Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Chapter 120

How King Perion and his army returned to Firm Island, and what they did before King Lisuarte came there to join them. 

[Juggler, detail from the Gradual of Saint-Etienne of Toulouse (Harley 4951), a book of music and Gregorian chants, made between 1075 and 1124. In the British Library.]

Now the story says that King Perion and all his army, after King Lisuarte had left for Windsor, where his wife Queen Brisena was, lined up in their battalion formations, just as they had when they arrived, and with much pleasure and joy in their hearts, they took the road for Firm Island.

The Emperor of Rome always lodged in Amadis’ tent with him, and they slept together in a bed, and never for a single hour were they separated. All his men and tents and possessions were overseen by Brondajel de Roca, his chief majordomo, as they had been under the Emperor Patin, his predecessor. The daily marches were short, and they always found encampments in sunny and pleasant places.

After they would spend a little while in the company of King Perion in his tent, they would all gather together in the tents of Amadis or the Emperor, and because they were all young men of great estate and upbringing, they would play games and joke pleasurably, and so they enjoyed the best days that they had in a very long time.

Thus they arrived at Firm Island, where they found Oriana and all the great ladies in the garden, so beautiful and finely dressed that it was a marvel to see them: do not believe that they seemed to be earthly beings or mortals; instead it seemed as if God had made them in Heaven and had sent them to Earth. The great joy every one of them had to see each other together and healthy with so much honor and in peaceful agreement could in no way be told.

King Perion came forward, and all the ladies paid him great respect, with great humility from those who ought to greet him thus, and the others kissed his hands. Amadis brought the Emperor by the hand, and he came to Oriana and told her:

“My lady, speak with this knight and great prince who has never seen you, yet who loves you dearly.”

She, who already knew he was the Emperor and was going to marry her sister, came to him and wished to kneel and kiss his hands, but he bent down with great respect and raised her up and said:

“My lady, it is I who ought to bow before you and your husband, because he is the lord of my land and my person, and ye may believe without fail, my lady, that nothing shall be done with either except at your and his will.”

Oriana told him:

“My lord, I agree as far as your gratitude goes, but it must be I who reveres your virtue and grandeur and treats you with great obedience.”

He gave her many thanks for that.

Agrajes and Sir Florestan, with Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste, went to Queen Sardamira and Olinda and Grasinda, who were together; and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar went to his very beloved lady Melicia; and the other knights to the other Princesses and very beautiful damsels of high estate who were there. They spoke pleasurably with them in what gave them the greatest enjoyment.

Amadis took Gastiles, nephew of the Emperor of Constantinople, and Grasandor, son of the King of Bohemia, and brought them to his cousin the Princess Mabilia, and told her:

“My good lady, take these two Princes and do them honor.”

She took them by the hands and sat between them both. Grasandor was very pleased by this because, as we have told you, from the first day that he saw her, his heart was given over to love her. And knowing who she was, and of her great goodness and gentleness, and the close relationship and love Amadis had for her, he decided to ask for her as a wife, and deeply desired to see her speak and to speak with her. For that reason he was very pleased to see himself so close to her, but as the Princess was a damsel extremely good and honest and graceful with a great deal of beauty, Grasandor was so taken by her that he was moved to feel much more affection for her than he had.

So as ye hear, all those lords were enjoying what they most desired except for Amadis, who had a deep desire to speak with his lady Oriana, but he could not with the Emperor there. And when he saw Queen Briolanja, who was sitting beside Sir Bruneo and his sister Melicia, he went to her, took her by the hand, and said to the Emperor:

“My lord, speak with this lady and give her company.”

The Emperor until then had not taken his eyes from Oriana, for at seeing her great beauty he was astounded. He turned to look, and when he saw the Queen so fine and beautiful, and the other ladies who were speaking with the knights, he was amazed to see women more outstanding than any he had ever seen, and he told Amadis:

“My good lord, I truly believe that these ladies are not born like other women. Instead the great and wise Apolidon through his great art made them and left them here on this island, where ye found them, and I can only think that they or I am enchanted. I can say, and it is true, that if companions like those were sought throughout the world, it would not be possible to find them.”

Amadis embraced him, laughing, and asked him if he had seen the like in any court, no matter how large it was. The Emperor told him:

“Certainly, I nor anyone else could have seen this, save for in Heaven.”

While they were speaking, as ye hear, King Perion came to them, who had spent some time speaking with the very beautiful Grasinda, and took Queen Briolanja by the hand and told the Emperor:

“My good lord, let ye and I, if it pleases you, speak with this beautiful Queen, and let Amadis speak with Oriana, for I well believe that he would take great pleasure in being with her.”

And so they both remained with Queen Briolanja, and Amadis went with great joy to his lady Oriana, and with great humility he sat with her apart from the others and told her:

“Oh, my lady, with what services can I repay the favors ye have done for me, for by your will, our love was discovered?”

