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inore correctly, Jack's history is a popular and degraded version of the traditions
earliest romances are founded. The Mount of Cornwall, which was kept by a large and monstrous Giant, is St. Michael's Mount; and the Giant Corinoran, whom Jack dispatched there, and who was eighteen feet high and about three yards round, is the same who figures in the romance of Tristan. It was by killing this Corinoran, (the Corinæus probably of Jeffery of Monmouth and the Brut,) that Jack acquired his triumphal epithet of the Giant-Killer.*
In order that students of British gigantology may not be misled in their researches, we think it proper to inform them that they inust take great care not to confound the History of Jack and the Giants' with the History of the Giants.' These works differ essentially in merit, and, although the latter begins with the history of Goliah the champion of the Philistines, yet the adventures contained in the remainder of the work, and particularly all those wbich relate to the Giants Trapsaca and Traudello, are, as the Irish bishop observed of Gulliver's travels, exceedingly incredible.
Of rarer occurrence than the heroic narratives to which our attention has hitherto been directed, is the history of Friar Rush the devil's brother. The friar was known to Reginald Scott before the history of his pranks was published. Scott ranks him in the same category with Robin Goodfellow, so that Robin and the Friar were alike the heroes of popular and traditionary tales. There is an ancient Danish poem, which treats' of brother Rus, how he did service as cook and monk in the monastery of Esserom.' There is reason to suppose that the English story-book and the Danish history are derived from one common original, well known on the continent in times previous to the reformation, for, as Bruno Seidelius sings,
Quis non legit, quæ Frater Rauschius egit?' It is worthy of remark that the Danish Rus is made to travel through the air to England, where he possesses the king's daughter.
* Now when the magistrates who employed John heard that the job was over, they sent for him, declaring he should henceforth be called “ JACK TĦE GIANT KILLER," and in honour thereof presented him with a sword and embroidered belt, upon which these words were written in letters of gold :
• Here's the valiant Cornish man,
Who slew the giant Corinoran.' In the last London edition of Jack the Giant Killer, the printer's devil who corrected the streets has arbitrarily chosen to read Cormoran. We have not scrupled to restore the true reading, although the spurious reading gives a smoother verse. According to the Brut it is Corineus who kills the giant, but as he was a giant himself, tradition has only changed sides,
CORINEUS estoit moult grant
There * It is not translated from the 'Quinze Joyes du Mariage;' the titles only agreeing.
There has been a fair exchange of nursery tales between the two countries, for in return for Brother Russ, we gave them the history of the lucky Richard Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, whose life has been translated into Danish, and whose good fortune is now as well known in Bergen and Drontheim as in his own native land of Cockney. Puss has thus sailed half round the world, from the Gulf of Persia to the Northern Sea.
HOWLEGLASS stands as the leader of a merry troop; TOM Tram, the son-in-law of Mother Winter, Tom Stitch, the tailor, and Tom Long, the carrier of the Men of Gotham, follow in his train, whose penny histories,' all imitated from his 'merrye jeste,' are now introuvables. They all belong to the ancient and noble and widely dispersed family of Tom Fool, which has obtained such pre-eminence and dignity in church and state throughout all Christendom. Yn the land of Sassen,' says old Copland, in the village of Keeling, 'there dwelled a man that was named Nicholas Howleglass, that had a wyfe named Wyneke, that laye a child bed in the same village, and that childe was borne to Christening and named Tyell Howleglass.' It were long to detail his fearful jokes which sometimes brought him to the gallows, yet saved him from the halter. He was buried with his coffin standing on one end, as the visitants at the Abbey believe of Ben Jonson, at Mollen, near Lubeck: and you may see his grave-stone under the great lime tree in the church-yard; and his rebus, to wit an owl and a looking glass, cut upon the stone. Ulenspiegel, as he is called in German, has almost made the tour of Europe:
his life was first published in the Nether-Saxon dialect in 1483. Our English translation of the merrye jeste of a man that was called Howleglass, and of many marveylous thinges and jestes that he did in his lyfe in Eastland,' was • Imprinted at London in Tamestreete, at the Vintre, in Three Craned Warfe, by Wyllyam Copland.' According to the technical phrase, it was done into English from the High Dutch. There is also a Flemish translation, which, well purified from all aspersions on holy church, is now a chap book in Flanders. The Flemish faithful are earnestly warned not to purchase the shameful edition printed at Amsterdam, by Brother Jansz, in the Burgwal, at the sign of the “Silver Can," the same being calculated to vex and scandalize all good Catholics.
SIMPLE SIMON's misfortunes' are such as are incident to all the human race, since they arose from his wife Margery's cruelty, which began the very morning after their marriage, and we therefore do not know whether it is necessary to seek out for a Teutonic or Northern original of this once popular book. • The Fifteen Joys of Matrimony'* being also diffused pretty equally
over the wide world, we cannot presume to confine the origin of the tractate concerning them to our island.
Now that we have fairly entered into the matrimonial chapter we must needs speak of Mother Bunch, not the Mother Bunch wbose fairy tales are repeated to the little ones, but she whose cabinet,' when broken open, reveals so many powerful love-spells: it is Mother Bunch who teaches the blooming damsel to recal the fickle lover, or to tix the wandering gaze of the cautious swain, attracted by her charms, yet scorning the fetters of the parson, and dreading the still more fearful vision of the church warden, the constable, the justice, the warrant, and the jail. We dare not venture to unfold the incantations of the sapient beldam; but perhaps there may be equal efficacy in the Academy of Compliments, or Whole Art of Courtship, being the rarest and most exact way of wooing a maid or widow by the way of dialogue and complimental expressions, and which used to be sold by Mr. Hollis in Shoemaker-row near Doctor's Commons: and in the metrical magic of the ' Posies for rings and other things,' given in this same Academy; posies in no small request on the feast of good St. Valentine, however ill the saint may view the celebration of his festival.
