Book I, Canto IX, Part 1

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

ARGUMENT

Angelica by Don Rinald is spurned,
Though she arrives to save her by her arts.
He slays the beast, and then he sorely yearns
To raze the castle. Duke Astolfo starts
His quest, by Sacripant away is turned,
And meets the noble heathen Brandimart.
Orlando in the magic bower he sees,
But they two fight, and Duke Astolfo flees.

1
You’ve heard already of the shape miswrought
The horrible and wasted monster bore,
Which had for long against Rinaldo fought,
And how Fusberta from his hand it tore.
And we shall leave him here, unhelped, distraught,
For now another matter needs me more.
Now of a lady who with love doth burn
I sing, then to Rinaldo I’ll return.

2
Me gracious lords, most humble I request
Ye to recall Angelica the bright.
How she met Malagise on a quest
And watches for his coming day and night.
Now as she waits, her spirit is oppressed.
As all may guess who’ve waited for delight,
And one’s who’s waited for a lover knows
All other waiting seems a pleasant rose.

3
She stands for hours gazing at the sea,
And then for hours looking o’er the land.
And if a ship the poor girl chanced to see,
Or any speck, as she th’horizon scanned,
She whispers to herself that certainly
The gallant Don Rinaldo was at hand.
And when a beast or cart came down the road,
She thought the lord of Montalban there rode.

4
Behold! When Malagise there appeared,
(But no Rinaldo stood there by his side)
Haggard and pale, with a disheveled beard.
Upon the earth he fixed his tired eyes;
His clothes were ragged and with grime besmirched.
He looked like one who from a dungeon flies.
The damsel sees him, seeming hard bestead,
“Alas!” she cries out, “My Rinaldo’s dead!”

5
“He isn’t dead. At least he isn’t yet,”
Says Malagise to the damosel,
“But he cannot endure. He’s hard beset,
And will be eaten by a monster fell.
Confound the day and hour that did beget
A soul who dared to thus ‘gainst Love rebel!”
And then in full detail he makes report
How he had lured Rinaldo to that court.

6
And how the folk had sentenced him to die,
And how a quick and painful end he faced.
You need not wonder if the lady’s nigh
To death. Her spirit sinks, so much abased
She cannot move, cannot let out a cry,
But stands with vacant eyes and icy face.
But strength returning just an instant later,
She says to Malagise, “Ah! Thou traitor!

7
“Traitor, cruel, ribald brute, forsworn.
How dost thou dare to tell me such a tale?
When thou hast left thy cousin all forlorn,
So close to death, and hopest he will fail?
But if thou dost not help him, be forewarned,
Thy demons and enchantments won’t avail,
But I shall have thee burnt immediately,
And then I’ll throw thine ashes in the sea.

8
“Make no excuses, thou deceitful cad,
Saying thou’st thought to give me vengeful joy.
Didst thou not know, I would be far more sad
Were he unhappy than if I should die?
The height of beauty and of strength he had,
A vile and a luckless woman I.
And furthermore, I told thee, witless lout,
Thy cousin Rinald I can’t live without.”

9
Quoth Malagis, “If thou dost so much care,
There is a way to help him, even now.
But thou must be the one to help him there,
And do just as I say. I’ll tell thee how.
He, although he is crueler than a bear,
Despite himself, to Love he soon will bow.
Make thyself ready, then, without delay.
He may well die if we an instant stay.”

10
As he is speaking thus, a rope he brings,
Tied into loops about a palm around;
A cake of wax which to his fingers clings;
A magic file which makes ne’er a sound.
He tells the damsel how to use these things.
Angelica a demon black has bound
To serve her, and he flies her through the air
To the Cruel Rock and her beloved there.

11
Now to Rinaldo must I turn my tale,
Who finds himself in woeful plight. Appalled,
It seems Death soon will catch him without fail.
Can swordless knight fight on, or even stall?
He runs away, the monster on his tail,
And lo, before him, halfway up the wall,
A cornice, some ten feet above the ground.
Rinaldo, running, takes a mighty bound,

12
Reaches it, with his hand he grabs the spit,
And pulls his body up with knightly force.
Now perched between the heaven and earth he sits,
And down below, the fearful monster roars.
Although most gross and ponderous is it,
It leapt up, with its savage claws it tore
The air alone; it could not reach the knight.
Rinaldo, nonetheless, is filled with fright.

