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Title: Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail - With Especial Reference to the Hypothesis of Its Celtic Origin
Author: Nutt, Alfred
Language: English
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  The Folk-Lore Society,

  [Illustration: Alter et Idem.]


List of Officers of the Society.





  W. R. S. RALSTON, M.A.


  G. L. GOMME, F.S.A., 1, Beverley Villas, Barnes Common, S.W.








  A. GRANGER HUTT, F.S.A., 8, Oxford Road, Kilburn, N.W.
  J. J. FOSTER, 36, Alma Square, St. John's Wood, N.W.


_Works by the same Author._

=The Aryan Expulsion and Return Formula among the Celts.=--_Folk-Lore
Record_, Vol. IV. 10_s._ 6_d._

    "Interessante étude de mythographie comparée."--_Revue Celtique._

=Mabinogion Studies, I. The Mabinogi of Branwen, daughter of
Llyr.=--_Folk-Lore Record_, Vol. V. 10_s._ 6_d._

    "Eingehendes und sehr beachtenswerthes Studium."--Prof. ERNST
    WINDISCH, in _Ersch und Gruber_.

    "These careful and searching studies deserve to be honourably
    mentioned."--Mons. HENRI GAIDOZ, in the _Academy_.




  "Welchem Volke das Märchen (von Parzival's Jugendgeschichte)
  angehörte, welches die schriftliche oder mündliche
  Ueberlieferung mit der Gralsage in Verbindung brachte, ist
  schwer zu bestimmen, doch würde dasjenige Volk den meisten
  Anspruch darauf haben, bei welchem sich dies Märchen ausserhalb
  jenes Zusammenhangs nachweisen liesse."--K. SIMROCK.

  "The Celtic hero who in the twelfth century became Perceval le
  Chercheur du basin ... in the end became possessed of that
  sacred basin le Saint Graal, and the holy lance which, though
  Christian in the story, are the same as the talismans which
  appear so often in Gaelic tales ... the glittering weapon which
  destroys, and the sacred medicinal cup which cures."--J. F.

  "In all the Fenian stories mention is made of Fionn's healing
  cup ... it is the same as the Holy Grail of course."--J. F.




  To the Memory



  Description of the leading forms of the Romance: Conte del
  Graal--Joseph d'Arimathie--Didot-Perceval--Queste del Saint
  Graal--Grand Saint Graal--Parzival--Perceval le Gallois--
  Mabinogi of Peredur--Sir Perceval--Diu Crône--Information
  respecting date and authorship of these works in the MSS.         page 1


  Summaries--Conte du Graal: Pseudo-Chrestien, Chrestien,
  Gautier de Doulens, Manessier, Gerbert--Wolfram--Heinrich von
  dem Türlin--Didot-Perceval--Mabinogi of Peredur--Thornton MS.
  Sir Perceval--Queste del Saint Graal--Grand Saint Graal--
  Robert de Borron's poem, Joseph of Arimathea                      page 8


  The legend formed of two portions: Early History of Grail,
  Quest--Two forms of each portion distinguished--Grouping of
  the various versions--Alternative hypotheses of development--
  Their bearing upon the alleged Celtic origin of the Grail--
  Closer examination of the various accounts of the Grail: The
  first use made of it and its first possessor; its solace of
  Joseph; its properties and the effect produced by it; its
  name; its arrival in England; the Grail-keeper and his
  relationship to the Promised Knight--Three different stages
  in the development of the Queste--The work and the
  qualification of the Promised Knight--Conclusions: Priority
  over Early History of Quest--Chronological arrangement of the
  versions                                                         page 65



  Villemarqué--Halliwell--San Marte (A. Schulz)--Simrock--
  Rochat--Furnivall's reprint of the Grand St. Graal and of
  Borron--J. F. Campbell--Furnivall's Queste--Paulin Paris--
  Potvin's Conte du Graal--Bergmann--Skeat's Joseph of
  Arimathea--Hucher: Grail Celtic, date of Borron--Zarncke, Zur
  Geschichte der Gralsage; Grail belongs to Christian
  legend--Birch-Hirschfeld develops Zarncke's views: Grand St.
  Graal younger than Queste, both presuppose Chrestien and an
  earlier Queste, the Didot-Perceval, which forms integral part
  of Borron's trilogy; Mabinogi later than Chrestien; various
  members of the cycle dated--Martin combats Birch-Hirschfeld:
  Borron later than Chrestien, whose poem represents oldest
  stage of the romance, which has its roots in Celtic
  tradition--Hertz--Criticism of Birch-Hirschfeld                  page 97


  Relationship of the Didot-Perceval to the Conte du Graal--The
  former not the source of the latter--Relationship of the
  Conte du Graal and the Mabinogi--Instances in which the
  Mabinogi has copied Chrestien--Examples of its independence--
  The incident of the blood drops in the snow--Differences
  between the two works--The machinery of the Mabinogi and the
  traces of it in the Conte du Graal--The stag hunt--The
  Mabinogi and Manessier--The sources of the Conte du Graal and
  the relation of the various parts to a common original--Sir
  Perceval--Steinbach's theory--Objections to it--The counsels
  in the Conte du Graal--Wolfram and the Mabinogi--Absence of
  the Grail from the apparently oldest Celtic form                page 127


  The Lay of the Great Fool--Summary of the Prose Opening--The
  Aryan Expulsion and Return Formula--Comparison with the
  Mabinogi, Sir Perceval, and the Conte du Graal--Comparison
  with various Gaelic märchen, the Knight of the Red Shield,
  the Rider of Grianaig--Originality of the Highland tale--
  Comparison with the Fionn legend--Summary of the Lay of the
  Great Fool--Comparison with the stag hunt incident in the
  Conte du Graal and the Mabinogi--The folk-tale of the twin
  brethren--The fight against the witch who brings the dead to
  life in Gerbert and the similar incident in the folk-tale of
  the Knight of the Red Shield--Comparison with the original
  form of the Mabinogi--Originality of Gerbert                    page 152


  The various forms of the visit to the Grail Castle in the
  romances--Conte du Graal: Chrestien; Gautier-Manessier;
  Gautier-Gerbert--Didot-Perceval--Mabinogi--Conte du Graal;
  Gawain's visit to the Grail Castle--Heinrich von dem
  Türlin--Conte du Graal: Perceval's visit to the Castle of
  Maidens--Inconsistency of these varying accounts; their
  testimony to stories of different nature and origin being
  embodied in the romances--Two main types: feud quest and
  unspelling quest--Reasons for the confusion of the two
  types--Evidence of the confusion in older Celtic literature--
  The Grail in Celtic literature: the gear of the Tuatha de
  Danann; the cauldron in the Ultonian cycle; the Mabinogi of
  Branwen; vessel of balsam and glaive of light in the
  contemporary folk-tale--The sword in Celtic literature:
  Tethra; Fionn; Manus--Parallels to the Bespelled Castle; the
  Brug of Oengus, the Brug of Lug, the Brug of Manannan Mac
  Lir, Bran's visit to the Island of Women, Cormac Mac Art, and
  the Fairy Branch; Diarmaid and the Daughter of King Under the
  Waves--Unspelling stories: The Three Soldiers; the waiting of
  Arthur; Arthur in Etna; the Kyffhäuser Legend, objections to
  Martin's views concerning it--Gawain's visit to the Magic
  Castle and Celtic parallels; The Son of Bad Counsel; Fionn in
  Giant Land; Fionn in the House of Cuana; Fionn and the Yellow
  Face--The Vanishing of the Bespelled Castle--Comparison with
  the Sleeping Beauty cycle--The "Haunted Castle" form and its
  influence on Heinrich's version--The Loathly Grail Messenger    page 170


  The Fisher King in the Conte du Graal, in the Queste, and in
  Borron and the Grand St. Graal--The accounts of latter
  complete each other--The Fish is the Salmon of Wisdom--
  Parallel with the Fionn Saga--The nature of the Unspelling
  Quest--The Mabinogi of Taliesin and its mythological
  affinities--Brons, Bran, Cernunnos--Perceval's silence: Conte
  du Graal explanation late; explanation from the Fionn Saga--
  Comparison of incident with _geasa_; nature of latter;
  references to it in Celtic folk-tales and in old Irish
  literature, Book of Rights, Diarmaid, Cuchulainn--_Geasa_ and
  _taboo_                                                         page 207


  Summing up of the elements of the older portion of the
  cycle--Parallelism with Celtic tradition--The Christian
  element in the cycle: the two forms of the Early History;
  Brons form older--Brons and Bran--The Bran conversion
  legend--The Joseph conversion legend, Joseph in apocryphal
  literature, the Evangelium Nicodemi--The Bran legend the
  starting point of the Christian transformation of the
  legend--Substitution of Joseph for Bran--Objection to this
  hypothesis--Hypothetical sketch of the growth of the legend     page 215


  The Moral and Spiritual import of the Grail-Legend
  universally recognised--Popularity of the Arthurian Romance--
  Reasons for that Popularity--Affinities of the Mediæval
  Romances with early Celtic Literature; Importance of the
  Individual Hero; Knighthood; the _rôle_ of Woman; the Celtic
  Fairy and the Mediæval Lady; the Supernatural--M. Renan's
  views--The Quest in English Literature, Malory--The earliest
  form of the Legend, Chrestien, his continuators--The Queste
  and its Ideal--The Sex-Relations in the Middle Ages--
  Criticism of Mr. Furnivall's estimate of the moral import of
  the Queste--The Merits of the Queste--The Chastity Ideal in
  the later versions--Modern English Treatments: Tennyson,
  Hawker--Possible Source of the Chastity Ideal in Popular
  Tradition--The Perceval Quest in Wolfram; his Moral
  Conception; the Question; Parzival and Conduiramur--The
  Parzival Quest and Faust--Wagner's Parsifal--The Christian
  element in the Legend--Ethical Ideas in the folk-tale
  originals of the Grail Romances: the Great Fool; the Sleeping
  Beauty--Conclusion                                              page 228

  APPENDIX A.: The Relationship of Wolfram to Chrestien           page 261

  APPENDIX B.: The Grand St. Graal Prologue and the Brandan
               Legend                                             page 264

  INDEX I. The Dramatis Personæ of the Legend                     page 266

  INDEX II.                                                       page 275


The present work is, as its title states, a collection of "Studies." It
does not profess to give an exhaustive or orderly account of the Grail
romance cycle; it deals with particular aspects of the legend, and makes
no pretence of exhausting even these.

It may be urged that as this is the case the basis of the work is too
broad for the superstructure, and that there was no need to give full
summaries of the leading forms of the legend, or to discuss at such length
their relation one to another, when it was only intended to follow up one
of the many problems which this romance cycle presents. Had there existed
any work in English which did in any measure what the writer has here
attempted to do, he would only too gladly have given more space and more
time to the elaboration of the special subject of these studies. But the
only work of the kind is in German, _Birch-Hirschfeld's Die Gralsage_.
Many interested in the Arthurian romances do not know German; and some who
profess an interest in them, and who do know German, are not, to judge by
their writings, acquainted with Birch-Hirschfeld's work. It seemed worth
while, therefore, to present the facts about the cycle with greater
fulness than would have been necessary had those facts been generally
accessible. The writer felt, too, that whatever judgment might be passed
upon his own speculations, his statements of fact might give his book some
value in the eyes of students. He also wished to give all who felt an
interest in the line of investigation he opened up the opportunity of
pursuing it further, or the means of checking his assertions and

The writer has taken his texts as he found them. He has studied the
subject matter of the romances, not the words in which they have been
handed down. Those who seek for philological disquisitions are, therefore,
warned that they will find nothing to interest them; and those scholars
who are well acquainted with the printed texts, but who are on the search
for fresh MS. evidence, must not look here for such. On the other hand, as
the printed texts are for the most of such rarity and price as to be
practically inaccessible to anyone not within reach of a large library,
the writer trusts that his abstract of them will be welcome to many. He
has striven to take note of all works of real value bearing upon the
subject. He endeavoured, though unsuccessfully, to obtain a copy of M.
Gaston Paris' account of the Arthurian romances which, though it has been
for some months in print, is not yet published.

The writer has done his best to separate the certain from the conjectural.
Like M. Renan, in a similar case, he begs the reader to supply the
"perhaps" and the "possibly's" that may sometimes have dropt out. The
whole subject is fraught with difficulty, and there are special reasons
why all results must for some time to come be looked upon as conjectural.
These are glanced at here and there in the course of these studies, but it
may be well to put them together in this place. Firstly, whatever opinions
be held as to which are the older forms of the legend, it is certain that
in no one case do we possess a primary form. All the versions that have
come down to us presuppose, even where they do not actually testify to, a
model. Two of the forms which there is substantial agreement in reckoning
among the oldest, the poems of Chrestien de Troyes and Robert de Borron,
were never finished by the authors; sequels exist to both, of a later date
and obviously affected by other forms of the legend. A reconstruction of
the original story is under these circumstances a task of great
uncertainty. So much for the difficulty inherent in the nature of the
evidence, a difficulty which it is to be feared will always beset the
student of this literature, as no new texts are likely to be found.
Secondly, this evidence, such as it is, is not accessible in a form of
which the most can be made. The most important member of the group, the
Conte du Graal, only exists in one text, and that from a late and poor
MS. It is certain that a critical edition, based upon a survey of the
entire MS. evidence, will throw great light upon all the questions here
treated of. The Mabinogi of Peredur has not yet been critically edited,
nor have the MSS. of the other romances yielded up all that can be learnt
from them. Thirdly, whatever opinion be held respecting the connection of
the North French romances and Celtic tradition, connection of some kind
must be admitted. Now the study of Celtic tradition is only beginning to
be placed upon a firm basis, and the stores of Celtic myth and legend are
only beginning to be thrown open to the non-Celtic scholar. Were there in
existence a Celtic parallel to Grimm's great work on German Mythology, the
views for which the writer contends would have been, in all likelihood,
admitted ere now, and there would have been no necessity for this work at

Whilst some of the reasons which render the study of the Grail legends so
fascinating, because so problematic, will probably always remain in force,
others will vanish before the increase of knowledge. When the diplomatic
evidence is accessible in a trustworthy form; when the romances have
received all the light that can be shed upon them from Celtic history,
philology, and mythology, the future student will have a comparatively
easy task. One of the writer's chief objects has been to excite an
interest in these romances among those who are able to examine the Celtic
elements in them far more efficiently than he could do. Welsh philologists
can do much to explain the _Onomasticon Arthurianum_; Cymric history
generally may elucidate the subject matter. But as a whole Welsh
literature is late, meagre, and has kept little that is archaic. The study
of Irish promises far better results. Of all the races of modern Europe
the Irish have the most considerable and the most archaic mass of
pre-Christian traditions. By the side of their heroic traditional
literature that of Cymry or Teuton (High and Low), or Slav is recent,
scanty, and unoriginal.

A few words must be said in defence of the free use made of conjecture in
the course of these studies. This is well nigh unavoidable from the way in
which the texts we have to deal with have come down to us. What M. Renan
has said about the Hebrew historical scriptures is excellently exemplified
in the Grail romances. There was no fixed text, no definite or rounded
sequence of incidents, of which scribes respected the integrity. On the
contrary, each successive transcriber was only anxious to add some fresh
adventure to the interminable tale, and those MSS. were most thought of
which contained the greatest number of lines. The earlier MSS. have,
therefore, almost entirely disappeared, and we are dealing with works
which we know to have been composed in the twelfth century, but of which
we have only thirteenth or fourteenth century transcripts. Inconsistencies
in the conduct of the story are the inevitable consequence in most cases,
but sometimes the latest arranger had an eye for unity of effect, and
attained this by the simple process of altering the old account so as to
make it fit with the new. In dealing with the text of an _individual_
author, whether ancient or modern, it would be in the last degree
uncritical to explain difficulties by such hypotheses as the loss of an
earlier draft, or the foisting into the work of later and incongruous
incidents and conceptions. Not so in the case of the romances; this method
of explanation is natural and legitimate, but none the less is it largely

The writer may be blamed for not having presented his subject in a more
engaging and more lucid form. He would plead in excuse the circumstances
under which his work has been carried on. When the only hours of study are
those which remain after the claims, neither few nor light, of business
and other duties have been met, it is hard to give an appearance of unity
to a number of minute detail studies, and to weld them together into one
harmonious whole. The fact that the work has been written, and printed, at
considerable intervals of time may, it is hoped, be accepted as some
excuse for inconsistency in the terminology.

The writer has many acknowledgments to make. First and chief to Dr.
Birch-Hirschfeld, but for whose labours, covering well nigh the whole
field of the Grail cycle, he would not have been able to take in hand his
work at all; then to Dr. Furnivall, to whose enthusiasm and spirit the
publication of some of the most important texts are due. In these two
cases the writer acknowledges his gratitude with the more readiness that
he has felt compelled to come to an opposite conclusion from that arrived
at by Dr. Birch-Hirschfeld respecting the genesis and growth of the
legend, and because he has had to differ from Dr. Furnivall's estimate of
the moral value of the Galahad romances. To M. Hucher, to Mons. Ch.
Potvin, the editor, single-handed, of the Conte du Graal, to M. d'Arbois
de Jubainville, to Professor Ernst Martin, to the veteran San-Marte, to
Herr Otto Küpp, and to Herr Paul Steinbach, these studies owe much.
Professor Rhys' Hibbert Lectures came into the writer's hands as he was
preparing the latter portion of the book for the press; they were of great
service to him, and he was especially gratified to find opinions at which
he had arrived confirmed on altogether independent grounds by Professor
Rhys' high authority. The writer is also indebted to him, to Mr. H. L. D.
Ward, of the British Museum, and to his friend Mr. Egerton Phillimore for
help given while the sheets were passing through the press. Lastly, the
writer desires to pay an especial tribute of gratitude and respect to that
admirable scholar, J. F. Campbell. Of all the masters in folk-lore, Jacob
Grimm not excepted, none had a keener eye or surer, more instinctively
right judgment.

Although the writer admits, nay, insists upon the conjectural character of
his results, he believes he is on the right track, and that if the Grail
romances be worked out from any other point of view than the one here
taken, the same goal will be reached. It should be said that some of the
conclusions, which he can claim as his own by right of first mention, were
stated by him in a paper he read before the Folk-Lore Society in 1880
(afterwards reprinted, Celtic Magazine, 1887, August-October); and in a
paper he read before the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, in 1884.

These studies have been a delight and a solace to the writer; had it been
otherwise, he would still feel himself amply repaid for his work by the
thought that he had made a contribution, however slight, to the criticism
of the Legend of the Holy Grail.


[The reader is kindly begged to mark in these corrections before using the

  Page 22, line 12, _for_ Corbièrc _read_ Corbière.
    "  25, line 37, _insert_ Passion _before_ Week.
    "  30, 7 lines from bottom, _for_ Avallon _read_ Avalon.
    "  85, line 24, _for_ Percival _read_ Perceval.
    "  86, line 12, _for_ Percival _read_ Perceval.
    "  90, 5 lines from bottom, _for_ Pelleur _read_ Pelleans.
    " 102, line 22, _for_ seems _read_ seem.
    " 120, line 3, _for_ 1180 _read_ 1189.
    " 124, line 29, _for_ Bron _read_ Brons.
    " 156, line 11, _insert_ comma _after_ specially.
    " 159, line 11, _for_ Henessey _read_ Hennessy.
    " 163, note, _i.e._, _for_ Graal _read_ Gaal.
    " 183, line 23, _insert_ comma _after_ more.
    " 188, line 5, _for_ euphemerised _read_ euhemerised.
    " 188, line 5, _for_ invasion _read_ invasions.
    " 188, line 17, _for_ mystic _read_ mythic.
    " 189, line 1, _for_ LXXVII _read_ LXXXII.
    " 197, note, _for_ Carl the Great _read_ Karl the Great.
    " 200, line 12, _insert_ comma _after_ plight; _dele_ comma _after_
    " 201, 1 line from bottom, _insert_ late _before_ mediæval.
    " 204, note, _for_ Percival _read_ Perceval.
    " 217, line 23, _for_ mystic _read_ mythic.



    Description of the leading forms of the Romance: Conte del
    Graal--Joseph d'Arimathie--Didot-Perceval--Queste del Saint
    Graal--Grand Saint Graal--Parzival--Perceval le Gallois--Mabinogi of
    Peredur--Sir Perceval--Diu Crône--Information respecting date and
    authorship of these works in the MSS.

The following are the forms in which the Legend of the Holy Grail has come
down to us:--

A.--=Le Conte del Graal=, a poem of over 60,000 verses, the major part of
which (45,379 verses) was printed for the first time by Potvin: Le Conte
del Graal, six volumes, 8vo. (vols. ii.-vi. containing our poem), Mons,
1866-71, from a MS. preserved in the Mons Library.[1] The portion of the
poem which is not printed in full is summarised by Potvin in the sixth
volume of his edition. The poem, so far as at present known, is the work
of four men:

    A I. Chrestien de Troyes, who carried the work down to verse 10,601.

    A II. Gautier de Doulens, who continued it to verse 34,934.

    A III. Manessier, who finished it in 45,379 verses.

    A IV. Gerbert, to whom are due over 15,000 verses, mostly found
    interpolated between Gautier de Doulens and Manessier.

A MS. preserved in the Library of Montpellier[2] differs in important
respects from the Mons one as far as Gautier de Doulens and Manessier are
concerned. It intercalates 228 verses between verses 20,294 and 20,296 of
the Mons MS., and gives a different redaction of verses 34,996-35,128 in
agreement with the aforesaid intercalation. It likewise mentions two
visits of Gawain to the Grail Castle. The intercalation in Gautier may be
called A II_a_, and the variant in Manessier A III_a_.

B.--=Joseph d'Arimathie, Merlin=, exists in two forms: (1) a fragmentary
metrical version entitled in the sole existing MS. (Bibliothèque
Nationale, No. 20,047. Fonds St. Germain, No. 1,987) Li R(o)manz de l'est
(o)ire dou Graal, and consisting of 4,018 verses, 3,514 for the Joseph,
the remainder, for about one-fifth of the Merlin. First printed by
Francisque Michel: Le Roman du St. Graal. Bordeaux, 1841. Secondly by
Furnivall: Seynt Graal or the Sank Ryal. Printed for the Roxburghe Club,
two volumes, 4to., London, 1861-63, where it is found in an appendix at
the end of vol i. (2) A prose version of which several MSS. exist, all of
which are fully described by E. Hucher: Le Saint-Graal, ou le Joseph
d'Arimathie, three volumes, 12mo., Le Mans, 1875-78, vol. i., pp. 1-28.
The chief are: the Cangé MS. (_circa_ 1250) of which Hucher prints the
Joseph, vol. i., pp. 209-276, and the Didot MS., written in 1301, of which
Hucher prints the Joseph, vol. i., pp. 277-333. Hucher likewise gives,
vol. i., pp. 335-365, variants from the Huth MS. (_circa_ 1280).

These different versions may be numbered as follows:--

    B I. The metrical version, which I shall always quote as Metr. Jos.,
    from Furnivall's edition.

    B II. The prose versions: B II_a_, Cangé Jos.; B II_b_, Didot Jos.; B
    II_c_, Huth Jos., all quoted from Hucher, vol. i.

C.--=Perceval=, prose romance found in the already-mentioned Didot MS. at
the end of the Merlin, printed by Hucher, vol. i., pp. 415-505, from which
it will be quoted as Didot-Perceval.

D.--=Queste del Saint Graal=, prose romance commonly found in the MSS. in
combination with Lancelot and the Mort Artur. Edited by Furnivall: La
Queste del St. Graal. Printed for the Roxburghe Club, 4to., London, 1864.
The introduction contains a full account of the existing MSS. A different
redaction from that of any of the known French MSS. is preserved in a
Welsh translation, printed, with a modern English version by the editor,
from a fifteenth century Hengwrt MS., by the Rev. Robert Williams: Y Seint
Graal, London, 8vo., 1876. I shall quote--

    D I. Queste, from Furnivall's edition.

    D II. Welsh Quest, from Williams' edition.

E.--The so-called =Grand Saint Graal=, prose romance found in the MSS.,
both preceding the Merlin and the Queste, and preceding the Queste and the
Mort Artur. Printed by Furnivall from Cambridge and Brit. Mus. MSS.,
together with a metrical English adaptation by Henry Lonelich, of about
the time of Henry the VIth, in the already-mentioned Seynt Graal; and by
Hucher, vols. ii. and iii., from a Le Mans MS.; will be quoted as Grand
St. Graal, from Furnivall's edition.

F.--=Parzival=, by Wolfram von Eschenbach, German metrical romance,
critically edited from the MSS. by Karl Lachmann, Wolfram von Eschenbach,
Vierte Ausgabe, 8vo., Berlin, 1879, from which it will be quoted as

G.--=Perceval le Gallois=, prose romance, first printed by Potvin, vol. i.
of his Conte del Graal, from a Mons MS., with variants from a fragmentary
Berne MS. (as to both of which see pp. 353, etc.). A Welsh translation,
with modern English version by the editor, made from a MS. closely allied
to the Berne fragments, and representing a superior text to that printed
by Potvin, in Williams' already-mentioned Y Seint Graal.

Besides these works there exist two versions of the Perceval legend in
which the Holy Grail, as such, does not appear. These are:--

H.--=The Mabinogi of Peredur, the son of Evrawc=, Welsh prose romance
found in the Red Book of Hergest, a MS. of the end of the fourteenth
century, and in MSS. a hundred years older. I shall quote it as Peredur,
from Lady Guest's English translation of the Mabinogion, 8vo., London,

I.--=Sir Perceval of Galles=, English metrical romance, printed for the
first time from the Thornton MS., of _circa_ 1440, by Halliwell: The
Thornton Romances, printed for the Camden Society, small 4to., London,
1884; from which I shall quote it as Sir Perceval.

Finally there exists an independent German version of certain adventures,
the hero of which in the Conte du Graal, in Wolfram, and in the Mabinogi,
is Gawain. This is--

K.--=Heinrich von dem Türlin.= Diu Crône. Edited by G. H. F. Scholl.
Bibliothek des Litterarischen Vereins, vol. xxvii., Stuttgart, 1852.

The positive information which the different MSS. of the above mentioned
works afford respecting their authors, date of composition, sources, etc.,
is as follows:--In the prologue to his poem, Chrestien (Potvin i., pp.
307-308) dedicates his work to "Li quens Felippes de Flandres," who as he
states (verse 67), "li bailla le livre," which served him as model, and
whom he praises at great length as surpassing Alexander. We know that
Count Philip of Flanders took the cross in 1188, set out for the Holy Land
in 1190, and died on the 1st of June, 1191, before Akkon.[3] As Chrestien
says not a word about the crusading intentions of Philip, it may be
inferred that he wrote his prologue before 1188, and began the poem in
1189 at the latest. Gautier de Doulens (probably of that ilk, in Picardy,
some miles from Amiens)[4] has only left his name, verse 33,755, Gautiers
de Dons qui l'estore, etc. Manessier the next continuator has been more
explicit; he describes himself as completing the work at the command
of ...

  Jehanne la Comtesse
  Qu'est de Flandre dame et mestresse.
                                (Potvin, vi., p. 157.)

This Joan, daughter of Baldwin the VIth, ruled Flanders _alone_ during the
imprisonment of her husband after the battle of Bouvines (1214-1227), and
Manessier's words can only apply to her during this period, so that his
continuation must have been written between 1214-1227.[5] The third
continuator, Gerbers, only mentions his name (Potvin, vi., p. 212).

The author of version B, names himself, B I, verse 3,461, Messires Roberz
de Beron; verses 3,488-94 state that no mortal man had told the story,
until he had it from

  Mon seigneur Gautier en peis
  Qui de Mont Belyal estoit.

Verse 3,155 gives the name somewhat differently, Meistres Robers dist de
Bouron. The prose versions follow the poem with additions, thus Cangé Jos.
(p. 275); Messires Roberz de Borron lou restrait à mon seigneur Gautier,
lou preu conte de Mobéliart.

Walter of Montbeliard, brother to Count Richard of Montbeliard, went to
the Holy Land in 1199, became Constable of Jerusalem, Regent of Cyprus,
and died in 1212. The date of his birth is uncertain, but as his elder
brother died in 1237, Walter could hardly have been born before 1150. His
father, Amadeus, died in 1183, in which year he received the countship of
Montfaucon. It may only have been after he thus became independent that
Robert entered his service. In any case Robert could not have spoken of
him as "mon seigneur," before 1170. That year may, therefore, be taken as
a _terminus a quo_, and the year 1212 as a _terminus ad quem_ for dating
these versions.

The Grand St. Graal is likewise ascribed in the MSS. to Robert de Borron,
and it is further stated that he translated from Latin into French--Et
ensi le temoigne me sires robiers de borron qui a translatee de latin en
franchois cheste estoire (ii. p. 78).

The Queste ascribed in the MSS. to Walter Mapes, is said to have been
compiled by him for the love of his lord, King Henry--maistre Gautiers Map
les extrait pour l'amor del roy Henri son seignor, qui fist l'estore
translater du latin en francois[6]--Walter Mapes, born before 1143 (he
presided at the assizes of Gloucester in 1173), died in 1210. If we may
believe the MSS., the Queste would probably fall within the last
twenty-five years of the twelfth century.

The author of Perceval le Gallois describes himself (Potvin, i., 348) as
writing the book for the "Seignor de Neele," whose Christian name,
"Johan," is given four lines lower down, at the command of the "Seingnor
de Cambresis," _i.e._, the Bishop of Cambray. This John of Nesle is
probably the one who in the year 1225 sold the lordship of Bruges to
Countess Joan of Flanders.[7]

Wolfram von Eschenbach, of that ilk, in North Bavaria, born in the last
thirty years of the twelfth century, died about 1220. He knew Chrestien's
poem well, and repeatedly refers to it, but with great contempt, as being
the wrong version of the story, whereas he holds the true version from
Kyot, the singer, a "Provenzal," who found the tale of Parzival written in
heathen tongue at Dôlet (Toledo), by Flegetanis, a heathen who first
taught concerning the Grail, put it into French, and after searching the
chronicles of Britain, France, and Ireland in vain, at length found
information in the chronicles of Anjou (pp. 202 and 219).

Nothing is stated in the works themselves respecting the authors of the
Mabinogi and the Thornton Sir Perceval.

Heinrich von dem Türlin frequently quotes Chrestien as his authority,
_e.g._, verses 16,941, 23,046, 23,982.

If these various statements are to be accepted, it follows that in the
course of fifty years (1170-1220) a great body of romance came into
existence, partly in France, Chrestien, his continuators, and Robert de
Borron; partly in England, Walter Mapes; and partly in Germany, Wolfram
von Eschenbach, and Heinrich von dem Türlin. Of this body of romance only
a portion has come down to us, the work of Kyot and the Latin originals of
the Queste and the Grand St. Graal having disappeared. Furthermore, it is
only possible to date with any accuracy three or four of the works, viz.,
Chrestien, Manessier, Wolfram (whose poem falls certainly within the first
ten years of the thirteenth century), though it may also be taken as
certain that R. de Borron wrote after 1170, and the anonymous author of
Perceval le Gallois before 1225. Of the dated works Chrestien's is the
oldest, 1188-90, and it postulates the existence of previous versions.

The object of the present investigation being to determine, as far as
possible, the age and relationship to one another of the different
versions which have come down to us, to exhibit the oldest form of the
story as we have it, and to connect it with Celtic traditional belief and
literature, it will be well, before proceeding to further discuss the
various points left doubtful by the evidence gathered from the MSS., to
give clear and detailed summaries of the most important versions.


    Summaries--Conte du Graal: Pseudo-Chrestien, Chrestien, Gautier de
    Doulens, Manessier, Gerbert--Wolfram--Heinrich von dem
    Türlin--Didot-Perceval--Mabinogi of Peredur--Thornton MS. Sir
    Perceval--Queste del Saint Graal--Grand Saint Graal--Robert de
    Borron's poem, Joseph of Arimathea.

=The Conte du Graal.=--PSEUDO-CHRESTIEN.[8]--The story tells of the
"Graal," whose mysteries, if Master Blihis lie not, none may reveal; it
falls into seven parts, and shows how the rich land of Logres was
destroyed. (1) In the wells and springs of that land harboured damsels who
fed the wayfarer with meat and pasties and bread. But King Amangons did
wrong to one and carried off her golden cup, so that never more came
damsels out of the springs to comfort the wanderer. And the men of King
Amangons followed his evil example. Thereafter the springs dried up, and
the grass withered, and the land became waste, and no more might be found
the court of the Rich Fisher, which had filled the land with plenty and
splendour. (2) The Knights of the Table Round, learning the ill done to
the damsels, set forth to protect them; they found them not, but fair
damsels wandering in the woods, each with her knight; with the latter they
strove, and when they overcame them sent them to Arthur. Thus came Blihos
Bliheris to Arthur's court conquered by Gauvain; he knew goodly tales and
he told how the wandering damsels were sprung from those ravished by King
Amangons. So long would they wander till God gave them to find the court,
whence joy and splendour would come to the land. (3) Arthur's knights
resolved to seek the court of the Rich Fisher--much knew he of black art,
more than an hundred times changed he his semblance, that no man seeing
him again recognised him. Gauvain found it, and had great joy therefrom;
but before him a young knight, small of age, but none bolder of
courage--Percevaus li Galois was he--he asked whereto the Grail served,
but nought of the lance why it dripped blood, nor of the sword one half of
which was away whilst the other lay in the bier. But he asked surely
concerning the rich cross of silver. Now in the room three times there
arose such great sorrow that no man who heard it, so bold he might be but
feared. Afterwards the room filled and the king came in, full richly
dressed, so that he might hardly be known of them that had seen him the
day before, fishing. And when all were sat down the Grail came in, and
without serjeant nor seneschal served all present, and 'twas wonder what
food it gave them. And then came the great marvel which has not its like.
But Perceval will tell of this, so I must say no more; it is a great shame
to tell beforehand what is in a good tale. When the good knight shall come
who found the court three times you shall hear me tell of Grail and lance,
and of him who lay in the bier, of the sword, of the grief and swooning of
all beholders. (4) Now the court was found seven times, and each time
shall have a fresh tale:--

    The seventh (the most pleasing) tells of the lance wherewith Longis
    pierced the side of the King of holy Majesty;

    The sixth of warlike feats;

    The fifth of the anger and loss of Huden; The fourth of heaven, for he
    was no coward, the knight Mors del Calan, who first came to Glamorgan;

    The third of the hawk whereof Castrars had such fear--Pecorins, the
    son of Amangons, bore all his days the wound on his forehead;

    The second has not yet been told; it tells of the great sorrows
    Lancelot of the Lake had there where he lost his virtue;

    And the last is the adventure of the shield, never a better one was

(5) After this adventure the land was repeopled; court and grail were
found; the streams ran again; the meadows were green, the forests thick
and leafy; so that all folk marvelled. But there came back a folk, the
same that came out of the springs (save they were not cooks), a caitiff
set, and built for their damsels the rich Maidens' Castel, and the Bridge
Perillous, and Castel Orguellous, and warred against the Table Round. In
the castle were 376, each sire of 20 knights. And not till after four
years did Arthur overcome them and was there peace.

_(Here beginneth the Story of the Grail.)_

(6) There were in the land of Wales twelve knights, of whom Bliocadrans
alone survived, so eager were they in seeking tournament and combats.
After living for two years with his wife, childless, Bliocadrans set forth
to a tournament given by the King of Wales and Cornwall against them of
the Waste Fountain. At first successful, he is at length slain. A few days
after his departure his wife has borne a son. When at length she learns
her husband's death, she takes counsel with her chamberlain, and
pretending a pilgrimage to St. Brandan, in Scotland, withdraws to the
Waste Forest far removed from all men. Here she brings up her son, and
though she allows him to hunt in the forest, warns him against men covered
with iron--they are devils. He promises to follow her counsel, and
thenceforth he goes into the forest alone.

=The Conte du Graal.=--(_a_) CHRESTIEN.--(1) When as trees and meadows
deck themselves with green, and birds sing, the son of the widow lady goes
out into the wood. He meets five knights, and, as their weapons shine in
the sun, takes them for angels, after having first thought them to be the
devils his mother had warned him against. He prays to them as his mother
has taught him. One of the knights asks if he has seen five knights and
three maidens who had passed that way, but he can but reply with questions
concerning the arms and trappings of the knights. He learns of Arthur the
King who makes knights, and when he returns to his mother tells her he has
beheld a more beautiful thing than God and His angels, knights namely, and
he too will become one. In vain his mother tells him of his father's and
his two elder brothers' fates, slain in battle. Nothing will serve, so the
mother makes him a dress of coarse linen and leather, and before he leaves
counsels him as follows: If dame or damsel seek his aid he is to give it,
he is to do naught displeasing to them, but to kiss the maiden who is
willing, and to take ring and girdle of her if he can; to go for long with
no fellow-traveller whose name he knows not, to speak with and consort
with worthy men, to pray to our Lord when he comes to church or convent.
She then tells him of Jesus Christ, the Holy Prophet. He departs clad and
armed in Welsh fashion, and his mother swoons as though dead. (2) Perceval
comes to a tent in the wood, and, taking it for a convent, goes in and
finds sleeping on a bed a damsel, whom the neighing of his horse wakes. In
pursuance of his mother's counsel he kisses her more than twenty times,
takes her ring from her, and eats and drinks of her provisions. Thereafter
he rides forth, and her lover returning and hearing what has taken place,
swears to avenge himself upon the intruder, and until such time the
damsel, whose tale he disbelieves, is to follow him barefoot and not to
change her raiment. (3) Perceval learns the way to Carduel from a
charcoal-burner; arrived there, he sees a knight coming forth from the
castle and bearing a golden cup in his hand, clad in red armour, who
complains of Arthur as having robbed him of his land. Perceval rides into
the castle hall and finds the court at meat. Arthur, lost in thought, pays
no attention to the first two salutations of Perceval, who then turns his
horse to depart, and in so doing knocks off the King's hat. Arthur then
tells him how the Red Knight has carried off his cup, spilling its
contents over the Queen. Perceval cares not a rap for all this, but asks
to be made knight, whereat all laugh. Perceval insists, and claims the Red
Knight's armour. Kex bids him fetch them, whereat the King is displeased.
Perceval greets a damsel, who laughs and foretells he shall be the best
knight in the world. For this saying Kex strikes her, and kicks into the
fire a fool who had been wont to repeat that the damsel would not laugh
till she beheld the best of knights. (4) Perceval tarries no longer, but
follows the Red Knight, and bids him give up his arms and armour. They
fight, and Perceval slays his adversary with a cast of his dart. Yonès,
who has followed him, finds him put to it to remove the knight's
armour--he will burn him out of it if need be--and shows him how to
disarm the dead man and to arm himself. Perceval then mounts the knight's
steed and rides off, leaving the cup to Yonés to be given to the King,
with this message: he, Perceval, would come back to avenge the damsel of
the blow Kex struck her. (5) Perceval comes to a castle, in front of which
he finds an old knight, to whom he relates what has befallen him, and of
whom he asks counsel as his mother bade him. The knight, Gonemans of
Gelbort, takes him into his castle, teaches him the use of arms, and all
knightly practices. In especial he is to avoid over-readiness in speaking
and in asking questions, and to give over his habit of always quoting his
mother's counsels. He then dubs him knight, and sends him forth to return
to his mother. (6) After a day's journey Perceval comes to a town defended
by a castle, and, being allowed entrance therein, finds all waste and
deserted, even the very convents. The lady of the castle, a damsel of
surpassing beauty, welcomes him and bids him to table. Mindful of
Gonemans' counsels he remains silent, and she must speak to him first. She
turns out to be Gonemans' niece. At night the young stranger is shown to
his chamber, but the damsel cannot sleep for thought. Weeping she comes to
Perceval's bedside, and in reply to his wondering questions tells him how
the forces of King Clamadex encompass the castle, and how that on the
morrow she must yield, but rather than be Clamadex's she will slay
herself. He promises to help her, and bids her to him in the bed, which
she does, and they pass the night in each other's arms, mouth to mouth. On
the morrow he begs for her love in return for his promised aid, which she
half refuses, the more to urge him on. He fights with and overcomes
Aguigrenons, Clamadex's marshal, and sends him to Arthur's court. Clamadex
hearing of this tries afresh to starve out the castle, but a storm luckily
throws a passing ship ashore, and thereby reprovisions the besieged ones.
Clamadex then challenges Perceval, is overcome, and sent to Arthur's
court, where he arrives shortly after his marshal. They relate wonders
concerning the Red Knight, and the King is more than ever displeased with
Kex for having offended such a valiant warrior. After remaining for a
while with Blanchefleur, Perceval takes leave of her, as he longs to see
his mother again. (7) He comes to a river, upon which is a boat, and
therein two men fishing. One of them, in reply to his questions, directs
him for a night's shelter to his own castle hard by. Perceval starts for
it, and at first unable to find it reproaches the fisher. Suddenly he
perceives the castle before him, enters therein, is disarmed, clad in a
scarlet mantle, and led into a great hall. Therein is a couch upon which
lies an old man; near him is a fire, around which some four hundred men
are sitting. Perceval tells his host he had come from Biau-Repaire. A
squire enters, bearing a sword, and on it is written that it will never
break save in one peril, and that known only to the maker of it. 'Tis a
present from the host's niece to be bestowed where it will be well
employed. The host gives it to Perceval, "to whom it was adjudged and
destined." Hereupon enters another squire, bearing in his hand a lance,
from the head of which a drop of blood runs down on the squire's hand.
Perceval would have asked concerning this wonder, but he minds him of
Gonemans' counsel not to speak or inquire too much. Two more squires
enter, holding each a ten-branched candlestick, and with them a damsel, a
"graal" in her hands. The graal shines so that it puts out the light of
the candles as the sun does that of the stars. Thereafter follows a damsel
holding a (silver) plate. All defile past between the fire and the couch,
but Perceval does not venture to ask wherefore the graal is used. Supper
follows, and the graal is again brought, and Perceval, knowing not its
use, had fain asked, but always refrains when he thinks of Gonemans, and
finally puts off his questions till the morrow. After supper the guest is
led to his chamber, and on the morrow, awakening, finds the castle
deserted. No one answers his calls. Issuing forth he finds his horse
saddled and the drawbridge down. Thinking to find the castle dwellers in
the forest he rides forth, but the drawbridge closes so suddenly behind
him that had not the horse leapt quickly forward it had gone hard with
steed and rider. In vain Perceval calls: none answer. (8) He pricks on and
comes to an oak, beneath which sits a maid holding a dead knight in her
arms and lamenting over him. She asks him where he has passed the night,
and on learning it tells him the fisher who had directed him to the castle
and his host were one and the same; wounded by a spear thrust through both
thighs his only solace is in fishing, whence he is called the Fisher King.
She asks, had Perceval seen the bleeding lance, the graal, and the silver
dish? had he asked their meaning? No; then what is his name? He does not
know it, but she guesses it: Perceval le Gallois; but it should be
Perceval the Caitiff, for had he asked concerning what he saw, the good
king would have been made whole again, and great good have sprung
therefrom. He has also a heavy sin on his conscience in that his mother
died of grief when he left her. She herself is his cousin. Perceval asks
concerning the dead knight, and learning it is her lover offers to revenge
her upon his slayer. In return she tells him about the sword, how it will
fly in pieces if he have not care of it, and how it may be made whole
again by dipping it in a lake, near which dwells its maker, the smith
Trebucet. (9) Perceval leaves his cousin and meets, riding on a wretched
horse, a scantily and shabbily clad woman of miserable appearance,
lamenting her hard fate and unjust treatment. She is the lady of the tent
whose ring Perceval had carried off. She bids him fly her husband, the
Orgellous de la Lande. The latter appears, challenges Perceval, but is
overcome by him, convinced of his wife's innocence, compelled to take her
into favour again, and both must go to Arthur's court, relate the whole
story, and renew Perceval's promise to the damsel whom Kex had struck, to
avenge her. Arthur, when he hears of the deeds of the young hero, sets
forth with his whole court to seek him. (10) Snow has fallen, and a flock
of wild geese, blinded by the snow, has had one of its number wounded by a
falcon. Three blood drops have fallen on the snow, and Perceval beholding
them falls into deep thought on the red and white in his love's face.
Arthur and his knights come up with him. Saigremors sees him first, bids
him come, and, when he answers no word, tilts against him, but is
overthrown. Kex then trys his luck, but is unhorsed so rudely that arm and
leg are broken. Gauvain declares that love must be mastering the strange
knight's thoughts, approaches him courteously, tells his own name and
learns Perceval's, and brings the latter to Arthur, by whom he is received
with all honour. Perceval then learns it is Kex he has overthrown, thus
fulfilling his promise to the damsel whom Kex had smitten, and whose
knight he offers himself to be. (11) Perceval returns on the morrow with
the court to Carlion, and the next day at noon there comes riding on a
yellow mule a damsel more hideous than could be pictured outside hell. She
curses Perceval for having omitted to ask concerning the lance and graal;
had he done so the King would have been healed of his wound and ruled his
land in peace; now maidens will be put to shame, orphans and widows made,
and many knights slain. Turning to the King she tells of the adventures to
be achieved at the Castel Orgellous, where dwell five hundred and seventy
knights, each with his lady love. He, though, who would win the highest
renown must to Montesclaire to free the damsel held captive there. She
then departs. Gauvain will forth to the imprisoned damsel, Giflès to the
Castel Orgellous, and Perceval swears to rest no two nights in the same
place till he have learnt concerning graal and lance. (12) A knight,
Guigambresil, enters and accuses Gauvain of having slain his lord. The
latter sets forth at once to the King of Cavalon to clear himself of this
accusation. (13) On his way he meets the host of Melians, who is preparing
to take part in a tournament to approve himself worthy the love of the
daughter of Tiebaut of Tingaguel, who had hitherto refused his suit.
Gauvain rides on to Tingaguel to help its lord. On arriving at the castle
the eldest daughter jeers at him, whilst the youngest takes his part,
declaring him a better knight than Melians, whereat her sister is very
indignant. On the first day of the tournament Melians shows himself the
best knight, but the younger sister still declares her faith in Gauvain,
and has her ears boxed in consequence. She appeals to Gauvain to be her
knight and avenge the injury done her. He consents, overcomes Melians,
whose horse he sends to his little lady, and all other knights; then,
after telling his name, rides forth. (14) He meets two knights, the
younger of whom offers him hospitality, and sends him to his sister,
bidding her welcome him. She receives him kindly, and when, struck with
her beauty, he asks her favours, grants them at once. They are interrupted
by a steward, who reproaches her with giving her love to her father's
murderer, and calls upon the castle folk to attack Gauvain. The latter
defends himself until the return of Guigambresil, who reproaches the lord
of the castle for letting Gauvain be attacked, as he had expressed his
readiness to do single combat. Gauvain is then allowed to go, and is
excused the combat if within a year he can bring back the bleeding lance.
He sets off in search of it. (15) The tale returns to Perceval, who has
wandered about for five years without thinking of God, yet performing many
feats. He meets three knights accompanied by ladies, all clad in
penitents' dress. 'Twas a Good Friday, and the eldest knight rebukes
Perceval for riding fully armed on such a day. He must confess him to a
holy hermit who lives hard by. Perceval goes thither, accuses himself of
having forgotten God through his great grief at not learning the use of
the graal. The hermit reveals himself as his uncle, tells Perceval that he
is in sin as having caused his mother's death, and for that reason he
could not ask concerning lance and graal; but for her prayers he had not
lived till now. Perceval remains two days with his uncle, receives
absolution, and rides forth. (16) The story turns to Gauvain, who, after
Escalavon, finds beneath an oak a damsel lamenting over a wounded knight;
the latter advises Gauvain to push on, which he does, and comes upon a
damsel who receives him discourteously, and when at her bidding he has
fetched her horse from a garden hard by, mocks at him and rides off. He
follows, and culls on the way herbs with which he heals the wounded
knight. A squire rides up very hideous of aspect, mounted on a wretched
hack. Gauvain chastises him for discourteous answers; meanwhile the
wounded knight makes off with Gauvain's steed, making himself known as
Griogoras, whom Gauvain had once punished for ill-doing, Gauvain has to
follow the damsel upon the squire's hack, comes to a river, on the other
side of which is a castle, overcomes a knight who attacks him, during
which the damsel vanishes, is ferried across the stream, giving the
vanquished knight to the ferryman as toll; (17) comes on the morrow to the
Magic Castle, wherein damsels are held fast, awaiting a knight full of all
knightly virtues to restore their lands to the ladies, marry the damsels,
and put an end to the enchantments of the palace. Upon entering, Gauvain
sees a magnificent bed, seats himself therein, is assailed by magic art,
overcomes a lion, and is then acclaimed lord of the castle. He would then
leave the castle, but the ferryman says he may not, whereat Gauvain is
moved to anger. On the morrow, looking forth, Gauvain beholds the (18)
damsel who led him to the ford, accompanied by a knight. He hastens forth,
overcomes the knight, seeks again the damsel's love, but is sent by her to
the Ford Perillous. Here he meets Guiromelant, who loves Gauvain's sister,
Clarissant, a dweller in the Magic Castle. A combat is arranged to take
place after seven days. Upon his return to the damsel, named Orgellouse de
Logres, he is now well received by her. She hates Guiromelant for having
slain her lover, and has long sought a good knight to avenge her.
Guiromelant on his side hates Gauvain for having, as he says,
treacherously killed his father. Gauvain and Orgellouse return to the
Magic Castle. One of the queens who dwells there is mother to Arthur; the
second one, his daughter, mother to Gauvain. The latter gives his sister
Clarissant a ring Guiromelant had begged him, unknowing who he was, to
bring to her. He then sends a knight to Arthur to bid him and his whole
train come witness the fight 'twixt him and Guiromelant. The messenger
finds Arthur plunged in grief at Gauvain's absence....

       *       *       *       *       *

Here Chrestien's share breaks off abruptly in the middle of a sentence,
and the poem is taken up by

(_b_) GAUTIER DE DOULENS.[9]--(1) Arthur and his court accept Gauvain's
invitation and make for the Castle of Wonders, the Queen whereof has
meantime made herself known to Gauvain as Ygène, Arthur's mother. The duel
between Gauvain and Guiromelant is hindered, and the latter weds Gauvain's
sister. (Montp. MS. here inserts a first visit of Gawain to Grail Castle,
which is substantially the same as the one it repeats afterwards in the
same place as the Mons MS.) Adventures of Arthur and Gauvain against Brun
de Branlant follow, of Gauvain with a maiden in a tent and her brother
Brandalis, of Carduel of Nantes, whose wife is beloved of the magician
Garahiet, and of their son Carados, and the magic horn (verses
11,000-15,800). (2) (A fresh series of adventures begins) Arthur sets
forth to seek Giflet, son of Dos; Gauvain meets again with Brandalis,
whose sister has meanwhile borne him a son; Castel Orgellous, where Giflet
is imprisoned, is captured; Gauvain's son by Brandalis' sister is lost.
(3) An unknown knight comes to Arthur's court; Keie, who demands his name,
is unhorsed; Gauvain brings the unknown to the court, but the latter is
slain by a javelin cast by invisible hands. Gauvain equips himself in the
unknown's armour and starts forth to learn the latter's name. After
praying in a chapel, in which he beholds a light on the altar quenched by
a black hand, he rides through Brittany and Normandy, and comes to a
castle where, owing to his armour, he is at first hailed as lord. In one
of the rooms stands a bier, whereon lies a knight, cross and broken sword
upon his body, his left hand bleeding. A crowned knight enters and goes to
battle with Gauvain; canons and clerks come and perform the Vigil of the
Dead; whilst at table Gauvain sees the rich Grail serving out bread and
wine to the knights. Gauvain remains alone after the meal; he sees a lance
which bleeds into a silver cup. The crowned knight again enters, bearing
in his hand a broken sword which had belonged to the unknown knight, over
whom he mourns. He hands the sword to Gauvain and asks him to put the
pieces together. Gauvain cannot, whereupon the knight declares him unfit
to fulfil the quest (_li besoin_) on which he came. Later he may try
again. Gauvain asks concerning lance, sword, and bier. The lance, he is
told, is the one wherewith the Son of God was pierced in the side, 'twill
bleed till Doomsday. The tale of the broken sword which brought so much
woe upon the kingdom of Logres will also be told, but here Gauvain falls
fast asleep.[10] On the morrow he wakes, and finds himself on the sea
strand. He rides off, and behold the country has burst into green leaf,
and the reason thereof is his having asked concerning the lance. The
countryfolk both bless and curse him for having so far delivered them and
for not having completed the deliverance by asking concerning the Grail.
(4) He meets a young knight who turns out to be his son. (5) (Adventures
in which Carahiès, Gauvain's brother, is chief actor.) (6) The story
returns to Perceval, who, after leaving the hermit, rides for three days
and comes to a castle, over the door of which hangs a horn. Perceval blows
therein, overcomes the knight who answers the challenge, and sends him to
Arthur's court. (7) On his way to the Castle of Mont Orgellous, to the
pillar of which only an accomplished knight might tie his horse, he comes
to the stream on whose banks he had previously met the Fisher King.
Seeking for a bridge he meets a damsel on a mule, who, under pretence of
showing a way across the river, tries to drown him. He then comes to a
castle, which entering he finds untenanted. In the hall stands a
chessboard. Perceval plays, is beaten, seizes the board and makes as if to
throw it in the moat. Hereupon a damsel rises from the water to stay his
hand, and coming into the room reproaches him. Overcome by her beauty he
asks her favours. She will grant them if he bring the head of the stag
which roams in the castle park. Thereto she lends him her hound, bidding
him be sure he return it. The hunt follows; Perceval overtakes the stag,
slays it, and cutting off its head prepares to bring it back, when a maid
of ill-chance (_pucelle de malaire_) takes and carries it off. Perceval
claiming it is reproached by her for having slain her stag, but told he
may win again the hound if he go to a mound whereon a knight is painted
and say, "Vassal, what doest thou here?" The combat with the Knight of the
Tomb follows, during which hound and stag's head are carried off by
another knight, whom Perceval can only follow when he has overcome the
Knight of the Tomb and driven him back therein. Now this knight, hight the
Black Knight, had dwelt there summer and winter five years, striving with
all-comers for the sake of his love. Perceval, following up the Robber
Knight, meets the damsel who had carried off the hound, but she only mocks
him for answer to his questions. (8) After an adventure with a
discourteous knight, Perceval meets at length a brother of the Red Knight
whom he had formerly slain, who tells him he had seen the daughter of the
Fisher King, and she had told him of a knight who had carried off a hound
and stag's head belonging to a good knight who had been at her court, and
had omitted to ask concerning the grail, for which reason she had taken
his hound and refused him help to follow the Robber Knight. (9) Perceval
is directed by the Red Knight's brother to the Fisher King's castle, but
misses his way, and after an adventure at a castle, where he slays a lion,
overcomes Abrioris and sends him to Arthur; finds a damsel mourning over a
knight slain by a giant, whom he kills, achieves the feat of the Ford
Amorous, meets and fights with Gauvain's son until they learn who each
other is, and at length comes to Belrepaire. (10) At first unrecognised by
Blanchefleur he makes himself known, stays with her three days, and then
rides off, in spite of her entreaties. (11) He meets Rosette (the loathly
damsel) and Le Biaus Mauvais, laughs at the former, is challenged by the
latter, whom he overcomes and sends to Arthur. (12) He comes to his
mother's house, enters without making himself known, learns from his
sister that his mother died at his departure ten years before, tells her
who he is, and both set forth to their uncle, the hermit. On the way
Perceval slays a knight who offers violence to his sister. They come to
their uncle, sleep there, and on the morrow Perceval reveals himself,
confesses, is reproved for having slain the knight the day before.
Perceval, after mentioning his desire to learn more concerning lance,
Grail, and sword, and receiving good advice from the hermit, leaves with
his sister, with whom he stays three days and then quits her, despite her
piteous entreaties. (12_a_) Perceval comes to the Castle of Maidens, where
he falls untimely asleep, and on the morrow finds himself in the forest,
far from any castle. (13) Perceval finds the damsel who had carried off
the hound, fights with her knight, Garalas, overcomes him, learns that the
Knight of the Tomb is his brother, who had lived for ten years with a fay
in a magic invisible castle, and had met no one to overcome him until
Perceval came. Perceval sends both knight and damsel to Arthur. (14)
Perceval meets with a white mule led by a damsel; he joins her, although
she entreats him not to do so. Suddenly struck by a great light in the
forest, he turns to ask his companion what it might mean, but finds her
gone. A violent storm comes on. The morrow he meets the damsel with the
mule, who had felt no storm. She tells him about the great light: it came
from the "Gréaus," which was given by the King of kings as He hung on the
Cross; the devil may not lead astray any man on the same day he sees it,
therefore the king has it carried about. Perceval asks further, but is
told only a holy man may speak of these mysteries. Perceval relates his
adventure with the lady of the chessboard, and the damsel gives him the
white mule, which will lead to her castle, together with a ring giving the
possessor power over the mule. He is to give both back when he meets her.
(16) The mule brings Perceval across a river, over a glass bridge, on the
other side of which he meets with Brios, who persuades him to join in a
tournament held by Arthur at the Castel Orguellous, as he must win the
prize of knighthood before coming to the castle of the Fisher King.
Perceval leaves stag's head and hound at Brios' castle, carries off the
prize at the tournament, remaining unknown. (17) Proceeding thence he
frees a knight imprisoned beneath a tombstone, who, in return, shuts him
up in the tomb, but, being unable to make the mule go forward, is obliged
to release him, and returns to his prison, telling Perceval he knows him
for the best knight in the world. (18) Perceval meets the damsel of the
mule, to whom he returns ring and mule, and who asks him if he has been at
the Fisher King's court; on his saying, No, she hurries off. Perceval
prays God to direct him to the Castle of the Chessboard. A voice tells him
to follow the hound; he does so, reaches the castle, is greeted by the
maiden, to whom he gives stag's head and hound, and who in return tells
him concerning the chessboard which _Morghe la fée_ had had made at
London, on the Thames, and grants him her favours as she had promised. On
the morrow Perceval rides forth, accompanied awhile by the damsel, who
will show him his onward way. (19) They come to a river, on which is a
boat tied to an oak tree. Perceval is to enter it, cross the river, and on
the other side he will find a road leading to the Fisher King. On his way
Perceval releases a knight whom he finds hanging by his feet from a tree;
'tis Bagommedes whom Keie had treated thus, and who returns to Arthur's
court, challenges Keie, and is only hindered by Arthur from slaying him.
All Arthur's knights then start forth for the Mont Dolorous and in search
of Perceval. The adventures of Gauvain alone are related in detail until
the tale returns to Perceval. (20) After freeing Bagommedes, Perceval,
wandering in the woods, comes to a tree, in whose branches sits a child,
who can tell nothing of the Fisher King, but tells Perceval he will come
on the morrow to the Mont Dolorous. This he does, and binds his horse to
the pillar. A damsel on a white mule tells him of Arthur's birth, and how
Merlin had made castle and pillar to prove who should be the best of
knights. She was Merlin's daughter. (21) Perceval rides on, and towards
evening sees afar off a tree upon which burn many lights; as he draws near
he finds only a chapel, upon the altar of which lies a dead knight. A
great and sudden light is followed by the appearance of a black hand,
which puts out the candle on the altar. On the morrow he meets first a
huntsman, who tells him he is near the castle, then a damsel, who explains
the child in the tree, the chapel, and the black hand as having connection
with the Holy Grail and the lance. (22) Perceval comes at last to the
castle of the Fisher King, whom he finds on a couch as heretofore. He
tells him his adventures, and asks concerning the child on the tree, the
tree full of lights, and the chapel with the dead knight. Meanwhile a
damsel enters a hall bearing the Grail, another follows with the bleeding
lance, then comes a squire with a sword broken in two. Again Perceval puts
his questions, and will not eat until they are answered. First, he is told
of the child which would not speak to him on account of his many sins, and
which climbed ever upwards to show man's thoughts should be raised to the
Creator. Before learning aught further Perceval is to try and weld the
broken sword together; none but a true knight lover of God, and of God's
spouse, Holy Church, may accomplish it. Perceval succeeds, save that a
little crack still remains. The Fisher King embraces him and hails him as
lord of his house.

