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CRITICISM

on

NOVELS AND ROMANCES.

ARTICLE I.

AMADIS OF GAUL.

[Amadis de Gaul: By Wasco LoBEIRA. From the Spanish version of Garciordonez de Montalvo. By Robert SouTHEY. And Amadis de Gaul: A poem, in Three Books. Freely Translated from the French of Nicolas DE HERBERAY, by WILLIAM STEwART Rose.--From

Edinburgh Review for Oct. 1808.]

THE fame of Amadis de Gaul has reached to the present day, and has indeed become almost provincial in most languages of Europe. But this distinction has been attained rather in a mortifying manner: for the hero seems much less indebted for his present renown to his historians, Lobeira, Montalvo, and Herberay, than to Cervantes, who select

VOL, XVIII. A

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beray, who translated Montalvo's work into French

in 1575, asserts positively, that it was originally written in that language; and adds this remarkable passage: “J'en ay trouvé encores quelques reste d'un vieil livre escrit ā la main en langage Picard, sur lequel j'estime que les Espagnols ont fait leur traduction, non pas de tout suyvant le vrai original, comme l’on pourra veoir par cesluy, car ilz en ont obmis en aucuns endroits et augmenté aua autres.” Mr Southey, however, setting totally aside the evidence of Herberay, as well as of Monsieur de Tressan, who also affirms the existence of a Picard original of Amadis, is decidedly of opinion, that Vasco de Lobeira was the original author. It is with some hesitation that we venture to differ from Mr Southey, knowing, as we well know, that his acquaintance with the Portuguese literature entitles him to considerable deference in such an argument: yet, viewing the matter on the proofs he has produced, and considering also the general history and progress of romantic composition, we incline strongly

to think with Mr Rose, that the story of Amadis is

originally of French extraction. The earliest tales of romance which are known to us, are uniformly in verse; and this was very natural; for they were in a great measure the composition of the minstrels, who gained their livelihood by chanting and reciting them. This is peculiarly true of the French minstrels, as appears from the well-known quotation of Du Cange from the

Romance of Du Guesclin, where the champions of

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