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Donald Bain. In the War of the Standard, most of David's | those wbich were chanted in the court of Scotland must men-at-arms are expressly stated to have been Normans; have been written originally in Inglis. The English did and the royal charters,' as well as the names of our peer not begin to translate these French poems till about 1300, age and baronage, allest the Norman descent of most of our nor to compose original romances in their own language principal families. But these foreigners, though they until near a century later. But Thomas of Erceldoune, brought with them talents, civil and military, which re- | Kendal, (whose name seems to infer a Cumbrian descent,) commended them to the favour and protection of the Scot Hutcheson of the Awle Royal, and probably many otber tish monarchs, and though they obtained large possessions poets, whose names and works have now perished, had aland extensive privileges, were neither so numerous nor so ready flourished in the court of Scotland. Besides Sir powerful as to produce a change in the language of the Tristrem, there still exist at least two Scottish romances, country, even ainong persons of their own eminent rank. which, in all probability were composed long before the Accordingly, although French was doubtless understood at conclusion of the 13th century. These are entitled Gawen the court of Scotland, it seems never to have been adopted and Gologras, and Galoran of Galoway. This opinion is there; the Inglis remaining the ordinary language. But not founded merely upon their extreme rudeness and unthe succeeding influx of Norman barons, although they intelligibility; for that may be in some degree owing to the could not change the language of Scotland, introduced into superabundant use of alliteratiou, wbich required many it a variety of alien vocables, and gave it probably the same words to be used in a remote and oblique sense, if indeed linge of French which it acquired in England at a later they were not invented “ for the nonce.” But the compaperiod. Thus the language, now called English, was formed rative absence of French words, and French phraseology, under very different circumstances in England and Scot so fashionable in Scotland after the time of Robert Bruce, land; and, in the latter country, the Teutonic, its principal when the intercourse of the countries became more intimate, component part, was never banished from court, or con and, above all, evident allusions to the possession of part of fined to the use of the vulgar, as was unquestionably the Scotland by the British tribes, seem to indicate sufliciently case in the former.
their remote antiquity. Even the alliteration is a proof of It may be thought that the British spoken, as we bave the country in which they were composed. Chaucer tells seen, by the tribes of Cumbria and Strath Clwyd, as well us, that the composition of gestes, or romances, and the as by the proper Scots, ought to have entered into the com use of alliteration, were, in bis time, peculiar attribules of position of the new language. But, although possessing the northern poets. His Personne says, beauties of its own, the Celtic bas everywhere been found incapable of being amalgamated with the Gothic dialects,
I cannot gesle, rem, ram, rus, by my letter, from which it is radically and totally distinct. The Scot
And, God wole, riase buld I but litel better." tish kings appear soon to have disused it, although, while the recollection of their original descent and language con In these romances there does not appear the least trace tinued, a Celtic bard, or sennachie, was sometimes heard to of a French original; and it seems probable, that, like deliver a rhapsody in honour of the royal descent, like the Sir Tristrem, they were compiled by Scoltish authors froin Duan composed by the court-bard of Malcolm III. But the Celtic traditions, which still Noaled among their counas their language became unintelligible, the respect paid to trymen. To this list, we might perhaps be authorized in them was diminished, and at length, though still admitted adding the History of Sir Edgar and Sir Grime ; for, alupon great festivals, their Earse genealogies became the though only a modernized copy is now known to exist, the object rather of derision than admiration. Such a bard is language is unquestionably Scottish, and the scene is laid well described in the Houlat, a poem written during the in Carrick, in Ayrshire. reign of James II., and containing some curious trails of The very early and well-known romance of Hornchild manners. Al length, by stalule, 1457, ch. 79, the wan seems also to be of Border origin; day, there is some room dering Celtic bards are ranked with sornares, (persons
to conjecture, that it may have been the composition of taking victuals by force,) masterful beggars, and feiyned Thomas of Erceldoune himself. The French MS. of the fools, all to be imprisoned, or banished the country. Mean romance, in the Museum, begins thus : while, the minstrels, who used the English language, and
" Seigours oi avez le vers del parchemio, had, in fact, founded many of their tales upon the traditions
Cum le Bern Aalul est venuz a la fin ; of the neglected and oppressed bards, were ranked with
Mestre Thomas ne volt qu'il selt mis a declin, knights and heralds, and permitted to wear silk robes, a
K'il ne die de Lora le valllant orphalin." dress limited to persons who could spend a hundred pounds
And it ends with the following old couplet :of land rent. From this short statement ils follows, that, while the
“ Thomas u'en dirrat plus ; lu auten, chanterat,
Tu autem, domine, miserere nostri." 3 kings and nobles of England were amused by tales of chivalry, composed in the French or Romance language, A poet named Thomas, being thus referred to as the au
* But trustelh wel, I am a sotherne man,
· The famous charter of David I., addressed Omnibus fidelibus suis totius regni sui, Francis, el Anglicis, et Scotlis, et Galwinnibus, attests the variety of tribes w bo inhabited his domisions.
