Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chapter 98

About the message that Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste brought from King Lisuarte, and what all the knights and lords at Firm Island decided to do about it. 

[Castle of Jadraque, also called the Castle of Cid because it is mentioned in the poem The Song of El Cid. Photo by Reinhardhauke.]

The next morning all the lords and knights gathered to hear Mass and the message that Sir Cuadragante and Brian of Monjaste had brought from King Lisuarte. After Mass, with everyone there, Sir Cuadragante told them:

“My good lords, our message and the answer to it was so brief that we can say no other thing but that ye should give thanks to God because with justice and righteousness ye can express the virtue of your noble hearts and win great glory and fame, for King Lisuarte wishes only acrimony.”

And with that he told them everything that had happened, and how they had confirmed that Lisuarte had sent messengers to the Emperor of Rome and to his friends. Agrajes was untroubled by this. Although by Oriana’s order and request he had until that time been more moderate, now he said:

“Truly, my good lords, I have believed that given the state of these negotiations, it would be much more difficult to secure safety for the Princess and for the reputation of our honor than help for this war. And until now, because with great urgency she had ordered and asked me to restrain your anger and mine, I have avoided speaking as much as my heart desired. But now that we know that her hope that some agreement could be reached with her father the King has not been fulfilled, I am free of what I had promised to do more to serve her than of my own will.

“And I say, my lords, as far as my desires and preferences are concerned, I am much happier with what ye brought than if King Lisuarte had granted what ye asked him on our behalf, because it might have been that under the pretext of peace and harmony he could have made some fraudulent agreements that could have deceived us, because since King Lisuarte and the Emperor are powerful, with little difficulty they could quickly call up their men, which we would not be able to do, because ours have to come from many different places and very distant lands. And although our persons, by being in such a mighty fortress, would be safe from danger and harm and would give us some advantage, it would not be the same for our honor. And for that reason, my lords, I believe that known warfare would be better than fraudulent peace agreements, since by them, as I have said, more danger could come to us than to our opponents.”

They all agreed that he had said the truth, that they should immediately take precautions against any troops that might be coming, and that they should do battle in their enemies’ lands. Amadis had been full of doubt and fear that in some way peace might be reached and he would have to deliver his lady, for even if the honor of her and of everyone else were entirely assured and protected, the desire in his suffering heart would have reached such extreme pain and sadness were she to have gone where he could not see her that it would have been impossible for him to sustain his life. When he heard the news those messengers brought and what his cousin Agrajes said, even if he had been made lord of the world, it would not have pleased him as much, because no battle nor war nor labor seemed important in comparison to having his lady with him as he did. He said:

“My lord cousin, ye have always acted like a knight, and as such everyone knows you, and those of us in your lineage and blood must give deepest thanks to God for having placed among us a knight who is so cautious in matters of honor when facing affronts, and whose honor grows by offering such discretion in his advice. And since ye along with these lords have determined what would be best, I can be forgiven for doing nothing other than following whatever your wish would be.”

Angriote d’Estravaus, who was a very wise and courageous knight and who loved Amadis loyally, saw clearly that although he did not come forward to speak and instead placed himself at the will of all others, he was very pleased with the discord. Angriote attributed that to his great courage, which was not content except when facing confrontations such as that, since he knew no other reason for it. Angriote said:

“My lords, we all should be pleased with the news your messengers have brought and what Agrajes has said, because it is certain and sure. But leaving both aside, I say, my lords, that war is much more honorable for us than peace, and because so much could be commented about this that if I were to say it, ye would all become annoyed, I only wish to remind you that ever since ye were knights and even to this moment your desire has always been to seek danger and confrontation, because with them your hearts, unlike those of other men, might be strengthened and win that glory that many desire and few achieve. And since this is obtained with great affection and affliction to your souls, when at any other time in the past have ye so completely achieved it as in the present?

“For truly, although ye have rescued many ladies and damsels in this fashion, never is it recalled that in your time nor in the time of your ancestors has anything as momentous as this been achieved nor will it be in times to come until many years have passed. And since fortune has satisfied our desire so fully and given us this opportunity, just as our souls are immortal in the next world, so our fame might be in this world where we live, and we must be careful to win what fortune has offered us and not to lose it through our own fault and negligence.”

Once everything those knights had said was agreed upon, and since it seemed time to put the matter under way, they decided to send word immediately to call up all the men on their side, and with that done, they went to eat. And for now this story shall cease to speak about them and shall return to the messengers who had been sent, as has been discussed and as this story has recounted.


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