« AnteriorContinuar »
there can be little doubt that it was written by an Englishman. He calls himself Turold. The Abbe" de la Rue, whose book, we grieve to say,is a mass of error, asserts that he was the Turold of the Bayeux tapestry, because he was not acquainted with any other person of the same name; but we know that this name (in Saxon, Thorold, Thurold; in Lat. Turoldus, Thuroldus, Thoroldus) has been common in England from the times of the Saxons up to the present day, and we doubt even if it be at all a Norman name. The author of this earliest and noblest of Anglo-Norman poems, may have been one of the old family of the Thorolds of Lincolnshire.
In a notice of this work in a French journal, it is assumed from the following passage that Turold quotes a still older poem, which is supposed to be bv the person there named Gilie. The poet is speaking of the manner of Turpin's death—
f Co dist la geste e cil qui el camp fut, Li ber Gilie por qui Deus fait vertuz,
E fist la chartre el muster de Loum."
The baron Gilie for whom God did miracles,
And [who] made the charter to the monastery of Lota."
To us the word geste appears by no means to indicate necessarily a metrical romance; it may, we think, just as well refer to a prose history; and we should suppose it most probable that the reference is to some Saint legend, to some fabulous gesta Turpini orchiepitcopi, which may have borne the name of Gilie, and which, without being identical with Turpin's History, may have been about as authentic and as ancient.
The popularity of the Romance of Roland has caused it to appear often, under varying forms and in different metres and dialects, and even languages; but, to our judgment, it is far the simplest and noblest, as well as the most interesting, in the astonante rhimes of our countryman Turold. Besides being one of the most elegant library volumes we have ever received from France, M. Michel's book will be valued as a most complete collection of everything relating to the subject of the poem, and as containing an immense mass of information for the lover of early European literature, and for the antiquary in general. The text ispreceded by a long critical and historical preface, and by a very detailed account of the contents of all the numerous early manuscripts in which copies of the different texts of the Chanson de Roland occur. The romantic story of the defeat of the Christian army at Roncevaux, is too well known to render it necessary here to give an analysis of the poem of Turold. It is followed by a most valuable and accurate glossary, which will be found by no means the least useful part of the book. The volume is closed by a long series of Appendices, containing a Song on the battle of Roncevaux, in the dialect of the district where that battle was fought; a Latin poem on the same subject, from a manuscript in the British Museum, with part of another from a manuscript in a private collection; a collection of all the Spanish Romances de la Batalla de Roncesvalles, in number 23; analysis (with extracts) of an old English version of the Chanson de Roland; similar analyses of the two early German poems upon the same subject; and, lastly, the Danish version of the story in its original text.
As, however, we have not so much space at our disposal this month as we could have wished, we must turn from Silvestre's handsome edition of the Chanson of Roland, to one on a similar subject which has been very recently published by our old friend William Pickering, who is second to no one in his zeal for the publication of the works of those who have adorned the past literature of England. There existed one other poem relating to the deeds of Charlemagne, in Anglo-Norman verse, not much more modern than the Chanson de Roland, and differing little from it in language. M. Michel has edited it from the antique manuscript in the British Museum, under the title of " The Travels of Charlemagne to Jerusalem and Constantinople," with a long introduction and a complete glossary, so that this glossary and that of Roland form a complete index to nearly all that is known of the language at that period. The poem of Charlemagne's visit to Constantinople comes more properly under the title of a fabliau than a romance of geste. Charles is piqued because his empress tells him that Hugo, king of Constantinople, is a finer fellow than himself, and he resolves to go to see him and try if her vaunt be true. The emperor goes first to Jerusalem, where he is well received by the patriarch, who gives him a rich measure of relics at his departure. On his arrival at Constantinople he is kindly welcomed by King Hugo, and is astounded at the magnificence of his court, whilst Hugo admires much the manly appearance of the Douze-pairs. These latter, with their sovereign, go, after dinner, to take their wine together in private, and, getting rather merry, amuse themselves by extravagant boasts of the feats which each can do, many of which are very droll. But King Hugo has sent a spy to watch their motions, who reports to the king the conversation he has overheard, and the latter, thinking these boasts or gabs to be greatly against his own dignity, sent for his guests and declared his intention of forcing each of them to perform the whole of his boasts. The Douze-pairs, naturally, find themselves in a very disagreeable situation, and. full of misgivings, after having brought forth their newly-acquired relics, and sought assistance of God in their great need, prepare for the trial. Contrary, however, to all expectations, between the relics and some lucky accidents which occurred at the time, some of the French barons performed their boasts, and King Hugo ventured to put none of the others to the trial, but Charlemagne and his party came off with great credit. We are tempted to give, as a specimen of the language and style of this poem, the description of Constantinople and of the Eastern court.
