Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chapter 97 [part 1 of 3]

How Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste became lost at sea during a storm, and how fate brought them to Queen Briolanja, and what happened to them with her. 

[Illustration of ships being wrecked during a storm at sea from Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, made in Naples, Italy, between 1425 and 1450. At the British Library.]

As this story has told, after Sir Grumedan left Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste, they continued on their way until they arrived at the port where they had their ship, which they boarded to leave for Firm Island with the answer that they carried from King Lisuarte. During the entire day the sea was very agreeable with a propitious wind for their voyage, but when night fell, the sea began to grow rough with such a fierce storm that they all thought they would be lost and drowned. And the storm was so large that the sailors lost track of where they were headed, and the ship passed through the sea without anyone at the rudder. They spent the entire night in tremendous fear, because in such a situation, neither weapons nor courage would suffice.

When day dawned, the sailors could better recognize where they were, and they found that they were very close to the kingdom of Sobradisa, where the very beautiful Queen Briolanja reigned. The sea had begun to grow more calm, and they wished to return to their voyage, although they would have to double back quite a long way, when they saw to the right a ship coming that was amazingly large. Since their ship was so fast that it could not be harmed even if it were an enemy, they decided to wait for it, and as it grew near and they could see it more clearly, it seemed to be the most beautiful ship they had ever beheld, both in its size and in the fine outfitting of everything that they could see, for the sails and the ropes were all silk and embellished and very finely made. And on board they saw knights and damsels talking, very handsomely dressed.

Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste were amazed to see the ship and could not imagine what it carried. Then they sent one of their squires in a skiff to go to find out whose that great ship was and who was traveling in it. The squire did so, and asked the knights if they would have such courtesy as to tell him, and they answered that Queen Briolanja was on board, and she was traveling to Firm Island.

“Merciful God,” the squire said, “such good news will bring great pleasure to the knights who sent me when they learn it.”

“Good squire,” the damsels said, “tell us, if ye please, what knights ye speak of.”

“My ladies,” he said, “they are two knights who are traveling to the same place as ye, and a storm at sea brought them here, where what they have found will be a great rest from their labors. And because they will tell you who they are as soon as I return, there is no need to know anything more from me.”

And with what ye have heard, he returned and told them:

“My lords, the news that I bring will give ye great pleasure, and the recent storm has done a very good deed, since on the trip back, ye will have fine company going where ye wish to go. Know that Queen Briolanja is traveling in that ship, and she is going to Firm Island.”

The two knights were very happy with what the squire had told them, and they ordered the ship be brought around to arrive at the other vessel. And when they were closer, the damsels recognized them, since they had seen them previously in the court of King Lisuarte, where their lady the Queen had spent some time. Very happily they went to tell their lady that two knights, good friends of Amadis, were there, and one was Sir Cuadragante and the other Sir Brian of Monjaste.

The Queen was joyful when she heard it, and left her chamber with the ladies she had brought with her to receive them, for her majordomo, Tantiles, had said how the two had left Firm Island to go to see King Lisuarte. And when she came out, they were already on board and went to kiss her hands, but she would not let them. Instead she put her arms around each one of them and so they spent a moment embraced with great pleasure, and when they arose, she embraced them again and told them:

“My good friends and lords, I thank God because I found you, for no other thing could come to me that would please me more than you, except to see Amadis of Gaul, whom I with such right any reason ought to love, as ye know.”

“My good lady,” Sir Cuadragante said, “it would be very unjust if it were not as ye say. May the pleasure that God gives you with us be rewarded, and we shall serve you in any way that ye order.”

“Many thanks,” she said, “and now tell me how ye came to this land.”

They told her how they had left Firm Island with the message that the lords there had sent to King Lisuarte, and everything that happened with him, and how they had reached no agreement on any issue; so they left out nothing. And when they were returning, the great storm of that previous night had brought them there, and they considered their efforts and labors well employed, since by that means they could serve her and protect her until she arrived where she wished.

The Queen told them:

“Indeed, I have not been very safe, not with the great fright of the storm as ye say, for truly, I thought we would never escape it, but as my ship is very strong and big, and its anchors and ropes very stout, it pleased the will of God that the tempest could never break them nor move them. And as for what ye say about King Lisuarte, I knew from my majordomo Tantiles that ye had gone to him on that mission, and I held it as a fact that since this was a King so constant and whom fortune has favored so completely and has exalted in everything, he would consider the cause of Oriana very seriously and would prefer to test and prove his might rather than formalize any agreement. And for this cause I decided to call together all my kingdom and all my friends beyond it, and with urgency I asked and ordered them to be prepared and supplied for war when my letter arrives. I left them all with a great desire to serve me, and I left my majordomo with them to guide them and bring them. And meanwhile I thought it would be good to go myself to Firm Island to be with Princess Oriana and to undergo with her the fate that God gives her. This is the reason why ye find me here, and I am very happy because we shall go together.”

“My lady,” said Sir Brian of Monjaste, “nothing is expected from such a fine and beautiful lady as you except all virtue and nobility, just as your good works deserve.”

The Queen asked them to order their ship to travel next to hers and that they be with her, and so they did, and they were lodged in a very fine chamber, and they always ate at her table with her, speaking of the things that pleased them most.

So as I tell you, they sailed through the sea toward Firm Island.

Now know here that when Abiseos, the Queen’s uncle, was killed along with his two sons by Amadis and Agrajes in revenge for his murder of the King, who was Abiseos’ brother and Briolanja’s father, which returned the kingdom to her, as has been told more extensively in the first book of this story, there was another son, very young, whom a loyal knight raised. This youth was now a strong and brave knight, to judge by what passed in the great confrontations in which he found himself. And from the time in which he was very young, he never thought nor did discretion give him the opportunity to do anything else but bear arms and procure his own advantage.

And now that he was older, he had spent time with some of his father’s servants who had fled, and they told him about the death of his father and his brothers and how the kingdom of Sobradisa by rights was his, and Queen Briolanja had taken it by force. And they said that if he had the courage to set right such an important concern for him as he had for other matters, with a little effort he could recover that loss and become a great lord, by returning to the kingdom or by finding another means, so that honorably, as the son of whom he was, he could take it.

And so this knight, who was named Trion, was now greedy to rule and continually thought about what his father’s servants had told him, waiting for the proper time when he could achieve his desire. As he had now learned of the great discord between King Lisuarte and Amadis, he thought that Amadis would be so occupied by it that he would not concern himself with anything else, and even if he were to, his might would not be enough to provide aid everywhere, since he had revolted against such great men.

And since that knight was the greatest obstacle before him, and knowing that Queen Briolanja had departed with a small company, for on board her ship she brought no more than twenty fighting men, and none of them with much experience, he left immediately from the stronghold castle that his father Abiseos had left him, which was all that he had possessed when he had killed his brother the King. He went to the home of some friends, and without telling them why, he gathered some fifty well-armed men and some crossbow men and some archers. He equipped two ships and set out to sea with the intention of capturing the Queen and with her gaining great advantage, and if he saw the chance, to take the entire kingdom.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chapter 96

How King Lisuarte asked for advice from King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Guilan the Pensive, and what their answer was. 

[Detail of the Serrano Towers, a gateway in the city walls of Valencia, completed in 1398. Photo by Sue Burke.]

After the knights left King Lisuarte, he had King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Guilan the Pensive called, and he told them:

“My friends, ye know the position that I am put in by the knights of Firm Island, and the great dishonor I have received from them, and if I do not respond in a way that will break their great pride, I would not consider myself a king nor do I think anyone else would. In order to give an accounting of myself the way that prudent men ought to do, which is to act after receiving a great deal of advice and deliberating carefully, I wish ye to tell me how things seem to you, as I have asked, so that I may make a decision that will serve my best interests.”

King Arban, who was a good and very prudent knight and who had a deep desire to honor the King, told him:

“My lord, these knights and I have thought very deeply and have spoken together, as ye ordered us, so that we can give you the best advice that our judgment can supply. We have found that since your will is not to reach any agreement with those knights, everything necessary must be sought with great diligence and discretion so that they may be brought to order and their madness contained. My lord, on one hand we see that the knights at Firm Island are numerous and very mighty in arms, as ye know, for by the grace of God they spent a long time in your service. And in addition to their abilities and resources, we have been assured that they have sent messengers to many places seeking help, which we believe they will find, because they are of great lineages, sons and brothers of kings and other great men, and because they have won a large number of friends. And when men arrive from many different places, soon they will constitute a great horde.

“And on the other hand, my lord, we have seen that your house and court has lost very many knights, more than at any other time in our memory. And the greatness of your estate has caused you to have many enemies who will now show the ill will that they hold against you, since many grievances of this kind are more often revealed in times of need, while during good times they are maintained in silence.

“So for these reasons as well as for many others that we could tell you, it would be good if your vassals and friends would be called upon to learn what they can offer, especially the Emperor of Rome, who has more at stake in this than you, as the Queen has told you. And once it is known how much strength ye can have, my lord, then ye may take vigorous action or whatever other course available to you.”

