Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chapter 38 [first half]

How Amadis came to help the city of London, killed the traitor Barsinan, and put the entire city at peace.

[Illustration for Chapter 38 from the 1526 edition, printed in Seville.]  


While Amadis and his lady Oriana were in the forest, as we have told you, he asked her what Arcalaus had said, and she said:

"That I shouldn't complain, for within five days he would make me queen of London and give me Barsinan as my husband, who would be king of my father's lands, and Arcalaus would be his chief majordomo, for having given Barsinan me and my father's head."

"Oh, holy Mary!" Amadis said. "What great treachery by Barsinan, who pretended to be a friend of the King! I fear he will harm the Queen."

"Oh, my beloved," she said, "go help her as best ye can."

"Thus I should," he said, "but I do so with regret, for I have would have enjoyed spending many days in this forest, if ye, my lady, were also pleased."

"God knows how much it would have pleased me," she said, "but if we did, something very bad could happen to the lands that could still be yours and mine, if God wishes."

So they rested until dawn. Then Amadis arose, armed himself well and, taking his lady's horse by the reins, he got on the road for London and traveled as fast as he could. He met some of the knights who had departed London in groups of five and ten, in all more than a thousand knights. Amadis showed them where to look for the King and told them how Galaor had gone ahead to rescue him.

Continuing on, he met Sir Grumedan five leagues from London, the good elderly man who had raised the Queen, and with him came twenty knights from his family. They had ridden all night through the forest from one side to the other looking for the King. When Grumedan recognized Oriana, he came toward her, weeping, and said:

"My lady, oh God, what a blessed day to see you! But, by God, what news of  your father the King?"

"Truly, my friend," she said weeping, "they separated me from him near London, and it pleased God to have Amadis find those who were carrying me off and use his might to take me from them."

"Truly," said Sir Grumedan, "if he could not do it, no one could." Then he said to Amadis, "My friend and lord, where has your brother gone?"

"He and I separated at the place where they separated the King and his daughter," Amadis said. "He went the way the King went and I the way Arcalaus went, who was carrying off this lady."

"Now I have more hope," Sir Grumedan said, "because such a well-blessed knight as Sir Galaor has gone to rescue the King."

Amadis told Sir Grumedan about the great treachery of Arcalaus and Barsinan, and then he said:

"Take Oriana, and I shall go to the Queen as fast as I can, for I fear that that traitor wishes to do her wrong. Make all the knights ye find return to the city, for though the King needs help, so many have left that quite a few will be unneeded."

Sir Grumedan took Oriana and traveled to London as fast as he could, and made all the men he found go back.

Amadis left as fast as his horse could go, and when he entered the town, he found the squire that the King had sent to tell the news that he was free, and the squire told him how it had happened. Amadis thanked God because his brother had done well, and before he entered the town, he had learned everything that Barsinan had done, so he entered as secretly as he could.

When Arban saw him, both he and his men were very happy and felt greatly encouraged. Arban went to embrace him and said:

"My good lord, what news do ye bring?"

"All of it will bring you joy," Amadis said. "Let us go before the Queen and ye shall hear it."

Then Amadis took the squire by the hand and they went to her, knelt before her, and he said:

"My lady, this squire left the King free and safe, and was sent by him to tell you. And I left Oriana in the hands of Sir Grumedan, your tutor, and she will soon be here. Meanwhile, I wish to see Barsinan if I may."

He took off his helmet and shield and put on others so he would not be recognized, and said to Arban:

"Have your barriers be knocked down, so Barsinan and his men will come, and if God wishes, we shall make him pay for his treachery." And he told him what he knew about Barsinan and Arcalaus.

The barriers were immediately taken down, and Barsinan and all his men charged, thinking they could quickly gain total victory. Arban's men met them, and thus a perilous battle began between them in which many would be injured or killed. Barsinan rode ahead, and since his men were many and the opponents few, he thought they could not be stopped, and he meant to do all he could to take the Queen.

Amadis saw the attack and came out to meet them, bearing a shield that had lost its paint on his neck and a rusty old helmet on his head. They seemed almost worthless, but in the end they served him well. He rode through the battle wearing the King's good sword on his belt.

When he reached Barsinan, he struck Barsinan's shield with his lance, and both the shield and his coat of mail failed, and the lance entered halfway into his flesh and was broken. Then Amadis put his hand on his sword and struck him on top of his helmet and cut so deep that it reached the skin of his head.

Barsinan was stunned, but Amadis's sword had cut so well that he felt almost nothing with his hand. Then he struck Barsinan again on the arm that bore his sword, and cut through the sleeve of his chain mail and his arm above his hand, then Amadis's sword swung down to his leg and cut it halfway through. Barsinan tried to flee but he could not. He fell.

Amadis went to attack others so bravely that anyone whom he hit directly had no need for a doctor, for he was dead. And so Barsinan's men recognized him for the amazing things he did, and they fled, and ran into each other as they did. Arban and his men continued to apply such pressure that Barsinan's company withdrew to the castle, leaving many men dead and injured in the streets where they had fought.

Amadis arrived at the gates of the castle and would have entered if they had not been closed. Then he turned back to where he had left Barsinan. Many townspeople were guarding him, and when Amadis arrived, he saw that he was still breathing and ordered him taken to the palace and guarded until the King came.

Now that fight was over, as ye have heard, with many men dead and others hiding inside the castle, Amadis looked at the bloody sword that he held in his hand and said:

"Oh, sword, on a good day was born the knight who has had you. And truly, ye have been used as ye should, and being the best in the world, the best man in the world shall possess you again."

Then he ordered himself disarmed and went to the Queen, and ordered Arban to rest in bed, who greatly needed it, so severe were his injuries.

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