Tristan & Iseult

Tristan & Iseult


Tristan

Tristan (also known as Tristran, Tristram, etc.) is one of the main characters of the Tristan and Iseult story, a Cornish hero and one of the Knights of the Round Table featuring in the Matter of Britain. He is the son of Blancheflor and Rivalen (in later versions Isabelle and Meliodas), and the nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, sent to fetch Iseult back from Ireland to wed the king. However, he and Iseult accidentally consume a love potion while en route and fall helplessly in love. The pair undergo numerous trials that test their secret affair.

Tristan makes his first medieval appearance in the early twelfth century in Celtic folklore circulating in the north of France. Although the oldest stories concerning Tristan are lost, some of the derivatives still exist. Most early versions fall into one of two branches, "courtly" branch represented in the retellings of the Anglo-Norman poet Thomas of Britain and his German successor Gottfried von Strassburg, and the "common" branch, including the works of the French poet Béroul and the German poet Eilhart von Oberge.

In the fifteenth century, Sir Thomas Malory shortened this French version into his own take, The Book of Sir Tristram de Lyones, found in his Le Morte d'Arthur.


Iseult

Iseult (also Isolde) was a princess in medieval legend known as Iseult the Fair. She was the daughter of King Anguish of Ireland. Tristram was sent to seek her hand on behalf of his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall.

Iseult is first met as the lady who helps heal Tristram, under a false name, after his battle with Morholt. When Tristram's identity is revealed, he flees back to his own lad. Later, Tristram returns to escort Princess Iseult to Cornwall to marry King Mark.  En route back to Cornwall Tristram and Iseult mistakenly drank the love potion intended for the wedding night of Iseult and Mark and fell hopelessly in love.

Iseult was bound to marry King Mark, but she and Tristram continued their affair until Mark became suspicious and Tristram had to flee. Additional episodes are integrated into the narrative as well, including several involving the great Saracen knight Palamedes' unrequited love for Iseult, In the Prose Tristan, the lovers' end comes when Mark finds them as Tristan plays the harp for Iseult beneath a tree. The cruel king stabs his nephew in the back, and Tristan, at Iseult's request, fatally crushes his beloved in a tight embrace as his final act.

Kate Mulgrew as Isolde in Lovespell (film)

The tragic story is part of the body of Arthurian literature. Versions of the legend were told by Thomas of Brittany (fl. 12th century), Gottfried von Strassburg (fl. 12th-13th century), Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Richard Wagner.


Abilities [ edit | edit source ]

Being a Knight of the Round Table, Tristan is one of the greatest knights to ever live and a hero sung of in legends. As such, when summoned as a Servant, he boasts indisputable fame and strength. ⎣] Tristan's Class is normally Saber, but he is often summoned as an Archer due to his renown skill with the bow. Ώ] Tristan is said to possess skill in using a bow equal to that of Arash. He is a powerful Heroic Spirit able to be summoned as a Servant with a piece of the Round Table.

Skills [ edit | edit source ]

Class Skills [ edit | edit source ]

  • Magic Resistance (B Rank): Cancel spells with a chant below three verses. Even if targeted by High-Thaumaturgy and Greater Rituals, it is difficult for them to be affected. Α]
  • Independent Action (B Rank): It is possible for a Servant to stay in the world for two days without a Master. However, this is the ideal value achieved by maximally conserving mana and avoiding battle and Noble Phantasm usage. Α]

Personal Skills [ edit | edit source ]

