תמונות בעמוד

Rivalin has been said to have been king of Lochnoys; but Thomas, who read it in adventure (romance), says that he was of Parmenie, and that he had a separate land from a Briton, to whom the Schotte (i. e. Scots) were subject, and who was named li duc Morgan.' A great number of words, sometimes whole lines, occur throughout the poem in French, which are carefully translated into German. This renders it indisputable that the poet had a French original before him.It is impossible for testimony to be more explicit than the declaration of this early German poet. With the romance of Thomas lying before him, he cites the very expressions of his original, and these are found to be Norman-French !—The age of Godfrey can only be gleaned from the history of his contemporaries. Mr. Weber has remarked, “ This poet appears from various circumstances to have lived in the first half of the thirteenth century. In a digression respecting the troubadours of his age, he deplores the death of Henry von Veldec (who composed a very romantic poem on the basis of Virgil's Æneid, in the year 1180, according to his own account); and among his contemporaries he mentions Hartman von Auwe, author of Ywaine and other poems, which he composed towards the end of the twelfth century; and Walther von der Vogelweide, who wrote a great number of amorous lays between the years 1190 and 1230.” A copy of Godfrey's Tristram, including as much of the story as he lived to write, occurs in the royal library at Munich. Mr. Douce refers this MS. to the middle of the thirteenth century, and we are told that Ulrich von Turheim, who wrote one conclusion to Godfrey's unfinished poem, flourished not later than from 1240 to 1250. There is reason to believe this latter writer has been placed too low in the thirteenth century; for Wolfram von Eschenbach, who wrote a second part to Ulrich's William of Orange, was in the zenith of his glory in the year 1207. Wolfram would hardly have taken up the narrative during the life of Ulrich.

Sir Walter Scott has cited two early references to the story, one of which was written previous to the birth of the bard of

VOL. 1.

Erceldoune, and the other about the year 1226. To show the early popularity of the subject, and the general currency it had obtained in various parts of Europe, a few authorities are here collected, all of which were published before the period fixed upon for the composition of the Rymer's poem. The first is taken from Rambaud d'Orange, a troubadour whose death is placed about the year 1173.

Car jeu begui de l'amor,
Que ja us deia amar celada,
Ab Tristan, quan la il det Yseus gen-
Sobre totz aurai gran valor,
Saital camis a m'es dada,
Cum Yseus det a l'amador,
Que mais non era portata;
Tristan inout presetz gent presen-
Qu' Yseutz estet en gran paor,
Puois fon breumens conseillada,
Qu'ilh fetz a son marit crezen
C'anc hom que nasques de maire

Non toques en lieis mantenen 40. This passage will be best understood by referring to the language of Brengwain in the English romance:

Greteth wele mi levedy

That ai trewe hath ben;
Smockes had sche and Y,

And hir was solwy to sen,
By Marke tho hye schuld lye
Y lent hir min al clen,

As thare:
Oyain hir, wele Y wen,

No dede Y never mare. Deudes de Prades, another troubadour, who is conjectured to have written about the year 1213, thus alludes to the “drink of force,” the fatal cause of Tristram's criminal passion.

Raynouard, ii. 312.

[ocr errors]

Beure m fai ab l'enaps Tristran
Amors, et eisses los pimens“.

The same circumstance is also referred to by Henry von Veldeck, a German Minne-singer, who died before the close of the 12th century.

Tristan muste ohne seinen Dank
Treue sein der Königinne,
Weil ihn dazu ein Getrank zwang,
Mehr noch als die Kraft der Minne.

In the Provençal romance of Jaufre, probably written before the year 1196, and certainly not later than 1213, we find a singular allusion to the feigned madness of Tristram, of which a detailed account is given in the second of Mr. Douce's frag


Que far m' o fai forsa d'amor-
E que fes fol semblar Tristan
Per Yseult cui amava tan,
E de son oncle lo parti,
E ella



amor mori 3. In the year 1226 the whole story was translated into Norse (Norwegian or Islandic), under the title of “Saga af Tristrand og Isaldis.” The Arnæ-Magnæan MS. preserved at Copenhagen contains the following notice at the commencement: “ Var tha lided fra Hingadburde Christi 1226 Aar, er thesse Saga var a Norrænu skrifad, eptir Befalningu Virdulegs Herra Hakonar kongs."

