« PreviousContinue »
out, Help! help, Sir Amadis, your brothers are slain! They hastened out to him, and asked how it was. — Sir, they attempted the forbidden chamber, and did not achieve it, and there they lie for dead! Immediately they rode towards them, and found them so handled as you have already heard, albeit some little recovering. Then Agrayes, who was stout of heart, went on as fast as he could to the forbidden chamber, striking aright and aleft with his sword; but his strength did not suffice to bear the blows, he fell senseless between the perrons, and was cast out as his cousins had been. Then Amadis began to curse their journey thither, and said to Galaor, who was now revived, Brother, I must not excuse my body from the dangers which yours have undergone. Galaor would have withheld him, but he took him arms, and went on, praying God to help him. When he came to the line of the spell, there he paused for a moment, and said, O Oriana, my lady, from you proceeds all my strength and courage! remember me now at this time, when your remembrance is so needful to me! Then he went
The blows fell thick upon him and hard till he reached the marble perron, but then they came so fast as if all the knights were besetting him, and such an uproar of voices arose as if the whole world were perishing, and he heard it said, If this knight should fail there is not one in the world who can enter. But he ceased not to proceed, winning his way hardly, sometimes beaten down upon his hands, sometimes falling upon his knees ; the sword fell from his hand, and though it hung by a thong from the wrist, he could not recover it, yet holding on still he reached the door of the chamber, and a hand came forth and took him by the hand to draw him in, and he heard a voice which said, Welcome is the knight who shall be lord here, because he passeth in prowess him who made the enchantment, and who had no peer in his time. The hand that led him was large and hard, like the hand of an old man, and the arm was sleeved with green satin. As soon as he was within the chamber it let go its hold and was seen no more, and Amadis remained fresh, and with all his strength recovered; he took the shield from his neck and the helmet from his head, and sheathed his sword, and gave thanks to his lady Oriana for this honor which for her sake he had won. At this time they of the castle who had heard the voices resign the lordship, and seen Amadis enter, began to cry out, God be praised, we see accomplished what we have so long desired. When his brethren saw that he had achieved that wherein they had failed, they were exceedingly joyful, because of the great love they bore him, and desired that they might be carried to the chamber; and there the governor with all his train went to Amadis, and kissed his hand as their lord. Then saw they the wonders which were in the chamber, the works of art and the treasures, such that they were amazed to see them. Yet all this was nothing to the chamber of Apolidon and Grimanesa, for that was such that not only could no one make the like, but no one could even imagine how it could be made; it was so devised that they who were within could clearly see what was doing without, but from without nothing could be seen within. There they remained some time with great pleasure: the kn ts, because one of their lineage was found to exceed in worth all living men, and all who for a hundred years had lived; the islanders, because they trusted to be well ruled and made happy under such a lord, and even to master other lands. Sir, quoth Ysanjo, it is time to take food and rest for to-day : to-morrow the good men of the land will come and do homage to you. So that day they feasted in the palace, and the following day all the people assembled and did homage to Amadis as their lord, with great solemnities and feasting and rejoicing.
You have heard in the first part of this great history, how Oriana was moved to great anger and rage by what the dwarf had said to her concerning the broken sword, so that neither the wise counsels of Mabilia nor of the Damsel of Denmark aught availed her. From that time she gave way to her wrath, so that wholly changing her accustomed manner of life, which was to be altogether in their company, she now forsook them, and for the most part chose to be alone, devising how she might revenge herself for what she had suffered, upon him who had caused her sufferings. So recollecting that she could by writing make him sensible of her displeasure, even at a distance, being alone in her chamber, she took ink and parchment from her coffer and wrote thus :
My frantic grief, accomplished by so great a reason, causes my weak hand to declare what my sad heart cannot conceal against you, the false and disloyal knight, Amadis of Gaul; for the disloyalty and faithlessness are known which you have committed against me, the most ill-fortuned and unhappy of all in the world, since you have changed your affection for me, who loved you above all things, and have placed your love upon one who by her years cannot have discretion to know and love you. Since then I have no vengeance in my power, I withdraw all that exceeding and misplaced love which I bore towards you; for great error would it be to love him who has forsaken me, when in requital for my sighs and passion I am deceived and deserted. Therefore, as the wrong is manifest, never appear before me! for be sure the great love I felt is turned into raging anger. Go, and deceive some other poor woman as you deceived me with your treacherous words, for which no excuse will be received, while I lament with tears my own wretchedness, and so put an end to my life and unhappiness.
Having thus written, she sealed the letter with the seal of Amadis, and wrote on the superscription, I am the damsel wounded through the heart with a sword, and you are he who wounded me. She then secretly called a squire, who was named Durin, and was brother to the Damsel of Denmark, and bade him not to rest till he had reached the kingdom of Sobradisa, where he would find Amadis; and she bade him mark the countenance of Amadis while he was reading the letter, and stay with him that day, but receive no answer from him, if he wished to give one.
