The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 15: Siglo d’Oro Plays

SIGLO D’ORO PLAYS

There are four Siglo d’Oro plays about Bernardo del Carpio, full summaries of which follow.

Juan de la Cueva: Comedia de la Libertad de España por Bernardo del Carpio (1579-1581, printed 1583).

First edition: Comedias y tragedias 1583.

Reprinted 1917 by Icaza for the Sociedad de Bibliófilos Españoles.

Printed alone 1974, edited by Anthony Watson, Exeter Hispanic Texts, No. 8.

ACT I: King Alfonso broods on his wrongs and sends Count Tibalte to summon Doña Ximena. He has misgivings, but goes. Ximena is lamenting to her confidante, Doña Oliva, when Tibalte arrives. King Alfonso, meanwhile, is brooding on the weight of the crown when Ximena arrives. He accuses her of disgracing herself and her family, and tells her she will be sent to a nunnery. She asks him to take care of Bernardo, who is just a babe in Asturias. He agrees, and sends her away. The king next sends Count Tibalte to summon the Count of Saldaña.

ACT II: Count Tibalte is a friend of Saldaña’s, and wavers between the king and his friend, before deciding to follow the king’s orders. He and Doña Oliva love each other, and he does not tell her where he is going. Count Tibalte is greeted warmly by Saldaña, and they go to Alfonso’s court. Saldaña denies the king’s accusations of treason, but he never mentions Ximena or Bernardo during this entire scene. The king has him blinded and sent to the Castle of Luna. He then sends Count Tibalte to Asturias to fetch Bernardo, who will be reared at the king’s court as his bastard son. Continue reading

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The Legend of the Lorrainers – Dutch Version

The Roman der Lorreinen is a Middle Dutch poem, c. 1275, surviving only in fragments. At one time, it likely ran to over 150,000 octosyllables, of which only 10,000 survive.

There are three books of this romance. The first is a close translation of Garin and Gerbert. In the second and third, the author gives his fancy free rein, weaving a tale across three continents that brings Ganelon, Marsilius, Baligant, Yon of Gascony, Agolant, and more into the feud between the Lorrainers and the Bordelais, culminating in the battle of Roncesvalles (sadly lost).

A: Five fragments, printed by Jonckbloet, titled Roman van Karel den Groote en zijn twaalf Pairs.

B: Five fragments, printed by Matthes, under the title Roman der Lorreine, nieuw ontdekte gedeelten, book 17 of Bibliotheek van Middelnederlansche Letterkunde.

C: Four fragments, printed by De Vries, under the title Nieuwe fragmenten van den Roman der Lorreinen, in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsche Taal- en Letterkunde III.

D: One fragment, often printed under the name of Laidoen, for example by Kalff in Middelnederlansche epische fragmenten, part of Bibliotheek van middeln. letterk.

Fragments B I-III and C I are from a translation of Garin. Gerbert is utterly lost. The other surviving fragments are from Books II and III.

As the surviving fragments open, Gerbert, having died, left behind two sons: Yon and Garin. Yon has married the daughter of Aspraien, a pagan king [perhaps of Scythia] who invaded France. Hernault le Poitevin and Ludie have a son: Ganelon [here called Gelloen]. Pepin is dead, and Charlemagne sits on the throne of France, and his son Louis the Pious is of nubile age. Ganelon has slain Gerbert, to avenge his uncle Fromondin.

A I: Ganelon takes refuge in Cologne, now ruled by Gerin’s son Otto and his wife Helen. Ganelon tells him, falsely, that the Lorrainers have been defeated in war, and, truly, that Helen and Yon are paramours. Otto, enraged, commits Yon’s daughter Judith, who is staying at his court, to a brothel, in order to break off her intended marriage with Prince Louis. Fortunately, the brave knight Jean de Metz rescues her and takes her to Aix-le-Chapelle. Otto and Ganelon lay siege to Aix, but news comes that the Lorrainers have in fact won the war. Otto raises the siege, and Ganelon flees to his fief in Sweden [!], whence he marries off his daughter Irene to Emperor Leo of Constantinople.

Otto, meanwhile, still thinks his wife unfaithful, and at the advice of the traitor Conrad, sends her into exile in Norway. Garin comes up from the Midi to escort his niece Judith to Paris, where she weds Prince Louis. Yon and Otto are still angry at each other, so the Emperor summons them to his court at Aix. They finally agree that Conrad will gve Metz to Judith in compensation, if Yon will promise to never see Helen again. Yon reluctantly agrees, urged by Ogier the Dane and his other kinsmen. Yon and his son Richard leave France for their fief of Scythia. Learning that Ganelon’s daughter Irene is now Empress of Constantinople, they build the castle of Gardeterre on their border with the Empire, expecting war…

A II: Ganelon, while in exile in Heathenesse [Spain] had taken service with Desramés, and married his daughter, by whom he had two sons: Baligant and Marsilius. Ganelon, in the course of his adventures, has betrayed Agolant, who now invades Spain with his son Almont. The Spaniards ask for Charlemagne’s assistance, who arrives with the Peers. Single combats follow, then the miracle of the flowering spears. In battle the day after this miracle, Milon, Roland’s father, is slain. Charlemagne is on the brink of death, when Gerbert II, son of Garin II, saves him. The battle is inconclusive. The following day, Ganelon, currently home in Norway, offers his aid to Charlemagne, if Charles will forgive him his crimes. He also offers his help to Agolant, who indignantly refuses it, but retreats. Ganelon presents himself before Charlemagne and offers to be reconciled with the Lorrainers. Garin and Gerbert take council with Yon, and refuse Ganelon’s offer. Garin and Gerbert return to Gironville. Charles returns to France and gives his sister, Milon’s widow and Roland’s mother, to Ganelon in marriage.

Helen sends word to Yon, begging him to come to Norway and rescue her. He does so, but they get lost sailing back to Scythia, and land in the country of the Goths, which is near the Caucasus. There they found the village of Ays, and life in amorous bliss, having a son, Haestinc, and a daughter, Isolde.

Richard, Yon’s son, having been sent by his father to France, visits Garin at his castle of Medeborch. Garin informs him of Ganelon’s preferment, and sends him home to warn his father. Otto, having learned of his wife’s escape, sends his knight Paridaen to Scythia to find her. Richard returns home to find his father missing and unaccounted for. He assumes control, fortifies the country round about, and installs one Hugelin as his lieutenant. He then returns to France to inform Garin of what has occurred, and sets out to seek his father. Paridaen, having sought in vain for Helen, returns to Cologne, where Conrad advises Otto to avenge himself by making war on Garin and on Ogier the Dane. Otto sends Paridaen to tell Garin that he must hand Metz over to Otto or prepare for war. Garin refuses, and appeals to Charlemagne. Ogier, Garin, and Otto meet at court, and it is decided that there will be a trial by combat. Gerbert fights against Ganelon’s champion Gyoet of Cremona. Richard, having again returned to France, fights both Berengier and Pyroet, and kills the latter, after Charles has called a halt to the fight. When Charles tries to arrest him, Richard kills Ganelon’s kinsman Lancelin of Clermont, and flees to Bordeaux. The Lorrainers refuse to make peace unless Richard is fully pardoned…

Peace is nonetheless made, and Ganelon travels to the East, where he finds Helen and Yon. He deviously brings about a quarrel between them, causing Helen to secretly leave Ays and wander the world. Meanwhile, in France, Ganelon’s nephew Robert of Milan is at war with the Lorrainers again.

