The Legend of Bertha Broadfoot 3: The Italian Family

Section 1:

MS V13: Berta de la Pie Grant

Venice, Biblioteca marciana fondo francese manuscript XIII (=256), usually abbreviated V13, is a collection of chansons de geste in Franco-Italian assonanced decasyllables, containing: Bovo d’Antona (Part 1, unknown number of pages lost at the beginning), Bertha Broad-Foot, Bovo Part 2, Karleto, Berta e Milone, Enfances Ogier, Orlandino, Chevalerie Ogier, and Macario, of all of which it is the only copy. Franco-Italian was never a spoken dialect, but rather a literary creation. The MS and poems date from the early 1300s.

Pepin holds court in Paris on Pentecost, at which Aquilon of Bavaria (father of Naimon), Bernard of Clairmont, Salomon and others attend. They urge him to take a wife, and a çubler announces that the most beautiful woman he has ever seen is named Berta da li pe grandi, daughter of King Alfaris of Hungary and his wife Belisant. The barons all agree that this is a good plan, and Pepin sends as ambassador to Hungary Aquilon, Bernard, Morando de Rivere, and Grifon of Altafoglia [Hauteville]. The King receives them warmly, then consults with his family. He tells Berta that Pepin is short and ugly, but very rich and very brave. She agrees to marry him, and they depart. On their way home, they stop at the castle of Belençer of Magance, whose daughter happens to look exactly like Berta. The two become friends at once, and Berta takes the damsel with her to Paris. As they near that city, Berta asks the girl to take her place in King Pepin’s bed, because she is exhausted from the long ride. King Pepin is surprised to see his bride’s tiny feet, but decides the çubler must have been lying. In the morning, the girl bids her henchman take Berta into the forest and kill her. The man is touched by pity, however, and spares Berta’s life after making her swear never to return to France. Berta wanders into the forest. Continue reading

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The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 4: Later Chronicles

There are a few later retellings of Bernardo del Carpio’s life that are worthy of mention.

The Poema de Fernán González briefly recounts the history of Bernardo at Roncesvalles.

The Segunda Crónica General is also known as the Crónica de 1344. It is a redaction of the Primera, which adds prosifications of many new ballads, but leaves the story of Bernardo essentially unchanged.1

The Tercera Crónica General, also called the Crónica General Vulgata was redacted towards 1390, and adds some skeptical comments about Bernardo. It also moves many of his adventures under Alfonso III to the reign of the II, but with few further changes. It was printed by Florián d’Ocampo in 1541, in a volume which became the standard history utilized by Siglo d’Oro authors, comparable to Holinshed in Elizabethan England. 2

The Cuarta Crónica General was redacted around 1460. An edition can be found in the Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España, volumes 105 and 106. Bernardo’s story begins in Volume 105, page 264.

POEMA DE FERNÁN GONZÁLEZ

Alfonso the Chaste built the church of San Salvador. King Charles sent him a message that he was coming to Spain to receive homage and tribute. King Alfonso replied that he would not pay him anything, and that though the French fought five years, they could not conquer Spain. Charles’ men gave him bad advice, telling him to invade. Charles, with an immeasurable army, headed for Castile. Bernardo del Carpio gathered an army and attacked them at Fuenterrabía, where he slew seven kings and great lords. Charles retreated to Marseilles, where he regrouped and tried again to enter Spain through Cize and Aspe. Bernardo crossed the Ebro and came to Saragossa, where he kissed the hands of King Marsil, and agreed that the troops of Castile would be in the vanguard against the Twelve Peers. Bernardo fought in the front lines, and dealt the French an even more crushing defeat than that of Fuenterrabía. The poet now digresses for a long praise of Spain and Castile in particular, and returns to history with the death of King Alfonso, after which he moves into his story proper, of Fernán González. Bernardo is not mentioned again.

SECUNDA CRÓNICA GENERAL

According to Pidal, one MS, (which he infuriatingly does not identify) changes the numbers of Bernardo’s knights during his raid on Salamanca (the first one, with the ambush) to agree with the ballad of By the Rivers of Arlanza. Instead of two hundred lying in ambush and one hundred going with Bernardo, as in the PCG, it is two hundred in each group. Otherwise, I know of no differences.

TERCERA CRÓNICA GENERAL, AS PRINTED BY OCAMPO

Third Part, Chapter 10:

Both versions of Bernardo’s birth are given, and are dated to the seventeenth year of Alfonso the Chaste’s reign, [803], the 7th of Constantine’s Imperium [786], AD 796. The story of Doña Timbor, however, is stated to be untrue.

