Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VIII CHAPTER XXXVI
Legends and Sagas
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 <340>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.