Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chapter 58 [first part]

How Beltenebros stayed in Miraflores with his lady Oriana after the victory of the sword and the wreath, then left there for the battle set with King Cildadan; and what happened in it and the victory they won. 

[Illustration made in Paris in approximately 1410 for Jean Froissart's Chroniques, a history of the Hundred Years' War.] 

Beltenebros was with his lady in Miraflores for three days after winning the sword and the wreath of flowers, and on the fourth day he left at midnight alone with only his arms and horse. He had sent his squire Enil to a castle that was at the foot of a mountain near the site of the battle that belonged to an old knight named Abradan, from whom all knights errant received good service. That night Beltenebros passed close to King Lisuarte's army.

He traveled so fast that on the fifth day he arrived at the castle and found that Enil was already there, which greatly pleased him, and he was very well received by the knight. While he was there, two squires arrived, nephews of their host, who came from where the battle was going to be held, and they said that Cildadan and his knights had already disembarked. They were staying in tents at the seashore and unloading their arms and horses from the ships. The squires had seen Sir Grumedan and King Lisuarte's nephew Giontes arrive and arrange for a truce until the day of the battle, in which neither of the Kings could have more than one hundred knights, as had been agreed.

The host said:

"Nephews, how do these men seem, whom God has cursed?"

"Good uncle," they said, "do not speak thus, for they are strong and fearsome. We tell you that unless God miraculously favors the side of our lord the King, no one can outdo their power."

Tears came to the eyes of the host, who said:

"Oh all-powerful Lord, do not leave unaided the best and most just King in the world!"

"Good host," Beltenebros said, "do not be dismayed by fierce people, for often goodness and modesty defeat arrogant courage. And I beg you to go to the King and tell him that a knight named Beltenebros is in your house. If he tells me the day of the battle, I shall be there promptly."

When Abradan heard this, he felt joyful and said:

"Why, my lord, are ye the one who sent Sir Cuadragante to the court of my lord the King, and the one who killed the brave giant Famongomadan and his son when they held Leonoreta and her knights prisoner? Now I tell you that if I have done any service to knights errant, with this single prize I am satisfied by all of it, and I shall gladly do what ye order."

Then, taking his nephews with him, he went where they guided him and found that King Lisuarte and all his company had arrived a half league from their enemies, and that the battle would be the next day. He told the King the message that he carried, which made Lisuarte and all his men happy, and he said:

"Now we only need one more knight to fulfill the one hundred."

Sir Grumedan said:

"I would think, my lord, that ye are over the limit, for Beltenebros is worth five."

This weighed heavily on Sir Galaor and Florestan and Agrajes, who were not pleased by any honor given to Beltenebros, more for envy than for any other enmity, but they remained silent. Abradan, having learned what he had come for, said goodbye to the King, and returned to his guest and told him the pleasure and great joy with which the King and all his men had received his message, and how only one knight remained to fulfill the one hundred.

When Enil heard this, he took Beltenebros off to a doorway and, kneeling before him, said:

"Although I have not served you long, my lord, I dare to appeal to your great virtue and wish to ask a mercy of you, and I pray to God that ye grant it."

Beltenebros raised him up and said:

"Ask what thou wilt, and if I can do it, I shall."

Enil wished to kiss his hands, but Beltenebros would not let him, and Enil said:

"My lord, I ask that ye make me a knight and that ye beg the King to include me in the hundred knights, since he needs one more."

Beltenebros said:

"My friend Enil, do not let it enter thy heart to wish to attempt such a great act as this will be, with such danger. And I do not say this not to make thee a knight, only because it would be best to begin with other, smaller deeds."

"My good lord," Enil said, "I cannot refuse to face such danger, although death may overcome me, for to be in this battle would be the greatest honor that could happen to me, and if I leave it alive, I shall always have the honor and esteem of having been among those hundred knights, and to have been one of them. And if I were to die, may that death be welcome, for my memory shall be among those other esteemed knights who must die there."

A loving mercy came to Beltenebros's heart, and he said to himself, "Thou well belongst to the lineage of the esteemed and loyal Sir Gandales, my foster father." He answered:

"Then, if that pleases thee, so it shall be."

Then he went to their host and asked him to give arms and armor to his squire, for he wished to make him a knight. The host gave them gladly. Enil stood vigil over them that night in the chapel, and after Mass was said at dawn, Beltenebros made him a knight.

He immediately left for the battle, and his host and his nephews came with him and carried his weapons. When they arrived, they found the good King Lisuarte preparing his men to move at their enemy, who awaited them in a flat field. When he saw Beltenebros, both he and his men felt great courage, and Beltenebros told him:

"My lord, I come to fulfill my promise, and I bring a knight with me to fill the place of the one whom ye still lack."

