Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chapter 113 [part 3 of 4]

[What Nasciano said to Amadis and King Perion in his quest to make peace.]

[14th-century Gothic sculpture from the Doorway of the Apostles at the Cathedral of Valencia. Photo by Sue Burke.]

And so the King and Nasciano entered the great tent where many knights and other people were, and as the hermit wished to bid the King farewell, that handsome childe, his ward Esplandian, came in through a door to the tent with his foster-brother Sarguil. Queen Brisena had sent him to learn news about her lord the King. When the good man saw how much he had grown, now almost a man, who could tell you of the joy he felt? Truly, it would be impossible. And as Nasciano was still with the King, he went to Esplandian as fast as he could to embrace him. The childe, although he had not seen him for a long time, immediately recognized him and came to kneel before him and began to kiss his hands. The holy man took him in his arms and kissed him many times with such great joy that he was almost completely out of his mind, and he held him that way for a long time and could not let him go, speaking to him this way:

“Oh my good child, blessed be the hour in which thy wert born, and blessed and praised be the Lord who by such a miracle wished to give thee life and reach such an estate as my eyes now see thee.”

And as this was happening, everyone was watching what the good man said and did and the great pleasure that it gave him to see the boy he had raised, and their hearts were moved to mercy to see such love.

But above all others, while he did not show it, was the pleasure that King Lisuarte felt, for although earlier he had esteemed and loved the boy for what he expected from him and for his great handsomeness, it was nothing in comparison to knowing that he was actually his grandson, and he could not take his eyes from him. Such was the great love that suddenly came over him that all the passion and anger that until then he had held about the past left him and was turned into the opposite, as it had been in the time when he had the most love for Amadis. And immediately he recognized the great truth in what Urganda the Unrecognized had written: that Esplandian would bring peace between himself and Amadis, so he firmly believed that everything else she had said would also come true.

The good man embraced Esplandian with great love, then released him from his arms, and the childe went to kneel before the King to give him a letter from the Queen, in which she begged him to seek peace and accord if it could be done with honor, and many other things that it is not necessary to speak of. The good man said to the King:

“My lord, I shall take it as a great favor and consolation to my spirit if ye were to give Esplandian permission to accompany me in my travels so I shall have time to look at him and speak with him.”

“So it shall be done,” the King said, “and I order that ye shall not be parted from him until ye wish it.”

The good man thanked him sincerely and said:

“My good and blessed son, come with me, since the King orders it.”

The childe told him:

“My good lord and true father, I am very content with that, for I have wished to see you for a long time.”

And so Nasciano left the tent with those two youths, Esplandian and his nephew Sarguil, and he mounted his donkey and they their palfreys, and they took the road to where Amadis had his camp, the good man spoke with Esplandian about many things he would enjoy, all the while praying to God to give him the grace to carry out his mission in whatever would be in His holy service.

So in this company as ye hear, the saintly hermit arrived at the camp and went directly to Amadis’ tent, where he found so many knights so well dressed that he was amazed. Amadis did not recognize him since he had never seen him and could not imagine what a man so old and ill was seeking. And he looked at Esplandian and saw him more handsome than he believed a mortal person could be. He also did not recognize him, for although he had spoken to him when Esplandian asked for the two Roman knights Amadis had defeated and he gave them to him as this story has recounted, that sight of him was so brief that he had forgotten how he looked.

But Sir Cuadragante, who was there, recognized him immediately and went to him and said:

“My good friend, I wish to embrace you. And do you recall when Sir Brian of Monjaste and I met you, and you gave your regards for the Greek Knight? I gave them to him on your behalf.”

Then he said to Amadis:

“My good lord, ye see here the handsome young nobleman Esplandian, from whom Sir Brian of Monjaste and I gave you a message.”

When Amadis heard him called Esplandian, he immediately recognized him, and if seeing him gave him pleasure, this need not be told, and so he lost his senses with the great joy that he felt, and he could barely respond, nor was he in his right mind. And if anyone had been paying attention they would have clearly seen his alteration, but no one suspected such a thing, instead they all believed that no one other than Urganda knew who his father was. Then with Sir Cuadragante holding him by the hand, Amadis wished to embrace him, but Esplandian told him:

“Good lord, instead do honor to this saintly man Nasciano, who seeks you.”

