Back to top

Sir Tristrem, Part II


1 Unless he cause my torment to cease

2 Among the people it was not hidden (i.e., it was no secret; it was well known).

3 Through coats of mail the blood spewed

4 He did not know whom to blame for it

5 It [his heart] would have burst through blood and bone

6 To learn the ins and outs of [his] story

7 He did not stop [searching] because of that

8 He [Rohand] asked him [Tristrem] directly

9 As soon as he looked at it

10 He commended them to God and [said] good day

11 They advised the King to rid [himself of a problem]

12 You say I prevent my uncle from taking a wife

13 They didn't care who the man might be / In all the world / Who might slay him [the dragon] or who knew how to; / He would have Ysonde as a reward.

14 She asked for the drink from Ireland

15 Do not forsake for any payment / Doing that deed

16 And asked advice about those two [alternatives]

17 Tristrem came just / As Isolt had [gone] away

18 To go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem

19 [It would have been] good if you had commanded me

20 If [only] I dared, [but I don't] because of the King

21 But though I thought [myself] to die [as a result]

22 Except for the one [who] carried me to the ship

23 Neither of them might be sated with the other

24 They do not care about such sexual play

25 He [the Duke] offered him [Tristrem], in truth

26 Her hope [of receiving Tristrem's love] lasted so long [without fulfillment]

27 Without his [the giant's] waiting for him [for combat]

28 It seemed as if they were not images / Standing there

29 One of us shall lose his life-blood

30 For what action do you blame her

31 He was sorry, that noble young man

32 As a man who may do much (i.e., who is rich or powerful)


1 In the manuscript, a large capital I begins the romance. Large capitals also appear at the beginning of lines 34, 276, 452, 529, 573, 771, 1211, 1255, 1442, 1541, 1629, 1805, 1926, 2014, 2047, 2267, 2751, 2850, 3235, and 3290.

Because of damage to the manuscript, probably due, as Scott suggests, to the cutting out of an illumination, the end of the first line is missing. However, the entire line appears as a catchphrase on the preceding page.

Ertheldoun is Erceldoune, a village in Berwickshire, Scotland.

2 The Tomas referred to here (and again in lines 10, 397, 412 and 2787) as the purported source of the story of Sir Tristrem is Thomas of Erceldoune (fl. ?1220-?1297), a poet and prophet who is said to have predicted the death of the King of Scotland, Alexander III. Another work attributed to him but written long after his death is The Romance and Prophecies of Thomas of Erceldoune, edited by James A. H. Murray for the Early English Text Society (o.s. no. 61) in 1875.

3 The MED cites this line as an example of the use of the phrase in roune meaning "secretly" or "mysteriously." These meanings seem not to fit the context. The word probably has the meaning of "poem" or "song" in this context, and the author is here merely using the convention of citing an authority for his work.

20 McNeill notes that to abide is used here as "a mere expletive, which cannot be adequately translated."

23 McNeill notes that "Rouland" should be read for the manuscript reading of "Morgan," though he does not make the emendation in his text. I have followed Kölbing in making the emendation.

24 On Morgan, see the note to line 74.

39 Earlier editors agree on reading pouer as "the poor"; but it might also mean "the military force" or "the army."

44 On Rouland Rise (and also Rouland Riis on line 49), W. W. Skeat ("The Romance of Sir Tristrem," Scottish Historical Review 6 [1909], 59) says the "Rise" or "Riis" "is obviously the Welsh name Rhys, which has been Englished both as Reece and Rice."

74 Ermonie (which appears again in lines 762, 807, and 906, and as "Hermonie" in lines 532 and 849) as Tristrem's heritage is discussed at length by Ernst Brugger ("Almain and Ermonie as Tristan's Home," MP 25 [1927-28], 269-290). He suggests that in the Norse version of Thomas's story,
Ermenia, Tristram's home, was a town and port in Brittany. Tristram was therefore a Breton as well as his enemy, Duke Morgan. . . . The English translation [i.e., Sir Tristrem] does not go so much into details as the Saga, is more vague in its geographical indications, but generally confirms, or does not contradict, those about Tristram's home in the Saga. Ermenie is not yet a town. Navigation is necessary for passing from King Mark's court in England to Ermenie or vice versa. . . . Brittany . . . may have been thought of as adjacent to Ermonie and to the country of Duke Morgan, though this is not expressly stated . . . (pp. 272-273).
Brugger also suggests, however, that if Ermonie is original to the Tristan story, which he considers to have a Pictish origin, "Ermenie" should be identified with "Manann-Manau in Scotland" and goes on to say that a "confusion of Ermenie=Manann with Ermenie=Brittany . . . may have been the reason why Thomas transplanted Tristan's home from Scotland to the Continent; but I am inclined to think that this shifting was rather caused by the ambiguity of the name Bretaigne" (p. 289).

In another article ("Loenois as Tristan's Home," MP 22 [1924-25], 159-191), Brugger discusses the location of Tristan's home given in the Beroul (as opposed to the Thomas) tradition and identifies this place, Loenois or Lyonas, as Lothian, which he considers "far more important than Ermenie" (p. 190) because closer to what he sees as the Pictish origin of the legend.

80-81 The verse form and the sense suggest that there has been an omission by the scribe of two lines at this point.

95 Here and elsewhere throughout the manuscript, gan is an auxiliary verb indicating the past tense. Thus "gan he wende" means "he went."

146 The goinfainoun or "gonfalon" is a small pennon, here raised on the mast, or, as in line 173, suspended beneath the steel head of a knight's lance.

176-77 The paragraph mark used by the scribe to indicate new stanzas is erroneously placed before line 176, rather than before line 177, where the new stanza actually begins.

189 I follow Kölbing in emending the manuscript reading "Of" to "On."

247-49 The meaning of these lines is that Rohand, the steward of Tristrem's father Rouland, goes to his own wife's childbed and claims that his wife had two children, one of whom is Tristrem. Perhaps wiif is best taken as a dative form: he went "to his own wife" in her childbed. Rohand pretends the child is his own to protect Tristrem from his father's enemy Morgan. As part of the deception, he adopts the strategy referred to in lines 252-53 of disguising his name by reversing the syllables. In other versions of the legend, this strategy is adopted by Tristrem himself when he goes to Ireland in order that his identity as the slayer of the brother of the Queen of Ireland will not be revealed.

272 McNeill glosses held his hert in an as "kept his heart in one (i.e., in equanimity, repressing his sorrow)." Kölbing glosses "hielt sein herz in gleicher stummung, d.h. unterdrükte seinem kummer" (held his heart in constant temper, that is, suppressed his grief). The sense is clearly that Rohand did not wear his heart on his sleeve.

291 McNeill's note summarizes the opinions of the previous editors on this line:
This line defies interpretation as it stands. Scott in his glossary gives "Thede, apparently a contraction for they gede." But, as Kölbing points out, such a conjecture is untenable. Kölbing suggests that thede may be equivalent to the Old English theód, and proposes to read -

And everich play in thede,

which would have the same sense as in lede in verse 64, so that the line would mean every game known to the people - every game in the country.
The sense of the line is surely something like: he taught him "the manner of playing of every nation" of the old law and the new. Such a reading might be achieved without emendation if "thede" is taken as a genitive form. The Old English "theód," from which the Middle English word derives, is a feminine noun which would have a genitive in -e, so it is possible to read "thede" as a genitive form in this line.

297 W. W. Skeat ("The Romance of Sir Tristrem," Scottish Historical Review 6 [1909]: 61) says of Manerious: "the great puzzle is the wonderful name Manerious, which no one (says the note [i.e., McNeill's note]) can explain. However, I explained it once somewhere some years ago. It should rather be Manerius; and it is nothing but the Old Norman and Middle English word Manére, touched up with a Latin suffix to imitate its original. For what is its original? It is merely a French translation, meaning 'manner,' of the Latin name Modus. But what is meant by Modus? It is to be feared that its fame has departed; yet it was at that time one of the most famous of all works, as well known as the Roman de la Rose, or as the name of Newton is now to the students of science. Le Livre du Roi Modus et de la Reine Reson (The Book of King Manner and Queen Reason) was the chief authority on this very subject of 'venery' or hunting, containing all the precious terms of the chase and all the directions for the cutting up of the deer which, as the Romance informs us, Sir Tristrem knew so well. If he really knew more of hunting terms than even King Manner, he had great reason to be proud."

Skeat's explanation seems preferable to that of A. E. H. Swaen (Anglia 41 [1917], 182), who suggests reading "the puzzling name as Manuredus, i.e. Manfredus. Manfred, king of Sicily, wrote additional chapters to the Emperor Frederick the Second's famous treatise on falconry."

313 The OED notes that "aire" (of which air in this line is a variant) is "the earlier equivalent of aerie."

322The MED entry on the word "assise" (of which asise in this line is a variant spelling) refers to H. J. R. Murray's A History of Chess (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913) p. 455, for an explanation of the term in this context. Murray writes: "In the Middle Ages there was no tribunal whose word on the game of chess could be final. All attempts at the improvement of the game were from the necessity of the case individual at the outset, and each had to win its way to universal or national acceptance. Hence the first result of such attempts was a loss of uniformity, and the rise of local rules which differentiated the game of one locality from that of another. It took time for a happy improvement discovered perhaps in Spain to reach Germany, England, or Iceland, and all the modifications did not commend themselves to players in other countries. This led to the growth of what were called Assizes, the different codes of rules by which chess was played in different places or at different times. Thus we hear of the Lombard assize - the rules of the game as played by the famous players of Lombardy. We also hear in England of the long and short assizes, of which the former would appear to have been the ordinary mediaeval game, and the latter a game commencing from a different and more advanced arrangement of the pieces. We have a reference to the former in the Scotch version of the Tristram romance, Sir Tristrem . . . ."

325 The manuscript reads "Tristem." I have emended to "Tristrem." McNeill observes that "the sense of this and the following lines is very obscure. They seem to mean that Tristrem, doing as the wise do, looks upon the hawks on the one part, and the money on the other, as two separate parts, and lets the captain of the ship win as much money as he himself wins hawks." The problem with this interpretation is that in lines 340-41 we learn that Tristrem won 100 pounds. The MED, citing this line, glosses "delen a twinne" as "?act in two ways, work toward a double goal." However, in other instances cited by the MED the phrase means merely "to separate"; and it is possible that all that is meant is that Tristrem sets himself apart from Rohand in the process of playing the game. Lines 326-28, however, do seem to suggest that Tristrem plays wisely by allowing his opponent to win sometimes.

384 Kölbing glosses weder as "wetter" ("storm" or "bad weather" and McNeill glosses it as "weather"; but it seems to make as much or more sense to read it as "whither" or "wherever."

397 McNeill reads tho as "they, in the indefinite sense of people in general." It seems, however, that assigning it its more normal meaning of "then" yields better sense.

