Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quixote vs. Amadis

[Photo: Tilework depiction of Don Quixote from the Plaza de España Monument, built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition in Parque María Louisa, Seville.]


Don Quijote de La Mancha is a lot funnier if you read Amadís de Gaula first. Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote in 1605 as a satire of books of chivalry (among other targets), and Amadís set the style for the genre.

Knighthood is a job for strong, handsome, healthy young men, but Don Quixote was a skinny old man. Knights-errant had vanished from Spanish society long ago, if they had ever really existed (they didn't), along with their noble codes of conduct.

A squire, according to the books, should be a noble youth who serves his knight for fame and glory, but Don Quixote's squire, Sancho Panza, was a poor, illiterate peasant who was in it for the money.

A knight's lady-love should be a noblewoman, preferably a princess who will confer a kingdom or empire to her knight upon marriage. Don Quixote pledged himself to "Dulcinea," a poor servant who was far from the most beautiful woman in the world nor the most chaste, to put it kindly.

Chivalric tales take place in lush, idealized settings, but La Mancha was impoverished and dusty. The geography refused to cooperate when Don Quixote tried to recreate some of the specific adventures of the novels.

Knights in the novels speak in mannered, lofty speech, but try as he might, Don Quixote couldn't master it and confused the people he spoke with.

Mundane concerns like money never enter into chivalric tales, but Don Quixote discovered to his disappointment that he had to use it. In fact, people defecate in Don Quixote. Turds in Amadís? Unimaginable.

Chivalric tales take place among nobles. Peasants and base servants appear only in the background, if at all. But Don Quixote found himself dealing with vulgar innkeepers and even lower elements of society, although he imagined them to be castellans, lords, and ladies.

Like the knights-errant in well paced tales, Don Quixote expected to encounter adventures at every turn in the road, including battles with fantastic beings like giants, which are common in chivalric novels. Instead he found windmills....


Note: Quixote, Quijote? Quijote is the modern Spanish spelling, Quixote the 16th-century Spanish spelling. English adapted the original spelling and has stuck with it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chapter 2

[Photo: The door to the Golden Tower of Seville, built in 1220 to guard the port.]

How King Perion traveled home with his squire, and with his heart filled more by woe than by joy.

When King Perion left Little Brittany, as ye were already told, his spirit was tormented by great sorrow, both for the great loneliness that he felt for his dearest, whom he loved with all his heart, and for the dream that ye heard about which had overcome him. Once he arrived in his reign, he sent for all his nobles and ordered the bishops to send for the wisest clerics of his lands so they could explain that dream.

When his vassals learned of his arrival, those he had summoned as well as many others came with a great desire to see him, since he was well loved by all. Many times their hearts had been tormented to hear of the great combats that he entered into, fearing they would lose him. That is why they all wanted to have him with them, though it was not possible, for his mighty heart was not content except when his body was placed in great danger.

The King talked with them about the state of the kingdom and about other things they had done for his household, but always with such a woeful face that they were weighted with sadness.

Once this business was done, he sent them back to their estates, but had three clerics remain with him that he knew were the wisest in that which he wanted to know of. He took them with him to his chapel, where he had them swear by the sacred Host to answer his questions truthfully, fearing nothing, no matter how badly he took the news. That done, he sent the chaplain out and remained alone with them. Then he told them about the dream, which has been spoken of, and asked them to obtain from it what might happen to him.

One of them, named Ungan of Picardy, who knew the most, said:

"Lord, dreams are a vanity, and that is how they should be considered, but since it pleases you to have yours be understood, give us time to see to it."

"So be it," said the King, "and take twelve days to do it."

He sent them away with orders not to see or speak to each other during that time. Each cast his astrological divinations as best he knew. When the time came, they returned to the King, who took Albert of Champagne aside and told him:

"Ye know what ye swore: now speak."

"Let the others come," said the cleric, "and I will say it in front of them."

"Have them come," said the King.

And he had them called in. When they were all together, Albert said:

"My lord, I will tell thee what I understand. The chamber is properly locked and thou seest something enter by a small door. To me that seems to mean that thy kingdom is well protected and guarded, and from somewhere someone will enter to take something from thee. The same way that he put his hand inside thy ribs and took out thy heart and threw it in the river, he will take from thee a town or castle, and it will be under the power of someone from whom thou canst not take it back."

"And the other heart?" said the King. "The one he told me I still had and that he would make me lose against his will?"

"This," said the master, "to me means that another will enter in thy territory to take something similar of thine, much constrained by the power of someone that orders him to act against his will. But of this, my lord, I do not know what more to tell you."

The King ordered another, named Antales, to say what he had found. He confirmed everything the other had said:

"Except that my signs tell me that it is now done, and by that he who loves thee most. This makes me wonder because right now nothing is lost from thy kingdom, and if it were, it would not have been done by a person who loves thee much."

When he heard this, the King smiled a bit, since it seemed to him that nothing had been said. But Ungan the Picard, who knew much more than all, lowered his head and laughed from his heart, which he rarely did, since he was by nature a private and grave man. The King noticed it and said to him:

"Now, master, say what ye learned."

"My lord, perhaps I have seen things that should be told only to thee."

"Then let the rest leave," he said.

The doors were closed and the two remained. The master said:

"Know, King, that I laughed at those words that thou also found worthless. He said that it had already been done by the one who most loves thee. Now I want to speak to thee of that which thou hast kept well hidden and thinkest that no one knows. Thou lovest someone in that place where thou didst thy will, and she whom thou lovest is marvelously beautiful."

And he described her face as completely if she were in front of him.

"And concerning the chamber in which thou saw thyself, thou clearly knowest what it means, and how she, wishing to remove the trouble and sorrow from thy heart and from hers, wished to enter by the door that thou didst not perceive, and the hands she thrust between thy ribs is the joining of you both, and the heart she took out means the son or daughter that she will have by thee."

"But master," said the King, "what does it mean to throw it in the river?"

"That, my lord," he said, "thou dost not want to know, for it will serve thee nothing at all."

"Still," he said, "tell me without fear."

"As it pleases thee," said Ungan, "but I want thy assurance that, as a result of what I may say here, thou wilt never mistreat she who loves thee."

"I promise," said the King.

"Then know," he said, "that the child you will have will be thrown into the river the same way as thou hast seen it."

"And the other heart that remains with me," said the King, "what will that be?"

"By one for the other thou should understand," said the master, "that you will have another child and by some means you will lose it against the will of she who now will make thee lose the first one."

"You have told me extraordinary things, "said the King. "Pray to God that in his mercy that this last thing about the children will not be so true as that which thou saidst about the lady that I love."

"Of things ordained and permitted by God," said the master, "no one can prevent nor know how they will be resolved. This is why men should not feel sad or happy over events, because often that which seems ill or good can occur to them in a different manner than they expected. And thou, noble King, forget that which with so much interest thou hast wanted to know here, and remember to always pray to God. In this and all things that thou doest, be in His holy service, because it is without doubt for the best."

