Monday, September 19, 2016

Chapter 117 [part 3 of 4]

[What Nasciano did when he arrived, and what Gasquilan and Arquisil said to Amadis.] 

[St. Mary’s Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, from The Ruined Abbeys of Yorkshire by William Lefroy, 1883.]

In the meantime the good and holy man Nasciano arrived, which greatly pleased them all, because up until that moment both sides had suffered great discord in all things, and great reversals and fatigues had come to them, but this had been entirely transformed into peace, in which all their spirits took great pleasure in rest and repose. When the good man saw them together in such love when only three days ago they had been killing each other with such cruelty, he raised his hands to the heavens and said:

“Oh Lord of the world, how great is Thy holy pity and the way Thou sendest it over those who have some understanding of Thy holy service. The blood of these kings and knights is not yet dry in the injuries caused them by the Evil Enemy. And because in Thy name and with Thy grace I set them on the right road, and they were willing to understand how great an error they were in, Thou, Lord, hast brought them so much love and goodwill that no one could have imagined it. And so, Lord, may it please Thee to allow this peace to be brought to its conclusion and end, so I as thy servant and a sinner, before I leave them, may give them such serenity that they will set aside the things contrary to Thy service and shall commit themselves to enacting Thy holy Catholic faith.”

This saintly hermit had done nothing other than go from one side to the other, placing before them many examples and doctrines so they might follow them and carry them out as he had brought them, and so their hard hearts could become fully soft and reasonable.

As they were altogether in that chamber one day, King Lisuarte asked King Perion from whom he had learned that the troops were attacking him. King Perion told him how young Esplandian had told it to Amadis, and that he knew nothing more. Then the King had Esplandian called and asked him how he had learned about those troops. He told him how he had been sent by the good man, his foster father, to the King’s encampment, which he found that the King and his men had left, and as he continued on the way, he saw the troops coming down the mountain toward the place where he was going, and he realized how many these men were and how few and in what poor condition the King’s men were, and how they could not defend themselves without great danger. Immediately he and Sarguil had ridden as fast as their palfreys could go all night without stopping, and he told it to Amadis.

King Lisuarte told him:

“Esplandian, ye have done me a great service, and I trust in God that ye shall be well rewarded by me.”

The good man said:

“Son, kiss the hands of your lord the King for what he told you.”

The youth came and knelt and kissed his hands. Then the King took him by the head and pulled him up and kissed him on the face and looked at Amadis. And because Amadis had his eyes fixed on the youth and on what the King was doing, he saw that the King was looking at him, and he blushed because he realized full well that the King knew everything about what had happened between himself and Oriana, and how the youth was his son.

And he was happy at the love the King showed to Esplandian, which touched his heart, and his desire to serve him grew even larger than it had been, and the King felt the same, for the sight and the grace of that young man gave them such contentment that when he was between them, nothing could come that would hinder their affection and love.

Gasquilan, the King of Suesa, had remained in camp, injured from the joust he had fought with Amadis, along with those of his men who had survived the battles. And when King Lisuarte parted from him, he had urged him to leave in a litter and take a right-hand detour on the road as distant from the mountains as he could, and he left men with him who could guide him well. And so they did and brought him to a meadow upon the banks of a river, which lay between him and the mountains.

He lodged there that night beneath some trees, and the next day went on his way, but due to the great distance and the roundabout route he took, he did not reach Lubaina and until five days had passed, and he arrived at the monastery where the kings were, knowing nothing of what had happened. And when they told him about it, he felt very sad to be in such a state that he had not participated in such an extraordinary event, and as he was very haughty and arrogant, with great pride he made some complaints that those who heard them did not consider good.

When King Perion and King Cildadan and those lords learned he had arrived, they went to meet him at the gate of the monastery where he was in his litter and helped him from it, and the knights took him in their arms and put him where King Lisuarte was resting, for he had asked them to do so. And there in the chamber where the King was they made another bed, where they put him.

