The Legend of Charles Martel

The popular muse appears to have combined Charles the Hammer with his grandson Charles the Great. The Hammer has very few romances in which he even features and only one, to my knowledge, in which he is the protagonist. Though Pippin the Short is usually remembered as the father of Charlemagne, Pippin’s father is often forgotten, or replaced with such people as King Rother or Agnolo Michele. Even his great victory over the Muslim hordes at Tours left no trace in the oral tradition, although perhaps it lies beneath some of his grandson’s legendary victories.

There is, however, one romance in which the Hammer has a starring role: David Aubert’s Histoire de Charles Martel. Or at least, he stars in the first part. The bulk of the romance is devoted to the adventures of Girart of Roussillon, Orson of Beauvais, and the Lorrainers. The first part, however, features Charles as the protagonist. Some scholars think it is based on a lost chanson de geste. Be that as it may, the story is clearly very late, and is a typical late Carolingian cliché-fest. As David Aubert has never been printed, the following summary is based on the chapter titles as given in Paul Meyer’s introduction to Girart of Roussillon.

DAVID AUBERT’S LEGEND OF CHARLES MARTEL

Duke Gloriant of Berry lays siege to the city of Lusarne in Spain, which belongs to the Saracens. His eldest son, Huitasse [Eustace] de Berry captures Princess Ydorie of Lusarne from her guardian giant Orrible, and marries her. The Admiral [emir] is furious, takes Gloriant captive, and chases Huitasse away. He returns home to Bourges, whence his brother manages to expel him. As if this were not bad enough, King Theodorus of France [Theuderic IV] learns from his astrologers that the son of Huitasse, named Charles Martel, will be king after him, and plots to kill the lad. Fortunately, Gloriant escapes prison and returns home, where he manages to reconcile his sons. Little Charles is raised by Raimbaut the Marshall and his wife Hermentine, in Paris. He grows of an age to prove himself, and is a wonder. He participates in jousts at Paris, and wins the prize thereof and the love of King Theodorus’ daughter Marsibelle. The two are wed in Avignon. King Theodorus is furious, and imprisons the abbot of Saint-Denis and Count Galleran of Provence for allowing the wedding. He then sends Galleran to arrest his daughter and new son-in-law. Charles is gone, however. He has met Girart of Roussillon and they are adventuring together, en route to Constantinople, where they leave Marsibelle while they adventure. A long war ensues, involving King Agoulant of Jerusalem, king Menelaus of Dammarie, Emperor Belinas of Constantinople, a civil war in France between King Theodorus and Charles’ father Duke Huitasse of Berry, various minor knights and nobles, captivities, rescues, escapes, and all the usual paraphernalia, except, apparently, magic, which does not seem to feature until later in the romance. In the course of these wars, Charles impregnates Menelaus’ daughter Sagramoire. Fortunately for her, she soon marries Agoulant (who has killed Menelaus), and is able to pass off her son Archefer as Agoulant’s. Not till he is grown does she reveal the secret. Meanwhile, peace has been made in France, and King Theodorus has died, leaving the realm to his son Ydrich [Childerich III]. Archefer sees this as a sign that France is weak, and invades with a Saracen army. Charles conquers and converts him. The barons of France all agree to depose the incompetent Ydrich and make Charles king of France. After his coronation, Charles goes overseas with Archefer to convert Sagramoire. Unfortunately, they get caught up in another round of wars. Marsebille leads an army from France to Outremer, but Archefer and Sagramoire kill her. Charles captures his son, and sends him on a quest to Hell, from which, after many adventures, he returns alive, thanks to the enchanters Carniquant, whom he learned from, and Sorbrin, whom he killed and whose book he stole. Archefer presents his father with a great black horse, a gift from Lucifer himself.

Girart of Roussillon now travels to the Holy Sepulchre, and on his way home becomes engaged to Alexandrine, daughter of King Othon of Hungary.

Meanwhile, Duke Hillaire of Aquitaine, brother of Theodorus, wishes to be king of France, now that Ydrich has died. He invades, and very nearly succeeds in driving out Charles Martel, who is, however, saved by Girart. After Hillaire surrenders, Charles and Girart plan to marry the two daughters of King Othon, and the story segues into Girart of Roussillon, in a version which follows that of Wauquelin very closely.

