corner at the lovers Tristan and Isolde. Mark plays a significant role in this story. The painting is named. 'The End Song' and was created by Edmund Leighton. Project Gutenberg's The Romance Of Tristan And Iseult, by M. Joseph Bedier This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. Download The Romance Of Tristan And Iseult free in PDF & EPUB format. Download Joseph Bédier's The Romance Of Tristan And Iseult for.
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Project Gutenberg's The Romance Of Tristan And Iseult, by M. Joseph Bdier This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. begins with Iseult's arrival at the tryst under the pine-tree, and King Mark and Iseult the Fair were seated at chess. Tristram LAI DE LA FOLIE TRISTAN .
An old man said to her: Twenty knights and tried have run the venture, because the King of Ireland has published it that he will give his daughter, Iseult the Fair, to whomsoever shall kill the beast; but it has devoured them all. Come swiftly and take your vengeance. Then Iseult bowed to her father and said: Surely they that gave her up brought mourning on us all--our curses on them! And well I know their names: For now I know that she will come to me.
Gorvenal indeed, snatching up an oak sapling, crashed it on Ivan's head till his blood ran down to his misshapen feet. Then Tristan took the Queen. Henceforth near him she felt no further evil. He cut the cords that bound her arms so straightly, and he left the plain so that they plunged into the wood of Morois; and there in the thick wood Tristan was as sure as in a castle keep.
And as the sun fell they halted all three at the foot of a little hill: But in the morning, Gorvenal stole from a wood man his bow and two good arrows plumed and barbed, and gave them to Tristan, the great archer, and he shot him a fawn and killed it.
Then Gorvenal gathered dry twigs, struck flint, and lit a great fire to cook the venison. And Tristan cut him branches and made a hut and garnished it with leaves.
And Iseult slept upon the thick leaves there. So, in the depths of the wild wood began for the lovers that savage life which yet they loved very soon. They ate but the flesh of wild animals. Their faces sank and grew white, their clothes ragged; for the briars tore them. They loved each other and they did not know that they suffered. One day, as they were wandering in these high woods that had never yet been felled or ordered, they came upon the hermitage of Ogrin.
The old man limped in the sunlight under a light growth of maples near his chapel: The King has published a ban in every parish: Whosoever may seize you shall receive a hundred marks of gold for his guerdon, and all the barons have sworn to give you up alive or dead. Do penance, Tristan! God pardons the sinner who turns to repentance. Or of what crime? You that sit in judgment upon us here, do you know what cup it was we drank upon the high sea? That good, great draught inebriates us both.
I would rather beg my life long and live of roots and herbs with Iseult than, lacking her, be king of a wide kingdom.
A man that is traitor to his lord is worthy to be torn by horses and burnt upon the faggot, and wherever his ashes fall no grass shall grow and all tillage is waste, and the trees and the green things die.
Lord Tristan, give back the Queen to the man who espoused her lawfully according to the laws of Rome. From these lepers I myself conquered her with my own hand; and henceforth she is altogether mine. She cannot pass from me nor I from her. The hermit told her and re-told her the words of his holy book, but still while she wept she shook her head, and refused the faith he offered.
Do penance, Tristan, for a man who lives in sin without repenting is a man quite dead. We will go back into the high wood which comforts and wards us all round about. Come with me, Iseult, my friend. They passed into the high grass and the underwood: They disappeared beyond the leaves. The summer passed and the winter came: In the strength of their love neither one nor the other felt these mortal things.
But when the open skies had come back with the springtime, they built a hut of green branches under the great trees. Tristan had known, ever since his childhood, that art by which a man may sing the song of birds in the woods, and at his fancy, he would call as call the thrush, the blackbird and the nightingale, and all winged things; and sometimes in reply very many birds would come on to the branches of his hut and sing their song full-throated in the new light.
The lovers had ceased to wander through the forest, for none of the barons ran the risk of their pursuit knowing well that Tristan would have hanged them to the branches of a tree. One day, however, one of the four traitors, Guenelon, whom God blast! And that morning, on the forest edge in a ravine, Gorvenal, having unsaddled his horse, had let him graze on the new grass, while far off in their hut Tristan held the Queen, and they slept.
Then suddenly Gorvenal heard the cry of the pack; the hounds pursued a deer, which fell into that ravine. And far on the heath the hunter showed -- and Gorvenal knew him for the man whom his master hated above all. Alone, with bloody spurs, and striking his horse's mane, he galloped on; but Gorvenal watched him from ambush: He passed and Gorvenal leapt from his ambush and seized the rein and, suddenly, remembering all the wrong that man had done, hewed him to death and carried off his head in his hands.
And when the hunters found the body, as they followed, they thought Tristan came after and they fled in fear of death, and thereafter no man hunted in that wood. And far off, in the hut upon their couch of leaves, slept Tristan and the Queen. There came Gorvenal, noiseless, the dead man's head in his hands that he might lift his master's heart at his awakening.
