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{{Template}} History of Fiction (1814) is a work by John Colin Dunlop (circa 1785 - 1842) on the history of fiction.

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ARTES SCIENTIA VERITAS



SOSPT^S STANDARD LIBBABT.


HISTORY OF PROSE FICTION,


ISTORY OF PROSE FICTION.


BT


JOHN COLIN ^UNLOP.


A NEW EDITION

REVISEt> WITH NOTES, APPENDICES, AND INDEX,

BT

HENRY WILSON.


VOL. ir


LONDON -. aEOBQE BELL AND SONS, YORK 8TBEET.

COVENT GARDEN.

1888.







CHISWICK PRBS5 .' — C. WHITTINGHAM AND CO., TOOKS COURT,

CHANCERY LANS.


1952

2.


CONTENTS.


CHAPTER VII.

FAOB

Origin of Italian tales — Fables of Bidpai — Seven Wise Masters — Gesta Romanorum — Contes et Fabliaux — Cento Novelle An- tiche— Decameron of Boccaccio 1


CHAPTER VIII.

Julian imitators of Boccaccio — Saocbetti — Ser Giovanni— Mas- sncdo — Sabadino — Giraldi Cinthio — Straparola — ^Bandello^ Malespini, etc. — French imitators 149

CHAPTER IX.

Origin of Spiritual Romance — Legenda Aurea — Contes Divots — Gaerino Mescbino— Lyddas et Cleorithe — Romans de Camus, etc. — Pilgrim's Progress 247

CHAPTER X.

Comic Romance — Works of Rabelais — Vita di Bertoldo — Don Quixote — Gusman D'Alfarache— Marcos de Obregon — Roman Comiqne, etc — Political Romance— Utopia — ^Argenis — Sethos, etc 297


CHAPTER XI.

Piutoral Romance — Sannazzaro's Arcadia — Montemayor's Diana —lyUrf^s Astz^e—8ir PhiUp Sidney's Arcadia . .360

CHAPTER XII.

Heroic Romance — ^Polexandre — Cleopatra — Cassandra — Ibrab iin -CleUe,etc 403


VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XIII. French Novels — Fairy Tales — Voyages ImagiDaires . . - 4


CHAPTER XIV.

Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the English Novel — Serious — Comic — Romantic — Conclusion 5-

Appendix .5

Index . 6<


HISTORY OF FICTION.


CHAPTER Vn.

>SIGIN OF ITAXIAK TALEB. — FABLES OV BIDPAI. — SBYEN WISE KA8TEB9. GESTA BOMANOBUM. — GONTES ST FA- BLIAUX.— CBITTO NOVELLB ANTIOHE. — DEOAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO.

IT seems not a little remarkable that Italj, which pro- duced the earliest and finest specimens of romantic Metry, should scarcely have furnished a single prose omance of chivalry. This is the more remarkable, as the [taliana seem to have been soon and intimately acquainted ffrith the works o£ the latter description produced among

he neighbouring nations. Nor does this Imowledge appear

merely from the poems of Pulci and Boiardo, but &om the authors of a period still more remote, in whom we tneet with innumerable allusions to incidents related in the tales of chivalry. Dante represents the perusal of the story of Lanoelot, as conducting Paolo and Francesca al iol^yroso pasBO (Inf. c. 5), and elsewhere shows his acquain- tance with the fabulous stories of Arthur and Charlemagne (Inf. c. 31 and 32, Farad, c. 16 and 18). Petrarch ^o Eippears to have been familiar with the exploits of Tristan and Lancelot (Trionfi, &c.). In the Cento Novelle Antiche there exists the story of King Meliadus and the Knight without Fear ; as also of the Lady of Scalot, who died for loTe of Lauoelot du Lac. There, too, the passion of Yaeult and the phrensy of Tristan are recorded ; and in the sixth tale of the tenth day of the Decameron, we are told that a Florentine gentleman had two daughters, one

II. B


2 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VI

of whom was called GKneura the Handsome, and the oth Tseult the Fair.

NeTertheless the Italians have produced no o prose work of anj length or reputation in the romant style of composition. This deficiency may be partly att buted to national manners and circumstances. Since transference of the seat of the Boman empire to Const tinople, the Italians had never been conquerors, but ha always been vanquished by barbarous nations, who ifve successively softened and polished at the same time th they became enervated. The inhabitants possessed neithej that extravagant courage nor refined gallaiitry, the deline tion of which forms the soul of romantic composition. A| a time when, in other countries, national exploits, and th progress of feudal institutions, were laying the foiindatio for this species of fiction, Italy was overrun by the inc sions of enemies, or only successfully defended by strange Hence it was difficult to choose any set of heroes, by th celebration of whose deeds the whole nation would hav( been interested or flattered, as England must have been b^ the relation of the achievements of Arthur, or France b the history of Charlemagne. The fame of Beliearius wa indeed illustrious, but as an enemy he was hated by th descendants of the northern invaders ; and, as a foreigner! his deeds could not gratify the national vanity of those h came to succour. His successor's exploits were liable t the same objections, and were besides performed by being of all others the worst calculated to become a he in a romance of chivalry.

The early division, too, of Italy into a number of smal and independent states, was a check on national pride, theme could hardlv have been chosen which would hav* met with general applause, and the exploits of the chiefs o one district would often have been a mortifying tale to the inhabitants of another.

Besides, the mercantile habits so early introduced into Italy repressed a romantic spirit. It is evident from the Italian novelists, that the manners of the people had not caught one spark of the fire of chivalry, which kindled the surrounding nations. In the principal states of Italy. particularly Floi*enoe, the military profession was rather


ff. Till.] i.*b:£PTAMebon. 241

e conceits of tlie Italian sonnetteers : Thus, " it is said m jealousy is love, but I deny it, for though jealousy be "»3duced by love, as ashes are by fire, yet jealousy extin- lishes love, as ashes smother the flame." Of the tales themselves, few are original ; for, except K:>iit half a dozen which are historically true, and are endoned as having fallen under the knowledge and 'Serration of the Queen of Navarre, they may all be iced to the Fabliaux, the Italian novels, and the Cent }UTelle8 Nouvelles. Few are either of a serious or atro- )as description — ^they consist for the most part in con- iTances for assignations — amorous assaults ingeniously [•elled— intrigues ingeniously accomplished or ludicrously tected. Through the whole work, the monks, especially ^ Cordeliers, are treated with much severity, and are presented as committing, and sometimes with impunity, en when discovered, the most cruel, deceitful, and im- oral actions. When we have already seen ecclesiastical ' laracters treated vdth much contumely by private writers, the age, and near the seat, of papal supremacy, it will >t excite surprise that they should be so represented by a leen, who was a favourer of the new opinions, and an lemj to the Bomish superstitions. But while so many tales of the Queen of Navarre i^e been borrowed from earlier productions, they ap- fii in their turn to have suggested much to subsequent riters.

The 8th tale (Mesaventure de Bomet, qui se fait coca li-meme), which is from the fabliau of Le Meunier Aleus,^ and also occurs in the Facetiae of Poggio, in Sac- aetti, and the 9th of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, seems le version of the story which has suggested the plot of birley's comedy of the Gamester, (afterwards printed nder the title of The Gamesters,) where Mrs. Wilding til)stitutes herself for Penelope, with whom her husband

' l^^gnnd jyAuasy, iii. 256. Leroux de Lincy— Secaeil de Fab- &ax, ii. 31. The tale is also the one in the Decameron, Tiii. 4. Mor- ni's 79, Malespini's ii. 96. Margaret, says Montaiglon, could have o€o acquainted with Boccaccio and Pom'o onljr through translations. ^« THeptam^ron ed. by Le Roux de Lincy and A. de Montaiglon, r. 232.

II. B


242 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. YU

liad an assignation, and he, to discharge a game debl giyes up the adventure to his friend Hazard.

The lOih tale is the Ch&telaine de Yergj.

The 29th tale has a striking resemblance to the story €

Theodosius and Constantia, whose loves and misfortune

. have been immortalized bj Addison in the Spectator, 17c

164.^

The 80th coincides with the 35th of the 2d part Bandello, and the plot of Walpole's " Mysterious Mother (see above, vol. ii. p. 219.)

The 36th stoir concerning the President of Grenoble which is taken from the 6th novel of the 3d decade o Cinthio, or the 47th of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, ha suggested to the same dramatist that part of his liove* Cruelty, which turns on the concealment of Hippolito' intrigue with Clariana, by the contrivance of her husband

The 38th which was originally the 72d tale of Morlinij is the story of a lady whose husband went frequently to i farm he had in the country. ELis wife suspecting the cau8< of his absence, sends provisions and all accommodations U the mistress for whose sake he went to the farm, in ordej to provide for the next visit, which has the effect of recall ling the alienated affections of her husband. This story ii in the MS. copy of the Yarii Successi of Orologi, mentionec by Borromeo [p. 233, <&c.]. The French and Italian talei agree in the most minute circumstances, even in the nam* of the place where the lady resided, which is Tours ii both. This tale is related in a colloquy of Erasmus, en titled Uxor Mefiyf/lyafwc sive Conjugium. It also occurs ii Albion's England, a poem, by William Warner, who wa a celebrated writer in the reign of Queen Elizabeth : thos) stanzas, which contain the incident, have been extracte< from that poetical epitome of British history, and pub lished in Percy's " Eelics," under the title of the Patien Countess [Ser. L B. 3, No. 6].

45. La Servante Justifi^ of Fontaine, is from the 45tl novel of this collection. It was probably taken from tht

^ Cr. Langhome's ** Correspondence of Theodosina and Constantia.'*

  • This Btorv does not agree with Morlini*s 72d in the editions whirl

I hare been able to consult.


I Fin.] li'HEPTAXEBON. 243

)]ka of the same Trouveur, who had obtained it from ,' East, as it corresponds with the story of the shop- .'per's wife [No. 9] in Nakshebi's Persian tales, known the name of Tooti Nameh, or Tales of a Parrot. rhere were few works of any celebrity, written in mce in imitation of the tales of the Qaeen of Navarre. e stories in the Nouvelles Becreations on Contes Nou- m. have been generally attributed to Bonaventure des rhers, one of the domestics of that princess ; but in the lion 1783, it is shown that they were written by Nicholas ajsot, a French painter. They are not so long as those the Queen of Navarre, and consist for the most part in grammatic conclusions, brought about by a very short ition. It is amusing, however, to trace in them the liments of onr most ordinary jest books. The following rv, which occurs in the Nouvelles Recreations [vol. ii. I may be found in almost every production of the kind m the Eacetiae of Hierodes,^ to the last EncydopeBdia Wit. An honest man in Poictiers sent his two sons for ir improvement to Paris. After some time they both isick; one died, and the survivor, in a letter to his her, said, ' This is to acquaint you that it is not I who dead, but my brother William, though it be very true It I was worse than he.' It has been said that Porson

e intended to publish Joe Miller with a commentary, in

ler to show that all his jests were derived originally •m the Greek. This he could not have done, but they r be all easily traced to Greek authors, the Eastern les, or the Fi^nch and Italian novels of the fifteenth i sixteenth centuries.

imong the French tales of the sixteenth century may be nitioned the Contes Amoureux of Jeanne Flore; Le intemps de Jaques Tver, published in 1672 ; L'Et^ de lugne Poissenot, 1583, and Les Facetieuses Joum^s, of ibriel Chapuis.'

The more serious and tragic relations of the Italians -re diffused in France during the sixteenth century, by

' Probably cap. 21 Hieroclet, where a twin is asked whether it is he bis broths who is dead. — Lub.

' Por SD aoconnt of the sooioes whence Chapuis drew, see F. W. Y. iim\dt'« notes to Tales of Straparola, p. 331.


244 HISTOET OP FICTION. [CH. TIlj

means of the well-known work of Belleforeat,* and wei imitated in the Histoires Tragiques of Eosset, one <i whose stories [No. 5] is the foundation of the most celi brated drama of Ford, who has indeed chosen a revoltiq subject, jet has represented perhaps in too fascinatin colours the loves of Giovanni and Aimabella.

Les Histoires Prodigieuses of Boaistuau, published i 1561, seems to be the origin of such stories as appear } the Wonders of Nature, Marvellous Magazine, &c. T^ are assured upon the authority of Boethius and Sax^ that, in the Orkneys, wheat grows on the tops of tl trees, and that the ripe fruits, when thej fall to tl water, are immediately changed to singing birds : ^ the] are besides a good many relations of monstrous birthi There is also the common stoiy of a person who wa drowned by mistaking the echo of his own cry, for th voice of another. Arriving on the bank of a river, li asked loudly, '* s'il n'y avoit point de peril a passer r^ Passez, — ^Est ce par ici ? — ^ar id"

Towards the close of the sixteenth, and beginning of th seventeenth century, a prodigious multitude of tales wei written in Spain, in imitation of the Italian novels : " It woiill be too lengthy a task," says LampiUas (Saggio Storico de let. Spagnuola, part ii. tom. 3, p. 195,) " to indicate the poi teutons number of Spanish stories published at that Htm and translated into the most ciiltivated languages c Europe." ' These Spanish novels are generally more d< tailed in the incidents than their Italian models, and hav also received very considerable modifications from tb manners and customs of the country in which they wei produced. Those compositions, which in Italy presente alternate pictures of savage revenge, licentious intrigue and gross buffoonery, are characterized by a high romanti spirit of gallantry, and jealousy of family honour, bi

^ For similar information on this writer see F. W. V. Schmidt

  • ' Taschenbuch Deutscher Romanzen," p. 144.

^ Cf. Gerrasius Tilb. iiL 123, de avibus ex arboribns nascentibus.

' It will not be irreleTant to observe here that Boaistuau and Belli forest rendered Bandello's stories into French, Rosset did the same ft seTeral works of Cervantes, inclndlng part of Don Quixote, and ChapQ translated Ariosto's Rolando, and Amadis de (Hnle and I^rimaleon.


t Tin.] li'HEFTAHE&ON. 245

me all, bj constant nocturnal scuffles on the streets. lie tales of Gkrardo, the Novelas Exemplares of Cer- ntes, the Prodigios y Successos d'Amor of Montalvan, 9I the Novelas Amorosas of Camerino,^ all written to- krds the end of the sixteenth, or commencement of the renteenth century, are scarcely less interesting than the t^nch or Italian Udes, in illustrating the manners of the ople, the progress of fiction, and its transmission from i novelist to the dramatic poet. Beaumont and Fletcher re availed themselves as much of the novels of Gerardo d Cervantes, as of the tales of Cinthio or Bandello, and mv of their most popular productions, as the Spanish

In SpaiQ also short stories were more numerous and more successful nng the latter part of the sixteenth and the whole of the seventeenth itaries, than any other form of prose fiction, to a great degree inde- ident of tales of Oriental origin, which had been introduced two oen- ies preriously by Juan Manuel, and little aifected by Boccaccio and Hhven, they borrowed rather from the longer romances, and are a ^ interestiDg reflex of contemporaneous society. A few repertories sach stories may be here named, such, for instance, as the EI Inven- 10 of Antonio de Villegas, 1561. This contained two stories, Absence 1 Solitude, and Narvaez. The latter is analysed by Ticknor, (iii. 151). « tale was taken bodily from Villegas, by Montemayor, and appears the Utter 3 Diana, Bk. iy. materially altered for the worse. Padilla uuvht the story into a series of ballads, Lope de Vega founded on it ' Kemedy for Misfortune, and Cervantes introduced it into his Don ixote, bat it nowhere presents itself with such grace as in the simple e of Vill^as. Juan oe TImoneda was a bookseller, and may be cen- tred to have known, and laid himself oat to please the popular taste. » earlier efforts were in Terse. His Patranuelo, or Storyteller, (1st rtl, was published in 1576, but was not continued. Its materials are &wn from widely different sources, a comprehensive list of which is en by liebrechi (p. 500, etc.) These stories '* tend to show what is 3red in other ways, that such popular tales had long been a part of MDteUectual amusements of a state of society little dependent on nks ; and after floating for centuries up and down Europe — ^bome by ^neral tradition, or by the minstrels and trouveurs — ^were about this nc>d first reduced to writing, and then again passed onward from hand hand, till they were embodied in some form that became permanent. ^i-i-, therefore, the Novellieri had been doing in Italy for above two mdred years Ttmoneda now undertook to do for Spain. ' £1 Sobremesa Alirio de Caminantes, also by Timoneda, is a collection of anecdotes '^ jests in the manner of Joe Miller. The work was printed in 1569 >d probably earlier. Cervantes, Hidalgo, Suarez de Figueroa, Salas irbftdillo, a very popular writer of short fictions, Diego de Agreda y i^rgas, Stfiar y Veraugo, and others may be added. See Ticknors History of Spanish Literature, 1872," vol. iii. chap. 36.


246 HI8TOBT OP FICTION. [CH. Tl

Curate, Eule a Wife and Have a Wife, Cbanoes, Love Pilgrimage, and Fair Maid of the Inn may be easily trao to a Spanish original. [See also Boccaccio, yiii. 8, ai Cinthio, vi. 6, other works of importance in this connectic are noticed by Graesse, ii. 8, p. 247.] I fear, howevt that to protract this investigation would be more curioi than profitable, as enough has already been said to est blish the rapid and constant progress of the stream < fiction, during the periods in which we are engaged, ai its frequent transfusion from one channel of literature ; another.

Indeed, I have perhaps already occupied the readi longer than at first may seem proper or justifiable, wii the subject of Italian tales, ana the imitations of thei But, besides their own intrinsic value, as pictures ( morals and of manners, other circumstances contributed lead me into this detail. In no other species of writing the transmission of fable, and if I may say so, the co merce of literature, so distinctly marked. The larg works of fiction resemble those productions of a count which are consumed within itself, while tales, like t more delicate and precious articles of traffic, which exported &om their native soil, have gladdened and delight every land. They 'are the ingredients from which Sha speare, and other enchanters of his day, have distillt those magical drops which tend so much to sweeten t lot of humanity, by occasionally withdrawing the Tnin from the cold and naked realities of life, to vision scenes and visionary bliss.


CHAPTER IX.

OBIGIK OF SFIBITUAL BOMAiTCB. — LEGBNDA A1TBEA. — COKTES I>4V0T8. — GlTBfilNO ME8CHINO. — LTCIDA8 ET

CLEOBITHE. BOMANB DE CAMUS, ETC. — PILOBIM's PBO-

0BBS8.

WE have now travelled oyer those fields of fiction, whicli have been cultiyated bj the writers of chivalrj and the Italian novelists ; but the task remains of surveying those other regions which the industry of succeeding times has explored, and I have yet to give some account of those different classes of romance which appeared in France and other countries of Europe, previous to the introduction of the modem novel.

It has already been remarked, that the variations of romance correspond in a considerable degree with the varia- tions of manners. Something, indeed, must be allowed to the caprice of taste, and something to the accidental direc- tion of an original genius to a particular pursuit ; but still, amid the variety, iheie is a certain uniformity, and when the character of an age or people is decided, it must give a tinge to the taste, and a direction to the efforts, of those who court attention or favour, and who have themselves been nourished in existing prejudices and in commonly received opinions.

Of the natural principles of the human mind, none are more obvious thw a spirit of religion; and in certain periods of society, and under certain circumstances, this sentiment has been so prevalent as to constitute a feature in the character of the age. It was to be expected, there- fore, that a feeling so general and powerful should have been gratified in every mode, and that, amongst others, the easy and magical dharm of fiction should have formed


248 HISTOET OP FICTION. [CH. IX.

one of the methods by which it was fostered and in- dulged.

In the times which succeeded the earlj ages of Chris- tianity, the gross ignorance of many of its votaries rendered them but ill qualified to relish the abstract truths of reU- gion, or imadomed precepts of morality. The plan was accordingly adopted of adducing examples, which might in- terest the attention and speak strongly to the feelings. Hence, from the zeal of some, and the artifice or creduHtv of other instructors, mankind were taught the duties of devotion by a recital of the achievements of spiritual knight errantry.

The history of Josaphat and Barlaam, of which an ac- count has already been given ("vol. i. p. 64, et seq.), and which was written to inspire a taste for the ascetic virtues, seems to have been the origin of Spiritual Eomanoe. It is true, that in the first ages of the church, many fictitious gospels were composed, full of improbable fables; but, as they contained opinions in contradiction to what was deemed the orthodox faith, they were discountenanced by the fathers of the church, and soon fell into disrepute. On the other hand, the history of Josaphat and Barlaam, which was more sound in its doctrine, passed at an early period into the west of Europe, and through the medium of the old Latin translation, which was a common manu- script, and was even printed so early as about the year 1470, it became a very general favourite. (See supra, p. 64, etc.)

As far back as the fourth century, St. Athanasius visited

^ Nevertheless the legends based upon or suggested by these apocry- phal writings persisted, spread, and have been largely preserved till the present time, as we have seen, for instance, in the case of the St. Andrew, St. Joseph of Arimathea, Veronica, and other traditions.

An unknown author of the twelfth centurv wrote a metrical Barlaam, the commencement of which is given in Hist. Litt. de la France, xx. p. 484, and is contained in Vatican MS. 1728. A friar preacher, Lorens, translated the history of Barlaam into Provencal in the thirteenth cen- tury. In the fourteenth century, Guy de Cambrai, a trouvere, wrote a metrical version of the story (see A Dinaux, Trouvdres, jongleurs, ei menestrels du nord de la France et du Midi de la Belgique, i. p. 117). There are also two other lives by Chardry and Herbers, as well a.s a poem on the subject by the German, Rudolph de Montfort, published by Koepke in 1818.


CH. IX.]


OBIGIN OF SPISITITAL ROMANCE.


249


Borne, in order to obtain succour from the western church against the Arian heresy, which then prevailed in the east ; and during his abode in Italy, he wrote the life of St. An- thony, the most renowned Cenobite of the age. From the earliest periods of the church, innumerable legends had been perpetuated and recorded by Gregory of Tours and St Gregory, selections from which have been more recently published under the title of Vies des p^res du desert.^ All


^ Les Vies des SS. PSres des Deserts d'Oocident avec des figures, etc. 2 torn. ParJ.F. BourgoingdeVillefore. Paris, 1708. 12o. Les Vies des ^S. Peres des Deserts d'Orient (Les Vies des Saintes Solitaires d'Orient et d'Oocident), par J. F. Bonrgoing. Nouvelle edition. 3 torn. Paris, 1711-22. 12».

La Yie des Fdres was printed first at Lyons in 1486 by Nicolas Philippe and Jean Dupr^, and again at Paris in 1495 by Yerard. Thiriy^ne manuscripts of the work at least are known.

The following is the list nven by M. E. Schwan, on p. 240 of Nos. 50, 51, of the Romania, Ayril-Juillet, 1884, of the seventy -four stones contsined in the Yie des Anciens P^res (MS. Bib. Nat. tr, 1546, anc. 7331):—


1. Fornication imit^e.


26.


Goliard.


2. Jaitel.


29.


Guenle du Diable.


3. Sarrasine.


30.


Colombe.


4. Renienr (c£ 48).


31.


Sen^hal.


5. Copeaax.


32.


Pr^vot d'Aquil^e.


6. ThaTs


33.


S. Paulin.


7. Miserere.


34.


Niece.


^. Jardinier.


35.


Ivresse.


9. Haleine.


36.


Kachat.


10. Foo.


37.


Usurier.


11. Imp^ratrice.


38.


Feuille de Chou.


12. Meurtrier.


39.


Demi-Ami.


13. Secristine.


40.


Inceste.


U. Ave Maria (of. 57).


41.


Image dn Diable (cf. 71). Merlot.


15. Qaene.


42.


16. Crapand,


43.


Sel.


17. Image de Pierre (cf. 44).


44.


Enfant Jureur.


45.


Image de la Yierge (cf. 17)


Id. Abbefese Grosse.


46.


Fr^res.


20. Noel.


47.


CrAne.


21. Vision d'Enfer.


48.


Kenieur (cf. 4).


22. Malaqnin.


49.


Deux Morts.


^3. Vision de Diables.


50.


Confession.


'■i*. Ennite Aecus^.


51.


Pied Gneri.


25. Briilare.


62.


Ecoliers.


-'*>. Crucifix.


53.


Enfant Pieux.


27. Paicn.


64.


Brandons.


250 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

these legends present nearly the same circumstances — the victims of monastic superstition invariablj retire to soli- tude, where they make themselves as uncomfortable as they can by every species of penance and mortification ; they are alternately terrified and tempted by the demon, over whom they invariably prevail; their solitude is interrupted by those who come to admire them, they all cure diseases, and wash the feet of lepers ; they foresee their own decease, and, spite of their efforts and prayers, their existence is usually protracted to a preternatural duration.'

One peculiarity in the history of these saints is the do- minion which they exercise over the animal creation. Thus, St. EEelekus or Hellen, who dwelt in the deserts of Egypt, arriving one Sabbath at a monastery on the banks of the Nile, was justly scandalized to find that mass was not to be performed that day. The monks excused them- selves on the ground that their priest, who was on the oppo- site side of the river, hesitated to cross on account of a cro- codile which had posted himself on the bank, and was, with some reason, suspected to be lying in wait for the holy man. Saint Helenus immediately went in quest of the crocodile, and commanded the animal to ferry him over on his back to the other side of the river, where he found the priest ; but could not persuade this man of little faith to embark with him on the crocodile. He accordingly repassed alone, but being in very bad humour at the ultimate failure of his expedition, he commanded the crocodile to expire with- out farther delay, an injunction which the monster fulfilled with due expedition and humility.^

55. Prdtre Fechenr. 65. M^re.

56. Ame en Grage. 66. Patience.

57. Ave Maria (cf. 14). 67. Infanticide.

68. F^ndtre. 68. Fidge an Diablo

59. Femme Avengle. 6d. Anges.

60. Nom de Marie. 70. Sac.

61. Enfant Saav^. 71. Image dn Diable (cf. 41).

62. Fnrgatoire. 72. ADge et Ermite.

63. Vilam. 73. Pain.

64. Coq. 74. Sermon,

^ See RaffinuB, lib. ii. cap. 11, apnd Bosweyd. Vit» Fatmm Migne \ Fatrologiffi Cursus, torn. 73, col. 1167, 68. St. Helenus is represented astride a crocodiie, or commanding it to die, with his cross. It haa beec


CH. EX.] OBiaiK 01* BPIBITUAL BOMAKCB. 251

St. Flobektin finding that the solitude to which he had withdrawn was more than he could endure, begged some solace from heaven. One daj, accordingly, after prayer in the fields, he foimd at his return a bear stationed at the entrance to his cell. On the approach of St. Florentin the bear made his obeisance, and so far from exhibiting any symptoms of a natural moroseness, he testified, as well as lus imperfect education permitted, that he stood there for the service of the holy man. Our saint, however, received BO much pleasure from his company, that he feared incur- ring a violation of his oaths of penance : he therefore re- solved to abstain from the society of the bear during the g^reater part of the day. As there were five or six sheep in his cavern, which no one led out to pasture, the idea struck the saint of having them tended by the bear. This flock at first showed some repugnance ; but, encouraged by the assurances of the saint, and mild demeanour of the shep- herd, they followed him pleasantly to the fold. St. Florentin usually enjoined his bear to bring them back at six, but on days of great fasting and prayer, he com- manded him not to return till nine. The bear was punc- tual to his time, and whether his master appointed six or nine, this exemplary animal never confounded the hours, nor mistook one for the other ! ^

This miracle continued for some years, but at length the demon, envious of the proficiency of the bear, prompted

suggested that the story is allegorical of the triumph of Christian over Egyptian rites, in the same way as St. George's victory over the dragon BymU^zes the overthrow of idols. In the temple of Dendera was found an iDBcription, interpreted by Duemichen (Bauurknnde der Tempel- ■nlagen von I)endera, etc. taf. xlii. 1. 16, and p. 38) : ** The cr«»oodile which is in this abode is Set; the feather which is on his head is Osiris." The combination thus signifies the victory of Osiris. See Hevue Archlologiqne, Kovembre, 1866, p. 297, etc. It is possible, therefore, that the' allegory may have been adopted with a changed import, or that the figure of Helenus (representing Christianity) commanding the crocodile may have been substituted for Osiris, somewhat as Balder has been confused with Christ. See also Wiederroann, Die Darstellang auf dea Enlogien des Heil. Menas-Ades du VL Congrds International des OrieDtalistes, tenu k Leide IVc partie, sect. 3, Africaine, p. 159, etc. ; Revue Arch^logique, 1878 ; Le Blant, p. 299 ; Yesselovsky, Iz Istoria Rotnana, etc. p. 353, and vol. i. supp. note. Dragons.

  • Gregorii Magni Dialog, libr. iii. 15, ed. Galliccioli, t. vi. p. 200, sq.


252 HISTORY OF FICTION. [cH. IX.

certain evil-disposed monks in the Ticinity, who at his in- stigation laid snares and slew him. The saint could do no more than cnrse the unknown perpetrators of this act, who in consequence all died next day of putrid disorders.

Perhaps one cause of the popularity of these legends was the frequent details concerning the sexual temptations to which the saints were exposed. The holy men were usually triumphant, and almost the only example to the contrary is that of Saint Macabiits. Tins saint, when far advanced in life, resolved to retire from the world, leaving his wife and family to shift for themselves. The angel Baphael pointed out to him a frightful solitude, where he chose as his residence a cavern inhabited by two young lions which had been exposed by their mother. After he had lived here many years, the demon became envious of his virtue, and seduced him under form of a beautiful female, a figure which he assumes with great facility. St. Macarius somehow instantly perceived the full extent of the iniquity into which he had been ensnared, and was, as may be believed, in the utmost consternation. The lions, though not aware of the whole calamity, were so much scandalized at his conduct, that they forsook the cavern. They returned, however, soon after, and dug a ditch the length of a human body. The repentant sinner, conceiving this to be the species of penance which these animals con- sidered most smtable to his transgression, lay down in the hole, where the lions, with much solemnity and lamenta- tion, covered him with earth, except head and arms. In this position he remained three years, subsisting on the herbs which grew within arms length. At the end of this period, who should re-appear but the two lions, who dug out their old master with the same gravity they had em- ployed at his interment. This was accepted by the saint as a sign that his sins were forgiven, a conjecture which was confirmed by the appearance of Our Saviour at the entrance of the cavern. Henceforth Macarius distrusted every woman; and indeed the continence of the saints must have been wonderfully aided by their knowledge of the demon's power to assume this fascinating figure, as they would constantly dread being thus entrapped into the embraces of the common enemy of mankind.


CH. IX.] LEGENDA AIXBEA. 253

The legends resembling those above mentioned, which were chiefly of Latin invention, were probably little coun- tenanced under the more mild and rational institutions of St Benedict, the first founder of the monastic orders ; but were subsequently drawn from obscurity, to support the system of the ascetic followers of St. Francis.

Besides the Latin legends, many forgeries by the monks of the Greek church were from time to time imported into France and Italy. To such writers the oriental fictions and mode of fabling were familiar, and hence we find that from imitation the western legends of the saints frequently re- semble a romance, both in the structure and decorations of the story. Even the more early Latin lives had been carried to Constantinople, where they were translated into Greek> with new embellishments of eastern imagination. These being returned to Europe, were restored to their native language, and superseded the more simple originals. Other Latin legends, of still later composition, acquired their de^ corations from the Arabian fictions, which had at length become current in Europe.

Such romantic inventions were too often but ill calcu- lated to dispel superstition. Many extravagant concep- tions, too, were likely to arise spontaneously in the visionary minds of the authors. A believing and ignorant age, also, received as truth, what in the lives of the saints was some- times only intended as allegory. The malignant spirit, so troublesome at bed and board to the monks and ancho* rites, might only have signified, that even in the desert we in vain seek for tranquillity, that temptations ever pursue, and that our passions assail us as strongly in the gloom of solitude, as in the revelry of the world. Imitators, whose penetration was inferior to their credulity, quickly invented similar relations, from which no instruction could be drawn, nor allegory deduced.

The grand repertory of pious fiction seems to have been the

Legenda Aubea

of Jacobus de' Yarazze or Yoragine, a Dominican Arch- bishop of Genoa, — ^a work entitled Golden from its popularity,


254 HIBTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

on the same principle that this epithet was bestowed on the Ass of Apuleius. A similar composition in Greek, by Simon Metaphrastes, written about the end of the tenth century, was the prototype of this work of the thirteenth century, which comprehends the lives of indiyidual saints, whose history had already been written, or was current from tradition. The Qolden Legend, however, does not consist solely of the biography of saints, but is said in the Colo- phon to be interspersed with many other beautiful and strange relations, which were probably extracted from the G^sta Langobardorum,^ and other sources too obscure and voluminous to be easily traced ; indeed one of the original titles of the Legenda Aurea was Histona Lombardica. The work of Yoragine was translated into French by Jean de Yignai,^ and was one of the three books from which Cax- ton's "Qolden Legend" was compiled, the printing of which was " fynysshed at Westmestre the twenty day of Nouembre the yere of our lord mcccclxxxiii."

From the store-house of Jacobus de Voragine, the history of well-known saints was subsequently extracted. There we find the account of St. George and the Dragon, and also of the Sleepers of Ephesus ; — a story which Gibbon has not disdained to introduce into his history (c. 33), and so universal, that it has been related in the Koran.' The life of Paul, originally written by St. Jerome, occurs in the Legenda, and the abridgment given by Professor Porson, in his letters to Archdeacon Travers (p. 30), may serve as a specimen of the nature of the incidents related in the Golden Legend.

Anthony thought himself the most perfect monk in the world, till he was told in a vision, that tiiere was one much more perfect than he, and that he must set out on a visit to the prince of anchorites. Anthony departed on this errand, and in his journey through a desert saw a centaur. Jerome

^ FauU [WameMdi Diaooni] historia Langobardorum, editi>d by L. Bethmann and G. Waitz, in Monumenta GermanisB Historica- Scrip- tores rerum Laneo bardicamm et Italicarum Ssec. vi.-iz.

^ Jean Belet, however, waa the first French translator. De Yignai made a new version, which he finifibed in 1380, and to which he added about forty-four fresh legends.

' See Graesae 2, 3, 136, and Massmann's Kaiaerchionik, t. 6437, etc.


CH. IX.] TB^SOfi BE L'AMB. . 255

modesUj doubts whether it was the natural produce of the soil, fruitful in monsters, or whether the devil assumed this shape to fright the holj man. Some time after he saw a satTT, with an homed forehead and goat's feet, who pre- sented him with some dates, as hostages of peace, and con- fessed that he was one of the false deities whom the de- luded Gentiles worshipped. At last, Anthony, quite weary and exhausted, fomid Paul, and, while they were discours- ing together, who should appear on a sudden, but a raven, with a loaf, which he laid down in their sight. ' Every day,' said Paul to Anthony, ' I receive half a loaf ; but on your arrival Christ has given his soldiers double provision.' He also told Anthony that he himself should shortly die ; he therefore desired to be buried in the same cloak that Anthony received from Athanasius. Anthony set out full speed to fetch the cloak, but Paul was dead before his re- turn. Here was a fresh distress ; Anthony could find no spade nor pick-axe to dig a grave. But while he was in this perplexity, two lions approached with so piteous a roaring, that he perceived they were lamenting the de- ceased after their unpolished fashion. They then began to scratch the earth with their feet, till they had hollowed a place big enough to contain a single body. After Anthony bad buried his friend's carcase in this hole, the two Hons came, and, by their signs and fawning, asked his blessing, which he kindly gave them, and they departed in very good humour." '


The


Tb^bob de l'Ame'


is somewhat of the same description with the Legenda Aurea. It was translated from. Latin into French, and printed in the end of the fifteenth century ; but had been composed nearly two hundred years before thi^t period. This work consists of a collection of histories, but it more

  • In the history of St. Mary of Egypt, also contained in the Legenda

Aurea, lions perform similar offices. Uer story is quaintly depicted in a stained glass window in the cathedral of Auxerre.

  • Robert, le Tr^r de T&me, estrait des Saintes-Ecritures et la pins

grande parUe de Latin en Francois. A Verard, Paris [1561].


266 HI8T0ET OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

frequently reports miracles operated on proper application, bj the posthumous intercession of saints, than prodigies performed in the course of their lives. The longest article is an account of St. Patrick's Purgatory, which is mentioned in the Legenda Aurea, but is here minutely described from the recital of a Spanish knight, who had been sent thither to expiate his crimes.

Besides the legends of the saints, a species of spiritual tales

CONTES DjfeVOTS,

some in prose, and others in verse, was prevalent in France during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These were probably written with a view of counteracting the effects of the witty and licentious tales of the Trouveurs and min- strels. Though how far they succeeded in this must be very questionable, the frankness of their language would now be scandalous. They were mostly the production of monks, who believed the absurdities they heard, or scrupled not to invent new ones, to raise the reputation of the relics pre- served in their convents.

The most ancient collection of spiritual tales, is ascribed by some to the Cistercian, Odo de Ceritona (or Shirton), an English monk of the twelfth century ;* and by others to

^ Three sach collections were compiled by him — to wit, Farabolaey Homiliae, and Brutarium. See Graesse, ii. 3, p. 463 ; Douce, Illustra- tions to Shakespeare, p. 524, ed. 1839. — Lieb.

The name appears in various forms— Eudes de Shirton, Odo de Ciringtonia, Syrentona, Ceritona, Ciridunia (? Cherington, or Cherring- ton). Since the date of Dunlop's writing several of Odo's compilations have been examined and published: Kleinere lateinische Denkmaeler der Thiersage aus dem zwolften bis vierxehnten Jahrh. £. Voi^t. Strasburg, 1878. Hervieux. Fabuiistes latins, i. 654. Libro de los Gatos (translation of Shirton's Fables), published byT. Grayangos in Rivadeneyra's '* Biblioteca de Atitores espaSoles," t. li., analyrad by Knust in Jahrbuch fur Homanische und Englische Literator, vi. (1865), pp. 1-42, 119-41.

Oesterley has reproduced the imperfect collection of these fables of Odo de Cerington, contained in MS. Arundel, 292. British Museum, in Jahrb. f. rom. u. eng. Lit. ix. 128, and, in fine, much information on the subject will be found in a notice by P. Meyer of a Fjrench version of the Fables, published in Nos. 55, 56 of the Romania (Juillet-Octobre, 1885), where the writer gives the headings of the fables, and shows that Odo most probably livid about the first quarter of the thirteenth century.


CH. Tn.] OBionr ow italiak tales. S

accoimted d^prading than honourable, during an age when, in ereiy other country of Europe, the deference paid to personal strength and yalour was at the highest. The Italian republics, indeed, were not destitute of political firm- ness, but their martial spirit had forsaken them, and their liberties were confided to the protection of mercenair bands. Add to this, that at the time when France and England were principally engaged with compositions of chivalry, and when all the Ikerary talent in these countries was exerted in that department, the attention paid in Italy to classical literature introduced a correctness of taste and fondness for regularity, which was hostile to the wildness and extrayagance of the tales of chivalry.

At the same period, the three most distinguished and earliest geniuses of Italy were employed in giving stability to modes of composition at total variance with the ro- mantic. Those who were accustomed to regard the writings of Dante and Petrarch as standards of excellence, would not readily have bestowed their approbation on Tristan, or the Sons of Aymon. But the Decameron of Boccaccio was probably the work which, in this respect, had the strongest influence. The tales it comprehends were extremely popular ; they gave rise to early and numerous imitations, and were of a nature the best calculated to check the cur- rent of romantic ideas.

Since then, in the regions of Italian fiction, we shall no longer meet with fabulous histories, resembling those of which such niunerous specimens have already been pre- sented, it will now be proper to give some account of the endless variety of tales, or Novelettes^ which were coeval with the appearance of romances of chivalry in France and England, and which form so popular and so extensive a bran(£ of Italian literature.

It may be interesting, in the first place, to trace the origin of this species of composition, in the tales which preceded the DcK^meron of Boccaccio. These were adapted to the amusement of infant society, but are interesting in some degree, as unfolding the manners of the age, and ex- hibiting the rude materials of more perfect composition.

Before mankind comprehend the subtilties of reasoning, or turn on themselves the powers of reflection, they are


4) HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. VTI.

entertained, and may be inBtructed* by the relation of in- cidents imaginary or real. Henoe, in almost every country, tales bare been the amusement and learning of its rude and early ages.

Of the variety of tales which are to be found in the works of the Italian novelists, some were undoubtedly deduced from the writings of the Greek romancers and sophists. In the HJibrocomas and Anthia of Xenophon Ephesius, we find the rudiments of the celebrated t^e of Luigi da Forto, from which Shakespeare took his Borneo and Juliet, and many of the apologues in Josaphat and Barlaam correspond with chapters in the Gesta Boma- norum,and through that performance with stories in the De- cameron. The epistles of Aristenetus contain several tales- very much in the' spirit of those of Boccaccio. Thus, a lady, while engaged with a gaJlant, suddenly hears her hus- band approaching; she instantly ties the hands of her lover, and delivers him thus bound to her spouse as a thief she had just seized. The husband proposes putting him to death, to which the lady objects, suggesting that it vrill be better to detain him till daybreak, and then deliver him into the hands of the magistrate, offering at the same time to watch him during night. By this means, while her husband is asleep, she enjoys a little more of the society of her lover, and permits him to escape towards morning. In the Abs of Apuleius, resemblances may be traced still more numerous and complete. But though it be true that these works had an influence on the tales which appeared in Europe at the first dawn of literature, the ultimate origin of this species of composition must unques- tionably be referred to a source more ancient and oriental.

The earliest work of this nature that can be mentioned, is the tales or fables attributed to Bidpai, or Klpay, a com- position otherwise known by the name of

Kalilah ve Dimkah.

This production, which, in its original form, is supposed to be upwards of two thousand years old, was first written in an Indian language, in which the work was called Hitopadesa (wholesome instruction), and the sage who


OH. Tn.] KALIULH TE DIMKAH. 5

related the stories, Yeshnoo Sarma. It is said to hare been long preserved with grreat care and secrecy by an Indian monarch, among his choicest treasures. At length, howeyer, (as we are informed by Simeon Seth, in the preface to his Greek version of these stories,) Chosroes, a Persian king, who reigned abont the end of the sixth cen- tury, sent a learned physician into India, on purpose to obtain the Hitopadesa.^ This emissary accomplished the object of the mission, by bribing an Indian sage with a promise of intoxication, to steal the literary treasure. The physician, on his return to Persia, translated it into the language of his own country, and in the frame in which it was introduced, attributed the relation of the stories to BidpaL It was soon after translated into Syriac,' and oftener than once into more modem Persic. In the eighth century there appeared an Arabic version, imder the title, Kalilah ve Dimnah (the dullard and the cunning one), the appellation by which the work is now generally known, and which is derived from the names assigned to two foxes or jackals, who relate a number of the stories. About the Tear 1100, Simeon Seth, by desire of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus, translated the Arabic version into Greek, under the title, Ta xara fm^vtrtiv^ roi 'ixviyicari;K, of the crowned and the envious. The philosopher who relates the stories is not named in this version. It is divided into fifteen sec- tions, in the two first of which the foxes are the principal interlocutors, but the remaining thirteen refer to other animals. The work of Simeon Seth was printed at Berlin, 1697, with a Latin version. Long before that period, how- ever, the Kalilah ve Dimnah had been translated into Latin by John of Oapua, who lived as far back as the thirteenth century. This version was made from one in Hebrew, by Babbi Joel, and was printed toward the end of the fifteenth

^ TheTHitopadesa seems to be often confounded with the Panchatantnt ; it is, however, only an extract from the first three books of the latter work. Genealogy of Indian Fiction, p. 9, Landau. QuelUnf etc, Wien, 1869.

^ The later Syriac text, edited by Frofbseor Wright of Cambridge, was pnblisbed (Oxford and London) in 1884, and a literal English translation from the Syriac, by J. G. N. Keith Falconer, was published It Cambridge in 1885, in the Introduction to which an account of the work and its diffusion will be found. See also Table ait end of vol. i.


6 HIBTOBT OF FICrTIOlT. [CH. TU.

oentuiy, under the title, Directorium Humanae Vit©, vel Farabole Antiquorum Sapientum. Thence it passed into German, Spanish, and Italian. The Italian translation was the work of the novelist Firenzuola, and was called Discorsi Degli Animali, and published 1548. A version in the same tongue, hj Boni, was translated into English, under the name of the Moral Philosophy of Doni, out of Italian, by Sir Thomas North, 4to, 1570 and 1601. Prom the I^tin of John of Capua, there also appeared a French edi- tion in 1698. It was from a Turkish model, however, written in the time of Solyman the Magnificent, that the well-known French work, Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et Lockman, 1724, was commenced by M. Gkdland, and continued by M. de Cardonne. If we may judge, ho'w- ever, from the title, it was not completed according to the intention of the authors, as there are no fables g^ven which are attributed to Lockman. This work was trans- lated into English 1747, and an English version, by J. G-. N. Keith Falconer, from the Syriac text, has been published at Cambridge, 1885.

In aU the versions the tales are enclosed in a frame, a mode of composition subsequently adopted in many writings of a similar description. We are told that a powerful king, after being tired one day with the chase, came, accompanied by his vizier, to a place of retreat and refreshment. Here the prince and his minister enter into a discourse on human life and government, a conversation which seems to have been suggested by a swarm of bees, which were at labour in the trunk of a ueighbouring oak. Xhiring this discussion, the vizier mentions the story of Bidpai, and the Indian king who ruled according to his counsels. This frame is not believed to be more ancient than the Turkish version ; but the story of Bidpai, which the king expresses a curiosity to hear, is supposed to be as old as the earliest Persian translation, and is of the follow- ing tenor : — ** Dabchelim, the Indian king, after a feast in which his liberality had been much commended by all his guests, made a great distribution of gold among his friends and the poor. In the course of the following night, an old man appeared to him in a dream, and, as a reward of his generosity, informed him where he would find a treasure.


CH. YII.] ^LILAH TE DIXNAH. 7

Next morning the king proceeded to the spot to which he had been directed. There he found a cavem inhabited by a hermit, who put him in x>os8e8sion of an immense treasure he had inherited from his father, but for which he had no &Lrther use. Among other articles, the king received a precious casket, containing a piece of silk, woven with certain characters, which, however, had the inconvenience of being unintelligible. When at length interpreted by a philosopher, it was found to be a legacy from a prophetic predecessor of Dabchelim, and to contain fourteen pieces of instruction for monarchs. Each of these is declared to have reference to a surprisiag history, but it is announced, that he who is desirous to hear must repair to the isle of Sarandib (Ceylon.) The king being disposed to undertake this journey, and the viziers being against it, a discussion arises, in which aU attempt to support their own sentiments, by the relation of fables. His majesty at length, as was to be expected, followed his own opinion, and after a long journey arrived at the island of Sarandib. While traversing a lofty, but delightful mountain, he came to a grotto which was inhabited by the Brahmin BidpaL This was the sage destined to expound the myste- rious precepts which the king now recited to him, and which teach that a monarch is apt to be imposed on by detractors, that he ought to be careful not to lose a faithful friend, &c. These maxims the sage illustrates by fables and apologues, which, it may be remarked, have seldom much relation to the instructions of which Dabchelim re- quired an explanation. — Stories are heaped on stories, and sphered within each other : a dying father, for example, gives some admonitions to his sons, which he enforces by apologaes ; but his family, seeing matters in a different point of view, support their opinions m the same manner, and introduce the two foxes, who rehearse a long series of fables. It is unnecessary to give any specimen of the tales of Bidpai, as they have been so much altered in the various traiuf ormations they have imdergone, that no dependence could be had on their originality.^ But it must have been

^ On the subject may be consulted : Wilson's *< Analysis of the Fbncha Taotra ;" lifeiii. of Boral Asiatic Society, I. x Loiselenr des Long- champ's " Essai snr les fables Indiennes," 1S3S ; Benfey, Fancba Tantra,

1859.


8 HISTORY OF TIOTIOK* [CH. TH.

through the medium of the version of John of Capua, that these oriental fables exercised their influence on European fiction. Some of these stories agree with the Clericalis Disciplina of Petnis Alphonsus, and many of them have been adopted into the Gesta Bomanorum, a great store- house of the Italian novelists. The tale of the thief who breaks his neck bj catching at a ray of the moon/ occurs in the G^sta and the French Fabliaux. But I remember only oue Italian novel, the incidents of which have been derived from this work, and it is but in a very few stories of the Kalilah ve Dimnah, that any resemblance can be traced. They are mostly fables in the style of ^sop, and have but few traces of the ingenious gallantry, savage atrocity, or lively repartee, which are the characteristics of Italian tales. Besides, as the work was not very widely diffused, nor generally known in Europe in the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, I cannot believe that it had much effect, either directly or indirectly, on this species of composition. The collection of tales, familiarly known in this country under name of the

Seven Wise Mastebs,

is certainly one of those works which may be considered as having had considerable influence on the writings of the Italian novelists, and may perhaps be regarded as the re- motest origin of the materials they have employed.

Of this romance the prototype is believed to have been the book of the Seven coimseUors, or Parables of Sandabar. This Sandabar is said, by an Arabian writer, to have been an Indian philosopher, who lived about an hundred years before the Christian era ; but it has been disputed whether he was the author, or only the chief character, of the work, which was inscribed with his name. He might have been both a character and an author,^ but it would appear from

^ No. 23 of Latin Stories from MSS. of Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, ed. br T. Wright for the Percy Society, 1843, Legrand's fabliau *' Du voleur qui Toulut descendre sur un rayon de lune.^ Bar- bazan, ii. 148. See r. Alfonsi Discip. Cler., ed. F. W. V. Schmidt, p. 156, etc. ; Doni, Philosophia Morale, c. i. Ist story.

^ See Loiseleur des Longcbamp's '* Essai sur les Fables indiennes," p. 80, etc.


CH TH.] 8BTSV WI8B 3EA8TEB8. 9

a. note in a Hebrew imitation, preserved in the British Muaenm, that he was at all erents a principal character ; "Sandabar iste erat princeps sapientum Brachmanorom Indiae, et ms^nam lui^bet partem in tota hac historia." This Hebrew version is the oldest form in which the work is now extant. It was translated into that language, as we are informed in a Latin note on the manuscript, by Babbi Joel, from ihe original Indian, through the medium of the Arabic or Persian/

In point of antiquity, the second version of the parables, is that which appeared in Greek, under the title of Syn- tipas, of which many MSS. are still extant. Some of these profess to be translated from the Persian, and others from the Syriac language, so that the real original of the Greek translation cannot be precisely ascertained.

The next appearance was in Latin, a work which is only known through the French metrical version of it, entitled Dolopatos. This was the first modem shape it assumed, after having passed through all the ancient languages. Dolopatos was brought to light by Fauchet, who, in his account of the early French poets, ascribes it to Hebers, or Herbers, an ecclesiastic who lived during the reign of Lewis IX., as he informs us that it was written for the in- struction of that monarch's son, Philip, afterwards called Philip the Hardy. Of this version there is a MS. copy in the national library at Paris.^

< EQis^ Early Metrical Romanoes," rol. iii. See also Comparetti, Kioereiie intomo al libro di Sindibad, Milano, 1869. At the end of lAodaa'a " Quellen des Decamerone " will be foand a tabular statement of the stories as found in various adaptations of the Seven Wise Msstera.

Comparetti sihows the Greek version of the work to have been written towards the cUmt of the eleventh centnrj. There are grounds for be- lievinf that this Greek translation was made from the Syrian. See SindUin, Oder die Sieben Weisen Meister Syrisch nnd Deutsch von F. B&ethgen, Leipzig, 1879. The reader may bie referred also to an analy- tical aceomU of the Sindib&d-n&hmeh, by F. Falconer, in the Asiatic Jounal, 1841, toL 36, p. 169, and vol. 86, pp. 4, etc., and 99, etc. ; to Benfey*s Introduction to *' Panchatantra ; ** and to A. Mussafia's ** Ueber die Qoelle des Iranaosischen Dolopathos," Vienna, 1865. For a discus- sioa of the matter see article in Romania, ii. p. 481.

  • It seems to be now ascertained that Dolopathoe was composed by

John, a monk of Hanteseille (Alta Silva) Abbey, in Lorraine, in the


10 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

In the same libraiy there is preserved another French MS., by an anonymous author, which was written soon after that of Hebers, but difEers from it essentially, both in the frame and in the stories introduced. This work gave rise to many subsequent imitations in French prose, and to the English metrical romance, entitled the Process of the Seven Sages, which is preserved among the MSS. of the Cotton library, and of which an account has been given by Mr. Ellis, who supiDoses it to have been written about the year 1330.

Not long after the invention of printing, the Latin Historia Septem Sapientum, a dijSerent version from that on which the Bolopatos of Hebers is founded, was printed at Cologae, and translations of it soon ap- peared in almost all the languages of Europe. It was published in English prose, under the title of the Seven Wise Masters, about the middle of the sixteenth century, and in Scotch metre by John EoUand, of Dalkeith, about the same period.

The last European translation belongs to the Italians, and was first printed at Mantua, in 1546, imder the title of Erastus. It is very different from the Greek original, and was translated, with the alterations it had received, into French, tmder the title Histoire Pitoyable du Prince Erastus, 1565, and the History of Prince Erastus, etc., was also printed in English in 1674.

This romance, through most of its transmigrations, ex- hibits the story of a king who places his son under the charge of one or more philosophers. After the period of tuition is completed, the wise men, when about to re-con- duct their pupil to his father, discover by their skill, that his life will be endangered unless he preserve a strict silence for a certain time. The prince being cautioned on this subject, the monarch is enraged at the obstinate taciturnity of his son. At length one of his queens undertakes to dis- cover the cause of this silence, but, during an interview with the prince, seizes the opportunity of attempting to

thirteenth century, and was subsequently Tersified by Hebert, Ueber die Quelle des alfranzosischen Dolopathos, Wien, 1866 ; Beitrage zur Lit- teratnr der Sieben Weisen Meister, Wien, 1878. The Latin text edited by Oesterley, Strasburg, 1873.


CH. YU.2 SEYSK WISE MA.8TBB8. 11

seduce him to her embraces. Forgetting the injunctions of his preceptors, the youth reproaches her for her conduct, but then becomes mute as before. She, in revenge, accuses him to her husband, of the offence of which she had her- self been guilty. The king resolves on the execution of his son, but the philosophers endeavour to dissuade him from this rash act, by each relating one or more stories, illustrative of the risks of inconsiderate punishment, which are answered by an equal number on the part of her majesty.

Such is the outline of the frame, but the stories are often different in the versions. Indeed, there is but one tale in the modem Erastus, which occurs in the Greek Syntipas. The characters, too, in the frames, are always different ; thus, in the Greek version, Cyrus is the king, and Syntipas the tutor. In Dolopatos, a Sicilian monarch of that name is the king ; the young prince is called Lucinien, and Virgil is the philosopher to whose care he is entrusted. Vespa- sian, son of Mathusalem, is the emperor in the coeval French version, and the wise men are Oato, Jesse, Len- tulus, etc. The author of the English metrical romance has substituted Diocletian as the emperor, and Florentin as the son. Diocletian is preserved in the Italian copies, but the prince's name is changed into Erastus. In some of the eastern versions, the days, in place of seven, have been multiplied into forty ; and in this form the story of the Wise Masters became the origin of the Turkish tales, published in Fnuice, under the title of L'Histoire de la Sultane de Perse et des quarante Visirs.^

Few works are more interesting and curious than the Seven Wise Masters, in illustrating the genealogy of fiction, or its rapid and almost unaccountable transition from one

^ An EngliAh edition by £. J. W. Gibb, 1886. Aa far as may be in- ferred firom the selection of tales translated into French by Potis de La Croix, and entitled, Hlstoire de la Sultane de Perse et des Visirs, and from the stories subsequently translated by M. Ed. Gautter, and inserted in the first Tolnme of his edition of the Mille et Une Nuits, Paris, 1822, the antbor has borrowed little more than the framework of his narrative sod a few tales firom Sendabad ; the other stories were prolMbly borrowed hj the Arab or Turkish compiler from older sources. Loiseleur De»- loog^^amps' '^Fabl. Ind.,p. 173.


12 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

country to another/ The leading incident of a disappoiiited woman, accusing the object of her passion of attempting the crime she had herself meditated, is as old as the story of Joseph, and may thence be traced through the fables of mythology to the Italian novelists. In the Arabian Nights Entertainments, the Husband and Peacock is the same with the Magpie of the Wise Masters. The story of tlie Father murdered by his son was originally told by Hero- dotus [ii. 121] of the architect and his son who broke into the treasury of the king of Egypt, and has been imitated in many Italian tales. [See infra, Ser Giovanni, ix. 1.] Tlie Widow who was comforted, is the Ephesian matron of Petronius Arbiter, and the Two dreams corresponds exactly with the plot of the Miles Ghloriosus * of Plautus, the Fabliau Le Chevalier k la Trappe, (Le Grand, 3, 156,) a tale in the fourth part of Massuccio (No. 40) ; and the story Ihi Viextx: Calender in Gueulette's " Contes Tartares." ' Finally, the Knight and his Greyhound resembles the celebrated Welsh tradition concerning Llewellyn the Great and his greyhound Gellert : the only difference is that in the former produc- tion the dog preserves his master's child by killing a serpent, while, according to the Welsh tradition, it is a wolf he destroys. In both, the parents seeing the faithful animal

^ Landaa suggests the foUowiDg genealogy of the work :—

Sanskrit original

I I

. Sukasaplati.


Old Arabic

Bearbeitung. Nackachebi.


I


Libro Sandabar. Araoic Persian

de los I seven prose,

engannos. Latin Vizirs, version.


Sindibad Syrian? Azraki's

Nahmeh. | Bearbeitung.

STUtipas. ^ Which, in its turn, is derived from a Qreek Comedy entitled 'AXdZutv. (See Act ii. Sc. L v. 8.) — ^LtEB.

' Quart dlieure, 101, etc. See also Keller, Romans des 7 sages, p. ccxxviL, etc, and Diokl. Leben. p. 61, etc. Sercambi, nov. 13, Dolo- patos, lioiseleur Deslongchamps' " Essai but lea Fables Ind." ii. 144, etc.

i


CH. mJ] 8SYSK WISE MASTXS8. 18

coyered with blood, believe that he has torn the child to pieces, and sacrifice him to their resentment.^

Next to the Seven Wise Masters may be mentioned the tales of Petrus Alphonsus, a converted Jew, who was god* son to Alphonsns I., king of Arragon, and was baptized in the beginning of the twelfth century. These stories are professedly borrowed from Arabian fabulists. They are upwards of thirty in number, and consist of examples in- tended to illustrate the admonitions of a father to a son. The work was written in Latin, and was entitled Alphonsus de Clericali Disdplina. But the Latin copy only supplies twenty-six stories. The remainder are to be found in two metrical French versions, one entitled Proverbes de Peres Anforse; and the other Le Bomaunz de Peres Aunfour, comment il aprist et chastia son fils belement.'

A few of these stories are precisely in the style of gal- lantry, painted by the Italian novelists. Thus the eighth tale is that of a vine-dresser, who wounds one of his eyes while working in his vineyard. Meanwhile his wife was occupied with her gallant. On the husband*s return, she contrives her lover's escape by kissing her spouse on the other eye. Of this story, as we shall afterwards find, there is a close imitation in the 16th of the Cent Nouvelles Nou- velles, the sixth of the tales of the queen of Navarre, and the twenty-third of the first part of Bandello.' The ninth story of Petrus Alphonsus is that of an artful old woman, who conceals her daughter's gallant from the husband, by spreading a sheet before his eyes, in such a manner as to give the lover an opportunity of escaping imseen : this is the 122nd chapter of the G^sta Bomanorum, and is also to be found in

^ Se« Keller, H(imaii8,p. clxxriii., Doni, Trattato diyenii de Sendabar Indiano, Yenez. 1552, Tratt 4.

  • First pubtiahed by Barbazan, in 1760, under their old title, Le

castoiement (oU inatroctiona) d'un p^re k son fils.

^ Cf. alao Gesta Romanorum, No. 122, Malaspini, No. 44, Arcadia in Brenta, etc., of Ginesio GaTardo Yacalario, Bologna, 167.3. Giorno 3, p. 129, etc CoDtea da Siear d'Onville, t. 2, p. 215. Giuseppe Orologi's

    • Varii isoooesai," published with Borromeo s *' Notisie,'* where, as in

the sixth story of the Queen of Nararre, and after her in Ettenne's "Apologie poor Herodote/' c. 15, 24, the husband is a retainer of CharJM, Dake d'AIen^on, and the second novel of Sabadino degli Ahenti.


14 BIBTOKY OV FICTIOK. [CK. TTI.

the Fabliaux published by Legrand d* Aussj. Many, other tales occur in Petrus AlpHonsus, in which there is not merely a resemblance in manner, but in which the particular inci- dents, as shall be afterwards shown, are the same ^with those in the Cento Novelle Antiche, and the Decameron of Boccaccio.

Perhaps neither the author of the Cento Novelle Antiche, nor the subsequent Italian novelists, derived stories directly from the Seven Wise Masters, or the tales of Alphonsus ; but these works suggested many things to the writers of the French Fabliaux, and a still greater number have been transferred into the

GeSTA BOMJLNOSUH,

which is believed to be a principal storehouse of the Italian novelists.

This composition, in the disguise of romantic fiction, presents us with classical stories, Arabian apologues, and monkish l^ends.

Mr. Douce has shown that there are two works entitled Gksta Bomanorum, and which, strictly speaking, should be considered as separate performances. The first and original Gbsta was written in Latin, on the continent. It was not translated into English till 1703, but has been repeatedly printed, though no MS. of it has yet been brought to light.

The second work, in its earliest shape, is also in the Latin language, but was written in England, in imitation of the continental Gesta above mentioned. It was never published in its original form, but an English translation was printed by Wynkyn de Worde,^ and a subsequent edition appeared in 1595. There are extant, however, a number of MS. copies in Latin, which Mr. Douce says led Warton to imagine that the two G^stas were the same, and to remark, that there is a great variation in the printed and MS. copies of the Gesta Bomanorum.^ The work

^ Between 1510 and 1615. The unique oopj is in the library of Sc John's College, Cambridge. This is a faithftil Tersion of the MS. HarL 5369.

^ In fact, howeTer, the two Gestae may jost as well be considered the


CH. YII.] OE8TJL BOMAFOSUK. 15

written in England consists of 102 chapters, of which forty are of the same nature with the stories in the continental Oesta, — an inoculation of feudal manners and eastern imagerj, on the exploits of classical heroes : but the re- mainder are somewhat different. The stories in the Angli- can Gesta were well known to our early poets, who made much use of them. Among these tales we find the stoiy of Lear, and of the Jew in the Merchant of Yenioe. Some of them also correspond with the works of the Italian nove- lists : but the original Gesta is the one to which they were indebted, and which therefore at present is alone deserving of our attention.

This work is attributed by Warton to Petrus Berchorius, or Pierre Bercheur, who was prior of a Benedictine convent at Paris, and died in 1362. The composition of the Gesta has been assigned by Warton to this monk, on the autho- rity of Salomon Glassius, a theologist of Saxe Gt>tha, who points him out as the author in his Philologiae Sacrae, and Warton attempts to fortify his assertion by the similarity of the style and execution of the Gesta, to works unques- tionably written by Berchorius. Glassius, whose informa- tion is derived from Salmeron, says " hoc in studio excel- luit quidam Petrus Berchorius Pictaviensis, ordinis D. Benedicti, qui peculiari libro G^sta Eomanorum, nee non legendas Patrum, aliasque amies Fabulas allegorice et mystice exposuit. Exempla adducit dicto loco SaJmero," (viz. T. 1 prolog. 16. car 21). Glassius then quotes from

same work as the different versions of the Wise Masters, or of the KaJilfth TO Dimnah. The term, Gesta Romanorum, implies nothing more than a oolleciion of ancient stories, many of which might be the same, bat which would natorally vary in varions countries, according to the taste of the collector, in the same manner as different stories are in- trodoced in the Greek Syntipas, the Italian Erastas, and English Wise Masters. — Panlop.

The namber of MSS. of the Gesta is snrprising, and few of them are to be regarded as simple transcripts. The greater portion display consi- derable independence, so as to make them seem new compilations, pre- senting, however, snch affinities as enable them to be marshalled in cer* tain groups. Of such groups the most marked is the family of codices written in England, the continental MSS. betraying more divereencies. The English group has been investigated by Sir Frederick Madden. (See Roxburgh Club Transactions, 1838.) See the prolegomena in Oesterley's edjtkm of the "^ Gesta," fierUn, 1872.


16 HI8TOBT OJT FICTION. [CH. YU.

Salmeron, the story of St. Bernard and the Gambler, which corresponds with the 170th chapter of most editions of the Gesta JEU>manorum ; so that we have at least the authority of Salmeron, that Berchorius was the author. Mr. I>ouce» however, is of opinion, that the Gesta Bomanorum is not the production of Berchorius, but of a German, as a num- ber of German names of dogs occur in one of the chapters,^ and many of the stories are extracted from Gterman authors, as Gesarius, Albert of Stade, etc., which Mr. Warton, on the other hand, supposes to have been interpolated by some German editor, or printer.^

^ A German proverb is given in the original. Se^^ Warton. Cd. Hazlitt. The authorship, however, is really quite unknown. In none of the very numerous MSS. investigated by Oesterley is there any reference direct or indirect to the compiler Berchorius, who, as will be observed from Dnnlop*s quotation, is merely mentioned as the moralisEer. Graesse, in* deed, puts forward Helinandus, favourite trouvere of Philippe Augustus, as fiarbier (Diet, des (Euvres, Anonym.) had done before nim in 1824, but on grounds which Madden has shown to be wholly insufficient.

  • The Gesta Romanorum occupies such an important place in me-

diaeval literature, that it is worth while here to give the views of Oester- ley, one of the most recent investigators, upon the origin and growth of tlus work. '* It would seem, and the oldest titles of the Gesta go to con- firm the supposition, that at a time when the most unsuitable and incon- gruous materia] was moralized, that is, used to point a spiritual or Christian moral, narratives taken from Koman history, or rather pas- sages out of Roman authors, as they had already long been gatherea to- gether for homiletic use, were also collected merely to be moralized, and earlier or later designated as Historia, or Gesta Romanorum Moralizata, or by some such title. Whether the work in its first form consisted ex- clusively of such excerpts from classic authors, or already included a series of more recent narratives and parables (quaedam alia,) which had already previously found their way into the collection, can now, of course, not be determined. It is, however, certain that at an early date extracts chiefly from the later Roman writers as well as collections of extracts received the name of Historia or Gesta, Romanaor Romanorum, and that the mediaeval compilation is merely such a collectk>n moralized, its essential feature is the moralisation, and it is accordingly charac- teristically designated as Historia mystice designata, moralizata, or ss Moralitates ex Gestis Romanorum.

How from this groundwork the almost infinite variety which the manu- scripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries exhibit was developed^ may be best learned from examination of the manuscripts themselves. At first parables were intercalated or appended which easily lent them- selves to a spiritual exposition ; then matter was incorporated as inclina- tion prompted or occasion served, and modified to suit the moralization, and finally stories were invented, often very clumsily, simply to embody


CH. Tn.] OESTJL BOMANOBUU. 17

Whoever maj haTe been the author of the Ghesta, it is pretty well ascertained to have been written about the Tear 1340, and thus had time to become a fashionable work before 1358, the year in which Boccaccio is supposed to have completed his Decameron. The earliest edition, though without date, is known to have been prior to 1473. It consists of a hundred and fifty-two chapters, and is thus amioanoed, — " Incipiunt Historiae Notabiles, coUectae ex Gestifi Romanorum et quibusdam aliis libris, cum applica-

a spiritaa] meaning. This explains the circumstance that certain well- known narratiTes are often merely indicated in the manascripts by q doting their commencing wordlt, the space being devoted to the Mora- lization. From this also may be understood the custom, seen in the older MSS., of leaving room blank for the spiritual interpretation to be added. Subsequently it was found more couTenient to make a com- plete exemplar by copying such matter from a second compibtiun as was wanting in the first, or simply transcribing two recensions together. It is not surprising that monkish tales and legends of saints found their ^-ay into such compilations (though without moralization, betraying by this circumstance their extraneous origin), as all such works served merely the purpose of private entertainment, and were usually in every respect oomposed according to the proclivities of the writer, until such time as the transcription of the work in different fixed oompilatbns began to be carried on as a matter of business. It Jwas only long subse- quently that the relatbns between the moralisations and the stories them- selves were reversed, the former becoming secondary as the latter as- sumed the chief interest, and indeed the moralizations have been wholly omitted in some German and English MSS. ; Graesse's assertion (G. B.

  • 2. 203), however, that the MSS. written In England have no moralization

is erroneous ."

The nationality of the original compiler is as uncertain as his name. The work has been in England attributed to German authorship, and in Germany to English. The evidence in favour of Germany consists in the occurrence of German names of dogs in cap. 142 (of Osterley's edition), and of a German or Dutch proverb in cap. 144. Nothing more, however, is to be inferred from this than that the earliest editions of the work were printed in Holland or Germany. The proverb is not lound in the MSS. ; in the printed copies it appears in various forms, and may have been merely a marginal note in the copy used for press. Oesterley believes the dogs' names might be shown to be English. The German origin of the work would then only be supported by the wide circulation of the work in Germany, but against this again may be set the inoontestable fact that the German transcripts were largely made from English MSS. Oesterley adduces further internal evidence for the English origin of thf work, for which we have no further space, but which the reader desirouf of pursuing the subject will find in the introduction to his edition afyie" Gesta, Berlin, 1872. ^^e to h

U, C


18 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. TU.

tionibus eorundem." A subsequent edition, containing a hundred and eighty-one chapters, was published in 1475, and was followed by many translations, and about thirty Latin editions, most of which preserved the number of a himdred and eighty-one chapters. That printed in 1488 is the most approved.

The Gesta, as is well known, presents us with the manners of chivalry, with spiritual legends, and eastern apologues, in the garb of Boman story. It appears to have been compiled in the first place from Arabian fables, found in the tales of Aphonsus ; and an old Latin translation of the Kalilah ve Damnah, to which Alphonsus was indebted. Lideed, not less than a third of the tales of Alphonsus have been transferred to the G^sta Bomanorum. In the next place, the author seems chiefly to have had recourse to obsolete Latin chronicles, which he embellished with legends of the saints, the apologues in the history of Josa- phat and Barlaam, and the romantic inventions of his age. The later classics also, as Valerius Maximus, Macrobius, etc., are frequently quoted as authorities. Sometimes, too, the author cites the G^sta Romanorum, the title of his own work, by which he is not understood to mean any pre- ceding compilation of that name, but the Eoman, or rather ancient history in general.

The contents of this collection are not such as might be expected, from its name or the authorities adduced. It comprehends a multitude of stories altogether fictitious, and which are total misrepresentations of Eoman history : the incidents are described as happening to Boman knights or under the reign of Boman emperors, who, generally, never existed, and who seldom, even when real characters, had any connection with the circumstances of the narrative. To each tale or chapter, a moral is added, in which some precept is deduced from the incidents, an example which has been followed by Boccaccio, and many of his imitators. The time in which the G^sta appeared was an age of mys- tery, and everything was supposed to contain a double or secondary meaning. At lengUi the history of former periods, and the fictions of the classics, were attempted to be ex- tiobined in an allegorical manner. Acteon, torn to pieces and finai.;>wn hounds, was a symbol of the persecution of our


€E. til] OE8TA BOMAJirOStriC. 19

Saviour. This gave rise to compositions like the Bomaunt of the Bose, which were professedly allegorical ; and to tbe practice adopted bj Tasso and other Italian poets, of apologizing for the wildness of their romantic compositions, bj pretending to have accommodated them to certain re- mote analogies of morahtj and religion.^

Almost every tale in the G^sta Bomanorum is of impor- tance in illustrating the genealogy of fiction, and the in- corporation of eastern fable and Gothic institutions with classical story. There are few of the chapters in which the heroes of antiquity, feudal manners, and oriental imagery hare been more jumbled than in the first. Pompey bas a daughter whose chamber is guarded by five armed blights and a dog. Being on one occasion allowed to attend a public spectacle, she is seduced by a duke, who is afterwards killed by a champion of Pompey's court. She u subsequently reconciled to her father, and betrothed to a nobleman. On this occasion she receives from Pompey an embroidered robe, and crown of gold — from the cham- pion who had slain her seducer a gold ring — a similar ])re8ent from the wise man who had pacified her father, and from her spouse a seal of gold. All these presents possessed singular virtues, and were -inscribed with pro- verbial sentences, suitable to the circumstances of the princess.

^ Lother, in a curious passage in bis Commentary on Genesis (cap. 30), attributes tbe origin of th s practice to tbe monks, and it would ftppctr that it had been derived by them from the east. " In Turcia," says he, ** multi religiosi sunt, qui id student ut Alcoranum Mahometi interpretentur allegorice, quo in m%jore estimatione sint. Est enim 'Al- legoria tanquam/omuwa meretrix, quae ita blanditnr hominibus, ut non P<*fU mm amari, praesertim ab hominibus ociosis, qui sunt sine tenta- tiooe. Tales putant se in medio Paradisi et in gremio Dei esse, si quando iliis speeulationibns indulgent £l primum quidem a stolidis et ociosis monachis ortae sunt, et tandem ita late serpserant ut qnidam Metamor- pbosin Ovidii in allegorias verterint ; Mariam fecerunt Laurum, Apolli- nem Christum. Ego itaque odi allegorias. Si quis tamen volet lis uti, ^ ideal cum judicio eas tractet.** ^^-""^ ^ .-

Sir F. Madden, in tbe Introduction to bis edition of the F \^^^' !J?^^ P Rwnanomm (printed for the Roxburgh Club), notices ♦**T^^- Vi' ^'u parity between die moralisation of an Arabian writer -mtam of TrutJj^j^ <rttU upon tbe same narrative. See Thomas Wrigh Aimed and^ Literaiare, Populw Superstitions, and History of Engl ^ whicb-^cerview. Agw, London, 1846, yoL u. p. 61 note. -^C tire to her


20 HIBTOKT OF FICTION. [CH, Til.

The GestaEomanorum, too, had apowerful inf iience on English poetry, and has afforded a variety of adveDtures not merely to Qower, and Lydgate, and Chaucer, but to their moat recent eucceasorB. Pamell, in his Hermit, ha.s only embelliahed theeightieth chapter by poetical colouring, and a happier arrangement of incidents.

It ia chiefly, however, as having furnished materials to the Italian novelista, that the Gesta has been here so par- ticularly mentioned. In the 56th chapter ve find the rudiments of those stories of savage revenge, of which there are some examples in Boccaccio, and which is carried to auch extravagance by Cinthio, and subsequent Italian novelists. A merchant is magnificently entertained in a nobleman's caatle. During supper the guest is placed nest the hostess, and is much struck with her beauty. The table ia covered with the richest dainties, served in golden dishes, while a pittance of meat is placed before the lady in a human skull. At night the merchant is conducted tO' a sumptuous chamber. When left alone, he observes a glimmering lamp in a comer of the room, by which he dis* covers two dead bodies hung up by the arms. In the morning he is informed by the nobleman, that the sknlt which had been placed before the lady, was that of a duke he had detected in her embraces, and whose head he had cut off with his own aword. As a memorial of her crime, and to teach hia wife modest behaviour, her adulterer's skull had been converted into a trencher.' The corses in the chamber, continued he, are those of my kinsmen, murdered by the sona of the duke. To keep up my aense of revenge for their blood, I visit their dead bodies daily. It ia not explained, however, why this dismal apartment was asaigued to the straoger. This story occurs in more than one of the romantic poems of Italy. It is alao the plot of an old Italian tragedy, written by Rucellai, and haw ,ted by many subsequent writers,^ — in the 32nd le Queen of Navarre, in Gower's "Confesaio "ind in the German ballad of Count Stolberg^ ,niB fictions, however, were not peculiar to thd an .the que«n of Kavarre) gi toaWs celles b qui pareille houf'"'"'*"' ■ ^ wnblable* Tuuesux, Je creinii fort qu'ii >npes de vermeil qui deiiendroieiit tetei de morts. I


€H. Tn.] GBSTA BOMAKOStTM. 21

middle agea, but liad their model in classic fable, — in the revenge of Progne, and the banquet of Atreus.^

A few of the Italian tales are founded on, or embellished hv, magical operations. The story of Sultan Saladin, one of. the most beautiful in the Decameron [ix. 9], and also that of the magician who raises up a blooming garden in the depth of winter, are of this description.' Now a great {proportion of the stories in the Gesta Bomanorum are of this nature also. Thus chapter 102 contains the story of a knight who went to Palestine, and whose lady, meanwhile, engaged in an intrigue with a clerk. Her infidelity was disooTered to her absent husband by an eastern magician, bv means of a polished mirror.^ Stories of this sort were common both in romance and tradition. It is said that during the Earl of Surrey's travels in Italy, Cornelius Agrippa showed him in a looking-glass his mistress Geraldine. She was represented as indisposed, and reclined on a couch, reading her lorer's verses by the light of a waxen taper. In Spenser's "Fairy Queen" [bk. iii., cant. 3], Merhn is feigned to have been the artificer of an enchanted mirror, in which a damsel viewed the shadow of her lover.*

There is also a magical story in chapter 107, entitled

    • Be Imagine cum digito dicente, percute hie." It is told

that there was an image in the city of Bome, with its right hand stretched forth, on the middle finger of which was written " Strike here." For a long time no one could understand the meaning of this mysterious inscription.

^ See Graessc's ** History of Literature," ii. 2, p. 1121, etc. ; EspineFs

  • ' ^larcos de Obregon," rel. iii. desc. 6, 7, aad from this in Le Sage's
    • Estevanille Gonzales," pt. ii. 1. 3, ch. viii. Titus Andronicus, v. 2 and

3, and infra, p. 38.

^ See Decameron, x. 5, and note thereto.

^ See Lay of the Last Minstrel, c. vi. 16-20.

  • See the Faery Queen, B. iii. c. ii. st. 18, etc., and B. iii. st. 6, etc.

The idea of such a fabled mirror is natural enough, and its origin need not be sought further than the wishes suggestive of the conception, which i^ of frequent occurrence. Liebrecht refers to the following instances : Keller, Li liomans des Sept Sages, p. 221 ; Introduction to Life of Dio- cletian, p. 59 ; Loiselenr des Longchamps, Essai sur les Fabl. Ind., p. 152, etc. ; Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie. — I)elrius,Disquis. Mag. iii. P. i. Qa. ir. Sect. 4, p. 436, Colon. 1657. See also The Fountain of Truth, note to Astree, vol. iii., infra. In the Story of Prince Ahmed and p^CjI ^anou, in the Arabian Nights, there is an ivory tube whicbAiCemew. vUible people at a distance. ^t fire to her


22 HISTORY OP FICTIOK. [CH. VII.

At length a certain subtle clerk, who came to see this famous image, observed, while the sun shone against it at mid-day, the shadow of the inscribed finger on the ground at some distance. He immediately took a spade, began to dig on that spot, and at last reached a flight of steps which descended far under ground, and led him to a stately palace. In a hall of this edifice he beheld a king and queen sitting at table, surrounded by their nobles and a multi- tude of people, all clothed in rich garments — but no person spoke. He looked towards one comer, where he saw an immense carbuncle,^ which illuminated the whole apartment. In the opposite comer he perceived the figure of a man, with a bended bow, and an arrow in his hand, prepared to shoot ; on his forehead was written, " I am who I am ; nothing can escape my dart, not even yonder carbuncle which shines so bright." The clerk viewed all with amazement. Entering another chamber, he beheld the most beautiful women working at the loom : but all was silence. He then went into a stable full of the most excel- lent horses, richly caparisoned : but those he touched were instantly turned into stone. Next he surveyed all the apartments of the palace, which apparently abounded with everything he could desire ; but on returning to the hall he had first entered, he began to reflect how to retrace his steps. Then he very justly conjectured that his report of all these wonders would hardly be believed unless he carried something back with him as evidence. He there- fore took from the principal table a golden cup and a golden knife, and placed them in his bosom. On this the image, which stood in the comer with the bow and arrow, immediately shot at the carbuncle, which was shattered

  • It may not be here uninteresting to remark how many of the an^

cient names for this stone (carbuncle), referred to its fiery gleam, thus lychnisy == lamp-stone, aikpa^ = live coal, Pyrops, fiery e^-e. The Hebrew word translated carbuncle (Exodus xxviii. 1?) is Bareketh = flashing, and Kadkod »= the glow of fire, is the Hebrew term for the carbuncle" of Isaiah liv. 12, while the Latin carbunculus is derived from carbo, coal. The stone was in high estimation among the ancients, £nd is desci*ibed by Pliny as very precious, as seeming to be of fire yet M • •2gfire(vii.c. 7). " Frobitaa est carbunculus.'* Sentences of Fubiias tion^P®^ "ousse). See supra, note, vol. i. p. 408, and vol. i. supp. note, and finaf?'^!* -


c;


Z CH. Vn.] COKTE8 BT FABI^IAUX. 28

b into a thousand pieces. At that moment the hall became i black as night. In this darkness the clerk, not being able to find his waj out, remained in the subterraneous palace, and soon suffered a miserable death. All this is, of course, morahzed ; the palace is the world — the figure with the bow is mortalitj — and the carbuncle human life. William of Malmesbury ^ is the first writer by whom this storj was recorded : he relates a similar tale of Pope C^rbert, or SjlTester the Second, who died in the year 1003, and was the earliest European student of Arabic learning.

In their obvious meaning, it is probable that these magical tales, which are evidently borrowed from the East, suggested to the Italian novelists the enchantments with which their works are occasionally embellished.

It must, however, be remarked, that the Gksta Bomano- rum supplies few of those tales of criminal yet ingenious gallantry which appear in all the Italian novelists, and occupy more than a third part of the Decameron. Indeed, I have observed but two stories of this description in the Gesta, chapters 121 and 122, both of which are taken from Petrus Alphonsus. The origin of tales of this nature must therefore chiefly be sought in the

CoNTES ET Fabliaux.'

France, in a literary point of view, may be considered as divided into two parts during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Soon after Gkiul had been subdued by the Eomans, the vanquished nation almost universally adopted the lan- guage of the victors, as generally happens when conquerors are ^ther advanced in civilization than the people they have overcome. During many centuries Latin continued the sole or prevalent tongue, but on the inroads of the Franks and other tribes it became gradually corrupted. From these innovations two languages were formed, both

^ De Gest Beg. Anf^l. 1. ii. c. 10. Cf. also Warton's remarks on ^ chap 107 of the Gesta Romanorum. -^^^gh

' The proper modern French form should he Fableaux(\ike^ri^ much etc.), and M. Gaston Paris adopu this orthography; as J- ;Ti+^rr^Aw the singnhtr, he declares this a harbarism in old as we* '^^ mrerview. French. "^ 8®* *"^ ^ ^^^


24 HI8T0ET OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

of which were called Eomaine, or Bomance, from Latin still continuing the principal ingredient in their composi- tion. About the ninth century these dialects began to supersede Latin as a colloqiiial tongue, in the different districts of France in which they were spoken. One spe- cies of Romance was used in those French provinces which lie to the south of the river Loire, and from the circum- stance of the inhabitants of that country using, the word oc as their afiirmative, it was called Langue cToc. The sister dialect, which was spoken to the north of the river Loire, received the name of Langtte cToU, from the term oil being the affirmative of the northern provinces. It is from this latter idiom that the modem French language has been chiefly formed. The southern romance was something between French and Italian, or rather French and Spanish.

It is not my intention, nor indeed is it connected with my subject, to enter into the dispute concerning the dia- lect to which the French nation has been indebted for the earliest specimens of metrical composition, and whether the northern Trouveurs, or the Troubadours ^ of the south, are best entitled to be regarded as the fathers of its poetry. This question, which is involved in much obscurity, has never been very profoundly agitated, and its full discus- sion would require, from the innumerable MSS. that must be perused, a time and attention which few have inclina- tion to bestow.

Versifiers, however, seem to have made an early appear- ance both in the northern and southern regions of France. A large proportion of the latter district was possessed by Eaimond IV. count of Provence. All his dominions, in consequence, received the name of Provence ; the southern Eomance, or Langue d'oc, was called the Proven9al lan- guage, and the versifiers who composed in it the Proven9al poets. They also distinguished themselves by the name of Troubadours, or Inventors, an appellation, corresponding to the title of poet, which was assigned to all those who ^^^fe in Proven9al rhyme, whether of the southern pro-

M • "2^ tfiv^^^®' ^^ *^® ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^* ^^ Catalonia.

tioft^P®^ -ouMtepr more commonly trouvere, and troubadour, mean and finaff^lA _ <^nder, inventor, poet (trovatore).


CH. Tn.] COKTES £T FABIilAUX. 25

The Proven9al poets, or Troubadours, have been acknow- ledged as the masters of the early Italian poets, and have been raised to perhaps unmerited celebrity bj the impos- ing panegyrics of Dante and Petrarch. The profession of the Troubadours existed with reputation from the middle of the twelfth to the middle of the fourteenth century. Their compositions contain violent satires against the clergy, absurd didactic poems, moral songs versified from the works of Boethius, and insipid pas- torals. But they were principally occupied with amo- rous compositions, and abstruse speculatio£is on the nature of love. It was in the Tensons, or pleas before the celebrated tribunals in which amatory questions were agitated, that they chiefly attempted to signalize them- selves. These teTisons were dialogues in alternate couplets, in which they sustained their various speculative opinions.

In the works of the Troubadours, however, we can hardly trace any rudiments of those tales, either of horror or gal- lantry, which became so prevalent among the Italians. Millet's literary history of the Troubadours presents us with only two stories which have any resemblance to the Italian novels of gallantry. In one of these, by Baimond Vidal [iii. p. 296], we are told that a lord of Arragon, who was a jealous husband, pretended to take his departure on a journey, but suddenly returned, and introduced himseK to his wife in disguise of the knight whom he suspected as her lover. The lady recognises her husband, but pretends to be deceived, and, after shutting him up, goes to find her lover ; and, moved with indignation at the prying disposition of her lord, grants t^e knight what she had hitherto refused him. Next morning she assembles her servants to take ven- geance, as she gives out, on a vassal who had made an at- tempt on her virtue ; the husband is thus beat in the place of his confinement by his own domestics, but is at length recognised* and obtains pardon on vowing thenceforward unbounded confideiioe in his wife. The second story is by Amauld de Carcasses [ii. p. 390]. A knight dispatches his parrot to a lady with a declaration of his passion : but though the fair one accepts the offer of his heart, the lover is much embarrassed to devise any mode of procuring an interview. The bird hits on an expedient, which is to set fire to her


26 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

castle, in hopes that the lady might escape to her lover in the confusion which would result from the conflagration. This project the parrot executes in person, by means of some wild-fire which he carries in his claws.^ As was ex-

^ This recftllfl an incident in the Roman de Brut, t. 14005, etc., where a besieged city is set on fire by the enemy through the medium of sparrows. — Liebrecht. After various acts of vengeance wreaked upon the Drevliani for the murder of her husband Igor, the Russian princess Olea (tenth century) according to the tradition preserved in the Chronicle of Nestor, pretends to desire peace and tribute. ** What dost thou desire from us ? " the Drevliani ask, '* we will gladly pay tribute in honey and furs." Olga answered, ^' Ye have now neither honey nor furs, where- fore I will exact but little — give me then from each of your houses three pigeons and three sparrows; I will not burden you with- an onerous tax as did my husband, I ask but little from you because ye have been exhaustea by the siege." The Drevliani rejoiced, and collected three pigeons from each household and sent them to Olga with greeting. Olga sent them back word, ** Ye have already submitted to me and my child, so go into your town, and I will leave it to-morrow and go to my home." The Drevliani gladly went into the town, and all the inhabitants were much rejoiced upon learning Olga's intention. Meanwhile Olga gave one of the pigeons to each of her fighting men, and to the others she gave a sparrow a-piece, and bade them wrap up brimstone and fire in a little rag and tie the same to each bird, and to set them free at dusk. The birds thus released flew to their nests, the pigeons to their houses, the sparrows to the eaves, and on a sudden fire broke out wherever there were pigeon-houses, or storehouses, or dwellings, or cottages, and not a single house escaped fire, and it could not be quenched, for all the houses were kindled at once. Nestorova Lyetopis' 6454 (a.d. 945). Solovief, Istoria, Rossii, 1854, torn. i. pp. 129, 130.

Livy xxii. 16, 17, relates that Hannibal selected from the booty- captured of the enemy about two thousand oxen, and ordered bundles of chips and twigs to be attached to their horns. At nightdown they drove out the oxen in front of the army and lighted the inflammable bundles ; firantic with the heat and pain the animals rushed from one side to another and set fire to the bushes. The sight of these numerous fires and their rapid movement threw the Roman army into helpless conster- nation. In a way exactly similar to Olea's device the Scandinavian Harald, brother of Olaf the saint, captured a town in Sicily. According to the Saga, Harald ordered his people to catch the birds which baa nests against the houses, or which flew into the town for ftxxl, and attach to them chips, sulphur, and pitch, and kindle the same. The birds flew to their nests constructed about the roofs of the houses which were covered with straw and reeds. There is no tradition, as far as I know, says M. Soukhomlinof, among the Slavonic peoples, similar to the stratagem connected with the names of Olga and Harald, but the name Olga is found among the ancient Slavonians (from the tenth to the thirteenth eentury), and there are indications that the story of a town


CH. Vn.] COKTSS BT FABLIAUX. 27

pected, the lady elopes, proceeds straightway to the rendez- vous, and erer after holds the winged incendiary in high estimation. Four other tales have been reckoned np by the historians of the Tronbadoars, but none of these can be properly regarded as tales, being merely intended as introductions to the discussion of some knotty Ioyc ques- tion, which generally forms the longest part of the compo- sition.

It is then in the Langue d'oil, or northern romance alone, that we must look for those ample materials which have enriched the works of the Italian noYclists. This dialect, we haye seen, superseded the Latin as a colloquial language in the beginning of the ninth century. Its uniformity was early destroyed by the Norman invasion, which occasioned the division of the romance into a number of different idioms. To the conquerors, however, from whom it suffered corruption, it ^^as also indebted for restoration. These in- vaders had no sooner fairly settled in their acquired terri- tories, than they cultivated, with the utmost care, the lan- guage of the vanquished. Under their government it found an asylum, and was by them difihised in its purity through all the northern provinces of France.

Latin, however, long continued the language of the schools, the monasteries, and judicial proceedings ; and it was not till the middle of the eleventh century that the Komance came to be used in written compositions. It was originally employed in metrical productions : lives of the saints, with devotional and moral treatises in rhyme, are the first specimens of this tongue ; of the minor compositions, the earliest seem to have been military songs, of which the most celebrated was the Chanson de Eolland, the subject of so much controversy. There were also a few satirical and encomiastic songs, and during the twelfth century a i^ood number of an amatory description, filled with tire- some gallantry, whining supplications, and perpetual com- {)laints against evil speakers. We likewise find a few Jeux partis, which were questions of amorous jurisprudence,

reduced by means of pigeons reached the western Slavonic peoples. M. SookhomiinofyO predaniakh v drernei rousskoi lyetopissi. Ossnova, May, 1961, p. 65-6. Of. also the episode of Samson and the three hundred foxes. See German appendix, Geschichte der Schildbiirger.


28 HISTOET OP FICTION. [CH. VIT.

corresponding to the tensona of the Troubadours, as whether one would prefer seeing his mistress dead or married to another. Such questions being often decided bj the poet contrary to the opinion of his audience, were referred to the Court of Love, a tribunal which certainly existed in the north of France, though it never acquired the same celebrity as in the southern provinces.

It is believed, however, that no professed work of fiction appeared in the Romance language previous to the middle of the twelfth century. I shall not here resume what has been formerly said on the origin of romances of chivalry, of which, it has already been shown, we must seek for the first rudiments in the Langue d'oil, as spoken in the north of France and in the court of England. Nor shall I enter into the dispute whether the earliest work of fiction was in the form of a metrical romance, or of those celebrated tales known by the name of Fabliaux.

These stories are almost the exclusive property of the provinces which lie north from the Loire; they are the chief boast of the literature of France during this remote period, and are well deserving of attention, whether we consider their intrinsic merit, or their general influence on fiction.

Of these tales, some have been called Lais, and others Fabliaux ; terms which are often used so indiscriminately, that it is not easy to give any definition to distinguisli them. The Lai appears, in general, to have been the recital of an action, with more or less intrigue, but, according to Legrand, differed from the Fabliau by being interspersed with musical interludes. Mr. Ellis ^ suspects that what were called lays, were translations from the Breton dialect, Laoi being a Welsh and Armorican word. Others have supposed that lays were always of a melancholy nature. This is denied by Mr. Tyrwhitt," who defines the lay, I think pretty accurately, to be a light narrative poem of moderate length, simple style, and easy measure, neither extended in incidents, as the romance, nor ludicrous, as is usually the case in the Fabliaux. In the old translation of Lai lo Fraine, the author of which must have been better in-

^ Metrical Rom. i. p. 121, etc.

' Introductory Discourse to Canterbury Tales, n. 24.


CH. Tn.] C0KTE8 ET FABLIAUX. 29

formed than anj modem writer, it is said that lays were originally from Britanj, but that they were composed on all subjects : —

Some beih of war, and some of woe,

And some of joj and mirth also,

And some of treachery and of gxiile,

Of old adTentures that fell while,

And some of bonrdes and ribauldry,

And many there beth of Faery ;

Of all things that men seth,

Most of love, forsooth, there beth:

In Bretanie, of old time,

These lays were wrought, so seth this rhyme.' '

With the exception of " Aucassin and Nicolette," which consists of prose and verse intermingled, the i^'abliaux are all metrical, and are, for the most part, in couplets of eight syllables.^

These compositions were written by persons styling them- selves Trouveurs (Trouvferes), a term expressive of genius and invention, corresponding to the Poet of Greece, and the Troubadour of the south of France. The period of the appearance of their works extends through the last half of the twelfth, the whole of the thirteenth, and part of the fourteenth century, but the greatest number were written during the reign of St. Louis. Thus the sera of the com- position of the Gesta Bomanorum is subsequent to that of a large proportion of the Fabliaux. It is not likely, how- ever, that the Trouveurs, or authors of the Gesta, copied

^ Weber, Metrical Romances of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fif- teenth Centuries, Edin., 1810, vol. L p. 357, etc.

^ Lais was the appellation given to ... fulk-songs or artificial elabora- tiuns and imitations of them. The compositions called Lais were often distinguished by their designation alone, and not at all by their nature or form from those termed Fabliaux. The retention of the name in the case of Lai$ shows them to bare been formerly sung (in the form of strophes), i.e., that they drew their origin from folk songs, whilst the Fabliaux were derived from stories, anecdotes, and legends, etc. (fables), and were accordingly with correctness designated Fabliaux (tabulae, fabulationes, spoken narratives). No strict division, however, can thus be made, for there are Fabliaux which were derived from folk-songs. Some oompositioDS, indeed, are indifferently called Laia and Fabliaux in different manuscripU. See Ferd. Wolf: Ueber die Lais, etc., pp. 125, 157. See also Die Lais de Marie de France, herausgegeben von Karl AVtrnke, mit vergleichenden Anmerknngen von Reinhold Kbhler, Halle, 1685, and M. G. Paris' critique thereon in Bomania, Nos. 55, 6.


30 HI8T0BY OF FICTIOIT. [CH. VXI.

from each other ; thej more probably borrowed from the same souroes of fable. Like the stories in the Gesta, a great number of the Fabliaux seem to have been of eastern origin. Many of them are evidently taken from Fetrus Alphonsus, who was merely a collector of Arabian tales of instruction; and others are apparently derived from the same nation, as they correspond with stories in the Arabian Nights, and with the Bahar Danush, or Garden of Enow- ledge, a work which, though of recent compilation, is founded on the most ancient Brahmin traditions, which had gradually spread through Persia and Arabia. For a long period a constant devotional, as well as commercial, intercourse had subsisted between Europe and the Saracen dominions. In Christendom, indeed, the Mahometans were ever detested, but it was not always the same in Asia. During intervals of peace in time of the crusades, the enemies were frequently united by alliances, the celebra- tion of festivals, and all the appearances of cordial friend- ship. The tales which were of such antiquity in the East, and were there held in so high estimation, were eagerly seized by the Trouveurs who had wandered to the Holy Land, and were communicated to those who remained be- hind by report of the Jews, or the hordes who had visited Palestine as pilgrims or soldiers. Even in his own country the Trouveur passed an idle and a wandering life. He was freely admitted to the castle of the baron, yet asso- ciated with the lowest Villains, Hence he was placed in circumstances of all others most favourable for collecting the anecdotes and scandal of the day. These he combined, arranged, and embellished according to his own fancy, and dressed up in the form which he supposed would be most acceptable to his audience. At this period the nobility lived retired in their own fortresses, and only met at cer- tain times, and on solemn festivals : on these occasions part of the amusement of the company had been to listen to the recital of metrical romances. But these poems being gene- rally too long to be heard out at once, the Fabliaux, which were short and lively, were substituted in their room, and were frequently recited by the itinerant Trouveurs, as we learn from one of their number, in return for the lodging and entertainment they received : —


CH. vn.] coirrBS bt fabliaux. 81

Usage est en Norinandie, Que qni herbegies est, qu'il die Fable ou chanson a I'hoete.

Sacristain de Cltmi.

The TrouTeur, or Fabler, also frequently wrote bis metrical productions with the intention that tbey should be chaunted or declaimed. As the imperfection of measure required the assLstance of song, and even of musical instruments, the minstrel, or hidrion, added the charms of music to the compositions of the Trouveur. The aids of gesture and pantomime, too, were thought necessary to reHeve the monotony of recitation ; hence the jongleur, or juggler, a kind of vaulter and buffoon, associated himself with the TrouTeur and minstrel, and performing many marvellous feats of dexterity, accompanied them in their wandering from castle to castle for the entertainment of the barons. At length, however, the professions of Trouveur and min- strel became, in a great measure, blended, as the minstrel, by degrees, formed new combinations from the materials in his possession, and at last produced fictions of his own. This," says Mr. Ellis, " was the most splendid ssra of the history of the minstrels, and comprehends the end of the twelfth and the whole of the thirteenth century." * The works of the Trouveurs and minstrels, however

  • *' Les trouT^res, writes M. Leroiix de Lincy, ** sont principalement

destgnes oomme etant leu veritables inTenteurs de toates les poesies chanties par les jongleurs, contears ou menestrels. . . . Presque toigours lis araient emprunt^ les anjets de nns longues chansons de geste 4 ces anciens r^its oonservds par les jongleurs et lenrs trpupes, r^cits, ordi- nairement pen ^tendos, fond^ snr des croyanoes popnlaires, auxquels ces noaveaox poetes ajou talent d'abondants details puis^ dans les cbro- niques latines que les cloitres reDfermaient/' liie Jongleurs were ^rolling players as distinguished from the TrouT^res who appeared later, and in the more special sense may be regarded as Court poets. They were not always merely popular singers, but were sometimes in the serrice of the Trimv^res, or of Courts, when they were called Menestrels. Si>e Ferd. Wolf, Ueber die Lais, Sequenzen und Leiche, pp. 10, 174. Subsequently, in consequence of their demoraliation, the Jongleurs fell into the greatest contempt. The expression Menestrels w«m8, moreover, to have been used in a very comprehensive sense, as would appear from the following passage in the Chroniqnes de St. D^nis. Bouquet, Les Historians de la France, vol. xvii., p. 363. CD. ** II ftvient quelquef*»is que jogUor^ enchanteor, gdiardois et autres maniires de menestriex s'assemblent aux oorx des princes, etc. — Libbekcht.


32 HI8TOET OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

popular at the time» and however much they contributed to the entertainment of an audience, were forgotten soon after their composition, and have but lately become a sub- ject of attention. While the Troubadours obtained a last- ing reputation by the gratitude of the early Italian poets, and were believed great geniuses because celebrated by Dante and Petrarch, the metrical compositions of the Trouveurs were forgotten, as Boccaccio and his followers did not acknowledge their obligations. Owing to the early neglect of their works, little can be known concerning the personal history of the innumerable authors of these rhymes, for no one, of course, thought of collecting notices of their lives at the only time when it could have been effected. The names, however of a great number of them have been mentioned in their tales, and the appellation at the same time frequently points out the country of the poet. Jean de Boves, Gaurin or Guerin, and Rutebeuf,^ seem to be those who have written the greatest number of stories, and those, at the same time, whose compositions bear the closest resemblance to the Italian novels.

Tauchet," in his history of French poetry, was the first to renew a recollection of the Trouveurs and their writings, but his notices and extracts were not calculated to awaken curiosity. About the middle of last century, the Count de Caylus wrote a memoir on the Fabliaux, accompanied bv some specimens and prose translations, which is inserted in the twentieth volume of the Memoirs of the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. M. Barbazan ^ also published a number of Fabliaux in their original form (a collection recently enlai^ed by M. Meon '), but as they were followed by a very imperfect glossary, they could not be read but with the utmost difficulty. About the same time M. Imbert * imitated some of the most entertaining in modem French verse. At length M. Legrand,^ with inde- fatigable assiduity, published neither a free nor literal translation, but what he terms a copie reduUe in French prose, of a large, and I have no doubt, a judicious selec-

^ To these must certainly be added the names of Taillefer, who fought in the battle of Hastings, of Graimar, and of the earlier Helinant, the favourite poet of Philip Augustus.

^ See Bibliographical list uf works.


CH. Til.] COKTEB ET FABLIAUX. 33

tion, which he made from the Fabliaux he found in manu- scripts belonging to M. de St. Palaje, and which were copies that celebrated author had procured from the library of the Abbey Saint Germain des Pr^s, Berne, Turin, and other places/ In the coiu^e of his labours, Legrand frequently found that pieces with the same title differed in particular incidents, and sometimes in the whole story. Sometimes again the story was the same and the language different, which shows that the Fabliaux were altered at pleasure, either by the minstrel, when given him to set to music by the Trouveurs, or by the transcribers who col- lected them. These yariations Legrand has frequently mingled, inserting in the version he principally followed any amusing incident, or instructive passage, which he found in the others, and to the whole he has added curious notes, tending to elucidate the manners and private life of the French nation during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Fabliaux, as far as can be judged from the works of Barbazan and Legrand, are interesting on their own account, as they, in some degree, show how much the human mind, by its own force, is able to accomplish, un- ^ded by the aids. of learning or the rules of criticism. In them, too, the customs and characters and spirit of the {>eople, are painted in the truest and most lively manner. Resembling, in some degree, a comedy in their nature, they represent the ordinary actions of private life, and exhibit the nation, according to the expression of Legrand, in an undress. " Opinions," continues that author, " prejudices, superstitions, tone of conversation, and manner of court- ship, are to be f otind in them, and a number of these no- where else. They are like certain pictures, of which the subject and the characters are imagined by the artist, but where all besides is truth and nature. In some respects the Fabliaux possess a great advantage over romances of chivalry. The authors of the latter compositions assumed a certain number of knights, to whom, according to the spirit of the age, they assigned certain exploits, but they were limited to one sort of action. On the other hand, the Trouveurs were confined, perhaps, as to the extent, but not

  • More recently a collection has been edited by M. A. Montaiglon :

Recueil g^n^ral et Complet dee Fabliaux. Paris, 1872, etc XI. D


34 HI8TOBY OF FIGTIOK. [CH. Til.

the species of their productions. Hence their delineations and characters have little resemblance to each other, and there are none of those endless repetitions, nor relation of incidents, accessoiy to the principal subject, which are so tiresome in romances of chivalry. The Fabliaux are also free from the ridiculous ostentation of learning, and those anachronisms and blunders in geography, so frequent in the fabulous histories of Arthur and Charlemagne. Add to this a simple and ingenious mode of narrative, represen- tations of the human heart wonderfully just, and, above all, the honest simplicity of the relator, who appears con- vinced of what he recounts, the effect of which is persua- sion, because in the midst of improbabilities he seems in- capable of deceit."

These beauties are, however, counterbalanced by nume- rous defects. The fictions of the Trouveurs are sometimes extravagant, and their moral frequently scandalous; not merely that the expressions are blamable, which may be attributed to the rudeness of the age, or imperfection of language, but some stories are in their substance reprehen- sible. A few of these also are put into the mouth of women, and even the lips of a father in instructions to his daughters.

With such excellencies and defects, it is not surprising that the Fabliaux were often imitated in their own countrv. Some of them have been frequently modernised in French verse, and have formed subjects for the drama, as Moli^re's '*M^decin Malgre Lui," which is from the Fabliau Le Medicin de Brai, ou le Villain devenu Medicin,^ a story which is ako told by G-rotius ; several scenes of the Malade Imaginaire are from the Fabliau of the Bourse pleine de sens [Legrand iii. 402 ; Montaiglon, iii. 88 ; Bajrbaz. iii. 88]. The Huitre of Boileau is from Les trois dames qui trouverent un anel [Legrand iv. 163], and Babelais appears to have been indebted for his Tirades on Papelards, mem- brer remembrer, etc., to the Fabliaux of Sainte Leocade and Chariot le Juif .^

> Legrand, ed. 1S29, iii. 1. Barbaxan, iii. 1. Cf. Foggii, Facetiae Zenodochium and PfafF Amis, vv. 805-932.

  • Cf. Caylus M^oioires de I'Acad. des Insc. vol. xx. p. 374, and

Barbaian, rol. i. p. xxxiii. etc., and iii. 87. Legrand, iii 90, 1, Montaiglon, iii 23S.


CH. Tn.] LE8 TBOI8 AYSUOLEB BE COMPlioNE. 85

It is bjthe Italian novelists, however, that the Fabliaux have been cbieflj imitated ; and it is singrdar, considering the tnne that elapsed before they passed the Alps, the pro- gress of literature in Italy chiring the interval, and the genius employed in imitation, that their faults shoxdd have ))een so Httle remedied, and their beauties so little embel- lished. Their licentiousness has been increased, and hardly anjthing has been added to the interest or variety of the subjects.

'Hiat they were imitated by the Italian novelists is a point that can admit of no doubt, even laying aside in- stances of particular plagiarism, and attendmg to the general manner of the Fabliaux.