King Perion felt very satisfied by that which he wanted to know, and even more by the advice from Ungan of Picardy. He always kept him near, giving him many boons and favors.

Leaving the palace, he found a damsel whose attire was more beautiful than her looks, and she told him:

"Know thou, King Perion, that when thou recoverest thy loss, the dominion of Ireland will lose its glory."

And she left, and he could not detain her. Thus the King was left pondering this and other things.

The author ceases to speak of this and turns to the boy that Gandales was raising, called Childe of the Sea. He was brought up with great care by Sir Gandales and his wife, and was so handsome that all who saw him marveled. One day Gandales rode out armed. He was a great and good knight, very valiant, and he had always been accompanied King Languines during the time when the King had followed that habit, although by then he had given it up. Gandales had not, and instead rode armed often, and going out one day, as I tell you, he encountered a damsel who said to him:

"Ah, Gandales, if many noblemen knew what I know now, they would cut off thy head!

"Why?" he said.

"Because thou bearest their death," she said.

Know ye that this was the damsel who told King Perion that when his loss was recovered, the dominion of Ireland would lose its glory. Gandales, who did not understand, said:

"Damsel, I beg ye by God to tell me what that means."

"I shall not tell thee," she said, "but even still it shall come to pass."

And leaving him there, she went on her way. Gandales was left worrying about what she said, but after a short while he saw her returning on her palfrey, shouting:

"Oh, Gandales, help me, or I am dead!"

He looked and saw coming behind her an armed knight with his sword in his hand. Gandales spurred his horse and put himself between them, and said:

"Lowly knight, God curse you, what do ye want with the damsel?"

"What!" he said. "Do you want to protect that woman who tricked me into losing my body and soul?"

"I know nothing of this," said Gandales, "but I must protect her against you, because women must not be punished this way, even if they deserve it."

"Now you shall see," said the knight.

He put his sword in its scabbard and rode to a grove of trees, where a very beautiful damsel gave him a shield and a lance. He began to charge at Gandales, and Gandales charged at him. Their lances broke on their shields and flew off in pieces. The horses and the men crashed into each other so fiercely that both men flew to the ground, and the horses with them. Each one got up as fast as he could, and they did battle on foot, but not for long. The damsel who had fled put herself between them and said:

"Knights, be still."

The knight who had chased her stepped back, and she told him:

"Come and obey me."

"I will come readily," he said, "as to the thing in the world that I most love."

He threw down the shield from around his neck and the sword from his hand, and knelt in front of her. Gandales was greatly amazed by it. She said to the knight in front of her:

"Tell the woman under the tree to go away at once. If not, ye shall cut off her head."

The knight turned toward her and said:

"Evil woman, I am amazed that I have not taken off thy head!"

The damsel saw that her beloved was enchanted. Weeping, she got on her palfrey and left immediately. The other damsel said:

"Gandales, I thank you for what you did. Go with good fortune, and if this knight wronged me, I forgive him."

"I know nothing of your pardon," Gandales said, "but I do not release him from battle if he does not acknowledge defeat."

"Release him," she said, "for even if ye were the best knight in the world, I would make him defeat you."

"Ye may do as ye might," he said, "but I will not release him if ye do not tell me why ye said that I bear the death of many noblemen."

"I shall tell thee," she said, "because I love this knight as my beloved, and thee as my protector."

Then she stepped aside and told him:

"Pledge to me as a worthy knight that none shall hear this from thee until I order it."

He pledged, and she said to him:

"I tell thee that he whom thou foundst in the sea will be the most brilliant of the knights of his time. He will make the strong shake with fear. He will carry out all the things at which others have failed, and he will accomplish them with honor. He will do such things that no mortal man could manage to undertake or complete. He will make the prideful act with good grace. He will have a cruel heart against those who deserve it, and even more, I tell thee he will be the knight who will love the most faithfully of all in the world, and he will love someone who is proper for his high deeds. Know that he comes from royal bloodlines on both sides. Now go," she said. "Believe firmly that all will come to pass as I tell thee, and if thou were speak of it, more bad than good will come to thee."

"Oh, lady," said Gandales, "I beg you by God to tell me where I can find you to speak with you of his deeds."

"Thou shalt not know this from me nor from anyone," she said.

"Then tell me your name, for the trust that you owe to he that in the world you most love."

"Thou begst me so much that I shall tell thee, but I know that he whom I most love feels less for me than anyone in the world, and he is this most handsome knight against whom thou fought. But even so, I will not cease to force him to obey me, nor let him do otherwise. And know that my name is Urganda the Unrecognized. Now look at me well and recognize me if thou couldst."

He had previously seen her as a damsel who seemed no more than eighteen years old, and now he saw her so old and worn that he marveled that she could maintain herself on her palfrey. He began to cross himself at that marvel. When she saw him thus, she put her hand on a box that she kept in the lap of her gown. Then passing her hand over herself, she changed back to what she had been before and said:

"Dost thou think thou couldst find me even if thou wert to seek me? I tell thee be not eager for it, for if all those of this world were to try, they would not find me if I did not wish it so."

"God save me, lady," he said, "I believe it. But I beg you by God that ye remember the childe who is abandoned by all except by me."

"Think not in that," Urganda said, "for he who is abandoned shall become refuge and protection for many, and I love him more than thou thinkest. Because I watch over him, I yield two sources of help where no other could provide guidance. He will receive two rewards, which will make him very happy. Now I commend thee to God, for I must go, and thou shalt see me again sooner than thou thinkest."

She took the helmet and shield of her beloved to take with her. When Gandales saw his head bare, he seemed the most handsome knight ever seen. And so each went their way.

Here we leave Urganda to go with her beloved, and we will tell you of Sir Gandales, who turned from her to go to his castle. On the road, he encountered the maiden who had accompanied Urganda's beloved, weeping alongside a spring. When she saw Gandales, she recognized him and said:

"What is this, knight? Why did not that treacherous woman whom ye helped have you killed?"

"She is not traitorous," Gandales said, "but rather good and wise, and if ye were a knight, I would make you pay well for the folly that ye spoke."

"Oh, that vile woman," she said, "she knows how to deceive everyone!"

"And what treachery has she done to you?" he said.

"She took from me that handsome knight that you saw. Of his free will he would rather live with me than with her."

"She did indeed deceive him thus," he said, "but to me it seems that both ye and she have put him outside of his right mind."

"Be that as it may," she said, "if I can, I will seek vengeance."

"Your mind is deranged," he said, "to want to anger she who will know your thoughts before you can even act on them."

"Go now," she said. "Often those who know the most fall into the most dangerous traps."

Gandales left her and went on his way as before, pondering the deeds of his childe. When he arrived at the castle, before he took off his armor, he took the childe in his arms and began to kiss him. Tears came to his eyes, and he said in his heart:

"My beautiful son, if God wishes, I will see your time come."

