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 furter canto of adventures. (In other copies, this episode is more logically placed just before Rinaldo’s departue 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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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

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.

Keep reading

The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, Part 1: Count Dirlos; Valdovinos and the Marquis of Mantua; and Count Claros

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.

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.

THE BALLAD OF COUNT DIRLOS

354. EL CONDE DIRLOS. Anonymous, Class III. “Estabase el Conde Dirlos”.
Count Dirlos, nephew of Beltrane and cousin of Gayferos, is ordered by Charlemagne to war against King Aliarde. He has, however, been married less than a year to a woman whom he fought three years to win. He takes her to Paris, and takes all the Paladins to witness that he leaves all his property in her hands, without steward. He sails away and fights for fifteen years without sending word. Returning home after a dream of his wife in bed with a prince, he finds that she is faithful, despite Charlemagne and Roland pressuring her to marry the Emperor’s son Celinos. The count goes to Paris and is recognized by his uncle and wife despite his disguise. The family, with Rinaldo, go to court, and the count reveals himself, and accuses Celinos of forging the letters with news of his death. Rinaldo sides with Dirlos, Roland with Celinos. All Paris splits and is on the verge of war. Not even the cardinal archbishop Turpin, Charlemagne’s nephew [!] can restore order. Finally, Charlemagne makes peace, and all ends happily.
Rodd.

The essential plot of this ballad is very common and is known to folklorists as that of The Noble Moringer. It is not connected with Charlemagne outside of Spanish tradition.

THE BALLADS OF BALDWIN AND THE MARQUIS OF MANTUA

355. VALDOVINOS AND THE MARQUIS OF MANTUA Anonymous, Class III. “De Mantua salió el marques”.
Urgel [Ogier] the Dane, Marquis of Mantua, goes hunting on the day before Saint John the Baptist’s, is separated from his men and gets lost. He finds a dying knight, who turns out to be his nephew Valdovinos [Baldwin], who tells him how he was mortally wounded by Charlemagne’s son Carloto, who intends to marry his wife, Princess Sevilla. Valdovino’s squire tells Urgel how the two of them and Carloto had left Paris for a duel, but Carloto had hired two knights to ambush them, and slew Valdovino by treason. A hermit is found, Valdovino is shriven and dies. Urgel swears a mighty oath to avenge him.
Rodd.

356. VALDOVINOS – II. Anon. Class III. “De Mantua salen apriesa.”
Urgel sends Count Dirlos and Duke Sanson of Picardy to Paris, where they lay the case before Charles, who summons the plaintiffs (Urgel; Sevilla; Naimo, who is the maternal uncle of Valdovino; the king of Sanseuña, who became Christian for his daughter’s sake; Ermelina, Valdovino’s mother; The King of Dacia, his father) to Paris. They arrive, and Charles chooses judges, including Don Beltrane, Count Galalon of Alemaine, Duke Vibiano of Aigremonte, and Don Guarinos the Admiral.
Rodd

357. VALDOVINOS – III SENTENCE GIVEN AGAINST DON CARLOTO. Anon. Class III. “En el nombre de Jesus”.
Sentence is given, after Carloto confesses under torture. Carloto tries to persuade Roldan to rescue him. Roldan starts to gather his men, but is, caught, prevented, and banished for a twelvemonth. Carloto is dragged by a horse and then beheaded.
Rodd.

358. VALDOVINOS – IV. Anon. Class I. “Tan clara hacia la luna”
On a bright moonlit night, Valdovinos meets Sevilla, whom he has loved for seven years. She asks why he sighs. He answers they can never be happy so long as they differ in religion. She agrees to become a Christian if he marries her.
No translation.

359. VALDOVINOS – V. Anon. Class III. “Nuño Vero, Nuño Vero”
Nuño Vero, outside Sevilla’s window, tells her that Valdovinos was killed in a fight last night at midnight, and requests her favor now that his rival is dead. Sevilla laughs and tells him that Valdovinos was with her all last night.
No translation.

360. VALDOVINOS – VI. Anon. Class VIII. “Sobre el cuerpo desangrado”
Sevilla laments over Valdovinos’ body, swears never to love again, and calls for vengeance on Carloto.
No translation.

361. VALDOVINOS – VII. Anon. Class VIII. “Grande estruendo de campanas”
All Paris mourns for Valdovinos. The Cardinal of Ostia is the priest, the Archbishop of Milan the deacon, and the Bishop of Aux [Aix?] the subdeacon at his funeral. He is buried in St. John Lateran, in full armor.
Rodd.
St. John Lateran is in Rome, not Paris. The Spanish ballads make this mistake with surprising frequency.

The Spaniards have conflated Baldwin the son of Ogier the Dane, from Le Chevalerie Ogier, with Baldwin the son of Ganelon and half-brother of Roland from La Chanson des Saisnes, and have turned Saxony into Saragossa. These ballads were very popular in Spain. Don Quixote knew some of them by heart, and Lope de Vega wrote a play “El Marquis de Mantua” based on them.

