The Legend of Renaud of Montauban 5 – The Rhymed Remainement

Some time in the fifteenth century, the Quatre Fils Aymon was completely reworked into a new version which was entirely in rhyme. This version, like the original, was turned into prose later on, but the prose has never been printed.

B: London BM Royal 16 G II. Also known as R or as Bm. The beginning of the manuscript down to Charlemagne’s learning that the Four Sons are living in Montessor is in verse, the rest is a mise en prose (known as Bm) of the traditional versions, until the death of Renaud, after which the death of Maugis is in verse. Around 1450.

R: Paris Bib. Nat. fr. 764. Formerly known as N. Within two decades of 1440. Printed by Philippe Verelst, under the title “Renaut de Montauban. Édition critique du ms. de Paris, B.N., fr. 764 (“R”)”. 1988.

MANUSCRIPT R: BIB. NAT. FR. 764 (ROIS DE FRANCE)

Containing Renaud de Montauban.

Completely reworked, but follows the same basic plot until the siege of Tremoigne. Minor characters are renamed, Roland and Ganelon feature from the very beginning. The episode of Bueves is completely surpressed. The entire tone is more refined: Renaud kills Bertholet with a sword, not the chessboard. Charlemagne does not strike Renaud, as he does in all traditional versions except DPA. Maugis found Baiard in an enchanted cave, and won Froberge from the Saracen king Antenor. Montessor is again identified with Chateau-Regnault. The traitor Hervis dies in battle instead of being hanged by Renaud. His treason at Montessor is not the cause for Renaud’s abandonment of the castle. Renaud thwarts it, and only some time later is he starved out. Maugis does not steal Charlemagne’s treasure, and Renaud actually forbids him to do so, etc. The love of Clarice and Renaud is treated at some length. At Vaucoleurs, Maugis does not need to learn from Clarice that his cousins are in peril, and he has no trouble mounting Baiard. Renaud is trying to persuade his brothers to surrender when Maugis arrives to save them. Charlemagne uses cannons and springalds against Montauban.

At the siege of Tremoigne, instead of the usual adventures, Charles takes a nap in the forest, Ganelon tries to kill him, and Renuad, passing by, saves him. Charles wakes up, and does not believe a word of Renaud’s account of what happened. Naimes advises Charles to settle the war through single combat, Renaud versus Ganelon. Charles sends Richier of Denmark, bastard brother of Ogier, to Ganelon, who tries to kill him. Richier flees to Ogier’s tent, who saves him. Renaud makes peace with Charles. When they meet, Renaud kneels for three hours before Charles deigns to speak to him. Since Baiard was not mentioned in the peace treaty, Charles confiscates him and tries to hang him, but Bairard kills three squires and escapes to the forest of Arden. (Maugis will find him there later). Maugis departs, and Renaud slips away by night. He works his way across Europe as a collier’s apprentice, then sails to Acre, where he falls sick of leprosy. Maugis, meanwhile, has found Baiard, and rides him to Rome, whence a cloud transports him to Acre. [This whole section, the traditional part of the poem, is actually abridged to 9,000 verses, as opposed to 13,400 in L. The rest of the poem, a mere 2,700 verses in L, is now 20,000.]

King Robastre has conquered Jerusalem and all Syria. Maugis cures Renaud, and they meet King Richier, who is obliged to dismiss them when Baiard kills some of his subjects. Maugis returns to France and gives Baiard to Charlemagne, who throws him into the Rhine. Baiard, the people say, escaped, and is still alive, and can be heard neighing once a year. The Roche Baiart in Ardennes is mentioned. After indecisive battles, Renaud arrives at Jerusalem. He meets King Malaquin, a vassal of Robastre, who introduces the two. Renaud is given the finest accommodations, promises to give his son Yonnet to Robastre’s daughter Eglantine if she converts, and announces his intent to convert Robastre and his son Durandal. He challenges them to a duel, and they agree to convert if he can defeat both of them. Robastre is slain, but Durandal surrenders and is baptized Baptamur. All his people convert. Renaud and Baptamur rout King Danemont of Angorie and baptize his daughter under the name of Sinamonde. She will later wed Aymonnet. Sinamonde restores the relics of the Passion to Renaud. Renaud is amazed that they were so carefully preserved. Baptamur explains that they were hoping to sell them back to the Christians. Danemont returns with a mighty coalition, including Berfuné who can turn himself invisible. Berfuné taunts Renaud by telling him that his sons have been accused of treason by the sons of Ripeus, but Renaud does not believe him. Renaud, Baptamur, and King Richier confront Berfuné, who summons to his aid his four fairy guardians: Morgue, Ydain, Genouivre, and Oriande – the same Oriande who raised Maugis! They are furious that he is fighting Christians, and beat him up until he converts. Danemont is soon after defeated. Renaud returns home, where his family at first refuse to believe a word of his story.