The childe was then three years old, and his great handsomeness was a marvel to behold. When he saw his foster father cry, he put is hands on his eyes as if he wished to wipe them dry. It made Gandales happy to think that, when he was older, he would understand his sadness even more. He put him down and took off his armor, and from then on he continued to care for him with even greater love.

When he was five years old, Gandales made a child-sized bow for him, and one for his son Gandalin, and he had them shoot for him. And so he continued to care for him until he was seven years old.

At this time, King Languines, traveling through his kingdom with his wife and his entire court from one town to another, came to Gandales's castle, which was on the way, and where he was well feted. But Gandales sent the Childe of the Sea, his son Gandalin, and other noble boys to a courtyard where he would not be seen.

The Queen, whose room was in highest part of the castle, looked from window and saw the children shooting their bows. Among them, the Childe of the Sea was so outstanding and so handsome that it was a great marvel to behold him. She noticed that he was better dressed than all of them and seemed to be their lord. Since there was no one from Sir Gandales's court to ask, she called her ladies and damsels and said:

"Come, look at the most beautiful child ever seen!"

He seemed amazingly advanced in handsomeness for his age, and as they were all watching him, the childe became thirsty, so he put his bow and arrows down and went to a spout on a fountain to drink. A boy older than the rest picked up his bow and wanted to shoot with it, but Gandalin would not let him. The other boy shoved him down roughly. Gandalin said:

"Help me, Childe of the Sea!"

When he heard that, he stopped drinking and charged at the big boy, who let go of the bow. The Childe took it in his hand and said:

"You picked a bad time to hurt my brother."

And he gave the boy a big blow on top of his head as hard as he could, and they both fought. The big boy began to lose, and he ran and found the tutor who watched over them, who said:

"What happened?"

"The Childe of the Sea hurt me," he said.

Then the tutor went for him with a strap and said:

"How could ye do that, Childe of the Sea! Do ye now dare to hurt youngsters? Now ye shall see how ye are punished for it."

The childe knelt before him and said:

"Sir, I would rather have ye hurt me than to have someone dare to do wrong to my brother in front of me."

Tears come to his eyes. The tutor took pity and said to him:

"If ye do it again, I will really make you cry."

The Queen saw all this clearly, and she wondered why they called him Childe of the Sea.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What makes a good translation?

[Art: Alfonso X the Wise, King of Castilla y León from 1252 to1284, author and patron of the School of Translators in Toledo. He was key to the literary development of the Castilian language. Picture from his "Book of Games."]


Here are the opening lines of the Gospel of Luke, King James Version:

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are more surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou has been instructed."

Here are the same verses from the New American Bible, translated by members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America:

"Many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events which have been fulfilled in our midst, precisely as those events were transmitted to us by the original eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. I too have carefully traced the whole sequence of events from the beginning, and have decided to set it in writing for you, Theophilus, so that Your Excellency may see how reliable the instruction was that you received."

Which is version correct? Both. Which is preferable? That depends on you.

This translation of Amadis of Gaul depends on me. To my knowledge, there have been four previous translations into English: in 1589, 1702 (abridged), 1803 (abridged), 1974. I am satisfied by none of them. The most recent, by Edwin Place and Herbert Behm, follows the sentence structure of the Spanish original too closely, which I believe does deadly violence to English grammar, and sometimes renders the work incomprehensible. Readers of that translation come away with an inferior experience of the story than Spanish-language readers because they have had to struggle needlessly to understand the text.

Amadis is written in archaic and dialectal Castilian. Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo also "polished" its style, introducing many Latin grammatical elements, and created an linguistic example for others to follow. It reads beautifully, especially out loud, as ye have heard — and this book was often read out loud.

Some of the beauty comes from the possibility that Spanish grammar affords to loop the structure of a sentence like tatted lace: long, ornate, complex, impressive, and sonorous sentences, up to two hundred words long, at the end of which, often, the verb, taking advantage of the strength afforded by periodic structure, following the customs of Latin, and employing the flexibility of archaic Castilian, finally and felicitously appears.

Modern English grammar favors sentences that fly like arrows: straight and direct. It may take a volley to equal a length of that unique lace. Some of the original flourishes may be lost; in any translation some loss is inevitable. But in a careful translation, something gets added back. I hope I have kept losses to the minimum and used English-language resources to accent the drama for the solitary reader. Amadis should keep you up until late at night turning pages, just as it did five centuries ago.

I have left nothing out. I have tried to hew to the original text as closely as possible without committing barbarisms to retain its archaic flavor and carry you back in time to enjoy this transcendent, delightful adventure.


For more on literary translation, visit NPR:
The Art Of Translation


A personal aside: My copy of the King James Bible was printed in Edinburgh in 1940 in 24 Ruby type, a book the size of my hand, specifically produced so that soldiers could carry it into World War II. It is a Bible made for a 20th century knight. I bought it from a church resale shop, so my money went on to do good deeds.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chapter 1

[Art: Woodcut from the 1526 edition.]

First chapter: How Princess Elisena and her damsel Darioleta went to the room where King Perion was.

When everyone was still, Darioleta rose and took Elisena wearing just the nightgown she slept in, covered by a cloak, and they both went into the garden. The moon shone bright. The damsel looked at her lady, opened the cloak, gazed at her body, and said, laughing:

"My lady, born to good fortune was the knight who will possess you tonight. Rightly they say that this is the damsel who has the most beautiful face and body ever known."

Elisena smiled and said:

"You may say the same about me, too. I was born to good fortune to have come to such a knight."

They arrived at the door to his room. Because Elisena was approaching he whom she loved most in the world, her whole body trembled and she could not speak a word. They knocked on the door.

King Perion had waited, unable to sleep, due to the great anguish in his heart and the great hope that he had put in the damsel. But in time he had grown tired and sleep had overcome him. He dreamt that someone he did not know entered the room by a false door and came to him, put their hands inside his ribs, took out his heart, and threw it in a river. The King said, "Why have ye done something so cruel?"

"This is nothing," said the other, "since ye still have another heart which I shall take, although I do not wish to."

The King, greatly troubled, awoke full of fear and began to cross himself.

The damsels had at that moment opened the door and were entering. He heard them, and fearing treachery because of his dream, raised his head and, through the bed curtains, saw a door he had known nothing about. By moonlight he saw the shape of the two damsels entering. He jumped from the bed where he lay, took up his sword and shield, and charged at what he saw.

Darioleta, when she saw him, said to him:

"What is this, my lord? Put down your arms. Ye need not defend yourself against us."

The King recognized her. He looked and saw Elisena, his dearest love, threw his sword and shield on the ground, and covered himself with a cloak he kept alongside his bed for when he rose. He went to take his lady in his arms, and she embraced him as the one whom she loved more than herself. Darioleta said to her:

"Stay, my lady, with this knight. Although ye have defended your maidenhood against many men until now, just as he defended himself against many women, your strength will not defend you from one another."