"The Ruke, callet the Bard.
A bard out of Ireland, with Banochadee,
Reke bír a rug of the rost, or scho sall ryve thee;
Set bir doun, gif bir drink ; quhat deill ayles ye?
Thir ar tbe Ireland kiugis of the Erechrye,
The Chenachy, Ibe Clarschach,
The Krekrye, the Corach,
Scho kennis them ilk ane."" The Rard, for troubling the company with this dissonant jargon, is at length rolled in the mire by two buffoons.-PINKERTON's Scoitish Poems, vol. iii.
3 lu the conclusion, mention is made of a certain Gilimot, a son of the narrator, on wbom be devolves the task to tell, in rby me, the adventures of Bodcremod, son to Horn and Regmeuil, who conquered Alfriche, and avenged all his relations upon the l'agaas :
• Cum cil purat mustrer qui la storle saurat,
Icest lais a mun tiz Gilimot, k'il durrat,
thor of a tale, the scene of which is Jaid in Northumberland,
fiction in the Border counties, lead us to consider the eviand in which every name, whether of place or person, at dence given by Robert de Brunne, concerning the poetry of tests an origin purely Saxon, there seems no reason why he Thomas of Erceldoune, which is thus expressed in the Inmay not be identified with Thomas of Erceldoune, a cele-troduction to his Annals: brated Border poet to whom every tradition respecting Deiria and Bernicia must have been intimately familiar. If
* " Als thai 4 bal w ryten and sayd the apparent antiquity of the language of the French King
Haf I alle in myn Inglis layd.
In symple specbe as I couibe, Horn be alleged against this opinion, we may oppose the
That is lightest in maune's moutbe difficulty and apparent impossibility of ascertaining the
I made noght for no disours, chronology of French poetry, considering how widely it was
Ne for no seggours, no harpours,
Bot for the lus of symple men, extended, and into how many dialects it must necessarily
Thal strange Inglis cannot ken; have been divided. Even in our own literature, did we
For many it ere ibat strange Inglis, not know the age of Gawain Douglas, we should certainly
In ryme wale never whai il is;
And bot thai wist what it mente, estcem his language older than that of Chaucer, when, in
Ellis met bought it were all schente. fact, it is nearly two centuries later. It is impossible, when
I made it not for to be praysed, other evidence fails, to distinguish, from the circumstance
Bot at the lewed men were aysed. of style alone, that which is provincial, from that wbich is
If it were made in ryme couwee,
Or in strangere, or enterlacé, really ancient. But whatever may be thought of Thomas
That rede Inglis it ere inowe of Erceldoune's claim to be held the author of this romance,
That couthe not have coppled a kowe. it does not appear less certain, that it has originally been
That outlier in cowee or in baston,
Sum suld baf ben fordon: written in or near the country, which is described with so
So that sele men that it herde much accuracy. It is not sufficient to answer, with a late
Suld not witle how that it ferde. ingenious antiquary, that the names and references are all
"I see in song. in sedgeyng tale,
" of Erceldoune and of kendale, northern, because the story is predicted of the Saxons and
“Nou thaim sayis as thai them wroght, Danes in England and Ireland.' We know how totally in
"And in ther saying it semes noght. different the minstrels and their hearers were to every thing
"That may thou here in Sir Tristrem,
* Over gestes it has the steem, allied to costume, which their ignorance would have disabled
** Over all that is or was, them from preserving, had their carelessness permitted them
“If men it sayd as made Thomas; to strive after such an excellence. When, therefore, we
** Bot I bere it no man so say, find a romance, like that of Horn, without the least allusion
"That of some copple som is away.
