but to gaze upon him I were brought,
‘Twould cool a little my sore passion’s flames.
To flee from Love, my Reason says I ought,
But where Love is, unheard are Reason’s claims.
I call him traitor, villain, false, and fell
But while I call him thus, I love him well.”

Lamenting thus, the girl forsakes her quest,
And makes her weary way back to the pine.
“O blessed flowers – says she – grass most blest,
Who touched his gracious cheek, in you I find
A rival, and I envy how you pressed.
Your lot is far more fortunate than mine.
If I should lay by him, I know that I
O’erwhelmed by happiness, would surely die.”

With such laments, she tugs her palfrey’s rein,
And lights upon the plain, that wretched lass,
And kneeling where Rinaldo erst had lain,
Waters with tears and kisses much the grass.
Thinking this way to cool her burning flames,
But quite the contrary she brings to pass.
Worn out by sorrow, she does naught but weep,
And lies there till she cries herself to sleep.

My lords, I know that you are wondering
Why of Gradasso I’ve made no report
In all this time. I’ll tell you that the king
Is still a ways away from Charles’ court.
Across Iberia his host he brings,
But I don’t wish to tell you anymore,
Until th’adventures I have told to you
Of our knights errant; firstly, Ferragu.

The lover through the woods pursues his quest,
Brooding and cursing, beyond measure wroth.
His love and ire so inflame his breast,
His life he reckons hardly worth a straw
Unless that lovely lady he possessed,
Or met her brother, ‘gainst him for to draw
His sword, for he wished to avenge him quick
Upon the knight who’d played him such a trick.

With such intent, upon his way he sweeps.
Looking on ev’ry side, he chanced to see a
Cavalier beneath a tree asleep
And recognized that it was Argalía.
His charger had been tied beneath a beech.
He cut the rope, and then cuts from the tree a
Switch, and beats the horse until it flees
And vanished from sight among the trees.

His own horse he dismounts, and to a branch
He ties him. Then beneath a verdant laurel
He seats himself, and then waits for the man
To waken so they can resume their quarrel.
Although the sight of him his fury fans
And for revenge he longs, it were immoral
And most unchivalrous to kill a knight
Asleep, or with a weary one to fight.

But in a little while the knight awoke,
And realised his goodly steed had fled,
At which discovery he was provoked,
To think that he would have to walk in steade.
But Ferragu arose and to him spoke.
“Be not disturbed by this, O knight,” he said,
“For thou or I will meet with death today,
And he who lives may ride my horse away.

“I chased thine own away for fear lest thou
Shouldst once again attempt to turn and flee.
Thou’lt have to keep thy chest towards me now,
And ne’er again I hope thy back to see.
Thou didst deceive me last time, but I vow
I shall make thee regret thy villainy.
If thou canst not defend thyself in strife
With honor, thou deservest not thy life.

Don Argalía says without alarm,
“Of what thou chargest me, I stand confessed.
But by my hand I swear, and my right arm,
And by the heart that beats within my breast,
I fled not from our fight for fear of harm,
Or weakness, or because I needed rest,
But solely to oblige my sister, who
Desired of me that this deed I’d do.

If thy desire still rages uncontrolled,
Then thou hast need of me to be afraid.
The choice ‘twixt peace and battle thou dost hold.
But recollect thou’st seen my strength displayed!”
With such words speaks the baron young and bold,
But Ferraguto is no whit dismayed.
His face contorts, and with an angry shout,
He cries “Engarde!” and pulls his broadsword out.

Against each other run these valiant knights,
With blows and batterings full stout and good.
So lustily with sword and shield they smite,
That for a mile it echoes through the wood.
Don Argalía leapt aloft with might,
Holding his sword as high up as he could,
To himself thinking, “With this mighty blow,
I’ll send this villain to the realms below.”

He deals a blow that is exceeding grim,
And had it hit the fight would have been through.
But Ferraguto rushes up to him,
And grabs him, and to wrestling fall the two.
More strong is Argalía in his limbs;
More quick and dexterous is Ferragu.
Now has one got the other on the ground –
Don Argalía underneath is found.

Keep reading


Book I, Canto II, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto II, Part 1, Stanzas 1-20.


Angelica, to flee from Ferragu,
Runs with her brother into fair Ardennes.
Rinaldo and Orlando her pursue.
King Charles bids the tournament begin.
The barons clash with courage stout and true,
Till King Grandonio seemeth like to win.
He knocks down even mighty Olivier,
But then Astolfo comes to cause him fear.

