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.

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The Spanish Charlemagne Ballads, 11: Bernardo Prepares for Roncesvalles

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.

638, ALFONSO THE CHASTE OFFERS CHARLEMAGNE THE CROWN OF SPAIN, IF HE WILL HELP HIM EXPEL THE MOORS. Class IV. “Andados los años treinta”
In the thirtieth year of Alfonso’s reign, the year 841 [!], Alfonso sends messengers to Emperor Charlemagne, offering him the crown of Spain if he will drive the Moors out, since he (Alfonso) has no son of his own. The nobles do not like this, and Bernardo likes it still less.
Duran thinks this is Timoneda’s rewriting of a traditional ballad. More likely it is his versification of a chronicle.

639, BERNARDO REBUKES THOSE WHO WOULD CALL HIM A BASTARD. Class I. “Por las riberas de Arlanza”
Bernardo rides along the banks of the Arlanza. The folk of Burgos see him, and marvel. So does Alfonso, saying this knight must be either Bernardo del Carpio, or Muza de Granada. It is Bernardo. He rebukes the king for calling him a bastard, and for offering the kingdom to the French. He announces that he is gathering the men of every Spanish kingdom to repel the Frankish invaders.
Wright.

640, BERNARDO RESISTS THE CONCESSIONS THE KING HAS MADE TO CHARLEMAGNE OF HIS COUNTRY, AND DEPARTS TO OPPOSE THE FRENCH ARMY. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “El valeroso Bernardo”
Bernardo takes the road to Leon, gathering followers on the way. He enters Alfonso’s hall, and rebukes him. He then departs for Saragossa. Alfonso and his courtiers repent their decision, and send word to Charlemagne revoking their offer of the crown of Castile. Charlemagne is furious, and decides to take it anyway.

641, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. By Lorenzo de Sepúlveda. Class IV. “No tiene heredero alguno”
Alfonso the Chaste has no heir, so he offers Charlemagne the crown of Castile, if he will help him fight the Moors. Charles, Roldan, and the Peers rejoice at the message, but the nobles of Spain are displeased. Most of all, Bernardo del Carpio is angry. He persuades Alfonso to revoke his offer, at which Charlemagne, furious, invades. Bernardo and Alfonso defeat him at Roncesvalles, and Bernardo kills Roldan, and many other Frenchmen.
A versification of the old chronicles, like most of Lorenzo’s work on Bernardo.

642, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Retirado en su palacio”
The barons of Castile debate whether to support Alfonso’s offering of the crown to Charlemagne. The nays carry the day, and Bernardo, their leader, begins rallying the army to fend off Charles.

643, BERNARDO, BANISHED FOR OPPOSING THE SURRENDER OF THE CROWN TO CHARLEMAGNE, GOES TO GRANADA, AND BECOMES FRIENDS WITH MUZA. Class VIII. “Desterró el rey Alfonso”
Alfonso banishes Bernardo for opposing his plan to leave the kingdom to Charlemagne. Bernardo sends a messanger to Alfonso saying he will not return until he has fought Orlando, despite his magic helmet [sic]. He comes to Granada, where a tournament is being held. He overthrows Muza, the Moorish champion, and wins the tournament, along with Muza’s friendship.
A purely literary invention. Muza is unknown to the old chronicles.

644, BERNARDO, TO AVENGE DAMSELS, KILLS LEPOLEMO IN A DUEL. By Lucas Rodriguez. Class VIII. “Cuando el padre Faeton”
Three damsels ride, weeping, through the forest at evening, with four squires before them. They meet Bernardo, and tell him their woe: Lepolemo has killed their brother and occupied their castle. Bernardo kills him and restores their castle.
There is no traditional basis for this. It is merely the sort of adventure that happens to Amadis or Lancelot every day.

645, BERNARDO MAKES ALLIANCE WITH THE MOORS OF ARAGON, AGAINST THE FRENCH OF CHARLEMAGNE. By Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega. Class VIII. “Las varias flores despoja”
Bernardo, dressed like a Moor, rides to Saragossa, where he makes alliance with King Marsilio and meets the mighty Bravonel, who is in love with the Mooress Acoyza. They dine, and make plans, and sally forth for Roncesvalles.

646, ON THE SAME SUBJECT. Class VIII. “Con tres mil y mas leoneses”
Bernardo leaves the city with 3,000 men of Leon, followed and cheered by all the folk, the laborers, the shepherds, the peasants, the children, who all cheer their deliver and shout for liberty and independence. They arrive at Saragossa, where the Holy Pillar is, and join Alfonso, Marsilio, and Bravonel to fight the French.
Lockhart.

647, BERNARDO REBUKES AND SHAMES THOSE WHO WOULD GIVE THE KINGDOM TO THE FRENCH. Class VIII. “No os llamo canalla vil”
Bernardo gives a rousing speech before the battle of Roncesvalles.