Year 30 [812]: Charles 12 [812], AD 809 Roncesvalles. To the battle came Roldan, Reynalte de Montalvan, Don Giralte, Count Terria Dardeña, Count Iarluyn, Argelero the Gascon, Archbishop Torpin, Oger de las Marchas, Salamano of Brittany, and many others. Some say that after the battle, Charlemagne took his revenge on King Marsil, with the help of Bernaldo and Alfonso. They also say that Charles took Bernaldo home with him and made him king of Italy, but we do not find this in old books, and so we do not assert that it was so.

At any rate, after Roncesvalles Bernardo learns his true parentage directly from the women, without a game involved.

Year 31 [812]: Charles 13 [813], AD 810. Charlemagne died [really 814]. Rodrigo’s dissection of Turpin is included.

Year 32 [813]: Louis 1 [814], AD 811. Bernardo saves Alfonso from King Ores of Merida.

Year 33 [814]: Louis 2 [815], AD 812. Alfonso saves Zamora from King Alzama of Badajoz.

Year 34 [815]: Louis 3 [816], AD 813. Alfonso and Bernardo defeat the Moors at Polvorega and Val de Moro, respectively. Alfonso also smites them by the Duero River. Pope Leo [III] dies and Stefan III [IV] is elected [816].

Year 35 [816]: Louis 4 [817], AD 814. The Don Bueso incident. Bueso’s kinship to Bernardo is denied. Pope Stephan dies and Paschal is elected [817].

Year 36 [817]: Louis 5 [818], AD 815. Alfonso holds court at Pentecost, and the Queen fails to obtain Count Sancho’s freedom. Bernardo is banished, and his kinsmen go with him. He made war against the king for a long time.

Year 37 [818]: Louis 6 [819], AD 816. Mahomad of Merida and Abderrahmen of Cordova.

Year 38 [819]: Louis 7 [820], AD 817. Bernardo helps the Emir Alihatan [Al-Hakim] crush the Cordovan rebellion.

Year 39 [820]: Louis 8 [821], AD 818. Mahomad.

Year 40 [821]: Louis 9 [822], AD 819. More Muslim civil wars.

Year 41 [822]: Louis 10 [823], AD 820. Alfonso dies. King Alfonso had a wife he never saw, and some say she waas Berta, sister of Charlemagne.

Alfonso III the Great Year 4 [869]: Lothair 14 [853], AD 840. Alfonso repels a horde of Moors from Toledo in a battle along the Duero. Bernardo has helped him in his battles hitherto, lured on by promises of his father’s freedom, but Alfonso’s latest reneging is the last straw, and now he rebels, joined by men from Benavente, Toro, and Zamora [the dramatic scene at court is not repeated].

Year 5 [870]: Lothair 15 [854], AD 841. Bernardo builds El Carpio and raids Salamanca.

Year 6 [871]: Lothair 16 [855], AD 842. Alfonso posthumously frees Count Sancho, then sends Bernardo to France. Bernardo’s adventures in France and Catalonia follow, as in the PCG, but with a note that they are not found in the authentic books of wise men, but only in juglares en sus cantares, so that “we do not know for certain” if they are true. The discussion about the different Charleses and Alfonsos, and the date of Roncesvalles is copied, too.

CUARTA CRÓNICA GENERAL

Bernardo’s birth is dated to Alfonso’s fifteenth year [797], AD 792, Constantine’s seventh [786]. Crulor [Timbor] lay with Count Sandias willingly, though her story is still said to be a fiction.3 The other dates agree with the Tercera. The dead at Roncesvalles include Anselino, Reynalte of Monte Alban, Giralde or Guiralde the Steward, Count Oliver, Terrin, Count Albuey, “and many more.” When Bernardo begins his rebellion, the chronicle announces that it will speak no more of him until the reign of Alfonso III. Bernardo’s foundation of El Carpio in Salamanca, and his subsequent alliance with the Moors to raid Leon and Asturias are related under King Alfonso’s fourth year, and the story henceforth follows Rodrigo. In consequence of these events, however, King Alfonso really did set Count San Diaz free (though he has gone blind in prison), “and lived in love with him and with Bernardo his son.” The Arabs, however, are still in Christendom, and split their forces in two, sending one to Polvorosa and the other to King Alfonso, Bernardo marches to meet this latter and slaughters them in Valdemoro. Meanwhile, Alfonso has given them the slip and gone to Polvorosa, where he kills them. Bernardo and Alfonso next save Zamora, and Bernardo kills Alchaman the false prophet. The Moors make peace with Alfonso, the date of Roncesvalles and the different Charleses are discussed, and Bernardo vanishes from the history.

