Page images

For dole ; Prestes praised aye, For Tristremes sole.


Ysonde to land wan,

With seyl and with ore; Sche mete an old man,

Of berd that was hore: Fast the teres ran,

And siked he sore, -“Gone is he than, Of Inglond the flore,

In lede; We se him no more : Schir Tristrem is dede!”.


This curious MS. appears to have formed part of some volume belonging to a monastery; because it contains, besides the two detached pieces of the story of Tristrem l'Amoureux, a long metrical dialogue between Pride and Humility, and a prose dissertation on the Cross. It is written on vellum, and consists of 22 leaves. The handwriting apparently belongs lo the {3th century.

The first of the two parts contains a regular and circumstantial relation of the latter adventures of Sir Tristrem, and terminates by his death, and by that of Ysolt. The other, a complete and separate episode, begins at the second column of the same page in which the other narrative is terminated, and contains only a single adventure; in which, however, a great part of the hero's history is artfully recapitulated. It is therefore probable that it was inserted in the monastic volume, principally on account of its presenting a short and lively summary of the preceding long, and perhaps ledious history.

Be this as it may, the iwo Fragments differ very considerably in their style; the first being so verbose and diffuse as fully to justify the ridicule thrown on the historian of Sir Tristrem by the author of “Sir Hain and Dame Anieuse," (BARBAZAN's Fabliaux, vol. iii. p. 53,') while the second is concise, lively, and dramatic. The orthography of the two is also different; and it is further to be observed, thal, in the first poem, the residence of King Mark is placed in London, but in the second, at the Castle of Tintagel.

The following is a free translation of the whole of the Second Fragment, which consists of 996 verses :

Tristrem, living in his own country at a distance from his beloved Ysolt, feels that he has been restored to life merely for the purpose of dying a thousand deaths, fron the anxiety which daily preys on his spirits." Thought," says our author, forts or kills us; and such were the thoughts of Tristrem, that he would have gladly ended them by his death, had it been posible that his fate could have been separated from that of his faithful mistress." He therefore forms the desperate resolution of passing into England. It was highly important to conceal this determination from all the world, and particularly from Kaherdin, the brother of his wife. It was no less necessary that his appearance should be such as should secure him from discovery in a country where he was so well kuown; and that, for this purpose, he should not only quit the usual accoutrements of chivalry, and assume the appearance of a poor and insignificant traveller, but that he should also disguise his features, and even his voice. Tristrem resolved to neglect none of these precautions; and in this, says the author, he acted wisely :

When Ysonde herd that,

Fast sche gan to gonne, At the castle gate

Stop hir might none : Sche passed in thereat,

The chaumbre sche won; Tristrem in cloth of stat Lay stretched thare as ston

So coldYsonde loked him on, And faste gan bihold.

[ocr errors]


Fairer ladye ere

Did Britannye never spye, Swiche murning chere,

Making on heighe; On Tristremes bere,

Doun con she lye; Rise ogayn

did sche nere, But thare con sche dye

For woe : Swiche lovers als thei Never schal be moe.

" Car souvent avient domage grand

Par dire son conseil avant,
Qui se célat, et ne le dit,
Le mal, ce crois, ne eacusit, a
Pour consell dire et decouvrire,
Solt 3 maint mal souvent venir."






The reflections of a single night were sufficient to mature his project. In the morning he assumes bis disguise, hastens to the nearest port, and finding a merchant ship just on the point of weighing anchor for England, requests to be admitted on board; and, embarking with a fair wind, arrives on the second day at the harbour of Tintagel, the residence of King Mark and Queen Ysolt.

The castle of Tintagel was equally celebrated for its strength and magnificence. It was situated on the sea-coast of Cornwall, and its vast square towers are said to have been the work of giants. They were built of (quarels.) regularly and exactly sqnared, and chequered, as with azure and cinnabar (si comme de sinopre el di azur).- I suppose bricks allernately red and blue as being more or less striped, and called quarels from their being quarrés, squared. The gale of the castle, commanding its only approach, was strongly secured, and capable of being defended by two guards. Immediately below the fortress were extensive and beautiful meadows, forests abounding with game, rivers filled with fish, and warrens, (so I translate gueraineries. probably garennes ;) besides which, the walls being washed by the sea, this beautiful residence of King Mark and Queen Ysolt



[Agreeable to the promise of the Introduction, I subjoin to the Romance of Thomas of Erceldoune, the abstract of those curious Fragments, existing in Me. Dorce's Ms. For the opportunity of comparing the style of composition wbicb prevailed in France and in Scotland, and of illustrating, by eacb other, poems written about the same period, and on the same subject, the reader is Indebted to GEORGE Ellis, Esq., by whom the following elegant precis of the Frencb romance was transmitted to the Editor.)