He hung it by its hair outside the hut, and the leaves garlanded it about. Tristan woke and saw it, half hidden in the leaves, and staring at him as he gazed, and he became afraid. But Gorvenal said: I killed him with this sword.
My lords, upon a summer day, when mowing is, a little after Whitsuntide, as the birds sang dawn Tristan left his hut and girt his sword on him, and took his bow "Failnaught" and went off to hunt in the wood; but before evening, great evil was to fall on him, for no lovers ever loved so much or paid their love so dear. When Tristan came back, broken by the heat, the Queen said "Friend, where have you been? I would lie down and sleep. And no wind blew, and no leaves stirred, but through a crevice in the branches a sunbeam fell upon the face of Iseult and it shone white like ice.
Now a woodman found in the wood a place where the leaves were crushed, where the lovers had halted and slept, and he followed their track and found the hut, and saw them sleeping and fled off, fearing the terrible awakening of that lord. He fled to Tintagel, and going up the stairs of the palace, found the King as he held his pleas in hall amid the vassals assembled. Have you some wrong to right, or has any man driven you? Come swiftly and take your vengeance.
You shall have gold and silver at your will. Then the woodman said: Then the King cast his cloak with its fine buckle of gold and drew his sword from its sheath and said again in his heart that they or he should die. And he signed to the woodman to be gone. He came alone into the hut, sword bare, and watched them as they lay: Then he said to himself: For all the time they have lived together in this wood, these two lovers, yet is the sword here between them, and throughout Christendom men know that sign.
Therefore I will not slay, for that would be treason and wrong, but I will do so that when they wake they may know that I found them here, asleep, and spared them and that God had pity on them both. Then in her sleep a vision came to Iseult. She seemed to be in a great wood and two lions near her fought for her, and she gave a cry and woke, and the gloves fell upon her breast; and at the cry Tristan woke, and made to seize his sword, and saw by the golden hilt that it was the King's.
And the Queen saw on her finger the King's ring, and she cried: Let us fly. O, my father, my father, I know you now. There was pardon in your heart, and tenderness and pity It was not pardon it was understanding; the faggot and the chantry leap and the leper ambush have shown him God upon our side.
Also I think he remembered the boy who long ago harped at his feet, and my land of Lyonesse which I left for him; the Morholt's spear and blood shed in his honour. He remembered how I made no avowal, but claimed a trial at arms, and the high nature of his heart has made him understand what men around him cannot; never can he know of the spell, yet he doubts and hopes and knows I have told no lie, and would have me prove my cause.
O, but to win at arms by God's aid for him, and to enter his peace and to put on mail for him again For till now I was hunted and I could hate and forget; he had thrown Iseult to the lepers, she was no more his, but mine; and now by his compassion he has wakened my heart and regained the Queen. For Queen she was at his side, but in this wood she lives a slave, and I waste her youth; and for rooms all hung with silk she has this savage place, and a hut for her splendid walls, and I am the cause that she treads this ugly road.
So now I cry to God the Lord, who is King of the world, and beg Him to give me strength to yield back Iseult to King Mark; for she is indeed his wife, wed according to the laws of Rome before all the Barony of his land.
Within the hollow of thorns that was their resting-place Iseult the Fair awaited Tristan's return. The golden ring that King Mark had slipped there glistened on her finger in the moonlight, and she thought: And he loved Tristan once, but I came, and see what I have done! He should have lived in the King's palace; he should have ridden through King's and baron's fees, finding adventure; but through me he has forgotten his knighthood, and is hunted and exiled from the court, leading a random life.
She came to meet him, as was her wont, to relieve him of his arms, and she took from him his bow, "Failnaught," and his arrows, and she unbuckled his sword-straps. And, "Friend," said he, "it is the King's sword. It should have slain, but it spared us. Then if the King would keep you and drive me out I would cross to the Lowlands or to Brittany with Gorvenal alone.
But wherever I went and always, Queen, I should be yours; nor would I have spoken thus, Iseult, but for the wretchedness you bear so long for my sake in this desert land. Let us return to him, and cry mercy to the King of Heaven. By morning they came to the Hermitage, where Ogrin read at the threshold, and seeing them, called them tenderly: Will you not do penance at last for your madness?
Help us to offer peace to the King, and I will yield him the Queen, and will myself go far away into Brittany or the Lowlands, and if some day the King suffer me, I will return and serve as I should. That night Tristan took the road. Once more he saw the marble well and the tall pine-tree, and he came beneath the window where the King slept, and called him gently, and Mark awoke and whispered: I bring you a writ, and lay it here.
