Erec Et Enide fourth & Final Segment

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Posted by Sir Randal MacNiall Bundy on February 20, 1998 at 07:06:43:

4th & Final segment

(Vv. 1751-1844.) When the stranger maiden saw all the knights arrayed looking steadfastly at her, she bowed her
head in embarrassment; nor was it strange that her face blushed all crimson. But her confusion was so becoming to her
that she looked all the more lovely. When the King saw that she was embarrassed, he did not wish to leave her side.
Taking her gently by the hand, he made her sit down on his right hand; and on his left sat the Queen, speaking thus to
the King the while. "Sire, in my opinion he who can win such a fair lady by his arms in another land ought by right to
come to a royal court. It was well we waited for Erec; for now you can bestow the kiss upon the fairest of the court. I
should think none would find fault with you! for none can say, unless he lie, that this maiden is not the most charming
of all the damsels here, or indeed in all the world." The King makes answer: "That is no lie; and upon her, if there is no
remonstrance, I shall bestow the honour of the White Stag." Then he added to the knights: "My lords, what say you?
What is your opinion? In body, in face, and in whatever a maid should have, this one is the most charming and
beautiful to be found, as I may say, before you come to where Heaven and earth meet. I say it is meet that she should
receive the honour of the Stag. And you, my lords, what do you think about it? Can you make any objection? If any
one wishes to protest, let him straightway speak his mind. I am King, and must keep my word and must not permit
any baseness, falsity, or arrogance. I must maintain truth and righteousness. It is the business of a loyal king to support
the law, truth, faith, and justice. I would not in any wise commit a disloyal deed or wrong to either weak or strong. It
is not meet that any one should complain of me; nor do I wish the custom and the practice to lapse, which my family
has been wont to foster. You, too, would doubtless regret to see me strive to introduce other customs and other laws
than those my royal sire observed. Regardless of consequences, I am bound to keep and maintain the institution of my
father Pendragon, who was a just king and emperor. Now tell me fully what you think! Let none be slow to speak his
mind, if this damsel is not the fairest of my household and ought not by right to receive the kiss of the White Stag: I
wish to know what you truly think." Then they all cry with one accord: "Sire, by the Lord and his Cross! you may well
kiss her with good reason, for she is the fairest one there is. In this damsel there is more beauty than there is of
radiance in the sun. You may kiss her freely, for we all agree in sanctioning it." When the King hears that this is well
pleasing to them all, he will no longer delay in bestowing the kiss, but turns toward her and embraces her. The maid
was sensible, and perfectly willing that the King should kiss her; she would have been discourteous, indeed, to resent
it. In courteous fashion and in the presence of all his knights the King kissed her, and said: "My dear. I give you my
love in all honesty. I will love you with true heart, without malice and without guile." By this adventure the King carried
out the practice and the usage to which the White Stag was entitled at his court.

Here ends the first part of my story. (19)

(Vv. 1845-1914.) When the kiss of the Stag was taken according to the custom of the country, Erec, like a polite and
kind man, was solicitous for his poor host. It was not his intention to fail to execute what he had promised. Hear how
he kept his covenant: for he sent him now five sumpter mules, strong and sleek, loaded with dresses and clothes,
buckrams and scarlets, marks of gold and silver plate, furs both vair and grey, skins of sable, purple stuffs, and silks.
When the mules were loaded with all that a gentleman can need, he sent with them an escort of ten knights and
sergeants chosen from his own men, and straightly charged them to salute his host and show great honour both to him
and to his lady, as if it were to himself in person; and when they should have presented to them the sumpters which
they brought them, the gold, the silver, and money, and all the other furnishings which were in the boxes, they should
escort the lady and the vavasor with great honour into his kingdom of Farther Wales. (20) Two towns there he had
promised them, the most choice and the best situated that there were in all his land, with nothing to fear from attack.
Montrevel was the name of one, and the other's name was Roadan. When they should arrive in his kingdom, they
should make over to them these two towns, together with their rents and their jurisdiction, in accordance with what he
had promised them. All was carried out as Erec had ordered. The messengers made no delay, and in good time they
presented to his host the gold and the silver and the sumpters and the robes and the money, of which there was great
plenty. They escorted them into Erec's kingdom, and strove to serve them well. They came into the country on the
third day, and transferred to them the towers of the towns; for King Lac made no objection. He gave them a warm
welcome and showed them honour, loving them for the sake of his son Erec. He made over to them the title to the
towns, and established their suzerainty by making knights and bourgeois swear that they would reverence them as
their true liege lords. When this was done and accomplished, the messengers returned to their lord Erec, who received
them gladly. When he asked for news of the vavasor and his lady, of his own father and of his kingdom, the report
they gave him was good and fair.

