Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chapter 45

How Durin left with Oriana's letter to Amadis, and when Amadis saw it, he abandoned everything he had undertaken and in desperation left secretly for the forest.

[A page depicted on the pedestal of the monument to Christopher Columbus in the Plaza de Colón in Madrid. Photo by Sue Burke.] 

Durin complied with the order of Oriana and immediately left on a very fast horse, and within ten days he had arrived in Sobradisa, where the beautiful Queen Briolanja was. When he had arrived in her presence, she appeared to be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen after Oriana. He learned from her how Amadis and his brothers and cousin Agrajes had left two days earlier, and, following their trail, he rode so hard that he arrived at Firm Island at the same time that Amadis passed through the arch of the loyal lovers, and he saw how the copper image did more for him than it had for all others.

However, when Amadis came out because of the news he had learned about his brothers, and Durin saw him with Gandalin, he did not give him the letter, nor afterward, even after Amadis had entered the protected chamber and everyone on the island had received him as their lord. He did this on the advice of Gandalin, who knew it was a letter from Oriana and feared what might be in it, whether good or bad, and that before his lord received title to the island, he might become agitated or swoon. He was sure that in addition, Amadis would abandon everything he had in the world to comply with whatever she might order.

But after things had become calm, Amadis had Durin called to ask him about the news from the court of King Lisuarte. When he arrived, Amadis took him to stroll through an extremely beautiful garden, and, distancing himself from his brothers, said that if Durin had come from the court of King Lisuarte, he should tell him any news that he knew.

In response, Durin said:

"My lord, I left the court in the same situation as it was when ye left, but I come to you with a message from my lady Oriana, and this letter that ye see is the reason I have come."

Amadis took the letter, and although his heart felt great joy, he tried to hide it so that Durin would know nothing about his secret. But his strength and judgement could not hide his sadness when he read the potent and fearful words that came in the letter, and he clearly showed that he felt as if cruel death had come, with so many tears and sighs that it seemed as if his heart had been rent to pieces. He became so faint and insensible that it seemed that his soul had just been taken from his flesh.

Durin had suspected nothing, but after he saw him weeping so hard, he cursed himself and his fate and death itself for not having overcome him before he had arrived.

Amadis, who could not remain standing, sat on the grass that was there and picked up the letter that had fallen from his hands, and when he saw the writing on the envelope that said, "I am the damsel whose heart has been wounded at sword-point, and ye are the one who attacked me," his sorrow was so beyond measure that for a time he seemed dead. Durin was very frightened and wanted to call his brothers, but because that would reveal Amadis's secret, he feared it would make him irate.

When Amadis had recovered, he said with great grief:

"My Lord God, why does it please you to give me death without deserving it?"

And then he said:

"Oh, loyalty, what a foul prize ye give to he who has never failed you. Ye made my lady fail me, yet ye know that I would rather suffer death a thousand times than fail to follow her orders."

He picked up the letter again and said:

"Ye are the cause of my sorrowful end, and so that death may overcome me sooner, ye shall come with me."

He put it in the breast of his tunic, and he told Durin:

"Did she order thee to tell me anything else?"

"No," he said.

"Then shalt thou carry back my reply?" Amadis said.

"No, my lord," he said. "I am prohibited to take it."

"And Mabilia or thy sister, did they tell thee anything to say to me?"

"They did not know that I was coming," Durin said. "My lady's orders were a secret from them."

"Oh, Holy Mary help me!" Amadis said. "Now I see that my sad fate is without remedy."

Then he went to a stream that flowed from a spring and washed his face and eyes, and told Durin to get Gandalin and to come back with him alone. He did so, and when they returned, they found him as if dead, and he spent a long time lost in thought. When he recovered, he told them to call Ysanjo, the governor, and when he came, he said:

"I want ye to promise me as a loyal knight that ye shall say nothing to my brothers about what ye shall now see until after they have heard Mass."

He promised, as did the two squires, and then he ordered Ysanjo to have the gate to the castle opened secretly, and Gandalin to bring his arms and horse outside it without anyone knowing.

They did so, and he remained thinking about his dream the night before:

He somehow found himself armed and on his horse on a knoll covered with trees, and around him many people were joyful. A man arrived among them who told him:

"My lord, eat what I bring in this box."

And he gave it to him to eat, and it seemed to taste like the bitterest thing that could be found. It made him feel very faint and uncomfortable, and he dropped the reins of his horse, which went where it wished. It seemed that the people who had been joyous had become so sad that he felt sorrow over it, but the horse fled far from them and entered some trees.

