Tristan and Iseult: Le Grand Pin

Here is the translation of the Roman de Tristan et Iseult of 1900 by Joseph Bedier. Here is the sixth part: Le Grand Pin.

Le Grand Pin

Le Grand Pin

It is not Brangien the faithful, it is themselves that lovers must fear. But how would their intoxicated hearts be vigilant? Love urges them on, as thirst hurls the stag towards the river towards its ends; or so again, after a long fast, the hawk suddenly released melts on the prey. Alas! love cannot be concealed. Certainly, by the prudence of Brangien, no one surprised the queen in the arms of his friend; but, at all times, in all places, does not everyone see how desire agitates them, embraces them, overflows with all their as well as the new wine trickling from the vat?

Already the four court felons, who hated Tristan for his prowess, prowl around the queen. Already they know the truth of his beautiful loves. They burn with lust, hatred and joy. They will bring the news to the king: they will see tenderness turn to fury, Tristan driven out or delivered to death, and the queen's torment. They feared Tristan's anger, however; but, at last, their hatred overcame their terror; one day the four barons called King Mark to parliament, and Andret said to him:

“Handsome king, your heart will doubtless be irritated, and all four of us are in great mourning; but we must reveal to you what we have surprised. You placed your heart in Tristan and Tristan wants to hate you. We warned you in vain: for the love of one man, you ignore your kinship and your entire barony, and you forsake us all. So know that Tristan loves the queen: it is a proven truth, and many things have already been said about it. "

The noble king staggered and replied:

" Cowardly ! What a felony have you been thinking! Certainly, I placed my heart in Tristan. On the day when the Morholt offered you battle, you all bowed your heads, trembling and like mutes; but Tristan faced him for the honor of this land, and with each of his wounds his soul might have flown away. That's why you hate him, and that's why I love him, more than you, Andret, more than all of you, more than anyone. But what do you claim to have discovered? what did you see ? what did you hear?

'Nothing, indeed, Lord, nothing that your eyes cannot see, nothing that your ears cannot hear. Look, listen, handsome sire; perhaps there is still time. "

And, having retired, they left him at leisure to savor the poison.

King Mark could not shake the curse. In his turn, against his heart, he spied on his nephew, he spied on the queen. But Brangien noticed it, warned them, and in vain the king tried to test Iseut by tricks. He was soon indignant at this vile combat, and, realizing that he could no longer dispel suspicion, he summoned Tristan and said to him:

“Tristan, get away from this castle; and when you have left it, be no longer so bold as to cross its ditches and its lists. Felons accuse you of a great treachery. Do not question me: I could not relate their words without shaming us both. Do not look for words that appease me: I can feel it, they would remain in vain. However, I do not believe the felons: if I believed them, would I not have already cast you to your shameful death? But their evil talk has troubled my heart, and only your departure will calm it. Leave, no doubt I will call you back soon; go, my always dear son! "

When the felons heard the news:

"He's gone," they said to each other, "he's gone, the wizard, hunted like a thief! What can become of him now? No doubt he will cross the sea to seek adventures and carry his disloyal service to some distant king! "

No, Tristan didn't have the strength to leave; and when he had crossed the lices and the ditches of the castle, he knew that he could not go further away; he stopped in the village of Tintagel itself, took a hotel with Gorvenal in a bourgeois house, and languished, tortured by fever, more wounded than before, in the days when Morholt's spear had poisoned his body. Not long ago, when he was lying in the cabin built by the sea and everyone was fleeing the stench of his wounds, three men nevertheless assisted him: Gorvenal, Dinas de Lidan and King Mark. Now Gorvenal and Dinas were still standing at his bedside; but King Mark was no longer coming, and Tristan was moaning:

"Certainly, handsome uncle, my body now gives off the smell of more venom. repulsive, and your love can no longer overcome your horror. "

But relentlessly, in the heat of the fever, desire dragged her, like a carried away horse, towards the well-closed towers which kept the queen locked up; horse and rider smashed against the stone walls; but horse and rider rose again and again took the same ride again and again.

Behind the tightly closed towers, Iseut the Blonde also languishes, even more unhappy: for, among these strangers who spy on him, she has to feign joy and laugh all day long; and at night, stretched out beside King Mark, she must tame, motionless, the agitation of her limbs and the twitching of the fever. She wants to flee to Tristan. It seems to her that she gets up and runs to the door; but, on the dark threshold, the felons have stretched out great faulx: the sharp and wicked blades seize his delicate knees as they pass. It seems to her that she is falling and that, from her sliced knees, two red fountains shoot up.

