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over, he is a heretic and believes in the Devil, while she has been soundly converted to the faith. Finally, she offers him the choice of two things, either to believe or to be slain. The Old Man, very wroth, orders the Khalif to kill his daughter, but the Khalif, despising his threats, draws a large knife and stabs the Old Man in the belly.
Old men's tales are not only genealogical, redounding to the credit, or otherwise, of somebody's father or grandfather, but they are wont to be in
ordinately spun out. This frailty is reflected in the last state of the mediaeval epic. Literary old age, unable to produce fresh masterpieces, revels in encyclopaedic compilations. The Entrie de Spagne, for instance, is a hash of Roland, Ferragus, and the Prise de Nobles, very long (especially if we include the sequel), but by no means deficient in imagination or power of expression. This epic belongs to a class of poems composed in the north of Italy rather as rivals than as reproductions of native French verse, and merits, if only for this reason, particular attention.
Intellectually, Northern or "High" Italy was the "Italia irredenta" of the close of the Middle Age. Framo-itaiian The long array of trovatori, with Sordello epics. aj. their head, poetising in the Provencal
tongue, found in Lombardy their chief home and sphere. There also flourished a learned Latin literature which, in several not unimportant points, forestalled the classical revival inaugurated by Petrarch and Boccaccio. The North-French epic was transferred, not merely as matikre, but organically, to the same hospitable region, where, it is hardly too much to say, it enjoyed a second summer. The cultivation of this art takes different forms, and presents in the various specimens different degrees of perfection, but in all are discoverable native elements, not always of the same kind, attesting the nationality of the cultivators. In the Italian MSS. of Aliscans and Aspremont, preserved in the Biblioteca Marciana at Venice, the text is disfigured by Italian dialectal peculiarities, while Gui de Nanteuil contains an introduction of a thousand lines, for which the responsibility rests entirely with the copyist.
The Entrte de Spagne1 belongs to the later type of French chansons, of which Huon de Bordeaux may be The Entree de taken as a sample, and which exhibits a spagne. blending of the spirit of the Crusades with the Arthurian legends. Eoland, without his uncle's knowledge, storms the city of Nobles, and on his return is cuffed by the indignant Charlemagne. Stung by this insult, Eoland quits the camp and travels in Persia and the Holy Land. He performs all manner of doughty deeds, and converts heathen Soldans to Christianity. In the desert he is warned by a hermit, whom an angel has inspired to this effect, that he has seven years yet to live, that he is destined to conquer Spain, and finally to die by the hand of a traitor. The
1 A full account of the Entree de Spagne is given by Gautier in Bibliothique de I'Ecole des Ohartes, 4th series, vol. iv. p. '217, &c.; the Prise de Pampelunc has been published by Mussafia in Altfranzosische Ocdichte cms Venetian. HSS., Vienna, 1864.
Italian authorship is betrayed in the episode of Koland's visit to Rome, where he receives from the Pope an army of twenty thousand warriors; and these he leads in battle as a Eoman senator.
Turning to the sister epic, the Prise, de Pampeiune, the title is not very happily chosen, inasmuch as only ne prise de the commencement of the poem is occupied Pampeiune. with this incident, and the commencement, it happens, has been lost. The propriety of the title may be debated the more freely, as it was bestowed in quite modern times by Michelant. Although not by the same hand, it is practically a continuation of the Entrie de Spagne, and its theme is the capture of several towns, not merely that of Pampelufia. The work is much inferior to its predecessor. Very wordy, and altogether lacking in freshness, artistically it is little better than a rhyming chronicle, while of no value as a record of facts. The prominence of Desirier (Desiderio), who in the purely French chansons has no share in the conquest of Spain, is an evidence of the writer's Lombard origin. Desirier is the hero of the Prise de Pampeiune; and when he comes to ask a favour of the emperor, he craves that the Lombards may ever retain their freedom, and that any Lombard, irrespective of birth, may have power to become a knight.
The same actors figure in both poems, and of these one now assumes an importance destined to be perpetuated in Italian epics of chivalrv. This
EsUml. . _ , \
is Estout, the wag or humorist of the companionship of Charlemagne. Whimsical as he is, Estout wants neither courage nor prudence. On one occasion he captures a town on his own account, and as a huge jest refuses admittance to the Christian host. Charlemagne pleads to be let in:—
"Bieus sire Hestous, pour amour vous prion
Estout curtly rejects his entreaty, and it is only through Eoland's diplomacy that the rogue is induced to yield. When affairs are critical, however, this bizarre campaigner is the soul of caution.
Naturalised in Tuscan folk-tale, Estout reappears in the poems of Boiardo and Ariosto as Astolfo the Englishman. How did Astolfo become English? In the purely French narratives he is Duke of Langres, and nothing is said as to his English extraction. The answer to the question witnesses to the influence of these Franco-Italian compositions on the development of the Carlovingian epic. The Anglicising of Astolfo is due to error or forgetfulness on the part of the author or transcriber of the Untrue de Spagne. At first Estout appears as de Lengres and Lengrois. Then he is designated de Lengles and Lenglois; and Lenglois, by psychological necessity, is improved into L'Englois, as more striking and intelligible.
It has been stated that the Entrie de Spagne and the Prise de Pampehine are distinct in their origin. Authorship of The precise relations between the poems the ro«m. seem to be as follows. The last hundred and thirty-one lines of MS. xxi. of the Entrie de Spagne are probably by the author of the Prise de Pampelune. All that is known of the author of the Entree de Spagne is his own statement that he was a Paduan. The writer of the postscript calls himself Nicola, and it is not unlikely that he is the same with one Nicola di Verona, who, in a Franco-Italian poem on the Passion, alludes to narrative verse written by him in the French language. Both epics are in monorhymed tirades. A shorter composition, the Roman d'Hector, like the more famous Roman de Troie of Benoit de Sainte-More, is in rhymed couplets of eight syllables, and, being concerned with the early exploits of the hero, may be cited as an instance of enfances in Franco-Italian verse.
It is necessary to insist on the Italian element, as it is by no means represented solely by the writers' nativity, or their natural predilection for the land of their birth. By these circumstances the language is more or less modified — the Entree less, the Prise more—and the degree of modification was no doubt determined by the status and education of author and audience. In general, it is safe to assume that the epic - writers never attained to the distinction of the Italian trovatori, and often were little, if at all, superior to the common balladsinger. Two citations, one from a cyclical FrancoItalian Bueve de Hanstone, and the other from a Bovo d'Antona in the Venetian dialect slightly tinctured with French, will serve to illustrate the possible variations. On the score of art both must