His sons have indeed been challenged by the four sons of Ripeus of Ribemont (the man who tried to hang Richardet), instead of the two sons of Foulques of Morillon, as in the old poem.

After he dies [I can’t find how], Clarisse sends word to Yonnet, who is reigning in Jerusalem with Eglantine, who sends word to Aymonnet. Clarisse dies soon afterward, in Tremoigne. The other three Sons and Maugis are killed by Ganelon in Naples. Yonnet arrives with a navy and army to wreak vengeance. Allied with Ogier and Naymes, he besieges Charles in Montlaon. Charles surrenders, and becomes Yonnet’s vassal, who returns to Jerusalem. The end.

MANUSCRIPT B: LONDON

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

Not quite identical to R, but close enough for our purposes. The verse stops when an unnamed knight tells Charles that the Four Sons are living in Montessor. The rest is prose, but the prose of the traditional version, not the rhymed remaniement.

The Legend of Renaud of Montauban 3: Variants of the Quatre Fils

The summary given in this post is printed after D, the earliest manuscript of the Quatre Fils. However, most parts of the poem have at least two redactions, and the MSS switch from one redaction to the other with no apparent rhyme or reason, and no two parallel each other’s jumps exactly. D usually gives the oldest form, but it is not free of inconsistencies.

Many manuscripts, in their recapitulations, make reference to events or details that are not actually recounted in that particular manuscript, but are found in others. It is not always clear whether the reference is to an existing but omitted episode, or whether the episode was invented to explain the reference.

Beuves episode

A DIVISION OF THE MANUSCRIPTS ACCORDING TO THE ARDENNES EPISODES.

FIRST FAMILY: The enfances of Reynard are interspersed with the story of Beuve d’Aigremont, like so. First fragment: the dubbing of the Four Sons and their tilt at the quintaine. Second: Aymon and his sons flee Paris after the death of Lohier. Third: the quarrel at chess and its consequences, leading into the Ardennes War. DPAZMO

SECOND FAMILY: The second fragment is suppressed. The tilting at the quintaine is moved to just before the quarrel at chess. NC.

THIRD FAMILY: The first and third fragments are united and moved to the end of the Bueves episode. The second is still gone. LV. Hence in these, the entire war with Bueves is over before Renaud even appears on the scene.

For the Bueves d’Aigremont episode proper, OLNC (Italian) give the same redaction, in which Enguerrand is sent to Bueves and slain before Lohier. DPA (Caxton) give a different one. MZ formed their own version, still without Enguerrand. V is unique and lacks Enguerrand.

Aigremont

Aigremont is on the river Agremore [nonexistant] which flows into the Garonne, DPAMZ.

Aigremont is in Lombardy, and Bueves is killed in the plain of Souvigny [in Auvergne] on his way home, LNC.

The Italian Cantari claims that Agrismonte is reached from Paris by passing through Champagne and past Troyes, and that it stands on a mountain on the river Agremore, along which many merchant ships sail.

Continue reading

The Legend of the Death of Malagise

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

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

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

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

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

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

MANUSCRIPT B: London BM Royal 16 G II.

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

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

THE ORIGINS OF THE LEGEND

Will be dealt with more fully under Maugis d’Aigremont and The Four Sons of Aymon. For now, let it suffice to note that Maugis is based on Adalgis, son of King Desiderius of Lombardy. The manner of Adalgis’ death is not known to history.

Book I, Canto VI, Part 3

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

41
King Galifron, the father of the lady
Is ancient. Peace at any cost he prizes.
No quarrel with the Prince of Tartars made he,
Who’s strong and bold, and vast his army’s size is.
His lovely daughter ‘gainst all reason bade he
To wed this man whom she so much despises.
Unto her father’s will she’ll ne’er submit.
She’d rather die than even think of it.

42
Unto Albracca did the lady fly,
A day’s ride past the borders of Cathay,
Which is a castle strongly fortified
Which can withstand a siege for many a day.
The courtly lady now is trapped inside,
Angelica, who through the world is famed;
For Heaven’s star that shines most brilliantly
Has lost its light, and is less fair than she.

