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Here are therefore three pofitions, to which I shall say a few words in their order; but I think it proper to premise a sort of defiuition of a Romance of Chivalry. If Dr. W. had done the fame, he must have seen the hazard of systematizing in a subject of such extent, upon a cursory perusal of a few modero books, which indeed ought not to have been quoted in the discussion of a queftion of antiquity.
A romance of chivalry therefore, according to my notion, is any fabulons narration, in verse or prose, in which ihe principal characters are knights, condu&ing themselves in their leveral fituations and adventures, agreeably to the institutions and customs of Chivalry. Whatever names the chara&ers may bear, whether historical or fi&itious, and in whatever country, or age, the scene of the adion may be laid, if the actors are represented as knights, I should call such a fable a Romance of Chivalry.
I am not aware that this definition is more comprehensive than it ought to be: but, let it be narrowed ever so much; let any other be substituted in its room; Dr. W's first polition, that 10mances of chivalry were of Spanish original, cannot be maintained. Monheur Huet would have taught bim better. He says very truly, that “ les plus vieux," of the Spanish romances, “ font pofterieurs à nos Triftans do à nos Lancelots, de quelques centaines d'années. In. deed the faa is indisputable. Cervantes, in a paflage 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 rou mances were generally of the country of Spain, is as unfortunate as. the former. Whoever will take ihe second volume of Du Fresnoy's Bibliothèque des Romans, and look over his lists of Romans de Cheva. lerie, will see that not one of the celebrated heroes of the old ro. mances was a Spaniard. With respect to the general scene of fuch irregular and capricious fidions, the writers of which were used, literally, to “ give to airy nothing, a
ocal habitation and a dame, 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 affert, in direa contradition to Dr. W. that the scene of them was not genea Tally 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 crum Jades of the European Chriflians, against the Saracens of Afia and Vol. VII.
Africa, might be admitted with a small amendment. If it food thus ; the subječt 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 fhould be received as axioms. He begins his illustration of his third position, hy repeating it ( with a little change of terms, for a reason which will appear.)
Indood the wars of the Christians against the Pagans were the general subje&t 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 Atchievements 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 Paşans; 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 crufade, nor a single Saracen in his whole hiftory; which indeed ends before Mahomet was born. I muft observe too, that the speaking of Turpin's history under the title of " the History of the Atchicvcments of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers," is inaccurate and unfcholarlike, as the fi&tion of a limited number of twelve peers is of a diuch later date than that history.
However, the gronnd-work of the romances of chivalry being thus marked out and determined, one might naturally exped some account of the first builders and their edifices ; but instead of that we have a digreffion upon Oliver and Roland, in which an attempt is made to say fomedhing of those two famous characters, not from the old romances, but from Shaktpeare, and Don Quixote, and some modern Spanish romances, My learned friend, the dean of Carlisle, has taken notice of the strauge mistake of Dr. W. in suppoling 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 fuspeå 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 Gre recorded under the name of Roldan el Encantador. Dr. W.'s authority for this affertion was, I apprehend, the following passage of Cervantes, in the first chapter of Don Quixote. Mejor ejtava con Bernardo del Carpio, porque en Roncesvalles avia muerto á Roldan el Encantado, valiendose de la industria de Hercules, quando ahogó á Anicou 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 10 the fubjeđ of the old romances in the following manner. 6. 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. According to all common rules of conftru&ion, I think the latter sentence must be'understood to . imply, that A mailis de Gaula was one of the eluier romances, and that the subje& 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,
maît be considered as a very modern one; and the subjed of it has not the least connedion with any driving of the Saracens whatsoever. But what follows is fill more extraordinary. " When this subje&t 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 inhofpitable guests ; by the excitements of the popes, they carried their arms. against them into Greece and Afia, to support the Byzantine empire, and recover the holy Sepulchre. This vave birth to a new tribe of romances, which we may call of the second iace or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, fu, correfpondently to the fubjefl, Amadis de Græcia was ai ihe head of the latter." It is imposible I apprehend, to refer this subje&t to any autecedent but that in the paragraph last quoted, viz. the driving of ine Saracens vul of France and Spain. So that, according to one part of the hypothefis here laid down, the subject of the driving the Saracens out of France and Spajn, was well exhaufted by the old romances (with Amadis de Gaula at the head of them) before the Crufudrs; the firit of which is generally placed in the year 1095: and, according to the latter part, the crufades happened in. the interval between Amadis de Gaula, and Amadis de Gracia; a space of twenty, thirv, or at most fifty years, to be reckoned backwards from the year 1532, in which year an edition of Amadis de Gracia is mentioned by Du Frefroy. What induced Dr. W. 10 place Amadis de Gracia at the head of his second race or class of romances, I cannot guess. . The fa& is, that Amadis de Græcia is no more concerned in supporting the Byzantine 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 Gracia, through more than nine' tentlis of his hiftory, is himself a declared Pagan.
