Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chapter 64 [part 1 of 4]

How Oriana fell into great sorrow over the departure of Amadis and the other knights, and even more to find herself pregnant; and how twelve knights who were at Firm Island with Amadis arrived to protect Madasima and the other damsels with her who were facing death without just cause. 

[From Wilhelm von Orlens by Rudolf von Ems, the story of the love between Wilhelm von Orlens and Princess Amelie. The illumination was made in the workshop of Diebold Lauber in about 1450 to 1470.] 

It has been told to you how Amadis was with his lady Oriana at Miraflores Castle for eight days, and it seems that during that time Oriana was made pregnant. She did not realize it, since she was a person with little knowledge of such matters, until she suffered a great change and weakness in her health. And when she understood it, she took Mabilia and the Damsel of Denmark aside and told them, weeping:

“Oh, my great friends! What shall become of me? As I see it, my death is near, which I had always suspected.”

They thought she spoke about the separation from her beloved and her loneliness, and consoled her as they had before. But she said:

“Another trouble has come to me along with this one, which puts us in the greatest ill fortune and danger. And, truly, it is that I am pregnant.”

Then she described the signs so that they would believe her, and they knew that her suspicion was true. They were very frightened but they did not let her see that. Mabilia said:

“My lady, do not be afraid, for everything will have its good remedy. I have always believed the saying: “Some sports yield certain prizes’.”

Oriana, although she was very anxious, could not keep herself from laughing, and she said:

“My friends, now we need to decide how to solve this, and it would be good if I immediately seemed more afflicted and weak, and if I avoided the company of everyone I can except you, and when the necessity comes, to solve it with the least suspicion.”

“So it shall be done,” they said, “and may God put it right. Now we must decide what shall be done with the infant when it is born.”

“I shall tell you,” Oriana said. “The Damsel of Denmark, if she pleases to ease my anguish and pain, will let her honor be diminished so that mine and my life may be saved.”

“My lady,” she said, “I have no life or honor other than what ye will. So give the order, and I shall fulfill it unto death.”

“My good friend,” she said, “I had hoped for that from you, and I shall repay the honor that you now risk for me in even greater degree if I live.”

The Damsel knelt and kissed her hands. Oriana told her:

“Then, my good friend, this is what ye shall do: go sometimes to see Balasta, the abbess of my monastery in Miraflores, as ye go about doing other things, and when the time of my childbirth comes, go to her and tell her that ye are pregnant and beg her that besides keeping your secret, she shall provide the solution for the newborn, whom ye shall place at the door of the church, and ask that he be raised as a child of God. I know she will do it because she loves you dearly. And this way my pregnancy will be hidden, and ye shall not be in great peril, for this shall only be known by that honorable lady, who will keep your secret.”

“So it shall be done,” the Damsel said. “Ye have thought this through well.”

And for now, this concern shall wait until its proper time, and we shall speak of King Lisuarte.

When he learned that the giantess Gromadaza did not want to deliver the castle at Boiling Lake and the other castles to him, as we have already recounted, he ordered Madasima and her damsels brought before him, as he had been advised by Gandandel and Brocadan. When they were in his presence, he told them:

“Madasima, ye know how ye entered my prison under the agreement that if your mother did not deliver the island of Mongaza in the Burning Lake and the other castles to me, ye and your damsels would be beheaded. And now, I have learned from the men I sent there, that she will not comply with what she promised. That being the case, I wish that your death and the deaths of these damsels be an example and lesson to those who make agreements with me, so that they do not dare to lie.”

When Madasima heard this, her great beauty and lively color became yellow. She knelt before the King and said:

“My lord, the fear of death makes my heart even weaker than it naturally is, since I am a tender damsel. So I am left with no sense at all, and I do not know how to respond. If there is some knight in your court who could rightly speak for me, understanding that I was placed in this prison against my will, he would do what he must according to the rules of knighthood and respond on behalf of all women in such situations. And if there is not, ye, my lord, who has never failed a lady or damsel in tribulation, order that I be given a hearing, and do not let anger and ire overcome the justice that as a King ye must seek.”

