Document 771

Isolde's Luve-Daith

Author(s): Tom Hubbard

Copyright holder(s): Tom Hubbard


This is oor hinmaist chaumer. We hae come faur,
Fae exile throu the warlt's ilka airt;
This is thon warlt's end. We winna pairt
Here at the endless tryst o watter an scaur.

Oor luve wis swaw on swaw o the gloamin sea,
As it lowps ti lowse pouer that gars it lowp again;
Oor luve wis a wildrife walterin o the tide
Forrit an back, fae its deeps richt up ti the lift,
That the maws made oor maisic, mair unco nor even their ain.

They hae waukened, if no the deid, then the hauf-deid,
Wha canna thole fowk wi the ootmaist wey ti leeve;
Sae I come greetin ower your braken corp
An haud it gentlie gin this staunin-stane
Auncient an roch as wis your Governal,
Wha learned you fae a bairn. He ligs haurd by,
Foundert there bi the swurd that foundert you;
Tristan, it claims a thurd: we'll can win throu.

You brocht me ower the sea fir ti mairry Mark
But ower the sea, we cam ti luve ilk ither.
We dreidit sicht o the kinrik whase puir king
Hochled his lane ti walcome us ashore,
Nae side ti him ava: this selsame Mark,
Sair guidit bi a cushle-mushle o scowks,
A sleekit core o foongers an come-ups;
Mark, aince the frien o Tristan an mysel,
His uncle, my guidman;
Yit they made a wickitness o this oor weird,
Whan oor mutual luve cuid aiblins aa made hale;
-O that oor luve fir him had skailt oor peetie.

We twa cuid never blume in a bien bield
Owerhung wi caunopies an taupestries;
In neuk an haa smoorit wi fineries;
We cuidna thole sic douce an dentie ludgins.
We twa cuid ken nae saucht whaur a sauntlik king
Warkt guid ti ilka body baur himsel;
Whaur aa collogued fir cheatrie baur himsel;
-We preed the midden neth the banketin-buird.
Tristan, your clarsach tint its glaumourie:
Nae tuin but it wad come oot fushionless
There, in thon coort: you wintit the wulderness
Ti rax your sang an gar it bleeze the bluid!
And I, yince skeelie as mediciner,
Had naither baulm nor hairb fir this disays;
Oor lang-won lear had faan ti dwyne an daise;
Whit yuise wis there fir Tristan an Isolde?

The nicht gaed doun, an lichtit up oor deeps.
The nicht gaed doun, the nicht wis aye oor fere.
I kent a door ti the cellar, thence anither
Ti he shank o a mine, dishauntit mony year.
As mony year it seemed as we follaed thon fankle
O pit-mirk pads whaur I wis feart ti hyter
Ower the skelets o men an aiblins o weemen an weans:
Whit yuise wis there fir Tristan an Isolde?
Suid we no sterve, an eik mair banes ti banes?

At lang an last, we heard the fash o the firth
An won ti the mou o the caif: oor dwallin, Tristan,
That we had heired fae craturs unlik us
An yit sae sib, fae the airliest o oor kin;
Coorse chiels wha skartit ferlies on the waas,

Lik the sudden kinks o the lichtnin an the serpens;
The caup wi a ring inby; the riven sceptre;
An the ship that sails fir aye, that kens nae herbour,
That canna wrack ... O my beluvit Tristan,
We twa tuik oor blytheheid in that clintie bield,
Or whaur we clammered abune ti reenge fir meat:
Thon bour i the forest, that you biggit wi brainches,
That mysel flaired wi the leafs. Oor wine wis the spring-heid,
Oor farin, the ruits we howked.
On oor luves an sleeps
The nicht gaed doun, an lichtit up oor deeps.

We twa hae spaed aa whummlins o the yird,
Tho nou the face bydes caum: we hae spaed the faa
O the mongers, tho their grup wis never mair siccar.
We twa hae ventered fae oor saicret heiven,
An socht an apen heiven fir the fowk-
Throu touns whaur wark's ower lang, or else there's nane,
Throu vennels whaur the bairns ken nocht o schule,
Throu spitals ricklie as the thrang inby,
We set ti the darg wi the anerlie gear we brocht,
Wi Tristan's ballants an Isolde's balsam;
You sang ti heeze the dauntit fae defeat,
I ettled fir ti mak the lipper hale.