So thare fayre saylug liere beforne, to Norman names and manners, we may, I think, safely
Is tharc travaile nere förlorpe; conclude, that, although it exists in both languages, it must
Tbai sayd it for pride and nobleye, have been originally composed in that of the country where
That were not suylke as thei. 5 the scene is laid, and from which the actors are brought.
And alle that thai willed overwhere
Alle that ilke will now forfare. See Reliques of Ancient Poetry, vol. i. p. Ixxviii. S 2. It
Thai sayd it in so quaint Inglis, may finally be remarked, that although the more modern
That many wate not what it is. romance of Hornchild in the Auchinleck MSS. has some
Therfore beuyed wele the more
In strange ryme to travayle sore; phrases, as “ in boke we read," " in rime, as we are told,"
And my wit was oure thynde generally supposed to imply a translation from the French,3
So strange specbe to travayle in; yet nothing of the kind occurs in the older tale, published
And forsooth I coulh nogbt by Mr. Ritson, which bears every mark of originality.
So strange luglis as thai wroght,
And men besoght me many a tyme The romance of Wade, twice alluded to by Chaucer, but
To turne it bot in light ryme. now lost, was probably a Border composition. The castle
Thai seyd if 1 in strange ryme it turn, of this hero stood near the Koman Wall, which he is sup
To here it many on suld skorne ;
For in it ere names full selcouthe, posed to have surmounted; and it was long inbabited by his
That ere not used now in mouthe. real or fancied descendants. It is absurd to suppose, that
And therfore, for the commovalté, Norman minstrels came into these remote corners of the
That blytbely wald listen to me,
On light lange l it began, kingdom to collect or celebrate the obscure traditions of their
For luf of the lewed inan." inhabitants; although, finding them already versified, they might readily translate them into their own language.
This passage requires some commentary, as the sense has These general observations on the progress of romantic been generally mistaken. Robert de Brunne does not mean,
Ki la rime, apres mei, bien controverat,
It is uncertain whether this Gilimot be the son of the author Thomas, or of the French rimeur, who, according to the hypothesis of the text, is only the translator of the story. I incline to the latter opinion, because these unnecessary continuations were seldorn composed by the author of the original work. If the Vers del Parchemin, and the history of the Baron Aalus, be ever discovered, it may thruw some light upon the subject.
? The Editor's opinivo is only stated hypothetically: nor will he be surprised at any one inclioing to believe that the Thomas of the French Horn. Child is, in fact, the rimeur himseif, and not the Bard of Erceldoune : but he cannot allow that such Anglo-Norman Thomas, supposing him to exist, ( which, after all, is matter of supposition,) shall be identified with the Thomas in the Fragments of Sir Tristrem. In that point, the ground taken in these remarks seems much stronger : for we know certainly the existence of Thomas of Erceldoune, who did write a remance of Sir Trístrem, highly esteemed his contemporaries; we have also seen reasons why his authority should be referred to by a French rimeur, who, at the same time,
and probably for the same reasons, quotes Ibat of an Armorican minstrel. But, granting the French rimeur, Thomas, to have cxisted, we cau see do natural connexion betwixt bim and tbe tale of Sir Tristrem, and no reason why, supposing him to bave written such a tale, ( whicb, again, is a matter of gratuitous supposition, ) bis authority should have been referred to as irrefragable by posterior narrators of the same bistory. In one view of the case, we have indisputable fact; in the other, mere bypothesis. Above all, the reserence seems conclusive to the correspondence betwist the poems.
* Dissertation on Romance, prelised to Ritson's Metrical Romances, p. scii.
3 Even this circumstance by no means dei idedis infers reference to a French original, Barbour calls his own poem a romance, though it never existed in French.
* lis Latin and French authorities.
