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Bravery. A bravery our Shakespear makes their characteristic, in this description of a Spanish Gentleman:

A Man of compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chose as Umpire of their mutiny :
This Child of fancy, that Armado bight,
For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a Knight,

From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate. The sense of which is to this effect: This Gentleman, says the speaker, shall relate to us the celebrated Stories recorded in the old Romances, and in their very stile. Why he says, from tawny Spain, is because, these Romances being of Spanish Original, the Heroes and the Scene were generally of that country. He says, lost in the world's debate, because the subject of those Romances were the Crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Afic and Africa.

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 groundwork in two fabulous monkish Historians : The one, who, under the name of Turpin Archbishop of Rheims, wrote the History and Archievements of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers; to whom, instead of his father, they asiigned the task of driving the Saracens out of France and the South parts of Spain: the other, our Geoffry of Monmouth.

Two of those Peers, whom the old Romances have rendered most famous, were Oliver and Rowland. Hence Shakespear makes Alanson, in the first part of Henry VI. say, “ Froj fard, a countryman of ours, records, England Call Olivers and Rowlands bred, during the timeEdward is the Third did reign.” 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; and in that of Palmerin de Oliva, or

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împly Oliva, those of Oliver : for Oliva is the same in Spanish as Olivier is in French. The account of their exploits is in the highest degree monstrous and extravagant, as appears from the judgment passed upon them by the Priest in Don Quixote, when he delivers the Knight's library to the secular-arm of the house-keeper, “ Exceptando à un Bernardo del Carpio

que anda por ay, y à otro llamado Roncesvalles;

que estos en llegando a mis manos, an de estar en “ las de la ama, y dellas en las del fuego sin remission

alguna”. ' And of Oliver he says; “ efla Oliva “ fe haga luego raxas, y se queme, que aun no queden " della las cenizas.2"

The reasonableness of this fentence may be partly seen from one story in the Bernardo del Carpio, which tells us, that the cleft called Roldan, to be seen on the summit of an high mountain in the kingdom of Valencia, near the town of Alicant, was made with a single back-stroke of that hero's broad sword. Hence came the proverbial expression of our plain and sensible Ancestors, who were much cooler readers of these extravagances than the Spaniards, of giving one a Rowland for his Oliver, that is, of matching one impossible lye with another; as, in French, faire le Roland means, to swagger. This driving the Saracens out of France and Spein, was, as we say, the subject of the elder Romances. And the first that was printed in Spain was the famous Amadis de Gaula, of which the Inquisitor Priest says; “ segun “ he oydo dezir, este libro fue el primero de Caval" lerias que se imprimiò en España, y todos los demás " an tomado principio y origen defte;" 3 and for which he humourously condemns it to the fire, como à Dogmatizador de una feta tan mala. When this subject was well exhausted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the faine nature. For after that the western parts had pretty well cleared themselves of 1 B. 1. c. 6. 2 Ibid.

these

3 Ibid.

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 race 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. Hence it is, we find, that Trebizonde is as celebrated in these Romances as Roncesvalles is in the other. It may be worth observing, that the two famous Italian epic poets, Ariosto and Taso, have borrowed, from each of these classes of old Romances, the scenes and subjects of their several stories : Ariosto choosing the first, the Saracens in France and Spain; and Taso, the latter, the Crusade against them in Afia: Ariosto's hero being Orlando or the French Roland: for as the Spaniards, by one way of transposing the letters, had made it Roldan, so the Italians, by another, made it Orland.

The main subject of these fooleries, as we have said, had its original in Turpin's famous history of Charlemagne and his twelve peers. Nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments, Esc. the invention of the Romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pilgrimages ; which indeed have a caft peculiar to the wild imaginations of the eastern people. We have a proof of this in the travels of Sir 7. Maundevile, whose excessive superstition and credulity, together with an impudent monkish addition to his genuine work, have made his veracity thought much worse of than it deserved. This voyager, speaking of the isle of Cos, in the Archipelago, tells the following story of an enchanted dragon. « And also a zonge Man, that “ wille not of the Dragoun, went out of a Schipp,

and went thorghe the Ife, till that he came to the Caftelle, and cam into the Cave; and went so longe

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6 till that he fond a Chambre, and there he laughe - a Damyselle, that kembed hire Hede, and lokede « in a Myrour: and fche hadde meche Tresoure " abouten hire : and he trowed that sche hadde ben a “ comoun Woman, that dwelled there to resceyve “ Men to Folye. And he abode, till the Damyselle,

saughe the schadewe of him in the Myrour. And « fche turned hire toward him, and asked him what « he wolde, And he seyde, he wolde ben hire Lim. « man or Paramour. And fche asked him, if that

he were a Knyghte. And he sayde, nay. And " then fche seyde, that he myghte nor ben hire " Limman. But sche bad him gon azen unto his “ Felowes, and make him Knighte, and come azen

upon the Morwe, and sche scholde come out of her “ Cave before him ; and thanne come and kysse hire " on the Mowthe and have no drede. For Í schalle “ do the no maner harm, alle be it that thou see me « in lykeness of a Dragoun. For thoughe thou see " me hideouse and horrible to loken onne, I do the

to wytene that it is made be Enchauntement. For 66 withouten doute, I am none other than thou seest “ now, a Woman ; and therefore drede the noughte. " And zif thou kysse me, thou schalt have alle this 66 Trefoure, and be my Lord, and Lord also of all 66 that Ine. And he departed, &c." p. 29, 30. Ed. 1725. Here we see the very spirit of a Romanceadventure. This honest traveller believed it all, and so, it seems, did the people of the isle. And some Men seyn (says he) that in the Isle of Lango is zit the Doughtre of Ypocras in forme and lykenesse of a gret Dragoun, that is an hundred Fadme in lengthe, as Men Seyn: For I have not seen hire. And thei of the Isles callen bire, Lady of the Land. We are not to think then, these kind of stories, believed by pilgrims and travellers, would have less credit either with the writers or readers of Romances : which humour of the times

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therefore may well account for their birth and favourable reception in the world.

The other monkish historian, who supplied the Romancers with materials, was our Geoffry of Monmouth. For it is not to be supposed, that these Children of Fancy (as Shakespear in the place quoted above finely calls them, insinuating that Fancy hath its infancy as well as manhood) should stop in the midst of so extraordinary a carrier, or confine themselves within the lists of the terra firma. From Him therefore the Spanish Romancers took the story of the British Arthur, and the Knights of his round-table, his wife Gueniver, and his conjurer Merlin. But still it was the fame subject, (effential to books of Chivalry) the Wars of Christians against Infidels. And whether it was by blunder or design they changed the Saxons into Sara

I suspect by design: For Chivalry without a Saracen was so very lame and imperfect a thing, that even that wooden Image, which turned round on an axis, and served the Knights to try their swords, and break their lances upon, was called, by the Italians. and Spaniards, Saracino and Sarazino; so closely were these two ideas connected.

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 Greaal. This St. Greaal was the famous relick of the holy blood pretended to be collected into a vessel by Joseph of Arimathea. So another is called Kyrie Eleison of Montauban. For in those days Deuteronomy and Paralipomenon were supposed to be the names of holy men. And as they made Saints of their Knights-errant, so they made Knights-errant of their tutelary Saints; and each nation advanced its own into the order of Chivalry. Thus every thing in those times being either a Saint

or

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