Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chapter 68 [part 1 of 4]

In which is recounted how, when Amadis and Sir Bruneo remained behind in Gaul, Sir Bruneo was very happy and Amadis was sad; and how Sir Bruneo decided to depart from Amadis in search of adventure; and how Amadis, his father King Perion, and Florestan agreed to go help King Lisuarte.

[Cochem Castle, Germany. See the full photo here.]

After King Cildadan and Sir Galaor left Gaul, Amadis and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar remained behind. But while they truly esteemed each other, they had different lives. Sir Bruneo was with his lady Melicia, and when he spoke with her, he thought about nothing else in the world. However, Amadis was far from his lady Oriana with no hope of seeing her, so everything around him gave him great sorrow and loneliness.

And so it happened that one day as he was riding along the seashore only accompanied by Gandalin, he headed to the top of some rocky hills to see if any ships had come from Great Britain so he could learn news from the land where his lady was. After he had waited there a while, he saw a ship coming from the place he had hoped for, and when it reached port, he told Gandalin:

“Go and learn the news from those who have arrived, and learn it well so thou canst tell it to me.”

He said this mostly so he could be alone and think about his lady, something Gandalin made difficult. When he had left, Amadis dismounted, tied his horse to the branches of a tree, and sat on a peak so he could better see Great Britain. As he sat there, he remembered the delights and pleasures he had enjoyed in that land in the presence of his lady, where everything he did was by her orders. It was far away and he had no hope to return, which made him very sorrowful, and he locked his gaze on that land as abundant tears fell from his eyes.

Gandalin went to the ship and as he watched the arrivals, he saw Durin, the brother of the Damsel of Denmark. He quickly approached and called him aside, and they embraced each other as those who care deeply for each other. Gandalin took him to Amadis. As they neared, they saw the devilish body of a giant with its back to them waving a javelin, which it hurled at Amadis. It passed close to his head but missed because of Gandalin’s shouts. Amadis, who became aware of his surroundings again, saw the great devil throw another javelin, but he leaped aside and it missed. Then he put his hand to his sword and ran to attack, but he saw it run away so fast that there was no way to overtake it.

It reached Amadis’s horse, mounted it, and shouted:

“Oh, Amadis, my enemy! I am Andandona, the giantess from Sad Island, and though I have not achieved my desire now, I shall soon avenge myself.”

Amadis had wanted to chase her on Gandalin’s horse, but when he saw that she was a woman, he stopped and told Gandalin:

“Take your horse and if thou canst cut off the head of that devil, it would be very good.”

Gandalin mounted and hurriedly left to chase her. Amadis, when he saw Durin, went to embrace him with great pleasure, for he thought he would certainly bring news about his lady. He took him to the peak where he had been and asked him about his trip. Durin gave him a letter from Oriana that were his credentials, and Amadis told him:

“Now tell me what thou wert sent to say.”

“My lord, your beloved is well and sends you her greetings. She asks you not to grieve but to be consoled, as she is, until God brings different times. And she wants ye to know that a son was born, which my sister and I took to Dalasta, the abbess of Miraflores, who will raise it as my sister’s son.”

But he did not tell him how they had lost the child.

“She also asks you, for the great love that ye have for her, not to leave this land until she gives you orders.”

Amadis was happy to learn about his lady and the child, but that command to remain in Gaul did not please him because with it his honor would suffer harm from what people would say about him. Still, whatever happened, he would not disobey her orders.

After he had spent a while there learning the news from Durin, he saw Gandalin coming, who had ridden after that devil, and he was bringing Amadis’s horse and the head of Andandona tied to its breast collar by her long gray hair, which gave Amadis and Durin great pleasure. Asked how he had killed her, Gandalin said that as he rode trying to catch her, she was dismounting to get into a boat she had hidden beneath some branches. In her haste, she made the horse rear up and fall onto her, and it struck her down.

“And I arrived and trampled her so she lay on the ground, and I cut off her head.”

Then Amadis mounted and rode to the town, ordered Andandona’s head be brought to Sir Bruneo so he could see it, and told Durin:

“My friend, go to my lady and tell her that I kiss her hands for the letter that she sent me and for what thou hast told me, and ask her to give me some compassion for my honor and not let me remain here resting for long, since I must not disobey her orders. Those who see me here at rest and do not know the reason for it will attribute it to cowardice and a weak heart. Virtue is hard to acquire and can be damaged with a little forgetfulness and time. The great glory and fame I have managed to win thinking of her and her favor will likely become darkened, since all men are naturally more inclined to speak ill and thus harm rather than advocate for what is good, and soon that fame would be so diminished and dishonored that death itself would not be its equal.”

With that, Durin returned to where he had come.

