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lay his sword between them when they went to bed, or rather to rest, for bed they had none. Chance early one morning led the king's chief huntsman to the place of their slumber, and he of course informed his master of what he had seen, either from duty or the hope of gain. The king, having commanded his silence on the subject, went himself to the designed place, where he found the lovers even as it had been told to him, sleeping side by side, with the naked sword between them. Surprised, and half convinced of their innocence, he laid his glove upon Isalda, and took away the sword, leaving his own in its place, and then rode away as silently as he came. When the lovers woke, and recognised the king's glove and sword, a mortal fear seized them. They fled instantly, as if they were flying from death, nor rested till they came to the priest Ugrim, to whom they confessed, desiring absolution of their sins. But this the priest refused them because they would not separate, and again the lovers passed two years in the forest, in defiance of hunger and the weather, when, at last, they thought proper to return to him in obedience. Ugrim, upon this, received them kindly, gave them absolution, and wrote to the king, desiring him to receive Isalda. This letter was to be borne by Tristan, who at midnight reached the spring so often mentioned as the place of the lovers' meeting. Here he bound his horse to the linden, and hastened to the royal bed-chamber, which looked upon the garden,--the palaces of kings in those days were something like Lear's crown of straw.-He tapped at the window. Are you asleep, king ?” “ Yes,” was the answer.—“ You would oblige me much by waking for a few minutes,” “ And why should I wake? Can't you wait till day-light." “ By no means; this is neither place nor time for waiting.” “ Tell me then what you want ?" “ Your confessor, Father Ugrim, entreats and admonishes you to do as he has written and commanded. In all truth he advises you. Do it willingly, for it shall stand to you in the place of penance. Whatever your answer may be, write it, and hang the letter on the thorn before the city, where the street divides in two-thence will he fetch it.”—The result of this was that the king pardoned his wife with the consent of his council, but could by no means bring himself to extend the same forgiveness to his nephew, who, nevertheless, vehemently protested his innocence. Impudence indeed
seems to have been one of the primary qualifications of the gentle Sir Tristan ; when denial was in vain, then he offered to do penance, and when the king observed that there was no penance for such crimes, he turned downright bully, threatening his uncle's life if he used the queen ill. The old author, however, seems to have thought Sir Tristan hardly used, and moans most piteously over his hero, who, having made a present to the queen of his favourite dog Uctant, took his departure for the court of King Arthur.
Here Tristan was received with all knightly honour, but his love for the fair Isalda was not diminished, rather increased by absence, and, through the help of his friend Sir Balbon, he again contrived to see her. The lands of King Arthur and King Marks were contiguous, and their plan was so to manage a hunt, that they must needs seek refuge from the night in the country of Cornwal. All this succeeded to their wish, but the husband of Isalda, though he could not, according to the spirit of those times, deny the required hospitality, was yet by no means satisfied with his guests. Suspecting some farther design against the honour of his bed, he gave a general admonition, which, however, was intended more particularly for the benefit of Sir Tristan.—“I have allowed you a safe conduct, and you have eaten at my board ; but beware; whoever dishonours me shall die.” King Arthur, who knew nothing of Sir Tristan's plans, willingly acceded to this, and even promised his aid to punish the offender, though of his own court. But Sir Tristan and his uncle understood each other perfectly well; the one firmly determined to brave all hazard, and the other, as firmly expecting it, made preparations accordingly by blocking up the hall with large logs of wood, armed with spear heads.
When all had retired to rest, Sir Tristan, according to his old custom, arose to pay a visit to the queen, and was not a little surprised by bis encounter with the spear heads, which grievously wounded his feet and legs; but this did not deter him from his project; he bound up his wounds and hastened to Isalda's chamber, where he remained until the near approach of day made it necessary for him to depart. Returned to his own bed, he began to lament his fate aloud, saying, “ Now, beyond doubt, is my life forfeited; now will the king take vengeance on me for all his wrongs. Ah, dear and pure Isalda! shall I never see thee again? For thee, more than
for myself, do I lament. Would to heaven we were in the wood again; then would I find a way for our escape into some other land! Ah, what, is it I say ? To-morrow is the last inorning of my existence.” This lamentation awoke Sir Balbon, who inquired the meaning, and was as much alarmed as surprised when he heard the truth. King Arthur too, who, as a last resource, was informed of all, knew not what to do, for their numbers were not sufficient to contest the point, even had they been so disposed. From this dilemma, they were helped by another knight, who advised them to feign a dispute, and fing each other against the wolf-spears, that all might be alike wounded. This advice was well liked of all, and answered so far, that King Marks made apologies for his injustice, when, had the truth been known, he had most reason to complain of his injuries.
