Imágenes de página
PDF

ner with his master, who, he said, had been long waiting for him. Robin Hood received the stranger with a hearty welcome, treated him with great respect, and they sat down together to a plentiful feast j after which, according to custom, the outlaws were proceeding to make him 'pay for his dinner.' But the Knight excused himself on the ground of having only ten shillings in his possession, which, on searching his coffer, was found to be true, and he told the history of his misfortunes.

"'Within two or three yere, Robyn,' he

'My neyghbores well it kenile, Foure hondreth pounde of good money

Full wel than myght I spende. Now have I no good,' sayd the Knyght,

'But my chyldren and my wyfe j God hath shapen such an ende,

Tyll God may amende my lyfe.' 'In what maner,' sayd Robyn,

'Hast thou lows thy ryches?' For my grete foly,' he sayd,

'And for my kindenesse. I had a sone, for soth, Robin,

That sholde have ben my eyre, When he was twenty wynter olde,

In felde wolde juste full feyre:
He slewe a knyght of Lancastshyre,

And a squyre bolde;
For to save hym in his ryght

My goodes beth sette and solde;
My londes beth sette to wedde, (pledge)Untyll a certayne daye, [Robyn, To a ryche abbot here besyde,

Of Saynt Mary abbey.'"

Robin generously lent the knight, for a year, four hundred pounds, the sum for which his estates had been pledged, and the outlaws clothed him in new habits becoming his profession, Little John being equipped as his squire. By this means the knight regained his lands, but his friendship for the forester drew him into fresh misfortunes, till finally Robin and Sir Richard were both reconciled to the King.

The next ballad which seems to have been used in the compilation of this 'geste,' was the same story, a little varied in its details, with that of Robin and the potter, already noticed. Little John, in disguise, distinguished himself at an archery match held by the Sheriff of Nottingham. The sheriff, pleased with his skill, asked his name, was told that it was 'Reynaud Gre

nelefe,' and finally hired him for twenty marks a year. One day he was left at home, without provisions, which he took from the larder and buttery, in spite of the steward and butler, but the cook fought with him desperately, and in the end they agreed to go together to Robin Hood, which they did, taking with them the sheriff's plate and money, and were joyously received by the outlaws. Thereupon, Little John, still in his disguise as the sheriff's man, sought his master in the forest, where he was hunting, told him that he had just seen seven score of deer in a herd; and under pretence of leading him to the place, took him to Robin Hood, by whom he was feasted in his own plate, and was afterwards punished by being compelled to lye all night bare on the ground with the outlaws. Before he was allowed to depart, the sheriff swore solemnly that he would never injure Robin or his men.

The third ballad used in the formation of this ' geste,' was one of Robin Hood and the monk. Little John, with Much and Scathelock, go up to the Sayles and Watling-street, and in Barnisdale meet with two black monks and their attendants. The latter were defeated, and one of the monks was brought to dine in the outlaw's 'lodge.'

"Robyn dyde adowne his hode

The monk whan that he se ;* The monk was not so curteyse,

His hode then let he be. 'He is a chorle, mayster, by dere worthy

Then said Lytell Johan. [God,''Thereof no force,' sayd Robyn,

'For curteysy can he none.'"

Robin called together his men, and compelled the monk to join them at their meal. After dinner the outlaw, naturally enough, inquired after the monk's money:—

"' What is in your cofers?' sayd Robyn,

Trewe than tell thou me.' 'Syr,' he sayd, 'twenty marke,

Al so mote I the.' (o* I may thrive.) 'Yf there be no more,' sayd Robyn,

'I wyll not one peny; Yf thou hast myster (need) of ony more,

Syr, more I shall lcnde to the; And yf I fynde more,' sayd Robyn,

'I wys thou shalte it for-gone (lose); For of thy spendynge sylver, monk,

Therof wyll I ryght none.

• i. e. When he saw the monk.

Go nowe forthe, Lytell Johan,

And the trouth tell thou me;
If there be no more but twenty marke, No peny that I se.'
Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe,

As he had done before,
And he tolde out of the monkes male (box),

Eyght hundreth pounde and more."

The monk was robbed of his money, and dismissed.