Last time, I sang to you, my lords, or those
Two mighty knights locked in a battle fierce.
Prince Argalía’s conquered all his foes,
And Ferragu ‘mongst pagans hath no peers.
One’s magic armor shields him from all blows;
The other’s magic skin cannot be pierced,
Except his navel, which he keeps concealed
With twenty plates of fine Damascus steel.

If you have seen a pair of lions vie
For mastery, with biting and with thrashing,
Or heard two thunderclouds roar in the sky,
And seen the brilliant sparks of lightning flashing,
Then know that these were far exceeded by
The worthy cavaliers together clashing.
The earth was shaken, and the heavens roared,
When these two struck each other with the sword.

And thus they clash together in their wrath,
And view each other with expression dread.
Each knight, though certain he is safe from scath,
Trembles for anger and is soaked in sweat.
Don Argalía, with all strength he hath,
Strikes his opponent right on his bare head,
And he is sure beyond a shade of doubt,
That Ferraguto’s luck has just run out.

So when he sees his polished blade just bounce
Right off, and fail to draw a single drop
Of blood, the sight completely him astounds.
His hair curls, and for wonderment he stops.
But Ferraguto is not slow to pounce;
He thinks to vivisect him with one chop.
“Mahound have mercy on thy soul, for I
Will have none on thy body,” is his cry.

And with these words a mighty blow he deals,
That would have cleft a diamond in twain.
The helm enchanted fortunately steals
The sharp sword’s pow’r to cleave; it strikes in vain.
Completely baffled, Ferragu’s mind reels.
He wonders if he hasn’t gone insane.
Thus stupefied, the knights desist from violence,
And each one looks upon his foe in silence.

A little while they stand without a word,
Quite still, they marvel at each other so.
At last, Don Argalía’s voice is heard,
“O worthy knight, – quoth he, – “thou oughtst to know
That all this armor wherewith I am girt
Makes me invincible from head to toe,
By magic art. Give up thy fight with me;
Thou canst win nought but shame and injury.”

Says Ferraguto, “By Mahound I swear
That all my armor, from my boots to crest,
And e’en my shield, not for defense I wear,
But ornament, for I have been so blest
In all my skin there is but one place where
I can be hurt. And so for thee ‘tis best
At once to yield, and I shall let thee live,
If unto me thou wilt thy sister give.

Then shall I place myself at thy command,
And serve thee faithfully forevermore.”
Says Argalía, “Baron frank and grand,
I’ve never met a knight so skilled at war
As thou. I’ll gladly give my sister’s hand
And live with thee in brotherly accord –
If she be willing, be that understood.”
And Ferraguto thinks his offer good.

Though Ferragu is in the bloom of youth,
His voice is raspy and his skin is dark.
Hs face is fearful and his beard uncouth.
His eyes are bloodshot, glowering and stark.
He has no care for cleanliness, forsooth,
But never bathes, and so his skin is marked
With dust and grime. His hair is black as night,
And curled. In short, he is a dreadful sight.

Angelica, when she perceives that he
Is not the handsome blond she hoped to find,
Calls Argalía and says quietly,
“O dearest brother, I must speak my mind.
I’d rather hang myself upon this tree
Or wander begging, crippled, deaf, and blind,
Before to such a monster I’ll be chained.
Better to die than to be so insane.

Therefore I pray thee by our lord Mahound,
That once again thou fight that cavalier,
While I suck on the ring and thus confound
That brute by vanishing, and flee from here.
Then once I’m gone, turn thou thy horse around
And flee. So swift and light is thy destrier
He’ll never catch thee. We two shall meet then,
Just eastward, in the forest of Ardennes.

And then together we shall take our way
Back to our father, by the eastern sea.
But if we do not meet within three days,
Then I shall have the demons carry me,
(Thanks to that dog who tried to do me shame,
Where I was lying underneath the tree)
And thou wilt have to come back on thine horse
The way we came; thou knowest well the course.

Don Argalía to this plan assents
And turns back to the Moorish knight to say
His sister won’t by any means consent.
But Ferraguto will not go away.
But “Death or victory!” he cries, intent
To win to maiden of the flow’ry face,
When suddenly, to his immense surprise
She vanishes before his loving eyes.