King Arthur and his friends now returned to their own land, and Sir Tristan for a long time abode with them in honour, until his restless disposition led him to seek adventures in other countries. It was on the seventh day of his travels that he entered upon a kingdom that was burnt and desolated on all sides; neither houses, nor men, nor cattle, were to be seen, till he came to a chapel upon a hill, where he found a monk; from him he learnt that Count Riolin of Mantis had rebelled against King Haubalin, because that monarch refused to give his daugliter to him in marriage, and had laid waste the country. Hereupon Sir Tristan resolved to relieve the king, and with the dawn of morning, hastened to the castle, where Haubalin was besieged by his rebellious subjects.
When the knight came to Careches, he was called upon to declare his name and business, which having done, he was admitted, and found the royal party enduring the worst extremities of famine. The war had lasted so long, that all their stores were exhausted, and the vigilance of their enemies prevented the introduction of fresh provisions. Heartily welcome was Sir Tristan to all, but to none more than to the king's son, Sir Caynis, who introduced him to his sister, the fair Isalda. Beautiful was the damsel, yet not so beautiful as his own Isalda.
When the day broke, Sir Tristan bade his companions open the castle gates, that he might sally forth to meet the enemy. At first Sir Caynis refused, from anxiety for his new friend's safety, till overcome by his vehemence, he at last yielded, and ordered the soldiers that they should throw the gates open. It was done to bis hidding, and forth issued Sir Tristan, to the great surprise of Count Riolin, whom he challenged to single combat; this was accepted, the Count was overcome, and, to save his life, was obliged to swear obedience to the commands of his conqueror. But these conmands were not very hard to be obeyed : “ By to-morrow," said the knight, “ you must provision the city for three days, or you shall be fung into the deepest dungeon of the castle.”
At this time news was brought to the king, that his sister's two sons were coming to his help with two thousand soldiers. Great was the general joy thereat: the king himself, with Sir Tristan and his knights, set forth to meet his nephews, who came attended, as had been promised, with two thousand va. liant spears. All these, together with the city troops, were put under the direction of Sir Tristan, and he went out to meet the rebels, and conquered them. Thousands Jay dead upon the field of battle ; so great indeed was the slaughter, that the victors, in many places, waded ankle deep in blood, The prisoners too were numerous, and as Count Riolin was obliged to redeem his friends at heavy ransoms, the king more than repaid to himself his losses in the war.-The praise of this was due to Sir Tristan, by whose conduct, his defeated soldiers had been taught to conquer, when the city was in the last extremities. Haubalin, therefore, cast about how to reward the knight's valour, and could think of nothing better than giving his daughter to him in marriage.
One whole year did Sir Tristan live with his bride, and still the fair lady was as much entitled to wear the virgin crown as on the first hour of her nuptials. The bridegroom, to his shame be it spoken, thought only of Isalda, his uncle's wife; in war and in peace, present or absent, his heart was still with her for whom he had endured so much. This trifling circumstance, however, made no difference to the artless bride, who was too innocent to know that she was neglected a rare qualification in a woman, and not to be found in any other history with which I am acquainted.
(To be concluded in our next.)
W. Oxberry, Printer, White-Hart Yard.
A CRITICAL ESSAY ON
(Concluded from page 73.) The witch resolves the circle, and Faustus, under the conduct ofMephistophilus, flies from the cave, and we next meet him in the open street, wrapt up in sudden admiration of a lovely innocent young creature, who is returning home from church. Without ceremony, he orders the fiend to turn procureur, and when the latter pleads the innocence of the girl as an excuse for inability, he drily observes, that Margaret is upwards of fourteen years old. The Devil then petitions for a fortnight's delay in which to try his skill; but to this also the task-master objects, declaring, that if he had half the time in quiet, he should not need the Devil's aid for her seduction. Poor Mephistophilus, in spight of all his subtlety, seems to have found bis match? he is at last forced to compromise matters with Faustus by taking him into his mistress' bed-chamber in her absence, a visit which lays the foundation of Margaret's future ruin : for it is then that the Dæmon conceals in her trunk a heap of trinkets, which, by awaking female vanity first disturbs the quiet of her pure bosom. The task of seduction is not, however, accomplished all at once ; many visits are paid, and many lies told before the work is done; from Faustus she receives a sleeping draught that she is to give her mother, to prevent her discovery of his visits : and soundly does she sleep upon it, for the draught is poison ; but all this and much more interesting matter must be neglected; we must, however reluctantly, use our author as he uses time, passing over pages by the same necessity that he passes over months, and come to the hour when Valentine, the brother of Margaret, makes his appearance on the stage. The rough, high-spirited soldier has learned the disgrace of his sister-not from his own observation :-he was too proud of her even to suspect her fall from virtue! but from the sneers, the half-told, half-hid scoffs of his companions.
“ Now," he says" I must sit like a bad debtor, sweating at every chance-word." It is in this frame of mind that he hears steps approachVol. 1.]