nce, I think, you pleased to hear how Marke welcomed his nephew dear. Now I hope you'd like to hear of Tristan's welcome in his homeland dear. t was their leader, Rual the true and dependable, who first debarked onto land. Then removing his cap and coat, as an act of courtesy, he ran laughing to Tristan, and kissing him, said, "my lord, be welcome here in God's name, to your own land and to me! Now observe: do you see this handsome land on this shore? Secure cities, strong defenses, and many a splendid castle. See, all this your sire Canel left to you as heritage. Be strong and ever on your guard, and none of this you see here can ever be taken from you. Of that I'll be your surety." And with this address he turned away 5200 pleased and satisfied at heart, and joyfully began to greet each of the knights in his turn. With his remarkable eloquence and many charming expressions he saluted them in welcome, then led the way to Canoel. The cities and their fortresses throughout the entire land which in Canel's time had been under his command, he now rendered to Tristan by the custom of loyalty, together with his own, which had come down to him through his own forebears. What need of any long description? He had property and standing, and as a man so endowed rendered them to his lord, with the support of all his men. Such diligence and care as he devoted in every way and with such willingness to the advantage of all of them no eye has ever seen before.
But wait—how did this happen to me? It seems I just forgot myself— whatever was I thinking of? the gracious marshallin, faithful and virtuous, my good lady Floraete— that I have failed to mention her was hardly a proper courtesy. But I shall compensate her and do proper penance. She is courtly and kind, even of temperament, worthiest and best— I know she received her guests not merely with polite talk, because whatever talk she made was informed with full sincerity. Her heart rose to the heights as though by means of wings. What she said and what she meant were never two different things. She went overboard, I know, in matters of hospitality whenever she received guests. 5250 This blessed Floraete— what delights her heart enjoyed in her master and in her child— the boy this story's all about, yes, I mean her son Tristan— I can know in some detail from the many and sufficient virtues and the services she showed and did, as I have read. This in her was no small gift, as she clearly demonstrated the way a woman best can, by assuring for her child and for all his people every honor and convenience that men of knighthood ever had.
Thereupon the summons went to every corner of Parmenie, to every lord and his men, to all of those who held power in the cities and the castles. When they had come together in company at Canoel, and saw and heard in person the truth about Tristan, as the legend has informed us and as you yourselves have heard, there rose a thousand shouts of welcome from each and every mouth. Land and people both began to rouse from torpor and rediscover joys miraculously. Their fiefs, their subjects, and their lands were reconfirmed to every one by their lord Tristan's hand. They vowed fealty and were accepted.
But throughout all these ceremonies, Tristan had concealed the pain secreted in his heart that Morgan still caused him, a pain that gave him no respite at any hour of the day. Therefore he held counsel with kin and pledged retainers, declaring his intention to hasten to Britanje, there to confirm his fief from the hand of his enemy, thus the better to secure 5300 his claim to his ancestral land. And having said he would, he did. He set out from Parmenie together with a company, well aware and well prepared as any prudent man should be who makes up his mind to venture into danger. Having arrived in Britanje, Tristan happened by chance to learn from local talk, well confirmed, that the duke Morgan rode hunting from one forest to another. He ordered his men to hasten, the knights to arm themselves, concealing under their mantles their armor and their weapons such that no gleam of mail should show through clothing. This they did, this was done, and over all, each of them pulled his riding cape closed and thus disguised, mounted. Their pack train and attendants they ordered to return, not stopping for anyone. They divided their armed men, sending the larger part of them to accompany the returning train as protection for men and goods on the way they had to pass. When this was done, there remained of those to go with Tristan a good thirty knights or so, leaving as a rear guard sixty men, or more. Very soon, Tristan's party came in sight of hounds and hunt. In answer to his inquiry as to where the duke could be found, they gave directions readily.
