This poem opens with Tristam upon his deathbed. The monologue of the dying man is shot through by sharp pangs of regret: centering upon his induced passion for Iseult of Ireland – inflamed by his unwittingly imbibing an irresistible love-potion.
Before his decease, Tristram’s lawful wife – Iseult of Ireland – arrives in time to share his deathbed. Iseult of Brittany graciously accedes to their request to be buried near each other – in a splendidly-constructed mausoleum back in King Mark’s Tyntagel (sic.) in Cornwall.
Iseult of Brittany survives to raise Tristram’s children in isolation. She forgives Tristam his adultery, and with delightful pathos is thankful for the short years of happiness that she spent espoused to one of King Arthur’s most renowned knights.