The King received him with great joy and the knight, with whom he fulfilled the hundred. Then he had a line of his men march at the enemy, for there were not enough for a larger formation, but in front of the King, in the middle of the line, he put Beltenebros and his companion, and Sir Galaor and Florestan and Agrajes, and Gandalaz, foster-father of Sir Galaor, and his sons Bramandil and Gavus, whom Sir Galaor had already made a knight, and Nicoran of the Wrong Bridge, and Dragonis and Palomir, and Vinorante and Giontes, the King's nephew, and the esteemed Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and his brother Branfil, and Sir Guildan the Pensive.

These rode in front of the rest, together as ye hear, and in front of all of them rode the honorable and esteemed old Sir Grumedan, foster father of Queen Brisena, carrying the insignia of the King.

King Cildadan had his men very well arranged and in front of himself he had placed the giants, who were a very despicable people, and with them twenty knights of their lineage, who were very brave. And he ordered Madanfabul, the giant of the island of the Vermilion Tower, to wait on a small hill with the ten most esteemed knights that he had. And he ordered them not to move until the battle was underway and everyone was tired, and then, attacking bravely, to try to kill King Lisuarte or capture him and take him to their ships.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summary, Chapters 52 to 57

Beltenebros is rescued by the Damsel of Denmark, wins glory and esteem, and secretly joins Oriana at her castle. 

[The Castillo de Buen Amor near Salamanca, now a hotel and restaurant.] 

Chapter 52

The Damsel of Denmark goes to Scotland and searches unsuccessfully for Amadis. As she returns, her ship is blown by a storm to Poor Rock. There she meets Beltenebros, who has been so destroyed by grief that she does not recognize him, but finally a scar on his face tells her who he is. She gives him a letter from Oriana confessing her guilt. He immediately leaves with the Damsel for shore and, in a pleasant village, begins to recover. Enil, Gandales's nephew, becomes his squire, but Enil does not know that Beltenebros is Amadis.

Chapter 53

Galaor, Florestan, and Agrajes have searched for a year for Amadis, and having found nothing, they go to King Lisuarte's court in London to see if they can learn anything there, but what little news they find is bad. Oriana decides to go to rest at her castle, Miraflores, near London, for her sorrow over Amadis has made her quite ill.

At Miraflores, Gandalin tries to comfort her, and she has him make copies of the keys to the garden gates so that if Amadis arrives, she can help him enter surreptitiously over the garden wall.

Meanwhile, King Lisuarte has been challenged to a battle by King Cildadan of Ireland, and he begins to recruit one hundred knights to fight with him, including Galaor, Florestan, and Agrajes.

Chapter 54

Lisuarte receives a challenge for the war from the giants Cartadaque, Famongomadan and Madanfabul; and Sir Cuadragante; and the sorcerer Arcalaus: they will all for King Cildadan. But they offer to cancel the battle if he gives Oriana as a bride to Basagante, Famongomadan's son. The King refuses.

The Damsel of Denmark arrives at Miraflores Castle and gives Oriana a letter from Beltenebros. They arrange to send word to have him come to Miraflores.

Chapter 55

Beltenebros, who has recovered his health and strength, gets Oriana's orders and leaves for Miraflores, but on the route defeats Sir Cuadragante and sends him, injured, to King Lisuarte. Then he passes an encampment of Lisuarte's daughter, Leonoreta, and ten of the knights there challenge him to a joust. He defeats them and continues on his way.

But soon afterwards, while Beltenebros has paused at a spring, he sees Famongomadan pass with prisoners: Leonoreta and knights! Beltenebros challenges the giants and kills first Basagante and then Famongomadan and sends their corpses and the freed prisoners to King Lisuarte. Beltenebros's esteem grows in London.

Chapter 56

On his way to Miraflores, he pauses to ponder God and humility, and arrives under the cover of darkness and climbs to garden wall to be welcomed into Oriana's arms. He spends the next week there with her, out of their minds with pleasure.

Back in London, an elderly squire arrives with a magic sword and half-withered wreath of flowers. He tells the King that only a knight who truly loves his lady can remove the sword from its scabbard, which is made from dragon bones; and if a lady who truly loves her beloved puts on the wreath, all the flowers will be come fresh. The King agrees to have everyone in his court take the test. When Beltenebros hears this, he proposes that he and Oriana go there, disguised, for if they win, they need never doubt each other's love again.

