BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
hen Amadis and Galaor were well recovered, they and their host, Sir Balays, departed for Windsor. After they had travelled five days they came to a cross road, and where the roads crossed there was a great tree, and under it there was a dead knight, lying on a costly bed; one taper was burning at his feet, and another at his head, and those tapers were so made that no wind could extinguish them. The knight was armed, but no covering over him; there were many wounds in his head, and the trucheon of a lance was in his throat, the iron appearing through, and he with both hands held the truncheon, as if striving to draw it out. They were greatly amazed thereat. Besure, quoth Amadis, this knight is not thus laid here without great cause; if we tarry here awhile some adventure will ensue. Then said Galaor, I swear by my faith of knighthood not to leave the place till I know who the knight was, and why he was slain, and to revenge him if justice demand it. Brother, answered Amadis, this vow Somewhat displeaseth me: I fear it will detain you long. And this he said thinking of Oriana, from whose sight he would not willingly be hindered. Galaor replied, I have sworn. And he alighted and seated himself by the bed, and his comrades did the same, for they would not leave him alone.
This was between nones and vespers. Presently they espied a knight and two esquires; the one of whom carried a damsel before him, she giving many shrieks and outcries, because the knight often smote her with the end of his lance. As they passed by the bed, the damsel saw the three companions, and she cried out, Ah! thou good knight that there liest dead, wert thou living thou wouldst not suffer this villainy! At these words the knight smote her so cruelly that the blood ran down her face, and then they gallopped away. So villainous a knight saw I never till now! quoth Amadis. I will not suffer this brother! if I tarry long, proceed you and Balays to Windsor. Then he mounted and took his arms, and calling Gandalin to follow him, rode full speed in pursuit.
Galaor and Balays remained till the night closed. There then came up an armed knight along the road which Amadis had taken, and he was groaning. What knight was he, quoth he, who went full speed along the road? They replied, why ask you? An ill death be his lot, quoth he, for he is as fierce as if all the devils were with him. What fierceness hath he shewn to you? Because he would not tell me whither he went so fast, I caught his bridle, and told him he should either tell or fight. Fighting will take less time, said he, and in the encounter he drove me and my horse to earth, and hurt me as you see. At this Galaor and Balays laughed, saying, you are taught not to be over curious another time. Do you laugh at me?quoth he: you shall have no cause to laugh. Then coming near Galaor's horse, he gave him a blow in the face, and made him rear and break his bridle, and run away. He would have done the same to the other, but they caught up their spears and prevented him. If I have paid for my discourtesy to the other knight, said he, so have you for your laughter; and he rode off. God never help me in my need, said Balays, if I make thee not give thy horse for the one thou hast sent ranging! So telling Galaor he would be with him the next day unless fortune failed, he gallopped away.
Galaor remained alone with the dead knight, for his squire was gone after the horse. Five hours of the night he remained watching; then, overcome with heaviness, he placed his shield against his helmet as a fpillow, and lay down and slept. When he awoke there was no light of the tapers to be seen, and the dead knight was gone. Shame on me, said he, that I could not watch! but I will take penance by seeking him on foot. As he was doubtful which way to go, he heard the neighing of horses, and shaped his course towards the sound. After he had proceeded some way the morning broke, and he saw two knights, the one of whom had dismounted to read certain letters graven on a stone. They sent me here vainly, said the one, for this is a foolish errand; and he mounted again, and they rode off together. Galaor called out to them, Know you, sirs, who hath carried the dead knight from under the tree in the cross-way? The one answered, we do not know; but after midnight we saw three damsels and ten squires with a litter. Which way did they take? He followed the road which they pointed, and met a damsel of whom he asked the same question. She replied, Promise to revenge his death, and I will resolve you. That shall I do, if, as I believe, it may be done justly. Then mount my palfrey, and I will ride behind. But Galaor would by no means take the saddle ; so he rode behind her for two leagues, and came to a fair castle: Here, said she, you will find what you seek. Tell me where to find you, and for whom to ask. For Don Galaor, in the court of King Lisuarte. Then the damsel left him, and he went in.
In the middle of the court the dead knight was laid, and they were making great dole over him. Galaor drew nigh and asked of an old knight who the dead was.- Such a one as the world might with reason lament, Antebon, a knight of Gaul. How came he by his death? He had a fair daughter by that lady whom you see bewailing him; a neighbouring knight loved her, and carried her off by force, who greatly disliked him, while her father was gone to the tree in the crossways to wait, as was his wont, for adventures. But she did nothing but weep, and she told the knight that she had sworn to her mother never to marry any knight who had not as great renown in arms as her father. You shall not for that refuse me, said he; before three days you shall know that I am as doughty as he. And he took his arms and rode to the tree, and finding Antebon on foot and without his shield and helmet, which were lying by him, smote him tlirough the neck with his spear; and after he had fallen dead, mangled his head as you behold. We therefore have laid him in that same place, being a continual passage for knights errant, to try if any would be so honourably provoked as to revenge him, when they had heard how treacherously he was slain. But why was he left alone? said Galaor.The murderer had sent to threaten the four squires who always remained by him, and for this cause they had forsaken the body, and we afterwards removed it. It has cost me much that I did not see you, quoth Galaor. Are you he then, whom we saw sleeping upon his shield? -The same.- And why were you tarrying there? To revenge the dead, if his death rightfully demanded it. Ah, good knight! God in his mercy prosper the attempt! And the old man led him to the bed, and bade them all cease their lamentations; For here, said he to the dame, is a knight who will avenge us. And she fell at his feet to kiss them. God reward thee, thou good knight, for he is a stranger in this land, and hath no kin to take vengeance. For that, said Galaor, am I the more eager, seeing I am of the same country. But he is a perilous knight, said she. Fear not, quoth Galaor, let me be shewn the place; and, if it please you, provide me a horse. That, answered the lady, I shall do on the condition that if you revenge me, the horse be returned. Galaor replied, So let it be.