403-07 McNeill says that the sense of these difficult lines seems to be: "Whoever can say anything better (tell the story in a better manner), may say what he has to say (his owhen) here like a courteous man. But let each man praise what is pleasant to him at the end - i.e., when I have finished my version of the story." (See the introduction for another reading of "As hende").

410 Blihand or "bleaunt" is a costly silk fabric.

412 Toun might mean "a town," but it might also mean an enclosed space, a garden or a courtyard, where a reading might occur.

420 A peni can be a coin of small value or, if used more exactly, an "English silver coin, weighing approximately 22 grains, decreasing in weight and value from about 1300 A.D., equal to 1/12 of a shilling or 1/240 of a pound" (MED).

431 The OED, citing this line, considers temed to be a form of teem (v. 1, definition 8) "to betake oneself, to repair, go, proceed to." McNeill glosses as "appealed"; Kölbing as "berief sich" (relied on); and Scott as "tamed." The last meaning makes little sense; however, the verb "teme" is defined by the OED as "subjugate," and the sense could be that Tristrem subjugated himself to (that is, put himself under the protection of) the king.

446 A les or "leash" is here a set of three hounds.

454 The MED and OED both take Martirs as an erroneous form of the plural of "mart," a slaughtered animal (originally "a cow or ox slaughtered at Martinmas and prepared for provision for the winter," MED). But, despite the fact that line 455 makes this the most plausible reading, it is likely that the poet also was suggesting (or that the scribe was thinking of) images of martyrs quartered for their faith.

464 The manuscript reads "Tristem." I have emended to "Tristrem."

472 The phrase In lede is nought to lain, which literally means "Among the people it not to lie" is basically a metrical filler. The best translation is an emphatic "truly."

476 McNeill defines the "heminges" as "a piece of the hide cut out to make brogues for the huntsmen."

485 Scott, McNeill and Kölbing all read "spande"; but, as the MED suggests, this is an error for spaude ("shoulder"). The two minims were read as n rather than u. McNeill and Kölbing also read brede as "breadth"; but it seems possible that the meaning intended is something like a "cut of meat" (from "brede" = "roasted or grilled meat; also a roast" [MED]).

486 The erber is the first stomach, as opposed to the "rede" (line 489), which is the fourth stomach. On the process of dressing or "dighting" the erber, see J. Douglas Bruce, "The Breaking of the Deer in Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight," Englische Studien 32 (1903), 23-36; the note to line 1774 in English Hawking and Hunting in The Boke of St. Albans: A Facsimile Edition of Sigs. a2-f8 of The Boke of St. Albans (1486), ed. Rachel Hands (London: Oxford University Press, 1975) 141. The process is also referred to in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, line 1330.

487 The stifles are the joints "at the junction of the hind leg and the body (between the femur and the tibia) in a horse or other quadruped" (OED).

491 The noubles or "numbles" are inner parts of an animal used for food. The word is also found in the form "umble" and the parts so designated are used in making "umble pie." The phrase "to eat humble pie" is from the word "humble," according to the OED, but perhaps with jocular reference to "umble pie."

499 The word quirré, which comes from the Old French "cuirée," meaning "skin," refers to "certain parts of a deer placed on the hide and given to the hounds as a reward" (OED).

502 M. Y. Offord, in her note to The Parlement of the Thre Ages, line 80 (EETS, o.s. 246, [London: Oxford University Press, 1959] 41), notes that "a small piece of gristle at the end of the sternum . . . was thrown up into a tree to crows or ravens, as a kind of luck-offering."

518 Hunting calls were used as a form of communication during and after the hunt. Presumably the tokening or signal referred to here is the "retraite," the signal used to announce the return of the hunters. On hunting calls, see John Cummins, The Hound and the Hawk: The Art of Medieval Hunting (New York: St. Martin's, 1998), pp. 160-71.

531 The MED, citing this line, glosses the phrase spac biforn as "spoke first," but the meaning here must be something like "spoke right up."

537 McNeill glosses the tag For thought as "that can be imagined."

564-65 These lines, which earlier editors do not explain, present a problem of interpretation. A possible reading of the lines might be: "They took leave [of Tristrem] in the hall, whoever might reach the young man." The suggestion would be that those in the hall honored Tristrem by taking their leave of him if they could get to him, which was difficult because of the throng of people wishing to reach him after the display of his talent.

615 The manuscript reads "Tristram," but, as McNeill notes, this is obviously an error for "Rohand," to which I have emended the text.

687 The MED defines scarlet as "a robe, an article of clothing, etc.: of fine quality, perh. of scarlet color."

736 Kölbing suggests emending "skete" to "swete."

743 McNeill glosses with sight as "with a glance." The MED, citing this line, glosses "with a sigh."

754 Kölbing suggests that the word "he" (referring to Tristrem) is needed to complete the line: Rohand tells how Tristrem was begotten by his parents.

823 Unsought seems to suggest that one could find ten sons of kings at Morgan's table without even looking for them, that is, that kings' sons were plentiful there.

851-58 Kölbing and McNeill both ascribe all of these lines to Morgan, but it seems as if they are an exchange: Morgan admits killing Tristrem's father; Tristrem replies that since he has admitted it, reparations are due; Morgan asks if it is for his rights (the reparations) that Tristrem has come from Mark.

874-75 Here, as in lines 80-81, the verse form and the sense suggest that there has been an omission by the scribe of two lines.

906 Almain is discussed by Ernst Brugger in his article on "Almain and Ermonie as Tristan's Home" (cited above in the note to line 74) and at greater length in the second part of that article (MP 26 [1928-29], 1-12). Brugger asserts in the former article that "Almain was not Morgan's duchy, but was, like Ermonie, occupied by Tristan as his heritage" (p. 269). Though in the English poem Almain must be adjacent to Ermonie, Brugger suggests in the latter article that if Almain is to be traced back to the original form of the legend, which he regards as Pictish, it must be a corruption of "Albaine," a "northern neighbor" of Lothian (10).

921 In the phrase mi nem, there is a transference of n from "min" to the following noun. It is not unusual for a similar transference to occur with articles and with other possessive pronouns. See, for example, "A neten" (for "An eten," ["A giant"]) in line 950; "thi nore" (for "thin ore" [your mercy]) in line 2004; "thi nem" (for "thin em" [your uncle]) in line 2150; and "thi nare" (for "thin are" [your mercy]) in line 2135.

943 Latoun ("latten") is an alloy of copper, tin, and other metals.

948 Moraunt is the character who, in the French versions of the Tristan legend, is generally called le Morholt or le Morhot and, in Malory, Marhaus or Marhalt. In these versions, he is the Queen of Ireland's brother, whom Tristrem kills in combat to end the demand for tribute to the King of Ireland. In Sir Tristrem, Moraunt is presented as the brother of Ysonde (see line 1324) rather than her uncle.

955 The MED, citing this line, defines rade as "a protected place near shore where ships could lie at anchor."

968 As McNeill suggested, the word "tha" (after "thing" in the manuscript) seems to be crossed out.

1040 It seems fitting that Tristrem has a lion as the heraldic emblem on his shield, since the lion was the "Kyng and prince of alle bestes . . . . and some leouns . . . haven scharpe and fers hertes," as John of Trevisa writes in On the Properties of Things: John of Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomæus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975) II, 1214.

1093 McNeill reads "Zour," but the letter he reads as a "Z" seems to be comparable to the initial capital yogh as it appears elsewhere in the manuscript Thus I have transcribed it as "Y."

1132 McNeill suggests that following Kölbing's emendation of "thai" for "he" would improve the sense. It is possible to maintain the manuscript reading and to translate as: "Each of them had done what he might"; but perhaps a more suitable approach would be to emend "he" to "hie," an alternate form of "they," or to leave the manuscript reading and consider "he" as the third person plural pronoun. This form appears frequently enough in Middle English. See, e.g., Havelok the Dane, line 152 ("He [They] wrungen hondes, and wepen sore").

1150 McNeill says that for the manuscript reading of "son," "send must be read." The emendation is not necessary, however, if we read "yare" as a verb (meaning "to prepare").

1157 His is ambiguous in this line. It might refer to Tristrem: that is, Tristrem asked for a blessing for himself. It might also refer to Mark: Tristrem asked for his (Mark's) blessing. In either case, the subject (he=Tristrem) is understood.

1173 McNeill and the MED are probably correct in considering the manuscript reading "ride" an error for "rive," which is required by the rhyme. Thus I have emended to "rive."

1202 The phrase under line is used in Middle English, as the OED observes, as a mere expletive. Its literal meaning in something like "clothed in linen" or "in [one's] clothes."

1204 The manuscript reads "medicie." I have emended to "medicine," which is required by the rhyme.

1220 According to the MED, fowe is "a kind of particolored fur" and griis is a kind of gray fur, probably "fur from the back of the Russian gray squirrel in winter."

1226 Croude or "crowd" is "a name applied to various forms of the early fiddle: any of a class of stringed instruments with two to six strings, with bow, and later a fingerboard, in the shape of a rectangle, ellipse, or double ellipsoid, and played, depending on size, at the shoulder or across the knees" (A Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms, compiled by Henry Holland Carter [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961]).

1228 It is appropriate for the Irishmen to swear by St. Patrick, their patron saint.

1234 The first two letters of "sche" are not clearly legible in the manuscript; thus McNeill's text reads ". . he," though he does suggest that the word must be "sche."

1248 The phrase maken aloft means "to start or begin" something. In this line the word play means "music."

1290 Fet could be the third person singular of "feden" ("to feed" or "to nourish") or of "fetten" ("to rescue"). McNeill says the "sense" is "whoever cherishes an unknown man (is doomed to disappointment, for) he always goes away."

1308-9 Kölbing translates these lines: "Sie ahnten rache, weil sie ihn allein hatten fahren lassen" (They had a premonition about vengeance because they had let him travel alone).

1317 Gain is an alternate spelling of "gan." It gives a past sense to the word "frain" ("ask"). See the note to line 95.

1356 The MED, citing this line, glosses reles as "taste" and "? also beauty." McNeill glosses it as "description." Something like "beauty" is probably the sense intended, but it is possible that another sense of "reles" is intended either as the primary meaning or as a pun. The word can also mean "relief" or "abatement of distress" (MED). For the King and for the barons, a wife could relieve them of the problem of not having a direct heir to the throne.

1366 The point of this line is not immediately obvious. Perhaps the sense is something like "A little bird told me" that you are accusing me of preventing my uncle from marrying.

1381 According to the OED, vair is "a fur obtained from a variety of squirrel with grey back and white belly, much used in the 13th and 14th centuries as a trimming or lining for garments." On griis, see note to line 1220.

1390 The MED, citing this line, glosses fare as "rigging." However, the term might also refer to the "merchandise" of the ship.

1445 John of Trevisa (in On the Properties of Things: John of Trevisa's Translation of Bartholomæus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975] II, 1214) notes that when lions are pursued by hounds and hunters, "they lotyeth [lie concealed] nought nouther behuydeth [hide] hemself but sitteth in feldes where he may be seye [seen] and arrayeth himself to defens and renneth out of woode and covert with swift rennynge and cours, as though he wolde acounte vile schame to loty [lie concealed] and to huyde [hide] hymself. . . . Whanne he is ywounded he taketh wonderliche heede and knoweth hem that him furst smyteth, and reseth on [charges] the smytere though he nevere be in so gret multitude."