A III: Charlemagne sends Wernier van Graven and Reinout van den dorne wit [= Of the White Thorn = Reynard of Mountauban] with Roland to Robert’s camp, to verify a claim by one Rigaut…

A IV: The envoys find Richard, then go to Belves, where they find Robert’s envoy Gubelin, who takes them to Robert himself…

A V: Ganelon is back in France, and confers with Robert. He advises his nephew to make peace now and betray the Lorrainers when they aren’t expecting anything. They go to Paris, Ganelon leading a hundred Arabian destriers, which he offers to Charlemagne, who promptly forgives him and Robert everything. Ganelon tells him that Yon and Helen are in Gothland…

C II: The Lorrainers and Bordelais make peace. Robert will give his daughter Ogieve and his fief of Montferrat to Rigaud. Richard will wed the Damsel of the [Spanish] March…

C III: Queen Helen, in her wanderings, comes to Jerusalem where she is shriven of her adultery by the Patriarch. Besides Otto and Yon, she has slept with two other kings, by whom she has two sons: Sigfried [Segenfrijt] and Rollo. She enters a nunnery. Yon, distraught at her absence, departs Gothland, leaving his son Haestinc behind. He comes to Gardeterre, which is under attack by Empress Irene. Hugelin recognizes his king with joy, and the two send word to France for Richard to come help them, with as many allies as he can…

A battle is fought between the Greeks and the Scythians…

C IV: Yon is victorious, puts Irene’s brother Hardré to flight, and kills Emperor Leo. Irene becomes the regent for her young son Constantine. Needing an ally, she becomes the mistress of the King of Bulgaria, and bears him a son, Michael. Shortly afterwards, however, they quarrel and go to war, totally distracting Irene from her conflict with the Scythians.

Meanwhile, the Scythians’ messenger arrives in France, finds Richard at court, and tells all his news. Ganelon promises to make Irene see reason, but privately encourages her to continue the war against Scythia. Richard suspects as much, but takes no action – yet. Meanwhile, Agolant still seeks vengeance against Ganelon…

Yon for some reason returns to France, possibly. Other scholars place Fragment B IV immediately after C II…

B IV: Rigaud and Ogieve receive the land of Bayonne in fief from Yon and Garin. The latter two travel to Gascony, where Yon stays while Garin vists his daughter Erminjard in Narbonne, with her husband Aymeri and their seven sons, including William. He next goes to Medeborch, where he meets Alice [The Damsel of the March?] and her son Wanfreid.

Ganelon orders his sons Baligant and Marsilius to invade Spain, and Irene to invade Scythia, while Yon is in France. Yon, Garin, and Rigaud travel through France, meeting the elderly Bancelin in Belin. Bancelin, apparently none other than the uncle of Raoul of Cambrai, intends to become a monk at Saint Berin, but the poet foretells a tragic death for him. Yon and Richard entrust Belin, Gironville, and Monstesclavorijn to Pyroen, who, though a son of Ganelon, is faithful to the Lorrainers…

Richard, son of Yon, is slain in the war, thus ending Book Two.

B V: Duke Frederick of Denmark comes to Yon’s aid and routs the Greeks outside Gardeterre. Irene and her son Fromondin are in the city of Pharat. As the Greek, Scythian, and Danish armies manouver and countermanouver, Fromondin kills Frederick. Yon recovers his corpse and praises him for his attempt to avenge the death of Richard…

D: Two Bordelais counts, Pinabel and Laidoen, are leading a mule-train laden with gold when they are surprised and robbed by the Scythians. The two counts are left alone in the forest, and are separated. Pinabel finds his way back to camp, but Laidoen finds a nest of gryphons. An old gryphon bites his arm off and feeds it to its young. Laidoen binds up his wound as best he can and repents his wicked plots against Charlemagne and Yon as he wanders through the night. At sunrise, he meets an old hermit, named Serpio…

The third book was meant to carry the history down to the days of Emperor Frederick. Roland and Aude’s son, Ryoen, known only in this poem, likely played a large role.

Marsilius and Baligant, living in Africa, invade Spain with their uncle Synagon, Sultan of Arabia, at their father’s suggestion. Charles takes his army into Spain to repel them, leading to the Battle of Roncesvalles. Ganelon orchestrates this battle, hoping it will kill off the flower of the world’s chivalry and leave the way clear for him to become master of all. Empress Irene leads her Greek army to fight the Christians at Roncesvalles. When Charlemagne hears Roland’s horn, he is suspicious of Ganelon, but Ganelon points out that his (Ganelon’s) sons Hugo and Hendrick are with Roland, and his daughter Irene is coming with an army to help Charles. Turpin is with Charlemagne, not at the battle. Charlemagne is not convinced, and orders the army to return to Roncesvalles. Ganelon goes to Irene, and they plot how best to betray Charles. They decide that the Greeks will fall on Charlemagne from the rear, and after he is dead Irene will wed Baligant [!]. Irene’s captains prepare the banners of Africa, but the common Greek soldiers, seeing this and realizing what is about to happen, abandon her en masse and go over to Charlemagne, who thereby learns of the treason, foils it, and arrests Ganelon and Irene. Ganelon is hanged with fourteen of his companions. Irene pleads her innocence, but the Duke of Monbaes shows the court her to sons, whom she blinded to maintain her power, and tells how she killed her own husband. Irene is quartered and her accomplices hanged. [This paragraph is from the Dutch chapbook of Roncesvalles, which seems to have been based partially on Der Lorreinen.]

At least one scholar thinks that Frederick was an error for Ludovic [Louis] and that the story would actually have ended with Louis the Pious and William of Orange. At any rate, if the story was ever finished, the end is lost.

Origins and Influence

A pun on the name of Haestinc and the Old French hanste, ‘lance’ suggests a French source, though how much it was altered by the Dutchman will never be known.

French or Dutch, our author knew the Pseudo-Turpin, some version of the Song of Roland, Aspremont (the gryphons’ nest, and Girbert’s rescue of Charlemagne during the war against Agolant, are clearly inspired by this poem), and Aymeri of Narbonne. The throwing of Judith into a brothel is derived either from saints’ lives (Saint Agnes, most famously) or from Apollonius of Tyre.

Empress Judith appears in this poem as a paragon of chastity. In real life, she had a rather different reputation.

Queen Helen’s sons, Haestinc, Rollo, and Segenfrijt, seem to take their names from the Viking chiefs Hasting and Rollo, and the Danish Sigifrid.

Empress Irene is very loosly based on the historical Irene, who was wife of Emperor Leo IV (775-780) regent for their son Constantine VI (780-790), and finally Empress in her own right (797-802). The historical Irene was an ally of Charlemagne’s, and even considered marrying him. All these historical characters, our author likely found in the chroncicle of Sigebert of Gembloux.

The Dutch chapbooks of Roncesvalles claim that Marsilius and Baligant were bastard sons of Ganelon, a conception found nowhere else outside Der Lorreinen. They also feature Ganelon’s daughter Irene as Empress of Greece. The reconstruction of Book III above is based on them. Of necessity it is rather speculative, as one never knows quite how much of a chapbook is due to the imagination, or the idiocy, of its publisher.

Let thus much suffice for the history of the Lorrainers, and let us now turn to Bevis of Hampton, that was the illustrious forbear of the house of Clairmont.

The Legend of Renaud of Montauban 11: Italian Variants and Origins

CRITICISM

This poem’s vast popularity, which resulted in Rinaldo becomming the most famous knight of Charlemagne’s among the Italian people, is due, I think, to two related factors. The first is that the poem is, as far as a foreigner can judge, well-written. It moves along with scarcely a dull moment from beginning to end. The second is, that it is unabashedly on the side of the House of Clairmont. Gone are the moral dilemmas of the French poem, the conflicts between loyalty to country and loyalty to family, the question of whether it is right to obey one’s king when he is clearly in the wrong. The poem sometimes even crosses the border into protagonist-centered morality, as when Namo and Ogier have no qualms about sacrificing thousands of Christians in the vain hope of reconciling Charles and Rinaldo, or when Malagigi arranges the betrayal and slaughter of the Maganzans. Anything the House of Clairmont does is fair play, but anything the Maganzans do is foul treason. One can clearly see the difference between a poem written for the nobility of France serving kings of highly varying competence, and a poem written for the lower and middle classes of an Italy which had only recently advanced from deadly feuds within her cities to deadly feuds between her cities.

ORIGINS

The poet relates the traditional episodes rather briefly, to make more room for his own inventions.

In much the same way as the Old French, where the traditional heart of the poem (the treason at Vaucoleurs and its aftermath) is the same across all MSS, whereas the later additions (Montessor and Tremoigne) were freely rewritten, so in the Italian the (by-then) traditional portions representing the Old French chanson are similar in all four of the oldest copies, while the new additions such as Rinaldo’s giant-killing spree are freely altered.

Two messengers are sent to Buovo d’Agrismonte, as in O. Afterwards, however, the account of the quarrel at chess and the rest of the story follow DPA.

