Book I, Canto XIV, Part 3

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

I do not know, my lords, if ere this time
You’ve heard the fame of great Uberto bruited?
He was a knight most courteous and fine,
Strong and courageous and for all things suited.
He scanned th’horizon with his watchful eye,
(For diligence he ever was reputed)
And thuswise was he when the lady fair
Came to the side of Count Orlando there.

King Adrïano and the bold Grifon
Stand in the loggia and discourse of love.
While Aquilante sings with Chiarïon,
The first the tenor part, the next above,
While Brandimarte sang the baritone;
And King Balllano was discoursing of
Swords, lances, armor, horses, weapons, war
With Belarussia’s baron, Antifor.

The damsel takes Orlando by the hand
And on his finger puts the wondrous ring
Which magic hath no power to withstand.
At once the Count remembers everything,
But when he sees who ’tis before him stads,
He quick forgets all else, save how to bing
Pleasure to her, though scarcely can he deem
He is awake, and this is not a dream.

The damsel hastily explaineth all
About the garden, how he thither came,
And Dragontine captured him in thrall
And wiped all memory clean from his brain.
And then for succor and for aid she calls,
With humble prayer asking if he’ll deign
To fight ’gainst Agricane and his horde,
Who waste her land with fire and with sword.

But Dragontina, standing in the palace
Looked out the window and beheld the dame.
She ran to find her knights, snared by the chalice,
But none are armed; her caution was her bane.
Now Count Orlando in the saddle tall is,
And in his arms Uberto he restrained,
Before he had the chance to stir one foot,
And then the ring upon his finger’s put.

The situation quickly is made clear.
Obert will help the spell be overthrown.
Now pay attention, lords, and you shall hear
Their wondrous deeds most worthy to be known.
They captured first the sons of Olivier,
The one Don Aquilant, the one Grifon.
The count had not yet recognized the boys,
But now he did. Great was Orlando’s joy.

And greater joy upon the brothers came,
Seeing each other at this blesséd hap.
Now Dragontina nearly goes insane,
Seeing her garden lost by sad mishap.
The potent ring makes all her magic vain.
The palace vanished with a thunderclap.
Bridge, river, fairy, vanished where they stood,
And left the barons standing in a wood.

They stand in stupefaction and amaze.
At one another stare they all and seek
Among the knights for a familiar face.
The Count of Brava, who is first to speak,
Addressing all assembled in that place,
Explains what happened, then proceeds with meek
And humble words, to ask the lords to fight
For her who rescued them from such a plight.

He tells of Agricane’s mighty war,
And how he has destroyed the lovely city,
And in the keep she is besiegéd sore.
Ev’ry last cavalier is filled with pity
And swears to bering the lady fair succor,
As long as he can fight, or on horse sit he,
And to force Agricane to retire,
Or in attempting the great deed, expire.

They set out, all together, on the road.
The lady guides them, and the knights escort.
Of Trufaldino now must things be told;
Who was holed up within the tiny fort.
Evil when young, and worse when he was old,
He was as treacherous as he was short.
No one suspected him. Each trusting head
Of Turk and of Circassian lay abed.

Torindo’s valor can avail no more
Than all of Sacripante’s chivalry.
For each of them is lying wounded sore
From fighting in the battle valiantly.
They’ve lost much blood, and they are weak therefore,
And they are overpowered instantly.
King Trufaldino binds them hand and foot.
Into a turret’s attic are they put.

He sends a messenger to Agrican,
Saying that he can have at will the keep.
The rock is his, and his the barbican.
Both of the kings were tied up in their sleep,
And now he wished to place them in his hand.
But the great Tartar’s ire runneth deep.
With eyes ablaze and with a haughty look,
He thus addressed the messenger, who shook:

“Go tell thy lord that Termagant forbid
That any man on earth should ever say
That traitors helped in anything I did.
By honest strength I’ll win; no other way.
I’ll fight in daylight, not by darkness hid,
But thee and thy false lord I shall make pay
For impudence to thus suggest this thing.
You scoundrels from the battlements will swing.

“Fool though thou art, thou still must be aware
You cannot long remain within your fort;
And once I take it, thou wilt hang in air,
Out of a tower window by thy foot.
Thou and thy Trufaldin will make a pair,
And ev’ry person who his hand hath put
To do a treason so black and immense
Will likewise dangle from the battlements.

The herald listened, while his face had turned
Now ghostly white, and now as red as flame.
He wished that long ago he had returned,
And thinks that Tartar has to be insane.
The king turned ’round, once he the offer spurned,
And the miscreant when back the way he came.
He went as swift as if the Fiend pursued,
Without the rich reward he’d thought his due.

Trembling all over, he regained the hold,
And told King Trufaldino what befell.
Now turn we to Orland, brave and bold,
Who came with his companions, right good-willed.
By night and day without a rest they rode.
One morn they reached the summit of a hill.
From the top they look down, and all they see
Is the vast campment of their enemy.

Such were the numbers nearly infinite
So many tents and such  mass of banners,
Angelica is dumbstruck at the sight.
They must pass through these legions in some manner,
Before they can regain the fortress’ height.
But the brave knights do not an instant stammer.
They see that glory will be their reward,
Taking the lady home by force of sword.

