Wolfram von Eschenbach


Book XIV: Gramoflanz

Parzival - Book XIV

Arbor Tristis
From The Flower Book, Sir Edward Burne-Jones (English, 1833 – 1898)

Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

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Gawain and Parzival joust, neither recognising the other

NOW, should Gawain seek to advance

And to joust there with the lance,

I fear for his success. Ought I

To be anxious for the other? Why,

In war that knight was worth an army,

And here’s but the single enemy.

His surcoat and trappings did show

Far redder than the ruby’s glow,

His crest was of some heathen land,

O’er the seas, the shield in his hand

Was pierced by lance-thrusts, for he

Sought adventure, and from the tree

That Gramoflanz guarded, he too

Breaking a branch, had wrought anew

A garland, such that my Lord Gawain

Knew it, and thought the King again

Awaited him there. If that were so,

If twas Gramoflanz challenged, though

Not one lady was then in sight,

He had no option but to fight.

From Munsalvaesche were both their steeds.

Spurring them on to valiant deeds,

They charged together, at full tilt.

This joust was not on gravel or silt,

But bright green clover, wet with dew.

Their sufferings pain my heart anew.

Their charge was all that men desire,

For a jouster did each warrior sire.

He who gains the victory now

Loses much, gains little, I vow,

For he will rue it when he learns

From whom that victory he earns,

Since both are bound by affection

And a loyalty that no such action

Can tarnish, now, or in time to come.

Now hear what in the joust is done,

In swift onrush are those two met

Yet in a manner both must regret.

High kinship and noble company,

Meet here to fight, in all enmity.

The happiness of whichever wins

Forfeit to sadness, the fight begins.

Each drives his lance with such force

Each must fell both rider and horse,

And here’s what they are then about,

Hammering wedges, clout for clout,

Dealing blow after pickaxe blow,

With their keen swords, while, like snow,

Shield fragments cover the grass,

With each pass and counter-pass.

Late ere a decision shall come,

Early come to it, and yet none

Undertakes to make peace there

For they are alone in this affair.

Arthur’s envoys have audience with King Gramoflanz at Rosche Sabins

HEAR now how Arthur’s envoys found

King Gramoflanz, and on what ground,

He’d placed, and encamped, his army.

Twas on a meadow by the sea.

To one side flowed the broad Sabins,

On another the Poynzaclins,

Here was the estuary of the two.

On the fourth side one might view

Rosche Sabins his great capital,

Guarding the meadow, as its castle

Enfolded it with moat and wall,

And many a mighty tower tall.

Over a space a full mile wide,

By half a mile, there did abide

The host of his retainers who

Upon that meadow one might view;

Here Arthur’s messengers rode by,

Full many a stranger met their eye,

Knight, or man-at arms, or archer,

Encased in his bright steel armour,

And there gleamed many a stout lance,

While other companies did advance

Towards the envoys, stepping high,

Their banners waving, neath the sky.

Trumpets blared, and they could see

Vigour and life filled this enemy,

Ready to march to Joflanze now;

And there was beauty, I’ll avow,

Sounds of ladies’ bridles jingling,

For about King Gramoflanz’ ring,

There rode many a lovely creature.

Now, if the story I can master,

I’ll tell you who had ridden there

To aid the King in this affair,

Lodging by him in the meadow;

And, should you not already know,

Then let me yield you my account.

There, seated on his lively mount

See King Brandelidelin,

Out of water-girt Punt, with him

Six hundred ladies he had brought,

Of glittering beauty, to that court,

Each of whom kept in her sight

Her lover armed for gallant fight,

And knightly deeds, and renown,

Brave hearts had those from that town.

If you’ll take it on trust from me,

Bernout de Riviers one might see,

Whose powerful father, Count Narant,

Had left him all of Ukerlant.

Over the sea in ships he’d sailed

With a host of ladies, who ne’er failed

To garner praise from all, anew,

Two hundred unwed girls, and two

Hundred more with their spouses,

All were born of the noblest houses.

There, if I have the number right,

Five hundred lords, all set to fight,

Supported Bernout, son of the Count,

And many soldiers, in vast amount.

In this manner, King Gramoflanz,

Sought his just cause to advance,

And avenge the stolen garlands,

In single combat, where one stands

To lose, and the other to gain,

And so, the winner may maintain

His right and be judged the most

Glorious there, before the host.

Thus, all the princes of his realm

Came there with shield and helm,

Together with their ladies, fair;

Splendid was the gathering there.

Now, Arthur’s envoys found the King,

On a thick mattress calmly sitting,

Of palmat silk, quilted, I’m told,

All over with broad cloth of gold.

Bright and fair young ladies graced

His presence, as they deftly cased

His legs in steel armour, below

A canopy, whose brocade did glow,

Rich and costly, and it was woven

In Ecidemonis; there twas chosen,

And now it swung, raised on high

On a dozen lances, neath the sky.

The messengers now spoke aloud,

Thus, to the proudest of the proud:

‘Sire, we are sent by King Arthur,

Whose own name lacks not in lustre,

For, on occasion, he’s won honour,

Though his glory you would lower.

Why seek to vent your displeasure

On that brave son of his fair sister?

Had he done you greater wrong,

Lord Gawain could still count upon

Every knight of the Round Table,

Since all are his friends, and loyal.’

‘I shall deliver, with this same hand,

The duel I pledged there, understand,’

Replied the king,’ and in such manner

That I will chase this Gawain either

To his glory, or his disgrace.

I’ve heard that to the duelling place

Come Arthur and his Queen, in force,

I’ll bid them welcome, in due course.

If the wretched Orgeluse has sought

To set him against me and my court,

He shall not act as her mere tool,

For whate’er comes I fight the duel,

And have so many knights on hand

I fear no violence in my own land.

But whate’er tis my fate to endure

From one man alone, then be sure

I shall accept it, and bear the pain,

For were I to seek, now, to refrain

From my intent, and abandon this,

Tis a loving service I’d relinquish.

Lord Gawain may thank that lady

To whose sympathy and mercy

I have surrendered life and joy,

For this duel, for I ne’er employ

My powers upon but one enemy,

Tis because of his labours only,

That have borne such fruit, that I

Will not his right to combat deny.

So, my valour stoops, for I never

Fought so few opponents ever.

None denies it, ask if you please,

For I have fought many, with ease,

Who yielded fame to this firm hand,

And I ne’er fought with but one man.

Nor should the ladies now praise me

If I should gain the victory.

It warms my heart that she was freed,

For whom this duel is fought indeed,

Or so I’m told, and one has heard

Many strange lands obey the word

Of this famed Arthur, and it may be

She comes here with him, that lady

I’ll serve till death, as she commands,

Through joy and woe; tis in her hands.