Here the section which goes under the name of Gautier ends.

[A portion of Gautier's section of the Conte du Graal is found in the
Berne MS., partly edited, partly summarised, by Rochat in his work, _Ein
unbekannter Percheval li Gallois_ (_vide_ _infra_ p. 101). This version
offers some remarkable peculiarities. It has a short introduction of
thirteen lines; then follows line 21,930 of Gautier in Potvin's text (Mons
MS.). An incident follows, omitted in the Mons MS., but found in
Montpellier and in Paris, 794: Perceval meets a huntsman who upbraids him
for having been at the Fisher King's court, and failed to ask about Grail
and bleeding lance. Then follow Incidents 6, 7 (8 is absent so far as one
can judge from Rochat's summary), 9 to 13 (in which Perceval does not
apparently send Garalas and his love to Arthur), and 14 to end, the
following finish being then tacked on: The Fisher King is father to Alain
le Gros, husband to Enigeus, sister to that Joseph who, when Christ's body
was taken down from the Cross, had it from Pilate as a reward for his
services. Joseph had the vessel prepared to catch in it the blood from the
body; it was the same Jesus had made the Sacrament in on the Thursday
before. The Fisher King dies on the third day and Perceval reigns in his

The Conte du Graal is continued by--

(_c_) MANESSIER.--(1) Perceval, full of joy, sits down to table; after the
meal, lance, Grail, and a goodly silver dish pass before the royal table
away into the next room. Perceval, sighing, asks concerning these objects
and the maidens bearing them. (2) The King tells as follows: the lance is
that wherewith Longis pierced God's side that day he hung on the Cross
(Montpellier MS.: When Longis withdrew the spear the blood ran down to
feet, so that Joseph of Barimacie turned black from sorrow, and he
collected the blood in the holy vessel). On Perceval's asking further, the
Grail is the vessel wherein the holy precious blood of our Lord was
received. Then Perceval asks how it came thither; (3) Joseph brought it
when he departed from the prison whence he was freed by Vespasian. He
baptized forty of his friends, and wandered forth with them till they came
to Sarras, where, as the tale tells, they found the King in the Temple of
the Sun. Joseph helped the King against his enemies by means of a red
cross which he fixed on the King's shield. Evelac, such was the King's
name, won the battle thereby, was baptized, and renamed Noodrans. It went
so likewise with his brother-in-law, Salafrès, renamed Natiien. Joseph
departed thence, ever bearing the Grail with him, till at length he came
hither, converted the land, and I, of his seed, am keeping manor and
Grail, the which shall never dwell elsewhere, God willing. (Montpellier
MS. merely says, how Joseph was put into a dark prison, and kept there
forty years, but the Lord sent him the sweetness of the Grail twice or
thrice a day. Tiberius and Vespasian deliver him and bring him to Rome,
whence he carries away the lance.) (4) To Perceval's questions concerning
the damsels: the Grail-bearer is of royal blood, and pure maid, or God
might not let her hold it, she is my child; the dish-bearer is also of
high lineage, daughter to King Goon Desert. (5) The King would then go to
sleep, but Perceval would know about the broken sword: In Quiquagrant
dwelt Goon Desert, the King's brother. Besieged by Espinogre he made a
sally and slew him. Espinogre's nephew swore revenge; donning the armour
of a knight of Goon Desert, he slew him, but the sword broke when the
traitrous blow was struck. Goon Desert's body was brought to his brother's
castle, whither came, too, his daughter with the broken sword, foretelling
that a knight should come, rejoin the pieces, and avenge the foul blow.
The Fisher King taking up the fragments incautiously was pierced through
the thigh, and the wound might not be healed until his brother's death was
avenged. The murderer's name is Partiniaus, Lord of the Red Tower.
Perceval vows to avenge this wrong, but first, despite the King's strong
hints that it is bed-time, must learn (6) about the candles on the trees,
how they are fay trees, and the lights deceiving ones, but they might not
deceive Perceval, he being destined to achieve the wonders of the earth,
and he has put an end to this illusion; (7) how the black hand haunted a
chapel wherein Pinogres had slain his mother, and over four thousand
knights had been slain by it. (8) Perceval starting on the morrow in
search of Partinal meets with Saigremors, and with him delivers a damsel
from ten robber knights. Perceval, wounded, stays a month at the damsel's
castle, and (9) the story tells for some fifteen hundred verses
(36,100-37,400) of Saigremors; how he pursues the robber knights, comes to
the Castle of Maidens, delivers the dame thereof from a knight, Calides,
who wars upon her, and afterwards delivers another maiden, to whom two
knights were offering violence; (10) then, for over two thousand verses of
Gauvain; how he prepares to set forth again in search of the Fisher King;
how a maiden comes to him whose brother had been slain in his service,
reproaches Gauvain for his conduct at the Fisher King's castle, and
carries him off; how he saves a maid going to be burnt; how after other
adventures he slays King Margon, returns to Arthur's court, fights with
Kex to avenge the brother of the damsel, etc. (11) Meanwhile Perceval,
leaving the damsel who has tended him right well, rides forth into a wood,
where he is overtaken by a great storm of thunder and hail, after which he
comes to the chapel where lies the body of the knight slain by the black
hand. Perceval strives with the devil to whom this belongs, overcomes, and
with the help of a hermit who tells him the tale of all the knights who
had fallen there, buries the body. He then confesses to the hermit, who
warns him not to think of acquiring fame, but rather to save his soul.
(12) Perceval, riding forth on the morrow, is met by the devil, who throws
him from his horse; he finds another, mounts it, but coming to a stream
luckily crosses himself, when it disappears; it was the devil. (13) A
damsel passes by with a bark, wherein Perceval mounts; she minds him of
Blanchefleur, and desire masters him, but again he crosses himself in
time, and ship and damsel vanish. (14) A hermit comes who instructs him
concerning all these things, brings him where he finds a fresh steed, and
to a fair castle. Perceval overcomes a knight who would bar his passing,
delivers the lady love of Dodinel from a felon knight; is appealed to for
help by a damsel of Blanchefleur's, oppressed by Arides of Cavalon. (15)
Setting off to the succour of his lady love, his horse falls lame, he
comes to a smith who tells him his name is Tribuet, the forger of the
broken sword. Tribuet makes the sword whole, and bids Perceval guard it
well, never had king or conqueror a better one. (16) Perceval reaches Bel
Repaire, overcomes Arides, whom he sends to Arthur's court, bidding him
announce his own arrival for Whitsuntide. He then quits Blanchefleur, and
(17) meets with the Coward Knight, who will not fight even when he sees
two damsels carried off by ten knights. Perceval attacks the ravishers,
the Coward Knight is drawn into the struggle, and quits himself valiantly.
The rescued damsels bring the knights to their castle, where Perceval,
sore wounded, remains for two months. (18) Meanwhile Saigremors has
announced Perceval's arrival at Camelot. Whitsuntide passing, all the
knights set forth in search of him, and, amongst others, Boort; he meets
his brother Lyonel led, bound and naked, by six knights, who scourge him,
and at the same moment he hears the plaint of a maid to whom a knight is
doing violence. Her he succours, then hurries after his brother, whom,
meanwhile, Gauvain has rescued. Lyonel bitterly reproaches his brother for
abandoning him, and falls upon him, sword in hand; Boort offers no
defence, and would be slain but for a passing knight, Calogrinant, who
pays for his interference with his life. Finally, heavenly intervention
appeases Lyonel. Calogrinant is buried by a hermit. (19) Perceval, healed,
leaves the castle together with the Coward Knight, is present with him at
a tournament, at which he distinguishes himself above all others, leaves
his companion, to whom he gives the name Le Hardis, and (20) meets Hector,
who challenges him. The two fight, and well-nigh kill each other. To them,
lying on the field of combat, appears an angel with the Grail, and makes
them whole. (21) Perceval rides on to Partinal's castle, before which
stands a fir tree whereon hangs a shield. Perceval throws this down,
whereupon Partinal appears and a desperate combat ensues, ended by the
overthrow of Partinal, and, as he will submit to no conditions, his death.
Perceval cuts off his head and makes for the Grail Castle, but only after
a summer's seeking, lights upon it chancewise. (22) As he nears the
castle, the warders come to the King, telling him a knight is coming with
a head hanging at his saddle-bow; hereupon the King leaps to his feet and
is straightway made whole. Partinal's head is stuck on a pike on the
highest tower of the castle. After supper, at which the same mystic
procession of talismans takes place as heretofore, the King learns
Perceval's name, and thereby finds that he is his own sister's son. He
would hand him his crown, but Perceval has vowed not to take it, his uncle
living. (23) He returns to Arthur's court, overcoming on the way seven
knights, and tells his adventures, which Arthur has written down and kept
in a box at Salisbury. The Grail damsel appears and tells Perceval his
uncle is dead. Perceval goes to Corbière accompanied by all the court, who
assist at his crowning and remain with him a month, during which time the
Grail feeds all with the costliest foods. He marries his cousins, the two
Grail-bearers, to two valiant kings, and reigns in peace for seven years.
(24) After which time he follows a hermit into the wilderness, accompanied
by Grail, lance, and holy dish. He serves the Lord for ten years, and,
when he dies, Grail, lance, and dish were doubtless carried up to heaven,
for since that day no man saw them.

(_d_) GERBERT.--(According to Birch Hirschfeld interpolated between
Gautier and Manessier, and joining on therefore to the last incident in

(1) Perceval's sin in having indirectly caused the death of his mother
disables him from making whole the broken sword, and he must set forth
again in search of the Grail. In the night he dreams a danger threatens
his sister, and on the morrow he wakes up in open field, the Grail Castle
having vanished. (2) He comes to a fair castle in the midst of a meadow,
and, finding the door shut, knocks at it with his sword till the latter
breaks. An old man appears, and tells him the broken sword will cost him
seven years more wanderings until he come again to the Grail Castle. All
he can do for Perceval is to give him a letter which heals the wounded and
makes the wearer invincible. (3) Perceval riding thence through country
that the day before was waste and folkless, finds it now well cultivated
and peopled; all press round him and bless him for the change wrought by
his asking concerning the Grail. (4) He comes to a castle wherein is a
forge guarded by two serpents, and on it was a sword forged for a year,
and it might not be broken, save in a certain danger, or mended save at
the same forge. Perceval, after resisting the devil in the shape of a fair
maid, attacks and overcomes the two serpents, and has his sword mended by
the blacksmith, who tells him how he broke it at the gate of Paradise.
(5) After making whole by his letter two knights of the Round Table who
had lost their wits in Castle Dolorous, Perceval comes to Carlion, to
Arthur's court, and accomplishes the adventure of the Perillous Seat which
a fairy had sent to Arthur. Only the destined Grail-finder might sit in
it. Six knights who had previously essayed the feat had been swallowed up
by the earth; they reappear when Perceval is successful. (6) Perceval is
called away from the court by a forsaken damsel, whose false lover he
compels to marry her; then, after overcoming fresh temptation in
damsel-shape, he comes to his sister's castle, overcomes her adversary,
who turns out to be Mordret, and reaches the Castle of Maidens, where he
is healed of his wounds by the lady of the castle, his cousin. She tells
him of his mother, Philosofine, and how the Grail was taken from the ken
of man owing to the sinfulness of the world. Perceval leaves his sister in
this castle where dames are chaste and damsels maids. (7) Returning to
court, whither Mordret had preceded him in sorry plight, Perceval is
mocked at by Kex, whom he overcomes, and afterwards meets Gauvain and
Tristan. (8) Leaving the court, he meets with four knights carrying their
father, mortally wounded, accompanies them to their castle, recognises in
the wounded knight, Gornumant, who had knighted him, swears to avenge him,
tells all that has befallen himself, and learns that the cause of his
successive failures is his forsaking his betrothed, Blanchefleur, whom he
knows to be Gornumant's niece. He is told that if he listen heedfully to
mass and marry the damsel all will be well, and he will learn the secrets
of lance and Grail. But first Perceval overcomes a hideous hag, who by
night brings to life Gornumant's enemies slain during the day. She has a
potion, whereof Christ made use in the sepulchre, and with it she quickens
the dead. She recognizes Perceval and acknowledges him as her conqueror,
yet while she lives he shall know nought of the Grail; she works by order
of the King of the Waste City, who hates all Christian folk. Perceval
tries the virtue of the potion on the most valiant of his enemies, with
whom he engages in a fresh and desperate struggle, heals Gornumant with
it, and sets off to marry Blanchefleur, as he is wishful to live cleanly
and fly deadly sin. (9) She is overjoyed at his arrival; preparations are
made for the marriage; the night before, she comes to his bedside in smock
and mantle, and they pass the night side by side, but with the sheet
between them. The wedding follows, and then, fearful of losing the
heavenly joy for sake of carnal longing, they resolve to resist the devil
and live virgin-wise, for virginity surpasseth aught else, even as the
topaz does crystal. Perceval, in a dream, is assured that of his seed
shall be the Swan Knight and the deliverer of the Holy Sepulchre.
Meanwhile he is still to search after lance and Grail. (10) On the morrow
he quits Blanchefleur, "maid she laid her to bed, maid she arose;" frees a
maiden pursued by a brutal knight; (11) comes to a castle where the
wayfarer must first fight against four knights and then against the lord
of the castle; does away with this custom; (12) comes to cross roads,
whereof one is safe and easy, the other adventurous and full of danger;
meets a knight all on fire; sees two hermits, one kneeling at a cross,
the other scourging it; then a wonderful beast, a doe followed by fawns,
which assail and devour her; (13) is presented at a hermit's with a shield
none but the Grail-winner may wear, after which the table heretofore
meanly spread is covered with rich fare, and learns the meaning of the
mystic scenes he has witnessed. (14) He is summoned by a damsel, who tells
him of the Dragon King, lord of a heathen folk dwelling in mid-sea,
possessor of a shield whereon is painted a dragon that belches forth
flame. Perceval sets forth to attack him, resists the devil who dwells in
the dragon head, thanks to his miraculous shield whereon the cross is
painted, and forces him to flee; continues the fight against the Dragon
Knight without his shield, and slays him, but not till he has repented him
of his sins. (15) Meanwhile a thief has made off with the shield, in
pursuing whom Perceval comes to an abbey, where he learns the story of
Joseph of Arimathea. Some forty years after the Crucifixion lived a
heathen king, Evelac, in Sarras, wherefrom the Saracens have their name,
sore pressed by Tholomes, King of Syria. But Joseph of Barimaschie, who
had been five years in Pilate's service, comes to him, and with him his
brother-in-law, Seraphe; he promised the King victory if he would let
himself be baptized. The King consented, and received the name of
Mordrach. Joseph then came to this land, and with him sixty folk and two
fair ladies, whereof the one, Philosophine, bore a plate, the other an
ever-bleeding lance, whilst Joseph had a vessel, never saw man a fairer
one. But King Crudel flung Joseph and his companions into prison, where
they dwelt forty days, but it harmed them not, as through the Holy Grail
they were filled with great plenty and had every wish fulfilled. Now,
Mordrains, learning this, brought together a great host, invaded King
Crudel's lands, attacked and slew him. Mordrains, disarming, was found to
be covered with wounds, none of which he had felt. On the morrow Joseph
put up a table, altar-wise, and thereon laid the Grail, which Mordrains
seeing, pressed near to. But an angel with a fiery sword kept him back,
and a voice assured him he had laid such a burden on his shoulders as he
might not pass away, nor would his wounds be healed until should come the
true knight, loved of Christ, sinless, and in his arms he, Mordrains,
should die. And till then the Host should be his only food. Since then
three hundred years have passed, and the monks have heard that the knight
is in the land who shall ask concerning lance and Grail, and thereby heal
the king. (16) Perceval leaves on the morrow and comes to a castle wherein
is a coffin, brought thereto in a boat drawn by a swan; none save the best
knight in the world may open it. All have tried, even Gauvain, and failed.
Perceval succeeds, and finds in the coffin the body of a knight, former
lord of the castle, and a letter setting forth that he who should open the
coffin was his murderer. Perceval, attacked in consequence by the dead
man's sons, defends himself by making a buttress of the youngest son's
body. Afterwards he overcomes the folk of the castle, and delivers
Gauvain, held prisoner therein. (17) Perceval, after confessing his sins
to a hermit, has an adventure with the devil, who comes out of a tomb,
but whom he forces back therein. (18) He then succours a maiden whom her
jealous lover has thrown into a fountain; (19) punishes a damsel who
tempts him in traitrous-wise; (20) meets with and is sore pressed by a
giant, whom he overcomes; (21) has a fresh and victorious encounter with
Kex, and, finally, (22) arrives at crossways, is directed by the cross to
the Fisher King's court, reaches it, asks straightway for the Grail, is
questioned by the King and relates his allegorical adventures. At table
the Grail appears, followed by lance and sword. Perceval pieces together
the sword, and the King, full of joy, embraces him.

=Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival.=--Gahmuret, Parzival's father, goes to
the East, takes service with Baruc, wins the love of the heathen queen
Belakane, but after remaining with her a short time forsakes her,
promising to return if she become Christian. She bears a son, and names
him Feirefiz. Gahmuret by his prowess at a tournament wins the love of
Herzeloyde, whom he marries on condition he may go a tourneying every
month. Hearing his old lord Baruc is in danger, he hastens to his aid, and
is slain. Herzeloyde on receipt of the news resolves to withdraw to the
wilderness, and bring up her son in ignorance of knighthood.

[From this point up to and including the adventure with Orgeuilleuse,
where Chrestien's share of the Conte du Graal breaks off, Wolfram agrees
very closely with Chrestien. It has been much debated in Germany whether
he really had any other model but Chrestien, and whether his alleged model
Kyot be not a feigned source to justify his departure from the story as
found in the Conte du Graal. A brief outline of the arguments for and
against this view will be found in Appendix A. The chief points of
difference in the portion common to the two poets are: the more important
position in the narrative assigned to Perceval's cousin, whom Wolfram
names Sigune, who is fed from the Grail by the Grail messenger, the
loathly damsel, and about whose loves with Schianatulander Wolfram has
left fragments of another poem, Titurel. Parzival meets her immediately
after his adventure with the lady of the tent. Parzival's love is named
Condwiramur. On the first night of their marriage he leaves her maid (as
in Gerbert's version). But the most important peculiarity of Wolfram's
poem is his account of the Grail itself, a stone which yields all manner
of food and drink, the power of which is sustained by a dove, which every
week lays a Host upon it, given, after the fall of the rebel angels, in
charge to Titurel and his dynasty, by them preserved in the Grail castle,
Montsalvatch, guarded by a sacred order of knighthood whom it chooses
itself. The knights are vowed to virginity, the king alone being allowed
marriage. The cause of the maimed king's (Amfortas) hurt is his having
taken up arms in the cause of worldly and unlawful love. When Parzival
leaves the Grail castle after the first visit, he is mocked at by the
inmates for having omitted the question. More stress is laid on the broken
sword, connected with which is a magic spell Parzival must master before
he can become lord of the Grail castle. The "loathly damsel," Kundrie, is
also a much more important person with Wolfram than with Chrestien, and
she is brought into contact with Parzival's cousin, Sigune. Parzival's
love for his wife is dwelt upon at length, and he is urged by the hermit
rather to rejoin her than to seek the Grail.]

After the adventure with Orgueilleuse, Wolfram continues as follows:--The
lord of the magic castle, wherein are kept prisoners Arthur's mother and
the other queens, is Clinschor, nephew of Virgilius of Naples, who took to
magic after his unmanning at the hands of King Ibert, whose wife, Iblis,
he loved. Gawain overcomes the magician, and, both unknowing, fights with
Parzival. The latter, after many lesser adventures, meets his half-brother
Feirefiz, and sustains with him the hardest of all his fights. At length
recognition is brought about, the two embrace, and repair to Arthur's
court. Cundrie nears once more, tells Parzival he has been chosen Grail
king, that his wife and twin sons, Loherangrin and Kardeiz, have been
summoned to the Grail castle, and that the question will now free Amfortas
and his land. With Cundrie and Feirefiz, Parzival rides to the Grail
castle, meets his wife, together they all behold the talismans, save
Feirefiz, to whom as a heathen the sight of the Grail is denied. But he is
baptised, weds Repanse de Schoie, the Grail damsel, the two return to
India, and from them is born Prester John. Parzival rules over his Grail
kingdom. Of his son Loherangrin it is told how he is led to the aid of the
Duchess of Brabant by a swan, how he marries her on condition she inquire
not as to his origin, and how, on her breaking the command, the swan
carries him away from her.

=Heinrich von dem Türlin.=--_The Gawain Episodes of Diu Crône._--The
parallelism of Heinrich's poem with those of Wolfram and Chrestien begins
about verse 17,500 with an adventure of Gawain's corresponding to Inc. 13
in Chrestien (Tournament for the hand of Tiebaut of Tingaguel's daughter,
episode of the two sisters, combat with Melians de Lis). In Heinrich the
father is named Leigamar, the eldest daughter Fursensephin, (Fleur sans
epine ?), the youngest Quebelepluz, where Heinrich has taken a French
phrase setting forth the greater fairness of the damsel for a proper name.
Inc. 14 in Chrestien then follows with these differences: the name of the
castle is Karamphi; Gawain and the facile damsel are surprised by the
latter's brother, and it is her father who, to avenge the wrong done his
house, makes Gawain swear that within a year he will either seek out the
Grail or return as prisoner to Karamphi. Chrestien's Inc. 15 is of course
missing, the story going straight on to Inc. 16, meeting with the wounded
knight (here Lohenis) and his lady love Emblie, who by treachery deprive
Gawain of his steed; then the arrival at the Castle of Wonders, and the
night passed in the enchanted bed, where the hero is overwhelmed with
crossbolts shot at him by invisible foes. The plucking of the flower from
the enchanted garden at the bidding of a damsel (Orgueilleuse in Chrestien
and Wolfram, here Mancipicelle), and the meeting with and challenge by
Giremelanz follow. Arthur's court comes to the Castle of Wonders to
witness the combat. Gawain and Giremelanz are reconciled, the latter
marries Gawain's sister, and Gawain himself sets off to search for the
Grail. [Adventures then follow which correspond to nothing in Chrestien or
Wolfram, in which Gawain wins talismans destined to aid him in his
search.] Gawain sets forth on his quest accompanied by Kay, Lancelot, and
Calocreant. They part at crossways. Gawain comes to the sister of the
magician (anonymous in Chrestien, Klinschor in Wolfram, here Gansguoter)
of the Castle of Wonders. She bids him take heed, if he wish to see the
Grail, he be not overcome by sleep, and for this that he drink not
overmuch; as soon as he saw it and its accompanying damsels, he was to ask
about it. If he neglected this, all his past and any future toil would be
useless. On his way to the Grail castle, the hero meets with all sorts of
dangers, and obstacles, and wonders; amongst others, passing the night in
a castle where he is tended by invisible hands. After month-long
wanderings he meets with Lancelot and Calocreant, and learns that Kay, in
a vain attempt to penetrate to the Grail, has been flung into prison. The
three comrades then come to the Grail castle. They are led into a hall
which passes in splendour aught earthly eye ever saw. The floor is strewn
with roses, on a bed lies an old man in gold-embroidered garments, and
watches two youths playing at chess. Towards night the hall fills with
knights and dames, a youth enters bearing a sword which he lays before the
old man. Gawain is pressed to drink; but refuses, not so his two
companions, who straightway fall asleep. Then enter two damsels bearing
lights, followed by two knights with a spear, and two more damsels with a
"toblier" (? tailleor, plate) of gold and jewels. After them comes the
fairest woman ever God created, and with her a maiden weeping. The spear
is laid on the table, by it the "toblier" wherein are three drops of
blood. In the box borne by the fair lady is a piece of bread, one third
part of which she breaks off and gives to the old man. Gawain recognising
in her Gansguoter's sister, stays no longer, but asks what these wonders
mean. Straightway knights and dames all with mighty shout leap from table,
and great joy arises. The old man says what he has seen is the Grail; none
saw it before save Parzival, and he asked not. By his question Gawain has
delivered from long waiting and suffering both those which are dead and
those which live. The old man himself and his companions are really dead,
though they seem it not, but the lady and her damsels are living; for
their unstained womanhood God has granted them to have the Grail, and
therewith yearly to feed the old man. All Gawain's adventures latterly
have come from the Grail. Now he has ended all, he is to take as prize of
his knighthood the sword which will help him in every danger. After him no
man shall see the Grail; further concerning it he must not ask, nor may
know more. At daybreak the old man's tale ends, and he with his whole
court vanish, leaving only the lady with her five damsels. [After
releasing Kay, and undergoing other adventures, Gawain returns to Arthur's

=The Petit Saint Graal or Didot-Perceval.=[13]--_Prologue._--After the
choosing of Arthur to be King, Merlin comes to the court, and tells how
Arthur is Uther-Pendragon's son, brought up by Antor as his son. All
rejoice at this, especially Gauvain, son of Lot. After dinner the barons
bring Merlin to Arthur, and tell him how he was the prophet of
Uther-Pendragon, and had made the Round Table. Arthur promises to honour
Merlin. The latter calls him apart with Gauvain and Key, and tells him
how, in the time of Uther-Pendragon, the Round Table was made after the
pattern of one Joseph constructed when he separated the good from the
evil. Two Kings of Britain before had been Kings of France, and conquered
Rome; Queen Sibyl and Solomon had prophesied Arthur should be third, and
he, Merlin, was the third to assure him of it. But this could only be if
Arthur established the Round Table as Merlin directed. Now the Grail had
been given Joseph by our Lord himself, and at His command Joseph led a
great folk into the desert. And when evil befell them Joseph, at our
Lord's command, made a table; whereat one place was left empty in
remembrance of Judas. But Moyses, a false disciple, sat therein, but sank
into the abyss, whereout he shall not come until the time of Antichrist.
Our Lord made the first table; Joseph, the second; he, Merlin, the third.
The Grail was given into the keeping of the rich Fisher King; but he was
old, full of sickness, and should not win health till a knight came,
having sat at the Round Table, true man of God and of Holy Church, and the
best knight in the world for feats of arms. He must ask the rich fisher of
what use is the Grail; then the King would be cured of his infirmity, the
enchantments of Britain would cease, and the prophecy be fulfilled. Should
Arthur do this, great good would come of it; he, Merlin, must go, as he
could not often show himself to the people. Whereupon he departs to
Ortoberland, to Blaise, his master, who writes down these things, and by
his writings we know them. The son of Alein le Gros is a child named
Percevaux, and as Alein is dying he hears the voice of the Holy Ghost
saying, Know thou art near thy end, and wilt soon come into the fellowship
of Jesus Christ. Brons, thy father, dwells in these isles of Ireland, and
with him is the Grail. And he may not die until thy son finds him, to whom
he shall commend the grace of the vessel, and teach the secret words
Joseph taught him, then shall he be cured of his infirmities. And I
command thy son that he go to the court of Arthur, where he shall be
taught how he may find the house of his grandfather. Alein dies, and
Percevaux mounts his horse and comes to Arthur's court, and asks arms from
him, and stays there and is much loved.

(1) Arthur proposes holding a tournament at Easter, the greatest the world
had seen, to honour the Round Table. Perceval at first takes no part in
the tournament; but afterwards, for love of Aleine, niece of Gauvain, who
incites him thereto, and sends him a suit of red armour, he enters the
lists unknown, and overbears all opponents, so that all say he should fill
the empty place at the Round Table. Perceval claims the empty place from
the King, and when refused threatens to return to his land and never visit
the court again. Arthur yields, and Perceval seats himself. Then the rocks
and the earth groan dolorously, and a voice reproaches Arthur with having
disobeyed Merlin's command. Were it not the goodness of Alein le Gros
Perceval had died the death of Moys. Now should Arthur know the vessel our
Lord gave Joseph was in the keeping of the rich fisher, and he was ill and
infirm, and until the best knight in the world should come might not die.
And when that knight should come to the rich fisher and ask concerning the
vessel, then should he be cured, but die within three days after giving
the vessel to that knight, and teaching him the secret words handed down
by Joseph. Thus the enchantments of Britain should cease. (2) Perceval
swears not to lie one night where he had lain the night before till he
find the rich fisher. Gauvain, Sagremors, Beduers, Hurgains, and Erec
swear the same. The knights set forth amid general lamentation. They part
at a chapel, and the story follows Perceval. (3) He comes, after two days,
upon a damsel weeping over a knight, Hurganet, one of the Round Table, who
had gone forth on the Grail Quest. He had delivered her from a giant, and
ridden with her into a tent where they found knights and ladies, who
warned them not to await the owner, the "Orgoillos Delandes," who would
kill him. And whilst speaking a dwarf entered, scourge in hand, who threw
down the tent. The Lord of the Tent then appeared, clad in red armour, and
slew Hurganet. Perceval determines to avenge his death; rides to the tent
with the damsel; is warned of its inmates; is surprised by the dwarf, who
smites the damsel with his scourge, whereupon Perceval fells him to the
ground. The Knight of the Tent appears; after a desperate struggle
Perceval overcomes him and sends him with the damsel to Arthur's court.
She had fain stayed with him, but he thought of other things. (4) Perceval
comes to the finest castle in the world, enters, and finds no inhabitant.
Only a chessboard he finds. He begins to move the pieces, and they play
against him, and he is checkmated three times running. Full of anger he
prepares to throw the chessmen into the castle moat--suddenly a damsel
shows herself and reproaches him. He will abstain if she comes to him. She
consents, and after her squires and maidens have disarmed Perceval he
joins her. Overcome by her beauty he requests her love. She will grant it
him if he capture the white stag of the wood. She lends him her hound, and
recommends him to take the utmost care of it. Perceval chases the stag,
captures it, and, having cut off its head, starts back. But meanwhile an
old woman has carried off the hound. She will only give it up if Perceval
will go to a grave whereunder is a knight painted, and say: "Felon, he
that put you there." Perceval complies; whereupon appears a knight on a
black horse armed in black. They strive, and Perceval overcomes him. But
meantime a second knight has carried off both the stag's head and the
hound from the old woman. Perceval's adversary flees to the tomb, which
closes upon him, and Perceval follows the second knight after a vain
attempt to get help from the old woman. (5) Him he found not; but after
feats longer than I can tell, comes to his father's house, where he was
born. He only finds his sister and a niece. The former tells him
concerning her brother, who went to Arthur's court; whereupon their mother
died of grief. Perceval reveals himself, and is amazed at what she relates
concerning the Grail and its guardian, and asks if he may come to behold
it. She answers, Yes; whereupon he vows not to rest till he have found it.
She attempts to dissuade him, but he remains firm. She then urges him to
go to their uncle, who is a hermit, to whom he may confess the sin of his
mother's death, and who will advise him concerning the Quest. (6) Both
proceed thither. He rejoices to see them, and asks if Perceval has been to
the house of his father, guardian of the vessel named Grail, and, on
hearing that he has not, tells him how at the table which Joseph and
himself had made, the voice of the Holy Ghost had come to them, telling
them to go westward, and ordering the rich fisher, his father, to come to
that land where the sun goes down (_avaloit_), telling him he should not
die till the son of Alein had become the best knight in the world.
Perceval had been chosen to do his Lord's service; he is to slay no knight
nor to lie with any woman, that being luxurious sin. His sins have
prevented his reaching Brons. He is to be careful to keep himself from sin
and felony, being of a race our Lord so loved that He committed His blood
to their keeping. Much else he says, and on the morrow Perceval and his
sister ride forth. (7) They meet a knight who challenges them. Perceval,
thinking of the damsel who had given him the hound, at first pays no
attention, but then overcomes and slays him. Perceval is much grieved at
having so soon broken his uncle's injunction. On the morrow he leaves his
sister, promising to return so soon as he may. (8) He meets a knight,
accompanied by a damsel the most wonderfully ugly nature ever made,
whereat he signs himself and laughs. The knight, indignant, challenges
him, but is overcome and sent with the damsel to Arthur's court. Kay makes
mock of them; but Arthur reproves him and receives them courteously. They
remain at the court, and know that she was the most beautiful woman in the
world! (9) Perceval comes to a ford and is challenged by its guardian,
whom he overcomes. His name is Urban of the Black Thorn; his lady had set
him to guard the ford. Her castle vanishes with a great noise, and she
comes to her lover's aid with her maidens in shape of birds. Perceval
slays one who becomes a woman, and is carried off by the others to
Avallon. (10) Perceval comes to a tree at the crossing of four roads,
among its branches he sees two naked children of seven years old. They
speak to him concerning the Grail, and direct him to take the road to the
right. They vanish, and a voice tells him to heed their counsel. (11)
Perceval comes to a river whereon are three men in a boat, and the master
of the boat bids him go down the stream till he should come to his house.
Perceval rides a whole day without finding it, and curses the fisher. At
last he comes to a castle with lowered drawbridge, enters, and is robed in
scarlet by two squires. Meanwhile four attendants have carried the Fisher
King, father of Alein, and grandfather of Perceval, into the hall. The
King wished to do Perceval what honour he might. They eat, and whilst at
table a squire comes out of a chamber, and brings in both hands a lance,
whence flows a drop of blood. Him follows a damsel bearing two silver
plates and clothes; then a squire with a vessel in which was our Lord's
blood. All bow as he passes, and Perceval had fain asked, but he fears to
displease the King, minding him of the worthy man to whom he had
confessed, and who forbade his speaking too much and enquiring
overmuch--for a man of idle words is displeasing to our Lord. All night
Perceval thinks of the lance and of the Grail, and in the morning, on
waking, finds neither man nor woman. He sets forth to seek some one, but
in vain, and is greatly distressed. (12) He finds a damsel weeping
bitterly, who, seeing him, cries out: "Percevaux le Gallois, be accursed,
unhappier art thou than ever, having been in the house of the rich Fisher
King, and not having asked concerning the Grail. Thy Lord hates thee; and
'tis wonder the earth do not open beneath thee." Had he not seen Grail and
lance pass? Had he asked what one did with them, the King, cured of his
infirmity, would have returned to his youth; our Lord's prophecy to Joseph
been fulfilled, and the enchantments of Britain undone. But Perceval is
neither wise, valiant, nor true man enough to have charge of the blood.
But he shall come again and ask concerning the Grail, and his grandfather
shall be cured. (13) The damsel departs, and Perceval, unable to find his
grandfather's house, rides on and comes to a tree under which a damsel is
sitting, and in whose branches the stag's head, which had been carried off
from him, is hanging. Perceval takes it, and when his hound following a
stag comes up, takes possession of it likewise. But the knight who had
taken them appears. Perceval fights with and overcomes him; learns that he
is the brother of the Knight of the Tomb, who lives therein with his love,
sister of the damsel for whose sake Perceval had hunted the stag. To her
Perceval now returns, gives her hound and stag's head, and then departs
refusing the offer of her love, even to stop one night with her. (14)
Perceval wanders for seven years achieving many feats, and sending more
than one hundred knights prisoners to Arthur; but, not being able to find
his grandfather's house, he falls into such melancholy as to lose his
memory, so that he minds him no more of God, and never enters Church. One
Good Friday, fully armed, he meets a knight and ladies in penitents'
dress, who reproach him for going armed on a day that our Lord was
crucified. Perceval repents; returns to his uncle, the hermit; learns that
his sister is dead, and does penitence. The songmen, in their pleasing
rhymes, say nothing of this; but we tell you of it as we find it in the
tale Merlin made Blaise write down. (15) Perceval rides forth and meets
seven squires of Melianz de Liz, who is going to a tournament at the White
Castle, the damsel of which is to be the victor's prize. All the knights
of the Round Table will be there, having returned that Whitsuntide from
the Quest of the Grail without achieving aught. Perceval leaves the
squires and come to a castle where he puts up. His host urges him to take
part in the tournament. The morrow they ride forth and look on; Melianz
wears the scarf of the lady of the castle; he and Gauvain prove themselves
the best knights, the onlooking ladies know not to whom to award the
prize. The next day, Perceval, having resolved upon taking part, accepts
the scarf of his host's daughter, overcomes all adversaries, and sends
steeds to the lady in return for her scarf. Being asked by his host if he
will not woo the damsel of the White Castle, Perceval answers he may not
take wife. Then appears an old man who reproaches Perceval for going to a
tournament, and with forgetting his vow to sleep no two nights in the same
house till the Quest be accomplished. He is Merlin, come from Hortoblande,
to say that owing to the prayers of Perceval's uncle, our Lord wills that
the latter may have his blood to keep. He is to go to his grandfather.
Perceval asks when he shall get there. "Before a year," is the answer.
"'Tis a long time." "Not so," says Merlin, who leaves him, and tells all
to Blaise, from whose writing we know of it. (16) That same night Perceval
comes to his grandfather's house, is received by the Fisher King, and as
they sit at table the Grail appears, and the relics with it, and when
Perceval sees it he asks to what use is the vessel put? Forthwith the King
is cured, and his being changed. Perceval must say first who he is before
learning such holy things. Upon learning it is his grandson before him,
the King leads him to the Grail, and tells him with this lance Longis
pierced the side of Jesus Christ, whom he knew in the flesh. In this
vessel is the blood, Joseph caught as it ran to the ground. It is called
Grail because it is agreeable to worthy men; none may sin in its presence.
Then Brons, kneeling, prays, and the voice of the Holy Ghost tells him the
prophecy will be fulfilled; and he is to teach Perceval the secret words
our Lord on the cross told Joseph, and Joseph told him. He does, but I
cannot and may not say what these words were. Then angels carry him off;
and Perceval remains, and the enchantments of Britain and of the whole
world cease. And that same day Arthur and his knights sitting at the Round
Table are aware of a great noise, and the seat is made whole again which
had broken under Perceval. Merlin appears to Blaise, tells him his work is
ended, and takes him to Perceval, who was right glad of his company.

_Epilogue._--Merlin comes to Arthur's court and relates all that had taken
place. The knights, finding the Quest of the Grail is over, and mindful of
Merlin's former words, urge Arthur to invade the continent. He does so,
overcomes Frollo, King of France; refuses tribute to the Emperor of Rome,
overcomes him, but is recalled to England on learning Mordret's treachery.
The latter is slain; but Arthur, wounded mortally, is carried to Avallon
to be healed of Morguen, his sister. Lastly, Merlin tells Perceval how he
will withdraw from the world, and be no more seen of men. And the tale
says no more of Merlin and the Grail.

=The Mabinogi of Peredur ab Evrawc.=--Evrawc, Earl of the North, has seven
sons, six of whom, like himself, fall in tournaments and combats. His wife
carries off her youngest son, Peredur, to the desert, and forbids horses
or arms being shown to him. He grows up strong and active, and can outrun
his mother's goats and hinds. (1) One day he sees three knights
passing--Gwalchmai, the son of Gwyar, and Geneir Gwystyl, and Owain, the
son of Urien. His mother declares them to be angels; whereupon he
determines to join them. He questions Owain concerning his accoutrements
and the use of his weapons. His mother swoons away at the thought of his
leaving her; but he picks out a horse and saddles it. Before leaving, his
mother counsels him to repeat his paternoster wherever he sees a church;
to take food and drink if none offer them; to aid when any outcry is,
especially a woman's; if he sees a fair jewel to take it and give it to
another; to pay his court to fair women whether they will or no. (2) After
two days and nights Peredur comes to a tent, where he finds a damsel. Half
of the food and drink she has he takes, half leaves to her; asks her for
her ring at leaving, which she gives him. Her lord returning, is jealous,
and sets forth to avenge his supposed wrong. (3) Peredur journeys on to
Arthur's court. A knight has been there before him, and grievously
insulted Gwenhwyvar by dashing a goblet of wine in her face, and carrying
the goblet out, and has dared any to avenge the insult; but all hang their
heads. Peredur enters the hall and demands knighthood. On Kai's protesting
he is too meanly equipped, a dwarf, who, with his female companion has
been a year at Arthur's court without speaking, salutes him as the flower
of knighthood. Kai strikes him for this, and kicks the female dwarf, who
repeats the salutation. Kai bids Peredur seek the knight and win back the
goblet, then shall he have knighthood. Peredur does so, and slays the
knight. Owain, who has followed, shows him how to undo the armour and to
clad himself in it, and bids him back to Arthur. But Peredur refuses, he
will not come back to the court till he have avenged the injury done by
Kai to the dwarf and dwarfess. (4) Peredur overcomes sixteen knights and
sends them to Arthur with the same message. (5) Peredur comes to a castle
by a lake, and sees a venerable man sitting by the lake and his attendant
fishing, and the old man is lame. And Peredur enters the castle, and is
practised in the use of weapons, and learns courtesy and noble bearing;
and the old man is his uncle--his mother's brother. He is to leave his
mother's habits and discourse, and if he sees aught to wonder at, not to
ask the meaning of it. (6) Peredur leaves his uncle and comes to a castle
where dwells a second uncle of his--brother likewise of his mother. His
strength is tested by his having to cut through an iron staple with a
sword. Twice he does it and the broken pieces re-unite, but the third time
neither would unite as before. He has arrived at two-thirds of his
strength, and when he attains his full power none will be able to contend
with him. Whilst talking, two youths enter the hall bearing a mighty spear
with three streams of blood flowing from the point to the ground. All
wail and lament; but as Peredur is not vouchsafed the meaning of what he
sees he forbears to ask concerning it. Then enter two maidens with a
salver in which a man's head swims in blood. The outcry redoubles. Peredur
retires to sleep. (7) On the morrow, with his uncle's permission, he rides
forth, finds a beautiful woman lamenting over the corpse of a knight. She
reveals herself as his foster-sister; calls him accursed for causing his
mother's death by leaving her; and tells him it is her husband she mourns
for, slain by the Knight of the Glade. Peredur meets the latter, overcomes
him, and makes him take his foster-sister in marriage. (8) Peredur comes
to a castle where are eighteen youths and five maidens, and he had never
seen one of so fair an aspect as the chief of the maidens. A flask of wine
and six loaves are brought by two nuns, and that must suffice for all. The
youths press the maiden to offer herself to Peredur as his wife or lady
love. She refuses; but consents when they threaten leaving her to her
enemies. She comes weeping to Peredur and relates how she is besieged by
an earl who seeks her hand. She implores his aid, and offers to place
herself in his hands. Peredur bids her go sleep, he will assist her, The
next day he overthrows the master of the household of the earl. To save
his life the latter must deliver up one-third of the besieged maiden's
lands. The second day it fares the same with the earl's steward; the third
with the earl himself. Peredur thus wins back all his hostess' lands, and
tarries with her three weeks; but for her love he would not have stayed so
long. (9) Peredur next meets the Lady of the Tent, ill-entreated of her
husband concerning him. Him he overcomes, compels to acknowledge her
innocence, and sends both to Arthur. (10) Peredur comes to the castle of a
tall and stately lady, who bids him escape from the sorceresses of
Gloucester, who will attack the castle that night; but he resolves to
remain, and defends one of the watch when overtaken by a sorceress. The
latter hails him by his name. She foreknows she is to suffer harm from
him. If he will go with her he shall learn chivalry and the use of arms.
Peredur consents on her promising to refrain from injuring the countess,
and stays with her three weeks. (11) Peredur comes to a hermit's cell. In
the morning it has snowed. A hawk has killed a fowl in front of the cell,
but is scared away by Peredur's horse; a raven has alighted on the bird.
Peredur likens the blackness of the raven and the whiteness of the snow
and the redness of the blood to the hair and the skin and the two red
spots on the cheeks of the lady he loves best. Whilst thus lost in
thought, Arthur and his household come up with him, but fail to recognise
him. A youth accosts him, but receives no answer; whereupon he thrusts at
Peredur but is struck to the ground. Twenty-four youths essay the same,
and are repulsed in like manner. Kai then comes and speaks angrily, but
Peredur breaks his arms for him. Gwalchmai then approaches him
courteously, learns his name, and brings him to Arthur, who does him
honour. Thus all return to Caerlleon. (12) Peredur solicits the love of
Angharad Law Eurawc, and when she denies him, vows to speak to no
Christian till she loves him. (13) Peredur comes to the castle of a huge
grey man, a heathen, after slaying a lion, his porter. The grey man's
daughter warns him of her father, and at his request brings his horse and
arms to his lodging. Peredur overcomes the vassals, and slays the sons of
the grey man, and sends the whole household to Arthur to be baptized. (14)
Peredur slays a serpent lying upon a gold ring, and wins the ring. For a
long time he speaks to no Christian, and loses colour and aspect through
longing for Arthur and his lady love. He returns to Arthur's court, but
none know him, and he suffers Kai to thrust him through the thigh without
his saying a word. He overcomes many knights, and at length Angharad Law
Eurawc confesses her love for him. He remains at Arthur's court. (15)
Peredur comes to the castle of a huge, black, one-eyed man. The latter's
daughter warns him against her father. But Peredur stays, overcomes the
latter, and learns how he lost his eye. On the Mound of Mourning is a
cairn, in the cairn a serpent with a stone in its tail, the virtue whereof
is to give as much gold to the possessor as he may desire. In fighting the
serpent he had lost his eye. He directs Peredur to the serpent, and is
slain by him. Peredur refuses the love of the maidens of the castle, and
rides forth. (16) He comes to the palace of the son of the King of the
Tortures. Every day the Addanc of the Lake slays them. Whilst at discourse
a charger enters the hall with a corpse in the saddle. They anoint the
corpse with warm water and balsam, and it comes to life. The same happens
with two other youths. The morrow they ride forth anew against the Addanc,
refusing Peredur, who would go with them; but he follows and finds seated
on a mound the fairest lady, who, if he will pledge her his love, will
give him a stone by which he may see the Addanc and be unseen of it. He
promises, and she gives him the stone, telling him to seek her in India.
Peredur passes through a valley wherein is a flock of white sheep, and one
of black, and when they cross the river flowing through the valley they
change colour. He learns of their shepherd the way to the Addanc's cave,
slays it, meets his three companions of the night before, who tell him it
was predicted that he should slay the monster, offers them its head,
refuses their sister whom they proffer him in marriage; accepts the
services of a youth, Etlym Gleddyv Coch, who wishes to become his
attendant, and rides forth. (17) He comes to the court of the Countess of
Achievements, overthrows her three hundred knights; but learning she loves
Etlym resigns her to him. (18) Peredur, accompanied by Etlym, comes to the
Mound of Mourning, slays two out of the three hundred knights he finds
guarding the serpent, slays the latter, repays the remaining hundred
knights all they have spent, gives Etlym the stone and sends him back to
his love. (19) Peredur comes to a valley wherein are many coloured tents,
lodges with a miller, from whom he borrows food and lodging, and learns
that a tournament is forward. He overcomes all the knights present, and
sends their horses and arms to the miller as repayment. The Empress of the
Tournament sends for him, he repels her messengers thrice, the fourth time
he yields. She reveals herself as the lady who had helped him against the
Addanc, and she entertains him for fourteen years. (20) Arthur is at
Caerlleon-upon-Usk, with him his knights, and among them Peredur. There
enters, riding upon a yellow mule, a maiden of hideous aspect. She greets
all save Peredur, to whom she reproaches his silence at the court of the
Lame King; had he asked the meaning of the streaming spear and of the
other wonders the King would have regained health and the dominions
peace--all his misfortunes are due to Peredur. She then tells of a castle
where are five hundred and seventy knights, each with the lady he loves
best--there may fame be acquired; and of a castle on a lofty mountain
where a maiden is detained prisoner, whoso should deliver her should
attain the summit of the fame of the world. Gwalchmai sets forth to
release the imprisoned maiden, Peredur to enquire the meaning of the
bleeding lance. Before they leave a knight enters and defies Gwalchmai to
single combat, for that he had slain his lord by treachery. (21) Gwalchmai
meets a knight who directs him to his own castle, where he is welcomed by
his sister. The steward of the castle accuses him to the knight of being
the slayer of his, the knight's, father. Gwalchmai demands a year to
acknowledge or deny the accusation. (22) Peredur, who, seeking tidings of
the black maiden, but finding none, has wandered over the whole island,
meets a priest who chides him for being in armour on Good Friday. Peredur
dismounts, asks the priest's blessing, and learns of a castle where he may
gain tidings of the Castle of Wonders. (23) Peredur proceeds thither, and
meets the King of the castle, who commends him to his daughter, by whom he
is well received. A little yellow page accuses him to the King of winning
his daughter's love, and advises that he should be thrown into prison. But
the damsel befriends him, and assists him to take part in a tournament,
where, for three days, he overthrows all opponents. The King at last
recognises him, and offers him his daughter; but he refuses and sets forth
for the Castle of Wonders. (24) On arriving there he finds the door open,
and in the hall a chessboard and chessmen playing by themselves. He
favours one side which loses, whereupon he casts the chessboard in the
lake. The black maiden comes in and reproaches him--he may find the
chessboard again at the Castle of Ysbidinongyl, where a black man lays
waste the dominions of the Empress. Him Peredur overcomes, but spares his
life; this the black maiden chides him for, and he slays him; but the
black maiden still refuses him access to the Empress unless he can slay a
stag, swift as the swiftest bird, with one sharp horn in his forehead. She
gives him a little dog belonging to the Empress which will rouse the stag.
With its aid he slays the latter, but a lady, riding by, carries off the
dog, and chides him for slaying the stag. He can only win her friendship
by going to a cromlech which is in a grove, and challenging to fight three
times a man who dwells there. Peredur complies, and fights with a black
man clad in rusty armour; but when he dismounts his adversary disappears.
(25) Peredur, riding on, comes to a castle where sits a lame grey-headed
man, and Gwalchmai by him. A youth enters the hall and beseeches Peredur's
friendship--he had been the black maiden who came to Arthur's court, and
who had chid Peredur concerning the chessboard; he was the youth who came
with the bloody head in the salver, and the head was that of Peredur's
cousin slain by the sorceresses of Gloucester, who also lamed Peredur's
uncle, and he, the speaker, was Peredur's cousin. Peredur seeks aid of
Arthur, and they start against the sorceresses. One of the latter slays
three of Arthur's men; whereupon Peredur smites her, and she flees,
exclaiming this was Peredur, who had learnt chivalry of them, their
destined slayer. She and all her companions are slain. Thus is it related
concerning the Castle of Wonders.

=The Thornton MS. Sir Perceval.=--(1) PERCYVELLE is son of Percyvelle and
Acheflour, Arthur's sister. His father is slain in a tournament by the Red
Knight whom he had previously overcome in a former tournament. His mother
takes to the woods, brings up her son without instruction till he is
fifteen years, when she teaches him to pray to God. (2) He then meets with
three knights of Arthur's court--Ewayne, Gawayne, and Kay. He takes them
for gods. Learning that they are knights, he determines to go to Arthur's
court and become a knight himself, catches a wild horse, and, returning to
his mother, announces his attention. She counsels him to be always of
measure, to salute knights when he meets them, and at his departure gives
him a ring for token. (3) He sets forth, and finding on his way a house
makes himself free of it, eats, drinks, and finding a lady sleeping on a
bed takes from her her ring, leaving his mother's in its place. (4) Coming
to Arthur's hall he rides into it and up to the King so that his mare
kisses Arthur's forehead. He demands knighthood at Arthur's hands,
threatening to slay him if refused. Arthur sees the likeness to his
father, laments over the latter's untimely fate, and recalls that books
say the son should avenge the father's bane. Percyvelle bids him let be
his jangling and dub him knight. Whilst sitting down to table the Red
Knight comes in, carries off Arthur's cup (five years long had he done so)
none daring to hinder him. At the King's lament Percyvelle engages to slay
the Red Knight, and bring the cup back if knighthood be granted him. The
King promises, Percyvelle follows the ravisher, who scorns him, but is
slain by a dart flung at him. He captures the knight's steed, and not
being able otherwise to remove his armour, and recalling his mother's
injunction "out of the iron burn the tree" kindles a fire to burn the
body. Gawayne, who has followed him, shows him how to unlace the armour;
when that is removed Percyvelle casts the body into the fire to roast. He
refuses to return to Arthur, looking upon himself as great a lord as the
King, but sends the cup back through Gawayne and rides on. (5) He meets an
old witch, mother to the Red Knight, who addresses him as her son; her he
spears and casts into the fire. (6) He meets ten knights, who flee, taking
him for the Red Knight, but on his raising his vizor the oldest knight,
reassured, relates how the Red Knight bore him and his sons enmity, and
how, fifteen years before, he had slain his brother. Learning that
Percyvelle had burnt his enemy, he invites him to his castle. (7) Whilst
at meat a messenger comes in from the Maiden-land begging help from the
Lady Lufamour against a "Sowdane," who would have her to wife. Percyvelle
starts forth with three of the old knight's sons, whom, however, he sends
back each after a mile. Meanwhile, the King at Carebedd, mourning for
Percyvelle, receives Lufamour's messages, gains from him tidings of
Percyvelle, and sets forth with his court to follow him. Percyvelle,
coming to the Sowdane's camp, is set upon by the guard, but slays them
all, and then lays him down to rest under the castle wall. In the morning
Lufamour's men make her aware of the slaughter wrought upon her enemies.
She perceives Percyvelle and sends her chamberlain, Hatlayne, to bid him
to her chamber. Whilst at table together tidings are brought that the
enemy have nearly taken the town. Percyvelle sallies forth alone and soon
leaves not one alive. He is then ware of four knights--Arthur, Ewayne,
Gawayne, Kay. He pricks against them and Gawayne receives his onslaught.
They recognise each other, and all proceed to Lufamour's castle. The next
day the Sowdane challenges all comers; Percyvelle, dubbed knight by
Arthur, slays him, and thereafter weds Lufamour. (8) After a year he
thinks on his mother's loneliness, and sets forth to seek her. Hearing a
damsel lamenting in the wood, he finds her bound to a tree, for that a
year before, while sleeping, a stranger had robbed her of a ring leaving
his own in its stead. Now her ring was of a stone of such virtue that
neither death nor hurt could come to the wearer. He releases her,
overcomes the Black Knight who had bound her, reconciles them and claims
his own ring for the ring he had taken. But the Black Knight has given it
to the lord of the land--a giant. (9) Percyvelle slays the giant, and
claims the ring of the porter. The latter tells him how his master, loving
a fair lady, had offered her that same ring, but she, exclaiming that he
had killed her son, rushed into the forest and was since then bereft of
her senses. Percyvelle puts on a goat's skin, and after nine days search
finds her. A magic drink of the giant's throws her into a three days'
sleep, after which, restored to her right mind, she goes home with her
son. He afterwards goes to the Holy Land, and is there slain.