Combats between fathers and sons are well-known in folklore. Odysseus is slain by his son. Cuchulain slays his. Rustan slays his. Arthur and Mordred slay each other. Hildebrand and his son recognize each other before either is slain. Amadis of Gaul was slain by Esplendian in the [lost] original book, but in Montalvo’s reworking they recognize each other in time.

The siege of Monte Soro is much abridged, but what it does keep follows the French closely, such as the slaying of one Ugo de Sant’ Omeri by Guicciardo.

Mambrino is simply a replacement for Begon. His brothers appear to be Italian inventions.

The siege of Monte Albano is much condensed from the French, and appears to take place over a few months, rather than years and years.

The corpse stops in Ceoigne, as in POA, the French prose, and Caxton.

VARIANTS

In a: immediately after the slaying of the giant Constantino, the next adventure is that of the Amostante of Persia, wherein Rinaldo visits the Sultan before offering his services to the Almostante.

The Marte episode is also narrated differently. The four cousins have their own adventures while crossing the sea. When they finally arrive, Rinaldo and Ulivieri fight in a judicial duel for Queen Sibilia. At the feast after they win, the spies of Gano expose the identity of the four newcomers, and a battle breaks out. The eight Paladins are driven back to the Royal Palace, where the Queen confides to them the secret of her love, and shows them a secret exit. They are nonetheless pursued, Rinaldo cuts off Marte’s head, but Astolfo is captured. Rinaldo sends Baiard away, and the battle proceeds as usual. Only after this battle do the Four Sons visit the Holy Sepulcher, and when they return to France Orlando specifically reconciles them with Charles.

In the beta family: Two cantos are interpolated at the beginning of the poem. The first expands on the backstory between Amone and Ginamo, and the second is merely a description of the Paladins gathering at Charles’ court.

Later on, it is Ginamo’s brother Folco who meets the Sons and is slain by them. Rinaldo kills Ginamo in a judicial duel in Paris.

The Amostante’s daughter is named Constanza, not Fioretta.

The story of Fierabras is interpolated between the end of the war against Mambrino and the attempted pilgrimage of Ganelon to Compostella.

Rinaldo’s corpse, very sensibly, does not travel to Cogna but instead into Saint Peter’s Church in Cologne. A scroll proceeds from his mouth, on which his name and history are written. The news is taken to Charles, who comes with the Paladins to pay their respects. The lamentations of Aymonetto, Ivonetto, his brothers, Orlando, Astofo, etc. are related. Even Ganelon is given a stanza of (undoubtably hypocritical) mourning, regretful for all the times they quarrelled. Charles hangs the masons, and endows an abbey of monks.

The poem appears to end, but in some beta editions is added, without explanation, a whole further canto of adventures. (In other copies, this episode is more logically placed just before Rinaldo’s departure for Cologne) Ganelon tells Charles he really ought to hang that thief Rinaldo. Charles concurs, but asks how. Ganelon suggests inviting Rinaldo to court, and then hanging him. Charles agrees, and writes a letter, which he sends via Turpin. Rinaldo arrives at court, and after a feast, retires to his chamber in a tower. Ganelon, Charles, and a hundred goons come in the middle of the night to arrest him, having first distracted the Peers on some pretext or other. Rinaldo is imprisoned and sentenced to be hanged, much to the Peers’ grief. Malagise, on hearing the news, summons a demon, Macabello. The two disguise themselves as friars and fly to Paris, where they request to hear Rinaldo’s shrift. Charles lets them into the prison, where Macabello assumes the shape of Rinaldo and stays behind while Rinaldo dons friar’s garb and leaves with his cousin. The two of them go back to Charles and announce that Rinaldo is impenitent, and ought to be hanged at once. As the friars leave, Charles sends the Maganzans to bring Rinaldo out for execution – but he is gone! Charles rants and raves, and accuses Alda the Fair (here Orlando’s wife, not betrothed) of helping him escape. She knows nothing, but a fight has broken out in the palace between the Maganzans and everyone else, and the traitors die by the score. Some confusing trips of Rinaldo back and forth to Paris and Montalbano follow, in which he fights Maganzans and makes speeches to Charles. Ganelon, alas, survives, but after the treason of Roncesvalles he will be quartered by wild horses.

There were, of course, many other corruptions in the later printed editions, sometimes extending to whole cantos being omitted or shuffled around. The curious may find them all duly catalogued in Melli’s edition.

The Legend of Renaud of Montauban 10: Italian

The Italian family consists of the following versions:

I Cantari di Rinaldo da Montealbano. In ottava rima, from the late 1300’s. Crticial edition by Elio Melli in 1973 under the title I Cantari di Rinaldo da Monte Albano.

El Inamoramento de Rinaldo da Monte Albano. The aforesaid Cantari, with the story of Fierabras interpolated, a prologue dealing with the feud of Aymon and Ginamo of Baiona added, and many episodes lengthened. Also printed under the title of Rinaldo Innamorato, and in either case usually with a very long subtitle.

Prose Rinaldo. Probably by Andrea da Barberino, though this cannot be proved.

Rinaldo, by Torquato Tasso. In ottava rima. Translated into English couplets by John Hoole, whom Scott notoriously described as “a noble transmuter of gold into lead.” More recently translated into ottava rima by Max Wickert.

I CANTARI DI RINALDO DA MONTE ALBANO

The oldest and best version is in a MS known as palatino 364, of the Bib. Naz. di Firenze. There are three other versions, each of which expand the first section (up to the chessboard-murder) in their own unique ways. R: a manuscript fragment which ends just before the ambush of Buovo, Cod. Riccardiano 683. a: a printed edition without title or date, probably from 1479, British Museum, Printed Books G 11352. b: the first (surviving) printing of El Inamoramento de Rinaldo da Monte Albano, from which all other printings are descended. After the chessboard-murder these three versions all follow Pal closely, with the exception of b’s interpolation of Fierabras before the beginning of the war against Monte Albano. Since b is the ancestor of all other versions, they are known as the beta family. is most likely related to the prose version in the Laurenzian library.

 PALATINO 364

Charlemagne holds court at Paris, when Ginamo of Baiona tells Amone that he [Ginamo] has cuckolded him [Amone], and that all four of his [Amone’s] sons are actually Ginamo’s. Amone, furious, heads for Dordona, but Orlando, Astolfo, Ulivieri, and Namo send messengers ahead of him to warn the Duchess, who flees with her sons Alardo, Rinaldo, Guicciardo and Ricciardetto to Monte Ermino [Montherme]. Rinaldo swears to clear his mother’s name.

Amone is son of Bernardo of Chiaramonte, and his brothers are Girado of Ronsiglione, Milon d’Angrante [Orlando’s father], King Otto of England, [Astolfo’s father], Duodo of Antonia [Doon de Nanteuil?] and Buovo of Agrismonte. Buovo and his wife Smeragda were long childless, and so went on pilgrimage to Saint James. Smeragda became pregnant, and gave birth to twin boys. However, they were still in Spain at the time, and their train was attacked by King Avilante. Only Buovo and his wife escaped, and their children were left behind in the rout. King Avilante finds the one, adopts him and names him Viviano. The other is found by the Queen of Belfiore, who happens to be passing by some days later. She finds him “mal giacere” [lying ill: that is, alone], names him Malagigi, and teaches him magic. By his magic, he grows up to win Baiardo, whom he finds in a grotto with a hauberk, a helmet, and the sword Frusberta. He slays the deadly serpent that guards them, and claims them. Since, by his magic, he knows who his family are and the peril they are in, he takes leave of his foster-mother and pretends to be a merchant. He sells his cousins Baiardo, saying that no bastard can sit on this wonderful horse. Rinaldo, reassured by his mother, buys the beast, after which Malagigi reveals his identity and departs. The brethren ride to Paris with their train. Ginamo meets them on the way and claims to be their father, but they defy him, and battle is joined. The brethren slay Ginamo, who is carried to his castle, where his sons Ramondo and Beltramo mourn him. Although the Sons are reconciled with their father, Charles banishes them from Christendom for three years for killing Ginamo. As they leave, Gano secretly follows to ambush them. Luckily, Orlando is suspicious, and rides with his other cousins after them, finding them just after Gano’s men have leapt out of the bushes. Gano has concealed his insignia, but Rinaldo gives him an ugly cut through his helmet. Gano flees when Orlando arrives, still unknown. The Duchess returns to Dordona with Amone, and Rinaldo takes up residence in Monte Ermino, deciding to lay low instead of actually leaving. Gano returns to court, where he pretends he had a hunting accident. Orlando is suspicious, but can prove nothing.

