Page images

layed his victory, for the stranger could lightly come on, and withdraw again from his blows. Galaor, when indeed he did reach him, made him feel the sword, but his horse tottered as if he had been blind, and he began to fear his own death more than he had ever done before in any battle, save in that with his brother Amadis, for from that he never expected to leave off alive. Next to Amadis, he thought this the best knight he had ever encountered, albeit he doubted not of conquering him, were it not for the fault of his horse. Being in this strait, he called out, Knight! either finish the battle on foot, or give me another horse, or else I will slay yours, and that villainy will be your fault. Do your worst ! replied the stranger : the battle shall not be delayed ; it is a great shame that it hath lasted so long. Look to your horse then ! quoth Galaor. The knight rode close to him, fearing for his horse ; so close, that Galaor caught him with both arms, and at the same instant spurred his own horse violently, and they both fell upon the ground, each holding his sword, and there they struggled for some time before they released each other. But, when they rose, they attacked again so furiously as if the battle were but then beginning; there was not a moment's respite, now that they could freely close or strike. As the fight continued Galaor perceived he was gaining the better, for his enemy's strength evidently weakened : Good knight ? quoth he, hold a while ! whereat the other paused, being indeed in need of rest. You see, quoth Galaor, that I have the better of the battle ; tell me your name, and why you so carefully conceal yourself, and I will acquit you from the combat and shall receive great pleasure ; but unless you do this I will not leave you. Certes, quoth

thony any thing alaor. Neither it seems that will know

the knight, I shall not leave off with these conditions: I never found myself so hardy in any battle as in this, and God forbid that any single knight should ever know me, except to my great honour. Be not rash, cried Galaor; by my faith I swear never to let you go till I know who you are, and why you conceal yourself. God never help me, quoth the stranger, if ever you learn it from me: I will rather perish in battle than tell it, except to two knights, to whom, tho' I know them not, I neither could nor ought to deny any thing. Who are they whom you value sq much ? quoth Galaor. Neither shall you know that, replied the stranger, because it seems that it would please you. Certes, rejoined Galaor; I will know what I ask, or one of us, or both, shall die. I am not averse to that, quoth his enemy. Then they renewed the combat with full fury; but the stranger waxed weaker, his armour was every where laid open and streaming with blood, till at last the lady of the island ran like one frantic to Galaor, and cried, Hold, knight !· would the bark had been sunk that brought thee hither! Lady, said he, if it offends you that I am avenging myself, and one who is better than myself, the fault is not mine. Offer him no more harm, quoth she, or you shall die by the hands of one who will have no mercy. He answered, I know not how that may turn out, but I will not leave him till I know what I have asked.And what is that ?His name, and why he conceals it? and who the two knights are whom he esteems above the rest of the world. She answered, A curse upon him who taught you to strike, and upon you who have learnt so well! I will tell you : his name is Don Florestan ; he conceals himself because he hath two brothers in this land of such passing

worth in arms, that, albeit you have proved his prowess, he dares not make himself known to them, till, by his fame, he is worthy to join them; and these two knights are in the household of King Lisuarte, the one is called Amadis, the other Don Galaor, and they are all three sons of King Perion. Holy Mary! cried Galaor, what have I done ? and then he presented his sword to Florestan : Good brother, take my sword, and the honour of the battle Are you my brother ? -I am your brother Don Galaor. Then Florestan fell on his knees before him, saying, Sir, pardon me! for this offence that I have committed in combatting against you, was caused by no other reason than that I durst not name myself your brother, as I am, till I had somewhat resembled you in prowess. Galaor raised him up, and took him in his arms, and wept over him for joy, and for sorrow to see him so sorely wounded.

But the lady beholding all this was greatly rejoiced. Sir, quoth she, if you gave me great anguish you have repaid it with double pleasure. They were then both carried into the castle and laid in bed, both in one apartment, and Corisanda, being skilful in chirurgery, looked to their wounds herself with great care ; for she knew that if the one died, the other would die also for pure sorrow, and her own life would be doubtful if Florestan were in great danger.

CHAP. XLIII.-Showing how Don Florestan was the son of King Perion by a fair damsel, daughter to the Count of Salandia.

HIS valiant and hardy knight, Don Florestan,

you should know how and in what land he 2 was begotten, and by whom. Know then that when King Perion, being a young man and of good heart, sought adventures, he passed two years in Germany, doing great deeds in arms, and as he was returning with great glory to his own land, he lodged one day with the Count of Selandia, where he was right worshipfully entertained, and at night he was shewn to a rich bed, and there being weary with his journey fell asleep. Ere long he felt a damsel embracing him, and her mouth joined to his; and, waking thereat, was drawing back, but she cried out, How is this, sir ? would you rather be alone in the bed ? The king then looked at her by his chamber-light, and saw the fairest woman that ever he saw: tell me, quoth he, who you are? She answered, one that loves you, and gives you her love.-First tell me your name: Why do you distress me with the question !I must know. I am the Count's daughter. Then the king said, It becomes not a woman of your rank to commit this folly : I tell you I will not do this wrong to your father. Ah, quoth she, ill betide those who praise your goodness ! you are the worst man in the world, and the most discourteous ! what goodness can there be in you when you thrust away a fair lady of such lineage? King Perion answered, I shall do that which is to your honour and my own, not what would injure both. Then, quoth she, I will do that which shall grieve my father more, than if you consent to my will! and she leapt up and took King Perion's sword, that same sword which was laid in the ark with Amadis, and unsheathed it, and placed the point against her heart :-Will not my father grieve more for my death? When the king saw that, he was greatly astonished, and he sprang from the bed, crying, hold ! I will perform your will ! and he snatched the śword from her, and that night she became pregnant. On the morrow Perion departed, and never saw her more.

She, so long as she could, concealed her situation, and when the time drew nigh contrived to go visit her aunt, with one damsel; but as she was passing through a forest her pains came on her, and she alighted from her palfrey, and there brought forth a son. The damsel seeing her in this plight, put the baby to her breast. Now, lady, said she, the same courage that you showed in sinning, show now in supporting yourself till I return; and then she mounted her palfrey, and rode on as fast as she could to the aunt's castle, and told her all that had happened. The dame was greatly troubled, yet delayed not for that to succour her, but went forthwith with a litter, wherein she used to visit her brother to shade her from the sun ; and when she saw her niece she alighted, and wept with her, and had her placed with the infant in the litter, and taken by night into the castle, and enjoined secrecy to all who were with her. So the mother returned after her recovery to the Count's castle, and nothing was known of what had passed, and the boy was educated till he was of eighteen years, a braver youth, and better limbed than any other in the district; and the dame his aunt seeing this gave him horse and arms, and took him to the Count to knight him, who knew not

hereatly trout all that, she com

« PreviousContinue »