Book I, Canto XIII, Part 2

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

21
At last he lays himself upon the ground,
Sprawled out and motionless, and dead he seemed.
The bird immediately hurried down
Like one who such a trap has never seen,
And with his talons clutched Rinaldo round.
The nerves of Don Rinaldo are so keen
That he no sooner felt the monster’s claws,
He swung his sword around without a pause.

22
Where the wing joined the body Rinald pressed,
And muscle, nerve, and bone Fusberta rent;
The wing fell off, upon the ground to rest,
But not yet did the savage beast relent.
With both its foreclaws it attacked his breast,
Cuirass and plate and mail were all to-shent;
So fierce with one and th’other claw he tore,
The knight was sure his life would soon be o’er.

23
But still for victory the baron tries;
Now in the chest he strikes it, now the flanks,
And strikes so much, at last he makes it die.
Rinaldo stands once more upon his shanks.
Great peril he’s escaped, it is no lie.
To God he humbly offers praise and thanks;
And then he bids the lady ride him to,
For all the pains and danger now are through.

24
But Don Rinaldo had beheld the place
Wherein was kept the magic, wind-born horse.
If to its end this path he could not trace,
Then all his life ’twould fill him with remorse.
’Neath the cliff’s horrible and jagged face
The gallant champion boldly set his course.
A hundred steps he did not take before
He found a massive, carven marble door.

25
With fine enamel was the door o’erspread,
And pearls and em’ralds set there in such wise
Of such a door you never heard or read.
No work e’er known was of so great a price.
Laid behind crystal was a lady, dead,
And golden letters round her were incised:
“Swear to avenge me, thou who passest by,
Or else a death unknightly mayst thou die.

26
“But he who sweareth to avenge my wrong,
And slay the man by whom I was betrayed,
To him the magic destrier shall belong,
Which leaves the wind behind, so fast its gait.”
Rinaldo doesn’t hesitate for long,
But knelt at once. His vow to God he made,
That if his life and all his strength remain,
He will avenge the wrongly-slaughtered dame.

27
And then he entered in and saw the steed,
Kept by no stall-door, but by chains of gold.
All things were there a rider e’er could need,
Its coverlet fell down in silken folds.
The horse was black as an obsidian bead,
Save a white spot upon his forehead bold,
And one white patch, close by his tail, forsooth,
And his right foreleg, just above the hoof.

28
No horse surpasseth him in all the lands.
The great Baiardo is his only peer,
Who still is sung throughout the whole of France.
Baiard is stronger, smarter, without fear,
But swiftest doth this Rabican advance.
Slung stones and darts o’ertake not this destrier.
Nor birds in flight, nor arrows from a bow,
Nor any other thing can faster go.

29
Rinald is rapt out of this world for bliss,
That such a lofty quest fell to his lot.
But to the chain attached a small book is,
Writ not with sable ink, but crimson blood.
All the sad story is contained in this,
The woeful tale, for all to read who would,
Of the dead lady lying in the door,
How she untimely died; by whom; wherefore.

30
The book related how King Trufaldin,
The false and wicked ruler of Baghdad,
To neighbor had a Count, in battle keen,
Ardent and frank, and virtues all he had;
So highly praised he was, he long had been
Wholly despisèd by this monarch bad.
Don Orisello was this baron  named,
As Montefalcon was his castle famed.

31
Don Orisello had a sister fair,
Who of all women was the crown and flower.
He face and body’s comeliness were rare.
If grace, and loveliness, and virtue’s power
Reached not their peak in her, they did nowhere.
She loved a knight was stalwart in the stour,
Of noble blood, and courteous and kind;
A better baron could you nowhere find.

32
The sun, who views the whole world at a glance,
Saw not on earth a pair of truer lovers,
More virtuous, more fair, more blessed by chance.
One will they had; one gentle love them covered.
From day to day their happy love advanced.
Now Trufaldin loved making war on others,
But Montefalcone could he never siege,
For it was strong and safe beyond belief.

33
Upon a massive, awe-inspiring rock,
(The path a mile long from base to height)
The walls were built, as if the world to mock;
Nor was this all that gave the castle might.
A great, vast, steep, and treach’rous moat there blocked
The way, and ringed the hill on ev’ry side.
Every path which to the castle ran
Had three watchtowers and a barbican.

34
The caution to his castle dedicated
Was worthy Orisello, for he feared
King Trufaldino and by him was hated.
Often with siegers he the fortress neared,
And ev’ry time he shamefully retreated.
This foul monarch at all goodness jeered,
But then he chanced to meet a knight who loved
Count Orisello’s sister, life above.

35
Polindo was the worthy baron hight,
And Albarosa hight the lady fair.
Joy she had, much as any human might
So much she was beloved, such love she bare.
Now on a day, this loving errant-knight
Seeking adventure, did at random fare,
Roving through lands and men of ev’ry sort,
At last he came to Trufaldino’s court.

36
King Trufaldino was a wicked traitor,
But ev’ry mood he perfectly could feign;
To Don Polindo no one could show greater
Favor, or speak so courteously amain.
Would he make war? He’ll be a co-invader.
Is he in Love? He’ll help him win his dame.
What variegated wonders Love can do!
Love fears all things; believes in all things, too!

37
Who, other than Polindo, would believe
This wicked, foul, breaker of his faith,
Who had so many knights ere this deceived?
The knight heeds not the words that any saith,
But gratefully the offers he received,
And thinks his lady love at last he hath.
He feels her lips already on his cheek.
Of nought else can he think; he scarce can speak.

38
After the lady has been asked in vain
To leave the gate ajar and let him in,
She swears to meet Polindo on the plain
One quiet night and run away with him.
Thereto she plights her troth, and he again
Pledges that he will serve her ev’ry whim,
If she will come and be his weded wife,
To live in joy together all their life.