ORIGINS OF THE LEGEND

In actual history, Charles Martel was the bastard son of Pepin II, Mayor of the Palace and de facto ruler of France. Charles was imprisoned by Pepin’s justly irritated wife Plectruda. When Pepin died in 715, Plectruda became the regent for her six-year-old grandson Theodebald. Charles, aged twenty-five, escaped from prison, a civil war broke out, the Saxons invaded, and King Dagobert III died, probably from assassination (715). The Franks opposed to Charles chose Chilperic II as their king, the son of Childeric I. Charles, while skirmishing with northern invaders, set up his own king: Clotair IV, whose exact relation to the Merovingians is unclear. Chilperic fled to Aquitaine, where Duke Eudes supported him – until Charles threatened to invade. Luckily for everyone, Clotair died, and Charles accepted Chilperic as king. Chilperic II died in 720, and the Franks elected Theuderic IV as king, the son of Dagobert III. The Moors crossed the Pyrenees that same year, and occupied the southern coast of France. Eudes recovered Toulouse in 721, but could not save Narbonne, and after several devastating raids thought it prudent to give his daughter Lampegia to the Muslim governor of Catalonia. Theuderic IV died in 727, and Charles never bothered replacing him. In 732, Abdelrahman, the Emir of Spain, attempted to conquer all of France, drove Eudes out of Aquitaine, but was defeated and slain by Eudes and Charles at the Battle of Tours [Poitiers]. In 735, Eudes died. Charles attempted to seize his territory, but was eventually obliged to leave Eudes’ son Hunauld in possession, though as his vassal. Charles next attempted conquering southwestern France, but failed to accomplish anything of value besides reclaiming Avignon for the Christians. Indeed, he often  seemed more interested in fighting Christians then the Saracens, and burned the Christian cities of Nîmes, Agde, and Beziers on his way back to the north to fight the Saxons. In 739, however he was recalled to the south by King Liutprand of Lombardy, in concert with whom he drove the Saracens (slightly) back to the west. Charles died in 741, and was succeeded as Mayor by his sons Carloman and Pepin III the Short. Faced with rebellions on every hand, including from their bastard brother Grifon, the joint Mayors raised Childeric III to the throne in 743, to help restore order. No one knows how Childeric was related to the Merovingian line, if he even really was. The rebellions were put down, Carloman retired to a monastery in 747, and Pepin, by permission of Pope Zacharias, sent Childeric to a monastery in 751 and crowned himself King. In 754 Pope Stephen II travelled to Paris to consecrate Pepin and his sons Carloman and Charles as patrici Romanorum, and forbade the people of France, under pain of excommunication, to ever take a king who was not of their family

As can be seen, there is only the vaguest resemblance between actual history and David Aubert’s romance.

Thus Charles Martel became King of France, and now let us turn to various knights who lived during his reign and what befell them, to wit:

Girart of Roussillon

Orson of Beauvais

Auberi le Bourguignon

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Book I, Canto V, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto V, Stanzas 61-83

61
“My only son, a tender youth, and I
Came walking by not sithence many hours.
But of the giant, not a trace we spied,
For he, God damn him, hid within the tower,
Then snatched my son before my very eyes,
And bore him off. I fear he’s been devoured,
And now, sir knight, thou knowest all my woe.
I beg thee that thou wilt no further go!”

62
Orlando thinks a moment, then replies,
“I will go further on, let come what may.”
“Then God have mercy!” the old palmer cries,
“Thou oughtest not to throw thy life away.
Believe me, I am telling thee no lies,
Thou shalt behold that giant with dismay.
To see his size, his fierceness, and his might
Will make thee tremble, thou though art a knight.”

63
Orlando smiled and besought the man
To stay and wait for him a little space
And if he didn’t shortly some again,
Then not to mourn for him, but go his ways.
The palmer to the knight an hour grants,
Who to the crimson clifftop set his face.
When that the giant sees him come, he saith,
“O worthy baron, do not seek thy death.

64
The monarch of Circassia placed me here,
And ordered me to let none pass beyond,
Because, atop this cliff so wild and drear,
A monster dwells, who of men’s flesh is fond.
Whene’er a traveller in her sight appears,
To aught he asks she’ll truthfully respond,
But with a riddle of her own she’ll meet him,
And if he says amiss then she will eat him.”

65
Orlando next inquires of the lad.
The giant won’t return the palmer’s son.
They speak awhile, then they wax half-mad,
And soon a battle have the two begun.
This one a sword, that one a great mace had.
I shan’t recount their blows all one by one,
But Count Orlando so adroitly wielded
His sword and shield, that soon the giant yielded.

66
Thus the Count saved the young man from his plight,
And thus the grieving father he consoled,
Who drew out something wrapped in samite white,
Which he had hidden in his garments’ fold.
Then he displayed a little book to sight,
Covered in fine enamel and bright gold.
Then to Orlando he said, “Knight renowned,
To be thy servant I’m forever bound.

