BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
eantime Amadis asked Oriana what Arcalaus had said to her. He told me not to grieve, said she, for within fifteen days he would make me Queen of London, and give me Barsinan for my husband, to whom he was to give me and my father's head, and be made his high steward in return. Holy Mary! quoth Amadis: Barsinan who seemed such a friend! I fear lest he do injury to the queen. Dear friend, cried Oriana, hasten on! I must to my sorrow, replied Amadis, for else I should have delighted to pass four days here in the forest with you, if it had pleased you. Oriana answered, God knows how willingly! but great evil might happen thereby to this land, which if God pleases will one day be yours and mine. As soon as it was morning Amadis armed himself, and leading his lady's bridle, rode on as fast as they could towards London; and everywhere they met the knights, five by five, and ten by ten, as they were seeking the king ; more than a thousand they met, and told them which way the king was gone, and how Galaor was in quest of him. When they came within five leagues of London they met Grumedan, the good old knight who had fostered the queen; twenty of his lineage were with him, and they had been all night long scouring the forest. He seeing Oriana went towards her weeping: Oh God, lady, what a good day with your coming? but what tidings of the king? They told him what they knew, and Amadis said to him, Take you charge of Oriana, and bid all the knights that you shall meet turn back, for if numbers can succour him, there are already more than enough gone: I must go with all speed to protect the Queen: With that he gallopped away: at the entrance of the city he found the squire whom Lisuarte had sent with the news of his deliverance, and learnt also the state of the city. So entering as privately as he could he went to Arban, who embraced him right joyfully, and asked, what news? As good as heart could wish! quoth Amadis: let us go to the queen. He took with him Ladasin's messenger, and kneeling before Brisena, said, Lady, this squire has left Lisuarte safe and well, and I have left Oriana with your fosterer Grumedan; they will soon be here, but I must go to look after Barsinan. He then changed his shield and helmet that he might not be known, and bade Arban throw down the barriers, that the traitors might come freely on, for by God's help they shall pay dearly for their treason! The barriers were thrown down, and Barsinan prest on at the head of his people, thinking that all would now be his, for his own men were many and his enemies few, and he was eager to seize the queen. The king's party gave back being overpowered; then Amadis went forth; he had on a rusty helmet, and a plain shield hanging from his neck ; but he was soon judged to be a good one, and he went on making his way through the press; and having the good sword of Lisuarte by his side. He forced his way to Barsinan and encountered him ; drove his lance through shield and corselet, and left the broken spear in him half way of its iron ; then drew he his sword, and smote off the crest and top of his helmet, and the scalp of his head, for the sword cut so finely that Amadis could scarce feel the blow he gave ; with another stroke he sheared thro' gauntlet and hand, and the sword passing through the bone of the wrist, fell on the leg and entered in half through. Then Barsinan fell, and Amadis turned upon the throng, and King Arban so prest them that they who could escape slaughter ran to the Tower, and made fast the gates. Amadis finding he could not force entrance readily, went back to Barsinan, and finding him still alive, ordered that he should be carried to the palace and kept till the king's return. Then the strife being over, he looked at the bloody sword which he held in his hand. Sword! quoth he, in a happy day was the knight born who shall wield you! and certes you are well employed, for being the best in the world, you belong to the noblest king! He then disarmed himself, and went to the queen; and Arban was laid in his bed, as there was great need, for he was sorely wounded.
At this time King Lisuarte was hastening to London. Of the knights whom he met, some he made turn back, others he sent through the vallies and by all roads to recal their comrades from their search. The first whom he met were Agrayes and Galvanes, and Solinan and Galdan, and Dinadaus and Bervas, all six together making great moan; who when they saw him would have kissed his hand, but he joyfully embraced them. Sir, said Dinadaus, the whole city are in quest of you like mad men. Nephew, replied the king, take some of these knights with you, and carry my shield that you may be the sooner obeyed, and turn back all whom you meet. This Dinadaus was one of the best knights of the king's lineage, and well esteemed among all good knights, as well for courteous bearing as for his good chivalry and prowess. When they came into the high road to London they fell in with Grumedan, the king's so dear friend, who was conducting Oriana home; and I tell you their pleasure was exceeding great, and the old man told him how Amadis was gone to the queen's succour. Presently they heard news what Barsinan had done, "and how King Arban had defended the city, and how by the coming of Amadis all had been ended and the traitor taken. By the time the king reached London, there were in his company more than two thousand knights. When he came to the palace, who can tell the joy that was made? Immediately he had the Tower surrounded, and having made Barsinan and the cousin of Arcalaus confess the whole manner of their treason, they were both burnt in sight of their own people, who having no provisions, neither any remedy, in five days came to the king's mercy, and he executed justice upon some and pardoned others. Thus ended this treason, but it was the cause of much enmity between the countries of Great Britain and Sansuena, for a son of Barsinan, who was a good knight, came afterwards against Lisuarte, with a great power.
These dangers over the court proceeded as before, making great pastimes and festivals as well by night in the town, as by day in the fields. On one of those days the lady and her sons arrived, before whom Amadis and Galaor had made their covenant with Madasima. They seeing her went honourably to bid her welcome. Friends, said she, you know wherefore I am come : what will you do in this case? will you not keep your promise, for to-day is the time? In God's name, replied Galaor, let us go before the king. Let us go, quoth she. Then coming into the presence, the lady made her obeisance and said, Sir, I come here to see these knights perform a covenant which they have made; and then she repeated what they had promised to Madasima, the lady of Gantasi. Ah, Galaor, cried the king, you have undone me! Galaor answered, better this than to die: if we had been known, all the world could not have saved our lives; and now the remedy is easier than you imagine. Brother, remember you have promised to follow my example! Then Galaor related before the king, and all the knights present, by what treachery they had been taken. Sir king, said he, I now forsake you and your company for the sake of Madasirna, the lady of Castle Gantasi; for it is her will to do you this displeasure, and whatever others she can, for the hatred she bears you. Amadis affirmed what his brother had said. Have we performed our covenant? then said Galaor to the three witnesses; they answered, Yes, truly, you have acquitted your promise. In God's name! quoth Galaor, and now you may return when you please, and tell Madasima that she has not made her terms so cunningly as she thought, as you may see. Sir, we have kept our covenant with Madasima, and forsaken your service ; but it was not stipulated how long we were to be out of your service, therefore we are free to use our own will, and freely again enter your service as before. At this Lisuarte was greatly pleased, and said to the lady, Certes these knights have fairly acquitted themselves of a promise so treacherously obtained, and just it is that they who deceive should be themselves deceived. Tell Madasima, that, if she hates me, she had it in her power to do me the greatest ill that could happen; but God, who has preserved them from other perils, would not suffer them to perish by such hands. If it please you, sir, said the lady, tell me who these knights are? Amadis and Don Galaor his brother. What! was Amadis in her power? cried she: now God be praised that they are safe, for certes it had been great misadventure if two such good men had so perished? She will be ready for pure vexation to inflict the death upon herself which she designed for them. Truly, quoth the king, that would be more justly done. So the lady went her way.