[blocks in formation]

was plentifully supplied with every article of foreign merchan seekest thou here?"_“I will tell you whence I come, and what dize.

I seek," replied Tristrem. “My mother was a whale, and was in It was called Tintagel, i. e. Chastel fier, from the following the habit of living, like a siren, under water. I do not recollect peculiarity ;

the exact place of my birth, but perfectly remember that my wet. " Chastel fais fut dit à dreit,

nurse was a tigress, who, finding me on a rock, mistook me for Car, dous fais li on, se perdeit."

one of her whelps, aud suckled me very carefully. But you must

know that I have a sister, far more beautiful than myself. I will Travellers declare that, 'twice in every year, it became invi give her to you, if you choose, in the room of that Ysolt, of whom sible; once at Christmas, and once in the summer; so that even you are so fond." the natives of the country would be unable to find it, had they

The King, laughing immoderately at this sally. answered, not previously ascertained its situation by permanent land

“What saidst thou, thou wonder of the world?"-" I say, King," marks.

replied Tristrem,“ that I will give you my sister instead of Ysolt, Here Tristrem arrived; and, enquiring news of King Mark, was with whom I happen to be deeply in love. Let us make a barinformed, that he was then in his palace, and had but lately held gain! let us try the exchange! a new beauty is well worth trying. one of his solemn festivals. “And where is Queen Ysolt, and her

You must be, by this time, tired of Ysolt, so give her me; amuse beautifal maiden Brengwain?"—“ Faith, sir, they two are here :

yourself with a new mistress, and I promise to serve you in your I saw them lately; but, in truth, Queen Ysolt is, as usual, pensive

court from pure affection." Fresh peals of langhter from the and melancholy." At the mention of his mistress, a sigh escapes King, who was too much delighted with his new acquaintance to from Tristrem. He recommends himself to Providence, convinced drop the conversation. “But, God deliver thee! if I should give that without inspiration, he cannot devise the means of seeing thee possession of the Queen, tell me what thou wouldst do Ysolt. The vigilant hatred of King Mark alarms him for a ino with her, and whither thou wouldst carry thy bride?"—"Up there, ment, but he immediately recollects himself : “And what," says Sir King," answered Tristrem; "up into the air! I have a pahe, “ if my uncle should discover and put me to death? It is lace above, made of glass; it is hung upon a cloud, and that my duty to suffer death for the love of my mistress. Alas! I die so artfully, that the roughest wind cannot rock it. My ball every day that I am absent from her sight!" Reflecting on the is of glass, full of sunbeams; and I have a bedchamber madness of his attempt, he says, “ And why not leign madness ? adjoining, composed of crystal and amber." The King was now Under a disguise so well suited to my present circumstances, I still farther delighted ; and all the courtiers admitted, that they had may, perhaps, escape suspicion, and enjoy the pleasure of laugh never heard so eloquent a fool. “King," continued Tristrem, ing at those who are amused by my apparent folly."

“I am much in love with your wife, and you ought to give her At the moment when this idea came across his mind, he per np to me, because you see how melancholy she is. I am Tramceived a fisherman, whose dress seemed admirably suited to his tris, who always loved her, and shall love her for evermore.“ purpose. It consisted of a coarse frock formed of rug, with a Ysoll, starting at this well-known name, exclaims, "Fool! cowl or hood, and a pair of loose and tattered trousers. Tristrem thou art not Tramtris! thou art a vile liar!" Tristrem, who had beckons the fisherman to him, and says, “ Friend! shall we carefully watched the countenance of his inistress, saw, with inchange dresscs? Mine, as you see, is the belter of the two, but finite pleasure, the indignation which flushed her cheek, and yours happens to strike my fancy." The fisherman, perceiving sparkled in her eye; but preserving his assumed character, coolly that the exchange was, in fact, much to his advantage, instantly continued as follows :accepts the proposal, and departs with his new wardrobe.