What more could stir me, than that she,

Of good fortune, herself might see

True service in this, as everything?’

Lady Bene brings Gramoflanz news of her mistress Itonje

FAIR Bene sat beside the King;

He rested his arm against her.

No objection did she offer

To the duel, knowing his skill

In the joust, and his firm will;

A fearless look she did maintain.

Yet had she known that this ‘Gawain’

Was her Lady Itonje’s brother,

And he involved in this matter,

Her content had vanished away.

She’d given Gramoflanz, that day,

The very ring Gawain had brought

Over the Sabins, for to that court

Princess Itonje had sent the ring,

In token of her love for the King.

Bene had sailed, by fast galley,

Along the Poynzaclins, the lady

Bringing him news that Princess,

Itonje, who was her fair mistress,

From Schastel Marveile had set out,

With the other ladies; and, no doubt,

Told the king of the affection

That was aimed in his direction,

And the esteem, both far greater

Than any young lady of tender

Years, had ever felt for a man,

(She fulfilled Itonje’s command)

Which her lady sent, through her,

To him; and that her lady did suffer;

And that to deserve his love meant

More than all else to her; this sent

The King into transports of love;

And yet against Gawain he’d move!

If such is the cost, then I’d rather

Go through life without a sister!

Gramoflanz sets out for the jousting field

NOW accoutrements were brought

Of such splendour none who sought

A lady’s favour, driven by passion,

Could to greater lengths have gone,

To please the fair, not Gahmuret,

Nor Galoes, his brother, nor yet

King Kyllicrates; for no finer

Brocade adorned a man ever,

Bought from Ipopotiticon,

Or brought from spacious Acraton,

Woven in Kalomidente,

Or in Agartyrsjente,

Than was chosen for his person.

He kissed the ring with passion

That Princess Itonje had sent,

For as a love-token twas meant,

Believing so in her loyalty

That when care troubled him, he

Found her love a steadfast shield

Against the woe events did yield.

And thus, the King was fully clad,

And twelve young ladies now he bade

Support the splendid cloth of gold

Beneath whose roof the proud and bold

King would ride; each held a pole

And on a pony rode, her role

To bear the costly canopy,

As one of that fair company,

And shade the warrior, while two

Young ladies, the loveliest too,

Supported the King’s mighty arms;

No weaklings they despite their charms!

Parzival realises his opponent is Gawain

KING Arthur’s envoys, on their way

Back to that camp where Arthur lay,

Came to where that courteous knight

Gawain was still engaged in fight.

Filled with concern, they shouted out,

As danger hedged him all about,

For his opponent neared success,

Gawain’s strength now proving less,

Due to his wounds, such that Gawain,

The noble, would have known the pain

Of defeat, had they not loudly

Named that knight, most indignantly.

Then the man who fought Gawain

From further conflict did refrain

And flung his sword to the ground.

‘Alas, to Misfortune am I bound,

And thus accursed!’ cried the stranger.

‘Grievous is the fault, that ever

Saw my engagement in this matter;

The blame is mine, and the error.

Misfortune has taken to the field,

Good Fortune herself must yield,

Misfortune’s coat of arms I bear,

As in the past; to think that there

Tis not Gawain whom I attack,

But I myself, and at my back

Comes Misfortune; Fortune fled,

On the instant, and honour’s dead.’

Gawain heard, and perceived, his woe.

‘Alas, sir, who thus speaks in sorrow

And with such kindness towards me?

If such had been said previously,

While I yet had a little strength,

Why then we had not fought at length,

Nor I have lost the renown I fear

Which you have taken from me here.

Now would I like to know your name,

And thus, where I may find that same

Renown should I seek it later.

As long as Fortune followed after,

I fought well if there were but two.’

‘May I make myself known to you,

My Lord, for I am at your service,

And shall be ever, as in this,

For I am your kinsman Parzival.’

‘Then,’ Gawain answered, ‘all is well.

Perverse folly is rendered straight,

Two hearts, that are one, sad Fate

Made battle each other, in enmity,

And tire each other, foolishly,

Till your hand overcame us two;

Regret it then, if your heart be true,

Since yourself also you overcame.’

On ceasing to speak, he was fain

(Staggering then, all giddily,

His head spinning, furiously)

To stand no longer, all his strength

Had ebbed, and he fell, full length,

Onto the grass. A page, swiftly,

Ran o’er the field, to his aid, for he

Was one of Arthur’s most loyal men

Sent out as an envoy, who then

Pillowed him, his helm did unlace,

And fanned cool air across his face

With his white peacock-feather cap,

Cushioning his head upon his lap.

These attentions paid Lord Gawain

Brought him to his senses again.

Gramoflanz insists that the duel take place

NOW the forces from both armies

Were arriving in brave companies,

Each advancing to their places,

Gleaming logs marking the spaces.

Gramoflanz did their cost incur,

Since he was here the challenger.

A hundred burnished trees did stand,

Fifty, I’m told, on either hand,

At a distance of forty courses,

A goodly field for the horses.

Light gleamed from side to side.

To this ground entry was denied,

For here the duel would be fought.

Gawain and Gramoflanz both sought

To keep their folk from entering

As though this wide jousting ring

Were circled by a castle wall,

Or a deep moat, restraining all.

Detachments from either army

Had come to view this, merely

To see who might win the fight,

Seeking the names of each knight

Who would, thus, enter the ring;

Yet the strangeness of the thing

Was that neither force, twas thought,

Their usual champion had brought.

King Gramoflanz appeared anon,

After that combat, one on one,

In the flowery meadow, was o’er.

He came there eager to ensure

His vengeance for the fair garland,

And satisfaction he would demand.

He learnt that a duel had been fought

Fiercer than any erstwhile sought,

And that those who waged the fight

Did so causelessly, at first sight.

He rode forth from his company

Towards the pair, now battle-weary,

Deploring all their wasted labour.

Gawain had felt the pangs of honour,

And so, had now regained his feet,

Rendering the courtly scene complete.

Now Bene had ridden after the King,

And reached the site of this fighting,

Where these knights had met with pain,

And there she found my Lord Gawain,

Whom she had chosen to be her joy,

Though he could scarce a reed employ.

She gave a cry of deepest sorrow,

Slid from her palfrey, and did go

Swiftly there to clasp him tight.

‘Cursed be the hand of that knight

That taught your fair body such woe,

For your brave countenance was so

Much a mirror of manhood, you

Outshone all others; oh, I speak true!’

She sat him down, upon the grass,

Her bright tears falling, full and fast,

And then, sweet child, wiped the blood

And sweat from him, as best she could;

He was well-heated in his armour.

‘It grieves me much to see you suffer,’

Said Gramoflanz, ‘though I would wish

To render your state much like this.

