Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

conquered a part of S. E. Russia in 1223; in 1242 they established the Empire of the Khan of Kaptschak (S. E. Russia), and exercised great influence there. In 1380 was another Tartar war; and in 1383 Moscow was burnt. The Tartar power in Russia was crushed by the general of Ivan III in 1481.

See Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, under Golden Horde and Russia.

The whole subject of magic is so vast that it is not easy to deal with it within a reasonable space. I must therefore content myself with pointing out a few references, &c., that seem most worthy of being here noted.

The Magic Horse appears in the tale of Cleomades and Claremond; see Keightley's Tales and Popular Fictions. Cervantes has put him to memorable use in his Don Quixote, where he describes him as 'that very wooden horse upon which the valiant Peter of Provence carried off the fair Magalona'. This horse is governed by a pin he has in his forehead, which serves for a bridle,' &c.; see Jarvis's translation, vol. ii. chap. xl., ed. 1809. But the best story of the Enchanted Horse is in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, where he is said to have been presented by an Indian to the king of Persia on the New Day, i. e, on the first day of the solar year, at the vernal equinox. This horse is governed by a peg in his neck, which was turned round when it was necessary for him to fly: see the Arabian Nights' Entertainment, published by Nimmo, 1865, p. 483; or the excellent edition by Lane, vol. ii. p. 463, which varies considerably from the more popular editions.

The tale of Cleomades is alluded to, says Mr. Keightley, in Caxton's edition of Reynart the Foxe, printed in 1481, in the 32nd chapter. He also cites a note by Sir F. Madden that a copy of the poem of Cleomades was purchased by Sir Thomas Phillipps at Mr. Lang's sale in 1828; that an undated edition of the Histoire Plaisante et Récréative du noble et excellent chevalier

1 Mr. Keightley shews, in his Tales and Popular Fictions, p. 75, that Cervantes has confused two stories, (1) that of a prince carrying off a princess on a wooden horse; and (2) that of Peter of Provence running away with the fair Magalona.

Clamades et de la belle Clermonde was printed at Troyes; and that Les Aventures de Clamades et Clarmonde appeared in Paris in 1733. Mr. Lane agrees with Mr. Keightley in considering the Tale of Cleomades identical with that of the Enchanted Horse in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and in supposing that it was originally a Persian story. Mr. Lane thinks it derived from the “Hezár Afsaneh'; see his edition, ii. 491.

It is not out of place to observe that the town of Seville is frequently mentioned in Cleomades, and we have seen that Cervantes had heard of the story. Perhaps, then, we may suppose that the story, originally Persian, found its way into Arabic, and thence into Spain; it would then soon be written down in Latin, and thence be translated into French, and become generally known. This must have happened, too, at an early period; for the French romance of Cleomades, extending to some 19,000 octosyllabic lines, was written by a poet named Adenès surnamed le Roi, a native of Brabant, between the years 1275 and 1283 ; see Keightley's Tales, p. 40.

The Magic Mirror is much the same as the magic ivory tube, furnished with glass, which enabled the user of it to see whatever object he might wish to behold. This fancy occurs in the tale of the Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Pari Banou, as told in Arabian Nights' Entertainments (Nimmo, 1865), p. 501. It is hardly worth while to pursue the subject further, as Warton's comments have already been cited.

The Magic Ring is to be referred to the story of the seal-ring made partly of brass and partly of iron, by which Solomon obtained power over the evil Jinn; see Lane’s Arabian Nights, i. 31. The notion of its conferring upon the wearer the power of understanding the language of birds is connected with it, because this was one of the faculties which Solomon possessed; for we read in the Koran, as translated by Sale, that “Solomon was David's heir; and he said, “O men, we have been taught the speech of birds”?; ch. xxvii. A clever Arabic epigram of the thirteenth century, ascribing to King Solomon a knowledge of the language of birds and beasts, is cited in Professor Palmer's

mere

History of the Jewish Nation, at p. 93. Even Hudibras understood the language of birds; Hudib. pt. 1. c. i. 1. 547.

With regard to the. Falcon, Leigh Hunt has well observed, in his Essay on Wit and Humour, that this bird is evidently a human being, in a temporary state of metempsychosis, a circumstance very common in tales of the East.' This is certainly true, as otherwise the circumstances of the story become poor and meaningless; it is something more than a fable like that of the Cock and Fox. If the story had been completed, shewing how the Falcon 'gat her love again,' we should have seen how she was restored to her first shape, by means, as Chaucer hints, of the magic ring. A talking bird appears in the Story of the Sisters who envied their Younger Sister, the last in some editions of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, but it is not transformed. On the other hand, in the story of Beder, Prince of Persia, in the same collection—which, by the way, mentions a magic ring—we find Prince Beder transformed into a white bird, and recovering his shape on being sprinkled with magic water ; but he does not speak while so metamorphosed. The story of a boy who understands the language of birds occurs in the Seven Sages, ed. Wright, p. 106; and Mr. Wright shews, in his Introduction, that such oriental tales are of great antiquity, and known in Europe in the thirteenth century. He refers the reader to an Essai sur les Fables Indiennes, et sur leur Introduction en Europe, by M. Deslongchamps, published in 1838.

