Book I, Canto XIV, Part 3

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

41
I do not know, my lords, if ere this time
You’ve heard the fame of great Uberto bruited?
He was a knight most courteous and fine,
Strong and courageous and for all things suited.
He scanned th’horizon with his watchful eye,
(For diligence he ever was reputed)
And thuswise was he when the lady fair
Came to the side of Count Orlando there.

42
King Adrïano and the bold Grifon
Stand in the loggia and discourse of love.
While Aquilante sings with Chiarïon,
The first the tenor part, the next above,
While Brandimarte sang the baritone;
And King Balllano was discoursing of
Swords, lances, armor, horses, weapons, war
With Belarussia’s baron, Antifor.

43
The damsel takes Orlando by the hand
And on his finger puts the wondrous ring
Which magic hath no power to withstand.
At once the Count remembers everything,
But when he sees who ’tis before him stads,
He quick forgets all else, save how to bing
Pleasure to her, though scarcely can he deem
He is awake, and this is not a dream.

44
The damsel hastily explaineth all
About the garden, how he thither came,
And Dragontine captured him in thrall
And wiped all memory clean from his brain.
And then for succor and for aid she calls,
With humble prayer asking if he’ll deign
To fight ’gainst Agricane and his horde,
Who waste her land with fire and with sword.

45
But Dragontina, standing in the palace
Looked out the window and beheld the dame.
She ran to find her knights, snared by the chalice,
But none are armed; her caution was her bane.
Now Count Orlando in the saddle tall is,
And in his arms Uberto he restrained,
Before he had the chance to stir one foot,
And then the ring upon his finger’s put.

46
The situation quickly is made clear.
Obert will help the spell be overthrown.
Now pay attention, lords, and you shall hear
Their wondrous deeds most worthy to be known.
They captured first the sons of Olivier,
The one Don Aquilant, the one Grifon.
The count had not yet recognized the boys,
But now he did. Great was Orlando’s joy.

47
And greater joy upon the brothers came,
Seeing each other at this blesséd hap.
Now Dragontina nearly goes insane,
Seeing her garden lost by sad mishap.
The potent ring makes all her magic vain.
The palace vanished with a thunderclap.
Bridge, river, fairy, vanished where they stood,
And left the barons standing in a wood.

48
They stand in stupefaction and amaze.
At one another stare they all and seek
Among the knights for a familiar face.
The Count of Brava, who is first to speak,
Addressing all assembled in that place,
Explains what happened, then proceeds with meek
And humble words, to ask the lords to fight
For her who rescued them from such a plight.

49
He tells of Agricane’s mighty war,
And how he has destroyed the lovely city,
And in the keep she is besiegéd sore.
Ev’ry last cavalier is filled with pity
And swears to bering the lady fair succor,
As long as he can fight, or on horse sit he,
And to force Agricane to retire,
Or in attempting the great deed, expire.

50
They set out, all together, on the road.
The lady guides them, and the knights escort.
Of Trufaldino now must things be told;
Who was holed up within the tiny fort.
Evil when young, and worse when he was old,
He was as treacherous as he was short.
No one suspected him. Each trusting head
Of Turk and of Circassian lay abed.

51
Torindo’s valor can avail no more
Than all of Sacripante’s chivalry.
For each of them is lying wounded sore
From fighting in the battle valiantly.
They’ve lost much blood, and they are weak therefore,
And they are overpowered instantly.
King Trufaldino binds them hand and foot.
Into a turret’s attic are they put.

52
He sends a messenger to Agrican,
Saying that he can have at will the keep.
The rock is his, and his the barbican.
Both of the kings were tied up in their sleep,
And now he wished to place them in his hand.
But the great Tartar’s ire runneth deep.
With eyes ablaze and with a haughty look,
He thus addressed the messenger, who shook:

53
“Go tell thy lord that Termagant forbid
That any man on earth should ever say
That traitors helped in anything I did.
By honest strength I’ll win; no other way.
I’ll fight in daylight, not by darkness hid,
But thee and thy false lord I shall make pay
For impudence to thus suggest this thing.
You scoundrels from the battlements will swing.

54
“Fool though thou art, thou still must be aware
You cannot long remain within your fort;
And once I take it, thou wilt hang in air,
Out of a tower window by thy foot.
Thou and thy Trufaldin will make a pair,
And ev’ry person who his hand hath put
To do a treason so black and immense
Will likewise dangle from the battlements.

55
The herald listened, while his face had turned
Now ghostly white, and now as red as flame.
He wished that long ago he had returned,
And thinks that Tartar has to be insane.
The king turned ’round, once he the offer spurned,
And the miscreant when back the way he came.
He went as swift as if the Fiend pursued,
Without the rich reward he’d thought his due.

56
Trembling all over, he regained the hold,
And told King Trufaldino what befell.
Now turn we to Orland, brave and bold,
Who came with his companions, right good-willed.
By night and day without a rest they rode.
One morn they reached the summit of a hill.
From the top they look down, and all they see
Is the vast campment of their enemy.

57
Such were the numbers nearly infinite
So many tents and such  mass of banners,
Angelica is dumbstruck at the sight.
They must pass through these legions in some manner,
Before they can regain the fortress’ height.
But the brave knights do not an instant stammer.
They see that glory will be their reward,
Taking the lady home by force of sword.

