Tuesday, October 15, 2013

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

[How Sir Galvanes’ fleet left for the castle of the Burning Lake, and what happened there.] 

[The tribes of Judah and Simeon fighting enemies, from the Queen Mary Psalter, made in England between 1310 and 1320.] 

Sir Gandales and Sadamon traveled hard each day until they reached Firm Island, where those awaiting them were pleased to see them. When they had disarmed, they entered a beautiful garden where Amadis and all the other lords were relaxing. They told them everything that had happened with the King and how it had happened, and the men they had seen that were about to go to the Island of Mongaza, and how they were led by King Arban of North Wales and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, and why Gasquilan had come from such a far land, principally to do battle with Amadis and all the others, and how he was brave, fast, and highly considered by all who knew him.

Gavarte of the Fearful Valley said:

“To cure the painful yearning that has brought him here, he will find some excellent and wise teachers in Sir Florestan and Sir Cuadragante, and if they are busy, I am here to present myself to him because it would not be right for him to have traveled so far in vain.”

“Sir Gavarte,” Amadis said, “I tell you that if I were in pain, I would abandon all medicine and put my hope in God rather than take your cure and purgative.”

Brian of Monjaste said:

“My lord, I think ye are not being as careful about this as is required, and he ought to be helped so he could tell the doctors in his land what he found here for such illnesses.”

And after they had spent a while talking and laughing with great pleasure, Amadis asked if anyone there knew him, and Listoran of the White Tower said:

“I know him very well, and quite a lot about his family.”

“Tell us about him,” Amadis said.

Then Listoran told them who his father and mother were, and how he became king through his great courage, and how he fought very bravely during eight years as a knight, doing such deeds that in all his lands and the surrounding territories, no equal could be found.

“But I think he had not fought against knights like the ones he now comes to challenge. I fought against him in a tourney we held in Valtierra, and in our first encounter, we both fell with our horses to the ground, but the melee was so large that we were not able to attack each other further. The tourney was lost by my side due to knights who did not do what they ought to, and due to Gasquilan’s great courage, who was our mortal enemy. So he won two kinds of honor, and he did not fall from his horse that day except that time when we met each other.”

“Truly,” Amadis said, “ye speak of a great man who comes as a very honorable king to make his skills known.”

“That is true,” Sir Cuadragante said, “but he has erred because he ought to join our side, since we are fewer, and he could show more effort that way without losing honor.”

“He did the right thing,” Sir Galvanes said, “because he came to aid the side that is of greater number but weaker, and he could not display his strength if he did not fight against the best and strongest.”

As they spoke, the ship captains arrived and said:

“My lords, arm yourselves, gather what ye need, and get on the ships because the wind has arisen for the trip ye wish to make.”

Then they all left the garden happily, and the hurry and noise was so great among the men and the equipment of the fleet that one could hardly hear. They quickly armed themselves and put their horses on the ships, since everything else they would need had already been loaded, and with great pleasure they went out to sea.

Amadis and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, who were on a barque among the ships that were being prepared, found themselves next to a ship that carried Sir Florestan, Brian of Monjaste, Sir Cuadragante and Angriote de Estravaus, and they got on board. Amadis embraced them as if he had not seen them for a long time, and the great love he had for them and the solitude that he would face brought tears to his eyes, and he told them:

“My good lords, I am very happy to see you together.”

Sir Cuadragante told him:

“My lord, we shall be together by sea and land, unless fate separates us, and we have agreed to protect each other during this venture.”

They showed him an exceptionally beautiful pendant that they carried, which displayed twelve damsels with white flowers in their hands, not because they loved those damsels but in remembrance of the twelve damsels with which the matter had begun and who had been in great danger in King Lisuarte’s prison. They also carried it to give more honor to Sir Galvanes, whom they were helping, so he could see with what love and affection they held him in that conflict, because among friends, things done willfully are appreciated, and if they are done otherwise, they are considered to the contrary. And thus they ought to be considered, for they shall receive the reward from the recipient according to the affection with which those things are offered.