And when they all heard it said he was Nasciano, who was so renowned everywhere for his saintly and austere life, they came to him with great humility and, with their knees on the ground, asked him to give them his blessing.

The hermit said:

“I beg to my Lord Jesus Christ that, if a blessing of such a sinner as I am can be of any good, that mine may abate the great rage and pride in your hearts and put you in such understanding of His service that, forgetting the vain things of this world, ye shall follow the truth of He who is truth itself.”

Then he raised his hand and blessed them. Amadis turned to Esplandian and embraced him. And Esplandian gave him recognition and reverence not as his father, for he did not know he was, but as the best knight he had ever heard spoken of. And for this reason he considered him very highly and his eyes were so content he could not take them from him, and from the day he saw him defeat the Romans, his desire had always been to travel in his company serving him to see his great deeds of knighthood and to learn for the future. And now that he found himself older and closer to being a knight, he desired it even more, and if it were not for the great division between his lord the King and Amadis, he would have already asked for permission to go with him, but these troubles made it impossible.

Amadis, who could hardly take his eyes from him, saw how the young nobleman looked at him so eagerly, and he suspected that he must know something. The good hermit, who knew the truth, looked at the father and son and as he saw them together and so handsome, he was as joyful as if he were in paradise. And in his heart he prayed to God for them and for it to be in His service to bring about great love and accord between him and all the other knights who were the finest in the world. And as they were all congregating around that saintly man, he said to Sir Cuadragante:

“My lord, I must speak about some things with Amadis. Take this childe with you, for he has spoken more with you than with any of these other lords.”

Then he took Amadis by the hand and drew him some distance away, and told him:

“My son, before making manifest the main reason for which I have come, I wish to remind you of the debt and thanks greater than any other man now alive that ye have with our Lord God, for at your birth ye were thrown into the sea inside an ark without any protection, and the Redeemer of the world, having mercy on you, miraculously brought you into the sight of he who raised you so well. This Lord of whom I speak has made you the most handsome, the strongest, the most loved, and themost honored of anyone known in the world. Having been given His grace, ye have defeated many valiant knights and giants and other wild and misshapen creatures who did great harm in this world. Ye are today in the world the most outstanding of all men.

“Since He has done so much for you, what is reasonable that ye should do for Him? For truly, if the Evil Enemy [Satan] does not fool you, with more humility and patience than anyone else ye should look to do His service, and if ye do not, all the grace and gifts that ye have received from God shall do harm and diminish your honor, because while His holy mercy is great in those who obey and know Him, so His justice is great on those who have received the greatest gifts from Him but have not given recognition or thanks for them.

“And now, my good son, ye shall know why I put this tired and old body before every danger to its health, wishing to follow the purpose for which I chose to leave behind all things of this perishable world. I have come with great labor and trouble to my spirit with the help of He without whom nothing good can be done, to create peace and love where there was rupture and misfortune, as there is at present. And as I have spoken with King Lisuarte, in whom I have found what every good minister of God must obey, I wish to know from you, my good lord, if ye have greater recognition to He who created you than to the vainglory of this world. And so that without distrust or fear ye may speak with me, I would have you know that before I came here, I went to Firm Island, and with the permission of Princess Oriana, from whom in confession I learned everything in her heart and her greatest secrets, I undertook this mission in which you see me now.”

Amadis, when he heard him say this, fully believed that he was telling the truth, because he was a saintly man and would never say anything unless it were true, and he responded to him this way:

“Friend of God and saintly hermit, if the knowledge that I have of the goods and gifts that I have received from my Lord Jesus Christ I were to have put to use in the services that I am obliged to Him, I would be the most blessed knight that was ever born, but I have received from him everything and much more than you have said, and I have not recognized nor repaid Him but instead I have offended Him every day in many things, and I consider myself very sinful and full of error against His commandments. And if now with your arrival I could amend something of the past, I would be very happy and content to do so. For that end, tell me what is in my grasp, and with full dedication it shall be carried out.”

“Oh blessed son!” the good man said. “How much ye have made my sinful soul glad and have consoled my sorrow at seeing so much evil. May the Lord who shall save you give you rewards for me! And now without any fear, I wish you to know what I learned after I came to this land.”