58
About the treason, nothing o they know,
Which wicked Trufaldino has prepared.
But on the mountaintop with hearts aglow,
They plan out how the duties will be shared
To let Angelica in safety go,
Though all the world in arms against them fared.
They don their armor and they mount their steeds,
Discuss and form a plan that may succeed.

59
In this formation, then, they will confront
And pass through all of this enormous rabble.
The Count Orlando will be at the front,
With Brandimarte, to begin the battle.
Then four knights will protect from all affront
The lady in a ring around her saddle.
Oberto, Aquilant, and Chiarïon
With Adrïano will escort her home.

60
Angelica, defended by these four
Need have no feat of any foeman’s blow.
The rearguard will be made of three, no more.
But everyone his valor well will show.
Grifone, Belarussian Antifor,
And King Ballano, who does not fear know.
The whole brigade is ready for to start.
They fear not all the world, these noble hearts.

Notes

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Book I, Canto XIV, Part 2

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

21
Three kings within the keep are still alive,
Besides the damsel and some thirty men,
Most of whom are too wounded to survive.
The keep is strong beyond most builders’ ken.
They all agree that they will further strive,
And fight against the Tartars till the end.
They’ll eat and drink by slaughtering the horses,
And pray to God to boost their meager forces.

22
They next agree to send the princess out,
To save her comrades from starvation miserable.
She has the magic ring, which in her mouth
Can make her all at once become invisible.
The sun begins to set beyond the mounts,
And darkness makes all creatures scarcely visible.
The princes calls into her presence keen,
Torindo, Sacripant, and Trufaldin.

23
And to the monarchs on her faith she swore
That she’d be back again in twenty days,
And in return they swear to hold the fort
As long as they and their companions may,
Until Mahomet sendeth them succor,
For she will seek for aid by night and day,
From ev’ry king and ev’ry man of might,
And with the hope of aid her heart is light.

24
When all is spoken, in the quiet night
The damsel mounts upon her palfrey’s back
And makes her way beneath the moon’s pale light.
Along beneath the sky her path she tracks.
She was not caught in any sentry’s sight,
Although of men outside there is no lack,
Because fatigue, and certain victory
Wrap them in sleep, devoid of memory.

25
The magic ring she doesn’t need at all,
For by the time the sun his head uprose,
Five leagues behind her are Albracca’s walls,
And four leagues from her are her nearest foes.
She turns around, she sighs, her eyelids fall,
To see afar her newly-scapéd woes.
Riding as fast as won’t her palfrey lame,
She passed Orgagna, to Circassia came.

26
She chanced to ride along the river banks,
Where the bold Don Rinaldo lately slew
The cruel centaur, like a valiant Frank.
As on she rides, a flow’ry meadow through,
She met an ancient man, who clearly drank
A bitter cup. His tears fell like the dew,
And with clasped hands he dropped upon his knees,
Begging the dame to listen to his pleas.

27
The old man says to her, “A handsome lad,
My only comfort in my feeble age,
My son, my joy, the only one I had,
Within our house – it’s but a little ways –
With burning fever lies upon his bed.
I know no medicine to stop its rage.
And if to bring me help thou dost not run,
All of my hope is gone, my life is done.”

28
Pity soon runs within her gentle heart.
She ‘gins to comfort the old, feeble man.
For she knew ev’ry herb and all the art
Of medicine, as much as mortal can.
Alas! Too credulous and trusting heart!
She knew the danger not, in which she ran.
The innocent takes on her palfrey’s croup
The wicked man, who will to all things stoop.

29
Now you must know that this old silver-hair
Waits by the wood and plain, till fortune brings
A girl or woman on a journey there,
To snare them like a songbird in a spring.
For ev’ry year one hundred women fair
He pays in tribute to Orgagna’s king.
By cunning guile no one can withstand
He takes them o’er to Polifermo’s hands.

30
For not five miles off, the man had dight
Upon a bridge, a vast and mighty tower.
You never saw so wonderful a sight.
And ev’ry dame who fell into his power
The old man in this lofty prison pight.
A whole brigade was in this joyless bower.
All of his pris’ners by deception made he,
And one of them was Brandimarte’s lady.

31
The centaur dunked her, as you may recall,
In sooth, her prospects seldom had looked dimmer.
But she was saved, and didn’t fear at all,
Because she was a very able swimmer.
The current bore her like a child’s ball,
Or like a branch amidst the water’s glimmer.
It bore her to the bridge, which was not far,
Where rose the tower, and the man stood guard.

32
He pulled her from the river, almost dead,
And tends to her with unremitting care,
For many skilled physicians ate his bread
And other vassals dwelt within his lair.
When she recovers, in the prison dread
He thrusts her, with the rest to languish there.
But le’s speak of Angelica the sweet,
Who came, not witting the old man’s deceit.

33
When she set foot upon the tower floor,
(The old man lingered on the bridge, “to rest”)
Immediately did the iron door
Slam shut, though by no earthly hand ’twas pressed.
Too late Angelica sees to the core
Of the false elder, and she beats her breast;
She loudly wept, and loudly cried – in vain.
None to her aid except the prisoners came.

