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Scottish Sir Tristrem. His objection to Scott's supplying the missing word in the first line of the poem, he does not support by suggesting any word that would suit the measure or the rhyme, and Erceldoune suits both. But the fact of the first line being used as a catch
spake with Tomas and heard rede in
line at the bottom of the preceding | all agree in making him the author of page is conclusive on this point.
The argument from the language not answering to De Brunne's description of "quainte Inglis," is equally forcible against an English authorship. It would remove a difficulty on both sides if we suppose Kendale to be the mysterious "y" who was at Erceldoune, and there
that of which the first person is only the narrator. Can it be that Thomas' papers shared the fate of the national records at the hands of Edward I.? We find a namesake, John Rymour, a freeholder of Berwickshire, in the list of those who did homage to Edward in 1296.
THE STORY OF SIR TRISTREM.
THE writer, or reciter, relates that being at Erceldoune, he there spake with Thomas, and heard read the story of Sir Tristrem's birth, lineage, and adventures. After making some Nestor-like reflections on the changes of the times, he enters upon a description of a war between two chiefs whose territories, for convenience' sake, we may locate in Wales, or what was anciently Cumbria. The one is named Duke Morgan, and the other Rouland Rise, Lord of Ermonie. The war inclines in favour of the latter; however, they agree to a truce for seven years, and resolve to visit together the court of Mark, King of Cornwall. Here, at a tournament in which the Lord of Ermonie distinguishes himself, he captivates the heart of the fair Blaunche Flour, the sister of the king. She, being skilled in medicine, on pretence of curing a wound of which he was suffering, visits Rouland in
his chamber, and to this interview Tristrem owes his birth. Duke Morgan, who appears to have returned from Cornwall before Rouland, breaks the truce and invades Ermonie. Rohand, a faithful vassal, writes Rouland of this breach of faith, and he returns accompanied by Blaunche Flour, whom he marries on his arrival at the castle of Rohand. Morgan advances with a large army, and a sanguinary battle ensues, in which Rouland falls through treachery, after having achieved prodigies of valour. Blaunche Flour receives tidings of his death at the time of Tristrem's birth, and having consigned her child to the care of Rohand, along with a ring well known to King Mark, his uncle, she expires.'
Morgan seizes Ermonie, and Rohand is constrained to yield him a feigned submission; but, to secure the safety of young Tristrem, he brings him up as his
own child, and changes his name to Tram-
Rohand is in the meantime inconsolable for his loss, and searches for him through seven kingdoms, but at length traces him to the court of Cornwall. He informs King Mark of Tristrem's real history, who is convinced by the production of the ring of Blaunche Flour. Tristrem is then acknowledged as the king's nephew, and for the first inne learns the secret of his parentage, and the particulars of his father's death. Having been knighted by his uncle, he determines to recover his paternal possessions, and with a thousand
men, furnished him by the king, he sails for Ermonie, and takes up his residence at the castle of Rohand.
After some time he presents himself disguised at the court of Duke Morgan, accompanied by fifteen of his knights. Morgan demands his name and business, which leads to an angry altercation, in which Tristrem throws off his disguise, and is struck by Morgan. He draws his sword, and Rohand having at that instant appeared with his followers, an engagement ensues, in which Morgan is slain and his followers routed. Sir Tristrem, of course, recovers his paternal dominions, and after conferring them on Rohand as his vassal, he returns to Cornwall. On his arrival, he finds Mark in great perplexity on account of a demand made upon him by the King of Ireland for a yearly tribute of three hundred pounds of gold, silver, and tin, and every fourth year three hundred children. Tristrem advises the king and his council to dismiss the claim, and undertakes to intimate to the Irish ambassador, Moraunt, a knight of gigantic size and renown, that no tribute is due. Moraunt gives Tristrem the lie direct, whereupon they exchange gages of battle, and retire to a small island to decide the combat. Tristrem turns his boat adrift, saying one would suffice for the return of the victor. A terrible combat ensues, in which the Irishman is slain, and Tristrem wounded in the thigh. As a mark of gratitude for having saved the country from so humiliating an exaction, Tristrem is declared his uncle's heir to the crown of Cornwall; but his wound, which was inflicted by a poisoned weapon, becomes so offensive that no one can abide the stench, and he is deserted by all save his faithful servant Gouvernayl.