  • Harp of Healing (C Rank): A Skill that denotes Tristan's musical performance which makes use of the bowstring in his Noble Phantasm. Suppresses allies' mental disturbances, while opponents loses their fighting spirit. Α]
  • Unblessed Birth (B Rank): A Skill that shows one that is to be born with a sad fate. Because of that birth, lamentation follows him around, and Tristan was called the Child of Sadness. Adds a bonus to his performance of musical instruments because of his singing voice that is filled with sadness. Α]
  • Admonishment of the King of Knights (B Rank): “The king does not understand the hearts of men—————” The decisive trauma carved into the King of Knights. Regarding the legend, it is a sad admonition similar to having one’s heart gouged out, but the Knights of the Round Table that are summoned as Servants unanimously informed the king as such: “Nay, we do not know what is your greatest failure.” Α] As for Tristan himself, regarding the last words he left behind, because the remark was too cruel, he is leaning against a state of extreme remorse. Α]
  • Weakness (Poison) (D Rank): Regarding his legend, Tristan was weakened by poison on countless occasions that drove him onto the verge of death, so his resistance to poison is lowered to some extent. Α] However, when serving the Lion King during the Camelot Singularity, his Gift of "Inversion" nullifies this weakness.

Noble Phantasm [ edit | edit source ]

Tristan's Noble Phantasm is Failnaught, which possesses multiple bowstrings resembling, and is in fact, a string instrument. This bow does not launch regular arrows, but invisible sonic vacuum arrows to cut off foes. Due to the nature of this weapon, he can attack with a slight motion of a finger.


Tình sử Tristan và Iseult xuất hiện sớm nhất là trong văn bản Cổ Pháp ngữ Tristan en prose do tác giả nặc danh soạn thời kì 1230-40 và thịnh hành trong giới ngâm du thi nhân. Khởi thủy, tác phẩm lấy ý từ quan hệ tam giác vua Arthur - vương hậu Guenièvre - kị sĩ Lancelot để sáng tạo các nhân vật vua Marc xứ Cornouaille - công chúa Iseult xứ Éire - kị sĩ Tristan. Trong đó, đôi nhân vật Marc và Tristan (hoặc Tristram, Tristain) đã hiện diện từ lâu trong truyền thuyết Đoàn Trác huynh đệ.

Huyền thoại Tristan và Iseult cho tới nay đã qua không ít biến đổi nhờ sự bổ khuyết của rất nhiều tác giả cả hữu danh và vô danh, nhưng nhìn chung, cấu trúc vẫn được giữ nguyên.

Guenièvre và Lancelot Sửa đổi

Kị sĩ Lancelot nghe đồn vua Arthur tuyển kị nhân gia nhập Đoàn Trác huynh đệ đặng đi tìm Thánh Tước, bèn lặn lội từ Đông Francia sang Camelot dự hội đấu thương. Ông vô tình gặp vương hậu Guenièvre từ cửa sổ tháp cao ngó xuống, đem lòng mê, mới xin bà tặng chiếc khăn để quấn vào võ khí làm lưu niệm. Theo truyền thống, bà bèn chúc phước cho ông gặp hạnh vận. Tại hội thi, Lancelot lần lượt đả bại nhiều kị sĩ trứ danh hơn và chiếm ngôi quán quân, vì vậy, ông càng ngưỡng mộ Guenièvre. Tuy nhiên, vua Arthur tỏ ra mến tài ông và trao quyền cai trị lâu đài Camelot trong thời gian ngài chinh phục Thánh Tước.

Mười năm, rồi hai mươi năm, Đoàn Trác huynh đệ vẫn mải miết viễn chinh. Vương hậu Guenièvre ở lâu đài vò võ ngóng phu quân, dần ngã vào lòng Lancelot hào hoa phong nhã. Cuộc tư tình này bị phù thủy Merlin phát giác, nhưng ông tìm cách ém nhẹm. Tuy vậy, tin đồn mỗi lúc một lớn lên và trở thành ác độc khiến cả Guenièvre và Lancelot đều âu lo. Đồng thời, vợ Lancelot là Elaine vì đau khổ trước tin chồng ngoại tình mà chết, để lại đứa con dại Galahad.