1520 Skeat, in his note to Piers Plowman C.II.147 (The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman in Three Parallel Texts . . . [London: Oxford University Press] 1961, II, 27) defines "treacle" (tryacle in his text) as "a sovereign remedy" and says that "the chief point to be observed is that it was considered to be an antidote against poisons, because it contained the flesh of vipers."

1584 The manuscript reads "mi brother." I have emended to thi brother. McNeill notes the error, and observes that "it was the queen's brother, not Ysonde's, who was slain by Tristrem"; but he does not emend his text.

1586 McNeill reads "be," where the manuscript has "he."

1608 The manuscript reading of "lerld" is, as the MED suggests, apparently an error for "lerde," to which I have emended the text.

1633 The sense of this line seems to be that the steward claims he will not fight because "a wrong is being perpetrated there."

1645 See Sir Walter Scott's note on love potions in his edition of Sir Tristrem (313-315). Scott writes that "the noted hippomanes [a growth found at the forehead of a newborn foal and considered in antiquity to be an aphrodisiac] was the principal ingredient in these love-potions; but the bones of a green frog (provided the flesh had been eaten by ants), the head of a kite, the marrow of a wolf's left foot, mixed with ambergris, a pigeon's liver, stewed in the blood of the person to be beloved, and many other recipes, more or less nauseous, are confidently averred to be of equal virtue."

1655-59 McNeill gives the "sense" of these lines as: "Thus the true knights rowed, and Tristrem also rowed, and continued to row, all the time that they came fresh (having been relieved while Tristrem was still at the oar), though he was only one man to three of them - a great labour."

1663 The pin here refers to a pin or peg "inserted in a drinking vessel marking equal portions of the contents" (MED).

1677 In lide = "in lede," means literally "among the people" or "on earth;" but here it is a virtually meaningless tag.

1681 For thought is difficult to gloss in this context. In her translation of Sir Tristrem, Jessie Weston translates "Long as man's thought" (160). This seems too loose a gloss. The phrase may be seen as a nearly meaningless tag. Or the sense may be something like "when we think about it" (similar to McNeill's gloss "that can be imagined" for the phrase as it appears in line 537). It is also conceivable that what is intended is "for-thought," a participle from "forthinken" (regret). The sense would then be that Tristrem and Ysonde were together in joy and also in pain, which was to be regretted. This reading is supported by the "to sain" in the following line. The phrase suggests that the comment that the drink was made in an evil time explains what came before.

1720 ff. In these lines Ysonde sneaks into bed to make Mark think he has slept with her rather than Brengwain. She asks for the drink from Ireland to make it seem to him that they have shared the love potion, but she lets the cup fall because she does not want to share it with Mark and she no longer needs it to strengthen her love of Tristrem, since their love is already sealed by the earlier drinking of the potion.

1734 ff. The fact that Ysonde would laugh when Tristrem is in grief seems strange. Kölbing translates these lines: "Ysonde lachte, wen Tristrem in leid war, absichtlich" (Ysonde laughed when Tristrem was in sorrow, intentionally) and explains that her laughter was intentional so that no one would suspect the relationship between them. It might also be a sign that Ysonde's mind is affected by the love-sickness caused by their forced separation, the laughter being a kind of mad laughter. She does, after all, in the next line, plan to kill Brengwain. Susan Crane sees these and the surrounding lines as a "dramatization of feelings alternating between joy and sorrow, hope and disappointment" which "nearly captures Thomas's idea that love's contrary movements are reciprocal and inseparable" (p. 191).

1853 A rote is "a medieval stringed-instrument of the harp family consisting of a solid, triangular wooden frame with seven strings and played like a guitar with the hand." The harp of the Irish minstrel is, if the term is used technically (and not loosely to indicate a stringed instrument, as is sometimes the case), "a triangular-shaped diatonic instrument consisting of a small tripartite frame (body, front pillar, and arched neck with metal tuning pins) on which from eight to eighteen strings of twisted hair, gut, or wire were strung" (A Dictionary of Middle English Musical Terms, compiled by Henry Holland Carter [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961], p. 414 and p. 185).

1854 The ring refers to a "metal ring attached to an object for fastening, lifting, etc." (MED).

1875 On dathet, John Edwards (Scottish Historical Review 1 [1904], 56) says, "This old imprecation is not Anglo-Saxon; it came over with the Conqueror, but early found an abiding place here. It is explained as coming from the Merovingian French, `Deu hat,' meaning `God's hate.'" Perhaps the best gloss on the word would be "damn" or "curses [on him]!"

1876 McNeill says that this line is "so corrupt as to be unintelligible." Perhaps some sense can be made of it by taking stound as a verb (as in "stound," OED v. 1) which means "to be painful" or "to cause great pain." Lines 1875 and 1876 then mean: "A curse on him always, / If this [his playing] cause [you] great pain concerning [that is, because it reminds you of] Tristrem." The earliest use of such a meaning recorded in the OED is 1500, but the parallel meaning of the noun "stound" dates back to 1300. There remains, however, an abrupt shift in the earl's thought, from cursing the minstrel for reminding Ysonde of Tristrem to rewarding him for traveling with them because his music pleases her.

1930 The manuscript reads "Tristren," which I have emended to "Tristrem," the form in which the name most frequently appears throughout the manuscript.

1940 I follow the suggestion of the MED in emending by adding "and" between the words "sorwe" and "site," which are contiguous in the manuscript.

1993 Say seems to govern both what comes before it and what follows. The sense is: "Ask to go with him, and say to him if he still loves you, `send Tristrem away.'" The shift from indirect to direct discourse occurs frequently in Middle English romances.

2002 I follow Kölbing's suggestion in emending the manuscript reading of "thi nemes" to "his emes" ("his uncle's," i.e., Mark's).

2004 On thi nore, see the note to line 921.

2019 Meridok's plan is to trap Tristrem by separating him from Ysonde thus causing him to arrange a meeting with her which Mark can observe.

2051 McNeill says that "the line is unintelligible." Kölbing suggests emending to "Tristrem go with hem bede" ("Bid Tristrem to go with them"). This seems to be the sense of the line. Perhaps the emendation is not necessary, since it is not unusual for the verb "to go" to be understood.

2080-90 This stanza is typical of the compressed style of the poet. Tristrem sees through the dwarf's deception and immediately adopts the strategy of accusing Ysonde of harming him by slandering him to Mark. Tristrem's words are addressed to the dwarf, whom he calls "Maister," which may be used as a term of respect when addressing someone of a higher station or merely as a polite (or occasionally ironic) way of addressing someone of a lower station.

2135 On thi nare, see the note to line 921.

2138 The word make is repeated in this line of the manuscript.

2144 Kölbing notes that Ungiltles must be read as either "ungilti" or "giltles;" the sense is surely that Mark now believes Tristrem is not guilty of the accusations that have been made against him.

2169 A constable is "the chief officer of a ruler's household or court" (MED).

2184 In the Middle Ages, blood-letting was routine preventive medicine, a way of ridding the body of evil humors, as well as a cure for specific diseases. On this subject, see Stanley Rubin, Medieval English Medicine (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1974) 140 ff.

2199 Tristrem's leap of thirty feet is quite an accomplishment. The current record for the long jump, held by Carl Lewis, is twenty-eight feet, ten and a quarter inches.

2201 Willes is a genitive singular of "will" and is used here as a predicate adjective.

2229 ff. On the ordeal with the hot iron, see Ernest C. York, "Isolt's Ordeal: English Legal Customs in the Medieval Tristan Legend," SP 68 (Jan. 1971), 1-9. York notes that the ordeal "had gone out of use in England almost a century before" Sir Tristrem was written. For a more general literary context, see Ralph J. Hexter, Equivocal Oaths and Ordeals in Medieval Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975). For historical information about ordeals, see Robert Bartlett, Trial by Fire and Water: The Medieval Judicial Ordeal (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), and Henry Charles Lea, The Ordeal, with additional original documents in translation by Arthur E. Howland, ed. Edward Peters (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1973).

2234 The merkes are the "posts by which the path of the accused is designated in a trial by ordeal" (MED).

2235 York (see note to lines 2229 ff.) notes that "Westminster was not a bishopric [the usual site of a trial by ordeal] until the sixteenth century and then only for a short time. But here an earlier Anglo-Saxon custom may be pertinent. According to the laws of Ethelred, `every ordeal shall take place in a royal manor.' Westminster Abbey, from the time of the Confessor on, held numerous manors, many of which were royal ones" (8).

2280 Ycorn is the past participle of "chesan," "to choose."

2286 F. Holthausen (in "Zur Erklärung und Textkritik der ME. Romanze `Sir Tristrem,'" Anglia, 39 [1915], 381) suggests reading "Hir" instead of "And." However, given the poet's tendency to use nearly meaningless tags, the manuscript reading should remain. The line then becomes a redundant (or perhaps emphatic) phrase meaning "and he did," but perhaps best translated by something like "indeed."

2290 Maugré is a preposition governing the genitive case. Thus maugré his means "in spite of him."

2296 McNeill translates "And he quickly gains intelligence of this (i.e., of the reconciliation between Mark and Ysonde) . . ." But it seems more likely that fraines this refers to seeking battle. The poet uses "frainen" again in this sense in line 2626.

2327 Scott, McNeill and Kölbing all take mete as "meal," probably because Tristrem is said to have come upon Morgan as he began to cut his bread (see line 820). It is also possible that "mete" is related to the verb "meten" in the sense of encounter.

2329 Bist is from the verb "bien," which means "to buy" or, as here, "to pay for" or "to atone for."

2371 An is the third singular present of "unnen" ("to grant").

2393 Deste is the past tense of "dashen" ("to fall precipitously" or "to collapse").

2474 The OED, citing this line, defines fede as "Great, large" and notes that the etymology is unknown and that "the senses assigned are somewhat uncertain, and perh. the examples do not all contain the same word." The MED, also citing this line, suggests that the word may be related to the Old Icelandic "feyja" ("to rot, decay") and defines the term as "Decayed, withered; ?hoary (forest)."

2496 It seems possible to translate this line in two ways. It might mean: "On account of the love each had for the other." But it might also mean: "On account of love, each gazed on the other." The latter meaning would require the line to be punctuated: "For love, ich other bihalt;" rather than as it appears in the text.

2508 The line means "A year minus three weeks."

2548 McNeill reads "liue" (live), but the minims that he reads as u may also be read as an n. Reading "line" (as a form of "lien," "to lie,") makes much better sense in the context.

2557 This line appears at the bottom of the first column on folio 295 v. There is a sign after the fourth line of the column to indicate that this line should be inserted at that point.