1 Horent, Jules, Book II, Part I, Paragraph 37.

2 Horent, Jules, Book II, Part I, Paragraph 38.

3 Entwhistle 1928, 449.

Book I, Canto VII, Part 2

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

21
He would have been a captive, or a corpse,
But as I said, Alfrera reappeared,
Swinging his iron mace with deadly force
As through th’advancing Christian host he sheared.
Burgundian Gui he topples from his horse,
And good Duke Naimo of the hoary beard.
But Olivier, Dudon, and Charlemagne
All three at once against the giant came.

22
One charges from that side, and one from this.
Boldly and gallantly they urge their steeds.
He cannot turn his giraffe around. It is
By nature quite a lazy, sluggish beast.
He swings great strokes, but all of them just miss.
Charles and his companions dodge with ease.
Since nought he did availed him, he abated
His fight and fled to where Gradasso waited.

23
His flight the haughty lord Gradasso spies,
Who used to hold him in a high regard.
He turns to him in anger, and he cried:
“Ah, worthless coward, vile sack of lard!
Art thou not shamed, so cravenly to fly?
Art thou so great of limb and small of heart?
Go wait inside my tent, thou scorned of men,
And never let me see thee armed again!”

24
He ceases talking and he spurs his horse,
And with one thrust he overthrows Dudon.
And with what seems a more than human force
He floors Ricardo and King Salamon.
The men of Sericane behind him course.
Their dragon-hearted king deserves his throne.
His lance was iron bound, twenty feet long.
The world has never seen a man so strong.

25
Against Count Ganellone he collides,
Striking the falcon’s breast upon his shield.
He knocks him to the ground, his legs sprawled wide,
Then spies King Charlemagne across the field.
His lance in rest, with utmost speed he rides,
And with one blow, his seat the emperor yields.
But as Gradasso Baiard’s bridle clasped,
That destrier turned its croup, and lightning fast

26
With a loud neighing, he kicks out his heels,
And just below the knee gives such a clout
That though his greaves were of enchanted steel,
Yet they were dented in, while sparks flew out.
Worse pain than ever now Gradasso feels.
It runs all through him, so he turns about,
And leaves Baiardo, letting fall the rein;
The good beast swiftly back to Paris came.

27
Gradasso flees in anguish to his tent.
You all may guess what agony he’s in.
Straightaway for an agéd man he sent,
A master of the art of medicine.
He binds the wound with skill, and then presents
A potion brewed from herbs and roots to him,
Which, when Gradasso quaffs it all, it seems
As if his wound were nothing but a dream.

28
To battle he returns, sans pain or fear .
In fact, he’s even fiercer than before.
Against him gallops Marquis Olivier,
But with one blow he knocks him to the floor.
Avin, Avolio, Guido, Angelier,
Without a pause he overthrows all four
To tell it shortly, ev’ry Paladin
Was by Gradasso captured with great vim.

29
The Christian people turn about and flee;
Against the Saracens no more they fight.
The Frankish lords are in captivity.
The other rabble in distress take flight.
No Christian faces do the pagans see;
Captives or slain are all the valiant knights.
And of the rest, none than the next is bolder,
And all show to the Saracens their shoulders.

30
Now all of Paris hears the tidings dread
Of the defeat, and Karl’s captivity.
Ogier the Dane leaps up at once from bed,
Lamenting loudly, as a baron free.
He donned his arms, then to the gate he sped
On foot, not waiting even for his steed.
But he commanded it be harnessed straight,
And brought to meet him at the Paris gate.

31
When he arrived, he found the gate was down,
And from without he hears the woeful cry
Of all the baptized cruelly cut down.
The murd’rous porter at his ease there lies;
So that the Pagans enter not the town
He is content that his compatriots die.
The Dane him bids to open up the gate;
He clearly sees he can’t a minute wait.

32
The scowling porter, like a churl, informs
The Dane he has no wish to raise the gate,
And with proud boasts he blusters and he storms
That his appointed post he’ll ne’er forsake.
Ogieri lifts his axe, which so alarms
The porter, that he doesn’t hesitate
To run away in terror with a shout.
Ogieri opes the gate and rushes out.

33
Upon the bridge forth strides the gallant knight;
With axe in readiness he takes his stand.
Now is he fortunate to have keen sight,
For as in terror fled the Christian band,
Each of them wishing to be first in flight,
The swiftest Pagans mixed among them ran.
The mighty Dane perceives them where they go,
And with his axe he brings them all to woe.

