תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

1

ox's hoof 106 The popular creed of Attica, which seems to have delighted in investing the Theban Hercules with much the same absurdities that Northern fable has gathered round the person of Thor, had recourse to a similar invention as the only appropriate means of appeasing this divinity's ravenous appetites. It has accordingly conferred upon him the horn of Amalthæa, the fruit of his victory over the river-god Achelous; and of which the earliest tradition on record has given the popular view of its powers, that it never failed to produce a constant store of food 107. As such, it becomes identified with the Æthiopian table of the sun, mentioned by Herodotus 10s; but in later fictions this idea has been refined into a horn, containing every possible delicacy of the vegetable kingdom, overflowing with all earthly good, and conferring wealth and prosperity upon every one who might chance to

.

[ocr errors]

possess it 109

106 See Diogenes Laertius, ed. Menage, of gold. For this wand of wealth and vol. i. p. 78.

luck, see the Homeric Hymn to Mercury, 107 See Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. v. 529; and compare Epict. ap. Arrian.

433. and Pherecydes in Apollod. Diss. iii. 20. p. 435. ed. Schweigh., Bibl. ü. 7. 5.

where it is said to convert every thing 108 See Herod. ii. 18. Mela, c. 10. it touched into gold. This idea of its (quæ passim apposita sunt, affirmant power found an early circulation in the innasci subinde divinitus): and Solinus, North; for one of the Glossaries publish c. 30.

ed by Professor Nyerup, in his Symbol. 10 See the Scholiast to Lucian's Rhet. Teut., and certainly not of a later date Præcept., and Eustathius, as before. than the tenth century, translates caduThe“ Navigium” of the same writer con ceuma, uunshiligarta. The Vilkina Saga tains some curious allusions to different mentions a ring which is to excite affec. points of popular belief, and which may tion in the wearer towards the donor, be compared with the subjects treated (Müller, p. 233.) and the love-stone of of in the text. One of the parties wishes Helen is well-known. Servius (ad Æniji. for a set of rings to endow him with the 279.) notices an ointment, prepared by following qualities and advantages: a Venus, which had similar powers. 'The never-failing store of health; a person Horny Siegfried becomes invulnerable invulnerable, invisible, of irresistible by bathing in the blood of a slaughtered charms, and having the concentrated dragon; and Medea gave Jason an ointstrength of 10,000 men; a power of inent producing the same effect for the fying through the air, of entering every space of four-and-twenty hours. (Apoldwelling-house strongly secured, and lod. Bibl. i. 9. 23.) Orvar Odd had a of casting a deep sleep upon whom he kirtel which was to preserve him against chose. Another person in the same piece death by fire or water, hunger or the asks for the wand of Mercury, which is sword, so long as he never turned his to ensure him an inexhaustible supply back upon a foe. Müller, 533.

"ap

This necessarily brings us to the history of the holy Graal", or a sacred cup, which in the house of king Pecheur “ peared daily at the hour of repast, in the hands of a lady, who carried it three times round the table, which was immediately replenished with all the delicacies the guests could desire.” The origin of this miraculous vessel, and the manner of its transmission to Europe, are thus related by Robert Borron 11.