2590 McNeill glosses this line: "In spite of the plans we are able to devise."

2628 McNeill glosses thurchsayn as "explored." Kölbing glosses it as "durchsuchen" ("search through").

2663-73 Of these lines, Susan Crane says, "The whole of Tristan's debate on whether or not to marry Isolt of Brittany . . . is distilled into one stanza" (190).

2666 McNeill omits the word "ous," which appears in the manuscript between "hath" and "wrought."

2674 That refers to the intention to marry Ysonde of the White Hands.

2725 Brether is a plural form. Thus "brethern" (as in line 3310, for example) is a double plural (as is also the word "children"). The n-plural also appears in the word "fon" ("foes") in line 3245.

2730 The word fre as used in this line seems to have a legal connotation as it does, for example, in The English Register of Godstow Nunnery, near Oxford; ed. Andrew Clark; EETS o.s. 129 (London: Kölbing emends to "blac."

2742 The MED, citing this line, glosses merkes as "tracks (of an animal)"; but it seems preferable to read it as a variant of "markes" (which appears in line 2710), meaning "boundary markers." The point is that Tristrem's hounds run beyond the boundary markers into the giant's territory. The chance thus arising (see line 2739), Tristrem enters into the forbidden territory.

2744 I have emended the manuscript reading "blalc" to "blac." McNeill reads "blalc" but says in his glossary that it is erroneously written for "blac." Kölbing emends to "blac."

2746 McNeill suggests that Kölbing's emendation of "was fade" to "forbade" "would certainly make the sense more intelligible than it at present is." However, if "douke" is read in a general sense (meaning "knightly warrior") and taken as referring not to Duke Rohande but to the giant Beliagog, the line makes perfect sense. "Fade" would mean "eager for battle" in this context.

2749 Priis is the signal on the hunting horn that indicates that the quarry has been taken.

2779 Bleynt is the past tense of "blenchen" ("to move suddenly or sharply; jerk, twist; flinch, wince, dodge," MED). This line explains how Tristrem evaded the spear. By turning quickly aside, the spear passed between his hauberk and his body.

2786 The line, which translates literally as "Tristrem's life he nearly sold," means "He nearly killed Tristrem."

2801 ff. McNeill translates this line: "Tristrem acknowledged him as a free man - i.e., accorded him his freedom." Skeat ("The Romance of Sir Tristrem," Scottish Historical Review 6 [1909], 61) says, "This is a very harsh construction of knewe. I take fre in its usual sense of `liberal' or `bounteous.' Further, I alter the semi-colon after fre to a comma, and place another comma after Beliagog. The sense is `Tristrem knew him, Beliagog, (to be) liberal in his promise, (namely), if I am to conceal nothing, that he would make a bright hall for him.' Here is nothing forced or obscure. For hight, a promise, see the Cursor Mundi, l. 785. The semi-colon after fre deprives the rest of the passage of its verb." Another possible explanation is to read 2801 either as McNeill does or as meaning "Tristrem knew him to be generous." In the next line, "hight" could be read as the past of "hien" ("to hasten or hurry"). The sense would then be: "Beliagog rushed right in, truly, to make him a bright hall for Ysonde and Brengwein."

2814 Kölbing glosses this line: "Sein werk zu ende zu führen" ("to carry through his work to the end").

2841 McNeill says that to calle is "an expletive with no more definite meaning than `so to say,' `so to speak"'; it is possible, however, that the phrase means something like "[ready] to be summoned" and is emphasizing the life-like quality of the statues of the dogs.

2851 York Powell ("A Few Notes on Sir Tristrem," Englische Studien 6 [1883], 464) says: "Sein Matheus toun is S. Mahé in Brittany on the coast, I fancy. This spot was well known to Englishmen and Scots at the date of the original poem. He is in Bretein l. 2641, and S. Mahé by Ushant i[s] [article reads "in"] not so far from S. Pol de Leon, the Lyoun of l. 2855. So we get an indication of travel or of knowledge of the Brittany coast such as a knight or bachiler serving in the wars or as ambassador might show. S. Mahé was well known from the Brittany wars of Ed. III and Rich. II to Englishmen."

2880 The MED, citing this line, notes that Withouten oth is used "as a tag or emphatic" to mean "assuredly, unquestionably, truly, indeed."

2936-37 McNeill seems to capture the sense when he glosses these lines: "Kölbing is probably correct in reading let as a form of "leten" meaning "speak of" or "judge." This line makes best sense when seen as a continuation of the description of the beloved: "My beloved fair and sweet . . . who knows well how to speak of love." Line 3306 might be translated as "May Christ send her to you" (i.e., "May you save her"); or, if "hir" is taken to refer to Ysonde (named in line 3308), the line might mean: "May Christ send her [Ysonde] to you / [If] you undertake to make better my sorrow / For love of the noble Ysonde." If the latter reading is preferred, the period at the end of line 3306 should be changed to a comma.

2943 The phrase in lede (literally "in the [his] country" or "among the people" is here a rhyming tag with little real meaning.

2966 The word are in this line modifies "duelled" in the following line.

2968 The MED, citing this line and also line 3177, says that the phrase to lithe (literally "to hear" or "to listen") is "a more or less empty metrical tag."

2976 The word blo, meaning dark and thus virtually synonymous with "black," survives in the phrase "black and blue" where "blue" is "a corruption arising when blo became obsolete after 1550" (OED).

3050 The MED, citing this line, defines hayte as "?to fight, do battle"; but the more normal meaning of "to show hatred" seems more appropriate to the context.

3068 Catherine of Alexandria was a saint supposed to have lived in the fourth century who was "a noble girl persecuted for her Christianity, who despised marriage with the Emperor because she was a `bride of Christ' . . . . Her protests were against the persecution of Christians by Maxentius; her tortures consisted of being broken on a wheel (later called Catherine wheel), but the machine broke down injuring bystanders; Catherine was beheaded." She was a patron of nurses ("because milk instead of blood flowed from her severed head") and of young girls (Oxford Dictionary of Saints).

3128 Clerk and knight is one of the contrasting pairs commonly used in Middle English to represent completeness. The sense of the phrase is "one and all."

3139 McNeill takes to-kest (his reading is "tokest" as meaning "destroyed." I prefer to read "to-kest," which I take as related to the verb "casten," which can mean "to cast one's eyes at" or "to look at something." Though the examples of this sense cited by the MED generally have a word meaning "look" or "eye" in conjunction with "cast," the sense of looking is suggested by the notion of spying. Thus "to-kest" would mean something like "looked over" or "surveyed."

3153 Bond and fre is another example of a contrasting pair used in Middle English to suggest completeness (see the note to line 3128). Thus the sense of the phrase is "everyone."

3173 The claper is the "lid or clapper of a beggar's clapdish" (MED). Scott (362) notes that lepers "usually carried the cup and clapper mentioned in the text. The former served to receive alms, and the noise of the latter warned the passenger to keep aloof, even while bestowing his charity."

3183 This line only makes sense if hem is taken as referring to Canados and Ysonde. Apparently her threats to catch them in the act are a way of preventing Canados from having his way with Ysonde. Although the antecedent is far removed from hem in this reading, the interpretation is supported by the following lines in which Brengwain complains about Canados to Mark.

3248 The sense of yeld in this line is something like "paid them back for." Tristrem and Ganhardin are paying back the bold knights (like Meriadok) for their old deeds, i. e., the harm done to Tristrem and Ysonde.

3261 In the manuscript the last letter of stirops is an "o." The word thus reads "stiropo," but the MED considers this an error for "stirops," to which I have emended the word.

3296 About the phrase A knight that werd no schone (wore no shoes), Scott says: "The knights often made whimsical vows, to forbear a certain part of their dress, armour, or habits of life, until they had executed a particular adventure . . . ." However, the line probably refers to the fact that the second Tristrem is a young and untested knight. To "win one's shoes" meant to prove oneself in combat. (See, e.g., Rauf the Collier, line 765: "It war my will, worthy, thy schone that thow wan . . . ."

3305-6 Kölbing is probably correct in reading let as a form of "leten" meaning "speak of" or "judge." This line makes best sense when seen as a continuation of the description of the beloved: "My beloved fair and sweet . . . who knows well how to speak of love." Line 3306 might be translated as "May Christ send her to you" (i.e., "May you save her"); or, if "hir" is taken to refer to Ysonde (named in line 3308), the line might mean: "May Christ send her [Ysonde] to you / [If] you undertake to make better my sorrow / For love of the noble Ysonde." If the latter reading is preferred, the period at the end of line 3306 should be changed to a comma.