When Amadis saw the pendant, he was pleased by what it showed, and he told them to be careful to act wisely and not give more reign to their strength than to their discretion, because each time things are done without restraint and careful thought, they are lost, and that is how the side that has fewer and weaker men can defeat their opponents and become the victors over the side that is larger and stronger.

He said that each one should be governor and captain of himself because they were not made to be governed by anyone else but to reign and govern. He said there were great differences between private battles, which up until then they had fought, and general battles with a multitude of men because in them knowledge matters: in the first kind of battle one’s judgement need only concern itself with what each one was doing, but in general battles good men ought to govern the rest. In that way and with greater labor they can gain the most honor and glory, or when they are careless, loss and dishonor.

These and other things that he told them made them very happy. Then he bid farewell to them and, with Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and his foster-father Gandales, he returned to the barque and continued traveling among all the fleet, talking with the knights, until the fleet left for the sea behind Sir Galvanes’s ship, and Madasima brought up the rear in the last ship with a great noise of trumpets and horns, which was wonderful to behold.

And as ye hear, this great fleet left the port of Firm Island to travel to the castle of the Burning Lake, where the island of Mongaza was, leaving Amadis and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar on Firm Island en route to Gaul. The fleet sailed with such good weather that in seven days it docked before dawn at the castle of the Burning Lake, which was next to the seaport. They armed themselves and prepared the launches to land, and made bridges of planks and canvas to bring out the horses, all very quietly so that Count Latine and Galdar of Rascuil, who were in the town with three hundred knights, would not hear them.

But soon the night guards noticed and warned the knights that men had arrived, but they did not know how many because of the dark. When the Count and Galdar dressed and went to the castle and heard the noise of the men, there seemed to be a lot of them, and at the dawn of day they saw many ships.

Galdar said:

“Surely this is Sir Galvanes and his companions and friends who come to attack, and may God not help me if they can take the port from me as easily as they think.”

He ordered all his men to arm themselves, as did they, and they left the town to attack. Galdar went to a port next to the town, and Count Latine to another port at the castle, where Sir Galvanes and Agrajes were with their men. In the lead were Gavarte of the Fearsome Valley, Orlandin, Osinan of Burgundy, and Madancil of the Silver Bridge. Count Latine had many men on foot and horseback.

Galdar and another great company of men came to the other port, where Sir Florestan, Cuadragante, Brian of Monjaste, Angriote and their companions were approaching.

Then a cruel and dangerous battle began between both sides with lances and arrows and stones, so there were many injuries and deaths. Those on the land defended the ports until the third hour. But Sir Florestan found himself on a ship with Brian of Monjaste and Sir Cuadragante and Angriote, where they had their horses and two men with each of them. Florestan had Enil, that fine knight of whom ye have heard in the second book, and Morantes of Salvatria, who was his cousin. Brian had Coman and Nicoran; Cuadragante had Landin and Orian the Brave; and Angriote had his brother Gradovoy and his nephew Sarquiles.

Florestan shouted for them to lower the bridge and so they could leave on horseback.

Angriote told him:

“Why would you want to do something so crazy? If we leave on the bridges, the water is so deep that the horses will have to swim to get to land.”

Sir Cuadragante agreed, but Brian of Monjaste backed Florestan. The bridge was lowered and they both crossed, and at the end they had their horses leap into the water, which was so deep that it reached their saddle trees. Many of their opponents hurried there and attacked with great blows. They defended themselves at great danger until they could no more because their enemies were too many.

But soon Sir Cuadragante and Angriote arrived and joined them, as did the rest of their companions. The slope of the port was so great and the numbers of men who defended it were so many that they could not help. Palomir and Dragonis, when they saw them in such danger, had the trumpets and horns sounded to the shouts of their men, and they sent two galleys to beach with the fate that God might give them. In each one of them were thirty well-armed knights. The blow was so hard that the galleys were broken into pieces.

There the noise was so great with such shouting on one side and the other that it seemed the whole world was in tumult. Dragonis and Palomar were in the water up to their necks and the knights who clung to the planks of the broken ships were pushing each other forward and laboring until the water was up to their waists.