The King considered this good advice, and said that it was what he wished to do. And he ordered Sir Guilan to take charge of being the messenger to the Emperor, since such a knight as himself would be fitting for such a mission. He answered:

“My Lord, I am ready to serve you in this and in a great deal more. And may God be pleased in His mercy that this will result in an increase in your honor and estate, just as I myself wish for you, and may I be dispatched soon, so that your order will be carried out quickly.”

The King said:

“Ye will only need a letter of credentials, which is here, and ye should say to the Emperor that as he chose to send Salustanquidio and Brondajel de Roca, his senior majordomo, and a great many other knights to ask for my daughter Oriana so he could wed her, and as I decided to make him happy and to have him in my family, against the will of all my subjects who wanted to have her as their lady at the end of my days, I arranged to have her sent to him, although with great pity from me and with much sorrow and anguish from her mother to see her leave us to go to such foreign lands. When she was taken by his men with her ladies and damsels, and they were sailing in the sea beyond the limits of my kingdom, Amadis of Gaul and other knights who were his friends departed in another fleet from Firm Island and, after all the Emperor’s men were defeated and Salustanquidio killed, my daughter and all those who were still alive were taken by them to that island, where they hold her.

“They have sent messengers to me by whom they offered me some agreements, but, knowing that he more than I is involved in this matter, I did not wish to enter into any agreement with them until I informed him. He should know that what would make me most satisfied would be if we were to besiege them where they hold her and that a way we could show the entire world that we consider them thieves and robbers, and we as great princes shall punish them for their great insult to us. And ye should tell him whatever else ye think best in this case, and if he is in agreement, may it be immediately placed in execution, because injuries always grow when the solution to them is delayed.”

Sir Guilan told him:

“Everything shall be done as ye order, and may it please God if my voyage has the same effect as my will to serve you.” And taking a letter of credentials, he left for the sea, and this story shall recount what he did farther on.

When that was done, the King had Brandoivas called and ordered him to go to the island of Mongaza to see Sir Galvanes and tell him to come immediately with all the men on the island. And from there he should go to Ireland to see King Cildadan and give him the same message, and to work with him to come as best prepared for war as he could be to wherever Lisuarte was. In the same way he ordered Filispindel to go to Gasquilan, King of Suesa, and to tell him what was happening, for, as he was such a famous knight who was always in search of great deeds, now he would have the opportunity to demonstrate his virtue and the courage that burned in his heart.

And in the same way he sent many others of his friends, allies, and vassals, and called for his entire kingdom to be prepared by the time that those messengers returned. And he gave orders to look for as many horses and weapons as could be found in all parts so he would have as many mounted men as possible.

But now we shall leave this, and no more shall be said until its proper time, to tell what Arcalaus the Sorcerer did.

The story recounts that as Arcalaus the Sorcerer was in his castles, always hoping to cause some harm as he and all evil man are accustomed to do, news arrived to him about the discord and disruption between King Lisuarte and Amadis. The great pleasure he took from that need not be told, because those were the two men in the world whom he most despised, and his thoughts and concerns never ceased devising how he might cause their destruction.

He considered what he might do in this situation to cause them the greatest harm, since in his heart he could not find it to help either one of them. And as he was subtle in everything vile, he decided to try to bring together a third army made up of the enemies of both King Lisuarte and Amadis and to locate it in such a way that if there were a battle, the men on his own side could very easily defeat and destroy those who remained.

With this thought and desire, he mounted his horse, brought with him all the servants he would need, and traveled both by land and sea to King Aravigo, who had been left so badly injured after the battle that he and his companions, the other six kings, fought against King Lisuarte, as the third part of this story has recounted, and who had received such harm and dishonor in the battle from Amadis and his family. When he arrived, he said:

“Oh King Aravigo, since thou hast the great spirit and courage that the grandeur of thy royal estate requires and the great discretion thou must have to govern it, contrary fortune, which in the past has been such an enemy to thee, now has repented and wishes to make amends so that the great discredit to thy honor may be satisfied by a double victory, which if thou art wise, thou shalt realize is in thy hand. And thou, King, should know that I was in my castles thinking carefully about thy loss and how to find a way to repair it, because as thy servant the enhancement of thy royal estate would bring me great advantage; then I learned very trustworthy news that the great enemies of thee and me, King Lisuarte and Amadis of Gaul, have confronted each other over a cause of such magnitude that by no means is amends expected nor possible except by a great battle and combat that will cause the destruction of one of them, or by good fortune, of both. And if thou wishest to take my advice, it is certain that not only will the loss that thou suffered in the past with me be regained but thy estate will be increased by many more reigns, and afterwards all of us will be in thy service.”

After King Aravigo heard this and considered how Aracalaus had arrived from such distant lands with such haste, he said:

“My friend Arcalaus, the length of your journey and the fatigue it must have caused you give me reason to consider your arrival very important and to believe everything that ye have told me. I would like what ye have said to be recounted more extensively because my intention will always be to pursue whatever will serve my grandeur, even in adverse times.”

Arcalaus told him:

“As thou knowest, King, the Emperor of Rome wished to take a wife, and asked King Lisuarte to give him his daughter Oriana. Although the Princess was the rightful heir of Great Britain, Lisuarte, considering the Emperor’s grandeur, decided to give her to him and delivered her to a first cousin of the Emperor himself named Salustanquidio, a very powerful prince. He was with her and a large company of Romans traveling by sea when Amadis of Gaul and many knights who were his friends attacked them. After this prince was killed and his fleet was destroyed, and many of those in it taken prisoner or killed, Oriana was stolen and carried to Firm Island, where they hold her. Thou canst imagine the discredit that this brings to King Lisuarte and the Emperor.

“I wish thee to know that this Amadis of whom I speak was one of the knights who wore the armor with the insignia of serpents and who fought against thee and the other six kings in the great battle thou hadst with King Lisuarte. He was the one who wore the golden helmet, and due to his great deeds and courage, victory was snatched from thy hands. And, as a result of what I have described, King Lisuarte on one side and Amadis on the other are calling together all the men they can, so it can and must rightly be believed that the Emperor himself will come in person to avenge the great sorrow in his heart and his loss of honor. And thou canst conclude what harm could occur to them if there is a battle.

“If thou wouldst call up thy men, I shall provide the help of Barsinan, Lord of Sansuena, son of the other Barsinan whom King Lisuarte killed in London, and I can also give thee the entire lineage of the good knight Dardan the Arrogant, whom Amadis killed at Windsor, which would be a large company of very good knights. And I can also call upon the King of Deep Island, who escaped from the battle with thee.

“With all these men, we could place ourselves where, under my guidance, when the battle is over, thou canst have at thy mercy both the victors and the losers without any danger to thy men. Then, what could result from this other than by winning such a great victory that all of Great Britain would be subject to thee, and thy royal estates would be placed at a higher pinnacle than any other emperor in the world? Now, mighty King, consider whether for a little effort and danger, thou wishest to win such great glory and realms.”

When King Aravigo heard this, he was very happy, and he said:

“My friend Arcalaus, what a great thing ye have told me, and although my desire is not to tempt fate further, it would be madness to set aside things that very rightly offer great honor and advantage, because if the results are as hoped and reason itself is a guide, men receive the fruit that their efforts deserve. And if the result is to the contrary, they must still do that which they are obliged to by virtue, in consideration of the honors it could give them and disregarding their previous misfortune. When the opportunity offers itself, they must not fail to take it, for otherwise they would be subjected, defeated, and dishonored for all the days of their lives. Given that, do not worry about what concerns me and my men and friends, but in the other matters proceed with the urgency and diligence that ye see as appropriate for such a situation.”

Arcalaus, with this promise from the King, left for Sansuena and spoke with Barsinan, reminding him of the death of his father and his brother Gandalod, whom Sir Guilan the Pensive had defeated and taken prisoner for King Lisuarte, who in turn ordered him to be thrown from a tower where his father had been burned at its foot. He also told him how at that time he had arranged for his father to be king of Great Britain and had taken King Lisuarte and his daughter prisoner, and how because of Amadis, everything had been lost. But now Barsinan had a chance not only to avenge his enemies as he wished, but that the great realm that his father had failed to take, he himself would be able to acquire, and he should be brave because otherwise great things can rarely be obtained. For if fortune had been contrary to his father, it had repented and wish to give him satisfaction for the injuries he had received. And he told him how King Aravigo was preparing everything in his power because he saw the issue so certain of victory that there was no way to err, with all the other help that was certain to arrive, among many other reasons.

Such were the arts that Arcalaus had always practiced as a great master of dark deeds.

Because Barsinan was a very proud young man, and resembled his father in wickedness, with little difficulty an effort Arcalaus achieved everything he wished. With a burning heart and excessive arrogance Barsinan responded that with full urgency and intention he would undertake that labor, bringing with him all of the men of his realm, and from beyond it all those who wish to follow him. When Arcalaus heard that answer, he was very happy at how he had made preparations that fulfilled his will, and he told him to immediately make everything ready for when he sent for them, because it was very important for this to be attended with diligence.