The reader should not forget the hint at p. xvii above, that some expressions in the Squire's Tale are taken from the poem of Queen Annelida.

With respect to the ending of the Squire's Tale, two attempts at least have been made to complete it. Spenser, in his Faerie Queene, accounts for the fighting for Canacee, but he omits all about Cambuscan and the Falcon, Another ending was written by John Lanel in 1630, and is contained in MS. Ashmole 6937,

1 A friend of Milton's father; see Masson, Life of Milton, i. 42.

in the Bodleian Library. It is, according to Warton, a very weak performance; see his Observations on the Faerie Queene, p. 214.

GRAMMATICAL FORMS. For an account of the Grammatical Forms occurring in Chaucer's English, I may refer the reader to the Introduction to Dr. Morris's edition of the Prologue, &c.; pp. xxxi-xlii (3rd ed. 1872). The remarks there made of course apply equally well to the extracts printed in the present volume. A few of the most remarkable features of the grammar are, for convenience, cited here, with examples and references.

(I may here state, by the way, that some account of the pronunciation of English in Chaucer's time will be found in the Introduction to my edition of The Man of Lawes Tale, in the Clarendon Press Series.)

Nouns. The nominative plural in -ës is mostly used where the stem is monosyllabic. (By the stem is meant the form of the substantive when divested of inflection ; thus, taking the words man, dayes, nyghte, the stems are man, day-, nyght-, since in the two last words the suffixes -es and -e are inflectional. Also, the two dots over the e in -ës signify that the suffix -es forms a distinct syllable.) Ex. wyuës, B 59; woundës, 62; terës, 70; musës, 92. Here the monosyllabic stem gives rise to a disyllabic form, the plural-ending -es constituting a separate syllable.

When the stem has two or more syllables, the plural-ending is sometimes written -s (or -z) and sometimes -es, but the ending does not increase the number of syllables. Ex. degrees, B 12; lordinges, 16; metres, 48; loueres, 53 ; sermouns, 87; marchauntz,

The neuter plural bors is worth notice; see B 1823. The gen. case singular commonly ends in -ës, as goddës,

B 1166, 1169, 1175; mannës, 1630; wyuës, 1631. An example of a feminine genitive in -e is seen in sonnë stremës, 3944. A still more curious example, of a masculine genitive in -e, is seen in monë lyght, 2070; this is explained by remembering that the A.S. móna, the moon, does not become mones in the genitive,

d

I 22.

VOL. II.

but mónan. These examples have a peculiar interest as explaining the present forms of the names of the days of the week. The A. S. names are Sunnan dæg, Mónan dæg, Tiwes dag, Wódnes dæg, Thunres dæg, Frige dæg, Sæter dæg'; so that the modern English has the letter s only in those names where the -es formerly appeared, and in no others.

Adjectives. The definite form of the adjective (the stem being monosyllabic) is well marked by the addition of the finalë, Ex. whytë, B 1651 ; gretë, 1672 ; newë, 1817. We even have excellentë, F 145.

The vocative is also similarly denoted. Ex. O gretë, 1797; O derë, 1835; O yongë, 1874.

So also the plural number. Ex. wysë, B 128; smalë, 1691 ; oldë, 3164. But not when the stem is of more than one syllable, and the accent is thrown back; see prudent, 123 ; lerned, 1168.

An instance of an adjective of Romance origin forming the plural in -es is afforded by the word roialës, B 2038. The words innocentz, B 1798, gentils, E 480, subgetz, E 482, and others, are used as substantives.

Pronouns. We may note the joining of the pronoun to the verb, as in artow, B 1885; maystow, 3267; wostow, E 325. See these forms explained in the Glossary.

Which that=who, E 205; which that = whom, B 3938 ; what that=whatsoever, E 165; the whiche = who, E 269; whiche what sort of, E 2421; what=why, B 56, E 1221; that .. bisa whose, 1694; what man so=whatsoever man, F 157; what man that =whoever, F 160. See also the Glossary.

Verbs. There are several examples of the contracted form of the present tense singular, 3rd person, from stems ending in d

Ex. stant for standeth, B 3116; sit for sitteth, 3358; writ for wryteth, 3516; hit for hideth, F 512; last for lasteth, E 266 ; sent for sendeth, E 1151; bit for biddeth, F 291. In the past tense of such verbs as are entitled to take the full ending in -ede,

or t.

1 The form Sæteres dæg also occurs, in the Blickling Homilies, p. 71. We also find Sæternes at a later period.

« AnteriorContinua »