6. Queen Ysolt, I am Tramtris. You must remember how danTristrem had brought with him a pair of scissars, the gift of gerously I was wounded, during my combat with the Morhout, Ysolt; with these he cut off his hair, leaving only a circle round who demanded a tribute from this country. I fought him suchis head, and a cross on the top, so as to resemble a fool by pro cessfully : I killed him, but I was most dangerously wounded, session. He had always possessed to admiration the talent of because he fought with a poisoned sword. He had wounded me in assuming a counterfeit voice; and from his knowledge of herbs, he the hip; so powerful was the venom, all my blood was inflamed; was enabled to collect such blackening juices as were proper to the bone was blackened ; and the pain, which was excruciating, change luis complexion. So complete was the metamorphosis, could not be appeased by all the skill of my physicians. I emthat his dearest friend would not bave suspected, in this fool, the barked in scarch of advice, and my pains increased so fast, that illustrious Tristrem. Seizing a stake from a hedge, and bearing I wished to be relieved by death, when a suuden tempest drove it on his slioulder like a fool's stall, hc inarches, with an air of me on the coast of Ireland. I was forced to disembark, in the assurance, straight to the castle. All who meet hiin, view him very country which I had the most reason to apprebend, after with a mixture of contempt and apprehension. The porter at having killed the Morhout. He was your uncle, Queen Ysolt! the castle-gate, meaning to banter him, exclaims, “ Come, fool, I had every thing to apprehend; but I was wounded and wretched. make haste! where have you staid so long?"--"I have been," I landed with nothing but my harp, which had long been my only replies Tristrem," at a wedding : al that of the Abbot of Munt, consolation. Soon you heard of my skull on that insli unient, and [I believe Mous, ) a particular friend of mine. He has just mar I was sent for to court. The Queen, your mother, heaven reward ried an abbess, a great fat woman in a veil. There is not a her for it! healed my wounds. In return, I taught you the priest, or abbot, monk, or clerk, from Mons to Besançon, who sweelest lays on the harp; Brilish lays—lays of your own country." is not asked to the marriage; and they all carry baubles and (I suppose he means her present country.) " You must rememcrosiers. I left them making a fine riot! frisking and dancing ber, lady, the circumstances of my cure. The name I look in in the shade! I wished to remain, but was obliged to come away,

Ireland was Tramtris; am not I lle person whom you saw because it is my duty to serve the King at table."

there?" The porter answered him, “ Come in, son of Urgan the rough! “ Most certainly not!" exclaimed Ysolt. “He was all beauty fat and rough art thou; and thus resemblest thou thy father." and elegance; you, who assume his name, are coarse, unmanThe pretended madman enters by the wicket, (par le wiket,) and nerly, and hideons! Now, begone, and make me no more the all the valets, squires, and pages of the court, exclaim in concert, subject of your discourse. Your pleasantry is no less disagreeable “What a figure! a fool! a fool!" at the same time assailing him, to me than your appearance." on all sides, with sticks and stones. Tristrem was not much Tristrem, turning suddenly round, and applying his hedgealarmed at such a skirmish. Parrying some blows, receiving stake in all directions, drives all the courtiers before him to the others, and returning them with usury, he gradually found other end of thie hall; exclaiming, as he deals his blows around, himself at the gate of the hall, which, shouldering his hedge-stake. “Fools: fools! get out of the room, and leave Ysolt and me to he immediately entered with an air of solemnity.

enjoy our private conversation!" The King was transported King Mark, sealed at the high table, immediately perceived wih delight at this new piece of wit; Ysolt blushed, and was his new visitant, and exclaimed, “ Behold a curious officer of my silent. household ! let him be brought into my presence.” He was much Mark, enjoying her confusion, asks Tristrem, “Fool! come, delighted with the air of poinp with which the fool returned the he sincere; is not Ysoll thy mistress ? "_" Certainly," replied salutes of the courtiers, while approaching the royal seal. “Wel Tristrem; “ I do not mean to deny it."_" Most certainly." come, my friend," said Mark; “whence comest thou, and what exclaimed Ysolt, “thou art the most impudent of liars; hence

with this fool! that I may be no more importuned with him." no bad minstrel; and you shall now see what a tone I can play

Tristrem, only laughing at her rage, continues his questions : upon a simple hedge-slake." “Do you not remember, Queen Ysoll, when the King wished to At these words, he began to brandish his weapon, exclaiming, send me (as, indeed, he afterwards did ) for you, whom he has Avaunt, scoundrels! why do you press upon the King? get since married, that I returned to Ireland, in the disguise of a home directly! Have you not dined sufficiently? What do you merchant? This disguise was necessary; for his majesty, who

stay for?" now sits by your side, was no favourite of your countrymen, The King. who did not feel the blows that fell on the shoulders and I was detested by them on account of the Morhout. But I of his courtiers, was so much pleased with the fool, that he gave was, at that time, careless of danger : a true knight. Such was with regret, and at a later hour than usual, his orders to his equermy confidence in my strength and skill, that there was not a ries, to saddle his horse, that he might go, according to custom, man, from Scotland to Rome, whom I should have dreaded to to hunt in the forest. While his attendants were hastening to encounter.

