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racteristics of the original composition of Thomas must both stanzas of a simple struciure. But in Sir Tristrem still be visible, or the romance which we read is none of the Ist, 3d, 5th, and 7th lines of each stanza must rhyme his. Accordingly, the construction of the poem, now given together; as must the 2d, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th; and fito the public, bears a very peculiar character. The words nally, the 9th and 11th must also correspond in sound. I: are chiefly those of the fourteenth century, but the turn of may be impossible to determine whether ibis be the rime phrase is, either from antiquity or the affectation of the time cowée or strangere, or baston, or entrelacé, mentioned by when it was originally written, close, nervous, and concise Robert de Brunne; but every dabbler in verses will agree, even to obscurity. In every composition of the later age, that the formation of the stanza is very intricate, and such as but more especially in the popular romances, a tedious could only be undertaken by one who held himself master of circumlocutory style is perhaps the most general feature. the language, and who wrote for persons of rank, capable of Circumstantial to a degree of extreme minuteness, and dif- understanding the merits of the complicated rules to which fuse beyond the limits of patience, the minstrels never touch he had subjected himself. In truth, the present copy bears upon an incident without introducing a prolix description.s a closer resemblance to those which Robert de Brunne This was a natural consequence of the multiplication of heard recited, than could have been desired by the Editor romantic fictions. It was impossible for the imagination of For, as the historian says, he never heard it repeated but the minstrels to introduce the variety demanded by their what of some copple (i. e. stanza) part was omitted; so audience, by the invention of new facts, for every story there are at least two instances of breaches in the following turned on the same seats of chivalry; and the discomfiture poem, flowing. in all probability, from the same cause.. To of a gigantic champion, a lion, or dragon, with the acquisi- conclude, the rules which the poet has prescribed to himtion of his mistress's love, continued to be the ever-recurring self are observed with strict accuracy, and his rhymes, subject of romance, from the days of Thomas the Rhymer though multiplied and complicated, correspond with rigid till the metrical tales of chivalry allogether lost ground. exactness. Since, therefore, this more modern edition of The later minstrels, therefore, prolonged and varied the Tristrem agrees in diction and structure to the detailed description of events, which were no longer new in them- description of Robert de Brunne, we may safely admit, that, selves; and it is no small token of the antiquity and origi- though the language may have been softened into that of nality of the present work, that the author seems to rely the fourteenth century, the general texture and form of the upon the simple and short narration of incidents, after- poem still closely resemble that of Thomas of Erceldoune. wards so hackneyed, as sufficient in his time to secure the It is proper to say a few words upon the mode in which attention of the hearers. We have only to compare this the Editor has executed bis task. The action of the poem mode of narration with the circuitous and diffuse flou- seemed naturally to point out the division into three Fyttes, rishes of the Anglo-Norman Rimeur, to decide the question or Cantos, which has now been adopted. To each is prealready agitated, which of these poems was the model of fixed a very full argument, referring to the stanzas which it the other.
abridges, and forming, as it were, a running paraphrase to It is not alone in the brevity of the narrative, but also in the poetry. The modern th has been substituted uniformly the occasional obscurity of the construction, that the style for the Saxon character, which expresses that sound; in like of an age, much older than that of Barbour, may be easily manner, the z bas usually been discarded for the modern recognised. There is an elliptical mode of narration adopted, y, or gh; as retaining these ancient characters only throws which rather hints at, than details the story, and which, to unnecessary embarrassment in the way of the modern reamake my meaning plain by a modern comparison, is the der. Y, when used for the pronoun I, is printed with a Gibbonism of romance. Whoever attempts to make a capital, to distinguish it from y, the usual corruption of ge, prose version of this poem will find, that it is possible to the Saxon preposition. In one respect the Editor is still paraphrase, but not literally to translate it. In this pecu- uncertain whether he bas followed his author. All perJiar structure of style consisted, we may suppose, the quaint sons, conversant with ancient MSS., know the difficulty in Inglis, complained of by Robert de Brunne, which nobles distinguishing betwixt u and n. In the present case, the and gentry alone could comprehend, and which had that name of the heroine seems positively to be written Ysonde, annalist adopted, the poor and ignorant, whom in charity and is accordingly so printed ; yet, nevertheless, every anahe laboured to instruct, could not have comprehended his logy goes to prove, that it ought to bave been written and history.