Book I, Canto IV, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English, Book I, Canto IV, Stanzas 61 through 89.

61
A variegated, terrifying cry
Rose from the army as they rushed the walls.
Grandonio from the ramparts doesn’t fly,
But firm defends them, and his war-cry calls.
He hurls great stones, and luckless foes descry
How on them parts of towers or merlons fall.
Columns are thrown by this gigantic lord;
With ev’ry toss, an elephant is floored.

62
A little ways back from the fight he draws,
And with a running start leaps o’er the heads
Of their front rank, and cuts his foes like straw.
And throws Greek fire, filling all with dread.
For when the folk of Barcelona saw
How strong he was, and how much blood he shed,
They brought him sulphur and prepared the fuse,
And now Grandonio puts it to good use.

63
Let us leave them, and to Rinaldo turn,
Who in bewilderment and fury stands.
To rescue Ricciardet his spirit burns
So much, that nothing else he understands.
The mighty giant stood, upright and stern.
A mace of iron held he in his hand.
Well-armed from toe to head did he appear,
And rode an elephant for his destrier.

64
A furious assault were no avail.
Of no avail is all the hero’s might,
When he can’t reach his foe. He does not quail.
Upon Baiardo’s back he stands upright,
And off the croup he leaps, to thus assail
The giant, who of him has caught no sight;
He splits the helmet, cutting through the steel.
No trace of pity does the warrior feel.

65
Fusberta’s smith was master of his trade;
It sliced Balorza’s massive head in twain.
The giant fell, and such a noise he made
As could be heard far out across the plain.
Now do the heathen forces flee, dismayed,
Or if they stand against Rinald, are slain.
As rabbits flee the leopard, even thus
The soldiers flee the champion valorous.

66
Meanwhile, Ferraguto has pursued
The great Alfrera longer than four hours.
His berserk eyes were bloodshot through and through,
Because it seemed to be beyond his powers
To rescue Isolier, good friend and true.
The giraffe, misshapen brute, most fiercely glowers,
As it runs all a-gallop through the door,
In the pavilion, King Gradass before.

67
Don Ferraguto right behind him raced.
Alfrer, who was expecting him, turns round,
And throws down Isolier and lifts his mace,
And on the Spaniard’s helmet brings it down,
Knocking him from his horse and on his face.
Alfrera lifts him, senseless, from the ground.
And tucks him ‘neath his arm, and when he’s done,
Tucks Isolier beneath the other one.

68
And then he says, “My lord, I must relate
What dreadful loss our army has incurred.
Because Rinaldo’s prowess is so great.
Of enemies, I hate to speak good words,
But lying even more than foes I hate.
A little while ago, as I have heard
He split the great Balorza’s head in two.
Now think, my lord, what else this man might do.

69
And ask not of thine other mighty men.
Of all those officers of great puissance,
For King Faraldo’s life is at an end.
I saw him slain with one blow of the lance.
The King of Persia to Mahound commend,
For he was slain by alike circumstance.
Though of myself, perhaps I should not speak,
Yet no more wars with France I wish to seek.

70
Gradasso says, “Can God have truly given
A single knight a heart and strength so big?
If someone offered me the crown of heaven
(For all the earth I rate not at a fig)
I’d never be content, unless I’ve striven
Right here and now, against this Frankish pig,
And seen if he can really right so hard
To keep me from obtaining his Baiard.”

71
As thus he speaks, he puts his armor on,
Which as great Samson’s armor had begun.
In all the world, no armor was more strong.
Soon as, from head to toe, his arming’s done,
Behold the terrified and fleeing throng
Running before Amone’s mighty son.
The king knew clearly that the tumult meant
That Don Rinald had almost reached his tent.

72
He waits no more. Upon his horse he leapt,
A mighty charger of Arabian breed.
No horse so tall upon earth ever stepped.
Baiard was scarcely faster than that steed.
Behold Rinald, whose foes are all inept
To stop him, and who flee him with all speed.
How clearly could you track the way he came,
Littered with legs and arms and trunks and brains.

73
Bold King Gradasso to the fray set out,
On his Arabian, with so much daring,
That all the world he seems prepared to flout.
His lance he lowers, ‘gainst Rinaldo faring.
And as he gallops, gives so great a shout
That even stout Baiardo was he scaring.
Full sixteen feet that horse leapt in the air,
A leap so marvelous has been seen ne’er.

74
Even Gradasso at this is impressed,
But moves ahead, for fear that it should show.
He sliced and chopped and hacked his foes with zest.
Ivon and King Morgant to earth he throws,
Alfrera picks them up just like the rest,
For always following Gradass he goes.
He finds Spinel, Guizard, and Angelin,
All conquered by that heathen fierce and keen.

