Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chapter 119

How King Lisuarte arrived at the town of Windsor, where his wife Queen Brisena was, and how he arranged to return to Firm Island with her and their daughter. 

[Men at feast, from the Tiberius Psalter, England, 11th century. Learn more about medieval food, specifically baking bread here.]

King Lisuarte took with him King Cildadan and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, and all their men, and returned to his town of Windsor, where he had sent word to have his wife Queen Brisena come to wait for him. Nothing more is told except that he arrived after five days at the town, with an expression on his face that showed greater joy than he felt in his heart.

He realized full well that, although Amadis would become his son, and that his daughter would be very honored by him, and that Amadis, like the Emperor of Rome and King Perion and all the other great lords, considered him their leader and all of them were at his orders, his will was not satisfied. All that honor and gain had come to him at the cost of being defeated and in dire straits, as has been told to you, and Amadis, whom he had attacked as a mortal enemy, bore all the glory.

With such great sadness sitting in his heart, in no way could he be happy. Instead, he was now of advanced age and was very tired and angered to see so many deaths and great troubles, all of it between Christians, and to know that the causes for it were worldly and fleeting, which he as a most powerful prince had been given the opportunity and ability to eliminate. Yet it had cost him some of his honor, which he had always sought to preserve, holding worldly honor in esteem to the extreme of forgetting the care of his soul. With just cause God had given him such punishments, especially most recently, as ye have heard. He consoled himself and pretended to be a man of great discretion so no one would feel that his thoughts were about that rather than being the lord and leader of all, which he had won with great honor.

And so with this feigned happiness and with a very pleased expression he came to where the Queen was with her ladies and damsels, very richly dressed, bringing the youth Esplandian by the hand. She already knew about what had happened, both the danger and the joy, from Brandoivas, whom the King had sent ahead from the monastery to bring her pleasure. When the King entered the hall, the Queen came to him and knelt and wished to kiss his hands, but he pulled her to him and lifted her up with great affection and embraced her as she whom he loved with all his heart. And while the ladies and damsels came to kiss the King’s hands, the Queen took the youth Esplandian, who was kneeling before her, into her arms and began to kiss him again and again.

She said:

“Oh, my handsome and fortunate son! Blessed be the hour of thy birth, and mayst thou have the blessings of God and of me, for so much good has come to me because of thee. And may He be pleased in His holy mercy to give me the chance to repay this great service that thou hast done for my lord the King on his behalf, for, after God, thou hast protected his life.”

Then King Cildadan and Gasquilan, King of Suesa, came to speak with the Queen, who received them with great courtesy, as she who was one of the wisest and best-raised ladies in the world. And then all the other knights approached to kiss her hands. At that moment it was time to dine, and those two Kings stayed with the King and the other knights, and the King provided a great variety of delicacies, as such a man as he had so often offered at the table by custom.

After they had eaten, the King had those Kings remain in his palace in fine rooms, and he lodged in the Queen’s chamber. When they were in bed, he said:

“My lady, if by chance ye are amazed by the news they have told you about your daughter Oriana and Amadis of Gaul, I am too, and I surely believe that neither ye nor I had thought such a thing or suspected it. I am not troubled by it except that we did not know it earlier, for so many deaths and such harm could have been avoided had it been known. Now that the news has come to us, no remedy could be sought or applied that would not come with greater dishonor.

“We should take as the remedy that Oriana shall be with the husband she is pleased to take, and setting aside all anger and passion and recognizing what is true and just, there is in the world today no emperor nor prince who can equal him, in fact far less. With his exceptional discretion and great courage, fortune has been more favorable to him than to anyone else born, for he was once a poor knight-errant and today at his command is the height of all those great and small who live in the world.

“And Leonoreta will be Empress of Rome, as I have granted. I of my own will and to the honor of Amadis gave my word that ye and I and Leonoreta would be at Firm Island, where they are waiting for us to bring everything to conclusion. So it is necessary for you to prepare yourself properly and show a joyful face, ceasing to speak of the past as ought and must be done in all such events.”

The Queen kissed his hands because she wished to restrain his anger and mighty heart, and to show her agreement. She merely replied that what he ordered would be carried out, and since he would have two such sons and everyone else would be at their service, he should consider it good and give many thanks to God because He had wished to make it so, although the way it was done hardly conformed to his will.

And so they rested that night. The next day the King arose and ordered King Arban of North Wales, his majordomo, to quickly prepare everything necessary for the journey. And the Queen also did what she must so that her daughter would appear as was befitting of an Empress of such high estate.


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