BY ROBERT SOUTHEY 1872.
welve days together did King Lisuarte continue his court, and, when it broke up, though many knights departed to their own lands, it was a wonder how many remained, and in like manner many dames and damsels continued to abide with the queen. Among those whom the king received into his company were the cousins Ladasin and Gruilan the pensive, both good knights, but Guilan was the better of the twain, for in the whole kingdom of London there was none who surpassed him in worth; but so absent was he, that none could enjoy his conversation or company, and of this love was the cause, and that to a lady who neither loved him nor any thing else to such an excess: her name was Brandalisa, sister to the queen of Sobradisa, and married to the duke of Bristol.
The day came whereon that duke was summoned to appear and answer the appeal of Olivas. The duke arrived, and was courteously by the king received. Sir, quoth he, you have summoned me to answer an accusation: he who made it lies, and I am ready to acquit myself as you shall judge right. Then uprose Olivas, and with him all the errant knights present. Lisuarte asked why they arose. Grumedan answered, Because the duke threatens all knights errant, and therefore we are all concerned. Certes, quoth the king, a mad war hath he undertaken! there is not in the world a king so mighty, or so wise, that he could bring a war like that to good issue! but retire you at present, and seek not now to avenge yourselves: he shall have full justice. All then withdrew, but Olivas, who said, The duke who standeth before you, sir, hath slain my cousin-german, who never by word or deed gave him occasion of offence: I therefore accuse him as a traitor for this, and will either make him confess it, or kill him, or force him out of the lists. The duke told him he lied, and that he was ready to acquit himself. The combat was fixed for the next day, for the duke's two nephews who were to fight on his side were not yet arrived.
They came that evening; the duke made such account of them that he thought Olivas could not produce their peers. They went before the king. Olivas defied the duke, who demanded battle, three to three. Then Don Galvanes, who was at the feet of the king, rose, and called his nephew Agrayes, and said to Olivas, Friend, we promised to be on your side if need was: now then let the battle be. When the duke saw them, he remembered how they had rescued the damsel whom he would have burnt, and he was somewhat abashed. They armed themselves, and entered the place appointed for such trials; one party through the one gate, the other on the opposite side. From the queen's window Olinda overlooked the lists, and seeing Agrayes about to fight her heart failed her; and Mabilia and Oriana were greatly grieved for the love they bore to him and Galvanes. The lists were cleared: the king withdrew from them, and the champions ran their encounter. Agrayes and his uncle dismounted their enemies, and broke both their lances. Olivas made the duke fall on his horse's neck, but received a deep wound himself, and the duke recovered his seat. Agrayes rode at him, and laid on him a heavy load of blows, heartily hating him for his great discourtesy and falsehood; but one of the dismounted knights struck at the prince's horse, and buried the sword in his flank: the horse fell, and the duke and his nephew both assailed Agrayes as he lay upon the ground. Don Galvanes, closely busied with his antagonist, saw nothing of this. At that hour all who loved Agrayes were in great consternation; Amadis yearned to be among them, for he greatly feared his cousin's death; the three damsels above were well nigh desperate, and it was pitiful to behold Olinda, what she suffered. Howbeit, Agrayes got on his feet, and with the good sword of Amadis, which he wielded, laid lustily about him. Ah, God, cried Galaor aloud, what is Olivas about this while! better that he had never borne arms, if he fails at a time like this! But Galaor knew not what sore agony Olivas suffered; for he had such a wound, and bled so fast, that it was a wonder how he kept his seat. He saw the peril of Agrayes, and heaving a deep sigh, as one whose heart did not fail him though his strength was failing, he cried, Oh God, let me help my good friend before my soul depart! and then, feebly as he could, he laid hand to sword and turned upon the duke, and his spirit kept him up. Agrayes was now left man to man, and he remembered that his lady saw him, and he laid on so furiously that his friends trembled lest his strength and breath should fail him but this was his custom, and if his strength had been equal to his great courage, he would have been one of the best knights in the world; but even as it was he was right good, and of great prowess. Anon he had cut through armour and flesh in sundry places, and left his foe quivering with death, at the same moment when Olivas, fainting for loss of blood, fell from his horse. The duke not seeing how Agrayes had fared, turned upon Galvanes; Agrayes leaped upon Olivas's horse, and rode to his uncle's assistance: he smote the duke's nephew upon the helmet, so that the sword stuck there; and plucking it away, he burst the lacings, and left him bareheaded to the wrath of Galvanes, while he turned upon the duke. Presently Galvanes having finished his enemy, attacked the duke on the other side, but his horse being wounded fell and bruised him, so that man to man were left. Still were all the beholders right glad; but above all Don Guilan, who hoped to see the duke slain, for the love he bore to his wife. The duke was flying, Agrayes reached the rim of his shield, the sword went in, the duke threw off the shield from his neck, and still fled; then turned, while Agrayes was recovering his sword, and struck twice at him. The prince, as soon as his weapon was free, requited him with a blow on the left shoulder that went through harness and flesh and bone, down to the ribs. The duke fell, but hung in the stirrup, and the horse dragged him out of the lists, and when he was picked up his head was found dashed to pieces by the horse's heels. Agrayes forthwith alighted, and ran to his uncle, and asked how he fared. Bravely, quoth Galvanes, God be thanked! but I am right sorry for Olivas, for methinks he is dead. They then cast the two nephews out of the lists; then went to Olivas, and found that he had just opened his eyes, and was asking to be confessed. Galvanes looked at his wound: Take heart, cried he, it is not in a dangerous place ! Sir, replied Olivas, my heart and all my limbs are dying away; I have been sore wounded ere now, but never was in such weakness. They disarmed him, and the fresh air was of service, and the blood somewhat ceased. The king sent a bed whereon to remove him, and skilful surgeons dressed his wound, and said that though it was very deep, by God's help they could heal it.
The queen then sent Grumedan to bring Brandalisa to court, and with her, her niece Aldeva: thereat was Don Guilan well pleased, and in a month they arrived, and were honourably welcomed. So the fame of King Lisuarte went abroad, and in half a year it was a marvel how many knights came from foreign parts to serve him, whom he rewarded bountifully, hoping by their aid not only to preserve his own kingdom, but to conquer others, that in old times had been subject and tributary to Great Britain.