Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The third book of Amadis of Gaul begins [part 2 of 3]

[How the messages were received at the court of King Lisuarte, especially by Oriana and Mabilia.] 

[Map of Great Britain, drawn in the 13th century by Matthew Paris, a monk at St. Alban’s Abbey.] 


Ten days later, Sadamon and Gandales arrived at the town were King Lisuarte was in his palace hall with a good number of knights and other noblemen. He received them with goodwill, although he already knew from a messenger that Cendil of Ganota had sent ahead that they came to challenge him. Sadamon and Gandales gave him their credentials, and the King ordered them to say everything they had been told to say.

Sir Gandales told him:

“My lord, Sadamon shall tell you what the high-born men and knights at Firm Island sent him to say, and then I must tell you what Amadis sent me to say, for I come to you with a mission and with a message from Agrajes for the Queen, if it pleases you to let me see her.”

“It would please me greatly,” he said, “and she would be pleased to see you, for ye served her daughter Oriana very well when she dwelled in your lands, for which I thank you.”

“Ye are welcome,” Gandales said, “and God knows it would please me to be able to serve you and how much it weighs on me not to be able to.”

“So think I,” the King said, “and may it not weigh on you to do what ye ought to do for he whom you brought up, because to do anything else would bring you censure.”

Then Sadamon told the King the message just as it has already been recounted, and at the end he challenged him and all his kingdom and all his men, as was his duty. And when he said that there was no hope for peace if the Island of Mongaza were not returned to Sir Galvanes and Madasima, the King said:

“This shall not happen soon, if that is what they hope for. May God help me, I shall not consider myself king unless I conquer their madness.”

“My lord,” Sadamon said, “I have told you what they ordered me to say, and if I were to say anything more, it goes beyond my mission. Responding to what ye said, I tell you, my lord, he who would pride himself in conquering these knights would need great wealth and power, and it would be harder to do that than ye think.”

“This may be true,” the King said, “but now it shall be seen whose power is enough, mine and my men’s, or theirs.”

Sir Gandales told him on Amadis’s behalf everything that ye have heard, leaving out nothing, as one who was well spoken. And when he said that Amadis would not go to the Island of Mongaza because he was the one who had won it, nor to anywhere where the Queen might be to avoid causing affront, all considered that to be good and very loyal, as they agreed among themselves and so did the King.

Then the King ordered the messengers to disarm and eat, for it was meal time. And so it was done, and in the hall where they ate the King ordered a table set opposite his, with his nephew Giontes and Sir Guilan the Pensive and other esteemed knights, who for their great worth he went to extremes to give honor beyond all others. This brought them enhancement, and the others, if they were lesser, were encouraged to be as good as them, so they would all be held equally by their lord the King.

And if all kings were like him, they would make the men in their service virtuous, brave, loyal, and loving, and would esteem them more than temporal riches. These kings would recall the words of Fabricius, the famous consul of Rome. The ambassadors of the Samnites, whom he was going to conquer, had brought him generous gifts of gold and silver and fine jewels because they had seen him eating with earthenware vessels, and they hoped to placate him and cause him to abandon what the Senate had sent him to do to them. But he, in his great virtue, rejected the riches that many risk their lives and souls to get, and he said:

“We Romans do not want treasures, we want to conquer and rule over the lords of treasures.”

The force behind these words cannot be executed without knights of exceeding skill and worth, who serve their lords with great love in exchange for the benefits and honors that they may receive from them.

During the meal, the King was very happy and told all the knights to prepare as quickly as they could to go to the Island of Mongaza and that, if it were necessary, he himself would go with them. When the tablecloths were lifted, Sir Grumedan brought Gandales to the Queen, who wished to see him. This pleased Oriana and Mabilia immensely, because they would learn the news they longed to hear about Amadis from him.

When he entered the chamber where the women were, he was received well and with great affection, and the Queen had him sit before her, next to Oriana. She told him:

“Sir Gandales, my friend, do ye recognize this damsel next to you, whom ye served so well?”

“My lady,” he said, “if I have done some service for her, I consider myself blessed, as I do every time that I can serve you, my lady, or her, and so I would do for the King if he were not in opposition to Amadis, whom I raised and who is my lord.”

When the Queen heard this, she told him that he should serve Amadis. “But while ye protect his honor, my good friend, ye may advise him and bring peace better than anyone else, as I shall do as well as I can with my lord the King.”

“I shall do this willingly,” Gandales said, “as much as I can and as my counsel may serve, and may God do what He thinks may be good.”

The Queen told him:

“May what ye have said be done also for my love.”

Gandales told her:

“My lady, I came with message from Amadis to the King, and he also ordered me that if I could see you, to kiss your hands for him as he who is sorry to be separated from your service. And I was also asked by Agrajes to ask for the mercy of sending his sister Mabilia to him. Since he and Sir Galvanes are no longer within the love of the King, she has no reason to be in your house.”

When Oriana heard this, she felt great sorrow and tears came to her eyes. She could not contain herself due to the heart-felt love she had for Mabilia and because without her she did not know what to do at her childbirth, which was drawing near.

But when Mabilia saw her, she felt very sad for her, and told her:

“Oh, my lady, what a great injustice your father and mother would do to take me from you.”

“Do not weep,” Gandales said, “for this issue shall be resolved well, and when ye leave here, ye shall be taken to your aunt, Queen Elisena of Gaul, and other than the Queen we have here, there is none more honored and better attended, and ye shall enjoy the company of your cousin Melicia, who loves you dearly.”

“Sir Gandales,” the Queen said, “I am very sorry over what Agrajes wishes, and I must speak of it with the King. If he takes my advice, this princess shall not leave here until she is wed with someone of equally high estate.”

