Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chapter 61 [part 3 of 5]

[How Amadis and other knights went to meet Madasima, and how his sword was discovered to be missing.] 

[Tomb of Sir Garcia de Osorio, a knight of the Order of Santiago, originally located in a church in Toledo, Spain, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum of London.] 

When morning came, they put on rich clothing and, after hearing Mass, mounted beautiful palfreys and went to welcome Madasima. With them went Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and his brother Branfil, and Enil, who was a very genteel knight with a happy heart, well loved and esteemed by all for his good manners and great courage. And so eight companions went to welcome her.

They neared the tents and saw Madasima, Ardan Canileo, and his company. Madasima wore black clothing in mourning for her father and brother, but her beauty was so vivid and abundant that even in those clothes she seemed so lovely that it was a marvel to everyone. With her were her damsels, dressed in the same clothing. Ardan Canileo led her by the reins. The old giant and his sons also accompanied her, and the nine knights who would give themselves as hostages.

When the eight knights arrived, they bowed, and she bowed to them and seemed happy to see them. Amadis came to her and said:

“My lady, if ye are praised, it is rightly so, given your appearance, and anyone who knows you should consider himself blessed to honor and serve you. And I tell you that I shall do all I can in whatever ye may command.”

Ardan Canileo, who looked at him and saw that he was more handsome than any other man he had ever seen, was not pleased to have him speak to her, and told him:

“Knight, get back and do not be so bold as to talk to someone ye do not know.”

“My lord,” Amadis said, “that is why we came here, to know her and serve her.”

Ardan told him disdainfully:

“Then tell me now who ye are, and I shall see if ye are such that ought to serve a damsel of such high lineage.”

“Whoever I may be,” Amadis said, “I shall serve her willingly, and if I were not as worthy as I should be, I would not wish to do so any less. And if ye wish to know who I am, tell me who ye are, for ye wish to keep her from someone who would happily fulfill her orders.”

Ardan Canileo looked at him with fury and said:

“I am Ardan Canileo, and I could serve her better in one day than ye could in your entire life, even if ye were worth twice as much as ye are.”

“That may be,” Amadis said, “but I know that your great service, given your excessive ill will, would not be done with such a good heart as my small one. If ye wish to know me, know that I am Amadis of Gaul, the one ye seek to fight, and if I have given this lady any trouble or sorrow by doing what I could not avoid without great shame, I shall gladly correct that with some other service.”

Ardan Canileo said:

“If ye dare to keep your promise, I shall give her your head, which shall certainly make amends for her troubles.”

“Such amends shall not be by my will,” Amadis said, “but there is another, better amends that I shall make, and that will be for me to prevent the marriage between you and her, for I know no man so foolish as to think it good for her and your beauty to be made one.”

When he said this, it did not weigh on Madasima, who laughed freely, as did her damsels, but Ardan because so angry that he shook and his face became so fierce and frightening that anyone who saw him and did know Amadis’s achievements in arms or weigh Amadis’s strength and valor against Ardan’s, without a doubt would have believed that this would be Amadis’s last battle and the last day of his life.

And so as ye hear, they rode until they came before the King, and Ardan Canileo said:

“King, ye see here the knights who will become your prisoners to secure what my damsel has promised, if Amadis dares to keep his word.”

Amadis came forward and said:

“My lord, ye see me here, for I wish the battle immediately and without further delay, and I tell you that even if I had not promised it, I would fight if only to save Madasima from such an ill-suited marriage. But I want King Arban of North Wales and Angriote d’Estravaus to be brought to where I will be if I win the battle.”

Ardan Canileo said:

“I shall have them brought to where the battle will be, and if I take your head, I shall take those of the prisoners, and I shall also take Madasima and her damsels, who shall be held by the Queen, and thus everything agreed-upon shall be fulfilled. It will be proper to have her be where she can see the battle and the vengeance that I shall do for her.”