When Gasquilan was there, he looked at all those knights from Firm Island and saw them so handsome and so well figured and dressed for war, that in his opinion he had never seen men who looked so good. He asked which of them was Amadis, and they pointed him out. And because Amadis learned he had been asked about, he came to him hand-in-hand with King Arban of North Wales, and he said:

“My good lord, may ye be very welcome. I would have been very pleased to find you well rather than how ye are, for in such a good man is yourself, ill health is ill employed. But it shall please God for you to be well soon, and for the disagreement between you and I to be mended with good works.”

Gasquilan, seeing Amadis so handsome and relaxed and courteous, if he had not known his ability so well, both from what he had heard about him and from what he had learned when he tested him, he would not have considered him highly, for he seemed better prepared to be among damsels than among knights and acts of war. And because Gasquilan was valiant in strength and spirit, he thought he should also be so in his speech, because he believed that anyone who was very brave ought to be brave in everything, and if in any way he was lacking, that would greatly diminish his worth. And for that reason he did not consider it a fault to be arrogant. Instead, he thought highly of that, and whether he was fooling himself, anyone can be the judge.

In answer to Amadis he said:

“My good lord Amadis, ye are the knight I most wished to see in the world not for your good nor for mine, instead to fight you to the death. And if what had happened to me from you now had happened to you from me, and if what I received from you ye would have received from me, besides considering myself the most honored knight in the world, I would have received the love of a lady whom I very much love and desire, on whose orders I have been seeking you. Because of what has happened to me, I do not know how I can appear before her. And so my ill health is much greater in what cannot be seen than in what is clear and publicly obvious to all.”

Amadis, when he heard that, he said:

“The matter with your lady-love must give you much sorrow. It does to me, and all that could have been won by defeating me ye should not consider important because your deeds are so great and famous throughout the world and ye are so outstanding in feats at arms, that ye would not have gained much by overcoming a knight of such little fame as myself.”

Then King Cildadan said, laughing, to King Lisuarte:

“My lord, it would be well for you to place your royal staff between these two knights and command them to be at peace.” And for the pleasure of everyone he made other jokes.

And so those Kings and knights remained in the monastery very well provided with everything they needed, and since King Lisuarte was within his own lands, he had many delights brought in such abundance that it gave everyone great contentment. King Perion asked him many times to let him go with his men to Firm Island, and he would immediately send the two knights for the negotiations as they had agreed, but King Lisuarte was never willing to do so. He said that because God had brought him there, in no way did he wish to let him go until everything was settled, and so King Perion was embarrassed to ask him again. Instead he tried to show the same goodwill as King Lisuarte.

Arquisil spoke with Amadis, asking him where he would order him to be in prison, since soon he would have to fulfill the promise he had made. Amadis told him that he would speak to him concerning that and other things that he had been thinking about, and that the next morning after hearing Mass he should have his horse brought, for Amadis wished to speak to him in the countryside. He did so, and the next day they mounted their horses and left to ride outside the town walls. When they were far away from everyone, Amadis told him:

“My good lord, all these past days here I have wished to speak to you, but I have been so busy I have not been able to do so. Now that we have time I wish to tell you my thoughts regarding yourself. Since the Emperor of Rome is dead, as he is, I know that because ye are in direct lineage by blood, there is no one else in the Empire with the right to succession or inheritance besides you. I also know that among all those who are lords there, ye are well loved. And if anyone does not love you, it is only because your kinsman, the Emperor, envied your good conduct, and his bad attitude gave them a reason to dislike you.

“Since the matter has reached this point, it would be very reasonable to take care of something as important as this is. Ye have here most of the best knights in the kingdom of Rome, and I have at Firm Island Brondajel de Roca, the Duke of Ancona, the Archbishop of Talancia, and many others who were taken prisoner at sea. I will immediately send for them and speak to them about it, and before they arrive here arrangements should be made for them to swear loyalty to you as their Emperor.

