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ejectus, à quibusdam dicitur à civibus in publico epulo interfectus*." Leland acknowledges, however, that the remains of a castle called by Gawayne's name were still extant in his time near the shore, and at the present day, on the southernmost point of Pembrokeshire, called St. Gowen's head, stands a small chapel formed out of the rock, named after the same personage, which the traditionary voice of the neighbourhood assigns as the burial place of Arthur's nephewt. Wace was ignorant of these statements, for he expressly writes,
Grans fu li dols de son neveu,
Le cors fist metre ne sai u,
Ainc hom ne sot u il fu mis,
Vol. ii. p. 225, ed. 1839‡.
Lazamon says nothing of the sepulture, but tells us that Gawayne previous to his death made great slaughter, and killed the son of Childric with his own hand, but at length was slain "thurh an eorle Sexisce,-særi iwurthe his saule!" Peter Langtoft and his translator add to the confusion, by stating that the body of Gawayne was interred at Wybre or Wibire," en la Walescherye," —" that is, in Wales §,"-by which I presume is intended Webbery,
Scriptores post Bedam, lib. ii. p. 64, edit. 1596. Malmesbury adds, that Gawayne reigned in that part of Britain called Waluuithia (Galloway), but was expelled from his kingdom by the brother and nephew of Hengist. We here may, perhaps, trace the historical incident which gave rise to the account in the romance of Merlin and elsewhere of Gawayne's battles with the Saxons. The above passage in Malmesbury is copied by many succeeding chroniclers, down to the time of Stowe and Baker.
See a description in Fenton's Pembrokeshire, p. 414, 4to, 1811: but he knows nothing of the legend, and talks of some Irish hermit being buried there.
From MS. de la Bibl. du Roi, No. 75153-3. The Royal MS. 13, A. xxi. Brit. Mus. and Cott. Vit. A. x. read the same, except that the latter has en sarcu, instead of ne sai u.
§ MS. Cott. Jul. A. v. f. 40., MS. Reg. 20, D. ii. f. 31; Robert of Brunne's MS. Chron. f. 81b, c. 2.
not far from Bideford, in Devonshire.
Lastly, in the prose
French and English Brut, whether manuscript or printed, and in the romance of Arthur in the Red Book of Bath, Arthur is said to cause the bodies of Gawayne and Augusel to be taken to Scotland, their native country.
The alliterative Scotish romance of Morte Arthure, in the library of Lincoln Cathedral, marked A. 1. 17, is very much amplified in its account of the destruction of the Round Table, and does not agree with any other authority I have consulted*. The British forces enter the harbour of Southampton, and Gawayne jumps into the water, "in alle his gylte wedys," attacks the Danish auxiliaries, and kills their leader, the king of Gothland. He then with a small band of followers advances against Mordred, and fights with his usual impetuosity.
In to pe hale bataile hedlynges he rynnys,
And hurtes of pe hardieste pat one the erthe lenges,
And for wondsome and wille alle his wit failede,
That wode alles a wylde beste he wente at pe gayneste,
At length he encounters the traitor chief, and wounds him severely, but in the act of finishing the contest with a "shorte knyfe," the weapon slips on the mail, and his adversary instantly takes advantage of the accident, and strikes him through the helm to the brain.
And thus Syr Gawayne es gone, the gude man of armes,
It is a singular circumstance that it often coincides verbally with Malory's prose version, and the episode of Gawayne and Priamus is found in both, and no where else.
Of Glamour, of Galys londe, pis galyarde knyghtes,
For glent of gloppyngnyng glade be they neuer !-fol. 93o.
King "Froderike of Fres" comes up, and inquires of Mordred who the knight was that had felled so many of his men, and now lay deprived of life? The reply is worthy of transcription, as a summary of the knightly qualities for which our Hero was distinguished.
Than Syr Modrede wt mouthe melis fulle faire :-
And the hendeste in hawle vndire heuene-riche;
The lordelieste of ledynge, qwhylles he iyffe myghte,
Fore he was lyone allossede in londes inewe.
Had thou knawene hym, syr kynge, in kythe thare he lengede,
His konynge, his knyghthode, his kyndly werkes,
His doyng, his doughtynesse, his dedis of armes,
Thow wolde hafe dole for his dede the dayes of thy lyfe!"-fol. 93.
