Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chapter 62 [part 3 of 4]

[How Amadis angrily decided to leave King Lisuarte’s company.] 

[Detail of a Church in Urnieta, Spain. Photo by Sue Burke.]

Several days later, Amadis, Angriote de Estravaus, and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar could arise from their beds because their injuries had greatly improved. One morning, in fine clothing, they mounted their horses, and after hearing Mass, they went to the King’s palace, where they were very well received by everyone except the King, who did not look at them or welcome them as he used to, which many people wondered about.

Yet Amadis was not concerned because he did not think that it could have been due to ill will. But the lying Gandandel, who was there, laughed and embraced Amadis and said:

“At times men say the truth and no one wants to believe it.”

Amadis did not reply. Gandandel left him, seeing that Angriote and Sir Bruneo were very annoyed because they had been received so badly. He went to the King and said quietly, so that no one could hear:

“Do ye not see, my lord, the attitude of those knights toward you?”

The King was quiet and did not wish to respond in any way. Amadis, with good will and not suspecting any scheme so falsely woven, came to the King with great humility, bringing Galvanes and Agrajes with him, and said:

“My lord, we wish to speak with you, if you please, in the presence of anyone ye may wish.”

The King said that Gandandel and Brocadan should be there. This pleased Amadis very much because in his heart he considered them good friends. Then they all went to a garden, where the King sat down beneath some trees and they sat near him.

Amadis said:

“My lord, it has not been my fate to abide with you as well as my heart wishes, and although I do not deserve it from you, I have confidence in your virtue and nobility, so I wish to dare to ask a boon from you that will serve you well, and with it ye would do what is wise and right.”

“Certainly,” said Gandandel, “if it is thus, ye ask for a beautiful boon, and it is good for the King to know what it is.”

“My lord,” Amadis said, “what I and Agrajes wish to ask with Sir Galvanes, who has served you well, is that ye give the island of Mongaza, and yet keep it in your reign and vassalage, to Madasima and Sir Galvanes at their wedding. In this, my lord, ye give a great gift to Sir Galvanes, who is of high nobility and has no land of his own, and who has served you well, and ye shall show mercy to Madasima, who by us is disinherited.”

When Brocadan and Gandandel heard this, they looked at the King with expressions on their face to not grant it. But the King spent some time in silence, thinking of the great worth of Galvanes and how he had served him, and how Amadis had won that land with so much danger to his life, and he recognized that Amadis had asked for a reasonable, just, and honest thing.

But as his will was injured, he did not make use of virtue, as he was obligated, and he answered as if it were not within his ability to do it:

“It is not advisable to ask for what cannot be done. I say this to you because ye ask for something that I gave to the Queen for her daughter Leonoreta fully five days ago.”

He meant this answer more as an excuse than as the truth. Gandandel and Brocadan were very pleased with it, and made expressions on their faces to show he had responded well. But Agrajes, who had a stormy heart, when he heard such an unsavory response, had little moderation with which to hide it. He could not be quiet and with great ire said:

“Ye have given us well to understand, my lord, that we are worth little, and our services, given these thanks, have hardly done us any good. In fact I think we could have spent our lives otherwise.”

“Nephew,” Sir Galvanes said, “services are worth very little when they are done for those who do not know how to appreciate them, so men ought to look for places where they can be well employed.”

“My lords,” Amadis said, “do not complain if the King has not done what we ask, for he has already given it. But I must ask that he give you Madasima and keep the land, and I shall give you Firm Island, where ye may be with her until the King has something else to give you.”

The King said:

“I shall keep Madasima in my prison in exchange for her land, and if it is not given, I shall order her head cut off.”

Amadis said:

“Surely, my lord, ye ought to respond with more moderation, if ye please, and do no injury if ye wish to show greater appreciation.”

“If I do not appreciate you,” the King said, “the world is exceedingly large. Travel through it and seek someone who might appreciate you.”

Oh, what infamous words! And even yesterday, we could say, the knight Amadis was so loved and so appreciated by King Lisuarte, who had believed that with Amadis and his brothers and family he could quickly and easily become lord of the world. The King had watched with tears in his eyes the devotion with which Amadis placed his life in danger when he battled Ardan Canileo, as Lisuarte had arranged. He knew at the time that Amadis had lost his exceptional sword, and contrary to the pledge he had made in front of his court to give his own sword to no knight, he had begged and urged Amadis to take it. He thought about the great services he had received from him and how they had saved his life and kingdom.

And now his deep love and his outstanding judgement and discretion were not enough to protect him from a few inconstant words said by a man of ill fate and ill works. He did not see the evidence that would have made him doubt those words and prevent him from becoming upset and darkening his memory to all that which had been done in the past. To me it seems a great and noteworthy thing, for neither the weapons of an enemy nor cold poisons can place kings and great lords in such danger and surround them with such harm as mere ears. Everything good and evil that enters through them moves the heart and guides the will to either greater justice or dishonesty.

And so, great lords, to whom such power is given to satisfy your appetites and wills, protect yourself from evil men who care little for themselves or their souls. Ye must rightly believe that they care much less for yours.

Returning to the issue at hand, when Amadis heard that dishonest and unsavory reply from the King, he told him:

“Truly, my lord, to my thinking up until now I did not think that another king or great lord in the world could come close to you in wisdom, but now, to my sorrow, ye have shown yourself very distant and contrary. It behooves us to look for new lives with this new advice and edict.”

“Do as ye will,” the King said, “and so shall I.”

Then he arose with great anger and went to see the Queen, with Brocadan and Gandandel, who praised him highly for having dispatched and freed himself from those who could have done him great harm. Lisuarte told the Queen what he had said to Amadis and how that had made him happy.

But she said that she received his happiness with sadness because, ever since Amadis and his brother and family members had joined his court, the King’s affairs had always advanced and improved, and none of them had done anything contrary to him. If they had left only at his decision, then his wisdom must have decreased, and if it had been at the counsel of others, they must have acted out of envy of them and their good works. And not only had the present been harmed but also the future, for others would see how the grandeur of these knights was discarded and unrecognized although their great services deserved much honor and many gifts. Soon other knights would have little hope for their own reward, although it would be so much less, and they would rightly decide to leave and look for another lord who would give them better recognition.

But the King told her:

“Speak no more of that, for I know what I am doing. And say what I told you, that ye asked for that land for Leonoreta and I gave it to you.”

“I shall say so, as ye order,” the Queen said, “and may God wish it to be for the best.”

No comments:

Post a Comment