34
They gathered round her, and they vainly sought
To give her comfort, all alone and scared;
They all relate to her how they were caught,
For griefs seems always lesser when they’re shared.
The last to speak is she who last was brought.
She scarce could speak, so weighed was she with care.
This was the noble Brandimarte’s dame,
And Fiordelisa was the lady’s name.

35
She tells, while often sighs escape her breast,
How she and Brandimart loved faithfully,
How searching with Astolfo on a quest
They came upon a garden filled with trees
And flowers and fruit, that seemed a pleasant rest,
Where Dragontina stole his memory.
The Paladin Orlando there she saw,
With many others, in the fairy’s claws.

36
And how she’d travelled on, in search of aid,
And met with Don Rinaldo on the road;
And all their wanderings she next relates.
Without a lie, the story plain she showed,
About the giant and the gryphons great,
And the great treason done to Albarose.
And of the centaur, like an evil dream,
Who’d kidnapped her and thrown her in the stream.

37
Poor Fiordelisa sighs for, as she speaks,
Her love true, of whom she’s been deprived.
Angelica, though, hears the door hinge creak,
For one more lady on the bridge arrived.
At once she has the chance for which she seeks.
She was not seen by any man alive
As she escaped the prison, for she bore
The magic ring, and just walked out the door.

38
It would have been in vain if any sought her,
Such is the ring’s most potent grammarye.
When into freedom it has safely brought her,
She finds the stables, and her palfrey frees,
Then rides away to seek the curséd water
Which steals away the drinker’s memories,
Where Milo’s son and others she may meet,
Captured in Dragontina’s prison sweet.

39
And going on her way without a pause,
She comes one morning to a garden fair,
Where Dragontina marks her not, because
The magic ring within her mouth she bears.
Aside into a little grove she draws,
Ties up her palfrey, and on foot she fares
Across the grass, till by a fountain’s side
The Count, in armor resting, she espied,

40
Because it was his turn to be on guard.
So at the garden’s entrance he reclines.
His Brigliadoro munches on the sward.
His shield and helm are hanging on a pine.
Nearby, beneath the shade a tree affords,
There waits a cavalier of noble line.
Upon his horse he sat, and he was known
And famed as Don Uberto dal Leon.

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Notes

The Legend of Dieudonné of Hungary

The legend of Dieudonné of Hungary survives in only one MSS: A 17,500 line chanson de geste in monorhymed Alexandrines, also known as Charles le Chauve. Despite that name, it is set in the days of the Merovingians, not of Charlemagne’s grandson. To avoid confusion, we will be referring to the legend and chanson as Dieudonné of Hungary.

The MS. in question is BnF Fr. 24372, which is incomplete at the end. There are partial editions, but no complete ones, and of course no English translation.

DIEUDONNÉ OF HUNGARY

King Clotaire of France had no heirs at his death, so the Twelve Peers met to choose his successor. An angel of the Lord appeared to tell them to choose no king, but to wait for the coming of King Melsiau of Hungary, who, though currently a Saracen, would be baptised under the name of Charles the Bald. William of Montfort, a Breton baron, rejects this plan, and readies an army to seize the throne with his faithful companion, Goubaut of Lausanne. At the same time, Melsiau invades, intending to convert the folk to the worship of Mahound. The Peers, flustered, manage to persuade both parties to a truce, and they will both present themselves at Notre-Dame de Riems, where the Holy Ghost will make His will known. As Melsiau approaches the altar, the Holy Ghost appears and places in his hand a vial filled with sacred oil. Melsiau is baptized under the name of Charles, known as the Bald. He melts down his idols and uses the gold to adorn churches, and marries Marguerite, heiress of Berry. They have two sons, Philip and Charlot.

But William and Goubaut are not pleased. They flatter the king while secretly hating him. Charles makes Goubaut the tutor of Prince Philip. Goubaut poisons a barrel of wine and sends it to Philip in the name of Charles. He then throws the squire who delivered it down a well, to silence him. Meanwhile, the Duke of Touraine has tasted the wine and died in agony. Charles wishes to banish his son, but Marguerite persuades him to settle for banishment. Philip is forced to swear to tell no one of his lineage.

Philip learns that King Hilaire of Hungary is besieged in Montluisant by a Saracen giant named Merlangier, and has promised his daughter Doraine to whoever slays the Pagan. As he travels thither, he kills a “monstrous serpent” that ravaged the countryside. He then rests at the home of Goubaut’s kinsman Butor de Saleries, who plots to kill him by night, but Butor’s wife warns Philip, who escapes and comes to Montluisant. Inside the city, he is given lodging by one Joseran, a fellow Frenchman. That same day, a Lombard knight is defeated by Merlangier. His squire, passing though the town, resents Philip’s mockery, and the two fight, and the Lombard is slain. Philip is brought before King Hilaire for murder. He announces that he has come to fight Merlangier, whereupon all is forgiven. Doraine falls in love and gives him a magic ring which will protect him from poison and drowning.

When Philip fights the giant, Merlangier throws him in the river, from which he emerges unfazed and beheads the Saracen. This does not end the war, however, for Merlagier’s brother Soltibran begins a general combat, in which Soltibran mortally wounds Hilaire and is slain in turn by Philip. Hiliare, dying bequeaths his daughter and his kingdom to Philip.

