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E tra i pregiati Artù gia fu e Tristano,
E Bando, e Lancilotto, e 'l buon Galvano*.
But it was reserved for a native of Cremona, at the request of the Loredani family of Venice, to celebrate Arthur's courteous nephew in a distinct work. It is written in ottava rima, and was printed without date at Milan by Peter Martir and his associates, and intitled, "Libro novo de lo Inamoramento de Galvano, etc., composto da il laureato poeta Fossa da Cremona." By Ferrario it is assigned to Evangelista Fossa, but Count Melzi seems inclined to give it to Matteo Fossa, who died in 1516+. Both agree in stating that it is of extreme rarity, and extremely worthless.
Lastly, among the Greeks of the Eastern Empire we meet with the heroes of the Round Table, whose exploits must have been communicated to them in their intercourse with the Franks. This curious fact is proved by the fragment of a romance written in Greek political verses, a private impression of which was printed at Breslau in 1821, by Von der Hagen, and subsequently reprinted at the end of M. Michel's edition of Tristan, in 1835. Neither of these editors was aware of the fact, that the poem in question is only a portion of a longer romance, translated closely from the Gyron le Courtois of Helie de Borron or Rusticien de Pise, and consequently its composition cannot be assigned to so early a period as the twelfth century, but to the latter half of the thirteenth.
I have now only to add a few words respecting the execution of the present volume. The Glossary has cost considerable labor, and will, I trust, be considered of value, but to those who know
Cant. iii. st. 1, edit. 8vo, Vineg. 1553. No such personage as Bando occurs in the Arthurian romances.
+ See Storia degli antichi Romanzi di Cavalleria, vol. ii. p. 330, 8vo, 1828; and Melzi's Bibliografia de' Romanci, p. 320, 8vo, 1838.
the difficulties which attend the explanation of the Northern alliterative poems, its imperfections will not prove matter of surprise. I hope the time may arrive, when the whole of these poems still remaining in manuscript will be published, and I am confident, that until this preliminary step is accomplished, no complete Dictionary of the Northern English can be made. Jamieson's is, indeed, a work of great industry, and his collection of modern Scoticisms intitled to considerable praise; but as a critical or etymological guide to the Scotish and Northern dialect of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, it is miserably imperfect and inaccurate. A vicious theory pervades it throughout, which a more extensive acquaintance with the mass of vernacular literature still remaining inedited would, I am convinced, have excluded.
The poems here taken from original manuscripts are printed with a scrupulous regard to accuracy, and the abbreviations left as written, but, for the convenience of the reader, a list of these is annexed, and the words are written at length in the Glossary and Notes. The truth is, that editors of our old poetry have, with few exceptions, paid too little attention to the system of writing used by the early scribes, and the consequence is, that but a small portion of all that has been published will bear collation with the originals. I say this advisedly, having myself compared most of the poems edited by Ritson, Pinkerton, Weber, Percy, Ellis, Hartshorne, and others. It is time this were remedied.
I have added to the present Introduction, according to the excellent plan adopted by recent French writers, a description of the Manuscripts used by me, which may not be altogether devoid of interest.
For three of the transcripts from the Percy MS., my thanks are due in an especial manner to George Baker, Esq., the Historian