When Marke's festival was past and the company had all dispersed, the news came to Marke that an enemy, a king, had come riding into his land with such a powerful following that unless defense were quickly made the invader soon would overrun everything in his path. Acting within the hour, Marke summoned a mighty army and rode against him in full strength. The fight was hard, yet Marke won, killing and capturing so many men that any who came through it whole well might call himself blessed. But there the noble Riwalin had taken a spear thrust in the side so deep, a wound so severe, that his own men immediately carried him off, with much lament, thinking him as good as dead, back to camp at Tintajel. There they laid him, to wait for death. Quickly the news spread that Canelengres had taken his death wound in the fight. Loud was the clamor of lament throughout the court and all the land. Those who knew his true worth felt keen sorrow at his fate. They regretted that his excellence, 1150 his strong body, his sweet youth, his much-admired lordly virtues had been so prematurely lost and come to so untimely an end. Marke, in true friendship, felt such a weight of mourning for him as never for another person ever had afflicted him. And many a noble woman wept, many a lady mourned for him, and even those who had but met him were deeply touched by his misfortune. But among all who sorrowed for him and his downfall, always there was one, his Blanscheflur, the constant, the courtly, the pure, who most unswervingly both with her eyes and heart wept out her heart's pain with heavy grief and tears. And when solitude provided space enough for such mourning, she turned her hands against herself— ever again, a thousand times, she struck herself, always there where her heart lay beneath— there she kept raining blows. In this way did the lovely woman torment her young, beautiful body. Compelled by such misery, she would have welcomed some other death than that which came of such desire, in place of the life she now lived, and indeed she would have died of agony so great, except for one anticipation and a single prospect that bore her up, that she would see him once more however she could manage it, and after she had seen him, whatever might be her fate, then she would accept it all. This thought made living bearable until she recovered her senses enough to take into consideration how she might get to see him, as her suffering compelled her. In this state of mind she thought of a schoolmistress 1200 who at all times and everywhere instructed her and cared for her and never left her unattended. This woman she took aside and went where the two of them could be alone, and poured out her grief to her, as ever those have done and do who are in such trouble as she was now. Tears overflowed her eyes, and fell in hot streams thick and unceasingly over her burning cheek. Folding her hands in supplication she held them up imploringly: "Ah, ah, my life," she cried, "Ah," she groaned, "Ah, my life! Ah, my much-beloved mistress, show me now your loyalty, so generous and admirable! Entrusted as you rightly are with everything I am and know, I now depend on your support— to you I bare my heart's distress, by all your goodness and sympathy— help me, help me, or I'm lost!" "My lady, what is this?" she said, "what's causing you such misery?" "Ah, dare I tell you such a secret?" "Of course, dear lady, tell me all!" "A dead man is killing me, This Riwalin of Parmenie— If it could be, I've got to see him, if only I knew how to do it before he's dead and gone forever, because he can't recover now! Find a way to help me do it and I'll never refuse you anything, as long as I live and still draw breath!" The mistress thought the matter over— "If I can manage it, why not? What could possibly be the harm? We have here a half-dead man, tomorrow he'll be dead, or soon. I will at least have helped preserve my lady's life and name. Surely she won't forget, and I'll always be in her good graces! Dear lady," she said, "my precious one, your sorrow strikes me to the heart. Whatever I can do for you 1250 to ease your troubles, upon my life, I'll do. You can depend on that. I'll go down there now, myself, and see him, and come right back to you. I'll look the situation over, find out where they're keeping him, and see who's watching over him." So she came to where he was, saying she wished to mourn for him, and managed to let him know in secret that her lady wanted to see him, and asked him to arrange for it suitably and properly. Then she took her leave, and returned to tell her lady of this appointment. She took the girl and dressed her carefully in a beggarwoman's clothes. The great beauty of her face she hid beneath a heavy veil, and taking her lady by the hand led her in to Riwalin. Meanwhile he had dismissed all of his attendants and lay there now alone, having told them as an excuse that his only comfort was solitude. And the mistress played her part, saying she brought a physician, and persuaded them to let her in. Then she drew the bolt on the door. "My lady," she said, "there he is." And she, the lovely one, approached, and looked at him, face to face. "Ah," she cried, "evermore, woe to me, that I was born! I have lost everything!" Riwalin tried to bow, as best as might be expected of a mortally wounded man. She paid no attention to that, hardly even noticing, but sat beside him, as though blind, and on Riwalin's cheek she laid her own, until, gradually, from love as well as grief, her life's strength was weakened and sapped: the redness of her mouth turned pale, her body lost entirely the healthy glow of color 1300 that was her usual, warm complexion; to her clear eyes the light of day grew as gloomy and dark as night. There she remained lying, helpless and senseless, her cheek against his cheek, exactly as though she were dead. When at last she stirred slightly and began to recover a little strength, she took her lover in her arms and laid her mouth against his own and kissed him a hundred thousand times in no more than a moment until her mouth aroused him to the full strength of desire, for desire was there in it-- her mouth filled him with delight, her mouth gave to him the force to press the magnificent woman against his own half-dead body very close and tenderly. It wasn't long afterward that he and she both had their way and the very lovely girl conceived the child of his body. From this woman and from such desire he was very nearly dead, and had God not helped him in his need, by no means could he have survived, but he lived, for so it was to be. So Riwalin did recover, and the lovely Blanscheflur was both unladen and yet laden of her heart's heavy burden— relieved of pain for the man, she carried yet a greater one. She lost the yearning from her heart but from it came away with death. Freed from pain when desire receded, with the child she conceived death. And no matter how she came through it, and however now she might be both unladen of him, and yet laden with delight as well as harm, still all she saw, when she looked, was the love of loving, and beloved man. Neither child nor death's disaster entered her mind or her life. All she knew was love and man and acted as a lover should 1350 and as lovers always do; her heart, her mind, her yearning thoughts dwelt only on Riwalin. And his dwelt in return on her and on her love. Both their thoughts were filled with one love and one desire; so he and she were one and the same, he was hers, and she was his, there Blanscheflur, there Riwalin, there Riwalin, there Blanscheflur, where both were, there loyal amour. Now their lives were lived in common, with one another they were happy and raised each other's spirits with all they shared between themselves. And whenever circumstances allowed them to be together, then their earthly joy was full, then their pleasure was so complete that they would not have exchanged their lives for any other paradise.
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