Meanwhile, in France, Butor has strangled his wife and now prepares to follow Philip and kill him, too. Coming to Montluisant, he apologizes to Philip for the unfortunate incident at his house, and lays all the blame on one of his squires, whom he has punished. Credulity seems to run in the family, for King Philip believes him and makes him seneschal.

Doraine conceives a child. Before he is born, however, an angel orders Philip to lead twenty thousand soldiers to save Jerusalem from the Saracens. He departs, leaving Butor in charge. Philip saves Jerusalem and is crowned king by the Patriarch. Meanwhile, Butor has forged letters saying that Philip is dead in Syria, and claims that he was the son of a peasant, banished from France for banditry. He offers to marry Doraine, who refuses him. So instead, he schemes with a midwife to swap her baby for a half-devoured chicken and to pretend the queen ate her child. The baby is abandoned in the woods, but rescued by Guillaume d’Esturgon, a local lord, who sees that he has a cross birthmark on his shoulder, and names him Dieudonné.

Philip, sailing home, is shipwrecked by a storm, and saved only by the magic ring. He washes up on a desert island inhabited only by a hermit, also shipwrecked. There the two remain for eighteen years.

Guillaume raises the young Dieudonné with his own son Mancion and daughter Supplante. Mancion is jealous of his foster-brother’s talent for learning and fighting, but Supplante adores him. Supplante says Dieudonné’s birthmark means he is a king. Mancion laughs and says the only king Dieudonné will ever be is the Twelfth-Night King. Such quarrels as these continue, until at last they fight over a chess game. Mancion pulls a knife and tries to stab Dieudonné, who, however, wrestles the knife away and pierces his foster-brother’s heart. He flees, but Guillaume pursues and overtakes him. Dieudonné will not fight his foster-father, who is touched with pity and banishes him instead of executing him. He decides to wander the earth seeking his birth parents. As he travels, he hears the sad tale of the Queen dowager of Hungary, accused of murdering her own child. He decides to defend her. He gets lost on the road to Hungary, however, and comes to a fountain where three naked young women are swimming. He modestly averts his eyes, and asks them where he can find lodging. They dress and conduct him to the castle of the Fairy Queen, Gloriande. Here a dwarf named Maufumé, who is old enough to remember Noah, challenges him to battle. Dieudonné refuses, so Maufumé leaves, summons a storm, transforms himself into a knight, and jousts with Dieudonné, who with difficulty overcomes him. Maufumé resumes his own shape, announces that Gloriande is in love with Dieudonné, and welcomes him into the castle, which is so beautiful that Dieudonné almost forgets his parents and his beloved Supplante at once. Almost, for when Queen Gloriande offers him her love, he tells her that his heart is pledged to Supplante. She accepts her rejection with grace, and offers him a horn, that can summon seven thousand men when blown; a napkin, which, if the sign of the cross is made over it, will provide bread and meat for a hundred; and a chalice, which will always be full of the world’s best wine. If Dieudonné ever tells a lie, however, the gifts will cease to work for him. Maufumé gives him a sword whose blows are always mortal. Thus arrayed, he departs for Esturgon, where Gloriande tells him his love is waiting.

On the road to Esturgon, Dieudonné kills a man-eating centaur, rescuing its victims from its castle, and winning an enchanted helmet. He arrives at Esturgon, where he invites all the beggars to a feast and feeds them with his napkin and chalice. When Guillaume comes to see what the commotion is about and recognizes his foster-son, he calls his men to seize him, but Dieudonné blows his horn and summons an army, whereupon Guillaume sees the benefits of mercy and gives Supplante to Dieudonné in marriage. Gloriande and three fairies play the music at their wedding, and on their wedding night Dagobert is begotten.

Dieudonné remembers that he was supposed to go rescue the Queen of Hungary, (whom he has learned is really his mother) and leaves his bride in the morning. He arrives at Montluisant and saves her with his fairy army. Unfortunately, Butor escapes and holes up in his castle of Nimègue. Dieudonné now goes to find his father, saving Constantinople from the Saracens on the way, but when he arrives on the island, the hermit tells him that Philip is gone; a ship came by at last and took him away. Dieudonné, suspicious, lies to the hermit about his identity, causing Gloriande’s gifts to lose all their power. To make things worse, Dieudonné is shipwrecked on the Isle of Adamant. Maufumé is given permission to go help him, but only on condition that he (Maufumé) spend three years in shape of a luiton. The dwarf rescues the prince, and he, having never lied, is able to use the napkin and chalice to feed Dieudonné and the crew. They return to Gloriande, who restores Dieudonné’s ability to use them as well.

Dieudonné now returns to Montluisant, where he learns that Philip is at Nimègue, where Butor has persuades him that Queen Doraine murdered their son, and that the man pretending to be Dieudonné is actually Queen Doraine’s lover, who has changed his shape by magic. Dieudonné cannot fight his father, lest he break the power of the gifts again, and so he slips away, leaving his mother to the tender mercies of her husband and Butor.

Here there is a lacuna in the only manuscript.

When the story resumes, Emperor Charles the Bald, King Philip, and Dieudonné have reconciled and are accusing Goubaut and Butor of treason. In a two-on-two duel, Philip and Dieudonné mortally wound their opponents, who confess everything before dying. Everyone is happy and content.