Gorvenal said to him: Fly hard with me by the nearest road. THE FORD Mark had awakened his chaplain and had given him the writ to read; the chaplain broke the seal, saluted in Tristan's name, and then, when he had cunningly made out the written words, told him what Tristan offered; and Mark heard without saying a word, but his heart was glad, for he still loved the Queen. He summoned by name the choicest of his baronage, and when they were all assembled they were silent and the King spoke: I am your King, and you my lieges.
Hear what is offered me, and then counsel me, for you owe me counsel. I was to ward her at will and I yielded her to you. Yet hardly had you wed her when felons made you accept their lies, and in your anger, fair uncle, my lord, you would have had us burnt without trial. But God took compassion on us; we prayed him and he saved the Queen, as justice was: And since then what have I done blameworthy? The Queen was thrown to the lepers; I came to her succour and bore her away. Could I have done less for a woman, who all but died innocent through me?
I fled through the woods. Nor could I have come down into the vale and yielded her, for there was a ban to take us dead or alive. But now, as then, I am ready, my lord, to sustain in arms against all comers that never had the Queen for me, nor I for her a love dishonourable to you. Publish the lists, and if I cannot prove my right in arms, burn me before your men. But if I conquer and you take back Iseult, no baron of yours will serve you as will I; and if you will not have me, I will offer myself to the King of Galloway, or to him of the Lowlands, and you will hear of me never again.
Take counsel, King, for if you will make no terms I will take back Iseult to Ireland, and she shall be Queen in her own land. They were madmen that belied her to you.
But as for Tristan, let him go and war it in Galloway, or in the Lowlands. Bid him bring back Iseult on such a day and that soon. Then the King called thrice clearly: You have heard what you shall write. Iseult has suffered enough in her youth. And let the writ be hung upon the arm of the red cross before evening.
Write speedily. Rather let him cross the sea, when, on the third day hence, at the Ford of Chances, he had given back the Queen into King Mark's hands. I must lose you, friend!
But it must be, since I can thus spare you what you suffer for my sake. But when we part for ever I will give you a pledge of mine to keep, and from whatever unknown land I reach I will send some messenger, and he will bring back word of you, and at your call I will come from far away. And, friend, I have here a ring of green jasper. Take it for the love of me, and put it on your finger; then if anyone come saying he is from you, I will not trust him at all till he show me this ring, but once I have seen it, there is no power or royal ban that can prevent me from doing what you bid--wisdom or folly.
Now Ogrin, having left the lovers in the Hermitage, hobbled upon his crutch to the place called The Mount, and he bought ermine there and fur and cloth of silk and purple and scarlet, and a palfrey harnessed in gold that went softly, and the folk laughed to see him spending upon these the small moneys he had amassed so long; but the old man put the rich stuffs upon the palfrey and came back to Iseult.
And "Queen," said he, "take these gifts of mine that you may seem the finer on the day when you come to the Ford. On the day chosen for the meeting, the field shone far with the rich tents of the barons, and suddenly Tristan and Iseult came out at the forest's edge, and caught sight of King Mark far off among his Barony: By the God of Power I conjure you, if ever I send you a word, do you my bidding.
Friend, Orri the woodman will entertain you hidden. Go you by night to the abandoned cellar that you know and I will send Perinis there to say if anyone misuse me. I will stay hidden with Orri, and if any misuse you let him fear me as the Enemy himself. Let me have trial at arms, and if I am conquered, burn me, but if I conquer, keep me by you, or, if you will not, I will be off to some far country.
Dinas, in his joy, gave all honour and courtesy to the Queen, but when the felons saw her so fair and honoured as of old, they were stirred and rode to the King, and said: That the Queen was slandered we admit, but if she and Tristan re-enter your court together, rumour will revive again. Rather let Tristan go apart awhile. Doubtless some day you may recall him. Then Tristan came near the Queen for his farewell, and as they looked at one another the Queen in shame of that assembly blushed, but the King pitied her, and spoke his nephew thus for the first time: I will go as I can, and serve with high heart the mighty King in the Lowlands.
Now at the news of the peace, men, women, and children, great and small, ran out of the town in a crowd to meet Iseult, and while they mourned Tristan's exile they rejoiced at the Queen's return.
And to the noise of bells, and over pavings strewn with branches, the King and his counts and princes made her escort, and the gates of the palace were thrown open that rich and poor might enter and eat and drink at will. And Mark freed a hundred of his slaves, and armed a score of squires that day with hauberk and with sword. But Tristan that night hid with Orri, as the Queen had counselled him.
Therefore, during a hunt one day, as the King rode apart in a glade where the pack would pass, and hearkening to the hounds, they all three rode towards him, and said: Once you condemned the Queen without judgment, and that was wrong; now you acquit her without judgment, and that is wrong. She is not quit by trial, and the barons of your land blame you both.