13
And now the day gave way to darkling night.
Rinaldo, still upon his risky perch,
Knows not what chance or miracle has might
To bring him out of his imperiled lurch,
When he beholds, lit by the moon’s pale light,
(For not a single cloud the sky besmirched)
He knows not what, that through the ether came,
But by its shape, it seemed to be a dame.

14
It was Angelica, who hither raced
To bring deliverance to her cavalier.
But when Rinaldo recognized her face,
To throw himself upon the ground he’s near,
Because for her he had so much distaste
That less repulsive is the monster fierce.
Being devoured seems a lesser grief
That seeing her who’s come to bring relief.

15
She stands before him, hov’ring in the air,
And kneels on nothing, saying, “Cavalier,
One grief above all fills my heart with care:
That by my doing thou art prisoned here.
I must confess, such love for thee I bear,
At times I’m like to lose my wit, I fear.
But never could I do thee injury.
Ah! Couldst thou really think so ill of me?

16
“I but intended to give thee delight,
With joy and pleasure, and with sweet repose,
And so I brought thee to the island bright,
But now I find thee in such perilous throes
And so constrained, in so extreme a plight,
That I am almost slain to see thy woes.
But let all fear be put away from tee,
For I have come, and I can set thee free.

17
“Come, leap into my arms! Oh, be not shy!
And I shall carry thee across the skies,
And thou shalt see the earth below flit by.
Swifter than thought, almost, my whirlwind flies.
Didst thou not ever wish that thou couldst fly?
Thy wish is granted! From thy perch arise.
Come, mount me, worthy knight, and thou mayst find
I am no worse than that Baiard of thine.”

18
The brave Rinaldo was aggrieved full sore,
Whenas her loving words fell on his ear.
He answered thusly: “By Our Blesséd Lord,
I would far sooner meet my death right here,
Than flee this place with thee as my support.
Unless thou instantly dost disappear,
I swear I’ll throw myself down from this spit;
Now stay or leave, whate’er thou thinkest fit.”

19
Believe it well, no greater injury
Than for a loving dame to be rejected.
The man she once adored now hateth she.
Her passions are completely redirected.
But by this deathless animosity,
Angelica is not the least affected.
Her love towards Rinaldo hath such might
That all his injuries to her seem light.

20
She answers him, “I shall obey thy will,
For I lack power to do otherwise.
With my one hand myself I’ll gladly kill,
If I thought at my death you would rejoice.
But most unrightly thou with hate art filled.
I swear, as I have hope of Paradise,
I shall do anything thou dost decree,
Save the impossible: to love not thee.

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Book I, Canto V, Part 3

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

41
Rinaldo instantly repays his foe
With a great backthrust to Gradasso’s chest.
Now this way, and now that, the battle goes,
Their ardent spirits swelling in their breasts.
Rinaldo soon decides its time to show
All of his strength. One mighty blow is best.
His shield he casts adown upon the strand,
And lifts Fusberta up with both his hands

42
With painful fury, with his mind on height,
With full abandon he swings Fusbert down.
Down on the earth he knocks the pennon white,
He drives Fusberta through the golden crown;
Nasal and visor from the helm he smites;
Straight through the shield of bone the blow resounds;
From crest to base the shield in twain was split,.
Fusbert sinks in the earth five finger’s width.

43
The demon sees his opportunity.
He turns his back on him and runs away.
Rinaldo sees him and is filled with glee,
Thinking his foe is weary of the fray.
That cunning scoundrel runs toward the sea;
Rinaldo follows swiftly as he may,
Calling, “O braggart king, oh, wait a bit,
Or on Baiardo’s back thou’lt never sit.

44
Is it a kingly deed to flee from battle?
Art thou not shamed to let me see thy back?
Come back with me to see Baiard, and that’ll
Show thee he is no worthless jade or hack.
I shoed him yesterday, and bought a saddle
And harnessings so fine they nothing lack.
Come thou, and take him; he’s fit for a lord.
Thou shalt behold him – if thou pass my sword!”