Ngày vua Arthur về vì sứ mạng thất bại, dân chúng đập cửa đòi đem Guenièvre và Lancelot ra phán xét. Trước áp lực của đám đông hung hãn, vua đành cho lập giàn hỏa rồi trói vương hậu vào cột. Tuy nhiên, ngài ngầm sai thuộc hạ thả Lancelot khỏi ngục, lại nhờ thầy Merlin hô phong hoán vũ. Giữa đám đông nhớn nhác chạy bão, Lancelot cướp Guenièvre đem đi biệt tích. Galahad phương trưởng rồi cùng cậu là Perceval tìm được Thánh Tước, cả hai đều hóa thánh. Còn vua Arthur bị đứa con rơi Mordred giết trong trận Camlann.

Tristan và Iseult Sửa đổi

Vua Marc xứ Cornouaille quyết định liên hôn với vương thất Éire để củng cố thế lực ở mạn Tây quần đảo Anh. Ngài bèn phái một người cháu là Tristan dong thuyền sang xứ Éire hộ tống vị hôn thê là công chúa Iseult về Cornouaille.

Ở đất Éire, trước khi khởi hành, vương hậu giúi vào tay Iseult lọ nước thần, bảo rằng, hãy chờ đêm tân hôn cho vua Marc uống thì ngài sẽ yêu càng tha thiết tới cuối đời. Nhưng trong lúc sơ ý, Tristan uống nhầm lọ thuốc, tự bấy đem lòng yêu Iseult.

Vì không kềm lòng được, Tristan toan rủ Iseult chạy trốn, song vua Marc chia quân đi tìm rồi bắt được họ đang lẩn trong rừng. Khi thấy cả hai dù yêu nhau nhưng vẫn giữ chừng mực, ngài tha chết cho Tristan và yêu cầu chàng rời quần đảo Anh.

Tristan phải sang Francia kết hôn tiểu thơ Isolde, ái nữ một công tước đầy quyền thế tại đại lục, cũng bởi cái danh ấy gần giống người tình cũ. Nhưng vì quá nặng lòng với Iseult, Tristan sinh quẫn mà trở bệnh, không thuốc nào trị nổi.

Trong cơn đau khổ, Tristan biên thư xin Iseult tìm cách tới gặp mình lần cuối, vua Marc bắt được thư nhưng đành ngó lơ. Tristan vì bệnh nên không tự đi được nữa, bèn nhờ vợ ra cảng ngóng tin, lại dặn: Hễ thuyền Cornouaille buồm trắng là có Iseult, còn buồm đen là Iseult không tới.

Isolde vâng phục chồng, cũng ra bến và nhác thấy màu buồm trắng, nhưng vì ghen tương nên về nói ngược sự thật. Chẳng ngờ Tristan tuyệt vọng mà tắt thở vĩnh viễn. Khi Iseult tới thì đã quá trễ, bèn phẫn uất mà chết còn Isolde hối hận cũng tự vận.

Về sau, vua Marc cho chôn Tristan và Iseult chung mồ. Lạ thay, từ trong ấy trổ ra hai cái cây, dây leo cứ xoắn xuýt vào nhau không sao gỡ được.

Tristan và Iseult được coi là một trong những thành tựu văn chương thời đại Arthur, gây cái nền ổn vững cho văn chương, kịch nghệ và điện ảnh hiện đại.

Tại Việt Nam, từ năm 1941 tác gia Vũ Ngọc Phan đã dịch soạn phẩm Le roman de Tristan et Iseut (1900) của Joseph Bédier sang Việt ngữ dưới nhan đề Tiểu-nhiên và Mị-cơ kèm tựa "Tặng Hằng Phương, Mị Cơ của lòng tôi" [2] [3] , cho tới 2020 vẫn là bản dịch Việt văn duy nhất [4] .


Tristan and Iseult

I started writing a review of this retelling of the sad, beautiful story of Tristan and Iseult. And then the review turned into my own retelling. And then it turned into something that I didn&apost feel quite up to sharing with the world. And so.