Of the tricks played by one person to another, so com- mon in Italian tales, there are many instanc-es in the tales of the Trouveurs. Thus in a Fabliau by the Trouveur Courte Barbe,

Les Tbois Aveuoles be Compi^gne.^

a Toung ecclesiastic returning from his studies (which he had been prosecuting at Paris) to Compi^gne, met on the way three blind men seeking alms. Here, said he, pretend- ing to give them something, is a hesant ; you will take care to divide it equally, it is intended for you all three. Though no one got the money, each believed that his comrade had received it, and, after loading their imagined benefactor with the accustomed blessings, they aU went on their way rejoic- ing ; the churchman following at a short distance to watch the issue of the adventure. They proceeded to a tavern in Oompiigne, where they resolved to have a carousal, and ordered everything of the first quality, in the tone of men who derived confidence from the weight of their purse. The ecclesiastic, who entered the house along with them, saw that the mendicants had a plenteous dinner, of which they par- took, laughing, singing, drinking to each other's health, and cracking jokes on the simplicity of the good gentleman who had procured them this entertainment, and who was all the while within hearing of the merriment. Their mirth was prolonged till the night was far advanced, when they

^ Legrmnd, ed. 18S9, iii. 49. BarbazaD,ed. 180S,iii.d98. Montaiglon, i, 70.


36 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

concluded this jovial day by retiring to rest. Next morn- ing the host made out a bill. ** G«t us change for a besant/' exclaim the blind. The landlord holds out his hand to re- ceive it, and as no person gi^s it, he asks who of the three is paymaster? Everyone says, "It is not I." From a corner of the room the ecclesiastic enjoys the rage of the landlord, and mutual reproaches of the blind, who accuse each other of purloining the money, proceed from words to blows, and throw the house into confusion and uproar. They at length are pacified, and suffered to depart on the churchman undertaking to pay their bill, of which he afterwards ingeniously finds means to defraud the land- lord.'

In the Italian novels there are frequently related strata- gems to procure provisions, and pork seems always to have been held in the highest estimation. In like manner, in the Fabliau Des

Tbois Labboks,'

by Jehan de Boves, there is detailed the endless ingenuity of two robbers to deprive their brother Travers, who had sepa- rated himself from them, and become an honest man, of a pig he had just killed, and also the address with which it is repeatedly recovered by the owner. The thieves had seen the pig one day when on a visit to their brother, and Travers, suspecting their intentions, hid it imder a bread oven at the end of the room. At night, when the rogues, with the view of purloining the pig, came to the place where they had seen it hanging, they found nothing but the string by which it had been suspended. Travers, hearing a noise, goes out to see that his stable and bam are secure. One of the thieves who takes this opportunity to pick the lock of the door, approaches the bed where his brother's wife lay, and counterfeiting the voice of her husband, asks if she remem- bered where he had hung the pig. • Don't you recollect,' said she instantly, *that we put it below the oven?' Having got this information, the thief immediately runs off with the pig on his shoulders ; and Travers returning

^ Cf. Straparola, N. 13, Fav. 2, Sozzini, Nov. 1. Scaocazzone. — Ffaff AmiH, vv. 2043-S472. > Legrand, ed. 1829, iii. 269. Barbazan, iv. 233. Montaiglon, ir. 93.


CH. Tn.] TB0I8 LABBON8. 37

nearly at the same time, is laughed at by his wife for his want of memory. He instantly perceives what had hap- pened, and sets out full speed after his brothers, who had taken a bye path leading to the wood where they intended to hide their booty. Travers comes up with him who carried the pig, and who was a little behind the other. ' It is now time,' says Travers, assuming his brother's voice, 'that I should carry the load.' The bearer instantly accedes to this proposal, but he has not gone on a hundred paces till he overtakes his other brother, when, perceiving that he had been ensnared, he strips himself and puts on a woman's night-cap. In this dress he gets to his brother's house before him, meets him at the door, and, appearing as his wife, exclaims in a feigned voice, ' You have got the pig ! give it me, and run to the stable, for I fear they are breaking in.' On his return, Travers discovers from his wife, still lamenting the loss of their pig, that he had been again cheated. He sets out after the pilferers, and comes to a place in the wood where they were dressing the pork at the foot of an oak, by a fire they had just lighted. Travers strips himself, climbs the tree, and, swinging on one of the branches, exclaims in the voice of their father, who had been hanged, * Wretches, you will end like me.' Hear- ing this, the thieves run off in the utmost consternation, and leave the pig at the disposal of their brother. Imme- diately on his return home, the proper owner, to prevent farther accidents, begins to bake it in a pie, but soon per- ceives it proceeding up the chinmey, appended to pieces of wood. The thieves, having recovered from their fright, had come back to the house of Travers, and seeing, by a hole in the wall, that there was now no time to be lost, were trying this last expedient from the roof of the dwell- ing. They are now invited by their kinsman to descend, and partake of the pie along with him. Accordingly they all sit down to table, and are cordially reconciled. These two specimens that have been given are, I think, quite in the spirit of the Italian novels, and as good tricks as those in the Decameron which are practised on Calandrino by his brother artists. (See N. 8 and 6, Day 8, etc. and cf. Straparola, N. 1. Tav. 3.) In the Fabliaux, too, there are innumerable instances of


38 HISTOET OF FICTION. [CH. Til.

ingenious gallantry, and deceptions practised on husbands, precisely in the style of the Italian novelists, as La Femme qui fit trois fois le tour des murs de TEglise, where a woman, detected out of doors at night, persuades her hus- band she had been recommended to walk three times round the walls of the church, in order to have children : see also La Eobbe d'Ecarlate, (Legrand, vol. ii. p. 328,) and La Culotte des Cordeliers (vol. i. p. 343). Li the Lai du Prisonnier (iv. 162), where twelve ladies partake of the heart of a Lover who had deceived them all, we have an exaggerated instance of that mixture of horror and gal- lantry which prevails, in some degree, in the Decameron, and more strongly in the imitations of the work of Boc- caccio/ The monastic orders are not so severely treated as

^ The episode of a lover's heart served up at table, is one of not in- frequent recurrence. The following is the title of a pamphlet in the British Museum : Arrest de la cour de parlement de Bordeaux Prononce contre une ieune Damoiselle, laquelle fit manger le foye de son enfant k vn ieune Gentilhomme qui avoit viole sa pudicite sous vmbre d'vn manage pretendu. Ensemble comme elle le fit cruellement monrir, & se remit entre les mains de la iustice, pour estre punie exeplairement, le Samedy 20. iour d'Avril, 1614. a Paris. Par George L'Anglois, 1614. At the end of the account follows : '^ Extrait des Registres du Parle- ment de Bordeaux. Yeu par la Cour, le procez criminal, pendant entre Damoiselle Cecile Palliet, accuse de cruaut^ matricide, & autre homicide du sieur de la Chambre la recognoissance du mentie fait par icelle, les conclusions du sieur Procureur general, bien que ladite Palliet meritasse vne plus cruelle mort pour satisfaire ausdits meurtres La Cour ayant esgard aux incitatids qui lont prouoqude k ces cruels actes par cy deuant faites a elle par ledit de la chambre, Iny ayant len^ son honeur sous vn mariage clandestin, a moder^ la punition, & a condamn6 & con- damne ladite CeciJe Palliet, k avoir la teste tranch6e par I'executeur de la haute Justice, en la place du march6, & ses biens confisquez & mis sous la main du Roy, en payant les fraiz de Justice k ce concemaut. Fait k Bordeaux en Parlement, le 20. d'Auril, 1614. Ce dit iour Samedy 20 d'Aunl, elle fut execute, etc. Cf. Titus Andronicus, Act v. Sc. 2 and 3 J also Sir W. Davenants tragedy of Albovine (1629), and the Story of Atreus and Thyestes.

The Ch&telain de Coucy, a noble who in 1148 had joined the third crusade, is the author of various love-songs, which have been inserted in a romantic poem on the subject of his amours with the lady of Faiel, the wife of a neighbouring seignour. De Coucy was wounded in the Holy Land, and expiring on his way home, commissioned a retainer to take his heart and deliver it with a letter he had already written to the lady of Faiel. Her consort, however, detected and intercepted the messenger, and caused the heart to be served up at table to hig wife, who, upon


CH. Tn.] LBS TBOIB BOS81T8. 39

by that author and his successors, but the priests are fre- quently satirized, and are made the principal actors, in a

2rreat proportion of the most licentious stories, as Constant

du Hamel, La Longue Nuit, Le Boucher d' Abbeville, Le Pretre crucifix, Le Pauvre Clerc, which last is the origin of the Freirs of Berwick, attributed to Dunbar, and the well- known story of The Monk and Miller's Wife of A. Bamsay. We have, besides, a series of stories in the Fabliaux in which ludicrous incidents occur with dead bodies, which also became a favourite subject in Italy. There is not, how- ever, in the whole Italian novels, so good a story of this description as that of

Les Tbois Bossus,

embodied in two fabliaux, one by the Trouveur Durand, and the other bj the Trouveur Piauc^le, who entitles it Destormi,^

Gentlemen, says the author, if you chuse to listen I will recount to you an adventure which once happened in a castle, which stood on the bank of a river, near a bridge, and at a short distance from a town, of which I forget the name, but which we may suppose to be Douai. The master of this castle was humpbacked. Nature had exhausted her ingenuity in the formation of his whimsical figure. In place of understanding she had given him an immense head, which nevertheless was lost between his two shoulders, he had thick hair, a short neck, and a horrible visage.

Spite of his deformity, this bugbear bethought himself of falling in love with a beautiful young woman, the daughter of a poor but respectable burgess of Douai. He sought her in marriage ; and as he was the richest person ia the district, the x>oor girl was dehvered up to him. After

learning of what she had partaken, languished and died, while her hus- band went to other lands, and died after many years of saddened exis- tence. On this story De Belloy baaed his tragedy of Gabrielle de Vergy. An analogous story is told of the Spanish Marquis d'Astorga. In the Kgyptian story of the Two Brothers the elder brother's wife asks to eaC the heart of lirer of the bull which she knows is her first husband.

^ Montaiglon's ^' Fabliaux,^ i. Nos. 2, 19. Legrand d'Ausaf , Fabliaux, 1829, vol. iv.pp. 257-63, and 264, 65. Cf. also iv. 246. Barbazan, iii. 296.


40 HISTOET OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

the nuptials lie was as milch to pity as she, for, being devoured by jealousy, he had no tranquillity night nor day, but went prying and rambling everywhere, and suffered no stranger to enter the castle.

One day, during the Christmas festival, while standing sentinel at his gate, he was accosted by three humpbacked minstrels. They saluted him as a brother, as such asked him for refreshments, and at the same time, to establish the fraternity, they ostentatiously displayed their humps. Contrary to expectation, he conducted them to his kitchen, gave them a capon with some peas, and to each a piece of money over and above. Before their departure, however, he warned them never to return, on pain of being thrown into the river.

At this threat of the GhcUelain, the minstrels laughed heartily, and took the road to the town, singing in full chorus, and dancing in a grotesque manner, in derision. He, on his part, without paying farther attention to them, went to walk in the fields.

The lady, who saw her husband cross the bridge, and had heard the minstrels, called them back to amuse her. They had not been long returned to the castle when her husband knocked at the gate, by which she and the minstrels were equally alarmed. Fortunately the lady perceived on a bed- stead, in a neighbouring room, three empty coffers. Into each of these she stuffed a minstrel, shut the covers, and then opened the gate to her husband. He had only come back to spy the conduct of his wife as usual, and after a short stay went out anew, at which you may believe his wife was not dissatisfied. She instantly ran to the coffers to release the prisoners, for night was approaching, and her husband would not probably be long absent. But what was her dismay when she found them all three suffocated ! Lamentation, however, was useless. The main object now was to get rid of the dead bodies, and she had not a moment to lose.

She ran then to the gate, and seeing a peasant go by, she offered him a reward of thirty livres, and leading him into the castle, she took him to one of the coffers, and showing him its contents, told him he must throw the dead bodv mto the river ; he asked for a sack, put the carcase into it.


CH. Til.] LES TBOIS BOBBITS. 41

pitched it over the bridge into the stream, and then returned quite out of breath to claim the promised reward

"I certainly intended to satisfy you," said the lady, " but you ought first to fulfil the conditions of the bargain — jou have agreed to rid me of the dead body, have you not ? There, however, it is still ;" sa3ring this, she showed him the other coffer in which the second humpbacked min- strel had expired At this sight the clown is perfectly confounded — how the devil! come back! a sorcerer! — he then stuffed the body into the sack, and threw it like the other over the bridge, taking care to put the head down, and 'to observe that it sunk. ^

Meanwhile the lady had again changed the position of the coffers, so that the third was now in the place which had been successively occupied by the two others. When the peasant returned, she showed him the remaining dead body — " you are right, friend," said she, " he must be a magician, for there he is again." The rustic gnashed his teeth with ra^e — "what the devil! am I to do nothing but carry about this accursed humpback ? " He then lifted him up with dreadful imprecations, and, having tied a stone round the neck, threw him into the middle of the current, threatening, if he came out a third time, to des- patch him with a cudgel.

The first object that presented itself to the clown, on his way back for the reward, was the hunchbacked master of the castle, returning from his evening walk, and making towards the gate. At this sight the peasant could no longer restrain his fury — " Dog of a humpback, are you there again ! " — so saying, he sprung on the Chatelain, stuffed him into the sack, and threw him headlong into the river after the minstrels.

" m venture a wager you have not seen him this last time," said the peasant, entering the room where the lady was seated. She answered that she had not : " yet you were not far from it," replied he; "the sorcerer was already at the gate, but I have taken care of him — be at Tour ease — ^he will not come back now."

The lady instantly comprehended what had occurred, and recompensed the peasant with much satisfaction.

" I conclude from this adventure," says the Trouveur,


42 HI8T0BT OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

" that money can do eyerything. It is in vain that a woman is fair — God would in vain exhaust all his power in forming her — if you have money she may be yours — witness the humpbacked chatelain in this fabliau." The Trouveur concludes with imprecations on the precious metals, and those who first used them, which was probably meant as an indirect hint to his audience. This story is in the Nights of Straparola, and the Tartar Tales, by Gueulette, under the title, Les Trois Bossus de Damas.^

Thus, even by attending to the general spirit of the Fabliaux, independent of examples of direct plagiarism, there can, I think, be no dqpbt that they were the prin- cipal models of the Italian tales. In writing, as in con- versation, a story seldom passes from one to another, without receiving some embellishment or alteration : The

^ The story of the little Hunchback, in the Arabian Nights, is pro- bablj the first source of this tale ; but the immediate original is one which occurs in some versions of the Seven Wise Masters. — Lies. The good stories of the Fabliaux are too piquant not to be utilized by con- temporary popular writers. The above tale of the three corpses was refurbished in a recent number of the Paris Estafette (newspaper), three priests being substituted for the three hunchbacked minstrels, to suit the anti-clerical complexion of the journal, and many of these old tales are con- stantly served up in an altered dress to certain classes of modern readei*s. The wide diffusion of this good story will be seen from the following enumeration of collections in which it is contained in more or less varying form : Ancien Th^tre Fran9ois, Xa Farce des Trois Bossus j Biblio- thdque Bleue, Les trois Bossus de Besan^n ; Divertissements curieux de ce temps, p. 153; La Fontaine, Contes : Les Remois; Boccaccio, Dec viii. 8 ; Habicht, Tausend und eine Nacht, Breslan, 1831-40, Night 496 ; Straparola, Notti ii. 5 and v. 3 ; Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, Kssai snr les Fables Indiennes, p. 157 ; Courrier fae^tieux, p. 327 ; Guculette, Mille et un quart d'heures, contes tartares (Cabinet des F^s, t. xxi. p. 131) 'y Cesari, Novelle, No. 13; Malespini, Dugento Novelle, Parte 1' 80, Parte 2* No. 95 ; Le Grand Parangon des nouvelles nouvelles* No. 13 ; Coelho, Contos popularosPortUjiniezes, No. 67 ; Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, No. 14 ; Kobb6 de Beauveset, CBuvres badines, 1801, No. 56 ; Cailhava de l'£8tendoux, Le Soup6 des petits maitres, Bruxelles, J. H. Briard, 1870, t. ii. cap. 26 j Bernard de la Monnoye, QSuvres, Vexillarius et Mercator ; D'Auberville, Contes en Vers, etc., Bruxelles, Demanct, 1818, t. ii. p. 43 ; Dorat, Poesies, Geneve, 1777, iii. p. 163; Michele Angeloni, Novelle, Lugano, 1863 : II Miraoolo ; Q. Rillosi, Novelle : Fra Volpone, o I'astuzie fratesche ; G. B. Casti, Novelle : II quinto evangelista. J. B. F. Ortoli ; lies Contes populaires de I'lle de Corse, Paris, 1883 (vol. xvi. of Les Litteratures populaires de toutes les Nations "), No. 5. [Romania, No. 49, pp. 174,5.1


CH. YII.] LE8 TBOIS BOSSXTS. 43

imitators may have filled up the general outline with colours of their own ; they may have exercised their in- genuity in varying the drapery, in combining the groups* and forming them into more regular and animated pic tures ; but there is scarcely an Italian delineation, unless it represent some real incident, of which a sketch more or less perfect may not be seen in the Fabliaux. Instances, in which the Trouveurs have been absolutely copied, or closely followed, will be adduced, when we come to specify the works of their imitators.

It is not easy to point out precisely in what way the Fabliaux passed into Italy, pr at what period they were first known beyond the Alps.

Since the progress of romantic fiction, however, has in many instances been clearly traced from the north to the south of Europe, from Asia to the western extremity of Christendom, and from the classical times of Greece, through the long course of the dark ages to the present period, it will not appear extraordinary that the Italians should have imbibed the fables of their neighbours and contemporaries. During the civil dissensions which were so long protracted in Italy, many of its inhabitants sought refuge in Prance. A great number of the usurers esta- blished in that coimtry were of the Lombard nation. Part of the interior commerce of France was carried on by Italians, and they occupied a whole street in Paris, which was called that of the Lombards. The court of Bome, too, employed in France a number of Italian agents, to support the rights and collect the revenues of the church. Brunetto Latini wrote at Paris his Tresor, and many Venetians went to study law in that capital. On the other hand, during the same period, the French, as is well known, frequently resorted to the different states of Italy, in the course of war or political intrigue. The French minstrels also frequently wandered beyond the Alps, bearing with them their Lais and their Fabliaux. Muratori (Dissert. Antichit. Ital. tom. ii. c. 29) reports an ordinance of the municipal officers of Bologna, issued in 1288, prohibiting the French minstrels from blocking up the streets by exercising their art in public. — "TJt Cantatores Francigenorum in plateis communibus ad cantandum morari non possvmt."


44 HIBTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

There are many imitations of the tales of the Trouyeurs in the

Cento Novbllb Antiche,

commonly called in Italy II NoyeUino (and sometimes il Koyellino antico in contradistinction to Massuccio's Noyel- lino), the first regular work of the class with which we are now engaged that appeared in Europe; its composition being imquestionably prior to that of the Decameron of Boccaccio.

It is eyident, from the title of the Cento Noyelle Antiche, that it was not a new and original production, but a com- pilation of stories already current in the world. The col- lection was made towards the end of the thirteenth century,^ and was formed from episodes in romances of chivalry ; the Fabliaux of the French Trouyeurs ; the ancient chro- nicles of Italy ; recent incidents ; or jests and repartees current by oral tradition. That the stories derived from these sources were compiled by different authors, is ap- parent from the great variety of style ; but who these authors were is still a problem in the literary annals of Italy. A number of them were long supposed to have been the work of Dante and Brunetto Latini, but this be- lief seems to rest on no very solid foundation. Quadrio, however, considers these tales as the production of a single writer, whom he hails as the unknown father of the Italian language: — "L' autor di quest* opera h incerto; h pero autore di lengua."

At first the Cento Novelle Antiche amounted only to ninety-six, but four were afterwards added to make up the hundred. The original number remained in MS. upwards of two centuries from the date of their composition. They were at length edited by Gualteruzzi, at Bologna, 1525, and were entitled Le Ciento Novelle Antike, on the frontis- piece ; and within — " Fiori di parlare, di belle cortesie, e di belle valentie e doni, secondo ke per lo tempo passato anno fatto molti valenti uomini." This edition was pub-

^ Or rather about 1325 or 1330, at all events after 1311. See Lami Novel. Letter, vol. xv. No. 34. See also Nott at p. 274 of his ed. of Bnsone da Gubbio's " Fortunatus Siculus."


CH. YII.] CENTO NOYELLE ANTICHE. 45

lished from, a MS. belongmg to Cardinal Bembo, and which had just before been copied from the original MS. Gualtenizzi certainly conceived his edition to be the first, but Apostolo Zeno thinks that another, of which he had seen a copy at Padua, without date of year or place, is more ancient. Yet one would suppose that had an earlier edition existed, Gualteruzzi covld not haye been ignorant of the fact, nor would Bembo, whatever may be the value of an original MS., have procured a recent transcript, when an elegant impression was circulating through the world. A subsequent edition by the GKunti appeared at Florence, in 1572, and one still more recently at Naples, which is not held in much estimation. Some tales occur in one of these editions which are not foimd in another; and the stories are also differently arranged, which is extremely troublesome in i*eference.

The stories contained in the Cento Novelle Antiche, though not very interesting from intrinsic merit, have be- come so as being the commencement of a series of compo- sitions which obtained the greatest celebrity,^ and, by their influence on the English drama, laid the f oimdation of the most splendid efforts of human genius. It may, therefore, be proper to give a few examples, that the reader may appreciate the taste and spirit in which the Cento Novelle were written.

2. Is the story of a G-reek king who detained one of the most learned of his subjects in confinement. A handsome Spanish horse being brought to court, as a present to the monarch, and the prisoner being interrogated as to its value, replies, that it is indeed a fine horse, but had been suckled by an ass. This fact is verified by sending to Spain, where it is discovered that tbe mare had died soon after producing the foal ; on which the prisoner receives from the king, as a reward, an additional allowance of bread. On another occasion he acquaints his majesty, that there is a worm in one of his most precious jewels. The gem being dashed to pieces, the animal is found, and the captive gratified with a whole loaf each day. At length the king says to him. Whose son am I ? He is answered,

^ Uany of them may be reoogiuBed in Poggio Braociolini's *' Facetis.


46 HI8T0BY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

that lie sprung from a baker ; a piece of unexpected in- telligence, which is confirmed by the queen-mother on her being sent for, and compelled by threats to confess the truth. Being finally asked how he came to know all these things, the wise man replies, that the length of the horse's ears, and the heat of the gem, had suggested his two first answers, and that he had discovered his majesty's pedigree from the nature of the rewards he had repeatedly assigned him. This tale has a striking resemblance to that of the Three Sharpers and the Sultan, which is the second story of the recent addition to the Arabian Tales published bv Mr. Scott.* Three sharpers introduce themselves to a sultan, the first as a skilful lapidary, the second as expert in the pedigree of horses, and the third as a genealogist. The sultan wishing to tiy their veracity, detains them in confinement, and after a while sends for the first to de- mand his opinion of a precious stone, which had been lately presented to him ; when the sharper, having exa- mined it, declares there is a flaw in its centre, and the jewel being cut in two, the blemish is discovered. He then informs the sultan that he had discerned the defect by the acuteness of his sight ; and as a reward receives a mess of pottage and two cakes of bread. Some time after a beau- tiful black colt arrives, as a tribute from one of the provinces. The genealogist of horses being thereon sum- moned, affirms that the colt's dam was of a bufEalo species, which is found to be correct on examining the person who had brought him. Having received the same recompense as his fellow-prisoner, the third sharper is now interro- gated as to the parentage of the sultan himself, whom he pronounces to be the offspring of a cook, as his gratuities consisted in provisions from his kitchen, instead of the honours which it is customary for princes to bestow. This being confirmed by the confession of the sultan's mother, he abdicates the throne in favour of the genealogist, and conscientiously wanders through the world in disguise of a dervise. The first story in Mr. Scott's publication, the Sultan of Yemen and his Three Sons, has also a consider-

^ Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters, transl. from the Arabic and Persian bjr Jonathan Soott, Shrewsbury, 1800.


CH. Tn.] CENTO NOVELLE ANTICHE. 47

able resemblance to this tale. There the three princes find out that a kid at table had been suckled hj a bitch, and that the sultan at whose court they were was the son of a cook. Similar to these is the anecdote related of Virgil and Ai^^ustus. While the poet acted as one of the emperor's grooms, a colt of wonderful beauty was sent in a gift to Osesar. Virgil decided that it was of a diseased mare, and woxdd neither be strong nor swift, and this opinion having proved correct, Augustus ordered his al- lowance of bread to be doubled. On another occasion, the emperor, who doubted his being the son of Octavius, having consulted Yirgil on his pedigree, is told that he spnmg from a baker ; a conjecture which had been formed from the nature of his rewards.*

6. Is from the 8th chapter of the Gbsta Eomanorum, where the Emperor Leo commands three statues of females to be made ; one has a gold ring on a finger, pointing for- ward ; another the ornament of a golden beanl ! the third a golden cloak and purple tunic ; whoever should steal any of these ornaments was to be pimished by an igno- minious death. See G-ower*s Confessio Amantis" (lib. 5).

30. Story of the Sheep passing a Eiver, from the 11th tale of Petrus Alphonsus. This stupid story has been in- troduced in Don Quixote, where it is related by Sancho to his master. (Part I. b. iii. c. 6.)

39. A person having offended certain ladies by his lam- poons, and being about to receive the severest of all pimish- ments, saves himself by exclaiming, that she who is most deserving of the satire should commence the attack. In Fauchet [1. i. ch.-126], a similar story is related of Jean de Meung, author of the continuation of the Bomaunt of the Bose ; but as the Eomaunt was not finished till the year 1300, this tale is probably taken from one in the Fabliaux (Legrand, 4, 126), where a knight disarms the fury of a

  • Donatus, life of Vim], at oommeuoement. Similar answers are put

into the mouth of the Danish prince Hamlet, in reply to the King of Eogkad, in Saxo Grammaticos, i. iii. and iv. p. laS, etc. ed. Hafn. 1839. See ala* Simrock, «< Qnellen des Shakespeare, i. 81-85, 3, 170, etc. In Otte's ** Heradins," edited by Massmann, very similar replies Are giTen by Ueraclins to the Emperor Phocas. — Libb.


48 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH, VII.

number of je&lous women, bj bidding her strike first who had loved him most. There is a similar story adopted in one of the romantic poems of Italy, I think the Orlando Innamo- rato, where a knight escapes from a like situation, by inviting her to the attack who has the least regard to her own and husband's honour. A like expedient is resorted to by the hero of the IlaHan comic romance, Vita di Bertoldo. All these stories probably had their origin in the expression by which our Saviour protected the woman taken in adultery.^

Many of the Cento Novelle are merely classical fictions.

43. Is the fable of Narcissus. We have also the story of Diogenes, requesting Alexander to stand from betwixt him and the sun ; and [No. 70] of the friends of Seneca, who,, while lamenting that he should die innocent, are asked by the philosopher if they would have him die guilty ; an anecdote usually related of Socrates.

50. Is from chapter 157 of the Gesta Bomanorum. A porter at a gate of Bome taxes all deformed persons enter- ing the city. The 5th of Alphonsus is also a story of this nature, where a x>orter, as a reward, has liberty to demand a petiiiy from every person one-eyed, humpbacked, or other- wise deformed. A blind man refusing to pay, is found on farther examination to be humpbacked, and, beginning ta defend himself, displays two crooked arms ; he next tries to escape by flight ; his hat falls off, and he is discovered to be leprous. When overtaken and knocked down, he appears moreover to be afflicted with hernia, and is amerced in fivepence."

51. Saladin*s Installation to the Order of Knighthood : An abridgment of a Fabliau, called L'Ordre de Ohevalerie (Barbazan, i. 59).^

56. The Story of the Matron of Ephesus, which was originally written by Petronius Arbiter, but probably came to the author of the Cento Novelle Antiche through the medium of the Seven Wise Masters, or the Fabliau De la.

^ Cf. Keller. laeder Guillems y. Bergnedan, p. 4, etc.

^ See Schmidt on Disciplina Glericalis, p. 120, etc.

' Ako occurs in Busone da Gubbio'a *^ Fortunatua Siculua, 1. iii» c. 13, of which Legrand d'Ausay states that some French historians- have narrated it as having really happened. — Libb.


CH. TH.] CENTO NOYELLE ANTICHE. 49

Femme qui se fist Putain sur la fosse de son mari. (See aboTe, vol. I. p. 94.)

68. An envious knight is jealous of the favour a voung man enjoys with the £ing. As a friend, he bids the youth hold back his head.while serving this prince, who, he says, was disgusted with his bad breath, and then acquaints his master that the page did so, from being offended with his majesty's breath. The irascible monarch forthwith orders his kiln-man to throw the first messenger he sends to him into the furnace, and the young man is accordingly de- spatched on some pretended errand, but happily passing near a monastery on his way, tarries for some time to hear mass. Meanwhile, the conl^ver of the fraud, impatient to learn the success of his stratagem, sets out for the house of the kiln-man, and arrives before his intended victim. On inqiiijing if the commands of his master had been ful- filled, he is answered that they will be immediately exe- cuted, and, as the first messenger on the part of the sove- reign« is forthwith thrown into the furnace. ' This tale is copied from one of the Contes Divots, intended to exem- plify the happy effects that result from hearing mass, and entitled, D'un Boi qui voulut faire brdler le fils de son Seneschal. It is also chapter 95 of the Anglican Gesta Bomanoruin and Ginthio, viii. 6.^

A few tales seem to have had their origin in romances of chivalry; the

^ A Tery similar story is related in some lives of St. Elizabeth, spouse of Denis, King of Portugal, in the thirteenth century. One of the queen's pages, a fiiTonrite whom she often employed on errands of charity, was consequently an object of envy and hatred to another of the court pages, who denounced him to the king as a paramour of Elizabeth, fenis, judging others by his own licentious heart, believes the accusation, and sends the supposed culprit im a message to the lime- burner, who had previously been instructed to despatch him. On his waj, however, the queen's page enters a church to assist at mass, but arriving late, waits to hear the next one ; meanwhile his calumniator, who had eagerly gone to learn his fate, perishes in his stead As a moral the Vinz recognizes the intervention of Divine Providence, and is convinced of the queen's innocence. The narrative is discarded by the Bdlandists. Baillet, Vies des Saints, p. 117, vol. ▼. 485 d. 5. The source of this story would seem to be the history of Kalaratri in Somad- heva's Collection of Tales/' Of. Schmidt, Balladeu und Komanzen, p. 191, etc ; Keller, Dyokletianns Leben, Introduction, p. 44 ; Germania, Bd. vii 422, and Bd. xi. 207 ; Timoneda Patraiiuelo, No. 17.

II. E


so HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

81. Is the Story of the Lady of the ScaJot, who died for love of Lancelot du Lac ; and another [No. 60] is the story of King Meliadus and the Eiiight without Fear.

82. Outline of the Pardonere*s Tale in Chaucer (Morlini, Novellae, No. 42).

A few of the Cento Novelle are fables. Thus in

91. The mule pretends that his name is written on the hoof of his hind-foot. The wolf attempts to read it» and the mule gives him a kick on the forehead, which kills him on the spot. On this the fox, who was present, observes, " Ogni huomo che sa lettera non 6 savio." ^

The last of the original number of the Cento Novelle is from the 124th chapter of the G«sta Eomanorum, of the knights who intercede for their friend with a king, by each coining to court in a singular attitude. *

It has already been mentioned, that four tales were added to complete the number of a hundred. One of these is the story of Grasso Legnajuolo, which has been fre- quently imitated ; in this tale Grasso is persuaded to doubt of his own identity. Different persons are posted on the street to accost him as he passes, by the name of another ; he at length allows himself to be taken to prison for that person's debts, and the mental confusion in which he is involved during his confinement is well described. Do- menico Manni asserts, that this was a real incident, and he tells where and when it happened. Filippo di Ser Brunel- lesco, he says, contrived the trick, and the sculptor Dona- tello had a hand in its execution.

A great proportion of the tales of the Cento Novelle are altogether uninteresting, but in their moral tendency they are much less exceptionable than the Fabliaux, by which they were preceded, or the Italian Novelettes, by which they were followed. In general, it may be remarked, that those stories are the best which claim an eastern origin, or are derived from the Gesta Bomanorum and the Fabliaux. This, from the examples given, the reader will have di£&-

^ See F. W. V. Schmidt, Beitraege zur Geschichte der Romantiscken Poesie, p. 181, etc.; Grimm, R^ineke FachB, p. oclxiii: Ad. Kahn, Mark. Sagen, *' Der Damme Wolf."

> See F. W. V. SchmMt's notes to Straparola, p. 292 ; Loiaelenr Des- loDgchampg, Fab. Ind. P. ii. p. 126.


CH. Til.] BECAMBBOK OF BOCCACCIO. 51

cultj in belieying ; but those tales which are founded on real incidents, or are taken from the annalists of the coun- try, are totally uninteresting. The repartees are invariably flat, and the jests insipid. This remark is, I think also applicable to the

Decamebon op Boccaccio ;

those tales derived from the Fabliaux being invariably the most ingenious and graceful. This celebrated work suc- ceeds, in chronological order, to the Cento Novelle, and is by far the most renowned production in this species of composition. It is styled Decameron, from ten days having been occupied in the relation of the tales, and is also entitled Principe Galeotto, — an appellation which the deputies appointed for correction of the Decameron con- sider as derived from the 5th canto (v. 137) of Dante's " Inferno," Qideotto being the name of that seductive book, which was read by Paulo and Francesca : —

'^ Galeotto fu il libro e chi lo scrisse," etc.

The Decameron is supposed to have been commenced about the year 1348, when Florence was visited by the plague, ajid finished about 1358. Thus only a period of half a century had intervened from the appearance of the Cento Novelle, and the infinite superiority of the De- cameron over its predecessor, marks in the strongest manner the improvement which, during that interval, had taken place in taste and literature.

Still, however, the Decameron must be chiefly considered as the product of the distinguished mental attainments of its author. Boccaccio [1313-1375] was admirably fitted to excel in this sort of composition, both from natural genius,^ and the species of education he had received. His father apprenticed him in early youth to a merchant, with whom he continued many years, and in whose service he visited different parts of Italy, and, according to some authorities,

^ I wen remerober," says he, in his Genealogy of the Gods, *' that before seven years of afro, when as yet I had seen no fictions, and had applied to no masters, I had a natural turn for fiction, and produced •c»ne trifling tales." — Lih. zv.


62 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

the capital of France. During these excursions he must have become intimately acquainted with the manners of his native coimtry ; and at Paris he would acquire the French langusige, and, perhaps, study the French authors. Tired with his mercantile employments, Boccaccio next applied himself to canon law, and, in the prosecution of this study, he had occasion to peruse many works, from which, as shall be afterwards shown, he has extracted materials for the Decameron. Disgusted with law, he finally devoted himself to literature, and was instructed by various masters in all the learning of the age. The greater part of the Decameron, it is true, was written before be had made proficiency in the Greek language ; but it can- not be doubted, that, previous to its public appearance, he embellished this work by interweaving fables, which he met with among Greek authors, or which were imparted to him by his master Leontius Filatus, whom he styles, in the Genealogy of the Gods, a repository of Grecian history and fable.

An investigation of the sources whence the stories in the Decameron have been derived, has long exercised the learning of Italian critics, and has formed the subject of a keen and lasting controversy. The light hitherto thrown on the dispute is such as might be expected, where erudi- tion has been employed for the establishment of a theory, instead of the discovery of truth. Many of the commen- tators on Boccaccio have been anxious to prove, that his stories are for the most part borrowed from the earlier tales of his own country, and those of the French Trouveurs ; ^ others have argued, that the great proportion is of his own invention ; while Domenico Manni, in his History of the Decameron, has attempted to establish that they have been mostly derived from the ancient chronicles and annals of Italy, or have had their foundation on incidents that

^ <' He collected in every direction the materials for his Decameron," writes Daunou, in his discourse on the state of letters in France in the thirteenth century, *' and found them copiously in the French poems, which were too recent and too celebrated for him not to desire, and to have the means to avail himself of them. 77uU his prose has surpassed them and caused them to be forgotten is not a matter which can be questioned,'* Hist. Litt. de la France, xvl 230.


CH. ni.] DECAMEBON OF BOCCACCIO. 53

actoallj occurred during the age of Boccaccio. There is one fallacy, however, bj which this author seems misled, and of which he does not appear to have been aware. This is assuming that a story is true, merely because the characters themselves are not fictitious. Maimi seems to have thought, that if he could discover that a merchant of a certain name existed at a certain period, the tale related concerning him must have had a historical foundation. Nothing need be said to expose the absurdity of such con- clusions, which would at once transform the greater num- ber of the Arabian tales into historic relations concerning Haroun Alraschid The adoption of real characters or real places, on which to found a system of romantic inci- dent, is one of the most common, and must have been one of the earliest artifices in fictitious narrative.^

^ The extent of the Boccaccio literature is very great. We content our- selres, howerer, by referring the reader who may wish to penetrate the subject further to M. Landau's" Die QuellendesDecamerone, Wien, 1869, and Stuttgart, 1884 ; Tribolati, Diporti letterari sul Decamerone, etc., Pisa, 1873; Landau, Beitraef|re nr Geschichte der Italienischen Novelle, Wien, 1875; Cappelletti's '^ Studi sul Decamerone," Paris, 1880; and Professor Bartoli s brochure, " I precursori del Boooiocio e alcune delle soe fonte," Firenze, 1876, in the eighty-six small pages of which much information on the present subject is condensed. In a note on pp. 25, 26, the author gives the following methodical list of sources from which, according to the most recent writers, many of the tales in the Decameron are derived.

18T Day. No. 2. Busone da Gubbio, L'aryenturoso Ciciliano ; see also Manni, and Novelle Letterarie, 1574, col. 545. — 3. Busonne da ^ Gnhbio, Gesta Romanorum, Cento Npvelle Antiche. — 4. Cento Nov. Ant., and the fabliau, The Bishop and the Priest. — 5. The Seven Wise Masters, Syntipas, and Manni, 157. — ^9. Cento Nov. Antiche.

2nd Dat. No. 2. Panchatnntra — Gesta Romanorum — Legenda Aurea. — 5. Fabliau, Boivins de Frovins. — 6 and 7. Byzantine Greek source. (Cf. Landau, p. 91-92). — 8. Gruillaume de la Barre, Roman d*A venture, by Amaud Vidal de Castelnaudary, Notice published by P. Meyer — Gesta Romanorum. — 9. Seven Wise Masters — Roman de la Violette.

3HD Dat. No. 1. Avventure del conte Guglielmo di Poitou con Agnese e Ermalette (Millot, cited by Landau) — Lai d'lgnaur^s •— Bar- [. berino, Regg. delle I>onne. — 2. Herodotus — Dolopathoa — Paulus Dia- conns. — 5. Seven Wise Masters. — 6. Fabliau, Enguerrand d'Oisy (?). — Nachachebi.— 8. Fabliau du Vilain de Bailleul— 9. Cakuntala— the Hecyra of Terence— Le Roman du Comte d*Artois et de sa femme. — 10. The German poem, Die Teufelsnacht.

4 TB Dat. Introduction. Barlaam e Josaphat — Cento Novelle


54 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

To the sources whence they have flowed may be partly ascribed the immorality of the tales of Boccaccio, and the introduction of numerous stories where our disapprobation of the crime is overlooked, in the delight we experience from the description of the ingenuity, by which it was accomplished. This may also be in some degree accounted for by the character of the author, and manners of the time. But that the relation of such stories should be assigned to ladies, or represented as told in their presence,^ and that the work, immediately on its appearance, should have become avowedly popular among all classes of readers, is not so much to be imputed to popular rudeness, as to a particular event of the author's age. Just before Boc- caccio wrote, the customs and manners of his fellow-citizens underwent a total alteration, owing to the plague which

Antiche. — 1. See NoTelle letterarie, 1755. — 2. Historia de Praeliis, Nectanebus and Olympia. — 3. Byzantine Greek source (cf. Landau, 91). — 8. German poem, Frauentreue. — 9. Proven9al story of Cubestaing e della contessa di Roussillon. — 10. Seven Wise Masters.

5th Day. No. 1. Theocritus. — 3. Byzantine Greek source. — ^Lai da Laustic of Marie ^ de France. — 7. The .£nei8. — 8. Helinandus. — 10. Apuleius.

6th Day. No. 3. Seven Wise Masters — Oriental tale of Nussereddin Hatscha.

7tu Day. No. 2. Apuleius — Le Cuvier, Fabliau. — 4. Seven Wise Masters — Discipl. Clericalis, Alphonsus. — 5. Du chevalier qui fist sa fame oonfesse, fabliau. — 6. Seven Wise Masters — Discipl. Cleric. — 7. De la bourgeoise d'Orleans, etc. fabliau. — 8. Pantschatantra and other Oriental tales — Des tresces, fabliau. — 9. La dame qui fait accroire a son mari qu'il a r^vi, fabliau.

8th Day. No. 1. Le bouchier d'Abbeville, fabliau. — 4. Du prestre et de la dame, fabliau. — 3. Fabliau de Coquaigne. — 4. Le pretre et Alison, fabliau. — 7. Somadeva. — 8. De la dame qui attrapa un prdtre, un prdvot, etc., fabliau. — 10. Gesta Romanorum — ^Discipl. Cleric.

9th Day. No. 3. Aucassin et Nicolette. — 6. De Gombert et de deux dercs, fabliau. — 10. De la damoiselle qui volt voler en Fair, fabliau.

1 0th Day. No. 1 . Gesta Romanorum — Busone da Gubbio— Barlaam e Josaphat. — 3. Oriental source. — 8. Seven Wise Blasters — Gesta Romanorum — Discipl. Cleric. — 9. Busone da Gubbio.

  • It is evident that Boccaccio afterwards became ashamed of the licen-

tiousness of the Decameron, and uneasy at the bad moral tendency of some of its stories. In a letter to Maghinardo de Cavalcanti, marshal of Sicily, which is quoted by Tiraboschi, Boccaccio, speaking of his De- cameron, says, " sane quod inclitas mulieres tuas domesticas, nugas meas legere permiseris non lando ; quin immo quseso, per iidem tuam, ne feceris."


CH. Vn.] DECAHBBON OF BOCCACCIO. 55

had preyailed in Florence, in the same way as the surviving inhabitants of Lisbon became more dissolute after their earthquake, and the Athenians after the plague by which their city was afficted. (Thucydides, book 2nd.) " Such," gays Boccaccio himself in his introduction, " was the public distress, that laws divine and human were no longer re- garded." And we are farther informed by Warton, on the authority of contemporary authors, that the women who had outlived this fatal malady, having lost their husbands and parents, gradually threw off those customary formalities and restraints which had previously regulated their conduct. To females the disorder had been peculiarly fatal, and from wantof attendants of their own sex, the ladies wereobliged to take men alone into their service, which contributed to de- stroy their habits of delicacy, and gave an opening to unsuit- able freedoms. " As to the monasteries," continues Warton, " it is not surprising that Boccaccio should have made them the scenes of his most libertine stories. The plague had thrown open the gates of the cloister. The monks and nuns wandered abroad, partaking of the common liberties of life and the world, with an eagerness proportioned to the severity of former restraint. When the malady abated, and the religious were compelled to return to their cloisters, they could not forsake their attachment to secular indul- gence. They continued to practise the same free course of hfe, and would not submit to the disagreeable and un- social injunctions of their respective orders. Contemporary historians give a dreadful picture of the unbounded de- baucheries of the Florentines on this occasion, and ecclesiash tical writers mention this period as the grand epoch of the relaxation of monastic discipline."

That ecclesiastical abuses and immorality afforded ample scope for satire, does not require to be proved ; but that Boccaccio should have dared to expose them, is the second, and perhaps the most curious problem, connected with the history of the Decameron. It would appear, however, that the geniuses of every country in that age, when papal authority was at its height, employed them- selves in satirizing the church. We have already seen the liberty that was taken in this respect, by the authors of the Fabliaux ; and their contemporary, Jean de Meung, in


56 HISTORY OF FICTION, [CH. VII.

his Eoman de la Bose,, introduces Faux Semblant habited as a monk. In England, about 1350, the corruptions and abuses of religion, and the absurdities of superstition, couched, it is true, under a thick veil of allegorical invention, were ridiculed with much spirit and humour in Langland's " Visions of Piers Plowman," while the Sompnour's tale in Chaucer openly exx>osed the tricks and extortions of the mendicant friars. At' first sight it may appear, that the freedom of Boccaccio was more extraordinary than that of the Trouveurs, of Chaucer, or Longland, as he wrote so near the usual seat of church authority ; but it must be recol- lected, that when Boccaccio attacks the abuses of Kome, it is not properly the church that he vilifies, as the pontifical throne had been transferred from Italy to Avignon, half a century previous to the composition of the Decameron. The former capital is spoken of in similar terms by the gravest writers who were contemporary with Boccaccio. Thus Petrarch [sonnett 107] terms it,

Gia Roma, or Babilonia falsa e ria."

The whole city was excommunicated in 1327, and, according to all the authors of the period, presented a terrible scene of vice and confusion. Hence the frequent attacks by Boccaccio en Eome, so far from being considered as marks of disrespect, may be considered as proofs of his zeal for Christianity, or at least for the church to which he belonged. Besides, at that period no inquisition existed in Italy, and authors were not accused of heresy for defaming the monks. Much of Boccaccio's satire, too, is directed against the friars, who wandered about as preachers and confessors, and were no favourites of the regular clergy, whom they deprived of profits and inheritances. The church was also aware that the novelists wrote merely for the sake of pleasantry, and without any desire of reformation : — " Ce n'est point," saysMad.de Stael [De la Litterature, ch. 10],

    • sous un point de vue philosophique, qu'ils attaquent les

abus de la religion : ils n'ont pas comme quelques-uns de nos ^rivains, le but de reformer les d^fauts dont ils plai- santent ; ce qu*ils veulent seulement c'est s'amuser d'autant plus que le sujet est plus s^rieux. C'est la ruse des envois envers leur pedagogues ; ils leur obeissent a condition qu'il


CH. Til.] DECAMSBON OF BOCCACCIO. 57

leur 8oit permis de s'en moquer." Yet still, had printing been invented in the age of Boccaccio, and had he published the Decameron on his personal responsibility, his boldness would be totally inexplicable : But it will be remarked, that the Decameron could only be privately circulated, that it was not published for a himdred years after the death of the author, and though the office of an editor might be sufficiently perilous, he would not, even if discovered, have undergone the severity of punishment which would perhaps have been inflicted on the author.

The Italian novelist has been highly extolled for the beautiful and appropriate manner in which he has intro- duced his stories, which are so much in unison with the gaiety of the scenes by which the narrators are surroimded. In the beginiung of the first day he informs us, that, in the year 1348, ^Florence was visited by the plague, of the effects of which he gives an admirable description, imitated from Thucydides. During its continuance, seven young ladies accidentally met in the church of St. Mary. At the suggestion of Pampinea, the eldest of their number, they resolved on leaving the city which was thus terribly afflicted. Having joined to their company three young men, who were their admirers, and who entered the chapel during their deliberation, they retired to a vill^ two miles distant from Florence. A description of the beauty of the grounds, the splendour of the habitation, and agreeable employments of the guests, forms a pleasing contrast to the awful images of misery and disease that had been pre- viously presented. The first scene is indeed one of death and desolation, and neither Thucydides [iii. 47, etc.] nor Lucretius [vi. 1136, etc.] have painted the great scourge of human nature in colours more sombre and terrific : but it changes to pictures the most delightful and attractive, of gay fields, clear fountains, wooded hills, and magnificent castles, Bembo has remarked the charming variety in the descriptions, which commence and terminate so many days of the Decameron, (Prose, lib. 2,) and which possess for the Florentines a local truth and beauty which we can scarcely appreciate. The abode to which the festive band first retire, may be yet recognized in the Po^o Gherardi ; the palace described in the prologue to the third day, is the


58 HISTOBY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

Villa Palmieri, and the vallej so beautifully painted near the conclusion of the sixth, is that on which the traveller yet gazes with rapture from the summit of Fiesole. In these delicious abodes the manner of passing the time seems in general to have been this : — Before ^e sun was high, a repast was served up, which appears to have cor- responded to our breakfast, only it consisted chiefly of confections and wine. After this, some went to sleep, while others amused themselves in various pastimes. About mid-day they all assembled round a delightful fountain, where a sovereign being elected to preside over this enter- tainment, each related a tale. The party consisting of ten, and ten days of the fortnight during which this mode of life continued, being partly occupied with story-telling, the number of tales amounts to a hundred; and the work itseK has received the name of the Decameron. A short while after the novels of the day were related, the company partook of a supper, or late dmner, and the evening con- cluded with songs and music.

Boccaccio was the first of the Italians who gave a dra- matic form to this species of composition. In this respect the Decameron has a manifest advantage over the Cento Novelle Antiche, and, in the simplicity of the frame, is superior t6 the eastern fables, which, in this respect, Boc- caccio appears to have imitated. Compared with those compositions which want this dramatic embellishment, it has something of the advantage which a regular comedy possesses over unconnected scenes. Hence, the more na- tural and defined the plan — the more the characters are diversified, and the more the tales are suited to the cha- racters, the more conspicuous will be the skill of the writer, and his work will approach the nearer to perfection. It has been objected to the plan of Boccaccio, that it is not natural that his company should be devoted to merriment, when they had just interred their nearest relations, or abandoned them in the jaws of the pestilence, and when they themselves were not secure from the distemper, since it is represented as raging in the country with almost equal violence as in the dty. But, in fact, it is in such circumstances that mankind are most disposed for amuse- ment; amid general calamities every thing is lost but


CH. YII.] DECAXEBON OF BOCCACCIO. 59

individual care ; it is then, '* Yiyainus, mea Lesbia ! " and even the expectation of death only uiges to the speediness of enjoymeat :

    • Falle diem ; mediis mors venit atra jocis."

Sannaz Ep,

    • The Athenians/* (says Thucydides in his celebrated de-

scription of the Pestilence,) " seeing the strange mutability of outward condition ; the rich untimely cut off, and their wealth pouring suddenly on the indigent, thought it pru- dent to catch hold of speedy enjoyments and quick gusts of pleasure, persuaded that their bodies and their wealth might be their own merely for the day. No one continued resolute enough to form any honest or generous design, when so uncertain whether he should five to effect it. Whatever he knew could improve the pleasure or satis- faction of the present moment, thcd he determined to be honour and interest. Reverence of the gods, or laws of ^society, laid no restraint upon them ; and as the heaviest of judgments to which man could be doomed, was already hanging over their heads, they snatched the interval of life for pleasure before it fell." — (Smith's Thucydides, vol. ii.)

The gaiety therefore of the characters introduced by Boccaccio in his Decameron, so far from being a defect in his plan, evinces his knowledge of human nature. How- ever, it must be admitted, that the action of the Decameron is faulty, from being in a great measure indefinite. It is not limited by its own nature, as by the close of a pil- g:runage or voyage, but is. terminated at the will of the author ; and the most prominent reason for the return of the company to Florence is, that the budget of tales is exhausted. The characters, too, resemble each other, and have no peculiar shades of disposition, except Dioneo (by whom Boccaccio is said to represent himself,) and PhUo- strato ; of whom the former is of a comical, and the latter of a melancholy frame of mind. It was liius impossible to assign characteristic stories to the whole dra/maiispersonce, and though there be two persons whose dispositions have been contrasted, some of the most ridiculous stories have been given to Philostrato, and the tale of Griselda, which


60 HIBTOEY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

is generally accounted the most pathetic in the work, is put into the mouth of Dioneo. On this point, however, it may be remarked, that although, as in the case of Chaucer, it may not be difficult to assign one distinctive story to a strongly-marked character, yet it was scarcely in the power of human genius to have invented ten discriminative tales, each of which was to be expressive of the manners and modes of thinking of one individual. Besides, where the characters were so few, this would have given a monotony to the whole work, and the introduction of a greater num- ber would have been inconsistent with the basis of the author's plan.

If the frame in which Boccaccio has set his Decameron be compared with that in which the Canterbury Tales have been enclosed by Chaucer, who certainly imitated the Italian novelist, it will be found that the time chosen by Boccaccio is infinitely preferable to that adopted by the English poet. The pUgrims of the latter relate their stories on a journey, though they are on horseback, and are twenty- nine in number ; and it was intended, had the author com- pleted his plan, that this rabble should have told the remainder of their tales in an abominable tavern in Canter- bury.^ On the other hand, the Florentine assembly dis- course in tranquillity and retirement, surrounded by all the delights of rural scenery, and all the magnificence of architecture. But then the frame of Chaucer afforded a much greater opportunity of displaying a variety of striking and dramatic characters, and theiice of introducing charac- teristic tales. His assemblage is mixed and fortuitous, and his travellers are distinguished from each other both in person and character. Even his serious pilgrims are marked by their several sorts of gravity, and the ribaldry of his low chai'acters is different. ** I see," says Dryden, in the pre- face to his Fables, " every one of the pilgrims in the Canter-

' Liebrecht adyerts to this inaccuracy of DunFop, and cites Chaucer's lines : —

'^ This is the point, to speke it plat and plain, That eche of you to shorten with youre way In this Tiafi;e, shall tellen tales tway, To Canterbury ward, I mene it so, And homeward he shall tellen other two, Of aventures that whilom han befalle."


CH. vn.] i>:bcamsbok op boccaccio. — i., 1. 61

bury Tales as distinctly as if I had supped with them." All the company in the Decameron, on the other hand, are fine ladies and gentlemen of Florence, who retire to enjoy the sweets of select society, and who would scarcely have tole- rated the intrusion of such figures as the Miller or the Sompnour.

Having said this much of the general features, and in- troduction of the Decameron, we shall now direct our attention to the tales of which it is composed ; the merit of their incidents ; the sources from which they have originated, and their influence on the literature of subsequent ages. These tales have been variously classified by different critics. The most complete division of them has been made by Jason de Kores in his Poetica, (par. 3.) Si dimostra dalla distinzione del Decamerone che Tautore le divide tacita- mente nel proemio in NaveUe, come son quelle di Calandrino [viii. 3 ; ix. 5] ; in Parahole, come h quella di Mitridanes .~x. 3], e di Milesio, e di Giosefo [ix. 9] ; in Istarie come la Marchese di Saluzzo e Qriselda [x. 10] ; e in Favole come Guglielmo Eossiglione [iv. 9], Conte Anguersa [ii. 8], e Minghino [v. 5], e infinite altre ; intendendo perfavola, nel modo che Aristotile nella sua poetica [C. 2], argomenti e azione, o tragiche eroiche o comiche." This classification is extremely vague and fanciful, nor would it be easy to fix on one more satisfactory and defined. The only division to which the Decameron can properly be subjected, is the artificial one contrived by the author. In eight of the ten days into which it is distributed, a particuleir subject is assigned to the relaters, as stories of comical or melancholy vicissitudes of life, splendid examples of generosity, <&c. Dioneo, however, is exempted from this restriction, and is allowed to indulge in whatever topic he chuses. His story is always the last, and generally the most licentious, of the day.

This limitation of subject does not commence in the first day of the Decameron, during which each of the company relates whatever is most agreeable to him, and Pamphilus, by command of the queen, commences the entertainment.

Day L 1. Musciatto Franzesi, a wealthy French mer- chant, when about to accompany the brother of his king to Tuscany, intrusted Giappelletto, a notary from Prato, who


62 HIBTOBT OF PICTION. [CH. VII.

had frequented his house in Paris, with the charge of col- lecting, in his absence, some debts that were due to him. To this choice he was led by the malevolent disposition and profligate character of Ciappelletto, which he thought would render him fit to deal with his debtors, who, for the most part, were persons of indifferent credit and bad faith. Ciappelletto, in the course of exacting the sums that were owing to his employer, proceeded to Burgundy, and, during his stay in that province, he lodged with two brothers, who were usurers. Persons of this description are common characters in the Fabliaux and Italian novels : they came to France from Italy, and established themselves chiefly at Nismes and Montpellier, and received the name of Lombards. They lent on pledge at twenty per cent., and if the loan was not repaid at the end of six months the pledge was for- feited. While residing in the house of the usurers, Ciap- pelletto is suddenly taken ill. During his sickness he one day overhears his hosts deliberate on turning him out, lest, being unable to obtain absolution, on account of the multi- tude and enormity of his crimes, his body should be refused church sepulture, and their house be, in consequence, as- saulted and plundered ;— compliments which it seems the mob were predisposed to pay them. Ciappelletto desires them to send for a priest, and give themselves no farther uneasiness, as he will make a satisfactory confession. The holy man having arrived, inquires, among other things, if he had ever sinned in gluttony. His penitent, with many groans, answers, that after long fasts he had often eat bread and water with too much relish and pleasing appetite, especially when he had previously suffered great fatigue in prayer or in pilgrimage. The priest again asks if he had ever been transported with anger? to which Ciappelletto replies, that he had often felt emotions of resentment when he heard young men swear, or saw them haunt taverns, follow vanities, and affect the follies of the world. Similar answers are received by the confessor to all the questions he puts to his penitent, who, when now about to receive abso- lution, spontaneously acknowledges, with many groans and other testimonies of repentance, that he had once in his life spit in the house of Gk>d, and had on one occasion de- aired his maid to sweep his house on a holiday. All this


CH. yn.] DECAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — I., 2. 63

passes to the great amusement of the usurers, who were posted behind a partition. The friar, astonished at the sanctity of the penitent, gives him immediate absolution and benediction. On the death of Ciappelletto, which hap- pened soon after, his confessor having called a chapter, in- forms his brethren of his holj Hf e. The brotherhood watch that night in the place where the corse lay, and next morn- ing, dressed in their hoods and surplices, attend the body, with much solemnity, to the chapel of their monastery, where a funeral oration is pronounced over the remains, in which the preacher expatiates on the chastity and fastings of the deceased. Such is the effect of this discourse on the audience, that when the service is ended the funeral gar- ments are rent in pieces, as precious relics : and so great was the reputation of this wretch for sanctity, that after the interment all the neighbourhood long paid their devo- tions at his sepulchre, and miracles were believed to be wrought at the shrine of Saint Ciappelletto.

This tale seems intended as a satire on the Bomish church, for having canonized such a number of worthless persons. It is but an indifferent commencement to the work of Boccaccio, yet there is something amusing in the deep affliction Ciappelletto expresses for trifling transgres- sions, when we have just read the long list of enormities with which the narrative begins.

The story of Ciappelletto is one of the tales of the De- cameron supposed by Domenico Manni to be founded on fact ; but of this he has adduced no proof, except that in the year 1300, a person of the name of Muccatto did, in fact, as mentioned in the tale, reside with a brother of the king of France.*

2. Giannotto, a mercer in Paris, had an intimate friend called Abraam, of the Jewish persuasion, whom he at- tempted to convert to Christianity. After much solicita- tion and argument, Abraam promised to change his religion, if on going to Bome he should find, from the morals and behaviour of the clergy, that the faith of his friend was preferable to his own. This intention was opposed by

^ A Frrnch Torsion was made by Voltaira (CEavres, 1785, i. p. 47, 339), who cites it as an example of the licentiousness of the fourteenth century. Tribolati, Diporti, p. 94, likens it to Tartuffe.


64 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

Giannotto, who dreaded the consequence of the Jew be- holding the depraved conduct of the leaders of the church. His resolution, however, was not to be shaken, and, on arriving at Borne, he found the pope, cardinal, and prelates immersed in gluttony, drunkenness, and every detestable vice. On returning to Paris, he declared to Giannotto his determination to be baptized, being convinced that that religion must be true, and supported bj the Holy Spirit, which had flourished and spread over the earth, in spite of the enormities of its ministers.

This story is related as having really happened, by Ben- venuto da ^ola, in his commentary on Dante, which was written in 1376, but none of which was ever printed, except a few passages quoted by Muratori in his Italian Antiqui- ties of the middle ages.^

On account of the severe censures contained against the church in this and the preceding tale, they both received considerable corrections by order of the council of Trent.'*^

3. The sultaji Saladin wishing to borrow a large sum from a rich but niggardly Jew of Alexandria, called him into his presence. Saladin was aware he would not lend the money willingly, and he was not disposed to force a compliance : he therefore resolved to ensnare him by ask- ing whether he judged the Mahometan, Christian, or Jewish faith, to be the true one. In answer to this the Jew re- lated the story of a man who had a ring, which in his family had always carried the inheritance along with it to whomsoever it was bequeathed. The possessor having three sons, and being importuned by each to bestow it on him, secretly ordered two rings to be made, precisely similar to the first, and privately gave one of the three to each of his children. At his death it was impossible to ascertain who was the heir. * Neither,* says the Jew, * can it be discovered which is the true religion of the three faiths given by the

  • It is to be found, however, says Liebrecht, in da Gubbio's " Arven-

turoso Ciciliano, also briefly in Luther's Table talk, CoUoqnia Mensalia, cap. 34; cf. also Schimpf und Ernst, p. 61, and Bebelii, Facetiae, 1370, p. 21. Madame de Sevign^ alludes to it in letter, July 26, 1691.

^ Bottari, i. pp. 35-49 defends Boccaccio from Uie charge of irreligion, and indeed the story may be interpreted as a defence of Christianity, though at the expense of its ministers.


CH. VIL] DECAMBROK of BOCCACCIO. — I. 3. 65

Father to his three people. Each belionres itself the heir of God, and obeys his commandments, but which is the pure law is hitherto uncertain.' The sultan was so pleased with the ingenuitj of the Jew, that he frankly confessed the snare he had laid, received him into great favour, and was accommodated with the money he wanted.

Most of those stories, which seem to contain a sneer against the Christian religion, came from the Jews and Arabians who had settled in Spain. The novel of Boccaccio probably originated in some Rabbinical tradition. In the Schebet Judah, a Hebrew work, translated into Latin by Gentius, but originally written by the Jew Salomo Ben Yirga, and containing the history of his nation from the destruction of the Temple to his own time, a conversation which passed between Peter the Elder, king of Spain, and the Jew Ephraim Sanchus, is recorded in that part of the work whidi treats of the persecutions which the Jews suffered in Spain. Peter the Elder, in order to entrap Ephraim, asked him whether the Jewish or Christian re- ligion was the true one. The Jew requested three days to consider, and at the end of that period he told the king " that one of his neighbours, who had lately gone abroad, left each of his sons a precious jewel, and that being called in to decide which was the most valuable, he had advised the decision to be deferred till the return of their father. In like manner," continued the Jew, " you ask whether the gem received by Jacob or Esau be most precious, but I re- commend that the judgment should be referred to our father who is in Heaven." I believe the Schebet Judah was not written till near a century after the appearance of the Decameron, but the stories related in it had been long current among the Jewish Rabbins. The author of the Gesta Romanorum probably derived from them the story of the three rings, which forms the 89th chapter of that romantic compilation.^ From the Gesta Romanorum it

^ In the Gesta all the elements in the tale are Christian : a knight had three sons ; to the lint-bom he leaves an estate, to the second a treasure, and to the youngest a precious ring worth more than all the rest ; nooreover, he gave the two elder sons two rings counterparts of the preciouB one. After their father's death the sons began to quarrel about the genuineneas of their rings, and to ascertain this they begin to

n. F


66 HISTORY OF FIOTIOW. [CH. VII.

passed to the Centp Novelle Antiche, of which the 72nd tale is probably the immediate original of the story in the Decameron.^

We are told in the Menagiana, that some persons be- lieved that Boccaccio's story of the rings gave rise to the report concerning the existence of the book De Tribus Im- postoribus,^ about which there has been so much contro- versy. Mad. de Stael says, in her " Germany," that Boc- caccio's novel formed the foundation of the plot of Nathan the Wise, which is the masterpiece of Lessing, the great founder of the German drama.'

4. A youDg monk, belonging to a monastery in the neighbourhood of Florence, prevails on a peasant girl, whom he meets on his walks, to accompany him to his cell. While there he is overheard by the abbot, who ap- proaches the door to listen with more advantage. The monk, hearing the sound of feet, peeps through a crevice in the wall, and perceives his superior at the entrance. In order to save himself from chastisement, he resolves to lead the abbot into temptation. Pretending that he was going abroad, he leaves with him, as was customary, the keys of the cell. It is soon unlocked by the abbot, and the monk, who, instead of going out, had concealed himself in the dormitory, is supplied with ample materials for recri- mination. I am surprised that this story has not been versified by Fontaine, as it is precisely in the style of those he delighted to imitate.^

test tbeir virtues, when it becomes manifest tliat the ring of the jouneest heals all sicknesses, while thoiie of the elder brothers have no marrellons

S>wer. The tale is thna moralized (see note, ii. p. 16). The knight is od ; the estate of the eldest son is the Holy Land, which the Jews possessed ; the second son's treasure typifies the temporal dominion of the Saracens, but the ring of the youngest is the Christian faith, which alone can heal ailments and remove mountains.

^ This, however, is doubtful, the tale there differs considerably. Besides the repertories mentioned, a similar story is also contained in the Fabliau Dis dc»u vrai aniel, in the Summa praMlicantium of Bromyard, i. 4 § 1, and in the Avventuroso Ciciliano of da Gubbio. Compare also its employment by Swift in Tale of a Tub.

> See Graesse, Lehrb. Th. 2, Abth. S, p. 3S, etc.

  • Lessing, in a letter to his brother, Aug. 1 i, 1778, and in another to

Herder, Jan. 10, 1779, acknowledges Boc<»cck>'s story as sopplyiDg the foundation of his play.

  • See Landau, Beitnge, p. 175 ; Cento Nor. 54 ; BottMi, L p. 224.


CH. til] DECAMBBOK 07 BOCCACCIO. — II. 2. 67

Of this day the six Temaining tales consist merely in say- ings and reproofs, some of which are represented as having had the most wonderful effects. Nothing can be more ridiculous than feigning that a character should be totally changed, that the avaricious should become liberal, as in the eighth, or the indolent active, as in ninth novel, by means of a repartee, which would not be tolerated in the most ordinary jest-book.

The evening of the first day was passed in singing and dancing, and a new queen, or mistress of ceremonies, was appointed for the succeeding one.

Day II. contains stories of those who, after experiencing a variety of troubles, at length meet with success, contrary to all hopeiuid expectation.^

The merit of the first story depends entirely on the mode of relating it ; and however comical and lively in the original, would appear insipid in an abridged translation.

2. Binaldo d'Asti, on his way from Ferrara to Verona, inadvertently joined some persons, whom he mistook for merchants, but who were in reality highwaymen. As the conversation happened to turn upon prayer, Binaldo men- tioned that when going on a journey he always repeated the paternoster of St. Julian, by which means he had in- variably obtained good accommodation at night. The robbers said they had never repeated the paternoster, but that it would be seen which had the best lodging that evening. Having come to a retired place, they stripped their fellow traveller, took what money he had, and left him naked at the side of the roa*d, with many banters con- cerning St. Julian. Binaldo, having recovered, arrives late at night at the gates of Castel GugHelmo, a fortified town.'

Thit DOTel if in part the same as the blasphemous Fabliau *' de I'Ev^ne

Sui bfoit, etc. See Wright, Anecdota literari; Histoire Hit. de la 'rance» xziii. 135; Montaiglon Rayn. iii. 176; Bartoli, Lettar. ital. 589} Landau, Die Quellen des Dekameron, Stuttgart, 1884, p. 174; J. Orimm, Gedichte des Mittelalters, p. 43, etc.

' Di chi da diversi oosi infestato sia oltre alia speranza riuscito a lietefioe.

' A village of about 2,000 inhabitants, in the district of Sendinara, Prorinee of Rorigo; the remains of a castle exist there. There was liringin 1S06, a Marquis Auo (ob. 1306), and Bianni hence oundndes the storj oommemoratea a real etent of about that date ; but see table in note, p. A3.


68 HISTOSY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

A widow, who was now the mistress of Azzo, maxqids of Ferrara, possessed a house near the ramparts. She had been sitting up expecting her lover, for whom she had pre- pared the bath, and provided an elegant repast : but as she had just received intelligence that he could not come, she calls in Binaldo, whom she hears at the porch. He is hos- pitably entertained by her at supper, and, for that nighty makes up to his hostess for the absence of the marquis. The robbers, on the other hand, are apprehended and thrown into prison that very evening, and executed on the following morning.

St. Julian was eminent for providing his votaries with good lodging: in the English title of his legend he is called the gode Herbejour ; and Chaucer, in his Canterbury Tales, bestows on the Frankelein, on accoxmt of his luxurious hos- pitality, the title of Seint Julien.^ When the child Anceaume^ m the romance of Milles and Amys, is carried on shore by the swan, and hospitably received by the woodman, it is said, " qu'il avoit trouve Sainct Jvlien a son commande- ment, sans dire patenostre." This saint was originally a knight, and, as was prophesied to him by a stag, he had the singular hap to kill both his father and mother by mis- take.' As an atonement for his carelessness, he afterwards founded a sumptuous hospital for the {tccommodation of travellers, who, in return for their entertainment, were re- ^

^ Seint Julian he was in his contree ;

His table dormant in his hall alway j

Stode red J oovered all the longe day.

• Canterbury Tales, prol. v. 358. |

St. Julian was also the patron of many callings which necessitated I wayfaring; from place to place, possibly because he fled himself from his | native place, on account of a charge of parricide, according to the legend ^ I which moreover relates that having ferried a poor man almost frozen ^ with cold across a river, and cared for him, it was revealed to him next ; day that his passenger had been the Saviour. |

'* The legend of St. Julian Hospitator, says Prof. Vesselovslrj-, Is a | branch of the Indo-European myth which in Greece was represented bv the story of CEdipus, and in Christendom, in the West by the legend <>r Pope Gregory, in the East by a series of eoclesiastical legends of incest. In the account of St. Julian, the parricide and other circumstances except the incest are found. A. Vesselovsky, on the '* Comparative Study of the Mediseval Epos/* Zhoomal Ministerstva Narodnavo Prosviestchenia. Chast cxl. p. 345. Cf. Kostomarof, Istoricheskia Monografii i iysledovania, tom i. pp. 329-358.


CH. Vn.] DECAICSSOK OF BOCCACCIO. — u. 5. 69

quired to repeat paternosters for the souls of his unfor- tunate parents. The story of St. Julian is related in chap- ter eighteen of the Gesta Somanorum, and in the Legenda Aurea. It is this novel of Boccaccio that has given rise to L oraison de St. Julien of Fontaine, and Le TaHsman, a comedy, bj La Motte.^ There is also some resemblance between it and part of the old English comedy, The Widow, which was produced by the united labours of Ben Jonson, Fletcher, and Middleton. In that play, Ansaldo, after being robbed and stript of his clothes, is received in the hoTwe of Fhilippa, to whom he was a stranger, but who had prepared a banquet, and was sitting up in expectation of the arrival of her lover Francisco. (See Dodsley's Collec- tion, vol. 12.)

5. Andreuccio, a horse-dealer at Perugia, hearing that there were good bargains to be had at Naples, sets out for that city. His purse, which he ostentatiously displays in the Neapolitan market, is coveted by a Sicilian damsel, who, having informed herself concerning the family of Andreuccio, sends for him in the evening to her house, which is described as very elegant. The furniture is costly, the apartments are perfumed with roses and orange flowers, and a sumptuous entertainment is prepared. From this, and another taJe of Boccaccio, and more particularly from the 12th novel of Fortini, it would appear that persons of this description lived, at that period, in a very splendid style in the south of Italy.* The courtezan having per-

^ To these mtut be added Hans .Sachs' yersion, Sehr berrliche flchone nnd warhaffte gedichts," Niirnberg, 1558-1559, t. i. p. 357. The labjectbas also been used by Lope de Vega in £1 Animal Profeta, Schack g«ichichte der dramatischen Litteratur in Bpanien, 2, 386, etc. — Lieb.

' It has been maintained that prostitutes had never been so numerous in France as at the time of St. Louis, notwithstanding the repressire enactments of that monarch, who, under date of June 36, 1269, writes to tbe abbot of St. Denis : Notoria et manifesta prostibula quie fidelem popahnn sua foeditate maculant, et plures protrahunt in perditionis ini^ritom penitns exterminari precepimus," etc. These strict regula* tioDs, which seem to have served as the model for mediteval legislation in this domain, have been taxed with excessive severity. In application they proved ineffectual, and consequently underwent much modification. 'I^e persons to whom they applied were placed in subjection to certain o^«neen, or to women who were responsible for them. Their residence ^u restricted to certain streets of the more malodorous portions of the


70 HIBTOBT OP FICTION. [CH. VII-

suaded Andreuccio, by an artful story, that she is a sister whom he had lost, he agrees to remain that night at her lodgings. After he had thrown off hiB clothes, he falls, by means of a trap-board, which was prepared by her con- trivance, into the inmost recess of a place seldom resorted to from choice, on which his sister takes possession of his purse and garments. Being at length extricated from his uncomfortable situation by assistance of some of the neigh- bours, he judiciously proceeds towards the sea-shore ; but on his way he meets with certain persons who were pro- ceeding to violate the sepulchre of an archbishop of Naples, who had been interred that day, with many ornaments^ particularly a valuable ring, on the body.^ Andreuccio

towns, and they were compelled to return to them at a fixed hour, and obliged to dress in a certain way, or to wear certain recognizable marks. '* En un mot ce n'^toit pas une profession insolente, qu'on laissit insulter aux bonnes moeurs par son impudence et son faste ; c'etoit une classe particuliere, d6vou6 a la brutalite d'un certain nombre d'hommes, mais tenue dans I'avilissement oh elle doit toujours rester, et absolument isolee de toutes les autres par la honte et par Topprobre." The prostitutes of Provins were notorious in the thirteenth century. See notice on the subject in Buurquelot's History of Provins," i. 273. Notwith- standing the remarks in the text, prostitutes were in Italy the object of severe laws ; and it seems clear that they were outside the pale of citizenship, and had little redress for any ill-treatment from the laws enacted from time to time to protect them from extremities of violence. At Florence, Milan, and Bologna they were restricted to their special quar- ters under pain of whipping ; at Padua, Bergamo, and Milan they were forbidden to show themselves in the markets and public places ; at Mantua they were forbidden the streets on Sundays and holidays. They were com- pelled by law to buy the bread or fruits which they had touched in the market-place, as their touch contaminated these articles. The Statutes of Avignon (1243) embody similar regulations. The Neapolitan consti- tutions afforded them little protection. A Cortef or Gabella delle Mere- triciy which sat at Naples, took cognizance of all matters concerning them. Having, however, exceeded its powers, it was in the sixteenth century enjoined to deal with those women only '* le quali pubblicamente et cotidianamente vendono il corpo loro per danari disonestamente, e nofi aXtre,^' In the kingdom of Naples, too, as in other parts, prosti- tutes were nominally restricted to certain quarters ; but the law was ill- observed, and they had invaded some of the finest streets of the capital. — Rabutanx, De la Prostitution en Europe, etc., Paris, 1881, p. 38, etc. ^ Plrobably Filippo Capeoe Minutolo, archp. 1288-1301, '< fuseppellito con ricchissimi ornament! nella medestma cappella di questa fi&nuglia." See L. Cappelletti studi sul Decamerone, pp. 69-86. See also F. W. V. Schmidt, Beitraege zur geschichte der romantisoheu Poesie, Berlin, 1818, p. 8.


CH. TU.] DECAMBBOK Ol- BOCCACCIO. II. 7. 71

haring imparted to them his story, they promise to shaore with him their expected booty, as a compensation for the loss he had sustained. When the tomb is at length broken into, Andrencdo is deputed to strip the corse. He takes possession of the ring for himseK, and hands to his com- rades the other ornaments, as the pastoral staff and mitre : but in order that they may not be obliged to share these with him, they shut him up in the vault. From this situa- tion he is delivered by some one breaking into the sepulchre on a gimilftr 8|)eculation with that in which he had himself engaged, and returns to his own country reimbursed for all his losses by the valuable ring. The first part of this story has been imitated in many tales and romances, par- ticularly in Oil Bias [1. ii. c. 4], where a deceit, similar to that practised by the Sicilian damsel, has been adopted. * One of the Fabliaux of the Trouveur Courtois d' Arras, entitled Boivin de Provins (Barbazan, iii. 357 ; Legrand d'Aussy, iv. 209 ; Montaiglon, v. 52), is the origin of all those numerous tales, in which the unwary are cozened by courtezans assuming the character of lost relations.^

7. A sultan of Babylon had a daughter, who was the fairest princess of the east. In recompense of some emi- nent services rendered by the king of Algarva, she is sent by her father to be espoused by that monarch. A tempest arises during the voyage, and tiie ship, which conveyed the destined bride, splits on the island of Majorca. The prin- cess is saved by the exertions of Fericone, a nobleman of the country, who had perceived from shore the distress of the vessel. She is hospitablv entertained in his castle by her preserver, who soon falls in love with her ; and one night, after a feast, during which he had served her libe- rally with wine, she bestows on him what had been intended for his majesty of Algarva. The princess of Babylon passes successively into the possession of the brother of

^ The latter portion is found m the theme of other tales, e.g,y No. 143 of 6. Pitre*s Fiabe, Novelle e Raoctonti, Palermo, 1875, where it fifi^res as a Sicilian tradition, Nov. cxx. in the Novelle Sachetti, Milan, 1874, and in SchimpfF nnd Ernst. It was adapted into a comedy in verse by K Canali Veoentino, printed, Yioenza, 1612.

  • This aMortlon, however, must be doubted; the resemblance between

the two stories is very slight, for Andreuocio is the dupe, and Boivin, in the Fablian, the dnper. Cf. Bidermanni, Utopia, L iL c. 4-7, 19-24.


72 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

Perioone — the prince of Morea — ^the duke of Athens — Constantius, son of the emperor of Constantinople — Osbech, king of the Turks — one of Osbech's ofBoers, and a mer- chant, who was a friend of this officer. Her first lovers obtain her by murdering their predecessors : she afterwards elopes with her admirers, and is at length transferred by legacj or purchase. While residing with her last and least distinguished protector, she meets with Antigonus, an old servant of her father, by whose means she is restored to him. As the princess, by an artful tale, persuades the sultan that she had austerely spent the period ef her ab- sence in a convent, he scruples not to send her, according to her original destination, to the king of Algarva, who does not discover that he is the ninth proprietor. — " Bocca Basciata non perde ventura, anzi rinnuova come fa la luna.*'

This story is taken from the romance of Xenophon Ephesius,^ and has furnished La Fontaine with his tale La Fianc^ du Boi de Garbe.

8. Does not possess much merit or originality of in- vention. The revenge taken by a queen of France for a slighted passion, is as old as the story of Bellerophon, though it has been directly imitated by Boccaccio from that of Pier della Broccia and the Lady of Brabant in X>ante.^ Another part of the tale has certainly been taken from the story of Antiochus and Stratonice.'

^ See supra, i. p. 61. The chaste character of the original Anthia has, however, remarks Landau, who seems also to refer the tale to this source, been changed by Boccaccio for the dissolute hypocrisy of the princess. See also Brantome, Femmes Galantes, Dis. i. Du Meril, roesie Scaad. p. .846, denies this parentage $ Cappelletti, p. 322, follows him, and with Lam! (Novelle Letterarie di FirensEe, 1754, columns 209, 225, 257, and 273), considers it to have, notwithstanding some contra- dictions and anachronisms, a historical foundation somewhere between 1315 and 1320.

2 H Purgatorio, vi. 19, etc.

' See Plutarch's " Life of Demetrius," where the love of Antiochus for Stratonice is recognized by the physician ErasistrateSjby the increased vehemence of the lover's pulse at her entrance. And this story has fur- nished Lionardo of Arezzo with the theme of one of his novels. In the twentieth chapter of the Gesta liomanorum, as alleged, aocording to Macrobius, who, however (see Graesse, Gesta, ii. p. 261, note), says nothing of the sort, a knight, who suspects his wife^ fidelity, summons a clergyman to advise with. While the household were at table the clergyman feels the wife's pulse : when the conversation was about the


CH. Tn.] DBCAMBSON OF BOCCACCIO. II. 9. 73

9. In a company of Italian merchants, who happened to meet at Paris, Bemabo of Genoa boasts of the virtue of his wife Zinevra. Provoked by the incredulity of Ambro- givolo, one of his companions, who was a contemner of female chastity, he bets five thousand florins against a thousand that Ambrogivolo will not seduce her affections in the space of three months, which he grants him for this purpose. This scandalous wager being concluded, Ambro- givolo departs for Gonoa. On his arrival at that place he hears such a report of the virtues of the lady in question, that he despairs of winning her affections, and therefore resolves to have recourse to stratagem, in order to gain the stake. Having bribed one of Zinevra*s attendants, he is concealed in a chest, and thus carried into the chamber of the lady. At night, while she is asleep, he possesses himself of some trinkets belonging to her, and also oecomes acquainted with a particular mark on her left breast. Bemabo, by this deceit, being persuaded of the infidelity of his wife, pays the five thousand florins, and, advancing towards Genoa, despatches a servant avowedly to bring his wife to him, but with private instructions to murder her by the way. The servant, however, after he had found a proper place on the road for the execution of his purpose, agrees to spare her, on condition of her flying from the country ; but he reports to his master that he had fulfilled his orders. In the disguise of a mariner Zinevra embarks m a merchant ship for Alexandria, where, after some time, she enters into the service of the soldan. She gains the confidence of her master in a remarkable degree, who, not suspecting her sex, sends her as captain of the guard which was appointed for the protection of the merchants at the fair of Acre. Here, among other toys, she sees the orna- ments which had been stolen from her chamber, in pos- session of Ambrogivolo, who had come there to dispose of

hoslMind it was calm, bnt when the talk tnmed on the suspected lover it bett faster, and thus confirmed the sospicions of the husband. Cf. infra, Decam. iii. 2.

Dante holds Pierre de la Brosae innocent. Some of the earlier com- mentators of Dante state that Queen Marj of France, second spouse of FhiUp the Bold, accused Peter of writing amatory letters to her, and that fie was impriaoned. See Landau, Quellen, p. 117.


74 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

a stock of goods, and who relates to her, in confidence, the maiLAer in which the trinkets had been obtained. 'The fair being over, she persuades him to accompany her to Alex- andria. She also sends to Italy, and induces her husband, Bemabo, to come to settle in the same place. Then, in presence of her husband and the sultan, she makes Am- brogivolo confess his treachery, and discovers herself to be the imfortunate Zinevra. The traitor is ordered to be fastened to a stake, and, being smeared with honey, is ex- posed naked to the gluttony of all the locusts of Egypt, while Bamabo, loaded with presents from the sultan, re- turns with his wife to Genoa.'

  • This tale is, according to Simrock (Shakespeare's Quellen III.,

p. 210), derived from a Latin original, which he, however, does not specify. It has considerable resemblance to the French Roman de la violette ou de Gerard de Nevers of Gibers de Montreuil. This has been edited (1834) by Francisqiie Michel, who considers it to have been composed subsequently to 1225. A prose romance of the same name and subject was printed at Paris in 1526. Gerard de Nevers is a fic- titious personage. A bet similar to that in the text is made by Count Gerard, on the virtue of his wife Euryanthe, with Count Lisiard of Forez, who, by means of a hole made in the wall, is enabled to behold Euryanthe at her bath, and notice a violet appear on her right breast.

Sa damoisiele esgarde el baing,

Et tantost a coisi le saing,

Et voit sor sa destre mamiele

Une violette nouviele

Inde (i.e. violet coloured) paroir sor la car blanche."

Another French romance of the thirteenth century, entitled Del Conte de Poitiers, embodies the story of the above wager in its first portion. It was edited by F. Michel in 1831, but only 125 copies were printed. An analysis of it, however, is given in M. Michel's introduction to the Boman do la Violette upon which I have drawn for these remarks. Another French prose romance with the same theme is cited by M. Michel, Dou Hoi Flore et de la bielle Jehanne. Shortly after his mar- riage Robert departs on a pilgrimage, Raoul ** fit la gaeeure de le faire coux pendant son absence," and though he surprises Jehanne at her bath, his strength proves insufficient to effect his purpose, and he with- draws, not, however, without noticing a mark which enables him appa- rently to win the bet. The fraud is afterwards discovered, and, mortally wounded in single combat with Robert, the offender confesses bis crime. The two Merchants and the Faithful Wife of Ruprecht von Wiirxburgis an interesting variant of the same story. It is in old German verse, and has been published by Von der Hagen in his Ge8ammtabenteuer,Tol.iii. Here the same wager is laid by Bertram, the husband, and taken np by Hogier, who commences his campaign with gifts which are indignantly


CH. Tn.] BECAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — II. 9. 75

This story has been regarded as one of the best in Boc- caccio ; it seems defective, however, in this, that the re- sentment we ought to feel at the conduct of the villain, is lost in indignation at the folly and baseness of the husband.

The above is the tale from which Pope imagined that Shakespeare had taken the principal plot of his Cymbeline. In the notes to Johnson's ** Shakespeare " this is said to be a mistake, and it is there asserted, that the story is de- rived from a collection of tales called Westward for Smelts, published in 1603, the second story ^ of which is an imitation

spumed. He then corrupts the servants of Irmengard, and oilers a price for her compliance for one night, which he raises by repeated bids from 100 to 1,000 marks. She is urged to accept this by her kins- folk, and even by her father, who threatens her with the anger of her husband should she fail to secure such a gain. Deeply afflicted and perplexed, Irmengard gives her maid Amelin 1 00 marks to personate her, while Irmengard dons Amelin's apparel, and thus disguised con- ducts Hogier to her apartment, where Amelin occupies her bed. (Cf. Berthe aa grand pied, and other stories, of the substitution of a depen- dent for the wife.) Before departing Hogier begs for o jewel as a keep- sake ; as Amelin was not able to furnish this, Hogier cuts off a finger, which he exhibits to Bertram, demanding his whole property which had been the stake. They return to Bertram's home at Verdun, where he gives a banquet, at which his wife displays her haiids uninjured. Bertram marries Amelin, who brings the 100 marks as dower. It will be noticed that the repugnant details of the bargaining and the muti- lation are excluded by the finer taste oF the Italian and French versions of the story. In the story of the Riidelein, by Johannes von Freiberg, a lover secures the complaisance of a maiden who had previously spumed him by painting a mark on her bosom as she slept, and referring her, next morning, to this in proof of his false assertion that he had wrought his will opon her.

There is ao Italian story, first published by Lami in the Novelle Let- tenurie, 1756, which has been considered by some to have furnished Boccaccio with the subject of this story. See Landau's *< Quellen des Decamerone," 1884, p. 135, etc. The latter portion of this story has much resemblance to Decameron, vii. 8, which see infira.

^ Entitled : *« The Tale told by the Fishwife of the Stand on the Green. The scene is laid in England, temp. Henry YI., and the characters are all English. Malone also cites an edition of 1603. No copy of this, however, is kno¥m, according to Bohn's ** Lowndes," and Mr. Halliwell, in his preface to the reprint of the edition of 1620 published by the Percy Sodety. The title of the 1620 edition reads, " Westward for Smelts, or the Waterman's fare of mad merry Western Wenches, whose Tongues albeit like Bell-Clappers, they never leave ringing. Yet their Tales are sweet and will much content you. Written by Kinde Kit of Kingston. London, John Trundle."


7Q HI8TOKT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

of Bocca<ccio*s novel. But it seems more probable that the plot of Gjmbeline was drawn directly from the original, or some translation of it, as the circumstances in the drama bear a much stronger resemblance to the Italian novel than to the English imitation. Thus Shakespeare's Jachimo, who is the Ambrogivolo of the Decameron, hides himself in a chest, but the villain in Westward for Smelts conceals himself below the lady's bed ; nor does he impress on his memory the appearance of the chamber, and the pictures, as Ambrogivolo and Jachimo do, in order to give a stronger air of probability to their false relation. Lastly, in Cyni- beline and the Decameron the imposition is aided by a circumstance that does not at all occur in Westward for Smelts. Both Ambrogivolo and Jachimo report to the husband that they have discovered a certain mark on the breast of the lady. Ma niuno segnale," says the former,

    • da potere rapportare le vide, f uori che uno che ella

n' havea sotto la snistra poppa ; cio era un neo, dintomo alquale erano alquanti peluzzi biondi come oro ; " and Jachimo, when he has emerged from the trunk, finds, in the course of his examination,

On her left breast A mole cinqne spotted, like the crimson drops r the bottom of a cowslip. — Act ii. scene ii.

And again, when addressing Posthumus,

If you seek For further satisfying, under her breast (Worthy the pressing) lies a mole, &c. — ^Act ii. scene ii.

The incidents of the novel have been very closely adhered to by Shakespeare, but, as has been remarked by an acute and elegant critic, the scenes and characters have been most injudiciously altered, and the manners of a trades- man's wife, and two intoxicated Italian merchants, have been bestowed on a great princess, a British hero, and a noble Eoman. Those slight alterations that have been made do not seem to be improvements. In the Decameron the villain effects everything by stratagem and bribery, but Jachimo is recommended by Posthumus to the princess.


CH. Til.] DECAMBSON OF BOCCACCIO. — n. 10. 11

This loads the husband with additional infamy ; and, be- sides, it is not very probable that Imogen, who was strictly watched, should have been able to give audience to a stranger who came from the residence of her banished lord. In Boccaccio, Zinevra prevails on the servant, by interces- sion, to allow her to escape, but this had been resolved on by the confident of Posthumus before he conveyed Imogen from her father's palace. This predetermined disobedience of the orders of his master gives rise to the very pertinent question of Imogen, to which no satisfactory answer is returned.

Wherefore then Didst nndertake it ? Why hast thou abased So many miles with a pretence ? This place ? Mine actiun, and thine own ? <mr horsed labour ?

Act iii. scene ir.

After Imogen's Hfe is spared, Shakespeare entirely quits the novel, and the remaining part of the drama, perhaps, does as little honour to his invention as the preceding scenes to his judgment. "To remark," says Johnson,

    • the folly of the jBiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the

confusion of the manners of different times, and the im- possibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation." ^

10. Is Lafontaine's "Galendrier des YieUards." The con- cluding mcident corresponds with one in the story D'un Tailleur et de sa Femme, in the Contes Turcs.^

On the two following days, which were Friday and Saturday, no tales are related, as the first was reverenced on account of our Saviour's passion, and the second kept as a fast in honour of the Holy Virgin. The tales are therefore suspended tiU Sunday, and it is resolved that the company should remove to another palace in the neighbour-

  • Cf. F. W. V. Schmidt, Beitraege, p. 13. Simrock, Quellen dcs

Shakspeares, iii. p. 205, v.d. Hagen, Gesammtab. No. 68. Timoneda, Patranas, No. 15. A similar theme is treated in Lope de Rueda's

  • ' Comedia £afemia.~LiEB.

- See also Loiseleur des Longchamps' ** Fables Indiennes," p. 174. — LiEB. Aiao Landav, Qaellen^ 1884, oh. tL § 4.


78 HI8TOET OP FICTION. [CH. VH.

hood, where suitable preparations had been made for their reception.

Day m. commences with a description of the new abode to which the partj had betaken themselyes. It was a sumptuous palace, seated on an eminence which rose in the middle of a plain. Here thej found the spacious halls and ornamented chambers supplied with all things that could administer to delight. Below thej noted the plea- sant court, the cellars stored with the choicest wines, and the cool abundant springs of water which everywhere flowed. Thence they went to repose in a fair gallery which overlooked the court, and was decked with sdl the flowers and shrubs of the season. They next opened a garden which communicated with the palace. Around and through the midst of this paradise there were spacious walks, en- vironed with vines, which promised a plenteous vintage, and, being then in blossom, spread so delicious an odour, that, joined with the other flowers then blowing in the garden, the fragrance rivalled the fresh spiceries of the east. The sides of the alleys were closed with jessamine and roses, forming an odoriferous shade that excluded not only the rays of the morning, but the mid-day beam. In the middle of this garden was a verdant meadow, spangled with a thousand flowers, and circled with orange trees, whose branches, stored at once with blossoms and fruit, presented a refreshing object, and yielded a grateful odour. A fountain of white marble, of wondrous workmanship, adorned the centre of this meadow, and from an image, standing on a column placed in the fountain, a jet of water spouted up, and again fell into the basin with a pleasing murmur. Those waters, which overflowed, were conveyed through the meadow by an unseen channel to irrigate all parts of the garden, and, again uniting, rushed in a full and clear current to the plain. This extraordinary garden was likewise full of all sorts of animals — ^the deer and goats grazed at their pleasure, or reposed on the velvet grass — the birds vied with each other in the various melody of their notes, and seemed to warble in response or emulation.

One of the sides of this fountain was selected as the most agreeable spot for relating the tales. It had been agreed that the subject should still be the mutability of


CH. Til.] DSCAKEBOV OF BOCCACCIO. — ^III. 1. 79

fortune, and especiallj of those who had acquired, by their diligence, something greatlj wanted, or else recovered what they had lost.^

1. The gardener of a convent, which consisted of eight nuns and an abbess, gave up his employment ; and, on re- turning to his native village, complained bitterly to Masetto, a young man of his acquaintance, of the small wages he had received, and also of the caprice of his mistresses. Masetto, so far from being discouraged by this account, resolves to obtain the situation. That he might not be rejected on account of his youth and good person, he feigns that he is dumb, and is readily engaged by the steward of the con- vent. For some time he cultivates the garden in a manner most consolatory to the eight nuns, and at length to the abbess herself ; but one day, to their utter astonishment, he breaks silence, and complains of the extra labour im- posed on him. A compromise, however, is made, and a partial remission of his multifarious duties acceded to on the part of the nuns. On the death of the steward, Masetto is chosen in his place ; and it is believed in the neighbour- hood that his speech had been restored by the prayers of the sisters to the tutelar saint to whose honour the monas- tery was erected.

This story is taken from the Cento Novelle Antiche,' but Boccaccio has substituted an abbess and her nuns for a countess and her camierarie ; thus, to the great scandal of Yannozzi, attributing to sacred characters what his prede- cessor had only ascribed to the profane. — *' Attribuendo a persone sacre, il Boccaccio, quella colpa che dal suo ante- riore fu ascritta a persone profane." — (Miscel. let. vol. i. p. 580.) The story in the Decameron is the Mazet de Lam- porecchio of Fontaine.

^ Di cbi alcuna oomi mollo da lai desiderata oon indnstria acquiataase, o la perdnta ricoTerasse.

' It is not, howerer, found in the printed editions, but ocean as stated by Borghini in a manaacript. See Manni, Storia del Decam. iii. 1. Tbe tale has some points of resemblance with Konrad von Wiirz- biirg*s story of tbe half pear (Von der Hagen's '< Gesammtabenteuer," i. 211), and a poem of Guillem En AlTemhie part Lemosi (Kaynonard, Choix, ete., iv. 83, LiBB.),and with le aventure del oorte gaglielmo di PoiUm con Agnese et Ermalette (see Millot i. 8), and with the Lai d* Ignanvaa. See Landau, Qnellen, p. 88, and Cappelletti, p. 343.


80 HISTOET OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

2. An equerry of Queen Theudelinga, the consort of Agi- lulf , king of the Lombards, falls in love with his mistress. Aware that he had nothing to hope from an open declara- tion of love, he resolves to personate the king, and thus gain access to the apartment of her majesty. King Agilulf resorted only during a certain part of the night to the chamber of the queen. The amorous groom procures a mantle similar to that in which Agilulf wrapt himself on these occasions ; takes a torch and rod in his hand, as was his majesty's custom, and being farther aided by a strong- personal resemblance, is readily admitted into the queen's apartment, where he represents his master. He had no sooner stolen back to his own bed, than he is succeeded by the king, who discovers what had happened, from his wife expressing her admiration at such a speedy return. His majesty instantly proceeds to the gallery where all his household slept, with the view of discovering the person who had usurped his place, from the palpitation of his heart.^ Fear and agitation betray the offender, and his master, that he might distinguish him in the morning, cuts off a lock of his hair above the ear. The groom, who knew the intent of this, escapes punishment by clipping, as soon as the king had departed, a corresponding lock from the heads of all his companions.

In the 40th chapter of the G^sta Bomanorum, said to be from Macrobius, in whom, however, it is not to be found, a wife's infidelity is discovered by feeling her pulse in conversation ; but a story much nearer to that of Boccaccio occurs in Hebers' French metrical romance of the Seven Sages, though, I believe, it is not in the original Syntipas. The tale, however, has been taken immediately from the 98th of the Cento Novelle Antiche ; and it has been imitated in turn in the Muletier of Lafontaine.^ Gian- none, in his History of Naples, has censured, not without

^ See abore, note, p. 72.

' The stratagem for the detection of the perpetrator and the counter- stratagem of the latter form, in varioas gaises, forma the theme of numberless tales in both Eastern and Western literature. In Herodotus (ii. 1) the story of the Egyptian king, Khampsinitus, and the robbers of his treasury, may be looke^i upon as an early form of the same subject. The expedient to secure the discorery of the offender is used in the dark, the obsonrity being due to natural causes, or purposely brought


CH. Tn.] DECAMERON 07 BOCCACCIO. — III. 8. 81

some reason, the impertmence of Boccaccio in applying tlug stoij, without right, truth, or pretence, to the pious Queen Theudelinda, — ^a princess whom her great intellectual gifts and rare and most laudable piet j entitle to rank amongst the most illustrious women who have lived, should not have been made by Boccaccio to figure in one of the tales of his Decameron. (Istoria civile di Napoli, lib. 4. c. 5.)

3. A beautiful woman, who was the wife of a clothier in Florence, fell in love with a gentleman of the same city. In order to acquaint him with her passion, she sent for a friar who frequented his house, and, under pretence of con- fession, complained that this gentleman besieges her dwell- ing, lies in wait for her in the street, or ogles her from the opposite window, and concluded with begging the confessor to give him a rebuke. Next day the frmr reprimanded his friend, who, being quick of apprehension, profited by the hint, and made love to the clothier's wife in the manner pointed out in her counterfeit complaint, but had no oppor- tunity to speak with her. The lady, to encourage him still farther, now presented him, by means of the priest, with a purse and girdle, which, she says, he had the audacity to send, but which her conscience will not allow her to keep.

about, the latter oonrse being a rery favourite derioe with Lope de Vega and the Spanish dramatists. See below, Ser GioTanni's Tale, ix. 1.

Compare Heinrich Ton Briberg's contiuaation of Gottfried tron Stras- baig's *< Tristan and Isolt," rv. 2698-2974. The storv by Ser Cambi (1347-1424) of the King of Navarre, Von der Hagen's Gesammtaben- teuer, iii. cxt.-cxx. See also Graesae's *' Gesta Rom.,** ii. 368, Benfey's " Psnchatantra," and M. Landaa, Ueber die Quellen des Decamerone, p. 132. Liebrecht quotes the story of '* le festin des honpes enlev^s," uocnrring in vol. i. p. 142, of San-Kou6-Tchy, etc. Histoire des trois roysomes. Roman historiqne, Tradait snr fes textes Chinois et mand- cfaoa par Theodore Psvie. Paris, 1845. Cf. Kaiserchronik, ed. Maw- mann, ▼. 6643, etc., p. 227 ; and see Leroux de Lincy's analysis of " Dolopatos,'* appended to Loiseleur Deslnngchampe' " Essai snr les Fables Ind.," p. ii. p. 122, etc The story in question is there the second, or the example of the second, sage. Its oonclasion is in that rersion marked by features which are wanting in other forms of the Seren Sages (where this is usually the fifth or the third example of the ■Empress), and which tend to show that it was Boccaccio's model. —

LiBB.

According to Cappelletti (Studi, p. 351), the story is found with little difference in the old French Romance : La description forme et lliiBtoire da trie nobles chevalier Berinus, etc., and the same author cites YBjnouB other tales of like content.

II. Q


82 HI8TOBT OF FICTIOK, [CH. VII.

Lastly, she oomplaiued to her confessor, that her husbejid having gone to denoa, his friend had entered the garden, ajid attempted to break in at the window, by ascending one of the trees. He was, as usual, rebuked by the priest, and having now fully learned his love-lesson, he climbed one of the trees in the garden, and thus entered the casement, which was open to receive him.

This story is related in Henry Stephens' [Estienne's] In- troduction jLo the Apology of Herodotus (ch. xv. 30). It is told of a lady of Orleans, who, in like manner, employed the intervention of her confessor to lure to her arms a scholar of whom she was enamoured. The tale of Boccaccio has sug- gested to Moli^re his play L'Ecole des Maris, where Isabella enters into a correspondence, and at length effects a mar- riage, with her lover, by complaining to her guardian Sganarelle in the same manner as the clothier's wife to her confessor. Otway's comedy of the Soldier's Fortune, in which Lady Dunce employs her husband to deliver the ring and letter to her admirer Captain Belguard, also derives its origin from the above tale in the Decameron.*

^ In the old Qerman story, V. d. Hagen's '< Gesammtabonteuer," I. No. xiv., an English student of gentle birth goes to Paris to stady at the University. A burgher's daughter falls in love with him, feigns illness, sends for a Franciscan to confess her, and transmits through the friar to the student a trinket which she alleges he had sent her. He, entering into the stratagem, likewise requests the duped friar to restore a necklace, which was ornamented with a representation of a youth shooting an arrow into the heart of a maiden, and a motto in praise of love. The result was two years of bliss, the student visiting in the disguise of a oellaress. At the end of this period, the rupture of a blood-vessel killed him in the arms of his beloved, and his servant bore away his master's corpse. At the obsequies his sweetheart throws a wreath on the bier, in token that she was consecrate to the deceased, and finally precipitates herself into the grave and dies. Her father builds a nunnery where his daughter is interred, and then he roams the world as a pilgrim,

  • ' S6 lange bis das Got uf siu

Verzdch, daz siu alliu driu

Ze himel riche kilroen :

Als omueaen wir ouch. Amen ! "

Compare also Massuccio's 50novelle, No. 30 Bonaventure des Periers, Nouv. 114, Du Meril, p. 347, and J. Marston*s Parasitaster.*' There is a Spanish story which is, perhaps, related to this tale, inasmuch as the point turns upon the deception practised upon a confessor. lo this


CH. Til.] DBCAKKBOK OV BOCCACCIO. — III. 4-6. 88

4. Is a yerj iiiBipid storj.

5. Which is the Magnifique of La Fontaine, has given rise to a drama ^ bj Houdart de La Motte, and seems also to have suggested a scene in Ben Jonson's comedy. The Devil is an Ass, where Wittipol makes a present of a doak to d husband for leave to pay his addresses to the wife for a quarter of an hour.^

6. Richard Minutolo, a joimg man of rank and fortune in Naples, falls in love with Oatella, the most beautiful woman in that citj. Knowing her to be jealous of her hus- band, he pretends that he had discovered an intrigue be- tween his own wife and her spouse, advising her, if she wish to ascertain his guilt, to repair next night to a bath ' where they had agreed to meet, and there personate the lady with whom her husband had the assignation. Having resolved to follow this counsel, Catella is received, by Minutolo's contrivance, in a darkened apartment, where, after she had obtained fuU conviction of her husband's infidelity, she loads him with reproaches, but is much dis- concerted, when expecting his apology, to receive amorous excuses from Minutolo.

case, howerer, the object of the confederates is pelf, and the priest is not only duped, but defrauded. A pretended penitent gires him a large sum of money to be handed orer as restitution for property stolen from a person living at a distance. The confessor gives an acknowledgment for the amount, and writes to the other party to come and receive it. When, however, the latter presents himself for payment the coin is found to be counterfeit, and the priest has to disburse the sum from his own pocket.

' Le Magnifique commie en 2 actes.

' Boccaorno's story bears a considerable resemblance to the fable of Prince Tungabala in the Hitopadesa (l 8).

^ As early as the time of St Louis, the vapour baths had come to be used as places of assignation, as appears if only from the numerous ordinances directed from that date against this abuse — 0^., no pro- prietor of baths for men might heat them for women, and vice versa, under apenalty of forty sous parisis. " Item, auscun estuveur ne laissera ou Booifrera b. . . . jHem, ne touffrera auscun enfan masle an-dessus de Page de vii. ans aller aux estuves de frmmee." — H^glement sgr les Arts et Meiers de Paris, tit. Ixxiii. etc. Similar regulations were very generally, bnt not very effectively, adopted, and the abuse continued and increased. In the fifteenth century the preacher Maillard admonished his hearers : ** Mesdames n*allei pas aux ^tuves, et n'y faites-pas oe qua vous saves." See Rabutaux, op. dt. Various provisions for the regu- lation of stews (from estuves) in England were enacted in the eighth year of Henry II. See Stew's ** Survey of London."


84 HISTOBT OP FICTION. [OH. VII.

I do not think tlds stoiy occurs either in the selection of Fabliaux published bj Barbazan or Le Grand, but I have little doubt that it exists among those which have not been brought to light/ The incident has been a favourite one with subsequent novelists. For example, it corresponds with the fourth tale of the Fourth Decade of Ginthio. It has also been versified by La Fontaine, in his Bichard Minutolo, and, like the preceding story, furnished Houdart de la Motte with the name and subject of a comedy.

7 <& 8. Are but indifferent stories. The last is the Feronde ou le Furgatoire of La Fontaine, and has given rise to a comic scene in the Fatal Marriage of Southern, in

^ <' It ia moat probably of Eastern origin,'* remarka Landan (p. 87), and ia found, in perhapa its earliest form, in Nachachebi, 8th nighty and Touti Nameh, 8th story, where a merchant returned from travel cx>m- miaaiona a procareaa. She brings him hia own wife, who had become diasolate in his absence, and who reproachea her haaband with hu in- fidelity, and ptiaea as the injured party.

In other verslona of the Seven Wise Masters the incident of the un- expected meetina of husband and wife only forma part of a atory. The fabliau of Le Meunier d'Arleux, by Enguerraud <rOisy, thirteenth cen- tury (Montaiglon, ii. 31 ; Legend d'Auaay, ili. 256), much reaembles the atory. In the ftiblian a girl who cornea to the Mill to have aome com fpround, attracts both the miller, Jaoquemars, and his servant, Muaet. The former reouires her to wait until all his other customers are served^ and hare left tne mill, and then Muset announces that the mill-pond has run dry, so the com cannot be ground till next morning. The miller, to further hia deaign, ofl^ra her the hoepitality of a little room cc^ining that occupied by himself and his wife. During the miller's brief abeenoe the girl unbosoms herself to the wife, who aereea to occupy the bed deatined for her gueat, Jaoquemara* alleged oouam. Meanwhile Muaet en- gagea to give hia master a pig in return for permission to enter the little room after the termination of Jacquemarr visit. The result is that both the men are outwitted. Muset refuses to pay up the pig on the g^und that the contract has not been fulfilled. The dispute is referred to the bailli, who decides that Muset has lost, but that Jaoquemars has not gained, and adjudges it to himself. The story has been imitated in the tales of Poggio, Saochetti, and the Queen of Navarre; also in Joco- Seria Melandri, i. 879 ; Amanta heureux, ii. 19 ; Paaae-tempa agr^able, p. 27 ; Keasource contre Tennui, p. 55. Storiea which bear a certain analogy to the present are also found in Detti e Fatti piaceroli del Ouiociardini, p. 103, and Fac^tieuaea Joum^a, p. 213. Cf. La Fun- taine'a <' Quiproquo." See L^^nd d'Auasy, Fabliaux, 1829, iii. p. 256, -etc. There ia a Qerman metrical Teraion of the atory of the thirteenth century (v. d. Hagen, Oeaammtab., No. 9, bd. i.).