Darioleta saw the sword that the King had thrown down and picked it up as a sign of the promise and oath that he had made to marry her lady, and she went out to the garden. The King remained alone with his beloved, and by the light of three candles that were in the chamber, he looked at her, and it seemed that all the beauty of the world had united in her. He felt fortunate that God had brought her thus to him. They embraced and lay on the bed.

She, with her great beauty and youth, had defended herself against the suits of many princes and great men, and was still a free damsel. But in little more than a day, when such things were furthest from her thoughts, love had broken all the stout bonds of her chaste and devout life; and leaving it behind, she became there and forever a lady.

Ye may have heard of women such as this, who cease to think of worldly things, spurn the great beauty that nature has given them and the fresh youth that enhances it. They spurn the pleasures and delights that await them in the ample riches of their families. For the salvation of their souls, they shut themselves into convents, subjecting themselves by their own free will to the wills of others with complete obedience. Time passes them by without worldly fame and glory, though they know their sisters and families enjoy it. With great care, they must cover their ears, close their eyes, avoid seeing family and neighbors, and withdraw to devote meditations and pious prayers, considering them true pleasures. And they are, because with idle talk and careless glances they endanger to their holy purpose.

If they do otherwise, they will act like the beautiful Princess Elisena. She had kept herself apart for a long time, but in only a moment, at the sight of the great attractiveness of King Perion, her intentions fell to naught. If it had not been for the discretion of her damsel, who sought to protect her honor with matrimony, truly at that point she was destined to fall into the worst and lowest kind of dishonor. The same could be said of many other women in this world who have not kept themselves as said as above, and will do what is unseemly.

As two lovers took their pleasure, Elisena asked the King if he would leave soon, and he said to her:

"Why do ye ask, my lady?"

"Because this great good fortune, in which I have placed my mortal desires with all their pleasure and relief," she said, "now threatens me with the great sadness and distress that your absence will cause me, more like death than life."

Hearing her reasons, he said:

"Do not fear this, for although my body may leave your presence, my heart will remain with yours, and it will give both us strength: to you for your suffering and to me to return at once, because by leaving without it, no other force has the power to keep me away."

Darioleta, who saw that it was time to leave there, entered the chamber and said:

"My lady, I know that at other occasions it may please you to come with me more than now, but ye must rise and we must go, for it is time.

Elisena rose, and the King told her:

"I will dwell on this longer than ye can imagine because of you, and I beg you not to forget this occasion."

The women left for their beds and he remained in his own, filled with thoughts of her, but frightened by the dream that ye have heard of. Because of it, he longed to leave for his lands, where there were at that time many wise men who knew how to clarify and explain such things. He himself had learned something about it when he was young.

In this delight and pleasure King Perion dwelled for ten days, being at his comfort each night with his dearly beloved. But finally he knew it was time to leave, against his wishes and the tears of his lady, which were more than a few. He said goodbye to King Garinter and the Queen and put on all his armor, but when he went to gird his sword he could not find it and dared not ask for it, despite the great loss, for it was fine and beautiful. He did not want his love of Elisena to be discovered and anger King Garinter, and he ordered his squire to look for another.

So, fully armed except for his hands and head, on his horse, with no other accompaniment than his squire, he took the road straight to his kingdom. But before he left, he spoke with Darioleta, who told of the great distress and loneliness in which he left his beloved, and he said:

"Oh my friend, I commend her to you as to my own heart!"

He took from his finger a beautiful ring of the two that he wore, both identical, and gave it to her to bring and give to Elisena so she could wear it for his love. And so Elisena remained in much loneliness and deep sorrow for her beloved, and if it had not been for the great encouragements of her damsel, she would have suffered even more, but she could talk with her and rest her spirit.

Time passed and she realized she was pregnant. She lost her will to eat and sleep, and her beautiful color. Her distress and sorrow were great, and with good cause, because at that time, the law established that nothing could save any woman discovered in adultery, despite her high social rank and nobility, from death. This base and cruel custom lasted until the arrival of the most virtuous King Arthur, the greatest king who ever reigned there, who revoked it when he killed Floyon in battle before the gates of Paris. But many kings reigned between him and King Lisuarte, who upheld that law. Though, as it was told to you, the words King Perion swore by his sword had left her without sin before God, before the world it was different, since he had spoken them in such secrecy.

She knew her beloved could not be told of it, being a youth of proud heart that never rested anywhere as he sought honor and fame. He could do nothing other than to roam from one place to another as a knight-errant. So she had no hope to save her life, and she regretted never seeing her truly beloved lord more than she regretted leaving the world at her death. But the most powerful Lord, by whose grace all this came to pass in His holy service, gave great courage and discretion to Darioleta. With her help, all was solved, as ye shall now hear.

In the palace of King Garinter, there was a chamber apart from the rest, a vault at the river that ran by there, and it had a small iron door where, from time to time, the damsels went to pass the time. No one lived there, and so, at the advice of Darioleta, Elisena asked her father and mother if she could repair there for her ill health, to lead a solitary life, which she had always wished to have, and to pass her hours in prayer without interruption. She asked only to be accompanied and served by Darioleta, who knew her suffering. Her parents easily gave her her wish, believing that she only meant to recover her health and her soul with a more strict life. They gave the key to the small door to the damsel to keep, so she could open it when her daughter wished to be alone there.

When Elisena was lodged there, as ye have heard, and feeling more rested by being there, she asked advice from her damsel about what to do when she gave birth.

"What, my lady?" she said. "Let it suffer, so ye may be free."

"By holy Mary!" Elisena said, "How will I consent to kill that which was engendered by he whom I love most in the world?"

"Do not worry about that," said the damsel, "for if they kill you, they will not spare it."

"Although I were found guilty and die," she said, "they would not allow an innocent child to suffer."

"Let us talk no more of it," said the damsel. "It would be great madness to save something without a future and to condemn you and your beloved, who without you could not live. If ye and he live, ye will have other children and your love for this one will fade."

But as the damsel was very intelligent and was guided by God's mercy, she sought a solution to this danger. This is what she did: She took four boards large enough build an ark that could hold a baby and its clothing, and long enough to hold a sword. She brought together tools and tar to make it watertight, and kept everything hidden beneath her bed without Elisena knowing it until, by her own hand, she had sealed the joints with stout tar and made it the just the same and as well as if it had been constructed by a master. Then she showed it to Elisena, and said:

"Why do ye think this was made?"

"I do not know," she said.

"Ye will know," the damsel said, "when the time comes."

Elisena replied: "Little will it matter to know anything that is done or said, when soon I am about to lose my boon and happiness."

It hurt the damsel to see her thus, and as tears came to her eyes, she turned away so Elisena would not see her weep.

