BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
hen the brother of Angriote saw him coming, he took his arms and met him, saying, Certes, knight, great folly have you committed in not granting our demand! Wherewith they gave the career against each other; the shield of. Amadis was pierced, but the lance broke against his corslet; his antagonist was thrown back, yet held he fast the reins till they broke, and he fell upon his neck in such plight that he knew nothing of himself. Hereon Amadis alighted and took off his helmet, and perceiving that he was in a swoon, drew him by the arm towards him; the knight then opened his eyes, and, fearing death, yielded. Amadis mounted again, for Angriote was already horsed, and had taken his arms, and sent a lance to him. Soon they encountered so gallantly, that the staves shivered, and both passed on, for they were good knights. Then Amadis seized his sword, but Angriote cried, We may have the sword battle anon, and to your cost; let us joust till yonder lances fail us. or till one be sent to the earth. And this he said, deeming that there was no knight in the world who could wield the sword better than himself. Sir, answered Amadis, I have what to do elsewhere, and cannot so long tarry. What! would you escape so lightly? I pray thee one course more! They chose fresh spears, and met in the course so strongly that Angriote fell, and his horse upon him, and Amadis passing on fell over the horse of Angriote, and a part of the spear which had gone through his shield, was driven by the fall through his harness and into the flesh, though but a little depth; but he rose lightly, as one who would brook no shame for himself and in his lady's cause, and plucked the truncheon out, and went to his antagonist sword in hand. Knight, said Angriote, thou art a brave youth; I beseech thee confess my lady is fairer than thine, before it be worse with thee. Such lie, quoth Amadis, shall my lips never utter. Then began a strife which could not long endure, for rather would Amadis have died than failed one jot in this quarrel, and he laid on so fiercely that neither the great strength nor skill of Angriote availed him; for the sword came now upon his head, now upon his body, that the blood sprang from more than twenty wounds. He, as he could, drew back,- Of a truth, knight, there is more worth in thee than man can think. Yield! quoth Amadis, else if we end the combat thy life also will be ended; and that should I repent, for I esteem of thee better than thou weenest. This he said for his great goodness in arms, and for the courtesy which he had used toward his mistress, having her in his power. Angriote, who could not chuse, gave himself up for vanquished, saying, Believe me, I not so much sorrow for my foil, as for the wreckful chance that I this day lose the thing which I love best. That shall you not, said Amadis, if I can help you, and the lady will be ungrateful if she acknowledge not your honourable pains in her defence. I promise you to employ my endeavours in your behalf, so.soon as I return from a quest.Where, sir, shall I find you?- In the court of King Lisuarte, answered Amadis. So took he leave of Angriote and passed on with the dwarf.
Five days they rode together, then the dwarf showed him a castle marvellously strong and pleasant,- There is Castle Valderin! within that hold you must perform the promise made to me; take your arms, for they suffer none lightly to go out who enter there. Amadis buckled on his helm and rode on first, the dwarf and Gandalin followed; they passed through the gate, and looked round, and could see no creature. The place is deserted, quoth Amadis. So, said the dwarf, it seems. Why then hast thou brought me here? Sir, said the dwarf, there was here the fiercest knight that ever I saw, and the strongest in arms, who in that porch slew two knights; the one was my master, and him he slew cruelly, as a man in whom there was no pity: the head of that traitor is the boon which I required. I have led here many knights to obtain vengeance, but for their sins they have either been slain or thrown into cruel prison. Thou doest the part of a loyal servant, said Amadis; yet oughtest thou to bring no knight here without telling him against whom he should fight. Sir, he answered, he is so known for one of the fierce, that if I had named him none would venture to accompany me,- it is Arcalaus, the Enchanter. Again Amadis looked round about if he might see anybody; he alighted and waited till vespers, then asked the dwarf what they should do? Sir, said he, the darkness is at hand: it is not good to tarry here. Nay trust me, answered Amadis, I will not budge hence till he come, or some one who can tell me tidings of him. I, said the dwarf, will not stay, lest he should see and know me. Yet shalt thou stay, quoth Amadis, for I will not excuse myself from the promise, if I may perform it. As thus they communed, Amadis espied a court somewhat farther on, wherein he entered and found no one, but he saw a dark place, with steps that went under ground. Let us see what is here, said he. For God's sake mercy! cried the dwarf, I would not for the world go down. But Gandalin caught him as he would have run away; Fear not, tall fellow! said he. And Amadis said, You shall not go till I have performed my promise, or till you see how it fares with me. Let me go, let me go! quoth the little wretch, I acquit the promise; for God's sake let me go! Said Amadis, Thou shalt not say here after, I have failed in my promise. I desire thee not to discharge me of it. By my faith I discharge you, said the dwarf, and I will wait for you in the road, to see if you come. Go then, and good luck go with thee, quoth the knight; I shall remain till morning. So the dwarf fled in haste.
