Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Renaissance Epic Reveals Reason for a Diminished Orlando SC: Tale No. 13

Medieval Manuscript Reveals New Tale
(Image: Valerie McGlinchey, CC BY-SA 2.0 UK via Wikipedia Commons) 

By David Rusk

Revised December 3, 2021
First Published by Black and Red United, August 8, 2018

Preface: This is the thirteenth in a series of Tales from Buzzard Point that explores the rich traditions and myths surrounding the legendary DC United soccer team and its fabled history at Buzzard Point. The Tales from Buzzard Point are historical fiction and parody.

Note from Editor: “Turkey Buzzard Point” appeared on one of the earliest maps of the future Washington, D.C. area. A remarkable discovery has located a clearly prophetic reference to Buzzard Point in the Renaissance epic poem Orlando furioso (1516) by Lodovico Ariosto (1474-1533).

This revelation found within one of the Renaissance’s great classics has been brought to my attention by Prof. Lorenza Cortabarria Spinosa, the noted Argentine-Basque scholar of Italian literature. Recently, she was startled to find a prophetic reference to Lionel Messi as “Angel di Dio, Messi novello” or “God’s angel, the novel Messi” (Canto XXXIII, stanza 114, line 5).

Knowing of my love for soccer, D.C. United, and Buzzard Point, Prof. Cortabarria Spinosa began to look for another hidden foreshadowing of the modern world’s most popular sport. She realized that the whole saga of the famed English knight errant Astolfo (Cantos XXXIII-XXXV) was an early printer’s misprint and actually refers to the Magic Headband, Chris Rolfe, beloved D.C. United forward (2014-17).

New Summary of Astolfo's Tale

Astolfo hears reports of Orlando’s unseemly arrogance. He decides to travel to “the terrestrial paradise” to take away Orlando’s soccer skills. He mounts a giant bird to fly him there. (Since early 16th Century Italians had never seen nor even heard of North America’s bald eagles, Ariosto characterized the giant bird as a mythical hippogriffin, but Astolfo’s mount was clearly Talon, as four centuries later famed illustrator Gustave Dore recognized.)

Astolfo Riding Giant Bird Headed for Orlando
(Image: Gustave Dore via Wikipedia Commons)

On arrival, Astolfo impounds all of Orlando’s skills, seals them in a large clay pot, and aboard Talon returns to Buzzard Point.

Here’s the crucial passage in Ariosto’s 16th century Italian:

Canto XXXIV, Stanza 87

La più capace e piena ampolla, ov’era
il senno che solea far savio Orlando,
Astolfo tolle; e non è sì leggiera,
come stimò, con l’altre a MLS essendo.
Prima che ‘l paladin da quella sfera
piena di luce alle più Bozzagro Capo
menato fu da l’apostolo santo
in un palagio ov’era un fiume a canto.

The English translation

The fullest vessel and of amplest round
Which held the skill Orlando erst possessed,
Chris Rolfe took; nor this so light he found,
As it appeared, when plied within the MLS.
Before, from those bright spheres, now earthward bound,
His course is to our Buzzard Point addressed,
Him to a spacious palace, by whose side
A river ran, conducts his feathered guide.

Editor's Afterword

Thus, since five centuries ago, Orlando City SC, bereft of its soccer skills, has been doomed to never come away from Buzzard Point with a result.

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