And from there he quickly traveled with a very happy heart to the King of Deep Island, and spoke with him for a long time. And because of all the things he said and all his arguments, just as with the others, he convinced him to call up his men and get them in order and prepared for when they would be needed.

When this was done, he returned to his own lands and spoke with the family of Dardan the Arrogant using the same arguments, and because of that, they all believed they could obtain great advantage. As secretly as he could he made agreements with them, telling them of the great preparations he had made. And so he waited for the time to put in play everything that ye have heard.

But now the story shall not speak of this until its proper time, and it shall turn to tell what happened to Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste after they left the court of King Lisuarte.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chapter 95

About the letter that Princess Oriana sent from Firm Island to her mother Queen Brisena. 

[John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, receiving a letter from the King of Portugal, in the Chronique d'Angleterre (Volume III), late 15th century. Image from the British Library.]

The letter said:

“Mighty Queen Brisena, my lady and mother: I, the sad and ill-fated Oriana, your daughter, with great humility send kisses for your hands and feet. My good lady, ye already know I do not deserve my adverse fortune, which has wished to be more contrary and a greater enemy to me than to any other woman who has lived or who will live. It gave rise to my being exiled from your presence and realms with such cruelty by my lord and father the King, and to so much pain and anguish in my sad heart that I myself am surprised that I can continue even one more day with life. But my great misfortune was not content with merely that, seeing how I would rather die than contradict the orders of my father the King with the obedience that rightly or wrongly I owe him; it gave me a redress much more cruel for me than the suffering and sad life that exile held for me, because if I had died, only a sad damsel would have died, for whom considering her immense ill fortune it would have been much more appropriate and pleasing to die rather than live.

“But from what awaits now, my lady, if after God, ye in your pity for me do not find a solution, not only I but many other blameless people will lose their lives with very cruel and bitter deaths. The reason for that is because either by permission of God, Who knows the great injustice and injury that was being done to me, or because my fate willed it, as I have said, the knights who were at Firm Island destroyed the Roman fleet, leaving many dead and taking many prisoners among those who wished to defend themselves, and I was brought with all my ladies and damsels to that island, where I am treated and held with as much reverence and decency as if I were in your royal household.

“And because they shall send some knights to my lord and father the King with the intention of making peace, if peace may be achieved in some way in what regards me, I decided that before they arrive I would write this letter, by which and by the many tears that with it fell or without it would have fallen, I entreat that with your great nobility and virtue ye beg my father the King to have some pity and compassion for me, giving more importance to the service of God than to the perishable glory and honor of this world, and that he not seek to put at risk the high estate that fickle fortune has until now with great favor given him, since better than anyone else he knows the great violence and injustice that he did to me and that I did not deserve.”

When she finished reading the letter, the Queen ordered Durin not to leave without her answer because first she needed to speak with the King. He said he would do as he was ordered and told her how all the princesses and ladies and damsels who were with his lady sent their greetings. The Queen sent word to the King asking him to meet her alone in his chamber because she wished to speak to him, and he did so. And when they were alone, the Queen knelt before him weeping, and told him:

“My lord, read this letter that your daughter Oriana has sent me, and have pity for her and for me.”

The King raised her up by the hands, took the letter, and read it, and to give her some contentment he told her:

“Queen, since Oriana writes here that those knights are being sent to me, may it be such a mission that with it the dishonor received may receive amends. And if that is not the case, ye should hold it better for my honor to be maintained despite danger than for my reputation be diminished without danger.”

He begged her to leave it all to God, in Whose hands and will it was, and to cease suffering; and with that he returned to his hall. The Queen had Durin called and told him:

“My friend Durin, go tell my daughter that until, as she wrote in her letter, those knights arrive and their mission be known, her father the King will not know how to respond or decide to act. When they come, if a path to concordance can be found, I will use all my power to achieve it. And send my best greetings to her and to all her ladies and damsels, and tell her that now is the time to show who she is: first of all, to guard her reputation, for without it nothing would remain for her of value and esteem; and second, to suffer this anguish and sorrow as befits a person of high estate, for just as God gives people such estate and great realms, He also gives them anguish and concerns very different in size from those of much lower people. And tell her that I entrust her to God to protect her and bring her back to me with great honor.”

Durin kissed her hands and left on his journey, of which nothing more shall be said because he brought no agreement and with the Queen’s response Oriana was left without the hope she had sought.

The story says that one day King Lisuarte, after hearing Mass, was in his palace with his finest men about to eat, when a squire came through the door and gave him a letter, which was his accreditation. The King took it, read it, and told him:

“My friend, what do ye wish, and who sent you?”

“My lord,” he said, “I was sent by Sir Cuadragante of Ireland and I come to you with a message from him.”

“Then say what ye wish,” the King said, “and I will gladly listen.”

The squire said:

“My lord Sir Cuadragante of Ireland and Brian of Monjaste have arrived from Firm Island to your kingdom on orders of Amadis of Gaul and the princes and knights who are with him. Before they enter your court, they wish to know if they can come safely before you and tell you their mission, and if not, they will tell it publicly in many places and return from where they came. For that reason, my lord, tell me what ye wish so that they shall hasten.”

When the King heard this, he did not say anything for a while, which every great lord ought to do to give himself time to think. He considered that missions from the enemy always bring with them more advantage than disadvantage because if what they bring can be put into use, it should be taken, and if otherwise, they are given a serious warning; he also considered the fact it would seem hardly tolerant to refuse to hear them, so he said to the squire:

“My friend, tell these knights that they shall have complete security while they are in my kingdom and they may come to my court, and I will listen to everything that they wish to tell me.”

With that, the messenger left. And when Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste learned his answer, they left their ship wearing very fine armor, and in three days they arrived at the town, when the King had just eaten. And as they went through the streets everyone stared at them, since they knew very well who they were, and some of them said to each other:

“Accursed be these traitors who with their vile conniving made our lord the King lose so many knights and other men of great value!”

But others, who knew more about what had happened, placed all the blame on the King, who had chosen to let his discretion be overruled by scandalous and envious men. And so they passed through the town until they reached the palace, dismounted in a courtyard, went to where the King was, and greeted him with great courtesy. He received them with good will. Sir Cuadragante told him:

“Great princes ought to hear the messengers who come before them having set aside all emotion, because if the message they carry brings contentment, they should be very happy to have received it graciously, and if it is to the contrary, they should answer with strong wills and firm hearts rather than with disagreeable words. And the messengers must honestly say what they have been charged without fear of any danger it might bring them.

“The reason we have come to you, King Lisuarte, is on the order and request of Amadis of Gaul and the other great knights who are at Firm Island. They would have you know that when they were traveling through foreign lands seeking dangerous adventures, accepting those which were just and punishing those who were in the wrong as the greatness of their virtuous and mighty hearts required, they learned from many people how, following your own whims rather than justice and reason, paying no attention to the admonishments of the great men in your kingdom nor of the many tears of its humbler people, not thinking of what in good conscience ye owe to God, ye wished to disinherit your daughter Oriana, successor to your kingdoms after your life, and to give them to your younger daughter. Despite her great weeping and deep sorrow, without any pity ye delivered her to the Romans to give her as wife to the Emperor of Rome against all justice and against her will, and against the will of all your subjects.

“And as such things come to the attention of God, He may be the one to offer a solution, and He chose to permit that when we learned of it, we supplied the remedy to that thing which had been done with such injury against His service. And so it was done not with the will or intention to cause injury but instead to do away with such great violence and disorder, which we could not ignore without causing ourselves great shame. After we defeated the Romans who were carrying her away, we took her and brought her with great respect and reverence as is proper for her noble and royal estate to Firm Island, where we have left her accompanied by many noble ladies and great knights.

“And because our intention was none other than to serve God and maintain justice, those lords and great knights have decided to ask you if ye would wish to provide some means so that this noble Princess can be returned to your love and that those great affronts be ceased as the truth and good conscience require. And if by chance ye, King, hold some rancor against us, let that be for another time, because it would not be right for what is certain concerning the Princess to be mixed with what is dubious about ourselves.”

After Sir Cuadragante had finished speaking, the King responded in this fashion:

“Knights, because excessive words and untempered responses do not give rise to virtue nor make weak hearts strong, my response will be brief and with more patience than your request deserves. Ye have carried out that which according to your judgment satisfies your honor with greater arrogance than courage, because it should not be recounted as a great glory to attack and defeat those who were peacefully and unsuspectingly traveling, without recalling how I, as God’s lieutenant, to Him and to no one else am obliged to give account for what I might do. And when amends for this are made, then what ye ask for may be discussed, and since anything else would bring no results, no reply is needed.”

Sir Brian of Monjaste told him:

“Now that we know your will and the accounting that we owe to God about what happened, nothing more remains for us than for each of the sides to put into action that which most fulfills their honor.”