67
“If I desired to do as much for thee,
As thou hast done, I am too worn by years.
And so I beg thee, take this book from me,
Which is of potency without a peer.
For ev’ry riddle, ev’ry mystery
Within its pages is made plain and clear.”
And giving him the book, said, “Go with God!”
Then joyfully upon his way he trod.

68
Orlando stood there with the book in hand,
And with himself a while held debate.
He sees the cliff which rises high and grand,
And swears to climb it, whate’er may await,
And see the beast which on the summit stands,
And answers any question she is made.
For this alone th’adventure will he try:
To learn where sweet Angelica abides.

69
He crosses o’er the mountain without scath.
The giant lets him pass without a stop.
He’s felt what Durindan can do in wrath.
He points the road, and lets the drawbridge drop.
And up a dark and narrow winding path
The Count rides on until he gains the top,
And sees the path lead on between two rocks,
And sees the monster who the passage blocks.

70
Her hair was gold, he woman’s face was fair,
But when she smiled you saw her wolfish teeth.
Breasts like a lions, forearms like a bear’s
She had. Her griffon claws she did not sheathe.
She held her dragon’s tail aloft in air.
Her wings would make even a peacock seethe
With envy. With her tail she struck the ground,
Which echoed off the rocks for miles around.

71
When that fierce monster sees the cavalier,
Her wings she spreads out and her tail she raises,
And grins malignantly from ear to ear,
And smites a rock and cracks it. Nought this fazes
The Count, who says to her with visage fierce,
“Among all peoples, nations, tongues and races,
From cold to hear, and from the dusk to dawn,
Tell me, whom dwells Angelica among?”

72
The beast malignant, with words soft and king,
Thus gives the Count Orlando answer meet.
“She for whose seek thou art disturbed in mind,
Near Cathay, in Albracca has her seat.
Now to my questions must thou answers find.
What animal can walk but has no feet?
And say what other creature there may be,
That walks on four feet, and on two, and three?”

73
Orlando ponders o’er thse questions curious,
But can’t come up with any good replies,
So he draws Durindan. The sphinx is furious,
And leaps into the air and at him flies.
Now she attacks him with a blow injurious,
And now she soars aloft with piercing cries.
Now she strikes with her claw, now with her tail,
But his charmed skin against her blows prevails.

74
If he were not enchanted, as he is,
That favored knight would have been sorely pressed.
A hundred gaping wounds would have been his,
Criss-crossing o’er his shoulders and his chest
The Count regains his balance, and at this
His anger mounts, and wrath swells in his breast.
He bides his time, then with a mighty spring,
He leaps on high and slices through her wing.

75
Shrieking, the cruel monster fell to ground.
Her bellowings could be heard far afield.
Her tail around Orlando’s legs she wound,
And with her claws she tears apart his shield.
But soon the ending of the fight came round,
For through her ribs Orlando drove his steel.
And when Orlando saw the beast was slain,
He climbed back down the cliff unto the plain.

76
He leapt upon his horse, the reins he shook,
And rode on boldly, as a lover ought,
But still he pondered, as his way he took,
What might the answers be the monster sought.
Then he recalled the palmer’s little book,
And to himself he said, “I had forgot!
I had the power to appease the beast,
Without a fight; but otherwise God pleased.”

77
He searches through the book, in hopes to find
The answers to the sphinx’s mysteries.
He reads about the seal, and of its kind,
That walks on flippers when it leaves the sea,
And then he finds it written of mankind,
He goes on four feet in his infancy;
He goes on two feet in his life’s next stage,
And totters with a cane in his old age.

78
He read, till at a river he arrived,
Swift and deep, and horrible, and dark.
No place to swim across it he espied,
For both the banks were jagged, steep, and stark.
Along the riverbanks downstream he rides,
Hoping to find some passage on a barque.
He saw a bridge, which had a giant placed
For guardian, and thither he made haste.

79
The giant saw him coming, and he said,
“O wretched knight, enjoy thy final breaths!
Thy great misfortune hath thee hither lead.
Know, thou art come unto the Bridge of Death.
All ways hence are so tortuous and dread
That none have e’er survived who by them left,
And if across the stream thou’rt fain to go,
Then one of us must lay the other low.”

80
This bridge’s guardian, so tall and fierce
Had for his name Zambardo the Robust.
His head was two feet wide from ear to ear,
And all his limbs were in proportion just.
When armed, just like a mountain he appears.
He held an iron bar devoid of rust.
From off this bar five iron chains extend,
Each with a ball of iron at its end.