Mordred having thus borne testimony to the worth of his fallen foe and brother, sheds tears, and moves away, cursing the time his fate was shaped to work such unhappiness. Arthur afterwards causes the body of Gawayne to be honorably conveyed to Winchester, where it is received by a procession of the prior and monks, and they are charged by the king to observe every funereal solemnity,
Lokis it be clanly kepyd, he said, and in the kirke holdene,
Done for dergese, as to the ded fallys;
Menskede wt messes, for mede of the saule.
Loke it wante no waxe, ne no wirchipe elles,
And at the body be baarmede, and one erthe holdene.—fol. 95.
I have now traced the history of Sir Gawayne from his birth to his burial-place, and might gladly have wished to let him rest
in peace, but this is forbidden. Subsequently to the completion of the romances by Robert de Borron and Map appeared a new work, the object of which was to introduce a knight of the Round Table, unknown and unnoticed by the preceding writers on the subject*. This was the famous Tristan, whose amour with the fair Iseult and feats of arms, told as they were in the inimitable style of the bon vieux François, found subsequently such favor with the world, as completely to eclipse the earlier romance compositions. The first portion of this work was written by Luces de Gast†, in the time of Henry the Second, and the concluding part by Helie de Borron, in the reign of Henry the Third. Both are animated by the same spirit,-that of vilifying the lineage of king Loth, and more particularly the fame and deeds of Gawayne. Among other fictions unknown to previous writers, they feign a hostility between the sons of king Pellinor and the children of Loth, and take every opportunity of praising the latter at the expense of the former‡. Pellinor is said to have put king Loth to death, and is killed in return by Gawayne. Lamorat de Galles, the eldest son of Pellinor, and brother of
The fact of the more recent composition of the Tristan is, I think, indisputable. It is perfectly incredible, had he been previously celebrated, that no mention should be made of him by Robert de Borron and Map. These were also the sentiments of my learned friend M. Paulin Paris, in the first volume of his interesting work, Les Manuscrits François de la Bibliothèque du Roi, pp. 194-198, but in his second volume, p. 352, he retracts this opinion, and says he founded his arguments on the second portion of Tristan, composed at a later epoch. But the same conclusions may equally be drawn from the first part, in which the direct allusions to the Roman de Lancelot are frequent. To give a single instance. In the Lancelot, vol. i. f. clxxvi., is an account of Gawayne being carried off by a giant named Karados; and in the Tristan the same event is noticed as having previously occurred, vol. i. f. xlv. (MS. Harl. 49, fol. 105b.)
+ The Abbé de la Rue conjectures that he possessed the seignory of the territory of Gast, in the canton of St. Sevère, department of Calvados. Essais sur les Bardes, ii. 231. This requires confirmation, but merits inquiry.
See the indignant remarks of Southey on the Tristan, in his Preface to Morte d'Arthur, p. xvi.
Perceval, intrigues with the Lady of Orkney, the mother of our hero, and is slain by her sons, for which act of retributive justice Gawayne is severely censured. Indeed whenever Gawayne is mentioned, it is only to represent him under circumstances of defeat and disgrace, or to calumniate him. The manuscripts of this work are fuller, by one half, than the printed editions, and contain an additional quantity of misrepresentation*. To the same author who completed the Tristan we are indebted for a huge compilation intitled Gyron le Courtois, in which the exploits of Gyron, Meliadus, Branor le Brun, the Chevalier sans Peur, and a fresh race of worthies are commemorated, to whom even the Lancelots and Tristans are represented as inferior. Of course Sir Gawayne occupies here a very inferior grade, and is so changed from the all-conquering hero of the Merlin, as scarcely to be recognised. From this compilation, as well as from the prior works of Robert de Borron and Map, was formed the abridgment made by Rusticien de Pise in the reign of Edward the First; and in the course of the succeeding two centuries other compilers arose, who selected what portions they pleased, and formed them into distinct bodies of romance. These more recent compilations must be regarded as the immediate originals of the romances printed under the titles of Gyron le Courtois and Meliadus de Léonnois. The former of these first issued from the press of Verard, and represents with tolerable accuracy a portion of Rusticien's work. In this Sir Gawayne is only mentioned on two occasions, and in both passages as a vanquished knight. In the Meliadust he is oftener introduced, but without a much greater
MSS. of the prose Tristan are rare in the libraries of Great Britain. In the British Museum are only three copies of portions of the first part, and two copies of the second part. The complete text, I believe, is in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart.
+ The author of this romance frequently refers to the Tristan, the Lancelot, the Perceval, and the Gyron. M. Paris is inclined to refer its compilation to the commencement of the