If you’ll return to this meadow,

To do battle, on the morrow,

I shall be pleased to await you.

At this moment, it is most true,

I’d rather fight a feeble woman,

Than attack your weakened person.

Unless your limbs fresh strength were lent,

What praise were mine? Be content

To rest this night, and linger not,

If you’re to answer for King Lot.’

Parzival showed scant weariness,

Or pallor and, free of all distress,

His helmet he’d but now unlaced

As the noble monarch he faced.

‘Sir,’ he said, ‘let me undertake

In any matter that’s now at stake,

The part of my kinsman Gawain.

If he has offended you, again,

I am it seems still fit to fight;

Should your anger on him alight,

I shall halt you with my sword.’

‘Sir, Gawain, shall indeed afford

Me, tomorrow, all that is due,

In debt for the garland, for new

Fame shall it reap, or my name

Will be tarnished by fresh shame.

I doubt not you’re a warrior, too,

And yet this quarrel is not for you.’

Bene turned swiftly to the King,

As from her sweet lips did ring,

Angry words: ‘Tis treachery now

You bring to this matter, I avow,

For your own heart rests in the hand

Of that man from whom you demand

Your due; a heart that’s filled with hate.

To whom have you rendered your fate,

And surrendered, in Love’s fair name?

She needs his aid, and you proclaim

Your own defeat; Love’s lost her right

To you; for if you loved, sir knight,

Twas but in bad faith on your side.’

The King now drew fair Bene aside,

After her outburst, saying: ‘Madame,

Be not so angry. Tell her I am

Truly her bondsman, and will be

Her loyal servant, endlessly.

Remain here now with your lord,

And to his sister, Itonje, accord

My respects, and yet I must fight

And take my vengeance on this knight.’

Finding her lord was no other

Than her lady’s noble brother,

Pledged to do battle on that field,

Her sorry heart was forced to yield

To a whole shipload of sorrow

For she was a loyal spirit, and so,
‘Away with you!’ she cried, ‘Your heart

‘And loyalty dwell far apart!’

The King rode off with his company

While Arthur’s pages, valiantly,

Caught at the mount of each knight,

For the steeds their own duel did fight.

Parzival dines with Gawain

NOW Gawain and Parzival went

With Lady Bene to Gawain’s tent.

Parzival had won such honour

With his knightly skills that ever

Men were right glad to see his face,

Gathered to praise him in that place.

And I’ll tell you more, if I may:

Veterans in both armies that day

Spoke of the deed that had gained

One there, renown, and maintained

That was Parzival; I say twas he,

While trusting that you will agree.

He was handsome, none more so,

As many a knight and lady also

Declared when Lord Gawain brought

Him there, and clothes for him sought.

(They were robed in the very same

Precious fabrics that I’ll not name)

Soon it was known everywhere

That Parzival had entered there,

He of whom they had often heard,

A valiant knight, as all concurred.

‘If you would wish to visit four

Ladies of your lineage, and more

Fair ladies besides, I will gladly

Come, and keep you company,’

Said Gawain. ‘If there are to be

Fair ladies in your company,’

Parzival answered, ‘ne’er let me

Be cause of offence, for I see

Many a witness, and whoe’er

Beside the River Plimizoel there,

Heard Cundrie treat me with scorn

Will curse the day that I was born.

God keep woman’s honour in sight!

To me they are a source of delight,

And I so feel my sad disgrace,

I’m loth to have them view my face.’

‘Well, indeed you must,’ replied Gawain,

Leading Parzival, despite his pain,

To where four queens granted a kiss.

The Duchess was troubled by this

Having to kiss one who’d resisted

Her, howe’er much she’d insisted,

Spurning her when she had offered

Her love, land too she’d proffered,

When below Logroys he’d fought,

And she his present aid had sought.

She was fraught with embarrassment,

While Parzival appeared radiant,

Having been drawn, thus, artlessly,

Into letting his heart course free

Of misgiving, while shame was caught

And led captive from the court;

So that he felt cheered once more.

Gawain forbade Bene, I’m sure,

On pain of the loss of his favour,

From telling fair Itonje, moreover,

That Gramoflanz did now demand

That Gawain appear, lance in hand,

On the morrow, and so must fight

The appointed duel with that knight,

And all for his theft of that garland.

He said: ‘Your tears you must command.’

‘I have good cause to weep,’ no doubt,

She replied, ‘and let tears stream out,

Since whichever of you, Gawain,

Should fall, she will suffer the pain.

She is killed, if either is slain.

What then should I do, again,

But lament, for my lady and I?

How does it help,’ here, she did sigh,

‘That you’re her brother, if for your part,

You seek to wage war on her heart?’

The army had gathered, it was time

For Gawain and the others to dine.

Parzival now received the request

To share a place with the Duchess,

To whom Gawain commended him.

‘Will you commend one whose sin

It is to scorn all women?’ said she,

‘What should I do with such as he?

Yet I’ll treat him as you demand,

And share with him, at your command.

If it flatters his pride, what care I?’

‘Madame,’ was Parzival’s reply,

‘You do me wrong, for I’m well versed

In good manners and, thus rehearsed,

Scorn to mock any of the sex.’

The dinner was fine, in all respects;

There was plenty, and it was served

With all the ceremony it deserved.

Men and women dined pleasurably,

And yet twas plain to fair Itonje

That Bene was weeping quietly,

And, her face o’ercast completely;

She was refraining from eating.

‘What is this, why the sighing?’

She asked herself, ‘did I not send her

To the man for whom I suffer,

And who possesses my poor heart?

What comes now to drive us apart?

Spurns he my devotion, my love?

Yet he no more in me can move,

No more affection stir for him,

Than that I die of grief for him!’

He again seeks to fight on Gawain’s behalf

IT was past noon, the meal was done,

And Arthur, with many a one,

Knight and ladies, and his Queen,

Came where Parzival might be seen,

Seated amidst the young and fair,

And he not the least handsome there;

Good form prescribed that, in meeting,

He must be kissed, in sweet greeting,

By many a lovely woman. Arthur

Showed him every due honour,

And praised him for the high renown

He had won, famed now as the crown

Of chivalry, both far and wide.

‘When we last met, Sire,’ he replied,

‘My honour was much under attack,

There scorn’s whiplash scarred my back.

But now, since you deign to speak so,

I too have heard that some may know

Of me, and concede me a little

Honour, and though I may struggle

To convince myself, I’d be glad

To believe it so, if those who had

Knowledge of me, and my past shame,

But thought me worthy of such fame.’

All those who sat there declared

That he in such deeds had shared

Abroad, to such heights did aspire,

His honour was rendered entire.