share his amusement, “ Excuse me, sire," said Ysolt, “ I am very "A fine story, indeed!" exclaimed Ysolt. “You a knight! sick; my head aches dreadfully : permit me to avoid this scene of Fool, fool, you are ridiculous enough, but you are too hasty and tumult, and to retire to my chamber lill your return." violent. So pray be gone, and God go with you."

The King having granted this permission with a good grace, Tristrem laughs again, and continues : "Lady! Queen! do you she retired to her room, and abandoned herself to gries. Thrownot remember the serpent, the dreadful serpent, who filled your ing herself on her bed, she exclaimed, “ Alas, that ever I was court with consternation? I killed bim; I cut off his head, I born! Brengwain! my dear Brengwain! the evil star, which took out his forked tongue; 1 concealed it in my boot, and the prevailed at my birth, continues to persecute me. This day has consequence was, that I received a poisoned wound in my leg. brought upon me a new misfortune. A fool, for such he appears I thought I must have died. Unable to reach your court, I by his shaven crown, or rather a conjurer in that disguise, is fainted by the way-side. There your mother and you saw me, arrived at court for my torment. He knows exactly every, even and, by your joint care, recovered me. Do you not remember the most hidden, circumstance of niy life. Who could have discothe bath in which you placed me, and where, in a moment of | vered to him such parts of my life, as were only known to you, lo indignation, you determined to kill me? Do you not recollect, myself, and to Tristrem? It is impossible! he must be indehled that, from an impulse of curiosity, you drew my sword, and find to sorcery for a knowledge so minute and particular!"_" I, on ing it broken at the point, concluded, very justly, that I was the the contrary," replied Brengwain, am persuaded this prelended author of the Norhout's death? that you opened the cabinet in fool is no other than Tristrem.“–“No! no!" replied Ysolt ;“this which the point, since your uncle's death, had been preserved, man is hideous and deformed. Tristrem is so beautiful! Tristrem and found that it exactly fitted my sword? How courageously did is the power of chivalry; and his courage and beanty are not you resolve to assault me with my own sword, while I lay, naked more remarkable than his wit and eloquence. The fool, whom and wounded, in the bath where you had placed me! such is the God confound ! is the reverse of all this; accursed be the country rage of women! The Queen came to us, alarmed at the noise. from whence he came; accursed the vessel that brought him! You must remember that I made my peace with you ; 1 obtained Oh! that the seas had swallowed bim before he landed in this my pardon, and I deserved it by protecting you against the vio- country for my persecution ! " lence of a man whom you hated. Is not this true? did I not “Silence! lady," said Brengwain. “Where did you learn to thus defend you?"

demean yourself with such violence! you swear like any pirate!" “No! it is not true! it is all a lie! it is a dream--the dream of “My dear Brengwain, you would forgive me if you had beard a drunkard."—" of a drunkard, Ysolt?-yes, I am drunk, and

him ! never did man utter such vexatious truths !! with a potion, from whosc effects I shall never recover! Do you

"As St. John shall bless ine," said Brengwain, “I am persuaded not remember, when your father and mother consigned you over that he is, if not your lover, at least a messenger from Tristrem." to me; when I embarked with you, being charged to conduct “Alas! I know not who or what he is; but, for Heaven's sake, you to the King, your present husband? I will relate to you the go, and see him yourself; and, if possible, return with some inforcircumstances of our passage. One day, when the sea was calm, mation respecting him." and the weather beautiful, but extremely hot, you complained of

The courteous Brengwain immediately executed her commisthirst. Do you not remember this, daughter of the King of Ire

sion, and descended into the hall, where she fonnd Tristrem land ? we then both drank from one cup. I have been drunk alone; the rest of the company having disappeared soon after the ever since, and a fatal drunkenness have I found it."

King's departure. Brengwain surveyed him with an air of disWhen Ysolt heard these words, she suddenly enveloped her face

tance and anxiety; but Tristrem, throwing away his stake as soon in her mantle, and attempted to retire; but the King, who was

as he saw her, exclaimed, “Brengwain ! fair and generous Breng. delighted with the scene, canght her by her robe, and drawing wain! in the name of God, pity and assist me!" her back to her seat, said, “ Bear with him, Ysolt, my dear, and “Assist thee!" replied Brengwain; "how can I assist thee?" let us hear to an end the ravings of this madman!"-Then, lurn.

