Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chapter 8 [first half]

[Illustration from the Manesse Codex, created between 1305 and1340, Zürich.]


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.

Ten days after Agrajes left, three ships arrived carrying Walter of Rothwell with one hundred of King Lisuarte's knights with ladies and damsels to take Oriana home. King Languines received him well, for he considered him a good and prudent knight. Walter told the King the message he carried from his lord King Lisuarte, asking for his daughter, and for King Languines to send his Mabilia with Oriana, and King Lisuarte would order her to receive the same standing and honors as his daughter.

King Languines was very happy to hear that, and provided fine clothing for them. He arranged many feasts and favors for the knights, ladies, and damsels over several days in his court, and had more ships readied and supplied, as well as providing everything that seemed necessary for the trip for the knights, ladies, and damsels.

Oriana, who saw that she could not avoid the voyage, prepared to collect her jewelry, and as she did this, she saw the wax that she had taken from the Childe of the Sea. When she thought of him, tears came to her eyes and she wrung her hands in anxiety as love overcame her, and she broke the wax. She saw the letter that was inside it, and when she read it, she saw that it said:

"This is Amadis Without Time, son of a king."

With hardly a thought, she understood that the Childe of the Sea was named Amadis and that he was the son of a king. Happiness never filled a heart as it did hers. She called the Damsel of Denmark and told her:

"My dear, I want to tell you a secret straight from my heart, and I want you to keep safe, for it is about myself as a most noble damsel and the best knight in the world."

"I will do that," she said, "and, my lady, do not hesitate to tell me what to do."

"Well, my friend," said Oriana, "go to the new knight, whom ye know, and whom we call Childe of the Sea. Ye shall find him in the war in Gaul, and if ye arrive before him, wait for him. As soon as ye see him, give him this letter and tell him that he will find his name in it, which was written when he was thrown into the sea. Tell him that I know he is the son of a king, so while he was very good when he did not even know it, and he should try to be better. Tell him that my father has asked for me and they are taking me to him. Tell him that I sent you to say that when the war in Gaul is over, he should come immediately to Great Britain, he should try to take residence with my father until I tell him what to do."

The damsel, with this message that ye heard, was sent off on the road to Gaul, which will be spoken of in time. Oriana and Mabilia, attended by ladies and damsels, were commended to God by the King and Queen, and put on the ships. The sailors raised the anchors and set the sails, and as the weather was brisk, they traveled quickly to Great Britain, where they were very well received.

The Childe of the Sea spent two weeks recovering in the house of the knight and his niece, the damsel who tended to his wounds. Then, although the wounds were still new, he did not wish to remain there longer, and on a Sunday morning, he left with Gandalin, who never parted from his side.

It was April. When he entered a forest, he heard the birds singinging and saw flowers everywhere, and as love had him in its power, he remembered his beloved and began to say:

"Oh, ill-fated Childe of the Sea, heir to no one and nothing, how could thou hast been so brash as to place thy heart and thy love in the power of she who is worth more than all others in her virtue and her beauty and her lineage? Oh, slave of fate! For any of these three things even the best knight in the world should not be so bold as to love her. Her beauty outshines the best knight at arms. Her virtue is worth more than the riches of the greatest man in the world. And I, miserable, do not know who I am, and I live under the torment of madness, for I may die in love without daring to say it to her."

He rode on, lamenting, so blind that he noticed nothing beyond his horse, but when he looked at a thicket in the forest, he saw an armed knight on a horse awaiting an enemy, who had heard his entire lament. When that knight saw that he had ceased to speak, he rode up to the Childe and said:

"Knight, it seems to me that ye love your lady more than yourself, depreciating yourself and praising her. I want you to tell me who she is so that I can love her, because from what I have heard, ye are not worthy to serve such a high and beautiful lady."

The Childe said:

"My lord knight, reason obliges you to say what ye said, but ye know nothing of anything else. And I tell you more, that ye could gain nothing worthwhile by loving her."

"If effort and danger comes to a man," the knight said," a good lady must receive him with glory, and in the end he will get the prize that he hopes for. If a man of high nobility were to love like ye, there is no reason to be angered by what may happen to him."

The Childe of the Sea felt comforted when he heard this, and held that he would do well to think the same. He wanted to ride on, but the other knight said:

"Stay put, knight, for ye still owe me an answer to my question, by force or willingly."

"God help me not," said the Childe, "if ye were to know it willingly from me or from anyone else on my behalf."

"Well, then, ye are in battle," the knight said.

"It pleases me more to fight you than to tell you it," said the Childe of the Sea.

Then they strapped on their helmets and took up their shields and lances, and just when they were about to back up and begin their joust, a damsel arrived and said to them:

"Wait, my lords, wait, and tell me something if ye know it, for I must hurry and cannot remain until the end of your battle."

They asked her what she wanted to know.

"If one of you have seen a new knight named Childe of the Sea," she said.

"What do ye wish of him?" he said.

"I bring him a message from Agrajes, his friend, the son of the King of Scotland."

"Wait a little," said the Childe of the Sea, "and I shall speak to you of him."

He charged at the knight, shouting to him to prepare himself. The knight hit him in the shield so fiercely that his lance flew in pieces through the air. But the Childe of the Sea, who struck him full on, knocked both him and the horse to the ground. The horse got up and wanted to flee, but the Childe of the Sea took it and give it back to the knight, saying:

"My lord knight, take your horse and do not try to learn something from anyone against their will."