A similar story is told of Eustace the monk, in the curious Norman poem of the beginning of the thirteenth century to which we have already alluded. Eustace was lurking, with his men, in the territory of Boulougne—(v. 1745.)"Li abWs de Jumiaus venoit;Wistasce esgarde, si le voit: 'Dans abbrs,' ilist-il, ' estes la; Que portes vous, u'el cel<5s jit?' Dist li abbes: 'A vous c'afiert?' A poi c'L" istasces ne le fiert: 'C'afiert a moi, sire coillart! Par ma teste! g'i aurai part. Descended tost, n'en paries plus, Ou vous seres ja si batus Ne la vauriies pour. c. livres.' Li abbes [cuide] k'il soit ivres j II l'a .. molt douchement. Dist a l'abes: 'Ales-vous-ent; N'est pas ichi que vous querns.' Wtstasces dist: 'Ne me cities; Descended jus isnielement, Ou li vous ira malement.' L'abbes descent, grant paor a, Et Wistasces li demanda Combien il porte od lui d'avoir. Dist li abbes: 'iiij. mars voir, J'aiod moi iiij. mars . d'argent.' Wistasces l'escouce erramment; Bien trouva . xxx. mars ou puis, Les . iiij. mars li a rendus, Tant cum il dist que il avoirLi abbes fu corechi(5s a droit. Se li abMs <5ust dit voir, Tout r'eust eu son avoir. Li abbes son avoir perdi Pour tant seulement k'il menti." *

Perhaps the only other ballad used by the compiler of the 'geste' was that which furnished the last two fits, the meeting of Robin and the King, and it would seem that he had used the ' explicit' of the ballad itself, or that he had it in his mind, when he wrote at the end—" Explycit Kynge Edwarde and Robyn Hode and Lytell Johan." The mention of King Edward, the first instance of the name of a King which occurs in these ballads, is itself curious.Does it show that the ballad which the writer of the 'geste' used, was written in the reign of one of the Edwards, and that in the cycle sung at the Robin Hood festivals, when the king was introduced, they gave him the name of the king at the time reigning, as we have seen to have been the case in a collateral cycle.

The king and his knights came to Nottingham to take Robin Hood :—

"There our Kynge was wont to se

Herdes many one,
He coud unneth fynde one dere,

That bare ony good home."

The loss of his deer enraged the King, and he waited half a year at Nottingham in hope of hearing some news of the outlaw, but in vain. At length a forester offered to gratify the King with a sight of Robin Hood, if he would venture with five of his knights, all in the disguise of monks, where he would lead him. The King accepted the offer, took himself the disguise of an abbot, and rode, singing by the way, to the 'grene-wode.' There he was accosted by Robin Hood, who demanded of him his money, of which however he accepted only the half, giving him back the rest for his 'spendynge.'

Literal version.—The abbot of Jumiaus came by: Eustace looks and sees him.— "Dan Abbot," said he, "stand there: What do you carry?—do not conceal it." Said the abbot, "What is that to you?" Eustace was near striking him. "What is it to me, sir Scoundrel! by my head I 1 will have a part of it. Come down quickly; speak no more of that, or you shall be so beaten, as you would not for a hundred pounds." The abbot thought that he was drunk j he remonstrated very gently. The abbot said, "Goalong! what you seek is not here." Eustace said, "Mock not at me; descend quickly, or it will go ill with you there." The abbot descends j he has great fear; and Eustace demanded of him,how much money he carries with him. Said the abbot, " Four marks, truly; I have with me four marks of silver." Eustace immediately lifted up his gown; he found full thirty marks or more. The four marks he has given him back, as much as he said he had. Die abbot was of course cross. If the abbot had said the truth, he would have had again all his property. The abbot lost hisproperty only because he lied.

"Full curteysly Robyn gan say,

'Syr, have this for your spendyng, We shall mete another day.'

'Gramercy,' then sayd our Kynge.

'But well the greteth Edwarde our Kynge,

And sent to the his seale,
And byddeth the com to Notyngham,

Both to mete and mele.'

He toke out the brode tarpe,

And sone he lete hym se; Robyn coud his courteysy, And set hym on his kne.

'I love no man in all the worlde So well as I do my Kynge, Welcome is my lordes seale;

And, monke, for thy tydynge,

Syr Abbot, for thy tydynges,

To day thou shalt dyne with me,

For the love of my Kynge,
Under my trystell tre.'"

Accordingly, he led the abbot to the table, and, at the sound of his horn, seven score of his men came 'on a rowe.'

"All they kneeled on theyr kne,

Full fayre before Robyn.
The Kynge sayd hymselfe untyll,

And swore by saynt Austyn,'Here is a wonder semely syght,

Me thynketh, by goddes pyne {suffering);His men are more at his byddynge Then my men be at myn.'"

After dinner there was shooting, the marks being, as the abbot thought, too long by fifty paces, and it was agreed that every one who missed should lose his arrow and receive a buffet on the head, which buffet Robin administered without mercy to all who incurred the penalty. At length Robin missed the mark himself:

"At the last shot that Robyn shot,

For all his frendes fare, Yet he fayled of the garlonde

Thre fyngers and mare.