3398 Scott defines haggards as "wild hawks, metaphorically, loose women." A stale is "a lover or mistress whose devotion is turned into ridicule for the amusement of a rival" but may also have the meaning of a "decoy-bird" (OED).
Up he stirt in drede
And seyd, "Tristrem, alight,
For thou hast slayn mi stede.
Afot thou schalt fight."
Quath Tristrem, "So God me rede,
Therto icham al light."
Togider tho thai yede
And hewen on helmes bright
Saun fayl.
Tristrem as a knight
Faught in that batayle.
Moraunt of Yrland smot
Tristrem in the scheld
That half fel fram his hond
Ther adoun in the feld.
Tristrem, ich understond,
Anon the strok him yeld
With his gode brond.
Moraunt neighe he queld,
That knight.
Marke the batayl biheld
And wonderd of that fight.
Moraunt was unfayn
And faught with al his might;
That Tristrem were yslayn
He stird him as a knight.
Tristrem smot with main;
His swerd brak in the fight
And in Morauntes brain
Bileved a pece bright
With care.
And in the haunche right
Tristrem was wounded sare.
A word that pended to pride
Tristrem tho spac he:
"Folk of Yrland side,
Your mirour ye may se.
Mo that hider wil ride,
Thus graythed schul ye be."
With sorwe thai drough that tide
Moraunt to the se
And care.
With joie Tristrem the fre
To Mark, his em, gan fare.
His swerd he offred than
And to the auter it bare.
For Markes kinsman
Tristrem was loved thare.
A forward thai bigan
Therto thai alle sware:
For that lond fre he wan,
That king he schuld be thare,
To say,
Yif he olive ware
After Sir Markes day.
Thei Tristrem light thenke,
He is wounded ful sare.
Leches with salve and drink
Him cometh wide whare.
Thai lorn al her swink:
His pain was ay the mare.
No man no might for stink
Com ther Tristrem ware
Als than.
Ich man forsoke him thare
Bot Governayl, his man.
Thre yer in carebed lay
Tristrem, the trewe he hight,
That never no dought him day
For sorwe he hadde onight.
For diol no man no may
Sen on him with sight.
Ich man, for sothe to say,
Forsoke tho that knight
As thare.
Thai hadde don what he might;
Thai no rought of his fare
Til it was on a day
Til Mark he gan him mene.
Schortliche, sothe to say,
This tale was hem bituene.
"In sorwe ich have ben ay
Seththen ich alive have ben."
Marke seyde, "Wayleway
That ich it schuld ysene,
Swiche thing."
Tristrem, withouten wene,
A schip asked the King.
"Em," he seyd, "Y spille.
Of lond kepe Y namare.
A schip thou bring me tille,
Mine harp to play me thare,
Stouer ynough to wille
To kepe me, son you yare."
Thei Marke liked ille,
Tristrem to schip thai bare
And brought.
Who wold with him fare?
Governayle no lete him nought.
Tristremes schip was yare
And asked his benisoun.
The haven he gan outfare -
It hight Carlioun.
Niyen woukes and mare
He hobled up and doun.
A winde to wil him bare
To a stede ther him was boun
Delvelin hight the toun,
An haven in Irland.
A winde thider him gan drive;
Schipmen him seighe neighehand.
In botes thai gun him stive
And drough him to the land.
A wounded man alive
In the schip thai fand.
He seyd bisiden a rive
Men wounded him and band
No man might bi him stand
For stinking of his wounde.
Governail gan hem frain
What hight the se strand.
"Develin," thai seyd ogayn,
The schipmen that him fand.
Tho was Tristrem unfain
And wele gan understand,
Hir brother hadde he slain
That Quen was of the land
In fight.
"Tristrem" he gan doun lain
And seyd "Tramtris" he hight.
In his schip was that day
Al maner of gle
And al maner of lay
In lond that might be.
To the Quen tho seyd thay,
Morauntes soster the fre,
Ywounded swiche a man lay
That sorwe it was to se
And care.
A miri man were he
Yif he olive ware.
Sche was in Develin,
The fair levedi, the Quene,
Lovesom under line
And sleighest had ybene
And mest couthe of medicine.
That was on Tristrem sene.
Sche brought him of his pine,
To wite and nought at wene,
To say.
Sche sent him a plaster kene
To cast the stink oway.
A morwe when it was day,
The levedy of heighe priis
Com ther Tristrem lay
And asked what he is.
"Marchaund ich have ben ay;
Mi nam is Tramtris.
Robbers, for sothe to say,
Slough mine felawes, ywis,
In the se.
Thai raft me fowe and griis,
And thus wounded thai me."
An heye man he was like,
Thei he wer wounded sare.
His gles weren so sellike
That wonder thought hem thare.
His harp, his croude was rike,
His tables, his ches he bare.
Thai swore by Seyn Patrike
Swiche seighe thai never are
Er than:
"Yif he in hele ware,
He wer a miri man."
The levedi of heighe kenne
His woundes schewe sche lete,
To wite his wo unwinne;
So grimli he gan grete,
His bon brast under skinne,
His sorwe was unsete.
Thai brought him to an inne;
A bath thai made him sket
So lithe
That Tristrem on his fet
Gon he might swithe.
Salves hath he soft
And drinkes that er lithe.
Thai no rought hou dere it bought
Bot held him al so swithe.
He made his play aloft;
His gamnes he gan kithe.
Forthi was Tristrem oft
To boure cleped fele sithe
To sete.
Ich man was lef to lithe,
His mirthes were so swete.
The king had a douhter dere;
That maiden Ysonde hight
That gle was lef to here
And romaunce to rede aright.
Sir Tramtris hir gan lere
Tho with al his might
What alle pointes were,
To se the sothe in sight,
To say.
In Yrlond nas no knight
With Ysonde durst play,
Ysonde of heighe priis,
The maiden bright of hewe
That wered fow and griis
And scarlet that was newe.
In warld was non so wiis
Of craft that men knewe
Withouten Sir Tramtris
That al games of grewe
On grounde.
Hom longeth Tramtris the trewe,
For heled was his wounde.
Sir Tramtris in Irlond
Duelled al a yere;
So gode likeing he fand
That hole he was and fere.
The Quen to fot and hand
He served dern and dere.
Ysonde he dede understand
What alle playes were
In lay.
His leve he asked at here
In schip to founde oway.
The Quen that michel can
To Tramtris sche gan say,
"Whoso fet uncouthe man,
He foundeth ever oway."
His hire thai yolden him than,
Gold and silver, Y say.
What he wold, he wan
Of Ysonde for his play
Saun fail.
He bitaught hem God and gode day; 10
With him went Governail
Riche sail thai drewe
White and red so blod.
A winde to wil hem blewe;
To Carlioun thai yode.
Now hat he Tristrem trewe
And fareth over the flod.
The schip the cuntré knewe;
It thought hem ful gode
As thare.
Of wrake thai understode
For on thai leten him fare.
Thai tolden to the King
That the schip had sain.
Never of no tiding
Nas Mark the King so fain.
To toun thai gun him bring;
The King ros him ogayn.
Blithe was her meteing,
And fair he gain him frain
That stounde:
"Tristrem, nought to lain,
Heled is thi wounde?"
His em answer he yeld
That litel he wald wene.
Of bot sche was him beld
That Moraunt soster had bene.
Hou fair sche hath him held
He told hem al bidene.
And seththen Tristrem hath teld
Of Ysonde that was kene,
Al newe,
Hou sche was bright and schene,
Of love was non so trewe.
Mark to Tristrem gan say,
"Mi lond bitake Y the
To han after mi day:
Thine owhen schal it be.
Bring thou me that may
That ich hir may yse."
This was his maner ay
Of Ysonde than speketh he
Her prise,
Hou sche was gent and fre.
Of love was non so wise.
In Inglond ful wide
The barouns hem bithought
To fel Tristremes pride
Hou thai fairest mought.
The King thai rad to ride, 11
A Quen to him thai sought
That Tristrem might abide
That he no were it nought,
No king.
Thai seyd that Tristrem mought
Ysonde of Irlond bring.
A brid bright thai ches
As blod opon snoweing:
"A maiden of swiche reles
Tristrem may to the bring."
Quath Tristrem, "It is les
And troweth it for lesing;
To aski that never no wes,
It is a fole askeing
Bi kinde;
It is a selli thing
For no man may it finde.
Y rede ye nought no strive.
A swalu ich herd sing.
Ye sigge ich wern mi nem to wive 12
For Y schuld be your king.
Now bringeth me atte rive
Schip and other thing.
Ye se me never olive
Bot yif ich Ysonde bring,
That bright.
Finde me min askeing,
Mine fiftend som of knight."
Knightes tho chosen thai
That were war and wise,
Al that mest may
And heighest weren of priis.
A schip with grene and gray,
With vair and eke with griis,
With alle thing, Y say,
That pende to marchandis
In lede.
Thai ferden of this wise
Intil Yrlond thede.
In his schip was boun
Al that mister ware.
Out of Carlioun
Riche was his schip fare.
Thai rered goinfaynoun;
A winde to wille hem bare.
Develin hat the toun
To lond thai comen thare,
The best.
The King present thai bare
And asked leve to rest.
The King present thai brought,
Another to the Quene;
Ysonde forgat thai nought,
To wite and nought at wene.
To schip when thai hem thought
That at the court hadde bene -
Swiche mayde nas never wrought
That thai ever hadde sene
With sight -
The cuntré alle bidene
Thai seighe fle ful right.
Out of Develin toun
The folk wel fast ran
In a water to droun,
So ferd were thai than.
For doute of o dragoun
Thai seyd to schip thai wan
To haven that were boun.
No rought thai of what man
In lede
That may him sle or can
Ysonde schal have to mede. 13
Tristrem, blithe was he.
He cleped his knightes stithe:
"What man he is, las se,
That take this bataile swithe."
Alle thai beden lat be;
Durst non himselven kithe.
"For nede now wo is me,"
Seyd Tristrem that sithe
Right than.
Listen now, who wil lithe
Al of an hardi man.
A stede of schip thai drewe,
The best that he hadde brought.
His armes weren al newe,
That richeliche were wrought.
His hert was gode and trewe:
No failed it him nought.
The cuntré wele he knewe
Er he the dragoun sought
And seighe.
Helle-fere, him thought,
Fram that dragoun fleighe.
Asaut to that dragoun
Tristrem toke that tide
As a lothely lioun
That bataile wald abide.
With a spere feloun
He smot him in the side.
It no vailed o botoun;
Oway it gan to glide,
His dent.
The devel dragouns hide
Was hard so ani flint.
Tristrem, al in tene,
Eft that spere tok he.
Ogain that dragoun kene
It brast on peces thre.
The dragoun smot bidene;
The stede he gan sle.
Tristrem, withouten wene,
Stirt under a tre
Al stille
And seyd, "God in Trinité,
No lat thou me nought spille."
Ogain that fende dragoun
Afot he tok the fight.
He faught with his fauchoun
As a douhti knight.
His nether chavel he smot doun
With a stroke of might.
Tho was the dragon boun
And cast fere ful right
And brend
His armes that were bright;
Schamliche he hath hem schent.
Swiche fer he cast ogain
That brend scheld and ston.
Now lith his stede yslain,
His armes brent ichon.
Tristrem raught his brain
And brak his nek bon.
No was he never so fain
As than that batail was don.
To bote,
His tong hath he ton
And schorn of bi the rote.
In his hose next the hide
The tong oway he bar.
No yede he bot ten stride
His speche les he thar.
Nedes he most abide
That he no may ferther far.
The steward com that tide;