“Alas! I am Tristrem ! who live in sorrow and disappointing to Tristrem," Fool," said he, " what is your profession?" ment; I am Tristrem, who suffer endless misery for the love of “I have served kings and counts."-" Do you understand dogs Ysolt!"-" That you most certainly are not,“ replied Brengwain, and hawks?"-"Yes, Sir King. When I choose to hunt in the or my eyes deceive me strangely." forest, I can, by my lures, altract the cranes while flying above “Yes, Brengwain! I am the real Tristrem. Do you not rethe clouds. With my hounds, I can catch swans and geese as member how we sailed together from Ireland ? you were then inwhite as snow, and immense quantites of fine bustards." Mark, trusted to my protection; you, as well as Ysolt, who now refuses and his whole court, are again extravagantly delighted by Tris to acknowledge me. The Queen held you in her right hand; she tren's answers. " And pray," says the King," what is your consigned you over to me; she requested me to take care of you, no mode of chase by the river side?"_" Oh," said Tristrem, “I less anxiously than she recommended her daughter Ysoll. You can calch all that I find. I take, with my larger falcons, the must remember this, fair Brengwain! At the same time she deliwolves of the wood, and the gigantic bears; with my ger-falcons, vered into your charge a little Dagon, and told you to preserve it I take wild-boars ; with my small falcons, the doe and the roe most carefully, if you wished to relain ber affection. When we got buck; with my sparrow-hawk, foxes; with my emerillian ( mers out to sea, the weather became insufferably hot; so hot, that I, lin), and with my hobby (hobel ), hares and [le kue et le bevre). though dressed only in a light mantie, was near fainting with When I return home, I amuse myself with skirmishing with my weakness and thirst. I asked for drink. A servant, who was at my hedge-stake, and few can shield themselves so well as not to get feet, got np, and searching for liquor, found the flagon, which he a rap from ine. I know how to deal my blows, with great exact emplied into a silver cup. I eagerly carried the beverage to my Dess, among the squires and pages. Besides these talents, I can lips, and then offered it to Ysolt, who was equally thirsty. We play upon the harp, and role, and can sing (après la note) from drank; we both drank; and have owed to that beverage all the miscored music. I know how to charm the alfections of a queen; sery of our lives. Do you not remember this, fair Brengwain?"an art in which no lover is my equal. I know how to cut shay "Not a word of it," replied Brengwain. ings of wood, and, by throwing them into a stream, to convey, “Brengwain! since that day i have never ceased to love Ysolt; by this device, my intentions to my mistress. Besides this, I am but have concealed my passion from all mankind. You have

[ocr errors]


seen us; you have heard our mutual protestations; you have con whose favour 1 bad unjustly lost; or to procure from him the sented to aid our passion. What I tell you is known to us three, payment of my salary, with leave to quit the kingdom. By this and to us only."

fortunate accident we were saved, and I was reconciled to your Brengwain, at these words. turns round in silence, and hastens husband. Ysolt! do you remember the law [i. e. trial, ordeal] to her mistress. Tristrem follows, adjuring her to assist him; that you underwent for my sake? When you came out of the and they arrive together at the chamber. Brengwain enters, boat, I held you softly in my arms. I was perfectly disguised, smiling; but Ysolt changes colour at the sight of this unwelcome according to your instructions, and my face discoloured. You visitant, and complains of a sudden and violent indisposition. ordered me to fall with you in my arms: 1 did so, very gently : Her attendants, trained to discretion, quit the room. Tristrem you opened your arms to me; I fell between them. The whole runs eagerly up to his mistress, and attempts to embrace her; people were witnesses of this apparent accident, by which, i beshe shudders with apprehension, and starts from him. Tristrem, lieve, you were acqnitted of your oath, and of the law (ordeal enjoying her confusion, suddenly recollects his assumed charac- which you had promised, before the court, to submit to." ter, and stationing himself near the door, proceeds, in his feigned The Queen listened to him, marked every word, looked at him, voice, as follows :

sighed, but was unable to answer. What could she think? not a “Alas! never did I expect, fair Ysolt! such a reception from feature in his face, not a tone in his voice seemed to resemble you, and from the amiable Brengwain. I have lived much too Tristrem. Yet all he said was correct and true. Tristrem, who long, since I am become an object of horror and disgust to those observed every change in her countenance, thus continued :I love. Oh Ysolt! Oh my love! true affection has a more re “Lady! Queen! Your disposition was formerly very different! lentive memory. A fountain is a beautiful object; but when it You then loved me frankly and freely; you are now full of disdain ceases to rise into the air, and throw ils refreshing waters around; and reserve. Is this dissimulation? I have seen the day, fair when it dries up in summer, it loses all its value. Such, it seeins, lady, when you not only felt, but were proud to avow, your pasis your love!"