CH. YUJ] DBCAXBBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — III. 9. 85

which Fernando is made to belieye that he had been dead, buried, and in purgatorj, — an incident omitted in this piece* as it has been altered for the stage by Qarrick.^

9. Oiletta di Nerbona was daughter to the physician of the count of Bonssillon, and almost from infancy had fixed her affections on Beltram, the count's son. On the death of his father this young man, as he had been left in charge to the king of France, repaired to the court at Paris, leaving Oiletta much afflicted at his departure. Mean- while it was rumoured that the king had been seized with a dangerous malady, which baffled all the skill of bis phy- sicians : Oiletta, who was anxious for a pretext to follow her beloYed Beltram, set out for Paris, and as she had been instructed in thesecretsof herf ather'sart, succeeded in curing the king of the disorder with which he was afSicted. His majesty promised, as a recompence, to marry her to any- one on whom she should fix, and she accordingly demanded Beltram of Boussillon as her husband. The count, dis- liking the marriage to which he was now constrained by the Innff , immediately after the celebration of the nuptials departed for Tuscany, and his bride returned to Boussillon, where she took the management of the estates of her hus- band. While in Tuscany, Beltram receiyed a conciliatory message from Giletta, but replied to her emissaries, that he would never treat her as his wife till she had a son by him, and obtained possession of a favourite ring which he con- stantly wore on his finger. To accomplish these conditions, the fidfilment of which the count considered as impossible,

^ In CalderoD's play, Life is a Dream (Vida es SueSo], tramlated by J. Oxenford inthe Monthly Magazine (toI. 96), King Baailio, to prevent the realization of an astroJogical forecast that his son Sigismuna would prove a bad sovereign, keeps him a prisoner from his youth. In order to try him, however, he causes him to be transported to the palace under the influence of a soporific, and there treated as king. His conduct on awaking in his altered situation verifies the announcement of the stars, and, rendered unconscious again by a potion, he is re-translated to prison and convinced that his experiences were but a dream. He nevertheless profits bv them, and the result of a second trial is to establudi him as a wise and temperate ruler on the throne of his father.

Landau points out the Fabliau of Jean de Bove's " Le Villain de BaiUeul" (Le Grand d'Aussy, iii. 824), and the Buried Nobleman ( Oe s am mtabentener, No. 45), a Ocrman story probably imitated from it, as bearing some likeness to the Fenmdo.


86 HISTORY OF FICTIOK. [CH. VII.

Giletta set out for Florence. On ber arriyal she learned that the count had fallen in love with a young woman of reduced circumstances in that town. Haying made an arrangement with the mother of the girl, the count was given to understand that he would that night be received at the house of his mistress, if he previously sent her his ring as a proof of affection. This essential token having been obtained, Giletta next represented the young woman of whom the coimt was enamoured. Beltram soon after returned to his own states, and Giletta, in due time, re- paired to Itoussillon, where she arrived during a great fes- tival, and having presented her husband with his ring, and two sons to whom she had given birth, was acknowledged as countess of Boussillon.

In this tale Boccaccio has displayed considerable genius and invention, but it is difficult for the reader to reconcile himself to the character, or approve the feelings, of its heroine. Considering the disparity of rank and fortune, it was, perhaps, indelicate to demand as her husband, a man from whom she had received no declaration nor proof of attachment ; but she certainly overstepped all the bounds of female deoonim, in pertinaciously insisting on the cele- bration of a marriage to which he expressed such invincible repugnance. His submission was as mean as her obstinacy was ungenerous, especially as he had pre-determined to re- nounce and forsake her. After this forced and imperfect union, she thought herself entitled to take possession of the paternal inheritance of her husband, while she knew that he was wandering in a foreign land, and that she was the cause of his exile. The absurd conditions proposed by Beltram, are too evidently contrived for the sake of their completion. When Giletta arrives at Florence, in order to fulfil them, she finds not only that the indifference of the count continues, but that his affections are fixed on another object ; — yet neither her pride nor jealousy are alarmed ; she ingratiates herself with the family of a rival, and con- trives a stratagem, the success of which coidd have bound Beltram neither in law nor in honour. The triumph and coronet it procured must have been but a poor gratification, nor could she in any wav have atoned for her preceding self -debasement, imless by renouncing all claim to her


\


CH. yn.] DECAMBBON OF BOCCACCIO. 87

husband, or by condliatiiig his affections by her beauty or virtaes.^

Shakespeare has taken this story, with all its imperfec* tions on its head, as the basis of his oomedy, All's Well

^ The main elements of this story are found in Indian Hteratnre. There was ... in the country of Surat ... a wealthy ship-captain's daughter named Ratnarati. She was married to Balabhadra, the son of a mer- chant liTing in another town, who for some reason took a sudden dislike to his bride on the very day of the wedding, and avoided her as much as possible, though she continued to lire in his house. The rest of the household, seeing this, treated her with neelect and contempt, so that she led a most wretched life. She confided her sorrows to an old woman, a buddhist mendicant, who surmised they were punishment for the sins of a former existence, recommended penance and prayer, and promised her co-operation in a stratagem for recovering the regard of her husband. *' Though my husband so neglects me," she says to her con- fidante, '* I know that he is very fond of women in general, and ready to be captivated by anyone, especially a respectable woman who will give him a little encouragement. Acting on this propensity, I think with your help that something may be done. There is a young lady, a neighbour, the daughter of a very rich man, in great favour with the Rajah. She is a friend of mine, and is very like me. As my husband hardly knows her by sight, and scarcely ever sees me, it might be pos- sible to pass myself off for her. Do you, therefore, go to him, and say that that young lady is in46ve with him, and that you will introduce him to her, onnr he must not give a hint that you have told him any- thing. Meanwhile I will arrange with my friend, and will be walking in her father's rarden some evening, when you can bring him in." Balabhadra was delighted with the pretended message of love, and took care to be at the appointed time in the garden, where his wife was play- ing at balL " As if oy accid^it she threw the ball towards him, and the old woman said : This is an invitation ; pick up the ball, and taj^e it to her with a pretty speech, and you will get acquainted with her. In this way an intimacy began, and he often met his wife in the evening with- out suspecting the deception," and they eloped in due oourse under assumed names, and settled in another town. The above is the main portion of the story told by Mitragupta, in illustration of his reply :

  • < Good qualities in a wife," to the question of the Rakshas : " What is

most to the advantage of a householder ? " — Hindoo Tales, or the Adren- tnres of Ten Princes, freely translated from the Sanscrit of the Dasa- knmaracharitam, by P. W. Jacob, pp. 274-282. See also Fauche, Tetrads, vol. ii. Na 6, p. 220; Maive Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales, London, 1880, No. 28 ; The Clever Wife, p. 216. In Somadeva's " Col- lection of Stories," Kirtisena, persecuted, imprisoned, and tortured with hunger by her stepmother in the absence of her husband, flies disguised in male attire, and seeks her husband. She overhears die conversation of a ikmily of demons, and learns thereby a remedy for the ailment of King Vaaudatta, whom she cures by extracting from his head a hundred and fifty worms. Hereupon the king gives her rich gifts, and the rank


88 HI8TOET OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

that Ends Well. It probably came to the dramatist through the medium of Painter's Gilettaof Narbon/' published in the Palaoe of Pleasure, 1566 (yol. i. p. 90). The preliminary circumstances are the same in the English comedy and Italian noyel ; but in the former the catastrophe has been much protracted. There Helena, who is the G-iletta of the novel, after she had obtained one of her credentials, and put herself in the way of procuring the other, spreads, for no purpose, a report of her death ; it is in consequence beUeved, that she had been murdered by her husband, and he is thrown into prison. We have also the useless addi- tions of the newly-projected marriage of the count with the daughter of a French nobleman, and the appearance of Diana, his Florentine flame, at court, in order to claim him as her husband. Shakespeare has also added, from his own imagination, his u^ual characters of a clown and a boasting coward. "The story," says Johnson, "of Bertram and Diana, had been told before of Mariana and Angelo, and, to confess the truth, scarcely merited to be heard a second time." This tale of Boccaccio has also formed the subject of one of the oldest Italian comedies, entitled Virginia, which was written by B. Accolti, and printed in 1513. The plot of this drama has been taken, with little yaria- tion, from Boccaccio, as appears from the argument pre- fixed:—

Virginia amando, el Be ^ariaoe, e chiede 1)1 Salerno el gran principe in marito ; • Qoal oonstrecto a spoearla, d poi partito

Bar mat (omar fin lei Ti?a si vede :

of sister. She finds her husband, and lires happily with him in King Vasttdatta's city. Die Marchensammlang dee Somadeya Bhatta aus Kaschmir, neberaetst von Dr. Hermann Brockhaus ; Berichte der K. Sidis, Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften su Leipzig, 1860, bd. xii. p. 125, qnoted by Landau, Quellen, ed. 1884, p. 148.

See auo Basile Fentamerone, and Graesse (Sagenkreise, iv. p. .377, etc.), who points to the Romance Dn Comte d^Artois et de sa femme (ed. J. Barrois, Paris, 1837), as derived from an original which was also probably the source whence Boccaccio drew. The leading idea of the Ting in these tales is also to be found in the Indian drama Sakuntala and the Hecjra of Terence : — Landau. The same idea is treated in the Spanish ** Romance del engano que U86 la reina dona, Maria de Aragon, para qu6 el rey don Peidro su marido durmiese cun ella." Of. Fliegende Btiitter, 1850, p. 53. The story too has been imitated by Straparola (Notte vii. Fav. 1).


CH. TU.] DBOAKESON OF BOCCACCIO. — IT. 89

Cercha Virginia acriTendo mercede. Ma el principe da molta ira assalito Li domanda, s' a lei tuoI sia redito, Dora oonditioD qual impossibil crede. Fero Virginia, sola e traTestita. Partendo, ogni impoMibil oonditione Adempie al fin oon prudentia infinite ; Onde el Principe, pien d' admiratione, Lei di favore et gratia riveBlita 8po8a di nuoTo oon molta affoctione.

10. Cannot well be extracted. It is the Diable en Enfer of La Fontaine.

It will have been remarked, that most of the stories in this Day relate to love intrigues, and are of a comic nature ; those of

Day rV. are for the most part tragic narratives concern- ing persons whose loves had an unfortunate conclusion.* This subject was suitable to the temper of Philostrato, the master of ceremonies for this day, who is represented as of a melancholy disposition, and as having been disappointed* in love.

From the introduction to the Fourth Day, it would ap- pear that the preceding part of the Decameron had been made public before the author advanced farther, as he takes pains to reply to the censures passed on him by cer- tain persons who had perused his novels. He is particu- larly anxious to defend himself from the attacks made against him, on accoimt of his frequent and minute details of love adventures, and the pains which he had tal^en to please the fair sex. In his vindication, he relates a story to show that the admiration of female beauty is implanted in the mind by the hand of nature, and cannot be eradi- cated by force of education. A Florentine, called Filippo Balducci, having lost his wife, renounced the world, and retired to Mount Asinaio with his son, who was only two years of age. Here the boy was brought up in fasting and prayer, saw no human being but his father, and heard of no secular pleasures. When he had reached the age of eighteen, the hermit, in his quest for alms, takes hun to Florence, that he might afterwards know the road, should there be occasion to send him. This young man admires

^ Di ouloco gU cui amori ebbero infelioe fine.


90 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

the palaoe8» and all the sights he beheld in that splendid city ; but at length perceiving a troop of beautiful women, asks what they were. His father bids him cast down his eyes and not look at them, and, being unwilling to term them by their proper name, added, that they were called goslings (Papere). The youth pays no farther attention to the other ornaments of Florence, but insists that he should be allowed to take a gosling with him to the hermitage.

This stoiy is nearly the same with the thirteenth of the Cento Novelle Antiche, where a king's son having been confined from his infancy for ten years, without seeing the sun, on account of an astrological prediction, at the end of that period has all the splendid and beautiful objects of the universe placed before him, and among others a num- ber of ladies, who were termed demons in the showman's nomenclature. Being asked which of all chiefly pleased him, he answers, that to him the demons were by far the most agreeable. This tale may be traced higher than the Cento NoveUe Antiche. « In one of the parables of the spiritual romance of Josaphat and Barlaam, we are told that a king had an only son, and it was declared bv the physicians, as soon as he was bom, that if allowed to see the sim or any fire, before he attained the age of twelve, he would become blind. The king com- manded an apartment to be hewn within a rock, into which no light could enter. There he shut up the boy totall j in the dark, but with proper attendants, for twelve years, at the end of which period he brought him forth from his gloomy chamber, and placed in his view women, gold, precious stones, rich garments, chariots of exquisite work- matiship drawn by horses with golden bridles, heaps of purple tapestiy, and armed knights on horseback. These were all distinctly pointed out to the youth, but being most pleased with the damsels, he desired to know by what name they were called. An attendant of the king jocosely told him, that they were devils who caught men. Being afterwards brought before his majesty, and asked which of all the fine things he had seen he liked best, he replied, —

    • Devils who catch men." ^

^ In Adolph Holtzmann's " Indische Sagen," the king's daughter, Sttnta«  lares the youth Rischjasringa, who knew not what a maiden is, from


CH. Til.] DECAMXBOir OP BOCCACCIO. — IV. 1. 91

After this introductory tale» Boccaccio commences the regular series of novels of the Fourth Daj, which are the most mournful, and, I think, the least interesting in his work.

1. Ghismonda, only daughter and heiress of Tancred, prince of Salerno, becomes ejiamoured of Guiscardo, one of her father's pages. She reveals her passion, and intro- duces him to her apartment, through a secret grotto with which it communicated. During one of the interviews of the lovers, Tancred is accidentally concealed in the chamber of his daughter, and the unfortunate pair depart without suspecting that he had been witness to their crime. Next day the prince upbraids Ghismonda with her conduct. She returns a spirited answer, declaiming on the power of love, and the superiority of merit over the advantages of birth, in a tone of high and impassioned eloquence. In order to bring her to a more sober way of thinking, Tancred sends her Guiscardo's heart in a golden cup. The princess, aware of the fate he would undergo, had already distilled a juice from poisonous herbs, which she drinks off after having poured it on the heart of her lover.

In this tale, the violence of character attributed to Ghis- monda may perhaps appear to be overwrought ; but she was precisely in that situation in which the soul acquires a supernatural strength, and the excessive severity of her father naturally turned into the channel of resistance those feelings, which might otherwise have fluctuated in remorse and in shame.^

No tale of Boccaccio has been so often translated and imitated as the above : it was translated into Latin prose by Leonardo Aretino, into Latin elegiac verse b^ Fhilippus Beroaldus, the commentator on Apuleius, and mto Italian

his forest hermitage to the Court. Landau, Quellen, p. 70. In the Ganselein (Gesammtabenteuer, xxiii.), the jouth is a monk who had had been brought up in a monastery, and quits it fi>r the first time in his life. Cf. Fiore di Tirtik, No. 22 in Zambrini's Libra di Norelle Anticbe, Bologna, 1868. Boccaccio's storj, thinks Landau (Quellen, fld. 1884, p. 171), resembles more closely Odo de Ceringtonia's ** De heremita iuvene," published by Oesterley from a Codex written at Bologna in 1326. See Jahrbuch fiir romanische undengtiscbe Literatur. Leipzi|P,bd.xii.pp. 129, 131, 147. Cf. also Richter's <* Unsichtbare Loge." 1 Sett's "Dryden," Vol. XL


92 HI8T0BT OF PICTIOK. [CH. VII.

ottava lima by Annibale G-uasco de Alessandria. It forms the Bubjeci of not fewer than five Italian tragedies ; one of which, La Gismonda, obtained a momentary fame, from being falsely attributed by its real author to Torquato Tasso. An English drama by Robert Wilmot, which is also founded on this story, was acted before Queen Eliza- beth at the Inner Temple, in 1568. (Hodsley's Collection of Old Plays, vol. ii.) The story appeared in French verse by Jean Fleury, and in the English octave stan za by Wil- liam Walter, a poet of the reign of Henry VLL^ Li this country it is best known through the Sigismunda and Guiscardo of Dryden. Mr. Scott has remarked in his late edition of Dryden's works, that the English poet has grafted one gross faidt on his original, by representing the love of Sigismunda as that of temperament, not of a^ec- tion : " but then the English poet hsia sanctioned the union of the lovers by a marriage, private indeed and rapid, but which is altogether omitted in the Decameron. The old English ballad of Sir Cauline and the daughter of the king of Ireland,' has a strong resemblance to this novel of Boc- caccio, in the secret meeting of the lovers, and discovery of their transgression ; the catastrophe, however, is entirely different. The fine arts have also added lustre and cele- brity to the tale. There is a beautiful painting, attributed to Correggio, in which Sigismunda is represented weeping over the heart of her lover. It was this picture that Ho- garth tried to copy and rival, an attempt for which he was severely ridiculed. " The Sigismunda of Hogarth," says Horace Walpole, is the representation of a maudlin strumpet, just turned out of keeping, with eyes red with rage, tearing off the ornaments her keeper had given her.** — See also Churchill's Epistle to Hogarth.

2. The bad character of Alberto da Imola had become too notorious to allow him to remain in his native citv.

^ A similar sabject is introdaoed in Pktlmerin of England, i. 90, where the princess, however, throws herself from a tower. Liebrecht. Cent- lirre^s " Cruel Gift," is also on the same subject, as well as H. Sacb's

    • Fiirst Conoreti," and a Swedish Folk-Song, Duke Frendenbnrg and

Adelin. See Warrens, Schwedische Volkslieder der Vorieit. Leipsig, 1857, p. 99. Cesari said of this tale that if elsewhere Boccaccio sur- passed others, he surpassed himself in the Prince of Saiemo."

• Percy's " Belies,** toL I p. 50,


CH. VII.] DBCAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — IT. 2. 98

He therefore remoyed to Yemoe, the receptacle, as Boccaccio terms it, of all sorts of wickedness, where he became a friar, and soon fell in love with one of his penitents, the wife of a merchant, who was at that time from home. Having discovered her to be a woman of inordinate vanity, he informs her that the angel Gkibriel had appeared to him, revealed the passion he had long entertained, and an- nounced his intention of paying her an amatory visit, in any human shape she might command him to assume. Alberto at the same time prevails on her to give a pre* ference to his figure. Accordingly, in the character of Gkibriel, Alberto pays many visits to his mistress, but the lady at last boasts of her gallant to an acquaintance, by which means the report reaches her brothers, who resolve to intercept the archangel. At his next interview he is obliged to leave his wings behind him, and to leap over a window into a canal, whence he seeks refuge in a cottage in the neighbourhood. Next day his host, having dis- covered the story of the angel, informs Alberto, that, at an ensuing festival, each citizen is to take some one dressed up as a bear, or wild man, to St. Mark's Place, as to a a hunt, and that when the diversion is over, the conductor may lead away the person he brings to what quarter he pleases. Alberto, seeing no other mode of escaping un- known Ibrom Venice, resolves to attend his host in the dis- guise of a savage. On the appointed day he is accordingly brought forth in this equipment, but his treacherous friend pulls off his vizard in the most public part of the city, and proclaims him to be the pretended angel. He is in con- sequence pursued by the hue and cry of the mob, and the intelligence having at last reached the brothers of the de- luded lady, he is thrown into prison, where he soon after dies.'

The numerous tales founded on that species of seduction, practised by Alberto da Imola, may have originated in the incident related in all the romances concerning Alexander the Great,' where Nectanebus predicts to Olympias, that she

' The story wan venified by Cuti, Norelle Galanti, No. 18.

' Landaa, Quellen, ed. 1884, p. 293, remarks that Boccaccio's tale bears a closer resemblance to the episode told in the Alexander romance of the pseodo Callisthenes than that narrated by Josephns. The episode


94 HI8TOBT OF FICTIOK. [CH. Til.

is destined to have a son by Ammon, and afterwards enjoys the queen under the appearance of that divinity. But they have more probably been deriyed from the story related by Josephus (Ant. Jud. lib. 18. c. 3) of Mundus, a Roman knight, in the reign of Tiberius, who, having fallen in love with Paulina, wife of Satuminus, bribed a priestess of Isis, to whose worship Paxdina was addicted, to inform her that the god Anubis, being enamoured of her charms, had de- sired her to come to him. In the evening she accordingly proceeded to the temple, where she was met by Mundus, who personated the Egyptian divinity. Next morning she boasted of her interview with Anubis, to all her acquaint- ance, who suspected some trick of priestcraft; and the deceit having come to the knowledge of Tiberius, he or- dered the temple of Isis to be demolished, and her priests to be crucified. Similar deceptions are also common in eastern stories. Thus, in the History of Malek, in the Persian Tales, the adventurer of that name, under the resemblance of Mahomet, seduces the princess of Guzna. A fraud of the nature employed by Alberto da Imola is frequent in the French novels and romances, as in L' Amant Salamandre, and the Sylph Husband of Marmontel. It is also said to have been of tener than once practised ia France in real life, as appears from the well-known case of Father Girard and Mademoiselle Cadiere.^

The six following tales ^ are of a melancholy description. They seem for the most part to have had some foundation in real incidents, which occurred a short while previous to

is wanting in the French metrical romance of Alexander, but is given in the prose versions, and by the trouvtre Thomas of Kent. On the other hand, the deceiver meets his chastisement both in Josephus and Boc> cacoio, while in the Fseudo CalHsthenes the fraud goes undetected, and its author unpunished. It is clear frum a passage (ir. 12) in fioooaccio's wt>rk, De Casibus illustrium Sirorum, that he was acquainted with the story of Olympias (p. S94).

^ The affair made much sensation, and came before various tribunab, with the result of Girard's acquittal. His fault seems to have been no greater than giving injudicious advice to his penitent and encouragement to persevere in extreme austerities, which sffiacted her health. See Article Gerard (J. B.), in the Biographie Universelle.

' Among them Isabella and the rot of Basil. The reader will, of course, be remind^ of Keats*s poem. I1ie story, with a short prefatory aooounty will be found in B. M. Banking's '* Streams from Hidden Sources," 1872.


CH. YU.] DSCAMBBOV OF BOGOACOIO. — IT. 9. 95

the age of the author, but the details hj which they are accompanied, exhibit wonderful knowledge of the heart, and contain many simple touches of natural and picturesque beautj.

9. Two noble gentlemen, who were intimate friends, lived in the neighbouring castles in Provence. The name of the one was Gulielmo BossOione, and of the other, Gulielmo Ouardastagno. At length the former suspecting that a criminal intercourse subsisted between his wife and the latter, sent to invite him to his residence, but way-laid and murdered him in a wood, through which the road between the two castles passed. He then opened the breast of his victim, drew out his heart, and carried it home wrapped up in the pennon of his knee. When he alighted from his horse, he gave it to the cook as the heart of a wild boar, commanded him to dress it with his utmost skill, and serve it up to supper. At table the husband pre- tended want of appetite, and the lady swallowed the whole of the monstrous repast. When not a fragment was left, he informed her that she had feasted on the heart of Ouardastagno. The lady, declaring that no other food should ever profane the relics of so noble a knight, threw herself from a casement which was behind her, and was dashed to pieces by the fall.^

Some commentators on Boccaccio have believed this tale to be taken from the well-known story of Baoul de Couci, who, while dying of wounds received at the siege of Acre, ordered his heart to be conveyed to his mistress, the lady of Fayel : but this singular present being intercepted in the way, was dressed by command of the exasperated hus- hand, and presented at table to his wife, who, having in- cautiously partaken of it, vowed never to receive any other nourishment. This incident is related in a chronicle of the time of Philip Augustus, printed by Fauchet in his Becueil de rOrigine de la Langue et Poesie Fran^oise, Byme et Bomans, 1581, 4to., p. 124. But, as Boccaccio himself in- forms the reader, that his tale is given according to the relation of the Provenzals (Secondo de che raccontano i Provenzali,) it seems more probable that it is taken from

^ See note od Dec., ir. I, Cf. also the story in chap. Iri. of the Gresta Bom., supra, ii. p. 20, and that of the Lai du Prisonnler, iL p. 3S.


96 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

the story of the Proven9al poet Cabestan, which is told bj Nostradamus in his Liyes of the Troubadours. Besides, the story of Cabestan possesses a much closer resemtblance to the novel of Boccaccio, than the fiction concerning Baoul de Coucy and the Lady of Fayel; indeed, it precisely corresponds with the Decameron, except in the names, and in the circumstance that the lady stabs herself instead of leaping from the window. The incident is also told by Vellutello, in his commentary on Petrarch, who mentions Cabestan in the 4th part of his Triumph of Loye [v. 53]. Grescimbeni, too, in his annotations on Nostradamus,^ in- forms us that he has seen a MS. life of Cabestan in the Vatican, which corresponds in every particular, except the names, with the tale of Boccaccio. Bolland, in his Becherches surles prerogatives des dames chez les Gaulois [p. 131], reports, that Cabestan having gained a cause before the court of love, by the eloquence of his advocate, the lady of Baymond of Bossilione, he was allowed to kiss his beautiful counsel by decree of the court. His insisting on this privilege is assigned by the authors, whom Bolland cites, as the principal cause of the atrocious deed that followed.^ The story, as related in Nostradamus, occurs in the French tales of Jeanne Flore, where there is this epitaph on the lovers : —

O toi, qui passes sur ces bords, Apprends que ix torabeau rec^le Un couple amonreux et fidele, £t deux coeurs dans un meme corps.

The novels of this day, it has been seen, principally con- sist of the relation of violent attachments, which terminated fatally. In those of

Day V. There are chiefly recounted love adventures, which, after unfortunate vicissitudes, come to a happy conclusion.'

1. In the island of Cyprus lived a rich man, called Aris- tippus, to whom f orttme had been in every respect favour-

^ Istor. de la Volgar Poes.» rol. ii. p. 39, etc. ^ Of. Bibliothdque des Romans, 1782, Sept. p. 38, etc.

  • Di cio che ad alcuno amante, dopo alcuni fieri o sventurati aoeidenti^

felicimente arentsse.


CH. VII.] DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. — V. 1. 97

able, except that one of his sons, though handsome in person, was afQicted with the utmost imbecility of mind. His real name was Galeso, but, on account of his stupidity, he was called Cimon, which in the language of the country, signified beast. The father, despairing of his improve- ment, sent him to a country seat, to live with slaves and labourers, to the infinite satisfaction of Cimon. After he had remained there for some time, it chanced that one day, while wandering through a thicket, he perceived a beautiful young woman asleep by the side of a f oimtain : he long gazed in stupid admiration, and when she awakened he conducted her home ; but after this he returned not to the farm, but to his father's mansion. Love, in piercing his heart, effected what had been in vain attempted by his in- structors ; he applied himself assiduously to study, and in the space of four years became a profound philosopher, and an accomplished gentleman. At the end of this period he asked Iphigenia, (for that was the name of the young lady whose beauty had performed such wonders,) in marriage from her father, but learned that she had been affianced to Pasimunda, a young man of Bhodes. Cimon waited for the time when she was to sail for that island. He then armed a ship, manned it with some of his companions, and attacked the vessel which conveyed Iphigenia to her in- tended husband. Having obtained possession of his mis- tress, he set sail with her for Crete ; but a storm having arisen, he was forced into a bay in the island of Ehodes, where his ship was recognized by the sailors of the vessel he had so lately attacked. Cimon and his friends were in consequence cast into prison, where they remained, while preparations were making for the nuptials of Pasimunda with Iphigenia, and also of a brother of Pasimunda with Cassandra, a young lady of Bhodes. Now Lisi- machus, the chief magistrate of the island, happened to be enamoured of Cassandra, and resolved to carry her off by force. Having accordingly prepared a vessel, he associated Cimon in his enterprise. These lovers accordingly attacked the house of Pasimunda, during the celebration of the marriage, and having murdered the bridegrooms, they sailed with the brides for the island of Crete. There they remained till the matter was hushed up, when Lisimachus

II. H


98 HI8T0SY OF FICTION. [OH. VII.

returned to Bliodes with Cassandra, and Cimon carried Iphigenia to Ojpnis.

In this novel, which is one of those that have added most to the reputation of the Decameron, the author's object seems to have been to exhibit an example of the power of the gentler affections, in refining the human mind. Such a picture would have been more pleasing, though perhaps less natural, than the representation actually given of the transition from an idiot to a ruffian : For it cannot be denied, that the expedients by which Cimon gets possession of a woman, who felt for him no reciprocal attachment, are merely rape and murder. It has also been well remarked,* that the continuation of the narrative bears no reference to the sudden reformation of Cimon, the striking and original incident with which the tale commences. Cimon might have carried off Iphigenia, and all the changes of fortune which afterwards take place might have happened, though his love had commenced in an ordinary manner: nor is there anything in his cha- racter, or mode of conduct, that reminds us he is such a miraculous instance of the power of love. In short, in the progress of the tale, we entirely lose sight of its striking commencement, nor do we receive much compensation by the introduction of the new actor, Lisimachus, with whose passion, disappointment, and final success we feel little sympathy.

It has been supposed that the original idea of Cimon's conversion is to be found in an Idyllium of Theocritus, entitled Boi/roX/criroc ; but it is hardly possible that the novelist could have seen Theocritus at the date of the composition of the Decameron. Boccaccio himself affirms, that he had read the account in the ancient histories of Cyprus; and Beroaldus, who translated this novel into Latin, also acquaints us that it is taken from the annals of the kingdom of Cyprus, — a fact which that writer might probably have ascertained from his intimacy with Hug^ lY., king of that island.

Besides this version by Beroaldus, the above story was translated into stanzas of English verse about the year

» Scott's " Dryden, vol. xL


€H. Til.] DECAMBBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — ^V. 8, 4. 99

1570, and has also been imitated in his Cimon and Iphi- genia hj Drjden, who has in some degree softened the crimes of Cimon, bj representing Iphigenia as attached to him, and disinclined to a marriage with the Bhodian; which is the reverse of the sentiments she feels in the original. This tale has also formed the subject of a celebrated musical entertainment.

3. Though an insipid story in itself, is curious, as pre- senting us with the rudiments of a modem romance, of the school of Mrs. Badcliffe.

4. Lizio da Yalbona, a gentleman of Eomagna, had a daughter called Gaterina, who, on pretence that she could not sleep in her own apartment, from the sultriness of the weather, insists with her parents on having a bed prepared in a gallery, which commimicated with the garden, that she might be refreshed by breathing cool air, and listening to the song of the nightingale. AU this was a stratagem, that she might procure an interview with a young man, called Manardi, of whom she was enamoured. Towards morning the lovers fall asleep, and are thus discovered by the father, who comes to inquire if the song of the nightin- gale had contributed to his daughter's repose. He gives the choice of instant death, or a legal union with Caterina, to Manardi, who prefers the latter alternative.

The characters in this tale are mentioned by Dante in his Purgatory. A Spirit, complaining of the degeneracy of the Italians, exclaims

Or' 4 1 Boon Luio e Arrigo Manardi. — C. 14, y. 89, 97.

This demonstrates the existence of these persons, whence Manni in his Commentary infers, according to his usual process of reasoning, that the incident related by Boccaccio muBt have actually occurred. In fact, however, it is de- rived from one of the ancient Armorican tales of Marie,^

^ See Bameril, p. 35 1, and Von der Hagen, Gesammtabentener, No. 25, ▼oL ii. The Breton original, upon which Mary of France enlarged in her poem, is given in Villemarque's Barzaz-breix. IV., Paris, I846, vol. i. p. 248, Ann eostik (The Nightingale). See F. W. V. Schmidt, pp. 55, who quotes the story from Helinandus, and Grimm, Deutach. Mytn., p. 895. — LiBB. The story also occurs in the Gesta Bomanorum, pp. 470-71, of Oesterley's edition, 1872. Of. also La Lusignaoca, publistied from, a


100 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

entitled Lai du Laustic^ which, in the Breton language, signified a nightingale. There a lady, during the warm nights of summer, used to leave her husband's side, and repair to a balcony, where she remained till dawn of day, on pretence of being allured by the sweet voice of the nightingale ; but, in reality, to enjoy the society of a lover, who resided in the neighbourhood.

I know of no version or imitation of this tale of Boc- caccio, except Le Bossignol, usually published in the Contes et Nouvelles of Lafontaine, and written in his manner, but of which I believe he was not the author.^

5. This story is related by Tonducci, in his History of Faenza,^ and it had been formerly told in an old Latin chronicle. The Italian writers think that it would form a fine subject for the plot of a comedy, and it no doubt bears a considerable resemblance to the incidents in the plays of Terence,' as also to the Incognita of Goldoni.

6. Seems partly an historical tale ; it is uninteresting in itself, but contains an incident which appears to have suggested to Tasso the punishment of OHndo and So- phronia, who are tied back to back to a stake, and are about to be burned in this posture, when rescued by the arrival and intercession of Glorinda. In the Decameron, Gianni di Procida being detected in an intrigue with a young lady, of whom he had been formerly enamoured, but who was then the mistress of Frederic, king of Sicily, the criminals are sentenced to be consumed, while tied to a stake, in a similar position with the lovers in the Jerusalem. But when they were already botmd, and when the faggots were about to be lighted, they were delivered by the unexpected coining of Buggieri dell Oria, the high admiral, who intercedes for them with the king. The desire, too, expressed by the lover in the Decameron, of a change of position, has been beautifully imitated by the Italian poet. Gianni di Pro- cida exclaims, when the sentence is about to be executed,

manuscript of the fifteenth century, by Homagnoli, Bologna, 1863. This poem is, however, probably later than the novel.

^ It is generally ascribed to Vergier.

3 Parte i. p. 132. Faenza, 1675.

  • It bears, however, remarks Landau, a greater resemblance to the

£pidicu8 of Flautus, and Cappelletti (p. 407) foils to find much resem* blance to the Incognita.


CH. YII.] DSGAMBRON OF BOCCACCIO. — T. 7. 101

— " lo veggio, che io debbo, e tostamente morire ; voglio

adnnque di gracia, che come io son con questa giovane,

con le reni, a lei voltato, e ella a me, che noi siamo co

'yisi Tunc all' altro rivolti ; accioche morendo io, vedendo il

yiso 8UO, ne possa andar consolato."

In like manner Olindo calls out in the crisis of his

fate, —

Ed Oh mia morte arrenturoBa appiono, Oh fortanati miei dolci martiri, S* impetrero che ginnto seno a seno L' aniina mia ne la tua bocca io spiri ! £ Tenendo ta meco a un tempo meno In me fuor mandi gli ultimi soepirL

Gems, lib. c. ii. 35.^

7. Amerigo de Trapani, who lived in the time of the good King William of Sicily, purchased for his service a number of slaves out of a Genoese vessel which had just returned from the coast of Armenia. One of these, called Theodore, at that time almost a child, became, as he grew up, a great favourite of Amerigo ; was released from a servile condition, and at length admitted to his master's table. Yiolante, the daughter of Amerigo, falls in love with him, and is soon in a situation which requires retire- ment. She is accordingly sent by her mother to a country seat belonging to the family, but without her father's knowledge of the cause. He discovers the truth, however, by going to this villa at the most critical moment, and compels his daughter to reveal the name of the father of the child to which she was giving birth. At his return to the city, Amerigo procures sentence of death to be passed on Theodore, and despatches a confidential assassin to his daughter, with the choice of a dagger or a phial of poison. Theodore, on his way to the place of execution, is recog- nised as his son by an Armenian ambassador, then residing in Sicily, who procures his pardon, on condition that he

1 « Could yet my prayer one further bliss obtain, How sweet, how envied then were evVy pain ! O could I press my faithful breast to thine, And on thy lips my fleeting soul resign ! So might we, fainting in the pangs of death. Together mix our sighs and parting breath ! "

Hoole's yersion.


102 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. TU.

shoiild espouse tlie ladjr whom He' had seduced. Her lover then hastens to the country seat, and fortunately arrives before his mistress had been compelled to make choice of dying by the poison or dagger. Such marvellous recognitions as liiat in the above novel were frequent in old stories. The tale is in itself indifferent, and is chiefly curious as being the foundation of the plot of Beaumont and Fletcher's " Triumph of Love," the second and best of their Four Plays in One. The drama, however, only com- mences when the lady is on the verge of her accov^hement A rival is also conjured up to the lover Girard, in the person of his brother, and both at length prove to be children of the duke of Milan.

8. Nastagio, a young man of great wealth in the city of Bavenna, was deeply enamoured of a lady of the family of Traversari, who rejected his proposals of marriage, and treated him with much harshness and disdain. As he was in danger of consuming his fortune in fruitless attempts to soften her cruelty, he is advised by his friends to travel to some distant country, with a view of extinguishing his passion. After making preparations, as for a long journey, he leaves Bavenna, but proceeds no farther than his coun- try seat at Chiassi, which was about three miles distant from the city. One day during his residence there, while wandering through a wood, lost in deep meditation, he is surprised by the uncouth spectacle of a lady in total des- habille, flying through the thickets with dreadful screams, pursued by two hounds and a grisly knight, who rode on a black steed, and bore a drawn sword in his hand. Nastagio attempts to oppose this unhandsome procedure, but is warned by the huntsman not to impede the course of divine justice. The knight then reveals to Nastagio, that, in despair at that lady's cruelty whom he was now pursuing, he had slain himself with the sword he held in his hand, and that his mistress dying soon after, she was condemned to be hunted down in this manner every Friday, for a long course of years, by her rejected lover. By this time the visionary victim is overtaken by the mastiffs. She is pierced with the rapier by the knight, her heart is torn out, and is immediately devoured by the dogs. As soon as she is completely dismembered, she starts up as if she


CH. VII.] DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. — V. 8. 103

had sustained no injiury, and again flies before her infernal pursuer. Nastagio resolves to turn this goblin scene to his advantage ; — be asks his stubborn mistress and her family to dine with him on the following Friday, and the invitation being accepted, he prepares an entertainment in the grove, where he had lately witnessed the supernatural tragedy. Towards the end of the repast the troop of spirits appear, and the avenging knight relates his story to the terrified assembly. The lady, in particular, appalled at this dreadful warning, accepts the hand of her formerly rejected lover.

We are informed in a note, by the persons employed for the correction of the Decameron, that this tale is derived, with a variation merelv in the names, from a chronicle written by Helinandus, a French monk of the thirteenth century^ which comprises a history of the world from the creation to the author's time.^ Boccaccio may have taken

^ VesaeloTsky (Novella della Figlia del re di Dacia, etc., Pisa, 1866) ooiuiders that Boccaccio may probably have found the tradition which supplies the subject of this story in Ravenna, and is inclined to refer it, together with the fable of Theodoric, to old Teutonic beliefs. " Theo- dorie," he writes, " has not died, but has become a demoniacal hunter, like Odin, and perhaps under the influence of the Odinic invth : Theo- doric of Verona, Dietrich of Bern, Bemdietrich, Dietrich Bemhard, is the name still given in Lusatia and in Orlagau to the demon hunter as Banadietrich in Bohemia, and Woln, Wut, Wode in Austria, in reminiscence of the ancient Odin " (p. xlviii).

In bin preface Liebrecht cites from Promenades Historiques dans le Pays de £iege, par le Docteur B . . . y [Bovy], Liege, 1S3S, the follow- ing curious usage which he refers to a common origin with Boccaccio's and other stories of the like content (p. 187). Bovy relates that between the villa^;es of Russon and Herstappe in Hesbaye, in the southern vicinity of Tongrea, there is a holy chapel whither a procession is made yearly, on the festival of Corpus Christi, by the inhabitants of Russon in com- memoration of the murder of Saint Kvermarus, who towards the end of the seventh century, in the time of Pepin of Herstal, was slain by a &maiu robber named Hacco. The particular circumstances were these. Evermftms had undertaken a pilgrimage to the graves of some holy per- sons (amongst whom St. Servatius, Servais,) in Maestricht, and finning himself belated he stopped in Herstappe, where Hacco's spouse, in the absence of her husband, gave him and his companions shelter, dismissing them, however, early next momine before Haooo's return. The latter, however, upon hia return home, learns what had occurred, starts off after the strangers and slays them all in the wood, where the bodies wore subsequently discovered by some of Pepin's courtiers while hunt- ing, and bnried, the remains of the holy Evermarus, which were dis-


104 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VH.

the tale directly from the work, A Mirror of True Penitence, of his contemporary Jacobo Passavanti (ob. 1357) ; Firenze, 1856 (Dist. iii. cap. ii. pp. 46-48). Vincent of Beauvais reproduces the same story in his Speculum HistoriaJe, lib. 29, c. 120.

tinguished by a particular brightness, being interred in a separate sepulchre. In the year 969 his body was translated to the church in Rusaon, where in 1073 a chapel was built in honour of the Blessed Virgin, and to receive the relics of the Saint. In the chapel there is a statue of the Saint habited similarly to his representative in the pro- cession, which is thus described by Bovj. '* This procession is distin- guished from all others in several points suflicientlj worthy of notice. The two beadles of the parish, in the oddest aocoutrement, run ahead on either side, keeping back the crowd with enormous clubs which they hold in their hand. They are supposed to represent two savages. Their dress, which is tight-fitting, is covered from the feet to the neck with ivy leaves, attach^ to the material in the manner of slates to a roof. Their tall conical hat, like that of sorcerers, is begpreened in the same way. Their appearance and demeanour elicit the boisterous laughter of the peasants. In this extraordinary habiliment they perform their functions even about the altar.

  • ^ The canopy is followed by seven men, also wearing the strangest of

costumes : they represent Sl Evermarus and his following. The Saint is clad in a tunic of coarse bruwn stuff girded at the waist by a leatiiem belt, from which depend a long rosary and a gourd. The upper part of the figure is covered with a camail or short mantle of. leather, to which shells are attached. On his head is a round hat : he holds in his hand a white staff. The others have only the mantle and staff, and underneath black coats and breeches and white waistcoats and stockings. They are escorted by fif^y-two youths on horseback headed by a man with a gallows look .... The procession has completed half its route, it arrives at the chapel ; there high mass is sung, after which the pious oort^ge traverses the other half of the commune, then returns to the parish church. The last benediction having been given, men and women, young and old, betake themselves in a throng to the meadow. The pilgrims precede and take up position in a circle round the fountain. They intone a canticle, which, though somewhat rustic, is not umnelo- dious. During this time the horsemen representing Haoco and his band gallop thrice outside the meadow, then, clearing the fence, they also gallop three times round it on the inside. Then the pilgrims ap- proach the chapel and sing a Ugmde commencing : ' Je suis un pauvre p^lerin qui volontiers fait un pelerinage.'

" This last chaunt ended, Hacco come* up^ he brandishes his stDord; his nspsct is ierribUf his thundering voice amiounces to the strangers that they must die, A dialogue begins between him and Evermarus. The latter entreats him for lite. He has not, he pleads, yet accomplished the work prompted by heaven. This is the pathetic moment in the ceremony ; the holy man's language waxes so touching that the assistants break


CH. TU.] DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. — ^V. 8. 105

This story, which seems to be the origin of all retribu- torj spectres, was translated in 1569 into English verse, bj Christopher Tye, under the title of ** A Notable His- torje of Nastagio and Traversari, no less pitiefull than

oat into tears — ^refU or simulated. The younaett of the mlgrims^ who probably does not ambition the crown of martyrdom, avails hiw^lfofthis juncture to run away with all hie might, Hacco and hit troop put them' selves in close pursuit throuah bramble and brushwood, but the young fellow gives them some trouble; he leaps the ditches like a kid. Oar modern fiaooo, reg^dless of anachronism, fires a pistol at him — fires R^ain, he misses the fogitive, who at the third shot, however, is tumbled. One of the robbers arrives; and, with greater fidelity to dates than his master, bends his bow, and lets fly an arrow which deswUches the pilgrim, whose body is lifted from the ground and placed like a sack of wheat across the pommel of one of the horsemen's saddles. While this has been proceeding, Erermams aod his companions fall down apon the grass ; a semblance of killing them with daggers is made ; but shortly they come to life again, and follow Haooo to the cabaret. There pilgrims and brigands drink their fill," etc.

    • I would first remark," comments Liebrecht, '* that the Christian

elements in this procession, when once its heathen constituents are dis- tinguished, will easily be eliminable, and be regarded, whether resting upon a basis of fact or legend, as a later interpolation of a clergy anxious to change what was heathen to what was Christian. Now the chief transaction seems to me to be really the pursuit of the youngest of the company (who probably represents an original female personage) by a band of horsemen with a les^ider of terrific mien at their head, who brandishes a sword through bush and bramble (the locality was for- merly covered by the vast wood of Ruth, later Husson), until he was oTertaken and slain by one of the horsemen (originally, doubtless, the leader), thrown across the saddle, and thus borne away.

    • Now, as mentioned by Dunlop in the text, Helinandus apud Vicen-

tium Bellovac. Spec, hist i. 29, tells nearly the same story, riz. : that a charooal-bumer often saw at night in the wood a ghostly horse- man with drawn sword, who pursued a naked woman, overtook her, transfixed her, threw her across the saddle, and bore her away. In Caesar Ton Heisterbach, xil 10, the infernalis venator figures similarly, holds a naked sword, and throws the slain woman across the horse before bim. In the Danish Saga of Groenjette (Qrimm, p. 896), that personage pursues on horseback through a green wood with a spear (older, perhaps, than the sword) in his hands the sea-maid, and brings her back beuire him acruss his horse. In Kuhn and Schwarz, North German Sagas, No. 1 16, the wild hunter likewise has the nude body of the slain woman before him across the horse." — Libb. See Supra, vol. i., note on p. 229. Also Die Quellen des Decam., by M. Landau, p. 113, and Capelletti, Stndi snl Decam., p. 147.

The dancing procession which takes place on Whit Tuesday in honour of St. Willibrord, at Echternach— the Springprosession — is a curious observance which may be menibned in the present connection.


106 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

pleasaunt." He has chosen the psalm measure which he used in paraphrasing the Acts of the Apostles :—

He aawe approche with swiftie foot

The place where he did staye, A dame with scattered heares nntruaeed,

Bereft of her araye. Besides all this two mastiffs great, etc.

It is not impossible that such old translations, now obso- lete and forgotten, may have suggested to Dryden's notice those stories of Boccaccio which he has chosen. Sigismunda, or Ghismonda and Guiscard/ as well as Gimon and Iphigenia, had appeared in old English rhyme before they received em- bellishment from his genius. Li his Theodore and Honoria he has adorned the above story with all the charms of ver- sification, and converted what he found an idle tale, into a beautiful poem. The supernatural agency, as well as the feelings of those present at Nastagio's entertainment, are managed with wonderful skill, and it seems on the whole the best executed of the three novels which he has selected from the Decameron.

9. Is the Faucon of Laf ontaine. Of this story it has been remarked, that " as a picture of the habitual workings of some one powerful feeling, where the heart reposes almost entirely on itself, without the violent excitement of oppos- ing duties or untoward circumstances, nothing ever came up to the story of Federico and his Falcon. The perseve- rance in attachment, the spirit of gallantry and generosity displayed in it, has no parallel in the history of heroical sacrifices. The feeling is so unconscious too and involun- tary, is brought out in such small, unlooked-for, and unos- tentatious circumstances, as to show it to have been woven into the very nature and soul of the author." *

^ Certain Worthy Manuscript Poems of great Antiquitie Reserred long in the Studie of a Northfolke Gentleman ; . . . now first published

by J. S. . The tragedy of Guistard and Siamond, etc London,

1597.

^ Lope de Vesa has drawn upon this tale for his El Halcon de Fede- rico. It has also been imitated in German by Hegerdon, ii. p. 293. Capelletti, in his interesting essay on this tale in the work bejfbre cited, quotes Franco Sachetti's " Novella," 195, as showing the neat affection the seignors of the middle ages had for their hawks. Liebrecht sur* mises that the Fabliau of Guillaume au Fauoon may have suggested the story to Boccaccio. See Barbaan, ii. 407 ; Legrand, iii. 41. The


. VII.] DECAMEBON OP BOCCACCIO. — VI. 4. 107

10. Port of this tale, which cannot be extracted, is taken from the 9th book of Apuleius. And in many passages there is close verbal agreement between the two. It also bears a strong resemblance to the Slst and 38rd novels of Girolamo Morlini.'

The tales in

Day VI. principally consist of bon mots, repartees, or ready answers, which relieve from some danger or embar- rassment '^ thus, for instance, in the

4. Ourrado, a citizen of Florence, having one day taken a crane with his hawk, sent it to his cook to be dressed for supper. After it had been roasted, the cook yielded to the importunities of one of his sweethearts, and gave her a leg of the crane. His master is greatly incensed at seeing the bird served up in this mutilated form. . The cook being sent for, excuses himself by asserting that cranes have only one leg. On hearing this Currado is still farther ex- asperated, and commands him to produce a live crane with only one leg, or expect the severest punishment. Next morning the cook, accompanied by his master, sets out in quest of this rara avis, trembling all the way with terror, and fancying everything he sees to be a crane with two legs. At length he is relieved from his anxiety, when, coming to a river, he perceives a number of cranes stand- ing on the brink on one leg, the other being drawn in, as is their custom. " Now, master," says he, " look at these ; did not I speak truth ? " " Stay a while," replies Currado, and then riding nearer, he cries out, " Shough ! Shough ! " with all his might, on which they flew away with both legs extended. " What say you now, have they not two legs ? " " Yes, yes," answered the cook, " but you did not shout out last night to the crane that was at supper, as you have

Fabliau, however, is eflsentially diil>3rent, and cannot, says Landau, be considered tlie source of the Decameron tale. A similar trait is related in the '* Adventures of Hatim Tai . . . from the Persian, by D. Forbes," Lond. 1830, Oriental Translation Fhind. See also Gervasii Tilb., Otia Imperialia, edited by Leibnitz, in the Scriptores Brnnsvicenses, 8, 100, p. 994.

' As also to No. 41 of v. d. Hagen's *' Gesammtabenteaer,*' Morlini's 33rd novel, seems to be erroneously cited here.

' Di chi cx>n alenno leggiadro motto tentato si riscotesse ; o con pronta risposta o avedimento, fuggissi perdita, pericolo, o soomo.


108 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

done to these, or questionless, it would hare put down its other leg like its fellows." ^

10. Is the only tale of this day which does not consist in a mere expression. Friar Gipolla, of the order of St. An- thony, was accustomed to go once a year to Gertaldo, to gather contributions. In this he was usually very suc- cessful, owing to the wealth and credulity of the people of that district. While there, as usual, in the month of August, he took an opportunity one Sunday morning, when all the inhabitants were assembled to hear mass, to solicit their attendance on the following day at the church-door, to contribute .their mite to the poor brethren of St. Anthony. He also informed them he would preach a sermon, and ex- hibit a most precious relic — a feather of the angel Gkibriel, which he had dropped in the chamber of the Virgin, when he came to her at the annunciation in Nazareth. The friar being of a jovial disposition, had two bottle companions in Certaldo, who happened to be present, and resolved to play him some mischief. As he went abroad to dinner that dav, they easily got access to his room, where they found a wal- let, and in it a casket wrapped up in silk, which contained the feather of a parrot, a bird at that time scarcely known in Italy. They carried off this feather, which was intended to pass for that of the angel, and, substituting some coals in its place, left all things apparently as they had found them. Next day an immense multitude being assembled, the friar sent for his wallet : having commenced his ser- mon, he discoursed at great length on the wonders of the relic he possessed, but when he came to the exhibition, he was somewhat disconcerted at finding the coals in place of the feather ; yet, without changing countenance, he shut

^ A similar anecdote is told in A. B[orgnet]*8 *' L^gendes Namu- roises, Namur, 1837, p. 215, the actors ^ing Christ and St. Peter on their way from Namur to Marche. Cf. also Schmidt, p. 63 ; Timo* neda, Alivio de Carainantes, p. i. No. 45 ; Bibl. de Autores Espafioles, vol. iii., Madrid, 1846; Bidermanni Utopia,!, vi. c. 18. — Libb. The story of the one-legged crane also occurs in the Tales of Nassredin Hodscha, but as this writer Hourished in the first half of the fourteenth century, his work can hardly have been the source of Boccaccio's tale. Landau, Quellen, 334. A French edition of Hodscha by A. I>ecourde- manche, Paris, 1876. The 75th Tale is of the one-legged goose. See Landau, Quellen, p. 334.


i


CH. VII.] DECAMEBON OP BOCCACCIO. — VI. 10. 109

the casket, and exclaiined, May the power of God be praised!" Then addressing his audience, he informed them that in his youth he had been sent by his superior into the East. He gave a long account of his travels as far as India, and told how on his return he had visited the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who had shown him innumerable relies : among others, a lock of the hair of the seraph that appeared to St. Francis, a paring of the cherub's nail, a few of the rays of the blessed star that guided the Magi in the East, a vial filled with the sweat which dropped from St. Michael when he combated with the devil, the jaw-bone of Lazarus, etc. But of all the relics, he had chiefly admired the feather of the angel Gabriel, and the coals that roasted St. Lawrence, with which the patriarch had in consequence been pleased to present him. These holy gifts had been packed up in caskets resembling each other, and it had been the will of God to bring the one which contained the coals, instead of that with the feather ; but the substitu- tion, he continued, was a fortunate thing for Certaldo, for whoever was marked by these coals with the sign of the cross, would be secure against injury by fire for the rest of the year. The credulous multitude were satisfied with this explanation, and contributed a large sum to be signed with the imaginary relics.^ •

This tale of Boccaccio drew down the censure of the Council of Trent, and is the one which gave greatest um- brage to the church. The author has been defended by his commentators, on the ground that he did not intend to censure the respectable orders of friars, but to expose those wandering mendicants who supported themselves by im- posing on the credulity of the people; that he did not mean to ridicule the sacred relics of the church, but those which were believed so in consequence of the fraud and artifice of monks.

In Chaucer's " Canterbury Tales " there is a similar

^ In Night 52 (Galanos, Benfey, i. 409), a king sends the disgraced son of a minister to another prince with a sealed box containing osten- sibly a present. The prince, however, upon opening it, sees that its contents are but ashes, and is accordingly wroth. The messenger, how. ever, with presence of mind equal to Cipolla's, says that they are holy 8in-efikcing ashes from the altar. — Landau, Quellen, p. 31.


110 HIBTOKT OP FICTION. [CH. VIlj

satire on ludicrous relics. The Pardonere, who had jus^ arrived from Borne, carried in his waUet, along with oUiei^ treasures of a like description, part of the sail of St. Peter*4 ship, and the veil of the Virgin Mary : ^ — '

And with these relikes, whanne that he fond '

A poure peraone dwelling up on lend, j Upon a ckij he gat him more moneie

Than that the peraone gat in monethes tweie. '

A catalogue of relics riyalling in absurdity those of Chaucer's Pardonere, or Boccaccio's Cipolla, is presentedl in Sir David Lindsay's " Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis." In| the thirty-eighth chapter of Etienne's " Apology for Hero- ^ dotus," we are told that a priest of Genoa, returning from the Levant, boasted that he had brought from Bethlehem the breath of our Saviour in a vial, and from Sinai the horns which Moses wore when he descended from that mountain. If we may believe the CoUoquia Mensalia ^ of Luther, the bishop of Mentz pretended to possess the flames of the bush which Moses beheld burning !

The sixth day concludes with a description of a valley, in which the ladies pass some part of the day. It was of a circular form, encompassed by six hills, on each of which stood a palace built in form a castle. Those sides that sloped to the south were covered with vines, olives, and every species of fruit-tree ; those that looked towards the north, were planted with oaks and ashes. The vale itself was full of cypress trees and laurels, through which no sunbeam could dart on the flower-spangled ground. But what was chiefly delightful, a stream issued through a valley which divided two of the hills, and, rushing over a rock, made an agreeable murmur, while the drops that were sprinkled shone to the eye like silver; it thence flowed in a clear and tranquil channel, till it was at length received into a pebbly basin in the midst of the plain.

Day VlL Is appropriated to stories of tricks or strata- gems, which women from love, or for their own security,

^ See the Truth of Supposed Legends, in Essays on Religion and Literature, ed. H. £. Manning, 1865, pp. 271-SSO.

' ccocxii . . . The bishop of Mnyenoe boasted he had a gleam of the flame of Moses' bnsh.— The Table Talk of M. Lather, ed. W. Haslitt Lond., 1857, p. 199.


CH. YU.] DSCAMEBON OF BOCCACCIO. — YII. 2, Q, 4. Ill

have put on their husbands, whether they were detected or not.*

2. A young woman of Naples brought a gallant to her house one m oming, while her husband was out at work. The object of the lover's visit was not accomplished when the husband unexpectedly returned ; he knocked at the door, which he found bolted, and internally commended, his wife for her vigilance and sobriety. She, on hearing him at the entrance, conceals the young man in a tub, and running down to her husband, upbraids him for his idleness. He answers that he had forgotten it was the festival of St. Graleone, but that she would not want for bread, as he had disposed of the tub since he went out for five shillings (gigliate^). The wife, with great readiness, says she had just sold it for seven. On hearing these words, the gallant instantly throws himself out of fiie vat, assumes the cha- racter of the purchaser, and agrees to take it at the price mentioned, provided it be first well scoured. The hus- band gets into the barrel, in order to scrub it, and while he was thus occupied —

Notre couple, ayant repiit courage, Reprit aussi le fil de Tentretien.

This tale has been translated by Boccaccio from a story which may be found near the beginning of the ninth book of Apuleius. It is the * Cuvier ' of Lafontaine.'

3. Is one of a good many novels in the Decameron, in which married women are seduced by monks, who were godfathers to their children (compare) ; — ^a connection which in Italy seems to have given access to the bosom of families, and placed familiarity beyond suspicion.

4. A rich man in Arezzo is jealous of his wife. She contrives to make him habitually drunk at night, and

  • Delle beffe, leqaali o per amore, o per salyamento di loro, le donne

hanno gia &lte a saoi mariti aenza essersene advedttti, o si. ^ A small Florentine silrer coin which bore figures of fleur-de-lis

' Cf. also Morlini, No. 35. The same subject is found in a fabliau entitled Le CuTier (roir Barbaian, t. i. p. 147, edit, in 12 ; t. iiL p. 91) ; whore, however, the wife is saved by her neighbour, who cries ** fire j " during the alarm her lover escapes. See also Legrand d'Aussy, iv. 47.


112 HI8TOET OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

while he is thus intoxicated she goes out to a gallant. At length the husband, distrusting her motives in thus en- couraging his evil propensity, pretends on one occasion to be drunk when perfectly sober. His wife went abroad according to custom ; but when she returns she finds the door locked, and on her husband refusing to open it, throws a stone into a well. The man thinking she had drowned herself, and fearing that he might be accused of the murder, runs to her assistance. Meanwhile she gets into the house, and shuts him out in turn. She loads him with abuse, and a crowd being gathered, he is exposed as a dissipated wretch to all his neighbours, and among others to the relations of his wife. This tale is the origin of the

  • Oalandra ' of the CardinalBibbiena, the best comedy that

appeared in Italy previous to the time of Goldoni : it also forms the ground-work of one of Dancourt's plays, and probably suggested to Moliere the plot of his celebrated comedy, Q^orges Dandin.^ The story, however, had been frequently told before the time of Boccaccio, being one of the Fabliaux of the Trouveurs, published by Legrand (vol. iii. p. 143). It appears in the still more ancient tales of Petrus Alphonsus [c. 15], which have been so frequently mentioned, and in one of the French versions of Dolopatos, or the Seven Wise Masters. It does not occur, however, in Syntipas, the Greek form of that romance, nor in the French version (Dolopatos) of Hebers, but only in that of the anonymous Trouveur.*

5. A merchant in Bimini being immoderately jealous of his wife, confines her closely at home in the most grievous restraint. She contrives, nevertheless, to enter into correspondence with a young man, called Philip, who lived in the adjoining building, by means of a chink in the partition between a retired part of her own house and Philip's chamber. On the day before the Christmas fes- tival, the lady informs the merchant that she means to p^> on the following morning to church, to confess her sins to

^ See especially act iii. sc. 8. Hans Sachs has drawn from the same source for his farce Daa Weib in Brunnen.

^ See Du Meril, Histoire de la Foesie Scandinave, p. 352. G. Keller. Rom. des Sept Saoes, p. clxxxix, Bandello. Pt. III. Ko. 47. Ser- cambi, Nov. 8. Altdeutsche Blltter, i. 154.


  • CH. Til.] DECAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — VII. 6. 113

a priest. Her husband inquires what sins she has to ac- knowledge. She replies that she has a great many, but

' that she would reveal them to no other than a priest. This mystery inflaming the jealousy of the husband, he repairs to the church where his wife intended to confess : having agreed with the chaplain, he puts on the disguise of a friar, and is ready on the following morning t^ receive the expected penitent. The lady instantly recognizes her husband, but, dissembling her knowledge, feigns a story

' that she is beloved by a priest, who comes to her every night while her husband is asleep, and that he possesses a power which neither locks nor bolts can resist. That eyening the husband tells his wife he is going abroad to supper, but lies in wait all night in a ground room, to ob- serve the expected coming of the priest. While thus em- ployed, the lady introduces her lover by the secret way into her chamber. The same thing is repeated during a number of nights; but the husband -at length, tired with watching, insists on learning the name of the priest of whom she is enamoured. His wife then cures him of jealousy, by assuring him that she had discovered his stratagem, and that he was the priest to whom she alluded in her confession.

This story seems to have been suggested by the Fabliau, ' Du chevalier qui confessa sa f emme.' ^ There a lady being sick, shows a most ^mest desire to see a confessor. Her husband wondering at this anxiety, disguises himself as a priest, and hears a confession of an intrigue with his nephew, who lived in the house. He immediately turns his relative out of doors, and on her recovery reproaches his wife with her conduct. She replies, laughing, &at she had detected his trick, and had taken that mode of at once avenging herself for such injurious suspicions, and of get- ting rid of his nephew, who was burdensome to the family. It is not easy to understand, from the abridg- ment of Legrand, whether this explanation was an inge- nious device on the part of the lady to conceal her gallan-

^ Lpgrand d'Aussy, p. 232. The ori^nal source both of the fabliau and of the tale is pruoably the Provencal *■ Koman de Flamenca,' an extract fK)m which is g^ven by Raynouard in the Lexiqne Humans i. p. 1. — LiBB. See Capelletti, Essay on this tale.

II. I


114 HI8T0&Y OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

tries, or whether she had reallj acted from the motives she avowed. The modem imitations correspond more closely with the Decameron than with the original Fabliau. In the 78th of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, entitled ' Le Mari Confesseur,' a ladj who is confessed by her husband in the disguise of a priest, acknowledges a criminal inter- course ^ith a squire, a knight, and a priest. On hearing this the husband bursts out into an indignant exclamation. " Were you not," says she, with some presence of mind, " a squire when I married you, were you not afterwards a knight, and are you not now a priest ? " This is copied by Laf ontaine in * Le Mari Confesseur.' In Bandello (Nov. 9«  par. 1) ^ the husband suborns the priest to hear the con- fession of his wife, and stabs her on its being reported to him, which cuts out the ingenuity and readiness of the wife's reply. "Compare," says Legrand, in a tone of exultation, " this Italian story of assassination with the French Fabliau, and see with what truth nations uninten- tionally paint their manners." Malespini, however, though an Italian novelist, has adhered in his 92nd tale to the incidents of the Fabliau. In the tales of Doni, the wife has an intrigue with a page during her husband's absence. Being detected by a neighbouring baron, she bribes him to silence by granting him the same favours ; she again permits herself to be discovered by a priest, and purchases secrecy by a similar compliance : she is confessed by her husband on his return, and having inadvertently acknow. ledged her triple transgression, she gets off by reminding her husband, that though now a baron, he had been formerly the king's page, and was at that moment a priest.

6. The wife of a Florentine gentleman had two lovers. To the one, called Leonetto, she was much attached ; but the other, Lambert uccio, only procured her goodwill by the power which he possessed, in consequence of his high rank] and influence, of doing her injury. While residing at J country seat, the husband of this lady left her for a few] days, and on his departure she sent for Leonetto to beaTi her company. Lambertuccio also hearing of the absenotq

^ See infra, iL p. 215.


CH. Til.] DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. — YII. 6. 115

of the husband, came to the yilla soon after the arrival of her favoured lover. Scarcely had Leonetto been concealed, and Lambertucdo occupied his place, when the husband unexpectedly knocked at the outer gate. At the earnest entreaty of 'his mistress, Lambertuccio runs down with a drawn sword in his hand, and rushes out of the house, ex- claiming, — " If ever I meet the villain again ! ** Leo- netto is then brought forth from concealment, and the husband is informed, and believes, that he had sought re- fuge in his viDa from the fury of Lambertuccio, who, having met him on the road, had pursued bim with an in- tention of putting him to death.

The original of this story is a tale in the Greek Syntipas, the most ancient European form of the Seven Wise Mas- ters, but it has been omitted in some of the more modem versions. In Syntipas, a Greek officer having an intrigue with a married woman, sends his slave to announce his in- tention of paying her a visit. The lady, however, is so much pleased witii the messenger, that she receives him in place of his master ; and the officer, becoming impatient at the delay, proceeds without farther ceremony to the house of his mistress. On his sudden approach, the lady has just time to conceal the slave, and then to receive her lover with assumed delight. While occupied with him, the husband knocks at the gate. Hearing this the lady places a drawn sword in the hand of her lover, and directs him to rush out, venting loud execrations. Having complied with her injunction, she informs the husband that he had come to the house in a paroxysm of fury, in search of a slave who had sought shelter with her, and whom, from principles of humanity, she had concealed from his resentment. After seeing the officer far off, the husband draws forth the young slave from his concealment, assuring him he need be under no further apprehensions, as lus master was already at a great distance. (M^m. de M. Dacier dans Les Hem. des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, vol. xli.) In the Tales of Petrus Alphonsus there is a similar story of a mother, who puts a sword into the hand of her daughter's gallant, and persuades the husband that he had fled to the house to seek refuge from the pursuit of assassins. There are ooiresponding stories in Legrand's Fabliaux (TV. p.


116 HI8T0EY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

160), Bandello (N. 11), and Parabosco (N. 16).' One or other of these tales suggested a part of Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of Women Pleased (act ii. scene 6), where Isabella in a similar manner conveys two lovers out of her chamber, when surprised by the coming of her husband.

7. A yoimg man of fortune in France, of the name of Lewis, repaired to Bologna, from a desire to see a lady, called Beatrice, whom he had heard mentioned as the finest woman in the world. He found that her beauty ex- ceeded even his high expectations, and he became so deeply enamouredj that, with the view of being constantly near her person, he engaged himself as an attendant to her husband. In a short while he proved so acceptable to his master, that he was looked on more as a friend than do- mestic. One day, on which the husband was abroad hawk- ing, Lewis, while playing at chess with his mistress, re- vealed his passion, acquainted her with his rank in life, and with all he had done for her sake. The lady took the bold step of desiring him to come at midnight to the apart- ment in which she slept with her husband. Thither Lewis repaired at the appointed hour, quite uncertain by what

^ This is one of the four tales with the subject of which the Disciph'na Clericalis has supplied the author of the Decameron (Disciplina. cap. 12, 8. 49), where as well as in the French yersion (Barbazan, iv. 85, Legrand, iii. 296), the wife has but one lover, and the husband is*daped by the mother-in-law, whereas in Boccaccio, in Syntipas and in an old German version of the Gesta Bomanorum (see G'raesse, No. 6, Bd. ii.

E. 149), the wife has two paramours and herself contrives to deceive her usband. Legrand (iii. 296)refers this story to the Dolopathos, which he confounds with the Seven Wise Masters, in neither of which, however, is it to be found. According to F. W. V. Schmidt (Beitrage,p. 127), the tale is missing in all Western versions of the Seven Wise Masters; however, Boccaccio's story is nearer that in Syntipas than that of the Disciplina and can scarcely be taken from the tale of " a noble man at Rome," in the above mentioned old German manuscript of Gesta Rom. As this is not found in the Latin versions of the Gesta, and can hardly have been known to Boccaccio, we must infer that his story is derived directly from the Greek Syntipas or from a Latin or French translation, now lost, of that work. Upon the different Oriental versions of this story, cf. Benfev (i. p. 163-7). They all, as well as the western compilations, show lovers in the father and son, or master and servant, white in the Decameron no such relation subsists. See Landau, Uber die Quellen des Decamerons, pp. 27 and 105, cf. also Poggio's No. oclxvii., CalHda con- silia florentine feminae in facinore deprehensas.


CH. VII.] DECAMERON OF BOCCACCIO. — ^VII. 7. 117

means the ladj intended to> gratify liis passion. He was accordingly much dismayed when, on approaching the side of the bed where the ladj was, she awakened her husband, and informed him that his servant Lewis had made offer to her of his love, and that if he wished to be satisfied of the truth of her assertion, he might dress himself in her clothes, and go to the pine-tree in the garden, where, in order to secure his conviction, she had agreed to meet him. The credulous husband set out on this errand ; Lewis re- mained some time with the lady, and then, at her sugges- tion, went down to the garden with a cudgel in his hand, which he exercised on the husband, feigning to believe that he is punishing the wife, and reviling her all the while for her infidelity. After this the sufferer returned to bed, and deemed the drubbing he had received amply compensated by the assurance now obtained of the fidelity of his servant and chastity of his spouse.

The incidents in this novel are amusing enough, but it does not appear that there was any necessity for the lovers to have hstd recourse to such intricate and perilous expe- dients. This tale has been copied by Ser Giovanni in the 2nd of the 8rd day of his Pecorone, and has given rise to that pELTt of an old English comedy of the seventeenth cen- tury, called the City Night-cap, by John Davenport, which relates to Frandsco's intrigue with Dorothea, the wife of Ludbvico.* It is the * Mari cocu, battu, et content,' of Lafon-

taine : —

Meflsire Bon eut vonlu que le zele

De son Valet n'eut 6te jusques la, Mais le vovant si sage, et si Adele,

Le bon hommeau des coups se oonsola.

' See Iieronx de Lincy upon the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, No. 88, and the Conti da Kidere, i. 139. '* D'un uomo che fn comuto, battu to e contento." Cf. also Timoneda's *' Alivio de Caminantes," p. i. No. 69, and the Bomancero General, Madrid, 1614, p. ix. fol. 344. A cognate German ballad is given in Mone's " Anzeiger fur Kunde des Deutschen Mittelalters, 4, 452. Der Herr nnd der Schrieber. — ^Libbrecht. Of. also the fabliau, Legrand d'Aussy, iii. 41 1. Roger Bontemps en Belle humenr, p. 64y and Poggio Bracciolini, i. 20, as well as the Colombier in the Apology for Herodotus, ii. 292, edn. 1735. Compare also a fabliau in MS. 60 of Carpus Christi College, Oxford, edited and commented on by M. Paul Meyer in Romania, i. 69, and Montaiglon, ii. 215. It is entitled Homans de un chevalier e de sa dame e de un dark."


118 HI8TOKT OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

8. SiBmonda, wife of Ariguccio Berlinghieri, a Floren- tine merchant, fell on a singular stratagem to obtain inter* views with her gallant. She procured a string, one end of which she tied to her great toe, while the other went out at the window and reached the street. The lover used to pull the cord as a signal of his approach, and if the ladj let it go to him, it was understood that he might come in, as this expressed that her husband was asleep. Ariguccio observ- ing this string, suspected there was some mjsterj at- tached to it, and while his wife was asleep, unloosed, it from her toe, and fastened it to his own. It was shortly after tugged by the gallant, on which Ariguccio ran to the entrance, and pursued his rival to a considerable distance. The lady, awakening, conjectured what had happened. She accordingly put out the hght, went into another apartment, and bribed one of her waiting-maids to take her place, in order to meet the resentment of her husband, who on his return cut off the hair of the substitute, and disfigured her face with blows. He next went to the house of his wife's brothers, informed them of her conduct, and how he had punished her. Thej accompanied him home, resolved to take a still more complete vengeance on their guilty sister ; but on their arrival they found her sitting at work with perfect composure; neatly apparelled, her face umblemished, and her hair properly ordered. As this differed wholly from the account of her husband, they refused to* give credit to the other part of their brother-in-law's story, and reviled him bitterly on account of the enormities of which their sister now introduced a plausible detail.

In the 4th novel of this day, we have seen a woman in- geniously justify herself in the sight of her relations, and bring her husband into disgrace ; but the incident of the substitution and cutting off the hair, is more ancient than the time of Boccaccio, and seems to have been suggested by the Fabliau of * Les Cheveux coupes ' ou la dame qui fit accroire i, son mari qu'il avait reve (Legrand, v. ii. p. 99, Des Tresces,^ Barbazan, ii. 393),

^ The ultimate source of the story is, howerer, Eastern, and probably Buddhistic. But the oldest form in which it is known to us, preserved in the 10th story of the Mongolian Collection, Siddhi-Kiir (ed. Julg-, p. 51), is considerably different from Boccaccio's tale. The elements of


CH. VII.] DECAMBBON OF BOCCACCIO. — ^VII. 8. 119

where, however, the intrigue is detected in a different manner from tlie story in the Decameron. A gaUant comes to his mistress's chamber, and the husband, mis- taking him for a robber, throws him into a tub, and orders his wife to watch till he runs for a light. The wife allows the gaUant to escape, and substitutes a calf in his place. At the return of the husband she is turned out of doors. She bribes a servant to lie down by her husband, who, thinking his wife had come back, cuts off her hair ; when the husband falls asleep, she resumes her place, and sub- stitutes the calf's skin in room of the hair, by which means she persuades him in the morning that the whol^ had been a di^m. This improbable story is perhaps the immediate original of Boccaccio's, but the incidents may be traced as far back as the tales of Bidpai, the oldest collection in the world. In one part of the fable of the Dervise and

the same story are found in the Turkish Parrot book (Papageienbuch Wickerhauser, 212, Kosen ii. 96). The tale of the Weaver^ Wife in the Panschatantra (bk. i. tale 4, ed. Benfej, ii. 38; Hitopadesa, ii. 7, p. 87 ; Johannes of Capua, cap. ii.), is nearer Boccaccio's rersion. The wife is caught under suspicious circumstances by her inebriated hus- band, cudgelled, and bound to a post. While the weayer sleeps off his potations, lier friend, the barber's wife, releases the sufferer, and allows nerself to be bound to the post in the stead of the yictim, who profits bj her liberty to see her lover. Meanwhile the weaver awakes, renews his quarrel with the changed captive, whom he still takes to be his wife, and having cut off her hair and her nose, goes to sleep again. His wife now releases her friend, and when it is day tells the weaver that her nose has been restored by a miracle to prove her innocence, while her friend pretends her own husband, the barber, inflicted the mutila- tion. The latter is condemned, but saved through the intervention of a begging brahmin, whereupon his wife, the true friend, is condemned to further lose her ears. Tae fate of the weaver's wife remains untold. In the original Buddhistic form of the story, the duped husband was a shoemaker, but the Brahmanic compilers made him a weaver, as shoe- making was considered by them an unclean trade. See Landau, Qnellen, pp. 132-136.

See Schmidt's Beitraege, p. 75. Loiseleur Deslongchamps, Fables Indiennes, p. 33. Von der Hagen's Gesammtabentener," No. 43 and 31. Timoneda's " Patraiias,'* No. 10. — Liebbicht. The real source of this story/* writes Landau, is oriental^ and probably a Buddhistic. In the tenth tale of the Mongolian Collection Siddhi-kiir, the wife has her tongue bitten off by the lover, she however declares that her husband inflicted the mutilation while he was in a state of intoxication ; her brother, however, bears witness against her before the judge, and she is executed.


120 HIBTOET OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

Bobbers, at least as it appears in the version of Galland^ a shoemaker's wife being detected in an intrigue, and tied to a pillar, persuades another womaa to take her place. The husband rises during night, and cuts off the nose of the substitute. After this catastrophe the wife instantly re- sumes her position, and addresses a prayer to Gknl to manifest her innocence, by curing her of the wound. The 40th story of the 2nd part of Malespini is a similar tale with that of Bidpai;^ it also occurs in the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, and one or other of these imitations probably suggested the incident in Massinger's ** Guar<fian," of Severino cutting off Calipso's nose, mistaking her in the dark for his wife lolante.

9. Lidia, wife of Nicostrato, one of the richest inhabi- tants of Argos, became enamoured of an attendant of her husband, named Fyrrhus. By the intervention of a female confidant, she disclosed to him her passion, and solicited a return. Pyrrhus, suspecting that this message was a stratagem to try his fidelity to his master, demanded, before requiting her affection, that she should kill her husband's favourite hawk, and send him a tuft of his master's beard, as also one of his grinders," in token of her sincerity. All this the lady promised to perform, and added spontaneously, that she would offer her husband in his own presence the most grievous insult he could receive. The two first articles of her engagement she easily fulfilled. She also obtained a tooth, by instructing her husband's pages to turn aside their heads while serving him, and then persuading him that they did so on account of his bad breath, occasioned by a spoiled tooth, which he readily permitted her to draw. In order to perform the voluntary part of her agreement, she went one day into the garden, accompanied by her husband and Pyrrhus. By her direc- tion the latter climbed a pear-tree, whence, to the great surprise of the former, he exclaimed against the immodesty of his conduct with his wife. The husband ascribes this deceptio vieus to some magical property in the pear-tree, and, ascending to investigate its nature, he attributes to

^ Cf. Panschatantra (bk. i. tale 4, Benfey, ii. 38 ; Hitopadesa, ed. Max Miiller, Leipzig, 1844, ii. p. 87 ; John of Capua, c. 2). ^ Cf. Huon of Bourdeaux, supra, ii. 295.


CH. VII.] DECAHEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — ^VII. 9. 121

enchantment the intercourse that takes place between his wife and servant.

AU that relates to the pear-tree in this tale corresponds precisely with the 4th lesson in chapter 12th of the collec- tion of oriental stories, known by the name of Bahar- Danush, or Gkirden of Knowledge. — "The fourth lady having bestowed her attention on the Pilgrim Bramin, de- spatched him to an orchard, and having gone home, said to her husband, I have heard that in a certain orchard there is a date tree, the fruit of which is of remarkable fine flavour ; but what is yet stranger, whoever ascends it sees many wonderful objects. If to-day, going to visit this orchard, we gather dates from this tree, and also see its wonders, it will not be unproductive of amusement. In short, she so worked upon her husband with flattering speeches and caresses, that he went to the orchard, and at the instigation of his wife ascended the tree. At this instant she beckoned to the Bramin, who was previously seated expectantly in a comer of the garden. The hus- band, from the top of the tree beholding what was not fit to be seen, exclaimed in extreme rage. Ah ! thou shameless wretch, what abominable action is this ? The wife, making not the least answer, the flames of anger seized the mind of the man, and he began to descend from the tree ; when the Bramin, with activity and speed, having hurried over the fourth section of the Tirrea Bede, went his way. The husband, when he saw no person near, was astonished, and said to himself. Certainly this vision must have been miraculous. From the hesitation of her husband, the artful wife guessed the cause, and impudently began to abuse him. Then instantly tying her vest round her waist, she ascended the tree. When she had reached the topmost branch, she suddenly cried out, O ! thou shameless man, what abominable action is this? The husband replied. Woman, be silent ; for such is the property of the tree, that whoever ascends it sees man or woman below in such situations. The cunning wife now came down, and said to her husband, what a charming garden and amusing spot is this ; where one can gather fruit, and at the same time behold the wonders of the world ! The husband replied. Destruction seize the wonders which falsely accuse man of


122* HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VII.

wickedness ! " (Scott's " Bahar-Danush/' vol. ii.) It is true, that the Bahar-Danush was not written till long after the age of Boccaccio, but the author Inatul}a pro- fesses to have borrowed it from the traditions of the Bramins, from whom it may have been translated into the languages of Persia or Arabia, and imported from these regions to Europe by some crusader, like other Asiatic romances, which have served as the ground- work of so many of our old stories and poems. Indeed, I have been informed bj an eminent oriental schohor, that the above story of the Bahar-Danush exists in a Hindu work, which he believes prior to the age of Boccaccio. That part of the tale in the Decameron, which relates to the stratagem by which the lady obtains a tooth from her husband, seems to have been suggested either by the Conte Ddvot d'un roi qui voulut f aire briiler le fils de son seneschal, or the 68th story of the Cento Novelle Antiche, which is copied from the French tale (see infra, vol. ii. ch. ix.). The incidents in the novel of Boccaccio concerning the pear-tree form the second story in Lafontaine's La Gageure des trois Com- m^res." They have also some resemblance to the Merchant's Tale in Chaucer, and by consequence to Pope's " January and May." ^

^ See Schmidt, Beitrage, p. 81 ; Da Meril, p. 354 3Keller, Rom. des Sept Sages, p. clxxvii. and ccii. and p. 52, 56. Wieland's Oberon, stanza 80, etc. Thomas Wright, Latin Stories from MSS. of the Thir- teenth and Fourteenth Centuries, Ko. 91. The Fabliau, Legrand, ii. n. 101 ; Montaielon, iii. p. 64 ; D'Orville, Contes, 1732, ii. p. 133 ; Malespini, Novelle, ii. 131 and 220; Gesta Romanorum, cap. Ixxxiv. ; Weiberlist, ▼. d. Hagen, Qesammtab., ii. No. 38, p. 261 ; Poesies of Marie de France, ii. 206.

Cf. a story in the Codex Panciatichi of the Cento Norelle Antiche (Papanti. Catal. Na 22, Biagi, No. 155), where the intercourse between the lovers takes place in a tree beneath which the blind husband is standing. St. Peter is witness to the scene, and asks that sight may be miraculously granted to the man for the confusion of the woman. This is accorded, but upon his reproaching his wife, she immediately retorts : If I had not done so, yon would never have seen the light." In the year 1702, Count Lamberg, Imperial ambassador, writes from Rome a stor^ of the Spanish Viceroy at Naples, the Duke of Medina- coeli. His wife once found him occupied in tender converse with the singer Giorgina, reproached him bitterly, and sickened from chai^rin and jealousy. The duke betook himself to his confessor, who restored domestic peace by convincing the duchess that the devil had assumed


CH. VII.] DECAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — VIII. 1. 123

At the conclusion of the seventh daj, we are told, that before supper, Dioneo and Fiammetta sung together the story of Palamon and Arcite, which is the subject of Boc- caccio's poem " The Theseide," Chaucer's " Knight's Tale," Fletcher's drama of the " Two Noble Kinsmen," in which he is said to have been assisted by Shakespeare, and the Palemon and Arcite of Drjden. Never has fiction or tradi- tion been embellished by such genius.

Day YJJLl. contains stories of tricks or stratagems of men to women, of women to men, or of one man to another.^

1. A joung man of Milan had placed his affections on a ladj, the wife of a rich merchant in that city ; on declaring to her his attachment, she promised to comply with his wishes for two hundred florins of gold. Shocked at the avarice of his mistress, he borrowed from the husband the sum which he bestowed on the wife. On the departure of the merchant for Genoa, she sent for her lover to bring the

the form of her husband, in order to deceire her. The episode is also contained in the Turkish collection of the Forty Yezirs (story of the 31st Vezir), 1,001 Nights (Night 898, ed. Habicht.), but in these eastern yersions the woman is the first to climb the tree, and declares she beholds her husband questionably engaged. There is a very curious Tariant of the story in a Syrian Marchen (Der neuaramaische Dialekt des Tur Abdin. Syrische Sagen und Marchen aus dem Volksraunde gesammelt und iibersetzt von £. Prym und A. Socin ; I. Theil, text, II. TbeiJ, Uebersetsung, Gottingen, 1881', No. 78, p. 330).

The trait of the ofiensive breath is.fbund also in the fabliau form (' ])u roi qui Tolt fere ardoir le filz de son Senechal,' Mten, ii. 331. Cf. also Walter Mapes's episode of Parius and Lausus, Nugae Curialium, Dist. III. cap. 3). A converse is the innocent wife who did not tell her husband of his offensive breath, in the belief that all men were alike in that respect (Nioolai Fergameni dialogus Creaturarum, dial. 78, p. 223, ed. Grasse, 1880). The resemblance of the story, even to the names of the personages, with a Latin poem, Comedia Lidice (published by Gd^estand an Meril, after a manuscript in the Vienna Uofbibliothek, Codex 312, ff. 31-40), is remarkable. See Poesies in6dites du Moyen a^, Paris, 1854, p. 350-373. The husband, however, is named Decius, and the fourth proof of Lidia's sincerity is only stipulated after the three others have been given. Du M^ril maintains the Latin poem to have been the work of Matthieu de Venddme (fl. circa 1300), and if this be so^ it was this doubtless from which BoooBccio directly derived his theme. See Landau, Quellen, 1884^ pp. 79-83.

^ Di quelle Beffe che tutto il giomo, o donna ad huomo, o huomo a donna, o V noo huomo a 1' altro si fanno.


124 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

money ; he arrived, accompanied by a friend, in whose pre- sence he gave her the two hundred florins, desiring her to deliver them to her husband when he should come home. He thus obtained the caresses of his venal mistress, and on the husband's return, informed him that having no farther occasion for the sum he had lately borrowed, he had repaid it to his wife. As she had received it in presence of a wit- ness, she was obliged to refund the money she had so shame- fully acquired. This is Chaucer's " Slupmanne's Tale, or Story of Dan John :" it is Lafontaine's A Femme avare Qulant escroc." The above stratagem is attributed to Cap- tain Philip Stafford, in Johnson's Lives of Pirates and Highwaymen." Indeed, that work is full of tricks recorded by Boccaccio, Sabadino, and Sacchetti ; which shows that it is a mere invention, unless Johnson's worthies resorted to the Italian novelists for instruction.

2. A priest having fallen in love with the wife of a pea- sant, goes to the cottage one day in absence of the husband, and obtains whatever he desires from the wife, on deposit- ing his cloak in her hands, as a pledge for payment of a certain sum. The priest afterwards finding tlutt it would be impossible for him to spare the money, but feeling that it was requisite to redeem so essential a part of his dress, sends to his mistress for the loan of her mortar. He re- turns it with many thanks, at a time he knew her husband would be with her, and desires his messenger to ask for the cloak which had been left as a pledge when the mortar was borrowed. The woman is thus obliged to deliver it up, as she could not assert her right to retain it in presence of her husband.

This tale was probably suggested to the Italian novelist by the first part of the Fabliau du Prestre et de la Dame, though the imitation be not nearly so close as in most of the other tales in which Boccaccio has followed the produc- tions of the Trouveurs. In the Fabliau, a priest, while on an amatory visit to the wife of a burgess, is nearly sur- prised by the imexpected coming of the husband. His mistress has just time to conceal him in a great basket, which stood in an adjacent apartment ; but in the hurry he left his cloak behind liim. He had not long remained in the basket, before it occurred to him that it might be


1


CH. VII.] DECAMEBON OF BOCCACCIO. — VIII. 4. 125

applied to better purposes than concealment ; taking it in his arms, he returned boldly to the room where the burgess was sitting with his wife, and requested, as he had now brought back the basket, of which he had the loan, that the cloak which he left in pawn should be restored to him. (Fabliaux par Barbazan et Meon, t ii. p. 181 ; Legrand, iii. 417 ; Montaiglon, ii. 236.)^

4. The prebendary of Fiesole became enamoured of a widow in his neighbourhood. As he was old, and of dis- agreeable person, the lady was much distressed by his im- portunate solicitations. In order to get rid of tiiem, she feigns a readiness to comply with his wishes, and desires him to come to her house on the following evening. The room in which he is received being darkened, she substi- tutes in her place a waiting-maid of hideous aspect. After he had remained for some time, she sends for his bishop. The whole fomily then burst into the room with lights, and the priest is at the same moment gratified with a view of his superior, and the mistress for whom he had thus sacri- ficed his reputation. •

^ Boccaccio more probably derived the story from some other fabliau to which he adhered more closely. For a MS. written at the begin- ning of thirteenth century, now in Trinity College Library, Cambridge, contains, with other translations into Latin leonine verse, many which, in a condensed form, furnish the material of different Fabliaux, and among them the following : —

    • Versus de mola piper is,

Militis uxorem clamidismercede snbegit Clericus, et piperis clam tulit inde molam.

Mane redit, referensqne molam prsesente marito Dixit : mantellnm redde, reporto molam.

Redde maritus ait ; respondit foemina : reddam : Amplius ad nostram non molet ille molam."

See Th. Wright, Essays on the Literature Superstitions, and History of Eng^d in the Middle Ages, Lond., 1846, vol. i. p. 167. Cf. later fiettrbeituneen of this material in Legrand, 4, 294, etc., De la Dame et du Cur6. Le Singe: de Lafontaine, 1773 ; Le Niortier Poetar. Belgic. Delicise; Mola of Fr. Swertus-Bebelii Facetiie iii. Factum cujusdam Francigenie. and Nugse venales, by R. Head, 1681 , p. 78. — Liebrbcht. It is carious to compare this story and its variants with Decameron, viii. 10. In both cases greed is a chief motive, the restitution being, how- ever, here obtained, not by further playing on the passion of avarice, as in viii. 10, but upon the fear of detection, as it is also in the ruse of Dan John in Chaucex^s *' Shipmanne's Tale," of which one is also reminded as coming into the same essential class of story.


126 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

This story is taken, with little yariation, from the Fab- liau Le Pretre et Alison, of the Trouveur Guillaume le Normand.^ It is also the 47th of the 2nd part of Bandello.

7. A man of letters, who had studied at Paris, becomes enamoured, on his return to Florence, of a young widow of that city. She is soon made acquainted with his passion, but resolves, as she had another gallant, to turn it into ridicule. One night when she expected her favoured lover, she sends a waiting-maid to direct the scholar to come that evening to the court behind her house, and wait till he be admitted. Here he remains for a long while amid the snow, which had fallen the day before, expecting every moment to be invited in, the widow and her lover laughing all the time at his credulity. An excuse is first sent to him, that the lady's brother is arrived at her house, but that he would not stay long. At length, towards morning, he is informed that he may depart, as the brother had remained all night. The scholar goes home almost dead with cold, resolving to be revenged for the trick which he now per- ceives had been played on him. In the course of a few months the lady is deserted by her lover, and applies to the scholar, to recall his affections by magical operations, in which she believes him to be skilful. Pretending to accede to her wishes, the clerk informs her that he will send an image of tin, with which she ijiust bathe herself three times in a river, then ascend naked to the top of some unoccupied building, and remain there till two damsels appear, who will ask what she wishes to have done. Ac- cordingly the lady retires to a farm which she possessed in the country, and having three times immersed herself at midnight in the Amo, she next ascends an uninhabited tower in the vicinity. The scholar, who lay in wait, re- moves the ladder by which she got up. A long dialogue then follows between them : he reproaches her with the

^ Barbftzan. Fabliaux, ed. augm. par M. Mten, 1808, yol ii. 427, Legmnd, iii. 420, and Montaiglon, ii. 8. Landaa (Quellen,p. 151) coin- pares the Catina of Plautns and Ovid, Fasti iii. 677-694, ana Quintilian, Declamationes (ed. Burmann, Leyden, 1720, No. 363, p. 753), where a merchant so importunes a poor man to give up his wife to him for a sum of money, tliat at length he accepts the amount, and sends him his wife's maid attired in her mistress's dress.


CH. VII.] DECAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — ^VIII. 7, 8. 127

trick she bad played him ; she begs forgiveness, and en«  treats to be permitted to descend. This, however, is not granted till the ensuing evening, bj which time her skin is all cracked and blistered by the bites of insects and the heat of the sun.^

We are informed by some^f the commentators on Boc- caccio, that the circumstances related in this story happened to the author himself, and that the widow is the same with the one introduced in his Laberinto d' Amore. The unusual minuteness with which the tale is related grives some coun- tenance to such an opinion ; however this may be, it has evidently suggested to Le Sage the story, in the Diable Boiteuz (c. viii.),of Patrice, whose mistress, Lusita, makes him remain a whole night in the street before her windows, on the false pretence that her brother, Don Qaspard, is in the house, and that her lover must wait till he depart.

8. Two intimate friends, one called Zeppa, and the other Spinelloccio, both of whom were married, resided in Sienna. Spinelloccio being frequently in the house of Zeppa, fell in love with the wife of his friend. He carried on an intrigue for some time without being detected, but one day the lady, thinking that her husband was abroad, sent for her gallant, and Zeppa saw him enter his wife*s apartment. As soon as Spinelloccio retiurned home, Zeppa upbraided his spouse with her conduct, but agreed to for- give her, provided she would ask her gallant to the house next day, and afterwards shut him into a chest, on pretence of hearing her husband coming. This being executed, 2ieppa enters the room where his friend and rival was con- fined; he next sends for the wife of Spinelloccio, and

^ The story of the Brahmin Lohayanga, in the Somadera, has for its chief characteristic a rerenge of a similar kind. *' Makarandanshtra, the mother of Rnpinika cannot tulerate her daughter's love for the beau- tifhl Lohayanga, and accordingly has him cudgelled and driven away. After a l<ing absisnoe ha returns, borne on thegaruda or wonderful bird, half man halfyulture, and gives himself out as the god Vishnu, receives the favours of Rnpinika, and revenges himself on Makarandanshtra by painting one half of her body with ruddle and the other with yellow ochre, and exposing her with shaven head in this toilette upon the highest point of a temple, to universal laughter, having persuaaed her that he was about to take her alive with him to heaven." Landau, Quelleo, p. 34.


128 HISTORY OF FICTION. [OH. VII.

haying informed her of the conduct of her husband, per- suades her to a mutual revenge, corresponding to the nature of the offence. Spinelloccio was then drawn from his concealment, *^ after wKich,*^ says the novelist, " all par- ties concerned dined very amicably together, and the same good understanding continued amongst them for the time to come.

This story was probably suggested to Boccaccio by the latter part of the Fabliau Constant du Hamel (Legrand, iii. 356 ; Barbazan, i. 296).^ There a priest, a provost, and a forester, attempt to seduce a peasant's wife. The bus- band has thus a triple vengeance to execute : But in the Fabliau this revenge was an ungrateful return to the wife, who had not yielded to the solicitations of her lovers, but had contrived to coop them up successively in a tun which held feathers. This Fabliau a^in probably derived its origin from some oriental tale. In the story of Arouya, in the Persian Tales, a lady, solicited by a cadi, a doctor, and governor, exposes them to each other.

To Persia the story had probably come from the Bramins, as there is a similar incident in the Bahar-Danush, which is founded on their traditions : — " Gk)hera saw her husband, Houssum, conducted to the Cutwal for examination. She followed, and requested that magistrate to release him ; but he refused, unless she would submit to his embraces. She then went to the Cauzi, and requested his interference; but the judge offered her relief only on the same conditions as the Cutwal. She seemingly consented, and appointed a time for his visit at her lodgings. She then went to the Cutwal, and made also an assignation with that officer. At night the Cauzi comes, bringing with him provisions for a treat, and while feasting is interrupted by a knocking at the door. Fearful of being discovered, he entreats Gohera. to conc^ him, and she shows him a large jar, into which he creeps, and the lid is fastened upon him. The Cutwal now enters, when, after some time, the door sounds again,

' Landan, p. 151, remarks a resemblance between this fabliau and the storj of Upakosa (Somadeva, cap. 4). Forvarious allied tales, see von der Hagen, Gesammtabenteuer, pp. xxxv-lxi ; Keller, Li romans des Sept Sages ; Tubingen, 1836, von H. A. Keller, p. ccxxiii ; Bandello, p. iii. Nov. 43 ; Casti Novelle galanti. No. 7 ; Cent. Nouv. Nouvelles, No. 3.


CH. yn.] DECAMEBON OP BOCCACCIO. — ^VIII. 10. 129

I

and this magistrate is put into a chest, which is locked bj Gbhera. Next morning she hires porters, and has the graTe magistrates carried before the Sultan, who orders them to be severely punished, and Houssum to be re- leased." (Scott's " Bahar-Danush," vol. iii. Appendix.) The storj in the Decameron is introduced in Lafontaine's Le Faiseur d'Oreilles et le Kaccommodeur de Monies.

10. " It was," says Boccaccio, " and perhaps is still, the custom in all sea-ports, that traders should lodge their merchandise in a public warehouse, and that an account of the nature and value of the goods should be entered in a register. This record being open to all, was of great service to the fair damsels of Palermo, who lay in wait to entrap wealthy strangers." Now a young Florentine, called Salabaetto, was sent by his masters to Sicily, to dispose of some woollen cloth, valued at 500 florins of gold. This young man soon fell imder the observation of a woman, styling herself Signora Jancofiore, who sent a waiting-maid to inform him how deeply she was enamoured of his person,^ and to request him to meet her at one of the public baths.^ There, and afterwards at her own house, which is described as elegantly fitted up, she personated a lady of rank and fortune. At length, when she had com«  pletely fascinated the Florentine, she entered the room, one night while he was at her house, in a flood of tears, and informed him she had just received letters from a brother, acquainting her, that unless she could transmit him a thousand florins within eight days, he would inevitably lose his head. As she affirmed that she could not procure the whole within the specified time, the Tuscan agreed to lend her 500 florins, which he had just procured by the sale of the woollen cloth. When she had got possession of this sum, she became more shy of admitting him to her house. After waiting a long while for payment of the money,

^ Plautns, in his Menaech, attributes a similar custom to the courtezans of the Mediterranean islands in his day :

" Morem hunc Meretrices habent ;

Ad portum mittunt servulos ancillulas,

Si qua peregrlna navis in portum aderit ;

Kitgunt eivitatis sit — quid ei nomen siet :

Post illae extemplo sese adplicent." ^ See supra, note 3, p. 83. II. K


130 HI8TOBT OF PICTIOK. [CH. VII.

without receiTing it, he saw he had been duped ; but as he had no proof of the debt, and was afraid to return to Flo- rence, he sailed for Naples. There his friend Gamigiano, treasurer of the empress of Constantinople, at that time resided. Having acquainted him with the loss sustained, at the suggestion of Camigiano he re-embarked for Palermo with a great number of casks, which, on his arrival, he entered in the warehouse as being filled with oil: he then resumed his acquaintance with his former mistress, and appeared to be satisfied with her apologies. Jancofiore, who understood that the late importation was valued at two thousand florins, and that her lover expected still more precious commodities, thought herself in the way of a richer prize than she had jet obtained, and repaid the five hundred florins, that the Florentine might entertain no suspicions of her honesty. Then, on pretence that one of his ships had been taken by corsairs, he procured from her a loan of a thousand florins, on the security of the merchandise which she believed to be in the warehouse, and with this sum he departed to Florence, without the knowledge of his mistress. When she had despaired of his return, she broke open the casks he had left behind, which were now discovered to be filled with salt water, aqd a little oil on the surface.

The origin of this story may be foxmd in the tales of Petrus Alphonsus.^ There a certain person lends a sum of

^ Diaciplina clericalis, c. 16 The incident of engaging boxes or casks filled with rubbish seems to have come from the Ra»t through Spain.

Even that pattern of honour, the Cid, employed the stratagem of the coffer filled with sand to procure means for nis journey into exile.

" Then two Jews of well-known substance

To his board inviteth he, And of them a thousand florins

Asketh with all courtesy.

' Lo ! ' saith he, ' these two large coffers,

Laden all with plate thpy be ; Take them for the thousand florins —

Take them for security. In one year, if I redeem not,

That ye sell them I agree.'

"Trusting to the Cid's great honor, Twice the sum he sought they lend ;


CH. yn.] DBCAMBBOV OV BOCCACCIO. — Till. 10. 131

monej to a treacherous friend, who refuses to repay it. Another person is instructed by the lender to fill some trunks with heavy stones, and offer to deposit this pre- tended treasure in the hands of the cheat. While the negodation is going on, he who had been defrauded comes to repeat his demand, which the false friend now complies with, lest any suspicion should fall on his honesty in pre-

To their haods he gave the coffers — Full were they of luiaght but sand ! "

This mse was deplored as the only base act of the Cid, who, however, redeemed his pledge with the booty taken after the sack of a Moorish stronghold, and commanded Don Alrar Faney,

" To the worthy Jews two hnndred,

Marks of gold bear with all speed ; With as many more of silver,

Which they lent me in my need."

One of the chests is said to be preserved in the cloisters of Burgos CathcMlral. The poem describes them as covered with red leather and stndded with gilt-headed nails. The Cid, by Q. Dennis, p. 1 l.S. Dob- son's *^ Classic Poets " p. 116. Cf. alio the storv of the blind man who upon missing some money which he had hidden in a comer of his garden, suspected his neighbour of stealing it, and pretends to seek his counsel as to whether he should bury another sum in the same spot, not letting him know that he was aware of the disappearance of the first. The neighbour, in the hope of increasing his ill-gotten gain, advisee him to do so, and, in order to avert suspicion, hastens to replace the stolen money, which its rightful owner thus recovers. See Sachetti's " Novel," 198, p. 154 of this volume.

The story is also j&f^n by Jacques de Cessales in the " Book of the Chess moraliaed." See reprint of Caxton's translation, Loud., 1883, p. 114.

Whatever its real origin, the story, like so many others, has been related as an actuality, and appears in Gassei Fia Hilaria, 1629, under an aooount of the will of Jehan Connaza of Antwerp (circ. 1630), who, having given all his property to his two daughters, his only children, and finding himself neglected by them, resorts to an analogous device to secure not their affection, but their sordid simulation of it and care for his old age. The story forms a plot for a comedy by C. O. Ktienne, performed in Paris in 1810 with great success, rhe Novella has been used by Lope de Vega in his drama, El Anxuelo de Feni^a. A similar plot mrms the subject of Der Schlaue Ruth in Simrock's " Deutschen M'arclien,*' No. 37, and of a story in the Turkish Agiaib- Elmeaser, printed by Aim4 Martin, as a supplement u> the Mule et QQ Jours, Taris, 1838, p. 662. See Curiosities of a Search Room, p. 32.


132 UISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

sence of the new dupe. This, like most other stories of Alphonsus, was probably borrowed from the east, as a similar one occurs in the Arabian Nights. From Alphonsus the tale passed to the Trouveurs (Legrand, Fabliaux, ii, 403, Barbazan, It. 109,) to the author of the Glesta Eo- manorum ^ (c. 118), and of the Cento Novelle Antiche. Boccaccio probably obtained it from the 74th tale of this last work, where the story, as related by Petrus Alphonsus, is given as the third example of those, who, trying to be better, lost the whole. " Qui conta de certi che per cercare del meglio perderono il tutto.'* The novel of Boccaccio has some resemblance to the under-plot of Eule a Wife and have a Wife, where Estif ania, a courtezan, insnares Michael Perez by personating a lady of quality, but is herself afterwards cozened with regard to the contents of his caskets.

Day IX. During this day the narrators are allowed to recoimt stories on any subject they please,^ but they seem for the most part to have followed the topics of the preceding one.

1. A widow lady in Pistoia had two lovers, the one called Einuccio, the other Alexander, of whom neither was acceptable to her. At a time when she was harassed by their importunities, a person named Scannadio, of repro- bate life and hideous aspect, died and was buried. His death suggested to the lady a mode of getting rid of her lovers, by asking them to perform a service which she thought herself certain they would not undertake. She acquainted Alexander, that the body of Scannadio, for a purpose she would afterwards explain, was to be brought to her dwelling by one of her kinsmen, and feeling a horror at such an inmate, she would grant him her love, if, attired in the corpse clothes of Scannadio, he would occupy his place in the cofiSn, and allow himseK to be con- veyed to her house in the place of the deceased. To Einuccio she sent to request that he would bring the corpse of Scannadio at midnight to her habitation. Botli lovers, contrary to expectation, a^ee to fulfil her desires.

^ In Dec. viii. 3, where a somewhat similar situation is brought about.

^ Dl quello cho piu gli aggrada.


CH. TU.] DEGAMEBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — IX. 1. 133

During night she watches the event, and soon perceives Binuccio coming along bearing Alexander, who was equipped in the shroud of Scannadio. On the approach of some of the watchmen with a light, Binuccio throws down his burden and runs off, while Alexander returns home in the dead clothes. Next day each demands the love of his mistress, which she refuses, pretending to believe that no attempt had been made to execute her commands.

In an old English ballad a similar expedient is devised bj a prioress, to get rid of her three lovers, a knight, a prelate, and a burgher. She promises her affections to the frst, if he will lie all night in a chapel as a dead body, and wrapped in a winding-sheet. Next she requires the parson to say mass over the corpse, which she pretends is that of a cousin who had not been properly interred. She then tells the merchant to bring the body to her house, as the deceased owed her money, and must not be buried till his friends discharge the debt; and, in order to terrify the priest, she desires that he should equip himself ia disguise of the devil. The lovers all meet in the chapel, where both the knight and priest run off, so that the merchant has no corpse to bring home to his mistress. Hence the allotted service being accomplished by none of them, the lady refuses her love to all three. This tale is entitled the Pryorys and her Three Wooyrs, and has been published in Jamieson's Popular Ballads [i. 249] from a MS. in the British Museum, attributed to Lydgate.^

  • Cf. also J. W. Wolfs Niederlllndische Sagen, No. 425. Landan

(Qaellen, 1884, p. 333) considers this tale related to " an oriental saga, reproduced by the Koranic Commentators, with reference to the Angels Harut and Mamt (Sarah, ii. 96), and also occurring in the Jewish Midrash Abchir (Jellinek Bet ha-Midrasch, iv. 127). According to this legend Qod despatched the angels Shemchasai and Azael, who boasted before Him that they were more virtuous than men, to earth to prove their vaunt They had, however, scarcely begun their intercourse with mankind before they (or, in the Jewish version, only Shemchasai) became enamoured of a beautiful woman, named Isthar, and endeavoured to seduce her. She promised to consent upon condition the lover would divulge the secret name of God, which secures access to heaven. The aogel betrayed the mystery, and the woman soared at once to heaven, Jeaving her tempter befooled behind upon Earth, llie story is not, as may be inferred from the name Isthar, of Jewish origin, but may have


184 HI8TOBT OF PlCnOW. [CH. VII.

2. Is the Pseautier of La Fontaine.^

6. A poor man who kept a small hut in the district of Mugnone, near Florence, for the entertammentof travellers, had a comely daughter called Niccolosa, of whom a young gentleman of Florence, called Pmuccio, became enamoured. As the lover had reason to believe the affection reciprocal, he set out with Adriano, one of his companions, to whom he imparted the secret. He took his way by the plain of Mugnone, and as he contrived to come to the house of Niccolosa's father late in the evening, he had a pretext for insisting on quarters. Pinuccio and his friend were lodged in one of three beds, which were in the same room : the landlord and his wife lay in the second, and Niccolosa by herself in the remaining one, to which Pinuccio stole when he thought his host and hostess were asleep. Adriano rising soon after, accidentally removes' a cradle which stood at the side of the landlord's bed. The hostess next gets up, but when returning to lie down misses the cradle, and tlunking she had nearly gone to bed to her guests, she falls into the very error she wished to avoid; and Adriano, whom she mistakes for her husband, has thus no reason to repent his trouble in accompanying his friend to Mugnone. Pinuccio now intending to return to his own bed, being also misled by the cradle, goes to that of the landlord, to whom, as to his friend, he recoimts the maimer in which he had passed the night. The enraged father dis- covers himself by his threats, and the hostess hearing the noise, and still fancying herself with her husband, remarks that their guests are quarrelling. As Adriano thinks proper to reply to this observation, she instantly discovers her mistake, and slips into bed to her daughter. She thence calls to her husband to know what was the matter. On learning the intelligence which he had just received from Pinuccio, she asserts it must be false, as she herself had lain all night with their daughter, and had never

been transmitted to Mohammed through Jewish channels. — Cf. Yoltaire's " Zadig," xiii.

