Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chapter 60 [part 1 of 3]

How the King saw strange fires approaching by the sea, which was a small galley in which the sorceress Urganda was arriving, and what happened to him with her. 

[A 13th-century war galley depicted in a Byzantine-style fresco.]

It was almost time to sleep, and after having supped, the King was in a gallery looking at the sea when he saw two fires coming toward the town. Everyone was frightened, for it seemed wrong to have the sea and fire joined. But when the flames came closer, they saw that they were in a galley that bore strange, enormous candles on its mast, so it seemed that the whole ship was on fire.

The noise was so great that all the townspeople climbed up on the city walls to see the wonder, believing that if water were not enough to put out the fire, then nothing else could, and the town would be burned. The people were terrified because the galley and the fires had drawn near, and the Queen and all her ladies and damsels went to the chapel in terror.

The King mounted a horse with the fifty knights that always guarded him, and when he arrived at the shore, he saw that the rest of his knights were there. In front of all of them were Amadis and Guilan the Pensive and Enil, so close to the flames that he was surprised they could stand it. The King spurred his horse, which was frightened by the great noise, and joined them.

But soon they saw beneath the sail a lady dressed in white with a small golden box in her hand, which she opened in front of them all and took out a lighted taper. When she threw it in the sea to extinguish it, the great fires immediately went dead and no sign of them remained. All the people were happy at that and lost their fear, and only one large candle burned at the top of the mast, which lit the entire shore.

The curtain that covered the galley was pulled back, and they saw that it was all wreathed with roses and flowers, and they heard musical instruments inside playing so sweetly that it was marvel. The music stopped, and ten richly dressed damsels with garlands on their heads and golden wands in their hands came out, and in front of them was the lady who had extinguished the taper in the sea. They came directly to bow of the galley toward the King. They all knelt, and the King looked at them and said:

“My lady, ye put a great terror in us with your fires, and if it please you, tell us who ye are, although I think that we can guess without much effort.”

“My lord,” she said, “in vain would anyone try to put terror or fear in your great heart and those of the many knights who are here, but the fire that ye saw I brought to protect myself and my damsels. And if ye think that I am Urganda the Unrecognized, ye think rightly. I come to you as the greatest king in the world, and to see the Queen, who in virtue and goodness has no equal in the world.”

Then she said to Amadis:

“My lord, come forward, and I must say to you and your friends that I am here to relieve you of the labor that ye wish to employ to look for your brother Sir Galaor. It would be a lost effort, even if everyone in the world were to look for him. I tell you that he has recovered from his wounds and now has a better life and more pleasure than he has ever had in this world.”

“My lady,” Amadis said, “it was always my thought that after God, your aid would bring health to Sir Galaor and rest to me, and by the way he was sought and taken before my eyes, if I had not suspected this, I would have sooner let him die than be separated from me. And as thanks for this I can give you nothing else but, as ye know better than all, to put my person without any fear in all things to your honor and service, although it were my death.”

“Ye may rest,” she said, “and soon ye shall see him in such pleasure that ye, too, shall be pleased.”

The King said to her:

“My lady, when ye leave your galley, come to my palace.”

“Many thanks,” she said, “but tonight I shall remain here and tomorrow I shall do as ye ask. And may Amadis, Agrajes, Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, and Sir Guilan the Pensive come to get me, for they are in love and have lively hearts, as I do.”

“So it shall be in this,” the King said, “and in all that ye wish.”

And he ordered all the people to return to the town, said goodbye to her, and returned to his palace, ordering twenty men with crossbows to be placed at the shore to make sure that no one approached.

The next morning the Queen sent twelve richly attired palfreys so Urganda and her damsels could come, and Amadis and the three knights she had named went to escort her, dressed in very noble and valuable clothing. When they arrived they found that Urganda and her damsels had left the ship and were in a tent that had been put up during the night. The knights dismounted and went to her and were very well received, all with great humility. Then they put the women on the palfreys, and the four knights rode surrounding Urganda.

And when she found herself thus, she said:

“Now my heart is relaxed and in complete rest, for those whose hearts are like it are close by.”

She said this because in the same way that they were in love, she was enamored with the handsome knight who was her beloved.

When they arrived at the palace, they entered and went to the King, who received her very well, and she kissed his hands. Looking from one end to the other, she saw many knights in the palace, and she looked at the King and said:

“My lord, ye are well accompanied, and I do not say this for the courage of these knights but for the great love they have for you, for when princes are loved by their men, they are secure in their estates. For that reason, be sure to keep them so that it will not seem that your discretion may yet lack all the blessings it could hold. Beware of bad advisers, for that is the true poison that destroys princes. And if it pleases you, I shall see the Queen, and I will speak with you about some things before I leave, my lord.”

