« PreviousContinue »
CHAP. IX.-How King Lisuarte sent to the house of King Lan
guines for his daughter Oriana, and he sent her, and with her his daughter Mabilia ; and how the Child of the Sea and Agrayes went to succour King Perion of Gaul. B BOUT ten days after the departure of the prince, * there came three ships from Great Britain,
wherein as chief was the good knight Galdar de Rascuyl, accompanied by an hundred knights, and with a suitable train of dames and damsels for Oriana. Lisuarte sent them to give to King Languines his hearty thanks for the gentle entreatance of the princess his daughter, and to request that Mabilia would now come with her, who should be in like manner received and entertained. Right joyfully did Languines consent, and adorned them well, and made due preparations for their voyage. Oriana, knowing that she must needs go, made ready; and when she was putting her jewels in order, she found among them the wax which she had taken from the Child of the Sea. That recollection brought tears into her eyes, and she clasped her hands in thought, so that the wax brake, and she saw the writing within, and read, This is Amadis, son of a king ; but, when she had read this, never did such joy enter the heart of man as she felt. Without delay she called the damsel of Denmark, and said to her, My friend, I will tell you something which no other than you and my own heart must know; therefore, do you keep it as the secret of such a princess as I am, and of the best knight in the world. That will I do, quoth the damsel, and doubt not to confide in me. Then so it is, dear friend, said Oriana, you must go and seek that young knight whom you know-he is called the Child of the Sea, and ye shall
find him at the war in Gaul : if he be not there, await his coming, and give him this writing, wherein he shall find his name written at the time when he was
cast into the sea. He is the son of a king, and, if he · was so good when he knew not who he was, now will he be yet better. And tell him that I am sent for to my father's court, and I bid him, when he leaves the war, come there also, that he may dwell there till I appoint him what to do. With this errand the damsel of Denmark set out for Gaul. The princesses now embarked, Languines and the queen commending them to God. The weather was prosperous, and in a short time they reached Great Britain.
The Child of the Sea remained fifteen' days in that castle, where the damsel looked to his wounds, and then, though they were hardly healed, departed. It was on a Sunday morning that he and Gandalin took leave of his host and his gentle leech, and entered a great forest. This was in the month of April, and he heard the birds sing in the wood, and saw the flowers on all sides, and then he thought of his love, and said aloud, Ah Child without lands and without lineage ! how hast thou dared to place thy heart upon her who excels all other in goodness, and beauty, and parentage ? For each of these three things the best knight should not dare to love her, for more avails her beauty than the worth of the best knight in the world, and her goodness than the wealth of the wealthiest; and I, who know not what I am, must live with the pain of my own rashness, and die without declaring it! He had made this moan with his head hanging down, and now looking up he espied a knight on horseback, who had overheard him. The knight perceiving that he stopt, came before him and said, It seems you love your mistress, sir, better than yourself, when in commending her you dispraise yourself : tell me who she is, that I may love her, as you by your own confession are not worthy. Sir knight, replied the Child, you have some reason for what you say, but you shall know nothing more, and, if you were to love her, you would have no success. The knight answered, Toil and danger for the love of one's lady ought to be deemed an honour, for at the end comes the reward, and he that loveth in so high a place as you do, should. not be aggrieved at aught that may happen. The Child of the Sea thought that he spake well, and would have proceeded, but the other cried, Stay, knight, for either by will or by force you must tell me what I demanded! Go to, then! quoth the child. So gan they lace their helmets, and took their shields and lances, and as they were separating for the joust, a damsel came up and cried, Stay, knights, and answer me one thing first, for I am in haste, and cannot tarry the end of your combat. At these words they stayed.--Have you seen a young knight called the Child of the Seal And what would you with him? said the Child. I bring him tidings from his friend Agrayer, son of the King of Scotland. Wait a little, replied he, and I will give ye news of him and with that he turned towards the knight, who was calling to him to defend himself. They ran their course : the lance of the knight flew up in shivers, and both he and his horse were borne to the ground. The horse rose and was starting away, but the child caught him and said, Sir knight, take your horse, and henceforth seek not to know any thing against a man's will.
Then turning to the damsel, he asked her if she knew him for whom she enquired ? No, said she, but Agrayes told me he would make himself known so soon as I should say that I came from him. Right, quoth the Child, for I am he! And with these words he unlaced his helmet; and when she saw his face, the damsel cried, In truth do I believe it, for I have heard him speak wonders of your beauty.--Where did you leave Agrayes |--Hard by the shore, not far hence, where he is about to embark with his troops for Gaul, and he wished to learn tidings of you, that you might cross with him. God reward him! said the Child, lead on and show the way.
They soon came to the shore whereon the tents were pitched ; and being now near them, they heard a voice behind, Stay, knight, for you shall tell me what I asked. He turned, and saw the knight whom he had dismounted, and another now with him, and taking his arms met them both with their spears in rest and careering at him, full speed. And they from the tents saw him how firm he rode in the saddle, so that they marvelled, for there was no knight of his time who rode better, or jousted with more grace, so that by this he was often discovered when he wished not to be known. Their both spears struck his shield which failed him, but his breast-plate not. He ran at the knight whom he had before overthrown, and threw him again so roughly that in the fall he brake his arm. The Child lost his lance; he turned with his sword against the other, and gave it him on the head that he pierced the helmet, and he drew back the sword so forcibly that the laces brake, and the helmet came with the sword. The Child then passed the sword to his left hand, and caught his enemy's shield, and plucked it from his neck and dashed it on his head,
so that he fell stunned. Then the Child gave his arms to Gandalin, and proceeded to the tents.
Agrayes went to meet him, wondering who he might be that had so soon discomfited two knights, he knew him, and they embraced, and there was great joy when it was known that the Child of the Sea was arrived. The prince then sent for the two knights to his tent. Believe me, friends, said he, you attempted great folly to meddle with this knight. True, said he with the broken arm, yet I saw him in such plight that I little thought to find any resistance from him ! and then he told what had past in the forest, only the lamentation of the Child he durst not repeat.
The next day they decamped, and rode to Palingues, a sea-town opposite to Gaul. Then they entered the ships of Agrayes, and with fair wind soon reached a town in Gaul, called Galfan, and from thence the Castle Baladin, wherein was King Perion, who had lost many of his people, and was right glad of their coming. Agrayes went to visit Queen Elisena, taking with him the Child of the Sea, and two other knights of good account. When Perion saw the Child, he took him by the hand and led him to the queen.—This is the good knight, of whom I told ye heretofore, who defended me from the greatest danger that ever I was in, and this I tell you that you may love him better than any other knight. The queen advanced herself to embrace him, and he fell on his knee and said, Lady, I am the servant of your sister, and for her sake come to serve you, with like obedience as to her person. The queen thanked him lovingly, and seeing him how fair he was, she thought of her own sons who were lost, and the tears came ; so she wept for him who was before her, and she knew him not. Do