Chapter 57

They arrive at the court but no one recognizes them: Beltenebros wears his helmet and Oriana wears veils over her face. They win the sword and wreath, and after a brief celebration, they leave. On the way back to Miraflores, they are challenged by Arcalaus. Beltenebros kills his nephew and chops off half of Arcalaus's hand as he flees. Beltenebros sends these to Lisuarte.

All this praise for Beltenebros has angered Galaor, Florestan, and Agrajes, who take it as an affront to Amadis and decide that they will fight Beltenebros after the battle with Cildadan.

The King and Galaor receive letters from Urganda the Unrecognized which prophecies that they will be in great danger of death, but Beltenebros will strike three blows to win the battle. However, Beltenebros will also draw the blood of the King, and all his great deeds will be forgotten, and he will gain power over Galaor's life. The King and Galaor are greatly troubled.

Then, they get a letter from King Arban of North Wales and Angriote de Estravaus telling how they are being held and tortured by Famongomadan's widow. The King urges his knights to leave for the battle, for it will be the best means to free those two fine knights.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chapter 57 [final part]

[Of the letters Urganda the Unrecognized sent to King Lisuarte and Sir Galaor, and of the letter King Arban of North Wales and Sir Angriote de Estravaus sent to Lisuarte, written in their own blood.] 

[A Spanish text from the late 1300s: a manuscript of El Libro de Buen Amor.]

King Lisuarte and Sir Galaor turned back toward town after leaving Beltenebros, and a damsel came to them and gave the King a letter, telling him it was from Urganda the Unrecognized, and gave another to Sir Galaor, and without another word returned by the road on which she had come.

The King took the letter and read it, and it said:

"I send thee my greetings, Lisuarte, King of Great Britain. I would have thee know that in thy cruel and dangerous battle with King Cildadan, although Beltenebros gives thee great strength, he shall lose his name and fame. By one great blow that he shall strike, all his great deeds shall be placed in oblivion. At that time thou shalt be in thy greatest affliction and danger ever, and when the sharp sword of Beltenebros sheds thy blood, thou shalt be at the point of death. It shall be a cruel and painful battle, where many brave and valiant knights shall lose their lives. It shall see great fury and great cruelty without mercy. But at the end, by those three blows that Beltenebros shall strike, those on his side shall be the victors. King, beware of what thou doest, for it shall happen as I have told thee without any doubt."

Having read the letter, although the King was given to great deeds and had a stout heart in the face of all danger, he knew that Urganda was so wise that the greatest part of her prophecies came true, so he was rather frightened, and he believed that Beltenebros, whom he greatly loved, would lose his life there, and his own would not escape great danger. But with a happy semblance he went to Sir Galaor, who had already read his letter and stood thinking, and told him:

"My good friend, I want your advice without anyone else knowing about what Urganda wrote me in this letter."

Then he showed him the letter, and Sir Galaor said:

"My lord, according to what came in mine, I would be better to get advice than to give it, but in all, if by some means ye were to find a way to avoid this battle with honor, I would hold that good. And if this cannot be, at least ye should not be in it, because I see two very grave things here: first, that by Beltenebros's arm and sword your blood will be shed, and second, by the three blows that he will give, those on his side shall be the victors. I do not know how to understand this, because he is now on your side, and according to the letter, he shall be on the other."

The King told him:

"My good friend, the great love that ye have for me may mean that ye might not give the best advice. But if I were to lose the hope in the Lord Who put me at this height, believing that anyone's knowledge could prevent His will, then rightly and for good cause, and with His permission, I ought to be brought down, because the heart and discretion of kings must conform to their great estates. They must do their duty both to their subjects and in defense of them, and they should leave to the Lord, in Whom all power is, to remedy those things that cause fear and dread. And so, my good friend, I shall be in that battle, and the fate that God may give to my men I wish that He shall give to me."

Sir Galaor changed his mind at seeing the great courage of the King, and told him:

"Not without cause are ye praised as the greatest and most honorable prince of the world. And if all kings were to avoid weak advice from their subjects, no one would dare to say anything except what was truly in their service."

Then he showed the King his letter, which said:

"To you, Sir Galaor of Gaul, strong and courageous, I, Urganda, salute you as he whom I value and love, and I want you to know from me what shall happen to you in the painful battle, if ye are in it: after the great cruelties and death that thy shalt see in its fast and final moments, thy valiant body and mighty limbs shall fail thy strong and burning heart, and after the battle, thy head shall be in the power of he who shall give three blows by which it shall be won."

When the King saw this, he said:

"Friend, if what is in this letter comes true, it is clear that if ye enter that battle, your death shall come. And, given the great deeds in arms that ye have achieved, ye would be held at little fault if ye were to avoid that battle. So I shall order you to be excused from it, having complied with my service and your honor."

