Page images
PDF
EPUB

will go with this damsel, and see these wonderful things. If you are so true a lover, said she, as to pass the enchanted arch, you will see the likenesses of Apolidon and Grimanesa, and behold your own name written upon a stone, where you will find only two names written besides, though the spell hath been made an hundred years. In God's name let us go, quoth Agrayes, and I will try whether I can be third. With that, Amadis, who in his heart had no less desire and faith to prove the adventure, said to his brethren, We are not enamoured, but we should keep our cousin company who is, and whose heart is so bold. Thereto they all consented, and set forth with the damsel. What is this island ! said Florestan to Amadis, tell me, sir, for you seem to know. A young knight whom I greatly esteem, replied Amadis, told me all I know; King Arban of North Wales : he was there four days, but could accomplish none of the adventures, and so departed with shame. The damsel then related the history of the enchantments, which greatly incited Galaor and Florestan to the proof.

So they rode on till sunset, and then entering a vailey, they saw many tents pitched in a meadow, and people sporting about them, and one knight, richly apparelled, who seemed to be the chief. Sirs, quoth the damsel, that is my father : I will go advertise him of your coming, that he may do you honour. When he heard of their desire to try the enchantment, he went on foot with all his company to welcome them, and they were honourably feasted and lodged that night. At morning they accompanied the governor to his castle, which commanded the whole island, for at the entrance there was a neck of land, only a bow-shot over, connected with the main land, all the rest was

surrounded by the sea; seven leagues in length it was, and five broad, and because it was all surrounded by the sea, except where that neck of land connected it with the continent, it was called the Firm Island. Having entered, they saw a great palace, the gates whereof were open, and many shields hung upon the wall; about an hundred were in one row, and above them were ten, and above the ten were two, but one of them was in a higher nich than the other. Then Amadis asked why they were thus ranked. The governor answered, according to the prowess of those who would have entered the forbidden chamber; the shields of those who could not enter the perron of copper, are near the ground; the ten above them are of those who reached it; the lowest of the two passed that perron, and the one above all reached to the marble perron, but could pass no farther. Then Amadis approached the shields to see if he knew them, for each had its owner's name inscribed; the one which was the highest of the ten bore a sable lion, with argent teeth and nails, and a bloody mouth, in a field sable: this he knew to be the shield of Arcalaus. Then he beheld the two uppermost; the lower bore, in a field azure, a knight cutting off the head of a giant ; this was the shield of King Abies of Ireland, who had been there two years before his combat with Amadis: the highest had three golden flowers in a field azure: this he knew not, but he read the inscription, This is the shield of Don Quadragante, brother to King Abies of Ireland. He had proved the adventure twelve days ago, and had reached the marble perron, which was more than any knight before him had done, and he was now gone to Great Britain to combat Amadis, in revenge for his brother's death. When Amadis saw all these shields,

VOL. I.

17

he doubted the adventure much, seeing that such knights had failed.

They went out from the palace towards the Arch of True Lovers. When they came near, Agrayes alighted and commended himself to God, and cried, Love, if I have been true to thee, remember me ! and he past the spell ; and, when he came under the arch, the image blew forth sweet sounds, and he came to the palace, and saw the likeness of Apolidon and Grimanesa, and saw also the jasper-stone, wherein two names were written, and now his own the third. The first said, Madanil, son of the duke of Burgundy, atchieved this adventure : and the second was, this is the name of Don Bruneo of Bonamar, son to Vallados, Marquis of Troque: and his own said, This is Agrayes, son to King Languines of Scotland. This Madanil loved Guinda, lady of Flanders. Don Bruneo had proved the enchantment but eight days ago, and she whom he loved was Melicia, daughter to King Perion, the sister of Amadis.

When Agrayes had thus entered, Amadis said to his brethren, will ye prove the adventure? No, said they, we are not so enthralled that we can deserve to accomplish it. Since you are two, then, quoth he, keep one another company, as I, if I can, will do with my cousin Agrayes. Then gave he his horse and arms to Gandalin, and went on without fear, as one who felt that never in deed or in thought had he been faithless to his lady. When he came under the arch, the image began a sound far different and more melodious than nae had ever before done, and showered down flowers his creat fragrance from the mouth of the trumpet, the the entrahieh had never been done before to any knight over, connecte. He past on to the images, and here Agrayes, who apprehended something of his passion, met him and embraced him, and said, Sir, my cousin, there is no reason that we should henceforth conceal from each other our loves. But Amadis made no reply, but taking his hand, they went to survey the beauties of the garden.

Don Galaor and Florestan, who waited for them without, seeing that they tarried, besought Ysanjo, the governor, to shew them the forbidden chamber, and he led them towards the perrons. Sir brother, said Florestan, what will you do? Nothing, replied Galaor: I have no mind to meddle with enchantments. Then amuse yourself here, quoth Florestan, I will try my fortune. He then commended himself to God, threw his shield before him, and proceeded sword in hand. When he entered the spell, he felt himself attacked on all sides with lances and swords, such blows and so many that it might be thought never man could endure them; yet, for he was strong and of good heart, he ceased not to make his way, striking manfully on all sides, and it felt in his hand as though he were striking armed men, and the sword did not cut. Thus struggling, he passed the copper perron, and advanced as far as the marble one, but there his strength failed him, and he fell like one dead, and was cast out beyond the line of the spell. When Galaor saw this he was displeased, and said, However little I like these things, I must take my share in the danger! and bidding the squires and the dwarf to stay by Florestan, and throw cold water in his face, he took his arms and commended himself to God, and advanced towards the forbidden chamber. Immediately the unseen blows fell upon him, but he went on, and forced his way up to the marble perron, and there he stood ; but, when he advanced another

step beyond, the blows came on him so heavy a load, that he fell senseless, and was cast out like Florestan.

Amadis and Agrayes were reading the new inscription in the jasper, This is Amadis of Gaul, the true lover, son to King Perion,—when Ardian the dwarf came up to the line, and cried out, Help! help, Sir Amadis, your brothers are slain! They hastened out to him, and asked how it was.-Sir, they attempted the forbidden chamber, and did not atchieve it, and there they lie for dead! Immediately they rode towards them, and found them so handled as you have heard, albeit some little recovering. Then Agrayes, who was stout of heart, alighted, and went on as fast as he could to the forbidden chamber, striking aright and aleft, with his sword, but his strength did not suffice to bear the blows, he fell senseless between the perrons, and was cast out as his cousins had been. Then Amadis began to curse their journey thither, and said to Galaor, who was now revived, Brother, I must not excuse my body from the danger which yours have undergone. Galaor would have withheld him, but he took his arms, and went on, praying God to help him. When he came to the line of the spell, there he paused for a moment, and said, O Oriana, my lady, from you proceeds all my strength and courage ! remember me now at this time, when your dear remembrance is so needful to me! Then he went on. The blows fell thick upon him and hard till he reached the marble perron, but then they came so fast as if all the knights in the world were besetting him, and such an uproar of voices arose as if the whole world were perishing, and he heard it said, If this knight should fail, there is not one in the world who can enter. But he ceased not to proceed, winning his way hardly, sometimes

« PreviousContinue »