Boiardo: Orlando Innamorato
Book I: Canto IX: Dragontina's Enchanted Garden
Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2022, All Rights Reserved.
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- Book I: Canto IX: 1-8: Malagisi tells Angelica of Rinaldo’s plight
- Book I: Canto IX: 9-10: And explains how she might rescue him
- Book I: Canto IX: 11-14: Angelica arrives to aid Rinaldo
- Book I: Canto IX: 15-19: But he scorns her help
- Book I: Canto IX: 20-25: Nonetheless she traps the monster, which Rinaldo slays
- Book I: Canto IX: 26-31: Rinaldo breaks through the gate and is assailed
- Book I: Canto IX: 32-36: He defeats his foes and meets a maiden on the shore
- Book I: Canto IX: 37-41: Astolfo reaches Sacripante’s camp
- Book I: Canto IX: 42-45: He boasts of his worth before the king
- Book I: Canto IX: 46-49: Who determines to gain his horse and armour
- Book I: Canto IX: 50-52: Astolfo meets Brandimarte with a lady, and challenges him
- Book I: Canto IX: 53-57: He defeats Brandimarte but exacts no penalty
- Book I: Canto IX: 58-63: Sacripante arrives and Astolfo defeats him
- Book I: Canto IX: 64-68: The lady issues a warning
- Book I: Canto IX: 69-71: Thwarted at the bridge they go another way
- Book I: Canto IX: 72-74: They enter Dragontina’s garden
- Book I: Canto IX: 75-79: Orlando attacks Astolfo, not recognising his cousin.
Book I: Canto IX: 1-8: Malagisi tells Angelica of Rinaldo’s plight
You’ve heard of the vile form of that creature
The desolate and dreadful shape it bore,
And how it attacked that man of valour,
And his sole weapon hooked in its sharp claw.
We must leave him in that place, however,
For, of fair Angelica, I must tell more.
I shall indeed speak further of Rinaldo,
But first of the loving lady and her woe.
My lords, you will recall Angelica,
And remember how that beauteous maid
Had freed Malagisi, neath the water,
And waited, day and night, to be repaid.
And only one who waits can speak, thereafter,
Of the pain waiting brings, the price that’s paid;
Waits, I mean, in expectation of love,
When brief minutes like unending hours prove.
She would gaze at the waves, the scenery,
The fields, the hills, and then the waves again,
And, if she saw a vessel on the sea,
Or a distant sail scouring o’er the main,
The maiden would thrill to think that, surely,
It bore Montalbano’s lord; if o’er the plain
She saw a steed, or a wagon did show,
She believed she’d soon see her Rinaldo.
Malagigi returned but failed to bring
The warrior with him; he still appeared
Much as he’d left the dungeon, seeming
Pallid and afflicted, with unkempt beard.
He kept his eyes on the ground, dreading
His reception, for the lady was afeared,
Indeed, when she saw the mage, who sighed,
‘Woe is me, my Rinaldo’s dead!’ she cried.
‘Nay, he’s alive, at least as yet, my lady,’
Malagisi reassured the lovely maid,
‘But not for much longer it seems to me;
And may the day and hour be damned that made
A heart so opposed to love and beauty.
He’ll soon pay for his latest escapade,
His rebellious spirit quenched entirely.’
And he told her the details of the duel,
Then being fought, within Castle Cruel,
In which, indeed, he hoped the man would die,
And the beast would devour him, completely.
Ask me not if the lady gave a sigh,
For she fainted away, her face was icy.
She seemed dead, but recovered, by and by,
When she did, she was nothing if not angry.
And as her breath returned, and her vigour,
She yelled, at Malagigi: ‘You traitor!
O cruel, perfidious, and faithless man,
How could you dare to stand here before me;
And confess you dreamed up that evil plan,
Leading your cousin where he’d die swiftly?
If you don’t aid him (and I know you can)
Demons and enchantments will scarcely
Save your skin, for I’ll seize you; you shall burn;
And the waves greet your ashes, in their turn.
Offer me not that lame excuse, you liar,
That you performed all that you did, for me.
