Conde Irlos is an anonymous Philippine metrical romance based on the life and exploits of Count Irlos, one of the twelve peers in the Court of Charlemagne.
The story revolves around Count Irlos' winning of Princess Elea in a tournament; Count Irlos' absence of fifteen years at which time his countess Elea is put under great pressure to marry Celinos, a young peer and Roldan's nephew; and Count Irlos' timely return which prevented the marriage.
A study of Conde Irlos in relation to its foreign sources and analogs reveals similarities and discrepancies in the narrative. The poet preserved parts of the original narrative, borrowed motifs from other romances, and added and expanded some episodes such as the following:
- The Spanish ballad opens with the arrival of Charlemagne’s letter to Irlos while the Philippine romance begins the story much farther back with a brief recital of Irlos’ genealogy and his great zeal for the Holy Faith.
- The poet provided a detailed narration of how Irlos wins Elea at a tournament. This description of the exploits of Irlos the study suggests was to give the reader some idea of Irlos’ prowess and to add more color and action to the original story which centered on only one major adventure.
- The scene in which Allarde challenges Charlemagne and his peers is similar to Fierabras’ challenge in Doce Pares de Francia and suggests borrowing from Doce Pares de Francia.
- The poet slightly modified Charlemagne’s proposed punishment for Celinos.
- The poet significantly modified the treatment of characters. The Countess of Irlos who is unnamed in the Spanish ballad is named Elea, renamed Reducind Rosalina when she is baptized, in the Philippine romance. She is given an Amazon-like character and becomes an expert at organizing troops.
- The poet lingers over some incidents or inserts some episodes such as the departure of Irlos, which is described in 28 lines in the Spanish ballad, while it is prolonged to 106 stanzas in the Philippine romance.
- In retelling the story, the Philippine poet expanded the 1,366-line ballad to a romance of 5,009 lines to make it one of the longest of Philippine metrical romances (the longest of the fifty romance studies is Orontis with 5,312 lines. Other long romances are Doce Pares de Francia with 4,532 lines, Principe Baldovino with 4,738 and Ibong Adarna with 4,125). The poet narrated all the incidents in the original, added a 205-stanza introductory section, inserted additional episodes, and expanded the incidents in the original narrative by adding more details. (Damiana L. Eugenio, Awit and Corrido: Philippine Metrical Romances).
The importance of the romance Conde Irlos is in its being reworked and expanded by the poet. Juan Atayde, in his article "Theaters of Manila," refers to Philippine metrical romances which had been distorted and augmented by its poet to complement the folklore of the country and hoped that the language of these romances would be studied by scholars of the country (Atayde, Theaters of Manila, p. 70-74). Conde Irlos, a Philippine metrical romance that was reworked could be one of these romances and one that Filipino scholars today need to study for its folkloric value and artistic value.
Conde Irlos is available only in Pampango: Corrido qng bierang delanan ning Conde Irlos ila ning condesang asauana qng cayarian Francia. This was published in Manila by J. Martinez with 53 double column pages at 24 stanzas per page.
- Atayde, Juan. “The Theaters of Manila,” translated by Concepcion Rosales and Doreen
Fernandez in Philippine Studies, Vol. 30 / First Quarter 1982. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1982.
- Eugenio, Damiana L. Awit and Corrido: Philippine Metrical Romances. Quezon City, Philippines: University of the Philippine Press. 1987.
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