So, as ye hear, the beautiful Madasima and her damsels were placed under the power of the Queen and the old giant and his sons and the nine knights under the power of the King. But I tell you that Madasima appeared before the Queen with such humility and discretion that, although her arrival put Amadis in such danger, which troubled everyone, the Queen and her ladies and damsels were very content with her and did her many honors.

But Oriana and Mabilia, when they saw the brave countenance of Ardan Canileo, were terribly frightened and felt great worry and pain. They retired in their room and shed many tears, fearing that Amadis’s great courage would not be enough against that devil. If they had any hope, it was only in his good fortune, which had often saved him from great danger in confrontations so grave that little hope could have been had that he or anyone else might have won. As always, Mabilia gave Oriana great consolation.

When this was done, and the battle was set for the next day, the King ordered his hunters and archers to enclose a field in front of his palace with chains and posts so that the knights would not lose any honor on account of their horses. Oriana saw this from a window and, thinking of the danger that would befall her beloved there, she felt so faint that she almost fell senseless into the arms of Mabilia.

The King went to Amadis’s lodging, where many knights were, and told them that since the Queen and his daughter and Queen Brisena and all the other ladies and damsels would go to  the chapel that night to ask God to protect her knight, he wished to take him to his palace, and with him Florestan, Agrajes, Sir Galvanes, Guilan, and Enil, so that they could rest. And he told Amadis to have his armor and weapons brought to the chapel because the next day he wanted him to be armed before the Virgin Mary so that She could intercede for him with Her glorious Son.

So they went with the King, and Amadis ordered Gandalin to take his arms to where the King had said. But when Gandalin went to get them to fulfill his orders, he could not find the sword in the sheath, and he was so frightened and sad that he wished he were dead, both because it had happened in a time of such great danger and because he took it as a sign that the death of his lord was near.

He looked for the sword everywhere and asked anyone who might know about it, but he learned nothing, and he was at the point of jumping from a window into the sea below until he remembered that by doing so, he would lose his soul. He went to the King’s palace with great anguish in his heart, took Amadis aside, and said:

“My lord, cut off my head for I have betrayed you, and if you do not, I must kill myself.”

Amadis told him:

“Where didst thou lose thy mind, or what ill fortune is it?”

“My lord,” he said, “it would be better if I were mad or dead than if at a time like this such great ill fortune had occurred, for know that I have lost your sword, which has been stolen from its scabbard.”

Amadis told him:

“Why art thou upset? I thought something worse had happened to thee. Now let it be, for there will be no lack of another with which God shall help me if it pleases Him.”

Although he said this as consolation, the loss of the sword did give him sorrow, both for being one of the best in the world and for needing it so much at that time, as well as for having won it by the power of the great love he had for his lady, because when he saw it and remembered her, it was a great relief to his mortal desires when she was absent. He told Gandalin to say nothing to anyone about it and to bring the scabbard, and to ask the Queen if  the sword Sir Guilan had brought could be placed with his other arms, and if so, to bring it. And, if Gandalin could see Oriana, to ask her on his behalf to let him see her when he and Ardan Canileo entered the field, to place herself somewhere visible, because her sight would make him the victor in that and anything else, no matter how grave it might be.

Gandalin went to do all that his lord had ordered, and the Queen ordered the sword to be given to him. But Queen Briolanja and Olinda told him:

“Oh, Gandalin, what dost thou think thy lord can do against that devil?”

He told them, laughing and with a cheerful face:

“My ladies, this is not the first dangerous deed that my lord has done. God has protected him so far, and He shall now, and since Amadis has maintained his honor in many other and more terrifying perils, he shall win in this one.”

“May it please God,” they said.

Then Gandalin went to Mabilia and told her to tell Oriana what his lord had sent him to ask. With that he returned to the chapel which held the arms and told his lord that everything had been done as he wished. Amadis took great pleasure and courage in knowing that his lady would be in a place where she could be seen from the field.

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