Oriana told him:

“My lord, now is not the time for you to pay me such courtesies, nor I to receive them, for I am the one who must serve you and follow your will with the obedience that a wife must show to her husband. And from here on I wish to recognize the great love ye have for me by being treated by you, my lord, as is consistent with reason and in no other way. Let us speak of this no more, except that I very much wish to know how my father is and how he accepted the matter involving us.”

Amadis said:

“Your father is very sensible, and although he may have felt otherwise secretly, before us all he seemed very content, and so he departed from us. And, my lady, ye already know that he shall come here, with the Queen and your sister.”

“I already know,” she said, “and the pleasure my heart feels cannot be expressed. May it please our Lord that it all be carried out as agreed, without any change, for ye may believe, my lord, that after you there is no one in the world whom I love as much as him, although his great cruelty ought to give me much cause to feel otherwise. Now tell me how Esplandian is, and how he seems to you.”

“Esplandian,” Amadis said, “so much resembles you in his appearance and habits that nothing more could be said. I had very much wished the holy man Nasciano to bring him to you, and Nasciano may already be here now, for he had not wished to come with the troops. But your father the King asked for permission to take Esplandian to the Queen so she could see him, and he would bring him here.”

In this and other things they spoke until it was time to dine, when King Perion arose and took the Emperor and went to Oriana. They told her:

“My lady, it is time for us to go to our lodgings.”

She told them to do what made them most content. So all the men left, and the women were left so happy and delighted that it was amazing to see. All the men dined that night in King Perion’s lodgings, which Amadis had ordered to be prepared, where they were very well served and supplied with everything that might be necessary where so many and such great lords were.

After they had eaten, jugglers came who did many tricks, which they enjoyed until it was finally time to sleep, and they all went to their lodgings except for Amadis, whom the King had ordered to remain because he wished to speak to him about some things. When everyone had left, the King went with Amadis to his room, and when they were alone he said:

“My son Amadis, since our Lord God has been pleased to have thee acquire so much honor from these confrontations and great battles, where although many princes of high birth and great knights had placed their persons and estates, by the goodness of God the greatest part of the glory and fame has come to thee, just as, had things gone contrary, thy honor and great fame ran the greatest risk, as thou knowest.

“Now nothing more remains except that, with the same care and great diligence that, at the beginning of this high confrontation, constrained by great necessity, thou brought together and encouraged all these honorable knights, now that danger has passed, thy greatest duty is to show them gratitude. Thou shouldst remit to their will what ought to be done, not only with these prisoners who are great princes and lords of great estates, but, as thou now hast a wife, for them to have wives with thee, so that it may seem that just as they aided thee in the troubles and dangers, they may be thy companions in the benefits and pleasures.

“And for this I remit to thy will my daughter Melicia, so that thou mayest give her to he with whom her virtue and great beauty shall be well employed. Thou mayest do the same with thy cousin Mabilia, and as I understand it, Queen Briolanja will not leave nor act except at thy pleasure. I also remind thee to place with them thy friend Grasinda and even Queen Sardamira, since the Emperor is here who can command her.

“If they are pleased to wed in this land, there is no lack of knights of equal estate and lineage. And remember thy brothers, who are now disposed to have wives with whom they may engender those who shall sustain them in life and remember them afterwards. And do this at once, for good works with effort and delay lose the greatest part of their worth.”

Amadis knelt before him and kissed his hands for both what he had said and what he had ordered him to do. With that agreement, Amadis went to his lodging. And in the morning, he arose and had all those lords brought together in the lodging of his cousin Agrajes, and together he told them:

“My good lords, the great labors are done, and with them ye have won exceptional honor and esteem. With good cause and reason, they give you license to allow your anguished spirits some rest and repose. And God has wished that I should achieve what I most desired in this world, for which I am indebted to you and your love, if something is in my hand to do, ye shall be restituted. For that end, my lords, do not hesitate to manifest your will to me both in what involves your loves and desires, if any of these ladies ye love and wish for wives, and for what should be done with these prisoners whom by the great virtue and courage in your hearts ye defeated. It is very proper that since by them ye have suffered many injuries and great danger, for that suffering ye should now enjoy and rest in the great realms that they possessed.”

Those lords were very grateful for what Amadis had offered them, and they were very happy with him. And as for marriage, immediately they made their wishes known. Agrajes was first, who would take Olinda as his lady; and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar told him that he well believed Amadis knew that all his hope and fortune lay in his lady Melicia. Grasandor said that his heart had never been given to any woman of all that he had seen except to Princess Mabilia, whom he loved and asked for as his wife.

Sir Cuadragante said:

“My good lord, time and youth until now have made me very contrary to any repose or care other than my horse and arms. But now reason and age combine to make me choose another way of life, and if Grasinda were pleased to marry in these lands, I would take her as my wife.”