And having been dismissed by the King, they mounted their horses and left the palace, and Sir Grumedan rode with them, for the King had ordered him to guard them until they left the town. When Sir Grumedan found himself with them outside of the presence of the King, he told them:

“My good lords, what I see gives me great sorrow because, knowing the great discretion of the King and the nobility of Amadis and of all of you, and of the great friends that ye have here, I had great hope that these troubles would find a good solution. Now it seems that has all gone completely contrary, and now more than ever I see danger until our Lord is pleased to put these matters into the order that they require. But meanwhile I ask ye to tell me how Amadis found himself at Firm Island at this time, since no news had been heard of him for a long time although many of his friends have looked for him with great effort through foreign lands.”

Sir Brian of Monjaste told him:

“My Lord Sir Grumedan, regarding what ye say about us and the King, whom ye consider so wise, it will not be necessary to give you a very long account, since it is well known the great violence that the King did to his daughter, to which justice obliged us to respond, and certainly, leaving aside both his and our anger, we would have been pleased if some means could have been found regarding him and the Princess Oriana. But since he is pleased to proceed against us with more rigor than with just cause, he will see that the result of it will be much more demanding than it may seem at first. And, my good lord, regarding what ye ask about Amadis, know that we had no news about him until he left this court, where calling himself the Greek Knight, he brought that lady for whom the Romans were defeated and the crown from the damsels was won.”

“Holy Mary save me!” Sir Grumedan said. “What did ye say? Is it true that the Greek Knight who came here was Amadis?”

“Without any doubt he was,” Sir Brian said.

“Now I tell you,” Sir Grumedan said, “that I must be a man of poor discernment, since I should have thought that a knight who did such rare feats at arms greater than all the others, could have been no one other than him. Now I ask you: those two knights that he left here to help me in the battle that I had to fight with the Romans, who were they?”

Sir Brian told him, laughing:

“Your friends Angriote d’Estravaus and Sir Bruneo of Bonamar.”

“Merciful God,” he said, “if I had known that, I would not have feared that battle as much as I did, and now I realize that I won little esteem in it, since with that kind of help it would not have been hard to defeat twice as many knights as there were.”

“May God help me,” said Sir Cuadragante, “I believe that if it had been judged by your courageous heart, ye would have been sufficient for them alone.”

“My lord,” Sir Grumedan said, “whatever I may be, I have great love and goodwill for all of you, and may God be pleased to give some good ending to the concern that has brought ye here.”

And so they spoke until they had left the town and traveled some distance beyond it. And as Sir Grumedan was about to bid them farewell, they saw the handsome young nobleman Esplandian coming from a hunt, with Anbor, the son of Angriote d’Estravaus. Esplandian was carrying a hawk and riding on a beautiful palfrey with the richly decorated saddle and reins that Queen Brisena had given him, and wearing fine clothing. Due both to his extremely pleasing appearance and to what Urganda the Unrecognized had written to King Lisuarte, as the third part of this story has recounted more extensively, the King and Queen had ordered him to be provided with everything he might need. As he passed them, he greeted them, and they greeted him in return. Brian of Monjaste asked Sir Grumedan who that handsome young nobleman was, and he told him:

“My lord, he is called Esplandian, and he was raised in the most amazing fashion, and Urganda wrote to the King about the great deeds he will do in the future.”

“So help me God,” Sir Cuadragante said, “we at Firm Island have heard a lot said about that young man, and it would be good if ye were to call him here and we could hear what he says.”

So Sir Grumedan called to him, since he had already ridden past, and said:

“Good noble youth, come back, so ye may send greetings to the Greek Knight, who treated you so courteously by giving you the Romans that he was about to kill.”

Then Esplandian turned around and said:

“My lord, I would be very happy to know where I could send greetings to that very noble knight, as ye ask and as he deserves.”

“These knights are going to where he is,” Sir Grumedan said.

“He tells you the truth,” Sir Cuadragante said, “and we will take your message to he who was called the Greek Knight and is now called Amadis.”

When Esplandian heard that, he said:

“What, my lords! Is this the Amadis of whom everyone has spoken so highly and recounted his great deeds as a knight, and who is so outstanding among us all?”

“Yes, without a doubt,” Sir Cuadragante said, “he is.”

“I tell you truly,” Esplandian said, “his great courage ought to be highly considered, since he is so famous among so many good knights. And the envy of so many for him gives few the daring to be his equal, since he ought to be praised not less for his great self-control and courtesy. Although I encountered him when he had great ire and rage, he did not fail to do me great honor in spite of that, since he gave me those knights whom he had defeated and from whom he had received great affronts, for which I offer him sincere thanks. And may it please God to bring me a time when I can repay him equally to the great honor that he did me.”

The knights were very happy with what he had said, and they considered his great handsomeness a rare thing along with what Sir Grumedan had told them about him, and above all the grace and discretion with which he had spoken to them. Sir Brian of Monjaste told him:

“Good youth, may God make you as fine a man as he has made you handsome.”

“Thank you very much for what ye have said to me,” he said. “But if God has something good awaiting me, I would wish to have it now to be able to serve my lord the King, who has such a great need for the service of his subjects. And my lords, may ye be commended to God, for I have been gone quite a while outside of town.”

And Sir Grumedan said farewell to them and left with him, and they went to board their ship to return to Firm Island. But now the story shall cease to speak about them, and will return to King Lisuarte.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Chapter 94

How the news came to King Lisuarte that the Romans had been ruined and Oriana had been rescued, and what he did about it. 

[King John of England hunting stags from the manuscript De Rege Johanne, 1300-1400, at the British Library.]

On the day that King Lisuarte delivered his daughter to the Romans, he spent some time with her a little outside of town, at times somewhat consoling her with great mercy as a father, and other times with excessive passion eliminating all hope that he might change his mind. But neither one way nor the other did he give her any consolation or recourse, and her wailing and sorrow was so great that no man in the world would not have been moved to pity. Although her father the King throughout all that affair had been hard and unyielding, he could not deny the paternal love that his distraught daughter deserved, and tears came to his eyes against his will.

Saying nothing more, he turned away more sadly than his face showed, and before leaving he spoke with Salustanquidio and Bronajel de Roca, urging them to take good care of her. He returned to his palace and found both men and women sobbing over Oriana’s departure, and the very strict orders that he had given did nothing to change that because the Princess was more beloved and more dear to everyone than anyone in Great Britain had ever been.

The King looked around his great hall and saw none of the usual knights except for Brandoivas, who told him that the Queen was in her chamber weeping with great sorrow. He went to the chamber where she was and found there none of the ladies and princesses and other damsels who usually accompanied her. And when he saw everything so deserted in different from how it had been, missing both knights and women, and those who were there were so sad, he felt great regret, and his heart was covered by a dark cloud, so for a while he did not speak. He entered into the chamber where the Queen was, and when she saw him enter, she fell senseless in a dead faint on an estrado. The King picked her up, holding her in his arms until she was awake, and when he saw her in a better disposition and more composed, he told her:

“My lady, it will not do for your discretion or virtue to show such weakness at any adversity, even more so for this which should be received as such an honor and advantage. And if ye wish to have my love and friendship, ye should cease this, and now should be the last of it, for your daughter is not going so bereft. She can still be considered the greatest princess there ever was in her lineage.”

The Queen could not respond in any way, and so just as she was she let herself fall face down on a bed sighing over the great suffering in her heart. The King left her and returned to his hall, where he found no one with whom to speak except for King Arban of North Wales and Sir Grumedan, who with their gestures and faces showed the sadness they held in their hearts. Although he was very wise and long-suffering and knew how to hide all things better than any other man, he could not do anything other than show in his own gestures and speech the sadness that he secretly held.

And so he thought that it would be good if he went away to the forest with his hunters until the time came that would cure what at present had no good remedy. He ordered King Arban to make ready the tents and all the equipment necessary for hunting in the forest, because he wished to go to the hills immediately the next morning. And so it was done, and that night he did not wish to sleep in the chambers of the Queen so she would not suffer more anguish than she already did.

The next day after he heard Mass, he went to hunt, and as he found himself alone, it greatly aggravated his sadness and meditation, and he found rest nowhere. This was a King so noble, so gracious, so careful to have the best knights with him that he could, as he once did; with them had come all the honor and good fortune and fate he had desired, but now in a short period of time he had seen it all changed contrary to the way it had been and the way he wished it to be, so he did not possess enough discretion nor was his heart strong enough, and many times he could not help falling into great suffering.

But as often happens when Fortune begins to make her changes, she is not content with the anger that men acquire by their own will, and instead with great cruelty she wishes to make it grow and increase, following her usual style, which is never to be orderly. There where the King was, she wished to show how he would forget that sorrow which to her seemed to have a very minor cause which he had accepted willingly, and to replace that pain with another that would strike him much harder than he had ever known.

Some of the Romans who had fled from Firm Island had arrived and learned where the King was, and they went to him and told him everything that had happened to them, just as the story has recounted, and they left nothing out since they had been present for everything. When the King heard this, although his pain was very great since it was such an extraordinary thing and had so much to do with him, he maintained a good expression and did not show any of his sorrow, as kings often do, and he told them:

“My friends, the death of Salustanquidio and your losses weigh heavily on me, and I am accustomed to receiving affronts and giving them to others in matters that concern me. Do not leave my court, and I shall order that everything ye need be provided.”