Or they would be, if Goubaut’s kinsmen were not trying to take over France in Charles’ absence. Charles, Philip, and Dieudonné ride to raise the siege of Rheims, but they have the worse of the battle. Dieudonné is unhorsed, taken captive, and bound. With great difficulty, he loosens his bonds enough to raise his horn to his mouth. He blows a mighty blast, the fairy army arrives, and the kings are victorious. Unfortunately, the traitors escape. The royalty pursue them to Lausanne, leaving Doraine and Supplante in Montluisant, where they are besieged by the pagan King Joshua of Majorca and Almería, who has fallen on love with Supplante by report. He hires the famous enchanter Balan of Ascalon, who helps him capture the city. Doraine leaps out a window to keep her chastity, Supplante is made a captive of Joshua, and Balan kidnaps the infant Dagobert to raise as his own son. Touched by pity, he also provides Supplante with a chastity-preserving ring.[1] Thus she lives chastely for several years in Almería.

After successfully defeating the traitors in Lausanne, Charles, Philip, and Dieudonné learn of the fate of their womenfolk. Dieudonné heads for the sea and sets sail for Almería, destroying the navy of the Sultan of Damascus en route, thanks to his enchanted horn. He slays the Sultan and rescues his fiancée, Princes Corsabrine of the Indies, whom he proceeds to deflower, thereby causing the fairy gifts to lose their power a second time. He is unaware of this, however, and confidently attacks Almería. Without the fairy horn, his entire army is destroyed. Corsabrine is taken captive by King Joshua, and Dieudonné manages to escape in a dinghy which eventually washes up near the Roman campagna. King Joshua happens to be the nephew of the Sultan of Damascus, so Corsabrine tells him that she is pregnant with the Sultan’s child (really it is Dieudonné’s). Joshua swears to install her and her son (if the child is male) as rulers of Damascus.

Meanwhile, Emperor Valerian of Rome is being attacked by the heathen King Abel of Acre. Dieudonné offers his services, but he and Valerian are taken prisoner. The Pope orders every priest, monk, cardinal, and bishop to take up arms, and this second army manages to drive the Saracens away, but not to rescue the prisoners, who are taken to Syria, where they enslaved and set to hard labor. After a year or so, King Abel decides to marry the beautiful Sultana Corsabrine of Damascus and become guardian of her son. Joshua approves the marriage, and it is done. Dieudonné seeks permission to attend to festivities, but the overseer simply laughs and beats him. Dieudonné and Valerian snap and begin slaying many Saracens with whatever comes to hand, but they are overcome and led in chains before Abel and Corsabrine, who takes some time recognize Dieudonné. When she does, however, she secretly consults with him, offering him freedom if he will take her back to France and wed her. But this he cannot do, for he is married already. The Sultana is furious, informs him that she was secretly baptized for love of him, and finally orders him and Valerian thrown in the dungeon, to be fed on black bread and hot water.

King Abel invites all his allies to come watch the execution of Dieudonné and Valerian. Queen Supplante is very much alarmed when the invitation comes. Without waiting for her alleged husband, she sets sail to save her true one. She persuades the King of Acre to postpone the execution, and bceoms the confidante of Corsabrine. Supplante admits she is still a Christian, and Corsabrine tells how Dieudonné is the father of her child, but refuses to marry her. Supplante is filled with very mixed emotions at this news, but at last she persuades Corsabrine that Dieudonné was just testing her, and will surely be glad to take her to France and marry her if she asks again. The two queens go to the dungeon, where a very awkward reunion and explanations ensue. At last though, all are content, and Supplante gives Corsabrine her magic ring.

That night, the two queens, their chamberlain Griffon, and the two prisoners flee Damascus, murdering the porter as they go. As they travel west, they meet King Joshua of Almería coming east. They attack him, Joshua is slain, but his men take the Christians prisoner. Corsabrine accuses the men of having kidnapped her, and is thus returned to Damascus in honor. Supplante claims to be pregnant with Joshua’s child, and is taken back to Almería with the three men, who, however, are thrown in a dungeon overlooking the sea. When the waves cause a portion of the wall to crumble, Dieudonné breaks his chains, takes his leave of his companions, and leaps into the sea.

At this juncture, who should arrive but Maufumé, in form of a luiton, who is sent by Gloriande to rescue Dieudonné and to restore him his napkin, chalice, and horn. He carries the man to Ascalon, where Dieudonné’s son Dagobert is being raised by King Balan, the enchanter. In the city, Maufumé shape-shifts into a monkey, and Dieudonné dresses as a jongleur. They play at the king’s banquet, until Maufumé siezes a knife and stabs a Saracen. Balan calls for his arms, and prepares to work his magic, but Maufumé shape-shifts into a fire-breathing serpent, then into a flying dragon, and causes a lightning-storm. Balan is amazed, and says that the devils who have taught him much can do no such tricks. Maufumé explains that he is a Fairy, that the jongleur is Dieudonné, father of the young Dagobert. He offers to pardon the magician if he will accept Holy Baptism. So it is done, and now Dieudonné, Maufumé, Dagobert, and Balan go to Almería, where, thanks to the fairy horn, they resuce Supplante and kill or convert all the Saracens. They return home to Montluisant at last. Dieudonné wishes to go to Damascus and rescue Corsabrine, but Supplante, jealous, will not hear of it, and persuades him not to. This was a great mistake, and much woe came to Christendom because of it, for Sultan Abel of Damascus invades Rome, captures the Emperor and his son Othovian, and beheads the Supreme Pontiff.