The knight took the horse, but he could not mount quickly, for he had been hurt in the fall. The Childe of the Sea turned to the damsel and told her:

"My friend, do ye know the man whom ye seek?"

"No," she said, "I have never seen him. But Agrajes told me that he would tell me who he was as soon as I told him that I served him."

"That is true," he said. "Know that I am he."

Then he took off his helmet and the damsel, when she saw his face, said:

"Surely, I know that ye speak the truth, for I have heard your handsomeness praised as a marvel."

"Well, tell me," he said, "where did ye leave Agrajes?"

"Alongside a river near here," the damsel said, "where he has his war party ready to take to the sea and travel to Gaul, and before he left he wanted to know if ye would travel with him."

"God give you thanks," he said, "and now guide me and we shall go see him."

The damsel lead him down the road and soon they saw the tents alongside the river and knights around them, but even as they were so near, they heard someone shout behind them:

"Turn around, knight, for ye still owe me an answer to my question."

He turned his head and saw the knight whom he had just jousted, with another knight. He took his arms and charged at them. They had lowered their lances, and their horses were running as fast as they could. The knights near the tents saw the Childe ride so well placed in his saddle that they marveled. And surely ye may believe that in his time, there was no other knight who rode better or who fought in jousts more beautifully, so much so that in some places when he tried to hide his identity, he was recognized by it.

The two knights struck his shield with their lances and it gave way, but his hauberk did not because it was strong, and their lances broke. He attacked the first one, whom he had previously defeated, and struck him so hard that he hit the ground, broke his arm, and lay there as if dead.

The Childe had lost his lance, but he put his hand on his sword and charged at the other and struck him on top of his helmet. The sword reached his scalp, and when he pulled the sword back, the straps broke and he tugged the helmet from his head. He raised his sword to strike, but the other knight raised his shield. The Childe of the Sea paused, and passing the sword to his left hand, grabbed the shield, and pulled it from the knight's neck. He hit him on top of the head with it, and the knight fell to the ground, stunned.

That done, he gave his arms to Gandalin and continued with the damsel toward the tents. Agrajes wondered who the knight was who had so quickly defeated the other two. He ran toward him, recognized him, and said:

"My lord, ye are very welcome."

The Childe of the Sea got off his horse and they embraced. And when the others saw that he was the Childe of the Sea, they ran to him very happy. Agrajes told him:

"Oh God, I have so much wished to see you."

Then he brought him to his tent, helped him disarm, and ordered to have the knights brought to him who were still in the field, injured. And when they were brought before him, he said:

"By God, ye were crazy to enter into battle with such a knight."

"That is true," said the one with the broken arm. "But earlier today I held him for so little that I did not think he would be able to defend himself at all."

And he told what had happened in the forest, though he did not dare speak of the Childe's lament. They all had a good laugh at the patience of the Childe and the arrogance of the other knight.

That day they rested comfortably, and the next day they rode, traveling so far that they arrived at Palingues, a good town that was the closest port to Gaul. There they got on Agrajes's ships, and with a good wind they passed quickly over the sea, and they arrived at a town in Gaul named Galfan. They traveled overland to Baladin, a castle from which King Perion was waging war. He had lost many men, so he was happy at their arrival. He gave them fine lodgings, and Queen Elisena sent word to her nephew Agrajes to come to see her. He asked for the Childe of the Sea and two other knights to come with him.

King Perion looked at the Childe and recognized him as the one he had made a knight and who had rescued him in the castle of the old man.

He went up to him and said:

"Friend, ye are very welcome, and know that I find such great striving in you that I no longer fear to lose this war, for I have you fighting with me."

"My lord," he said, "ye shall have me in your aid as long as my body shall last or until the war shall end."

So they spoke, and they arrived at the Queen. Agrajes went to kiss her hands, and she was very happy to see him. The King told her:

"Lady, ye see here the very fine knight that I spoke of, who saved me from the greatest danger I have ever been in, and I tell you to love this knight more than any other."

She came up to embrace him. He knelt before her and said:

"My lady, I am the servant of your sister, and for her I come to serve you, and ye may give me orders just as she would."

The Queen thanked him with much love. She saw how he was very handsome, and, remembering the sons that she had lost, tears came to her eyes. Thus she wept for a son who was before her, whom she did not recognize. The Childe of the Sea told her:

"My lady, do not cry. Soon your happiness shall return with the help of God and the King and this knight who is your nephew, and of me, who will serve you gladly."

She said:

"My dear, ye who are the knight of my sister, I wish you to stay in my house, and there they shall give you everything that ye need."

Agrajes wished to take him with him, but the King and Queen insisted so much that he had to grant their wish. So the Childe stayed in the care of his mother, where they did him many honors.

King Abies and his half-brother Daganel learned that these knights had come to King Perion. King Abies, who at the time was the most esteemed knight known, said:

"If King Perion has the heart to fight and is valiant, now he will want to do battle with us."

"He will not," Daganel said, "because he is very afraid of you."

Galain, the Duke of Normandy, who was there, said:

"I can tell you how to make him fight. Daganel and I will ride tonight, and at dawn we will appear at his town with reasonable number of men. King Abies shall remain with the other soldiers hidden in Galpano's forest, and this way we shall give him courage and he will dare to come out. We will seem afraid and will lead them into the forest to where the King is, and that way they will all be defeated."

"Well spoken," King Abies said. "So it shall be done."

Then they and all their men took up their arms. Daganel and Galain, who had offered the plan, entered into the forest and went well ahead, while the King stayed back. They waited there all night.

No comments:

Post a Comment