Page images


It so happened, that as he was one day walking in the hall with the damsel, young Melicia, King Perion's daughter, passed by him weeping. He asked her why she wept, and she told him for a ring, which her father had given her to keep while he slept, and which she had lost. I will give you another as good, said the Child, and he gave her one from his finger. She looked at it, and cried, This is the one I lost. Not so, said he.

Then it is the one in the world most like it. So much the better; you may give it for the other. And leaving her, he went with the damsel to his chamber, and laid upon his bed, and she upon another that was there.

The king awoke, and asked his daughter for the ring; then she gave him the same she had of the prince, which he put on, thinking it was his own; but presently he saw his own lying where Melicia had dropt it, and taking it up he compared it with the other, which he saw was the one which he had given to Elisena, and which she told him, when he had inquired for it, had been lost. He demanded of the little girl how she came by that ring; and she, who was much afraid of him, told him what had happened. Immediately he began to suspect the queen, that she had fallen into some dishonest liking of the young knight for his great worth and exceeding beauty; and he took his sword, and went into the queen's chamber, and fastened the door. Madam, said he, you always denied to me the ring which I gave you, and the Child of the Sea has now given it to Melicia. How came he by it? if you tell me a lie, your head shall pay for it. Ah God, mercy! quoth Elisena, and fell at his feet. I will tell you what I have hitherto concealed, but now you suspect me! And then she told him how she had exposed the infant, with whom the ring and the sword were placed; and then she lamented, and beat her face. Holy Mary crieth the king, I believe that this is our child! The queen stretched out her hands,-May it please God! With that they went into his chamber, whom they found sleeping; but Elisena wept bitterly because of her husband's suspicion. The king took the Child's sword which was at the bed's-head, and looking at it he knew it well, as one wherewith he had given many and hard blows; and he said to Elisena, By my God, I know the sword! Then Elisena took the Child by the arm, and wakened him, who awoke in wonder, and asked

why she wept. Ah! said she, whose son art thou? -- So help me God I know not, for by great hap I was found in the sea! The queen fell at his feet, hearing him, and he cried, My God, what is all this? My son, quoth she, you see your parents!

When the first joy had a little subsided he remembered the writing, and took it from his bosom. Elisena saw it was what Darioleta had written. Ah, my son, quoth she, when last I saw this writing I was in all trouble and anguish, and now am I in all happiness,-blessed be God!


While Amadis remained with his comrades at the court of Sobradisa, his thoughts were perpetually fixed upon his lady Oriana; and so thoughtful was he, and so often, both sleeping and waking, was he in tears, that all saw how he was troubled, yet knew they not the cause, for he kept his love silent, as a man who had all virtues in his heart. At length, not being able to support a longer absence, he asked permission of the fair young queen to depart, which she, not without reluctance, having granted, loving him better than herself, he and his brethren and his cousin Agrayes took the road towards the King Lisuarte. Some days had they traveled when they came to a little church, and entering there to say their prayers they saw a fair damsel, accompanied by two others and by four squires who guarded her, coming from the door. She asked them whither they went. Amadis answered, Damsel, we go to the court of King Lisuarte, where, if it please you to go, we will accompany you. Thank you, quoth the damsel, but I am faring elsewhere. I waited because I saw you were armed like errant knights, to know if any of you would go and see the wonders of the Firm Island, for I am the governor's daughter and am returning there. Holy Mary! cried Amadis, I have often heard of the wonders of that island, and should account myself happy if I might prove them, yet till now I never prepared to go! Good sir, quoth she, do not repent of your delay; many have gone there with the same wish, and returned not so joyfully as they went. So I have heard, said Amadis : tell me, would it be far out of our road if we went there? Two days' journey. Is the Firm Island, then, in this part of the sea, where is the enchanted arch of true lovers, under which neither man nor woman can pass that hath been false to their

[ocr errors]

first love? The damsel answered, It is a certain truth, and many other wonders are there. Then Agrayes said to his companions, I know not what you will do, but I 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, and I will try whether I can be a third. With that, Amadis, who in his heart had no less desire and faith to prove this adventure, said to his brethren, We are not enamored, 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 valley they saw many tents pitched in a meadow, and people sporting about them, and one knight, richly appareled, 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 honor. When he heard of their desire to try the enchantment, he went on foot with all his company to welcome them, and they were honorably 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 bowshot over, connected with the mainland, all the rest was surrounded by the sea; seven leagues in length it was, and five broad, and because it was all surrounded by 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 niche 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 are 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 the 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 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, 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 likenesses of Apolidon and Grimanesa, and saw also the jasper-stone, wherein two names were written, and now his own the third. The first said, Mandil, son of the Duke of Burgundy, achieved this adventure; and the second was, This is the name of Don Bruneo of Bonamar, son to Valladon, Marquis of Troque; and his own said, This is Agrayes, son to King Languines of Scotland. This Mandil loved Guinda, lady of Flanders. Don Bruneo had proved the enchantment only 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 he had ever before done, and showered down flowers of great fragrance from the mouth of the trumpet, the like of which had never been done before to any knight who entered. 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 show them the forbidden chamber, and he led them towards the perSir 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, 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

« PreviousContinue »