They kissed his hands and asked him the favor to remember the other companions and lords they had been prisoners with. He told them:

“My friends, do not worry about this, for it shall be solved in the best way for the honor of your lord and my own.”

He ordered them to go to the town where the Queen was, and to say nothing about that until he came, and they did so. The King spent three days hunting with the anguish that ye can understand he had, and then he returned to where the Queen was. To everyone he looked happy, although in his heart he felt what ought to be felt in such a case. He dismounted and went to the Queen’s chambers. And as she was one of the most noble and wise women in the world, in order not to anger him further, seeing how that would do little to remedy her desires, she acted much more consoled.

When the King arrived, he ordered everyone to leave the chamber, sat down with her on the estrado, and told her:

“In things of little substance that come by accident, people have some ability and license to show a little suffering and melancholy, but just as it comes with little cause, so easily and with a small remedy it can also be set aside. But in things that are very grave and painful, especially in cases of honor, it is the opposite, and these things ought to be felt and shown little gravity, yet the vengeance and rigor should be very great. And getting to the point, ye, Queen, felt great sorrow at the absence of our daughter, as is the custom of mothers, and have displayed many feelings over that and over the wedding, as is often the case. But I said then that in brief time it would be forgotten, but what has become of this is such that without showing excessive anger, amends must be sought with great diligence and a great heart.

“Know that the Romans who had taken your daughter, and their entire fleet were destroyed and taken prisoners, many of them killed along with their Prince Salustanquidio, and she and all her ladies and damsels were taken by Amadis and his knights to Firm Island, where they hold her in great victory and with pleasure. And so it could well be said that such a great and exceptional thing as this has never happened before in the memory of any man in the world. So it is necessary that ye with great discretion as a woman, and I with great courage as a King and knight, work to remedy this for your honesty and my honor with deeds rather than with excessive sentiment.”

After the Queen heard this, for some time she did not respond. And as she was one of the ladies who most loved her husband in the world, she thought that in something such as this and with such men, it was more important to create concord then discord, and she said:

“My lord, although ye consider very important what has happened and what ye have learned about your daughter, if ye were to judge it in light of that time when ye were a knight errant and were to think of the clamor and suffering of Oriana and of all of her damsels, and the great period of time in which it took place and became publicly known everywhere so everyone was speaking about it, although the attack was a great act of violence, no man should be amazed that those knights dared to do what they did, as men who do nothing else but to rescue ladies and damsels when they receive some harm and injury. And, my lord, although she is your daughter, ye had already delivered her to those who had come for her on behalf of the Emperor, and thus the violence and injury is more a matter for him than for you. Now as the response commences, it should be taken with temperance so that ye do not seem to be at the head of this conflict, for if it were done otherwise, it could hardly be hidden.”

The King told her:

“Now, my lady, remember to act in keeping with your honesty, as I have told you, and as for what regards me, with the help of God, amends shall be made with the grandeur that your estate and mine require.”

With that he left her and went to his hall. He had King Arban of North Wales and Sir Grumedan called, along with Guilan the Pensive, who now had recovered from his injury. He took them aside and told them everything that has happened about his daughter and with the Queen, because these three were the knights in whom he had the most trust of all those in his kingdom. And he asked and ordered them to think about it deeply and tell him what they thought he should do to best fulfill his honor, but at that time without more deliberation he did not wish them to respond.

Thus the King spent several days thinking about what he ought to do. The Queen remain very thoughtful and anguished to see the rigors of her husband the King, and how he used it against those whom he well knew would prefer to lose their lives than the least part of their honor, which she also expected from the King himself. And so of all the conflicts that had come to him, no matter how large they were, as this great story has recounted, in comparison to this they seemed like nothing.

So as she was in her chamber with infinite things going through her mind about how to achieve the remedy of such a rupture, a damsel entered and told him that Durin, the brother of the Damsel of Denmark, had arrived from Firm Island and wished to speak to her. The Queen ordered him to enter, and he knelt and kissed her hands and gave her a letter from her daughter Oriana, for apparently when Oriana saw the determination of the knights at Firm Island to send Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste to her father the King with the mission that ye have heard about, she decided it would be good to prepare for them before they arrived at the court of her father the King by writing a letter to her mother the Queen and sending it with Durin, and that was what she had done.

When the Queen received the letter, tears of loneliness came to her eyes for her daughter because there was no way to recover her if God in His mercy did not provide a solution to the great danger and confrontation that faced her lord the King. And so she was quiet for a while and could not say anything to Durin, and before asking him anything, she opened the letter to read it.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chapter 93

How Amadis and Agrajes and all the knights of high estate that were with him went to see and console Oriana and the ladies with her, and what happened.

[Brooch depicting two lovers enclosed in a love-garden fence from the collection of the treasures of the Order of the Golden Fleece at Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Museum in Vienna.]
As the knights arrived to see Oriana, they greeted her with great reverence and obedience, and then all the other ladies. She received them with good will, as one who was of great noble birth and upbringing. Amadis told Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste to go to Oriana, and he went to Mabilia, and Agrajes to where Olinda and other ladies were, and Sir Florestan to Queen Sardamira, and Sir Bruneo and Angriote to Grasinda, for they greatly loved and esteemed her, and the other knights to other ladies and damsels, each to the one who most pleased him and from whom he hoped to receive the most honor and favor. And so they were all speaking with great pleasure about the things they most enjoyed.

Then Mabilia took her cousin Amadis by the hand and went to one end of the hall and said so that everyone could hear:

“My lord, have Gandalin called so that in your presence I may tell him what to say to my aunt the Queen and my cousin Melicia, and ye can order him to do that since on your command he is going to see King Perion of Gaul.”

When Oriana heard this, she said:

“Well, I would also like him to take my message to the Queen and her daughter along with yours.”

Amadis had Gandalin called, who was in the garden waiting with the other squires, for he knew well that they were going to call him. When he came in, he went to the end of the hall where Amadis and Mabilia were, and they spoke with him for a while. And Mabilia said to Oriana:

“My lady, I have finished with Gandalin, if ye wish to say something to him.”

Oriana turned to Queen Sardamira and told her:

“My lady, take her with you to Sir Cuadragante while I speak to that squire.”

And taking Sir Brian of Monjaste by the hand, she went to where Mabilia was. And when she arrived, Sir Brian of Monjaste told her, as one who was very entertaining and prudent in all things regarding chivalry:

“Since I have been chosen to be the ambassador to your father, I do not want to be present at the embassy of damsels, for I fear, since ye ladies are full of trickery and humor in everything ye to do, ye will put me in a situation that requires more courtesy than what those knights have ordered me to say.”

Oriana told him as she laughed very beautifully:

“My lord Sir Brian, that is why I have brought you here with me so that seeing us might somewhat temper your anger with my father, but I am afraid that your heart is not so easily subject or fond of women’s things, and in no way might they deflect or stand in the way of your intentions.”

That very beautiful Princess said this in jest with so much good grace it was a wonder, because Sir Brian, although he was a young and very handsome man, was more given to weapons and dealing with knights than to submit or involve himself with any woman, although in any matter involving their protection and aid, he would place himself in every confrontation and danger so they might achieve what was their right. He loved all women and all women loved him, but he loved no woman in particular.

Sir Brian told her:

“My lady, for that reason I wish to remove myself from your presence and flattery so that I do not lose in a short period of time when I won at such length.”

And so as they were all laughing, he left Oriana and went to where Grasinda was, who very much wanted to meet him because of what she had heard about him.

When Amadis found himself before his lady, whom he so much loved and had not seen for such a long time, not counting their encounter at sea because it had occurred during such a great commotion and amid so many people, as the third book of this story has told, all his flesh and his heart trembled with pleasure at her great beauty and because she looked happier than he had hoped to find her. He was so lost that he could not speak or say a thing, and Oriana, whose eyes never left him, immediately understood what was happening and came to him, took him by the hands underneath his cloak, and squeezed them as a sign of great love as if she had embraced him, and she told him:

“My truly beloved above all the others in the world, although my fate has brought me the thing that I desired most in the world, which is to be within your power where never my eyes as well as my heart could be separated from you, my great misfortune has wished it to be in such a manner that now more than ever I am required to avoid conversation with you because this situation, which will be so notorious and well known throughout the world, must be presented to everyone in keeping with the reputation that the grandeur of my estate and virtue that I am obliged to maintain.

“It may seem that ye, my beloved friend, more by following the nobility that ye always sought in helping those in trouble who need rescue, always upholding righteousness and justice, than for any other cause, ye were moved to undertake such a great and important enterprise as this one seems to be. If the main cause, which is our love, were to become publicly known, then all your men as well as all your opponents would judge things differently. For that reason it is necessary that what with great anguish and effort we have kept hidden until now, from here on we must maintain, even if it requires greater travail.

