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CHAP. XXXV.-In which is shown the ruin of King Lisuarte,
and all that befell him in consequence of the rash promises
which he had made. T N the fourth day after the brethren's de
parture, that old knight who had brought 2 the crown and mantle entered the royal tent, and kneeling before Lisuarte said, How is it, sir, that you wear not the crown which I left you; nor you, madam, the rich mantle? The king was silent. He continued, I am glad you like them not, for now I shall neither lose my head, nor the gift you were to give me for them : let them therefore be restored to me forthwith, because I may not tarry here. When the king heard this he was troubled, and replied, Knight, I can neither return the crown nor the mantle, for both are lost: it grieves me more for your sake who stand in such need of them, than for my own, though I so highly valued them. Wretch that I am! quoth the old knight ; I am dead ! and by the worst death that ever knight undeservedly perished ! and then he made great dole, and the tears ran down his beard which was as white as wool; so that the king said to him in compassion, Fear not for your head, for you shall have whatever is in my power to ransom it: so I have promised, and so will I perform. The knight fell at his feet and would have kissed them, but the king raised him up by the hand; Now then, ask what you will. It is true, sir, quoth he, that you were either to return me my crown and mantle, or give what I should ask for them; and God knows I intended not to ask what I now needs must, and if other thing in the world might save me, I would not distress you thus : it will be a great evil to you, but it would be as great if such a man as you should break his faith: it will grieve you to give, and me to receive! Ask what you want, said Lisuarte, for I have nothing so dear that it should be refused. The knight answered, Many thanks for this assurance ! but I must be made secure of all who are now in your court, that they offer me no wrong or force because of the boon, and you yourself also inust promise me this ; for neither will you keep your word, nor shall I be satisfied, if you take away from me what you have given. Said the king, this is but reason, and I promise you security; and accordingly it was so proclaimed. Then the old knight said, Sir, I can only be preserved from death by the crown and mantle, or by your daughter Oriana ! now give me which you will, but rather would I have what is my own.
Lisuarte exclaimed, Ah, knight, thou hast asked a great thing! And all who were present were greatly grieved; but the king who was the most loyal man in the world, bade them not trouble themselves. It is better, said he, to lose my daughter than to break my word ; the one evil afflicts few, the other would injure all : for how would the people keep faith one with another, if they could not depend upon the king's truth? And he commanded his daughter to be brought. When the queen and her ladies heard that, they made the most sorrowful outcry that ever was heard; but the king ordered them to their chambers, and he forbade all his people to lament, on pain of losing his favour. My daughter, cried he, must fare as God hath appointed ; but my word shall never wilfully be broken ! By this was Oriana come before the king, like one amazed, and falling at his feet she cried, My father and lord ! what is it that you would do? I do it, quoth he, that I may not break my word. Then he said to the old knight, you see here the gift you have asked ! will there be other company with her? He replied only the two knights and the two squires who came with me to Windsor. I can take no other company; but this I tell you, there is nothing to fear before I place her in the hands of him to whom I must deliver her. Let a damsel go with her, for honour and decency sake, said Lisuarte, that she may not be among you alone. This the knight granted. But when Oriana heard all this, she fell down senseless ; yet did not that avail her, for he took her up in his arms, weeping as if what he did were against his will, and gave her to an esquire who was mounted on a strong horse and a fast goer, to place her before him, and bade him hold her fast, for she was senseless. God knows, quoth he, there is none in the court more grieved for this than myself. The king had sent for the Damsel of Denmark, and making her mount a palfrey, said to her, Go with your lady, and neither for good nor evil that may befal you, ever leave her, so long as you may continue with her. Ah, wretch that I am ! quoth she, I never thought to take such a journey as this. Then they moved from before the king, and the great and large-limbed knight who would not unhelm himself at Windsor, took Oriana's bridle : this was Arcalaus the enchanter. As they went out from the court, Oriana sighed as if her heart was breaking ; and said to herself, Dear friend, in a woeful hour the boon was granted, for by it both you and I are dead! And this she said, remembering how she had given Amadis leave to depart with the damsel ; but they who heard her thought she spoke of her father. Presently they entered the forest with her
Friends and third wart or was weepingen, for so jina
and rode on at a great pace, till they left that road, and struck into a deep valley.
The king mounted his horse, and with a wand in his hand suffered none to go against them, for so he had promised. Mabilia, who was weeping at the window, saw Ardian the dwarf of Amadis near the walls upon a great and swift horse, and she called to him, Friend Ardian, if you love your master, rest neither
day nor night till you have found him and told him . this unhappy adventure. You are a traitor to him, if
you will not do this; for he would rather know this at this time than have this whole city as his own. By Holy Mary, cried the dwarf, he shall know it as soon as possible ! and giving the scourge to his horse, he galloped along the road which Amadis had taken with the damsel.
While King Lisuarte was at the entrance of the forest with twenty knights, making all those turn back who would have gone to his daughter's rescue, he saw the damsel approach to whom he had promised a boon. She came more than apace upon a palfrey, and had a rich sword hanging from her neck, and a lance, whose iron was fairly wrought and its stave painted. God give you joy, sir, said she to the king, and a heart to fulfil what you promised me at Windsor before your knights! He replied, Damsel, I have need of joy; howbeit I remember the promise, and will perform it.— With that hope, sir, I came to you, as the most loyal king in the world: now then revenge me upon a knight in this forest, who slew my father by treason, and forced me. But in such sort is he enchanted, that he cannot be done to death except the most honourable man of the kingdom of London give him a blow with this lance, and another with this sword : these he gave in keeping to a lady, think
ing that she loved him; but it was otherwise, for she mortally hating him gave me the sword and lance that I might have my revenge. It must be by your hand, for there is none else so honourable. If you dare undertake this, you must go alone, for I have promised to bring a knight to do combat with him this day, and he is ready, not thinking that I have got the lance and the sword. The covenant between us is, that, if he conquers, I shall forgive him ; but, if he is vanquished, he must obey my will. In God's name, quoth the king, let us go! He called for his arms and mounted his good horse, and leaving his own sword, which was the best in the world, girded on that which the damsel gave him; he threw his shield round his neck : the damsel carried his helmet and the painted lance, and he went with her, having commanded that none should follow him. They rode some way along the road, then left it and turned among some trees, the same way that Oriana had been carried, and there the king met an armed knight upon a black horse; he had a green shield hanging from his neck, and his helmet was of the same colour. Take your arms, sir, cried the damsel, there is the knight! He laced on his helmet, and taking the lance called out to the knight to defend himself. They ran at each other, and broke both their lances; but the king's broke so immediately, that he felt as though he had missed his stroke. They then drew their swords, and struck at each other's helms; the knight's sword entered halfway into the king's helmet, but the king's broke off at the hilt: then he knew there was treason; and seeing that the knight was attempting to kill his horse, he caught hold of him, and struggled till they both fell together, and Lisuarte being uppermost got the sword