Orlando Furioso

Author: Lodovico Ariosto  | Date: 1532


Faire Ceres when she hastned backe againe,

From great Idea homeward to returne,

There where Enceladus with endles paine,

Doth beare mount AEtna that doth ever burne,

When she had sought her daughter long in vaine,

Whose losse so strange did make the mother mourne,

She spoiles for spite her brest, cheeks, eyes and heare,

At last two boughs from Pyne tree she doth teare.


In Vulcans forge she sets on fire the brands,

And gives them powre for ever to be light,

And taking one a peece in both her hands,

And drawne in coach by yoaked serpents might,

She searcheth woods and fields and seas and lands,

And brooks and streames and dens devoyd of light,

And hearing here on earth no newes to like her,

At last she went to hell it selfe to seeke her.


Were good Orlandos powre to be compared,

As well with Ceres as his loving minde,

He would no paine, no place, nor time have spared,

His deare belov’d Angelyca to finde,

To go to rocks and caves he would have dared,

And place to saints, and place to fends assign’d,

He onely wanted one of Ceres waggons,

In which she carried was with flying draggons.


How he did search all France before he told,

Now Italy to search is his intent,

And Germany and Castill new and old,

And then to Affrica to passe he ment,

And as he thus determined, behold

He heard a voice that seemed to lament,

And drawing nye, to understand what tyding,

On a great horse he saw a horse man ryding.


Perforce he bare upon his saddle bow,

A Lady sorrowfull and sore afrayd,

That cryde aloud still making open show,

Of inward griefe, and thus to him she said,

O worthy wight (Lord of Anglante) know

I dye, I dye without you bring me ayd,

And then he thought comming more nie to vew her,

It was Angelyca, and that he knew her.


I say not that it was, but that it seem’d,

To be Angelyca that thus was cary’d,

But he that justly great disgrace it deem’d,

Thus in his sight, to have his mistresse hary’d,

Whose love above all treasures he esteem’d,

To take revenge hereof he nothing tary’d,

But put his spurres to Brilliadores sides,

And in great hast to that same horseman rydes.


With many bloodie words and cruell threats,

He bids that horseman to come backe againe,

But he at naught his words and speeches sets,

Rejoycing in so rich a gotten gayne,

The when still ground of Orlando gets,

Untill they came into a faire large plaine,

Wherein a house of great estate was built,

The gate hereof in gorgeous sort was gilt.


The building all of marble faire was wrought,

Most costly carv’d and cunningly contrived,

To this faire house, his pray the foule thiefe brought,

Straight after him Orlando there arrived:

Then he alights and all about he sought,

For him that had him of his joy deprived,

He maketh search in chambers all about,

And galleries and halls to finde them out.


Each roome he finds set forth with rich aray,

With beds of silke, and gold of curious art,

But yet he finds not that desired pray,

The want whereof did sore torment his heart.

There might he finde with like affliction stray,

Gradasso, Sacrapant and Brandimart,

And feirce Ferraw possest with strange confusion,

Procured in that place by strong illusion.


They all complaine in anger and in rage,

How of this house the master them hath used,

One lost his horse, another lost his page,

Another doubts his mistresse is abused:

Thus are they kept like birds within a cage,

And stand with sense and wits and words confused

And manic with this strange deception carried,

Within this place both weeks & months had tarrid.


Orlando when he saw he could not learne,

Where this same theefe his mistresse had convaid,

Though she was carride out at some posterne,

Wherefore within no longer time he staid,

But walkes about the castle to discerne,

If that were true of which he was afraid:

But as he walked up and downe the plaine,

He thought he heard her call him backe againe.


And to a window casting up his eye,

He thought he saw her face full of divinity,

And that he heard her plainly thus to crie,

O noble wight of proved magnanimitie,

Helpe now, or never helpe, alas shall I

In mine Orlandos sight leese my virginitie?

Kill me, or let a thousand deaths befall me

Rather then let a villaine so to thrall me.


These wofull speeches once or twise repeted,

Caus’d him returne into the house againe,

And searching once againe he chafte and freted,

(Hope still asswaging somewhat of his paine)

And oft he heard the voice that counterfeted

The speech of his Angelica most plaine.

From side to side he follow’d still the sound,

But of Angelica no signe he found.


Now while Orlando tarrid in this trance,

In hope for to avenge his mistresse harmes,

Rogero (who I told you had this chaunce)

To see his Bradamant in gyants armes,

(Drawne to this place with such another daunce)

Namely by force of some unusuall charmes,

Saw first the gyant in this castle enter,

And after him he boldly doth adventer.


