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nificence offered new pictures to delight and astonish the mind. “The knights of Charlemagne," says Sismondi, “no longer wandered, like those of the Round Table, through gloomy forests, in a country half civilized, and which seemed always covered with storms and snow.
All the softness and perfumes of regions most favoured by nature were now at the disposal of romancers; and an acquisition still more precious was the imagination of the east,—that imagination so brilliant and various, which was employed to give animation to the sombre mythology of the north. Magnificent palaces now arose in the desert: enchanted gardens or groves, perfumed with orange trees and myrtles, bloomed amidst burning sands, or barren rocks surrounded by the sea." All these are much less agreeable than genuine pictures of life and nature ; but they are better, at least, than descriptions of continual havoc, and the unprovoked slaughter of giants. Of all kinds of warfare the gigantomachia is, in truth, the least interesting, as we invariably anticipate what will be the final lot of the giant, who, from the unlucky precedent of the Titans and Goliah, has constantly fallen under the arm of his adversary. Indeed, in proportion to his bulk and stature, his destruction appears always the more easy and his fate more certain. Butler pronounces it to be a heavy case, that a man should have his brains knocked out for no other reason than because he is tall and has large bones; but the case seems still harder, that strength and stature, while they provoked aggression, should have been of no service in repelling it, and that a giant's power and prowess should have proved of no avail except to his antagonist. In this respect, however, it must be confessed, that the book of nature differs little from the volumes of chivalry, since, while the race of mites and moths remain, the mammoth and megatherion are swept away.
1 The following works may be noted in connexion with the subject :Le Origini dell' epopea francese, indagate da Pio Raina, Firenze, 1884, of which a critical account is given by M. G. Paris in Romania, Oct. 1884. (See note, p. 342, supra). G. Paris, Histoire poétique Charlemagne, 1865, etc. A. Pakscher, Zur Kritik und Geschichte des altfranzösischen Rolandsliedes, Berlin, 1885. L. Gautier, Epopées Françaises. 1880,
ROMANCES OF THE PENINSULA CONCERNING AMADIS DE
GAUL AND HIS DESCENDANTS.-ROMANCES RELATING TO THE IMAGINARY FAMILY OF THE PALMERINS.-CATALONIAN ROMANCES. -TIRANTE THE WHITE. - PARTENOPEX DE BLOIS.
HE reader, who has now toiled through the romances
of the Round Table, and those relating to Charlemagne, has not yet completed the whole of his labour :
Alter erit nunc Tiphys, et altera quae vehat Argo
VIRG. Ecl. 4. Had it been my intention, indeed, merely to compose a pleasing miscellany, Ishould not only refrain from analyzing any other romances of chivalry, but should even have omitted many of which an abstract has been given. But the value of a work of the description which I have undertaken, consists, in a considerable degree, in its fulness. The multiplicity of the productions of any species is evidence of the kind of literature which was in fashion at the time of their composition, and therefore indicates the taste of the age. Even the dulness of the fictions of chivalry is, in some degree, instructive, as acquainting us with the monotonous mode of life which prevailed during the periods which gave them birth ; while, at the same time, by a comparison of the intellectual powers exhibited in romance with the exertions of the same ages in law, theology, and other pursuits, we are enabled to form an estimate of the employment of genius in those distant periods, and to behold in what arts and sciences it was most successfully displayed.
While the other European nations were so much occupied with romance writing, it was not to be expected that the Portuguese and Spaniards should altogether have neglected
a species of composition so fascinating in itself, and at this time so much in vogue. The subject of Arthur, and the topics connected with Charlemagne, had been exhausted, and it was now requisite to find a new chief and a new race of heroes. Arthur had been selected as a leader in romance, less perhaps from national vanity than from being in possession of some traditional glory, and thus forming a kind of head and support, by which unity was given to the adventures of subordinate knights. Charlemagne was naturally adopted by the romance writers of the neighbouring country as having many analogies with Arthur. In Portugal, however, where we shall find the first great romance of the series on which we are now entering was formed, there seems to have been no prince nor leader who was thus clothed with traditional fame. Accordingly an imaginary hero was chosen, and, as the first romance which was written in the peninsula was possessed of great literary merit, it had an overpowering and subduing effect on succeeding fablers. In imitation of the former author, they continued the family history, supposing, perhaps, that the interest which had been already excited on the subject, which formed the source of their works, would be favourable to their success. This also furnished a certain facility of magnifying their heroes, as it was not difficult to represent each new descendant as surpassing his predecessor. Unfortunately the successive writers of romance supposed that what had pleased once must please always; in the same manner that it was long thought necessary that an epic writer should have in his
the same number of books as Homer, and should employ the same forms of address, comparison, and description. Accordingly the heroes of most romances of the peninsula are illegitimate ; there are usually two brothers, a Platonist and Materialist; and, in short, a general sameness of character and incident. The opponents of the knights are, however, different from those in the romances of Arthur or Charlemagne; they are no longer the Saxons or Saracens, but the Turks ; and as the Greek empire was now trembling to its base, many of the scenes of warfare are laid at