“As a solace for that let us consider our freedom and do that which might satisfy the will of our desires whenever it seems most agreeable to us, but may that be when we can find no other solution. And so let us continue until God is pleased to bring us the end that we wish.”

Amadis told her:

“Oh, my lady, by God no reason or excuse needs to be given for being in your service, because I was born in this world for no other reason than to be yours and to serve you while this body has a soul. For me there is no other wish or good fortune except to follow whatever your will may be. And, my lady, what I wish as a reward for my mortal sufferings and desires is nothing other than to have it always in your mind to order me in whatever way I may serve you, for this would be a great part of the remedy and rest that my impassioned heart needs.”

And as Amadis said that, Oriana was watching him, and she saw tears fall from his eyes until his entire face was wet, and she told him:

“My good friend, what ye tell me is the same as what I hold, and it is not new to me to believe that ye follow my will in everything, just as I would wish to content and satisfy yours, which the Lord, from whom nothing is hidden, knows. But, as I said, it must be that for now we will suffer. And while He is resolving it, if ye wish my love with the affection that ye always have, I ask you to set aside anxiety and fatigue from your heart, for now it cannot be long before in some way or another our secret becomes known, and at peace or at war we shall be together in the way that for so long we have desired.

“And since we have been speaking for a long while, I wish to return to those other noble knights so there are no suspicions. And my lord, wipe those tears from your eyes as secretly as ye may and remain with Mabilia, for she will tell ye something that ye do not know, my lord, and that until now I have not had the opportunity to tell you, and it will give your heart great pleasure and joy.”

Then she had Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste called, and with them she returned to where she had been previously. Amadis remained with Mabilia, and she told him everything about Esplandian, how he was the son of Amadis and Oriana, and everything that had happened during his birth and his upbringing, how the damsel of Denmark and her brother Durin had been bringing him to be raised in Miraflores and they lost him, and the lioness took him, and how he was brought up in a hermitage. She recounted all this extensively, and nothing was left out, as the third part of this great story has told. Amadis could not have been happier to hear this, and for a long time he could not speak, and after the great upsetting joy that his heart felt had passed, he told her:

“My lady and my good cousin, know that when I was with the very noble lady Grasinda, and the knights Angriote de Estravaus and Sir Bruneo arrived, it happened that Angriote told me everything about Esplandian, but he did not know whose son he was. Immediately I remembered the letter that ye sent with my foster father Gandales to this island in which ye told me that my lineage had increased, and I thought, given when it was that ye had written me and what it said, and how no one knew where or whose son that young nobleman was, he might be the son of myself and Oriana, but this was a mere suspicion and not at all a certainty.

“But now that I know it for sure, ye may believe, my lady and beloved cousin, that I am more happy about that than if I had been made lord of half the world. And I do not say this because that young man is so extraordinary but because he is the son of such a mother whom God has made noteworthy and unique both in her beauty and in all the other virtues that a good lady ought to have above all other ladies who were born into this world, and so He would wish that all things that proceed from her would be extraordinarily sweet and bitterness be relegated to others, which through experience I have tested and known and may say is true.

“Oh, my lady cousin, if I could recount for you the anguish and great distress that during this time when ye did not see me, my miserable heart has suffered, then without a doubt ye could believe that in comparison to them, all the dangers and confrontations that in those foreign lands I experienced could not be judged as anything more than the fear and frights of dreams, or something that holds no effect or truth. And God, wishing to have pity on me, brought me a time when I could save her from a great confrontation and myself from the most painful death that any knight has ever died of, and from where my heart until now never found any rest or repose. It is now secure, because from this nothing else can be achieved except to win her with the full satisfaction of both our desires or to lose our lives and with that all temporal things will come to an end.

“Since my good fortune has wished to solve and relieve my fatigue, it is very right that we all work to remedy hers, as someone who has never seen herself in such a situation or could have known what would befall her, for I believe that her anxiety can only be very great. And ye, my lady, who in the past has been the greatest support for her life, now counsel her and encourage her, explaining to her that neither before God nor her father is she responsible for what happened, and no person in the world can rightly blame her.

“If she fears the great power of her father and of the Emperor of Rome, my lady, ye may tell her that there are so many of us in her service with such skills that if I did not fear her anger, I would seek them out in their own kingdoms. As soon as Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste return from their trip to see her father, we will find out if he wishes peace or if we will have war, as she will be able to see. And meanwhile always tell me of whatever might be most in her service and pleasure, so that her will may be fulfilled.”

Mabilia told him:

“My lord, if I wished to tell you what I have gone through after ye left this land to console and remedy her anguish and pain, especially after the Romans came to my father’s court, it would be a never-ending story. And for that reason, because ye are fully aware of the great love she has for you, I will leave off speaking any more of it. And my lord, what ye would have me do, I always do, although her discretion has increased so much that both in things she has known from birth according to the condition and weakness of women, and in all the other things that are new and strange to us, she understands and recognizes with the spirit and heart that her royal estate requires, although not regarding you, which makes her lose all her senses. In everything else she has enough discretion to console everyone in the world. And if anything would give her pleasure, ye will always be advised by me.”

With that they finished speaking and returned to where Oriana was. Gandalin bid them farewell and went out to sea to go to Gaul, which shall be told of in its proper time. After these lords had spent a long time with the Princess Oriana and the ladies who were with her, speaking of many things of great pleasure and being very encouraging, they bid farewell to them and returned to their lodgings, where they enjoyed everything necessary in great quantity, and where they could see all the marvels of that island, and nothing like them could be found in any other part of the world. These marvels had been created and designed by the great and wise Apolidon, who placed them there when he was lord of the island.

But now the story shall cease to speak of that in order to tell about King Lisuarte, who knew nothing of all this.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chapter 92

How Gandalin spoke with Mabilia and Oriana, and what they told him to say to Amadis. 

[Detail of the monument to Christopher Columbus in Madrid at the Plaza de Colón. It was erected between 1881 and 1885 of white marble, with sculptures by Jerónimo Suñol and a gothic pedestal by Arthur Mélida. Photo by Sue Burke.]

This story tells how those messengers departed, as ye have heard, and Gandalin was very anxious to go where his lord had ordered, but Amadis told him not to leave until he had seen his cousin Mabilia. He immediately went to Oriana’s chambers, which were in that tower ye have heard of, where no man could enter except with special permission because it was guarded and protected by ladies and damsels. When he came to the garden’s gate, he had them tell Mabilia that Gandalin was there and would be leaving for Gaul and wished to see her before he left. When she learned that, she told Oriana, and when she heard that, she was very pleased and ordered him to be let in. When he came to Oriana, he knelt before her and kissed her hands. Then he went to Mabilia and told her what his lord had ordered him to say.

Mabilia told Oriana loud enough so that all could hear:

“My lady, Gandalin is leaving for Gaul. See if ye wish him to say anything to the Queen and to my cousin Melicia.”

Oriana said she would be pleased to send a message with him, and she came to where they were, secluded from the others, and told him:

“Oh, my friend Gandalin! What dost thou make of my misfortune? The thing that I most wanted in the world was to be where I would never take my eyes off thy lord, and such has been my fate that I have been placed in his power in a way that I do not dare see him without his honor and mine being greatly diminished. Thou mayest believe that my suffering heart feels great fatigue from this, and if thou wert able to feel it too, thou wouldst have great pity for me. And so that he may know this, both for his consolation and to absolve me, thou must tell him to find a way for him and all the knights to come to see me so that in front of all of them, with no one understanding what they hear, he may speak to me. And this could be done under the pretext of thy departure.”

Gandalin told her:

“Oh my lady, it is so right for you to think of what could help this knight, for so many times during the journey that we took I have had to keep him alive. If I were to tell you of it, your soul would suffer much greater pain and anguish than it feels now, for it is true, my lady, that the great feats of arms he did in those foreign lands were many and were such that they could not have been done nor even conceived of by any other person, and yet they did not put his life in even one-thousandth of the danger of death as your memory and the impossibility of seeing you. And since to speak of this would be futile because it is endless, it only remains for you, my lady, to have pity on him and console him, because from what I have seen and truly believe, his life depends on yours.”

She told him:

“My good friend, thou canst say very truthfully that without him I could not live nor would I wish to, for my life would be more painful and grim than death. Let us speak no more of this, so that thou mayest leave quickly and go to him and tell him what I have ordered thee.”

“So it shall be done my lady, and he shall carry it out.”

With that he bid them farewell, and he went to his lord. But first, Oriana told him in front of all the other ladies there that he should not leave until she gave him a letter for Queen Elisena and another for her daughter Melicia, and he told her he would do that, and he asked her to give it to her soon, because all the other messengers had left, and there was no one left besides him. And so he went to Amadis and told him everything that Oriana had said in her reply, and how she had sent him to say that he and all those lords should come to see him under some excuse because she wished to speak to him.