"Chevalchet li Emperere od sa cumpanie grant,
E passent monteles e les puis d'Abilant,
La roche del Guitume e les plaines avant,
Virent Constantinoble une citez vaillant,
Les cloches e les egles e punz le lusanz;
Destre part la citet de une truve grant
Trovent vergers plantez de pinz e de lorers beaus,
La rose i est florie, li alburs e li glazaus.
Vint mile chevalers i trovcVent scant,
E sunt vestut de pailes e de heremius hlans
E de granz peus de martre jokes as pez trainanz,
As esches e as tables se vunt esbaneant,
E portent lur falcuns e lur osturs asquanz;
E treis mile puceles a or freis relusant,
Vestues sunt de pailes e ount les cors avenanz,
E tenent lur amis, si se vuut iK'portant.
Atant est Karles sur un mul amblant,
A une part se turnet, si apelet Rollant:
'Ne sai oil est li reis. Ici est li barnages grant.'
'Amis, ii est li reis, multle ai alee querrant.'
II ne vait mie a pet, le aguilun en sa main;Mais de chascune part un fort mul amblant
I.k sist l'emperere sur un cuisin vaillant.
La plume est de oriol, la teie d'escarimant.
A ses pez un escamel neele de argent blanr.
Sun capel en sun chef, mult par sunt bel li gaunt.
Quatre estaches entur lui en estant.
Desus ad jetet un bon paile grizain.
Une verge d'or fin tint li reis en sa main."—(v. 259.)
The bell-towers and the churches and the glittering bridges (?)
On the right side of the city
They find groves planted with pines and beautiful laurels,
The rose is there in bloom, the aubier, and the corn-flag.
Twenty thousand knights they find there sitting,
And they are clothed in costly stuffs and white ermines
And in great skins of martins hanging down to their feet,
They are playing at chess and at tables,
And carry their falcons and some their hawks;
And three thousand maidens shining with embroidery,
They are clad in rich stuffs and have graceful bodies,
And stray about hand in hand with their lovers.
At length Charles comes ambling on a mule,
He turns on one side and calls to Roland:
'I know not where is the king. Here is the great baronage.'
He calls a knight, and asks him laughing,
'Friend, where is the king? Ihave sought him very far?
And he answers him: 'Now ride forwards,
Where that tent is spread you will see him sitting.'
The Emperor rides without delay,
Finds King Hugo ploughing at his plough.
The . . . of it are of pure shining gold,
The axles and the wheels and the plough-shares.
He goes not on foot with the goad in his hand.
But on each side a strong mule ambling [carry]
A chair under the tent hung with gold.
There sits the emperor on a rich cushion,
Covered with precious cloth, and stuffed with feathers of the golden-thrush.
At his feet a stool inlaid with white silver.
His hat on his head, very beautiful are the ....
Four posts are raised around him.
Over them he had spread a rich stuff of gris.
A rod of fine gold the king holds in his hand."
The preface and glossary to this poem are in English, which will perhaps render it of more general utility in this country. In our next number we intend to notice another class of these romances.
Before quitting the subject of middle-age literature, we would willingly call the attention of our readers to a periodical entirely devoted to this subject, edited at Leipzig by two famous scholars. Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Haupt, under the title of Alt-Deutsche Blatter. Although it is naturally devoted chiefly to old German liteiature, yet it includes our own as one of the Teutonic dialects, and, in the want of any medium for the publication of such things in this country, several curious pieces of early English and Saxon have already been communicated. Four parts are now published, which form the first volume. We believe that it may be most readily procured from Schloss, of Great Russellstreet.
Mr. WalterS. Landor, in a " Letter to an Author," which he has printed at the end of his interesting and classical letters of Pericles and Aspasia, has pointed out the anomalies existing in our present system, if system it may be called, of spelling, and has well defended his own deviations from it: "There is not," he says, "in my Imaginary Conversations a single word spelt differently from what I have found it in some learned and judicious author, or deduced from strict analogy." He then mentions several words, the spelling of which should by analogy be altered; with this part of the subject we however shall not now deal; but we gladly perceive that when he speaks of a learned authority, he looks with peculiar respect to that of Milton; and we find in a note to his striking Poem of Gebir, that he there recognises the paramount claim of this great writer to our respectful imitation. "1 have thrown out these lev hints that some man of learning may remove the anomalies of our language by attending to its analogies. But nothing can be done without consulting Milton. His words excel in orthography those of any other writer: if some are overloaded with consonants, we must attribute it to the stubbornness of the press."
We now give the spelling used by Milton in three of his works, all published at distinct periods of his life. 1st. from the first edition of Comus, 4to, in 1637, which is very rare. 2nd. from the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, 1645, 4to. 3dly. from the first book of Paradise Lost, 1668, 4to. It may lead the way to some commentator, upon larger and more lengthened examination, to unfold to us his whole system. This arlicle, in addition to our two former, (March 1833 and Nov. 1836) completes what we have to say on Milton.
