Page images
PDF
EPUB

wherein he was born, going from one place to another, till at length he espied the harness, and immediately set out on pursuit. Five days he rode on, sleeping in desert places, enquiring at every habitation for his master. On the sixth, chance led him to the fountain where Amadis had left his armour. Here he beheld a tent in which were two damsels : he alighted, and asked them if they had seen a knight who bore two lions azure in a golden field. They answered that they had not seen him, but such a shield and the whole harness of a knight, they had found beside that fountain. When Gandalin heard this, he tore his hair, and exclaimed, Holy Mary, help me! my master, the best knight in the world, is dead or lost ! how badly have I served you, my lord ! and now with reason ought I to be hated by all men, and the earth ought not to suffer me upon her, since I have left you at such a time! You were he who succoured all, and now, all have forsaken you ! the world and all in it have abandoned you ! and I, caitiff wretch, and more wretched than all that ever were born, have left you in your death! And with that, for excess of passion, he fell down. The damsels shrieked out, Holy Mary, help ! the squire is dead ! and they ran to him, and flung water in his face, but it was long before they could recal him to his senses. Good Squire, they cried, be not desperate for a thing which is not certain : you had better seek him till you learn whether he be alive or dead: good men ought to bear up against sorrow, not to die in despair. Gandalin took heart at their words, and resolved to seek his master as long as he lived. Ladies, said he, where did you see these arms We will tell you willingly: we were in the company of Don Guilan the Pensive, who delivered

us and twenty other knights and damsels from the prison of Gandinos the ruffian, behaving himself there so valiantly that he hath destroyed the wicked customs of the castle, and constrained the lord thereof to swear never more to maintain the same. We came with Guilan to this fountain four days ago, and when he saw the shield for which you enquired, he was very sorrowful, and alighting, said, The shield of the best knight in the world should not lie thus ! and with that, weeping sorely, he hung the shield upon this tree and bade us keep it while he rode to seek him whose it was. We set up our tents here, and Guilan sought for him three days without success : yesterday he returned, and this morning, giving his own arms to his squires, he girded on the sword and took the shield, saying, By God, shield thou makest a bad exchange, in losing thy master to go with me! He told us, he would carry the arms to Queen Brisena. We also, and all who were delivered by him, are going to that court, to beg the queen of her goodness to recompense Don Guilan, as the knights will beseech the king. Then God be with you ! quoth Gandalin. I shall take your advice : and, as most caitiff and unhappy wretch in the world, go seek for him upon whom my life or death depends.

CHAP. VII.-How Durin returned to his lady after having de

livered her bidding to Amadis, and of the grief she made for the news. on the tenth day after he had left Amadis in

the forest, Durin reached London, and,

alighting at his own lodging, went straight to the queen's palace. So soon as Oriana saw him, her heart throbbed violently, so that she could not calm it, and she went into her chamber and lay down upon the bed, bidding the Damsel of Denmark go for her brother, and bring him to her secretly. The damsel returned with Durin, and leaving him with her mistress, went out to Mabilia. Now, friend, said Oriana, tell me where you have been, and where you found Amadis, and what he did when he read my letter, and if you have seen Queen Briolania : tell me every thing. Then Durin related how he had followed Amadis from Sobradisa to the Firm Island, and arrived there just as Amadis was passing under the arch of true lovers, under the which none might pass that had been false to his first love. How, cried she, dared he prove that adventure, knowing that he could not accomplish it? It did not turn out so, replied the squire ; he accomplished it with more loyalty than any other had ever there displayed, and was received with more honour, and such signs as had never been seen before. When Oriana heard this, her joy was very great, that that which had occasioned her great anger was thus disproved. He proceeded with his tale, how Amadis had won the forbidden chamber. Hold ! quoth she, and she lifted up her hands and began to pray God that she might one day be in that chamber with him who had worthily won it. Now, quoth she, tell me what did Amadis when you gave him the letter ? The tears came into Durin's eyes. Lady, I advise you not to ask, for you have done the worst cruelty and devilry that ever damsel committed. Holy Mary! cried Oriana, what art thou saying? I say, repeated Durin, that you have unjustly destroyed the best and truest knight that ever woman had, or will have to the end of the world. Cursed be the hour in

which such a thing was devised, and cursed be death that did not take me before I carried such a message: if I had known what I carried, I would rather have slain myself than have appeared before him, for you in sending that letter, and I in taking it, have been the cause of his death. Then he related every thing that had passed, and all that Amadis had said, and how he was gone into the mountain to die. While he was relating these things, all Oriana's anger was gone, and her shame and anguish became so intolerable, that when he had ceased she could not utter a word, but remained like one who had lost her senses. Durin, albeit that he thought she well deserved this suffering, was yet moved to pity, and he went to Mabilia and his sister, and said to them, Go and help Oriana, for, if she hath done wrong, her punishment is come upon her: and he went his way.

They ran to her, and seeing in what state she was, they fastened the door of her chamber, and threw water in her face, and brought her to herself, and she then began to lament what she had done, and cry out for death. But those true friends sent again for Durin, and learnt from him all that had past, and then began to comfort her, and they made her write a letter to request his forgiveness, and bid him come with all speed to the castle of Miraflores, there to receive her atonement. This letter the Damsel of Denmark would take and search for him, for she refused no trouble or difficulty for the two persons in the world whom she loved best; and, because Amadis in his sorrow had talked so much of Gandales, they thought he might be with him; and they agreed, as a pretext for her going there, that she should carry gifts to the queen of Scotland, and tidings of her daughter Mabilia.

VOL. I.

19

ET

Oriana therefore told her mother they were about to send the damsel, and Brisena approving thereof, sent also presents from herself. This being settled, the damsel, in company with her brother Durin, and Enil, a nephew of Gandales, rode to a port called Vegil, which is in that part of Great Britain towards Scotland, and embarking there, in seven days they came to the town called Poligez, in Scotland. From thence they proceeded to the castle of Gandales; him they met going to the chace, and saluted him; and he, perceiving that the damsel was of a foreign land by her speech, asked her from whence she came. I am the messenger, quoth she, of some damsels whom you love much, and who have sent gifts to the queen of Scotland.-Good damsel, and who are they !Oriana, daughter of King Lisuarte, and Mabilia, whom you know. Then Gandales joyfully bade them welcome, and took them to his castle. As they were conversing, the old knight enquired for his foster son, Amadis. At this the damsel was grieved, perceiving that he was not there as they had hoped ; but, not to distress Gandales by the truth, she only answered that he was not yet returned from Sobradisa. We thought, said she, that he would first accompany his cousin Agrayes here, to see you and the queen his aunt; and I bring letters to him from Queen Brisena and his other friends, which he would be right glad to receive. This she said, that if Amadis were there in secret, he might be induced to see her. She remained with Gandales two days, then proceeded to the queen.

« PreviousContinue »