Sir Florestan told him:

“My lord, now that things have come to their conclusion, although my desires were to immediately leave for Germany where on my mother’s side I am native, and to see her and all my lineage whom I hardly know given how long ago I left there, if here I might gain the will of Queen Sardamira, it could change my plans.”

Other knights told him that they were very grateful to him for his offer, but since their hearts were free from being subjected to any of those ladies nor to any other women, and since they were young men without much fame, and that age had not given them time to win honor, they saw no purpose in becoming involved in any acquisitions or repose but to seek adventures in which they could place their persons. Regarding the ladies that those knights sought and what he had said about the prisoners, they would desist from all that, and he should divide it among the others, who were now pleased to take such repose and responsibilities in their lives. Instead he should send them to where he thought they could win the greatest fame and praise in feats of arms and danger.

Amadis told them:

“My good lords, I have faith in God that what ye ask for shall be at His service, and that with His help it shall be done. And since these young men leave it all to you, I wish to divide it as I have determined in my judgement. And I say that ye, my lord Sir Cuadragante, are the son of a king and brother of a king, and your estate does not in any way equal your great lineage and merit, so ye shall reign over Sansuena, and since its lord is in your power, ye may take it without great effort.

“And my good lord Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, besides now giving you my sister Melicia, ye shall have in addition the realm of King Arabigo, and I hope ye shall pass on the realm of your father the Marquis to your brother Branfil.

“Sir Florestan, my brother, shall have this Queen he asks for, and in addition to all that she possesses, which is the Island of Cerdena, the Emperor at my request shall give you all the realm of Calabria that had belonged to Salustanquidio.

“Ye, my lords Agrajes and Grasandor, must be content for the present with the great reigns and realms that ye expect after the end of the lives of your fathers, and I with this little corner, Firm Island, until our Lord brings the time when we may have more.”

All were in agreement and praised what Amadis had decided, and they asked him to do as he had said. And since if all the things were recounted about what happened with the marriages with those ladies and with the Emperor regarding the matter of Queen Sardamira, too prolix would be the writing. Know only that Amadis complied with everything, and the Emperor in what he had asked for Sir Florestan, and much more farther on, as this story shall recount.

They were all immediately betrothed by the hand of the holy man Nasciano, and the day of the weddings would be chosen by Amadis and the Emperor.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chapter 119

How King Lisuarte arrived at the town of Windsor, where his wife Queen Brisena was, and how he arranged to return to Firm Island with her and their daughter. 

[Men at feast, from the Tiberius Psalter, England, 11th century. Learn more about medieval food, specifically baking bread here.]

King Lisuarte took with him King Cildadan and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, and all their men, and returned to his town of Windsor, where he had sent word to have his wife Queen Brisena come to wait for him. Nothing more is told except that he arrived after five days at the town, with an expression on his face that showed greater joy than he felt in his heart.

He realized full well that, although Amadis would become his son, and that his daughter would be very honored by him, and that Amadis, like the Emperor of Rome and King Perion and all the other great lords, considered him their leader and all of them were at his orders, his will was not satisfied. All that honor and gain had come to him at the cost of being defeated and in dire straits, as has been told to you, and Amadis, whom he had attacked as a mortal enemy, bore all the glory.

With such great sadness sitting in his heart, in no way could he be happy. Instead, he was now of advanced age and was very tired and angered to see so many deaths and great troubles, all of it between Christians, and to know that the causes for it were worldly and fleeting, which he as a most powerful prince had been given the opportunity and ability to eliminate. Yet it had cost him some of his honor, which he had always sought to preserve, holding worldly honor in esteem to the extreme of forgetting the care of his soul. With just cause God had given him such punishments, especially most recently, as ye have heard. He consoled himself and pretended to be a man of great discretion so no one would feel that his thoughts were about that rather than being the lord and leader of all, which he had won with great honor.

And so with this feigned happiness and with a very pleased expression he came to where the Queen was with her ladies and damsels, very richly dressed, bringing the youth Esplandian by the hand. She already knew about what had happened, both the danger and the joy, from Brandoivas, whom the King had sent ahead from the monastery to bring her pleasure. When the King entered the hall, the Queen came to him and knelt and wished to kiss his hands, but he pulled her to him and lifted her up with great affection and embraced her as she whom he loved with all his heart. And while the ladies and damsels came to kiss the King’s hands, the Queen took the youth Esplandian, who was kneeling before her, into her arms and began to kiss him again and again.

She said:

“Oh, my handsome and fortunate son! Blessed be the hour of thy birth, and mayst thou have the blessings of God and of me, for so much good has come to me because of thee. And may He be pleased in His holy mercy to give me the chance to repay this great service that thou hast done for my lord the King on his behalf, for, after God, thou hast protected his life.”

