Orlando Furioso

Author: Lodovico Ariosto  | Date: 1532


Most worthie Prince your vertues high and rare,

With tongue and penne I praise, and ever shall,

Although my words and verse inferiour are,

In number and in worth to match them all:

But all above this one I do compare,

And far prefer, and pure divinest call,

That giving gracious care to those are greeved,

Yet ev’ry tale is not by you beleeved.


Oft have I heard your highnesse hath refused,

Although the same most earnestly were sought

To heare the guiltlesse absent man accused,

(And when a great complaint to you was brought)

You have the matter and the man excused:

Suspending still your judgement and your thought,

And keeping till the truth were truly tride,

Ever one eare for the contrarie side.


Had Norandino had so great a grace,

As not to credite tales so lightly told,

He had not offerd Griffin this disgrace,

No though thereby he might have gained gold:

But so doth rashnes vertue oft deface,

As here was proved that was said of old;

The silly people beare the scourge and blame,

Oft when their Princes do deserve the same.


For Griffin (as in part I told before)

When as his hands and feete were once untide,

Did deale about of blowes and thrusts such store,

As well was he could for himselfe provide,

His wrath was such as none he then forbore,

The old, the young, the strong, the feeble dide:

And they that laught before to see him carted,

Now for their labor whinde as much and smarted.


The people faint and mazed fled away,

From him whom late they did deride and scorne,

He follow’d them and kild them by the way,

Dastards more meet to die, then to be borne.

But in this chase a while I let him stay,

Triumphing now that lately was forlorne:

Of Rodomont now somewhat must be spoken,

On whom at once I said eight speares were broken.


Eight speares at once upon the scaly skin,

Did light, and divers darts were throwne aloofe,

For speares and darts he passeth not a pin,

Such was his strength, so sure his armors proofe:

But when he saw that more and more came in,

To part from thence he thinks his best behoofe,

For why on ev’ry side they do assaile him,

That needs at length his breath and strength must faile him.


Ev’n as the Lions whelps that see a Bull,

Are at the first of his great strength affraid,

But when they see their sire to teare or pull

His throte and sides, they runne their sire to aid,

And flie upon his face and horned scull,

Till prostrate on the ground they have him laid:

So now when Charles himselfe was in the place,

Each one tooke armes, each one took hart of grace.


Who so hath seene a huge well baited Beare,

With many dogs, men standing close about,

When he by hap the stake or cord doth teare,

And rusheth in among the thickest rout,

How suddenly they runne away with feare,

And make a lane to let the Beare go out:

He might (I say) compare by such a sight,

The manner of this Pagans fight and flight.


He rusheth out, and with his two hand blade,

He florisheth about in so fierce sort,

That soone a way for him to passe was made,

To hinder him his way it was no sport,

And those that by the way did him invade,

Except they shifted better, were cut short:

Thus in despite of Charles and all his realme,

He came unto the banks of Sequans streame.


And standing from the banke a little distance,

That few or none behind could him enclose,

An howers space and more he made resistance,

Against King Charles, whose powre stil greater groes

Till in the end in hope of no assistance,

Displeas’d, but not disgrast away he goes:

He takes the river fretting in his minde,

That he had left a man alive behinde.


And so he swell’d in anger and in pride,

That he had thought to turne him backe againe,

And to have mounted on the other side,

And all that should withstand him to have slaine:

But lo a messenger he then espide,

That made him from that rash attempt refraine,

But who did send him, and what word he bare,

I meane to you another time declare.


But first what Discord did I meane to show,

Who as you heard was by the Angell sent

Among the Pagans, seeds of strife to sow,

And as she was commanded thither went:

Yet leaving Fraud behind the coales to blow,

Least all the fire of strife should quite be spent,

And to augment his strength, as much as may be,

He carrid Pride with him out of the Abby.


Pride leaves Hypocrisie to keepe his place,

And thus these jarring friends togither go,

And when they traveld had a little space,

They found by hap dame Jelousie also,

That met a dwarfe that run a trudging pace,

Ev’n as she wanderd idlely to and fro:

And learning unto whom this page was sent,

To go with him she quickly did consent.


You call to mind (for sure you cannot chuse,

But call to mind so late a written storie)

How Mandricardo Doralice did use,

And kept with joy whom he did win with glorie:

She secretly sent notice of this newes,

(Though afterward her selfe perhap was sorie)

To Rodomont, and sharply him incited,

To venge her rape as I before recited.