Amadis went down the steps so far that he could see nothing; he came to a plain ground, it was utterly dark, yet he proceeded, and groping along a wall felt a bar of iron, whereto there hung a key, and he opened the padlock of the grate; then heard he a voice, saying, Ah, God! how long shall this misery continue? Ah, death! why delayest thou to come when thou art so needed? He listened awhile, but heard no more ; he then entered the vault, having his shield about his neck and the helmet laced, and the sword in his hand; and passing further he found himself in a great hall, where was a lamp burning, and he saw six armed men sleeping in one bed, and by them lay their shields and hatchets. One hatchet he took, and advanced. Anon more than a hundred voices were heard crying aloud, Lord God send us death and deliver us! Thereat was Amadis greatly astonished ; and the men who were asleep awoke, and the one said to the other, Take a scourge and make those wretches silent who disturb us in our sleep! Aye, marry will I, said the other; and taking a scourge he rose, but seeing Amadis he stopt, and cried, Who goes there ?- A strange knight. The man turned back and fastened the grate, and roused his comrades. Leave him to me, said the jaylor, and I will place him among the rest. This man was great and strong of limb, and taking his shield and hatchet he advanced towards Amadis;- If you fear death lay down your arms, if not, expect what my hatchet will give thee ! Both raised their hatchets at once, and at once both blows fell; the jaylor's entered far into the knight's helmet; the knight's pierced through the shield of his enemy, who drew back, and so plucked the hatchet from his hand. Then Amadis drew his sword; the other grappled with him, confiding in his strength, but Amadis with the pummel of his sword drove at his face and broke his jaw, and shook him off; then followed that stroke with such another, that he never needed a surgeon. Then sheathing his sword, he recovered the hatchet from the shield, and so played his part with the other five, that only two escaped death by falling at his feet for mercy. Shew me then the prisoners! said Amadis : they led the way. Who lies here? said he, hearing a lamentable voice from a cell. A lady, said they, in great torments; and taking two keys from the jaylor's girdle, he unlocked the door; but she, who believed it was her old tormentor, exclaimed, Kill me man, and do not inflict so many martyrdoms! 0 king, in an evil day was I beloved by you, since that love has cost me so dear! The tears came over the eyes of Amadis for great pity: Lady, said he, I am not he whom you think, but one who will if he can deliver you; and he called for light, and when the soldier brought it, be held a lady chained round the neck with a great chain, and her garments fretted and worn thro' to the skin. Wretched as you behold me, said she, yet am I the daughter of a king, and thus tortured for a king's sake. So he caused the chain to he taken off, and commanded garments to he brought her, and she covered herself with the scarlet mantle of the jaylor, and he led her from the prison.
There met them one at the grate, who called out to the soldier with the light, Arcalaus demandeth where the knight is that entered? whether he be dead or taken? At these words the man let fall the torch with exceeding fear, and could make no reply. Villain! quoth Amadis, what fearest thou, being under my guard? Go on! Then they ascended the stairs, and came into the open court. The night was far spent, and the moon was clear above ; but that poor lady beholding the heavens, and feeling the air, fell on her knees, and cried, Ah, gentle knight, God protect thee and give thee thy reward!