 

BALLADS OF COUNT CLAROS OF MONTALBAN

362. EL CONDE CLAROS – I. Anon. Class III. “Media noche ere por hilo”
Count Claros of Montalvan, Renaldo’s son, cannot sleep for love of the princess Claraniña. He finally tells her that he’s loved her seven years. They arrange a meeting in the garden, where they act as man and wife, but are surprised by a gardener, who refuses Claros’ offer of land and his sister’s hand in marriage if he keeps silent. The gardener tells Charlemagne, who kills him in a fit of rage, then arrests Claros. He summons his barons, and sentences Claros to death. Claros’ uncle the archbishop [unnamed] visits him in prison, to bring the sad news. Claros sends a message by the bishop’s page to Claraniña, who meets him at the scaffold. Claraniña falls down before her father and beseeches pardon, for the sake of Renaldo his father, who died in battle. She obtains it and marries Claros.
Rodd, Wright.

363. EL CONDE CLAROS – II. Antonio Pansac. Class V. “Durmiendo está el conde Claros”.
Count Claros woos the princess [unnamed], and wins her favors without blessing from the altar. The king [unnamed] finds them, and has the count executed, and presents his heart to the princess on a golden plate. She dies of grief, and the king lays them both in one tomb.
No translation.

364. EL CONDE CLAROS – III. Anon. Class III. “A caza va el Emperador”
Charlemagne rides out hunting with Count Claros. Claros asks for Claraniña’s hand in marriage, since he has had her these six months. Charlemagne rides back to the city in a fury, throws his daughter in prison, and sentences her to be burnt. She writes a letter to Claros, who rides to the court like mad. He presents himself to Charlemagne disguised as a friar, and asks to hear her confession. Instead of so doing, however, he tries to kiss her, and the truth comes out. Claros tells Charles she is innocent, but a knight who loves her and is jealous of Claros accuses the supposed friar of lying. They duel. Charlemagne recognized Claros by the way he tighten his saddle straps. Claros kills the knight and then rides off with Claraniña.
No translation.

Not in Duran, “A misa va el Emperador,” Primavera y Flor de Romances #192.
The Emperor [unnamed] goes to Mass on St. John’s Day with Count Claros. Claros complains that the Moors have taken his castle of Montalban, which the king gave him. He threatens to turn Moor himself if the king does not succor him. The king promises him arms, and summons Oliveros, Montesinos, Roldan, Urgel [Ogier], and Merian to help him. Claros now asks for the king’s daughter in marriage, but he says she is promised to Don Beltran. Claros returns to his home, but cannot sleep that night for love of the princess. He calls his servants to dress him in fancy clothes, and he goes to the princess, and bids her flee to Montalban. He then goes to the king and explains that the princess is with child and that he is going to marry her. The king calls for his blood, but Claros flees through the streets of Paris. Oliveros and Roldan follow him, but he persuades them to let him go free. They return to the court and stall Don Beltran and the king. They persuade the king to pardon Claros, and the lovers are married.
No translation.

Count Claros, the son of Reinaldos, is known only on the Penninsula. According to the French and Italians, Reinaldos had two sons, named Aymon and John, after their grandfathers. There does not seem to be any real connection between these ballads and authentic Carolingian material. The incidents of these ballads are combined in various ways in popular tradition. The tragic ending of “Durmiendo está el conde Claros” and the rather undramatic ending of “A misa va el Emperador” are unknown in oral tradition. The ending of “Media noche era por hilo” is still sung, but is not nearly as widespread or popular as the disguise as a friar.

Book I, Canto III, Part 2

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

21
Astolfo has collided with Raineri,
And knocked his from his seat with legs spread out.
His limbs he stretches, his lance lifts with nary
A fear, and starts to turn his horse about.
Anselmo rushes at the duke unwary,
With guile and teachery, his foe he clouts
Upon the side with his unyielding lance.
He makes it seem not ill intent, but chance.

22
Astolfo headlong fell upon the plain,
And to the heavens was upturned his face.
You need not wonder if he was in pain.
He pulled himself up to his feet apace,
And drew his sword in ire and disdain,
And, uttering curses against all the race
Of false Maganza and of Ganelon,
He smote upon the helmet Don Grifon,
23
Who’s saved from certain death by his steel crest.
Now could you see a mighty brawl commence.
Macario, Gan, and Ugolino pressed,
With swords on high, against the English prince.
But Naimo, Turpin, and Ricard addressed
Themselves to bring their friend aid and defense.
On either side the cavaliers join in.
King Charles plunges in amidst the din,

24
Giving great whacks and blows to all about.
He cracked the crowns of thirty men at least.
“Who is the traitor, who the rebel lout
Who dared to start a quarrel at my feast?”
He spurs into the middle of the bout.
At his approach, all the barons ceased
Their fighting. Some for shame bowed down their heads,
And some for terror of his anger fled.

25
He says to Gan: “What art thou fighting for?”
And to Astolfo he says: “Now explain
Thy conduct.” Then Grifone, bleeding sore,
Falls on his knees before King Charlemagne,
And with a shout that almost is a roar,
“Justice!” he cries, and thus makes his complaint,
“Justice, my lord, august and elevated,
In whose high presence I’m assassinated.

