Erec Et Enide third segment

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Ladonia Discussion Board ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy on February 20, 1998 at 07:04:42:

third segment

(Vv. 1244-1319.) Now we must revert to Erec, whom we left in the field where the battle had taken place. Even
Tristan, when he slew fierce Morhot on Saint Samson's isle (13), awakened no such jubilee as they celebrated here
over Erec. Great and small, thin and stout -- all make much of him and praise his knighthood. There is not a knight but
cries: "Lord what a vassal! Under Heaven there is not his like!" They follow him to his lodgings, praising him and
talking much. Even the Count himself embraces him, who above the rest was glad, and said: "Sire, if you please, you
ought by right to lodge in my house, since you are the son of King Lac. If you would accept of my hospitality you
would do me a great honour, for I regard you as my liege. Fair sire, may it please you, I beg you to lodge with me."
Erec answers: "May it not displease you, but I shall not desert my host to-night, who has done me much honour in
giving me his daughter. What say you, sir? Is it not a fair and precious gift?" "Yes, sire," the Count replies; "the gift, in
truth, is fine and good. The maid herself is fair and clever, and besides is of very noble birth. You must know that her
mother is my sister. Surely, I am glad at heart that you should deign to take my niece. Once more I beg you to lodge
with me this night." Erec replies: "Ask me no more. I will not do it." Then the Count saw that further insistence was
useless, and said: "Sire, as it please you! We may as well say no more about it; but I and my knights will all be with
you to-night to cheer you and bear you company." When Erec heard that, he thanked him, and returned to his host's
dwelling, with the Count attending him. Ladies and knights were gathered there, and the vavasor was glad at heart. As
soon as Erec arrived, more than a score of squires ran quickly to remove his arms. Any one who was present in that
house could have witnessed a happy scene. Erec went first and took his seat; then all the others in order sit down
upon the couches, the cushions, and benches. At Erec's side the Count sat down, and the damsel with her radiant
face, who was feeding the much disputed hawk upon her wrist with a plover's wing. (14) Great honour and joy and
prestige had she gained that day, and she was very glad at heart both for the bird and for her lord. She could not have
been happier, and showed it plainly, making no secret of her joy. All could see how gay she was, and throughout the
house there was great rejoicing for the happiness of the maid they loved.

(Vv. 1320-1352.) Erec thus addressed the vavasor: "Fair host, fair friend, fair sire! You have done me great honour,
and richly shall it be repaid you. To-morrow I shall take away your daughter with me to the King's court, where I wish
to take her as my wife; and if you will tarry here a little, I shall send betimes to fetch you. I shall have you escorted into
the country which is my father's now, but which later will be mine. It is far from here -- by no means near. There I
shall give you two towns, very splendid, rich, and fine. You shall be lord of Roadan, which was built in the time of
Adam, and of another town close by, which is no less valuable. The people call it Montrevel, and my father owns no
better town. (15) And before the third day has passed, I shall send you plenty of gold and silver, of dappled and grey
furs, and precious silken stuffs wherewith to adorn yourself and your wife my dear lady. To-morrow at dawn I wish to
take your daughter to court, dressed and arrayed as she is at present. I wish my lady, the Queen, to dress her in her
best dress of satin and scarlet cloth."

