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skill, high, findingerous Wattany as possible
and afterwards neglects her most ungratefully. The more agreeable account, selected by Mr. Bulfinch, tells us that fristram decided to renounce his love for Iseult of Cornwall, and settle down, as quietly as was possible in those stirring times, with Iseult of Brittany. Having one day, however, got a very dangerous wound, whilst fighting against some rebellion, finding himself beyond the reach of his wife's skill, his thoughts reverted to his first Iseult, who had once cured him in a similar strait, — and he privately sent word to her to come to him. Iseult the Fair profited by her husband's absence to fly to her old lover; but his wife, getting wind of the matter, persuaded him that the messenger had returned unsuccessful, and Iseult arrived to find that Tristram had just died of disappointment and grief. She immediately followed his example. King Marc, with singular generosity, had the lovers buried in his own chapel, and straightway from the tomb of Tristram there issued a wild briar, which clambered up the neighboring wall, crept along and dropped exactly upon the tomb of Iseult. It was thrice cut down, and thrice repeated its journey, till King Marc, in despair, left it to shadow their graves, which at the last account it still continued to do. The reader will detect the plagiarism in the well-known ballad of Lord Lovell :
"And out of her bosom there grew a red rose,
And out of his bosom a briar." The romance of Tristram has been the most popular of all, and has furnished material for innumerable writers; among them, Spenser, Boiardo and Ariosto, have made more or less use of it. It is such histories as those of Tristram and Launcelot, that excited old Roger Ascham to say, with some asperity, — " The whole pleasure of these bookes standeth in two specyall poyntes, in open manslaghter and bold bawdrie. .... This is good stuffe for wise men to laugh at, or honest men to take pleasure at.”
But they are not all so bad. The stories of the search for the Sangreal, call out the best sympathies of the romancers, and are full of a reverence and tenderness which we do not find in the others. The Sangreal, or Holy Grail, was the cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper. It was brought to England by “the gentle knight, Joseph of Arimathea,” and its keeping had always been intrusted to one of his lineal descendants; but in Arthur's time it had wholly disappeared from the sight of man. At the instance of Merlin, Arthur engages the knights of his Round Table in search for it, and all go off under a vow to seek it for a year and a day. The inimitable Launcelot fails in a quest which demands perfect purity in the successful knight. Tristram gains no tidings of the holy vessel, and is soon diverted from his search. Even the good Gawain returns, baffled and wounded. In the romance of Perceval, this knight,who on his first appearance at court, a raw country stripling, causes great merriment, and affords to the luckless Sir Kay an opportunity, which is eagerly embraced, of getting into trouble,-becomes in a short time one of the brightest ornaments of chivalry. After a long series of adventures, some of them discreditable enough, he makes the acquaintance of his uncle, le Roi Pescheur, the Sinner King, guardian of the Sangreal. From him Percival receives the precious relic by inheritance. The Sangreal, after serving him through life in a variety of tricks of legerdemain, is, at his death, carried up to heaven, and is seen no more on earth. But this account is wholly out of keeping with the rest of the history of the Sangreal. Mr. Bulfinch, as usual, chooses the pleasanter story, which here is much the more appropriate. Sir Galahad, Launcelot's son, who to all his father's beauty, prowess and courtesy, added refinement and purity which the other lacked, had been pointed out as the finder of the Holy Grail. After a short but most brilliant career, he is conducted to a vessel, and embarking, finds the Sangreal upon a silver table, covered with red satin. At this sight he prays that he may be allowed to die whenever he shall ask it, and his prayer is granted. He is carried to the city of Sarras, of which he is at once chosen king, and after a year, being blessed with a vision of Joseph of Arimathea, his ancestor, he prays for death. His soul is borne up to heaven by a company of angels, and the holy vessel is removed at the same time. “Since then was there never one so hardy as to say that he had seen the Sangreal on earth any more.”
The death of King Arthur is familiar to all readers of Tennyson. It ends that part of Mr. Bulfinch’s book devoted to the romances of Arthur. We somewhat regret that he took no notice of the romance of Perceforest, who was
conquelie Indiepe Percpice is interesti
himself;escription, ne most outra robability, de
Arthur's ancestor, a follower of Alexander the Great. The conqueror, it seems, in his eastern expedition, was driven from the Indian ocean to the shores of England by stress of weither. There Perceforest, at first called Betis, established himself. This romance is one of the most remarkable for bright description, rapid and interesting narrative, and fertile invention ; and is the most outrageous of all in its desperate defiance of all unity, method, probability, geography, history, chronology and known fact.