THE HAPPY ENDING.
The kings now determined that the marriage should be celebrated on the fourth day, and that the feasts should continue fifteen days, after which they would return home. When the day was arrived, all the bridegrooms assembled at the apartment of Amadis, being clad in such rich and costly apparel as beseemed such personages upon such an occasion. They mounted their palfreys, and rode with the kings and all their company to the garden, where they found the brides, all in rich array, and upon their palfreys also, and then with the queens and other ladies, the whole company proceeded to the church, where the holy hermit Nasciano was ready to say mass.
When the ceremony and marriage had been performed with all the solemnities which the holy church enjoins, Amadis went to King Lisuarte and said — Sir, I ask a boon of you, which you
will be nothing loath to grant. The king replied, I grant it. — Then, Sir, be pleased to command Oriana, before it be dinner time, to prove the arch of true lovers, and the forbidden chamber, for hitherto we have none of us been able to persuade her to the adventure, by reason of her great sadness. I have such confidence in her truth and beauty that I doubt not she will enter without let or hindrance where no woman hath for a hundred years entered; for I saw Grimanesa's image, made with such cunning as she were alive, and her beauty is nothing equal to Oriana's. Our marriage feast shall then be held in the forbidden chamber.
Son, replied the king, what you ask is easily done; but I fear lest it should disturb our feast; affection will often delude the eyes, and this may have been the case with you and Oriana. . Fear not, quoth Amadis, my heart is assured that it will be as I say. The king then sent to Oriana, who was with the queens and the other brides, and said to her, Daughter, your husband hath asked a boon of me, and it is only you who can perform it. I would have you, therefore, make good my promise. She knelt down and kissed his hand, saying, Sir, I would to God that I could in any way serve you; tell me what it is to be, and if I can do it there shall be no delay: then he raised her up and kissed her cheek, and said, Before dinner you must prove the adventure of the arch of true lovers, and of the forbidden chamber; for this is what your husband hath asked. When they heard this, some there were who rejoiced that the attempt was to be made, and others fearful lest she should fail where so many had failed, and thus be put to shame; so they left the church and made to the place beyond which none could pass who were not found worthy.
When they reached this place, Melicia and Olinda said to their husbands, that they should also prove the adventure; thereat Don Bruneo and Agrayes were greatly rejoiced to see with what courage they would put their truth to the proof; but yet fearing lest it should turn out otherwise, they replied, that they were so well satisfied, that the proof need not be made. Nay, said the brides, we will attempt it: if we were elsewhere it might well be excused; but being at the place, it shall never be thought that we feared in our hearts this proof. Since it is so, replied the husbands, we cannot deny that we shall receive from it the greatest joy that can be. Then they told King Lisuarte that these also would prove the adventure. In God's name ! quoth the king. They all alighted, and it was agreed that Melicia and Olinda should enter first. They then advanced, and one after the other passed under the arch without opposition, and went where the images of Apolidon and Grimanesa stood; and the figure which stood upon the arch sounded his trumpet sweetly, so that all who heard it were delighted ; for except they who had before heard the same, they had never heard so sweet sounds. Oriana then came up to the line of the spell, and she looked round at Amadis and her face colored ; then she turned and advanced, and when she was under the arch the image began his music, and from the mouth of the trumpet showered down flowers and roses in such abundance that they covered the ground, and the sound was far sweeter than what had before been uttered, delightful to all who heard it, so that they would willingly have remained listening so long as it should continue ; but as soon as she had passed the arch the sound ceased. She found Olinda and Melicia looking at their own names which were now written in the jasper table ; they, seeing her, joyfully went to her, and led her to behold the images. Oriana looked carefully at Grimanesa, and saw that none of those who were without could compare with her beauty; and she herself began to fear, and would willingly have declined the adventure of the forbidden chamber; in that of the arch she had had no fear, knowing her own heart and true love. Willingly would they have tarried longer, if they who were without had not expected them; so hand in hand they went out, so well contented and so proud of what they had achieved, that their beauty seemed to have been brightened by the success. Their three husbands, who had before proved the adventure, went through the arch to meet them, which none of the knights could have done; and the trumpet sounded again, and again showered more flowers, and they embraced their wives and kissed them, and thus they all came forth together.
And now Amadis led on Oriana, in whom all beauty was centered. She advanced with gentle step and firm countenance to the line of the spell, and there she crossed herself, and commended herself to God, and went on. She felt nothing till she had passed both the perrons; but when she was within a step of the chamber, she felt hands that pushed her and dragged her back, and three times they forced her back to the marble perron; but she with her fair hands repelled them on both sides, and it seemed as if she were thrusting hands and arms from her, and thus by her perseverance and good heart, but above all by reason of her surpassing beauty, she came, though sorely wearied, to the door of the chamber and laid hold on the door