(Vv. 1353-1478.) There was a maiden near at hand, very honourable, prudent, and virtuous. She was seated on a
bench beside the maid with the white shift, and was her own cousin the niece of my lord the Count. When she heard
how Erec intended to take her cousin in such very poor array to the Queen's court, she spoke about it to the Count.
"Sire," she says, "it would be a shame to you more than to any one else if this knight should take your niece away with
him in such sad array." And the Count made answer: "Gentle niece, do you give her the best of your dresses." But
Erec heard the conversation, and said: "By no means, my lord. For be assured that nothing in the world would tempt
me to let her have another robe until the Queen shall herself bestow it upon her." When the damsel heard this, she
replied: "Alas! fair sire, since you insist upon leading off my cousin thus dressed in a white shift and chemise, and since
you are determined that she shall have none of my dresses, a different gift I wish to make her. I have three good
palfreys, as good as any of king or count, one sorrel, one dappled, and the other black with white forefeet. Upon my
word, if you had a hundred to pick from, you would not find a better one than the dappled mount. The birds in the air
do not fly more swiftly than the palfrey; and he is not too lively, but just suits a lady. A child can ride him, for he is
neither skittish nor balky, nor does he bite nor kick nor become unmanageable. Any one who is looking for something
better does not know what he wants. And his pace is so easy and gentle that a body is more comfortable and easy on
his back than in a boat." Then said Erec: "My dear, I have no objection to her accepting this gift; indeed, I am pleased
with the offer, and do not wish her to refuse it." Then the damsel calls one of her trusty servants, and says to him: "Go,
friend, saddle my dappled palfrey, and lead him here at once." And he carries out her command: he puts on saddle
and bridle and strives to make him appear well. Then he jumps on the maned palfrey, which is now ready for
inspection. When Erec saw the animal, he did not spare his praise, for he could see that he was very fine and gentle.
So he bade a servant lead him back and hitch him in the stable beside his own horse. Then they all separated, after an
evening agreeably spent. The Count goes off to his own dwelling, and leaves Erec with the vavasor, saying that he will
bear him company in the morning when he leaves. All that night they slept well. In the morning, when the dawn was
bright, Erec prepares to start, commanding his horses to be saddled. His fair sweetheart, too, awakes, dresses, and
makes ready. The vavasor and his wife rise too, and every knight and lady there prepares to escort the damsel and
the knight. Now they are all on horseback, and the Count as well. Erec rides beside the Count, having beside him his
sweetheart ever mindful of her hawk. Having no other riches, she plays with her hawk. Very merry were they as they
rode along; but when the time came to part, the Count wished to send along with Erec a party of his knights to do him
honour by escorting him. But he announced that none should bide with him, and that he wanted no company but that
of the damsel. Then, when they had accompanied them some distance, he said: "In God's name, farewell!" Then the
Count kisses Erec and his niece, and commends them both to merciful God. Her father and mother, too, kiss them
again and again, and could not keep back their tears: at parting, the mother weeps, the father and the daughter too.
For such is love and human nature, and such is affection between parents and children. They wept from sorrow,
tenderness, and love which they had for their child; yet they knew full well that their daughter was to fill a place from
which great honour would accrue to them. They shed tears of love and pity when they separated from their daughter,
but they had no other cause to weep. They knew well enough that eventually they would receive great honour from
her marriage. So at parting many a tear was shed, as weeping they commend one another to God, and thus separate
without more delay.

(Vv. 1479-1690.) Erec quit his host; for he was very anxious to reach the royal court. In his adventure he took great
satisfaction; for now he had a lady passing fair, discreet, courteous, and debonair. He could not look at her enough:
for the more he looks at her, the more she pleases him. He cannot help giving her a kiss. He is happy to ride by her
side, and it does him good to look at her. Long he gazes at her fair hair, her laughing eyes, and her radiant forehead,
her nose, her face, and mouth, for all of which gladness fills his heart. He gazes upon her down to the waist, at her chin
and her snowy neck, her bosom and sides, her arms and hands. But no less the damsel looks at the vassal with a clear
eye and loyal heart, as if they were in competition. They would not have ceased to survey each other even for promise
of a reward! A perfect match they were in courtesy, beauty, and gentleness. And they were so alike in quality,
manner, and customs, that no one wishing to tell the truth could choose the better of them, nor the fairer, nor the more
discreet. Their sentiments, too, were much alike; so that they were well suited to each other. Thus each steals the
other's heart away. Law or marriage never brought together two such sweet creatures. And so they rode along until
just on the stroke of noon they approached the castle of Cardigan, where they were both expected. Some of the first
nobles of the court had gone up to look from the upper windows and see if they could see them. Queen Guinevere ran
up, and even the King came with Kay and Perceval of Wales, and with them my lord Gawain and Tor, the son of
King Ares; Lucan the cupbearer was there, too, and many another doughty knight. Finally, they espied Erec coming
along in company with his lady. They all knew him well enough from as far as they could see him. The Queen is greatly
pleased, and indeed the whole court is glad of his coming, because they all love him so. As soon as he was come
before the entrance hall, the King and Queen go down to meet him, all greeting him in God's name. They welcome
Erec and his maiden, commending and praising her great beauty. And the King himself caught her and lifted her down
from her palfrey. The King was decked in fine array and was then in cheery mood. He did signal honour to the damsel
by taking her hand and leading her up into the great stone hall. After them Erec and the Queen also went up hand in
hand, and he said to her: "I bring you, lady, my damsel and my sweetheart dressed in poor garb. As she was given to
me, so have I brought her to you. She is the daughter of a poor vavasor. Through poverty many an honourable man is
brought low: her father, for instance, is gentle and courteous, but he has little means. And her mother is a very gentle
lady, the sister of a rich Count. She has no lack of beauty or of lineage, that I should not marry her. It is poverty that
has compelled her to wear this white linen garment until both sleeves are torn at the side. And yet, had it been my
desire, she might have had dresses rich enough. For another damsel, a cousin of hers, wished to give her a robe of
ermine and of spotted or grey silk. But I would not have her dressed in any other robe until you should have seen her.
Gentle lady, consider the matter now and see what need she has of a fine becoming gown." And the Queen at once
replies: "You have done quite right; it is fitting that she should have one of my gowns, and I will give her straightway a
rich, fair gown, both fresh and new." The Queen then hastily took her off to her own private room, and gave orders to
bring quickly the fresh tunic and the greenish-purple mantle, embroidered with little crosses, which had been made for
herself. The one who went at her behest came bringing to her the mantle and the tunic, which was lined with white
ermine even to the sleeves. At the wrists and on the neck- band there was in truth more than half a mark's weight of
beaten gold, and everywhere set in the gold there were precious stones of divers colours, indigo and green, blue and
dark brown. This tunic was very rich, but not a writ less precious, I trow, was the mantle. As yet, there were no
ribbons on it; for the mantle like the tunic was brand new. The mantle was very rich and fine: laid about the neck were
two sable skins, and in the tassels there was more than an ounce of gold; on one a hyacinth, and on the other a ruby
flashed more bright than burning candle. The fur lining was of white ermine; never was finer seen or found. The cloth
was skilfully embroidered with little crosses, all different, indigo, vermilion, dark blue, white, green, blue, and yellow.
The Queen called for some ribbons four ells long, made of silken thread and gold. The ribbons are given to her,
handsome and well matched. Quickly she had them fastened to the mantle by some one who knew how to do it, and
who was master of the art. When the mantle needed no more touches, the gay and gentle lady clasped the maid with
the white gown and said to her cheerily: "Mademoiselle, you must change this frock for this tunic which is worth more
than a hundred marks of silver. So much I wish to bestow upon you. And put on this mantle, too. Another time I will
give you more." Not able to refuse the gift, she takes the robe and thanks her for it. Then two maids took her aside
into a room, where she took off her frock as being of no further value; but she asked and requested that it be given
away (to some poor woman) for the love of God. Then she dons the tunic, and girds herself, binding on tightly a
golden belt, and afterwards puts on the mantle. Now she looked by no means ill; for the dress became her so well that
it made her look more beautiful than ever. The two maids wove a gold thread in amongst her golden hair: but her
tresses were more radiant than the thread of gold, fine though it was. The maids, moreover, wove a fillet of flowers of
many various colours and placed it upon her head. They strove as best they might to adorn her in such wise that no
fault should be found with her attire. Strung upon a ribbon around her neck, a damsel hung two brooches of enamelled
gold. Now she looked so charming and fair that I do not believe that you could find her equal in any land, search as
you might, so skilfully had Nature wrought in her. Then she stepped out of the dressing-room into the Queen's
presence. The Queen made much of her, because she liked her and was glad that she was beautiful and had such
gentle manners. They took each other by the hand and passed into the King's presence. And when the King saw
them, he got up to meet them. When they came into the great hall, there were so many knights there who rose before
them that I cannot call by name the tenth part of them, or the thirteenth, or the fifteenth. But I can tell you the names of
some of the best of the knights who belonged to the Round Table and who were the best in the world.

