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other be substituted in its room; Dr. W.'s first position, that Romances of Chivalry were of Spanish original, cannot be maintained. Monsieur Huet would have taught him better. He says very truly, that “les plus vieux," of the Spanish romances, sont posterieurs à nos Tristans et à nos Lancelots, de quelques centaines d'années." Indeed the fact is indisputable. Cervantes, in a passage quoted by Dr. W. speaks of Amadis de Gaula (the first four books) as the first book of chivalry printed in Spain. Though he says only printed, it is plain that he means written. And indeed there is no good reason to believe that Amadis was written long before it was printed. It is unnecessary to enlarge upon a system, which places the original of Romances of Chivalry in a nation, which has none to produce older than the art of printing.
Dr. W.'s second position, that the heroes and the scene of these romances were generally of the country of Spain, is as unfortunate as the former. Whoever will take the second volume of Du Fresnoy's Bibliotheque des Romans, and look over his lists of Romans de Chevalerie, will see that not one of the celebrated heroes of the old romances was a Spaniard. With respect to the general scene of such irregular and capricious fictions, the writers of which were used, literally, to “give to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name,” I am sensible of the impropriety of asserting any thing positively, without an accurate examination of many more of them than have fallen in my way. I think, however, I might venture to assert, in direct contradiction to Dr. W. that the scene of them was not generally in Spain. My own notion is, that it was very rarely there; except in those few romances which treat expressly of the affair at Roncesvalles.
His last position, that the subject of these romances were the crusades of the European Christians, against the Saracens of Asia and Africa, might be admitted with a small amendment. If it stood thus: the subject of some, or a few, of these romances were the crusades, &c. the position would have been incontrovertible; but then it would not have been either new, or fit to support a system.
After this state of Dr. W.'s hypothesis, one must be curious to see what he himself has offered in proof of it. Upon the two first positions he says not one word : I suppose he intended that they should be received as axioms. He begins his illustration of his third position, by repeating it, with a little change of terms, for a reason which will appear. “ Indeed the wars of the Christians against the Pagans were the general subject of the Romances of Chivalry. They all seem to have had their ground-work in two fabulous monkish historians, the one, who, under the name of Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, wrote The History and Achievements of Charlemagne and his Twelve Peers:~the other, our Geoffry of Monmouth.” Here we see the reason for changing the terms of crusades and Saracens into wars and Pagans ; for, though the expedition of Charles into Spain, as related by the Pseudo-Turpin, might be called a crusade against the Saracens, yet unluckily, our Geoffry has nothing like a crusade, nor a single Saracen in his whole history; which indeed ends before Mahomet was
born. I must observe too, that the speaking of Turpin's history under the title of “ The History of the Achievements of Charlemagne and his Twelve Peers," is inaccurate and unscholarlike, as the fiction of a limited number of twelve peers is of a much later date than that history.
However, the ground-work of the Romances of Chivalry being thus marked out and determined, one might naturally expect some account of the first builders and their edifices; but instead of that we have a digression upon Oliver and Roland, in which an attempt is made to say something of those two famous cha. racters, not from the old romances, but from Shakspeare, and Don Quixote, and some modern Spanish romances. My learned friend, the Dean of Carlisle, has taken notice of the strange mistake of Dr. W. in supposing that the feats of Oliver were recorded under the name of Palmerin de Oliva; a mistake, into which no one could have fallen, who had read the first page of the book. And I very much suspect that there is a mistake, though of less magnitude, in the assertion, that “ in the Spanish romance of Bernardo del Carpio, and in that of Roncesvalles, the feats of Roland are recorded under the name of Roldan el Encantador."
Dr. W.'s authority for this assertion was, I apprehend, tke following passage of Cervantes, in the first chapter of Don Quixote : “Mejor estava con Bernardo del Carpio porque en Roncesvalles avia muerto à Roldan el Encantado, valiendose de la industria de Hercules, quando ahogò à Anteon el hijo de la Tierra entre los braços." Where it is observable, that Cervantes does not appear to speak of more than one romance; he calls Roldan el encantado, and not el encantador ; and moreover the word encantado is not to be understood as an addition to Roldan's name, but merely as a participle, expressing that he was enchanted, or made invulnerable by enchantment.
But this is a small matter. And perhaps encantador may be an error of the press for encantado. From this digression Dr. W. returns to the subject of the old romances in the following man
“ This driving the Saracens out of France and Spain, was, as we say, the subject of the elder romances. And the first that was printed in Spain was the famous Amadis de Gaula.” Accord. ing to all common rules of construction, I think the latter sen. tence must be understood to imply, that Amadis de Gaula was one of the elder romances, and that the subject of it was the driving of the Saracens out of France and Spain; whereas, for the reasons already given, Amadis, in comparison with many other romances, must be considered as a very modern one; and the subject of it has not the least connexion with any driving of the Saracens whatsoever.—But what follows is still more extraordinary. “ When this subject was well exhausted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the same nature. 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 lace or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, so, correspondently to the subject, Amadis de Grecia was at the head of the latter.”—It is impossible, I apprehend, to refer this subject to any antecedent but that in the paragraph last quoted, viz. the driving of the Saracens out of France and Spain. So that, according to one
part of the hypothesis here laid down, the subject of the driving the Saracens out of France and Spain, was well exhausted by the old romances (with Amadis de Gaula at the head of them) before the Crusades; the first of which is generally placed in the year 1095: and, according to the latter part, the Crusades happened in the interval between Amadis de Gaula, and Amadis de Græcia; a space of twenty, thirty, or at most fifty years, to be reckoned backwards from the year 1532, in which year an edition of Amadis de Græcia is mentioned by Du Fresnoy. What induced Dr. W. to place Amadis de Græcia at the head of his second race or class of romances, I cannot guess. The fact is, that Amadis de Grecia is no more concerned in supporting the By zantine empire, and recovering the holy sepulchre, than Amadis de Gaula in driving the Saracens out of France and Spain. And a still more pleasant circumstance is, that Amadis de Grecia, through more than nine-tenths of his history, is himself a declared Pagan.