And now Orgeluse’ knights arrived

Where Parzival sat, at Arthur’s side,

And the King received them, as one,

Within his host’s pavilion,

Though he had sat in the meadow,

As a most courteous man, to show

All due politeness, and not because

The tent was not, of itself, spacious.

Now all, again, sat round the King,

In that mead, in a courtly ring.

Strangers were met here together,

But to tell you of one and another,

Who all they were, each Christian,
By name, and then each Saracen,

Were more than a lengthy matter.

What knights there served Clinschor?

Who were those, of the fair noblesse,

From Logroys, sworn to the Duchess?

Which valiant knights had Arthur brought?

If one were to count every court,

All of their castles, and domains,

Who could recall all their names?

Yet they were as one in saying

That Parzival was so dazzling

That all women must dote on him,

And in all that might distinguish him

Nobility had failed of naught.

Gahmuret’s son addressed the court:

‘Let all consider now, and aid me

In that which I lack most keenly.

I was lost from the Round Table

In strange manner, as if in fable,

And I ask that noble company,

Of your companionship, help me

To that fair gathering again.’

What he now asked Arthur was fain

To grant, then to the inner circle

A further request of that noble

Gathering he now made, namely

That Lord Gawain should simply

Allow him to spend all his power,

On the morrow, at the given hour,

In the duel. ‘I’m more than content,

He said, ‘to attend that same event,

And wait the coming of that knight,

King Gramoflanz, as he is hight.

Early this morning, from that tree,

I broke a branch, purposefully,

To weave a garland, so he might

Come forth, all prepared to fight.

Let me, thus, in your cause appear,

I scarcely thought to see you here,

Dear kinsman, and never did regret

Aught so greatly as that we met

In battle. I thought you that king,

Come to fight, for I was planning

His death. If he’s to be brought low,

Tis I must toil to make it so,

And deal him harm, with such intent

That after our joust, he’ll rest content.

Kinsman, my rights here are restored,

Thus, true friendship I may afford

Yourself, and are we not related?

Leave me to address this, tis fated;

My worth shall not remain concealed.’

‘Kinsmen and brothers, here revealed

With the King of Britain, I possess;

None may seek, of their high noblesse,

In my stead, to contest the fight.

I rely on my cause, for it is right,

With luck I’ll gain the victory;

I’m not so feeble; it lies with me.’

Gawain replied. Arthur had heard,

And put an end to it, with a word,

Returning to his seat in the ring.

Gawain’s butler soon came running,

With all his brave young gentlemen.

Gold cups, bright with many a gem,

They brought with them, and when

All had drunk their cup, they again

Retired, when all went to their rest.

Night fell, as Parzival addressed

The question of his martial gear.

Aught that did to his eyes appear

Broken, or worn, he saw restored,

And a new shield they did afford

Him, for his own was pierced so

With many a fierce thrust and blow.

They brought him a fine solid one,

By men-at-arms all this was done

Who were all strangers to him; some

Were Frenchmen, bold and handsome.

As to his steed, that splendid charger

Ridden against him by the Templar,

When they fought, beside the stream,

A squire ensured it had ne’er been

Sleeker-looking, since that day.

It was night, and time to obey

Sleep’s fair summons; his gear complete,

And all his equipment at his feet,

He did as darkness might suggest,

And settled himself down to rest.

He fights and defeats King Gramoflanz

NOW, King Gramoflanz felt anger

That a duel, sought by some other,

Concerning the garland perchance,

Had been fought, and that his chance

To exact vengeance had been lost;

For his men had failed, to his cost,

By not daring to resolve the matter.

What course took he, this warrior?

Ever-accustomed to glory,

By daybreak, so runs the story,

He and his mount were fully armed.

Were wealthy ladies then so charmed

By him that they’d adorned his gear?

It was lavish enough without, I fear!

He’d adorned himself as servitor

To Itonje, her most faithful lover.

Parzival, too, went forth that morn,

All secretly, at the crack of dawn,

Fully armed, with a good fresh lance

Of Angram, he’d freed, in advance,

Of its pennant. Now, as he wore

Towards the burnished logs, he saw,

King Gramoflanz was waiting there,

Ready to further this affair.

Without a word, the tale doth say

Each put his sharpened lance in play,

And drove it through the other’s shield,

To such effect that both did yield

A rain of splinters, whirling high

Into the air from both, thereby.

Both men were skilled in weaponry

And every manner of chivalry.

Over the meadow’s wide expanse

The dew was marred by their advance,

While their helms rang to the blows

Of their blades, for, heaven knows,

They fought bravely, trampling the grass

Everywhere that they did pass.

I sorrow for the blood-stained flowers,

And even more those warriors,

Enduring much pain and distress,

Without a qualm, yet nonetheless

No pleasure to such doth belong,

Unless a man has suffered wrong.

Meanwhile, Lord Gawain prepared

For the duel; ere mid-morn he fared

Abroad, and learned that Parzival

Had ridden out; was it to call

For peace and truce? (Yet the knight

Was acting otherwise, he did fight

Manfully with that proud king!)

At high morn, the bishop did sing,

A Mass for Lord Gawain, and there

A great host of armed men did share

The space around; fair ladies bright,

On horse-back, each with her knight,

Waited in Arthur’s ring, before

The bishop’s chant began, and saw

King Arthur himself standing nigh

The priests, whose voices rose on high.

After the benediction, Gawain,

Armed himself and, I maintain,

Before the Mass his legs were clad

In steel leg-pieces, for he had

Already begun to arm. And now

Maids began to weep I avow.

The whole army went to view

That place where was heard anew

The clash of swords, the crackle

Of sparks as two helms did rattle,

And the sounds of many a blow.

King Gramoflanz had scorned to know

Single opponents in the field,

Yet now he felt that he must yield,

As if from the force of six, to one

Who gave him proof, ere he was done,

Of his fighting skill, and so taught

The King a lesson, which is thought

Of worth in our day, for thereafter

King Gramoflanz, despite his bluster,

Did never again presume the honour

Of challenging two men together;

One man, out there, is serving him

More than enough to vanquish him.

Meanwhile both the armies did reach

Their places on the meadow, and each

Gazed at, and judged this bitter game.

The warriors’ horses quietly came

To a standstill, while their riders fought

On foot, maintaining their onslaught;

And time and again, each man made

To turn his sword, and shift the blade.

In this manner, the King did stand

To win sore payment for his garland,

While this kinsman to his fair love

Itonje, brave Parzival, did prove

The recipient of but little joy,

Labouring in another’s employ,

And toiling for her, of whom, by right,

He should have won honour outright.

They who had oft much honour sought,

Now paid dearly for what they bought.

On behalf of his friend, one did fight,

The other Love’s subject as her knight.

