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Here are therefore three pofitions, to which I fhall fay a few words in their order; but I think it proper to premife a fort of defiuition of a Romance of Chivalry. If Dr. W. had done the fame, he must have feen the hazard of fyftematizing in a fubje& of fuch extent, upon a curfory perufal of a few modern books, which indeed ought not to have been quoted in the difcuffion of a queftion of antiquity.
A romance of chivalry therefore, according to my notion, is any fabulons narration, in verfe or profe, in which the principal characters are knights, condu&ting themfelves in their feveral fituations and adventures, agreeably to the inftitutions and cuftoms of Chivalry. Whatever names the chara&ers may bear, whether hiftorical or fictitious, and in whatever country, or age, the fceneof the action may be laid, if the actors are reprefented as knights, I fhould call fuch a fable a Romance of Chivalry.
I am not aware that this definition is more comprehenfive than it ought to be: but, let it be narrowed ever fo much; let any other be fubftituted in its room; Dr. W's first polition, that romances of chivalry were of Spanish original, cannot be maintained. Monfieur Huet would have taught him better. He says very truly, that les plus vieux," of the Spanish romances, "font pofterieurs à nos Triftans & à nos Lancelots, de quelques centaines d'années." Indeed the fact is indifputable. Cervantes, in a paffage quoted by Dr. W. fpeaks of Amadis de Gaula (the first four books) as the firft book of chivalry printed in Spain. Though he fays only printed, it is plain that he means written. And indeed there is no good reason to believe that Amadis was written long before it was printed. It is unneceffary to enlarge upon a fyftem, which places the original of romances of chivalry in a nation, which has none to produce older than the art of printing.
Dr. W.'s fecond pofition, that the heroes and the Scene of these romances were generally of the country of Spain, is as unfortunate as the former. Whoever will take the fecond volume of Du Fresnoy's Bibliotheque des Romans, and look over his lifts of Romans de Cheva lerie, will fee that not one of the celebrated heroes of the old romances was a Spaniard. With refpect to the general fcene of fuch irregular and capricious fidions, the writers of which were used, literally, to " give to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name, I am fenfible of the impropriety of afferting any thing pofitively, without an accurate examination of many more of them than have fallen in my way. I think, however, I might venture to affert, in direct contradiction to Dr. W. that the fcene of them was not gene rally in Spain. My own notion is, that it was very rarely there; except in thofe few romances which treat exprefsly of the affair at Roncesvalles. 1
His laft pofition, that the fubject of these romances were the cruJades of the European Chriftians, against the Saracens of Afia and VOL. VII. C c
Africa, might be admitted with a fmall amendment. If it flood thus; the fubject of fome, or a few, of thefe romances were the crufades, &c. the pofition would have been incontrovertible; but then it would not have been either new, or fit to fupport a fyítem.
After this fate of Dr. W.'s hypothesis, one must be curious to fee what he himself has offered in proof of it. Upon the two firft pofitions he fays not one word: I fuppofe he intended that they fhould be received as axioms. He begins his illuftration of his third pofition, by repeating it (with a little change of terms, for a reason
which will appear.} Indeed the wars of the Chriftians against the Pagans were the general fubject of the romances of chivalry. They all feem to have had their ground-work in two fabulous monkish hiftorians, the one, who, under the name of Turpin, archbishop of Rheims, wrote the Hiftory and Atchievements of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers; the other, our Geoffry of Monmouth." Here we fee the reafon for changing the terms of crufades and Saracens into wars and Pagans; for, though the expedition of Charles into Spain, as related by the Pfeudo-Turpin, might be called a crufade against the Saracens, yet, unluckily, our Geoffry has nothing like a crufade, nor a single Saracen in his whole hiftory; which indeed ends before Mahomet was born. I muft obferve too, that the speaking of Turpin's history under the title of the Hiftory of the Atchieve
ments of Charlemagne and his twelve Peers," is inaccurate and unfcholarlike, as the fiction of a limited number of twelve peers is of a much later date than that hiftory.
