Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chapter 34 [first half]

In which it is shown the perdition of King Lisuarte and everything that happened due to his promises, which should have been denied.

[A panel from the sepulcher of King Fernando I of Aragón, also called Ferran d'Antequera or Ferdinand the Just, 1380-1416. The tomb is in the Monastery of Poblet, Catalonia, but the panel, sculpted by Pere Oller, is in the Louvre Museum, Paris.]


Four days after Amadis and Galaor had departed, King Lisuarte and Queen Brisena, his wife, were in their tents with many knights and ladies and damsels, when a knight entered, the one who had left the cloak and the crown with them, as ye have heard. He knelt in front of the King and said:

"My lord, how is it that ye are not wearing the beautiful crown that I left you, and my lady and Queen, the rich cloak?"

The King was silent and did not wish give any response, and the knight said:

"I would be very pleased if ye were not delighted with them, for then ye would save me from losing my head in exchange or the boon which ye would have to grant. And if it is not to be, then have them returned to me, for by no means can I wait."

When the King heard this, it hurt him deeply, and he said:

"Knight, I cannot give you the cloak nor the crown, for I have lost them both, and since you need them so much, your plight hurts me more than mine, though they were very valuable."

"Oh, poor me, I am dead!" the knight said. He began to mourn so deeply it was amazing, and he said, "Woeful me, without good fortune, I am dead by the worst death that ever died a knight who so little deserved it!" Tears fell down his whiskers, which were as white as wool.

The King felt great pity for him and said:

"Knight, do not fear for your head, for ye shall have everything I have to protect it. This I promise you and this I shall do."

The knight fell at his feet to kiss them, but the King raised him up by the hand and said:

"Now ask for what ye please."

"My lord," he said, "it is true that ye were going to return my cloak and crown or give me whatever I asked for them. And God knows, my lord, that my intention was not to ask for that which I shall now demand, and if there were anything else in the world that would help me, I would not anger you with it, but I can do nothing else. I know well that it will be very hard for you to give, but it would be even worse for such a man as yourself to fail keep your word. It will hurt you to give it to me, and it will hurt me to receive it."

"Now, ask," said the King, "for what I have cannot be so costly that you shall not have it."

"Many thanks," the knight said, "but I must ask your assurance now that no one in your court will do me any harm or violence over my boon, and that ye yourself give me such assurance, for in no other way will your honesty be protected nor shall I be satisfied if by one hand ye give me it and by another ye take it back."

"What ye ask is wise," the King said, "and so I shall grant it and order it to be proclaimed."

Then the knight said:

"My lord, I cannot be saved from death except by my crown and cloak, or by your daughter Oriana, and now give me whichever ye will, though I would prefer to receive what I gave you."

"Oh, knight!" the King said, "ye have asked me for much."

And all who were listening felt so sad that more sorrow would not have been possible, but the King, who was the most loyal man in the world, said:

"Do not feel sad, for it would be better to lose my daughter than to fail to keep my word. The former is a loss to only a few, while the latter would be a loss to all and would create more danger, because if people could not feel secure in the words of their lords, it would be hard to preserve true love among them, and where there is none, little good can come of it."

And he ordered that his daughter be brought immediately.

When the Queen and her ladies and damsels heard this, they began to make the greatest mourning in the world, but the King ordered them to retire their rooms, and ordered all his men not to weep under penalty of losing his affection. He said:

"Now what happens to my daughter shall be what God holds to be good, but my word shall not to my knowledge be proven false."

At this time the very beautiful Oriana arrived and fell stunned at his feet. She said:

"Father, my lord, what is this that ye wish to do?"

"I do it," he said, "so as not to go back on my word." And he said to the knight, "Ye see here the boon ye asked for. Do ye wish her to have a retinue?"

"My lord," the knight said, "I bring only two knights and two squires with me, those who came with me to Windsor, and I cannot take a retinue, but I tell you that there is nothing to fear until I put her in the hand of he to whom I must give her."

"If ye wish, let a damsel go with her," the King said, "because it will be more honorable and honest for her to not go alone with you."

The knight agreed. When Oriana heard this, she fell as if she were dead, but this did nothing. The knight wept as he took her in his arms, for he seemed to do this against his will, and gave her to a squire who was on a large and powerful horse. He set her in the saddle and sat on its haunches.

The knight told him:

"Hold her, do not let her fall, for she is barely conscious, and God knows that this deed weighs on no knight in all the court heavier than on me."

The King had the Damsel of Denmark come, and ordered her put on a palfrey, and said:

"Go with your lady and do not leave her side no matter what happens to you, either good or ill, for as long as they let you be with her."

"Oh, poor girl!" she said, "I never expected to depart like this."

Then they began to leave, and the big, strong knight who did not wish to remove his helmet in Windsor took the reins of Oriana's horse. Know ye that he was Arcalaus the Sorcerer. As they left the courtyard, Oriana sighed deeply, as if her heart were breaking, and she said to herself, only half-aware:

"Oh, my good friend! At a potent moment this boon was given, and because of it, ye and I are dead."

She said this about Amadis because she had allowed him to leave with the damsel, but the others thought that she said it for herself and her father.

They led her into a forest, traveling fast until they left the road and entered a deep valley. The King mounted a horse with a club in his hand to make sure no one tried to stop them because he had guaranteed their safe passage. Mabilia, who was weeping loudly from a window, saw Ardian, Amadis's dwarf, passing on a large, fast horse near the castle wall. Full of distress, she called out to him:

"Friend Ardian, if thou lovest thy lord, do not rest by day or night until thou findest him and tellest him of the misfortune that has been done here. If thou dost not, thou shalt be a traitor, for it is certain that what he would most want now is to know what has happened in this city to his love."

"By Holy Mary!" the dwarf said, "he shall know it as fast as possible."

He whipped his horse and took the road to see his lord at full speed.


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