About the treason, nothing o they know,
Which wicked Trufaldino has prepared.
But on the mountaintop with hearts aglow,
They plan out how the duties will be shared
To let Angelica in safety go,
Though all the world in arms against them fared.
They don their armor and they mount their steeds,
Discuss and form a plan that may succeed.

In this formation, then, they will confront
And pass through all of this enormous rabble.
The Count Orlando will be at the front,
With Brandimarte, to begin the battle.
Then four knights will protect from all affront
The lady in a ring around her saddle.
Oberto, Aquilant, and Chiarïon
With Adrïano will escort her home.

Angelica, defended by these four
Need have no feat of any foeman’s blow.
The rearguard will be made of three, no more.
But everyone his valor well will show.
Grifone, Belarussian Antifor,
And King Ballano, who does not fear know.
The whole brigade is ready for to start.
They fear not all the world, these noble hearts.



Book I, Canto XIV, Part 2

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

Three kings within the keep are still alive,
Besides the damsel and some thirty men,
Most of whom are too wounded to survive.
The keep is strong beyond most builders’ ken.
They all agree that they will further strive,
And fight against the Tartars till the end.
They’ll eat and drink by slaughtering the horses,
And pray to God to boost their meager forces.

They next agree to send the princess out,
To save her comrades from starvation miserable.
She has the magic ring, which in her mouth
Can make her all at once become invisible.
The sun begins to set beyond the mounts,
And darkness makes all creatures scarcely visible.
The princes calls into her presence keen,
Torindo, Sacripant, and Trufaldin.

And to the monarchs on her faith she swore
That she’d be back again in twenty days,
And in return they swear to hold the fort
As long as they and their companions may,
Until Mahomet sendeth them succor,
For she will seek for aid by night and day,
From ev’ry king and ev’ry man of might,
And with the hope of aid her heart is light.

When all is spoken, in the quiet night
The damsel mounts upon her palfrey’s back
And makes her way beneath the moon’s pale light.
Along beneath the sky her path she tracks.
She was not caught in any sentry’s sight,
Although of men outside there is no lack,
Because fatigue, and certain victory
Wrap them in sleep, devoid of memory.

The magic ring she doesn’t need at all,
For by the time the sun his head uprose,
Five leagues behind her are Albracca’s walls,
And four leagues from her are her nearest foes.
She turns around, she sighs, her eyelids fall,
To see afar her newly-scapéd woes.
Riding as fast as won’t her palfrey lame,
She passed Orgagna, to Circassia came.

She chanced to ride along the river banks,
Where the bold Don Rinaldo lately slew
The cruel centaur, like a valiant Frank.
As on she rides, a flow’ry meadow through,
She met an ancient man, who clearly drank
A bitter cup. His tears fell like the dew,
And with clasped hands he dropped upon his knees,
Begging the dame to listen to his pleas.

The old man says to her, “A handsome lad,
My only comfort in my feeble age,
My son, my joy, the only one I had,
Within our house – it’s but a little ways –
With burning fever lies upon his bed.
I know no medicine to stop its rage.
And if to bring me help thou dost not run,
All of my hope is gone, my life is done.”

Pity soon runs within her gentle heart.
She ‘gins to comfort the old, feeble man.
For she knew ev’ry herb and all the art
Of medicine, as much as mortal can.
Alas! Too credulous and trusting heart!
She knew the danger not, in which she ran.
The innocent takes on her palfrey’s croup
The wicked man, who will to all things stoop.

Now you must know that this old silver-hair
Waits by the wood and plain, till fortune brings
A girl or woman on a journey there,
To snare them like a songbird in a spring.
For ev’ry year one hundred women fair
He pays in tribute to Orgagna’s king.
By cunning guile no one can withstand
He takes them o’er to Polifermo’s hands.

For not five miles off, the man had dight
Upon a bridge, a vast and mighty tower.
You never saw so wonderful a sight.
And ev’ry dame who fell into his power
The old man in this lofty prison pight.
A whole brigade was in this joyless bower.
All of his pris’ners by deception made he,
And one of them was Brandimarte’s lady.

The centaur dunked her, as you may recall,
In sooth, her prospects seldom had looked dimmer.
But she was saved, and didn’t fear at all,
Because she was a very able swimmer.
The current bore her like a child’s ball,
Or like a branch amidst the water’s glimmer.
It bore her to the bridge, which was not far,
Where rose the tower, and the man stood guard.

He pulled her from the river, almost dead,
And tends to her with unremitting care,
For many skilled physicians ate his bread
And other vassals dwelt within his lair.
When she recovers, in the prison dread
He thrusts her, with the rest to languish there.
But le’s speak of Angelica the sweet,
Who came, not witting the old man’s deceit.

When she set foot upon the tower floor,
(The old man lingered on the bridge, “to rest”)
Immediately did the iron door
Slam shut, though by no earthly hand ’twas pressed.
Too late Angelica sees to the core
Of the false elder, and she beats her breast;
She loudly wept, and loudly cried – in vain.
None to her aid except the prisoners came.

They gathered round her, and they vainly sought
To give her comfort, all alone and scared;
They all relate to her how they were caught,
For griefs seems always lesser when they’re shared.
The last to speak is she who last was brought.
She scarce could speak, so weighed was she with care.
This was the noble Brandimarte’s dame,
And Fiordelisa was the lady’s name.

