But this did not last long, for hardly had they started a life at its best, afloat on every wish, when a message came for Riwalin that his old enemy Morgan had attacked his land with a strong following. At this news, immediately a ship was prepared for Riwalin and all his equipment put aboard, food and horses, everything was quickly readied for the voyage. When the lovely Blanscheflur learned of these unwelcome tidings that concerned the man she loved so much, at first she was troubled and downcast. Again she knew such heartache now that she hardly was able to hear or see. Now again her complexion became as pale as death. From her mouth nothing was heard but the one anguished word, "alas!" That was all she ever spoke. "Alas!" and always again, "alas! Alas desire, alas man, how you now have borne me down with such a burden of trouble! Love's desire, curse of the world, 1400 the pleasure you give is so brief, so fickle are you, so inconstant, why does the world run after you? I see well how you reward us all with unrestrained treachery. What you give in the end is not so fine as what you promise us at the start, when first you charm us, then torment us with brief pleasure and long pain. Your phantom deceitfulness that falsely seems so sweet at first, deludes us all, all the earth— of that I'm now the perfect example. That which was to be my joy, that has only given me a death-wound in the heart. The one I rely on is leaving me!" Her lament was interrupted by her lover Riwalin, who came to her with heavy heart to say farewell and take his leave. "My lady," he said, "dismiss me now. I must return to my own country— may God preserve and keep you, my lovely, in happiness and good health!" And again her senses left her, again from agony of heart because of him she fell unconscious in her schoolmistress' lap. When her loyal companion in yearning saw what great consternation his words had caused his heart's delight, he was likewise so affected, for he partook of her yearning pain in deepest sympathy with her. His color drained, his strength began to ebb from his body. In this great sadness he sat down quietly next to her, and even before she had quite recovered to some degree from her faint, he gathered her into his arms and embraced the disconsolate woman tenderly, and hugged her close, and kissed her many, many times, her cheeks, her eyes, and her mouth, and tried to comfort her until, after some time, little by little she came to herself, and sat up, there before him. 1450 Now Blanscheflur was herself again, and again she saw her lover there, and looked at him in agony. "Alas," she said, "blessed man, how I've suffered because of you! Since I laid eyes on you, my master, how many a heartache I have suffered, and bear them still in my heart, and all for you, because of you! If, without offending you, I might venture to say so, I wish you would act more kindly toward me. My master and lover, for you I've taken many a hurt, but above all, three that can't be changed, and could be fatal: first of all, I bear a child, whose birth will be the death of me unless God comes to my assistance. Another is even worse: my brother, who is indeed my lord— when he finds out what's befallen me and realizes his own dishonor, he'll have me done away with and put to death in disgrace. The third, however, hurts the most, and is more bitter than death itself: I know surely, it could happen that my brother lets me live and doesn't have me put to death, but disinherits me instead, takes both my goods and honor— leaving me permanently of no worth or reputation. Furthermore, I must raise my child, that does have a living father, without that father's counsel and help. But still in all, I wouldn't complain if I alone bore the disgrace, could only my own noble lineage, along with my brother, the king, be rid of both the scandal and of me as well. But when everybody, everywhere, is spreading the tale of what I did— got with child although unwed— that's going to be for two whole kingdoms, Curnewal and Engelant both, a public degradation. And woe to me, if that's what happens— I'll have to see it in everyone's eyes— 1500 that two great lands, on my account, have been demeaned and put to shame. I would be better off dead. You see," she said, "this is my sorrow, that will be my heart's lament with which for all the rest of my days I must live a living death. If, my lord, you do not help me, and unless God brings it about, never again will I know joy."