And here ends Dr. W.'s account of the old romances of chivalry, which he supposes to have had their ground-work in Tur. pin's history. Before he proceeds to the others, which had their ground-work in our Geoffry, he interposes a curious solution of a puzzling question concerning the origin of lying in romances. -“ Nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pilgrimages; which indeed have a cast peculiar to the wild imaginations of the eastern people. We have a proof of this in the Travels of Sir 7. Maundevile." -He then gives us a story of an enchanted dragon in the isle of Cos, from Sir J. Maundevile, who wrote his Travels in 1356; by way of proof, that the tales of enchantments, &c. which had been current here in romances of chivalry for above two hundred years before, were brought by travellers from the East! The proof is certainly not conclusive. On the other hand, I believe it would be easy to show, that, at the time when romances of chivalry began, our Europe had a very sufficient stock of lies of her own growth, to furnish materials for every variety of monstrous embellishment. At most times, I conceive, and in most countries, imported lies are rather for luxury than necessity.
Dr. W. comes now to that other ground-work of the old romances, our Geoffry of Monmouth. And him he despatches very shortly, because, as has been observed before, it is impossible to find any thing in him to the purpose of crusades, or Saracens. Indeed, in treating of Spanish romances, it must be quite unnecessary to say much of Geoffry, as, whatever they have of “the British Arthur and his conjurer Merlin,” is of so late a fabrick, that, in all probability, they took it from the more modern Italian ro.
mances, and not from Geoffry's own book. As to the doubt, “Whether it was by blunder or design that they changed the Saxons to Saracens,” I should wish to postpone the consideration of it, till we have some Spanish romance before us, in which King Arthur is introduced carrying on a war against Saracens.
And thus, I think, I have gone through the several facts and arguments, which Dr. W. has advanced in support of his third position. In support of his two first positions, as I have observed already, he has said nothing; and, indeed, nothing can be said. The remainder of his note contains another hypothesis concerning the strange jumble of nonsense and religion in the old romances, which I shall not examine. The reader, i presume, by this time is well aware that Dr. W.'s information upon this subject is to be received with caution. I shall only take a little notice of one or two facts, with which he sets out. 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 Lancelot of the Lake and King Arthur and his Knights, is called the History of Saint Graal.-So another is called Kyrie elei. son of Montauban. For in those days Deuteronomy and Paralipomenon were supposed to be the names of holy men. -I believe no one, who has ever looked into the common romance of king Arthur, will be of opinion, that the part relating to the Saint Graal was the first romance of Lancelot of the Lake and King Arthur and his Knights. And as to the other supposed to be called Kyrie eleison of Montaubar, there is no reason to believe that any romance with that title ever existed. This is the mistake, which, as was hinted above, Dr. W. appears to have borrowed from Huet. The reader will judge. Huet is giving an account of the romances in Don Quixote's library, which the curate and barber saved from the Hames." Ceux qu'ils jugent dignes d'etre gardez sont les quatre livres d'Amadis de Gaule,—Palmerin d'Angleterre,Don Belianis ; le miroir de chevalerie; Tirante le Blanc, et Kyrie eleison de Montauban (car au bon vieux temps on croyoit que Kyrie eleison et Paralipomenon etoient les noms de quelques saints) où les subtilitez de la Damoiselle Plaisir-de-ma-vie, et les tromperies de la Veuve reposée, sont fort louées.”—It is plain, I think, that Dr. W. copied what he says of Kyrie eleison of Montauban, as well as the witticism in his last sentence, from this passage of Huet, though he has improved upon his original by introducing a saint Deuteronomy, upon what authority I know not. It is still more evident (from the passage of Cervantes, which is quoted below, *) that Huet was mistaken in supposing Kyrie eleison de
* Don Quixote, Lib. I, c. vi, «Valame Dios, dixo el Cura, dando una gran voz, que aqui este Tirante el Blanco! Dadmele aca, compadre, que hago cuenta que he hallado en el un tesoro de contento, y una mina de pas. satiempos. Aqui esta Don Quirieleyson de Montalvan, valeroso Cavallero, y su hermano Tomas de Montalvan, y el Cavallero Fonseca, con la batalla que el valiente Detriante (r. de Tirante] hizo con el alano, y las agudezas de la Donzella Plazer de mi vida, con los amores y embustes de la viuda Re. posada, y la Senora Emperatriz, enamorado de Hippolito su escudero.”
Montauban to be the name of a separate romance. He might as well have made La Damoiselle Plaisir-de-ma-vie and La Veuve reposée, the names of separate romances. All three are merely characters in the romance of Tirante le Blanc.-And so much for Dr. W.'s account of the origin and nature of romances of chivalry. Tyrwhitt.
No future editor of Shakspeare will, I believe, readily consent to omit the dissertation here examined, though it certainly has no more relation to the play before us, than to any other of our author's dramas.
Mr. Tyrwhitt's judicious observations upon it have given it a value which it certainly had not before ; and I think, I may venture to foretell, that Dr. Warburton's futile performance, like the pismire which Martial tells us was accident. ally incrusted with amber, will be ever preserved, for the sake of the admirable comment in which it is now enshrined.
quæ fuerat vitâ contempta manente,
Aqui esta Don Quirieleyson, &c. Here, i. e, in the romance of Tirante el Blanco, is Don Quirieleyson, &c.