Discovery

Now let us return to the surveillance. As you have already heard, for Isolt and Tristan surveillance was so irksome, the prohibition so painful, that they schemed more than ever as to how they might meet, until they accomplished it much to their sorrow— their tryst cost them pain and mortal suffering. It was at a certain noontide that the sun shone hotly on the undoing of their honor. Two kinds of sun threw their radiance upon the heart and mind of the queen, one the sun, the other Passion. Sensual yearning, the noon heat, competed to oppress her. She thought to avoid this strife between the heat and her thoughts by a clever stratagem, but fell into the midst of it. She searched in her orchard for the right situation, a place that would provide shade as well as seclusion advantageous to her purpose, where it would be cool and private. As soon as she had found it, at once she ordered a bed, rich and fine, to be made there. Costly quilts and linen, bright silk and brocade, bedclothes for royalty, 18150 were luxuriously spread there. As soon as this couch had been laid to perfection, the blonde queen lay down, clad only in her shift. She dismissed her maidservants to return to their quarters, while Brangaene alone remained. A message was composed for Tristan, that he should by no means omit to come and speak with her at once. He made the same mistake as Adamó the fruit his Eve offered him he took, and ate, fatally. He came, and Brangaene went to sit together with the ladies, very anxious and troubled. She directed the chamberlain to close and lock all the gates and told him to admit no one unless she herself allowed it. When the gates had been shut, Brangaene went to sit back down, much preoccupied with thoughts deeply troubling to her mind, since neither fear nor surveillance were able to dissuade her lady. While she sat in reflection, one of the servants went outside, when, almost immediately, the king shouldered his way in, inquiring after the queen most insistently. Several hastened to reply, "she sleeps, Sire, I believe." Brangaene, fearing the worst, was badly shaken and kept silent. Her head sank to one side, her hands and heart grew numb. "Tell me then," the king replied, "where is the queen sleeping?" They motioned him toward the garden, to which the king at once proceeded. There he saw his heart's dismay. He found his wife and nephew locked in each other's arms in very close embrace, her cheek against his cheek, her mouth on his mouth. As far down as he could see, 18200 what the coverlet revealed showing above the bedsheets at the head of the bed, their arms and their hands, their shoulders and their breasts were pressed closely to one another as though the two were joined together. Had a cast of them been poured in bronze or in gold, they could not have appeared more seamlessly united. Tristan and the queen were wrapped in sweet slumber, I know not after what exertion.
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