sion. When King Mark banished us both from court, you readily “Friend," replied Ysolt, “thy discourse astonishes me! I see gave me your hand. We left ihe court together, and went 10and hear you, but neither my eyes nor my ears show me, in you, gether to the forest. What a charming retreat did we find there! the slightest resemblance of Tristrem." Tristrem answers : it was a cave, formed by nature in the rock : its entrance was “ Ysolt, my love! I am-indeed I am your Tristrem. Do you not narrow, and scarcely visible; but within, spacious, vaulted, and remember the seneschal who betrayed you to the King? He was variegated, as if it had been painted by art. That vaulted cave my companiow: we were of the same age, and lodged in the same was the scene of our pleasures during the time of our banishment. house. One night when I rose to visit you, he followed me. My dog, my favourite Hoduin, watched us in silence. With my Unfortunately, it had snowed, and the traces of my feet betrayed dog and my falcon we were at no loss for amusements. Lady!

He followed my steps in secret; he saw me enter your you remember how we were afterwards discovered. The King chamber; and next day accused me before the King. He was, I himself found out our relreat, by the assistance of the dwarf, his think, the first person who awakened the jealousy of your hus constant conductor. But the eye of Heaven watched over us. band. Next, you cannot but remember the treacherous dwars, The King found us asleep; but my drawn sword lay between us, our most malignant enemy, whom you so violently and so justly and that removed all bis jealousy. He drew off his glove, and hated. He was placed by King Mark as a spy on your actions, laid it gently on your face, observing, that your lovely complexion and his temper was well suiled to such a vile commission. He was tanned and burned by the sun. His whole kindness returnwatched you night and day. Once, however, we had the art to ed; and he immediately recalled us to his court. Ysolt, you out-wit him. Such is the inexhaustible invention of lovers, that must remember this. I gave you my favourite dog; 1 gave you they will arrive at last, by dint of stratagems, at the completion Hodain : where is he? call him to me." of their wishes. The dwarf had employed a notable artifice to “I have him still, "replied Ysolt; "and you shall see him detect our secret meetings, by strewing flour over your room; presently. Brengwain, haste to fetch the dog, but bring him with but I perceived the trick, and, at one jump, sprang from my bed his chain and collar." into yours. But I received, accidentally, a scratch on my arm; Brengwain obeyed the request of her mistress, and instantly your shcets were -stained with blood, as were my own, when I returned with the dog, bounding before her. “Come here, HoJeapt back into my bed. King Mark did not fail to observe this dain!" said Tristrem; “thou wert once mine, and I now reclaim unlucky coincidence, and, consequently, banished me from thee." court. Do you not remember, my love, a present I once made Holain saw, and instantly recognised his master. Never did you? a little dog, of uncommon beauty, your favourite cru? animal express such transports of joy. He howled, he sprang Do you nol remember an earlier and more important incident of upon him, he struck the ground with his fore-feet, and expressed your life, when my audacious rival, the celebrated harper, came his affection with a warmth, which could not but affect all the to your father's court, and so charmed his ears, that he obtained beholders. Ysolt's astonishment redoubled. The fierce and teryou as a scholar, and was on the point of carrying you off as his rible Hodain, whom none but herself and Brengwain dared to mistress? he had nearly borne you off to his ship; but I overheard approach since the departure of his master, was suddenly changed the declaration he made to yon; and, mounting my horse with a in his nature, by a voice to which her ear was quite unaccustomrote in my hand, overtook, and wrested you from him. He ob ed. She blushed, and became more and more confused. Trislained you by his harp; 1 recovered you by my role. Qneen! trem, returning the caresses of Hodain, said to her, “Ysolt! he, you must remember, that once, when I was in disgrace with the whom I once sed and caressed, has not forgotten his master, King, and most anxious to converse with you, I came into the though you forget the long affection and tried constancy of your orchard, where we had before had frequent interviews, and, sit lover!" ting under a thorn, began to cut chips of wood, which were the

“Mult parait en chen' grant franchise, well-known signal agreed upon between us.