Than bespake good Gylberte, And thus he gan say: 'Mayster,' he sayd, 'your takyll is lost, Stand forth and take your pay.' 'If it be so,' sayd Robyn,'That may no better be; Sir Abbot, I delyver the myn arowe, I pray the, syr, serve thou me.' 'It falleth not for myn order,' sayd our'Robyn, by thy leve, [Kyng, For to smyte no good yeman,

For doute I shoulde hym greve.' 'Smyte on boldely,' sayd Robyn,

'I give the large leve:'
Annone our Kynge, with that worde,

He folde up his sieve,
And sych a buffet he gave Robyn,

To grounde he yede [went) full nere. 'I make myn avowe to God,' sayd Robyn,

'Thou arte a stalworthe frere.

There is pith in thyn arme,' sayd Robyn, I trowe thou canst well shote.'"The strength of his arm excited suspicion, for it was one of the qualifications of royalty; the King was recognized; all the outlaws fell upon ther knees before him, and Robin asked pardon for their trespasses, which was granted, and he himself was taken to court. On their return to Nottingham, the King and his attendants having been clad in the outlaw's livery, 'Lyncolne grene,' they went shooting along the way :— "Our Kynge and Robyn rode togyder,

For soth as I you say, And they shote plucke buffet,

As they went by the way; And many a buffet our Kynge wan

Of Robyn Hode that day; And nothynge spared good Robyn

Our Kynge in his pay." Robin, however was soon tired of court, and returned to his former life and haunts, where he lived twentytwo years, till he was betrayed by the prioress of ' Kyrkesly,' for the love of Sir Roger of Doncaster ' that was her owne speciall.'

[To 6e continued.)

The History of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, with Prolegomena, Notes and Emendations. By Alexander Negris. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1833.

The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides. By Thomas Arnold, D.D. 3 vols. Oxford, 1835.

ancient Greeks themselves, the oldest monuments of their national literature. The so called Orphic songs, the

IT is admitted by nearly all the Irarued of the present day, that the Homeric songs were, even among the

Ilias of Dares, Dictys a. s. f. are forgeries of a later date. The few popular poets before Homer must, if ever they did exist, have been totally eclipsed by the splendour, and silenced by the powerful strain of the Homeric lyre. To us at least, none of their lays have ever descended.

Homer and Hesiod were succeeded by the Cyclic poets, who sung of the birth, deeds, and exploits of the gods (Theogony, Titanomachy), and who may be considered in some measure the first historians of the Greeks, in so far as they attempted to collect, in a chronological order, the various fables and fictions of former times.1 Creuzcr,'3 Hecren,* and others are decidedly of opinion, that the songs of the Cyclic poets ought to be considered the origin of Greek history.4 This view is, in fact, strengthened by the consideration, that the Greek history, even of later ages, bears the stamp and character of poetry, a circumstance which argues strongly in favour of Creuzer's leading view: that the Greeks looked upon history in no other light than the production of poetry and imagination.

An objection might, however, be taken to such an opinion, if it be meant to imply (as Creuzer seems to infer from some passages in the ancients), that the first historians did nothing but convert the fables of the Cyclic poets into prose. For, how could we then reconcile history with poetry? How could any art of pure imagination give birth to a science founded on facts, and nothing but facta? It is true, that poetical productions were with the Greeks, and probably with all ancients nations, prior to prosaic, but it does not follow, that prose is the offspring of poetry. As the field of the latter is more fertile and productive than the former, it was natural for people in an early stage of civilization to ex

1 Comp. Heyne, Eicurs. i. ad Virgil Mb. xi. p. 2i'0. Wolf, Prol. ad Homer, p. 116. Schirarz, Disp. de Poet. Cycl. in his Diss. Selec.

* Die Historische Kunst der Griechen —v p. 25—176.

* Ideen — v. t. iii. sec. I. p. 376.

. * Comp. Herrmann de His. Gr. Prim, in the Opuscul. vol. ii. p. 196.

press their sentiments in the language of natural poetry. Nations, like individuals, listen when young with delight to the history of the noble deeds of their ancestors; the fuller the seadventures are of wonders and miracles, the more pleasing do they appear.

The first accounts and narrations about the early Greeks, were consequently not intended or calculated for historical records; they were only amusing tales, like the novels of our times, and who was so well fitted as the poet, to gratify and humour their lively but childish curiosity I Disfigured as all these stories became in the course of time, when writing was unknown, and when, in passing through each country, they received, as a river does, a colour from the soil through which it flows, how could the historian adopt and acknowledge them? They were of no use to him, and he wisely resigned them into the hands of the poet, who filled up the chasm by his inventive powers, and gave to them a local habitation and a name, for the amusement of the multitude. History, then, in its earliest stage, was nothing more than an epos. Every thing, in short, religion and even philosophy, bore with the early Greeks the stamp of poetry.