34
The Pagan army ever closer sped.
Don Serpentino leads them their attack.
Upon the bridge, as swift as lightning, leapt
The Danish hero, brandishing his axe,
And brought it down on Serpentino’s head.
The sparks fly from his helm, which would have cracked
If Serpentino’s armor were not made
By magic art, secure from all such blades.

35
The Dane upon the Pagan army gazed.
Gradasso led, and mighty Ferragu.
So many enemies Ogieri faced,
He clearly saw that nothing could he do.
He called behind him that the bridge be raised.
There never was a knight so brave and true.
Alone against the Pagan host he fights,
And keeps them off the bridge in their despite.

36
Gradasso confidently ‘gainst him came,
Ordering all his vassals to step back.
Ogieri hears the gate shut with a clang,
And in a brave despair he lifts his axe.
Gradasso seizes it, to snap in twain,
Then lights down off his charger, and he grasps
The Dane, who’s stout and skilled in wrestling play,
But King Gradasso carries him away.

37
No knights were left to make an opposition,
As day gave was unto the dusky knight.
The priests lead all the people in processions,
With pure intent, and clad in garments white.
Open is ev’ry church, and ev’ry prison
With fear and terror they await the light.
None dare to rest, for once the gates are breached,
Destruction waits alike for all and each.

38
Astolfo with the others was set free;
No one remembered that he was alive;
For once he’d been thrown in captivity
A rumor went around that he had died.
His habit was to talk incessantly
And brag more proudly than I could describe.
He heard the news, and “Oh, alas!” he moaned,
“Of my arrest, Gradasso must have known!

39
“Had I not been thrown in a dungeon cell,
King Charlemagne would have no cause to moan.
But even now, I can make all things well,
I’ll take Gradasso pris’ner by my lone.
Soon as the dawning o’er th’horizon swells
I’ll arm myself and mount upon my roan.
You all, stand on the walls and watch me fight.
Woe to the infidel who tests my might!”

40
Meanwhile, joy possessed the pagan races.
They cheer their ruler and upon him fawn.
His glee unbounded written on his face is,
Dreaming of seizing Paris at the dawn.
He’s put Alfrera back in his good graces.
Now to review his prisoners he’s gone.
When he sees Charlemagne, he sits down, and
He takes his fellow monarch by the hand

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No notes for this Part.

Book I, Canto VII, Part 1

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

CANTO VII

ARGUMENT

Ogier retreats, the barons issue out,
Stoutly they fight, but all are caught at last.
Gradasso doth the Christian army rout,
But thanks t’Ogier, the Paris walls aren’t passed.
Astolfo, like a foolish, headstrong lout
Ruins the truce, and leaves King Charles aghast.
Astolfo and Gradass joust one on one,
And with that joust, so shall the war be done.

1
Cruel and chaotic was the fight begun,
Outside of Paris, as I sang before.
Now does the Dane against Urnasso run,
And with Curtana through the heart him gores.
The pagan army’s routed and undone,
But King Urnasso’s thrice-accursed horse,
Strikes with its horn upon the Dane’s cuirass,
And doth through chainmail and through platemail pass.

2
Ogieri, wounded sore in places three,
Returned to Paris and a doctor found.
The Emperor, who all the battle sees,
Sends Salamone to the battle ground,
And Turpin after him, that ardent priest.
The drawbridge of Saint-Denis he lets down,
And thence sends Ganelon with all his force.
Ricardo by another route goes forth.

3
Out of a third go mighty Angelieri,
And strong Dudon, the soul of courtesy;
And from the Royal Gate comes Olivieri,
And mighty Guido, lord of Burgundy.
The wise duke Naimo, his sons Berlengieri,
Avol, Otton, Avin, each bold and free,
Some from one gate, some from another go,
To wreak upon the heathens pain and woe.

4
The Emperor, the fiercest soldier there,
Issues forth armed, and leads the last brigade,
The while to God he softly makes his prayer
That Paris might from fire and sack be saved.
Relics and crosses monks and mass-priests bear
In long processions, and devoutly prayed
To God and all His saints, that they preserve
King Charles and his barons strong of nerve.

5
And now there is a mighty sound of bells,
Of drums, and trumpets, and of battle-cries.
From ev’ry part advance the infidels,
And straight against them do the Christians ride.
There never was a battle half as fell,
Both sides are mixed together in the fight.
Don Olivieri ‘mongst the Paynim ranks
Seems like a stream that overflows its banks.

