Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chapter 40 [first part]

How the battle came to pass that Amadis had promised the beautiful girl Briolanja in Grovenesa's castle that he would fight against Abiseos and his two sons to avenge the death of her father the King .

[Edmund Leighton's 1900 painting God Speed!] 

This story has told you that when Amadis was in Grovenesa's castle, he had promised the beautiful child Briolanja to avenge the death of her father the King by returning within a year, accompanied by two knights, to do battle with Abiseos and his two sons. When he had left the beautiful girl, she had given him sword to bear for her love, which he needed because he had broken his own defending himself from knights who had wrongly tried to kill him in that castle. The beautiful girl had mercifully ordered lions released to attack those knights, for she believed that such a good knight as Amadis should not die so wrongly, and thus, with those lions, God had saved him from those knights.

Amadis had broken Briolanja's sword in the castle of the lady whom Angriote d'Estravaus loved when he was fighting a knight named Gasinan, but he had ordered his squire, Gandalin, to keep the three pieces of that sword. Now ye shall be told how that battle came to pass, and of the great danger that befell Amadis because of that broken sword, not due to himself but instead to his dwarf, Ardian, who in his ignorance erroneously believed that his lord Amadis truly loved that beautiful girl Briolanja because Ardian had been present when Amadis had offered to be her knight and undertake the battle for her.

Now know that Amadis, while he was in the court of King Lisuarte, often saw his lady, the very beautiful Oriana, who was the beginning and the end of all his desires. He remembered that he had to fight Briolanja's battle and saw that the date was approaching. So that he would not fail to keep his word, he came to his lady with great affection to ask her permission, although leaving her presence would ache like tearing his heart from his flesh. He told her what had happened in that castle and the promise he had made to avenge the girl Briolanja and restore her to her kingdom, which had been taken from her by great treachery.

Oriana, with tears and sorrow in her heart as if she foresaw the great misfortune that would come between them because of it, considered how wrong it would be for him not go, and she granted permission. Amadis also got the same permission from the Queen, so it would seem as if he were going by her orders.

Early the next morning, with his brother Sir Galaor and his cousin Agrajes, armed and on horseback, they got on the road. When they had gone a half a league, Amadis asked Gandalin if he had brought the three pieces of the sword that the beautiful girl had given him. Gandalin said no, so Amadis ordered him to go back for them. The dwarf said that he would get them, since he carried nothing that would slow him down.

This was when, not due to any fault of Amadis and his lady Oriana or of his dwarf, who acted  out of ignorance, they were both brought to the point of death by cruel Fortune, who pardons no one and who wished to show them the bitter medicine hidden inside the sweetness of their great love, as ye shall now hear.

The dwarf arrived at Amadis's residence, took the pieces of the sword and put them in the pockets of his tabard, then rode past the palace of the Queen. He heard himself being called from its windows, and he turned and saw Oriana and Mabilia. They asked him why he had not left with his lord.

"I left with him," he said, "but I had to return for something which I now bring him."

"And what is that?" Oriana asked.

He showed her, and she said:

"Why does thy lord want a broken sword?"

"Why?" he said. "Because he values it more that two best whole ones that ye could give him, due to she who gave it to him."

"And who is that?" she said.

"The very one for whom he goes to do battle," the dwarf said, "and although ye are the daughter of the best king of the world and with all your beauty, ye would rather possess that which that girl has won instead of all the land that your father has."

"And what valuable thing is it that she won?" she said. "By chance did she win thy lord?"

"Yes," he said. "She has his full heart, and he became her knight to serve her."

And he whipped his horse and, as fast as he could, he went back to his lord, without care or culpability in his mind.

When Oriana heard this, she remembered the great affection that Amadis had shown when he asked permission to go, and she gave complete credence to what the dwarf had said. Her color paled like death and her heart burned with anger, and she began to say bitter words against him, though he thought of himself as in only her service. She wrung her hands together and closed off her heart so that not one tear could fall from her eyes, and by remaining inside her, they made her so cruel and lastingly harsh that she could have been justly compared to the fearsome Medea when she saw her beloved husband married to another woman, having discarded her.

Oriana would not take the good advice of the very wise Mabilia, which took the course of reason and truth, nor that of the Damsel of Denmark. She continued the way that women of impassioned minds are generally accustomed to take, and she fell into such error that it would  would require the mercy the Lord on High to repair.

The dwarf traveled down the road and he soon reached Amadis and his companions, who had ridden slowly until his return. Then they hurried a little more, but neither Amadis asked the dwarf anything about what had happened, nor did the dwarf tell him, only showed him the pieces of the sword.

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