43
The herald takes his leave and disappears.
Orlando gallops off with all his power.
He seems already to behold his dear
Angelica, and tread within her bower.
As thus in rev’ry rides the cavalier,
He sees a  mighty wall around a tower.
A pair of mountains was this fort between.
To reach them was a bridge across a stream.

44
Upon the bridge there stood a fair young maid,
Who held a crystal chalice in her hands.
When she espied the cavalier, she bade
Him stop, and with a gladsome countenance
And sweet voice said, “O baron, thou art stayed.
Thou canst ride on no further, nor advance
On foot. Thy strength and cunning may not serve.
The custom of this place thou must observe.

45
The custom is that ev’ry knight must drink
Out of this goblet ere he passes us.”
Of guile Count Orlando does not think;
He drains the brimming glass, but as he does,
Before he has the time to even blink,
He’s changed entirely from what he was.
He knows not whence, or how, or when he came,
Or whither he is bound, or his own name.

46
Angelica the beautiful is fled
Out of his mind. Extinguished is the flame
By which across the world he has been led.
He has forgotten Emp’ror Charlemagne.
All other thoughts are banished from his head.
Over his heart, this newcome lady reigns.
He does not seek for pleasance, but he stands
Obedient to what she shall command.

47
He rides his Brigliadoro through the gate,
That Count of Brava, rapt out of his wits,
And dismounts in a palace finely made,
And for astonishment he gapes at it.
On amber columns with fine gold inlaid
A large and finely-furnished loggia sits.
The floor was made of marble green and white;
The ceiling was with gold and azure dight.

48
A garden spread beneath the gallery,
Shaded by palms and cedars fresh and green,
And many other pleasant kinds of tree,
Beneath whose branches was a rich sward seen,
Where springtime flowers bloomed eternally.
A marble wall enclosed this pleasant scene,
Where from each herb and bush and tree and flower
A sweet scent wafted, filling all the bower.

49
The count stands marv’lling at the loggia’s three
Arcades, which have been richly decorated
By paintings which were wrought so skillfully
That Nature’s self looked not so real as they did.
As the Count looks on them amazedly,
He sees a noble hist’ry there related.
Ladies and cavaliers from days of old
Were painted with their names below, in gold.

50
They showed a damsel standing on a beach.
She looked so lifelike that you would have swore
That as you looked at her, you heard her speech.
She beckoned passing sailors to her shore,
But as they came, she turned them into beasts.
Their human shape away from them she tore.
Some became lions, others wolves or bears.
Boars’ or gryphons’ shapes do others wear.

51
A ship, arriving, could you painted see,
And a knight who was stepping off her decks,
Who with his handsome face and his sweet speech
Kindled the flames of love within her breast.
And she was shown in giving him the key
With which she locked the potion in a chest,
The potion by whose means the mighty dame
Turned into beasts all men who thither came.

52
There could be seen how she so much did glow
For that bold cavalier with such emotion,
That by her own enchantments she’s brought low.
He tricked her into drinking her own potion,
And thus transformed her to a milk-white doe,
And then that knight for whom she’d such devotion
(Circella was this hapless lady’s name)
Mounted his horse and rode to hunt the dame.

53
All of her history the walls relate,
How he pursued her, and restored her shape.
The painting was so rich and so ornate,
The gold lit all the garden, without jape.
The count, whose mind is in a mazed state,
Can do nought else than simply stare and gape,
But as he’s standing there, his wits without,
He hears within the park a mighty shout.

54
But ere I tell you how he ran toward
That noise, and why that clamor was begun,
Somewhat of King Gradasso I’ll record,
Who was all armored like a champion,
Beside the sea, upon the sandy shore,
Where all day he awaited Aymon’s son.
He thought that leaving early would be wrong.
The seashore was two thousand good leagues long.

55
But as the starry heavens he perceived,
And of his foe Rinaldo not a sign,
Then was he certain he has been deceived.
He hurried back towards the battle lines.
I’ll sing of Ricciardetto, sorely grieved,
For when he saw the day to eve decline,
And that his brother dear was not yet come,
He thought he must be dead or overcome.

56
Think of how dreadful must have been his grief!
But sorrow did not so possess his heart
To stop his summoning the Christian chiefs,
And bidding them make ready to depart.
That very night, as silent as a thief,
The army left, nor did the Pagan guards
Perceive them, for, prepared for all events,
Rinald had camped three leagues from Marsil’s tents.