But when he came within the castle walls,

And made much narrow search, as in such case,

In garrets, towrs, in parlers and in halls,

And under staires and many a homely place,

Oft casting doubts what hurt his love befalls,

Or lest the theefe were gone in this meane space,

Forthwith he walketh out into the plaine,

And heares a voice recall him backe againe.


That voice that lately did Orlando make

Returne in hope Angelica to finde,

Rogero now for Bradamant doth take,

Whose love no lesse possest his carefull minde:

And when the voice unto Gradasso spake,

Or Sacrapant, or Brandimart most kinde,

To every one of these it plainely seemed,

To be her voice whom each one best esteemed.


Atlanta had procur’d this strange invention,

Thereby to keepe Rogero from mischance,

Because he saw it was the heavens intention,

That he by treason should be kil’d in France,

Ferraw and those of whom I last made mention,

With all whom vallew highest did advance,

To keepe him companie he here detained,

With good provision while they here remained.


And while these knights with strange enchantments bound

Do here abide, behold the Indian queene

Angelica that late her ring had found,

(Whose vertue can her cause to go unseene,

And also frustrate magick still profound)

Now longing home, where long she had not been,

And being now of needfull things provided,

Yet wants she one that her might home have guided.


Orlandos company she would have had,

Or Sacrapant, she car’d not which of twaine,

Not that of eithers love she would be glad,

For them and all the world she did disdaine,

But (for the way was dangerous and bad,

In time of warre to travell France and Spaine)

She wisht for her owne safetie and her ease,

To have the company of one of these.


Wherefore a while she travels up and downe,

To seeke for them that long in vaine had sought her,

And passing many woods and many a towne,

Unto this place at last good fortune brought her,

Where whe she saw these knights of great renowne,

Thus seek for her, she scant abstaines from laughter,

To see Atlantas cunning and dissembling,

Her person and her voice so right resembling.


Her selfe unseene sees them and all the rest,

Now meanes she sure to take one of them two,

But yet she knowes not which (her doubtfull brest

Did stay as unresolved what to do)

Orlandos valour could defend her best,

But then this doubt is added thereunto,

That when she once so highly had prefard him,

She shall not know againe how to discard him.


But Sacrapant although she should him lift

High up to heaven yet maketh she no doubt,

But she will find some sleight and pretie shift,

With her accustom’d coynesse him to lout:

To him she goes, resolved of this drift,

And straight the precious ring she taketh out

From of her mouth, which made her go concealed,

With mind to him alone to be revealed.


But straight came in Orlando and Ferraw,

That both desired, her to have enjoy’d,

Thus all of them at once their goddesse saw,

Not being now by magick art annoyd,

For when the ring on finger she did draw,

She made unwares all their enchantments voyd,

These three were all in complete armor, save

Ferraw no headpeece had, nor none would have.


The cause was this, he solemnely had sworne,

Upon his head no helmet should be set,

But that that was by stout Orlando worne,

Which he did erst from Trajans brother get,

Ferraw to weare a helmet had forborne,

Since with the ghost of Argall he had met:

Thus in this sort they came together armed,

By vertue of her ring now all uncharmed.


All three at once do now the damsell view,

All three at once on her would straight have seased.

All three her faithfull lovers were she knew,

Yet with all three at once she is displeased,

And from all three she straight her selfe withdrew,

Who (haply) one at once would her have pleased,

From henceforth none of them she thinks to need,

But that the ring shall serve in all their steed.


She hastens hence and will no longer stay,

Disdaine and feare together make her swift,

Into a wood she leades them all the way,

But when she saw there was none other shift,

Into her mouth the ring she doth convay,

That ever holpe her at the deadest lift,

And out of all their sights forthwith she vanish’d,

And leaves them all with wonder halfe astonish’d.


Onely one path there was, and that not wide,

In this they follow’d her with no small hast,

But she first caus’d her horse to step aside,

And standeth still a while till they were past,

And then at better leisure she doth ride,

A farre more easie pace, and not so fast,

Untill they three continuing still their riding,

Came to a way in sundry parts dividing.


And comming where they found no further tracke,

Ferraw, that was before the tother two,

In choler and in fury great turn’d backe,

And askt the other what they meant to do,

And (as his manner was to brag and cracke)

Demaunded how they durst presume to wo,

Or follow her, whose propertie he claimed,

Except they would of him be slaine or maimed.


Orlando straight replide, thou foolish beast,

Save that I see thou doest an helmet want,

I would ere this have taught thee at the least,

Hereafter with thy betters not to vant:

Ferraw doth thanke him for his care (in jeast)

And said it shew’d his wits were very scant,

For as he was he would not be afraid,

To prove against them both that he had said.