6
He rides against footmen and cavaliers,
And some he knocked to earth and some he slew
With Altachiara, filling hosts with fear,
More than a thousand other knights could do.
And not a single thrust his armor pierced.
Now Stracciaberra comes into his view,
That Black-skinned Indian, King of Lucinorca
Who had two tusks protruding like a porker.

7
The fight between these cavaliers was brief,
For Olivier brought Altachiara down,
Between the Indian’s eyes, then ‘twixt his teeth,
Splitting in two his ugly visage brown;
This done, his sharpened blade he did not sheath,
But wreaked destruction with it all around,
And while he wasted all of that brigade,
Emperor Charlemagne came to his aid.

8
That monarch’s sword was all awash in blood.
That day he rode to battle on Baiard;
None of the Saracens against him stood.
You never saw a king who fought so hard.
He sheathes his brand, and takes a lance of wood,
Because he’s challenged by the King Francard,
Francardo, ruler of Elissa’s land,
In India, who had a bow in hand.

9
The strange man, as he rides, shoots constantly.
He is coal-black; snow-white is his destrier.
Charlemagne interrupts him in his spree,
And all the way though him he drives his spear.
The body’s pierced and broke; the spirit flees.
Baiardo’s not yet tired, it appears.
The steed lay dead before him on the ground,
But he leapt o’er it with a single bound.

10
“Who is the man who dares to block my way?
Who stops me riding whereso I desire?”
So shouts King Charles, and within the fray
He passes through the Saracens like fire.
Cornuto, once Urnasso’s charger gay,
Races around, unrid by knight or squire.
With its horn down, it runs against Baiard,
But this steed’s courage is by no means marred.

11
Without King Charles prompting him, he starts
To turn around, and he kicks out his hooves,
And strikes Cornuto where his forelegs part.
He falls to ground, and never more he moves.
Oh, how King Charles laughs with all his heart!
Now does the battle grow more fierce, in sooth,
Because Alfrera leads a mighty corps
Of Saracens, all eager for the war.

12
Upon his giraffe the mighty giant fares,
Swinging his club and dealing dreadful harm.
Turpin of Rheims he lifts into the air
And then he tucks him underneath his arm
And fights as well as if he wasn’t there.
Oton and Berlengier, to their alarm,
He grabs, and ties them up, and then he brings
Them, trussed up like a faggot, to the king

13
And turns immediately back to the plain;
To seize and bind the others is his plan.
Marsilio comes, with all the folk of Spain,
And he himself is leader of the van.
Thoughts of surrender or of flight are vain.
Ev’ryone fights as stoutly as he can.
Olivier and the Paladins concur
To form a circle round their emperor.

14
In gilded arms he sits upon Baiard,
Covered from crest to spur with precious stones.
And Marquis Olivier his right side guards,
And at his other shoulder brave Dudon,
And Angelier, and worthy Don Riccard,
And good Duke Naimo, and Count Ganelon.
They from their line and gallop off to bring
Doom to the heathen Spaniards and their king.

15
Don Ferragu against the Marquis speeds,
And that stout pagan has the upper hand,
But not enough to knock him from his steed,
So they begin to fight with their good brands.
Don Angelieri and Spinella meet,
And Gano with Margante breaks a lance.
The Argalif with the Baviarn jousts,
And ev’ryone is fighting all about.

16
And while the mêlée and the tumult grow,
Grandonio meets Dudone in that place.
These two lay on each other mighty blows,
For each of them prefers to use his mace.
Each paladin confronts his chosen foe.
Marsil and Charlemagne are face to face,
And king Marsilio’s life would have been through
Had he not been relieved by Ferragu.

17
Forgetting Olivier, he leaves his fight,
Fearing lest his dear uncle should be slain.
But the Marquis, just like a valiant knight,
Rides to the aid of Emp’ror Charlemagne.
Now of these four, each is a man of might,
Each quick of limb, and each of battle fain.
On that day Charles more adroitly sparred
Than any other, for he rode Baiard.

18
Each a great baron, or a mighty king,
And each in love with honor and with glory;
Their shields they have forgotten, while they swing
Their swords with both their hands, in raging fury.
Meanwhile, the Chrisitans to the Spaniards bring
Defeat, and chase them in a routing gory.
Marsilio’s standard lay upon the ground;
This was the state of things Alfrera found.

19
The Spaniards fled as swiftly as they could,
Across the plain, and dared no longer dwell.
Neither Marsilio nor Grandonio stood
His ground, but joined in the retreating swell.
The Argalifa showed his legs were good,
And King Morgante, that false infidel.
Spinella back towards the camp has flown.
Don Ferraguto fights his foes alone.