We were betraisit, taen, an riven apairt.

Throu the lang years I tholed your bannisment,
An my luve grew aa the mair;
Throu the lang years they telt me nocht o you,
Leevin or deid. I had nae veesitor there
Wha spak o ither nor Mark, that he'd gane gyte,
An cuidna lest.

I wis left my lane, ontil
Ae nicht, a tread on the stair,
An the door unsneckt: it wis your Governal,
Wha aa thon time had speired me oot fir his maister;
The fly auld chiel had pawkied in wi my jylers,
Bantered an bevvied thaim fou.
He brocht me faur,
An jyned his Tristan an Isolde baith
Here at the endless tryst o watter an scaur
In this oor hinmaist chaumer o luve an daith.

Tristan, I mynd you singin:
"Wha wadna dee fir sic a lass as this?"
I laucht as Governal said that it wis sae,
Tho, gin a body deed, his bed grew cauld;
Nae lass cuid ever het it up again.
Yit there's a luve that siccarlie growes caulder
Gin it canna rax ayont its guairdit garth;
We twa, we three, we cried ti be muckle mair.
Anerlie throu oor daith, cuid we win throu?
Oor faes wad thole nae consummation here:
They kent that throu oor daith, they'd haud their pouer;
We ken that throu oor daith, in time they'll loss it.
Oor faes held ti the hunt, an they hae felled us,
O Tristan, an nae mair sall we stravaig
The pad that tweests alang the tap o the craig,
Ti the tozie scent o the whin,
Ti the blaebell's swey i the sooch, ti the delicat veins
O the white sea-campion, ti the bluid an yowk
O the three-foil lotus; nae mair sall we anter ower
The follie waa that a laird biggit lang syne
Ti baur oot tinks; or the pletforms an pillars o stane
That never laird had biggit langer syne,
That the fires thrist fae ablow ... Tristan, O Tristan,
Wha wadna dee fir sic a laund as this?
Wha wadna dee, an mair, ti save its fowk?

An nou oor wark is dune, tho yit ti dae
Bi aa that hear oor tale:
Nae yuise remains fir Tristan an Isolde.
Nou, my luve,
The lappin swaw comes lythe ti us upby,
As the nicht gangs doun ti hushie us fir aye.

Anerlie throu this daith, is oor luve eternal,
An fowk sall mynd o us;
Anerlie throu this daith, are we reborn.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Isolde's Luve-Daith. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Isolde's Luve-Daith." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Isolde's Luve-Daith," accessed 25 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 771

Isolde's Luve-Daith


Text audience

General public
Audience size 21-100

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1987
Word count 1149
General description A narrative poem in blank and occasionally rhymed iambics, re-telling the Tristan and Isolde story in Scots.

Text medium

Magazine (e-zine)
Other Broadsheet magazine; also musical performance

Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Greyfriar's Kirk, Edinburgh
When performed/broadcast 2003-03-03
Performed/broadcast by As set in Ronald Stevenson's "Tristan and Isolde Triptych"

Text publication details

Publisher Akros
Publication year 1998
Place of publication Kirkcaldy
ISBN/ISSN 0 86142 095 0
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in Isolde's Luve-Daith: Poems in English and Scots
Editor Author: Tom Hubbard
Page numbers 3-7

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 232
Forenames Tom
Surname Hubbard
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs N/A
Occupation Academic, librarian and writer
Place of birth Kirkcaldy
Region of birth Fife
Birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkcaldy
Region of residence Fife
Residence CSD dialect area Fif
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Caterer
Father's place of birth Dysart
Father's region of birth Fife
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Caterer
Mother's place of birth Dysart
Mother's region of birth Fife
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Everyday
Italian Yes Yes Yes Yes Work, holiday, fluency fluctuating
Polish No No No No Smattering. Work, holiday
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Everyday. Scots spoken in relaxed circumstances