תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

а

Z"

lant exploits against the Spanish Saracens, was preferred to the archbishoprick of Rheims by Charlemagne. Others believe it to have been forged under archbishop Turpin's name* about that time. Others very soon afterwards, in the reigu of Charles the Bald. That is, about the year 870.

* Voltaire, a writer of much deeper research than is imagined, and the first who has displayed the literature and customs of the dark ages with any degree of penetration and comprehension, speaking of the fictitious tales concerning Charlemagne, has remarked, “ Ces fables qu’un moine ecrivit au onzieme siécle, sous le nom de l'archeveque Turpin 2.” And it might easily be shewn that just before the commencement of the thirteenth century, romantic stories about Charlemagne were more fashionable than ever among the French minstrels. That is, on the recent publication of this fabulous history of Charlemagne. Historical evidence concurs with numerous internal arguments to prove, that it must have been compiled after the crusades. In the twentieth chapter, a pretended pilgrimage of Charlemagne to the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem is recorded: a forgery seemingly contrived with a design to give an importance to those wild expeditions, and which would easily be believed when thus authenticated by an archbishop a.

There is another strong internal proof that this romance was written long after the time of Charlemagne. Our historian is speaking of the numerous chiefs and kings who came with their armies to assist his hero: among the rest he mentions earl Oell, and adds, “Of this man there is a song commonly sung among the minstrels even to this dayo." Nor will I believe, that the European art of war, in the eighth century, could bring into the field such a prodigious parade of battering rams and wooden castles, as those with which Charlemagne is said to have besieged the city Agennum°: the crusades seem to have made these huge military machines common in the European armies. However, we may suspect it appeared before, yet not long before, Geoffrey's romance; who mentions Charlemagne's TWELVE Peers, so lavishly celebrated in Turpin's book, as present at king Arthur's imaginary coronation at Caer-leon. Although the twelve peers of France occur in chronicles of the tenth centuryd; and they might besides have been suggested to Geoffrey's original author from popular traditions and songs of minstrels. We are sure it was extant before the

• [" Whose true name," says Ritson, * See Hist. Acad. des Inscript. &c. "was Tilpin, and who died before Char. vii. 293. edit. 4to. lemagne; though Robert Gaguin, in his y See Catel, Mem, de l'Hist. du Lanlicentious translation of the work, 1527, guedoc, pag. 545. makes him relate his own death. An- 2 Hist. Gen. ch. viii, Oeuvr, tom. i. other pretended version of this Pseudo- p. 84. edit. Genev. 1756. Turpin, said to have been made by one a See infr. p. 127. Mickius or Michael le Harnes, who lived b « De hoc canitur in Cantilena usque in 1206, has little or nothing in common ad hodiernum diem.". cap. xi. f. 4. b. with its false original." Diss, on Rom. edit. Schard. Francof. 1566. fol. Chroand Minst. p. 46.–PARK.)

nograph. Quat.

year 1122; for Calixtus the Second in that year, by papal authority, pronounced this history to be genuine Monsieur Allard affirms

°. that it was written, and in the eleventh century, at Vienne by a monk of Saint Andrew'sf. This monk was probably nothing more than sone Latin translator: but a learned French anti

[In the best MSS. of Turpin, the dum,&c. See also cap. x. ibid. Comalsove passage refers to Oger king of pare Sect. iv. infr. p. 170. In one of Denmark, whose name is omitted in that Charlemagne's battles, the Saracens adfollowed by the editor of Turpin’s bistory vance with horrible visors bearded and here cited. There is no work that is borned, and with drums or cymbals. known to relate to Oel. The romance “ Tenentesque singuli TYMPANA, quæ of Ogier Danois, originally written in manibus fortiter percutiebant." The rhyme, is here probably referred to. unusual spectacle and sound terrified the Douce. ]—[The language of Turpin horses of the christian army, and threw Seems rather to imply a ballad or song them into confusion. In a second en, on the achievements of this hero, such gagement, Charlemagne commanded the as is still to be found in the Danish eyes of the horses to be covered, and their Kjempe Viser. The name, however ears to be stopped. Turpin, cap. xviii. written,-Oger, Ogier, Odiger, Holger, f. 7. b. The latter expedient is copied