He’d kept his face towards her in the fight
So that the sight of her would give him strength.
But now that she has vanished from his sight
He knows not what to do or what to think.
When Argalía sees the baffled knight,
He gives his horse the spur. Quick as a wink,
He gallops off and disappears from view,
Abandoning the fight and Ferragu.

The youthful lover for a moment stood,
Then realized that he had been deceived,
And galloped after him into the wood,
Which was beginning to bring forth its leaves.
His shame and anger on his visage could
Be seen most clearly, and he disbelieved
That he would lose the dame for whom he pined.
But though he sought, he could by no means find.

Now turn we to Astolfo, who remained
Alone beside the fountain, as you know.
He’d watched the battle with delight unfeigned,
And joyed to see each mighty thrust and blow
And now, delighted that he has regained
His freedom, praises God, and is not slow
To don his armor and to mount his steed;
He knows how Fortune can transform with speed.

The paladin lacked nothing save a lance.
(His own was shattered when he fell supine.)
Looking around him, he beheld by chance
Don Argalía’s, leaning on the pine.
The gilding sparkled and the dim light glanced
Off the enamel and the gold refined.
Astolfo grabs it from its place, although
Its magic potency he does not know.

He pricks forth on his way with merry heart,
As men are wont when they escape from jail.
He meets Rinaldo riding on Baiard,
And greets him warmly and tells all his tale.
So wounded is Rinald by Cupid’s dart,
That no attempt to cure him would avail.
He’s come from court with but one end in view:
To find out what’s become of Ferragu.

So when he hears he went towards Ardennes,
He gallops off that way across the grass,
Without a word of parting to his friend,
Such is the love he bears that lovely lass.
He calls Baiard a lazy sluggard then,
A worthless hack, a good-for-nothing ass,
The while he’s galloping at such a speed,
A flying arrow couldn’t catch that steed.

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Notes to the Second Canto, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto II, Part 1, Stanzas 1-20, Notes

1. Magic armor. Similar armor appears in a few romances, but not in very many as it tends to kill the possibility of suspense. Boiardo solves this problem cleverly, as we shall see in Canto III.
Magic skin. This characteristic of Ferraguto’s is traditional. Much later, Orlando will kill him after discovering his secret, shortly before the battle of Roncesvalles. Orlando has a similar enchantment on his skin, which he received as a gift from Saint James of Compostela. (This detail, while also traditional, is later than The Song of Roland) His weak point is the soles of his feet. This naturally creates a problem for authors, as he has to die at Roncesvalles. In Pulci, he dies of exhaustion. In Spanish romances, Bernardo del Carpio strangles him, as Hercules did the Nemean Lion. The ultimate source of this magic skin is, of course, Achilles and his vulnerable heel. See also Siegfried, who obtains invincibility by bathing in dragon’s blood, but doesn’t notice a leaf keeping part of his back dry.

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On to Part 2

Book I, Canto I, Part 5

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 5 and final, Stanzas 82-91.

The two combatants fall upon the plain,
The one half-dead, the other wholly so.
And Argalía leaves his horse amain,
And drags the knight beside the fountain’s flow,
And gently laves him, till he slowly gains
Once more his senses, whereupon his foe
Lifts him again to take him to the tent,
But Ferraguto’s wrath is still not spent.

“It’s naught to me what Emp’ror Charles said,
About Angelica, or how we’d battle
I’m not his vassal, I don’t eat his bread,
I’m not obliged to listen to his prattle.
I’ll keep on fighting with you till I’m dead,
Or am too weak to sit up in the saddle.
The love I bear thy sister is so true,
I’d die for lack of her,” said Ferragu.

Astolfo is awakened by his shout,
Who just before was wrapped in slumbers deep,
Quite undisturbed by noise of battle rout,
No fighting giants keep him from his sleep.
But now, alarmed, he wakes and rushes out,
And sees them arguing. He tries to keep
Them calm and bring them to a sweet accord.
His words by Ferraguto are ignored.

Quoth Argalía, “Dost thou not perceive,
O worthy baron, that thou art disarmed?
Hast thou a helmet? Dost thou not believe
That thine lies shattered? Wert thou not alarmed
To feel that blow? However much thou grieve
Within my prison thou wilt not be harmed.
But if thou fight with nought upon thine head,
‘Twill take me but one blow to strike thee dead.”