If one must die, I, for my part, desire
That I should make an end, and he go free.
Let the wretched, cowardly woman expire,
Not the flower of manhood, and chivalry.
Far and beyond all this, think you that I
Could live on, so, without him? Tell me why.’
Book I: Canto IX: 9-10: And explains how she might rescue him
‘There’s a way to grant him help, if you wish.
But tis a course,’ Malagisi replied,
‘That you yourself must follow and, in this,
Must do as I now say, once you’re inside.
Though crueller than a bear, cold as a fish,
He’ll love, despite himself, and all his pride.
Prepare at once, and then be on your way;
He may be harmed, if you such aid delay.’
This said, a fair length of rope he gave her,
With wide loops a foot apart, strong and light;
And a file so sharp no sound would it offer,
And a large gluey mass; and then, that night,
(Once all that she must do he had taught her)
Angelica, upon the wind, took flight,
On a demon’s back (black as coal, was he)
And so reached Castle Cruel, o’er the sea.
Book I: Canto IX: 11-14: Angelica arrives to aid Rinaldo
Meanwhile, let me turn to brave Rinaldo,
Who was indeed in a most sorry plight,
Facing death, and deprived now, to his woe,
Of his sword, and thus hampered in the fight.
He searched for any means to thwart his foe,
And behold, half-way up the wall, the knight
Saw a wooden beam, ten feet from the ground.
He leapt towards it, with what strength he found,
He clasped the beam tightly with his hand,
And clambered upon it, as best he might,
Till he was safe there, and could almost stand.
The creature felt such anger at the knight,
Such strength, despite its weight, it did command,
That it leapt at his feet, attained some height,
And often would well-nigh reach Rinaldo,
Such that he almost felt its teeth below.
The night was already growing deeper,
As brave Rinaldo clung fast to the beam,
Though neither thought nor fortune could offer
Any means of escape, so it would seem.
Then behold, in the moonlight, high over
His head, where the starry sky did gleam,
He saw he knew not what, in gentle arc
Descending (twas a maiden) through the dark.
Angelica it was, that now appeared,
To grant him aid in his desperation,
But on seeing her visage, as she neared,
He nearly fell to earth, in consternation,
His loathing for her such as scarce endeared
That sight to him; the monstrous creation,
Beneath him, he hated less, while to die
He preferred to being rescued thereby.
Book I: Canto IX: 15-19: But he scorns her help
She rested there, suspended in the air,
(Though kneeling, above him) as she said:
‘What weighs the heaviest in this affair
Tis my fault to this fortress you were led.
I am so troubled, I confess, I’m in despair;
Half-mad with love, yet, to wish you dead?
Perish the thought! I could never harm you,
For, indeed, I only thought to charm you.
Twas my intention to cause you delight,
And see you, wholly happy and at ease,
Once brought to my presence, valiant knight.
Yet I find you where a monster might seize
Your body, and in such desperate plight
That your danger my very heart doth freeze.
But banish thoughts of woe and misery,
For I have learned how I might set you free.
Don’t hesitate to leap to my embrace,
So that I might, thus, carry you away.
The wide earth below, the breeze in your face,
You may pass, in a trice, from night to day.
If you’ve desired to rise, and flee this place,
In my arms you may yet do so, I say.
Come, my valiant knight, and mount above,
As fine as your Baiardo such may prove!’
Rinaldo was so angered, now, and grieved,
The knight could hardly bear to hear her speak.
He replied: ‘No worse fate could be conceived!
By the blessed Lord, my death I’d rather seek,
Than have the threat of dying thus relieved;
My mind is not so troubled, nor so weak.
Choose to stay, and I’ll choose to leap below;
As may seem best to you then, stay or go.’
Believe me, there’s no greater injury,
Can be done a loving woman as to scorn her.
She loathes the man who treats her cruelly,
That throws in her face her heart-felt offer.
Yet his disdain, his show of savagery,
Had scant effect on fair Angelica,
Who was now so committed a lover,
That all his offences seemed but minor.
Book I: Canto IX: 20-25: Nonetheless she traps the monster, which Rinaldo slays
She replied: ‘As you wish, so shall I do;
Though I’d wish to do more than you say.