Counsel her, then, to claim the ordeal in God's judgment, for since she is innocent, she may swear on the relics of the saints and hot iron will not hurt her.
For so custom runs, and in this easy way are doubts dissolved.
For you have I exiled my nephew, and now what would you now? Would you have me drive the Queen to Ireland too? What novel plaints have you to plead?
Did not Tristan offer you battle in this matter? He offered battle to clear the Queen forever: Where then were your lances and your shields? Put aside your anger and give us your safe-guard. Tristan I exiled for you, and now go you in turn, out of my land! Our keeps are strong and fenced, and stand on rocks not easy for men to climb. But the King not tarrying for huntsman or for hound but straight away spurred his horse to Tintagel; and as he sprang up the stairs the Queen heard the jangle of his spurs upon the stones.
She rose to meet him and took his sword as she was wont, and bowed before him, as it was also her wont to do; but Mark raised her, holding her hands; and when Iseult looked up she saw his noble face in just that wrath she had seen before the faggot fire. She thought that Tristan was found, and her heart grew cold, and without a word she fell at the King's feet.
He took her in his arms and kissed her gently till she could speak again, and then he said: I have driven them forth. And I would ask a question, but from whom shall I learn save from you? I am alone in a foreign land, and have no one else to defend me. But let us leave it. I tell you, I have driven them forth. But I bargain this: But if my warrantors, King Arthur and his knights, be there, the barons will not dare dispute the judgment.
Perinis told him all: She must cross the river to the place appointed. Beyond it, where Arthur and his hundred knights will stand, be you also; for my lady fears the judgment, but she trusts in God. On the appointed day King Mark and Iseult, and the barons of Cornwall, stood by the river; and the knights of Arthur and all their host were arrayed beyond. And just before them, sitting on the shore, was a poor pilgrim, wrapped in cloak and hood, who held his wooden platter and begged alms.
Now as the Cornish boats came to the shoal of the further bank, Iseult said to the knights: Fetch me a ferryman. But the Queen said: Before the tent of King Arthur was spread a rich Nicean cloth upon the grass, and the holy relics were set on it, taken out of their covers and their shrines.
And round the holy relics on the sward stood a guard more than a king's guard, for Lord Gawain, Girflet, and Kay the Seneschal kept ward over them. The Queen having prayed God, took off the jewels from her neck and hands, and gave them to the beggars around; she took off her purple mantle, and her overdress, and her shoes with their precious stones, and gave them also to the poor that loved her.
She kept upon her only the sleeveless tunic, and then with arms and feet quite bare she came between the two kings, and all around the barons watched her in silence, and some wept, for near the holy relics was a brazier burning. And trembling a little she stretched her right hand towards the bones and said: King Mark, will that oath stand? The iron was red, but she thrust her bare arms among the coals and seized it, and bearing it took nine steps.
Then, as she cast it from her, she stretched her arms out in a cross, with the palms of her hands wide open, and all men saw them fresh and clean and cold. Seeing that great sight the kings and the barons and the people stood for a moment silent, then they stirred together and they praised God loudly all around. Three days yet he tarried, because he could not drag himself away from that earth, but on the fourth day he thanked the woodman, and said to Gorvenal: And he did everything to give him honour and joy; but he found that neither adventure, nor feast could soothe what Tristan suffered.
One day, as he sat by the young Duke's side, his spirit weighed upon him, so that not knowing it he groaned, and the Duke, to soothe him, ordered into his private room a fairy thing, which pleased his eyes when he was sad and relieved his own heart; it was a dog, and the varlets brought it in to him, and they put it upon a table there. Now this dog was a fairy dog, and came from the Duke of Avalon; for a fairy had given it him as a love-gift, and no one can well describe its kind or beauty.
And it bore at its neck, hung to a little chain of gold, a little bell; and that tinkled so gaily, and so clear and so soft, that as Tristan heard it, he was soothed, and his anguish melted away, and he forgot all that he had suffered for the Queen; for such was the virtue of the bell and such its property: And as Tristan stroked the little fairy thing, the dog that took away his sorrow, he saw how delicate it was and fine, and how it had soft hair like samite, and he thought how good a gift it would make for the Queen.
But he dared not ask for it right out since he knew that the Duke loved this dog beyond everything in the world, and would yield it to no prayers, nor to wealth, nor to wile; so one day Tristan having made a plan in his mind said this: And "Sire," said he, "since I may choose a reward according to your word, give me the little fairy dog. It was for that I conquered Urgan, and your promise stands. And she had a goldsmith work a little kennel for him, all jewelled, and incrusted with gold and enamel inlaid; and wherever she went she carried the dog with her in memory of her friend, and as she watched it sadness and anguish and regrets melted out of her heart.
