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The day zede and drouz to nyzt,
Tho the corse to cherche com
Aboute the bere was moche lizt
The history of Saint Alexius is told entirely in the same words in the Gest A Rom ANor UM, and in the LEGENDA AUREA of Jacobus de Voragine', translated, through a French solely of the legends of the saints, but is interspersed with multis aliis pulcherrimi et peregrini. Aftorii, with many other most beautiful and strange histories '. CHAP. xvi. A Roman emperor in digging for the foundation of a new palace, finds a golden sarcophagus, or coffin, inscribed with mysterious words and sentences. Which being explained, prove to be so many moral lessons of instruction for the emperor's future condućt. CHAP. xvii. A poor man named Guido, engages to serve an emperor of Rome in fix several capacities, or employments. One of these services is, to shew the best way to the holy land. Acquitting himself in all with fingular address and fidelity, he is made a knight, and loaded with riches. Chap. xviii. A knight named Julian is hunting a stag, who turns and says, “ you will kill your father and mother.” On this he went into a distant country, where he married a rich Lady of a castle. Julian's father and mother travelled into various lands to find their son, and at length accidentally came to this castle, in his absence; where telling their story to the lady, who had heard it from her husband, she discovered who they were, and gave them her own bed to sleep in. Early in the morning, while she was at mass in the chapel, her husband Julian unexpectedly returned; and entering his wife's chamber, perceived two persons in the bed, whom he immediately slew with his sword, hastily supposing them to be his wife and her adulterer. At leaving the chamber, he met his wife coming from the chapel; and with great astonishment asked her, who the persons were sleeping in her bed She answered, “ They are your “ parents, who have been seeking you so long, and whom I “ have honoured with a place in our own bed.” Afterwards they founded a sumptuous hospital for the accommodation of travellers, on the banks of a dangerous river. This story is told in Caxton's GoLDEN LE GENDE *, and in the metrical Lives of the Saints ". Hence Julian, or Saint Julian, was called hospitator, or the gode herberjour; and the Pater Noster became famous, which he used to say for the souls of his father and mother whom he had thus unfortunately killed *. The peculiar excellencies of this prayer are displayed by Boccace'. Chaucer speaking of the hospitable disposition of his FRANKELEIN, says,
medium, by Caxton. This work of Jacobus does not confist i Their. * At his seat in the choir. * Strait. * MSS. Coll. Trin. Oxon. Cod. 57. * Found. supr. citat. * The true physician, * Hystok. lxxxix. f. clviii. edit. 1479. * Heried. Blessed. fol. And in Vincent of Beauvais, who * Hallowed, quotes Gesta All exii. Specul. Hist. * Tarry. Lib. xviii, cap. 43, seq. f. 241, b. * High.
Saint Julian he was in his own countre *.
This history is, like the last, related by our compiler, in the words of Julian's Legend, as it stands in Jacobus de Voragine ". Bollandus has inserted Antoninus's account of this saint, which appears also to be literally the same *. It is told, yet not exactly in the same words, by Vincent of Beauvais ".
I take this opportunity of observing, that the Legends of the the Saints, so frequently referred to in the GE's TA Rom ANor UM, often contain high strokes of fancy, both in the structure and decorations of the story. That they should abound in extravagant conceptions, may be partly accounted for, from the superstitious and visionary cast of the writer: but the truth is, they derive this complexion from the east. Some were originally forged by monks of the Greek church, to whom the oriental fićtions and mode of fabling were familiar. The more early of the Latin lives were carried over to Constantinople, where they were translated into Greek with new embellishments of eastern imagination. These being returned into Europe, were translated into Latin, where they naturally superseded the old Latin archetypes. Others of the Latin lives contračted this tinéture, from being written after the Arabian literature became common in Europe. The following ideas in the Life of Saint Pelagian evidently betray their original. “As the bysshop sange masse “ in the cyte of Usanance, he saw thre dropes ryghte clere all “ of one gratenesse whiche were upon the aulter, and al thre “ ranne to gyder in to a precyous gemme: and whan they had “ set thys gemme in a crosse of golde, al the other precyous “ stones that were there, fyllen “out, and thys gemme was clere “ to them that were clene out of synne, and it was obscure and “ darke to synners", &c.” The peculiar cast of romantic invention was admirably suited to serve the purposes of superstition. Possevin, a learned Jesuit, who wrote about the close of the sixteenth century, complains, that for the last five hundred years the courts of all the princes in Europe had been infatuated by reading romances: and that, in his time, it was a mark of inelegance, not to be familiarly acquainted with Lancelot du Lake, Perceforest, Tristan, Giron the Courteous, Amadis de Gaul, Primaleon, Boccace's Decameron, and Ariosto. He even goes so far as to say, that the devil instigated Luther to procure a translation of Amadis from Spanish into French, for the purpose of facilitating his grand scheme of overthrowing the catholic religion. The popularity of this book, he adds, warped the minds of the French nation from their antient notions and studies; introduced a neglect of the scriptures, and propagated a love for astrology, and other fantastic atts'. But with the leave of this zealous catholic I would observe, that this sort of reading was likely to produce, if any, an effect quite contrary. The genius of romance and of popery was the same ; and both were strengthened by the reciprocation of a fimilar spirit of credulity. The dragons and the castles of the one, were of a piece with the visions and pretended miracles of the other. The ridiculous theories of false and unsolid science, which, by the way, had been familiarised to the French by other romances, long before the translation of Amadis, were surely more likely to be advanced under the influence of a religion founded on
" MSS. Bodl. 1596. f. 4. * HY's To R. xxxii. f. lxii. a.
* Ibid. * Act. SANctor. tom. ii. JAN U Ar. y DecAM. D. ii. N. 2. p. 974. Antv. 1643. * Prol. v. 342. See supr. vol. i. Sect. * Specul. Hist, Lib. ix. c. 115. f.
xvii. p. 438. 1 15. Venet. 1591. - evidently