Continue reading

The Legend of the Death of Malagise

The Legend of the Death of Malagise is to be found in two chansons de geste, both known as La Mort Maugis:

The N Version: MS, Bib. Nat. Fr. 766. C. 1300. French rhymed alexandrines, following Renaud de Montauban.

The B Version: London BM Royal 16 G II. Around 1450. French rhymed alexandrines, following a prose adaptation of Renaud de Montauban. Printed under the title “Renaut de Montauban, deuxième fragment rimé du manuscrit de Londres, British Library, Royal 16 G II (“B”). Édition critique par Philippe Verelst, Gent, Romanica Gandensia, 1988.”

MANUSCRIPT N: BIB. NAT. FR. 766 (NEMOURS)

Containing Maugis D’Aigremont, Renaud de Montauban, and La Mort Maugis.

Maugis, in his hermitage with Baiard, is praying for the Peers, when an angel tells him to go be shriven by Pope Simon, his cousin. The Pope makes him a Roman senator, but the others dislike him. Next morning, as the Pope says Mass, an angel leaves a letter on the altar, bidding the Pope send Maugis to Charles. The Pope gives Maugis a letter of his own, and Maugis arrives at Paris, disguises Baiard black, is almost recognized by his cousins, and reveals himself to Charles. The letter from the Pope bids Charles put Maugis to any ordeal whatsoever. Maugis emerges unscathed from boiling oil, pitch and lead, after which Charles showers him with honors. But then, a messenger arrives from Montauban: the Saracens are besieging it. Maugis, Alard, Guichard, Richard, Aymonet, Yonnet, Richard of Normandy, and others go to raise the siege. Begues the Arabian is slain, but Marsile routs the Christians. Alard, Guichard, Richard, Aymonet and Yonnet take refuge in a cave, while Richard of Normandy defends the entrance. He is forced to retreat, however, and Escorfaut lights a fire at the entrance, smothering the Aymonids. Maugis drives off the Pagans and buries his family. He then rides Baiard to Rome, where Simon dies. The Romans try to elect Maugis Pope in his place. He flees, however, and returns to his hermitage. Charlemagne, meanwhile, has a dream that an angel orders him to make war on the Spaniards. In the morning, Richard of Normandy arrives and tells him the sad news. Maugis dies in his hermitage in the forest of Ardennes, and Baiard still lives there, and can be heard neighing every feast of Saint John the Baptist.

MANUSCRIPT B: London BM Royal 16 G II.

Containing Renaud de Montauban in verse and prose, and La Mort Maugis in verse.

Maugis decides to go to Rome of his own accord. Maugis is made bishop, cardinal, and finally Pope, under the name of Innocent. He summons Charlemagne to be shriven, and Charles confesses his hatred of Maugis, who reveals himself, and the two are reconciled. Maugis resigns the Papacy, and returns to Charles’ court, until one day he, Alard, Richard, and Guichard are at a tournament in Naples [perhaps Nobles in Spain], where Ganelon lures them into a cave, lights a fire at the entrance, and smothers them.

THE ORIGINS OF THE LEGEND

Will be dealt with more fully under Maugis d’Aigremont and The Four Sons of Aymon. For now, let it suffice to note that Maugis is based on Adalgis, son of King Desiderius of Lombardy. The manner of Adalgis’ death is not known to history. It should also be noted here that in the Dutch poem and its descendants, Maugis dies in the Holy Land, fighting alongside Renaud against the Saracens.

Book I, Canto VII, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto VII, Stanzas 61-72

61
“Of Baiard, I have made Gradass a present,
And we have made full reconciliation.
I’ll be his jester and amuse all present,
Thanks to Don Ganelone’s commendation;
I know that he will find these tidings pleasant.
For ev’ry man of you I’ve found a station.
Gradasso’s butler will be Charlemagne,
His carver Olivier, his cook the Dane.

62
“I told him Ganelone of Magance
Was a strong man; his heart was stout and good.
He ordered that a man of such puissance
Should fetch for him his water and his wood.
The rest of you back biters shall commence
To serve these other lords, and if you should
Follow my trade with diligence, you may
Be as esteemed as I am now, some day.”

63
Astolfo speaks without a laugh or smile,
And ev’rybody thinks his words are sooth.
Now is new misery on Charles piled.
Well might his paladins deserve your ruth.
Now Bishop Turpin speaks, “Ah, miscreant vile!
Hast thou forsaken Mother Church’s truth?
Astolfo says, “Sir Priest, depend upon it,
I have forsaken Christ and serve Mahomet.”

64
The French, astonished, turn as pale as death.
Some sigh, and some lament, and others weeps.
But now Astolfo wearies of his jest.
He throws himself at Emp’ror Charles’ feet.
“My lord, you are at liberty,” he says,
“And if I woke your wrath by my deceit,
For God’s sake, and for pity, pardon me,
For while I live, I shall your servant be.

65
“But mark my words! I swear thee by no means
Will I unto your court come ever back
Where Ganelone and his kinsmen dwell
Who know full well to change what’s white to black.
Unto your hands I trust all my demesnes,
For at the break of dawn I’ll start my trek
And won’t return, though I should freeze or scald,
Till I have found Orlando and Rinald.”

66
Nobody knows if he speaks truth or jests.
They sit and stare and try to read his face,
Until Gradasso, worthy lord, requests
Them all to rise up and be on their way.
Ganelon mounts his horse the speediest,
But Don Astolfo sees, and grabs his reins,
And says, “Halt, knight. You leave not by my will.
The rest are free, but you are pris’ner still.”

67
“Whose prisoner?” Count Ganelon demands.
“Astolf of England,” cometh his reply.
Gradasso makes the Christians understand
The terms Astolf and he abided by.
Astolfo leads Count Gano by the hand
Before King Charles, kneels, then meets his eye
And thus addresses him, “Your Majesty,
For love of you, I’ll set this caitiff free.

68
“But only on these terms and this condition:
That you will clasp his hands and have him swear
To spend four days confined within a prison
When I command. I shall choose when and where.
But above all, I seek for your permission
(For he’s accustomed to treat oaths like air
Towards the Paladins, and to your Crown)
To have his person well and firmly bound.”

69
King Charles says, “I will it to be so.”
Immediately they swear the oaths he seeks.
To Paris now the knights in triumph go.
Of nothing but Astolfo do they speak.
They throng around him, and their praises flow.
Some hug him tightly, others kiss his cheek.
For his great victory they weave him laurels.
He’s saved the Christian Faith and Emp’ror Charles.

70
The king tries ev’ry art to make him stay.
He offers all of Ireland in fee,
But he’s determined to be on his way
To find where Rinald and Orlando be.
I’ll leave him now, as he pursues his way,
And later I’ll resume his history.
That very night, just ere the break of dawn,
Gradasso and the Saracens are gone.

71
They come to Spain, where Marsil and his men
And all his barons go back to their homes.
Gradasso’s soldiers board their ships again,
A fleet so large, its numbers can’t be known.
I think my labors will be better spent
Than telling how the Saracens were blown
Through lands where Negroes swelter ‘neath the sun,
In telling you what Don Rinaldo’s done.

72
I’ll tell you all about his marvelous
Adventures, and his high and lofty quest,
Full of rejoicing, yet so perilous
That never was the hero so hard-pressed
But danger and misfortune as in this,
But ere I sing some more, I wish to rest,
And my coming canto I will show
Marvelous things of joyfulness and woe.

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Notes

Book I, Canto VII, Part 3

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

41
And thus addresses him, “O Emperor wise,
Every heart within a noble breast
Honor and glory over all doth prize.
He who desires only wealth, or rest
And showeth not his prowess to men’s eyes,
Should of his lands and rank be dispossessed.
I, who within the East had no small name
Came to the West to garner still more fame.

42
“And certainly not to acquire France,
Or Spain, or Germany, or Hungary.
Let my deeds henceforth bear me countenance
That I’m content  with my own signorie,
For none on earth can equal my puissance.
So now, here are the terms I offer thee:
Within my camp, thou and they valiant knights,
Shall pris’ners stay, but only for tonight.