At first she did not guess the marvel, but thought her consolation was because the gift was Tristan's, till one day she found that it was fairy, and that it was the little bell that charmed her soul; then she thought: He could have kept it too and have forgotten his sorrow; but with high courtesy he sent it to me to give me his joy and to take up his pain again.
Friend, while you suffer, so long will I suffer also. He fled his sorrow still by seas and islands, till at last he came back to his land of Lyonesse, and there Rohalt, the keeper of faith, welcomed him with happy tears and called him son.
But he could not live in the peace of his own land, and he turned again and rode through kingdoms and through baronies, seeking adventure. And many lords he served, and many deeds did, but for two years no news came to him out of Cornwall, nor friend, nor messenger.
Then he thought that Iseult had forgotten.
Now it happened one day that, riding with Gorvenal alone, he came into the land of Brittany. They rode through a wasted plain of ruined walls and empty hamlets and burnt fields everywhere, and the earth deserted of men; and Tristan thought: Or why for two years has she made no sign, or why has she sent no messenger to find me as I wandered?
But in Tintagel Mark honours her and she gives him joy, and that little fairy bell has done a thorough work; for little she remembers or cares for the joys and the mourning of old, little for me, as I wander in this desert place.
I, too, will forget. For you must know that this Count Riol was the Duke's vassal. And the Duke has a daughter, fair among all King's daughters, and Count Riol would have taken her to wife; but her father refused her to a vassal, and Count Riol would have carried her away by force.
Many men have died in that quarrel. Very hardly do they hold their castle. In the morning, when they had slept, and when the hermit had chanted, and had shared his black bread with them, Tristan thanked him and rode hard to Carhaix.
And as he halted beneath the fast high walls, he saw a little company of men behind the battlements, and he asked if the Duke were there with his son Kaherdin. Now Hod was among them; and when he cried "yes," Tristan called up to him and said: I have heard that your vassals do you a wrong, and I have come to offer you my arms. And when they were down in the castle again he said to Tristan: They sang of Doette the fair who sits alone beneath the white-thorn, and round about her blows the wind.
She waits for Doon, her friend, but he tarries long and does not come. This was the song they sang. And Tristan bowed to them, and they to him. Then Kaherdin, showing the work his mother did, said: Of right, good sister, are you called, 'Iseult of the White Hands.
And on the morrow, Tristan, Kaherdin, and twelve young knights left the castle and rode to a pinewood near the enemy's tents. And sprang from ambush and captured a waggon of Count Riol's food; and from that day, by escapade and ruse they would carry tents and convoys and kill off men, nor ever come back without some booty; so that Tristan and Kaherdin began to be brothers in arms, and kept faith and tenderness, as history tells.
And as they came back from these rides, talking chivalry together, often did Kaherdin praise to his comrade his sister, Iseult of the White Hands, for her simplicity and beauty. One day, as the dawn broke, a sentinel ran from the tower through the halls crying: Then the Duke and Kaherdin deployed their horsemen before the gates, and from a bow-length off they stooped, and spurred and charged, and they put their lances down together and the arrows fell on them like April rain.
Now Tristan had armed himself among the last of those the sentinel had roused, and he laced his shoes of steel, and put on his mail, and his spurs of gold, his hauberk, and his helm over the gorget, and he mounted and spurred, with shield on breast, crying: So they met, Tristan and Duke Riol. And at the shock, Tristan's lance shivered, but Riol's lance struck Tristan's horse just where the breast-piece runs, and laid it on the field.
But Tristan, standing, drew his sword, his burnished sword, and said: Here is death ready for the man that strikes the horse before the rider. And as he passed, Tristan let fall his sword so heavily upon his helm that he carried away the crest and the nasal, but the sword slipped on the mailed shoulder, and glanced on the horse, and killed it, so that of force Duke Riol must slip the stirrup and leap and feel the ground.
Then Riol too was on his feet, and they both fought hard in their broken mail, their 'scutcheons torn and their helmets loosened and lashing with their dented swords, till Tristan struck Riol just where the helmet buckles, and it yielded and the blow was struck so hard that the baron fell on hands and knees; but when he had risen again, Tristan struck him down once more with a blow that split the helm, and it split the headpiece too, and touched the skull; then Riol cried mercy and begged his life, and Tristan took his sword.
So he promised to enter Duke Hoel's keep and to swear homage again, and to restore what he had wasted; and by his order the battle ceased, and his host went off discomfited. Now when the victors were returned Kaherdin said to his father: There is no better knight, and your land has need of such courage.
But that same night, as Tristan's valets undressed him, it happened that in drawing his arm from the sleeve they drew off and let fall from his finger the ring of green jasper, the ring of Iseult the Fair.
It sounded on the stones, and Tristan looked and saw it. Then his heart awoke and he knew that he had done wrong. For he remembered the day when Iseult the Fair had given him the ring. It was in that forest where, for his sake, she had led the hard life with him, and that night he saw again the hut in the wood of Morois, and he was bitter with himself that ever he had accused her of treason; for now it was he that had betrayed, and he was bitter with himself also in pity for this new wife and her simplicity and beauty.