Sir Galaor told him:

"It seems, my lord, that my advice has angered you, for while I am healthy and in my own free will, ye order me to that which will cause my honor to fall into great error and disgrace. May it please God not to put me in a situation in which I must obey you in such a thing."

The King said:

"Sir Galaor, ye spoke better than I. And now let us cease to speak more of this and put our hopes in the Lord as we ought, and let us guard these letters, because if the frightful words in them were to be known, they could give people reason to be afraid."

With that they went to the town, but before they entered it they saw two armed knights whose horses were tired and exhausted, and their armor cut in several places, so they seemed to have been in some great confrontation. They were named Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and Sir Branfil, his brother, and they had come to be in the battle if the King would have them.

Sir Bruneo knew about the test of the sword and had hurried to arrive in time for it, since he had already passed beneath the Arch of the Loyal Lovers, as ye have heard, due to the great and true love he had for Amadis's sister Melicia. So he thought that due to his great love he could win the sword or anything else, no matter how difficult, and he was very sorry that the test was over.

When they saw the King, they went to him with great humility. He received them with great good will. And Sir Bruneo told him:

"My lord, we have heard that ye have a great battle scheduled, and since the number of people in it will be few, we would gladly serve you if what ye know of our valor makes us worthy and ye were to select us."

The King, who had already been informed of the skill of these two brothers by Sir Galaor, especially that of Sir Bruneo, who although young was one of the most outstanding knights who could be found in a large area, was greatly pleased by them and their service and thanked them deeply. Then Sir Galaor made himself known and urged them to stay with him in his lodgings until the battle, and told him that his brother Florestan and Agrajes and Sir Galvanes, who always accompanied each other, would be there.

Sir Bruneo took that highly, and told Galaor that he was the knight he loved most in the world after his brother Amadis, whom he had put much effort into searching for after he had learned how he had left Firm Island, and would not cease his search except to be in the battle. He accepted Galaor's proposal, so Sir Bruneo and his brother Branfil remained in the company of Sir Galaor and the service of King Lisuarte, as ye have heard.

When the King was in his palace, Beltenebros's squire Enil arrived with the head of Lindoraque hanging by its hair from the breast strap of his horse, and with the shield and half the hand of Arcalaus the Sorcerer. Before he could enter in the palace, many people of the town began to follow him to find out what it was about. When he reached the King, he told him what Beltenebros had ordered, and the King was very happy and amazed by the great deed of this brave and courageous knight, and praised him highly, as did everyone.

But this made the anger of Sir Galaor and Sir Florestan grow even greater, and they could not wait for the hour of combat with him in which they could die or make it known to everyone that all his deeds could not equal those of their brother Amadis.

At this time Filispel arrived, the knight whom King Lisuarte had sent to challenge the giants on his behalf, as ye have already heard. Filispel named all the other knights who would fight in the battle for King Cildadan, including many brave giants and other knights of great feats who were already arriving in Ireland to join the King. Within four days they would disembark at the port of Vega, where the battle would be.

He also told how, at the Burning Lake, where the Island of Mogaza was, he had found King Arban of North Wales and Angriote de Estravaus in the power of Gromadaza, the brave giant and wife of Famongomadan. She held them in a very cruel prison, where they suffered whippings and other great torments every day so that blood flowed continually from the many wounds in their flesh. And Filispel brought a letter written for the King, which said:

"To the great lord Lisuarte, King of Great Britain, and to all our friends in his reign: I, Arban, captive King of North Wales, and Angriote de Estravaus, in painful prison, wish to make ye know that our great misfortune has placed us in the power of the fierce Gromadaza, wife of Famongomadan. To avenge the death of her husband and son she causes us be given torments and cruel punishments beyond all imagination, so that often we ask for death, which would be a great relief. But she, wishing that every day be living death, keeps us alive, and were it not for the loss of our souls, we would have ended our lives ourselves. But because we have reached a point beyond which we cannot survive, we wish to send this letter written in our own blood, and with it to say goodbye, praying to our Lord to give you victory in the battle against these traitors who have done us such harm."

The King had deep sorrow to lose these two knights and felt great pain in his heart, but seeing how it would do little good for them, he put on a good semblance to console his men, and reminded them of many other serious matters, and of the honors and great deeds they might wish to gain, and he thus gave them courage for the battle. If they won, it would be the best means to get those knights out of prison.

And then he ordered all those who were going to be with him in the battle to get ready to leave with him the next day to meet his enemies. And he succeeded: with the great courage that he always displayed in all conflicts, he moved his knights to be ready to fight.