Book I, Canto X, Part 2

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

21
The lady pays his boasting slight attention.
She knows full well he’s an amusing braggart.
Of Don Rinaldo she makes no more mention,
Hearing him blasphemed pierced her like a dagger,
And she knew all about Astolf’s inventions,
For when in Paris, she had been no laggard
T’examine all the worthies of the court
And find out what their rank and what their sort.

22
She treats Astolfo with utmost respect.
To dight a chamber for her guest she hies,
When, lo, outside a cry begins to spread,
Because a messenger just then arrives.
With dust the man was covered, and with sweat.
“To arms! To arms!” to one and all he cries.
Ev’ry man arms and turns out on the ground,
Because the fortress bells the signal sound.

23
Three thousand cavaliers were kept inside,
One thousand footmen made the Rock their bower.
The lady, with Astolfo at her side,
Consults with them, of all her knights the flower.
To stay within the fortress they decide,
And guard Albracca’s walls and lofty towers.
The grounds and fort so wondrously are shapen
That never in a war can they be taken.

24
They think to trust in their defenses good,
Which may for fifteen years withstand all strife.
Astolfo answers, “If I thought I would
Waste here a single day out of my life,
Besieged and fighting not at all, I should
Be glad to end myself with rope or knife.
And for eternity may I be damned,
If on this day I take not lance in hand!”

25
No sooner silent, then he took to arming,
And mounted on Baiard he leaves the fort,
Shouting things stupefying and alarming,
Which might stop e’en the boldest warrior short.
“You knights will wish you’d spent your whole lives farming,
When I get through with you!” Astolfo roared,
“None of your soldiers can against me stand,
I’ll cut down all your men with my two hands!”

26
Twenty two hundred thousand, maybe bigger,
The size was of the troops of Agrican.
Good Bishop Turpin ‘tis who gives this figure.
Astolf didn’t count, but charged straight on.
Truly, a hair this valiant knight could trigger.
That day such obstacles he came upon,
That somewhat of his rashness he repents,
And ever after had a bit more sense.

27
For now, though, all the army he defied,
Calling on Radamant and Saritrone.
For Polifermo and Argant he cried;
Insults Brontino and King Pandragone,
And Agrican, their master and their guide,
And strong Uldano, and the false Lurcone,
And Santaría, ruler of the Swedes.
Outrage and threats against them al he breathed.

28
The siegers arm themselves in madcap fury.
You never saw so humorous a sight
As was this multitude in such a hurry
To arm themselves against a single knight.
Loudly they cry, and eagerly they scurry.
The noises echo off the mountains’ height.
The flags are raised, batallions are arrayed,
Ten kings together march in one brigade.

29
When Don Astolf alone there they espied,
They are ashamed that such a host they’ve led.
Emp’ror Argante not a bit delayed,
But left his troops and to Astolfo sped.
Six palms could fit between his shoulder blades.
You never saw such an enormous head.
His nose is flat and broad; his eyes are slits;
The dog is ugly, but he has good wits.

30
With head aloft, the challenger advanced,
Upon a fine destrier with pelt of sorrel.
The Frankish duke, thanks to his golden lance,
Knocks him down from his seat and ends their quarrel.
The hosts assembled look at him askance.
Uldano lays his lance in rest. With laurels
He often has been crowned, this cavalier.
He’s cousin german to the good Ogier.

31
Astolfo with the lance his foeman clouts,
And on the ground Uldano takes his place.
The other kings are seized with awe and doubt.
They dare not look each other in the face.
There rose from ev’ry side a mighty shout,
“Kill him! Kill him!” thus the cry is raised,
And all together, the uncounted rabble
Charge at Astolfo and begin the battle.

32
He, on the other side, stands firm, secure,
And all that charging army he awaits
Just like a rock behind high walls endures,
Ready with Baiard to perform feats great.
By all the dust, the heavens are obscured,
Raised by the feet of that accurséd race.
Four of them lead the vanguard: Saritrone,
Radamont, Agrican, and Pandragone.

33
Now Saritrone first accosts the knight,
And of his horse and saddle he’s bereft.
But Radamonto charges on his right,
And strikes the English duke, while on his left
At the same time, king Agricane strikes,
While charging head-on, with a blow most deft
King Pandragone strikes Astolfo, too,
And these three blows him from his saddle threw.

34
Half-dead, upon the earth he lies distended,
From the three mighty blows he had received.
King Radamanto from his steed descended
And Don Astolf as prisoner he seized.
Astolf now no more himself defended.
He was alone. Nobody him relieved.
What Agricane held in more regard
Than Duke Astolfo was his horse, Baiard.

35
I do not know, my lords, if that destrier
No longer being in his master’s hands
No longer was to Saracens as fierce,
Or if his being in a foreign land
Made all his hopes of fleeing disappear.
At any rate, to Agrican’s command,
As gentle as a gelding, he submits,
Unforced by rein or bridle or by bit.

36
Taken Astolfo is, and lost Baiard,
And the rich harness and the lance of gold.
In all Albracca, not one has the heart
The field against their enemies to hold,
But on the walls they stay, their foes regard
With drawbridge up and with portcullis closed,
For days they stand upon the wall and wait,
Until a host arrives before their gate.