See how these two Iseults had met him in an evil hour, and to both had he broken faith! Now Iseult of the White Hands said to him, hearing him sigh: Will you not speak me a single word?
Within her room at Tintagel Iseult the Fair sat singing a song she had made. She sang of Guron taken and killed for his love, and how by guile the Count gave Guron's heart to her to eat, and of her woe. The Queen sang softly, catching the harp's tone; her hands were cunning and her song good; she sang low down and softly. Then came in Kariado, a rich count from a far-off island, that had fared to Tintagel to offer the Queen his service, and had spoken of love to her, though she disdained his folly.
He found Iseult as she sang, and laughed to her: Ever were you the screech owl or the Osprey that boded ill when you spoke of Tristan; what news bear you now? Let the Osprey bode me death; here is the evil news the screech owl brings. Lady Iseult, Tristan, your friend is lost to you.
He has wed in a far land. So seek you other where, for he mocks your love. Now far from Iseult, Tristan languished, till on a day he must needs see her again.
Far from her, death came surely; and he had rather die at once than day by day. And he desired some death, but that the Queen might know it was in finding her; then would death come easily.
So he left Carhaix secretly, telling no man, neither his kindred nor even Kaherdin, his brother in arms. He went in rags afoot for no one marks the beggar on the high road till he came to the shore of the sea.
He found in a haven a great ship ready, the sail was up and the anchor-chain short at the bow. To what land sail you now? Then he cried out: The castle stood above, fenced all around. There was but the one armed gate, and two knights watched it night and day. So Tristan went ashore and sat upon the beach, and a man told him that Mark was there and had just held his court. And he thought, "Let him kill me and let me die for her, since every day I die. But you, Iseult, even if you knew me here, would you not drive me out?
I will seem mad, but with a madness that shall be great wisdom. And many shall think me a fool that have less wit than I. Then Tristan shaved his wonderful hair; he shaved it close to his head and left a cross all bald, and he rubbed his face with magic herbs distilled in his own country, and it changed in colour and skin so that none could know him, and he made him a club from a young tree torn from a hedge-row and hung it to his neck, and went bare-foot towards the castle.
The porter made sure that he had to do with a fool and said: Michael's wedding, and he wed an abbess, large and veiled. And from the Alps to Mount St. Michael how they came, the priests and abbots, monks and regulars, all dancing on the green with croziers and with staves under the high trees' shade. But I left them all to come hither, for I serve at the King's board to-day.
And as he neared the door with his club at his neck, the King said: And the King said: Come, take her, you are weary of the Queen. Take you my sister and give me here Iseult, and I will hold her and serve you for her love. The beams of the sun shine through it, yet the winds do not trouble it at all.
There would I bear the Queen into that crystal chamber of mine all compact of roses and the morning. Sire," he answered gravely, "many deeds have I done for her, and my madness is from her alone. Your mother healed me with strange drugs. Have you no memory, Queen? Your folly and you have passed the bounds! Leave me to counsel with Iseult, since I come here for the love of her!
I hid its tongue in my hose, and, burnt of its venom, I fell by the roadside. You wrong all knighthood by your words, for you are a fool from birth.
Cursed be the seamen that brought you hither; rather should they have cast you into the sea! And of the Hair of Gold? And of how I stood up to the seneschal? You were drunk last night, and so you dreamt these dreams. Queen Iseult, do you mind you of that hot and open day on the high seas? We thirsted and we drank together from the same cup, and since that day have I been drunk with an awful wine.
But the King held her by her ermine cloak, and she sat down again. And as the King had his fill of the fool he called for his falcons and went to hunt; and Iseult said to him: Brangien, dear sister, life is so hard to me that death were better! There is a fool without, shaven criss-cross, and come in an evil hour, and he is warlock, for he knows in every part myself and my whole life; he knows what you and I and Tristan only know.
Curse me his hour and the ship that brought him hither. You curse over much these days. May be he comes from Tristan? I know him not. But go find him, friend, and see if you know him. Tristan knew her and let fall his club and said: By my head, that once was fair, if I am mad the blame is yours, for it was yours to watch over the wine we drank on the high seas.
The cup was of silver and I held it to Iseult and she drank. Do you remember, lady? He stretched out his arms, but in her shame, sweating agony she drew back, and Tristan angered and said: Iseult, how hard love dies!
Iseult, a welling water that floods and runs large is a mighty thing; on the day that it fails it is nothing; so love that turns. I have kept that jasper ring and asked it counsel. Pardon, my master and my friend.
So passed they three full days. But, on the third, two maids that watched them told the traitor Andret, and he put spies well-armed before the women's rooms. And when Tristan would enter they cried: May I not kiss the Queen who loves me and awaits me now?
