Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chapter 85

How Amadis brought together the lords, and the speech he delivered to them, and what they agreed to do. 

[Meeting hall of the Knights of the Military Order of St. James at their headquarters in León, Spain. The building, the San Marcos Hostal, is now used as a hotel.]

Amadis, despite a show of great courage, had thought deeply about how this serious matter might end, since all the responsibility fell on him, in spite of the many princes and great lords and knights of high standing there. He was already condemned to death if it did not turn out well, and his honor was threatened and imperiled. While all the others slept, he lay awake thinking about what ought to be done. With that concern, and with the advice and approval of Sir Cuadragante and his cousin Agrajes, he had all the lords called to Sir Cuadragante’s lodging in the great hall there, one of the finest in the entire island. When they had all arrived and no one was missing, Amadis stood up holding the doctor Elisabad by the hand, whom he always did great honor, and spoke to them this way:

“Noble princes and knights, I have called you here to remind you that your fame and your great lineages and estates have become known everywhere in the world. Each one of you could live in your lands with great ease and pleasure, with many servants and everything that can be acquired for recreation in a delightful and comfortable life, as ye accumulate ever greater riches. But ye understand that the great difference between following the life at arms and the pleasures acquired through temporal goods is the difference between the wise men and brute animals.

“Ye have given up what many lose their souls for, preferring to suffer great adversity in exchange for laudable fame, pursuing the military profession of arms. Since the beginning of time until our own, the good fortune of worldly men never could nor can equal the conquest and glory that it brings. Until now ye have won no profit nor dominions except by putting your persons, covered with injuries, in great dangerous labors, arriving a thousand times at the point and threshold of death, hoping and wishing more for glory and fame than for any other gain that could come to you by it.

“As a reward for that, if ye wish to know, your prosperous and favorable fate has chosen to place the great victory ye have just won in your hands. And I do not say this about your victory over the Romans, for given the difference between your virtues and theirs, it should not be highly considered. I say this because ye have provided the rescue and aid for that high and fine Princess so she would not receive the greatest injury and injustice that any person of great estate has received for a very long time. Because of that, in addition to having greatly added to your fame, ye have done a great service to God by doing what ye were born to do: help the afflicted and put an end to grievances and outrages.

“What is worthy of consideration and should give you happiness is that we have made discontent and angry two high and powerful princes, the Emperor of Rome and King Lisuarte. If they do not wish to be just and reasonable, we will face great combats and warfare. From here on, noble lords, what can be expected? Nothing else, except that as those who support reason and truth, which they disdain, we will win great victories that will resound throughout the world. And although their grandeur may seem fearful, we are not without the support of many other great lords, both family and friends, and we can easily fill battlefields with a great many knights and soldiers. No opponents, no matter how many they may be, could last a day against Firm Island.

“And so, my good lords, may each one say what he thinks best and not what he might wish, which ye know better than I is the desire for virtue to which ye are obliged. Instead speak about what can sustain and advance this cause with the courage and discretion it deserves.”

All those lords willingly heard that gracious and brave speech by Amadis; and believing that among all of them there were many who would know how to respond with great discretion and courage, for some time they were quiet, urging one another to speak. Then Sir Cuadragante said:

“My lords, if ye consider it good, since ye are all quiet, I shall say that which my judgment gives me the understanding to respond.”

Agrajes told him:

“My lord Sir Cuadragante, we all beg you to do so, because given who ye are and the great things that have happened to you and the honor that has come to you from them, ye more than any of us ought to respond.”

Sir Cuadragante thanked him for the honor he had given him, and said to Amadis:

“Noble knight, your great discretion and good moderation have contented all of our wills. Ye have said what ought to have been said, and to respond to it all would be excessive and annoying to everyone here. I can only speak to what ought to be remedied at the present time, which is this: your will in the past has never been to pursue passion or hatred, but only to serve God and follow your oath as a knight, which is to overcome force, especially when applied to ladies and damsels who have no protection except from God and you.

“This should be expressed by messengers to King Lisuarte, and he should be asked on your behalf to recognize his past errors and behave with justice and reason toward his daughter the Princess, removing the pressure he has placed on her and providing such guarantees that with good cause and certainty our honor will not be diminished if we return her to him as we ought. And as for what concerns us, I shall make no mention, because if this is carried out and can be done, I have such faith in your great virtue and courage that King Lisuarte will seek peace with us and will be very content if it were granted by you.

“And while these negotiations are underway, since we, not as knights errant but as princes and great lords, do not know if they will succeed and what may be required of us if they fail, it would be good if we were to notify our friends and families, who are many, so if they should be called upon, they may arrive in time for their labor to have the necessary effect.”


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