Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VIII CHAPTER III
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Tristram was sent into France, and had one to
govern him named Gouvernail, and how he learned to
harp, hawk, and hunt.
AND then he let ordain a gentleman that was well learned and
taught, his name was Gouvernail; and then he sent young Tristram
with Gouvernail into France to learn the language, and nurture,
and deeds of arms. And there was Tristram more than seven years.
And then when he well could speak the language, and had learned
all that he might learn in that country, then he came home to his
father, King Meliodas, again. And so Tristram learned to be an
harper passing all other, that there was none such called in no
country, and so on harping and on instruments of music he applied
him in his youth for to learn.
And after, as he grew in might and strength, he laboured ever in
hunting and in hawking, so that never gentleman more, that ever
we heard read of. And as the book saith, he began good measures
of blowing of beasts of venery, and beasts of chase, and all
manner of vermin, and all these terms we have yet of hawking and
hunting. And therefore the book of venery, of hawking, and
hunting, is called the book of Sir Tristram. Wherefore, as
meseemeth, all gentlemen that bear old arms ought of right to
honour Sir Tristram for the goodly terms that gentlemen have and
use, and shall to the day of doom, that thereby in a manner all
men of worship may dissever a gentleman from a yeoman, and from a
yeoman a villain. For he that gentle is will draw him unto
gentle tatches, and to follow the customs of noble gentlemen.
Thus Sir Tristram endured in Cornwall until he was <283>big and
strong, of the age of eighteen years. And then the King Meliodas
had great joy of Sir Tristram, and so had the queen, his wife.
For ever after in her life, because Sir Tristram saved her from
the fire, she did never hate him more after, but loved him ever
after, and gave Tristram many great gifts; for every estate loved
him, where that he went.