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Espana, y todos los demás an tomado principio y origen deste * ;' and for which he humorously condemns it to the fire, coma à Dogmatazador de una sella ian mala. When this subject was well exhausted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the same
For after that the western parts had pretty well cleared themselves of these inhospitable guests, by the excitements of the popes, they carried their arms against them into Greece and Asia, to support the Byzantine empire, and recover the holy sepulchre. This gave birth to a new tribe of romances, which we may call of the second race or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, so, correspondently to the subject, Amadis de Græcia was at the head of the latter. Hence it is, we find, that Trebizonde is as celebrated in these romances, as Roncesvalles is in the other. It may be worth obe serving, that the two famous Italian epic poets, Ariosto and Tasso, have borrowed, from each of these classes of old romances, the scenes and subjects of their several stories : Ariosto choosing the first, the Saracens in France and Spain ; and Tasso, the latter, the Crusade against them in Asia : Ariosto's hero being Orlando, or the French Roland: for as the Spaniards, by one way of transposing the letters, had made it Roldan, so the Italians, by another, make it Orland.
The main subject of these foolerias, as we have said, had its original in Turpin's famous History of
Charlemagne and his Twelve Peers. Nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their cru. sades and pilgrimages; which indeed have a cast peculiar to the wild imaginations of the eastern peo. ple. We have a proof of this in the travels of Sir J. Maundevile, whose excessive superstition and credulity, together with an impudent monkish addition to his genuine work, have made his veracity thought much worse of than it deserved. speaking of the isle of Cos in the Archipelago, tells the following story of an enchanted dragon : And also a zonge man, that wiste not of the dragoun, went out of a schipp, and went thorghe the isle, till that he cam to the castelle, and cam into the cave ; and went so longe till that he fond a chambre, and there he saughe a damyselle that kembed hire hede, and lokede in a myrour: and sche hadde moche tresoure abouten hire; and he trowed that sche hadde been a comoun woman, that dwelled there to reiceyve men to folye. And he abode, till the damyselle saughe the schadowe of him in the myrour. And sche turned hire toward him, and asked him what he wolde. And he seyde, he wolde ben hire limman or paramour. And sche asked him, if that he were a knyghte. And he sayde, nay. And then sche sayde, that he might not ben hire limman. But sche bad him gon azen unto his felowes, and make him knyghte, and come azen upon
the morwe, and sche scholde come out of her cave before him ; and thanne come and kysse hire on the mowth, and have no drede. For I schalle do the no manner harm, alle be it that thou see me in lykeness of a dragoun. For thoughe thou see me hideouse and horrible to loken onne, I do the to wytene that it is made be enchauntement. For withouten doubte, I am none other than thou seest now, a woman; and herefore drede the noughte. And zyf thou kysse me, thou shalt have all this tresoure, and be my lord, and lord also of all that isle. And he departed," &c. p. 29, 30, edit. 1725. Here we see the very spirit of a romance adventure. This honest traveller believed it all, and so, it seems, did the people of the isle, “ And some men seyne (says he) that in the isle of Lango is zit the doughtre of Ypocras in forme and lykenesse of a great dragoun, that is an hundred fadme in lengthe, as men seyn: for I have not seen hire. And thei of the isles callen hire, lady of the land." We are not to think then, these kind of stories, believed by pilgrims and travellers, would have less credit either with the writers or readers of romances : which humour of the times, therefore, may well account for their birth and favourable rę.. ception in the world.
The other monkish historian, who supplied the romancers with materials, was our Geoffry of Monmouth. For it is not 10 be supposed, that these children of fancy (as Shakspere in the place quoted above, finely calls them, insinuating that fancy hath Kij
its infancy as well as manhood) should stop in the midst of so extraordinary a career, or confine themselves within the lists of the terra firma. From him therefore the Spanish romancers took the story of the British Arthur, and the knights of his round table, his wife Gueniver, and his conjurer Merlin. But still it was the same subject (essential to books of chivalry), the wars of Christians against Infidels. And, whether it was by blunder or design, they changed the Saxons into Saracens, I suspect by design ; for chivalry, without a Saracen, was so very lame and impera fect a thing, that even that wooden image, which turned round on an axis, and served the knights to try their swords, and break their lances upon, was called, by the Italians and Spaniards, Saracino and Sarazino; so closely were these two ideas connected.
In these old romances there was much religious superstition mixed with their other extravagancies ; as appears even from their very names and titles, The first romance of Launcelot of the Lake, and King Arthur and his Knights, is called the History of Saint Greaal. This saint Greaal was the famous relick of the holy blood pretended to be collected into a vessel by Joseph of Arimathea. So another is called Kyrie Eleison of Montauban. For in those days Deuteronomy and Paralipomenon were supposed to be the names of holy men. And as they made saints of their knights-errant, so they made knights-errant of their tutelary saints; and each nation advanced its own into the order of chivalry. Thus every thing in those
times being either a saint, or adevil, they never wanted for the marvellous.
In the old romance of Launcelot of the Lake, we have the doctrine and discipline of the church as for. mally delivered as in Bellarmine himself. “ Là confession (says the preacher) ne vaut rien si le cæur n'est repentant; et si tu es moult & eloigné de l'amour de nostre Seigneur, tu ne peus estre recordé si non par trois choses : premierement par la confession de bouche ; secondement par une contrition de cæur ; tiercement par peine de cæur, & par cuvre d'au.. mône & charité. Telle est la droite voye d'aimer. Dieu. Or va & si te confesse en cette maniere & recois la discipline des mains de tes confesseurs, car c'est le signe de merite.--Or mande le roy ses eves-: ques, dont grande partie avoit en l'ost, & vinrent tous en sa chapelle. Le roy devant eux tout nud en pleurant & tenant son plein point de vint menuës verges, si les jetta devant eux, & leur dit en soupirant, qu'ils prissent de luy vengeance, car je suis le plus vil pecheur, &c.—Après prinst discipline & d'eux & moult doucement la receut." Hence we, find the divinity-lectures of Don Quixote and the penance of his 'squire, are both of them in the ritual of chivalry. Lastly, we find the knight-errant, after much turmoil to himself, and disturbance to the world, frequently ended his course, like Charles V. of Spain, in a monastery; or turned hermit, and bę canie a saint in good earnest. And this again will let us into the spirit of those dialogues between