Fra piacer tanti, ovunque un arbor dritto vedesse ombrare o fonte o rivo puro, v'avea spillo o coltel subito fitto; cosi, se v'era alcun sasso men duro: et era fuori in mille luoghi scritto, e cosi in casa in altri tanti il muro, Angelica e Medoro, in varii modi legati insieme di diversi nodi.(3) (Amid so many pleasures, whenever she saw a tree which afforded shade to a spring or limpid stream, she would hastento carve it with a knife or pin; she did the same to any rockunless it was too hard.
Such deferred gratification seems to mirror Angelica's own experience, where sexual pleasure alone is not enough to satisfy her passion.
It takes Angelica to revolutionize the tradition, to dominate the writing and to have it speak of present, consummated, female-initiated love (it is she, after all, who seduces Medoro).(7) Even the barely suppressed violence of the topos is appropriated by her, when she operates the "spillo," when her "coltel" is "subito fitto" in any available, yielding surface.
Angelica's language, instead, is emphatically referential, insisting on its mimetic relationship to its subject matter, as the concluding couplet of Canto 19, 36--"Angelica e Medoro, in varii modi / legati insieme di diversi nodi"--bears out.
Such visual analogues help us to imagine the configurations of Angelica's carvings and to interpret some of the vaguer terminology of the verse.
If painters of this episode have failed to depict the loveknots in Angelica's coitogram, it is probably because they have displaced them onto the bodies of the lovers in the act of carving their graffiti.
Angelica's coitogram is not only a case of writing at its most referential, it is also extremely concentrated and economical writing, embodying in one hieroglyph the happy course of requited love.
Liete piante, verdi erbe, limpide acque, spelunca opaca e di fredde ombre grata, dove la bella Angelica che nacque di Galafron, da molti invano amata, spesso ne le mie braccia nuda giacque; de la comodita che qui m'e data, io povero Medor ricompensarvi d'altro non posso, che d'ognior lodarvi:
(Happy plants, verdant grass, limpid waters, dark, shadowy cave, pleasant and cool, where fair Angelica, born of Galafron, and loved in vain by many, often lay naked in my arms.