The heved oway he schar
And brought
And tok it Ysonde thar
And seyd dere he hadde hir bought.
The steward wald ful fain
Han Ysonde, yif he mought.
The King answerd ogain,
Fair the bataile him thought.
Ysonde, nought to lain,
Of him no wil sche nought.
There the dragoun was slain
Hye and hir moder sought
Al so
Who that wonder wrought,
That durst that dragoun slo.
"Dede the steward this dede?"
"Certes," quath Ysonde, "nay.
This ich brende stede
No aught he never a day,
No this riche wede
Nas never his, sothe to say."
Forther als thai yede,
A man thai founde whare lay
And drough.
"Certes," than seyd thai,
"This man the dragoun slough."
His mouthe opened thai
And pelt treacle in that man.
When Tristrem speke may,
This tale he bigan
And redyli gan to say
Hou he the dragoun wan.
"The tong Y bar oway;
Thus venimed he me than."
Thai loke.
The Quen that michel can
Out of his hose it toke.
Thai seighen he hadde the right;
The steward hadde the wough.
And yif he durst fight
With him the dragoun slough,
Tristrem spak as a knight,
He wold prove it anough.
So noblelich he hem hight,
Therof Ysonde lough
That tide.
To his waraunt he drough
His schippe and al his pride.
The Quen asked what he is
That durst the dragon abide.
"Marchaunt icham, ywis;
Mi schip lith here biside.
He seyt he hath don this,
Proven ichil his pride
Er he Ysonde kisse."
Ogaines him wald he ride
With might.
Ysonde seyd that tide,
"Allas that thou ner knight!"
Her chaumpioun that day
Richeliche gun thai fede
Til hem think that he may
Don a douhti dede.
His armes, long were thai,
His scholders large on brede.
The Quen, for sothe to say,
To a bath gan him lede
Ful gayn,
And seththen hirself sche yede
After a drink of main.
Ysonde, bright of hewe,
Thought it Tramtris ware.
His swerd, sche gan it schewe,
And broken hye fond it thare.
Out of a cofer newe
The pece sche drough ful yare
And sett it to that trewe.
It nas lasse no mare,
Bot right.
Tho thought Ysonde with care
To sle Tristrem the knight.
Ysonde to Tristrem yode
With his swerd al drain.
"Moraunt, mi nem the gode,
Traitour, thou hast slain;
Forthi thine hert blode
Sen ich wold ful fain."
The Quen whende sche were wode.
Sche com with a drink of main
And lough.
"Nay, moder, nought to layn,
This thef thi brother slough.
"Tristrem, this thef is he;
That may be nought forlain.
The pece thou might her se
That fro mi nem was drain.
Loke that it so be;
Sett it even ogain."
As quik thai wald him sle
Ther, Tristrem, ful fain,
Soth thing.
In bath thai hadden him slain
No were it for the King.
And ever Tristrem lough
On swete Ysonde the bright:
"Thou might have slain me ynough
Tho that Y Tramtris hight.
Ye witeth me with wough
Of Moraunt, the noble knight.
Y graunt wele ichim slough
In batayl and in fight,
Nought lain.
Yif he hadde had the might
So wold he me ful fain.
Tho Y Tramtris hight,
Y lerde the play and song,
And ever with al mi might
Of the Y spac among
To Marke, the riche knight,
That after the he gan long."
So swore he day and night,
And borwes fond he strong
Amendes of al wrong,
That Ysonde schuld be quen.
Tristrem swore that thing;
Thai seyd it schuld stand
That he schuld Ysonde bring -
Thai token it under hand -
To Mark, the riche king,
Olive yif thai him fand,
And make hir with his ring
Quen of Ingeland,
To say.
The forward fast thai band
Er thai parted oway.
The steward forsoke his dede
Tho he herd he Tristrem hight.
The King swore, so God him spede,
That bothen schuld have right.
The steward seyd wrong ther yede;
Forthi nold he nought fight.
Tristrem to his mede
Thai yolden Ysonde the bright;
To bring
To prisoun that other knight
The maiden biseketh the King.
No asked he lond no lithe
Bot that maiden bright.
He busked him al so swithe,
Bothe squier and knight.
Her moder about was blithe
And tok a drink of might
That love wald kithe
And tok it Brengwain the bright
To think,
"At er spouseing anight
Gif Mark and hir to drink."
Ysonde, bright of hewe,
Is fer out in the se.
A winde ogain hem blewe
That sail no might ther be.
So rewe the knightes trewe,
Tristrem, so rewe he,
Ever as thai com newe
He on ogain hem thre,
Gret swink.
Swete Ysonde the fre
Asked Bringwain a drink.
The coupe was richeli wrought:
Of gold it was, the pin.
In al the warld nas nought
Swiche drink as ther was in.
Brengwain was wrong bithought.
To that drink sche gan win
And swete Ysonde it bitaught.
Sche bad Tristrem bigin,
To say.
Her love might no man tuin
Til her ending day.
An hounde ther was biside
That was ycleped Hodain;
The coupe he licked that tide
Tho doun it sett Bringwain.
Thai loved al in lide
And therof were thai fain.
Togider thai gun abide
In joie and ek in pain
For thought.
In ivel time, to sain,
The drink was ywrought.
Tristrem in schip lay
With Ysonde ich night;
Play miri he may
With that worthli wight
In boure night and day.
Al blithe was the knight,
He might with hir play.
That wist Brengwain the bright
As tho.
Thai loved with al her might
And Hodain dede also.
Tuai wikes in the strand
No seyl thai no drewe.
Into Inglond
A winde to wille hem blewe.
The King on hunting thai fand.
A knave that he knewe,
He made him knight with hand
For his tidinges newe
Gan bring.
Ysonde, bright of hewe,
Ther spoused Mark the King.
He spoused hir with his ring;
Of fest no speke Y nought.
Brengwain, withouten lesing,
Dede as hye had thought.
Sche tok that love drink
That in Yrlond was bought.
For Ysonde to the King
Brengwain to bed was brought
That tide.
Mark his wille wrought
On bed Brengwain biside.
When Mark had tint his swink,
Ysonde to bed yede;
Of Yrlond hye asked drink; 14
The coupe sche gan hir bede,
Biside hir sche lete it sink.
Therof hadde sche no nede
Of non maner thing
Ogain Tristrem, in lede,
As tho.
No might no clerk it rede,
The love bituen hem to.
Thai wende have joie anough;
Certes, it nas nought so.
Her wening was al wough,
Untroweand til hem to.
Aither in langour drough
And token rede to go;
And seththen Ysonde lough
When Tristrem was in wo
With wille.
Now thenketh Ysonde to slo
Brengwain and hir to spille.
Sche thought, "Y may be wroth.
Sche lay first bi the King
For Y bihight hir cloth,
Gold and riche wedding.
Tristrem and Y boathe
Beth schent for our playing.
Better is that we rathe
Hir o live bring
Al stille.
Than doute we for no thing
That we ne may han our wille."
The Quen bad her biside
To werkemen on a day.
Sche told hem at that tide
What was her wille to say:
"Ye moten slen and hide
Bringwain, that miri may."
Sche seyd, "Ye schal abide
Riche to ben ay
In lede.
No lete ye for no pay
That ye no do that dede." 15
Into a grisly clough
Thai and that maiden yode.
That on his swerd out drough;
That other bihinde hir stode.
Sche crid merci anough
And seyd, "For Cristes Rode!
What have Y don wough?
Whi wille ye spille mi blode?"
"Nought lain,
Ysonde, the levedi gode,
Hath hot thou schalt be slain."
Brengwain dernly
Bad hem say the Quen:
"Greteth wele mi levedy
That ai trewe hath ben.
Smockes hadde sche and Y
And hir was solwy to sen,
Bi Mark tho hye schuld ly.
Y lent hir min al clen,
As thare.
Ogain hir, wele Y wen,
No dede Y never mare."
Thai nold hir nought slo
Bot went ogain to the Quen.
Ysonde asked hem to,
"What seyd hye you bituen?"
"Hye bad ous say you so:
`Your smock was solwy to sen,
Bi Mark tho ye schuld ly;
Y lent hir min al clene
That day."'
Tho asked Ysonde the ken,
"Whare is that trewe may?"
Tho seyd Ysonde with mode,
"Mi maiden ye han slain."
Sche swore bi Godes Rode
Thai schuld ben hong and drain.
Sche bede hem giftes gode
To fechen hir ogain.
Thai fetten hir ther sche stode.
Tho was Ysonde ful fain,
To say.
So trewe sche fond Brengwain
That sche loved hir wele ay.
Made was the saughtening
And alle forgeve bidene.
Tristrem, withouten lesing,
Played with the Quen.
Fram Irlond to the King
An harpour com bituen.
An harp he gan forth bring,
Swiche no hadde thai never sen
With sight.
Himself, withouten wen,
Bar it day and night.
Ysonde he loved in are,
He that the harp brought.
About his hals he it bare;
Richelich it was wrought.
He hidde it evermare,
Out no com it nought.
"Thine harp whi wiltow spare,
Yif thou therof can ought
Of gle?"
"Out no cometh it nought
Withouten giftes fre."
Mark seyd, "Lat me se
Harpi hou thou can
And what thou askest me
Give Y schal the than."
"Blethely," seyd he;
A miri lay he bigan.
"Sir King, of giftes fre,
Herwith Ysonde Y wan
Y prove the for fals man
Or Y schal have thi Quen."
Mark to conseyl yede
And asked rede of tho to. 16
"Lesen Y mot mi manhed
Or yeld Ysonde me fro."
Mark was ful of drede;
Ysonde lete he go.
Tristrem in that nede
At wode was, dere to slo,
That day.
Tristrem com right tho
As Ysonde was oway. 17
Tho was Tristrem in ten
And chidde with the King:
"Gifstow glewemen thi Quen?
Hastow no nother thing?"
His rote, withouten wen,
He raught bi the ring;
Tho folwed Tristrem the ken
To schip ther thai hir bring
So blithe.
Tristrem bigan to sing,
And Ysonde bigan to lithe.
Swiche song he gan sing
That hir was swithe wo.
Her com swiche lovelonging,
Hir hert brast neighe ato.
Th'erl to hir gan spring
With knightes mani mo
And seyd, "Mi swete thing,
Whi farestow so,
Y pray?"
Ysonde to lond most go
Er sche went oway.
"Within a stounde of the day
Y schal ben hole and sounde.
Ich here a menstrel; to say,
Of Tristrem he hath a soun."
Th'erl seyd, "Dathet him ay
Of Tristrem yif this stounde.
That minstrel for his lay
Schal have an hundred pounde
Of me
Yif he wil with ous founde,
Lef, for thou lovest his gle."
His gle al for to here
The levedi was sett on land
To play bi the rivere;
Th'erl ladde hir bi hand.
Tristrem, trewe fere,
Mirie notes he fand
Opon his rote of yvere
As thai were on the strand
That stounde.
Thurch that semly sand
Ysonde was hole and sounde.
Hole sche was and sounde
Thurch vertu of his gle.
Forthi th'erl that stounde,
Glad a man was he.
Of penis to hundred pounde
He gaf Tristrem the fre.
To schip than gun thai founde;
In Yrlond wald thai be
Ful fain,
Th'erl and knightes thre
With Ysonde and Bringwain.
Tristrem tok his stede
And lepe theron to ride.
The Quen bad him her lede
To schip him biside.
Tristrem dede as hye bede;
In wode he gan hir hide.
To th'erl he seyd, "In that nede
Thou hast ytent thi pride,
Thou dote.
With thine harp thou wonne hir that tide;
Thou tint hir with mi rote."
Tristrem with Ysonde rade
Into the wode oway.
A loghe thai founden made
Was ful of gamen and play.
Her blis was ful brade,
And joieful was that may.
Seven night thai thare abad
And seththen to court com thai.
"Sir King,"
Tristrem gan to say,
"Gif minstrels other thing."
Meriadok was a man
That Tristrem trowed ay.
Miche gode he him an.
In o chaumber thai lay.
Tristrem to Ysonde wan
A night with hir to play.
As man that miche kan,