Then he told him everything he had spoken of with Oriana and how with her permission he came to her father the King and all the things that he had spoken of with him, and how he told him plainly that Oriana was married to Amadis, and that the noble youth Esplandian was his grandson, and how the King had listened with great patience and was now very close to accepting peace. And since Nasciano, with the help of God, had placed him in that state of mind, Amadis should give orders so that, being married to the Princess, peace could be arranged between both sides. When Amadis heard this, his heart and flesh trembled with the great joy he had to know that by the wish of his lady their secret love had been made known, and he had her in his power without any risk of danger, and he said to the hermit:

“My good lord, if King Lisuarte is so disposed and he wishes me as his son, I shall take him as my lord and father to serve him in everything that may be to his honor.”

“Then so be it,” the good man said. “How do ye think these two intentions may be fully united so no more evil may come here?”

Amadis responded:

“It seems to me, father, that ye should speak with my lord King Perion and tell him the reason and desire with which ye came. If he considers it good to make peace with him and provided King Lisuarte agrees to that which Sir Cuadragante and Sir Brian of Monjaste on our behalf sought from him regarding the matter involving Oriana, I have so much faith in his virtue that ye shall achieve all the assurance that ye seek. And tell him that ye have spoken about this with me a little, but I place everything at his will.”

The good man believed he had spoken wisely and that is what he did: immediately he left Amadis’ tent and with his young nobleman and companions went to the tent of King Perion, who, knowing who he was, received him with great love and goodwill. The King looked at Esplandian, whom he had never seen, and was very amazed to see such a handsome and gracious youth, and he asked the holy hermit who he was. The holy man told him how he had raised him and how God had sent him in a miraculous way.

King Perion said:

“All the more miraculous, father, if this is the youth who led a lioness on a leash for hunting, and ye raised in the forest where you live, and of whom many amazing things will happen as the very wise Urganda the Unrecognized had sent to be told, if God lets him live. And it seems to me that I have been told that she sent a letter to King Lisuarte which said that this childe shall make great peace and accord between him and my son Amadis, and if it is so, we must all love and honor him greatly, since because of him so much good may come, as ye can see, father.”

The good and holy man Nasciano told him:

“My lord, this is truly whom ye speak of. And if ye have some reason to love him, ye shall have even more reason soon, when ye know more about him.”

Then he said to Esplandian:

“Son, kiss the hands of the King, who is well worthy of it.”

The young nobleman knelt to kiss his hands, but the King embraced him and told him:

“My childe, ye should be very grateful to God for the gift He gave you to be so handsome and graceful, so that even those who know nothing about you are attracted to you to love and esteem you. And since He was pleased to give you so much grace and good looks, if ye are obedient to him, much more He has promised you.”

The youth did not respond in any way. Instead, with great embarrassment at hearing himself praised by such a prince, his face grew red, which seemed very good to everyone to see such modesty at his age, and many people were amazed that such an outstanding person did not know who his father or mother was. The King asked the holy man Nasciano if he knew whose son he was. The good man told him:

“He is the son of God, who makes all things, although of mortal man and woman he was engendered and born. But given his beginning and the care God has taken to protect him and to see that he was well raised, it seems that He loves him like a son, and it will please Him by His holy clemency and mercy that soon ye shall know more about him.”


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chapter 113 [part 2 of 4]

[How Nasciano spoke to King Lisuarte and convinced him that what he said was true.]

[Saint Benedict of Nursia, depicted by Fra Angelico in a fresco made between 1437-1446, at the Museo di San Marco, Florence.]

Upon entering the camp, he asked where King Lisuarte’s tents were, and he went to them without pausing to rest. When the King saw Nasciano, he immediately recognized him and was very surprised because, given his great age, he did not believe he could have left his hermitage. And he also surmised that a man like him, so ill and of such a holy life, had only come for some great purpose. He went to receive him, and when he arrived, he knelt and said:

“Father Nasciano, friend and servant of God, give me your blessing.”