Twas now that Gawain did appear,

As the crucial moment drew near,

For twas now the victory was all

But won by the Welshman, Parzival.

Also, Bernout de Rivieres,

Affinamus of Clitiers,

And Brandelidelin, those three,

(The latter King of Punturteis)

Rode bare-headed to the place,

While Arthur and Gawain did grace

The meadow on the other side,

And towards the weary pair did ride.

These five agreed to end the fight,

And then, the moment too seemed right

To Gramoflanz, who now did yield;

Thus, all concurred upon that field.

‘My lord King,’ said King Lot’s son,

‘Now I shall do as you have done,

And advise a short rest, as you

Advised me yesterday; you too

Should pause, I say, for you have need.

Whoe’er forced you to this, indeed

Sapped your strength to counter me,

And now I alone may seek to be

Your opponent; though you seek two

To fight ever, I’ll fight with you

Tomorrow, and may God make clear

Whose cause is just; let truth appear!’

Now, after stating that he would,

Come to the meadow and make good

His cause there, the King rode away,

And joined his followers. ‘Now, pray

Kinsman,’ thus did noble Arthur

Address Parzival, ‘though, earlier,

You begged leave to duel, and though

On seeking such, Gawain said no,

Did you not go from us like a thief,

To fight this man and, tis my belief,

Careless of whether we wished it so?

We should ne’er have let you go,

Had we but known; and yet Gawain

Need not be angry, I now maintain,

Though men will praise your victory.’

‘My kinsman’s fame ne’er troubles me,

Replied Gawain, ‘if I must appear

Tomorrow, the time is still too near,

While if the King were to excuse me,

I should think the man most kindly.’

Gramoflanz sends envoys and a letter to King Arthur

THE army returned in its companies,

There too were many lovely ladies,

And brave knights so caparisoned

No army was ever so well adorned.

The men of the Round Table there

Most glorious tabards did wear

Which like the fair Duchess’ train

Were rich, and woven in the main,

From cloth of gold of Cydinunte,

And fabric bought from Pelpiunte.

The horses’ trappings were ornate too.

Parzival was now praised all through

Both armies, and his friends pleased.

King Gramoflanz’ knights ne’er ceased

To claim, when all was said and done,

None was so splendid neath the sun,

So formidable, not e’en in story,

And that he alone should have the glory

Whate’er the deeds both sides begot.

And yet, even now, they knew not

Whom it was that was so acclaimed.

Now Gramoflanz’ people maintained

That he should send envoys to Arthur

Seeking assurance that no other

Of his company should seek to fight,

But that he’d send forth the knight,

With whom he wished to contend,

Gawain, Lot’s son, he did intend

To battle. Two pages, therefore,

Well versed in manners and lore,

Were sent as envoys to that king.

‘Attend, and judge who is most fair

Of all the ladies that you see there,’

Said King Gramoflanz, ‘use your wits,

Watch her beside whom Bene sits,

Note how she appears, most closely,

And whether she seems sad or happy.

You’ll see from her eyes, moreover,

Whether she’s pining for her lover.

Give my friend Bene this letter,

And this ring, and to no other;

She knows to whom they both must go,

Do all discreetly, discharge it so,

And you will have acted loyally.’

Arthur is apprised of Itonje’s love for King Gramoflanz

NOW, in the other camp, Itonje,

Had learnt that her own brother

And the dearest man that ever

A girl had taken to her heart,

Would fight, refusing to depart

From his pledge. Her suffering

Conquered reticence, deep feeling

Triumphed o’er modesty in this,

And whoe’er scorns her anguish

Does so without my concurrence,

Since she loved, in all innocence.

Itonje’s mother, the fair Sangive,

And her grandmother, wise Arnive,

Led her away to a silken tent,

Where Queen Arnive seemed intent

On reproaching her for her sad state,

Condemning her behaviour of late,

And since there seemed no way out

She confessed what she was about,

All she’d concealed from them so long.

‘My brother will do me great wrong,

Yet he’d have reason to refrain,

Did he but know,’ and she was fain

To speak of love; when she was done,

Arnive spoke: ‘Go, seek out my son,

And have him come alone,’ said she,

To a gentleman-in-waiting, and he

Duly went and fetched King Arthur.

She would speak of her granddaughter,
And let him know whom she pined for,

In the hope that he would deplore

Her plight, and so remove the cause.

Thus she addressed him, without pause.

It was then that Gramoflanz’ envoys

Arrived at the court, the two boys

Dismounting in the field, where one

Saw Bene near the pavilion,

A young lady, by her, asking

A question of the noble King:

‘Does the Duchess think it right

To have my brother slay outright

One who loves me, on a whim?
The deed must bring shame on him.

What wrong has he had of the king?

He should be gracious in this thing,

And, as I am his own dear sister,

Look upon the king with favour.

If my brother can feel at all,

He’ll see our love is true withal,

And if my brother is true to me

He’ll know tis no true chivalry

To seek my death, on the morrow,

Brought about by bitter sorrow.

Should he slay the king, let him be

Arraigned before you, instantly!’

Such was her complaint to Arthur:

‘You are my uncle, remember;

By the bond, then that unites us,

Halt what is most injurious.’

‘Alas!’ said Arthur, ‘that you reveal

Such noble love so young, and feel

For him so, dear niece,’ full wise

In experience, he added, ‘likewise,

The fair Surdamur, your sister,

Loved the Emperor Alexander

And rued her love, as you shall too.

And yet, sweet girl, if I but knew

That his heart and yours were one,

I’d end this duel, and have done.

Gramoflanz, son of Irot, he

Is of such a nature I foresee

This duel must be fought indeed,

Unless your love forestalls the deed.

Has he, at some feast or other,

Set his eyes on you, this lover?’

‘Never; though we love each other,

We have ne’er seen one another.

But of true love, and affection,

He has sent me many a token.

For my part, he has but received

All that is true love, undeceived,

Banishing all doubt between us.

The King is constant and serious

In his attachment, all this while,

And his kind heart is free of guile.’

King Gramoflanz’ envoys deliver his letter

BENE who seemingly had caught

Sight of the king’s envoys who sought

Audience with King Arthur, now said:

‘None should be standing there, instead,

By your leave, I shall order those two

To withdraw themselves from our view.

If my lady is moved so to lament

And with such passionate intent,

And doth not soon her rank recall,

Twill be the common talk of all.’

Lay Bene was sent forth by the King.

One of the pages pressed the ring,

With the letter, into her hand.

They’d heard, from where they did stand,

The anguish her mistress did express.

They said they were there to address

King Arthur, if she’d seek audience.

‘Wait there then, till I fetch you thence,’

She said, and, once within the tent,

Reported the messengers’ intent:

‘I wish to prevent their watching,

Or hearing aught we are saying,

For otherwise one well might ask:

Why I am making it my task

To show my lady to them, in tears;

What grudge of mine thereby appears?