She tells, while often sighs escape her breast,
How she and Brandimart loved faithfully,
How searching with Astolfo on a quest
They came upon a garden filled with trees
And flowers and fruit, that seemed a pleasant rest,
Where Dragontina stole his memory.
The Paladin Orlando there she saw,
With many others, in the fairy’s claws.

And how she’d travelled on, in search of aid,
And met with Don Rinaldo on the road;
And all their wanderings she next relates.
Without a lie, the story plain she showed,
About the giant and the gryphons great,
And the great treason done to Albarose.
And of the centaur, like an evil dream,
Who’d kidnapped her and thrown her in the stream.

Poor Fiordelisa sighs for, as she speaks,
Her love true, of whom she’s been deprived.
Angelica, though, hears the door hinge creak,
For one more lady on the bridge arrived.
At once she has the chance for which she seeks.
She was not seen by any man alive
As she escaped the prison, for she bore
The magic ring, and just walked out the door.

It would have been in vain if any sought her,
Such is the ring’s most potent grammarye.
When into freedom it has safely brought her,
She finds the stables, and her palfrey frees,
Then rides away to seek the curséd water
Which steals away the drinker’s memories,
Where Milo’s son and others she may meet,
Captured in Dragontina’s prison sweet.

And going on her way without a pause,
She comes one morning to a garden fair,
Where Dragontina marks her not, because
The magic ring within her mouth she bears.
Aside into a little grove she draws,
Ties up her palfrey, and on foot she fares
Across the grass, till by a fountain’s side
The Count, in armor resting, she espied,

Because it was his turn to be on guard.
So at the garden’s entrance he reclines.
His Brigliadoro munches on the sward.
His shield and helm are hanging on a pine.
Nearby, beneath the shade a tree affords,
There waits a cavalier of noble line.
Upon his horse he sat, and he was known
And famed as Don Uberto dal Leon.

Keep Reading


Book I, Canto XIV, Part 1

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

Rinaldo kills the monster, but too late.
Angelica by moonlight slips away
To seek for succor, but is captured straight.
Meanwhile, in the garden of the fay
Orlando and the rest from their hard fate
Are rescued. Gallantly they make their way
Towards Albracca, where they see the camp,
But nothing can their ardent spirits damp.

You’ve heard already of the battle made
By Don Rinald, just risen from his bed,
And how the twisted monster threw the maid
Across his croup and with her swiftly fled.
You need not wonder if she felt afraid.
She trembled like a leaf, her face looked dead.
But still, as loudly as she could, she shouted
For aid from Don Rinaldo the redoubted.

The light-foot monster gallops on apace,
While the fair lady o’er his croup is spread.
Often he turns to her his ugly face,
And gripped her tightly as he onwards sped.
Rinaldo mounts his steed to give him chase,
And wishes that he had Baiard instead.
The beast already was so far away,
He thought no other horse would serve that day.

But when he held the bridle richly trimmed
Of the best horse which ever felt a spur,
He felt like he was carried by the wind.
Rides he or flies he? He is scarcely sure.
Nothing so fast has ever  hap’d to him.
All things before his eyes are but a blur.
Hills, mountains, valleys, plains, he looks on, just
Ere Rabicano leaves them in the dust.

And yet he hadn’t bent a blade of grass,
So lightly trod he wheresoe’er he’d gone,
And none could track the way that horse had passed,
Though sparkling dew had fallen with the dawn.
As thus he galloped on, unearthly fast,
Rinaldo came upon a river strong.
And as the one bank of the stream he nighed,
The centaur, wading though it, he espied.

The wicked monster did not wait a minute
When he arrived, but turning in the stream,
At once he threw the lovely lady in it,
And she was swept away along the bream.
Where she arrived, her ‘ventures nigh infinite,
I’ll tell you later on, but now it seems
The centaur, with this burden off his back
Is getting ready for Rinald’s attack.

Now in the stream begins a battle great,
With merciless assaults with strength and vim.
It’s true that Don Rinald has mail and plate,
And nought the centaur has except his skin,
But mighty is the monster, full of hate.
More tough than leather is the hide of him.
And the new horse of Montalbano’s lord
He almost matched for speed – within the ford.

The river came to Don Rinado’s knees,
The bed was treacherous and full of rocks.
The centaur swings his mighty mace with ease
But not for this is Don Rinaldo shocked.
He wields Fusberta skillfully and sees
Blood on it from the blade to pommel-block.
His shield is ruined by the mace’s blow,
But more than thirty times he’s pricked his foe.

The bloody monster fleeth to the shore.
Rinaldo follows as a brave knight ought.
He went a couple yards, or barely more
Before by Rabicano he was caught.
There in the field he lies, his life days o’er.
The Lord of Montalban now stands in thought.
He knows not where he is, or where to ride.
He’s lost the dame that should have been his guide.

Alone beside a forest vast he’s mired.
How large it was he had no way to tell.
His chance of finding passage through seems dire.
He thinks of turning back, his spirits quelled.
But so much do his heart and soul desire
To free the Count Orlando from his spell
That he resolves to carry on his quest,
Or else, in seeking, find eternal rest.

To Tramontana is his course now set,
Whither the lady was supposed to lead.
And on the way, beside a fountain met
A knight in armor, mounted on a steed,
But Turpin doesn’t tell what happened yet,
And rather turns to tell the noble deeds
Of Agricane, King of Tartary.
With Albracca’s ramparts trapped is he.