If you need the bare outlines of the story, here it is. The story of King Marc, Tristan and Iseult underpins that of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Sutcliff&aposs retelling is romantic, stately, heartbreaking, classical, shot through with the occasional dart o I started writing a review of this retelling of the sad, beautiful story of Tristan and Iseult. And then the review turned into my own retelling. And then it turned into something that I didn't feel quite up to sharing with the world. And so.

If you need the bare outlines of the story, here it is. The story of King Marc, Tristan and Iseult underpins that of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Sutcliff's retelling is romantic, stately, heartbreaking, classical, shot through with the occasional dart of humour, and often startlingly sexy for a book aimed at children.

And beyond, Iseult sat among the piled cushions, combing her hair that was red as hot copper in the smoky torchlight.

She said, “Put out that torch. It has served to guide you to me, and the moon is better for keeping secrets.” And laid aside her silver comb and held out her arms to him.

There is also an emotional nuance that surprises me - a wisdom about the complicated ways we love:

In her introduction, Sutcliff writes that she attempted to strip the story back to some of its original Celtic fierceness and darkness, and in doing so, made one very significant change:

In all the versions that we know, Tristan and Iseult fall in love because they accidentally drink together a love potion which was meant for Iseult and her husband, King Marc, on their wedding night. Now the story of Tristan and Iseult is Diarmid and Grania, and Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and in neither of them is there any suggestion of a love potion. I am sure in my own mind that the medieval storytellers added it to make an excuse for Tristan and Iseult for being in love with each other when Iseult was married to somebody else. And for me, this turns something that was real and living and part of themselves into something artificial, the result of drinking a sort of magic drug.

So I have left out the love potion.

Because everyone else who has retold the tale in the past eight hundred years has kept it in, it is only fair to tell you this. I can only tell the story in the way which feels right to me in my own heart of hearts.

The love potion makes Tristan and Iseult characters pawns to the narrative, helpless to their fates. Without the potion, they are human: loving and flawed, seeking happiness in one another, seeking honour in the world, wanting not to hurt anyone, stumbling and falling - falling together, falling apart - and losing it all. . more

Finally! After being a wee bit disappointed with the by-the-number summa of the Parzival by Katherine Paterson, I was pleasantly surprised by this beautifully crafted retelling of "Tristan & Iseult" by Rosemary Sutcliff. Most readers will perhaps be more familiar with her other books about Roman Britain such as the "Lantern Bearers," which introduces the figure of King Arthur (not a king, though) and from which the Arthur story is carried forward in the novel, "Sword at Sunset." Sutcliff additio Finally! After being a wee bit disappointed with the by-the-number summa of the Parzival by Katherine Paterson, I was pleasantly surprised by this beautifully crafted retelling of "Tristan & Iseult" by Rosemary Sutcliff. Most readers will perhaps be more familiar with her other books about Roman Britain such as the "Lantern Bearers," which introduces the figure of King Arthur (not a king, though) and from which the Arthur story is carried forward in the novel, "Sword at Sunset." Sutcliff additionally has written an Arthurian trilogy, in which she collects into three volumes many of "greatest hits" of Arthurian legend including "Sir Gawain & the Green Knight" and this Tristan story very much in condensed form.

Still, this is the version you want to read as an introduction to the classic versions, as Sutcliff presents the story closer to the rendering it may have had before it was grafted unto the Arthurian cycle. And I will go out on a limb to confess that for me, this version is, by far, superior to Malory's version. Malory's version just feels incomplete and convoluted, as if there was nowhere else to go with a tale that had sprawled and branched out far too many distracting leaves for its own good.

On the other hand, the Sutcliff rendition here gives us a discernible beginning, middle and end. What Sutcliff decided to excise (ie., the magic potion) has given more depth to the tragedy. The other elements absent in other versions but she includes such as the dragon give the story a wonderful faery-tale backdrop to the whole. But while the book may be aimed at young readers, there are some sexual subtleties (or perhaps not so subtle) as Iseult "clung to him (Tristan) as a honeysuckle clinging to a hazel tree."