39
All is arranged; prepared the fatal night.
Now Trufaldin had graciously bestowed
On Don Polind a fort for his delight,
A day from Montefalcon by the road.
Hither there came, without the least respite
The knight and lady, who with true love glowed.
With mirth and laughter sat they down to eat,
When Trufaldino burst on their retreat.

40
O wayward Fortune, fickle and untrue,
Who never wished happiness to last!
Below the ground a tunnel had been hewn
Which from without into the fortress passed.
And Trudaldino well this faucebray knew;
All gifts he gave turned to his gain at last.
While thus the lovers dined and of love spoke,
King Trufaldin them seized without one stroke.

Notes

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Book I, Canto XIII, Part 1

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

ARGUMENT

Rinaldo, to obtain a magic steed,
Fights with two gryphons and a giant great.
He learns the tale of Albarose sweet,
How she and her beloved were betrayed
And slain by Trufaldino. He is fleet
To swear an oath to venge the hapless maid.
As they ride onward underneath the trees,
A centaur comes and kidnaps Fiordelis.

1
I told you earlier how those two heard
A cry that could have made the brave despair.
No fear nor panic in Rinaldo stirred.
He leapt to ground and left the palfrey there
With the fair maiden, sweet as singing bird,
Whose face was white with anguish and with care.
Rinald advances with an air defiant,
And finds the reason for this is a giant

2
Who stood a sentinel, as it appeared,
Before a darkling and enormous cave.
His face was horrible, his visage fierce,
To terrify the bravest of the brave.
But braver still than they, our cavalier
Who never has known fear in all his days,
Now moves against him with his sword in hand;
But not a muscle moved the giant grand.

3
His right hand he an iron club held stiff in.
From head to foot he was enclosed in mail.
On either side of him there lay a gryphon,
Bound to the rocks by chains too thick to fail,
But lest his presence be a hieroglyph in
Your eyes, his purpose here I will unveil.
This giant here was set to guard, you see, a
Horse, which erst belonged to Argalía.

4
By strange enchantment was this horse begot,
Because, of fire and of purest ashes,
A mare was magic’ly to being brought,
A thing that with the course of Nature clashes.
And then the wind this mare with child got,
And this the horse, of all the fastest,
Which ate no grass and fed upon no hay,
But lived on air alone from day to day.

5
Back to this cave the charger had returned,
As soon as Ferraguto set him free.
Here he was born, for here he ever yearned,
Here all his happy foalhood days spent he,
Till Argalía, who had magic learned,
Compelled him hence, to serve him faithfully,
Long as he loved, and once the knight was dead,
The horse in but a day to his home sped.

6
The giant then his sentry post regained,
The ugly, cruel, strong, and pertinacious,
And with him kept two gryphons tightly chained,
Each with sharp talons, horrid and rapacious.
These chains were wrought, as I should have explained,
So he could quickly loose those beasts hellacious.
Each of these gryphons was so strong in flight,
That though the air they could transport a knight.

7
Rinaldo with caution to the battle stepped,
Deliberate footsteps and a searching eye,
But do not think that fear upon him crept,
Because his paces are so far from spry.
The loft giant who the passage kept
Could clearly see a valiant knight drew nigh.
Not that he cared, for he had slain already
A thousand comers, be they weak or steady.

8
And all around the field were spread the white
Bones of the men the giant fierce had slain.
And now began the hard and eager fight:
Each seeks a vantage point upon the plain.
And furious blows they deal to left and right:
Neither to smile or to laugh will deign,
For each knows, true as there’s a sun i’th’ sky,
That one or th’other on this day will die.

9
The good Rinaldo was the first to strike,
And smites the mighty giant on the head.
But that brute’s helm was stronger than a dyke,
And not a whit was he discomfortéd.
Now his hot wrath and surqidry up-spike,
Just like a storm descends his club of lead;
Rinaldo takes the blow upon his shield,
Which splinters; pieces fly across the field.

10
But this was all the damage that was done;
Rinaldo pays him back a mighty blow
Which was a cruel and a mortal one,
Between his ribs, nigh to his heart it goes,
But scarcely had this wound to bleed begun
Rinald struck, on the other flank, his foe.
The armor strong no more intact remains,
Fusbert cuts through his entrails to his reins.

11
At this the giant was astonished quite;
Clearly he could perceive his death at hand.
From his two wounds his pain is infinite.
Upon his feet the brute can scarcely stand.
So he resolveth, out of hellish spite
That Don Rinald will leave the living land.
He staggers back, and ere his body stiffens,
The chains he loosens to release the gryphons.

12
The first one clutched the giant in his talons
And sailed away with him into the air,
And vanished from the dame’s sight and the gallants.
The other moves against Rinaldo there,
Hoping, perhaps, to knock him off his balance,
Ruffles his feathers, and to strike prepares.
His wings outspread, and ev’ry talon shows.
Rinaldo with Fusberta swings a blow

13
The bold Rinaldo’s aim was stout and true:
Both the beast’s foreclaws at a blow he mauls.
A searing pain the ugly bird shot through;
Shrieking, it fled, and came back not at all
When lo! A mighty noise from in the blue:
The other gryphon lets the giant fall.
I don’t think that he can survive this leap:
The gryphon dropped him from four thousand feet.

14
With a great rushing noise, he downward sped.
Rinaldo sees him falling from the sky;
It seems the brute is headed for his head.
If not exactly there, he’ll land nearby.
He sees that very shortly he’ll be dead,
Nor does he know what tactics he can try;
Whether he runs, or he stays where he’s at,
The giant’s massive corpse will squash him flat.

15
Still closer to the ground it makes its way;
Straight at Rinaldo, seemingly, it’s bound,
Before it lands, less than a foot away.
His head was shattered when it hit the ground,
And made a greater noise than words could say,
And shook the plain for nigh a mile around.
Rinaldo scarcely has the time to sigh,
Before, God help him! other perils nigh.

