BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
ifteen days Galaor abode in the monastery before his wounds were healed; then he departed, and rode where chance guided him. About midday he came to a fountain in a valley, and by the fountain was an armed knight, having no horse, nor other beast. Marvelling thereat, Galaor said to him, Sir knight, how came you thus afoot? The knight answered, in riding toward my castle I fell in with fellows who slew my horse, so that I must walk home, though sorely tired, for my people know not my case. Not so, replied Galaor, you shall have my squire's beast. I thank you, sir, quoth the knight; but, before we depart hence, you shall know the virtue of this fountain, which is such that no poison, however strong, hath any force against the water. Beasts that have been poisoned immediately recover by drinking here, and all the people of the district come hither, and find relief for their infirmities. In sooth you tell me wonders, said Galaor, and I will alight and taste it. The knight replied, Good reason you should, being near that which you ought to seek from afar.
Galaor dismounted, and bade his squire alight and drink as he did, and he placed his arms against a tree. Go and drink, said the knight, and I will hold your horse ; and while they were drinking, he put on Galaor's helmet, took his lance, and mounted and rode away, saying, Farewell, sir knight, you must stay here till you trick another as I have tricked you. Ah, knave, quoth Galaor, thou shalt repent this! You must provide yourself with horse and arms first, said the traitor.
Gone is the knight so fast as he could gallop, and Galaor in great wrath followed in the same tract upon the squire's palfrey. At length he came to a double way, and knowing not which to take, stood still in perplexity. Presently there came up a damsel, riding more than apace, of whom he demanded if she had seen a knight on a bay horse, bearing a white shield with a vermilion flower.And what would you with him? I would recover my horse and arms which he has stolen; and he told her what had happened. How, said she, would you recover them being disarmed? Only let me find him! quoth Galaor. Well, grant me a boon, and I will bring you to him. So she rode on, and Galaor after her; but the damsel was foremost, for Galaor's palfrey could not keep up with her, carrying both him and his squire, and they rode three leagues without seeing her. Then they met her returning, for the false knight was her paramour, and she had been advising with him how he might spoil Galaor of his armour. So she led Galaor to a tent, where the knight was ready to kill him without danger. Galaor alighted; the knight stood at the entrance of the tent, and exclaimed, Give me now the rest of your armour or I will slay thee! Certes, quoth Galaor, I cannot fear such a knave as thou art; and, avoiding his blow, he smote him so manfully upon the head as made him put knee to earth, and then griped his helmet and plucked it off; and the knight cried aloud to his leman for help. She hastily drawing nigh, called to Galaor to hold, for that was the boon which she required; but she spoke too late, for Galaor in his anger had already made him in a state that needed no surgeon. Wretch that I am! said she, in beguiling another I have deceived myself, An ill death kill thee, knight! I will claim thy boon so that thou shalt die for it; and, if thou shouldst refuse to grant it, I will every where proclaim thee and shame thee. Damssl, said Galaor, you spoke too late, else would I have spared him, though he well deserved death. Then mounting, he rode on. After some time he looked and saw that she was following him: whither go you? said he. In your company, which I will not leave, till I have found opportunity to demand my boon, and make thee die an evil death. Lady, you had better choose some other atonement. Nothing but thy life for his. So they rode on for three days ; the damsel perpetually reviling him, and then they entered the forest of Angaduza.
After Amadis had taken leave of Urganda's damsels, about noon he left the forest, and came out upon a plain, wherein there was a goodly castle, and in the plain there was a chariot, the richest that ever he saw, drawn by twelve palfreys, and covered with crimson sattin, so that he could see nothing within. The chariot was guarded by eight knights on each side. As Amadis approached to see what it might be, one of the knights bade him keep off. I have no ill intent, said Amadis. Be that as it may, quoth the knight, you shall not approach. You are not such that you ought to see what goes there; and if you persist you must do battle with us. Each singly would be enough, how much more altogether! Then he of Gaul took his arms, and sped so well that there soon remained only one enemy to deal with; his helmet he smote off, and when Amadis saw under it the face of an old man, and the grey hairs, he drew back. Sir knight, quoth he, you should now leave this pursuit, for if you have not before won honour, your age excuses you now. Nay, friend, replied the old knight, the young must fight to obtain renown, and the old to preserve what they have won. Your words, sir knight, are wiser than mine, said Amadis; and he advanced to the chariot, and lifted up the hangings: within it he saw a marble monument, having the figure of a crowned king thereon in royal robes, but the crown was cleft to the head, and the head down to the neck. There was also a dame sitting on a couch, and by her a young maiden of most excellent beauty. I pray ye tell me, madam, said he, what figure is this. She seeing that he was not of her company, replied, who gave thee permission to look here? None other than my desire thus to do.And my knights, what did they? More harm to me than good, said Amadis. Then the lady in years lifted the curtain and saw her knights, some laying dead, some endeavouring to catch their horses, and she was greatly moved, and said to Amadis, Cursed be the hour in which thou, who hast done such devilries, wert born! Lady, he replied, your knights attacked me. I beseech you tell me the meaning of this.- As God shall help me, you shall never learn it from me whom you have so injured. And when Amadis beheld how wroth she was, he departed and went his way.