$ | Warton's Editor (Mr, Price) observes that this line is wrongly quoted - it ougbt to stand
" That non were suilk as they;" and be interprets“ pride and nobleye, " digoity and loftiness of expression. -Ed.]
as has been supposed, that the minstrels, who repeated subject, will find that this system, if confrmed upon more Thomas's romance of Sir Tristrem, disguised the meaning, minute investigation, may account for many anomalous peby putting it into “ quaint Inglis;" but, on the contrary, culiarities in the history of English romance and minstrelsy. that Kendal and Thomas of Erceldoune did themselves use In particular, it will show why the Northumbrians cultisuch “quaint Inglis," that those who repeated the story vated a species of music not known to the rest of England,' were unable to understand it, or to make it intelligible to and why the barpers and minstrels of the “ North Countree" their hearers. Above all, he complains, that, by writing are universally celebrated, by our ancient ballads, as of an intricate and complicated stanza, as ryme cowee, unrivalled excellence. If English, or a mixture of Saxon, strangere, or entrelacé," it was difficult for the diseurs to Pictish, and Norman, became early the language of the recollect the poem; and of Sir Tristrem, in particular, he Scottish court, to which great part of Northumberland was avers, that he never heard a perfect recital, because of some subjected, the minstrels, who crowded their camps,’ must one “ copple, or stanza, a part was always omitted. have used it in their songs. Thus, when the language began Hence he argues, at great length, that he himself, writing to gain ground in England, the northern minstrels, by whom pot for the minstiel or harper, nor to acquire personal same, it had already been long cultivated, were the best rehearsers but solely to instruct the ignorant in the history of their of the poems already written, and the most apt and ready country, does well in chosing a simple structure of verse,
composers of new tales and songs. It is probably owing to which they can retain correctly on their memory, and a this circumsiance, that almost all the ancient English minstyle wbich is popular, and easily understood. Besides which strel balladsy bear marks of a northern origin, and are, in he hints at the ridicule he might draw on his poem, should general, common to the Borders of both kingdoms. By he introduce the uncouth names of his personages into a this system we may also account for the superiority of the courtly or refined strain of verse. They were
early Scottish over the early English poels, excepting al
ways the unrivalled Chaucer. And, finally, to this we may “Great names, but hard in verse to stand.”
ascribe the flow of romantic and poetical tradition, which While he arrogates praise to himself for his choice, he ex has distinguished the Borders of Scotland almost down to cuses Tbomas of Erceldoune, and Kendal, for using a the present day. See PERCY's Reliques, vol. i. p. 118. more ambitious and ornate kind of poetry. • They wrote Complaynt of Scotland, p. 271. Border Minstrelsy, pasfor pride (fame) and for nobles, not such as these my sim. ignorant hearers." Thus, the testimony of this ancient It is time to return from this digression to the particuhistorian, wbo was a contemporary of Thomas of Ercei- lar history of the romance of Sir Tristrem, which, as nardoune, establishes at once the bigh reputation of his work, rated by Thomas of Erceldoune, seems to have gained such and the particular circumstances under which it was written. | distinguished celebrity. In France, as appears from the While the English minstrels bad hardly ventured on the author of the French Fragments, and from the evidence of drudgery of translating the French romances, or, if they did Gotfried of Strasburgh, it was in the mouth of every min80, were only listened to by the lowest of the people, our strel, and told by each, according to his own particular northern poets were writing original gests " for pride and fancy. But an often-told tale becomes disgusting and tenobleye,” in a high style and complicated stanza, wbich the dious; and accordingly, the languor of Sir Tristrem became soulbero barpers marred in repeating, and which their ple- at length proverbial among the diseurs of France and Norbeian audience were unable to comprehend. In one word, mandy.5 In the meantime, a great change was operated on the early romances of England were written in French, the shape of romantic fiction. The art of reading had bethose of Scotland were written in English.