Meanwhile, Charles the Bald has died, and Philip is now King of France. Dieudonné and his horn save Philip from the traitor Amaury of Brittany, who had already been crowned king at Paris. To punish the Parisians for their part in the rebellion, Dieudonné ordains that the kings shall henceforth be consecrated at Rheims. An angel tells Dieudonné that he may not inherit the throne, but must do penance for his sins in a hermitage. Dieudonné renounces his rights, leaving Dagobert at court to be Philip’s heir, and retires with Supplante to a wild spot near Blaye, on the Gironde, where after living lives of holiness, they are murdered by robbers. God works many miracles through them, and they are known as Saint Honoré and Saint Foi. Corsabrine, when she dies, will be known as Saint Innocent of Paris, her baptismal name.

Here the only manuscript ends. It would appear that it was meant to lead into some version of Florent and Octavian.

ORIGINS AND INFLUENCE

The author knew and drew from Le Chevalier au Cygne, Huon de Bordeaux. The poem is very similar to Baudoin of Sebourg, Tristan de Nanteuil, Floovant, and Hugh Capet, among others, though it is unclear which came first.

The pagan origins of Charles the Bald, and that name being applied to a Merovingian, seem to be our author’s inventions. The ring that preserves from drowning is a new twist on an old idea, as is the final scene between Balan and Maufumé. The bulk of Diuedonné’s aventures, however, are slavishly copied from those of Huon and the Swan Knight.

The real Saint Honoré (Honoratus of Amiens) was a bishop of Amiens who died May 16, around 600. He was chosen as patron by the Parisian baker’s guild in the 1400’s, on account of a legend that his old nursemaid had been incredulous when she heard that he had been elected bishop, and refused to believe it unless her peel grew into a tree. It did so, and she believed.

The real Saint Foi was a young woman from Agen in Aquitaine, burned to death on October 6 under Diocletian. She is not to be confused with Saint Faith, the daughter of Saint Sophia and sister of Saints Hope and Charity.

The real Saint Innocent was a man, the first Pope of that name, in the 400’s. Perhaps our author misunderstood the meaning of the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents (The Holy Innocents) in Paris.

[1] Paris here says (p. 112) that the secret is that of the fairy Viviane, who ensnared Merlin this way, but this appears to be his comment, not that of the jongleur.

Let thus much suffice for Dieudonné of Hungary, and let us now turn, as the minstrels intended, to Florent and Octavian.

Book I, Canto V, Part 2

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

21
“And if to do a favor thou art fain
To me, who brought thee out of that dark cave,
Thou canst bring me from death to life again
If thou wilt send to me thy cousin brave,
Rinaldo, he who causes me such pain.
To hide me woes from thee I do not crave.
Love hath lit in my heart so great a fire,
That night and day nought else do I desire.

22
If thou wilt swear upon thy sacrament,
To make Rinaldo come before me here,
A fight I’ll give which shall thee well content,
For nothing else, I think, thou hold’st so dear:
Thy book I’ll give thee, which from thee I rent.
But if thou thinkest to prove insincere,
I warn thee that a magic ring I bear.
No spells can touch me while this ring I wear.”

23
Don Malagise makes no long reply,
But swears exactly as the dame directs.
He knows not how Rinaldo’s feelings lie,
And thinks his oath will easily be kept.
The sun was sinking in the western sky,
But, as the darkling night upon earth crept,
Don Malagise calls a fiend to bear
Him swiftly onward through the dusky air.

24
The demon keeps the wizard entertained
As they fly onward through the gloomy night
By telling him about the war in Spain,
And how Don Ricciardet fared in the fight,
And how the single combat was ordained.
In fact, whatever had occurred, the sprite
Told Malagise, and some things beside;
His conscience smote him if he hadn’t lied.

25
Soon were they come to Barcelona town,
About an hour ere the break of day.
The demon gently set the wizard down,
Who through the tents begins to make his way,
Seeking where Don Rinaldo might be found.
At last he found the hero where he lay
Upon his cot, enwrapped in slumber deep.
The wizard enters, and disturbs his sleep.

26
When Don Rinaldo sees his cousin’s face,
He’s gladder than he’s ever been before.
He leaps up, grabs him in a glad embrace,
And showers him with kisses by the score.
Don Malagise tells him, “Now make haste,
For I am here because an oath I swore.
If thou art willing, thou canst set me free.
If not, a prisoner again I’ll be.

27
But put thy mind at ease and have no dread,
That I shall lead thee into perils rare.
I’ll only lead thee to a damsel’s bed,
Who’s bright like amber and like lilies fair.
I from despair, and thou to joy art led.
This rosy-visaged girl beyond compare
Is one thou’st never thought of, I dare say:
Angelica, the princess of Cathay.

28
When Don Rinaldo hears ‘twill be his quest
To seek out her whom he despiseth so,
What mighty sorrow wells up in his breast!
And how the color from his visage goes!
Now one response, and now another pressed
Against his lips, and nowise did he know
What he should do, or what he ought to say;
He leans now one, and now the other way.

