h the sorry sight
 when in so sad a plight 
 a yet sadder plight 
meets our pained sight!

Such honor still was Riwalin's			1755
as he had practiced honorably 	
so long as god willed
that he should practice it.
The pain and sorrow were all too great, 
surpassing ordinary pain;
for all their faith and all their skill,
their deeds and courtly accomplishment,
all honor, all their worthiness,
all of this had been struck down.
As noble as his death had been, 
just so was hers pitiful.
However great the burden
that fell on land and people
with the death of their beloved master, 
that was hardly so distressing 
as being powerless to help
while his sweet lady lay in torment 
and at last died so piteously.
Let every living person lament 
her despair and their hardship. 
Whoever has gained inspiration
from woman, or ever hopes to, 		
should carefully consider
how easily disaster 
befalls good people
in matters such as these,
how quickly things can go sour 
for all the joys of life,
and take care to ask 
God's favor on good womanhood,
that his mercy and his will 
may comfort and support good women. 
And now let's tell about the child, 
fatherless and motherless, 
what God willed for it. 	

emembrance good and true
 for a lost friend kept new 
 keeps friendship ever new,
the best of remaining true.

orrow for a departed friend   
 shows loyalty surpassing death. 
 This is the highest recompense, 
the very summit of faithfulness. 
Indeed, the crown of loyalty 
would well befit, as I have read, 		1800
the marshal and his good wife,
who were as one in dedication
to both God and the world, 
making of this an example 
before both world and God, 
practicing by God's command 
unswerving loyalty 
and continuing to do so 
entirely without fail 
to the ends of their lives. 	
If anyone on earth 
deserved to be crowned 
king or queen of faithfulness,
it very well might be they, 
as I will tell you truly 
of the two of them, 
how he acted, and what she did.
When Blanscheflur, their lady, died, 
and Riwalin was laid to rest, 
the prospects for the little orphan
seemed hardly promising, 
even for surviving long.
The marshal together with his consort 
took the helpless orphan in 
and hid it away secretly 
so that no one knew or saw. 
They had the story put about 
that the child their lady had been carrying 
had perished with her, in the womb.
And so the sorrowing land 
now had to bear a third great loss.
Their mourning was greater than before—
they mourned that Riwalin was dead, 
they mourned the ruin of Blanscheflur, 
and mourned also the lost child 
that was to be the land's protector
but now had perished likewise. 
On top of all these troubles
was the constant anxiety 
from the threat that Morgan posed,
a concern as great as their master's death,
for among the hardships of this world, 
this one seems hardest of all—
when you confront, night and day, 
your mortal enemy, face to face, 
it's enough to grieve the soul,
no better than a living death. 
In the midst of this ordeal, 
Blanscheflur was laid to rest.
Keen were the cries of lamentation 		1850
that filled the air above her grave.
Dismay there, you may imagine, 
worsened into desperation. 
But it would be unwise of me 
to plague your ears any more 
with tales as pitiful as these,
for ears can only bear so much 	
of unrelieved grief and mourning,
and there's hardly anything so good 
as doesn't pall in excess.
Let's therefore cease this long lament 
and instead turn our attentions 
to the story of the orphan 
about whom wondrous tales are told. 

o it often goes
 in life, from weal to woes.
 But now to weal from woes—
that's how it sometimes goes.

ight-thinking men, even in sorrow,
 need to see to their own affairs,	
 no matter what may come of it.
While you still have life and breath,
it's with the living you must live,
and find the strength yourself to do so.
Thus did the marshal Foitenant—
when everything was going wrong,
he considered what shame and harm
his own death would cause his land.
Resistance, he knew, was useless.
If arms could not prevail 
against the present foe, 
he would use craft. 
At once he summoned every leader 
in all his former lord's country,
and persuaded them to agree 
that they had no other recourse 
than to yield in subjugation. 
They had to render their land and lives 
in fealty to Morgan. 
The bitter hostility 	
between Morgan and themselves 
they pretended now was reconciled,
preserving thus their land and people.
The faithful marshal Foitenant, 
returning home, commanded his wife
as a matter of life and death 
to pretend to lie in,
according to the custom 
of a woman who is with child, 
and when the proper time had passed		1900 
to announce to everyone 
that she had borne the child 
who would become their master. 
The marshal's excellent wife, 
a woman steady and good, 
Floraete the virtuous, 	
a fine example of wifely honor, 
indeed a perfect gem of goodness, 
was glad to do, with no great urging, 
what was in their own best interests.
She set herself, both mind and body, 
to  imitate the pains of a woman 
about to give birth to a child. 
She had her furnishings and chamber 
rearranged and made ready 
as though for this purpose. 
And since she knew very well
how women behave in this event,
she did a perfect imitation.
She counterfeited great discomfort
in both mood and body 
exactly like a woman 
making ready to bear the pains, 
who has summoned all her strength 
for the impending labor. 
Then the child was laid beside her 
with great care for secrecy
so that no one knew what had happened 
excepting only a nurse.
The story was ready, and quickly spread,
that the marshal's good lady 
was confined with a son. 
This was true.  She took the job, 
and became a mother to the son 
whose filial loyalty to her 
held to the end of both their days.  
That sweet child felt for her 
as true and ardent an affection 
as should any child  for his mother.
And this was altogether proper,   
for she in turn bestowed on him
all the love of mothering, 
and did so as steadfastly 
as if she herself 
had carried him in her womb.
As we hear this story told, 
never before, nor ever after, 
did a man and his wife 
bring up their master with such love
as we will hear all about 			1950
while I tell the story— 
what fatherly concern 
and how many the toils and troubles 
the faithful marshal bore for him. 
When it was time for the marshal's wife 
to have recovered from the birth, 
after the usual six weeks 
customary for a woman, 
and time to take her son to church 
as I have spoken of before,	
she took him in her own arms 
and carried him gently, with delight, 
with her into God's house.
And having there with due ceremony 
received the blessing on her recovery, 
she finished her observances 
with her splendid attendants.