And, if I thought my dying would please you,
I would take my own life, this very day.
Though, men and gods be my witness, tis true
That a hatred beyond words you display,
E’en so, you can hurt me and reject me,
But my love for you, no man can deny me.’
With this, she descended to the ground,
Where that merciless creature held the field,
Whirling her length of rope all around,
While the gluey mass she did deftly wield.
The monster bit thereon, and quickly found
Its teeth and jaws soon were tightly sealed,
And as, snarling, this new prey he pursued,
At the first step he found himself lassoed.
Angelica left the beast roped and tied,
And then departed again, through the air.
By now the morning star could be espied,
Ere the sun the eastern heavens did share.
Rinaldo, gazing down on its fell hide,
Could observe the creature racked by despair,
Its fierce jaws held tight by the gluey mass,
While from out the noose it could not pass.
Our knight swiftly dropped to the floor.
While the monster tried to utter a cry,
Seeking to terrify its victim once more,
Though what issued forth was but a stifled sigh.
It seemed the rope would come untied for sure,
For the creature, with all its strength, did try.
Rinaldo meanwhile retrieved Fusberta,
And then he prepared to slay the monster.
Not a breath would he let the creature take,
With swift blows to the skull, or the belly,
Now its left flank, now the right, yet could make
No headway; his sword cut steel like jelly,
But that hide it could neither pierce nor break.
The knight was at first dismayed, twas well he
Thought of a different method of attack:
Leaping, swiftly, upon the monster’s back.
He grasped the creature’s throat with both hands,
And likewise clasped its torso with his knees.
The monster gripped as if by iron bands,
No rougher ride was e’er seen; by degrees,
The knight’s limbs wearied with the fierce demands
Made upon them, but he pressed without cease.
Though his face crimsoned, he showed all his strength,
Choking the beast, and strangling it at length.
Book I: Canto IX: 26-31: Rinaldo breaks through the gate and is assailed
Though he’d slain the vile creature, he now sought
A means of quitting the field, behind this wall
That loomed, on high, o’er the place where they’d fought,
Though, at first, he saw no exit at all.
Yet he found a gate to the castle court,
Of steel bars, the gaps between too small
For him to clamber through; hard and long
He beat upon them, but the bars were strong.
Rinaldo found himself imprisoned there,
Without a thought as to how to proceed.
He could see the end of the whole affair
Was that he’d die of hunger, though, indeed,
He searched, all around the monster’s lair,
For something or other that met his need,
And found – the file Angelica had brought;
‘Tis sent by the Lord above’, was his thought.
He employed the file against the steel bars;
Little remained to do but force the gate.
Dawn was breaking in the east, and the stars
Had faded from the sky; such was his state,
When behold, a giant appeared; yet, no Mars
Was he, for he feared to approach, or wait;
Instead, once he’d clapped eyes on the knight,
He cried out for help, and then fled in fright.
Rinaldo now pushed hard against the steel,
Broke through the gate, and left it standing wide.
By then, drawn by the giant’s loud appeal,
A cruel band of men had formed outside.
Finding himself not done with his ordeal,
He raised Fusberta, and the mob defied.
The enemy force grew swiftly in size,
Six hundred men their squadron did comprise.
Our knight cared not how great their quantity,
He was valiant, and commanding, in a fight.
They were led by the gigantic enemy
That first had captured him and bound him tight;
And none was more treacherous or cowardly.
Rinaldo swung Fusberta, which, in flight,
Caught the giant, cut through the flesh with ease,
And severed both his legs below the knees.
Our knight left him to die, and chased the foe,
Plying his sword with marvellous effect,
And soon found himself alone, to their woe,
For few remained alive amidst that sect,
Some lacked arms, some their head, as a flow
Of crimson blood ran o’er the ground, unchecked.
The old crone had locked herself in the keep,
And hid there, behind walls both high and steep.
Book I: Canto IX: 32-36: He defeats his foes and meets a maiden on the shore
Rinaldo ran to the keep, and struck the door,
Broke its frame, and shook it with his hand.
