Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VIII CHAPTER XXXII
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Tristram brought Queen Isoud home, and of the
debate of King Mark and Sir Tristram.
AND so Sir Palamides departed with great heaviness. And Sir
Tristram took the queen and brought her again to King Mark, and
then was there made great joy of her home-coming. Who was
cherished but Sir Tristram! Then Sir Tristram let fetch Sir
Lambegus, his knight, <332>from the forester's house, and it was
long or he was whole, but at the last he was well recovered.
Thus they lived with joy and play a long while. But ever Sir
Andred, that was nigh cousin to Sir Tristram, lay in a watch to
wait betwixt Sir Tristram and La Beale Isoud, for to take them
and slander them. So upon a day Sir Tristram talked with La
Beale Isoud in a window, and that espied Sir Andred, and told it
to the King. Then King Mark took a sword in his hand and came to
Sir Tristram, and called him false traitor, and would have
stricken him. But Sir Tristram was nigh him, and ran under his
sword, and took it out of his hand. And then the King cried:
Where are my knights and my men? I charge you slay this traitor.
But at that time there was not one would move for his words.
When Sir Tristram saw that there was not one would be against
him, he shook the sword to the king, and made countenance as
though he would have stricken him. And then King Mark fled, and
Sir Tristram followed him, and smote upon him five or six strokes
flatling on the neck, that he made him to fall upon the nose.
And then Sir Tristram yede his way and armed him, and took his
horse and his man, and so he rode into that forest.
And there upon a day Sir Tristram met with two brethren that were
knights with King Mark, and there he struck off the head of the
one, and wounded the other to the death; and he made him to bear
his brother's head in his helm unto the king, and thirty more
there he wounded. And when that knight came before the king to
say his message, he there died afore the king and the queen.
Then King Mark called his council unto him, and asked advice of
his barons what was best to do with Sir Tristram. Sir, said the
barons, in especial Sir Dinas, the Seneschal, Sir, we will give
you counsel for to send for Sir Tristram, for we will that ye wit
many men will hold with Sir Tristram an he were hard bestead.
And sir, said Sir Dinas, ye shall understand that Sir Tristram is
called peerless and makeless of any Christian knight, and of his
might and hardiness we knew none so good a knight, but if it be
<333>Sir Launcelot du Lake. And if he depart from your court and
go to King Arthur's court, wit ye well he will get him such
friends there that he will not set by your malice. And
therefore, sir, I counsel you to take him to your grace. I will
well, said the king, that he be sent for, that we may be friends.
Then the barons sent for Sir Tristram under a safe conduct. And
so when Sir Tristram came to the king he was welcome, and no
rehearsal was made, and there was game and play. And then the
king and the queen went a-hunting, and Sir Tristram.