11 “Love makes me drink from the to feign madness on account of Ysolt, goblet and very spiceries of Tristran." whom he loved so much, which caused

18 “ Tristran was faithful to the queen him to be at variance with his uncle and by no merit of his own ; for a philter made her (Ysolt) die for his (Tristran's) rather than the force of love compelled love." him to it.” The German given above 14 “ 1226 years were passed from the is not from Veldeck's original text, but birth of Christ, when this Saga was that modernized by Tieck.

written in Norse, by the command of 13 “ Since the force of love makes me (our) honoured lord, king Hacon.' --that (passion) which caused Tristran

If the writer of this Note “has been successful in his statement, three points have been established :" Ist, That the peculiarities of style and language in the romance of Sir Tristram are of such a character as to render it extremely doubtful that they are the same which are spoken of by De Brunne. 2ndly, That the Thomas of the French fragment, and the Thomas of Brittany mentioned by Godfrey of Strasburg, wrote his poem in Norman French. 3rdly, That Tristram's story was universally known in Europe previous to the Rymer's age; and consequently that, so far from being an authority to others, he followed in all probability some foreign predecessor. There are several minor arguments advanced in the preface to Sir Tristram, bearing relatively or incidentally upon the general theory, which have been passed over in silence. Several of these are purely hypothetical ; such as the assumption that Mr. Douce's fragments were written by Raoul de Beauvais; that Thomas's authority was acknowledged by the Norman rimeurs from his supposed acquaintance with British traditions; that the names of Gouvernail, Blauncheflour, Triamour, and Florentine, were bestowed upon the inferior personages, because the originals being unknown to Thomas he used those peculiar to the Norman-English dialect in which he composed—a circumstance, by the way, savouring strongly of a French original. These, with several others of a similar nature, can only need examination when the previous arguments shall have been established. Above all, the strange appropriation of the Auchinleck poem as a Scottish production, when no single trace of the Scottish dialect is to be found throughout the whole romance which may not with equal truth be claimed as current in the north of England, while every marked peculiarity of the former is entirely wanting, can hardly require serious investigation. From this opinion the ingenious editor himself must long ago have been reclaimed. The singular doctrines relative to the rise and progress of the English language in North and South Britain may also be dismissed as not immediately relevant. But when it is seriously affirmed, that the English language

was once spoken with greater purity in the Lowlands of Scotland, than in this country, we “Sothrons” receive the communication with the same smile of incredulity, that we bestow upon the poetic dogma of the honest Frieslander:

Buwter, breat en greene tzies
Is guth Inglisch en guth Fries 25.

This Note had been printed, when the writer received the first volume of Professor Müller's Saga-Bibliothek; (Kiöbenhavn 1817,) and Lohengrin, an old German romance edited by Mr. Görres (Heidelberg 1813). He is happy in being able to add from these interesting works a further confirmation of some of the positions assumed in the preceding pages. The former contains the following passage: “The artifice here resorted to by the mistress of Dromund (one of the heroes in Grettur's-Saga), and which enables her to swear thus equivocally, is indisputably taken from the romance of Tristram so generally known in the middle ages. In the romance of Tristram by Thomas of Erceldoune, queen Ysoude avails herself of a similar manæuvre. See Fytte the Second, Stanzas 104, 105. This circumstance is also recorded in the old French version, and forms the 58th chapter of the Islandic translation executed in the year 1226, at the command of king Hacon. The Icelandic Saga closely follows the order of the English poem.(page 261.) We are not informed whether the Northern version was made from the French or German, or, what is more probable, from a German translation of some French romance. But as it exhibits the story in the same form as the English poem, the Rymer's claim to “an original property in the fable” inevitably falls to the ground. The preface to Lohengrin contains a general account of Wolfram v. Eschenbach's Titurel and Parcifal. In the former, Wolfram cites the authorities he had consulted in the compilation of his

15 Butter, bread, and green cheese,

Is good English and good Friese.

« הקודםהמשך »