printed Ysoude, in order to correspond with the Yssilt of To answer the description of Robert de Brunne in every the Welsh, the Ysolt of Mr. Douce's Fragments, the Isolde respect, it is farther necessary, that the romance of Sir of Gower, the Ysou of the Fabliaux, the Yseult of the Tristrem should be written in a strange and peculiar stanza. French folio, and, finally, the Isolta of the Italian. In the Accordingly, a stanza so complicated, and requiring so Temple of Glas, alone, we find Ysonde. If the Editor shall many rhymes, as that of the following poem, is perhaps be found in an error in this respect, his eye has misled his nowhere employed in a long narrative; at least it has not better judgment. The late Mr. Rilson, however, authoribeen the fortune of the Editor to meet a romance, written zed the present reading by precept and example. Exceptin any which nearly approaches it in difficulty. The com ing the above particulars, and a very few errors of the pen, mon romances are either in short rhyming couplets, or in or press, it is hoped this edition of Sir Tristrem will be verses similar to that adopted by Chaucer in Sir Thopas, / found sulliciently accurate.
Even Chancer was infected by the fault of his age, and, with all his unrivalled capacity of touching the real point of description, he does not always content himself with stopping w ben be bas attained it. It has been Jong since remarked, that when he gets into a wood, he usually bewilders both himself and his reader. But such a work as Sir guy, or The Squire of Low Degree, will best illustrate the diffuse style which characterises the later metrical romances.
* See fylte 1. sl. 80; fytte iii. st. I, each of which slapzas wants two lines, though there is no hiatus in the MS.
* Il is worth while to remark, ibat a complicated structure of stanza and
rhyme continued to be a characteristic of the Scottish poetry from this remote period downward. The reader moy sce specimens ia King James VI.'s Rewies and Cauteles of Scottis Poesie. Even in our day, the Bard of Ayrshire hos injured some of bis most beautiful productions by using the jingling stanza of ibe Cherry and the Sae. The additional short verse thrown in towards the end of each stanza, which occurs in Christ Kirk on the Green, Pebles to the Play, etc., seerus borrowed from the stanza of Sir Tristrem.
4 In printing the word Remnild, in preference to Riniuild.
W. 4. 14.
The conclusion, necessary to complete the romance, has public. Such as it is, the labour which it has cost has been been attempted by the Editor, in the same stanza and dic- dictated by no other motive, than the laudable, if ineffectual tion with the original. The Notes contain illustrations of wish, of contributing to the history of early English literathe text, from the romances and history of the middle ages, and particular notices of the correspondence, or discrepancy, occurring belwixt Thomas's narr ion, and subsequent works on the same theme. The reader will also find APPENDIX TO THE INTRODUCTION. some miscellaneous observations, naturally introduced by the subject, though not immediately connected with it. Or
No. 1. the Glossary, little need be said. The labours of Macpherson ' and Sibbald have greatly removed the difficulties of such a compilation. The Editor has seldom attempted to
CHARTER trace any word to its root, convinced that what we suppose a radical, may be only a synonymous pbrase, in a cognate dialect, both referring to some common original. The THE SON AND HEIR OF THOMAS OF ERCELDOUN, meaning of the words is therefore given as they occur in the poem, without any pretence to compiling a dictionary.s It only remains to acknowledge the kindness, and liberality
THE CONVENT OF SOLTRA. of those friends, by whose assistance the Editor has been enabled to complete his undertaking. The library of the From the Chartulary of the Trinity House of Soltra, Advocates' Library, late John, Duke of Roxburghe, containing an invaluable collection of books of chivalry, was open to the Editor at all times, while a short stay in London permitted him to consult its treasures. The modest and retired disposition of the