A second giant was within, but seemed unsure;
The portal was Rinaldo’s to command.
Fear and shame had gripped the foe; now once more
He hammered on the door, then used his brand,
And Fusberta soon had it yawning wide;
When the giant, now finding heart, ran outside.
With some courage, he struck brave Rinaldo
On the head; the valiant knight simply smiled:
‘I’m content to honour you, for that blow;
The Lord of Montalbano I am styled,
And you’ll be welcomed, there, down below,
Midst the hosts of the cruel, and the reviled,
In Hell I mean, where you’ll be together
With all those despatched there by Fusberta.’
And, so saying, the knight, at once, replied,
With a mighty swing, fierce beyond compare,
That cleft the giant’s skull, and more beside.
The rest fled; like a hound upon the hare,
Rinaldo entered, slaying men, far and wide,
But not that vile, pitiless hag, waiting there
On a balcony, who, when she saw the knight,
Leapt from its outer edge, in downward flight,
For that ledge was a good hundred feet high.
So, ask me not if that foul creature died;
Viewing her dark shape against the sky,
‘May the Devil take you!’ Rinaldo cried.
The fortress ran red with blood, by and by,
But still the valiant knight his weapon plied.
To pen the conclusion of this affair,
Not a living soul was left that place to share.
Our knight departing, now made for the shore,
Yet, not wishing to board the ship again,
He walked along the sand, a mile or more,
Where he met a maid; loud she did complain:
‘Ah, woe is me, my heart is troubled sore;
No longer this sad life I would maintain!’
Bishop Turpin, in his tale, leaves off here,
To speak of Astolfo, the English peer.
Book I: Canto IX: 37-41: Astolfo reaches Sacripante’s camp
Now, Astolfo had left the realm of France,
In search of Rinaldo and Orlando,
His armour was gold, gold his magic lance,
And he rode alone, mounted on Baiardo.
O’er the Rhine at Mainz he did advance,
All through Germany and Hungary did go,
Crossed the Danube to Transylvania,
And reached the Don by way of White Russia.
He then rode south and west, entering
The land of Circassia, where he found
The countryside in arms, for their king,
Sacripante, had summoned all around
To fight against the foe now approaching.
This was Agricane, the Tartar lord;
Each of them commanded a mighty horde.
The cause that had brought about this war,
Was not ancient hatred, nor lust for land,
Some border dispute, grave dishonour, nor
Desire for the fame victories command.
Love was the reason that these two kings bore
Their armour, and a weapon in their hand.
For Agricane sought Angelica,
As his wife, while she’d declared she’d rather
Wed herself to death, and everywhere
Had sent, to every country far and near;
Of humble lords and mighty kings, the fair
Maid sought help; many a sword and spear,
Many a thousand fighting men were there,
To defend her cause, many would yet appear,
But Sacripante was the first to answer
Her call, for long had that monarch loved her.
He was enamoured beyond all measure,
With a woman whose love for him was slight.
And tis Love’s curse (perchance his pleasure)
To see the unrequited love on, despite
Discouragement; to be brief however,
Such was the situation with this knight;
Thus, he had levied troops against the foe,
And, to him, the guards now led Astolfo.
Book I: Canto IX: 42-45: He boasts of his worth before the king
For King Sacripante had commanded
That in every pass, and on every road,
All strangers that an entry demanded
To his land, or those of no fixed abode,
Should be brought there, to be reprimanded,
Or, if, indeed, their brave appearance showed
They might serve him, would be allowed to stay,
If they agreed, or could go on their way.
Sacripante assumed that Astolfo
Must be a valiant warrior, or lord,
Since he rode a noble horse (Baiardo)
And fine armour that few men could afford.
His leopard emblem he’d removed, although
His golden shield, and surcoat, none ignored,
And in that land, where he acquired some fame,
The Knight of the Golden Shield was his name.
‘My valiant lord,’ said King Sacripante,
‘What role, if you served, would you demand?
Astolfo answered him: ‘All the many
Soldiers you rule I wish at my command.
