Page images
PDF
EPUB

by a foot. So they three departed, and the crown and mantle were left with the king.

CHAP. XXXI.-How Amadis and Don Galaor and Balays of

Carsante arrived at the palace of King Lisuarte, and Galaor remained as the king's knight. FB MADIS, Galaor, and Balays, continued their

course till they reached the house of King

. Lisuarte, and so great was the general desire to see them that scarcely could they make way thro' the thronged streets, or enter the palace. They were soon disarmed; and, when the two brethren were seen, how fair they were, and of what young years, all who beheld them cursed Arcalaus for the heart he had to devise their deaths. Forthwith the king led them to Brisena's chamber; when Amadis past the door and beheld Oriana, his heart leaped ; and she who, albeit the tidings of his safety had reached her, still feared he was dead because of her exceeding love, could not now refrain from tears, and lingered behind her mother to controul that passionate feeling. But Amadis, taking his brother by the hand, knelt before Brisena and said, Here, lady, is the knight whom you bade me seek. She answered, And he is right welcome! and then embraced the brethren. Madam, quoth Lisuarte, you should divide them with me; as Amadis is your knight, give me Galaor for mine. She answered, Never yet was so great a boon granted in Britain ! but you deserve it, being the noblest of all her kings : what say you, sir Galaor? will you be the king's knight? Galaor replied, Methinks whatever so great a king demandeth should

be granted: you have me here to obey you in this and every other respect, so far as it be with the will of my lord and brother Amadis, for I will do nothing against his command. I am well pleased, quoth she, that you will obey him, for he is mine. I beseech you, brother, then, said Amadis, do what the queen desires ; and Galaor then bade her dispose of him as she would. My lord, quoth she, I give you Don Galaor, and I beseech you love him as he deserves.

The king then seated himself by Brisena, and they talked with Galaor. Mabilia, who was apart with Oriana and Olinda, because they three were the noblest damsels, seeing Amadis with Agrayes, called to her brother, and bade him bring that knight nearer, for they greatly desired to see him. They then came up, and she knowing what remedies their hearts required, placed Agrayes beside Olinda and Amadis by Oriana, and being herself in the middle, said, Now am I between the four persons in the world whom I love best. When Amadis saw himself near his lady his heart leaped. She welcomed him, and putting out her hands between the lace of her mantle, took his hands and pressed them as if she would have embraced him, and said, My friend, what agony that traitor made me endure ! Never was woman in such danger, and certes never with such reason; for never had any one so great a loss as I should suffer in losing you ; for as I am better beloved than all others, so is it my good fortune to be beloved by him who excels all others. Amadis, who heard himself thus praised, could make no reply, for so beautiful did she appear that the words died upon his lips ; but she whose eyes were fixed upon him said, Dear friend, how should I not love you above all others, for all love and esteem

you, and you love me ; reason is it then that better than all other I should love you. Lady, then, replied Amadis, I beseech you rather pity the death which I daily endure for your sake! that which they told you had befallen me would be my consolation and rest : were it not for the strong desire my heart has to serve you, that heart could not resist its sorrows, but would sink under them; not that I fail to confess that one thought from you repays my pain, but something more is required, and without which it will soon bring me to my end. And then the tears started in his eyes. Dear friend, said Oriana, for God's sake talk not of your death! it makes my heart sink, for I could not live an hour after you, and only desire to live for you. What you say I well believe, loving as much as you do; and let come what will I promise you, that if fortune offer us no means of rest, my weak courage shall find one, though the displeasure of my father and mother should follow, which would be more endurable than these fears and this suspence. Amadis could not answer ; but he sighed from his heart. She took his hand,-Friend, I will perform this promise ; meantime do not quit the court. At this time the queen called to Amadis, and made him sit near Galaor. The dames and damsels of the court meantime talked only of the two brethren, how God had made them as surpassing in beauty as in deeds of arms and all goodness : they thought Galaor of the fairer complexion; but Amadis had crisp, auburn locks, and more colour in his face, and was the larger limbed. When the tables were ready, Amadis and Galaor were placed at one table by the king's command, with Galvanes Lackland and Agrayes, and no others; and as these four knights had sate atthe same board, so afterwards did they

partake of many the same dangers; and although Don Galvanes was akin to none of them except Agrayes, yet Amadis and Galaor always called him uncle, and he called them his nephews, whereby his honour was afterwards greatly increased

CHAP. XXXII.-How King Lisuarte ordained his Cortes to be held in London.

S it had pleased God to make Lisuarte, of a

prince who had no heritage, king of Great Le Britain, and to give him the greatest glory and prosperity that man could wish, so now, lest his heart should wax proud and be corrupted, his peace was to be disturbed. He sent forth his summons to hold the court on the fifth day at London, a city which then was like an eagle above all the rest of Christendom, that they might take order for the advancement of chivalry; but there, where he thought all the world would yield him obeisance, began the first change of fortune, and his kingdom and person were put in danger of utter ruin.

King Lisuarte with all his chivalry departed from Windsor to the court, and the queen with all her dames and damsels. The assembly was wonderfully great; young knights costily armed and adorned, and infantas who were king's daughters, and damsels of high degree, for whom their lovers were about to make pastime and pleasure. That they might not lodge in the city, the king ordered pavilions to be pitched in the plain by the brooks and fountains that abound in that land. Here led they the happiest life that could be imagined. To this court there came a great lord, more noble in estate and rank than in the dignity of virtue, Barsinan, lord of Sansuena; not that he was vassal or friend to king Lisuarte, nor even known to him, but for this cause.

He being in his own land, Arcalaus the Enchanter came to him and said, Lord Barsinan, if you like it, I will so contrive, that with little difficulty or labour you shall become King of Great Britain. Barsinan answered, I should gladly undergo any labour or difficulty for such a reward.—Promise then, to make me* chief of your household for life, and the thing shall be done.—That will I right willingly; but how shall it be done? In this manner, quoth Arcalaus : Go you with a good company of knights to the first court that King Lisuarte shall hold. I will contrive to carry away the king prisoner, so that no person shall be able to succour him, and at the same time I will give you his daughter Oriana to wife. In five days' time I will send Lisuarte's head to London; then do you, having the heiress to the throne in your power, take the occasion and seize the crown.

With this design came Barsinan to the court, where he was honourably entertained, and albeit bis heart failed him, and he almost repented of the enterprise, seeing the great power of knighthood that was with Lisuarte, yet determined he to abide the end. But Lisuarte, nothing misdoubting him, to do him the greater honour gave him his own palace, and pitched tents for himself and for the queen in the fields, and consulted with him upon the business of that court, how he might best advance chivalry. To this effect the next day was appointed for council. When morning came, the king clad himself in royal robes, besitting

* Mayordomo mayor.

« PreviousContinue »