[ Full Modern English spelling version of original text printed by William Caxton in 1485 ]
How Sir Lamorak sent an horn to King Mark in despite of Sir Tristram, and how Sir Tristram was driven into a chapel.
So he departed from him with Sir Driant, and by the way they met with a knight that was sent from Morgan le Fay unto King Arthur; and this knight had a fair horn harnessed with gold, and the horn had such a virtue that there might no lady nor gentlewoman drink of that horn but if she were true to her husband, and if she were false she should spill all the drink, and if she were true to her lord she might drink peaceable. And because of the Queen Guenever, and in the despite of Sir Launcelot, this horn was sent unto King Arthur; and by force Sir Lamorak made that knight to tell all the cause why he bare that horn. Now shalt thou bear this horn, said Lamorak, unto King Mark, or else choose thou to die for it; for I tell thee plainly, in despite and reproof of Sir Tristram thou shalt bear that horn unto King Mark, his uncle, and say thou to him that I sent it him for to assay his lady, and if she be true to him he shall prove her. So the knight went his way unto King Mark, and brought him that rich horn, and said that Sir Lamorak sent it him, and thereto he told him the virtue of that horn. Then the king made Queen Isoud to drink thereof, and an hundred ladies, and there were but four ladies of all those that drank clean. Alas, said King Mark, this is a great despite, and sware a great oath that she should be burnt and the other ladies.
Then the barons gathered them together, and said plainly they would not have those ladies burnt for an horn made by sorcery, that came from as false a sorceress and witch as then was living. For that horn did never good, but caused strife and debate, and always in her days she had been an enemy to all true lovers. So there were many knights made their avow, an ever they met with Morgan le Fay, that they would show her short courtesy. Also Sir Tristram was passing wroth that Sir Lamorak sent that horn unto King Mark, for well he knew that it was done in the despite of him. And therefore he thought to quite Sir Lamorak.
Then Sir Tristram used daily and nightly to go to Queen Isoud when he might, and ever Sir Andred his cousin watched him night and day for to take him with La Beale Isoud. And so upon a night Sir Andred espied the hour and the time when Sir Tristram went to his lady. Then Sir Andred gat unto him twelve knights, and at midnight he set upon Sir Tristram secretly and suddenly and there Sir Tristram was taken naked abed with La Beale Isoud, and then was he bound hand and foot, and so was he kept until day. And then by the assent of King Mark, and of Sir Andred, and of some of the barons, Sir Tristram was led unto a chapel that stood upon the sea rocks, there for to take his judgment: and so he was led bounden with forty knights. And when Sir Tristram saw that there was none other boot but needs that he must die, then said he: Fair lords, remember what I have done for the country of Cornwall, and in what jeopardy I have been in for the weal of you all; for when I fought for the truage of Cornwall with Sir Marhaus, the good knight, I was promised for to be better rewarded, when ye all refused to take the battle; therefore, as ye be good gentle knights, see me not thus shamefully to die, for it is shame to all knighthood thus to see me die; for I dare say, said Sir Tristram, that I never met with no knight but I was as good as he, or better. Fie upon thee, said Sir Andred, false traitor that thou art, with thine avaunting; for all thy boast thou shalt die this day. O Andred, Andred, said Sir Tristram, thou shouldst be my kinsman, and now thou art to me full unfriendly, but an there were no more but thou and I, thou wouldst not put me to death. No! said Sir Andred, and therewith he drew his sword, and would have slain him.
When Sir Tristram saw him make such countenance he looked upon both his hands that were fast bounden unto two knights, and suddenly he pulled them both to him, and unwrast his hands, and then he leapt unto his cousin, Sir Andred, and wrested his sword out of his hands; then he smote Sir Andred that he fell to the earth, and so Sir Tristram fought till that he had killed ten knights. So then Sir Tristram gat the chapel and kept it mightily. Then the cry was great, and the people drew fast unto Sir Andred, mo than an hundred. When Sir Tristram saw the people draw unto him, he remembered he was naked, and sperd fast the chapel door, and brake the bars of a window, and so he leapt out and fell upon the crags in the sea. And so at that time Sir Andred nor none of his fellows might get to him, at that time.
How Sir Tristram was holpen by his men, and of Queen Isoud which was put in a lazar-cote, and how Tristram was hurt.
SO when they were departed, Gouvernail, and Sir Lambegus, and Sir Sentraille de Lushon, that were Sir Tristram’s men, sought their master. When they heard he was escaped then they were passing glad; and on the rocks they found him, and with towels they pulled him up. And then Sir Tristram asked them where was La Beale Isoud, for he weened she had been had away of Andred’s people. Sir, said Gouvernail, she is put in a lazar-cote. Alas, said Sir Tristram, this is a full ungoodly place for such a fair lady, and if I may she shall not be long there. And so he took his men and went thereas was La Beale Isoud, and fetched her away, and brought her into a forest to a fair manor, and Sir Tristram there abode with her. So the good knight bade his men go from him: For at this time I may not help you. So they departed all save Gouvernail. And so upon a day Sir Tristram yede into the forest for to disport him, and then it happened that there he fell sleep; and there came a man that Sir Tristram aforehand had slain his brother, and when this man had found him he shot him through the shoulder with an arrow, and Sir Tristram leapt up and killed that man. And in the meantime it was told King Mark how Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud were in that same manor, and as soon as ever he might thither he came with many knights to slay Sir Tristram. And when he came there he found him gone; and there he took La Beale Isoud home with him, and kept her strait that by no means never she might wit nor send unto Tristram, nor he unto her. And then when Sir Tristram came toward the old manor he found the track of many horses, and thereby he wist his lady was gone. And then Sir Tristram took great sorrow, and endured with great pain long time, for the arrow that he was hurt withal was envenomed.