Though they have trapped him, ’tis his foes who quiver.
He wreaks destruction everywhere around.
The army of his foes to bits he shivers.
Albracca, you must know, was on strong ground,
On a tall rock, beside a mighty river,
The inner bank of which a rampart bounds.
With stone and water thus is feet the foot,
While at the peak the fortress proper’s put.

Above the river rose the towering walls,
Where turrets pleasure and defense afforded.
Orada was the mighty river called.
Summer or winter, it could not be forded.
The siege had made part of the rampart fall,
But the defenders hadn’t yet restored it,
Because the river was so swift and wide
They did not fear invasion from that side.

Now Agricane, as I’ve said before,
Was fighting bravely in the citadel;
King Sacripante and his men of war,
For all they tried, could not his spirit quell.
Their mighty feats, how nobly these two bore
Themselves, I do not need again to tell.
I left off, when a new brigade attacked
The valiant Agricane from the back.

The valiant king is not the least dismayed,
But turns around and roars his battle cry.
With both his hands he swings his bloody blade.
This ambush on the King of Tartary
A stout and battle-loving baron made:
The Turk Torindo, followed closely by
Many and many of his valiant Turks,
Not a man of them all his duty shirks.

The Tartar spurs Baiard into the Turks,
And splits and skewers them to left and right;
Now Sacripante, never known to shirk,
Follows his rival through the thickest fight.
Nor deer’s nor leopards’ limbs as swiftly work
As that Circassian kings, the truth to write.
King Agricane’s strength will not avail.
Against so many, even he must fail.

Thronged are the streets, the fight is far extended,
The men are packed so tight their mail can’t rattle.
The troops upon the walls have all descended,
And ev’ry man is rushing to the battle.
The wall is left with no one to defend it,
And those outside the walls, that massive rabble,
Some rushing though the gate, some climb the wall,
All crying: “Kill them, kill them, kill them all!”

They force back Sacripante, wounded sore,
And King Torindo back into the keep;
Angelica has entered long befroe,
And Trufaldino, who was first to creep.
All of his men have been destroyed by war;
Of the great death, no mortal words can speak.
Dead is Varano, and great Savaron,
King of the Medes, whose prowess oft had shone.

These two are slain as they defend the gate,
While the great battle rages on the plain.
Brunaldo likewise met a bitter fate.
By Radamanto’s hand has he been slain.
This Radamant sends to the next world straight
The bold Ungiano, beating out his brain.
A mighty phalanx he had led to war;
Not one of them will see their homes once more.

All of the city by its foes is ta’en;
Compassion never has been so well-founded.
Here and there the buildings are aflame,
The slaughter of the people was unbounded.
The keep alone above the strife remains,
On a high rock, by sturdy walls surrounded.
All of the city elsewhere is on fire,
And goes to ruin in a blazing pyre.

Angelica in desperation thinks
What she can do, caught in these dire straits.
Within the keep is neither food nor drink.
After a day, starvation for her waits.
If you had seen her cheek, so sweet and pink
All wet with tears, and heard her sad complaints,
Had you a lion’s or a dragon’s heart,
You would have filled with pity for her part.

Keep Reading



Notes to the Fourteenth Canto, Part 1

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

10. Tramontana.  Literally meaning “Beyond the mountains,” and usually referring to a north wind (from across the Alps). Here it probably simply means “northward,” but editors capitalize it as if it were a proper name.
12. Orada. Seems to be imaginary.

Current Status of the Kings:
Agricane of Tartary
Radamanto of Moscow and Comana
Polifermo of Orgagna
Pandragone of Gothland
Argante of Russia
Lurcone of Norway
Santaría of Sweden
Brontino of Normany
Uldano of Denmark


Sacripante of Circassia.
Varano of Armenia – cut down by the rabble
Brunaldo of Trebisond – killed by Radamanto
Ungiano of Roase – killed by Radamanto
Savarone of Media – cut down by the rabble
Torindo of Turkey
Trufaldino of Babylon and Baghdad
Bordacco of Damascus – killed by Agricane


Book I, Canto XI, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto XI, Stanzas 41-53

Redoubted Sacripante leads the rest,
And doesn’t seem to hold his life too dear,
For he no armor had upon his chest.
You’d think the ending of his life was near,
But his agility is of the best,
As is his strength, and so he has no fear.
Nothing protects him but a copper shield,
But still, his sword with deadly skill he wields.

Sometimes a rock he throws, sometimes a dart,
And now he fights his foes with spear in hand,
Now he stands with his shield, a ways apart,
And strikes his enemies with his good brand.
So well he fights that Agricane starts
To think this battle may not go as planned.
His vigor and his prowess are in vain.
By now, three hundred of his men are slain.

Although his strength and efforts he redoubles,
And darts and arrows on his foe he rains,
King Sacripante gives him still more trouble,
And the Circassians new courage gain.
His plume is gone, his crest broke like a bubble.
Less than a quarter of his shield remains.
Rocks strike his head and make his helm resound;
All up and down his body wounds are found.

As when, force by an angry crowd of men,
A raging lion’s driven to the wood
But scorns to seem a coward even then,
He often turns his head, as if he would
Come back to fight, and swings his tail, and when
He roars, he stands like mighty kings have stood,
Even so Agricane, forced to flight,
Shows courage more than many do in fight.

