Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chapter 99

How the doctor Elisabad arrived in Grasinda’s realms and from there traveled to see the Emperor of Constantinople with the message from Amadis, and what he obtained. 

[Detail of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople). Photo by Sue Burke.]

This story tells how the doctor Elisabad traveled by sea until he arrived at the lands of his lady Grasinda. There he ordered all the great men of the realm be called, and he showed them the orders that he brought from her, and he urged them to fulfill them immediately. They answered that it was their desire to comply even better than if she were present, and immediately ordered the recruitment of horsemen, crossbow men, archers, and other men of war, and they readied many ships and had other new ones built.

And when the doctor saw that things were being prepared well, he left a knight to oversee it, his young nephew, who was named Libeo, and asked him to put great care into his work. He returned to the sea and traveled to the Emperor of Constantinople. When he arrived, he went to his palace, and they told him that he was speaking with his noblemen. The doctor entered the hall and came to kneel before him and kiss his hands, and the Emperor received him with friendship because he had known him previously and believed he was a good man.

The doctor gave him the letter from Amadis, and when the Emperor read it, he was very surprised to learn that the Knight of the Green Sword was Amadis of Gaul, whom for long time he had wished to meet because of the amazing things told by so many of those who had seen him. He said:

“Doctor, I would be very angry with you if ye knew the name of that knight and did not tell me, because I would be ashamed if a man of such high estate and lineage and so famous throughout the world were to come to my house and not be received with the honors that he deserved, but only as a knight errant.”

The doctor told him:

“My lord, I swear by my holy orders that until he ceased to call himself the Greek Knight and made himself known to my lady Grasinda and to all of us, I never knew that he was Amadis.”

“What?” the Emperor said, “he called himself the Greek Knight after he left here?”

“Then, my lord, the news has not come to your court that he called himself the Greek Knight?”

“It is true,” the Emperor said. “I never heard about it until now.”

“Then ye shall hear great things,” he said, “if Your Mercy were to be pleased for me to tell you.”

“I would consider it very good if ye were to do so,” the Emperor said.

Then the doctor told how, after Amadis had left there, he arrived to where his lady Grasinda was and how, because of the boon that he had promised her, he took her by sea to Great Britain, and why and how before they arrived, he ordered that they call him only the Greek Knight; and of his battles in the court of King Lisuarte against Salustanquidio and the other two Roman knights who fought for the damsels, whom he defeated easily. And he also spoke of the Romans’ great arrogance, and how before the battle began they told King Lisuarte to let them fight the Greek Knight immediately, because when he knew he would have to fight them, he would not dare await them, because the Greeks feared the Romans like fire. He also told him about Sir Grumedan’s battle and how the Greek Knight left two knights there who were his friends and how they defeated the three Romans. He told him everything, and left nothing out, as one who had been present for all of it. Everyone who was there was amazed at the knight’s skill, and was very satisfied at how he had broken the Romans’ arrogance and given them such dishonor.

The Emperor praised him highly, and said:

“Doctor, now tell me your credentials, and I shall hear you.”

The doctor told him everything about the matter between King Lisuarte and his daughter, and why Amadis and those knights had rescued her at sea, and what had happened between King Lisuarte and his subjects, and how Oriana had sent letters of complaint everywhere about what a great injustice her father the King was doing to her so cruelly, disinheriting her without any reason from such a grand and honorable kingdom of which God had made her heiress, and how neither heeding his conscience nor having any mercy, wishing to make his younger daughter heiress to his kingdom, he delivered her to the Romans despite the weeping and sorrow of herself and all those who saw her.

And he told how because of these complaints and the Princess’s alarm, many knights errant of great lineage and high deeds at arms united, and he recounted the names of most of them, and how there at Firm Island they had found Amadis, who knew nothing about this, and there he took counsel with them about how to rescue the Princess, for such a great outrage as that should not come to pass. It was true that they were obliged to remedy the injuries done to damsels and ladies, for whom they had until then suffered many labors and dangers, so they were even more obliged in such a situation that was notable and manifest to all the world, and if they did not rescue her, not only would all the aid and remedy that they had given to other women be forgotten, but they would be dishonored forever and would not dare appear where other good men were.