Although there were many well-armed men on the shore who resisted with great courage, they could not prevent Sir Florestan and his men from reaching land, and then Dragonis and Palomir and all their men. When Galdar saw that his men were losing ground and could not hold back such powerful opponents, with great valor and as best he could he had his men pull back or they would all be lost. He himself was badly wounded at the hand of Sir Florestan and Brian of Monjaste, who had knocked him from his horse, and he could barely hold himself on another horse that his men gave him.

As he rode toward the town, he saw that Count Latine came with all his men as fast as he could, since Sir Galvanes and Agrajes and their men, for whom the battle was being fought, had taken the port from him.

Know ye here that the Count had put Dandasido, the son of the old giant, and twenty other men of the village with him into a prison in the highest tower of the castle, suspecting their loyalty. Men were guarding them, and as the battle raged on between the knights, the jailors went to the top of the tower to watch it. When Dandasido realized that they were not being guarded and he had the chance to escape, he told those who were with him:

“Help me and we will get out of here.”

“How can we do that?” they said.

“We will brake the lock to this chain that holds us all.”

Then they put a thick hemp rope that was used to tie their hands and feet at night around the lock as fast as they could, and with the great strength of Dandasido and the rest of the prisoners, they broke the hasp, although it was very thick, and they all left. They quickly took the jailors’ swords, who were on top of the tower, as ye heard, and attacked them as they watched the battle in the ports, paying no attention to anything else, and they killed them all.

They shouted:

“To arms, to arms for our lady Madasima!”

When the people of the town saw this, they took the strongest towers of the town walls and killed everyone they could. When Count Latine realized this, he retreated through the gate he had left from and entered a house near it, with Galdar of Rascuil, and did not dare to continue, expecting death rather than life. The people of the town put up barricades in the streets and did all they could to help, and shouted to those outside to bring Madasima there and they would give her the town.

Cuadragante and Angriote came to a gate to see if it was true, and learned what Dandasido had done, and went to speak to Sir Galvanes. Then they all mounted and brought Madasima, with her beautiful face unveiled, on a white palfrey wearing a golden cape. When they neared the town, its people opened the gates and the hundred most honorable men came out and kissed her hands.

She told them:

“Kiss the hands of my lord and husband Sir Galvanes, who with God’s help freed me from death, and who has given me to you, who are my native people, and whom I lost against all that is right. Take him as your lord if ye love me.”

Then they all came to Sir Galvanes and knelt on the ground, and with very humble words they kissed his hands, and he received them with good will and grace, thanking and praising them for their great loyalty and the love they had for Madasima, their good lady. They entered the town quickly. Dandasido arrived and was very honored by Madasima and all the lords.

When this was done, Imosil of Burgundy said:

“We ought to dispatch all the enemies that are still in the town.”

Agrajes, who was bright with fury, said:

“I have ordered all the barricades be taken from the streets, and the orders will be for all to be dispatched and none be left alive.”

“My lord,” Florestan said, “do not let your ire and fury reign over you and cause you to do something that, after it is done, ye would rather be dead.”

“Ye speak well,” Sir Cuadragante said. “It is enough to put them in our uncle Sir Galvanes’s prison, if that can be done, because it is more useful to the winners to have the losers alive, considering the turns of mutable and uncertain fortune, which can turn on them or the winners just as quickly.”

They agreed that Angriote de Estravaus and Gavarte of the Fearsome Valley would carry that out. When they arrived at the house where Count Latine and Galdar of Rascuil were, they found all their men in poor condition and they themselves badly injured, with great pain in their souls because things had gone so badly. After speaking among themselves, they agreed to put themselves at the will and discretion of Sir Galvanes.

When the town and the castle were fully in the power of Madasima and her defenders, to their great pleasure, the next day they learned that King Arban of North Wales and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, had arrived at the harbor of that island with three thousand knights, landed quickly, and sent the fleet to bring them food.

This troubled them, knowing how many their opponents were and that own their men were in bad shape, but as men who feared shame, they remembered what Amadis had told them: to agree on what to do together, and although some thought it best to leave the castle and fight, they would not do so until all had recovered from their injuries and the horses and arms were in better condition.

And leaving both sides thus, the story shall tell about Amadis and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar, who remained on Firm Island.

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