Gandandel, who felt very eager for her death, hoping it would further inflame the enmity between King Lisuarte and Amadis, said:

“My lord, by no means should these damsels be heard under any condition because they were condemned to death unless the land is delivered to you. So immediately and without any further delay, justice should be executed.”

Sir Grumedan, tutor of the Queen, who was a very loyal knight and very wise in issues of honor as well as very experienced in deeds of arms, with his subtle and well-read ingenuity, said:

“The King shall not do this, may it please God, nor shall he cause such cruelty nor immoderation, for this damsel was placed in this situation more by the obedience she owes to her mother than by her own will. And so, just as what is humbly done in secret shall receive thanks from God, in public the King must do His duty following His doctrines. As well, I have learned that within three days some knights from Firm Island will be here to plead for those damsels, and if you, Sir Gandandel, or your sons, wish to show what ye said here to be true, ye shall find someone to respond to you among them.”

Gandandel told him:

“Sir Grumedan, if ye wish me ill, I have never deserved it from you, and if ye have had some affront with my sons, ye well know that they shall uphold as knights everything that I have said.”

“We shall see soon,” Sir Grumedan said, “and to you I wish no more ill or good than what is due for the way I see you counsel the King.”

The King, although he had erred against Amadis without reason, considered that he might have to further anger him in these matters, but his new passion could not overcome his old and accustomed virtue. When he heard what Sir Grumedan said, he was very pleased and asked which knights were coming to free the damsels. Grumedan recounted them all by name.

“A fine group of good and wise knights,” the King said.

When Gandandel heard them named, he was very frightened and regretted what he had said about his sons, for he knew well that their skill did not come close to equaling that of Sir Florestan, Agrajes, Brian of Monjaste, and Gavarte of Valtemoroso. As soon as the King had ordered Madasima and her damsels returned to prison, Gandandel went to his brother-in-law Brocadan with great anguish in his heart because things had gone completely the opposite from how he had first thought, and they might well receive the reward that evil deserved.

And now, in this case, things will happen just as the Evangel says: no hidden thing will go unknown.

Gandandel went with Brocadan to a private part of his house to discuss the arrival of the knights from Firm Island and how to try to make the King order the deaths of Madasima and her damsels before they arrived. Brocadan blamed Gandandel for the evil he did to Amadis by telling baseless falsehoods about him to the King and for all the other things that had happened in that evil business. He expressed great concern and sorrow over the bad counsel they had given and feared that the wrath of God and the King would soon arise, causing the loss of his honors and of his sons, for whose cause this had all begun.

As they spoke, it happened that Brocadan’s niece, who was in love with a young knight named Sarquiles, nephew of Angriote de Estravaus, had hidden him in a side room next to the chamber where those two, alone and secretly, were having their discussion. He heard everything they said and learned their evil secrets, and was very astonished.

When they left and night came, he departed, put on all the armor he had left in a house outside the town, mounted his horse in the morning and rode back as if he had come from the other way. He went to the King’s palace and spoke to him, saying:

“My lord, I am native to your lands and was raised in your court, and I want to protect you from all evil and trickery so that ye do not err in your affairs by following someone else’s will. Not yet three days ago I was where I heard some men who wished to give you bad advice that would go against your honor and good name. I tell you not to trust anything Gandandel and Brocadan may say to you about Madasima and her damsels, since there are such people in your court who would counsel you with less dishonesty. Ye and everyone else will know why I am moved to say this within twelve days. If ye remember what I say when they speak, ye can immediately understand that I know something about them. And my lord, may God be with you, for I am going to see my uncle Angriote.”

“May God be with you,” the King said, and he thought long about what he had been told.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chapter 63 [part 3 of 3]

[How Amadis and Sir Galvanes and the other knights learned that Madasima had been sentenced to death.] 

[The door in the prison at Segovia Castle. Photo by Sue Burke.] 

