Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chapter 57 [middle part]

[How Oriana won the prize of the wreath, and Macandon was knighted, and she and Beltenebros left London, and what happened to them on the way to Miraflores Castle.] 

[Illustration for Bernger von Horheim's songs in the Codex Manesse.] 

Once the test of the sword had been finished by Beltenebros, as ye have heard, the King ordered the Queen and all the other ladies in the palace take the test of the wreath of flowers without any fear about what might happen. If a lady were to win, she would be more loved and desired by her husband, and if a damsel, the glory would be hers for being the most loyal of all.

Then the Queen came and put it on her head, but the flowers did not change from the way they had been. Macandon told her:

"My lady and Queen, if your husband the King won little with the sword, it seems ye have repaid him well."

She turned around ashamed with nothing to say, and next the very beautiful Briolanja came, Queen of Sobradisa, but she won no more than the Queen. Macandon told her:

"My very beautiful damsel, ye ought to be loved more than ye love, according to what ye have shown."

And then four princesses came forward, daughters of kings: Elvida and Estrelleta, her sister, who were very lively and beautiful, and Aldeva and Olinda the Discrete, on whose head the dry flowers began to become green, and so everyone thought she might win, but although they waited, they did nothing more. When she took it off, they became as dry as they had been.

After Olinda, more than a hundred ladies and damsels tried it, but none of them achieved what Olinda had, and to all of them Macandon said things of jest and amusement.

Oriana, as she watched it, had been very afraid that Queen Briolanja would win. And when she saw her fail, she felt great pleasure because her beloved would not think that Briolanja's love would be worthy, for she seemed extremely beautiful, more than any other lady or damsel she had seen in her life, and if she would not lose Beltenebros to her, then she would lose him to no one.

When she saw that now no one remained for the test, she gestured to Beltenebros to bring her forward, and when they came to the wreath, she put it on her head, and the dry flowers turned so fresh and beautiful that there was no way to know one side from the other.

And Macandon said:

"Oh good damsel! Ye are the one whom I have been seeking for forty years, even before ye were born."

Then he told Beltenebros to make him a knight and asked the damsel to give him his sword by her own hand.

"Do it now," he said, "for I can wait no longer."

Macandon dressed in white clothing that he had brought with him and donned the white arms of a new knight, and Beltenebros made him a knight according to custom and put on his right spur, and Oriana gave him an especially fine sword that he had brought.

When the ladies and damsels saw him, they all began to laugh, and everyone heard Aldeva say:

"Oh God, what an extraordinary young man and how extraordinarily well he looks, more than any other new knight! He must be very happy to be able to be a new knight for the rest of his life."

"Why do ye say that?" Estrelleta said.

"Because of those clothes," she said. "By their looks, they ought to last as long as he will."

"May God make it so," the damsels answered, "and keep him as handsome as he is now."

"My good ladies," he said, "I would not exchange my pleasure for any measure of yours, for I am more measured and youthful than ye are measured and modest."

The King was pleased by what he had said, for what they had said had not seemed proper.

When this was done, Beltenebros took his lady and said goodbye to the Queen. She said to her daughter, whom she did not recognize:

"Good damsel, since it is your will not to have us know you, I beg you to ask favors of me from wherever ye may go, which shall be gladly given to you."

"My lady," Beltenebros said, "I know her as much as ye do, although I have traveled with her for seven days, but from what I have seen, I tell you she is beautiful and has such hair that it has no reason to be covered."

Briolanja told her:

"Damsel, I do not know who ye are, but from what ye have shown of your love, if your beloved loves you as ye love him, this would be the most beautiful thing that love has ever brought together, and if he is wise, it shall be so."

Oriana took great pleasure in what Briolanja had said. With that, they said goodbye to the Queen and rode off as they had come, and the King and Sir Galaor left with them. Beltenebros said to the King:

"My lord, take this damsel and honor her, who well deserves it, for she has honored your court."

The King took her horse by the reins, and Beltenebros spoke with Sir Galaor, who had no desire to hear anything about friendship with him, for he had already sworn to fight with him. When they had ridden a while, Beltenebros took Oriana and told the King:

"My lord, remain here with God, and if ye would have me be one of the hundred in your battle, I shall gladly serve you."

The King was very pleased by that, and embraced him and thanked him, saying that he would lose much of his fear to have him at his aid. And so he and Galaor turned back.

Beltenebros entered the forest with his beloved and Enil, who carried his arms, very happy that their venture had ended so well, with him bearing the green sword around his neck and she wearing the wreath of flowers on her head. So they arrived at the Fountain of the Three Streams, where they saw a squire on horseback come down a nearby mountain. When the squire arrived, he said:

"Knight, Arcalaus orders ye to bring this damsel before him, and if ye tarry and make him ride and get you, he shall cut off both your heads."

"Where is Arcalaus the Sorcerer?" Beltenebros said.

The man showed him beneath some trees, and another man was with him, and they were in armor with their horses beside them. When Oriana heard this, she felt so frightened that she could barely remain on her palfrey. Beltenebros came to her and said:

"My damsel, do not fear, for if this sword does not fail me, I shall protect you."

Then he took his arms and told the squire:

"Tell Arcalaus that I am a foreign knight and do not know him and have no reason to obey him."

When Arcalaus heard this, he was irate, and he said to the knight who was with him:

"My nephew Lindoraque, take the wreath that the damsel wears, and it shall be for your beloved Madasima, and if the knight defends her, cut off his head and hang her from her hair in a tree."

Lindoraque immediately mounted and left to do so, but Beltenebros, who had heard him, rode forward. Although he saw that the other knight was very big, for he was the son of Cartadaque, the giant of the Forbidden Mountain, and of a sister of Arcalaus, he held him as nothing for the great arrogance with which he came. Beltenebros told him:

"Knight, ye shall not pass further."

"Ye shall not make me fail to do what my uncle Arcalaus has ordered me to do."

"Now," Beltenebros said, "though ye are as arrogant as he is evil, try to do what ye can."

Then they met and struck each other so hard that their lances were broken. Lindoraque was thrown from his saddle, and he carried a piece of the lance in his flesh, but he got up promptly with great courage. He saw that Beltenebros was approaching to attack, so he tried to protect himself from the blow, but he tripped and fell on the ground, and the iron of the lance came out his back, and he died immediately.

When Arcalaus saw that, he quickly mounted to help him, but Beltenebros came at him and made him miss with his lance when they met, and as they passed, he struck such a blow with his sword that Arcalaus's lance and half his hand fell to the ground, and only his thumb remained. Seeing himself thus, he began to flee, with Beltenebros behind him, but Arcalaus threw off the shield from his neck, and with the great speed of his horse, got so far ahead that Beltenebros could not catch him.

So he returned to his lady, and ordered Enil to take the head of Lindoraque and the hand and shield of Arcalaus, and to go to King Lisuarte and tell him what had happened.

That done, he took his lady and went on his way, and rested a little at the spring. When night came, they went to Miraflores, where they found Gandalin and Durin, who took their beasts. Mabilia and the Damsel of Denmark met them at the wall at the entrance to the garden with great joy in their spirits, as those who, if some misfortune were to have happened, expected nothing but death.

Mabilia told them:

"Ye bring beautiful gifts, but I tell you that they were purchased with the great anguish of our spirits and many tears from our hearts. Thanks be to God for the good He did you."

And so they entered the castle, where they supped and rested with great joy and happiness.

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