After that Sir Tristram went straight unto the hall of the castle, and there he found a great many of the lords of the castle and knights attendant upon the King. For the news of these things had flown fast, and many of them were angry and some were doubtful. But Tristram came in very boldly, clad all in full armor, and when he stood in the midst of them he spoke loud and with great courage, saying: “If there be any man here whom I have offended in any way, let him speak, and I will give him entire satisfaction whoever he may be. But let such speech be now or never, for here is my body to make good my knighthood against the body of any man, whomsoever he may be.”
At this all those knights who were there stood still and held their peace, and no man said anything against Sir Tristram (although there were several knights and lords who were kin to the Queen), for the boldness of Tristram overawed them, and no one had the heart to answer him.
So after a little while Sir Tristram left that place, without turning his head to see if any man followed him.
[Sidenote: Sir Tristram departs from Ireland] So he left that castle and Gouvernail went with him, and no one stopped him in his going. After that, he and Gouvernail came to the shore and took a boat and they came to the ship of Sir Tristram, and so they sailed away from Ireland. But the heart of Sir Tristram was so full of sorrow that he wished a great many times that he was dead.
So Sir Tristram, though as to his body he was very whole and sound, was, as to his spirit, very ill at ease; for though he was so well and suffered no pain, yet it appeared to him that all the joy of his life had been left behind him, so that he could nevermore have any more pleasure in this world which lieth outside of the walls of Paradise.
[Illustration: Sir Tristram harpeth before King Mark]
How Sir Tristram was sent by command of King Mark to go to Ireland to bring the Lady the Belle Isoult from Ireland to Cornwall and how it fared with him.
So Sir Tristram came back again to Cornwall, and King Mark and all the knights and lords of the court of the King gave him great welcome and made much joy over him because he had returned safely.
But Sir Tristram took no joy in their joy because he was filled with such heavy melancholy that it was as though even the blue sky had turned to sackcloth to his eyes, so that he beheld nothing bright in all the world.
[Sidenote: Sir Tristram tells of the Lady Bell Isoult] But though he had no great pleasure in life, yet Sir Tristram made many very good songs about Belle Isoult; about her beauty and her graciousness; about how he was her sad, loving knight; about how he was pledged unto her to be true to her all of his life even though he might never hope to see her again.
These like words he would sing to the music of his shining, golden harp, and King Mark loved to listen to him. And sometimes King Mark would sigh very deeply and maybe say: “Messire, that lady of thine must in sooth be a very wonderful, beautiful, gracious lady.” And Sir Tristram would say, “Yea, she is all that.”