=The Queste del Saint Graal.=--[_Furnivall's text (F.) has been taken as
the basis of the present summary. Words and passages not found in the
Welsh translation (W) are italicised; words or passages found in the Welsh
translation instead of those in Furnivall are in parentheses. The variants
from Birch-Hirschfeld's Summary (B. H.) are given in the notes._]

(1) On Whitsun Eve the companions of the Round Table being assembled at
Camelot, a _damsel_ (youth) comes in great haste, asks for Lancelot and
bids him _from King Pelles_ (for the sake of whatever he loved most)
accompany her to the forest. Notwithstanding Guinevere's opposition he
does so, and comes to a nunnery where he finds his two cousins, Boort and
Lionel. Three nuns then bring Galahad, a child the like of whom might
scarce be found in the world; one asks Lancelot to knight him, he
consents, and on the morrow Lancelot and his companions return to
Camelot; his cousins think the child must be Lancelot's son, but Lancelot
answers no word. (2) At the Round Table the seat of each knight is marked,
but on the Seat Perillous it is written that _four hundred and fifty-four_
(four hundred and fifty) years have passed since the Lord's Passion, and
that on this Whitsun Day the seat shall find its master. Lancelot covers
these words, and, whilst at Kay's reminding, the court awaits an adventure
before sitting down to meat, a youth tells them of a stone floating on the
water. It is a block of red marble, in which sticks a sword, and upon it
written that none may draw the sword save the best knight in the world.
Lancelot declares that the wonders of the Holy Grail are about to begin,
and refuses to essay the adventure; Gawain, Perceval, and others try, but
fail; they then sit down to table served by twelve kings; an old man
enters, leading a knight in vermeil armour, whom he proclaims the desired
knight, of the seed of David and kin of Joseph of Arimathea, who shall
achieve the adventures of the Holy Grail. He draws near the Seat
Perillous, on which is now written, "This is Galahad's seat," sits himself
therein, dismisses the old man, _and bids him greet_, "_My uncle, King
Pelles, and my grandfather, the rich fisher_."[14] (3) Great honour is
done to the new knight, whom Lancelot recognises as his son, and Bors and
Lionel as the youth begot by Lancelot upon the daughter _of the Fisher
King_ (King Pelles). The Queen is told that the knight is come, and her
ladies say he _shall end the wonders of Great Britain, and through him the
Maimed King shall be healed_. Galahad is then urged by Arthur to essay the
adventure of the sword, consents, easily draws out the sword, and asks for
a shield. (4) A damsel appears, weeps for Lancelot as having lost his
place as the best knight in the world, and tells the King from Nasciens,
the hermit, that on that day he would send the Holy Grail to feed the
companions of the Round Table. A tournament is ordered, in which Galahad
is held the best, as he overthrows all save Lancelot and Perceval. After
vespers the court sits down to table, a clap of thunder is heard, followed
by the brightest of sunbeams, so that all are as if lighted by the Holy
Ghost. None know whence the light comes, and none has power to say a word.
The Holy Grail enters, covered with white samite, but none may see who
carries it; the hall is filled with sweet odours, and as the Grail passes
along the tables each seat is filled with such meat as each one longs for.
Then it departs, none may say how, and those can now speak who before
could say no word. (5) All return thanks to God for the grace vouchsafed
them, and Gawain tells them that heretofore no man had been served with
whatever he might desire save _at the Maimed King's_ (at the court of King
Peleur). But they could not behold the Grail openly, and Gawain declares
he will go on quest of it for a year and a day. The knights of the Round
Table make a like vow. Arthur is much distressed, as he knows many will
die on the quest. The Queen and her ladies weep likewise, and propose to
join their knights, but an old priest tells them from Nasciens, the
hermit, that no knight entering on the quest of the Holy Grail is to have
with him his lady or damsel--the quest is no earthly one. On the morrow,
at King Bandamagus' suggestion, all the questers, Galahad first, swear to
maintain the quest for a year and a day and longer if need be. After the
Queen has taken leave of Lancelot, and Arthur has vainly tried to force a
shield on Galahad, the questers set off together and pass the first night
at Vagan's Castle. On the morrow they ride forth and separate. (6) After
five days Galahad comes to an abbey where he finds King Bandamagus and
Ywain "li aoutres." The abbey contains a shield which no knight save the
destined one may take and go unslain or unhurt. King Bandamagus would take
it, but is overthrown by a White Knight; Galahad then takes it, and his
right to do so is admitted by the White Knight, who tells him as follows
concerning it:--Forty-three years after our Lord's Passion, Joseph of
Arimathea, who took our Lord's body down from the Cross,[15] came to the
city Sarras, where dwelt King Evelac, then a Saracen, who was at war with
his neighbour, Tholomes. Josephes, Joseph's son, warned Evelac against
going forth to battle unprepared, and, in answer to the King's questions
what he should do, told him of the new law and Gospel truth and the
Saviour's death, and fixed on his shield a cross of sandal. He was to
uncover this on the fourth day's fighting, and to call on the Lord. When
he did so he beheld a bleeding, crucified figure. He won the battle, and
on his telling the story his brother-in-law, Nasciens, received baptism.
The shield then restored to a man his lost hand. Evelac was baptized, and
guarded the shield in lordly fashion. Josephes came with his father to
Great Britain, where King Crudel threw them with many other Christians
into prison. Mordrains[16] and Nasciens then invaded Great Britain,
released Josephes and remained with him in the land. When Josephes was on
his deathbed, and Evelac asked him for a remembrance, then he bade King
Mordrains bring his shield, and with the blood streaming from his nose
marked on it a cross; this would always remain red, and no knight should
with impunity unhang the shield till Galahad should come, last of
Nasciens' line. Where Nasciens lay buried, there the shield was to be
kept. (7) Galahad draws near a tomb in the abbey graveyard, whence issues
a voice telling him not to approach and drive it out. But he does so, and
a smoke in man's form comes out; on opening the tomb a dead knight's body
is found lying therein, this is cast out. These things are a symbol: the
hard tombstone signifies the _hard-heartedness of the world_ (the hardship
which Jesus Christ had in this world);[17] the dead body those dead in
sin, and as in Christ's time when they slew Him and were harried out of
their land by Vespasian as a punishment; the smoke was a devil who fled
from Galahad because he was a virgin. (8) On the morrow Galahad rides
forth accompanied by Melians, a youth who had begged to be allowed to
serve him, and whom he had knighted. They separate at a cross road,
Melians takes the left hand road in spite of warning, comes to a tent
where hangs a golden crown, seizes it, meets a strange knight who
overthrows and had slain him but for Galahad coming to the rescue and
overcoming first one, then a second assailant. Melians is taken to an
abbey to be tended, and learns that the two knights who almost overpowered
him were his pride in taking the left hand path, his covetousness in
carrying off the crown of gold. (9) Galahad enters a hermitage to pray
there, and hears a voice bidding him proceed to the Castle of Maidens and
rid it of its bad customs. He encounters on the way seven knights whom he
must overcome, such was the custom of the castle. He forces them to
flight, and an old priest brings him the keys of the castle. He finds
therein numberless maidens, and learns that the former lord of the castle
had been, with his son, slain by the seven knights, who had striven
beforehand to carry off his daughter. She foretold that as they had gained
the castle for a maiden's sake, they would lose it through a maiden, and
be overcome by a single knight, whereupon they determined to make prisoner
every maiden passing that way. Galahad delivers the captives, and puts a
daughter of the former duke in possession of the castle. He learns then
that the seven brothers have been slain by Gawain, Gheriot, and Ywain.
(10) The story now returns to Gawain. He passes by the abbey where Galahad
found the shield, then that where Melians lay ill, is reproached by a
friar with being too sinful to be with Galahad, meets Gheheries, his
brother, meets Ywain on the morrow, meets the seven brothers who attack
them and are slain; then Gawain comes alone to a hermitage, confesses for
the first time since fourteen years, is admonished by the hermit, learns
that the Castle of Maidens signifies hell, the captives the good souls
wrongfully therein confined before Christ's coming, the seven knights the
seven sins. Gawain is pressed, but vainly, to make penitence. (11) The
story returns to Galahad. After wandering for awhile without adventures he
meets Lancelot and Perceval. They do not recognise him, not knowing his
_arms_ (shield),[18] and attack him. He overcomes them, but learning from
the words of a recluse, who sees the combat, that she really knows him,
and, fearing recognition, he hurries off.[19] (12) Perceval stays with the
recluse, and Lancelot starts in pursuit of the Unknown Knight. He comes
in the night to a stone cross near which stands (an old)[20] chapel. He
dismounts and enters, but an iron rail hinders his progress; through it he
sees an altar whereon _burn seven candles_ (a silver candlestick, a wax
taper).[21] He leaves the chapel, unsaddles his horse, and lies down to
sleep by the cross. Then comes a sick knight on a bier drawn by two
horses, dolourously lamenting. He looks at Lancelot, but says no word,
thinking him asleep, nor does Lancelot say aught, but remains half asleep.
And the sick knight laments, "_When may I have solace from the holy vessel
for the pain I suffer for such a small fault_ (was ever so much pain as is
upon me who have done no evil at all)?"[22] But Lancelot says no word, nor
when the candlestick comes towards the cross and the Holy Grail approaches
the sick knight, who prays he may be made whole to join likewise the
quest. Then crawling to the table whereon the vessel stands, and _touching
his eyes with_ (kissing) it, feels relief and slumbers. The Grail
disappears and Lancelot still says never a word, for which aftertimes much
mischance was his. The sick knight arises well, a squire appears and
_arms_ him (with Lancelot's sword and helm),[23] and brings him Lancelot's
steed, and the knight swears never to rest till he knows why the Holy
Grail appears in so many places of the Kingdom of Logres, and by whom it
was brought to England. So he departs, and _his squire carries off
Lancelot's armour_. Lancelot awakes wondering whether what he has seen be
dream or truth. And he hears a voice saying--harder than stone, bitterer
than wood, more despised than the fig tree--he must away, not pollute the
spot where is the Holy Grail. He wanders forth weeping, comes to a hermit,
confesses his great sin, his love for Guinevere, is admonished to tear it
from his heart, when there may still be hope for him. Lancelot promises,
and has the adventure at the chapel explained to him, and stays with the
hermit for penance and instruction. (13) The story now returns to
Perceval. The recluse orders he be well taken care of, she loves him well,
he is her nephew. She dissuades him from fighting Galahad as he wishes,
does he wish to die and be killed as his brothers _for their outrages_ (in
their combats and tournaments)? He and Galahad and Bors will achieve the
Quest. She is his aunt, formerly Queen of the Waste Land. _He asks about
his mother whom he fears he has badly treated, and learns she died when he
went to Arthur's court._[24] He asks further concerning the knight with
the red arms, and is told as follows:--Since Christ's coming were three
chief tables; first, the table at which Christ often ate with his
Apostles; second, the table of the Holy Grail, established in semblance
and remembrance of the first, by which so many miracles were wrought in
this land in the time of Joseph of Arimathea, in the beginning when
Christianity was brought to this country. He came with four thousand poor
companions. One day, wandering in a forest, they had nothing to eat, but
an old woman brought _twelve_ (ten) loaves, these they bought and they
were wroth with one another when they came to divide them. Joseph angry,
took the twelve loaves, made the people sit, and by virtue of the Holy
Grail multiplied the loaves to their need. At that table was a seat where
Josephes, son of Joseph, might sit, but none other, for, as the history
tells, the place was blessed by our Lord himself. Now two brothers,
relatives of Josephes, envied him his leadership, saying they were of as
good seed as he, and one sat in Josephes' seat, and was straightway
swallowed up by the earth, whence the seat was called the Dreaded Seat.
Last came the Round Table, made by Merlin's counsel, to show the roundness
of the world and of the firmament. And Merlin foretold that by companions
of this table should the truth of the Grail be known, and that three
should achieve it, two virgins and one chaste, and the one should surpass
his father as man surpasses wolf, and he should be master, and for him
Merlin made a great and wonderful seat, wherein none might sit unharmed
save he, and it was known as the Seat Perillous. And as at Whitsuntide the
Holy Spirit came to the Apostles in guise of fire, so at Whitsuntide
Galahad came clad in red armour. And on the day he came the questing for
the Grail began, which might not cease till the truth concerning it _and
the lance_ was known. To find Galahad, Perceval must first try Castle
_Gher_ (Goth) where dwells a cousin of Galahad, _and then Castle Corbenic
where dwells the Maimed King_. (14) His aunt then tells how after that her
husband fell in war against King Laban she withdrew into that wild place.
And her son went to serve King Pelles, their relative, and since two years
she only knows of him that he is following tournaments throughout Great
Britain. (15) On the morrow Perceval comes to a monastery, and seeing mass
being performed would enter but cannot, and sees a sick bed with a man or
woman lying on it, whom, as he rises when the body of our Lord is raised,
he sees to be an old man crowned, with his body full of wounds and crying
out, "Father, forget me not." He seems as if he were over _four hundred_
(one hundred and four) years old. Perceval asks concerning these wonders,
and is told as follows:--When Joseph of Arimathea came to this land, the
Saracen, King Crudel, hearing of the Grail by which he lived, threw him
and his son Josephes and some hundred others into prison for forty days,
and forbade food to be given them. But they had the holy vessel with them.
When Mordrains and his brother-in-law, Seraphe, heard these things, they
assembled their host, landed in Britain, overcame Crudel, and freed
Joseph. On the morrow Evelac, as he was called before he became Christian,
desired to see the Holy Grail plainly, and though warned to desist pressed
forward to do so, and was struck blind and helpless. He accepted his
punishment submissively, but only prayed to Christ that he might survive
till _the good knight should come, the best[25] of his seed_ (the knight
who is to achieve the adventures of the Holy Grail). A voice answered his
prayer should be granted, and then he should receive the light of his eyes
and his wounds should be made whole. This happened _four hundred_ (one
hundred and four) years before, and it was that King Evelac whom Perceval
had seen, and during that while he had fed on nought else save the Lord's
body. (16) Perceval riding forth on the morrow is attacked by twenty
knights, sore pressed, and only rescued by the Red Knight's help, who then
disappears. (17) Perceval, having lost his horse, asks one vainly from a
passing squire, from whom it is shortly afterwards carried off by another
knight, whom Perceval, mounted on the squire's cob, attacks but is
overthrown. (18) At night a woman appears and offers him a horse if he
will do her will--she is, in truth, the enemy. He agrees, she mounts him,
he comes to a river, and, before essaying to ford it, makes the sign of
the cross, whereupon the horse rushes howling into the water. (19)
Perceval, rescued from this peril, finds himself on a wild island
mountain, full of savage beasts; he helps a lion against a snake and wins
its service. He is ill at ease on his island, but he trusts God, and is
not like those men of Wales where sons pull their fathers out of bed and
kill them to save the disgrace of their dying in bed. (20) That night,
sleeping by the lion's side, Perceval dreams of two women visiting him,
one mounted on a lion, the second on a serpent; this one reproaches him
for killing the serpent. On the morrow an old man comes ship-borne,
comforts Perceval with good counsel, and interprets his dream: the dame on
the lion was Christ's new law, she on the serpent the old law. (21) A
damsel then appears, warns Perceval against the old man, prepares for him
a rich banquet with good wine, not British, as in Great Britain they only
drink cervoise and other home-made drinks, and excites his passion. He is
on the point of yielding, but seeing the cross-handled pommel of his sword
crosses himself, and the damsel disappears in flames. Perceval pierces his
thigh with his sword in his contrition. The old man reappears, exhorts,
explains the various features of his temptation, and finally takes him
away with him in his ship. (22) The story now returns to Lancelot. After
three exhortations from the hermit he sets forth, and first meets a
servant, who assails him bitterly as an unfaithful traitorous knight, in
that having openly seen the Holy Grail doing its wonders before him, he
yet moved not from his seat. (23) He comes to a hermit's hut and finds the
hermit lamenting over the dead body of his companion, who, at his nephew,
Agaran's, request, had left the hermitage to aid him against his enemies,
and had been treacherously slain by the latter. These things are told by a
devil, which had entered into the dead hermit's body. Lancelot is
admonished at great length, receives stripes, puts on the dead hermit's
hair shirt, and finally leaves with the advice that he should confess
every week. (24) He meets a damsel who encourages him, but tells him he
will find no lodging for the night. _He dismounts at the foot of a cross
at the cross-ways, and has a vision of a man surrounded with stars,
crowned and accompanied by seven Kings and two knights, who pray to be
taken to heaven; a man descending from heaven orders one of the knights
away, whilst to the other he gives the shape of a winged lion, so that he
flies up to heaven and is admitted._[26] (25) Lancelot meets the knight
who had carried off his arms, and who attacks, but is overthrown by him.
(26) _He comes to a hermitage, confesses, tells his vision, and learns
that it has a great meaning in respect of his lineage, which must be
expounded at much length: forty-two years after the Passion of Christ,
Joseph of Arimathea left Jerusalem, came to Sarras, helped Evelac, who
received baptism at the hands of Josephes, together with his
brother-in-law, Seraphe (who took the name Nasciens), and who became a
pillar of the holy faith, so that the great secrets of the Holy Grail were
opened to him, which none but Joseph had beheld before, and no knight
after save in dream. Now Evelac dreamed that out of his nephew, son of
Nasciens, came forth a great lake, whence issued nine streams, eight of
the same size, and the last greater than all the rest put together; our
Lord came and washed in the lake which King Mordrains thus saw flowing
from Celidoine's belly. This Celidoine was the man surrounded by stars in
Lancelot's vision, and this because he knew the course of the stars and
the manner of the planets, and he was first King of Scotland, and the nine
streams were his nine descendants, of whom seven Kings and two
knights:--first, Warpus; second, Chrestiens;[27] third, Alain li Gros;
fourth, Helyas; fifth, Jonaans, who went to Wales and there took to wife
King Moroneus' daughter; sixth, Lancelot, who had the King of Ireland's
daughter to wife; seventh, Bans. These were the seven Kings who appeared
to Lancelot. The eighth stream was Lancelot himself, the elder of the
knights of the vision. The ninth stream was Galahad, begot by Lancelot
upon the Fisher King's daughter, lion-like in power, deepest of all the
streams._[28] (27) Lancelot comes to a castle with a meadow before it,
whereon a throng of black armoured knights is tourneying against knights
in white armour. Lancelot goes to the help of the former,[29] but is
captured, and on being released rides off lamenting. At night, as he
sleeps, a man comes from heaven and reproaches him with his ill faith. A
hermitess expounds the allegorical meaning of the adventure. The white
knights are those of Eliezer, son of King Pelles, the black those of
Argastes, son of King Helain; this symbolised the Quest, which was a
tournament between the heavenly knights and the earthly ones, and in that
Quest none might enter who was black with sin; and Lancelot though sinful,
having entered thereon had joined the black knights, and his capture by
the others was his overthrow by Galahad, and his lamentation his return
to sin, and it was our Lord who reproached him in his vision; let him not
depart from truth. (28) Lancelot comes to Lake Marchoise, is attacked by a
knight in black armour, who kills his horse and rides off; he lays down on
the shore and awaits trustfully God's help. (29) The story returns to
Gawain. After journeying many days adventureless, he meets Hector de
Mares. Neither has heard aught of Lancelot, Galahad, or Bohors. Travelling
together they come to a deserted chapel, where, passing the night, Gawain
dreams he sees in a meadow one hundred and fifty bulls all spotted, save
three, one being dingy, the two others being pure white. Of the one
hundred and forty-seven who set off to find better pasture many die and
some return, of the three one returns, but two remain between whom strife
arises and they separate. Hector dreams that he and Lancelot, being
companions, are attacked by a man who knocks Lancelot off his horse and
sits him on an ass, after which Lancelot, coming to a fair fountain, would
drink of it, but it vanishes; he, Hector, keeping his horse comes to a
castle, the lord of which refuses him admission for that he is too high
mounted. Whilst telling one another their dreams, a hand with a taper
appears and vanishes, and a voice tells them that, poor of belief as they
are, they cannot attain the Holy Grail. On their way to find a hermit who
may explain these wonders, Gawain is attacked by and kills a knight,
Ywains the Adulterer, son of King Urien. They then come to the hermit,
Nasciens, who explains the bulls as the companions of the Round Table, the
spotted ones those stained by sin, the three unspotted ones are the
achievers, two white, virgins--Galahad and Perceval--one dingy, having
once sinned carnally, Bors. The last part of the dream may not be
explained, as evil might come of it. In Hector's dream the two horses are
Pride and Ostentation. Lancelot's being seated on an ass signifies the
putting off of pride, the fountain is the Holy Grail. Both knights are too
full of sin to continue in the quest of the Grail. They ride forth and
meet with no adventure worth notice. (30) The story returns to Bors. After
first coming to a hermit, who exhorts him to abandon the Quest if he do
not feel himself free from sin, to whom he confesses, from whom he
receives absolution, and to whom he vows to eat nought save bread and
water till the Quest be achieved, he comes to a castle whose mistress is
sore oppressed by her sister, against whose champion, Priadam the Black,
she has vainly sought a defender. Bors promises to come to help. He passes
the night at the castle and will not sleep in the rich bed she offers him,
though in the morning he tumbles it as if he had lain in it. He overcomes
Priadam, and reinstates the lady in her lordship. (31) On the morrow he
meets his brother, naked, bound on a hack, being beaten with thorns by two
knights. At the same moment passes a very fair maiden being carried off by
a knight, and she cries to him for help. He is in anguish, but goes to the
maiden's help, wounds her would-be ravisher, and restores her to her
friends. (32) He then hurries after his brother, but meets a seeming monk
who makes him believe his brother is dead, and gives him an explanation of
dreams he has had. He then comes to a tower and is welcomed by its
inmates. A damsel offers him her love, and when he refuses threatens with
twelve other damsels to throw herself from the tower. Bors is full of
pity, but thinks they had better lose their souls than he his. They fall
from the tower, Bors crosses himself, and the whole vanishes, being a
deceit of the devil. His brother's corpse that had been shown him is also
gone. (33) On the morrow he comes to an abbey, where he learns that his
brother lives, and where all his dreams and adventures are allegorically
explained. He then meets Lionel, his brother, who reproaches him bitterly
for his conduct, and falls upon him with intent to kill. First a hermit,
then a passing knight, Calogrenant, would stop him, but he slays both.
Bors is at length, in spite of prayers and entreaties, compelled to draw
in self defence, but a voice tells him to flee, and a fiery brand comes
from heaven between them. Bors follows the command of the voice directing
him towards the sea, where Perceval awaits him. He comes to a ship covered
with white samite, and finds therein Perceval, who at first does not know
him again, and who tells him all that he has passed through. (34) The
story returns to Galahad. After countless adventures he finds himself one
day opposed to Gawain and Hector de Mares in a tournament; he deals the
former such a blow as knocks him out of his saddle. (35) He is brought to
the ship wherein are Perceval and Bors by a damsel, who accompanies them
until, fourteen days' sail from Logres, they come to a desert isle off
which is another ship, on which is written[30] that those who would enter
should see they were full of faith. The damsel then tells Perceval she is
his sister, _daughter of King Pellehem_. They enter the ship and find a
rich bed with a crown at its head, and at its foot a sword six inches out
of the scabbard, its tip a stone of all the colours in the world, its
handle of the bones of two beasts, the serpent Papagast, the fish
Orteniaus; it is covered with a cloth whereon is written that only the
first of his line would grasp the sword. Perceval and Bors both essay
vainly. Galahad, on being asked, sees written on the blade that he only
should draw who could strike better than others. The damsel tells the
story of the sword as follows:--When the ship came to the Kingdom of
Logres there was war between King Lambar, father to the Maimed King, and
King Urlain, heretofore Saracen, but newly baptised. Once Urlain,
discomfited, fled to the ship, and, finding therein the sword, drew it and
slew King Laban[31] with it, and that was the first blow struck with the
sword in the Kingdom of Logres, and there came from it such pestilence and
destruction in the land of the two kingdoms that it was afterwards called
the Waste Land. When Urlain re-entered the ship he fell down dead. (36)
Galahad, further examining the sword, finds the scabbard of serpent's
skin, but the hangings of poor stuff. On the scabbard is written that the
wearer must surpass his fellows, and the hangings be changed only by a
King's daughter and she a maid; on turning the sword over, the other side
is found black as pitch, and bearing words that he who should praise it
most should blame it most in his greatest need. Perceval's sister explains
this as follows: Forty years after our Lord's Passion, Nasciens,
Mordrains' brother-in-law, came to the Turning Isle, and found this ship,
and therein bed and sword, this last he coveted, but had not the hardihood
to draw it, though he stayed eight days food and drinkless longing for it;
on the ninth day a tempest drove him to another island, where, assailed by
a giant, he drew the sword, and though it snapped in two and thus
fulfilled the inscription, yet he overcame the giant. He afterwards met
Mordrains and told him of these wonders; Mordrains reunited the fragments,
then, in obedience to a voice, they left the ship, but in going Nasciens
was wounded for having dared to draw a sword of which he was not worthy,
thus he who praised it most had most reason to blame it. As for the other
words, _King Pelles,[32] called the Maimed King_ (a lame King who was my,
_i.e._, the damsel's, uncle) once came to this ship on the shore of the
sea over against Ireland, and entering it found the sword, drew but was
wounded through the thighs by a lance, _and might not be healed till
Galahad come_.[33] (37) They then examine the bed and find it has three
spindles; that in front, snow white; that behind, blood red; that above,
emerald green, and lest this be thought a lie the story turns from its
straight path to explain about these spindles. After Eve, yielding to the
devil's advice, had caused Adam to sin, and both knew themselves carnal
and were ashamed, and were driven forth from Paradise, Eve kept the branch
of the Tree of Life which she had plucked, and planted it and it grew to a
tree with branches and leaves white in token that Eve was a virgin when
she planted it. Sitting one day beneath the tree, God commanded them to
know one another carnally, and when they were ashamed to set about such
foul work sent darkness over them. Abel was thus begotten, and the Tree of
Life turned green. Afterwards Cain slew Abel underneath that same tree and
it turned red. At the Deluge it remained unharmed and lasted till
Solomon's time. Whilst the wise King was pondering over the malice of his
wife and of all women, a voice told him a woman of his line should bring
men more joy than her sex had caused sorrow, and that a virgin knight
should be the last of his lineage. His wife, whom he consults as to how he
shall let this knight know he had foreknowledge of his coming, advised the
building of the ship, and the taking of David's sword to be fitted with a
new hilt of precious stones, and a new pommel and scabbard, and placed in
the ship together with Solomon's crown on a rich bed; she furthermore had
three spindles made from the Tree of Life and from trees grown from it.
And when all was ready Solomon saw in dreams angels coming from heaven and
putting the different inscriptions on the sword and ship. (38) The story
speaks now of other things. New hangings had not been put on the sword,
this was to be done by a damsel. Perceval's sister supplies hangings made
of her own hair, and names the sword "The Sword of Strange Hangings," and
the scabbard "Memory of Blood," and Galahad girds on the sword. (39) On
the morrow they set sail and come to Castle Carchelois, in the March of
Scotland, the inmates whereof attack them but are all slain. Galahad is
sorry for those he has killed, but a priest tells him they are heathens,
and he has done the best work in the world, as the three knights who held
the castle had ravished their own sister and wounded their father, Count
Ernous, to death. Before the latter dies he urges Galahad _to go to the
assistance of the Maimed King_ (to undertake other adventures).[34] (40)
On the morrow they meet a white stag led by four lions; these come to a
hermitage, hear mass, the stag becomes a man and sits on the altar, the
lions a man, an eagle, a lion, and an ox, all winged. (41) On the morrow
Perceval takes Galahad's sword, which he will wear from henceforth. They
come to a castle, the inmates of which demand that Perceval's sister
should pay the custom of the castle, which is to give a dishful of blood
from her right arm. The three companions protect Perceval's sister against
overwhelming odds till nightfall, when, learning that the blood is asked
to heal the Lady of the Castle suffering from leprosy, Perceval's sister
sacrifices herself. Before dying she gives directions that her body is to
be put in a ship and buried in the Palace Spiritual in Sarras. Bors then
leaves his two companions to succour a wounded knight pursued by a knight
and a dwarf;[35] and Perceval and Galahad, after seeing the castle they
had thus left destroyed by fire from heaven in vengeance of the blood of
the good maidens which had there been shed, likewise separate. (42) The
story returns to Lancelot. He is at the Water of Marcoise, surrounded by
the forest and high rocks, but he does not lose faith in God; in obedience
to a voice he goes on board a passing ship and finds therein Perceval's
sister, whose story he learns from the letter at her head. After a month's
journeying a knight joins them who proves to be Galahad, and they pass
together half a year achieving marvellous adventures. After Easter, at the
new time when the birds sing their sweet and varied songs, they come to
land, and a knight in white arms bids Galahad leave his father, which he
does. (43) After a month's further wandering on the sea, Lancelot comes to
a castle guarded by two lions,[36] against whom he would at first defend
himself, but is reproved for trusting his strength rather than his
Creator. Entering, he comes to a room wherein are the Holy Vessel, and a
priest celebrating mass; Lancelot is warned not to enter, but when he sees
that the priest about to raise the body of God has a man put into his
hands, he cannot refrain from pressing forward to his aid, but is struck
down by a fiery wind and remains fourteen days dumb, food- and drinkless.
He finds he is in Castle Corbenic, and a damsel tells him his quest is
ended. King Pelles rejoices to see him, at dinner the Holy Grail fills the
tables so that living man could not think of greater plenty; whilst at
dinner Hector de Mares comes to the castle door, but is ashamed to enter,
hearing that Lancelot is within, and rides off pursued by the reproaches
and taunts of those of the castle. Lancelot returns to Arthur's court,
passing on the way the tomb of Bandamagus, whom Gawain had slain. (44) The
story returns to Galahad. He comes to an abbey wherein is King Mordrains,
who knows his approach, and asks that he may die in his arms; Galahad
takes him on his breast, Mordrains dies and all his wounds are found
healed. (45) Galahad cools the boiling fountain by putting his hand in it.
(46) Galahad delivers from the tomb where he had been burning three
hundred and fifty-four years his relative, Symeu, who thus expiated his
sin against Joseph of Arimathea. (47) Galahad rides five years before he
comes to the _house of the Maimed King_ (the court of King Peleur), and
during all the five years Perceval bears him company, and within that time
they _achieve the great adventures of the Kingdom of Logres_ (cast out the
evil adventures of the Island of Britain). (48) One day they met Bors, who
in the five years had not been in bed four times. The three come to
_Castle Corbenic_[37] (the court of King Peleur) _where they are greeted
by King Pelles, and where Eliezer, King Pelles' son, brings the broken
sword with which Joseph had been pierced through the thighs; Bors cannot
rejoin the pieces, Perceval can only adjust them together, Galahad alone
can make the sword whole, and it is then given to Bors_. (50) At
vesper-time a hot wind strikes the palace, and a voice orders all unfit to
sit at Christ's table to depart, as the true knights were to be fed with
Heaven's food. All leave save _King Pelles, Eliezer, his son, and his
niece, the most religious maid on the earth_ (a young maiden); to them
enter nine knights[38] and salute Galahad: three are from _Gaul_ (Wales),
three from Ireland, three from Denmark. _Then four damsels bring in on a
wooden bed a man, crowned, in evil plight, who greets Galahad as his
long-expected deliverer._ A voice orders out of the room him who has not
been a companion of the Quest, and straightway _King Pelles and Eliezer
and_ the damsel depart. From heaven comes a man clad like a Bishop and
borne in a chair by four[39] angels, who place him before the table upon
which stands the Holy Grail. Upon his forehead is written that he was
_Joseph_ (son of Joseph of Arimathea) first Bishop of Christendom, whereat
they wonder, as they know that man lived three hundred years before. He
kneels before the altar and opens the door of the _ark_ (chamber), and
four angels[39] issue, _two bearing burning lights, the third a cloth of
red samite, the fourth a lance bleeding so hard that the drops run into a
box he holds in his other hand_ (two with torches, the third with the
lance, the fourth holding the box into which the blood drops); the candles
are placed on the table, the cloth is placed on the holy vessel so that
the blood fell into it. Joseph then celebrates the Sacrament, and on his
raising the wafer, as it were a child descends from heaven and strikes
itself into the wafer, so that it takes man's form. Joseph then kisses
Galahad and bids him be fed by the Saviour's own hand, and vanishes. But
there comes out of the holy vessel, a man with hands bleeding and feet and
body, and says He will reveal His secrets, and give the high food so long
desired and toiled for. He gives the Sacrament to Galahad and his
companions, and explains that the Grail is the dish of the Last Supper,
and Galahad shall see it more fully in the City of Sarras, whither it is
going, Britain being unworthy of it, and whither he is to follow it with
Perceval and Bors; _but as he must not leave the land without healing the
Maimed King he is to take some of the blood of the lance and therewith
anoint his legs_.[40] Galahad asks why all may not come with him; but
Christ says they are twelve who have eaten as the Apostles were twelve,
and they must separate as the Apostles separated. _Galahad then heals the
Maimed King, who goes into an abbey of white monks._ (51) The three
companions, after sending messages to Arthur's court _through Estrois de
Gariles and Claudius, son of King Claudas_,[41] coming to Solomon's ship,
herein they find the Holy Grail, set sail; on landing bury Perceval's
sister, heal a cripple to help them carry the Grail-table, are cast in
prison by King _Escorant_ for a year, are fed by the Holy Grail; at
_Escorant's_ death Galahad is made King, fashions a tree of gold and
precious stones over the Grail and prays before it every morning as do his
companions. (52) On the anniversary of Galahad's crowning the three see
before the holy vessel a man clad like a Bishop, who begins mass and calls
Galahad to see what he has so longed to see, and at the sight Galahad
trembles very greatly, and he thanks God for letting him see that which
tongue may not describe nor heart think, and he begs that he may pass away
from this earthly life to the heavenly one. The Bishop then gives him the
body of God, and reveals himself as Josephus, son of Joseph of Arimathea.
Galahad kisses Perceval and Bors, and sends greetings to Lancelot through
Bors, his soul then leaves his body and angels take it away. A hand from
heaven then comes to the vessel and takes it and the lance, and bears it
heavenwards, so that since there was no man bold enough to say he has seen
the Holy Grail (except Gwalchmai once). (52) _Galahad's body is buried.
Perceval goes into a hermitage, where Bors stays with him for a year and
two months; Perceval dies, and is buried by Bors in Galahad's tomb; Bors
left alone in a place as strange as Babylon, sets sail for Britain, and
comes to Camelot, when all are greatly joyed to see him; he tells the
adventures of the Holy Grail; they are written down and kept in the Abbey
of Salisbury, and from these Master Walter Map drew to make his book of
the Holy Grail for the love of King Henry his lord, who had the story
translated from Latin into French. The story now is silent and tells no
more concerning the adventures of the Holy Grail._[42]

=Grand St. Graal.=--(1) The writer salutes all who have faith in the Holy
Trinity. He does not name himself for three reasons: lest his declaration
that he received the story from God Himself be a stumbling block; lest his
friends pay less honour to the book if they know the author; lest if he
have made any blunder all the blame fall upon him.

(2) In the year 717 after the Passion of Christ, as the writer lies in his
hut in one of the wildest parts of White Britain, on Good Friday Eve and
doubts of the Trinity, Christ appears to him and gives him a little book
not larger than a man's palm, and this book will resolve all his doubts;
He Himself has written it, and only he who is purified by confession and
fasting may read it. On the morrow the writer opens it and finds therein
four sections, headed each as follows: This is the book of thy lineage;
here begins the book of the Holy Grail; here is the beginning of the
terrors; here begin the marvels. As he reads lightning and thunder come
and other wonders. On Good Friday, as he is celebrating the service, an
angel raises him in spirit to the third heaven, and his doubts concerning
the Trinity are set at rest. When his spirit returns to his body he locks
up the book; but on Easter Sunday, when he would read further, finds it
gone; a voice says he must suffer to have the book back again, must go to
the plains of Walescog, follow a wonderful beast to Norway, and there find
what he seeks. He obeys, the beast leads him first to a hermit's, then
past the pine of adventures to a knight's castle, on the third day to the
queen's lake and a nunnery. After exorcising a hermit possessed of the
devil, he finds the book, and on his return Christ commands him to make a
fair copy before Ascension Day. He sets to work at once, on the fifteenth
day after Easter.[43] The book begins as follows: Few believe on Christ
at His crucifixion, among whom is Joseph of Arimathea, as the Holy
Scripture of the Grail testifies. He is in all things a good man. He lives
in Jerusalem with his wife and a son, Josephes (not the same Josephes who
so often quotes the Scripture, but not less learned than he), he it was
who passed his father's kin across sea to White Britain, since called
England, without rudder or sail, but in the fold of this shirt. Joseph,
having much loved the Lord, longs after His death to possess somewhat
having belonged to Him; goes to the house of the Last Supper, and carries
off the dish wherein He had eaten. Having been a knight of Pilate's for
seven years, he craves a boon of him, which is Christ's body. Pilate
grants it; Joseph descends the body from the Cross, places it in a
sepulchre, and, fetching the dish from his house, collects in it the blood
flowing from the body,[44] and finishes laying the body in the tomb. The
Jews hear of this, are angered, seize Joseph, throw him into prison in the
most hideous and dirtiest dungeon ever seen, feed him at first on bread
and water, but when Christ is found to have arisen, Caiaphas, Joseph's
jailor, lets him starve. But Christ brings the holy dish that Joseph had
sent back to his house with all the blood in it. Joseph is overjoyed.
Christ comforts him, and assures him he shall live and carry His name to
foreign parts. Joseph thus remains in prison. Meanwhile his wife, though
often pressed to marry, refuses until she shall have had sure tidings of
her husband; as for his son he will only marry Holy Church. (3) Forty
years go by; after Christ's death Tiberius Cæsar reigned ten years, then
Caius, one year; then Claudius, fourteen years; then Noirons, in whose
reign S.S. Peter and Paul were crucified, fourteen years; then Titus, and
Vespasian, his son, a leper. The freeing of Joseph befalls in the third
year of Titus' reign and in this wise: Titus has vainly sought a leech to
heal Vespasian. At last a strange knight from Capernaum promises his help
and tells how he in his youth had been healed of the leprosy by a prophet.
The Emperor on hearing this sent to Judea to seek out that prophet; his
messenger comes to Felix, and orders him to have proclamation made for
aught Christ has touched; hereupon an old woman, Marie la Venissienne,
brings the cloth upon which the Saviour's likeness had painted itself when
she wiped His face. The messenger returns to Rome with this cloth and the
mere sight of it heals Vespasian, who straightway resolves to avenge
Christ's death. He goes to Jerusalem, Joseph's wife appears before him,
accuses the Jews of having made away with her husband; none of the Jews
know where he is save Caiaphas, who reveals the secret on condition that
he is to be neither burnt or slain. Vespasian himself goes down into the
prison and finds it as light as though one hundred candles had burnt in
it. He tells Joseph who he is, whereat the latter wondered, not thinking
he had been longer than from Friday to Sunday, not once had it been dark.
A voice tells Joseph not to fear, and that he will find the Holy Vessel at
his home. Joseph returns to Jerusalem with Vespasian, and points out to
him the abettors of Christ's death, whom Vespasian has burnt. Caiaphas is
set adrift in a boat. (4) The night before Vespasian returns to Rome,
Christ appears to Joseph and commands him to go forth and fill foreign
lands with his seed; he must be baptised, and must go forth without money
or aught but the dish; all heart can want or wish he shall have, all who
accompany him must be baptised likewise. Joseph is baptised by St. Philip,
then Bishop of Jerusalem, as is also Vespasian, concerning whom the story
is now silent. (5) Joseph preaches to his friends and relatives and
converts seventy-five of them. They leave Jerusalem and come to Bethany,
where the Lord appears to Joseph, promises him aid as once to the Jews in
the wilderness, commands him to make a wooden ark for the dish, which he
is to open when he wants to speak to Him, but no one is to touch it save
Joseph and his son Josephes; Joseph does as commanded, his troop is
miraculously fed, and on the eleventh day they come to the town of Sarras,
between Babilone and Salavandre, whence the Saracens have their name, and
not from Sara. (6) Joseph and his seventy-five companions enter the city
and go to the Temple of the Sun, to the seat of judgment, where the
Saracens are assembled with their lord, Evalach the Unknown: he had been a
man of prowess in his youth, but was now old; seven days before, the
Egyptians had beaten his army, and the council is now devising how
vengeance may be taken therefor. Joseph is greatly joyed at these events,
and when the council advises peace assures the King of victory, but he
must destroy his images and believe on Him who died on the Cross. Evalach
asks how one who could not save himself could save another. Joseph, in
answer, tells of Christ's birth, life, death, descent into hell,
resurrection, ascension, and of the sending of the Holy Ghost. Evalach
cannot understand either the Incarnation or the Trinity, and although
Joseph explains that the Virgin conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy
Ghost through her ear, and that her virginity was no more hurt than is
water when a sunbeam enters it, remains stubborn and calls his learned men
to his aid, but Joseph confounds these, and Evalach lodges the Christians
for the night and gives them good beds. (7) Evalach dreams of a tree-stock
whence spring three equal trunks and though three yet are truly one, also
of a room with a secret door of marble, through which a child passes
without opening it; a voice tells him this is a type of the miraculous
conception of Christ. (8) Meanwhile, Joseph, unable to sleep, prays for
comfort and adjures the Lord by all His mercies to help Evalach; he is
told by a voice he shall be sent for to explain the King's dream. Joseph
then goes to sleep with his wife, Helyab, but not as lustful folk do, for
there was nothing between them till the Lord commanded the begetting of
Galahad, and then, so full of love to the Saviour were they that they had
no desire. From Galahad came the high race which honoured the land of
White Britain, now called England. (9) The morrow morning Joseph and his
company worship before the ark (now the place wherein they were had been
called the Spiritual Palace by Daniel) when a soft sweet wind comes and
the Holy Ghost descends and Christ speaks and urges all to love Him; He
tells Josephes to draw near and take charge of His flesh and blood;
Josephes opens the door of the ark and sees a man all in red, and with him
five angels, each six winged, all in red, each with a bloody sword in his
left, and in their rights severally, a cross, nails, lance, sponge, and
scourge; Josephes sees Christ nailed to the Cross, and the blood running
down from His side and feet into the dish; he would enter the ark but
angels restrain him. Joseph, wondering at his son's state, kneels before
the ark and sees therein an altar covered with white cloths, under which
is a red samite one, covering three nails, a lance head all bloody, and
the dish he had brought, and in the middle of the altar an exceeding rich
vessel of gold and precious stones; seven angels issue from the ark with
water and watering pot (2), gold basins and towels (2), and gold censers
(3), an eighth carrying the holy dish, a ninth a head so rich and
beautiful as never mortal eye saw, a tenth a sword, three more with
tapers, lastly Jesus. The company of angels go over the house sprinkling
it with holy water, because it had heretofore been dwelt in by devils.
Christ tells Josephes he is to receive the sacrament of His flesh and
blood, and be made sovran shepherd over His new sheep; bishop's vestments
are brought out of the ark. Josephes is seated in a chair, which
afterwards made a Saracen King's eyes fly out of his head, is consecrated,
an angel keeps the holy oil wherewith all Kings of Britain were anointed
till the time of Uther Pendragon, of whom none of the many that have told
his history have rightly known why he was so called; the meaning of the
episcopal vestments is explained to Josephes, and his duties set forth.
(10) Josephes then goes into the ark and celebrates the sacrament using
Christ's words only, whereat bread and wine become flesh and blood, and in
place of the bread a child, which, though as bidden, he divides into three
parts yet is eaten as one whole; an angel puts patina and chalice into the
dish; Joseph and his company receive the sacrament in the form of a child;
Christ bids Josephes celebrate the sacrament daily; tells him that he and
Joseph are to go with Evalach's messengers now nigh at hand. Leucans,
Josephes' cousin, is appointed guardian of the ark. (11) Joseph and his
son go before the King and overcome all the heathen clerk's objections;
Josephes tells Evalach he will be given over to his enemies for three
days, and shall only escape by believing on Christ; the heathen idols are
smashed by a devil at the compelling of Josephes' two angels. A messenger
brings the news that King Tholomes has entered and is capturing the land,
and he will not rest till he be crowned at Sarras. Josephes tells the King
this ill-hap is to mind him of his lowly origin, he is son of a shoemaker
in an old city of France, Meaux, and was one of a tribute of one hundred
youths and one hundred maidens claimed by Augustus Cæsar from France, as
here dwelt a prouder folk than elsewhere, and the two daughters of the
Count of the Town, Sevain, were among the tribute, and Evalach was among
their servants. When Felix was named Governor of Syria by Tiberius he had
taken Evalach with him, and held him in high honour until one day, angry
with Felix's son, Evalach slew him and had to fly, after which he entered
the service of Tholome Cerastre, King of Babylon, who had given him the
land he now ruled. Josephes further explains the King's dreams, and when
the latter declares himself willing to believe, asks for his shield, upon
which he fixes a red cross and tells him to look on it in his need and
pray to God and he shall be saved. (12) Evalach marches with his army
against Tholomes, is joined by his brother-in-law, Seraphe (whom he
thought hated him most of any man in the world) at the Queen's entreaty;
numerous combats ensue between the two armies; Seraphe performs prodigies
of valour; Evalach is taken prisoner, and in his need looks on the shield,
sees thereon Christ crucified, prays to God for help, a White Knight
appears, overcomes Tholomes, who is taken prisoner, and Evalach's army is
victorous. (13) Meanwhile Josephes, remaining in Sarras, has been
counselling Queen Sarraquite, secretly a Christian, since her mother was
cured of a bloody flux, and since Christ appeared to her when she was
afraid of the hermit her mother had led her to for baptism because he had
such a long beard; she dares not avow her faith for fear of her husband.
Josephes tells her of the battle which has taken place and of the White
Knight. (14) Evalach and Seraphe return; the King asks at once after the
Christians, and learns that he owes his victory to the Lord to whom also
Seraphe owed his strength in battle; the shield is uncovered, a man with a
wounded arm is healed by it, and then the cross vanishes; Seraphe turns
Christian, is baptised and receives the name Nasciens, he is straightway
healed of his wounds, exhorts Evalach to believe, and tells of Tholomes'
death. Evalach is baptised, and re-christened Mordrains, or
Slow-of-Belief. After baptising the town and destroying all images,
Josephes leaves three of his companions in charge of the Grail Ark, and
goes with the rest to Orcanz, turns out of an image a devil who had slain
Tholomes, and converts more of the heathen folk. (15) Meanwhile Mordrains
has ordered his people to be baptised or to leave his land; many take the
latter course and are met outside the town by a devil who wounds them
grievously, whereupon Josephes hurries to their aid, but is met by an
angel with a lance and smitten through the thigh for having left his
baptising work to trouble himself about contemners of God's law, and the
mark of the wound should stay with him all his life, and the iron spear
head remain in the wound so that ever after he limped, and he had later to
smart for it, as the tale will show in due season. Many more people are
converted, Bishops are left in the land and holy relics at Sarras. (16)
Josephes brings Mordrains, Sarraquite, and Nasciens to the holy shrine,
and shows them the vessel wherein is Christ's blood. Nasciens thinks he
has never seen aught to match it, and he gives it a name that since it has
never lost. For, says he, nothing he had seen before but somewhat
displeased him (li degraast), but this pleases him (li grée) entirely; he
further tells how once when a young man, hunting, as he stood deep in
thought a voice made itself heard, saying "Thou shall't never accomplish
what thou thinkest on until the wonders of the Grail are disclosed," and
he knows now this must be the Grail as every wish of his heart is
accomplished. And he draws nearer and lifts the vessel's lid and looks
therein, but straightway falls to trembling, feeling he can no longer see.
And he knew that the blindness was to punish his curiosity, and turning to
Josephes tells him that the iron shall not be drawn out of that wound
inflicted by the angel at Orcanz, nor he himself recover his sight until
Josephes, wounded, himself comes to draw out the iron.