(Vv. 1915-2024.) Not long after this, the time drew near when Erec was to celebrate his marriage. The delay was
irksome to him, and he resolved no longer to suffer and wait. So he went and asked of the King that it might please
him to allow him to be married at the court. The King vouchsafed him the boon, and sent through all his kingdom to
search for the kings and counts who were his liege-men, bidding them that none be so bold as not to be present at
Pentecost. None dares to hold back and not go to court at the King's summons. Now I will tell you, and listen well,
who were these counts and kings. With a rich escort and one hundred extra mounts Count Brandes of Gloucester
came. After him came Menagormon, who was Count of Clivelon. And he of the Haute Montagne came with a very
rich following. The Count of Treverain came, too, with a hundred of his knights, and Count Godegrain with as many
more. Along with those whom I have just mentioned came Maheloas, a great baron, lord of the Isle of Voirre. In this
island no thunder is heard, no lightning strikes, nor tempests rage, nor do toads or serpents exist there, nor is it ever
too hot or too cold. (21) Graislemier of Fine Posterne brought twenty companions, and had with him his brother
Guigomar, lord of the Isle of Avalon. Of the latter we have heard it said that he was a friend of Morgan the Fay, and
such he was in very truth. Davit of Tintagel came, who never suffered woe or grief. Guergesin, the Duke of Haut Bois,
came with a very rich equipment. There was no lack of counts and dukes, but of kings there were still more. Garras of
Cork, a doughty king, was there with five hundred knights clad in mantles, hose, and tunics of brocade and silk. Upon
a Cappadocian steed came Aguisel, the Scottish king, and brought with him his two sons, Cadret and Coi -- two
much respected knights. Along with those whom I have named came King Ban of Gomeret, and he had in his
company only young men, beardless as yet on chin and lip. A numerous and gay band he brought two hundred of
them in his suite; and there was none, whoever he be, but had a falcon or tercel, a merlin or a sparrow-hawk, or some
precious pigeon-hawk, golden or mewed. Kerrin, the old King of Riel, brought no youth, but rather three hundred
companions of whom the youngest was seven score years old. Because of their great age, their heads were all as
white as snow, and their beards reached down to their girdles. Arthur held them in great respect. The lord of the
dwarfs came next, Bilis, the king of Antipodes. This king of whom I speak was a dwarf himself and own brother of
Brien. Bilis, on the one hand, was the smallest of all the dwarfs, while his brother Brien was a half-foot or full palm
taller than any other knight in the kingdom. To display his wealth and power, Bilis brought with him two kings who
were also dwarfs and who were vassals of his, Grigoras and Glecidalan. Every one looked at them as marvels. When
they had arrived at court, they were treated with great esteem. All three were honoured and served at the court like
kings, for they were very perfect gentlemen. In brief, when King Arthur saw all his lords assembled, his heart was
glad. Then, to heighten the joy, he ordered a hundred squires to be bathed whom he wished to dub knights. There
was none of them but had a parti-coloured robe of rich brocade of Alexandria, each one choosing such as pleased his
fancy. All had arms of a uniform pattern, and horses swift and full of mettle, of which the worst was worth a hundred

(Vv. 2025-2068.) When Erec received his wife, he must needs call her by her right name. For a wife is not espoused
unless she is called by her proper name. As yet no one knew her name, but now for the first time it was made known:
Enide was her baptismal name. (22) The Archbishop of Canterbury, who had come to the court, blessed them, as is
his right. When the court was all assembled, there was not a minstrel in the countryside who possessed any pleasing
accomplishment that did not come to the court. In the great hall there was much merry-making, each one contributing
what he could to the entertainment: one jumps, another tumbles, another does magic; there is story-telling, singing,
whistling, playing from notes; they play on the harp, the rote, the fiddle, the violin, the flute, and pipe. The maidens sing
and dance, and outdo each other in the merry-making. At the wedding that day everything was done which can give
joy and incline man's heart to gladness. Drums are beaten, large and small, and there is playing of pipes, fifes, horns,
trumpets, and bagpipes. What more shall I say? There was not a wicket or a gate kept closed; but the exits and
entrances all stood ajar, so that no one, poor or rich, was turned away. King Arthur was not miserly, but gave orders
to the bakers, the cooks, and the butlers that they should serve every one generously with bread, wine, and venison.
No one asked anything whatever to be passed to him without getting all he desired.

(Vv. 2069-2134.) There was great merriment in the palace. But I will pass over the rest, and you shall hear of the joy
and pleasure in the bridal chamber. Bishops and archbishops were there on the night when the bride and groom
retired. At this their first meeting, Iseut was not filched away, nor was Brangien put in her place. (23) The Queen
herself took charge of their preparations for the night; for both of them were dear to her. The hunted stag which pants
for thirst does not so long for the spring, nor does the hungry sparrow-hawk return so quickly when he is called, as
did these two come to hold each other in close embrace. That night they had full compensation for their long delay.
After the chamber had been cleared, they allow each sense to be gratified: the eyes, which are the entrance-way of
love, and which carry messages to the heart, take satisfaction in the glance, for they rejoice in all they see; after the
message of the eyes comes the far surpassing sweetness of the kisses inviting love; both of them make trial of this
sweetness, and let their hearts quaff so freely that hardly can they leave off. Thus, kissing was their first sport. And the
love which is between them emboldened the maid and left her quite without her fears; regardless of pain, she suffered
all. Before she rose, she no longer bore the name of maid; in the morning she was a new-made dame. That day the
minstrels were in happy mood, for they were all well paid. They were fully compensated for the entertainment they
had given, and many a handsome gift was bestowed upon them: robes of grey squirrel skin and ermine, of rabbit skins
and violet stuffs, scarlets and silken stuffs. Whether it be a horse or money, each one got what he deserved according
to his skill. And thus the wedding festivities and the court lasted almost a fortnight with great joy and magnificence. For
his own glory and satisfaction, as well as to honour Erec the more, King Arthur made all the knights remain a full
fortnight. When the third week began, all together by common consent agreed to hold a tournament. On the one side,
my lord Gawain offered himself as surety that it would take place between Evroic and Tenebroc: and Meliz and
Meliadoc were guarantors on the other side. Then the court separated.