ERSYLTON. noble proprietor exacted a promise that this benefit should not be publicly acknowledged,-a promise no longer bind Omnibus has literas visuris vel audituris Thomas de Ercildoun ing, when, alas! the just debt of gratitude can neither be filius et heres Thomæ Rymonr de Ercildoun salutem in Domino. construed into flallery, nor give pain to him to whose me Noveritis me per fustem et baculum in pleno judicio resignasse mory it is rendered. To Francis Douce, Esq.' the Editor ac per presentes qnietem clamasse pro me et hercdibus meis Maowes the communication of those invaluable Fragments, gistro domus Sanctæ Trinitatis de Soltre el Fratribus ejusdem dowithout which it would have been impossible to illustrate mus totam terram meam cum omnibus pertinentibus suis quam the text. Mr. Heber,4 whose extensive and well-selected in tenemento de Ercildoun hereditarie tenui renunciando de loto collection is dedicated to the general service of literature, pro me et heredibus meis omni jure et clameo quæ ego seu anteas well as to individual enjoyment, bas, with his usual li- cessores mei in eadem terra alioque tempore de perpetuo habuiberality, indulged the Editor with the use of the rare French mus sive de futuro habere possumus. In cujus rei testimonio prose folios of Tristan and Meliadus; without which he presentibus his sigillum meum apposui dala apud Ercildoun die could not have satisfactorily proceeded in his labours. or Martis proximo post festum Sanctorum Apostolorum Symonis et Mr. Ellis's 5 kindness it is better to say nothing than too Jude Anno Domini Millesimo cc. Nonagesimo Nono. little ; the reader may judge, from the beautiful Abstract of the French Metrical Fragments of the Lay of Marie, communicated by that gentleman, a part (and it is but a small In addition to what has been said concerning Thomas's resipart) of the Editor's obligation. To Mr. Owen, as already dence at Earlstoun, it may be noticed, that there is a stone in mentioned, the Editor owes much information respecting the wall of the church of that village, hearing this inscription :the Welsh traditions on the subject of Sir Tristrem. To
" Auld Rymer's race those friends mentioned in former editions, I have now to add
Lies in this place." the name of Mr. Henry Weber, whose extensive acquaintance with ancient poetry bas been displayed in his late ex According to tradition, this stone was transferred from the old cellent edition of Metrical Romances. To his kindness I church, which stood some yards distant from the more modern owe some valuable notes, besides the Account of the German
edifice. In 1782, this ancient inscription was defaced by an idle Romances on the subject of Sir Tristrem, for which I have boor, in a drunken frolic. The present clergyman, with great already expressed my gratitude. It remains to mention propriety, compelled him to replace it at his own expense, in the Dr. John Leyden, a name which will not be soon forgotten same words as formerly. The new inscription is, of course, in in Scottish literature, although its owner has been called to modern characters ; those which were defaced are said to have a far distant field of labour. At the commencement of this been very ancient. The spelling, also. is probably modernized. work, he gave his active and assiduous assistance; and had A right of sepulture is still claimed there by persons named LEARhe remained in Britain till circumstances enabled the MONT; which seerns to confirm the popular tradition, that the Editor to resume his task afier a long discontinuance, it Rhymer did either himsell bear that name, or that it was adopted would have been now offered with more confidence to the by some of his descendants.
i The editor of Wintoun's Chronicle, executed in a style of unequalled accuracy and elegance.
* The important national task of a Dictionary of the Scottish language is in much better hands. Dr. John Jamieson of Edinburgh has been loog tolling in that difficult and laborious undertaking; and surely it is only necessary to say Ibat such a work is in agitation, 10 secure the patronage of every antiquary and pbilologist.-Early Edition. This work has now been publisbed, and bas fully realized the expectations generally entertained from Dr. Jamieson's learning and industry.
[ Author of Illustrations of Sbakspeare, etc.-ED.) * ( Kichar Heber, Esq., long M. P. for the University of Oxford. -Ed.)
5 (George Ellis, Esq., autbor of the Specimens of Ancient English Romance, etc. elc.- Ep.)
So stands the passage in the earlier editions. Uobappily it is now Decessary to add, ibat Mr. Ellis, Mr. Weber, and Dr. Leyden, are no more.