A bord he toke oway
Of her bour.
Er he went, to say,
Of snowe was fallen a schour.
A schour ther was yfalle
That al the way was white.
Tristrem was wo withalle,
With diol and sorwe and site.
Bituen the bour and the halle
The way was naru and lite.
Swiche cas him was bifalle
As we finde in scrite.
Ful sket
A sive he fond tite
And bond under his fete.
Meriadok with his might
Aros up al bidene.
The way he went right
Til he com to the Quen.
The bord he fond of-tuight,
To wite and nought at wene.
Of Tristrem kertel the knight
He fond a pece grene
Of tore.
Meriadok the kene
Wondred therfore.
A morwe he tolde the King
Al that he seighe with sight.
"Lord, withouten lesing,
With Ysonde lay Tristrem to night.
Thou schalt do swiche a thing,
Aske who her yeme might.
The croice to Jerusalem bring 18
Say thou hast yhight,
Yif thou may.
'Tristrem the noble knight,'
The Quen hirself wil say."
The King told the Quen,
Abed tho thai ware,
"Dame, withouten wene,
To Jerusalem Y mot fare;
Loke now ous bituene
Who may the kepe fram care."
"For al other bidene
Tristrem," sche seyd thare,
"For than
Y love him wele the mare
He is thi kinsseman."
Al that Mark hir told
A morwe hye told Bringwain:
"Of lond wil this bold.
Now we may be ful fain.
Tristrem the court schal hold
Til he com ogain."
Brengwain answere yolde,
"Your dedes han ben sain
With sight.
Mark thiself schal frain
Al otherloker tonight.
"Wite thou wele his wille;
To wende with him thou say,
And yif he loveth the stille,
`Thou do Tristrem oway'
Biseche him he se thertille,
Thi fo is Tristrem ay.
Thou dredest he wil the spille
Yif he the maistrie may
Thou lovedest him never a day
Bot for his emes love."
Ysonde the nexst night
Crid, "Mark, thi nore!
Mi fo thou hast me hight;
On me thou sinnes sore.
Gode yif thou hadde me hight 19
Of lond with the to fare,
And sle Tristrem the knight,
Yif love of the no ware,
This day;
For mani man seyt aywhare
That Tristrem bi me lay."
Mark is blithe and glad,
For al that trowed he.
He that him other tald,
He ne couthe him bot maugré.
Meriadok him answere yald,
"In toun thou do him be.
Her love laike thou bihald
For the love of me,
Nought wene.
Bi resoun thou schalt se
That love is hem bituene."
Mark departed hem to
And dede Tristrem oway;
Nas never Ysonde so wo
No Tristrem, sothe to say.
Ysonde herself wald slo;
For sorwe Tristrem lay.
Ysonde morned so
And Tristrem night and day
For dede.
Ich man it se may,
What liif for love thai lede.
Tristrem was in toun;
In boure Ysonde was don.
Bi water he sent adoun
Light linden spon.
He wrot hem al with roun;
Ysonde hem knewe wel sone.
Bi that Tristrem was boun
Ysonde wist his bone
To abide.
Er amorwe none
Her aither was other biside.
Quath Meriadok, "Y rede
Thine hunters thou bid ride
Fourtennight at this nede
To se thine forestes wide.
Tristrem thou hem bede.
Thiself thou here abide,
And right at her dede
Thou schalt hem take that tide.
In the tre,
Here thou schalt abide;
Her semblaunt thou schalt se."
In orchard mett thai inne,
Tristrem and Ysonde fre.
Ay when thai might awinne,
Ther playd Ysonde and he.
The duerve yseighe her ginne
Ther he sat in the tre.
Mark of riche kinne
He hight to don him se
With sight
And seyd, "Sir, siker ye be,
Thiself schal se that right."
His falsnesse for to fille
Forth tho went he.
To Tristrem he com with ille
Fram Ysonde the fre.
"Mi levedy me sent the tille
For icham privé,
And praieth the with wille
That thou wost hir se
With sight.
Mark is in other cuntré;
Privé it schal be dight."
Tristrem him bithought.
"Maister, thank have ye
For thou me this bode brought.
Mi robe give Y the
That thou no lete it nought
Say that levedy fre
Hir wordes dere Y bought.
To Marke hye bileighe me,
That may.
Tomorwe Y schal hir se
At chirche, for sothe to say."
The duerve toke the gate,
And Mark he told bidene,
"Bi this robe Y wate
That michel he loveth the Quene.
Ysame we nought no sat.
He douteth me bituene.
It semeth by his lat
As he hir never had sene
With sight.
Y wot withouten wene
He cometh to hir tonight."
Sir Mark sat in the tre
Ther metten thai to.
The schadowe Tristrem gan se
And loude spac he tho,
That Ysonde schuld Mark se
And calle Tristrem hir fo:
"Thou no aughtest nought here to be;
Thou no hast nought here to go
No thing.
With right, men schuld the slo,
Durst Y, for the King. 20
"Ysonde, thou art mi fo;
Thou sinnest, levedi, on me.
Thou gabbest on me so
Mi nem nil me nought se.
He threteneth me to slo.
More menske were it to the
Better for to do,
Bi God in Trinité,
This tide.
Or Y this lond schal fle
Into Wales wide."
"Tristrem, for sothe to say,
Y wold the litel gode,
Ac Y the wraied never day,
Y swere bi Godes Rode.
Men said thou bi me lay,
Thine em so understode.
Wende forth in thi way;
It semes astow were wode,
To wede.
Y loved never man with mode
Bot him that hadde mi maidenhede."
"Swete Ysonde, thi nare!
Thou preye the King for me,
Yif it thi wille ware
Of sake he make me fre.
Of lond ichil elles fare;
Schal he me never se."
Markes hert was sare
Ther he sat in the tre
And thought,
"Ungiltles er ye
In swiche a sclaunder brought."
"Thou seyst Y gan the wrie;
Men seis thou bi me lay,
Ac thei ich wende to dye, 21
Thine erand Y schal say.
Marke thi nem his heighe;
Anough he the give may.
No reche Y what Y lighe,
So that thou be oway
With wille."
Marke tho thought ay,
"Yete he schal duelle stille."
Tristrem oway went so,
Ysonde to boure, ywis.
Nas never Mark so wo;
Himself he herd al this.
Al sori Mark gan go
Til he might Tristrem kisse;
And dedely hated he tho
Him that seyd amis.
Al newe
Ther was joie and blis,
And welcom Tristrem trewe.
Now hath Ysonde her wille:
Tristrem constable is heighe.
Thre yere he playd stille
With Ysonde bright so beighe.
Her love might no man felle,
So were thai bothe sleighe.
Meriadok with ille
Waited hem ful neighe
Of her dede.
Yif he might hem spille,
Fain he wald spede.
Meriadok wrayeth ay.
To the King thus seyd he:
"Her folies usen thai ay;
Wel yore Y seyd it the.
Loke now on a day
And blod lat you thre.
Do as Y the say,
And tokening thou schalt se
Ful sone.
Her bed schal blodi bene
Ar he his wille have done."
Blod leten was the King,
Tristrem and the Quene.
At her blod leteing
The flore was swopen clene.
Meriadok dede floure bring
And strewed it bituene
That go no might no thing
Bot yif it were sene
With sight.
Thritti fet bidene
Tristrem lepe that night.
Now Tristrem willes is
With Ysonde for to play.
He no may hir com to kisse,
So ful of floure it lay.
Tristrem lepe, ywis,
Thritti fete, soth to say.
As Tristrem dede this,
His blod bende brast oway
And bled;
And seththen ogain the day
He lepe fram hir bedde.
Thritti fete bituene
He lepe, withouten les.
Sore him greved his vene,
As it no wonder nes.
Mark her bed hadde sen,
And al blodi it wes.
He told tho Brengwain
Tristrem hadde broken his pes
Anon of lond he ches
Out of Markes eiye-sene.
Tristrem was fled oway,
To wite and nought to wene.
At Londen on a day,
Mark wald spourge the Quen.
Men seyd sche brak the lay.
A bischop yede bituene.
With hot yren, to say,
Sche thought to make hir clene
Of sake.
Ysonde said bidene
That dome sche wald take.
Men sett the merkes there
At Westeminster ful right,
Hot yren to bere
For Sir Tristrem the knight.
In pouer wede to were
Tristrem com that night
(Of alle the knightes here
No knewe him non bi sight
To swete Ysonde bright
As forward was hem bituene.
Over Temes sche schuld ride,
That is an arm of the se.
"To the schip side
This man schal bere me."
Tristrem hir bar that tide
And on the Quen fel he
Next her naked side
That mani man might yse
San schewe.
Hir queynt aboven hir kne
Naked the knightes knewe.
In water thai wald him sink
And wers, yif thai may.
"Ye quite him ivel his swink,"
The Quene seyd to hem ay.
"It semeth mete no drink
Hadde he nought mani a day.
For poverté, methenk,
He fel, for sothe to say,
And nede.
Geveth him gold, Y pray;
He may bidde God me spede."
Gold thai goven him thare.
The constori thai bigan.
Swete Ysonde sware
Sche was giltles woman:
"Bot on to schip me bare - 19
The knightes seighe wele than
Whatso his wille ware;
Ferli neighe he wan,
Sothe thing -
So neighe com never man
Bot mi lord, the King."
Swete Ysonde hath sworn
Hir clene, that miri may.
To hir thai had ycorn
Hot yren, Y say.
The knightes were biforn;
For hir tho praiden thai.
The yren sche hadde yborn,
Ac Mark forgave that day
And dede.
Meriadok held thai
For fole in his falshede.
Ysonde is graunted clene
Meriadok, maugré his.
Never er nas the Quen
So wele with Mark, ywis.
Tristrem, withouten wene,
Into Wales he is.
In bataile he hath ben
And fast he fraines this
Right thare.
For he ne may Ysonde kisse,
Fight he sought aywhare.
In Wales tho was a king
That hight Triamour.
He hadde a douhter ying,
Was hoten Blauncheflour.
Urgan with gret wering
Biseged him in his tour
To winne that swete thing
And bring hir to his bour
With fight.
Tristrem with gret honour
Bicom the Kinges knight.
Urgan gan Wales held
With wrong, for sothe to say;
Oft and unselde
Of Triamour tok he pray.
Triamour to Tristrem teld,
Opon a somers day,
Wales he wald him yeld
Yif he it winne may
Right than.
Tristrem, withouten nay,
With were Wales wan.
Tristrem mett Urgan
In that feld to fight.
To him seyd he than
As a douhti knight,
"Thou slough mi brother Morgan
At the mete ful right.
As Y am douhti man,
His deth thou bist tonight,
Mi fo."
Tristrem seyd, "Aplight,
So kepe Y the to slo."
Tuelve fete was the wand
That Urgan wald with play.
His strok may no man stand.
Ferly yif Tristrem may!
Tristrem vantage fand;
His clobbe fel oway;
And of the geauntes hand
Tristrem smot that day
In lede.
Tristrem, for sothe to say,
The geaunt gert he blede.
Urgan, al in tene,
Faught with his left hand
Ogain Tristrem kene.
A stern stroke he fand
Opon his helme so schene,
That to the grounde he wand.
Bot up he stirt bidene
And heried Godes sand
Tristrem with his brand
Fast gan to fight.
The geaunt aroume he stode;
His hond he tint, ywis.
He fleighe as he were wode,
Ther that the castel is.
Tristrem trad in the blod
And fond the hond that was his.
Away Sir Tristrem yode.
The geaunt com with this
And sought
To hele his honde that was his.
Salves hadde he brought.
Urgan, the geaunt unride,
After Sir Tristrem wan.
The cuntré fer and wide
Ygadred was bi than.
Tristrem thought that tide,
"Y take that me Gode an."
On a brigge he gan abide,
Biheld ther mani a man.
Thai mett.
Urgan to Tristrem ran,
And grimli there thai gret.
Strokes of michel might
Thai delten hem bituene,
That thurch her brinies bright
Her bother blod was sene.
Tristrem faught as a knight;
And Urgan, al in tene,
Gaf him a stroke unlight:
His scheld he clef bituene
A tuo,
Tristrem, withouten wene,
Nas never are so wo.