Soon the lovers will die, if no one helps them. And who will help them, if not Brangien? Risking her life, she slipped towards the house where Tristan is languishing. Gorvenal happily opens the door to her, and, to save the lovers, she teaches Tristan a trick.

No, no lords, you will never have heard of a more beautiful ruse of love.

Behind the castle of Tintagel, an orchard stretched out, vast and enclosed by strong palisades. Beautiful trees grew there without number, laden with fruit, birds and fragrant clusters. At the furthest point from the castle, close to the stakes of the palisade, a pine rose, tall and straight, the robust trunk of which supported a large branch. At its foot, a living spring: the water first spread in a large sheet, clear and calm, enclosed by a marble staircase; then, contained between two narrow banks, it ran through the orchard, and, entering the very interior of the chateau, crossed the women's rooms.

Now, every evening, Tristan, by Brangien's advice, skillfully cut pieces of bark and small branches. He crossed the sharp stakes, and, coming under the pine, threw the shavings into the fountain. Light as foam, they floated and flowed with her, and, in the women's rooms, Iseut watched their coming. Immediately, on the evenings when Brangien had known how to ward off King Mark and the felons, she would come to her friend.

She comes, agile and fearful, however, watching at each of her steps if felons have lurked behind the trees. But as soon as Tristan sees her with open arms, he rushes towards her. So the night protects them and the friendly shade of the great pine tree.

"Tristan," said the queen, "do the seafarers not assure you that this castle of Tintagel is enchanted and that, by spell, twice a year, in winter and in summer, it is lost and disappears from the eyes?" He got lost now. Isn't this here the marvelous orchard of which speak the harp lays: a wall of air encloses it on all sides; flowering trees, fragrant soil; the hero lives there without growing old in the arms of his friend, and no enemy force can break the wall of air? "

Already, on the towers of Tintagel, the horns lookouts who announce dawn.

“No,” said Tristan, “the wall of air is already broken, and this is not the marvelous orchard here. But, one day, friend, we will go together to the fortunate country from which no one returns. There rises a white marble castle; at each of its thousand windows shines a lighted candle; at each, a juggler plays and sings an endless melody; the sun does not shine there, and yet no one regrets its light: it is the happy land of the living. "

But at the top of the Tintagel towers, dawn lights up the large blocks alternating between vert and azure.

Iseut has regained his joy: Mark's suspicion dissipates and the felons understand, on the contrary, that Tristan has seen the queen again. But Brangien keeps such good guard that they spy in vain. Finally, Duke Andret, God hate! said to his companions:

“Lords, let us take advice from Frocin, the hunchbacked dwarf. He knows the seven arts, magic and all kinds of enchantments. At the birth of a child, he knows how to observe the seven planets and the course of the stars so well that he recounts all the points of his life in advance. He discovers, through the power of Bugibus and Noiron, the secret things. He will teach us, if he wants, the tricks of Iseut the Blonde. "

In hatred of beauty and prowess, the wicked little man traced the characters of witchcraft, cast his charms and spells, considered the course of Orion and Lucifer, and said:

“Live in joy, beautiful lords; tonight you will be able to seize them. "

They brought him before the king.

"Sire," said the sorcerer, "tell your huntsmen to put the leash to the sleuths and the saddle for the horses; announce that seven days and seven nights you will live in the forest, to lead your hunt and you will hang me on the pitchforks, if you do not hear, this very night, what speech Tristan is making to the queen. "

The king did so, against his heart. At nightfall, he left his hunters in the forest, took the dwarf on his back, and returned to Tintagel. Through an entrance he knew he entered the orchard and the dwarf led him under the great pine.

"Handsome king, it is fitting that you climb in the branches of this tree. Carry your bow and your arrows up there: they will perhaps be of use to you. And keep quiet: you won't wait long.

- Go away, enemy dog! Marc replied.

And the dwarf went away, taking the horse away.