37
Who are these people in this newcome horde,
Who make a noise that echoes up to heaven?
Here is the terrible Circassian lord,
King Sacripante, who has boldly striven
To raise the army with which now he warred.
An emperor is there, beside kings seven,
Who all have come to bring the lady aid.
And who they were, for you I will relate.

38
The foremost of them is a Christian knight,
Although he’s strongly stained with heresy,
King of Armenia, Varone hight,
Of ardor and of vigor full is he.
Full thirty thousand march with him to fight
Who all are excellent at archery.
The second, just a little ways beyond
Is the great Emperor of Trebisond.

39
Brunaldo hight this worthy most renowned.
Twenty-six thousand warriors round him throng.
The third is ruler of Roase crowned;
He’s named Ungiano, and he’s very strong.
Full fifty thousand in his camp are found.
And next two kings, to each of whom belongs
Much honor, vast dominion, mighty works.
One rules the Medes, the other rules the Turks.

40
Torindo is the Turkish leader named,
And Savarone ‘tis who rules the Medes.
Thirty-six thousand soldiers with him came,
And forty thousand Turks Torindo leads.
The land of Babylon is widely famed,
And Baghdad is renowned for valiant deeds.
The lord thereof is come, his foes to meet:
King Trufaldino, master of deceit.

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Book I, Canto IX, Part 4

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto IX, Stanzas 61-79

61
To Sacripant he answers thus, “My lord,
Before thou dost acquire this damosel,
Thou art obliged to settle one more score;
If from thy horse’s back I can thee fell,
Then I shall make thee leave without a horse.
If thou canst throw me, treat me just as well,
And take my gallant steed away from me.
Then let thine other challenge settled be.”

62
King Sacripante says, “O God Mahound,
What blessings on thy servant dost thou pour!
I sought a horse and armor, and I’ve found
A lovely creature whom I’ll prize far more.
And I shall conquer, with a single bound,
The lady, and the armor, and the horse!
This said, away from Duke Astolf he paced,
Then turned and said to him, “Go, take thy place.”

63
And now towards each other, raged, they rushed,
Lances aimed squarely at their chests they sped.
To overcome the other each one trusts.
They near; they strike; they make a clamor dread –
But Sacripante from his steed is thrust.
Against the grassy lawn he knocks his head.
Astolfo leaves him lying on the field.
To Brandimart the conquered horse he yields.

64
“Hast thou heard ever such a merry tale,”
Astolfo says, “as of that cavalier,
Who thought he could unseat me without fail,
And now must go on foot away from here?”
Thus they go talking on their way, until
The damsel says, “My lords, we’re drawing near
The River of Forgetfulness. Take heed;
Caution and counsel all of us will need.

65
If all of us do not act prudently,
Before nightfall we will be lost forever.
Courage and arms of no avail will be,
For not three miles off there flows a river
Which robs the drinker of his memory.
His very name is from his mind dissevered.
In fact, I think it would be best to find
The way we came, and leave this road behind,

66
Because the curséd river can’t be crossed.
On either bank of it tall mountains rise.
From one to th’other side a bridge is tossed,
Which the two giant rocks together ties.
Atop a turret there, come sun or frost,
A lady stands and waits for passers-by,
And from a shining crystal goblet, offers
All travellers to drink the river waters.

67
When he has drunk, gone is his memory,
His very name he can recall no more;
But if a man trust so his strength, that he
Tries to resist her and to cross by force,
Impossible would be his victory,
For all her captive knights and men of war
Are so enchanted that they all will fight
Madly and blindly for that lady bright.

68
With words like these the lady maketh clear
Their risk, and urgeth them their road to change.
Neither knight, though, felt a trace of fear.
It is for quests like these the world they range.
The time appears to them a thousand years
Before they come to this adventure strange.
Until the early morning, on they ride.
The bridge across the river they espied.

69
The damsel, as she’s often done before
Steps on the bridge to greet them when they come.
Sweetly she spoke; a lovely look she wore,
And offered them the chalice, every one.
“Ah!” cries Astolfo, “Stop, thou lying whore!
Thy wicked magic arts today are done.
Now shalt thou die! And think thou not to flee,
Or fool us; we know all thy trickery.”

70
The damsel, when she hears his threat’nings dire
Lets fall the crystal goblet from her hand.
At once the narrow bridge is swathed in fire.
It seems that none can pass the blazes grand.
The other damsel, fearing not the pyre,
Grabs the two cavaliers with either hand.
The dame, I mean to say, of Brandimart,
Who’s wise to conquer this malicious art.

71
She grabs the hands of either valiant knight,
And swiftly as they can, the threesome go
Along a hidden path just on their right,
And they pass over the enchanted flow
Upon a narrow bridge, just hid from sight
So that no travellers this secret know.
But the new damsel, who knew all about
The ill enchantments, found this passage out.

72.
Don Brandimarte batters down the door,
And the false garden all three enter in.
Here of enchanted knights are half a scoe,
Here prisoned is Orlando Paladin,
And King Ballano, master of the war,
And Chiarïone, the brave Saracen.
Here is the real Uberto dal Leone,
The brothers Aquilante and Grifone,

73
With Adrïano, the redoubted king,
The Belarussian worthy, Antifor.
None know each other; none know anything.
They don’t remember who they were before,
If Jesus or Mahomet is their king.
All have been snared by necromantic lore.
All have been captured by that lying dame.
Dragontina is the lady’s name.