^ Cu Renard le oontrefait, Branche ill. Morlini Novelise, 40. Ste> phanus, Apol. poor Herodot., c. 21, 3, Legenda Aurea, cap. 141 de Sancto Hieronimo Cavalca, Vita di san Girolamo, cap. i. (See Histoire Litt6ratre de la France, xxiii. p. 83.) M^n, iL 314, Zambrini, Dodici conti moral! d'Anonimo senese, Bologna, 1862, oont. S.


CH. YII.] DECAMEBON 01* BOCCACCIO. — IX. 6. 135

closed ber eyes. Adriono OYerhearing this conyersation, calls out to Pinuccio, that it is lamentable he cannot get over that habit of walking and speaking in his sleep. To aid the deception, Pinuccio talk& for some time in a manner, the most incoherent, ^d then pretends to awake suddenly. The landlord is thus satisfied, and ever remains xmconscious of his double disgrace.

This tale has been taken from an old Fabliau of the TrouTeur Jean de Boyes, entitled De Gk>mbert et des deux Clercs.* There two clerks go to get their com ground. The miller pretends to be from home, and while they are seeking him through the wood, he purloins the com, but without their suspecting him of the theft. The night scene corresponds with the Decameron, except that the cradle is removed intentionally by one of the clerks, in order to entrap the miller's wife: the catastrophe, how- ever, is different ; for the miller, during his quarrel with the other derk, on account of the information he had un- consciously given, strikes a light, and discovers the cir- cumstances in which his wife is placed. He addresses her in temis the most energetic. She answers that what she had done was undesigned, which is more than he can say of stealing the com. The Beeve's Tale in Chaucer seems to be compounded of the Fabliau and the novel of Boc- caccio.^ It bears the nearest resemblance to the former, but in one or two incidents is different from both. A miller deprived two clerks of Cambridge of their com, by letting their horse loose when they came to have it ground. They find it gone when they return from their search for the animal. Suspecting the thief, they come back one evening with the purpose of being revenged. The cradle is intentionally removed by the one clerk, while the other is with the daughter. Dimng the squabble, the miller's wife mistakes her husband for one of the clerks, and knocks him down. He is then soimdly beat by the clerks, who ride off with their com • — a solution by no means so

^ Legrand, iiL 41S. The story is also known under the name of THotel S. Martin and TAnneau, but the variants differ considerably from each other. — Cf. Barbacan, iii. p. 23S.

^ Liebreeht refers Chaacer's adai^ation rather to the Fabliaux pub- lished by Th. Wright, in Aneodota Literaria, London, p. 1844, p. 15.


136 HI8TOBT or FICTION. [CH. VII.

ingenious as that either of the Fabliau or the tale in the Decameron. The story, as related bj Boccaccio, has been imitated in the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, and in the Ber- ceau of Lafontaine.

9. Two young men repair to Jen^alem to consult Solo- mon. One asks how he may be well liked, the other how he may best manage a f roward wife. Solomon advises the first to love others, and the second to repair to the bridge of Oca. From this last counsel neither can extract any meaning, but it is explained on their road home ; for when they come to the bridge of that name, they meet a number of caravans and mules, and one of these animals being restive, its master forces it on with a stick. The advice of Solomon being now understood, is followed, and with complete success. From all the Italian novelists we hear of this species of discipline being exercised by husbands, and it is always mentioned with approbation. In many of the Fabliaux, as De la dame qui fut corrig^ (Legr&nd, iii. 204), the cudgel chiefly is employed for procuring domestic felicity. It may perhaps appear singular, that an age of which the characteristic was veneration for the fair sex, should have given commencement to a long series of jests, founded on the principle that manual discipline is requisite to correct the evil disposition of some wives, and to support the virtue of others. La mauvaise femme convient il battre, et bonne aussi, a fin qu'elle ne se change,'* is a maxim inculcated in the romance of Milles et Amys, which was written in the brightest days of chivalry.^

^ Upon the cudgel as a wife-corrector, cf. Legrand's observations to tlie above fabliau, and Grimm, Eechtsalterthiimer, i, 450, v. d. Hagen's ** Gesammtabenteuer," vol. i. p. Ixxxvii., where Straparola,'* p. 99, is erroneously printed for Fac^tieuses Journ^s, 99.

In the Coutume de Beauvoisis is to be read : — " II loit bien k Toume k batre sa fame, sans mort et sans mehaine, quant ele le mefet," and then the cases are enumerated in which he is allowed to beat her, and among them, " quant ele ne vieut obeir k ses resnables quemandemens que preudefame doit fere." — Roquefort, glossaire, Resnable. In the Seven Wise Masters, the Knight, in the Trial of Man's Patience, corrects his wife by blood-letting. Kabbi Meir ben Barucli, of Rothenburg, on the Tauber, in Bavaria (ob. J 293), remarks, '* it is not usual witn us Jews to beat wives, as is customary with other peoples " — Giidemapn, Geschichte des Erziehuogswesen . . . der Juden, etc. Wien, 1880, 170.


CH. VII.] DECAMJBBOH OF BOCCACCIO. X. 1. 137

10. This story is taken from the Fabliau of the TrouTeur Rutebeuf , De la Demoiselle qui Touloit voler en Tair (Le- grand, vol. iv. p. 316), in which a clerk, while pretending to add wings and feathers to a lady, that she might fly, acts in a similar manner with the priest of Barletta. It is Laf ontaine's " La Jument du compere Pierre." *

The stories in

Day X. Are of those who acted with magnificence or generosity in matters of love, or anything else.^

1. A noble Italian, called Euggieri, entered into the ser- vice of Alphonso, king of Spain. He soon perceives that his majesty is extremely liberal to others, but thinking his own merits not sufficiently rewarded, he asks leave to re- turn to his own country. This the king grants, after pre* senting him with a fine mule for his journey. Alphonso directs one of his attendants to join him on the road, to note if he make any complaint of the treatment he had re- ceived, and, if he should, to command his return. The mule having stopped in a river, and refusing to go on, Buggieri said she was like the person who gave her. Buggieri being in consequence brought back to the capital, and his words reported to the king, he is introduced into the presence of his majesty, and asked why he had com- pared him to the mule ; '* Because," replied Buggieri, ** the mule would not stop where it ought, but stood still when it should have gone on ; in like manner you give where it is not suitable, and withhold where you ought to bestow." On hearing this, the king carries him into a hall, and shows him two shut coffers, one filled with earth, another contain- ing the crown and sceptre, with a variety of precious stones. Alphonso desires him to take which he pleases ; and Bug- gieri having accidentally fixed on the one with earth, the king affirms that it is bad fortune that has all along pre- vented him from being a partaker of the royal benefits.

236-7. Wife-beating seems to have been common among the Greeks of antiquity. See Cortius. De rebus gestis Alex., lib. viii. c. 8, and Philo- Btratus, Vitae Sophistarum, ed. G. R. Sievers, Hamburg, 1861 » p. 34. Antoninus Pius. Landau, Quellen, pp. 271, etc.

^ Cf. also Barbazan, ii: 271 ; y. d. Uagen, No. 91 ; vol. ii. 493.

' Di chi liberalmente, o vero magnificamente alcuna oosa operasse, intomo a fiitti d*amore, o d'altra cosa.


138 HI8TOKY OF VIGTIOK. [CH. Til.

Then haying presented him with the valuable chest, he allows him to return to Italy.

The rudiments of this story may be traced as far back as the romance of Josaphat and Barlaam [c. 6]. A king commanded four chests to be made, two of which were covered with gold, and secured by golden locks, but were filled with rotten bones of human carcases. The other two were overlaid with pitch, and bound with rugged cords, but were replenished with precious stones, and ointments of most exquisite odour. Having called his nobles together, the king placed these chests before them, and asked which, they deemed most valuable. They pronounced those with the golden coverings to be the most precious, and surveyed the other two with contempt. ** I foresaw," said the kmg, " what would be your determination, for you look with the eyes of sense ; but to discern baseness or value, which are hid within, we must look with the eyes of the mind : " he then ordered Hhe golden chests to be opened, which exhaled an intolerable stench, and filled the beholders with horror. The story next appeared in the 109th chapter of the con- tinental Gesta Bomanorum. There an innkeeper found a chest, which he discovered to be full of money. It was claimed by the owner, and the innkeeper, in order to ascer- tain if it was the will of Providence tikat he should restore it, ordered three pasties to be made. One he filled with earth, the second with bones of dead men, and the third with the money : he gave his choice of these three to the rightful proprietor, who fixed successively on the two with earth and bones, whence the innkeeper drew an inference in his own favour. This story came to Boccaccio, with the farther modifications it had received in the Cento Novelle Antiche [No. 65]. It is related, conformably to the cir- cumstances in the Decameron, both in the Speculum His- toriale of Yincentius Bellovacensis [1. 14], and in the Con- fessio Amantis of G-ower [1. 5], who cites a cronikU as his authority for the tale. Thence it passed into the English G^ta Bomanorum, where three vessels are exhibited to a lady for her choice, the first of gold, but filled with dead bones ; the second of silver, containing earth and worms ; and the last of lead, but replenished with precious stones. It was probably from this last work that Shakspeare


CH. Vn.] DECAMBBON OF BOCGAOCIO. — X. 6. 139

adopted the story of the caskets, which forms part of the plot of his Merchant of Venice.'

5. Dianora, the wife of a rich man of TJdina, in the coun- try of Frinli, in order to get rid of the importunities of her lover Ansaldo, told his emissary that she would requite his affection, if he produced a garden in January, which was then approaching, as fresh and blooming as if it were the month of May. This condition, which the lady conceived impossible to be fulfilled, her lover accomplished by aid of a necromancer. The garden being exhibited to the lady, she went in the utmost distress to her husband, and in- formed him of the engagement she had come under. As he commanded her at all events to abide by her promise, she waited on Ansaldo, and told him she had come at her husband's desire, to fulfil the agreement. Ansaldo, touched with her affliction and the generosity of her husband, re- fused this offer ; and the necromancer, who happened to be in the house at the time, declined to accept the remune- ration which he had stipulated for his services.

Manni observes, that this novel was probably founded on a story current in the age of Boccaccio (and subsequently mentioned by Trithemus), concerning a Jew physician, who, in the year 876, in the middle of winter, caused by en- chantment a garden, with trees and flowers in bloom, to appear before a numerous and splendid company.^ The

^ The first part of the story is foand in Busone d'Aeubbio's " Fortu- Dstas Sicalos, ii. o. xvii. ** A tra.ce of this parable, writes Landau (Qnellen, p. 73), " is found in Greek mythology." Hesiod relates how Prometheus offered Zens choice of a part of the animal sacrificed, and how the god chose the bones wrapped up in fat, and not the flesh ooTered with the skin. This mjth is also narrated by Hygpnus in his "Poetioon Astronomioon " (ii. 15), which was known to Boccaccio.

Benfey, too (i. 407, Panschatantra, Leipzig, 1859), indicates an eastern source. In the Tamnl form g^ven by him, however, the tale does not, as in Boccaccio and the Cento Nov. Ant., illustrate the blind ruling of fortune, but explains the esteem of the king for his minister by the tatter's acumen. The story recurs in many repertories of the middle ages. See T. Wright's " Essays," ii. p. 70. Luther's Table- Talk,cap. 38, f. 490, Leipzig, 1621, "of Duke Frederick, Elector of Saxony," where it is told of Kaiser Sigmund. It is Morlini's Novella v., and Straparola, xii. 5, and Timoneda, AJirio de Caminantes, p. 1, No. 47. Cf. also the story of the Cid, Decam. viiL 10, note. See vol. i. of the present work, p. 75, etc.

' AJoertus Magnus, Bishop of Ratisbon in the thirteenth century, is


140 HIBTOET OF FICTION. [CH. Til.

storj, however, of Dianora, as well as the4tliof the present day, had formerly been told by Boccaccio himself, in the 5th book of his Philocopo, which is an account of the lores of Flores and Blancafior/ There, among other questions, the comparative merit of the husband and lover is discussed at the court of Naples, when the hero of the romance lands in that country. This story of Boccaccio is the origin of the Frankelein's Tale of Chaucer, in which the circumstances are precisely the same as in the Decameron, except that the impossible thing required by the lady is, that her lover should remove the rocks from the coast of Britany: a similar tale, however, according to Tyrwhitt, occurs in an old Breton lay, from which he conceives the incidents may have come immediately to the English poet. Boccaccio's novel is unquestionably the origin of a story which occupies the whole of the 12th canto of the Orlando Innamorato, and is related by a lady to Binaldo, while he escorts her on a journey. IroMo, a Babylonian knight, had a wife, called Tisbina, who was beloved by a young man of the name of Prasildo. This lady, in order to get rid of her admirer's

related to have similarly transformed a cod vent garden, and apparently replaced the cold of winter by a summer day, in honour of the Kmperor of Germany, who, wishing to see a specimen of the skill of this prelate, so renowned for magical power, paia him a visit during the snows of winter at Cologne, on the feast of the Epiphany, 1248.

The operation of a similar transformation is attributed in the old ac- counts to Dr. Fausttts. Cf. Humboldt's *' Cosmos," ii. 130, where these phenomena are referred to hothouses. See also i. p. 349. Cf. further, the Scottish ballad of The Boslin's Daughter, in Roberts, Legendary Ballads, p. 49, where the maid, as a condition of her consent, asks, among other things, for a plum which has ripened in December. The lover brings her the desired object, without the help of a sorcerer, as his father has winter fruits which ripen in December. See Grimm, Deutsche Sagen, No. 495, Bd. ii. 170, after Trithemii, Chron. monast. Spanhein und Lehmann, Speierer, Chronik. v. cap. 90. Three consecutive stories are contained in Jrauli's '^ Schimpf una Ernst," viz., Nos. 684. 685, 686 (Ed. Oesterley, p. 380), relating to the removal of mountains by faith and botanical prodigies. Cf. also Hase, Franx von Assisi, kap. i. pp. 7-9, 13. Jellinek Bet ha Midrasch, No. 8, Bd. v. 142. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, 2 Anfl. Leipzig, 1863, Bd. iv. 351. Grermania, 1880, p. 285. Landau, Quellen.

^ Filocopo was written about ten years earlier, and in the style of the romances of chivalry. The composition of the tale, as it appears in the Decameron, and the omission of tedious details, shows a great ad- vance in style.


CH. VII.] DEGAUEBON OF BOCCACCIO. — X. 5. 141

importimitieSy offered to requite his affection, provided he should gain admittance to an enchanted garden in a wood, near the confines of Barbarj, and bring her a slip of a tree growing there, of which the blossoms were pearls, the fruit emeralds, and the branches gold. The lover sets out on this expedition, and on his way meets an old man, who gives him directions for entering the magic garden with safety, and bestows on him a mirror to drive away the Medusa, by whom it was guarded. By this means Prasildo having accomplished the conditions, returns to Babylon, and the lady is commanded by the husband to fulfil the obligations she had come under. Prasildo, however, de- clines to take advantage of this compliance, and restores Tisbinia to her lord. But Iroldo, determined not to be outdone in coiirtesy, insists on resigning his wife to Pra- sildo, and then leaves Babylon for ever, as he cannot en- dure to behold even the happiness of which he was himself the author.^ The tale of Boccaccio is sujf^sed by the editor of Beaumont and Fletcher to be also the origin of the Triumjfh of Honour, the first of their Four Plays in One ; but it is more probable that these dramatists took their plot from the Frankelein's Tale in Chaucer, as the

  • The Turkish version of thi« story differs considerably from that

which Boccaccio adopted. In the former the maiden desires a rose only to be obtained with great difficulty, and promises to g;rant the -wish of whoever may pluck her this rose. A handsome young gardener hears her words, procures the rose, and asks in return a rendezvous in the garden on the nuptial night of the improvident promiser. The latter soon i^er is wedaed, and her conscientious bridegroom allows her to keep her engagement.

" The maid the path of peril went, Nor guiding friend protection lent."

Natheless a wolf and a robber let her proceed unmolested when she has told them the purpose of her nocturnal walk, the noble gardener, too, sends her back undefiled to her spouse. . . .

In the Turkish Forty Viziers (Akschid, H. A. Keller, clxxii.) and the Turkish version of Tuti Nameh, the story is narrated to some persons suspected of theft with the object of ascertaining their characters from the judgment they pass on the behaviour of the wolf, the robber, the lover, and the spouse, and as they consider all these conscientious and generous creatures dolts, they are recognized as the thieves, for, it 1:1 reasoned, people who attribute only selfish motives to others, and have no idea of magnanimity and liberality, are certainly themselves base and unrighteous. See liandau, Quellen, p. 94, etc.


142 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

impossible thing required in the Triumph of Honour, by Dorigen from her lover Martins, is that a mass of rocks should be conyerted into *' a champion field."

8. Titus, the son of a Boman patrician, resided during the period of his education at Athens, in the house of Chromes, a friend of his father. A warm and brotherly affection arises betwixt the yoimg Boman and Gisippus, the son of Chromes : They prosecute their studies togetlier, and have no happiness but in each other's society. Gisip- pus, on the death of his father, being persuaded by his friends to marry, fixes on Sophronia, an Athenian lady of exquisite beauty. Before the day appointed for the cele- bration of the nuptials, he carries Titus to visit her. The Boman is smitten with an involuntary passion for the in- tended bride, and, after a long internal struggle, reluc- tantly discloses his love to Gisippus. This disinterested friend resigns his pretensions, and on the night of the mar- riage, Sophronia, without her knowledge, receives Titus instead of Gisippus as her husband. The lady and her family are at first greatly exasperated by the deception, but are afterwards pacified, and Sophronia proceeds with Titus to Eome, whither he was now summoned on account of the death of his father. Some time after this, Gisippus, being reduced to great poverty, repairs to Eome, with the view of receiving succour from his friend ; but Titus, not knowing him in Uie miserable plight in which he appeared, passes him on the street. Gisippus, thinking he had seen and despised him, retires to a solitary part of the city, and next day in despair accuses himself of a murder which he had there seen committed. Titus, who happens to be in court at the time, now recognises his friend, and, in order to save him from punishment, declares that he himself was guilty of the crime. Both, however, are set at liberty, on the confession of the real murderer, who, being present at this singidar contest, is touched with pity and remorse. The stoiy coming to the knowledge of Octavius Csesar, who was then one of the Triumvirs, the deUnquent, for the sake of the friends, is pardoned also. Titus bestows his sister in marriage on Gisippus, re-establishes his fortune, and pre- vails on him to settle in Bome.

This tale is taken from the 2nd story of Petrus Alphonsus ;


CH. YU.] DBCAMBBOK OF BOCCACCIO. — X. 8. 143

but Boccaccio has made considemble alterations, if we may judge of the original from the form in which it is exhibited by Legrand (toL iii. p. 262). There it is not two young ^ men brought up together, who form this romantic attach- ' ment, but two mercantile correspondents, the one residing in Syria, and the other in Egypt ; and the renimciation of his mistress by the latter takes place soon after his first interview with his partner. The change which has been made in this particular by the Italian noyelist, is a manifest improyement. In the next place, in the tale of Alphonsus, it is not thought necessary to deceiye the bride after the nuptials, in the manner related in the Decameron ; she is transferred, without farther ceremony, as a piece of property, from one friend to the other, which is a con«  yincing proof of the eastern origin 6f the tale. Lastly, in Alphonsus, the friend who is reduced in his circumstances does not fancy himself neglected by his former companion ; he sees the murder committed before he enters Bome, and avails himself of the incident te get free from a life in ' which he had no longer any enjoyment.'

  • Cf. ValerioB Maximns, iv. 7 ; Damon and Pythias, whence Schiller's

'^ BuTgschaft," the story in Thomas of Cantimpre's Apiarias (cit. Bortoli, I Primi due secoli della Letter, ital. p. 606, the Tale in the Thousand and One Nights (Habicht, bd. xiii. p. 1) of Attaf of Damascus, who gives up his wife to Uaronn al Raschid^s grand resir, trareliing incognito, and who, npon recognizing his firiend, saves him from the gallows, and restores his wife. '* Abu Said, chief of the Hillal, went aisgaiseid as a Denrish to Hdtim et Tai, the chief of the Tai, and asked him to give him his wife. The request was granted, and Aba Said took her away, bat at night placed his sword between her and himselt Some time after he gave ner to wife to Hdtim, pretending she was his sister, and HMm did not at first recognise her. Prym and Socin. Der Nenaramatsche Dialekt, etc. 1881. Theil, ii. p. 24. Examples of a aimiJar concession are found in Roman literature. Cato is related by Plutarch to have given up his Marcia to Hurtensius out of friendship. The oflerinff of one friend's life ibr another is related by Valerius Mftximus Hib. iv. cap. 7, De Amicitise vinculo, viz., the well-known anecdote of Damon and Pjthias) and Cicero (De Ofliciis, lib. iiL 10,46, Tuseul. V. 22, 63). More circumstantial is the narrative bj Hyginus (Fabularam Liber, cap. 257), in which the name Moeros is substituted Ibr Damon, and whk$h is the source of Schiller's '^Biirvschafi" (Bail). C£ also M. F. Quinctiliani . . . Declamationes, etc. ed. P. Burmanu. Lugd. Bat. MDDCXX (?1720). Declamatio ix. cites an instance of two friends, one of whom was taken by pirates and sold to a lanista or glftdtatorial impresario. The other undertakes to free him, and is killed


144 HI8TOET OF PICTIOK. [CH, VII.

ft

»

As tliUB improved by' Boccaccio, tlie story rajiks high among the serious Italian novels. The internal conflict of Titus — the subsequent contest between the friends — the harangue of Titus to the two assembled families, and the beautiful eulogy on friendship, which terminates the tale, form, in the opinion of critics, the most eloquent passages in the Decameron, or perhaps in the Italian language.

The story of Titus and Gisippus was translated into Latin by the novelist Bandello, and into English by Edward Lewicke, 1562, whose version perhaps directed to this tale the notice of G-oldsmith, who has inserted it in his miscella- nies, though it is there said to be taken from a Byzantine historian, and the friends are called Septimius and Alcander. Boccaccio's story has also evidently suggested the concluding incidents of Greene's " Philomela," and is the subject of an old French drama, by Hardy, entitled G^sippe, ou Les Deux Amis.

10. Gualtier, marquis of Salluzzo, being solicited by his friends to marry, chooses Griselda, the daughter of a peasant, who was one of his vassals. Wishing to make trial of the temper of his wife, he habitually addresses her, soon after the marriage, in the harshest language. He then successively deprives her of a son and daughter, to whom she had given birth, and persuades her that he had mur- dered them, because his vassals would not submit to be governed by the descendants of a peasant. Next he pro- duces a fictitious bill of divorce, by virtue of which he sends back his wife to the cottage of her father, and lastly, he recalls her to his palace, on pretence that she may put it in order, and officiate at the celebration of his marria^ with a second consort. The lady, whom Griselda at first mistakes for the bride, proves to be her own daughter. Her son is also restored to her> and she is rewarded for her long suffering, which she had borne with proverbial

in the amphitheatre. The story of Amis and Milles, or Amicus and Amelius (sapra, vol. i. p. 320, etc), where the latter promptly sacrifices his children to cure his friend's leprosy. For further treatment of this subject, see Keller, Li Romans, etc. p. ccxxxiv. F. W. V. Schmidt, i. p. 303, 315, and Gesta Rom. Ed. Oesterley, No. 108, p. 729. Landau, Quellen, pp. 264-268.


CH. VII.] DEGAMEBON OF BOCCACCIO. 145

patience, by the redoubled and no longer disguised affec- tion of her husband.

The original of this celebrated tale was at one time believed to have been an old MS., entitled Le Parement et Triomphe des Dames. This was first asserted bj Duchat in his notes on Babelais. It was afterwards mentioned by Legrand (i. 269) and Manni, and through them by the Abb^ de Sade and Galland, (Discours sur quelques anciens poetee;) but Mr. Tyrwhitt informs us that Olivier de la Marche, the author of the Parement des Dames, was not bom for many years after the composition of the De- cameron, so that some other original must be sought. Noguier, in his Histoire de Toulouse, asserts, that the patient heroine of the tale actually existed in 1103. In the Annales d'Aquitaine, she is said to have flourished in 1025. That there was such a person is also positively asserted by Foresti da Bergamo, in his Chronicle, though he does not fix the period at which she lived. The pro- bability, therefore, is that the novel of Boccaccio, as well as the Parement des Dames, has been founded on some real or traditional incident; a conjecture which is con- firmed by the letter of Petrarch to Boccaccio, written after a perusal of the Decameron, in which he says that he had heard the story of G-riseldis related many years before.^

^ Landan (Qoellen, p. 158) cites the Lai del Freisne of Marie de France (Ponies, vol. i. pp. 138-177), as bearinr a resemblance to fioc- caocio's " Oriaelda," and analyses it thus : — ** The Knight Baron main- tains his mistress Freisne, of unknown parentage, at his residence. His rasaals advise him to espouse an eqaal, and he plights his troth to Coudre, Freisne's sister (Nut-tree and Ash). During preparations for the wedding Freisne is as humble and patient as Boccaccio's ' Gri- selda ; ' her noble birth becomes known by an accident, whereupon Buron takes her to wife. Cf. the Swedish ballad Schon Anna (Geiger and Afzelius, No. 15, p. 65) Guingen6 (Histoire litteraire altalie, Paris, 1824, chap. 16, iii. 118, note), remarks that Grissel was already a popular story before Boccaccio's time, i.e» probably one of the numerous ▼ersioDS of the Genoveva or Cryscentia legend. It belongs to the extensiye cjcle of the slandered wife, says Landau, who cites from a twelfth century Commentary on the Fourth Book of Moses (Midrasch Bamidbar, cap. 23, fol. 227a, ed. J. 1808) the following : A king desired to wed a poor orphan. She objected her unworthiness, and only con- sented after being seven times asked. Afterwards her spouse wished to divorce her. She isaid to him : If you put me away and wed another, do not deal with her as thou hast dealt with me. Are not these abmost

II. L


146 HIBTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

From whatever Bource derived, G-riselda appears to have been the most popular of all the stories of the Decameron. In the fourteenth century, the prose translations of it in French were very numerous; Legrand mentions that he had seen upwards of twenty, under the different names, Miroir des Dames, Exemples de bonnes et mauvais femmes, etc. Petrarch, who had not seen the Decameron till a short time before his death, (which shows that Boccaccio was ashamed of the work,) read it with much admiration, as appears from his letters, and translated it into Latin in 1373. Chaucer, who borrowed the story from Petrarch, assigns it to the Clerk of Oxenforde, in his Canterbury Tales. The clerk declares in his prologue, that he learned it from Petrarch at Padua ; and if we may believe Warton, Chaucer, when in Italy, actually heard the story related by Petrarch, who, before translating it into Latin, had got it by heart, in order to repeat to his friends. The tale be- came so popular in France, that the comedians of Paris re- presented, in 1393, a Mystery in French verse, entitled, Le Mystere de G-riseldis. There is also an English drama, called Patient Grissel, entered in Stationers'-hall, 1599. One of G-oldoni's plays, in which the tyrannical husband is king of Thessaly, is also formed on the subject of G-riseldis. In a novel by Luigi Alamanni, a count of Barcelona sub- jects his wife to a similar trial of patience with that which Griselda experienced. He proceeds, however, so far as to force her to commit dishonourable actions at his command. The experiment, too, is not intended as a test of his wife's obedience, but as a revenge on account of her once having refused him as a husband.^

The story of Boccaccio seems hardly deserving of so much popularity and imitation. *'An English reader," says Mr. Ellis in his notes to Way's " Fabliaux," ** is natu- rally led to compare it with our national ballad, the Nut-

Griaelda's wordH ? Compare also the story of Prince Aisab, M. Stokes, Indian Fairy Tales, 1880, p. 252. Landau, Quellen, 156-160.

' In John Tobin's ** The Honeymoon, Jnliana is taken by her bride- groom, the Dnke of Aranza, who tells her that he has deceitfully won her by pretending: to be a duke, to a miserable oottare, and treated as a peasant's wife, as ** a penance for her pride," whi(£ it effectnally ciiies.


€H. Til.] DECAHBBON OF BOCCACCIO. 147

Brown Maid (the Henry and Emma of Prior,) because both compositions were intended to describe a perfect female character, exposed to the severest trials, submitting with- out a murmur to unmerited cruelty, disarming a tormentor hy gentleness and patience ; and, finally, recompensed for her virtues by transports rendered more exquisite by her suff^ing." The author then proceeds to show, that al- though the intention be the same, the conduct of the ballad is superior to that of the novel. ** In the former, the cruel scrutiny of the feelings is suggested by the jealousy of a lover, anxious to explore the whole extent of his empire over the heart of a mistress ; his doubts are perhaps natu- ral, and he is only culpable, because he consents to pur- chase the assurance of his own happiness at the expense of the temporary anguish and apparent degradation of the object of his affections. But she is prepared for the exer- tion of her firmness by slow degrees ; she is strengthened by passion, by the consciousness of the desperate step she had ailready taken, and by the conviction that every sacrifice was tolerable which insured her claim to the gratitude of her lover, and was paid as the price of his happiness ; her trial is short, and her recompence is permanent. For his doubts and jealousy she perhaps found an excuse in her own heart ; and in the moment of her final exultation, and triumph in the consciousness of her own excellence, and the prospect of unclouded security, she might easily for- give her lover for having evinced that the idol of his heart was fully deserving of his adoration. Gautier, on the con- trary, is neither blinded by love, nor tormented by jealousy : he merely wishes to gratify a childish curiosity, by dis- covering how far conjugal obedience can be carried ; and the recompaioe of unexampled patience is a mere permis- sion to wear a coronet without farther molestation. Nor, as in the ballad, is security obtained by a momentary im- easiness, but by long years of suffering. It may be doubted, whether the emotions to which the story of Boccaccio gives rise, are at all different from those which would be excited by an execution on the rack. The merit, too, of resignation, depends much on its motive ; and the cause of morality is not greatly promoted by bestowing, on a passive submis- sion to capricious tyranny, the commendation which is only


148 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VII.

due to an bumble acquiescence in tbe just dispensations of Providence."

Tbe budget of stories being exhausted with tbe tale of Q-riselda, the party of pleasure return to Florence and tbe pestilence.

Tbere are few works wbicb bave bad an equal influence on literature witb tbe Decameron of Boccaccio. Even in England its effects were powerful. Prom it Cbaucer adopted tbe notion of tbe fiume in wbicb be Has enclosed bis tales, and tbe general manner of bis stories, wbile in some instances, as we bave seen, be bas merely versified the novels of tbe Italian. In 1566, William Paynter printed many of Boccaccio's stories in English, in bis work called tbe Palace of Pleasure. This first translation contained sixty novels, and it was soon followed by another volume, comprehending thirty-four additional tales. These are the pages of wbicb Shakespeare made so much use. From Burton's ** Anatomy of Melancholy," we learn that one of tbe great amusements of our ancestors was reading Boc- caccio aloud, an entertainment of wbicb the effects were speedily visible in the literature of tbe country, Tbe first English translation, however, of the whole Decameron, did not appear till 1620. In France, Boccaccio found early and illustrious imitators. In his own country be brought his native language to perfection, and gave stability to a mode of composition, wbicb before bis time bad only existed in a rude state in Italy ; be collected tbe current tales of tbe age, which be decorated witb new circum- stances, and delivered in a style which bas no parallel for elegance, naivete, and grace. Hence his popularity was imbounded, and bis imitators more numerous than those of any author recorded in the annals of literature.


CHAPTER Vin.

ITALIAK IMITAT0B8 OF BOCCACCIO. — SACGHETTI. — 8EB GIO- VANNI. — MAB8TJCCIO. — 8ABADINO.— GIBALDI CINTHIO.

STBAPABOLA. — BANDBLLO. MALE8PINI, ETC. — FBENCH

IMITATOB8.


o


E the Italian imitators of Boccacio, the earliest was

Fbanco Sacchetti,


a Florentine, who was bom in 1835, and died about the year 1410. He was a poet in his youth, and travelled to Slavonia and other countries, to attend to some mercan- tile concerns. As he advanced in years he was raised to a distinguished rank in the magistracy of Florence ; he be- came podestd of Faenza and other places, and at length governor of a Florentine province in the Bomagna. Not- withstanding his honours he lived and died poor, but is said to have been a good-humoured facetious man; he left an immense collection of sonnets and canzone, some of which have been lost, and others are still in MS. Of his tales there was a great variety of MS. copies, which is a proof of the popularity of the author, but all of them had originally been very incomplete, or became so before any one thought of printing the works of this novelist.* At length, in 1724, about 250 of the 300 stories, originally vratten by Sacchetti, were edited by Giovanni Bottari, from two MSS. in the Laurentian library, which were the most ancient, and at the same time the most perfect, at

^ The fact, however, that Sachetti's *' Trecento Novelle" was not printed until the eighteenth century scarcely speaks in favour of its popolarity. For full accounts of Sachetti's life and works, see Bottari's preface, and O. Gigli's life of him in the first volume of his works.


150 HI8T0ET OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

that time extant. This edition was printed at Naples^ though with the date of Florence, in two vols. 8vo., and was followed by two impressions, which are fiicsimiles of the former, and can hardly be distinguished from it.

Crescimbeni places Sacchetti next to Boccaccio in merit as well as in time. Warton affirms that his tales were composed earlier than the Decameron ; but this must be a mistake, as, from the historical incidents mentioned, they could not have been written before 1376. Indeed, the novelist himself, in his prooemium, says he was induced to undertake the work from the example of Boccaccio. '* Bi- guardando all' excellente poeta Giovanni Boccaccio, il quale descrivendo il libro Cento Novelle, etc., lo Franco Sacchetti mi propose di scrivere la presente opera." Were other evidence necessary than the declaration of Sachetti himself, it is mentioned that he wrote at a much later period than Boccaccio, and in imitation of that author, by many of the Italian commentators, and critics, especially Borghini, in his Origine di Firenze,^ Cinelli in his catalogue of Florentine writers,'* and the deputies employed for the correction of the Decameron. All these authors also de- clare, that most of the incidents related by Sacchetti actu- ally occurred. The novelist, in his introduction, informs us that he had made a collection of all ancient and modem tales ; to some incidents related by him he had been wit- ness, and a few had happened to himself. The work, he says, was compiled and written for the entertainment of his countrymen, on account of the wretched stat-e of their capital, which was afficted by the plague, and torn by civil dissensions.

At the present day I fear the tales of Sacchetti will hardly amuse, in more favourable circumstances. His work wants that dramatic form, which is a principal charm in the Decameron, and which can alone bestow unity or connection on this species of composition. The merit of a pure and easy style is indeed allowed him by all the critics of his own country, and his tales are also regarded by the

^ F. Sacchetti scrisse intorno all' anno 1400. See Borghini, Diacorsi, ▼ol. 1. p. 308, Milano, 1808, toI. cxlyiii. of the Clasaici Italiani.

' Qoal opera scrisse Sacchetti mosao dal esempio del Boccaccio, oon stile di lui pia puro e familiare.


CH. Vra.] FRANCO SACCHBTTI. 151

Italian antiquaries, who frequentlj avail themselves of his works, as most valuable records of some curious historical facts, and of customs that had fallen into disuse ; but their intrinsic merit, merely considered as stories, is not great. There are few novels of ingenious gallantry, and none of any length, interest, or pathos, like the Griselda, or the Cymon and Iphigenia of the Decameron. A great num- ber of them are accounts of foolish tricks performed by BufEalmacco, the painter, and played on Messer Doldbene, and Alberto da Siena, who seem to have been the butts of that age, as Calandnno was in the time of Boccaccio. But by far the greatest proportion of the work consists of say- ings or repartees, which resemble, except in merit, the Facetiae of Poggio. Sismondi, in the Histoire de la lite- rature da midi de TEurope, has pronounced a very accu- rate judgment on the tales of Sacchetti. — "Au reste, quelque lloge que Ton f asse de la puret^ et de I'^l^gance de son style, Je le trouve plus curieux k consulter sur les moeurs de son temps qu'entrainant par sa gait^ lorsque il croit etre le plus plaisant. H rapporte dans ses Nouvelles presque toujours des ^v^nemens de son temps et d'autour de lui: ce sont des anecdotes domestiques — de petits accidens de mdbage, qui, en g^n^ral, me paroissent tr^s-peu rejouissans ; quelquef ois des friponneries qui ne sont guire adroites, des plaisanteries qui ne sont guire fines ; et Ton est souvent tout ^tonn^ de voir un plaisant de profession s'avouer vaincu par un mot piquant que lui a dit un enfant ou un metre, et qui ne nous cause pas beaucoup d'admira- tion. Apres avoir lu ces Nouvelles, on ne pent s'empecher de oonclure que Tart de la conversation n'avait pas fait dans le quatorzieme siecle des progris aussi rapides que les autres beaux arts, et que ces grands hommes k qui nous devons tant de chefs d'ceuvre n'^taient point si bons k entendre causer que des gens qui ne les valent pas." — Although this opinion seems on the whole well foimded, a few examples may be adduced as specimens of the manner of Sacchetti, in the style of composition which he has chiefly adopted.

One day while a blacksmith was singing, or rather bawl- ing out the verses of Dante, that poet happened to pass at the time, and in a sudden emotion of anger, threw down


162 HISTORY OF PICTIOK. [CH. VIII.

all the workman's utensils. On the blacksmith complain- ing of this treatment, Dante replied, " I am only doing to your tools what you do to my verses : I will leave you un- molested, if you cease to spoil my productions " [No. 114]. This foolish jest is elsewhere told of Ariosto and other poets.^

Some one having come unasked to a feast, and being reproved for his forwardness by the other guests, said it was not his fault that he had not been invited [No. 51] .

A boy of fourteen years of age astonishes a company with the smartness and sagacity of his conversation. One of the number remarks, that the folly of grown-up men is usually in proportion to the sense of their cMldhood. " You," replies the boy, " must have been a person of ex- traordinary wisdom in your infancy " [No. 67']. This story is the Puer facete dicax in Poggio's Facetiae, and is there told of a cardinal and a child who delivered a harangue in presence of the pope.'

A Florentine buffoon, seeing a senator and a person of villainous appearance quarrelling at a gaming-house, and the spectators looking quietly on without interfering, offered himself as umpire. This being accepted, he decided for the rascal, without hearing the state of the game, on the ground that where two persons of an exterior so dis- similar dispute, the lookers-on take the part of the man of respectable appearance, if he has the least shadow of right [No. 165]. There is a similar story recorded of a decision given by the Chevalier de Orammont against Louis XTV.

Philip of Valois (1328-50) lost a favourite hawk, for which he offered a reward of two hundred francs. This falcon was some time after found by a peasant, who, recognising the royal bird by the fleur de lis engraved on the bells, carried it to the palace, and was admitted to present it to his majesty by the usher of the chamber, on condition that he should give him half of whatever recompence was bestowed.

^ See Athensum, June 17, 1854. It is also told of Philoxenas, who lived in the time of Dionysitu the younger (Montaigne, " Esaais,** 1802, yol. ii. p. 364).

' See also Timoneda, Alivio de Caminantes, p. 1, No. 85. Ureinus Pelius, Deliciae Poetar. German. Scitum Pnellae responsum. Le Paase- tems agr^able, p. 331. Ponies de Baraton, 1705. L*enfant Spiritael. —

LlEB.


CH. VIII.] TBANGO 8ACCHETTI. 153

The peasant informed the king of this agreement, and solicited as his reward fifty strokes of the baton. He ac- cordingly receives twenty-five blows, and the nsher has the remainder of the gratification ; but the clown afterwards pri- vately obtains a pecuniary remuneration from the monarch [No. 195]. This story coincides with an English ballad of the end of the fourteenth century, published in Weber's " Metrical Romances, entitled Sir Cleges, where the knight of that name, who wishes to present an offering to King Uter, is admitted into the palace by the porter, and introduced to the royal presence by the steward, on con- dition that each shoidd receive a third of the recompence bestowed on him by the monarch. The knight being re- quested by the king to fix his reward, chuses twelve basti- nados, eight of which he enjoys the satisfaction of distri- buting with his own hand between the steward and the porter.^

These are a few of the tales of Sacchetti, which are said to have had some foundation in fact. There aie also a good many stories derived from the east, through the medium of the Gesta Bomanorum and the Fabliaux.

No. 138. The master of a family, resolving to rule his house without dispute, places a pair of breeches in the hall, and calls on his wife to come and fight for them, if she wishes any longer to contest the superiority. This novel of Sac- chetti is incomplete, and there is no account of the issue of the combat, but it is evidently taken from a fabliau, entitled De Sire Hain et de dame Anieuse (Le Grand, 3, 190), where the combat ends in favour of the husband. This contest has probably given rise to the French phrase, Elle porte les culottes, which has become proverbial, I believe, in every European nation where the pre-eminence is disputed.^

^ See Graefle, Sagenkreise, p. 261 ; Grimm Eindennarcben, iii. p. 20, No. 7 ; Cuentoe de Juan Aragones, No. 3 in Timoneda, El Sobremesa, etc.; Straparola, N. 7, Fav. 3; T. Wright, Latin Stories, No. 127, de janitore imperatoris Frederici, Nouveaux contes ^ rire, Le Brochet de FJorentin. — Lieb.

^ Compare also Straparola, No. 8, Nov. 2, ** Der bose Ranch," Faat- nachspiei of Hans Sachs printed in Tieck*B ^'Deutsehea Theater, i. 19, seqq., where, however, the woman vanquishes ; also Gesammtabenteuer, L p. bcxxviii., as well as an old German ballad, ** Der Rauch beisst,** in Hone's ** Anxeiger," v. 79. — Libdbbcht.


154» HISTORY OF PICTIOK. [CH. VIII.

14)0. From the storj in the Fabliaux concerning three Blind Beggars of Compiegne (Legrand, iii. 49, Montaiglon, i. 70, Barbazan, iii. 898. See abore, vol. ii. p. 35). In the original, however, they get no money, but in Sacchetti one of their number receives a small coin, and is told it is one more valuable, — an alteration which is certainly no improvement. The tale, as related by Sacchetti, is the second novel of Sozzini.^

152. Story of a man who gives a present of an ass, that had been taught some curious tricks, to a great lord, and receives in return a horse finely caparisoned. Another person hearing of this sends two asses, but is disappointed of his requital. This story was originally in the Fabliaux, and has been imitated in various forms in almost every language.

166. Is the first of a series of tales concerning cures performed in an extraordinary or comical manner. It is also from one of the Fabliaux, entitled L'Arracheur de Dents (Le Grand, 2, 350), where a tooth-drawer fastens one end of an iron wire to the tusk that is to be pulled out, and the other to an anvil ; he then passes a red-hot iron before the nose of his patient, who, from the surprise, throws himself suddenly back, and by this jerk the tooth is extracted.*

198. A blind beggar hides a hundred florins under a stone in a chapel, but, being observed by some one, his money is stolen. Having discovered his loss, he desires his son to place him next morning at the entrance of the church, and observe if anyone going in should eye him in a peculiar manner. He is in consequence informed that a certain person, who was in fact the thief, had been very particular in his regards. To him the beggar straightway repairs, and tells him that he has a hundred florins con- cealed in the church, and a hundred more lent out, which are to be restored in eight days, and concludes with re-

^ Cf. also Poncino, Facetie ; Arcadia in Brenta, p. 252 ; Nouveaiix oontes i rire ; Contes du Sienr d'Ouville, ii. p. 47 ; Coorier fac^tieuz, p. 355 ; Histoire G^n^rale des Larrons, p. 20.

^ Also contained in Gibeci^re de Mome, p. 397 ; Courier fac^tieox, p. 158 ; Boachet, S6r6es, p. 458, 20th S^r^e ; Tr^r des recr^tions, p. 248 I Nouveaux contes a rire, p. 179 ; Biblioth^que de Cour, iii. p. 23.


GH. yiil] fkakco sacchbtti. 155

questing, that lie would laj out the whole for him to the best advantage. The thief, in hopes of being enabled to purloin all, replaces what he had stolen.^

206. A miller's wife substitutes herself for a woman with whom she discovered her husband had an assignation, and her spouse had previously agreed to share with a friend the favours he was to receive. This tale is taken, with little variation, from Le Meunier d'Aleus (Legrand, iii, 256, Montaiglon, ii. 31). The leading circumstances, how- ever, have been told oftener than once in the Fabliaux, and have escaped the notice of few of the French or Italian novelists. They form the Quinque ova in the Facetiae of Poggio ; the 9th of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles ; the 8th of the Queen of Navarre, and the Quiproquo of La Fontaine.

207. The story is from a fabliau, entitled La Culotte des Cordeliers (Legrand, i, 343, Barbazan, iii. p. 169, Montaiglon, iii. 275). It is there told, that a merchant's wife in Orleans had a clerk for a gallant. The hus- band came home one night unexpectedly. The clerk had time to escape, but left an essential article of dress behind him, whidi on the following morning the husband put on by mistake. Before evening he remarked the change in his clothes, and on his return home reproached his wife with her infidelity. Aware, however, of her perilous situa- tion, she had applied, during her husband's absence, for a similar article of dress, at the monastery of St. Francis. She persuaded her spouse that she had procured what he then wore, for the purpose of transmitting his name to posterity ; and, on mquiry, the husband of course foimd her declaration confirmed by the monks of St. Francis. In Sacchetti the lover is a friar, and at his request a monk goes to demand what the friar had left from the husband, as relics of St. Francis, which his wife had procured from the monasteiy. The story is in Sabadino the Facetiae of Poggio, where it is the Braccae IHvi Francisci, and the Novellino of Massuccio (3rd of 1st part) ; but in the last work the monks come to take back what they had

^ Cf. alsa Decameron, yiii. 10 ; Timoneda, Alivio de Caminantes, pt. ii. No. 59 1 Morlini, Norellae, No. 43 ; Gladwin, Persian Moonshee,

p. ii.


156 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII,

lent, in solemn procession : Massuccio's tale has been versi- fied in the NoveUe Ghilanti of Casti, under title of Brache di San Griffone. Similar incidents are related in the Apology for Herodotus, by Henry Stephens [Estienne], and in the Jewish Spy, where we are informed by the author in a note, that this adventure actually happened to a Jesuit in Prance/ Of all these tales the origin mav, perhaps, be a story in Apuleius, where a gallant is detected by the husband from having left his sandals. The lover afterwards accounts for their having been found in the house, by accusing the husband's slave (with whom he was in collusion), in presence of his master, of having stolen them from him at the public bath. The story of Apuleius is versified in the Orlando Innamorato (C. 55), but there a mantle is left by the gallant instead of sandals.^

In chronological order, the novelist who comes next to Sacchetti, is

See Giovanni,'

a Florentine notary.^ His tales, as he mentions in a sonnet

  • According to Liebrecht, the story is also found in Othonis Melandri,

Joco-seria, 1626, p. 298 ; Serees de Bouchet, 1688, p. 355 ; Amans Heureux, 2, 19 ; Detti et Fatti del Goicciardini, p. 101 ; Facetieuses Joam^es, p. 213 ; Passetems Agr^able, 1715, p. 31 ; Roger, Bontemps en Belle Humeur, 15 avent; Facetieux Keveille-Matin, 1654, p. 152, 1 95 ; Instructions du Chevalier de la Tour k ses filles ; Noureaux Contes ii. rire, p. 166. In Gr^ourt, the husband finds in the pocket of the inexpressibles a sum of money which the wife had placed there in furtherance of her object. In Vergier, Contes, the galhuit is a rich Englishman, and has left much money in the garment, which oom- pensation consoles the husband. " The breeches atone for adultery ,"' F. J. Hersbon, Treasures of the Talmud, p. 104.

' Sacchetti's No. 4 has supplied the subject of BUrger's " Kaiser und der Abt." (see F. W, V . Schmidt's " Balladen und Romanzen deutscher Dichter," p. 83, etc.). Cf. A Flay of the second half of the fifteenth century, by H. Folz. Ein spil von einem und eim apt, ed. by H. A. von Keller, Tiibingen, 1850. Sacchetti's No. 1 15 is similar to No. 24 of the Cento Not. Ant., where Sultan Saladin (in Sacchetti it is a Jew) visits the Christian camp and is shocked to find gli amid di lor Signore (Turpin's " P^l® ^^ God," Turpin's Chronicle, c 14) eating on the ground. Cf. Timoneda, AliTio de Caminantes, p. ii. No. 9, 1846, vol. iii. — ^LisD.

' II Pecorone di Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, nel quale si oontengono cinquanta Novelle Antiche, belle d' invenzione e di stilo.

^ His prefixing the title Ser has led to the supposition that he was a


H


CH. Vin.] SEB GIOVANNI. — IL FECOBONE. 157

prefixed, were begim in 1878, and they were written at a village in the neighbourhood of Porli. They were not published, however, till 1558 (or 1550 ?), at Milan. Those copies which bear the date oif 1554, are in fact a subsequent edition with a false date, and do other impression, which was genuine and perfect, appeared till 1757. This work is entitled II Pecorone (the Dunce), a title which the author assumed, as some Italian academicians styled themselves, Insensati, Stolidi, etc., appellations in which there was not always so much irony as they imagined.

In point of purity and elegance of style, Ser Giovanni is reckoned inferior only to Boccaccio ; a number of his tales are also curious in a historical point of view, and correspond precisely with facts related by Giovanni Villani. Indeed, some have erroneously beHeved that this historian was the Giovanni who wrote the Pecorone.

Near the commencement of his work the novelist feigns that a young man of Florence, named Auretto, fell in love by report with a nun of a convent at Porli. With the design of having frequent opportunities of seeing her, Auretto repaired to Porli, and became a monk of the same order. He was soon appointed chaplain of the convent, and in that capacity had liberty of paying daily visits to his mistress. At length it is agreed, that at these interviews each should relate a tale. The work is accordingly divided into days, the number of which is twenty-five ; each day contains two stories, and generally concludes with songs or amorous verses.

The first story of Ser Giovanni is one of the most beauti- ful triumphs of honour which has ever been recorded. Galgano, a young gentleman of Siena, becomes deeply enamoured of a lady named Donna Minoccia. After pay- ing court to her a considerable time in vain, the lady is in- duced, by the wonderful eulogies accidentally given of him

notary. The conjectures as to his personality have been nomerous ; the newest is, I believe, that of Landan, who (on p. 26 Beitraege) gives some not very cogent reasons for thinking him to be a certain Giovanni Cambi. Ser Cambi of Lucca lived about 1410. One hundred and fifty -six of his tales exist in manuscript, of which number twenw were published for the first time by Gamba in Venice in 1816, and edited recently by d'Aikconaia 1871.


158 HISTORY OF FICTIOK. [CH. YIU,

hj Messer Stricca, her husband, to invite him to an inter- view during a journey of the latter to Perugia. — "Cosi sentendo Qalgano che Messer Stricca era ito a Perugia, si mosse la sera a ora competente^ e and5 a casa colei ch' ^11 amava assai piu che gli occhi suoi. E giunto nel cospetto della donna, con molta riverenza la salutb, dove la donna con molta feste lo prese per mano, e poi Y abbraccio, dicendo : ben venga il mio Qulgano per cento volte ; e senza piu dire si donarono la pace piu e piu volte. E poi la donna fe venire confetti e vini, e bevuto e confettato ch' ebbero insieme, la donna lo prese per mano e disse : Galgano mio, egli h tempo d' andare a dormire, e pero audmnci a letto. Bispose Galgano e disse: Madonna, a ogni piacer vostro. Entrati che furono a camera, dopo molti belli e piacevoli ragionamenti, la donna si spogli5 et entrb nel letto, e poi disse a Galgano : E mi pare che tu sia si vorgognoBO e si temente ; che hai tu ? non ti piaccio lo ? no sei tu contento ? non hai tu cio che tu vuoi ? Bispose Galgano : Madonna si, e non mi potrebbe Iddio aver f atto maggior grazia, che ritrovarmi nelle braccia vostre : E cosi ragionando sopra questa materia, si spoglib, e entrb uell letto allato a colei, cui egli aveva tanto tempo desiderata. E poi che fu entrato le disse: Madonna, io voglio una grazia da voi, se vi piace. Disse la donna, Galgano mio, domanda ; ma prima voglio che tu m' abbracci, e cosi fe. Disse Ga.lgano, Madonna, io mi maraviglio forte, come voi avete stasera mandato per me piu che altre volte, avendovi io tanto tempo desiderata e seguita, e voi mai non voleste me vedere ne udire. Che v' ha mosso hora ? Bispose la Donna : Io te lo diro. Egli e vero che pochi giomi sono, che tu passasti con un tuo sparviere quinci oltre ; di che il mio marito mostro che ti vedesse e che t' invitasse a oena, e tu non volesti venire. All ora il tuo sparviere vol5 dietro a una Guzza ; e io veggendolo cosi bene schermire con lei, domandai il mio marito, di cui egli era ; onde egli mi ris- pose ch* egli era del piu virtuoso giovane di Siena e ch' egli aveva bene a cui somigliare; pero ch' e' non vide mai nessuno compiuto quanto eri tu in ogni cosa. E sopra questo mi ti lodb molto, onde io udendoti lodare a quel modo, e sapiendo il bene che tu mi avevi voluto, posemi in cuore di mandare per te, e di non t' esser piu cruda ; e


CH. Tin.] 8£B GIOYAKiri. — ^IL PBCOBONE, I. 2. 159

questa h la cagione. Rispose Ghblgano : h questo vero ? Disse la donna: certo si. Hacci nesBiina altra cagione? Hispose la Donna — ^No. Yeramente, disse Galgano, non piaccia a Dio, nh Toglia, poi che 1 vostro marito m' ha f atto e detto di me tanta cortesia, ch' io usi a lui yiUania. E subito si gittb fnori del letto, e rivestissi e prese oommiato dalla donna, e andossi con Dio ; ne mai piu guard6 quella donna per quello affare, e a messer Stricca port6 sempre singolarissimo amore e riverenza."

I. 2. A student of Bologna requests bis master to in- struct bim in tbe science of love. Tbe learned doctor directs bim to repair to tbe cburcb of tbe Frati Minori, to obserre tbe ladies wbo assemble tbere, and report to bim bj wbose beauty be is cbiefly captivated. It bappens tbat tbe scholar is smitten with tbe charms of bis master's wife, of whose attractions be gives bim a rapturous description ; but neither the teacher nor pupU are aware of tbe person on whom tbe doctor's lessons are practised. Tbe student from time to time reports to bis preceptor tbe successful progress of his suit, which be carries on entirely according to bis in- structions. At length, however, tbe doctor's suspicions being awakened, he enters bis own bouse at tbe time bis pupil had mentioned as tbe hour of rendezvous with bis mistress. When tbe lady beard bim at tbe door she con- cealed her lover under a heap of half-dried linen. Tbe husband having made search through the bouse, believes at length that his suspicions were groundless. Next day, however, tbe yoimg man, who was still unconscious of the strong interest which his master took in the occurrence, re- lated to him tbe alarm he bad received from tbe husband of his mistress, and the whole story of his concealment.

This tale, which also occurs in the Nights of Straparola (iv. 4'), is probably of eastern origin, as it resembles the story of tbe Second Traveller in tbe Babar-Danush, a work compiled from the most ancient Brahmin traditions. But whatever may be its origin, tbe story of Ser Giovanni is curious, as being the f oimdation of those scenes of Shake- speare's "Merry Wives of Windsor" where Falstaff reports

^ As well as in Doni's '* Comento al Barchiello,*' Venice, 1563, p. 54, and ** Kovelle," 1815, No. 38.


160 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

to Mr. Ford, under the name of Brooke, the progress of his suit with Mrs. Ford, and the various contrivances by which he escaped from the search of the jealous husbsind, one of which was being carried out of the house concealed in a» heap of foul linen. Shakespeare derived these incidents through the medium of the collection entitled The Fortu- nate. Deceived, and Unfortunate Lovers, of which the first tale is a translation of Ser Giovanni ; he may also have looked at the story of the Two Lovers of Pisa, related in Tarleton's ** Newes out of Purgatorie," where the incidents are related according to Straparola's version of the story. Our great dramatist, however, ha.s given a different turn to the incidents, by the ludicrous character of Falstaff, and by the assignations of the lady being merely devices to ex- pose him to ridicule. Moli^re, too, has formed on this tale his comedy L'Ecole des Femmes, where the principal amusement arises from a gallant confiding the progress of his intrigue with a young lady to her guardian, who is on the eve of espousing his ward. It has also furnished the subject of another French play, called Le Maitre en Droit, and has been imitated by Lafontaine under the same title. Finally, it has suggested that part of Gil Bias [1. v. c. 1 j where Don Baphael confides to Balthazar the progress of an amour with his wife, and particularly details the inter- ruptions he met with from the unexpected arrival of the husband.^

n. 1. A son, while on his death-bed, writes to his mother to send him a shirt made by the most happy woman in the city where she resided. The mother finds that the person whom she selects is utterly wretched, and is thus consoled for her own loss, as her son intended. This tale has given rise to the Fruitless Enqxiiry, or Search after Happiness, of Mrs. Heywood, one of the earliest of our English novelists. There a young man having disappeared, his mother in despair consulted a fortune-teller, who said that to procure his return she must get a shirt made for h\m by a woman completely contented. The consequent search introduces the relation of a number of stories, tending to show that no one is perfectly happy. These moral fictions

^ Cf. al80 Massuocio, Kot. 45, and 1001 Nacht. Night. 889.


CH. Vm.] SEB GIOVANNI. — IL FECOBONE, II.-IV. 161

are probably of eastern origin. Abulfaragius, the great Arabic historian, who lived in the thirteenth century, in- forms us that Iskender while dying, in order to console his mother, desired her to prepare a banquet for all those who till that moment had passed through life without expe- riencing affliction.

n. 2. Belates a revenge taken by a cavalier, in return for an alarm which his mistress had given him during an assignation. It is derived from the French Fabliau Les Deux Changeurs (Barbazan, vol. iii. p. 254, Montaiglon, i. 245), and has been imitated in Bandello (p. i. n. 3), Stra- parola (n. ii. Fav. 2), and the first tale of the Cent Nou- velles Nouvelles, entitled La MedaiUe au Revers.^

III. 1. Describes manners which to us appear very sin- gular and scandalous, but do not seem to have been con- sidered in that light in the fourteenth century. The free- dom with which Boccaccio has treated the church of Rome has excited much astonishment ; but his tales are not more severe on the clergy than this and another story of Ser Giovanni, who seems in his religious politics to have been inimical to the establishment of the church at Avignon. ILL 2. Is the 7th of the 7th of the Decameron. rv. 1 . Is a very singular but well-known story. A yoimg man, named Giannotto, is adopted by Ansaldo, a rich Venetian merchant. He obtains permission to go to Alexandria, and sets sail in a ship richly laden. On his voyage he enters the port of Belmont, where a lady of great wealth resided, and who announced herself as the prize of any person who could enjoy her. Giannotto is entertained in her palace, and, having partaken of wine purposely mixed with soporific ingredients, he falls asleep on going to bed, and his vessel is confiscated next morn- ing, according to the stipulated conditions. He returns to Yenice, fits out another vessel for Belmont, and acts in a similar manner. The third time Ansaldo is forced to borrow ten thousand ducats from a Jew, on condition of his creditor being allowed to take a pound of flesh from his body if he does not pay by a certain time. Giannotto's

^ The theme has been mnch utilised ; it furnishes the subject of the op^rarcomique, Les Souliers mors-dor^

II. M


162 UI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

expedition is now more fortunate, and he obtains the lady in marriage by refraining from the wine, according to a hint he received from a waiting-maid. Occupied with his bride, he forgets the bond of ioisaldo till the day it is due; he then hastens to Venice, but as the period heid elapsed, the Jew refuses to accept ten times the money. At this crisis the new-married lady arrives, disguised as a lawyer, and announces, as was the custom in Italy, that she had come to decide difficult cases ; for in that age delicate points were not determined by the ordinary judges of tbe provinces, but by doctors of law who were called from Bologna, and other places at a distance. The pretended lawyer being consulted on the claim of the Jew, decides that he is entitled to insist on the pound of flesh, but that he should be beheaded if he draw one drop of blood from his debtor. The judge then takes from Giannotto his marriage-ring as a fee, and afterwards banters him in her own character for having parted with it.

This story of the bond is of eastern origin ; it occurs in the Persian Moonshee,^ and innumerable works which were written about the time of the Pecorone. The principal situation has been spim out Id the adventures of Almo- radin, related in the French story of Abdallah, the son of Hanif ,^ and everyone will recognise in this tale a part of the plot of Shakespeare's " Merchant of Venice." It was transferred, however, into many publications intermediate between the Pecorone and the Merchant of Venice, by which it may have been suggested to the English dramatist. There was, in the first place, an old English play on this subject, entitled the Jew.^ It was also related in the English Gbsta Bomanorum, and the ballad of G^mutus, or the Jew of Venice.* The incidents, however, in Shake- speare bear a much closer resemblance to the tale of Ser Giovanni, than either to the ballad or to the G^sta Boma- norum. In the ballad there is nothing said of the resi- dence at Belmont, nor the incident of the ring, as it is a

^ Gladwin, Persian Moonsbee, No. 13, and the British Magasine fur 1800, p. 159.

  • Bibl. d. Rom., 1778, Jan., vol. i., p. 112, etc.
  • It is mentioned in Gosson's " School of Abuse," 1579.
  • Percy, ser. i. b. 2, No. 11, Reliques.


€H. Vni.] 8BB OIOVAITKI. — IL PECOBONE, IV. 1. 163

judge, and not the ladj, who giyes the decision. In the Oesta the ladj is daughter of the emperor of Eome, and the pound of flesh is demanded from the borrower, without the introduction of a person bound for the principal debtor. There are some phriebses, however, in the G«sta, which would lead us to think that Shakespeare had at least con- sulted that work. " Conventionem meam," sajs the Jew,

    • volo habere." The probability is, that he compiled from

some lost translation of the tale in the Pecorone, the Oesta Bomanorum, and the ballad of Gernutus, and inter- wove aU with the story of the caskets, in such a manner, as to render his plot more absurd than the incidents of any one of his originals. A story somewhat similar is told by Gregorio Leti, in his Life of Sixtus V. ; but there a Jew offers a pound of his flesh as security to a merchant, whose property in Hispaniola he had insured. It also occors in a work of the Spanish Jesuit, Gracian.'

  • See also Grasse's " Sagenkreise," p. 303, where the episode is re-

lated u having occnrred ^ on occasion of the conquest of St. Domingo in Hispaniola Dy Drake." Delrius (Disquis. Mag. I. iv., pr<eamb. p. 530a. Colon., 1657) also cites this incident as having really occurred at Constantinople between a Cbristian and a Jew ; and Solinoan's wise judgment is referred to the occasion. See also v. d. Hagen, Gesammta- bentener, iii. p. cxxxTiii.,and Grermania, ix. p. 188. — Liebrecbt, iii. 376. See also J. F. Campbell's *' Tales of West Highlands," No. 18, where a strip of skin is the furfeit.

The judgment of some English writers, says Simrock (Quellen des Shakespeare's, iii. p. 191), that this incident is of eastern origin, is prema- ture. The influence of the West has often been manifested in the East. The storj has been connected with the Blue Beard legend, with which it has, moreover, the common feature of the whetting of the knife. The oobur of the beard has been interpreted as symbolic of night, tnd of that blue-black hue which is seen on a crow's wing. Bluebeard is merely the night endeavouring to kill and conceal his wife, who is the daylight (Dillaye, Contes de Ferrault, p. 218). The Brothers Grimm have emitted two conjectures upon the origin of this story, the later of which appears to contradict the earlier one. In the 1815 edition, Poor Henry, p. 174, we find : *' The Jew wished, in the original account, to buy heart blood, which was the only remedy for an intolerable malady from which he was suffering." Poor Henry required the blood of a maiden to tree him from his leprosy, and the Brothers Grimm recognize an analogy in the tale of Bluebeard, the colour of that worthy's beard really alluding to a malady from which the blood of his wives was to disencumber him. The plausibility of this coi^ectare ia increased when we consider the popular superstition that the Jews waylay children in order to obtain their blood, originally fur


tf^


164 HISTOET OP FICTION. [CH. VIIL

rV. 2. Story of an old Prench count, who obtains a young bride by employing one of tbe king's squires, who over- throws all the count's riTals in a tournament, and after- wards allows himself to be vanquished by the infirm and aged suitor. After the death of the old count the young squire obtains the widow, who is represented as holding a very curious conversation with her father, copied from the 15th tale of Sacchetti. See also the Excusatio Sterilitatis in Poggio's Facetiae.

V. 2. Is from the 9th of the 9th day of the Decameron.

VI. 1. In the thirteenth century there were two celebrated theologians in the university of Paris, who had frequent disputations. The one was called Messer Alano, and the

healing purposes, and especially as it can be shown that such a usage was suspected in the time of Shakespeare. Indeed, recent trials in Hun- gary, as well as outbursts against Jews in Russia, illustrate the per- sistence of the superstition to our own day. In the ninetj-fifth declama- tion of the work called The Orator (1596), the Jew, in enumerating the uses to which he oould put the flesh, says : *' I might also say that I have need of this flesh to cure a friend of mine of a certaine malady which is otherwise incurable." In the Volksbuch Hirlanda, a Jew ad- vises a leprous king to seek the blood of a new-bom child as a remedy. It should, however, be noticed that a Jew does not appear in all ver- sions of the story. In one of its most ancient forms, for instance, in the Gesta Romanorum, the compact is between a Christian merchant and a knight. In this connection the universal idea of propitiation blood natu- rally occurs to mind. See ^so Grower's *' Confessio Amantis," bk. 2. Subsequently the Grimms see in the story a reference to the right of the creditor (in Roman law) to kill or sell his debtor, and of several creditors to divide or mutilate the body of the debtor (Niebuhr'a " Roman Hist.," ii. p. 314). Grimm further looks upon the history as allegorising the victory of the milder principle of aguiias over the Jus tirictum, the latter being, however, as be goes on to remark, not abrogated, but rather defeated by the jus drictittimwn by which the judge exacts the precise performance of the contract by cutting. To thisytu stnetis- nmum the Roman law was a stranger, for it expressly declared, " Si pluribus addictus sit, partes secanto, si plus minusve secuerint se (sine) nraude esto." But may we not look upon the whole story as mirrorine the victory of Christian principles over the harder maxims of antiquity r See further on this subject note to Perranlt's Fairy Tales, vol. iii. See also the incident of the children's blood in Milles and Amys, supra, vol. i. p. 320; see also Merlin in P. Paris, Romans de la Table Ronde, ii. p. 60, and supra, vol. i. p. 448, where the sight of Nasciens in the Graal romance is restored by the application of blood from Joseph of Ariroathea's wound. In Malory's ** Morte Arthur," Sir Peroivale's sister bled a dish full of blood to heal a lady, and died therefirom. Bk. xvii. ch. ii.


CH. VIII.] 8EB OIOVAKNI. — IL PBCOBONB, VI.-VIII. 1. 165

other Pierre : the former was a zealous Catholic, but the latter was suspected of heretical opinions. Alano having made a journey to Borne, and being shocked with the wickedness that there prevailed, offered himself as a servant to a rigid order of monks on the Apennine moun- tains. Here he remained a considerable time, employed in menial offices, and regarded as almost an idiot by the brethren. Meanwhile, through his absence, the tenets of Peter gained ground in the university of Paris, and at length this heretic proceeded to Bome, to maintain heterodox propositions in the consistory. A council was convoked, which all the bishops and abbots in Italy were invited to attend. At his earnest request, Alano was carried to Rome to see the pope, by the abbot of the monastery to which he had retired, and being a man of diminutive stature, was brought into the council concealed under the robes of hi8 superior. Peter, by his imposing appearance and thundering eloquence, daunted his opponents, and de- terred them from reply ; but after a pause, Alano started out between the legs of the abbot, and confuted, in an elegant Latin oration, the heretical doctrines of his former adversary. This Messer Alano, I suppose, was Alain de L'Isle [Alanus ab Insulis], a celebrated theologian of the university of Paris, who lived in the thirteenth century, and was distinguished by the appellation of Doctor Uni- versalis. Among his works, a catalogue of which is given by Fabricius, there exists — Commentaria sive septem libri explanationum in Divinationes Propheticas Merlini Cale- donii, a Galfredo Monemutensi Latino carmine redditas e Britannico : Prancfurti, 1608, 8vo.

Vn. 1 & 2. Contain the blackest and most dreadful examples of Italian jealousy. In the first a husband in- vites the relations of his wife and of his wife's lover to an entertainment, and has them all beaten to death by his domestics. The lady is afterwards tied to the dead body of her lover, and is thus left by her husband till she expires. " By some," says the author, '* this cruelty was praised, and by others reprobated, but none durst open his mouth as the perpetrator was a personage of importajice in Borne.*'

VIII. 1 . Origin of the&u;tions of Guelphs and Ghibellines :


^^


166 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

two German lords of the name of Guelfe and Gibelin, haying quarrelled about a hound in the thirteenth century, commenced a bloody war. Each was joined bj his adhe- rents : the former obtained the protection of the pope, the latter that of the emperor. Their quarrel passed into Italy from one of the Guelph faction haying broken a promise of marriage to a lady, whose family in conse- quence leagued itself with the Ghibellines ; the dissension thence spread all oyer Italy. The Guelphs ruled some time in Florence, but were expelled from it by their foes in 1260.*

VIII. 2. A deceit practised on the public of Florence by the Ghibellines, during their banishment, which leads to their return, and the expulsion of the Guelphs.

IX. 1. The doge of Venice employed an architect, called Bindo, to erect a building which should contain all the treasure of the republic, and should be inaccessible to de- predators. This ingenious artist reserved a movable stone in a part of the wall, in order that he might himself enter when he found convenient. He and his son having soon after fallen into great poverty, they one night ob- tained access by this secret opening, and abstracted a golden vase. The loss was some time after remarked by the doge, while exhibiting the treasury to a stranger. In order to discover the fraud, he closed the doors, ordered some straw to be burned in the interior of the building, and found out the concealed entrance by the egress of the smoke. Conjecturing that the robber must pass this way, and that he would probably return, he placed at the bot- tom of this part of the wall a caldron filled with pitch, which was constantly kept boiling. Bindo and his son were soon forced by poverty to have recourse to their former means of supply. The father feU up to the neck in the caldron, and, finding that death was mevitable, he called to his son to cut o£E his head, and throw it where it could not be found, in order to prevent farther discovery. Having executed this command, the young man returned home, and informed his neighbours that his father bad

^ The contemporary, Dino Compagni (Stone Firent Pisa, 1818, 1. i. p. 3), agrees with the latter portion of the story.— Lieb.


CH. VIII.] 8EB GIOVAHNI. — IL PECOBONE, IX. 1. 167

gone on a long journey, but he was obliged to communi- cate the truth to his mother, whose affliction now became the chief cause of embarrassment : For the doge perceiv- ing that the robber must have had associates, ordered the skeleton to be hung upon a gibbet, in the expectation that it would be claimed. This spectacle being observed from her house, by his widow, her cries brought up the guard, and her son was obliged, on hearing them approach, to wound himself on the hand, to afford a reasonable pretext for her exclamations. She next insisted that her son should carry off the skeleton from the gibbet. He accord- ingly purchased twelve habits of black monks, in which he equipped twelve porters whom he had hired for the pur- pose. Having then disguised himself with a vizard, and mounted a horse covered with black cloth, he bore off the body spite of the guards and spies by whom it was sur- roimded, and who reported to the doge that it had been conveyed away by demons. The story then relates other means to which the doge resorted, all of which are defeated by the ingenuity of the robber. At length the curiosity of the doge is so much excited, that he offers the hand of his daughter to anyone who will discover the transaction. On this the young man reveals the whole, and receives the promised bride in return.

This story is as old as Herodotus, who tells it of a king of Egypt and his architect. There is some slight variation in the incidents of the Pecorone; but Bandello (Par. 1, N. 25) has adhered closely to the Greek original. In both an architect employed by a king of Egypt leaves a stone in the walls of the treasury, which can be removed at plea- sure. At his death he bequeaths the knowledge of this secret as a legacy to his two sons ; after this tilie stories correspond with the Pecorone, except that one of the brothers is caught in a net, in place of falling into a caldron, and the body when hung up is removed by the surviving brother intoxicating the guards. What is related by other Greek writers concerning the brothers Agamedes and Trophonius, who were architects employed by Grecian kings to build palaces, corresponds with the story of Herodotus. The father murdered by his son in the Seven Wise Masters is a similar story, as also that of


168 HISTOBT OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

Berinus,^ in a very old French Bomance, entitled L'Histoire du Chevalier Berinus. In this last work it is the treasury of Philip, a Eoman emperor, that is broken into. In order to discover the robber, that monarch exposes his daughter to public prostitution, in expectation that she may extract the secret in the hour of dalliance. Berinus reveals the theft, and the lady, that she may distinguish him in the morning, makes an indelible black mark on his face. Beri- nus does the same to the other knights, but his mark alone is found to be the size of the princess's thumb. This romance, of which the MS. is extremely old, is the original of the Merchant's Second Tale, or Story of Beryn, sometimes published with Chaucer's " Canterbury Tales." The first hfidf of the story, however, concerning the treasury, has not been adopted by the English poet, or, at least, is not in that part of his tale which is preserved.*

IX. 2. The son of the emperor of Germany nms off with the daughter of the king of Aragon, which occasions a long war between these two powers.'

X. 1. Story of the Princess Denise of France, who, to avoid a disagreeable marriage with an old German prince, escapes in disguise to Englaiid, and is there received in a convent. The king passing that way, falls in love with and espouses her. Afterwards, while he was engaged in a war in Scotland, his wife brings forth twins ; but the queen-mother sends to acquaint her son that his spouse had given birth to two monsters. In place of his majesty's answer, ordering them to be nevertheless brought up with the utmost care, she substitutes a mandate for their de- struction, and also for that of the queen. The person to whom the execution of this command is entrusted, allows the queen to depart with her twins to G^noa. At the end of some years she discovers her husband at Rome, on his way to a crusade ; she there presents him with his

  • See Brunet, Manuel, etc., Berinus, and supra, vol. i. and vol. ii.

p. 12 ; see also Goerres Meisterlieder, p. 195-208, wherein is embodied a similar story of Albertus Magnus (Lieb.); see I)ecam. iii. 2, note; L'oiseleur des Longchamps, essai fab. Indiennes, i. 147, ii. 122.

' See on this tale an article by Sir G. W. Cox, The Migration of Popular Stories, in Fraser's Magazine, July, 1880.

' Besembleii part of Straparola's notte 3, Fav. 4.


CH. VIII.] BEB GIOVANNI. — IL PECOBONE, X. 1. 169

children, and is brought back with them in triumph to England.

The principal pari; of Chaucer's " Man of Lawes Tale " is taken from this storj. There Custance, the daughter of the emperor of Eome, is married to an eastern soldan. After the death of this monarch, Custance flies to England, where she is received into the house of a constable of Northumberland. She is accused by a rejected lover of the murder of the constable's wife, but is saved bj a miraculous interposition of Providence, and married to the king of England. After this the stories correspond pre- cisely. Tyrwhitt, who does not seem to have been aware of the existence of the novel in the Pecorone, says, " that Chaucer had his Man of Lawes Tale from Gower's * Con- fessio Amantis.' (Bk. 11. Ed. Pauli, vol. i. pp. 179- 213)." ^ To Gower he thinks it came from an old English rhyme, entitled Emar^, which professes to be taken from a Breton lay. But Mr. IMtson, by whom Emar^ has been published, thinks that its primary source is the legendary life of Offa, king of the West Angles, attri- buted to Matthew Paris.' In Emare, the heroine who bears that name is exposed on the sea in a boat, on account of her refusing to comply with the incestuous proposals of her father. She is driven on the coast of Wales, and married to the king of that country. The story then corresponds with the Pecorone, except, that in the conclusion, the son of Emar^ serves the king as a cupbearer. While acting in this capacity, the monarch discovers him to be his child, and in consequence finds out his queen whom he had lost. This is also the story of the knight's plot in the English Gesta Bomanorum. It is the subject, too, of a very old French romance, published in 4to, without date, entitled

    • Le Boman de la Belle Helene de Constantinople." There,

^ Chaacer*8 t&le was, however, written before 1385, while Gower's was about 1393. The oommon immediate original which both are now con- sidered to hare drawn is, The Life of Constance, daughter of the Emperor Tiberias Constantinus, narrated in the Anglo-Norman chronicle of Nicholas Triret, or Trereth, an English Dominican friar. The text of the narratire has been printed bj the Chaucer Society from MS. Arundel 56, in *' Originals and Analogues of some of Chaucer's Canter- bury Tales," which see for further particulars on this story.

' Matt Paris, Vita Oifse primi, ed. 1684, pp. 965-968.


170 HISTORY OF FICTION. [OH. VIII,

as in Emar^, the heroine escapes to England to avoid a mar- riage with her father the king of Constantinople.* The story then proceeds as in the other versions. At length she is ordered to be burnt, but is saved by the duke of Gloster's niece kindly offering to personate her on that occasion. The romance is spun out by long details of the exploits of her husband against the Saracens, and she is finally discovered by him in France, on his way to the Holy Land. In these fictions the incidents are not very probable ; but stories of wonderfid adventure, miraculous interpositions, and discoveries, were less disgusting in old times than they have now become, not only because they were more likely to happen, but because the bounds of probability were then less known and ascertained.

The greater part of the remaining tales of the Pecorone are historical, and were furnished to the novelist, as he himself informs us, by his friends and contemporaries Giovanni and Matteo Villani, who have transmitted the most authentic chronicles of these early ages. Those stories that recount the dissensions of Florence, are strikingly illustrative of its situation, of the character of its principal inhabitants, and of the factions by which it was distracted. But the Italian chroniclers, though well acquainted with the transactions of their native cities and provinces, in their own times, possessed but inaccurate in- formation concerning foreign countries. Accordingly, those tales which relate to the affairs of other nations, are merely curious as exhibiting in some degree the nature of the historical opinions, propagated and believed in the four- teenth century.

Thus, in the 2nd of the 19th day, it is related, that William of Normandy got possession of the throne of

^ Compare also a Slavonic FoIk-tale, one form of which has bo<Mi translated into English in Tales from Twelve Tongues," XA)Ddon, 18S3» under the title, The Miller's Daughter become Queen.

For similar stories, see also Gest. Roman., ii. 281, No. 8 ; Sagen* kreise, pp. 277-287, 377, 392, 434, and especially p. 284 v (compare p. 286 d) ; Straparola, No. 11, Fav. 4 ; Basile, Pentamerone, No. 22 ; t. d. Hagen Gesammtabent, Th. ii. anhang 7 ; Massmann zur Kaiserchromk. T. 1 1,367, etc. ; A MS. Provencal Composition (Historia del Rej do Ungaria) is mentioned in the Bibl. de Autores Espauoles, Madrid, 1846, vol. iii. p. xi.


CH. VIII.] 8EB OIOVANNI. — IL PECOBONE. 171

England, haying vanqmslied Taul, the king of the island, in a great battle. After him reigned his son William, and his second son Henry, who slew the blessed Thomas of Canterbury, because he reproved him for his vices, and re- taining the tithes of the church ; on account of which murder God wrought a great judgment on him, for as he was riding in Paris with King Lewis, a sow ran in between the feet of his horse, so that he was tumbled down, and the king died in consequence of the fall/ Henry left his crown to hi^ son Stephen. That monarch bequeathed it to a second Henry, who was followed by his son John. This prince was distinguiBhed for his courtesy, (questo re Giovanni fu il piu cortese signer del Mondo,) but dying without children, was succeeded by his brother Bichard, etc. etc. I do not know how King John (unless it was by his dastardly submission to the pope,) obtained such high reputation in Italy ; but the novels of that coimtry, par- ticularly the Cento Novelle Antiche, are full of instances of his generosity and courtesy.^

The last tale contains the history of Charles, count of Anjou, brother of St. Louis. This story occupies a fifth part of the whole work, and is by much too long to have been related at a stolen interview between a niui and an enamoured chaplain. In some of the MS. copies of the Pecorone, there is substituted for this historical novel an account of an intrigue carried on by a young man with a nun, and of the extraordinary punishment that remained to him after his death.

In no species of composition is the stagnation or degene* racy of national literature, which took place in Italy from the end of the fourteenth to the conclusion of the fifteenth century, more remarkable than in that with which we are now engaged. I know of no imitator of Boccaccio worthy to be mentioned in the course of that period : the twelve novels of Gentile Sermini of Sienna, and those of Fortini,

^ The fourteenth century seems to have held this sow in the same re- spect that the Jacobites did the little fferUleman in the velvet coat (i.e. mole), who raised the mound orer which the horse of King William stumbled.

  • In these novels it is not. however. King John, Rh Giovanniy but the

young king, Be Giovane, eldest son of Hen. II. that is meant. — Lieb.


1?2 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

both of whom lived during this interval, are totally unin- teresting ; yet in them we may trace the origin of our most ordinary jests, or, at least, a coincidence with them ; thus, the 10th of Sermini is the story of one stammerer meeting another, and each supposing that his neighbour intends to ridicule him. In the 8th novel of Fortini, a countryman is persuaded at market, by the repeated asseverations of the bystanders, that the kids he had for sale were capons, and he disposes of them as such.

Subsequent to Ser Giovanni, the first novelist deserving of notice is

Massuccio di Salekno,*

who flourished about 1470. The date of the composition of his tales, at least, cannot be placed earlier, as he men- tions in one of his stories the capture of Arzilla, which happened in that year. Of the circumstances of the life of this novelist, the little that may be known can only be gathered from his writings. He was a Neapolitan by birth, and a man of some rank and family : he seldom re- sided, however, in his own country, the greater part of his life having been spent in the service of the dukes of Milan. In his Prooemium he asserts the truth of his stories more vehemently than usual. " Invoco," says the author, " I'al- tissimoDio per testimonioche tutte son verisimile historie; e le piu negli nostri modemi tempi avenute." It is pretended, in the same part of his work, that he had tried to imitate the language and idiom of Boccaccio ; ^ an attempt, how- ever laudable, in which he has been extremely unsuccessful, as his style is corrupted by the frequent use of the Neapo- litan dialect, and his sentences are often strangely inverted. The tales of Massuccio, however, are more original than those of most Italian novelists, few being borrowed from Boccaccio, or even from the Fabliaux. Whatever may be

^ II Novellino : nel quale si contengono cinquanta Kovclle.

^ Compare Defoe's lanfruage in the preface to " A true Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs. Veal, etc.**

' Neither in the introduction or epilogue does he say anything of the kind. In a short Biography of Massuccio (ed. Ginevra, 1765, p. xxv), Gesner (Pandectse, 1. xii.) is quoted as saying : ** Bertinitii Salernitani quinquaginta Italicse quibus tfoannem Boccacium imitatur." — Lieb.


CH. Vni,] MASSUCCIO IL NOVBLLINO. 173

the merit of Massiiccio, if we may judge from the number of editions, he has been, next to the father of Tuscan prose, the moat popular of all the authors of this class. BLis novels were first published at Naples, folio, 1476 ; after- wards at Venice, 1484; again in 1492, without date of place ; there was a 4to edition in 1522, and three in Svo, 1525, 1531, 1535, all at Venice. A subsequent Venetian edition, 1541, and one printed at Naples about the same time, have been much mutilated and corrected, on account of the satire and reflections on monks and ecclesiastics, of which the tales of Massuccio are full : indeed, the professed object of the work, as the author declares, is to expose " la guasta vita de finti Beligiosi."

The tales of Massuccio are divided into five parts, in each of which, at least in the three first, he seems to have had in view some particular maxim, which he meant to establish or illustrate. In the first part, which contains ten novels, the scope of the stories is to show that God will, sooner or later, inflict vengeance on dissolute monks, who in these tales are generally brought to shame from being detected at a rendezvous. The first in this division is the story of a monk killed by a jealous husband, on account of an afiEair of gallantry. In this tale the amusement consists in the schemes devised for getting rid of the dead body. The husband places it in an appendage to a monastery, where it was sure to be early discovered : it is there found by the prior, who carries it to the door of the murderer, and, after some other adventures, it is finally tied to a young and un- broken horse. A lance is placed in the hand, and a shield tied rotind the neck. Those on the street, recognizmg the monk, believe him to be mad, and attribute his death to the colt falling with him into a well. The origin of this tale is the fabliau entitled Le Sacristain de Cluni (Le Grand, iv. 252,) or the thirty-first chapter of the English Qesta Bo- manonim. Strange as it may appear, this was a favourite tale both in France and England, and has been imitated by almost every novelist, and in all the languages of Europe.*

^ See Keller^ Romans, etc., p. ccxxii, etc. ; Diokl. Leben. Einl., p. 61 ; Timoofida Pair., No. 8. — Lies.


174 HISTORY OP FICTION. [cH. VIII.

The principal object of the second part is to prove that the monks of those days invented many frauds to draw money from the credulous, and that in return they were often cozened by laymen. Thus, two Neapolitan sharpers had stolen a purse from a Genoese merchant. Having despoiled the unfortunate man, they arrived at Sienna, where the good St. Bemardin was preaching with all pos- sible efEect and edification. One of the cheats addr^sed the holy man with a hypocritical air. "My reverend father," said he, " I am poor but honest : I have a very timorous and delicate conscience; here is a purse which someone has lost and I have found. I would give a great deal, if I had aught, to discover the owner, in order to restore it to him, but my honesty is all my property. I pray you to announce in your first discourse that if any- one has lost this purse he may reclaim it ; you can restore it to him, for I place it in your hands." The priest, as re- quested, made known the matter in his next sermon. On this the accomplice of the knave presented himself, as had been agreed on with his comrade, and claimed the purse. As he detailed exactly what it contained, his . right to it was not doubted, and the priest gave it to him with a strong recommendation to bestow a part on the honest man who had restored it ; but the pretended owner de- clared he could not afford to part with anything, and left the church, carrying the purse along with him. The saint believing that the conscientious finder remained in want, solicited for him the charity of the congregation ; every- one was eager to recompense him, and the subscription was so large, that next day, when the Genoese merchant arrived to claim his purse, the preacher and his congrega- tion could bestow on him nothing but their benediction.^


' lliough different in important features, this story 8uge;est8 coin> parison with the following paragraph, pablisbed in the Madrid *' Epoca '* of Jan. 15, 1884 : " A canon of the cathedral of Salamanca has been the victim uf a well-planned swindle. A penitent told the canon in oorifes* aion that he had on his conscience a theft of 3,000 reales, for which be desired to make restitution. He accordingly handed a packet of coin to the priest, who agreed to write and ask a certain inhabitant of Valladolid to come and receive the amount. The latter duly presented himself with the priest's letier^and when about to be paid remarked ihiatthe coin was counterfeit, whereupon the canon bad to deliver S,000 reales of good


CH. Vm.] MASSUCCIO. — ^Ili NOTEIiLINO, N. 41. 175

The fourteenth tale, howeyer, is on a different topic from the former ones of the second part ; it is the story of a joung gentleman of Messina, who becomes enamoured of the daughter of a rich Neapolitan miser. As the father kept his child perpetually shut up, the loyer has recoui-se to stratagem. Pretending to set out on a long journey, he deposits with the miser a number of valuable effects, leaving, among other things, a female slave, who prepos- sesses the mind of the girl in favour of her master, and finally assists in the elopement of the young lady, and the robbery of her father's jewels, which she carries along with her. It has already been shown that the stories of the bond and of the caskets in the Merchant of Venice were borrowed from Italian novels, nor is it improbable that the avaricious father in this tale, the daughter so carefully shut up, the elopement of the lovers managed by the intervention of a servant, the robbery of the father, and his grief on the discovery, which is represented as divided between the loss of his daughter and ducats, may have suggested the third plot in Shakspeare's drama — the love and elopement of Jessica and Lorenzo.

The third book, which, like the preceding ones, consists of ten stories, is intended to show that the greatest and finest ladies of Italy, in the author's time, indulged in gallantries of a nature which did them very little honour indeed. Of these tales, the heroes are, for the most part, grooms, negroes, and muleteers.

In the twenty following stories of Massuccio there are related love adventures, which have sometimes a fortunate and sometimes a disastrous issue, and which are conducted to their termination by means occasionally ingenious, but always unlikely or incredible.

41. Is the story of two brothers from France, who, during their residence at Florence, fell in love with two sisters of that city. One of these sisters, though married, makes an assignation with her lover, and while she re- mains with him during night his brother is sent to lie down by the husband, that the blank may not be per-

money to this rogue in conaequenoe of haWng given the other aooomplioe, his pretended penitent, a receipt for the sum, and engagement to pay it oyer." See aiao Leigh Hunt's Eaaays, '* Thieves Ancient and Modem."


176 HISTORY OP PICTION. [CH. VIII,

ceived. Daylight approaclies without any prospect of his being reheved from this uncomfortable and precaHous situation. At length the whole family bursts in with lights, when he is informed that the husband is from home, and is much tantalized on discovering that he has passed the night with the unmarried sister of whom he was enamoured. I have mentioned this story as it has been copied in one of the novels of Scarron — La Precau- tion inutile. It is also the second novel of Parabosco, and it is, perhaps, more probable that Scarron borrowed from him than from Massuccio, because in Parabosco, as in the French tale, the scene is laid in Spain, and not in Italy. It also suggested the incidents of one of the Novelas Exemplares of Cervantes, the story of Don Lewis de Castro and Eodrigo de Montalvo, in Guzman d'Alfarache, (Part ii. c. 4,) and the plot of the Little French Lawyer in Beaumont and Fletcher, which, next to Eule a Wife and have a Wife, is generally considered as the best of their comedies.

45. A Castilian scholar, passing through Avignon to Bologna, bribes the good-will of a lady of some rank at the former place. He grievously repents the price he had paid, and farther prosecuting his journey towards Italy, meets at an inn with the lady's husband, who was return- ing to France. This gentleman inquires the cause of his distress ; and the scholar, after some hesitation, not know- ing who he is, informs him of his adventure at Avignon, and the name of the lady who was concerned in it. The husband, with much entreaty, prevails on his new-acquired friend to return to Avignon, where he is not a little dis- concerted at being conducted to sup at a house which be had so much cause to remember. After a splendid enter- tainment, the husband upbraids his wife with her conduct, compels her to return the ill-gained money to the scholar, dismisses him with much civility, and afterwards secretly poisons his wife. Part of this story has probably been suggested by the 2nd of the first day of the Pecorone. (See above, vol. ii. p. 159.)

The origin of Shakespeare's " Bomeo and Juliet " has generally been referred to the Qiuletta of Luigi da Porto. This tale Mr. Douce has attempted to trace as far back a&


CH. Tin.] MA8STTCCIO. — Hi NOVBLLINO. 177

the Qreek romance by Xenophon Ephesius ; ^ but when it is considered that this work was not published in the life- time of Luigi da Porto, I do not think the resemblance so strong as to induce us to belieye that it was seen by that

^ Anthla, the heroine of this romance, takes a soporific draught in order to avoid a distasteful marriage. On awuking in the vault where she had been deposited, she is carried off by robbers who had violated the sepulchre for the sake of abstracting valuables. See vol. i. p. 81.

Homer, in his Odyssey, speaks of nepenthe, the very name of which marks it as an anesthetic, although authors differ as to whether it was a preparation of opium or Indian hemp boiled in wine. Pliny, Dios- corides, and other ancient philosophers, speak repeatedly of mandragora, a similar preparation of the airopa mandragora, a plant belonging to the belladonna or deadly nightshade family.

" Iago. . . . Not poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the drowsy syrups uf the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep Which thou ow'dst yesterday."

X Othello, act iii. sc. S.

The power possessed by preparations of this plant of producing anses- thesia has been proved by Dr. B. W. Richardson. It was certainly used by the ancients to produce insensibility to pain before the performance of operations involving incision, cautery, or acupuncture. Berodotus and other ancient writers tell us that the Scythians used for the same purpooo a decoction of hemp, which must have closely resembled the ohanff or htuhisk of the modem Orientals in its effects. Dioscorides and Pliny also speak of the Memphite stone, lithos Memphites, which was used to produce local anaesthesia. It was pounded, mixed with strong vinegar, into a paste, and applied to the part desired. From the descrip- tion given, this stone must have been a kind of marble, or some other form of calcium carbonate, which, by the action of the acetic acid in the vinegar, would give off carbonic add gas, which, as has been proved in our own times by Thibaud, Follin, and others, is a strong local anes- thetic. The ancient Assyrians, according to Aristotle, employed com- pression of the veins of the neck to produce anesthesia in young men who were about to undergo the painful ceremony of circumcision, a fact fully coniinned by the experiments of Dr. Flemming some twenty years since. The Chinese, according to a MS. of the third century of our era, translated by M. Stanislas Julien, constantly used a preparation of Indian hemp as an anaesthetic.

Yarioas preparations of mandragora and other plants appear certainly to have been used for anaesthetic purposes in the miadle ages . . . Prisoners condemned to the rack and thumbscrew could, by bribery or interest, easily procure from their jailers a potion that would render them nearly insensible to torture. The draught administered to Juliet was evidently of this kind, although its prolonged effects must be looked on as a flight of poetical imagination. See Freeman on Anaesthetics, pp. 6-7.

II. K


178 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VHI.

novelist. His Qiuletta is evidentlj borrowed from the 3dd novel of Massucdo, whicli must unquestionably be regarded as the ultimate origin of the celebrated drama of Shak- speare, though it has escaped, as far as I know, the notice of his numerous commentators. In the story of Massuccio, a yoimg gentleman, who resided in Sienna, is privately married by a friar to a lady of the same place, of whom he was deeply enamoured. Mariotto, the husband, is forced to fly from his country, on account of having killed one of his fellow-citizens in a squabble on the streets. An interview takes place between him and his wife before the separation. After the departure of Mariotto, Gian- nozza, the bride, is pressed by her friends to marry : she discloses her perplexing situation to the friar, by whom the nuptial ceremony had been performed. He gives her a soporific powder, which she drinks dissolved in water ; and the effect of this narcotic is so strong that she is believed to be dead by her friends, and interred according to custom. The accounts of her death reach her husband in Alexandria, whither he had fled, before the arrival of a special mes- senger, who had been despatched by the friar to acquaint him with ];he real posture of affairs. Mariotto forthwith returns in despair to his own country, and proceeds to lament over the tomb of his bride. Before this time she had recovered from her lethargy, and had set out for Alexandria in quest of her husband, who meanwhile is apprehended and executed for the murder he had formerly committed. Giannozza, finding he was not in Egypt, re- turns to Sienna, and learning his unhappy fate, retires to a convent, where she soon after dies. The catastrophe here is different from the novel of Luigi da Porto and the drama of Shakspeare, but there is a perfect correspondence in the preliminary incidents. The tale of Massuccio was written about 1470, which was long prior to the age of Luigi da Porto, who died in 1531, or of Cardinal Bembo, to whom some have attributed the greater part of the composition. Nor was it published till some years after the death of Luigi, having been first printed at Venice in 1535. It afterwards appeared in 1539, and lastly at Yicenza, 1731, 4to. These different editions vary as to some trifling inci- dents, but in all the principal circumstances, except those


CH. VIII.] MA88TTCCIO. — IL KOTBLLINO. 179

of the catastrophe, the novel of Luigi da Porto coincides with that of Massuccio. In the dedication Luigi says, that while serving as a soldier in Friuli, the tale was related to him by one of his archers (who always attended him) to b^oile the solitary road that leads from Gradisca to Udino. In this story the lovers are privately married by a friar. Bomeo is obliged to fly on account of the murder of a Capulet. After his departure the bride's relations in- sist on giving her in marriage. She drinks a soporific powder dissolved in water, and is subsequently buried. The news of her death comes to Bomeo before the messenger sent by the friar. He hastens to the tomb of Giuletta, and there poisons himself ; she awakens from her trance before his death ; he soon after expires, and Giuletta dies of grief. It is said in Johnson's " Shakspeare," that this story is re- lated as a true one in Girolamo de la Corte's "History of Verona." It is also told as a matter of fact in the ninth of the second part of Bandello, which corresponds precisely with the tale of Luigi da Porto. Bandello's novel is dedi- cated to the celebrated Fracastoro, and the incident is said to have happened in the time of Bartolommeo de la Scala.^ Luigi da Groto, sumamed the Cieco d' Adria, one of the early romantic poets of Italy, who wrote a drama on this subject, declares, that his plot was founded on the ancient annals of his country. In his drama the princess of Adria is in love with Latinus, who was the son of her father's bitterest enemy, and had slain her brother in battle. The princess is offered in marriage to the king of the Sabines :

^ Of Bandello, Lodge, Wits Miserie, 1596, p. 47, 8ay»~<<at teles he hath no equal, for Bandello is more perfit with him than his pater- nostur.'* Mndello's norel of R. and J. was published in Spanish at Salamanca in 1589. In Novelas Morales, Madrid, 1620, there is a Spanish version, bearing title Anrelio j Alexandra. The story is fbund further in the l^easurie of Auncient and Moderne Times, 1619. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, from whom the above observations are taken, quotes a coriuiis extract, too long to insert here, from BrevaPs remarks on several parts of Europe, 1720, ii. p. 103. When at Verona the traveller came upon an old tomb, in which were two coffins, " which br the inseripti«m yet legible upon the Stone, appeared to contain the Bodies of a young Couple that bad come bjr their Death in a very Tragical man- ner abont three Centuries before ; " their history, as related by the Cicerone, was that of Romeo and Juliet. There is abundant evidence that the story was well known in England in Shakspeare's time.


180 • HI8TOBT OP FICTION. . [CH. VIII.

in this distress she consults a ma^cian, wlio administers an opiate. She is soon after found apparently dead, and her body is deposited in the royal septQchre. Latinus, hearing of her decease, poisons himself, and comes in the agonies of death to the tomb of the princess. She awakens, and a tender scene ensues — ^the lover expires in the arms of his mistress, who immediately stabs herself. In this play there is a garrulous old nurse, and it appears, from the coin- cidence of several passages pointed out by Mr. Walker in his Memoir on Ita.lian Tragedy, that the drama of Luigi da Q-roto must have been seen by Shakspeare. The story of Eomeo and Juliet, which was thus popular and prevalent in Italy, passed at an early period into France. It was told in the introduction to a French translation of Boc- caccio's " Philocopo ** by Adrien Sevin, published in 1542, and is there related of two Slavonians who resided in the Morea. The lover kills his mistress's brother : he is forced to fly, but promises to return and run off with her : she meanwhile persuades a friar to give her a soporific potion for the convenience of elopement. A vessel is procured by the lover, but, not knowing the lady's part of the stratagem,, he is struck with despair at beholding her fimeral on land- ing. He follows the procession to the place of interment, and there stabs himself ; when his mistress awakens she stabs herself also. From Bandello the tale was transferred into the collection of tragic stories by Belief orest, and pub- lished at Lyons, 1564. In this countiy it was inserted in Painter's "Palace of Pleasure," but it was from the metrical history of Eomeus and Giuliet that Shakspeare cliiefly borrowed his plot, as has been shown by many minute points of resemblance. It was by this composition that he was so wretchedly misled in his catastrophe, as to omit the incident of JuUet being roused before the death of her husband, which is the only novel and affecting cir- cumstance in the tale of Luigi da Porto, and the only one in which he has excelled Massuccio. From the garbled and corrupt translations to which he had recourse, the English dramatist has seldom improved on the incidents of the Italian novels. His embellishments consist in the beauty and justness of his sentiments, and the magic of his language.


€H. Till.] 8AJ3ADIKO BELLI ABIEKTI. 181

Besides the Eomeo and Juliet of Sliakspeare, and the Italian plaj already mentioned, there are two Spanish dramas on the subject of Bomeo and Juliet ; one by Fer- nando Eoxas, who was contemporary with Shakspeare, and the other by the celebrated Lope de Vega. The former coincides precisely with Romeo and Juliet ; in the latter, the names are changed, and the catastrophe is totally diffe- rent. Thus the lover, who corresponds to Eomeo, comes to lament at the tomb of his mistress, but without having taken poison, and the lady having recovered from the effects of the soporific draught, they fly to an old un- inhabited chateau belonging to her father, which he seldom visited. Meanwhile the father resolves to console himself for the loss of his daughter by entering into a second mar- riage, and goes to celebrate the nuptial festival at the castle where the lovers had sought refuge. On his first arrival he beholds his daughter, and supposing her to be a spirit, he is struck with remorse. The lady aids the decep- tion, reproaches him as the cause of her death, and declares that he can only obtain pardon by reconciling himself to her injured lover. On his sudden appearance the old man declares, that were his daughter yet alive, he would wiK lingly bestow her on him in marriage ; and the fond pair embrace this favourable opportunity of throwing them- selves at the feet of the father, to claim fulfilment of his promise. '

Sabadino belli Abienti,^

who comes next to Massucdo in the chronological order of Italian novelists, was a citizen of Bologna, and a man of some note in his own district. He is said to have been a great classical scholar, and to have written a valuable his- tory of his native city. His tales, which are dedicated to Duke Hercules of Ferrara, are entitled Le Porrettane, be- <au8e, as the author informs us, they were written for the amusement of the ladies and gentlemen who one season attended the baths of Porretta in the vicinity of Bologna.

  • Le Porrettane, dore si tratta di settantana NoveUe, con amoroBissuni

docamenti e dichiarazioiie dell anima ; con una disputa e sentenza chi debba tenere il primo hiogo il Dottore, o il Cavaliero, etc.


182 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

The date of the composition gf these stories is supposed to be nearly the same with that of the first edition, which was published in 1483 at Bologna : Since that time there have been four or five impressions, the latest of which is earlier than the middle of the sixteenth century. Of the seyenty* one novels which this author has written, some describe tragical events, but the greater number are light and plea- sant adventures, or merely repartees and bon-mots. All of them are written in a style which is accounted barbarous, being full of Lombard phrases and expressions.

The second of Sabadino is from the tenth of Petrus Al- phonsus, where a vine-dresser's wife is engaged with a gal- lant while her husband works in his vineyard. The hus- band returns, having wounded, one eye, but the woman, by kissing him on the other, contrives her lover's escape. This is the forty-fourth of Malespini, twenty-third of Bandello, and sixteenth of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. It also occurs in the Arcadia di Brenta; the Contes du Sieur d'Ouville, etc. etc.

20. Is a tolerable story of a knavish citizen of Araldo, who borrows twenty ducats from ^ notary. As the citizen refused to pay at the time he promised, and as no evidence existed of the loan, he is summoned, at the solicitation of the notary, to be examined before the Podestlt. He alleges to his creditor, as an excuse for not appearing, that his dothes are in pawn, an obstacle which the notary removes by lend- ing him his cloak. Thus equipped he proceeds to the hall of justice, and is examined apart from his creditor by the magistrate. He positively denies the debt, and attributes the chaise to a strange whim which had lately seized the notary, of thinking everything his own property : " For instance," continues he, '* if you ask him whose mantle this is that I wear, he will instantly lay claim to it." The no- tary being called in and questioned, answers of course as his debtor foretold, and is, in consequence, accounted a madman by all who are present. The judge orders the poor man to be taken care of, and the defendant is allowed to retain both the ducats and mantle.^

59. A gentleman of the illustrious family of Bolognini

' Timoneda, PatraSias, No. 18.


CH. YUI.] 8ABADINO DILLI ASIENTI. 183

in Italy, entered into the service of Ladislaus, king of Sicilj, and became a great favourite of his master. Being his huntsman, falconer, and groom, besides prime minister, he met with manj accidents in the course of his employ- ments : one day his eye was struck out by a branch of a tree, and on another occasion he was rendered lame for the rest of his life by falling over a precipice. His address, however, remained, and his knowledge of the art of suc- ceeding in a court. On one occasion, while following Ladis- lauB to Naples, the bark in which he sailed was separated in a storm from the king's vessel, and seized by corsairs, who carried him to Barbary, aad disposed of him to cer- tain Arabians. By them he was conveyed to the most remote part of their deserts, and sold, under the name of Eliseo, to an idolatrous monarch in that region. At first he kept his master's camels, but rose by degrees to be his vizier and favourite. He filled this situation a long time, but at length the king died. It was the custom of the country, on an occasion of that sort, to cut the throats of all those who had discharged high employments about the person of the monarch, and inter them along with their master. Eliseo, of course, was an indispensable character at this ceremony. In an assembly of the great coimcil and people, which was held preparatory to its celebration, he thus addressed them : — " My lords and gentlemen, I would esteem myself too happy to follow my master to the other world, but you perceive that being blind and lame, and of a delicate constitution, I cannot render him services so effectual as some other lords and gentlemen present, who are strong and. well-made, and who, besides, having the use of their limbs, will reach him much earlier than I can. I am only fit for conversation, and to bring him the news of the state. After the funeral ceremonies, in which the great officers of his deceased majesty will readily officiate, you will chuse a king. I had best postpone my departure till the election is over, and bear the respects of the new sovereign to his predecessor." He then enlarged on the qualities which their future monarch should possess, and said such fine and popular things on this subject, that he not only obtained the respite he solicited, but was unani- mously chosen king after the interment of the late sove-


184 HISTOKY OP FICTION. [CH. Till.

reiga and the officers of bis household. Every nation has been fond of relating stories of the advanoeinent of their conntrjinen in foreign lands hj the force of talents. In this country, Turkey has generally been fixed on as the theatre of promotion. The aboye stories may perhaps appear dull to the reader ; they are, nevertheless, a very favourable specimen of the merit and originality of Sabadino.

