Then Sir Tristram besought King Arthur that he would refresh himself, and the King said he would do so. So Sir Tristram brought him to the chiefest place, and there King Arthur sat him down. And Sir Tristram would have served him with wine and with manchets of bread with his own hand, but King Arthur would not have it so, but bade Sir Tristram to sit beside him on his right hand, and Sir Tristram did so. After that, King Arthur spake to Sir Tristram about many things, and chiefly about King Meliadus, the father of Sir Tristram, and about the court of Lyonesse.
Then, after a while King Arthur said: “Messire, I hear tell that you are a wonderful harper.” And Sir Tristram said, “Lord, so men say of me.” King Arthur said, “I would fain hear your minstrelsy.” To which Sir Tristram made reply: “Lord, I will gladly do anything at all that will give you pleasure.”
So therewith Sir Tristram gave orders to Gouvernail, and Gouvernail brought him his shining golden harp, and the harp glistered with great splendor in the dim light of the pavilion.
[Sidenote: Sir Tristram sings before King Arthur] Sir Tristram took the harp in his hands and tuned it and struck upon it. And he played upon the harp, and he sang to the music thereof so wonderfully that they who sat there listened in silence as though they were without breath. For not one of them had ever heard such singing as that music which Sir Tristram sang; for it was as though some angel were singing to those who sat there harkening to his chanting.
So after Sir Tristram had ended, all who were there gave loud acclaim and much praise to his singing. “Ha, Messire!” quoth King Arthur, “many times in my life have I heard excellent singing, but never before in my life have I heard such singing as that. Now I wish that we might always have you at this court and that you would never leave us.” And Sir Tristram said: “Lord, I too would wish that I might always be with you and with these noble knights of your court, for I have never met any whom I love as I love them.”
So they sat there in great joy and friendliness of spirit, and, for the while, Sir Tristram forgot the mission he was upon and was happy in heart and glad of that terrible storm that had driven him thitherward.
And now I shall tell you the conclusion of all these adventures, and of how it fared with Sir Tristram.
[Illustration: Belle Isoult and Sir Tristram drink the love draught]
How Sir Tristram had speech with King Angus of Ireland; how he undertook to champion the cause of King Angus and of what happened thereafter.
[Sidenote: Sir Tristram hears news of King Angus] Now, as Sir Tristram and King Arthur and Sir Launcelot sat together in the pavilion of Sir Tristram in pleasant, friendly discourse, as aforetold, there came Gouvernail of a sudden into that place. He, coming to Sir Tristram, leaned over his shoulder and he whispered into his ear: “Sir, I have just been told that King Angus of Ireland is at this very time at Camelot at the court of the King.”