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Tenth and his court, in the year 15166. Davenant has also a tragedy on the same subject, called ALBOVINE king of the Lombards his Tragedy.
A most sanguinary scene in Shakespeare's Titus ADRONIcus, an incident in Dryden's, or Boccace's, TANCRED and SIGISMONDA, and the catastrophe of the beautiful metrical romance of the Lady of FAGUEL, are founded on the same horrid ideas of inhuman retaliation and savage revenge: but in the two last pieces, the circumstances are so ingeniously imagined, as to lose a considerable degree of their atrocity, and to be productive of the most pathetic and interesting situations.
Chap. lvii. The enchanter Virgil places a magical image in the middle of Rome", which communicates to the emperor Titus all the secret offences committed every day in the city.
This story is in the old black-lettered history of the necromancer Virgil, in Mr. Garrick's collection.
Vincent of Beauvais relates many wonderful things, mirabiliter actitata, done by the poet Virgil, whom he represents as a magician. Among others, he says, that Virgil fabricated those brazen statues at Rome, called Salvacio Roma, which were the gods of the provinces conquered by the Romans. Every one of these statues held in its hand a bell framed by magic; and when any province was meditating a revolt, the
statue, or idol, of that country struck his bell. This fiction - is mentioned by the old anonymous author of the MIRABILIA
ROMÆ, written in the thirteenth century, and printed by Montfauconf. It occurs in Lydgate's Bochas. He is speaking of the Pantheon,
Whyche was a temple of old foundacion,
There throughe the worlde of every nacion
Diar. Ital. cap. xx. p. 288. edit. . For the necromancer Virgil, see 1702. Many wonders are also related vol, iii. p. 62.
of Rome, in an old metrical romance & In the CENTO NOVELLE ANTICHE. called THE STACYONS OF Rome, in which
Romulus is said to be born of the duches • SPECUL. HISTOR. lib. iv. cap. 61. of Troye. MSS. Cotton. Calig. A. 2. f. 66. a.
Were of theyr goddes set up great ymages,
Whan any kingdom fil in rebellion, &c.h This fiction is not in Boccace, Lydgate's original. It is in the above-cited Gothic history of Virgil. Gower's Virgil, I think, belongs to the same romance.
And eke Virgil of acqueintance
Of the emperour whilom of Rome. i Chap. lviii. King Asmodeus pardons every malefactor condemned to death, who can tell three indisputable truths or maxims.
Chap. lix. The emperor Jovinian's history.
On this there is an antient French MORALITE, entitled, L'Orgueil et presomption de l'Empereur JOVINIANK. This is also the story of Robert king of Sicily, an old English poem, or romance, from which I have given copious extracts!.
Chap. lx. A king has a daughter named Rosimund, aged ten years; exceedingly beautiful, and so swift of foot, that her father promises her in marriage to any man who can overcome her in running. But those who fail in the attempt are to lose their heads. After many trials, in which she was always victorious, she loses the race with a poor man, who throws in her way a silken girdle, a garland of roses, and a silken purse in
Tragedies of Bochas, B. ix. ch. i. st. 4.
Coinpare vol. ii. p. 379.
I CONFESS. AMANT. L. viii. f.clxxxix, a. col. 2. * See vol. ii. p. 30.
See vol. ii. p. 17.
closing a golden ball, inscribed, “Whoso' plays with me will never be satiated with play.” She marries the poor man, who inherits her father's kingdom.
This is evidently a Gothic innovation of the classical tale of Atalanta. But it is not impossible that an oriental apologue might have given rise to the Grecian fable.
CHAP. Ixi. The emperor Claudius marries his daughter to the philosopher Socrates.
Chap. lxii. Florentina's picture.
CHAP. Ixiii. Vespasian's daughter's garden. All her lovers are obliged to enter this garden before they can obtain her love, but none return alive. The garden is haunted by a lion; and has only one entrance, which divides into so many windings, that it never can be found again. At length, she furnishes a knight with a ball or clue of thread, and teaches him how to foil the lion. Having achieved this adventure, he marries the lady.
Here seems to be an allusion to Medea's history.