After he heard this, Amadis thought for a while, then told him:

“Dost thou know how this could best be done? Speak with my cousin Agrajes and tell him that when thou wert speaking with Mabilia about whether she had anything to send to Gaul, she told thee that it seemed to her it would be good if there were a way for all the lords that are here to come to see and encourage Oriana because, given the seriousness of the situation she is in and how disquieting it is for her, she needs their encouragement. And by any means thou might find, thou shouldst tell her, because it would be much better for her to order this herself.”

And then he told him:

“Tell me, how did my lady seemed to thee? Is she sad to find herself in this situation?”

Gandalin told him:

“My lord, ye already know of her great courage and how she can show nothing else but the virtue of her noble heart, but, certainly, her face seems more sad than happy to me.”

Amadis raised his hands up to Heaven and said:

“Oh most powerful Lord, may it please You to give me a way that I may provide the remedy suitable for the honor and service of this lady, and that my death or life be guided as fate would have it.”

Gandalin told him:

“My lord, do not be dismayed, for in this as in all other things, God has always done more to further your honor than for any other knight, and so with much righteousness and justice He shall do the same for you in this.”

Gandalin departed from Amadis and went to Agrajes and told him everything that his lord had ordered and what he thought best. Agrajes told him:

“My friend Gandalin, it would be very right to do what my sister has asked for, and it shall be done immediately. It has not been done already for no other reason than because these knights only knew it was Oriana’s will to carry out the most honest life she could. It would be good if we went to tell this to my cousin Amadis.”

And with Gandalin, he went to where Amadis was lodging and told him what his sister Mabilia had sent Gandalin to say. Amadis answered, as if he knew nothing, that he would agree with whatever she thought best. Then Agrajes spoke with the knights in such a way that they did not know that Oriana wanted it, saying they should go to see her and console her, telling them that in situations like this the most courageous need solace, and even more so feeble women.

They all held that as good, and they were very pleased about it, and they agreed to see her the next day in the afternoon. And so they did, dressed in their very best fighting apparel, on finely adorned palfreys and with their swords all decorated with gold, and thus arrived at the chamber where Oriana was. And as they were all handsome young men, they looked so good that it was a wonder. Agrajes had already sent word to her that they wished to see her, and she sent for Queen Sardamira and Grasinda and all the princesses, ladies, and damsels of great estate to be with her so that together they could all receive them.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chapter 91

What Amadis sent to the King of Bohemia. 

[Detail of the eastern tower of the Charles Bridge in Prague. Its construction began in 1357. Photo by Sue Burke.]

Amadis, as the one who bore the weight of great duty, especially regarding his lady, never thought about anything but how to acquire what would be needed, and he had a mission for Isanjo, a very honorable knight with great discretion. When Amadis won Firm Island, he found him serving as its governor, a position held by members of his family, as the second book of this story has told in greater detail.

Amadis took him aside and told him:

“My good lord and great friend, I have known your virtue and good sense and constant desire to protect my honor since I first met you, something which I must reward when the time comes. I have thought about giving you a little work, because considering who I would send you to, no other messenger is appropriate. Ye would need to go immediately to King Tafinor of Bohemia with my letter and the credentials that shall be given to you, and in great detail ye should tell him what has happened and how much faith and hope I have in his favor. And I trust in God that your diplomacy will achieve great success because he is a very noble king and, with great love and affection, he offered to put himself at my disposal when I left his court.”

Isanjo answered:

“My lord, I am willing and prepared to be at your service and to do much more, and so this journey I hold more as an honor than as a difficulty or labor. And as for me, my lord, ye may be sure that in this as in everything that augments your estate I would place my person even at the point of death. In this, my lord, the documents need only be created and I shall leave whenever you consider it best.”

Amadis thanked him with great love, understanding that the good will with which he responded ought not be considered as anything inferior to good deeds, for deeds spring from good will and good will is fundamental to good works.

With that arranged, Amadis wrote a letter to the King, and it said:

“Noble King Tafinor of Bohemia, if in the time when I was in your court as a knight errant I was able to be of some service to you, I consider myself well paid by the honors and good deeds that I received from you as well as from all your people. And if now I write in hopes of your kindness by asking for your help in my time of need, I do so thinking of nothing other than knowing of your noble will and great virtue. During the brief time I found myself in your court, I always saw you ready to pursue every just thing in accord with all virtue and good conscience. Because this knight shall explain the situation on my behalf more extensively and how it came about, I ask hope after giving him credence, the consequence of his envoy will have the effect on you that such a request from you would have on me.”

When the letter and the credentials were read, Isanjo prepared a ship and departed immediately as he had been ordered. And it may be said that his journey was well employed, given the men that this good King sent to Amadis, as shall be recounted farther on.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chapter 90

How Sir Cuadragante spoke with his nephew Landin and told him to go to Ireland and talk with his niece the Queen so that she would help send some of her vassals to come and serve them. 

[Depiction of Friedrich von Hausen, a medieval German poet, in the Codex Manesse from the early 1300s.]

Sir Cuadragante spoke with his nephew Landin, who was a very good knight, and told him:

“My dear nephew, it is necessary for you to leave with all diligence for Ireland and talk with my niece the Queen without King Cildadan knowing about it. Because of what he has sworn and promised to King Lisuarte, it would not be right for him to know anything about this. Tell her about my situation and that, although there are many knights of grand estate here, because of who I am and the lineage from which I come, much is hoped and expected from me, as you have seen, nephew. Tell her that I earnestly ask Her Majesty to allow any of her vassals  to come here and serve me who wish to do so, and let her know that the uprising here is so tumultuous that from this kind of situation it often happens that states and lordships are overthrown in such a fate and form that vassals become lords and lords become vassals. Because of this she will not hesitate to order what I ask for, and from what she gives you, and from my vassals and friends, prepare a fleet, the biggest possible, and with it be ready to answer my call.”

Landin answered that with the help of God he would carry it all out in such a way that Sir Cuadragante would be content with it, and that he would demonstrate his valor and greatness. With that he bid him farewell, and in one of the ships they had taken from the Romans, he set sail, and what he did on his way shall be told further on.

Sir Bruneo of Bonamar spoke with his squire Lasindo and told him to leave immediately with a letter to see his father the Marquis and his brother Branfil, and to talk very humbly with his brother and ask on his behalf that if he could do no other thing, he should try to bring together as many men as he could and ships for them, but they should not set sail until they received his orders. And in addition to this he told him:

“Lasindo, my good friend, although thou seest here so many knights of such great account, thou ought well believe that most of this has come about because of Amadis. If I have reason to help him, apart from the great love that we share, much obliges me to it, as thou knowest well, because he is the brother of my lady Melicia, and he is the one who she loves and esteems more than any other in their lineage. Even if he were my enemy, I ought to do nothing other than follow his will and orders, because this would be her will and in her service, but since to the contrary he is the man in the world that I most love, with the greatest affection and will I must prepare to sustain his honor and estate, especially in this case in which no one is more involved than I am, and which matters to me as much as him. Of all this, my good friend, except for what involves my lady, thou mayest speak with my father and with my brother, because it will move them to do what they rightly ought to do for my honor, although about my brother Branfil I am certain that he would rather be here and be part of what happens than to win a great realm, because his temperament and desire is more inclined to win praise and fame as a knight than to win the things that other men desire more out of vice than virtue.”

Lasindo told him:

“My lord, it is not necessary to tell me more than what I know. I have faith in God that from there we will bring you so many necessary things that your lady will be well served and your estate will receive great honor.”

With that he left in another ship, and he did what this story shall recount at the proper time, for Lasindo was a very fine squire and of high lineage, and he went with great dedication and will. And so began the labor of his voyage in service of his lord, so that his honor would be increased and he would be of great assistance to the outcome.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chapter 89

How Amadis sent a messenger to Queen Briolanja. 

 [Portrait of Simon de Varie by Jean Fouquet in a 1455 prayer book at the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

The story says that after Amadis had dispatched the doctor Elisabad and had lodged Grasinda with Princess Oriana, he had Tantiles called, the majordomo of the beautiful Queen Briolanja, and he told him:

“My good friend, I would hope that on my behalf ye would labor is carefully in things for me as I would in things for you, and that is because, considering the extreme in which I have placed my honor, and how much it could be improved with careful preparation, and on the contrary how it could be discredited, I wish you to go to your lady and, since ye have seen everything and can tell her what she needs to know, try hard to have her order all her people and friends to be prepared for when they will be needed. And tell her that she knows that what involves me involves her, since if I were to fail, she would lose my services.”

Tantiles answered him:

“My Lord, I shall immediately do as ye order, and ye may be very sure that nothing would give my lady the Queen such pleasure as to know that the time had come to show you the great love and goodwill that she has to secure for you all ye would wish to ask from her and her entire kingdom. And have no worries about this, for I shall come when it is necessary with everything properly prepared that a great lady such as she is must send to he whom, after God, gave her her entire realm.”

Amadis thanked him sincerely and gave him a letter of credentials that was sufficient for him as a person who governed all her estate. Tantiles immediately went out to sea in the ship he had arrived in and did what shall further on be told.