The messenger arrived then by hap,

When from the streame the Pagan did ascend,

And told him all the tale of her mishap,

And how another did possesse his frend:

Cold jelousie straight enterd in his lap,

And Pride with Discord do the matter mend,

Alledging if he put up this disgrace,

Then let him nere looke Ladie in the face.


Like as a Tyger that her young hath lost,

Suppris’d by hunters hand and borne away,

Doth follow on the foote through ev’ry cost,

No dikes nor waters wide can make her stay:

So Rodomont with love (and anger most)

Enflamed, could endure no more delay,

And though he want his horse, that did not boote,

To cause him stay, he rather goes on foote.


He meanes what ever horseman next he spide,

To take his horse of frend or else of foe,

At this is Discord pleas’d, and said to Pride,

That she was glad their bus’nes cotned so:

I will (quoth she) a horse for him provide,

An horse shall cost him deare enough I trow;

But what of him and of that horse befel,

Another time not now I meane to tell.


This while the most renowned Christen King,

That had expulst the Pagan from the towne,

His valiant men of armes about doth bring,

And on the sodaine lets the draw bridge downe,

And with a fresh assault their foes so sting,

While fortune smild on him, on them did frowne,

That they had runne away like men dismaid,

Had not Ferraw couragiously them staid.


My mates in armes (quoth he) brethren and frends,

Prov’d valiant heretofore, now hold your place:

More happie far is he his life that spends,

In honour, then that keeps it in disgrace;

Loe me your generall that here entends,

No way to staine the blood of Spanish race;

The patterne follow that I shew you furst,

And then I care not, let them do their worst.


Thus in that part Ferraw the fight renewd,

And draws with him the chosen Spanish band,

That oft in Christen blood their hands imbrewd,

And none almost but they did now withstand:

But destinie can never be eschewd,

As may by their successe be rightly scand;

Behold Renaldo comes, and as he came,

It seem’d he carrid lightning fierce or flame.


Not long before Almontes valiant sonne,

Hight Dardanell, had slaine a Christian Knight,

And proud of that his glorie lately wonne,

And of this good successe he had in fight,

About the field he carelessely did runne,

Untill he hapt to see a wofull sight,

He saw Alfeo yeelding up the ghost,

A youth whom he esteem’d and loved most.


Lurcanio was the man that did the deed,

And Dardanell to venge it doth intend,

Lurcanio follow’d on and tooke no heed,

The other all on him his force doth bend,

And with a waightie speare, him and his steed,

Unto the earth together he doth send,

And pierst his thigh, and put him in such paine,

As scant he able was to rise againe.


But Ariodant (that deare his brother loved)

And sees him in such paine and danger lie,

Was therewithall in wrath so greatly moved,

He meaneth to avenge his hurt, or die:

But though that he attempted oft and proved,

Yet could he not to Dardanell come nie,

For still of other men, the throng and number,

Did him in this attempt molest and cumber.


No doubt the heav’ns had Dardanell ordained,

To perish by a more victorious hand;

Renaldos blade must with his blood be stained,

And was, as after you shall understand:

By him this praise and glory must be gained,

The fame whereof must fill both sea and land:

But let these westerne warres a while remaine,

And of Griffino talke we now againe.


Who taught those of Damasco to their harmes,

What wrong they did to cart him in such sort,

They fill the towne with uprores and alarmes,

Mens mouthes and eares were full of this report:

The King brings forth five hundred men in armes,

And sends five more to fortifie the fort:

For why this tumult brought him in perswasion,

That sure some host of men did make invasion.


But when he saw no men, no host, no band,

No troupes of horse the citie to invade,

Onely one man (well knowne) that there did stand,

And of his people such a slaughter made,

(Mov’d with remorce) he stretcheth out his hand

Naked, in shew of peace, as is the trade,

And openly his rashnesse he lamented,

That such a Knight to harme he had consented.


And Griffin when to find he now begunne,

The King was of so good an inclination,

And that the wrong to him before was done,

Not of his owne, but others instigation:

To make a friendly concord doth not shunne,

Because hereby he lost no reputation:

And there he tarid at the Kings request,

To cure his wounds and take a little rest.


