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.