110 The connexion between these sym- dius superpositus, quia indicet vitam bols, a horn and a cup, will be appa- mortalibus frugum largitate præberi. rent, on recollecting that the former Rufinus Hist. Eccles. ii. 23.) For was the most ancient species of drink- further illustration of this copious subing-vessel both among Greeks and Bar- ject, see Mr. Creuzer's Dionysus, sive barians. See Athen. xi. c. 51. Xeno- Commentationes Academica de Rerum phon also notices the application of horns Bacchicarum Orphicarumque Originito the same purpose among the Thra- bus et Causis; Heidelbergæ 1808. cians. Anab, vji. 2. 23: and it will be in Mr. Ritson has declared Robert needless to offer any examples from the Borron to be “a man of straw.” But as well-known customs of Western Europe. he has offered no authority for such an It will also be evident why both these assertion, the mere kuros ipa of this critic utensils should be chosen as the types is not likely to have much weight beyond of fecundity, abundance, and vivification, his school. The Vatican manuscript, when we remember that both were the No. 1687, commences with these words, receptacles of that element, which was “ Mesir Robert de Boron, qui cheste either the symbol of life, (Swns ürgor estore translata de Latin en Romance, súborov, Proclus in Timæum, p. 318,) par le commandement de sainte eglise:' or the principal cooperating power in and no one can for a moment doubt the generation (συνεργεί γαρ γενίσει .. Tò influence of the Romish priesthood, in Powe. Porphyrius de Antro Nymph. the peculiar colouring given to the narc. 17.) Hence the cornucopia was be- rative. Mr. Ritson has also been a strestowed upon all those deities who pre nuous opponent of all such declarations sided over fertility or human prosperity; as claim a Lạtin, Greek, or Arabic oriupon Achelous and the Nile, Bonus ginal for the subject matter recorded. Eventus and Annona, from their share There may be occasional grounds for in fostering the fruits of the earth; upon scepticism on this point; but the sweepTyche or Fortuna, the Agatho-dæmon, ing incredulity which rejects every asthe tutelary Genii of towns or persons, sertion of the kind, is equally prejudicial (such as the Roman emperors,) the to a right knowledge of the subject, with Lares, &c. from their beneficial aid in the easy faith it affects to despise. We the direction of human affairs. A cor know the mutations inflicted upon the nucopia of good fortune has already been “ Seven Wise Masters " prior to its renoticed in the possession of the Northern ceiving an English dress; a variety of Elves or Fays; and one of the Nymphs Italian tales and French fabliaux are of in the celebrated relievo of Callimachus Arabic or Oriental origin; Greek fable leads the way with this identical symbol. must have been the immediate source On the same principle, we meet with a of Alexander's story; the expedition Demeter Poteriophorus, and a Rhea of Attila, and Amis and Amillion still Craterophorus, the Bonæ Deæ and exist in Latin verse; and “Walther Magnæ Matres of the ancient world; (of Aquitain's] and Hildegund's fight and the modius of Serapis, the giver from Attila, was sung in Latin hexaand the receiver, is clearly referable to meters, on the model of Virgil and Luthe same source. (Scrapidis capiti mo can, by Eckhart, a priest of St. Galle

“ The day on which the Saviour of the world suffered, death was destroyed, and our life restored: on that day there were few who believed on him; but there was a knight named Joseph of Arimathæa, (a fine city in the land of Aromat). In this city Joseph was born, but had come to Jerusalem seven years before our Lord was crucified, and had embraced the Christian faith; but did not dare to profess it for fear of the wicked Jews. He was full of wisdom, free from envy and pride, and charitable to the poor. This Joseph was at Jerusalem with his wife and son, who was also named Joseph.

also named Joseph. His father's family crossed the sea to that place which is now called England, but was then called Great Britain; and crossed it sans aviron au pan

de sa chemise 12.? Joseph had been in the house where Jesus Christ took his last supper with his apostles; he there found the plate off which the Son of God had eaten; he possessed himself of it, carried it home, and made use of it to collect the blood which flowed from his side, and his other wounds; and this plate is called the Saint Graal.” This, however, is only the Breton or British account of the Saint Graal. The German romancers have followed a different version of its history, and derive their knowledge of the subject, though

(An.973).” The Anglo-Saxon fragment monks in Greek, may be induced to fix of Judith was not taken directly from their election on that language. The imthe Apocryphal narrative. The varia- mediate source from whence the Scop detions indeed fro:n this document are, rived his narrative, is of course beyond generally speaking, of such a kind as our inquiry; but such a fact will teach us any translator might be supposed to in- circumspection in forming any general dulge in, without our having recourse to theory as to the transmission of romananother original. But in one passage tic fictions. Apollonius of Tyre, anwe meet with a very distinct mention of other Greek romance, also exists in a musquito-net; an article of furniture Anglo-Saxon prose. not specified in the Book of Judith, 112 This account has been extracted which could not have been in use in these from a version of Borron's prologue, in Northern realms, and of which the ac the British Bibliographer, vol. i. The count must have travelled from the coun translator has there rendered « sans tries situated on the Mediterranean Sea aviron,-without oars." The original The original legend or romance must has been given in the text from Roquehence have been composed in a Southern fort's. Glossary: it contains no verbal dialect : and those who remember the al- obscurity, but the allusion is not intellileged proficiency of the Anglo-Saxon gible to the writer of this note.