Soon afterwards the time came to Elisena to give birth. The pains came to her as something greatly new and strange, and it made her heart very afflicted. Because she could not moan or cry out, her anguish was doubled. But soon, the most powerful Lord wished her to bear a healthy son. The damsel, holding him in her hands, saw that he was handsome as fate could have. She did not hesitate to execute her plans. She wrapped him in rich fabric, put him near his mother, and brought the out ark that ye have heard of. Elisena said:

"What do ye plan to do?"

"Put him here and launch it in the river," she said, "and fate will protect him."

The mother held him in her arms, weeping fiercely as she said:

"My little son, how sadly I feel your misfortune!"

The damsel took ink and parchment and wrote a letter that said: "This is Amadis Without Time, son of a king." She said "without time" because she believed that the he would soon die, and "Amadis" because it was a name much appreciated there and the saint to whom the damsel commended him. She completely covered this letter with wax and put it on a cord around the neck of the boy. Elisena had the ring that King Perion had given her when he left her, and she put in on the same cord as the wax. They put the child in the ark, along with King Perion's sword. This was the sword he had thrown to the ground on the first night that they slept together, as ye have heard, and that her damsel had kept. Although the king had wished to have it, he had not dared to ask for it, lest King Garinter become angry for them sharing a chamber.

Then she put a board on top of the ark, constructed and caulked so tightly that neither water nor anything else could enter. She picked it up, opened the door, put it in the river, and let it go. The river was wide and the water flowed fast, and soon it reached the sea, no more than a half-league away. By then sun had risen, and a beautiful miracle occurred, as the Lord most high does when it pleases Him: there was a ship in the sea.

In it a Scottish knight named Gandales traveled with his wife, whom he was bringing from Little Brittany and who had just bourne a son named Gandalín. They traveled with all haste toward Scotland. The morning was clear, and they saw the ark bobbing in the water. He called four sailors and ordered them to quickly launch a skiff and bring it to him. They moved speedily, for the ark had already floated far from the ship. The knight took the ark, pulled off the cover, and saw the childe. He took it in his arms and said:

"This boy has come from a noble place."

He said this because of the rich fabrics, the ring, and the sword, which he saw was very fine, and began to curse the woman who, out of fear, had left the infant so cruelly abandoned. He kept those things safe, and he asked his wife to raise him, and so the same wet nurse who breast-fed Gandalin, their own son, also fed him. He nursed very willingly, which made the knight and his lady very happy.

They sailed the sea with favorable weather until they docked at a town in Scotland named Antilia, and from there left for their castle, one of the finest of that land, where they raised the boy as their own son. Everyone believed he was, and the sailors could tell no one what had really happened because their ship had sailed on to other lands.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When and where does Amadis of Gaul take place?

Amadis lives in Fantasyland. It never rains, the moonlight is always bright, and winter never comes.

Still, the text tells us that he is born shortly after the death of Jesus and well before the reign of King Arthur, which was around the sixth century — let's say Amadis takes place about 100 A.D. But Rome ruled much of Europe in 100 A.D., and Romans did not have knights in shining armor, castles, and chivalric love. In fact, the society in Amadis is conspicuously medieval.

The book opens in Little Brittany, wherever that is: someplace in Europe with wild lions. Some places mentioned are real, like Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland, but others, like Leonis and many of the towns named, may be legendary or imaginary. Later on in the series of novels, the protagonists roam throughout Europe — a Europe where it never rains and the moonlight is always bright.

What about "Gaul"? Isn't that France? Maybe. Gaul is an old name for a region that includes France, Belgium, and parts of Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Spanish title of the book is Amadís de Gaula, and "Guala" has no specific meaning in Spanish, but from what can be gleaned from the text, the kingdom of Gaula doesn't seem large. Maybe it's France, but the modern Spanish word for Wales is "Gales." Maybe Gaula is a medieval Iberian dialect word for Wales. Some scholars thinks so, but some say it means Brittany. Who knows?

We know for certain that Amadis lives at Ground Zero in Fantasyland, and all medieval fantasylands share specific space-time coordinates. They take place x) long ago, y) far away, and z) among legendary heros, that is, far removed from the social circuit of the reader, even though real kings like Holy Roman Emperor Charles V were among the genre's fanboys.

Don't be fooled. Whatever the text says, you can't go there except in your imagination. While it's a great place to visit, only Don Quixote decided to live there, and look what happened to him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

[Chapter 0]

Here begins the first book of the valiant and virtuous knight Amadis, son of King Perion of Gaul and Queen Elisena. It was corrected and amended by the honorable and virtuous knight Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, councilman of the noble town of Medina del Campo. He corrected the originals, which were corrupt and badly composed in an antique style due to different and bad writers; he removed many superfluous words and placed others of a more polished and elegant style, referring to knighthood and its acts.

The story begins.

Not many years after the passion of our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ, there was a Christian king in Little Brittany by the name of Garinter. Being of the true faith, he practiced great devotion and good conduct.

This king had two daughters by his wife, a noble lady. The oldest was married to Languines, king of Scotland, and was called the Lady of the Garland because her husband, the King, never allowed her to cover her beautiful hair except with a rich garland, for it was so pleasurable to see. By them were engendered Agrajes and Mabilia; he was a knight, and she a damsel; of them much mention is made in this story.

The other daughter, named Elisena, was much more beautiful than her sister. And of all the great princes who were suitors to wed her, she was pleased by none. Due to her secluded and holy life, everyone called her the Lost Devotee because for a person of her great linage, gifted with such beauty and with so many petitions for marriage, her style of life seemed ill advised.

King Garinter, since he was rather advanced in age, to give rest to his spirit, sometimes went to hunt in the woods. He left a town of his named Alima one day and, in the woods, strayed from the beaters and the hunters. As he wandered through the forest, saying his prayers, he saw to his left the brave battle of a single knight in combat with two others. He knew the two as his vassals closely related to him by marriage, who had angered him many times with their arrogant and wicked conduct. But he did not know the knight who fought with them, and he could not trust in that knight's goodness enough to overcome the fear of the other two, so he watched them in battle from afar. In the end, the hand of the single combatant overcame the others, leaving them defeated and dead. At that, the knight came toward the King, and seeing that he was alone, he said:

"Good man, what land is this that knights-errant are assaulted?"

The King said to him:

"Do not marvel at that, knight, as in all lands there are good and bad knights, and so there are here. These of whom ye speak have done many great misdeeds and crimes, even against the king himself, their lord, but justice could not be done to them because they were related to the royal family and because of the denseness of these woods where they took refuge."

The knight told him:

"I have come from a far land in search of this king of whom ye speak, and I bring him news of a good friend of his. If ye know where I might find him, I beg you to tell me."

The King said:

"Happen what may, I will not fail to tell you the truth: know truly that I am the king of whom ye ask."

The knight removed his shield and helmet, gave them to his squire, and came to embrace him, saying that he was King Perion of Gaul, and he had greatly desired to meet him.

