Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chapter 42 [fourth and final part]

[Moral of the story: kings who are greedy and sinful will be dealt cruel justice.]

[Isabel and Fernando, the Catholic sovereigns of Spain, who defeated the Moors in 1492.] 


Take heed, ye who are greedy and who have been given great reigns to govern by God, ye who have not merely forgotten to give Him thanks for placing you in a high position but, against His commands and losing all proper fear of Him, are not content with the estates that ye received from your predecessors. Instead, with deaths, fires, and thefts, ye wish to usurp and acquire the possessions of others who by right of law truly own them. Ye will not consider turning your ire and greed against the infidels, where it could be well employed, and will not take part in the great victory that our Catholic sovereigns have enjoyed in this world and will enjoy in the next, which they won by serving God laboriously.

Remember that great estates and riches do not satisfy greedy and base appetites, but instead often inflame them.

And ye of lower ranks whom Fortune has given much power and position and placed in these princes' councils to guide them the same way that a rudder guides and governs a great ship, provide them with loyal counsel and esteem, for in doing so ye serve God and the general good. Although in this world ye may not satisfy your wishes, ye shall in the next one, which is eternal. If on the contrary ye let yourself be guided by your passions and your avarice, ye shall be ruined with much pain and anguish to your souls. Ye rightly ought to believe that everything depends on you, because princes, due either to their tender age or their enemies, can become confused or forget their good sense and place themselves at sword-point, believing they have done the right thing. Their errors can be forgiven, especially if they were committed under your advice.

But ye who are free men, if ye see the errors before your eyes and esteem the favor of mortal men more than the ire of the Lord most high, not only do ye lose restraint and fail to avoid such great error, but because ye hope to gain power and advantage, ye forget your spirit and embrace the things of this world. Ye do not remember how many councilors of men in high places received cruel death from those same men as a result of the bad advice they gave them, because although erroneous things can for a time be most gratifying to base desire, when the dark cloud dissipates and vision becomes cleared, those things are abhorred, along with those who advised to do them.

One and all of ye take as a warning this King whose rebellious greed moved his heart to do such great treason that he killed his brother, who was his King and natural lord, while seated on his throne, splitting his head and his crown into two. He took the kingdom by force and achieved great glory, or so it seemed to him, believing that mutable Fortune lay beneath his feet.

But what fruit came from such flowers? Truly, only one thing. He did not offer his full recognition and penance to the Lord of the world, who, withstanding many injuries, would have mercifully pardoned him from cruel vengeance. And because Abiseos did not do so, God permitted Amadis to arrive as a crude executioner, killing him and his sons and avenging the great treason that had been done to that noble King. And although the hearts of Abiseos and his sons ached during the perilous battle as they saw their weapons broken, their flesh cut to pieces, and in end they suffered cruel death, do not believe that with that they had paid and purged their guilt. Instead their souls, with their shared sins and errors but with little understanding of He who had created them, were given to be perpetually and continuously punished in the burning flames of cruel Hell.

So let us leave aside those fleeting things that many others through great labor have wrongly won and then lost with terrible pain, paying for the sins they committed to get them, for we shall not do likewise, and instead we shall acquire the things that promise eternal glory.


The story now returns to the events underway. Amadis and Agrajes had won the battle in which Abiseos and his two courageous sons died, as ye have heard, and the bodies were removed from the field. But Amadis, despite his injuries, did not wish to disarm because he feared someone might intervene to keep Briolanja from recovering her kingdom.

Soon there arrived a great and powerful lord of the realm named Goman with fully one hundred men from his family and court, who happened to be there at that time. He explained to Amadis that for too long the kingdom had been helplessly subjected to a ruler who, with great treachery, had killed their natural lord. But now that God had given them a remedy, he did not fear nor expect anything other than the loyalty and vassalage of all people to their lady Briolanja.

With this, Amadis and all the company went to the royal palaces, where within a week everyone in the realm had come with joy and happiness in their souls to swear their obedience to Queen Briolanja. Amadis lay in bed, and the beautiful Queen never left his side except to sleep, for she loved him more than she loved herself. Agrajes, who was very dangerously injured, was put under the care of a man who know much of such things and kept him in his own home so that no one would talk to him, for the wound was in his throat, and such a precaution was necessary.

All the rest that this first book has told about the growing love between Amadis and this beautiful Queen was added to the story, as ye have already heard, and so, because it is superfluous and vain, it will not be recounted here, since it ought to be ignored. Its falsehoods would contradict and damage that which this great story shall tell you farther on and more correctly.

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