Eft Urgan smot with main,
And of that stroke he miste.
Tristrem smot ogayn
And thurch his body he threste.
Urgan lepe unfain;
Over the bregge he deste.
Tristrem hath Urgan slain,
That alle the cuntré wist
With wille.
The King tho Tristrem kist
And Wales tho yeld him tille.
The King, a welp he brought
Bifor Tristrem the trewe.
What colour he was wrought
Now ichil you schewe -
Silke nas non so soft -
He was rede, grene and blewe.
Thai that him seighen oft
Of him hadde gamen and glewe,
His name was Peticrewe;
Of him was michel priis.
The King Triamour
Gaf him Tristrem the hende,
For he brought out of dolour
Him and al his kende.
Tristrem with gret honour
Kidde that he was hende:
He gaf to Blauncheflour
Wales withouten end
And Peticrowe he gan sende
To Dame Ysonde, the Quene.
Ysonde, withouten les,
Tho hye the welp had sain,
That sche had made his pes
Sche sent word ogayn.
Mark herd hou it wes
That Urgan had he slain.
Messangers he ches
Tristrem for to frain,
That fre.
Mark was ferly fain,
And Tristrem kist he.
Mark gan Tristrem calle
And toke him al bidene
Cités, castels alle,
Steward as he hadde bene.
Who was blithe in halle
Bot Ysonde the Quene?
Houso it schuld bifalle,
Thai playden al bituene,
Tho tuo.
So long of love thai mene
That Mark seighe it was so.
Mark seighe hou it is,
What love was hem bituene.
Certes this thought was his,
Ful wele awreken to ben.
And bitoke him the Quene
And flemed hem bothe, ywis,
Out of his eiye-sene
Blither, withouten wene,
Never ere nar thay.
On foot
May God keep me
Instantly; requited
he nearly killed
was amazed at
might be slain
conducted himself
with vigor
Remained; piece
tended towards
(see note)
More [of you]
uncle; did go
That is
If; alive
Though Tristrem might think little of it
Doctors; potion
Came to him from far and wide
wasted; their labor
where Tristrem might be
Except; manservant
Three years; sickbed
was called
Each; truth
(see note)
didn't care about his condition
conversation; between
Such a
without doubt
requested from
Uncle; I am dying
I have no further use for land
Provisions; at [my] disposal
quickly; prepare; (see note)
Though Mark was displeased
(see note); blessing
He sailed out of the harbor
was called
Nine weeks and more
He bobbed up and down [in his boat]
as he wished
place where he was going
The town was named Dublin
boats; put
shore; (see note)
What the sea coast was called
Dublin; in reply
Her [The Queen's]
He abandoned [the name] Tristrem
was called
Lovely; (see note)
most skillful
knowledgable about; (see note)
in the case of Tristrem made manifest
out of his suffering
Indeed and without a doubt
That is
strong poultice
In the morning
lady of great nobility
Merchant; always
Slew my companions
robbed; (see note)
Though; grievously
musical instruments; marvellous
it seemed to them
fiddle; precious; (see note)
chessboard; chess-men
(see note)
saw; before
noble kin
she had revealed; (see note)
know; grievous
are agreeable
They did not care how much it cost
healed him as quickly as possible
He started to play music; (see note)
skill in entertaining; exhibit
To a chamber called many times
For a feast
eager to listen
beloved daughter
was called
music; eager to hear
stories; read indeed
great nobility
fair of face
Who wore; (see note to line 1220)
fine clothes
From whom sprang all accomplishments
Homesick was
Remained a full year
hale; healthy
secretly; affectionately
caused to
in song
from her
who is very knowledgable
(see note)
payment; gave
Whatever he wanted, he got
Without fail
Expensive; hoisted
to their liking
is called
he journeys
the people of the region
It seemed to them
About revenge; (see note)
any news
rose to meet him
(see note)
uncle; gave
In [his] cure she was his healer
Moraunt's sister
fair and lovely
I entrust to you
highborn and noble
bring down
would not be
beautiful woman; chose
blood; fallen snow
(see note)
a lie
believe; lying
ask; was
swallow; (see note)
In order that
at the shore
fair one
what I requested
fifteen knights in all
might [do] the most
green cloth and gray cloth
(see note); also
pertain to buying and selling goods
journeyed in this manner
To the country of Ireland
might be necessary
ship's rigging (see note)
raised; banner
to their liking
The city was called Dublin
Where they came to land
a gift
a gift
Indeed and without a doubt
thought [to go]
inhabitants [of the region]
saw flee
were going
a safe place; bound
let's see
might take; readily
asked to be left alone
No one dared come forward
horse from the ship
Hell-fire it seemed to him
leapt forth
would stand its ground in battle; (see note)
It availed not a bit
It glanced aside
Against; fierce
burst in three pieces
struck out quickly
He slew the horse
On foot
lower jaw; cut off
powerful stroke
ready [with a response]
Shamefully; disfigured
each one
neck bone
In addition
Its tongue has he taken
cut off at the base
stocking; skin
He didn't go even ten paces [when]
power of speech; lost
Necessarily; remain
head; cut
To Isolt
at a high price; won her
Have; if; might
seemed to him
She didn't want him at all
Did; deed
Surely; no
very burned steed
Nor; armor
he lay
had dragged [himself]
put medicine; (see note)
tongue; carried
it poisoned me
who knows a great deal
saw he was in the right
was in the wrong
if he dared
[who] slew the dragon
nobly he vowed to them
He offered as a pledge
He [who] says
I will test his honor
are not a knight
it seems to them
valiant deed
in width
potent drink
fair of face
fit it into that [sword] exactly
It was neither smaller or larger
a perfect fit
my uncle
See; gladly
thought she was mad
potent drink
villain; (see note)
denied; (see note)
my uncle; taken
would have slain him
Were it not for
When; was called
blame me wrongfully
I slew him
would he [have slain] me
taught you; (see note)
he longed for you
he found sureties
They agreed to it
Alive if
They firmly made the agreement
was called
give him success
(see note)
Therefore he would not
as his reward
nor estate
in turn
potent potion; (see note)
her wedding at night
fair of face
far; sea
rowed; (see note)
(see note)
Their; separate
their day of death
(see note)
(see note)
that is
Make love
worthy person
make love
Two weeks; sea
as they [had] wished
the wedding feast
in truth
Instead of
wasted his love-labor
offer; (see note)
With respect to Tristrem
between those two
thought [they would] have
was not
Their expectation; wrong
False to the two of them
Each fell into love-sickness
(see note)
undone; intercourse
from life
summoned to her
must slay
You will live
To be rich forever
dreadful valley
one; drew
begged for mercy
Asked them to speak to the Queen
hers was dirty to look at
when she had to lie
Against; expect
the two of them
chemise; dirty to look at
faithful woman
hanged; drawn
bring her back
forgiven quickly
Such as
in an honorable way
Why won't you use your harp
If; know anything
Let me see
Play the harp
liberal in giving
Lose; manly dignity
In the woods; to slay wild beasts
in a rage
scolded the King
Do you give minstrels
(see note)
grasped; (see note)
nearly burst in two
The earl
Why do you carry on so
had to
brief time
The earl; (see note)
(see note)
If; go with us
Beloved; music
Delightful; played
Through; comforting message
efficacy of his music
(see note to line 420); two
asked; bring
did as she asked
the woods
Give; something else
Much; wished
one room
went; (see note)
make love
knew a great deal
From their room
So that
apprehension; sorrow; anguish; (see note)
narrow; constricted
in writing
with [all] his might
Torn off
In the morning
who might take care of her
must go
Let's consider
protect from harm
Instead of
In the morning she
From [this] land will [go]
[he = Mark]
Entirely in a different way
Know well what he intends
go; (see note)
see in addition
kill you
If he might control you
uncle's; (see note)
your mercy; (see note)
entrusted me to
If it weren't for [my] love of you
He bore him only ill-will
cause him to be; (see note)
Their; play you will behold
Without a doubt
separated those two
removed Tristrem
Nor; truth
lay [sick]
As a result
chip of linden wood
inscribed characters
right away
knew; request
await [him]
Before noon the next day
Each of them
(see note)
right in the act
Their deceitful behavior
accomplish [it]
made love
dwarf saw their trickery
called on to make him see
treachery; fulfill
with malicious intention
I am discreet
[she] beseeches you earnestly
Secretly; arranged
devised a strategy; (see note)
Because; message
To tell
dearly I payed for
she slanders
went away
We didn't agree
know without a doubt
Where those two met
ought not
lie about
My uncle will not
But I never accused you
as if you were mad
your mercy; (see note)
blame; (see note)
I will otherwise go
Guiltless (see note)
I slandered you
your uncle is powerful
I don't care how much I lie
spoke evil [about Tristrem]
All over again
(see note)
as a jewel
Their; destroy
Spied on them very closely
If; undo them
Gladly would he accomplish it
makes accusations continually
Their lechery they practice perpetually
Long ago
(see note)
all together; (see note)
Tristrem is of a mind (see note)
bandage burst
then with the arrival of the day
in truth
Grievously he injured his vein
was not
broken the peace he made
from; went
Indeed and without a doubt
(see note)
prove her innocence
sentence she would receive
(see note)
(see note)
Dressed in shabby clothing
None recognized him
As they had agreed
the Thames
Without [taking much] notice
sexual organs
worse if
repay; labor
food nor
it seems to me
ask God to grant me success
Marvelously near he reached
That she is pure; fair woman
chosen; (see note)
(see note)
a sinner
acknowledged [to be] pure
(see note)
Never before was
On such good terms with
eagerly he seeks this; (see note)
Who was called
military force
From; he seized booty
without fail
danger [to himself]; conquered
(see note)
you will pay for; (see note)
want; slay
Twelve feet long was the club
[It is] a wonder if
His [the giant's] club missed [Tristrem]
mighty; experienced
leapt quickly
praised God's grace
at a distance
fled as if he were mad
inhabitants [of the countryside]
grants; (see note)
fiercely; attacked
great force
through their coats of mail
Of both of them
In two
before; distressed
Again; struck; force
with; missed
struck back
through; pierced
leapt unhappily
bridge; (see note)
inhabitants knew
then gave to him
I will
red; blue
pleasure and amusement
much worth
Gave him [the dog] to Tristrem the courtly
Revealed; noble
in perpetuity
in truth
When she had seen the puppy
in reply
request to come
wondrously glad
entrusted to him
As if he had been a steward
made love
Those two
saw how
entrusted to him
Never before were they

Go to Sir Tristrem, Part III