This author was the last of the Italian novelists who wrote in the fifteenth century, and


AolNOLO FiBENZXJOLA

is the first of the succeeding age. This writer was an in- habitant of Florence, and an abbot of Yallombrosa ; but his novels, which are ten in number, are not such as might be expected from his clerical situation. Most of them are interwoven in his Bagionamenti, printed at Florence, 1548. He tells us that a mistress, who lived with him, intended tessere ragumamenti, but that she died of a fever before she could execute this design, which, while on her death-bed, she solicited him to accompUsh. This story is probably feigned, but it seems a singular fiction for an ecclesiastic.

The first tale of Firenzuola is one that has become very common in modem novels and romance. A young man being shipwrecked on the coast of Barbary, is picked up bj some fishermen, and sold to the bashaw of Tunis. He there becomes a great favourite of his master, and still more of his mistress, whom he persuades not only to assist in his escape, but to accompany him in his flight. The seventh is a story repeated iD many of the ItaHan novels. A person lays out a sum to be paid as the dowry of a young woman when she is married. The mother, in order to get hold of this money, comes to the benefactor, accom- panied by her daughter, and a person who assumed the character of husband. The donor insists that the ne^w- married couple should remain all night in his house, and assigns them the same apartment. Firenzuola had tlxis story from the fourteenth of Fortini, and it has been imi- tated in the novels of Grazzini, called il Lasca (Part 2, N.


CH. VIII.J OIOYAKNI BBBYIO. 185

10). Most of the other tales of Pirenzuola, in which the chief characters are nuns and monks, can hardly be ex- tracted. Thej are all, however, accounted remarkable for that elegance of style which distinguishes the works of Fireuzuola. These consist of two dialogues on beauty, a few comedies, and a free translation of the Ass of Apuleius.

About the same time with Firenzuola lived Luigi da Porto, whose novel has already been mentioned, and the celebrated Molza, who wrote a himdred novels, all of which have been lost except four, and none of them, while extant, obtained a reputation equal to his other works. Nearly at the same period in which Molza and Firenzuola flourished,

GiovANWi Bbevio,

a Venetian canon of Ceneda, wrote six novels, which were accounted remarkable for the liveliness of their style. They were published at Borne along with his Bime in 1545, 8vo. The first is the story of a lady who brought a lover to her house during the absence of her husband, who, returning unexpectedly, is surprised at the prepara- tions for a supper, and in the heat of resentment upbraids his wife, and throws everything into confusion. Mean- while the lover had fled unseen to the house of a neigh- bour, who, at his solicitation, came with him and reproached the husband for breaking up a party he was entertaining, and for whose accommodation the lady had favoured him with the loan of the house.

2. A priest extorts money by passing for a cardinal.'

3. Is the story of a father ruined by the extravagance of children, who afterwards neglect him. He pretends he has found a treasure. They treat him well for the rest of his life, but find empty coffers at his death. It is difficult to understand what comfort the father could receive in the attention or caresses of such a family. This novel is

^ This story is one not of Brevio's, but No. 2 of Marco Cademosto da Xiodi. But the novels of both were printed together at Milan in 1799 ; hcnoe probably Dnnlop's error. Etienne, in the Apologia pour H^rodote, has a similar tale. — Lieb.


186 HISTORY OP PICTIOK. [CH. YIH.

the subject of Piron's comedy of the Mis Ingrats, after- wards published bj him under the title of L'Ecole des P^res, the representation of which, in 1728, was the epoch of the reviyal of the Comedie Larmoyante. In the drama, however, the fiction of the treasure is invented by the father's valet, and entraps the young men into a restitu- tion of the wealth they had obtained, in order to get the whole by this proof of disinterested affection. The story is also m the Pieuses E^cr^itions d'Angelin Gktze^, and is told in the CoUoquia Mensalia of Luther, among other examples, to deter fathers from dividing their property during life among their children — a practice to which they are in general little addicted.^

4. Is the renowned tale of Belfagor. This story, with merely a difference of names, was originally told in an old Latin MS., which is now lost, but wMch, till the period of the civil wars in France, remained in the library of Saint Martin de Tours. But whether Brevio or Machiavel first exhibited the tale in an Italian garb, has been a matter of dispute among the critics of their country. It was printed by Brevio during his life, and under his own name, in 1545 ; and with the name of Machiavel, in 1549, which was about eighteen years after that historian's death. Both writers probably borrowed the incidents from the Latin MS., for they could scarcely have copied from each other. The story is besides in the Nights of Straparola [Notte ii. 4], but much mutilated ; and has also been imi* tated by La Fontaine. The following is the outline of the tale, as related by Machiavel. All the souls which found their way to hell, complained that they had been brought to that melancholy predicament by means of their wives : *

^ This tale is also da Lodi's No. 4. Of. v. d. Hagen's *< Gesamint Abenteaer," No. 49, and Sercambi, Novelle, No. )2.

° In Vanbrugh's play of The Pro? oked Wife, Sir John Brute sajs (Act I. Sc. 2) : '* Sure if women had been ready created, the devil in- stead of having been kicked down into Hell had been married." Cf. the Italian proverb, ** Le donne sanno un punto "piii del diavolo," and Dante s —

    • Ed io che posto son con loro in croce,

Jaoopo Rnsticuoci fui : e oerto

La iiera moglie piii ch^altro mi nuoce."

Inferno, xvi. 43*45.


I


CH. Tin.] OIOVANNI BBBVIO. 187

Minos and Ehadamanthus reported the case to Flnto, who summoned an infernal council to consult on the best mode of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of such statements. After some deliberation it was determined, that one of their number should be sent into the world, endowed with a human form, and subjected to human passions ; that he should be ordered to choose a wife as early as possible, and after remaining above ground for ten years, shonild report to his infernal master the benefits and burdens of matri- mony. Though this plan was unanimously approved, none of the fiends were disposed voluntarily to undertake the commission, but the lot at length fell on the arch- demon Belfagor.^ Having received the endowments of a handsome person, and abundant wealth, he settled in Florence under the name of Boderic of Castile, and gave out that he had acquired his fortune in the east. As he was a well-bred gentleman-like demon, he found no diffi- culty in being introduced to the first families of the place, and of obtaining in marriage a young woman of high rank and unblemished reputation. The expense of ^e clothes and furniture, for which his wife had a taste, he did not grudge, but as her family were in indifferent circum- stances, he was obliged to fit out her brothers for the Levant. His lady, too, being somewhat of a scold, no servant re- mained long with him, and all were of course more anxious to waste than save their master's substance. Finally, being disappointed in his hopes of obtaining re- mittances from his brothers-in-law, he is forced to escape from his creditors. During their pursuit he is for some time concealed by a peasant whose fortune he promises to make in return. Having disclosed to him the secret of his real name and origin, he undertakes to possess the daughter of a rich citizen of Florence, and not to leave her till the peasant comes to her relief. As soon as the countrynian hears of the young lady's possession, he re- pairs to her father's house, and promises to cure her by a certain form of exorcism. He then approaches the ear of the damsel ; ** Boderic," says he, " I am come ; remember

^ Belphagor, i,e. Baal-Peor, who seems to have been worshipped as the patrol deity of generation among the Moabitea, Midianite*, etc.


188 HIBTOBY OF FICTION. [cH. VIII.

your promise." " I shall," whispers he ; " and, to make you still richer, after leaving this girl I shall possess the daughter of the king of Naples." The peasant obtains so much fame by this cure, that he is sent for to the Neapoli- tan princess, and receives a handsome reward for the ex- pulsion of Belf agor. At his departure the demon reminds him that he has fulfilled his promise, and that he is now determined to effect his ruin. In prosecution of this plan he possesses the daughter of Lewis YII. of France, and, as he anticipated, the peasant is immediately sent for. A scene is here described, resembling that in the fabliau Le Yilain M^decin, and Moli^re's Medecin malgr^ lui. The rustic was forcibly carried to the capital of Prance, and, on his arrival, he in yain represented that certain demons were so obdurate they could not be expelled. The king plainly stated, that he must either cure his daughter or be hanged. All his private entreaties being unable to prevail on Belfagor to dislodge, he had recourse to strata- gem. He ordered a scaffold with an altar to be erected, whither the princess was conducted, and mass performed, all which preparations Belfagor treated with profound contempt. In the middle of the ceremonies, however, as had been previously arranged, a great band, with drums and trumpets, approached with much clamour on one side. " What is this ? " said Belfagor ; " O, my dear Eoderic," answered the peasant, " there is your wife coming in search of you." At these words Belfagor leaped out of the prin- cess, and descended to hell to confirm the statement, the truth of which he had been commissioned to ascertain.^

^ The story of the devU abandoning his prey rather than face the terrors of oompanionship with a female mortal is widely spread in different variants in Slavonic countries, whence it may perhaps have been introduced across the Adriatic to Italy. In the Zla Zena (Karajic's

  • ^ Serbian Folk Tales," No. 37), a wife is so intent upon upholding her

opinion in a trivial dispute with Mstislav, her husband, that she inad- vertently steps into a pit. The husband at first resolves to leave her there, but subsequently relenting, lets down a rope to succour her ; in- stead of rescuing her, however, he finds he has hauled up the devil, who some time previously had fallen into the pit ; he was as white aa snow on the side which had been next the woman. Mstislav is about to let go the rope, when the fiend beseeches him not to thus subject him to such intolerable oompanionship, and promises, if he will leave the wife in the pit, to recompense him — in this wise : the fiend engages to enter into the


CH. Vin.] OIOYAKNI BBSYIO. 189

The notion of this story is ingenious, and might have been productive of entertaining incident, had Belfagor been led, by his connubial connection, from one crime to another. But Belfagor is only unfortunate, and in no

daughter of King Bogomil, whence exorcism and medicine will prove alike ineffectual to banish him, while he promises to depart upou Msti- Slav's burning under the nostrils of the princess a particular herb which he indicates to him. Mstislav effects the cure as directed, and is raised to power in consequence ; the fiend, however, when Quitting, warns him that a repetition of the attempt upon anyone else will prove vain. Msti- slav, however, now minister, is called on long afterwards to effect the similar cure of a neighbouring ruler's daughter who has become possessed. Upon his approaching the princess for the purpose, his old friend and accomplice, the fiend, asks him what he wants, and reminds him of the caution he had given him. Mstislav replies that he had come as a friend to apprise the devil that his wife, whom he had left in the pit, had escaped, and was seeking the fiend to revenge herself for his having in- duced her husband to almndon her. The fiend fled forthwith, and never returned among men. A very similar folk-tale is given in Stojanovic's " Kn2ke Pripovedke," p. 133, and the Polish story of Pan Twaj-dowski, translated by Mr. Naake, of the British Museum, in his Slavonic Fairy Tales, bears considerable resemblance to it. In the Bohemian story of Kathe and the Demon (Wenzig, Westslavischer Marchenschatz), an un- lovely peasant woman, who never during forty years of life found a partner on the village green, was one day invited to dance by a demon in human form. She had clasped her arms round his neck, and though her infernal partner bore her through the air to his usual residence, nothing could induce her to relax her arms, and he was obliged to pre- sent himself in this plight before Lucifer, who bids him get rid of her how best he may. He induces a charitable shepherd to relieve him of the burden, and Kathe transferred her arms with alacrity. The shep- herd succeeds in throwing off his sheepskin coat, and with it her into a pool. The devil rewards him for his help by quitting at the previously concerted adjuration of the shepherd, one of the tyrannical ruiers of the country whom he was dragging to hell, at the full jfuxm. The same thing is repeated with a second wicked ruler or bailiff. At the third full moon it was the turn of the sovereign himself, whom the fiend preferred to surrender rather than face Klithe's return, with which the shepherd threatened him. Feman Caballero has penned a similar story in her Andalusian Legends, but in this case it is from his mother-in-law that the devil flees.

The elements of these stories are traceable to the East, though whether imported into Europe by the Crusaders, by the Moors of Spain, or overland from Byzantium, it is difficult to determine. Its prevalence in Southern Slavonia would seem to favour the latter hypothesis. The story is really the same, though modified by adaptations to different circumstances, with the ** Woodcutter and the Spirit " (Habicht Night, 1,001, L p. 235. Behmauer, Forty Vizirs, 277). Cf. Talmud, Me ila 12, where the demon Benthamelion enters the daughter of the Emperor


190 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

respect guilty : nor did anything occur during his abode on earth, that testified the power of woman in leading us to final condemnation. The story of the peasant, and the possession of the princesses, bears no reference to the original idea with which the tale commences, and has no connection with the object of the infernal deputy's terres- trial sojourn.

This novel has suggested the plot of an old English comedy, called Grim, the Collier of Croydon, printed 1602 ; and also Belphegor, or the Marriage of the Devil, 1691.

GlKOLAMO PaKABOSCO,^

who lived about the year 1550, was a celebrated musician, and a poet like most of the other Italian novelists. Though bom at Placentium, he passed the greater part of his life at Venice, where he acquired that intimate acquaintance with the manners of the inhabitants which is conspicuous in his work. His tales commence with an eulogy on that city, which he makes the theatre of their relation. He feigns that seventeen gentlemen, among whom were Peter Aretine, and Speron Speroni, agreed, according to a custom at Venice, to pass a few days in huts erected in the water, for the amusement of fishing, at a short distance from the city. The weather proving unfavourable for that diversion on their first arrival, they employed themselves with re- lating tales. This entertainment continued for three days, and, as each gentleman tells a story, the whole number amounts to seventeen. These, intermixed with songs and

of Rome in order to benefit his travelling companions, Rabbi, Simeon, and Josna, and is only to be expelled by them, who are thus enabled to win the Emperor's fayour, and obtain the repeal of laws against the Jews. Here the demon acts, not, as it appears, from gratitude, but in pursuance of a special divine command. The humorous feature of flight at the approach of the sour woman is also wanting. In an early version of this Jewish legend, perhaps contemporary with the Crusades, the demon is called, as in the book of Tobit, ** Asmodeus." (Gebet des Rabbi Simon ben Jochai ; Jellinek, Bret ha Midrasch, Acad. Leipzig, iv. 117. See also Wiener Presse, Feuilleton, Juni 28, 1872, which contains a full account of the Talmud legend, and Landau, Beitriige, 1875, p. 74, 7ft. See also supra, vol i., supp. note Merlin. ^ Diporti di Girolamo Parabosoo.


CU. Yni.] MABCO CADBM08T0 DA LODI. 191

reflections, were publislied first at Venice without date, and afterwards at the same place in 1552 and 1558. Some of these stories are tragical, and others comical. Though there were no ladies present, and Peter Aretine was of the partj, the tales are less immoral than most imitations of Boc^tcdo. It is needless, however, to give anj examples, as thej are of the same species with other Italian novels — had little influence on subsequent compositions, and possess no great interest or originalitj : thus, the 2d of Parabosco coincides with the 41st of Massucdo ; the 4th has been suggested by the 10th of the 4th day of Boccaccio ; the 1st part of the 5th is from the Meunier d'Aleus, through the medium of the 106th of Sacchetti, the 2d part is from the 8th of the 8th day of the Decameron, etc. etc. There are nine stories in the first day of Parabosco, and seven in the second, which concludes with the discussion of four ques- tions, as whether there is most pleasure in hope or enjoy- ment. In the third day there is only one tale, and the rest of the time is occupied with the relation of bon mots, which are methodically divided into the defensive, aggres- sive, etc. They are in general very indifferent : a musician playing in a brutal company, is told he is an Orpheus. A man performing on a lute asserts he had never learnt to play, and is desired to reserve his assurances for those who suppose he has. One boasted he knew a knave by sight, whence it is inferred by a person present, that he must have often studied his mirror, etc. etc. Though Parabosco has only left seventeen novels, it would appear that he had intended to favoiur the public with a hundred, which must have been nearly ready for publication from what he says in one of his letters. — "Spero fra pochi giomi mandar fuora Cento Novelle ; didasette delle quali per ora n' ho mandate Id questi miei Diporti."


Mabco Cabvmosto da Lodi^

was an ecclesiastic, and lived in the Boman court during the pontificates of Leo X. and Clement VIE., by both of whom he was patronized. His six novels were printed at

  • SonetU ed altre rime, con alcane Norelle.


192 HIBTORT OF FICTION. [CH. VIII. ^

Borne, in 1543, along with bis rime, for he too was a poet, like the other Italian novelists. He informs us in his proceminm, that he had lost twenty-seven tales he had written during the sack of Borne, all of which were founded on fact : of the six that remain, the onlj one that is toler- able is that of an old man, who, by will, leaves his whole fortune to hospitals. An ancient and faithful servant of the family having learned the nature of this iniquitous testament, informs his master's sons. In the course of the night on which the old gentleman dies, he is removed to another room, and the domestic, in concert with the young men, lies down in his place ; he then sends for a notary, and dictates a will in favour of his master's sons, bequeath- ing himself, to their no small disappointment, an enormous legacy.^

We shall be detained but a short while with the remain- ing Italian novelists, as they have in a great measure only imitated their predecessors, and frequently indeed merely repeated, in different language, what had formerly been told.

The succeeding novelists are chiefly distinguished from those who had gone before them by more frequent em- ployment of sanguinary incidents, and the introduction of scenes of incredible atrocity and accumulated horrors.^ None of their number have carried these to greater excess than

Giovanni Gibaldi Cinthio,'

author of the Ecatommithi, and the earliest of the remain- ing novelists, who, from their merit or popularity, are at all worthy of being mentioned. Cinthio was born at Ferrara, early in the sixteenth century ; he was secretary to Hercules II., duke of Ferrara, and was a scholar and poet of some eminence. His death happened in 1573, but farther notices concerning his life may be found in Barotti's

^ Cf. also Grtnucci, Piacevoli Notte, Venezia, 1574, ]. 2, p. 157, etc.

' The art of the period in painting and miniature also reflecta this traculent tendency.

^ Gli ecatommithi, overo Cento Novelle di Giraldi Cinthio.


CH. Vm.] GIOVANNI GIBALBI CINTHIO. 193

" Defence of the Ferrarese Authors against the Censure of Fontanini." It would appear from an address with which he concludes, that his tales had been written at an early period of life, and retouched after a long interval : —

Poscia ch' a te, lavor de miei primi anni, Accio c* habbia nel duol qualdie ristoro, Mi chiaman nell etk graye gli affanni, etc.


and i^ain.


Danqne se stata sei gran tempo oocolta, O de miei giovenili anni fatica, In cni stadio gia posi, e cura molta.


The novels of Cinthio were first printed in 1565, at Mon- reale, in Sicily, 2 vols. 8vo. ; afterwards at Venice, 1566 ; and thirdly, at the same place, in 1574. Though the title of Ecatommithi imports, that the book contains a hundred tales, it in fact consists of a hundred and ten ; as there are ten stones in the introduction which precedes the first decade. The whole work is divided into two parts, each of which includes five decades, and every decade, as the name implies, comprehends ten stories.

The introduction contains examples of the happiaess of connubial, and the miseries of ilHdt love. The 1st decade is miscellaneous ; 2. Histories of amours carried on in op- position to the will of relatives or superiors ; 3. Of the in- fidelity of wives and husbands ; 4. Of those who, laying snares for others, accomplish their own ruin ; 5. Examples of connubial fidelity in trying circumstances; 6. Acts of generosity and courtesy; 7. Bon mots and sayings; &. Examples of ingratitude; 9. Bemarkable vicissitudes of fortune ; 10. Atti di CwoaMeria (EInightly Deeds).

Cinthio deduces the relation of these multifarious tales from the sack of Bome in 1527. He feigns, that on ac- count of the confusion and pestilence by which that event was followed, ten ladies and gentlemen sailed for Mar- seilles, and, during the voyage, related stories for each other's entertainment. Thus, in many external circum- stances, Cinthio has imitated Boccaccio ; as in the escape from the pestilence, which is the cause of the relation of many Italian novels — ^the number of the tales — ^the Greek

II. o


194 HI8T0ET OP FICTIOK. [CH. VIII,

appellatioii bestowed on them, and the limitation to a par- ticular subject during each day. In the tales, however, little resemblance can be traced. The style of Cinthio is laboured, while extravagance and improbability are the chief characteristics of his incidents. It is asserted, in a preface to the third edition of the Ecatommithi, that all the stories are founded on fact ; but certainly none of the Italian novels have less that appearance, except where he has ransacked the ancient histories of Greece and Eome for horrible events. At the end of the 5th decade, the story of Lucretia is told of a Dalmatian lady. The 3rd of the 8th decade, where a Scythian princess agrees with her sister's husband to murder their consorts, and after- wards ascend the throne, by poisoning the old king, over whose dead body his guilty daughter drives her chariot, is nothing more than the story of Tullia and Lucius Tar- quinius Superbus. Sometimes Cinthio has only given a dark and gloomy colouring to the inventions of preceding novelists. For example, the 4th of the 4th decade, is just the story of Richard Minutolo in the Decameron, except that the contriver of the fraud is a villainous slave, instead of a gay and elegant gentleman, and that the lady, on the artifice being discovered, stabs the traitor and herself, in place of being reconciled to her lover, as repre- sented by Boccaccio.

Of the stories which are his own invention, the 2d tale of the 2d decade is a striking example of those in- cidents of accumulated horror and atrocity, in which Cin- thio seems to have chiefly delighted, and which border on the ludicrous when carried to excess. Orbecche, daughter of Sulmone, king of Persia, fell in love with a young Ar- menian, called Orontes, and for his sake refused the hand of the prince of Farthia, who had been selected as her hus- band by her father. Sulmone long remained ignorant of the cause of her disobedience, but at last discovered that she was privately married to Orontes, and had two children by him. The unfortimate family escaped from his ven- geance, and resided for nine years in an enemy's country. At the end of this period Sulmone feigned that he had for- given his daughter, aad persuaded her husband to oome to the capital of Persia with his two children, but embraced


' CH. Vin.] GIOTANNI OIBALBI CINTHIO. 196

an opportiinitj of making awaj with them at the first in- terriew. On the arriyal of his daughter, who followed her husband to Persia, he received her with apparent tender- ness, and informed her he had prepared a magnificent nup- tial present. He then invited her to lift a veil which con- \ cealed three basons. In one of these she found the head of her husband, and in the two others the bodies of her children, and the poniards with which they had been slain still remaining in their throats. Orbecche seized the daggers, presented them to her father, and begged he womd complete his vengeance. The king returned them with a ghastly composure, assuring her that no farther revenge was desired by him. This sangfroid, which seemed so ill warranted by circumstances, exasperated Orbecche to such a degree, that she threw herself on her father, and forthwith despatched him. No other person now remaining to be massacred, (as her mother and brother had been slain by Sulmone, in the early part of his reign,) she plunged one of the poniards into her own bosom.^ On this tale, as on several others of the Ecatom- mithi, the author himself has founded a tragedy, which is one of the most ancient and most esteemed in the Italian ^language.

llie 7th of the 3rd decade, which is much in the same style, though more interesting and pathetic, has fur- nished Shakspeare with the plot of the tragedy of OtheUo. Desdemona, a Venetian lady, being struck with admiration at the noble qualities of a Moor, called Othello,' married him in defiance of her kindred, and accompanied him to Cyprus, where he had received a high command from the republic. The Moor's standard-bearer, or ancient, who was a great favourite of his master, became enamoured of Des- demona. Exasperated at her refusal to requite his affec- tion, and jealous of the Moor's captain, whom he believed

^ This tale is, howeyer, probably derived from the story of Julias Sabinns and Eponina, with which it agrees in the matter of the two secretly born children, and the nine years' exile. See Plutarch, Moralia, i?. 513, ed. Tanch. (Amatorius, c 25), Tacitus, Hist. 4, 67. —

XilEB.

^ Dunlop calls him Othello, after Shakspeare, but Cinthio gives hiir no name.— LisB.


196 HISTOBY or FICTION. [CH. VIU.

to be her favoured lover, he resolved on the destruction of both. The captain having been deprived of his command, for some military offence, and the ensign imderstanding that Desdemona solicited her husband with much earnest- ness for his restoration, seized this opportunity of instilling suspicion into the mind of the Moor. He afterwards stole a handkerchief which she had received from her husband, and which the ensign informed him had been bestowed on the captain. The jealousy of the Moor received strength, when, on asking his wife for the handkerchief, he found she was imable to produce it, and was confirmed by the en- sign afterwards contriving to show it to the Moor in the hands of a woman in the captain's house. Othello now resolved on the death of his wife and the captain. The ensign was employed in the murder of the latter : he failed in the attempt, but afterwards, in concert with the Moor, despatched Desdemona, and pulled down part of the house, that it might be believed she had been crushed in its ruins. Soon after OtheUo conceived a violent hatred against the ensign, and deprived him of the situation he held. £n> raged at this treatment, he revealed to the senate the crimes of his master, who was in consequence recalled from Cyprus. The torture to which he was brought had no effect in ex- torting a confession. Banishment, consequently, was the only penalty inflicted, but he was afterwards privately murdered in the place of his exile by the relations of Des- demona. The ensign subsequently expired on the rack, to which he was put for a crime totally unconnected with the main subject of the novel.

It may be remarked, that in the drama of Shakspeare, lago ^ is not urged on, as in Cinthio, by love turned to hatred, but by a jealousy of the Moor and his own wife, and resentment at the promotion of Cassio. He also em- ploys his wife to steal the handkerchief, which in the novel he performs himself. On this theft the whole proof against Desdemona ^ rests, both in the play and novel ; but in the

^ The name '* lago oocura in the Hiatorie of Cambria, 1584, p. 59. Hall i well. Memoranda.

' ** In some places in the first folio [edition] the name of Othello's perfect wife is given as Desdemon, corresponding to the Greek for unfartWioUr — BnA,


^ CH. VIII.] OIOTAKNI GIRALDI CINTHIO. 197

latter the Moor insists on seeing it in the captain's hands, and the ensign contrives to throw the handkerchief into the possession of the captain, which in the drama is the result of chance. The character also of the Moor is entirely the invention of the English poet. Shakspeare's noble Othello

^ is in Cinthio sullen, obstinate, and cruel. The catastrophe, too, as was necessary for theatrical exhibition, has been greatly altered.

In all these important variations, Shakspeare has im- proved on his original. In a few other particulars he has deviated from it with less judgment ; in most respects he has adhered with close imitation. The characters of lago, Desdemona, and Cassio, are taken from Cinthio with scarcely a shade of difference. The obscure hints and va- rious artifices of the villain to raise suspicion in the Moor, are the same in the novel and the drama. That scene where Othello's jealousy is so much excited, by remarking the gestures of Cassio, is copied from the Italian, as also his singular demand of receiving ocular demonstration of the guilt of Desdemona.

l^e IQth novel of the 5th decade has furnished to Dryden that part of his tragedy of Amboyna which relates to the

  • rape of Isabinda by Harman.

In the 6th of the 6th decade, we are told, that Livia, a noble Italian matron, had a son, who was unfortunately stabbed in a quarrel with a young man of his own age. His enemy flying from the officers of justice, unconsciously seeks and obtains refuge in the house of the mother of the deceased, who had not yet been informed of her son's fate. After she had given her word for the security of the fugi- tive, her son's dead body is brought home, and by the arrival of the officers in pursuit, she discovers that she harboured his murderer. From a strict sense of honour she refuses to deliver him up, and about half an hour afterwards adopts him in the room of the child she had lost. This story is the underplot of Beaumont and Fletcher's " Custom of the Country," where Guiomar, a widow lady of Lisbon, protects Butilio when she supposed that he had killed her son Duarte, whom he had left for dead, after a scuffle in the streets. Don Duarte, however, recovering from his wound, the lady accepts Butilio as her


198 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII. \

husband. Part of Gibber's comedy, LoTe makes a Man^ i is founded on a similar incident.^

The 5th noTel of the 8th decade, which has suggested the comedy of Measure for Measure, is equally sangxiinary , and improbable with the story of the Moor. A young man of Inspruck is condemned to be beheaded for having ravished a young woman in that city. His sister goes to solicit his pardon from the chief magistrate, who was reputed a man of austere yirtue and rigid justice. On certain conditions he agrees to grant her request, but these being fuimied, he presents her on the morning which followed her compliance, with the corpse of her brother. The emperor Maximin having been informed of this atrocious conduct, commands the magistrate to marry the woman he had betrayed, that she might be entitled to his wealth. He then orders the head of the culprit to be struck ofE ; but when the sentence is on the point of exe- cution, the bridegroom is pardoned at the intercession of the lady he had been forc^ to espouse. Many stories of a villainy of this nature were current about the time that i Cinthio wrote his Ecatommithi. A similar crime was, in ' the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, believed of a favourit<e of Lewis XI. of France, and in the 17th chapter of Etienne's ** Apology for Herodotus," it is attributed to the Prevost de la Vouste ; but there the lady sacrifices her honour for the sake of a husband, and not of a brother. We also read in Lipsii Monita et Exempla Politica [Ant- werp, 1613, 4 cap. 8] that Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, executed one of his noblemen for an offence of this infernal description,* but previously, as in the novel of Cinthio, compelled him to espouse the lady he had deceived, — a story wliich is related in the Spectator (No. 491). A like treachery, as every one knows, was at one period attri- buted to Colonel Kirke.'

^ The immediate source of Beaumont and Fletcher's work was, how- ever, rather Corvantes' romance of Los Trabajos de Feraites y Sigis- munda, which in its turn is an imitation of Heliodorus' " Theagenes and Charidea " (see F. W. V. Schmidt, Beitr. zur Gesch. der Rom. Foes.,

f>. 179, etc.). Cf. also Dolopathos, Loiseleur des Longchamps, Fab. nd. F. ii. p. 225, and Massmann on the Kaiser Chronik, v. 5905. — Lieb. ^ See Barante, Histoire des Dues de Bourgogne. ^ See Doace^ Illust. of Shakspeare, 1839, p. 95. The same story


CH. yni.] aioYANNi oibaldi cinthio. 199

The immediate original, however, of Measure for Measure, was not the novel of Cinthio, but Whetstone's play of Promos and Cassandra, published in 1578. In that drama the crime of the brother is softened into seduction : nor is he actually executed for his transgression, as a felon's head is presented in place of the one required by the magistrate. The king being complained to, orders the magistrate's head to be struck off, and the sister begs his life, even before she knows that her brother is safe. Shakspeare has adopted the alteration in the brother's crime, and the substitution of the felon's head. The preservation of the brother's life by this device might have been turned to advantage, as affording a ground for the intercession of his sister ; but Isabella plaids for the life of Angelo before she knows her brother is safe, and when she is bound to him by no tie, as the duke does not order him to marry Isabella. From his own imagination Shakspeare has added the character of Mariana, Angelo's forsaken mistress, who saves the honour of the heroine by being substituted in her place. Isabella, indeed, had refused, even at her brother's entreaty, to give up her virtue to preserve his life. This is an improvement on the incidents of the novel, as it imperceptibly diminishes

occnrs in Tragica sen tristinm historiarum de poenis criminalibns et exitn horribili eorum qni impietate, etc., nltionem divinam prorocarunt, etc., libri iL; lalebiae, 1598, 1. i. p. 107. Here the date is 1547, and the actor a dux Hispanus, who benares in the same treacherous way to the wife of a citizen who had been guilty of homicide, and is condemned by Gonzaga, duke of Ferrara, to marry the woman he had betrayed, and then to be crucified. In reckoning this among the stories of Belleforest, Dunlop seems to have folbwed an error of Donee's. — Libb. See also Goulart's Admirable and Memorable Histories," 1607, quoted by Halliwell Phillipps, and the Heptameron of Civil discourses, 1682.

    • In the year 1547 a citizen of Comun was cast into prison upon an

accusation of Murder, whom to deliver from the judgement of death his wife wrought all means possible. Therefore comming to the Captaine that held him prisoner, she sued to him for her husband's life, who, upon condition of her yeelding to his lust and payment of 200 ducats, promised safe deliverance for him. The poore woman, seeing that nothing could redeem her husband's life, but Josse and shipwrack of her own honestie, told her husband, who willed her to yeeld to the captain's desire, and not to pretermit so good an occasion ; wherefore she con- sented ; but after the pleasure past, the traiterous and wicked captaine put her husband to death notwithstanding." — Beard's *< Theatre of God's Judgements, 1612," quoted by HalUwell-^hiUipps.


200 HISTORY OP FICTION. [cH. VIII.

our sense of the atrocity of Angelo, and adds dignity to the character of the heroine. The secret superintendence, too, of the duke oyer the whole transaction, has a good effect, and increases our pleasure in the detection of the villain. In the fear of Angelo, lest the brother should take revenge " for so receiving a dishonoured life, with ransom of such shame," Shakspeare has given a motive to conduct which, in his prototypes, is attributed to wanton cruelty.

The 9th of the 10th decade, which relates to an absurd competition between a Pisan general and his son for the reward assigned to the person who had performed the most gallant action against the enemy, is the foundation of Beaumont and Fletcher's tiresome tragedy the Laws of Candy. That drama opens with a ridiculous competition between Oassilane, general of Candy, and his son Antinous, as to which had peritormed the noblest exploit against the Venetians : the soldiers and senate decide in favour of the son, who thus becomes entitled, by the laws of Candy, to claim whatever he chuses. He very foolishly demands that a huge brass statue of his father should be set up on the Capitol, and is persecuted by his jealous parent, during the three last acts, with unrelenting cruelty.

Of all the tragic stories of Cinthio, the only one truly pathetic is that of a mother who by mistake poisons her only son in administering a draught to him while sick. The death-bed scene, in which the father commits the boy to the care of his mother; the beautiful picture of maternal care and tenderness by which it is succeeded — her feverish anxiety during his illness — her heartrending lamentations on discovery of the fatal error settling, on his death, into a black despair, which rejects all consolation, and thence, by a natural transition, rises to ungovernable phrensy, all wring the heart in a manner which leaves us to regret that this novelist had told so many stories of Scy- thian and Armenian tyrants, who massacre whole tribes and generations without exciting the smallest sympathy or emotion.

All the tales of Cinthio, however, are not of the sangui- nary and melancholy nature of those already mentioned. Some of them, though tragic in their commencement, have


CH. Till.] GIOVANNI OIBAX.DI CINTHIO. 201

a happy conclusion, as the 6th of the 8th, in which the 68th of the Cento Novelle Antiche, and the Fabliau D'un Boi, qui Youlut faire bruler le fils de son Seneschal, is applied to a Turkish bashaw and a Christian slaye (see above, vol. ii. p. 49).

The 8th of the 9th decade is the story of a widow lady, who concealed a treasure in her house during the siege of Carthage. A daughter of the Eoman soldier who had ob- tained this .mansion being disappointed in love, resolved to hang herself ; but in tying the rope she removed a beam which discovered the treasure, and completely consoled her for all misfortunes. This story was transferred to Painter's Palace of Pleasure," under the name of the " Maids of Car- thage." It seems also to have suggested the concluding incident of the old ballad the Heir of Linne, and the second part of " Sinadab fils de Mddecin Sacan," one of Gueulette's " Contes Tartares."

Some of the novels of Cinthio are meagre examples of the generosity of the family of Este, and convince us that in the author's age nothing was more rare than genuine liberality. The 3rd of the 6th decade, however, is a re- markable instance of the continence of a duke of Ferrara, which has been told, in Luther's CoUoquia Mensalia," of the Emperor Charles V. [cap. 38, ed. 1621], and which I have also somewhere seen related of the Chevalier Bayard.

A few stories of this novelist are intended as comical. In the 3rd of the 1st decade, a soldier travelling with a philosopher and astrologer, the wise men mistaice their military companion for a siUy fellow ; and as they were reduced to a single loaf of bread, resolve to cozen him out of his share. They accordingly propose that it should be- long to the person who experiences the most delightful dre^jn in the course of the ensuing night. The soldier, who perceived their drift, rose while they were asleep, eat the loaf, and on the morrow reported this substantial incident, as the dream with which he had been favoured. This story corresponds precisely with the eighteenth tale of Petrus Alphonsus, except that in the eastern original the actors are two citizens and a countryman : it is also related in Historia Jeschuae Nazareni [Lugd. Bat. 1705,


202 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

viii. p. 51], a life of our Saviour, of Jewish invention. From the sixteenth of Alphonsus, Cinthio has also derived a story (ninth of first decade,) of a merchant who loses a bag containing 400 crowns. He advertises it, with a reward to any one who finds it ; but when brought to him by a poor woman, he attempts to defraud her of the pro- mised recompense, alleging that, besides the 400 crowns, it contained some ducats, which he had neglected to specify in the advertisement, and which she must have purloined. The marquis of Mantua, to whom the matter is referred, decides, that as it wanted the ducats it could not be the merchant's, advises him again to proclaim his loss, and bestows on the poor woman the whole contents of tHe purse. In Alphonsus we have a philosopher instead of the marquis of Mantua : the merchant, too, pretends that there were two golden serpents, though he had only adver- tised the loss of one, which made his deceit more flagrant, as the omission was less probable. This story has been imitated in innumerable tales and facetiae, both French and Italian.

The whole of the 7th decade consists of jests and re- partees : for example — The poet Dante dining at the table of Cane Delia Scala, lord of Verona, that prince ingeniously contrived to throw all the bones which had been picked at table at the feet of Dante, and on the table being removed affected the utmost amazement at the appetite of a poet who had left such remains. " My lord," replied Dante,

  • ' had I been a dog (cane) you would not have found so

many bones at my feet." Even this indifferent story is not original, being copied from the Dantis Faceta Eesponsio of Foggio, which again is merely an application to an Italian prince and poet of the Fabliau Les Deux Parasites (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 95). The notion, however, of this absurd trick, is older even than the Fabliau, having been played, as Josephus informs us (book xii. c. 4, § 9), on the Jew boy Hyrcanus while seated at the table of Ptolemy, king of Egypt : And being asked how he came to have so many bones before him, he replied, ' Very rightfully, my lord : for they are dogs that eat the flesh and bones to- gether, as these thy guests have done, for there is nothing before them ; but they are men that eat the flesh and cast


CH. VIII.] GIOVANNI GIBALDI CINTHIO. 203

away the bones, as I have now done.' On which the king admired at his answer, which was so wisely made ; and bid them all make an acclamation, as a mark of their appro- bation of his jest, which was truly a facetious one." ^

Though both the comical and pathetic stories of the Ecatommithi be inferior to those introduced in the De- cameron, the work of Cinthio ends perhaps more naturally. The termination of the voyage by tiie arrival at Marseilles is a better conclusion than the return to Florence. At the end of the whole there is a long poetical address, in which Cinthio has celebrated most of his eminent literary con- temporaries in Italy, particularly Bernardo Tasso —

Compag^o arendo il sno gentil FigUuolo.

Of all Italian novelists, Cinthio appears to have been the greatest favourite with our old English dramatists. We have already seen that two of the most popular of Shakspeare's plays were taken from his novels. Beaumont and Fletcher have been indebted to him for several of their plots ; and the incidents of many scattered scenes in the works of these dramatists, as also of Shirley, may be traced to the same source. That spirit, too, of atrocity and bloodshed, which characterises the Ecatommithi, fostered in England a similar taste, which has been too freely in- dulged by our early tragic writers, most of whom appear to have agreed in opinion with the author of Les Amuse- mens de Muley Bugentuf — " on auroit toujours vu perir dans mes tragedies non seulement les principauz person- nages mais les gardes memes ; tPaurois egorge jusques au floufleur." Horrible incidents, when extravagantly em- ployed by the novelist or dramatic poet, are merely an abuse of art, to which they are driven by indigence of genius. It is easy to carry such repulsive atrocities to excess ; but when thus accumulated, they rather excite a sense of ridicule, than either terror or sympathy. We shudder at the murder of Duncan and weep at the death of Zara,^ but we can scarcely refrain from laughter at the last scenes of the ** Andromana *' of Shirley.

The next Italian novelist is

  • See DiflciplinaCIericalis, ed. F. W. V. Schmidt,_p. 148, etc. ; Glad-

win's " Persian Moonshee/' p. ii. st. 35. » Voltaire's ** Zaire."


204 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.


Antonio Francesco Grazzini,

who was commonly called II Lasca (Mullet), the appella- tion he assumed in the Academia degli Umidi, to which he belonged, where every member was distinguished by tlie name of a fish. Lasca was spawned at Florence, in tHe beginning of the sixteenth century, and was one of tlie founders of the celebrated Academia Delia Crusca. He is said to have been a person of a lively and whimsical disposi- tion : he resided chiefly at the place of his birth, where lie also died in 1683. iSie account of his life, written by Anton Maria Biscioni, which is a complete specimen of the accuracy and controversial minuteness of Italian biography, is prefixed to his Bime, printed at Florence in 1741.

The novels of Grazzini are reckoned much better than his poetry ; they are accounted very lively and entertain- ing, and the style has been considered by the Italian critics as remarkable for simplicity and elegance. These tales are divided into three evenings (tre cene). None of these parts were published till long after the death of the auliLor. The second evening, containing ten stories, was first edited. It appeared at Florence in 1743, and afterwards, along with the first evening, which also comprehends ten stories, at Paris, though with the date of London, in 1756. Of the third part, only one tale has hitherto been pubUshed.

In order to introduce his stories, Grazzini feigns that one day towards the end of January, some time between the years 1540 and 1550, a party of four young men met after dinner at the house of a noble and rich widow of Florence, for the purpose of visiting her brother, who re- sided there at the time. This widow had four young female relatives who lived in the house with her. A snow storm coming on, the company amuse themselves in a court with throwing snow-balls. They afterwards assemble round the fire, and, as the storm increased, the gentlemen are prevailed on to stay to supper, and it is resolved to relate stories till the repast be ready. As the party had little time for preparation, the tales of that evening are short ; but at separating it is agreed that they should meet at the distance of a week and fortnight to relate stories more


CH. YHI.] ANTONIO FRANCESCO OBAZZINI. 205

detailed in their drcumstauces. Although the tales are lost, or at least not edited, which may be presumed to have been the longest, those that are published are of greater length than most of the Italian tales. Of these, manj consist of tricks or deceptions practised on fools or oox-^ combs, which are invariablj exa^erated and improbable^ The best story in the work, though not free from these defects, is the first of the second eyening, which turns on the extreme resemblance of a peasant to a rich fool, who resided in his neighbourhood, and who is accidentally drowned while they are fishing together. The peasant equips himseK in the clothes which his companion had left on the bank of the river when he went in to dive for fish, and runs to the nearest house, calling help for the poor countryman. When the body is found, it passes for the corpse of the rustic, who assumes the manners of the de- ceased, takes possession of his house, and enjoys this singular heirship tUl death, without discoTering the im- posture to any one except his wife, with whom he again ])erform8 the marriage ceremony. The relatives of the deceased are not surprised that their, kinsman should espouse the widow of a peasant, but are astonished at those gleams of intelligence which occasionally burst forth in spite of counterfeited stupidity. Stories of this natiire are not uncommon in fiction, and have all probably had their origin in the Menechmi of Flautus. Idiots seem to have been the favourite heroes of Grazzini: he has another story [ii. 2] taken from one of the Fabliaux,^ or perhaps from Poggio's " Mortuus Loquens," who is persuaded by his wife t^t he is dead. He sufEers himself to be carried out for interment, but springs up on hearing himself dis- respectfully mentioned by some one who witnessed the funeral. The tenth of the second night coincides with the seventh of Firenzuola, and the seventeenth of Fortini. The last story contains an account of a cruel, and by no means ingenious, trick practised by Lorenzo de Medicis on a physician of Florence.'

  • See VbI Schmidt, Beitraege zur Geschichte der Bom. Poesie, p. 25,

etc.

  • Le Grand, 4, 192 ; MonUiglon, No. 109, iv. 212 ; Le Villain de

Baillenl, by Jean de Boves ; see ako ▼. d. Hagen, Geaammtabentener,


206 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.


OSTENSIO LaNDO,

a Milanese gentleman, was author of fourteen tales, in- serted in his Varii Gomponimentif printed at Venice, 1552, 8vo. The Italian writers inform us, that he early adopted the opinions of Luther, abandoned his country, and sought refuge in Germany. Little more is known concerning the incidents of the life of this heretical novelist. With regard to his tales, the author himself acquaints us that he imitated Boccaccio, which is the great boast of the novelists who wrote in the middle and towards the dose of the six- teenth century; and of this resemblance they are as anxious to persuade their readers, as their predecessors had been to testify the truth and originality of their stories.

The chief excellence of the tales of Lando is said to con- sist in the grace and facility of the diction in which they are clothed. The 13th, however, though it wants the merit of originality, being taken from the fabliau of La Housse partie,* published by Barbazan, possesses, I think, intrinsic excellence. A Florentine merchant, who had been extremelv rich, becoming sickly and feeble, and being no longer of any service to his family, in spite of his intercessions, was sent by his son to the hospital. The cruelty of this conduct made a great noise in the city, and the son, more from shame than affection, dispatched one of his own children, who was about six years of age, with a couple of shirts to his grandfather. On his return he was asked by his parent if he had executed the commission. " I have only taken one shirt," replied he. " Why so ?" asked the father. " I have kept the other," said the child, " for the time when I shall send you to the hospital." This answer had the effect of despatching the unnatural son to beg his father's

remarks on No. 45, where, by an error, Boccaccio, til. 3, is printed instead of iii. 8. Cf. also the 6ericlitigungen, at the end of vol. iii. and vol. ii., pp. Ivi and Ivii.

^ And Legrand 4, p. 74 ; Le Bonrgeois d' Abbeville on la Hoosae couple endeux ; Montaiglon, i. 82.


CH. Till.] OIOYANKI FBANCB8CO STBAPABOLA. 207

pardon, and to conduct him home from his wretched habitation/


GiOTAKiri F&ANCBSco Stbafabola

is not one of the most esteemed Italian novelists, but none of them are more curious for illustrating the genealogy of fiction. Straparola was bom at Carravaggio, but resided chiefly at Venice. The first part of his work, which he has been pleased to entitle Tredeci piaeevoli notte, was printed at Venice in 1550, Svo, and the second part at the same place, 1554. These were followed by four editions, com- prehending the whole work. The stories amount in all to seventy-four, and are introduced by the fiction of a princess and her father being reduced to a private station, and attaching to themselves a select party of friends, who, for the sake of recreation, and to enjoy the cool air, as it was summer, entertain each other during night with relating stories.

Straparola has borrowed copiously from preceding authors. Thus the 3d of 1st night was probably taken from John of Capua's " Directorium," and originally derived from the Hitopadesa.

4th of 1st. Is from the 1st of 10th of the Fecorone, which has already been mentioned as the origin of Chaucer's " Man of Lawe's Tale " (see above, vol. ii. p. 169).

2d of 2d. Is from 2d of 2d of the Fecorone, or Les Deux Changeurs, in the Fabliaux (see above, vol. ii. p. 161).

3d of 2d. Is nothing more than an old mythological tale, though the metamorphosis it describes is a little less elegant than that of Daphne or Lodona.

4th of 2d. Machiavel and Brevio's story of " Belfagor " (see above, vol. ii. p. 186).

1st of 4th. That part where the Satyr laughs at an old man in tears attending the funeral of a child, whom he imagined to be his own, but who was, in fact, the son of

^ Similar to this tale are the stories (1) quoted by Mone (Anieiger, rii. 94, No. ▼!!.), from Jan Leclero's " Gekenspiegel.'^

T. Wright's " Utin Stories," No. 86, and Hebers " Schatzkasslein," 1811, p. 39.— LiBB.


208 HIBTOET OP FICTION. [CH. VIH.

the chaplain officiating at the oeremonj, is from the romance of Merlin (vol. i. p. 146).

2d of 4th. Fix>m the Ordeal of the Serpent, in the romance of Vergilins (see ahove, vol. i. pp. 436-7. See Landau Beitraege, p. 129).

4th of 4th. Is from 2d of 1st of the Pecorone, already pointed out as the origin of the Merry Wives of Windsor, Ac. (see above, vol. ii. p. 159).

3rd of 5th. The Fabliau of Les Trois Bossus.

1st of 6th. The first part is Foggio's *' Nasi Supplement tum." [Gontes ou nouvelles recreations de Bonaventuxe des Feriers. Nouv. 2 — Lafontaine, Le Faiseur d'oreilles* — Gr^court, Fo^sies. Les cheveux et la r^ponse impr^vu. Farce nouvelle d'un m^decin . . . qui fait le nez k nn enfant d'une femme grosse.] The second part, which relates to the reprisal of the husband, is from La F^che de I'Anneau, the 3d story of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, which had been written in France before this time.

3d of 7th. From the 195th of Sacchetti (see above, vol. ii. p. 161, etc.).

2d of 8th. From Fabliau La Dame qui fut Escoli^e.

4th of 8th. Is the 95th of the Cento Novelle Antiche,^ where a wine merchant, who sold his wine half mixed with water, miraculously loses the half of his gains.

6th of 8th. Is merely an expansion of the Clitella, one of Foggio's " Facetiae."

2d of 9th. Where the prince of Hungary, being in love with a woman of inferior condition, is sent by his father ta travel, and finding on his return that she is married, expires by her side, and his mistress also dies of grief, is precisely the 8th of 4th day of the Decameron.

3rd of 10th. An adventure of Tristan's in Ireland applied to an Italian prince,

Is the common story of a lady freed by her favourite knight, when on the point of being devoured by a monster

5th of 12th. From 1st of 10th of the Decameron (see above, vol. ii. p. 338).

1st of 13th. Is the Insanus Sapiens, the 2d story in Poggio's " Facetiae."


CH. VIII.] GIOVAN FSANCE8CO STSAPABOLA. 209

2d of 13th. Is from the Ist of Sozzini/ an obscure Italian novelist of the fifteenth century. A certain person having purchased some capons from a peasant, tells him that he will receive payment from a friar, to whom he con- ducts him. When they are admitted to the holy man, the purchaser whispers in his ear, that the countryman had come to confess his sins ; and then says aloud, that the priest will attend to him instantly. The peasant supposing that his debtor spoke of the money he owed for the capons, allows him to depart without paying their price ; but on holding out his hand to receive it, he is desired to kneel down by the confessor, who immediately crosses himself and commences a Paternoster.

Straparola, however, has levied his heaviest contribu- tions on the eighty novels of Jerome Morlini, a work written in Latin, and printed at Naples in 1520, 4to, but now almost utterly imknown, as there was but one edition, and even of this impression most of the copies were deservedly committed to the flames soon after the publican tion: there has been lately, however, a reprint at Paris from one of the copies still extant. Many of the tales of Straparola are closely imitated, and the last thirteen are literally translated from the Latin of Morlini. One of these is the common story of a physician, who said that the whole practice of physic consisted in three rules, — to keep the feet warm, the head cool, and to feed like the beasts, that is, according to nature.^

But although Straparola has copied largely from others, no one has suggested more to his successors. His work seems to have been a perfect storehouse for future Italian novelists, and the French authors of fairy and oriental tales. The 1st tale, which was itself partly suggested by the 52d of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, and was sepa- rately published in the sixteenth century, is the origin of the second of Gueulette's " Tartar Tales," Sinadab fils du

^ The real aonrce seems, howeTer, to be the conclading portion of the Fabliau of Les trois Areiigles de Compiegne.

' This stor^ is not, however, according to Liebrecht, to be found in MorlinL A list of Morlini's stories, with brief analyses of some of them , is given by Liebrecht at the end of his German translation of the pre- sent work on pp. 494-498.

II. P


210 HIBTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

M^decin Sacan. Fontame's ** Faiseur d'oreilles et racom- modeur de moules,^' is from the first half of the 1st of 6th. The last part of the 1st of 8th is the often-repeated story Get up and bar the Door. In the conclusion of this tale of Straparola, there is a dispute between a husband and his wife who should shut the door. A stranger comes in, and uses unsuitable familiarities with the wife, who re- proaches her husband with his patience, and is in conse- quence obliged to shut the door, according to agreement. The 2d of 8th may have suggested the Ecole des Maris of Moli^re, where two guardians, who are brothers, bring up their wards on different systems of education, the one on a rigid, and the other on a more lax system. The 5th of 8th is the origin of Armin's "Italian Tailor and his Boy," printed in 1609.

It is chiefly, however, as being the source of those fairy tales which were so prevalent in France in the commence- ment of the eighteenth century, that the Nights of Stra- parola are curious in tracing the progress of fiction. The northern elves had by this time got possession of Scotland, and perhaps of England, but the stories concerning their more brilliant sisterhood of the East, were concentrated, in the middle of the sixteenth century, in the tales of Stra- parola. Thus, for example, the third of the fourth is a com- plete fairy tale. A courtier of the king of Provino over- heard the conversation of three sisters, one of whom said, that if married to the king's butler she would satisfy the royal household with a cup of wine ; the second, that if united to the chamberlain she would weave webs of exqui- site fineness ; the third, that if the king espoused her she would bring him three children, with golden hair, and a star on their forehead. This conversation being reported at court, the king is so much delighted with the fancy of having children of this description that he marries the youngest sister. The jealousy of the queen-mother and the remaining sisters being excited by her good fortune, when the queen in due time gives birth to two sons and a daughter, they substitute three puppies in their place, and throw the children into the stream ; they are preserved, however, by a peasant, who is soon enriched by theirgolden locks, and the pearls they shed instead of tears. Having


CH. Till.] GIOYAN FRANCESCO STBAPABOLA. 211

grown np tliey come to the capital, and the sisters, dis- covering who ibej are, resolve on their destruction. These women ingratiate themselves with the princess, and per- suade her to send her brothers on a dangerous expedition, of which the object is to find the beautifying water, which, after many perils, they acquire by directions of a pigeon ; and the singing apple, which they obtain by .being clothed in enchanted vestments, which fright away the monster by whom the tree was guarded. But in their attempts, to gain the singing bird ^ they are retarded by being them- selves converted into statues. The princess, however, arrives at the spot and takes the bird captive, by whose means they are disenchanted, and finally informed con- ceming their parentage. In whatever way it may have come to Straparola, this is precisely the story of the Prin- cess Parizade, which forms the last of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, where a queen is promoted in the same manner as in Straparola, and persecuted in the same manner by the jealousy of sisters, whose last effort is per- suading the young Princess Parizade to insist on her brothers procuring for her use the talking bird, the singing tree, and golden water. Madame D'Aulnoy's fairy tale of Belle Etoile has been copied either from the Arabian or Italian story. Indeed all the best fairy tales of that lady, as well as most others which compose the Cabinet des Fe^s, are mere translations from the Nights of Straparola. The Ist of 2d is Mad. D'Aulnoy's " Prince Marcassin," ^ and 1st of 3d is her Dauphin. In the 3d of the 3d a beautiful princess, called Biancabella, is married to the king of Naples ; but while he is absent prosecuting a war, his step- mother sends her to a desert, while her own daughter per- sonates Biancabella on the king's return. The queen is succoured by a fairy, to whom she had shown kindness while in the shape of a fawn : by her means she is at length restored to her husband, and the guilty punished. This is the well-known story of Blanchebelle, in the Illustres Fe^s. That of Fortunio, in the same collection, is from the 4th of

^ See Barlaam and Josaphat, p. 62, etc

' See Lieb^ note 219, Schmidt's << Straparola," 269, 285; Grimn, Den Myth. 648.


212 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. TIII^

the 3d, where the departure of Fortimio from the house of his parents — the judgment he pronounces — ^the power of metamorphosis which he in consequence receives — his trans- formation into a bird — his mode of acquiring the princess in marriage — ^the whole of his adventure in the palace of the Syrens, and final escape from that enchanted residence, are precisely the same as in the well-known tale of For- tunio. In 1st of the 5th is the fairy tale of Prince Guerini, and the 1st of the 11th is the Maitre Chat, or Chat Bott^, of Perrault, well known to every child in this country by the name of Puss in Boots. Straparola's cat, however, is not booted, and the concluding adventure of the castle is & little different : in the Italian tale, the real proprietor, who was absent, dies on his way home, so that Constantino is not disturbed in his possession ; but in the Maitre Chat, the Cat persuades the Ogre, to whom it belonged, to change himself into a mouse, and thus acquires the privilege of devouring him. The 1st of 4th, 2d of 5th, 1st of 7th and 5th of 8th, are all in the same style ; and some of them may perhaps be more particularly mentioned when we come to treat of the fairy tales which were so prevelent in France early in the eighteenth century.

But while the Nights of Straparola are thus curious in illustrating the transmission and progress of fictioi^^ few of them deserve to be analyzed on account of their intrinsic merit. The second of the seventh night, however, is a ro- mantic story, and places in a striking light the violence of the amorous and revengeful passions of Italians. Between the main-land of Eagusa and an island at some distance* stood a rock entirely surrounded by the sea. On this barren clifE there was no building, except a church, and a

^ Straparola deals abundantly in the snpernatura]. The old folk tale of the young man who wooed and won the King of Poland's daughter by his power to transform himself into an eagle, a wolf, and an ant, ia given with scarcely any artificial modifications, whereas Ser GioTanni two centuries before was careful to exclude the fabulous from his tales. Straparola's tales were very popular in France, where many imitations of them appeared. The book underwent, according to Brahelmann, twenty -eight editions. The work, which is one of the most indecent of its kind, was prohibited bv the Church in 1605, notwithstanding which, however, it was reprinted at Venice in 1608.— Landau, Beitraege, p. 130.


CH. YIII.] QIOTAN FBANCESCO 8TBAPABOLA. 213

small cottage inhabited hj a young hermit, who came to seek alms sometimes at Bagusa, but more frequently at the island. There he is seen and admired by a young woman, confessedly the most beautiful of the inhabitants. As she is neither dilatory nor ceremonious in communicat- ing her sentiments, and as the hermit had received from her beauty corresponding impressions, nothing but a favourable opportunity is wanting to consummate their happiness. With consistent frankness of conduct, she re- quests her lover to place a lamp in the window of his cot- tage at a certain hour of the night, and promises that, if thus guided, she will swim to the hermitage. Soon as she spied the signal, she departed on this marine excursion, and arrived at the love-lighted mansion of the recluse. From his cell, to which she was conducted, she returned undiscovered, at the approach of dawn ; and, emboldened by impunity, repeatedly availed herself of the beacon. At length she was remarked by some boatmen, who had nearly fished her up, and who informed her brothers of her amphibious disposition, the spot to which she resorted, and their suspicion of the mode by which she was directed. Her kinsmen forthwith resolve on her death. The youngest brother proceeds in twilight to the rock, and, in order that the signal might not be displayed, implores for that night the hospitahty of the hermit. On the same evening the elder brothers privately leave their house in a boat, with a concealed light and a pole. Having rowed to that part of the deep which washed the hermitage, they placed the light on the pole. Their sister, who appears to have been ever watchful, departed from the ishmd. When the brothers heard her approach, they slipped away through. the water, and as the pole was fastened to the boat, they drew the light along with them. The poor wretch, who in the dark saw no other object, followed the delusion to the main sea, in which it was at length extinguished. Three days after- wards her body was washed ashore on the rock, where it was interred by her lover. Thus, adds the approving novelist, the reputations of the brothers and the sister were equally and at once preserved.

The first part of this tale was probably suggested by the classical fable of Hero and Leander. It is the subject


214 HISTOBT OF PICTION. [CH. VIII.

of a poem by Bemaxd le G^ntil, entitled EuphroBind et Melidor.^


Bandello,

who, in this country at least, is the best known of all the Italian novelists except Boccaccio, was bom in the neigh- bourhood of Tortona. He resided for some time at Milan, where he composed a number of his novels, but, wearied with the tumults and revolutions of that state, he retired* in 1534, to a village in the vicinity of ^en in France. Here he revised and added to his novels, which some friends had recovered from the hands of the soldiers who burned his house at Milan. In 1550 he was raised by Francis I. to the bishopric of Agen, where he died ik 1562. His tales were first published at Lucca, 1554, 4to. In the complete editions of Bandello, the work is divided into four parts, the first, second, and third parts contain- ing fifty-nine stories, and the fourth twenty-eight. The whole are dedicated to Ippolita Sf orza, though she died before their publication, because it was at her desire that the work was originally undertaken. Besides this general dedication, each novel is addressed to some Valoroeo Signore or Chiarissima Signora, and in this introduction the novelist generally explains how he came to a knowledge of the event he is about to relate. He usually declares that he heard it told in company, mentions the name of the teller, details the conversation by which it was introduced, and pretends to report it, as far as his memory serves, in the exact words of his authority.

The novels of Bandello have been blamed for negligence and impurity of style. Of this the author appears to have been sensible, and repeatedly apologizes for his defects in elegance of diction. "lo non son Toscano, n^ bene in- tendo la proprieta di quella lingua; anzi mi confesso Lombardo." This is the reason, perhaps, why the tales of Bandello have been less popular in Italy than in foreign

^ See GrsBsse, iii. 1078, and Von der Hagen Qesammtab., notes to No. 15.


CH. Till.] BANDBLLO. 215

countries, where/ as we shall now find, they have been much read and imitated.^

Part I. 9. From the Fabliau du Chevalier qui confessa sa femme. For the various transmigrations of this storj, see above, vol. ii. p. 112 ; Boccaccio, Dec. vii. 5.

21. A Bohemian nobleman has a magic picture, which, by its colour, shows the fidelity or aberrations of his spouse. This is the origin of Massinger's fanciful play of the Picture, where Mathias, a knight of Bohemia, receives a similar present from the scholar Baptista. The manner in which two Hungarian gentlemen attempt to seduce the lady in her husband's absence, and the contrivance by which she repulses both, are the same in the novel and the drama. Massinger, however, has added the tempta- tion held forth to the husband by the queen.

The incident which relates to the Picture is probably of oriental origin. In the history of Zeyn AlasLn, in the Arabian Nights, the king of the genii gives that pribice a mirror, which reflected the representation of the woman whose chastity he might wish to ascertain. If the glass remained pure she was immaculate ; but, if on the con- trary, it became sullied, she had not been always unspotted, or had ceased to desire being so. From the east this magical contrivance was introduced into many early ro- mances of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and thence, by a natural transition, found its way into the novels of Bandello.

22. Is, if not the origin of, at least derived from the same source as Shakspeare's " Much Ado about Nothing," '

  • BandeUo was on terms of friendship with some of the most con-

spicnons literati of his time, his position on the other hand often brought him into contact with the lower classes. He had, therefore, the widest opportunities of knowing the social features of the age in which he liTed, and his novels affbnl a very lively picture of the tone of society. Bandello continued his series of novels throughout his life, and printed them in old age — he has not, therefore, even the excuse for their immo- rality pleaded for Boccaccio, whose Decameron was completed before he had attained his fortieth year. It should be noticed, however, that the author stales himself simply Bandello, and suppresses any intima- tion of his episconal dignity on the title>page.

' Much Ado about Nothing is supposed to have been written between 1598 and 1600. A translation, by Feter Beverly » of part of Ariosto's poem containing this tale, was entered by the Stationers' Company in


216 HI8T0BY OP FICTIOK. [CH. Till.

and is tlie longest tale in the work of Bandello. The deception, which forms the leading incident, is as old as the romance of Tirante the White, but was probably suggested to the Italian noTelist by a storj in the Orlando Furioso. In the fifth canto of that poem, the duke of Albany is enamoured of G-ineura, daughter of the king of Scotland. This princess, however, being prepossessed in favour of an Italian lover, Ariodante, the duke has recourse to stratagem to free himself from this dangerous rival. He persuades the waiting-maid of G-ineura to di^uise herself for one night in the attire of her mistress, and in this garb to throw down a ladder from the window, by which he might ascend into the chamber of G-ineura. llie duke had pre- viously so arranged matters that the Italian beheld in concealment this scene, so painful to a lover. Gineura is condemned to death for the imaginary transgression, and is only saved by the opportune arrival of the paladin Binaldo, who declares himself the champion of the accused princess.

In the tale of Bandello, which is evidently borrowed from the Orlando, Lionato, a gentleman of Messina, had a daughter named Fenicia, who was betrothed to Timbreo de Cardona, a young man of the same city. Girondo, a dis- appointed lover of the young lady, having resolved to prevent the marriage, sends a confident to Timbreo to warn him of the disloyalty of his mistress, and offers that night to show him a stranger scaling her chamber win- dow. Timbreo accepts the invitation, and in consequence sees the hired servant of Girondo, in the dress of a gentle- man, ascend a ladder, and enter the house of Lionato. Stung with rage and jealousy, he next morning accuses his innocent mistress to her father, and rejects the alliance. Fenicia, on hearing this intelligence, sinks down in a swoon. This is followed by a dangerous illness, which gives her father an opportunity of preventing reports in- jurious to her fame by pretending. she is dead. She is accordingly sent to the coimtry, and her funeral rites are celebrated in Messina. Girondo, struck with remorse at


1 565, and, according to Warton, printed in 1 600. Sir John Harrington's version of the Orlando Furioso appeared in 1591.


CH. VIII.] Bi.NDELLO. 217

having occasioned her death, now confesses his villainy to Timbreo, after which they proceed together to make the requisite apologies to her family. The sole penance which the father imposes on Timbreo is, that he should espouse a lady of his selection, and that he should not demand to see her previous to the performance of the bridal cere- mony. At the nuptial festival, Timbreo, instead of the new bride he awaited, is presented with the innocent and much injured Fenicia. That part of Much Ado about Nothing, which relates to Hero, though it came to Shak- speare through the medium of BellefOrest's "Histoires Tragiques," bears a striking resemblance to this novel. In the comedy, as in the tale, the scene is laid at Messina, and the father's name is Leonato. Claudio is about to be married to Hero, but Don John attempts to prevent the match. He consults with a villainous confederate, who undertakes to scale Hero's windows in the sight of Claudio. The lover having been witness to this scene, promulgates the infamy of Hero. She faints on hearing of the accusation : she is believed dead, and her funeral rites are celebrated. The treachery being accidentally detected, Leonato insists that Claudio should marry his niece, instead of his deceased daughter, but at the marriage the destined bride proves to be Hero. Notwithstanding this general resemblance, the English poet has deviated from his original in three strikisg alterations. In the first place, Don John is merely anxious to prevent the match from spleen and hatred towards Claudio, while in the tale the villain is entirely actuated by a passion for the bride. Secondly, the device by which the jealousy of the lover is awakened, is carried farther in Much Ado about Nothing than in Bandello ; in the former the friend of Don John persuades the waiting-maid of Hero to personate her mistress at the window, a stratagem resorted to in the story of Gineura in the Orlando, which shows that Shakspeare had not ex- clusively borrowed from Bandello. Lastly, in the comedy the deceit is not discovered by the voluntary confession of the traitor, but is detected by a watchman on the street overhearing the associate of the principal villain relating to his friend the success of the stratagem, by way of con- versation. In the two first deviations the dramatist, I


218 HISTOEY OP FICTION. [cH. VIII.

tliink, has improved on his original, but in the third has altered to the worse.^ A similar stoiy with that in the Decameron and Much Ado about Nothing, occurs in Spenser's " Faery Queene " (B. 2. c. 4, first published in 1590). There Guyon, in the course of his adventures, meets with a squire, who relates to him that a false friend being enamoured of the same mistress with himself, had instilled suspicions into his mind, which he had afterwards confirmed by treacherously exhibiting himself disguised as a groom at an amorous interview with a waiting-maid, whom he had persuaded to assume the dress of her mis- tress Claribella. See also the 9th novel of the introduction to the tales of Cinthio.

23. A girl kisses her nurse's eye to allow her lover to escape unseen : This is from the 10th tale of Petrus Alphonsus.^

25. Story of the architect and his son, who rob the king's treasury. (See above, vol. ii. p. 379.)

29. Common story of a simple fellow who thinks a ser- mon is entirely addressed to himself.

42. A gentleman of Yalentia privately espouses a woman of low birth ; he long delays to make the marria^ public, and she at length ascertains that he is about to be united to a lady of high rank. Soon after the celebration of the nuptials, she pretends to have forgiven this breach of faith, and persuades him to come one night to her house, where, when he has fallen asleep, she binds him with ropes, by aid and counsel of a female slave, and after subjecting him to the most frightful mutilation, plunges a dagger in his heart. This is the origin of Beaumont and Fletcher's " Triumph of Death," the third of their Four Plays in One, where Lavall, the lustful heir of the duke of Anjou, having abandoned his wife Gabriella, for a new bride, is enticed to


^ Knight observes : " Ariosto made this story a tale of chivalry, Spenser a lesson of high and solemn morality, Bandello an interesting love-romance; it vraa for Shakspeare to surround the main incident with those aooessories which he could nowhere borrow, and to make of it such a comedy as no other man has made — a comedy not of manners or of sentiment, but of life viewed under its profoundesC aspects, whether of the grave or the ludicrous."

' See supra, vol. ii. p. IS.


CH. Vm.] BANDELLO. 219

her house hj contrivanoe of ber servant Mary, and is there murdered while under the influence of a sleeping potion.

57. A king of Morocco, while engaged in the chase, is separated from his attendants, and loses his way. He is received and hospitably entertained by a fiehennan who. ignorant of the quahty of his visitor, treats him with con- siderable freedom, but is loud in his praises of the king. Next morning the rank of his guest is revealed to the fisherman by the arrival of those courtiers who had accompanied their monarch in the chase. A similar occur- rence is related in the Fabliaux, as well as many of the old English ballads, and probably had its origin in some adventure of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid. The tale of Bandello is the origin of Le Boi et le Fermier of M. Sedaine.

Part n. 9. Story of Bomeo and Juliet. (See above, vol. ii. p. 176, etc.)

15. Pietro, a favourite of Alessandro de Medids, carried off the daughter of a miller, who soon after proceeded to Florence, and complained of this violence to the duke. Alessandro went, as on a visit to the house of his favourite, and asked to survey the different apartments. The latter excused himself from showing one of the smaller rooms. The door, however, being at length burst open, and the girl discovered, the duke compelled him to marry her, on pain of losing his head. That part of Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy " The Maid in the Mill," which relates to Otranto and Florimel, the supposed daughter of the miller Franio, is founded on the above novel.^

35. Is the same storv with the plot of the Mysterious Mother, of Horace Waipole, and the thirtieth tale of the Queen of Navarre. The first part of this story had been already told in the 23rd novel of Massuciuo. The second part, which relates to the marriage, only occurs in Ban- deUo and the Queen of Navarre [Heptameron, No. 30]. It is not likely, however, that the French or Italian novelists borrowed from one another. The tales of Bandello were first published in 1554, and as the Queen of Navarre died

^ A oootemporary, Doni, has a similar story in his Marmi, Venice, 1562, i. p. 76. Lope de Vega's *' Quinta de f lorencia *' is founded on the same subject. — Lxeb.


220 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

in 1549, it is improbable tliat she bad an opportunity of seeing tbem. On tbe other band, tbe work of the queen was not printed till 1558, nine jears after ber deatb, so it is not likelj tbat any part of it was copied by Bandello/

^ It is to be noted, howerer, that Bandello was acquainted with the Queen of Navarre, and dedicated to her his Hecuba and Nov. 20 of pt. iv., and received an answer from her to his dedicatory letter. Her novels were circulated in MS., and may, therefore, have been known pretty generally loug^ before their impression.

An earlier and it must be admitted less revolting form of the story is the Legend of St. Gregory, which was widely diffused through Europe.

The English verse Gregory-Legend is praised by one of its editors, Dr. Horstmann, as not inferior to Hartmann von Aue's old German poem on the same theme, while it surpasses it in vivid and trenchant style as a genuine popular epic, and in its wealth of ornament. It belongs to a period when old Teutonic forms, and the true popular Saxon mode of composition had not as yet disappeared before Norman influences. The English version of the legend is known from three MbS. 1, Vernon MS., Oxford, edited by Horstmann; 2, the MS. Cott. Cleop., D. ix., British Museum, and 3, the Auchinleck MS., Advo- cates' Library, Edinburgh, edited with glossary by F. Schulz, 1876.

We give here a brief analysis of tbe English poem. The widower Count of Aquitaine on his death-bed engages his son and daughter to mutual affection. The sentiment of the young count, however, assumes an illicit character, and

<< pe feond pult hit in his f^oujt"

to gratify it. Overcome with shame and remorse the couple confide in a loyal and aged vassal, who counsels the young count to repair to the holy sepulchre to expiate his crime, and receives into his house the sister who gives birth to a son. The child, Gregory, is committed to the waves in a boat with some ivory tablets stating his parentage. The babe is found by two fishermen, and given to one of them, by the neighbouring abbot, who adopts the infant, to be reared. Gregory e;rows up, a model of wisdom ; he is, however, ignorant of his descent, but learns at length that he is a foundling. Despite the abbot's attempts to soothe his grief at this, he sets off in quest of chivalric adventures, and to seek out his parents. The abbot equips a vessel for him and restores the tablets found on him, as well as cloth and gold with which his mother had provided him when a babe. The wind carries him to the country of his mother, who, in consequence of the death of the brother, has become sovereign of the land. Gregory expels an invading dnke from hor dominions and is rewarded by the bestowal of her hand. Both parties are unaware of their kinship, and their wedded life which, it should be noted is fruitless, is happy for some time. But the count is still anxious to discover his parents ; a lady of the court, while he is absent hunting, shows the tablets to the countess whose happiness is


CH. Yin.] BANDELLO. 221

whose tales had been edited some years before. It may, therefore, be presumed that some current tradition furnished both with the horrible incident they report. Indeed Bandello declares in the introduction to the tale,

now destroyed. Gregory leaves the country as a penitent and pilgrim, and induces a fisherman to chain him to a lonely rock in (he sea, upon which he existed for seventeen years nourished only with the dew of heaven. Upon the death of the pope, no one appeared meet to succeed to the dignity, and an angel announces that none is worthier than the fettered Gregory, who is accordingly elected. When he is pope, his mother, without knowing him to have attained that elevation, comes to confess to him, and is absolved by him. It will be seen that the hero is here innocent throughout, while the case is very different in the later French and Italian compositions. Surely a lesson is conveyed in this devek>pment. While the earlier features of the legend may have been originally derived horn the classic story of CEdipus and Jocasta, the seoond portion reminds us of Prometheus, who, in classical mythology, often appears in connection with Athena, whose birth from the brain of Zeus he is said to have assisted, while his punishment on Mount Cau-> casus was, according to some accounts (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 1249), merited by his criminal love for her. He is further narrated to have mounted by her aid to heaven, to have lighted his torah at the chariot of Helios, and thence brought down fire to mankind (Smith, Class. Diet. Prometheus). As Prometheus, Ahriman, and Loki lie fettered for ages, so Gregory, the representative of crime unpurged, undergoes his penance in a strikingly similar manner, until, the evil expiated, he throws off his chains, mounts the papal throne, and there vanquishes, and assoils the stain of sin.

The story of Gregory forms No. 81 of the Gesta Romanorum. It is the French Vie du Pape Gr^goire, edited by V. Luzarche, Tours, 1856. An analysis and account of the French legend will be found in Luzarche'a introduction, as also in the Histoire de la Littdrature Fran^aise (ii. p. 170), by Littr^, who remarks — ** Ii n'ost personne qui ne reconnaisse \k les reminiscences de TCEdipe Mythologique et de la fatality antique \ settlement au lieu du destin qui est §limin6 d'une narrative Chr^tienne, c'est le Diable qui agit, qui tente le frere, fait suocomber la sosur, et a soin, quand le temps est venu, de ramener le fils a la mdre et de pre- parer un nonvel incesto. Mais Texpiatlon plus puissante que le dimon, d^fait toute ce au'il a fait." The subject also received poetical treat- ment at the hands of the old German poet Hartmann von Aue. Schrei- her has g^ven an analysis of this version in Theologische Studien und Kritiken, 1863, p. 270. Besides the various Bearbeitnngen of the story referred to by Dunlop in the text above, it has, says M. Hubaud (Recuei! des Contes et Nouvelles de la Reine de Navarre, etc., Marseille, 1850, p. 2) been imitated in Italian by Matteo Bandello, in Spanish by J. Perez de Montalvan (Sucesos y Prodigios de Amor — La Mayor confusion), in Latin by D. Otho Melander (? in Wright's Latin stories, No. 1 10 and 112), and has furmshed Desfontaines with the subject of his L'Inoeste Innocent His- toire Veritable, Paris, 1644. It is briefiy narrated in Amadis de Gaule,


\


y 222 HI8TOET OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

St


at it happened in Nayarre, and was told to him by a laJ«5 of that country. In Luther's " Colloquia Mensalia/' undeK the article Auricular Confession, it is said to have oocurrcfi at Erfurt, in Germany. It is also related in the eleventh chapter of Byshop's " Blossoms/' and in L'Inceste

and a modern writer '"'«s?«8 up the subject in Le Criminel sans le Savoir, Roman Historique et Poeiiq^^i Amsterdam and Paris, 1783. It is also found in . . . Brevio's " Rime e Pr(>s<»v Volgari, novella iv., and in T. Grapulo (or Grappolino), U Convito Borghesiano, Londra, 1800, novel vii. A cognate story is Le Bit du Buef and Le Dit de la Bour- josse de Rome. Jubinal's Nouveau Recueil, i. pp. 42 and 79 respec- tively, M^n, Nouveau Recueil Dn S^nateur de Romeet de la Bourjos^. LiBBRBCHT. The Leggenda di Vergogna, etc., testi del buon seoolo in prosa e in verso, edited by A. D'Ancona, Bologna, 1869, is materially the same story. The traaition seems to have been very generally dif- fused in France. " In the middle of the nave (of the Gollegial Church of Ecouis) there was to be seen a white marble tablet with this epitaph [the one quoted by Dunk>p above]. The tradition runs that a son of

    • Madame d'Ecouis avaiteu de sa mdre sans la connattre et sans en St re

reconnu, une fille nomm^ Cecile. II ^pousa ensuite en Lorraine oette mdme C^ile qui ^tait aupres de la Duchesse de Bar. ... lis furent enterr^ dans le mdme tombeau en 1612 & Ecouis." Millin, Antiquites Nadonales (t. iii f. xxviii. p. 6) quoted by Le Koux de Lincy in Not«s et Eclaircissements to his edition of the Heptam^ron, 1880, p. 281. Millin states, according to Le R. de Lincy, that the sacristan supplied curious visitors to the Church, a fly-leaf containing the narrative, and adds that the same story is associated with various otlier parishes, among which he mentions Alincourt, a village between Amiens and Abbeville, where the following epitaph may be seen : —

Ci git le fils, ci git la m^re Ci git la fille avec le pdre, Ci git la sceur, ci git le frere, Ci git la femme et le man, Et ne sont que trois corps ici.

For analogous epitaphs and kinship riddles, see Moneys Anxeiger,'* ii. 238.

Late Greek forms of the (Edipus Saga are found in Suidas and Cedrenus. See Schneidewin, die Saee vom CEdipus, etc. Qottingen, 1852, and Dippold, Ueber die Quelle des Gregorius. Loipsig, 1869, p. 62, etc. The latter work is a mont interesting contribution to uie 8ub> ject, but would have been still more valuable had the author included the English version in his scope. On p. 56 attention is drawn to an lulian story (U figliuolo di germani), the legend of St. Albinus, and the Servian poem of the Foundling Simeon, which embody the same tradi- tion. In the Servian tale the action is somewhat difierent. Simeon


CH. Till.] BANDELLO. 228

Lmocent, a novel by D^s Fontaines, published 1638. Julio de Medrano, an old Spanish writer of the sixteenth qentvaj, says that he heard a similar story when he was in the Boiurbonnois, where the inhabitants showed him the house

leaves his guardian abbot to seek his fortunes, and is invited to the queen's court, where he is induced to stay.

Fnndling Simon, den der Wein bcranschte, That wie ihm die konigin geboten, Liebend ihre schonen wangen kiissend.

Next morning he departs, ashamed of his conduct ; but remembering that be had forgotten his gospel book (which had been left with him when he was exposed as an infant), he returns to fetch it, and finds that his personality had through its means been recognised by his mother. He hies back in despair to the abbot, who confines him in a dungeon full of snakes and scorpions, and flinging the key into the Danube^ tells him his guilt will be expiated when it returns from the waters. After nine years a fish is caught, in the belly of which the key is found. The abbot goes to Simeon, whom he finds seated on a golden throne, and the prison lit ap with sunlike radiance.

The reader who shall reach the dose of this note before the end of his patience, may consider it of inordinate length. I was induced, however, at least to point the way to much information on the subject, as it seemed to offer a good example of the mixture of Pagan with Christian tradi- tions, which we are being yearly made to realise more forcibly by the research at present so active in this field. Not only this, the various processes of metamorphosis are also well exemplified, and, if I may be allowed a word of criticism, the more modem versions of the legend are aesthetically far inferior to the earlier composition. I have alroady ob- served in another place that the latter part of the fifteenth century and the sixteenth century were marked in art by truculence and licence, and that the tamt is equally apparent in literature. That a queen of Navarre could pen the story of guilty and conscious incest upon incest, which in horror, if not obscenity, far surpasses any of Boccaccio's tales is a sign of the sixteenth century, which may give cause to profitable reflection. In the earlier version, though the brother and sister are guilty, the hero, Gregory, is perfectly innocent. Nevertheless he repre- sents the expiation (and here there is a heathen moi\f) of evil, which was not intentional, and, therefore, in him no sin. The moral is that grace may raise up the worst sinner.

It may be noted also in the poem the report of the brother's death, who bad departed to the Holy Land, is brought to the criminal sister afier she bad just parted from her babe, thus grief being heaped on grief. The news is not merely brought in later on to explain her elevation to the sovereignty ; this, it will oe admitted, is highly artistic, while the bairennesa of the union is another redeeming point


224 HISTORY OP FICTION. [oH. TIIT.

in which the parties had lived, and repeated to him this epitaph, which was inscribed on their tomb : —

Cy-gist ]a iille, cy-gist le pere, Cy-gist la Boeur, cy-gist le frere ; Cy-gist la femme, et le mary, Et si n' y a que deux corps icy.

Mr. Walpole disclaims having had any knowledge of the tale of the Queen of Navarre or Bandello at the time he wrote his drama. Its plot, he says, was suggested bj a story he heard when very young, of a lady, who, under uncommon agonies of mind, waited on Archbishop Tillot- son, revealed her crime, and besought his coimsel in what manner she should act, as the fruit of her horrible artifice had lately been married to her son, neither party being aware of the relation that subsisted betwixt them. The prelate charged her never to let her son or daughter know what had passed. For herself he bade her almost despair. The dramatist has rather added to the horror and impro- bability of this tale, than mellowed it by softer shades ; but his poem deserves much praise for strong expression, and powerful delineation of cruelty and fraud.

36. Has usually been accounted the origin of Shak- speare's " Twelfth Night." The rudiments, however, of the story of Bandello may be found in Cinthio. In the Ecatommithi of that author, a gentleman falling under the displeasure of the king of Naples, leaves that country with his two children, a boy and girl, who had a striking re- semblance to each other. The vessel in which they had departed is shipwrecked, and the father is supposed to be lost, but the two children get safe to shore, and are brought up unknown to each other by two different persons who resided near the coast. The girl, when she grows up, falls in love with a young man, and, by the intervention of an old woman, goes to serve him in the garb of a page, and is mistaken by her master for her brother, who had formerly been in his service, but had eloped in female dis- guise, to prosecute an intrigue in the neighbourhood. In Bandello the circumstances are more developed than in Ginthio, and bear a closer resemblance to the drama. An Italian merchant had two children, a boy and girl, so like in personal appearance, that when dressed in a similar


CH. Yin.] BANDELLO. 225

maimer, they could hardly be diBtingnished by their parents. The boy was lost in the sack of Borne by the Imperialists, being carried of! by a German soldier. After this event, the father went with his daughter to reside at Aix, in Savoy. When the girl grows up, she has a lover of whom she is deeply enamoured, but who afterwards forsakes her. At this time her father being absent on business, and her faithless lover having lately lost a favourite attendant, by the intervention of her nurse she is received into his service in disguise of a page. She soon obtains the confidence of her master, and is employed by him to propitiate the rival who had supplanted her in his affections. This lady falls in love with the disguised emissaiy. Meanwhile the brother having obtained his hberty by the death of his German master, comes in search of his father to Aix, where he is seen and courted by the female admirer of his sister, who, deceived by the resem- blance, mistakes him for the object of her attachment. At length, by the arrival of the father, the whole mystery is cleared up. The lover returns to the mistress he had forsaken, and who had suffered so much for his sake, while the brother more than supplies his sister's place with her fair admirer. The disguise of the young lady, which is the basis of this tale, and the plot of Twelftib Night, is not improbable in the former, as it was assumed with iJie view of recalling the affections of a lover ; but Viola, separated from her brother in a storm, and driven on an unknown coast, forms the wild project of engaging the affections of the duke, to whose person she was a stranger, and whose heart she understood was devoted to another. Influenced by no passion nor motive, she throws off the decorum of her sex, and serves the destined hus- band pf Olivia in an useless and tmworthy disguise. The love, too, of the duke's mistress for the disguised Viola, is more improbable from the circumstances of her situation and temper, than the passion of the Catella of the novelist. In Bandello, the brother has an object in coming to Aix, where his father and sister resided, but it is difficult to assign a motive for Sebastian's journey to Dlyria. It is also more likely, as in the novel, that a lover should return to a mistress he had forsaken, on receiving a II. Q


226 HI8T0ET OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

Btriking instance of fidelity and tenderness, than that the duke should abandon a woman he passionately adored, and espouse a stranger, of whose sex he had hitherto been ignorant, and who had not even love to plead as an excuse for her transgression of the bounds of decorum.^ A lady disg^sed in boy's clothes, and serving her lover as a page, or otherwise, for the interests of her love, is one of the most common incidents in the Italian novels and our early British dramas. Besides Twelfth Night, and the Two Gentlemen of Verona, it is the foundation of Beaumont and Fletcher's " Philaster," Shirley's " Grateful Servant."

    • School of Compliment," ** Maid's Bevenge," &c. [cf. also

Scott's " The Abbot."] "

Part in. 41. Story common in our English jest-books, of a Spaniard who asks part of a dinner for himself, giving his name at full length, and is told there are not provisions for so many people. In the English story I think he asks lodging. [Timoneda, Alivio de Caminant^s, P. 2, No. 39. JBibl. de autores Espanoles, iii. 180.]

46. Is the most obscene story in Bandello, or perhaps in the whole series of Italian novels, yet it is said in the in- troduction to have been related by Navagero to the prin- cess of Mantua and duchess of XJrbino.

47. Is from 4th of 8th of Boccaccio.

59. An Italian count, who had long doubted of his wife's fidelity, at length becomes assured of her constancy from her assiduous attendance during a long sickness, which had in fact been created by a poison she had ad- ministered. Being at length informed, however, by a domestic, that his wife embraced the opportunity of his confinement from illness to receive the visits of a lover, he is enabled to detect them together, and sacrifices both to his resentment. This tale is the first part of La Force de TAmiti^, a story introduced by Le Sage in his Diable Boiteux.

Part IV. 17. Marquis of Ferrara prepares a mock exe-

^ Shakspeare Illustrated, vol. ii.

' Liebrecht remarks that Cinthio's stories, thoagh written earlier, were printed later than Bandello, Lope de Rueda's " Comedia de los Enguios" and La Espanola en Florencia^ attributed to CalderoQ,are based on the same subject.


CH. VIII.] KICOLAO OBANUCCI. 227

cution, and the victim of this villainous jest expires from apprehension. A similar effect of terror forms the sub- ject of Miss Baillie's play of the Dream, which is the second of her tragedies on Fear/ The ancestors of

NiGOLAO GrANTJCCI,*

being of the Guelph faction, were expelled from Lucca in beginning of the fourteenth century, but afterwards returned and spread out into numerous branches, through the various states of Italy. It is from the circumstances of his family that this novelist deduces the origin of his Btories, as he informs the reader, that being at Sienna in 1568, he went to the neighbouring town of Fienza, to enquire if there were any descendants of the Granucci settled there. He was conducted by two of the inhabitants to an abbey in the vicinity, and after his arrival, was carrried to see the Villa de Trojano, by one of the monks, who, on the way related a number of tales, of which at parting he pre^nted a compendium in writing; and from this MS. Granucci asserts, that he afterwards formed his work, which was published at Venice, 1574. The 6th story of Grannucci is from the 1st of Petrus Alphonsus. A son boasts of the number of his friends to his father, who advises him to try them, by putting a dead calf in a sack, and pretending that it is the corpse of a person he had murdered. When he asks his friends to assist him in concealing it, they unanimously decline doing anything in the matter, but the service is undertaken by the sole friend of whom the father boasted. This story is older even than Alphonsus ; I think it is of classical origin, and has been somewhere told of Dionysius of Syracuse and his son. Another story of Granucci is from the fabliau Du cure qui posa une pierre.'

^ Cf. also a story of Henry III. of CastUle, in Tales firom Twelve Tongneii, Lond., 1S83.

  • La piaoeTol notte e liefeo giomo, opera morale di Nioolao Granucci

di Lucca.

  • Neither of tlie storiee referred to by Donlop is to be found in the

PtaoeTol Notte. The first mentioned, however, is contained in another work of the same author, L'Eremita, il Caroere e I'Diporto, Lucca, 1569,


228 HI8T0BT OP FICTION. [CH. Till.


Abcakio Mobi da Ceno^

was a Mantuan, and passed his life in the service of the princes of Gonzaga, one of whom he followed to Hungary, when he went to attend the Emperor Maximilian in the wars against Soljman. He was an intimate friend of Torquato Tasso, and a curious extract from a letter ad- dressed to him by that poet is given in Black's " Life of Tasso " (vol. ii. p. 194). Ceno's novels, which are fifteen in number, are dedicated to Yincenzo Gonzaga, prince of Mantua, noted as the assassin of Crichton and the patron of Tasso. The first part of his work was printed at Mantua, 1585, 4to. From the title it would appear that a second part was intended to have been added, but it was never written, or at least never published. The 3rd novel is the common story of a messenger coining express with a pardon to a criminal, but who, having his attention diverted bv the execution, which was commencing, does not deliver his orders till all is concluded. The 13th is the still better known story of two young men, who during their father's absence, pretend that he is dead ; they sit in deep mourn- ing and apparent distress, and in consequence receive his country rents from the steward, who arrives with them.


CsLio Malespini,^

during his youth, was in some public employment at Milan, but afterwards resided at Venice, and finally passed into the service of Duke Francis of Medici. Malespini was the first person who published the Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, which he did in a very imperfect and mutilated manner, and without the consent of the poet. E[is novels, which amount to two hundred divided into two parts, were written about 1580, and published at Venice in 1609, 4to.

1. ill., 5. Conde Lucanor, No. 37, and Ser Cambi, No. 6, are upon the same theme. Cf. also Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, No. 28. — Lieb.

^ Prima parte dell' novelle di Ascanio Mori da Ceno.

^ Dncento noTelle del Signore Celio Malespini, nel quale si raceontano diyersi avvenimenti $ cosi lieti, come mesti e stravaganti.


CH. VIII.]


CEIiIO MALBBFINI.


229


He introduces them by telling that a party of ladies and gentlemen, who had fled from Venice during the plague in 1576, met in a palace in the Contado di Trevizi, where they chiefly amused themselves with relating stories. In N. 41, of the first part, there is a curious account of the amusements of the Compagnia della Calza, so called from a particular stocking which the members wore. The society, which existed in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was neither, as some have imagined, a chival- rous nor academic institution, but merely an association for the purposes of public and private entertainments, as games, feasts, and theatrical representations. In course of time this university became divided into different frater- nities, as the Compagnia dei Floridi, Sempitemi, <&c., each of which was governed by particular laws and officers, and the members were distinguished by a certain habit.

Few of iihe tales of Malespini are original : long before the period of their publication, the Cent Nouvelles Nou- velles had been written in France, and almost the whole of these have been inserted by Malespini in his novels ; indeed he has translated them all except the 5th, 35th, 36th, 64th, 74th, and 93rd. The correspondence of the tales in these two works will be best shown from the fol- lowing table : —


C. N. N. 91 44 81 54 59 24 28 19 77 20 58 65 16 3


Kalespini.




C. N. N.


Malespini




2 . . .ifl 62


26a .


5




13


27




6




97


32




8




68


33




9




69


35




10




63


36




14




62


37




15




4>


88


.



17




33


39




18




8


40




19




73


42




20




. 27


43




23




. 32


44




26 .




42


45




230


HISTOBT OF FICTION.


[CH. Tin.


Malespini 46 47 49 57 58 61 65 67 76 78 79 80 81 86 88 90 91 92 93 94 95 97 99 100 101


1 3 5

7

8

10


Pabt II.


C.N.N.


Malespini,



87


12



29


13



37


16



10


18



98


19



88


25



92


27



76


29



60


35



46


40



21


43



14


47



79


49



72


61



23


52


> • ' •


34


53


• • ' •


63


56



78


57



86


69



71


61



83


62



17


63



39


66



48


67



94


68 70 73

74 75



56


77



90


79



55


81



84


88



22


89



31


96



1 1


• "1 I


•t 1 •


C.N.N. 100 70 47 49 26 51 99 18 67 38 40

6 41 43 30

1 25

2 96 61 89 57 46 50 12 15 82 80 66

7

76 86 95 11

9


Malespini, however, has levied contributions on other works than the Cent Nouvelles NouveUes. By this time the Diana Enamorada of Montemajor had appeared in Spain, and three of the longest tales are taken from that


CH. YIU.] AKKIBALE CAMPEOGI. 281

pastoral. In the first part, the 25tli tale is borrowed from the intricate loves of Ismenia Selvagio and Alanio, related in the Diana. The 36th of the second part is the Moorish episode of Xarifa, and the 94th is the story of the shep- herdess Belisa. A few are also borrowed from the pre- ceding Italian novelists. The 71st is from the 22d of the last part of Bandello, and others may be fonnd in the Ecatommithi of Cinthio.


Annibale CAHPEaai

lived in the beginning of the seventeenth century. His first tale is as old as the Hitopadesa, and is the story of the jealous husband who tied his wife to a post. The second is that of the Widow of Ephesus, related by Petro- nius Arbiter, and in the Seven Wise Masters (see above, vol. i. p. 94). It has been imitated in Italian by Eustachio Manfredi, in French by St. Evremont and Fontaine, and forms the subject of an English drama of the commence- ment of the seventeenth century, entitled Women's Tears (Dodsley's Collection, vol. vi.). The story has been also inserted by John of SaHsbuiy in his book, De Nugis Curialium (b. 8, c. 11) : he reports it as a historical inci- dent, and cites Flavian as his authority for this assertion. Subsequent to this period, there appeared but few Italian novels, and scarcely any of merit. From this censure I have only to except one striking tale, by Yincenzo Bota, a Paduan gentleman, of the last century. It is the story of a young man who fled from parents, who kept a small inn in a remote part of the Bresciaa territory. Having in course of time acquired a fortune by industry, he returned after an absence of twenty-five years, but concealed who be was on the first night of his arrival, and not being re- cogni2sed, is murdered while asleep by his parents, for the sake of the treasure which his father found he had along with him. From the priest of the village, to whom alone their son had discovered himself, they learn with despair, on the following morning, the full extent of their guilt and misery. This tale was first printed by the Count Borromeo, a f eUow-citizen of the author, in his Notizia de Novellieri


232 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

Italiani da lui posseduti con alcune Norelle inedite Bas- sano, 1794. A similar story is related of a Norman inn- keeper, in an obscure periodical publication, called the Visitor ; and also forms the basis of the plot of the Fatal Curiosity, a tragedy by Lillo, in three acts, which Mr, Harris, in his Philological Enquiries, says, *' is the model of a perfect fable." The subject of this piece was taken from an old pamphlet, entitled News from Perin '[i.e. Penryn] in Cornwall, of a most bloody and unexampled Murder, very lately committed by a Father on his owne Sonne. London, 1642. Lillo's " Fatal Curiosity, a true tragedy," 1737, has been imitated in a more recent tragedy, entitled The Shipwreck.

The Twenty-fourth of February, by the German drama- tist Werner,^ is founded on a similar incident. A familv of peasants residing in the solitudes of Switzerland, was pursued from father to son by a paternal malediction, on account of a dreadful atrocity committed by one of its forefathers, and was condemned to solemnize the 24th of February by the commission of some horrible crime. The third heir of this accursed generation had been the cause of his father's death on the fatal day. The son of this parricide returning with a treasure to the cottage after a long absence, is not recognized by his parent, and the father, by the murder of his son, for sake of his wealth, at midnight on the 24ih of February, again solemnizes this strange anniversary.

No foreign productions have had such influence on English literature, as the early Italian novels with which we have been so long engaged. The best of these stories appeared in an English dress before the close of the reign of Elizabeth, either by direct translation, or through the medium of French and Latin versions. Many of these were printed even before the translation of Belleforest's "Grand Eepertory of Tragical Narrations," which was published towards the end of the sixteenth century. The paraphrases, abridgements, and translations of Italian novels, contained in Paynter's "Palace of Pleasure;" Whetstone's " Heptameron ; " Westward for Smelts ;

^ An English version by E. Riley was published at London in 1844.


CH. VIU.] ANNIBALE CAMPEOOI. 238

Grimstone's "Admirable Histories/' and other productions of the same nature, afforded a new species of literary gratification, as their merit consisted not merely in roman- tic invention, but the delineation of character and an art- ful arrangement of events. They became the fashionable entertainment of all who yet preserved their relish for fic- tion, and who professed to read for amusement.

This is apparent even from a passage in the School- master of Ascham, Queen Elizabeth's celebrated preceptor, who complains, that ten La Morte d'Arthures did not the tenth part so much harm as one of these books made in Italy, and translated in England. And that which is most to be lamented, and therefore more needful to be looked to, there be more of these ungracious books set out in print within these few months, than have been seen in England many score years before." Thus the popularity of these productions shook the fabric of Gothic romance, and directed the thoughts of our writers to new inven- tions. The legends of the minstrels contained much bold adventure, heroic enterprise, and strong touches of rude, though picturesque delineation; but they were defective in the disposition of circumstances, and those descriptions of characters and events, which, from their nearer analogy to truth, were demanded by a more discerning age. Ac- cordingly, till the Italian novels became current, affecting and natural situations, the combination of incident, and pathos of catastrophe, were utterly unknown ; and distress, especially that which arises from the conflicts of the tenderest of the passions, had not yet been exhibited in its most interesting forms. It was from the Italian novelists accordingly that our poets, particularly the dramatic, ac- quired ideas of a legitimate plot, and the multiplication of events necessary to constitute a tragic or a comic intrigue. We have already seen that the most popular comedies of Shakspeare have been derived, with little improvement in the incidents, from the stories of Boccaccio, Ser Giovanni, Cinthio, and Bandello. The spirit that pervades the works of his «x)ntemponu7 dramatists, has heen drawn from smiilar sources. The gayer inventions of the novelists may often be traced in the sprightly or humorous scenes of Beaumont and Eletcher, and the savage atrocity by


234 HIBTOBY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

whicli the Italian tales are sometimes distingmshed, has miquestionablj produced those accumulated horrors which characterize so manj dramas of Shirley and of Ford.

But, although the Italian noyels had such influence on the general literature of this coimtry, I am not awai*e that thej gave birth to any original work in a similar style of composition. In France, on the other hand, their effect may have been less universal ; but, at an early period, they produced works of a similar description, of considerable merit ajid celebrity.

Of these the earliest is the

Cent Noitvelles Nowellbs,

tales which are fuU of imagination and gaiety, and written in a style the most naive and agreeable : indeed, a good deal of the pleasure derived from their perusal, must be attributed to the wonderful charm of the old French lan- guage. They have formed the model of all succeeding tales in that tongue — of those of the queen of Navarre, and the authors by whom she has been imitated or fol- lowed.

These stories were first printed in folio, by Verard, with- out date, from a MS. of the year 1456. They are said, in the introduction, to have been related by an assemblage of yotmg noblemen, at the court of Burgundy, to which the dauphin, afterwards Lewis XI., retired, duiring the quarrel with his father. The relators of these tales are M. Crequi, chamberlain of the duke, the Count de Ohatelux, maresdial of France, the Count de Brienne, and a niunber of others. A few stories are also told by the duke himself, and by the dauphin, who, it is said, took care de les faire recueiUer, et de lea puhlier. The account of their having been verbally related by these persons of quality, is a fiction ; but the fact, I believe, is, that they were written for the entertain, ment of the dauphin, at the time he retired to the court of Burgundy. Most of them are of a comic nature, and, I thi]]dh:, there are only five tragical tales in the whole col- lection.*

^ An inventory of the ancient library of the Dukes of Barenndy con- tains the following entry : — '< No. 1261, ung livre tout neuf escript en


CH. Tin.] GENT NOITYELLBS N0XJYELLE8. 235

I. Entitled La Medaille k revers, is from the Fabliaux Les Deux Oliangeurs, (Le Grand, 4, 173,) but bad abreadj been imitated hj Ser Giovanni, in the 2d of the 2d of the Pecorone.

3. La Feche del' Anneau baa suggested part of tbe 1st tale in tbe 6tb Night of Straparola.

8. Gfarce pour Garce is from the Bepensa merces in Foggio's " Facetiae."

9. Le Mari Maquereau de sa Femme, a story here told of a knight of Burgundy, is from tbe Fabliau Le Meunier d' Aleus, (iii. 256,) or the 206tb of Saccbetti, (see above, Yol. ii. p. 363.) It also corresponds with tbe 78tb of Mor- lini, and tbe Yir sibi cornua promovens in the Facetiae of Poggio.

10. Les Pastes d*Anguille, is generally known by Fon- taine's imitation under the same title.

II. L'Encens au IHable, which was originally told in tbe Facetise of Poggio, is equally well known as the former story, being tbe Hans Carvel's ring of Babelais, Prior, and Fontaine. It is also related in tbe 5tb satire of Ariosto. [It is the annulus Philetae in Bernard de la Monnoye's ** Poesies latines."]

12. Le Yeau is Fontaine's Yillageois qui cherche son veau," and Poggio's " Asinus perditus."

14. Le Faiseur de Papes ou L'Homme de Dieu is Fon- taine's " L'Hermite."

parchmin ^ deux ooulombes [oolnmns] ooavert de cair blaoc de chamoy, historie . . . de riches hiBtoires [i.e,, illuBtrated with rich miniataresj, oontenant Cent Nonvelles taDt Monseigneur que Dieu pardonne, que de plusieun autres de son hostel, quemanchant le second feuillet, aprSs la table, en rouges lettres : eelle qui se baignoUy et le dernier : lit demanda '^ Barroi's " Biblioth^que Frototypog^phique, etc,^ Paris, 1830, p. 285, quoted hj Le Roux de Lincy, who, in his introduction to his edition (Paris, 1855) of the Nourelles, adduces some reasons for the probability of their baring been redigies by Antoine de la Salle, but admits that they are insufficient to warrant more than a conjecture. At the end of the work Le Boux de Lincy appends a systematic table of " Origines et imitations des Cent Nouvelles NouTelles," to which we shall refer the reader desirous of closer acquaintance with the subject Uian Dunlop's pages afford. Le Boux de Lincy, considering the tales to have been penned faithfully from the narrators' yersions, draws attention to their value as a criterion of the language admitted in high society in the fifteenth century.


236 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. VIII.

16. Le Borgne Aveugle, here told of a knight of Picardj and his wife, is from the 8th of Petrus Alphonsus, or c. 121 of the G^sta Bomanorum, (see above, vol. ii. p. 168.) It has been imitated in the 23d of the 1st part of Bandello, in the Italian novels of Giuseppe Orologi, entitled Success! Varii, lately published by Borromeo in his Notizie, and in the 6th of the Queen of Navarre, where, as in Orologi, the husband is a domestic of Charles, duke of Alen9on.

19. L'Enfant de Neige is from the Fabliau de L'Enfant qui fondit au Soleil. (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 86.)^

21. L'Abbesse Guerie is Fontaine's " L'Abbesse Malade" [and Malespini's Novel No. 79].

23. La Procureuse passe la Baye has been taken from the Fabliau du Cur^ qui posa une Pierre, (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 249 and Meon, i. p. 307].

24. La Botte a demi, is the story of a young woman, who being pursued and overtaken in a wood by an amor- ous knight, and seeing no hope of escape, offers to remain if he will allow her to pull off his boots : This being agreed to, she draws one of them half off, and thus effects her escape. This is part of the subject of an old English

^ T. Wright gives the story in his Essays on . . . England in the Middle Ages (i. p. 180). *' Whilst a merchant was trafficking in a distant land, his spouse at home had increased her family by one more than she oaght lawfully to have done. The merchant, on his return, was, naturally enough, surprised at the phenomenon — she, however, was quick at find- ing an excuse — it was the age of miracles, and she declared that one daj a Hake of snow, having fallen into her month, like the shower of gold which Jupiter rained upon Danae, it had fructified into the boy she then bore in her arms. The merchant seemed satisfied, the lad grew bigger, the father took him with him on one of his voyages, sold him into slavery, and when, on his return home, the anxious mother expressed her astonishment at the absence of her child, she was informed that the boy who had originated from snow, had melted under the rays of a warmer sun into water. The story is thus told, though without either elegance or skill, by a poet of the reign of John, Geoffrey de Vinsauf.

' Rebus in augendis longe remorante marito, Uxor mcscha parit puerum ; post multa reverso, De nive conoeptum fingit : fraus mutua. caute Sustulit, asportat, vendit, matrique reportans Ridiculum simile, liquefactum sole refiogiL* "

See also supra, vol i. p. 205, note.


CH. Till.] CENT NOTTYELLES KOUTBLLBS. 287

ballad, entitled. The Baffled Kniglit, or Lady's Policy, pub- lished in Percy's "Eelics" [Series 2, B. 3. No. 16].

32. Les Dames Dism^es is Poggio's " DecimsB," and the Cordeliers de Catalogue of Fontaine.

34. Seigneur Dessus — Seigneur Dessous is the Fabliau Ihi Clerc qui se cacha derriere un Coffre, (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 303, Meon, i. 165).

37. Le Benetrier d'Ordure is Fontaine's " On ne s' Avise jamais de tout. [See T. Wright's " Latin Stories," No. 12.]

38. Une Verge pour 1' Autre is from the 8th of 7th of Boccaccio. (See above, vol. ii. p. 312.)

50. Change pour Change. This is the story which Sterne, in his Tristram Shandy, (vol. iv. c. 29,) says, is told by Selden. It was originally the 14th of Sacchetti, but there the woman is the young man's stepmother, instead of his grandmother. — " E questo," says he in his defence, " mio padre che ebbe a fare cotanto tempo con mia madre, e mai non gli disse una parola torta ; ed ora perche mi h& trovato giacer con la mogUe mi vuole uccidere come voi vedete." This is also the Justa Excusatio of the Facetiae of Poggio.

52. Les Trois Monumens, is merely translated from the 16th tale of Sacchetti. It is the story of a son who receives three advices from his father, which he disregards, and the consequences of his disobedience. (See Gueulette, Contes Tartares, Sinadab, and Straparola, i. 1, and Schmidt's note.)