Then King Cildadan and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, came to speak with the Queen, who received them with great courtesy, as she who was one of the wisest and best-raised ladies in the world. And then all the other knights approached to kiss her hands. At that moment it was time to dine, and those two Kings stayed with the King and the other knights, and the King provided a great variety of delicacies, as such a man as he had so often offered at the table by custom.

After they had eaten, the King had those Kings remain in his palace in fine rooms, and he lodged in the Queen’s chamber. When they were in bed, he said:

“My lady, if by chance ye are amazed by the news they have told you about your daughter Oriana and Amadis of Gaul, I am too, and I surely believe that neither ye nor I had thought such a thing or suspected it. I am not troubled by it except that we did not know it earlier, for so many deaths and such harm could have been avoided had it been known. Now that the news has come to us, no remedy could be sought or applied that would not come with greater dishonor.

“We should take as the remedy that Oriana shall be with the husband she is pleased to take, and setting aside all anger and passion and recognizing what is true and just, there is in the world today no emperor nor prince who can equal him, in fact far less. With his exceptional discretion and great courage, fortune has been more favorable to him than to anyone else born, for he was once a poor knight-errant and today at his command is the height of all those great and small who live in the world.

“And Leonoreta will be Empress of Rome, as I have granted. I of my own will and to the honor of Amadis gave my word that ye and I and Leonoreta would be at Firm Island, where they are waiting for us to bring everything to conclusion. So it is necessary for you to prepare yourself properly and show a joyful face, ceasing to speak of the past as ought and must be done in all such events.”

The Queen kissed his hands because she wished to restrain his anger and mighty heart, and to show her agreement. She merely replied that what he ordered would be carried out, and since he would have two such sons and everyone else would be at their service, he should consider it good and give many thanks to God because He had wished to make it so, although the way it was done hardly conformed to his will.

And so they rested that night. The next day the King arose and ordered King Arban of North Wales, his majordomo, to quickly prepare everything necessary for the journey. And the Queen also did what she must so that her daughter would appear as was befitting of an Empress of such high estate.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chapter 118

About how King Lisuarte brought together the Kings and great lords and many other knights with him in the monastery at Lubaina and told them of the great services and honors he had received from Amadis of Gaul, and the reward he gave him for them. 

[Portrait of Baldwin of Lannoy, painted in about 1435, by Jan van Eyck, when Baldwin became one of the first knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece.]

As ye have heard, the brave and courageous knight Arquisil was accepted as Emperor of Rome because of his good friend Amadis of Gaul. Now the story tells how all those kings, princes, and knights were enjoying themselves very much at that monastery in the town of Lubaina waiting until King Lisuarte was in a better state of health and could rise from his bed. Many of his noble knights who had been injured had remained there, and they and the King had been treated by the great doctor Elisabad.

And when King Lisuarte was well, one day he had all the Kings and great lords from both sides called, and in the monastery’s church he told them:

“Honorable Kings and famous knights, ye may very well forgive me from reminding you of the events that have recently happened, since just like me ye have seen them, and if they had not been ended early, those of us who are alive would be just like those who are dead. And so, leaving that aside, and knowing the great harm both to the service of God and to our own selves and estates that would have occurred had events continued, I have detained the noble King Perion of Gaul and all the knights on his side so that in their presence and in yours I may say what ye shall hear.”

Then he turned to Amadis and told him:

“Courageous knight Amadis of Gaul, the purpose and goal of my speech is not to praise anyone in his presence, which ye would not desire and always makes you embarrassed, and which is very out of habit for me, yet I must remind the Kings and knights of the things that happened between you and I since ye came to my court as a knight for my wife Queen Brisena. And although these things are all well known to them and to me exactly as they happened, everyone will no doubt consider it proper and honest to state the reasons behind the recompense that ye deserve to be given by me.

“Truly, ye were in my court after your defeat of Dardan the Arrogant and ye had brought for my service your brother Sir Galaor, who was the best any king has ever received, when I and my daughter Oriana were deceived by the evil Arcalaus the Sorcerer, and she and I were taken prisoner while all my knights could neither protect us nor rescue us, being constrained to respect the promise I had given. She and I were in danger of death or cruel prison, and my kingdom was at risk of being lost.

“At this time ye and Sir Galaor came from where ye had been sent by the Queen, and learning of the perils, ye placed your lives at the point of death for our own, and we were rescued and saved, and my enemies were taken prisoner and were delivered to death and destruction. And then my wife the Queen was quickly rescued by you, and Barsinan was killed, who was the father of the current lord of Sansuena, and who had besieged her in my city of London. So although I had been badly tricked and taken prisoner, with great honor and safety I and my realms were restored by you.