CHAP. Ixiv. A virgin is married to a king, because she makes him a shirt of a piece of cloth three fingers long and broad.
CHAP. Ixv. A cross with four inscriptions.
CHAP. Ixvi. A knight offers to recover a lady's inheritance, which had been seized by a tyrant, on condition, that if he is slain, she shall always keep his bloody armour hanging in her chamber. He regains her property, although he dies in the attempt; and as often as she was afterwards sued for in marriage, before she gave an answer, she returned to her chamber, and contemplating with tears her deliverer's bloody armour, resolutely rejected every solicitation.
Chap. lxvii. The wise and foolish knight.
CHAP. Ixviii. A woman understands the language of birds. The three cocks.
Chap. lxix. A mother gives to a man who marries her daughter a shirt, which can never be torn, nor will ever need washing, while they continue faithful to each other.
CHAP. lxx. The king's daughter who requires three impossible things of her lovers.
CHAP. lxxii. The king who resigns his crown to his son.
Chap. lxxv. A king's three daughters marry three dukes, who all die the same year.
CHAP. lxxvi. The two physicians.
Chap. lxxx. A devout hermit lived in a cave, near which a shepherd folded his flock. Many of the sheep being stolen, the shepherd was unjustly killed by his master as being concerned in the theft. The hermit seeing an innocent man put to death, began to suspect the existence of a Divine Providence; and resolved no longer to perplex himself with the useless severities of religion, but to mix in the world. In travelling from his retirement, he was met by an angel in the figure of a man; who said, “I am an angel, and am sent by God to be your companion on the road.” They entered a city; and begged for lodging at the house of a knight, who entertained them at a splendid supper. In the night, the angel rose from his bed, and strangled the knight's only child who was asleep in the cradle. The hermit was astonished at this barbarous return for so much hospitality, but was afraid to make any remonstrance to his companion. Next morning they went to another city. Here they were liberally received in the house of an opulent citizen; but in the night the angel rose, and stole a golden cup
of inestimable value. The hermit now concluded that his companion was a Bad Angel. In travelling forward the next morning, they passed over a bridge; about the middle of which they met a poor man, of whom the angel asked the way to the next city. Having received the desired information, the angel pushed the poor man into the water, where he was immediately drowned. In the evening they arrived at the house of a rich man; and begging for a lodging, were ordered to sleep in a shed with the cattle. In the morning the angel gave the rich man the cup which he had stolen. The hermit, amazed
that the cup which was stolen from their friend and benefactor should be given to one who refused them a lodging, began to be now convinced that his companion was the Devil; and begged to go on alone. But the angel said, “ Hear me, and depart. When you lived in your hermitage a shepherd was killed by his master. He was innocent of the supposed offence: but had he not been then killed, he would have committed crimes in which he would have died impenitent. His master endeavours to atone for the murther, by dedicating the remainder of his days to alms and deeds of charity. I strangled the child of the knight. But know, that the father was so intent on heaping up riches for this child, as to neglect those acts of public munificence for which he was before so distinguished, and to which he has now returned. I stole the golden сир
of the hospitable citizen. But know, that from a life of the strictest temperance, he became, in consequence of possessing this cup, a perpetual drunkard; and is now the most abstemious of men. I threw the poor man into the water. He was then honest and religious. But know, had he walked one half of a mile further, he would have murthered a man in a state of mortal sin. I gave the golden cup to the rich man who refused to take us within his roof. He has therefore received his reward in this world; and in the next, will suffer the pains of hell for his inhospitality.” The hermit fell prostrate at the angel's feet; and requesting forgiveness, returned to his hermitage, fully convinced of the wisdom and justice of God's government.
This is the fable of Parnell's HERMIT, which that elegant yet original writer has heightened with many masterly touches of poetical colouring, and a happier arrangement of circumstances. Among other proofs which might be mentioned of Parnell's genius and address in treating this subject, by reserving the discovery of the angel to a critical period at the close of the fable, he has found means to introduce a beautiful description, and an interesting surprise. In this poem, the last instance of the angel's seeming injustice, is that of pushing