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simplicity of the audience. The gallant knights and lovely dames, for whose delight these romances were composed and sung, were neither shocked by the incongruities of the work, nor the marvellous turn of the adventures. Some old tradition was adopted for the subject of the tale; favourite and well-known names were introduced. An air of authenticity was thus obtained; the prejudices of the audience conciliated; and the feudal baron believed as firmly in the exploits of Roland and Oliver, as a sturdy Celt of our day in the equally sophisticated poems of Ossian-Hence, the grand sources of romantic fiction have been traced to the Brut of Maister Wace, himself a translator of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who put into form the traditions of the bards of Wales and Armorica; to the fabulous history of Turpin, from which sprung the numerous romances of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers; and finally to the siege of Troy, as narrated by Dares Phrygius, and to the exploits of Alexander. Other and later heroes became also the subject of Romance. Such were William of Orange, called Short-nose, Richard of Normandy, Ralph Blundeville, Earl of Chester, Richard Coeur de Lion, Robert the Bruce, Bertrand du Guesclin, &c. &c. The barons also, before whom these tales were recited, were often flattered by a fabulous genealogy which deduced their pedigree from some hero of the story. A peer of England, the Earl of Oxford, if we recollect aright, conceited himself to be descended of the doughty Knight of the Swan; and, what is somewhat to our present purpose, the French family of Bonneau deduce their pedigree from Dariolette, the complaisant confidant of Elisene, mother to Amadis.-See Mr Rose's work, p. 52. A Portuguese minstrel would therefore have erred grossly in choosing for his subject a palpable and absolute fiction, in which he could derive no favour from the partialities and preconceived opinions of those whose applause he was ambitious to gain. But if we suppose Amadis to have been the exclusive composition of Lobeira, we must suppose him to have invented a story, not only altogether unconnected with the history of his own country, but identified with the real or fabulous history of France, which was then the ally of Castile, and the mortal foe of Portugal. The difficulty is at once removed, if we allow that author to have adopted from the French minstrels a tale of their country, founded probably upon some ancient and vague tradition, in the same manner as they themselves had borrowed from the British bards, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, their translator, the slender foundation upon which they erected the voluminous and splendid history of Arthur, and the doughty chivalry of his Round Table. This is the more probable, as we actually find Amadis enumerated among other heroes of French Romance mentioned in an ancient collection of stories, called Cursor Mundi, translated from the French into English Imetre.
Of Alexandre the conquerour;
If the hero last mentioned be really Amadis de Gaul, the question as to the existence of a French or Picard history of his exploits, is fairly put to rest. For, not to mention that the date of the poem above quoted is at least coeval with Vasco de Lobeira, it is admitted, that no French translation of the Portuguese work was made till that of Herberay in 1575; and, consequently, the author of the Cursor Mundi must have alluded to a French original, altogether independent of Lobeira's work.
Mr Southey himself, with the laudable impartiality of an editor more attached to truth than system, has produced the evidence of one Portuguese author, who says that Pedro de Lobeira translated the history of Amadis de Gaul from the French language, at the instance of the Infant Don Pedro. Agiologio Lusitano, tom i. p. 480–Now, although this author has made a mistake, in calling Lobeira, Pedro, instead of Vasco, yet his authority at least proves that there existed, even in Portugal, some tradition that Amadis had originally been composed in French, although the authors of that country have, with natural partiality, endeavoured to vindicate Lobeira's title to the fame of an original author." One singular circumstance tends to corroborate what is stated in the Agiologio. It is certain that the work was executed under the inspection of an Infant of Portugal; for Montalvo expressly states, that at the instance of this high personage, an alteration, of a very peculiar nature, was made in the story. The passage, which is curious in more respects than one, is thus rendered by Mr Southey. “At the end of the 41st chapter, it is said that Briolania would have given herself and her kingdom to Amadis; but he told her, right loyally, how he was another's. In the Spanish version, ff. 72, this passage follows—“But though the Infante
Don Alfonso of Portugal, having pity upon this fair damsel, ordered it to be set down after another manner, that was what
was his good pleasure, and not what actually was written of their
loves; and they relate that history of these loves thus, though, with more reason, faith is to be given to what we before said:Briolania, being restored to her kingdom, and enjoying the company of Amadis and Agrayes, persisted in her love; and, seeing no way whereby she could accomplish her mortal desires, she spake very secretly with the damsel, to whom Amadis, and Galaor, and Agrayes, had each promised a boon, if she would
1 The evidence of Nicola Antonia, in the Vetus Hispande Bibliotheca, is, as remarked by Mr. Rose, extremely inconclusive. He adds ut fama est to his affirmation that Lobeira was the original, author of Amadis, and quotes the equally cautious expression of Antonius Autinus—: Quarum fabularum primum fuisse auctorem Vascum Lot. Lusitani jactant.”—Amadis de Gaule, a Poem. Introd. p. vi.
guide Don Galaor where he might find the Knight of the Forest. This damsel was now returned, and to her she disclosed her mind, and besought her, with many tears, to advise some remedy for that strong passion. The damsel then, in pity to her lady, demanded, as the performance of his promise, from Amadis, that he should not go out of a certain tower till he had a son or a daughter by Briolania; and they say, that, upon this, Amadis went into the tower, because he would not break his word; and there, because he would not consent to Briolania's desires, he remained, losing both his appetite and his sleep, till his life was in great danger. This being known in the court of King Lisuarte, his Lady Oriana, that she might not lose him, sent and commanded him to grant the damsel's desire; and he having this command, and considering that by no other means could he recover his liberty, or keep his word, took that fair Queen for his leman, and had by her a son and a daughter at one birth. But it was not so, unless Briolania, seeing how Amadis was drawing nigh to death in the tower, told the damsel to release him of his promise, if he would only remain till Don Galaor was arrived; doing thus, that she might so long enjoy the sight of the fair and famous knight, whom, when she did not behold, she thought herself in great darkness. This carries with it more reason why it should be believed; because this fair Queen was afterwards married to Don Galaor, as the fourth book relates.”—Introd. p. vii.
It seems to us clear, from this singular passage, that the work upon which Lobeira was busied, under the auspices of the Infant Don Alfonso, or what Infant soever was his patron, must necessarily have been a translation, more or less free, from some ancient authority. If Amadis was the mere creature of Lobeira's fancy the author might no doubt be unwilling, in compliance with the whimsical compassion of his patron for the fair Briolania, to violate the image of ideal perfection pictured in his hero, to which fidelity was so necessary an attribute; but he could in no sense be said to interpolate what actually was written, unless he derived his story