Tristan and Iseult: The Hermit Ogrin

Here is the translation of the Roman de Tristan et Iseult of 1900 by Joseph Bedier. Here is the tenth part: Hermit Ogrin.

Hermit Ogrin

Hermit Ogrin

Three days later, as Tristan had followed the tracks of a wounded stag for a long time, night fell, and under the dark wood he began to think:

“No, it was not out of fear that the king spared us. He had taken my sword, I was sleeping, I was in his mercy, he could strike; what good is the reinforcement? And, if he wanted to take me alive, why, having disarmed me, would he have left me his own sword? Ah! I recognized you, father: not out of fear, but out of tenderness and pity, you wanted forgive us. Forgive us? Who could, without demeaning, remit such a package? No, he did not forgive, but he understood. He knew that at the stake, at the jump from the chapel, at the ambush against lepers, God had taken us in his safeguard. He then remembered the child who once harped at his feet, and my land of Loonnois, abandoned for him, and the Morholt's spear, and the blood shed for his honor. He remembered that I had not admitted my wrong, but vainly demanded judgment, right and battle, and the nobility of his heart inclined him to understand the things around him his men do not understand: no that he knows nor ever can know the truth of our love; but he doubts, he hopes, he feels that I have not told a lie, he wishes that by judgment I find my right. Ah! beautiful uncle, conquer in battle by the help of God, win your peace, and, for you, put on again the hauberk and the helm! ... What did I think? He would resume Iseut: would I deliver it to him? Why didn't he cut my throat, rather, in my sleep! Not long ago, tracked down by him, I could hate him and forget him; he had abandoned Iseut to the sick: she was no longer his, she was mine. Here, by his compassion, he awakened my tenderness and won back the queen. The Queen ? She was queen beside him, and in this wood she lives like a servant. What did I do with his youth? Instead of his rooms hung with silk sheets, I give him this wild forest; a hut, instead of its beautiful curtains; and it is for me that she follows this bad road. To the Lord God, King of the world, I cry thank you and I beg him to give me the strength to return Iseut to King Mark. Is she not his wife, married according to the law of Rome, before all the rich men of her land? "

Tristan leans on his bow, and weeps for a long time in the night.

In the thicket closed with brambles which served as their shelter, Iseut la Blonde waited the return of Tristan. In the light of a moonbeam, she saw the gold ring that Mark had slipped there gleaming on her finger. She thought:

“The one who out of fine courtesy gave me this golden ring is not the angry man who handed me over to lepers; no, it is the compassionate Lord who, from the day I landed on his land, welcomed me and protected me. How he loved Tristan! But I came, and what did I do? Shouldn't Tristan live in the king's palace, with a hundred damsels around him, who would be of his mesnie and would serve him to be armed knights? Shouldn't he, riding through the courts and baronies, seek welds and adventures? But for me, he forgets all chivalry, exiled from the court, chased in this wood, leading this wild life! ... "

She then heard on the leaves and dead branches approaching the footsteps of Tristan. She came to meet him as usual, to take his arms. She took the qui-ne-mal bow from his hands and his arrows, and untied the ties of his sword.

“Friend,” said Tristan, “it is King Mark's sword. She had to slit our throats, she spared us. "

Iseut took the sword, kissed its golden hilt; and Tristan saw that she was crying.

“Friend,” he said, “if only I could make an agreement with King Mark! If he would allow me to maintain by battle that never, neither in fact nor in words, have I loved you with a guilty love, any knight of his kingdom from Lidan to Durham who dared to contradict me would find me armed in a closed field. Then, if the king would suffer to keep me in his household, I would serve him with great honor, like my lord and my father; and, if he preferred to take me away and keep you, I would go to Friesland or Brittany, with Gorvenal as his only companion. But wherever I would go, queen, and always, I would remain yours. Iseult, I would not dream of this separation, were it not for the hard misery you bear for me for so long, beautiful, in this desert land.

- Tristan, may you remember the hermit Ogrin in his grove. Let’s go back to him, and may we shout thanks to the mighty heavenly king, Tristan, friend! "

They awakened Gorvenal; Iseut mounted the horse, which Tristan led by the brake, and all night long, crossing the beloved woods for the last time, they walked without a word.

In the morning, they took a rest, then walked again, as long as they reached the hermitage. On the threshold of his chapel, Ogrin read in a book. He saw them, and from afar called them tenderly:

" Friends ! how love tracks you from misery to misery! How long will your madness last? Courage! repent at last! "

Tristan said to him:

“Listen, Sir Ogrin. Help us to offer the king a deal. I would give him back the queen. Then I would go far away, Brittany or Friesland; one day, if the king wanted to suffer me near him, I would come back and serve him as I should. "

Bowing at the hermit's feet, Iseut said in his turn, mournfully:

“I won't live like this anymore. I'm not saying that I regret having loved and loving Tristan over and over again; but our bodies at least will henceforth be separated. "

The hermit wept and worshiped God: “God, beautiful almighty king! I thank you for letting me live long enough to help these! He advised them wisely, then took some ink and parchment and wrote a brief in which Tristan offered a deal to the king. When he had written all the words that Tristan said to him, he sealed them with his ring.

"Who will wear this brief?" asked the hermit.

- I'll wear it myself.

- No, Sire Tristan, you will not attempt this hazardous ride; I will go for you, I know the people of the castle well.

- Leave it, handsome Sire Ogrin; the queen will remain in your hermitage; at nightfall, I will go with my squire, who will watch my horse. "

When darkness descended on the forest, Tristan set off with Gorvenal. At the gates of Tintagel, he left him. On the walls, the lookouts sounded their trunks. He slipped into the ditch and crossed the city at the risk of his body. As in the past, he crossed the sharp palisades of the orchard, saw the marble steps, the fountain and the large pine tree again, and approached the window behind which the king was sleeping. He called her softly. Marc awoke:

"Who are you, you who call me in the night at this time?

- Sire, I am Tristan, I bring you a brief; I leave it there, on the fence of this window. Have your answer attached to the branch of the Red Cross.

- For the love of God, beautiful nephew, wait for me! "

He rushed over to the threshold, and three times cried through the night:

" Tristan ! Tristan ! Tristan, my son! "

But Tristan had fled. He rejoined his squire, and, with a light bound, got into the saddle:

“Crazy! said Gorvenal, hurry, let's flee this way. "

They finally reached the hermitage where they found, waiting for them, the hermit who prayed, Iseut who wept.