The hermit raised his hand and said:

“May the Lord whom I serve and whom everyone is obliged to serve, protect you and give you such wisdom that instead of holding dear the perishable things of this world, ye may disdain them and do such work by which your soul may possess and achieve the glory and repose for which it was created, if by your own fault ye do not lose it.”

Then he gave him a blessing, raised him up by the hands, and knelt to kiss them, but the King embraced him and would not let him. He took him by the hand and had him sit beside him. He ordered that he immediately be brought something to eat, which was done, and after he had eaten, he went with him to a private area of the tent and asked him why he had come, saying how very amazed he was that he had been able to travel there so far from his dwelling given his age and retreat from the world.

The hermit answered:

“My lord, everything ye have said may rightly be believed, for truly, given the great age both of my body and of my will, I am not in a state to do more than leave my cell to go to the altar. But it falls upon those who wish to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and who wish to follow his holy teachings and footsteps, that at no time due to their age or labor and fatigue may they weaken even a moment, remembering how God is the true Creator of all things, and nothing may compel Him except His holy pity and mercy, and Who wished to come to give us paradise, which had been closed to us in this world where, after so many injuries and insults from dishonorable men, He received cruel suffering and death. And what can we do, for all our efforts to serve him, that could reach the height of his shoelace, as his great friend and servant [Saint John the Baptist] said?

“And considering this, leaving behind the fear of danger to my small life, thinking that better here than where I was I could follow His service, I decided with great labor to my person and great will in my desire to make this trip, in which He was pleased to guide me to you, my lord, to receive my message, placing aside all wrath and passion, and above all the vile pride that is the enemy of all virtue and conscience, so that following His service, all the things are forgotten in this world that seem to be worth so much and that in the other more real world are abhorred.

“And coming to the point, my Lord, I say that when I was in that hermitage where fate guided you through thick forest and high mountain and where ye spoke with me about everything involving that very handsome and high-born childe Esplandian, I learned about this great confrontation and cruel war where I now find you, and the reason and cause behind it. And I know very well that what ye wish, my good lord, is to have your daughter marry the Emperor of Rome, and from it so much evil in harm has come, but this cannot be done, and not only for what the greater and lesser men of your kingdom have told you many times, that the Princess is your legitimate heir and successor after the end of your days. This was and is a very legitimate reason for which very rightly and in good conscience the wedding must be averted, but there is another reason that is hidden from you and others and is made manifest to me, which is an even more mighty reason according to human and divine law to avert it: your daughter is joined in matrimony with the husband that our Lord Jesus Christ considered good, and it is in His service that she is wed.”

When he heard this, the King thought that as this good man was now very elderly, his mind and discretion were troubled, or that someone had instructed him very well in what to say. And he answered:

“Nasciano, my good friend, my daughter Oriana never had a husband nor has one now, except the Emperor to whom I gave her, because with him, although she would be separated from my kingdom, she would be placed in much greater honor and much higher estate. And God is witness that my intention was never to disinherit her and make my other daughter the heir, as some say; instead I believed that, if my kingdom were united through love with the Empire of Rome, the holy Catholic faith could be greatly extolled. If I had known or imagined that this would have resulted in such enormity, with very little urging I would have changed my wish and will and taken other counsel. But since my intention was just and good, I believe that neither what has happened nor what shall come can be considered my responsibility.”

The good man told him:

“My lord, that is why I tell you that what is hidden from you is manifest to me. And leaving aside what ye told me about your sincere and noble will, which can and must be believed given your great discretion and the high honor in which God has placed you, I want you to know from me what would be very hard to find out from anyone else. And I speak of that day in which by your orders I arrived at the tents in the forest where the Queen and her daughter Oriana were with many ladies and damsels, and ye with many knights, when I brought with me that blessed child Esplandian, who had led a lioness on a leash, and to whom the Lord has promised much, as ye have heard, my good lord.

“The Queen and Oriana told me all the secrets of their consciences so that in the name of He who created them and must save them I might give them the penance that the health of their souls required. I learned from your daughter Oriana about the day that Amadis of Gaul rescued her from Arcalaus the Sorcerer and four other knights who were carrying her away as a prisoner. At the same time ye were tricked by the damsel who brought you from London using the boon that ye had promised her, and ye were taken prisoner and were in great danger of losing your life and your entire kingdom, from which his brother Sir Galaor freed you at great danger to his own life.

