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tions of the eaftern people. We have a proof of this in the travels of fir J. Maundevile, whofe exceffive fuperftition and credulity, together with an impudent monkish addition to his genuine work, have made his veracity thought much worse of than it deserved. This voyager, fpeaking of the ifle of Cos in the Archipelago, tells the following ftory of an enchanted dragon. And alio a "zonge man, that wifte not of the dragoun, went out of a schipp. "and went thorghe the ifle, till that he cam to the caftelle, and cam into the cave; and went fo longe till that he fond a chambre, and there he faughe a damyfelle, that kembed hire "hede, and lokede in a myrour: and fche hadde meche trefoure "abouten hire: and he trowed that fche hadde ben a comoun woman, that dwelled there to refceyve men to folye. And he "abode, till the damyfelle faughe the schadewe of him in the my" rour. And fche turned hire toward him, and asked him what he wolde. And he feyde, he wolde ben hire limman or para"mour. And fche asked him, if that he were a knyghte. And "he fayde, nay. And then fche fayde, that he myghte not ben hire limman. But fche bad him gon azen unto his felowes, "and make him knyghte, and come azen upon the morwe, and "fche fcholde come out of her cave before him; and thanne come


and kyffe hire on the mowth and have no drede. For I fchalle do the no maner harm, alle be it that thou fee me in lykeness of "a dragoun. For thoughe thou fee me hideouse and horrible to "loken onne, I do the to wytene that it is made by enchaunte


ment. For withouten doubte, I am none other than thou seest •'s now, a woman; and herefore drede the noughte. And zyf "thou kyffe me, thou fchalt have all this trefoure, and be my


lord, and lord alfo of all that ifle. And he departed, &c." p. 29, 30. ed. 1725. Here we fee the very fpirit of a romance adventure. This honeft traveller believed it all, and fo, it seems, did the people of the ifle. And fome men feyne (fays he) that "in the ifle of Lango is zit the doughtre of Ypocras in forme and lykeneffe of a great dragoun, that is an hundred fadme in lengthe, as men feyn: for I have not feen hire. And thei of "the ifles callen hire, lady of the land." We are not to think then, these kind of ftories, believed by pilgrims and travellers, would have lefs credit either with the writers or readers of romances: which humour of the times therefore may well account for their birth and favourable reception in the world.


The other monkifh hiftorian, who fupplied the romancers with materials, was our Geoffry of Monmouth. For it is not to be fuppofed, that thefe children of fancy (as Shakespeare in the place quoted above finely calls them, infinuating that fancy hath its infoncy as well as manhood) should stop in the midft of fo extraordinary a career or confine themselves within the lifts of the terra firma.


From bim therefore the Spanish romancers took the ftory of the British Arthur, and the knights of his round table, his wife Gueni. ver, and his conjurer Merlin. But ftil it was the fame fubject, (effential to books of chivalry) the wars of Chriftians against Infidels. And, whether it was by blunder or defign, they changed the Saxons into Saracens, I fulpect by defign; for chivalry without a Saracen was fo very lame and imperfect a thing, that even that wooden image, which turned round on an axis, and ferved the knights to try their fwords, and break their lances upon, was called, by the Italians and Spaniards, Saracino and Sarazine; fo closely were thefe two ideas connected.

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 History of Saint Greaal. This faint Greaal was the famous relick of the holy blood pretended to be collected into a veffel by Jofeph of Arimathea. So another is called Kyrie Elifon of Montauban. For in those days Deuteronomy and Paralipomenon were fuppofed to be the names of holy men. And as they made faints of their knights-errant, fo they made knights-errant of their tutelary faints; and each nation advanced its own into the order of chivalry. Thus every thing in thofe times being either a faint or a devil, they never wanted for the marvellous. In the old romance of Launcelot of the Lake, we have the doctrine and difcipline of the church as formally delivered as in Bellarmine himself." La con"feffion (fays the preacher) ne vaut rien fi le cœur n'eft repentant ; "et fi tu es moult & eloigné de l'amour de noftre Seigneur, tu ne "peus eftra reccordé fi non par trois chofes : premierement par la "confeffion de bouche; fecondement par une contrition de cœur, tiercement par peine de cœur, & par ouvre d aumône & charité. Telle et la droite voye d'aimer Dieu. Or va & fi te confesse en "cette maniere & recois la difcipline des mains de tes confeffeurs, "car c'est le figne de merite.-Or mande le roy fes evefques, dont grande partie avoit en l'oft, & vinrent tous en fa chapelle. Le roy "devant eux tout nud en pleurant & tenant fon plein point de vint menues verges, fi les jetta devant eux, & leur dit en foupirant, qu'ils priffent de luy vengeance, car je fuis le plus vil pecheur, "&c.-Apres print difcipline & d'eux & moult doucement la re"Ceut." Hence we find the divinity-lectures of Don Quixote and the penance of his fquire, are both of them in the ritual of chivalry. Laftly, we find the knight-errant, after much turmoil to himflf, and disturbance to the world, frequently ended his courfe, like Charles V. of Spain, in a monastery; or turned hermit, and became a faint in good earnest. And this again will let us into the spirit of thofe dialogues between Sancho and his maf




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ter, where it is gravely debated whether he should not turn faint or archbishop.

There were feveral causes of this ftrange jumble of nonfenfe and religion. As firft, the nature of the fubject which was a religious war or crufade: fecondly, the quality of the firft writers, who were religious men ; and thirdly, the end of writing many of them, which was to carry on a religious purpose. We learn, that Clement V. interdicted jufts and tournaments, because he understood they had much hindered the crufade decreed in the council of Vienna. "Torneamenta ipfa & haftiludia five juxtas in regnis "Franciæ, Angliæ, & Almanniæ, & aliis nonnullis provinciis, in "quibus ea confuevere frequentiùs exerceri, fpecialiter interdix"it." Extrav. de Torneamentis C. unic. temp. Ed. I. Religious men, I conceive, therefore, might think to forward the defign of the crufades by turning the fondness for tilts and tournaments into that channel. Hence we fee the books of knight-errantry fo full of folemn jufts and torneaments held at Trebizonde, Bizance, Tripoly, &c. Which wife project, I apprehend, it was Cervantes's intention to ridicule, where he makes his knight propofe it as the best means of fubduing the Turk, to affemble all the knights, errant together by proclamation.* WARBURTON.

See part ii. 1. 5. C. Is


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