20
Just like a lion he confronts their ranks,
Nor does he falter in the slightest manner.
Upon his armor now, Dudon the Frank,
Charles and Olivieri stoutly hammer.
He guards his front side now, and now his flank,
And strikes them back again with mighty clamor.
But since his army’d left him all alone,
These three ferocious soldiers wore him down.

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Notes

Book I, Canto II, Part 2

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

21
But let us leave the lover in this state.
Astolfo has returned unto the town,
Where Count Orlando eagerly awaits,
And asks him casually as they stroll down
The streets, how he has fared and what his fate,
And of the other fighters of renown.
But of his passion not a word lets slip;
He knows full well how loose Astolfo’s lip.

22
But when he learns that Argalía’s fled
Into the forest, with the girl beside him
And that Rinaldo after them has sped,
He parts, with sorrow on his face, to hide him,
And in despair collapses on his bed.
Such is the pain that’s hammering inside him,
The mighty champion, the hero bold,
Cries like a vulgar boy who’s six years old.

23
“Alas! – he cries, – that I have no defense
Against this enemy within my soul.
Why can my Durindan make no offense
Against this love that seeketh to control
My heart, and burns me with a heat intense?
All grief seems joyful, reackoned ‘gainst this dole.
In all the world is one worse off than I?
I burn with love and freeze with jealousy.

24
I know not whether that angelic dame
Will ever deign to give her love to me.
Thrice fortunate, a man could justly claim
To be the Son of Fortune, and would be
Crowned with felicity if her heart flamed
With love for him alone, but as for me,
If hope is lost, I won’t live in despair,
But I will slay myself right then and there.

25
Ah, luckless wretch! Rinaldo went to fetch her!
What if he find her, wand’ring in some glade?
I know full well he’s such a foul lecher
She’ll never leave his hands and still be maid.
Perhaps right now he’s reaching forth to catch her,
While like a little girl I sit, dismayed,
Holding my head between my hands and sighing,
And think to help myself by vainly crying.

26
I can’t continue to make secret moan
About this fire which consumes my heart,
But I should die of shame if it were known.
I swear by God, tonight I will depart
From Paris, his in darkness all alone,
And in quest of that beauty I will start.
Until I find her, over dale and fell,
On land, at sea, in Heaven and in Hell.”

27
With this resolved upon, his bed he leaves,
Where he’d been lying, weeping heavy tears.
He sees the dusk, and at the sight he grieves.
He paces anxiously, now there, now here.
Plan after plan his troubled brain conceives
While weary minutes creep along like years.
But when at last the light was wholly gone,
In secrecy he put his armor on.

28
His famous quarterings of red and white
He did not bear, but solid dark vermillion.
Then saddles Brigliadoro, and the knight
Mounts him and issues forth through the postillion.
Nor squire nor page accompanies his flight,
As he rides out. He heaved more than a million
Of sighs and groans, the most unhappy soul,
As he moved closer to his longed-for goal.

29
Now must we leave our champions thus bound
For high adventuring within Ardennes,
Orlando and Rinaldo, knights renowned,
And Ferragu, the flow’r of Saracens,
To turn to Charles, who would fain announce
That in the morn the jousting would commence.
Salomon, Naim, and Gan approved the plan.
Karl called for silence and his speech began:

30
“O lordings, what I think ought to be done,
Is that we choose a knight to hold the ring.
The rest will joust against him one by one,
Till by his strength or fortune, someone flings
Him from his saddle. Once he’s overcome,
The victor shall continue tourneying
Until he wins the prize or wins disgrace,
And who o’erthrows him shall assume his place.”

31
Each one applauds the words of Charlemagne,
And call him prudent, wise, and clever lord.
His new conception meets with much acclaim,
And is approved by all with one accord.
Next morning, all prepare for joust and game.
The right of precedence the king awards
To Serpentin, that ardent cavalier,
To fight all comers with the civil spear.

32
As cheerful dawn to tranquil day gave place
A day more lovely than you would believe,
King Charles rode out to the field apace
Without his armor, saving boots and greaves,
His sword girt on, in hand his judge’s mace,
He rode upon a bold and handsome steed,
While he was followed by his men of might,
His counts and barons and his bravest knights.

33
Behold where Serpentino hither rides,
In shining armor,  on a mighty horse,
That bears itself and lifts its hooves with pride,
As round the ring it runs a warm-up course.
Its sides are flecked with foam; its eyes start wide,
It seems full eager to display its force,
For while it glares about with glances dire,
Its nostrils flare as if to shoot out fire.