“For the great service that Amadis did for her as well as what his brother did for you, as reward she promised to marry that noble knight, who has rescued so many people in peril and is the height and example for all the knights in the world, both in his lineage as in his courage and all the other good qualities that a knight should have. From what followed, by the grace and will of God, was engendered Esplandian, whom He wished to make so exalted and outstanding over all others alive, for we can truly say that in many great epochs in the past and that are yet to come, no one has known of a mortal person who was raised with such a wonderful miracle. Regarding what the great wisdom of Urganda the Unrecognized has made publicly known, ye know far better than I, my lord.

“And so we can say that although it took place fortuitously, it seems in fact that it was none other than a mystery of our Lord, whom it pleased to have it occur. And since it pleases Him, it should not give sorrow to you, my good lord. Instead, considering it to be His will, and considering the nobility and great valor of this knight, ye should deem it good to take him, as well as all his great lineage, as your servant and son, ordering, as ye can, that your honor be protected in the present danger, and in what is to come it may take such form that people of good conscience will determine it as service to the Lord in whose service we are born into this world, and to you, for after Him ye are his minister in temporal affairs.

“And now, great King Lisuarte, I wish to see if the great discretion that God has wished to embellish you with is well employed in your elevated and high estate, where more by his infinite goodness then by your merit He has placed you. And since He has given you more than ye deserve, you will not deem it much to do some of what His holy doctrines teach you.”

When the King heard this, he was stunned, and he said:

“Oh, Father Nasciano! Is it true that my daughter is married to Amadis?”

“It is certainly true,” he said. “He is the husband of your daughter, and the childe Esplandian is your grandson.”

“Oh, holy Mary, help me!” the King said. “How dangerous it was to keep that secret from me for so long, for if I had known it or suspected it, so many unfortunate men would not have been lost and killed who did not deserve it. And I would wish that ye, my good friend, had let me know about it in time that this could have been prevented.”

“That could not be,” the good man said, “because what is said in confession must not be revealed, and it has been told to you now with the permission of the Princess, whom I have just seen and who was pleased to have it revealed. And I have faith that if the present situation can be made right, it would be in the service to the Savior of the world, so He will forgive the past with small penance since the deed rather than the intention seems to have caused harm.”

The King spent some time thinking in silence. He recalled Amadis’s great courage and how he deserved to be lord of great lands, which he was, and to be married to someone who was a great lady in the world, as well as the great love he had for his daughter Oriana, and how he would be using virtue and good conscience to make her his heir, which by right was hers. And he thought of the love he had always had for Sir Galaor and the services that he and all his lineage had done for him, and how many times, after God, he was rescued by them when only death and the destruction of all of his estate awaited him.

And above all he thought about his grandson, that very handsome childe Esplandian, in whom he had so much hope that if God were to protect him and he became a knight, according to what Urganda had written, he would have no equal in the world. And he also thought about how in that same letter it was written that this childe would bring peace between himself and Amadis. And he also remembered that the Emperor was dead, and if with him and his family he were to have gained honor, he would gain much more with the family of Amadis, as he had seen many times through experience, and with it, in addition to bringing about peace both for himself and for his kingdom, his honor would grow such that no one in the world would be his equal. And after he had finished thinking about all this, he said:

“Father Nasciano, friend of God, although my heart and will were subject to pride and I did not wish to receive anything else but death or to give it to many other men until my honor was satisfied, your holy words have possessed such virtue that I have decided to retract my wishes in such a way that if peace and accord do not come into effect, ye shall be witness before God that it is not my fault or blame. For that reason, do not fail to speak with Amadis, but do not share with him anything of my intent. Find out what he wishes in this situation, and then tell me. And if his intention conforms with mine, I shall be able to give such an order so that the present and future troubles will be prevented in such a way that the advantage in honor of both sides will be fulfilled.”

Nasciano knelt before him weeping from the great pleasure he felt, and said:

“Oh blessed King, may the Lord who came to save us thank you for what ye have told me, because I cannot.”

The King raised him up and told him:

“Father, what I have told you I have decided without any hidden intention.”