“Then, and after some time had passed, a battle was decided upon between myself and King Cildadan, who is present, with one hundred knights fighting against another hundred knights, and before we came to battle, ye removed from my way the hindrances of this knight Sir Cuadragante, and Famongomadan and his son Basagante, the two bravest and strongest giants in all the islands of the sea. And from them ye freed my daughter Leonoreta and her ladies and damsels and ten fine knights from my household, who were being held prisoner in carts from which all my power never could have taken them.

“Then, King Cildadan had brought formidable men to the battle, including powerful giants and other very valiant knights, and ye with one blow killed the mighty Sardaman the Lion, and with another freed me from the hands of Madanfabul, the giant of the Vermilion Tower. He had snatched me from my saddle while all my senses were overcome and was carrying me away beneath his arm to place me in his ships. Without that and the other many famed things ye did in that battle, it is known that I would not have had the victory and great honor that I enjoyed there.

“Along with that, ye defeated the very valiant and world-famous Ardan Canileo the Feared, and as a result my court was honored for having there what could not be found in any other where he had been. Not one, two, three, nor four knights could nor had dared meet him on the field.

“While we may say that ye were obliged to do all this, since ye found yourself in my service and the great obligation and duty to your honor constrained you to do so, let it also be said what ye have done for me since then, when to my fault for accepting bad advice rather than to your fault, ye left me more as an opponent and enemy than as a friend and servant.

“In the time when we faced our greatest number of enemies, when ye learned about the great battle I was to fight against King Arabigo and the other six Kings and many other foreign men and nations who came with the purpose and hope of subjugating my realms, ye found a way with your father the King and with your brother Sir Florestan to come to my aid. With more reason and just cause due to our rigor and rage against you, ye ought to have been my opponents. And almost solely due to the skills of all you three, although many good and esteemed knights fought on my side, I achieved such a great victory, destroying all my enemies, that I assured the safety of myself and my royal estate with much more honor and greatness than I had held it before.

“Now, coming to the point, I know that because of you in the second battle we so recently fought, the great danger in which I and all those on my side faced was averted and eliminated because of you, as they know here, for I understand that each one here felt what I did. And this most recent rescue shall not need to be brought to mind, for the blood still flows in our wounds and many souls have not had the opportunity to return to their homes, although they have already departed and left us.

“Now, my good lords, tell me, what reward may be given that would equal such great services and duties? Truly, none save that while I shall be honored and respected as long as my days last, my realms and kingdom, which with me have been rescued and restored so many times by the hand and skill of this knight, he shall have through marriage to my daughter Oriana.

“And because by their own free will they have been joined in matrimony without my awareness, know that I have learned of it and wish it to be so, and they shall be my son and daughter, successors and heirs to my realm.”

Amadis, when he heard how publicly the King had given his consent for his lady to be his, which compared to all the other things Lisuarte had recounted and told seemed like nothing, he went to the King and knelt and, although the King did not wish it, he kissed his hands and said:

“My lord, if it pleases Your Mercy, all this praise for me may be excused because, given the favors and honors that I and my lineage have received from you, we are obliged to even greater services. And for that, my lord, I do not wish to give you any thanks, except for the final thing, and I do not speak of the inheritance of your great realms but of giving me willingly the Princess Oriana. I shall serve you all the days I live with the greatest obedience and attention that any son has ever done to a father or any servant to a master.”

King Lisuarte embraced him with great love and told him:

“In me ye shall find love as deep as that which ye have from the King who engendered you.”

Everyone was very amazed at how the King in his speech had put out the great fire of enmity that had burned for so long, and had left out nothing that needed to be understood. And if that pleased them, it shall not be necessary to say, because, although earlier both sides had eagerly sought each other in the battlegrounds, when they saw the deaths of their men and their own deaths so close, they were joyful to have peace. And they asked each other if they knew why the King had said that Amadis and Oriana were joined in matrimony, because after they had taken her at sea and brought her to Firm Island, never did they show such a thing, instead much more the opposite.

But the King, who heard their questions, asked the holy man Nasciano to tell those lords what he had told him so that they would know the little role Amadis had played in taking her at sea and also how Lisuarte was blameless in giving her to the Emperor because he did not know, and how if his daughter without his permission or knowledge had done so, they would learn the great cause and reason for her to do it. Then the good man told everything, as ye have heard, that he had told King Lisuarte in his tent at the army encampment.

When the noble youth Esplandian, whom the good man was holding by the hand, heard that those Kings were his grandfathers and that Amadis was his father, if that pleased him need not be questioned. And then the hermit knelt with him before both Kings and before his father, and he had him kiss their hands and them give him their blessing.

Amadis said to King Lisuarte:

“My lord, since from here on it is my pleasure and it is proper for me to serve you, it will also be necessary to ask favors of you. And the first would be that since the Emperor of Rome has no wife and is disposed to take one, may it please you to give him your daughter, Princess Leonoreta, and I ask him to accept her so that his wedding and mine may take place together, and together we shall be your sons.”