Amadis and his companions who left King Lisuarte’s court, as ye have heard, arrived at Firm Island, where they were received with great pleasure and happiness by everyone who lived there, whose sorrow at having lost their new lord was turned into twice as much pleasure for their spirits at having him return.

The knights saw how strong the castle was and that the only entrance to the island was through it, and saw that the island was large, and the land was as fertile and delightful as they had heard, populated by so many good people. Having seen this, they said the island was suitable for waging war from it against the whole world. They were immediately lodged in the biggest town which lay at the foot of the castle.

Know ye that this island was nine leagues long and seven wide, and it was filled with towns and other fine dwellings of the knights of that land. In the most enjoyable places, Apolidon had made four dwellings for himself, the most rare and delightful that man could ever see. The first was the one with the serpent and the lions; the second with the deer and the dogs. The third, which was called the spinning palace, was a house that three times per day and three times per night turned around so sharply that those inside it thought they were sinking. The fourth was called the bull, because each day a very brave bull would come out of an old tunnel and charge at people as if it wished to kill them. Everyone would flee from it, and its mighty horns would break down the iron door of a tower. It would enter, but soon it would come out tame, ridden by a monkey so old and wrinkled that its skin hung off it everywhere. The monkey would strike the bull with a whip and make it enter the tunnel from which it had emerged.

All the knights had much pleasure and delight to see these enchantments and the many others that Apolidon had made out of his devotion to giving pleasure to his beloved Grimanesa so she would always have something with which to pass the time. And all the knights were very firm in their love for Amadis and to obey whatever his will was to do.

At this time, as ye hear, the hermit Andalod arrived, the one who had lived at Poor Rock when Amadis was there. He came to bring order to the monastery at Firm Island that ye have heard about. And when he saw Amadis thus, he gave many thanks to God for having given such a good man life, and gazed at him and embraced him as if he had never seen him before. Amadis kissed his hands and thanked him humbly for the health and life that through God and him he had recovered.

Then a monastery was founded at the foot of a peak on Firm Island at the hermitage of the Virgin Mary where Amadis, desperate for life, with great pain in his heart over the letter that his lady Oriana had sent him, had prayed and was lost to the world as ye have heard earlier. Andalod had brought a priest named Sisian and thirty friars for the monastery. Amadis ordered them to receive enough income to support their lives comfortably, and Andalod returned to Poor Rock as before.

Then Balais of Carsante arrived, whom Amadis had rescued from Arcalaus’s prison, and who had gone to bid farewell to King Lisuarte when he learned that Amadis had left him discontented. Olivas also came, who had helped Agrajes and Sir Galvanes in his battle with the Duke of Bristol. They asked Balais for news of the court of King Lisuarte, and he said:

“There is exceedingly much to tell.”

Then he told them:

“Know, my lords, that King Lisuarte has sent orders to all his men to join him immediately. Count Latine and the knights he had sent to take Mongaza Island had sent him word that the old giant had relinquished all the castles that were in the power of himself or his sons, but Gromadaza did not wish to give up Boiling Lake, the strongest castle in all the island, as well as three other very strong castles.

“And know that Gromadaza said that never in all the days of her life will she abandon the places where she had lived with her husband Famongomadan and son Barsagante. She would die before she delivers them, and the King will always receive trouble from her. And as for her daughter Madasima and her damsels, the King may do what he wishes to them, for she cares little for them or their lives, and their loss would give her a only a little sadness. And so I say she may be taken as an example of how rigorous and strong is the heart of an angry woman, willing to abandon all that she was engendered for and that her nature cannot achieve, and necessarily her slight wisdom cannot help her. And if a woman is not like this, it is due to the great grace of God in Whom all power is and Who can guide events without any difficulty as He pleases, forcing all things of nature to be contrary.”

After Balais had delivered this news, they asked him what the King had said and planned to do, and he told them:

“In front of all his men, as I have told you, he swore that if Gromadaza’s castles were not his within a month, he would have Madasima and her damsels beheaded, and then he would march to Boiling Lake and would attack until he had taken them, and if he had the old giantess in his power, he would throw her to his brave lions.”