43
“And in the morning I shall set you free,
And no more in your country interfere,
On this condition: thou shalt yield to me
The lord of Montalbano’s good destrier
Which I have won by combat lawfully,
Because that rascal didn’t dare appear.
Likwise, when next Orlando thou dost see,
Order thou him to send his sword to me.”

44
King Charles says that he will yield Baiard,
And for the sword he will do all he can;
But King Gradasso drives a bargain hard
And bids him sent to Paris town a man
To fetch the horse. King Charles sends Ricard,
But when Astolfo learns about this plan
(He’d had himself appointed governor)
He seized Ricard  and made him prisoner.

45
And then he sent a herald to the host,
Gradasso and his cohorts to defy,
And if of conquering Rinald he boasts,
Or making him to flee, give him the lie;
And that the treaty was an idle ghost,
For Baiard wasn’t Charles property.
And for his part, the steed he’d never yield
Unless Gradasso beat him in the field.

46
Gradass, on being challenged to a duel,
Asks who Astolfo is, and what his sort.
Charles, who tries to keep his temper cool,
Gives of his Paladin a brief report.
Ganelon says, “My lord, he is a fool
Who often gives delight to all our court.
Pay no attention to his nonsense, nor
Forgo the promises you made before.”

47
Gradasso says to him, “Thou speakest fine,
But think thou not that I’ll let thee depart
For pleasant words if Baiard is not mine.
This Don Astolf must have a valiant heart.
You worthy heroes as my captives pine,
And still he bids me to be on my guard.
Then let him come! If he’s a knight of force
I’ll have some fun before I take the horse.

48
But if by force Baiardo I obtain,
Then I may deal with you just as I please.
On our agreement you will have no claim,
Since you did not fulfill your pact with me.”
Oh, how distraught and wroth is Charlemagne,
For when he thought to have his liberty,
His barons free, himself once more a king,
This idiot will cost him ev’rything.

49
At dawn, Astolfo has Baiard prepared,
With leopards sewn on his caparison.
Enormous pearls upon his helm he wears.
His gilded sword hilt sparkles in the sun.
As many precious stones and jewels he bears
As one who ruled the whole earth might have done.
His shield is gold. He leans upon his breast
The gold lance Argalía once possessed.

50
His entrance on the battlefield he made,
Just as the sun above the hilltops shone.
A mighty blast upon his horn he played,
And he announced in far-resounding tone,
“O King Gradasso, if thou art afraid
To prove thyself against me all alone,
Then bring the great Alfrera by thy side,
And if thou wish, a thousand more beside.

51
“Bring King Marsil, and Balugante false,
Bring Serpentin and Falsirone then;
Bring on Grandonio, he who is so tall –
I’d love to knock him off his horse again! –
And Ferraguto, full of spite and gall;
All of thy paladins and all thy men
Bring with thee, from the greatest to the least,
For thus my glory will be more increased.”

52
With such words Don Astolfo loudly cried.
Oh, how Gradasso laughs, so long and hard!
He arms himself, and to the field he rides,
Where he so much desired to win Baiard.
He gives Astolfo greeting most polite,
Then says, “Sir knight, I know not what thou art.
I asked thy peers about my strange contester.
Ganelon told me that thou wert the jester.

53
“Others have told me that thou art a knight
Graceful, noble, courteous, and free,
Who dost in valor and high deeds delight.
Which one thou art, is yet unknown to me,
But I shall honor thee, who dar’st this fight.
But this I tell thee for a certainty,
That once I knock thee down with smiting hard,
Nought shall I take from thee except Baiard.”

54
“But thou dost count thy bill without thine host,”
Astolfo said, “And it behooves thee wait;
I’ll knock thee from thy saddle with one blow,
But since thou’st shown thy courtesy so great,
Thou shalt not pay a penny’s ransom, thou
All of thy captives thou shalt yield me straight.
And then thou shalt depart for Pagan lands
Immediately, with all thine heathen bands.”

55
“I am content thereto, by great Mahound,”
Gradasso says. They swear to keep these terms.
Then off he starts, and lets his truncheon down,
Banded with iron, which is so strong and firm
He trusts to knock Astolfo t the ground
And which could lay a wall upon the earth.
Astolfo, on the other side makes ready.
His strength is little, but his heart is steady.

56
Gradasso spurs his good Arabian mare,
Nor does Astolfo simply watch him speed;
The thundering of their hoofbeats rends the air,
And in the middle of the field they meet.
Astolfo strikes Gradasso’s shield just ere
The king strikes his. His vict’ry is complete.
The bottom of Gradasso’s shield he grazed,
And the great monarch from his seat was raised.

57
Gradasso finds himself upon the dust
And thinks he’s dreaming, but his mind soon clears.
He realizes that the war is lost,
And lost is Baiard, charger without peer.
He rose, climbed back upon his mare, and crossed
To Don Astolfo, saying, “Cavalier,
Thou hast the better of me here today.
Come, take my prisoners without delay.

58
To the camp riding, hand in hand they go.
Gradasso does the victor honor great.
King Charles and the Paladins don’t know
The jousting’s terms, or what will be their fate.
Astolfo to Gradasso whispers low
Not to tell Charles what has chanced of late
And to keep quiet while he plays a jest.
He wanted vengeance; this way suits him best.

59
With hard-set face, before the king he strides
And says “Ah ha! Thy sins have found thee out!
Thou wert puffed up with arrogance and pride,
And reckoned all the world a rabble rout.
Orlando and Rinaldo saved thine hide,
And thou hast sought for ways to drive them out.
Lo! Thou wouldst take Baiard against all right,
And now possesses him this king of might.

60
“Against all right thou threwest me in jail
To do a favor unto House Magance.
Now see if Ganelone will avail
To save thee now, or save thy realm of France.
The great Orlando will not be thy bail,
Nor will Rinaldo, master of the lance.
Hadst thou not foolishly chased them away,
Thou wouldst not be a ruined man today.

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Notes

Book I, Canto VII, Part 2

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

21
He would have been a captive, or a corpse,
But as I said, Alfrera reappeared,
Swinging his iron mace with deadly force
As through th’advancing Christian host he sheared.
Burgundian Gui he topples from his horse,
And good Duke Naimo of the hoary beard.
But Olivier, Dudon, and Charlemagne
All three at once against the giant came.

22
One charges from that side, and one from this.
Boldly and gallantly they urge their steeds.
He cannot turn his giraffe around. It is
By nature quite a lazy, sluggish beast.
He swings great strokes, but all of them just miss.
Charles and his companions dodge with ease.
Since nought he did availed him, he abated
His fight and fled to where Gradasso waited.

23
His flight the haughty lord Gradasso spies,
Who used to hold him in a high regard.
He turns to him in anger, and he cried:
“Ah, worthless coward, vile sack of lard!
Art thou not shamed, so cravenly to fly?
Art thou so great of limb and small of heart?
Go wait inside my tent, thou scorned of men,
And never let me see thee armed again!”

24
He ceases talking and he spurs his horse,
And with one thrust he overthrows Dudon.
And with what seems a more than human force
He floors Ricardo and King Salamon.
The men of Sericane behind him course.
Their dragon-hearted king deserves his throne.
His lance was iron bound, twenty feet long.
The world has never seen a man so strong.

25
Against Count Ganellone he collides,
Striking the falcon’s breast upon his shield.
He knocks him to the ground, his legs sprawled wide,
Then spies King Charlemagne across the field.
His lance in rest, with utmost speed he rides,
And with one blow, his seat the emperor yields.
But as Gradasso Baiard’s bridle clasped,
That destrier turned its croup, and lightning fast

26
With a loud neighing, he kicks out his heels,
And just below the knee gives such a clout
That though his greaves were of enchanted steel,
Yet they were dented in, while sparks flew out.
Worse pain than ever now Gradasso feels.
It runs all through him, so he turns about,
And leaves Baiardo, letting fall the rein;
The good beast swiftly back to Paris came.

27
Gradasso flees in anguish to his tent.
You all may guess what agony he’s in.
Straightaway for an agéd man he sent,
A master of the art of medicine.
He binds the wound with skill, and then presents
A potion brewed from herbs and roots to him,
Which, when Gradasso quaffs it all, it seems
As if his wound were nothing but a dream.

