Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapter 56 [first half]

How Beltenebros, having accomplished the previous adventures, left for the Spring of the Three Streams, then arranged to go to Miraflores, where his lady Oriana was; and how a foreign knight brought some jewels for a test of faithful lovers to the court of the King; and how Beltenebros and his lady Oriana planned to go disguised to win the glory by proving themselves in the test of true love. 

[Daraxa's Garden in the Alhambra. Photo by Sue Burke. Here is a excellent tour of the Alhambra with 25 panoramic photos, an audio guide, photos, and videos: http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200604/alhambra/default.htm

Beltenebros felt great pleasure in his soul for having won a battle like that, said goodby to the damsels and knights, and returned to the other damsels he had met at the fountain. They had already come out from the trees to greet him. He ordered Enil to go to London to see his cousin Gandalin and to have arms made like those he had worn into the battle, which were all broken and could offer no protection at all, and to buy a good sword, and in eight days to come to meet him at the Spring with Three Streams, where he would find him.

Then he said goodbye to the damsels and Enil, and entered the most dense part of the forest. Enil left to fulfill his orders, and the damsels went to Miraflores, where they told Oriana and Mabilia what they had seen. They described how a knight named Beltenebros had set everything right. The pleasure and joy of Oriana and Mabilia was without comparison, for they knew that Beltenebros was now very close to them with so much honor and prestige that no one could surpass him.

Beltenebros, hidden in the forest as ye hear, neared Miraflores, and found a river that flowed beneath some tall trees. Since it was still early, he dismounted and let his horse graze in the green grass. He took off his helmet, washed his face and hands, drank some water, and sat down, thinking about the fleeting things of this world.

He remembered the great desperation he had been in, and how of his own free will he had wished many times for death, for he had no hope for any remedy to his deep anguish and pain. But God, more out of His mercy than his own merit, had set it all right, not just returning him to what he had been but giving him even more glory and fame than he had ever had, above all the glory of being so close to seeing and enjoying his very beloved lady Oriana. When he had been absent in her heart, he had been placed in great sadness and tribulation.

That had led him to understand how little confidence men in this world ought to place in the things for which they labor and would die, expending so much effort and love that they forget how easily those things can be won and lost, and forgetting to serve the all-powerful Lord Who provides those things and Who can make them secure. And when men are most convinced that they have gained them, then those things are taken away to the great anguish of their souls and sometimes their lives, and if they have given their souls to those things, they lose their salvation.

And often having been lost that way, without any hope of redemption, their souls are returned by the Lord of the world to the state in which He had made them to show that they ought not put their trust in one thing or another; but, by doing what they ought to, they give their souls to Him, Who commands and reigns over them without any contradiction and without Whose hand nothing can be accomplished.

Oh ye who with such deceit acquire estates, how often and with what diligence ye ought to reflect that by gaining them, ye have forever lost your souls, and these estates will little serve to protect you from the perpetual suffering which the justice of eternal God has prepared for those like yourselves!

In these and other things his mind was transported in its meditations and ponderings. Thus Beltenebros was moved on the banks of that river to moderate his pride and glory about the great adventures that in just one day had happened to him, for he understood that in the space of another day, Fortune could turn that great joy into weeping, as so often in this world great achievements had been reversed.

When night came, he mounted his horse and went to Miraflores Castle, to the part of the garden where he found Gandalin and Durin, who took his horse. Oriana and Mabilia and the Damsel of Denmark were on top of the wall, and with the help of the squires and the damsels who gave him their hands, he climbed up to where they were and took his lady in his arms.

But who could be able to recount the loving embraces, the sweet kisses, the tears that were mixed on their lips as they met? Truly, no one who has not been subjected to the same passion and the same burning flames, with a heart tormented by love's wounds, could invoke it in those whose hearts that have now cooled, whose green youth has been lost, and who can no longer reach those heights. And so, in this regard, I shall not recount it more extensively.

And as they stood embraced, forgetting everything else, Mabilia, as if awakening them from deep sleep, took them with her to the castle. There Beltenebros was lodged in Oriana's room, where, in keeping with what ye have already heard, it can be believed that for him it was much more agreeable than Paradise itself.

He was there with his lady for eight days, which, except for the nights, were spent in a patio with the beautiful trees that we have told you about, out of their minds with delicious pleasure, where they could say and do all the things of this world. Gandalin came there many times, from whom they learned all the news of the court. Gandalin had his cousin Enil in his rooms, who was having the arms made as Beltenebros had ordered.

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