I seriously don't know what I would have made of this part had I read this at a young age when I just wanted to get to the good bits a la "Princess Bride"—bits like Tristan up against the dragon in Ireland. I felt like this book was good in the same sense that Mary Stewart's "The Prince & the Pilgrim" is good, in that it lures us with particular bit of the Arthurian cycle and makes it a stand alone story as opposed to burying it in an endless sprawl of jousts and quests.

This may sound like a bit of blasphemy, but I would highly recommend this rendition along with Mary Stewart's take on the Alexander story (which is indeed a part of Malory's Tristan book) as way to entice readers into further exploration of these wonderful legends.

It is a beautiful story told in a brilliant way. It was so intense that I didn&apost close the book many times before reading the last word!

"The story of Tristan and Iseult is basically the same as two other great Celtic love stories, Diarmid and Grania, and Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and in neither of them is there any suggestion of a love potion. I am sure in my own mind that the medieval storytellers added it to make an excuse for Tristan and Iseult for being in love with each other when Iseu It is a beautiful story told in a brilliant way. It was so intense that I didn't close the book many times before reading the last word!

"The story of Tristan and Iseult is basically the same as two other great Celtic love stories, Diarmid and Grania, and Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and in neither of them is there any suggestion of a love potion. I am sure in my own mind that the medieval storytellers added it to make an excuse for Tristan and Iseult for being in love with each other when Iseult was married to somebody else. And for me, this turns something that was real and living and part of themselves into something artificial, the result of drinking a sort of magic drug. So I have left out the love potion."

"Tristan held up his arms to the Princess as she came out over the side, and carried her up through the shallows so that when he set her down on the white wave pattered sand, not even the soles of her feet were wet. Now this was the first time that ever they had touched each other, save for the times when the Princess had tended Tristan's wounds, and that was a different kind of touching and as he set her down, their hands came together, as though they did not want it to be so quickly over. And standing hand in hand, they looked at each other, and for the first time Tristan saw that the Princess's eyes were deeply blue, the colour of wild wood-columbines and she saw that his were as grey as the restless water out beyond the headland. And they were so close that each saw their own reflection standing in the other one's eyes and in that moment it was as though something of Iseult entered into Tristan and something of Tristan into Iseult, that could never be called back again for as long as they lived."

"And out of Tristan's heart there grew a hazel tree, and out of Iseult's a honeysuckle, and they arched together and clung and intertwined so that they could never be separated anymore." . more

That you may see other lands and learn their customs.

Long ago, in the days of warriors and heroes, Marc King of Cornwall rewarded Rivalin King of Lothian with the gif t of his sister in marriage for the help he had given him in battle. Rival in carried the princess joyfully back with him to his own land, and a year later they had a son. But the child was named Tristan, which means sorrow, for his mother left the world the day he entered it.
Sixteen years afterwards, when Tristan had learned to ri That you may see other lands and learn their customs.

Long ago, in the days of warriors and heroes, Marc King of Cornwall rewarded Rivalin King of Lothian with the gif t of his sister in marriage for the help he had given him in battle. Rival in carried the princess joyfully back with him to his own land, and a year later they had a son. But the child was named Tristan, which means sorrow, for his mother left the world the day he entered it.
Sixteen years afterwards, when Tristan had learned to ride a horse and handle a hawk and a hound, a sword and a spear, to run and wrestle and leap, and to play the harp as if he played on the very heartstrings of his listeners, he asked his father's leave to go travelling to other lands and try his honor against other men. 'With your leave, I will go fist to Cornwall,' he said.
'Cornwall bas brought me much of joy and much of sorrow,' said his father. 'Maybe it will do the same for you. It is a land unlike all other lands.'
And Tristan said, 'If so, I will count the sorrow as fair payment for the joy, my father.'
So, when the sailing weather came after the winter storms, Tristan and his friends set out for Cornwall, little knowing what strange love and sorrow and tests of loyally would be his in Cornwall, the land where he won Iseult of Ireland's love for himself, yet brought her back to be his uncle's Queen, weaving a story that would be sung and told throughout Europe for centuries to come.
This retelling of the old Celtic story by Rosemary Sutcliff is one of her most memorable books, and one that pleases on many levels.