28
To battle he returns, sans pain or fear .
In fact, he’s even fiercer than before.
Against him gallops Marquis Olivier,
But with one blow he knocks him to the floor.
Avin, Avolio, Guido, Angelier,
Without a pause he overthrows all four
To tell it shortly, ev’ry Paladin
Was by Gradasso captured with great vim.

29
The Christian people turn about and flee;
Against the Saracens no more they fight.
The Frankish lords are in captivity.
The other rabble in distress take flight.
No Christian faces do the pagans see;
Captives or slain are all the valiant knights.
And of the rest, none than the next is bolder,
And all show to the Saracens their shoulders.

30
Now all of Paris hears the tidings dread
Of the defeat, and Karl’s captivity.
Ogier the Dane leaps up at once from bed,
Lamenting loudly, as a baron free.
He donned his arms, then to the gate he sped
On foot, not waiting even for his steed.
But he commanded it be harnessed straight,
And brought to meet him at the Paris gate.

31
When he arrived, he found the gate was down,
And from without he hears the woeful cry
Of all the baptized cruelly cut down.
The murd’rous porter at his ease there lies;
So that the Pagans enter not the town
He is content that his compatriots die.
The Dane him bids to open up the gate;
He clearly sees he can’t a minute wait.

32
The scowling porter, like a churl, informs
The Dane he has no wish to raise the gate,
And with proud boasts he blusters and he storms
That his appointed post he’ll ne’er forsake.
Ogieri lifts his axe, which so alarms
The porter, that he doesn’t hesitate
To run away in terror with a shout.
Ogieri opes the gate and rushes out.

33
Upon the bridge forth strides the gallant knight;
With axe in readiness he takes his stand.
Now is he fortunate to have keen sight,
For as in terror fled the Christian band,
Each of them wishing to be first in flight,
The swiftest Pagans mixed among them ran.
The mighty Dane perceives them where they go,
And with his axe he brings them all to woe.

34
The Pagan army ever closer sped.
Don Serpentino leads them their attack.
Upon the bridge, as swift as lightning, leapt
The Danish hero, brandishing his axe,
And brought it down on Serpentino’s head.
The sparks fly from his helm, which would have cracked
If Serpentino’s armor were not made
By magic art, secure from all such blades.

35
The Dane upon the Pagan army gazed.
Gradasso led, and mighty Ferragu.
So many enemies Ogieri faced,
He clearly saw that nothing could he do.
He called behind him that the bridge be raised.
There never was a knight so brave and true.
Alone against the Pagan host he fights,
And keeps them off the bridge in their despite.

36
Gradasso confidently ‘gainst him came,
Ordering all his vassals to step back.
Ogieri hears the gate shut with a clang,
And in a brave despair he lifts his axe.
Gradasso seizes it, to snap in twain,
Then lights down off his charger, and he grasps
The Dane, who’s stout and skilled in wrestling play,
But King Gradasso carries him away.

37
No knights were left to make an opposition,
As day gave was unto the dusky knight.
The priests lead all the people in processions,
With pure intent, and clad in garments white.
Open is ev’ry church, and ev’ry prison
With fear and terror they await the light.
None dare to rest, for once the gates are breached,
Destruction waits alike for all and each.

38
Astolfo with the others was set free;
No one remembered that he was alive;
For once he’d been thrown in captivity
A rumor went around that he had died.
His habit was to talk incessantly
And brag more proudly than I could describe.
He heard the news, and “Oh, alas!” he moaned,
“Of my arrest, Gradasso must have known!

39
“Had I not been thrown in a dungeon cell,
King Charlemagne would have no cause to moan.
But even now, I can make all things well,
I’ll take Gradasso pris’ner by my lone.
Soon as the dawning o’er th’horizon swells
I’ll arm myself and mount upon my roan.
You all, stand on the walls and watch me fight.
Woe to the infidel who tests my might!”

40
Meanwhile, joy possessed the pagan races.
They cheer their ruler and upon him fawn.
His glee unbounded written on his face is,
Dreaming of seizing Paris at the dawn.
He’s put Alfrera back in his good graces.
Now to review his prisoners he’s gone.
When he sees Charlemagne, he sits down, and
He takes his fellow monarch by the hand

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No notes for this Part.

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 14: Broadside Ballads

Spain is home to a large number of beautiful ballads, called romances. Some of these ballads are about lovers. Many are about the Moors who ruled Spain for so many long centuries. There are a large number about the famous Cid who fought the Moors. There is also a large cycle about the Paladins of France, and about Bernardo del Carpio, who, the Spaniards say, killed the mighty Roland in the battle of Roncesvalles. While there are several collections of English translations of the Spanish ballads, scholars and translators tend to focus on the Moorish and love ballads. It is difficult to find any complete account of this branch of the Carolingian legend, which is why I decided to write a summary of every Spanish ballad related to Charlemagne. I quickly discovered that this is an impossible task. The folk tradition is still alive and well, not only in Iberia, but in every land to which the Spanish Jews moved after being exiled by Ferdinand and Isabella. New variants are constantly being recorded, and no Professor Child has yet arisen to make a complete collection of the folksongs and to standardize the titles by which they are known.
The closest thing to a definitive collection of Spanish ballads that currently exists is the Romancero General of Agustin Duran, published in 1877, which includes every ballad printed prior to the 1800’s. This means it does not include any folksongs from the Spain of his day, or, naturally, from later. These folksongs sometimes contain very interesting variants from the printed texts. Many of these later folksongs can be found at the Pan-Hispanic Ballad Project and Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, two confusingly arranged messes of websites which I leave it to you to sift through if my dozen posts on Duran’s ballads leave you wanting more.
Duran’s magnum opus is in two volumes, which are volumes 10 and 14 of the Biblioteca des Autores Españoles.

The following ballads are what are known as Broadside or Stall Ballads in English. They are not founded in folk tradition, and usually have little literary value. The ones which follow are all from the eighteenth century, written for street peddlers to sell and beggars to sing.

JUAN JOSEF LOPEZ’ CYCLE OF FIERABRAS AND RONCESVALLES

1253, HAVING CONQUERED ROME AND CARRIED OFF THE HOLY RELICS, THE ALMIRANTE BALAN INVADES FRANCE, AND HOW HIS SON THE GIANT FIERABRAS DEFIED THE TWELVE PEERS, AND FOUGHT A REMARKABLE DUEL WITH THE FAMOUS OLIVEROS.
Balan, the Almirante of Turkey, has a fifteen foot son, Fierabras of Alexandria. When said son is twenty, they sack Rome and kill the Pope. Charlemagne rides forth with his twelve Peers. They make camp, and Fierabras taunts him and challenges the Peers. Roldan won’t fight, because Charles had teased him the other day about not being as good as the older knights. Charles is about to kill him for his insubordination, but is prevented. Oliveros and his squire Guarin go to fight Fierabras. Guarin runs ahead to challenge the giant, who is amused and sends him back. Oliveros arrives, and the fight begins.

1254, THE BATTLE ‘TWIXT OLIVEROS AND FIERABRAS CONTINUES. FIERABRAS IS DEFEATED AND WOUNDED SORE, AND CARRIED TO CHARLEMAGNE’S CAMP, WHERE HE SEEKS AND OBTAINS BAPTISM. ALTHOUGH THE CHRISTIANS VANQUISH THE TURKS, OLIVEROS AND FOUR OTHER PEERS ARE CAPTURED.
The title says it all. Fierabras is baptized in Saint Peter’s, by an archbishop. Roldan and Oliveros’ father [unnamed] are his sponsors.

1255, HOW FLORIPES, BALAN’S DAUGHTER, SUCCORED AND ARMED THE CHRISTIANS AND DECLARED HER LOVE FOR GUI OF BORGOÑA, AND ALSO HOW THE ALMIRANTE SENT AMBASSADORS TO CHARLEMAGNE, FOR THE RANSOM OF FIERABRAS, AND HOW THEY MET WITH THOSE CHARLEMAGNE SENT TO THE PAGAN TO EXHORT HIM TO CONVERT AND RETURN THE RELICS. OF THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE HERALDS: HOW SEVEN CHRISTIANS VANQUISHED FOURTEEN TURKS, AND CONTINUED THEIR JOURNEY TO THE ENEMY COURT.
The title says it all. Oger is here mentioned to be one of the captives.

