Orlando Furioso, Canto XXVII
Welcome back. I was away for a bit.
You know how people put up a notice about taking a break and then never come back?
Well, I figured if I didn’t say anything that would increase my chances of coming back here and finishing this damn project. And lo, here I am.
So let’s get back to it. But be warned. I’m going to be blunt here. This is one of those bad cantos. This is one of those cantos where some dude gets annoyed at some other dude because the first dude says the second dude has his rightful sword shield gauntlet armor horse whatever and this happens over and over with multiple dudes arguing over multiple things that it’s nigh impossible it all straight. Nothing but dickheads wagging their dicks around because they think the other guy’s dick should be their dick. Not to even mention I don’t remember who is who anymore. Do you?
Didn’t think so.
So let’s get at it.
Ariosto starts with some gender essentialist advice. To wit, women give better instinctive advice if given spontaneously, while men give better advice when they take the time to ponder the subject. This is used to say that Malagigi should have thought for a second or two before using magic to send Mandricardo and Rodomonte back to Paris where they would resume killing Christians. If he had thought a second or two he would have just sent them off to the bottom of the sea. But, what can you expect when you employ demons, ammirite?
Meanwhile all the other Saracen knights are headed for Paris (at the behest of Satan no less) where Charlemagne’s now in deep water since Orlando and Rinaldo have abandoned him. Scenes of devastation ensue. Soldiers drowned in lakes of blood, headless torsos, split skulls, limbs lopped, the whole cruel slaughter bit. King Charles flees and counts himself lucky to have survived the day, because it was a bad one. So bad, the angels noticed. In particular Michael who now feels like he failed in his mission to recruit Dame Discord when the Big G told him to. So he flies around until he finds Discord and drags her back to the pagan camp and tells her to do more than she already did.
So she does, and we enter the dick wagging dickheads section of this canto I mentioned above.
The Saracen knights all appeal to King Agramnte asking him to decide on the order of duels between them over their various disputes. Marfisa wants to fight Mandricard. Rodomonte wants to fight Ruggierro. Mandricard wants to fight Ruggiero. In the end Agramante decides to have them draw lots for the fight. So, that’s settled. The duels start in the morning. Except they don’t. Mandricardo has Graddasso’s family’s sword and wants to fight Mandricard before the first fight.
It goes on with this for a good bit with people claiming swords armor horses as theirs by right and must be settled for before the duels can be settled. It becomes a whole fracas with other knights taking sides or trying to keep the combatants apart. King Agramante then tries to settle things again and we get a lot of discourse about what should belong to who and why. In the midst of this Marfisa sees Brunello the Thief who stole all her gear. Marfisa takes him and says she’ll hang him if no one comes to challenge her and take him away. And off she goes. Now Brunello’s loved/hated by Agramante and would go after Marfisa to rescue him, but one of his advisers says it’s beneath his dignity to do so and there are enough quarrels already before him.
At last, Agramante tells Doralice she needs to decide between Mandricard (her abductor) and Rodomonte (her betrothed). So she does, picking Mandricard. Rodomonte takes this poorly and prepares to attack. King Agramante however sides against him, and so Rodomonte tells every one to drop dead and rides away. Ruggierro and Gradasso then set off after Rodomonte (something about a horse). Events prevent them from catching him and Rodomonte rides on bad-mouthing all women as he goes until he reaches an inn where the proprietor hears his complaints and says let me tell you a story.
And so, I expect here comes some casual misogyny for us in the next canto.
Until then, keep your sword sharp.
CANTO SCORE CARD
Knights: Richardetto, Rodomont, Mandricard, Gradasso, Sacripant, Marfisa, Ruggiero, King Agramant, King Charles, some other knights whose names I don’t want to type.
Horses: Frontalatte, some knight’s horse they fight over
Monsters: Satan, Michael the Angel, Dame Discord
Magic Items: All that junk these people are fighting over