Responds Don Ferragu, “I’m not afraid
To fight against thee without helm or mail
Or shield. In fact, I would not be dismayed
To fight thee naked. My heart would not fail,
If by so doing I could win the maid.
I trust in Love, which always shall prevail.”
He speaks the truth. So great is his desire,
That for her sake he’d leap into a fire.

Don Argalía is quite irritated
To find himself held in esteem so low.
Never before has anybody rates
Him so low as to fight him without clothes.
Though twice brought low, his foe is unabated.
In fact, his arrogance and daring grow.
To him, then, “Cavalier, thou hast an itch
For battle, and I’ll scratch it, if thou wish.

Rise up, and mount thy horse, and show thy skill,
And I shall fight with thee in combat fair
But have no hope that e’er my heart shall fill
With pity when I see thy head is bare.
Thou camest here today to seek thine ill,
And I shall give it to thee. Rise up, there,
Defend thyself, and do not waste thy breath,
For now is come the hour of thy death.

Don Ferraguto laughs to hear him say
These words, as one who reckons them but slight.
He leaps upon his horse without delay,
And says, “Attend to me, O worthy knight.
If thou wilt render me that lovely may,
Then I shall let thee go without a fight.
But if thou wilt not, I won’t run or hide,
But I shall fight till one of us has died.

Don Argalía is consumed with fury,
To hear his arrogant and boastful screed.
He whirls his horse away with madcap hurry.
So wroth he is, he doesn’t even heed
The words he’s shouting. And now with the spur, he
Goads Rabicano to his utmost speed,
With his sword drawn. His lance has slipped his mind.
He left it leaning on the mighty Pine.

His horse a-gallop and his sword on high,
His soul with anger burning, bears he down,
In all the world you could not find a knight
Whose strength surpassed those heroes of renown..
Perhaps Orlando or Rinaldo might
In equal fight with them be equals found.
In short, my lords, it was a dreadful brawl –
Come back next time, and I will tell you all.


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Book I, Canto I, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 4, Stanzas 61-80.

Now turn we to our story. He was dight
In his best armor, which was worth a treasure.
His shield was ringed with pearls of spotless white.
To see his gilded armor was a pleasure.
Upon his helmet’s crest there shone full bright
A gemstone of a value beyond measure.
Which (unless Bishop Turpin be a liar)
Was a great ruby, blazing red as fire.

No poorer is the cov’ring of his horse,
With leopards thereon tricked in golden thread.
Astolfo mounts, and straightaway rides forth
Alone and hasty, and devoid of dread.
No time he wasted, as he took his course,
And soon to Merlin’s Rock the knight hath sped,
Where, without pausing, to alert his foe,
He grabs his horn and gives a lusty blow.

When Argalía hears the Astolfo’s blast,
He rises up and peers from out his tent.
A knight is come, he dons his armor fast,
In which from head to foot there is no dent,
And sallies forth upon his steed to cast
His foe to earth, he’s eager and intent.
With shield on arm, and magic lance in hand –
The cornerstone of all that he has planned.

Each knight salutes the other court’ously,
And then they draw apart a fitting space,
While fair Angelica comes out to see.
The knights have come unto their proper place.
They brace them in their saddles sturdily,
Then loose the reins and at each other race.
Soon as the Duke the golden weapon feels,
He tumbles on the ground, head over heels.

Slowly arises that most wretched wight,
And in his anguish cries, “I am betrayed
By thee, O Fortune, out of thy pure spite.
Canst thou deny, that otherwise I’d stayed
Firm in my saddle and o’erthrown this knight,
And won the favors of this lovely maid?
Thou hast wrought my defeat, I know it well,
To give the honor to an infidel!”

The giants lift Astolfo from his feet
And take him to the tent, where he disarms.
When he comes out, Angelica casts sweet
And lovely looks at him, and she so charms
Him that he thinks she pities his defeat.
He’d sworn an oath that if he failed at arms
He’d stay their pris’ner and not run away,
But she more than his oath persuades him stay.

He’s left unguarded, so he takes his way
Towards the fountain, where he laves his head.
The fair Angelica, long as she may,
Watches the knight, but when the sky turns red
And but a little while is left of day,
He goes within the tent and goes to bed.
While she, her brother, and the giants four
Wait by the Stone a little while more.

