Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chapter 46

How Gandalin and Durin trailed Amadis to bring him the arms he had left behind, and how they found him, and how he fought with a knight and defeated him.

[A suit of jousting armor on display at Segovia Castle. Photo by Sue Burke.] 

Gandalin remained in the hermitage with the others as ye heard, and when he saw Amadis leave, he said as he wept fiercely:

"I shall not remain here, instead I shall follow him even though he prohibited it, for I must bring him his arms."

And Durin told him:

"I wish to accompany you this night, and it would give me much pleasure if we found him returned to better judgement."

Then, mounting their horses, they said goodbye to Ysandro and took the road Amadis had taken. Ysandro went to his castle and fell on his bed, full of sorrow. Gandalin and Durin entered the forest and rode everywhere, and luck guided them to where Amadis was. His horse neighed when it heard the other horses, so they knew he was there. They went slowly through the brush so he would not hear them, for they did not dare to be seen by him, and when they were close, they dismounted.

Gandalin went stealthily on and came to the spring and saw that Amadis was sleeping on the grass. He took Amadis's horse and returned with it to where Durin was waiting, and they took the bridles off all the horses and let them graze and eat green shoots. They remained quiet, and soon Amadis awoke. His sleep had not been restful and his heart shook. He stood and saw that the moon was setting and a good part of the night remained, and the forest was still.

He sat again and said:

"Oh, fickle and rootless fate! Why didst thou place me at such height among all knights if so easily thou wouldst make me fall? Now I see well that thou canst cause more harm in one hour than the all good thou couldst do in a thousand years, for if thou gavest me delights and pleasures in the past, thou hast cruelly stolen them. Thou hast left me in greater bitterness than death. And since thou wert pleased to do so, thou shouldst have balanced one with the other, for thou well knowest that if in the past thou didst give me some ease and rest, it was mixed with great anguish and concern. Yet with the cruelty that thou dost now torment me, thou hast not even given me any hope where my troubled life might find refuge in some little corner.

"But thou hast fulfilled the job thou wert given, which runs contrary to mankind's mortal expectations, for we believe true and durable those fleeting honors, pomp, and vain glories that thou givest us. We hold them tight and forget that in addition to the torments our bodies endure to obtain them, at the end of our lives our souls are put in great danger and their salvation in doubt. But if, with the clear vision that our Lord on high gave us, though obscured by our passions and affections, we tried to see thy changes, and we would realize it is better to have adversity than prosperity, because prosperity is agreeable to our characters and appetites, and by sustaining ourselves with those sweet delights and expecting them in our future, in the end we fall into bitterness and depths without repair. Adversary is the opposite, not to reason but to desire, and if we cast aside greedy desires, we will be raised from the depths to the heights in perpetual glory.

"What shall I do? Neither my judgement nor my weak strength are enough to resist such grave temptation, for if the world were mine and thou wert to take it from me, leaving only the will of my lady, that would be enough to maintain me in high good fortune. But without her, I cannot maintain my own life.

"I declare that thy cruelty to me is beyond compare. For every moment and hour that death does not take me, I beg thee to repay me, for I have been such a loyal servant of thine. If it is granted to thee to take my life and end these torments, take it, having pity for what thou knowest that I suffer by living."

And having said that, he fell quiet and spent a time prostate and weeping, unaware of himself, then he said:

"Oh, my lady Oriana! Ye have brought me death by the refusal ye have done me, and I may not refuse your orders, and by keeping them I do not keep my life. Instead I receive this senseless death, which I ache to receive, for with it your will shall be satisfied, and while I have life, whatever be your pleasure, I would exchange it a thousand times for death.

"If your anger had had a worthy cause, I would bear the punishment, and ye, my lady, might rest easy and live lightly because your ire had been justly executed, and wherever my soul might go, it would find great rest in your pleasure. But as I am without blame and ye know the cruelty ye do to me is more through passion than reason, from now during what remains of my life and then in the next life, I shall weep and wail the sorrow and great pain that will befall you because of me and even more for having no remedy, when my life is over."