come coinparatively general towards the end of the thirIf the Editor has been successful in his statement, two teenth century; the monks, also, had pursued the paths of points have been established: 1st, That the minstrels of the literature opened by their earlier brethren. To them, chiefsouth of Scotland, living in or near the British districts of ly, are to be ascribed the voluminous prose romances, which Reged and Strathclwyd, became the natural depositaries began, about this period, to supersede the metrical tales of of ibe treasures of Celtic tradition, esteemed so precious in the minstrel. These works generally set out with disowning the middle ages ; 2dly, That, from the peculiar circum- and discrediting the sources, from which, in reality, they drew stances under which the English language was formed in their sole information. As every romance was supposed to the Lowlands of Scotland, and north of England, it proba- be a real history, the compilers of those in prose would have bly was more early fitted for the use of the poet in that forfeited all credit, had they announced themselves as mere country, than in the more southern parts of the sister king-copyists of the minstrels. On the contrary, they usually dom, where it was so long confined to the use of the popu- state, that, as the popular poems upon the matter in queslace. Whoever shall be tempted to pursue this curious tion contain many “lesings," they had been induced to
1 " In borealibus quoque majoris Britanniæ partibus, trans llumberum Eboracique finibus, Anglorum populi, qui partes illas inhabitant, simul canendo symphoniaca utuntur harmonia ; binis tamen solummodo tonorom differentiis, et vocum modulando varietatibus, una inferius, submurmurante, altera vero superne, demulcente pariter et delectante. Nec arte tantum, sed usu longævo, et quasi in naturam mora diutina jam converso, bæc vel illa sibi gens hanc specialitatem comparavit. Qui adeo apud utramqne invaluit, et altas jam radices posuit, ut nibil hic simpliclier, sed multipliciter, ut apud priores, vel saltem dupliciter, ut apud sequentes, mellite proferri consueverit : pueris etiam, quod magis admirandum, et fere infantibas (cum primum a fetibus in cantum erumpunt) eandem modulationem observantibus.” GERALD. CAMBREN. Cambriæ Descriptio, cap. viii. The author adds, that, because the custom of singing in parts was peculiar to the northern English, he supposes it to be derived from the Danes or Scandinavians. But it is easily accoupled for, if the Border counues were in fact the cradle of English winstrelsy.
• Vide ALBED de Bello Standardi, ap. I. scrip. pp. 341, 342.
That of John Dory (Ritson's Ancient Songs) is perbaps a solitary erception to the general rule. Martin Swarl and his Men, if it could be recovered, might be another. Most of tbe ballads of Robin Hood are very modern. The more ancient, as the Lyleli Geste, seem to be written aorth of the llumber.
4 There is a report, but highly improbable, that a metrical copy of the French Tristrein was printed Paris, without a dale. Very few French rhyming romances bave come under the press; and the copies of all, but L Roman de la Rose, are of the last degree of rarity. Dissertalion prefixed to Ritson's Metrical Romances, p. liii.
5 See tbe Fabliau of Sir Hain and Dame Anieuse, wbere the following lines occur :
" Anieuse, fet-11, bel suer,
Tu es el paradis Bertran
translate the real and true history of such-or-such a knight | et peut-être même quelques lecteurs s'intéresseront-ils au from the original Latin or Greek, or from the ancient Bri- sort du brave Tristan et de la charmante Yseult, en lisant tish or Armorican authorities, which authorities existed only l'histoire de leurs amours et de leurs malbeurs.”—Extraits in their own assertion..
des Romans, t. i. f. 4. The favourite tale of Tristrem was soon transposed, and Such being the merits of the French prose work, it reseemingly more than once. In the King's library is a large mains to notice the particulars in which it differs from the MS. folio, cntitled Le Romanz de Tristran, containing the metrical romance now published. Being changed from a adventures of our hero, in a long prose narrative. A work of short and simple tale into the subject of a large folio, the similar labour, and which, voluminous as it is, has never been unity and simplicity of the story has suffered very much. concluded, was in the library of the late John, duke of Rox-We often lose sight both of Tristrem and Yseult, to assist burghe. But the most noted of these prose editions of Sir at the exploits of the Varlet de la cotte mal taillée, and Tristrem (if, indeed, the others be aught but various and other champions, whose deeds have little reference to the enlarged copies of it) is thus described by Montfaucon; “ Le main story. The author, finding it difficult, perhaps, to Roman de Tristan et Iseult, traduit de Latin en Fran- | invent an entire dramatis persona, or willing to avail bimçios, par Lucas, chevalier, sieur de chastel de Gast prés self of prejudices already deeply founded in the mind of de Salisbiri, Anglois. Cod. 6776. Another copy of the his readers, has associated his champion with the chivalry same romance is mentioned, cod. 6956 ; and some books of of the Round Table; so that the history of King Arthur, Gyron le Courtois occur, as translated into French by“Huc, and all his knights, became a legitimate accessary to that seigneur du chateau de Gat." Cod. 6796. These MSS. are of Tristrem.3 The incidents narrated by Thomas of Erin the national library at Paris; but the book has been celdoune, with all the dilation of which they have been printed; and by a perusal of the printed copy the following found susceptible, occupy only in the proportion of 60 folios remarks have been suggested.