Cyn cynnaws Illaws llavur, Before tbe foretaste of many a toil,
Na wrthod yn går Arthur. Do not refuse, as a friend, Artbur.
Gwalzmai, ohonot ti y pwyl. Gwalzmai, from thee I will owe discretion, A vu rwng Trystan vab which passed between Trystan, son lav,
And from my head (i. e. with reflection ) 1 Tallwz a Gwalzinai vab of Tallwz, and Gwalzmai, son of Ac o'm pen y llafurlav,
will act; Gwyar, gwedi bod Trys Gwyaz, after Trystan had been three Val ym carer y carav. As I sball be loved, I will love. tan dair blynez allan o years out of the court of Arthur
Gwalzmai. lyz Arthur ar sorianl, a under displeasure, and the sending Trystan gynnezvau blaengar, Trystan, of talents to be foremost, gyru o Arthur 28 oc ei of Arthur 28 of his warriors to at- Gorwlyzid cawod can där : Be drenched by sbower a hundred oaks ; vilwyr i geisiaw ei zal, ac tempt to lay hold of him, and bring Dyred i ymweled a'th gâr. Come to an interview with thy friend. ei zwyn at Arthur; ac e him to Arthur; and Trystan threw
Trystan. vroricez Trystan trwynt them all to the ground, one after Gwalzmai atteblon gwrthgryz, Gwalzmal, with answers resisting turbui lawr bob un yn ol ei the other; and he came not for any Gorwlyzid cawod can rhyz: lence, gilyz, ac ni zaeth er neb body, but for the sake of Gwalzmai, Miopau ar i'r lle mynyz. Be drenched by shower a bundred furrows: ond er Gwalzmai y Ta the Golden-Tongued.
I then will go where thou mayest desire. vawd Aur.
Ac yna daeth Trystan gyda And then came Trystan along with Gwalz-
mai to Arthur.
Arthur attebion cymmen, Artbur, of answers dignified,
Dlyma Drystan, byz lawen. Bebold Tryslan ! be tbou glad.
Arthur. Prwystyl vyz ton a tharan : Tumultuous bea wave and a thunder storm; Cyd bont brwysłyl eu gwahan, While they be tumultuous in their course, Gwalzmai atleblon dival, Gwalzmal, of answers witbout fault, Yn dyz trin mi yw Trystan. In the day of conflict I am Trystan.
Gorwlyzid cawod can tal: Be drencbed by shower a bundred bouses : Gwalzmai.
Croesaw wrth Drystan vy nal. Welcome to Trystan, my nephew ! Trystan barabyl dival, Trystan, of faultless conversation,
Trystan wyn bendevig llu, Trystan, fair leader of a host, Yn nyz tria nid ymgiliai, lo the day of condict that would not se
Cår dy genedyl, cred å vu, Love thy nation, rely on what has been, Cydymaith yt oez Gwalzmal. clude bimself,
A minnau yn benteulu. And be I also the head of the tribe.
Cymmer gystal a'r gorau, Take thou equal with the best, MI & wnuwn er Gwalzmal yn I would perform, for the sake of Gwalzmal,
Ac yn gywir gad vinnau. And in right let me also be. nyz, in a day of action,
Trystan bendevig mawr call, Trystan, the leader great and wise, o bai walih cozwyı yn rhyz, Should there be the work of reddening pre Cår dy genedyl ni'tb zwg gwall: Love thy nation, barm will not take hold Nas gwnai y brawd er ei gilyz. sently going on,
Nid oera rwng câr a'r llall. of tbee :
Work no coolness between one friend and bis fellow !
Artbur, ohonot y pwyllav, Artbur, from thee I will be persuaded. Vyzellt baladyr o yıb larur, of aptly-shivering shaft from thy toll,
Ac i'th ben y cyvarsav ; And to iby head (l. e. dignity) I make a
salutation; Mi yw Gwalzmai naf Artbur.
Ac à vynyz mi ai gwoav.
And wbat thou commandest I will execute.