The King considered it good to take him into his family, and immediately granted him Leonoreta as his wife. And the Emperor accepted her with great contentment.

King Lisuarte asked King Perion if he had any news about his son Sir Galaor. He told him that earlier Gandalin had arrived and had reported him to be somewhat improved, and that as his father, he was still very worried about his illness and had great fears it might worsen.

“I say to you,” King Lisuarte said, “that although he is your son, I do not consider him to be anything less to me, and if it were not for the differences that had arisen at the time, I would have visited him. And I urge you to send for him if he is able to come, because I shall depart immediately for Windsor, where I have ordered the Queen to come, and I wish to return quickly with her and my daughter Leonoreta to Firm Island in honor of Amadis and yourself, where the weddings shall be held for him and the Emperor, and we may see the amazing things that Apolidon left there. And if I find Sir Galaor there, the sight of him would give me great pleasure, for I have wished to see him for so long.”

King Perion said that it would immediately be done as he wished. Amadis kissed King Lisuarte’s hands for the favors and honor he had given him. And Agrajes urged him insistently to send for his uncle Sir Galvanes and Madasima, and to bring them with him. King Lisuarte said that he would be pleased and would do so without fail, and that he wished to leave immediately in the morning so he could return promptly, and that now it was time for the knights and their men to return to their lands and rest, which they well needed for the labors they had done for him.

He said they should all have their ships brought to the port at Firm Island so that there they could all embark to go on their ways. The Emperor asked King Lisuarte to order his fleet to Firm Island, since he and the Queen would return there, and to give him permission to go with Amadis, who wished to speak to him at length about his estate, and the King agreed.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chapter 117 [part 4 of 4]

[How Oriana learned about the victory and peace, and what happened to Arquisil.] 

[A map of Rome from folio 141v of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, made in the early 1400s. Held at L’Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes.]

Then Amadis and Arquisil left the chamber, mounted their horses, and returned to the monastery. There Amadis immediately called for his dwarf, Ardian, and ordered him to go to Firm Island and tell Oriana and all the ladies there everything he had seen. And he gave him a letter for Isanjo telling him to immediately send, well guarded, Brondajel de Roca, the Duke of Ancona, the Archbishop of Talancia, and all the other Romans who were prisoners there, as quickly as they could come.

The dwarf took great pleasure in carrying this news because from it he hoped to win great honor and advantage. He immediately mounted his nag and rode all day and night stopping very little until he reached Firm Island, where no one knew anything about what had happened. Oriana had not received any news except about the two battles and how Nasciano, the holy hermit, had brought about a truce, and how the Emperor of Rome was dead, from which she took no little joy. But beyond that she knew nothing. Instead, she continuously felt great anguish thinking that the good man Nasciano was not enough to bring peace to such great disturbance. She did nothing except pray and make devotions and processions to the churches on the island and to ask God for peace and accord between the two sides.

When Adrian arrived, he immediately went straight to the garden where Oriana was, and he told a lady who was guarding the gate to tell her he was there and he brought her news. The lady told her that, and Oriana ordered him to enter, but as she awaited what he might say, her heart was not calm. Instead, she suffered great anxiety because she could only hear news that might be advantageous to one side but harmful to the other because her beloved Amadis was on one side and her father the King on the other, and although she feared harm to Amadis most of all, anything that happened to her father would give her great sorrow.

When the dwarf entered, he said to Oriana:

“My lady, I wish a reward for good news, not because of who I am, but because of who ye are and the great news that I bring you.”

She told him:

“Ardian, my friend, from thy face I see that thou comest on behalf of thy lord, but tell me whether my father is alive.”

 The dwarf said:

“What, my lady, whether he is alive? He is alive and well, and happier than he has ever been.”

“Oh, holy Mary!” she said. “Tell me what thou knowest, and if God gives me anything, I shall make thee blessed in this world.”

Then the dwarf told her everything that had happened and how, when her father the King had been about to lose his life and was defeated and surrounded by his enemies without hope, the young and very handsome Esplandian had told this to Amadis, who had immediately left with his men; and he recounted everything that happened on the way, which he had been present for. And he told how Amadis had arrived at the town, and the situation in which her father the King was, and how with Amadis’s arrival, all his enemies were destroyed, killed, or taken prisoner, including King Arabigo, Arcalaus the Sorcerer, the Duke of Bristol, and Barsinan, lord of Sansuena. And he told how afterwards the King came to Amadis, who was leaving without seeing him, and how King Perion arrived. Finally he had told everything that happened, and how they were happily together in the monastery, as he had seen.

Oriana, who as she heard it was out of her mind with the great pleasure she felt, knelt on the ground and raised her hands and said:

“Oh powerful Lord, Who heals all things, may Thy holy name be blessed. And as Thy, Lord, art the just judge and knowest the great injustice done to me, I always had hope that Thy mercy would bring an end for all this to my great honor and to those who fought on my behalf. Blessed be the handsome youth who has caused so much good to come about, and so made true the prophecy that Urganda the Unrecognized had written about him, for which everything that she said should and must be believed. I am very obliged to love and cherish him more than anyone could think, and to reward him for all the good fortune that shall come to me because of him.”

