Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chapter 67 [part 1 of 2]

In which is recounted the cruel battle between King Lisuarte and his men, and Sir Galvanes and his companions; and the King’s generosity and grandeur after their defeat, giving the land to Sir Galvanes and Madasima, making them vassals for as long as they lived there.

[View of the Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra, Portugal. Photo by Duca696.] 

As ye have heard, King Lisuarte disembarked in the port of the island of Mongaza, where he found that King Arban of North Wales and his men had retreated to a camp on some rocky peaks. Lisuarte ordered them to descend immediately and join the men he had brought. He learned that Sir Galvanes and his companions, who had been at Burning Lake, had crossed the mountains, and that they were preparing to do battle.

Lisuarte and all his men immediately began to move toward them as fast as possible, and he encouraged them as much as he could, as he who was accompanied by the best knights in the world. They traveled until they were a league away from their opponents on the bank of a river, and there they stopped to spend the night. When daylight broke, they all heard Mass and armed themselves, and the King split his men into three divisions.

The first was of five hundred knights with Sir Galaor, and among them were his companion Norandel, Sir Guilan the Pensive and his cousin Ladasin, Grimeo the Valiant, Cendil of Ganota, and Nocoran of the Fearful Bridge, the very good jouster.

The second division he gave to King Cildadan with seven hundred knights. Among them were Ganides of Gantoa, the King’s nephew Acedis, Gradasonel Fillistre, Brandoivas, Tasian, and Filispinel, all of them well-esteemed knights.

In the middle division went Sir Grumedan of Norway and the knights who had come with King Arban of North Wales, who were charged with protecting the King and no other duties. So they moved through the field, exceptionally splendid and well-armed men, and so many bugles and trumpets sounded that one could hardly hear. They took up positions on a level field, and behind the King rode Baladan and Leonis with thirty knights.

Sir Galvanes and the high noblemen who were with him learned of this and of the state and number of King Lisuarte’s troops, and how there were five of Lisuarte’s men for every one of their own. Their numbers were depleted by the imprisonment of Sir Brian of Monjaste and the departure of Agrajes to bring provisions that they needed. But they were not dismayed by that. Instead, Galvanes inspired his men with great courage, whose numbers were few but they had done great feats at arms, as this story has told.

They agreed to create two divisions, one with one hundred and six knights, and the other with  one hundred and nine. In the first one rode Sir Florestan, Sir Cuadragante, Angriote d’Estravaus, his brother Grovedan, his nephew Sarquiles, and his brother-in-law Gasinan, who carried the pennant of the damsels. Near the pennant rode Branfil and the faithful Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, Olivas, Balais of Carsante, and Enil, the good knight whom Beltenebros brought to the battle with King Cildadan.

In the other division rode Sir Galvanes and with him the two good brothers Palomir and Dragonis, Listoran of the Tower, Dandales of Sadoca, and Tantalis the Proud. Ahead of the divisions came some archers and men with crossbows. With this highly unequal company compared to the King’s great numbers, they rode into the level field where the others were waiting.

Sir Florestan and Sir Cuadragante called Elian the Vigorous, who was one of the best-looking knights and better armed than most of the rest, and told him to go to King Lisuarte with two other knights who were his cousins, and to tell him that if he would order the crossbows and archers to be removed from between the divisions of knights, they would have one of the most beautiful battles ever seen. These three immediately went to fulfill their orders, and when they had ridden ahead of the troops, they seemed so handsome that everyone watched them. And know that Elian the Vigorous was the nephew of Sir Cuadragante, son of his sister and Count Liquedo, first-cousin of King Perion of Gaul.

When they arrived at the first division led by Sir Galaor, they asked for safe conduct, for they were coming with a message for the King. Sir Galaor gave them assurance and sent Cendil of Ganota with them to protect them from the others. When they came before the King, they said:

“My lord, Sir Florestan and Sir Cuadragante and the other knights who are there to defend the lands of Madasima, sent us to you to say that if it pleases you, take away the crossbows and archers between us, and ye shall see a beautiful battle.”

“In the name of God,” the King said, “remove yours, and Cendil of Ganota shall withdraw mine.”

This was done at once, and the three knights returned to their company, and Cendil went to Sir Galaor to tell him why they had come to see the King. Then the divisions moved toward each other so close that there were not three flights of arrows between them. Sir Galaor recognized his brother by the insignia on his armor, as well as Sir Cuadragante and Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, who rode ahead of their men. He said to Norandel:

“My good friend, do ye see there where those three knights are together, the best that a man could find? The one with the scarlet shield with white lions is Sir Florestan, and the one with the indigo shield with golden flowers and purple lions is Angriote d’Estravaus, and the one who has an indigo field with silver flowers is Sir Cuadragante. The one ahead of the others, with the green shield, is Gavarte of the Fearful Valley, the very good knight who killed the dragon, which is how he got his name. Now we shall attack them.”