75
Rinaldo turns about to view the war,
And when he sees that Pagan strike so hard,
He lays his mighty lance in rest once more.
And then he says, “O my good steed, Baiard,
God know that thou hast never failed before,
But now thou’lt need to be upon thy guard.
Don’t think, by God! that I’m at all afraid,
But we’ve ne’er fought a man so stoutly made.

76
He closed his visor when these words were done,
And rode against the king with heart alight
Against Gradass, who turned and saw him come.
Never since he was born had such delight
Been his as now. He thought to overcome
With ease and speed, the valiant Frankish knight,
But when he put this theory to the test,
It was much harder than he could have guessed.

77
That joust and clashing was far more intense
Than any you have ever seen, or will.
Baiard’s croup touched the ground; his hindlegs bent.
Which ne’er before he’d done against his will.
He stood up quickly, for he kept his sense,
Rinaldo’s been knocked out, but sits up still.
Th’Arabian with a great ruckus falls,
But tough Gradasso doesn’t care at all.

78
He spurs it sharply till it stands again,
Then goes back to the fight, devoid of fear.
He bids Alfrera grab Rinaldo then,
And carefully to tend to his destrier.
But on a hopeless task the giant went,
For Baiard, carrying his master dear,
Had fled across the fled, and did not slack,
Till shortly after, Rinald’s sense came back.

79
He drew Fusberta, for he still conceived
He fought Gradasso, in his muddled brain.
Alfrera followed him, and he believed
He’d snatch him soon, but spurred his giraffe in vain.
Rinaldo, of his fancy’s error relieved,
Galloped on Baiard all around the plain.
He searches vales and hills and ev’ry place,
Seeking to meet Gradasso face to face.

80
At last he finds him, where he’s just unseated
His brother Don Alardo from his horse.
The dreadful sight once seen, his blood grows heated.
Heedless of all beside, he sets his course
Straight for Gradasso, and so fast he speeded,
And swung Fusberta down with so much force,
With both his hands, that certainly he recked
The king, and charger too, he would bisect.

81
Such mighty blows as this were nothing new
To King Gradasso, who wore valor’s crown.
Don’t think that this enormous blow him slew,
Or that his armor split, or blood ran down.
He tells Rinaldo, “Now mayst thou see true,
And tell, if any ask thee, whose renown
Of ours, should be the greater, and if thou
Canst knock me from my horse, to thee I’ll bow.

82
And with these words the mighty infidel
Brings down with all his might his pond’rous sword.
Upon Baiardo’s neck Rinaldo fell.
So strong a blow he’s never yet endured.
Mambrino’s helmet, by its magic spell,
Is all that kept Rinaldo’s life secured.
Baiardo galloped off with all his speed,
Rinald hung on the neck of his good steed.

83
Gradasso followed him for many a mile.
He wanted Baiard more than anything.
But he lost sight of him. His anger boiled.
He turned back to the battle scowling.
Rinaldo’s sense came back after a while.
He burned t’avenge himself upon the king.
No sooner was Gradasso in his sight,
He swung his sword adown with all his might,

84
Upon Gradasso’s helm with both his hands.
His teeth are ground together from the shock.
The king of valor says, “I think this man
Must be some demon, or of demon’s stock.
I gave him blows that no man could withstand,
And he’s come back to seek for still more knocks.
But Fortune won’t on him forever shine.
If not now, he’ll go down some other time.

85
And with these words Gradasso ceased his talk,
And charged against him, while his eyes shot fire.
Cautious Rinaldo watched him like a hawk.
He had good need, you may believe it, sire.
The giant swings a blow that like a stalk
Of parsley, would have cleft him, ‘twas so dire.
But Rinald dodged the strike anticipated,
Sorry were he, had he an instant waited!

86
To make a mighty leap he was not slow,
For certainly he had no wish to bide.
The giant swings another pond’rous blow.
Baiardo once again leaps to one side.
“Can God Himself be fighting for my foe?”
In desperation King Gradasso cried.
He swings a third time, but no luck three brings.
Baiardo dodges it like he had wings.

87
Gradasso, growing weary of this game,
Decides to show his strength some other place.
Into the fray against his foes he came;
Horses and riders fell before his mace.
But ere a hundred paces he had ta’en
Rinaldo was resolved to give him chase.
He would have boldly ‘gainst the King contested,
But by a dreadful sight he was arrested.

88
Rinaldo scanned the field, when what should meet
His piercing eyes, but mighty Orïon.
The giant fell, who ran on swift and fleet.
The young Don Ricciardet, Rinaldo’s own
Brother, this felon carried by the feet.
The young man called for aid in woeful tones.
When Don Rinald that horrid sight espies,
For grief and love he very nearly dies.

89
The tears run down Rinaldo’s face I streams.
Of nothing else did he take any account.
In all his life, his soul had never been
So grieved as now. His pride and fury mount.
Which of the armies did the battle win,
In my next canto for you I’ll recount,
Which as I’ve said, began at break of dawn.
All day it’s lasted, and it still goes on.

Notes