Just as the day was almost done and past,
Came Ferraguto with an eager heart.
He blew upon his horn a mighty blast,
So that it seemed the world would fall apart.
The birds and beasts who heard it were aghast
And fled in terror through the forest dark.
The giants shook, Angelica turned pale,
And Argalía laughed and donned his mail.

He tied his scabbard on and then concealed
His head within a helm which bore his crest,
Then mounted on his horse and set his shield
Before himself and laid his lance in rest.
His Rabican was eager for the field;
No whit afraid, the charger forward pressed.
So soft and light he trod, he left no print,
By which a man could tell the way he went.

But to a lover, minutes seem like years,
And Ferraguto’s burning with impatience,
So when his foe is ready for the fray,
The knights don’t waste their time with salutations,
But draw apart, and turn, and drop the reins,
And at each other fly. Exhilaration
Fills Ferraguto, for this proud knight is
Certain the lovely dame will soon be his.

But when the lance first touches him, he’s shocked;
His face falls, and his heart fills with despair.
His mighty strength has been completely blocked,
And he himself is flying through the air.
With a great thump he lands; his breath is knocked
Out of his lungs, and he does not know where
He is. But he does not stay down for long,
His body and his spirit both are strong.

Love, and youth, and temperament have power
To fill the heart with anger in a flash.
Now, Ferraguto is in youth’s first flower,
Loves beyond measure, and is very rash.
His rages make all those around him cower
For trifles. Anything might make this brash
And hasty cavalier begin a duel,
So short his temper is; his heart so cruel.

His shame and anger raise him from the dirt,
Just as he fell to it, with lightning speed.
His only thought is to avenge this hurt.
He’s quite forgot the terms that were decreed.
He draws his sword, advancing undeterred
On Argalía, who sits on his steed
And calmly say, “Thou art my captive, knight.
And hast no reason to prolong the fight.”

But Ferraguto this rebuke ignores,
And charges at him, with his sword held high.
In haste and anger rise the giants four,
And seize their weapons which they’d lain nearby,
And rush at Ferragu with such a roar
As never hath been heard beneath the sky.
And Turpin says, although I think it strange,
It shook the earth within two miles’ range.

Don Ferraguto whirls around and sees
Them coming, but he fears them not at all.
The one who’s faster than the other three
Is called Argesto the Supremely Tall.
Another one is named Lampordo. He
Is called “The Hairy”. And Urgan men call
The third one, and the shortest one is hight
Turlone; he has thirty feet of height.

Lampordo from a distance hurls a dart,
At Ferragu, the battle to begin.
It would have pierced that proud knight to the heart,
Had it not been for his enchanted skin.
You may have seen a greyhound chase a hart,
A panther spring, a leaf in stormy wind,
Or lightning flash. These things are all more slow,
Than Ferragu was to return that blow.

He drives his sword into the giant’s shank,
And starts to carve him, as he were a pie,
Cutting through reins and bowels to his flank,
But still his anger is unsatisfied.
He pulls his sword out and confronts the rank
Of th’other three, who with their weapons high,
Fall on him all at once, while Cathay’s prince
Stands to the side and watches these events.

Now Ferraguto takes a mighty leap,
Full twenty feet or more from off the ground,
And smites Urgano’s head a blow so deep
It cleaves him to the teeth. When he comes down
Argesto sends him tumbling in a heap,
With one great blow delivered to his crown,
With his iron mace. So forceful is his blow,
Blood spurts from Ferraguto’s mouth and nose.

He quick recovered, and more hot and bright
His anger burned. No trace of fear he felt,
But knocked the giant down despite his height,
Split open from the shoulders to the belt.
But then new peril came upon the knight;
Turlone, in whose muscles much strength dwelt,
Stretched his right hand out, gripped and held him fast,
And thought the battle had been won at last.

But by his potency, or his good chance,
I don’t know which, the knight broke loose. Dismayed,
The giant lifts his mace with both his hands
And Ferraguto brandishes his blade.
Turlone swings his iron club and lands
A mighty blow on Ferraguto’s pate.
Cracking his helmet, while the knight swings free
And cuts through both his legs below the knee.

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Notes to the First Canto, Parts 1 and 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto I, Parts 1 and 2, Stanzas 1 through 40, Notes.

Argument. The arguments were not written by Boiardo, but have been added by the translator.