E en femme grant feiotise!"

A fountain, which rose in the orchard, flowed under your windows; I Ihrew the

Ysolt changed colour, and shuddered with apprehension and chips into the water, and, by the sight of them, you knew that I anxiety: he continued—"Lady! you once were loyal and conshonld come to you at night. An enemy chanced to see me, and stani! Do you remember the time, when, in the orchard, we hastened to convey the secret to King Mark. The King came at were found asleep by your husband, who, in a transport of rage, night to the garden, and concealed himself under the thorn. I determined to put an end to your life? but it was the will of arrived soon after, unconscious of his presence; but I luckily per Providence that I should awake; I overheard his resolution, and ceived his shadow, and guessed the story. I saw you coming; , advertised you in time of your danger. On that occasion, you and was grievously alarmed, lest your eagerness in approaching presented to me your ring. It was of gold, beautifully enamelled. me should betray you. But Heaven protected us. You too ob 1 received it with transport and retired." served the second shadow, and turned back. I addressed you “True!" exclaimed Ysoll. “Such was my pledge of faith to aloud, requesting your interposition to reconcile me to the King, Tristrem! Yon have the ring, then? if so, show it me."

1 Chen-Chien.

Tristrem, drawing the ring out, presented it to her. She to explain to her the motives of his departure. He therefore examined it with attention, clasped her hands together, and ex quits his companion, assumes the dress of a poor man, and, by claimed, with a flood of tears, "At last! at last, I have lost him! means of herbs, disfigures his face so as to appear like a leper. If Tristrem were still alive, no other man could possess this ring.

He blackens his face and hands, and, taking an alms cup, (hanap Oh! he is dead! he is dead! Wretch that I am! all my hopes of de marre, a leper's cup,) which Ysolt had given him during the confort are dead with him!"

first year of their passion, he put into it a clapper of box, and thus Tristrem was not proof against the tears of his beloved mistress. converted it into a beggar's rattle. He then repaired to court, Overcome with compassion and admiration, he exclaimed in his stationed himself near the hall door, and endeavoured to pronatural voice, “Lady! Queen! from henceforward, I cannot cure, by repeated questions to all whom he met, some account of doubt that your constancy, like your beauly, is unaltered !" Ysolt his mistress. His endeavours, however, were all ineffeclual. At at the first accents of his voice, threw herself into his arms, and length, on a great holyday, he saw the King and Queen proceedkissed his face and his eyes. Tristrem having requested Breng- ing to the cathedral, lo hear mass. Tristrem attached himself to wain to bring him some water, washed away the die which had the Queen, and rallled so loudly, in the hopes of attracting ber 80 completely changed his complexion, while Ysolt, unable to attention, calling on her by name, for some charitable donation, speak, or to loosen her embrace, observed in silence the revival that the sergeants, offended at his pressing so close to her, thought of his features. Her joy was extreme. She will never more part it necessary, by blows and menaces, to drive him out of the with him. He shall have the best palace, and the best bed, in crowd. Tristrem bears all, but constantly returns to the charge. her husband's dominions. Tristrem, however, wishes only for He follows Ysoll into the chapel of the cathedral, still ratlling, the Queen. Ysolt was beautiful! Tristremn is full of joy and tran and crying for charity, till his importunity first raised her indig. sport, and his fair hostess receives full proof of it. The conclud nation, and then her wonder and curiosity. She casts her eyes ing lines are singularly pretty.

on the tankard, and immediately recognises her lover; and,

blushing with alarm and surprise, draws a gold ring from her “ Ysolt entre les bras le tin,

finger, which she endeavours to throw into the tankard. UnforTele joi en ad de sun ami

tunately, the watchful eyes of Brengwain biad already made the K'ele ad elant de juste li Kele ne sait cument cuntenir.

same discovery as those of Ysolt. She calls Tristrem a sturdy Ne le l’érat anuit més partir!

beggar; scolds the sergeants for permitting him to come so near Dit, k'il avrat bel ostel,

the Queen, and, addressing herself to Ysolt, “How long have E baus lit, ben fait et bel;

you been so charitable as to make such magnificent presents to Tristran autre chose ne quiert

lazars and commun beggars? You wish, then, to give him a Hors la Reine. Ysolt bele ere !

gold ring? but fortunately I have the power to prevent you from Tristran en est joius et ler:

purchasing repentance so dearly." Tristrem, finding himself Mult set beo ki il berbiger."