I’d accept no less a rank, certainly;
Accept my terms, or let me quit your land,
I will not serve; tis as much as to say:
I’d much rather issue orders than obey.
And to show that, of that role, I’m worthy,
(And lest you think tis a madman you view)
I’ll present firm proof of my bravery;
Behind my back tie my left arm, then you,
And all your men, indeed, your whole army,
May attack me, your dogs and servants too.
I’d not have you wonder another day,
Let us put it to the test, at once, I say.’
Book I: Canto IX: 46-49: Who determines to gain his horse and armour
The king turned towards his knights, and said:
That this fellow was truly most annoying,
And had scarcely a sane thought in his head,
Yet that it would seem a most simple thing,
To restore his senses, if the man were led
To understand he was less than nothing.
But the lords and knights cried: ‘Oh, let him go,
For there’s naught to gain from a madman so.’
Thus, Astolfo was released, and off he rode,
With not a care in the world, on Baiardo.
On that horse, the king a sharp glance bestowed,
And on the gold armour, and its brave show,
And decided to catch him when he slowed,
For whether this strange knight was mad or no,
It seemed to him an easy thing indeed
To acquire Astolfo’s arms, and the steed.
From his helm, the king thus removed the crown,
Since he wished to travel incognito,
And, free of all that signalled his renown,
He set out in pursuit of Astolfo.
The king was large, and strong, and hard to down
In single combat, wise in war also.
Of the deeds he performed I’ll tell, later,
In that great conflict, fought at Albracca.
He now followed Astolfo, as I’ve said,
Who was travelling alone, down the road,
Though the latter was now a day ahead;
Astolfo ne’er a thought on him bestowed,
He came upon a Saracen instead,
That had crossed the sea. Right nobly he showed,
For no better a knight bestrode the earth;
In that same conflict he would prove his worth.
Book I: Canto IX: 50-52: Astolfo meets Brandimarte with a lady, and challenges him
This Saracen’s name was Brandimarte,
And he was Count of Rocca Silvana,
And in Pagandom, in every country,
Was known as a most perfect warrior.
He knew all the arts of joust and tourney,
Of chivalry, and courtesy moreover,
And his gentle heart forever did prove
To be lit by the noble flames of love.
Now Astolfo, as he drew near, perceived
A lady who was travelling at his side,
As dear to him as fair, twas believed,
And beauty she possessed, none e’er denied.
The duke’s challenge Brandimarte received,
When the former saw the courser, he did ride.
‘Take the field, if you please!’ cried Astolfo,
Or choose to leave the lady, here, and go’
‘By Allah!’ Brandimarte now replied,
‘I’d rather lose my life than the lady.
And, since you have no lady by your side,
When I win, I’ll take your steed, and slowly
You may follow us on foot, while we ride.
Though twere best to seek other company;
I’ll hardly be wronging one who, in fine,
Lacking a lady himself, would take mine!’
Book I: Canto IX: 53-57: He defeats Brandimarte but exacts no penalty
Now, Brandimarte rode a mighty steed,
And had the advantage, he felt certain.
Yet, after they had courteously disagreed,
Ridden a distance, turned, and come again,
Meeting in the midst, violently indeed,
As they clashed, head-to-head, mane to mane,
Brandimarte fell, downed by the collision,
And the magic lance, aimed with precision.
His mighty courser was killed instantly,
While Baiardo scarce seemed to feel the blow,
Brandimarte was more pained that the lady
Was no longer his; he cared for her so,
And now grieved for the loss, desperately;
She was far dearer to him, you should know,
Than his own heart, and, losing his delight,
He drew his sword to slay himself outright.
Astolfo, now realised Brandimarte
Was indeed close to ending his despair,
So dismounted from Baiardo swiftly,
And, with kind speech, to his side did repair:
‘Do you deem me so devoid of chivalry,
That I would steal your lady, or would dare?
I jousted with you in the name of valour;
To you the maid, then; to me the honour.’
