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mances, the scenes and subjects of their several stories: Ariosto choosing the first, the Saracens in France and Spain; and Tasso, the latter, the Crusade against them in Asia: -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 make 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, &c. the invention of the romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pilgrimages; which indeed have a cast peculiar to the wild imaginations of the eastern people. We have a proof of this in the travels of Sir John Maundeville, 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 wist not of the dragoun, went out of the schipp, and went through the isle, till that he cam to the castelle, and cam into the cave; and went so longe till that he fond a chambre, and there he saughe a damyselle, that kembed hire hede, and lokede in a myrour: and sche hadde moche tresoure abouten hire: and he trowed that sche hadde ben a comoun woman, that dwelled there to receive men to folye. And he abode till the damyselle saughe the schadowe of him in the myrour. And sche turned hire toward him, and asked him what he wolde. And he seyde, he wolde ben hire limman or paramour. And sche asked him, if that he were a knyghte. And he sayde, nay. And then sche sayde, that he might not ben hire limman. But sche bad him gon azen unto his felowes, and make him knyghte, and come azen upon the morwe, and sche scholde come out of her cave before him; and thanne come and kysse hire on the mowth and have no drede. For I schalle do the no maner harm, alle be it that thou see me in lykeness of a dragoun. For thoughe thou see me hideous and horrible to loken onne, I do the to wytene that it is made be enchauntement. For withouten doubte, I am none other than thou seest now, a woman; and herefore drede the noughte. And zyf thou kysse me, thou schalt have all this tresoure, and be my lord, and lord also of all that isle. And he departed," &c. p. 29, 30, ed. 1725. Here we see the very spirit of a romance adventure. This honest traveller believed it all, and so, it seems, did the people of the isle. "And some men seyne (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 they of the isles callen hire, 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, 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 Shakspeare 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 career, or confine themselves within the lists of the terra firma. From him, therefore, the Spanish romances 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 same subject, (essential to books of chivalry) the wars of Christians against Infidels. And, whether it was by blunder or design, they changed the Saxons into Saracens. I suspect by design; for chivalry without a Saracen was so very lame and imperfect a thing, that even the 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, Saricino 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 Launcelot of the Lake and King Arthur and his Knights, is called The History of Saint Greaal. This saint 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 the 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 a devil, they never wanted for the marvellous. In the old romance of Launcelot of the Lake, we have the doctrine and discipline of the church as formally delivered as in Bellarmine himself: "Là confession (says the preacher) ne vaut rien si le cœur n'est repentant; et si tu es moult & eloigné de l'amour de nostre Seigneur, tu ne peus estre recordé si non par trois choses: premierement par la confession de bouche; secondement par une contrition de cœur; tiercement par peine de cœur, & par oeuvre d'aumône & charité. Telle este la droite voye d'aimer Dieu. Or va & si te confesse en cette maniere & recois la discipline des mains de tes confesseurs, car c'est le signe de merite.-Or mande le roy ses evesques, dont grande partie avoit en l'ost, & vinrent tous en sa chapelle. Le roy vint devant eux tout nud en pleurant, & tenant son plein point de vint menuës verges, si les jetta devant

*For it is not to be supposed, that these Children of Fancy, as Shakspeare calls them, insinuating thereby that fancy hath its infancy as well as manhood, should stop" &c.] I cannot conceive how Shakspeare, by calling Armado the Child of Fancy, insinuates that fancy hath its infancy as well as manhood. The showing that a woman had a child, would be a strange way of proving her in her infancy.-By calling Armado the Child of Fancy, Shakspeare means only to describe him as fantastical, M. Mason.

eux, & leur dit en soupirant, qu'ils prissent de luy vengeance, car je suis le plus vil pecheur, &c.-Apres prinst discipline & d'eux & moult doucement la receut." Hence we find the divinity lectures of Don Quixote, and the penance of his 'squire, are both of them in the ritual of chivalry. Lastly, we find the knight-errant, after much turmoil to himself, and disturbance to the world, frequently ended his course, like Charles V of Spain, in a monastery; or turned Hermit, and became a saint in good earnest. And this again will let us into the spirit of those dialogues between Sancho and his master, where it is gravely debated whether he should not turn saint or archbishop.