So they stand lost in thought, till a voice is heard, "After my vengeance
my healing" and an angel appears, touches Josephes' thigh with the lance
shaft, whereupon the head comes out, and from it drop great drops of blood
which the angel collects in a vessel, and wherewith he anoints Josephes'
wound, making it whole, and Nasciens' eyes, restoring to him his sight.
And the angel tells them that the meaning of the lance is that of the
beginning of the wonderful adventures which shall befall in lands whither
God purposes leading them; when the true knights should be separated from
the false ones, and the earthly knighthood become a heavenly one. And at
the beginning of those adventures the lance would drop blood as then, but
beforehand none; and then wonders would happen all over the world where
the lance was, great and terrible wonders, in recognition of the Holy
Grail and of the lance; and the marvels of the Grail should never be seen
save by one man alone; and by the lance wherewith Josephes was struck
should but one other man be struck, and he a King of Josephes' kin, and
the last of the good men; he should be struck through the two thighs, and
only healed when the Grail wonders were disclosed to the Good Knight, and
that one should be last of Nasciens' kin. Thus, as Nasciens was the first
to behold the wonders of the Grail, that one should be the last; so saith
the true crucified one, adding, "Upon the first and last of My new
ministers will I spend the vengeance of the adventurous lance in token of
Myself having received the lance stroke whilst on the Cross." And so many
days as Josephes had born the lance head in his wound so many days should
the marvellous adventures last. Now these days (_years_)[45] were
twenty-two. (17) Josephes explains Mordrains' vision, and makes him
destroy the image of a woman he had kept in a secret chamber, known, so he
thought, only to himself. (18) Josephes and his company go forth from
Sarras, but the tale tells nothing of them in this place, but keeps
straight on. On the following night Mordrains dreams that, sitting in
Sarras at table, of a sudden a thunderbolt strikes crown from his head and
the first mouthful from his lips; a great wind carries him up into a far
land where he is fed by a lion and lioness, and after a while an eagle
carries off Nasciens' son to a land whereof the inhabitants bow down
before him, and out of this nephew's belly comes a great lake giving rise
to nine streams, eight of equal breadth and depth, the ninth as wide and
deep as the remainder put together, and rushing and turbulent, and at
first foul and muddy, but afterwards clear and pure as a precious stone;
then comes down from heaven a man in likeness of one crucified, who bathes
hands and feet in the lake and eight streams, but in the ninth his whole
body. (19) Mordrains tells his vision to Nasciens and confesses to former
treacherous and jealous feelings he had against him; they seek counsel of
the priests, but none can expound the vision, and as they sit together a
great tumult is heard and the sound of a horn announcing "the beginning of
dread," and they fall senseless to the ground; but Mordrains is caught up
by the Holy Ghost and borne off. (20) Meanwhile Nasciens is accused by
Kalafier, a Christian-hater, of having made away with Mordrains, and is
cast into prison with Kalafier for gaoler. (21) Meanwhile Mordrains has
been carried off by the Holy Ghost to an island lying between Babylon,
Scotland, and Ireland, a high land from which the western sea can be
looked over as far as Spain; it was once a pirates' lair, but Pompey drove
them thence. To Mordrains comes a noble man who gives his name as
Tout-entour, comforts him, and exhorts him to steadfastness in the faith;
when he leaves a fair woman appears and tempts the King, who luckily does
not pay heed to her, and well for him, as he learns from the noble man
that she is Lucifer in disguise. He is assailed by many temptations;
storm, thunder, and lightning affright him; the wonderful bird Phoenix
attacks him and snatches the bread from his lips; Lucifer again visits him
and shows him Nasciens' dead body, but it is only an invention; finally,
all these trials withstood, the noble man comes again and expounds the
dream of the nine streams: the lake is a son of Nasciens, from whom
descend nine Kings, all good men and true, but the ninth surpassing all in
every virtue; he is the knight to whom the wonders of the Grail shall be
shown, and Christ shall bathe Himself wholly in him. (22) Meanwhile
Nasciens has been kept in prison together with his son, Celidoine
(Heaven-given) by Kalafier. But a miraculous hand appearing from out a
cloud strikes off Nasciens' fetters, and carries him out of the dungeon;
Kalafier pursues but is struck down by the hand; on his death bed he
orders that Celidoine be cast from the battlements, but nine hands bear
him up in mid air, whilst Kalafier, slain by fire from heaven, goes to
eternal death. Sarraquite, overjoyed to hear of her brother's escape,
sends out messengers to meet them. Meanwhile Nasciens' wife, Flegentyne,
has set out in search of her husband accompanied by the old knight,
Corsapias, and his son, Helicoras. (23) Now Nasciens has been carried
fourteen days journey off to the Turning Isle (concerning which many
wonders are told); all of these things are true, as Christ Himself has
written the book of the Holy Grail, and He never wrote aught else save the
Lord's Prayer for the disciples and the judgment upon the woman taken in
adultery. And no man is bold enough to say that since the Resurrection
Christ wrote aught else save this "haute escripture del S. Graal." (24) A
ship comes to Nasciens' isle which he would enter but for words warning
him against it unless he be full of faith. However, crossing himself he
enters [and finds therein the same wonders as those described in Queste,
Inc. 35, 36, 37, viz.:--the sword and the three spindles, precisely the
same story about which is told as in the Queste]. (25) Nasciens deeming
there must be magic in this, the ship splits in twain, and had well nigh
drowned him, but he regains the isle swimming, and on the morrow an old
man comes in a ship and gives him an allegorical explanation of what has
befallen him. (26) Meanwhile Celidoine, carried off by the hands to the
land of the heathen King Label, wins his favour by expounding a dream,
converts him, but at his death is cast adrift by the heathen barons in a
boat with a lion, and after three days comes to Nasciens' island. (27) The
two rejoice on their meeting, and leave the island together in Solomon's
ship, come after four days to another island, where Nasciens, attacked by
a giant, seizes Solomon's sword but it breaks in his hand, nevertheless,
with another sword he overcomes the giant. He chides Solomon's sword, but
Celidoine says it is some sin of his made it break. Thereafter they see a
ship approaching wherein is Mordrains. There is rejoicing between the
three, and much telling of past adventures. Nasciens shows the broken
sword to Mordrains, who, taking it in his hands, joins it together,
whereupon a voice bids them leave the ship; Nasciens, not obeying fast
enough, is wounded in the shoulder by a fiery sword in punishment of his
having drawn Solomon's sword. (28) The messengers sent out by Sarraquite
in search of Nasciens have, meantime, had many adventures, have come
across the daughter of King Label, suffered shipwreck, and been thrown
upon a desert isle formerly the home of the great physician, Ypocras (of
whom a long story is told how he was tricked by a Roman lady), been
tempted in divers fashions, but at last they are led to Mordrains,
Nasciens, and Celidoine. (29) On the third night a priest clad in white
comes walking on the sea, heals Nasciens' wound, and sends off Celidoine
in another ship. The remainder come to land, Mordrains and Sarraquite are
reunited; Nasciens' wife, Flegentyne, is sent for; and Label's daughter is
christened by Petrone, a holy man and kinsman of Joseph. She was after
Celidoine's wife, as my lord Robert of Borron testifies, who translated
this history from Latin into French after the holy hermit to whom our Lord
first gave it. (30) Nasciens sets forth in search of his son, his knights
follow on his track, and two are struck dead for their sins. Nasciens
comes again to Solomon's ship, is tempted by the devil in the shape of a
fair damsel, goes on board the ship and dreams as follows:--Celidoine is
in the promised land with all those who had left Sarras; he, Nasciens,
shall go thence likewise and never depart thence, nor shall the ship until
it take back the last of his line to Sarras, together with the Holy Grail,
and that shall be after three hundred years; and thereafter Celidoine
leads before him nine persons, all in guise of Kings, save the eighth who
was like a dog, and the ninth turns into a lion, and at his death the
whole world mourns over him. And the names of these, Nasciens'
descendants, are: Celidoine, Marpus, Nasciens, Alains li Gros, Ysaies,
Jonans, Lancelot, Bans, Lancelot, like unto a dog until his end, Galahad,
foul at the source, but afterwards clear, in whom Christ shall bathe
Himself wholly, and who shall end all the adventures. On the morrow it is
explained to Nasciens that the eighth of his descendants likens a dog on
account of his sins, and the ninth is foul at the beginning as engendered
in fornication and not as Holy Church wills. (31) The story, after
touching on Flegentyne, who retires to her own land, returns to Joseph,
who, with his son, Josephes, and his companions, has been wandering about.
Joseph is ordered by a voice from heaven to beget a son, whose name shall
be Galaad. At length the company comes to the sea shore and laments that
it has no ships; Joseph rebukes them, and says those may pass who have
kept chaste, whereupon four hundred and sixty come forward to confess
their lechery. Josephes is told to put forward the Grail-bearers, to take
the shirt off his back, and having spread it on the water, all the pure
companions shall find place on it. This happens, and all find place save
Symeu and his son, who are not as they should be, and who sink and are
well nigh drowned. The chosen company arrive on the morrow in Great
Britain, then full of Saracens and infidels. Josephes then prays for the
remainder of the company; a heavenly voice says they shall come in good
time, and that this is the promised land in which they shall multiply and
become the worthiest race anywhere. (32) Meantime Nasciens has been led in
Solomon's ship to those of Joseph's followers who had been left behind, as
the history of the Holy Grail testifies. After being warned against fresh
falling into sin they are brought over to Joseph, and are fed with as much
meat as they could want. But the fifth day the company, not having eaten
for a day, come to the tent of a poor woman, wherein are twelve loaves
about which they dispute. Josephes, referred to, breaks each loaf in
three, and having placed the Holy Grail at the head of the table by its
power the bread suffices for more than five hundred people. (33) Hereafter
the company comes to Castle Galafort, where Celidoine is found disputing
with the Saracen wise men. The Christians are well received by Ganort, and
shortly afterwards he and his people are baptised, one hundred and fifty
who refuse being drowned. Over their bodies a tower is built, the Tower of
Marvels, and thereafter, it is prophesied, a King named Arthur should
reign, and from one blow of a sword adventures should arise, lasting
twelve years, until the last descendant of Nasciens should end them, and
till that time no knight of Arthur's house should enter the tower without
having to fight as good a man as himself; thus should it be till he who
was to end the adventures appeared. So they build the tower, and it lasts
until Lancelot destroys it, as the "Tale of Arthur's Death" relates. (34)
Joseph's wife bears a son, who receives the name of Galahad, of the Castle
of Galafort. (35) The King of Northumberland, hearing of Ganort's
conversion, summons him to the court, and on his refusal attacks him, but
is defeated and slain by the Christians. (36) Josephes, his father, and
one hundred and fifty of the Christians, leaving Galafort, come to
Norgales, and are thrown into prison by King Crudel, who says, "Let them
be for forty days, and see if their vessel will feed them." Our Lord comes
to comfort them, and bids them be of good cheer, He will send an avenger
to slay these dogs. (37) Our Lord, in the likeness of one crucified, then
appears to Mordrains, bids him set forth with wife and children and King
Label's daughter and Nasciens' wife and go to Great Britain, there to
avenge him on King Crudel. Mordrains hearkens, and shortly after sets
forth with all his household, leaving his land in charge of Duke Ganor. On
the way a devil carries off the captain of the ship, who had lusted after
Queen Flegentyne. They arrive in Britain and rejoin their friends; great
is the joy; Nasciens' queen is like to have died of joy, and swoons twelve
times. (38) Mordrains sends word to Crudel to set the Christians free, and
on his refusal marches against, overthrows, and slays him, but is
grievously wounded, though he suffers no pain. Josephes and his companions
are freed, and thanksgivings are made before the Grail. On the morrow, as
Josephes is officiating before the holy vessel, Mordains presses near to
see it, in spite of a warning voice; he loses his sight and the power of
his body; he confesses his folly, but prays he may not die till the Good
Knight's coming, the ninth of Nasciens' descendants. A voice promises him
this, and that when the Good Knight comes he shall recover his sight and
his wounds be healed; but three hear this promise beside Mordrains
himself, Joseph, Josephes, and Nasciens. (39) Mordrains is brought to
Galafort, where Celidoine marries King Label's daughter and begets a son,
Nasciens. Mordrains then, after giving his wife and shield into Nasciens'
keeping, retires to a hermitage, and builds a monastery of the White
Monks, and stays there till Perceval sees him and Galahad, too, as the
"Tale of the Holy Grail" tells. (40) Josephes leaves Galafort, and, coming
to Camelot, converts many of the people, whereat King Agrestes, being
grieved, is baptised with false intent, and after Josephes' departure
persecutes the Christians, and is punished by madness and death. Josephes
returning, buries the martyrs, whose blood had blackened a cross, which
keeps the name of the "Black Cross," till the Good Knight, Lancelot of the
Lake's son comes. (41) Josephes comes to a hill called Hill of the Giant;
'tis a Friday, and Brons is sitting next him at the Grail-table, but
between the two is space for a man to sit, and Brons, Josephes' kinsman,
asks him why he does not invite some one to fill it. Josephes answers,
only he who is a holier man than any present can fill that place, as it
typifies Christ's seat at the Last Supper, and is empty waiting His
coming, or whom He shall send. Such of the company as are in mortal sin
take this saying as presumption and fable, and Moys declares his
willingness to sit in it if his companions will ask Josephes' leave. They
do so, and though Josephes minds them how Moys might hardly come to
Britain, and though he solemnly warns Moys himself, he gives his leave.
Moys takes the seat, and at once seven flaming bands from heaven seize
upon him and carry him off to a far place burning like a dry bush. The
people repent, and, in answer to their enquiries, Josephes tells them the
day shall come when they shall know where Moys is. (42) After the meal
Josephes, at Brons' request, has the latter's twelve sons up before him,
and asks them whether they will be wedded or not. Eleven choose wedding,
but the twelfth virginity and the service of the Holy Grail. Josephes,
overjoyed, having married the other eleven, appoints him guardian of the
Grail at his death, and he might leave the guardianship afterwards to whom
he would. (43) Josephes and his companions pass through Britain converting
the heathen. Now the Grail only gives food to such as are not in sin, and
once as the troop is encamped by a lake, Peter, a kinsman of Josephes',
bears it through the ranks, and all are fed with the best food, save the
sinners; these complain, and beg Josephes to pray for them, whereupon he
bids Brons' youngest son, the same he had chosen as Grail-keeper, Alains
le Gros (not that Alains, Celidoine's son, _he_ was king and wore a crown,
but this one never) take the net from the Grail-table and fish with it in
the pond. Alains does so and catches one fish, a big one, but say they,
'Twill not be enough; however, Alains, having shared it in three, and
having prayed it might suffice, all are fed. Alains is called in
consequence the Rich Fisher, and all the Grail-keepers after him bear this
name, but they were more blessed than he, being crowned Kings whereas he
never wore crown. (44) Joseph, leaving his companions, comes into the
Forest of Broceliande, meets a Saracen who would lead him to his sick
brother, but is himself slain by a lion. Joseph is thrown in prison and
wounded in the thigh by the men of the sick knight's castle, but,
obtaining leave to visit the sick knight, heals him, and brings back to
life the Saracen slain by the lion; both brothers are baptised; a fragment
of the sword remaining in the wound, Joseph draws it out, and laying it
with the remainder of the sword prophecies it shall not be made whole till
he come who shall achieve the adventures of the Holy Grail. (45) Joseph,
returning to his companions, finds them in doubt as to how they shall
cross a great water, they pray for guidance, and a white hart appears,
followed by four stags, and leads them across, all save Chanaan, who
crosses later in a fisherman's boat. Josephes, in answer to Alain and
Pierron, explains the hart and lions as Christ and the Evangelists, and
Christ would appear in that wise afterwards to Arthur, Mordred, and
Lancelot. (46) The Christians come to a house where burns a great fire,
out of which is heard a lamentable voice; it is that of Moys; at Josephes'
prayer rain falls from heaven and quenches half the flames, but he may not
be wholly delivered until the Good Knight, Galahad, come. (47) The
Christians come into the land of King Escos, whence Scotland has its name.
The Holy Grail refuses meat to Chanaan and to Symeu, Moys' father, whereat
enraged, Symeu attacks Pierre and wounds him, and Chanaan slays his
twelve brethren. Symeu is carried off by devils, whilst Chanaan's grave
bursts out in flames, which may not quench till Lancelot come. (48)
Meanwhile Pierre's wound having become worse, he is left behind with a
priest, who leads him to the sea shore, and, at his request, places him in
a boat; this carries him to the isle of the heathen king, Orcanz, whose
daughter finding him on the sea shore dying, has pity on him and tends him
secretly till he is healed. Her father requires a champion, Pierre offers
himself, conquers, converts, and baptises Orcanz, who takes the name
Lamer, and marries his daughter, and King Luces comes to the wedding and
is overjoyed. From him came Gauvain, son of King Lot of Orcanie. Mordred
was no true son of Lot's, but of Arthur's. Gauvain is thus of the seed of
Joseph of Arimathea. (49) Josephes after fifteen years' wanderings comes
back to Galafort, and finds his brother Galahad grown up; by Josephes'
advice the men of Hocelice take Galahad for their king, and he became the
ancestor of Ywain, son of Urien. Once whilst riding he comes to Symeu's
fiery grave, which may not be quenched till Galahad, the Good Knight,
comes. At Galahad's death he is buried in an abbey he founds to allay
Symeu's pains, and the tombstone of his grave may not be lifted until by
Lancelot. (50) Joseph dies shortly after Galahad's crowning, and Josephes,
feeling death near, pays a last visit to Mordrains, who begs for a token
from him. Josephes asks for the king's shield, and with blood gushing from
his nose marks on it a red cross, gives it to Mordrains, and says no one
shall hang it on his neck without rue till Galahad do so; the shield is
placed on Nasciens' tomb. On the morrow Josephes dies; his body is carried
afterwards into Scotland to still a famine, and is buried in the Abbey of
Glays. (51) Before his death he has confided the Grail to Alain. The
latter comes with his brethren, one of whom, Josue, is unmarried, to the
Terre Foraine, converts the King and people, and marries Josue to his
daughter. Here is the resting-place of the Holy Grail; a lordly castle is
built for it, hight Corbenic, which is Chaldee, and signifies "holy
vessel." At Josue's wedding, such is the power of the Holy Grail, that all
present are as filled as if they had eaten the finest meats they could
think of. And that night the King, baptized Alfasem, sleeping in the
castle, beholds the holy vessel covered with crimson samite, and a man all
flaming tells him no mortal may sleep where the Holy Grail rests, and
wounds him through both thighs, and bids others beware of sleeping in the
Palace Adventurous. And afterwards many a knight essayed the adventure,
but lost his life, till Gauvain came, and he, though he kept his life, had
such shame and mischance as he had not had for the Kingdom of Logres'
sake. (58) Alain and Alfasem die; Josue becomes King and Grail-keeper, and
after him Aminadap, Catheloys, Manaal, Lambor, all Kings and known as the
Fisher, and Lambor fighting with his enemy, Bruillant, pursues him to the
sea shore, and Bruillant finds there Solomon's ship and enters it, and
finds the sword with which he slays Lambor, and this was the first blow
struck with that sword in Great Britain, and such great woes sprang
therefrom that no labourers worked, nor wheat grew, nor fruit trees bore,
nor fish was found in the waters, so that the land was known as the Waste
Land. But Bruillant falls dead for drawing the sword. After Lambor,
Pelleans, wounded in the two thighs in a battle of Rome, whence he was
always called the Maimed King, and he might not heal till Galahad the Good
Knight come; and from him descends Pelles, and on his daughter does
Lancelot of the Lake beget Galahad. (59) Nasciens, Flegentyne, and
Sarraquite die on the self-same day. Celidoine reigns, and is followed by
Marpus, he by Nasciens, Alain li Gros, Ysaies, Jonas, Lancelot, Bans,
Lancelot of the Lake. Here the story ends of all the seed of Celidoine,
and returns to speak of Merlin, which my lord Robert of Borron thus

    In making up the slips, the summary of Borron's poem dropped out. In
    order not to disturb the page form, which was fixed before the
    omission was noticed, it has been inserted after the Grand St. Graal
    with a subpagination.

=Robert de Borron's Poem: Joseph of Arimathea.=--(1) Before Christ's
coming all folk went to Hell, but He came born of a Virgin that He might
bring them out of Hell. He took flesh what time Judæa was under Rome and
Pilate governed it. Now a soldier of Pilate's loved Christ but dared not
show it. Of Christ's few disciples one was bad, his chamberlain, and he
betrayed Him to the Jews. (2) On Thursday Jesus gathers His disciples;
Judas' question, the washing of the feet, the kiss of betrayal follow.
When the Jews carry off Jesus, one of them takes the very fair vessel
wherein He made His sacrament, and gave it to Pilate, who keeps it till he
learns Jesus' death. (3) Joseph is angry hereat, and claims pay for his
and his five knights five years' free service, and his pay is Christ's
body. Pilate grants it him, and Joseph hastens to the Cross, but the
guards deny him, whereon he complains to Pilate, who sends Nicodemus to
see he obtain it, and also gives Joseph the vessel. (4) Joseph and
Nicodemus descend the body, and wash it, which makes the blood flow
afresh. Joseph puts the blood in the vessel, wraps the body in a fine
cloth and entombs it. The descent into Hell and the Resurrection follow.
(5) The Jews are incensed against Joseph and Nicodemus; the latter
escapes, but Joseph is thrust into a horrible and dark prison. To him
Christ appears with His vessel, in a great light, and instructs Joseph,
telling him for his love to Him he shall have the symbol of His death and
give it to keep to whom he would; He then gives Joseph the great, precious
vessel wherein is His holiest blood. Joseph wonders, having hidden it in
his house. Joseph is to yield the vessel to three persons only, who are to
take it in the name of the Trinity. No Sacrament shall ever be celebrated
but Joseph shall be remembered. But Joseph must be taught concerning the
Sacrament; the bread and wine are Christ's flesh and blood, the tomb is
the Altar; the grave-cloth the Corporal, the vessel wherein the blood was
put shall be called Chalice, the cup-platten signifies the tombstone. All
who see Joseph's vessel shall be of Christ's company, have fulfilment of
their heart's wish and joy eternal. (_The author adds_: I dare not, nor
could not, tell this but that I had the great book wherein the histories
are written by the great clerks, therein are the great secrets written
which are called the Graal.) Christ leaves Joseph, who remains in prison,
no man heeding him (6) until, when Vespasian, the Emperor's son, was a
leper, a pilgrim comes to Rome and tells of Christ's cures, and lays his
head Vespasian could be cured could anything of Christ's be brought to
Rome. The Emperor sends messengers, who hear Pilate's story of the
Crucifixion and about Joseph. The Jews are called together, and one tells
of Verrine, who is brought before the messengers, and she relates how she
wiped Christ's face and thus got the likeness of Him. They take her to
Rome, Vespasian is healed, and sets forth to revenge Christ's death. He
kills many Jews, burning some. One Jew offers to find Joseph, and tells
the story of his imprisonment. Vespasian is let down into the prison and
finds Joseph alive, who, to his amazement, welcomes him by name, and
reads him a lecture on Biblical history and Christian Faith. Vespasian is
converted, and sells the Jews at the rate of thirty for a penny. (7)
Joseph exhorts his kin, among them his sister, Enygeus, and
brother-in-law, Hebron. They agree to believe, and to follow him. He sets
off with them and they dwell for long in far-off lands. For awhile things
go well, but then all the host does turns to naught; 'tis on account of
carnal sin. The host complains to Hebron that they and their children die
of hunger. (8) Hebron reports this to Joseph, who goes weeping and kneels
before the vessel and asks why his followers suffer? A voice from the Holy
Ghost answers he is not in fault, but he is to set the vessel before the
people, and to mind him how He, Christ, had eaten with His disciples, and
how the false disciple was detected. In the name of that table whereat
Christ last ate, Joseph is to prepare another, and then to call his
brother-in-law, Brons, and make him go into the water to catch a fish, and
the first he catches Joseph is to put it on the table, and then to take
the vessel, put it on the table, cover it with a towel, and then place
Hebron's fish opposite it. The people are then to be called, who will soon
see wherein they have sinned. And Joseph is to sit where Christ sat at the
Last Sacrament, with Brons at his right. And Brons is to draw back one
seat, to signify the seat of Judas, and the seat thus left empty is not to
be filled until Enygeus have a child by Brons, her husband, and when that
child is born there shall be his seat. The people is then to be bidden sit
down to the grace of our Lord. Joseph does all this; part of the people
sit, part do not, the sitters are filled with sweetness and the desire of
their heart, the others feel nought. One of the sitters, named Petrus,
asks if they feel nothing, and tells them it is because they are defiled
with sin. The sinners then depart, but Joseph bids them come back day by
day. Thus Joseph detects the sinners, and thus is the vessel first proved.
(9) Joseph tells the sinners it severs them from the others, as it holds
no company with nor has love towards any sinner. The sinners ask the name
of the vessel: it is called _Graal_, as it is agreeable to all who see it.
Now all this is verity, hence we call this the Story of the Grail, and it
shall be henceforth known as the Grail. (10) One sinner remains, Moyses, a
hypocrite (here a gap which can be filled up from the prose versions:
Moyses seats himself in the empty seat, whereupon the earth opens and
swallows him). (11) Joseph prays to Christ that as He came to him in
prison, and promised He would come to his aid when in trouble, so now He
would show him what has become of Moyses. The voice tells Joseph again
about the empty seat, and how that the one at Joseph's table was not to be
filled until the third man come, whom Hebron should beget and Enygeus
bear, and _his_ son should fill the seat. Moyses had stayed behind only to
deceive, he had his deserts, no more should be heard of him in fable or
song until _he_ come who should fill the empty seat. (12) In course of
time Brons and Enygeus have twelve sons and are greatly bothered with
them, and ask Joseph what is to be done with them. Joseph prays before the
vessel; eleven will marry, one remain single; this one is Alain. Joseph
is told by the voice when he consults the vessel about this nephew, to
relate all about Christ's death and about the vessel, to tell Alain that
from him shall issue an heir who is to keep the vessel; Alain is to take
charge of his brethren and sisters and go westwards. An angel will bring a
letter for Petrus to read, telling him to go whither he lists; he will
say: the vale of Avaron; thither shall he go and wait for the son of
Alain, and shall not pass away until that one come, and to him shall
Petrus teach the power of the vessel, and say what has become of Moyses,
and then may he die. (13) All happens as foretold by the voice; the letter
comes for Petrus, who declares his intention of departing for the vale of
Avaron, bidding the host pray God he may never go against His will. Alain
leaves with his brethren, and, as Joseph taught him, preaches the name of
Jesus Christ. (14) Petrus stays one day more; it is, says an angel, the
Lord sends to Joseph, that he may see and hear the things of the vessel.
The angel continues: The Lord knows Brons for a worthy man, and 'twas,
therefore His will he should go fishing; he is to keep the vessel after
Joseph, who must instruct him properly especially concerning the holy
words which God spake to Joseph in the prison, which are properly called
the Secrets of the Grail; Brons is to be called the Rich Fisher from the
fish he caught; all the people are to go westwards; Brons is to wait for
the son of his son, and to give him the vessel, then shall the meaning of
the blessed Trinity be made known; after the vessel has been given to
Brons, Petrus is to go, as he may then truly say he has seen Hebron, the
Rich Fisher, put in possession of the vessel; when all this is done,
Joseph is to go to perfect joy and life pardurable. (15) On the morrow
Joseph tells them the angel's message, save the words of Christ in the
prison, which he tells to the Rich Fisher alone. The latter is then put in
possession of Grail and headship; Joseph stays three days with him, then
the Good Fisher goes away--in the land where he was born--and Joseph

Master Robert de Borron should doubtless tell where Alain went, Hebron's
son, and what became of him; what life Petrus led, and what became of him;
what became of the long-lost Moyses; where the Rich Fisher went, and where
he stayed. It were well to assemble these four things, but this no man
could do save he had first heard tell the greatest history of the Grail,
which is all true; and in this time I tell it to my Lord Walter, never had
the great history of the Grail been told by mortal man. If God gives me
strength I will assemble these four parts if I can find them in a book,
meanwhile I must go on to the fifth and forget the four. (Then follows the

=Robert de Borron's Poem: Merlin.=--(In order to give all the materials
for the discussion of Birch-Hirschfeld's theory of the Grail legend in the
next chapter, a brief summary of the Merlin is added. A full one may be
found in Birch-Hirschfeld, pp. 166, _et seq._)

The devil, incensed at Christ's victory over him, in revenge begets by
fraudful malice upon a virgin, a son, who is to be the wisest of mankind,
and to oppose Christ's teaching. This is Merlin, who at eighteen months is
able to save his mother, threatened with the doom of unchastity.
Afterwards he is brought to King Vortigern, to whom he expounds the
mystery of the unfinished tower. Vortigern is driven from his throne by
Pendragon, with whom Merlin stands in high honour; equally so with his
successor, Uter Pendragon, for whom he builds the Round Table, leaving one
place empty to be filled in the time of Uter's successor. He then helps
the King to satisfy his passion for Yguerne, and takes charge of Arthur,
their son. When the latter grows up to be a youth he fulfils the adventure
of the sword in the anvil, and is proclaimed King. "And I, Robert of
Borron, writer of this book, may not speak longer of Arthur till I have
told of Alain, son of Brons, and how the woes of Britain were caused; and
as the book tells so must I what man Alain was, and what life he led, and
of his seed and their life. And when I have spoken of these things I will
tell again of Arthur."

(Then follows in one solitary MS., the Didot-Perceval summarised above, p.
28. As will be seen, it does not tell what man Alain was, nor does it
refer to him at all save in the most passing way).


    The legend formed of two portions: Early History of Grail, Quest--Two
    forms of each portion distinguished--Grouping of the various
    versions--Alternative hypotheses of development--Their bearing upon
    the alleged Celtic origin of the Grail--Closer examination of the
    various accounts of the Grail: The first use made of it and its first
    possessor; its solace of Joseph; its properties and the effect
    produced by it; its name; its arrival in England; the Grail-keeper and
    his relationship to the Promised Knight--Three different stages in the
    development of the Queste--The work and the qualification of the
    Promised Knight--Conclusions: Priority over Early History of
    Quest--Chronological arrangement of the versions.

The information afforded by the summaries enables us to take a general
view of the legend as a whole, and to attempt a more accurate
chronological classification of its varying forms. It will have been seen
that the legend is formed of two distinct portions: the one dealing with
the origin and wanderings (Early History) of the Grail, the other with its
Quest. The two portions are found combined in the Joseph and
Didot-Perceval and in the Grand St. Graal and Queste considered each as
one organic whole. Versions A, Chrestien and his continuators; C,
Didot-Perceval taken by itself; D, Queste; F, Wolfram, and G, Perceval le
Gallois, treat only of the Quest. Versions B, Metrical Joseph, and E,
Grand St. Graal, only of the Early History. But in nearly all the
versions, no matter of which portion, references are to be found to the
other, and when the versions are carefully examined, it is found that of
each portion there exist two entirely different forms. Taking the Early
History first, versions A, B, C, D, E, and G, in so far as they deal with
it at all, relate much as follows: the Grail is the vessel which our Lord
used at the Last Supper, which, given by Pilate to Joseph, served the
latter to receive the blood flowing from the body of the dead Christ,
sustained him miraculously during his captivity, was, after his release,
used by him to test the faith of his followers, and was brought to England
by Joseph (A, D, E), by Brons (B, C), and was finally confided by Joseph
to his brother-in-law, Brons, to be kept until the coming of the latter's
grandson (versions B and C), or was left in charge of Alain, son of Brons,
from whom it passed to his brother Josue, in whose line it remained until
the Good Knight should come (version E). But F, Wolfram makes the Grail a
vessel of "lapsit exillit" (_i.e._, lapis herilis, or lapsus ex coelis, or
lapis electrix), which, after the fall of the rebel angels, was given in
charge to Titurel and his dynasty, and by them preserved in the Grail
Castle, Montsalvatch, guarded by a sacred order of Knighthood whom it
chooses itself. So far, therefore, as the Early History is concerned all
the versions, save one, are in the main of the same class, the differences
between them being, apparently, ones of development and not of origin.

Turning now to the Quest, two classes are likewise to be distinguished: in
the first the hero is Perceval, in the second there are three heroes,
Galahad, Perceval, and Bors, chief of whom is Galahad. To the first class
belong versions A, Chrestien, etc., C, Didot-Perceval; F, Wolfram; and G,
Perceval le Gallois; whilst D, Queste, alone of the versions which recount
the Quest only, belongs to the other class. It is followed, however, by E,
Grand St. Graal, in so far as the latter has any reference to the Quest.
In the other Early History version, namely B, Metrical Joseph, the name of
the hero who is to achieve the Quest is not mentioned, but the indications
concerning him agree more closely with the march of the story in C,
Didot-Perceval, than with those of D, Queste; it must therefore be ranged
in the first class. The main incident in the versions of this class is the
hero's visit to the castle of a sick king, his beholding there the Grail
in company with other relics, his neglect on the first visit to ask the
meaning of what he sees, his punishment, second visit to the Grail Castle,
and attainment of his end, whether healing of the Sick King or winning of
the Grail kingship. The two versions, H, Peredur, and I, Sir Perceval,
which belong to the Grail cycle, though they do not mention the Grail, and
although I, Sir Perceval, does not contain the above-mentioned incident,
must likewise be placed in this class, as must also the Gawain episodes
of Diu Crone. In the second class this main incident is missing, though
several of its less important features are present in altogether different
connection. The story in D, Queste, is largely made up of adventures
tallying often detail for detail with those in the Early History version,
E, Grand St. Graal, with which it shares similarity in the Quest form.

Whilst each portion of the legend exists in two forms, the great majority
of versions in both cases belong to one form. Looking for the moment upon
D and E as one whole, there is in both cases only one minority-version,
viz., for the Early History, F, Wolfram, for the Quest D-E, Queste, Grand
St. Graal. And each of these is only in a minority as far as one portion
of the legend is concerned, D-E, agreeing with the majority in the Early
History, and F in the Quest. Taking the average of all the versions there
results what may be called the _Joseph of Arimathea form_ as the type of
the Early History; the _Perceval form_ as the type of the Quest. As a
rule, it may be confidently assumed that the larger number of versions
represent an older form, an assumption strengthened so far as the Early
History is concerned by the fact that the minority version, F, Wolfram,
can historically be proved to be one of the latest in date of all the
versions, and, so far as the Quest is concerned, by the following
considerations:--The minority version, D-E, has three heroes, of whom
Perceval is second in importance only to the chief hero, Galahad, indeed
he occupies as large a space in the narrative. This position can be due
only to his being the original achiever of the Quest. It is obviously
inadmissible that seven or eight versions should have conspired to pick
out one only, and that one the second, of the three heroes of the Queste,
and should have made him the sole hero, whilst it is easy to understand
that the author of D, Queste, dissatisfied for certain reasons with the
older forms of the story, yet not daring to alter it so far as to entirely
burke the original hero, should have taken the course he did.

Two alternative hypotheses now naturally suggest themselves. The two parts
of the legend may really form one organic whole, although more frequently
found asunder than combined, or the one part may be an explanatory and
supplementary after-thought. If the first hypothesis be accepted, it is
natural to look upon the Metrical Joseph and the Didot-Perceval as the
first and last parts of a trilogy, which, as presenting the legend in its
fullest and most orderly shape, has a claim to being the oldest form of
the story, and the main, if not the only, source of all other versions.
If, on the other hand, the second hypothesis be exact, if one part of the
legend be later than the other, and has been artificially welded into one
with it, that version in which this fusion is most perfect, instead of
being the earliest is, with greater likelihood, one of the latest forms.
How do these alternative hypotheses affect the special object of these
studies--the investigation of the alleged Celtic element in the Grail
romances? In this way. If the Early History be an integral part of the
romance, the probabilities in favour of a purely Christian legendary
origin for the Grail itself are immensely increased, and the utmost the
Celtic partisan could hope to show was that a Christian legend had somehow
or other been strongly influenced by Celtic popular traditions. But if the
reverse be true the probabilities are at once in favour of the Christian
legendary element being the intruding one, and the chief aim of the Celtic
partisan will be to disengage the present versions of the Quest from the
traces left upon them by the Early History, and to accumulate as many
parallels as possible between the residuum and admittedly genuine Celtic
tradition. It by no means follows, however, that the acceptance of the
second hypothesis involves the acceptance of the Celtic origin of the
Grail. The romance as we have it--Quest, Early History--may be the fusion
of two elements, one of which, the Christian legendary, may claim _all_
that is connected with the mystic vessel. Were it otherwise our task would
be greatly simplified. For the mere fact that what may be called the
non-Grail members of the cycle, _i.e._, H, Peredur, and I, Sir Perceval,
know nothing of the Early History, gives no uncertain hint as to which
portion of the romance is the original, and which the accretion. Two
points have then to be investigated--the relationship one to the other of
Early History and Quest; and, if the Quest is found to be the older
portion, whether the Grail really belongs to it, or whether its presence
in the various forms of the story as we now have them may not be due to
the Early History. An examination of the various passages in which the
Grail is mentioned will furnish material towards settling the first point.
Such an examination may profitably omit all reference to Wolfram, to the
prose Perceval le Gallois, from which little is apparently to be gained
respecting the oldest forms of the legend, and to Heinrich von dem
Türlin's version of the Gawain episodes. It must also neglect for the
nonce the two non-Grail members of the cycle (the Mabinogi and Sir
Perceval) as their testimony is either of little or of the highest value
according as the Quest is or is not found to be the oldest portion of the
romance. With these exceptions all the versions furnish elements of
comparison, though little is to be got, as far as the point under
discussion is concerned, from what is apparently the latest section of the
Conte du Graal, Gerbert's poem.

The consideration of the second point will necessitate comparison of the
various Quest forms among themselves, and the examination of numerous
Celtic stories which present analogies with them.

_The Grail: the first use made of it and its first Possessor._

We learn nothing from Chrestien respecting the early history of the Grail,
nor is Gautier more communicative if the Mons MS. version be followed. The
intercalation, A IIA, however, and Manessier give full details. According
to the former:

        ... c'est icel Graal por voir
  Que nostre Sires tant ama
  Que de son saint sanc l'anora
  Au jor que il fu en croix mis. (16-19)

According to the latter:

  C'est li vassiaus, ce saciés-vous,
  Ù ens li sains sans présious
  Nostre Segnor fu recéus
  Quant de la lance fu férus. (35,017-20)

We learn from the former that "Josep le fist fère" (v. 22), and that he
used it to collect the blood that flowed from each foot of our Lord as He
hung on the Cross (verses 30-39), whilst the latter leaves it uncertain
who the first possessor was, and who held the Grail to receive our Lord's
blood. The information given in versions B, is as might be expected, much
fuller. B I, Metr. Jos., which calls it "un veissel mout gent," tells how
Christ used it, He "feisoit son sacrement" in it; how it was found by a
Jew, who delivered it up to Pilate, by whom it was given to Joseph, and by
him used to receive the blood which bursts forth again from Christ's
wounds when the body has been taken down from the Cross.--C,
Didot-Perceval: Brons, after relating how Longis pierced the Lord's body
as it hung on the Cross, says of the Grail, "en cest vessel gist le sanc
que Joseph recueilli qui decoroit par terre" (p. 483).--E, Grand St.
Graal: Joseph himself finds the vessel out of which Christ had eaten,
takes it home, and when he has received the body from Pilate, fetches the
vessel and collects in it all the blood flowing from the wound he can (I,
pp. 23, 24). Curiously enough, the very MS. which gives this version has
an illustration of Joseph sitting under the Cross and collecting the blood
as it drops from the wounds in side and feet. Three different accounts of
how the Grail came into Joseph's possession and to what use he put it thus

    (1) The Grail is the vessel in which Christ's blood was received as He
    hung upon the Cross (Pseudo-Gautier, Manessier, Didot-Perceval, and an
    illustration in a MS. of the Grand St. Graal); Joseph had had it made

    (2) The Grail is the vessel which had been used by Christ at the Last
    Supper. It is used as a receptacle for the blood of Christ after His
    body has been taken down from the Cross (Metr. Jos.).

    (3) Same as No. 2, with minor alterations, such as that it was Joseph
    who found the holy vessel himself (Grand St. Graal).

_The Grail: its Solace of Joseph._

Chrestien and Gautier are again silent, but from A IIA, Pseudo-Gautier, we
learn that Joseph was wont to pray before the Grail, that he was, in
consequence, imprisoned in a high tower by the Jews, delivered thence by
the Lord, whereupon the Jews resolve to exile him with Nicodemus, and
that sister of his who had a likeness of Christ (verses 60-110).
Manessier, in the Mons MS. version, passes this over, but A IIIA, has the
following important passage:--

  En une charte orrible et lède
  Fu mis Joseph sanz nul arreste;

     *       *       *       *

  XL ans ilecques estut
  C'onques ne menja ne ne but;
  Mais Damediex li envoioit
  Le Saint Graal que il véoit
  II foiées ou III le jor; (V. pp. 153-4.)

In the B versions this episode is one of capital importance. B I., Joseph
is put into prison, because the Jews suspect him of having stolen away
Christ's body. To him in the dungeon, "qui estoit horrible et obscure" (v.
703), appears Christ, who hands him the Grail, whereat he is surprised, as
he had hidden it in a house where none knew of it (v. 860), and addresses
him as follows:--

  En ten povoir l'enseigne aras
  De ma mort et la garderas
  Et cil l'averunt à garder
  A cui tu la voudras donner. (847-50)

These will be three--

  Joseph, bien ce saras garder,
  Que tu ne le doiz commander
  Qu'a trois persones qui l'arunt.
  Ou non dou Père le penrunt
  Et dou Fil et dou Saint-Esprit (871-75)

The offices Joseph rendered to Christ's body were symbolical of the
Sacrament: the sepulchre is the altar; the sheet in which the body was
wrapped the corporal; the vessel in which the blood was received shall be
called chalice; and by the patina upon which it rests is signified the
tombstone (v. 901-912). Finally Christ promises Joseph that:--

  Tout cil qui ten veissel verrunt,
  En ma compeignie serunt;
  De cuer arunt emplissement
  Et joie pardurablement. (917-20)

The prose versions repeat this account in the main, but with some
important additions, thus: B II, Cangé MS., adds after Christ's last
words, "Lors li aprant Jhésu Christ tex paroles que jà nus conter ne
retraire ne porroit," etc. (I, 227); when Christ hands the vessel to
Joseph, "Tu tiens lou sanc as trois personnes en une déité, qui degota des
plaies de la char au fil," etc. (I, 225-26); after the description of the
Grail, "lou Graal c'est à dire sor lou caalice."... In C, Didot-Perceval,
the Holy Ghost, speaking to Brons, commands him to reveal to Perceval,
"icelles paroles segroies qu'il (_i.e._, Christ) aprist à Joseph en la
prison," which, adds the narrator, "je ne vous puis dire ne ne doi" (I,
483). E, Grand St. Graal: The Jews, angry at Joseph's having taken
Christ's body down from the Cross, throw him into "la plu hideuse chartre
qui onques fust veue" and when they hear of the Lord's resurrection
propose to starve him; but Christ comes to him, brings him for comfort "la
sainte esceuele que ostoie en sa maison a tot le sanc qu'il Auoit
requelli," and comforted him much, and assured him that he should not die
in prison but come out safe and sound, and his name be glorified. And
Joseph "fu en la prison ... tant qu'il demoura xlii ans" (pp. 25-26).[48]
Here again are three distinct accounts:--

    (1) That of Pseudo-Gautier, which merely mentions Joseph's devotions
    to the Grail, and does not connect that devotion with any solace
    during his captivity.

    (2) That of the B versions, in which Christ Himself brings the holy
    vessel to the captive, and connects it with certain promises and
    recommendations which He makes to him; the vessel shall remain with
    his seed, but it is to be in charge of three persons, a symbol of the
    Trinity. The services rendered by Joseph to Christ's body are
    connected with the Mass. The late (prose) drafts of this version
    insist still more upon the sacramental nature of the Grail.

    (3) The Grand St. Graal and Pseudo-Manessier introduce a fresh
    element--the Grail is the material means by which Joseph is sustained
    (forty years according to the one, forty-two years according to the
    other version) without food or drink.

The great importance of the incident in the B versions is most remarkable
when contrasted with the comparative indifference displayed by the other
versions, and notably by the Grand St. Graal, which, at the first blush,
looks so like a mere amplification of B, still more remarkable the
agreement between the prose versions of B, with C, Didot-Perceval,
respecting Christ's words to Joseph against B I, Metr. Jos. It is
difficult to decide which of the two versions is the older; B I, after
Christ's words, has the following important passage:--

  Ge n'ose conter ne retreire,
  Ne je ne le pourroie feire,
  Neis, se je feire le voloie,
  Se je le grant livre n'avoie
  Où les estoires sunt escrites,
  Par les granz clers feites et dites:
  Lá sunt li grant secré escrit
  Qu'en numme le Graal et dit.

which may either have been the reason why the prose versions, followed by
the Didot-Perceval, speak as they do about the secret words, or may be the
versifier's excuse for giving those secret words themselves, _i.e._, the
explanation of the mysteries of the Grail in its relation to the
Sacrament, in which case the verse would be later than the prose
forms.[49] Finally, it would seem that Pseudo-Manessier, A IIIA, and the
Grand St. Graal drew their information one from the other or from a common

_Properties and Effect of the Grail._

In Chrestien these seem to be of a purely physical nature; the Grail is
borne uncovered through the hall at every meal (4,470-79), it feeds the
Fisher King's father--

  D'une seule oiste li sains hom
  Quant en ce Greal li aporte
  Sa vie sostient et conforte
  Tant sainte cose est li Graaus. (7,796-99)

the most direct testimony in Chrestien to its sacred nature. In Gautier,
likewise, the physical properties are insisted upon in the following

  Lors vit parmi la sale aler
  La rice Gréail ki servoit
  Et mist le pain a grant esploit. (20,114-16)

  Moult mangièrent à grant loisir;
  Adonques véissiés servir
  Le Gréail moult honestement. (20,142-43)

but in verses 28,078-81 a remarkable spiritual effect is attributed to

  Car li diables ne deçoit
  Nul homme ki le jor le voie,
  Ne ne le met en male voie
  Por faire pécié creminal.

In A IIA, Pseudo-Gautier, the physical side alone is insisted upon--

  Et de quanqu'il lor ert mestiers
  Les fornissoit à tel plenté
  Com s'il n'eust néant cousté; (12-14)

  Et li Graaux par tot aloit
  Et pain et vin par tot portoit
  Et autres mès a grant planté. (171-74)

Manessier makes no special reference to the properties of the Grail.

In the B versions it is the spiritual power of the Grail which is dwelt
upon. Christ's words to Joseph have already been quoted (_supra_, p. 71),
and the use which the latter puts the Grail to, and which is specially
indicated to Joseph by the Holy Ghost, is in accordance with them. The
Grail is to serve him as a touchstone to distinguish the sinners of his

  Car il n'a à nul pecheour
  Ne compaignie ne amour; (2,629-30)

whereas to those who have not defiled themselves with sin it brings

  La douceur, l'accomplissement
  De leur cueurs tout entièrement; (2,565-67)

so that according to them--

        ... Cuers ne pourroit,
  A pourpenser ne soufiroit
  Le grant delit que nous avuns
  Ne la grant joie en quoi nous suns. (2,609-12)

This testing power of the Grail is especially brought into play when the
vessel is placed on the table in connection with the fish which Brons
caught, and which won him the name of the Rich Fisher.

C, Didot-Perceval, has only one reference, "ne il ne covient mie en sa
compagnie pechier" (I, 483), agreeing with B and with Gautier's lines

In D, Queste, we revert to the physical gifts of the Grail. "And as soon
as it entered the door of the hall the whole court was filled with
perfumes ... and it proceeded to every place in the hall. And as it came
before the tables it filled them with every kind of meat that a man would
wish to have." When it comes in, "Every one looked at each other, and
there was not one that could say a single word;" when it goes out, "Every
one recovered his speech" (D II, pp. 442-43). There is no allusion to a
gathering at which the Grail is used to test the state of grace of its
devotees. E, Grand St. Graal, shows a curious mixture of the two ideas;
the Grail feeds its worshippers, but only those who are "de sainte vie,"
to them it bring "toutes le boines viandes ke cuers d'omme pourroit
penser," but "li pecheour n'auoient ke mangier." This version shows itself
here, as in so many other passages, one of the latest in date, embodying
and reconciling as it does the conceptions of the older
versions--conceptions which it is difficult to derive, either from a
common source or from one another. If it were not for the solitary phrase
of Gautier's, lines 28,079, etc. (a passage which affords the strongest
proof against the homogeneity of that part of the Conte du Graal which
goes under Gautier's name), there would be an unbroken chain of testimony
as to the food-giving power of the Grail on the part of the earlier A
versions, supported by the Queste in opposition to the spiritual gifts
insisted on by the B and E, Grand St. Graal, forms. It is in any case
difficult to believe that if the writer of the Queste, with his strong
tendency to mystic allegory, had had before him the highly spiritual
presentment of the Grail-power found in B, he would have neglected it in
favour of the materialistic description he uses. In one point this version
differs from all others, the dumbness with which the Grail strikes those
to whom it appears.[50]

_Name of Grail._

Whilst the majority of versions afford no explanation of the name of the
Grail, B and C attach a curious punning meaning to it, thus B I, Metr.

  Par droit Graal l'apelera;
  Car nus le Graal ne verra,
  Ce croi-je, qu'il ne li agrée; (2,659-61)

and C, Didot-Perceval, "Et por ce l'anpelon-nos Graal, qu'il agrée as
prodes homes" (p. 483). E, Grand St. Graal, seems to follow these versions
in Nasciens' words, "Car tout mi pense sont accompli, puis ke ie voi chou
qui en toutes choses me plaist et m'agrée" (I, 212). Is such a punning
explanation more consonant with the earliness or the lateness of the
versions in which it is found? If the meaning of "Gréal" as cup or vessel
was a perfectly well-established one, it is difficult to see why in the
first treatment of the subject it should have been necessary to explain
the word at all.

_Arrival of the Grail in England._

Neither A I, Chrestien, nor A II, Gautier, give any indication how the
Grail came to England; not until we come to A IIA, Pseudo-Gautier, do we
learn anything on the subject. It is there related (v. 139-48) how Joseph
and his companions take ship and sail till they come to the land promised
Joseph by God--the White Isle, namely, a part of England; and how (v.
161-66) Joseph, finding that "sa vitaille li falloit," prays God to lend
him that Grail in which he had collected the holy blood. The prayer is
granted and the Grail appears and feeds the company. A III, Manessier,
simply says that Joseph, after leaving Sarras, carried the Grail about
with him, then in a singularly enigmatic passage (the Fisher King is

  Et, quant il furent départis,
  Il s'en ala en son païs,
  Et tout partout ù il aloit
  La loi Jhésucrist essauçoit.
  Puis vint en cest païs manoir,
  Od lui le saint Gréal, por voir.
  Josep qui en Dieu se fia
  Icest païs édéfia. (35,123-30)

The B versions account is much more elaborate, and demands the most
careful analysis. In B I, Metr. Jos., the first mention of the West is
found in Christ's words to Joseph concerning his nephew, Alain, who is to
keep the Grail, to take charge of his brothers and sisters, and

  Puis s'en ira vers occident
  Es plus loiteins lius que pourra; (3,100-01)

further that Petrus is likewise to go "ès vaus d'Avaron" (3,123), it being
added that--

  Ces terres trestout vraiement
  Se treient devers occident. (3,125-26)

Effectively we learn (v. 3,262, etc.) that Alain leads his brothers into
strange lands. But the Grail remains behind, and in v. 3,353, etc., an
angel declares it necessary that all the people should go to the West,
that Brons should have the vessel, that he should go straight to the West,
and that Petrus, after seeing the Grail safe in Brons' keeping, is to go
likewise. Joseph follows the angel's command, and three days after he has
committed the Grail to Brons' hands.

  Ainsi Joseph se demoura.
  Li boens Pescherres s'en ala
  (Dont furent puis meintes paroles
  Contées, ki ne sunt pas foles)
  En la terre lau il fu nez,
  Et Joseph si est demourez. (3,455-60)

A puzzling passage, as it is difficult to be sure whether line 3,459
refers to the Fisher or to Joseph, a point of obvious importance, as in
the latter case it would indicate that Joseph in this version does not go
West. On turning to the prose versions, some remarkable variations are
found in the corresponding passages; thus B II, Cangé MS. (I, 265) after
relating how Brons finds wives for his children, adds, "Mais ancor estoit
la crestientez moult tenue et moult novele en ce païs que l'an apeloit la
bloe Bretaigne que Joseph avoit novellement convertie à la créance de
Jhésu-Christ," words which would seem to indicate that the writer imagined
Joseph and his company _already_ in England. The corresponding passage to
v. 3,445-60 runs thus: Ensinc se departirent, si s'en ala li riches
peschierres dont maintes paroles furent puis, en la grant Bretaigne et
ensinc remest Joseph et fina en la terre et ou païs où il fu envoiez de
par Jhésu-Crist (275). B III, Didot MS, accentuates the punning reference
to Avalon in the angel's message to Joseph, "Come li monde ... va en
avalant covient-il que toute ceste gent se retraie en occident" (p. 330).
The final passage runs thus: "Eynsi se despartirent Joseph et Bron: et
Joseph s'en ala en la terre et el pais où il fust nez et ampris la terre"
(p. 332). Thus the testimony of these versions favours the application of
v, 2,459 in Metr. Jos. to Joseph. From C, Didot-Perceval, we obtain an
account similar in parts to that of the B versions, the most direct
reference being in the speech of the hermit, Perceval's uncle, "Biaus
niès, sachès que à la table là où Joseph fist et je meismes oïmes la voiz
de saint esperit qui nos comenda venir en loingteines terres en occident,
et comenda le riche péchéor mon père que il venist en cestes parties, là
ou li soleil avaloit" (449-50), where the punning reference to Avalon is
again prominent, and where, apparently, the passage of Joseph himself to
England is not indicated. An entirely different form of the legend is
found in D and E. In the former (D II, 450) it is briefly stated, "And
afterwards it happened to Joseph, and Joseph his father, and a number of
his family with them, to set out from the city of Sarras, and they came as
far as Great Britain"; again, p. 467, Perceval's aunt relates how when
Joseph of Arimathea came, and his son Joseph with him, to Great Britain,
there came with them about 4,000 people, all of whom are fed by ten
loaves, placed on the table, on the head of which is the Grail. E, Grand
St. Graal, dwells specially upon Josephe; he is referred to in I, p. 22,
as having passed "le lignage ioseph son père outre mer iusqu'en la bloie
bertaigne qui ore a nom engleterre," and II, 123, etc., gives a full
account of how the passage is effected; how the Grail-bearers are sent
first, and supported through the water by its power; how, when Josephe
takes off his shirt, and his father Joseph puts his foot upon it, it
swells until it holds 250 persons. These two accounts agree better with
that of A IIA, Pseudo-Gautier, than with any of the others; indeed, a
passage in the latter (v. 125-29), which tells how Joseph committed the
portrait of our Lord, made by Verrine, to the mercy of the sea, may have
given the hint for the miraculous shirt story of the Grand St. Graal. In
this version, too, as in D, Queste, we first hear of the passage to
England, and then the Grail appears at the miraculous feeding of the
travellers. The versions thus fall into two clearly-defined groups, Joseph
being the Grail-bearer in the one, Brons in the latter. The latter class
is represented by the Metrical Joseph and the Didot-Perceval alone, if we
except the Berne MS. form of a portion of the Conte du Graal, which, in
its finish, has obviously copied the Metrical Joseph. To the former class
belong all the other versions. Nay, more, one of the prose forms of
Borron's poems is interpolated, so as to countenance the Joseph-account of
the bringing of the Grail to England. Moreover, Borron's account of the
whole transaction is ambiguous and obscure; at first Alain is the destined
hero, long passages being devoted to him, and the keeping of the mystic
vessel being expressly reserved to him. Yet he leaves, quite quietly,
nothing more being heard of him, and the same machinery of angelic
messages is set in motion for Brons, to whom, henceforth, the chief _rôle_
is assigned. Does not this show that there were from the outset two
accounts of the evangelisation of Britain, one, attributing it to Joseph,
of wider popularity, and followed solely by the majority of the romances,
whilst Borron, who gave greater prominence to the other account, has
maladroitly tried to fuse the two into one? In any case it would be
remarkable were the legend of purely Christian origin, and were the
Metrical Joseph its earliest form, and source of the other forms, that its
testimony on such an important point should be contradicted by nearly
every other version.

Do the foregoing facts throw any light upon the question whether the two
sections of the romance are originally independent, and which is the
earlier? It is the later forms of the Quest alone which mention Joseph.
But if he be really the older of the two personages to whom, in the Early
History, the evangelisation of Britain is attributed, this would of itself
go a long way to proving that the two portions of the romance only came
into contact at a late stage of their development, and that the Quest is
the older. It is otherwise if Brons be looked upon as the original
Grail-bringer; the same causes which led to his exclusion from the other
versions of the Early History might have kept him out of most versions of
the Quest, and his presence in one Quest version could be claimed as a
proof of the homogeneity of the romance. For the present, it is sufficient
to mark the fact that what may be called the Brons form of the Early
History is in a minority.

_The Grail-Keeper and his relationship to the Promised Knight._

In the A versions the Grail-keeper is the Fisher King, uncle to the hero
of the Quest, Perceval. The relationship is first plainly put in
Chrestien, where the hermit, speaking to Perceval of the Grail, says--

  Cil qui l'en sert, il est mes frere
  Ma soeur et soie fu ta mère,
  Et del rice Pescéour croi
  Que il est fius à celui roi
  Qui del Graal servir se fait. (7,789-94)

The origin of his name is fully explained in the passage (v. 4,685-98),
which tells of his being wounded in battle by a lance-thrust through his
two thighs, of his sufferings, and of his only solace being fishing from
a boat. How the Grail came into his possession C does not say. Gautier has
no occasion to mention these facts, but from Manessier we learn that
Joseph, having converted the land, died therein; that the Fisher King is
of his seed, and that if God wills the Grail will never have its dwelling
elsewhere than with him (35,130-36); that he, the Fisher King, had a
brother, Goon Desert, treacherously slain by Partinal, who broke his sword
in the murderous act. Goon's body and the fragments of the sword being
brought by his niece to the Fisher King, he wounds himself with them,
"parmi les gambes en traviers," and may not be healed until a knight
should come to weld the fragments together and avenge his brother's death.

Pseudo-Gautier tells how Joseph, dying, prays that the Grail may remain
with his descendants--

  Si fist il, c'est verité fine,
  Qu' après sa mort n'en ot sésine
  Nus hom, tant fust de son lignage
  Se il ne fu del haut parage.
  Li riches Peschéor, por voir,
  En fu estret et tuit si oir
  Et des suens fu Greloguevaus
  Ausi en réfu Percevaus. (183-90)

Manessier disagrees, it will have been noticed, with Chrestien respecting
the cause of the Fisher King's wound, and neither he nor the other
continuators of Chrestien make any mention of that enigmatic personage the
Fisher King's father, so casually alluded to by Chrestien (v. 7,791-99).
Perceval according to them is a direct descendant of Joseph, Brons being
as entirely ignored here as in the transport of the Grail to England.

In the B versions the Grail-keeper is Brons, and the Promised Knight is
his son or grandson, for a close examination again shows that two varying
accounts have been embodied in one narrative. In the passage where the
Holy Ghost, speaking to Joseph, tells him of the empty place to be left at
the table he is to make, the following lines occur:--

  Cil lius estre empliz ne pourra
  Devant qu' Enygeus avera
  Un enfant de Bron sen mari,
  Que tu et ta suer amez si;
  Et quant li enfès sera nez,
  La sera ses lius assenez; (2,531-37)

followed closely by the prose versions: B II, Cangé MSS., "ne icil leux ne
pourra estre ampliz tant que le filz Bron et Anysgeus ne l'accomplisse"
(I, 254); B III, Didot MS., "Cist leus ne porra mie estre ampliz devant ce
que li fist Bron l'ampleisse" (I, 316). But afterwards a fresh account
appears; in the second message of the Holy Ghost, Joseph is told:

  Que cist luis empliz ne sera
  Devant que li tierz hons venra
  Qui descendra de ten lignage
  Et istera de ten parage,
  Et Hebruns le doit engenrer
  Et Enygeus ta sueur porter;
  Et cil qui de sen fil istra,
  Cest liu méismes emplira. (2,789-96)

In the corresponding passages both B II and III have the following
significant addition, "et I. autre (_i.e._, place) avoc cestui qui el nom
de cestui sera fondé" (I, 261), "raemplira ce leu et I. autre qui en leu
decestu isera fondez" (I, 322), which effectually disposes of M. Hucher's
attempt (I, 254, note) to harmonise the two accounts by the remark that in
the first one "il ne s'agit pas de la Table ronde où c'est Perceval qui
remplit le lieu vide." Henceforth the legend follows the second account.
To Alain, son of Brons, is revealed that

      ... de lui doit oissir
  Un oir malle, qui doit venir. (3,091-92)

Petrus is to wait for "le fil Alein," Brons is to wait for "le fil sen
fil," and when he is come to give him the vessel and Grail (3,363-67). B
II, Cangé MS., again makes a characteristic addition to the promise to
Alain "et si li di que de lui doit issir un oirs masles, à cui la grace de
mon veissel doit repairier" (I, 267).

C, Didot-Perceval, follows the second account of B. Perceval is son to
Alain li Gros, grandson to Brons, the rich Fisher King, "et cil rois
péchéors est en grant enfermetez, quar il est vieil home et plains de
maladies" (I, 418), and nephew to the hermit, "un des fiz Bron et frère
Alein" (I, 448), though curiously enough when he tells Brons that he knows
him to be father of his father, the latter addresses him as "bieaux niès"
(I, 483). In any case whether B and C do or do not afford proof of a
nearer relationship than that of grandson and grandfather between the
Grail-keeper and the achiever of the Quest, the chronology which bridges
over 400 years in two generations is equally fantastic.

