Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chapter 123 [part 1 of 2]

How King Lisuarte, his wife Queen Brisena, and his daughter Leonoreta arrived at Firm Island, and how the lords and ladies came out to receive them. 

[Mosaic depicting Empress Zoe of Constantinople, from the Hagia Sophia.]

As has been said, after King Lisuarte arrived in Windsor, he ordered the Queen to make ready everything necessary for herself and their daughter Leonoreta, and he ordered his chief majordomo, King Arban of North Wales, to prepare what he needed. And when everything was readied and done according to their grandeur, he left with his accompaniment. He only wished to bring King Cildadan, Sir Galvanes and his wife Madasima, who earlier at his orders had arrived from the Island of Mongaza, and a few of his other knights, richly dressed, for Gasquilan, the King of Suesa, had returned to his kingdom.

With great pleasure they traveled each day until they finally arrived to spend the night only four leagues from the island, which Amadis and all the other princes and knights with him promptly learned about, and who agreed that together, the ladies with them, should go out to receive them two leagues from the island. And so it was done, and the next day they all left with the women behind Queen Elisena. Of their clothes and the adornments worn by themselves and their palfreys, memory is not enough to recount nor hands to write. This much I tell you: that neither before nor after was there known in all the world of a company of so many knights of such high lineage and great courage, and of so many ladies, queens, princesses, and other women of high estate, so beautiful and so well-attired.

They traveled together through meadows until they could see King Lisuarte, who when he saw so many people coming toward him, immediately knew who it was, and with all his company continued on until he met King Perion and the Emperor and all the other knights who rode ahead. There they all stopped to embrace each other.

Amadis came farther behind speaking with his brother Sir Galaor, who was still very weak and could barely ride on horseback, and when he neared the King, Amadis dismounted. The King shouted for him not to, but he did not stop and arrived on foot, and although the King did not wish it, he kissed his hands. He went on to the Queen, whose reins were carried by the handsome young noble Esplandian. The Queen dismounted from her palfrey to embrace him, but Amadis took her hands and kissed them.

Sir Galaor came to King Lisuarte, who when he saw him so weak, went to embrace him, and tears came to both their eyes. The King held him for a while but neither was able to speak for so long that some said that this showed the pleasure that they had in seeing each other, but others held that they were thinking about recent events and of not having been together in them as their hearts wished, and this brought those tears. Ye may take the side that ye choose, but in any case it was because they loved each other so much.

Oriana came to her mother after Queen Elisena had greeted her. When her mother saw her, as the thing that she loved most, she took her in her arms. They both would have fallen if knights had not held them up, and she began to kiss her eyes and face and said:

“Oh, my daughter! May God be pleased to grant His mercy! May the labors and fatigues that thy great beauty has given us now be the means for now and in the future to remedy them with peace and joy!”

Oriana could only weep for pleasure and did not answer. At this time the Queens Briolanja and Sardamira came and took her from her arms, and they spoke to the Queen, and then to all the other ladies came to her with great courtesy, for they considered this lady one of the best and most honorable queens in the world. Leonoreta came to kiss Oriana’s hands, and she embraced her and kissed her many times, and so did all the ladies and damsels of her mother the Queen, who loved her from their hearts more than they loved themselves, for as we have told you, this Princess was the most noble and most moderate in her time who did honor to everyone, and for this reason she was very well loved by all the men and women who knew her.

And so after this welcome, not as it was, which would be impossible to describe, but as is more suited to this book, they all went together to the island.

When Queen Brisena saw so many knights and so many ladies and damsels of high estate whom she knew well and where their great worth came from, all at the will and orders of Amadis, she was so astonished she did not know what to say. Until then she had believed that in all the world there was no house nor court equal to that of her husband the King, but when she saw what I tell you of, his estate seemed to be that of a mere count. As she looked around, she saw that everyone followed Amadis and treated him as a lord, and that the one closest to him considered himself the most honored, and where ever Amadis went, everyone went.

She was amazed at what heights a knight could reach who had never owned more than his arms and horse, and although she considered him her daughter’s husband, and he had been fully committed to her service, she could not help but feel great envy because she wished that estate for her husband, which Amadis would inherit through their daughter. She saw that things were the opposite, and she could not be happy about them.

