Download document

ARIOSTO, Ludovico

Orlando furioso -

Canto 23

The reward for evil deeds will come,

In injury, or shame, or feel the sword.

Who harms another, Fortune will not spare,

Soon or late; the debt can ne'er be ignored.

Mountains never move, but folk, they say,

Will often meet each other, on the way.


Canto 24

Her heart, divided 'twixt her love and shame,

A warfare waged within her gentle breast;

Shame urged her back, while love's resistless flame

Compelled her on, and hope, and sweet unrest.

Twice, thrice, she turned, and with a faltering pace,

Retraced her steps, then paused with lingering grace.


Canto 34

Within that moon, by some strange virtue placed,

All things are found, that on our earth are lost.

Sighs, not of those who love, but those disgraced,

And empty hopes, and words and deeds, at cost

Of little gained, repented of too late;

These things on high are heaped by cruel fate.

La notte Orlando alle noiose piume

Del veloci pensier fa parte essai

Or quinci or quindi il volta, or lo rassume
tutto in un loco, e non l’afferma mai:
qual d’acqua chiara il tremolante lume,
dal sol percossa o da’ notturni rai,
per gli ampli tetti va con lungo salto
A desta et a sinistra e basso et alto

All night long counsel of his weary bed,
Vexed with a ceaseless care, Orlando sought;
Now here, now there, the restless fancy sped,
Now turned, now seized, but never held the thought:
As when, from sun or nightly planet shed,
Clear water has the quivering radiance caught,
The flashes through the spacious mansion fly,
With reaching leap, right, left, and low, and high.

Tra il fin d'ottobre e il capo di novembre,

ne la stagion che la frondosa vesta

vede levarsi e discporir le membre

trepida pianta, fin che nuda resta,

e van gli augelli a strette schiere insembre,

Orlando entrò ne l'amorosa inchiesta:

né tutto il verno lasciò quella,

né la lasciò ne la stagion novella


Between October and November’s moon,
In that dull season when the leafy vest
Is stript from trembling plant, whose limbs are shown
Of all their mantling foliage dispossess’d
And in close flights the swarming birds are flown,
Orlando enters on his amorous quest:
This he pursues the livelong winter through,
Nor quits when gladsome spring returns anew.

Egli, ch'allato avea una tasca, aprilla,

e trassene una ampolla di liquore;

e negli occhi possenti, onde sfavilla

la più cocente face ch'abbia Amore,

spruzzò di quel leggiermente una stilla,

che di farla dormire ebbe valore.

Già resupina ne l'arena giace

a tutte voglie del vecchio rapace.


A pocket at the ancient's side was dight,

Where he a cruise of virtuous liquor wore;

And at those puissant eyes, whence flashed the light

Of the most radiant torch Love ever bore,

Threw from the flask a little drop, of might

To make her sleep: upon the sandy shore

Already the recumbent damsel lay,

The greedy elder's unresisting prey.


All excerpts translated by William Stuart Rose