Then Amadis raising her, looked round for Gandalin, and finding him not, he feared, and exclaimed, If the best squire in the world be slain, I will take such vengeance as never has been heard of. Presently he heard a cry, and following it found the dwarf hanging by one leg from a beam over a fire of stinking smoke, and near him Gandalin tied to a post. Him he was about to untie, but the squire cried, The dwarf first, for he is in worst case; and Amadis holding him in one hand while he cut the cord, set him on his feet; then set Gandalin at liberty, and said to him, In sooth, my friend, he who placed thee here did not love thee as I do. He went toward the castle, and found the portcullis down. Gandalin shewed him the place where his horse was stabled; he burst the door and took him out, then seated himself on a stone bench in the wall with the lady, for tho' he wished to deliver the other prisoners, yet durst he not leave her. So there he awaited daylight; meantime he asked the lady, for what king's sake she had suffered. Sir, said she, Arcalaus mortally hates him, and therefore revenged himself upon me; he seized me in the presence of many friends, and covering me with a dark cloud carried me away, and from that time till now I have never seen daylight; and this he did as the worst evil he could do to my lover, King Arban of North Wales. Is it he? quoth Amadis; now God be thanked, for dearly do I love that knight! but now do I not so much pity you as before, since you have suffered for the sake of one of the best men in the world.
When it was day, a knight looked from a window and asked Amadis, Art thou he who hast slain my jaylor and my servants? Art thou he, answered Amadis, who so treacherously murderest knights and imprisonest dames and damsels? thou art the most disloyal and cruellest knight in the world! As yet you know not all my cruelty, Arcalaus replied, and left the window; and soon they saw him enter the court well armed, upon a lusty courser. Now this was one of the largest knights in the world who were not giants, and Amadis looked at him with admiration, thinking that he must needs be of great strength. Why lookest thou at me so earnestly? quoth the Castellan. Because thou wouldst be so good a knight were it not for thy foul disloyalty. I come in good time, quoth Arcalaus, to be preached at by one like thee! and with that he laid lance in rest, and ran the charge. The spears brake; horses and bodies met, and both horses were driven to the ground. Quickly the knights arose, and began a fierce combat which lasted long; at length the Castellan drew back, Knight, said he, thou art in the chance of death, and I know not who thou art: tell me that I may know, for I think rather to slay than take thee. My death, Amadis replied, is in the will of God, whom I fear ; and thine is in the will of the devil, who is weary of helping thee, and will now let thy soul and body perish to gether. You ask my name : I am Amadis of Gaul, the knight of Queen Brisena. Then renewed they their combat with fresh fury till about the hour of tierce, then Arcalaus waxed faint, and Amadis smote him down; and, as he rose, staggered him with another blow on the helmet, so that seeing himself near to die, he fled into the palace, and Amadis followed. But he running into a little chamber, at the door whereof stood a lady beholding the battle, took up a sword, for he had dropt his own in the court, and called to Amadis, Come in and finish the fight! This hall is larger, answered Amadis: let it be here. I will not come out, quoth the Castellan. What! quoth he of Gaul, thinkest thou so to save thyself? and placing his shield before him he entered the chamber, his sword being raised to strike; immediately the strength of all his limbs was gone, and he lost his senses, and fell to the ground like a dead man. Thou shalt die by no other death than this, said Arcalaus: what say you, my lady, have I well avenged myself? and with that he disarmed Amadis, who knew nothing of what was doing, and put on the armour himself, and said to his lady, As you regard yourself, let none remove this knight till his soul shall have forsaken his body. Then he descended into the court, and said to her whom Amadis had delivered, Seek for some other to release you, for this champion is dispatched. And when Gandalin heard these words, he fell down senseless. Arcalaus took the lady, and led her where Amadis lay in that deadly trance; and she seeing him in such plight, wanted no tears to express the abundance of her grief. As soon as he is dead, said Arcalaus to that other lady who was his wife, place this woman again in her prison. I will go to the court of King Lisuarte, and there relate how I performed this battle, upon condition that he who conquered should cut off his enemy's head, and within fifteen days publish his victory at that court. By these means none shall challenge me about his death, and I shall obtain the greatest glory in the world, having overcome him who conquered every one.
Then he went into the court, and ordered Gandalin and the dwarf to prison; but Gandalin reviled him with the names of traitor and villain, and provoked him to kill him, desiring death. Arcalaus made his men drag him by the leg to a dungeon ; If I killed thee, said he, thou wouldst endure no farther pain, and there thou shalt have worse than death. He then mounted upon the horse of Amadis, and, accompanied by three squires set forth for the court.