The knight, who was still sprawled upon the ground,
Whose deep shame and woe had urged him to die,
Such reassurance, in these words, now found,
He wept with joy, quite rendered mute thereby,
Clasped the duke’s knees, and wept without a sound;
Then, with a sob, gave a convulsive cry:
‘My shame’s redoubled; twice you conquer me,
At first by force, and now by courtesy.
And yet I am content to suffer shame,
If my defeat but adds to your honour;
Upon this life you save, you may make claim,
As my tribute to your noble valour.
Beyond others, indeed, should be your fame;
I am not worthy to deserve your favour,
Nor can I express my thanks; you have fought
So skilfully, spared me, and asked for naught.’
Book I: Canto IX: 58-63: Sacripante arrives and Astolfo defeats him
Whilst they were conversing in this manner,
King Sacripante arrived midst the trees.
When he saw the lady, then gazed upon her,
His thoughts of his quest did well-nigh cease.
Twas she he wished to win, not gold armour
Or a steed. ‘What a sight the heart to please,’
He thought, ‘I wished to gain a horse and gear,
But there’s a finer prize, to garner here.’
In a strident voice, the bold monarch cried:
‘Whoever keeps that maiden company,
Leave her to me, go mount your horse, and ride,
Or stay, and prove yourself by fighting me!’
Brave Brandimarte caustically replied:
‘No knight, but some assassin you must be,
While I’m on foot, to challenge me, like a thief.
You’re a villain, sir; such is my belief.’
Brandimarte then knelt before Astolfo,
And asked him, in a most courteous way,
To lend him his courser, to fight the foe.
Astolfo smiled, reluctant to say nay,
But replied: ‘I’ll not grant you Baiardo,
Yet I’ll win his for you, if he but stay.
I’ll do it for love of you, for indeed,
I’ll attain fresh honour, and you the steed.’
Then he said to Sacripante: ‘Sir knight,
Ere you may seek to acquire the lady,
You are obliged to turn about and fight.
If I can hurl you to the ground, clearly
I can force you to leave, a courser light.
If you should win, I’ll suffer equally;
I’ll depart, and you can have my horse,
And seek to win the lady, in due course.’
‘Oh, Allah,’ cried Sacripante, ‘your favour
You bestow; you foresaw this, and aid me!
Here I’ve chanced upon this lovely creature,
Though I sought horse and arms, not the lady;
And now I may gain all three, the armour,
The steed and the maid!’ and, smiling broadly,
He rode some distance off, turned, and cried:
‘Take your position; I’ll not be denied!’
They both charged, at speed, to the encounter,
And, as he rode, each man lowered his lance.
For each thought he was the better fighter,
And like the whirlwind hastened to advance.
Yet Sacripante fell, and not the other,
And struck his head on the ground by mischance.
Astolfo left him lying there and, smartly,
Gave the monarch’s rein to Brandimarte.
Book I: Canto IX: 64-68: The lady issues a warning
Astolfo smiled, and said: ‘What cause of laughter
Is richer than the tale of this poor knight,
That though to unseat me and, hereafter,
Must go on foot himself…a sorry plight!’
They rode on calmly, post the encounter,
Till the lady said: ‘We should soon catch sight
Of the deep River of Forgetfulness;
Take thought to our safety, as on we press.
If we are not prudent and cautious, all,
Then we shall be lost by evening-tide.
Courage and arms, on those we may not call,
For but three miles away, as we do ride,
Lies the river that affects what men recall;
They know themselves not, on the other side.
I think we should choose a different trail,
For by doing so less danger we’ll entail.
There is no way to simply pass it by,
For there’s a steep cliff on either shore,
And a bridge that connects them, set on high,
While a guard-tower, above the gate doth soar;
And there a maiden, vigilant of eye,
Watches the way, and all who stand before
That bridge she beckons to her; at the brink,
They must take the cup she offers, and drink.
And once they sip the water, they forget.
They e’en fail to recall their names, alas,
And if one, proud and arrogant, would yet
Attempt, by force, that arching bridge to pass,
He cannot do so, for that knight is met
By some great lord, to act as an impasse,
(Held by that lady in an enthralled state)
That takes revenge, if he’d evade his fate.’