Then by the mean of La Beale Isoud she told a lady that was cousin unto Dame Bragwaine, and she came to Sir Tristram, and told him that he might not be whole by no means. For thy lady, La Beale Isoud, may not help thee, therefore she biddeth you haste into Brittany to King Howel, and there ye shall find his daughter, Isoud la Blanche Mains, and she shall help thee. Then Sir Tristram and Gouvernail gat them shipping, and so sailed into Brittany. And when King Howel wist that it was Sir Tristram he was full glad of him. Sir, he said, I am come into this country to have help of your daughter, for it is told me that there is none other may heal me but she; and so within a while she healed him.
How Sir Tristram served in war King Howel of Brittany, and slew his adversary in the field.
THERE was an earl that hight Grip, and this earl made great war upon the king, and put the king to the worse, and besieged him. And on a time Sir Kehydius, that was son to King Howel, as he issued out he was sore wounded, nigh to the death. Then Gouvernail went to the king and said: Sir, I counsel you to desire my lord, Sir Tristram, as in your need to help you. I will do by your counsel, said the king. And so he yede unto Sir Tristram, and prayed him in his wars to help him: For my son, Sir Kehydius, may not go into the field. Sir, said Sir Tristram, I will go to the field and do what I may. Then Sir Tristram issued out of the town with such fellowship as he might make, and did such deeds that all Brittany spake of him. And then, at the last, by great might and force, he slew the Earl Grip with his own hands, and more than an hundred knights he slew that day. And then Sir Tristram was received worshipfully with procession. Then King Howel embraced him in his arms, and said: Sir Tristram, all my kingdom I will resign to thee. God defend, said Sir Tristram, for I am beholden unto you for your daughter’s sake to do for you.
Then by the great means of King Howel and Kehydius his son, by great proffers, there grew great love betwixt Isoud and Sir Tristram, for that lady was both good and fair, and a woman of noble blood and fame. And for because Sir Tristram had such cheer and riches, and all other pleasaunce that he had, almost he had forsaken La Beale Isoud. And so upon a time Sir Tristram agreed to wed Isoud la Blanche Mains. And at the last they were wedded, and solemnly held their marriage. And so when they were abed both Sir Tristram remembered him of his old lady La Beale Isoud. And then he took such a thought suddenly that he was all dismayed, and other cheer made he none but with clipping and kissing; as for other fleshly lusts Sir Tristram never thought nor had ado with her: such mention maketh the French book; also it maketh mention that the lady weened there had been no pleasure but kissing and clipping. And in the meantime there was a knight in Brittany, his name was Suppinabiles, and he came over the sea into England, and then he came into the court of King Arthur, and there he met with Sir Launcelot du Lake, and told him of the marriage of Sir Tristram. Then said Sir Launcelot: Fie upon him, untrue knight to his lady, that so noble a knight as Sir Tristram is should be found to his first lady false, La Beale Isoud, Queen of Cornwall; but say ye him this, said Sir Launcelot, that of all knights in the world I loved him most, and had most joy of him, and all was for his noble deeds; and let him wit the love between him and me is done for ever, and that I give him warning from this day forth as his mortal enemy.
How Sir Suppinabiles told Sir Tristram how he was defamed in the court of King Arthur, and of Sir Lamorak.
THEN departed Sir Suppinabiles unto Brittany again, and there he found Sir Tristram, and told him that he had been in King Arthur’s court. Then said Sir Tristram: Heard ye anything of me? So God me help, said Sir Suppinabiles, there I heard Sir Launcelot speak of you great shame, and that ye be a false knight to your lady and he bade me do you to wit that he will be your mortal enemy in every place where he may meet you. That me repenteth, said Tristram, for of all knights I loved to be in his fellowship. So Sir Tristram made great moan and was ashamed that noble knights should defame him for the sake of his lady. And in this meanwhile La Beale Isoud made a letter unto Queen Guenever, complaining her of the untruth of Sir Tristram, and how he had wedded the king’s daughter of Brittany. Queen Guenever sent her another letter, and bade her be of good cheer, for she should have joy after sorrow, for Sir Tristram was so noble a knight called, that by crafts of sorcery ladies would make such noble men to wed them. But in the end, Queen Guenever said, it shall be thus, that he shall hate her, and love you better than ever he did tofore.