This while his brother Aquilant the blacke,

That with Astolfo still in Jewrie staid,

And sees his brother now so long did lacke,

Was in his mind all sad and ill apaid:

They heard no newes of him, they found no tracke,

Though wait about in ev’ry place was laid,

Untill the Greekish pilgrim they had met,

By whom of him some inkling they did get.


He told them how a certaine wanton dame,

Hight Origilla, with a ruffian knave,

That kept her openly without all shame,

Yet going in apparell fine and brave,

These two (the pilgrim said) together came,

From Antioch (as forth in speech they gave)

And to Damasco then they meant to go,

But what became of them he did not know.


And further unto Aquilant he told,

How he Griffino met this other day,

And did to him the matter all unfold,

And how forthwith Griffino went his way,

With chase enough, and swearing that he would

Kill this same vile adultrer if he may:

No sooner had his speech the pilgrim ended,

In post to follow, Aquilant intended.


In post he follow’d to Damasco ward,

And when he travel’d had a day or twaine,

(Behold that God that ever doth reward

The good with blessings and the bad with paine)

That gracelesse couple that before you heard,

Betraid Griffino with that divellish traine,

Into the hands of Aquilant did give,

While they in pleasure most securely live.


I say that Aquilant by Gods permission,

Doth meet the vile Martano on the way,

His horse, his coate, and outward apparition,

So like unto Griffino ev’ry way,

That Aquilant at first without suspition,

Went to embrace him, and began to say,

Brother well met, I joy of your welfare,

Your absence bred in me much feare and care.


But when he saw the tother not replide,

But shrunke away like one that were afraid,

Ah traitor villain; yeeld thy selfe, he cride,

Thou hast my brother spoiled and betraid,

Tell me (thou wretch) doth he in life abide?

To whom in humble sort Martano said,

(With fainting hart, with quaking voice & trembling

Yet in the midst of all his feare dissembling.)


Oh pardon sir, your brother is alive,

And like to live, and hath no hurt, nor shall,

The truth is this, I being loth to strive

With him, because I found him stout and tall,

Did with no ill intent this drift contrive,

To save my selfe and do him hurt but small,

For this same womans sake that is my sister,

With open force not daring to assist her.


It grieved me to see how he by lust

Did her abuse whom nature made me love,

And for I thought it was both meet and just,

Her from this wicked custome to remove,

And sith I did his valew great mistrust,

I thought it best by pollicie to prove:

I stale his horse and coate while he was sleeping,

And so convaid her quite out of his keeping.


Well might Martano beare away the bell,

Or else a whetstone challenge for his dew,

That on the sodaine such a tale could tell,

And not a word of all his tale was trew,

But yet in shew it all agreed well,

Save one which Aquilant most certaine knew,

Was false, and he in vaine did seeke to smother,

He was her bedfellow, and not her brother.


With hand and tongue at once he doth replie,

And in one instant he both strake and spake,

I know (quoth he) vile villaine thou dost lie,

And on the face so fiercely him he strake,

He makes two teeth into his throate to flie;

Then with great violence he doth him take,

And him and her he binds in bitter bands,

Like captives carrid into forren lands.


And thus in hast unto Damasco riding,

He swears that he these bands would not unbind,

Till of his brother he do heare some tiding,

Whom in Damasco after he did find;

Who now with cunning Phisicke and good guiding,

Was almost heald in body and in mind,

And when he saw his unexpected brother,

They both saluted and embrac’d each other.


And after they had made in speech some sport,

About full many a foolish accident,

(For Aquilant had heard a large report

Of Griffins carting, and his punishment)

At last he asketh Griffin in what sort

They should this couple worthily torment;

To hang and draw, and burne their privie parts,

Was not too much for their too foule desarts.


The King and all his Councell thought it good,

Because their fault was such so open knowne,

That they should publikely dispill their blood,

And their desarts might publikely be showne:

But yet that motion Griffin straight withstood,

Pretending private causes of his owne,

Onely he wisht Martano should be stript,

And at a cart drawne through the street and whipt.


And as for her, although she had deserved

A punishment as great as he, or more,

Yet was the sentence of her doome reserved

Untill Lucina came, and not before:

So that by Griffins meane she was preserved,

So great a sway love in his fancie bore:

Here Aquilant by Griffin was procured,

To bide with him untill his wounds were cured.


