Tristan and Isolda eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 29 pages of information about Tristan and Isolda.

(BRANGAENA hastily draws the centre curtains apart.)

SCENE II.

[The whole length of the ship is now seen, down to the stern, with the sea and horizon beyond.  Round the mainmast sailors are ensconced, busied with ropes; beyond them in the stern are groups of knights and attendants, also seated; a little apart stands TRISTAN_ folding his arms and thoughtfully gazing out to sea; at his feet_ KURVENAL reclines carelessly.  From the mast-head above is once more heard the voice of the young sailor.]

THE YOUNG SAILOR (at the mast-head invisible).  The wind so wild blows homewards now; my Irish child, where waitest thou?  Say, must our sails be weighted, filled by thy sighs unbated?  Waft us, wind strong and wild!  Woe, ah woe for my child!

ISOLDA (whose eyes have at once sought TRISTAN and fixed stonily on him—­gloomily).  Once beloved—­ now removed—­ brave and bright, coward knight!—­ Death-devoted head!  Death-devoted heart!—­

(laughing unnaturally).

Think’st highly of yon minion?

BRANGAENA (following her glance). 
Whom mean’st thou?

ISOLDA.  There, that hero who from mine eyes averts his own:  in shrinking shame my gaze he shuns—­ Say, how hold you him?

BRANGAENA.  Mean you Sir Tristan,
lady mine? 
Extolled by ev’ry nation,
his happy country’s pride,
The hero of creation,—­
whose fame so high and wide?

ISOLDA (jeeringly). 
In shrinking trepidation
his shame he seeks to hide,
While to the king, his relation,
he brings the corpse-like bride!—­
Seems it so senseless
What I say? 
Go ask himself,
our gracious host,
dare he approach my side? 
No courteous heed
or loyal care
this hero t’wards
his lady turns;
but to meet her his heart is daunted,
this knight so highly vaunted! 
Oh! he wots
well the cause! 
To the traitor go,
bearing his lady’s will! 
As my servant bound,
straightway should he approach.

BRANGAENA.  Shall I beseech him
to attend thee?

ISOLDA.  Nay, order him: 
pray, understand it:—­
I, Isolda
do command it!

[At an imperious sign from ISOLDA BRANGAENA withdraws and timidly walks along the deck towards the stern, past the working sailors.  ISOLDA, following her with fixed gaze, sinks back on the couch, where she remains seated during the following, her eyes still turned sternward.]

KURVENAL (observing Brangaena’s approach, plucks Tristan by the robe without rising.) Beware, Tristan!  Message from Isolda!

TRISTAN (starting).  What is’t?—­Isolda?—­

(He quickly regains his composure as BRANGAENA approaches and curtsies to him.)

What would my lady? 
I her liegeman,
fain will listen
while her loyal
woman tells her will.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Tristan and Isolda from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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