To most people, the story of Tristan is only one chapter in a book about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. But in fact it is a story in its own right, as old as the oldest stories of King Arthur, and like them, far older than any of the written versions we have today. And it only became joined on to the King Arthur stories quite late in medieval times.
The first written version that we know of dates from about 1150. Approximately ten years later, it was rewritten by a man called Thomas, and some fifty years later still, a great German poet, Gottfried von Strassburg, took Thomas's story and retold it in his own way. Since then, it has been told and told again down the centuries. Over a hundred years ago Wagner made it into one of the great operas of the world.
In its far back beginnings, Tristan is a Celtic legend, a tale woven by harpers round the peat fire in the timber halls of Irish or Welsh or Cornish chieftains, long before the time of chivalrous knights and fair ladies and turreted castles in which it is generally set. The medieval troubadours took it and enriched it, and dressed it in beautiful medieval clothes, but ·if you look, you can still see the Celtic story, fiercer and darker, and (despite the changes) more real, underneath. In this retelling Rosemary Sutcliff has tried to get back to the Celtic original as much as possible, and in doing this she has made one big change in the story. In all the versions that we know, Tristan and Iseult fall in love because they accidentally drink together a love potion which was meant for Iseult and her husband King Marc on their wedding night. Now the story of Tristan and Iseult is basically the same as two other great Celtic love stories, Diarmid and Grania, and Deirdre and the Sons of Usna, and in neither of them is there any suggestion of a love potion. The medieval storytellers possibly or even probably added it to make an excuse for Tristan and Iseult for being in love with each other when Iseult was married to somebody else. Making something that is real and living and part of themselves into something artificial, the result of drinking a sort of magic drug.
And it works wonderfully well.
. more


Tristan and Isolde in Context

The myth of Tristan and Isolde reflects a fundamental fascination with the idea of doomed love throughout European culture. The first versions of the tale appear to have originated in northern France, but it quickly traveled across the region, with new additions and variations to the same core story. Versions of the tale—usually featuring character names similar to the original tale, but adjusted for local languages—have appeared in Britain, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, Germany, and even as far east as Poland and Croatia. The tale became commonly known among even the peasant classes, and is remarkable for its similarity across the various cultures of Europe.


The Romance of Tristan and Iseult/The Chantry Leap

Dark was the night, and the news ran that Tristan and the Queen were held and that the King would kill them and wealthy burgess, or common man, they wept and ran to the palace.

And the murmurs and the cries ran through the city, but such was the King’s anger in his castle above that not the strongest nor the proudest baron dared move him.

Night ended and the day drew near. Mark, before dawn, rode out to the place where he held pleas and judgment. He ordered a ditch to be dug in the earth and knotty vine-shoots and thorns to be laid therein.

At the hour of Prime he had a ban cried through his land to gather the men of Cornwall they came with a great noise and the King spoke them thus:

“My lords, I have made here a faggot of thorns for Tristan and the Queen for they have fallen.”

But they cried all, with tears:

“A sentence, lord, a sentence an indictment and pleas for killing without trial is shame and crime.”

But Mark answered in his anger:

“Neither respite, nor delay, nor pleas, nor sentence. By God that made the world, if any dare petition me, he shall burn first!”

He ordered the fire to be lit, and Tristan to be called.

The flames rose, and all were silent before the flames, and the King waited.