34
And like the horse the rider doth appear
Who sits upon him with a haughty face,
Armed in magnificent and splendid gear,
And firmly seated in his saddle-place.
The boys and dames point out the cavalier
Who such great vigour and such nerve displays,
And all who see him have no doubt that he
Will conquer all and gain the victory.

35
The worthy cavalier bears for design
Upon an azure shield a star of gold;
His helmet, made to match it, richly shines;
His surcoat’s wrought with patterns manifold.
His coat of arms and helmet light and fine
Could not be valued; worth had they untold,
And all his armor in the sunlight shone;
‘Twas decked with pearls and other precious stones.

36/37
He takes his place and eagerly awaits
His foes, and like a mighty tower stands.
The trumpets blare up, and in through the gates
The jousters enter. Foremost of the band
Is Angelino of Bordeaux, who straight
Lays lance in rest. He is a mighty man,
In wars and tournaments, and bears for shield
A silver moon upon an azure field.

37/38
Swift as the wind the cavaliers advance,
And clash with noise as when the thunder rolls.
Don Angelino’s blow does naught but glance
Off his foe’s arm, but Serpentino bowls
Him off his horse with his unyielding lance.
To heaven Angelin displays his soles.
The crowd applauds and cheers with all its might,
And shouts the praises of the Starry Knight.

39
Next comes the strong Ricardo from the crowd,
Who held the lordship of all Normandy.
A golden lion hath this baron proud
Upon a scarlet shield. Right speedily
He came, but Serpentino was uncowed
And raced to meet him, with great chivalry.
He gave the Paladin a blow so grand
It made his body knock against the sand.

40
Oh, how King Balugant rejoices there
To see his son achieving such renown.
A checkered shield his next opponent bears,
Around his helm he bears a golden crown.
‘Tis Salamon, the wise and silver-haired,
Who rushes forward with a reckless bound.
But Serpentino strikes him stout and true,
And knocks him to the ground, and his horse, too.

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Notes

Book I, Canto I, Part 1

ORLANDO INNAMORATO
OR
ORLANDO IN LOVE

BOOK I

THE FIRST BOOK OF “ORLANDO IN LOVE,” IN WHICH ARE CONTAINED THE VARIOUS RESULTS AND THE TRUE CAUSE OF HIS ENAMORMENT, TRANSLATED FROM THE VERACIOUS CHRONICLE OF TURPIN, ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS, BY HIS EXCELLENCY COUNT MATEO MARIA BOIARDO, COUNT OF SCANDIANO.
DEDICATED TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS LORD ERCULE, DUKE OF FERRARA.

CANTO I

ARGUMENT
While King Gradasso plots to conquer France,
Charles, unawares, is putting on a feast,
At which Angelica has evil plans
To kidnap all his knights and take them East.
First Malagise falls into her hands,
And then Astolfo by the dame is seized,
But Ferraguto, headstrong and extreme,
Upsets completely her malicious scheme.

1
Come, gentle lords and knights and gather round,
To hear a novel and delightful thing.
Pay close attention and make not a sound
And hearken to the history I sing
Of mighty deeds and enterprise renowned
Of wondrous feats and high adventuring
Done by Orlando when he felt Love’s pain
When Charles the Great as emperor did reign.

2
“Orlando in Love.” My lords, be not astounded
To hear that title, for if truth be known,
The man whose strength and prowess were unbounded
By love was overcome and overthrown.
Not strength of arms, nor soul in reason grounded,
Nor shield, nor mail, nor sword of sharpest hone,
Nor any other thing may men defend,
But Love shall take and bind them in the end.

3
This tale is scarce, and very few have read it,
Because Don Turpin, once the tale was written,
Thinking, perhaps, that it would being discredit
Upon the Count, to tell how he was smitten
By Love, who said when no one else had said it,
That by his might Orlando had been beaten,
Hid the true story of the Count away,
Which I have found, and tell you all today.

4
Turpin begins his chronicle veracious
Stating past India reigned a potentate
Whose fiefs and territories were so spacious,
His lands so fertile and his wealth so great,
And he himself so mighty and pugnacious,
That he thought none in all the world his mate.
This worthy admiral Gradasso hight,
Who had a dragon’s heart and giant’s height.

5
But great lords have an all-too-common habit:
They see the wealth which other people own
And straight consumes them a desire to nab it
And make it to belong to them alone,
And in their greed they cook up plans to grab it,
From which all trace of common sense hath flown.
So this strong Pagan had but one desire:
Baiard and Durindana to acquire.

6
He sent through his dominions far and nigh,
Calling his lords to gather on a day,
For well he knew he could not simply buy
The horse and sword: too valuable were they.
Their owners asked a price which was so high
That even kings would find it hard to pay.
So he determined to go into France
And simply take them through his great puissance.