Then, being with the Queen for the last time, he held her in his arms and said: I must fly, and perhaps shall never see you more. My death is near, and far from you my death will come of desire. Take me to that happy place of which you told me long ago.
The fields whence none return, but where great singers sing their songs for ever. Take me now. The time is near. We have drunk all joy and sorrow.
When it is finished, if I call you, will you come, my friend? My lady sends me to prepare that shining house I vowed her, of crystal, and of rose shot through with morning. And Tristan weakened and paled, and his bones showed. Then he knew that his life was going, and that he must die, and he had a desire to see once more Iseult the Fair, but he could not seek her, for the sea would have killed him in his weakness, and how could Iseult come to him? And sad, and suffering the poison, he awaited death.
He called Kaherdin secretly to tell him his pain, for they loved each other with a loyal love; and as he would have no one in the room save Kaherdin, nor even in the neighbouring rooms, Iseult of the White Hands began to wonder.
She was afraid and wished to hear, and she came back and listened at the wall by Tristan's bed; and as she listened one of her maids kept watch for her. Now, within, Tristan had gathered up his strength, and had half risen, leaning against the wall, and Kaherdin wept beside him.
They wept their good comradeship, broken so soon, and their friendship: My life is going, and I wish to see once more Iseult the Fair. Ah, did I but know of a messenger who would go to her! For now I know that she will come to me. Kaherdin, my brother in arms, I beg it of your friendship; try this thing for me, and if you carry my word, I will become your liege, and I will cherish you beyond all other men. Nor no distress nor anguish will let me from doing it according to my power.
Give me the word you send, and I will make ready. Then tell her that my heart salutes her; tell her that she alone can bring me comfort; tell her that if she does not come I shall die. Tell her to remember our past time, and our great sorrows, and all the joy there was in our loyal and tender love. And tell her to remember that draught we drank together on the high seas. For we drank our death together.
Tell her to remember the oath I swore to serve a single love, for I have kept that oath. Take forty days for your term, but come back with Iseult the Fair. And tell your sister nothing, or tell her that you seek some doctor. Take my fine ship, and two sails with you, one white, one black. And as you return, if you bring Iseult, hoist the white sail; but if you bring her not, the black. Now I have nothing more to say, but God guide you and bring you back safe.
They bore rich merchandise with them, dyed silks of rare colours, enamel of Touraine and wines of Poitou, for by this ruse Kaherdin thought to reach Iseult. Eight days and nights they ran full sail to Cornwall. Now a woman's wrath is a fearful thing, and all men fear it, for according to her love, so will her vengeance be; and their love and their hate come quickly, but their hate lives longer than their love; and they will make play with love, but not with hate.
So Iseult of the White Hands, who had heard every word, and who had so loved Tristan, waited her vengeance upon what she loved most in the world. But she hid it all; and when the doors were open again she came to Tristan's bed and served him with food as a lover should, and spoke him gently and kissed him on the lips, and asked him if Kaherdin would soon return with one to cure him And Kaherdin sailed and sailed till he dropped anchor in the haven of Tintagel.
He landed and took with him a cloth of rare dye and a cup well chiselled and worked, and made a present of them to King Mark, and courteously begged of him his peace and safeguard that he might traffick in his land; and the King gave him his peace before all the men of his palace. Then Kaherdin offered the Queen a buckle of fine gold; and "Queen," said he, "the gold is good.
He sends you word that you alone can bring him comfort, and recalls to you the great sorrows that you bore together. Keep you the ring--it is yours. But at Carhaix Tristan lay and longed for Iseult's coming. Nothing now filled him any more, and if he lived it was only as awaiting her; and day by day he sent watchers to the shore to see if some ship came, and to learn the colour of her sail.
There was no other thing left in his heart. He had himself carried to the cliff of the Penmarks, where it overlooks the sea, and all the daylight long he gazed far off over the water. Hear now a tale most sad and pitiful to all who love. Already was Iseult near; already the cliff of the Penmarks showed far away, and the ship ran heartily, when a storm wind rose on a sudden and grew, and struck the sail, and turned the ship all round about, and the sailors bore away and sore against their will they ran before the wind.
The wind raged and big seas ran, and the air grew thick with darkness, and the ocean itself turned dark, and the rain drove in gusts. The yard snapped, and the sheet; they struck their sail, and ran with wind and water. In an evil hour they had forgotten to haul their pinnace aboard; it leapt in their wake, and a great sea broke it away. Then Iseult cried out: God wills my drowning in this sea. O, Tristan, had I spoken to you but once again, it is little I should have cared for a death come afterwards.