74
When Brandimarte and Astolfo enter,
They start an uproar, for bold Chiarïon
And King Ballano meet them as defenders,
Both clad in mail that’s Dragontina’s own.
The other knights stroll through the garden’s center,
If once they knew each other, now unknown;
All, save the count, are in the garden bright;
Orlando views the logia for delight.

75
In all his armor was the cavalier,
For he had only been ensnared that morn,
And Brigliadoro, his renowned destrier,
Is tied amidst the roses and the thorns.
Of any other thoughts his mind is clear,
And lo! where Dragontina comes before him,
And sweetly asks him, “Knight, wilt thou go see
What all that racket is, for love of me?”

76
Without another thought, the baron grand
Leaps to the saddle, drops his visor down,
Goes to the scuffle with his sword in hand.
Brandimart’s knocked Don Chiarïon to ground,
Astolf stretched King Ballano on the land;
On foot and horse there’s fighting all around.
But when Orlando entered in the fray
Astolfo recognized him by his blade,

77
And cried aloud, “O bravest knight and best,
Of ev’ry paladin the crown and flower!
May God in Heaven be forever blest!
Dost thou not know thy cousin? With much stour
Through all the world I’ve gone of thee in quest.
Who has betrayed thee to this curséd  bower?”
The Count Orlando hears no word of this.
He has forgotten who Astolfo is.

78
Without a thought, and with ungoverned rage,
With both his hands he swings a mighty blow,
Which, if Baiardo hadn’t been so sage,
Or if that steed had been a tad more slow,
Would have dispatched Astolfo from life’s stage,
Which would have caused Orlando mickle woe.
High was the wall that ringed the garden round,
But Baiard leapt it with a single bound.

79
Through the gate, ‘cross the bridge, Orlando chases.
He wants to utterly destroy his foe.
Although his Brigliadoro swiftly races,
Compared with Baiard, ev’ry horse is slow,
And Brigliador he easily outpaces.
But I have sung enough for now, I trow.
Next time, my lords, you’ll hear, if you come back,
How Duke Astolfo dealt with this attack.

Book I, Canto IX, Part 2

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

21
She ceased her talk, descended to the ground,
Where the beast lurked, prepared for fresh attacks,
And there the knotted cord the dame unwound,
And from its pan she threw the cake of wax.
The monster snatched it in its jaws, but found
Its teeth stuck fast, and it began to wax
Exceeding wroth, and snorted, shook, and leapt,
And straightway got entangled in the net.

22
The damsel left it in its hempen prison,
And flew away as swiftly as she’d come.
By that time was the lovely star arisen
Which mounts up in the East before the sun.
The growing light brought to Rinaldo’s vision
The beast, whose jaws were sealed and who had run
Smack-dab into a mazy web of knots.
It could not move a hands-breadth from its spot.

23
Immediately he leaps down to the ground,
Where the ferocious freak of nature lies
And bellows so that all the folk around,
Despite their wall, with fear are paralyzed.
Rinaldo quickly his Fusberta found,
And to assault the monster great he tried.
But such thick skin possessed the beast accurst,
It seemed Fusberta would be broken first.

24
Rinaldo searches for its weakest place.
He strikes the right side now, and now the left,
And now he stabs its legs, and now its face,
But still the monster’s skin he hasn’t cleft.
Fusbert can split a rock or iron mace,
But of incisions is the beast bereft.
But bold Rinaldo isn’t took aback.
At once he switches to another tack.

25
To leap upon the monster’s back he rushed,
And threw his arms around its ugly throat,
His knees into the monster’s flanks he pushed.
This is the wildest steed he ever rode!
The baron’s visage crimson red was flushed.
All of his power in this fight he showed,
More strength than he had ever used before,
Till the abomination breathed no more.

26
After he beast’s completely suffocated,
Rinaldo starts to ponder how to fly.
The field was circumscribed (as I have stated)
By an enormous wall both thick and high.
There was one window only, which was grated
With latticed iron work. Rinaldo tries
To slice it open with Fusberta, but
The grate’s too thick and strong for him to cut.

27
Rinaldo realizes at this pass
He’s still a pris’ner in this castle vile.
The folk won’t life him o’er the wall, alas!
And with starvation he must reconcile.
He searches all around, till on the grass
He finds, just lying there, a massive file.
Angelica had left it on the sod.
The baron thinks it must have come from God.

28
The magic file swiftly cuts the bars.
The knight’s about to make his getaway.
From the bright heaven disappear the stars,
As rosy-fingered dawn leads forth the day.
But lo! a giant strolling by, who mars
Rinaldo’s plans not in the slightest way.
For when he sees the knight, he gives a yelp,
And turns, and runs away, and shouts, “Help! Help!”

29
Rinaldo’s sawed completely through the grate,
And from the window he removes the bars,
But the scared outcries of the giant great
Have summon all the wicked folk to arms.
Rinaldo issues from the window straight.
He has Fusberta drawn. He must look sharp,
For ‘gainst him come the people of the castle,
More than six hundred armed and angry vassals.

30
The worthy baron doesn’t care at all;
Were they six times their strength, he’d face them yet.
Leading the rabble is a giant tall,
Who tries to snare Rinaldo in a net.
That false poltroon, whose virtues are but small,
Rinaldo dodges, and he does not fret,
But strikes the giant just below the knee,
Without his legs upon the earth fell he.