1. Charlemagne. Born to King Pepin the Short in 742, became king upon his father’s death in 768, crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Leo in 800. Conquered and converted Saxony 804. Institutor of many laudable reforms, most of which were undone by the incompetence of his successors after his death in 814.
2. Orlando. Or Roland, or Hrodland. Governor of Brittany under Charlemagne. Died in an ambush by the Basques at Roncesvalles Pass in the Pyrenees in 778. The minstrels made him the son of Milo and of Bertha, the (fictitious) sister of Charles.
3. Turpin. Tilpin was archbishop of Rheims from 753 to 800.  A fictitious chronicle of the deeds of Charles and Roland was fathered on him about 1000. Subsequent minstrels ascribed all their stories to Turpin, and Pulci, Boiardo, and Ariosto continue the tradition.
4. Gradasso. An invention of Boiardo’s.
5. Baiardo. The best horse in the world. Belongs to Rinaldo, the cousin of Orlando. Magic, almost as smart as a man. Able to carry Rinaldo and his three brothers on his back at once.
Durindana. The best sword in the world. Won by Orlando from the pagan king Almonte at the battle of Aspremont. This will be important later.
8. Whitsuntide. Pentecost. Fifty days after Easter.
10. Grandonio. Traditional minor character. Appears in the Song of Roland as Grandonie, where he is killed by Orlando at Roncesvalles.
Ferraguto. Invention of the minstrels. Son of Falsirone and Lanfusa, and nephew of Marsilius. In older works, he was a giant who was invincible except for his navel, and was slain by Roland during Charles’ invasion of Spain prior to the battle of Roncesvalles. Boiardo makes him of ordinary size, but keeps the invincibility.
Serpentino and Isolier. Traditional minor characters. Serpentino is a nephew of Marsilius, and is killed by Orlando during Charles’ invasion of Spain prior to the Battle of Roncesvalles.
Balugante. In the Song of Roland, he is the Emir of Babylon, and feudal overlord of King Marsilius of Spain. In later works, he is brother of Marsilius and Falsaron, and is King of Portugal. The story of how Charlemagne married his daughter Gallerana is completely fabulous, and is related in Old French chansons.
14. Desiderio. Desiderius, king of the Lombards from 756 to 774. Rebelled against Charles 772. Conquered by him 774 and deposed. Died 786. According to the minstrels, Ogier the Dane participated in this rebellion, to avenge the murder of his son Baldwin by Charlemagne’s (fabulous) son Charlot. The famous Amis and Amilon (Amys and Amiles) were killed fighting for Charles in this rebellion. Ariosto’s Cinque Canti, his unfinished sequel to the Orlando Furioso, is set in the same revolt.
Ottone. Purely fabulous. England was still divided into the Heptarchy in Charlemagne’s day. Father of Astolfo.
Salmone. The real Salamon the Wise ruled Brittany from 857 to 874, but he was associated with Charlemagne as early as the Song of Roland.
15. Ganelon. Wenilo, Archbishop of Sens from 836 to 865, and disloyal to the kings of France. The minstrels changed his name to Ganelon, and made him second husband of Charlemagne’s sister Bertha and thus step-father of Orlando. He had his own son, Baldwin (not to be confused with Ogier’s son Baldwin). In the Song of Roland, his treason is a single action, the culmination of a long simmering hatred of Roland. In later works, he is a habitual traitor, always openly opposed to Orlando and Rinaldo.
Maganza. Or Mayence. The family of Ganelon. All of them, except Baldwin, were as evil as Ganelon and held a bitter feud with the House of Clairmont, to which Orlando and Rinaldo belonged.
16. Rinaldo. Reynald of Montalban. Eldest of the Four Sons of Aymon, cousin of Orlando, owner of Baiardo. The minstrels conflate him with Saint Reynard of Cologne, a hardworking stonemason who was killed by his fellow laborers for making them look bad. It is unknown whether the saint was real, whether the knight was real, whether if real they were the same person, whether the legend originally was about a knight who retired from the world to live in obscurity, whether one part of the legend gave rise to the other, or whether two unrelated legends about people with the same name were combined.
22. Gallerana. Fictional. Her story is told in French romances.
Aldabella. The lovely Alda, called Aude in the Song of Roland. Sister of Olivier, and beloved of Orlando. In the Song of Roland they are only engaged when Roland dies. In other works they are married. The story of how they met can be found in the chanson de geste, Girart of Vienne.
. Wife of Rinaldo, and daughter of King John, or Yon, of Gascony. Her story may be found in The Four Sons of Aymon, or in Tasso’s Rinaldo.
Ermeline. Wife of Ogier the Dane.
25. Uberto dal Leone. A pseudonym. Angelica’s brother is really named Argalía. There is a real Uberto dal Leone, a minor character who will appear later.
Angelica. An invention of Boiardo’s, like her brother and father.
27. Merlin’s Stone. Technically a stone, placed to help knights mount and dismount their horses.
31. I see the better and I choose the worse. A very common statement in love poems, ultimately derived not from Saint Paul, but from Ovid.
32. Namo. Or Naimo. Naimes in the Song of Roland. Duke of Bavaria. An invention of the minstrels. Uncle of Ogier the Dane, and father of Avin, Avolio, Ottone (not the king of England), and Berlingier.
34. Malagise. Or Malagigi, Malgis, or Maugis. Cousin of Rinaldo and Orlando. Son of Buovo, or Bevis, or Aigrismont (Not to be confused with Bevis of Hampton). Malagise, a skilled magician, is the brother of the very minor character Vivien (not the same Vivien who died at Aliscans). Malagise’s story is told in The Four Sons of Aymon, in Maugis d’Aigremont, and other works.
37. Galliphrone. An invention of Boiardo’s. Purely fictitious. Ruler of Cathay (China).
38. Charger. This horse will later be named Rabicano.
39. Ring. From Pio Rajna, Le Fonti dell’ Orlando Furioso: “Of the ring, one could speak at great length. Talismans which confer invisibility or which destroy all powers of magic, abound in the fairy tales and myths of a multitude of peoples. We may mention the ring of Gyges [from Greek mythology], that of Yvain [Chretien de Troyes’ Le Chevalier au Lyon, or The Lady of the Fountain in the Mabinogion], the helmet of Ade, the Tarnhelm of German and Scandinavian mythology, the herb in Morgante (XXV, 204), the magic stone, heliotrope, of the Lapidaries and of Boccaccio. So much for invisibility.
“For the other power, it is found in the rings given by the Lady of the Lake to Lancelot [The Vulgate Cycle, not in Malory, if memory serves me], by Isolde to Tristan [The Prose Tristan, or the Tavola Ritonda. Again not in Malory], by the Queen of Scots to her son Gadisfer [in Perceforest].”
The Golden Lance. One Sir Lasancis was sent to King Arthur’s court with a magic lance by an enchantress in La Tavola Ritonda. Other such lances are found wielded by Rubione in the Storie di Rinaldo¸ and by Antea in Orlando and in the Morgante Maggiore.