At ev’ry thirty steps he turns around,
And breathes defiance, fronts his foes with scorn,
But far too many of them press him round,
All through the city, and his hope’s forlorn.
Rushing from ev’ry side new folk are found;
Behold a fresh battalion there is born.
With newfound heart and vigor they attack,
Pressing close up to Agricane’s back.

But even so, they can’t alarm the king,
Who strikes among them, dealing woe and ruin.
Footmen and cavaliers to earth he flings,
In desperation growling like a bruin.
Now shall I leave him, as his sword he swings,
I wish to sing about Rinaldo’s doings,
Who recently has left the Cruel Rock,
And now along the seashore takes a walk.

My lords, remember how I told before
How on a woeful damosel he came,
Who seemed to wish for death, such grief she bore.
The baron courteously hailed the dame,
And begged her, but whatever love she bore,
And by whatever can her love most claim,
And by the God of Heaven and by Mahound,
To tell him why she was in sorrow drowned.

With weeping answers him the dame forlorn,
“All thou art fain to know I will thee tell.
Oh, God! Why couldn’t I have ne’er been born,
Or died in bliss, before to woe I fell?
I’ve searched this land, and will search many more,
But have no even found a hope of help.
For I must find, to save me from this plight,
One who can fight alone against nine knights.”

“Rinaldo answers, “I care not to boast,
That I could fight with two, much less with nine,
But thy sad speech and plight me slay almost.
Such pity stir they in this heart of mine,
That I will fight for thee against a host
To prove what I can do for thee and thine.
Take heart, for I’ll be ever at thy side,
Till in thy cause I’ve conquered or I’ve died.”

She said, “God bless thee for thy fair design!
And for the noble goal thou hast in aim.
But half unknown to thee’s this task of thine.
When thou know’st all, thou’lt leave me as I came,
For Count Orland is among the nine.
Thou hast perhaps, heard somewhat of his fame.
The others also all are men of might.
Thou wilt not go with honor from this fight.

When Don Rinaldo hears the damosel
And hears his cousin Count Orlando’s name,
At once he gently asks if she will tell
All that she’s heard of Count Orlando’s fame.
The lady tells him all that her befell:
The stream that robs all mem’ry from the brain,
And all things else she tells of as they happed,
And how Orlando with the rest was trapped.

When he hears ev’rything the lady says,
And how she parted was from Brandimart,
Rinald immediately boldly prays
That with all speed she’ll guide him to those parts,
And swears and promises upon his faith
To use his utmost strength and utmost art,
Whether in fighting, or in feigning love,
To save them all from her they’re pris’ners of.

The lady sees the baron resolute,
And of his person ev’ry limb was strong,
As if all noble deeds were his pursuit,
And he who gave him knighthood did no wrong.
But though this canto’s short, here stops my lute,
Because the next one will be very long,
Wherein I’ll tell a pleasant tale in rhyme
The damsel told to him to pass the time.

Keep Reading

No notes to this part


Book I, Canto XI, Part 2

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

“But thou shalt have a suitable reward,
When my men cut thine down upon the plain.”
One of tthem this way, one the other spurred,
As the battalions met and clashed amain.
They chopped so swiftly that their swords seemed blurred.
Never has such a multitude been slain.
Thirty good scythes could not cut so much wheat
As men that day were taken off their feet.

King Agricane Trufaldin attacks,
That scoundrel sees his doom is close at hand.
To leap upon the ground he is not slack,
And shouts, “A noble feet indeed thou’st planned,
To throw me off of my pathetic hack
When thy horse hath no peer in any land.
Give up thy vantage, as is just and right,
I challenge thee on foot with me to fight!”

For fame and honor Agricane thirsts.
He leaps to ground; a count he trusted kept
The reins of him who was Rinaldo’s erst,
For no less trusted guard would he accept.
At the right time, King Trufaldin, th’accurst,
Seized on his reins and to his saddle leapt,
And, before Agricane grasped his plight,
Into the fray he lunged and passed from sight.

The Tartars now are masters of the battle.
Across the field Circassians all they drive.
The soldiers of Baghdad, that ugly rabble
Flee with those Syrians who are still alive.
Shields, lances, swords they drop in their mad scramble,
Bows, arrows, darts won’t help them to survive.
None to the Tartar onslaught dare respond.
The Turks flee, and the men of Trebisond.

On the brink of the moat the army’s clumped,
Sunk in the earth, which keeps Albracca safe.
Some are pushed off the edge, and others jump.
The bridge is raised, and lowered is the gate.
Angelica looks on; her spirits slunmp
To see her people die at such a rate.
She bids the gate to rise, the bridge to fall;
A lack of men would please her not at all.

Once thus the way to safety is disclosed,
The common thought is “Devil take the hindmost!”
The Tartars chased them boldly, nor reposed.
The gate drops; some are in, but far behind most.
Of all who by the lattice are enclosed,
King Agricane had for slaughter mind most.
Three hundred knights who serve his beck and call
Are with their lord shut in Albracca’s wall.

Upon Baiardo gallantly he rides.
Never was seen a warrior so fierce.
Bordacco of Damascus soon espied
The king, and spurred towards the cavalier,
Defying him with arrogance and pride:
“Now has thy strength, O King, met with its peer.
The fine Baiardo is of no avail!
Thy war and all thy scheming now will fail!

