Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chapter 51 [second half]

[How Beltenebros's song came to be sung in the court of King Lisuarte, and what was understood of it there.]

[An illustration of a queen and musicians from De mulieribus claris, written by Giovanni Boccaccio in 1374, from a French version published in 1405.] 

After Mass was said, they carried the lady to Amadis's chamber and laid her in an exceptionally rich bed they had made there. She was weeping and wringing her hands over the great sorrow that she suffered. Beltenebros, when he saw her like that, asked the damsels, who had picked up their instruments to give her solace, what had happened and why she seemed so anguished.

They told him:

"Friend, this lady is very rich and of great nobility. She is beautiful, although now her illness has diminished that. Her anguish, although it is not told to others, we shall tell you if ye keep it secret. Know that her torment is over a very great love, and she is going to look for her lover in the court of King Lisuarte. May God help her find him there so that some of her suffering may be lessened."

When he heard them speak of the court of King Lisuarte and how the lady was dying of love like him, tears came to his eyes and he told them:

"I ask you, my ladies, to tell me the name of the man she loves."

"That knight whom we told you of is not of this land," they said, "and he is one of the best knights in the world, except for two who are very esteemed."

"Now I ask you," he said, "by the faith that ye owe to God, that ye tell me his name and these two that you speak of."

"We shall only if ye tell us if ye are a knight, which ye fully seem to be, and what your name is."

"I shall do so," he said, "to know that which I ask you."

"In the name of God," they said. "Now know that the knight that the lady loves is named Sir Florestan, brother of the good knight Amadis of Gaul and of Sir Galaor, and he is the son of King Perion of Gaul and the Countess of Selandia."

"May God be praised! Now I know that ye tell me the truth about his estate and skill, and I believe that ye could not tell all of how good he is, for he is better than anything ye could say."

"What?" they said. "Do you know him?"

"I saw him not long ago," he said, "in the court of Briolanja, and I saw the battle that Amadis and his cousin Agrajes fought with Abiseos and his sons, and I saw how after it was over, Florestan arrived, and he seemed to me to be very even tempered. I have heard his brother, Sir Galaor, speak often about his great skill at arms, for he had fought with him."

"That battle is why Florestan left," the damsels said, "because during it they found out they were brothers."

"What?" he said. "Is this the lady of the island where they had fought each other?"

"She is," they said.

"I believe her name is Corisanda," he said.

"That is true," they said.

"Now I feel less sorry for her illness," he said, "for I know well that he is so moderate and of such good will that he will always do what she orders."

"Now tell us who ye are," the damsels said.

"My good ladies," he said, "I am a knight, but I was more involved than I am now in the vain things of this world, which I am paying for, and my name is Beltenebros."

"May God have mercy on you," they said. "Now place yourself in His hands, and we must go to console our lady with these musical instruments."

And so they did, and entered her room and having played and sung a while, they told her everything that Beltenebros had heard about Sir Florestan.

"Oh," she said, "call him to me at once, for he must be a fine man since he saw Sir Florestan and met him."

And one of the damsels brought Beltenebros to her, and the lady told him:

"These damsels tell me that ye saw Sir Florestan and ye love him. I ask you, by the faith that ye owe God, to tell me what ye know about him."

He told her all that he had told to the damsels, and that he knew that he and his brothers and his cousin Agrajes had gone to Firm Island, and after that he did not see them again.

"Now tell me," Corisanda said, "if ye please, whether ye have some kinship with him, because to me ye seem to love him."

"My lady," he said, "I love him greatly for his valor and because his father made me a knight, for which I am much obliged to him and his sons. I am very sad over some news about Amadis that I heard before I arrived here."

"And what is this?" she said.

"When I was coming to this place," he said, "I saw a damsel in a forest next to the road I was traveling on, and she sang a song very pleasurable to hear. I asked her who had written it."

" 'It was composed," she said, "by a knight whom God ought to give more happiness than He had at the time, for according to its words, he had received a great affront in love and he was suffering deeply for it.'

"I stayed two days with the damsel until I had learned it, and she told me that Amadis had taught it to her weeping and mourning."