45
But that false king seems carried by the wind,
So swift he runs, but not a word lets slip.
He jumps into the water, and he swims,
Swift as a dolphin, and climbs on the ship.
Undaunted, Don Rinaldo too jumps in,
And pulls himself up with an iron grip.
When on the deck he stands, he sees his foe,
But ere he strikes him, he leaps down below.

46
Rinaldo follows, even fiercer now,
Bearing Fusberta with uplifted hand.
The demon scrambles up into the prow.
The ship is swiftly sailing from the land.
Rinaldo notes not how the ship doth plow
The waves. Naught but his fight he understands.
They had gone seven miles ere the sprite
Dissolved in smoke and disappeared from sight.

47
Rinaldo was astonished to behold
Gradasso vanishing into thin air.
He searched upon the deck; he searched the hold,
But couldn’t find his foeman anywhere.
The ropes were trim, the sails were all unrolled,
The ship moved swiftly, for the wind stood fair.
Rinaldo stood upon the deck, alone.
Oh, how that worthy baron made his moan:

48
“Ah, God of Heaven,” said he, “for what crime
Hast thou decreed that I should suffer so?
Though I confess I have sinned many a time,
This penance is too hard to undergo.
Dishonor, long as I shall live, is mine,
For in my mind I have no doubt, I know,
That if to tell this story I desire,
I’ll speak the truth, but will be thought a liar.

49
“My lord with all his army me endowered.
He left his empire within my hands.
Then I, vile, false, and fickle treacherous coward,
I fled to sea and left them on the land.
O, how the heathen troops will be empowered!
I seem to hear the tumult of that band,
I hear my bold companions rush to war,
I see Alfrera kill them by the score.

50
“Dear Ricciardet, how could I leave a lad
As young as thou amidst thy foes, alone?
And ye, my kin, Gradasso’s pris’ners sad,
Guizard, my brave Alardo, and Ivon?
Alas, the fame and honor that I had
When I first came to Spain, they all are flown.
Then was I bold and expert in the fight,
But this shame hath mine honor stolen quite.

51
“Nought will avail; how can I be excused,
When men shall call me coward to my face?
I, once a paragon, shall be accused
Of being no more a knight, but reprobate.
‘Tis by Lanfusa’s son I am abused,
By him I’ve been imprisoned in this place.
He means for me to die in torments great.
I see no way I can avert my fate.

52
What will they say of me in Charles’ court,
When what I’ve done to all of France is known?
Oh, how Mongrana’s house will grieve full sore
To know such traitors were among their own!
How they will triumph, how they’ll jest and sport,
Gano, and Pinabello, and Grifon!
Alas, I once could call them traitors base.
No more! For e’en as them am I disgraced.”

53
These words and many more the baron grand
Says as he sadly on the deck laments.
Thrice doth he take his goodly sword in hand,
Thinking of all his woes to make an end.
Thrice on the galley’s railing doth he stand;
To jump all armed and drown is his intent.
But ev’ry time his fearing for his soul
Rebukes his wrath and grants him self-control.

54
The ship so quickly through the waters raced
It had already gone three hundred miles.
No dolphin ever had so swift a pace
As this enchanted ship. After a while,
It turned towards the left and set its face
Eastward, but not to catch the west wind mild,
For magic moved it, and its speed increased
As it set off into the furthest East.

55
The ship was furnished with all things a fine
Sailing ship ought to have, except a crew.
The holds were filled with finest bread and wine,
But Don Rinaldo had no lust thereto.
He knelt adown and made the holy sign,
And as he prayed, there came into his view
A garden and a place fair to see,
Upon a tiny island in the sea.

56
But now I wish to leave him in this place,
Where such great marvels all around him pressed,
And sing of Count Orlando for a space.
As I have told you, love so filled his breast
That stoutly to the East he set his face.
Neither by night or day did he take rest,
Only to find Angelica the fair,
But he could hear no tidings anywhere.