16
For th’other gryphon his way downwards took,
Wings folded back, with such a rush he comes,
The air re-echoed and the heavens shook,
And he concealed the splendor of the sun,
Shadowing ev’rywhere the knight might look.
A beast so great as this was never none.
Turpin affirms it for a certain thing
That fifteen feet outspread was either wing.

17
Rinaldo firmly for the bird awaits
But very little time does he spend waiting,
Ere like a lightning bolt accelerates
The gryphon, not a whit its speed abating.
Rinaldo his revenge anticipates,
And smites the monster without hesitating:
Beneath its throat he digs a nasty ditch,
Through which the red blood flows without a hitch.

18
But not enough he struck it death to bring.
He could not break the ribs or pierce the lungs.
The brute mounts to the sky, then folds its wings,
And downward with a piercing shriek it plunged.
The ugly brute Rinaldo’s helmet dings,
The crest and circlet from the top it wrung,
But could not break the helm itself because
The magic helmet of Mambrino ’twas.

19
The bird now flies aloft and now dives back;
Rinaldo does not know and cannot guess
Which is the weakest point he should attack.
The damsel watches with such great distress
She thought for fear she would her life soon lack.
Not for herself did she her prayers address
To God above, but only for the knight.
Her own self then she had forgotten quite.

20
The day was vanquished by the dismal night,
And yet the battle ’twixt the two raged on.
One thing alone now caused Rinaldo fright.
He might not see which way the beast had gone;
He knows that swiftly he must end the fight.
To this he bends his members, ev’ry one;
His only hope to keep himself from dying
Is to prevent that vicious bird from flying.

Book I, Canto III, Part 3

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

41
She tied her palfrey to the pine right soon,
And softly closer to Rinald she goes.
Watching the cavalier, she nearly swooned.
How she could stand to leave him, nought she knows.
The meadow with sweet flowers was festooned,
The silver lily and the gentle rose.
She plucks an armful of them in that place,
And lays them gently on Rinaldo’s face.

42
At this, Rinaldo wakens from his sleep,
And sees above him the resplendent maid
Who hails him joyfully, with greeting sweet.
His face shows clearly that he is dismayed,
And instantly upon his horse he leaps,
And to her pleasant words no heed he paid.
Back to the greenwood he pursues his flight.
She mounts her palfrey and pursues the knight.

43
As she speeds on, she cries in woeful tone,
Oh, worthy cavalier, why dost thou flee?
Thy life is dearer to me than mine own,
And thou repayest it by slaying me.
Dost thou think I’m Ginamo of Bayonne,
Seeking thee here and full of treachery?
I’m not Macario, I’m not Gan the snake.
I hate them one and all for thy love’s sake.

44
Why dost thou flee from me in such disdain?
More than my very self I love thee, dear,
Only turn round, and look upon the pain
Thou causest me. Dost thou have so much fear
Of my sweet face, thou ridest without rein
Into this forest, desolate and drear?
Oh, wilt thou only spur thy steed less hard,
I’d be content to follow from afar.

45
For if, in galloping, thou chance to fall,
‘Twould be my fault, for thou art fleeing me.
My life would be as bitter as is gall –
If I could live through so much misery!
Look back a bit; see who I am who call,
Art thou not shamed from a mere maid to flee?
My face is not one thou shouldst flee in fright,
But one thou shouldst run after with delight.”

46
The girl says this, and many sweet words more,
As she rides on, but says them all in vain.
Baiardo from the forest issued forth,
And vanished from her sight across the plain.
The damsel beats her breast and sighs full sore.
There are no words that could describe her pain.
Broken-hearted she proclaims the stars,
The sun, and Heaven are most cruel and hard.

47
But calls Rinaldo cruel beyond compare,
In soft lamentings, full of tenderness.
“Who would have ever thought a face so fair –
She says – could hide a heart so merciless?
Love rules my heart, yet leaves me well aware
That no such passion flares within the breast
Of my belov’d Rinaldo for my charms.
But, still, he shoudn’t flee so from my arms.

48
I should not feel that I was lacking aught,
If but in sight of him once more I came.
If but to gaze upon him I were brought,
‘Twould cool a little my sore passion’s flames.
To flee from Love, my Reason says I ought,
But where Love is, unheard are Reason’s claims.
I call him traitor, villain, false, and fell
But while I call him thus, I love him well.”

49
Lamenting thus, the girl forsakes her quest,
And makes her weary way back to the pine.
“O blessed flowers – says she – grass most blest,
Who touched his gracious cheek, in you I find
A rival, and I envy how you pressed.
Your lot is far more fortunate than mine.
If I should lay by him, I know that I
O’erwhelmed by happiness, would surely die.”

50
With such laments, she tugs her palfrey’s rein,
And lights upon the plain, that wretched lass,
And kneeling where Rinaldo erst had lain,
Waters with tears and kisses much the grass.
Thinking this way to cool her burning flames,
But quite the contrary she brings to pass.
Worn out by sorrow, she does naught but weep,
And lies there till she cries herself to sleep.

51
My lords, I know that you are wondering
Why of Gradasso I’ve made no report
In all this time. I’ll tell you that the king
Is still a ways away from Charles’ court.
Across Iberia his host he brings,
But I don’t wish to tell you anymore,
Until th’adventures I have told to you
Of our knights errant; firstly, Ferragu.

52
The lover through the woods pursues his quest,
Brooding and cursing, beyond measure wroth.
His love and ire so inflame his breast,
His life he reckons hardly worth a straw
Unless that lovely lady he possessed,
Or met her brother, ‘gainst him for to draw
His sword, for he wished to avenge him quick
Upon the knight who’d played him such a trick.

