However little in my days I may have suffered the sweet pain from that gentle heartache which down deep within the heart so gently works ungentleness, something in me prophesies such that I must believe it, that those two lovers found relief and comfort for their minds when they had thrown surveillance, that poisoner of Passion, lovers' arch-enemy, off their track at last. Much have I thought about those two, 12200 and still do so, every day. Whenever I spread the pageant of love and anxious yearning in all their variations before my mind's and heart's eye, all my own longings expand— and contemplation, my companion— as though they would surmount the clouds. Then when I focus my attention on that most mysterious mystery which someone might find in love who knew how to look for it— how much joy might hide in love for one who faithfully practiced it— suddenly my heart exceeds the summit of Mont Set, and I take pity then on love with all the feelings at my command, that so many a living soul pursues and cleaves to love, and still none does it justice. All of us are inclined to love and want to have a try at it. But no, that's not the way love is, as we work it on each other with counterfeit intentions. We don't see things the way they are. We sow the deadly bittersweet and then expect it should bear a crop of lilies and roses. Surely that cannot be. We have no choice but to reap that which we have planted, then to take what our seed yields. We can only mow and harvest what it was we have sown. We try to cultivate love with intentions already soured by falsehood and deception, and then we think to reap pleasure for both the body and the heart. But our increase is only pain, bad yield, bad fruit, bad seed, just as we have farmed it. Then when it bears a crop of rue and heaviness within the heart and kills us from within, we blame it all on love, accusing it of something of which it's wholly innocent. 12250 All of us plant falsehood, then reap depravity and sorrow. If that sorrow is too painful, we should have taken greater care to plant better and finer seed, then harvest what that brings. We who think in worldly terms— be this world good or evil— how we spend all our days thoughtlessly in pastimes ever in the name of love and then find nothing in it other than that same effort we have made on its behalf— all mischance and failure! We find nothing of that good that each of us yearns for but then fails to obtain, such as friendship's steady devotion that never fails to give comfort, that bears roses among the thorns, that gives respite in exertion. Delight, deep within it, lies concealed next to concern. It always brings joy at last, as often as it is called upon. It being rarely found today, we must plant it more carefully.
The saying goes, and it is true, that Love has been driven into the farthest corners. We have nothing left but the word. And now that only the name remains we have so persecuted that, so corrupted and misnamed it, that Love is shamed to be called so and dismayed at the very word. She wearily despises herself everywhere on earth. Dishonored and unworthy, she begs from door to door, carrying only some few trifles in a tattered sack to keep these paltry gleanings safe from her own hunger, while peddling them on the street. Alas, we are her customers. We treat her in unheard-of ways and take no responsibility. Love, the queen of every heart, 12300 the free, the one and only, is common in the marketplace, and having now reversed the scales, we require her to pay for it. We set a crude imitation in place of the real jewel and deceive ourselves with it. It is a wicked deception that misleads even friends so as to deceive only oneself. We counterfeit lovers, we deceivers of Love, how our days evaporate before we can bring our distress to any satisfying conclusion! How we waste all our lives without love, to no profit! But what doesn't concern us directly may still serve to raise our spirits. If anyone knows a good story that tells of real affection— whatever we retell now of those who once were, many hundred years ago, this will do our hearts good. We may be so taken with it that hardly any one of us, loyal and conscientious, with no treachery toward friends, would not wish to recreate such pleasure of his own affairs there in his own heart, even though, all the while, there lies trampled underfoot that from which it all arises: heartfelt fidelity. Vainly it appeals to us. We turn our eyes aside and continue heedlessly to stride roughly over it. We have most unworthily crushed it into the dust, and were we to look for it, where, in haste, we would not know. Faith among friends can be so wholesome, so rewarding— why do we not care for it? One look, one fervent glance, from dearly beloved eyes can surely extinguish 12350 a hundred thousand pangs of body and of heart. One kiss of loving mouths, if it comes welling up from the depths of the heart— oh, what heartache and yearning it is able to cure!
Tristan and Isolt, I know, impatient as they both were, did reduce the sufferings and the sorrows of one another when they achieved the aim of their common desire. The lust that so beclouds thought, all of this was gone. They indulged often in what lovers long to do, whenever they had the chance. At every opportunity, they both gave and took from love and from each other enthusiastic tax and tribute in all sincerity. Now they had deep satisfaction in the voyage and from their journey. When they overcame estrangement they found the greatest riches in secret intimacy. And this was sensible and wise, for those who still restrain themselves after having given in and then out of modesty stint themselves of love, are only stealing their own goods. Then the more they hold back, the more they steal from themselves, mixing pleasure with regret. But this pair of lovers held nothing back from each other. They exchanged words and glances in complete confidence. Thus they passed the time living delightfully, yet not entirely carefree. A small cloud of foreboding gave them cause to apprehend that which indeed would come to pass, destroying much joy and pleasure and putting them in deep distress— in fact, the beautiful Isolt 12400 was pledged and promised to the man whose wife she didn't want to be. Another problem weighed on their minds, namely, Isolt's maidenhood. Well, that was unfortunate, which caused them both unease, but that they could dismiss as being of no great concern as long as they had their way so freely with one another, often and repeatedly.
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