- clearly refers to Helgi, a hero of the in the Romance of RICHARD THE FIRST, Edda and the Volsunga-Saga. In the written about the eleventh century. See earlier traditions the theatre of his ac- Sect. iv. inir. p. 172. See also what is tions is confined to Denmark and the said of the Saracen drums, ibid. p. 177. neighbouring countries; but the later fic- d Flodoard of Rheims first mentions Lions embellish his career with all

the mar- them, whose chronicle comes down to vels of romance; and after leading him 966. as a conqueror over the greater part of Magn. Chron. Belgic. pag, 150, Europe and Asia, transport him to the sub ann. Compare J. Long. Bibl. Hist. isle of Avalon, where he still resides with Gall. num. 6671. And Lambec. č. p. Morgan la faye.- Enit.]

333. • Ibid. cap. ix. f. 3. b. The writer Bibl. de Dauphiné, p. 224. adds, “ Cæterisque artificiis ad capien

e

h

quary is of opinion, that it was originally composed in Latin; and moreover, that the most antient romances, even those of the Round Table, were originally written in that language 8. Oienhart, and with the greatest probability, supposes it to be the work of a Spaniard. He quotes an authertic manuscript to prove, that it was brought out of Spain into France before the close of the twelfth century"; and that the miraculous exploits performed in Spain by Charlemagne and earl Roland, recorded in this romantic history, were unknown among the French before that period : except only that some few of them were obscurely and imperfectly sketched in the metrical tales of those who sung heroic adventures i. Oienhart's supposition that this history was compiled in Spain, the centre of oriental fabling in Europe, at once accounts for the nature and extravagance of its fictions, and immediately points to their Arabian origink. As to the French manuscript of this history, it is a translation from Turpin's Latin, made by Michael le Harnes in the year 1207!. And, by the way, from the translator's de

& See vol. ii. p. 299.

Roderigo, having less credulity but more h See infr. p. 139.

courage and curiosity than his ancestors, i Arnoldi Oienharti Notit. utriusque commanded this formidable recess to be Vasconiæ, edit. Paris. 1638. 4to. page opened. At entering, he began to sus397. lib. iii. c. 3. Such was Roland's pect the traditions of the people to be song, sung at the battleof Hastings. But true: a terrible tempest arose, and all see this romance, cap. xx. f. 8. b. Where the elements seemed united to embarrass Turpin seems to refer to some other fa- him. Nevertheless, he ventured forbulous materials or history concerning wards into the cave, where he discerned Charlemagne. Particularly about Gala- by the light of his torches certain figures far and Braiamant, which make such a or statues of men, whose habiliments and figure in Boyardo and Ariosto.

arms were strange and uncouth. One of * Innumerable romantic stories, of them had a sword of shining brass, on Arabian growth, are to this day current which it was written in Arabic characamong the common people of Spain, ters, that the time approached when the which they call CUJENTOS DE VIEJAS. I Spanish nation should be destroyed, and will relate one from that lively picture of that it would not be long before the warthe Spaniards, RELATION DU VOYAGE riors, whose images were placed there, D'ESPAGNE, by Mademoiselle Dunois. should arrive in Spain. The writer adds, Within the antient castle of Toledo, they “ Je n'ai jamais eté en aucun endroit, say, there was a vast cavern whose en- où l'on fasse PLUS DE CAS des CONTES FAtrance was strongly barricadoed. It was BULEUX qu'en Espagne.' Edit. a la universally believed, that if any person Haye, 1691. tom. iii. p. 158, 159. 12nio. entered this cavern, the most fatal dis- See infr. Sect. iii. p. 114. And the asters would happen to the Spaniards. Life of CERVANTES, by Don Gregorio Thus it reinained closely shut and un- Mayans. §. 27. $. 47, S. 48, S. 49. entered for many ages. At length king See Du Chesne, tom. v. p. 60. And

[ocr errors]

claration, that there was a great impropriety in translating Latin prose

into

verse, we may conclude, that at the commencement of the thirteenth century the French generally made their translations into verse.