81
Each of these balls was twenty pounds or more.
From head to toe he wore a serpent’s hide,
For plate and mail, which kept him safe in war.
His scimitar hung dangling by his side.
But what was worse, he had a trap in store:
A heavy net. When anyone defied
Him to a duel, and he seemed like to win,
He’d trap him in the net and finish him.

82
No cavalier this thick net ever sees.
It’s fully hidden underneath the sand.
Whene’er he wishes, he the knight can seize,
And throw him bound into the river grand.
The wretch has no recourse, no remedies,
But drowns most painfully at Zambard’s hands.
But nought of this the worthy baron knows.
He lights on foot and rides towards his foe.

83
With shield on arm and Durindan in hand,
He sees his enemy grand and appalling,
The Roman Senator is as alarmed
As if his foe were but an infant squalling.
A mighty duel began that caused much harm,
Which in this canto I won’t be recalling,
Because already has my throat grown sore,
And I must rest before I tell you more.

Keep Reading

Notes

Book I, Canto V, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to the First Canto, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation, Book I, Canto I, Part 3, Notes

51. Merlin appears to have been among the last wizards to have an innate knowledge of magic. Malagise, like Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus, had to learn it. Toledo in Spain was allegedly home to a secret school of magic, at which some works claim Malagise studied. Other notable alumni of the Black School include Michael Scot and Soemunder the Wise. For the distinction between the innate magic of Merlin and the book-learned magic of Malagise, see C. S. Lewis’ English Literature in the Sixteenth Century. For Michael Scot, see The Lay of the Last Minstrel. For Soemundur, see any good book of Icelandic folklore.

52. Cathay. Old China, including neither Manchuria nor Tibet.

55/56. The natural tendency of Italian to use more syllables than English sometimes makes it best to condense two stanzas into one.

58. Dudon. Second son of Ogier the Dane, and younger brother of Baldwin (Baldovino). Prefers to fight with a club. Usually a minor character, although there was a now-lost romance that focused on his exploits.
Belengieri and Ottone. Sons of Duke Naimo of Bavaria. Traditional minor characters. This is not the Ottone who is Astolfo’s father and king of England.

60. Astolfo. Cousin of Orlando and Rinaldo. Son of King Ottone of England. He may make a cameo in the Oxford Song of Roland as Duke Austorje of Valence on the Rhone. An Astolfo also appears in the Venice 4 version of that poem, where he replaces Otho [Ottone in Boiardo, of Avin, Avolio, Ottone, and Beringier]. In the Chateroux/Venice 7 version, he is already the son of Otes. He also cameos in Turpin, under the name Estultus, count of Langres. His first major role is in the poem of Aspremont, under the name of Estouf. “De Langres” was corrupted into “D’Angles”, i.e. “Of England”. His personality is traditional; it’s oldest surviving appearance is in Aspremont, but it stuck with him ever after.

Back to Part 3

On to Part 4

Book I, Canto I, Part 3

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

41
Thus Malagise learns their true intent,
But let us leave him reeling from the shock,
And rather see where Argalía went.
He, once he had arrived at Merlin’s Rock,
Dismounted, tied his horse, and pitched his tent.
Then lay inside it, and some slumber took.
A fancier tent in France was never kept,
Than that in which now Argalía slept.

42
Angelica, who was not far behind
Her brother, rests her head upon the ground,
Beside the fountain, underneath the pine,
While the four watchful giants her surround.
In sleep, she seems not one of humankind,
But like an angel come from Heaven down.
Her brother’s ring upon her hand she wore,
The pow’rs of which, I have explained before.

43
Now Malagise, carried through the air,
By fiends he’s summoned, silently comes thither.
Unseen he sees the damsel sleeping there,
Beneath the pine beside the flowing river.
But the four giants arms and armor bear,
And keep unblinking watch as they sit with her.
The wizard laughs and thinks, “Ye ugly rabble,
I’ll overcome you all without a battle.

44
Your flails and maces are no use today,
Nor darts nor swords nor all your other arms,
But Slumber soon shall hold you ‘neath his sway.
You foolish geldings will raise no alarms.”
When he had gloated, he made no delay,
To take his spellbook out and cast his charms.
The first page of the book he had not read,
Before the giants slumbered as if dead.

45
This done, the damsel is his target next.
He slowly closes in and draws his sword,
But when he sees her lovely face at rest,
Her arms stretched gently out across the sward,
His spirits rise; his heart throbs in his chest
He thinks, “Why spurn the gifts that fate affords?
I’ll make her sleep so soundly with my charms,
She’ll never know I held her in my arms.”