And Elisabad told how they took a fleet to the sea and of the great battle they fought with the Romans, and how in the end the Romans were defeated and Salustanquidio, the Emperor’s cousin, was  killed; and Brondajel de Roca, the Duke of Ancona, and the Archbishop of Talancia were taken prisoner, among others who were killed or captured; and how they took the Princess and all her ladies and damsels and Queen Sardamira to Firm Island, and from there they had sent messengers to King Lisuarte asking that he cease to cause such cruelty and injustice to his daughter and allow her to return to his kingdom without any acrimony; if so, supplying all the security proper in such a case involving royalty, they would immediately send her along with all of the spoils and prisoners that they had taken.

And he told him what he was asking on behalf of Amadis, that in case King Lisuarte did not wish to agree to justice and instead remained firmly committed to his unwise principles, and if the Emperor of Rome came to his aid with the great quantity of fighting men, then, because His Mercy the Emperor of Constantinople was one of the principal ministers that God had placed on the Earth to maintain justice, especially since it was so widely known what had been done to such a virtuous Princess, for very good cause he should aid her; and in addition, provide help to the noble knight Amadis to put pressure on those who did not wish justice to be done, making sure that such an outrage and injury as that would not come to pass; for besides serving God that way and doing what the Emperor ought, Amadis and all his lineage and friends would be obliged to serve him all the days of his life.

When the Emperor had heard all that, he saw that the cause was great and the deed was grand, both because of its character and because he knew of the excellence of King Lisuarte and how he always maintained his honor and his fame, and also because he knew of the arrogance of the Emperor of Rome, who was more given to following his whims than wisdom or reason. And although he knew that this would not be solved without great acrimony, which he took seriously, he considered how those knights had justice on their side, and how Amadis had come from such a distant land to see him, and the Emperor had given him his word, although lightly and not said with the purpose that he had now taken it, he chose to consider his own grandeur and remember some of the arrogant deeds that the Emperor of Rome had done to him in the past.

He answered the doctor Elisabad:

“Doctor, ye have told me extraordinary things, and from such a good man as ye are everything ought and must be believed. Since the courageous Amadis has need of my help, I shall give it to him and fully comply with the word that he received from me; although it may have seemed light at the time, he may find it true and compelling, as the word from such a great man as myself given to such an honorable and outstanding knight as he ought to be, because nothing that I offer shall not be fulfilled.”

And all those who were present took great pleasure at how the Emperor had responded, above all his nephew Gastiles, who as ye have heard went to see Amadis when he was calling himself the Knight of the Green Sword and had killed the Endriago. He immediately knelt before his uncle the Emperor and said:

“My lord, if it pleases Your Mercy and if my services deserve it, do me this extraordinary favor: may it be I who is sent to help that noble and virtuous knight who has done so much to honor the crown of your empire.”

When the Emperor heard this, he told him:

“Good nephew, I grant you that, and I am pleased to do it, and I now send you and the Marquis Saluder to take charge of preparing a fleet that shall be of the proper quality as the grandeur of my estate requires, because in no other manner would I achieve honor. And if it is necessary, ye and he shall go with it and do battle against the Emperor of Rome as would be fit.”

Gastiles kissed his hands and took it as a great favor. And he did as he and the Marquis had been ordered. When the doctor Elisabad saw this, ye may well believe the pleasure that it gave him, and he said to the Emperor:

“My lord, for what ye have said to me I kiss your hands on behalf of that knight, and because I shall be the one to bring him that response, I kiss your feet, and because now there is much for me to do, may Your Mercy give me license to leave. If the Emperor of Rome calls up his men, since he is a man very given to such things, when he does, at that same time ye should call out your men so that they arrive in time to await them.”

The Emperor told him:

“Doctor, go with God, and leave these matters to me, for if they are necessary, then ye shall see who I am and the way in which I value Amadis.”

And so the doctor bid farewell to the Emperor, and he returned to the lands of his lady Grasinda.


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