In this forlorn condition, Tristrem de
termines to leave Cornwall, and for that purpose obtains a ship from the king, in which, with Gouvernayl as his sole companion, and his harp as his only solace, he sets sail from Carlioun, and, after tossing about for nine weeks at sea, he is at length driven into Dublin harbour. Having learned that he was in Ireland, and knowing that Mourant whom he had slain was a brother of the Queen of Ireland, he resolves to assume his disguised name of Tramtris, and give out that he is a merchant who had been attacked by pirates at sea, who slew the rest of his companions, and wounded himself. He soon wins the good will and admiration of the Irish by his skill upon the harp and as a chess-player; and they swore by St Patrick, that if he were in health, "He were a miri man." His fame soon reached the ears of the queen, who resolves to pay him a visit. Having satisfied herself of his wonderful dexterity at chess, and his skill in music, she undertakes to cure his wound (for she is skilled in medicine), and by the use of a medicated bath he is restored to health. is then invited to court, and undertakes to instruct the beautiful princess Ysonde in minstrelsy and poetry, in which she delighted. He soon makes her so accomplished in those elegant arts, and so skilful at chess and other courtly games, that she excels every person in Ireland except her preceptor. Having remained a year in Ireland, Tristrem returns to Cornwall, regretted by the queen, and loaded with presents, to the great joy and astonishment of the Cornish.
In giving his uncle an account of his reception in Ireland, and his cure by the queen, he praises the beauty and accomplishments of Ysonde so highly that Mark falls in love with her. His counsellors, jealous of Tristrem's power, urge him to
send him to Dublin to ask the hand of Ysonde. Tristrem at first objects; but to show the nobility that he is not influenced by selfish motives as the king's heir in persuading him against the match, he at length consents.
Accompanied by a chosen body of knights, he takes his departure in a vessel richly laden with presents for the king, the queen, and the princess Ysonde. But on their arrival at Dublin they find the people in the greatest consternation on account of the ravages of a monstrous dragon. So great is the terror inspired by the approach of this monster, that the king offers the hand of the beautiful Ysonde to him who shall slay it. Tristrem undertakes the perilous adventure, and in the first encounter breaks his spear and loses his horse. Having offered up a short prayer, he renews the combat on foot with his sword, and after a terrible struggle, in which the dragon vomits forth flames of fire, Tristrem kills him, and cuts out his tongue, which he puts in his hose. But he had not proceeded about ten paces when he falls down insensible from the effects of the poison. The king's steward chancing to pass that way, cuts off the dragon's head, and, carrying it to court, demands the hand of the princess. Ysonde and the queen, distrusting his story, visit the scene of the encounter, and there find the real champion, and restore him to his senses by the application of treacle. Tristrem vindicates his claim to the victory by producing the dragon's tongue, and offers to make good his right against the steward in single combat. Having again feigned the character of a merchant, Ysonde regrets that he is not a knight; yet, admiring his handsome bearing and his bravery, they conduct him to a bath, and while the queen is getting a drink of "main,"
ing no alternative between becoming a forsworn knight and giving up his wife, Mark decides upon the latter, and the disguised earl carries off the queen to his ship. Tristrem, on his return from the chase, rates his uncle on his folly; and, taking up his ivory rote, repairs to the shore near to where the vessel lies ready to sail, and plays so skilfully that Ysonde is overpowered, and feigns sickness in order to be put on shore; which being done, Tristrem mounts her on a horse, and, mounting another himself, they suddenly disappear in a neighbouring forest, leav
Ysonde suspects him to be her old preceptor Tramtris. In trying to satisfy herself of his identity, she happens to examine his sword, and finds it to have a piece broken off corresponding to a fragment found in the skull of her uncle Moraunt, from which she concludes that its owner must have slain him. In this belief she rushes on him with his own sword, but the queen entering at that instant, she has to explain to her the cause of her resentment, and both ladies would have despatched him then, but for the timely arrival of the king. Tristrem admits having slain Moraunt, but contends that it was in fairing the earl to reflect that whom he gained fight, and, smiling upon Ysonde, reminds her of his services to her as her preceptor. Perceiving that his candour had made a favourable impression, he explains his mission, and it is finally arranged that he shall escort Ysonde to Cornwall, as the affianced of his uncle, King Mark.