The knights of the lady then placed their dead comrades in the chariot, and went towards the castle with great shame. Amadis meantime rode on, and when he had gone about a league, he saw the old knight riding after him, who called to him to stop. The lady whom you saw, said he, sends to you. and requests you will lodge in her castle to-night, that she may make amends for her discourtesy. Gentle sir, quoth Amadis, she was so moved that meseems my presence should cause her more wrath than pleasure. Believe me, answered the knight, she will rejoice in your return. Amadis seeing the knight was of an age that should not lie, and won by his manner, turned back with him. On the way he asked the meaning of the figure, but the knight would not resolve him ; and when they drew near the castle, the old man rode on to inform his lady of her guest. Amadis slowly followed to the gate, over which there was a tower, and he saw the lady and the young damsel at one of the tower windows, and the lady said to him, Enter, sir knight, for we greatly rejoice at your coming. He answered, Lady, I rejoice to obey rather than displease you; and entered the castle. Presently there was a great stir within, and many knights and armed men came out and beset him, crying, yield or thou art dead! Certes, quoth he, I will not willingly enter the prison of such false ones! and with that he laced his helm ; but his shield he could not take, because of the press there was upon him. They struck at him on all sides ; he nevertheless worthily defended himself so long as his horse could stand, felling at his feet all whom he could reach with a fair blow; but his horse being slain, and he himself sorely prest, he made toward a shed which was in the court, and there by the wall defended himself to better advantage. Gandalin and the dwarf were taken in his sight, which the more inflamed him ; but his enemies were so many, and laid on such heavy load, that sometimes he was upon his knees, and he saw no way of escaping death, and they would shew him no mercy, because he had slain and grievously wounded so many. But God and his own worth succoured him in this peril. The young damsel beheld the battle, and seeing his brave behaviour she was moved to pity, and calling to one of her women, she said, I had rather all my people were slain than that good knight should perish follow me ! Lady, said the woman, what would you do? Let my lions loose upon his enemies, said she, and I command you being my vassal to release them, for you can do it because they know you. Upon this the woman loosed the chain of the lions, who were two in number and very fierce, and then she cried out, save yourselves, for the lions have broke loose! They who were besetting Amadis forthwith fled, yet not so lightly but that many of them were torn to pieces by the beasts. But Amadis immediately made for the gate as well as he could, and going out closed it behind him, and fastened the lions in the court. Then he seated himself upon a stone, sore wearied as one who had fought hardly, still holding in his hand his sword which was broken.