And bade us imitate, not seek for lovers. The Academy of Compliments' is abridged from the Jardin d'Amour,' the last edition of which is augmented by' plusieurs lettres familières pour l'utilité de la jeunesse;' and, as our good friend Madame Garnier informs us, there is not a peasant in Champagne who will attempt to woo, in an honourable way, except according to the established forms and precedents contained in this useful manual. And even the boors in the Low Countries are equally obedient to the lessons of its Flemish translation, the . Konst der Minnen,' when they sidle into the spinning-room, or try to drop upon one knee before the Juffrow, as their fathers did before them. Like its ambitious prototype, the Roman de la Rose, the Garden of Love' has borrowed the principles of the great master Ovid: its author had more morality than the heathen poet, and less learning than Jean de Meung and Guillaume de Loris, his elaborate followers, who thought it necessary to invoke Reason' and the seven sciences her handmaids, merely to aid the lover in winning a woman's heart! Alas! many a year has flown since
Mother Burich taught us to doubt the expediency of calling in such auxiliaries.
We have not the slightest idea that Jack the Giant Killer, or any of the volumes of the peliny library, will be held cheap by our readers, but we anticipate that less respect will be paid to Hearne and Le Neve, and Spelman, and the other learned archæologists of whose researches we have availed ourselves. Yet with all
due submission to the judges in this behalf, we cannot help thinking that no literary productions are treated so unfairly, as the works of the antiquary,
in closet close ypent Of sober face, with learned dust besprent;' whose very name is become a byeword and a reproach even amongst bis literary brethren. They hunt and drive him out of the commonwealth of letters, and immolate him as a scape-goat to the devouring appetite of the scorner. Honest zeal, even in a bad cause, demands our praise : and men of sense and genius should therefore bear with the enthusiasm of men of sense and learning, although they cannot participate in their glowing feelings. It was this enthusiasm which invigorated the erudite who flourished in the era that immediately followed the restoration of letters, and which, in times nearer our own, sustained the unwearied hands of Grævius and Gronovius, and Rymer and Prynne, and Montfaucon and Muratori, whilst they accomplished their Herculean tasks. But the age of folios has gone by, like the age of chivalry, and both may be regretted by posterity. A great book has been called a great evil, and this pithy axiom has been received without much inquiry into its truth or application. It was said of Albertus Magnus, that he could have been burned in a pile composed of one set of his own voluminous works. Such an author may not deserve an apotheosis merely on account of his industry, yet it does not follow that because his pen was prolific, his productions are only worthy of the flames. In the opinion of the urchin, the Christ-cross-row is a mile too long. Larger in their growth, yet equally lazy, are those who pride themselves in dealing out the small talk of literary censure, and who mock at the author of a ponderous tome, concealing their own inaptitude for the acquisition of knowledge by affecting to despise the volume which imparts it. These idlers are followed by the closer reasoners who have read the work which they criticise, and who think it beseeming to censure the author for his deficiency in taste and judgment. This accusation, grounded upon well-sounding words, and specious phrases, generally rebounds from side to side; it is repeated in the bookseller's shop, echoed in the library, and buzzed in the drawing-room, and the multitude coufirm
the sentence by acclamation. Taste, however, is governed by an uncertain standard; and the critic would do well to recollect that the literary character may fail on the right side, when betraying what is so often termed want of judgment. It is ungraceful to be encumbered with learning, to swelter beneath the ample folds and furred trimmings of the academical robe, but yet this display of opulence is more creditable to the wearer, than the pitiful nakedness of the literary vagrant. Mere learning may tire, yet instruct: the conceit of ignorance will always disgust without affording in, struction.
An author who directs his energies to austere studies is apt to be voluminous. Desiring to become fully intelligible to the uninstructed, and eager, at the same time, to gratify the erudite with in
formation hitherto unknown to them, he exhausts his subject, • Hence the learned are often induced to censure him as trivial, the un
learned as obscure; and by each his comprehensive intent is unworthily contemned. Still more unreasonable are those who slight the intensity of labour, which is called for by the very nature of his subject. The mould of the garden-bed may be turned up by the spade, and watered by a lady's hand: but he who wishes to found a settlement in the forest inust toil in hewing the massy trunks, and in bestowing a sevenfold ploughing on the stubborn soil.
Wit, in unthinking levity, has sometimes scourged the studious tribes with undeserved harshness. Yet still more unkind and uncharitable are the dull, the sad, the solemn, and the grave, towards the antiquary, who, if endowed with genius, yields to the seductions to which he is then peculiarly exposed. Imagination endangers the
reputation of the learned. They follow the ignis fatuus over marshes - and quagmires, and the trembling surface sinks beneath ţhe steps of
the giants of literature, whilst the lighter limbs of the poet, who is equally deluded by the wandering fire, enable him to spring along
Ritson, attacking Warton, affords a striking example of the spiteful pleasure enjoyed by a sour, clear-headed precisian, when he detects the errors of a superior intellect. But we are not always satisfied even with the tests of sober reason as propounded by those who judge with more fairness, and who, proceeding upon decent and respectable principles of criticism, damn the ingenious theories of the historian, the mythologist, or the philologer, because they seem wild and speculative. A writer who pursues obscure and difficult inquiries, is compelled to accept the proofs afforded by circumstantial evidence. There are certain optical glasses which, when applied to the eye, collect the spots and lines dispersed on a coloured tablet into a symmetrical form: like these, his mind associutes and assembles the ideas dispersed through time and space. When he appears most arbitrary in his assumptions, most fanciful