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On to Part 2

On to Part 3

Book I, Canto I, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 3, Stanzas 41-60.

Thus Malagise learns their true intent,
But let us leave him reeling from the shock,
And rather see where Argalía went.
He, once he had arrived at Merlin’s Rock,
Dismounted, tied his horse, and pitched his tent.
Then lay inside it, and some slumber took.
A fancier tent in France was never kept,
Than that in which now Argalía slept.

Angelica, who was not far behind
Her brother, rests her head upon the ground,
Beside the fountain, underneath the pine,
While the four watchful giants her surround.
In sleep, she seems not one of humankind,
But like an angel come from Heaven down.
Her brother’s ring upon her hand she wore,
The pow’rs of which, I have explained before.

Now Malagise, carried through the air,
By fiends he’s summoned, silently comes thither.
Unseen he sees the damsel sleeping there,
Beneath the pine beside the flowing river.
But the four giants arms and armor bear,
And keep unblinking watch as they sit with her.
The wizard laughs and thinks, “Ye ugly rabble,
I’ll overcome you all without a battle.

Your flails and maces are no use today,
Nor darts nor swords nor all your other arms,
But Slumber soon shall hold you ‘neath his sway.
You foolish geldings will raise no alarms.”
When he had gloated, he made no delay,
To take his spellbook out and cast his charms.
The first page of the book he had not read,
Before the giants slumbered as if dead.

This done, the damsel is his target next.
He slowly closes in and draws his sword,
But when he sees her lovely face at rest,
Her arms stretched gently out across the sward,
His spirits rise; his heart throbs in his chest
He thinks, “Why spurn the gifts that fate affords?
I’ll make her sleep so soundly with my charms,
She’ll never know I held her in my arms.”

