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Mawgry him, he garte hym staupe
Bakward ovyr hys meres croupe;
The feet toward the fyrmament.
Behynd the Sawdon the spere out went.
He leet hym lye upon the grene";
He prekyd the feend with spores a kene;
In the name off the Holy Gost,
He dryves into the hethene hoost,
And al so soone as he was come,
He brak asunder the scheltromec;
For al that ever before hym stode
Hors and man to erthe yode,
Twenty foot on every syde, &c.
Whenne they of Fraunce wyste,
That the maystry hadde the Chryste,
They wer bolde, her herte they tooke;

Stedes prekyd, schaufftes schooke. Richard arming himself is a curious Gothic picture. It is certainly a genuine picture, and drawn with some spirit; as is the shock of the two necromantic steeds, and other parts of this description. The combat of Richard and the Soldan, on the event of which the christian army got possession of the city of Babylon, is probably the DUEL OF King RICHARD, painted on the walls of a chamber in the royal palace of Clarendon. The soldan* is represented as meeting Richard with a hawk on his fist, to shew indifference, or a contempt of his adversary; and that he came rather prepared for the chace, than the comspurs.

Sce Jamieson's Etymol. Scott. Dict, and Schiltron. I believe, soldiers drawn Whitaker's Peirs Plouhman's Visions. up in a circle. Rob. de Brunne uses it -Edit.] in describing the battle of Fowkirke, f Line 5642. & See supr. p. 118. Chron. p. 305.

[This is founded on an erroneous Ther SCHELTRON sone was shad with interpretation of the text, where War

ton has mistaken “A faucon brode, Inglis that wer gode.

(black letter edition) or a broad falShad is separated. [Scheltron, turma chion, for a falcon.-Edit.] clipeata, a troop armed with shields.

[" Maugre her heed, he made her seche

The grounde, withoute more speche. ] [1 Ther he fell dede on the grene.]

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bat. Indeed in the feudal times, and long afterwards, no gentleman appeared on horseback, unless going to battle, without a hawk on his fist. In the Tapestry of the Norman conquest, Harold is exhibited on horseback, with a hawk on his fist, and his dogs running before him, going on an embassy from king Edward the Confessor to William duke of Normandyh. Tabour, a drum, a common accompanyment of war, is mentioned as one of the instruments of martial music in this battle with characteristical propriety. It was imported into the European armies from the Saracens in the holy war. The word is constantly written tabour, not tambour, in Joinville's HISTORY or Saint Louis, and all the elder French romances. Joinville describes a superb bark or galley belonging to a Saracen chief, which he says was filled with cymbals, tabours, and Saracen horns'. Jean d'Orronville, an old French chronicler of the life of Louis duke of Bourbon, relates, that the king of France, the king of Thrasimere, and the king of Bugie, landed in Africa, according to their custom, with cymbals, kettle drums, tabours ", and whistles! Babylon, here said to be besieged by king Richard, and so frequently mentioned by the romance writers and the chroniclers of the crusades, is Cairo or Bagdat. Cairo

The hawk on the fist was a mark among the most valuable articles of proof great nobility. We frequently find perty. it, upon antique seals and miniatures, i Histoir. de S. Loys, p. 30. The attributed to persons of both sexes. So original has “ Cors Sarazinois.” See sacred was this bird esteemed, that it was also p. 52. 56. And Du Cange's Notes, forbidden in a code of Charlemagne's p. 61. laws, for any one to give his hawk or * I cannot find Glais, the word that his sword as part of his ransom. “ In follows, in the French dictionaries. But compositionem Wirigildi volumus ut ea perhaps it answers to our old English dentur quæ in lege continentur excepto Glee. See Du Cange, Gl. Lat. V. accipitre et spatha.” Lindebrog. Cod. CLASSICUM. (Roquefort, who cites the Leg. Antiq. p. 895. In the year 1357, same passage, calls Glais, a musical inthe bishop of Ely excommunicated cer- strument, without defining its peculiar tain persons for stealing a hawk sitting nature.--Edır.] on her perch in the cloisters of the · Cap. 76. Nacaires is here the word abbey of Bermondsey in Southwark. for kettle-drums. See Du Cange, ubi This piece of sacrilege, indeed, was com

supr. p. 59.