Then they rode with their lances lowered, covered by their shields, and the three opposing knights prepared for them. Norandel spurred his horse and went straight at Gavarte of the Fearful Valley and struck him so hard that he threw him from his horse onto the ground with the saddle on top of him. This was the first blow that he did, and it was held by all as a very fine beginning.

Sir Galaor met with Sir Cuadragante, and both struck so hard that they and their horses went to the ground. Cendil struck Elian the Vigorous, and although their lances broke and they were injured, they remained on their horses.

At this time all the divisions began to fight each other, and the noise of the shouting and the blows was so great that the bugles and trumpets could not be heard. Many knights were killed or injured, and others knocked from their horses. Great rage and anger grew in the hearts of both sides. But most of the men went to protect Sir Galaor or Sir Cuadragante, who were fighting hard and hand-to-hand, attacking with swords to defeat each other, and they put fear into all who saw them.

By then on one side and the other more than one hundred knights had dismounted to help them and give them their horses, but Sir Galaor and Sir Cuadragante were fighting so closely and so fiercely that they could not be separated. What Norandel and Guilan the Pensive was doing for Sir Galaor could not be told to you, nor what Sir Florestan and Angriote was doing for Sir Cuadragante, and as there were more men on their side, they charged, but the blows were so dangerous that they gave way and did not dare to confront them.

But in the end so many were fighting each other that Sir Galaor and Sir Cuadragante had time to mount their horses. Then they attacked like enraged lions, knocking down and injuring all those before them, and each one helping his side.

At that moment King Cildadan attacked with his division so bravely that many knights went to the ground on both sides, but Sir Galvanes immediately came to the aid of his men and attacked his opponents so fiercely that it was understood that the fight was his and the battle had been called because of him. He feared neither death nor danger, which he held as nothing compared to the chance to do harm to those who had disdained him and had come to take what was his. Those in his division followed him into the fight, and as they were all select and very brave knights, they did great harm to their opponents.

Sir Florestan came with great wrath because he thought the contention was really about his brother Amadis, although he was not present, and if the knights on his side, moved by their great valor, ought to do amazing deeds, he ought to do even more, so he charged like a rabid dog looking to do the most harm it could. He saw King Cildadan, who was fighting bravely and doing great harm to his opponents, so much that at that time his deeds surpassed those of his men. Sir Florestan charged at him through the knights, who for all the blows they gave him could not stop him. He reached the King so violently and so eager to attack that he could do no other thing but grab him in his strong arms, and the King grabbed him.

They were immediately aided by the many knights that protected them, but they both lost their horses and fell onto the ground on their feet, put their hands on their swords, and gave each other mighty and mortal blows. But the good knight Enil and Angriote d’Estravaus, who protected Sir Florestan, were able to get him his horse, and when Sir Florestan mounted, he entered the fray doing wonders at arms, thinking of what his brother Amadis could do if he were there.

Norandel, whose armor was damaged and who was bleeding in many places, thrust his sword as deep as the hilt in many of the blows he gave with it. When he saw King Cildadan on foot, he called to Sir Galaor:

“My lord Sir Galaor, look to how your friend King Cildadan is. Let us help him. If not, he is dead.”

“Now, my good friend,” Sir Galaor said, “your excellence is shown. Let us give him a horse and stay with him.”

Then they entered the fight, attacking and knocking down whomever they could reach, and with great effort they got him on a horse, for he was badly injured by the blow of a sword that Dragonis had given him to the head, and blood ran freely into his eyes. And at that moment King Lisuarte’s men could do no more against the great strength of their opponents and would have been driven from the field unable to return the blows of the swords, if Sir Galaor and other distinguished knights had not come to help and regather them until they had reached King Lisuarte. When he saw them arriving defeated, he shouted:

“Now, my good friends, with your great skill, we shall defend the honor of the Kingdom of London!”

He spurred his horse, shouting, “Clarence, Clarence!” which was his surname, and charged his enemies at their strongest point. When he saw how bravely Sir Galvanes was fighting, the King struck him so hard that his lance flew in pieces and he lost his stirrups and grabbed the neck of his horse. He put his hand on his sword and began to attack on all sides. Thus he displayed the better part of his strength and courage, and his men shared his spirit and fought bravely with him.

But it all came to naught, for Sir Florestan, Sir Cuadragante, Angriote, and Gavarte, who found themselves together, did such deeds at arms that by their great strength it seemed is if their enemy would be defeated, and everyone thought that King Lisuarte’s men were going to be pushed from the field. The King, who saw his men retreating and in poor condition, felt great shame at losing. He called Sir Guilan the Pensive, who was badly injured and who came to him, along with King Arban of North Wales and Grumedan of Norway, and he told them:

“I see our people suffering, and I fear that God, Whom I have never served as I should, shall not give me honor in this battle. Let us do what we can, so that I could be said to be a king defeated and killed honorably, but never defeated alive with dishonor.”


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