60. Les Nouveauz freres Mineurs is from the Fabliau Frere Denise Cordelier, (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 395.)

61. Le Cocu Dup^, from the first part of the Fabliau,. Les Cheveux coupes, by the Trouveur Gu^rin, (Le Grand> vol. iL p. 340; Boccaccio, viii. 5).

69. L'Honneste femme a Deux Maris. A young gentle- man of Flanders, while in the service of the king of Hun* gary, was taken prisoner and made a slave by the Turks. He had left a beautiful wife behind him in his own country, who, when all hopes of her husband's return had vanished^ was courted by many suitors. She long resisted their im- portunities^ still fondly hoping that her husband was yet alive. At length, at the end of nine years, she was in a manner forced by his and her own relations to enter into a


238 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. Tin.

second marriage. A few months after the celebration of the nuptials, her first husband having escaped from slaYery, arrived at Artois, and his wife hearing the intelligence, expired in paroxysms of despair. This is obviously the origin of Southern's celebrated tragedy of Isabella, and perhaps of the history of Donna Menda de Mosquera, the lady whom Gil Bias delivers from the cave of the robbers.

78. Le Mari Confesseur is the Fabliau du Chevalier qui fist sa femme confessor (Le Grand, vol. iv. p. 132), for the various transmigrations of this story, see above, vol. ii. p. 112 ; Decameron, vii. 5.

79. L'Ane Eetrouve is the Circulator of Poggio.

80. La bonne Mesure corresponds with Poggio's " Aselli Priapus."

86. Le Cur^ Clou^, from the Fabliau le Forgeron de Creil, (Le Grand, 4, 124, Meon. iii. p. 14.)

88. Le Cocu Sauv^, from Fabliau La Borgoise d'Orleans, (Le Grand, 4, p. 287.) This is the Fraus Muliebris of Poggio. [Raymond Yidal: Choix des Poesies originales des troubadours, par Baynouard, iii. p. 398.]

90. La Bonne Malade is Poggio's " Venia rite Negata."

91. La Femme Obeissante is his Novum Supplicii genus.

93. La Postilone sur le Dos is his Quomodo calceis Parcatur.

95. Le Doit du Moine Gueri is Poggio's " Digiti Tumor." It thus appears that many of the Cent Nouvelles coincide with the Facetiae. I do not believe, however, that they were borrowed from that production, as they were written nearly at the same period that the Facetiae were related by Poggio and other clerks of the Boman chancery in the Buggiale of the Vatican ; both were probably derived from stories which had become current in France and Italy by means of the Fabliaux of the Trouveurs.^

96. Le Testament Cynique. A curate having buried his dog in the church-yard, is threatened with punishment by his superior. Next day he brings the prelate fifty

  • See, howeTer, Leroux de Lincj^s edition of the Cent Nouv. Nout.,

Paris, 1841, vol. i. p. xWi, etc. nuggiaU is a word formed ^m the Italian Buffia, lie.


CH. Till.] CENT NOUTELLBS NOTTYBLLES. 289

crowns, which he sajs the dog had saved from his earn- ings, and bequeathed to the bishop in his testament. This story, which corresponds with the Canis Testamentum in Poggio's " Facetiae," is from Le Testament de TAne, (Le Grand, vol. iii. p. 107,) a fabliau of the Trouveur Rute- beuf , to whom it probably came from the east, as it is told by a very ancient Turkish poet, Lamai, also called Abdallah Ben Mamoud, author of a collection of Facetiae and Bon Mots, in five chapters. It has been imitated in Histoire du Ghien Sched et du Cadi de Candahar, one of Gueulette's " Contes Tartares," and is also told in the history of Don Raphael, in Gil Bias [1. v. 1].

99. La Metamorphose is the Sacerdotii virtus of Poggius.'

It is thus evident that a great proportion of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles are derived from those inexhaustible stores of fiction, the Fabliaux of the Trouveurs ; and as only a small selection has been published by Le Grand and Barbazan, it may be conjectured that many more are borrowed from fabliaux which have not yet seen the light, and may probably remain for ever buried in the French libraries.

The Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles never were translated into English : Beatrice, indeed, in Much Ado about Nothing, suspects she will be told she had her good wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales, which led Shakspeare's commen- tators to suppose that this might be some version of the Cent Nouvelles, which was fashionable in its day, but had afterwards disappeared. An old black-letter book, how- ever, entitled, A Hundreth Mery Tales, to which Beatrice probably alludes, was lately picked up from a bookseller's stall in England, and it proves to be a totally different work from the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles.

The Tales of the Queen of Navarre, written in imitation of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, were first published

^ It 18 reproduced by Malespioi iL 99. The other references given under this story by Leroux de Xincy arc incorrect, as also is his citation of Lamonnoye Poesies Latines under Novel 21. No. 100 Le Sage Nicaise on I'Amant vertueux is also found in Gib's Eheatandboch and in Goethe's " Ausgewanderten." See also Vond. Hagen Gesammt. aberdeoer, i. p. Ixxxviil— Libb.


240 HI8TOEY OF FICTION. [CH. VIII.

under the title of Histoire des Ajuans Fortunes, in 1558, which was nine years after the death of their author, and subsequently as


L'Heptambbon.^

These stories are the best known and most popular in the French language, a celebrity for which they were pro- bably as much indebted to the rank and distinguished character of the author, as to their intrinsic merit. The manner in which they are introduced, is sufficiently inge* nious, and bears a considerable resemblance to the frame of the Canterbury Tales. In the month of September, the season in which the baths of the Pyrenees begin to have some efficacy, a number of French ladies and gentlemen assembled at the springs of Oauterets. At the time when it was customary to return, there came rains so uncommon and excessive, that a party who made an attempt to arrive at Tarbes, in Guscony, finding the streams swollen, and all the bridges broken down, were obliged to seek shelter in the monastery De Notre Dame de Serrance, on the Pyre- nees. Here they were forced to remain till a bridge should be thrown over an impassable stream. As they were assured that this work would occupy ten days, they resolved to amuse themselves meanwhile with relating stories every day, from noon till vespers, in a beautiful meadow near the banks of the river Gave.

The number of the company amounted to ten, and there were ten stories related daily ; the amusement was in- tended also to have lasted ten days, in order to complete the hundred novels, whence the book has been sometimes called Les Gent Nouvelles de la Beine de Navarre ; but, in fact, it stops at the 73d tale, near the commencement of the 8th day. The conversations on the characters and incidents of the last related tale, and which generally in- troduce the subject of the new one, are much longer than in the Italian novels, and, indeed, occupy nearly one half of the work. Some of the remarks are quaint and comical, others are remarkable for their naivetS, while a few breathe

> The followiog tales only are here noticed : 8, 10, 29, S6, 88 and 45.


CH. IX.] C0NTB8 DET0T8« 257

Hugo de St. Yictoire, a Parisian. It contains a mixture of ^sopian fable, with a great variety of pious and profane histories. There is a long account of a kind of wren, named after St. Martin. One day, while sitting on a tree, this animal, which had long and slender legs, exclaimed in the fulness of its pride, " It matters not to me though the heavens fall, for, by aid of my strong limbs, I shall be able to support them. Presently a leaf dropped from the tree, and the foolish boaster immediately flew away, exclaiming, ** St. Martin ! St. Martin ! help your poor bird!"»

Legrand mentions two subsequent collections of spiritual tales in French verse, the first by Guutier de Coinsi, Prior of a monastery at Soissons, who died in 1236. Many of the tales in this metrical compilation had been originally written in Latin by Hugues Farsi, who was also a monk of Soissons. A great proportion of the stories of Farsi re- lates to miracles performed in the neighbourhood of Sois- sons by the Virgin, and in her fail by one of her slippers preserved in the monastery. These Coinsi has translated into French rhyme, adding some others on devout topics, furnished by tradition, or invented by himself, and has given to the whole the title of Miracles de Notbe Dame. The devil, incensed against him (as the author himself in- forms us) on account of the good which his work was likely to produce, tried to choke him one day ; fortunately he had time to make the sign of the cross, but some time after the disappointed fiend stole from him certain valuable relics he possessed.

The second compilation alluded to by Legrand, is entitled •YiES DEs Pbbes, either because it relates the spiritual ad- ventures of hermits, or because it is partly extracted from the Vies des Pires du Desert. The tales in this collection are said by Legrand to be far superior to those of Coinsi, both in the choice of subjects and the art of narrative^ It accordingly has furnished Legrand with the best of those stories published under the title of Contes Divots, and

^ The story is giTen in Wright's " Latin Stories," No. 65. See, with reference to St. Martin's bird, Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, iii. pp. 1130, 31, and Bosquet, La Normandie pittoresque et merTeillense, p. 219.

II. B


258 HI8a?0BY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

wliicli form a species of continuation or supplement to his Contes et Fabliaux.

Formerly the lives of the saints, and the miracles operated by their relics, had been the favourite topics ; but towards the end of the eleventh, and in the course of the subsequent centuries, the wonders performed by the Virgin became the prevailing theme. To her a peculiar reverence was at that time paid in France. A number of cathedrals and monasteries were dedicated to her honour, and she became the object of the most fervent devotion. Hence she appears as the heroine of the histories of Farsi, the metrical compositions of Coinsi, and the lives of the Fathers. In all these works there were attributed to her an infinite love towards man, — ^a power almost omnipotent in heaven, — and an inclination, not only to preserve the souls, but to husband the reputations of the greatest criminals, provided she had been treated by them with proper deference and respect.

A young and handsome nun, we are told, was the vestry- keeper of a convent, and part of her daily employment was to ring for matins. In her way to the chapel for this purpose, she was obliged to pass through a gallery, where there stood an image of the Virgin, which she never failed to salute with an Ave. The devil, meanwhile, who had plotted the ruin of this nim, insidiously whispered in her ear that she would be much happier in the world, than detained in perpetual imprisonment ; that, with the ad- vantages \)f youth and beauty which she possessed, there were no pleasures she might not procure, and that it would be time enough to immure herself in a convent when age should have withered her charms. At the same time the tempter rendered the chaplain enamoured of the nun he had been thus seducing, who, having been already pre- pared for love sohcitations, was easily persuaded to elope with him. For this purpose, she appointed the chaplain a rendezvous on the following night at the convent gate. Shea^co^ingly came to the place of assignation ; but, Jjaivang asHsual said an Ave to the Virgin in passing through the gjlery, she met at the gate a woman of severe an)ect, who wc^d not permit her to proceed. On the following night he same prayer having been repeated, a


CH. IX.] C0NTS8 DEVOT8. 269

similar obstacle was presented. The chaplain having now become impatient, sent an emissary to complain, and having learned the reason of his mistress not holding her appointment, advised her to pass through the gallery with- out her wonted Avemaria, and even to turn, away from the image of the Virgin. Our nun was not sufficiently hardened to follow these instructions literally, but pro- ceeded to the rendezvous by a difEerent way, and of course met with no impediment in her elopement with the chaplain.

Still the Aves she had said from the time of her entrance into the convent were not thrown away ; Our Lady was determined that the shame of so faithful a servant should not be divulged. She assumed the clothes and form of her votary; and, during the absence of the fugitive, assiduously discharged all her employments, by guarding the vestments, ringing the bells, lighting the lamps, and singing in the choir.

After ten years spent in the dissipation of the world, the fugitive nun, tired of libertinism, abandoned the companion of her flight, and conceived the design of returning to the monastery to perform penance. On the way to her former residence, she arrived one night at a house not far distant from the convent, and was charitably received. After supper a conversation having arisen on various topics, she took an opportunity of inquiring what was said of the vestry-keeper of the neighbouring monastery, who had eloped about ten years before with the chaplain. The mistress of the house was much scandalized at the question, and replied that never had pure virtue been so shamefully calumniated ; that the nun to whom she alluded was a perfect model of sanctity ; and that Heaven itself seemed to bear witness to her merits, for that she wrought miracles daily. This discourse was a mystery for the penitent; she passed the night in prayer, and in the morning repaired, in much agitation, to the porch of the convent. A nun appeared and asked her name. " I am a sinful woman, she replied, " who am come hither for the sake of penance ; " and then she confessed her elopement and the errors of her life. " I," said the pretended nun, " am Mary, whom you faithfully served, and who, in return.


260 HISTOST OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

have here concealed your shame." The Virgin then de- clared that she had discharged the duties of vestry-keeper, exhorted the nun to repentance, and restored her the religious habit which the had left at her elopement. After this the Virgin disappeared, and the nun resumed her functions without anyone suspecting what had happened. Nor would it ever have been known had she not herself disclosed it. The sisters loved her the more for her ad- venture, and esteemed her doubly, as she was manifestly under the special protection of the Mother of G-od.

In this tale, of which there are different metrical versions, and which also occurs in the Tresor de Time,^ it will be remarked how far its development deviates from the earlier scope and intent of such narrative. In one version, for instance, the Virgin acts as a housemaid ; in another story she performs the part of a procuress, and in a third she officiates in an obstetrical capacity to an abbess, who had been frail and imprudent.^ Indeed, she is in general represented as performing the most degrading offices, and for the most worthless characters.^

While the Virgin is the heroine in these compositions, the devil is usually the principal male performer. The monks of a certain monastery wished to ornament the gate of their church.* One of their number, who waa

^ See M^n, NouTean Becneil, ii. 154, de la segretaine, qui deTient fole au monde; and Wright's "Latin Stories," No. 106, de Moniali Sacristana ; Ayel1aneda*s " Second part of Don Quixote," c. 17 ; Wolf, Niederlandische Sagen, No. 344; and a German metrical version by Amalievon Imhof (in O. L. B. Wolfs "Poetiwher Haus8chatz,"p. 379), Die Rnckkehr der Pfortnerin. There is also L'Echelle du Paradis, par le P. Crasset, J^uite, p. 123. Compare also Germania, Tragedy of Father Elias, Eichstadt, 1800, p. 26.

F. Michel, in le Comte de Poitiers, p. vii., cites a fabliau ** de la nonain ki ala au sidcle et revint en sa maison par miracle." — Lieb.

3 See M^n, Nout. Recueil, ii. 314; T. Wright, Lat St, No. 38, y. d. ; Hagen Gesammtab, No. 83, Bd. iii. pp. cxxv. and dxvi., iiot«s.

' Analogous declensions may be frequently noted in the development of literature. In the Graal Cjcle, for instance, we hare in the earlier forms of the romances Galahad, the knight of almost a spiritual orii^in, while in the later remaniemcfUs of the theme, he is the adulterine offspring of Lancelot See Tables, see note, vol. i. p. 171.

^ See also Von der Hagen, Gresammtabenteuer, No. 76; T. Wright's « Latin Stories," No. 31; and Southej's ballad. The Pious Painter^ bnsod on the version in the Pia Hilaria of Angelinas Gazaeus (cf. Vin- oentius BeJlov. 1. vii. c. 204).


CH. IX.] C0NTE8 D1B70T8. 261

Sacristan, and who understood sculpture, placed on it a beautiful image of the Virgin. In most of the churches built in the time of these spiritual fablers, there was a re- presentation of the Last Judgment near the entrance. Our Sayiour appeared on that occasion in the design of the Sacristan, with the elect on his right hand, and the damned on his left. Among the latter was a Satan, armed with an iron hook, and so hideous that no one could look on him without horror. The original, offended at the liberties which had been used with his figure, came one day to inquire of the artist whj he had made him so ill-favoured. The Sacrist plainly told him it had been done from per- sonal dislike, and for the express purpose of rendering him odious. These reasons not appearing satisfactory, the Enemy threatened him with vengeance if he did not change the figure in the course of the day. Next morning, when the devil came to look at the alterations, he found the Sacristan mounted on a scaffold, and employed in adding new horrors to the representation. " Since you are deter- mined that we should be foes," exclaimed the irritated demon, " let us see how you can leap.'* With these words he overthrew the scaffolding ; but the Sacristan had no sooner called the Virgin to his succour, than her image stretched out its arms to uphold him, and, after suspending him some time in the air to give the beholders time to admire this beautiful miracle, she placed him gently on the ground, to Satan's infinite shame and mortification. Though humiliated by this failure, he did not renounce his sdiemes of vengeance, but adopted a new plan, which, at least, reflected more honour on his ingenuity than the overthrow of the scaffold.

Near the monastery there resided a young and devout widow, and between her and the Sacristan the Tempter excited a reciprocal attachment. The lovers resolved to fly to a foreign land, and the monk annexed to this design the scheme of carrying with him the treasures of the con- vent. They eloped at an appointed hour, and the Sacristan, according to his plan, carried off the cross, the chalices, and censers. Meanwhile the fiend was on watch, and scarcely had his enemy cleared the precincts of the mo- nastery, when he ran through all the dormitories, calling


262 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CU. IZ.

out that a monk was carrying off the treasures of the abbej. The fugitives were pursued and taken, but the lady was permitted to retire unmolested. " This," adds the fabler, " would not happen in these days ; there are few monks at present who would not have profited by the embarrassment of the fair captive."

As for the Sacristan, he was conducted to a dungeon. There the devil suddenly appeared to insult his misfor- tunes, but at the same time suggested a mode of recon- ciliation. " Efface," said he, " the villainous figure you have drawn, give me a handsome one in exchange, and I promise to extricate you from this embarrassment." The offer tempted the monk ; instantly his chains fell off, and he went to sleep in his own cell. Next morning the astonishment of his brethren was excessive when they be- held him going at large, and busied with his usual employ- ments. They seized him and brought him back to his dungeon, but what was their surprise to find the devil occupying the place of the Sacristan, and with head bent down and arms crossed on his breast, assuming a devout and penitential appearance. The matter having been re- ported to the abbot, he came in procession to the dungeon, with cross and holy water. Satan, of course, had to de- camp, nolen-a volenSf but signalized his departure by seizing the abbot by the hood, and carrying him up into the air. Fortunately for the father he was so fat that he slipped through his clothes, and fell naked in the midst of the assembly, while the fiend only carried off the cowl, which, on account of his horns, proved perfectly useless to him.

It was of course believed that the robbery had been committed by the demon in shape of the Sacristan, who soon after fulfilled his promise of forming a handsome statue of his old enemy and late benefactor. '* This tale," says the author, " was read every year in the monastery of the White Monks for their edification,*'

The monks gave to the devil a human form, hideous, however, and disgusting. In the miniatures of manu- scripts, the paintings in cloisters, and figures on the gates and windows of churches, he is represented as a black withered man, with a long tail, and claws to his feet and


CH. IX.] THE ANGEL AND THE HEBMIT. 263

hands. It was also believed that he felt much mortifica- tion in being thus portrayed.


The Angel and the Hebmit.

One of the most celebrated stories in the spiritual tales, is De rHermite qu'un Ange conduisit dans le Si^cle. It is not in the collection of Ooinsi, but occurs in the Viee dee Peres, whence it has been abstracted by Le Grand.

A hermit, who had lived in solitude and penance from his earliest youth, began at length to murmur against Heaven, because he had not been raised to one of those happy and brilliant conditions of which his quest for alms sometimes rendered him witness. Why, thought the recluse, does the Creator load with benefits those who neglect Him ? Why does He leave His faithful servants in poverty and contempt ? Why has not He, who formed the world, made all men equal ? Why this partial allot- ment of happiness and misery ?

To clear these doubts, the hermit resolved to quit his cell and visit the world, in search of some one who could remove them. He took his staff and set out on his journey.

Scarce had the solitary left his hermitage when a young man of agreeable aspect appeared before him. He was in the habit of a sergent (a word used to denote any one em- ployed in military or civil service,) but was in fact an angel in disguise. Having saluted each other, the celestial Spirit informed the hermit that he had come to visit his fnends in that district, and as it was tiresome to travel alone, he was anxious to find a companion to beguile the way. The recluse, whose project accorded wonderfully with the designs of the stranger, offered to accompany him, and they continued their journey together.

Night overtook the travellers before they had extricated themselves from a wood : fortunately, however, they per- ceived a hermitage, and went to beg an asylum. They were hospitably received by the solitary inliabitant, who gave them what provisions he could afford ; but when the hour of prayer was come, the guests observed that their


264 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

host was Bolelj occupied in scouring a valuable cup from wliicli they liad drunk during the repast. The angel noted where the hermit had laid it, rose by night, concealed it, and in the morning, without saying a word, carried it off with him. His companion was informed on the road of this theft, and wished to return, for the purpose of re- storing the goblet. " Stay," said the angel, " I had my reasons for acting thus, and you will learn them soon ; perhaps in my conduct you may again find cause of astonishment, but whatever you may see, know that it proceeds from a proper motive." The hermit was silent, and continued to follow his mysterious companion.

When tired with their journey, and wet with rain which had fallen during the whole day, they entered a populous town ; and as they had no money, they were obliged to demand shelter from gate to gate in the name of God. TTaey were everywhere refused an asylum, for Dom Argent, whom the English minstrels style Sir Penny,^ was then (says the tale), as he still is, more beloved than Ckni. Though the rain still continued they were forced to lie down on the outer stair of a house which belonged to a rich usurer, who would scarce have given a halfpenny to obtain Paradise. He at this moment appeared at the window. The travellers implored an asylum, but the miser shut the casement without reply. A servant, more compassionate than her master, at length obtained his permission to let them in*, suffered them to lie on a little straw spread under the stair, and brought them a plate of peas, the relics of her master's supper. Here they remained during the night in their wet clothes, without light and without fire. At day-break the angel, before their depar- ture, went to pay his respects to their landlord, and pre- sented him with the cup which he had stolen from his former host. The miser gladly wished them a good journey. On the way the hermit, of course, expressed his surprise, but was commanded by the angel to be circum- spect in his opinions.

^ See Le Grand, iii. 216; Jubinal, Nout. Recueil, ii. 426 : Bitson, Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, 2 ed., Lond. 1833, p. 99. Ueinmar von Zweter calls him «* Her Pfenninc " (Bodmer's " Minnesinffer " iL

148).— LiKB. 6,1^


CH. IX.] THE AKGEL AND THE HBBMIT. 265

The evening of the third daj brought them to a monas- tery richly endowed. Here they were sumptuously enter- tained ; but when they were about to depart, the angel set fire to the bed on which he had lain. On ascending a hill at some distance, the hermit perceived the monastery en- veloped in flames. When informed that this also was the work of his feUow-traveller, he cursed the hour in which he had been associated with such a wretch, but was again reprimanded by the angel for his rash conclusions.

On the night of that day the pilgrims lodged with a wealthy burgess. Their host was a respectable old mau, who had grown grey with years, but lived happily with a beloved wife and an only son of ten years of age, who was his chief consolation. He entertained the travellers with much kindness, and bade them on the morrow an affec- tionate adieu.

To reach the high road, however, it was necessary to pass through the town, and to cross a river. Pretending that he was unacquainted with the way, the angel persuaded the old man to allow his son to accompany them to the bridge, and point out to them their path. The father awakened his child, who joyfully came to conduct the ti-avellers. In passing the bridge the angel pushed him into the stream, by which he was instantly overwhelmed. " My work is accomplished," said the angel ; " art thou satisfied ? " The hermit fled with the utmost precipitation, and, having gained the fields, sat down to deplore the folly of having left his cell, for which God had punished him by delivering him up to a demon, of whose crimes he had become the in- voluntary accomplice.

While engaged in this lamentation he was rejoined by the heavenly messenger, who thus addressed him: — "In thy cell thou hast arraigned the secret counsels of God : thou has called in question his wisdom, and hast prepared to consult the world on the impenetrable depth of his de- signs. In that moment thy ruin was inevitable, had his goodness abandoned thee. But he has. sent an angel to enlighten, and I have been commissioned for this ministry. I have in vain attempted to show thee that world which thou hast sought, without knowing it ; my lessons are not understood, and must be explained more clearly. Thou


266 HIBTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

hast seen the care of a goblet occupy the mind of a bennit, wben be ought to have been f uUj engaged in the most im- portant of duties : now tbat be is deprived of bis treasure, bis soul, delivered from foreign attachments, is devoted to Gk)d. I have bestowed the cup on the usurer as the price of the hospitality which be granted, because God leaves no good action without recompence, and his avarice virill one day be punished. The monks of the abbey whicb I re- duced to ashes were originally poor, and led an exemplary life — enriched by the imprudent liberality of the faithful, their manners have been corrupted ; in the palace which they erected, they were only occupied with the means of acquiring new wealth, or intrigues to introduce themselves into the lucrative charges of the convent. Wben they met in the halls, it was cbiefly to amuse themselves witb tales and with trifles. Order, duty, and the offices of the cburch, were neglected. God, to correct them, has brought them back to their pristine poverty. They will rebuild a less magnificent monastery. A number of poor will subsist by the work, and they, being now obliged to labour the ground for tbeir subsistence, will become more bumble and better."

" I must approve of you in all things," said tbe bermit, " but why destroy the child who was serving us ? why darken with despair the old age of tbe respectable father who had loaded us with benefits? " " That old man," re- plied tbe angel, " was formerly occupied witb doing good, but as his son approached to maturity be gradually became avaricious, from the foolisb desire of leaving him a vast in- heritance. The child has died innocent, and has been re- ceived among the angels. The fatber will resume bis former conduct, and both will be saved ; witbout that, which thou deemest a crime, botb might have perished. Such, since thou requirest to know tbem, are the secret judgments of God amongst men, but remember that tbey have once offended thee. Beturn to thy cell and do penance. I reascend to Heaven,"

Saying thus, the angel threw aside the terrestrial form be had assumed and disappeared. The bermit, prostrating himself on earth, thanked God for the paternal reproof bis mercy had vouchsafed to send him. He returned to bis bermitage, and lived so holily, that he not only merited the


CH. IX.] THE ANGEL AKD THE HEBMIT. 267

pardon of his error, but the highest recompence promised to a virtuous life.

This tale forms the eightieth chapter of the Gesta. Bomanorum, but there the conflagration of the monastery is omittedy and the strangulation of the infant in the cradle substituted in its place, while a new victim is conjured up for the submersion. Similar incidents are* related in the Sermones de Tempore of John Herolt, a German Domini- can monk of the fifteenth century.^ The story also occurs,, with some additions and variations, in Howell's " Letters," ^ which were first published in 1660, but is professed to be transcribed from Herbert's " Conceptions." ' There, on first setting out on the journey, the angel tumbles a man into the river because he meant that night to rob his master : he next strangles a child : after which follows the appa- rently whimsical transference of the goblets. Last of all,, the travellers meet with a merchant, who asks his way to the next town, but the angel, by misguiding him, preserves

him from being robbed. This deviation, I think, occura

in none of the other imitations, and it by no means forms a happy climax. The story has again been copied in the Dialogues of the Platonic theologist Dr. Henry More. [Pt. L, p. 321. Dial. 11. Edit. Lond. 1668, 12mo.]. It has been inserted, as is well known, in the twentieth chapter of Voltaire's " Zadig," Be VHermite qu* un Ange conduisit dans le sieele,* and it also forms the subject of the Hermit'

^ Sermones de tempore et Sanctis cum exemplornm promptuario de miracnlis B. Virginis, etc. ; BAle, circ. 1470, and numerous subseauent editions. The legend is also printed (as No. 7) in Wright's "Latin Storietf," 1842, pp. 10-12. It is found in the Doctrinal de Sapience, a work translated by a monk of Cluny from the Latin text, written in the- fourteenth century by Guy de R(>ye, archbishop of Sens. The story also furnishes the subject of a fabliau, Legrand d'Aussy, Fabliaux,. Paris, 1779.1781, ii. p. 1.

^ Vol. !▼. letter 4 of HowelFs "Letters,** published between 1647 and 1650, and p. 7 of the edition of 1655.

^ Certaine Conceptions, or Considerations of Sir Percy Herbert, upon the strange change of Peoples Dispositions and Actions in these latter times. Directed to his Sonne. I^ndon, 1654. The story in question commences at p. 220, and is entitled : " A most full, though figurative- story to shew that God Almighties wayes and inscrutable decrees are not to be comprehended by humane fancies."

  • See Bluet d'Arb^res, CEuTres, 1604. Livre 105, and Grimm,

Deutsche Mythologie, 2 Aofl. p. xzxrii.


268 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

of Pamel. That poem bears a closer resemblance to the tale, as related in the Gesta Bomanomm, than to any of the other versions. Its author, however, has improved the subject by a more ample development of the moral lesson, hy a happier arrangement of the providential dispensations, and by reserving the discovery of the angel till the conclu- sion of the whole. But, on the other hand, the purloining the goblet in the Conte Devot might have been rationally expected to cure the hermit of his strange habit of scouring it in time of prayer, and the conflagration of the monastery might effectually have corrected the luxury and abuses that had crept into it; but Parners transference of the cup must have been altogether inadequate either for the reformation of the vain man, from whom it was taken away, or of the miser, on whom it was bestowed.

The first germ of this popular and widely diffused story may be found, though in a very rude and imperfect shape, in the eighteenth chapter [w. 66, etc.] of the Koran, en- titled the Cave. Moses, while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, found, at the meeting of two seas, the prophet Al Khedx, whom he accosted, " and begged to be instructed by him ; and he answered, Verily thou canst not bear with me : for how canst thou patiently suffer those things, the knowledge whereof thou dost not comprehend ? Moses replied. Thou shalt find me patient, if Qtod please ; neither will I be disobedient unto tbee in any thing. He said. If thou follow me, therefore, ask tne not concerning any thing, until I shall declare the meaning thereof unto thee. So they both went on by the sea-shore, until they went up into a ship: and he made a' hole therein. And Moses said unto him. Hast thou made a hole therein, that that thou mightest drown those who are on board? Now hast thou done a strange thing. He answered. Did I not teU thee that thou couldest not bear with me? Moses said, Eebuke me not, because I did forget ; and impose not on me a difficulty in what I am commanded. Wherefore they left the ship, and pro- ceeded, until they met with a youth ; and he slew him. Moses said. Hast thou skin an innocent person, without his having killed another ? Now hast thou committed an unjust action. He answered, Did I not tell thee that thou


OH. IX.] THE AKGEL AND THE HEBMIT. 26^

oonldest not bear with me ? Moses said. If I ask thee concerning anything hereafter, suffer me not to accompany thee : now hast thou received an excuse from me. They went forward, therefore, until they came to the inhabitants of a certain city, and they asked food of the inhabitants- thereof; but they refused to receive thdkn. And they found therein a wall, which was ready to fall down ; and he set it upright. Whereupon Moses said unto him, If thou wouldest, thou mightest doubtless have received a. reward for it. He answered, This shall be a separation between me and thee : but I will first declare unto thee the signification of that which thou couldest not bear with patience. The vessel belonged to certain poor men, who laboured in the sea : and I was minded to render it un- serviceable, because there was a king behind them, who took every sound ship by force. As to the youth, hia parents were true believers ; and we feared lest he, being an unbeliever, should oblige them to suffer his perverse- ness and ingratitude : wherefore we desired that the Lord might give them a more righteous child in exchange for him, and one more affectionate towards them. And the wall belonged to two orphan youths of the city, and under it was a treasure hidden which belonged to them ; and their father was a righteous man: and thy Lord was pleased that they should attain their full age, and take forth, their treasure, through the mercy of thy Lord. And I did not what thou hast seen of mine own will, but by Gk>d'8 direction. This is the interpretation of that which thou couldest not bear with patience." ^ " Pope used to say/' observes Warton, in his History of English Poetry (vol. i., p. 269, edit. 1871), " that it was originally written in Spanish. This I do not believe, but from the early con- nection between the Spaniards and the Arabians this assertion tends to confirm the suspicion that it was an Oriental tale."

Several other Contes Divots, like the story of the hermit,. are of good moral tendency. The great proportion of them, however, are totally the reverse. A few of the tales, as La cour de Paradie, one would think had been

» Sale's « Koran," c 18.


270 HI8T0EY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

-vnritten for the purpose of turning eyerything sacred into ridicule. Those relating to the sexual temptations, to -which monks were subjected, as Du Prevot d*Aquilee and D*un Hemtiie et du due Malaqum, are extremely Ucentious ; and it is worthy of remark, that the lives of the nuns and monks are represented as much more profligate in the Contes Divots than in the lighter compositions of the Trouveurs.

These tales, whatever may be their faults or merits, were transmitted from age to age, and were frequently copied into the ascetic works of the following centuries. From the shade of the monastery, where they had their birth they passed into the bosom of private families. It was also customary to introduce tales of this nature into the homilies of the succeeding periods. A very long and curious story of this description, concerning a dissolute bishop named Eudo, may be found in one of the Sermones de Justitia, of Maillard, a preacher of the fifteenth century. Towards the close of the fourteenth century a system of divinity, by Guy de Roye, Archbishop of Sens, appeared at Paris, entitled Doctrinal de Sapyence, translated by Caxton, or, as has been thought by some, by Lydgate, and printed about 1480 under the title of Curia Sapientiae or Court of Sapience, which abounds with a multitude of apologues and parables. About the same time, there was printed a promptuary or repository of examples for composing ser- mons, written by Herolt, a Dominican fiiar, sumamed Discipulus, at Basel, who informs us, in a sort of prologue, that St. Dominic, in his discourses, always abounded in embellishments of this description.

Besides it may be remarked that the spiritual romance and the tales of chivalry have many features common to both. In the latter, the leading subject is frequently a religious enterprise. The quest of the Sangpreal was a main object with the knights of the Round Table, and the exploits of the paladins of Charlemagne chiefly tended to the expulsion of the Saracens and triumph of the Christian faith. The history of


CH. IX.] GUEBIKO MESCHIKO. 271


GXIEBIKO MeSCHINO^

may be adduced as an instance of an intermediate work between the chivalrous and spiritual romances. It is full of the achievements of knight errantry, the love of prin- cesses and discomfiture of giants ; yet it appears that the author's principal object was the edification of the faithful. This production was of a fame and popularity likely to produce imitation. Spain and Italy have claimed the merit of its original composition, but the pretensions of the latter country seem the best founded, and it is now generally believed to have been written by a Florentine, called Andrea de Barberino, sometimes called A. Patrea in the fourteenth century. Be this as it may, it was first printed in Italian at Padua, 1473, in folio, and afterwards appeared at Venice, 1477, folio; Milan, 1520, 4to; and Venice, 1669, 12mo. It is the subject of a poem by Tullia Arragona, an Italian poetess of the sixteenth century. A French translation was printed in 1490.' Madame Oudot has included it in the Bibliotheque Bleue, with refinements of style which ill compensate for the nadveU of the original.

G-uerin was son of MiUon, king of Albania, a monarch descended from the house of Burgundy [c. 2]. The young prince's birth was the epoch of the commencement of his parents' misfortunes. His father and mother were de- throned and imprisoned by an usurper [c. 4], who would also have slain their heir had not his nurse embarked with him in a vessel for Constantinople. She unfortunately died during the voyage, but the child was taken care of, and afterwards educated, by a Greek merchant, who hap-

' An edition waa published in fol. at Venice, 1477, and followed by numeruus others. See Graesse, Sagenkreise, p. 368 n. Graesse refers this composition to the Carlovinsian Cycle of Koroance.

^ Bottari (Lettera ad un Aca&mioo, etc. in Dante Ediz. Pador. vol. t. p. 140) has only gaessed (by no means proved, as Graesse points out, ii. 3, p. 370) Guercino to hare been originaUy written in French, the l^neral idea to have been employed by iknte and a later Italian trans- lator, Andrea de Barberino, to have oorrowed additions from Dante's '^ Inferno," and the French version of 1490 to have been, therefore, only a re-translation. — ^Lieb.


272 HI8T0BY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

pened to be in the vessel, under the name o£ Meschino, an appellation derived from the imhappj circumstanoes of his childhood [c. 5]. When he grew up he attracted the notice, and passed into the service, of the son of the Greek emperor, with whom he acted as Grand Carver. At Con- stantinople he fell in love with the princess Elizena, his master's sister. There, too, he distinguished himself by his dexterity in tournaments, and also by his exploits in the course of a war, in which the empire was at that time engaged.

In spite of his love, his merit, and services, Guerin had, on one occasion, been called Turk by the princess Elizena, a term equivalent to slave or villain. To wipe away this reproach he determined on setting out to ascertain who were his parents, as they had hitherto been unknown to him. Concerning this expedition the emperor consulted the court astrologers, who, after due examination of the stars, were unanimously of opinion that Guerin could learn nothing of his parentage, except from the Trees of the sun and moon, which grew at the eastern extremity of the world' [c.28].

After this explication, Guerin prepared for the trip. Having received from the empress a relic composed of the wood of the true cross, which she affirmed would preserve him from every danger and enchantment, he embarked in a Greek vessel and landed in Little Tartary [c. 80]. Thence he took his route through Asia, and having crossed the Caspian Sea, combated a giant, who seized all travellers he could overtake, especially Christians, and shut them up in his Garde Manger, not only for his own consumption »

^ These oracular trees had heen at an earlier period, as mentioned in the passage, here referred to, of Guercino, visited by Alexander, who learned from them the date of his death. Compare the earlier recension of the Pseudo-Callisthenes and the Latin translation of Julius Valerias^ both at 1. iii. c. 17, as well as the later recension of the first, 1. ii. c. 44. The whole of this part of Goercino is borrowed directly or indirectly from Julius Valerius. The same incident occurs in the Kaiser-Chronik, ▼. 663, 64 (Annolied, r. 210,211), <Mn India er (i.e, Alexander) die wuosto durchbrach, mit zwein bonmen er d& gesprach."

In the Indian collection of tales, called ^madera, there is a gold> raining, prophetic tree. Did Marchensammlung des Somadeva Bhatta aus Kaschmir ; Ans dem Sanskrit ins Deutsche iibersetzt Ton Dr. U. Brockhaus. Leipdg, 1843. Th. 2, p. 84, etc.— Libb.


CH. IZ.] GXTEBIKO MESCHINO. 273

but to regale the giantess his wife with her four children, who had acquired the family relish for such refreshments. Guerin cut off the whole brood, and thus saved from the spit two prisoners who had been reserved for a bonne houche [c. 32, 33].

Our hero on his way to India declined the offers made to him by a princess ; but the king her father was so much exasperated at this refusal that he threw him into prison, where he would inevitably have died of hunger, had not the lady he had so recently rejected disinterestedly brought him provisions. This kind procedure had such an effect on the knight, that he broke, in favour of this good princess, an oath of purity he had rashly taken ; but as he only swore fidelity to her by Mahomet, he felt no scruple in abandoning her at the end of three months [c. 43-48 J.

Guerin, in the course of his journey through India, saw great variety of monsters, and heard of dog-headed tribes, and nations with feet so large that they carried them over- head as umbrellas.^ As length he arrived at the extremity of India, where he found "Qie trees of the sun and moon, who informed him that his name is not Meschino, which he had been hitherto called, but Guerin. He is also told that he is the son of a king, but that, if he wish farther information, he must take the trouble of visiting the western extremity of the globe [c. 60-62].

On his way back, Guerin re-established the princess of Persepolis in her dominions, of which she had been de- prived by the Turks. As a mutual attachment arose be- tween her and Guerin, a marriage would have taken place, had it not been for the recent information given by the solar trees. The indulgent princess allowed her lover ten Tears to discover his parents, and he promised to return at the end of that period [c. 69-83].

Guerin next visited Jerusalem, paid his devotions at the holy sepulchre, and thence passed on a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai [c. 84]. From the Holy Land he penetrated

' These fiU)led people (jcwoiel^aXoi Scia^o^ec) were, as is known, early mentioned by the Greek authors. Cf. Benger de XlTrej Traditions Teratologiqnes, p. 67, etc., p. 90, etc. The f latfeet occur also in Duke Ernest, t. 3825, etc.- Bee abo t. d. Hagen, and Biisching, Deutsche Gedichte dee Mittelalten, Bd. i. p. xv, note 56.

n. T


274 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

into Ethiopia, and arriyed at the states of Prester John. This eccelesiastical emperor was at war with a sava^ people, who had a giant at their head. G-uerin assumed the command of Prester*s army, and was eminently suc- cessful [c. 87-99].

In his subsequent progress through Africa, Guerin con- verted many infidel kings to Christianity, and in one region he possessed himself of the whole country, except the dominions of King Yalidor. Against this pagan he prepared to take strenuous measures, but his trouble was much abridged by means of the sister of that monarch. This African princess had become enamoured of Guerin, from the account she had received of his beauty, valour, and strength. She therefore sent him a messenger to offer him the head and kingdom of her brother, pro- vided he would consent to espouse her ; or, at least, con- duct himself as her husband. Some of Guerin's retinue received this embassy, and apprehensive of the over scrupulous conscience of their master returned in his name a favourable answer. The lady performed her promise in the following manner : she intoxicated her brother, and as he became very enterprising in consequence, she cut off his head in an assumed fit of resentment. The gates of the capital were then opened to Guerin ; but, when the princess came to demand from him the recompense of her treachery, she was repulsed with the utmost contempt uid indignation, being very ugly, and also red-haired, — a singular defect in an A&ican [c. 130-133].

After this, Guerin having heard that in the motuitains of Calabria there lived a sibyl, who had predicted the birth of our Saviour, he resolved to interrogate her con- cerning his parents. When he arrived in her neighbour- hood, he was informed that he had undertaken a very dangerous expedition, since the sibyl, though twelve hun- dred years old, still formed designs on the hearts of those who came to consult her, and that it was most perilous to yield to her seductions [c. 137] : but Guerin, who seems to have held in contempt the fascinations of a sibyl twelve hundred years old, was not deterred from his enterprise. In passing the moimtains he met with a hermit, who pointed out to him a hollow in the rocks, which led to her


CH. IX.] GITEBINO ME6GHINO. 275

abode. Having reached the end of this cayem, he cfime to a broad river, which he crossed on the back of a hideous serpent, who was in waiting, and who informed him during the passage, that he had formerly been a gentleman, and had undei^one this unpleasant transformation by the charms of the sibyl. Guerin now entered the palace of the prophetess, who appeared surrounded by beautiful attendants, and was as fresh as if she had been eleven hundred and eighty years younger than she was in reality. A splendid supper was served up, and she informed G-uerin in the course of the conversation which arose after the repast, that she enjoyed the benefits of long life and un- fading beauty, in consequence of having predicted the birth of our Saviour ; nevertheless, she confessed that she was not a Christian, but remained firmly attached to Apollo, whose priestess she had been at Delphos, and to whom she was indebted for the gift of prophecy ; her last abode had been at Cumae, whence she had retired to the palace which she now inhabited [c. 139, etc.].

Hitherto the conversation of the sibyl had not been such as was expected from her endowments. It had been more retrospective than premonitory ; and, however com- municative as to her personal history, she had been ex- tremely reserved on the subject of her guest's. At length, however, she informed him of the names of his parents, and all the circumstances of his birth. She farther pro- mised to acquaint him, on some other occasion, with the place of their residence, and to give him some insight into his future destiny.

At night the sibyl conducted Guerin to the chamber prepared for his repose, and he soon perceived that she was determined to give him considerable disturbance, as she began to ogle him, and then proceeded to the narrowest scrutiny. The wood of the cross, however, which he had received from the Greek empress, and an occasional prayer, procured his present manumission from the sibyl, who was obliged to postpone her designs till the morrow, and thence to defer them for the five following days, owing to the reptdsive influence of the same relic [c. 144].

The prophetess, who' seems in her old age to have changed the conduct which procured from Virgil the appel-


276 HISTOBT OP FICTION. [CH. DL

latdon of Casta Sibylla, still refrained from informing ber guest of the residence of bis parents, in order that, bj detaining bim in her palace, sbe migbt grasp an oppor- tunity of finally accomplisbing ber intentions. One Satur- day sbe unluckily could not preyent tbe knight from being witness to an unfortunate and inevitable metamorphosis. Fairies, it seems, and those connected with fairies, are on that day invariably converted into hideous animals, and remain in this guise till tbe ensuing Monday. Guerin, who bad hitherto seen the palace inhabited only by fine ladies and gentlemen, was surprised to find himself in tbe midst of a menagerie, and to behold tbe sibyl herself contorted into a snake [c. 145]. When she had recovered her charms, Guerin upbraided her with the spiral form into which she had been lately wreathed. He now positively demanded his leave, which having obtained, he forthwith repaired to Bome, and though he had extricated himself from the den in the most Christian manner, be deemed it necessary to demand the indulgence of the holy father, for having consulted a sibyl who was at once a sorceress, a pagan, and a serpent. The pope imposed on him, as a penance, that he should visit the shrine of St. James in Galicia, and afterwards the purgatory of St. Patrick in Ireland, at the same time giving bim hopes that in the latter place he might hear intelligence of his parents [c. 154].

Guerin met with nothing remarkable during the first part of his expiatory pilgrimage. Tbe account, however, of Saint Patrick's purgatory ^ is full of wonders. When

^ The most ancient lives of St. Patrick do not mention the Purgatory. The Bollandists (A.cta SS. Mart. t. ii.) attribute the rise of the tkble of St. Patrick's Purgatory to Henry, a monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Saltire, at the beginning of the twelfth century, who wrote an account of the descent in 11 63 of Owain, which was subsequently widely diffused as the Adrentures of the Knight, and translated into tne difTerent ver- naculars of the countries of the Latin Church. There are ihree early French metrical yersions— one by Marie de France, see Koquefort's ed. of her works, vol. ii. The others are contained in the British Museum MSS. Cotton, Domit A« iv. fol. 258, and Harl. No. 273, fol. 191, verso. There are two English versifications, both entitled Owain Miles, oQe of which was printed from the Aucfainlech MS. at Edinburgh in 1837, and is probably a translation from the French. The legend is analysed by Wright, St. Patrick's Pureatory, p. 62, etc., which may be some con- fused application of the myth of Odin's descent to Owen, one of King


CH. IX.] anBBuro meschino. 277

Saint Patrick went to preach in Ireland, the honest Hiber- nians refused to believe the articles of his creed, unless thej received ocular demonstration of their truth, so that the saint was obliged to set up a purgatory for their satis-

Stephen's knights, according to Saltrey and Matt. Paris (ann. 1153). Roquefort (op. cit.), however, connects Owain with the Arthurian Ivein of the Cheiralier au Lion. A much earlier vision of purgatory, mentioned by Bede (Hist. Eocl. lib. ii. c. 19) is that of Forsens, which must have been popular with the Saxons (cf. Csedmon), into whose lan- guage it was translated in the form of a homily by Archbishop ^Ifric in the tenth century. The prelate alludes to a similar supposed vision of St. Paul, and in effect there is among the MSS. of Trinity College a short relation, entitled Visio Sti Pauli Apostoli de poenis purgatorii. The aooount of Furseus is contained in a MS. (Rawlinson, No. 505, fol. 174) in the Bodleian library, the A. S. version is printed in Reliquise Antique, vol. i. p. 276. But like so much else that meets us in literary explorations, the Irish purgatory is probably less an original creation than a mediaeval adaptation of earlier and heathen conceptions. The Story of Owain (see fegrand d'Aussy, Fabliaux, 1829, vol. v. p. 97, etc) strikingly recalls the descent of Odin to Hela, or still more that of .£neas to the infernal regions. A circumstance which accentuates this resem- blance, and almost establishes a connection, is the admission of a limbo for adults, and an intermediate place of rest for the just, who have been purged of their sins. It may not be irrelevant to note that the ^neid was well known in the middle ages. It is followed very closely in li Romans d'Eneas, which was composed not later than the middle of the twelfth century. Warbnrton (see infra, Sethos) sees in the account of iEneas an allegorical description of the initiation into the Eleusinian mysteries ; and others, quoting a passage of Strabo, consider that analogous mysteries were introduced into Ireland, and that the expiatory preparations so like those practised in the cultus of Ceres had become christianized. Both Wright and Legnmd, however, point out that if some origin of this sort underly the ceremonies observed at Lough Dergh, the analogy would be with the Cave of Trophonius, which was entered only after several days of purifications, etc., and under the con- duct of the priests, of which l^ausanias gives an account.

Mr. Wright recalls the numerous legendary openings in the earth which were believed by the ancients to communicate with the infernal regions, the allegorical descriptions of the Shades or Visions, e,g., Plato's " accounts of the infernal iuoges at the end of Gorgias, Tartarus in the Phsedo, and of the vision of £r the Armenian in the Republic, Plutarch in ... the Demon of Socrates describes the vision of Timarchus in the Cave of Trophonius, which bears a striking resemblance to our purga- tory visions. In another tract (De Tard. justit. Dio) Plutarch relates a very curious vision of a Greek named Thespesius, who found a purga- tory in the sky, and which is remarkable as containing an incident similar to that of the smiths in the legend of Tundale, p. 114, 115. Cf. also Aristophanes in The Frogs.

St. Patrick's Purgatory has continued, with but little interruption, to


278 HISTOEY OP FICTION. [CH. IX.

faction. On arriving in Ireland, Gnerin waited on the archbishop, who, after having vainly attempted to dis- suade him from this perilous expedition, gave him letters of introduction to the abbot of the H0I7 Island, which was the vestibule of purgatory. With the connivance of the abbot, Guerin descended into a well, at the bottom of which he found a subterraneous meadow. There he re- ceived instructions from two men clothed in white gar- ments, who lived in an edifice built in form of a church* He was thence carried away by two demons, who escorted him from cavern to cavern, to witness the torments of purgatory. Each cavern, he found, was appropriated for the chastisement of a particular vice. Thus, in one, the gourmands were tantalized with the appearance and flavour of dressed dishes, and exquisite beverage, which eluded their grasp ; while, at the same time, they were troubled with all the cholics and indigestions to which their intem- perance had subjected them during life.* This notion of

the present time to be a place of pilgrimage. An account of the pil- grimage, and of the practices observed in connection therewith, will be found in O'Connor's *' Lough Berg and its pilgrimages," Dublin, and some particulars are given in the Tablet 18, ix. 1886, p. 457, from which we take the following : —

" There was a time, savs Malone, " when pilgrimage to Lough Derg was scarcely less famous than that to the shrine of St. James at Com- postella, in Spain.*' It had been said that Dante's " Purgatorio " w^as founded on Henrj of Saltrey's account of Lough Derg ; Ariosto refers to the Pilgrimage in Orlando Furioso, Calderon's drama, Purgatorio de San Patricio, has been translated into English by the late Denis Florence McCarthy.

See also the account of Turkhill, a native of Ttdstude, Essex, in Matthew Paris, Historia Major Tiguri, 1589, p. 206, etc., and also p. 178, etc. There is an old poem on the subject, Owayne Miles, MS., British Museum, Cotton Collection, Calig. A. 12, f. 90. Another copy was printed by Laing, 1837. Cf. the Visions of Tundale. Translation edited by Turnbull. See also Harleian MS. 2385-82; De quodam dncto videre penas Inferni, fol. 56, b. ; Warton's "Hist. Poet." iii. p. 157. See Legrand D'Aussy, Fabliaux, v. 93, etc., 1829.

Ferdinand Denys, in Le Monde Enchant^, Paris, 1845, pp. 157-174. Migne's " Dictionnaire des L^gendes," treat of the purgatory at con- siderable length ; but the fullest account will be found in Wright's " Sc Patrick's Purgatory, an essay on the legends of Purgatory, Hell, and Paradise," etc., 1844.

^ The Japanese have a ipythological hero who is fabled to have pre- sented rice to the hungry which burst into flame as soon as it was taJcen into the mouth.


CH. IX.] .GUEBINO MESCHOTO. 279

future punishments, appropriate to the darling sins of the guilty, has been common with poets. It occurs in Dante, and we are told in one of Ford's dramas, that

There are gluttons fed


With toads and adders : there is burning oil Poured down the drunkard's throat ; the usurer Is forced to sup whole draughts of molten gold ; There is the murderer for ever stabb'd, Yet can he never die.^

After Guerin had witnessed the pains of purgatory, he had a display of hell itself, which, in this work, is divided into circles, precisely on the plan laid out in Dante's " In- ferno." Indeed, the whole of this part of the romance must have been suggested by the unearthly excursions in the Divina Commedia. Judas Iscariot, Nero, and Maho- met, act the most distinguished parts in the tragedy now under the eye of Guerin. Among others, he recognized his old friend the giant Macus, whom he had slain in Tartary, and whose fate is a warning to all who are guilty of an overgrowth, and who regale their wives and children with the flesh of Christian travellers. He also perceived the red-haired African princess, who, for Guerin's sake, had struck off the head of her intoxici^ted brother. His in- fernal Ciceroni made frequent efforts to add him to the number of the condemned, but were at length reluctantly obliged to give him up to Enoch aud Elijah, who pointed out to him Paradise, about as near as Moses saw the Pro- mised Land. These celestial guides, after telling him that he will hear of his parents in Italy, showed him the way back to earth, where he at last arrived, having passed thirty days without sleep or sustenance [c. 168, etc.].*

On his return to Eome, Guerin was sent to Albania by the pope, in order to expel the Turks, which being accom- plished, he discovered his father and mother in the dun-

' ** 'Tis a pity ahe's a whore," act 3, sc. 6.

' For accounts of such-like visions and journeys through Heaven and Uell, see Samlingar utgifna af Svenska Foniskrift-Sallskapet, T Delen. 2 Haft. S. Patricks&gan, p. xxv. etc. ; also Scheible's *< Kloster,'* Bd. ▼. p. 148, note 114. Perhaps the oldest example of this kind of narrative is that in Barlaam and Josaphat, o. 30, see supra, toI. i. Of. also Graesse, ii. 2, p. 137, and Peroeforest, ir. 33.


280 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

geoQ where tliej had been all along confined. Thej were speedily re-established on their throne, and the romance concludes with the marriage of Ouerin with the princess of Persepolis, to the great mortification of the Grecian princess Elizena, who now heartily repented having rashly denominated him Turk [c. 192].

Such is the history of Guerin Meschino, who was cer- tainly the most erratic knight of all those who have tra- versed the world. No one discomfited a greater number of giants and monsters ; no one was more constant to his mistress, than he to the princess of Persepolis ; no one was so devout, as appears from his conduct in purgatory, and the abode of the sibyl, his numerous pilgrimages and successful conversions.

It cannot fail to have been remarked, in tracing the progress of fiction, that, when one species of fabulous writing gave place to another, this happened gradually, and that generally some mixed work was composed, par- taking of the mutual qualities of the old and new system. For example, in the romance which we have now been considering, the elements both of the chivalrous and de- votional method of writing are blended, but with a greater proportion of the former. In other productions the latter gradually prevailed, till, at length, the traces of the former were almost entirely obliterated : of those works in which spiritual began to gain an ascendancy over romantic fiction,


Les Aventubes de LycidjlS et de Cleobithe,^

was the earliest and the finest specimen. It was composed in the year 1529, by the Sieur de Basire, archdeacon of S^ez, though the author pretends that it was originally written in the Syriac language, and translated by him from a Greek version.

When the island of Bhodes was conquered by the Ottoman emperor, the young women were subjected to slavery, and to still severer misfortimes. One of their

' Kot mentioned by most of the bibliographers.


CH. IX.] LTCIDAS ET CLEOBITHE. 281

number named Cleoritha, was allotted to the faTourite minister of the sultan, and, on account of her beautj was distinguished by the name of wife, from the crowd of sur- rounding concubines.

A Christian gentleman, named Ljcidas, hearing of her misfortunes, and her inviolable attachment to the faith in which she had been brought up, conceived that a visit from him could not fail to be consolatory. By bribing an eunuch, he was introduced into the seraglio, and Cleoritha soon rewarded his attention, by lavishing on him favours, which were with difficulty extorted by her mussulman husband.

This intercourse subsisted without detection or inter- ruption for six years ; but at the end of that period the mind of Lycidas became a prey to religious melancholy : he poured forth his feelings of contrition before the peni- tentiary tribimal, but was shocked at the facility with which he obtained absolution for the crimes he acknow- ledged. Tormented by his conscience, and disgusted with his confessor, after writing a. few lines to Cleoritha to account for his absence, he departed with the intention of opening his heart to the bishop of Damascus.

On the approach of the night which concluded his first day's journey, Lycidas arrived at a small and solitary inn, by the side of a wood. Having asked the host for an apartment, he found there was no chamber except one, which, for a long period, had been the nightly rendezvous of demons and sorcerers. Lycidas insisted on that room being assigned to him, in spite of the assurance of the landlord, that for seven years past all the travellers who had slept in it, and, among the rest, a pacha, attended by six janissaries, had been disturbed by supernatural agents.

Scarcely had Lycidas entered the haunted apartment, when six damsels in array of nymphs, appeared, and pro- posed to him with much apparent civility, that he should accompany them to their mistress. Lycidas at first eyed them with indifference, but at length yielding to the im- portunities of the fairest he allowed nimself to be con- ducted to a castle, where he was ushered into a splendid saloon, illumined by a thousand flambeaux. Twenty


282 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

youths, and as many damsels, of dazzling charms, joined in Yoluptuous dances, while the most sednctive music was poured from the fairest throats. The lady who presided over this festival appeared to be about the age of seven- teen, and was of resplendent beauty.

The ball being concluded, the band of dancers and musicians retired, and Lycidas being left alone with the lady, she, mistaking his silence for respect, took an oppor- tunity of encouraging him, by remarking that the atten- dants had left her at his mercy. To this observation, and to subsequent overtures still more explicit and enticing, Lycidas maintained the most provoking silence. At length the lady gave vent to her resentment in reproaches, and then vanished from his view. Soon as she disappeared the lights are extinguished, the fabric falls with a tremen- dous crash into the abysses of the earth, and Lycidas remains alone in the chaos of a dark and tempestuous night.

By the guidance of a pale and uncertain beam, he re- gains the solitary abode h^ had left. There he remains till dawn, when he departs, and arrives without farther adventures, at the residence of the bishop of Damascus. Lycidas having explained to him the state of his soul, and his conscientious scruples, this prelate prescribes in the first instance the total renunciation of Cleoritha; he recom- mends that his penitent should then undertake a journey in the habit of a pilgrim, to all the memorable scenes of the Holy Land ; that he should thence repair to Venice, to join the army of that republic in its attempts to re-oonquer Cyprus, and should conclude with uniting himself to the knights of Jerusalem, in the citadel of Malta.

Lycidas accordingly commences these multifarious ordi- nances, by despatching a letter to his late mistress, in which he explains his intentions of divorcing himself from her and his vicious passions — urges her to repentance for her manifold transgressions, assures her that he will con- tinue to love her as one loves the apostles, and that he is her obedient servant in Otod.

Cleoritha feels extremely indignant at this canting epistle, but her passion has yet such influence over her soul, that she escapes from the seraglio to search for Lycidas, in


CH. IZ.] LYGIDAS BT CLEOBITHE. 283

those places where she thinks he is most likely to be found, and pours forth a torrent of abuse on being disappointed in her expectations of overtaking her lover.

Indeed, bj this time, Ljcidas was on his way to the Holj Land. On fds road to Jerusalem he met with the devil and a hermit, who had a trial of strength for the soul of the pilgrim. The devil at first gained some advantage, but the victory remained in the hands of the saint. From Jerusalem Lycidas proceeds to Bethany, to visit the oratory of the blessed Magdalene. In this place of devotion he feels all the beatitude attached to the progress of a tender repent- ance ; and, remembering the similarity of his own fate to that of the frail, but pardoned sister of Lazarus, he honours- her memory with a few tributary verses, such as,

    • 0 beaulx yeux do la Magdaleine,

Voiis etiez lors un Mont Jblthna, £t Yous etes une Fontaine,'* etc.

After leaving the Holy Land, Lycidas joins the Christian army in Cyprus, is appointed colonel of a Sclavonian regi- ment, and receives, while combating at its head, a mortal wound. He does not, however, conceive himself exempted from continuing the activity he had exerted in this world, by his translation to the heavenly mansions. Scarcely has he tasted of celestial repose, when he appears one night to Cleoritha, (who by this time had returned to her infidel husband,) and exhorts her on the subject of devotion and her various duties. Unf ortimately the spirit of religion in- spired by this apparition, induces Cleoritha, with a view again to escape from the mussulman, to listen to the pro- posals of a Jew who had been long enamoured of her charms. By the advice of one of her female slaves, she receives him on the same footing on which Lycidas had been formerly admitted. The criminal intercourse is de- tected by the husband ; he demands the severest justice of his country, and the same pile consumes the Jew, the slave, and Cleoritha.

About the end of the sixteenth century, a spiritual romance of some celebrity.


^84 HI8TOBT OP FICTION. [CH. IX.


The Pilorimaoe op Colitmbelle and Volontaibette,*

appeared in the Flemisli dialect, written by Boetius Bols- wert, an engraver, and brother of Scheldt Bolswert, who was still more famous in the same art. This production recounts the pilgrimage of two sisters, whose names are equivalent to Dove and Wilful, (in the French translation Oolombelle and Volontairette,) to Jerusalem, in quest of their Well-beloved. One was, as her name imported, mild and prudent ; the other, obstinate and capricious. The contrasted behaviour, and the different issue of the adven- tures which happen to these two sisters on their journey, form the intrigue of the romance. Thus, they arrive at a village during a fair or festival : Volontairette mingles in a crowd who are following a mountebank ; she returns covered with vermin, and her person is depopulated with much trouble. The other sister escapes by remaining at home, engaged in devotional exercises. This romance is mystical throughout: it is invariably insipid, and occa- sionally blasphemous.

A number of spiritual romances were written by Camus, bishop of Bellay,^ in the beginning of the seventeenth cen-

^ Duyfkens en Willemynkens Felgrima^ie tot haaren beminden binnen Jerusalem : haar lieder tegenspoed bnlet en cide. UitgegeTen door Boetius a Bolswert. Editions 1625, 1636, and 1641.

P^I^rinage de Colombelle et Volontairette vers leur bien-aim^ dans J6ru8alem. Anvers, 1636, Bruxelles, 1684, Paris, Lille, 1619.

^ Jean Pierre Camus was bom at Paris, 1582, of a family of some distinction : he was elevated to the bishopric of Bellay before he was twenty-six years of age, and in this situation was remarkable for the conscientious discharge of his ecclesiastical duties : he was much beloved by the Protestants, but drew on himself the hatred of the monks, against whom he declaimed and wrote without intermission for many years. In 1629, Camus resigned his bishopric, and retired to an abbacy in Nor- mandy, granted him by the king. Afterwards, however, he was pre- vailed on to. accept of ecclesiastical preferment, and was nominated to the bishopric of Arras ; but before his bulls arrived from Rome, hi« died in the seventieth year of his age, in 1652, and was carried, in compliance with his instructions, to the hospital of Incurables.

The numerous sermons he delivered, some of which were afterwards published, are remarkable for their naivete. One day pronouncing a discourse, which he had been appointed to preach before the Trois Etats, he asked, "What would our fathers have said to have seen offices


CH. IX.] COLT7MBBLLE AKD TOLONTAIBETTE. 285

tury. At the time when this prelate entered the ecclesias- tical state, the taste for romance was so strong as to exclude almost every other species of reading. Hence, he is said to have found it necessary to present his flock with fictions^ of which the scope was to impress their minds with senti- ments of piety.^ As he had much zeal, and some imagina- tion, and as his readers had but an indifferent taste, these works may have produced, in his own time, the benefit he expected ; but he wanted the art and judgment which alone coidd have rendered them lastingly popular : his numeroua

of jadicatnre in the hands of women and children ? What remains but to admit, like the Boman emperor, horses to the parliament ? And why not, since so many asses have got in already ? '* He also said one day from the pulpit, that a single person might blaspheme, lie, or commit murder, but there was another sin so great gu^il/alloii itre deux de U cammeitre. In somewhat better taste was his appeal to the charity of a. numerous auditory. — " Messieurs, on recommande a tos charites une jeune damoiselle qui n'a pas assez de bien pour faire Vaeu de PauvreUJ'* A great number of similar anecdotes concerning Camus, though not im- plicitly to be depended on, may be found in the M^nagiana.

^ '* At this time," writes Ferrault in Hommes illustres, *' the read- ing of romances became rery general, the fashion baring commenced with the appearance of the Astr6e, which, by its beauty, charmed all France, ana eren remote foreign countries, into a furore. The Bishop of Bellay having come to the conclusion that such a kind of reading waa- an obstacle to the progress of the love of God in souls, but being also at the same time of opinion that it was next to impossible to dissuade the young ftrom an amusement which jumped so agreeably with their age and inclination, sought to make a diversion by writing stories which should tell of love, and which would, therefore, secure readers, but which should also elevate the heart insensibly to God by means of the adroit introduction of sentiments of piety, and the conduct of the adven- tures to Christian catastrophes.' ... It was a happy artifice which his ardent charity, which made him all things to all men, inspired and enabled him to put successfully into ojperation, for his books were a kind of antidote to the romance-reading of the time."

St. Francis of Sales may be regpurded as the first who set on foot the idea of the religious romance in France. He it was who prompted Camus to undertake works of this kind ; but d'UrfS also added his voice, for Camus says in his Esprit de Saint Fran9ois de Sales, " lo addition to the advice of our blessed Father (St. Francis of Sales), who* charged me as if at God's behest, with the commission to write pioua stories [histoires devotes] what contributed not a little to impel me to the task, were the arguments of this excellent gentleman [i.e, d'Urf(§] who protested to me that, had his position been other than it was, he woola gladly have taken to this kind of composition, by way of making^ amends for his A8tr6e.


286 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

and mystical productions fell into disesteem, in the progress of refinement and learning, and a single specimen will satisfy the reader that they are hardly worth being rescued from the oblivion to which they have been consigned. In


La Memoibe de Dabie,^

Achantes, a gentleman of Burgundy, is represented as the model of every Christian virtue. His wife Sophronia, whose character is drawn at full length, is an example of piety and conjugal affection. After the lapse of many years, in the course of which this union was blessed with a number of daughters, Achantes passed to a better life. His relict made a vow of perpetual widowhood, which pro- bably no one had any intention of interrupting, and devoted her time to the education of her daiighters, especially of the eldest, called Dane, the heroine of the romance. This young lady was afterwards placed under care of Theophilus, an enlightened ecclesiastic ; and the first fruit of her tuition was the foundation of a monastery. Her education being completed, she was married ; but her husband, soon after the nuptials, went abroad and died. The intelligence of his decease was communicated to his spouse by Theophilus, who embraced that opportunity of expatiating on the various topics of religious consolation. Premature labour, however, was the consequence of the disastrous news, and Darie expired, after having been admitted among the num- ber of the religious of that convent which she had formerly founded and endowed.

Of the works of Camus, however, many are rather moral than spiritual romances ; that is to say, some moral pre- cept is meant to be inculcated, independent of acts of devotion, the performance of pilgrimages, or foundation of monasteries. All of them are loaded with scriptural quota- tion, sometimes not very aptly applied, all are of a length fatiguing when compared with the interest of the story,

^ La M^moire de Darie ou se voit Tid^e d'ane devotieuse vie et d*ane religieuse mort. Paris, 1620.


CH. IZ.] OYICXTLA 8. FBANCISCI. 287

and all are disfigured with affected astithesis and cum- brous erudition/

We have already had occasion to nlention the Conteg Devote, which were coeval with the Fdbliaux of the Trou- veurs. A collection of stories, partly imitated from spiritual tales, particularly the Pia HUaria of Angelin Gaz^, and partly extracted from larger works of devo- tion, with some added by the publisher, appeared in modem French in the middle of the seventeenth century. A few examples may be given as specimens of what for a considerable period formed the amusement of the religious communities of France and the Netherlands.


OviCULA S. FbJlNCISCI.

A countryman one day was driving some lambs to slaughter ; fortunately for them, St. Francis happened to be on the road. As soon as the flock perceived him, they raised most lamentable cries. The saint asked the clown what he was going to do with these animals — " cut their throats," replied he. Good St. Francis could not contain himself at this revolting idea, nor resist the sweet supplica- tions of these innocents ; he left his mantle with the bar- barous peasant, obtained the lambs in exchange, and con- ducted them to his convent, where he allowed them to live and thrive at their leisure.

Among this little flock there was a sheep which the saint loved tenderly : he was pleased sometimes to speak^ to her, and instruct her. " My sister," said he, " give thanks to thy Creator according to thy small means. It is good that you enter sometimes into the temple ; but be there more humble than when you go into the fold ; walk only on tiptoe; bend your knees, give example to little children. But, above all, my dear sister, run not after the rams ; wallow not in the mire, but modestly nibble at the

' Koerting (p. 180) quotes from St. Francis of Sales the following judgment of Camus x " Beaucoup de science et. d'esprit, une mdmoire immense, nne modestie parfaite, un melange de natvete et de finesse, une pi6U solide, de la gaic^, de Tjipropos, mais pas de mesore, pas de go&t : il ne lui manqualt que le jugement."


288 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

grass in our gardens, and be careful not to spoil the flowers with which we deck our altars/'

Such were the precepts of St. Francis to his sheep. This interesting creature reflected on them in private, (en eon paHiculieTf) and practised them so well, that she was the admiration of every one. If a Beligious passed bj, the beloved sheep of St. Francis ran before him, and made a profound reverence. When she heexd singing in the church, she came straightway to the altar of the Virgin, and saluted her by a gentle bleat; when a bell was sounded, which announc^ the sacred mysteries, she bent her head in token of respect. " O blessed animal ! " ex- claims the author, " thou wert not a sheep, but a doctor : thou art a reproach to the worldly ones, who go to church to be admired, and hot to worship. I know," continues he, " that the Huguenot will laugh, and say this is a grand- mother's tale ; but, say what he will, heresy will be dis- pelled, faith will prevail, and the sheep of St. Francis be praised for evermore." ^

On another occasion, St. Francis contracted with a wolf, that the city would provide for him, if he would not raven as heretofore.* To this condition he readily as- sented, and this amiable quadruped farther gratified St. Francis by an assiduous personal attendance. Many saints have taken pleasure in associating with different animals^ and St. Anthony, we are somewhere told, made the goose his gossip ; ® but this brotherhood with wolves seems pecu- liar to St. Francis.

Conrad the abbot of Corbie had the laudable custom of tenderly rearing a number of crows, in honour of the name of his monastery. One of these birds was full of tricks and malice. Sometimes he pecked the toes of the novices, sometimes he pinched the tails of the cats, at other times

^ A. Gazffius, Fia Hilaria, a collection of legends and anecdotes ex- tracted from divers writers; Ovicala S. Francisci. See BoUandists, Acta Sanctorum, Oct. torn, ii pp. 628, 704, 764, etc.

3 Not a few saints, according to popular traditions, have similarly prevailed over the ferocious nature of the wolf, effected a complete reform in his character, and reduced him to profitable servitude. See Bagatta, Admiranda Orbis Christiani, lib. viL cap. 1.

' He is, however, more generally represented with a pig, because he iras a swineherd, and could heal this animal's distempers.


CH. IX.] LEGENDS. 289

he flew away with the dinner of his comrades, and obliged them to fast like the good fathers ; but his highest delight was to pluck the finest feathers from the peacocks, when they displayed their plumage.

One day the Abbot having entered the refectory, took oft his ring to wash his hands : our crow darts on it adroitly, and flies off unobserved. When the abbot goes to put on his ring, it is not to be found ; being unable to learn what has become of it, he hurls an excommunication against the unknown author of the theft. Soon the crow becomes plaintive and sad — he does nothing but pine and drag a languishing Ufe— his feathers drop with the Hghtest breeze — his wings flag — ^his body becomes dry and ema- ciated — no more plucking of i)eacocks' feathers — no more pinching of novices' toes. His condition now inspires compassion in those he had most tormented, and the com- miseration even of the peacocks is excited. With a view of ascertaining the cause of his malady, his nest is visited, to see if he has gathered any poisonous plant. What is the astonishment of all, when the ring which the abb^ had lost, and now forgotten, is here discovered! As there is no longer a thief to punish, the anathema is recalled, and the crow resumes in a few days his gaiety and erribonpoint}

Such were the tales invented and propagated by the monks, partly with pious, and partly with politic designs, and which doubtless the multitude received with eager curiosity and often with devout credulity.

Some of these stories, absurd as they are, have served as the basis of French and English dramas : Les Fits Ingrats of Piron,^ coincides with one of these spiritual fictions. Another tale which occurs in the Pia Hilaria, is that of a drunk beggar, who is carried by the duke of Burgundy to his palace, where he enjoys for twenty-four hours the

^ The Ingoldsby legend, The Jackdaw of Bheims, will at once oocnr to the memory. The story is giTen in the Pia Hilaria, ** ex Idbro de Viris illustribus ordinis Cisterciensis."

' The first representation of this piece proving rather unsuccessful, the Abb^ Desfontaioes caustically remarked that the Fils Ingrats de- served their name as they had lowered the reputation of their father, and Piron renamed the dziima TEcole dee P^res.

n. V


290 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

pleasures of command. This storj is told of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, in Goulart's " Histoires Admi- rables/' whence it was translated in one of Orimstone's Admirable and Memorable Histories/' which MaJone considers the origin of the Induction to the Taming of the Shrew. The first notion, however, of such an incident was no doubt derived from the east. In the tale of the Sleeper Awakened, in the Arabian Nights Entertainments, the Oaliph Haroun Al Baschid gives a poor man, called Abon Hassan, a soporific powder, and has him conveyed, while tuider its influence, to the palace, where, when he awakes, he is obeyed and entertained as the Commander of the Faithful, till, another powder being administered, he is carried back on the following night to his humble dwelling.^

Of the various spiritual romances which have appeared in different countries, no one has been so deservedly popular as the

^ Cf. also Calderonde la Barca's " Vida es Sueno" (Life is a Dr^am), translated by Mr. Oxenford in the Monthlj Maeazine, toI. zcri. In this drama, King Basilio, who had learned from the stars, on the birth of his son Sigismund, that the latter wonld turn out a reckless, impious, and cruel monarch, and oppress the kingdom into discontent and treason, had his heir reared in confinement (cf. Kichter*s '* Unsichtbaxe Loge "), under the tuition of a wise preceptor, Clotaido. Upon his son's growing up, the King devises a trial to test his character : —

Mv son, Sigismund, . . . to-morrow I wiU place Beneath my canopy, upon my throne — But that he is my son he shall not know. Then shall he govern and command you all. While you unite in vowing him obedience. First, if he prove benignant, prudent, wise. Belying all that fate has told of him. Then will you have your natural prince, so long A courtier of the rocks, a friend of brutes. Secondly, if he prove audacious, cruel, Rushing through paths of vice with loosen'd rein. Then evVy duty I shall have fulfilled, And in deposing him I shall but act As a free monarch ; it will be but just, l^ot cruel, to return him to his dungeon.


CH. IX.] PILGBIM's PBOGBE8S. 291


PlLGBIlff's PbOOBESS ^

of John Bunyan (1628-1688), an allegorical work, in wliicli the author describes the journey of a Christian from the city of Destruction to the heavenly Jerusalem. The origin of the Pilgrim's Progress has been attributed by some to Barnard's Religious Allegory, entitled : The Isle of Man, or Proceedings in Manshire, published in 1627, while others have traced it to the story of Jean de Cartigny's " Wan- dering Knight,"* translated from the French by Wm. Gbod- yeare, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Le P^erinage de TAme, which was composed in verse by Deguilleville, prior of Chalis, afterwards reduced to prose by another monk, Jehan de Gallopes, and printed at Paris in 1480. From the text of GfaUopes was made, as has been thought, by J. Lydgate, the English version printed by Caxton at Westminster in 1483. This Pylgremage of the Sowle * re-

' The Pilgrim's Frogress from this world, to That which is to come. Delirered under the Similitude of a Dream Wherein is Discovered, The manner of his setting out, His Dangerous Journey ; And safe Arrival at the Desired Countrej, B/ John Bunyan. Licensed and Entred according to Order. London, Printed for Kath. Ponder at the Peacock in the Poultrey near Comhil, 1678. The above is the title of the first edition, one copy only of which is known.

The number of English editions of this work already published can hardly be less than three hundred, various rersified editions, abridg- ments, explanations, imitations, selections, continuations, parodies, keys, phonetic, stenographic monosyllabic and engrossed editions have ap- peared. The whole or part of the work has been translated into at least twenty- four languages, among which are Hebrew, Arabie, Icelandic, Dakota, Malagese, Maori Oriya, Karotongan, Tahitian, Bengalee, Tomba.

' See Blades, Life of Caxton, 1861-63, vol. ii. p. 131.

3 In the first half of the fourteenth century a French poet named Guillaume de Deguilleville, following the plan of the Roman de la Hose, composed three romances, entitled, Le Pelerinage de FHomme ou de la Vie hnmaine, Le Pelerinage de I'Ame sortie dn corps, and Le Pdlerinage de Jesn Christ ou la Vie de Notre Seigneur. These romances are some- times found united under the general title of Roman des trois Peleri-



pUtes de Rutebeuf publ. par Achille Jnbinal, vol. ii. p. 21» etc.) are


292 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

lates, in manner of a dream, the progress of the soul after its departure from the body, till led up to the heavenly mansions. There is also an old French work, which was written by a monk of Calais, and was versified in English as far back as 1426, relating to a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and containing various dialogues between the Pilgrim's Grace-Dieu, Sapience,^ etc. The existence of such works can detract little from the praise of originality ; but, if the notion of a journey through the perils and temptations of life, to a place of religious rest, has been borrowed by the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, it was most probably suggested by a Flemish work already mentioned, which describes the pilgrimage of Colombelle to Jerusalem.

The Pilgrim's Progress was written while the author was in prison, where he lay from 1660 to 1672; so that the date of its composition must be fixed between those two periods. This celebrated allegory is introduced in a manner which, in its mysterious solemnity, bears a striking resem- blance to the commencement of the Vision of Dante: — "As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep ; and as I slept I dreamed a dream — I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, with a book in his hand. I looked and saw him open the book, and read therein, and as he read he wept and trembled," etc. The author then describes the awakening spiritual fears of his hero. Christian — his resolution to depart from the city of Destruction, suggested perhaps by the flight of Lot from the devoted cities of the plain — his inefEectual attempts to induce his wife and family and neighbours to accompany him — ^his departure, and all the incidents,

fonod many of the allegories which are again employed in such works as the Pilgrim's Progress, id. ib. p. 110. — Lieb.

The Pilgrimage of the lyfe of the manhode, from the French of Deguillevilie, edited by W. A. Wright, was published by the Roxburgh Club in 1869.

^ Le Voyage du Che?alier Errant, Anrers (Gand), 1572 ; Le Voyage du Chevalier Errant esgar^ dedans la forest des Vanitez mondaines, etc., Anvers, 1595; The Voyage of the wandering Knight, shewing al the course of man's life, how apt he is to follow ranitie, and how hard it is for him to attaine to vertne . . . translated out of French ... by W. G. Black letter. J. Este, London, 1607, 4,^,


CH. nc.] pilobim's psogbess. 293

whether of a discouraging or comforting nature, which he encountered on his journey.

It was, perhaps, ill-judged in the author to represent Christian as having a wife and family, since, whatever be the spiritual lesson intended to be conveyed by his leaving them, one cannot help being impressed with a certain notion of selfishness and h^rd-heartedness in the hero.

  • ' Now he had not run far from his own house, says the

author, " but his wife and children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return ; but the man put his &igers into his ears, and ran on, crying, ' Life ! Life ! Eternal life ! ' So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain." This does not impress us with a very favourable idea of the disposition of the hero, and in fact, with the exception of faith and perseverance, he is a mere negative character, without one good quality to recommend him. There is little or no display of charity, beneficence, or even benevolence, during the whole course of the pil- grimage. The sentiments of Christian are narrow and illiberal, and his struggles and exertions wholly selfish.

The author, however, composed his work agreeably to the notion of Christianity existing in his time, and accord- ingly this must be kept in view while forming our judg- ment of its merit. It discovers a rich and happy inven- tion, the incidents and characters are well portrayed, and there is much skill in the dramatic adaptation of dialogue to the characters introduced. But as the author was illite- rate, his taste is coarse and inelegant, and he generally in- jures the beauty of his pictures by some unlucky stroke. The occasional poetry introduced is execrable.

In one point of view, however, this want of learning and taste is favourable to the general effect of the work. It gives to the whole an appearance of simplicity and truth, which is also aided by the author, like Homer, abridging nothing, but again and again repeating dialogues as thej were delivered, and incidents as they occurred. The only art which he possesses, and it has an agreeable efEect, is the art of contrast. Thus, for example, the beautiful palace, where he is entertained by the four virgins, Wat<5hful, Prudence, Piety, and Charity, is succeeded by his distressful combat with Apollyon in the Yalley of


294 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. IX.

Humiliation, and the confinement in the dungeon of Giant Despair is immediately followed bj the pleasing picture of the Delectable Mountains.

By the introduction of two other pilgrims in different r«urts of the joumej of Christian, the first of whom, Faithful, dies a martyr, and the second, Hopeful, after the death of the former, accompanies Christian to the end of his pilgrimage, the author not only agreeably diversifies his work, but, by their history and conversation, has an oppor- tunity of expounding his whole system of Faith, and of exhibiting the different means by which the same great object is attained. On the whole, according to the author's views of Christianity, the work is admirably conceived ; and the difficulties of his task are a sufficient excuse for those incongruities which, it must be confessed, occasionallj occur. For example, one is somewhat surprised, at the wickedness of different characters who present themselves to Christian after the journey is almost terminated, and who, according to the leading idea of the work, that Chris- tianity is a pilgrimage, could hardly have been expected to have advanced so far in their progress.

It is difficult to give any specimen of this popular alle- gory, as its merit consists less in the beauty of detached passages, than in almost irresistibly carrying on the reader to that goal which is the object of pursuit. The following description, however, is short, and gives a favourable idea of the author's powers of picturesque delineation : — " In this light, therefore, he came to the end of the valley. Now I saw in my dream, that at the end of this vaUey lay blood, bones, ashes, and mangled bodies of men, even of pilgrims that had gone this way formerly ; and, while I was musing what should be the reason, I espied a little before me a cave, where two giants. Pope and Pagan, dwelt in old time, by whose power and tyranny the men, whose bones, blood, ashes, &c., lay there, were cruelly put to death. But by this place Christian went without much danger, whereat I somewhat wondered ; but I have learned since, that Pagan has been dead many a day, and as for the other, though he be alive, he is, by reason of i^, and also of the many shrewd brushes that he met with in his younger days, grown so crazy and stiff in his joints, that


CH. IX.] pilgbih's pboobess. 295

he can now do little more than sit in his cave's month, grinning at pilgrims as they go hj, and biting his nails because he cannot come at them. So I saw that Christian went on his way ; yet at the sight of the old man that sat at the mouth of the cave, he could not tell what to think, especially because he spake to him, though he could not go after him, saying, * You will never mend till more of you be burnt.' But he held his peace, and set a good face on it and went by, and catched no hurt."

Of the powerful painting in the volume, no part is superior to the description of the passage of Christian through the Eiver of Death. The representation also of the arrival of Christian and his fellow pilgrim at the heavenly Jerusalem is very pleasing, though intermingled with traits which a good taste would have rejected. It concludes in the following manner : —

•* Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate ; and, lo ! as they entered, they were transfigured, and they had raiment put on that shone like gold.

    • There were also that met them with harps and crowns,

and gave to them, the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour. Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, ' Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.' I also heard the men themselves sing with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessing, honour, glory, and power, be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.*

    • Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men,

I looked in after them, and behold the city shone like the sun ; the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many men with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal.

"There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, ' Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord.' And, after that, they shut up the gates ; which, when I had seen, I wished myself amongst them."

The emblematic representation of heavenly joys imder figure of a magnificent city, so frequent in spiritual romance, probably originated in a scriptural similitude,


296 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. IX.

which was readilj adopted by the monks and anchorites of the early ages. It was natural enough for men who were clad in hair-cloth, and who dwelt in solitary caverns or gloomy cells, to imagine that supreme bliss consisted in walkmg in parade, attired with glittering garments, through streets which shone like gold. But though this occupation may be better than quaffing Hydromel in Valhalla, to us it is scarcely so attractive as the Arabian Paradise, or the Loci Iceti et amcena vireta of a Platonic Elysium.


CHAPTER X.

COMIC BOMANCE. — W0BK8 OF BABELAIS. — VITA DI BEB- TOLDO. — DON QUIXOTE. — GUSMAN b'aLFABACHE. — MABCOS DE OBBEGON. — BOMAN COMIQUE, ETC. — POLITICAL BOMANCE. — UTOPIA. — ABGENIB. — 8£THOS» ETC.

ALL men have, more or less, a propensitj to satire and ridicule. This tendency has its origin in self-love, which naturally leads us to indulge in a belief of our own superiority over the rest of our species. It is in satire and ridicule that this feeling receives its most frequent gratifica- tion ; and, spite of the objections of Beattie, nothing can, in many instances, be more just than the reflection of Addison on the well-known theory of Hobbes, that when a man laughs he is not very merry, but very proud.

But, besides the gratification they afEord, works of satire and ridicule are useful, as they frequently exhibit mankind in their true light and just proportions, with all their pas- sions and follies. They remove from their conduct that varnish with which men so ingeniously cover those actions which are frequently the ofEspring of pride, private views, or voluntary self-delusion.

In nothing is the superiority of the modems over the ancients more apparent than in the higher excellence of their ludicrous compositions. Modem ridicule, as has been shown by Dr. Beattie, is at once more copious, and more refined, than the ancient. Many sources of wit and humour, formerly unknown, are now open and obvious, and those which are common to all ages have been purified by improvement in coui*tesy and taste.


298 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. X.


Bi^ELAIS,

whom Sir William Temple^ has styled the Father of Bidicule, and Bacon, the Great Jester, is certainly the first modem au- thor who obtained much celebrity by the comic or satirical romance. At the time when he appeared, extravagant tales were in the height of their popularity. As he had determined to ridicule the most distinguished persons, and everything that the rest of mankind regarded as venerable or im- portant, he clothed his satire somewhat in the form of the lying stories of the age,' that under this veil he might be

^ Essay on Poetry in his Miscellanea. Pt. iu Works, Lond. 1720, Tol. i. p. 246.

' It was only at the beginning of the present centory that the opinion arose that Gargantua was not a pure creation of Rabelais* imagination, but a literary investiture of a figure already widely diffused in popular tradition, and referred by J. Grimm (in his IX^ntsche Mythologie, 2nd ed. 1873) to the Celtic era. Eloi Johanneau, in a note to a legend popular in the Pays de Betz, recorded by Thomas de St Mars, first ex- pressed the opinion that Gargantua was the Hercules Pantophagus of the Gauls, and subsequently remarks in the prefiace to the Varioram edition of Rabelais that Rabelais is not the inventor of the mythological figure of Gargantua, who was well known in certain districts of Franc-e long before RAbelais found in him the prototype of his romance. The story of many of his expk>its is still popular in France, etc. (tom. L p. 37). Subflieauent researches, which naye found concise embodiment in M. Paul Sebillot's " Gargantua dans les Traditions Populaires,^ Maisonneuve, Paris, 1883, to which the reader is referred, in some degree support the above ossertion. M. Gaston Paris opposes the view^, in the Revue Critique, 1868, pp. 326, etc., but by at least roost writers on the subject it is considerea impossible that all the extant traditions, local associations, names of rocks, mounds, etc., should have been derived from a literary source, t.^., Rabelais' romance. See especially on this subject Bourquelot's remarks, quoted by M. S^billot, Introduction, pp. iii.-x. " Certain figures there are," he truly observes, ^' which the imagination even of genius is inadequate to create. There are types which a writer discovers, perpetuates, but cannot invent. Such a type is Rabelais' Gargantua in our opinion. As we read, we are sensible of an archaic something underlying the chrotiicqws^ and of the artless working of popular imagination in the prodigious character of the story. On the other hand, M. Gaston Paris (Revue Critique, 1868, p. 326, etc.) throws doubts upon Mr. Gaidoz's views, e.g., the latter claims that the Gargantua myth is Celtic, being found only in Great Britain and France, a pretension which cannot be maintained. Sec Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, ill. p. 642.


CB. Z.] BABELAIS. 29^

Sheltered from the resentment of those whom lie intended to deride. By this means he probably conceived that his work would, at the same time, obtain a favourable recep- tion from the vulgar, who, though they shotdd not discover his secret meaning, might be entertained with fantastic stories which bore some resemblance to those to which they were accustomed.

With this view, Rabelais availed himself of the writings of those who had preceded him in satirical romance, and imitated in particular the True History of Lucian. His stories he borrowed chiefly from previous facetiae and noveUettes: Thus the story of Hans Carvel's ring, of which Fontaine believed him the inventor, is one of the Facetiae of Poggio Bracciolini, and entitled An- nulus, or Visio Francesci Philelphi. With an inten- tion of adding to the diversion of the reader, he has given a mixture of burlesque and barbarous words from the Greek and Latin, a notion which was perhaps sug- gested by the Liber Macaronicorum of Teofilo Folengi, published under name of MerUnus Coccaius, about twenty years before the appearance of the work of Eabelais. An infinite number of puns and quibbles have also been intro- duced amongst the more ingenious conceptions of the author. In short, his romance may be considered as a mixture, or olio, of all the merry, satirical, and comic modes of writing that had been employed previous to the age in which he wrote.

There are four things which Babelais seems principally to have proposed to ridicule in his work : 1. The refined and crooked politics of the period in which he lived. 2. The vices of the clergy, the popular superstitions, and the religious controversies at that time agitated. 3. The lying and extravagant tales then in vogue. 4. The pedantry and philosophical jargon of the age.^

But although it be understood that these in general were the objects of the author, the application of a great part of the satire is unknown. Works of wit and humour,.

^ The historian De Thou writes : " Scriptnm edidit ingeniosissimtim, quo ritse regniqne cunctos ordines, quasi in scoenam sub fictis nominibus produxit et populo deridendos propinavit.*'


300 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

unless they allude to permanent follies, in whicli case their relish may remain unimpaii^, are more subject to the ravages of time, and more liable to become obscure, than any other literary compositions, because the propriety of allusion cannot be estimated when the customs and inci- dents referred to are forgotten : We must be acquainted with the likeness before we can relish the caricature. "Those modifications of life," says Dr. Johnson, "and peculiarities of practice, which are the progeny of en-or and perverseness, or at best of some accidental in- fluence, or transient impression, must perish with their parents." To us who are unacquainted with the follies and impieties of the Greek sophists, nothing can appear more wretched than the ridicule with which these pre- tended philosophers were persecuted by Aristophanes, yet it is said to have acted with wonderful effect among a people distinguished for wit and refinement of taste. The humour, which in Hudibras transported the age which gave it birth with merriment, is lost, in a great degree, to a posterity xmaccustomed to puritanical mo- roseness.

No satirical writings have suffered more by lapse of time than those of Babelais ; for, besides being in a great measure confined to temporary and local subjects, he was obliged to write with ambiguity, on account of the delicate matters of which he treated, the arbitrary and persecuting spirit of the age and country in which he lived, and the multitude of enemies by whom he was surrounded. Accordingly, even to those who are most minutely ac- quainted with the political transactions and ecclesiastical history of the sixteenth century, there will be many things from which no meaning can be deciphered, and to most readers the works of Eabelais must appear a mass of un- intelligible extravagance. The advantages which he for- merly derived from temporary opinions, x)ersonal allusions, and local customs, have long been lost, and every topic of merriment which the modes of artificial life afforded, now only " obscure the page which they once illumined." Even the outline of the story, with which Babelais has chosen to surroxmd his satire, has furnished matter of dispute, and commentators are not agreed what persons are in-


CH. X.] BABELAIS. 301

tended by the two chief characters, Gurgantua ^ and Pan- tagruel. Thus it has been said by some writers, that Gkirgantna is Francis I. and Pantagruel Henry II., while, in fact, there is not one circumstance in the lives, nor one feature in the characters, of these French princes, which appears to correspond with the actions or dispositions of the imaginary heroes of Babelais.

Other critics have supposed that Grangousier, the father of G^gantua, is John D' Albret, king of Navarre ; Gar- gantua, Henry D' Albret, son and successor of John ; Pan- tagruel, Anthony Bourbon, duke of Vend6me, who was father to Henry lY., and by his marriage with Jeanne D' Albret, the daughter of Henry D* Albret, succeeded his father-in-law in the throne of Navarre. Picrohole, accord- ing to this explication, is king of Spain, either Ferdinand of Arragon, or Charles V. Panurge, the companion of Pantagruel, who is the secondary hero of the work, is said

  • The earliest occurrence of the name Gargantua in literature is, it

seems, of the date of 1526 { Oargantua qniachepveux de piastre," Charle» Bourdign^, L^ende de Maistre Pierre Faifen). This alone is hardly sufficient reason for believing it anterior to Rabelais, for it is not abso- lutely ascertained that no edition of his work, or part of it, appeared prior to 1532, the date of the earliest extant copy. M. Henri uaidoz. (Revue Arch^logique, Sept. 1868, p. 172, etc (Gargantua, Essai de Mythologie Celtique, quoted by M. S^billot) recQenizes the name Oar- gantua in the Gurguntius filius nobilis illius Seleni [? the Apollo Belenos of the Gauls], who Giraldus Cambrensis (Topographia Hibernise, ii. No. 8), writing in the twelfth century, says reigned in Britain before the Roman invasion. M. Gaidoz holds that Gargantua is a formation ^m tJbe suffix uas-tUis and stem Gargant, an intensive reduplication of the root gar, to swallow or devour (cf. LaL gurget, gwrgiiis, also the Spanish GarganUay throat, old English ^ai^^o^^, Bieton gargadmt which have the same meaning, and to which, rollowing M. Bourquelot, may be added Medinv. Latin GargcUha, Gargathumy Ital. Gargaitay Gargan^ tone, Spanish Garganta, and other similar words). The same root has- furnished the Hindoo Mythology, according to M. Gnidoz, with the name of Garuda, the conqueror of the Nagas ; and Gargantuas was originally an epiUiet (the Devourer) added to the name, now lost, of a> divinity — a sort of Celtic Moloch, perhaps — to whom at first humaa beings (C^sar et Strabon, liv. iv. iv. 5), and subsequently animals, were offered, and who may be related to, or identic with, the Gayant of Douai, the Gargonille of Rouen, etc. The name of Gkirgantua is attached to a number of dolmens and druidical stones, etc. Of course the theory that Gargantna was originally a personification of the sun has been started.


802 HI8TOBT or FICTION. [CH. X.

to be John de Montluc, bishop of Valence, who, like Panurge, was well versed in ancient and modem lan- guages; like him, penetrating and deceitful; like him, professed the popish religion, while he despised its super- stitions, and owned, like Panurge, his elevation to the family of Navarre. That want of accordance, which exists in many particulars between the real characters and the delineations of Babelais, and which is the great cause of the intricacy of the subject, arises from individuals in the work being made to represent two or more persons, whose aggregate qualities and adventures are thus concentrated in one. On the other hand, the author often subdivides an integral history, so that the same individual is repre- sented under different names. Nor does he confine lum- self to the order of chronology, but frequently joins together events which followed each other at long intervals.

Holding this m view, it will be found that the commen- tators who have adopted the above-mentioned key, explain more successfully than could have been expected the mean- ing and tendency of the five books of Eabelais.^

' Les grandes et inestimables Cronicqs : du grant & enonne geant Gargantua : contenant sa genealog^e La gradeur & force de son corps. Aussi les merueilleux faictz darmes quil fist pour le Roy Artus come rerrez v,j apres. Imprime nouu«llem6t. Lyon, 1532. ThU chronicle is not, says Bninet, to be confounded with the works of Rabelais, it cer- tainly appeared before the Pavtaorusl. It is a faceiioiis narrative, based upon a widely-spread popular tradition, of which numerous variants in different stages of deTelopment exist. It can hardly be doubted that it was the work of Rabelais, written, perhaps, at the instance of some bookseller, and the success of which led to the produc- tion of Fantag^nel, and subsequently to the composition of the several books of the inimitable Qaroantoa, which were so superior to the first. Still this has remained a part of popular literature, though, indeed, pruned down so as to contain little of tne original work. Notwithstand- ing the great number of the editions of this first work, its origin wss anknown until the above edition of 1532 was discovered. An account of the question will be found in Notice sur deux anciens romans intitule les Chroniaues de Oargantua, oil Ton examine les rapports qui existent entre ces aeux ouvrages et le Gargantua de Rabelais, Paris, SiUestre, Decembre, 1834, 8®.

Gargantua. ArAOHTTXH. La Vie inestimable du grand Gargantua, pere de Pantagruel, iadis copos^ par I'abstracteur de quite essece linre plein de pantagruelisme M.D.XXY. On les vend a Lyon ch^ Fr&ooya Juste deuat nostre Damo de Conibrt.

Pantagruel. Les horribles et espouetables faictz et prouesset du


CH. X.] BABELAI8. 803

The first is occupied chiefly with the life of Gurgantua. An absurd and disgusting carousal of his father G-ran- gousier ridicules the debaucheries of John D'Albret, which often consisted in going privately to eat and drink immo- derately at the houses of his meanest subjects. The ac- count of the manner in which Gargantua, or Henry D'Al- bret, was brought up, corresponds with the mode in which we are informed by historians the young princes of Nayarre passed their childhood, especially Henry IV., whom his grandfather inured in his tender age to all sorts of hard- ship. After some time Qa.rgantua is sent to Paris (ch. xv. 28), and put under the tuition of a pedant caUed Holo- femes, whence Shakespeare has probably taken the name of his pedantic character in Love's Labour's Lost. The education of Gargantua is a satire on the tedious and scholastic mode of instruction which was then in use, and is, at the same time, expressive of the little improvement

tresrenome Pantagruel Roy des Dipsodes, filz da erant geat Gargantua, Copowz Dounellement par Maistre Alcofrybas Natiier, Lyon, no date. Another edition, Lyon, hdzxxiii.

The two preceding were in 1537, and subsequently, published, together with the addition of les mcnreilleuses navigations du disciple do Fanta- grael, diet Panurge."

Le Cinquiesme et dernier liiire des faicts et diets h^rolques du bon Fantagniel, compose par M. F. Rabelais, I>octear en Medecine, Auqnel est oonCenn la Visitation de I'Oracle de la diue Bacbuc, ot le mot de la BoQteille pour leauel auoir est entrepris tout oe long voyage, mdlxiiii. In 1553 the worics began to be published under the titles of oetfVres. The edition published at Lyons in 1558 has the title : Les CEuTres de M« Francois Rabelais . . . contenant cinq liures . . . plus la Prognos- tication pantagrueline, auec Toracle de la Diue Bacbuc, et le mot de la bonteille. Augment^ des Nauigations & Isle Sonante, FIsle des Apede- fres la Cresme Philosophale, duec vne epistre Limusine, et deux autres Epistres k deux Yieilles de differentes mreurs.

It b almost superfluous to add that the editions and translations of Rabelais's Gargantua Pantagruel hare been yery numerous.

The works are thus arranged in M. Louis Moland's edition, Gamier, Paris, 1884, Vie de Rabelais Documents biographiques — Clef des alle- gories. Lirre I. Vie tres horrifique de Gargantua. Livre II. Panta- gruel, roy des Dipsodes. Livre II I.- V. et £rnier, faicts et diets de Pantagruel — Pantagrueline prognostication pour Pan perpetuel — La Sciomachie et iestins faicts a Rome — Lettres et pieces attribuees 4 Babekis — Bibliographie — Glossaire.

There is a '* Notice sur deux anciens remans intitnMs les Chroniques de Gargantua oil Ton examine les rapports qui existent entre ces deux ouvrages et le Grargantua de Rabelais." 1834. 8°.


304 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

derived by Henry D'Albret from popish tuition, while the progress Gkirgantua afterwajrds made in every science under the care of Ponocrates, has been construed to show the benefit derived by the prince of Navarre from his pro- testant teachers, to whose religion he was ardently, though secretly, attached. Gargantua called from Paris to defend his own country (ch. xxix. 34), which had been invaded by the Lemeans, alludes to the wars between the house of D'Albret and the Spaniards — truand signifying idle or lazy, which the French imagined, to be the character of that people.^

Book second commences with a detail of the pedigree of Pantagruel, which the author deduces from the giants, a satire on the family pride of some of the princes of Na- varre (ch. i.). Next follow the wonderful feats he per- formed in his childhood (ch. v.), and then his youthful expedition to Paris (ch. vii.). In this excursion he meets with a Limousin, who addresses him in a pedantic and un- intelligible jargon (ch. vi.), by which Eabelais mocks the writers of the age, who stuffed their compositions with Latin terms, to which they gave a French inflection. Pantagruel arrives at Paris, and enters on his studies. The catalogue of the books in St. Victor's library, the names of which are partly real and partly fictitious, is meant as a sarcasm on those who form a collection of ab- sur4 works (ch. vii.). Pantagruel makes such proficiency in ms studies, that he is appointed umpire in an important cause, in which the incoherent nonsense of the pleadings of the parties, and Panta^ruel's unintelligible decision, are a satire on the judicial proceedings of the age, particularly those that took place in the trial concerning the domains possessed by the Constable of Bourbon, and which were claimed by Louisa of Savoy, mother of Francis I. During his stay at Paris. Pantagruel meets with Panurge (ch. ix.)» who continues to be a leading character through the re-

^ Gargantua (in bk. i. c. xvii. ) '* compissant ]e» Parisiens du haut des Tours de Notre Dame " reminds one of Gnllirer extingaishing the fire in the palace of Liliput jchap. v.). There are in various parts of France some local traditions of nimous pisseries. Both Gargantua and Panurge resemble Gulliver, too, in the way they handled and pocketed folks of the- normal stature of the country.


CH. X.] BABBLAIS. 305

mainder of the work, and attends Pantagruel in his expe- dition against the Dipsodes, who had laid waste a great part of his territory. The Dipsodes are the Fleming^, and other subjects of Charles Y., who invaded Picardj and the adjacent districts, of which Anthony of Bourbon was goTemor ; and the real issue of that war is enigmatically pointed out towards the end of the second book (ch. xxix.), bj the discomfiture of the three hundred giants.

Panurge is the principal character through the whole of the third book. His mind is represented as fluctuating between the desire of entering into a matrimonial engage- ment and the fear of repenting his choice. To dispel his doubts he consults certain persons, who, by magical skill, could relieve mental anxiety by prediction of the future : in particular, he applies to Baminogrobis, an aged poet, then in the last moments of his existence (ch. xxi.), who is intended for Cretin, an author almost as much cele- brated in his own day as he has been neglected by pos- terity. The last person of whom he asks advice puts into hifl hands an empty bottle, which Panurge interprets to imply that he should undertake a voyage for the purpose of obtaining a response from the oracle of the Holy Bottle (ch. xlvii.).

The fourth and fifth books are occupied with the expe- dition of Panurge, accompanied by Pantagruel, in quest of the oracle. This voyage is said to signify a departure from the World of Error to search after T^th, which the author places in a bottle, in consequence of the proverbial effects of intoxication. These two books are considered as the most entertaining part of the work, as the satire is more general and obvious than in those by which they are pre- ceded.

In the account of this voya^, the author, according to the expression of Be Thou, omnes hominum ordinea deru dendos propinavU, Each island, which his characters pass, or on which they disembark, is made the vehicle of new ridicule. Thus, the first place touched at (ch. iv.), is the island of Medamothi (/ii^da/ioOi, Nowhere), and in the account of the rarities with which this country abounds, the improbable fictions of travellers are ridiculed. In another island the author paints the manners of bailiffs

II. X


306 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

and other inferior officers of justice. Leaving this archi- pelago of absurdity, the Tessel of Fanurge and Pantagruel is nearly wrecked in a storm (ch. iv.), which typifies the persecution raised in France against the Hugonots, and the land where the ship went into port after the tempest, is the British dominions, which formed a safe harbour from the violence of popish persecution. Here the ruins of obelisks and temples, and vestiges of ancient monuments, denote the abolition of the monasteries which had recently been effected. The last place at which Fantagruel and Fanurge arrive is Lanternland, or the Land of Learning, inhabited by professors of various arts and sciences. Our voyagers beseech the queen of this country to grant them a lantern to light and conduct them to the oracle of the Holy Bottle. Their request being complied with, they are guided by the lantern (ch. v. 33), that is, the light of learn- ing, to the spot which they so vehemently desired to reach. On arriving in the country where the oracle was situated, they, in the first place, pass through an extensive vineyard. At the end of this vineyard, being still preceded by the lantern, they come through a vault, to the porch of a mag- nificent temple (ch. v. 34, 36). The architecture of this building is splendidly described, and mysteries have, of course, been discovered by commentators in the account of the component parts. Its gates spontaneously open, after which the perspicuous lantern takes leave, and consigns the strangers to the care of Bacbuc (v. 37), priestess of the temple. Under her escort they view a beautiful represen- tation of the triumphs of Bacchus (v. 39, 40), the splendid lamp by which the temple is illuminated, and the miracu- lous foimtain of water, which had the taste of wine (v. 42). Finally, Fanurge is conducted through a golden gate to a round chapel formed of transparent stones, in the middle of which stood a heptagonal fountain of alabaster, containing the oracular bottle, which is described as being of fine crystal, and of an oval shape. The priestess throws something into the fount, on which the water begins to bubble, and the word Trine is heard to proceed from the bottle (v. 44), which the priestess declares to be the most auspicious response pronounced while she had officiated at the oracle. This term she explains to be equivalent to


CH. X.] RABEIiAIB. 807

Drink, and as the goddess had directed her votary to the divine liquor, she presents him with Falernian wine in a goblet. The priestess having also partaken with her guests, raves and prophesies, and all being inspired with Bacchana- lian enthusiasm, the romance concludes with a tirade of obscene and impious verses.

Few writers have been more reviled and extolled than Babelajs ; he has been highly applauded by De Thou, but bitterly attacked by the poet Bonsard, and also by Calvin, who thought to have made a convert of him. Subsequent critics are equally at variance : Boileau has called him La Baison habill^e en Masque, while Voltaire, in his Temple de Gk>ut, pronoimces, that all the sense and wit of Babekis may be comprised in three pages, and that the rest of the work is a mass of incoherent absurdity.^

We are informed by Pasquier, in his Letters (L 1.), that Babelais had two unsuccessful imitators. — One under the name of Leon L'Adulfy, in his Propos Bustiques, and the other, anonymous, in a work entitled Les Fanfreluches. Le Moyen de Parvenir, by Beroalde de Verville, is the work which bears, I think, the closest resemblance to that of Babelais.^ The author professes himself an imitator of the Either of comic romance, but the disorder that pervades his work is greater than in the romance of his predecessor. Like Athenseus, he introduces a company conversing to- gether at random on various topics, and a number of jests and tales in the manner of Babelais are thus thrown to- gether at hazard, but there is no leading character or story by which they are in any way connected. We are told in the Menagiana that the best of these tales may be found, in form of question and answer, at the end of a MS. in the old language of Picardy, entitled: Les Evangiles des Que*

  • The following dramatic prodactions may be noted as based on

Rabelais' work — ^Pantagruel, comedy by Montanban, 1654 ; Aventures de Panurge, represented in 1674 ; Panurge k marier, and Pan urge dans les espaces imaginaires, both by Autreau, while Beaomarchais is in- debted to the same source for more than one idea in Le Mariage de Figaro.

