Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chapter 57 [final part]

[Of the letters Urganda the Unrecognized sent to King Lisuarte and Sir Galaor, and of the letter King Arban of North Wales and Sir Angriote de Estravaus sent to Lisuarte, written in their own blood.] 

[A Spanish text from the late 1300s: a manuscript of El Libro de Buen Amor.]

King Lisuarte and Sir Galaor turned back toward town after leaving Beltenebros, and a damsel came to them and gave the King a letter, telling him it was from Urganda the Unrecognized, and gave another to Sir Galaor, and without another word returned by the road on which she had come.

The King took the letter and read it, and it said:

"I send thee my greetings, Lisuarte, King of Great Britain. I would have thee know that in thy cruel and dangerous battle with King Cildadan, although Beltenebros gives thee great strength, he shall lose his name and fame. By one great blow that he shall strike, all his great deeds shall be placed in oblivion. At that time thou shalt be in thy greatest affliction and danger ever, and when the sharp sword of Beltenebros sheds thy blood, thou shalt be at the point of death. It shall be a cruel and painful battle, where many brave and valiant knights shall lose their lives. It shall see great fury and great cruelty without mercy. But at the end, by those three blows that Beltenebros shall strike, those on his side shall be the victors. King, beware of what thou doest, for it shall happen as I have told thee without any doubt."

Having read the letter, although the King was given to great deeds and had a stout heart in the face of all danger, he knew that Urganda was so wise that the greatest part of her prophecies came true, so he was rather frightened, and he believed that Beltenebros, whom he greatly loved, would lose his life there, and his own would not escape great danger. But with a happy semblance he went to Sir Galaor, who had already read his letter and stood thinking, and told him:

"My good friend, I want your advice without anyone else knowing about what Urganda wrote me in this letter."

Then he showed him the letter, and Sir Galaor said:

"My lord, according to what came in mine, I would be better to get advice than to give it, but in all, if by some means ye were to find a way to avoid this battle with honor, I would hold that good. And if this cannot be, at least ye should not be in it, because I see two very grave things here: first, that by Beltenebros's arm and sword your blood will be shed, and second, by the three blows that he will give, those on his side shall be the victors. I do not know how to understand this, because he is now on your side, and according to the letter, he shall be on the other."

The King told him:

"My good friend, the great love that ye have for me may mean that ye might not give the best advice. But if I were to lose the hope in the Lord Who put me at this height, believing that anyone's knowledge could prevent His will, then rightly and for good cause, and with His permission, I ought to be brought down, because the heart and discretion of kings must conform to their great estates. They must do their duty both to their subjects and in defense of them, and they should leave to the Lord, in Whom all power is, to remedy those things that cause fear and dread. And so, my good friend, I shall be in that battle, and the fate that God may give to my men I wish that He shall give to me."

Sir Galaor changed his mind at seeing the great courage of the King, and told him:

"Not without cause are ye praised as the greatest and most honorable prince of the world. And if all kings were to avoid weak advice from their subjects, no one would dare to say anything except what was truly in their service."

Then he showed the King his letter, which said:

"To you, Sir Galaor of Gaul, strong and courageous, I, Urganda, salute you as he whom I value and love, and I want you to know from me what shall happen to you in the painful battle, if ye are in it: after the great cruelties and death that thy shalt see in its fast and final moments, thy valiant body and mighty limbs shall fail thy strong and burning heart, and after the battle, thy head shall be in the power of he who shall give three blows by which it shall be won."

When the King saw this, he said:

"Friend, if what is in this letter comes true, it is clear that if ye enter that battle, your death shall come. And, given the great deeds in arms that ye have achieved, ye would be held at little fault if ye were to avoid that battle. So I shall order you to be excused from it, having complied with my service and your honor."

Sir Galaor told him:

"It seems, my lord, that my advice has angered you, for while I am healthy and in my own free will, ye order me to that which will cause my honor to fall into great error and disgrace. May it please God not to put me in a situation in which I must obey you in such a thing."

The King said:

"Sir Galaor, ye spoke better than I. And now let us cease to speak more of this and put our hopes in the Lord as we ought, and let us guard these letters, because if the frightful words in them were to be known, they could give people reason to be afraid."