There were several causes of this strange jumble of nonsense and religion. As first, the nature of the subject, which was a religious war or crusade; secondly, the quality of the first writers, who were religious men; and thirdly, the end of writing many of them, which was to carry on a religious purpose. We learn, that Clement V, interdicted justs and tournaments, because he understood they had much hindered the crusade decreed in the council of Vienna. "Torneamenta ipsa & hastiludia sive juxtas in regnis Franciæ, Angliæ, & Almanniæ, & aliis nonnullis provinciis, in quibus ea consuevere frequentiús exerceri, specialiter interdixit." Extrav. de Torneamentis C. unic. temp. Ed. 1. ligious men, I conceive, therefore, might think to forward the design of the crusades by turning the fondness for tilts and tournaments into that channel. Hence we see the books of knight. errantry so full of solemn justs and torneaments held at Trebizonde, Bizance, Tripoly, &c. Which wise project, I apprehend, it was Cervantes's intention to ridicule, where he makes his knight purpose it as the best means of subduing the Turk, to assemble all the knights-errant together by proclamation.*



It is generally agreed, I believe, that this long note of Dr. Warburton's is, at least, very much misplaced. There is not a single passage in the character of Armado, that has the least relation to any story in any romance of chivalry. With what propriety, therefore, a dissertation on the origin and nature of those romances is here introduced, I cannot see; and I should humbly advise the next editor of Shakspeare to omit it. That he may have the less scruple upon that head, I shall take this opportunity of throwing out a few remarks, which, I think, will be sufficient to show, that the learned writer's hypothesis was formed upon a very hasty and imperfect view of the subject.

At setting out, in order to give a greater value to the information which is to follow, he tells us, that no other writer has given any tolerable account of this matter; and particularly, that "Monsieur Huet, the Bishop of Avranches, who wrote a formal treatise of the Origin of Romances, has said little or nothing of these [books of chivalry] in that superficial work."-The fact is

See Part II, 1. 5, c. 1.

true, that Monsieur Huet has said very little of Romances of Chivalry; but the imputation, with which Dr. W. proceeds to load him, of-" putting the change upon his reader," and " dropping his proper subject" for another, "that had no relation to it more than in the name," is unfounded.

It appears plainly from Huet's introductory address to De Segrais, that his object was to give some account of those romances which were then popular in France, such as the Astrée of D'Urfé, the Grand Cyrus of De Scuderi, &c. He defines the Romances of which he means to treat, to be fictions des avantures amoureuses; and he excludes epic poems from the number, because "Enfin les poëmes ont pour sujet une action militaire ou politique, et ne traitent d'amour que par occasion; les Romans au contraire ont l'amour pour sujet principal, et ne traitent la politique et la guerre que par incident. Je parle des Romans réguliers; car la plupart des vieux Romans François, Italiens, et Espagnols sont bien moins amoureux que militaires." After this declaration, surely no one has a right to complain of the author for not treating more at large of the old romances of chivalry, or to stigmatise his work as superficial, upon account of that omission. I shall have occasion to remark below, that Dr. W. who, in turning over this superficial work, (as he is pleased to call it). seems to have shut his eyes against every ray of good sense and just observation, has condescended to borrow from it a very gross


Dr. W.'s own positions, to the support of which his subsequent facts and arguments might be expected to apply, are two: 1. That Romances of Chivalry being of Spanish original, the heroes and the scene were generally of that country; 2. That the subject of these Romances were the crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Asia and Africa. The first position, being complicated, should be divided into the two following: 1. That Romances of Chivalry were of Spanish original; 2. That the heroes and the scene of them were generally of that country.

Here are therefore three positions, to which I shall say a few words in their order; but I think it proper to premise a sort of definition of a Romance of Chivalry: if Dr. W. had done the same, he must have seen the hazard of systematizing in a subject of such extent, upon a cursory perusal of a few modern books, which indeed ought not to have been quoted in the discussion of a question of antiquity.

A Romance of Chivalry, therefore, according to my notion, is any fabulous narration, in verse or prose, in which the principal characters are knights, conducting themselves in their several situations and adventures, agreeably to the institutions and customs of Chivalry. Whatever names the characters may bear, whether historical or fictitious, and in whatever country or age, the scene of the action 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

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other be substituted in its room; Dr. W.'s first position, that Romances of Chivalry were of Spanish original, cannot be maintained. Monsieur Huet would have taught him better. He says very truly, that "les plus vieux," of the Spanish romances, posterieurs à nos Tristans et à nos Lancelots, de quelques centaines d'années." Indeed the fact is indisputable. Cervantes, in a passage 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 romances were generally of the country of Spain, is as unfortunate as the former. Whoever will take the second volume of Du Fresnoy's Bibliotheque des Romans, and look over his lists of Romans de Chevalerie, will see that not one of the celebrated heroes of the old romances was a Spaniard. With respect to the general scene of such irregular and capricious fictions, the writers of which were used, literally, to "give to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name," 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 assert, in direct contradiction to Dr. W. that the scene of them was not generally 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 crusades of the European Christians, against the Saracens of Asia and Africa, might be admitted with a small amendment. If it stood thus: the subject 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 should be received as axioms. He begins his illustration of his third position, by repeating it, with a little change of terms, for a reason which will appear. "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 ground-work in two fabulous monkish historians, the one, who, under the name of Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, wrote The History and Achievements 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 Pagans; 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 crusade, nor a single Saracen in his whole history; which indeed ends before Mahomet was

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