These two Kings were very happy to be thus together, and, speaking of many things, they went to join the other hunters in order to retire to the town. But first they overcame a deer, exhausted by the beaters. Both Kings raced after it on their horses, planning to kill it, but something else happened to them. From the thick underbrush, a lion jumped out in front of them, caught the deer and killed it, ripping it open with its fierce claws. Then, brave and angry, it challenged the Kings. Seeing it thus, King Perion said:

"Vicious though ye are, ye shall leave us part of the prey!"

Taking his arms, he got off his horse, which was afraid to get closer to the fierce lion. He raised his shield, sword in hand, and ran toward the lion, and King Garinter's shouts could not stop him. The lion left its prey and charged at him. They joined in combat, and the lion landed on top of him, about to kill him, but the King had lost none of his valor. He swung his sword and opened its belly. It fell dead before him. King Garinter, much amazed, said to himself:

"Not without cause he is renowned as the best knight in the world."

After that, the hunting party assembled, loaded the lion and deer on two palfreys, and, with great joy, they went to the villa. The Queen, their hostess, had been notified, so they found the palace halls grandly and sumptuously decorated, and the tables set. The Kings and Queen sat at the high table next to a table with Elisena, their daughter. There they were served as was fitting in the house of a such great man, and they dined in pleasure

The princess was very beautiful and King Perion was of equal handsomeness, and his fame in great deeds of arms was renowned in all parts of the world, so that the moment they looked at each other, her great modesty and piety could not keep her from falling prey to a great and incurable love. The King fell equally, for his heart was free, never having been conquered by another. Thus they both spent the meal out of their senses with love.

When the tables were cleared, the Queen wished to go to her room. As Elisena stood up, a beautiful ring fell from her skirt. She had taken it from her finger to wash her hands, and in her confusion, she had forgotten to put it back on. She reached down for it, but King Perion, who was next to her, wished to give it to her. Their hands arrived at the same time, and the King took her hand and held it tight. She blushed red, gazed at the King with love-filled eyes, and slowly said that she was grateful for his service to her.

"Oh, Lady," he said, "it will not be the final act, but my whole life will be dedicated to your service."

The princess followed her mother out, filled with such emotion that she could hardly see, and she could not withstand the might of this new pain that had overcome her old way of thinking. She told her secret to her damsel, Darioleta, and, with tears in her eyes and more in her heart, she asked for advice about how she could learn if King Perion loved another woman, and if the loving face he had shown her came from the same source and with the same force as the one she felt in her heart. The damsel, frightened by the sudden change in a person who had never been given to such behavior, and having pity for such pious tears, told her:

"My lady, I see that the tyrant of love has filled you with such excessive passion that there is no means left in your good judgment to give advice and reasonable counsel. I will do as ye bid not because I am in your service but from my own free will and obedience, and I will do it in the most honest way that my small prudence and great desire will allow me."

Then she left her and went to the room where King Perion was staying. She found his squire at the door about to bring him his clothing and told him:

"My friend, ye may go do some other thing, and I will wait on your lord and will treat him well."

The squire, thinking that she did so as a further honor, gave her the clothes and left. The damsel entered the room where the King was in bed. When he saw her, he remembered her as the one to whom Elisena had spoken most often, as if she placed her trust in her more than in any other. He believed that she had come for no other reason than to remedy his mortal desires, and as his heart trembled, he said to her:

"Good damsel, what is that ye wish?"

"To give you your clothing," she said.

"It must be for my heart," he said, "which is dispossessed and disrobed of pleasure and happiness."

"How is that?" she said.

"I came to these lands," the King said, "with complete freedom, fearing only the adventures of arms that might befall me. I do not know how, when I entered in the home of your lords, I received a mortal wound. If ye, good damsel, can get me some medicine, I will greatly reward you."

"Certainly, sir, "she said, "I would be very happy to serve such a noble man and good knight as yourself, if I knew how."

"If ye promise me," said the King, "as a faithful damsel, not to reveal my secret except where it be right, I will tell you."

"Speak without distrust," she said, "for I will protect you completely."

"Then, my dear lady," he said, "I tell you that I was struck hard the moment when I saw the great beauty of Elisena, your lady. I am tormented by troubles and anguish to the point of dying, and if I find no remedy, I cannot avoid death."

When she heard this, the damsel, who knew fully her lady's heart in this matter, as ye have heard earlier, felt very happy, and she said to him:

"My lord, if ye promise me as a king and thus bound more than all others to maintain the truth, and as a knight of whom it is said ye have withstood so many labors and dangers, that ye shall take her as wife when ye can, I will place her where not only your heart will be satisfied but hers as well, which as much or perhaps even more feels the troubles and pain of this same wound. But if ye do not do this, ye shall not have her, and I will not believe your words come from faithful and honest love."

The King, whose soul had already received the permission of God to go forward with what ye shall soon hear of, took his sword, which was beside him, and put his right hand on the handle, which was in the form of a cross, and said:

"I swear on this cross and sword, with which I received the order of knighthood, to do that which ye, damsel, have asked me, when your lady Elisena may demand it of me."

"For the moment, be comforted," she said, "and I will do what ye asked."

Leaving him, she returned to her lady and told her what the King had agreed to, which made her very happy. Elisena embraced her and said:

"My true friend, when will I see the time when I shall hold in my arms the lord whom ye have given me?"

"I will tell you," she said. "Ye know, my lady, that the room where King Perion is, has a door that leads to the garden where your father sometimes goes to rest, and which is now covered by a curtain. I have the key to it, and when the King leaves, I will open it, and because it will be in the darkness of night when everyone is asleep, we can enter there without being seen, and when it is time to leave, I will call you and return you to your bed."

When Elisena heard this, she so astonished by joy that she could not speak, but when she returned to herself, she said:

"My friend, I put all my estate in your hands, but how can it be done as ye say, since my father is staying in the same chamber as King Perion? If he hears, we will all be in great danger."

"Leave that to me," said the damsel. "I will solve it."

With that they ceased to speak of it, and the next day the two Kings and the Queen and Princess Elisena dined and supped as before, and when it was night, Darioleta drew aside the squire of King Perion and said:

"Oh, my friend, tell me if ye are a nobleman."

"Yes, I am," he said, "in fact the son of a knight. But why do ye ask?"

"I will tell you," she said. "I wish to know a certain thing, and I beg you, by your faith in God and by the King your lord, to tell me."

"By holy Mary," he said, "I will tell you anything I know, as long as it does no harm to my lord."

"I promise the same to you," she said. "Nothing I will ask will do him harm, nor may nothing ye say be false. I want you to tell me who is the damsel that your lord holds in extreme love."

"My lord," he said, "loves all women in general, but in truth I know of none that he loves as much as ye say."

As they were speaking, King Garinter arrived. He saw Darioleta with the squire, and called her over to ask:

"What have ye to speak about with the squire of the King?"

"By God, lord, I will tell you. He called for me and told me that his lord has the custom of sleeping alone, and in truth your presence gives him great discomfort."