53
With such intent, upon his way he sweeps.
Looking on ev’ry side, he chanced to see a
Cavalier beneath a tree asleep
And recognized that it was Argalía.
His charger had been tied beneath a beech.
He cut the rope, and then cuts from the tree a
Switch, and beats the horse until it flees
And vanished from sight among the trees.

54
His own horse he dismounts, and to a branch
He ties him. Then beneath a verdant laurel
He seats himself, and then waits for the man
To waken so they can resume their quarrel.
Although the sight of him his fury fans
And for revenge he longs, it were immoral
And most unchivalrous to kill a knight
Asleep, or with a weary one to fight.

55
But in a little while the knight awoke,
And realised his goodly steed had fled,
At which discovery he was provoked,
To think that he would have to walk in steade.
But Ferragu arose and to him spoke.
“Be not disturbed by this, O knight,” he said,
“For thou or I will meet with death today,
And he who lives may ride my horse away.

56
“I chased thine own away for fear lest thou
Shouldst once again attempt to turn and flee.
Thou’lt have to keep thy chest towards me now,
And ne’er again I hope thy back to see.
Thou didst deceive me last time, but I vow
I shall make thee regret thy villainy.
If thou canst not defend thyself in strife
With honor, thou deservest not thy life.

57
Don Argalía says without alarm,
“Of what thou chargest me, I stand confessed.
But by my hand I swear, and my right arm,
And by the heart that beats within my breast,
I fled not from our fight for fear of harm,
Or weakness, or because I needed rest,
But solely to oblige my sister, who
Desired of me that this deed I’d do.

58
If thy desire still rages uncontrolled,
Then thou hast need of me to be afraid.
The choice ‘twixt peace and battle thou dost hold.
But recollect thou’st seen my strength displayed!”
With such words speaks the baron young and bold,
But Ferraguto is no whit dismayed.
His face contorts, and with an angry shout,
He cries “Engarde!” and pulls his broadsword out.

59
Against each other run these valiant knights,
With blows and batterings full stout and good.
So lustily with sword and shield they smite,
That for a mile it echoes through the wood.
Don Argalía leapt aloft with might,
Holding his sword as high up as he could,
To himself thinking, “With this mighty blow,
I’ll send this villain to the realms below.”

60
He deals a blow that is exceeding grim,
And had it hit the fight would have been through.
But Ferraguto rushes up to him,
And grabs him, and to wrestling fall the two.
More strong is Argalía in his limbs;
More quick and dexterous is Ferragu.
Now has one got the other on the ground –
Don Argalía underneath is found.

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Notes

Book I, Canto II, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto II, Part 1, Stanzas 1-20.

CANTO II

ARGUMENT
Angelica, to flee from Ferragu,
Runs with her brother into fair Ardennes.
Rinaldo and Orlando her pursue.
King Charles bids the tournament begin.
The barons clash with courage stout and true,
Till King Grandonio seemeth like to win.
He knocks down even mighty Olivier,
But then Astolfo comes to cause him fear.

1
Last time, I sang to you, my lords, or those
Two mighty knights locked in a battle fierce.
Prince Argalía’s conquered all his foes,
And Ferragu ‘mongst pagans hath no peers.
One’s magic armor shields him from all blows;
The other’s magic skin cannot be pierced,
Except his navel, which he keeps concealed
With twenty plates of fine Damascus steel.

2
If you have seen a pair of lions vie
For mastery, with biting and with thrashing,
Or heard two thunderclouds roar in the sky,
And seen the brilliant sparks of lightning flashing,
Then know that these were far exceeded by
The worthy cavaliers together clashing.
The earth was shaken, and the heavens roared,
When these two struck each other with the sword.

3
And thus they clash together in their wrath,
And view each other with expression dread.
Each knight, though certain he is safe from scath,
Trembles for anger and is soaked in sweat.
Don Argalía, with all strength he hath,
Strikes his opponent right on his bare head,
And he is sure beyond a shade of doubt,
That Ferraguto’s luck has just run out.

4
So when he sees his polished blade just bounce
Right off, and fail to draw a single drop
Of blood, the sight completely him astounds.
His hair curls, and for wonderment he stops.
But Ferraguto is not slow to pounce;
He thinks to vivisect him with one chop.
“Mahound have mercy on thy soul, for I
Will have none on thy body,” is his cry.

5/6
And with these words a mighty blow he deals,
That would have cleft a diamond in twain.
The helm enchanted fortunately steals
The sharp sword’s pow’r to cleave; it strikes in vain.
Completely baffled, Ferragu’s mind reels.
He wonders if he hasn’t gone insane.
Thus stupefied, the knights desist from violence,
And each one looks upon his foe in silence.

6/7
A little while they stand without a word,
Quite still, they marvel at each other so.
At last, Don Argalía’s voice is heard,
“O worthy knight, – quoth he, – “thou oughtst to know
That all this armor wherewith I am girt
Makes me invincible from head to toe,
By magic art. Give up thy fight with me;
Thou canst win nought but shame and injury.”

7/8
Says Ferraguto, “By Mahound I swear
That all my armor, from my boots to crest,
And e’en my shield, not for defense I wear,
But ornament, for I have been so blest
In all my skin there is but one place where
I can be hurt. And so for thee ‘tis best
At once to yield, and I shall let thee live,
If unto me thou wilt thy sister give.

8/9
Then shall I place myself at thy command,
And serve thee faithfully forevermore.”
Says Argalía, “Baron frank and grand,
I’ve never met a knight so skilled at war
As thou. I’ll gladly give my sister’s hand
And live with thee in brotherly accord –
If she be willing, be that understood.”
And Ferraguto thinks his offer good.

10
Though Ferragu is in the bloom of youth,
His voice is raspy and his skin is dark.
Hs face is fearful and his beard uncouth.
His eyes are bloodshot, glowering and stark.
He has no care for cleanliness, forsooth,
But never bathes, and so his skin is marked
With dust and grime. His hair is black as night,
And curled. In short, he is a dreadful sight.