57
The river Don he now has put behind,
And journeys on alone, this baron bold.
All day he rode, but no man did he find,
Until at eve, he met a palmer old.
His beard was gray, and sorely he repined,
Crying, “O Fortune, pitiless and cold!
Thou hast deprived me of my only joy!
I leave thee in God’s hands, my darling boy!”

58/59
“As may God help thee, pilgrim, tell to me
What is the reason thou lamentest so?”
Thus said Orlando, and then bitterly
The wretch continued to pour out his woe,
Saying, “Alas! A luckless wretch you see.
In but one day I have been brought this low!”
He stopped, o’ercome by grief. Orlando waited
To hear his story, and his breath was bated.

59/60
“At the top of this cliff there grows no grass,
Nothing but rocks, and soil red as flame.
I heard a roar from there, but I don’t know
From what infernal beast that dread noise came.
Along the base, a rapid river flows,
Spanned by a bridge as black as coal. The same
Is closed to travellers by a diamond gate,
And on a tower thereof a giant waits.

Notes to the Fifth Canto, Parts 1 and 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation. Book I, Canto V, Stanzas 1-40 Notes

31. Malagise has run the risk of damnation by his practice of magic. Practitioners of magic such as Cornelius Agrippa insisted that there was no sin in summoning demons so long as the wizard refused to serve or worship them, and used their powers to good ends. The Church considered this mere sophistry, and condemned outright all invocations to or of demons.
35. Almanzor. Almanzor was a vizier of Moorish Spain in the late 900’s. How his name became corrupted into a title, I do not know.
Sword of wood. Carried by heralds, as a sign of their office.

Book I, Canto V, Part 2

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

21
“And if to do a favor thou art fain
To me, who brought thee out of that dark cave,
Thou canst bring me from death to life again
If thou wilt send to me thy cousin brave,
Rinaldo, he who causes me such pain.
To hide me woes from thee I do not crave.
Love hath lit in my heart so great a fire,
That night and day nought else do I desire.

22
If thou wilt swear upon thy sacrament,
To make Rinaldo come before me here,
A fight I’ll give which shall thee well content,
For nothing else, I think, thou hold’st so dear:
Thy book I’ll give thee, which from thee I rent.
But if thou thinkest to prove insincere,
I warn thee that a magic ring I bear.
No spells can touch me while this ring I wear.”

23
Don Malagise makes no long reply,
But swears exactly as the dame directs.
He knows not how Rinaldo’s feelings lie,
And thinks his oath will easily be kept.
The sun was sinking in the western sky,
But, as the darkling night upon earth crept,
Don Malagise calls a fiend to bear
Him swiftly onward through the dusky air.

24
The demon keeps the wizard entertained
As they fly onward through the gloomy night
By telling him about the war in Spain,
And how Don Ricciardet fared in the fight,
And how the single combat was ordained.
In fact, whatever had occurred, the sprite
Told Malagise, and some things beside;
His conscience smote him if he hadn’t lied.

25
Soon were they come to Barcelona town,
About an hour ere the break of day.
The demon gently set the wizard down,
Who through the tents begins to make his way,
Seeking where Don Rinaldo might be found.
At last he found the hero where he lay
Upon his cot, enwrapped in slumber deep.
The wizard enters, and disturbs his sleep.

26
When Don Rinaldo sees his cousin’s face,
He’s gladder than he’s ever been before.
He leaps up, grabs him in a glad embrace,
And showers him with kisses by the score.
Don Malagise tells him, “Now make haste,
For I am here because an oath I swore.
If thou art willing, thou canst set me free.
If not, a prisoner again I’ll be.

27
But put thy mind at ease and have no dread,
That I shall lead thee into perils rare.
I’ll only lead thee to a damsel’s bed,
Who’s bright like amber and like lilies fair.
I from despair, and thou to joy art led.
This rosy-visaged girl beyond compare
Is one thou’st never thought of, I dare say:
Angelica, the princess of Cathay.

