BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
ne day when Amadis was talking with the Queen Brisena, there came a damsel into the palace, who knelt before her and said, Madam, is there a knight here who bears the lions ? The queen, perceiving that she meant Amadis, answered, what would you with him? I bring him tidings of a new knight, who hath made a braver beginning of chivalry than did ever knight before in all the islands. Say you so? said Brisena; now then tell your tale, for here is the knight whom ye seek. Then said the damsel to Amadis, Sir, the fair child whom you knighted, before the castle of Bradoyd, where you conquered the two knights of the bridge, and the three of the causey, and took the lord of the castle, and delivered by force of arms Urganda's friend, saluteth you by me, as being the man whom he reputeth his lord, and bids me say that he will strive to be a good man, or die in the attempt; and when he shall be such in prowess, he will tell you more of his affairs than you yet know; but if he fail to become such a one as you could esteem, he will still be silent. Then came tears into the eyes of Amadis, so that all the dames and damsels saw he was weeping, for he remembered his brother. Meanwhile the queen, desirous to hear what deeds of prowess the new knight had performed said to the damsel, I pray you continue your message, and tell us that brave beginning of chivalry you speak of. The damsel then related what she had seen at the rock of Galtares, which, when she had done, the queen asked Amadis if he knew who the knight was ! and Amadis told her it was his brother.
But Oriana, who sate too far off to hear what was said, was greatly displeased to see Amadis in tears, and she said to Mabilia, Call your cousin that we may know what hath happened; and when he came to them, she asked him, angrily, from whom the damsel could bring him news that should draw tears? But when he told her, she cried, Pardon me, my lord, that I suspected where there was no cause. Ah, lady, he replied, how can I pardon you who have never offended; but if it please you, may I go and seek my brother? And this he said because he greatly desired to see him, and because he wished to seek adventures wherein renown might be won. Oriana answered, as God shall help me, I should heartily rejoice to see this knight here, and I freely permit you to seek him; but let it seem as if you went at the queen's command. Amadis then went to the queen, and said, I would, lady, that we had that knight in the king's company; yet, if he be not sought, it will be long before he will come. In God's name, replied Brisena, seek him then, but when you have found him forthwith return here. On the morrow Amadis heard mass, and departed with only Gandalin. Towards the close of the second day, as he rode thro' a forest, he met a lady with two damsels and four esquires, and there was a litter with them, and they were all loudly lamenting. Lady, said Amadis, what have you in this litter ? I have all my care and my sorrow, said she; a knight, my husband, who is wounded I fear to death. Then he approached the litter, and lifting a cloth that covered him beheld a goodly knight, but his face was all bruised and swoln, and it had many wounds. Sir knight, said he, from whom have you received this injury? but the knight turned his head a little, and made no reply. The lady answered, From a knight who keeps a bridge upon this road, and who hath thus wounded him in hatred to King Lisuarte, upon whom and all his companions he hath vowed revenge for the death of Dardan. Lady, said Amadis, lend me one of your squires, to guide me to him, for since for my sake your husband has been so wronged, it behoves me to avenge him. Ah, good knight, said she, God prosper you ! So they each went their way, and Amadis rode on till he came to the bridge, and he saw the knight playing at tables with another, but quickly leaving his pastime, he mounted on horseback and rode towards Amadis, and cried, Stay, sir knight, you pass not the bridge till you have sworn ! Sworn what? quoth Amadis. Whether you are of King Lisuarte's household ; if so, you shall lose your head! That, said Amadis, is not quite so certain. I am of that household, the knight of the queen his wife, and have been so since I won the battle for a disherited lady. By my head, replied he of the bridge, thou shalt lose thine! for thou hast slain the best of my lineage. Hereupon they gave the spurs to their horses, and breaking their lances, met so furiously that the knight of the bridge was thrown to the ground ; but, by reason the helmet of Amadis was displaced in the encounter, he had leisure to mount again, and to give his enemy three blows with the sword, before Amadis had adjusted the lacings ; that done he of Gaul requited him with one blow on the side of the neck, that sent his head dangling upon his breast. Now, said he to the squire, go tell your lady what you have seen.
Then Amadis rode on till he came to the end of the forest, and entered a fair plain and wide, and he was delighted with the green herbs that he saw on all sides. Presently there came up an ugly dwarf upon a palfrey, whom he asked whence he came? From the house of the Count of Clara. Have you seen there a young knight called Galaor? No, said the dwarf, but in three days I will show you the best knight in this land. Ah, dwarf, lead me then to him. That shall I do, if you will grant me a boon, and go with me where I shall appoint. This Amadis granted, hoping that the knight of whom he spake might be his brother. So they rode on together. The following day about noon they saw two knights fighting against one, and Amadis approached, and said, Sirs, may it please ye stay awhile, and tell me on what occasion your quarrel ariseth? At these words they ceased, and one of them replied, Because this knight maintaineth that he alone is able to atchieve as great an enterprize as we two together. Certes, said Amadis, a slight cause! for the goodness of the one diminisheth no jot of the other. They saw that he spake with good reason, and so ended their strife ; and they then asked him if he knew the knight who conquered Dardan. Why ask ye? quoth Amadis. Because we would gladly meet with him. I know not, he replied whether your meaning be good or bad; but I saw him not long since in the court of King Lisuarte; and he took leave of them and went his way. The three knights conferred together a little and then galloped after him. He no sooner heard them, than he turned and took his arms; he had no lance, neither had they, having broken them in their quarrel. Alas! my lord, quoth the dwarf, what will ye do? do you not see that they are three? I shall defend myself if they attack me, replied Amadis; arid by this they came up. Knight, said they, we beg a boon of you, and you must grant it if you would get from us. I shall grant it the sooner, replied Amadis, if it be reasonable. Tell us then, as a loyal knight, where we may find him by whom Dardan was slain. He who was now compelled to avow himself answered, I am he. They exclaimed at once, Ah, traitor, thou diest! and all fell upon him. But Amadis so bestirred himself, that only one of them escaped with life from the adventure. Ah, quoth the dwarf, I take a better with me for my boon than I had thought!
That night they lodged with a hermit, and had poor fare for their supper. In the morning about the hour of tierce, the dwarf showed him in a pleasant valley two tall pine-trees, and under them sate a knight all armed, upon a lusty courser, and two knights, whom he had just dismounted, were endeavouring to catch their horses ; and in the same shade another knight lay leaning on his helmet, having his shield by him; and there were twenty lances ready against the tree, and two horses ready caparisoned. There, said the dwarf, he who leans on his helmet is the good knight of whom I spake, Angriote of Estravaus, the best knight that I have heard report of.- Why keepeth he there so many lances ? The dwarf answered, I can resolve ye: he loveth a lady of this country, who hateth him above all others; nevertheless, he hath prevailed so much in fight that her parents were constrained to give her to him. After he had gotten her into his power, he thought himself the happiest man in the world, but she told him it was no courtesy to take a damsel against her will, and that she never willingly would be his till he had performed one thing for her, which was that he and his brother should keep this Vale of Pines for a year against all errant knights, and force them to go to King Lisuarte's court, and confess there that she is more beautiful than their mistresses. And this she devised in her great hatred to him, hoping that he would either be slain, or provoke many enemies who might protest her against him. For this cause they depart not hence all the day time, and at night retire to the castle upon yonder brow; three months have past in which time Angriote hath never set hand to spear against any knight, because his brother hath still been conqueror. At the entrance of the valley a squire met them, and said, Sir knight, you pass not on unless you confess the mistress of yonder knight to be fairer than your own. That lie shall I never utter, answered Amadis, and rode on.