Orlando Furioso: Canto 1, 1-15
03/17/2009 § Leave a comment
I think I might understand why modern readers often drop works such as these before getting past page two. Very often there is some sort of appeal to the God or Gods of the authors choice. Even if the author wasn’t actually doing so personally, like Virgil or Homer or something, it seems to be a standard form in later Epic poetry and, for me, I wish the writers of these works would have had a little bit more foresight. Come on dudes. Get to the plot. Get to the action. No one needs a summary of deeds that you’re about to tell about while talking to some all powerful god.
So. The first few stanzas are along the lines of, and I’m paraphrasing here:
Girls, warriors, love and war,
Harm…France, Rome. Charlemagne…
Generous Orlando, Ippolito… Wolfs bane……
Giving this I give my all….etc.
Okay. Nothing really like that. But about as boring. And I added the “wolfs bane” part, for rhyming purposes.
Orlando is introduced in the beginning, after that junk I wrote about above, and he has loved Angelica for some time now; chasing her around India, Media and the Tartar plain. He leaves all the treasures he has won behind to bring her back to the West and…at the Pyrenees he finds Charlemagne with the French and German camps. He joins back up with his army and he immediately rues the day! He loses his love, Angelica.
Rivalry for Angelica arises between (Count) Orlando and Rinaldo, his cousin. No greater beauty exists, obviously. She is consigned to Namo, the Duke of Bavaria! WTF? But the duke says that he will give Angelica to whoever impales more infidels on his sword, “Excelling thus in prowess and might.” Score! Orlando hasn’t lost Angelica after all. He just has to impale more folks than his cousin.
Then, though, the duke who has promised Angelica as the spoils is taken prisoner and “…his pavilion in the rout forsaken.” Bogus for Orlando and Rinaldo.
Meanwhile Angelica leaps into the saddle of a horse that happens to be near and rides straight away. She rides quickly and almost immediately meets a cavalier without a horse. This is Rinaldo, the very one who was competing with Orlando for her hand.
When she comes upon Rinaldo, also called Lord of Montaubon, Rinaldo recognizes his horse that the beautiful Angelica is riding, Baiardo. Side note: Baiardo has human intelligence!
Angelica rides on, as in a dream. She’s tired after all. Fleeing these paladins all day is exhausting. She roams a bit, comes upon a stream. She sees Ferraú, a Spaniard. He’s dirty from the battle. He drops his fancy helmet into the stream. (I think this is a magic helmet…but I don’t remember yet) He, of course, is also in love with Angelica!
That’s about it for 1-15. We’ll continue whenever I get around to reading 16-30.
Characters in this section:
Orlando: In love with Angelica. Nephew of Charlemagne.
Rinaldo: Also in love with Angelica. Orlando’s cousin.
Angelica: Daughter of Great Kahn of Cathay. Pursued by most Knights of the Crusades apparently.
Baiardo: Horse with Man Brain.
Ferraú: Spaniard. Also in love with Angelica
Canto- basically a chapter. See here.