The servants ran to the room where watch was kept on the two lovers and they dragged Tristan out by his hands though he wept for his honour but as they dragged him off in such a shame, the Queen still called to him:

“Friend, if I die that you may live, that will be great joy.”

Now, hear how full of pity is God and how He heard the lament and the prayers of the common folk, that day.

For as Tristan and his guards went down from the town to where the faggot burned, near the road upon a rock was a chantry, it stood at a cliff’s edge steep and sheer, and it turned to the sea-breeze in the apse of it were windows glazed. Then Tristan said to those with him:

“My lords, let me enter this chantry, to pray for a moment the mercy of God whom I have offended my death is near. There is but one door to the place, my lords, and each of you has his sword drawn. So, you may well see that, when my prayer to God is done, I must come past you again: when I have prayed God, my lords, for the last time.

And one of the guards said: “Why, let him go in.”

So they let him enter to pray. But he, once in, dashed through and leapt the altar rail and the altar too and forced a window of the apse, and leapt again over the cliff’s edge. So might he die, but not of that shameful death before the people.

Now learn, my lords, how generous was God to him that day. The wind took Tristan’s cloak and he fell upon a smooth rock at the cliff’s foot, which to this day the men of Cornwall call “Tristan’s leap.”

His guards still waited for him at the chantry door, but vainly, for God was now his guard. And he ran, and the fine sand crunched under his feet, and far off he saw the faggot burning, and the smoke and the crackling flames and fled.

Sword girt and bridle loose, Gorvenal had fled the city, lest the King burn him in his master’s place: and he found Tristan on the shore.

“Master,” said Tristan, “God has saved me, but oh! master, to what end? For without Iseult I may not and I will not live, and I rather had died of my fall. They will burn her for me, then I too will die for her.”

“Lord,” said Gorvenal, “take no counsel of anger. See here this thicket with a ditch dug round about it. Let us hide therein where the track passes near, and comers by it will tell us news and, boy, if they burn Iseult, I swear by God, the Son of Mary, never to sleep under a roof again until she be avenged.”

There was a poor man of the common folk that had seen Tristan’s fall, and had seen him stumble and rise after, and he crept to Tintagel and to Iseult where she was bound, and said:

“Queen, weep no more. Your friend has fled safely.”

“Then I thank God,” said she, “and whether they bind or loose me, and whether they kill or spare me, I care but little now.”

And though blood came at the cord-knots, so tightly had the traitors bound her, yet still she said, smiling:

“Did I weep for that when God has loosed my friend I should be little worth.”

When the news came to the King that Tristan had leapt that leap and was lost he paled with anger, and bade his men bring forth Iseult.

They dragged her from the room, and she came before the crowd, held by her delicate hands, from which blood dropped, and the crowd called:

“Have pity on her—the loyal Queen and honoured! Surely they that gave her up brought mourning on us all—our curses on them!”

But the King’s men dragged her to the thorn faggot as it blazed. She stood up before the flame, and the crowd cried its anger, and cursed the traitors and the King. None could see her without pity, unless he had a felon’s heart: she was so tightly bound. The tears ran down her face and fell upon her grey gown where ran a little thread of gold, and a thread of gold was twined into her hair.

Just then there had come up a hundred lepers of the King’s, deformed and broken, white horribly, and limping on their crutches. And they drew near the flame, and being evil, loved the sight. And their chief Ivan, the ugliest of them all, cried to the King in a quavering voice:

“O King, you would burn this woman in that flame, and it is sound justice, but too swift, for very soon the fire will fall, and her ashes will very soon be scattered by the high wind and her agony be done. Throw her rather to your lepers where she may drag out a life for ever asking death.”

“Yes let her live that life, for it is better justice and more terrible. I can love those that gave me such a thought.”

“Throw her among us, and make her one of us. Never shall lady have known a worse end. And look,” they said, “at our rags and our abominations. She has had pleasure in rich stuffs and furs, jewels and walls of marble, honour, good wines and joy, but when she sees your lepers always, King, and only them for ever, their couches and their huts, then indeed she will know the wrong she has done, and bitterly desire even that great flame of thorns.”