28
When Don Rinaldo hears ‘twill be his quest
To seek out her whom he despiseth so,
What mighty sorrow wells up in his breast!
And how the color from his visage goes!
Now one response, and now another pressed
Against his lips, and nowise did he know
What he should do, or what he ought to say;
He leans now one, and now the other way.

29
At last, he, like a man of valor true,
In whom lies and deceptions have no place,
Says, “Hear me, Malagise. I will do
Anything else. I’ll undergo disgrace,
Run any risk, no peril I’ll eschew,
My life I’ll hazard, any for I’ll face,
To set thee free I’ll suffer any woe,
But to Angelica I will not go.”

30
When Malagise this response hath heard,
Which he was not expecting him to make,
He begs Rinaldo to take back his words,
Not for his merit, but for mercy’s sake,
And not to leave him in his jail interred.
Now he appeals to him for kinship’s sake,
And now he swears that he will well repay him,
But all in vain. His words can nowise sway him.

31
A little longer, still in vain, he pleads.
Then says, “Look here, Rinaldo, it is said
Ungrateful men won’t recognize good deeds
Even if one should knock them on the head.
I’ve nearly damned myself to Hell for thee,
And thou wilt leave me prisoned till I’m dead.
From this time forth, thou art my enemy.
I shall bring thee to shame or injury.”

32
And with these words, no leave the wizard took,
But stormed off, angrier than I could tell
And for a dark and secret place he looks
(From prying eyes of sentries hidden well)
And there he searches throuhg his magic book,
And then the wizard calls up fiends from Hell
Names Draginazo and Falserta, and
Binds them to do whatever he commands.

33
Falserta of a herald takes the form,
Who served within the household of Marsil.
The costume by the evil spirit worn
Is counterfeited without flaw or weal.
A message for Gradasso hath he born,
Pretending that Rinaldo, like a leal
And worthy knight, will be beside the sea
At the ninth hour, as they did agree.

34
Gradass rejoices when the news he hears,
And gives the messenger a cup of gold.
Soon as the fiend from eyesight disappears,
He takes a novel form, and leaves his old.
His rings aren’t on his fingers, but his ears.
His clothing hangs on him in sumptuous folds,
With patterns traced thereon in golden thread.
Now he’s Gradasso’s messenger instead.

35
He seems to be a Persian almansor,
With mighty bugle and a sword of wood.
He went to meet the French and Spanish lords,
And when in presence of them all he stood,
He gave his message, that his noble lord
At Prime, without excuse or failure, should
Be found alone at the appointed place,
Ready to meet Rinaldo face to face.

36
Soon is Rinaldo armed from toe to head.
He sent away the barons who were there;
But Ricciardetto to the side he led,
And recommended Baiard to his care.
“Whether or not I e’er return,” he said,
“I trust in God, Who rules how all wars fare.
And if His will it is that I be slain,
Lead thou our army back to Charlemagne.”

37
I ought to serve him while my life abides,
Though I have often failed in many ways,
Sometimes through wrath, and other times through pride,
But whosoe’er to kick a wall essays
Will bruise his foot and ‘complish nought beside.
To that lord, worthiest of all men’s praise,
And whom I’ve ever held in high regard,
If I am slain, I leave him my Baiard.”

38
Many another thing the knight did say,
Then kissed him on the mouth, with weeping sore.
Alone towards the sea he took his way,
On foot, concurrent with the oath he swore.
He came, but saw no human in that place.
Naught but a boar at anchor on the shore,
On whose decks nobody was seen to go.
Rinaldo stands and waits to meet his foe.

39
Now Draginazo comes into his view,
Shaped like Gradasso; he a surcoat bears
Of gold that’s crossed with bars of sapphire blue.
A crown of gold upon his head he wears.
His shield, his scimitar made sharp to hew,
And his white horn with which he rends the air,
And on his helm he bears a pennon white.
In short, he seems the king to all men’s sight.

40
And as the demon walks beside the sea
He even counterfeits Gradasso’s gait.
He could have fooled his mother, certainly.
He draws his scimatar with war-cries great.
Rinaldo, who had no desire to be
Caught off his guard, lifts up his sword and waits
But Draginazo, not a word he said,
But struck Rinald a blow upon his head.