The lions meantime having scoured the court, ran here and there, and would fain have escaped thro' the grate. The people of the castle dared not descend to them, nor she who had let them loose, for they were too fierce to be controlled. In this distress, not knowing how to help themselves, they agreed that their mistress should ask Amadis to open the gate, which perhaps he might do at a lady's request. Full loth was she to ask him, considering how little she had deserved such favour at his hands; yet, knowing it was her last refuge, she looked from the window and said, Sir knight, however hardly we have dealt with you, let your courtesy exceed our demerit, open the gate that the lions may go out and we may be safe. We will make what amends we can for the past, and on my faith I assure you my intent was only to hold you as my prisoner, till you would consent to be my knight. Amadis mildly answered, that should have been gained in another guise: I would willingly have become your knight to do you service, as I am the knight of all dames and damsels who need it. And will you not open the gate? No! as God shall help me you shall not receive that courtesy from me. With that she went from the window lamenting, and the fair young maiden said to him, Sir knight, there are those here who had no part in the wrong which has been done you, and who deserve some favour at your hands. Then Amadis greatly admiring her, answered, Fair friend, do you wish me to open the gate? I should thank you earnestly, said she; and seeing Amadis rise to do it, she stopt him, saying, stay a moment while I make the lady secure your safety. So that he marvelled at her discretion. The lady then warranted him that he should be safe from her people, and promised to release to him Gandalin and the dwarf, and the old knight bade him take a mace and shield to kill the lions as they came out. Give me the arms! said Amadis; but God forsake me if I do harm to those who have aided me so well. Certes, sir knight, quoth the old man, you will not fail in your faith to man, since you keep it so to beasts. Then they threw to him the mace and shield, and Amadis took them, and sheathed the little of his sword that was left, and opened the gate, being ready with the mace in his own defence. Immediately the lions ran by him into the open country. He entered the court, and presently the lady and her people came to receive him, and they brought him Gandalin and the dwarf. I have lost my horse here, said Amadis; if it please you, lady, give me another, else I must depart on foot. That, quoth she were shame for a knight like you ; but remain here this night, and on the morrow we will provide you a horse. Then they disarmed him, and brought him a costly mantle, and led him to the apartment where the lady and the young damsel expected him, and their seeing him so young and beautiful, being so brave a knight, were greatly amazed. He on his part no less wondered at the damsel, how fair she was ; but addressing the lady, he said, If it please you, tell me what the figure meant which I saw in the chariot. She replied, Promise me to do what you ought after having heard it, and I will tell you ; otherwise, I pray you hold me excused. It were no reason, madam, quoth Amadis, to promise lightly, I know not what: if it be to do what befits a knight, I shall not fail you. You say well, sir, said she; and then dismissing all, her attendants, she began.
Sir knight, that figure of stone is made in remembrance of the father of this fair maiden, who lies in the monument which you saw in the chariot. He was a crowned king, and being upon his throne on a festival day his brother came up, and drawing a sword from under his cloak, smote him on the head and cleft it, as you saw in the statue. This was a concerted treason; he had brought with him many adherents, and seized the kingdom which he still holds. This child, the only one of the murdered king, was then under the care of that old knight whom you have seen; who fled with her to me, being her aunt. I procured my brother's body, and entombed it as you have seen, and every day it is laid in the chariot, and carried forth; and I have sworn that none should see the monument but those who attain the sight by arms, nor having seen it, learn the meaning without promising to take vengeance for so wicked a treason. Now, if you be a noble knight bound to prosecute virtue, and on so just occasion, you will employ the forces God hath lent ye in this right cause; and I will continue this course, being sure of you, till I have found two champions more, to fight with the traitor and his two sons, for they will not undertake the battle except they be together.
Let them come one by one, said Amadis, and I will singly cope with them. That, quoth she, they will never consent to; but do you return here at a year's end, and I will have the other two champions ready. I will not fail, answered Amadis; and do not you trouble yourself in that search, for I will bring those with me who shall well maintain your right. This he said trusting in that time to meet his brother Galaor and Agrayes. They heartily thanking him, bade him besure they were good knights, for that wicked king and his sons were some of the strongest knights in the world. If I find but one of those whom I look for, said he, I shall not care for a third, however strong they may be. Tell us then, gentle sir, of what country you are, and where we may find you? I am. of the house of Lisuarte, Queen Brisena's knight. Now then, let us go eat, said she, with the better appetite after this agreement. Then went they into a spacious hall, where such cheer and honour was made him as might be desired till the hour of rest came. The good night being given on all sides, he was conducted to his chamber by the damsel who had loosed the lions. Sir knight, said she, there is one in this castle who helped you when you knew it not. And when was that t-When I set the lions loose to save you by my young lady's order; for she pitied you : if she live, she will be without peer for wisdom as well as beauty. Of a truth, quoth Amadis, I believe so; but tell her I truly thank her, and bid her think me her knight. She will gladly hear me say so, replied the damsel; and with that she departed, leaving Amadis in bed. All this Gandalin and the dwarf heard, who lay in another bed at his feet; and the dwarf, who knew not of the loves of Amadis and Oriana, thought that he loved the young maiden, and had therefore called himself her knight, and sorely did Amadis suffer afterwards for this error.
In the morning after mass, Amadis asked the names of those with whom he was to do battle. The father, said the lady, is called Abiseos, the sons Darasion and Dramis, all three of great prowess. And where do they reign? In Sobradisa, which borders upon Serolis, and on the other side is bounded by the sea. He then armed himself and mounted, and was about to take his leave, when the young damsel came to him, bringing a rich sword which had been her father's. Sir knight, said she, use this sword while it may last you, for my sake, and God prosper you therewith. Amadis received it with a smile: Hold me, lady, for your knight! Certes, lady, quoth the dwarf, you gain not a little in gaining such a knight.