The King left her and went to King Perion and told him:

"My lord, I have many things to do and must get up at the hour of matins, and if it may not anger you, I shall leave you alone in the chamber."

King Perion told him:

"My lord, do as it gives you pleasure."

"So it does," he said.

Then he knew that the damsel had told the truth, and ordered his servants to remove his bed from the chamber of King Perion. When Darioleta saw that what she had wished for had come to pass, she went to Elisena, her lady, and told her what would happen.

"My friend and lady," Elisena said, "now I believe, since God has put things in place, that this, which now seems like an error, will be a great service to Him. Tell me what we shall do, for my great joy has left me unable to think for myself."

"My lady," said the damsel, "we shall do tonight that which has been agreed upon, and I shall open the door to the chamber that I spoke of."

"Then I will leave it to you to take me when the time comes."

And thus they were until all had gone to sleep.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What is Amadis of Gaul?

[Photo: Statue of King Arthur, designed by Albrecht Dürer and cast by Peter Vischer the Elder, early 1500s.]

In medieval times, troubadours and poets recounted Greco-Roman literature, early French epics, and the deeds of King Arthur of Britain and the Knights of the Round Table. The tales of Arthur had come to France via the court of King Henry II (1133-1189) and Queen Eleanore of Aquitaine (1122?-1204). From there, they spread throughout Europe.

In Spain and Portugal, Arthurian tales of knights-errant took their own trajectory, though their noble protagonists continued to roam fictional worlds fighting evildoers, monsters, magical beings, distressors of damsels, and pagan armies. Each knight served his lady in accordance with the rules of chivalric love.

Amadis of Gaul
is the most famous of those tales.

Fragments of early versions of Amadis of Gaul exist from the Middle Ages. Amadis as we know it, and the text that I am translating, was printed in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1508. This text was composed by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, and he says he based it on earlier text, which is generally attributed to Vasco de Lobeira, a 14th-century Portuguese knight, or to another 14th-century Portuguese writer, João de Lobiera. That text in turn was likely based on earlier versions. Scholars debate this point and many others about Amadis.

In any case, Rodríguez de Montalvo "polished" the first three books of the series and added a fourth book, along with a sequel about Amadis's son, Esplandian — though his sequel, too, may be based on earlier works.

Amadis became the Renaissance's best-selling literary phenomena. It went through 19 reprintings, was translated into 7 languages, and spawned 44 direct sequels, as well as fueling an entire genre, complete with fan fiction. Jousts were revived, and "knights" came in the guise of their favorite characters.

But as time went on, the genre lost literary approval. In 1605, Miguel de Cervantes published Don Quixote of La Mancha, a brilliant satire of chivalric novels. Amadis never recovered its former popularity.

Yet, it's one of the pillars of European fiction. It opens a window not only to a wondrous fictional world but to the real medieval world that produced it. And it's great fun. Amadis is a hero for all time!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


[Art: The Fall of Granada, by Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz, 1882. The Moorish King Boabdil of Granada surrenders to King Fernando and Queen Isabel.]


In truth, the great acts of arms, which we know about through their written accounts, took place in brief periods of time. We have clearly experienced and noted that with the battles of our own time. With that consideration in mind, the wise men of ancient times sought to compose accounts of these wondrous deeds on some basis in fact. They not only intended them to enter into the perpetual memory of professional men of arms, but also of those who read with great admiration the ancient histories of the Greeks, Trojans, and others whose battles appear in the written record. As Sallust said, the deeds of the Athenians appear grand because their scribes chose to embellish and extol them.

If the great orators who employed their wits and exhausted their spirits in search of fame rather than pecuniary interests were present now, then how many flowers, how many roses would be showered upon our most valiant and Catholic King Fernando for the holy conquest of the reign of Granada, as well as upon the efforts of the knights in the turbulent and dangerous skirmishes and combats and in all the other affronts and labors that they saddled their horses for, and upon the valiant discourses that the great King pronounced to his nobles gathered in the royal tent, and their obedient responses. Above all, great praise and ever-increasing acclaim would be due for having undertaken and finished this most Catholic struggle.

As for me, I believe that if these ancient writers had recounted the truth as well as the falsehoods as part of the fame of this most great prince, with just cause given to the broad basis of fact, these accounts would reach the clouds. One can believe that his wise chroniclers, if they were allowed to write in the style of those in antiquity as a memorial for those to come, would properly record the higher degree of fame and genuine nobility due his great deeds. Other emperors have been extolled with more love than accuracy than our own King and Queen, but they deserve it more, since they upheld Divine law. The others served the mundane world, which gave them its esteem, while our own served the Lord, who, with well known love and willingness, gave them His aid and favor, finding them full worthy because they had dedicated so much labor and expense, which is what His service requires. And if by chance some detail has been forgotten here below, it will not be before His Divine Throne, where He has prepared the reward that they deserve.

The great historian Titus Livy employed a different, more reasonable means to extol the honor and fame of the Romans. Rather than give them physical force, he made courage burn in their hearts, so were there any doubt about the former, there would be none about the latter. By his extreme effort, he memorialized the audacity of he who burned his arm [the Roman Curtius Muncius who fought through a wall of fire] and of he [Horacio Cocles] who leapt into the dangerous lake [in a battle defending a bridge to the final moment]. We have seen similar acts done by those who, risking their own lives, preferred death to save the lives of others. Therefore we can believe what we have read, amazing though it may seem. But certainly, in all Livy's great histories, nothing can be found to equal those fearful blows and miraculous encounters that we find in the stories about stalwart Hector, famous Achilles, brave Troilus and valient Ajax Talemon, and many others about whom much was recorded, in accordance with the esteem that ancient writers have left us.

Just as with these, there are others closer to our time, such as the distinguished Duke Godrey de Bouillon. On the bridge at Antioch, with a blow of his sword, he almost cut a well-armed Turk in half when he was King of Jerusalem. As one may and must believe Troy to have been during its siege and destruction by the Greeks, Jerusalem and other sites were similarly conquered by the Duke and his company. But we may attribute these blows, as I said, more to the writers than to what really took place. Other, poorer writers did not erect their works over any basis of fact. In fact, no hint of truth can be found. They composed false histories about amazing things found outside of the natural order, and they ought to be considered tall tales rather than chronicles.

If we see now that certain armed confrontations are like those that we witness and experience almost every day but yet they largely stray from virtue and good conscience, and if they strike us as very seriously strange, we may know that they are imaginary and false. Shall we not take whatever worthy fruit that grows there for us? Truly, in my view, we should do no other thing but take all of the good examples and doctrines for our salvation that come to us, for if we allow the grace that the most high Lord sends us to be imprinted on our hearts, our spirits can use it as wings and rise to that height of glory for which they were created.