1 See, however, note on p. 354, respecting the authorship of the Amadis.
Constantinople. In some of the concluding romances of the series, indeed, happier fictions are introduced, and an attempt is made to vary with new incidents, and the splendour of eastern enchantments, the perpetual havoc which occurs in the preceding fables. But I am, perhaps, anticipating too much the reflections of the reader, and shall Therefore, without farther delay, proceed to
AMADIS DE GAUL, which has generally been considered as one of the finest and most interesting romances of chivalry. Hence, perhaps, different nations have anxiously vindicated to themselves the credit of its origin. Lopez de Vega, in his Fortunas de Diano, attributes it to a Portuguese lady. On the authority of Nicholas Antonio, Warton has assigned the composition of Amadis de Gaul to Vasco Lobeira, a Portuguese officer, who died at Elvas in 1403, or, according to Sismondi," in 1325. This opinion has been also adopted by Mr. Southey, who has entered at considerable length into the reasons on which it is grounded. The original work he believes to be lost, but he conceives that Amadis was first written in the Portuguese language; and he argues that Lobeira was the author, from the concurrent testimony of almost all Portuguese writers, particularly of Gomes Eannes de Zurrara, in his chronicle of Don Pedro de Menezes, which appeared only half a century after the death of Lobeira. He also thinks the Portuguese origin of the romance is established from a sonnet by an uncertain poet, but a contemporary of Lobeira, praising him as the author, and from the circumstance that in the Spanish version by Montalvo, it is mentioned that the Infant Don Alphonso of Portugal had ordered some part of the story to be altered.
The French writers, on the other hand, and particularly the Comte de Tressan, in his preface to the Traduction libre d'Amadis de Gaule, have insisted that the work (or at least the three first of the four books it contains) was originally written in French, in the reign of Philip
1 Los quatro libros del Cavallero Amadis de Gaula.
Augustus, or one of his predecessors. His arguments rest on some vague assertions in old French manuscripts, that Amadis had been at one time extant, and on the similarity of the manners, and even incidents, described in Amadis, with those of Tristan and Lancelot, which are avowedly French: he thinks it also improbable that while such hatred subsisted between the French and Spaniards, an author of the latter nation should have chosen a Gallic knight for his favourite hero; but this argument strikes only against a Spanish and not a Portuguese original. To the reasons of Tressan, however, may be added the testimony of one Portuguese poet, Cardoso, who says that Lobeira translated Amadis from the French by order of the Infant Don Pedro, son of Joan First; and also the
! It is worthy of notice that towards the end of the third chapter, Lobeira writes :-—" The author ceaseth to speak of this, and returneth to the child whom Gandales brought up." Ticknor, however, attaches little weight to the arguments against Lobeira's authorship. “ The Portuguese original,” he says, can no longer be found. At the end of the sixteenth century, we are assured it was extant in manuscript in the archives of the Dukes of Aveiro at Lisbon; and the same assertion is renewed on good authority about the year 1750. From this time, however, we lose all trace of it; and the most careful inquiries render it probable that this curious manuscript, about which there has been so much discussion, perished in the terrible earthquake and conflagration of 1755, when the palace occupied by the ducal family of Aveiro was destroyed with all its precious contents. The fact that the original manuscript of Amadis de Gaula “was in the Aveiro collection is stated by Ferreira, Poemas Lusitanos, where is the sonnet, No. 33 . . in honour of Lobeira, which Southey, in his preface to his Amadis of Gaul, erroneously attributes to the Infante Antonio of Portugal, and thus would make it of consequence in the present discussion. Antonio," a writer of by no means unimpeachable accuracy, “who leaves no doubt as to the authorship of the sonnet in question, refers to the same note in Ferreira to prove the deposit of the manuscript of the Amadis ; so that the two constitute only one authority, and not two authorities as Southey supposes. (Bib. Vetus, lib. viii. cap. vii. sect. 291.) Barboso is more distinct. (Bib. Lusitana, tom. iii., p. 775.) He says, () original se conservava em casa dos Excellentissimos Duques de Aveiro.' But there is a careful summing up of the matter in Clemencin's notes to Don Quixote (tom. i., pp. 105, 106).” That the work, at least in the form in which it has been known since the middle of the fourteenth century, belongs to Spain seems to be shown almost to. certainty by Dr. Braunfels in his Kritischer Versuch über den Roman Amadis von Gallien, Leip., 1876. See also E. Baret, De l'Amadis de Gaule et de son influence sur les meurs et la littérature, etc. Paris, 1853.