31
He left him there; against the rest he sped.
Death and destruction with Fusbert he rained,
And soon he stood alone; the rest were fled.
Not one of all the Saracens remained.
Some left their arms behind, and some their heads.
The courtyard now is even more blood-stained.
The old hag in the keep is barricaded.
With her last soldiers for Rinald she waited.

32
The other giant in the room there stood.
Rinald arrives and doesn’t gape or gawk,
But strikes the door and batters through the wood
Until the door is off its hinges knocked.
The mighty giant in confusion stood,
In terror and embarrassment and shock.
Although he armored is from head to toe,
Not till the door is open does he go

33
Leaping out, brings his club down with a roar;
On Don Rinaldo’s head his great blow fell.
Rinaldo merely laughed at him and swore
“I do thee honor, wretched infidel.
To take thy death from Montalbano’s lord –
Thou wilt be honored for it, down in Hell,
Where thou wilt shortly meet, I dare assert, a
Mighty host I’ve sent there with Fusberta.”

34
The worthy cavalier’s discourse is brief.
He strikes a mighty blow and does not flag
Till he has cleft the giant to the teeth.
The others flee; Rinaldo does not lag,
But hunts and slays them all, with no relief.
But the black-hearted, unrepentant hag
Is standing on a narrow balcony,
And leaps down when the cavalier she sees.

35
The balcony rose up a hundred feet.
You may be well assured the hag is dead.
When Don Rinaldo saw that mighty leap,
“Go to the Devil with thy men!” he said.
The blood upon the chamber floor was deep;
But Don Rinaldo, sword in hand, still sped
In hot pursuit, but, not to tell it all,
He left no soul alive within the walls.

36
And then he left and walked back to the sea.
He did not trust the magic bark; instead
Traipsing along the coastline traveled he,
Until he met a lady fair, who said,
“Alas! Ah, woeful wight! Ah, misery!
My life is dreary, would that I were dead!”
But Turpin speaks no more about her here,
And turns to Don Astolfo, England’s peer.

37
Astolfo had departed lovely France;
Upon the good Baiardo travels he.
In gilded armor, with the golden lance.
Alone he journeys, without company.
He passes through the region of Mayence,
And through great Germany, fair Hungary,
The Danube, Transylvania he’s gone,
And through White Russia till he saw the Don.

38
Reaching this place, to the right hand he swings,
And into mountainous Circasse he’s come.
All of that territory’s bustling.
He sees the folk in armor, every one,
For Sacripante, the Circassian king
A mighty war had recently begun
With Agricane, king of Tartary.
Both of the lords were full of chivalry.

39
The war did not begin for reasons of
A recent insult, nor for ancient hate,
Nor for one king another king to shove
Off of his throne, or to extend the state,
But all these men were armed to fight for Love.
For Agricane wanted as his mate
Angelica, and with her he would wed.
She answered him, she’d rather she were dead.

40
She sent out messengers through ev’ry land,
Both near and far, to palaces and tents,
To knights most lowly and to knights most grand,
Inviting one and all to her defense.
And so a myriad, uncounted band
To save the lady, ready their offense.
But Sacripante’s first of all the throng,
Because this worthy king has loved her long.

Book I, Canto VII, Part 3

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

41
And thus addresses him, “O Emperor wise,
Every heart within a noble breast
Honor and glory over all doth prize.
He who desires only wealth, or rest
And showeth not his prowess to men’s eyes,
Should of his lands and rank be dispossessed.
I, who within the East had no small name
Came to the West to garner still more fame.

42
“And certainly not to acquire France,
Or Spain, or Germany, or Hungary.
Let my deeds henceforth bear me countenance
That I’m content  with my own signorie,
For none on earth can equal my puissance.
So now, here are the terms I offer thee:
Within my camp, thou and they valiant knights,
Shall pris’ners stay, but only for tonight.

43
“And in the morning I shall set you free,
And no more in your country interfere,
On this condition: thou shalt yield to me
The lord of Montalbano’s good destrier
Which I have won by combat lawfully,
Because that rascal didn’t dare appear.
Likwise, when next Orlando thou dost see,
Order thou him to send his sword to me.”

44
King Charles says that he will yield Baiard,
And for the sword he will do all he can;
But King Gradasso drives a bargain hard
And bids him sent to Paris town a man
To fetch the horse. King Charles sends Ricard,
But when Astolfo learns about this plan
(He’d had himself appointed governor)
He seized Ricard  and made him prisoner.

45
And then he sent a herald to the host,
Gradasso and his cohorts to defy,
And if of conquering Rinald he boasts,
Or making him to flee, give him the lie;
And that the treaty was an idle ghost,
For Baiard wasn’t Charles property.
And for his part, the steed he’d never yield
Unless Gradasso beat him in the field.

46
Gradass, on being challenged to a duel,
Asks who Astolfo is, and what his sort.
Charles, who tries to keep his temper cool,
Gives of his Paladin a brief report.
Ganelon says, “My lord, he is a fool
Who often gives delight to all our court.
Pay no attention to his nonsense, nor
Forgo the promises you made before.”

47
Gradasso says to him, “Thou speakest fine,
But think thou not that I’ll let thee depart
For pleasant words if Baiard is not mine.
This Don Astolf must have a valiant heart.
You worthy heroes as my captives pine,
And still he bids me to be on my guard.
Then let him come! If he’s a knight of force
I’ll have some fun before I take the horse.