26
“Make inquiries of all men here, my lord,
For ev’ryone can tell you what was done.
If thou find I was first to draw my sword,
Or spoke a threat’ning word to anyone,
They call me liar, bind me with a cord,
And have be quartered ere the set of sun.
But if thou find the opposite is true,
Than let the ill return to whence it grew!”

27
So wroth Astolfo is, his reason flies,
And of King Charlemagne he takes no heed,
But, “Villain, false and treacherous – he cries –
Thou worthy flower of a wicked seed!
I’ll tear thy heart out of thy breast alive
Before I leave this place, and I shall feed –”
Grifone interrupts him, “Have no fear.
I’ll fight with thee soon as we’re gone from here.

28
“But here I keep my anger within bounds,
For to our king such reverence I bear.”
Astolfo keeps on talking, “Felon hound,
Thou thief and ribald, what will thou not dare?”
King Charlemagne for anger glared and frowned,
And said, “Astolfo, by Our Lord I swear,
More court’ously thou shalt make thine appeal,
Or thou’lt have time enough to cool thy heels.”

29
Astolfo of his words takes no account.
So wroth was he, I doubt he even heard.
Like one who’s truly wronged, his anger mounts,
He speaks more villany with ev’ry word.
Behold Anselmo, the malicious count,
By his ill chance, towards King Charles spurred.
Astolfo saw this, and could not restrain him
From rushing forward with his sword to brain him.

30
And certainly he would have struck him dead,
If he had not been stopped by Charlemagne.
The men heap blame on Don Astolfo’s head,
And Charles bids them tie him up amain.
Now quickly to the palace was he led,
And in the dungeon given ball and chain,
Where of his folly he received the flower,
And languished there for many a weary hour.

31
But he is happier in his new abode
Than are those other three enamored knights
Whom love for fair Angelica so goads
They have no respite, nor by day nor night.
Each of the three, along a diff’rent road
To Arden Forest has pursued her flight.
Rinaldo reached it first, thanks to the speed
Incredible of Baiard his good steed.

32
Once in the woods, the lover looks around,
Searching and wondering which way to go.
A shady grove of little trees he found,
‘Round which a clear and sparkling streamlet flowed.
Thinking the lady might perhaps be bound
For such a joyous shelter, in he rode.
Therein he saw a pleasant fountain stand,
Which never had been built by human hands.

33
The fountain that was to his eyes displayed
Was wrought of alabaster pure and white.
With gold so richly was the stone inlaid,
It bathed the trees and flowers in gentle light.
Merlin it was who had the fountain made,
So Don Tristano, that redoubted knight,
Should drink its water and the Queen forsake,
Ere they should die for one another’s sake.

34
But poor Tristano, by his sad mischance,
Ne’er came upon that fountain fresh and clear.
Though oftentimes he sojourned in fair France
And through the forest hunted boar and deer.
But still the fountain has such strange puissance,
That whatsoever loving cavalier
Drinks of its waters, all his love abates,
And her he once adored now wholly hates.

35
The sun was high up and the day was hot.
Much heat and thirst Rinaldo had endured,
Before he stumbled on that pleasant spot
And by the smoothly running waters lured,
Off of his noble steed Baiard he got.
Of thirst and love alike he’s promptly cured,
For as the waters he imbibed, no part
Was left unchanged of his enamored heart.

36
Alongside those is vanished all his will
In quest of such a silly thing to fare.
No longer does his inmost being thrill
Rememb’ring her he thought beyond compare.
Such is the power of that wondrous rill,
Not only was his heart of love swept bare,
But changed completely, so that he abhorred
The sweet Angelica he once adored.

37
Out of the forest with contented mind,
Returns that warrior without a fear.
And on his way, a little stream he finds
Of living water, crystalline and clear.
Nature had decked its banks with ev’ry kind
Of flower which in springtime sweet appears.
And to give shade, she’d placed beside the stream
A beech, an olive, and an evergreen.

38
This was the Stream of Love, which was not wrought
By wise old Merlin, or by magic art,
But of its nature made the soul distraught,
And filled with frenzy and with love the heart.
Many a knight in error had been caught
By drinking of its water, but no part
Rinaldo had therein, for he had erst,
In drinking at the fountain, quenched his thirst.

39
When the proud knight came to that pleasant burn
He thought for rest it seemed a goodly place.
He loosed the bridle of Baiard, and turned
Him loose within the field, his fill to graze.
He laid him down to rest, all unconcerned,
Beside the river banks, beneath the shade.
The baron slumbered and was unaware
When somebody perceived him lying there.

40
Angelica, once she had turned and fled
From that great fight wherein those two knights vied,
Came to the river, and by thirst was led
To drink. She walks now by her palfrey’s side.
Now will she fell as she has ne’er felt yet,
For Love desired to rebuke her pride.
She saw Rinald among the flowers sleeping;
At once her heart for fear and joy was leaping.

Keep reading

Notes