When Marke's festival was past
and the company had all dispersed,
the news came to Marke 
that an enemy, a king, 
had come riding into his land 
with such a powerful following 
that unless defense were quickly made 
the invader soon would overrun 
everything in his path.
Acting within the hour, 
Marke summoned a mighty army 
and rode against him in full strength. 
The fight was hard, yet Marke won,
killing and capturing so many men 
that any who came through it whole 
well might call himself blessed. 
But there the noble Riwalin 
had taken a spear thrust in the side 
so deep, a wound so severe, 
that his own men immediately 
carried him off, with much lament, 
thinking him as good as dead, 
back to camp at Tintajel. 
There they laid him, to wait for death.

Quickly the news spread
that Canelengres 
had taken his death wound in the fight. 
Loud was the clamor of lament 
throughout the court and all the land. 
Those who knew his true worth 
felt keen sorrow at his fate. 
They regretted that his excellence,		1150
his strong body, his sweet youth, 
his much-admired lordly virtues 
had been so prematurely lost 
and come to so untimely an end. 
Marke, in true friendship, 
felt such a weight of mourning 
for him as never for another person 
ever had afflicted him. 
And many a noble woman wept, 
many a lady mourned for him,
and even those who had but met him 
were deeply touched by his misfortune. 
But among all who sorrowed
for him and his downfall,
always there was one, 
his Blanscheflur, the constant,
the courtly, the pure,
who most unswervingly 
both with her eyes and heart
wept out her heart's pain 
with heavy grief and tears.
And when solitude provided 
space enough for such mourning,
she turned her hands against herself—
ever again, a thousand times, 
she struck herself, always there
where her heart lay beneath—
there she kept raining blows.
In this way did the lovely woman 
torment her young, beautiful body.
Compelled by such misery,
she would have welcomed some other death 
than that which came of such desire,
in place of the life she now lived,
and indeed she would have died 
of agony so great,
except for one anticipation 
and a single prospect that bore her up, 
that she would see him once more
however she could manage it,
and after she had seen him,
whatever might be her fate,
then she would accept it all.

This thought made living bearable
until she recovered her senses enough 
to take into consideration
how she might get to see him,
as her suffering compelled her.
In this state of mind 
she thought of a schoolmistress			1200
who at all times and everywhere 
instructed her and cared for her
and never left her unattended.
This woman she took aside and went
where the two of them could be alone,
and poured out her grief to her, 
as ever those have done and do 
who are in such trouble as she was now. 
Tears overflowed her eyes,
and fell in hot streams 
thick and unceasingly 
over her burning cheek.
Folding her hands in supplication
she held them up imploringly:
"Ah, ah, my life," she cried, 
"Ah," she groaned, "Ah, my life!
Ah, my much-beloved mistress, 
show me now your loyalty,
so generous and admirable!
Entrusted as you rightly are
with everything I am and know, 
I now depend on your support—
to you I bare my heart's distress,
by all your goodness and sympathy—
help me, help me, or I'm lost!"
"My lady, what is this?" she said, 
"what's causing you such misery?"
"Ah, dare I tell you such a secret?" 
"Of course, dear lady, tell me all!"
"A dead man is killing me,
This Riwalin of Parmenie—
If it could be, I've got to see him, 
if only I knew how to do it 
before he's dead and gone forever,
because he can't recover now!
Find a way to help me do it 
and I'll never refuse you anything, 
as long as I live and still draw breath!"
The mistress thought the matter over—
"If I can manage it, why not? 
What could possibly be the harm? 
We have here a half-dead man,
tomorrow he'll be dead, or soon.
I will at least have helped preserve 
my lady's life and name.
Surely she won't forget, 
and I'll always be in her good graces!
Dear lady," she said, "my precious one,
your sorrow strikes me to the heart.
Whatever I can do for you			1250
to ease your troubles, upon my life, 
I'll do. You can depend on that.
I'll go down there now, myself, 
and see him, and come right back to you. 
I'll look the situation over, 
find out where they're keeping him, 
and see who's watching over him."
So she came to where he was, 
saying she wished to mourn for him,
and managed to let him know in secret 
that her lady wanted to see him,
and asked him to arrange for it 
suitably and properly.
Then she took her leave, and returned 
to tell her lady of this appointment.

She took the girl and dressed her carefully 
in a beggarwoman's clothes.
The great beauty of her face 
she hid beneath a heavy veil, 
and taking her lady by the hand
led her in to Riwalin.
Meanwhile he had dismissed 
all of his attendants
and lay there now alone,
having told them as an excuse 
that his only comfort was solitude. 
And the mistress played her part, 
saying she brought a physician,
and persuaded them to let her in.
Then she drew the bolt on the door.
"My lady," she said, "there he is." 
And she, the lovely one, approached, 
and looked at him, face to face. 
"Ah," she cried, "evermore, 
woe to me, that I was born! 
I have lost everything!"
Riwalin tried to bow, 
as best as might be expected 
of a mortally wounded man.
She paid no attention to that,
hardly even noticing,
but sat beside him, as though blind, 
and on Riwalin's cheek 
she laid her own,
until, gradually, 
from love as well as grief,
her life's strength was weakened and sapped: 
the redness of her mouth turned pale, 
her body lost entirely 
the healthy glow of color			1300
that was her usual, warm complexion;
to her clear eyes the light of day 
grew as gloomy and dark as night. 
There she remained lying,  
helpless and senseless, 
her cheek against his cheek, 
exactly as though she were dead.
When at last she stirred slightly 
and began to recover a little strength,
she took her lover in her arms
and laid her mouth against his own
and kissed him a hundred thousand times 
in no more than a moment
until her mouth aroused him 
to the full strength of desire, 
for desire was there in it--
her mouth filled him with delight, 
her mouth gave to him the force 
to press the magnificent woman 
against his own half-dead body 
very close and tenderly.
It wasn't long afterward
that he and she both had their way 
and the very lovely girl conceived 
the child of his body.
From this woman and from such desire 
he was very nearly dead, 
and had God not helped him in his need,
by no means could he have survived, 
but he lived, for so it was to be.

So Riwalin did recover,
and the lovely Blanscheflur 
was both unladen and yet laden 
of her heart's heavy burden—
relieved of pain for the man, 
she carried yet a greater one. 
She lost the yearning from her heart 
but from it came away with death. 
Freed from pain when desire receded, 
with the child she conceived death.
And no matter how she came through it, 
and however now she might be both 
unladen of him, and yet laden
with delight as well as harm, 
still all she saw, when she looked, 
was the love of loving, and beloved man. 
Neither child nor death's disaster 
entered her mind or her life. 
All she knew was love and man 
and acted as a lover should			1350
and as lovers always do;
her heart, her mind, her yearning thoughts
dwelt only on Riwalin. 
And his dwelt in return 
on her and on her love. 
Both their thoughts were filled 
with one love and one desire;
so he and she were one and the same, 
he was hers, and she was his, 
there Blanscheflur, there Riwalin,
there Riwalin, there Blanscheflur, 
where both were, there loyal amour.
Now their lives were lived in common, 
with one another they were happy 
and raised each other's spirits 
with all they shared between themselves. 
And whenever circumstances 
allowed them to be together, 
then their earthly joy was full, 
then their pleasure was so complete
that they would not have exchanged their lives 
for any other paradise.

Next Episode Index of Episodes