‘Are those two lads,’ declared the King

That I saw riding towards the ring,

In search of me? Well, they are both

Of high birth, I am nothing loth

To having them share our counsel,

For both the lads will speak well.

Both are well-bred and courteous.

One or the other is full curious

Enough not to have thus ignored

The signs of her love for their lord.’

‘I know naught of that,’ she replied,

‘By your leave, the king’s supplied

This ring, and letter; one of them

Handed me both, as I spoke to them

There, outside. Take them, my lady!’

The letter was kissed, fulsomely,

Then pressed to her heart. Itonje cried:

‘Sire, read for yourself, here inside,

Whether the King loves me or not!’

Arthur reads the letter and speaks to the envoys

ARTHUR viewed it thus, on the spot,

And found what Gramoflanz, who knew

What it is to love, had spoken through

His own lips, as if he’d been there.

Arthur could see that all seemed fair,

And, as far as his knowledge went,

That he’d ne’er seen a more innocent

Expression of love, nor so complete.

With most fitting words he did meet:

‘I now salute her,’ the missive read,

‘Whom I should salute, for service led

To my obtaining salute from her.

Young lady, to you I now refer,

Since with hope you solace me.

And our two loves keep company,

Which is the source of all my joy.

Since your heart doth ever employ

Itself in constancy, your lover

Finds solace here beyond all other.

You are a seal on my faithfulness,

The banisher of my woes, no less.

Your love ensures that no misdeed

Will ever be seen in me, indeed

Your goodness speaks of loyalty

That never alters; our constancy

Is like to that of the Southern Pole,

That opposite the North Star holds

Its station, neither quits its place,

And our loves stand thus, face to face,

Never, through faithfulness, to part.

Now young lady, consult your heart,

Remember me, and the suffering

I have felt for you; in this thing

Be swift to aid me; if any man

Seeks to part us, should hate demand

He does so, then bear this in mind,

Love has the power to be kind,

And so, requite us, and take care

Lest womanly honour in this affair

You might wound, and let me be

Your servant, best as I may be.’

‘You are right,’ said Arthur, ‘the King

Salutes you honestly; with the ring,

This letter tells me such a tale,

I confess none did e’er regale

Me with so fine an invention

On the theme of Love’s affection.

Keep him from suffering pain anew,

And he must do the same for you.

Leave this to me. The duel I’ll halt.

Cease your tears, and their sharp assault,

Though you’re indeed a prisoner!

Whence came this love for each other?
You must pay him your love as hire,

Since service is what he doth desire.’

‘She who brought it about is here,’

Itonje said, ‘though none did hear

Of the matter; if you wish it, she

Will now arrange for me to see

Him to whom I give my heart.’

‘Show her;’ said Arthur, ‘for my part,

If I am able to, for your sake

And his, fair efforts I shall make,

And shall ensure that your fond wish

Is fulfilled, entirely, in this,

And you find happiness, together.’

‘Twas Bene,’ she said, ‘none other.

His two envoys are here as well,

If you value my life, have them tell

Whether the King, with whom truly

My happiness rests, would see me?’

As discreet as he was courteous,

King Arthur went forth, and thus

Finding the lads, welcomed them there.

The one addressed him then, with care:

‘Sire, King Gramoflanz,’ said the boy,

‘Asks, of your honour, that you employ

Your good offices, to maintain

The pledge twixt him and Lord Gawain.

And he requests that no other knight

Should appear, to contest the fight.

Your army is so vast that should he

Have to face them all, twould not be

Right or proper. Let Lord Gawain,

Alone, the honour of this maintain

For twas agreed, between the two,

That the duel was theirs to pursue.’

‘I’ll clear us of accusation there,’

Said Arthur, ‘for never, I may swear,

Was my nephew sorrier that he

Fought not that joust personally.

As for the knight who met your lord

His victory, that all men applaud,

Is in his nature, as Gahmuret’s son.

In these three armies there is none

Knows of a warrior more skilful,

Nor of one so brave in battle.

All that he does is glorious, all!

I speak of my kinsman Parzival,

Of the fair looks, whom you shall see.

In light of the oath, of chivalry,

I shall comply with the request.’

King Arthur seeks a meeting with Gramoflanz

HE and Bene, and, at his behest,

The two pages, rode all about,

While Arthur gladly pointed out

The various lovely ladies there.

They saw too, that dazzled pair,

Many a crest fluttering on high,

On burnished helm, against the sky;

(Nor would it harm a lord today

To behave in as generous a way.)

They all rode around, while Arthur

Named for them many a warrior,

While they took their fill of gazing

At the knights, and the pleasing

Faces of the maids and ladies,

A host of these, and many beauties.

The army was encamped in three

Sections, and with a space left free

Between each one, and King Arthur

Rode with the two envoys further

Into the meadow, away from there,

Then, privately, addressed the pair:

‘Bene, sweet girl, of fair Itonje,

A sorry tale it was she told me!

She could scarcely contain her tears.

You two will understand my fears

If I say that Gramoflanz has all

But quenched her bright eyes, withal.

Now aid me you two, Bene as well,

And have the King these fears dispel,

By riding to meet me here, today;

Tomorrow let him fight as he may.

I’ll have Gawain at my elbow,

To greet the King in the meadow.

And if he rides through my army

Today, he’ll win the greater glory

Tomorrow, mighty Love will yield

Him a brave weapon and a shield,

Which his opponent will be glad

To be quit of, the strength to be had,

I mean, from Love’s inspiration,

That in many a confrontation

With the foe, wreaks such dismay.

Let him bring his courtiers, I say,

I’ll reconcile the Duchess to him

And he to her; now go to him,

Work discreetly to serve our ends,

You’ll garner great credit, my friends.

And yet I must complain to you,

What, to your king, did Arthur do,

That he should treat my family

To this war of love and enmity,

(For such this odd tangle seems)

As though but a trifle he deems

All this? My peers should surely

See fit to treat me courteously?

If he should reward her brother

With hatred, yet seek to love her,

He needs but pause to realise

That when his own heart so defies

Generous thought, then it doth prove

Naught but a traitor to true Love.’

‘Indeed, if courtesy he’d sustain’

A page replied, ‘he should refrain

From that, Sire, which troubles you.

There is the old quarrel, in view

Of which it might prove better

If my lord waits at a distance, rather

Than riding here to meet with you.

Duchess Orgeluse doth still pursue

Her feud with him, yet complaining,

To all she speaks with, of the king.

‘Let him come here, with but a few,’

Answered Arthur, ‘let me review

The matter with her, and I’ll seek

A truce, ere he and I shall speak.