In consideration of this, and wishing that some shadow of remembrance remain of me, I dared not put my weak ingenuity to these tasks that those with more sensible wisdom occupy themselves. As the century drew to a close, I wished to bring together the writings of light things of little substance that best suit someone of such weakness. I corrected these three books of Amadis, such as they could be read, due to poor writers or very corrupt and dissolute scribes, and I translated and emended a fourth book and The Exploits of Esplandian, a sequel, which up until now no one can recall seeing. By great good fortune, it was discovered in a stone tomb beneath a hermitage near Constantinople and was brought by a Hungarian merchant to eastern Spain in such ancient script and old parchment that it could only be read with much difficulty by those who knew the language. With such exemplary and doctrinal improvements, these five books, which until now had been considered rank fiction rather than chronicles, will be justly compared to cheap and fragile cork saltcellars that have been sheathed and embellished with gold and silver. Both youthful knights and the oldest of men can find in them what each seeks.

And if, by chance, in this poorly executed work some error seems to transgress that which is forbidden to the human and divine, I humbly beg pardon for it, since I firmly hold and believe all that which the Holy Mother Church teaches and instructs. It originated in my simple-minded indiscretion rather than in this work.


[Translator's note: Through the ritual praise of the reigning royalty, we can deduce that the prologue was composed after the fall of Granada on January 2, 1492 (see artwork above), but before the death of Queen Isabel on November 26, 1504, of uterine cancer in Medina del Campo. Generally, prologues were written after the rest of the work was finished. Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, a councilman of Medina del Campo, probably died before 1505. Little is known of his life. Although the earliest surviving copy of Amadis of Gaul was printed in Zaragoza in 1508, there may have been an earlier edition.]

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Here begins the index of the chapters of the first book of the valiant and virtuous knight Amadis of Gaul.


[Chapter 0.] The story begins.

Chapter 1. How Princess Elisena and her damsel Darioleta went to the chamber where King Perion was.

Chapter 2. How King Perion traveled home with his squire, and with his heart filled more by woe than joy.

Chapter 3. How King Languines took with him the Childe of the Sea and Gandalin, son of Sir Gandales.

Chapter 4. How King Lisuarte sailed the sea and made port in the Kingdom of Scotland, where he was received with great honors.

Chapter 5. How Urganda the Unrecognized brought a lance to the Childe of the Sea.

Chapter 6. How the Childe of the Sea fought with the foot soldiers of the knight called Galpano, then with the brothers of the lord of the castle and with the lord himself, and killed him without mercy.

Chapter 7. How three days after the Childe of the Sea left the court of King Languines, three knights arrived, along with another knight in a litter and his traitorous wife.

Chapter 8. How King Lisuarte sent for his daughter from the court of King Languines, who sent her with his daughter Mabilia, accompanied by knights, ladies, and damsels.

Chapter 9. How the Childe of the Sea did battle with King Abies over the war he had with King Perion of Gaul.

Chapter 10. How the Childe of the Sea was recognized by his father, King Perion, and by his mother, Elisena.

Chapter 11. How the giant brought Galaor to be armed by the hand of King Lisuarte, and how Amadis knighted him very honorably.

Chapter 12. How Galaor fight the great giant, lord of the Rock of Galtares, defeated him, and killed him.

Chapter 13. How Amadis left Urganda the Unrecognized and came to a fortress, and what happened to him there.

Chapter 14. How King Lisuarte buried Dardan and his beloved, and had the manner of their death inscribed on their tomb.

Chapter 15. How Amadis made himself known to King Lisuarte and the grandees of his court, and was very well received by them all.

Chapter 16. Of what Agarjes saw after he came from the war of Gaul, and some things that he did.

Chapter 17. How Amadis was highly esteemed in the court of King Lisuarte, and of the news that he learned about his brother Galaor.

Chapter 18. How Amadis fought and defeated Angriote and his brother, who guarded a pass to a valley, where they maintained by force of arms that no one had a more beautiful ladylove than Angriote.

Chapter 19. How Amadis was enchanted by Arcalaus the Sorcerer because Amadis wanted to release Lady Grindalaya and others from their spell and prison, and how he escaped the enchantment that Arcalaus had placed on him.

Chapter 20. How Arcalaus carried news to the court of King Lisuarte that Amadis was dead, and of the great lamentations made by the entire court, especially by Oriana.

Chapter 21. How Galaor arrived badly wounded at a monastery and spent 15 days there, after which he was healthy, and what happened to him next.

Chapter 22. How Amadis left the castle of the lady, and what happened to him on the road.

Chapter 23. How King Lisuarte, leaving to hunt as he was wont to do, saw three knights coming on the road, and what happened to him with them.

Chapter 24. Of how Amadis, Galaor, and Balays decided to go to King Lisuarte, and of the adventures that consequently befell them.

Chapter 25. How Galaor avenged the death of the knight they had found vilely killed at the tree at the crossroads.

Chapter 26. Which recounts of what happened to Amadis when he went to rescue the damsel from the knight who had carried her off and was mistreating her.

Chapter 27. How Amadis fought and defeated the knight who had stolen away the damsel while he slept.

Chapter 28. What happened to Balays, who went in search of the knight who had made Sir Galaor lose his horse.

Chapter 29. How King Lisuarte held court, and what happened in it.

Chapter 30. How Amadis, Galaor, and Balays came to the palace of King Lisuarte, and what happened to them afterwards.

Chapter 31. How King Lisuarte came to hold court in the city of London.

Chapter 32. How, when the court was assembled, King Lisuarte asked for counsel from the knights he had convened on what he should properly do.

Chapter 33. How the King was celebrating when a damsel dressed in mourning knelt before him and asked for a boon, which he granted.

Chapter 34. In which is shown the downfall of King Lisuarte and all his deeds in consequence of his promises, which should have been denied.

Chapter 35. How Amadis and Galaor learned of the treacherous deeds, and they decided to secure the freedom of the King and Oriana, if they could.

Chapter 36. How Sir Galaor freed King Lisuarte from the captivity to which he was being traitorously taken.

Chapter 37. How the news came to the Queen that Lisuarte was a prisoner, and how Barsinan acted treasonously, wishing to become king, and how finally he was ruined, and the King was restored to his throne.

Chapter 38. How Amadis came in aid of the city of London, killed the traitorous Barsinan, and brought peace to the city.

Chapter 39. How King Lisuartes held court for twelve days, during which grand feasts were held by the many grandees who had come, both ladies and knights, many of whom stayed for several days.

Chapter 40. How the battle took place that Amadis had pledged against Abiseos and his two sons; a pledge he had made to the beautiful girl Briolanja at Castle Grovenesa to avenge the death of her father the King.

Chapter 41. How Sir Galaor left with the damsel in search of the knight who had overthrown them, until he fought with him, and how in the heat of the battle he learned that the knight was his brother Florestan.

Chapter 42. Which tells how Sir Florestan was the son of King Perion, and in what manner he was had by a very beautiful damsel, daughter of the Count of Selandia.

Chapter 43. How Galaor and Florestan, traveling to the kingdom of Sobradisa, met three damsels at the Fountain of the Elms.