48
But if by force Baiardo I obtain,
Then I may deal with you just as I please.
On our agreement you will have no claim,
Since you did not fulfill your pact with me.”
Oh, how distraught and wroth is Charlemagne,
For when he thought to have his liberty,
His barons free, himself once more a king,
This idiot will cost him ev’rything.

49
At dawn, Astolfo has Baiard prepared,
With leopards sewn on his caparison.
Enormous pearls upon his helm he wears.
His gilded sword hilt sparkles in the sun.
As many precious stones and jewels he bears
As one who ruled the whole earth might have done.
His shield is gold. He leans upon his breast
The gold lance Argalía once possessed.

50
His entrance on the battlefield he made,
Just as the sun above the hilltops shone.
A mighty blast upon his horn he played,
And he announced in far-resounding tone,
“O King Gradasso, if thou art afraid
To prove thyself against me all alone,
Then bring the great Alfrera by thy side,
And if thou wish, a thousand more beside.

51
“Bring King Marsil, and Balugante false,
Bring Serpentin and Falsirone then;
Bring on Grandonio, he who is so tall –
I’d love to knock him off his horse again! –
And Ferraguto, full of spite and gall;
All of thy paladins and all thy men
Bring with thee, from the greatest to the least,
For thus my glory will be more increased.”

52
With such words Don Astolfo loudly cried.
Oh, how Gradasso laughs, so long and hard!
He arms himself, and to the field he rides,
Where he so much desired to win Baiard.
He gives Astolfo greeting most polite,
Then says, “Sir knight, I know not what thou art.
I asked thy peers about my strange contester.
Ganelon told me that thou wert the jester.

53
“Others have told me that thou art a knight
Graceful, noble, courteous, and free,
Who dost in valor and high deeds delight.
Which one thou art, is yet unknown to me,
But I shall honor thee, who dar’st this fight.
But this I tell thee for a certainty,
That once I knock thee down with smiting hard,
Nought shall I take from thee except Baiard.”

54
“But thou dost count thy bill without thine host,”
Astolfo said, “And it behooves thee wait;
I’ll knock thee from thy saddle with one blow,
But since thou’st shown thy courtesy so great,
Thou shalt not pay a penny’s ransom, thou
All of thy captives thou shalt yield me straight.
And then thou shalt depart for Pagan lands
Immediately, with all thine heathen bands.”

55
“I am content thereto, by great Mahound,”
Gradasso says. They swear to keep these terms.
Then off he starts, and lets his truncheon down,
Banded with iron, which is so strong and firm
He trusts to knock Astolfo t the ground
And which could lay a wall upon the earth.
Astolfo, on the other side makes ready.
His strength is little, but his heart is steady.

56
Gradasso spurs his good Arabian mare,
Nor does Astolfo simply watch him speed;
The thundering of their hoofbeats rends the air,
And in the middle of the field they meet.
Astolfo strikes Gradasso’s shield just ere
The king strikes his. His vict’ry is complete.
The bottom of Gradasso’s shield he grazed,
And the great monarch from his seat was raised.

57
Gradasso finds himself upon the dust
And thinks he’s dreaming, but his mind soon clears.
He realizes that the war is lost,
And lost is Baiard, charger without peer.
He rose, climbed back upon his mare, and crossed
To Don Astolfo, saying, “Cavalier,
Thou hast the better of me here today.
Come, take my prisoners without delay.

58
To the camp riding, hand in hand they go.
Gradasso does the victor honor great.
King Charles and the Paladins don’t know
The jousting’s terms, or what will be their fate.
Astolfo to Gradasso whispers low
Not to tell Charles what has chanced of late
And to keep quiet while he plays a jest.
He wanted vengeance; this way suits him best.

59
With hard-set face, before the king he strides
And says “Ah ha! Thy sins have found thee out!
Thou wert puffed up with arrogance and pride,
And reckoned all the world a rabble rout.
Orlando and Rinaldo saved thine hide,
And thou hast sought for ways to drive them out.
Lo! Thou wouldst take Baiard against all right,
And now possesses him this king of might.

60
“Against all right thou threwest me in jail
To do a favor unto House Magance.
Now see if Ganelone will avail
To save thee now, or save thy realm of France.
The great Orlando will not be thy bail,
Nor will Rinaldo, master of the lance.
Hadst thou not foolishly chased them away,
Thou wouldst not be a ruined man today.

Book I, Canto III, Part 1

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

CANTO III

ARGUMENT

The fierce Grandonio is o’erthrown at last.
Maganzans give Astolfo cause to rue.
They have him into Charles’ dungeon cast.
Rinaldo’s cured; Angelica’s imbued
With love, but her beloved flees her fast.
Don Argalía fights with Ferragu.
The victor makes a promise to the dying,
And soon with Count Orlando is he vying.

1
My lords, remember when I sang before,
Astolfo to the Saracen so fell
Was saying, “Scoundrel, thou shalt boast no more,
Unless thou wish to make thy boasts in Hell,
Of all the mighty barons thou hast floored.
Know, once I conquer thee, I’ll make thee dwell
Within a galley. Thou hast so much strength,
Thou’lt have an oar unto thyself, I think!”