Trystan. Yno gynt, Gwalzmal noc ym- There formerly, Gwalzmai, il engaged in drin,
LAI DEE CHEVREFOIL,
I am much pleased with the Lay which is called Cheyrefoil.
Let me relate to you truly on what occasion it was made, and Trystan gynnezvau hynod, Trystan, of remarkable talents,
by whom. Many persons have narrated the story to me; and I Nid yd ynt i'th adnabod : They be not to recognise thee;
have also found it in writing, in the work which treats of Tristran, Teulu Arthur sy yn dyvod. The family of Artbur be they who come.
and of the Queen ; and of their love, which was so constant, from Tryslan.
which they suffered a thousand sorrows; and then both expired Arthur ni ymogelav, Arthur I will not avoid,
on the same day.' Naw capt cad ai tyngedav: Nine hundred battles bim I will pledge :
King Marke had been much offended with his nephew Tristran; O'm llezir minpau a lazav. If I shall be slain, I too will slay.
and had banished him on account of his attachment to the Queen. Gwalzmai.
The knight retired into his own country, into South Wales, where Trystan gyvaill rblanez, Trystan, the friend of damsels,
he was born; spent there a whole year of affliction; and, being Cyn myned yn ngwaith gorwez, Before going to the period of rest,
still forbidden to return, became careless of life. Do not wonder Goreu dim yw tangnevez." Best of all is pacidication.
at this; for a true lover, when his wishes are crossed by insuperTryslan.
able obstacles, can set no bounds to his grief. Tristran, thereO cav vy ngblez ar vy ngblon, If I shall have my sword on my thigh, fore, thus driven to despair, left his home : passed into Cornwall, A'm llaw zeau I'm disyn, And my right hand to defend me,
the abode of the Queen; and concealed himself in the thickest Ai gwaetb vionau nog vodyn? Worse be i then than any person ?
part of the forest; from whence he issued only at the close of the Gwalzmai.
day, at which time he took up his lodgings among the peasants Trystan gynnezvau eghir, Trystan, of conspicuous talents,
and the poorest of mankind. After frequent questions to these
'Marie, wbo drew all ber materials from Bretagne, probably refers to some Armorican edition of the history of these ill-fated lovers.
his hosts, concerning the public news of the court, he at length is no reason to believe that such alterations indicate an earlier learned ibat the King had convoked his barons, and summoned or later date than may be reasonably ascribed to the rest of the them to attend him at Pentecosté, al the castle of Tintagel. Tris work; although the Satire against Simonie, No. 44, seems rather tran was rejoiced at this news; because it was impossible that the in an older band than the others, and may be an exception to the Queen could arrive at the meeting without giving him an oppor
general rule. tunity of getting a sight of her during the journey. On the ap The MS. was presented to the Faculty of Advocates, in 1744, pointed day, therefore, he took his slation in that part of the by Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, a Lord of Session, by the wood through which the road passed, cut down a branch of codre title of Lord Auchinleck, and father to the late James Boswell, (hazel), smoothed it, wrote his name on it with the point of his Esq, the biographer of Dr. Johnson. or its former history noknise, together with other characters, which the Queen would thing is known. well know how to decipher. He perceives her approaching; he Many circumstances lead us to conclude, that the MS. has been sees her examine with attention every object on her road. ln written in an Anglo-Norman convent.—That it has been compiled former times they had recognised each other by means of a similar in England there can be little doubt. Every poem, which has a device; ' and he trusts that, should she cast her eyes on the slick, particular local reference, concerns South Britain alone. Such she will suspect it to belong to her lover. This was the purport are the satirical verses, No. 24, in the following catalogne ; the of the characters traced on it :-“That he had long been waiting liber Regum Angliæ, No. 40; the Satire against Simonie, No. 44. at a distance, in hopes of being favoured with some expedient On the other hand, not a word is to be found in the collection rewhich might procure him a meeting, without which he could no lating particularly to Scottish affairs. longer exist. It was with those two as with the chevrefoil and the codre. When the honey-sucklc has caught hold of the codre, and No. I. The Legend of Pope Gregory.-Six leaves. Imperfect encircled it by its embraces, the two will live together and both at beginning and end. This article is on the top of the page flourish; but if any one resolve to sever them, the codie suddenly marked as No. 6; from which we find that five preceding poems dies, and the honey-suckle with it. Sweet friend, so it is with have been lost. St. Gregory's story is more horrible than that of us; I cannot live without you, nor you without me."