7
One hundred fifty thousand men of might
He chose from all his warriors who there banded.
Not that he wished to use them in the fight.
He hoped to gain his triumph single-handed
Against King Charlemagne and all the knights
Of every land wherein the Cross was planted,
And he himself would conquer and subdue
Ev’ry last country which the son doth view.

8
But let us leave them sailing on the main,
Until they’ve made their way across the sea,
And rather turn to France, to Charlemagne,
Who also summoned all his barony.
His dukes, marquis, and counts before him came
With all the flow’r of Christian chivalry.
For Charles had proclaimed both far and wide
He’d hold a tournament at Whitsuntide.

9
To Charles’ court came all the Paladins
To do him honor and enjoy the feast.
Men came from ev’rywhere. The Paris inns
Were full to bursting; still the crowds increased.
And with the Christians mingled Saracens,
For Charles had proclaimed a solemn peace,
And ev’ry knight his solemn oath had made
To be no traitor and no renegade.

10
A host of brave and worthy cavaliers
Had come from Spain with all their retinue:
The King Grandonio, like a serpent fierce;
Lowering like a griffin, Ferragu;
And Serpentin and his friend Isolier;
King Balugante, father-in-law  to
King Charles, with far more knights than I could state,
The jousts and tourneys eagerly await.

11
The city rang through all its streets and courses
With sounds of drums, of trumpets, and of bells.
Had you been there, you would have seen the forces
Decked in their best array. I must not dwell
On all the finery of men and horses.
They bore more gold and jewels than I could tell.
To please the king, and make each other jealous,
Each knight for his apparellings was zealous.

12
The day had come when Charles had decreed
The joustings and the tourney should commence,
But first he summoned one and all to feed
In his own hall, with great magnificence.
All of the cavaliers of either creed
Came to do Charles fitting reverence,
And when the number of them was completed,
Twenty-two thousand thirty there were seated.

13
King Charles sat upon a throne of gold,
With joyous face, among his paladins,
At his round table, whence he might behold
All things. Near him the noblest Saracens
Sat not on benches, but on carpets lolled
Like dogs, for this their custom long has been,
To lie on carpets when they wish to dine.
To try the Frankish custom they decline.

14
On either side of him, in order fitting,
Were ranged the tables, says the history.
At the first table all the kings were sitting.
King Desiderio, who ruled Lombardy;
And King Ottone, sovereign lord of Britain,
And Salamon the wise of Brittany.
According to their rank, on either hand,
Sat the crowned kings of ev’ry Christian land.

15
Marquis and dukes the second table grace;
The third is for the counts and simple knights.
Men of Maganza have a special place,
And Ganelon is on the emperor’s right.
Rinaldo’s eyes with wrath and fury blaze,
Because these traitors, to do him despite,
Mock at his poverty, and put on airs
Because his clothes are not as fine as theirs.

16
Although his anger is by no means spent,
He masks it with a joyous countenance,
While to himself he thinks, “O hateful men,
Tomorrow in the lists you’ll feel my lance.
We’ll see who sits aloft in triumph then,
Accursed family, and scourge of France!
If my heart fails me not, I shall, I trust,
Make ev’ry one of you roll in the dust.”

17
King Balugante eyes Rinaldo then,
And guessing somewhat of his inner thought,
By his interpreter a message sends
To ask the knight if honor can be bought
At Charles’ court, or only worthy men
Obtain it, for he wishes to be taught
The Christians’ customs, that he might dispense
To ev’ry man a fitting recompense.

18
Rinaldo smiled, and raised up his head,
And to the messenger said, “Tell the king
That if by our example he’d be led,
And be at one with us in reckoning,
Gluttons at table and our whores in bed
Win praise from us above all other things.
But let him wait until he sees us fight,
And then he’ll know whom he ought to requite.”

19
But while these two their conversation hold,
The trumpets ring out, and the feast begins.
The servers enter, bearing plates of gold,
Heaped with fine viands, while the cups from brim
To base were wrought with carvings manifold.
Which Charlemagne sent as a gift from him
To ev’ry baron, and the like largesse
He showed to ev’ry man of high prowess.

20
With gabs and boasts, and many merry jests,
With mirth and revelry the hall resounds
King Charles looks, and joy swells in his breast,
Seeing kings, dukes, and knights of such renown.
He thinks the Pagans will be sorely pressed
In jousts, like dust before the breezes blown.
But just then, there occurred a wondrous thing,
Which stunned alike the barons and the king.

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Notes