11
Angelica, when she perceives that he
Is not the handsome blond she hoped to find,
Calls Argalía and says quietly,
“O dearest brother, I must speak my mind.
I’d rather hang myself upon this tree
Or wander begging, crippled, deaf, and blind,
Before to such a monster I’ll be chained.
Better to die than to be so insane.

12
Therefore I pray thee by our lord Mahound,
That once again thou fight that cavalier,
While I suck on the ring and thus confound
That brute by vanishing, and flee from here.
Then once I’m gone, turn thou thy horse around
And flee. So swift and light is thy destrier
He’ll never catch thee. We two shall meet then,
Just eastward, in the forest of Ardennes.

13
And then together we shall take our way
Back to our father, by the eastern sea.
But if we do not meet within three days,
Then I shall have the demons carry me,
(Thanks to that dog who tried to do me shame,
Where I was lying underneath the tree)
And thou wilt have to come back on thine horse
The way we came; thou knowest well the course.

14
Don Argalía to this plan assents
And turns back to the Moorish knight to say
His sister won’t by any means consent.
But Ferraguto will not go away.
But “Death or victory!” he cries, intent
To win to maiden of the flow’ry face,
When suddenly, to his immense surprise
She vanishes before his loving eyes.

15
He’d kept his face towards her in the fight
So that the sight of her would give him strength.
But now that she has vanished from his sight
He knows not what to do or what to think.
When Argalía sees the baffled knight,
He gives his horse the spur. Quick as a wink,
He gallops off and disappears from view,
Abandoning the fight and Ferragu.

16
The youthful lover for a moment stood,
Then realized that he had been deceived,
And galloped after him into the wood,
Which was beginning to bring forth its leaves.
His shame and anger on his visage could
Be seen most clearly, and he disbelieved
That he would lose the dame for whom he pined.
But though he sought, he could by no means find.

17
Now turn we to Astolfo, who remained
Alone beside the fountain, as you know.
He’d watched the battle with delight unfeigned,
And joyed to see each mighty thrust and blow
And now, delighted that he has regained
His freedom, praises God, and is not slow
To don his armor and to mount his steed;
He knows how Fortune can transform with speed.

18
The paladin lacked nothing save a lance.
(His own was shattered when he fell supine.)
Looking around him, he beheld by chance
Don Argalía’s, leaning on the pine.
The gilding sparkled and the dim light glanced
Off the enamel and the gold refined.
Astolfo grabs it from its place, although
Its magic potency he does not know.

19
He pricks forth on his way with merry heart,
As men are wont when they escape from jail.
He meets Rinaldo riding on Baiard,
And greets him warmly and tells all his tale.
So wounded is Rinald by Cupid’s dart,
That no attempt to cure him would avail.
He’s come from court with but one end in view:
To find out what’s become of Ferragu.

20
So when he hears he went towards Ardennes,
He gallops off that way across the grass,
Without a word of parting to his friend,
Such is the love he bears that lovely lass.
He calls Baiard a lazy sluggard then,
A worthless hack, a good-for-nothing ass,
The while he’s galloping at such a speed,
A flying arrow couldn’t catch that steed.

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Notes

Book I, Canto I, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 4, Stanzas 61-80.

61
Now turn we to our story. He was dight
In his best armor, which was worth a treasure.
His shield was ringed with pearls of spotless white.
To see his gilded armor was a pleasure.
Upon his helmet’s crest there shone full bright
A gemstone of a value beyond measure.
Which (unless Bishop Turpin be a liar)
Was a great ruby, blazing red as fire.

62
No poorer is the cov’ring of his horse,
With leopards thereon tricked in golden thread.
Astolfo mounts, and straightaway rides forth
Alone and hasty, and devoid of dread.
No time he wasted, as he took his course,
And soon to Merlin’s Rock the knight hath sped,
Where, without pausing, to alert his foe,
He grabs his horn and gives a lusty blow.

63
When Argalía hears the Astolfo’s blast,
He rises up and peers from out his tent.
A knight is come, he dons his armor fast,
In which from head to foot there is no dent,
And sallies forth upon his steed to cast
His foe to earth, he’s eager and intent.
With shield on arm, and magic lance in hand –
The cornerstone of all that he has planned.

64
Each knight salutes the other court’ously,
And then they draw apart a fitting space,
While fair Angelica comes out to see.
The knights have come unto their proper place.
They brace them in their saddles sturdily,
Then loose the reins and at each other race.
Soon as the Duke the golden weapon feels,
He tumbles on the ground, head over heels.

65
Slowly arises that most wretched wight,
And in his anguish cries, “I am betrayed
By thee, O Fortune, out of thy pure spite.
Canst thou deny, that otherwise I’d stayed
Firm in my saddle and o’erthrown this knight,
And won the favors of this lovely maid?
Thou hast wrought my defeat, I know it well,
To give the honor to an infidel!”

66
The giants lift Astolfo from his feet
And take him to the tent, where he disarms.
When he comes out, Angelica casts sweet
And lovely looks at him, and she so charms
Him that he thinks she pities his defeat.
He’d sworn an oath that if he failed at arms
He’d stay their pris’ner and not run away,
But she more than his oath persuades him stay.

67
He’s left unguarded, so he takes his way
Towards the fountain, where he laves his head.
The fair Angelica, long as she may,
Watches the knight, but when the sky turns red
And but a little while is left of day,
He goes within the tent and goes to bed.
While she, her brother, and the giants four
Wait by the Stone a little while more.

68
Just as the day was almost done and past,
Came Ferraguto with an eager heart.
He blew upon his horn a mighty blast,
So that it seemed the world would fall apart.
The birds and beasts who heard it were aghast
And fled in terror through the forest dark.
The giants shook, Angelica turned pale,
And Argalía laughed and donned his mail.

