Excerpt from Tristan and
My lords, if you would hear a high tale of love and of
death, here is that of Tristan and Queen Isolde; how to
their full joy, but to their sorrow also, they loved each
other, and how at last they died of that love together upon
one day; she by him and he by her.
Long ago, when Mark was King over Cornwall, Rivalen, King of
Lyonesse, heard that Mark’s enemies waged war on him; so he
crossed the sea to bring him aid; and so
faithfully did he serve him with counsel and sword that Mark
gave him his sister Blanchefleur, whom King Rivalen loved
He wedded her in Tintagel Minster, but hardly was she wed
when the news came to him that his old enemy Duke Morgan had
fallen on Lyonesse and was wasting town and
field. Then Rivalen manned his ships in haste, and took
Blanchefleur with him to his far land; but she was with
child. He landed below his castle of Kanoël and gave the
Queen in ward to his Marshal Rohalt, and after that set off
to wage his war.
Blanchefleur waited for him continually, but he did not come
home, till she learnt upon a day that Duke Morgan had killed
him in foul ambush. She did not weep: she made no cry or
lamentation, but her limbs failed her and grew weak, and her
soul was filled with a strong desire to be rid of the flesh,
and though Rohalt tried to soothe her she would not hear.
Three days she awaited re-union with her lord, and on the
fourth she brought forth a son; and taking him in her arms
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