2
The King Grandonio, though he knows full well
To give insults, knows not how to receive.
For wrath and anger so much doth he swell
That not so much are swollen stormy seas
When racked by mighty winds and stormclouds fell,
The bravest captain falls upon his knees.
The king such anger has, all uncontrolled,
His teeth he gnashes and his eyes he rolls,

3
And flares his nostrils like an angry snake,
And with a curse, Astolfo he defied,
Then turns around, his starting place to take,
And lays his mighty lance in rest, and rides,
With which he’s certain that he’ll shortly break
Clean through him, and come out the other side,
Or stretch him lifeless out upon the plain,
Or knock him from his saddle, split in twain.

4
See where that Pagan in his fury starts!
And Don Astolfo swift against him sped.
His face was pale, and fear consumed his heart,
He knew he shortly would be shamed, or dead.
The cavaliers towards each other dart
At breakneck speed – now are they fairly met –
Grandonio falls! No words of mine could tell
How loud his armor rattled when he fell.

5
So great a cry goes up at his defeat,
It seemed the earth would split and heaven fall.
Ev’ryone seated rises to his feet,
And all men shout, the mighty and the small.
And each one presses forth to better see’t.
The Saracens are overwhelmed and galled.
King Charles, when the Pagan he espies
Rolling in dust, cannot believe his eyes.

6
When the great giant tumbled from his horse,
Because he’d landed heav’ly on his right,
The wound within his chest he’d got before,
When he had clashed with the Viennese knight,
Gives such pain to this king of Afric’s shore,
He lies still on the earth, half-dead and white.
With blood forth spurting, so that, sooth to say,
It seems just like a water fountain’s spray.

7
Some said Astolfo for this mighty blow,
Should have the prize, but other folk averred
It was pure chance that wrought this overthrow.
Some “yes”, some “no”, each spoke as he preferred.
They bear forth from the field, in pain and woe,
The King Grandonio, who, as I have heard,
Much later killed Astolf in battle’s strife,
But shortly after, he too lost his life.

8
Astolfo takes his place within the ring
And scarce believes he stands as victor there.
None of the Pagans dares to try to fling
Him from his horse, save for a valiant pair
Of stalwart warriors, and sons of kings:
Gisarte dark, and Pilïasi fair.
Gisarte’s father’s conquered with his sword
All of Arabia, and been crowned lord.

9
But that of Pilïasi holds in fee
The whole of Russia and some lands beyond
The mountains, reaching into Tartary,
So that his lands are bounded by the Don.
But now I wish to keep my story brief.
These two alone of Saracens came on
Against Astolfo, and, to tell it quickly,
He knocked them to the ground like they were sickly.

10
A squire comes to Ganelon and tells
The news of King Grandonio’s strange defeat.
At first, he scarce believes that infidel
Was by Astolfo tumbled from his seat.
But then he thinks, and he believes it well
That some unlooked-for chance hath wrought this feat,
And that proud giant’s fall must be a fluke,
And can’t be from the prowess of the duke.

11
And then he thinks that he will surely win
The foremost honor of the tournament.
With pomp and finery he enters in
The lists. T’impress the crowd is his intent.
Eleven counts, the flower of his kin,
He brought to ride behind him as he went
Before  King Charles, and with haughty words,
He made excuses for what had occurred.

12
Whether King Charlemagne believed this liar
I cannot say, but he bestowed good cheer.
Then Gano asked Astolfo by a squire
If he’d agree to combat with the spear,
Since none among the Pagans so desired,
And he (Count Gano) was so stout, ‘twas clear
He ought to demonstrate his chivalry
By knocking down the knights of less degree.

13
Astolf, who never thinks before he speaks,
Unto the herald says: “To Gano tell,
When he’s around, nobody needs to seek
For heathens, for he’s worse than infidels,
That foe of God, oppressor of the weak,
That traitor, heretic, and spawn of Hell.
Go tell that swine I hope to see him hung,
And fear him as I would a sack of dung.

14
When Gano hears himself held in despite,
He sends no answer, but his wrath burns hot,
And furi’usly he charges at that knight
And calls aloud to him, “Thou glutton! Sot!
Thou’lt cease thy boasting once thou feel’st my might!”
He thought he’d knock him down, for this was not
The first time they had jousted, and each time
Before, he’d laid him on the ground supine.

15
But things fall elsewise than we think they will,
And Gano on the soil takes his place.
Macario charges to avenge this ill,
And joins in shame the leader of his race.
“How can God suffer that this imbecile –
Says Pinabello – “should bring such disgrace
On House Maganza?” Then he lays his lance
In rest, and spurs his charger to advance.

16
But he was overthrown just like the rest.
You need not wonder if Astolf felt grand.
He shouts aloud to them, “O race unblest!
I’ll knock you one and all upon the sand.”
The Count Smiriglio, lance in hand, forth pressed.
Astolfo fells him with a blow so grand
They have to bear him, senseless, from the ring.
O how Count Ganelon was sorrowing!

17
Falcone says, when he beholds him swoon,
“Can Fortune to such malice be inclined?
Can Heaven have permitted this buffoon
To overthrow us all and make us pine?”
An evil plots wakes in his head, and soon
He secretly pulls out a rope to bind
Himself unto his saddle, then he calls
Astolf to combat, thinking he can’t fall.

18
He gallops forward, hoping him to mangle.
Thanks to the rope, he isn’t overthrown,
But such a blow he takes, his limbs all dangle,
He scarce can sit upright, his life nigh flown.
Ev’ryone sees him, hopelessly entangled,
And thus his subterfuge to all is known.
The crowd, enraged and in a fury, cried,
“See how the traitor to his horse was tied!”