Sir Bruneo of Bonamar’s body had recovered from its injuries, and it was now even more inflicted by his spirit, for he saw his lady Melicia often, which caused his heart to burn in greater pain. He knew he could not achieve what he desired without making great effort and facing greater danger, doing deeds that merited his lady’s love, so he decided to depart from the pleasure of her company and seek that which would bring about what he so much desired to achieve. He felt himself ready to take up arms, and when he was in the hills with Amadis, who had nothing to do with his life but go hunting, he told him:

“My lord, my age and the little honor that I have won urge me to leave this relaxing life and to take up another where I may be extolled with more glory and praise. If ye are disposed to seek adventure, I shall wait for you, but if not, I ask for permission to go, for tomorrow I wish to be on my way.”

Hearing this, Amadis was tormented with great anguish for he longed to be on that road, but due to the prohibition by his lady he could not, and he said:

“Sir Bruneo, I would wish to be in your company because I could incur great honor, but the orders of my father the King prevent me, who tells me I am needed for some tasks in his reign. So for the time being I can only ask that God protect you.”

They returned to the town that night, and Sir Bruneo spoke with Melicia, who assured him that if it were the will of her father the King and of the Queen, she would be pleased to marry him. He bid farewell to her, and to the King and Queen, giving them great thanks for their kindness and pledging to be always in their service.

He went to bed, and at dawn heard Mass. Armed and mounted, he left with the King and Amadis, with great humility said goodbye to them, and took the road to where fate would lead him. He did many deeds and feats of arms that would be lengthy to recount, but for now no more will be said about him until the proper time.

Amadis remained in Gaul as ye hear, where he spent thirteen and a half months, during which time King Lisuarte lay siege to the castle at Burning Lake. Amadis went hunting in the forest, to which he was inclined more than to do any other thing.

Meanwhile, his great fame and exploits came to be darkened and despised by all those who blessed other knights who sought adventures at arms. They would curse him and say that in the prime of his life, he had abandoned what God had bestowed on him beyond all others. Ladies and damsels especially, who came to him with great injustices and injuries for him to remedy, found that he was not as he had been, and they left proclaiming on every road they traveled the discredit of his honor. Although all or most of this reached his ears and he held it as a great misfortune, not for that or any other thing did he dare disobey or ignore the orders of his lady.

And so during this time, as ye hear, while he was defamed and scorned by all as he waited for orders from his lady, King Lisuarte learned the fateful news that King Aravigo and six other kings were already at the Isle of Leonida with all their men to travel to Great Britain. Arcalaus the Sorcerer diligently urged them onward, making them believe that they would be lords of Great Britain as soon as they got there, and told them many other things so they would have no other plans except to attack.

King Lisuarte assembled as many men as he could to fight back. And although with his strong heart and great discretion he minimized this threat, the Queen did not. Instead, she told everyone with great anguish about the dire loss the King had suffered from the departure of Amadis and his family, who if they were there, the King’s opponents would be able to do very little against him.

But the knights who had been overcome at the Isle of Mongaza, although they held no good wishes for the King, saw that Sir Galaor was on his side along with Sir Brian of Monjaste, who on orders of King Ladasan of Spain had come with two thousand soldiers sent to help under the leadership and orders of Sir Brian. Sir Galvanes, who was Lisuarte’s vassal, agreed to come to his aid in that battle, where great peril at arms awaited.

Those assembled included Sir Cuadragante, Listoran of the White Tower, Imosil of Burgundy, Madansil of the Silver Bridge, and other companions who for their friendship had stayed there. They all hurried to prepare their arms and horses and everything necessary, expecting those seven kings to depart from the island soon and King Lisuarte to move against them.

Mabilia spoke one day with Oriana and said it was poor judgement in such times not to think about what Amadis ought to do. If by chance he were to oppose her father, peril would befall one of them. If her father’s side were defeated, in addition to the great injury that would come to her, losing the land that ought to be hers, her father would certainly be killed, considering how courageously he would fight in battle. And likewise, if Amadis’s side lost, Amadis would be killed.

Oriana realized that this was true and decided to write a letter to Amadis telling him not to fight against her father but to go anywhere he wished or remain in Gaul if that made him happy. This letter was placed inside another by Mabilia and carried by a damsel who had come to King Lisuarte’s court with gifts from Queen Elisena for Oriana and Mabilia. When the damsel bid farewell and returned to Gaul, she gave the letter with the message to Amadis, and after he had read it he was the happiest he could ever have been, like a man who left gloom and entered bright light.

But he was troubled and uncertain because by his own will he did not wish to be in the battle on the side of King Lisuarte, and he could not fight against him because his lady had prohibited it, so he could not decide what to do. So he went to his father the King with the most happy face he had worn until that time, and they spoke together sitting in the shade of some elm trees in a plaza next to the seashore. They spoke about various things, but most of all about the important news that they had heard from Great Britain concerning the uprising of those kings with great armies against King Lisuarte.


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