(Vv. 2135-2292.) A month after Pentecost the tournament assembled, and the jousting began in the plain below
Tenebroc. Many an ensign of red, blue, and white, many a veil and many a sleeve were bestowed as tokens of love.
Many a lance was carried there, flying the colours argent and green, or gold and azure blue. There were many, too,
with different devices, some with stripes and some with dots. That day one saw laced on many a helmet of gold or
steel, some green, some yellow, and others red, all aglowing in the sun; so many scutcheons and white hauberks; so
many swords girt on the left side; so many good shields, fresh and new, some resplendent in silver and green, others
of azure with buckles of gold; so many good steeds marked with white, or sorrel, tawny, white, black, and bay: all
gather hastily. And now the field is quite covered with arms. On either side the ranks tremble, and a roar rises from
the fight. The shock of the lances is very great. Lances break and shields are riddled, the hauberks receive bumps and
are torn asunder, saddles go empty and horsemen ramble, while the horses sweat and foam. Swords are quickly
drawn on those who tumble noisily, and some run to receive the promise of a ransom, others to stave off this disgrace.
Erec rode a white horse, and came forth alone at the head of the line to joust, if he may find an opponent. From the
opposite side there rides out to meet him Orguelleus de la Lande, mounted on an Irish steed which bears him along
with marvellous speed. On the shield before his breast Erec strikes him with such force that he knocks him from his
horse: he leaves him prone and passes on. Then Raindurant opposed him, son of the old dame of Tergalo, covered
with blue cloth of silk; he was a knight of great prowess. Against one another now they charge and deal fierce blows
on the shields about their neck. Erec from lance's length lays him over on the hard ground. While riding back he met
the King of the Red City, who was very valiant and bold. They grasp their reins by the knots and their shields by the
inner straps. They both had fine arms, and strong swift horses, and good shields, fresh and new. With such fury they
strike each other that both their lances fly in splinters. Never was there seen such a blow. They rush together with
shields, arms, and horses. But neither girth nor rein nor breast-strap could prevent the king from coming to earth. So
he flew from his steed, carrying with him saddle and stirrup, and even the reins of his bridle in his hand. All those who
witnessed the jousting were filled with amazement, and said it cost him dear to joust with such a goodly knight. Erec
did not wish to stop to capture either horse or rider, but rather to joust and distinguish himself in order that his
prowess might appear. He thrills the ranks in front of him. Gawain animates those who were on his side by his
prowess, and by winning horses and knights to the discomfiture of his opponents. I speak of my lord Gawain, who did
right well and valiantly. In the fight he unhorsed Guincel, and took Gaudin of the Mountain; he captured knights and
horses alike: my lord Gawain did well. Girtlet the son of Do, and Yvain, and Sagremor the Impetuous, so evilly
entreated their adversaries that they drove them back to the gates, capturing and unhorsing many of them. In front of
the gate of the town the strife began again between those within and those without. There Sagremor was thrown
down, who was a very gallant knight. He was on the point of being detained and captured, when Erec spurs to rescue
him, breaking his lance into splinters upon one of the opponents. So hard he strikes him on the breast that he made
him quit the saddle. Then he made of his sword and advances upon them, crushing and splitting their helmets. Some
flee, and others make way before him, for even the boldest fears him. Finally, he distributed so many blows and
thrusts that he rescued Sagremor from them, and drove them all in confusion into the town. Meanwhile, the vesper
hour drew to a close. Erec bore himself so well that day that he was the best of the combatants. But on the morrow
he did much better yet: for he took so many knights and left so many saddles empty that none could believe it except
those who had seen it. Every one on both sides said that with his lance and shield he had won the honours of the
tournament. Now was Erec's renown so high that no one spoke save of him, nor was any one of such goodly favour.
In countenance he resembled Absalom, in language he seemed a Solomon, in boldness he equalled Samson, (24) and
in generous giving and spending he was the equal of Alexander. On his return from the tourney Erec went to speak
with the King. He went to ask him for leave to go and visit his own land; but first he thanked him like a frank, wise,
and courteous man for the honour which he had done him; for very deep was his gratitude. Then he asked his
permission to leave, for he wished to visit his own country, and he wished to take his wife with him. This request the
King could not deny, and yet he would have had him stay. He gives him leave and begs him to return as soon as
possible: for in the whole court there was no better or more gallant knight, save only his dear nephew Gawain; (25)
with him no one could be compared. But next after him, he prized Erec most, and held him more dear than any other

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