But now, my love, I cannot come to you; for God so wills it, and that is the core of my grief. Kaherdin hoisted the sail, the white sail, right up to the very masthead with great joy; the white sail, that Tristan might know its colour from afar: Hardly were these things seen and done when a calm came, and the sea lay even and untroubled.
The sail bellied no longer, and the sailors held the ship now up, now down, the tide, beating backwards and forwards in vain. They saw the shore afar off, but the storm had carried their boat away and they could not land.
On the third night Iseult dreamt this dream: Tristan was now too weak to keep his watch from the cliff of the Penmarks, and for many long days, within walls, far from the shore, he had mourned for Iseult because she did not come. Dolorous and alone, he mourned and sighed in restlessness: At last the wind freshened and the white sail showed. Then it was that Iseult of the White Hands took her vengeance.
She came to where Tristan lay, and she said: I have seen his ship upon the sea. She comes up hardly--yet I know her; may he bring that which shall heal thee, friend. Then tell me what is the manner of the sail? They have shaken it out and hoisted it very high, for they have little wind. For its colour, why, it is black. Then throughout the house, the knights and the comrades of Tristan wept out loud, and they took him from his bed and laid him on a rich cloth, and they covered his body with a shroud.
But at sea the wind had risen; it struck the sail fair and full and drove the ship to shore, and Iseult the Fair set foot upon the land. She heard loud mourning in the streets, and the tolling of bells in the minsters and the chapel towers; she asked the people the meaning of the knell and of their tears.
An old man said to her: Tristan, that was so loyal and so right, is dead. He was open to the poor; he ministered to the suffering. It is the chief evil that has ever fallen on this land.
She went up to the palace, following the way, and her cloak was random and wild. The Bretons marvelled as she went; nor had they ever seen woman of such a beauty, and they said: The other Iseult came in and said to her: I loved him more.
She kissed his mouth and his face, and clasped him closely; and so gave up her soul, and died beside him of grief for her lover.
When King Mark heard of the death of these lovers, he crossed the sea and came into Brittany; and he had two coffins hewn, for Tristan and Iseult, one of chalcedony for Iseult, and one of beryl for Tristan. And he took their beloved bodies away with him upon his ship to Tintagel, and by a chantry to the left and right of the apse he had their tombs built round. But in one night there sprang from the tomb of Tristan a green and leafy briar, strong in its branches and in the scent of its flowers.
It climbed the chantry and fell to root again by Iseult's tomb. Thrice did the peasants cut it down, but thrice it grew again as flowered and as strong. They told the marvel to King Mark, and he forbade them to cut the briar any more. The good singers of old time, Beroul and Thomas of Built, Gilbert and Gottfried told this tale for lovers and none other, and, by my pen, they beg you for your prayers.
They greet those who are cast down, and those in heart, those troubled and those filled with desire. May all herein find strength against inconstancy and despite and loss and pain and all the bitterness of loving. Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation and you!
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Tristano e Isotta Tristan und Isolde: Nuova traduzione italiana in prosa ritmica adattata al testo originale tedesco da P. Guida tematica compilata da G.
Tristan og Isolde , Gyldendal. Tristan e Iseo: Vorspiel und Isoldens Liebestod: Tristan and Isolde , F. Stokes Co. Tristan and Isolde , Schott. Tristan und Isolde; von Richard Wagner.
Tristan et Isolde: Milano, Teatro alla Scala, carnevale-quaresima Tristan and Isolde: Tristan and Isolde , D. Nachtgesang aus Tristan und Isolde , Breitkopf. English words to Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, in the mixed alliterative and rhyming metres of the original , Reeves and Turner. Tristan and Isolda.: Opera in three acts , F. Tristan and Isolde , Priv. Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press].
Tristan and Isolde , s. Tristan and Ysolde: Schirmer, Distributed by Hal Leonard. Ditson; sole representative: Presser, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Publish date unknown, F. Publish date unknown, Fred Rullman. Tristan and Isolde Publish date unknown, Schott. Publish date unknown, Oliver Ditson. Publish date unknown, Eulenberg. History Created December 8, 11 revisions Download catalog record: Reclam in German. Libraries near you: WorldCat Library. Tristan und Isolde , Koninklijke Muntschouwburg in Dutch.
Tristan und Isolde , Impresor in Dutch. Ricordi in Italian. Texte, Materialien, Kommentare , Rowohlt in German. Goldmann, Schott in German - Originalausg. Calder, Riverrun Press in English. Tristan i Izol'da , Muzyka in Russian. Dutton in English. Schirmer in English. Kalmus in English. Tristan und Isolde in German. Tristan og Isolde , Gyldendal in Danish.
Blanco in Spanish.
Tristan and Isolde , Schott in English. Ridordi in Italian. Eulenburg in German.
Ditson in English. Nutt in English. Nutt Microform in English. English words to Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, in the mixed alliterative and rhyming metres of the original , Reeves and Turner in English.