Following their indications it didn't take him long to find in a forest clearing a band of Britunish knights, whose elegant pavilions and tents were pitched on the grass, in bowers woven all about with flowers amid the greenery. Their hunting hawks and packs of hounds 5350 they kept near at hand. They also greeted Tristan and all his followers with customary courtesy, and then told him readily that their lord Morgan was riding quite nearby in the forest. They hastened in that direction. There they found Morgan with many Britunish attendants very well mounted. And as they made their approach, Morgan received his guests, not knowing their intentions, with all the proper courtesy that visitors should be shown. So did his fellow countrymen, each of whom came forward to make his salutation. Then after the time it took to complete these formalities, Tristan spoke to Morgan: "Sir, I have come here to you concerning my fief, and desire that you confirm it to me here and by no means refuse to me what by all rights I should have. You thus do well by custom." "Sir, tell me," Morgan replied, "your origin, or who you are." Tristan then declared himself. "My birthright is of Parmenie, and my father's name was Riwalin. Sir, I am his rightful heir, and my own name is Tristan." "Sir," said Morgan, "you're bringing me useless old stories that were far better forgotten than told yet again. This doesn't interest me. If you had any claims on me, you would be quickly satisfied, since nothing would deny to you, if you be of proper lineage, each and every privilege to which you have a right. But we know well, all of us (the tale has spread, far and wide) all about how Blanscheflur fled from home with your father, 5400 what kind of honors she attained, and the outcome of that companionship." "Companionship? What do you mean?" "I don't need to explain it to you. What I said is clear enough." "Sir," said Tristan, in reply, "I see what you're telling me. You are saying I was born outside of legal marriage and therefore have no further claim to my fief or to my holdings." "Yes, indeed, my fine knave, that's how I see it, and so do others." "That's wicked talk," declared Tristan. "I was under the impression that it was only polite when you insult someone to know what you are talking about. That, at least, is decency. If you had any, or any sense, as badly as you've abused me, you'd be careful what you say to cause me more grief and bring up old scores. You're the one who killed my father. Maybe you think that's not enough of an affront to me, so now you say the mother who bore me did so whorishly. God almighty help me! I know how many a noble man, more than I'm going to count here, put his folded hands in mine. had they blamed me for this vice that you have just accused me of, never would a one of them have given me his hands in pledge. For they well know the truth, that my father Riwalin went to his death with a lawful wife, my mother. If I need to prove this by your neck, that every word I say is true, be assured, I'm ready and willing."
"Goddamn you," snarled Morgan, "be off! What do I care for your proving? You've got no right to fight anyone who has legal courtly standing." "We'll see about that," said Tristan, drew his sword, and went at him. 5450 He clove him down from the crown through brain and skull, all the way as far as where the tongue lies. And quickly again he thrust the sword aiming this time at the heart. And so the proverb about old debts which once stored never decay was proved to be true enough. All of Morgan's men, hot-blooded Brituns, could now do nothing for their lord, nor come so quickly to his aid as to prevent his defeat. But they were ready, every one, to fight back, and fight hard. A strong force of them soon gathered. Although taken by surprise, they advanced on their enemies plainly meaning business. They paid no attention to the conventions of sportsmanship, but massed together in a rush, and by sheer numbers forced the fight out of the woods into a clearing. There arose mighty shouting, loud crying and despair, as though Morgan's death flew on a cloud of lamenting mounting up on wings. It announced sad tidings through every stronghold in the land. Everywhere there flew at once a single cry of despair: "a noster sires, il est mort! Who shall preserve our homeland now? Gather quickly, champions, from every town and castle, pay back these strangers for the hurt they have done us!"
Soon enough a strong pursuit attacked from the rear. But the invaders always met them with powerful sorties in reply. Again and again they sent back a numerous detachment that struck down many a pursuer, but the band continued in retreat, striving to locate their reserves. Soon they found their men at arms, 5500 and with all of them together took refuge on a hill, and there were able to spend the night. But darkness gave the country's forces time to gather in strength such that their unwanted guests, as soon as day began to break, suffered yet stronger pursuit. They lost many casualties, their formations often broken by sword and spear assaults, although these didn't last long. The average life of sword or spear was very short in that battle. They used up many a one of them in mass charges by both sides. And it was the smaller force that fought harder in defence, doing all the greater damage when the foe breached its ranks.