The King said:

“My friend, I thank you deeply for the advice ye have given me and I shall do all in my power to follow it. Go and see the Queen, who loves you dearly, and know that she shall gladly do all that she can for your pleasure.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chapter 59 [part 3 of 3]

[How Cuadragante’s enmity with Amadis became friendship, and the consequences that had.] 

[Head of a king from about 1230-1235, probably a decoration from a Paris church. Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.] 

Briolanja and Oriana, who were together, called for Amadis. When he arrived, they asked him to tell them the truth about a question they had for him, and he promised to do so. Oriana told him:

“Then tell us who the damsel was who took the wreath of flowers when ye won the sword.”

That question weighed on him, for he had to tell the truth, but he turned to Oriana and told her:

“May God not save me, my lady, if I know her name or who she is more than ye do, although I traveled with her for seven days. But I tell you that she had beautiful hair and what I saw of her was extremely beautiful, but of her estate I know as much as you, my lady, whom I believe ye have never beheld.”

Oriana said:

“Although she gained great glory in completing that adventure, it almost cost her dearly, for according to what they tell me, Arcalaus the Sorcerer and Lindoraque, his nephew, wanted to take the wreath and would have hung her by the hair if ye had not protected her.”

“It does not seem to me,” Briolanja said, “that he defended her if he is Amadis, but instead the valiant man at arms was Beltenebros, who should not be held at the same level as Amadis. And although I have received great benefit from him, I shall not cease to speak the truth without prejudice because of that. I say that if Amadis achieved great glory in winning Firm Island by far surpassing the courage of the mighty Apolidon, then Beltenebros, defeating in the space of one day ten of the best knights of your father’s court and killing in battle the brave giant Famongomadan and his son Basagante, he achieved no less.

“Then, if we say that Amadis, by passing beneath the arch of the faithful lovers, caused the statue with the trumpet to do more for him than for any other knight and made it clear the loyalty of his love, then it seems to me that Beltenebros should not be held as less for pulling out that burning sword, which for more than sixty years no other knight could do. And so, my dear lady, it is not right that the honor of Beltenebros should be given to Amadis, for each should be judged to be as good as the other. That is how I see it.”

And so as ye hear these two ladies were joking and laughing, in whom all the beauty and grace of the world was brought together, and they felt great pleasure to be with that knight who was so well loved by them. And his spirit felt such a great happiness, even more when he remembered the tremendous misadventure and cruel sadness he had felt when he was without any hope of deliverance at Poor Rock, having come so close to death.

As that was happening, as ye have heard, a damsel came to call for Amadis on behalf of the King and told him that Sir Cuadragante and his nephew Landin wanted to be freed from their promises. So he left the pleasure he had been having and went to where they were, and with him came Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and Branfil. When they arrived to where the King was with many good knights, Sir Cuadragante rose and said:

“My lord, I have been waiting here for Amadis of Gaul, as ye know, and now that he is present, I wish him to release me from the promise I made to him in front of you.”

Then he recounted everything that had happened to him in the battle and how, being defeated by Amadis, very much against his will he had come to the court, put himself under the his power, and forgiven him for the death of his brother King Abies. Yet having lost the passion that had clouded his thinking and kept him from determining the truth, he had found that it was more arrogance than justice to have desired and sought to avenge that death, for he now knew that nothing could be found improper about the battle had happened between two knights. And that being the case, he wished to pardon Amadis and be taken as a friend in whatever way it might please him.

The King told him:

“Sir Cuadragante, until now your great deeds at arms have gained ye much praise and honor and fame, and this should not be held as less, because bravery and courage that is not subject to reason and wisdom should not be held in high esteem.”

Then he had them embrace and Amadis thanked Cuadragante for what he had done and the friendship he had asked for, and although at the time it may have seemed trivial, this friendship was maintained for a long time between them, as this story shall tell. And since the battle between Forestan and Landin had been set for the same reason, it seemed right that since the main cause involving Cuadragante had been forgiven, Landin could justly do the same. That was done and the battle was cancelled, which gave Landin no small pleasure, having seen Forestan’s courage in the previous battle between the Kings.

When this was done, as ye have heard, and the King had spent some days at rest after the great endeavor of the battle with King Cildadan, he thought of the cruel imprisonment of Arban, King of North Wales, and Angriote de Estravaus, and he decided to go to the Island of Mongaza where they were. He told that to Amadis and his knights, but Amadis told him:

“My lord, ye know what a loss to your service is the lack of Sir Galaor, and if ye think it good, I shall look for him in the company of my brother and cousins, and may it please God to bring him back in time for this trip that ye wish to make.”

The King told him:

“God knows, my friend, if I did not have so many duties, I would gladly go myself to look for him, but since I cannot, I think it good to do what ye propose.”

Then more than one hundred knights arose, all well esteemed and with great deeds at arms, and said that they also wished to go on that search, for if they were obliged to great ventures, none could be more important than the loss of that knight. The King was pleased by this and asked Amadis not to leave, for he wished to speak with him.