In D, Queste, no less than three different accounts are to be
distinguished, corresponding certainly to three stages in the development
of this version due to the influence of other versions of the legend. The
earliest is that preserved in D II, the Welsh translation of a now lost
French original. The Promised Knight is Galahad, son of Lancelot,
grandson, on the mother's side, of King Pelles (ch. iv). The Grail is kept
at the court of King Peleur (ch. lxvii), the name of which is apparently
Corbenic (ch. lxiv). The Lame King is mentioned by Perceval's sister (ch.
xlix), as a son of King Lambar, who fought with King Urlain and slew him,
and in consequence of that blow the country was wasted; afterwards (ch.
l.) his lameness is set down to his folly in attempting to draw the magic
sword, for which, though there was not in Christendom a better man than
he, he was wounded with a spear through the thigh. She also speaks of him
here as her uncle. The Grail quest is not connected in any way with the
healing of this Lame King. In the text printed by Furnivall, Galahad is
first introduced as Lancelot's son and Pelles' grandson, but when he comes
to Arthur's court he bids his returning companion, "salues moi tous chiaus
del saint hostel et mon _oncle le roi pelles_ et mon _aioul le riche
peschéour_." Guinevere's ladies, according to this version, prophesy that
Galahad will heal the Lame King. A long account, missing in D I, is given
by the hermit to Lancelot of his ancestry as follows (p. 120):--Celidoine,
son of Nasciens, had nine descendants, Warpus, Crestiens, Alain li Gros,
Helyas, Jonaans, Lancelot, Ban, Lancelot himself, Galahad, in whom Christ
will bathe himself entirely. Perceval is son of a King Pellehem (p. 182).
The Lame King is Pelles, "que l'on apièle lo roi mehaignié" (p. 188); he
is at Corbenic when Lancelot comes there. When Galahad and his companions
arrive at his court a sick man wearing a crown is brought in, who blesses
Galahad as his deliverer. After the appearance of the Grail, Galahad heals
him by touching his wound with the spear. The third account, from the
version of the Queste printed with the Lancelot and the Mort Artur in
1488, at Rouen, by Gaillard le Bourgeois,[51] makes Galahad send greetings
to the Fisher King and to his _grandfather, King Pelles_; it adds to
Perceval's sister's account of how Pelles was wounded, the words, "he was
Galahad's grandfather;"[52] it adds to the account of Lancelot's visit to
the Grail Castle, the words, "this was Castle Corbenic, where the Holy
Grail was kept." Before discussing these differences it is advisable to
see what the Grand St. Graal says on these points. Here Alain, the Fisher
King, son of Brons, is a virgin, and when Josephe commits the Grail to his
care he empowers him to leave it to whom he likes (II, 360--39.) In
accordance with this Alain leaves the Grail to his brother Josue, with the
title of Fisher King. Josue's descendants are Aminadap, Catheloys, Manaal,
Lambor (who was wounded by Bruillans with Solomon's sword, whence arose
such a fierce war that the whole land was laid desert).[53] Pelleans,
wounded in battle in the ankle, whence he had the name Lame King, Pelles,
upon whose daughter Lancelot begets Galahad, who is thus, on the mother's
side, ninth in descent from Brons, brother to Joseph. Galahad's descent is
likewise given from Celidoine, son of Nasciens, as follows: Marpus,
Nasciens, Alains li Gros, Ysaies, Jonans, Lancelot, Bans, Lancelot,
Galahad, who in thus counting Celidoine is tenth in descent from Nasciens,
Joseph's companion, (vol. ii, ch. xxxix.) So far the story is fairly
consistent, although there is a difference of one generation between
father's and mother's genealogy. But ch. 17, in a very important passage,
introduces a different account. The angel is expounding to Josephe and
Nasciens the marvels of the lance; to Josephe he says, "de cheste lance
dont tu as este ferus; ne sera iamis ferus ke vns seus hom. Et chil sera
rois, et descendra de ton lignaige, si serra li daerrains des boins. Chil
en sera ferus parmi les cuisses ambedeus," and will not be healed till the
Good Knight come, "et chil ... serra li daerrains hom del lignaige
nascien. Et tout ausi com nasciens a este li premiers hom qui les
meruelles du graal a veues; autresi sera chil li daerrains qui les
verra.[54] Car che dist li urais crucefis. 'Au premier home du precieus
lignaige, et au daerrain, ai iou deuise à demonstrer mes meruelles.' Et si
dist enchore après. 'Sour le premier et sour le daerrain de mes menistres
nouuiaus qui sont enoint et sacre a mon plaisir, espanderai iou la
venianche de la lanche auentureuse'" (I, 216-17), _i.e._, the last of
Josephe's line shall be the only man wounded by the lance, the last of
Nasciens' line shall be the deliverer. But according to Galahad's
genealogy, given above, it is _not_ the last of Josephe's line
(represented by his cousin Josue) who is the Wounded King, for Galahad
himself is as much the last in descent from Josephe as from Nasciens, and
even if we take the words to apply only to the direct male descendants of
Josue, there is still a discrepancy, as not Pelles, but Pelleant, his
father, is the "roi mehaigniés." If the Wounded King were really the last
of Josephe's line, _i.e._, Pelles, Galahad would be his grandson, as
Percival is to Brons. Taking the two versions D. and E. together, some
idea may be gathered from them of the way in which the legend has grown,
and of the shifts to which the later harmonisers were put in their
attempts to reconcile divergent accounts. In the first draft of the
Queste, Galahad has nothing to do with the Lame King, the latter remains
Perceval's uncle, the very relationship obtaining in Chrestien. Galahad
has supplanted Perceval, but has not stepped into the place entirely. The
second draft of the Queste endeavours to remedy this by clumsily
introducing the Lame King and his healing, missing in the first draft,
into the great Grail scene at the end, an idea foreign to the original
author of the Queste, who, having broken with Perceval as chief hero, also
broke with the distinctive Quest incident as far as the chief hero is
concerned. But a strange blunder is committed; the second draft, anxious
to make Galahad's grandfather both Fisher and Lame King, actually speaks
of Pelles as Galahad's uncle, in direct contradiction to its own
indication. The third draft corrects this mistake, and tries by different
explanatory interpolations to confirm the relationship of Galahad to the
Lame King, and the identity of his castle with the Grail Castle. The
author of the Grand St. Graal now appears on the scene, appropriates the
story about King Lambar, father to the Lame King, Percival's uncle, makes
him an ancestor of Galahad, and gives a name to his son, Pelleant (which
name creeps back into the second draft of the Queste as that of Perceval's
father), and thus derives Galahad on the mother's side from Brons,
although it escapes him that he thus gives the lie to the prophecy which
he puts in the angel's mouth, that it is the last of Josephe's seed who is
to be lamed by the lance, and that he has not given his Lambor fictitious
ancestors enough to equalize the genealogies.

We are thus led back to the relationship of uncle and nephew as the
earliest subsisting between the Grail King and the achiever of the Quest,
and we find in those versions which supplant Perceval by Galahad a story
told of the former's great uncle, King Lambar, by no means unlike that
told of his uncle in the A versions, and that there, as here, the cause of
the woe brought upon the hero's family is one of the magic talismans which
the hero is in quest of and by means of which he is to achieve his quest.
We further notice that in so far as the Early History influences the Quest
forms, it is the later versions in which its influence is apparent, and it
is the Joseph, not the Brons form, which exercises this influence. Not
until we come to the Grand St. Graal, an obvious and bold attempt to
embody previous versions in one harmonious whole, does the Brons form make
itself felt.

_Work of the Promised Knight._

In Chrestien we can only guess at what the results of the successful
achievement of the Quest would have been by the reproaches addressed to
the hero upon the failure of his first visits to the Grail Castle; he
would have mended all things, and--

  Le bon roi ki est mehaigniés;
  Que tous eust regaengniés
  Ses membres, et tière tenist,
  Et si grans bien en avenist; (4,763-67)

many evils will flow from his failure, and the cause of it is the sin he
has committed in leaving his mother, who thereupon died of grief
(4,768-71); again the Loathly Damsel reproaches him that the Rich King
would have been healed of his wound, he would have kept in peace his land,
which he never may again, for now

  Dames en perdront lor maris
  Tières en seront essilies,
  Et pucièles deconsellies;
  Orfenes, veves en remanront
  Et maint Chevalier en morront. (6,056-60)

Gautier de Doulens gives a vivid description of the effect of Gawain's
partially successful visit to the Grail King; the character of the
landscape changes at once--

  N'estoit pas plus que mienuis,
  Le soir devant, que Dex avoit
  Rendu issi com il devoit
  As aiges lor cors el païs;
  Et tout li bos, ce m'est avis,
  Refurent en verdor trové,
  Si tos com il ot demandé
  Por coi si sainnoit en l'anstier
  La lance; si devoit puplier
  Li règnes; mais plus ne pupla
  Por tant que plus ne demanda. (20,344-55)

All the country folk both bless and curse Gawain.

  Sire, mors nous as et garis,
  Tu dois estre liés et maris;
  Car grant aise nos as doné,
  S'en devons tout mercier Dé;
  Et si te devons moult hair
  Pour con que nel vosis öir
  Le Greail, por coi il servoit,
  Ne de la joie ki devoit
  Là venir ne poroit nus dire,
  Si en doit avoir duel et ire. (20,357-66)

In Manessier, when Perceval has finally accomplished the Quest by the
slaying of Partinal, and has come for the third time to the Grail Castle
(though even then he only reaches it after long wanderings and lights upon
it by chance), news whereof is brought to the King;--

  Li rois, à grant joie et grant feste
  Est maintenant salis en piés
  Et se senti sain et haitiés. (44,622-24)

Perceval is crowned King after his uncle's death, and reigns for seven

Thus, in the A versions, the healing of the Maimed King, and the
consequent restoration to fertility and prosperity of his land, such are
the tasks to be achieved by the hero of the Quest. In the B versions an
entirely different series of conceptions is met with. Brons, the Fisher
King, is to wait for his grandson, and to hand him the vessel which he
received from Joseph. When this is done the meaning of the Trinity is to
be known--[55]

  Lors sera la senefiance
  Accomplie et la demonstrance
  De la benoite Trinité,
  Qu'avons en trois parz devisée. (3,371-74)

Besides this, the Promised Knight is to visit Petrus, who may not pass
away till he comes, and from whom he is to learn the power of the vessel,
and the fate of Moys (v. 3,127-36). Finally, when he comes he is to fill
the empty seat, and to find Moys, of whom it is said--

  De lui plus ne pallera-on
  Ne en fable ne en chançon,
  Devant que cil revenra
  Qui li liu vuit raemplira:
  Cil-méismes le doit trouver. (2,815-19)

Here the only indication which can possibly be tortured into a hint of the
waiting of a sick king for his deliverer is the reference to Petrus. It is
not a little remarkable that when the latter is leaving for England, he
asks for the prayers of the company that he may not fall into sin, and
lose the love of God (v. 3320-35) Does this presuppose a version in which
he _does_ sin, and is consequently punished by disease, from which only
the Promised Knight may heal him?

On turning to C, a totally distinct account of what the Quest achiever is
to do presents itself. He seats himself, it is true, in the empty seat,
but it goes nigh with him that he suffers the fate of Moys, from which he
is only preserved by the great goodness of his father, Alain (p. 427). He
does not find Moys; Petrus is not once mentioned by name, nor does
Perceval visit anyone who may not die till he come, and from whom he
learns the power of the vessel, saving always the Fisher King, for the
references to whom see _supra_, p. 83. This Fisher King is "veil home et
plains de maladies, ne il n'aura james santé devant un chevalier que yà à
la Table ronde aserra, sera prodons vers Deu et vers sainte eglise et ait
fait tant d'armes que il soit le plus alosez del monde. Et lors vendra à
la maison au riche roi péchéor et quant il aura demandé de quoi li Graus
sert, tantost sera li roi gariz de de sa'nfermeté et cherront li
enchentement de Bretaigne et sera la prophétic accomplie" (p. 419). Again,
p. 427 "li riches rois péchéors est chéuz en grant maladie et en grant
enfermeté, ne il peust morir devant que uns de XXX chevalier, qui ci sunt
asis, ait tant fait d'armes et de chevalerie qu'il soit li mieudres
chevalier del monde." Again, p. 427, "Et quant il (_i.e._, the Fisher
King) sera gariz, si ira, dedanz li III jorz, de vie à mort, et baillera à
celui chevalier, le vesseau et li aprendra le segroites paroles qui li
aprist Joseph; et lors ampliz de la grace du Sainct Esprit et cherront li
enchentement de la Bretaigne et les afaires." Again, when Perceval has
come for the second time to the Fisher King's, and has asked the question
and learnt the secret words, he remained there "et moult fust prodons et
chéirent les enchentement de la terre de Bretaigne et par tout le monde."
Here, then, are the Sick King, the mysterious question, the healing, and
the effect upon the land (note how the enchantments of Britain are
insisted upon), as in the A versions. The only points of contact with B
are that Brons is like Petrus in not being able to die till Perceval come,
and that his infirmity seems to be ascribed mainly to his age, and not to
a wound, which at first sight seems to agree better with the vague
indications of B than with the positive statement of A.

Two accounts, each fairly definite and consistent, are thus forthcoming
respecting the object of the Quest, the one represented by A and C, the
other by B. What light is thrown upon the matter by the remaining
versions, and which of these two accounts do they support? Neither from
the Queste, D, nor from the Grand St. Graal, E, can any clear conception
of the Quest be gathered. Both have a great deal to say about the
adventures and the wonders of the Grail, but absolutely nothing comes of
the achievement so far as the Grail itself, or as Galahad and his two
companions are concerned. It goes to the East, they with it, they become
hermits and die. But in proportion as the main object of the Quest becomes
less definite, the number of secondary objects increases. In D, Queste,
Galahad is to achieve the adventure of the Seat Perillous (ch. iii, iv);
he is to wear the shield left by Joseph to Mordrains (ch. x); he is to
release from life Mordrains himself, struck with blindness for approaching
too near the Grail (ch. xxiii); he (according to the second draft of the
Queste), is to release King Pelles (his grandfather, according to draft
3), wounded through both ankles for trying to draw the sword; he is to
release Simei, burning in a fiery grave for that he once sinned against
Joseph of Arimathea (ch. lxvi). To this sufficiently long list the Grand
St. Graal adds the resoldering of the sword broken by Joseph--"Ha espée,
iamais ne sera resaudée deuant ke chil te tenra qui les hautes auentures
del Saint Graal devra asoumir" (II, 264); the delivery of Moys from out
the furnace where he burns, not for always "ains trouuera enchore merchi
et pardon. Mais che qu'il a mesfait, espanira il en tel manière qu'il en
sera en fu iusc' a tant ke li boines chiualiers uenra" (II, 277). Moys
likewise speaks of Galahad as one who "achieura les auentures de la grant
bertaigne" (II, 279-80). Finally, Pelleur wounded (mehaigniés de ii
cuisses) "en vne bataille de rome" is to be released, "il ne peut garir de
la plaie deuant ke galaad, li tres boins chiualers, le vint visiter. Mais
lors sans faille gari il" (II, p. 373).

The Queste knows nothing of Petrus, but in the Grand St. Graal he turns
up at the end in the same casual way as Brons, and converts King Luces
(II, 3356-3), _i.e._ is thus brought into connection with Geoffrey of
Monmouth's form of the conversion of Britain legend.

The foregoing statement confirms all that has previously been urged as to
the lateness of both Queste and Grand St. Graal. The author of the former
again shows himself a daring, but not over skilful, adapter of older
legends, the author of the latter an unintelligent compiler, whose sole
aim it is to lengthen out his story by the introduction of every incident
he can lay his hands upon. But although late, they may nevertheless throw
light upon the question which, of the two strongly differentiated accounts
of the object of the Grail quest which have been noted, has the better
claim to be looked upon as the older one. The Conte du Graal and the
Didot-Perceval agree, as has been seen, against the Metrical Joseph, in
making the main object of the Grail-seeker the healing of a maimed or the
release from life of a supernaturally old King. This _motif_, it is not
too much to say, is the pivot upon which in the Conte du Graal all turns;
in the Metrical Joseph it is barely hinted at.

The Queste, if looked at closely, is found to bear witness to the Conte du
Graal form. As is seen from the summary (_supra_, p. 41, Inc. 12) it has
the very incident upon which so much stress is laid in Chrestien's poem,
the visit to the Sick King, the omitted question, the consequent
misfortune. True, all this has been transferred from the original hero,
Perceval, to the father of the new hero Galahad, and, true, the final
object which the Queste proposes, in so far as it proposes any definite
object, to its Grail-seeker is of a different character. But the fact that
this object is not stated in the same way as in the Metrical Joseph,
whilst that found in the Conte du Graal _is_ embodied though in a
different connexion, points unmistakably to what may be called the healing
_motif_ as the older one. Here, again, the Metrical Joseph is in a
minority, and it is not even followed by that very version, the
Didot-Perceval, which has been ascribed to the same author, and claimed as
an integral portion of the same trilogy.[56]

_Qualifications of the Promised Knight._

Neither Chrestien, Gautier, nor Manessier lay any stress upon special
qualifications in the quest-hero for the achievement of his task. In
Chrestien, as already stated, (_supra_, p. 87), it is exclusively the sin
of which Perceval has been guilty in leaving his mother which prevents his
achieving the Quest at his first visit to the Grail Castle (v. 4,768-71
and 7,766-74), whilst the continuator makes no attempt at any explanation
of the hero's repeated failures. Not until Gerbert does a fresh _motif_
show itself in the poem, but then it is a remarkable one; if Perceval has
been hitherto unable to attain the goal he has so long striven for, it is
because he has been unfaithful to his first love, Blanchefleur (VI, p.
182); he must return and wed her before he is fit to learn the full secret
of the Grail.[57]

The other Quest versions are on this point in striking contrast to
Chrestien. The words of C, Didot-Perceval, have already been noted,
(_supra_, p. 89). Again the damsel, reproaching the hero after his first
failure, addresses him thus:--"Mès je sai bien por quoi tu l' ás perdu,
por ceque tu ni es pas si sage ne si vaillant, ne n'as pas fet tant
d'armes; ne n'ies si prodons que tu doies avoir le sanc nostre (sire) en
guarde" (p. 467).

It is significant to note in this connection that it is only after
Perceval has overcome all the best knights of the Round Table, including
Gawain (the companion hero, as will be shown later, of the oldest form of
the story), and thereby approved himself the best knight of the world,
that Merlin appears and directs him to the Grail Castle.[58] The talk
about Holy Church would seem to be an addition, and the original ideal a
purely physical one.

In the Queste the qualification of the hero has become the main feature
of the legend, the pivot upon which everything turns. The one thing
necessary is that the hero should be a virgin, and the story is one long
glorification of the supreme virtue of chastity. Yet even here the warlike
deeds of Galahad are dwelt upon in a way that points to a different ideal.
Traces, though slight ones, may be found in C, Didot-Perceval, of the
importance attached to the chastity of the hero; thus his hermit uncle
admonishes him, "ne vous chaille de gésir aveuc fame, quar cest un peché
luxurious et bien sachiez, que la pichié que vous avez fait, vous ont neu
à trover la maison Bron," and in the adventure with the damsel of the
hound, although he had (p. 440) solicited her favours, and she had
promised them if he brought her the head of the white stag, yet (p. 470)
when he returns to her and she offers herself to him, he pleads his quest
as a reason for not even passing one night with her. In Gautier de
Doulens, on the contrary, everything passes in accordance with the
orthodox custom of the day--when knights were as punctual in demanding as
ladies scrupulous in granting the fulfilment of such bargains. But here,
again, references to chastity seem to be additions, and rather unskilful
ones, whilst in the Queste they are the vital spirit of the story.

What results from the foregoing is much as follows:--

The Perceval form of the Quest is certainly the older of the two, and
underlies in reality the Galahad form. When cleared from the admixture of
Christian mystic elements it appears as a coherent and straightforward
story, in which nothing necessarily presupposes the Early History. The
influence of the latter is, however, distinctly traceable. As far as
Chrestien himself is concerned, nothing can be asserted with certainty as
to the origin, extent, and nature of that influence; in the case of his
continuators it can be definitely referred to that form of the Early
History which is represented by the Queste and the Grand St. Graal (save
in the solitary instance of the Berne fragment of Gautier de Doulens). The
later in date the sections of the Conte du Graal, the more strongly marked
is the influence of the Early History, and _pari passu_ the increasing
prominence given to the Christian mystic side of the Grail.

Of the Early History two forms can be distinguished. In the one, Joseph
and the group of persons whom he converts in the East are made the means
of bringing Christianity to Britain. The Grail is dwelt upon almost solely
in its most material aspect. This form is closely connected with the
Galahad Quest, and its chronology has been elaborately framed to correctly
bridge over the difference in time between the Apostolic and Arthurian
ages. It has also affected, as remarked above, the later versions of the
Perceval Quest. The second or Brons form knows nothing of the companions
of Joseph, who is only indirectly the means of the conversion of Britain,
the real evangelists being kinsmen of his who bear decided Celtic names.
These kinsmen are related as grandfather and father (or simply father or
uncle), to a hero whose exploits are to be dealt with in a sequel. There
is strong insistence upon the spiritual character of the Grail, which is
obviously intended to play an important part in the promised sequel. No
traces of this form are to be found in any version (saving always the
above-mentioned fragment of Gautier), until we come to the Grand St.
Graal, with which such portions as do not conflict with the Joseph form
are embodied.

The Didot-Perceval, although formally in contact with the Brons Early
History, is not really the sequel announced in that work. It differs
profoundly from it in the most essential feature of the story, the nature
of the task laid upon the hero. Upon examination this appears to be of the
same nature as that of the Conte du Graal, with a seasoning of the
Christian mystic element. It was, however, _intended_ for a sequel to the
Metrical Joseph, a fact which may be taken as a proof that Borron never
completed his plan of a Joseph-Merlin-Grail trilogy of which we possess
the first two parts.

The first of the two points marked for investigation at the outset of this
chapter may thus be considered settled. The Quest is originally
independent of and older than the Early History. And although in no
instance can the versions of the former be said to be entirely free from
the influence of the latter, yet in the older forms the traces are such as
to be easily separated from the primitive elements of the story.

The versions which have been examined may now be arranged in the following

    (1) Chrestien's portion of the Conte du Graal. The oldest form of the
    Perceval Quest, but presupposing an Early History.

    (2) Gautier de Doulens followed Chrestien, in all probability, almost
    immediately. Even less can be gathered from him than from Chrestien
    respecting the earliest form of the Early History, but this is
    probably represented by

    (3) Pseudo-Gautier, which in all likelihood gives the outline of the
    work made use of by Queste and Grand St. Graal. Pseudo-Gautier is
    almost certainly some years later than Gautier, as the Berne MS.
    scribe found it necessary to seek for information in

    (4) Borron's poem, probably written towards the end of the twelfth
    century, but which for some reason remained unknown for a time,
    although it afterwards, as evidenced by the number of MSS., became
    popular. There is every reason to believe that Borron knew nothing of
    any other Early History. His work, as we have it, is abridged and
    arranged. Meanwhile

    (5) Queste had appeared. The author probably used the same Early
    History as Pseudo-Gautier. He knew the Conte du Graal, and wrote in
    opposition to it with a view to edification. He certainly knew nothing
    of Borron's poem, or he could not have failed, with his strong
    mystical tendencies, to dwell upon the spiritual and symbolic
    character of the Grail.

    (6) The Grand St. Graal, an earlier draft of the work, now known under
    that title. Probably an enlarged version of the hypothetical original
    Early History; wanting all the latter portions relating to Brons and
    his group, which were added to it when Borron's poem became known.
    This work must have appeared before 1204 (in which year it is referred
    to by Helinandus), and, as Chrestien wrote his poem about 1189-90, it
    follows that at least half-a-dozen works belonging to the Grail cycle
    came out in the last twelve years of the twelfth century.

    (7) Manessier and

    (8) Gerbert brought out independent endings to the Conte du Graal from
    1216 to 1225. It was probably shortly after this time that Borron's
    poem became known, and that it was incorporated with the Grand St.
    Graal, which assumed the shape under which it has come down to us.

    (9) The Didot-Perceval is probably the latest in date of all the
    members of the cycle.

Before proceeding to examine our second point, which is whether the Grail
itself really belongs to the original form of the Quest, or has been
introduced into the Quest versions from the Early History, it will be
advisable to summarise the opinions and researches of previous
investigators. Light will thus be thrown upon many points of interest
which have not received special examination in these pages. A theory of
the origin and development of the cycle, which is in many respects
directly opposed to the conclusions we have reached, will also be fully
set forth, and an opportunity will thus be given for testing by adverse
criticism the soundness of our method of investigation, and of the results
to which it has led us.



    Villemarqué--Halliwell--San Marte (A. Schulz)--Simrock--Rochat--
    Furnivall's reprint of the Grand St. Graal and of Borron--J. F.
    Campbell--Furnivall's Queste--Paulin Paris--Potvin's Conte du
    Graal--Bergmann--Skeat's Joseph of Arimathea--Hucher: Grail Celtic,
    date of Borron--Zarncke, Zur Geschichte der Gralsage; Grail belongs
    to Christian legend--Birch-Hirschfeld develops Zarncke's views: Grand
    St. Graal younger than Queste, both presuppose Chrestien and an
    earlier Queste, the Didot-Perceval, which forms integral part of
    Borron's trilogy; Mabinogi later than Chrestien; various members of
    the cycle dated--Martin combats Birch-Hirschfeld: Borron later than
    Chrestien, whose poem represents oldest stage of the romance, which
    has its roots in Celtic tradition--Hertz--Criticism of

Monsieur Th. de la Villemarqué's researches form a convenient starting
point, both on account of the influence they exercised upon later
investigation, and because he was the first to state with fulness and
method the arguments for the Celtic origin of the legend. They appeared
originally in the volume entitled "Contes populaires des anciens Bretons
précédés d'un essai sur l'origine des épopées chevaleresques de la Table
Ronde" (Paris, 1842), and comprising a French translation of the
Mabinogion of Geraint and Peredur, with introductory essays and detailed
explanatory notes. The translation of Peredur is preceded by a study of
Chrestien's poem, in which the following conclusions are stated: The Grail
is Celtic in origin, the French term being equivalent to the Welsh _per_,
and having a like meaning, basin. It is the Druidic basin alluded to by
Taliessin, the same which figures in the Mabinogi of Branwen, which
appears in the oldest folk-tales of Brittany, and which is sought for in
the twelfth century Mabinogi by Peredur, _i.e._, the Basin-Seeker. The
original occult character of the Druidic basin, and of the lance, the
bardic symbol of undying hatred to the Saxon, disappears in the Mabinogi,
the tone and character of which are purely romantic. Composed among a
people comparatively unused to the chivalrous ideal, it breathes, however,
a rude and harsh spirit. But such as it is, it forms the groundwork of
Chrestien's poem. Comparison between the two demonstrates the simple
character of the Welsh romance, and shows how the French poet sought to
transform it by an infusion of feudal courtliness and religious mysticism.
In its last stage of development the story reverts to its pristine,
occult, and mystic character.

Much of what M. de la Villemarqué says is sound and telling; but,
unfortunately, although well aware that the French poem is the work of
three men and not of one, he yet treats it as an organic whole, and thus
deprives the larger part of his comparison of all value. Moreover, he
supports his thesis by arguments based upon a Breton poem (the story of
which is similar to that of Perceval's youth), ascribed without the shadow
of evidence to the end of the tenth century.

In 1861 M. de la Villemarqué reprinted his work with extensive additions,
under the title of "Les Romans de la Table Ronde et les Contes des Anciens
Bretons." The section summarised above remained substantially unaltered,
but considerable extension was given to the author's views concerning the
mode of development of the romances. The points chiefly insisted upon are:
the similarity of metre between the Welsh poem and the French metrical
romances; the delight of the Plantagenet kings in the Welsh traditions and
the favour showed them; and the early popularity of the Welsh and Breton
singers. Villemarqué's last word upon the subject is that the Welsh
storytellers received from the ancient bards a pagan tradition, which,
changed in character and confounded with the Mystery of the Sacrament,
they handed on to the romance writers of Northern France and Germany, who
gave it a fresh and undying life.

Villemarqué's views were worked up by Mr. Baring Gould in his essay on the
Sangreal ("Curious Myths of the Middle Ages," 1867) and in this form or in
their original presentment won wide acceptance as the authoritative
exposition of the Celtic origin of the cycle.

In England, Mr. Halliwell, when editing, in 1844, the Thornton Sir
Perceval, derived it from Chrestien and his continuators, in spite of the
omission of Lance and Grail, on account of the sequence of incidents being
the same. The Mabinogi is alluded to as an adaptation of Chrestien. The
supposition that Perceval's nick-name, "le Gallois," implies the Welsh
origin of the story is rejected as absurd.

In Germany the Grail-cycle formed the subject of careful investigation on
the part of San Marte (A. Schulz) for some years prior to 1840. From 1836
to 1842 he brought out a modern German translation of Wolfram von
Eschenbach's Parzival, accompanied by an elaborate essay on the genesis of
the legend, and in 1841, "Die Arthur-Sage und die Mährchen des rothen
Buchs von Hergest." In the latter work a careful analysis of the Mabinogi
leads to the following conclusions:--Locale and persons are purely Welsh;
tone and character are older than the age of the Crusades and Knighthood;
it may be looked upon with confidence as the oldest known source of the
Perceval _sage_. In comparing the Mabinogi with Kiot's (_i.e._, Wolfram's)
version, stress is laid upon the task imposed upon Peredur, which is held
to be different in character and independent in origin from the Grail
Quest in Kiot. The Thornton Sir Perceval is claimed as the representative
of an early Breton _jongleur_ poem which knew nothing of the Grail story.
In the former work Wolfram von Eschenbach's poem is accepted, so far as
its framework is concerned, as a faithful echo of Kiot's, the Provencal
origin of which is proved by its Oriental and Southern allusions. The
Provencals may have obtained the Peredur _sage_ direct from Brittany, they
at any rate fused it with the Grail legend. Their version is an artistic
whole, whereas the North French one is a confused string of adventures.
Chrestien's share in the latter is rightly distinguished from that of his
continuators, and these are dated with fair accuracy. Robert de Borron is
mentioned, but as a thirteenth century adapter of earlier prose versions;
the Grand St. Graal is placed towards the middle of the thirteenth
century. In analysing the Joseph of Arimathea form of the legend, the
silence of the earlier British historians concerning Joseph's
evangelisation of Britain is noted, and 1140 is given as the earliest
date of this part of the legend. The captivity of Joseph arises probably
from a confusion between him and Josephus. There is no real connection
between the Joseph legend and that of the Grail. Wolfram's Templeisen
agree closely with the Templars, one of the main charges against whom was
their alleged worship of a head from which they expected riches and
victuals, and to which they ascribed the power of making trees and flowers
to bloom.[59]

San Marte's translation of Wolfram was immediately (1842) followed by
Simrock's, whose notes are mainly directed against his predecessor's views
on the origin and development of the Grail legend. The existence of Kiot
is contested; the _differentia_ between Wolfram and Chrestien are unknown
to Provençal, but familiar to German, poetry. The Grail myth in its oldest
form is connected with John the Baptist. Thus in the Mabinogi the Grail is
represented by a head in a platter; the head the Templars were accused of
worshipping has probably the same origin; the Genoese preserved the Sacro
Catino, identified by them with the Grail, in the chapel of St. John the
Baptist; Chrestien mentions with especial significance, St. John's Eve
(Midsummer Eve). The head of St. John the Baptist, found, according to the
legend, in the fourth century, was carried later to Constantinople, where
in the eleventh century it is apparently used to keep an emperor from
dying (even as of the Grail, it is told, no one could die the day he saw
it). If Wolfram cuts out the references to the Baptist, _en revanche_ he
brings Prester John into the story. The essential element in the Grail is
the blood in the bowl, symbol of creative power as is the Baptist's head,
both being referable to the summer equinox. Associated with John the
Baptist is Herodias, who takes the place of an old Germanic goddess,
Abundia, as John does of Odin or Baldur.[60] The essence of the myth is
the reproductive power of the blood of the slain god (Odin-Hackelberend,
Baldur, Adonis, Osiris). As the Grail may only be seen by those to whom
God's grace is granted, so in the German folk-tale the entrance to the
hollow mounds wherein lies treasure or live elves is only visible to
Sunday children or pure youths. Thus, too, no man may find the grave of
Hackelberg (Odin). Such caves, when entered, close upon the outgoing
mortal as the Grail Castle portcullis closes upon Parzival. Many of
Gauvain's adventures appear in German folk-tradition. As to Parzival's
youth "it cannot be doubted that we have here a variation of the Great
Fool folk-tale (Dummling's Märchen) found among all people. It is hard to
say what people possessing this tale brought it into contact, either by
tradition or in writing, with the Grail story, but that people would have
the first claim among whom it is found in an independent form." The
Mabinogi explanation of the Grail incident is unacceptable, and the
Mabinogi itself is later than Chrestien, as is shown by its foolish
invention of the witches of Gloucester, and by its misrendering the
incident of the dwarves greeting Peredur. In the original folk-tale the
ungainly hero was _laughed at_, not greeted. The Thornton Sir Perceval may
possibly contain an older version of Perceval's youth than any found
elsewhere. Wolfram's poem represents, however, the oldest and purest form
of the Grail myth, which, originally pagan, only became fully
Christianised in the hands of the later North French poets.

Simrock's speculations, though marred by his standing tendency to claim
over much for German tradition, are full of his usual acute and ingenious,
if somewhat fanciful, learning. His ignorance of Celtic tradition
unfortunately prevented his following up the hint given in the passage
quoted above which I have adopted as one of the mottoes of the present

In 1855 Rochat published ("Ueber einen bisher unbekannten Percheval li
Gallois," Zurich) selections from a Berne MS. containing part of Gautier
de Doulens' continuation of Chrestien (v. 21,930 to end, with thirteen
introductory and fifty-six concluding original lines, _cf._ p. 19), and
entered at some length into the question of the origin and development of
the Grail legend. The Mabinogi, contrary to San Marte's opinion, is placed
after Chrestien. Villemarqué's ballad of Morvan le Breiz is the oldest
form of the Perceval _sage_, then comes the Thornton Sir Perceval, a
genuine popular production derived probably from a Welsh original. In
spite of what San Marte says, the Grail incident is found in the Mabinogi,
and it might seem as if Chrestien had simply amplified the latter. On San
Marte's theory of the (Southern) origin of the Grail myth, this, however,
is impossible, and the fact that the Mabinogi contains this incident is a
proof of its lateness.

Up to 1861 all writers upon the Grail legend were under this disadvantage,
that they had no complete text of any part of the cycle before them,[61]
and were obliged to trust largely to extracts and to more or less
carefully compiled summaries. In that year Mr. Furnivall, by the issue for
the Roxburghe Club of the Grand St. Graal, together with a reprint of
Robert de Borron's poem (first edited in 1841 by M. Franc. Michel),
provided students with materials of first-rate importance. His
introductory words are strongly against the Celtic origin of the story,
and are backed up by a quotation from Mr. D. W. Nash, in which that
"authority who really knows his subject" gives the measure of his critical
acumen by the statement that the Mabinogi of Peredur can have nothing to
do with the earliest form of the legend, because "in Sir T. Malory,
Perceval occupies the second place to Galahad." In fact, neither the
editor nor Mr. Nash seems to have tried to place the different versions,
and their assertions are thus of little value, though they contributed,
nevertheless, to discredit the Celtic hypothesis. San Marte, in an essay
prefixed to the first volume, repeated his well-known views respecting the
source of Wolfram's poems, and, incidentally, protested against the idea
that the Mabinogi is but a Welshified French romance.

In 1862 the accomplished editor of the "Popular Tales of the West
Highlands," Mr. J. F. Campbell, published in his second volume (p. 152)
some remarks on the Story of the Lay of the Great Fool, which ended thus,
"I am inclined ... to consider this 'Lay' as one episode in the adventures
of a Celtic hero, who, in the twelfth century became Perceval le
chercheur du basin. He too, was poor, and the son of a widow, and half
starved, and kept in ignorance by his mother, but, nevertheless ... in the
end he became possessed of that sacred basin, le Saint Graal, and the holy
lance, which, though Christian in the story, are manifestly the same as
the Gaelic talismans which appear so often in Gaelic tales, and which have
relations in all popular lore--the glittering weapon which destroys, and
the sacred medicinal cup which cures." I have taken these words as a motto
for my studies, which are, indeed, but an amplification of Mr. Campbell's
statement. Had the latter received the attention it deserved, had it, for
instance, fallen into the hands of a scholar to whom Simrock's words
quoted on p. 101 were familiar, there would, in all probability, have been
no occasion for the present work.

The publication of texts was continued by Mr. Furnivall's issue, in 1864,
for the Roxburghe Club, of the Quête del Saint Graal from a British Museum
MS. The opening of twelve MSS. from the Bibliothèque Nationale is likewise
given, and shows substantial unity between them and Mr. Furnivall's text.
In 1868 Mons. Paulin Paris published, in the first volume of his "Romans
de la Table Ronde," a general introduction to the Round Table cycle, and a
special study upon the Metrical Joseph and the Grand St. Graal. A large
share of influence is assigned to Celtic traditions through the medium of
Breton _lais_. The Early History of the Grail is a British legend, and
embodies the national and schismatic aspirations of the British Church.
The date given in the prologue to the Grand St. Graal, and repeated by
Helinandus, is accepted as the genuine date of a redaction of the legend
substantially the same as that found later in the Grand St. Graal. The
word "Grail" is connected with the Latin _gradale_, modern gradual, and
designated the book in which the tradition was first written down. The
Grand St. Graal is anterior to Chrestien's poem, and Robert de Borron's
poem in the first draft preceded the Grand St. Graal, and was written
between 1160 and 1170, but he subsequently revised it towards 1214, as is
shown by his alluding, l. 3,490, "O mon seigneur, Gauter _en peis_" (where
the underlined words are equivalent to the Latin _in pace_) to Gautier of
Montbeliard in the past tense. From 1868 to 1870 M. Potvin brought out
his edition of the Conte du Graal, and of the prose Perceval le Gallois
from Mons MSS. In the after-words priority is claimed for the latter
romance over all other members of the cycle, and three stages are
distinguished in the development of the legend--Welsh national--militant
Christian--knightly--the prose romance belonging to the second stage, and
dating substantially from the eleventh century. The lance and basin are
originally pagan British symbols, and between the lines of the Grail
legend may be read a long struggle between heretic Britain and orthodox
Rome. The Perceval form of the Quest is older than the Galahad one. The
Joseph of Arimathea forms are the latest, and among these the Grand St.
Graal the earliest.

Conclusions as paradoxical as some of these appear in Dr. Bergmann's "The
San Grëal, an Enquiry into the Origin and Signification of the Romance of
the S. G.," Edinburgh, 1870. The idea of the Grail is due entirely to
Guyot, as also its connection with the Arthurian cycle. Chrestien followed
Guyot, but alters the character of the work, for which he is reproved by
Wolfram, who may be looked upon as a faithful representative of the
earlier poet. Chrestien's alterations are intended to render the poem more
acceptable in knightly circles. On the other hand Walter Map found Guyot
too secular and heretical, and wrote from a purely ecclesiastical
standpoint the Latin version of the legend in which the Grail is
associated with Joseph of Arimathea. This version forms the basis of
Robert de Borron, author of the Grand St. Graal and of the continuators of
Chrestien. Although Bergmann denies the Celtic origin of the Grail itself,
he incidentally accepts the authenticity of the Mabinogi of Peredur, and
admits that the whole framework of the story is Celtic.

In the endeavour to prove the paradox that one of the latest, most highly
developed, and most mystic of all the versions of the legend (viz.,
Wolfram's) really represents the common source of them all, Bergmann is
compelled to make the most gratuitous assumptions, as a specimen of which
may be quoted the statement that the _roi-pecheur_ is originally the
_sinner_ king, and that it is by mistake that the North French _trouvères_
represent him as a _fisher_.

Bergmann's views passed comparatively unnoticed. They are, indeed,
alluded to with approval in Professor Skeat's edition of Joseph of
Arimathea, a fourteenth century alliterative abridgement of the Grand St.
Graal (E. E. Text Soc., 1871). In the editor's preface the Glastonbury
traditions concerning the evangelisation of Britain by Joseph are taken as
a starting point, two parts being distinguished in them, the one
_legendary_, tallying with William of Malmesbury's account, and, perhaps,
of considerable antiquity, the other _fabulous_, introducing the
personages and incidents of the romances and undoubtedly derived from
them. Some twenty years after the publication of the "Historia Britonum"
Walter Map probably wrote a Latin poem, from which Robert de Borron, the
Grand St. Graal, and, perhaps, the other works of the cycle were derived.
"Grail" is a bowl or dish. Chrestien may have borrowed his Conte du Graal
from Map; the "Quest" is probably an after-thought of the romance writers.

Speculations such as these were little calculated to further the true
criticism of the Grail cycle. Some few years later, in 1875, the then
existing texts were supplemented by M. Hucher's work, so often quoted in
these pages. In an introduction and notes displaying great research and
ingenuity, the following propositions are laid down:--The Grail is Celtic
in origin, and may be seen figured upon pre-Christian Gaulish coins.
Robert de Borron's poem may be called the Petit St. Graal, and its author
was a lord of like-named territory near Fontainebleau, who between 1147
and 1164 made large gifts to the Abbey of Barbeaux, which gifts are
confirmed in 1169 by Simon, son of said Robert. About 1169 Robert came to
England, met Walter Map, and was initiated by him into the knowledge of
the Arthurian romance, and of the legend of the Holy Grail. Between 1170
and 1199 he entered the service of Walter of Montbeliard and wrote (in
prose) the Joseph of Arimathea and the Merlin. At a later period he
returned to England, and wrote, in conjunction with Map, the Grand St.
Graal. This is shown by MS. 2,455 Bibl. Nat. (of the Grand St. Graal): "Or
dist li contes qui est estrais de toutes les ystoires, sî come Robers de
Borons le translatait de latin en romans, à l'ayde de maistre Gautier
Map." But Hélie de Borron, author of the Tristan and of Guiron le
Courtois, calls Robert his friend and kinsman. Hélie has been placed
under Henry III, who has been assumed to be the Henry to whom he dedicates
his work; if so can he be the friend of Robert, who wrote some fifty years
earlier? Hélie should, however, be placed really under Henry II. Robert
wrote originally in prose; the poem contains later etymological and
grammatical forms, though it has occasionally preserved older ones;
besides in v. 2,817 etc. (_supra_, p. 83) it refers to the deliverance of
Moys by the Promised Knight, and thus implies knowledge of the Grand St.
Graal; this passage is omitted by most of the prose versions, thus
obviously older. Then the poem is silent as to the Christianising of
Britain mentioned by one prose version (C.). We may accept Borron's
statement as to his having dealt later with the histories of Moys and
Petrus, and as to his drawing his information from a Latin original.
Merlin is the pivot of Borron's conception. In comparing the third part of
his trilogy (Joseph of Arimathea, Merlin, Perceval) with Chrestien it must
be born in mind that Chrestien reproduces rather the English
(Joseph--Galahad), than the French (Brons--Perceval) form of the Quest,
and this, although the framework of Chrestien and Robert's Perceval is
substantially the same. Chrestien's work was probably preceded by one in
which the Peredur story as found in the Mabinogi was already adapted to
the Christianised Grail legend. There are frequent verbal resemblances
between Robert and Chrestien (_i.e._, Gautier, Hucher never distinguishing
between Chrestien and his continuators) which show a common original for
both. It is remarkable that Chrestien should never mention Brons, and that
there should be such a difference in the stories of the Ford Perillous and
the Ford Amorous. It is also remarkable that Robert, in his Perceval,
should complain that the _trouvères_ had not spoken of the Good Friday
incident which is to be found in Chrestien.

M. Hucher failed in many cases to see the full significance of the facts
he brought to light, owing to his incorrect conception of the development
of the cycle as a whole, and of the relation of its component parts one to
the other. He made, however, an accurate survey of the cycle possible. The
merit of first essaying such a survey belongs to Zarncke in his admittedly
rough sketch, "Zur Geschichte der Gralsage," published in the third
volume (1876) of Paul and Braune's Beitraege.--The various forms may be
grouped as follows: (1) Borron's poem, (2) Grand St. Graal, (3) Quête, (4)
Chrestien, (5 and 6) Chrestien's continuators, (7) Didot MS. Perceval, (8)
Prose Perceval li Gallois. Neither the Spanish-Provencal nor the Celtic
origin of the legend is admissible; it has its source wholly in the
apocryphal legends of Joseph of Arimathea, in which two stages may be
distinguished; the first represented by the Gesta Pilati and the Narratio
Josephi, which tell how Christ appeared to Joseph in prison and released
him therefrom; the second by the Vindicta Salvatoris, which combines the
legends of the healing of Tiberius with that of Titus or Vespasian. Joseph
being thus brought into contact with Titus, the space of time between the
two is accounted for by the forty years captivity, and the first hint was
given of a miraculous sustaining power of the Grail. Borron's poem is
still purely legendary in character; the fish caught by the rich fisher is
the symbol of Christ; the incident of the waiting for the Promised Knight
belongs, however, not to the original tradition but to a later style of
Christian mysticism. The Grand St. Graal and the Quête extend and develop
the _donnée_ of the poem, whilst in Chrestien tone, atmosphere, and
framework are profoundly modified, yet there is no reason to postulate for
Chrestien any other sources than Nos. 1-3, the differences being such as
he was quite capable of deliberately introducing. As for No. 7 (the
Didot-Perceval) it is later than Chrestien and his continuators, and has
used both. Wolfram von Eschenbach had only Chrestien for his model, Kiot's
poem being a feigned source. The legend of the conversion of Britain by
Joseph is no genuine British tradition; William of Malmesbury's account of
Glastonbury is a pamphlet written to order of the Norman Kings, and
incapable of serving as a representative of Celtic tradition. The passages
therein relating to Joseph are late interpolations, disagreeing with the
remainder of his work and disproved by the silence of all contemporary

Zarncke's acute article was a praiseworthy attempt to construct a working
hypothesis of the growth of the cycle. But it is full of grave
misconceptions, as was, perhaps, inevitable in a hasty survey of such an
immense body of literature. The versions are "placed" most incorrectly.
The argumentation is frequently marred by _a priori_ reasoning, such as
that Chrestien, the acknowledged leading poet of the day, could not have
copied Kiot, and by untenable assertions, such as that Bran, in the
Mabinogi of Branwen, the daughter of Llyr, is perhaps a distant echo of
Hebron in Robert de Borron's poem. He had, however, the great merit of
clearing the ground for his pupil, A. Birch-Hirschfeld, and urging him to
undertake what still remains the most searching and exhaustive survey of
the whole cycle: "Die Sage vom Gral," etc. As Birch-Hirschfeld's analysis
is at present the only basis for sound criticism, I shall give his views
fully:--The Grand St. Graal, as the fullest of the versions dealing with
the Early History of the Grail, is the best starting-point for
investigation. From its pronounced religious tone monkish authorship may
be inferred. Its treatment of the subject is not original as is shown by
(1) the repetition _ad nauseam_ of the same motive (_e.g._, that of the
lance wound four times), (2) the pedigrees, (3) the allusions to
adventures not dealt with in the book, and in especial to the Promised
Knight. The testimony of Helinand (see _supra_, p. 52), which is of
first-rate importance, does not allow of a later date for the Grand St.
Graal than 1204. On turning to the Queste it is remarkable that though
sometimes found in the MSS. in conjunction with the Grand St. Graal it is
also found with the Lancelot, and, when the hero's parentage is
considered, it seems more likely that it was written to supplement the
latter than the former work. This supposition is adverse to any claim it
may lay to being held the earliest treatment of the subject, as it is
highly improbable that the Grail legend occupied at the outset such an
important place in the Arthurian romance as is thus accorded to it. Such a
claim is further negatived by the fact that the Queste has three heroes,
the second of whom is obviously the original one of an older version. In
estimating the relationship between the Grand St. Graal and the Queste it
should be borne in mind that the latter, in so far as it deals with the
Early History, mentions only Joseph, Josephe, Evelach (Mordrain) and
Seraphe (Nascien), from whom descends Galahad; that it brings Joseph to
England, and that it does not give any explanation of the nature of the
Grail itself. It omits Brons, Alain, the explanation of the name "rich
fisherman," the name of Moys, although his story is found in substantially
the same shape as in the Grand St. Graal, and is silent as to the origin
of the bleeding lance. If it were younger than and derived from the Grand
St. Graal alone, these points, all more important for the Early History
than the Mordrain episodes would surely have been dwelt upon. But then if
the Grand St. Graal is the younger work, whence does it derive Brons,
Alain, and Petrus, all of whom are introduced in such a casual way? There
was obviously a previous Early History which knew nothing of Josephe or of
Mordrain and his group, the invention of the author of the Queste, whence
they passed into the Grand St. Graal, and were fused in with the older
form of the legend. There is, moreover, a positive reference on the part
of the Grand St. Graal to the Queste (vol. ii., p. 225). The author of the
Queste introduced his new personages for the following reasons: He had
already substituted Galahad for the original hero, and to enhance his
importance gives him a fictitious descent from a companion of Joseph. From
his model he learnt of Joseph's wanderings in the East, hence the Eastern
origin of the Mordrain group. In the older form the Grail had passed into
the keeping of Joseph's nephew, in the Queste the Promised Knight descends
from the nephew of Mordrain; Brons, as the ancestor of the original Quest
hero necessarily disappears in the Queste, and his place is in large
measure taken by Josephe. The priority of the Queste over the Grand St.
Graal, and the use of the former by the latter may thus be looked upon as
certain. But if Mordrain is the invention of the Queste, what is the
meaning of his illness, of his waiting for the Promised Knight, of the
bleeding lance, and of the lame king whom it heals? These seem to have no
real connection with the Grail, and are apparently derived from an older
work, namely, Chrestien's Conte du Graal.

Chrestien's work, which ended at v. 10,601, may be dated as having been
begun not later than 1189 (_vide_ _supra_, p. 4). Its unfinished state
accounts for its having so little positive information about the Grail, as
Chrestien evidently meant to reserve this information for the end of the
story. But this very freedom with which the subject is handled is a proof
that he had before him a work whence he could extract and adapt as he saw
fit; moreover we have (Prologue, v. 475, etc.) his own words to that
effect. With Chrestien's account of the Grail--a bowl bejewelled, of
wondrous properties, borne by a maiden, preceded by a bleeding lance,
accompanied by a silver plate, guarded by a king wounded through both
ankles (whose only solace is fishing, whence his surname), ministering to
the king's father, sought for by Perceval, nephew to the fisher king, its
fate bound up with a question which the seeker must put concerning it--may
be compared that of the Queste, in which nothing is known of a question by
which the Grail kingship may be obtained (although it relates the same
incident of Lancelot), which knows not of one wounded king, centre of the
action, but of two, both of secondary importance (though possibly
Chrestien's Fisher King's father may have given the hint for Mordrain), in
which the lance is of minor importance instead of being on the same level
as the Grail. Is it not evident that the Queste took over these features
from Chrestien, compelled thereto by the celebrity of the latter's
presentment? The Queste thus presupposes the following works: a Lancelot,
an Early History, a Quest other than that of Chrestien's, and finally
Chrestien as the lame king and lance features show. It thus falls between
1189 (Chrestien begun) and 1204 (Grand St. Graal ended).