B U. J- M.
Comus, Edit. 1637, 4to.
tast discry loath
roule heard (herd) engagd
gole queint theevish
soure pretexts shoars
onely (only) buisnesse fardest
woome unleterd venter (venture)
President smoake ranck neather
judiciall—and so of all words with alike termination.
214. 'Flittring Angel'—(hovering, in Warton.)
thach't hast (haste) ougly daffadills
bowes (boughs) spreds precepts emrould
dred gastly tast glutenous
blew lushious hoorded wast
loose—lose sease currant climes (climbs)
agen alablaster course (coarse) seternal
and so of others
mis't, and so on, offendors
Doctrine of Divorce, &c. 1645.
Paradise Lost, Book 1.
in all other
verbs obstruse fevor guilding wil (will) yeeld damme up bin (been) vertue
rode (road) sithe (scythe) blanc, centric It has been remarked that Milton always wrote ' Heigth,' as our antient authors also did."— Tooie's Diversions qfPurley, ii. 421.
Hee (when em- hunderds, corphatic), He rected from (when not) 'hundreds.'
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The Worksof Richard Bentley, D.D. collected and edited by the Rev. Alexander Dyce, Vol. I. and II.—Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris, 8(C. and Epistola ad Millium.
FOR these two very beautifully printed volumes, the precursors, we are happy to hear, of others, which are to contain all the detached productions of that mighty mind, by which no common lustre was shed on the commencement of the 18th century, we are indebted to the taste and enterprise of Mr. M'Pherson of Middle Row, the worthy successor of Mr. Cuthell; in whose shop, as in that of his contemporary, honest Tom Payne, the scholars of the last age were wont, when purchasing some literary gem, to beguile a half-hour in pleasant bibliographical chit-chat; which if not solively wasyet more natural than the Decamerone of Dibdin : while to the watchful eye and fastidious care of the Rev. Mr. Alexander Dyce, who unites in his own person a Maittaire and a Malone, and who is unwilling to suffer the fly-blow of a printer's blacking-ball to sully the plate-glass of Bentley's mind, we are still further indebted for what, till the discovery of New Holland would have been called the black swan of typography, an almost immaculate edition. We say almost; since,after a lynx-eyed examination, we have detected only two typographical errors.1 For a misfortune, in the piteous language of the heart-broken Queen of Troy, ras ov Tkotus, ras ov (jxpras, Mr. Dyce must console himself with remembering that 'nihil est ab omni parte beatum'; and
he will therefore with Christian resignation adopt the advice of Horace to Delly, (the ancestor probably of the celebrated booksellerDilly,) '.Erjuam memento rebus in arduis Servare mentem': for that the task is an arduous one, and, we had almost said, pcifov $ (car SvSpamov <ftpov*u>, is clearly shewn by the falsely called immaculate Horace of Foulis, and the still more correct edition of Wakefield, as we learn from the preface to Didot's splendid volume; which we presume is the only 'faultless monster' of a Latin press. As regards the more difficult language of Greece, the Plato of H. Stephens is the nearest approximation to Mr. Dyce's beau ideal of typographical excellence; since in the whole of the three volumes of that work, comprising 961 folio pages of letter press, scarcely three literal errors, we believe, can be found in each volume.2
Thus much have we deemed it right to state on a subject, in which Bentley took the deepest interest; and who, had he seen the present volume, would have said, 'Materies superavit opus.' Even the prince of Bibliographical painters, Dr. Dibdin, whose pen in pourtraying a work in sheets, is equalled only by the pencil of Titian in colouring a Venus out of them, could not dwell with greater delight upon paper whiter than snow, upon ink that shames the ebony, and upon letters, that, bold and clear, stand like the Peak of Teneriffe—
Blunt as the rock, yet as the needle sharp
than did Bentley himself; who gave up hisintended edition of Philostratus,*
1 In p. 115, note, we meet with rj8e for Tj&t]—and in p. 395, dtp' alvopopav for an alvopopav.
* This remarkable accuracy was in the case of Plato owing to the fact, that H. Stephens printed from a copy of the 1st Basil, whose numerous typographical errors had been corrected by Petrus Victorius, while he was collating the MSS. that were the same as, or similar to, those used by the editors of the 2nd Basil. The preceding, however, is not a solitary instance of the accuracy of the press of H. Stephens. For in his Magnum Opus the Thesaurus Ling. Gr. we never remember to have met with a single typographical error. We do not undertake to say there are none. Mr. E. H. Barker is probably the only English scholar who could settle that question.
3 The identical specimen leaf of Bentley's intended edition of Philostratus is bound up with his copy of Philostratus, fol. Par. 1608, and now preserved in the British Gent. Mao. Vol. VII. 2 N