Orlando Furioso: Canto 1, 61-81
04/06/2009 § Leave a comment
The last post about Orlando was a cliffhanger and this episode will be sure to satisfy. When last we left Sacripante he was being interrupted from his earthly enjoyments with Angelica by a presumptuous White Knight.
What else is there to do when a body meets a body coming through the rye? I would say that they should joust. And joust they do, and the earth quakes and their retorts are furious as anything!
Both horses fall but the White Knights horse immediately gets up, as he was only grazed by the lance. Sacripante is fallen, his horse dead. The White Knight rides off seeing that he is the victor.
Sacripante is fine, aside from having a dead horse on him. He is fine except for his shame after losing in front of Angelica, which is worst than physical pain. She hurries to his side to console him and even goes so far as saying the other knight is the loser because he left the battlefield first. Sacripante’s face has never been so red.
But who was this knight who bested a king? Luckily for Sacripante and us we are sent with an explanation while Sacripante is still licking his wounds. An envoy appears to tell the two that he has been bested by Bradamante! Ugh. For shame! Sacripante has been bested by a woman! His shame is complete. Or is it?
Sacripante quietly mounts their horse when lo!, they hear a crash in the woods and they find Baiardo running through the wood leaping and bounding over any obstacle. Sacripante dismounts to take Baiardo’s reins. Baiardo answers with his heels! and was about to trample the king asunder when Angelica takes the reins. He grows tame and docile and his hoofs which could split an iron mountain side are calmed and the king for the second time this afternoon survives and mounts Baiardo while Angelica holds his reins, but with shame multiplied tenfold. And after the last shame multiplying, the king is at about 100-times-shame.
Poor, poor Sacripante.
When Baiardo is soothed by Angelica we are also treated with a little more history of Rinaldo and Angelica…who knew each other when they were young. Angelica was in love with him but he had no love for her. What caused the reversal of their desires?
Two magic fountains. Obviously. They lie near in the Ardennes. One who drinks of the first is filled with amorous longing and who drinks from the second is turned cold as ice and rendered immune to all life’s joy and bliss. Angelica so loathes and fears Rinaldo and Rinaldo is filled with an insatiable lust for her.
Angelica pleads for the king to flee with her, not knowing what will come of this battle. The king replies in anger and Angelica is left staring at the king and the approaching Rinaldo.
Thus ends Canto One.
Bradamante-Daughter of Count Aymon of Montalbano; sister of Rinaldo.