“And if some of them are contrary, I shall help you achieve all your rights. So, my good friend, think about that, work to make it happen, and recognize the opportunity God gives you, and do not lose it through your own fault.”

When Arquisil heard this, ye can well imagine the pleasure it gave him, for he had only expected to be sent to a prison somewhere that he would not be able to leave for a long time. He told him:

“My good lord, I do not know why everyone in the world does not seek your love and recognition and to increase your honor and estate. And as for myself, I see that whether or not what ye say can be accomplished, whatever fate may bring, there will never be a time in which I shall not repay the great gifts and honor that I have received from you, even to the point of giving up my life. If thanks could be enough for the great benefit ye have given me, I would give them. But what could these thanks be? Truly none other thanks than my own person, as I have said, with all that God and my blessings would permit me to give. Starting now I place in your hands all my welfare and honor. And since ye have spoken so clearly, it shall be carried out as a victory more for you than for me.”

“Then I shall take charge of it,” Amadis said, “and with the help of God ye shall leave here as Emperor or I shall not consider myself a knight.”

And so they finished that discussion, and Amadis said:

“Before we return to the monastery, let us enter the town, where I will show you the man who wishes the worst for me in the world.”

And so they entered Lubaina and went to the lodgings of Sir Gandales, where he was holding prisoner King Arabigo and Arcalaus and the other knights that ye have heard about. When they arrived there, they went directly to the chamber where King Arabigo and Arcalaus were alone, and they found them dressed and sitting on a bed, for since they had been taken prisoner, they had not wished to remove their clothing. Amadis immediately recognized Arcalaus and told him:

“What are ye doing, Arcalaus?”

And he said:

“Who art thou to ask?”

“I am Amadis of Gaul, he whom thou so much wished to see.”

Then Arcalaus looked at him more carefully and said:

“Truly, thou speakest the truth, and although it has been a long time since I have seen thee, I have not forgotten to recognize that I had thee, Amadis, in my power in my castle at Valderin. And I had pity for thy youth and thy handsome looks, but since then for a long time thou hast placed me in many great tribulations until in the end I have reached such straits that now I must ask thee for mercy.”

Amadis told him:

“And if I had it for thee, wouldst thou cease to do the great evil and cruelty that thou hast committed until now?”

“No,” he said, “I have been accustomed to it for so long that I could not will myself to change those vices. But necessity, which is a very forceful and strong means for changing every bad habit to good or good to bad according to each person and situation, would make me do in my old age what in my youth and freedom I did not wish to do nor could.”

“Then, what necessity could I placed upon thee,” Amadis said, “if I were to release thee and give thee freedom?”

“The necessity of that,” Arcalaus said, “which by having and increasing has done great harm to my conscience and fame, which are my castles. I shall order them given and delivered to thee with all my land, and I shall not take from it more than what thou mayst wish to give me according to thy virtue, because at the present I have no other thing to give. And it may be that such great need and thy great goodness shall cause a change in what up until now reason has not had any luck in bringing about.”

Amadis told him:

“Arcalaus, if I had any hope that thy deep-rooted condition could be corrected, it is in nothing other than the knowledge of thy recognition that thou knowest thyself to be evil and sinful. For that reason, take strength and consolation, for it may be that the prison where thou art now and hast so much feared shall be the key to release thy soul, which for so long thou has held enchained and imprisoned.”

And as Amadis was about to leave, Arcalaus told him:

“Amadis, see this unfortunate knight who until recently was one of the greatest princes in the world. At one time fortune itself was favorable for him, but now it has brought him down and put him in such cruel captivity. May he be an example to thee and all those who have wished for honor and high estate. I would remind thee that strong spirits and hearts are the basis for conquest and pardon.”

Amadis did not wish to respond, since he held him as a prisoner, but he considered saying that Arcalaus had defeated many men by weapons and enchantments, but he never learned to pardon a single one. And yet Amadis could not help but realize that Arcalaus had made a strong argument.


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