Now the forces on both sides, began to suffer greater losses, ever increasing as time went on. They dealt out and suffered losses, striking down many a man. But still they went at each other until the isolated force began to weaken in defense, losing men while the foe increased. Indeed the attackers kept gaining both in forces and in position, so that before night fell again they held the invaders trapped behind a moated rampart, within which they made their stand and managed to survive the night. Thus the fighters were besieged, surrounded by an army like and unbreakable fence. These alien strategists, Tristan and his followers, now what were they going to do? I'll tell you how it all came out, how they overcame their troubles, escaping from the trap and conquering their enemy. Since Tristan first had set out following Rual's advice to have his fief confirmed and then to return quickly, 5550 the prudent Rual had not ceased to worry, for in fact he suspected the very fate that befell Tristan. Although he hadn't divined the story of Morgan's end, he mustered a hundred armed knights and set out after Tristan, following his trail closely. It didn't take him very long to arrive in Britanje, and there he heard very soon exactly what had happened. Using this common knowledge he directed the line of his march toward the Britunish encirclement. As they began to approach within sight of the enemy, no one in their ranks needed to be ashamed of having fallen out of line. They charged in a single body with all pennants flying. Their battle cry resounded above their formation: "schevelier Parmenie! Parmenien cavalry!" Wave after colorful wave galloped havoc and destruction through the stays and guyropes. They pushed back the Brituns through their own camp with many a fatal wound. As soon as the besieged saw and knew their colors and heard their own war cry, they began a breakout and soon were in the open. Tristan went on the attack. Heavy losses were inflicted on those countrymen. Capture and slaughter, slashing and thrusting soon began to penetrate through their ranks, front and rear, and now with their reinforcements, both attacking companies shouted together in chorus: "schevelier Parmenie! Soon they met no more resistance. 5600 There was no regrouping nor any fight left in them other than hiding and retreat, making off at speed for the woods and safety. The fight was now much dispersed. The best defense they had was flight, their best chance to escape death.
When this rout had been completed, the knights took a needed rest, making temporary camp, and bringing in their comrades who lay dead on the field, they buried them properly. Then they took up the wounded, and improvising litters set out for their homeland. Thus Tristan had received his own fief and his lord's confirmed by his own hand. He now was lord and liege of him from whom his father got nothing. Now he had justice, and had settled his affairs-- justified belongings, settled sense of pride. His wronged right now was right, his injured pride smooth and proud. He now had firmly in his hand all his land and heritage, incontestably, since no one, as the matter stood had any claim to any of it.
At this time his thoughts returned once more to Curnewal, to the advice and invitation from his uncle, when he set out, all the while not forgetting his gratitude toward Rual, who had never failed to do him so many a valuable service with fatherly concern. His heart inclined strongly toward Rual and toward Marke; all his mind was on these two, divided equally between them. This may move someone to ask: how shall Tristan, in such fortune, now conduct his affairs to satisfy both of them, 5650 giving each his proper due? Surely everyone must see that such a thing's impossible without neglecting one of them and taking sides with the other. --"So tell us, how shall this work out? If he now returns to Curnewal, he abandons Parmenie and the prominence it lends him, leaving Rual much bereft in pleasures and in spirits, deprived of all the benefits that should assure his happiness. But if he wants to stay there, he never will attain to yet greater honors, and disregards Marke's counsel, to whom he owes his high position. Now how shall he save himself?" God knows, he must go back. We'll simply have to grant that. He needs to rise in station and gain in self-esteem, if he is to reach genuine success. Indeed he should pursue high honors gladly. If Fortune means to grant them, she is right to do so, since he so desires them.
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