And as the King heard them, he stood a long time without moving then he ran to the Queen and seized her by the hand, and she cried:

But the King gave her up, and Ivan took her, and the hundred lepers pressed around, and to hear her cries all the crowd rose in pity. But Ivan had an evil gladness, and as he went he dragged her out of the borough bounds, with his hideous company.

Now they took that road where Tristan lay in hiding, and Gorvenal said to him:

“Son, here is your friend. Will you do naught?”

Then Tristan mounted the horse and spurred it out of the bush, and cried:

“Ivan, you have been at the Queen’s side a moment, and too long. Now leave her if you would live.”

But Ivan threw his cloak away and shouted:

“Your clubs, comrades, and your staves! Crutches in the air—for a fight is on!”

Then it was fine to see the lepers throwing their capes aside, and stirring their sick legs, and brandishing their crutches, some threatening: groaning all but to strike them Tristan was too noble. There are singers who sing that Tristan killed Ivan, but it is a lie. Too much a knight was he to kill such things. 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: fear had wearied the Queen, and she leant her head upon his body and slept.

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.


Tristan and Isolde drank the love potion

However, on the journey from Ireland Tristan and Isolde drank the love potion, believing it to be wine.

They instantly fell madly in love. When Brangwain realised what they had done, she told Tristan and Isolde that what they had drank had not been wine but a love potion.

Out of loyalty, Tristan insisted Isolde go ahead with the marriage to his uncle, despite his feelings towards her.

When King Mark met Isolde he immediately fell in love with her beauty and the two were married. However, still under the potion’s spell, Isolde and Tristan could not resist each other and continued to see each other behind King Mark’s back.

Several of Mark’s followers accused the two of adultery but they always pleaded their innocence.

Eventually Mark lost patience. He was angered by the betrayal of Tristan and banished him from his kingdom forever. However he could not be angry with his love Isolde and she remained his wife.

Tristan left Cornwall and served many different kings and fought in many battles. He eventually settled in Brittany, where he married a woman who was also called Isolde – Isolde of the White Hands.

Tristan could not forget his Irish Isolde though, and his love for her meant that he never consummated his marriage to Isolde of the White Hands.


Although possibly being part of a legend seperate from King Arthur stories, Tristan is best known as a knight of the Round Table who was the most skilled of all the knights save Lancelot.

He fell hopelessly in love with his uncle's wife, Isolde of Ireland. Some sources hold that this was by the work of a love potion, others say his love for her was real or else simply made larger by the potion. At any rate, he loved her faithfully, and carried on an affair with her for many years, loving no other.

Later, most sources hold that he was married to, not his lover, Isolde wife of King Mark, upon whom the series' Isolde the smuggler is apparently based on, but another woman entirely who happened to share the namesake. Known as Isolde of the White Hands, his wife was painfully jealous of his love for Queen Isolde of Cornwall/Ireland and, upon learning she was coming to heal him of a poison-related injury, lied to Tristan saying she was not coming. In some older legends, though, she is kinder, only making an innocent yet bitter remark which Tristan takes to mean his beloved Isolde has forgotten him.

He dies from his wounds, losing the will to keep fighting, just as his lover arrives. She cries upon him and, in most legends, dies upon his corpse. They are buried together and the plants on their graves link together no matter how many times they are cut down, symbolic of their always being together in death as well as in life.

His reasons for supporting Mark and not outright stealing his wife are muddled. In the 2006 film, Mark saved his life even losing a hand for his sake and he felt loyal to him because of this. However, in most of the stories, Mark is unkind, not much at all like Arthur who is gentle with Guinevere and Lancelot and dismayed when called upon to put them to trial.


Watch the video: Richard Wagner Tristan Und Isolde. Carlos Ludwig Kleiber