Sir, said Orlando to the Pagan King,

Lend him your headpeece, and ere we go hence,

I will this beast in better order bring,

Or sharply punish him for his offence.

Nay soft (said Sacrapant) that were a thing,

The which to grant might shew I had no sence,

Lend you him yours, for Ile not go to schoole,

To know as well as you to bob a foole.


Tush (quoth Ferraw) fooles to your faces both,

As though if I had bin dispos’d to weare one,

I would have suffer’d (were you leive or loth)

The best and proudest of you both to beare one,

The truth is this, that I by solemne oth

Upon a certaine chance did once forsweare one,

That on my head no helmet should be donne,

Untill I had Orlandos helmet wonne.


What (quoth the Earle) then seems it unto thee,

Thy force so much Orlandos doth surmount,

That thou couldst do the same to him, that he

Unto Almonta did in Aspramount?

Rather I thinke, if thou his face should see,

Thou wouldst so farre be wide of thine account,

That thou wouldst tremble over all thy body,

And yeeld thy selfe and armour like a nody.


The Spanish vaunter (like to all the nation)

Said he had often with Orlando met,

And had him at advantage in such fashion,

That had he list he might his helmet get,

But thus (quoth he) the time brings alteration,

That now I seeke, I then at naught did set,

To take his helmet from him then I spared,

Because as then for it I little cared.


Then straight Orlando mov’d in rightfull anger,

Made answer thus, thou foole and murren lier,

I cannot now forbeare thee any longer,

I am whom thou to find do’st so desire,

When met we two that thou didst part the stronger?

Thou thought’st me farder, thou shalt feele me nier,

Try now if thou beest able me to foyle,

Or I can thee of all thy armour spoyle.


Nor do I seeke to take this ods of thee,

This said, forthwith his helmet he untide,

And hung the same fast by upon a tree,

Then drew his Durindana from his side;

And in like sort you might the Spaniard see,

That was no whit abated of his pride,

How he his sword and target straight prepar’d,

And lay most manfully unto his ward.


And thus these champions do the fight begin

Upon their coursers fierce, themselves more fierce,

And where the armour joynes, and is most thin,

There still they strive with sturdy strokes to pierce:

Search all the world, and two such men therein

Could not be found, for as old books rehearse,

Their skins were such, as they had bin unarmed,

Yet could they not with weapons have bin harmed.


Ferraw had in his youth inchantment such,

That but his navell, hard was all the rest,

Unto Orlando there was done as much,

By prayer of some saint (as may be guest)

Save in his feet, which he let no man tuch,

Take it for truth, or take it for a jest,

Thus I have found it wrote, that they indeed

Ware armor more for shew then any need.


Thus twixt them two the fight continues still,

Yet not so sharpe in substance as in show;

Ferraw imploying all his art and skill,

Sharpe thrusts upon the tother to bestow:

Orlando that hath ever strength at will,

Layth on the Spaniard many a lustie blow:

Angelica doth stand fast by unseene,

And sees alone the battell them betweene.


For why the Pagan Prince was gone the while,

To find her out, when they together fought,

And by their strife, that he might both beguile,

He hopes, and had conceived in his thought:

He rides away, and travels many a mile,

And still his deare beloved mistris sought.

And thus it came to passe that she that day,

Was onely present at so great a fray.


Which when she saw continue in such sort,

Nor yet could guesse by ought that she did see,

Which was most like to cut the others short,

She takes away the helmet from the tree,

And thinks by this to make her selfe some sport,

Or they by this might sooner sundred be,

Not meaning in such sort away to set it,

But that the worthy Earle againe may get it.


And with the same away from hence she goes,

The while they two with paine and travell tired,

In giving and in taking deadly bloes,

Ferraw (that mist the headpeece first) retired,

And for he did most certainly suppose,

That Sacrapant had tane it undesired,

Good Lord (said he) what meane we here to do?

This other Knight hath cousened us two.


And unawares the helmet tane away,

Orlando hearing this, doth looke aside,

And missing it, he doth beleeve straight way,

As did Ferraw, and after him they ride:

They came at last into a parted way,

That in two parts it selfe doth there divide,

Fresh tracke in both of them was to be seene,

This of the Knight, that of the Indian Queene.


Orlandos hap was to pursue the Knight,

Ferraw, that was more luckie of the twaine,

Happen’d upon Angelica to light,

Who to refresh her former taken paine,

Fast by a fountaine did before alight,

And seeing sodainly the knight of Spaine,

Straight like a shadow from his sight she past,

And on the ground the helmet left with hast.