With respect to the three continuators of Chrestien it would seem that
Gautier de Doulens' account of the Grail, as found in the Montpellier MS.,
knowing as it does only of Joseph, and making the Fisher King and Perceval
descendants of his, belongs to an older stage of development than that of
Manessier and Gerbert, both of whom are familiar with the Mordrain group,
and follows that of the original version upon which both the Queste and
the Grand St. Graal are based. There is nothing to show that Gautier knew
of the Queste, whilst from Gautier the Queste may have possibly have taken
Perceval's sister and the broken sword. Gautier would thus seem to have
written immediately after Chrestien, and before the Queste, _i.e._, about
1195. As for the date of the other two continuators, the fact of their
having used the Queste is only one proof of the lateness of their
composition (as to the date of which see _supra_, p. 4). It must be noted
that whilst in their account of the Grail Chrestien's continuators are in
substantial accord with the Queste versions, and yet do not contradict
Chrestien himself, they add considerably to his account of the lance. This
is readily explained by the fact that as Chrestien gave no information
respecting the origin of either of the relics, they, the continuators, had
to seek such information elsewhere; they found all they could wish
respecting the Grail, but nothing as to the lance, the latter having been
first introduced by Chrestien, and the Queste versions knowing nothing
respecting it beyond what he told. Thus, thrown upon their own resources,
they hit upon the device of identifying the lance with the spear with
which Jesus was pierced as He hung on the Cross. This idea, a most natural
one, may possibly have been in Chrestien's intent, and _may_ have been
suggested to him by the story of the discovery of the Holy Lance in
Antioch half a century before. It must, however, be admitted that the
connection of the lance with the Grail legend in its earliest form is very
doubtful, and that Celtic legends may possibly have furnished it to
Chrestien, and indicated the use to which he intended putting it. The
analysis, so far, of the romances has resulted in the presupposition of an
earlier form; this earlier form, the source or basis of all the later
versions of the legend, exists in the so-called Petit St. Graal of Robert
de Borron. Of this work, found in two forms, a prose and a poetic one, the
poetic form, _pace_ Hucher, is obviously the older, Hucher's proofs of
lateness going merely to show that the sole existing MS. is a recent one,
and has admitted new speech-forms;[62] moreover the prose versions derive
evidently from one original. The greater simplicity of the poem as
compared with the Grand St. Graal proves its anteriority in that case;
Paulin Paris' hypothesis that the poem in its present state is a second
draft, composed after the author had made acquaintance with the Grand St.
Graal, is untenable, the poem's reference (v. 929 etc.) to the "grant
livre" and to the "grant estoire dou Graal," written by "nul home qui
fust mortal" (v. 3,495-6) not being to the Grand St. Graal, but having,
on the contrary, probably suggested to the writer of the latter his
fiction of Christ's being the real author of his work. The Grand St. Graal
used the poem conjointly with the Queste, piecing out the one version by
help of the other, and thereby entirely missing the sequence of ideas in
the poem, which is as follows: Sin, the cause of want among the people;
the separation of the pure from the impure by means of the fish (symbol of
Christ) caught by Brons, which fish does not feed the people, but, in
conjunction with the Grail, severs the true from the false disciples;
punishment of the self-willed false disciple; reward of Brons by charge of
the Grail. In the Grand St. Graal, on the contrary, the fish is no symbol,
but actual food, a variation which must be laid to the account of the
Queste. In a similar way the two Alains in the Grand St. Graal may be
accounted for, the one as derived from the poem, the second from the
Queste. As far as conception is concerned, the later work is no advance
upon the earlier one. To return to Borron's work, which consists of three
sections; there is no reason to doubt his authorship of the second,
Merlin, or of the third, Perceval, although one MS. only of the former
mentions the fact, and it is, moreover, frequently found in connection
with other romances, in especial with the Lancelot; as for Perceval, the
silence of the unique MS. as to Borron is no argument, as it is equally
silent in the Joseph of Arimathea section. All outward circumstances go to
show that Borron divided his work into three parts, Joseph, Merlin,
Perceval. But, if so, the last part must correspond in a fair measure to
the first one; recollect, however, that we are dealing with a poet of but
little invention or power of giving unity to discordant themes, and must
not expect to find a clearly traced plan carried out in every detail. Thus
the author's promise in Joseph to speak later of Moses and Petrus seems
not to be fulfilled, but this is due to Borron's timidity in the invention
of new details. What _is_ said of Moses does not disagree with the Joseph,
whereas a later writer would probably follow the Grand St. Graal account;
as for Petrus he is to be recognised in the hermit Perceval's uncle. There
may be some inconsistency here, but Borron _can_ be inconsistent, as is
shown by his treatment of Alain, who at first vows to remain virgin, and
afterwards marries. But a graver argument remains to be met; the lance
occurs in Perceval--now _ex hypothesi_ the first introduction of the lance
is due to Chrestien. The lance, however, only occurs in two passages, both
obviously interpolated. The identity of authorship is evident when the
style and phraseology of the two works are compared; in both the Grail is
always _li graaux_ or else _li veissel_, not as with the later versions,
_li saint graaux_; both speak of _la grace dou graal_; in both the Grail
is _bailli_ to its keeper, who has it _en guarde_; the empty seat is _li
liu vit_, not the _siège perilleux_. The central conception, too, is the
same--the Trinity of Grail-keepers symbolising the Divine Trinity. The
secret words given by Christ with the Grail to Joseph in prison, by him
handed on to Brons, are confided at the end of the Perceval by Brons to
the hero--and there is no trace of the Galahad form of the Quest, as would
inevitably have been the case had the Perceval been posterior in date to
the Queste. As the Perceval is connected with the Joseph, so it is equally
with the Merlin; it is remarkable that neither Merlin nor Blaise play a
prominent part in the Queste versions, but in Borron's poem Merlin is the
necessary binding link between the Apostolic and Arthurian ages. Again the
whole character of the Perceval speaks for its being one of the earliest
works of the cycle; either it must have used Chrestien and Gautier or they
it; if the former, is it credible that just those adventures which were
necessary to supply the ending to the Joseph could have been picked out?
But it is easy to follow the way in which Chrestien used the Perceval;
having the three-part poem before him he took the third only for his
canvas, left out all that in it related to the first two parts, all,
moreover, that related to the origin and early history of the Grail; the
story of the childhood is half indicated in the Perceval, and Chrestien
may have had Breton lays with which to help himself out; all relating to
the empty seat is left out as reaching back into the Early History; the
visit to Gurnemanz is introduced to supply a motive for the hero's conduct
at the Grail Castle; the wound of the Fisher King is again only an attempt
of Chrestien's to supply a more telling motive; as for the sword Chrestien
invented it; as he also did the Grail-messenger, whose portrait he copied
from that of Rosette la Blonde. The order of the last episodes is altered
by Chrestien sensibly for the better, as, with him, Perceval's doubt comes
first, then the Good Friday reproof, then the confession to and absolution
by the hermit; whereas in the Perceval the hero after doubt, reproof, and
absolution rides off again a-tourneying, and requires a second reproof at
Merlin's hands. It is easy to see here which is the original, which the
copy. Chrestien thus took with clear insight just what he wanted in the
Perceval to fit out his two heroes with adventures.[63] As for Borron's
guiding conception, his resolve to have nothing to do with the Early
History made him neglect it entirely; he only cared to produce a knightly
poem, and we find, in consequence, that he has materialised all the
spiritual elements of his model. Gautier de Doulens' method of proceeding
was much simpler: he took over all those adventures that Chrestien
purposely left out, and they may be found brought together (verses
22,390-27,390) with but few episodes (Perceval's visit to Blanchefleur,
etc.) entirely foreign to the model amongst them.[64] The Perceval cannot
be later than Gautier, as otherwise it could not stand in such close
relationship to the Joseph and Merlin; it must, therefore, be the source
of the Conte du Graal, and a necessary part of Borron's poem, which in its
entirety is the first attempt to bring the Joseph of Arimathea legend into
connection with the Arthur _sage_. The question as to the origin of the
Grail would thus seem answered, the Christian legendary character of
Borron's conception being evident; but there still remains the possibility
that that conception is but the Christianised form of an older folk-myth.
Such a one has been sought for in Celtic tradition. The part played by
Merlin in the trilogy might seem to lend colour to such an hypothesis, but
his connection with the legend is a purely artificial one. Nor is the
theory of a Celtic origin strengthened by reference to the Mabinogi of
Peredur. This knows nought of Merlin, and is nearer to Chrestien than to
the Didot-Perceval, and may, indeed, be looked upon as simply a clumsy
retelling of the Conte du Graal with numerous additions. A knowledge of
the Didot-Perceval on Chrestien's part must be presupposed, as where could
he have got the Fisher King and Grail Castle save from a poem which dealt
with the Early History of the Grail, a thing the Mabinogi does not do.
But, it may be said, Chrestien used the Mabinogi conjointly with Borron's
poem. That the Welsh tale is, on the contrary, only a copy is apparent
from the following considerations:--It mixes up Gurnemanz and the Fisher
King; it puts in the mouth of Peredur's _mother_ an exclamation about the
knights, "Angels they are my son," obviously misread from Perceval's
exclamation to the same effect in Chrestien's poem; _Perceval's_
love-trance over the three blood drops in the snow is explained in
Chrestien by the hero's passion for Blanchefleur, but is quite
inexplicable in the Mabinogi; again, in the Welsh tale, the lance and
basin episode is quite a secondary one, a fact easily explained if it is
looked upon as a vague reminiscence of Chrestien's unfinished work;
moreover the Mabinogi lays great stress upon the lance, which has already
been shown to belong to a secondary stage in the development of the
legend. Again the word Graal occurs frequently in old Welsh literature,
and invariably in its French form, never translated by any equivalent
Welsh term. As for the name Peredur, it is understandable that the Welsh
storyteller should choose the name of a national hero, instead of the
foreign name Perceval; the etymology Basin-Seeker is untenable. There is
no real analogy between the Grail and the magic cauldron of Celtic fable,
which is essentially one of renovation, whereas the Grail in the second
stage only acquires miraculous feeding, and in the third stage healing
powers. It is of course not impossible that such adventures in the
Mabinogi, as cannot be referred directly to Chrestien, may belong to a
genuine Peredur _sage_.

The question then arises--was Robert de Borron a simple copyist, or is the
legend in its present form due to him, _i.e._, did _he_ first join the
Joseph of Arimathea and Grail legends, or had he a predecessor? Now the
older Joseph legends know nothing of his wandering in company of a
miraculous vessel, Zarncke having shown the lateness of the one commonly
ascribed to William of Malmesbury. Nor is it likely Borron had before him
a local French legend as Paulin Paris (Romania, vol. i.) had supposed;
would he in that case have brought the Grail to England, and left Joseph's
fate in uncertainty? The bringing the Grail to England is simply the
logical consequence of his conception of the three Grail-keepers (the
third of British blood), symbolising the Trinity, and of the relation of
the Arthurian group to this central conception; where the third
Grail-keeper and the third of the three wondrous tables were, there the
Grail must also be. What then led Borron to connect the sacramental vessel
with the Joseph legend? In answering this question the later miraculous
properties of the Grail must be forgotten, and it must be remembered that
with Borron it is only a vessel of "grace;" this is shown in the history
of (Moys) the false disciple, which obviously follows in its details the
account of the Last Supper, and of the detection of Judas by means of the
dish into which Jesus dips a sop, bidding the betrayer take and eat.
Borron's first table being an exact copy of the Last Supper one, _his_
holy vessel has the property of that used by Christ. In so far Borron was
led to his conception by the story as told in the canonical books; what
help did he get from the Apocrypha? His mention of the Veronica legend and
certain details in his presentment of Vespasian's vengeance on the Jews
(_e.g._, his selling thirty for a penny) show him to have known the
Vindicta Salvatoris, in which Joseph of Arimathea appears telling of his
former captivity from which Christ Himself had delivered him. Thus Borron
knew of Joseph's living when Vespasian came to Jerusalem. From the Gesta
Pilati he had full information respecting the imprisonment of Joseph; he
combined the accounts of these two apocryphal works, substituting a simple
visit of Christ to Joseph for the deliverance as told in the Gesta Pilati,
and making Vespasian the deliverer, whereto he may have been urged by
Suetonius' account of the freeing of _Josephus_ by Vespasian (Vesp. ch.
v.). But why should Joseph become the Grail-keeper? Because the fortunes
of the vessel used by the Saviour symbolise those of the Saviour's body;
as _that_ was present at the Last Supper, was brought to Pilate, handed
over to Joseph, was buried, and after three days arose, so with the Grail.
Compare, too, Christ's words to Joseph (892, etc.) in which the symbolical
connection of the laying in the grave and the mass is fully worked out.
Thus Joseph who laid Christ's body in the grave is the natural guardian of
the symbol which commemorates that event, thus, too, the Grail is the
natural centre point of all the symbolism of mass and sacrament, and thus
the Grail found its place in the Joseph legend, ultimately becoming its
most important feature. Need Perceval's question detain us? May it not be
explained by the fact that as Joseph had to apply twice for Christ's body,
so his representative, the Grail-seeker, had to apply twice for the symbol
of Christ's body, the Grail? But it is, perhaps, best to consider the
question and the Fisher King's weakness as inventions of Borron's,
possibly derived from Breton sources, the ease with which the hero fulfils
a task explained to him beforehand favouring such a view. Borron, it must
be noticed, had no great inventive power; in the Joseph he is all right so
long as he has the legend to follow; in the Merlin and the Perceval he
clings with equal helplessness to the Breton sagas, confining himself to
weaving clumsily the adventures of the Grail into the regular Arthur

The question as to the authorship of the Grand St. Graal and the Queste,
the latter so confidently attributed to W. Map, may now profitably be
investigated. Map, who we know flourished 1143-1210 (see _supra_, p. 5),
took part in all the political and social movements of his time. If we
believe the testimony of the MSS. which ascribe to him the authorship of
the following romances: (1) the Lancelot, in three parts; (2) the Queste;
(3) the Mort Artur; (4) the Grand St. Graal, he would seem to have shown a
literary activity quite incompatible with his busy life, when it is
remembered how slow literary composition was in those days. Nor can it be
reconciled with the words of Giraldus Cambrensis,[65] although Paulin
Paris (Rom. i. 472) has attempted such a reconciliation by the theory that
the words _dicere_ and _verba dare_ referred to composition in the
vernacular, and that Map was opposing not his _oratorical_ to Gerald's
_literary_ activity, but his _French_ to Gerald's _Latin_ works. Against
this initial improbability and Gerald's positive testimony must be set, it
is true, the witness of writers of the time and of the MSS. The most
important is that of Hélie de Borron in his prologue to Guiron le
Courtois.[66] After telling how Luces de Gast was the first to translate
from the Latin book into French, and he did part of the story of Tristan,
he goes on: "Apriés s'en entremist maistre Gautiers Map qui fu clers au
roi Henry et devisa cil l'estoire de monseigneur Lancelot du Lac, que
d'autre chose ne parla il mie gramment en son livre. Messiers Robers de
Borron s'en entremist après. Je Helis de Borron, par la prière monseigneur
de Borron, et pour ce que compaignon d'armes fusmes longement, en
commençai mon livre du Bret." Again in the epilogue to the Bret,[67] "Je
croi bien touchier sor les livres que maistres Gautiers Maup fist, qui fit
lou propre livre de monsoingnour Lancelot dou Lac; et des autres granz
livres que messires Robert de Berron fit, voudrai-je prendre aucune flor
de la matière ... en tel meniere que li livres de monsoingnour Luces de
Gant et de maistre Gautier Maapp et ciz de monsoingnour Robert de Berron
qui est mes amis et mes paranz charnex s'acourderont au miens livres--et
je qui sui appelex Helyes de Berron qui fui engendrez dou sanc des gentix
paladins des Barres qui de tous tens ont été commendeour et soingnor
d'Outres en Roménie qui ores est appelée France." Now Hélie cannot
possibly belong to the reign of Henry II (+ 1189) as asserted by Hucher
(p. 59), as he speaks of Map in the past tense (_fu_ clers), and Map
outlived Henry, moreover the mention of Romenie proves the passage to have
been written after the foundation of the Latin Empire in 1304. Hélie's
testimony is thus not that of an immediate contemporary, and it only shows
that shortly after Map's death the Lancelot was ascribed to him. It is,
moreover, in so far tainted, that he speaks with equal assurance
respecting the great Latin book which of course never existed; nor can we
believe him when he says that he was the comrade of Robert de Borron, as
this latter wrote before Chrestien, and must have been at least thirty
years older than Hélie, who in the Guiron (written about 1220) calls
himself a young man. How is it with the testimony of the MSS.? Those of
the Lancelot have unfortunately lost their colophon, owing to the Queste
being almost invariably added; those of the Queste show as a rule a
colophon such as the one quoted by Paulin Paris from the Bibl. Nat., MS.
6,963 (MSS. Franç II., p. 361): "Maistre Gautiers Map les estrait pour son
livre faire dou Saint-Graal, pour l'amor del roy Henri son seignor, qui
fist l'estore translater dou latin en françois." A similar statement
occurs in a MS. of the Mort Artur (Bib. Nat. 6,782.). Both are equally
credible. Now as the King can only be Henry II (+ 1189) and as the Queste
preceded the Mort Artur it must be put about 1185, and Chrestien's Conte
du Graal about 1180, an improbably early date when it is recollected that
the Conte du Graal is Chrestien's last work. The form, too, of these
colophons, expressed as they are in the third person, so different from
the garrulous first person complacency with which Luces de Gast and Hélie
de Borron announce their authorship, excites the suspicion that we have
here not the author's own statement, but that of a copyist following a
traditional ascription. Whether or no Map wrote the Lancelot, it may
safely be assumed that he did not write the Queste, or _a fortiori_ the
Grand St. Graal. The tradition as to his authorship of these romances may
have originated in Geoffrey's mention of the Gualterus archidiaconus
Oxenfordensis, to whom he owed his MS. of the Historia Regum Britanniae. A
similar instance of traditional ascription on the part of the copyist may
be noted in the MSS. of the Grand St. Graal, the author of which is
declared to be Robert de Borron. The ordinary formulæ (quoted _supra_, p.
5) should be compared with Borron's own words in the Joseph (_supra_, p.
5) and the difference in form noted. What proves these passages to be
interpolations is that the author of the Grand St. Graal especially
declares in his prologue that his name must remain a secret. The colophons
in question are simply to be looked upon as taken over from the genuine
ascription of Borron's poem, and there is no positive evidence as to the
authorship of either the Queste or the Grand St. Graal; both works are
probably French in origin, as is shown by the mention of Meaux in the
Grand St. Graal. As for the date of Borron's poem, a _terminus ad quem_ is
fixed by that of the Conte du Graal (1180); and as the poem is dedicated
to Gautier of Montbeliard, who can hardly have been born before 1150, and
who must have attained a certain age before he could become Robert's
patron, it must fall between the years 1170 and 1190.

The results of the investigation may be summed up as follows: the origin
of the Grail romances must be sought for in a Christian legend based
partly upon the canonical, partly upon the uncanonical, writings. This
Christian legend was woven into the Breton sagas by the author of the
oldest Grail romance; the theories of Provençal Spanish, or Celtic origin
are equally untenable, nor is there any need to countenance the fable of a
Latin original. Chronologically, the versions arrange themselves thus:--

    (1) Between 1170 and 1190 (probably about 1183) Robert de Borron wrote
    his trilogy: Joseph of Arimathea--Merlin--Perceval. Sources: Christian
    legend (Acta, Pilati, Descensus Christi, Vindicta Salvatoris) and
    Breton sagas (Brut?). Here the Grail is simply a vessel of grace.

    (2) About 1189 Chrestien began his Conte du Graal, the main source of
    which was the third part of Borron's poem. Marvellous food properties
    attributed to the Grail; introduction of the bleeding lance, silver
    dish, and magic sword.

    (3) Between 1190 and 1200 Gautier de Doulens continued Chrestien's
    poem. Main sources, third part of (1) and first part of same for Early
    History--introduction of broken sword.

    (4) Between 1190 and 1200 (but after Gautier?) the Queste du St. Graal
    written as continuation to the Lancelot. Sources (1) and (2) (for
    lance) and perhaps (3). New personages, Mordrain, Nascien, etc.,
    introduced into Early History.

    (5) Before 1204 Grand St. Graal written, mainly resting upon (4) but
    with use also of first part of (1).

    (6) Between 1214 and 1220. Manessier's continuation of the Conte du
    Graal. For the Early History (5) made use of.

    (7) Before 1225 Gerbert of Montreuil's additions to Manessier. Both
    (4) and (5) used.

    (8) About 1225 Perceval li Gallois; compiled from all the previous

That part of Birch-Hirschfeld's theory which excited the most attention in
Germany bore upon the relationship of Wolfram to Chrestien (see _infra_,
Appendix A). In other respects his theory won very general acceptance. The
commendatory notices were, however, of a slight character, and no new
facts were adduced in support of his thesis. One opponent, however, he
found who did more than rest his opposition upon the view of Wolfram's
relationship to Chrestien. This was E. Martin, who ("Zeitschrift für d.
Alterthumskunde," 1878, pp. 84 etc.) traversed most of Birch-Hirschfeld's
conclusions. Whilst accepting the priority of Queste over Grand St. Graal
he did not see the necessity of fixing 1204 as a _terminus ad quem_ for
the latter work as we now have it, as Helinandus' statement might have
referred to an older version; if the Grand St. Graal could not be dated
neither could the Queste. As for the Didot-Perceval there was nothing to
prove that it was either Borron's work or the source of Chrestien and
Gautier. Birch-Hirschfeld's arguments to show the interpolation of the
lance passages were unsound; it was highly improbable either that
Chrestien should have used the Perceval as alleged, or that Borron, the
purely religious writer of the Joseph, should have changed his style so
entirely in the Perceval. Moreover, Birch-Hirschfeld made Borron dedicate
a work to Gautier of Montbeliard before 1183 when the latter must have
been quite a young man, nor was there any reason to discredit Hélie de
Borron's testimony that he and Robert had been companions in arms, a fact
incredible had the one written forty years before the other. The work of
Chrestien and his continuators must be looked upon as the oldest we had of
the Grail cycle. It was likely that older versions had been lost. A Latin
version might well have existed, forms such as Joseph de Barimaschie
(_i.e._, ab Arimathea) pointed to it. Martin followed up this attack in
his "Zur Gralsage, Untersuchungen," Strasburg, 1880. A first section is
devoted to showing that Wolfram must have had other sources than
Chrestien, and that in consequence such portions of his presentment as
differ from Chrestien's must be taken into account in reconstructing the
original form of the romance. The second and third sections deal with
Heinrich von dem Türlin's "Die Crone," and with the earliest form of the
tradition. Gawain's second visit to the Grail Castle, as told of by
Heinrich (_supra_, p. 26) has features in common with the widely-spread
traditions of aged men slumbering in caves or ruined castles, unable to
die until the right word is uttered which breaks their spell. This
conception differs from the one found in all the other versions inasmuch
as in them the wonder-working question releases, not from unnaturally
prolonged life, but from sore disease. Can a parallel be found in Celtic
tradition to this sufferer awaiting deliverance? Does not Arthur, wounded
well nigh to death by his nephew Modred, pass a charmed life in Avalon,
whither Morgan la Fay carried him for his healing, and shall he not return
thence to free his folk? The original conception is mythic--the summer god
banished by the winter powers, but destined to come back again. The _sage_
of Arthur's waiting, often in some subterranean castle, is widely spread,
two of the earliest notices (those of Gervasius of Tilbury, in the "Otia
Imperialia," p. 12 of Liebrecht's edition, and of Caesarius of
Heisterbach) connect it with Etna--the tradition had followed the Norman
Conquerors of Sicily thither--and from Sicily it would seem to have
penetrated to Germany, being first found in German tradition as told of
Frederick II. Again Gerald (A.D. 1188) in the "Itinerarium Cambriae"
(Frankfort, 1603, p. 827, L. 48) tells of a mountain chain in the
South-East of Wales: "quorum principalis Cadair Arthur dicitur i. Cathedra
Arthuri, propter gemina promontorii cacumina in cathedrae modum se
praeferentia. Et quoniam in alto cathedra et in ardua sita est, summo et
maximo Britonum Regi Arthuro vulgari nuncupatione est assignata." The
Eildon Hills may be noted in the same connection, "in which all the
Arthurian chivalry await, in an enchanted sleep, the bugle blast of the
adventurer who will call them at length to a new life" (Stuart Glennie,
"Arthurian Localities," p. 60). If the Grail King is Arthur, the bleeding
lance is evidently the weapon wherewith he was so sorely wounded. And the
Grail? this is originally a symbol of plenty, of a joyous and bountiful
life, hence of Avalon, that land of everlasting summer beyond the waves,
wherein, as the Vita Merlini has it, they that visit Arthur find
"planitiem omnibus deliciis plenam." Of those versions of the romance in
which the Christian conception of the Grail is predominant, Robert de
Borron's poem (composed about 1200) is the earliest, and in it, _maugre_
the Christianising of the story, the Celtic basis is apparent: the Grail
host go a questing Avalonwards; the first keepers are Brons and Alain,
purely Celtic names, the former of which may be compared with Bran; the
empty seat calls to mind the _Eren stein_ in Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's
Lanzelot, whereof (verse 5,178) _ist gesaget daz er den man niht vertruoc
an dem was valsch oder haz_. Admitting the purely Christian origin of the
Grail leads to this difficulty: the vessel in which Christ's blood was
received was a bowl, not an open or flat dish like that used in
commemoration of the Last Supper. Evidently the identification of the
Grail with the Last Supper cup is the latest of a series of
transformations. Nor can the Christian origin of the legend be held proved
by the surname of Fisher given to the Grail-keeper. True, neither
Chrestien nor Wolfram explains this surname, whilst in Borron's poem there
is at least a fish caught. But if the fish had really the symbolic meaning
ascribed to it would not a far greater stress be laid upon it? In any case
this one point is insufficient to prove the priority of Borron, and it is
simpler to believe that the surname of Fisher had in the original Celtic
tradition a significance now lost. Birch-Hirschfeld's theory supposes,
too, a development contrary to that observed elsewhere in mediæval
tradition. The invariable course is from the racial-heathen to the
Christian legendary stage. Is it likely that in the twelfth century, a
period of such highly developed mystic fancy, an originally Christian
legend should lose its mystic character and become a subject for minstrels
to exercise their fancy upon? In the earlier form of the romance there is
an obvious contrast between the task laid upon the Grail quester and that
laid upon Gawain at Castle Marvellous. The first has suffered change by
its association with Christian legend; but the second, even in those
versions influenced by the legend, has retained its primitive Celtic
character. The trials which Gawain has to undergo may be compared with
those imposed on him who seeks to penetrate into the underworld, as
pictured in the Purgatorium S. Patricii, in the Visio Tnugdali, etc. This
agrees well with the presentment of Castle Marvellous, an underworld realm
where dwell four queens long since vanished from Arthur's court, and
which, according to Chrestien (verse 9,388), Gawain, having once found,
may no longer leave. One of these queens is Arthur's mother, whom a
magician had carried off, a variant it would seem of the tradition which
makes Arthur's father, Uther, win Igerne from her husband by Merlin's
magic aid. Many other reminiscences of Celtic tradition may be found in
the romances--Orgeleuse, whom Gawain finds sitting under a tree by a
spring, is just such a water fairy as may be met with throughout the whole
range of Celtic folk-lore, and differs profoundly from the Germanic
conception of such beings.

W. Hertz, in his "Sage vom Parzival und dem Gral" (Breslau, 1882)
following, in the main, Birch-Hirschfeld, lays stress upon the two
elements, "_legend_" and "_sage_" out of which the romance cycle has
sprung. He does not overlook many of the weak points in Birch-Hirschfeld's
theory, _e.g._, whilst fully accepting the fish caught by Bron as the
symbol of Christ, he notices that the incident as found in Robert de
Borron, whom he accepts as the first in date of the cycle writers, is not
of such importance as to justify the stress laid upon the nickname "rich
fisher," by all the _ex hypothesi_ later writers. The word "rich" must, he
thinks, have originally referred to the abundant power of conversion of
heathen vouchsafed to the Grail-keeper, but even Robert failed to grasp
the full force of the allusion. Against Birch-Hirschfeld he maintains that
the connection of Joseph with the conversion of Britain in all the
versions shows that the legend must have assumed definite shape first on
British soil, and he looks upon the separatist and anti-papal tendencies
of the British Church as supplying the original impulse to such a legend.
The Grail belongs originally wholly to the "Legend;" only in the later
versions and in Wolfram, owing to the latter's ignorance of its real
nature, does it assume a magic and popular character. The lance, on the
other hand, is partly derived from the Celtic _sage_. The boyhood of
Perceval is a genuine folk-story, a great-fool tale, and had originally
nothing to do with the Grail, as may plainly be seen by reference to the
Thornton Sir Perceval, the most primitive form of the story remaining, the
Mabinogi, and the modern Breton tale of Peronnik, deriving directly or
indirectly from Chrestien. As for the question, although it presented much
that seemed to refer it to folk-tradition, as for instance in Heinrich von
dem Türlin's version, where Gawain's putting the question releases the
lord of the castle and his retainers from the enchantment of
life-in-death, yet the form of the question, "Je vos prie que vous me diez
que l'en sert de cest vessel," shows its original connection with the
Grail cultus, and necessitates its reference to the "Legend." Existing
versions fail, however, to give any satisfactory account of the question.
It is a matter of conjecture whether in the earliest form of the legend
(which Hertz assumes to have been lost) it was found in the same shape as
in the Didot-Perceval.

Birch-Hirschfeld's theory has already been implicitly criticised in
Chapter III. The considerations adduced therein, as well as Martin's
criticisms and Hertz's admissions, preclude the necessity of examining it
in further detail. Formally speaking, the theory rests upon the assumption
that we have Borron's work substantially as he wrote it, an assumption
which, as shown by the difference in _motif_ between the Metrical Joseph
and the Didot-Perceval, is inaccurate. Again, the theory does not account
for the silence of all the other versions respecting Brons and that
special conception of the Grail found in Borron's poem. Nor does it offer
any satisfactory explanation of the mysterious question which
Birch-Hirschfeld can only conjecture to have been a meaningless invention,
_eine harmlose Erfindung_, of Borron's. In fact, only such, portions of
the cycle are exhaustively examined as admit of reference to the alleged
originating idea, and a show of rigorous deduction is thus made, the
emptiness of which becomes apparent when the entire legend, and not one
portion only, is taken into account. Despite the learning and acuteness
with which it is urged, Birch-Hirschfeld's theory must be rejected, if it
were only because, as Martin points out, it postulates a development of
the legend which is the very opposite of the normal one. We cannot admit
that this vast body of romance sprang from a simple but lofty spiritual
conception, the full significance of which, unperceived even by its
author, was totally ignored, not only, were that possible, by Chrestien
and his continuators, but by the theologising mystics who wrote the Grand
St. Graal and the Queste--aye, and even by the latest and in some respects
the most theologically minded of all the writers of the cycle, the author
of the Prose Perceval le Gallois and Gerbert. We must say, with Otto Küpp
(Zacher's Zeitschrift, XVII, 1, p. 68), "die jetzt versuchte christliche
Motivierung ist ganz unglücklich geraten und kann in keiner Weise

The field is thus clear for an examination of the Quest with a view to
determining whether the Grail really belongs to it or not. The first step
is to see what relationship exists between the oldest form of the Quest
and what have been called the non-Grail members of the cycle--_i.e._, the
Mabinogi of Peredur ab Evrawc and the Thornton MS. Sir Perceval. As
preliminary to this inquiry, an attempt must be made to determine more
closely the relationship of the Didot-Perceval to the Conte du
Graal--whether it be wholly derived from the latter, or whether it may
have preserved through other sources traces of a different form of the
story than that found in Chrestien.[69]


    Relationship of the Didot-Perceval to the Conte du Graal--The former
    not the source of the latter--Relationship of the Conte du Graal and
    the Mabinogi--Instances in which the Mabinogi has copied
    Chrestien--Examples of its independence--The incident of the blood
    drops in the snow--Differences between the two works--The machinery of
    the Mabinogi and the traces of it in the Conte du Graal--The
    stag-hunt--The Mabinogi and Manessier--The sources of the Conte du
    Graal and the relation of the various parts to a common original--Sir
    Perceval--Steinbach's theory--Objections to it--The counsels in the
    Conte du Graal--Wolfram and the Mabinogi--Absence of the Grail from
    the apparently oldest Celtic form.

In examining the relationship of the Didot-Perceval to the Conte du Graal,
the sequence of the incidents is of importance. This is shown in the
subjoined table (where the numbers given are those of the incidents as
summarized, chapter II), in which the Didot-Perceval sequence is taken as
the standard.

        DIDOT-PERCEVAL.           |        CHRESTIEN.           |
  Inc.                            |Inc.                         |
   2. Perceval sets forth in      |11. Only after the reproaches|
      quest of the rich fisher.   |    of the loathly damsel    |
                                  |    does Perceval first set  |
                                  |    forth in quest of the    |
                                  |    Grail.                   |
                                  |                             |
   3. Finds a damsel weeping over | 8. In so far as finding a   |
      a knight. Adventure with    |    damsel weeping over a    |
      dwarf and the Orgellos      |    dead knight, and (9) for |
      Delande.                    |    overcoming the Orgellous |
                                  |    de la Lande.             |
                                  |                             |
   4. Arrival at the Chessboard   |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      Castle. Adventure of the    |                             |
      stag hunt and loss of the   |                             |
      hound.                      |                             |
                                  |                             |
   5. Meeting with sister;        |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      instruction concerning the  |                             |
      Grail; vow to seek it.      |                             |
                                  |                             |
   6. Meeting with, confession    |15. _After_ the Good Friday  |
      to, and exhortation from    |    incident.                |
      hermit uncle.               |                             |
                                  |                             |
   7. Disregard of uncle's        |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      exhortations (slaying a     |                             |
      knight), through thinking   |                             |
      of damsel of the            |                             |
      Chessboard.                 |                             |
                                  |                             |
   8. Meeting with Rosette and    |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      Le Beau Mauvais (the        |                             |
      loathly damsel).            |                             |
                                  |                             |
   9. Adventure at the Ford with  |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      Urbains.                    |                             |
                                  |                             |
  10. The two children in the     |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      tree.                       |                             |
                                  |                             |
  11. First arrival at Grail      | 7. ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      Castle.                     |                             |
                                  |                             |
  12. Reproaches of the wayside   | 8. In so far as in both the |
      damsel.                     |    hero is reproached by a  |
                                  |    wayside damsel.          |
                                  |                             |
  13. Meeting with the damsel who |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      had carried off the stag's  |                             |
      head and hound, and second  |                             |
      visit to Castle of the      |                             |
      Chessboard.                 |                             |
                                  |                             |
  14. Period (7 years) of despair |15. ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      ended by the Good Friday    |                             |
      incident.                   |                             |
                                  |                             |
  15. Tournament at Melianz de    |13. But told of Gawain not   |
      Lis. Merlin's reproaches.   |    of Perceval.             |
                                  |                             |
  16. Second arrival at Grail     |    ...   ...   ...   ...    |
      Castle Achievement of Quest.|                             |

    ...   ...   ...   ...

  9. In so far as a damsel
     is foundlamenting over
      a knight.

   7 and 8.



  12. In so far as a knight
      is slain, but _before_
      the meeting with the


   9. Ford Amorous; _entirely
      different adventure_.

  20. _One_ child.

    ...   ...   ...   ...

    ...   ...   ...   ...

  13 and 18. Many adventures
     being intercalated.

    ...   ...   ...   ...

    ...   ...   ...   ...



The different sequence in the Didot-Perceval and Chrestien may be
explained, as Birch-Hirschfeld explains it, by the freedom which Chrestien
allowed himself in re-casting the work; but why should Gautier, who, _ex
hypothesi_, simply took up from Chrestien's model such adventures as his
predecessor had omitted, have acted in precisely the same way? If the
theory were correct we should expect to find the non-Chrestien incidents
of the Didot-Perceval brought together in at least fairly the same order
in Gautier. A glance at the table shows that this is not the case. In one
incident, moreover, the Didot-Perceval is obviously right and Gautier
obviously wrong, namely, in his incident 12, where the slaying of the
knight before the hero's meeting the hermit takes away all point from the
incident. An absolutely decisive proof that that portion of the Conte du
Graal which goes under Gautier's name (though it is by no means clear that
all of it is of the same age or due to one man), cannot be based upon the
Didot-Perceval as we now possess it, is afforded by the adventure of the
Ford Amorous or Perillous, which in the two versions is quite dissimilar.
This incident stands out pre-eminent in the Didot-Perceval for its wild
and fantastic character. It is a genuine Celtic _märchen_, with much of
the weird charm still clinging to it that is the birthright of the Celtic
folk-tale. It is inadmissible that Gautier could have substituted for this
fine incident the commonplace one which he gives.

If, then, it is out of the question that Gautier borrowed directly from
the Didot-Perceval, how are the strong resemblances which exist in part
between the two versions to be accounted for? Some of these resemblances
have already been quoted (_supra_, p. 75), the remainder may be usefully
brought together here.[70]

First arrival at the Castle of the Chessboard--

  DIDOT-PERCEVAL.                            GAUTIER.

  Li plus biaux chasteaux del monde  Le bel castiel que je vos dis
  et vit le pont abeissié et la        .     .     .     .     .
  porte deffermé (p. 439).           Et vit si bièles les entrées
                                     Et les grans portes desfremées
                                         (22,395, etc.);

The damsel exhorts him not to throw the chessman into the water--

  Votre cors est esmeuz à grant     Car çou serait grans vilonie (22,503).
  vilainie faire (p. 440).

Perceval having slain the stag, sees its head carried off--

  Si vint une veille sor un palestoi  Une pucièle de malaire
  grant aléure et prist le brachet    Vint cevauçant parmi la lande
  et s'en ala or tot (p. 442).        Voit le braket, plus ne demande
                                      Par le coler d'orfrois le prist
                                        .     .     .     .     .     .
                                      Si s'en aloit grant aléure
                                          (22,604, etc.).

On Perceval threatening to take it away from her by force she answers--

  Sire Chevalier, force n'est mie     Force à faire n'est mie drois
  droit et force me poez bien         Et force me poés vos faire (22,640).
  faire (p. 443).

In the subsequent fight with the Knight of the Tomb, he, overcome--

  Se torna vers le tonbel grant     Que fuiant vait grant aléure
  aléure et li tombeaux s'enleva    Vers l'arket et la sepouture
  contre moultet chevalier s'en     Si est entrés plus tost qu'il pot
  feri enz (p. 444).                     (22,723, etc.).

In the description of Rosette (the loathly damsel)--

  Ele avoit le col et les mains plus  Le col avoit plus noir que fer
  noires et le vier, que fer...           (25,409).
  (p. 453).

When the loathly damsel and her knight come to Arthur's court, Kay jests
as follows:--

  Lors pria (_i.e._, Kay) le chevalier                Biaus sire,
  par la foi que il devoit, le roi,      Dites moi, si Dex le vos mire,
  qui li déist où il l'avoit prise et    Si plus en a en vostre terre,
  si en porroit une autre tele avoir,    Une autèle en iroie querre
  si il l'aloit querre (p. 457).         Si jou le quidoie trover
                                             (25,691 etc.).

These similarities are too great to be accidental. It will be noticed,
however, that they bear chiefly upon two adventures: that of the
chessboard and stag hunt, and that of the loathly maiden. As to the
latter, it is only necessary to allude to Birch-Hirschfeld's idea that
Rosette is the original of the damsel who reproaches Perceval before the
court with his conduct at the Grail Castle, a theory to state which is to
refute it. The former adventure will be closely examined in the following
section. There is no need to suppose direct borrowing on the part of one
or the other versions to account for the parallel in these two incidents;
a common original closely followed at times by both would meet the
requirements of the case. It is difficult to admit that the author of the
Didot-Perceval used Gautier's continuation and not Chrestien's original,
especially when the following fact, strangely overlooked by both
Birch-Hirschfeld and Hucher, is taken into account: Perceval on his first
arrival at the Grail Castle keeps silence (as will be seen by a reference
to the summary, _supra_, p. 31), because, "li souvenoit du prodome qui li
avoit deffandu que ne fust trop pallier," etc. As a matter of fact, the
"prodome" had forbidden nothing of the sort, and this casual sentence is
the first allusion to the motive upon which Chrestien lays so much stress
as explaining his hero's mysterious conduct at the Grail Castle. Evidently
the Didot-Perceval, which, to whoever considers it impartially, is an
obvious abridgment and piecing together of material from different
sources, found in one of its sources an episode corresponding to that of
Gonemans in Chrestien. But its author, influenced probably by the Galahad
version of the Quest, substituted for the "childhood" opening of this
hypothetical source the one now found in his version, and the Gonemans
episode went with the remainder of that part of the story. When the hero
comes to the Grail Castle, the author is puzzled; his hero knows
beforehand what he has to do, sets out with the distinct purpose of doing
it, and yet remains silent. To account for this silence the author uses
the motive belonging to a discarded episode, but applies the words to his
hermit, forgetting that he had put no such words into his mouth, and that,
attributed to him, the injunction to keep silence became simply
meaningless. Is the model treated in this way by the Didot-Perceval
Chrestien's poem? Hardly, for this reason. After the Good Friday incident
occurs the remarkable passage, quoted (_supra_, p. 31), as to the silence
of the _trouvères_ respecting it. Chrestien gives the incident in full,
and the author of the Perceval could have had no reason for his stricture,
or could not have ventured it had he been using Chrestien's work. Two
hypotheses then remain; the unknown source may have been a version akin to
that used by Chrestien and Gautier, or it may have been a summary
abridgment of the Conte du Graal, in which, _inter alia_, the Good Friday
incident was left out. In either case the presence of the passage in the
Perceval is equally hard of explanation; but the first hypothesis is
favoured by the primitive character of the incident of the Ford Perillous,
and several other features which will be touched upon in their place. The
Didot-Perceval would thus be an attempt to provide an ending for Borron's
poem by adapting to its central _donnée_ a version of the Perceval _sage_
akin to that which forms the groundwork of the Conte du Graal, its author
being largely influenced by the Galahad form of the Quest as found in the
_Queste_. If this view be correct, the testimony of Perceval (wherever not
influenced by Borron's poem or the _Queste_) is of value in determining
the original form of the story, the more so from the author's evident want
of skill in piecing together his materials. It will, therefore, be used in
the following section, which deals with the relationship of the Conte du
Graal and the Mabinogi of Peredur ab Evrawc.

_Relationship of the Conte du Graal and the Mabinogi._--As was seen in
Chapter IV, opinion began with Monsieur de Villemarqué by accepting the
Mabinogi as the direct source of the Conte du Graal, and has ended with
Zarncke and Birch-Hirschfeld in looking upon it as a more or less direct
copy. The most competent of living scholars in this matter, M. Gaston
Paris, has expressed himself in favour of this opinion in his recent
article on the Lancelot story (Romania, 1886).[71] Before dealing with the
question as presented in this form, Simrock's view, differing as it does
from that of all other investigators, deserves notice. He, too, looks upon
the Mabinogi as derived from Chrestien, and yet bases his interpretation
of the myth underlying the romance upon a feature, the bleeding head in
the dish, found only in it. But if the Mabinogi have really preserved here
the genuine form of the myth, it must represent an older version than
Chrestien's, and if, on the other hand, Chrestien be its only source, the
feature in question cannot belong to the earliest form of the story.
Simrock's theory stands then or falls in this respect by the view taken of
the relationship between the two versions, and need not be discussed until
that view has been stated.

To facilitate comparison, the incidents common to the two stories are
tabulated as under, those of the Mabinogi being taken as the standard:--

             MABINOGI.                         CONTE DU GRAAL.

  Inc.                                  Inc.      _Chrestien._
   1. Encounter with the knights.        1.

   2. Adventure with the damsel of       2.
      the tent.

   3. Avenging of the insult to          3 and 4.
      Guinevere; incident of the
      dwarves; departure from Court.

   5. Arrival at house of first uncle    5. Gonemans.
      (found fishing); instruction in

   6. Arrival at house of second uncle   7. Uncle found fishing;
      (Grail Castle). First sight of        talismans, Grail and lance.
      the talismans (head in basin and

   7. Reproaches of foster-sister whom   8. Reproached by his cousin; also
      he finds lamenting over a dead        instructed by her about the
      knight.                               magic sword.

   8. Adventure with the damsel of the   6. Blanchefleur, Gonemant's
      besieged castle who offers            niece.
      herself to hero.

   9. Second meeting with the lady of    9.
      the tent.

  10. First encounter with the
      sorceresses of Gloucester, who
      are forced to desist from
      assailing hero's hostess.

  11. Adventure of the drops of blood   10.
      in the snow.

  20. Reproaching of Peredur before     11.
      the Court by the loathly damsel.

  21. Gwalchmai's adventure with the    14.
      lady whose father he had slain.

  22. Peredur's meeting the knight on   15. Hermit, hero's uncle.
      Good Friday, and confession to
  24. Arrival at the Castle of Wonders  Inc. 7, 8, and partly 13 and 18.
      (Chessboard Castle); stag hunt;
      loss of dog; fight with the
      black man of the cromlech.

  25. Second arrival at the (Grail)     22. In so far as Gautier ends his
      castle; achievement of the Quest      part of the story here with
      by destruction of sorceresses of      the hero's second arrival at
      Gloucester. "Thus it is related       the Grail Castle, but no
      concerning the Castle of              similarity in the incidents.

The sequence is thus exactly the same in the Mabinogi and in Chrestien,
with the single exception of the Blanchefleur incident, which, in the
French poem precedes, in the Welsh tale follows, the first visit to the
Grail Castle. The similarity of order is sufficient of itself to warrant
the surmise of a relation such as that of copy to original. If the
Mabinogi be examined closely, much will be found to strengthen this
surmise. Thus, Birch-Hirschfeld has pointed out that when Peredur first
sees the knights, and on asking his mother what they may be, receives the
answer, "Angels, my son"; this can only be a distorted reminiscence of
Perceval's own exclamation,

      ... Ha! sire Dex, Merchi!
  Ce sont angle que je voi ci! (1,349-50).

as the hero's mother would be the last person to describe thus the knights
whom she has done her best to guard her son from knowledge of. Again,
Simrock has criticised, and with reason, the incident of Peredur's being
acclaimed by the dwarf on his arrival at Arthur's court as the chief of
warriors and flower of knighthood. In the corresponding incident in
Chrestien, the hero is told laughingly by a damsel that he should become
the best knight in the world, and she had not laughed for ten years, as a
fool had been wont to declare. This is an earlier form than that of the
Mabinogi, and closer to the folk-tale account. Thus, to take one instance
only, in Mr. Kennedy's Giolla na Chroicean Gobhar (Fellow with the
Goat-skin) [Fictions of the Irish Celts, p. 23], the hero comes to the
King of Dublin, as Peredur to Arthur, clad in skins and armed with a club.
"Now, the King's daughter was so melancholy that she didn't laugh for
seven years, but when she saw Tom of the Goat-skin knock over all her
father's best champions, then she let a great sweet laugh out of her," and
of course Tom marries her, but not until he has been through all sorts of
trials, aye, even to Hell itself and back. In Chrestien, the primitive
form is already overlaid; we hear nothing further of the damsel moved to
laughter nor of the prophetic fool; and in the Mabinogi it seems obvious
that the hailing of the hero, added in Chrestien to the older laughter,
has alone subsisted. Birch-Hirschfeld takes exception likewise to the way
in which Peredur's two uncles are brought upon the scene, the first one,
corresponding to Gonemans in Chrestien, being found fishing instead of the
real Fisher King, the lord of the Castle of the Magic Talismans, whilst at
the latter's, Peredur has to undergo trials of his strength belonging
properly to his stay at the first uncle's. Evidently, says
Birch-Hirschfeld, there has been a confusion of the two personages. Again,
when Peredur leaves his second uncle on the morrow of seeing the bleeding
head and spear, it is said, "he rode forth with his uncle's permission."
Can these words be a reminiscence of Chrestien's?

  Et trueve le pont abaiscié,
  Con li avoit ensi laissié
  Por ce que rien nel detenist,
  De quele eure qu'il venist
  Que il ne passat sans arriest (4,565-69).

We shall see later on that in the most primitive form of the unsuccessful
visit to the Castle of the Talismans the hero finds himself on the morrow
on the bare earth, the castle itself having vanished utterly. The idea of
permission being given to leave is diametrically opposed to this earliest
conception, and its presence in the Mabinogi seems only capable of
explanation by some misunderstanding of the story-teller's model.

The Blanchefleur incident shows some verbal parallels, "The maiden
welcomed Peredur and put her arms around his neck."

  Et la damosele le prent
  Par le main débonnairement (3,025-26)
    Et voit celi ajenouillie
    Devant son lit qui le tenoit
    Par le col embraciet estroit (3,166-68).

Can, too, the "two nuns," who bring in bread and wine, be due to the "Il
Abéies," which Perceval sees on entering Blanchefleur's town? It may be
noticed that in this scene the Welsh story-teller is not only more chaste,
but shows much greater delicacy of feeling than the French poet. Peredur's
conduct is that of a gentleman according to nineteenth century standards.
Chrestien, however, is probably nearer the historical reality, and the
conduct of his pair--

  S'il l'a sor le covertoir mise

     *       *       *       *

  Ensi giurent tote la nuit.

is so singularly like that of a Welsh _bundling_ couple, that it seems
admissible to refer the colouring given to this incident to Welsh sources.
Another scene presenting marked similarities in the two works is that in
which the hero is upbraided before the court by the loathly damsel. In the
Mabinogi she enters riding upon a _yellow_ mule with _jagged thongs_: in

  Sor une _fauve mule_ et tint
  En sa main destre une escorgie (5,991-2).

"Blacker were her face and her two hands than the blackest iron covered
with pitch."

  Ains ne véistes si noir fer
  Come ele ot les mains et le cor (5,998-99).

"And she greeted Arthur and all his household except Peredur."

  Le roi et ses barons salue
  Tout ensamble comunalment
  Fors ke Perceval seulement (6,020-3).

In the Mabinogi, Peredur is reproached for not having asked about the
streaming spear; in Chrestien "la lance qui saine" is mentioned first
although the Grail is added. Had Peredur asked the meaning and cause of
the wonders, the "King would have been restored to health, and his
dominions to peace."

  Li rices rois qui moult s'esmaie
  Fust or tos garis de sa plaie
  Et si tenist sa tière en pais (6,049-51).

Whereas now "his knights will perish, and wives will be widowed, and
maidens will be left portionless"--

  Dames en perdront lor maris,
  Tières en seront essilies,
  Et pucièles desconsellies;
  Orfenes, veves en remanront
  Et maint chevalier en morront (6,056, etc.).

In the "Stately Castle" where dwells the loathly damsel, are five hundred
and sixty-six knights, and "the lady whom he loves best with each," in
"Castle Orguellos" five hundred and seventy, and not one "qui n'ait s'amie
avoeques lui." "And whoever would acquire fame in arms and encounters and
conflicts, he will gain it there if he desire it."

  Que la ne faut nus ki i alle,
  Qui la ne truist joste u batalle;
  Qui viout faire chevalerie,
  Si là le quiert, n'i faura mie (6,075, etc.).

"And whoso would reach the summit of fame and honour, I know where he may
find it. There is a castle on a lofty mountain, and there is a maiden
therein, and she is detained a prisoner there, and whoever shall set her
free will attain the summit of the fame of the world."

  Mais ki vorroit le pris avoir
  De tout le mont, je quie savoir
  Le liu et la pièce de terre
  U on le porroit mius conquerre;

     *       *       *       *

  A une damoisièle assise;
  Moult grant honor aroit conquise,
  Qui le siège en poroit oster
  Et la pucièle délivrer (6,080, etc.).

In this last case certainly, in the other cases probably, a direct
influence, to the extent at least of the passages quoted, must be
admitted. But before concluding hastily that the Welsh story-teller is the
copyist, some facts must be mentioned on the other side. Thus the incident
of the blood drops in the snow, which Birch-Hirschfeld sets down as one of
those taken over by the Mabinogi, with the remark that the Welsh story
contains no trace of a passion as strong as Perceval's for Blanchefleur,
has been dealt with by Professor H. Zimmer in his "Keltische Studien,"
vol. ii, pp. 200. He refers to the awakening of Deirdre's love to Noisi by
similar means, as found in the Irish saga of the Sons of Usnech (oldest
MS. authority, Book of Leinster, copied before 1164 from older MSS.) as
evidence of the early importance of this _motif_ in Celtic tradition. The
passage runs thus in English: "As her foster-father was busy in winter
time skinning a calf out in the snow, she beheld a raven which drank up
the blood in the snow; and she exclaimed, 'Such a man could I love, and
him only, having the three colours, his hair like the raven, his cheeks
like the blood, his body like the snow.'"

Now the Mabinogi says, almost in the same words--the blackness of the
raven and the whiteness of the snow, and the redness of the blood he
compared to the hair and the skin and the two red spots upon the cheek of
the lady that best he loved. In Chrestien there is no raven, and the whole
stress is laid upon the _three_ drops of blood on the snow, which put the
hero in mind of the red and white of his lady's face. As Zimmer justly
points out, the version of the Mabinogi is decidedly the more primitive
of the two; and that, moreover, as the incident does not figure at all in
what Birch-Hirschfeld presumes to be Chrestien's source, the
Didot-Perceval, the following development of this incident must, _ex
hypothesi_, have taken place. In the Didot-Perceval the hero is once upon
a time lost in thought. To explain this, Chrestien invents the incident of
the three drops of blood in the snow; the Mabinogi, copying Chrestien,
presents the incident in almost as primitive a form as the oldest known
one! Here, then, the Mabinogi has preserved an older form than Chrestien,
alleged to have been its source in all those parts common to both. Nor is
it certain that the fact of Peredur's undergoing the sword-test in the
Talisman Castle _does_ show, as Birch-Hirschfeld maintains, that the Welsh
story-teller confused the two personages whom he took over from Chrestien,
Gonemans and the Fisher King. The sword incident will be examined later
on; suffice here to say that no explanation is given in the Conte du Graal
of the broken weapon; whereas the Mabinogi does give a simple and natural
one. But these two instances cannot weaken the force of the parallels
adduced above. In determining, however, whether these may not be due to
Chrestien's being the borrower, the differences between the two versions
are of even more importance than the similarities.

What are these? The French romances belonging to the Perceval type of the
Grail quest give two versions of the search for the magic talismans, that
of the Conte du Graal and that of the Didot-Perceval. The latter
pre-supposes an early history which, as already shown, cannot be looked
upon as the starting point of the legend without postulating such a
development of the latter as is inadmissible on _a priori_ grounds, and as
runs counter to many well-ascertained facts. The former is not consistent
with itself, Manessier's finish contradicting Chrestien's opening on such
an essential point as the cause of the maimed king's suffering. Still the
following outline of a story, much overlaid by apparently disconnected
adventures, may be gathered from it. A hero has to seek for magic
talismans wherewith to heal an uncle wounded by his brother, and at the
same time to avenge him on that brother. What, on the other hand, is the
story as told in the Mabinogi? A hero is minded by talismans to avenge
the death of a cousin (and the harming of an uncle); it is not stated that
the talismans pass into his possession. It is difficult to admit that
either of these forms can have served as direct model to the other. If the
Mabinogi be a simple copy of the Conte du Graal, whence the altered
significance of the talismans? whence also the machinery by means of which
the hero is at last brought to his goal, and which is, briefly, as
follows? The woe which has befallen Peredur's kindred is caused by
supernatural beings, the sorceresses of Gloucester; his ultimate
achievement of the task is brought about by his cousin, who, to urge him
on, assumes the form (1) of the black and loathly damsel; (2) of the
damsel of the chessboard, who incites him to the Ysbydinongyl adventure,
reproves him for not slaying the black man at once, and then urges him
into the stag hunt; (3) of the lady who carries off the hound and sends
him to fight against the black man of the cromlech; "and the cousin it was
who came in the hall with the bloody head in the salver and the lance
dripping blood." The whole of the incidents connected with the Castle of
the Chessboard, which appear at such length in both the Conte du Graal and
the Didot-Perceval, but without being in any way connected with the main
thread of the story, thus form in the Mabinogi an integral portion of that
main thread. Would the authors of the Conte du Graal have neglected the
straight-forward version of the Welsh tale had they known it, or could, on
the other hand, the author of the Mabinogi have worked up the disconnected
incidents of his alleged model into an organic whole? Neither hypothesis
is likely. Moreover the Conte du Graal and the Didot-Perceval, if examined
with care, show distinct traces of a machinery similar to that of the
Welsh story. Thus in Chrestien, Perceval, on arriving at the Fisher
King's, sees a squire bringing into the room a sword of such good steel
that it might break in but one peril, and this the King's niece (_i.e._,
Perceval's cousin) had sent her uncle to bestow it as he pleased; and the
King gives it to the hero for--

      ... biaus frère ceste espée
  Vous fu jugie et destineé (4,345-6).

After Perceval's first adventure at the Grail Castle it is his "germaine
cousine" (4,776) who assails him with her reproaches; she knows all about
the sword (4,835-38) and tells him, how, if it be broken he may have it
mended (4,847-59). So far Chrestien, who furthermore, be it noted, makes
Blanchefleur Perceval's lady-love, likewise his cousin, she being niece to
Gonemans (3,805-95). A cousin is thus beloved of him, a cousin procures
for him the magic sword, a cousin, as in the Mabinogi, incites him to the
fulfilment of the quest, and gives him advice which we cannot doubt would
have been turned to account by Chrestien had he finished his poem. Turning
now to Gautier, in whose section of the poem are to be found the various
adventures growing out of the chessboard incident, this difference between
the Mabinogi and himself may be noted. In the former, these adventures
caused by Peredur's cousin serve apparently as tests of the hero's
strength and courage. The loss of the chessboard is the starting-point of
the task, and the cousin reappears as the black maiden. Nothing of the
sort is found in Gautier. True, the damsel who reproaches Perceval is in
so far supernatural, as she is a kind of water-nix, but it is love for her
which induces the hero to perform the task; she it is, too, who lends him
the dog, and she is not identified with the "pucelle de malaire" who
carries it off (22,604, etc.). But later on Perceval meets a knight who
tells him that a daughter of the Fisher King's (thus also a cousin of
Perceval) had related to him how a knight had carried off a stag's head
and hound to anger another good knight who had been at her father's court,
and had not asked as he should concerning the Grail, for which reason she
had taken his hound and had refused him help to follow the robber knight
(23,163, etc.). This makes the "pucelle de malaire" to be Perceval's
cousin, and she plays the same _rôle_ as in the Mabinogi. True, when later
on (Incident 13) Perceval finds the damsel, nothing is said as to her
being the Fisher King's daughter; on the contrary, as will be seen by the
summary, a long story is told about the Knight of the Tomb, brother to her
knight, Garalas, and how he lived ten years with a fay. She is here quite
distinct from the lady of the chessboard to whom Perceval returns later.
The version found in the Didot-Perceval agrees with the Mabinogi as
against Gautier in so far that the hero is in love with the mistress of
the castle, and not with the damsel who reproaches him for throwing away
the chessmen. This reproaching damsel is not in any way identified with
the lady who carries off the hound, who is described as "une vieille," and
of whom it is afterwards told "elle estoit quand elle voloit une des plus
belles damoiselles du monde. Et est cele meismes que mon frère (the
brother of the Knight of the Tomb, who here, as in Gautier, is the lover
of a fay) amena à la forest," _i.e._, she is the fay herself, sister to
the lady of the Chessboard Castle, who hated her and wished to diminish
her and her knight's pride (p. 469). Here, again, a connection can be
pieced out between the various personages of the adventure; and it appears
that the hero is driven to his fight against the Knight of the Tomb by a
fair damsel transformed into a mysterious hag.[72] The Mabinogi thus gives
one consistently worked-out conception--transformed hag = Peredur's
cousin--which may be recovered partly from that one of the two discordant
versions found in Gautier which makes the pucelle de malaire to be the
Fisher King's daughter, hence Perceval's cousin, and connects the stag
hunt with the Grail incident, partly from the Didot-Perceval, which tells
how the same pucelle de malaire is but playing a part, being when she
wills one of the fairest maids of the world. Now we have seen that the
stag hunt is just one of those portions of the story in which are found
the closest verbal similarities between Gautier de Doulens and the
Didot-Perceval. It is, therefore, perplexing to find that there is not
more likeness in the details of the incident. But the similarities pointed
out concern chiefly the first part of the incident, and are less prominent
in the latter part (the hero's encounter with the Knight of the Tomb).
This, taken together with the difference in the details of the incident
just pointed out, strengthens the opinion expressed above, that the
Didot-Perceval and Gautier are not connected directly but through the
medium of a common source, the influence of which can be seen distinctly
in certain portions of either story, and that when this source fails they
go widely asunder in their accounts. That such an hypothesis is not
unreasonable is shown by the fact that Gautier has two contradictory forms
of this very story, one of which, that which makes the hound-stealing
damsel a daughter of the Fisher King, is on all fours with the Mabinogi,
whilst the other is more akin to, though differing in important respects
from, that of the Didot-Perceval. In this case, at least, Gautier must
have had two sources, and if two why not more?

