Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chapter 62 [part 1 of 4]

How the battle was fought between Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and Madaman the Envious, brother of the exceptionally tall damsel, and what happened in the uprising caused by ill will toward the knights who were Amadis’s friends, as a result of which Amadis left the court of King Lisuarte. 

[The Wheel of Fortune, as depicted in On the Fate of Famous Men, by Giovanni Boccaccio, 1467 Parisian edition.] 

After the battle between Amadis and Ardan Canileo, which ye have heard about, the next day Sir Bruneo of Bonamar immediately appeared before the King, accompanied by many good knights who loved and esteemed him. He arrived to find the exceptionally tall damsel telling the King that her brother was prepared for battle, so the King should order his opponent to come forward: Although her brother could achieve little vengeance by killing Sir Bruneo compared to the value of the courageous Ardan Canileo, that was all this could be done, and with that poor recompense, they would be somewhat consoled.

Sir Bruneo, refusing to respond to those mad words, said that he wished to fight immediately, so both knights armed themselves at once and entered the field, each accompanied by those who wished him well, although they were different in each case. Sir Bruneo went with many esteemed knights, while Madaman the Envious, which was his name, had only three knights of his company to carry his arms.

After the judges had set them in their proper places to fight, they charged at each other as fast as their horses could gallop. In the first encounter, their lances were broken to pieces, Madaman was thrown from his saddle, and Bruneo carried off part of a lance in his shield, which it had pierced, causing him a small injury to his chest.

But when Bruneo turned his horse around, he saw the other knight with his sword in his hand to defend himself, who said:

“Sir Bruneo, if thou dost not wish to lose thy horse, dismount or let me mount my own.”

“Whatever ye wish,” Sir Bruneo said, “I shall do.”

Madaman, who thought he could fight better on foot than on horseback because he was large and the other knight was small, told him:

“Since thou hast left it to me, dismount and we shall fight on foot.”

Sir Bruneo pulled back and dismounted from his horse. A battle began between them so brave that soon their armor was broken in many places and their flesh was cut, from which much blood flowed, and their shields on their arms were chopped to bits, and the pieces littered the ground.

After they had been locked in battle for a while, as ye hear, a strange thing took place in which it seemed their animals understood what was happening to their masters. The horses, who were loose in the field, approached each other and began to fight, biting and kicking with such tenacity and hatred that it amazed everyone. The fight lasted until Madaman’s horse could take no more, fled from the other horse, and in great fear leaped over the chains that surrounded the field.

That was taken as a good sign by those who wanted Sir Bruneo to win. Returning their attention to the battle, they saw how Sir Bruneo hurried to attack his enemy with great and mighty blows, so that Madaman drew back and said:

“Sir Bruneo, why dost thy hurry? Is the day not long enough? Wait a bit and let us rest, for if thou wert to look at thy arms and the blood that flows from thy wounds, it would seem quite necessary to thee.”

“Madaman,” Sir Bruneo said, “If our battle were different and not with such high enmity, then thou wouldst find every courtesy and patience in me, but due to the great arrogance that thou hast shown so far, if I were give thee what thou hast asked for, it would diminish thy fame and valor. Thus I shall not do so for thine own good, since by winning thou shalt achieve greater glory, and I do not wish to cause thy weakness to be manifest. Protect thyself, for I shall not let thee rest.”

Then they fought as before, but soon Sir Bruneo, demonstrating his great strength and his burning heart, did nothing but attack Madaman with such speed that Madaman could do nothing but protect himself from the blows. When he could take no more, he backed as far as he could toward the sea, thinking that he could defend himself among the rocks. But when he saw how high and frightening the cliff was, he stopped.

Sir Bruneo, who was chasing him, came so close that Madaman could do nothing for himself. Sir Bruneo struck him with his shield and hands, pushing so hard that he fell down the tall cliff and was broken to pieces before he reached the sea.

Then Sir Bruneo knelt and thanked God for the great mercy He had given him.

When Mataleza, the giant damsel, saw this, she ran into the field as fast as she could and arrived at the cliff with great effort. She saw how the waves bore the blood and flesh of her brother back and forth. She took his sword, which had fallen there, and said:

“Here where the blood of my uncle Ardan Canileo and my brother was spilled, I wish mine to lie so that my soul and theirs shall be together wherever they may be.”

She thrust the point of the sword through her body and let herself fall back down the cliff, and so she was broken to pieces.

After this, Sir Bruneo mounted his horse to the great praise of the King and all those with him, and, accompanied by many of them, went Amadis’s lodging. There in a rich bed next to Amadis and Angriote, his wounds were treated along with theirs. They were frequently visited by knights and ladies and damsels to give them rest and pleasure.

But because Amadis’s ill health would delay her departure, Queen Briolanja got permission from him to leave for her reign. But first she wished to see the wonders of Firm Island and test the protected chamber, and she brought Enil with her to show him everything, and she promised Oriana to let her know what she found and what happened to her, as shall be told farther on.

Now as this story continues, it wishes to let ye see how little the strength of human reason matters when the Lord on High lets go of the reins and raises His hand to remove His grace, allowing man’s judgement free power to act. It shall be made manifest whether mortal men may win great states and govern them with discretion and diligence or, when they lack divine Grace, if great arrogance, greed, and a multitude of armed men is enough to maintain them.

Ye have heard how when King Lisuarte was a prince, possessing only his arms and horse, with a few servants, he rode as a knight errant looking for adventure, arriving at the Kingdom of Denmark. As Fortune would have it, Princess Brinsena fell in love with the Prince. She was the daughter of the King, and she was much esteemed and sought by many princes and great men for her great beauty and virtue, but she cast all of them aside and took Lisuarte as her husband.

This was the first good fortune that he had, and among earthly fortunes, one of the best that he could have had. But the powerful Lord loved him so much that He was not content with this blessing. Lisuarte’s brother Falangris, King of Great Britain, was without heir, and when he left this life, without any travail this disinherited Prince became King. But unlike other kings of his time who were satisfied with only their subjects and kingdoms, he had sought to win and reign over others, and so the sons of kings and great princes and dukes came to his court, among them those three brothers, Amadis, Sir Galaor, and Florestan, along with many others of great renown.

Lisuarte shone high above the emperors and kings of the world, and if his splendor was somewhat darkened by the boon he had promised to the treacherous damsel that caused him become Arcalaus’s prisoner, this could better be attributed to the strength of his heart than a lack of caution, for at that time great courage and skill at arms flourished in princes and great lords, making them shine above others more lowly, just as it can be found among the ancient stories of the Greeks and Trojans.

Then what more shall we say about the greatness of this powerful King? In his court amazing ventures were fulfilled with great glory after roaming the world for a long time and finding none who could accomplish them. Yet that is no reason to forget his victory in the painful and frightening battle he had with Cildadan, where so many strong and vile giants, so many valiant knights of giants’ blood, and other men of great rank and renown in the world were killed and destroyed by the great virtue and courage of the King and his men. And then, soon after, the brave and famous Ardan Canileo, who in all the lands he traveled never found four knights who could match him in the field of battle, was defeated and killed by just one knight in the court of this King.

Then, shall we say now that Fortune caused this King to be gracious and very human, frank, and courageous? In fact, one might think so, but because he did not know how to govern himself and for a very slight cause, as ye shall now hear, he undid and wasted most of what he had. For that reason we must believe that when someone is provided with great good fortune and his judgement and discretion are not enough for him to maintain it, we should not attribute his fate to himself to anything other than the Most High and Powerful Lord, Who is pleased to give blessings with such secrecy that it would be madness for us to try to understand.

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