Then he said this:

"Oh, King Perion of Gaul, my father and my lord, not knowing the cause of my death, with what little reason shall ye mourn! Instead, in keeping with your great worth and esteemed sons, ye must take consolation, because as I was obligated to emulate your great deeds, now abhorred and desperate, as a miserable knight who cannot resist the hard blows of fortune, I shall take death as my consolation and remedy. If ye knew why, I am sure ye would not blame me, but may it please God that ye do not know, for your sorrow cannot remedy mine and instead, I would regret it and my sorrow would grow ever larger."

Having said this, he was quiet for a little while, but then, with great weeping and groaning, he said:

"Oh, good and loyal knight, my foster father Gandales! I bear great sorrow for you because my misfortunes have not let me reward you with anything as great as what I received from you, because you, my good foster father, took me from the sea when I was as small, born that very night. Ye gave me life and raised me, and if during my earliest days I grew with you and in my final days I should die with you, my spirit would depart this world with comfort. But since I cannot do that, I shall always love you dearly."

And he also spoke thusly of his loyal friend Angriote d'Estravaus, King Arban of North Wales, Guilan the Pensive, and his other great friends, and finally he said:

"Oh, Mabilia, my cousin and lady, and ye, good Damsel of Denmark! Where has your help and aide tarried so long that ye have let me be killed? Truly, my good friends, I would not tarry to help you if ye needed my aid. Now I clearly see, since ye have deserted me, that the whole world is against me and everyone has a stake in my death."

And he was quiet and said no more, groaning deeply, and Gandalin and Durin, who heard him, felt great sorrow but did not dare to come before him.

While this was happening, a knight passed along a nearby road singing, and when he had come near Amadis, he began to say:

"Love, love, I have much to thank you for, for the good that ye have brought me and the great height ye have raised me to above all other knights, always taking me from good to better. Ye have made me love the very beautiful Queen Sardamira, and I believe that, surprisingly, I have won her heart with the honor I shall carry from this land. And now, ye have given me greater good fortune and made me love the daughter of the best king in the world. She is the beautiful Oriana, who has no equal in this world. Love, ye have made me love her and ye have given me the strength to serve her."

After he said this, he went beneath a large tree that was next to the road, where he wished to wait until morning. But something else happened to him, because Gandalin said to Durin:

"Stay here. I want to go and see what Amadis intends to do."

He went to Amadis and found that he had already gotten up and was looking for his horse, which he could not find. When he saw Gandalin, he said:

"What man art thou, and why art thou here? Please tell me."

"My lord," he said, "I am Gandalin, and I wish to bring you your horse."

Amadis said:

"Who told thee to come here against my prohibition? Know that thou hast done me a great wrong. Go, give me my horse and go on thy way, and do not remain here any longer. If not, thou shalt make me kill thee and me."

"My lord," Gandalin said, "by God, stop that and tell me if ye heard the madness that a knight over there just said."

He said this to raise some anger in him and make him forget his grief. Amadis told him:

"I did hear what he said, which is why I want my horse, so I can leave here, for I have been here too long."

"What?" Gandalin said. "You will not do anything to that knight?"

"And what ought I to do?" Amadis said.

"You should fight him," Gandalin said, "and make him pay for his madness."

Amadis said:

"Thou art mad to say this. Thou knowest that I have no mind nor heart or strength, that all was lost when I lost the favor of my lady, because everything came from her and not from me. And since she has taken all this, thou knowest that I am no better for fighting than a dead knight, and in all Great Britain, there is no knight so miserable and weak that he could not easily kill me. So if he were to fight me, I tell thee that I am the most defeated and hopeless knight in the world."

Gandalin told him:

"My lord, it greatly troubles me that your heart and skill has failed at this time, and by God, speak softly, for Durin is over there, and he heard your laments and everything the knight said."

"What?" Amadis said. "Durin is here?"

"Yes," he said, "we came here together, and I think he came here to see what ye would do because he wants to find out and tell whoever sent him."