Now Norandin that all his powre still bends,

To honor Griffin all the meanes he may,

And with great courtesie to make amends,

For that disgrace he did him th’other day;

To make another triumph he intends,

Set forth with pompe and state, and rich array:

And that the same may flie to forraine nations,

He notifies it straight by proclamations.


At foure weekes end the triumph should begin,

The same whereof about so farre was blowne,

Without the land of Jewrie and within,

At last unto Astolfo it was knowne,

Who asking Sansonets advice herein,

Whose wisedome he preferd before his owne,

At last for company they both agree,

To go together these same justs to see.


Now as they went upon their way, behold

They met a gallant and a stately dame,

With whom this Duke acquainted was of old,

Marfisa was this noble Ladies name:

She traveld like a Knight, her heart was bold,

Her body passing strong unto the same,

And when she knew both why and where they went,

To go with them she quickly did consent.


And thus these three their journey so contrive,

As just against the day and solemne feast,

Together at Damasco they arrive,

Each one well mounted on a stately beast,

The King that specially did care and strive,

To honor Griffin more then all the rest,

By all the meanes and wayes he could devise,

Augmented much the valew of the prise.


And where it was, as I before declar’d,

A single armor rich and finely wrought,

Now Norandino at this time prepard,

To set it out with things not lightly bought,

To this he adds a horse most richly barb’d,

By riders skill to great perfection brought,

Wel shapt, wel markt, strong limb’d, & passing swift,

The beast alone, fit for a Princes gift.


All this he did, because great hope he saw,

That Griffin once againe the prise would win,

But then was verifide the old said saw,

Much falls betweene the Challice and the chin:

For when Marfisa (void of feare or aw)

Without had view’d this armor and within,

And finds it had bene hers by marks well knowne,

She seizeth straight upon it as her owne.


The King that ill so great disgrace could brooke,

Did shew himselfe therewith much discontent,

And with a princely frowne and angry looke,

His silence threatned that she should repent,

And in so great despite the thing he tooke,

That straight some sergeants unto her he sent,

With souldiers, some on foote and some on horse,

Deceiv’d much in her sex, more in her force.


For never did a child take more delight,

With gawdie flowres in time of spring to play,

Nor never did yong Ladie brave and bright,

Like dauncing better on a solemne day,

Then did Marfisa in the sound and sight

Of glittring blades and speares delight to stay:

And this did cause her take therein more pleasure,

Because her strength was great beyond all measure.


Those few that were to apprehend her sent,

And punish her for this unlawfull deed,

Were caus’d their comming quickly to repent,

And others by their harmes tooke better heed:

The armed Knights most diversly were bent,

Some standing still to mark what this would breed,

Some to the sergeants thought to bring reliefe,

Of whom were Griffin and his brother chiefe.


The English Duke doth deeme it were a shame,

To leave Marfisa in this dangerous case,

Sith chiefly for his company she came,

And Sansonet doth deeme it like disgrace,

Wherefore they meane how ere the matter frame,

Not leave her unassisted in the place,

Astolfo had a charmed speare all gilt,

With which he used oft to runne at tilt.


The vertue of this charmed speare was such,

Besides the gilding bright and faire of hew,

That whom so ere the head thereof did tuch,

Straight him from off his horse it overthrew,

Griffino first although disdaining much,

He quite unhorst, nor who it was he knew:

Then Aquilant that to revenge it ment,

Unto the ground in manner like was sent.


Thus did these warriers three themselves behave,

But chiefe Marfisa, who would never rest,

But would in spite of all, the armor have,

Nor once vouchsafe to aske it or request;

She doth the King and all his nobles brave,

And when the best of them had done his best,

On ev’ry side she beat the people downe,

And from them all made way out of the towne.


Sansonet and Astolfo did the like,

King Norandinos men of armes pursew,

The foolish people crie stop, kill and strike,

But none comes neare, but stand aloofe to vew:

A narrow bridge there was, this place they pike,

And to defend it against all the crew,

Till Griffin came, having his horse recovered,

And by some markes the English Duke discovered.


And straight his brother Aquilante came,

And of Astolfo both acquaintance take,

And then in civill termes they somewhat blame

Her litle count she of the King did make,

Astolfo friendly told to them her name,

And in defence of her some words he spake,

The rest that came marvell to what it tends,

To heare them talke together now like friends.


But when that Norandinos souldiers hard

Her name, so dreaded over all the East,

They surely thought that they should all be mard,

And that the citie would be tane at least,

Therefore they pray the King to have regard.