He had told the truth: the king did not wait long. That night the moon was shining, clear and beautiful. Hidden in the branches, the king saw his nephew leap over the sharp stakes. Tristan came under the tree and threw the shavings and branches into the water. But, as he leaned over the fountain, throwing them away, he saw, reflected in the water, the image of the king. Ah! if he could stop the leaking shavings! But no, they run, fast, through the orchard. Over there, in the women's rooms, Iseut spies on their coming; already, no doubt, she sees them, she runs up. May God protect lovers!

She comes. Sitting motionless, Tristan looks at her, and in the tree, he hears the screech of the arrow which notches in the string of the bow.

She comes, agile and cautious, however, as she used to. " What is it ? she thought. Why doesn't Tristan come running to meet me this evening? would he have seen some enemy? "

She stops, looks around the black thickets; suddenly, in the moonlight, she in her turn saw the shadow of the king in the fountain. She showed well the wisdom of women, in that she did not raise her eyes towards the branches of the tree: “Lord God! she said quietly, just grant me that I can speak first! "

She approaches again. Listen as she gets ahead and warns her friend:

“Sire Tristan, what have you dared? Attract me to such and such a place, at such an hour! Many times already you had summoned me to beg me, you said. And by what prayer? What are you expecting from me ? I came at last, because I could not forget it, if I am queen, I owe it to you. So here I am: what do you want?

- Queen, you cry thank you, so that you appease the king! "

She trembles and cries. But Tristan praises the Lord God, who has shown the peril to his friend.

"Yes queen, I have called you often and always in vain: never, since the king chased me away, you did deign to come to my call. But have pity on the puny fellow here; the king hates me, I don't know why; but you may know it; and who then could charm his anger, if not you alone, frank, courteous queen Iseut, in whom his heart trusts?

"In truth, Sire Tristan, are you still unaware that he suspects us both?" And what treachery! Is it necessary, in addition to shame, that it is me who teaches you? My lord believes that I love you with guilty love. God knows it however, and, if I lie, let him shame my body! I have never given my love to any man, except the one who first took me, a virgin, in his arms. And you want me, Tristan, to beg your forgiveness from the king? But if he only knew that I came under this pine, tomorrow he would throw my ashes to the winds! "

Tristan moans:

"Beautiful uncle, we say:" No one is naughty, if it does not make villainy. But, in what heart could such suspicion arise?

- Sire Tristan, what do you mean? No, the king, my lord, would not of himself have imagined such villainy. But the felons of this earth made him believe this lie, for it is easy to disappoint loyal hearts. They love each other, they told him, and congratulate them we have turned him into a crime. Yes, you loved me, Tristan, why deny it? Am I not your uncle's wife and had I not saved you from death twice? Yes, I loved you in return: are you not of the king's lineage, and have I not heard my mother repeat many times that a woman does not love her lord until she loves? the kinship of his lord? It was for the love of the king that I loved you, Tristan; even now, if he receives you in favor, I will be happy. But my body is trembling, I am terrified, I am leaving, I have already stayed too much. "

In the branches, the king took pity and smiled softly. Iseut fled, Tristan called her back:

“Queen, in the name of the Savior, come to my aid, out of charity! The cowards wanted to keep away from the king all those who love him; they succeeded and are now mocking him. That is ; I will therefore go out of this country, far away, miserable as I once came there: but, at least, obtain from the king that in recognition of past services, so that I can without shame ride far from here , he gives me enough of his to pay my expenses, to free my horse and my weapons.

- No, Tristan, you shouldn't have made that request to me. I am alone on this earth, alone in this palace where no one loves me, without support, at the mercy of the king. If I say one word to him for you, don't you see that I risk shameful death? Friend, may God protect you! The king hates you very wrongly. But wherever you go, the Lord God will be a true friend to you. "

She leaves and flees to her room, where Brangien takes her, trembling, between his arm ; the queen told him of the adventure. Brangien exclaims:

“Iseut, my lady, God has done a great miracle for you! He is a compassionate father and does not want the harm of those he knows to be innocent. "

Under the large pine tree, Tristan, leaning against the marble steps, lamented:

“May God take pity on me and make amends for the great injustice that I suffer from my dear lord! "

When he had crossed the fence of the orchard, the king said with a smile:

"Beautiful nephew, blessed be this hour!" See: the distant ride you were planning this morning is already over! "

Over there, in a forest clearing, the dwarf Frocin questioned the course of the stars; he read there that the king was threatening him with death; he blackened with fear and shame, swelled with rage, and fled swiftly to the land of Wales.