Tristram - The Message (I) and the Menace (II)

Is she not come? The messenger was sure
Prop me upon the pillows once again
Raise me, my page! This cannot long endure
Christ, what a night! How the sleet whips the pane!
What lights will those out to the northward be?

The lanterns of the fishing-boats at sea

Who is that, stands by the dying fire?


Ah! Not the Iseult I desire

Gazing seaward for the light
Of some ship that fights the gale
On this wild
December night

I know him by his harp of gold
Famous in Arthur's court of old
His forest-dress
Tristram of Lyoness

In his exiled loneliness
In his deep distress
Without a word, without a tear
His endless reveries


Gazing seawards many a league
From her lonely shore-built tower
While the knights are
At the wars

I know her by her mildness rare
This fair snowdrop by the sea
Her loveliness
Iseult of Brittany

As of old, so let her be
That princess bright
Chatting with her youthful knight
As he steers her o'er the sea

Quitting at her father's will
The isle where she was bred
And her bower in Ireland
For the surge-beat Cornish strand

Save thyself
Where the prince whom she must wed
Save thyself
Dwells on loud Tyntagel's hill
Save thyself
High above the sounding sea
Save thyself
That King Marc and she

All red with blood the whirling river flows
The wide plain rings, the dazed air throbs with blows
Upon us are the chivalry of Rome!
Their spears are down, their steeds are bathed in foam


Up, Tristram, up, thou moonstruck knight!
What foul fiend rides thee? On into the fight!
Above the din her voice is in my ears
I see her form glide through the crossing spears