(He turns to ISOLDA, who looks tenderly up at him.)
Where Tristan now is going, wilt thou, Isolda, follow? The land that Tristan means of sunlight has no gleams; it is the dark abode of night, from whence I first came forth to light, and she who bore me thence in anguish, gave up her life, nor long did languish. She but looked on my face, then sought this resting-place. This land where Night doth reign, where Tristan once hath lain— now thither offers he thy faithful guide to be. So let Isolda straight declare if she will meet him there.
ISOLDA. When to a foreign land before thou didst invite, to thee, traitor, resting true, did Isolda follow. Thy kingdom now art showing, where surely we are going! why should I shun that land by which the world is spann’d? For Tristan’s house and home Isold’ will make her own. The road whereby we have to go I pray thee quickly show!—
(TRISTAN bends slowly over her and kisses her softly on the forehead. MELOT starts furiously forward.)
MELOT (drawing his sword). Thou villain!
Avenge thee, monarch!
Say, wilt suffer such scorn?
TRISTAN (drawing his sword and turning quickly round) Who’s he will set his life against mine?
(casting a look at MELOT).
This was my friend; he told me he loved me truly: my fame and honor he upheld more than all men. With arrogance he filled my heart, and led on those who prompted me fame and pow’r to augment me by wedding thee to our monarch.— Thy glance, Isolda, glamoured him thus; and, jealous, my friend played me false to King Mark, whom I betrayed.—
(He sets on MELOT.)
Guard thee, Melot!
[As MELOT presents his sword TRISTAN drops his own guard and sinks wounded into the arms of KURVENAL. ISOLDA throws herself upon his breast. MARK holds MELOT back. The curtain falls quickly.]
[At one side high castellated buildings, on the other a low breastwork interrupted by a watch tower; at back the castle-gate. The situation is supposed to be on rocky cliffs; through openings the view extends over a wide sea horizon. The whole gives an impression of being deserted by the owner, badly kept, and here and there dilapidated and overgrown.]
[In the foreground, in the garden, lies TRISTAN sleeping on a couch under the shade of a great lime-tree, stretched out as if lifeless. At his head sits KURVENAL, bending over him in grief and anxiously listening to his breathing. From without comes the mournful sound of a shepherd’s pipe.
Presently the shepherd comes and looks in with interest, showing the upper half of his body over the wall.]