Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chapter 83

How by agreement and on order of Princess Oriana, the knights took her to Firm Island. 

[The Wheel of Fortune. From Troy Book and Siege of Thebes by John Lydgate, c. 1457, at the British Library.]

After Amadis and the other knights left the ship carrying Salustanquidio and saw that they had control over the entire Roman fleet without opposition, they all met on Sir Florestan’s ship. They agreed that since Oriana wished to go to Firm Island, which seemed wise to them, they should do so immediately. They ordered that all the prisoners be put on a ship guarded by Gavarte of the Fearful Valley and Landin, Sir Cuadragante’s nephew, with a great many knights to watch over them.

They ordered that the spoils, which were plentiful, be placed in another ship, to be guarded by Sir Gandales, Amadis’s foster father, and Sadamon, one of the most sensible and faithful knights there was. In all the rest of the ships they split up the men at arms and sailors to take them to port, and they still had all the ships that had left Firm Island.

When everything was ready, they asked Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and Angriote d’Estrauvaus to let Oriana know that they would carry out what she had ordered, so she would feel content. Those two knights got on a boat to go to the ship where she was, and entered her chamber. They knelt before her and told her:

“Good lady, all of the knights who came to rescue you in your service wish you to know that the fleet is ready and prepared to leave. They wish to know your will, which they will carry out with complete devotion.”

Oriana told them:

“My good friends, if I am never able to reward you for this love that ye all show me and what ye have done for me, I would now despair of my life. But I have faith in our Lord that by His mercy, He would wish it be done just as it is my will. And tell these noble knights that our agreement should be carried out, which is to go to Firm Island, and when we arrive, we shall hold counsel about what should be done. I have faith in God, who is the just Judge and knows all things, that He will guide what now seems so shattered and turn it into great honor and pleasure. All things just and true, like this, may seem harsh and laborious at the beginning, as things seem now, but in the end we should only hope for good results. And things that are unjust and false yield only lies and disloyalty.”

The two knights returned with that answer. When those awaiting the reply heard it, they ordered the trumpets to sound, of which the fleet had many, and with great joy and with the shouts of the common men, they set sail. All the great lords and knights were very happy and had great spirit, since it had been their desire to remain with each other and the princess after they had successfully achieved what they had begun. As they were all of fine lineage and accomplished at deeds at arms, their courage and hearts grew knowing that their side was in the right and seeing that they were in discord with two such high princes, for they only expected to gain great honor whether things went well or poorly, since great deeds are always praised and remembered wherever they happen.

And as they all wore very fine armor and were great in number, even to those who did not know of their grand and great deeds, they would have seem like the army of a great emperor, for truly it would be hard to find in the house of any prince, no matter how grand he was, so many knights of such lineage and such worth.

Then what can be said here except that thou, King Lisuarte, should have thought about the time when thou wert a prince without inheritance. Thou ventured out into great reigns and realms, making use of thine intelligence, strength, virtue, temperance, and precious honesty more fully than any of the mortals of thy time did. Then thou took the diadem and precious crown and made thyself lord of so many knights, for which in all parts of the world thou wert praised and held in great esteem. It is not known if thou lost this because thy same fate was turned into misfortune, or whether thou suffered a great reversal in thy esteem and honorable fame from thy lack of understanding, for it is in the hand of God to give this to thee or to take it from thee.

Instead, I testify that I believe it occurred so that thou wouldst suffer, reduced from that height in which thou wert placed, so thou should especially regret those prosperous times when thou faced no opposition that might hurt thee.

And if thou hast complaints over this, complain to thyself, for thou wished to subject thy ears to men of little virtue and less truth, believing what thou heard from them instead of what thine own eyes saw. And along with this, without any pity or conscience, thou gave such latitude to thy free will that, not letting thy heart be touched by the admonishments of many people or the painful sobbing of thy daughter, thou wished to disinherit her and place her in tribulation, she whom God had adorned with so much beauty, nobility, and virtue, exceeding all women of her time. If anything in her honor could be reproached, given her excellence and sound thinking, in the end, the outcome should be more attributed to the permission of God, who wished it so according to His will, rather than to any error or sin, since if the wheel of fortune turned against thee, thou wert the one who let it loose from its mechanism.

Returning to our purpose, as ye have heard, the fleet was sailing in the sea, and in seven days at dawn it entered the port of Firm Island, where as a sign of joy many shots were fired from their cannons. When the island’s populace saw so many captured ships, they were alarmed, and everyone with their weapons rushed to the docks. But as soon as they arrived, they knew the ships belonged to their lord Amadis by the pendants and flags that flew from the crow’s nests, which were the same as those he had taken with him.

And then they launched boats, and men got out, Sir Gandales among them, to arrange for lodgings as well as to have a bridge of boats made from the land to the ships so Oriana and the ladies could disembark.


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