In the early youth of the world, shone forth that activity of the mind, so well designated by the Greeks, by their word woir/ait. They knew of no such art, as description, transcription, imitation, and collection; every thing was with them original, the creation of the mind. He whom nature had denied that faculty, was silent and only listened. Art is of divine origin, and the inspiration of nature and genius; science, the offspring of study and of pure reason. Young nations, like young minds, delight in the past, and form projects for the future, but overlook entirely the present; it is only the maturity of age that forces man to the study and knowledge of his contemporaries, of the spirit of his age, and of the events that pass around him, in order to regulate his operations for his practical career. No sooner are nations awake to reality, no sooner is their mind sufficiently developed to see and study life and nature in their true and real light, than the style and form of poetry disappear with its illusions, and prose becomes the language of men when in search for truth. Reason has then the sway over imagination and puts a check to the extravagant figures, ideas, and words of fancy, and by such suppression exhibits at once the grave of art, and the cradle of prose. The artist has his model within himself, by which his fancy shapes and forms the real world around him; he invests the external world with the colours and forms of his ideal one, while the man of science looks at the real world as a great and finished work, and his study is chiefly directed to the discovery of the plan and principles of its architecture, and of the laws to which that vast machine is subservient. Of science, thus strictly bound to reality, the thoughts must be sober, and her expressions distinct and clear; no attraction whatever ought to be held out by the scientific that has a tendency to fascinate the fancy without convincing the mind; no language ought to be used by which the passions may be excited, or the heart captivated, when reason is left in doubt and unsatisfied.

From the fact then, that poetry is older than prose, all that we can reasonably infer is, that the arts are older than the sciences!

Prose and history may be younger sisters, but are by no means the offspring of poetry. The gnomic and Cyclic poets may be said to have greatly contributed to the developement of history, but by no means to have caused its rise. Their works may be considered as a soit of stepping-stone to the grand study of nature, and as such study increased, natural poetry declined, and at the same time gave birth to a new era in history and other sciences.

Indeed, the most ancient writers tell us as much in as many words. Dionysius of Hallicarnassus' states explicitly, "that the sole object of the mostancient historians, and especially of Hecateus and Acusilaus, was to make known the traditions current amongst various nations, in their original shape, and without the slightest alteration." They endeavoured therefore to adhere

6 De Thucy. His. Jud. c. 5.

to historical truth, by purifying traditions from poetical falsifications. Both of them belonged also to the earliest prosaic writers, since they flourished about the same time with Cadmus of Milesia, and Pherecydes of Syros, to whom Pliny6 attributes the glory of being the inventors of prosewriting," and may be considered as contemporaries also with Eumeles, Archilochus, Theagenes, mentioned by Dionysius, Pliny, and Josephus,e as the first historians of Greece.9 The passages in Clemens of Alexandria10 and Suidas,u which bring down the Logographers and first prosaic writers as late as the 60th Olymp. and lower, hardly deserve the notice and attention given to them by Creuzer.1'

Pherecydes is usually considered as the first writer in Prose; his subject was, according to Tlieopompus, the gods and nature, probably a sort of natural philosophy." Hecateus and many other of the first historians composed Travels,1* perhaps not very dissimilar to the history of Herodotus, except that it was more full of observations on nature. Dionysius of Miletus, who flourished about the 70th Olymp., was the first who wrote the

6 H. H. vol. v. c. 31; vol. vii. c. 37. Strab. i. p. 48. Isid. Origg. i. 37.

7 Stnrz. Pherec. Frag. Call. Illus. p. 7, puts Pherecydes between the 45th and 58th Olymp.; the last period is adopted by Diog. Lafrt. i. 14. Pherecydes flourished consequently only twenty-five years before Hecateus. Vassius (i. c. 2,) seems therefore not wrong in assigning to all of them a period of about sixty years from 520 to4fa'0 A.c

8 1. c. Apion.

9 Comp. Creuzer His. Gr. Ant. Frag, p. 4. SchoeWs Hist, of Greek Liter, p. 11.

»° Strom, vol. i p. 629.

11 Voss. de His. Gr. p. 194—6.

12 lb. p. 6ti Dahlmann: Forschiingen auf dem Gebiete d. Geschichte, t. ii. p. 1 p. 109, 112.

13 Pherecydes considered water, the first element: principia, rerum tether, chaos, tempvs. Also Josephus(c. Apion. i. p. 1034,) remarks, that Pherecydes, Pythagoras, and Thales, were the first among the Greeks, who inquired into the nature of the stars.

14 Mem. de l'Acad. des Insc. t. vi. p. 475. Creuzer, ib. p. 38, 99.

« AnteriorContinuar »