“Then I ought to leave now,” the good man said, “and before the truce is over, I must labor so that this in which our Lord will be served is brought to its conclusion.”


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chapter 113 [part 1 of 4]

How the saintly hermit Nasciano, who had raised the handsome childe Esplandian, learned about the rupture between the Kings and decided to make peace between them, and what he did to bring that about. 

[The chapel of Santa Maria del Grau in Fonollosa, Spain, built in the 12th or 13th century. Photo by Maria Rosa Ferre.]

This story tells how the saintly Nasciano, who had raised Esplandian, as the third part of this story recounts, had been in his hermitage in a great forest, as ye have heard, for more than forty years. Because the place was very rough and remote, rarely did anyone visit, and he always kept provisions to last a long time. It is not known whether by the grace of God or by any news that might have reached him, he learned that those Kings and great lords were in a dangerous confrontation both to themselves and to all those in their service, which caused his heart great pain and suffering.

And because at this time he was ill and could barely stand and walk, he constantly prayed to God to give him health and strength so he could be the remedy to those who shared His holy law, because, as he had heard the confession of Oriana and from her was made fully aware of the secret involving Amadis and that Esplandian was his son, he well understood the great danger that having her marry another man would entail.

And for that reason he thought that since Oriana was where she need not fear her father’s wrath, it would be proper, although he was very old and feeble, to begin to travel to Firm Island, because with her permission, for it could be done in no other way, he could tell King Lisuarte the truth about things he did not know, and to strive to create peace and concord and bring about the marriage between her and Amadis.

With that thought and desire, when he felt a little better, he took with him two men from the village where his sister lived, who was the mother of Sarguil, Esplandian’s companion. He rode on his donkey, although he was very weak, and with short days of travel and a great deal of effort he arrived at Firm Island after King Perion and all his men had already left for the battle, which gave him great sorrow.

When he had arrived, he sent word to Oriana that he had come. When she learned this, she was very happy for two reasons. First, because the saintly hermit had raised and given, after God, life to her son Esplandian; and second, because she could be counseled by him as her soul and conscience required. She immediately ordered the damsel of Denmark to go to him and bring him to where she was, which she did. When Oriana saw him come through the door, she went to him and knelt before him, began to weep bitterly and told him:

“Oh saintly man, give your blessing to this unfortunate and very sinful woman, who to the ill fate of herself and many others was born into this world.”

Tears came to the eyes of the hermit because of the pity he had for her, and he raised his hand to bless her and said:

“May the Lord who is restorative and powerful in all things bless you and be the protection and aid in everything you need.”

Then he took her by the hands, raised her up, and told her:

“My good lady and beloved child, with great fatigue and labor I have come to speak to you, and when ye please, order me to be heard because I cannot wait, for neither the manner of my life nor my faith permits me to do so.”

Oriana, who was still weeping, took him by the hand without a word in response, for her great sobbing did not let her speak, and brought him to her chamber and ordered them to be left alone, and so it was done. When the hermit saw that he could say what he wished without reserve, he told her:

“My good lady, as I was in that hermitage where for such a long time I have sought to have our Lord God take mercy on my soul, setting aside all the things of the world so I would not suffer any obstacle to my purpose, I came to know that your father the King and the Emperor of Rome had come with many men to do battle with Amadis of Gaul. He and his father, with other princes and knights of high estate, had also raised many men to fight. What from this shall follow anyone could know: that for certain, given the large number of men and the great determination with which they seek to challenge each other, nothing can result from this except a great loss of life and the great offense to our Lord God.

“And because the cause, as I have heard, is the marriage by which your father wishes to unite you and the Emperor of Rome, my lady, I decided to make this trip to see you, as the one who knows the great secret of your conscience is in this matter and the great danger to your person and reputation if the wishes of your father the King were to be carried out. And, my good child, because I knew of this from your confession, I did not have license to put into practice the remedy for the great harm that can come from this. Now that I see the present situation, it would be a greater sin to be quiet than to speak. I come so that ye, my beloved child, may consider it well for your father to know what has happened and that he can give you to no other husband than the one you have, for not knowing this, thinking that what he wishes could justly be done, his tenacity may be such that he carries out his purpose to the great destruction of his army and the other. In the end it may be made public, just as the Gospel says: nothing can be so hidden that it can never be known.”