With such words the lovely lady sought
To alter course, and ride another way,
But her companions treated it as naught,
Felt no fear, and delighted in such play.
It seemed a thousand years, to their thought,
Ere, the evening overtaking the day,
They reined in, high above the water’s gleam,
And could view that bridge arching o’er the stream.
Book I: Canto IX: 69-71: Thwarted at the bridge they go another way
The maid who was its guardian, stood there.
She came to meet them and, gently, said
That now the river’s water both must share,
And so asked each knight to drink, but instead,
Astolfo cried: ‘False creature, now beware!
Your powers of enchantment, here, are dead;
Your deception is revealed; you must die,
For who lives by fraud must perish thereby.’
The maiden on hearing this, alarmed,
Dropped the crystal cup, where she did stand.
The bridge caught fire, as if strangely charmed.
Now, none could cross; the fierce flames held command.
The lady troubled not; to both those armed
Warriors, swiftly, she reached out a hand,
(I mean Brandimarte’s lady) a way
She saw to escape all malice; would not stay,
But guided the knights to a hidden road,
That ran behind the cliff; down this they sped,
Reached a vale where the magic river flowed,
And, spanning it, a second bridge, that led
To Dragontina’s garden, her abode;
Then, by a path along which none did tread,
They reached a gate of which the lady knew,
(She, wise to all enchantment) and passed through.
Book I: Canto IX: 72-74: They enter Dragontina’s garden
Brandimarte swiftly shattered the gate,
And the magical garden was revealed.
Many a captive in a charmed state:
Was there; Orlando, with his sword and shield;
King Ballano, whose skill in war was great,
Oberto dal Leon (both in the field);
Grifone and, with bold Chiarone,
Aquilante, brother to Grifone.
There too was that strong king, Hadrian,
And Antifor of Albarossia.
They wandered there, enthralled to a man,
Not knowing themselves, or one another,
Nor knowing Saracen from Christian,
For necromancy their minds did alter,
Worked by that sorceress, well-known to fame;
Dragontina was the enchantress’ name.
Now a battle began, for Astolfo
And Brandimarte fought Chiarone;
He was supported by King Ballano,
Both armed by Dragontina, clearly;
King Hadrian and Antifor also,
And all the others, robbed of memory.
But not Orlando, in the loggia,
Admiring the art, if you remember.
Book I: Canto IX: 75-79: Orlando attacks Astolfo, not recognising his cousin.
Orlando, as I said, was armed as yet,
Since he’d only arrived that very morn,
And Brigliadoro (lest I forget)
Was tied to a rosebush; flower and thorn.
Orlando, by forgetfulness beset,
Had not a thought in his head, I’ll be sworn,
When Dragontina came, and said: ‘Sir knight,
For love of me, will you not join the fight?’
He now thought of nothing else, and so,
He leapt on his steed, and closed his visor,
Drew his sword, and towards the noise did go.
Fighting, mounted and on foot, in full armour,
Ballano had yielded to Astolfo,
Chiarone to Brandimarte; nearer
Count Orlando approached and, at first sight,
The duke knew Durindana, and the knight.
And cried aloud, astonished and amazed:
‘O flower of knights, O champion of France,
O forever may the Lord above be praised!
Do you not know me? With sword and lance,
My cousin, upon many a land I’ve gazed,
In my search for you. By what strange mischance,
Were you led to this garden?’ But twould appear
The Count knew not the duke, or would not hear.
For, ignoring Astolf’s speech, instead
He swiftly launched a great two-handed blow.
Indeed, the duke might well have lost his head,
Were it not for that clever steed Baiardo,
And might have lain there in the garden, dead,
Slain by his own cousin, Count Orlando.
But his dextrous mount saved him from a fall,
And from vile death, by leaping o’er the wall.
Orlando clattered o’er the bridge, behind,
Intent now upon catching his foe.
Although Brigliador was so inclined,
His speed was less than that of Baiardo.
That’s enough for this canto, to my mind;
Of the boundless daring of Astolfo,
I shall, in the next canto, tell you more,
If you will deign to listen, as before.
The End of Book I: Canto IX of ‘Orlando Innamorato’