57
Without a rest they hurry on their path,
Until they see once more the land of France.
Now turn we to Gradasso. In his wrath,
He bids his men at daybreak to advance.
Poor King Marsilio now much terror hath.
His champions are gone, his army scant.
Pris’ners are Ferragu and Serpentin.
The Christians fled, Rinaldo nowhere seen.

58
He went himself to where Gradasso sate,
And knelt before him, bowing low his head.
The outrage of the Christians he relates,
And how the glutton Don Rinald has fled.
He offers to give up his kingship straight,
And hold his lands from King Gradass instead.
With few words more, the terms of fee are fixed,
And the two armies are together mixed.

59
Grandonio comes from Barcellona town,
And swears an oath at King Marsil’s command,
That he will follow King Gradasso’s crown
Against King Charlemagne and all his land.
The king in secret vows he will burn down
All Paris to the ground, if to his hand
They do not give Baiardo, and he yearned
To see each bit of France it such wise burned.

60
Don Ricciardetto all the army brought
Back to the palace of King Charlemagne,
But of Rinaldo he could tell them nought
And from his silence a great outcry sprang.
Those of Maganza villainously sought
To have Rinaldo instantly proclaimed
A traitor, but the villains he defied,
And wished to prove by combat that they lied.

Notes to the Fifth Canto, Part 3

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

50. Guizard. One of Rinaldo’s brothers.
Alard. Another brother.
Ivon. The brother of Rinaldo’s wife Clarice, and lord of Gascony.
51. Lanfusa. Malagise’s mother, wife of Buovo, or Bevis, of Agremont.
52. Mongrana’s house. Another name for the house of Clairmont, to which Orlando, Rinaldo, Astolfo, and Malagise belong. [their fathers, Milo, Aymon, Otto, and Buovo, are four brothers].
53. Suicide is a mortal sin, and Rinaldo will go to Hell if he commits it deliberately while of sound mind.

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.

Book I, Canto V, Part 1

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation, Book I, Canto V, Stanzas 1 – 20.

ARGUMENT

Rinaldo and Gradass will fight a duel.
Angelica frees from his dark abode
Don Malagise, who must bring his cruel
Cousin to her. When conversation bodes
No good, by magic he his cousin fools.
Orlando meets a pilgrim on the road,
Then fights a giant, but he little thinks
That his next combat will be with a sphinx.

1
If you remember, lords, then it is meet,
How last time Don Rinaldo was distraught
To see his brother carried by the feet.
Of King Gradasso he had no more thought,
But charged ahead, the giant fierce to meet,
Who was as naked as when he was brought
Into the world. His black skin was so hard
That shields and armor he could disregard.

2
Rinaldo swiftly from his horse alights,
For he was sore afraid for Baiard’s sake,
When of that giant’s tree he caught a sight.
Now must he neither hesitate nor slake.
Fierce Orïon has never met a knight
Who looked at him and didn’t start to quake,
Or who was bold enough to give him battle.
He laughs, and thinks Rinaldo’s wits are addled.

3
But of Fusbert the giant took no note;
Rinaldo’s strength he doesn’t understand,
Or he’d have wished to have a strong steel coat.
The prince of chivalry, with both his hands,
Upon the giant’s thigh with power smote.
When Orïon felt how the hot blood ran
Adown his leg, he threw his captive down,
And bellowed like a bull, that heathen hound.

4
Don Ricciardet lies sprawled upon the ground,
Bereft of sense, and stunned, and nearly dead.
While that great giant whips his tree around,
Rinaldo’s eyes are on his foeman set.
When Orïone brings a great blow down,
Not only knights, but mountains ought to dread.
Rinaldo carefully steps back some paces,
And sees Gradasso, who towards him races.

5
Rinaldo wasn’t certain what to do,
And, truth to say, he felt a tinge of fear,
He, who in all the world no equal knew.
He struck a blow so strong it had no peer.
He felt Fusberta slicing through and through
Don Orïone’s waist, and felt it sheer
Down through his flank, and come out in the air.
The giant tumbled in two pieces there.

6
The worthy baron takes no moment’s rest.
He does not even watch the giant fall.
Immediately upon his steed he leapt,
And spurred him on against Gradasso tall,
Who could not possible be more impressed.
He thought all feats compared with that are small.
He sheathed his mighty sword and raised his hand,
So that Rinald might see and understand

7
He wished to parley. He addressed him thus:
“O baron, it would be a grievous sin
If one as ardent and as valorous
As thou has shown thyself this day within
This field, should die in manner villainous.
Thou knowest that my army hems thee in,
And thou canst not escape, and that thou must
Become my prisoner, or bite the dust.