Oriana, who found her spirit a little more reposed, took him by the hands and kissed them many times against his wishes, and told him:

“Oh very holy man and servant of God, I place and put all my troubles and anguish at your wishes and volition so ye may do what serves my soul best, and may the Lord whom ye serve and Whom I have so deeply offended be pleased by His holy pity to guide you, not as I deserve, being such a sinner, but as He in his infinite goodness so often does with those who have erred if they ask for his mercy with all their heart, as I do now.”

The good man answered, pleased:

“My beloved child, since as ye say the Lord never fails anyone in their great needs if they call upon Him with a genuine heart and contrition, have great faith. It befalls me as he who can and must act with propriety to put into practice that remedy at your service and to protect your honor with the security that your soul’s conscience requires. And because great harm and evil could come from delay, my good lady, it is best that ye immediately give me permission to depart so that my labors, if they can, will reap the fruit that I desire.”

Oriana told him:

“My lord Nasciano, I commend you to pray for that childe whom, after God, ye gave life, and if ye return here, strive to bring him with you. May you go with God and may He guide you so that your good desire will be fulfilled in His holy service.”

And so the saintly hermit said farewell, and with great fatigue in his spirit and great hope to fulfill his goodwill, took the road on which he knew the troops had traveled. But because he was so old, as this story recounts, he could only travel on his donkey, and his journey was so slow that he did not arrive until after the two battles had already been fought, as has been recounted. As the armies, with a truce, were burying their dead and caring for their wounded, this very saintly man arrived at King Lisuarte’s camp. When he saw so many dead men and so many others with a variety of injuries, for which great mourning was being made everywhere, he was horrified and raised his hands to the heavens, weeping with great pity, and said:

“Oh Lord of the world, I pray to Thee that by Thy holy pity and the passion Thou underwent for us sinners, looking not on our great errors and sins, give me grace so I may prevent the great evil and harm that Thy servants are prepared to do.”


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chapter 112

How King Lisuarte had the body of the Emperor of Rome brought to a monastery and spoke to the Romans about the situation he was in, and the answer they gave him.
[Funeral procession of King Edward to Westminster Abbey, from the Bayeux Tapestry.]

King Lisuarte came to his tent and asked King Cildadan to dismount and disarm so that, before they rested, they could decide what ought to be done with the body of the Emperor. And when they were disarmed, although they were badly bruised and very tired, they both went to the tent where the dead Emperor was, and they found all his most important knights around his body mourning deeply.

Although the Emperor by nature was arrogant and disagreeable, which for good reason those who behave like him should be unloved, he was very free and generous in both gifts and concessions to his men, which concealed many of his defects. While naturally everyone is very happy with someone who receives those who come to him with grace and courtesy, they are much happier with those who, although they may be a bit surly, carry out what is asked of them, because the true effect lies in doing virtue and not talking about it.

When the two Kings had arrived, they had the knights cease mourning and asked them to go to their tents and disarm and get care for their injuries, for they had not wished to leave until the body was placed where such a great prince should lie. So they all left, and only the royal officials remained, and King Lisuarte ordered the Emperor’s body be prepared so it could be carried to a monastery a day’s travel away at a town named Lubaina, because from there it could be taken with less haste to Rome to the chapel of the emperors.

That being done, the Kings returned to the tent they had left, and there dinner had been prepared for them. They ate, and to those who were there, they seemed to have good countenances, but one man was secretly felt otherwise. Instead, his spirit was deeply afflicted and troubled, and this man was King Lisuarte, because, once the truce was over, he had no hope for himself. Given the advantage his enemies had held in the two previous battles and the great weakness they had discovered in his men, especially the Romans, who were the greater part of his forces, and having seen the great courage of their opponents, he took it for granted that they were in no situation to withstand a third battle. He expected nothing else in it except to be dishonored, defeated, and most certainly killed, because he only wished for life when he could uphold his honor. And having eaten, King Cildadan went to his tent and King Lisuarte remained in his own.