to about 220 of the prose volume. The discrepancies beThe Luc, or Huc, lord of the castle of Gast, near Salis- twix the poem, and even the relative part of the prose bury, who translated the romance of Sir Tristrem from the narration, are occasionally pointed out in the Notes. What Latin of Rusticien de Puise, seems to be as fabulous as his is lost in simplicity is, however, gained in art. The chacastle of Gast, or his Latin original. Why should a Latin racter of Palamedes, the unfortunate and despairing adorer history of Sir Tristrem have been written during the thir- of Yseult, is admirably contrasted with that of Tristrem, teenth century ? Or lo whom was it calculated to convey his successful rival; nor is there a truer picture of the hueither amusement or information? The pretended author, man mind than in the struggles betwixt the hatred of rias well as the pretended translator, must rank with Robert valship, and the chivalrous dictates of knightly generosity, de Borron, author of Lancelot du Lac; with Desrains, the which alternately sway both the warriors. The character lineal descendant of Joseph of Arimathea, author of the of Dinadam, brave and gallant, but weak in person, unforSt. Greal; or, if the reader pleases, with the sage Cid tunate in his undertakings, but supporting bis mischances Hamet Benengeli, who recorded the adventures of Don with admirable humour, and often contriving a willy and Quixote de la Mancha. The merit of the prose Tristan, well-managed relort on his persecutors, is imagined with by whomsvever written, is very considerable. Every French considerable art. The friendship of Tristrem and Lanceantiquary considers it as the best, as well as about the most lot, and of their two mistresses, with a thousand details ancient specimen of their prose romance.a The Editor which display great knowledge of human nature, render begs permission to use the words of the most interesting of Tristan interesting in the present day, in spite of those etertheir number. “Le roman de Tristan, et celui de Lan- nal combals, to which, perhaps, the work owed its original celot du Lac, eurent la plus grande réputation dès leur popularity. naissance; leur touche est forte, les sentiments en sont éle This work was printed at Rouen so early as 1489, under vés, les héros sont aussi galants qu'ils sont braves. Les hé | the title of Le Roman du noble et vaillant Chevalier roïnes sont charmantes : nous n'osons trop réfléchir sur Tristan, fils du noble Roi Meliadus de Leonnoys, comleurs aventures : mais leurs foiblesses sont soutenues par pilé par Luce, chevalier, seigneur du Chateau de Gast, un si grand caractère de courage, d'amour et de constance one volume folio, black letter. The book was reprinted at -le bon Rusticien a si bien l'art de leur prêter des excuses Paris, by Antoine Verard, without dale, in two volumes recevables --qu'il faudroit être bien sévère, pour les leur folio; and a subsequent edition was published in two parts reprocher. La fidèle ngien, dans Tristan, est le plus par- | by Denys Janot, Paris, 1533, also in black letter. fait modèle des amies : on s'attendrira pour elle, en voyant The same Denys Janot had already published what seems jusqu'à quel point elle porte l'héroïsme, pour servir la belle to have been intended as a first part to the history of Sir Yseult. Personne ne sera tenté de plaindre le Roi Marc; | Tristrem, being Le Roman de Meliadus de Leonnoys,
? Thus, la a French prose romance of Charlemagne, the author says, ļ tan Leonis, l'un des plus beaux et des mieux faits qui aient jamais été that he translated the work from the Latin, at the command of Baldwin, publié, parut en 1190. C'est le plus ancien de nos romans en prose." LA Count of llainault, and adds, "Mainles gens en ont ouy conter el chanter, Combe, Dictionnaire, preface, p. xxvi. M. de la Ravaillere also falls lato mais n'est ce mensonge non ce qu'ils en disent et chantent cil conteur ne this mistake, misled by the quotations of Chretien de Troyes and ibe king cil jugleor. Nuz contes rymez n'en est vrai; tot mensonge ce qu'ils disent." of Navarre, which he look for granted alluded to the prose Tristan, TresWARTON, vol. I. p. 135. 