But now Marfisa (moved by request

Of those two brothers) friendly doth consent,

Herselfe before the Prince for to present.


And thus without much reverence she spake,

Sir King, I marvell what your highnesse ment,

A prise and gift of such a thing to make,

As is not yours without I give consent:

The Armes this armor hath plaine proofe do make,

Namely a crowne into three peeces rent:

Once I put off this armor in a way,

To chase a theefe that stale from me a pray.


Then said the King, faire dame the truth is so,

Of one Armenian merchant I them bought,

I make no question be they yours or no,

Nor needs for proofe more witnesse to be brought,

For though they were not, I would them bestow

On you, if so the same by you were sought:

As for Griffino unto whom I gave them,

He shall be pleas’d I hope, and not to have them.


I will him recompence some other way,

And give him gifts of as great worth or more;

Thanks to your highnesse Griffin straight doth say,

Preserve me in your grace, I aske no more:

But when Marfisa saw that ev’ry way

They honor’d her, she chang’d her mind before,

To shew magnificence she us’d this drift,

That he must take this armor as her gift.


And thus good friends all turned back againe,

And then with double joy the feast they hold,

In which chiefe praise did Sansonet obtaine,

The other foure did then themselves withhold,

Wishing the praise should unto him remaine,

And then with greater cheare then can be told,

By Norandino they were nobly feasted,

And there themselves they well repos’d and rested.


Sev’n dayes or eight the King them entertained,

And those once past, of him their leave they take,

The which with gifts and honor great obtained,

Unto the towne of Tripoly they make,

And in one company these five remained,

And mind not one the other to forsake,

As long as one of them was left alive,

Untill in France they safely should arrive.


And straight they get a vessell for their hire,

A merchants ship new laden from the West,

The master of the ship an auncient sire,

Consented to their wils with small request,

The wind as then serv’d fit for their desire,

And blowes a gentle gale all from the East,

So that with filled sailes in little while,

They came as farre as Cypres, Venus Ile.


Here ev’ry place was full of odours sweet,

Of gardens faire or spice of pleasant tast,

The people lustfull (for dame Venus meet)

From tender yeares to doting age do last,

With wanton damsels walking in each street,

Inviting men to pleasure and repast,

From hence againe they loosed, at what time,

Don Phoebus charret unto th’East did clime.


The weather still was temperat and cleare,

A pleasant gale their swelling sailes did fill;

No signe of storme or tempest did appeare,

To such as in the weather had best skill:

But loe the weather oft doth change her cheare,

Ev’n as a woman oft doth change her will,

For sodainly they had such stormes of wether,

As if that heav’n and earth would come together.


The aire doth on the sodaine grow obscure,

But lightned oft with lightnings dreadfull light,

And save their houreglasse kept them reckning sure

Twas hard for to discerne the day from night:

The desprat marriners do all endure,

As men inured to the waters spight,

The heav’ns above, the waves beneath do rore,

Yet are not they dismaid one whit therefore.


One with a whistle hang’d about his necke,

Showes by the sound which cord must be undone,

And straight the shipboy ready at a becke,

Unto the tops with nimble sleight doth runne,

The other marriners upon the decke,

Or at the steere the comming waves do shunne,

And then by turnes they pump the water out,

By paine and care preventing ev’ry doubt.


Now while this noble crew with tempest tost,

Went in the sea as wind and weather drave,

And looke each minute to be drown’d and lost,

The Christians with a fresh assault and brave,

Set on the Pagans sorely to their cost:

Who now began the worser side to have,

But chiefly then their courage gan to quaile,

When noble Dardanellos life did faile.


Renaldo him had noted from the rest,

Full proud of slaughter of so many foes,

And to himselfe he said tis surely best,

To crop this weed before it higher growes,

Therewith he sets his fatall speare in rest,

And cries to Dardanello as he goes,

Alas poore boy, much wo to thee they bred,

That left to thee that sheild of white and red.


Ile trie if you defend those colours well,

(He saith) which if with me you cannot do,

Against Orlando fierce, I can you tell,

For to defend them will be great adoe.

Thus said Renaldo, and noble Dardanell,

In valiant wise thus answer’d thereunto,

Know this (quoth he) that these my colours I

Will bravely here defend, or bravely die.