Who also from an old roll mitted during service-time in the choir : de la chambre des COMPTES de Paris reand the hawk was the property of the cites, among the houshold' musicians of bishop. Registr. Adami Orleton, Episc. a French nobleman, “Menestrel du Cor Winton, fol. 56. b. In Archiv. Winton. Sarazinois," ib. p. 60. This instrument In DOMESDEI-BOOK, a Hawk's Airy, is not uncommon in the French roAira Accipitris, is sometimes returned

mances,

180

THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH POETRY.

and Bagdát, cities of recent foundation, were perpetually confounded with Babylon, which had been destroyed many centuries before, and was situated at a considerable distance from either. Not the least enquiry was made in the dark ages concerning the true situation of places, or the disposition of the country in Palestine, although the theatre of so important a war; and to this neglect were owing, in a great measure, the signal defeats and calamitous distresses of the christian adventurers, whose numerous armies, destitute of information, and cut off from every resource, perished amidst unknown mountains and impracticable wastes. Geography at this time had been but little cultivated. It had been studied only from the antients: as if the face of the earth, and the political state of nations, had not, since the time of those writers, undergone any changes or revolutions.

So formidable a champion was king Richard against the infidels, and so terrible the remembrance of his valour in the holy war, that the Saracens and Turks used to quiet their froward children only by repeating his name. Joinville is the only writer who records this anecdote. He adds another of the

When the Saracens were riding, and their horses started at any unusual object, “ils disoient a leurs chevaulx en les picquant de l'esperon, et cuides tu que ce soit le Roy RiCHART" ?” It is extraordinary, that these circumstances should have escaped Malmesbury, Matthew Paris, Benedict, Langtoft, and the rest of our old historians, who have exaggerated the character of this redoubted hero, by relating many particulars more likely to be fabulous, and certainly less expressive of his prowess.

m Ilist. de S. Loyis, p. 16. 104. Who nicle of the holy war. See Du Cange's had it from a French manuscript chro- Notes, p. 45.

same sort.

NOTE

ON THE ROMANCE OF SIR TRISTRAM.

[See page 78.]

THE romance of Sir Tristram, De Brunne's eulogium on which Warton has here cited, is usually supposed to be still extant. A poem purporting to be such was published some years ago by Sir Walter Scott, from a manuscript contained in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh; and accompanied by a large body of notes in illustration of the singularly beautiful story, with a prefatory dissertation on the age and character of the presumed author. In the latter, the distin

, guished editor has exercised the united powers of his ingenuity and erudition, to prove that the poem which he has thus ushered into the world is the same which is alluded to by De Brunne; and that it was composed by the Scottish poet noticed by Warton, Thomas of Erceldoune, called the Rymer.

The premises upon which these opinions are founded have ever appeared to the writer of this note to be both fanciful and unsatisfactory; and in entering into an examination of their validity, he is fortunate in having the example and arguments of Mr. Campbell to favour his attempt. The chain of evidence by which Sir Walter Scott has endeavoured to substantiate his theory, may be thus briefly stated. The æra of Thomas the Rymer (as originally fixed) lies between the years 1219-1296. At a subsequent period the earlier date was withdrawn, and his birth was referred to the close of the twelfth century. With this Thomas the Rymer it is urged we ought to identify the Thomas mentioned by De Brunne; and to accept the poem preserved in the Auchinleck MS. either as the original romance of that writer, or as one whose "general texture and form closely resemble it.” In defence of the Rymer's claim to an “original property” in this story, a fragment of a French romance

a

a

is cited, containing a reference to one “ Thomas” as the most authentic writer on the subject; and a passage from Godfrey of Strasburg, the author of a German version, is also adduced to show that he likewise followed the narrative of one Thomas of Brittanie. The date of the former document is fixed by conjecture at 1257; the age of Godfrey, with more probability, in the early half of the 13th century. With regard to the Rymer's death, it is a fact of such uncertain date, that all we positively know is,-it may have occurred between the years 1286–1299. The testimony of Blind Harry, upon which the date of 1296 reposes, is more than suspicious. The same political spirit which produced the numerous vaticinal rymes in favour of the successful Edward's invasion of Scotland, would naturally bé combated by similar weapons in the sister kingdom. With these the Rymer may or may not have been connected; but when we recollect the general practice of introducing the seer's agency into every national epos, such a

, circumstance, however contrary to fact, will rather appear essential than surprising, in the composition of a genuine descendant of the ancient minstrel, bard, or rhapsodist. Unsupported by other authority, it would be useless to assume such

declaration as the basis of an historical argument; and as the rejection of it rather assists than impugns the theory here opposed, it may be dismissed without further comment. The date of the Rymer's birth is purely hypothetical; it may be limited by probability; but in the present state of the evidence, any thing like certainty is perfectly hopeless.

The testimony of De Brunne to the existence of poetry by “ Erceldoune and Kendale," and the singular style in which it was written, is unequivocal. But it may be questioned, whether any one, unassisted by the Auchinleck MS., “the faint vestiges of whose text, as well as probability, dictated Erceldoune” in the following passage, would have known to which of these writers “Sir Tristram” ought to be assigned.

I was at (Erceldoune),
With Tomas spake I there.

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