"I beg you," she said, "teach this song that ye speak of to my damsels so that they can play it on their instruments and sing it."

"It would please me to do it," he said, "for your love and for he whom ye most love, although now is not the time for me to sing or do things that are happy or pleasurable."

Then he went with the damsels to the chapel and taught them the song, and he had a very rare voice and his great sadness made it more sweet and agreeable. The damsels learned the song well and sang it to their lady, who took great pleasure in hearing it.

Corisanda was there for four days, and on the fifth she bid farewell to the hermit and Beltenebros, and asked him if he would be there for a long time.

"My lady," he said, "until I die."

Then they got on their ship and continued their voyage to London, where they hoped to hear news there sooner than anywhere else about Sir Florestan. She was well received by the King and Queen and all others, who knew that she was a lady of high estate, and they had her stay in the palace. The Queen asked why she had come, and said she would be willing to help, along with the King, if there was anything they could do.

"My lady," Corisanda said, "I am in your debt, but my quest is to find Sir Florestan, and because news from everywhere comes to your court, I want to be here for some time until I learn something about him."

The Queen said:

"My good friend, you can remain here as long as ye please, but, until now nothing is known about him except that he has left in search of Amadis, his brother, of whom it is not known why he has disappeared."

She told her how Sir Guilan had brought her Amadis's arms but had not learned anything about him. When Corisanda heard this, she began to weep fiercely, saying:

"Oh, God, my Lord, what will become of my beloved lord Sir Florestan, for the way he loves his brother, he may well also be lost if he does not find him, and I shall never see him again."

The Queen consoled her and regretted having given her that news. Oriana, who was next to her mother listening to the lady tell how she loved Sir Florestan, brother of Amadis, felt the desire to honor her, and accompanied her to her room, where she learned everything about her situation.

Speaking with her about many things, Corisanda told her and Mabilia how she was at Poor Rock and found a knight doing penance who taught her damsels a song that Amadis had composed about himself in his hour of great anguish, and he must have suffered deeply judging by the words of the song.

Mabilia told her:

"My good friend and lady, I ask you to please have your damsels to sing it for us, for I would have great pleasure to hear it because it was written by a knight who is my cousin."

"I shall do this willingly," she said, "for my heart shall be lifted to hear it because of the kinship that my lord Sir Florestan has with him."

Then the damsels came and played it and sang very sweetly, in keeping with its beauty, but to the pain of whoever heard it. Oriana thought about these words and saw well that due to her error, Amadis complained very rightly, and a great pain came to her heart so that she could not remain there and went to her room, ashamed of the many tears that had come to her eyes.

Mabilia said to Corisanda:

"My friend, ye have seen how Oriana is suffering, and she was here to give you pleasure and honor longer than she should have. I want to go to give her some remedy, and I beg you to tell me who the man is on Poor Rock who taught this song to your damsels, and if he has any news about Amadis."

She told how she had found him and what he said, and that she had never seen a suffering and weak man so handsome and so elegant in his poverty, and that she had never seen such a young man who was so well educated. Mabilia immediately thought that he was Amadis, who in his great desperation had gone to a place hard to get to and distant from everyone in the world.

She went to Oriana, who was in her room lost in thought and sobbing, and arrived laughing and in a good mood, and told her:

"My lady, by asking a man sometimes learns more than expected. Know that, according to what I have learned from Corisanda, the suffering knight who is called Beltenebros and who is at Poor Rock logically ought to be Amadis, who has gone there to be away from everyone in the world, and wished to fulfill your order not to appear before you or anyone else. Therefore be happy and take consolation, for my heart tells me that without out a doubt it is him."

Oriana raised her hands and said:

"Oh, Lord of the world, my it please You that this be true! My good friend, tell me what to do, for I am in such a state that I have no good judgement nor wisdom, and, by God, have mercy on me, an unfortunate wretch who by my madness and thoughtless ire have lost all my goods and pleasures."

Mabilia felt great sorrow for her, and tears came to her eyes. She turned her head so they would not be seen and told her:

"My lady, my advice is that we wait for your damsel, and if she does not find him, let me look, for I know how we learned about him and I am convinced that he is the one called Beltenebros."

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