(Vv. 1691-1750.) Before all the excellent knights, Gawain ought to be named the first, and second Erec the son of
Lac, and third Lancelot of the Lake. (16) Gornemant of Gohort was fourth, and the fifth was the Handsome Coward.
The sixth was the Ugly Brave, the seventh Meliant of Liz, the eighth Mauduit the Wise, and the ninth Dodinel the Wild.
Let Gandelu be named the tenth, for he was a goodly man. The others I shall mention without order, because the
numbers bother me. Eslit was there with Briien, and Yvain the son of Uriien. And Yvain of Loenel was there, as well
as Yvain the Adulterer. Beside Yvain of Cavaliot was Garravain of Estrangot. After the Knight with the Horn was the
Youth with the Golden Ring. And Tristan who never laughed sat beside Bliobleheris, and beside Brun of Piciez was
his brother Gru the Sullen. The Armourer sat next, who preferred war to peace. Next sat Karadues the Shortarmed, a
knight of good cheer; and Caveron of Robendic, and the son of King Quenedic and the Youth of Quintareus and
Yder of the Dolorous Mount. Gaheriet and Kay of Estraus, Amauguin and Gales the Bald, Grain, Gornevain, and
Carabes, and Tor the son of King Aras, Girflet the son of Do, and Taulas, who never wearied of arms: and a young
man of great merit, Loholt the son of King Arthur, (17) and Sagremor the Impetuous, who should not be forgotten,
nor Bedoiier the Master of the Horse, who was skilled at chess and trictrac, nor Bravain, nor King Lot, nor
Galegantin of Wales, nor Gronosis, versed in evil, who was son of Kay the Seneschal, nor Labigodes the Courteous,
nor Count Cadorcaniois. nor Letron of Prepelesant, whose manners were so excellent, nor Breon the son of
Canodan, nor the Count of Honolan who had such a head of fine fair hair; he it was who received the King's horn in
an evil day; (18) he never had any care for truth.

end segment three

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ Ladonia Discussion Board ] [ FAQ ]