But as she was very wise, she pretended not to see nor notice it, and with a happy face and troubled heart she spoke and laughed with all the knights and ladies around her, for the King, after he had spoken with Sir Galaor, never left him during all the entire journey until they reached the island.

As they were traveling, Oriana could not take her eyes off Esplandian, whom she deeply loved, as was only reasonable. And her mother the Queen, when she saw that, said:

“My daughter, take this young man to lead your horse.”

Oriana paused, and the youth came with great humility to kiss her hands. Oriana had a deep desire to kiss him, but embarrassment kept her from doing that. Mabilia came to him and said:

“My good friend, I also wish to share in your embraces.”

He turned his face toward her with a look so gracious that it was amazing to see, and he immediately recognized her, and he spoke to her with great courtesy. And so they rode with him between them, speaking with him about what gave them the most contentment, and they were very taken with how he answered, very happy with his gracious speech and gentle ways. Oriana and Mabilia looked at each other and at the young nobleman, and Mabilia said.

“My lady, does it seem to you that this was fine food for the lioness and her cubs?”

“Oh, my lady and my friend,” Oriana said, “by God do not remind me of that, for even now it afflicts my heart to think about it.”

“As I understand,” Mabilia said, “no less danger happened to his father, as young has he was, in the sea. But God protected him for what ye see now, and so, if it pleases Him, He shall protect this boy, who will surpass him and all others in the world in excellence.”

Oriana laughed wholeheartedly and said:

“My true sister, it seems as if ye wish to tempt me to see which of the two I prefer. But I do not wish to say, and may it please God that between them neither shall have a peer, just as each one has not had at his own age so far.”

In this and other things they spoke with great pleasure, and they all arrived at Firm Island’s castle. King Lisuarte and his wife the Queen were lodged very comfortably where Oriana had been, and King Perion and his wife where Queen Sardamira had been. Oriana and all the other women who were going to be brides took the highest rooms of the tower.

Amadis had ordered very fine tables be placed under the arcades of the garden, and there all the company ate very well with a great abundance of foods and wine and fruit of all types, and it was wonderful to behold, each one seated as their estate merited, and everything done in a very orderly way.

Sir Cuadragante left with King Cildadan, whom he dearly loved, and every knight escorted one of the King’s men, according to their preference. Amadis took with him King Arban of North Wales, Sir Grumedan, and Sir Guilan the Pensive. Norandel lodged with his great friend Sir Galaor. And so that day passed with all the pleasure ye can imagine.

But what Agrajes did with his uncle and with Madasima can not be told in any way nor even thought. He had always held his uncle with as much respect and reverence as he had always held his father the King, and he had Madasima stay with Oriana and the queens and great ladies that were there, and he took Sir Galvanes with him to his lodging.

Esplandian immediately came to the King of Dacia, who was his age and seemed very compatible, and from the moment they first saw each other they shared such great esteem that it lasted their whole lives. For a long time they traveled together after they became knights, and they achieved many great deeds at arms as courageous knights in great peril to their lives. This King knew all the secrets of Esplandian’s love, and by his good advice he was often saved from great anguish and mortal cares that brought him to the edge of death over his lady. This King I speak of made tremendous efforts to speak with this lady and tell her of the love that this knight suffered and ask her to have pity on his deathly affliction.

These two princes that I tell you of, for the love of this lady, taking with them Talanque, son of Sir Galaor, and Maneli the Moderate, son of King Cildadan, whom the nieces of Urganda bore when the men were prisoners, as the second book of this story has told at greater length; and Ambor, son of Angriote d’Estravaus, all of them novice knights, crossed the sea to Constantinople and from there to pagan lands, and they fought great battles against mighty giants and against foreigners of different customs, and achieved great honor from them.

Because of these high deeds and great acts of chivalry, they were proclaimed throughout the world, as we shall tell you at more length in the continuation of this story which is named after Esplandian and which speaks of his great deeds and the love he had for the flower and greatest beauty of the world, who was the shining star before whom all other beauty paled: Leonorina, daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople, she who had been a girl when his father Amadis took leave of Greece when he passed through there and killed the mighty Endriago, as ye have told you.

But we shall leave this now until its time, and we shall return to the purpose of this story.


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