Everyone believed she had said this because of the rescue he had brought her father the King, but in secret it came from her heart as mother to son. Then she rose and asked the dwarf if he would be returning immediately. He said he would because Amadis had ordered him that after giving the news to her and the ladies who were there, he should deliver a letter to Isanjo that he brought, in which he was ordered to immediately send the Romans who were prisoners there.

“Then Ardian, my friend,” Oriana said, “tell me what fine things they will seek to do there?”

“My lady,” he said, “I do not know for certain, except that your father the King has detained King Perion and my lord, and all the lords and knights who are there, and he says that he does not want them to leave there until everything that remains between them has been settled with great peace.”

“May God be pleased to make it so,” she said.

Then Queen Briolanja and Melicia, who were there, asked him to tell them how the very handsome young Esplandian was and how King Lisuarte considered the great service that he had done for him, and he told them:

“My good ladies, I was with Amadis in the King’s chamber, and I saw Esplandian come to kiss his hands for the favors he was promised, and I saw how the King took him with his hands on his head and kissed his eyes. And of his handsomeness I tell you that, although he is male and ye consider yourselves beautiful, if ye were to find yourselves in front of him, ye would hide and not dare show yourselves.”

“Then it is good,” they said, “that we are secluded here, for he shall not see us.”

“Do not be sure of that,” he said, “for he is such that however secluded ye may be, ye and all those who are beautiful shall go to seek him.”

They all laughed at the good news they had heard and how the dwarf had answered the question. Oriana looked at Queen Sardimira and told her:

“My lady and Queen, be happy because the Lord, Who has given help to us here, will not wish you to be forgotten.”

The Queen said:

“My lady, I have great hope in Him and that ye shall seek my welfare, although I do not deserve it from you.”

Then she asked the dwarf about the unfortunate and ill-fated Romans who were with King Lisuarte. He said:

“My lady, many of those are now lacking, and those who are alive are badly wounded. But after the death of the Emperor and Floyan and Constancio, no important man is missing from among them, and I saw that Arquisil was well and that he spoke a lot with my lord Amadis, and your brother Flamineo was injured but not badly, according to what I heard.”

The Queen said:

“May it please God that since there is no hope for those who are dead, there is hope for those who are alive, and that He shall give them grace so that without heed to what has passed, they shall be friends with great love in the present and future.”

The dwarf asked Oriana if she had any commands, for he wished to deliver the orders of his lord. She told him that since he had not brought a letter, that he should give her regards to King Perion and Agrajes, and to all those knights.

With that he went to Isanjo and gave him the letter from Amadis. When he saw what was ordered in it, he immediately brought those lords from Rome out of the tower and gave them horses and one of his sons and other people to escort and guide them, and he had them given food and all the other things they would need. And he set free the others who were prisoners, almost two hundred men, and sent them to Amadis.

And so they traveled down the road and reached the monastery where King Lisuarte was, and they kissed his hands. The King received them with great pleasure although he felt otherwise secretly, but he did not show it so he would not give them more troubles than they had. But when they saw Arquisil, they could not keep tears from coming to their eyes, nor he to his. Amadis spoke to them with much courtesy, cheering them greatly, and brought them to their lodging, where they received much honor and consolation from him. And after they had arrived and rested a little from their trip, Amadis took them aside without Arquisil and told them:

“My lords, I had you brought here because it seemed to me that since things are reaching a good end, it is very proper for you to be present at everything that shall be done, for such honorable men should be taken into account, and also to have you know what I have spoken about with Arquisil, which I think ye have heard, that he should be imprisoned by me wherever I should wish.

“And knowing from what great lineage he comes and that his nobility deserves great recognition, I agreed to speak with you, since in the Roman Empire ye have no one left who ought to lead it as this knight would. A way should be found so that yourselves and all others who find themselves here may swear loyalty to him and take him as your lord.

“And in this ye should do two things: first, comply with your obligation to give sovereignty to the one who deserves it by right, a knight who fulfills all good qualities and shall do you many favors. Second, regarding the imprisonment of yourselves and him, I consider it proper to set you free so that without delay ye may go to your lands. I shall always be your good friend as long as it pleases you, and I greatly esteem Arquisil, and I have as great love for him as for a true brother, and I always shall, if he does not lose it, in what I have been speaking of to you and everything else that concerns him.”

