Duncan, John (1912) "Tristan and Isolt"
Tristan, the posthumous son of Rivalen, orphaned shortly after his birth when his mother, Blanchefleur, dies disconsolate because of the murder of her husband, is reared as the son of Rohalt, his father’s servant, to protect the youth from Rivalen’s enemies. Kidnapped by merchants, the young Tristan arrives in Cornwall, the realm of King Mark, Blanchefleur’s brother. It is only when Rohalt reveals their blood relationship to Mark that the king understands his inexplicable affection for the youth.
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel (1867)
"Tristram and Isolde Drinking the Love Potion"
After Iseult’s marriage to the king, the eponymous lovers continue their clandestine affair. Several of Mark’s barons, jealous of Tristan because of the king’s high regard for him, denounce the lovers. They convince Mark to spy on the two during a clandestine rendezvous under a giant pine tree. The lovers become aware of the king’s presence, and in an ambiguous conversation Tristan and Iseult manage to convince the king, perched above them in the branches of the tree, of their innocence. Later, Mark sees proof of their guilt, when Tristan’s blood is discovered in flour strewn between his bed and the queen’s. Mark condemns them to death. But the lovers manage to escape into the forest, where the privations of a life in the wild, beyond civilizations, are obviated by their all-consuming passion. Mark discovers the lovers asleep and separated by chance by Tristan’s sword. The king takes this as a sign of their chaste innocence. The lovers then decide each for the sake of the other to seek a reconciliation with Mark, for they have both since abandoned their elevated societal roles – queen and knight. To prove her innocence, Iseult swears an expiatory oath and undergoes a judgment by red-hot iron in the presence of King Mark, King Arthur, and their knights.
Speed, Lancelot (1919)
"Tristan and Isolt Drink the Love Potion"
Mark returns the bodies to Cornwall and has them buried on either side of a chapel. An indestructible plant grows up from Tristan’s tomb and plunges into Iseult’s, as a sign of their enduring union.
Bédier, Joseph. The Romance of Tristan and Iseut. Trans. Edward J. Gallagher. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2013.