  • It has been maintained by Nodier in the preface to his edition of the

work, Paris, 1841, and Contes by Paris (Bulletin des Bibliophiles fran9ais, 1841, AoAt) that the work was De Yerville's rifacimento of a manoscript of Rabelais. — Lub.


308 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

noiiilles, and which is different from the printed edition of that production.

In chronological order, the next comic romance, subse- quent to the work of Eabelais, is the

Vita di Bbbtoldo,*

written in Italian towards the end of the sixteenth centunr by Julio Cesare Croce (1550-1609), sumamed Delia Lyra," because he dignified with this appellation the violin on which he scraped in the streets of Bologna.

I know of scarcely any celebrated norel or romance which exhibits the rise of the principal character from a low rank to a distinguished fortune by the force of talents. The Life of Bertoldo, however, describes the elevation of a peasant to the highest situation in his country, by a species of grotesque humour, and a singular ingenuity in extricat- ing himself from the difficulties into which he is thrown by the malice of his enemies.

This romance is borrowed from the eastern story of Solomon and Marcolphus, which is one of the many oriental traditions concerning the Jewish monarch. It appeared in a metrical form in the French language in the thirteenth century ; in Latin in the year 1488 ; and in English under the title of Sayings and Proverbs of Solomon, with the answers of Marcolphus.* The Life of Bertoldo, however,

^ Le Sottilissime Astutie di Bertoldo Doue si soorge vn rillano aooorto e sagace, il quale doppo varie e strani aocidenti a lui interuenuU, alia iine per il suo ingegno raro, & acuto vien fatto huomo di Corte, e Regie Consigliero. Opera nuoua di gratissimo gusto. Di Giulio Cesare dalla Crooe. In Firenze, & in Pistpia, per il Fortunati. Con licenza de* superior!. Sine anno, 16^ the borders have been cropped, but probably there was no pagination. At end, <^ II fine. L'opera e fogli 5." Sig:^. A, B, 16, C 8. I have given the title in full from the British Museum copy, as this edition is extremely scarce, and almost unknown, and among the earliest. There were many editions and translations of the work in the seventeenth century, and a rifacimento in ottara rima was very popular.

^ For an account of Croce and his works, see O. Querrini, La Vita e le opere di O. C. Croce, Bologna, 1879.

See also Graesse, Lehrb. Bd. iii. Abth. 3, pp. 466, etc.

' This is the Dyalogus or Comunyng betwixt the wyse King Salomon and Marcolphus. Gerard Laew, an Antwerp printer (of the fifteenth


CH. X.] TITA DI BBBTOLDO. 309

which is the Italian form of this fiction, is the most popular shape it has assumed. Indeed, in the country in which it appeared, it enjoyed for more than two centuries, a reputa- tion equal to that of Robinson Crusoe, or the Pilgrim's Progress, in this island : the children had it by heart, and the nurses related it to those who had not yet learned to read. Innumerable sayings or proverbs derived from it are still in the mouths of the few who have never perused or have forgotten it, as la pace di Marcolfa, the wife of the hero, who habitually quarrelled with her husband for the sake of the reconcilmtion.

We are told, near the beginning of this work, that in the sixth century King Alboino reigned over Lombardy in his capital of Verona. At the same time there lived, in a small village in the neighbourhood, a peasant called Bertoldo, of a strange and lu<£crous aspect. His large head was round as a football, and garnished with short red hair ; he had two little blear eyes, fringed with scarlet; a flat broad nose ; a mouth from ear to ear, and a person corresponding to the charms of his countenance.

But the deformity of Bertoldo's appearance was com- pensated by the acuteness and solidity of his understand- ing. His neighbours preferred his moral instructions to those of their pastor ; he adjusted their differences more to their satisfaction, than the lord of the territory or the judge, and he made them laugh more heartily than the mountebanks, who occasionally passed through the village.

One day Bertoldo took a longing to see the court and capital. On entering Verona, he observed two women dis- puting on the street, about the property of a mirror, and followed them to the hall of audience, whither they were summoned to receive the judgment of the king, who had overheard their quarrel. The singularity of Bertoldo's figure, and his presumption in choosing a seat reserved for

century). Watts, Bibl. Brit. pt. i. 595 w. The Sayinges or Prouerbes of King Sabmon, With the Answers of Maroolphus, translated out of Frenche into Engl^sshe. Lond. R. Pynson. 4". It concludes on the reverse of sig. a iiij. According to Mr. Douce, this poetical tract "differs entirely from the Latin work so entitled — it being levelled altogether against bad women." Bohn's " Lowndes, Bibliog. Manual."


810 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

the cluef courtiers, attracted the monarcb'B attention, whose curiosity was further excited by the singular answers he returned to the first questions concerning his situation in life, his age, and residence. His majesty, in consequence, persisted in a series of interrogatories ; he asked which is the best wine ? " That which we drink at the expense of another." ^ " Who caresses us most ? " " He who has already deceiyed us, or intends to do so," — an idea that has been expressed by Ariosto :

Clii mi (a piu carexze cbe non suole, O id' ingannato o ingaimar mi ruole.^

Bertoldo now listened to the pleadings in the cause con- cerning the mirror. The king ordered it to be broken in two, and divided between the disputants. The one of the parties who opposed this arrangement, and prayed that it might be given entire to her adversary, had the whole be- stowed on her. The courtiers applauded this happy appli- cation of the judgment of Solomon ; but Bertoldo pointed out those specialties of the case, from which he conceived that that decision ought not to be held as a precedent, and concluded with some satirical reflections on the fair sex, to which the king replied in a studied eulogy. These sar- casms, and a device by no means ingenious, to which he had recourse, in order to convince the king that his majesty entertained too favourable an opinion, iaduced the queen to avenge the injury offered to those of her sex. On pre- tence of rewarding Bertoldo, she sent for him to her apart- ments. "What a ridiculous figure you are," remarked her majesty : " Such as it is," replied Bertoldo, " I have it from nature — ^I neither mend my shape nor counterfeit a complexion." Perceiving that the queen, and the ladies

^ Raymond, in chap. 29 of the Discipl. Clericalia, when asked how much he can eat, inquires first, of my own or another*8 meal ? and to the reply " of thine own," rejoins *' as little as possible." See also Diogenes Laertius, vi. 54. Diogenes, interrogated what wine he likes, answers " another's." — ^Libb.

' Cf. the Spanish proverb :

Si te haoe caricias el que no lag acostumbra hacer, O enganar te quiere 6 te ha menester.

See Guzman de Alfarache, p. i. L UL c. 1. — ^Libb.


CH. X.] YITA DI BEBTOLDO. 811

who attended her, were proYided with switches, and thence suspecting their hostile intentions, he informed them, that, being somewhat of a sorcerer, he was not only aware of their designs, but foresaw that she would giye the first blow, who had least regard to her own and her husband's honour. Bertoldo escaped unhurt by this device, which is • similar to that in the 39th of the Cento NoveUe Antiche (see above, voL ii. p. 47).

The drollery of Bertoldo excited the jealousy of Fagotti, who had been long the imrivalled buffoon of the court. The author relates a number of absurd questions, which Fagotti put with the view of exposing his enemy, and the triumphant answers of our hero. — " How would you carry water in a sieve?" "I would wait till it was frozen." '*When could you catch a hare without running?" " When it is on the spit." These, and many other repar- tees of Bertoldo, correspond with stories told «of Bahalul, sumamed Al Megnum, the court fool of Haroun Alras- chid. (D'Herbelot, Bib. Orient. Bahalul.)

About this time Bertoldo's old foes, the court ladies, insisted on admission into the councils of state. His majesty was somewhat embarrassed by the application, till, by advice of Bertoldo, he appeared to acquiesce in the demand, and sent a box to the wife of the prime minister, desiring her to keep it in the garden till next day, when the ladies and ministers were to deliberate on its contents. The minister's wife opened it from curiosity, and the bird which was inclosed flew off. She thus demonstrated how ill qualified the fair sex were to be intrusted with secrets of state.

The ladies resolved to be avenged on Bertoldo, for the disappointment they had sustained by his means. He was a second time summoned to the queen's apartments, but, before proceeding thither, he put two live hares in his pocket. On his way it was necessary to cross a court, which was guarded by two monstrous dogs, purposely un- chained. Bertoldo occupied their attention by setting loose the two hares, and, while the dogs were engaged in the chase, he arrived safe in the apartments of the queen, to the utter mortification of her majesty and her attendants.


312 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

Perceiving that Bertoldo eluded all stratagem, the queen insisted that he should be hanged without farther oere- monj, to which the king readily consented. Our hero acceded to this proposal with less reluctance than could have been expected, but stipulated that he should be allowed to chuse the tree on which he was to expiate his offences. He was accordingly sent forth, escorted by the officers of justice and the executioner, in order to make his election, but cavilled at every tree which was recommended to his notice, — ^an incident which occurs in the original Solomon and Marcolphus. During this search Bertoldo made himself so agreeable to the guards, by his pleasant stories, that they allowed him to escape, and he returned to his native village.

Her majesty afterwards repented of her cruelty, and, on being informed that Bertoldo was still alive, she requested that he might be recalled to court. With a good deal of difficidty he was persuaded to return, and was made a privy counsellor. Owing, however, to the change in his mode of life, he did not long survive his elevation.

I have given this abstract of the Life of Bertoldo, not on account of its merit, but celebrity; and, because it formed for two hundred years the chief literary amuse- ment of one of the most interesting countries in Europe. It is unnecessary, however, to enlarge on the life of the son Bebtoldino, written by the author of Bertoldo, but added a long while after his first composition, or on that of the grandson Cacasenno, by Camillo Scaliger della Fratta. These works never attained the same popularity as their original, and are inferior to it in point of merit. The same king who had patronized Bertoldo, belieying that talents were hereditary, brought the son to court, where he became as noted for folly and absurdity, as his father had been for shrewdness, and was speedily sent back in disgrace to his village. His majesty, not satisfied with one experiment, sent for the grandson, who proved a glutton and poltroon, and the incidents of the history hinge on the exhibition of his bad qualities.

The lives of these three peasants form the subject of & much-esteemed Italian poem, which was written in the end of the seventeenth, or commencement of the eighteenth


CH. Z.] DON QUIXOTE. 318


\


century, under the following circumstances. Joseph Maria Crespi, a celebrated artist of Bologna, executed a series of paintings, illustrative of the adyentures of Bertoldo and his descendants, in which the figures of the principal cha- racters were delineated with infinite spirit. From his pictures a set of engravings was taken bj a Bolognese artist, and, instead of publishing a new edition of the prose romance, in which these might have been intro- duced, several wits of Italy conceived the notion of making Bertoldo and his family the heroes of a poem, in what the Italians call the €hnere Bemesche, from Bemi its inventor, which is somewhat of a higher tone than the French bur- lesque, but lower than our satire. This composition was divided into twenty cantos : Each member of the associa- tion wrote a canto, except three of the number ; one of whom gave arguments in verse, another furnished an alle- gory, and the last appended learned annotations. The work was printed atSiologna in 1786, with all the decora- tions which accompany the finest Italian poems, and had soon a wonderful success. It was translated into the Bolognese and Venetian dialects, and a vocabulary of each of these jargons was appended to the editions 1746 and 1747. It has also been versified in modem Greek.

By far the most celebrated romance of the class with which we are at present engaged, is the Life and Ex- ploits of

Don Quixote,

which first appeared in the beginning of the seventeenth century/ a few years posterior to the composition of the Bertoldo.

At a time when the spirit of practical knight-errantry was extinguished, but the ra^e for the perusal of relations of chivalrous extravagance continued unabated, Cervantes (1547-1616) undertook to ridicule the vitiated taste of his countrymen, and particularly, it is said, of the duke of Lerma, whose head was intoxicated with the fictions of

^ £1 ingenioflo hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, 1605. It waa reprinted the same year at Lisbon and at Valentia, and was immediately translated into French.


2l4i HIBTOBll OF FICTION. [CH. X.

romance. His work accordingly is not intended, as some have imagined, to expose the quest of adventures, the eager- ness for which had ceased not only at the time in which Cervantes wrote, but in which Don Quixote is feigned to have existed. Indeed, if this had not been supposed, the merit of the work would be diminished, as a considerable portion of the ridicule arises from the singularity of the hero's undertaking. Don Quixote, therefore, was written with the intention of deridiing the folly of those, whose time, to the neglect of other studies and employments, was engrossed with the fabrication or perusal of romantic compositions. The author indeed informs us in his pro- logue, that his object was, "to destroy the ill-founded fabric of books of chivalry, and break down their vogue and authority in society and among the multitude." ^

With this view the Spanish author, as all the world knows, has represented a man of amiable disposition, and otherwise of sound understanding, whose brain had become disordered by the constant and indiscriminate perusal of romances of chivalry ; ^ a fiction by no means improbable, as this is said to be frequently the fate of his countrymen towards the close of their days : — " Sur la fin de ses jours Mendoza devint furieux, comme font d*ordinaire les Espagnols," (Thttana, <&c.). The imagination of Don Quixote was at length so bewildered with notions of en- chantments and single combats, that he received as truth the whole system of chimeras of which he read, and fancied himself called on to roam through the world in quest of adventures with his horse and arms, both for the

^ He was not at once successful in this, as the popularity of the Amadis romances still continued for some time. Inoeed, Cervantes himself vied with Lobeira in the imaginative adventures of bis Persiles. Schack, Gesch. der dram. Literatur in Spanien. 2, p. 28, etc — Lieb.

  • Clemencin, in the preface to his edition of Don Quixote, torn. i.

pp. xi.-xvi., cites numerous proofs of the passion for books of chivalry at the period in Spain. Allusions to the fanaticism of the lower classes on the subject of books of chivalry are happily introduced into Don Quixote, part i. c. 32, and in other places. It extended, too, to those better bred and informed. Francisco de Portugal, who died in 1632, tells us in his Arte de Galanteria (Lisbon, 1670, p. 96), that Simon de Silveira once swore upon the Evangelists that he believed the whole of the Amadis to be true history. See Ticknor's " Hist, of Span. Lit," ii. p. 164, etc. notes.


CH. X.] DON QUIXOTE. 315

general good, and the advancement of his own reputation. In the course of his errantry, which is laid in La Mancha and Arragon, the most familiar objects and occurrences appear to his distempered imagination clothed in the yeil of magic and chivalry, and formed with those romantic proportions to which he was accustomed in his favourite compositions : and if at any time what he had thus trans- formed, flash on his understanding in its true and natural colours, he imagines this real appearance all delusion, and a change accomplished by malevolent enchanters, who were envious of his fame, and wished to deprive him of the glory of his adventures.

These two principles of belief form the basis of the work, and, by their influence, the hero is conducted through a long series of comical and fantastic incidents, without enter- taining the remotest suspicion of the wisdom or propriety of his undertaking. In all his adventures he is accom- panied by a squire, in whom the mixture of credulity and acuteness forms, in the opinion of many, the most amusing part of the composition : indeed, if laughter, as has been said by some persons, arise from the view of things incon- gruous united in the same assemblage, nothing can be more happy than the striking and multifarious contrasts exhibited between Sancho and his master. The presence of the squire being essential to the work, his attendance on the knight is secured by the promise of the government of an island, and the good luck of actually finding some pieces of gold on the Sierra Morena. At length, one of Don Quixote's friends, with the intention of forcing him to return to his own village, assumes the disguise of a knight, attacks and overthrows him ; and, according to the condi- tions of the rencounter, insists on his retiring to his home, and abstaining for a twelvemonth from any chivalrous ex- ploit. This period Bon Quixote resolves to pass as a shep- herd, and lays down an absurd plan of rural existence, which, though written by the author of Gkdatea, is certainly meant as a satire on pastoral compositions, which, in the time of Cervantes, began to divide the palm of popularity with romances of chivalry.

In the work of Cervantes there is great novelty of plan, and a species of gratification is presented to the reader,


316 H18TORT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

which is not afforded in any previous composition. We feel infinite pleasure in first beholding the objects as they are in reality, and afterwards as they are metamorphosed by the imagination of the hero. From the nature of the plan, however, the author was somewhat circumscribed in the number of his principal characters ; but, as Milton has contrived to double his dramatis jpersoiice, by representing our first parents in a state of perfect innocence, and after- wards of sin and disgrace, Cervantes has in like manner assigned a double character to Don Quixote, who is a man of good sense and information, but irrational on subjects of chivalry. Sancho, too, imbibes a different disposition, when under the influence of his master's frenzy, from that given him by nature. The other characters who intervene in the action are represented under two appearances, — that which they possess in reality, and that which they assume in Don Quixote's imagination.

The great excellence, however, of the work of Cervantes, lies in the readiness with which the hero conceives, and the gravity with which he maintains, the most absurd and fan- tastic ideas, but which always bear some analogy to the adventures in romances of chivalry. In order to place particular incidents of these fables in a ludicrous point of view, they were most carefully perused and studied by Cervantes. The Spanish romances, however, seem chiefly to have engaged his attention, and Amadis de Gaul appears to have been used as his text.^ Indeed, ther^ are so many allusions to romances of chivalry, and so much of the amusement arises from the happy imitation of these Works, and the ridiculous point of view in which the incidents that compose them are placed, that I cannot help attribut-

^ Whether or no Buch romances were read by Cervantes mth this design, Don Quixote amply proves that its author "must, at some period of his life, have been a devoted reader of the romances of chivalry. How minute and exact his knowledge of them was may be seen, among other psftsages, from one at the end of the twentieth chapter of Part First, where, speaking of Gasabal, the esquire of Galaor, he observes that his name is mentioned but once in the history of Amadis of Gaul ; — a fact which the indefatigable Mr. Bowie took the pains to verify, when read- ing that huge romance. See his Letter to Dr. Percy, on a new and Classical Edition of Don Quixote. London, 1777, 4«, p. 26." Ticknor, ii. 165, note.


CH. X.] BOK QUIXOTE. 817

ing some afEectation to those, who, unacquamted with this species of writing, pretend to possess a lively relish for the adventures of Bon Quixote. It is not to be doubted, however, that a considerable portion of the pleasure which we feel in the perusal of Bon Quixote, is derived from the delinea- tion of the scenerj witii which it abounds — ^the magnifi- cent sierras — romantic streams and delightful vallejs of a land which seems as it were the peculiar region of romance, from Cordoba to Eoncesvalles. There is also in the work a happy mixture of the stories and names of the Moors, a people who, in a wonderful degree, impress the imagina- tion and affect the heart, in consequence of their grandeoir, gallantry, and misfortunes ; and partly, perhaps, from the many plaintive ballads in which their achievements and fate are recorded.

Of the work of Cervantes, the first part is, I think, in- contestably the best. In the second we feel hurt and angry at the cruelty of the deceptions practised by the duke and duchess on Bon Quixote ; and surely, the chimerical con- ceptions which spontaneously arise in his mind from the view of natiiral objects, are more entertaining than those which are forced on it by artificial combination, and the instrumentality of others.

The first part of Bon Quixote was given to the world in 1605, and the second in 1615. In the interval between these two periods, in the year 1614, and while Cervantes was preparing for the press, an author who assumed the name of Alonzo Fernandez de Avellaneda published at Tarragona his continuation of the first part of Bon Quixote.^ This is the work which is so frequently men- tioned and reviled in the second part by Cervantes, espe- cially in the preface ; yet so little is this production known, that many have supposed that Cervantes only combated a phantom of his own imagination. Some personal quarrel had probably existed between these authors, as the preface of Avellaneda contains not only much unfair criticism on the writings of his enemy, but a vast deal of personal

^ An English translation of Avellaneda's work was published at London, in 1745, 12o, and at Swaifham, in 1805, S**, These profess to be translated from the Spanish. English editions of Le Sage's French version also appeared in 1705 and 1784.


318 HI8T0BT OP FICTION. [CH. X.

abuse : he reminds him that he is now as old as the Castle of San Cervantes, and so churlish that no friend will fur- nish his works with commendatory sonnets, which he is in consequence obliged to borrow from Prester John. The only apology, he continues, for the absurdities of the first part of Don Quixote is, that it was written in prison, and must necessarily have been infected with the filth of such a residence. Cervantes probably felt that his old age, poverty, and imprisonment, were not very suitable sub- jects of ridicule to his countrymen ; and the provocation he had received certainly justified his censure of Avellaneda in the second part of Don Quixote.*

The work of Avellaneda, which is thus loaded with per- sonal abuse, is also full of the most unblushing plagiarisms from Cervantes, from whom he principally differs by his incidents chiefly glancing at Don Belianis, instead of Amadis de Gkiul. In the continuation by Avellaneda^ Don Quixote's brain being anew heated by the perusal of romances, he condemns himself for his inactive life, and for omitting the duties incumbent on him, in the deliver- ance of the earth from those haughty giants, who, against all right and reason, insult both Imights and ladies. Dis- covering that Dulcinea is too reserved a princess, he re- solves to be called the Loveless Knight [Caballero Desa- morado, ch. iv.], and to obliterate her recollection, which he justifies by the example of the Knight of the Sun, who in similar circumstances forsook Claridiana [ch. ii.]. At the commencement of his career, he mistakes an inn for a castle, the vintner for the constable, and a Qalician wench, who corresponds to Maritomes, for a distressed Infanta [ch. iv.] ; on entering Saragossa he delivers a criminal from the lash of the alguazils, whom he believes to be infamous and outrageous knights [ch. viii.], — an incident evidently borrowed from the Galley Slaves of Cervantes.

On the other hand, either Avellaneda must have pri- vately had access to the materials of the second part of Cervantes, or he has been imitated in turn. Thus, in the work of Avellaneda, we have the whole scheme of Sancho's

^ See Lamb*8 " Essay on the Productions of Modern Art " (Elssays of Elia) for a characterization of Don Quixote.


CH. X.] DON QiriXOTB. 319

gOTermnent ; and Don Alvaro de Tarfo, who encourages Don Quixote in his foUj, by presenting him with persons, dressed up as knights and giants, who come to defy him from all quarters of the globe [ch. xiii.], corresponds to the duke in the second part of Cervantes.

The two works are on the whole pretty much in the< same tone ; ^ but we are told in the prefaces to the Spanish editions and French translations of Avellaneda, that in the peninsula he is generally thought to have surpassed Cervantes in the delineation of the character of Sancho, which, as drawn by Cervantes, is supposed to be a little inconsistent, «ince he- sometimes talks like a guileless peasant, and at other timea as an arch and malicious knave. The Don Quixote, too, of Avellaneda never displays the good sense which the hero of Cervantes occasionally exhibits, and in his mad- ness is more absurd and fantastical, especially when he indulges in visions of what is about to happen : — " I will then draw near the giant, and without ceremony say. Proud giant, I will fight you on condition the conqueror cut off the vanquished enemy's head All giants being- naturally haughty, he will accept the condition, and he will come down from his chariot, and mount a white elephant led by a little dwarf, his squire, who, riding a. black elephant, carries his lance and buckler. Then wo shall commence our career, and he will strike my armour,, but not pierce it, because it is enchanted ; he will then utter a thousand blasphemies against heaven, as is the custom of giants," &c., <&c. Of this work of Avellaneda^ there is a French paraphrastical translation, attributed to*

^ This judgment is far from just Bather is Avellaneda's work only a poor imitation of the first part of Don Quixote, wanting throughout in inventireness and originality. A^ustin de Montiano j Lujando, in his criticism of Arellaneda, prefixed to the 1732 edition, says, indeed:

    • I do not think that upon a comparison of the two Second Parts of Don

Quixote, a discerning reader will express a preference for Cervantes.*^ But this opinion is well rebutted by Don Buenaventura Carlos Aribau,. in the first volume of Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles, Madrid, 1846, p. XXX., etc., where it is shown that Le Sage's rifacimento only awok» the memory of the author in Spain because of its enhancement of the original, and evoked a new edition. Dunlop seems to have read only the French work, as he ascribes to the Spanish original passases which it does not contain, but which are ibund in the work of Le Sage, e,g.y

  • ' I will draw near the giant, etc. — Lisb.


320 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

Le Sage,^ from which Baker's English translation' was formed. In Le Sage's version there are many interpola- tions, one of which is a story introduced in Pope's ** Essay on Criticism : "

    • Once on a time La Mancha*8 knight, they say,

A certain bard encountering on the way/' etc.

The catastrophe is also totally changed. In the French work Don Quixote is shot in a scuffle, whereas in the Spanish original he is shut up in a mad-house at Toledo hy Don Alvaro de Tarfo, who had contributed so much to the increase of his phrenzy.

Le Sage is also the reputed author of a sequel of the genuine Don Quixote, in which there are introduced a number of Spanish stories, and the adventures of Sancho after his master's death.^

A work of the popularity of Don Quixote could not fail to produce numerous imitations. Of these, by far the most distinguished is Hudibras, the hero of which is a presbyterian justice, who, accompanied by a clerk of the sect of Independents, ranges the country in the rage of zealous ignorance, with the view of correcting abuses and repressing superstition. But much closer imitations have appeared in a more recent period. In Pharsamon ou les Nouvelles folies Bomanesques, the earliest work of the celebrated Marivaux, and the Sir Launcelot Greaves of Smollett, the heroes are struck with the same species of

^ Nouvelles Arentures de Padmirable Don Quichotte . . • traduits de r£spaenol d'Alonzo Fernandez d'Arellaneda. Paris, 1704.

' This translation (1749, 2 vols, in V2mo) is only that of Stevens, 1708, with a new title-page ; other translations by xardlej, 1745, 1784, and 1807 — 3 vols, in 12mo.

' Suite nouvelle et veritable de THistoire et des A ventures de I'incom. parable Don Quichotte, etc Paris, 1722. According to Barbier, Diet, des Anonjmes, No. 17,810; it is not, however, by Lesage. The fol- lowing works may be noted in the same connexion— Adiciones a la his- toria He Don Quixote, Madrid, 1785 ; Historia de Sancho Panza, 1793; Ward's English Metrical Version, 1711 ; £1 Anti-Quixote, by N. Per«z, Madrid, 1805 j Examen del Don Quixote, 1806 ; Apologia de Cervantes flobre los yerros que se la han notado en el Quixote, by '* Eximeno,** Madrid, 1806; Pericia f^grafica de Cervantes, P. Caballero, Maidrid, 1840; Don Quichotte et la t&che de ses traductions, J. B. F. Bider- tnann^ Paris, 1837.


CH. Z.] DON QUIXOTE. 821

phrenzy with Don Quixote^ which makes the resemblance too striking. In other imitations, a different species of madness is represented. Thus, in the Female Quixote, by Mrs. Lennox, published in 1752, which is a satire on the romances of the school of Gk>mberville and Scudery, the heroine is a lady of rank and amiable qualities, but, being brought up by her &,fcher in perfect seclusion, and accus- tomed to the constant perusal of such works as Glelie and Artam&ne, she at length believes in the reality of their incidents, and squares her conduct to their fanatical re- presentations. She fancies that every man is secretly in love with her, and lives in continual apprehension of being forcibly carried off. Her father's gardener she supposes to be a person of sublime quality in disguise; she also asks a waiting-maid to relate her lady's adventures, which happened to be of a nature not fit to be talked of, and discards a sensible lover, because she finds him deficient in the code of gallantry prescribed in her favourite com- positions.

In the Berger Extravagant of Sorel, pastoral romance is ridiculed on a similar system : but perhaps the most agreeable imitation of Don Quixote, is the History of Sylvio de Bosalva, by the German poet Wielani In the beginning of last century, the taste for fairy tales had be- come as prevalent, particularly in France, as that for romances of chivalry had been in Spain a century before. This passion Wieland undertook to ridicule: Sylvio de Bosalva, the hero of his romance, is a young gentleman of the province of Andalusia, who, having read nothing but tales of fairies, believed at last in the existence of these chimerical beings [I. c. 45]. Accidentally finding in a wood the miniature of a beautiful woman, he supposes it to be the representation of a spell-bound princess, pre- destined to his arms by the fairy Badiante, under whose protection he conceives himself placed. Most of the ad- ventures occur in the search of this visionary mistress, whom he imagines to have been transformed into a blue butterfly, by a malevolent fairv, because she had declined an alliance with her nephew, the Green Dwarf [1. 10]. He is at length received at the castle of Inrias [v. 4], of which the possessor had a sister residing with him. Here he

n. T


322 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

discoTers that the miniature had been dropped by that ladr, and that it had been done for her grandmother when at the age of sixteen. He is cured of his whims by this circum- stance, and by the arguments of his friends, especially of the young lady, of whom he becomes deeply enamoured, and whose beauty the disenchanted enthusiast at length prefers to the imaginary charms which he had so long pursued [vii. 2]. The leading incident of the picture is taken from the story of Seyfel Molouk, in the Persian Tales [d. 100] where a prince of Egypt falls in love with a portrait, which, after spending his youth in search of the original, he discovers to be a miniature of the daughter of the king of Chahbal, a princess who was contemporary with Solomon, and had herself been the mistress of that great prophet. (See also Bahar-Danush, c. 35). In other respects the work of Wieland is a complete imitation of Don Quixote. Pedrillo, the attendant of Sylvio, is a character much resembling Sancho : he has the same love of proverbs, and the same sententious loquacity. Nothing can be worse judged, than so close an imitation of a work of acknowledged merit ; at every step we are reminded of the prototype, and where actual beauties might be other- wise remarked, we only remember the excellence of the original, and the inferiority of the imitation. Sometimes, however, the German author has almost rivalled that solemn absurdity of argument, which constitutes the chief entertainment in the dialogues of the knight of La Mancha with his squire. " Pedrillo," said Don Sylvio, ** I am greatly deceived, or we are now in the palace of the White Cat, who is a great princess, and a fairy at the same time. Now, if the sylphid with whom thou art acquainted belong to this palace, very probably the fairy thou sawest yester- day is the White Cat herself " [v. 41.

The story of Prince Biribinquer [vi. 1, 2], however, is a part of the plan peculiar to Wieland. It is an episodical narrative, compiled from the most extravagant adventures of well-known fairy tales, and is related to Don Sylvio bv one of his friends, for the purpose of restoring him to common sense, by too outrageous a demand on his credulity.

The resemblance between the incidents in Sylvio de


€H. Z.] DOK i^UIZOTB. 323

Eosalya and the adventures of Don Quixote, has led me away from the chronological arrangement of the comic romances, to which I now return.^

About the period of the publication of Don Quixote, the Spaniards, whose works of fiction fifty years before were entirely occupied with Soldans of Babylon and Emperors of Trebizond, entertained themselves chiefly with the ad- ventures of their swindlers and beggars. All works of the sixteenth century, which treat of the Spanish character and manners, particularly the Letters of Clenardus,' repre- sent, in the strongest colours, the indolence of the lower classes, which led them to prefer mendicity and pilfering to the exercise of any trade or profession ; and the ridicu- lous pride of those hidalgos, who, while in want of provi- sions and every necessary of life at home, strutted with immense whiskers, long rapiers, and rufiSes without a shirt, through the streets of Madrid or Toledo. The miserable inns, the rapacity of officers of justice, and ignorance of medical practitioners, also afforded ample scope for the satire contained in the romances of this period, most of which are perhaps a little overcharged, but, like every other class of fiction, only present a highly -coloured picture of the manners of the age.

The work which first led the way to those compositions which were written in the Gusto Picaresco, or style of Bogues, as it has been called, was the


^ Between tfae appearances of the first and second parts of I>>n Quixote, Cervantes published a collection of stories, Novelas ejemplares, which won for him the epithet of the Spanish Boccaccio," and several of which would doubtless now be better known had they not been eclipsed by his celebrated romance. Among these tules Leocadia has repeatedly furnished a theme for dramatists. The two maidens. The tender Cornelia, The English Spaniard, and The Gipsy of Madrid have been much praised. 1'he Jealous Estramadurian seems to have largely inspired Molidre in the Ecole des Femmes, and Beaumarchais in the Barbier de Seville. Persiles and Sigismunda, which appeared after the author's death, is an imitation of the Theagenes and Ohariclea of Helio- dorus : it is inferior to most of Cervantes' productions.

' Nic. Clenardi. Epist. lib. duo. These are letters addressed to his friends in Holland and Germany by a Dutch scholar, who visited Spain in the middle of the sixteenth century for the purpose of making restturches in Arabian literature.


324 HI8T0BY OF FICTION. [cH. X.


LA.ZABILLO DE TOBMES,

attributed to Diego Hurtado de Mendo9a, who, as govemor of Sienna and ambassador to the Pope from Spain, became the head of the imperial party in Italy during the reign of Charles Y. Stem, tyrannical, and unrelenting, he was the counterpart of the Duke of Alva in his political cha- racter ; but as an amatoiy poet, he was the most tender and elegant versifier of his country, and every line of his son- nets breathes a sigh for repose and domestic felicity. After his recall from Sienna he retired to Granada, where he wrote a history of the revolt of the Moors in that pro- vince, which, next to the work of Mariana, is the most valuable which has appeared in Spain : he also employed himself in collecting vast treasures of oriental MSS. which at his death he bequeathed to the king, and which still form the most precious part of the library of the Escurial.

Lazarille de Tormes was written by him in his youth, while studying at Salamanca, and was first printed in 1553. The hero of this work was the son of a miller, who dwelt on the banks of the Tormes. When eight years of age, he is presented by his mother as a guide to a blind beggar, whom he soon contrives to defraud of the money and pro- visions which were given to him by the charitable [tratado, i.] After this he enters inio the service of an ecclesiastic, who kept his victuals locked up in a chest, and a long chapter is occupied with the various stratagems to which Lazarillo resorted in order to extract from it a few crusts of bread. When in the last extremity of hunger, he leaves the ecclesiastic [tratado, 2] to serve a hidalgo of Old Cas- tile. This new master is in such want of the necessaries of life, that Lazarillo is compelled to beg for him at con- vents and the gates of churches, while the hidalgo hears mass [tr. 3], or stalks along the chief promenades with all the dignity of a Duke D'lnfantado.^ He subsequently

^ The object of the work is — ^under the character of a servant with an acateness that is never at fault, and so small a stock of honesty and truth that neither of them stands in the way of success — to give a pun- gent satire on all classes of society, whose condition Laxarillo well oom>


CH. Z.] LAZABILLO BE TOBHES. 325

enters the semee of various other masters, finally that of an Arch.priest, whose maideeryant he marries, wherewith the narratire concludes [trat. 4-7].

This work seems to have been left incomplete bj its original author, but a second part has been added bj H. de Luna, who in his preface says, that his chief induce- ment to write was the appearance of . an absurd continua- tion,^ in which Lazaro was said to have been changed to a Tunny fish. In De Luna's continuation, Lazaro, having embarked for Algiers, is picked up at sea by certain fisher- men, and exhibited as a sea monster through the different towns of Spain, till having at length escaped, he arrives, after experiencing some adventures, at a hermitage. The recluse by whom it was inhabited dying soon after, he equips himself in the garb of the deceased, and subsists by the contributions of the charitable in the neighbour- hood, — an incident which resembles part of the history of Don Baphael in Gil Bias.

Of those Spanish romances which were composed in imitation of Lazaro de Tonnes, the most celebrated is the Life of

prehends, becaase he sees them in nndress and behind the scenes. It is written in a very bold, rich, and idiomatic Castilian style, that reminds us of the Celestina [a dramatic story in prose in twenty -one acts or parts, originally called The Comedy of Caiisto and Melibcea. The first act was written about 1480 by Rodrigo Cota, of Toleda, and the re- mainder by Fernando Roias of Montalvanl. Its sketches are among the most fresh and spirited that can be found in the whole class of prose fiction. .... The whole work is short ; but its easy gay temper, its happy adaptation to Spanish life and manners, and the contrast of the lignt, good-humoured, flexible audacity of Lanurillo himself — a perfiectly original conception — ^with the solemn and unyielding dignity of the old Castilian character, gave it from the first a great popularity. From 1553, when the earliest edition appeared of which we have any know- ledge, it was often reprinted, both at home and abroad, and has been more or less a favourite In all langpiages down to our own time.—

TiCKNOR.

^ This was published with the edition of the first part issued at Amberee, 1 554. The work is wanting in inventiveness. Towards the end Lazarillo recovers his human form. Emanuel, a Dominican monk ^

of Oporto, is mentioned by iGc. Antonio (Bibl. Nova, i. p. 340) as the ^

author of this continuation.-— LnB.

Another second part, now long forgotten, was written by Juan Cortte de Tolosa, and printed in 1620.


326 HI8TOBY OF FIGTIOK. [CH. X.


Guzman be Alfabache,

whicb was written by Mateo Aleman/ and was first printed in 1599, at Madrid. This impression was followed bj twenty-five Spanish editions, and two [or rather four] French translations, one of which is bj Le Sage.'

Guzman de Alfarache was the son of a Gienoese mer- chant, who had settled in Spain. After the death of his father, the affairs of the family having fallen into disorder, young Guzman eloped from his moUier, and commenced the career in which he met with those comical adventures, which form the subject of the romance. At a short distance from Seville, the place whence he set out, he falls in with a muleteer, with whom he lodges at different inns, the description of which gives us a very unfavourable impres- sion of the poeadas of Andalusia.

On his arrival at Madrid, Guzman fits himself out as a mendicant ; he fixes on a station at the comer of a street, and the persons of all ranks who pass before him, ofiicers, judges, ecclesiastics, and courtezans, give the author an opportunity of moralizing and commenting on the manners of his countrymen, during the reign of the Austrian Phillipps. Our hero speedily grafts the practices of a sharper on his present vocation, and is in consequence forced to fly to Toledo, where he assumes the character of a man of fashion, and engages in various intrigues. As long as his money lasts Guzman is well received, but when it is expended he obtains some insight into the nature of the friendship of sharpers, and the love of courtezans. He accordingly sets out for Barcelona, whence he embarks for Genoa in order to present himself to his father's relations, by whom he is very harshly treated. From Genoa he is forced to beg his way to Kome, which, it seems, is the paradise of mendicants. There he attains great perfection

  • ■ Of Alemaa little is known ; he was a native of Seville, wrote several

other works, was long in the employ of the trpasury, underwent a vexatious lawsuit, retired to private life, and visited Mexico in 1609.

— TlCKNOB.

^ There have also been several English translations, and Roocoe, in the account of Aleman prefixed to his version, 6ajs,'*the work has been translated into every European language."


GH. X.] GUZMAN DB ALFABACHB. S27

in his art, by studying tlie rules of a society into which he is admitted. Among other devices, he so happily counter- feits an ulcer, that a Roman cardinal takes him home, and has him cured. He then becomes the page of his eminence, and rises into high favour, which continues till, being de- tected in various thefts, he is driven from the house with disgrace. G-uzman seeks refuge with the French ambas- sador, who, being easily convinced of his innocence, takes him into hi8 service. His master employs him to propitiate a Boman lady, of whom he was enamoured, but Guzman manages matters so tmfortunately, that the intrigue be- comes public. In despair at his bad success, Guzman asks leave to return to Spain. In his progress through Tus- cany he meets with a person of the name of Saavedra, a man of similar dispositions with himself, by whom he is at first duped, but who afterwards assists him in duping others, while they pass through the different towns in the north of Italy. On his return to the capital of his native coimtry, Guzman marries a woman with whom he expected to obtain a large fortune. This alliance proves very un- fortunate ; his affairs go into disorder, and after his wife's death he enters as a student at Alcala, in order to obtain a benefice.

While at this university, our hero becomes acquainted with three sisters who were great musicians, but of sus- pected virtue ; he marries the eldest, renounces the eccle- siastical profession, and arrives with his wife at Madrid. For some time the mSnage goes on prosperously, in conse- quence of her beauty and accommodating disposition, but having quarrelled with an admirer of some political im- portance, she and her husband are banished from Madrid, and retire to Seville, where the lady soon decamps with the captain of a Neapolitan vessel. By the interest of a Pomi- nican confessor, Guzman is introduced into the house of an old lady, as her chamberlain, but manages the affairs in- trusted to him with such villainy, that he is arrested and sent to the gaUies. His fellow-slaves attempt to engage him in a plot, to deliver the vessels into the power of the corsairs. He reveals the conspiracy, and, having obtained his freedom for this service, employs himself afterwards in writing his history.


828 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

In this romance Beveral interesting episodes are intro- duced. Of these, the best are the story of Osmin and Daraxa, recounted to Guzman by a fellow-traveller on the way from Seville to Madrid, and the tale which he hears related in the house of the French ambassador at Borne. The first is in the Spanish style, and describes the warm, refined, and generous gallantry for which Granada was celebrated at the close of the fifteenth century. The second is in the Italian taste, and paints the dark mysterious in- trigue, the black revenge, and atrocious jealousy, of which we have seen so many examples in the works of the nove- lists of that country, and which were not inconsistent with the disposition of the inhabitants. Another episode, the story of Lewis de Castro, and Boderigo de Montalvo, coin- cides with the 41st tale of Massuccio, with La Precaution Inutile of Scarron, and the under-plot concerning Dinant, Gleremont, and Lamira, in Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of " The Little French Lawyer." '

The frequent introduction of these episodes, is one of the circumstances in which this romance bears a resemblance to Gil Bias, a work of which Guzman de Alfarache has been regarded as the model. Guzman, indeed, is a much greater knave than Gil Bias, and never attains his dignity — ^the pictures of manners have little resemblance, and in the Spanish work there are tiresome moral reflections on every incident, while the French author leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions from the situations in which the characters are placed. Still, however, both heroes begin by being dupes, and afterwards become knaves. The same pleasantry on the officers of justice runs through both, and the story of Scipio, like that of Saavedra, is too much chalked out after the adventures of his master.

Whether this romance has su^ested any notions to the author of Gil Bias or not, it was at least the ongin of a swarm of Spanish works concerning the adventures of beggars, gipsies, and the lowest wretches. The

^ The second portion of the work was anticipated by the Valentian Mateo Lujan de Sayavedra, pseudonym of Juan Marti, bk. i. and part of bk. ii. of which may compete in merit with Aleman's work, but the rpmainder fiills fiir short or its quality. — ^Libb. The genuine Fart IL appeared in 1605.


CH. X.] LIFE OF PAUL THE 8HABPEB. 329


PiCABA JUSTINA,

which bears the name of the licentiate Lopez de Ubeda as its author, but is really the work of Fra Andres Perez, seems to have been written to correspond with Guzman de Alfarache, of which it is indeed little more than a poor imitation. This romance, which was printed in 1605,^ commences, like Fielding's "Jonathan Wild," with an account of the ancestors of the heroine Justina, the daughter of an innkeeper, by whom she was early initiated into the art of imposing on passengers, and after his death continued, in rarious capacities, to dupe the inhabitants of Leon and the Castiles. The work is edso interspersed with many moral and satirical reflections. The

Life of Pattl the Shabfeb,^

by Francisco Gomez de Quevedo y Villegas (1580-1645), is of a similar description. , It contains the history of a bar- ber's son, who first serves a young student of quality at Alcala, which gives the author an opportunity of present- ing us with some curious pictures of the manners and usages practised at that celebrated seminary of education. After Paul arrives at Madrid, the scenes described are in the lowest abyss of vice and misery. He first becojmes member of a fraternity which existed by what has been called raising the wind. The chief incidents of the romance consist of stratagems to procure a crust of dry bread, and having eat it, to appear with due decorum in public, by the art of fitting on a ruffle so as to suggest the idea of a shirt, and adjusting a cloak in such a maimer as to make it be believed that there are clothes under it. Paul afterwards associates with a band of bravoes, and the consequences of an enterprise in which he engages oblige him to embark for the West Lidies. An incident which occurs in this romance, while Paul is attending his young master at

^ An English translation, under the name of The Country Jilt, by J. Stevens, was published.

^ La Tida del Gran TacaSo. Numerous translations, Ticknor's, chap, xiz. voL ii. is devoted to Quevedo and his works.


380 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

Alcala [ch. iv.], seems tx> bare suggested the story of tbe parasite, wlio eats the omelet of GU. Bias : — " L'omement d'Oviedo, le flambeau de la philosopbie, la buitieme mer- veille du monde." *

Indeed, in most of the Spanish romances in this style of composition, we occasionally meet with stories of which the author of Gil Bias has availed himself. But of all the works in the Gusto Picaresco, Le Sage has been chiefly in- debted to the

Mabcos de Obbeoon,^

not merely that the character of Gil Bias is formed on that of Obregon, but many of the incidents have been closely imitated. This work, which has been a subject of con- siderable curiosity in this country, was written towards the close of the sixteenth century by Vincente Espinel (1551- 1634), styling himself CapeUan del Bey en el Hospital de la Civdad de Bonda. It was first printed in 1618 ; it is re- lated in the person of the hero, and is divided into three parts or relaciones, which are again divided into chapters. The prologue contains a story which is nearly the same with that in the introduction to Gil Bias, coDceming the two scholars and the soul of the licentiate Pedro Grarcias. In the second chapter [Descanso I.] several anecdotes are related', as examples of composure of temper, one of which is of a gentleman who, on receiving a challenge to meet his enemy at six in the morning, said, that he never rose till mid-day for his amusement, and could not be expected to rise at six to have his throat cut,^ — an answer which is made by one of Gil Bias' masters, Don Mathias de Sylvia [1. 3, c. 8]. We are told in the following chapter, that

^ This pavsftge in Gil Bias, howerer, bears a close resemblance to another in Marcos de Obregon, rel. i. Descanso i. — Libb.

^ Relaciones de la Vida del Escadero Marcos de Obregon, Madrid, 1618, first ed. The History of the Squire Marcos de Obregon, trans, by Major A. Langton, Lond. 1816. An edition of the Vida, illostrated by Fellicer, Barcelona, 1881, is preceded by an interesting notice by J. Perez de Guzman.

' Decidle a vuestro amo, que diffo yo, que para cosas que me im- portan de mucho g^sto, no me suelo levantar nasta las doce del dia : que por qud auiere que para matarme me lerante tan de ma&ana ? j bolriendose del otro lado, se tornd a dormir.


CH. Z.] MABC08 DE OBBBGON. 831

MarcoB entered into the service of Doctor Sagredo, a man of great arrogance and loquacity, and who was as much in the practice of blood-letting as the Sangrado of Le Sage. The chief occupation of Marcos was to attend the doctor's wife, Donna Mergellina, whom he introduced to a barber lad of his acquaintance, and an intrigue is detailed, of which the incidents are precisely the same as those in the history of Diego the Gtar9on Barbier, in Gil Bias [1. 2, ch. 7]. Indeed Diego mentions, in the course of his relation, that the attendant of Mergellina was called Marcos Obregon. After leaving the service of the doctor [BeL I., Descanso 6] and experiencing various adventures, Marcos arrives one night at a hermitage, where he recounts to the recluse the early events of his life [Desc. 8]. Having shown a taste for learning in his youth, he was sent by his father, under care of a muleteer, to Salamanca. On the way he meets with a parasite, who, by the most extravagant flattery, contrives to sup at his expence, and having satisfied his hunger, declares that there is a grandee in the neighbour- hood who would give 200 ducats to see such an ornament of literature. Marcos having repaired to the house flnda that the master is blind, and is jeeringly told by the para- site that the proprietor would give 200 ducats to see him or any one [Bel. L, Desc. 9]. In the course of the journey to Salamanca we have also a story [Bel. L, Desc. 10] which occurs in Gil Bias [I. 3], of the amorous muleteer, who, in order to carry on an intrigue, more commodiously disperses the company in the Posada at Oacabelos. Instead of going » to study at Salamanca [Bel. I., Desc. 21], young Marcos enters into the service of the Count of Lemos [Bel. I., Desc. 23], and afterwards of the Duke Medina Sidonia. While in the employment of the latter, he embarks from the south of Spain, with other domestics of the duke, for Italy. In the course of the voyage they land at an islet near the coast of Majorca, and during their stay habitually repair to a delightful cave in a wood for plea- sure and refreshment. They are warned by the governor of the island of the danger they incur by this practice, as the spot is frequently resorted to by Turkish corsairs. This notice is disregarded, and on the following day the party is attacked by pirates. Supposing that some of their friends.


332 HI8T0BY OF FICTION. [CH. Z.

disguised as Turks, had merely wished to alarm them, thej do not take the proper measures for defence, and are accordingly overpowered and made prisoners. Marcos is carried to Algiers, where he is sold to a master whose daughter falls in love with him (Bel. I., Desc. 6-9). All these incidents have been literally copied in the history of Don Raphael in G-il Bias [1. y., 1].^ Like Don Raphael, too, Marcos Obregon, on his escape from Algiers, first lands at Genoa. While at Milan a courtezan called Oamilla, contrives to elope with his baggage, and to possess herself of a valuable ring [Bel. 3, Desc. 8, 9] by means of the same stratagem by which Gil Bias is duped in the ad- venture of the H6tel Garni [IL, ch. iv.]. From Spain Don Marcos returns to his own country [Bel. 3, Desc. 10], and towards the end of the work he again meets his old master Doctor Sagredo, with whom he has a long conversation. While in his company he falls under the power of banditti, and is confined in a cave which was the haunt of these outlaws and their captain Boque Amador [Bel. TTT., Deac. 18]. During his detention in this captivity the robbers bring to the cavern a lady, who proves to be Donna Mergellina, the wife of Doctor Sagredo [Bel. III., Desc. 19]. With her Marcos soon after contrives to escape from the cave, and arrives in safety at Madrid [Bel. III., Desc. 24, 25]. This adventure, which is the termination of the Spanish work, has been placed by Le Sage near the com- mencement of his entertaining, but, it must be confessed, not very original production [I. ch. 10]. Le Sage ' has only imitated the more polite knavery of

^ No. 96 of the Cent Noavelles Nouvelles. See sapra.

' Voltaire, indeed, wrote of Gil Bias, ** il est entidrement pris da roman Espag^ol intitule : La vidad del Escadero Dom Marcos d'Obregon [ceavres computes de Voltaire, ed. Didot, 182S, torn, lit p. 2879, ooL ii] But the assertion is as absurd as Voltaire's spelling of the title of EspineFs work, which shows he had nerer seen it. Le Sage had indeed seen the story, and made use of it ; for instance, Gil Bias and Marcos •contain the same incidents respectively in Lit. i. c, 2, and Belacion i. Desc. 9, LiT. i. c. 16, and Rel. iii. l)esc. 8» Liv. ii. c. 7, and Bel. i. Desc. 3, etc. But Le Sage has also in the same way appropriated fiom Estevanillo Gonzales, GueTsra, Boxas, Antonio de Mendon, and others. Nor did he apparently care to conceal his indebtedness, for one of the personages in nis Gil Bias is called Marcos de Obregon. In 1787 there fippeared under the pseudonym of D. Joaquin Federico Is-salps, an


CH. Z.] BOHAV OOMIQUE. 33S

those Spanish novels which were written in the Gusto Picaresco. The deeper scenes of vice and wretchedness depicted in such forcible, though not verj pleasing colours, in Paul the Sharper, and Lazarillo de Tonnes, form & species of sombre gaiety peculiar to the Spaniards. The works which in this country approach nearest to that taste, are, De Foe's Bampfylde Moore Carew, and the Jonathan Wild of Fielding.

It may now be proper to mention a few of the comic romances which appesu^ in France in the course of the seventeenth century. They were nearly coeval with the heroic romances to be afterwards mentioned, and, like them preceded the introduction of the modem novel ; but they are not of such scarceness as to require, nor such merit as to deserve a particular analysis. The earliest and most celebrated is Scarron's.


BOHAir COMIQITE,^

so called from its relating the adventures of a troop of comedians or strolling players, during their residence in

anagram of F. Jesuita, for Jote Francisco de Isia, a Spanish version of Gil Bias, entitled, ATenturas de Gil Bias de Santillana, rubados a Espafla, y adoptadas en Francia por Mr. Le Sage : restituidas a sa

5 atria J ^sa leoffoa nativa por an espafiol oeloeo qne ne sufre se bnrlen e sa nacion. In the ConTersadon preliminar the author does not attribate the work to Espinel, but maintains that it had been derived fix>m a Spanish original F. de Guzman's notice to Marcos. Barcel. 1S81, and Ticknor, iii. 125, etc. A criticism by Uorente also appeared, of which the title of the French translation is Observations critiques sur .... Gil Bias .... on 7 font voir que le roman .... n'est pas an oavrage original, mais an d^membrement des aventures du Bach, de Salamanca, manuscrit espaffuol que M. Le Sage, a d^ponilM des parties les plus prddeoses. See slso G. Saintsbury's biographical and critical notice prefixed to his edition of Smollett's translation of Gil Bias, Lond. 18SI.

^' Le Bomant Comiqae de M. Scarron, Fans, 1651, «.«., the first two parts, Scarron's production. In the numerous subsequent editions the third part, by A. Ofiray, is usually printed after the first two. Another third part was composed by Freschao (Faris, 1679), and is appended to Scarron's work in the edition ; Faris, GniU. de Luynes, 1677. Both continoations are contained in the edition of Amsterdam, 1752, and several other editions. Two editions were published in London in 17Si and 17S5. Comical Bomance, etc Lond. 1676, fol. ; The Comic


334 HI8T0BT OV FICTION. [CH. X.

Mans, and its neighbourhood. The idea of writing a work of this description first occurred to the author on his arriyal at Mans, to take possession of a benefice to which he had been presented. It was suggested hj some striking peculiarities of local scenery, and some ludicrous incidents which happened to a company of actors who were there at the time. Nor were stroUers of this description so &x beneath the notice of genius and refined satire, nor were the talents of the author so misemployed, as in this a^e and country we may be apt to imagine. In the time of Scarrou ^ these persons were treated with absurd attention

Romance of M. Scarron, translated by O. Goldsmith, Lond. 1775. Imitations: The Adventures of Covent Garden. In imitation of Scarron's City Romance. Lond. 1699. Young Scarron, bj T. Moieen. Lond. 1751.

^ Paul Scarron was bom at Paris in 1610. He was of a respectable family, and was son to a man of considerable fortune. After the death of his mother his father again married. Scarron became an object of Aversion to this second wife, and was, in a manner, driven from his paternal mansion. He assumed the clerical habit, which was by no means consonant to his disposition, travelled into Italy, and at his return continued to reside in Paris. A great part of his youth was passed in the society of Marion de Lorme and Ninon L'Enclos, whose gaiety, iuined to their mild and accommodating morality, may have ountri- Duted, in some degree, to form the disposition of S<»rron. The excesses in which he engaged destroyed his constitution — an acrid humour is said to have distilled on his nerves, and to have baffled all the skill of his physicians. At the age of twenty-seven he was seized with sciatica And rheumatism, and the most singular complication of painful and debilitating disorders ; the approach of these distempers is said to have been accelerated by a frolic, in which he engaged during a carnival, in when he disguised himself as a savaee, and being hunted by the mob, was forced for some time to conceal himself from his pursuers in a marsh. Whatever may have been the cause, he was, at the age of thirty, reduced to that state of physical reprobation, which he describes in a picture he has drawn of himself. " My person was formerly well made, though little; my disorder has shortened it a foot; my legs and thighs first formed an obtuse angle, and at length an acute angle ; my thighs and body form another angle; and my head reclines on my breast, so that I am a pretty accurate representation of a Z ; in a word, I am an abridgement of human miseries. This I have thought proper to tell those who have never seen me, because there are some facetious persons who amuse themselves at my expence, and describe me as made in a different way from what I am. Some say I am a Cul de Jaite ; others that I have no thighs, and am set on a table in a case ; others, that my hat is appended to a cord, which, by means of a pulley, I raise and let down to salute those who visit me. I have, therefore, got an engraving.


CH. X.] BOMAK COMIQUE. 835

and respect, hj the families who inhabited those districts through which they passed. Their consequent extravagance and conceit proYoked and merited chastisement, and was

in which I am accunttebr represented ; in<leed, among your wry-necked people, I pass for one of the handsomest."

With a view of alleviating his sufferings, Scarron visited different baths in Franco, bat always returned to Paris in the same state of dis- tortion in which he had left it. In addition to his other calamities he now found himself much embarrassed in his circumstances. After his father's death he and his full sisters became involved in a law-suit with his stepmother and her daughters, which he lost. The case, or factum, which he drew up for the occasion, is entitled " Petition, or whatever jou please, for Paul Scarron, Dean of the sick People of France, Anne aod Frances Scarron, all three much incommoded in their Persons and Circumstances, Defenders, against the Husband of Magdalane Scarron, &c., all whole and healthy, and making merry at the expence of others." The remainder of the petition is in a style of absurdity corre- sponding to its burlesque title. To add to his burdens, his two full sisters now consented to reside with him at Paris ; of them he used to say, ** que I'une aimoit le vin, et Pautre les hommes. At length he was considerably relieved in his circumstances by a pension from Car- dinal Richelieu, and another from Anne of Austria. In 1643 he also obtained a living in the diocese of Mans, and, as we have already seen, he began his Roman Comique on going to take possession of it.

Soon after his return to Paris, he became acquainted with Made- moiselle Fran9oise lyAubign^, who lived with her mother in indigent circumstances, in a house opposite to that in which Scarron resided ; and in ] 652, two years after the first formation of this acquaintance, he was united to the youne lady, who was now sixteen years of age. By this marriage Scuron lost his benefice at Mans, but still derived from it a considerable annual revenue, as he had sufficient interest to pro- cure it for the valet de chambre of his friend Menage, who received the clerical tonsure for the occasion.

Soirron had formed expectations of a pension through the interest of the Cardinal Mazarin, and had dedicated to him one of his poems. In this hope he was totally disappointed, and accordingly wrote a satire, and suppressed an eulogy, of the minister. His house became a frequent place of rendezvous tor those who were discontented with Mazarin, and who, collectively, have been so well known under the appellation of the Fronde. His most frequent visitors were Manage, Pellisson, and Sar- razin. In the society which resorted to the residence of her husband. Mad. de Scarron probably acquired those accomplishments of person and character, which laid the foundation of her future destiny.

The infirmities of Scarron daily increased : but he still continued to ^occupy himself in writing Vers Burlesques. His principal composition in tiliis style is the Virgil Travestie, on which his celebrity, for some time after his death, almost entirely rested* His example provoked a host of imitators in this domain. Ihe chief pleasure now felt in the |)erusal of these productions, arises from our knowledge of the severity


836 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

not considered nndeeerving the satire of such writers as Scarron and Le Sage.

The work oommenoes with a grotesque description of the equipage of a company of strolling players, who arrive at Mans [chap, i.] on their way to Alen^on, having been forced to leave the town in which they had last performed, on account of their door-keeper having murdered an officer of the intendant of the province. They agree to act for one night in the tennis court ; but, as the whole company was not expected till the following day, a difficulty arises from the smallness of their niunber, which consisted of a young man, called Destin, who usually played the parts of the heroes and lovers ; Bancime, and a single actress. This objection is obviated by Eancune, who observed that he had once performed a drama alone, acting a king, queen, and ambassador in the same scene. A second difficulty, however, occurs from one of the other divisions of the troop having the key of the wardrobe. M. Eappini^re, the Lieutenant de Prevot, who had examined the strollers on their arrival, presents the actress with an old robe belong- ing to his wife, and the male performers are invested with the garments of two young men who were playing a match at tennis.

In a few minutes everything is arranged. The spec- tators having taken th^ir places, a dirty sheet rises, and Destin is discovered in the character of Herod, lying on a

of the author's sufferings at the time he wrote them, and our admi- ration at his unalterable gaiety in the midst of so many misfortunes. But, indeed, in all ages— les gens qur font le plus rire sont oenx qui rient le moins.

Scarron was at length finally released from all his miseries in Octo- ber, 1660. Every one knows that after his death his widow went to reside as an humble companion with a lady, at whose house she became acquainted with Mad. de Montetpan. She was thus introduced to the notice of Lewis XIV., with whom she so long lired under the name of Mad. de Maintenon. Perhaps the elevation to which Mad. Scarron attained, might be the reason why none of his numerous friends wrote the life of her husband, nor collected the anecdotes current concerning him, as his remembrance was by no means agreeable to his widow, and till the last moment her flatterers abstained from every thing that might tend to revive the recollection. *' On a trop aflfect^," says Voltaire,

    • d'oublier dans son ^itaphe le nom de Scarron ; ce nom n'est point

avilissant ; et I'omission ne sert quit faire penser qu'il peut i'dtre."' — Dmaop.


CH. X.] BOHAK COMiqUE. 387

mattress, with a basket on his head for a crowD» and re- peating in the tones of Mondorj,

Fantdme injurieux, qai troubles mon repos I ^

The actress performs the parts of Mariamne and Salome, while Bancune gives universal satisfaction in all the other characters of the piece. In the most interesting scene of the tragedy, however, the two young men who had now finished their match at tennis, rush on the stage to vindi- cate the habits worn by Herod and Phrerora [c. ii.]. Some of the spectators espouse one part, and some another ; and the tragedy concludes with distresses more real, though less heroic, than the death of Mariamne, and the despair of the Jewish monarch.

After this affray there follows an amusing account of a supper given to the actors by one of the inhabitants of Mans [c. iv.]. On the following day the rest of the players arrive, and among others. Mad. L'Etoile, the soUdisant sister of Destin, and Leander, his valet, who already aspired to the first situatioii in the company. They continue to act for some time at Mans, and at length are invited to perform at a villa in the neighbourhood, but a short time before the entertainment commences, one of the actresses is forcibly carried off while rehearsing her part in the garden. The other performers set out in quest of her, and the second half of the work chiefly consists of the adventures they meet with in their pursuit.

Of this romance the more serious part relates to the amours of Destin and Mad. L'Etoile, and the story of Leander, who proves to be a yoimg man of fashion, but having been captivated with the beauty of one of the actresses, he had associated himseK to the strolling com- pany. The more comical portion consists in the delineation of the characters of Bancune and Bagotin, and an account of their absurdities. Of these the former, as his name im-

^ This was the play of Marianne, by Tristan KHermite. Mondory died in oonseqnence of the violence with which he had represented the transports of Herod, as Montfleury is said to have expired while acting the faries of Orestes. It was said on one of these occasions : " II n*y aara pins de poete qui ne veuille aroir IHionnear de crever un oom^dien


en sa Tie."

n.


338 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

ports, was noted for malice and envy. He found something to blame in every one of his own profession ; Belleroze ^ was stiff ; Mondory harsh ; Floridor frigid — ^f rom all which he wished it to be inferred, that he himself was the only fault- less comedian [c. v.]. At the time when the pieces of Hardi were acted, he played the part of the nurse under a mask, and since the improvement in the drama, had performed the confidents and ambassadors. Eagotin was an attorney, who, falling in love with Mad. L'Etoile, attached himself to the company ; he wrote immeasurable quantities of bad poetry, and on one occasion proposed reading to the players a work of his own composition, entitled Les Faits et Gestes de Charlema^e en vingt quatre Joumees. A great part of the romance is occupied with the ridiculous distresses into which this absurd character falls, partly by his own folly, and partly by the malice of Rancune. These are sometimes amusing, but are generally quite extravagant and exceed 'all bounds of probability.

There is also a number of episodes in the Boman Comique, as L'Amante Invisible — k Trompeur, Trompeur ^tDemi, etc. . which bear a strong resemblance to the Nouvelles Tragi- Comiques, by the same author. The scene of these epi- sodes is invariably laid in Spain ; they are always declared to be translated from the language of that country, and many of them are so in fact.^ All of them are love

^ Mondory was the leading actor in Marais troupe, and was *' plus propre k faire un heros qu'un amoureux." Belleroze (Pierre le Messier) was an actor of the Hotel de Bourgogne, famed for tragic parts. Floridor was a member of the same company. It will be rememoered that actors had then their noms de guerre or stage names. Ragotin was intended for Rend Denisot, aitorney-general at Mans. The Marqnis d'Ors^ is probably the Comte de Tess^, and La Rappini^re M. de la Rousseli^re, and so many other portraits have been recognized. See M. Fournel, introduction, p. Ixxii, etc.

  • According to S-hack [Geschichte der dramatischen Literatur in

Spanien i. 251] the idea of the lioman Comique is derived from Agustin de Rojas Villandrando's "El Viage Entretenido." It is, however, superior to it. Scarron was familiar with the Spanish picaresque romances, and owes to this source of inspiration not only the Roman Comique but also his Nouvelles tragicomiques, to one of which Moliere is indebted for the finest scene (iii. 6) of his TartufTe. Fournel, xliii.

The Spanish romances were read in France as soon as published, says M. Fournel, and often even translations were made from the Spanish MS. before the work was printed.


CH. X.] BOMAN COMIQUE. 339

stories, containing a good deal of intrigue, and terminating liappily.

It is said to have been the intention of Scarron, to have added a third part to the Eoman Comique ; indeed, in its present state, it ends very abruptly, which has induced different authors to attempt to bring it to a close. One anonymous continuation, published in 1678, with a dedica- tion by Antoine OfEray, of Lyons, conducts the troop to AIen9on, where Eagotin undergoes disgraces equally ex- travagant, but less entertaining than those which he had formerly experienced. In another succeeding part (Paris, 1679), by the Abb^ Preschac, author of L'Heroine Mous- quetaire, Le Beau Polonais, etc., Sagotin is again the principal character, and is much occupied in persuading a quack doctor, whom he believes to be a magician, to for- ward the success of his passion for Mad. L'Etoile. In a third sequel, which is by an anonymous author, the part of Bagotin is entirely abandoned, as also that of Bancune, and the reader is presented with a continuation of the more serious part of the romance, particularly the story of Bestin,

M. Foornel has traced to their ** immediate origin" the four stories wliich Scarron inserted in his Koman Comique.

L'Amante Inyisible (i. 9) is merely a translation, with the inter- calation of a few burlesque expressions, of a story entitled Los efectos que haze Amor, which is the third of Los Alivios de Cassandra (Cas- sandra's Recreations) by Alonso Castillo Solorzano, Barcelona, 1640, a kind of Decameron imitated from the Aurores de Diana of Pedru Castro y Anaya, and perhaps also of Montalvan's ** Para Todos."

A Trompeur, Trompeur et Demi (i. 22) is the second story in the same selection.

There are, however^ several plays which M. Foumel thinks may also have influenced Scarron in this production, viz., Moretu's *'Trampa Adelante" (printed, however, only in 1654), the Marques de Cigarral of which, has become our author's Don Japhet d'Arm^nie, Cautela contra Cautela, and Fineza, contra Fineza.

Les deux FrSres Rivaux (ii. 19) has features common to Beys' "Celine, ou Les Freres rivaux, trag^die," 1637 5 Chevreau's "Les V^ri tables Freres rivaux, tra^^die," 1641; Sender i's "Arminius, ou les Freres ennemis," 1644. It is, however, a free translation, with most of the original names retained, of the first of the Alivios, entitled La Confusion de una Noche (A Night's Embroilment).

The juge de sa propre cause (ii. 14) is the ninth story of Dona Maria de Zayas' " Novelas exemplares y amorosas" (Barcelona, approbation, June, 1634, called el Juez de su causa). One of Lope de Vega's come- dies bears the same title.


340 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

who turns out to be a son of the Count de Glaris, haying been changed at nurse according to the Irish fashion/

The Boman Comique has also been versified by M. d'Orvilliers,^ and published in that poetical form at Paris, in 1733. Lafontaine, too, has written a comedy,' which com- prehends most of the characters and best situations in the work of Scarron. Goldsmith has given his countrymen an English version of the romance.

The Boman Comique seems to have been a last manifes- tation of the wayward and whimsical vein of the fabliaux, a realistic and derisive protest against the idealism and artificiality of D'Urf^, the Scud^rys and La Calprenede, who wrote earlier in the century, though for convenience of arrangement they have been later noticed by Dunlop. Its comparative brevity and the rapid succession of incidents made also an antithesis to their prolixity.

Here also may be mentioned D'Aubigne's Babon de FcENESTE,^ which belongs to the sixteen^ century. The Baron de Foeneste (fanfaron, ^ivioQai) is rather a satire, however, than a romance properly so-called, rather a dia- logued pamphlet than a narrative. Its author had avowed his fancy to recreate himseK by describing his century. In

^ There were several other continuations, e.g,^ Suite et Conclusion du Boman Comique, par M. D. L. Amsterdam, Rouen, and Paris, 1771, of which an analysis is g^Ten in vol. ii. of the Biblioth^ue universelle des Romans. Our notes have been chiefly drawn from the introduction prefixed by M. V. Foumel to his edition of the Roman Comique, P. Jannet, Paris, 1857. To this work we must refer tlie reader for a iiill account of Scarron's novel and kindred productions.

' Le Tellier d'Orvilliers, Le Roman Comique, mis en vers. 2 part& Paris, 1733. Svo.

  • Ragotin, in five acts and in verse, was represented on April 21 ,

1684, and nine times between then and July 16 the same year, and was never acted again. The work proved a failure ; the narrative speeches are too long. The niece is considered the joint production of Lafontaine and Champmes16, the plan of the drama being by the latter. Ragotin (diminutive of Ragot, a little man).

^ Les Avantures du Baron de Fosneste, Pts. i. and ii. 1617. Les

Avantures du baron de Fosneste £dition nouvelle augment^ de

plusieurs remarques historiques de Fhistoire secrete de Tauteur, ^crite par lui memo, et de la bibliotheque de M*^ Guilbiume enrichie de notes par M * * *. Cologne, 1729 ; Amsterd. 1731. Revue et annotde par P. Merim^. Paris, 1855. See £. R^nme, Etude historique et litt4- raire sur A. d'Aubign^, 1883. 8^ And Victor Fournel, Le Roman Comique.


CH. X.] BOHAN BOXTBOBOI8. 841

contrast to Foeneste is placed the Seigneur Enay (eiyai), a character who striyes after the solid.

In the representations of Searron, the provincial manners of the age in which the author lived are delineated, and he has exhibited, in lively and striking colours, what has been termed le rtdicule CampagnoArd. The absurdities of the citizens of Paris have been painted by Fureti^re/ in his

BoMAK BouBasois,'

rather a series of scenes and incidents than a continuous story, which, in the commencement, describes the ridiculous courtship by a counsellor, called Nicodemus, of Javotte, the daughter of a rascally attorney. Nicodemus ingratiates himself with the father of his mistress, by writing his papers for tenpence a sheet, and pleading his causes for half fees. Matters are almost finally arranged, when every thing is interrupted by the unexpected appearance of a girl, called Lucretia, who claimed a previous promise of marriage ; and before Nicodemus had disentangled himself from this engagement, another lover presented himself,

^ Antoine Fnretidre was bom in Paris in 1620. After he had been received an advocate, and even obtained some law appointments, he passed into orders, and obtained the benefice of Chalivoy. His second work— -(it had been preceded only by a volume of indifferent poetry, juvenilia, published in 1655) — Nonvelle AU^orique ou th^rie des demiers troubles arrive au rojaume de F^loquenoe (1658), a satire on contemporary eloquence, won him admission into the French Academy, 1662. His Dictionnaire Universel de la laufrue Fran^oise, which was the foundation of that known under the name of Dictionnaire de Tre- Toux, was not edited till after his death; for, having published a pre- liminary discourse, the farther printing was interdicted by the French Academy, which accused him of having purloined the materials which they had amassed for a similar work. Much was written on both sides on the subject of this controversy, and Fureti^re spent the concluding years of bis life in publishing libels against his former associates, which, according to the expression of one of the historians of the academy, '* ne donnent pan une trop bonne id^ de son esprit, et qui en donnent nne bien plus manvaise de son coeur." Furetidre was finally convicted by the enemies he had thus exasperated, and expelled the academy. His place was not supplied during his life, but on his death the academy manifested its surviving resentment, by forbidding Bayle, his successor, to pronounce his eulogium.

' Le Koman Bourgeois, ouvrage comique. Paris, 1666, 1854, 1868, 1880, 1883. Amsterdam, 1704, 1714. Nancy, 1712, 1713.


342 HISTOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

who was preferred by the father of Javotte. This intruder was an advocate, as well as his rival. The onlv time he had ever appeared at the bar, was when, twenty years before, he took the oaths to observe the regulations of court, to which he strictly adhered, as he never enjoyed an oppor- tunity of tran^ressing them. But he possessed a consider- able fortune of his own, a great part of which he had laid out in the purchase of old china, and black-letter books with wooden bindings. His dress formed a memorial of all the fashions that had prevailed in France for two cen- turies. In order to qualify herself for such a husband, Javotte had been allowed to frequent an assembly of wits, which was attended by a young gentleman, called Pancrace, who persuaded her to elope with him.

In this romance there are some spirited sketches, con- siderable fertility of delineation, and knowledge of the human character ; but the portraits, like those in the Eoman Comique, too often degenerate into caricatures.*

^ La vraie Histoire Comique de Francion, par Nicolas de Moulinet Sienr du Pare [i.e. Charles Sorel (Sieur de Souvigny, circ, 1597-1674)], perhaps surpasses Scarron's *^ Roman Comique " in interest, displaying, as it does, in the most vivid fashion the most diverse classes of bourgeois society. Books i.-ii. appeared in 1622, the year in which was pub- lished the second vohime of the Astrea (see infra) ; and Gomberville's

    • Cytherea," book xii., came out in 1633. The romance is an attempt,

avowed by the author, to resuscitate the Rabelaisian kind of writing in counteraction of the tedious and prolix compositions which were becoming fashionable. Francion betrays throughout Spanish influences : it is a romance of the picaresque school. Its delineations of the manners of the time give it value for the historical student. The book had immense success. The author, however, never avowed his paternity, on account, it has been surmised, of his official position as historiographer, for, though religion is respected, morals are often outraged in the work. Francion himself is now recog;nized to be a literary delineation of Sorel himself. Moliire seems to be indebted to Francion for several ideas. Thus the lines :

Qnand sur une personne on pretend se r^gler Cest par les beaux cot^s qu'il faut lui ressembler ; Et ce n'est point du tout la prendre pour modele, Monsieur, que de tousser et de cracher comme eUe

seem suggested by a passage in bk. ii. of Francion : ** Ce n'est pas imiter

un homme que de ou de tousser oomme lui."

Before the appearance of Cyrano's " Histoire Comique des Estate de la lune," Sorel puts in the mouth of Hortensius, one of his characters, the plan of a voyage to the Moon.


CH. X.*] POLITICAL ROMANCE. 34i8


Political Komance.

The origin of this species of romance has been traced as far back as the CYBOPiEDiA of Xenophon. Whether that celebrated performance be intended as a romance or his- tory, has been the subject of much controversy. The basis of that part which relates the events of the life of Cyrus, from his fortieth year till his death, may be historically true; but the details of his childhood and education, which embrace the period from his birth to his sixteenth year, must be entirely the ofEspring of the author's imagnation.

I am not certain, whether under this class of romances I should comprehend the

The romance of Francion was translated into English and German.

Exasperated by the growing favour shown to the pastoral romance of Astrea and the other Bergeries, Sorel composed Le Berger Extravagant, on parmi des fantaisies amoureuses, Ton volt les impertinences des romans «t de la po^ie, 1627. In some editions the work was named on the title- page Antiruman, which word explains its scope. It is an imitation of Don Quixote. Lysis is demented through reading pastoral romances. He adopts the calling of a shepherd, as the knight of La Mancha did that of knight-errant. In an endeavour to recover his hat, which had caught in the branches of an old willow, he falls into the hollow trunk, and, full of recent reading, with marvellous adventures and metamor- phoses on the brain, he fancies himself transformed into a tree, and argues learnedly with those who endeavour to undeceive him. The Berger Extravagant (English translation, 1653 and 1660), which may be regarded as a satire upon all pastoral and romantic works, exercised a wholesome influence in hastening the decline of the pastoral novel. The extremity to which the pastoral mania reached may be undei*stood from the case of Des Yvetaux, who, with his Amaryllis, a young harp- player whom he found one day fainting at the door of his house in the faubourg Saint Grermain, passed thirty -five years in the Arcadia into which he converted his house and grounds in Paris. Here, with harp and crook, they sang poems of his composing, and made believe to guard imaginary flocks of sheep.

Sorel was imitated by Du Verdier in his Chevalier Hypocondriaque, by Clerville in his Gascon Extravagant, and by Thomas Corncille in his metrical comedy, Bergers Extravagants, 1653.

Sorel is also the author of Polyandre, bistoire Comique, 1648, which contains the adventures of five or six persons of Paris, known as " originaux " — the smart man, the grotesque poet, the swindling alche- mist, the parasite, etc. In L'Xsle de Portraits, ascribed to Sorel, is a re- view of the different classes of picture. The work is a mordant satire on the fashion of portraits which had recently become diffused in Literature. Sorel is, perhaps, also the author of Aventures Satiriques de Florinde,


844 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X


Utopia '

of Sir Thomas More. Everything in that work is indeed imaginary; but, as no particular story is carried on, it may rather be accounted a political treatise than a romance* Like the writings of other speculative politicians, its origin was derived from the Repu olic of Plato. The Utopia, like the Commonwealth of that philosopher, is the ideal picture of a nation which would indeed be poor and wretched, but which in the representation of the author is perfectly happy. By the detail of its institutions, he obliquely cen- sures the defects of existing governments, and pro}K>8e8 a more perfect model as a subject of imitation.

The author feigns, that while at Antwerp he had met with a person of the name of Baphael, who had accom- panied Americo Vespucci to the New World. While on this voyage he had visited the island of Utopia, the name of which imports its non-existence." The first book, which is merely introductory, contains a dialogue chiefly on government, that passed between the author and this imaginary person. In th^ second book, the traveller gives a geographical description of the island ; the relations * of the ii^abitants in social life, their magistrates, their arts, their systems of war and religion. Oi the latter subject, which could hardly be expected from the practice of the

habitant de la btsse region de la lane, 1 625. This is directed " contre la malice insupportable des esprits de ce Sitele." V. Fournier, Le Raman Comique, etc

In 1 626, Fancan Tor Langlois), in Le Tombeau des Romans, satiriied the romances of chivalry, and also the Astr^ and the Argenis. The Don Quichotte Gascon was also levelled against the Astr^ ; and, more than a century later, the same crusade was renewed by Pdre Bougeant's

    • Voyage Merreilleux du Prince Fan F^r^din dans la Romancie," etc.,

Paris, 1 735, which was more especially a satire on Du Fresnoy's work, De Fusage des Romans, etc.

^ ** Idbellus vere aureus nee minus salutaris qnam feetious de optimo ReipublicsB statu, deone nova Insula Utopia . . ." Louvain, probably in 1517. An Englisn translation, by Raphe Robynson, was published in London in 1561, and another by Bishop Burnet in 1684. Of both versions numerous editions, as well as French, Italian, German, etc., translations appeared.

  • Oirroiria, or KowhereTand. Utopia was the name of the kingdom of

Grangousier, see Rabelais.


CH. X.] UTOPIA.. 345

author, the most unbounded toleration is granted. The greater part of the inhabitants belieyed in one Spirit, all* powerful and all-pervading ; but others practised the wor- ship of heroes, and the adoration of stars. A community of wealth is a fundamental principle of this republic, and the structure what might be expected from such a basis. Indeed the interest of the Utopia arises solely from the classic elegance of its style, and the curiosity which is naturally felt concerning the sentiments of distinguished characters.

This work was written about 1516, and soon became the admiration of all the classical scholars of the age. An English translation, by Eobinson, has been published by Mr. Dibdin, with a literary introduction.^ The life of Sir Thomias More has been written by his son-in-law, Boper, by his great-grandson, More, and more recently by Mr. Cayley : but the subject is too copious and important to admit of abridgment here. The splendour of his legal ac- quirements, the unrivalled felicity of his temper, and, above all, the depth and el^ance of his classical learning must elicit otur admiration, if we consider the coimtry in which he lived, the multiplicity and importance of his avocations, and his premature fate. — " Quid tandem non praestitisset admirabilis ista naturae felicitas, si hoc ingenium instituisset Italia, si totum Musarum sacris vacaret, si ad justam frugem ac veluti autumnum suum matoruisset P "

Sir Thomas More's " Utopia," * suggested many specula- tive works, somewhat in the form of a romance, concerning perfect systems of government. Of this description is

^ Republished *' from Sir H. Ellis's Copy, with additional notes and corrections." K. Roberts, Boston, 1878. In the first edition of the Utopia 18 given a curioiis set of characters, the ** Utopiensium alpha- betum."

The Jesuit Biderman's '* Utopia Bidaci Bemardini . . . sea sales mnsici, quibos Indicra mixtim," Dilingas 16, has little but the name in common with More*s work — it is a tissue of adventures, fables, and novelettes.

s Memoirs of a certain Island adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia, written by a celebrated author of that country [Mrs. E. Haywood], now translated into English, appeared about 1720. This is, however, merely a vehicle for romantic inciaents, etc.


346 HISTORY OW FICTION. [CH. X.

The Commonwealth of Oceana, by James Harrington (1611-1677), which appeared in England about the middle of the seventeenth century, and though it be the model of a perfect republic, is perhaps the most rational of all similar productions. Landed property should furnish the chief element of power in a state, and should be limited in regard of the individual owner to a maximum annual value of j62,000. The executive should frequently change hands. These are the fimdamental principles whereon the author elaborated with much detail his ideal state. ^


The Abgenib

of John Barclay is usually numbered among political ro- mances, though, I think, it is entitled to be thus ranked, more from the disquisitions introduced, than from any very obvious analogy which the story bears to political incidents.

The author was of a Scotch family, but was bom in France in 1582. Offended, it is said, at the request of James I. to translate the Arcadia into Latin, he composed the Argenis, to show he could write a better original. It was completed and published in 1621, which was the year of the author's death.*

Argenis is represented as the daughter and heiress of Meliander, king of Sicily, and the romance chiefly consists of the war carried on to obtain her hand, by two rivals, Lycogenes, a rebellious subject of Meliander, and Poliar- chus, prince of Gaul.®

It is generally believed that all the incidents in the Argenis have an allusion to the political transactions which took place in France during the War of the League, but it

  • See R. Ton Mohl, Die Geschicbte und Literatar der Staats-Wissen-

scliaften. Erlangen, 1855, bd. i. pp. 190, 191. An account of numeroos fictions of this order will be found in Mohl's work.

^ Between which date and the end of the century numerous editions and translations of the work were published. English translations appeared in 1636 and in 1772. 8vo. Dr. Garnett notes in the Dictionary of National Biography that '*a translation of the Argenis by Ben Jonson was entered at Stationers' Hall on 2 Oct. 1623, but was never pnblished.'*'

^ Calderon's "Argenis y Poliarco" is derived from this romance.-^LiEB.


CH. X.] THB AKGENI0. 347

is difficult to determine with precision what are the par- ticular events or characters represented. Each commen- tator has applied them according to his own fancy, for which the indefinite nature of the composition gave ample scope. Meliander, however, it seems to be universally allowed, is intended for Henry III. Argenis typifies the succession of the crown ; Lycogenes is the family of Guise, or the whole faction of the league ; Poliarchus, Henry IV., or the aggregate of his party. The most minute incidents in the romance have been also historically applied, but in a manner so forced and capricious, that they might as plausibly be wrested to correspond with the political events in any age or country, as those which occurred in France towards the close of the sixteenth century.* On the whole, there appears little to distinguish the Argenis from the common heroic romance, except that there are hardly any episodes introduced, and that it contains a great number of political disquisitions, in which such high monarchical notions are generally expressed, that the author has been frequently accused as the advocate of arbitrary principles of government. We are informed in a Latin life of Barclay, that it was a favourite work of Cardinal Bichelieu, and suggested to him many of his political expedients. Cowper, the poet, recommends Ai^e- nis to his correspondents, Mr. Bose and Lady Hesketh, as " the most amusing romance that ever was written." " It is," says he in a letter to the former, "interesting in a high degree — richer in incident than can be imagined — full of surprises which the reader never forestalls, and yet free from all entanglement and confusion. The style, too, ap- pears to me to be such as would not dishonour Tacitus himself." * The Latinity, however, of Barclay, has, on the

  • Anonymous keys have been added which explain many of the

characters and allusions in the work. These keys were, says M. Dupont, written under the inspiration of Jerome Al^andre, a personal friend of Barclay. Two works on the Argenis have recently appeared in France — L^n Boucher, De Joannis Barclaii Argenide, etc., Paris, 1874, and L'Argenis . . . ^tude litt^raire par A. Dupont, Paris, 1875. This con- tains an analysis of the story.

^ It was certainly esteemed by many of his contemporaries, and by Grotius highly praised. Cf. also Coleridge, Literary Remains, vol. i. Lond. 1836. Like Southey, M. Dukas, while admitting (p. 93) Barclay**


S48 HISTOBT OV FICTION. [CH. X.

other hand, been seyerelj ridiculed by J. Isla in the cele- brated Spanish work, Historia del famoao Predicador Pray G^rundio, lib. i. p. 71. " There you have the Scotch- man, John Barclay, who would not say exhortatio to escape the flames, but paracnesis, which signifies the same, but is a little more of the Greek ; nor dbedire, but decedere, which is of more abstruse signification, and is equirocal into the bargain."

Though the beautiful fiction of

Telem^chus,

which has much in common with, and was doubtless sug- .igested to F^nelon by the Argenis, be rather an epic poem in prose, than a romance, it seems to have led the way to several political romances, or, at least, to have nourished a taste for this species of composition.

The CyropsBoia of Xenophon, which may be considered perhaps as the origin of all political romance, seems more particularly to have suggested two works, which appeared in France about the commencement of the eighteenth century,

Les Yotages be Ctbxts

(1727, 1730, 1806, English translation, 1730). Of these the above-named is by the Chevalier Bamsay, the friend of F^nelon, and tutor to the sons of the Pretender. The author has chosen, as the subject of his romance, that part of the life of Cyrus, which extends from the sixteenth to the fortieth year of his age, a period of which nothing is said in the Cyropeedia. During this interval, Bamsay has made his hero travel according to fancy, and by this means takes occasion to describe the manners, religion, and policy, of the countries which are visited, as also some of the principal events in their history. The Persian prince wanders through Greece, Syria, and Egypt, and in the

•dftpartures from conveDtional ooirectness, admires his fertility and Tariet y, but says of the plot (p. 85), ** hoc primura maxime totius'operis iiumma turbatur quod tarn lon^nquo amoitu drcamscribuntur res, at Tix eas amplecti vel attenta mens possit, confundimar enim ab initio, «t personarum numero, et eTentomm freqaentia."


GH. Z.] LB SEP08 DB CTBUB. 84^

course of his journey enjoys long philosopliical and political oonversations with Zoroaster, Solon, and the prophet Daniel. What is said concerning the manners of the different nations, is fortified by passages from the ancient philosophers and poets. The author exhibits considerable acquaintance with chronology and history, and enters pro- foundly into the fables of the antients, from which he attempts to show that the leading truths of religion are te be found in the mythological systems of all nations. Hia work, however, is rather a treatise intended to form the mind of a young prince than a fiction. The only romantie incident is the love of Cyrus for Cassandana, which occu- pies a considerable part of the first book, where the usual obstacles of the prohibition of parents, and a powerful rival, are interposed to the happiness of the lovers. In 1728, a satire on Bamsay's Cyrus, entitled La Nouvelle Cjropsedie, ou Beflezions de Cyrus sur ses Voyages, was printed at Amsterdam. In this work, Cyrus, having be- come master of Asia, complains, in six evening conversa- tions with his confident Araspes, of the pedantic and ridiculous part he is made to act in his travels. A serioua criticism was written by the Pfere Vinot, to which Bamsaj made a suitable reply. The other work,

Le Bepos de Cybus^

embraces the same period of the life of the Persian prince as the work of Bamsay, and comprehends his journey into Media, his chase on the frontiers of Assyria, his wars with the king of that coimtry, and his return to Persia.

Most of the works which come under the class of politi- cal Bomances, are but little interesting in their story, and mankind have long been satisfied of the folly of specula-^ tions concerning perfect systems of government. Indeed, in a history of fiction, there are only two kinds of composi- tions, which seem entitled to minute analysis ; first, those which, though comparatively imperfect, have been the earUest models of a peculiar series of romances; and secondly, the most perfect production of the order to which

^ By the Abb^ J. Femetti, 3 torn. Paris, 1 732.


350 'HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

it belongs — ^the patriarch, as it were, of the family, and most illustrious of the descendants. In manj instances, however, the most distinguished work of the class is so well known and popular, that anj detail concerning it might appear tiresome and superfluous. This is peculiarly the case with the TisL^HAQiTE, which has been familiar to every one almost from childhood ; and accordingly, it is more suitable to analyze the next most perfect specimen, which, in the class of political romances, happens not to be very generally known. In this view it may be proper to give some account of the romance of

Sethos.

This work, which was first published in 1731,^ was written by the Abb^ Terrasson, a Savant, who in his eloge, pronounced by D'Alembert,* is represented as at the head of the prac- tical philosophers of lus age. " Calm, simple, and candid, he was so far," says D'Alembert, " from soliciting favours, that he did not know the names of the persons by whom they were distributed. More a philosopher than Demo- critus, he did not even deign to laugh at the absurdities of his contemporaries ; and equally indifferent about others and himself, he seemed to contemplate from the planet Saturn the Earth which we inhabit."

The author of Sethos feigns, in his preface, that his work is translated from the Greek MS. of a writer who

Erobably lived in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. After estowing due praise on the T61emaque, and perhaps more than due on the Voyages de Cyrus, he observes, fiiat his romance does not merely contain, like these works, a course of education, but the practical application of its principles to the varied events of life. Another object of Ter- rasson was to exhibit whatever had been ascertained con- cerning the antiquities, manners, and customs of the ancient Egyptians, or the origin of sciences and arts. It is in this view, perhaps, that Sethos is chiefly valuable, and in fact there would be few antiquarian works more precious,

^ An English translation by Mr. Lediard appeared in 1732. ' K<^flexions sur la personne et les ouvrages de Mr. I'Abb^ Tcrr.isson, 1750.


CH. X.] 8ETH08. 351

bad the author, who was profoundly learned, appended in notes the original aathoritiee from whicli lie deprived his information.^

About fifty years before the Trojan war, Osoroth, when somewhat advanced in life, succeeded to the throne of Memphis, the second in dignity of the four great sove- reignties of Egypt. Previous to his accession he espoused Nepthe, princess of This, another Egyptian monarchy, and by her he had a son called Sethos, the hero of the romance [Livre i.]. Osoroth, who has many traits of character in common with Louis XY., is represented as one of those feeble, indolent, and indifferent princes, who are the best or worst of kings as chance furnishes them with good or bad administrators of the royal authority. This monarch committed the management of state affairs to Nepthe ; and what seemed to the public an enlightened choice, was nothing but the restdt of his natural indifference. In fact, the queen governed admirably, partly owing to her own distinguished talents, and partly to the counsels of Amedes, a sage whom she consulted on every important occurrence. When Sethos was eight years old, the queen, whose health had been long enfeebled, was seized with a dangerous illness. Meanwhile Osoroth, who, though the monarch of a great people, presented the singular spectacle of not knowing how to employ his time, had become entangled by the assi- duities and arts of Daluca [p. 17, etc., ed. 1731], a lady of the court ; and the queen foresaw with pain, that in the event of her death, the destiny of Sethos might depend on this worthless woman [p. 21]. She at length expired, after having intrusted her son to the wise Amedes [p. 37], and having, at the same moment, consigned to the young prince a casket of precious jewels, recommending to him above all carefully to preserve a heart-shaped emerald, adorned with figures in relief of Osiris, Isis, and Horus [p. 39],

As the solemn invocations for the health of Nepthe had afforded the author an opportunity of representing some of the religious rites of Egypt [pp. 26, etc.], her pompous funeral furnishes an occasion of describing their obsequies

' The author has g^ven occasional footnotes, which might doubtless, bowerer, have been with advantage more frequent.


352 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

[pp. 42, etc.]. The Egyptians, according to Herodotus, were the first people who believed in the immortality of the soul, and it appeared from the simplicity of their palaces, compared with the magnificence of their tombs, that they were less occupied with their transitory dwellings on earth than with the prospect of their everlasting abodes. Ere the body of a prince coiQd be conveyed by Oharon to the Labyrinth in the midst of Lake Moeris, a judgment, whether the deceased was worthy of funeral rites, was pronounced by forty-one just and inexorable judges. The high priest of Memphis delivered on the present occasion a funeral oration on the late queen — "Portrait," says D'Alembert, ** que Tacite eut admir^, et dont Platon eut conseill^ la lecture a tons les Bois."

On the death of Nepthe the wicked Daluca having first become regent [Livre ii. p. 80, etc.], and being afterwards espoused by Osoroth, formed an administration, which was a complete contrast to that of the late queen. Her dislike of Sethos was increased by giving birth to two sons [Liv. iii. p. 196], and in order that her machinations against that prince might succeed, she began by corrupting the morals of the court [p. 87]. The progress of depravity, and the methods by which it was produ^, are pourtrayed with much force of satire. Meanwhile the education of Sethos commenced, a subject which is introduced by a beautiful but succinct accoimt of the state of science and arts in Egypt, as also by a description of the palace and gardens of the kings of Memphis, which formed one vast museum, stored with every means of exercising the talents and preserving the knowledge of mankind.

The admirable genius of young Sethos seconded well the instructions of the sage Amedes, who prepared him by every exercise of mind and body for those trials which, from his situation, would probably ensue. Several in* stances of the prince's courage and address are related, as his being the first who descended from the Great Pyramid [1. iii. 199, etc.] with his face towards the spectators, and his taking captive a huge serpent which laid waste a province of the kmgdom [1. iii. p. 194-5]. After having given sufficient proofs of prudence and courage, Amedes resolved secretly to procure for his pupil, now sixteen years


CH. X.] TEEBA880N. SETHOS. 353

of age, the supreme honour of initiation, a dignity which could only be attained bj uncommon fortitude and suffer- ings [p. 204, 229]. The whole process of this august ceremony — the subterraneous temples, and palaces, and gardens of the Egyptian priests, are finely delineated, and form by much the most interesting portion of the work.

Preparatory to the initiation, Amedes having obtained permission for his pupil to visit for a few months the temples of Egypt, conducted him by night to the Great Pyramid [1. iii. 199, etc.]. They entered it, and reached at length that mysterious Well, concerning which so much has been said by travellers (Clarke's Travels, vol. iii. p. 138, etc.). Down this they descended by little secret steps of iron, and approached two brazen gates, which opened softly, but shut vnth a tremendous crash. Sethos beheld at a distance, through iron grates, high illuminated arcades, and heard the most harmonious music, which he was told by Amedes (who had been himself initiated) proceeded from priests and priestesses in a subterraneous temple. He was also informed that he had now an opportunity of entering on the trials preparatory to initiation, — ^trials which required the most heroic courage and greatest prudence. Sethos, of course, determined to proceed, un- dismayed by an alarming inscription on the portal through which he now passed.

After leaving Amedes, Sethos walked more than a league without discovering any new object. He came at length to an iron door, and a little farther on to three men, " arm^s d'un casque qui etoit charg^ d'une tete d'Anubis : c'est ce qui donna lieu a Orph^e de faire de ces trois hommes les trois tetes du chien Cerbere, qui permettoit Tentree de TEnfer sans en permettre la sortie " [Ed. Paris, 1731, tom. ii. p. 218-9]. This idea is carried on through the whole of the author's subterraneous description, and is doubtless the foundation of Warburton*s hypothesis concerning the sixth book of Virgil. The author relates in a most striking manner the corporeal purification of Sethos by fire and water and air, subsequent to which his soul is in like manner refined by invocations and instruc- tions, by silence, solitude, and neglect.

At the conclusion of his initiation Sethos was conducted

II. A A


354 HI8T0BY OF FICTION. [CH. X.

through all the subterranean abodes of the priests, the description of which is almost copied from the sixth book of Yirgil. No class of men have been so splendid in their buildings as priests, and as Egypt was the country of all others in which they were most powerful, they had no- where erected such magnificent structures. Nothing can be more happy than Terrasson's picture of the subterranean Elysium, and the art with which the priests employed iU scenes in the illusory visions which they presented to those who consulted them. The mysteries of the Pantheon are also unveiled, and the author concludes his highly inte- resting accoimt of the initiation with a description of the Isiack pomp, and the manifestation of Sethos to the people.

The romance now becomes less amusing, and the author seems to be deserted by his genius as soon as he quits the sombre magnificence of ancient superstition. By the bad management of Daluca, the kingdom of Memphis was involved in a quarrel with the neighbouring monarchies. Sethos departed for the seat of war, where he distinguished himself, not merely by his wonderful valour, but by extra- ordinary warlike inventions. Owing, however, to the, treachery of the general of Memphis, who had been com- manded by Queen Daluca to rid her of Sethos, he was desperately wounded, and left for dead in a nocturnal skinnish with the enemy. Being afterwards discovered to be alive by some Ethiopian soldiers, he was sold by thein as a slave to the Phoenicians, whom he accompanied in a great expedition to Taprobana (Ceylon). After the esta- blishment of the Phoenicians on that island, Sethos, now under the name of Cheres, recommended himself so strongly to the commander of the expedition by his wisdom and valour, that he is furnished with a fleet to make a voyage of discovery round Africa [1. vi. p. 68]. In this enterprise Sethos unites the skill of Columbus with the benevolence of Cook and the military genius of Ceesar; he encourages industry, works meUils, and trades in precious stones, among others the pantarbe,^ which protected from fire, and the sideropoecile. He civilizes Guinea, and

^ Cf. Heliodorus, see supra, i. p. 27.


CH. X.] TEBBA8SON. — SETHOS. 365

forms a vast commercial establishment, which he names New Tyre [1. vi. vii.], and here perhaps is the most political part of the work.

Meanwhile an impostor, called Asares, availing himself of a report, now generally spread through Egypt, that Sethos was yet alive, resolved to personate the prince, and being aided by a host of Arabians, he besieged Hieropolis, the capital of the King of This, whose daughter, the Princess Mnevie, he had vainly sought in marriage. In- telligence of this imposture having reached Sethos, he arrived in Egypt, still bearing the name of Cheres [1. x.], defeated Asares under the walls of Hieropolis, and drove him back to Arabia. Sethos was accordingly received with the utmost joy and gratitude by the King of This, and a mutual passion gradually arose between him and the Princess Mnevie. He procured from the other three kings of Egypt the title of Conservator, and general of the Egyptian forces, in which capacity he again defeated Asares, who had attacked the territories of Memphis with a force he had anew assembled.

While engaged in this war, the Princess Mnevie, anxious at the absence and dangers of her lover, consulted the priests of Heliopolis with respect to his destiny, which furnishes another opportunity to the author of giving a representation, in which he excels, of the solemn witchery employed by the priests of Egypt. Sethos, on his return to Memphis, to which he conducted Asares as a captive, commenced the public trial and examination of that im- postor in presence of the king and princes. The slave instantly recognizes his master, and the true Sethos, at length throwing aside his disguise, gives incontestable proofs of his identity. Osoroth imm^ately resigns the crown in his favour, and Daluca poisons herself. Sethos, after reigning five days, and causing his name to be in- scribed in the list of the kings of Egypt as Sethos Sosis, or Sethos the Conservator, gives up the kingdom to his lialf -brother Prince Beon, one of the sons of Daluca. Not satisfied with this, he procures the consent of the Princess Mnevie to marry his second brother Pemphos, who had been long attached to her. Sethos himself, with the title of King Conservator, retires to the temples of the priests


356 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. X.

of Memphis [p. 841], whither ambasBadors are frequently sent to him from dilEerent kings, and he is almost dailv consulted by his brothers.

This extravagant disinterestedness of the hero, in resign- ing his kingdom to one brother and his mistress to another, is the circumstance at which the reader of Sethos is most disappointed and displeased. Terrasson might consider the summum honum as consisting in geometry and retire- ment, but this is not the general sentiment of the readers of romance. It is very subUme, indeed, to give up a kingdom and a mistress, but the Conservator of Egypt must have sometimes thought, and the readers of Sethos will alwavs think, that he had better have retained thein

ft

both: —

Lorsque Je prdte a tons un main secourable. Par quel destin faut il que ma vertu m'accable !

Indeed, the whole of the latter part of Sethos — ^his voyage round Africa, and his wars with the impostor, are in- sufferably tiresome. The earlier books, however, are un- commonly interesting, and D'Alembert, while he confesses that the philosophy and erudition which the author had introduced were little to the taste of an age and nation which sacrificed every thing to amusement, declares, " qu'il n'y a rien dans le T^lemaque qui approche d'un grand nombre de caractfcres, de traits de morale, de reflexions fines et de discours quelquefois sublimes qu'on trouve dans Sethos." " The author of Sethos," says Gibbon (Miscellanies, vol. iv. p. 196), " was a scholar and philoso- pher. His book has far more originality and variety than Telemachus : yet Sethos is forgotten, and Telemachus will be immortal. That harmony of style, and the great talent of speaking to the heart and passions, which F^nelon pos- sessed was unknown to Terrasson. I am not surprised that Homer was admired by the one and criticized by the other." Indeed Terrasson is better known, at least in this country, as a second Zoilus,^ than as the author of Sethos.

Besides its intrinsic merit, the romance of Sethos is curious, as being the foundation of the hypothesis con-

^ A reference to Terrasson's '< Dissertation critique sar Tlliade d'Homere, 1712."


CH. X.] TEBBAS80K. SBTH08. 357

ceming the sixtli book of the ^neid maintaiiLed bj War- burton in his Divine Legation of Moses, which was first published in 1738, seven years after the appearance of Sethos. Servius, one of the earliest commentators on Virgil, had long ago remarked [on Aen. vi. 1], that many things in the ^neid were delivered according to the pro- found learning of the Egyptian theology (Multa per altam scientiam theologicorum -^gyptiorum) . This idea is carried on through the whole of Terrasson's description of the subterranean dwellings of the Egyptian priests, and the initiation of his hero. ** Mais on voit clairement dans les trois ^preuves du feu, de Teau et de Tair, les trois purifica- tions que les slmes doivent essuyer avant que de revenir a la vie, et que le plus grand po^te des Latins a emprunt^es dans le sixi^me livre de son Endide [v. 742] : infectum eluUur 8celu8 aut exurUur igni, sans omettre la circon- stance de la suspension a Fair agite ou aux vents : Le fleuve d'oubli et la porte d'ivoire y ont leur place " [torn. 2, liv. iii. p. 244]. And again, " J'aurois lieu de faire ici une invocation semblable a celles des poetes qui entre- prennent une description des Enfers. — Qu'il me soit permis de rev^er les choses que J'ai apprises, et de mettre au jour ce qui se passoit dans les entrailles de la terre et sous le voile impenetrable du plus profond silence. A peine Sethos f ut il descendu dans le souterrain du cote du temple superieur, qu'il fut extremement surpris d'entendre des cris d'enfans. Orphde qui en avoit 6t4 surpris comme lui, supposa depiiis que les enfans morts k la mamelle etoient places a Tentree des enfers : "

Continuo auditae voces, vastus et ingens, Infantamque animse flentes in limine primo; Quos dulcis viUe exortes, et ab ubere raptos Abstulit atra dies, et funere menit aceroo.

^neis Ti. 426, etc.

    • En * avancant toujours Sethos se trouva dans un lieu

enchants qu'on appelloit TElisde . . . . Le jour se tiroit d'en haut dans toute Tetendue du Sol. Mais comme il tomboit jusqu'au fond d'ame hauteur de cent quarante pids, il etoit affoibli ; & les ombres des arbres dont ce jardin

  • Ed. 1731, lir. ir. t. 2, p. 377, 8.


858 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. X.

etoit rempli raffoiblissant encore, il sembloit que Ton ne jouissoit en plein jour que d'un clair de lune .... CVst ce qui fist naitre a Orph^ la pensee de donner a TElisee un Soleil et des astres particuliers : "

Solemqne snum sua sidera norant.

^n. Ti. 641.

Terrasson, however, declares, that the allegories of the Egyptians " sent peu de chose en comparaison dea mysteres de O^res institu^s a Eleusine sur le module de ceux d'Isis." Now Warburton, in the second book of his Divine Legation, while inculcating that all legislators have confirmed the belief in a future state of rewards and punishments by the establishment of mysteries, contends that the allegorical descent of ^neas into hell was no other than an enigmati- cal representation of his initiation into the Eleusiniaa mysteries, ** which came originally from Egypt, the fountain head of legislation." On this system he attempts to show that the whole progress through Tartarus and Elysium is symbolically conformable to what has been ascertaintHl concerning the mysteries. This appropriation of Warburton was first remarked by Cooper in his Life of Socrates, where he says, Warburton supposes the whole sixth book of the ^neid to be a description of the Eleusinian mysteries, which, though he lets it pass for his own, was borrowed, or more properly stolen, from a French romance, entitled the Life of Sethos." Gibbon, in his Critical Observations on the Sixth Book of the iEneid, where he completely refutes Warburton's hypothesis, remarks, that " Some have sought for the Poetic Hell in the mines of Epinis, and others in the mysteries of Egypt. As this last notion was published in French six years before it was invented in English, the learned author of the Divine Legation has been severely treated by some ungenerous adversaries. Appearances, it must be confessed, wear a very suspicious aspect; but what are appearances/' he sarcastically subjoins, " when weighed against his lordship's declaration, that this is a point of honour in which he is particularly delicate, and that he may venture to boast that no author was ever more averse to take to himself what belonged to another (Letters to a late Professor of


CH. X.] TEBBA880N. — 8ETHOS. 369

Oxford.) ? Besides, lie has enriched this mysterious dis- covery with many collateral arguments which would for ever have escaped all inferior critics. In the case of Hercules, for instance, he demonstrates that the initiation and the descent to the shades were the same thing, because an ancient has affirmed that they were different." ^

' In the copy of Terrasson's work, preserved in the Berlin Royal Library, is the following note by the librarian, Dr. Siebel: "In this romance, which was a favourite book of Frederick ^e Great^s, may be found the o turn Splriti over the Library at Memphis is given

LiBB.



CHAPTER XI.

PASTORAL ROMANCE. — SANNAZZARO's ARCADIA. MONTE-

mayor's DIANA. — d'tTRF^'S ASTR^E. — SIR PHILIP

Sidney's arcadia.