After this was done, Amadis took Gandalin aside and told him:

“My friend Gandalin, thou hast seen how I need friends and family in this dire situation I could not avoid being placed in, and although I would feel very troubled to see thee depart from me, reason obliges me to do so. Thou hast seen how all these knights have agreed that all our friends be asked and advised so that when the time comes, they can sustain our honor. And although I have great hopes that many of them for whom I have done a great deal will wish to pay the debt they owe me, as thou knowest, I have even greater hopes in my father, King Perion, for he rightly or wrongly ought to provide aid for my concerns.

“Thou better than anyone else and without any difficulty canst tell him about everything that has happened to me, and how although there are many famous knights of grand lineage here, they all follow me and only me in their will and thoughts. It would be good if thou wert to leave soon to see him and tell him what thou hast seen and learned about the need in which I find myself. And in addition to these things, tell him that although I do not fear any armed force anywhere in the world in view of our own, it would be a hardship for him if I as his oldest son could not respond to these two princes if they were to attack me in the form and manner that I would be called to do.

“And because I understand that thou art aware of everything, it will not be necessary for me to tell thee more, except that before leaving, go speak with my cousin Mabilia to see if she would send something to her aunt and my sister Melicia, and see how my lady Oriana is, because although she would hide her feelings to others, only to thee would she reveal her true desire and will. And when this is done, leave immediately with these credentials that I have written for thee, which say:

“Thou shalt tell my lord the King that His Highness already knows how, after God wished by his hand that I became a knight, I never aspired to any other thing than to be a knight errant, and to do everything in my power to right the many wrongs and injustices that have been received especially by ladies and damsels, who above all else ought to receive aid. Because of that, I have placed my person in great labor and danger, without any other interest or hope except to serve God and to earn fame and praise. With this desire when I left his kingdom I went to travel to foreign lands, looking for those who needed my protection and defense and seeing new sights, where I had many adventures, as thou canst well tell him if he would wish to know of them.

“After much time had passed, I returned to this island and learned that King Lisuarte, with no fear of God and against the advice both of his own people and of others who were concerned for his honor and wished to serve him, with great cruelty and with a great loss to his reputation, wished to disinherit his daughter, the Princess Oriana, who after his days were done should be the lady of his realm, and instead to make a younger daughter the heir, who had no right to them, and to give Oriana to the Emperor of Rome as his wife. The Princess objected to this to all those who saw her and to others by messenger with great weeping and anguish so that they might have pity for her and not consent to the great injustice that was her disinheritance, and the just Judge, the Emperor of all things, heard her, and by His will and permission many princes and great knights were brought together on this island to give her help, for I, when I came, found them and from them learned of the great violence that was happening.

“Their agreement and advice held that since in things of this kind, more than in any other, knights are most obliged to act, and in this particular one they had to come to her aid. All that we had achieved until then with great personal danger and effort we would otherwise lose to this singular cause, since not merely reason required it but given the size and nature of the cause, our loss would be attributed more to cowardice and a lack of effort. And so it was done. In the battle the Romans were defeated and many of them killed and others taken prisoner, and we rescued the Princess along with all her ladies and damsels. We have agreed to send Sir Cuadragante of Ireland and my cousin Sir Brian of Monjaste to King Lisuarte to ask him on our behalf to be reasonable. If by chance he does not wish to do so, in the face of that danger, first his help and then the help of all our friends will be necessary, so I ask him to be ready with all of the men that he can when he is called for.

“And give my regards to my lady the Queen and ask her to send my sister Melicia here to accompany Oriana, so her nobility and great beauty will become known to all those who shall see her rather than just having heard of her.”

This done, he told him:

“Make preparations to go in any of these ships that thou findest best provisioned, and take someone to guide thee, and speak with my cousin Mabilia first, as I told thee.”

Gandalin said he would do so.

Agrajes spoke with Sir Gandales, Amadis’ foster father, and asked him to go see his father, the King of Scotland. In case the trouble of writing a letter was not necessary, because he had been in his service for such a long time and so trustworthy in all things that he was considered more a family member and advisor than a vassal. So it can be believed that this knight with full affection and diligence would procure with this trip its purpose for his foster son Amadis, who was the thing he most loved in the world. And what he did shall be told of further on.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chapter 88

What Amadis said to Grasinda, and how she responded. 

[Saint Luke, the patron saint of doctors. Detail of the Saint Luke Altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna, 1453.]

Amadis went to see Grasinda, whom he dearly loved and esteemed both for who she was and for the many honors he had received from her. He did not think these had been repaid, although he had done for her all the things that this story has recounted. He believed there was a great difference between men who do great feats out of virtue without much knowledge of those who benefit, and men who receive satisfaction and payment from those who benefit, because the former has a generous heart, and the latter, although he may be recognized and thanked, created a debt and was repaid.

Seated with her on an estrado, he told her:

“My lady, if I have not given you the kind of service and pleasure that I wish and desire and that your virtue deserves, I hope I may be pardoned, because as ye have observed, these troubled times are the reason for that. And because your nobility will understand that, I shall not speak of it. I have decided to speak to you and to ask if ye would favor me by telling me the goal of your desires and intentions, because ye left your lands a long time ago, and I do not know if your spirit is suffering any distress over that. If I were to learn this is so, the means to solve that shall be placed at your command.”

Grasinda told him:

“My lord, if I did not believe that your companionship and friendship had not brought me greater honor than anything that could have come my way, and that all the service and pleasure that ye received in my house was repaid and satisfied, if it indeed gave you any contentment, the person with the poorest judgment in the world would notice. And because this is true and well known by all, my lord, I wish that all my desires as I have them be manifest to you. I have seen that although many princes and knights of great valor have come together here to aid this Princess, my good lord, ye are the one whom they all look to and obey, so that in your wisdom and courage they have placed all the hope and good fortune they expect. Given your great courage and position, ye cannot avoid taking charge of everything, because it should and must fall upon no one else but you.

“So it is necessary for your friends and supporters to do all they can to sustain your honor and great estate. Because I hold myself by my own will to be one of your important friends and supporters, I wish to put my desires into practice, and I have agreed with the doctor Elisabad to send him to my lands, and with great care to have all my vassals and friends prepare and supply a great fleet for whenever it may be needed to serve at your orders, my lord. And meanwhile, I shall remain in the company and service of this lady, with the others who are with her, and I shall not part from her nor from you until the conclusion of this matter tells me what I should do.”

When Amadis heard this, he embraced her laughing and said:

“I believe that if all the virtue and nobility in the world were to be lost, it could be recovered in you, my good lady. And if that is what pleases you, so it shall be done. In your service and at my request, the doctor Elisabad must go to see the Emperor of Constantinople with a message from me, although it will be a hardship for him. Considering the gracious offer that the Emperor gave me and the discontent that many told me there he has with the Emperor of Rome, and knowing that the dispute is principally with him, I am sure that given his great and accustomed virtue he will send me help equal to the good service I have given him.”

Grasinda agreed with that, and given the great affection the doctor had for him, she would not need to order him to perform that service, for making such a journey with the message for such a person would be more of an honor and pleasure than a labor.

Amadis told her:

“My lady, since it is your will to remain here with that Princess, ye should be with her and in her chambers along with the other princesses and great ladies, and so ye shall be there and from her ye shall receive the honor and courtesy that your great virtue deserves.”

Then he had his foster father Sir Gandales called, and asked him to go to Oriana and tell her of that lady’s great willingness to be at her service, and to ask her on his behalf to accept her and give her that same honor that she was giving the highest ladies with her. This was done, and Oriana received her with the same love and goodwill that she was accustomed to give to such people, not just for her present service but for what she had done in the past for Amadis by giving him what he needed to go to Greece and above all for the gift of the doctor Elisabad. As this story has told in its third part, by treating the grave injuries that Amadis suffered when he killed the Endriago, second only to God, Elisabad gave life to him and to her, for she could not survive a single day after his death.

After this was done, Grasinda gave Doctor Elisabad everything necessary for him to carry out what had been agreed to, and she asked and ordered him that, considering what Amadis wished him to do, he should begin work on it, giving it all the importance that it deserved. The doctor responded that although he might have to expose himself to danger and travail, he would not fail to fulfill the order. Amadis thanked them deeply and then decided to write a letter to the Emperor, which said:

Letter from Amadis to the Emperor of Constantinople

“Most high Emperor: I, the Knight of the Green Sword, who by his own name is called Amadis of Gaul, send you my respects and remind you of the offer that more by your great virtue and nobility than for my services ye were pleased to give me. Now the time has come in which this is necessary especially from Your Majesty as well as from all my friends and supporters who wish to pursue justice and righteousness, as the doctor Elisabad shall tell you about more extensively. I beg you to give faith to his mission so that it may have the same effect that I myself and all those who must protect and obey would place at your own service.”

When the letter was finished and the full accreditation was given to the doctor, as shall be told later, he took leave of him and of his lady Grasinda, and went to sea to begin his voyage, which he concluded successfully and which in its time shall be told.