Do what thou wilt, thou art about to die!
Thou canst not show thy strength nor make defense.”
King Agricane laughs with scornful eye,
“With words, indeed, thou show’st a good offense.
Enough of talk! Come on, sir knight, and try
To take my life away, and I’ll commence
By sending thee down to the netherworld,
The first of many who’ll by me by hurled.”

The King Bordacco wields an iron chain,
Which has for head a massive leaden ball.
A two-hand blow at Agrican he aims,
Who with his shield deflects it ere he sprawls.
And not content to thus avert his bane,
Slices the chain, which in two pieces falls.
The Tartar shouts aloud, “Thou soon wilt feel
Which of our weapons is the better steel!”

And with those words, that most redoubted lord,
With both his hands, he strikes his foeman’s crest.
Down through his skull and brainpan drives his sword,
Slices through chin and neck down to the breast.
The folk perceive how King Bordacco’s gored.
They flee, their faces show that they’re distressed.
While such great fear the fleeing crowd evinces,
The Tartar king pursues and he them minces.

Hs heart is ardent, and his fear is nought.
He always longs for battle or for raid.
If he had only stopped, and only thought
To turn around and open up the gate,
The castle easily he would have caught,
Angelica his pris’ner he’d have made,
But wrath, which dulls the sense and clouds the mind
Solely to chase the army him inclined.

The battle rages, the two hosts betwixt,
Horrible, cruel, confusing all around;
For one side and the other are so mixed
Some die, and some within the moat are drowned.
So many sliced and hacked were, and transfixed,
That the blood ran so much that in the ground
It formed a stream which in its channel flowed,
Till it cascaded right into the moat.

Now by fresh terror is the army marred,
And sights still crueler to their eyes appear.
The King in fury charges on Baiard,
A sight so terrible, all fill with fear.
The world has never seen a fight so hard
Nor where so many lost their lives as here;
So many men the Pagan king has slain,
So many corpses leaves he on the plain.

But ere Albracca’s gates had been transgressed,
As you have heard, by him of Tartary.
Already had there entered, seeking rest
King Sacripante, full of chivalry.
Disarmed, there tend him leeches of the best,
But so much blood already lost had he
He could not even sit in bed upright,
But lay there stilly, his face pale and white.

Now turn we back to Agrican once more,
Who sweepeth onward like a hurricane.
His bloody sword in both his hands he bore.
No one was ever of so many the bane.
Hearing the woeful cries and weeping sore,
That from the wounded and the dying came,
King Sacripante, lying on his cot,
Spoke up and for the noise’s reason sought.

Weeping, his squire to the monarch tells,
“King Agricane’s entered in, that hound,
And puts to martyrdom the citadel.”
This herd, the monarch from his sickbed bounds.
All those about, to hold him back try well,
But he escapes them and them all confounds.
Nothing except his shield and sword he bears,
Save for his smock; no other clothes he wears.

He meets his army, filled with indignation.
None of them dares their angry king to face.
He cries to them: “Alas, thou shameless nation!
When but one cavalier can all you chase,
How do you live through such humiliation?
How can you dare to look me in the face?
Throw down your shields, go home, and sell your armor,
You’re only fit to live as churlish farmers!

“See how I’ve come, without my armor dight,
And nearly naked, honor so I prize.”
The army is arrested in its flight,
Full up of admiration and surprise.
Ev’ry last one of them turns back to fight,
Because his fame resounded to the skies,
And when they saw the tales of him were true,
They thought, “There’s nothing that our king can’t do.”

Lo! Agricne thund’ring through the streets,
As the defeated, fleeing troops he routs,
Until the newly-heartened men he meets,
And Sacriptant, who boldly leads them out.
Another battle now begins. Great feats
Are done; this is a far more bloody bout
Than was the last. The Tartar host is small,
But their great leader gives them courage all.

But nonetheless, such multitudes are lain
Upon the earth by that Circassian king,
That no one thinks retreat will bring him shame,
And they take flight, while the Albraccans fling
Jav’lins and darts, wherewith are many slain.
The clash of weapons makes the welkin ring.
No battlefield could ever be more dread;
None stay within the courtyards save the dead.

Keep Reading



Notes to the Eleventh Canto, Part 2

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

Status of the Kings:
Agricane of Tartary
Radamanto of Moscow and Comana
Polifermo of Orgagna
Pandragone of Gothland
Argante of Russia
Lurcone of Norway
Santaría of Sweden
Brontino of Normany
Uldano of Denmark


Sacripante of Circassia.
Varano of Armenia
Brunaldo of Trebisond
Ungiano of Roase
Savarone of Media
Torindo of Turkey
Trufaldino of Babylon and Baghdad
Bordacco of Damascus – killed by Agricane

Back to Part 2

On to Part 3


Book I, Canto XI, Part 1

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



King Agrican and Sacripant agree
To fight in single combat, one on one.
But when the valiant King Torindo sees
Sacripant losing, to the duel he runs,
And war resumes. The Tartar valiantly
Enters the keep. Great deeds by him are done,
Ere Sacripant compels him to retreat.
Rinaldo and Don Fiordelisa meet.