46
He drops his sword and takes his book in hand,
And reads the spell again the whole way through,
But all in vain, the charm works not as planned,
For all enchantments can the ring undo.
But Malagise thinks th’enchanted band
Is Argalía’s and the maid he views
Is sealed by magic in a slumbrous prison.
He stretches out beside her and starts kissing.

47
The girl awakens with a frightened cry:
“Ah, miserable me; I am betrayed!”
Stunned, Malagise can make no reply,
To see his charms did not affect the maid.
She grabs him by the wrist, lest he should fly,
And loudly calls for Argalía’s aid.
He hears her cry, and starts awake, alarmed.
He rushes from his tent in haste, unarmed.

48
Soon as his eyes behold this Frankish wight,
Who’s tried to treat his sister like a harlot,
His heart sinks in him, overmastered quite.
His strength is gone, and his face flushes scarlet.
But in an instant he regains his might
And grabs a stick of wood to brain the varlet.
“Die, traitor! – shouts he as he rushes o’er –
How dar’st thou treat my sister like a whore?”

49
But she cries, “Brother, we must bind him tightly,
Ere I release him; he’s a sorcerer,
And if I didn’t have the ring, your knightly
Prowess would fail to take him prisoner.”
On hearing this, the youthful prince runs lightly
Across the grass, but keeps an eye on her.
He tries to wake a giant, but despite,
His shouting, the enchantment holds him tight.

50
He tries another one; again he fails,
And so he switches to another tack.
He takes the chain from out a giant’s flail,
And hurries back to them , in no way slack.
Where, after struggling, the two prevail
And tie the wizard’s arms behind his back.
And then they bind his feet and legs and neck,
And gag him, too, his magic arts to check.

51
Once Malagise has been firmly bound,
The damsel searches all around the pine
And soon his magic grimoire has she found,
Filled with unholy names and mystic signs.
She oped the clasps that girdle it around,
And when she read therein, elapsed no time,
Ere spirits filled the air and stream and land,
All crying, “Mistress, what is your command?”

52
She orders, “Take this wretched captive past
Tartary, and both Indies to Cathay,
To that fair capitol, whence o’er his vast
Dominions, Galliphron the King holds sway.
Tell him his daughter wishes him to cast
Him into prison. Once he’s put away,
I do not reckon at a broken pin,
All of King Charles’ Peers and Paladins.”

53
Soon as her speech is done, the fiends transport
Malgis away, and set him down with glee
Before King Galliphron and all his court,
Who cast him in a dungeon by the sea.
The while Angelica tends her escorts
And from enchanted slumber sets them free.
They yawn and scratch and stretch their limbs, and gape,
Unmindful of the peril they’ve escaped.

54
But while this happened in the countryside,
Paris was wracked with quarrels and dissensions.
Orlando claimed the right to foremost ride
Against Uberto, but to his pretensions,
Time and again King Charlemagne replied
There was no reason in them. Like contentions
Racked ev’ry knight. The mightiest to the worst
All wished to joust against the stranger first.

55/56
Orlando fears that he will be too late
To win his lady, if some other rides
Before him, and in agony he waits
To hear what Charlemagne at last decides.
The cavaliers assemble and debate
Which one of them will be the first to try
The challenge, and they all agree at last,
That for the foremost place they lots will cast.

57
Every cavalier wrote down his name,
Or had it written, on a little roll
Of paper. Then each knight who wished to claim
The lady, cast his slip into a bowl
And then a little page before them came
And put his hand in, and drew out a scroll.
Loud he announced the knight who would commence
The jousting was Astolfo, England’s prince.

58
The second place will Ferraguto take,
The third Rinaldo and the fourth Dudon,
And next Grandonio the attempt will make,
And Belengieri; after them, Otton,
Then Charlemagne himself a lance will break,
But lest my story should too long be grown,
I’ll tell you Count Orlando’s name was called
The thirty-first, and much his heart was galled.

59
Before the name was called of ev’ry knight,
The day was fading into evening’s glow.
The Duke Astolfo, with his heart alight
Called for his arms, and thinks his men too slow.
No whit discouraged that it draws to night,
But eager as he is to face his foe,
He boasts aloud that with one mighty thrust,
He’ll send Uberto rolling in the dust.

60
You, lords, should know about Astolfo. He
Outdid all men for comeliness of face.
He had much wealth, but still more courtesy,
And dressed and groomed himself with careful grace.
Though in the jousts he wasn’t much to see,
And fell more often than he kept his place,
As often as he fell he quick returned,
For in his fearless heart such honor burned.

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