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~ Mists of Avalon ~

~ Tristan and Iseult ~

Tristan was sent to Ireland by his Uncle, King Marc of Cornwall to escort the King's new bride to Cornwall. Whilst journeying back from Ireland, Tristan and Iseult drank a love potion intended for Mark and Iseult.

They became lovers. On the night of Iseult's marriage to Mark, she had her maid Brangien stand in for her. The affair between Tristan and Iseult continued. As Mark's suspicions grew, Iseult said that she would swear on a hot iron that she had not been an adulteress. Tristan arranged to be in the crown in beggars clothing and Iseult fell into her arms and was able to swear that none bar the king or this beggar had held her. Later, Tristan seeing that his love for Iseult was hopeless, fled to Brittany where he married anothe Iseult, Iseult of the White Hands. He did not sleep with her. When Trsitan was poisoned, he sent Iseult of th White Hand's brother to fetch Iseult of Ireland. The captain of the ship was to set white sials if Iseult agreed to come or black of she did not come. Iseult of the White Hands lied saying that they were black and Tristan died. On hearing of his death, Iseult of Ireland died. King Marc had them buried together, and from Tristan's grave grew a vine, from Iseults grew a rose, which both became entwined for ever.

To read an extract of Mathew Arnold's poem... click on the link below...

Tristram and Iseult. by Matthew Arnold.