There he saw a place formed by some stones surrounded by water. He dismounted and removed his armor, and he went there with hopes to rest. An old man arrived dressed as a friar, took him by the hand, came close and, showing pity, said some words to him in a language he could not understand.

At that he had awoken. And now it seemed that however in vain he had held that dream before, it had turned out to be true. After he had thought about this for a while, he took Durin with him, and, hiding his face from his brothers and from everyone else so that they would not see his emotions, he went to the gate of the castle, where he found the sons of Ysanjo. They had the gate open, and Ysanjo was outside. Amadis told him:

"Come with me. Have your sons stay behind and tell them to say nothing of this."

Then they both went to the hermitage that was at the foot of a rocky peak, and Gandalin and Durin went with him. Amadis was sighing and groaning with such anguish and grief that those who saw him were sorrowful at the sight. He asked for his armor, he put it on, and he asked Ysanjo to what saint the church belonged. He said the Virgin Mary, and that miracles happened there often. Amadis went inside and knelt on the floor, weeping, and said:

"My Lady Virgin Mary, consolation and aid for those in tribulation, to You, my Lady, I commend myself. Intercede for me with your glorious Son so that He has mercy on me. And if Your will is that my body have no remedy, have mercy on my soul in my final hours, for I have no hope but death."

Then he called Ysanjo and told him:

"I want ye to promise me as a loyal knight to do what I shall tell you here."

Turning to Gandalin, he took him in his arms and sobbed, and held him a while unable to speak. Finally he said:

"My good friend Gandalin, I and thou were raised drinking the same milk, and we gave been together all our lives. I was never in travail or danger without thou taking part. Thy father took me from the sea as small as if I had been borne that night, and thy father and mother raised me well and with much love. And thou, my loyal friend, hast never thought to do anything but serve me. I had hoped that God would give me some honor that I could use to give thee what thou dost deserve. But now this great tragedy has befallen me which I hold to be more cruel than death itself, and thus we must part. I have nothing to leave thee except this island, and I order Ysanjo and all the others for the homage they have done me, that when they learn of my death, they take thee as their lord. And although this realm shall be thine, I order that thy father and mothers may enjoy it in their days and after that it shall be freely thine. This is for having raised me, for my fate has not left me time to fulfill all that they deserve and that I wish I could give."

Then he told Ysanjo to use some of the income he had collected from the island to erect a monastery there in honor of the Virgin Mary where thirty friars could live, and to provide them funds to sustain themselves.

Gandalin told him:

"My lord, ye never had to fear that I would leave you, and I shall not now for any reason. If ye were to die, I do not wish to live, and after your death may God never give me honor nor realms, so what ye wish to give me, instead give to one of your brothers, for I shall not take it nor do I deserve it."

"Be quiet, by God!" Amadis said. "Do not say such madness nor give me sorrow, for thou never hast before, and do as I wish, for my brothers are so blessed and of such great prowess at arms that they can easily win great lands and realms for themselves and even enough to give some to others."

Then he said:

"Oh, Ysanjo! My good friend, I am very sorry to not have time to give you the honors that ye deserve, but I leave you among those who shall do so for me."

Ysanjo, weeping, told him:

"My lord, I ask ye to take me with you, and I shall suffer what ye do, and I ask this in payment of what ye would give me."

"My friend," Amadis said, "I know that ye would do so, but my suffering can find no help except in God, and I want Him to guide me by His mercy with no one to accompany me."

And he said to Gandalin:

"My friend, if thou wishest to be a knight, become one now with my arms, which thou hast cared for so well that they ought to be thine, and which I shall have little need of. If not, go with my brother Sir Galaor, and have Ysanjo tell him on my behalf to take thee, and serve him and protect him in my place. Know that I always loved him above all others in my family. My heart is heavy for him above all others, as it should because he is the best and was always very humble with me, which now gives me double sadness. Tell him that I commend my dwarf Ardian to him, and he should take him with him and never forsake him, and tell the dwarf to live with him and serve him."

When they heard this, they felt great grief, but they made no response to avoid angering him. Amadis embraced them saying:

"I commend you to God, for I never expect to see you again."

He forbid them to follow him in any way, spurred his horse before they could remind him to take his helmet or shield or lance, and quickly entered a thickly forested mountain, going wherever the horse wished to take him. Thus he rode until past midnight lost to his surroundings until the horse found a little ravine of water that came from a spring, and, thirsty, followed the stream until it could drink from the spring, letting branches of trees strike Amadis in the face. That brought him back to his senses and he looked around but saw nothing except thick underbrush, and he was happy, believing he was far away and hidden.

While his horse drank, he dismounted. Then he tied it to a tree, and sat on the grass to mourn, but as he wept, his head sank lower and lower, and so he fell asleep.

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