4to edit. In like manner, the author of La vraye san has followed his predecessors into the same error. Romans de CheraHistoire de Troye ibus concludes: "Jay ains mené a fin la vraye bistoire de lerie, tom. I, f. t. Fauchet led the way into this blunder. Troye, en la maniere qu'elle fut trouvée escriple en la main de Saint Pierre, 3 In this, as we have seen, be is supported by the Welsh authorities. But en Gregois language, et du Gregois fut mise en Latin; et je l'ay translatee oral tradition is always apt to lose sight of chronology, and to associate Ibe en François, non pas par rimes ni par vers, ou il convient, par fine force, distinguished personages whose memory it preserves. The tale of Thomas maintes mensonge; comme font les menestrels, de leur langues pompus, of Erceldoune, ibat of Raoul de Beauvais, ir be was indeed the author of plaire, mainter is aux rois et aux contez." In the museum, ibere is a French Mr. Douce's Fragments, and that of Mademoiselle Marie, are silent conversion of Turpin, by a translator, who throws the same opprobrious im cerning the supposed connexion between Tristrem and Arthur. In the putation upon the romances in rliyme. “Et pour ces que estoire rimee romance of Gawain and Gotogras, bowever, Brengwain, the confidante or semble mensunge, est ceste mis en prose."
Ysoude, is mentioned as a person well known to Queen Guenever : • In general, they ascribe to it an absurd antiquity, because they con
Quene was I somewhile, brighter of browes found it with the metrical tales on the same subject. “Le roman de Tris
Then Berell or Brangwayn, these burdes so bold."
Tber herd Y rede ir, roune,
Chevalier de la Table Ronde, ou sont contenues, avec les misrepresents the adventures, and traduces the character, faits d'armes , plusieurs proësses de chevalerie faites par of Sir Gawain, and other renowned Knights of the Round le bon Roi Artus, Palamedes, et autres chevaliers, estant Table. It is, bowever, a work of great interest, and cuau tems du dit Roi Meliadus: translaté du Latin du Rus- riously written in excellent old English, and breathing a ticien de Pise, et remis depuis en nouveau language, high tone of chivalry. Paris, 1532, in folio, black letter. This romance is by no Of late years, the romance of Sir Tristrem has been means void of merit; indeed, from many circumstances, we beautifully abridged, from the prose folio, by the late Monmay conjecture it to have been written by the author of the sieur le Comte de Tressan, and forms the first article in his prose Tristrem. The translator pretends to have received Corps d'extraits de Romans de Chevalerie. To this eletwo castles from King Henry (the first of the name seems gont abridgement all readers are referred, who may still to be intimated) for his labours in compiling the St. Greal, wish for farther information, and are too indolent, or fastiand other books of chivalry. from original and authentic dious, to seek it in the original romance. It is now time to materials. The stories of the father and son have little speak of the present publication. connexion with each other, and the History of Meliadus III, THE PRESENT EDITION of the Romance of Sir Trisis only one instance, among many, of the custom of the ro trem is published from the Auchinleck MS., a large and mancers to avail themselves of the renown of any favourite curious collection of such pieces, of which the reader wil) work, by hooking upon it introductions and continuations find an account in the appendix to these observations without mercy or end,
(No. IV). The date of the MS. cannot possibly be earlier, Another instance of the same nature is the History of and does not seem to be much later, than 1330, at least Ysaie le Triste, a son whom Ysoude is supposed to have eighty years after the romance of Sir Tristrem had been borne in secret lo her lover. This work was published at composed. The immediate narrator does not assume the Paris, by Gallyot de Pre, in 1522, and is entitled, Le Roman person of Thomas of Erceldoune, but only pretends to tell du vaillant Chevalier Ysaie le Triste, fils de Tristan de the tale upon his authority. Leonnoys, Chevalier de la Table Ronde, et de la Prin
" I was at Erceldoune : resse Yseulte, Royne de Cornouaille; avec les nobles
With Tomas spak Y tharo; proësses de l'Exille fils du dit Ysaie; reduit du vieil languige au languige François, folio, black letter. This is a