"My cherished lady," he replied, "if I have caused you any sorrow, I will atone for it, if I can, and swear that from this day forward that never again on my account shall you be caused disgrace or pain. No matter what happens from now on, such delight have I known with you that it would be most unjust if ever for my sake you should bear any trouble. My lady, I will tell you truly what I feel in my heart and mind: sorrow and joy, the bad and the good, everything that may befall you, from that I will not stand apart. I will always be there with you, however difficult things may be. And now I leave it up to you— let your heart make the choice, whether I go, or remain here. Think it over for yourself. If you wish me to stay and see how things go with you, so be it. Or if you would consent to leave, and travel home with me, I myself, and all I own will always be at your disposal. You have treated me here so well that I'm obliged to return the favor as fully as I can. Whatever you decide, my lady, give me your command, for your wish is also mine." "Bless you, my lord," she replied, "You are so generous with me— may God reward you for it— I should be at your feet in gratitude ever more. My lover and master, well you know 1550 there can be no thought of my staying here. Unfortunately, I can't conceal the affliction I bear with my child. If I could get away in secret— that would be the best solution for the situation as it is. My sweet master, what's your advice?" "My lady," he said, "follow me. Tonight when I go on board the ship, contrive to be there already without anyone else's knowing. Meanwhile I'll be taking my leave, and then I'll find you there with my own followers. That's how to do it. It's the only way." When they had spoken, Riwalin went to Marke and told him the news he had received from his own country of the trouble brought on his people there. He bade the king a quick farewell, then also the royal company. They all raised such a cry of regret as he had never heard before on his account, nor would hear since. Many blessings were wished upon him, that God might guard his honor and life and keep him in divine protection. Now as evening began to fall, he went to his ship in the harbor. Taking all his things on board, he found his lady already there, the lovely Blanscheflur. At once the ship set sail and put to sea, and thus they started on their voyage. Now when Riwalin reached port and learned of the great oppression wrought by Morgan on his land and people with the power of superior forces, he sent immediately for his marshal, whose loyalty he knew, in whom he put full confidence. To him he had given authority over all, in his own absence. This was Rual li foitenant, trustworthiness personified, who never lapsed in faithfulness. The marshal told him everything, as he knew only too well, of the heavy load of affliction that had fallen upon the country. 1600 "But now that you have come," he said, "and just in time, to stand by us— God himself has sent you back— we have the cure for all these troubles and we'll come through this mess all right. Now we'll be in high spirits and stop being so afraid." Riwalin related in turn his own sweet adventure concerning his Blascheflur. This pleased the marshal no end. "Well do I see, my lord," he said, "how your honor continues to grow, your reputation and worthiness, your happiness and zest for life— they're all rising, like the sun. Nowhere on the earth will you find another woman to bring you such a name as hers. Therefore, my lord, here's my advice: since she has treated you so well, you should make it up to her. Once we've finished with this business— thrown off the persecution that lies so heavy on our backs— at once proclaim a festival, as rich as your high station, and there take her in public to wife, before your men and family. Furthermore, I advise you to affirm this deed in church beforehand, for clergy and lay alike to see, in accord with Christian custom. Not only for the good of your soul— you can believe me when I say that all your affairs, from then on, will surely prosper so much the better." And that is how it was accomplished. He did everything Rual suggested, and when he had taken her in marriage, he gave her, from hand to hand, into Rual's keeping. The marshal took her to Canoel, into that same castle from which his master, as I have read, bore his name, Canelengres— Canel is derived from Canoel. In that same castle Rual's own wife lived, a woman, who with heart and soul 1650 and womanly devotion had accepted that way of life. To her Rual commended his mistress and furnished her with every comfort befitting her noble name and station. Then he went back to his lord. The two of them conferred at length about the main problems that confronted them immediately. They sent messengers throughout the land calling the company of knights together. All their power and resources were diverted now to defense. And so with the army thus formed they rode to confront Morgan. They quickly found they had been expected by Morgan and his men: their reception for Riwalin was a hard-fought battle. Ho, how many a stout fighter fell there, or was put to rout! How little mercy they showed each other! How many a man was hard pressed and how many more lay dead on the field or wounded, on this side and that! In this fatal war of defense fell one most worthy of lament, one that all the world should grieve, if there were any use in grieving after death. The good Canelengres, who never gave an inch when knightly spirit or rulership were put hard to the test, now lay there dead. Even in the thick of the fight his loyal men covered him and managed to bring his body out. With deepest grief they bore him away and buried him as a man who took with himself no less and no more than the honor of all of them into the grave.
|Next Episode||Index of Episodes|