indirectly, from an Oriental source. The Titurel and Parcifal of Wolfram von Eschenbach 3 are respectively devoted to the discovery and the quest of this miraculous vessel: and in both we find a similar account of its powers to that given in the narrative of Robert Borron. The circumstances, however, and the agents which have been connected with it, are wholly different from those contained in the rival version. The name of Arthur is more sparingly introduced than in the Western fiction; and the theatre of its most important events is laid in either Asia or Africa. The immediate source of Eschenbach's poem was a Provençal romance written by one Kyot or Guiot. Of this writer nothing further appears to be known, than the memorial of his labours preserved in the Parcifal of his German translator, and a notice of his strictures upon Chretien de Troyes 14, who, like most of the Norman troveurs, seems to have drawn his materials from an Armorican source. From Wolfram's poem we gather, that Master Kyot obtained his first knowledge of the Graal from a manuscript he discovered at Toledo. This volume was written in a heathen character, of which the troubadour was compelled to make himself master; and the baptismal rite enabled him to accomplish this arduous task without the aid of necromancy. The author of this mysterious record was a certain heathen astronomer, Flegetanis by name, who on the mother's side traced up his genealogy to king Solomon; but having a Saracen father, he had adhered to his paternal faith, and worshiped a calf. Flegetanis was deeply versed in all the motions of the heavenly bodies; and

113 These notices of Eschenbach's Ob von Troys meister Christian, poems have been collected from Mr. Diesem Maere hat Unrecht getan, Gorres' preface to Lohengrin, an old Daz (des) mach wohl zurnen Kyot, German romance, founded on the same Der unz die rechten Maere enbot. fiction as the Chevelere Assigne. (See ise. Since Master Christian of Troyes vol. ii. 151.)

114 The language of Eschenbach is has done this tale an injustice, Kyot thus given by Mr. Görres from the may well be angry, who has presented printed edition of the Parcifal :

us with the right narrative.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

in the hallowed volume deposited at Toledo, he had carefully inscribed the result of his nocturnal studies. But the book contained nothing more than the astronomer had really read most mysteriously depicted in the skies 5. Even the name of the Graal was there emblazoned, together with the important fact, that a band of spirits had left it behind them upon earth, as they winged their way to their celestial abodes.

The acquisition of this knowledge stimulated Kyot to further inquiries; and he proceeded to search in Latin books for the name of that people which had been considered worthy of guarding the Graal. He perused the chronicles of Brittany, France and Ireland, without much success; but in the annals of Anjou he found the whole story recounted: he there read a complete history of Mazadan and his race, how Titurel brought the Graal to Amfortas, whose sister Herzelunde became the wife of Gamuret and the mother of Parcifal. This is clearly borrowed from the proeme of Kyot. Divested of its extraordinary colouring, we may receive it as amounting to this: that Kyot was indebted to an Arabic original for some of his details, and that the rest were collected from European records of the same fiction. The truth of this is supported by the internal evidence. The scene for the most part is not only laid in the East, but a large proportion of the names are of decidedly Oriental origin. The Saracens are always spoken of with consideration; Christian knights unhesitatingly enroll themselves under the banner of the Caliph; no trace of religious animosities is to be found between the followers of the Crescent and the Cross; and the Arabic appellations of the seven planets are thus distinctly enumerated : Zwal (Zuhael),

[ocr errors]

115 In the work already referred to, what is said of the aspis Eccidæmon Mr. Görres has endeavoured to prove and the fish Galeotes. The latter is inthat Flegetanis must have had a Greek timately connected with the Northern original before him. Of this, or at fiction relative to the Nicors, so freleast of the adoption of Greek traditions, quently mentioned in Beowulf. there is the most convincing proof in

« הקודםהמשך »