He drops his sword and takes his book in hand,
And reads the spell again the whole way through,
But all in vain, the charm works not as planned,
For all enchantments can the ring undo.
But Malagise thinks th’enchanted band
Is Argalía’s and the maid he views
Is sealed by magic in a slumbrous prison.
He stretches out beside her and starts kissing.

The girl awakens with a frightened cry:
“Ah, miserable me; I am betrayed!”
Stunned, Malagise can make no reply,
To see his charms did not affect the maid.
She grabs him by the wrist, lest he should fly,
And loudly calls for Argalía’s aid.
He hears her cry, and starts awake, alarmed.
He rushes from his tent in haste, unarmed.

Soon as his eyes behold this Frankish wight,
Who’s tried to treat his sister like a harlot,
His heart sinks in him, overmastered quite.
His strength is gone, and his face flushes scarlet.
But in an instant he regains his might
And grabs a stick of wood to brain the varlet.
“Die, traitor! – shouts he as he rushes o’er –
How dar’st thou treat my sister like a whore?”

But she cries, “Brother, we must bind him tightly,
Ere I release him; he’s a sorcerer,
And if I didn’t have the ring, your knightly
Prowess would fail to take him prisoner.”
On hearing this, the youthful prince runs lightly
Across the grass, but keeps an eye on her.
He tries to wake a giant, but despite,
His shouting, the enchantment holds him tight.

He tries another one; again he fails,
And so he switches to another tack.
He takes the chain from out a giant’s flail,
And hurries back to them , in no way slack.
Where, after struggling, the two prevail
And tie the wizard’s arms behind his back.
And then they bind his feet and legs and neck,
And gag him, too, his magic arts to check.

Once Malagise has been firmly bound,
The damsel searches all around the pine
And soon his magic grimoire has she found,
Filled with unholy names and mystic signs.
She oped the clasps that girdle it around,
And when she read therein, elapsed no time,
Ere spirits filled the air and stream and land,
All crying, “Mistress, what is your command?”

She orders, “Take this wretched captive past
Tartary, and both Indies to Cathay,
To that fair capitol, whence o’er his vast
Dominions, Galliphron the King holds sway.
Tell him his daughter wishes him to cast
Him into prison. Once he’s put away,
I do not reckon at a broken pin,
All of King Charles’ Peers and Paladins.”

Soon as her speech is done, the fiends transport
Malgis away, and set him down with glee
Before King Galliphron and all his court,
Who cast him in a dungeon by the sea.
The while Angelica tends her escorts
And from enchanted slumber sets them free.
They yawn and scratch and stretch their limbs, and gape,
Unmindful of the peril they’ve escaped.

But while this happened in the countryside,
Paris was wracked with quarrels and dissensions.
Orlando claimed the right to foremost ride
Against Uberto, but to his pretensions,
Time and again King Charlemagne replied
There was no reason in them. Like contentions
Racked ev’ry knight. The mightiest to the worst
All wished to joust against the stranger first.

Orlando fears that he will be too late
To win his lady, if some other rides
Before him, and in agony he waits
To hear what Charlemagne at last decides.
The cavaliers assemble and debate
Which one of them will be the first to try
The challenge, and they all agree at last,
That for the foremost place they lots will cast.

Every cavalier wrote down his name,
Or had it written, on a little roll
Of paper. Then each knight who wished to claim
The lady, cast his slip into a bowl
And then a little page before them came
And put his hand in, and drew out a scroll.
Loud he announced the knight who would commence
The jousting was Astolfo, England’s prince.

The second place will Ferraguto take,
The third Rinaldo and the fourth Dudon,
And next Grandonio the attempt will make,
And Belengieri; after them, Otton,
Then Charlemagne himself a lance will break,
But lest my story should too long be grown,
I’ll tell you Count Orlando’s name was called
The thirty-first, and much his heart was galled.

Before the name was called of ev’ry knight,
The day was fading into evening’s glow.
The Duke Astolfo, with his heart alight
Called for his arms, and thinks his men too slow.
No whit discouraged that it draws to night,
But eager as he is to face his foe,
He boasts aloud that with one mighty thrust,
He’ll send Uberto rolling in the dust.

You, lords, should know about Astolfo. He
Outdid all men for comeliness of face.
He had much wealth, but still more courtesy,
And dressed and groomed himself with careful grace.
Though in the jousts he wasn’t much to see,
And fell more often than he kept his place,
As often as he fell he quick returned,
For in his fearless heart such honor burned.

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