At their due times you could hear the sweet singing of the birds. Their music was so lovely - even lovelier here than elsewhere. Both eye and ear found their pasture and delight there: the eye its pasture, the ear its delight. There were shade and sunshine, air and breezes, both soft and gentle...

...The service they received was the song of the birds, of the lovely, slender nightingale, the thrush and blackbird, and other birds of the forest. Siskin and calander-lark vied in eager rivalry to see who could give the best service. These followers served their ears and sense unendingly. Their high feast was Love, who gilded all their joys ...


Gottfried von Strassburg,Tristan, trans. by A.T. Hatto, Penguin Classics, Edinburgh, 1960, p. 262-263.

PLACE: The cave of lovers.

TIME: Middle Ages.

CIRCUMSTANCE: The birds sing especially sweetly to the lovers in their cave.



That same morning very early Tristan and his companion had taken each other by the hand and stolen out through the dew and gone to the flowering meadow in their delightful valley. Calander-larks and nightingales began to blend their voices and salute their fellow denizens, Tristan and Isolde. They greeted them warmly - those wild woodbirds welcomed them most sweetly in their own parlance; the lovers were welcome there to many a sweet bird. They were all delightfully busy giving them their greeting. From their twigs they sang their joygiving airs with many variations. There were innumerable sweet tongues singing their songs and refrains in tenor and descant, to the lovers' rapture. The cool spring received them, leaping to greet their eyes with its beauty, and sounding in their ears with even greater beauty, as it came whispering towards them to receive them with its murmur. How sweetly it whispered its welcome to those lovers! The lime-trees welcomed them, too,with fragrant breezes; they gladdened them outside and in, in their ears and in their senses. The trees in all their blossom, the lustrous meadow, the flowers, the green, green grass, and everything in bloom - all smiled its welcome!


Gottfried von Strassburg,Tristan, trans. by A.T. Hatto, Penguin Classics, Edinburgh, 1960, p. 270.

PLACE: Near the cave of lovers.

TIME: Middle Ages.

CIRCUMSTANCE: Shortly before Mark's huntsmen discover Tristan and Isolde in their cave, the two lovers go for a walk and experience Spring in all its exuberant beauty.