The Miscellaneous Prose Works of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.; An Essay on Chivalry. an Essay on Romance. an Essay on the Drama Volume 6
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1827 edition. Excerpt: ...This will not be so surprising when it is recollected, that these earlier Romances were written, not only for the use of the French, but of the English themselves, amongst whom French was the prevailing language during the reigns of the Anglo-Norman monarchs. Indeed, it has been ingeniously supposed, and not without much apparent probability, that the fame of Arthur was taken by the French minstrels for the foundation of their stories in honour of the English kings, who reigned over the supposed dominions of that British hero; while, on the other hand, the minstrels who repaired to the court of France, celebrated the prowess of Charlemagne and his twelve peers as a subject more gratifying to those who sat upon his throne. It is, perhaps, some objection to this ingenious theory, that, as we have already seen, the battle of Hastings was opened by a minstrel, who sung the war-song of Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne; so that the Norman duke brought with him to England the tales that are supposed, at a much later date, to have been revived to soothe the national pride of the French minstrels. How the French minstrels came originally by the traditional relics concerning Arthur and Merlin, on which they wrought so long and so largely, must, we fear, always remain uncertain. From the Saxons we may conclude they had them not; for the Saxons were the very enemies against whom Arthur employed his good sword Excalibar; that is to say, if there was such a man, or such a weapon. We know, indeed, that the British, like all the branches of the Celtic race, were much attached to poetry and music, which the numerous relics of ancient poetry in Wales, Ireland, and the Highlands of Scotland, sufficiently evince. Arthur, a name famous among them, with some...
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