[How Amadis killed the Emperor of Rome but prevented the killing of King Lisuarte.]
[Battle scene from the Bayeux Tapestry.]
And into this press of battle, as ye hear, came the very courageous knight Amadis, who had been fighting on the right-hand area of the battle, had killed Constancio with a single blow, and had brought to ruin everything else there. He carried in his hand his good sword stained with blood up to the hilt. And with him came Count Galtines, Gandalin, and Trion. When he saw so many men attacking his father and saw the Emperor ahead of him fighting against the men of his side as if he had already won, he spurred the horse that he had earlier taken from one of his father’s pages and was well rested, and entered into the fight with such fury and daring it was a wonder to behold.
Floyan, who recognized his insignia, was worried he would reach the Emperor, and then all of them together would not be enough to protect or defend him. As fast as he could he rode forward, risking his life to save the life of the Emperor. Sir Florestan, who found himself in that area, attacked along with Amadis, and when he saw Floyan, he charged at him as quickly as he could, and they gave each other great blows with their swords on top of their helmets. Floyan was stunned and could not remain on his horse, fell to the earth, and died there both from the great fall and from the many horses that trampled him.
Amadis paid no attention to their fight. Instead, with his eyes fixed on the Emperor and his heart set on killing him if he could, because the Emperor was surrounded by men from his own side, he rode into them enraged to attack him, and although he was struck with great blows from all sides by those defending him, they were unable to stop him from reaching him. And when he arrived, he raised his sword and struck the Emperor with all his strength and gave him such a great blow on the top of his helmet that it left him powerless, and he let his sword fall from his hand. When Amadis saw that the Emperor was going to fall from his horse, he quickly gave him another blow to his shoulder, which cut through all his armor and flesh to the armpit, so that portion of his body with the arm was dangling, and he fell from his horse and very quickly died.
When the Romans nearby saw that, they gave great shouts, so many other knights came and revived the battle. Arquisil and Flamineo quickly arrived with many other knights to where Amadis and Sir Florestan were, delivering great and mighty blows everywhere. But Count Galtines, Gandalin, and Trion shouted to Sir Bruneo and Angriote to join together to rescue them, and all five, despite their attackers, came to their aid, causing great damage.
King Perion was with Sir Cuadragante and Agrajes and many other knights in the area where King Lisuarte and King Cildadan and many other men were fighting with fury. There occurred the bravest battle of the day and the greatest mortality among the men. But at this time Sir Brian of Monjaste and Sir Gandales intervened, who had assembled from among their men fully six hundred knights, and they charged bravely into the area where Amadis and his companions were, for they had been fighting for a while there. King Arban of North Wales turned to see what all the shouting was about and saw the Romans in retreat, and said to King Lisuarte:
“My lord, draw back. If not, ye shall be lost.”
When the King heard this, he looked and realized it was true. Then he told King Cildadan to help him withdraw his men in a way that they would not be lost, and so they did, always in tumult with their enemies and giving great blows, retreating with them until they were alongside the Romans, and there they all stopped. Norandel, Sir Guilan, Cendil of Ganota, Landasin, and many others with them went to reinforce the Romans, but it did no good because they were losing.
The battle being in the state that ye hear, Amadis saw that King Lisuarte’s side was losing beyond all hope, and that if things went on, he would not be able to save him or any of his great friends. And above all he remembered that this man was the father of his lady Oriana, whom he loved and held more dearly than anything else in the world, and he remembered the great honors that he and his lineage in times past had received from him, which deserved to take precedence over the affronts, and that everything which could be done in that situation would be of great glory for him and considered more as extraordinary virtue than as slight effort. And he saw that many of the Romans were carrying away their lord with great mourning, and the men were dispersing.
Because night was falling, he decided that although he might face some shame, he would see if he could serve his lady in such an important matter. He took with him Count Galtines, whom he had alongside him, and rode amid the battles with great urgency as best he could despite the many men and the great press, for those on his side, recognizing their advantage, attacked their enemies with courage, and those on the other side hardly defended themselves except for King Lisuarte and King Cildadan and other worthy knights. He and the Count reached his father King Perion, and he told him:
“My lord, night is coming, and very soon we will not be able to recognize one side or the other, and if the contention continues, it will be very dangerous because given the crowd of men, we could kill our friends as well as our enemies and they could kill us. It seems to me that it would be good to pull back the men, for given the damage that our enemies have received, I believe that tomorrow they will not dare to make a stand against us.”
The King, whose heart was heavy for having seen so many men die without fault, told him:
“My son, do as thou thinkest best, both for what thou sayest and so that more men do not die, and so the Lord who knows all things may see that this was brought to an end more in His service than for any other reason, for it is in our hand the complete destruction of those who have been defeated.”
Agrajes, whom Amadis had not seen, was near the King and heard everything that had been said, and he came with great fury to Amadis and told him:
“What, my lord cousin! Now ye have your enemies defeated and scattered, and ye could become the most honored prince in the world, and ye want to save them?”
“My lord cousin,” Amadis said, “I want to save our men, so that in the night they do not kill each other, and I consider our enemies defeated, because they can offer no defense.”
Agrajes, as he was very reasonable, recognized his intent and told him:
“Since ye do not wish to defeat them and ye do not wish power, ye shall always be a knight errant, since at such an opportunity mercy has overcome you and subjected you. But do as ye hold best.”
Then King Perion and Sir Cuadragante, who was not troubled by this because he was so closely related to King Cildadan and loved him dearly, on one hand, and Amadis and Gastiles, on the other, began to pull back the men, and they did it with little difficulty since night was already dispersing them.
King Lisuarte, who had no hope to recover what he had lost and was determined to die before being defeated, when he saw those knights withdrawing all their men, was amazed and fully believed it was only being done as some sort of trick. He waited to see if anything could be done. When King Cildadan saw what the other side was doing, he told the King:
“It seems to me that those men will not follow us, and they are doing us an honor. And since that is so, let us collect our men and go to rest, for it is time.”
So it was done, and King Arban of North Wales, Sir Guilan the Pensive, Arquisil, Flamineo, and all the Romans had their men retreat. And so the battle ended, as ye hear: when this great story began, it was founded on the great love King Perion had for Queen Elisena, by which was engendered the knight Amadis, his son, and that love and the love Amadis had for his lady Oriana has produced and is producing this great and grand account. Although some of it may seem unrelated, the reason for it is to forgive those who loved in such a disorderly fashion and others who love like them: thus it can be said what a great force love is over all else.
In such a great event so outstanding throughout the world as this is where so many men of such great estate came together and so many were killed, and such great and grand honor was won by the victors, setting aside all else amid the ire and rage and great arrogance with such long enmity that the least of it is sufficient to blind and agitate anyone, however discrete and courageous they may be, there the love that this knight had for his lady held such strength that forgetting the greatest glory that he could achieve in this world, which is victory, he instead offered restraint by which his enemies might receive the benefit that ye have heard, for without any doubt ye may believe that Amadis and those on his side had at hand and in their will the opportunity for the complete destruction of King Lisuarte and his men, who could not defend themselves.
But this is not the cause to which it should be attributed but instead to the Lord Who restores all things, and it may well be believed that He permitted this to be done, given the great peace and agreement that came to pass from this great enmity, as we shall tell farther on.
Once the men were separated and returned to their camps, they made a truce for two days because so many had died, and they agreed that each side could carry off their dead in safety. The labor required to bury them and the lamentation over them need not be said, because the death of the Emperor, given the sorrow it caused, made the rest forgotten. But it shall not be recounted what took place on one side and the other because it would be very long and tedious, as well as falling outside of our purpose.