However, the ground-work of the romances of chivalry being thus marked out and determined, one might naturally expect some account of the firft builders and their edifices; but instead of that we have a digreffion upon Oliver and Roland, in which an attempt is made to fay fomething of those two famous characters, not from the old romances, but from Shakipeare, and Don Quixote, and fome modern Spanish romances. My learned friend, the dean of Carlisle, has taken notice of the ftrauge miftake of Dr. W. in fuppofing that the feats of Oliver were recorded under the name of Palmerin de Oliva; a miftake, into which no one could have fallen, who had read the first page of the book. And I very much fufpe& that there is a mistake, though of lefs magnitude, in the affertion, that
in the Spanish romance of Bernardo del Carpio, and in that of Roncesvalles, the feats of Roland are recorded under the name of Roldan el Encantador. " Dr. W.'s authority for this affertion was, I apprehend, the following paffage of Cervantes, in the firft chapter of Don Quixote. Mejor estava con Bernardo del Carpio, porque en Roncesvalles avia muerto á Roldan el Encantado, valiendofe de la induftria de Hercules, quando ahogó á Anteov el hijo de la Tierra entre los braços. Where it is obfervable, that Cervantes does not appear to speak of more than one romance; he calls Roldan el encantado, and not el encantador; and moreover the word encantado is not to
be understood as an addition to Roldan's name, but merely as a participle, expreffing that he was enchanted, or made invulnerable by enchantment.
But this is a fmall matter. And perhaps encantador may be an error of the prefs for encantado. From this digreffion Dr. W. returns to the subject of the old romances in the following manner. driving the Saracens out of France and Spain, was, as we say, the fubject of the elder romances, And the first that was printed in Spain was the famous Amadis de Gaula. According to all common rules of conftru&tion, I think the latter fentence must be understood to imply, that Amadis de Gaula was one of the elder romances, and that the fubje& of it was the driving of the Saracens out of France and Spain whereas, for the reasons already given, Amadis,. in comparison with many other romances, must be confidered as a very modern one; and the fubje& of it has not the leaft connection with any driving of the Saracens whatsoever. But what follows is fitt more extraordinary. "When this fubject was well exhaufted, the affairs of Europe afforded them another of the fame nature. For after that the western parts had pretty well cleared themfelves of thefe inhofpitable guests; by the excitements of the popes, they carried their arms against them into Greece and Afia, to Support the Byzantine empire, and recover the holy Sepulchre. This gave birth to a new tribe of romances, which we may call of the fecond ace or class. And as Amadis de Gaula was at the head of the first, fo, correspondently to the fubje&t, Amadis de Græcia was at the head of the latter.". It is impoffible I apprehend, to refer this fubject to any antecedent but that in the paragraph last quoted, viz. the driving of the Saracens out of France and Spain. So that, according to one part of the hypothefis here laid down, the fubject of the driving the Saracens out of France and Spain, was well exhaufted by the old romances (with Amadis de Gaula at the head of them) before the Crufades; the first of which is generally placed in the year 1095: and, according to the latter part, the crufades happened in. the interval between Amadis de Gaula, and Amadis de Græcia; a space of twenty, thirty, or at most fifty years, to be reckoned backwards from the year 1532, in which year an edition of Amadis de Græcia is mentioned by Du Fresnoy. What induced Dr. W. to place Amadis de Græcia at the head of his fecond race or clafs of romances, I cannot guefs. The fact is, that Amadis de Græcia is no more concerned in fupporting the Byzantine empire, and recovering the holy fepulchre, than Amadis de Gaula in driving the Saracens out of France and Spain. And a ftill more pleafant circumftance is, that Amadis de Græcia, through more than nine tenths of his hiftory, is himself a declared Pagan.
And here ends Dr. W.'s account of the old romances of chivalry, which he fuppofes to have had their ground-work in Turpin's hif tory. Before he proceeds to the others, which had their ground. work in our Geoffry, he interpoles a curious folution of a puzzling
question concerning the origin of lying in romances." Nor were the monstrous embellishments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the romancers, but formed upon eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crufades and pilgrimages; which indeed have a caft peculiar to the wild imagination of the eastern people. We have a proof of this in the Travels of Sir J. Maunderile.) He then gives us a story of an enchanted dragon in the ife of Cos, from Sir J. Maundevile, who wrote his Travels in 1356; by way of proof, that the tales of enchantments. &c. which had been current here in romances of chivalry for above two hundred years before, were brought by travellers from the Eaft! The proof is certainly not conclufive, On the other hand, I believe it would be eafy to fhow, that, at the time when romances of chivalry began, our Europe had a very fufficient flock of lies of her own growth, to furnish materials for every variety of monstrous embellishment. At moft times, I conceive, and in moft countries, imported lies are rather for luxury than neceflity.