But as the sight of her did make him glad,

In hope by this good fortune her to get,

So thus againe to loose her made him sad,

And shew’d that she did him at nothing set:

Then curst he as he had bin raging mad,

Blaspheming Trivigant and Mahomet,

And all the Gods ador’d in Turks profession,

The griefe in him did make so deepe impression.


Yet when he had Orlandos helmet spide,

And knew it was by letters writ thereon,

The same for which Trajanos brother dide,

He takes it quickly up and puts it on,

And then in hast he after her doth ride,

That was out of his sight so strangely gone,

He takes the helmet, thinking little shame,

Although he came not truly by the same.


But seeing she away from him was fled,

Nor where she was he knew nor could not guesse,

Himselfe from hence to Paris ward he sped,

His hope to find her waxing lesse and lesse:

And yet the sorrow that her losse had bred,

Was part asswag’d, the helmet to possesse,

Though afterward when as Orlando knew it,

He sware great othes that he would make him rew it.


But how Orlando did againe it get,

And how Ferraw was plagued for that crime,

And how they two betweene two bridges met,

Whereas Ferraw was killed at that time,

My purpose is not to declare as yet,

But to another story turne my rime:

Now I must tell you of that Indian Queene,

By vertue of her ring that goeth unseene.


Who parted thence all sad and discontented,

That by her meanes Ferraw his will had got,

That she (with this unlookt for hap prevented)

Left him the helmet, though she meant it not,

And in her heart her act she sore repented,

And with her selfe she said, alas God wot,

I silly foole tooke it with good intention,

Thereby to breake their strife and sharpe contention.


Not that thereby this filthy Spaniard might

By helpe of my deceit and doing wrong,

Keepe that by fraud he could not win by might,

Alas to thy true love and service long,

A better recompence then this of right,

From me (my good Orlando) should belong:

And thus in this most kind and dolefull fashion,

She doth continue long her lamentation.


Now meaneth she to travell to the East,

Unto her native soile and country ground,

Her journey doth her other griefes digest,

Her ring doth in her journey keepe her sound;

Yet chanced she, ere she forsooke the West,

To travell neare a wood, whereas she found

A fine yong man betweene two dead men lying,

With wound in bleeding brest even then a dying.


But here a while I cease of her to treate,

Or Sacrapant, or of the Knight of Spaine,

First I must tell of many a hardy feate,

Before I can returne to them againe:

Orlandos actions I will now repeate,

That still endur’d such travell and such paine,

Nor time it selfe, that sorrowes doth appease,

Could grant to this his griefe an end or ease.


And first the noble Earle an headpeece bought,

By late ill fortune having lost his owne,

For temper or the strength he never sought,

So it did keepe him but from being knowne.

Now Phoebus charret had the daylight brought,

And hid the starres that late before were showne,

And faire Aurora was new risen when

Orlando met two bands of armed men.


One band was led by worthy Manilard,

A man though stout, yet hoary haird for age,

Who with his men did make to Paris ward,

He not for warre, but fit for counsell sage:

Alsyrdo of the other had the guard,

Then in the prime and chiefe floure of his age,

And one that passed all the Turkish warriers,

To fight at tilt, at turney or at barriers.


These men with other of the Pagan host,

Had layne the winter past not far fro thence,

When Agramant did see his men were lost,

By vaine assaults unto his great expence,

And therefore now he sweares and maketh bost,

That he will never raise his siege fro thence,

Till they within that now had left the field,

Were forst by famine all their goods to yeeld.


And for that cause, now sommer comes againe,

He gets together all the men he may,

With new supplies of Affrike and of Spaine,

And some of France that did accept his pay,

But that in order due they may remaine,

He points them all to meet him in one day,

Who by commandement hither came in clusters,

To make appearance at the pointed musters.


Now when Alsyrdo saw Orlando there,

Inflam’d with pride and glory of his mind,

He longed straight with him to breake a speare,

And spurs his horse, but quickly he doth find

Himselfe too weake so sturdy blowes to beare,

And wisheth now that he had staid behind,

He falleth from the horses back downe dead,

The fearfull horse without his master fled.


Straight there was rais’d a mighty cry and shout,

By all the souldiers of Alsyrdos band,

When as they see their captaine (late so stout)

Throwne downe and killed by Orlandos hand:

Then out of ray they compast him about

On ev’ry side in number as the sand,

They that are nie, with blowes do him assaile,

And those aloofe throw darts as thicke as haile.


