« السابقةمتابعة »
at his tablz eend *." And a little further on, among the books which the same worthy had "at hiz fingers endz," he mentions "Syr Isenbras, Syr Gawyn, and Olyver of the Castl." Indeed there can be little doubt that Sir Gawayne was the prototype which furnished to Spenser the character of his Sir Calidore,
In whom it seemes that gentleness of spright
And manners mylde were planted naturall,
And gracious speach, did steale mens hearts away;
And well approv'd in batteilous affray,
That him did much renowme, and far his fame display.
Having dwelt so long on the subject of our Hero's fame in England, it is scarcely necessary to add, that in southern Scotland the popularity of his exploits could not have been less, since he there was claimed as one of their own chieftains, the Lord of Galloway. The Scotish poems published in the present volume will best show how he was regarded by the writers of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but they also prove, that these writers were indebted to Anglo-Norman romance-literature for nearly all that they knew of him. This is an important fact in the history of Scotish literature, and hitherto has not received the attention it deserves. The same remark may extend to Wales, as proved by the publication of the Mabinogion.
If we now look towards Germany, we shall find at an early period the romances of the Round Table received there, as borrowed from the French originals. Hartman von Owe translated the Chevalier au Lion at the commencement of the thirteenth century†,
Letter on the entertainment of the Queen at Kenilworth, p. 34, 1575. 12mo. Oliver of the Castle is a mistake for, or corruption of, Oliver of Castille.
↑ Printed in Müller's Sammlung, vol. ii. 4to, 1785.
and at the same period Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his romances of Parzival and Titurel from the authority of Kyot of Provence*. The proper names in these are very much altered, and other liberties taken, but in the German Parzival, as in the French text, Sir Gawayne occupies the larger share of the poem. Goldast in his Parænetica, p. 377, quotes a distich from a German poem intitled by him Historia Gewani, but in all probability it is taken from the Parzivalt. In the "Altdeutsche Blätter" are also printed three fragments of old German romances from MSS. of the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, relating to Gawayne, but it is doubtful to what works they belong. The same personage is mentioned in the romance of Lohengrin, which belongs to the same cycles, as well as in the romance of Wigolais, by Wirnt von Gravenberg, of which I have spoken in my Notes, (p. 347.) Towards the end of the fifteenth century a cyclic compilation from the Round Table narratives was made by Ulrich Fürterer, a poet of Bavaria, and the work is still preserved in manuscript at Munich and Vienna.
Among the Flemish poets the adventures of Gawayne were equally well known, and at as early a period. They are referred to by Jacob von Maerlant, (who died about the year 1300,) in his Alexandreis, and also by Jan de Helu, who was his contemporary, and by Jan de Clerk, who died in 1350¶. Besides these inci
* Printed in the edition of Eschenbach's works by Lachmann, 8vo, Berl. 1833. The Parzival consists of 24,678 lines.
↑ See Von der Hagen's Grundriss zur Geschichte der Deutschen Poesie, p. 122, 8vo, Berl.
Vol. ii. pp. 148-159, 8vo, Leipz. 1838.
§ Edited by J. Görres, from a MS. in the Vatican, 8vo, Heidelb. 1813. In this, Sygelint, daughter of Gawayne, is noticed.
Von der Hagen Grundr. etc., p. 153. See also Altdeutsche Gedichte aus den Zeiten der Tafelrunde, v. F. F. Hofstäter, 2 Thl. 12mo, Wien, 1811.
¶ See Hoffman's Horae Belgicae, pt. i. pp. 48, 52, 8vo, 1830; and Mone's Übersicht der Niederländischen Volks-Literatur, p. 38, 8vo, Tüb. 1838.
dental passages, a poem consisting of 11,300 lines is extant, composed by Penninc and Peter Vostaert in the fourteenth century, in which the exploits of Gawayne are principally narrated, and which is, doubtless, a translation of the French Perceval*. Even in the remoter regions of the North, the romances of Perceval, Ywaine, Erec and Enide, Tristan, and many more of French origin, found their way, and Icelandic versions of them are still preserved in the libraries of Stockholm, Copenhagen, and the British Museum. In the list given by Müller in his Sagabibliothek, vol. iii. p. 484, I find "Valvent, Artus Kappa, Saga," or Romance of Gawayne, Arthur's knight, and in the Additional MSS. in the British Museum, No. 4859, is preserved a transcript, with the title, "Nu byriast Valvers [Valvens] pattur, sem var eirn af Artus Kauppum." It consists only of five chapters, and is evidently a short compilation from the Perceval.
In the southern countries of Europe the Round Table romances seem, comparatively speaking, to have been in far less repute. The Italians, indeed, had translations of the Merlin, the Lancelot, and the Tristan, but, with the exception of the last, they were never generally read, but gave way to the more popular romances of Charlemagne and his Douze Pairs†. Ariosto, however, takes occasion to eulogise the chivalry of Britain :
Gran cose in essa già fece Tristano,
Lancilotto, Galasso [Galeotto,] Artù, e Galvano.
Orlando Furioso, Canto iv. st. 52.
And another writer of more recent date, Brusantino, in his Angelica Innamorata, also says,
• Consult the last cited works. Vostaert seems to have completed the poem in the year
+ See Panizzi's Boiardo ed Ariosto, Essay, p. 151, 12mo, 1830.