8
But God forbid that I should be so poor
In honor, as to shame so great a knight!
For honor’s sake I’ve settled on this course:
That since today hath little left of light,
Tomorrow we shall duel to end this war,
And both of us without our steeds shall fight:
Because the virtue of a cavalier
Is not the same as that of his destrier.

9
But let our battle be on these conditions:
If thou slayst me, or canst me prisoner make,
All of the Frankish lords I hold in prison
And King Marsilio’s men, too, for thy sake,
Shall all be freed, nor pay for their remission.
But if I conquer thee, thy steed I’ll take.
Whether I win or lose, I and my band
Will leave and war no more upon this land.

10
Rinaldo is so pleased, he does not wait
Before he answers him, “Exalted lord,
This battle which we two shall undertake
Can only make my honor grow the more.
Thy prowess is so singularly great
That if I am defeated by thy sword
It cannot be a shame at all to me,
But glory, to receive my death from thee.

11
And as for what thou saidst at first, I say,
I thank thee for they generosity,
But not because I am in such dismay
As forces me to beg my life from thee.
If all the world were here in arms today
They could not stop me if I wished to flee,
Still less thy host alone, as thou mayst find,
If of my words thou doubtest in thy mind.

12
The cavaliers right speedily agree
On all things else that to their duel pertain.
The place shall be on the coast of the sea,
Six miles distant from the battle plain.
Each one shall arm himself full suitable,
With sword and armor only. Upon pain
Of forfeit, they shall bring no lance nor mace,
Or any escort to the dueling-place.

13
Next morning at the dawning of the light,
Each knight’s prepared for what the day might bring.
About each other’s strength they’ve mulled all night,
Of parries, thrusts, and feints, and such like things.
But ere they have arrived for their great fight,
About Angelica I wish to sing,
Who by her magic arts, as I’ve recorded,
Back to Cathay had swiftly been transported.

14
She cannot pluck Rinaldo from her heart,
Although the distance ‘twixt them is so wide.
As when a deer is stricken by a dart,
Its pain increases as the time goes by,
And, when it runs the fastest, then doth start
The wound to bleed the most, pains grow most high,
Just so the damsel’s fire grows each hour,
Which she bears for Rinald, that peerless flower.

15
And when the night has come, she cannot sleep,
Onerous thoughts oppress and grieve her so.
And if, worn out at last by sufferings deep,
She hopes till dawn she may forget her woe,
Even in slumbering her grief she keeps,
For in her dreams, she sees Rinaldo go
As swiftly from her as he did that day
In Arden Wood, and she is as dismayed.

16
Towards the west the damsel keeps her face.
Oftimes she wept, and oftentimes she sighed,
And said, “In what far land, among what race
Does that bold, handsome, daring knight reside?
Alas! Within his mind I have no place,
And that alone causes my grief t’abide.
He’s hard and cruel as a stone, but still,
He forces me to love him ‘gainst my will.

17
With words and spells I know well how to do
Marvelous things, and often have I done;
I’ve plucked strange herbs whenas the moon was new,
And dug up roots when darkened was the sun,
But still I have no charms or spells or brews
That by their potency can overcome
This suffering that holds my heart in thrall.
Nothing can help me, for Love conquers all.

18
Perhaps he soon will come to free from jail
His wizard cousin, whom I keep in chains?
How could he know? I have not spread the tale
Of how that wretch here in Cathay remains.
But I shall free him shortly, without fail,
If that ungrateful vagabond will deign
To recognize my great benevolence
To give his ill deeds such a recompense.

19
And with these words she heads towards the sea,
Where Malagise is as prisoner held.
She has herself conveyed there magically,
For otherwise it’s hard to reach his cell.
When Malagise hears her enter, he
Is certain that some demon’s come from Hell
To execute him, for he has not seen
A man so long as in that cave he’s been.

20
The damsel enters where he lies in thrall
And springs him, leading him to sunlight sweet,
And when they stand within her lovely hall,
She takes the fetters off his wrists with speed.
But all this time, no words has she let fall,
Till she removes the weights from round his feet.
When this is finished, she says, “Baron, thou
Hast been my prisoner, but art free now.

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