WE have seen in a former volume that Pastoral Eomance occupied a place among the comparatively few and uninteresting prose fictions of the ancients, and that one very perfect specimen of this sort of composition, the Daphnis and Chloe of Longus, was presented to the world in the earliest ages of romance. It was to be ex> pected, accordingly, that when the taste for prose fiction became more prevalent than formerly, this easy and agree- able species of composition should not have been neglected. The very circumstance of so many works having appeared, of which the chief subject was turmoil and slaughter, led the mind, by a natural association, to wish to repose amid pastoral delights ; and the beautiful descriptions of rural nature, whi<£ occasionally occurred in chivalrous romance, would suggest the idea of compositions devoted to the description of rustic manners and pastoral enjoyments. Another circumstance contributed perhaps to the formation of this taste. Yirgil was one of the poets whose names had been venerated even amid the thickest shades of igno- rance, and his works, at the first revival of literature, became the highest subject of wonder and imitation. Of his divine productions, the Eclogues form a distinguished part, and when books and manuscripts were scarcely to be procured, were probably the portion of his writings most generally known. This, perhaps, contributed in no incon- siderable degree to form a taste for pastoral compositions, while the comparative easiness of the task induced the authors to write the whole, or the greater part, of them in prose, and frequently to combine with ruder materials the


CH. XI.] SANNAZZABO. ARCADIA. 361

descriptions and images of that bard, who was tbe object of universal admiration.

During the middle ages, indeed, pastoral compositions had been frequent, but they partook more of the nature of the eclogue, or drama, than of romance. The vapid pro- ductions of the Troubadours contained, not the adventures of rural characters, but insipid or affected descriptions of nature. Among the works of the Trouveurs, there are some pastorals on the loves and adventures of shepherds and shepherdesses. In these there is often a good deal of nature and naivete in the dialogue, but thej differ little from each other. A poet goes out to walk, it is always in spring, and meets a beautiful shepherdess. Sometimes she calls in to her assistance the surrounding shepherds, who come up with all expedition, and put the lover to flight ; but she more commonly accepts his propositions, of which the fulfilment is often very circumstantially described.

The

Ameto

of Boccaccio, which is a prose idyllium with poetical sprinklings, bears a strong resemblance to the pastorals of the Troubadours but is moi*e rich in rural description. The scene is laid in ancient Etruria: seven nymphs re- count the story of their loves, and each story concludes with eclogues, which were the first in the Italian language. Ameto, a yoimg hunter, presides over this amorous as- sembly, whose adventures, like those in all subsequent pastoral romances, refer to real characters, as has been explained in a long letter by Sansovino [the editor of the Ameto, Venice, 1645] ; but his discoveries and elucidations are little interesting, except those which relate to Fiammetta and her loves with Caleone, by whom Boccaccio himself is designated.

Boccaccio's Idyllium may be justly regarded as the pro- totype of the

Abcadia ^

of Sannazzaro (1458-1530), which was written towards the end of the fifteenth century, and which, though it cannot

' The first edition was pulished at Venice in 1502.


362 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

itself be considered as a pastoral romance, jet appears to have first opened the field to that species of composition. Like the Ameto, it consists partly of verse and partly of prose,^ a mode of writing which was adopted in aJl subse- quent pastoral romances. Of these, indeed, the prose generally constitutes the largest proportion, and sonnets or eclogues are only occasionally introduced for the sake of variety, or as a species of interlude. The Arcadia, how- ever, is about equally divided between prose and verse, the principal intention of the author, as appears from his own words, being to write a series of eclogues ; and he seems to have intermixed the prose relations merely in order to connect them. Nor does the Arcadia properly comprehend any story with a commencement and conclu- sion, which has always been considered essential to a romance. It entirely consists of a description of the em- ployments and amusements of shepherds, whose actions and sentiments are generally well adapted to the simplicity of pastoral life. The author, who, under the names of Ergasto and Sincero, is a principal character in the work, retires from Italy, on account of some love disappointment [Prosa 7], to a plain on the summit of Mount Partenio, a beautiful region in Arcadia [Pr. 1], possessed solely by shepherds. Tlie pastoral inhabitants of this district meet together, and complain in alternate strains of the cruelty of their respective mistresses [Egloga 1, 4, 8]. They cele- brate the festival of their goddess Pales [Pr. 3], or assemble round the tomb of some deceased shepherd, and rehearse his praise [Pr. 5]. Under the name of Massilia, whom the author feigns to have been the most respectable Sibyl of Arcadia, he laments the death of his mother. Funeral games are performed at her sepulchre, and Ergasto distributes prizes to those who excel in the various contests [Pr. 10, 11.] The work also contains many dis- guised incidents, which allude to the misfortimes of the author's patrons, the exiled princes of Naples. He also recounts his amours with the beautiful Carmosina, cele- brates her charms under the name of Amaranta [Pr. 4], and laments her death under that of Phyllis [Eg. 12]. At

^ Each being respectively headed, in some editions, at least, *' ^rose*' and "Egloghe."


CH. XI.] SANNAZZABO.— ABCADIA. 363

length lie is one morning accosted by a lovely Naiad, under whose protection he is conducted to the bottom of the deep, where he sees the grottoes in which all the streams of the earth have their source, particularly the Sebeto. A submarine excursion^ of this kind was a favourite notion with the Italian poets, in imitation pro- bably of the descent of the shepherd Aristaeus in the fourth Gkorgic (1. 360, &c.). It is introduced by Tasso in the fourteenth canto of the Jerusalem, where the two knights, who go in search of Binaldo, are conducted by a magician into the bowels of the earth (st. 37, &c.). A similar device is employed by Fracastoro in the Syphilis (lib. II.). After his aquatic survey, Sannazzaro emerges, by a route which is described in a manner so unintelligible as to be of no use to future travellers, near the foot of a . mountain in Italy, and concludes the work by his return to Naples, where he arrives much to his own satisfaction, and still more to that of the reader [Pr. 12].

In the Arcadia, the eclogues are chiefly written in what are called Versi Sdruccioli, the invention of which has by some been attributed to Sannazzaro.^ They consist, for

^ Cf. also the Kingdom of the Sea in the Arabian Nights.

^ M. Torraca considers the rhyme was introduced to Spain by Gsr- cilasso de la Vega, and that it is anjust to Sannazai'o to ascribe its in- vention, as some have done, to Cervantes. See F. Torraca, Gl' imitatori, p. 18.

The sane critic shows that Spenser was indebted through Clement Marot to Sannazzaro; he also instances very numerously the in* fluence of Sannazzaro's *' Arcadia" upon Spanish, French, and English writers in his GV Imitatori stranieri di Jacopo Sannazzaro, 2 ed. Koma, 1882. It is not improbable that it may have suggested to Sir Philip Sidney the title of his Arcadia. See Turraca, p. 77. Mr. Stigant notes that the name Ophelia occurs in Sannazzaro's *' Arcadia," whence it may have been taken by Shakespeare.

Here should also be mentioned the pastoral romance A Lusiiania Transformada of the Portuguese subject Fem^o d'Alvarez do Oriente, born at Goa in 1540. This was an imitation of Sanuazaro's *' Arcadia," as he himself says both at the commencement and at many subsequent passages of his work, which like its prototype consists of mingled prose and verse, but in merit lags far behind it, and sins by monotony, which is, however, relieved by passages from the life and travels of the author. The chief or poetical portion of the work is prolix in the extreme ; the poems are composed in the taste of the period and abound in quibbles and subtleties in which Oriente seems t«) have particularly delighted. Thus on p. 217, ed. ii. is a sonnet in six languages. The religious


364 HISTOBT OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

the most part, of lamentations for the death of a shepherd, or cruelty of a shepherdess. Sometimes, too, the swains contend in alternate strains for a reward, which is a crook, a lamb, or an obscene picture. These eclogues are, in a great measure, imitated from Virgil and other classics, with whose writings Sannazzaro had early rendered himself familiar, as a preparatory study to his admirable Latin compositions.

The pastoral dramas of Italy seem also to have sug- gested many incidents and fancies to the authors of pastoral romance. Thus, for example, Poliziano in his Orfeo, which is the prototype of that elegant species of comedy, has employed the responsive Echo : —

Che fat tu Echo mentre ch' io ti chiamo ?

Amo.

This conceit, of which there are some examples in the Greek Anthologia [e.g. xii. 43], and which Martial [ii. 86], ridicules in his contemporary poets, has been frequently introduced by the Italian imitators of Poliziano and with more or less absurdity by all pastoral romancers.

In the Pastor Fido of Guarini there is the incident of a lover disguising himself as a female at a festival, in order to obtain a species of intercourse with his mistress, which, in his own character, he could not procure. This is a lead- ing event in the principal subject of the Astrea, and is also introduced in one of the episodes of the

poetry, too, offends deeply against good taste. The Blessed Virgin b represented as the chaste Diana, and the convents and nuns as sacred groves and n jmphs dedicate to the service of the goddess. When he qaits this roccocco ana gives free play to his natural sentiment, he shows that he is no stranger to attractive simplicity, genial delineation, and elevated thought, however lacking in originality and inventiveness. He stu- diously imitates Ovid and Virgil. His language is adapted to the sub- ject, and always rich and lofty. The title of the work refers probably to the circumstance that the characters of the story are not really shepherds, but belong to a high rank in society and have been induced to adopt the pastoral life from various motives. — Lieb.


CH. XI,] MONTEHAYOB. — DIANA. 366


Diana,

whicli was written in Spanish by Jorge de Montemayor/ about the middle of the sixteenth century, and is the earliest regular romance of a pastoral description.* The scene is laid at the foot of the mountains of Leon ; but it is im- possible to teU what is the period of the action, such is the confusion of modem manners and ancient mythology. The characters alternately invoke the saints and fawns, and the destiny of one of the principal shepherdesses, who had been educated at a convent, is regulated by the oracles of Venus and Minerva.

Diana, the heroine of this work, was the fairest of those shepherdesses who inhabited the smiling meadows which are watered by the river Ezla. The young Sereno, who also dwelt on the banks of this stream, adored the beautiful Diana, who felt for him a reciprocal passion. They loved as in the age of gold, and their happiness was as complete as was consistent with innocence.

A felicity of this nature cannot continue long in a romance. Sereno, for some reason which is not explained, is obliged to leave his native country, and departs after one of those interviews, the tenderness of which almost compensates the bitterness of separation. A melancholy period of absence is terminated by a more melancholy

^ George of Montemayor was bom in Portugal, in the neighbourhood of Coimbra. The date of his birth is unknown. When very young he went into Spain, and, in the quality of musician, attended the infant Don Philip, son of Charles V. When this prince ascended the throne under the name of Philip II., Montemayor remained in his serrice in the capacity of a poet and wit. In this employment he continued till his death, which happened, probably, in a duel fought at Turin in 1561 after the publication of the Diana, which was printed in seven books at Valencia in 1542, according to Ticknor, iii. 95, who names this edition as the earliest known. The continuation in eight books, by the physician Alonzo Perez of Salamanca, appeared in 1564, and that of Gaspard Gil Pob in 1574.

^ There is no doubt, says Ticknor (p. 106), that pastoral romance was the first substitute in Spain for the romances of chivalry, and that it inherited no small degree of their popularity. . . The Diana, the first and best of the pastoiul romances was probably more read in Spain during the sixteenth century than any Spanish work of amusement except the Celestina/'


366 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

return, as he now finds his mistress in the arms of Delio, an unseemly shepherd, whom her father had compelled her to accept as a husband. The surrounding scenery reminds the lover of the happiness he had possessed, and of which he was now deprived. He sees his name interwoven with Diana's on the bark of the trees, and again views the fountain where they had pledged eternal faith.

While gazing on objects which excited such strong and painful emotions, he overhears the musical lament of the shepherd Sylvanus, a lover who had been rejected by Diana. He and Sereno, though formerly rivals, become friends from similarity of misfortune. Long they complain both in prose and rhyme of their unfaithful mistress ; and, while thus employed, are accosted by a disconsolate shep- herdess, who emerges from a thicket near the banks of the Ezla. They inform her of the cause of their grief, and she, in return, relates to them her story.

This damsel, whose name is Sylvania, had been accosted at the festival of Ceres by a beautiful shepherdess, with whom she formed a strong and sudden friendship. The religious ceremonies being concluded, the unknown shep- herdess confesses to Sylvania that she is in disguise, and is, in fact, the shepherd Alanio. Then this ambiguous character fell at the feet of Sylvania, professed the most ardent affection, and entreated the forgiveness of the fair. From that moment Sylvania conceived the warmest attach- ment to the person who was now imploring her pardon. This supplicant, however, was not the shepherd Alanio, as was pretended, but the shepherdess Ysmenia, who, in sport, had assumed the character of her cousin and lover Alanio, to whom she had a striking resemblance; but Alanio, being informed by his mistress of the adven- ture, particularly of the hopeless passion conceived by Syl- vania, resolved to avail himself of the incident. He forsook Ysmenia, and attached himself to Sylvania, who readily transferred the affection she had formed for the false to the real Alanio. Ysmenia consoled herself for the loss of her lover, by coquetting with a shepherd of the name of Montano. Alanio, on hearing of this, whimsically resolved on recovering the affections of his former mistress. AVhile thus employed, Montano resorted frequently to the


CH. XI.] MONTBMATOB. — DIANA. 367

cottage of Sylvania's father, in order to adjust with him their rights of pasturage ; and, after a few visits, entirely forgot Ysmenia, and became deeply enamoured of Sylvania. Montano pursued Sylvania through the fields and forests ; he in turn was pursued by Ysmenia, who was generally followed by Alanio. This Brouillerie d* Amour was sug- gested by an Italian pastoral drama, and reminds us of the loves of Pan and Echo in an Idyllium of Moschus

[No. 6] :

Fan sighs for Echo o'er the lawn, Sweet Echo loves the dancing fawn, The dancing fawn fair Lyda charms; As Echo Fan's soft bosom warms, So far the fawn sweet Echo burns ; Thus all inconstant in their turns, All fondly woo, are fondly wooed, Farsue, or are themselves pursued.

In these circumstances Sylvania had come to reside with an aunt who lived on the banks' of the Ezla, and had learned, since her arrival, that Montano had returned to the feet of Ysmenia, and had been espoused by that shepherdess, who, at the same time, had given her sister in marriage to Alanio.

I know not whether the audience imravelled this story at the first hearing, but they agreed to meet this intricate damsel every morning in a solitary valley [1. i.], where they sighed without restraint, and indulged in long con- ferences on the misfortimes of love, and discussions on questions of gallantry. The debates of this amorous society are considerably diversified by the arrival of three nymphs, who are about to relate their adventures, when interrupted by the informal gallantry of three satyrs. This incident serves to introduce a portly shepherdess called Felismena, who, at a most critical moment, and un- seen by all, transfixes these ardent lovers in succession with her arrows, and then bursting into view, commences her story in the following terms : —

" One day, shortly previous to my birth, a conversation took place between my parents, concerning the judgment of Paris, in the course of which my mother complained that the apple had been refused to Minerva, and contended that it was due to her who united the perfections of mind


368 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

to the beauties of person. lu the course of the ensuing night Venus appeared to her in a dream, reproached her with ingratitude for the favours with which she had been loaded, and announced that the child, of which she was about to be delivered, would cost her the loss of life, and that her offspring would be a^^tated by the most violent passions which the resentment of Venus could inflict.

" My mother was much troubled at this cruel sentence, till, on the departure of Venus, Minerva appeared, and comforted her by an assurance that her child would be distinguished by firmness of mind and feats of arms.

"The first part of the threats of Venus was speedily accomplished, and my father, having early followed my mother to the tomb, I was left an orphan. Henceforth 1 resided at the house of a distant relative ; and, having attained my seventeenth year, became the victim of the offended goddess by falling in love with Don Felix, a young nobleman of the province in which I lived. The object of my affections felt a reciprocal passion, but his father, having learned the attachment which subsisted betwixt us, sent his son to court, with a view to prevent our union. Soon after his departure, I followed him in the disguise of a page, and discovered on the night of my arrival at the capital, by a serenade I heard him give, that Don Felix had already disposed of his affections. Without being recognised by him, I was admitted into his service, and was engaged by my former lover to conduct his correspondence with the mis- tress, who, since our separation, had supplanted me in his heart. From the disguise in which I appeaj^, she conceived for me the warmest attachment, and, perceiving that her best hope of enjoying frequent interviews with me was to in- dulge the expectations of her lover, she transmitted answers to Don Felix, which, though not decisive, were more lenient and encouraging than formerly. Exasperated, at length, by the cold return which I was obliged to make to her advances, she gradually replied in less favourable terms to Don Felix, The distress, with which he was in conse- quence affected, moved my compassion, and one day, while pressing his suit with the lady more vehemently than usual, she made an explicit and violent declaration of her sentiments in my behalf; and, having retired to her


CH. XI.] MONTEMAYOB. DIANA. 369

cabinet, expired immediately in consequence of the agita- tion into which she had been thrown. Don Felix dis- appeared soon after the news of her death had reached him, and during the last twelvemonth I have roamed in the habit of a shepherdess from province to province in quest of the ungrateful fugitive."

A mistress serving her lover in capacity of a page, and employed by him to propitiate an obdurate fair one, is a common love adventure with the old novelists. There is a tale, founded on this incident, in the Ecatommithi of Cin- thio, and another in Bandello [No. 36 ; see supra, vol. ii., p. 225], from which Shakespeare took the plot of Twelfth Night. These Italian novels were probably the origin of the above episode of Felismena,^ which seems, in turn, to have suggested the story of Protheus and Julia in the Two Gen- tlemen of Verona. It will be recollected, that while Pro- theus and Julia are mutually enamoured, the former is sent by his father from Verona to the court of Milan, to which he proceeds by sea. Soon after his arrival he falls in love with Sylvia, the duke's daughter. Julia follows him in the disguise of a page, and discovers the estrangement of his affections by the evening music which he gives to the ear of his new mistress. She then enters into his service, and is employed by him to propitiate the affections of her rival. The outline of this plot corresponds so closely with the Spanish romance, that there can be little doubt it was imi- tated by Shakspeare, who, besides, has copied the original in some minute particulars, which clearly evince the source from which the drama has been derived : as for example, in the letter which Protheus addresses to Julia, her rejec- tion of it when offered by her waiting-maid, and the device by which she afterwards attemj^ts to procure a perusal (Act I. sc. 2). In several passages, indeed, the dramatist has copied the language of the pastoral.

But while, in some respects, Shakespeare has thus closely followed the romance, he has departed from it in more essential incidents, in a manner (as usual with him) that rather injures than improves the story. In the Diana, the

^ The Story of the Shepherdess Felismena, from book ii. of the Diana . . . translated by B. Young, has been published in J. F. Collier's " Shakespeare's Library," vol. ii. 1843, Sto.

II. B B


370 HI8TOBT OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

joung man is sent on his trarels by his father, in order to prevent an unsuitable marriage, but Protheus is dispatched to Milan at the idle suggestion of a servant, and apparently for no other purpose than to give a commencement to the intrigue. Don Felix is indeed an unfaithful lover, yet his spirit, generosity, and honour, still preserve the esteem and interest of the reader ; but the unprincipled villain, into whom he has been transformed in the drama, not only for- sakes his mistress, but attempts to supplant his friend, and to supplant him by the basest artifice. The revival of affection, too, is much more natural and pleasing in the romance than in the play. In the former, Celia, the new £ame of Felix, was then no longer in being, and his former mistress, as we shall afterwards find, had a fresh claim to his gratitude ; but Protheus returns to Julia with as much levity as he had abandoned her, and apparently for no reason, except that his stratagem had failed, and that his fraud had been exposed. The story of Felismena seems also to have suggested the part of Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster relating to the disguise of Euphrasia, which forms the principal plot of that tragedy.

But to return to the romance. Felismena having finished her story, the three damsels, whom she had rescued from the satyrs, intimated that they were virgins conse- crated to the service of Diana, and offered to conduct their companions to the temple of that goddess [1. ii.].

On the way thither they arrived at a delightful island in a lake, where, having entered a cottage, they discovered a shepherdess asleep in an elegant dishabille. This damsel, when awakened, insisted that it was her sighs that shook the trees of the valley, and her tears that fed the waters, by which the island was formed. It would have been con- trary to pastoral etiquette to contest either the force of her sighs, or the abundance of her tears, for the singular exu- berance of which she accounted by relating her story, of which the substance is, that she had been beloved bv a father and son ; that one night she had given a rendezvous to the latter, during which he had been transfixed by an arrow from the hand of the jealous parent, who had been on watch, and had not discovered that this rival was his son ; but that as soon as he recognised him he fell on the


CH. XI.] MONTEMATOB. — DIANA. 371

body of his child, and stabbed himself with a dagger. The ladj did not interfere in the infliction of this voluntarj punishment, but, terrified at the spectacle, she had fled from the spot, and had not stopped till she entered the cottage where she was discovered asleep by our travellers [1. iii.].

Belisa, for that was the name of the shepherdess, after being completely roused, agreed to accompany the nymphs of Diana to the temple of the goddess, where the whole troop arrived after a long journey. From this superb edifice, which was situated in a plain, surrounded by an almost impenetrable wood, there came forth a band of nymphs of inexpressible beauty, with a dignified priestess at their head, who entertained her visitors witii much hospitality. They were introduced into a magnificent hall, adorned with figures of ancient heroes, distinguished by their generosity and valour. The statues of a long race of Spanish worthies were ranged after those of antiquity, and the praises of Spanish beauties were celebrated by Orpheus, who was there preserved in youth and song by the power of enchantment. An elegant entertainment followed, after which Felismena, at the request of the priestess, related a Moorish story, of which the spirit and interest form a re- markable contrast to the languor of the pastoral part of the romance.

Ferdinand of Spain having conquered a considerable district of the kingdom of Granada, appointed Bodrigo of Narvas ^ to be Alcaide of the Moorish fortresses that had

  • The first edition of the Diana in which the story of Narvaez seems

to have been inserted is that published at Venice, 1568, by UUoa, who is probably responsible for the addition. iTicknor, note iii. p. 95. Ulloa must have derived the story directly from Antonio de Yillegas, as no one will doubt who compares both together, and remembers that it does not appear in the first edition of the Diana ; that it is wholly unsuited to its place in such a romance, and that it is often for several sentences together the same in Yillegas and in book iv. of the Diana. The story of Narvaez, who is honourably noticed in Palgar's ** Claros Varones," Titulo XTiL , and who is said to have been the ancestor of Narvaez, the minister of state to Isabella 11., is found in Argote de Molina (Nobleza, 1588, p. 296), in Conde (Historia, tom. iii., p. 262), in Yillegas (Inven- tario, 1565, p. 94); in Padilla (Romancero, 1583, pp. 117-127); in Lope de Vega (Kemedio de la Desdicha; Comedias,^ tom. xiii. 1620, and Dorotea, Acto ii. sc. 5) ; in Don Quixote (Parte i. c. 5). I think, too, it


372 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

been recently acquired. One night this chief quitted his residence in Alora to inspect the enemy's frontiers. Haviutr arrived at the banks of a stream, he passed with four of the knights who had accompanied him, and left other five at the ford. Those that remained behind soon heard a soft voice from a distance, and, placing themselves in conceal- ment, they perceived, by the light of the moon, a younir Moor, superbly mounted, and arrayed in splendid armour, who sung, as he advanced, the most amorous and impas- sioned verses in the language of Arabia. The Spanish knights attacked him on all sides. Though thus unequally opposed, the stranger had nearly overpowered his assailants, when the sound of the horn, a signal agreed on in case of any emergency, recalled Don Eodrigo, as yet not far dis- tant, to the succour of his friends. He defied the Moor to a siQgle combat, which he readily accei)ted, but, exhausted by his former encounter, he became the prisoner of the Christian leader. While conducting his captive to Alora, Rodrigo remarked his deep despondency, and begged to be intrusted with the cause of his affliction, which, he added, he could not attribute to any want of firmness to remain. In compliance with this request, the Moor informs his con- queror that he is the last sulnrivor of the family of the Abencerrages, once so powerful and popular in Grenada. All his relatives having fallen under the displeasure of the king, and having been in consequence beheaded, he was sent, while a child, to Cartana, a fortress on the Christian frontier, of which the governor had been a secret friend of his father, and now brought him up as the brother of his daughter Xarifa. The early attachment of these young persons, and their change of behaviour on discovering that they were not related, is described with much truth and tenderness. But the happiness of the lovers was of short duration, as Xarifa was obliged to depart with her father to the government of Coyn, to which he had been appointed

may have been eiven by Timoneda, auder the title of Historia del £na- moradoMoro As>\ndAmeZf sine anno (Faster, Bib. torn. i. p. 162), and it is certainly among the ballads in his Rosa EspaSoIa, 1573. It is the subject also of a long poem by a Corsican, Franciscan Balbi de Corregio, 1693 (Depping^s ^'Romancero," Leipzig, 1844. 12mo. Tom. ii. p. 231).


CH. XI.] MONTEMAYOB. — DIANA. 373

by his sovereign. The day before he encountered the Spaniards, the Moor had received a billet from his mistress, informing him that her father had set out for Grenada, and that she awaited her lover in his absence. To this rendezvous accordingly he was on his way, when he had been detained by the attack of the Christians. Having re- lated this story, Don Eodrigo granted the prisoner his freedom for three days, and he immediately set out to visit his mistress. The joy of the interview was complete, till he informed her of his adventures, and his obligation to return to captivity. Xarifa insisted on accompanying him to Alora, and they departed at day-break. Eodrigo, on their arrival, not only gave them their freedom, but wrote in their favour to the king of Grenada, who, though the request was made by the most formidable of his foes, agreed to pardon this last survivor of the race of the Aben- cerrages [1. iv,].*

On the day which followed the recital of this story the priestess of Diana, who knew by inspiration all the misfor- tunes of her guests, and had traced in her mind a plan for their future happiness, conducted them to the interior of the temple, and filled three cups from an enchanted stream. This beverage having been quaffed by Sereno, Sylvanus, and Sylvania, they instantly fell into a profound sleep, in which they remained for a considerable time. Sereno awaked in a state of most perfect indifference for his once much loved Diana, while Sylvanus and Sylvania, for- getting their former attachments, arose deeply enamoured of each other, and employed the most ardent expressions of affection. Some of the most entertaining scenes in Shakspear's ** Midsummer Night's Dream " appear to have been suggested by the transference of love occasioned by the potion of the priestess. — ^See also Pucelle d'Orleans, c. 17.

Felismena, meanwhile, received a route from the priestess, and, reassuming her arrows, proceeded according to her itinerary instructions.

During her journey she entered the cottage of a shep-

^ The nnmerous adaptations of this episode have been enumerated by Ferd. Wolf in his Kosa de Romances, Leipzig, 1846, p. 107. Cf. also Malespini, Novelle, p. ii. No. 36. — Lies.


374 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. XL

herd, whom she discovered to be the lover of Belisa. On seeing him, Felismena conjectured that he had been pierced by an arrow as his mistress related, but that he had not died of the wound, that his father had been in too great a hurry in stabbing himself, and his mistress in running away. In the course of conversation, however, she learned that though he had indeed been the rival of his father, and though it was true that his mistress had promised him a rendezvous, she had never made her appearance. A magi- cian, it seems, by whom she was beloved, foreseeing the nocturnal interview, had raised the phantoms who played the seemingly bloody part related by Belisa, and the lover did not arrive at the appointed place till all had disappeared. After hearing this satisfactory explanation, Felismena directed him to the temple of Diana, and thus restored l^im to the arms of the astonished Belisa [1. v.j.

Meanwhile Felismena pursued her journey to the valley of the Mondego. In the vicinity of Coimbra perceiving a knight beset by three enemies, she treated them as she had formerly done the satyrs, and discovered her much loved Don Felix in the person she had preserved. He re- turned with her to the temple of Diana, and was united to her at the same time that Sylvanus was married to Sylvania, and Belisa to her lover.

The romance concludes while Sereno yet remains in the stat-e of indifference for Diana, into which the beverage of the priestess had thrown him [1. vii.]. I have never seen the continuation, by Alonzo Perez,* which consists of eight books ; but in that by Qaspar Gil Polo, we are told that Sereno gradually recovered from his insensibility. Delio, the husband of Diana, likewise falls in love with a damsel who had recently arrived on the banks of the Ezla. One day he meets her alone in a wood, and pursues her with a criminal intention, but is so much overheated by the chase that he dies shortly after. No obstacle now remaining to the union of Diana and Sereno, their nuptials are celebrated

^ This continuation did not attain completion, it leaves off at a point where Sireno receives another draught from the priestess, which again renders him enamoured of Diana, now a widow, and places him in rivalry with two other lovers, the result, however, was to be told in a third part. — Lieb.


CH. XI.] MONTEMAYOB. — DIANA. 375

as soon as the time appropriated for the mouming of the widow has expired.*

Gil Polo having thus taken up the romance when the story was on the point of being concluded, has chieflj filled his work with poetry, and stories which are entirely episodical, but which are less complicated, and perhaps more interesting, than those of his predecessor Monte- mayor.

Cervantes condemns the continuation by Alonzo Perez, but bestows extravagant commendation on that of Gaspar Gil Polo, which he seems to consider as superior even to the original by Montemayor. " And since we began," said the curate, " with the Diana of Montemayor, I am of . opinion we ought not to bum it, but only take out that part of it which treats of the magician Felicia aud the enchanted water, as also all the longer poems, and let the work escape with its prose, and the honour of being the first of the kind. Here is another Diana," quoth the barber, "the second of that name, by Salmantino (of Salamanca) ; nay, and a third too, by Gil Polo. Pray," said the curate, " let Salmantino increase the number of criminals in the yard, but as for that by Gil Polo, preserve it as charily as if Apollo himself had written it."

What is chiefly remarkable in the Diana of Montemayor, and its continuations, is the multitude of episodes with which they are encumbered, and the inartificial manner in which these are introduced. It has been supposed, indeed, that it was not so much the intention of Montemayor to write an interesting and well-connected romance, as to detail, under fictitious names, his own history, and the amours of the grandees of the court of Charles V. —

    • Diversas historias," as he himself exj>resses it, de cases

que verdaderamente han sucedido, aunque tan disf ra9ada8 debaxo de nombre y estilo pastoral." * Under the name of

^ Polo's '* Diana Enamorada was first printed in 1564, and seven editions of the ori^nal appeared in half a oentiirv, with twi> French translations and a Latin one. The best edition 'of Polo is that with a life of him by Cerda, Madrid, 1802. It is valuable for the notes to the Canto de Turia, in which, imitating the Canto de Orfeo, where Monte- mayor gives an account of the famous ladie9 of his time. Polo gives an account of the fiimous poets of Valencia. — Txcknor.

^ Dunlop considers that many incidents and names have been bor


376 HISTORT OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

Sylvanus, in particular, he is supposed to have described an early amour of the duke of Alba, in whose service he spent a great part of his youth. Montemayor himself, we are told, was enamoured of a Spanish lady, whom, in his sonnets, he calls Marfida. After a return from a long journey he found her married, a disappointment which is represented by the union of Diana with Delio. This lady, it is said, lived to a great age in the province of Leon, and was visited there in the beginning of the seventeenth century, by Philip III. and his court, on their return from Portugal/ The

G-ALATEA

of Cervantes, which was formed on the model of the Diana, is also reported to have been written with the intention of covertly relating the anecdotes of the age in which the author flourished, by a representation of the lives, the manners, and occupations of shej^herds and shepherdesses, who inhabited the banks of the Tagus and Henares. Thus, under Damon, Cervantes is understood to represent him- self, and by Amarillis, the obdurate nymph he courted. This romance, which, with the exception of a few unsuccess- ful poems, was the earliest work of its author, and was first printed in 1584, is now well known through the imitation of Florian. The adventures are not so extrava- gant as those of the Diana, but the style is greatly inferior, particularly in the poetical parts, which show that the author, as he himself expresses it in Don Quixote, was more conversant with misfortune than with the muse. The episodes, as in its prototype, are interwoven in the most complicated manner. There are the same long dis-

rowed by Montemayor from the Hysmene and Hysmenias of Eustathius. See vol. i. p. 82.

' Some of the adrentures, as Montemayor says in his Argumeato to the whole romance, really occurred. Lope de Vega (Dorotea, act ii. sc. 2), says that Diana was a lady of Valencia de San Juan. Sereno was the author. Lope adds that the Filida of Montalvo, the Galatea of Cervantes, theCamila of Garci lasso, the Violante of Camoens, the Silva of Bernaldes, the Filio of Figueroa, and the Leonor of Cortereal, were all real persons disguised under fictitious names. — Ticknob, p. 95.


CH. XI.] CEBTANTES. — GALATEA. 377

cussions on the nature of love as in the Diana — equal pedantry, and a greater number of far-fetched conceits ; all the heroes of fable and history are quoted, and the sun only shines with the light which he borrows from the eyes of Galatea : —

Ante la luz de unos serenos Ojos Que al Sol dan Luz con que da Luz al Suelo.

I. ii. 2nd Sonnet.

The work consists of siz^parts, and though it be not com- pleted, there is enough to bestow on Cervantes the reputa- tion of having written one of the most tiresome as well as one of the most amusing books in the world.

As the Diana of Montemayor became the most popular romance ^ which had appeared in Spain since the time of Amadis de Guul, there were many imitations of it, besides the six books of the Galatea of Cervantes, 1584. Among these may be numbered Los Dies Libros de Portuna d' Amor, by Pedro Frasso, printed in 1573 (a romance without merit, and soon forgotten), and mentioned in Don Quixote ; the Pastor de Ibera, 1591, by Bernardo de la Vega; Desen- ganno de Celos (Truth for the Jealous), by Lope de Encisco,

1586, and the Ninfas de Henarez, in six books, Alcala,

1587, by Bernardo Gonzales, who, I see, confesses in his

^ At least sixteen editions of the original appeared in eighty years, six French translatibns (according to Grordou ae Percel, Bib. de T Usage des Romans, Paris, 1734, torn. ii. pp. 23, 24), two German, according to Ebert, and an excellent English one by Bartholomew Yong in 1598. Some of its happy versions of the poetry of Montemayor are found in England's Helicon, 1600 and 1614, reprinted in the third volume of the British Bibliographer, London, 1810, 8vo. The story of Proteus and Julia, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, was supposed by Mrs. Lennox and Dr. Farmer to be taken from that of Felismena in the second book of Montemayor's Diana (see supra, p. 368), and therefore Collier has re- published Yong's translation of the last in the second volume of his Shakespeare's Library, though he doubts whether Shakespeare were really indebted to it. Poor abridgments of the Diana of Montemayor, and of Polo's continuation, were published at London, 1738. Sir Philip Sidney translated two or three of the short ix>ems in Montemayor's Diana — the one in book i. beginning ** Cabellos quanta mudanza," being done very well. It was natural Uiat the author of the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia should be familiar with Montemayor, especially as he was educated at a time when a good deal of attention was paid to Spanish literature in England. Ticknor, iii. 95, note.


378 HISTOBT OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

prologue, that he had just come from the Canary Islands, and had never seen the banks of the Henarez.^

These Spanish compositions resemble in nothing the pastoral of Longus, (which has been regarded as the pro- totype of this species of romance,) except that the scene is laid in the country, and that the characters are shepherds and shepherdesses. Their authors have not rivalled the beauty and harmony of the rural descriptions of the Grecian, and the simplicity of his characters and sentiments they have not attempted to imitate. ,

Subsequent writers unfortunately chose for their model the Spanish instead of the Grecian style of pastoral com- position.

In imitation of Montemayor and Cervantes, whose romances had been so popular in the peninsula, Honore D'Urf^ (1567-1625), a French nobleman, wrote his

' Gompftre Rousseau's remarks on the Lignon, p. 378, note. The extreme popularity of the Diana not only provoked many imitations, but also gave rise to a spiritual parody of it fur religious purposes, like the travesties of Garcilasso de la Vega, this is Priroera Parte de la Diana a lo Divinu repartida en sieie Libros, . . by Friar Barth. Ponce, Carago^a, 1599, but license to print dated 1571. Its purpose was to honour the Madonna. ,

Gayangos notes among the earliest imitations of the Diana, one bj Hyeronimo de Arbolanches, printed at Zaragoza in 1566, entitled. Las Havidas, Valencia, 1601, from Abido, one of the personages that figure in it. The story is strange and in part disgusting, but Gayangos de- scribes some of the poetry as worth reading. He eives similar praise to £1 Prado de Valencia, in honour of Philip III. and the Dtike of Lerma, who appear in the guise of shepherds, and in the course of which tlierf are two certamenes or poetical joustings, in which Lopez Maldonadu, £1 Capitan Artieda, Guillen de C&stro, and other known poets of the time figure.

The Age of Gold, Madrid, 1608, is a romance by Bernardo de Balbuena, in 1568*1627, who spent much of his life in Jamaica and died Bishop of Puerto Rico, but gives no picture of the new world in his romance, which however is not without merit and contains much poetry of tk Italian school.

In 16U9 appeared The Constant Amaryllis, in four discourses, crowded, like its predecessors, with short poems, by Christoval Suare2 de Figueroa, who had lived much in Italy and had translated the Pastor Fido. See Ticknor, by whom other imitations are mentioned in ch. xxxiii«  of Hist, of Sp. Lit. 1872, p. 104, &c., and an enumeration of similar works will be found at pp. 22, 2:i, of Signor Torraca's ** GF Imitator! stranieri di Jacopo Sannasaro," 2nd ed. Roma, 1882.


CH. XI.] D'UBFi. — A8TBBB. 879


a work, which, under the disguise of pastoral incidents and characters, exhibits the singular history of his own family, and the amours at the court of Henry the Great. The first volume, dedicated to that monarch, appeared, probably in its second edition (no copy of the first edition 18 known), in 1610,^ the second part in the same year, and the third, which is addressed to Louis XIII., was given to the world four or five years subsequent to the publication of the second. The duke of Savoy was depositary of the fourth part, which remained in manuscript at the death of the author, and was transmitted on that event to Mademoi- selle D'Urfe. She confided it to Baro, the secretary of her deceased relative, who published it two years after the death of his master, with a dedication to Mary of Medicis, and made up a fifth part from memoirs and fragments, also placed in his hands. The whole was printed at Bouen, 1647, in five volumes. A modem edition has been pub- lished by the Abb^ Souchai, in which many things, especially the dialogues, have been much curtailed.

The period of the action of this celebrated work is feigned to be the end of the fifth or beginning of the sixth century, and the scene the banks of the Lignon. Celadon was the most amiable and most enamoured of the shep- herds who lived in that happy age and delightful region : '

^ L'Astr^e, oii aont d^uito les divers efFets de Fhonoeste amiti^, Paris. The first part appeared in 1608 (see A. Bernard, Kecherches bibliog^aphiques sur le Koman d'Astr^, Paris, 1859, p. 6), part 2 in 1610, part 3 in 1618, part 4 (in four books) in 1624, and, after the death of d'Urf4§, 5th and fth parts, drawn from d'UrfS's MSS., by Borstel de Gaubertin, in 1625 and 1626. Baro, the secretary and friend of d'Urffi, published the 4th and the 5th or last part in 1627. Borsters parts were a surreptitious speculation and probably published in Holland.

'* Baasompierre says in his M^moires that Henry IV. when suffering the twinges of gout, had the book read to him every night.

' This district was afterwards by no means remarkable for its pastoral beauty. In the preamble to St. Pierre's *' Arcadia, which partly con- sists of a dialogue between the author and Kousseau, the latter replies with a smile, to some observation of the former, " Now you mention the shepherds of the Lignon, I once made an excursion to Furez, on purpose


380 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XL

his passion was returned by the beautiful Astrea, but at length the treachery and envy of the shepherd »Semire in- flame her mind with jealousy. She meets her lover, re- proaches him with his perfidy, and then flies from his presence. Celadon casts himself, with arms across, into the river; but his hopes of submersion, however well founded, are totally frustrated. He is thrown at some distance on the banks of the stream, near a grove of myrtles, where three nymphs come to his assistance, and conduct him to the castle of Issoura.

Astrea, who in concealment had perceived her lover pre- cipitate himself into the stream, but had not foreseen such powerful effects from her reproaches, faints and falls into the water. She is rescued by the neighbouring swains, and conveyed to a cottage. There she is visited by Lycidas, the brother of Celadon, for whom a fruitless search is nov made. Astrea pretends he had been drowned in attempt- ing to save her, but her expressions of grief not answering the expectations of the brother, he upbraids her with in- difference for the loss of so faithful a lover : Astrea pays a tribute to his virtues, but complains that he was a general lover, and in particular had forsaken her for Amynta. Lycidas now shrewdly conjectures that her jealousy has been the cause of his brother's death, and re- minds her that Celadon, at her own desire, had made love to all the neighbouring shepherdesses, in order to conceal his real passion, — an arrangement which Astrea might have previously recollected, without any extraordinai-y powers of reminiscence. At the desire of Phillis and Diana, two of her companions, she is now induced to re- count the progress of her affection for Celadon, and her whole history previous to the water-scene; a recital in

to see the country of Celadon and Astrea, of which D'Urf§ has drawn such charming pictures. Instead of amorous swains, I found on the banks of the Lignon nothing but blacksmiths, forgemen, and iron- workers."

Author. " What, in such a delightful country ? "

Rousseau, '* It is full of nothing else but forges. It was this journey to Forez that undeceived me. Previous to that time not a year jmssed without my reading Astrea from beginning to end. I was perfectly familiar with all the characters in that performance. Thus knowledge robs us of our pleasures."


CH. XI.] D'UBP]^. ASTBiE. B81

which unfortunately she gives no marks of that defect of memory she had so lately betrayed.

Astrea begins her narrative by describing with much minuteness the sensations, which, though only twelve years of age, she felt on first meeting with Celadon. Soon after this interview the festival of Venus was celebrated. On this occasion it was customary that four virgins should represent the judgment of Paris, in the temple of the god- dess. At this exhibition, the description of which is taken from the tenth book of Apuleius, males were prohibited from being present, on pain of being stoned to death. Celadon, however, obtained admission in disguise of a virgin, and the part of Paris was luckily assigned to him. The three nymphs (one of whom was Astrea), competitors for the prize of beauty, were submitted to his inspection in the costume in which their respective excellencies could be most accurately discriminated. Celadon had thus an op- portunity of bestowing the prize on Astrea, and afterwards acquainted her with the risk he had encountered for her sake. An incident similar to this occurs in the Pastor Fido [Ath. ii. sc. 1], and fifth book of the Einaldo. In the former, Mirtillo, disguised as his sister, mingles at the festival of Jupiter, among a train of nymphs, who contend which should give the sweetest kiss ; Amarillis, the mistress of Mirtillo, is chosen the judge, and receives the caresses of her lover among those of her fair companions. In Einaldo the incident is similar to that of the romance, except that in the former the audacious intruder is detected by his mistress Olinda — in the latter he reveals the secret him- self. A corresponding event, it will be recollected, has been mentioned in the abstract- of the Diana of Montemayor.

Spite of this happy commencement, the final union of Celadon and Astrea was retarded by the enmity subsisting between their parents ; for the father of Celadon having become acquainted with the passion of his son, sent him to travel in Italy during three years. At his return his affection was unchanged, but Semire having placed Astrea in a situation whence she beheld his apparent courtship of Amynta, her jealousy and treacherous memory gave rise to the sudden catastrophe with which the pastoral com- mences, and which has been already related.


382 HI8T0BT OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

About this time Astrea deriyed no slight consolation from the death of her father and mother, as the distress she assumed for their loss served as a cloak to her real grief, on account of the fate of Celadon : " Presque au mesme temps elle perdit Alo^ et Hjpolite ses p^re et m^re — Hypolite pour la frayeur qu'elle eut de la perte d'Astr^e, lorsqu' ella tomba dans Teau ; et Alee pour le deplaisir de la perte de sa ch^re compagne, qui touiefois ne fiU a Astree un foible sotUagement, pouvant plaindre la perte de Celadon sous la couverture de celle de son pere et de sa m^re."

While Astrea was thus solaced by the demise of her parents, Celadon resided in the castle of Issoura, in the society of the nymphs by whom he had been succoured. Galatea, the most beautiful of these, and sister to the sovereign of the district, neglected for his sake her two former lovers, one of whom was Polemas, regent of the country in the absence of her brother ; the other Lindamor, formerly her favoured admirer, who was now employed under his sovereign in a war against one of the neighbour- ing princes.

In spite, however, of this flattering preference, and the undeserved asperity with which he had been treated, the heart of Celadon still remained faithful to Astrea.

But as Gkilatea, according to the expression of D*Urfe, wished to whip him into affection, he found it necessary to escape from her lash. He was assisted in his elopement by Leonide, a nymph belonging to the court of Galatea, and instantly directed his flight to the banks of the lignon. As his mistress, however, at parting, had for- bidden him her presence, he fixed his residence in a wild cavern in the midst of a forest, and near the side of the stream. Here he resolved to pass the remainder of his days, solacing himself with the hope of beholding Astrea without being seen by her, and by raising a small temple, which, from an allusion to her name, he dedicated to the Goddess of Justice.

One day, while accidentally wandering through a meadow, he saw a number of shepherdesses asleep, and among these he remarked Astrea. Not daring to appear before her, he adopted the expedient of writing a billet, which he left on


CH. ZI.] d'xTBF^. — ^ASTBis. 383

her bosom ; on awakening she had a glance of her lover as he disappeared, but believed she had seen his spirit, and the letter, in which he informed her that his remains were deposited in the neighbourhood, seemed to confirm this supposition.

The shepherds of Lignon formed a tomb for Celadon, to procure repose to his wandering shade, and shepherdesses gathered flowers, which they strewed on the imaginary grave. Three times the female druids called on his soul : the high-priest also bade him adieu, and though they sup- posed he had been drowned, prayed that the earth might rest lightly on him.

Leonide, the nymph who had aided Celadon in his escape from the court of Galatea, although she knew that he was yet alive, assisted at this ceremony. She also frequently visited the recluse in his cavern, and on one occasion brought her uncle, the Grand Druid Adamas, who had be- come acquainted with Celadon at the castle of Issoura. This druid was much interested in his fate, and, wishing to draw him from solitude, tried to persuade him to dis- obey the commands of his mistress, and to court instead of avoiding her presence. The fastidious lover being inflexible on this point, Adamas next proposed that he should come to his house in disguise of a girl, and assume the character of his daughter Alexis, who had now resided for eight years with the druids in the caverns of the Camutes. This plan was readily embraced by Celadon, who had scarcely arrived at the mansion of Adamas, when all the neighbour- ing shepherdesses, and among the rest Astrea, came to pay their respects to the daughter of the Grand Druid. Astrea did not recognise her lover, but was overpowered by a secret and inexplicable emotion. She remained for some time with the false Alexis, and afterwards resided with him at her own abode, in the cottage of Phocion, where she had dwelt since the death of her parents. The account of the friendship of this pretended female and Astrea, their senti- mental conversations, and the freedoms ^ in which the

^ This sitaation, writes M. L. de Lomenie (in the Revue des Deux Mondes, 15 Juillet, 1858, p. 457), prodait un certain nombre de tableaux un peu lagers, que Perrault avait, sans doute, oubli^s quand il assure que la passion dans TAstrte, est d^gag^ de toute sorte d impuret^s. II


384 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

former was indulged, form a considerable, but by do means an interesting portion of the romance. Herewith was concluded the fourth volume and the public left in suspense as to how the mutual recognition of Celadon and Astrea would be effected. For at this juncture in his work D'Urfe died in 1625. A ** profanateur anonyme " endea- voured to profit by the circumstance, by publishing a con- tinuation. But Baro, D'Urfe' s secretary, vindicated his right to complete the work " d'apr^s les memoires de Tauteur, et son intention."

While Celadon and Astrea were thus employed, Polemas (who, it may be recollected, was the admirer of Gulatea.) in order at once to accomplish his projects of ambition and love, raised an army, and besieged in the town of Marcilly the object of his passion, who, by the death of her brother, was now sovereign of the district. Adamas commanded in the city on the part Qf G-alatea ; and Polemas, as pre- paratory to his attack, had secured the person of the false Alexis, whom he believed to be the daughter of Adamas, in order that, by placing her in front of the assailants, the besieged might not repel the attack. Astrea, on the day in which Alexis was to be seized, had accidentally put on the garb of her companion, and was in consequence con- veyed to the camp of Polemas, where she was soon after followed by Celadon. Both were placed in the van of battle. Astrea, when discovered by the besieged, was drawn into town by a pulley, while Celadon, turning on the assailants, greatly contributed to the discomfiture of Polemas. Lindamor afterwards came to the succour of Galatea, and killed Polemas in single combat.

est bien vrai que le roman de d'UrfS ne nous offre plus cette abondance de passages tr^ licencieux qui cheque si souvent dans I'Amadis, mais il n'est pas moins vrai qu*un y trouve encore un certain nombre de pages peu d^centes, et roeme qaelques traits de detail tout a fait grossiers, qui jurent dtrangement avec un ensemble de sentimens tres ^pur6s et de couleurs tres chastes. On dirait que la langue fran9ai8e, qui n'est pas encore habitu^ k peindre d^licatemenc la passion, laisse percer de temps en temps son inexperience par quelques touches brutalement accos^es. Cest k propos de ces details incongrus que Saint Francois de Sales et son ami Ic oon 6veque de Belley, Camus, tons deux tres li^ avec d'Urfe, et grands admirateurs de son Roman, faisaient n^nmoins des rterves dans leur admiration pour ce livre, dont ils auraient voulu supprimer uq certain nombre de pages.


CH. XI.] D*ITRFi. — A8TBEE. 385

Notwithstanding his late military exploits. Celadon still remained undiscovered by Astrea, and they returned to- gether to the solitary mansion of Adamas. At length, however, the nymph Leonide conducted Astrea to a grove, on pretence that she would there behold the shade of Celadon. After the pretended ghost-raiser had pronounced certain words of invocation, Alexis, who had accompanied tbem, fell at the feet of his mistress, and confessed the stratagem to which he had resorted. " Gk)," said the in- exorable shepherdess, "and expiate by death the offence you have committed." Celadon begged her to specify what manner of death she wished him to undergo. She refused, however, to make any selection, and expressed a perfect indifference as to the mode of his death, provided it were speedily accomplished.

Being thus left to his own discretion, it occurred to Celadon that the most expeditious' means of fulfilling the injunction of his mistress, was to repair to the lions which guarded the fountain of the Truth of Love, the work of the enchanter Merlin.^ These considerate animals, however, would not devour a person who was of pure heart, and who had never practised dissimulation. Celadon, in spite of his late disguise, was unfortunately regarded by them as being in this predicament, and was thus precluded from enjoying the local advantages to which be might have been otherwise entitled. While in the dilemma occasioned by this unexpected abstinence on the part of the lions, Astrea reached the same spot as her lover. Eepenting of her cruelty, she had come to the fountain with intentions similar to those of Celadon, but was much disconcerted to find herself caressed instead of being devoured, which was the more usual hospitality practised by the lions. Now, by inspecting this fontaine de la verity d'amour, those who were in love saw their own image in the waters by the side of that of their mistress, if she was faithful ; but if false, they beheld the figure of a more fortunate rival.^ Celadon and Astrea, while awaiting some favour-

^ iyUrf(6 has taken the description of the fountain of love from that of Diana at Artycomis in the Greek romance of Eastathius, Hysmene and fiysmenias. See vol. i. p. 82.

^ Of similar nature is the water of thefuenie del desengafio (fountain

II. C


386 HISTOBT OP PICTIOK. [CH. XI.

able change in the sentiments or appetites of the lions, cast their eyes on the fountain, and each was instantly con- vinced of the sincerity of the other's attachment. Mean- while the G-rand Druid Adamas approached this singular scene, and addressed a fervent prayer to Cupid. After an alternation of light and darkness — of a storm which ruffled, and a calm which allayed the waters of the foun- tain, Cupid pronounced with proper effect an oracle com- manding the union of Celadon and Astrea. The lions, who had already evinced symptoms of approaching torpor, be- came the petrified ornaments of the fountain.^ Two faith- ful lovers, inspired with the intention of dying for each other, had now approached its magic waters, which was the destined term prescribed to the enchantment.

The above is the principal story of this celebrated pastoral, and the next in importance comprehends the adventures of Sylvander and Diana. Sylvander, a shep- herd, unfriended and imknown, arrives on the banks of the Lignon, and sighs in secret for the beautiful Diana. This nymph was at the same time beloved by Philander, who resided in the neighbourhood in the disguise of a girl, and who perished in a combat with a hideous Moor, while de- fending the honour of his mistress. Like Celadon, Syl- vander repairs to the f oimtain of the Truth of Love, and is commanded to be sacrificed by the oracle of gentle Cupid. While he is zealously preparing to undergo this operation, he is discovered to be the son of the Grand Druid Adamas, from whom he had been carried off in infancy, — an incident evidently borrowed from the Pastor Fido.

It is well known, that in the adventures of Celadon and Astrea, of Sylvander and Diana, the author has inter- woven the history of his own family. The allusions, how- ever, the intended application of the incidents, and the cha- racters he means to delineate, have been matters of great

of undeception) in chap. ii. of Antonio de Eslava's " Parte primera del libro intitulado Noches de Inviemo/' of which an edition was publishe<i at Barcelona in 1609. In the first chapter an account of wonderful waters is given. Cf. also Keats' " Endymion."

^ In the Court of Lions in the Alhambra, an alabaster reservoir for water is supported by twelve lions of black marble. The fountain in the

Salace of the King of the Black Isles, has four golden lions. Arabian ^ighu, The Story of the Fisherman.


CH. XI.] d'xTBFIS. — ASTB^E. 387

dispute. This ambiguity arises partly from the author often representing one real character under two fictitious names, and at other times distributing the adventures of an individual among a plurality of allegorical per- sonages ; he also frequently alters the order of time, and comprehends within a few weeks incidents which occurred in the course of a number of years. We are in- formed by M. Patru, in a dissertation composed and pub- lished at the request of Huet, that while travelling through Italy he had visited M. D'TJrf e, who then resided at Turin, and that the author had undertaken to explain to him the mysteries of the Astrea, if he would stay with him for some time on his return from the south of Italy. D'TTrf^, however, died in the interval, and Patru was therefore only enabled to communicate what he was previously ac- quainted with, or what he had gleaned during his visit. Huet has farther developed the subject of D'Urfe and his romance, in a letter addressed to M. Scud^ry, which is dated 1699, and forms the twelfth of the (dissertations published by the Abb^ Tilladet ; his information was col- lected from a Marquis D'Urfe, the last, I believe, who enjoyed the title, and Margaret D'Alegre, the widow of Charles Emanuel, nephew of the author of Astrea.

From these elucidations, it appears that Honord D'lTrf^ fbom 1567), was of an illustrious family in France, that he was the fifth of six brothers, and was bom near the spot where he has placed the scene of his Astrea. The barony of Chateaumorand, which was in the neighbourhood of his father's possessions, had descended to Diana of Chateau- morand. A marriage was projected between this lady and Anne D'TTrfe, the eldest of the brothers. During the pre- parations for the nuptials, Honor^ D'lJrf^ became pas- sionately enamoured of the destined bride, which being perceived by his father, he sent him to Malta, that his attachment might be no interruption to the intended imion. On returning he found his brother the husband of Diana, a situation he was ill qualified to possess, though he is said to have celebrated the beauty of his spouse in a hundred and forty sonnets. This nominal marriage was dissolved after a duration of ten, or, according to others, of twenty-two years. After this separation Diana was united


388 HI8TOBT OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

to Honord, who now espoused her more from interest than love. He soon became disgusted with her, chiefly, it is said, on account of the large dogs by which she was con- stantly surrounded, and which she entertained at table, and admitted to bed, — ^a practice in which she dogmatically persisted in spite of the representations of her husband. He forsook her and her canine companions, and retired to Piedmont, where he lived in great favour with the duke of Savoy, and composed his Astrea. Nor is it the lea^t wonderful part of this strange history, that he should have employed his time in celebrating his adoration of a woman whom he had abandoned in disgust.^ Diana survived him many years. The nephew of the author informed Huet that when he saw her, one could perceive she had been ex- quisitely beautiful, but even at an advanced age she idolized her charms, and, in order to preserve their remains, be- came extremely unsocial, shutting herself up from sun and wind, and only appearing in public under protection of a mask.

It is this family legend that the author is said to have transmitted to posterity in his pastoral romance. Astrea and Diana both figure Diana of Chateaumorand, while he has exhibited his own character under the names of Celadon and Sylvander. Sylvander is a poor shepherd, because the author was a younger son ; he sighs in secret for Diana, because he was obliged to conceal his passion on account of the marriage of his brother. Celadon throwing himself into the LignoD, represents his voyage to Malta, and his vows of knighthood. Galatea is Queen Margaret of Yalois, and his detention in the castle of Issoura, refers to his having been taken prisoner during the league, by lier guards, and conducted to her residence at the castle of ITsBon, where he made himself, it is said, very agreeable to her majesty ; a circumstance to which some have attributed

^ lyUrf^ died in 1625 at the age of fifty-eif(ht, before he had qnitd completed the work. The celebrated Sir Kenelm Digby also composed an autobiographical romance, chiefly relating to his marriage with Venetia Stanley, whom he desig^tes as Stelliana, while he conceals his own personality under the name of Theagenes. llus work was edited in 1827 under the title of Private Memoirs of Sir Kenelm Digby, with an Introductory Memoir.


CH. XI.] d'iTBV^. — ASTRBE. 389

the dislike invariably expressed by Henry IV. to D'Urfe* Under the disguise of Alexis, he typifies the friendship Diana felt for him as her brother-in-law, and the innocent liberties in which they indulged. Philander, attired in the dress of a girl, is the elder D*Urfe. A Moor whom he dies combating, is a personification of conscience, which at length compelled him to relinquish the possession of Diana, if it deserves that name. The deliverance of Sylvander, when on the point of being sacrificed, is his hope of espous- ing Diana. Adamas is the ecclesiastical power, which dis- solved the union of the elder D'TJrfe. The fountain of the Truth of Love is marriage, the final test of affection, and the petrified lions, are emblems of the inconveniences of matrimony, overcome by faithful attachment.

Besides the two stories which represent the family ad- ventures of the D'Urf ^s, there are thirty-three long episodes containing the history of shepherds and shepherdesses, whom the more important characters meet while tending their flocks. Some of these are resident in the vicinity, others have come from a distance by command of an oracle, to consult the Druid on their amorous doubts and misfor- tunes. This frequently introduces, in addition to the story, long discussions on questions of love, which are at length decided by some distinguished and impartial shepherd.

It is well known that in these episodes and disquisitions, the author has represented the gallantries and fashionable scandal of the court of Henry IV. Thus, in the story of Daphnide, that shepherdess is the duchess of Beaufort ; Alcidon, the duke of Bellegarde ; Clarinte, the princess of Conti ; Amintor, the duke of Maine ; Alcyre, the count of Sommerive; Thorismond, Henry ELL, and Euric, king of the Visigoths, his amorous successor. This information was communicated to Patru by M. de Lamet, a confident of the duke of Maine. With this key it is not difficult to

^ In the preface to the third Tolume d'Urf(S speaks of theology as Chatouilleuse^ and in effect he has refrained from touching even histori- cally on the Christian religion. This omission apart, M. de Lomenie is of opinion that all that was known at the time of the author of the an- tiquities customs and institutions of G&ul, and of general history of Europe of the fourth century is substantially contained in the Astr^, loc. cit. p. 478.


390 HISTOBT OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

comprehend the attachment of Daphnide and Alcidon — the intervening passion of Euric — the ambitious projects of Daphnide — ^the obstacles presented in the person of Clarinte to her elevation, and the various intrigues and devices be which she attempted to surmount them.^ This is a real advance upon the older romances based whoUy upon legends. This kind of progress, says M. de Lomenie, some- times attributed to Scud^ry and CalprenMe, belongs of reality to d'lJrf^, and is more striking in Astrea than in Cyrus or Cleopatre. The publication of the Astree and d'TJrf^'s introduction of sentiment and nature into Bomanee, marks an era in literature. He is, like many an innovator, distinguished not only from his predecessors, but even from his immediate successors, he is before his own cen- tury and even the next, and holds out his hand to the author of Paul et Virginie."

In another episode, Celidee, in order to cure her lover Thamire of his jealousy, disfigured her countenance by tearing it with a pointed diamond, a heroic exertion which increased the attachment of her lover. This alludes to the neglect with which a French prince treated his lady ; but, having been imprisoned for state affairs, she followed him into confinement. There she was attacked by the small- pox, which is the pointed diamond, but though deprived of her charms, her self-devotedness and sufferings at length recalled the alienated affections of her husband.

To such temporary topics and incidents of real life, the Astrea was chiefly indebted for its popidarity. The re- membrance of these having passed away, the work must rest on its intrinsic merits, which, it would appear, are not such as to preserve it from oblivion.^ The criticism made

^ The historical quality of these recitals is confirmed by their agree • ment with other novels of the period, especiallj^ of Les Amours da grand Alcandre, attributed to Mdlle. de Guise, subsequently Princess tie Conti.

  • M. de Lomenie, loc. cit. p. 479-80.

^ "I)'Urf(S*s work would not," remarks Koerting, "have remainefl popular so long were it a mere pastoral story, and had it no other ele- ments of interest such as the occasional martial narratives, social pictures of life, and thinly veiled allusions to contemporaneous events and per- sons. Pastoral composition has had much the same career in the modern world as in antiquity. It is not the product of an era when life


CH. XI.] d'tJBF^. — ASTB^E. 391

on the romance at the time it was published, was, that it contained too much erudition, and that the language and sentiments were too refined for those of shepherds. " Syl- vander," says a PrencTi writer, " fM le seul qui eut etudie a I'ecole des Massiliens, et Je ne S9ais seulement comment ils pouvoient Tentendre, eux qui n'avoient pas fait leurs cours chez les Massiliens." D*Urfe seems to hare antici- pated this last objection, as in his fanciful address to the shepherdess Astrea, prefixed to the first part of the work, he exculpates himself from this charge on the ground that his characters were not shepherds from necessity, but choice : — " E^ponds-leur ma Bergere ! que tu n'es pas, ny celles aussi qui te suivent, de ces Berg^res necessiteuses qui pour gagner leur rie conduisent les troupeaux aux pastur- ages ; mais que vous n*avez toutes pris cette condition que pour vivre plus doucement et sans contrainte : Que si vos conceptions et vos paroles estaient veritablement telles que celles des Bergeres ordinaires, ils auroient aussi pen de plaisir de vous ecouter que vous auriez beaucoup de honte a les redire ; et qu'outre cela la plupart de la troupe est remplie d* Amour, qui dans TAminte fait bien parattre qu*il change et le langage et les conceptions quand il dit —

Queste seWe hoggi raggionar d*Amore S'adranno in nova guisa, e ben parassi Che la mia Deitk sia qui presente In se medesima, non e suoi Ministri. Spirerd nobil sensi k rozzi petti ; Rado]cir6 delle lor lingue it saono."

Aminta, Prologue.

A chief defect in the Astrea, and what to a modem reader renders it insufferably tiresome, is the long and languishing conversations on wire-drawn topics. The de- sign, too, which obtained the work a temporary fame, was adverse to its permanent celebrity, as the current of romantic ideas must have been checked by the necessity of squaring the incidents to the occurrences of existing society. The adventures of D'XJrfe's own life, which are presented under

is mainly pastoral. It is in a far later stage of social development that Bion and Moschus, Lon^s, Theocritus, Virgil, Guarini, Sannazzaro, slog the praises of rustic life."


392 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XI.

the disguise of rural incidents, have nothing in common with the innocence of the pastoral character ; and the amours at the court of Henry the Great were singularly at variance with the artless loves of shepherds, and fidelity of rustic attachments.

Another fault in the Astrea, and one which, with the exception of Daphnis and Chloe, is common to all pastoral romances, is the introduction of warlike scenes, in a work which should be devoted to the description of rural felicity. Tasso and other poets have been much, and perhaps justly applauded, for occasionally withdrawing their readers from the bustle of arms to the tranquillity and refreshment of vernal delights ; but the author is not equally worthy of praise, who hurries us from pastoral repose to the tumult of heroic achievements.*

' After Marot and Rabelais, there was no work more esteemed by Lafontaine than this romance. La Harpe, on the other hand, declared he was unable to read it through to the end. The Astr<^ lon^ exercised, says Godefroy (Histoire de la Litt^rature fran^aise au XVII siecle, Paris, 1877, p. 134), a marked influence upon the seventeenth century. For more than forty years it furnished the subject for nearly all dramatic compositions (Se^aisiana, p. 144-5) while poets confined their efforts to expressing in verso what DTrfS had made the personages of his ro- mance utter in prose. Long before Balzac, D'Urf6 supplied not only in his subject, but in his lofty, ornate, copious and harmonious style s model to the writers that came after him. The Astrea was translated into English by John Pyper in 1620, and in 1657 ** by a person of quality." So extraordinary was the popularity of the work in France that a contemporary ecclesiastic, Camus de Pontcarr6, considered it necessary to counteract its influence by a series of Christian Pastorals, one of which, Palombe, has been published again in the present centiury. See an article by M. Louis de Lomenie on Astr^, and the pastoral romance in the Revue des Deux Mondes, 15 Juillet, 1858, and M. K. Bonafous, Etudes 8ur PAstr^e, &c. Paris, 1846. For nearly two centu- ries there was an uninterrupted succession of berberies ariificielles begot- ten. Yet pastoral romance found scarcely any distinguished writers, a fact which is due, remarks Koerting, to the circumstance that it was itself the product of a reaction, and therefore destined for no vigorous existence. Under Richelien*8 rule the country awoke to new energy and activity to which pastoral romance was bnt ill-attuned. Indeed DTrfd's work would not have continued popular so long were it a mere pastoral stor}', and had it not other elements of interest, such as the oc- casional martial narratives, social pictures of life, and thinly veiled allu- sions to contemporaneous events and persons.

Here may be the best place to mention L'Endimion (1624), of Gom- bauld (1575-1666). It is the briefest of French prose ideal romances.


CH. XI.] D*T7EFi. — A8Tb£e. 393

The work, however, certainly possesses some intrinsic merit, as it was the admiration of many grave and distin- guished characters, who would not have been merely enticed by the development of the fashionable scandal of the day. An extravagant eulogium is pronounced on the Astrea, by Camus, bishop of Belley, in his Traite de TEsprit de Pran- 9ois de Sales. Huet used to read the work with his sisters, and he informs us they were frequently forced to lay down the book to give vent to their tears ! At one period of his life. La Eochefoucault (the author of the Maxims), passed his afternoons with Segrais, at the house of Madame La Fayette, where the Astrea was the subject of their studies. " Que je regrette que ce sont la des fables," was the excla- mation of a celebrated writer, when he had finished the perusal of the Astrea. Huet also mentions that it formed the basis of an epic poem of some reputation. An immense number of tragic-comic and pastoral dramas have likewise been formed from this work : Li most of these the prose dialogue has been merely versified, but in others the far- fetched conceits and exaggerated sentiments of D'Urfe have been aggravated. Thus, in Les Amours d'Astrce et de Celadon, the preservation of Celadon, when he threw him- self into the Lignon, is thus accounted for :

Mais le Dlen de Lignon pour lui trop pitoyable, Contre sa volontd le jetta sur le sable, De peur que la grandeur de feu de son amour, Ne chaoge&t en guerets sou humide sejour.

I shall conclude the remarks on pastoral romance, by the analysis of the

and is a veiled allegorical expression of the passion with which Maria de Medici (I>iana) inspires the writer (Endymion) who, though a Hugue- not, moved in the courtly and cultured circles of the day. See Koerting, p. 167, who nc»tC8 the similarity of the episode of the wounding with Diana's arrows, and Huon de Mary's " Tournoiement Antecbrist " (ed. Tarb^, 1861, p. 77). " The language of the romance," says Koerting,

  • ^ is monotonous and insipid, and overdone with sentimentality. The

events lack connection, the personages character and vitality, the narra- tive unity. Notwithstanding these defects so common to the fiction of the period, Endymion was popular, it satisfied the wants of the upper classes in exhibiting their peers and acquaintances in poetical (Uguise- Tnenif to use the contemporaneous word tor such veiled portraitures.


394 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XI.


Arcadia ^

of Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), a work which was at one time much read and admired, not less perhaps on account of the heroic character and glorious death of its author, than its own intrinsic merit. This romance is sometimes named The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, as being written and dedicated to that " subject of all verse," who was the sister of Sidney : ** Your dear self," says he in his dedication, " can best witness the manner of its writing, being done in loose sheets of paper, most of it in your presence ; the rest by sheets, sent mxto you as fast as they were done." The work, which was left incomplete, was published after the death of^ Sidney, and from the mode of its composition, and not having received his last corrections, cannot be supposed to have all the perfection which the author could have bestowed, had the length of his life, according to the expression of Sir W. Temple, been equal to the excellence of his wit and virtues. As it was written in an age when the features of the ancient Gothic romance were not entirely obliterated, it is of a mixed nature, being partly of a heroic descrip- tion ; and it also contains a considerable portion of what was meant by the author as comic painting. It is in the epic form, beginning in the middle of the action, and, by the usual contrivances, rehearsing, in the course of the work, those events by which its opening had been preceded. Basilius, king of Arcadia, had, when already well stricken in years, married a young princess, Gynecia, daughter to

^ The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, written by Sir Philippe Sidnei. Lond. 1590. 4to.

Stigant'8 Sir Philip Sidney," Cambridge Essays, 1858. As theshe^ts of MS. left the hands of Sidney, after the first book, or perhaps two, had been completed, they were "transmitted to his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, and some of them mislaid and lost. Hence one very great hiatus, supplied by Sir William Alexander, others by R[ichard] B[eiing] and Mr. Johnstone. It is also known that the Countess of Pembroke added the episodes, adventures, and strange turns, at least in all the later books. Hence there is to be met with an Arcadian undergrowth which needs much careful pruning; which pruning Mr. Hain l^iswell has undertaken in his edition of the Arcadia, published ** with notes and introductory essay," London, 1867.


GH. XI.] SIB P. SIDNEY. — ABCADIA. 895

the king of C3r[>ru8. " Of these two," says the narrator, " are brought to the world two daughters, so beyond measure excellent in all the gifts allotted to reasonable creatures, that we may think that they were bom to show that nature is no step-mother to that sex, how much so- ever some men (sharp-witted only in evil speaking) have sought to disgrace them. The elder is named Pamela ; by many men not deemed inferior to her sister : for my part, when I marked them both, methought there was (if at least such perfections may receive the name of more) more sweetness in Philoclea, but more majesty ii;iL Pamela : me- thought love plaid in Philoclea's eyes, and threatened in Pamela's : methought Philoclea' s beauty only persuaded, but so persuaded as all hearts must yield, Pamela's beauty used violence, and such violence as no heart could resist. And it (seems that such proportion is between their minds : Philoclea so bashful, as though her excellencies had stolen into her before she was aware, so humble that she will put all pride out of countenance ; in sum, such proceeding as will stir hope, but teach hope good manners. Pamela, of liigh thoughts, who avoids not pride with not knowing her excellencies, but by making that one of her excellencies to be void of pride ; her mother's wisdom, greatness, nobility, but (if I can guess aright) knit with a more constant temper " (p. 10, ed. London, 1674.)

Basilius, thus in want only of something to make him uneasy, determined to visit the temple of Delphos, where the following poetical response was furnished as a subject for his lucubrations :

Thy cider care aball from thy careful face By princely mean be Btolen, and yet not lost; Thy younger shall with nature's bliss embrace An uncouth love, ivhich Nature hateth most. Both they themselves unto such two shall wed, Who at thy bier as at a bar shall plead Why Thee (a living man) they had made dead. In thine own seat a foreign state shall sit. And ere that all these blows thy head do hit, Thou with thy wife adultery shall commit.

Basilius, aghast at this puzzling denunciation, and en- deavouring to prevent its fulfilment, retired from court to a forest in which he had built two lodges. In one of these


396 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

he himself and his queen, with their younger daughter Philoclea, resided ; while in the other lived Pamela, whom her father had committed to the guardianship of Dametas, a conceited, doltish clown, whose wife Miso, and daughter Mopsa, are described as perfect witches in temper and appearance. The humours of this family form what is meant as the comic part of the romance.

At this period, Pjrrocles, son of Euarchus, king of Mace- don, and his cousin Musidorus, prince of Thessaly, two princes, such as are to be found only in romance, were, after unexampled deeds of prowess, shipwrecked on the coast of Arcadia. The former of these heroes becomes enamoured of Philoclea, and the latter of her sister Pamela. With the usual fondness of the princes of romance for disguise, when their own characters would have better suited their purpose, Musidorus, as a shepherd, named Dorus, becomes the servant of Dametas, who had charge of the Princess Pamela ; Pyrocles assumes the garb of an Amazon, with the name of Zelmane, and is thus admitted by Basilius an inmate of his lodge. The situa- tion, however, of Pyrocles (now Zelmane), was less com- fortable than might have been supposed ; for, on the one hand, he was pestered by the love of BasiHus, and on the other by that of Queen Gynecia, who, seeing somewhat farther than her husband, suspected his sex, and would not leave him alone a single moment with Philoclea. The idea of a hero residing in a female garb with his mistress, and for a while unknown to her, which is a common inci- dent in the Argenis, and other romances of the period, was perhaps originally derived from the story of Achilles : But that part of the Arcadia which relates to the disguise of Pyi'ocles, and the passion of the king and queen, has been immediately taken from the French translation of the 11th book of Amadis de Gaul, where Agesilan of Colchos, while in like disguise, is pursued in a similar manner by the king and queen of Quldap. It may not be improper here to mention the royal recreations, as giving a curious picture of the tenderness of ladies' hearts in the days of Queen Elizabeth. "Sometimes angling to a little river near hand, which, for the moisture it bestowed upon the roots of flourishing trees, was rewarded with their shadow — ^there


CH. XI.] SIB P. SIDNEY. — ASCADIA. 397

> would they sit down, and pretty wagers be made between Pamela and Philoclea, which could soonest beguile silly fishes, while Zelmane protested that the fit prey for them was hearts of princes. She also had an angle in her hand, but the taker was so taken that she had forgotten taking. Basilius, in the mean time, would be the cook himself of what was so caught, and Gynecia sit still, but with no still

f pensiveness. Now she brought them to see a sealed dove, who the blinder she was the higher she strove. Another time a kite, which having a gut cunningly pulled out of her, and so let fly, caused all the kites in that quarter," &c. Ac, p. 58.^

It would be tedious, and could serve no good purpose, to analyze minutely the different books of the Arcadia. Musidorus was long counteracted in his plans by Dametas and his wife, and their ugly daughter Mopsa, to whom he was obliged to feign love, till, having at length discovered his rank to Pamela, he prevails on her to fly with him ; but, after having gone a little way, they employ themselves in carving bad sonnets on the barks of trees. Meanwhile the king and queen separately attempt to bring matters to extremity with Zelmane. Teazed by their importunities, this ambiguous character gives an assignation so each of them in a certain cave at midnight, and promises there to grant their wishes. As Zelmane had foreseen, Basilius does not recognise the queen amid the obscurity of the cave, and thus accomplishes the last and most mysterious part of the prediction of the Delphic oracle. Being athirst, he unwarily drinks a philtre, which Gynecia had brought with her to the cave, for the pupose of increasing Zeltnane's love. This draught gives him the appearance of being poisoned. While their majesties were engaged in this cave adventure, the imaginary Zelmane embraces the opportunity of visiting PhUoclea, in his true character of Pyrocles, prince of Macedon, for the purpose of persuading her to fly with him ; but after much discourse on the sub- ject, both faint and fall asleep, so that in the morning the prince is discovered in male attire, in the chamber of

^ Master Stow mentioDS similar merry disports, as forming the court amusements during the Danish ambassador's reception and entertainment at Greenwich, in 15S7.


398 HISTOET OF FICTION. [cH. XI.

Philoclea. Pamela and her lover are equally unsuccessful, and having lost much time in carving sonnets, thej are surprised and brought back by soldiers.

The king still continued apparently in a lifeless state, and G-ynecia in despair accuses herself as the cause of his death. The utmost confusion now arises in Arcadia. In this posture of afEairs, Euarchus, king of Macedon, acci- dentally arrives on the coast. Philanax, protector of Arcadia, appoints him umpire in the ensuing trial, and he accordingly sits on the royal throne, thus explaining an- other Delphic enigma. Gynecia is condemned to be buried alive, along with the body of her husband, whom she con- fessed having poisoned. The trials of the princes ensue* and long pleadings take place in the viperous style of Sir Edward Coke. Pyrocles is condemned to be thrown from a tower, and his cousin to be beheaded ; and these sentences the Macedonian king affirms, though he now discovers that one of the prisoners is his nephew, and the other his son. All are in the uttermost distress, when Basilius, whose corpse was in court, awakes from the effects of the philtre, which had been only a sleep potion ; and the oracle being thus fully accomplished, the two young princes are united to their mistresses.

Such is the outline of the story of the Arcadia. The heroic part of the romance consists in a detail of the exploits of pyrocles and Musidorus, previous to their arrival in Arcadia ; and in the description of a war carried on against Basilius, by his nephew Amphialus, whose mother had, at one time, craftily seized and confined the princesses. There are also some happy descriptions of jousts and tournaments. But the work is on the whole extremely tiresome, and its chief interest consists in the statelv dignity, and often graceful beauty, of the language. " There is in the revolutions of taste and language,'* says Bishop Hurd (Dialogues Moral and Political, p. 157, ed. 1760), " a certain point which is more favourable to the purposes of poetry (and it may be added, of stately prose), than any other. It may be difficult to fix this point with exact- ness. But we shall hardly mistake in supposing it Hes somewhere between the rude essays of uncorrected fancy on the one hand, and the refinements of reason and science


CH, XI.] SIR P. SIDNEY. — AJtCADIA. 399

on the other. And this I take to have been the condition of our language in the age of Elizabeth. It was pure, strong, and perspicuous, without affectation. At the same time the high figurative manner, which fits a language so pecuharly for the uses of the poet, had not yet been con- trouled by the prosaic genius of philosophy and logic." At the peiiod to which the bishop alludes, the Italians were the objects of imitation, as the French have been since ; and, together with the stately majestic step of their productions, the style of Sidney and his contemporaries has a good deal of their ttirgidity and conceit. I might select a number of beautiful descriptions from the Arcadia, as for example, the much-admired passage in Book II., of Musidorus managing a steed. We have already seen the skill of the author in drawing characters ; and the follow- ing is a striking portrait of an envious man. " A man of the most envious disposition that I think ever infected the air with his breath, whose eyes cotdd not look right upon any happy man, nor ears bear the burden of any body's praise ; contrary to the nature of all other plagues, plagued with others* well-being : making happiness the ground of his imhappiness, and good news an argument of his sorrow : In sum, a man whose favour no man could win, but by being miserable," (p. 130). This character has been imitated and expanded in the 19ih number of the Spectator. The following description of Pamela sewing is a pretty fair specimen of the kind of conceits scattered through the work. " For the flowers she had wrought carried such life in them, that the cunningest painter might have learned of her needle, which, with so pretty a manner, made his careers to and fro through the cloth, as if the needle itself would have been loth to have gone fromward such a mistress, but that it hoped to return thitherward very quickly again, the cloth looking with many eyes upon her, and lovingly embracing the wounds she gave it : the shears also were at hand to behead the silk that was grown too short. And if at any time she put her mouth to bite it off, it seemed that iwhere she had been long in making of a rose with her hands, she would in an instant make roses with her lips; as the lilies seemed to have their whiteness rather of the hand that made them, than of the


400 HISTOBY OP FICTION. [cH. XI.

matter wherof they were made, and that they grew there by the suns of her eyes, and were refreshed by the most comfortable air which an unawares sigh might bestow upon them."

It has already been mentioned, that what is meant as

■r

the comic part of this romance, consists in satire upon Dametas, chiefly on account of his love of agriculture, and the absurdities of his wife and daughter. But it is by no means happy ; nor has the author been more successful in what is designed as pastoral in his romance. A band of shepherds is introduced at the close of each book, as waiting on Basilius, and singing alternately on amorous and rural subjects. There is not probably in any other work in our language a greater portion of execrable poetry, than may be found in the Arcadia, and this, perhaps, less owing to want of poetical talent in the author, than to his affectation and constant attempts to versify on an impracticable system. At the period in which he lived, it was thought possible to introduce into English verse all the different measures that had been employed in Greek and Latin, and accordingly we have in the Arcadia, Hexameters, or, at least, what were intended by the author as such ; Elegiacs, Sapphics. Anacreontics, Phaleuciacks, Asclepiades, and, in short, every- thing but poetry. The effect, indeed, is perfectly abominable. Another affectation of the times, and to which in particu- lar Sir Philip Sidney was led by his imitation of Sannaz- zaro, was the adoption of all the various quaint devices which have been introduced into Italian poetry. We have the Terza rima, the Sestina, Canzone, Sonnets and Echos, the greater part of which, owing to the constraint to which they reduced the author, are almost, and some of them altogether, unintelligible. In the whole Arcadia I recollect only two poems which reach mediocrity, and these have at least the merit of being truly in the Italian style. The first is a Sonnet on a Lady Sleeping ; the other is a Madrigal addressed to the Sun.

I.

Lock up, fair lids, the treasure of my heart, Preserve those beams this age's only light ;

To her sweet sense, sweet Sleep, some ease impart * Her sense too weak to bear her spirt's might.


CH. XI.] 8IE P. SIDNEY. — ARCADIA. 401

And while, O Sleep ! thou closest up her sight

(Her sight where love did forge his fairest dart),

O harbour all her charms in easeful plight !

Let no stranee dream make her fair body start. But yet, O Dream I if thou wilt not depart

In this rare subiect from thy common right,

But wilt thyself in such a seat delight — Then take my shape, and play a lover's part,

Kiss her from me, and say unto her sprite,

Till her eyes shine I live in darkest night.

P. 364.

11.

Why dost thou haste away, O Titan fair ! the giver of the day ? Is it to carry news

To Western wights, what stars in East appear. Or doest thou think that here Is left a Sun, whose beams thy place may use ? Yet stay and well peruse What be her gifts that make her equal Thee ; Bend all thy light to see In earthly clothes enclosed a heavenly spark : Thy running course cannot such beauties mark. Ko, no, thy motions be Hastened from iis with bar of shadow dark, Because that Thou, the author of our sight, Disdain'st we see thee stain'd with others light.

P. 368.

Such are the best productions of an author whom Sir William Temple, in the land that had already given birth to Shakespeare, and Spenser, and Milton, scrupled not to pronounce "the greatest poet and the noblest genius of any that have left writings behind them, and published in ours or any other modem language." (Miscellanea, part n.) The Arcadia was also much read and admired by Waller and Cowley, and has been obviously imitated in many instances by our early dramatists. The story of Plangus in the Arcadia, is the origin of Shirley's Andro- mana or Merchant's Wife, and of Cupid's Eevenge, by Beaumont and Fletcher. That part of the pastoral where Pyrocles agrees to command the Helots, seems to have suggested those scenes of the Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which Valentine leagues himself with the outlaws. An episode in the second book of the Arcadia, where a king of Paphla^onia, whose eyes had been put out by a bastard

IT. D D


402 HISTORY OF FICTION. [CH. XI.

son, is described as led by his rightful heir, whom he had cruelly used for the sake of his wicked brother, has fur- nished Shakespeare with the underplot concerning Glost«r and his two sons, in King Lear. There are in the romance the same description of a bitter storm, and the same request of the father, that he might be led to the summit of a clifif, which occur in that pathetic tragedy.

The Arcadia was also, as we learn from Milton, the companion of the prison hours of Charles I., whom that poet, in his Iconoclastes, reproaches with having stolen a prayer of Pamela to insert in his Ikon Basihk^. But whether the author of that production actually fell into this inadvertence, or whether his antagonist, who seems to have behoved in its authenticity, procured the interpola- tion of the passage, that he might enjoy an opportunity of reviling his sovereign for impiety, and of taunting him with literary plagiarism, has been the subject of much controversy among the biographers of the English bard. (See Symmons's " Life of Milton," p. 278, etc.).


CHAPTEE Xn.

HEBOIC BOMAKCE. — POLEXAKBBE. — CLEOPATRA. — CASSAN- DRA. — IBRAHIM. CLl^LIE, ETC.

BOILEATJ, and several other French writers, have deduced the origin of the heroic from the pastoral romance, especially from the Astrea of D'Urf^ ; and indeed Mademoiselle Scud^ry, in her preface to Ibrahim, one of her earliest productions, affirms that she had chosen the Astrea as her model. To that species of com- position may, no doubt, be attributed some of the tamest features of the heroic romance, its insipid dialogues and tedious episodes ; but many of the elements of which it is compounded must be sought in anterior and more spirited compositions.

l^us, we find in the heroic romance a great deal of ancient chivalrous delineation. Dragons, necromancers, giants, and enchanted castles, are indeed banished ; but heroism and gallantry are still preserved. These attri- butes, however, have assumed a different station and im- portance. In romances of chivaby, love, though a solemn and serious passion, is subordinate to heroic achievement. A knight seems chiefly to have loved his mistress, because he obtained her by some warlike exploit ; she formed an excuse for engaging in perilous adventures, and he mourned her loss, as it was attended with that of his dearer idol — honour. In the heroic romance, on the other hand, love seems the ruling passion, and military exploits are chiefly performed for the sake of a mistress : glory is the spring of the one species of composition, and love of the other ; but in both, according to the expression of Sir Philip Sidney, the heroes are knights who combat for the love of honour and the honour of love.

Much of the heroic romance has been also derived from


404 H18T0ET OF FICTION. [CH. XH.

the ancient Greek romances. The spirit of these composi< tions had been kept alive during the middle ages, and had never been altogether extinguished, even by the prevalence and popidarity of tales of chivalry. The Philocopo of Boccaccio, said to have been composed for the entertain- ment of Mary, natural daughter of the king of Naples, bears a close resemblance to the Q-reek romance. This work is taken from a French metrical tale^ of the thirteenth century, which has been imitated in almost all the languages of Europe, (Ellis's " Metrical Bomances," vol. iii.) In Boccaccio's version of this story, Florio, prince of Spain, falls in love with Blancafior, an orphan, educated at his father's court. To prevent the risk of his son forming an unequal alliance, the king sells the object of his attachment to some Asiatic merchants, and hence the romance is occupied with the search made for her by Florio, under the name of Philocopo. The work is chiefly of the tenor of the heroic romance, but it presents an example of almost every species of fiction. Heathen divinities appear in disguise, and the rival lover of Blanca- fior is transformed into a fountain : stories of gallantry are related at the court, of Naples, which Ulorio visits, and the account of the gardens and seraglio of the Egyptian emir resembles the descriptions in fairy and oriental tales.

Theagenes and Chariclea [of Heliodorus] * was translated into French by Amyot, in 1547, and ten editions were printed before the end of the sixteenth century. The story of Florizel, Clareo, and the Unfortunate Ysea [of Alonzo Nunez de Eeinoso], the first part of which is a close imitation of the Clitophon and Leucippe [of Achilles Tatius], was translated from the Gastilian in which it was originally published at Venice in 1552, into French in 1654, and soon became a popular production.^

^ Published by Immauuel Bekker, Berlin, 1844. For aoooimts of Flore and Blanchefleur, see Graesse, 11. 3, p. 274, etc. ; Einil Sommor's remarks on Conrad Flecke's *^ Flore and Blantschflnr " in the Bibliothek der Gesammten deutschen National -Literator, abth. i Bd. 12, and Ward's " Catalogue of MSS. Bomances in the British Museum," p. 714, etc.

^ See the account of this romance, pp. 22-36 of rol. i.

' The Sorrows of Persiles and Sigismunda, by Cervantes, is an imi-


CH. XII.] HEBOIC BOHANGE. 405

On the decline of romances of chivalry, it was natural to search for some species of fiction to supply their place with the public. The spiritual and pastoral romances

tation of the work of Heliodorns. It comprises four books, in which is narrated how Eusebia, queen of Friesland, sent her daughter, Sigismunda, away to Eustoquia, queen of Thule, to be there in safety from a war which was imminent. The queen of Thule sent the portrait of Sigis- munda to her absent son, Maximinus, who falls in lore with the original, and acquaints his mother with his wish to espouse the Frisian princess. His younger brother, Fersilos, who has fixed his affections upon the same object, but controls and conceals his feelings from love to his brother, and consequently falls dangerously ill, and only discloses the cause of his malady to his mother upon her urgent entreaties. His mother, in order to save his life, communicates the real state of the case to Sigismunda. As the latter is not unfavourably inclined towards Persiles, the queen instigates her to make a journey to Rome, as if in performance of a vow, before Maximinus returns. Persiles accompanies her on this pilgrimage in guise of a brother, under the name of Feriander, while she assumes the appellation of Auristela. Maximinus, upon his return, not finding Sigismuuda, also betakes himself to Bome, where, however, the climate proves fatid to him immediately upon his arrival, though, before expiring, he is able to join the hands of the lovers. In- deed, it is only at the close that the relations of the hero and heroine are made clear to the reader, as their conduct and address is that of brother and sister, and the object of their journey to Bome remains a secret till the end. The romance abounds with the adventures of travel met with by the lovers, and, still more, with numerous and often unin- teresting episodes, which destroy the unity of the work, and in which the principal personages are often left entirely out of sight, so that the fate of these occnpies but a comparatively small share of the narrative. Their intercourse is wholly chaste and pure. An unpleasant effect, however, is produced upon the reader by the proposal of Sigismunda, after her arrival in Rome, that Persiles, who has endured so much for her sake, should espouse her younger sister. This kind of affection seems somewhat too ethereal to enlist all the reader's sympathy. Valentin Schmidt (Beitraege zur Gescbichte der Bomantischen Foesie, p. 179) is disposed to consider the work as a spiritual romance, as might perhaps be inferred from several allegorical passages. But were it so, the whole treatment should have been more serious, the language in many places more worthy, and the aim of the author clearer. The occurrences narrated are mainly imaginary, and relate to lands washed by the Northern Seas ; they lack probability and variety, but are of interest as showing what ideas and fables respecting such regions were current in Cervantes' time. Beaumont and Fletcher's Custom of the Country '* is composed of different portions of Persiles and Sigismunda, as we have seen already (Cinthio, vi. 6). — Lieb. Boxas' (born 1607) play of Persiles and Sieismunda is from the romance of C^vantes, which has also been imitated m the Buscapi^, which has been the subject of so much controversy. See Ticknor, Appendix.


406 HISTOET OF FICTION. [CH. XH.

were not sufficiently entertaining nor abundant for this purpose, and the sale of ten editions of the work of Helio- dorus was a strong inducement to attempt something original in a similar taste. In pursuance of thi^ new object, the writers of that species of fiction, which may be peculiarly entitled Heroic Eomance, resorted in search of characters partly to classical and partly to Moorish heroes.

The adoption of the former may, perhaps, have been owing to Ajnyot's translation of Plutarch, in which there were many interpolations savouring of the author of ** La vie et faits de Marc Antoine Le Triumvir et de sa mie Cleopatre, translate de Thistorien Plutarque pour tres illustre haute et puissante dame Mad. Fran9aise de Fouez dame de Chateaubriand."

It was the well-known History of the Dissensions of the Zegris and Abencerrages,

HiSTOBIA DE LAS GUERBAS GiVILES BE GbANADA,

that brought the Moorish stories and characters into vogue in France. The Spanish writers attributed this work to a Moor, who retired into Africa after the con- quest of Granada. His grandson, who inherited the MS., gave it, they say, to a Jew ; and he in turn, pre- sented it to Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, count of Baylen, who ordered it to be translated by Gin^s Perez de Hita. This account, however, is extremely apocryphal. The know- ledge, indeed, displayed by the author, concerning the tribes and families of the Moors settled in Granada before the conquest of that city by the monarchs of Castile, ren- ders it probable that Gin^s de Hita consulted some Arabian MS. on the subject of the -Moorish contentions ; but, on the other hand, the partiality to the Christian cause, which runs through the whole work, proves that the pre- tended translator was the original author of the greater part of the composition, and that it was first written in the Spanish language.

This production may be regarded as historical in some of the leading political incidents recorded, but the harangues of the heroes, the loves of the Moorish princes, the games


CH. XII.] OTIEBBAS CIVILES BE OBAKABA. 407

and the festivals, are the superstructure of fancy. In these, however, national manners are faithfully preserved, and in the romance of Hita more information is afforded concerning the customs and character of the Moors than by any of the Spanish historians.^

The work commences with the early history of Gr&nada, but we soon come to those events that preceded and accele- rated its fall — the competitions for the sovereignty, and dissensions of the factions of the Zegris and Abencerrages. Of these the former race sprung from the kings of Fez and Morocco ; the latter descended from the ancient princes of Yemen. In this work, and all those which treat of the fac- tions of Granada, the Zegris are represented as a fierce and turbulent tribe. On the other hand, the Abencerrages, while their equals in valour, are painted as the most amiable of heroes, endowed with graceful manners and elegant accomplishments. The Zegris, however, remained faithful to the cause of their country, while the Abencer- rages, by finally enlisting under the banners of Ferdinand, were the chief instruments of the downfall of Granada. The Spanish monarch, availing himself of the Moorish dissen- sions, and of the valour of Don Bodrigo of Arragon, Grand Master of the Order of Galatrava, vigorously attacked Granada, and finally accomplished its ruin by means of the Abencerrages, who revolted to him in revenge for the unheard-of cruelties exercised on their race by one of their native princes. This work also presents the strange, though not uncommon, spectacle of a nation expiring in the midst of revelry and amusement : the gates of its capital were assaulted by a foreign enemy — the energy of the people was employed, and their valour wasted in internal war, but

^ The obloquy w)iich posterity has heaped upon Boabdil is largely traceable to ** The Civil Wars of Granada. Fiorian has taken the fable of his GoDsalvo of Cordova from this work, which has in a great measure usurped the authority of real history, and is currently believed by the people, and especially the peasantry of Qranada. The whole of it, how- ever, is a mass of fiction, mingled with . a few disfigured truths, which give it an air of veracity. It bears internal evidence of its falsity ; the manners and customs of the Moors being extravagantly misrepresented in it, and scenes depicted totally incompatible with their habits and their faith, and which never could have been recorded by a Mahometan writer. ~ Washington Irving, The Alhambra, 1832, vol. i. pp. 160-1.


408 HI8TOBY OF FICTION. [CH. XII.

nothing could interrupt the course of festivity. Every day brought fresh disaster without, and new bloodshed within; but every vacant hour was devoted to carousals, and to idle and romantic gallantry. In the work of Hita there are also introduced a number of short poetical romances. Each festival and combat furnishes the author with a sub- ject for these compositions ; some of which are probably the invention of Hita, while others apparently have been founded on Arabian traditions.

This romance, or history, was first printed at Alcala in 1604,^ and soon became extremely popular : there was no literal translation till the late one by M. Sane, published in 1809,* but a close imitation, published early in the seven- teenth century, is the origin of all those French romances which turn on the gallantries and adventures of the Moors of Granada, as the Almahide of Scudery, etc.

But though the works above-mentioned may have sup- plied incidents to the writers of heroic romance, many of the pictures in that, as in every other species of fiction, have been copied from the manners of the age. That devotion, in particular, to the fair sex, which exalted them into objects rather of adoration than of love, and which forms the chief characteristic of the heroic romance, was a consequence of the peculiar state of feeling and sentiment in the age of Louis XIV.' Never was prince so much an

^ The first part was written between 1589 and 1595. See Ticknor, iii. p. 138.

' e,g. Mme. de ViUedieu*s '* Galanteries Grenadines," and Mile, de Rochegilhelm's " Avantures Grenadines," had made French readers acquainted with the finest episodes, and supplied the subject for de Scud^ry's " Almahide." Florian's " Gonzalve de Cordova," and Chateau- briand's " Le Dernier des Abencerrages." See Lemcke, Handbuch der Spanischen Literatur i. 262, Dunlop-Liebrecht, p. 370 and 512 ; F. Wolf, Ueber die Komantischen Foesie der Spanier, p. 27 ; Kocrtin^, p. 444.

^ Ideas advance and prevail by their intrinsic force ; that literature wherein the highest civilisation finds expression infallibly makes its sway felt in the letters of other countries. The tone set by Lonis XIV. in the height of his splendour spread at the same time to Northern and Southern nations. The leaders of fashion in every capital had taken up la polHesse : the word itself was no sooner coined than current through- out Europe. People dressed, and bowed, and walked, and talked a la frangaisey talked, indeed, very tolerable French ; and when speech and


OH. XII.] GUEBBAS CIYILES OE GBAKADA. 409

object of imitation to his people as that monarch; and hence his courtiers affected the same species of gallantry, practised by a sovereign, who paid to beauty a constant and respectful homage, and whose love, if less chivalrous than that of Francis I., or less tender than that of Henry IV., had more appearance, at least, of veneration and idolatry. " C*est avec eclat et somptuosit^," says S^gur (Les Femmes, vol. ii. p. 156), " qu'il (Louis XIV.) offre des hommages a la beaute. Forc^ d'aimer il fait une Divinity de Tobjet qu'il exhausse, pour ne pas se rebaisser a ses propres yeux, et eleve la Femme devant laquelle il se prosteme. Nous Timitons tons a la ville et a la cour. Aucun roy n'a donn^ le ton comme celui-ci, n'a, comme lui influ^ sur la conduite, et presque sur les pensees. Notre galanteiie a pris la teinte de respect pour le Sexe dont le monarque nous offre Texemple."

We find, accordingly, that whether classical or Moorish heroes be introduced, the general tone of the heroic romance is nearly the same. But, besides that exalted species of love which no severity could chill, and no distance diminish, for which no sacrifice was too great, and no enterprise too perilous, we always meet with the same interminable length — the same minute descriptions — the same tedious dialogue — the same interruptions to the principal narrative by stories interwoven with it, which perplex and distract the attention. The introduction of long and constantly recurring episodes, a wretched fecundity, which is a proof of real barrenness, is the great fault of the heroic romance. — " Eh, mon Dieu," said a celebrated philosopher, " si vous avez de quoi faire deux Romans, faites en deux, et ne les melez pas pour les gater Tim Tautre."

manners are so generally copied, the way is already paved to closer and deeper acquaintance. •

It would ill beseem Spain to murmur at our invasion ; she no longer owned anything to lose, nor had fur a long time. Corruption itself bad lost its characteristics ; the flaccid disciples of Gongora had emasculated le cukisme ; their compositions were so colourless as to excite a longing for some intellectual power, even though turned to bad account. If the French school did not regenerate Castilian letters, it conduced to their regeneration in the first place by setting a term to bad taste, and then by evoking national emulation. (Puibusque, Histoire Compar6e des Litt^ratnres espagnole et fran9aise, ii. pp. 301-2.)


410 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XII.

I shall now, according to my plan, present the reader with a short account of soine of the most celebrated of the Romans de longne Haleine, as thej have been termed, which maj be vrilgarly translated long-winded romances.

Nearly all of these were written by three authors, Gom- berville, Calprenede, and Madame Scuddiy. The


POLEXANDBE

of Gk)mberville,* which was first published in 1632, and en- joyed a high reputation in the age of Cardinal Bichelieu, was the earliest of the heroic romances, and seems to have been the model of the works of Calprenede and Scudery. This ponderous work may be regarded as a sort of inter- mediate production between these later compositions and the ancient fables of chivahy. It has, indeed, a closer affinity to the heroic romance ; but many of the exploits of the hero are as extravagant as those of a paladin or knight of the Round Table. In the episode of the Peruvian Inca, there is a formidable giant, and in another part of the work we are introduced to a dragon, which lays waste a whole kingdom. An infinite number of tournaments are also interspersed through the volumes. In some of its features Polexandre bears a striking resemblance to the Greek romance ; ^ the disposition of the incidents is similar ; as in the Greek romance, the events, in a great measure, arise from adventures with pirates; and the scene is

^ Marin le Roy sieur de GomberTille, 1600-1647, became an author at the age of fifteen, as he published a Tolume of poetry in 1624, con- sisting of quatrains, in honour of old age. He gave over writing romances about the age of forty-five, and, in his frequent journeys to his estate of Gomberville, having formed a particular connection with the Solitaries of Fort Royal, he became occupied with more serious concerns, entered on a penitentiary life, and wrote, it is said, a sonnet on the Sacrament ; he relaxed, however, we are told, towards the end of his days. He is the author of some translations from the Spanish, and of some works on morality.

' Directly derived from Heliodorus is the incident (pt. i. 1. 1) of the delivery of a white child by a negro princess, who conceals the birth and exposes the infant to prevent the suspicion of her husband. The 8ub< sequent fate of the child recalb that of Chariclea, and the restles8ne>s and roving adventures of the book remind us of the Greek romance. — KOBBTINO, p. 228.


CH. XII.] OOMBBBTILLE. — POLEXANDBE. 411

cbieflj laid at sea or in small islands, or places on the sea coast.

Polexandre, the hero of this work, was king of the Canary Islands, and reigned over them soon after the dis- covery of America. In his early youth he had the good fortune to be captured by a piratical vessel fitted out from Britany, and being carried to France, he there received an education superior to what could have been reasonably expected in the seminaries of the Canary Islands.

After an absence of some years, Polexandre set out on his return to his own country. In the course of his voyage he approached the coast of Africa, where he learned that the hardy Abdelmelec, son of the powerful Muley Nazar, emperor of Morocco, had proclaimed a splendid tourna- ment, with a view of procuring a general acknowledgment from all the heroes and sovereigns on earth, that Alcidiana, queen of the Inaccessible Island, was the most beautiful woman in the universe. The African prince, it is true, had never beheld Alcidiana, but he had fallen in love with this incomparable beauty by seeing her portrait. This notion of princes, — for it is a folly peculiar to them, — be- coming enamoured of a portrait, the original of which is at the end of the world, or perhaps does not exist, seems to be of oriental origin. Thus, in the Mille et un jours, there is the story of a prince, who, after a long search, discovers that the picture he adored was a representation of one of the concubines of Solomon.

The prince of the Canaries proceeds to the tournament, with the intention of contesting the general proposition laid down by Abdelmelec concerning the beauty of his mistress ; but the view of the portrait makes such an im- pression on his heart, that so far from disputing the pre- eminence of Alcidiana, he combats Abdelmelec, in order to make him renounce his passion and his picture.

Having possessed himself of this trophy, Polexandre now returns to the Canary Islands, the dedared admirer of Alcidiana. On his arrival there he finds that his sister had been lately carried off by corsairs. The king of Scot- land, it is true, was in chase of the ravishers, but Polexandre did not conceive that his own exertions could, on that ac- count, be dispensed with. While engaged in the pursuit


412 HISTORY OP FICTION. [CH. XII.

of the pirates, he is driyen bj a storm into the mouth of a river in an unknown island. On disembarking, he finds that the country is delightful, and its inhabitants apparently civilized. A shepherd offers to conduct him to the nearest habitation : while on their way they observe a stag spring forth from a forest of cedars and palms, with an arrow in its shoulder. Instantly Polexandre hears the sound of a horn, and beholds a chariot drawn by four white horses. This conveyance was open, and was in shape of a throne. It was driven by a beautiful woman, in the garb of a nymph, while another, still more resplendent, and who carried a bow and arrows, occupied the principal seat in this hunting machine. Though Polexandre enjoyed but a transient glance, he discovers, from the resemblance to the portrait, that this is the divine Alcidiana. The passion, of which he had already felt the first emotions, takes full possession of his soul, and he already begins to make ingenious comparisons between his own situation and that of the wounded stag, and mentally reproaches this animal with insensibility in avoiding the taunsport of being pierced by the arrows of Alcidiana. Polexandre, accordingly, re- solves to remain on the island, and to disguise himself as a shepherd, that he might enjoy frequent opportunities of beholding the object of his passion. An old man, with whom he resided, informs him of every thing connected with the history of the queen. Among other topics, he mentions a prediction made soon after her birth, which declared that she was liable to the hazard of being united to a slave, who was to come from the most barbarous nation of Africa, but which, at the same time, promised the greatest prosperity to the kingdom, if she could resolve to accept him for a husband. In order to avoid the risk of this unworthy alliance, the princess remained, for the most part, immured in her palace. Polexandre, however, has occasional spportunities of seeing her, and at length enjoys the good fortune of preserving her life while she was en- gaged in her favourite amusement of hunting. This pro- cures him admission to the palace, and his access to the presence of the queen is still farther facilitated by his suppressing a rebellion which had broken out in the island. He gradually insinuates himself into her confidence ; and


CH. XIl]. OOMBBEVILLB. — POLEXANOBE. 413

as she had discovered his rank from the rich gifts he bestowed on her attendants, she abates somewhat of that haiUeur, which it seems was the distinguishing feature in her character. The romance is now occupied with the struggles that arise between this feeling and love, which are fully detailed in a very tiresome chapter, entitled: Histoire des divers sentimens d*Alcidiane. At length Polexandre leaves the princess, in order to recover one of her favourite attendants who had been carried off by a Portuguese corsair. He soon sails to such a distance as to lose sight of the Island of Alcidiana, which had received from enchantment the unfortunate property, that when once out of view it could never be regained.

The remaining part of the romance is occupied with the adventures of Polexandre in his fruitless attempts to make this invisible territory, and in his extirpation of those daring princes who aspired to the love of its queen. For this Beauty was beloved by all the monarchs on earth: even those who could not pretend to her in marriage pro- claimed themselves her admirers ; and knights, though at the extremity of the globe, rigorously abstained from looking on any woman after having viewed the portrait of Alcidiana. One would think even a princess must be somewhat whim- sical to take umbrage at such remote courtship, nevertheless Alcidiana had been grievously offended. She had been shocked that the khan of Tartary, the prince of Denmark, and the emperor of Morocco, had paid her the most distant devotion. To adore Alcidiana, though her residence was inaccessible, and her worshippers at the distance of a thousand miles, was a deadly offence for all but Polexandre. This prince, meanwhile, traverses different parts of the globe in quest of the Inaccessible Isle, but his adventures are chiefly laid in Africa, and nearly one half of the ro- mance is occupied with Moorish episodes.

At length Polexandre arrives at a country on the banks of the Niger, the monarch of which was wont to despatch to the temple of the Sun, an annual cargo of persons who were to be ranked among the slaves of that divinity. Polexandre begs leave to accompany this mission in the disguise of a slave, as he knew that Alcidiana sent thither a yearly offering. By this device he regains the Inac-


414 HISTOET OF FICTION. [CH. XII.

cessible Isle in the veBsel that brought the tribute, and which invariably steered the right course by enchantment. On his arrival at the island of his mistress, he finds it overrun by a Spanish army, which had been sent under the Duke Medina Sidonia, for the purpose of subjugating the Canary Islands ; but the armsbda having been driven on the Inaccessible Isle, the land forces had meanwhile attempted its conquest. Polexandre, who is at first un- known, gains some splendid successes over the Spaniards, and a belief is spread through the island that the African slave alluded to in the prediction, and whose alliance with their princess was to be the forerunner of so much pros- perity, had at length arrived. The approach of a second Spanish fleet, and the increasing dangers of the kingdom, induce the inhabitants to insist that Aicidiana should fulfil the prophecy. By the importunities of her people, she is at length forced to fix a day for the performance of the nuptial ceremony. Polexandre, to the infinite joy of the princess, discovers himself at t