Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chapter 76 [part 3 of 3]

[How Sir Grumedan and Queen Sardamira came to know the knight was Sir Florestan, brother of Amadis.]

[A late 15th century parade shield from Flanders or Burgundy depicting an image of courtly love: “vous ou la mort” (you or death). At the British Museum.]

Sir Grumedan said to Sir Florestan:

“My lord, if ye please, tell us your name, for such a fine man as yourself should not go unknown.”

He replied:

“My lord Sir Grumedan, I pray it does not trouble you if I do not say, because due to the discourtesy I did to that lovely Queen for no reason, I do not wish her to know it, and I feel very guilty, although she and her ladies are more guilty. Their great beauty was the cause for my error, for it left me dazzled. And I beg you, my lord Sir Grumedan, that ye seek their forgiveness in exchange for whatever amends I might be able to make, and that ye send me their answer to the round hermitage near here, which is where I shall lodge today.”

Sir Grumedan told him:

“I shall do all in my power to do as ye wish, and I shall send my squire with the response. I think that the answer he shall bring you will be good, as ye deserve.”

The knight from Firm Island told him:

“I ask you, my lord Sir Grumedan, that if ye know any news about Amadis, please tell me.”

And Sir Grumedan, who deeply loved he whom he had been asked about, had tears come to his eyes from longing for him, and said:

“May God help me, good knight, from the time he left Gaul and his father King Perion’s house, I have heard no news at all about him, and I would be delighted to learn anything and tell it to you and to all his friends.”

“I well believe this,” Sir Florestan said, “due to your good will and the great loyalty within you, my lord. If all men were like that, immoderation and disloyalty would find noplace here to lodge, and they would be forced from this world. May God be with you, and I shall go to the hermitage, where I shall wait for the word your squire brings.”

“May ye go with God,” Sir Grumedan said.

He went to the tents, and Sir Florestan to where his squires were. He ordered the horses he had won be brought to the tents, and the peach-colored horse be given to Sir Grumedan on his behalf because it seemed especially fine, and the other four be given to the damsel who had spoken to him to do with as she pleased, and to say that they were sent by Sir Florestan.

Sir Grumedan was very happy with the horse for having belonged to the Romans, and even more to know that the knight had been Sir Florestan, whom he deeply loved and appreciated.

The squires gave the other horses to the damsel and told her:

“My lady damsel, that knight to whom ye spoke derisively today, praising your Romans, sends you these horses to do with as ye please, and asks ye to take them as proof of the truth of the words he said.”

“I am deeply grateful,” she said, “and truly, he won them with great honor and nobility, but I would be even more pleased if he had left his horse here than to receive these four.”

“That may well be,” said one of the squires, “but whoever would win his horse would have to have better knights than the ones who tried to take it from him here.”

The damsel said:

“Do not be surprised if I prefer the honor of those knights than honor from one whose name I do not even know. But however that may be, he has sent me a beautiful gift, and I am sorry to have said something to such a good man that made him angry. I shall make amends however he may ask.”

With that the squires returned to their lord, who waited for them, and told him what had happened, which pleased him. He ordered them to take the Romans’ shields and went to the round hermitage to wait there for word from Sir Grumedan. The hermitage was on the road straight to Firm Island, and he had no desire to go to the court of King Lisuarte. Instead, he wished to go talk to Sir Gandales, who governed the island, to ask him if he had any news about his brother and to deliver the shields.

But I tell ye that Sir Grumedan immediately went before Queen Sardamira and very humbly told her what Sir Florestan had asked him to say, and he told her his name. The Queen listened very carefully and said:

“Would this Sir Florestan be the son of King Perion and the Countess of Selandia?”

“He is, my lady, just as ye say, and I think he is one of the most courageous and courteous knights in the world.”

“I do not know how things have gone for him,” she said, “but I tell you, Sir Grumedan, that the sons of the Marquis of Ancona speak very highly of his great skill at arms, and his fine deeds, and how he is wise and prudent. And this ought to be believed, for they were his companions in the great wars in Rome, where Sir Florestan spent three years when he was a young knight. But of his skill they do not dare speak in front of the Emperor, who disdains him and does not wish to hear him spoken well of.”

“Do ye know,” Sir Grumedan said, “why the Emperor disdains him?”

“Yes,” the Queen said, “because of his brother Amadis, with whom the Emperor is aggrieved because Amadis got to Firm Island first and passed the tests that Patin expected to win. This is why he despises him, because Amadis deprived him of the honor and praise that he meant to gain.”

Sir Grumedan smiled over that and said:

“Truly, my lady, he has no reason to be aggrieved. Instead, I believe that he ought to love him for this because he saved him from the greatest dishonor he could have had, as happened to many other knights who tested their great skill at arms there and could not win. The winner could only be he whom God had raised above all others in the world in strength and every other thing a good knight ought to have. But believe me, my lady, that there is another reason why the Emperor ought to despise him.”

The Queen said:

“By the faith ye owe to God, Sir Grumedan, tell me.”

“My lady,” he said, “I shall tell you, but do not become angered by it.”

Laughing, she told him:

“Whatever it is, I wish to hear it.”

“In the name of God,” he said. Then he told her what had happened to the Emperor with Amadis in the forest one night when the Emperor rode praising love and Amadis rode lamenting it, and everything they said to each other, and how the fight between them was, just as ye have heard in the second book.* The Queen was very taken by the story and had him tell it three times, and said:

“May God help me, Sir Grumedan, from what ye say, it is easy to understand why this knight can serve love when he is happy with it, and do the opposite when love runs contrary. Yet it seems to me this small cause was not enough to create disdain between the Emperor and Amadis.”

*In Chapters 46 and 47.

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