I’ll grant him a fitting escort,

My nephew Beacurs, from my court

Shall ride to welcome him mid-way.

He shall have safe passage this day,

Nor should think it any dishonour;

For I shall show him every favour,

And he shall meet with many a peer.’

King Gramoflanz rides to Arthur’s court

THE envoys took their leave, I hear,

Leaving the King alone in the field,

Thinking on how all might be healed.

Lady Bene rode with the pair

To Rosche Sabins and on, through there,

To Gramoflanz camp, on the far side.

He was well-pleased, as they replied

To his questions, and thought their news

Of Fortune’s making, nor could refuse

The suggestion, once they’d spoken.

His companions, were thus chosen:

Three princes rode forth with the King,

His maternal uncle too did bring

Three likewise, Brandelidelin

The King of Punturteis I mean;

Bernout de Rivieres was seen

To join the King, and Affinamus

Of Clitiers, he most courteous,

And these latter each took one

True and loyal companion;

So that they made twelve in all.

Gentlemen in waiting, withal,

A crowd of them, and then a host

Of men-at-arms, that ride did boast.

And the clothes they wore? I’m told

They were brocades, bright with gold.

The King’s falconer rode at his side,

Ready for sport, while they did ride.

For his part, Arthur sent, that day,

Beacurs to meet the King mid-way.

Now o’er the wide space of meadow

Where’er a path he could follow,

Through marsh and brook, rode the King

In pursuit of game, yet ever yearning

For his love. Beacurs met him there,

And their greeting was a glad affair.

Nigh on fifty handsome pages too

Had ridden with Beacurs, in review,

Young counts and dukes, of high race,

While princes too the field did grace,

And all exchanged courteous greeting

Fair salutation upon meeting,

And made acquaintance cheerfully,

In a spirit of true amity.

Beacurs was of handsome visage,

And the King questioned a page

As to who this fair knight might be.

‘King Lot’s son, Beacurs, that is he,’

Bene replied, for she was there.

The King mused: ‘Heart, go with care,

And find the maiden who, I deem,

An image of this youth doth seem.

She sent the hat from Sinzester,
With the hawk, and is his sister.

If she showed me further favour,

Above Earth’s riches I’d prize her,

Were Earth twice its present size.

Her love must be sincere, while I

Come here in hopes of her mercy.

Till now she has encouraged me.

That being so, I’m sure that she

Will rouse my spirits, lovingly.’

Her handsome brother he now took

The king by the hand; each man shook

The other’s, both were fine and white.

He meets with Arthur

NOW, to King Arthur’s great delight,

Free of any great show of might,

He had obtained a truce outright

From Orgeluse, who felt, at last,

That for the loss of Cidegast

She had received due recompense.

Despite a sorrow so intense

It troubled her yet, her anger

Occupied her mind no longer,

For with Gawain’s embraces, she

Was less inclined to enmity.

Arthur thus led courtly ladies,

All fresh and lovely beauties,

Wed and unwed, to a rich tent;

A hundred, in all, therein went.

To Itonje, naught could be sweeter,

As she sat there than to see her

Lover; she was, therefore, happy,

Yet one might read, in her lovely

Eyes, that Love still tormented her.

A host of knights were gathered there,

Though Parzival outshone them all.

King Gramoflanz came there, withal.

That fearless monarch wore brocade,

In Gampfassasche his coat was made,

Threaded with gold that shed its rays

Far and wide, and dazzled their gaze.

Arriving, his company dismounted,

Pages, too many to be counted,

Ran ahead and entered the tent;

The chamberlains, with firm intent,

Cleared a path towards the Queen.

King Brandelidelin was seen

To enter the pavilion before

His nephew and as all there saw

Was greeted by Queen Guinevere

With a kiss, and then she did share

The same with King Gramoflanz,

Count Bernout, as he did advance,

And Affinamus. Then King Arthur,

Turned to Gramoflanz: ‘Ere ever

You think of seating yourself here,

Look about, since there may appear

To be some lady that you prefer,

And well, you have leave to kiss her.’

The king out in the meadows there,

Had seen one who did thus prepare

His eyes to recognise his lover;

I refer to that handsome brother

Of one who had declared her love

As his, for all the world did prove

Lesser than he, in her bright eyes.

King Gramoflanz could thus surmise

Where the one who loved him sat,

And his happiness soared, in that

Arthur had allowed them to meet,

And, with a kiss, each other greet.

Upon the lips, he kissed Itonje.

Brandelidelin, readily,

Sat him down by Queen Guinevere,

While King Gramoflanz sat near

The girl whose bright face, I fear,

Was suffused with many a tear,

Till now, this was all, in a sense,

She’d had of him; her innocence

Were punished if he said naught,

But simply sat by her in thought.

He must speak, and pledge to serve

Her, and then he might deserve

Her thanks for his coming there.

Yet naught issued from the pair.

The two seemed content to gaze.

If I should catch what either says

I’ll examine what this may mean;

If a ‘no’ or ‘yes’ one can glean.

Arthur and Brandelidelin forge a reconciliation

With a ‘Now you’ve had time to say

A word to my wife, come this way,’

Arthur led Brandelidelin

To a small tent, and so within,

While at his request the King

And his companions, sitting

Amidst the ladies, thus remained,

And not one of them complained,

Of being left among the fair.

The pleasure they all garnered there,

Dazed by beauty, on every hand,

Was such as might content a man

That sought comfort for his woes.

Drink was brought, and I suppose

If the knights and the ladies there,

With the Queen, all drank their share,

A better colour they had to show,

For it. Now cup-bearers did go

To Arthur and Brandelidelin,

And as they departed, the King

Began: ‘What if it did ensue

That your nephew my nephew slew;

If he wished, my friend, to offer

Himself as suitor to his lover,

My young niece, who tells her woes

To him o’er there, as I suppose,

She, if she had her wits about her,

Would never see him as a suitor,

And then, as far as that may be,

His deeds had bred her enmity.

Where hatred seeks to play a part,

Then joy must flee the loving heart.’

He turned to the lord at his side,

And he of Punturteis replied:
‘These maternal nephews rather,

May end this, with equal honour,

For you and I must ban this fight,

And then ensure that each knight

Shall not now from the other part

Without taking him to his heart.

Your niece Itonje must command

My nephew, first, to stay his hand,

And waive the duel for her sake,

For life and love are here at stake;

Then all the danger will be o’er.

Help you the Duchess to ignore

Any feelings she harbours still,

And regain for him her good will.’

‘All this,’ said Arthur, ‘I shall do.

Gawain, my nephew, he too

Has such authority with her

That to us both she will defer,

Over this matter we’ll preside;

You must resolve it on your side.’