Now the child was ready 
for holy baptism,
attesting to its Christian birth,
received in God's name, 
so that no matter what its fate,
Christian it would be.
When the officiating priest 
had all prepared for the event, 
following baptismal custom 
he inquired about the child, 
as to what its name should be. 
The courtly lady stepped aside 
to speak in private with her husband	
and asked him how he wished 
the child to be named.
The marshal long was silent.
He pondered most earnestly
what name would suit him 
in such circumstances. 
In doing so he thought over 
all the events of the boy’s life,
everything he so well knew
of what had come to pass so far.	
"My lady," he said, "I have the tale 
from his father, the whole story 
about his Blanscheflur, 
in what deep sorrow 
her desire was fulfilled,
in what sorrow she conceived this child,
with how much sorrow she had to bear it—
we will name him Tristan."
Triste, of course, means "sorrowful,"
so according with events			2000
the child was named Tristan, 
and baptized Tristan, there and then.
Tristan was his name, from triste.
This was a name that suited him,
fitting in every respect.
We see it in his story,
we see how sorrowful his birth,
which his mother did not survive;
see how soon it was that trouble 
and pain came to weigh him down;
see how sorrowful a life
it fell to his lot to live;
we see the sorrow of his death,
which finally put an end 
to all his heart's pain,
a death that outdid all other deaths,
the very gall of bitterness.
This story--when you once have read it,
well you know that his name		
fitted exactly with his life.	
He was the man his name described,
his name told what he was: Tristan. 

And now, for those of you who ask 
what Foitenant's purpose was 
in putting out the story 
that Tristan the child had died 
in the throes of being born
and was dead within his dead mother, 
here's the answer to your question: 
he did it out of loyalty.	
The loyal marshal acted thus 
because he feared Morgan's wrath—
if Morgan knew of the child, 
he would destroy it, 
whether by force or trickery,
to extinguish its inheritance.
That is why this faithful man 
adopted the orphan as his own
and raised it so carefully 
that all the world might have cause 
to wish God's blessing upon him—
he surely earned it with the boy. 
Now that the child had been baptized 
with the blessing of Christianity,
the marshal's wife, clever and good, 
took her child home with her
into her close, loving care. 
She attended to his every need 
and made it her first concern 
to see to his comfort.				2050
This sweet mother was so careful 
and tended him with such concern
that never did she let him
at any time or place
sustain a bruise or fall.
And this she kept on doing 
until he reached his seventh year,
when he had full understanding 
both of speech and of manners.
His father, the marshal, took him then 
and put him in a teacher's care, 
and sent him often with this man 
to foreign lands to learn the language,
and also saw to it now 
that he should learn from books
and put this task ahead 
of all other learning. 

This was his first experience 
with limits on his freedom.
Now first he entered into 	
the cares of discipline,
from which, until that time,
he had been spared and shielded. 
In these tender years, 
the time of unrestricted pleasures, 
when he was ready to begin 
with the delights of living, 
such living was already over.
On the early blossoms of his joy 
fell the frost of care and trouble
that makes things hard for many a youth,
and wilted the flower of his joy. 
Amid his first freedom 
all his freedom was removed. 
With the duties of books and learning
his troubles had begun in earnest.
And still, once he had made a start,
he put his mind so well to it 
and worked so hard at it 
that in only a short time	
he had learned more of books 
than any child, before or since. 
Along with these two undertakings, 
studying books and languages, 
he spent many an hour also 
learning to play the strings. 
And this he did, morning and night,
with so much care and industry,
that he became a wonder at it. 
He studied constantly, 				2100
this today, tomorrow that, 
well at first, then to perfection. 
In addition to all of this 
he learned to ride expertly 
carrying shield and lance,
to touch his mount's sides
lightly with his spurs,
to put it boldly to a gallop,
to gait it and to give it rein,
or guide it with his legs
as does the most accomplished horseman.
He took pleasure and enjoyment 
in the sports of thrust and parry,
running hard, leaping far,
and throwing the javelin--
with these arts his strength grew.
We also learn from the story 
how he learned to hunt and stalk 
better than any man before,
no matter who it may have been.
Every courtly art and game—
he knew most, and performed them well.
And also bodily 
was never a finer boy 
born of woman than was he. 
In all things, he was excellent, 
both in mind and in behavior, 
yet this good fortune was beclouded 
with lasting ill, as I have read, 
destined as he was for trouble.
Now when he reached his fourteenth year, 
the marshal took him home again
and bade him travel widely, 
to ride throughout the country, 
seeing land and people
so that he might learn first-hand 
all the customs common there.
This the worthy boy 
did so thoroughly
that in his own age and time,
in that entire realm,
there lived no other boy 
so highly skilled as Tristan.
All the world looked at him 
with friendly eyes and real affection,
as of course we rightly should 
toward one who holds so true to virtue
and turns his back on all that's base. 
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