You’ve heard already of the ruinous course
King Agricane ran, that spirit fierce.
As when a wave destroys a fleet by force,
Or when a cannon through an army sheers,
E’en thus that king attacks without remorse,
Chopping the standards, smiting cavaliers,
Slicing his foes and hacking his own men.
For wrath the king made no distinction then.

Circassians and Tartars all are one.
Of friend or enemy he takes no heed.
He cut down all who in his pathway came.
And now that worthy knight advanced with speed
To where he saw the high emprises done
Which Sacripant performed upon his steed.
He saw his men flee fast as legs could carry them,
And the Circassian monarch sorely harry them.

“You curst, degen’rate breed, out of my sight!”
King Agricane cries, “You worthless flock!
My vassals nevermore will you be hight.
I won’t be king of such a wretched stock.
Go where the hell you want, and let me fight,
For I can better stand the foeman’s shock
Alone, just as I am, in this fierce battle,
Than I can do with you, you useless rabble.”

These words once said, he seeks his foeman out,
And Sacripant to combat he invites.
My lords, believe me, ye need have no doubt
He instantly accepts, that ardent sprite.
He sends a squire through the battle rout
Up to Albracca, to the lady bright,
Praying her that upon the wall she’ll stand,
So that her sight will strengthen his right hand.

The damsel stands upon Albracca’s wall,
And to King Sacripant a sword she sends,
That will stay sharp, whatever may befall.
Now grief King Agricane’s bosom rends.
He mutters soft, “I do not care at all,
Because that sword will be mine in the end,
So will Albracca. Sacripant will grovel,
So will that dirty slut and all her brothel.

“Hast thou no shame at all, thou ugly witch?
To scorn my love, how is it that thou durst?
When I could make thee happy, make thee rich,
And make thee of all earthly queens the first?
Women, ’tis true, a thousand times will switch
Their minds, and always settle on the worst.
The King of Kings at thy feet doth abase him,
And thou art lusting for a vile Circassian!”

Having thus spoke, he turns around and glowers
As from his foe he spurs across the ground.
His mighty lance into its rest he lowers,
As on the other side now turns around
King Sacripant, who comes with strength and power.
The one and th’other clash. The noise resounds
With such a fracas and so great a din,
It seems the sky will fall, the world will end.

Each of them strikes the other’s helmet front
With their immeasurably enormous lances,
But neither can his foe from saddle shunt.
Each lance up to its hilt in splinters glances,
Though each was three palms wide, without affront
To truth. To swords the combat now advances.
They fall on one another, raging high,
For each of them desires to win or die.

If in a field you’ve ever seen two bulls
Who madly for a milk-white heifer fought,
And seen them locking horns and clashing skulls
And heard their bellowing, with dreadness fraught,
You know how seemed those knights of valor full,
Who for Love’s sake esteemed their lives as nought.
Their shields, in pieces hacked, they cast away,
And fight with more abandon in the fray.

Now Sacripant, with all his strength, brings down
A blow dispiteous, uncouth, two-handed,
On Agricane’s head. He splits his crown,
But not his helmet, for that is enchanted.
At the same time the Tartar of renown
A blow on Sacripante’s left flank planted.
Vengeance is all the thought within their heads,
To pay back cake where they were given bread.

So swiftly fall not rain, nor hail thus rattles,
Nor in such numbers fall the flakes of snow,
As in that bitter and imperiled battle
Fell the strokes of the broadswords, blow on blow.
Blood runs down from their helmets to their saddles.
No crueler fight can any his’try show.
Each one is wounded sore in places twenty,
And yet of fury they heap up more plenty.

But Sacripant fared worse, I have to say.
The blood ran down his leg whene’er he strove.
But little did he prize his life that day,
And thinking of Angelica above
All else, he said, “O King of Heaven, I pray
That all the deeds I do today for love,
Angelica will watch,  and grateful be.
Then care I not for death or injury.

“I’d be content to know my death is nigh
If that sweet creature held me in regard.
Oh, if I only once could hear her sigh,
‘I am too cruel and make my heart too hard,
To make this cavalier for Love’s sake die,
When for my love, his life he disregards!’
If but these gentle words mine ears caressed,
In life or death I’d be forever blest.”

And with these thoughts he is so much inflamed
That of all cowardice he was bereft.
With ev’ry blow, he shouts his lady’s name,
Striking great blows upon his right and left.
His only thought is how to please the dame.
He cares not for the wounds by which he’s cleft;
But as he loses blood, his spirits fail,
Although he still fights on, his face is pale.

The other kings look from afar and wait,
Watching the dreadful combat of their chiefs.
To each of them, it seems a damage great
To watch him die, and bring him no relief.
But, above all, his pity can’t abate
The Turk Torindo, and he’s filled with grief
To see King Sacripante in distress
And not be able to bring him redress.

And to the others he begins to say,
That certainly a grievous sin it were
To watch their king die and lend him no aid.
He bursts out: “Ingrates! How can ye endure
To look upon his death without dismay?
The worthiest king that ever vassal served.
We fled, all routed, overwhelmed by strife;
Sacripant saved our honor and our life.

Be not afraid of them, for all their might,
For with our swords we’ll cut them down to size!
Don’t think it treason to disrupt the fight.
But we’ll be traitors all if our king dies!
’Tis simple duty, ’tis not treason hight,
To save one’s king. If any blame here lies,
Be the blame mine and be the glory yours!”
And with these words he spurs his gallant horse.

