Page images

that he would not speak to her; and going to where Oriana was, he knelt before her, and said, Lady Oriana, could I know by you the cause of the queen's sadness? Oriana's heart leaped at seeing him whom she most loved before her, and she said to him, Child of the Sea, this is the first thing ye ever asked of me, and I shall do it with a good will.—Ah, lady ! I am neither so bold nor worthy as to ask any thing from one like you, but rather to obey what it pleases you to command. What! said she, is your heart so feeble ?—So feeble, that in all things towards you it would fail me, except in serving you like one who is not his own, but yours. Mine ! said she, since when :- Since it pleased you.—How since it pleased me ?—Remember, lady, the day whereon your father departed, the queen took me by the hand, and leading me before you, said, I give you this child to be your servant; and you said it pleased you. And from that time I have held and hold myself yours to do you service : yours only, that neither I nor any other while I live can have command over me. That word, said she, you took with a meaning that it did not bear, but I am well pleased that it is so. Then was he overcome with such pleasure, that he had no power to answer, and Oriana, who now saw the whole power that she had over him, . went to the queen and learnt the cause of her sadness, and, returning to the Child of the Sea, told him, that it was for the queen her sister, who now was so distressed. He answered, If it pleased you that I were a knight, with your leave I would go and aid the queen her sister. With my leave ! and what without it? would you not then go ? No, said he ; for without the favour of her whose it is, my heart could not sustain itself in danger. Then Oriana smiled, and said,

since I have gained you, you shall be my knight, and you shall aid the sister of the queen. The Child of the Sea kissed her hand, the king my master has not yet knighted me, and I had rather it should be done by King Perion at your entreaty. In that, said she, I will do what I can, but we must speak to the Princess Mabilia, for her request will avail with her uncle.

Mabilia, who loved the Child of the Sea with pure love, readily agreed. Let him go, said she, to the chapel of my mother, armed at all points, and we and the other damsels will accompany him; and when King Perion is setting off, which will be before daybreak, I will ask to see him, aud then will he grant our request, for he is a courteous knight. When the Child of the Sea heard this, he called Gandalin, and said to him, My brother, take all my arms secretly to the queen's chapel, for this night I think to be knighted, and, because it behoves me to depart right soon, I would know if you wish to bear me company ? Believe me, quoth Gandalin, never with my will shall I depart from ye. The tears came in the eyes of the Child at this, and he kissed him in the face, and said, do now what I told you. Gandalin laid the arms in the chapel, while the queen was at supper; and, when the cloths were removed, the Child of the Sea went there, and armed himself all, save his head and his hands, and made his prayer before the altar, beseeching God to grant him success in arms, and in the love which he bore his lady.

When the queen had retired, Oriana and Mabilia went with the other damsels to accompany him, and Mabilia sent for Perion as he was departing; and, when he came, she besought him to do what Oriana the daughter of King Lisuarte should request. Willingly, said King Perion, for her father's sake. Then Oriana came before him; and when he saw her, how fair she was, he thought there could not be found her equal in the world. She begged a boon, and it was granted. Then, said she, make this my Gentleman* knight; and she showed him to Perion, kneeling before the altar. The king saw him how fair he was, and approaching him, said, Would you receive the order of knighthood |—I would. In the name of God, then ! and may He order it that it be well bestowed on you, and that you may grow in honour as you have in person. Then, putting on the right spur, he said, Now are you a knight, and may receive the sword. The king took the sword, and gave it to him, and the child girded it on. Then, said Perion, According to your manner and appearance, I would have performed this ceremony with more honours, and I trust in God that your fame will prove that so it ought to have been done. Mabilia and Oriana then joyfully kissed the king's hands, and he, commending the Child of the Sea to God, went his way.

But he who was now a knight, took leave of the damsels who had watched with him, and Oriana, whose heart was bursting though she dissembled that, led him aside, and said, Child of the Sea, I judge of you too well to think you are the son of Gandales : if you know any thing of this, tell me. So he told all that from King Languines he had heard, and she, greatly rejoicing thereat, commended him to God. He found Gandalin at the palace-door holding his lance and his shield, and his horse ; and he mounted and went his way, unseen of any, for it was yet night.

* An awkward word, but mi Donzel cannot here be rendered otherwise.


They rode on till the noon was past, and then refreshed themselves with the food which Gandalin had brought. And when evening came, they heard in the wood the voice as of a man in great suffering ; wherefore the knight rode presently that way. He found a knight dead, and hard by him another sorely wounded, and a woman upon him, who made him so cry out, for she was thrusting her hands into his wounds. Help me, sir knight, he cried, and let me not be murdered by this wretch! The woman at that fled, and the Child of the Sea alighted, and took the wounded man, who had swooned away, in his arms, and so dealt with him that he revived, and cried, Take me where I may have some help for my soul, for I am slain ! Take courage, sir knight, said the Child, and tell me how this happened. It is that wicked woman, he replied, whom I took to wife, and last night she forsook me to go with another, whom ye now see lying dead. After I had slain him, I told her that I would forgive her if she would dishonour me no more ; but she, seeing how weak I was with the loss of blood, fell upon me, and thurst her hands into the wounds to kill me, so that well I perceive I cannot long live. Therefore I beseech ye, good sir, help me to an hermitage which is near at hand. And they laid him upon Gandalin's horse, and went towards the hermitage.

But the woman, who had a little before sent for her three brothers to save her from her husband, met them now,whom she had no sooner espied, than she exclaimed, Help me! for that wicked knight, who goes yonder, is carrying away my husband, whom he hath well nigh slain. Follow him, and kill him, and the man with him, who is as bad as he. This she said that her guilt might not be known, and she went on her palfrey to

shew them the way. The Child of the Sea by this had left the wounded knight and was proceeding, when they overtook him, and cried, Stop, traitor! You lie, replied the Child, I am no traitor, and shall defend myself well from treason : come on like knights! He broke his lance upon the first, whom he drove to the earth, both him and his horse, whence they could neither arise; then took his shield from Gandalin, and so played his part that he lightly discomfited the twain. The woman attempted to fly, but Gandalin stayed her. Then, said one of the brethren, We know not, sir, whether this battle hath been for right or wrong; and he then related what his sister had told him. The Child blessed himself at hearing this, and told them how she had murdered her husband, and he took them to mercy on condition that they should carry her and her husband to King Languines, and tell the king that a young knight, who had that day sallied out, had sent them to be at his judgment.

CHAP. VI.-How Urganda gave the lance to the Child of the

Sea, and how he delivered King Perion from those who would have slain him.

HEN the Child of the Sea gave his shield and

helmet to Gandalin, and proceeded. They

had not ridden far, when they saw a damsel coming on her palfrey, and she had in her hand a lance with its belt, and presently another damsel, who came by a different path, joined her, and they both came on communing together. When they reached him, she with the weapon said, Take this lance, sir, and I tell you that within three days it will stand ye in good stead, as therewith ye shall deliver from death the house whence

« PreviousContinue »