« PreviousContinue »
This valiant and hardy Knight, Don Florestan, you should know how and in what land he 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 2—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 2 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 2 When the King saw that, he was greatly astonished, and he sprung from the bed, crying, hold ! I will perform your will! and he snatched the sword 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 sceing this gave him horse and arms, and took him to the Count to knight him, who knew not that he whom he was knighting was his own grandson.
. As they were returning, the Dame told him the secret of his birth, and said that he ought to go seek his father and make himself known to him. Certes, Lady, quoth he, I have often heard of King Perion, but never thought he was my father; but by the faith I owe to God, and to you who have brought me up, neither he nor any one else
shall know who I am, till they can say that I am worthy to be the son of so good a man. Then taking his leave, he went with two Squires to Constantinople, where he heard there was a cruel war; there he remained four years, and did such deeds in arms as never Knight had wrought before in those parts, so that at the end of that time he determined to go and discover himself to his father. But as he drew nearer France, he heard the fame of Amadis and Galaor, who were now beginning to work wonders, so that he changed his first intention, and resolved to gain more honour in Great Britain, where there were more good Knights than in any part of the world, and that he would not make himself known till his prowess had given him sufficient renown : in which mind he continued till his combat with Galaor, as you have heard.
Amadis and Agrayes remained five days at the castle of Torin; then all things being prepared, they set forward with Briolania and her aunt, who took with them two damsels and five serving-men, on horseback, and three palfreys laden with apparel, for Briolania went in black, and would wear nothing else till her father's death was avenged. As they began their journey Briolania requested a boon of Amadis, and her Aunt another of Agrayes; the which they granted, without knowing what it might be : they then demanded, that, let what would happen, the Knights should not leave the road, that so their present quest might not be interrupted. Much did they repent their promise, and great shame did they endure thereby, for in many places was their succour needed, and rightly might they have bestirred themselves if they had been at liberty. Thus they travelled twelve days before they entered the kingdom of Sobradisa; it was night when they reached it: they left the high road, and struck by a by-way for three leagues; and then, great part of the night being past, they came to a little castle, where a Lady dwelt named Galumba, who had served in. the court of the King Briolania's father. She right joyfully admitted them, and set supper before them, and provided their night's entertainment; and the next morning asked the Aunt whither they were going. A joyful woman was she, hearing