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cept the Judas place, being full.? One of the sitters, Petrus, says that if the abstainers do not feel that grace and bliss which fills those who are seated at the table, it is because of the sin, and they withdraw in shame. Joseph bids the company reassemble daily at the hour of Tierce to the “service” of the vessel.
The sinners desiring to know the name of the vessel, are told that it is properly called Graal (or Gréal), as none shall see it but those who are agreeable to it.
Par droit Graal l'apelera ;
Ce croi-je, qu'il ne li agrée. One of the sinners, Moses, a hypocrite and everything else that is bad besides, begs to be let remain ; Joseph says nothing can prevent him if he is as good as he pretends to be—he endeavours to seat himself in the vacant place : but, lo! the earth opens and engulfs him.
Aleyn is, in commemoration of the fish, henceforth known as the Rich Fisher. (Riche Pecheour.)
? It seems possible not only that some of the marvels narrated in the Greater Graal, but also some of the incidents in the earlier story may have been imported from the East by the Crusaders. Taken in connection with the table of Brons, the following passage is curious :-“Remember when the Apostles said :-0 Jesus, Son of Mary, is Thy Lord able to send down a table (mā'idah, a table, especially one covered with victuals) to us out of heaven? He said, Fear God, if ye be believers. They said : We desire to eat therefrom, and to have our hearts assured; and to know that thou hast indeed spoken truth to us, and we be witnesses thereof. Jesus Son of Mary, said : O God, our Lord, send down a table to us out of heaven, that it may become a recurring festival to us, to the first of us, and to the last of us, and a sign from Thee ; and do Thou nourish us, for Thou art the best of nourishers.”—Koran, Surah v. 112-114. See also Weil, the Bible, the Korau, etc., p. 227, etc.
· The office of Tierce used immediately to precede the celebration of mass in conventual establishments.
3 M. Paulin Paris suggests that an allusion to the Fisherman's ring and the Papal power is here intended, in other works of the Graal Cycle it is the Roi Pecheur. The Fisherman's Ring seeins to be mentioned about 1265, as applied to private letters of the Pope, but was probably so used for some time previously. (See Waterton in Archæologia, xi. p. 138, 1856.) I think the more probable allusion is to the Fish, a symbol of Christ, retained from the early Church by which it was much em. ployed in the times of persecution on account of the hidden meaning of the Greek letters which compose it, ιχθυς, the initials of 'Ιησούς Χριστός θεού υιός Σωτήρ. .
Joseph is divinely informed that the vacancy representing Judas's place at the Last Supper shall not be filled up before the day of doom. But for his
comfort an analogous place at another (Merlin's Round) Table shall be filled by Bron's grandson, and no more shall be heard of Moses until he is found in the abyss by that future occupant of the seat [the “ siege perillous"] which he had essayed to usurp.
Of the twelve sons of Brons, Aleyn elects to remain celi. bate,' and to him his married brethren are to be subject by direction of Joseph, who shows him the Graal which is eventually to pass into the custody of Aleyn's son. Petrus receives a letter from heaven, and sets out for the vales of
Avaron,” where he will remain alive till Aleyn's son come and read that letter and possess the Graal, which meanwhile is confided to the guardianship of Brons, by Joseph, who teaches him the secret words imparted to himself by Christ in the prison of Caiaphas. He is to go to the West, where he will await the coming of Aleyn's son, who is to receive the Holy Vessel. Joseph himself goes to Britain, Aleyn also and his brethren start for foreign lands.
The narrative in the Greater Graal is expanded by an almost interminable series of marvellous feats, adventures and voyages, temptations on the rock Perilous, transformations of fair females into foul fiends, conversions wholesale and individual, allegorical visions, miracles and portents. Eastern splendour and Northern weirdness, angelry and devilry, together with abundant fighting and quite a phenomenal amount of swooning, which seem to reflect a strange medley of Celtic, pagan, and mythological traditions and Christian legends and mysticism, alternate in a kaleidoscopic maze that defies the symmetry which modern esthetic canons associate with every artistic production.
A large portion of the story is taken up with the wars, conversions, dreams of Evilac and Seraphe, eventually baptized (ix.) by the names respectively of Nasciens and Mordrains, before the transfer of the narrative to Britain, which is reached by Josephes and some of his followers upon
his This choice is narrated, in the Greater Graal, before the fish incident. ? See also below in Perceforest, the account of this mission.
• It is apposite to note that the Norman Mont St. Michel was known to mediæval writers as Mons Scti Michaelis de Periculo Maris.
shirt, which bears them over the waters, while the rest follow in a ship that had been preserved, and had been one of Solomon's navy. Once in Britain the adventures extend to Northumbria, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and probably embody reminiscences of early British historical events, but the geography if not purely imaginary is hopelessly vague and confused. In these various regions, all originally peopled by “ Saracens," we are presented with a fresh succession of wars, sieges, heaven-aided conquests, alliances, conversions, and prodigies. Here it is the episodes of the fish, and the attempts of Moses to sit in the siege perilous are narrated, and here we find Moses' fate is differently devised. Seven flaming hands from heaven hurl fire upon
him and carry him off to a far place burning like a dry bush, where he is found towards the close of the story. The incident of the fish is also differently narrated. The good. livers
go to service and are fed by the Holy Graal. The sinners, on the contrary, not being thus fed, beg Josephes, Joseph's son, to pray for them; and he orders Bron's twelfth son, Aleyn or Alain le Gros, to take the net from the Graal table, and fish with it. He catches one fish, which the sinners say will not suffice. But Aleyn having prayed satisfies them all with it, and is thenceforward called the Rich Fisher. Joseph dies, and his body is buried at ‘Glay," while his son transmits the Graal to Aleyn. By Aleyn's instrumentality the leper king Galafres, of the land of Foreygne, is converted and christened Alphasan. He is healed by looking upon the Graal, and builds Castle Corbenic, which is to be the repository and shrine of the Holy Cup, as Vespasian was healed by looking on the Veronica.
