« הקודםהמשך »
were golden horses of a gigantic size, with riders of gold richly illuminated by the most serene meridian sun. A large company attempt to pass the bridge, with a design of stealing some pieces of the gold. Immediately the bridge rose from its foundations, and stood perpendicular on one end : a brazen man appeared from beneath it, who struck the water with a mace of brass, and the sky was overspread with the most horrible gloom. Gerbert, like some other learned necromancers of the Gothic ages, was supposed to have fabricated a brazen head under the influence of certain planets, which answered questions. But I forbear to suggest any more hints for a future collection of Arabian tales. I shall only add Malmesbury's account of the education of Gerbert, which is a curious illustration of what has been often inculcated in these volumes, concerning the introduction of romantic fiction into Europe'. « Gerbert, a native of “ France, went into Spain for the purpose of learning astrology, " and other sciences of that cast, of the Saracens; who, to “ this day, occupy the upper regions of Spain. They are seated “ in the metropolis of Seville; where, according to the cus“ tomary practice of their country, they study the arts of divi66 nation and enchantment. Here Gerbert foon exceeded
Ptolemy in the astrolabe, Alchind in astronomy, and Julius “ Firmicus in fatality. Here he learned the meaning of the
flight and language of birds, and was taught how to raise
spectres from hell. Here he acquired whatever human cu“ riosity has discovered for the destruction or convenience of “ mankind. I say nothing of his knowledge in arithmetic, " music, and geometry ; which he so fully understood as to " think them beneath his genius, and which he yet with great
industry introduced into France, where they had been long “ forgotten. He certainly was the first who brought the “ algorithm from the Saracens, and who illustrated it with
“ fuch rules as the most studious in that science cannot explain. “ He lodged with a philosopher of that fect®, &c."
I conclude this chapter with a quotation from the old metrical romance of Syr LIBEAUX DIASCONIOS, where the knight, in his attempt to disenchant the Lady of Sinadone, after entering the hall of the castle of the necromancers, is almost in similar circumstances with our fubterraneous adven
The passage is rich in Gothic imageries ; and the most striking part of the poem, which is mentioned by Chaucer as a popular romance.
Syr Lybeaus, knyzt corteys",
yn hys stede
& De Gest. Reg. ANGL. lib. ii. cap. toire Literaire de France, by the Benedicro. p. 36. a. b. 37 a. b. edit. Savil. Lond. tines, tom. vi. ad calc. 1596. fol. Afterwards Malmesbury men b Courteous. tions his horologe, which was not of the Alighted. nature of the modern clock : but which ko Instruments of music, yet is recorded as a wonderful invention i He saw at the high table. by his cotemporary Ditmar, Chron. Lib. * A Fire, large and strong. Store is vi. fol. 83. edit. 158o. Vincent of Beau- four. vais has transcribed all that William of • Lighted, and burned bright. Malmesbury has here faid about Gerbert, • rede. Went into the door of the hall, Specul. Histor. Lib. xxiv. c. 98. seq. with his horse. f. 344. a. Compare Platina, Vit, Pon. P Led. TIF, fol. 122. edit. 1485. See also L'Hif: 9 Farther in.
To see, to view, every place or thing.
The hales' in the halle,
• Perhaps, Holes, i. e, corners.
* To know, in angry mood what knight would, &c.
y Painted glass.
• Were suddenly silent.
& Tried. Excellent. Chaucer, Rim, Sir THOP. p. 146. Urr. v. 3361.
With finger that is trie. e Burned so bright,
f Were instantly quenched, or extinguished.
& Vanished away:
Dores, and wyndowes alle,
Steedes herde he naye, &c h.
negremancye ymaketh of fayrye '.'
A like story is in Boccace's DECAMERON", in the Cento NOVELLE ANTICHE', and in Gower's CONFESSIO AMANTIS".
The story, however, as it stands in Gower, seems to be copied from one which is told by the hermit Barlaam to king Avenamore, in the spiritual romance, written originally in Greek about the year 800, by Joannes Damascenus a Greek monk', and translated into Latin before the thirteenth century, entitled, BARLAAM and JOSAPHAT'. But Gower's immediate author, if not Boccace, was perhaps Vincent of Beauvais, who wrote about the year 1290, and who has incorporated Damafcenus's history of Barlaam and Josaphat ', who were canonised, into his SpecuLUM HISTORIALE 4. As Barlaam's fable is probably the remote but original source of Shakespeare's CASKETTS in the MERCHANT OF VENICE, I will give the reader a translation of the passage in which it occurs, from the Greek original, never yet printed.
« The king commanded four chests to be made: two of which “ were covered with gold, and secured by golden locks, but
k X. I.
h MSS, Cotton. CALIG. A. 2. fol.
52. b. seq.
* Ibid. f. 32. b. I Nov. Ixv.
Lib. v. fol. 96. a. • See Joan. Damasceni OPERA nonnul. HITOR. ad calc. pag. 12. Bafil. 1548. fol. The chests are here called Arcella.
• See fupr. vol. ii. p. 17. And ibid. Em. and Addit, to pag. 343.
p It is extant in Surius, and other col. lections.
De Rege AUEMUR, &c. Lib. xiv, f. 196. Ven. 1591. It contains fixty-four chapters.
filled with the rotten bones of human carcasses. The other “ two were overlaid with pitch, and bound with rough cords ; “ but replenished with pretious stones and the most exquisite gems,
and with ointments of the richest odour. He called his “ nobles together; and placing these chests before them, asked “ which they thought the most valuable. They pronounced " those with the golden coverings to be the most pretious, sup
posing they were made to contain the crowns and girdles of “ the king'. The two chests covered with pitch they viewed “ with contempt. Then said the king, I presumed what would “ be your determination : for ye look with the eyes of sense. “ But to discern baseness or value, which are hid within, we “ must look with the eyes of the mind. He then ordered the • golden chests to be opened, which exhaled an intolerable “ stench, and filled the beholders with horror.” In the MeTRICAL LIVES OF THE Saints, written about the year 1300, these chests are called four fates, that is, four vats or vessels ".
I make no apology for giving the reader a translation from the same Greek original, which is now before me, of the story of the Boy told in the DECAMERON. “ A king had an only son. “ As soon as he was born, the physicians declared, that if he “ was allowed to see the sun, or any fire, before he arrived at " the
years, he would be blind. The king com“ manded an apartment to be hewed within a rock, into which
no light could enter ; and here he shut up the boy, totally in “ the dark, yet with proper attendants, for twelve years. At the “ end of which time, he brought him abroad from his gloomy “ chamber, and placed in his view, men, women, gold, pre“ tious stones, rich garments, chariots of exquisite workmanship
" In doctor Johnson's abridgement of a tale like this from Boccace, which he supposes to have been Shakespeare's original, the king fays, that in one of the Cakets was “ contained his crown, sceptre and “ jewels, &c.” See Steevens's 'SHAKE. SPEARE, vol. iii. p. 255. edit. 1779.
• MSS. LAUD. C. 72. Bibl. Bodl. Compare Caxton's GOLDEN Legende, fol. ccclxxxxiii. b. And Surius, Vit. SancTor. Novembr. 27. Ann. 383. pag. 560. Colon. Agrippin. 1618.
MSS. BODL. 779. f. 292. b.