Dr. W. comes now to that other ground-work of the old romances, our Geoffry of Monmouth. And him he difpatches very fhortly, be
caufe, as has been observed before, it is impoffible to find any thing in him to the purpose of crufades, or Saracens. Indeed, in treating
of Spanish romances, it must be quite unneceffary to fay much of Geoffry, as, whatever they have of the British Arthur and his conjurer Merlin," is of fo late a fabrick, that, in all probability, they took it from the more modern Italian romances, and not from Geoffry's own book. As to the doubt, "Whether it was by blunder or design that they changed the Saxons to Saracens, I fhould wish to poftpone the confideration of it, till we have fome Spanish romance before us, in which king Arthur is introduced carrying on a war against Saracens.
And thus, I think, I have gone through the feveral facts and arguments, which Dr. W. has advanced in fupport of his third po fition. In fupport of his two fuft pofitions, as I have obferved already, he has faid nothing; and indeed nothing can be faid. The remainder of his note contains another hypothefis concerning the strange jumble of nonfenfe and religion in the old romances, which I fhall not examine. The reader, I prefume, by this time is well aware, that Dr. W.'s information upon this fubject is to be received with caution. I fhall only take a little notice of one or two facs, with which he fets out. - "In thefe old romances there was much religious fuperftition mixed with their other extravagancies; as appears even from their very names and titles. The first romance of Lancelot of the Lake and King Arthur and his Knights, is called the Hiftory of Saint Greal So another is called Kyrie eleifon of Montauban. For in those days Deuteronomy and Paralipomenon were supposed to be the names of holy men. I believe no one, who has ever looked into the common romance of king Arthur, will be of opinion, that the part relating to the Saint Greal was the first romance of Lancelot of the
Lake and King Arthur and his Knights. And as to the other fuppofed to be called Kyrie eleifon of Montauban, there is no reafon to believe that any romance with that title ever exifted. This is the mistake, which, as was hinted above, Dr. W. appears to have borrowed from Huet. The reader will judge. Huet is giving an account of the romances in Don Quixote's library, which the curate and barber faved from the flames. "Ceux qu'ils jugent dignes d'être gardés font les quatre livres d'Amadis de Gaule, Palmerin d'Angleterre,
Don Belianis; le miroir de chevalerie; Tirante le blanc, & Kyrie éleifon de Montauban (car au bon vieux temps on croyoit que Kyrie eleifon & Paralipomenon étoient les noms de quelques faints) où les fubtilités de la Demoiselle Plaifir-de-ma-vie, & les tromperies de la Veuve repofee, font fort louées. It is plain, I think, that Dr. W. copied what he fays of Kyrie eleifon of Montauban, as well as the witticism in his last fentence, from this paffage of Huet, though he has improved upon his original by introducing a faint Deuteronomy, upon what authority I know not. It is fill more evident (from the pafsage of Cervantes, which is quoted below *) that Huet was mistaken in fuppofing Kyrie eleifon de Montauban to be the name of a separate romance. He might as well have made La Demoiselle Plaifir-de-mavie and La Veuve repofée the names of feparate romances. are merely characters in the romance of Tirante le Blanc. And fo much for Dr. W.'s account of the origin and nature of romances of chivalry. TYRWHITT.
No future editor of Shakspeare will, I believe, readily confent to omit the differtation here examined, though it certainly has no more relation to the play before us, than to any other of our author's dramas. Mr. Tyrwhitt's judicious obfervations upon it have given it a value which it certainly had not before; and, I think, I may venture to foretell, that Dr. Warburton's futile performance, like the pifmire which Martial tells us was accidentally incrufted with amber, will be ever preserved, for the fake of the admirable comment in which it is now enshrined.
quæ fuerat vitâ contempta manente,
Funeribus fa&a eft nunc pretiofa fuis. MALONE.
* Don Quix. lib. 1. c. 6. "Valame Dios, dixo el Cura, dando una. gran voz, que aquí está Tirante el Elanco! Dadmele aca, compadre, que hago cuenta que he hallado en el un teioro de contento, y una mina de pafatiempos. Aqui está Dan Quirielefon de Montalvan, valerofo Cavallero, y fu hermano Tomas de Montalvan, y el Cavallero Fonfeca, con la batalla que el valiente de Tirante hizo con el alano, y agudezas de la Donzella Plazerdemivida, con los amores, y embuftes de la viuda Repofada, y la Segnora Emperatriz, enamorada de Hippolito fu efcudero."
Aqui está Don Quirieleyfon, &c. HERE, i. e. in the romance of Tirante el Blanco, is Don Quirieleyfon, &c.
THE END OF THE SEVENTH VOLUME.