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.”
“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.