Much is said about the genealogy of some of the chief personages towards the close. “ Descendances" is the word used. In the early portion Josephes was miraculously consecrated a bishop, and the same chrism was preserved by an angel, and with it all the Kings of Britain till Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father, are anointed.
The stronghold of Corbenic answers to the wood-girt fastness-shrine of Monsalvatsch in the Parzival of Wolfram
See Stuart Glennie, Arthuriau Localities.
von Eschenbach and the Titurel of Albrecht von Scharfen. burg, which are German poems of the thirteenth century upon the theme of the Graal.
The Castle Corbenic is also called the “ Palace of Ad. venture,” for the reason that no knight but one might sleep there, without incurring the speedy penalty of death for his presumption. Alphasan is so punished within ten days. A Flaming man appears to him and stabs him in both thighs. There are several similar episodes of mystical wounding in the thigh by spear-head or sword. For instance, in chap. xvi., an angel with a fiery visage appears and drives a lance (leaving the head in the wound) into Joseph's thigh, for some remissness, and (chap. xvii.) draws out the lance by putting the haft into it. With the blood from the wound sight is restored to Nasciens who had been struck blind for lifting up the plateyne which covers the Graal. Joseph, moreover, tells him that when the lance drips blood the secrets of the Graal shall be known, and predicts that the last of Nasciens' line, shall be the only man who shall be thereafter wounded by the lance and who shall see the wonders of the Graal.
The earlier incidents in the story are derived either directly, or more probably through legends no longer known, from the early apocryphal writings. The immurement of Joseph of Arimathea is clearly traceable to the Gospel of Nicodemus, chap. ix. and xi., and the expedition of the Emperor and the Veronica story from a Greek apocryphal work known as Vindicta Salvatoris.'
The Graal story in its earlier form is clearly due in the main to ecclesiastical legends. The Greater Graal far sur
· This wounding in the thigh and marvellous cure is remarkable, possibly an idea derived from Jacob's withered thigh suggested by St. Augustine's comment. It will be remembered that the mortal wound inflicted by the spear of Achilles in the thigh of Telephos could only be cured by the rust of the weapon. Cf. also the legend of St. Roch, who, during a vision received a wound in the thigh, and was afterwards as miraculously healed.
? Published in Evangelia Apocrypha, ed. Tischendorf, 1853. There were Anglo-Saxon versions of the Gospel of Nicodemus in the eighth century (see Vuelcker, Das Ev. Nicodemi in der Abenländischen Literatur., Paderborn, 1872), but no trace of it in Celtic literature is found before the twelfth century. No early translation, on the contrary, is known of the Vindicta, but an Anglo-Saxon version of the Veronica
passes it in imaginativeness and claims, like the Book of Mormon, not only Divine inspiration but celestial penmanship. Private devotional compositions were indeed sometimes commended by a statement that they had been given to mortals in some miraculous way; but the application of such a daring figment to a mere romance is characteristic of the bold treatment of the legend in this later form. In that uncritical age of ready faith, there was no clear border-line between history and fiction or spiritual marvels, and here this audacious assertion of a supernatural origin is, according to M. Paulin Paris, only part of the politicoliterary plot which evolved the story of the Graal and of the decurion's apostolate in Britain for the purpose of giving weight and prestige to the side of Henry II. in his struggle with Rome, and developing the story of an independent British Church, a design to which Henry's trusted personal friend Map, Archdeacon of Oxford, lent the influential support of his genial and brilliant pen. This assumption of antiquity, it cannot be denied, was put forward at several councils."
Certain it is, however, that neither was there prior to Henry II.'s time, a chapel at Glastonbury, dedicated to St. Joseph of Arimathea, nor is there extant any trace of a tradition or a cultus of the pious decurion's apostolate in this island, although the Gospel of Nicodemus which speaks of him at length was known and translated into several dialects of Anglo-Saxon in the eighth century.
legend occurs in the same codex as the above Anglo-Saxon Gospel of Nicodemus, preserved in the Public Library, Cambridge. (See C. W. Goodwin on Anglo-Saxon Legends of St. Andrew and St. Veronica, in the publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society.) This legend was originally, as Tischendorf points out, derived from the Vindicta, doubtless, however, through a Latin version of great antiquity. A“Cura Sanitatis Tiberii Cesaris Augusti et damnatio Pilati," was published at Florence in 1741. Editions of “ La Vendetta di Cristo were published at the same city early in the sixteenth century, and probably before, while a French version was printed at Lyons in 1517. The name Veronica is applied by mediæval writers the veil pressed with Christ's face, as if equivalent to vera icon. It may, however, perhaps be a corrupted form from Berenice, daughter of King Agrippa, with whom Titus, Vespasian's son, has a liaison. Vorberg (P. Pilatus in Bibel Geschichte und Sage, 1881, 8vo.).
· Montalembert, Moines de l'Occident, t. iii. p. 26.