Edipus. He is the offspring of an incestuous conuexion betwixt The Queen, slowly riding on, perceives the stick, and recognises a brother and a sister; and is afterwards unwillingly married to the well-known characters. She orders the knights who accom
his own mother. The fragment begins,– pany her to stop. She is tired; she will get off her horse for a short time, and take some repose. She calls to her only her
" Th'erl him graunted bis will Y wis,
That tbe knight bim bad ytold, maid, her faithful Brenguein ; quits the road; plunges into the
The barouns that were of miche priis, thickest part of the forest; and finds him whom she loved more
Biforn him thai weren y-cald. than all the world. Both are delighted beyond measure at this
Alle the lond that ever was his, meeting, which gives them full leisure to concert their future
Bisorn bim alle youg and old, projects. She tells him, that he may now be easily reconciled to
He made bis soster chef and priis. his uncle : That the King has often regretted his absence, and
That mani siyeing for bim had sold." attributes to the malicious accusations of their common enemies
No. 2. The King of Tars.-Seven leaves, including two which the severe measure of his banishment. After a long conversa
bave been misplaced by the binder, and may be found in the tion, the Queen tears berself from him; and they separate with
middle of the preceding legend. Imperfect, wanting the end.mutual grief. Tristran returned to South Wales, from whence he was soon recalled by his uncle; bal, in the meantime, he had
“Herkeneth to me, both eld and ying, repeated to himself, over and over again, every word of his mis
For Marie's love, ibat swete thing, tress's late conversation; and, while full of the joy he felt at hav
All hou a wer bigan, ing seen her, he composed (being a perfect master of the harp) a
Bitwene a trewe Cristen king, new lay, describing his stratagem, its success, his delight, and the
And an hethen beye lording,
or Dames the Soudan." very words uttered by the Queen. I will tell you the name of the lay: It is called Goal-leaf in English, and chevrefoil in French. This romance is published by Mr. Ritson. I have now told you the whole truth.
No. 3. The History of Adam and his Descendants, -follows the misplaced leaves of the King of Tars, and concludes upon
the page where No. 6. begins. The beginning is wanting. It is No. IV.
a work, according to the poet, of high antiquity and authority, ACCOUNT
being written by Seth.
" Tho Seth bande writen Adame's liil,
And Eve's, that was Adame's will,
Right in thilke selve stede,
Tber Adam was won to bide his bede."
Seth left the MS. in Adam's oratory, where it remained till the
time of Solomon, who discovered, but could not decipher it A CATALOGUE OF ITS CONTENTS.
without supernatural assistance. It ends,
" Jesu that was nomen with wrong, This valuable record of ancient poetry forms a thick quarto
And tholed mani paines strong, volnme, containing 334 leaves, and 44 different pieces of poetry;
Among ibe Jewes that wer felle, some mere fragments, and others, works of great length. The begin
To bring Adam out of helle; ning of each poem has originally been adorned with an illumina
Gil ous grace for to winne tion; for the sake of which the first leaf has, in many cases, been
The joie tbat Adam now is ione." torn out, and, in others, cut and mutilated. The MS. is written
No. 4. The Legend of seynt Mergrele.-Four leaves and a on parchment, in a distinct and beautiful hand, which the most
half. Perfect, saving a few lines cut out with the illumination. able antiquaries are inclined to refer to the earlier part of the 141h century. The pages are divided into two columns, unless where
It is a more modern version of the legend published by Hickes, in the verses, being Alexandrine, occupy the whole breadth of the
the Thesaurus Linguarum Septentrionalium, and begins,quarto. In two or three instances there occurs a variation of the
" Al that ben in dedly sinne, handwriting; but as the poems regularly follow each other, there
And thenke with merci to mete,
This seems to allude to their secret communications by means of chips of wood thrown into a river.