About a third of Mr. Bulfinch's book is filled with selections from the Welsh Mabinogeon, published some fifteen years ago in England, with a translation by Lady Guest, but in such a form as to be inaccessible to general readers. In many of these, Arthur and his knights reappear, and we recognize old friends in new circumstances. The difference between the romances and the stories of the Mabinogeon is very marked. The latter are much fresher and livelier, showing freer play of fancy. The most entertaining is that of the lady of the Fountain, which has almost the ease and grace of a German fairy tale, of which many of these stories remind us very much, instead of the pompous and somewhat stiff progress of a romance of Chivalry. These extracts are a valuable addition to the book, as it will probably be long before the Mabinogeon itself is presented in a form adapted for popular reading.
Mr. Bulfinch comes to his task with excellent preparation, and in an appropriate spirit. His selections are very judicious, in a case where judicious selection was a difficult matter. He has, by careful arrangement, made his disjointed materials into an orderly and coherent whole, with an unity and regular development that could hardly have been looked for. He has touched delicately matters in which delicacy was not easy, though at the expense of much suppression, if not of occasional obscurity. The greatest merit of his work seems to us to be that in selecting, retrenching, and reuniting, he has not lost the spirit of his originals. Frequently we find him using the very words of the old romancers; when he does not, his style is fairly in keeping with his subject; quaint, simple, but without disagreeable affectation. He has prefaced his stories with a short survey of the earliest English history, taken principally, as he says,
from Milton's history; but this, though appropriate enough, is merely subsidiary, and comparatively uninteresting.
We have often wished for some book which should give us a connected account of the old heroes of chivalry and their exploits, and any who feel the same wish now will find it met in Mr. Bulfinch's pages. These stories delighted the old English for too many centuries, and had too strong an influence upon them to be forgotten by their descendants. Their historical value as pictures of manners is very great, and we must not forget that they show us the lives and thoughts of their writers and readers rather than of their heroes.
Spenser's Fairy Queen is full of the old romance. In later times Scott, not only in his ballads, &c., but through all his works, abounds in allusions to them. Among Tennyson's smaller poems, we find “ The Lady of Shallott," “Sir Gallahad,” “ Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere," and the “Morte d'Arthur.” In “ The Palace of Art” he says:
“Or mystic Uther's deeply wounded son
In some fair space of sloping greens
And watched by weeping queens."
We fear many a reader has passed over the allusion unrecognized.
But Mr. Bulfinch has not finished his work, or fully redeemed the title of his book. He has hinted that we may expect from him a similar volume of the romances of Charlemagne and his peers, which are equally necessary to the understanding of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso. We hope, too, that he will not pass over in silence, though he can hardly do justice to them all, Amadis of Gaul, the Palmerins, Don Belianis, Florismarte, Beltenebros, and others of the countless hosts whose lives and adventures are found in the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian romances.
maiderstand he will to them, marte, Bd adver
The True Method of Evangelism.
The primitive Evangelists were commissioned in these words: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” We shall not now stop to inquire what it was that composed the Gospel — what doctrines, what revelations of purpose and will, what unfoldings of an infinite plan, what depths of parental love and grace. It is sufficient for our present purpose to know, that it was something opposed to the traditions of men and the philosophies of the world. The divine words of Jesus - words such as had never been spoken by any other teacher, clothed with the very power of God for the salvation of human souls these the disciples were to preach to “every creature." Not only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but to the heathen in their blindness; not only in Jerusalem, but in Corinth and Athens and Rome, was the new religion to be proclaimed, sealed by many a sign and wonder from heaven, and confirmed by the new life it brought to the souls of men. Whether called preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, or preaching the Cross of Christ, or preaching the Kingdom of God, or preaching Jesus and the Resurrection, or declaring the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Christ, or unveiling the mystery of the Father's will, it was all one and the same thing - it was preaching the Gospel, that an unbelieving and a lost world might hear, believe and live.
To bring men to a knowledge of the one God and Father, and of the relation they sustained to him ; to show them for what Jesus had come into the world, our highest representative of the Father; what was the plan of redemption, and what the conviction of that wonderful life with human destiny; to awaken the dead in their graves, and call them forth to a spiritual resurrection, to a recognition and experience of the wonders and joys of a new existence; — all this was embraced in that primitive commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” To do this was to preach the Gospel. It was to make an application of the Gospel to the needs of humanity - to