It may be urged in explanation of the similarities between Gautier and the
Mabinogi, that the author of the latter used Gautier in the same free way
that he did Chrestien, but that getting tired towards the close of his
work he abridged in a much more summary fashion than at first. If the
comparison of the versions of the stag hunt found in either work be not
sufficient to refute this theory, the following consideration may be
advanced against it: if the Mabinogi derives entirely from the Conte du
Graal, how can the different form given to the Grail episode be accounted
for?--if it only knew Chrestien, where did it get the chessboard adventure
from, and if it knew Gautier as well as Chrestien why did it not finish
the Grail adventure upon the same lines as it began, _i.e._, partly in
conformity with its alleged model?

Is Manessier any nearer than Gautier to the Mabinogi in the later portion
of the tale? The chief points of the story told by him may be
recapitulated thus:--The Grail damsel is daughter of the Fisher King, the
damsel of the salver, daughter of King Goon Desert, his brother (_i.e._,
both are cousins to Perceval); Goon Desert, besieged by Espinogre, defeats
him, but is treacherously slain by his nephew Partinal, the latter's sword
breaking in the blow. Goon's body is brought to the Fisher King's castle,
whither the broken sword is likewise brought by Goon's daughter to be kept
until a knight should come, join together the pieces, and avenge Goon's
death. In receiving the sword the Fisher King wounds himself through the
thighs, and may not be healed until he be avenged on Partinal. Perceval
asks how he may find the murderer, the blood vengeance (faide = O.H.G.
Fehde) being on him. Perceval fights with Partinal, slays him, cuts off
his head as token of his victory, returns to the Fisher King's castle,
lighting upon it by chance, heals the Fisher King by the mere sight of the
head, which is fixed on a pike on the highest battlements. At the death of
his uncle Perceval succeeds him as King of the Grail Castle. Here, then,
as in the Mabinogi, the story turns definitely upon a blood feud; the same
act which brings about the death of one relative of the hero, also causes,
indirectly, it is true, the laming of another, even as in the Mabinogi the
same supernatural beings kill Peredur's cousin and lame his uncle; the
cousin reappears again, bringing the magic sword by whose aid alone the
hero can accomplish the vengeance, and uttering the prediction the
fulfilment of which will point out the destined avenger. Finally, if the
Mabinogi seems to lay special stress upon the head of the murdered man,
Manessier lays special stress upon the head of the murderer. Now it is
quite evident that the Mabinogi cannot have copied Manessier. It has been
alleged that the Welsh story-teller, adapting Chrestien to the taste of
his fellow countrymen, substituted a blood feud for the Grail Quest, but
what reason would he have had for thus dealing with Manessier? He had
simply to leave out the Christian legendary details, which in Manessier
are, one can hardly say, adapted to the older form of the story, to find
in that older form a clear and straightforward account with no admixture
of mystical elements. It is impossible to explain the strong general
similarity of outline with the equally marked divergences of detail
(Sorceresses of Gloucester instead of Partinal, etc.,) except by saying
that both, though going back to a common legendary source, are unconnected
one with another.

The facts thus dealt with may be recapitulated as follows:--There is
marked similarity in general outline between the Mabinogi and the Conte du
Graal in the adventures common to both; in that portion of the Conte du
Graal due to Chrestien there occur, moreover, many and close verbal
parallels, and the corresponding part of the Mabinogi is told at greater
length than the remainder of the incidents common to both works. That
which answers in the Mabinogi to the Grail Quest forms a clear and
straightforward whole, the main features of which may be recovered from
the Conte du Graal, but in varying proportions from the various sections
of that work. Thus the indications of this Mabinogi talisman quest, the
central intrigue, as it may be called, of the tale, are in Chrestien of
the slightest nature, being confined to passing hints; in Gautier they are
fuller and more precise, though pointing to a version of the central
intrigue different, not only in details but in conception, from that of
the Mabinogi; in Manessier alone is there agreement of conception,
although the details still vary. Finally, those portions of the Mabinogi
which are in closest verbal agreement with Chrestien contain statements
which cannot easily be reconciled with this central intrigue.

These facts seem to warrant some such deductions as these. Bearing in mind
that the Mabinogi is an obvious piecing together of all sorts of incidents
relating to its hero, the only connecting link being that of his
personality, its author may be supposed, when compiling his work, to have
stretched out his hand in all directions for material. Now a portion of
the Peredur _sage_ consisted of adventures often found elsewhere in the
folk-tale cycles of the Great Fool and the Avenging Kinsman--cycles which,
in Celtic tradition, at least, cover almost the same ground as the one
described by J. G. von Hahn under the title, "Die Arische Aussetzung und
Rückkehr-Formel." In the original of the Mabinogi this portion probably
comprised the childhood and forest up-bringing, the visit to Arthur with
the accompanying incidents, the training by the uncle (who _may_ have been
the Fisher King), the arrival at the (bespelled) castle, where the hero is
to be minded of his task by the sight of certain talismans and of his
cousin's head, the reproaches of the loathly damsel, her subsequent
testing of the hero by the adventures of the chessboard, stag hunt, etc.,
the hero's final accomplishment of the task, vengeance on his kindred's
enemies, and removal of the spells. There would seem to have been no such
love story as that frequently found in stories of the Great Fool class,
_e.g._, in the Irish one (_supra_, p. 134). This original was probably
some steps removed from being a genuine popular version; the incidents
were presented in a way at once over-concise and confused, and some which,
as will be seen in the next chapter, the living folk-tale has preserved
were left out or their significance was not recognized. What more natural
than that the author of the Mabinogi in its present form, knowing
Chrestien, should piece out his bare, bald narrative with shreds and
patches from the Frenchman's poem? The moment Chrestien fails him, he
falls back into the hurried concision of his original. His adaptation of
Chrestien is done with singularly little skill, and at times he seems to
have misunderstood his model. He confines his borrowing to matters of
detail, not allowing, for instance, Chrestien's presentment of the Grail
incident to supersede that of his Welsh original. In one point he may,
following Chrestien, have made a vital change. It seems doubtful whether
the Welsh source of the Mabinogi knew of a maimed king, an uncle to be
healed through the hero's agency; the sole task may have been the avenging
the cousin's death. True the "lame uncle" appears at the end, but this may
be due to some sudden desire for consistency on the arranger's part. But
whether or no he was found in the Welsh story preserved in the Mabinogi,
he certainly played no such leading part as in the Conte du Graal. The two
stories deal with the same cycle of adventures, but the object of the hero
is not the same in both, and, consequently, the machinery employed is not
quite the same. The present Mabinogi is an unskilful fusion of these two
variations upon the one theme.[73]

Light is also thrown by this investigation upon the question of
Chrestien's relationship to his continuators. Birch-Hirschfeld's theory
that the Didot-Perceval was the source of Chrestien and Gautier has
already been set aside. Apart from the reasons already adduced, the fact
that it does not explain from whence Manessier got his ending of the story
would alone condemn it. It must now be evident that Chrestien and two of
his continuators drew from one source, and this a poem of no great length
probably, the main outlines of which were nearly the same as those of the
Welsh proto-Mabinogi given above, with this difference, that the story
turned upon the healing of the uncle and not the avenging the cousin's
death. This poem, which seems also to have served, directly or indirectly,
as one of the sources of the Didot-Perceval, had probably departed from
popular lines in many respects, and _may_, though this would be an
exceedingly difficult question to determine, have begun the incorporation
of the Joseph of Arimathea legend with its consequent wresting to purposes
of Christian symbolisms of the objects and incidents of the old folk-tale.

Such an incorporation had almost certainly begun before Chrestien's time,
and was continued by him. There can be little doubt that he dealt with his
model in a free and daring spirit, altering and adding as seemed best to
him. This alone explains how Manessier, slavishly following the common
original, tells differently the cause of the lame king's wound. Gautier,
who lacked Chrestien's creative power, though he often equals him in the
grace and vivacity of his narrative, seems to have had no conception of a
plan; the section of Conte du Graal which goes under his name is a mere
disorderly heap of disconnected adventures brought together without care
for consistency. But for this very reason he is of more value in restoring
the original form of the story than Chrestien, who, striving after
consistency, harmony, and artistic development of his tale, alters, adds
to, or retrenches from the older version. Gautier had doubtless other
sources besides the one made use of by Chrestien. This does not seem to be
the case with Manessier, who, for this portion of the story, confined
himself to Chrestien's original, without taking note of the differences in
_motif_ introduced by his predecessor. What is foreign to it he drew from
sources familiar to us, the Queste and Grand S. Graal, from which more
than two-thirds of his section are derived.

In working back to the earliest form of the Perceval-_sage_, Mabinogi and
Conte du Graal are thus of equal value and mutually complementary. Both
are second-hand sources, and their testimony is at times sadly corrupt,
but it is from them chiefly that information must be sought as to the
earlier stages of development of this legendary cycle. They do not by
themselves give any satisfactory explanation of the more mysterious
features of the full-blown legend, but they do present the facts in such a
way as to put out of court the hypothesis of a solely Christian legendary
origin. Before proceeding further it will be well to see if the English
Sir Perceval has likewise claims to be considered one of the versions
which yield trustworthy indications as to the older form of the story.

This poem, described by Halliwell as simply an abridged English version of
the Conte du Graal, has, as may be seen by reference to Ch. IV, been
treated with more respect by other investigators, several of whom, struck
by its archaic look, have pronounced it one of the earliest versions of
the Perceval _sage_. It has quite lately been the object of elaborate
study by Paul Steinbach in his dissertation: "Uber dem Einfluss des
Crestien de Troies auf die altenglische literatur," Leipzig, 1885. The
results of his researches may be stated somewhat as follows: the two works
correspond incident for incident down to the death of the Red Knight, the
chief differences being that Perceval is made a nephew of King Arthur,
that the death of his father at the hands of the Red Knight is explained
as an act of revenge on the part of the latter, that Arthur recognizes his
nephew at once, and tells him concerning the Red Knight, and that the
burning of the Red Knight, only hinted at in Chrestien's lines--

  Ains auroie par carbonees.
  Trestout escarbellié le mort, etc. (2,328-9).

is fully told in the English poem. After the Red Knight incident the
parallelism is much less close. The English poem has incidents to itself:
the slaying of the witch, the meeting with the uncle and nine cousins, the
fight with the giant for the ring, the meeting with and restoring to
health the mother. Of the remaining incidents, those connected with
Lufamour are more or less parallel to what Chrestien relates of his hero's
adventure with Blanchefleur, and that of the Black Knight, with that of
the Orgellous de la Lande in Chrestien. Of the 2,288 verses of the English
poem the greater part may be paralleled from Chrestien, thus:--

  P. of G.          Cr.
      1-160         485-940
    161-188         941-1,206
    189-256       1,207-82
    257-320       1,283-1,554
    321-432       1,555-1,828
    433-80        1,829-1,970
    481-600       2,091-2,170
    601-56       {2,135-59
    657-740       2,268-2,312
    741-820       2,313-2,398
  1,061-1,108     4,000-4,060
  1,109-1,124     5,511-553
  1,381-1,540     5,600-5,891
  1,125-1,380}   {2,900-3,960
  1,541-1,760}   {4,088-94
  1,761-1,808     4,095-4,150
  1,809-1,951     4,865-5,375

the incidents comprised v. 821-952 and 1,953-2,288, being the only one
entirely unconnected with Chrestien. This general agreement between the
two works shows the dependence of the one on the other. But while
evidently dependent, the English poem, as is shown by the differences
between it and its French original, belongs at once to a less and to a
more highly developed stage of the Perceval _sage_. The differences are
thus of two kinds, those testifying to the writer's adherence to older,
probably Breton, popular traditions and those due to himself, and
testifying to the skill with which he has worked up his materials and
fitted portions of Chrestien's poem into an older framework. Of the first
kind are: the statement that Perceval meets with three knights instead of
five as in Chrestien, the English poem agreeing here with the Mabinogi;
the mention of his riding on a _mare_ and of his being clad in goat-skins,
the English poem again agreeing rather with the Mabinogi than with
Chrestien, and showing likewise points of contact with the Breton ballads
about Morvan lez Breiz, printed by Villemarqué in the Barzaz Breiz. The
combat with the giant may likewise be paralleled from the Lez Breiz cycle
in that hero's fight with the Moorish giant. These points would seem to
indicate knowledge on the author's part of popular traditions concerning
Perceval forming a small cycle, of which the departure from, and return to
the mother were the opening and closing incidents respectively. This form
of the story must have been widely spread and popular to induce the author
to leave out as much as he has done of Chrestien's poem in order to bring
it within the traditional framework. He accomplished his task with much
skill, removing every trace of whatever did not bear directly upon the
march of the story as he told it. In view of this skill differences which
tend to make the story more consequent and logical may fairly be ascribed
to him. Such are: the making Perceval a nephew of Arthur, the mention of a
feud between the Red Knight and Perceval's father, the combat with the
witch arising out of Perceval's wearing the Red Knight's armour, and the
other adventures which follow eventually from the same cause, the feature
that the ring taken by Perceval from the lady in the tent is a magic one,
endowing its wearer with supernatural strength, the change made between
this ring and his mother's which prepares the final recognition, etc. The
original poem probably ended with the reunion of mother and son, the last
verse, briefly mentioning the hero's death, being a later addition. To sum
up, Sir Perceval may be looked upon as the work of a folk-singer who
fitted into the old Breton framework a series of adventures taken partly
from Chrestien, partly from the same Breton traditions which were
Chrestien's main source, and with remarkable skill avoided all such
incidents as would not have accorded with the limits he had imposed upon

Against this view of Steinbach's it might be urged that a writer as
skilful as the author of Sir Perceval is assumed to be could easily have
worked Chrestien's Grail episode into his traditional framework. A more
plausible explanation, assuming the theory to be in the main correct,
might be found in the great popularity in this country of the Galahad form
of the Quest, and the consequent unwillingness on the author's part to
bring in what may have seemed to him like a rival version. Steinbach has
not noticed one curious bit of testimony to the poem's being an abridgment
of an older work, more archaic in some respects than Chrestien. When the
hero has slain the Red Knight he knows not how to rid him of his armour,
but he bethinks him--

    ... "My moder bad me
  Whenne my dart solde brokene be,
  Owte of the irene brenne the tree,
    Now es me fyre gnede" (749-52).

Now the mother's counsel, given in verses xxv-vi are solely that he should
be "of mesure," and be courteous to knights; nothing is said about burning
the tree out of the iron, nor does any such counsel figure either in
Chrestien or in the Mabinogi, which in this passage has copied, with
misunderstandings, the French poet.[74] The use of Chrestien by the author
of Sir Perceval seems, however, uncontestable; and, such being the case,
Steinbach's views meet the difficulties of the case fairly well. It will
be shown farther on, however, that several of the points in which the
German critic detects a post-Chrestien development, are, on the contrary,
remains of as old and popular a form of the story as we can work back to.
Accepting, then, the hypothesis that Sir Perceval, like the Mabinogi, has
been influenced by Chrestien, what is the apparent conclusion to be drawn
from the fact that the former omits the Grail episode altogether, whilst
the latter joins Chrestien's version to its own, presumably older one, so
clumsily as to betray the join at once? May it not be urged that
Chrestien's account is obviously at variance with the older story as he
found it? may not the fact be accounted for by the introduction of a
strange element into the thread of the romance? This element would,
according to Birch-Hirschfeld, be the Christian holy-vessel legend, and it
would thus appear that the Grail is really foreign to the Celtic
tradition. Let me recapitulate briefly the reasons already urged against
such a view. The early history of the Grail, that part in which the
Christian element prevails, must certainly be regarded as later than the
Quest, to which it could not have given rise without assuming such a
development of the romance as is well nigh incredible--the Quest versions,
moreover, all hang together in certain respects, and point unmistakably to
Celtic traditions as their source. These traditions must then be examined
further to see if they contain such traces of the mystic vessel as are
wanting in the Mabinogi and the English poem, and as may have given rise
to the episode as found in the French romances. As Perceval is the oldest
hero of the Quest, and as the boyhood of Perceval, forming an integral
part of all the oldest Quest versions presents the strongest analogies
with the folk-tale of the Great Fool, it is this tale which must now be


    The Lay of the Great Fool--Summary of the Prose Opening--The Aryan
    Expulsion and Return Formula--Comparison with the Mabinogi, Sir
    Perceval, and the Conte du Graal--Originality of the Highland
    tale--Comparison with the Fionn legend--Summary of the Lay of the
    Great Fool--Comparison with the stag hunt incident in the Conte du
    Graal and the Mabinogi--The folk-tale of the twin brethren--The fight
    against the witch who brings the dead to life in Gerbert and the
    similar incident in the folk-tale of the Knight of the Red
    Shield--Comparison with the original form of the Mabinogi--Originality
    of Gerbert.

One of the most popular of the poetic narratives in the old heroic
quatrain measure still surviving in the Highlands is the "Lay of the Great
Fool" (Laoidh an Amadain Mhoir), concerning which, according to Campbell,
vol. iii., p. 150, the following saying is current:--"Each poem to the
poem of the Red; each lay to the Lay of the Great Fool; each history to
the history of Connal" (is to be referred as a standard). This Lay, as
will be shown presently, offers some remarkable similarities with the
central Grail episode of the quest romances, but before it is investigated
a prose opening often found with it must be noticed. This prose opening
may be summarised thus from Campbell, vol. iii., pp. 146, _et seq._

There were once two brothers, the one King over Erin, the other a mere
knight. The latter had sons, the former none. Strife broke out between the
two brothers, and the knight and his sons were slain. Word was sent to the
wife, then pregnant, that if she bore a son it must be put to death. It
was a lad she had, and she sent him into the wilderness in charge of a
kitchen wench who had a love son. The two boys grew up together, the
knight's son strong and wilful. One day they saw three deer coming towards
them; the knight's son asked what creatures were these--creatures on which
were meat and clothing 'twas answered--it were the better he would catch
them, and he did so, and his foster-mother made him a dress of the deer's
hide. Afterwards he slew his foster-brother for laughing at him, caught a
wild horse, and came to his father's brother's palace. He had never been
called other than "Great fool," and when asked his name by his cousin,
playing shinty, answered, "Great Fool." His cousin mocked at him, and was
forthwith slain. On going into the King's (his uncle's) presence, he
answered in the same way. His uncle recognised him, and reproaching
himself for his folly in not having slain the mother with the father, went
with him, as did all the people.

In my article on the Aryan Expulsion and Return Formula among the Celts
("Folk-Lore Record," vol. iv.), I have shown that this tale is widely
distributed in the Celtic Heldensage as well as in the Celtic folk-tale.
Before noticing the variants, a word of explanation may be necessary. The
term, Arische Aussetzungs-und Rückkehr-Formel, was first employed by J. G.
v. Hahn in his Sagwissenschaftliche Studien (Jena, 1876), to describe a
tale which figured in the heroic literature of every Aryan race known to
him. He examined fourteen stories, seven belonging to the Hellenic
mythology, Perseus, Herakles, Oedipus, Amphion and Zethos, Pelias and
Neleus, Leukastos and Parrhasius, Theseus; one to Roman mythic history,
Romulus and Remus; two to the Teutonic Heldensage, Wittich-Siegfried,
Wolfdietrich; two to Iranian mythic history, Cyrus, Key Chosrew; two to
the Hindu mythology, Karna, Krishna. I was able to recover from Celtic
literature eight well-defined variants, belonging to the Fenian and
Ultonian cycles of Irish Heldensage (heroes, Fionn and Cu-Chulaind); to
Irish mythic history, Labraidh Maen; to the folk-tale still living in the
Highlands, Conall and the Great Fool; to the Kymric Heldensage,
Peredur-Perceval, Arthur, and Taliesin. An examination of all these tales
resulted in the establishing of the following standard formula, to the
entirety of which it will of course be understood none of the tales

     I. Hero born--
          (_a_) Out of wedlock.
          (_b_) Posthumously.
          (_c_) Supernaturally.
          (_d_) One of twins.

    II. Mother, princess residing in her own country.

   III. Father--
          (_a_) God  }
          (_b_) Hero } from afar.

    IV. Tokens and warning of hero's future greatness.

     V. He is in consequence driven forth from home.

    VI. Is suckled by wild beasts.

   VII. Is brought up by a (childless couple), or shepherd, or widow.

  VIII. Is of passionate and violent disposition.

    IX. Seeks service in foreign lands.

   IXA. Attacks and slays monsters.

   IXB. Acquires supernatural knowledge through eating a fish, or other
        magic animal.

     X. Returns to his own country, retreats, and again returns.

    XI. Overcomes his enemies, frees his mother, seats himself on the

I must refer to my article for a full discussion of the various Celtic
forms of this widely-spread tale, and for a tabular comparison with the
remaining Indo-European forms analysed by J. G. von Hahn. Suffice to say
here that the fullest Celtic presentment of the _motif_ is to be found in
the Ossianic Heldensage, the expelled prince being no other than Fionn
himself. The Celtic form most closely related to it is that of the Great
Fool summarised above, the relationship of Peredur-Perceval with which is
evident. In both, the father being slain, the mother withdraws or sends
her son into the wilderness; in both he grows up strong, hardy, ignorant
of the world. Almost the same instances of his surpassing strength and
swiftness are given; in the Mabinogi by celerity and swiftness of foot he
drives the goats and hinds into the goat-house; in the Highland folk-tale
he catches the wild deer, and seeing a horse, and learning it is a beast
upon which sport is done, stretches out after it, catches and mounts it;
in Sir Perceval he sees--

        ... A fulle faire stode
  Offe coltes and meres gude,
  Bot never one was tame (v. xxi.).

and "smertly overrynnes" one.--The Great Fool then comes to his uncle, in
whom he finds the man who has killed his father. Sir Perceval likewise
comes to his uncle, and gets knowledge from him of his father's slayer; in
Chrestien and the Mabinogi no relationship is stated to exist between
Arthur and the hero. The manner of the coming deserves notice. In the
Conte du Graal, entering the hall the hero salutes the King twice,
receives no answer, and, turning round his horse in dudgeon, knocks off
the King's cap.

In the English poem--

  At his first in comynge,
  His mere withowtenne faylynge,
  Kiste the forehevede of the Kynge,
      So nerehande he rade (v. xxxi.).

He then demands knighthood or--

  Bot (unless) the Kyng make me knyghte,
    I shall him here slaa (v. xxxiii.).

In the Great Fool the horse incident is wanting, but the hero's address to
his uncle is equally curt: "I am the great fool ... and if need were it is
that I could make a fool of thee also." The incident then follows of the
insult offered to Arthur by the Red Knight. Here, be it noted, the
Mabinogi version is much the ruder of the three, "the knight dashed the
liquor that was in the goblet upon her (Gwenhwyvar's) face, and upon her
stomacher, and gave her a violent blow in the face, and said," &c.; in
Chrestien the incident is not directly presented, but related at
second-hand, and merely that the discourteous knight took away the goblet
so suddenly that he spilt somewhat of its contents upon the queen, and
that she was so filled with grief and anger that well nigh she had not
escaped alive; in Sir Perceval the knight takes up the cup and carries it
off. Now it is a _lieu commun_ of Celtic folk-tales that as a King is
sitting at meat, an enemy comes in mounted, and offers him an insult, the
avenging of which forms the staple of the tale. A good instance may be
found in Campbell's lii., "The Knight of the Red Shield." As the King is
with his people and his warriors and his nobles and his great gentles, one
of them says, "who now in the four brown quarters of the Universe would
have the heart to put an affront on the King?"--then comes the rider on a
black filly, and, "before there was any more talk between them, he put
over the fist and he struck the King between the mouth and the nose." It
is noteworthy that this tale shows further likeness to the Mabinogi-Great
Fool series, generally, in so far as it is the despised youngest who out
of the three warriors that set off to avenge the insult succeeds, even as
it is the despised Peredur who slays the Red Knight, and specially in what
may be called the prophecy incident. With the exception of the opening
incidents, this is the one by which the "formula" nature of the Perceval
_sage_ is most clearly shown. In the Mabinogi it is placed immediately
after the hero's first encounter with the sorceresses of Gloucester: "by
destiny and foreknowledge knew I that I should suffer harm of thee," says
the worsted witch. The Conte du Graal has only a trace of it in the Fisher
King's words as he hands the magic sword to Perceval--

    ... Biaus frère, ceste espée
  Vous fu jugie et destinée (4345-6),

whilst in Sir Perceval a very archaic turn is given to the incident by
Arthur's words concerning his unknown nephew--

  The bokes say that he mone
  Venge his fader bane (v. xxxvi.).

This comparison is instructive as showing how impossible it is that
Chrestien's poem can be the only source of the Mabinogi and Sir Perceval.
It cannot be maintained that the meagre hint of the French poet is the
sole origin of the incident as found in the Welsh and English versions,
whilst a glance at my tabulation of the various forms of the Aryan
Expulsion and Return formula ("Folk-Lore Record," vol. iv.) shows that the
foretelling of the hero's greatness is an important feature in eight of
the Celtic and five of the non-Celtic versions, _i.e._, in more than
one-third of all the stories built up on the lines of the formula. It is
evident that here at least Mabinogi and Sir Perceval have preserved a
trait almost effaced in the romance. In the above-mentioned Highland tale
the incident is as follows: the hero finds "a treasure of a woman sitting
on a hill, and a great youth with his head on her knee asleep"; he tries
to wake the sleeper, even cuts off his finger, but in vain, until he
learns how it was in the prophecies that none should rouse the sleeping
youth save the Knight of the Red Shield, and he, coming to the island,
should do it by striking a crag of stone upon his breast. This tale, as
already remarked, shows affinity to the Perceval saga in two incidents,
and is also, as I have pointed out ("Folk-Lore Record," vol. v.,
Mabinogion Studies), closely allied to a cycle of German hero and
folk-tales, of which Siegfried is the hero. Now Siegfried is in German
that which Fionn is in Celtic folk-lore, the hero whose story is modelled
most closely upon the lines of the Expulsion and Return formula. We thus
find not only, as might be expected, affinity between the German and
Celtic hero-tales which embody the formula, but the derived or allied
groups of folk-tales present likewise frequent and striking

Another Highland tale (Campbell, lviii., The Rider of Grianaig) furnishes
a fresh example of this fact. Here, also, the deeds to be done of the hero
were prophesied of him. But these deeds he would never accomplish, save he
were incited thereto and aided therein by a raven, who in the end comes
out as a be-spelled youth, and a steed, a maiden under spells, and the
spells will not go off till her head be off. Even so Peredur is urged on
and helped by the bewitched youth. In other respects, there is no likeness
of plan and little of detail[76] to the Mabinogi, certainly no trace of
direct influence of the Welsh story upon the Highland one.

It may, however, be asserted that all of these tales are derived more or
less directly from the French romance. This has been confidently stated of
the Breton ballad cycle of Morvan le Breiz (Barzaz Breiz) and of the
Breton Märchen, Peronik l'idiot (Souvestre, Foyer Breton), and I have
preferred making no use of either. In the matter of the Scotch and Irish
tales a stand must be made. The romance, it is said, may have filtered
down into the Celtic population, through the medium of adaptations such as
the Mabinogi or Sir Perceval. Granted, for argument sake, that these two
works are mere adaptations, it must yet follow that the stories derived
from them will be more or less on the same lines as themselves. Is this
so? Can it be reasonably argued that the folk-tale of the Great Fool is a
weakened copy of certain features of the Mabinogi, which itself is a
weakened copy of certain features of the French poem? Is it not the fact
that the folk-tale omits much that is in the Mabinogi, and on the other
hand preserves details which are wanting not alone in the Welsh tale but
in Chrestien. If other proof of the independent nature of these tales were
needed it would be supplied by the close similarity existing between the
Great Fool opening and the Fionn legend. This is extant in several forms,
one of which, still told in the Highlands (Campbell's lxxxii.), tells how
Cumhall's son is reared in the wilderness, how he drowns the youth of a
neighbouring hamlet, how he slays his father's slayer, and wins the magic
trout the taste of which gives knowledge of past and to come, how he gets
back his father's sword and regains his father's lands, all as had been
prophesied of him. Another descendant of the French romance it will be
said. But a very similar tale is found in a fifteenth century Irish MS.
(The Boyish Exploits of Finn Mac Cumhall, translated by Dr. J. O'Donovan
in the Transactions of the Ossianic Society, vol. iv.); Cumhall, slain by
Goll, leaves his wife big with a son, who when born is reared by two
druidesses. He grows up fierce and stalwart, overcomes all his age-mates,
overtakes wild deer he running, slays a boar, and catches the magic salmon
of knowledge. An eighteenth century version given by Kennedy ("Legendary
Fictions," p. 216) makes Cumhall offer violence to Muirrean, daughter of
the druid Tadg, and his death to be chiefly due to the magic arts of the
incensed father. It will hardly be contended that these stories owe their
origin to adaptations of Chrestien's poem. But in any case no such
contention could apply to the oldest presentment of Fionn as a formula
hero, that found in the great Irish vellum, the Leabhar na h'Uidhre,
written down from older materials at the beginning of the twelfth century.
The tract entitled "The cause of the battle of Cnucha" has been translated
by Mr. Henessey ("Revue Celtique," vol. ii., pp. 86, _et seq._). In it we
find Cumhall and Tadhg, the violence done to the latter's daughter, the
consequent defeat and death of Cumhall, the lonely rearing of Fionn by his
mother, and the youth's avenging of his father. I must refer to my paper
in the "Folk-Lore Record" for a detailed argument in favour of the L.n.H.
account being an euhemerised version of the popular tradition, represented
by the Boyish Exploits, and for a comparison of the Fionn _sage_ as a
whole with the Greek, Iranian, Latin, and Germanic hero tales, which like
it are modelled upon the lines of the Expulsion and Return formula. I have
said enough, I trust, to show that the Fionn _sage_ is a variant (a far
richer one) of the theme treated in the boyhood of Perceval, but that it,
and _a fortiori_ the allied folk-tales are quite independent of the French
poem. It then follows that this portion of Chrestien's poem must itself be
looked upon as one of many treatments of a theme even more popular among
the Celts than among any other Aryan race, and that its ultimate source is
a Breton or Welsh folk-tale.

The genuine and independent nature of the Great Fool prose opening being
thus established, it is in the highest degree suggestive to find in the
accompanying Lay points of contact with the Grail Legend as given in
Chrestien. Three versions of this Lay have been printed in English, that
edited by Mr. John O'Daly (Transactions of the Ossianic Society, vol. vi.,
pp. 161, _et seq._); Mr. Campbell's (West Highland Tales, vol. iii. pp.
154, _et seq._) and Mr. Kennedy's prose version (Bardic Stories of
Ireland, pp. 151, _et seq._). O'Daly's, as the most complete and
coherent, forms the staple of the following summary, passages found in it
alone being italicised.[77]

_Summary of the Lay of the Great Fool._--(1) There was a great fool who
subdued the world by strength of body; (2) _He comes to the King of
Lochlin to win a fair woman, learns she is guarded by seven score heroes,
overthrows them, and carries her off_; (C. and K. plunging at once _in
medias res_, introduce the Great Fool and his lady love out walking); (3)
The two enter a valley, are meet by a "Gruagach" (champion, sorcerer), in
his hand a goblet with drink; (4) The Great Fool thirsts, and though
warned by his lady love drinks deep of the proffered cup; the "Gruagach"
departs and the Great Fool finds himself minus his two legs; (5) The two
go onward, and ("swifter was he at his two knees than six at their
swiftness of foot;" C.) A deer nears them followed by a white hound, the
Great Fool slays the deer and seizes the hound; (6) whose owner coming up
claims but finally yields it, and offers the Great Fool food and drink
during life; (7) The three fare together (the glen they had passed through
had ever been full of glamour) till they come to a fair city filled with
the glitter of gold, dwelt in solely by the owner of the white hound and
his wife, "whiter than very snow her form, gentle her eye, and her teeth
like a flower"; (8) She asks concerning her husband's guests, and,
learning the Great Fool's prowess, marvels he should have let himself be
deprived of his legs; (9) The host departs, leaving his house, wife, and
store of gold in the Great Fool's keeping, he is to let no man in, no one
out should any come in, nor is he to sleep; (10) Spite his lady love's
urgings the Great Fool yields to slumber, when in comes a young champion
and snatches a kiss from the host's wife, ("She was not ill pleased that
he came," C.); (11) The Great Fool's love awakening him reproaches him for
having slept--he arises to guard the door, in vain does the intruder offer
gold, three cauldrons full and seven hundred townlands, he shall not get
out; (12) _At the instigation of the host's wife_ the intruder restores
the Great Fool's legs, but not then even will the hero let him go--pay for
the kiss he must when the host returns; threats to deprive him of his legs
are in vain, as are likewise the entreaties of the host's wife (All this
is developed with great prolixity in O'Daly, but there is nothing
substantial added to the account in C.); (13) Finally the intruder
discloses that he himself is the host, and he was the Gruagach, whose
magic cup deprived the Great Fool of his legs, and he is, "_his own gentle
brother long in search of him, now that he has found him he is released
from sorcery_." The two kiss (C. and K. end here). (14) The two brothers
fare forth, encounter a giant with an eye larger than a moon and an iron
club, wherewith he hits the Great Fool a crack that brings him to his
knees, but the latter arising closes with the giant, kills him and takes
his club, the two then attack four other giants, three of whom the Great
Fool slays with his club, and the fourth yields to him. The brothers take
possession of the giant's castle and all its wealth.

There are obvious similarities between the Lay and the story found in the
Mabinogi and the Conte du Graal. A stag hunt is prominent in both, and
whilst engaged in it the hero falls under "illusion," in both too the
incident of the seizure of the hound appears, though in a different
connection. Finally in the Lay, as in the Mabinogi, the mover in the
enchantment is a kinsman whose own release from spells depends upon the
hero's coming successfully out of the trials to which he exposes him. But
while the general idea is the same, the way in which it is worked out is
so different that it is impossible to conceive of the one story having
been borrowed from the other. What can safely be claimed is that the
Great Fool, counterpart of Peredur-Perceval in the adventures of his youth
and up-bringing, is also, to a certain extent, his counterpart in the most
prominent of his later adventures, that of the stag hunt. It is thus
fairly certain that all this part of the Conte du Graal is, like the
_Enfances_, a working up of Celtic folk-tales. The giant fight which
concludes the Lay may be compared with that in Sir Perceval and in Morvan
le Breiz, and such a comparison makes it extremely likely that the
incident thus preserved by independent and widely differing offshoots from
the same folk-tale stem, belongs to the oldest form of the story.

The analogies of the Lay with the Perceval _sage_ are not yet exhausted.
In virtue of the relationship between the two chief characters, the Lay
belongs to the "twin-brother cycle." This group of folk-tales, some
account of which is given below,[78] is closely related on the one hand
to the "dragon slayer" group of _märchen_, on the other hand to the
Expulsion and Return formula tales. In many versions of the latter (the
most famous being that of Romulus and Remus) the hero is one of twins,
and, after sharing for a while with his brother, strife breaks out between
them. In the folk-tale this strife leads to final reconciliation, or is
indeed a means of unravelling the plot. In the hero-tale on the other hand
the strife mostly ends with the death or defeat of the one brother. It
would seem that when the folk-tale got associated with a definite hero
(generally the founder and patron of a race) and became in brief a
hero-tale, the necessity of exalting the race hero brought about a
modification of the plot. If this is so the folk-tale group of the "two
brothers" must be looked upon as older than the corresponding portion of
the Expulsion and Return hero-tales, and not as a mere weakened echo of
the latter. To return to the twin-brother features. The Peredur-Perceval
_sage_ has a twin-sister, and is parallel herein to the Fionn _sage_ in
one of its forms ("How the Een was set up"), though curiously enough not
to the Great Fool folk-tale (otherwise so similar to "How the Een was set
up"), which, as in the Lay, has a brother. But beyond this formal
recognition of the incident in the Perceval _sage_, I am inclined to look
upon the Perceval-Gawain dualism as another form of it. This dualism has
been somewhat obscured by the literary form in which the _sage_ has been
preserved and the tendency to exalt and idealise _one_ hero. In the
present case this tendency has not developed so far as to seriously
diminish the importance of Gawain; _his_ adventures are, however, left in
a much more primitive and _märchenhaft_ shape, and hence, as will be shown
later on, are extremely valuable in any attempt to reach the early form of
the story.[79]

If Simrock's words quoted on the title page were indeed conclusive--"If
that race among whom the 'Great Fool' folk-tale was found independent of
the Grail story had the best claim to be regarded as having wrought into
one these two elements"--then my task might be considered at an end. I
have shown that this race was that of the Celtic dwellers in these
islands, among whom this tale is found not only in a fuller and more
significant form than elsewhere, but in a form that connects it with the
French Grail romance. But the conclusion that the Conte du Graal is in the
main a working up of Celtic popular traditions, which had clustered round
a hero, whose fortunes bore, in part, a striking resemblance to those of
Fionn, the typical representative of the Expulsion and Return formula
cycle among the Celts, though hardly to be gainsaid, does not seem to help
much towards settling the question of the origin of the Grail itself. The
story would appear to be Celtic except just the central incident upon
which the whole turns. For the English Sir Perceval, which undoubtedly
follows older models, breathes no word of search for any magic talisman,
let alone the Grail, whilst the Mabinogi, which is also older in parts
than the Conte du Graal, gives a different turn to and assigns a
different _motif_ for the hero's conduct. The avenging of a kinsman's harm
upon certain supernatural beings, and the consequent release from
enchantment of another kinsman, supply the elements of a clear and
consistent action to which parallels may easily be adduced from
folk-tales, but one quite distinct from the release of a kinsman through
the medium of certain talismans and certain magic formulæ. Numerous as
have been the points of contact hitherto established between Celtic folk
belief and the French romance, the parallel would seem to break down at
its most essential point, and the contention that the Grail is a foreign
element in the Celtic legend would still seem to be justified. Before,
however, this can be asserted, what I have called the central episode of
the romance requires more searching and detailed examination than it has
had, and some accessory features, which, on the hypothesis of the
Christian legendary origin of the Grail, remain impenetrable puzzles must
be commented upon. And another instructive point of contact between
romance and folk-tale must be previously noticed, connected as it is with
stories already dealt with in this chapter.

In the latest portion of the Conte du Graal, the interpolation of Gerbert,
the following incident occurs:--The hero meets four knights carrying their
wounded father, who turns out to be Gonemans, the same who armed him
knight. He vows vengeance upon Gonemans' enemies, but his efforts are at
first of no avail. As fast as in the daytime he slays them, at night they
are brought back to life by "Une vieille" who is thus described:--

  La poitrine ot agüe et sèche;
  Ele arsist ausi come une esche
  Si on boutast en li le fu.[80]

     *       *       *       *

  La bouche avoit grant à merveilles
  Et fendue dusqu'as oreilles,
  Qu'ele avoit longues et tendans;
  Lons et lez et gausnes les dans
  Avoit. (Potvin vi., 183, 184.)

She carries with her

  II. barisiax d'ivoire gent;

containing a "poison," the same whereof Christ made use in the Sepulchre,
and which serves here to bring the dead back to life and to rejoin heads
cut off from bodies. She goes to work thus:--

  A la teste maintenant prise,
  Si l'a desor le bu assise;

then taking the balm

  Puis en froie celui la bouche
  À cui la teste avoit rajointe;
  Sor celui n'ot vaine ne jointe
  Qui lues ne fust de vie plaine.

Perceval stops her when she has brought back three of her men to life; she
recognises in him her conqueror:

  Bien vous connois et bien savoie
  Que de nului garde n'avoie
  Fors que de vous; car, par mon chief
  Nus n'en péust venir à chief
  Se vous non ...

So long as she lives, Perceval shall be powerless to achieve his Quest.
She wars against Gonemant by order of the King of the Waste City, who ever
strives against all who uphold the Christian faith, and whose chief aim it
is to hinder Perceval from attaining knowledge of the Grail. Perceval gets
possession of somewhat of the wonder-working balm, brings to life the most
valiant of his adversaries, slays him afresh after a hard struggle, in
which he himself is wounded, heals his own hurt, and likewise Gonemant's,
with the balsam. Compare now Campbell's above-cited tale, the Knight of
the Red Shield. The hero, left alone upon the island by his two
treacherous companions, sees coming towards him "three youths, heavily,
wearily, tired." They are his foster-brothers, and from the end of a day
and a year they hold battle against the Son of Darkness, Son of Dimness,
and a hundred of his people, and every one they kill to-day will be alive
to-morrow, and spells are upon them they may not leave this (island) for
ever until they kill them. The hero starts out on the morrow alone
against these enemies, and he did not leave a head on a trunk of theirs,
and he overcame the Son of Darkness himself. But he is so spoilt and torn
he cannot leave the battle-field, and he lays himself down amongst the
dead the length of the day. "There was a great strand under him below; and
what should he hear but the sea coming as a blazing brand of fire, as a
destroying serpent, as a bellowing bull; he looked from him, and what saw
he coming on the shore of the strand, but a great toothy carlin ... there
was the tooth that was longer than a staff in her fist, and the one that
was shorter than a stocking wire in her lap." She puts her finger in the
mouth of the dead, and brings them alive. She does this to the hero, and
he bites off the finger at the joint, and then slays her. She is the
mother of the Son of Darkness, and she has a vessel of balsam wherewith
the hero's foster-brothers anoint and make him whole, and her death frees
them from her spells for ever.[81] This "toothy carlin" is a favourite
figure in Celtic tradition. She re-appears in the ballad of the
Muilearteach (probably Muir Iarteach, _i.e._, Western Sea), Campbell,
iii., pp. 122, _et seq._, and is there described as "the bald russet one,"
"her face blue black, of the lustre of coal, her bone tufted tooth like
rusted bone, one deep pool-like eye in her head, gnarled brushwood on her
head like the clawed-up wood of the aspen root." In another version of the
ballad, printed in the Scottish Celtic Review, No. 2, pp. 115, _et seq._,
the monster is "bald red, white maned, her face dark grey, of the hue of
coal, the teeth of her jaw slanting red, one flabby eye in her head, her
head bristled dark and grey, like scrubwood before hoar."[82] The editor
of this version, the Rev. J. G. Campbell, interprets the ballad, and
correctly, no doubt, "as an inroad of the Personified Sea." There is no
connection, save in the personage of the "toothy carlin," between the
ballad and the folk-tale.[83]

It is impossible, I think, to compare Gerbert's description of the witch
with that of the Highland "Carlin" without coming to the conclusion that
the French poet drew from traditional, popular Celtic sources. The wild
fantasy of the whole is foreign in the extreme to the French temperament,
and is essentially Celtic in tone. But the incident, as well as one
particular feature of it, admits of comparison: the three foster-brothers
of the Highland tale correspond to the four sons of Gonemant, who be it
recollected, represents in the Conte du Graal, Peredur-Perceval's uncle in
the Mabinogi; in both, the hero goes forth alone to do battle with the
mysterious enemy; the Son of Darkness answers to the King of the Waste
City; the dead men are brought back to life in the same way; the release
of the kinsman, from spells, or from danger of death, follows upon the
witch's discomfiture. And yet greater value attaches to the incident as
connected with the Mabinogi form of the story; in Gerbert, as in the
Mabinogi, the hero's uncle is sick to death, his chief enemy is a
monstrous witch (or witches), who foreknows that she must succumb at the
hero's hands.[84] Something has obviously dropped out from the Mabinogi.
May it not be those very magic talismans, the winning of which is the
chief element of the French romances, and may not one of the talismans
have been the vessel of life-restoring balsam which figures in Gerbert and
the Highland tales?[85] The study of subsidiary versions and incidents may
thus throw upon the connection of the Grail with the Perceval romance a
light which the main Celtic forms of the latter have not hitherto yielded.

The Thornton MS. Sir Perceval differs in this incident from both Manessier
and Gerbert. As in Gerbert and the Highland Tale the hero meets his uncle
and cousins; there is the same fight with the mother of the enemy of his
kin, the hideous carlin, but it precedes, as does also the slaying of that
enemy, the meeting of uncle and nephews. There is thus no room for the
healing _motif_ for which the unconscious avenging of the father's death
is substituted. These differences bear witness both to the popular and
shifting nature of the traditions upon which the romances are based, and
to the fact that the avenging of a blood feud was the leading incident of
its earliest form.


    The various forms of the visit to the Grail Castle in the
    romances--Conte du Graal: Chrestien; Gautier-Manessier;
    Gautier-Gerbert--Didot-Perceval--Mabinogi--Conte du Graal: Gawain's
    visit to the Grail Castle--Heinrich von dem Türlin--Conte du Graal:
    Perceval's visit to the Castle of Maidens--Inconsistency of these
    varying accounts; their testimony to stories of different nature and
    origin being embodied in the romances--Two main types: feud quest and
    unspelling quest--Reasons for the confusion of the two types--Evidence
    of the confusion in older Celtic literature--The Grail in Celtic
    literature: the gear of the Tuatha de Danann; the cauldron in the
    Ultonian cycle; the Mabinogi of Branwen; vessel of balsam and glaive
    of light in the contemporary folk-tale--The sword in Celtic
    literature: Tethra; Fionn; Manus--Parallels to the Bespelled Castle;
    the Brug of Oengus, the Brug of Lug, the Brug of Manannan Mac Lir,
    Bran's visit to the Island of Women, Cormac Mac Art, and the Fairy
    Branch; Diarmaid and the Daughter of King Under the Waves--Unspelling
    stories: The Three Soldiers; the waiting of Arthur; Arthur in Etna;
    the Kyffhäuser Legend, objections to Martin's views concerning
    it--Gawain's visit to the Magic Castle and Celtic parallels; The Son
    of Bad Counsel; Fionn in Giant Land; Fionn in the House of Cuana;
    Fionn and the Yellow Face--The Vanishing of the Bespelled
    Castle--Comparison with the Sleeping Beauty cycle--The "Haunted
    Castle" form and its influence on Heinrich's version--The Loathly
    Grail Messenger.

The analysis of the various versions has shown that the Conte du Graal is
the oldest portion of the vast body of French romance which deals with the
Grail, and that it presents the earliest form of the story. The
examination of the theories put forward to explain the genesis and growth
of the legend has shown how untenable is that hypothesis which makes the
Christian legend the starting point of the cycle. The comparison of the
Conte du Graal with Celtic legends and folk-tales has shown that the
former is in the main a North French retelling of tales current then, as
now, among the Celtic peoples of Britain, and probably of Brittany. One
thing alone remains unexplained, the mysterious Grail itself. Nor has any
light been thrown from Celtic sources upon the incident of the hero's
visit to the Castle of Talismans, his silence, and the ensuing misfortune
which overtakes him. Where this incident does appear in a Celtic version,
the Mabinogi, it is not brought in connection with the Grail, and it bears
obvious traces of interpolation. The utmost we have been able to do is to
reconstruct from scattered indications in different Celtic tales a
sequence of incidents similar to that of the French romance. Let us, then,
return to what may be called the central incident of the Grail legend in
its older and purer form. And let us recall the fact that the hypothesis
which finds a Christian origin for the whole legend has no explanation to
offer of this incident. Birch-Hirschfeld can merely suggest that
Perceval's question upon which all hinges is "eine harmlose Erfindung
Borron's," a meaningless invention of Borron's. It is, indeed, his failure
to account for such an essential element of the story that forms one of
the strongest arguments against his hypothesis.

In the first place it must be noticed that the incident of a hero's visit
to a magic castle, of his omission whilst there to do certain things, and
of the loss or suffering thereby caused, occurs not once, but many times;
not in one, but in many forms in the vast body of Grail romance, as is
seen by the following list, which likewise comprises all the occasions on
which one or other of the questers has come near to or succeeded in seeing
the Grail:--

    (1) CHRESTIEN: (Inc. 7). Perceval's first visit to the Grail Castle.
    Question omitted.

    (2) GAUTIER: (Inc. 22). Perceval's second visit to the Grail Castle.
    Question put--

    _Incident breaks off in middle, and is continued in one version by_:--

        (2A) MANESSIER, who sends off the hero on a fresh quest, which is
        finished in

        (3) MANESSIER: (Inc. 21). Perceval's third visit to Grail Castle.
        The question is not mentioned. Hero's final success.

    _In another version by_:--

    (4) GERBERT: (Inc. 1-3). Perceval is sent forth anew upon Quest. He
    has half put the question and been partially successful.

    (5) GERBERT: (Inc. 21). Perceval's third visit to Grail Castle.
    Question not mentioned. Hero's success.

    _Besides these forms of the episode in the Conte du Graal of which
    Perceval is the hero, we have_:--

    (6) GAUTIER: (Inc. 3). Gauvain's first visit according to one, second
    visit according to another version. Question half put, partial

    _And finally a somewhat similar incident of which Perceval is the hero

    (7) GAUTIER: (Inc. 12). Visit to the Castle of Maidens. Untimely sleep
    of hero.

    So far the Conte du Graal. Of the versions closely connected with it
    we have:

    (8 & 9) WOLFRAM VON ESCHENBACH: Two visits of Perceval to Grail
    Castle. Question omitted at first, put in second, and crowned with

    (10 & 11) MABINOGI OF PEREDUR: (Inc. 6-25). Two visits of hero to
    Grail Castle. Question omitted at first. Second visit successful. No
    mention of question.

    (12 & 13) DIDOT-PERCEVAL: (Inc. 11-16). Two visits of Perceval to
    Grail Castle. Question omitted at first, put at second, and crowned
    with success.

    In a German romance, which presents many analogies with that portion
    of the Conte du Graal which goes under Gautier's name:

    (14) HEINRICH VON DEM TÜRLIN: Gawain's first visit to Grail Castle.
    Question put. Success. Allusion to previous unsuccessful visit of

    Finally in the QUESTE versions we have four variants of the incident--

    (15) QUESTE: (Inc. 12). Lancelot at the cross-road, omission to ask
    concerning the Grail.

    (15) QUESTE: (Inc. 15). Perceval heals Mordrains.

           "     (Inc. 43). Lancelot comes to Grail Castle. Partial
                 fulfilment of his Quest.

           "     (Inc. 48). The three questers come to the Grail Castle.

On looking at the list we notice that the Conte du Graal knows of three
visits on the part of the principal hero to the Castle of Talismans: 1, 2,
3, or 1, 2-4, 5, and of one visit (or two) of the secondary hero; whilst
Wolfram, the Mabinogi, and the Didot-Perceval know of two only. Heinrich
von dem Türlin gives only one visit to _his_ chief hero, though he
mentions a former one by the secondary hero. In Wolfram, and the
Didot-Perceval, the incident may be compared in the Conte du Graal with 1
and 2; in the Mabinogi with 1 and 5; in Heinrich with 6. The Queste forms
of the incident are obviously dependent upon those of the Conte du Graal,
although they have been strongly modified. As for 7, it would seem to be a
form of the incident which has been entirely unaffected by the Christian
symbolism which has influenced all the others.

It will be advisable to recapitulate the leading features of the incident
as found in the different versions. Where the summaries in Chapter II
afford detailed information about it, the recapitulation will be brief,
but it will be necessary to give at least one version at much greater
length than heretofore.

In the Conte du Graal (1) the hero finds a King fishing, who directs him
to his castle. Just as he deems the fisher has deceived him the castle
bursts upon his sight. He enters, is led into a square room wherein is a
bed sitting on which is an old man wrapped in sables; before him is a
great fire of dry wood; 400 men might sit in the hall. The King rises to
greet him; as they sit, a squire enters with a sword which had but two
fellows, sent by the King's niece for the hero to whom it was destined.
The hall is light as it may be. A squire enters holding a lance by the
middle; all can behold the drop of blood which flows from the point upon
the holder's hand. There follow him two squires with candlesticks, each
with ten candles, in either hand; a damsel holding a Grail, which gives
out a light as greater than that of the candles as the sun outshines the
stars; and another damsel with a plate of fine gold. The procession passes
from one into the other room. The hero refrains from asking who is served
by the Grail. After playing at chess with the King they dine, and again
the Grail passes, uncovered, at each dish. The hero would fain ask what
was done with it, and is about to do so, but puts off the question. On the
morrow he sees no one in the castle, the doors of the rooms he had been in
the eve before are shut, no one answers; and, mounting his horse, which he
finds ready saddled, he sets forth over the drawbridge, which closes of
itself behind him, without learning why lance bleeds or whither the Grail
is borne. (2) At the second visit the hero comes into a magnificent room,
ornamented with fine gold and stars of silver, wherein on a vermeil couch
the rich King is sitting. The hero is fain forthwith to ask about Grail
and bleeding lance, but must sit him down by the rich King and tell of his
adventures, about the chapel in which lay the dead Knight, and the black
hand, the child in the tree and the tree full of candles. The King makes
him eat before answering his questions. Whilst at meat a damsel, fairer
than flowers in April, enters with the Holy Grail, another with the lance,
a squire with the broken sword. The hero asks about these talismans. But
first the King answers the questions about the earlier wonders; the
talismans he will tell of after meat. The hero insists to know about the
sword. The King bids him put it together--can he do so he will learn about
the Knight in the Chapel, and after that about the talismans. Save for one
flaw the hero succeeds, whereupon the King says he knows no one in the
world better than he, embraces him, and yields him up all in his house.
The squire who brought the sword returns, wraps it in a cendal, and
carries it off.

  2A. The King bids the hero eat.       4. The hero would hold it sin if
  Lance and Grail, and a fair silver    he did not ask concerning the
  dish pass before them, the latter     Grail. The King first submits him
  held by a damsel. The hero sighs      to the sword test.[86] The
  and begs to learn about these         existence of the flaw is
  three. He is told about lance,        apparently held to constitute
  Grail, Grail-bearing damsel,          failure, due to the hero's sin in
  dish-bearing damsel, and in           quitting his mother so abruptly.
  answer to further questions,          In the night the hero has a
  learns the history of the broken      vision, which warns him to hasten
  sword, and of the chapel haunted      to his sister's aid. On the morrow
  by the black hand. After sleeping     the Grail Castle has vanished.
  in a splendid bed[87] he sets         Mounting his horse, which stands
  forth on the morrow on the sword      ready saddled, he rides forth.
  quest (the slaying of Partinal).      After a vain essay to gain
                                        entrance to a magnificent castle,
  3. Having accomplished which, and     in which he breaks his sword, and
  lighted chancewise upon the Grail     thereby loads upon himself seven
  Castle, the King, apprised by a       further years of adventure, but
  squire and forthwith healed, meets    learns how the sword may be made
  the hero who shows him head and       whole again, he finds the land
  shield. At table lance and Grail      which the day before was waste
  pass, borne by two maidens;           fertile and peopled. The peasants
  delectable meats fill the dishes--    hail him: the townsmen come forth
  all are filled and satisfied who      in his honour--for through him the
  behold the Holy Grail and the lance   folk have won back lands and
  that bleeds. Thereafter enters a      riches. A damsel tells him how: at
  squire holding a silver dish          the Court of the Fisher King he
  covered with red samite; the          had asked about the Grail. At her
  talismans pass thrice; the King       castle he has his sword mended.
  thanks the hero for having slain      (Later the hero learns that his
  his enemy and thereby rid him of      failure to win the Grail comes
  great torment. Asks his name,         from his not having wedded his
  learns that he is his nephew, and     lady-love).
  offers him his kingdom.
                                        5. Hero is directed by a cross to
                                        the Court of the Fisher King. The
                                        latter makes him sit by his side
                                        and tell his adventures, when he
                                        would fain learn about the Grail.
                                        The same procession then passes
                                        as in (2), save that sword instead
                                        of being broken is simply
                                        described as not resoldered. The
                                        hero says he has been twice before
                                        with the King, and reproaches him
                                        for not having answered his
                                        questions, although he had
                                        resoldered the sword to the King's
                                        great joy. The King then bids him
                                        shake the sword, which he does,
                                        and the flaw disappears. The King
                                        is overjoyed, and the hero is now
                                        worthy of knowing everything.[88]

In comparing with these versions of the incident that found in the
Didot-Perceval, we find that the hero at his first visit is welcomed by
the squires of the castle, clad in a scarlet cloak, and placed upon a
rich bed, whilst four sergeants apprise Brons of his arrival, and the
latter is carried into the hall where sits the hero, who rises to greet
him. Brons questions him before they sit down to meat. The mystic
procession is formed by squire with lance bleeding, damsel with silver
dish, squire with the vessel holding our Lord's blood. On the morrow the
hero sees no one, and finds all the doors open. At his second visit there
is no mention of difficulty in finding the castle. This time the King
rises to greet him; they talk of many things and then sit down to meat.
Grail and worthy relics pass, and the hero asks who is served by the
vessel which the squire holds in his hands. Straightway the King is healed
and changed; overjoyed he first asks the hero who he is, and, on learning
it, tells him concerning lance and Grail, and afterwards, at the bidding
of a heavenly voice, the secret words which Joseph taught him, Brons.