With that they went to the town, but before they entered it they saw two armed knights whose horses were tired and exhausted, and their armor cut in several places, so they seemed to have been in some great confrontation. They were named Sir Bruneo of Bonamar and Sir Branfil, his brother, and they had come to be in the battle if the King would have them.

Sir Bruneo knew about the test of the sword and had hurried to arrive in time for it, since he had already passed beneath the Arch of the Loyal Lovers, as ye have heard, due to the great and true love he had for Amadis's sister Melicia. So he thought that due to his great love he could win the sword or anything else, no matter how difficult, and he was very sorry that the test was over.

When they saw the King, they went to him with great humility. He received them with great good will. And Sir Bruneo told him:

"My lord, we have heard that ye have a great battle scheduled, and since the number of people in it will be few, we would gladly serve you if what ye know of our valor makes us worthy and ye were to select us."

The King, who had already been informed of the skill of these two brothers by Sir Galaor, especially that of Sir Bruneo, who although young was one of the most outstanding knights who could be found in a large area, was greatly pleased by them and their service and thanked them deeply. Then Sir Galaor made himself known and urged them to stay with him in his lodgings until the battle, and told him that his brother Florestan and Agrajes and Sir Galvanes, who always accompanied each other, would be there.

Sir Bruneo took that highly, and told Galaor that he was the knight he loved most in the world after his brother Amadis, whom he had put much effort into searching for after he had learned how he had left Firm Island, and would not cease his search except to be in the battle. He accepted Galaor's proposal, so Sir Bruneo and his brother Branfil remained in the company of Sir Galaor and the service of King Lisuarte, as ye have heard.

When the King was in his palace, Beltenebros's squire Enil arrived with the head of Lindoraque hanging by its hair from the breast strap of his horse, and with the shield and half the hand of Arcalaus the Sorcerer. Before he could enter in the palace, many people of the town began to follow him to find out what it was about. When he reached the King, he told him what Beltenebros had ordered, and the King was very happy and amazed by the great deed of this brave and courageous knight, and praised him highly, as did everyone.

But this made the anger of Sir Galaor and Sir Florestan grow even greater, and they could not wait for the hour of combat with him in which they could die or make it known to everyone that all his deeds could not equal those of their brother Amadis.

At this time Filispel arrived, the knight whom King Lisuarte had sent to challenge the giants on his behalf, as ye have already heard. Filispel named all the other knights who would fight in the battle for King Cildadan, including many brave giants and other knights of great feats who were already arriving in Ireland to join the King. Within four days they would disembark at the port of Vega, where the battle would be.

He also told how, at the Burning Lake, where the Island of Mogaza was, he had found King Arban of North Wales and Angriote de Estravaus in the power of Gromadaza, the brave giant and wife of Famongomadan. She held them in a very cruel prison, where they suffered whippings and other great torments every day so that blood flowed continually from the many wounds in their flesh. And Filispel brought a letter written for the King, which said:

"To the great lord Lisuarte, King of Great Britain, and to all our friends in his reign: I, Arban, captive King of North Wales, and Angriote de Estravaus, in painful prison, wish to make ye know that our great misfortune has placed us in the power of the fierce Gromadaza, wife of Famongomadan. To avenge the death of her husband and son she causes us be given torments and cruel punishments beyond all imagination, so that often we ask for death, which would be a great relief. But she, wishing that every day be living death, keeps us alive, and were it not for the loss of our souls, we would have ended our lives ourselves. But because we have reached a point beyond which we cannot survive, we wish to send this letter written in our own blood, and with it to say goodbye, praying to our Lord to give you victory in the battle against these traitors who have done us such harm."

The King had deep sorrow to lose these two knights and felt great pain in his heart, but seeing how it would do little good for them, he put on a good semblance to console his men, and reminded them of many other serious matters, and of the honors and great deeds they might wish to gain, and he thus gave them courage for the battle. If they won, it would be the best means to get those knights out of prison.

And then he ordered all those who were going to be with him in the battle to get ready to leave with him the next day to meet his enemies. And he succeeded: with the great courage that he always displayed in all conflicts, he moved his knights to be ready to fight.

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