1256, HOW THE ALMIRANTE SIEZED THE AMBASSADORS, AND FLORIPES CLEVERLY SAVED THEM FROM IMMEDIATE DEATH; AND HOW SHE ARMED AND REUNITED THEM WITH THE OTHERS, TOOK REFUGE IN A TOWERT AND DEFENDED IT, AND WEDDED GUI OF BORGOÑA.
Roldan and Naymes are among the ambassadors. Ricarte is in the tower, though whether he was with the first or the second batch of captives is not stated.

1257, BALAN BESIEGES THE TOWER, AND IS ROUTED IN A SALLY THE KNIGHTS MAKE. HE RETIRES WITH GUI OF BORGOÑA CAPTIVE, AND ORDERS HIM HANGED IN FRONT OF THE BESIEGED, WHO RESCUE HIM. RICARTE ESCAPES THE TOWER AND TELLS CHARLEMAGNE THE PERIL OF THE BESIEGED. HE RIDES TO THEIR AID, AND CROSSED MANTRIBLE, KILLING THE GIANT WHO DEFENDS IT.
The title says it all, literally. Mantrible is a [fictional] bridge.

1258, THE BATTLE TWIXT THE TROOPS OF BALAN AND THOSE OF CHARLEMAGNE. BALAN IS BEATEN, TAKEN, AND AT LAST PUT TO DEATH BY HIS OWN SON FIERABRAS, BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO BE BAPTIZED.
To cross the bridge of Mantrible, the knights pretend to be merchants. Ricarte kills the giant who guards the near side of the bridge. Fierabras kills the one on the far side, named Anteon. Anteon’s wife, Damieta, seeks revenge, and Fierabras kills her, too. Her two sons, four months old but twelve and a half palms tall, are baptized by Charlemagne and called Roldan and Oliveros, but they die after being christened. Roldan’s father is unhorsed in the great battle, but it is unclear if he survives or not.

1259, HAVING CONQUERED THE KINGDOM OF BALAN, CHARLEMAGNE RETURNS TO FRANCE, WHERE, LIVING PEACEFULLY, HE SEES IN THE SKY A ROAD OF STARS WHICH LEADS FROM ITALY TO GALICIA. BY A REVELATION FROM SAINT JAMES, HE DEPARTS TO CONQUER THIS PLACE, AND TO FIND AND HONOR THE BODY OF THE APOSTLE. A BATTLE IN WHICH FERRAGUZ IS DEFEATED AND KILLED BY ROLDAN.
Balan’s kingdom is Aguas-Muertas. Charles adorns Saint James’ body with a very rich tomb, but the Almirante of Babilon [probably Cairo], brooding on the death of Aigolante when he hears of Charles’ pilgrimage, sends Ferraguz, who is seventeen and a half palms tall, with thirty thousand men. Ferraguz overthrows Oger, Reinaldos, Constantino of Rome, and others. Eventually Charles sends two paladins at once, but they still lose. Finally, Roldan comes. They fight, and discuss theology. Ferraguz declares that the winner of the fight must be on God’s side. Roldan agrees, and wounds him so badly that his shouts rouse all the camp, and the battle becomes general. All the Moors are killed, and the Christians return to France.

1260, THE BATTLE OF RONCESVALLES. THE DEATH OF ROLDAN. CHARLEMAGNE COMES TO HIS MEN AND AVENGES THEM, DEFEATING THE MOORS. THE PUNISHMENT OF THE TRAITOR GALALON.
The Almirante of Babylon [Cairo], after Ferraguz dies, summons Marsilius and his brother Belengandus, with a hundred and fifty thousand knights, to war against Charlemagne. Galalon, Charles’ ambassador, arranges the treason. He tells Charlemagne that Marsilius and Belengandus have agreed to covnert. In the field of Roncesvalles, the Christians are caught unaware. After a great battle, all are killed. Roldan, sorely wounded, grabs a Turk and asks to be led to Marsilius. The Turk points him out, and tells how he gave great gifts to “your ambassador”. Roldan slaughters Marsilius and his guard, and retreats up the mountain, where he begs mercy from God, bids farewell to his sword [unnamed], and tries to break it, but only succeeds in breaking the rock. He sounds his horn, and Charlemagne comes. Tierri and Valdovinos [Baldwin, Roldan’s half-brother] find Roldan first. He begs Valdovinos for water, who leaves, but can’t find any. As he searches, he finds Charlemagne and tells him all. Meanwhile, Roldan has confessed his sins to Tierri and died. Charles laments, orders Roldan embalmed, and finds Oliveros, with two great gashes and twelve spears sticking out of his body. He is embalmed and laid by Roldan. Charlemagne pursues the Moors, and kills six thousand. Many more drown in the Ebro, trying to flee his wrath. Galalon is torn by four horses. Juan Josef Lopez wrote this; pray for him.

VALENTINE AND ORSON

1281, DON CLAUDIO Y DOÑA MARGARITA – I. Anonymous. “Hoy, señores, hoy se alienta”
Harken to the sufferings of a highborn lady. In France their lived a knight named Don Claudio. He loves this lady, and meets her in a garden. He confesses his love, and she grants hers. They are wed. They hire as their steward Don Alberto, who falls in love with the lady. When Don Claudio goes to war, Don Alberto begins his suit. She rejects him with insults, and he swears vengeance. When Claudio comes home, Alberto murders her page, and pretends it was because he found the lad in bed with the lady. The lady faints at this false accusation, which Claudio takes as proof of her guilt. He laments his Margarita’s infidelity, but orders his men to take her to the woods and cut her heart out and her finger off, and bring them back. His two servants lead her out, but spare her life, instead bringing back the heart and finger of a recently deceased woman at a hospital. As Margarita wanders in the wild, she gives birth to two sons, one of whom is carried off by a bear. She saves the other, and goes looking for water to baptize him. She meets a shepherd, who takes her in and baptizes her son Valentin.

1282, DON CLAUDIO Y DOÑA MARGARITA – II. “Ya dijo el primer romance”
Lady Margarita and Valentin live with the shepherds. Meanwhile, her other son is raised by a bear in a cave. He grows up to be a wild man, and so terrorizes the local shepherds that they send to Paris for help. Don Claudio, with Don Alberto, goes to hunt this monster. He lodges for the night with the same shepherds who took in Margarita. He notices how much she resembles his wife, and sighs. She recognizes him, and tries not to be recognized. In the morning, the knights ride to the hunt. Margarita finds a place where she can lament alone, but is found by Valentin, and is obliged to explain everything. Valentin catches up with the hunt, stabs Alberto, and demands that he confess his treason. He confesses, and dies. Don Claudio is reunited with his wife and one son thus, and when they find the other boy, he recognizes his father by natural instinct. He follows him home to Margarita and Valentin, and recognizes them too. They all ride back to Paris, with the bear following behind. The wild youth is baptized Orson, and Don Claudio gives many gifts to Our Lady.

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 2: Ballads of Roland and Rinaldo

Spain is home to a large number of beautiful ballads, called romances. Some of these ballads are about lovers. Many are about the Moors who ruled Spain for so many long centuries. There are a large number about the famous Cid who fought the Moors. There is also a large cycle about the Paladins of France, and about Bernardo del Carpio, who, the Spaniards say, killed the mighty Roland in the battle of Roncesvalles. While there are several collections of English translations of the Spanish ballads, scholars and translators tend to focus on the Moorish and love ballads. It is difficult to find any complete account of this branch of the Carolingian legend, which is why I decided to write a summary of every Spanish ballad related to Charlemagne. I quickly discovered that this is an impossible task. The folk tradition is still alive and well, not only in Iberia, but in every land to which the Spanish Jews moved after being exiled by Ferdinand and Isabella. New variants are constantly being recorded, and no Professor Child has yet arisen to make a complete collection of the folksongs and to standardize the titles by which they are known.

The closest thing to a definitive collection of Spanish ballads that currently exists is the Romancero General of Agustin Duran, published in 1877, which includes every ballad printed prior to the 1800’s. This means it does not include any folksongs from the Spain of his day, or, naturally, from later. These folksongs sometimes contain very interesting variants from the printed texts. Many of these later folksongs can be found at the Pan-Hispanic Ballad Project and Folk Literature of the Sephardic Jews, two confusingly arranged messes of websites which I leave it to you to sift through if my dozen posts on Duran’s ballads leave you wanting more.