‘I shall,’ said Brandelidelin,

And then the pair returned within

The great pavilion, and there

The King of Punturteis did share

A place again nigh Guinevere,

And Parzival who did appear,

No less fair, on her other side,

No finer a man had any eyed.

Then Arthur sought my Lord Gawain,

Who knew already, as twas plain,

That King Gramoflanz had come,

And next saw Arthur riding from

His pavilion, then dismounting,

So, he ran out to greet the King.

They found the Duchess would agree

To reconciliation, yet she

Set out her terms, that for her sake

Her beloved Gawain must make

Peace, and cease to seek this fight,

And that Gramoflanz must, outright,

Withdraw the charge against King Lot;

The whole matter must be forgot,

And he must let the garland go.

She asked Arthur to tell him so,

And Arthur, that sagacious man,

Departed, to consider his plan.

Whatever hatred Gramoflanz

Still harboured, in this instance,

For King Lot, had melted away,

As snow does in the heat of day,

Without his resenting a thing.

He’d quenched his hatred of that king

For fair Itonje’s sake, since she,

As he sat by her, made him agree,

To all she asked! And now they saw

Gawain approach, with many more

From out that glittering company,

Nor could I name that host, truly,

Or say whence all their titles came.

Now all ill-feeling, and all blame,

Was laid aside, for affection’s sake.

Peace is achieved

PROUD Orgeluse her way did make,

To the pavilion, without pause,

With her mercenaries and Clinschor’s

Squadron, a part though, not the whole,

And there the sides from pole to pole

Of that tent had been drawn aside,

Beneath its roof, and naught did hide.

Arthur had asked the wise Arnive,

And her daughter the fair Sangive,

And her daughter Condrie to attend

The solemn scene which would end

All conflict, and let those who feel

This to be trifling, let them reveal

Their news of a finer occasion.

Jofreit, Lord Gawain’s companion,

Led Duchess Orgeluse by the hand

Towards the tent where she did stand,

And a noble courtesy rehearsed

As the three queens entered first.

Brandelidelin at this,

Greeted each one with a kiss,

The Duchess kissing him in turn,

While Gramoflanz, hoping to earn

Her goodwill, now approached her

To make peace, and she did offer

Him a kiss (thus to mark the peace)

From her sweet lips, yet did not cease

To mourn the death of Cidegast,
And felt the urge to weep at last.

Even now her womanly grief

Compelled her to seek relief

In tears, and to mourn that kiss.

Call it loyalty, if you wish.

Gawain and Gramoflanz, also,

Set their own seal upon it so,

With a kiss, and then King Arthur

Acting as if for Lot her father,

Gave his niece to Gramoflanz,

In marriage; not a circumstance

That he was unaccustomed to,

Though delighting Bene anew.

Condrie too was married within,

To Lischois, Duke of Gowerzin,

Whose fond love for her had brought

Him many a fierce pang unsought;

His life was devoid of happiness

Till he found joy in that princess.

Arthur gave Sangive, Lot’s widow,

To the Turkoyt, Florant, also,

And that prince took her most gladly,

As a gift to cherish wholly.

The King was generous in that way,

In giving lovely ladies away;

He never wearied of doing so!

(All was agreed beforehand though)

Gramoflanz and Itonje are wed

ONCE all was settled, Orgeluse

Announced that my Lord Gawain, whose

Service, for love of her, had won

Him great acclaim and distinction,

Was the rightful lord of her lands

And person, saddening many a man

That, as knight-servitor, had sought

Her love, and many a contest fought.

Gawain, with his noble company,

Arnive, the Duchess, and a bevy

Of lovely ladies, and Parzival,

And Sangive and Condrie, these all

Took their leave, while fair Itonje

Stayed with Arthur. Let nobody

Boast of a finer wedding feast!

The Queen, Guinevere, was pleased

To grant Itonje, moreover,

And King Gramoflanz, her lover,

(Who, by love and loyalty moved,

His true distinction had proved),

All her aid, and her attention.

Many a knight, I might mention,

Went to his quarters, wholly

Smitten by love of some fair lady.

And thus, I need speak no further

Of the substance of that supper,

For all those who loved outright

Wished only that day were night.

King Gramoflanz, spurred on by pride,

Despatched a messenger, to ride

To Rosche Sabins, where his army

Was now encamped, beside the sea,

Instructing them to join him, all,

Ere dawn broke, and his Marshal

To seek a proper gathering place,

And then prepare the site apace.

‘See that it speaks magnificence,

Each prince with his own ring of tents.’

He wished to make a great display.

The man set out as day gave way

To darkness, when many a knight

Found himself in a sorry plight

Brought about by some woman,

For when one’s service as a man

Comes to naught, one rapidly

Succumbs to pain and misery,

Unless that woman grants her aid,

Rewards the efforts one has made.

Parzival departs Arthur’s encampment

AS to Parzival, he thought only

Of Condwiramurs, his lovely

Wife, her charms, her modesty,

For deep within his heart was she.

Might he take up with another,

For such love, his service offer,

Pursue the path of faithlessness?

Such a love he’ll ne’er address.

His manly person and true heart

Have ever played the honest part,

Maintained by loyalty, and so

No other will he seek to know

But Condwiramurs, the fairest

Flower with which Earth is blessed.

‘How Love has treated me,’ he thought,

‘Since first the realm of Love I sought!

Of Love’s true lineage am I,

How then can Love be lost thereby?

If I must strive to win the Grail,

And yet my love for her prevail,

Challenged must I forever be.

If my eyes yield delight for me,

While my sad heart speaks of woe,

They shall oppose each other so.

None win joy in such a manner.

Fortune guide me in the matter!’

Nearby his armour lay. ‘Since I,

Lack what the joyful own, and by

That I mean Love which sets aright

A man’s sad thoughts and brings delight,

Since I am denied my part in such,

I care not what happens, overmuch.

God does not will my happiness.

If our love, mine, and hers no less,

That drives me to languish for her,

Proved a bond that fate might sever,

One plagued by doubt and despair,

For another love I might prepare.

But this, the love that she inspires,

Parts me from other love, aspires

To no other hopes of happiness,

For no other love may I address.

No escape shall I find from woe.

May Fortune to those others though

Grant the joy that they long for,

True and lasting. May God secure

Joy for all those fair companies!

I from amidst the joys that please,

Shall ride.’ He reached for his armour,

Not needing aid from any other,

And soon encased himself. For now

A fresh field of toil he’d plough.

And when that man, forsaking joy,

Was fully clad, he did employ

His own hands saddling his horse.

He found his shield, and in due course

The knight took up his lance. His riding

Forth so early in the morning,

Would be lamented thereabout.

Day was breaking, as he set out.

End of Book XIV of Parzival