Orlando Furioso, Canto XXXV
“Who will ascend for me into the skies
And bring me back the wits which I
Ariosto starts us on the moon with an allegory about fame and glory. Astolfo sees an old man collecting name cards and dumping them into the river Lethe. There birds tear the cards apart. Except for a very few which get saved by swans and taken to some temple full of nymphs where the names can shine forth and impress the world. The whole thing gives Ariosto a chance to further kiss the butts of his D’Este patrons. That done he returns to earth and Bradamante.
Bradamante is riding along looking for people to fight when she encounters Fiordiligi wailing on about how her husband has been captured by Rodomonte. Bradamante agrees to help and sets off for the bridge and tower. When she gets there she sees Isabella’s mausoleum and becomes enraged. Words get spoken. Challenges made. Rodomonte charges. Bradamante charges. And KLONK. Down goes Rodomonte and possibly out of the story.
“He went; and nothing more of him was heard,
Except that he took refuge in a cave.”
She frees everyone in the castle* but doesn’t stick around long. Once the door’s are open she and Fiordiligi are off for Arles where the Saracen army is encamped. Bradamante sends Fiordiligi into the city with a message for Ruggiero attacking his honor and saying come fight me. Of course she doesn’t sign her name.. Message given Ruggiero is like “What did I do?” and goes to seek counsel with King Agramante.
And so begins a long list of knights saying ‘Don’t worry, bruh. I got this” before riding off to get their butts whooped by Bradamante. And after each one Bradamante says the same thing, “Go back and tell Ruggiero I am still waiting for him.”
And so Ruggiero dons his armor and gets ready to do battle unknowingly against the woman he loves.
Until next time!
* Rodomonte had already sent many of the captives to Africa including Brandimarte, Fiordiligi’s husband. Sorry sister.
CANTO SCORE CARD
KNIGHTS: Astolfo, Bradamante, Rodomonte, a bunch of knights stuck in Rodomonte’s tower, Ruggiero, King Agramante, a bunch of Saracen knights who get whooped by Bradamante (Serpentino, Grandonio, Ferrau)
HORSES: Rabicano, Frontalatte
MONSTERS: Christian saints, Fates, Allegorical figures