Amadis said:

"What thou hast told me gives me sorrow."

But knowing that Durin was there, his heart and strength rose, and he said:

"Now give me the horse and take me to the knight."

Gandalin brought him the horse and his arms, and he mounted and took up his weapons. Gandalin went to show him the knight, and soon they saw him beneath a tree, where he held his horse's reins. Amadis came closer and told him:

"Knight, ye who is resting, it is time ye got up so we can see if ye know how to keep that love in you that ye have praised."

The knight got up and said:

"Who art thou to challenge me thus? Now thou shalt see how I keep my love, if thou wishest to fight, for I shall put fear into thee and all those who are bereft of love."

"Now we shall see," Amadis said, "for I am among those bereft by it, and I alone shall never trust it because for all the great service I did it, it gave me a poor reward that I did not deserve. I shall say more to you, sir knight in love: I found seven times more lies than truth in love. Now come and prove yourself, and we shall see if it wins more with you than it lost with me."

And as Amadis said this, he became irate, as one whom his lady had abandoned without the slightest reason. The knight mounted and took up his arms, and he said:

"Ye, knight, desperado of love and despising everything worthwhile that ye can speak ill of, if love has deserted you, it did so wisely, for someone like yourself does not deserve to accompany and serve it, and when it saw that ye were not worthy, it fled from you. Go away now, and do not stay here any longer, for merely seeing you makes me very angry, and any weapon I would use against you I would disdain because of that."

And he tried to leave. Amadis told him:

"Knight, either ye do not wish to defend love with more than words, or ye are a coward."

"Why knight," he said, "I was leaving because I thought thee unworthy and thou thinkest that it was out of fear. Thou hast sought thy own injury. Now be on guard, if thou canst."

Then they charged their horses as fast and as hard as they could, and their lances struck each others' shields, which yielded, and the lances were stopped by their coats of mail, which were very strong. The knight in love fell directly to the ground, but while he fell he kept the reins in his hand and immediately remounted as one who was brave and quick.

Amadis told him:

"If ye cannot defend love better with a sword than a lance, the reward ye have won is poorly used."

The knight made no reply at all, but drew his sword angrily and attacked. Amadis, who had his sword in his hand, came toward him and they both fought. The knight struck him in the boss of his shield, so the blow was deflected and his sword sunk a palm deep into the shield. When he tried to pull it out, he could not.

Amadis grasped his sword tight, rose up in his stirrups, and gave him a great blow on the top of his helmet, which cut everything it met including the hood of his chain mail down to the inner helmet, and the sword continued down and hit the neck of the horse and cut halfway through. Both man and beast fell to the ground, and the horse died immediately, and the knight was so stunned that he did not know where he was.

Amadis, who saw him lying still, waited a while to see if he would come to, for he thought he might be dead, and when he saw him move, he said:

"Knight, whatever love has won with you and you with it, ye can have it, for I wish to leave."

And he left, and called Gandalin, and saw that Durin was with him and had seen everything, and told him:

"My friend Durin, there is no equal to my abandonment, and my sorrow and solitude is beyond bearing, and I wish to die. May it please God that it comes soon. Death shall be a comfort from the cruel and living pain that torments me. Now go with good fortune and give my regards to Mabilia, my good cousin, and to the good Damsel of Denmark, thy sister, and tell them to mourn me, for I am going to die of the greatest injustice that ever killed any knight in the world. Tell them of the great sorrow I have in my heart for them, for they loved me so much and did so much for me but I gave them nothing in return."

He said this weeping so hard it was amazing. And Durin stood before him weeping, thus he could not respond. Amadis embraced him and commended him to God, and Durin kissed the hem of his chain mail and said goodbye.

Then it seemed that dawn was approaching, and Amadis said to Gandalin:

"If thou wishest to come with me, do not stop me in anything I wish to say or do. If not, go at once."

Gandalin answered that he agreed to do so. Amadis gave him his arms and told him to take the sword from the shield and give it back to the knight, and to leave following him.

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