When they heard this news, they were very angry. They had Balais and the other knights given lodging, and they spoke a lot about it. But Sir Galvanes, who had not forgotten the promise he had made to Madasima, and whose heart was tormented by great anguish and pain, told them:

“My good lords, ye all know well that the principal cause for which Amadis and ourselves left the King was over Madasima and me. I beg you all to help me fulfill the promise I made, and to protect her with just reason, and if reason is not enough, to protect her with arms, which with God’s help and yours I believe I could well do.”

Sir Florestan stood up and said:

“My lord Sir Galvanes, there are others here who are wiser and can give better counsel than I, and they can help you protect Madasima if she can be defended with reason, which would be best. But if it is necessary to fight, I shall take on the battle in the name of God to defend her and to support your promise.”

“My good friend,” Sir Galvanes said, “I thank you for that as much as I can, because ye have shown yourself to be my loyal friend. But if she must be freed by arms, it ought to fall on me to do it, since I made that promise to her, and I shall do it.”

“My good lords,” Brian of Monjaste said, “ye both speak well, but we all have our part in this deed. What happened with Amadis with the King showed us how little we were regarded, and what happened between him and you, my lord Sir Galvanes, could also have befallen to any one of us who were there. But if we do not become involved in this, we should all be diminished, although the principal cause was Amadis’s. So, since we all left together and are together now, what befalls to one of us befalls us all, and so there is no private matter. And leaving that aside, Madasima is a damsel, one of the most lovely in the world, and she is in danger of losing her life, as are her damsels. Since one of the principles of the order of knighthood is to rescue such women, I tell you that I shall strive that they be defended with reason, and if that fails, with arms as long as my strength shall last.”

Sir Cuadragante said:

“Truly, Sir Brian, ye speak like a man of high estate, and I believe ye shall do the very best ye can, yet this business affects us all, and so we must all take it as our own so they hold us as worthy men. Now and without delay, because waiting often adds little to intentions, we must put this effort in effect, for there will not be a better time. And remember, my lords, these damsels are now miserable and forsaken, but they were not put in prison by their own volution but due to the obedience that Madasima owed to her mother. So, although the King may hold something against them in this world, God holds nothing against them, and so they have been condemned by force rather than their will.”

Amadis said:

“I am very pleased, my lords, to hear what ye say, because we should expect only a good outcome from things considered out of love and concord. And if ye maintain your mighty and brave hearts in the future the way they are now, no only do I think these damsels will find great aid, but this will lead to other great deeds, for none in the world can equal you. And if ye are all agreed to help, if ye please, I shall say what it seems to me should be done.”

They all asked him to say it. So he told them:

“There are twelve damsels. I think it good that they be rescued by twelve of you knights either by reason or by arms, one for each of them, together if possible or separately as necessity may demand. I am certain that all of ye here, with your great courage, would take this challenge for enjoyment and pleasure, but that cannot be, for there can only be twelve. I wish to name them, and the others and I shall remain here for things of greater danger that may occur to us.”

Then he said:

“Ye, my lord Sir Galvanes, are the first, for the business is principally yours; and your cousin Agrajes; my brother Sir Florestan; my cousins Palomir and Dragonis; Sir Brian of Monjaste; Nicoran of the White Tower; Orlandin, son of the Count of Urlanda; Gavarte of Valtemoroso; Imosil, brother of the Duke of Burgundy; Madansil of the Silver Bridge; and Ladaderin of Fajarque. I hold these twelve to be good because among them are sons of kings and queens and duke and counts of such high lineage that none of them can fail there because they have no par.”

They were all very pleased by what Amadis had said, and those who where named immediately went to their lodging to arrange everything necessary for their departure, which would be early in the morning the next day. That night they all stayed in Agrajes’s lodging, and at midnight they were armed. They mounted their horses and got on the road to Tasilana, the town where King Lisuarte was.