69
He tied his scabbard on and then concealed
His head within a helm which bore his crest,
Then mounted on his horse and set his shield
Before himself and laid his lance in rest.
His Rabican was eager for the field;
No whit afraid, the charger forward pressed.
So soft and light he trod, he left no print,
By which a man could tell the way he went.

70
But to a lover, minutes seem like years,
And Ferraguto’s burning with impatience,
So when his foe is ready for the fray,
The knights don’t waste their time with salutations,
But draw apart, and turn, and drop the reins,
And at each other fly. Exhilaration
Fills Ferraguto, for this proud knight is
Certain the lovely dame will soon be his.

71
But when the lance first touches him, he’s shocked;
His face falls, and his heart fills with despair.
His mighty strength has been completely blocked,
And he himself is flying through the air.
With a great thump he lands; his breath is knocked
Out of his lungs, and he does not know where
He is. But he does not stay down for long,
His body and his spirit both are strong.

72
Love, and youth, and temperament have power
To fill the heart with anger in a flash.
Now, Ferraguto is in youth’s first flower,
Loves beyond measure, and is very rash.
His rages make all those around him cower
For trifles. Anything might make this brash
And hasty cavalier begin a duel,
So short his temper is; his heart so cruel.

73
His shame and anger raise him from the dirt,
Just as he fell to it, with lightning speed.
His only thought is to avenge this hurt.
He’s quite forgot the terms that were decreed.
He draws his sword, advancing undeterred
On Argalía, who sits on his steed
And calmly say, “Thou art my captive, knight.
And hast no reason to prolong the fight.”

74
But Ferraguto this rebuke ignores,
And charges at him, with his sword held high.
In haste and anger rise the giants four,
And seize their weapons which they’d lain nearby,
And rush at Ferragu with such a roar
As never hath been heard beneath the sky.
And Turpin says, although I think it strange,
It shook the earth within two miles’ range.

75
Don Ferraguto whirls around and sees
Them coming, but he fears them not at all.
The one who’s faster than the other three
Is called Argesto the Supremely Tall.
Another one is named Lampordo. He
Is called “The Hairy”. And Urgan men call
The third one, and the shortest one is hight
Turlone; he has thirty feet of height.

76
Lampordo from a distance hurls a dart,
At Ferragu, the battle to begin.
It would have pierced that proud knight to the heart,
Had it not been for his enchanted skin.
You may have seen a greyhound chase a hart,
A panther spring, a leaf in stormy wind,
Or lightning flash. These things are all more slow,
Than Ferragu was to return that blow.

77
He drives his sword into the giant’s shank,
And starts to carve him, as he were a pie,
Cutting through reins and bowels to his flank,
But still his anger is unsatisfied.
He pulls his sword out and confronts the rank
Of th’other three, who with their weapons high,
Fall on him all at once, while Cathay’s prince
Stands to the side and watches these events.

78
Now Ferraguto takes a mighty leap,
Full twenty feet or more from off the ground,
And smites Urgano’s head a blow so deep
It cleaves him to the teeth. When he comes down
Argesto sends him tumbling in a heap,
With one great blow delivered to his crown,
With his iron mace. So forceful is his blow,
Blood spurts from Ferraguto’s mouth and nose.

79
He quick recovered, and more hot and bright
His anger burned. No trace of fear he felt,
But knocked the giant down despite his height,
Split open from the shoulders to the belt.
But then new peril came upon the knight;
Turlone, in whose muscles much strength dwelt,
Stretched his right hand out, gripped and held him fast,
And thought the battle had been won at last.

80/81
But by his potency, or his good chance,
I don’t know which, the knight broke loose. Dismayed,
The giant lifts his mace with both his hands
And Ferraguto brandishes his blade.
Turlone swings his iron club and lands
A mighty blow on Ferraguto’s pate.
Cracking his helmet, while the knight swings free
And cuts through both his legs below the knee.

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Notes

Notes to the First Canto, Parts 1 and 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto I, Parts 1 and 2, Stanzas 1 through 40, Notes.

Argument. The arguments were not written by Boiardo, but have been added by the translator.