Duran’s magnum opus is in two volumes, which are volumes 10 and 14 of the Biblioteca des Autores Españoles. The numbers of the ballads below are those of this collection, as are the divisions into classes, based on antiquity.

Class I ballads are pure folksongs.
Class III are productions of uneducated or scarcely educated minstrels.
Class V are early literary ballads, attempts to imitate the oral tradition.
Class VIII are Renaissance or Siglo d’Oro literary ballads, which do not attempt to imitate the oral tradition.

Also note that most of the titles were supplied by Duran. Spanish ballads are usually identified by their first lines, given here in quotation marks.

The principal English translations of Spanish ballads are:
Thomas Rodd, Most Celebrated Ancient Spanish Ballads relating to the Twelve Peers of France mentioned in Don Quixote. 1812.
John Gibson Lockhart, Ancient Spanish Ballads. 1823.
John Bowring, Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain. 1824.
James Young Gibson, The Cid Ballads and other Poems and Translation from Spanish and German. 1887.
Roger Wright, Spanish Ballads, 1987.

366, ROLDAN BANISHED – I. Anon. Class III. “Dia era de Sant Jorge”.
On Saint George’s Day, all Charlemagne’s vassals come to court except Reinaldos. Galalon therefore accuses him of treason. When Roldan protests against punishing a man who is not there to speak in his own defense, Charlemagne banishes him. He goes to Spain, and meets a Moor who guards the bridge to a kingdom. All knights who come must do battle. Roldan slays the Moor, switches armor with him, and sends the corpse to Paris with his page, with directions to pass it off as his own. There is much lamenting. Roldan rides to the Moorish king’s court, announces that Roldan is dead, and leads the Moors to attack Paris. Reinaldos meets Roldan in the battle and recognizes him. The two turn on the Moors, slay many, and rout the rest.
No translation.
This ballad is based on an incident in the Italian poem Leandra Innamorata, by Piero Durante da Gualdo. This poem’s most interesting feature is that it is written in sexta rima, not ottova rima.

367, ROLDAN BANISHED – II. Anon. Class III. “En Francia la noblecida”.
All Charlemagne’s vassals come to court except Reinaldos. Ganalon therefore accuses him of treason. When Roldan protests against punishing a man who is not there to speak in his own defense, and reminds Charles of the many services Reinlados has rendered, such as winning the lovely Saracen princess Beliserma for the emperor, and defeating Madama Ruanza, Charlemagne banishes him. He goes to Spain, and meets a Moor who guards the bridge to a kingdom. All knights who come must do battle. Roldan slays the Moor, switches armor with him, and sends the corpse to Paris with his page, with directions to pass it off as his own. There is much lamenting. Roldan rides to the Moorish king Marfin’s court, announces that Roldan is dead, and leads the Moors to attack Paris. Reinaldos meets Roldan in the battle and recognizes him. The two turn on the Moors, slay many, and rout the rest.
Rodd.

According to Duran, this second romance of Roldan’s banishment is a more literary and polished reworking of the first one.

368, REINALDOS AND THE PRINCESS CELIDONIA – III. Anon. Class V. “Cuando aquel claro lucero”.
On a beautiful day in May, I was walking in the woods, and heard a knight lamenting the ingratitude of Charlemagne, though he had obtained for him Belisandra, the daughter of King Trasiomar. He called on Roldan, Olivieros, Angelores, Angelinos el Infante, and Duke Estolfo of England. This knight, Reinaldos, decides to go fight the Moors, swings by Paris to pick up Roldan, and sallies forth. On Thursday, St. John’s Eve, they come a tournament held by King Agolandro [Agolante?] and see the beautiful Celidonia. Both love her, but Reinaldo claims her, since Roldan is married to Alda. Roldan consents, and they enter the tournament, and Reinaldos overthrows King Gargaray. After the battle, the Peers take lodging with Gargaray, pretending to be Pagans on a pilgrimage to the great temple of Mahomet. Letters arrive from Galalon, revealing their true identity. Gargaray with difficulty restrains his men from killing the Peers instantly, but bids them beware in the tourney. In the tourney the next day, Reinaldos kills Gargaray. He and Roldan rout the Moors and carry off Celidonia, who rejects her suitor and dies of grief. Reinaldos laments, and returns to France, vowing vengeance on Galalon.
Rodd.

Duran suspects that this romance was inspired by number 369, which is certainly the older of the two. It is apparently a Spanish invention, in its current state.

369, ROLDAN AND REINALDOS CONQUER THE KINGDOM OF THE MOOR ALIARDE. – IV. Class III. “Estábase Don Reinaldos”.
Reinaldos, in Paris, asks his cousin Malgesi who the most beautiful woman in the world is. Malgesi’s spirits tell him that it is the daughter of King Aliarde. Reinaldos leaves Paris, and goes to Aliarde, pretending that he has been banished and seeks a refuge. The princess falls for him, but he won’t take her favors unless she marries him and becomes a Christian. At this impasse, letters arrive from Galalon, revealing Reinaldos’ true intentions. Aliarde is about to hang him, when the princess intercedes. The king banishes him instead. Later, the princess having rejected all her suitors, Aliarde offers her as the prize of a tournament. Reinaldos and Roldan plan to enter, but letters from Galalon forewarn Aliarde of their coming. A Moorish champion rides out to meet them, and obtains their oath that they come in peace. At the tourney, the Peers fight their way to the princess’ pavilion, she swings to the croup, and they ride like mad for Paris, where they are met with rejoicing.
No translation.
Like 366 and 367, this ballad is based on an incident in the Italian poem Leandra Innamorata, by Piero Durante da Gualdo.

370, THE BATTLE BEWTEEN OLIVER AND MONTESINOS, FOR THE LOVE OF ALIARDA. – V. Class III. “En las salas de Paris”.
Oliveros teases Montesinos about his love for Aliarda, calling him a poor lover. Montesinos challenges him to a duel. They agree to meet alone. As Montesinos waits, Reinaldos chances upon him, and hears the story. Oliveros arrives and is outraged to find Montesinos has brought a friend. Montesinos explains, Reinaldos leaves, and the duel begins. Reinaldos brings the whole court to intervene, and the Peers are reconciled. Charlemagne marries Aliarda off to an honorable knight.
Rodd.

Why Duran put this ballad here instead of with the other ballads of Montesinos is a mystery, like many of his decisions in arranging his romancero.

371, THE CONQUEST OF THE EMPIRE OF TREBIZOND BY REINALDOS. – VI. Class III. “Ya que estaba Don Reinaldos”.
Charlemagne has thrown Reinaldos in prison. Roldan, armed with Durlindana and mounted on Briador, confronts him about this. Charlemagne justifies himself, saying Reinaldos is a highway robber. Roldan says this is only because his uncle is unjust in not giving him rich enough fiefs. The Emperor agrees to pardon Reinaldos, if he will go on foot to Jerusalem. Reinaldos sets off, and Roldan meets him three days journey out, offering to give him his armor and horse. Reinaldos insists on keeping his vow, and at last comes to the land of the Great Can [Khan]. The Can is going to war, and offers to make Reinaldos a general in his army which he intends to lead against France. Reinaldos refuses to fight against Christians, but agrees to fight the Emperor of Trabisonda, a tyrant and usurper. He conquers him and sends all the spoils to Charlemagne.
No translation.
The conquest of Trebisond is from a prose work written in French in the late 1400’s, which was turned into an Italian poem, La Trabisonda, by Francesco Tromba, in 1518, which in turn became a Spanish book, in prose, called Trapesonda, which was published as Part III of Renaldos de Montalban, Parts I and II of which were a translation of another Italian poem, El Innamoramento de Carlo Magno.

372, ROLDAN AND THE TROUBADOUR – VII. Class I. “Salió Roldan a cazar”.
Roldan goes out hunting, and by a tower hears a prisoner singing of his woes. Two old folksongs are incorporated into the ballad here, the first is about a bird that used to sing outside the dungeon window, until a hunter shot it. The second is about how all are happy in May, except the singer. Filled with pity, Roldan conquers the castle and sets the singer free.
No translation.

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