19
The field he exits, covered with men’s spite,
Their hoots and jeers add to his misery.
Count Gano agonizes at the sight.
Astolfo calls aloud right valiantly:
“Come at me, if you’re itching for a fight,
And if you’re tied, it’s all the same to me.
Madmen like you should not be running round
The countryside, but with a rope be bound.”

20
Anselmo della Ripa, count perfidious,
Decides upon a most malicious plan.
T’avenge his kinsmen’s shame by means insidious.
“I’ll smite him soon as he has felled his man,
Before he’s ready, with a blow dispiteous.”
Rainieri, count of Altafoglia, ran
Ahead. Anselmo, lance in rest, awaited
A chance to overthrow the man he hated.

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Notes

Book I, Canto II, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English translation, Book I, Canto II, Part 3, Stanzas 41-68, Notes

41
Astolf advances, eager for the fray,
Bearing the lance he found beneath the pine.
Three golden pards his crimson shield displays,
And he sits in his saddle, strong and fine.
But unexpected danger comes his way;
His charger stumbles and he sprawls supine.
Astolfo’s knocked unconscious at that point,
And his right foot is pulled out of its joint.

42
At this mischance, the crowd lets out a groan,
And Serpentino utters maledictions,
Lamenting that his prowess was not shown.
(But certainly this was a false prediction)
They bear the senseless duke back to his home,
Where carefully they tend to his afflictions.
They bring his senses back, and then his foot,
Is set and wrapped, and in good order put.

43
Though Serpentin has shown such awesome might,
No whit afraid is Don Ogier the Dane.
So fast he gallops that it seems like flight,
Or like the wind that sweeps across the main.
Upon his shield for emblem hath this knight
A chevron argent on an azure plain.
A basilisk was sculpted on the helm
Of this great champion of the Danish realm.

44
The trumpets sound, and those two knights ride out
With lance in rest, so fast it was a wonder.
All day there had not been a blow so stout
As this, which sounded like a clap of thunder.
The Dane Ogieri, with a mighty clout
Makes Serpentino’s stirrups split asunder
And knocks him back across his horse’s croup;
He lies in dust, his haughty pride must stoop.

45
Now strong Ogieri takes the vanquished’s place,
And stridently within the ring defends him.
Flushed red with shame is Balugante’s face.
His dear son’s overthrow so much offends him,
But soon he finds himself in like disgrace,
Because the Dane along the earth distends him.
And now advances the young Isolier,
The bold and court’eous heathen cavalier.

46
This knight was cousin unto Ferragu.
On his green shield he bears three moons of gold.
He spurs his horse; his lance aims straight and true,
And he collides against that baron bold.
The mighty Dane strikes him a blow to rue,
And sweeps him off his horse and knocks him cold.
‘Tis hard to tell if he is still alive.
He lays insensible for hours five.

47
Then Don Gualtiero, lord of Monleon,
Is by Ogieri laid upon the field.
A dragon, emblem of this hero, shone
In burnished crimson on his golden shield.
“Oh, Christians, – cries Ogier in woeful tone –
Why should we arms against each other wield?
Do you not hear the Pagans’ jeers and mocks
When to ourselves we give such dreadful knocks.

48
Spinella d’Altamonte was the name
Of a stout Saracen who sought renown
By jousting at the court of Charlemagne.
On his blue shield he bore a golden crown.
Ogieri sends him sprawling on the plain.
Now Matalista on the Dane bears down.
He’s brother to the lovely Fiordespin.
In battle he is ardent, fierce, and keen.

49
Upon his helm, a dragon is his crest,
His shield in halves of gold and brown is split.
Shortly upon the earth he takes his rest,
Of steed and saddle he’s completely quit.
That dog, Grandonio, issues forward next.
God help Ogier! He has great need of it.
In all the world you could not find so strong
A pagan, though you searched forever long.

50
This king was seven foot (it is no fable),
He rode the largest horse that could be found.
He held before him a great shield of sable
Which bore a golden image of Mahound.
There was no Christian who thought himself able
To stand against that mighty felon hound.
Gan of Pontiers, soon as he saw his height,
Quietly slipped away from field and fight.

51
Macario of Lusana does likewise,
Rainer with Pinabello disappears;
Falcone after his companions hies,
And till he’s gone, it seems a thousand years.
Though ev’ry other man of Mayence flies,
Grifon stands firm among King Charles’ Peers.
For fear of shame, or through his bravery,
Or else, he didn’t see his kinsmen flee.

52
But turn we to that heathen hound atrocious
Who rides as swiftly as the tempest blast.
His lance with which he means to strike his foes, is
So large, a ship could use it as a mast.
Nor was his charger any less ferocious.
It raised great clouds of dust wherev’r it passed,
And split the stones, and caused the earth to shake,
And all the crowd for very terror quake.

53
With such great wrath against the Dane he comes,
And strikes so hard that he destroys his shield.
Both horse and rider to the blow succumb,
And lie in dust. Ogieri’s senses reel.
The aging Naimo to his nephew runs,
And picks him up, and bears him from the field.
And fetched him doctors for his arm and chest.
Though for a month in bed he had to rest.