Looke what a noise an herd of savage swine

Do make when as the wolfe a pig hath caught,

That doth in all their hearings cry and whine,

They flocke about as nature hath them taught:

So do these souldiers murmure and repine,

To see their captaine thus to mischiefe brought,

And with great fury they do set upon him,

All with one voice, still crying, on him, on him.


I say the nearer fight with sword and speare,

And those aloofe send shafts and many a dart,

But he that never yet admitted feare

To lodge in any harbour of his hart,

Upon his shield a thousand darts doth beare,

And thousands more on every other part,

Yet of them all makes no more care nor keepe,

Then doth a Lion of a flocke of sheepe.


For when at once his fatall blade he drew,

That blade so often bath’d in Pagans blood,

No steele there was of temper old or new,

Nor folded cloths the edge thereof withstood,

About the field, heads, legs, armes, shoulders flew,

The furrowes all did flow with crimson flood,

Death goeth about the field rejoycing mickle,

To see a sword that so surpast his sickle.


This made the Pagan rout so sore agast,

He that could swiftest runne was best apaid,

And as they came, so fled they now as fast,

One brother for another never staid:

No memory of love or friendship past,

Could make one stay to give another aid,

He that could gallop fastest was most glad,

Not asking if the wayes were good or bad.


Onely one man there was in all the field,

That had so long in vertues schoole bin bred,

That rather then to turne his backe or yeeld,

He meaneth there to leave his cark as dead:

Old Manylard, who taking up his sheeld,

Even as his valiant heart and courage led,

Sets spurs to horse, and in his rest a lance,

And runs against the Palladine of France.


Upon Orlandos shield his speare he brake,

Who never stird for all the manly blow,

But with his naked sword againe he strake,

And made him tumble ore the saddle bow:

Fortune on vertue did some pitie take,

For why, Orlandos sword fell flatling tho,

That though it quite amaz’d and overthrew him,

Yet by good hap it maim’d him not nor slew him.


With great confusion all the other fled,

And now of armed men the field was voyd,

Save such as were or seemed to be dead,

So as Orlando now no more annoy’d,

Went on his journey as his fancie led,

To seeke her, in whose sight he onely joy’d,

Through plains and woods, through sandy ways and miry,

He travels making still of her enquiry.


Untill it was his fortune toward night

To come fast by a mountaine, in whose side

Forth of a cave he saw a glims of light,

And towards it he presently doth ride:

Then at the mouth thereof he doth alight,

And to a bush fast by his horse he tide,

He douts, as ever love is full of feare,

That his belov’d Angelica was there.


Ev’n as the hunters that desirous are,

Some present pastime for their hounds to see,

In stubble fields do seeke the fearfull hare,

By ev’ry bush, and under ev’ry tree:

So he with like desire and greater care,

Seeks her that sole of sorrow can him free,

He enters boldly in the hollow cave,

And thinks of her some tidings there to have.


The entrance straight and narrow was to passe,

Descending steps into a place profound,

Whereas a certain faire yong Ladie was,

Kept by some outlawes prisner under ground,

Her beautie did the common sort surpasse,

So farre as scant her match was to be found,

So as that darke and solitary den,

Might seeme to be a Paradise as then.


On her an aged woman there did wait,

The which (as oft with women doth befall)

About some matter of but little waight,

Did happen at that time to chide and brall,

But when they saw a stranger comming, straight

They held their peaces, and were quiet all,

Orlando doth salute them with good grace,

And they do bid him welcome to the place.


Then after common words of salutation,

Although at first of him they were afraid,

Yet straight he enter’d in examination,

By whom in that same cave they had bin staid

And who they were in so unseemly fashion,

That kept a comely and a noble maid?

And said, he saw it written in her face,

Her nurture and her linage were not base.


She told him straight how long she there had beene,

And by what hap she had bin thither brought,

Amid her words the sighs do passe betweene,

The corall and the pearle by nature wrought,

Sweet teares upon her tender cheeks were seene,

That came from fountaine of her bitter thought:

But soft, lest I should do the Reader wrong,

I end this booke, that else would be too long.


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Chicago: Lodovico Ariosto, "1," Orlando Furioso, trans. John Harington in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0 (Irvine, CA: World Library, Inc., 1996), Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRSJBNLL1S31P32.

MLA: Ariosto, Lodovico. "1." Orlando Furioso, translted by John Harington, in Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, Irvine, CA, World Library, Inc., 1996, Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRSJBNLL1S31P32.

Harvard: Ariosto, L, '1' in Orlando Furioso, trans. . cited in 1996, Library of the Future ® 4th Edition Ver. 5.0, World Library, Inc., Irvine, CA. Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CRSJBNLL1S31P32.