Le Morte d'Arthur BOOK VIII CHAPTER XIII
Legends and Sagas
How Sir Tristram and King Mark hurted each other for
the love of a knight's wife.
SO Sir Tristram departed, and took the sea, and with good wind he
arrived up at Tintagil in Cornwall; and <300>when King Mark was
whole in his prosperity there came tidings that Sir Tristram was
arrived, and whole of his wounds: thereof was King Mark passing
glad, and so were all the barons; and when he saw his time he
rode unto his father, King Meliodas, and there he had all the
cheer that the king and the queen could make him. And then
largely King Meliodas and his queen departed of their lands and
goods to Sir Tristram.
Then by the license of King Meliodas, his father, he returned
again unto the court of King Mark, and there he lived in great
joy long time, until at the last there befell a jealousy and an
unkindness betwixt King Mark and Sir Tristram, for they loved
both one lady. And she was an earl's wife that hight Sir
Segwarides. And this lady loved Sir Tristram passingly well.
And he loved her again, for she was a passing fair lady, and that
espied Sir Tristram well. Then King Mark understood that and was
jealous, for King Mark loved her passingly well.
So it fell upon a day this lady sent a dwarf unto Sir Tristram,
and bade him, as he loved her, that he would be with her the
night next following. Also she charged you that ye come not to
her but if ye be well armed, for her lover was called a good
knight. Sir Tristram answered to the dwarf: Recommend me unto
my lady, and tell her I will not fail but I will be with her the
term that she hath set me. And with this answer the dwarf
departed. And King Mark espied that the dwarf was with Sir
Tristram upon message from Segwarides' wife; then King Mark sent
for the dwarf, and when he was come he made the dwarf by force to
tell him all, why and wherefore that he came on message from Sir
Tristram. Now, said King Mark, go where thou wilt, and upon pain
of death that thou say no word that thou spakest with me; so the
dwarf departed from the king.
And that same night that the steven was set betwixt Segwarides'
wife and Sir Tristram, King Mark armed him, and made him ready,
and took two knights of his counsel with him; and so he rode
afore for to abide by the way for to wait upon Sir Tristram. And
as Sir Tristram came <301>riding upon his way with his spear in
his hand, King Mark came hurtling upon him with his two knights
suddenly. And all three smote him with their spears, and King
Mark hurt Sir Tristram on the breast right sore. And then Sir
Tristram feutred his spear, and smote his uncle, King Mark, so
sore, that he rashed him to the earth, and bruised him that he
lay still in a swoon, and long it was or ever he might wield
himself. And then he ran to the one knight, and eft to the
other, and smote them to the cold earth, that they lay still.
And therewithal Sir Tristram rode forth sore wounded to the lady,
and found her abiding him at a postern.