So leave we Sir Tristram in Brittany, and speak we of Sir Lamorak de Galis, that as he sailed his ship fell on a rock and perished all, save Sir Lamorak and his squire; and there he swam mightily, and fishers of the Isle of Servage took him up, and his squire was drowned, and the shipmen had great labour to save Sir Lamorak’s life, for all the comfort that they could do.
And the lord of that isle, hight Sir Nabon le Noire, a great mighty giant. And this Sir Nabon hated all the knights of King Arthur’s, and in no wise he would do them favour. And these fishers told Sir Lamorak all the guise of Sir Nabon; how there came never knight of King Arthur’s but he destroyed him. And at the last battle that he did was slain Sir Nanowne le Petite, the which he put to a shameful death in despite of King Arthur, for he was drawn limb-meal. That forthinketh me, said Sir Lamorak, for that knight’s death, for he was my cousin; and if I were at mine ease as well as ever I was, I would revenge his death. Peace, said the fishers, and make here no words, for or ever ye depart from hence Sir Nabon must know that ye have been here, or else we should die for your sake. So that I be whole, said Lamorak, of my disease that I have taken in the sea, I will that ye tell him that I am a knight of King Arthur’s, for I was never afeard to reneye my lord.
How Sir Tristram and his wife arrived in Wales, and how he met there with Sir Lamorak.
NOW turn we unto Sir Tristram, that upon a day he took a little barget, and his wife Isoud la Blanche Mains, with Sir Kehydius her brother, to play them in the coasts. And when they were from the land, there was a wind drove them in to the coast of Wales upon this Isle of Servage, whereas was Sir Lamorak, and there the barget all to-rove; and there Dame Isoud was hurt; and as well as they might they gat into the forest, and there by a well he saw Segwarides and a damosel. And then either saluted other. Sir, said Segwarides, I know you for Sir Tristram de Liones, the man in the world that I have most cause to hate, because ye departed the love between me and my wife; but as for that, said Sir Segwarides, I will never hate a noble knight for a light lady; and therefore, I pray you, be my friend, and I will be yours unto my power; for wit ye well ye are hard bestead in this valley, and we shall have enough to do either of us to succour other. And then Sir Segwarides brought Sir Tristram to a lady thereby that was born in Cornwall, and she told him all the perils of that valley, and how there came never knight there but he were taken prisoner or slain. Wit you well, fair lady, said Sir Tristram, that I slew Sir Marhaus and delivered Cornwall from the truage of Ireland, and I am he that delivered the King of Ireland from Sir Blamore de Ganis, and I am he that beat Sir Palamides; and wit ye well I am Sir Tristram de Liones, that by the grace of God shall deliver this woful Isle of Servage. So Sir Tristram was well eased.
Then one told him there was a knight of King Arthur’s that was wrecked on the rocks. What is his name? said Sir Tristram. We wot not, said the fishers, but he keepeth it no counsel but that he is a knight of King Arthur’s, and by the mighty lord of this isle he setteth nought. I pray you, said Sir Tristram, an ye may, bring him hither that I may see him, and if he be any of the knights of Arthur’s I shall know him. Then the lady prayed the fishers to bring him to her place. So on the morrow they brought him thither in a fisher’s raiment; and as soon as Sir Tristram saw him he smiled upon him and knew him well, but he knew not Sir Tristram. Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, meseemeth by your cheer ye have been diseased but late, and also methinketh I should know you heretofore. I will well, said Sir Lamorak, that ye have seen me and met with me. Fair sir, said Sir Tristram, tell me your name. Upon a covenant I will tell you, said Sir Lamorak, that is, that ye will tell me whether ye be lord of this island or no, that is called Nabon le Noire. Forsooth, said Sir Tristram, I am not he, nor I hold not of him; I am his foe as well as ye be, and so shall I be found or I depart out of this isle. Well, said Sir Lamorak, since ye have said so largely unto me, my name is Sir Lamorak de Galis, son unto King Pellinore. Forsooth, I trow well, said Sir Tristram, for an ye said other I know the contrary. What are ye, said Sir Lamorak, that knoweth me? I am Sir Tristram de Liones. Ah, sir, remember ye not of the fall ye did give me once, and after ye refused me to fight on foot. That was not for fear I had of you, said Sir Tristram, but me shamed at that time to have more ado with you, for meseemed ye had enough; but, Sir Lamorak, for my kindness many ladies ye put to a reproof when ye sent the horn from Morgan le Fay to King Mark, whereas ye did this in despite of me. Well, said he, an it were to do again, so would I do, for I had liefer strife and debate fell in King Mark’s court rather than Arthur’s court, for the honour of both courts be not alike. As to that, said Sir Tristram, I know well; but that that was done it was for despite of me, but all your malice, I thank God, hurt not greatly. Therefore, said Sir Tristram, ye shall leave all your malice, and so will I, and let us assay how we may win worship between you and me upon this giant Sir Nabon le Noire that is lord of this island, to destroy him. Sir, said Sir Lamorak, now I understand your knighthood, it may not be false that all men say, for of your bounty, noblesse, and worship, of all knights ye are peerless, and for your courtesy and gentleness I showed you ungentleness, and that now me repenteth.
On to CHAPTER XXXIX...
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