His lance in rest, against the crowd he runs,
Flooring the first and second men he meets.
The third and fourth to him likewise succumb.
A mighty outcry his aggression greets,
As ev’ry Turk and each Circassian comes,
And Trebisond and Syria are fleet,
Following King Torindo down the line.
Russians, Mongolians, and Tartars join

With mighty Trufaldino of Baghdad.
The dust flew thick, and many men were flayed.
King Trufaldin a hundred thousand had
Who came behind him in a vast brigade.
When Agricane sees this mishap sad
And how his army sorely was dismayed,
To Sacripante thus he speaks: “Sir Knight,
Thy men have done a deed against all right.”

Keep Reading

No notes to this part.


Book I, Canto X, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto X, Stanzas 41-53

Who with him brings a host of troops so vast
One hundred thousand men form his brigade.
Damascus’ king his lot with them has cast.
There’s twenty thousand ‘neath this giant’s flag.
He’s called Bordacco. Sacripant is last,
Circassia’s ruler, vigorous and brave,
With a strong body and a prudent soul,
And eighty thousand under his control.

They reach Albracca fortress on the day
After Astolf was caught for lack of wit.
They fall upon the camp without delay,
Though Agricane’s host is infinite.
It was at Prime that they began the fray,
And by the rosy dawn the sky was lit,
When the ferocious battle was begun
In which so many lab’rous deeds were done.

Of the cruel battle who could even try
To put the seventh part of it in words?
The bitter fighting, blows on ev’ry side,
The shrieks that from the wretched men are heard
Of either army when they fall and die?
Who could set forth the blood that paints the earth,
The crashing metal, and the flags’ advances,
And the field covered with the splintered lances?

‘Tis King Vorano strikes the foremost blow.
Without a trace of fear he leads the van.
He’s made sure that all of his soldiers know
To take no pris’ners, but kill ev’ry man.
With speed and without warning his troops go.
“To arms! To arms!” throughout the Tartars ran.
This one defends himself, and that one arms,
And that one hides and flees in his alarm.

But they the wisest are who run away;
The enemy’s already in their tents.
The Tartars with the sword and lance they slay.
Not one of all th’Armenians relents.
Through woods and fields, and down the roads and ways
The Tartar army flees, by terror sent.
Behold another reason to abscond:
Here comes the Emperor of Trebisond.

With all his men the Tartars he attacks.
Next is the great Ungiano’s prowess shown.
Leading his men, no knightly skill he lacks.
And now Torindo and brave Savaron
Amidst the Tartar army slash and hack.
And still, beneath their banner gently blown,
Sacripant and Bordac are in reserve,
With Trufaldino, treach’rous cur of curs.

The sprawling battle engulfs all the crowd.
Some here, some there across the fields take flight.
Of dust the armies kick up such a cloud
That all are hidden from each other’s sight.
And so disorganized is all the rout
It can’t be helped by all the strength and might
Of Agricane, though his force is dread.
He sees before him all his people dead.

The king, as sorrow o’er his spirit came,
Left his brigade behind and charged ahead,
And called on all his barons bold by name,
Uldano, Saritron, Argante dread,
King Pandragone, worthy of great fame,
Lurcan and giant Radamant the Red,
With Santaría, Polferom, Brontin,
Summoning one and all to battle keen.

Upon Baiard doth Agrican advance,
Before all others, with his lance at rest.
Not one of all his foes against him stands.
With such great wrath across the field he pressed,
He strikes men down without a backwards glance,
And now to King Varano he addressed,
And on his helmet lands a mighty blow
That sends him loudly to the ground below.

Brunaldo is unseated from his horse
By Polifermo; look at strong Argante
Who overthrows King Savaron by force;
And see the cruel giant Radamante
Meets with Ungiano and that worthy floors.
Now well perceives the knightly Sacripante
That all his people will be dead or routed
Unless himself he something does about it.

He left his troops, that king of valor true
And spurred his charger, laid in rest his lance,
And Poliferm with one blow overthrew;
Brontin and Pandragon to him advance,
The worthy Emperor Argante, too,
Who all fall with a blow of Sacripant’s.
And then he takes into his hand his sword
And drove back to retreat the Tartar horde.

Elsewhere is fighting Agricane grand,
And does great deeds of wonder on his own.
He sees how by the hills and level lland
His people have from Sacripante flown.
For ire great he gnaws on both his hands
And cruelly into battle he has thrown
Himself, and cuts down anyone he can,
Whether his own or Sacripante’s man.

As when, about the thawing time of Spring,
A river from a mighty mountain flows,
And oversteps its banks, to ruin bring,
So swollen ’tis with showers and with snows,
Just so advances that impetuous king.
With ire great and tumult fierce he goes,
And on that day performs a mighty feat,
Of which in my next canto I will treat.

Keep Reading



Notes to the Tenth Canto, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto X, Stanzas 41-53 Notes

41. Sacripante thus has 382,000 men (the entire population of Miami), against Agricane’s 2,200,000 (the entire population of modern Paris). The results are predictable.
48. The Red. My addition, forced by the rhyme. Referring to his armor and bloodthirstiness, rather than to his physical appearance.

Back to Part 3

On to Canto XI