1. Charlemagne. Born to King Pepin the Short in 742, became king upon his father’s death in 768, crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Leo in 800. Conquered and converted Saxony 804. Institutor of many laudable reforms, most of which were undone by the incompetence of his successors after his death in 814.
2. Orlando. Or Roland, or Hrodland. Governor of Brittany under Charlemagne. Died in an ambush by the Basques at Roncesvalles Pass in the Pyrenees in 778. The minstrels made him the son of Milo and of Bertha, the (fictitious) sister of Charles.
3. Turpin. Tilpin was archbishop of Rheims from 753 to 800.  A fictitious chronicle of the deeds of Charles and Roland was fathered on him about 1000. Subsequent minstrels ascribed all their stories to Turpin, and Pulci, Boiardo, and Ariosto continue the tradition.
4. Gradasso. An invention of Boiardo’s.
5. Baiardo. The best horse in the world. Belongs to Rinaldo, the cousin of Orlando. Magic, almost as smart as a man. Able to carry Rinaldo and his three brothers on his back at once.
Durindana. The best sword in the world. Won by Orlando from the pagan king Almonte at the battle of Aspremont. This will be important later.
8. Whitsuntide. Pentecost. Fifty days after Easter.
10. Grandonio. Traditional minor character. Appears in the Song of Roland as Grandonie, where he is killed by Orlando at Roncesvalles.
Ferraguto. Invention of the minstrels. Son of Falsirone and Lanfusa, and nephew of Marsilius. In older works, he was a giant who was invincible except for his navel, and was slain by Roland during Charles’ invasion of Spain prior to the battle of Roncesvalles. Boiardo makes him of ordinary size, but keeps the invincibility.
Serpentino and Isolier. Traditional minor characters. Serpentino is a nephew of Marsilius, and is killed by Orlando during Charles’ invasion of Spain prior to the Battle of Roncesvalles.
Balugante. In the Song of Roland, he is the Emir of Babylon, and feudal overlord of King Marsilius of Spain. In later works, he is brother of Marsilius and Falsaron, and is King of Portugal. The story of how Charlemagne married his daughter Gallerana is completely fabulous, and is related in Old French chansons.
14. Desiderio. Desiderius, king of the Lombards from 756 to 774. Rebelled against Charles 772. Conquered by him 774 and deposed. Died 786. According to the minstrels, Ogier the Dane participated in this rebellion, to avenge the murder of his son Baldwin by Charlemagne’s (fabulous) son Charlot. The famous Amis and Amilon (Amys and Amiles) were killed fighting for Charles in this rebellion. Ariosto’s Cinque Canti, his unfinished sequel to the Orlando Furioso, is set in the same revolt.
Ottone. Purely fabulous. England was still divided into the Heptarchy in Charlemagne’s day. Father of Astolfo.
Salmone. The real Salamon the Wise ruled Brittany from 857 to 874, but he was associated with Charlemagne as early as the Song of Roland.
15. Ganelon. Wenilo, Archbishop of Sens from 836 to 865, and disloyal to the kings of France. The minstrels changed his name to Ganelon, and made him second husband of Charlemagne’s sister Bertha and thus step-father of Orlando. He had his own son, Baldwin (not to be confused with Ogier’s son Baldwin). In the Song of Roland, his treason is a single action, the culmination of a long simmering hatred of Roland. In later works, he is a habitual traitor, always openly opposed to Orlando and Rinaldo.
Maganza. Or Mayence. The family of Ganelon. All of them, except Baldwin, were as evil as Ganelon and held a bitter feud with the House of Clairmont, to which Orlando and Rinaldo belonged.
16. Rinaldo. Reynald of Montalban. Eldest of the Four Sons of Aymon, cousin of Orlando, owner of Baiardo. The minstrels conflate him with Saint Reynard of Cologne, a hardworking stonemason who was killed by his fellow laborers for making them look bad. It is unknown whether the saint was real, whether the knight was real, whether if real they were the same person, whether the legend originally was about a knight who retired from the world to live in obscurity, whether one part of the legend gave rise to the other, or whether two unrelated legends about people with the same name were combined.
22. Gallerana. Fictional. Her story is told in French romances.
Aldabella. The lovely Alda, called Aude in the Song of Roland. Sister of Olivier, and beloved of Orlando. In the Song of Roland they are only engaged when Roland dies. In other works they are married. The story of how they met can be found in the chanson de geste, Girart of Vienne.
Clarice
. Wife of Rinaldo, and daughter of King John, or Yon, of Gascony. Her story may be found in The Four Sons of Aymon, or in Tasso’s Rinaldo.
Ermeline. Wife of Ogier the Dane.
25. Uberto dal Leone. A pseudonym. Angelica’s brother is really named Argalía. There is a real Uberto dal Leone, a minor character who will appear later.
Angelica. An invention of Boiardo’s, like her brother and father.
27. Merlin’s Stone. Technically a stone, placed to help knights mount and dismount their horses.
31. I see the better and I choose the worse. A very common statement in love poems, ultimately derived not from Saint Paul, but from Ovid.
32. Namo. Or Naimo. Naimes in the Song of Roland. Duke of Bavaria. An invention of the minstrels. Uncle of Ogier the Dane, and father of Avin, Avolio, Ottone (not the king of England), and Berlingier.
34. Malagise. Or Malagigi, Malgis, or Maugis. Cousin of Rinaldo and Orlando. Son of Buovo, or Bevis, or Aigrismont (Not to be confused with Bevis of Hampton). Malagise, a skilled magician, is the brother of the very minor character Vivien (not the same Vivien who died at Aliscans). Malagise’s story is told in The Four Sons of Aymon, in Maugis d’Aigremont, and other works.
37. Galliphrone. An invention of Boiardo’s. Purely fictitious. Ruler of Cathay (China).
38. Charger. This horse will later be named Rabicano.
39. Ring. From Pio Rajna, Le Fonti dell’ Orlando Furioso: “Of the ring, one could speak at great length. Talismans which confer invisibility or which destroy all powers of magic, abound in the fairy tales and myths of a multitude of peoples. We may mention the ring of Gyges [from Greek mythology], that of Yvain [Chretien de Troyes’ Le Chevalier au Lyon, or The Lady of the Fountain in the Mabinogion], the helmet of Ade, the Tarnhelm of German and Scandinavian mythology, the herb in Morgante (XXV, 204), the magic stone, heliotrope, of the Lapidaries and of Boccaccio. So much for invisibility.
“For the other power, it is found in the rings given by the Lady of the Lake to Lancelot [The Vulgate Cycle, not in Malory, if memory serves me], by Isolde to Tristan [The Prose Tristan, or the Tavola Ritonda. Again not in Malory], by the Queen of Scots to her son Gadisfer [in Perceforest].”
The Golden Lance. One Sir Lasancis was sent to King Arthur’s court with a magic lance by an enchantress in La Tavola Ritonda. Other such lances are found wielded by Rubione in the Storie di Rinaldo¸ and by Antea in Orlando and in the Morgante Maggiore.

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On to Part 3

Book I, Canto I, Part 2

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 2, Stanzas 21-40.

21
For through the door into the hall there strode
Four ugly giants, who, it seemed, did guard
A comely damsel. Close behind them rode
A knight who seemed as if he’d come from far.
The damsel’s face like fire or diamonds glowed.
Her loveliness outshone the morning star.
To tell the truth to you, my lords, in short,
No one more lovely had been seen at court.

