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as he past on, caught at one of the battle-axes, and plucked it with such force from the squire who held it, that both the man and his horse were brought to the ground. The knight of the valley had recovered his seat, and was ready with the other battle-axe, and Florestan made at him with equal arms: both struck at once, each on the helmet of his enemy; the axes went in three fingers' depth. Florestan bowed his face upon his breast with the weight of the blow : the knight fell upon the neck of his horse, and the axe, being fast in the other's helmet, slipt from his hand; before he could raise himself, Florestan smote him as he lay between the helm and gorget, so that his head fell at the horse's feet. This done, he turned to the damsels. Certes, good knight, quoth the first of them, I once thought that not ten such as you could have won us.
The young knight, their host, then came up to Florestan, and said, Sir, I love this damsel dearly, and she loves me. It is a year since this knight whom you have slain hath forcibly detained her, so that I could not see her: now, that I may receive her from your hands, I beseech you refuse me not. My host, quoth Florestan, of a truth I will right gladly aid you, if it be as you say; but against her will I will yield her to none. Ah, sir, cried the damsel, this is with my will! I beseech you give me to him : he is my true love. Florestan answered, In God's name, dispose of yourself as you like best! and she went joyfully to her true love. Galaor then gave his horse to their friend, and took the bay horse of the dead knight, which was the handsomest he had ever seen, and then they separated. The two damsels whom Florestan had won, were young and fair; he took the
one to himself, and gave the other to Galaor : I give you to this knight, said he, and command you to do as he pleases. What! quoth she, do you give me to this knight, who has not the heart of a woman? who stood by and saw you in such danger, and did not help you ? Damsel, answered Florestan, by my faith to God and to you, I swear that I give you to the best knight whom I know in the world, except it be Amadis my lord. The damsel then looked at Galaor, and seeing him so handsome, and so young, she marvelled at his worth, and granted him her love. That night they had their lodging at the house of a lady, sister to their last night's host. On the morrow they resumed their road, and said to their fair friends, we have a long journey to perform thro’ foreign lands, where you would endure many hardships in following us : tell us where you would like best to go, and there we will conduct you. They replied, that their aunt had a castle four days journey on that road whither they would go. As they proceeded, Galaor asked his damsel how she came into the power of those knights. She answered, That great knight who was slain loved the damsel who went with your host, but she hated him. He took her by force, for he was the best knight in all these parts, and none could gainsay him, yet would she never yield him her love; and he, for the affection he bore her, withheld from offering her any wrong ; and he said to her, My fair friend, great reason is it that I should be loved by you, being the best knight in the world. Now I will do this for your sake : there is a knight who is called the best that ever was, Amadis of Gaul by name, and he slew my cousin Dardan in King Lisuarte's court; I will find him, and cut off his head, and then shall I inherit all his renown. Till I do this, I will give you two of the fairest damsels in all this land for your companions, and they shall have the two best knights of my lineage for their friends ; and you shall every day be taken to the fountain of the Three Elms, where many errant knights pass, that you may see brave jousting, and learn to love me as I love you. He then took us by force, and gave us to his kinsmen, and thus had we past a year, till Don Florestan broke the bonds. That knight, quoth Galaor, had a haughty mind : what was his name? Alumas, she answered; and, if it had not been for his exceeding pride, he was of great prowess. Thus they proceeded till they reached the Lady's castle, who thankfully entertained them, because they had delivered her nieces from Alumas and his kinsmen, who had forcibly and dishonourably detained them.
Galaor and Florestan proceeded till they reached the kingdom of Sobradisa, and there heard the joyful tidings of what their brother and Agrayes had done. They hastened to the city, and went immediately to the palace, where Amadis and his cousin, now whole of their wounds, were conversing with the new queen. Amadis, from the damsel who had guided Galaor, knew who they were, and went to welcome Florestan with tears of joy, embracing and kissing him who would have knelt before him. But when Briolania saw four such knights in her palace, and recollected how powerful she now was, and how lately she had lived, not without fear, in a single castle, she knelt down, and thanked the Most High for the mercy he had vouchsafed her. Of a truth, sirs, said she, these changes are the work of him, before whom the mightiest are nothing; but for this dominion, and this
wealth, which we suffer so much an: ety and trouble to gain, and having gained, to keep; would it be better, as being neither certain nor durable in themselves, and as things superfluous and destructive to the body, and moreover to the soul, --would it be better to reject and abhor them ? Certainly I say, no: and affirm, that, when they are gained with a good conscience, and justly administered, we may enjoy from them comfort and pleasure and joy in this world, and everlasting glory in the next.
Here endeth the First Book of the noble and virtuous
Knight, Amadis of Gaul.
Book the Second.
CHAP. I. - Here beginneth the Second Book of Amadis of Gaul;
and because the great things which will be related in the Fourth Book concerning Amadis are all relating to the Firm Island, it behoves that in this second it should be related what this island was, and who left those enchantments and the great riches which were therein. SPHERE was a king in Greece married to the
sister of the emperor of Constantinople, by B y whom he had two fair sons, especially the elder, pamed Apolidon, who in his days had no equal for strength of body and courage of heart. He having a subtle genius, which is so seldom found with valour, gave himself to the study of the sciences and of all arts, so that he shone among those of his own time like the moon among the stars ; especially he excelled in necromancy, whereby things that appear impossible are done. The king his father was very rich in treasure, but poor in life, by reason of his great age ; and seeing himself at the point of death, he coinmanded that the kingdom should be given to Apolidon, as his eldest son, and his books and treasures to the other. The younger was not contented with this, and told his father so with tears, and complained that he was disherited ; but the old man, not knowing what to do, wrung his hands for pure sorrow. Then that famous Apolidon, seeing his father's grief and the littleness of his brother, bade him take comfort,