And here ends Dr. W.'s account of ihe old romances of chivalry, which he supposes to have had their ground-work in Tuijin's bil. tory. Before he proceeds to the others, which had their grounda 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 pilgrimage's; which indeed have a cajt peculiar to the wild imagination of the eaftern people. We have a proof of this in the Travels of Sir J. Maunderile. He then gives us a story of an enchanted dragon in the itc 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 chivalıy for above two hundred years before, were brought by travellers from the Eaft! The proof is certainly not conclusive, On the other hand, I believe it would be easy to show, that, at the time wlien romances of chivalry began, our Europe liad a very sufficient stock of lies of her own growih, to furnish materials for every, variety of monstrous embellishment. At most times, I conceive, and in moft countries, imported lics are rather for luxury than neccflity.
Dr. W.comes now to that other ground-work of the old romances, our Geoffry of Monmouth. And bim he dispatches very fhortly, bea cause, as has been observed before, it is imposible to find any thing in liim 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 iomances, and not from Geoffry's own book. As to the doubt, “ Hihether it was by blunder or design that they changed the Saxons to Saracens," I should wish to poftpone the confideration of it, till we have some Spanilh 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 fads and arguments, which Dr. W. has adyanced in support of his tàird po. fition. In support of his two firfi positions, as I have observed already, he has said nothing; and indeed nothing can be said. The remainder of his note contains another hypoihesis concerning the ftrange 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 subjed is to be received with caution. s hall only take a little notice of one or two fa&s, with which he sets out. -"In these old romances there was much religious fuperftition 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 Greal So another is called Kyrie eleison 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 ipto the common romance of king Arthur, will be of opinion, that the part relating to the Saint Greal 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 Montauban, there is no reason to believe that any romance with that title ever existed. This is the mistake, which, as was hinied above, Dr. W. appears to liave borrowed from Huet. The reader will judge. Huel is giving an account of the romances in Don Quixote's library, which the curate and barber faved from the flames. -- " Ceux qu'ils jugent dignes d'être gardés sont les quatre livres d'Amadis de Gaule, -- Palmeria d'Angleterre,
Don Belianis ; le miroir de chevalerie; Tirante le blanc, & Kyrie eleison de Montauban (car au bon vieux temps on croyoit que Kyrie éleison & Paralipomenon étoient les noms de quelques saints ) où les fubtilités de la Demoiselle Plaisr-de-ma-vie, & les tromperies de la Veuve reposee, font 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 fentence, from this passage of Huet, though he has improved upon his original by iotroducing a saint Deuteronomy, upon what authority I know not. It is still more evident (from the pas. fage of Cervantes, which is quoted below *) that Huet was mistaken in supposing Kyrie eleison de Montauban to be the name of a separate
He might as well have made La Demoiselle Plaisr-de-mavie and La Veuve reposée the names of separate romances. All three are merely characters in the romance' of Tirante le Blanc. Aud fo 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. Tyrwbitt's judicious observations upon it have given it a value wbich 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 accidentally 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, Funeribus fa&a eft nunc pretiosa suis. MALONE. * Don Quix. lib. 1. c. 6. " Valame Dios, dixo el Cura, dando una. gran voz, que aquí está Tirante el Blanco ! Dadmele aca, compadre, que hago cuenta que he hallado en el un teioro de contento, y una mina de pasatiempos. Aqui está Dan Quirieleyfon de Montalvan, valeroso Cavallero, y su hermano Tomas de Montalvan, y el Cavallero Fonseca, con la batalla que el valiente de Tirante hizo con el alano, y las agudezas de la Donzella Plazerdemivida, con los amores, y embuftes de la viuda Reposada, y la Segnora Emperatriz, enamorada de Hippolito fu cfcudero.”
Aqui está Don Quirieleyfon, &c. HERE, i. e. in the romance of Tirante el Blanco, is Don Quirieleyfon, &c.