22
Though Galerana, wife of Charlemagne,
And Aldabella were within the hall,
And fair Clarice, Ermelin the Dane,
And far too many for me to recall,
Each one a beauty, each for virtue famed,
I say the ladies there seemed lovely all
Before this damsel in the hall arrived,
Who from them all the crown of beauty rived.

23
All of the Christian lords and barons stare
Upon her beauty and forget to eat,
Nor does a single Pagan lie still there,
But in a stupor, rise they to their feet,
And move as much towards her as they dare.
But she, with joyful face and smile sweet,
Which could wake love within a heart of stone,
Speaks to the King in soft and gentle tone.

24
“O worthy lord, thy virtues manifold,
And the great prowess of thy dozen Peers,
Which Fame in ev’ry land on earth hath told,
Till all men know it, leave me with no fears
That all in vain we pilgrims have made bold
After a weary journey to appear,
To do thee honor at thy splendid feast,
To which we’ve travelled from the furthest East.

25
And now to thee I shall make manifest
Who we are, and I likewise shall make known
Why we came to thy court, and on what quest.
This knight here is Uberto dal Leon.
Although his lineage is of the best,
He’s lost the lands which he by right should own.
I am Angelica, his sister, and
With him I was exiled from our land.

26
Two hundred days or more beyond the Don,
Wand’ring near what was once our territory,
We heard the news that thou wouldst soon put on
A mighty tourney and great consistory,
To which would come all barons of renown,
Where gold nor cities were the mead of glory.
Where the reward, as ev’rybody knows, is
Not lands nor treasures, but a crown of roses.

27
When he heard this,  my brother soon decided
That he would come to you and test his strength
Here where the flow’r of chivalry provided
A field to demonstrate his skill at length.
If any knight of either creed is minded
To fight him, he may find us where there springs
The Fountain of the Pine, by Merlin’s Stone,
Where for this week we two will make our home.

28
But he must take the fight on this condition:
That if my brother overthrows a knight
And makes him roll in dust and earn derision,
Then that shall be the ending of the fight
And he must go into my brother’s prison.
But he who overthrows Ubert with might
Shall make his own my person and my heart;
My brother with our giants will depart.

29
The damsel kneeleth, when her speech is done,
And waits an answer. Ev’ry man assembled
Looked at her lovingly, but there is none
Whose heart like that of Count Orlando trembled.
His face turns crimson while his pulses run,
However much he tries, he can’t dissemble.
He hangs his head and stares hard at the ground,
Lest his great passion in his face be found.

30
“Ah, mad Orlando, – to himself he said –
To let thyself by passion so be swayed.
Dost thou not see the trap to which thou’rt led,
And how this sinning will lead thee away
From God? I see how I have been misled
By Fortune, but can lend myself no aid.
I, who but lately set at nought the world,
And vanquished without combat by a girl.

31
“However much I try, I cannot chase
This lovely lady’s image from my heart.
I’ll pine and dwindle for a weary space,
And die, if in my life she has no part.
There is no physic that can Love efface,
Nor all my skill with sword and lance and dart.
No wisdom can preserve me from this curse;
I see the better and I choose the worse.”

32
While silently the baron holds debate,
Blaming and praising his newborn desire,
Naimo, of hoary beard and balding pate
Love paints his cheeks with more than twenty shades,
And, for he trembles, warms him with his fire.
Ev’ryone from the barons to the carles
Longed for the lady, and so did King Charles.

33
For wonder, no one in the hall could move,
But simply gazed upon her with delight,
Save Ferraguto, that impetuous youth,
Whose face, it seemed, a flame had set alight.
Three times he forward stepped, resolved to prove
His strength by seizing her right there, despite
The knight and giants, but he thrice stopped short,
Fearing to bring dishonor on the court.

34
From foot to foot he shifts; his innards writhe,
He now steps forward, and now steps back quick.
Rinaldo gazes at the dame likewise,
And feels a fire running up his cheeks.
And Malagise, who has recognized
The girl, thinks “Soon I’ll play thee such a trick,
Ribald enchantress, that thou’lt never boast
Of what thou’st done among our Emperor’s host.”

35
Meanwhile, King Charlemagne, to keep in view
As long as possible the lady bright,
Makes long response, then asks her questions new,
To hear her speaking fills him with delight.
At last he promises that he will do
All she requests, and will arrange the fights.
She thanks, him sweetly, then with her escort.
Of giants and  her brother, leaves the court.

36
No sooner has she left the gates of Paris,
Than Malagise takes book of spells
To find out what the truth of this affair is,
And calls four demons up from blackest Hell.
Oh, what abyss of horror and despair is
In his mind – God of Heaven, shield him well! –
When he finds out Angelica has planned
To kill King Charles and lay waste his land.

37
Because this girl, so innocent and sweet,
Is daughter of the great King Galifron.
She’s  full of falsehood, mistress of deceit.
No branch of magic is to her unknown.
She was sent to our country from the east
By her dear father, old and wicked grown,
Beside her brother, Argalía named,
And not Uberto, as she falsely claimed.

38
He gave a charger to his youthful son,
Black as a coal whose fire has been spent,
(No other steed alive so swiftly runs
As this, which oftentimes outruns the wind,)
And shield and arms inferior to none,
And a great sword by magic arts designed.
But most important was a lance of gold,
Of powers marvellous and worth untold.

39
His father gave to him this lance enchanted
Because with it, defeat is inconceivable.
And one more, even greater gift he granted,
A magic ring of virtue unbelievable,
The mightiest work that ever fay or man did;
Held in the mouth, it makes one unperceivable.
Worn on the finger, it makes all charms fail;
No spells against this wondrous ring prevail.

40
But still more power in the face resides
Of sweet Angelica, and so she goes
Beside him, so that when the knights have spied
Her face, they’d fall in love with that fair rose,
And when with Argalía they collide
The magic lance, which always overthrows
Its target, will unhorse them one and all,
And into Galifrone’s hands they’ll fall!

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Notes