So they passed that night, having placed a great many guards around their camp, and when morning came, the King got up, and after he heard Mass, took King Cildadan with him and went to the Emperor’s tent, whose body had been taken, accompanied by Floyan, to the monastery that I have told you of. They had Arquisil and Flamineo called, and all the great lords who were in their company, and when they had come, he spoke to them this way:

“My good friends, of the pain and sorrow that I have from this loss and the urge and will to avenge it, no one other than God knows. But as these things are very common in the world and cannot be avoided, as each one of you will have seen and heard, no other choice remains except, leaving aside the dead, those who remain alive must remedy their honor, so it will not seem that their natural deaths bring about an artificial death in those who live.

“The past is beyond remedy. For the present and future, by the goodness of God, enough of us remain that if we avail ourselves to the love and willpower that good men can and must have, I have faith in Him that we shall recover with great glory and advantage what has so far been lost. And I want you to know that if all of the world were against me and everyone were to abandon me, I would not leave this place unless I was victorious or dead. And so, my good friends, consider who ye are and the lineage ye come from, and act in such a way that all the world shall know that the death of a lord is not the death of all his men.”

When King Lisuarte had finished speaking, Arquisil, as he was the most principal of all of them, both in courage and in lineage, because as I have told you many times, he was in direct line to the succession of the Empire, stood up where he was and answered the King, saying:

“It is well known to everyone, since Rome was founded, of the great deeds and undertakings that Romans accomplished to their great honor in the past. History is full of such achievements, and their outstanding deeds are famous throughout the world like the morning star in the heavens. And since we come from such excellent blood, do not believe, my good lord King Lisuarte or anyone else, anything other than now more than ever and with more courage and care, ignoring any danger or fear that might come, we shall continue to act as our famous ancestors did, for which they left this world with such fame that they have always been remembered and praised. And as the virtuous must carry on their work and so that ye shall not fail nor your heart be made weak, on behalf of myself and all these lords and the other men whom I have been charged to govern and command, I promise that when the truce is over, we shall take the vanguard in the battle, and with greater courage and spirit we shall resist and attack our enemies as if our lord the Emperor were before us.”

What this knight said seemed very good to all those who were there, especially King Lisuarte, and it was made very clear that Arquisil would rightly deserve the honor and great sovereignty that God had given him, as shall be spoken of further on. With this answer, King Lisuarte left very content, and said to King Cildadan:

“My good lord, with such assurances that we have found in the Romans and such goodwill to help us, which I would not have believed possible, and having such a fine and courageous knight for their leader as Arquisil, it is very right and just for us to undertake this affair as reason obliges us, ignoring all danger. And I tell you that when the treaty is over, there shall be nothing but battle, in which, if God does not give me victory, I do not wish Him to give me life, for the greater honor for me would be death.”

King Cildadan, as he was a fine knight with great courage, although in his heart he always wept over the great sorrow he felt to be a tributary to that King, considered that what he had promised and sworn obliged him more than contenting his will and desire, and he told him:

“My lord, I am very happy with what has been found in the Romans, and even more in having been shown the strength of your heart. Such things like this that happened in the past, and those that we await in the present shall be the means by which virtue is tested and revealed. And as for me, have faith, for alive or dead, where ye shall be, my body shall be.”

When the King heard this, he thanked him sincerely, and at that hour, as Cildadan learned later, he decided that, whatever prosperous or adverse fortune might come to him, he would release him from the sovereignty he had over him, which he did, as ye shall hear farther on.

This is the most outstanding thing that should be noted carefully by whomever reads it, for King Lisuarte, merely by knowing the great affection with which this King offered to die in his service, although that did not come to happen, held it good to free him from the vassalage he had over him. From that, it should be understood that good and true will, both spiritual and temporal, deserves an equal prize as if the deed were actually done, because from it is born and put into effect what is good, and from the contrary, what is evil.

These Kings arrived at their tents, ate, and rested, ordering every necessary preparation to put an end to this great and renowned confrontation on which their honor and lives depended.

But now we shall leave one side and the other in their camps, as ye have heard, hoping that the third battle would bring glory and victory to one of them, although the certainty of one side was well and clearly known; and we must tell you what happened in the meantime. From it ye shall know that great arrogance and rage, and the danger so close and so near that these men meant to each other, could not obstruct what God, powerful in all things, had pledged to bring about.