When those Roman lords heard that, they asked Brondajel de Roca, who was the most principal and best reasoned among them, to respond, and he told him:

“We consider highly your gracious speech, my lord Amadis, and we must thank you very deeply, but as this matter is so important and for it is necessary the consent of many people, those of us here now cannot respond until we have spoken with all the knights who are here. Although many of them have not been taken into account, they are principal for this matter, my lord, because in our land they hold many fortresses and cities and towns in the Empire, and other offices in the communities that are very central to the selection of the Emperor. Because of that, if ye please, give us the chance to see Flamineo, who is a very honorable knight, and whom we are told is injured, and everyone shall be called into his presence by us, and we shall be able to deliberate and give you our answer.”

Amadis consider that good, and he told them they had replied like wise knights and as they should have, and he asked them, because he believed that they would leave there soon, not to take long. They told him they would act right away, and delay would be very serious for them.

Then all three mounted and they entered the town, which had been cleared of the dead, because King Lisuarte had ordered many people to come from the area to bury them. And when they reached the lodging where Flamineo was, they dismounted and entered his chamber. When they saw him, their spirits were very joyful, although their faces were very sad for the great misfortune that had come over them. Immediately they told him it was necessary to call all the officers and important persons that were still alive among those who were there, because they needed to know what Amadis had told them about his deliberation, and on which their continued freedom or imprisonment rested. Flamineo had them called, and when those who could come had arrived and were together, Brondajel de Roca told them:

“Honorable knight Flamineo and all ye others, good friends, ye already know the misfortune and ill fate that has overcome all of us from Rome since by command of our Emperor, may God forgive him, we came to the island of Great Britain. Because it is so well known to you, there is no need to repeat it now. While we were prisoners at Firm Island, Amadis of Gaul considered it good for us to come here where ye see us, where with great love and goodwill he has given us many honors, and he has spoken to us at length saying that, since our Roman Empire is without a lord, and by rights more than to anyone else the succession belongs to Arquisil, it would be agreeable to him that by you and by us he be made our lord and Emperor. Not only will Amadis set us free from the imprisonment he holds over us, but he will be our faithful friend and aid in everything we need.

“And it seems to us, given the affection he has shown us, as we say, that he takes it for a given that if it is done at our will, he shall give us the things that ye have heard, and if not, he shall find a way to have it done by other means. And so, my good lord, and ye, good friends, this is what we have been called for. And so that your will may be determined knowing ours, it is very right that ye be told, since we have spoken among ourselves about this and we find that what this knight Amadis asks and urges of us is what we would have asked and begged very earnestly from him because, as ye know, such a great dominion as Rome cannot be without its lord.

“Then who by right, by courage, and by virtue, deserves it more than Arquisil? Truly, from what I see, no one. This is our fellow Roman, raised among us. We know his good habits and manners, and from him without difficulty we may ask by law for the rights that another who may be a foreigner would deny us. In addition, we gain the friendship of this famed knight Amadis, who being our enemy had so much power to harm us, being our friend with the same power can do much honor for us, and he can make amends for everything in the past. Now say what ye please, and do not consider our imprisonments or fatigue, but only that which reason and justice guides you to say.”

Just as all things proper and honest have such force that even evil men cannot deny them without great shame, so these knights, as men of discretion and understanding, seeing how very justly they were obliged to what the knight Brondajel de Roca said, they could not contradict him. Although as always happens when there are many different wills, there was discord, so many saw reason and followed it that others who wished something else found no place for their desire. Together they all said that what Amadis had asked for they would do, and they would return to their homes with their Emperor without lingering any longer in those lands where they had been in such error, and they would let their leaders take charge of what had to be sworn and promised to Arquisil.

With that they returned to Amadis at the monastery and told him everything they had agreed to, in which he took great pleasure. Then finally, in the church, all those knights, great lords of Rome, and the other people of lower estate in the Empire swore allegiance to Arquisil as their Emperor and promised to be his vassals, and he swore allegiance to all their laws and customs, and he gave them all the favors they asked for that he reasonably could.

And so from this we can say that sometimes it is better to be subjugated and constrained by great men against our freedom than with freedom to serve and obey evil men, because from good men,  good can be expected without doubt, and from evil men, although for a while it may yield pretty flowers, in the end they shall soon become dry down to their roots.

It follows that Arquisil was raised by men whose blood was of the Emperor Patin, and who did many outstanding services in honor of the imperial crown. Instead of being recognized for it, he was cast aside, almost exiled, and mistreated wherever he was, for the Emperor feared the virtue and good conduct of this knight. He should have been loved and esteemed and done many favors, but the Emperor wished to banish him from his reign.

And being taken prisoner by his enemy when he expected no kind of grace or honor and instead the opposite treatment, this enemy, by being so different and perfect in the virtues that the Emperor lacked, brought him to such great honor and high estate as to become Emperor of Rome.

In this, all should take as an example and remain with the virtuous and wise, because from good men their share shall reach them, and they should shun wicked, scandalous, and envious men with little virtue and many vices, so that no harm shall reach them.