With that he spurr’d his horse (as this he spake)

And with great force Renaldo did assaile,

But loe the staffe upon his armor brake,

So as his blow but little did availe,

But straight Renaldos speare a way did make,

And pierce the double folds of plate and maile,

And went so deepe into the tender skin,

The life went out there where the staffe went in.


Looke how a purple flowre doth fade and drie,

That painefull plowman cutteth up with sheare,

Or as the Poppeys heads aside do lie,

When it the bodie cannot longer beare;

So did the noble Dardanello die,

And with his death fild all his men with feare,

As waters runne abrode that breake their bay,

So fled his souldiers breaking their array.


They flie unto their tents with full perswasion,

That of the field the masterie was lost,

Wherefore to fortifie against invasion,

They spare no time, no travell, nor no cost;

Now Charles by forhead meanes to take Occasion,

And follows them full close with all his host,

And comming to their tents so bravely venterd,

That he with them themselves almost had enterd.


Had not his valiant attempt bene staid,

By over hastie comming of the night,

So that of force as then it was delaid,

And either side was driv’n to leave the fight,

But with this difference, all the Turks dismaid,

And newly gather’d from their fearfull flight,

The Christians on the tother side pursewing,

And day by day their hope and powre renewing.


The number of the Turks that day were slaine,

Was more then fourscore thousand (as they say)

Their bloud did fat the ground of all that plaine,

And makes the ground more fertile to this day:

Among the dead some men halfe dead remaine,

Left there for theeves and robbers as a pray,

Within the Pagan campe great mone they make,

Some for their friends, some for their kinsfolks sake.


Two youths there were among so many more,

Whose friendship fast and firme, whose faithful harts

Deserved to be plast the rest before,

And to be praised for their good desarts,

Their names were Cloridano and Medore,

Both borne farre hence, about the Estern parts,

Their parents poore, and not of our beleefe,

Yet for true love they may be praised chiefe.


The elder of the two hight Cloridan,

An hunter wilde in all his life had beene,

Of active limbs, and eke an hardie man,

As in a thousand men might well be seene:

Medoro was but yong, and now began

To enter too, of youth the pleasant greene,

Faire skind, black eyd, and yellow curled heare,

That hang’d in lovely locks by either eare.


These two among the rest kept watch that night,

And while the time in sundry speech they spent,

Medoro oftentime most sadly sight,

His masters death did cause him to lament,

Oh (said Medoro) what a wofull spight:

What cruell scourge to me hath fortune sent?

That Dardanel Almontes worthy sonne,

So sodainly should unto death be done?


Behold his noble corse is left a prey,

To be devoured by the wolfe and crow,

A food too fine to be so borne away,

But I shall remedy that hap I trow,

Ile find the meane his corse thence to convay,

I am resolv’d my selfe will thither go,

That for the good he did me when he liv’d,

At least his corse by me may be reliev’d.


When Cloridano heard this saying out,

He stood amaz’d, and musing in his mind,

In tender yeares to find a heart so stout,

Unto so dangerous attempt inclin’d,

And straight disswades him, casting many a doubt,

To make him change the thing he had assign’d:

But still Medoro doth resolve to trie,

To bury Dardanell, or els to die.


When Cloridan so resolute him found,

Of his own frank accord he vow doth make

To follow him in broken state and sound,

And never him to leave or to forsake;

And straight they two do leave this fenced ground,

And pointing new supplies their roomes to take

They find the Christen camp lie all neglected,

As those that feare no harm, nor none suspected.


I say those Christens that the watch should keep,

Lay as they cared not for foe nor friend,

Their senses so possest with wine and sleep,

That none of them their office did attend:

But Cloridan that saw them drown’d so deep,

(Said thus) Medoro, now I do intend

To get for our great losse this small amends,

To kill some foes, that killed all our friends.


Stand thou and watch, and harken ev’ry way,

And for the rest let me alone to trie,

This said, he goes where one Alseo lay,

That took upon him knowledge in the skie,

By which he dream’d he should live many a day,

And in his wives beloved bosome die:

But all was false, his cunning him deceiv’d,

For now this Pagan him of life bereav’d.


And many more whom here I do not name,

That sleep on boards, or making straw their bed:

At last where wretched Grillo lay he came,

That on an empty barrell couch’d his head,

Himselfe had emptied late before the same,

A deadly sleep the wine in him had bred,

The Turke his sword within his bowels fix’d,

Out came the blood and wine together mix’d.