“Then do so quickly,” he said, “because I cannot wait long.”

The Queen sent for the King to be called. When Oriana saw him, in whose will was her only hope, she went to him and knelt and said:

“My lord, ye know how much honor I received in the court of the King of Scotland, and how when ye sent for me they gave me their daughter Mabilia, and how poor it would be of me if she were not repaid. And besides this she is the only aid I have for my suffering and illnesses. Now Agrajes has been sent for her, and if ye were to take her from me, ye would do me the greatest cruelty and injustice that has ever been done to anyone, unless she were first rewarded for the honors that I received from her father.”

Mabilia knelt next to her and took the hands of the King, weeping, and begged him not to let her be taken away, for she would die of despair. She embraced Oriana.

The King, who was very calm and understanding, said:

“My child Mabilia, do not think that due to the discord between myself and some of your family members that I would forget how ye have served me, and I shall not cease to accept all those of your bloodline who wish to serve me and give them my thanks, for there is no reason to reject some due to others, especially you, whom we owe so much. Until ye receive the reward that ye deserve, ye shall not be removed from my house.”

She wished to kiss his hands, but he would not let her. He rose them up and had them sit on an estrado, and he sat between them.

Sir Gandales, who saw all this, said:

“My ladies, since ye love each other so much and have been together for so long, anyone who separated you would be unreasonable. And my lady Oriana, nor by my will nor my advice shall Mabilia be separated from you except in the way that ye and the King shall order. Now I have delivered my message to the King and the Queen, and I shall give the answer to your uncle Sir Galvanes and your brother Agrajes, and however it may please or trouble them, they shall consider proper what the King may do and what ye, my lady, may wish.”

After that, he told the King and Queen:

“My lords, I wish to go.”

The King told him:

“Godspeed, and tell Amadis that regarding what he had ordered be told to me, that he would not go to the Island of Mongaza since he won it for me, that I think he did so more for his advantage than to advance my honor, and since I understand that, I thank him. And from today on, may each one do as he thinks best.”

And he left the chamber to go to the palace hall.

The Queen said:

“Sir Gandales, my friend, pay no heed to the angry words of the King or Amadis. Instead I beg you to try to make peace between them, as I shall do. Give my warmest greetings to Amadis and tell him I appreciate his courtesy in sending me the notice that he would not do any affront anywhere I may be, and I beg him to honor me when I may send him an order.”

“My lady,” he said, “I shall do all in my power to fulfill your orders.”

He said his farewells to her, and she asked God to protect him and to use His Grace to restore the friendship between the King and Amadis.

Oriana and Mabilia called him, and Oriana told him:

“My lord Sir Galvanes, my loyal friend, I am very sorry that I cannot reward you for the service ye did for me, for the time does not allow it nor do I have what would be required to repay all that ye deserve, but when it shall please God I shall do what I ought and wish to do.”

When Sir Gandales heard this, he said:

“My lady, as my services were small, I get great satisfaction from your deep thanks, since there is no greater reward. And my lady, at any time tell me how I can serve you in any way, for ye know that I am yours and pay no attention to the loss of love now between Amadis and your father. And although he may not love the King, ye, my lady, should not cease to care for him, since he has always served you since his childhood when he was known as the Childe of the Sea and later as a knight with many deeds. Besides the many and well-known services he did for your father the King, and for which he got a poor reward, he freed you from the hands of the vile sorcerer Arcalaus, from whom ye could have only received great dishonor. And so, my lady, it does not seem that he has lost the affection of everyone, for it is well known that he did not deserve what the King did, and for that, my lady, my spirit feels deep pain to see him receive such a bad reward in repayment for his great services.”

Oriana, when she heard this, replied with great humility:

“Sir Gandales, my good friend, all that ye say is very true, and I am quite displeased at this loss of affection, because between their hearts one can hope for nothing but more ill-will and harm that grows each day, if God in His mercy does not send help. But I place my hopes that He shall bring this wrong to an end. Give Amadis my fond greetings and tell him that I beg him to remember the things that happened in my father’s house. May the present and future temper the counsel and orders of my father, who esteems and loves him dearly.”

Mabilia told him:

“Gandales, with thanks I ask you to give my regards to my cousin and lord Amadis, and to my lord and brother Agrajes, and to my virtuous lord Sir Galvanes, my uncle. Tell them that I ask them not to wish nor work to separate me from my lady Oriana, because it would be a lost cause, since I would rather lose my life than leave her against her will. And give this letter to Amadis, and tell him that he will find everything in it about what I am doing, and I think that it will be a great consolation for him to receive it.”

After Gandales heard this, he said his farewells and left them. He took Sadamon, who was with the King, and they armed themselves and took to the road. As they left the town they found many of the King’s men in armor, preparing to go to the Island of Mongaza, which the King had ordered so that the two messengers would see all those fine knights and would tell those who had sent them about it and strike fear in their hearts. And they saw among them the King’s commanders, including the King Arban of North Wales, who was a courageous knight; and Gasquilan the Troublesome, who was the son of Madarque, the brave giant of Sad Island, and a sister of Lancino, King of Suesa.

Gasquilan the Troublesome had such endeavor and courage at arms that when his uncle Lancino died without an heir, everyone in the kingdom thought he ought to become their king and lord. And when Gasquilan heard about the war between King Lisuarte and Amadis, he left his kingdom and to take part in it and prove himself in battle against Amadis, ordered by a lady whom he dearly loved. This shall be told more fully and completely in the fourth book, where the battle between this knight and Amadis, son of King Perion of Gaul, shall be recounted in detail, and so no more shall be said here to avoid an excess of words.

Sir Gandales and Sadamon observed these knights and continued on their way, concluding that while these were good men, the men of Firm Island would not be frightened by them.

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