In these two fabulous chronicles the foundations of romance seem to be laid. The principal characters, the leading subjects, and the fundamental fictions, which have supplied such ample matter to this singular species of composition, are here first displayed. And although the long continuance of the crusades imported innumerable inventions of a similar complexion, and substituted the atchievements of new champions and the wonders of other countries, yet the tales of Arthur and of Charlemagne, diversified indeed, or enlarged with additional embellishments, still continued to prevail, and to be the favourite topics: and this, partly from their early popularity, partly from the quantity and the beauty of the fictions with which they were at first supported, and especially because the design of the crusades had made those subjects so fashionable in which christians fought with infidels. In a word, these volumes are the first specimens extant in this mode of writing. No European history before these has mentioned giants, enchanters, dragons, and the like monstrous and arbitrary fictions. And the reason is obvious: they were written at a time when a new and unnatural mode of thinking took place in Europe, introduced by our communication with the east.

a

Hitherto I have considered the Saracens either at their immigration into Spain about the ninth century, or at the time of the crusades, as the first authors of romantic fabling among the Europeans. But a late ingenious critic has advanced an hypothesis, which assigns a new source, and a much earlier Mem. Lit. xvii. 737. seq. It is in the In the king's library at Paris, there is royal library at Paris, Num. 8190. Pro- a translation of Dares Phrygius into bably the French Turpin in the British French rhyines by Godfrey of WaterMuseum is the same, Cod. MSS. Harl. ford an Irish Jacobin, a writer not men. 273. 23. f. 86. See infr. p. 139. See tioned by Tanner, in the thirteenth ceninstances of the English translating prose tury.

Mem. Litt. tom. xvii. p. 736. Latin books into English, and some- Compare Secr. iii. infr. p. 128. In the times French, verse. SECT. ii. infr. pas- Notes.

sim.

[ocr errors]

date, to these fictions. I will cite his opinion of this matter in his own words. “Our old romances of chivalry may be derived in a LINEAL DESCENT from the antient historical songs of the Gothic bards and scalds.--Many of those songs are still preserved in the north, which exhibit all the seeds of chivalry before it became a solemn institution.-- Even the common arbitrary fictions of romance were most of them familiar to the antient scalds of the north, long before the time of the crusades. They believed the existence of giants and dwarfs, they had some notion of fairies, they were strongly possessed with the belief of spells and inchantment, and were fond of inventing combats with dragons and monstersm.” Monsieur Mallet, a very able and elegant inquirer into the genius and antiquities of the northern nations, maintains the same doctrine. He seems to think, that many of the opinions and practices of the Goths,

, however obsolete, still obscurely subsist. He adds, “ May we not rank among these, for example, that love and admiration for the profession of arms which prevailed among our ancestors even to fanaticism, mad as it were through system, and brave from a point of honour?—Can we not explain from the Gothic religion, how judiciary combats, and proofs by the ordeal, to the astonishment of posterity, were admitted by the legislature of all Europe": and how, even to the present age, the people are still infatuated with a belief of the power

of magicians, witches, spirits, and genii, concealed under the earth

m Percy, on ANTIENT Metr. Rom. i. said to have been the first who comp. 3, 4. edit. 1767.

manded all controversies to be decided "For the judiciary combats, as also for by the sword. Worm. p. 68. In favour common athletic exercises, they formed of this barbarous institution it ought to an amphitheatrical circus of rude stones.be remembered, that the practice of thus “ Quædam (saxa) circos claudebant, in marking out the place of battle must have quibus gigantes et pugiles DUELLO strenue prevented much bloodshed, and saved decertabant.” Worm, p. 62. And again, many innocent lives: for if either com“Nec mora, CIRCUATUR campus, milite batant was by any accident forced out of circus stipatur, concurrunt pugiles." the circus, he was to lose his cause, or p. 65. It is remarkable, that circs of the to pay three marks of pure silver as a resame sort are still to be seen in Corn- demption for his life. Worm. p. 68, 69. wall, so famous at this day for the ath. In the year 987, the ordeal was substiJetic art : in which also they sometimes tuted in Denmark instead of the duel; a exhibited their scriptural interludes. mode of decision, at least in a political vol. ii. p. 70. Frotho the Great, king sense, less absurd, as it promoted miliof Denmark, in the first century, is tary skill.

« הקודםהמשך »