Who Tristrem gat and bare," ete. romance of faërie. Ysaie is under the protection of certain
" Tomas telles in toun, powerful fays, who have assigned him, for his attendant,
This auentours as thai ware." Tronc le Nain, a dwarf, whose deformity is only equalled by his wit and fidelity. This page of Ysaie le Triste is sub The late eminent antiquary, Mr. Ritson, suggested, that jected to a law of extreme, and, it would appear, very un Thomas of Erceldoune might himself assume the character just severity. Whenever his master was fickle in his amours, of a third person, to add a greater appearance of weight to and he by no means copied the fidelity of bis father Tris-bis own authority: it must be owned, however, that this trem, the dwarf was unmercifully beaten by the fairies, his finesse is hardly suitable to the period in which he lived." sovereigns. Upon the whole, the romance is very inferior It seems more reasonable to conclude, that some minstre), to that of Sir Tristrem.
having access to the person of Thomas the Rhymer, had In 1528, was published, at Seville, Libro del esforçado | learned, as nearly as he could, the history of Sir Tristrem, Don Tristan de Leonys y de sus grandes hechos in ar and, from bis recitation, or perhaps after it had passed mas, folio. At Venice, in 1552 and 1555, appeared Delle through several hands, the compiler of the Auchinleck opere magnanime de i due Tristan: Cavalieri invitti MS. committed it to writing. As Thomas certainly surdella Tavola Rotonda, two volumes, in 8vo.
vived 1284, betwixt thirty and forty years will, in the supThe prose romance of Tristrem was modernized by Jean posed case, have elapsed betwixt the time, when the minMaugin dit l'Angevin, and published, at Paris, in 1554, strel might have learned the romance, and the date of its folio. It is far inferior to the original work. Allegory was being committed to writing; a long interval, doubtless, and then the prevailing taste, and, though it seems hard to in which many corruptions must have been introduced, as wring a moral meaning out of the illicit amours of Tristrem well as a material change in the style, which, in poetry and Yseult, Jean Maugin has done bis best. Sir Tristrem preserved by oral tradition, always luctuates, in some deis the emblem of the Christian perfection of chivalry, his gree, with the alterations in language. Accordingly, those fair paramour of-heaven knows what!
who examine attentively the style of Sir Tristrem, as now The History of Tristrem was not, so far as I know, published, will not find that it differs essentially from that translated into English as a separate work; but his adven- of Barbour, who wrote a century after the Rhymer, altures make a part of the collection called the Morte Ar- though some traces of antiquity may still be observed, parthur, containing great part of the bistory of the Round | ticularly in the absence of words of French derivation. On Table, extracted at hazard, and without much artor com the other hand, if this romance be really the production of bination, from the various French prose folios on that fa- Thomas of Erceldoune, we must expect to distinguish the vourile topic. This work was compiled by Sir Thomas peculiarities pointed out by Robert de Brunne; tbat quaint Malory, or Maleore, in the ninth year of the reign of English, which was dificult to compose; and that peculiaEdward IV., and printed by Caxton. It bas since under-rity of stanza, which no minstrel could recite without omitgone several editions, and is in the hands of most antiqua- ting some part of the couplet : For, although we may allow ries and collectors. Tbose unaccustomed to the study of for the introduction of more modern words, and for corrupromance, should beware of trusting to this work, which I tions introduced by frequent recitation, these general cha
• Meaning, I suppose, the fatber and son,
* Mr. Price, however, wbile impugning Sir Walter Scott's theory as to the authorship of Sir Tristrem, affords evidence which would, no doubt, have been bigbly acceptable to bim, of the oblique and prudish mode in which
The authors of ancient romances sometimes chose to announce themselves.
" Alexandre nous dit qui de Bernay fu nez."—ED.]