Neare Grillo slept a dutchman and a Greeke,

That all the night had pli’d the dice and drink,

To both of them at once he did the like,

That dream’d perhaps of sev’n and of sysesink:

They had been better watched all the week,

Then at so bad a time as this to wink:

Death certaine is to all, the Proverb saith,

Uncertaine is to all the houre of death.


Look how a Lion fierce with famine pin’d,

That comes unto a flock of silly sheep,

Where neither fence, nor people he doth find,

Doth spoile the flock the while the shepheards sleep;

So Cloridano with as bloudy mind,

That found those husht that watch and ward should keep,

Could not his cruell rage and malice bridle:

Nor was this while Medoro’s weapon idle.


For he that did disdaine to make to die,

Those of the common and the baser sort,

Came there where Duke Labretto then did lie,

Embracing of his Lady in such sort,

As yvie doth the wall, they lay so nie,

Now soundly sleeping after Venus sport,

So close, the aire could not have come betweene;

Medore their heads at one blow cuts off cleane.


Oh happy state, o life, o death most sweet,

For sure I think their soules embracing so,

In heav’nly seat do oft together meet,

And in good peace and love did thither go.

Then next a captaine of the Flemish fleet,

And th’Earle of Flaunders sonnes with other mo,

Medoro kil’d, and so far forward went,

He came but little from the Emp’rors tent.


But loe they both with shedding bloud now tir’d,

And fearing lest at length some few might wake,

Ere long time past, both by accord retir’d,

And mind their first attempt in hand to take,

(as both, but as Medoro chiefe desir’d)

Most secretly unto the field they make,

They mean although they both were faint & weary,

The noble Dardanellos corse to burie.


The heaps of men that in the field remaine,

Some dead, and some between alive and dead,

Had made their labour to have been in vaine,

Had not the moone shew’d out her horned head,

So bright, as cleare discover’d all the plaine,

That then was cover’d with Vermillion red,

Were it a chance or els his earnest prayer,

That made the moon at that time shine so faire.


Now after search by Phoebe’s friendly light,

The good Medore espi’d him on the ground,

Who when he saw that grievous wofull sight,

He was for sorrow ready there to sound;

And out he cries, alas o wo thy wight,

Not worthy, in this sort to have been found;

Now my last duty do I mean to pay,

And then to say, farewell to you for ay.


Thus spake Medoro shedding many a teare,

And minding now no longer time to tarrie,

The loved corse doth on his shoulders beare,

And Cloridano holp the same to carrie,

And they that erst were stout and void of feare,

Were waxen now so timerous and warie,

Not for their own, but this deare burdens sake,

That ev’ry little noise did cause them quake.


This while the noble Zerbin, having chast

His fearfull foes while others were asleep,

That had his heart on vertues lore so plac’d,

As did to noble deeds him waking keep,

Came with his troope where these two made great hast

By hils, by dales, by stony waies and steep,

The carkas of their Lord to beare away,

When much it wanted not of break of day.


The Scots that were of noble Zerbins band,

And saw two men go loden down the plaine,

Make after them a gallop out of hand,

In hope to light upon some prey or gaine:

When Cloridano spying ore the land,

Did say ’twas best to let the corse remaine,

Alledging that it was a foolish trick,

In saving one dead man to lose two quick.


And herewithall his hold he letteth slide

And thinks Medoro would the same have done,

He meanes himselfe in the next wood to hide,

And toward it in great hast he doth run;

But good Medoro that could not abide,

To leave the office he so late begun,

Although with double paine and duller pace,

With all the burthen fled away in chase.


And to the wood the nearest way he went,

In hope to get it ere the horsemen came,

But now his breath and strength were so farre spent,

As they had very neare him overtane,

Yet in his deed he doth no whit relent,

To leave his Lord he counts it such a shame.

But they that think this story worth the reading,

Must take a little respite in proceeding.


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Chicago: Lodovico Ariosto, "1," Orlando Furioso, trans. John Harington Original Sources, accessed April 16, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8U43T1RMHNCPX2M.

MLA: Ariosto, Lodovico. "1." Orlando Furioso, translted by John Harington, Original Sources. 16 Apr. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8U43T1RMHNCPX2M.

Harvard: Ariosto, L, '1' in Orlando Furioso, trans. . Original Sources, retrieved 16 April 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=8U43T1RMHNCPX2M.