54
A mighty shout goes up on ev’ry side,
And loudest then the Saracens are heard.
Now King Grandonio holds the ring with pride,
But for all this, the Peers are undeterred.
Turpin of Rheims against the giant rides,
And clashes with him, and lands in the dirt.
He felt such pain when from his hose he flew,
The priest was certain that his life was through.

55
Astolfo had returned unto the square,
Upon a palfrey, gentle, white, and pretty.
No weapons, save his belted sword, he bears,
And sits amidst the dames of Paris city.
He speaks to them with pleasant words and fair,
For he was courteous and very witty.
But while he’s chatting with them, see Grifon,
By King Grandonio now is overthrown.

56
This knight was of the lineage of Mayence.
On his blue shield he bore a falcon white.
The King Grandonio cries with arrogance,
“O Christians, are you all too tired to fight?
Are your shields heavy? Have you all got splints?”
Now comes forth Guido, a most courteous knight,
Lord of Borgogna, and a he bears a lion
Sable on gold; Grandonio sends him flying.

57
He throws to earth the mighty Angelier,
Who bore a dragon with a woman’s face.
Avin, Avol, Otton, and Berlinzer,
One after th’other tumble in disgrace.
Their shields with checkered blue and gold shone clear,
Four sable eagles on their helms were placed.
For these four were the sons, I understand,
Of Naimo, Duke of the Bavarian land.

58
Don Ugo of Marseilles is thrown and killed
By this Grandon, he hits the ground so hard.
The more he jousts, the more he shows his skill.
He knocks down Riccardetto and Alard,
And mocks King Charles with a right good will,
Calling the Christians vile, faint of heart.
The court stands still, in mourning and in fear,
But see, advancing, Marquis Olivier!

59
It seemed as if the heavens would be torn
For each man cheered and laughed as he rode by.
The marquis comes, adorned in shining arms.
King Charles greets him with his panoply.
The trumpets blow; each herald sounds his horn,
And great and small alike send up the cry:
“Long life to Olivier! Long live Vienne!”
And King Grandonio laughed and armed him then.

60
The knights charged at each other with more hate
And with more vigor than my tongue could tell.
The crowd looks on, and in suspense they wait,
To see the outcome of this battle fell.
No word was spoken. Ev’ry man doth bate
His breath, and seems as if beneath a spell.
And now they meet! Don Olivier’s puissance
Pierces the Pagan’s shield with his good lance.

61
That shield was fashioned of nine plates of steel,
And Marquis Olivier has pierced them all.
He breaks the hauberk, and Grandonio feels
The iron wounding him; it stings like gall,
But he, the pitiless, with his mast deals
A blow to Olivier that makes him fall,
And that fierce giant struck him with such force,
He landed twenty feet beyond his horse.

62
Every man was certain he was dead,
Because his helmet had been cracked in two.
The Christians sorrowfully hang their heads,
Thinking his spirit from his body flew.
Stunned was King Charles, heavy tears he shed,
And cried in anguish, “Baron stout and true,
O flower of my court, my Peer, my son!
Can God be silent when such things are done?”

63
Grandonio now such arrogance displays
As dwarfs the pride he showed until this time.
He cries, while savage joy lights up his face,
“O Paladins, besotted with your wine,
Back to your taverns, lily-livered race;
This game is harder than your cards, you’ll find!
You Paladins are full of martial spirit,
And boast and threat – when no one else can hear it!”

64
When Charles hears his court held in despite,
And King Grandonio’s overbearing boasts,
His heart throbs, and his face for wrath turns white.
He glares with flaming eyes at all his host.
“Where are my vassals? Where my stalwart knights?
Why have they left me when I need them most?
Where’s Ganellone? Has Rinald turned dastard?
And where’s Orlando, that dammed treach’rous bastard?

65
Thou whoreson scoundrel, renegade thrice-damned,
If ev’r again I see thee, may I die
If I don’t stringthee up with mine own hands!”
This and much else the Emp’ror Charles cries.
Astolfo, hearing him, slips from the stands,
And rides back to his house, which stood close by,
And promptly arms himself and rushes back,
In shining armor, ready to attack.

66
No foolish hope that baron’s breast inspired
That he would best that Pagan in the ring.
With pure and good intentions he desired
Only to do his duty by his King.
He bore him proudly, in fine arms attired,
And seemed to be a paragon of strength,
But ev’ryone who recognized him groaned.
“God send us better help than him!” they moaned.

67
With reverence, he bends his head down low,
Before King Charles and salutes him. “Sire,
Yon braggart knight I mean to overthrow.
I understand that such is thy desire.”
Charles, scarce caring says to him, “Then, go!
And God go with thee!” But the king, in ire,
Says to his men, soon as the prince can’t hear,
“And from this crowning shame, God keep us clear.”

68
Astolfo boasts that he will cast that knight
Within the galleys, chained unto an oar.
The giant’s anger reaches such a height,
He has such wrath that no one e’er had more.
In my next canto, lordings, I’ll recite,
With the permission of th’Almighty Lord
A tale most marvelous of fights more dread
Than any you have ever heard or read.

HERE ENDETH THE SECOND CANTO

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Notes

Book I, Canto II, Part 1

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

CANTO II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Notes

Book I, Canto I, Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Notes

Notes to the First Canto, Parts 1 and 2

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

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

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

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On to Part 2

On to Part 3

Book I, Canto I, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Notes