buffeted, and turned out of church by order of Brengwain, learns, for the first time, that he has excited her indignation; and, re

duced to ulter despair, and bewailing his misery, knows not ABSTRACT OF ANOTHER FRAGMENT,

wbich way to direct his steps. There was, in the ouler court of

the palace, near the porter's lodge, a remnant of a ruined stairIN MR. DOUCE'S Ms.

case. On this he throws himself, overpowered by fatigue and

anxiety, and falls into a swoon. In the meantime, the service This begins, as it appears, in the middle of a furious speech, in being ended, the King and Queen returned from the cathedral to which Brengwain reproaches Ysolt-"Accursed be the hour," dinner; after which the evening was devoted to amusements, in says she, “ when I first knew you, and Tristrem your lover! For which poor Ysolt, solely occupied by her own distress, and that you I abandoned my country,

of her lover, was unable to take a part. At night, it so happened,

that the porter, finding himself very cold in his lodge, directed his "Et puis, pur votre fol curage,

wife to go and get some wood for the fire. “Some dry logs, my Perdis, dame, mon pucelage!

dear Marian; and some fagots immediately!" His wife, unwilling Qo'l lis, certes, pur votre amur; Vus me promistes grant bonur ;'"etc.

lo go to the wood-pile, recollects some bundles of fagots lying on

the old staircase. She goes tbither in the dark, seizes, instead of This long-winded quarrel, which occupies 344 lines, originated,

the fagols she expected to find, the shaggy and tattered cloak of as it appears, in a mistake. Ysolt and Tristrem had persuaded Tristrem, screams with fright, and rushes to her husband, with Brengwain to accept the hand of Kaherdin, brother to Ysolt au.c the assurance of her having found the devil. Her husband takes Blanches Muins, the wife of Tristrem : and Tristrem and Ka a light, examines all the objects round him, and proceeding with herdin, having, soon after this, secrelly departed for some reason

great caution to the ruined staircase, finds a human figure cold or other, Cariados, a boasting and cowardly knight, declares that and insensible. Tristrem, however, awakes from his swoon, rehe has driven them both out of the country. Poor Brengwain, cognises his tried friend the porter, tells him his story, is received extremely offended at the supposed cowardice of her husband, into the lodge, finds a good supper and a warm bed, and desquarreis with Ysolt for making the match, and, in a fury, de patches the friendly porter with a message 10 Brengwain. But nounces her friend to King Mark.

neither Tristrem's message, por the porter's eloquence, had any Mark listens very patiently to her string of accusations, which, effect on the enraged confidante. Ysolt, however, knowing to do them justice, might have perplexed a better head than his,

where her lover is lodged, sees a ray of hope, employs every topic and urges her to explain herself a little more intelligibiy, promis

of fattery, and humbles herself so effectually, that Brengwain at ing her inviolable secrecy. He had concluded, that Tristrem had length consents logo and hear Tristrem's justification; convinlately been found, according to custom, in the embraces of Ysolt; ced, at the same time, that it must prove unsatisfactory. Tristrem, but he hears, with astonishment, that Ysolt is now passionately

however, who was really innocent, exculpates himself complelein love with Cariados. This intelligence, which had no founda

ly; promises to punish Cariados for his infamous calumny, and tion but in the anger of the confidante, perplexes him more than

at leagth is secretly conducted by Brengwain to the chamber of ever; but he ends, by desiring Brengwain to take complete charge

Ysolt, where he lies till near morning, when he takes his leave, of her mistress, and to preserve her, if possible, exclusively for

returns to the sea-side, meets Kaherdin, passes into Brittany, and his embraces.

finds Ysolt aux Blanches Mains distracted with jealousy at the While Ysolt thus found her former friend and confidante con strange conduct of her husband, but hitherto ignorant of her verted into an inflexible duenna; while Mark was more than

rival. ever a prey to jealousy; while Cariados found his passion for Tristrem being departed, Queen Ysolt, recollecting that ber Ysolt less likely than ever to become successful, Tristrem and lover had purchased one short night of happiness by much fatigue Kaherdin were proceeding on their journey. It at length, though and anxiety, besides a long swoon, which may possibly have inrather late, occurred to the former, that they had quitted the jured his health, thinks it right to do, on her part, some penance, objecis of their assection somewhat bastily; and he determined, in return for all that he had suffered for her sake. Never was no less hastily, to return to court; to obtain a sight of Ysolt, and there a more perfect model of female constancy and fidelily!

« PreviousContinue »