29
At last, he, like a man of valor true,
In whom lies and deceptions have no place,
Says, “Hear me, Malagise. I will do
Anything else. I’ll undergo disgrace,
Run any risk, no peril I’ll eschew,
My life I’ll hazard, any for I’ll face,
To set thee free I’ll suffer any woe,
But to Angelica I will not go.”

30
When Malagise this response hath heard,
Which he was not expecting him to make,
He begs Rinaldo to take back his words,
Not for his merit, but for mercy’s sake,
And not to leave him in his jail interred.
Now he appeals to him for kinship’s sake,
And now he swears that he will well repay him,
But all in vain. His words can nowise sway him.

31
A little longer, still in vain, he pleads.
Then says, “Look here, Rinaldo, it is said
Ungrateful men won’t recognize good deeds
Even if one should knock them on the head.
I’ve nearly damned myself to Hell for thee,
And thou wilt leave me prisoned till I’m dead.
From this time forth, thou art my enemy.
I shall bring thee to shame or injury.”

32
And with these words, no leave the wizard took,
But stormed off, angrier than I could tell
And for a dark and secret place he looks
(From prying eyes of sentries hidden well)
And there he searches throuhg his magic book,
And then the wizard calls up fiends from Hell
Names Draginazo and Falserta, and
Binds them to do whatever he commands.

33
Falserta of a herald takes the form,
Who served within the household of Marsil.
The costume by the evil spirit worn
Is counterfeited without flaw or weal.
A message for Gradasso hath he born,
Pretending that Rinaldo, like a leal
And worthy knight, will be beside the sea
At the ninth hour, as they did agree.

34
Gradass rejoices when the news he hears,
And gives the messenger a cup of gold.
Soon as the fiend from eyesight disappears,
He takes a novel form, and leaves his old.
His rings aren’t on his fingers, but his ears.
His clothing hangs on him in sumptuous folds,
With patterns traced thereon in golden thread.
Now he’s Gradasso’s messenger instead.

35
He seems to be a Persian almansor,
With mighty bugle and a sword of wood.
He went to meet the French and Spanish lords,
And when in presence of them all he stood,
He gave his message, that his noble lord
At Prime, without excuse or failure, should
Be found alone at the appointed place,
Ready to meet Rinaldo face to face.

36
Soon is Rinaldo armed from toe to head.
He sent away the barons who were there;
But Ricciardetto to the side he led,
And recommended Baiard to his care.
“Whether or not I e’er return,” he said,
“I trust in God, Who rules how all wars fare.
And if His will it is that I be slain,
Lead thou our army back to Charlemagne.”

37
I ought to serve him while my life abides,
Though I have often failed in many ways,
Sometimes through wrath, and other times through pride,
But whosoe’er to kick a wall essays
Will bruise his foot and ‘complish nought beside.
To that lord, worthiest of all men’s praise,
And whom I’ve ever held in high regard,
If I am slain, I leave him my Baiard.”

38
Many another thing the knight did say,
Then kissed him on the mouth, with weeping sore.
Alone towards the sea he took his way,
On foot, concurrent with the oath he swore.
He came, but saw no human in that place.
Naught but a boar at anchor on the shore,
On whose decks nobody was seen to go.
Rinaldo stands and waits to meet his foe.

39
Now Draginazo comes into his view,
Shaped like Gradasso; he a surcoat bears
Of gold that’s crossed with bars of sapphire blue.
A crown of gold upon his head he wears.
His shield, his scimitar made sharp to hew,
And his white horn with which he rends the air,
And on his helm he bears a pennon white.
In short, he seems the king to all men’s sight.

40
And as the demon walks beside the sea
He even counterfeits Gradasso’s gait.
He could have fooled his mother, certainly.
He draws his scimatar with war-cries great.
Rinaldo, who had no desire to be
Caught off his guard, lifts up his sword and waits
But Draginazo, not a word he said,
But struck Rinald a blow upon his head.

Book I, Canto 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.

Keep reading

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.

Back to Part 1

On to Part 2

On to Part 3

Book I, Canto I, Part 3

The Orlando Innamorato in English Translation. Book I, Canto 1, Part 3, Stanzas 41-60.

41
Thus Malagise learns their true intent,
But let us leave him reeling from the shock,
And rather see where Argalía went.
He, once he had arrived at Merlin’s Rock,
Dismounted, tied his horse, and pitched his tent.
Then lay inside it, and some slumber took.
A fancier tent in France was never kept,
Than that in which now Argalía slept.

42
Angelica, who was not far behind
Her brother, rests her head upon the ground,
Beside the fountain, underneath the pine,
While the four watchful giants her surround.
In sleep, she seems not one of humankind,
But like an angel come from Heaven down.
Her brother’s ring upon her hand she wore,
The pow’rs of which, I have explained before.

43
Now Malagise, carried through the air,
By fiends he’s summoned, silently comes thither.
Unseen he sees the damsel sleeping there,
Beneath the pine beside the flowing river.
But the four giants arms and armor bear,
And keep unblinking watch as they sit with her.
The wizard laughs and thinks, “Ye ugly rabble,
I’ll overcome you all without a battle.