On their departure, the queen entrusts Brengwain, Ysonde's maid, with a love potion, to be given to the king and his bride on the evening of their marriage; but in consequence of adverse winds on the voyage, they are forced to use their oars, and Tristrem being fatigued with rowing, Ysonde calls for a drink to refresh him, when Brengwain, inadvertently, presents the fatal potion, and Tristrem and Ysonde unwittingly partake of it. In consequence, a violent passion seizes them, which proves the source of all their after misfortunes. The vessel at length arrives, and Ysonde and Mark are married; but not long after, an Irish earl, a former lover of Ysonde's, appears at court disguised as a minstrel, bearing a harp of curious workmanship, on which he refuses to play unless Mark grant him a boon. The king rashly pledges his knighthood to grant his request, and the cunning harper demands Ysonde in fulfilment of his promise. See
by the harp he lost by the rote. After a seven nights' sojourn in the forest, Tristrem restores Ysonde to his uncle, advising him in future to give minstrels other gifts.
Mark, who is of an easy good-natured disposition, manifests no jealousy of his nephew's attachment to the queen for a long time; but at length his suspicions are excited through the repeated instigations of Meriadock, a companion knight of Tristrem's. Ysonde, to prove her innocence, consents to undergo the fiery ordeal, and Tristrem takes to flight. The trial by fire is appointed to be held at Westminster; and when about to cross the Thames, the queen recognises her lover in the disguise of a peasant, and requests that he may carry her from the shore to the vessel in which they are to cross the river. When the oath, preparatory to the ordeal, is administered, she swears that no other man than her husband had used greater familiarity with her than the peasant who bore her from the shore to the vessel. Mark, who does not see the equivocation, is satisfied, forgoes the application of the test, and again receives her into favour.
Meanwhile, Tristrem retires into Wales,
where he enters the service of King Triamour, whose daughter, Blaunche Flour, is sought in marriage by a gigantic knight named Urgan, the brother of Duke Morgan, whom Tristrem defeated and slew. Urgan's suit being rejected, he resents the affront by seizing Triamour's dominions and besieging him in his castle. Triamour offers Tristrem his possessions if he can recover them from the enemy. The champions meet in single combat, and after a dreadful encounter, in which Urgan, upon being pierced through the body, springs over a bridge in his agony. Tristrem generously resigns his claim to Triamour's dominions in favour of Blaunche Flour, but accepts of a beautiful dog called Peticrewe, coloured red, green, and blue, which he sends as a present to Ysonde. His uncle, having heard of his exploits in Wales, recalls him, and confers on him the office of high steward. But nothing could eradicate the effects of the spell that bound Tristrem and the queen to one another, and their old relations being resumed, Mark's forbearance became at length exhausted, and they are banished from his presence. They take up their residence in a cave in the forest, and live upon the produce of the chase.
his separation from her, engages in the most desperate enterprises-travels into Spain where he kills three giants, and then returns to Ermonie, where the sons of Rohand offer to restore his paternal domains, but this he declines, and seeks new adventures in Brittany, the duke of which country was then at war. By the assistance of Tristrem he soon overcomes his enemies. The duke has a lovely daughter of the same name with the Queen of Cornwall, but distinguished from the latter as Ysonde with the White Hand. Tristrem having made a song in praise of his mistress, Ysonde with the White Hand, from the identity of their names, concludes that she herself is the object of his affections, and informs her father, who thereupon offers Tristrem the hand of his daughter. After considering the unlikelihood of his ever again obtaining the object of his desires, and the impropriety of their past intercourse, he decides on accepting it. The marriage takes place accordingly; but while he is being led to the bridal chamber, Tristrem drops from his finger the ring given him by the Queen of Cornwall. This incident awakens his suppressed attachment to his former mistress, and the remembrance of her fidelity About a twelvemonth after their banish- to him, and he resolves to leave his marment, Mark, while hunting in the forest, riage with the Princess of Brittany unconis directed by his attendants to the cave summated. The duke is satisfied with where the lovers are found fast asleep, Tristrem's explanation of his conduct, and with Tristrem's unsheathed sword laid bestows upon him extensive territories between them. From this circumstance near the castle of a savage giant called Mark infers their innocence, and, leaving Beliagog, said to be a brother of those his glove, departs without disturbing three knights Morgan, Moraunt, and them. They are soon after recalled and Urgan, whom Tristrem slew. As might again received into royal favour; but be expected, Tristrem was not long in nothing could break the force of the seeking an encounter with such a neighspell, and Tristrem is again banished, this bour. Following his hounds one day time alone, for Ysonde is reconciled to into Beliagog's grounds, he is observed the king. by the giant, who, learning his name, Tristrem, to drown the anguish of threatens to avenge upon him the death