44
Your flails and maces are no use today,
Nor darts nor swords nor all your other arms,
But Slumber soon shall hold you ‘neath his sway.
You foolish geldings will raise no alarms.”
When he had gloated, he made no delay,
To take his spellbook out and cast his charms.
The first page of the book he had not read,
Before the giants slumbered as if dead.

45
This done, the damsel is his target next.
He slowly closes in and draws his sword,
But when he sees her lovely face at rest,
Her arms stretched gently out across the sward,
His spirits rise; his heart throbs in his chest
He thinks, “Why spurn the gifts that fate affords?
I’ll make her sleep so soundly with my charms,
She’ll never know I held her in my arms.”

46
He drops his sword and takes his book in hand,
And reads the spell again the whole way through,
But all in vain, the charm works not as planned,
For all enchantments can the ring undo.
But Malagise thinks th’enchanted band
Is Argalía’s and the maid he views
Is sealed by magic in a slumbrous prison.
He stretches out beside her and starts kissing.

47
The girl awakens with a frightened cry:
“Ah, miserable me; I am betrayed!”
Stunned, Malagise can make no reply,
To see his charms did not affect the maid.
She grabs him by the wrist, lest he should fly,
And loudly calls for Argalía’s aid.
He hears her cry, and starts awake, alarmed.
He rushes from his tent in haste, unarmed.

48
Soon as his eyes behold this Frankish wight,
Who’s tried to treat his sister like a harlot,
His heart sinks in him, overmastered quite.
His strength is gone, and his face flushes scarlet.
But in an instant he regains his might
And grabs a stick of wood to brain the varlet.
“Die, traitor! – shouts he as he rushes o’er –
How dar’st thou treat my sister like a whore?”

49
But she cries, “Brother, we must bind him tightly,
Ere I release him; he’s a sorcerer,
And if I didn’t have the ring, your knightly
Prowess would fail to take him prisoner.”
On hearing this, the youthful prince runs lightly
Across the grass, but keeps an eye on her.
He tries to wake a giant, but despite,
His shouting, the enchantment holds him tight.

50
He tries another one; again he fails,
And so he switches to another tack.
He takes the chain from out a giant’s flail,
And hurries back to them , in no way slack.
Where, after struggling, the two prevail
And tie the wizard’s arms behind his back.
And then they bind his feet and legs and neck,
And gag him, too, his magic arts to check.

51
Once Malagise has been firmly bound,
The damsel searches all around the pine
And soon his magic grimoire has she found,
Filled with unholy names and mystic signs.
She oped the clasps that girdle it around,
And when she read therein, elapsed no time,
Ere spirits filled the air and stream and land,
All crying, “Mistress, what is your command?”

52
She orders, “Take this wretched captive past
Tartary, and both Indies to Cathay,
To that fair capitol, whence o’er his vast
Dominions, Galliphron the King holds sway.
Tell him his daughter wishes him to cast
Him into prison. Once he’s put away,
I do not reckon at a broken pin,
All of King Charles’ Peers and Paladins.”

53
Soon as her speech is done, the fiends transport
Malgis away, and set him down with glee
Before King Galliphron and all his court,
Who cast him in a dungeon by the sea.
The while Angelica tends her escorts
And from enchanted slumber sets them free.
They yawn and scratch and stretch their limbs, and gape,
Unmindful of the peril they’ve escaped.

54
But while this happened in the countryside,
Paris was wracked with quarrels and dissensions.
Orlando claimed the right to foremost ride
Against Uberto, but to his pretensions,
Time and again King Charlemagne replied
There was no reason in them. Like contentions
Racked ev’ry knight. The mightiest to the worst
All wished to joust against the stranger first.

55/56
Orlando fears that he will be too late
To win his lady, if some other rides
Before him, and in agony he waits
To hear what Charlemagne at last decides.
The cavaliers assemble and debate
Which one of them will be the first to try
The challenge, and they all agree at last,
That for the foremost place they lots will cast.

57
Every cavalier wrote down his name,
Or had it written, on a little roll
Of paper. Then each knight who wished to claim
The lady, cast his slip into a bowl
And then a little page before them came
And put his hand in, and drew out a scroll.
Loud he announced the knight who would commence
The jousting was Astolfo, England’s prince.

58
The second place will Ferraguto take,
The third Rinaldo and the fourth Dudon,
And next Grandonio the attempt will make,
And Belengieri; after them, Otton,
Then Charlemagne himself a lance will break,
But lest my story should too long be grown,
I’ll tell you Count Orlando’s name was called
The thirty-first, and much his heart was galled.

59
Before the name was called of ev’ry knight,
The day was fading into evening’s glow.
The Duke Astolfo, with his heart alight
Called for his arms, and thinks his men too slow.
No whit discouraged that it draws to night,
But eager as he is to face his foe,
He boasts aloud that with one mighty thrust,
He’ll send Uberto rolling in the dust.

60
You, lords, should know about Astolfo. He
Outdid all men for comeliness of face.
He had much wealth, but still more courtesy,
And dressed and groomed himself with careful grace.
Though in the jousts he wasn’t much to see,
And fell more often than he kept his place,
As often as he fell he quick returned,
For in his fearless heart such honor burned.

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Notes

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