In the Mabinogi the castle lies on the other side of a meadow. At his
first visit the hero finds the gates open, and in the hall a hoary-headed
man sits, around whom are pages who rise to receive the hero. Host and
guest discourse and eat, seated beside one another. The sword trial
follows, and the hero is declared to have arrived at two-thirds of his
strength. The two youths with the dripping spear enter, amid the
lamentation of the company, are followed by the two maidens with the
salver wherein is a man's head, and the outcry redoubles. On the morrow
the hero rides forth unmolested.

At the second visit the castle is described as being in a valley through
which runs a river. The grey-headed man found sitting in the hall with
Gwalchmai is described as lame.

So far we have recapitulated the leading features of Perceval's dealings
at the Talismans Castle in the Conte du Graal and in the most closely
allied versions. But Perceval, the chief hero, has, as we have already
seen, an under-study in Gauvain. And the Gauvain form of the incident
deserves as close examination as the Perceval form.

(6) Gauvain has met a knight, stranger to him, with whom he travels to
Caerleon. Whilst in his company the stranger is slain by a dart cast by
whom no one knows. Before dying he bids Gauvain take his arms and his
horse; he knows not why he has been slain, he never harmed anyone. Gauvain
suspects and accuses Kex, upon whom he vows to prove the murder, and sets
forth to learn the unknown's name. After affronting the adventure of the
black hand[89] in the chapel and long wanderings, he finds himself one
evening at the opening of a dark, tree-covered road at whose further end
he spies a light. Tired and fasting he lets his horse go at its will, and
is led to a castle where he is received with great honour as though he
were expected. But when he has changed his dress the castle folk see it is
not he whom they thought. In the hall is a bier whereupon lie cross and
sword and a dead knight. Canons and priests raise a great lamentation over
the body. A crowned knight enters and bids Gauvain sit by his side. Then
the Grail goes through the room, serving out meats in plenty, and acting
the part of a steward, whereat Gauvain is astounded. He next sees a lance
which drips blood into a silver cup. From out the same room whence come
the talismans, the King issues, a sword in his hand, the sword of the dead
knight, over whom he laments--on his account the land languishes. He bids
Gauvain essay to make the sword whole, but Gauvain cannot, and is told his
quest may not be accomplished. After his toils and wanderings Gauvain is
sleepy, but he struggles against sleep, and asks about bleeding lance and
sword and bier. Whilst the King is answering him he goes to sleep. On
awakening he is on the sea shore, arms and steed by his side.[90] He then
meets with the peasantry, and is told of the changed condition of the
land in a passage already quoted (p. 87). Had he asked about the Grail
"por coi il servoit," the land had been wholly freed.

Heinrich von dem Türlin's account of Gauvain's visit to the Grail Castle
differs, as will be seen by the Summary, p. 27, which it is unnecessary to
repeat, more from that of Gautier than from the Perceval visit of the
Conte de Graal, with which it has the common feature, that the person
benefitted by the transaction is the Lord of the Magic Castle. As will
already have been noticed it stands alone in the conception that the
inmates of the castle are under the enchantment of death-in-life from
which the question frees them.

There still remains to be noticed (7) the incident of Perceval's visit to
the Castle of Maidens, so closely analogous in certain details to the
Grail Castle visit, and yet wholly disassociated from it in the conduct of
the story. Perceval, wandering, sees across a river in fair meadow land a
rich castle built of marble, yellow and vermeil. Crossing a bridge he
enters, and the door at once closes behind him. No one is in the hall, in
the centre of which is a table, and hanging to it by a steel chain a
hammer. Searching the castle he still finds no one, and no one answers to
his call. At length he strikes upon the table three blows with the hammer.
A maiden appears, reproaches him, and disappears. Again he waits, and
again he strikes three blows. A second damsel appears, and tells him if he
strike afresh the tower will fall, and he be slain in its fall. But as he
threatens to go on, the damsel offers to open the door and let him forth.
He declares he will stay till morning, whereupon the damsel says she will
call her mistress. The hero bids her haste as he is not minded to wait
long, and warns her that he still holds the hammer. Other damsels then
show themselves, disarm and tend the hero, and lead him through a splendid
hall into a still more splendid one, wherein a hundred fair and courteous
maidens, all of like age and mien, and richly dressed, rise at his
approach and hail him as lord. The hero deems himself in paradise, and
"sooth 'tis to be in paradise to be with dames and maids; so sweet they
are, the devil can make naught of them, and 'tis better to follow them
than to hearken to sermons preached in church for money." The dame of the
castle bids the hero sit him down by her. "White she is as a lily, rosier
than on a May morn a fresh blown rose when the dew has washed it." She
asks him his name, and on hearing how he had wandered lonely three days
ere meeting with the castle, tells him he might have wandered seven ere
finding where to partake of bread and meat. He is well feasted. In reply
to his questions about the castle, and how is it no man may be seen in it,
he learns he is in the Maidens' Castle, all the inmates of one kin and
land, of gentle birth; no mason put his hand to the castle, no serf toiled
at it. Four maids built it, and in this wise: Whatever knight passed, and
entering, beheld the door closed, and no man meeting him--if craven he
struck no blow with the hammer, and on the morrow he went forth unheeded;
but if wise and courteous he struck the table, and was richly entertained.
As the lady tells this tale the hero, overcome with much journeying, falls
asleep and is laid to bed by the maidens. On the morrow he wakes beneath a
leafy oak, and never a house in sight.

It is surely superfluous to point out that the foregoing recapitulation of
the various forms under which this incident has come down to us gives the
last blow to the theory which makes Christian symbolism the starting
point, and the Didot-Perceval the purest representative of the legend. We
should have to admit not only that the later romance writers entirely
misunderstood the sense of their model, but that, whilst anxiously casting
about in every direction for details with which to overlay it, they
neglected one of its most fertile hints--that of the secret words handed
down through Joseph from Christ Himself to the successful Grail quester.
What a mine of adventures would not Gautier, Gerbert, and all the other
unknown versifiers, who added each his quota to the Conte, have found in
those "secret words?" Nay, more, we must admit that so much in love were
they with this incident they misunderstood, that they repeated it in
half-a-dozen varying forms, and finally eliminated from it every trace of
its original element. There are theories which ask too much and which must
be set on one side, even if one has nothing equally ingenious and
symmetrical to set in their place.

Three things strike one in considering this incident apart from the other
adventures with which it is associated; the want of consistency in those
versions which, formally, are closely related, an inconsistency which we
have already noted in dealing with the legend as a whole; the repetition
of the same incident with almost similar details, but with a different
animating conception; and the fact that some of the secondary forms
testify to that same thread of story which we have already extracted from
the comparison of the Mabinogi and the Conte du Graal in their entirety.
Not only is the conception of the Quest different in Chrestien and
Manessier or Chrestien-Gerbert, but the details are different, the centre
of interest being shifted from the omitted question to the broken sword.
In Manessier the _dénoûment_ is brought about without any reference to the
question, in Gerbert the reference is of the most perfunctory kind. Again
we find the same machinery of Grail, lance, and other talismans, which in
Chrestien-Manessier serves to bring about the hero's vengeance on his
uncle's murderer, in Chrestien-Gerbert the re-union of the lovers and the
winning of the Grail Kingship, used in the Gawain quest with the evident
object of compassing vengeance upon the slayer of the unknown knight. And,
thirdly, this secondary form is in close agreement with the
Mabinogi--here, as there, the sword test takes place at the Fisher King's;
here, as there, it immediately precedes the passing of the talismans;
here, as there, it is only partially successful; here, as there, is a
tangible reminder of the object of the quest, in the dead body of the
unknown knight in the one case, in the head swimming in blood in the
other. And here we may note that of the two forms in which the _Queste_
reproduces this incident, the one which holds the more prominent position
in the narrative, the one of which Lancelot is the hero, closely resembles
that secondary form in the Conte du Graal which is connected with Gawain.
The wounded knight whom Lancelot beholds at the crossways borne into the
chapel upon a bier, and clamouring for the succour of the Grail, recalls
forcibly the dead knight of the Gawain quest. It is, perhaps, still more
significant that when the Queste does reproduce the Perceval form, it is
only in its externals, and the mystic vessel, which in the older version
is obviously a means of achieving the quest, has, in the later one,
become the end of that quest.

It seems impossible to resist the following conclusions:--The many forms
of the incident found in the Grail romances are not variants of one, and
that an orderly and logical original; they testify to the fact that in the
body of popular tradition which forms the basis of these romances the
incident of the visit to a magic castle was a common one, that it entered
into the thread of stories, somewhat similar in outline and frequently
centered in the same hero, but differing essentially in conception, and
that the forms in the romances which are most likely to keep close to the
traditional model are those secondary ones with which the innovating
spirit, whether due to the genius of the individual artist, or to
intruding Christian symbolism, has least concerned itself. There is
apparently but one case in the Conte du Graal, that of Perceval's visit to
the Castle of Maidens, which has been modified by neither of these

To accept these conclusions is to clear the ground. If we rid our minds of
the idea that there is _a Grail legend_, a definite fixed sequence of
incidents, we need not be discouraged if we fail to find a prototype for
it in Celtic tradition or elsewhere. We shall be prepared to examine every
incident of which the Grail is a feature upon its own merits, and
satisfied if we can find analogies to this or that one. And by so doing we
are more likely to discover the how and why of the development of the
legends as we find them in the romances.

Leaving subsidiary details out of account, we may bring all the instances
in which the Grail appears under two formulas: that of the kinsman
avenging a blood feud by the means of the three magic talismans, sword and
lance and vessel; and that of the visit to the Bespelled Castle, the
inmates of which enjoy, thanks to the magic vessel, a supernaturally
prolonged life, from which they are released by the hero's question
concerning that vessel. The one we may call the feud quest, the other the
unspelling quest. The Proto-Mabinogi belonged, as we have already seen
(_supra_, p. 139), to the first class, and accordingly we find that all
relating to the question is obviously interpolated from Chrestien.
Chrestien's model belonged, in all probability if not wholly, chiefly to
the first class, and accordingly we find that Manessier, certainly more
faithful than Chrestien to that original, lays no stress upon the
question. But in Chrestien himself there is a mixture of the two formulas;
the question and the food-producing qualities of the magic vessel have
been incorporated in the feud formula. Once started upon this track the
legend continues to mingle the formulas. The mystic procession, which
probably owes its form to Chrestien, is repeated with monotonous sameness
by his continuators; the machinery of the feud quest almost invariably
doubles that of the visit to the Bespelled Castle, and _vice versâ_. Thus
Heinrich von dem Türlin, along with the most archaic presentment of the
unspelling quest, has that procession of the talismans which properly
belongs to the feud quest; and, to complete his conception, we must turn
to incidents at present set in the framework of the other formula. For the
effect upon the land produced by the hero's action at the Castle of
Talismans is obviously analagous to, though of directly contrary nature
to, that produced upon the inmates of the Bespelled Castle. They are dead
though they seem quick, the land is full of life though it seems waste.
The question which frees the one from the spell of life-in-death, frees
the other from the spell of death-in-life.[91] The Didot-Perceval has the
complete conception. Perceval's question not only releases Brons, who may
not die until then, but it also ends the enchantment of Britain.

The identity of hero in stories originally dissimilar was one reason for
the confusion between the two formulas; the nature of the Grail was
another. Its attributes were in all probability not very clearly defined
in the immediate models of the French romance writers; these found it
enveloped in mysterious haze, which simple story-tellers, such as Gautier,
did not try to clear up, and which gave free play to the mystic
imaginings of those writers who used romance as a vehicle for edification.
The one tangible thing about it in stories of the one class, its food
producing-power, has left its trace upon every one of the romances. But we
shall also find in our survey of Celtic literature that this attribute, as
well as that of healing or restoring to life, is found indifferently in
stories of both the classes, to the fusion of which we refer the Grail
legends in their present form. Another link between the two formulas is
formed by the sword. It is almost invariably found associated with the
healing vessel of balsam in task stories connected with the feud quest of
the Mabinogi and the Conte du Graal; it is also a frequent feature in the
legend of the unsuccessful visit to the Bespelled Castle.[92] Finally, the
most important reason for running into one the stories derived from these
two formulas, and the one which could hardly fail to lead to the fusion,
is to be found in the identity of the myth which underlies both
conceptions. The castle to which the avenger must penetrate to win the
talismans, and that to which the hero comes with the intent of freeing its
lord, are both symbols of the otherworld.

Bearing in mind this double origin of the Grail, and reviewing once more
the entire cycle, we note that, whilst it is that presentment of the magic
vessel due to the second formula which is most prominent in the romances,
the feud quest has furnished more and more varied sequences of incident,
and is the staple of the oldest literary Celtic form (the Proto-Mabinogi)
and of those North French forms which are most closely akin to it. Here
the magic vessel is at best one of three equally potent treasures; as a
matter of fact its _rôle_ in this section of the romances is, as we have
seen, inferior to that of the sword. Obviously intended to be the
immediate cause of restoration to life or health of the hero's kinsman,
its functions have been minimised until they have been forgotten. If this
is so already in the Proto-Mabinogi and in the model of the Conte du
Graal, we may expect to find that elsewhere in Celtic tradition the magic
vessel is of less account than sword or lance.

We should likewise misconceive the character of popular tradition if we
expected to find certain attributes rigidly ascribed to the mystic vessel
in this or that set of stories. The confusion we have noted in the
romances may be itself derived from older traditions. Certain it is that
in what maybe looked upon as the oldest account of the vessel[93] in
Celtic literature (although the form in which it has reached us is
comparatively modern), there is a vessel of abundance associated with
three other talismans, two of them being sword and lance. The Tuatha de
Danann (the race of fairies and wizards which plays a part in Irish
tradition analogous to that of Gwydion ap Don, Gwynn ap Nudd, and their
kin in Welsh) so runs the tradition preserved by Keating in his History of
Ireland (Book I, ed. by Joyce, Dublin, 1880, p. 117), had four treasures:
The Lia Fail, the stone of Fate or Virtue ("now in the throne upon which
is proclaimed the King of the Saxons," _i.e._, the stone brought by Edward
I., from Scone); the sword that Lug[94] Lamhfhada (Lug the Longhanded) was
wont to use; the spear the same Lug used in battle; the cauldron of the
Dagda, "_a company used not ever go away from it unsatisfied_." Keating
followed old and good sources, and although the passage I have underlined
is not to be found in all MSS. of his work (_e.g._, it is missing in that
translated by Halliday), and although the verse which he quotes, and which
probably goes back to the eleventh century, whilst the traditions which
it embodies may be regarded as a couple of centuries older, does not
mention this property of the Dagda's[95] Cauldron, it may, I think, be
assumed that the tradition here noticed is genuine, and that a vessel akin
to the Grail, as well as talismans akin to those that accompany the Grail,
formed part of the gear of the oldest Celtic divinities.[96]

This conclusion appears no rash one when we consider the further
references to the cauldron in Middle Irish Literature. The Battle of Magh
Rath, a semi-historical romance relating to events which took place in the
seventh century, is ascribed by its editor, Dr. J. O'Donovan, to the
latter half of the twelfth century. It relates (pp. 51, _et seq._) how the
sons of the King of Alba sought to obtain from their father the "Caire
Ainsicen" so called, because "it was the caire or cauldron which was used
to return his own proper share to each, and no party ever went away from
it unsatisfied, for whatever quantity was put into it there was never
boiled of it but what was sufficient for the company according to their
grade or rank." The mediæval story-teller then goes on to instance similar
cauldrons to be met with in the older history of Ireland. These may nearly
all be referred to the oldest heroic Irish cycle, the Ultonian, of which
Cuchulainn is the most prominent figure. This cycle, in its origin almost
if not wholly mythic, was at an early date (probably as early as the
eighth century) euhemerised, and its gods and demi-gods made to do duty as
historical personages living at the beginning of the Christian era. It is,
indeed, not improbable that actual historical events and personages of
that period may have coloured and distorted the presentment of the myth;
and it is highly probable that the substance of these stories does go back
to that age, as they are almost entirely free from any admixture of
Christian elements, and such admixture as there is can be readily detected
as the handiwork of the tenth and eleventh century monks by whom these
tales were written in MSS. which have for the most part come down to us.
The cauldron is found with the same properties as those set forth in the
Battle of Magh Rath, in two of the most celebrated tales of this cycle,
the Toghail Bruighne da Derga, and the Tale of Mac Datho's pig.

Turning from Irish to Welsh literature we may note that the Grail has
frequently been compared with the cauldron of Bran in the Mabinogi of
Branwen, the daughter of Llyr. I have dealt with this tale fully
(Folk-Lore Record, Vol. V.), and see no reason to depart from the
conclusion I then arrived at; namely, that it goes back in the main to the
eleventh or tenth century. Here, the revivifying power of the vessel is
dwelt upon, "The property of it is that if one of thy men be slain to-day,
and be cast therein, the morrow he will be as well as ever he was at his
best, except that he will not regain his speech." We cannot fail to recall
that in the Queste which, as far as the Grail itself is concerned, must be
referred on the whole to the feud quest formula, when the sacred vessel
appears the assembled company is struck dumb.[97]

Later Celtic folk-literature has followed the Mabinogi rather than the
older Irish legend in its account of the mystic vessel. Where it appears
in the folk-tale its function is to heal or to bring back to life. We may
leave out of account for the present the references in the Welsh "bardic"
literature to the cauldron of Ceridwen, chief among which is that in the
Mabinogi of Taliesin. I am far from thinking that this literature deserves
the wholesale condemnation that has been passed upon it, but it has been
too little and too uncritically studied to afford, as yet, a firm basis
for investigation. We are on surer ground in dealing with the living
folk-tale. Thus the tale of Fionn's Enchantment, although belonging more
properly to the other formula, may be noticed here as containing a cup of
balsam, the washings of which restore the maimed Fionn to complete health.
Mr. Campbell, who has noted the tale, remarks that the cup of healing is
common in all the Fenian stories, which is what we should naturally
expect, seeing the close connection between Fionn and Peredur (Rev. Celt.
I., p. 194). Other instances have already been given in Chapter VI. of the
appearance of the vessel of balsam in connection with the glaive of light,
and of its use in bringing back to life the hero's enemies. And here it
maybe noted that almost the very mode in which it is introduced in the
folk-tales may be paralleled from the romances. The Grail appears to
Perceval and Hector, lying well nigh dead upon the field of battle, and
makes them whole, even as the vessel of balsam revivifies the dead
warriors whom Conall Gulban has just slain, and heals the latter. It is,
perhaps, only a coincidence that the angel in the one, the Carlin in the
other case, appear in a great flashing of light. But, as a rule, in those
task-stories which otherwise present such close similarities to the feud
quest of the Proto-Mabinogi and the Conte du Graal, the mystic vessel has
dropped out altogether, and the sword is the chief if not the only
talisman. This is the case in Campbell, I., the young King of Easaidh
Ruadh, and in XLVI. Mac Iain Direach. In one instance the glaive of light
is met with outside the task group, in Campbell XLI., the Widow and her
Daughters, variant ii (a Bluebeard story), and here it is found associated
with the vessel of balsam. In the folk-tales, then, as in one section of
the Conte du Graal, the healing vessel is decidedly of less account than
the avenging or destroying weapon. This, as the sword, plays such an
important part in the French romances that an examination of its _rôle_ in
Celtic literature will repay examination.

Besides the already quoted instances in which the sword of light
accompanies the vessel of balsam as one of the treasures which reward the
hero's quest, but in which it does not otherwise affect the march of the
story, we find others in which the sword is either that weapon which
causes the woe, the subject of the story, or else is the one means of
testing the hero's fitness for his quest. In either case it is parallel to
the sword of the Grail romances. Apart from these special instances there
are general references in the oldest Irish literature to the
quasi-supernatural nature attributed to the sword. Thus the Leabhar
Gabhala, or Book of Invasions, the tenth and eleventh century tract in
which Irish mythology was euphemerised into an historical relation of the
pre-Christian invasion of Ireland, has a passage relating to the sword of
Tethra, King of the Fomori,[98] which spake, and, adds the Christian
scribe, the ancient Irish adored swords.[99] This is borne out by a
passage in the Seirglige Conculainn, a story belonging to the Ultonian
cycle, which Mr. Whitley Stokes has translated (Rev. Celt. I., 260). The
men of Ulster, when showing their trophies, had their swords upon their
thighs, "for their swords used to turn against them where they made a
false trophy."

The Christian transcriber notes that it was reasonable for the pagan Irish
to trust their swords "because demons used to speak from out them." To
return to the sword of Tethra. The most famous battle of Irish mystic
history is that of Mag-Tured, in which the Tuatha de Danann, the gods of
light and life, overcome their enemies the Fomori. Ogma, the champion of
the Tuatha de Danann, wins the sword of Tethra, and as he cleans it it
tells him the many and great feats it had wrought.

It is, however, in the second of the great heroic cycles of the ancient
Irish, the Fenian or Ossianic, that we find the sword put to a use which
strongly recalls that of the romances. Not until the hero is able to wield
the weapon so that it break not in his hand, or to weld it together so
that no flaw appears,[100] is he fit to set forth on the quest. In
Campbell's LXXVII., "How the Een was set up," Fionn applies for his sword
to Ullamh Lamhfhada[101] (Ullamh the Longhanded), who gives him the most
likely sword and the best he found. The hero takes it, shakes it, casts it
out of the wooden handle and discards it. Thrice is this repeated, and
when the right weapon is in Fionn's hand, he quells utterly all he
sees.[102] Now how had Fionn obtained this sword originally? By slaying
black Arcan, his father's slayer. It may, I think, be looked upon as
certain that in an earlier form of the story, the weapon in question would
turn out to be the one with which the treacherous deed was done, and
Fionn, a counterpart of Peredur in his bringing up, would also be his
counterpart in this incident.[103] For the sword with which Partinal slew
Goon Desert is treasured up for the use of Perceval, but only after a
repeated essay is he held worthy of it.[104]

The sword incident reappears in a tale of Campbell's, Manus (Vol. III.),
which presents some very remarkable analogies with the romances. Manus is
driven into various adventures by his aunt; an armourer of his
grandfather offers to get him a sword; but all given to him he breaks save
the armourer's old sword, and it beat him to break that. The armourer then
gives him a cloth, "When thou spreadest it to seek food or drink, thou
wilt get as thou usest." Subsequently, helped by a lion, he achieves many
feats. He comes to the help of the White Gruagach by fetching the blood of
a venemous horned creature belonging to the King over the Great World, by
which alone the White Gruagach could be restored to life when the magic
trout with which his life was bound up had been slain. Afterwards he
accompanies him against his enemy the Red Gruagach, who is slain, and his
head stuck on a stake. This Red Gruagach is apparently the father of the
aunt who so persecutes Manus.[105]

This examination of the sword incident shows that the Mabinogi has
preserved the original form of the story, and links afresh this portion of
the Conte du Graal with the other Celtic stories belonging to the
Expulsion and Return formula group, with which it has so much else in
common. In all the formula-stories, except those of the Conte du Graal and
the Proto-Mabinogi, the hero has to avenge his father, not his uncle; and
it is highly suggestive that at least one version of the Perceval cycle
(the Thornton romance) follows suit. With this remark we may take leave of
the feud quest.

Many and interesting as have been the parallels from the older Celtic
literature to the feud quest, they are far outweighed by those which that
literature affords to the second formula--the visit to the Bespelled
Castle--which we have noted in the romances.

From the recapitulation (_supra_, pp. 173, _et. seq._) we may learn
several things. The castle lies, as a rule, on the other side of a river;
the visitor to it is under a definite obligation; he must either do a
certain thing, as, _e.g._, in Perceval's visit to the Castle of Maidens,
strike on the table three blows with the hammer, or he must put a certain
question, or again he must abstain from certain acts, as that of falling
asleep (Perceval and Gawain) or drinking[106] (Gawain, in Heinrich von dem
Türlin). Disregard of the obligation is punished in various ways. In the
case of the Castle of Maidens the craven visitor is allowed to fare forth
unheeded without beholding the marvels of the castle; but, as a rule, the
hero of the adventure finds himself on the morrow far away from the
castle, which has vanished completely. The inmates of this castle fall
into two classes--they are supernatural beings like the maidens, who have
apparently no object to gain from their mortal visitor, but who love
heroism for its own sake, and are as kindly disposed towards the mortal
hero in the folk-lore and mythology of the Celts as gods, and especially
goddesses, are in the mythic lore of all other races; or they suffer from
an over-lengthened life, from which the hero alone can release them. This
latter feature, seen to perfection only in Heinrich von dem Türlin, is
apparent in the Didot-Perceval, and has, in the Conte du Graal, supplied
the figure of the old man, father to the Fisher King, nourished by the

These features sufficiently indicate that the Magic Castle is the realm of
the other world. The dividing water is that across which lies Tír-na n-Og,
the Irish Avalon, or that Engelland dwelt in by the shades which the
inhabitants of the Belgian coast figured in the west.[107] In Celtic lore
the earliest trace of this realm is found, as is the earliest trace of
Grail and sword, in connection with the Tuatha de Danann, that race of
dispossessed immortals which lives on in the hollow hill sides, and is
ever ready to aid and cherish the Irish mythic heroes. The most famous
embodiment of this conception in Irish myth is the Brug na Boine, the
dwelling place of Oengus,[108] son of the Dagda, and the earliest account
of it is that contained in the Book of Leinster, the second of the two
great Irish vellums written down in the twelfth century. It is a land of
Cockayne; in it are fruit trees ever loaded with fruit, on the board a pig
ready roasted which may not be eaten up, vessels of beer which may not be
emptied, and therein no man dies.[109] But Oengus is not the only one of
the Tuatha de Danann who has such a fairy palace. The dwelling place of
Lug is of the same kind, and in the story of the Conception of
Cuchulainn,[110] which tells how the god carried off Dechtire, sister of
Conchobor, and re-incarnated himself in her as the great Ulster hero, we
learn that when Conchobor and his men go in search of Dechtire and her
fifty maidens, they first come to a small house wherein are a man and
woman; the house suddenly becomes a splendid mansion,[111] therein are the
vanished maidens in the shape of birds (and all sorts of goods, and dishes
of divers sorts, known and unknown; never did they have a better night, in
the morning they found themselves houseless, birdless in the east of the
land, and they went back to Emain Macha).[112] Although no prohibition is
mentioned the similarity in parts of this story, which, it must be
repeated, is older than the introduction of Christianity in Ireland, to
the romances is evident. Another famous Brug of the Tuatha de Danann is
that of Manannan Mac Lir. Among the visitors was Bran, the son of Febal,
whose story may be found in the Leabhar na h' Uidhre, the oldest of the
great Irish vellums.[113] One day as he was alone in his palace there came
to him soft, sweet music, and he fell asleep. When he awoke a silver
branch, covered with flowers, was at his side. A short while after, as he
was in the midst of his kinsfolk, his chiefs, and his nobles, an unknown
damsel appeared, and bid him to her in the land of _Sidhe_, and then
vanished, and with her the branch. Bran set sail, and with him thirty men.
After two days' wandering they met Manannan Mac Lir. They continued their
journey until they came to an island dwelt in solely by women; their queen
it was who had sent for Bran. He stayed with her a while, and then came
back to Ireland.

But the most famous of the visits to the Brug of Manannan is that of
Cormac Mac Art, whom the Irish legendary annals place in the third century
of our era, and bring into connection with Fionn. The story, though only
known to us from later MSS., can be traced back to the tenth century at
least, as the title of it figures in a list preserved in the Book of
Leinster, and as it is apparently alluded to by the eleventh century
annalist, Tighernach.[114] The following summary is from a version, with
English translation by Mr. Standish Hayes O'Grady, in the third volume of
the Ossianic Society's publications.

Of a time that Cormac was in Liathdruim he saw a youth having in his hand
a glittering fairy branch, with nine apples of red gold upon it.[115] And
this was the manner of that branch, that when any one shook it, men
wounded and women with child would be lulled to sleep by the sound of the
very sweet fairy music which those apples uttered, and no one on earth
would bear in mind any want, woe, or weariness of soul when that branch
was shaken for him. Cormac exchanged for this branch his wife and son and
daughter, overcoming their grief by shaking the branch. But after a year,
Cormac went in search of them. And he chanced upon a land where many
marvels were wrought before his eyes, and he understood them not. At
length he came to a house wherein was a very tall couple, clothed in
clothes of many colours, and they bade him stay. And the man of the house
brought a log and a wild boar, and if a quarter of the boar was put under
a quarter of the log, and a true story was told, the meat would be cooked.
At Cormac's request the host told the first story, how that he had seven
swine with which he could feed the world, for if the swine were slain, and
their bones put in the sty, on the morrow they would be whole again; and
the hostess the second, how that the milk of her seven white kine would
satisfy the men of the world. Cormac knew them for Manannan and his wife,
and then told his story how he had lost and was seeking for wife and
children. Manannan brought in the latter, and told Cormac it was he who
gave him the branch, that he might bring him to that house. Then they sat
down to meat, and the table-cloth was such that no food, however delicate,
might be demanded of it, but it should be had without doubt; and the
drinking cup was such that if a false story was told before it, it went in
four pieces, and if a true one, it came whole again, and therewith was the
faith of Cormac's wife made evident. And Manannan gave branch and cloth
and goblet to Cormac, and thereafter they went to slumber and sweet sleep.
Where they rose upon the morrow was in the pleasant Liathdruim.

The foregoing examples have been akin to the incident of the Maiden
Castle. We have seen the race of immortals caring for the sons of men,
signalling out and alluring to themselves the brave and wise hero. In the
tales we are now about to examine the benefit conferred by the visitor
upon the inmates of the Magic Castle is insisted upon. But we must first
notice a tale which presents many of the incidents of the Grail romances,
without actually belonging to the same story group as they. In Campbell's
No. LXXXVI, the Daughter of King Under the Waves, Diarmaid, the fairest
and bravest of the Fenian heroes, weds a fay who, as her description
indicates, belongs to the same order of beings as the damsels who lure
away Connla and Bran, the son of Febal. She comes to him in loathly guise,
and the other heroes shrink from her; but Diarmaid, courteous as he is
brave, gives her the shelter of tent and bed and has his reward. She
builds for him such a castle as the fay mistress of the Knight of the
Black Tomb (_supra_, p. 17) builds for her lover. But she warns him that
after a threefold reproach as to how he found her she would have to leave
him. Through the cunning of Fionn he is led to break the taboo and "it was
in a mosshole he awoke on the morrow. There was no castle, or a stone left
of it on another." Diarmaid sets forth to seek his wife, he finds her
ailing to death, and to be cured she must have three draughts from the cup
of the King of the Plain of Wonder. Helped by a little russet man, he gets
the talisman, as was prophesied of him; but, advised by the little russet
man, he gives the maiden to drink out of a certain well, which changes
their love into aversion, and he returns to the light of day.

This last feature should be noted as characteristic. The mortal lover
always tires sooner than the fay mistress. Oisin cannot stay in Tír-na
n-Og. Perceval gives but one night to the Lady of the Chessboard.

We now come to the "unspelling" stories, and I will cite in the first
place one which is the most striking testimony I know of to the influence
of this formula upon Celtic mythic lore. There is a widely spread
folk-tale of a hero robbed of three magic gifts and getting them back
thus; by chance he eats some fruit or herb which changes him into an ass,
causes his nose to grow, sets horns upon his head, or produces some
equally unpleasant result. Another herb he finds heals him. Armed with
specimens of either, he wins back his talismans. In Grimm it is No. 122,
Der Krautesel, and in Vol. III., p. 201, variants are given. In one the
hero is one of three soldiers, and he receives the gifts from a little
grey man. But neither here nor in the variants given by Dr. R. Köhler
(Orient und Occident, II., p. 124) is the opening the same as in
Campbell's No. X.--The Three Soldiers.

The three come to a house in the wilderness dwelt in by three girls who
keep them company at night, but disappear during the day. In the house is
a table, overnight they eat off it, and when they rise the board is
covered, and it would not be known that a bit had ever come off it. At the
first night's close one soldier gets a purse never empty; at the second,
the next one a cloth always filled with meat; and the third, the youngest
(the hero), a transporting whistle. But as they leave he must needs ask
them who they are, and they burst out crying, "They were under charms till
they could find three lads who would spend three nights with them without
putting a question--had he refrained they were free."

In one variant the time of probation lasts a year, and the talismans are:
a cup that empties not, and a lamp of light, the table-cloth of meat, and
a bed for rest. In another the damsels are swanmaids,[116] and the
visitors are bidden "not to think nor order one of us to be with you in
lying down or rising up."[117]

There can, I think, be little doubt that this last variant represents the
oldest form of the story, and that the swanmaid damsels belong to the
otherworld, as do the daughter of King Under the Waves and the maiden who
fetches Connla. There is nothing surprising in swanmaids being the object
of a taboo, this is so invariably the case in myth and folk-lore that it
is needless to accumulate instances; what is unique to my knowledge, I
speak under correction, is the fact of these damsels being in possession
of the talismans, one of which is so obviously connected with the Grail.
It may be noted that the obligation laid upon the hero is the direct
opposite of that in the Grail romances, in the one case a question must
not be asked, in the other it must. In this respect Campbell's tale of
course falls into line with all the widely spread and varying versions of
the Melusine legend. The supernatural wife always forbids her husband some
special act which, as is perhaps natural, he can never refrain from doing.

The next form of the Bespelled Castle legend is one which has attained far
greater celebrity than any other on account of its traditional association
with historical personages. It pictures the inmate of the castle as a
King, with his warriors around him, sunk into magic sleep, and awaiting a
signal to come forth and free his folk. To many English readers this
legend will be more familiar in connection with Frederick Barbarossa[118]
or with Holger the Dane than with any Celtic worthy. Yet the oldest
historic instance is that of Arthur.[119] I have quoted (_supra_, p. 122)
Gerald's words relating to the mountain seat of Arthur. A more definite
tradition, and one closely resembling the episode in the Grail romances,
is the one noted by Gervasius of Tilbury[120] (c. 1211 A.D.). A groom of
the Bishop of Catania, following a runaway horse even to the summit of
Mount Etna, found himself in a far reaching plain, full of all things
delightful. A marvellous castle rose before him, wherein lay Arthur on a
royal bed, suffering from the wound inflicted upon him by Modred his
nephew, and Childeric the Saxon, and this wound broke out afresh each
year. The King caused the horse to be given to the groom, and made him
many rich presents.[121]

This tradition of Arthur in Sicily raises some very interesting questions.
For one thing it is a fresh example of the tremendous and immediate
popularity of the Arthurian legend. It also shows with what rapidity a
tradition, however remote in its origin from a particular spot, may
associate itself with that. Of more immediate interest to us is the
question whether this tradition has any direct connection with the Grail
romances, whether it has shaped or been shaped by them. Martin refers the
Maimed King of the romances to the same myth-root as the wounded Arthur
waiting in Etna or in Avalon till his wound be healed and he come forth.
It seems to me more likely that in so far as the wound is concerned there
is a coincidence merely between the two stories, and that the Wounded King
belongs properly to the feud quest. I do not, however, deny that the fact
of the Lord of the Bespelled Castle, of the otherworld, being sometimes
pictured as suffering from an incurable wound, may have aided that fusion
of the two strains of legend which we find in the romances.

It is not my purpose to examine here in detail the innumerable versions of
this widely-spread tradition[122], the more so as I have been able to
trace no exact parallel to that presentment of the story found in Heinrich
von dem Türlin and in the Didot-Perceval. No other version of this form of
the legend, to my knowledge, pictures the Bespelled King as awaiting the
deliverance of death at the hands of his visitor. Before endeavouring to
find a reason for the singularity of Heinrich's account, I will first
quote one variant of the common form of the legend which has not been
printed before save by myself in the Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. I., p.
193.[123] King Arthur sleeps bespelled in the ruins of (Richmond) Castle.
Many have tried to find him but failed. One man only, Potter Thompson by
name, wandering one night among the ruins chanced upon the hall wherein
sat the King and his men around a table upon which lay a horn and a sword.
Terrified, he turned and fled, and as he did so a voice sounded in his

  "Potter Thompson, Potter Thompson,
  Had'st thou blown the horn,
  Thou had'st been the greatest man
  That ever was born."

for then he would have freed Arthur from his magic sleep. Never again
could he reach that hall.

This version, besides being practically inedited has the merit of
exemplifying that association of the sword with the Lord of the Bespelled
Castle to which I have already alluded.

The instances of the visit to the otherworld which have thus far been
collected from Celtic mythic literature, and which have been used as
parallels to the unspelling quest of the romances, are more closely akin
to one example of this incident, Perceval's visit to the Castle of
Maidens, than to that found in Heinrich and the Didot-Perceval. None,
indeed, throw any light upon that death-in-life which is the special
feature in these two works. All are of one kind in so far as the
disposition of the inmates towards the visitor is concerned; he is
received with courtesy when he is not actually allured into the castle,
and the trials to which he is subjected are neither painful nor
humiliating. But it will not have escaped attention that the Conte du
Graal contains another form of the visit, one which I have hitherto left
unnoticed, in Gawain's visit to the Magic Castle. A new conception is here
introduced: the Lord of the Castle[124] is an evil being, who holds
captive fair dames and damsels; they it is, and not he, whom the hero must
deliver, and the act of deliverance subjects him to trial and peril
(_supra_, p. 14, Chr. Inc. 17). Let us see if this form affords any
explanation of the mysterious features of Heinrich's version. This
incident may, it is easily conceivable, be treated in two ways; the hero
may be a worthy knight and succeed, or a caitiff and fail. A story of this
latter kind may throw some light upon Gawain's adventures at the Magic
Castle. The story in question (The Son of Bad Counsel) is ascribed by
Kennedy, Legendary Fictions, pp. 132, _et seq._, to an author of the
early eighteenth century, Brian Dhu O'Reilly, and traced back to an older
Ossianic legend--Conan's delusions in Ceash, of which Kennedy prints a
version, pp. 232, _et seq._ The hero of the story comes to the Castle of a
Gruagach, named the Giant of the Unfrequented Land, and his wife, daughter
to the King of the Lonesome Land. The name of the castle is the Uncertain
Castle. Very fair is their daughter, and she is proffered to the hero for
his promised aid against other fairy chieftains. After playing at
backgammon with the Gruagach, the hero lays himself to bed. He is
assailed, as he fancies, by great dangers from which he hastens to flee,
and, waking, finds himself in a ridiculous plight with his lady-love, and
the other folk of the castle laughing at him. In the morning he awakes,
"and his bed was the dry grass of a moat."

The names of the personages in the story at once recall those of the
romances--the Waste Land or Forest, the Castle Perillous, and the
like--and one of the trials, the being shot at with fairy darts, is the
same as that to which Gawain is exposed in the Conte du Graal. But it is
interesting chiefly as being a version of a wide-spread tale of how gods
or heroes penetrating to the other world are made mock of by its inmates.
In Scandinavian mythology the story is well-known as Thor's visit to
Utgarth Loki. It is equally well-known in the Fionn saga, and, considering
the many points of contact we have hitherto found between Fionn and the
Grail hero, the Fenian form claims our notice. The oldest preserved form
of the story, that in the Book of Leinster, has been printed with
translation by Mr. Whitley Stokes, Revue Celt., Vol. VII., pp. 289, _et
seq._--Fionn comes at nightfall with Cailte and Oisin to a house he had
never heard of in that glen, knowing though he was. A grey giant greets
them; within are a hag with three heads on her thin neck, and a headless
man with one eye protruding from his breast. Nine bodies rise out of a
recess, and the hideous crew sing a strain to the guests; "not melodious
was that concert." The giant slays their horses; raw meat is offered them,
which they refuse; the inmates of the house attack them; they had been
dead had it not been for Fionn alone. They struggle until the sun lights
up the house, then a mist falls into every one's head, so that he was dead
upon the spot. The champions rise up whole, and the house is hidden from
them, and every one of the household is hidden.--In the later Fenian saga
(later that is as far as the form in which it has come down to us is
concerned) the story closely resembles Thor's visit. Kennedy (Bardic
Stories, pp. 132, _et seq._) has a good version.[125]--Fionn and his
comrades follow a giant, on his shoulders an iron fork with a pig
screeching between the prongs, behind him a damsel scourging him. They
follow them to a house wherein is an aged hoary-headed man and a beautiful
maid, a rough giant cooking the hog, and an old man having twelve eyes in
his head, a white-haired ram, and a hag clad in dark ash coloured garment.
Two fountains are before the house: Fionn drinks of one which at first
tastes sweet, but afterwards bitter to death; from the other, and though
he never suffered as much as while drinking, when he puts the vessel from
his lips he is as whole as ever he was. The hog is then shared; the ram
left out of count revenges itself by carrying out the guest's share, and
smite it with their swords as they may, they cannot hurt it. The hag then
throws her mantle over the guests, and they become four withered
drooping-headed old men; on the mantle being removed they resume their
first shape. These wonders are explained. The giant is _sloth_, urged on
by _energy_; the twelve-eyed old man is the _world_; and the ram the
_guilt of man_; the wells are _truth_ and _falsehood_; the hag _old age_.
The warriors sleep and in the morning find themselves on the summit of
Cairn Feargaill with their hounds and their arms by them.

This tale betrays its semi-literary origin at once; and, though there is
no reason to doubt that the Irish Celts had a counterpart to Thor's
journey to Giantland, I am inclined to look upon the version just
summarised as influenced by the Norse saga. Certain it is that the popular
version of Fionn's visit to Giantland is much more like the eleventh
century poem, preserved in the Book of Leinster, than it is like the
mediæval, "How Fionn fared in the House of Cuana." I have already alluded
(_supra_, p. 186) to one feature of the tale of Fionn's enchantment, but
the whole tale is of interest to us.--As Fionn and his men are sitting
round the fire boasting of their prowess in comes a slender brown hare and
tosses up the ashes, and out she goes. They follow her, a dozen, to the
house of the Yellow Face, a giant that lived upon the flesh of men. A
woman greets them, and bids them begone before the Face returns, but Fionn
will not flee. In comes the Face and smells out the strangers. Six of the
Fenians he strikes with a magic rod, "and they are pillars of stone to
stop the sleety wind." He then cooks and devours a boar, and the bones he
throws to the Fenians. They play at ball with a golden apple, and the Face
puts an end to Fionn's other comrades. Hereafter he wrestles with Fionn,
and the griddle is put on the fire till it is red hot, and they all get
about Fionn and set him on the griddle till his legs are burnt to the hips
('twas then he said, "a man is no man alone"), and stick a flesh-stake
through both his hams, so that he could neither rise nor sit, and cast him
into a corner. But he manages to crawl out and sound his horn, and
Diarmaid hears it and comes to his aid, and does to the Face as the Face
did to Fionn, and with the cup of balsam which he wins from him makes
Fionn whole.--It is not necessary to dwell on the parallel between
Diarmaid healing his uncle Fionn, wounded with a stake through the two
thighs, by winning the cup of balsam, and Perceval healing his uncle
(mehaignié des II cuisses) by the question as to the Grail. This, alone,
would be sufficient to show us what _rôle_ the Grail played in the oldest
form of the feud quest before the latter was influenced by the visit to
the Bespelled Castle.

If we look at the stories we have just summarised, we shall easily
understand the meaning of the Magic Castle vanishing at dawn. As sleep is
brother to death, so are night and its realm akin to the otherworld; many
phantoms haunt them and seem quick and strive with and often terribly
oppress the mortal wanderer through this domain, but with the first gleam
of sunlight they vanish, leaving no trace behind them, and the awakening
hero find himself in his own place. The conditions of the visit to the
otherworld are thus partly determined by man's nightly experience in that
dreamland which he figures to himself as akin to, if not an actual
portion of the land of shades. This visit, as we have seen, is conceived
of in several ways. Its object is almost invariably to win precious
talismans; all we have comes to us from our forefathers, and it is natural
to suppose that in the world whence they came, and whither they go back,
is to be found all that man seeks here, only in a form as more wonderful
than earthly objects as the dwellers in the otherworld are mightier and
cleverer than man. At times the talismans are held by beneficent beings,
who either gladly yield them to the mortal visitor, or from whom they may
be won by the exhibition of valour and magnanimity; at times by evil
monsters with whom the mortal must strive. In either case the visitor
arrives at nightfall and in the morning awakes to the life of this earth.

The secondary or Gawain form of the myth, as found in the Conte de Graal,
may help us to understand Heinrich's version. It is to free imprisoned
damsels that Gauvain undergoes the trials of the Magic Castle. Now the
effect of his visit in the German poem is to free the sister of
Gansguoter, who, with her maidens, remains when the other inmates of the
castle, released by the question, have utterly vanished.[126] But what
means the death-in-life condition of the King and his men? Is it merely an
expedient to account for their sudden vanishing at daylight? I rather see
here the influence of another form of the unspelling myth, one that mixed
with Christian elements has powerfully impressed the popular imagination,
and is in many European countries the only one in which this old myth
still lives on.[127]

The inmates of the Magic Castle or house are in this form figured as men
doomed for some evil deed to haunt that particular spot, until some mortal
is bold enough to win their secret and bring them rest. One would think
that under the circumstances they would be as amiable as possible to any
visitor. But the older form of the story persists, and they have not
terrors or trials enough for the man who is to be their deliverer. I will
only quote one version, from Irish sources.[128]

A youth engages to sleep in a haunted castle. If he is alive in the
morning he will get ten guineas and the farmer's daughter to wife. At
nightfall he goes thither, and presently three men in old-fashioned dress
come down in pieces through a hole in the ceiling, put themselves
together, and begin playing at football. Jack joins them, and towards
daybreak he judges they wish him to speak, so he asks them how he can give
them rest if rest they want. "Them is the wisest words you ever spoke," is
answered to him. They had ground the poor and heaped up wealth evilly.
They show him their treasure, and tell him how to make restitution. As
they finish, "Jack could see the wall through their body, and when he
winked to clear his sight the kitchen was as empty as a noggin turned
upside down." Of course Jack does as he is told, and has the daughter to
wife, and they live comfortably in the old castle.[129]

We have here, it seems to me, the last echo of such a story as one of
those which enter into the Grail romances. In Heinrich's version, as
elsewhere in these romances, different story types can be distinguished,
different conceptions are harmonised. Many, indeed, are both the early
conceptions and the varying shapes in which they embodied themselves, to
be traced in the complex mass of the romances. That a kinsman is bound to
avenge a blood feud, and that until he does so his kin may suffer from
ailment or enchantment and their land be under a curse; that the
otherworld is a land of feasting and joyousness and all fair things; that
it contains magic treasures which he who is bold may win; that it is
peopled with beings whom he may free by his courage; that it is fashioned
like dreamland--all these ideas find expression.

If the foregoing exposition be accepted we have a valuable criterion for
the age of the immediate originals of the romances. That famous version of
the legend which pictured the dwellers in the otherworld as Kings, spell
bound, awaiting the releasing word to come forth and aid their folk, to
which special circumstances gave such wide popularity in the later middle
ages, causing it to supplant older tales of gods dwelling in the hollow
hills, this version has left no trace upon the romances. These must,
therefore, be older than the full-blown Arthurian legend. One or two minor
points may be briefly noticed. The ship in which is found the magic sword
which wounds all bold enough to handle it save the destined Knight may be
thought to have taken the place of an older island. The loathly Grail
messenger shows the influence of the two formulas: as coming from the
Bespelled Castle,[130] type of the otherworld, she should be radiantly
fair; as the kinswoman of the destined avenger, under spells until the
vengeance be accomplished, she is hideous in the last degree.

But before we take leave of this incident we must examine two features
upon which, as yet, no light has been thrown, the meaning of the epithet
the _Fisher_ King, and the hero's silence upon his first visit to the
Castle of Talismans.


    The Fisher King in the Conte du Graal, in the Queste, and in Borron
    and the Grand St. Graal--The accounts of latter complete each
    other--The Fish is the Salmon of Wisdom--Parallel with the Fionn
    Saga--The nature of the Unspelling Quest--The Mabinogi of Taliesin and
    its mythological affinities--Brons, Bran, Cernunnos--Perceval's
    silence: Conte du Graal explanation late; explanation from the Fionn
    Saga--Comparison of incident with _geasa_; nature of latter;
    references to it in Celtic folk-tales and in old Irish literature,
    Book of Rights, Diarmaid, Cuchulainn--_Geasa_ and _taboo_.

The Conte du Graal, as we have seen, offers no satisfactory explanation of
the Fisher King. By Chrestien he is represented on Perceval's first
meeting with him as angling from a boat steered by his companion (v.
4,187); he directs Perceval to his castle. Perceval is afterwards informed
that, being wounded and consequently unable to mount on horseback, fishing
is his only solace, whence the name applied to him (vv. 4,681, _et seq._).
This is practically all the Conte du Graal has to say about him, as the
continuators, whilst repeating the epithet, add no fresh details. Indeed
in none of the after-visits of Perceval is the King represented as
fishing, or is there the slightest reference to, let alone insistence
upon, this favourite occupation of his. It is another proof of the
inadequacy of Birch-Hirschfeld's theory of the development of the legend,
that it represents Chrestien, who, _ex hypothesi_, divested Borron's poem
of its religious character, as retaining this feature due wholly to
religious symbolism, whilst the continuators with their obvious fondness
for such symbolism entirely neglected it. The Queste, which in so far as
the quest portion is concerned is formally connected with the Conte du
Graal, says nothing about the Fisher, nor does that section of the Grand
St. Graal which presents the same Early History as the Queste. In
Borron's poem, on the other hand, and in that later section of the Grand
St. Graal which agrees with it, an explanation is given of the epithet.
According to Borron, Brons catches a fish at Joseph's bidding; Joseph,
having placed the vessel on the table and covered it with a towel, takes
the fish and lays it opposite the vessel; the people are then called
together, and it is possible to distinguish the sinners from the righteous
(vv. 2,500-2,600). Joseph is afterwards told by an angel, that, as Brons
was a good man, it was the Lord's will he should catch the fish (vv.
3,310, _et seq._), and he is to be called the Rich Fisher (v. 3,348). In
the Grand St. Graal (Vol. II., pp. 248, _et seq._) not Brons but his son
Alain is bidden by Joseph to fish, and this with a view to providing food
for the sinners of the company whom the Holy Vessel leaves unsatisfied.
Alain fishes from a boat with a net. He catches but one fish, and there
are at first murmurs, but Joseph, by virtue of Alain's prayers, multiplies
the fish so that it feeds the host, and thus Alain wins the name of Rich

These accounts complete each other. Chrestien dwells upon the continued
act of fishing which, for aught to the contrary we learn from him or his
continuators, is always fruitless. Borron and the Grand St. Graal dwell
upon the one successful haul, and especially upon the miraculous
properties of the one fish caught. Reading the two accounts together, we
find that the Fisher King passes his life seeking for a fish which, when
caught, confers upon him the power of distinguishing good from evil, or
enables him to furnish an inexhaustible meal to his men.

The Conte du Graal has been shown to derive more of its substance from the
feud quest--the Didot-Perceval from the unspelling quest. Borron's poem,
as far as its primitive Celtic elements are concerned, is probably to be
ranged with the Didot-Perceval, to which many links unite it. We may,
therefore, turn to Celtic stories belonging to either of these formulas
for parallel features. The inexhaustible nature of the fish at once
recalls the pigs of Manannan Mac Lir (_supra_, p. 194); they, too, can
feed a multitude. But it is in stories formally connected with the feud
quest that we find what I venture to suggest is an adequate explanation of
the nature of the Fisher King and of the fish. The latter is, I think,
the Salmon of Wisdom,[131] which appears so often and so prominently in
Irish mythic lore; and the former is that being who passes his life in
vain endeavours to catch the wonderful fish, and who, in the moment of
success, is robbed of the fruit of all his long toils and watchings. I am
prepared to admit that the incident as found in Borron's poem has been
recast in the mould of mediæval Christian symbolism, but I think the older
myth can still be clearly discerned and is wholly responsible for the
incident as found in the Conte du Graal.[132]

Let us first look at the Irish story. This is found in an account, to
which allusion has already been made, of the Boyish Exploits of Finn Mac
Cumhail.[133] It is there told how Finn seeks his namesake, Finn-eges, to
learn poetry from him, as until then he durst not stay in Ireland for fear
of his foes. Now Finn-eges had remained seven years by the Boyne, watching
the salmon of Linn-Feic, which it had been foretold Finn (himself as he
thought) should catch and know all things afterwards. Finn, who conceals
his name, takes service with him and the salmon is caught. Finn is set to
watch it while it roasts, but warned not to eat of it. Inadvertently he
touches it with his thumb, which he burns, and carries to his mouth to
cool. Immediately he becomes possessed of all knowledge, and thereafter he
had only to chew his thumb to obtain wisdom. Finn-eges recognises that the
prophecy has been fulfilled, and hails his pupil as Finn.

It is needless to dwell upon the archaic features of this tale, which
represents the hero seeking service of a powerful magician, from whom he
hopes to learn the spells and charms that may guard him against his foes.
Here, as in many other portions of the Ossianic saga, Fionn is strikingly
like a Red Indian medicine man, or the corresponding wizard among other
savage tribes. It is more to our purpose to note that this tale contains
the fullest presentment of Fionn as hero of the Expulsion and Return
Formula, and that a similar incident is to be found in the lives of other
heroes of the formula (notably Siegfried: the Adventure with Mimir.) Now,
as we have already seen that Peredur-Perceval is a formula hero, there is
nothing remarkable in finding an analogous incident in his _sage_. A
formal connection is thus at once made out. But we must look into the
matter a little closer, as the incident found in the romances is but a
faint echo, and that in part distorted by alien conceptions, of the
original story.

The unspelling quest in one form resolves itself ultimately into the
hero's search for riches, power, or knowledge, in prosecution of which he
penetrates to the otherworld. This is figured in the Grail romances both
by Brons' or Alain's (who here answers to Fionn) catching the wonderful
fish, and by Peredur-Perceval coming to the house of Brons, the Fisher
King (who here answers to Finn-eges), winning from him the mysterious
vessel of increase, and learning the secret words which put an end to the
enchantments of Britain. In the Grail romances the idea of wisdom is not
associated with the Grail, the vessel, at all; it is either bound up with
the fish, as in the Irish tale, or is the possession of the Fisher King as
the wonder-working spells are the possession of Finn-eges.

But in the Welsh tradition which corresponds to that of Fionn and the
salmon, it is the vessel, the cauldron, or rather the drink which it
holds, which communicates the gift of wisdom and knowledge. I allude, of
course, to the story of Gwion, set by Ceridwen to watch the cauldron of
inspiration, inadvertently tasting its contents, becoming thereby filled
with knowledge, pursued by Ceridwen, who swallows him, and in whom he
re-incarnates himself as Taliesin, the Allwise Bard. Campbell had already
(Vol. IV., p. 299) drawn attention to the similarity of the two stories,
and equated Fionn, father of Oisin, with Gwion, father of Taliesin; and,
as Professor Rhys has now (Hibbert Lectures, p. 551) given the equation
his sanction, it may be accepted as philologically sound.

I have hitherto refrained in the course of these studies from making any
use of the Mabinogi of Taliesin, or of references to the cauldron of
Ceridwen of a like nature with those contained in that tale; but it will,
I think, be admitted now that the Welsh Mabinogi, however late in form,
and however overlaid it may be with pseudo-archaic bardic rubbish, does go
back to a primitive stratum of Celtic mythology.

In connection with this myth the name Brons is of high import. This
catcher of the fish, this lord of the Grail, at once suggests Bran, who is
also a guardian of the magic cauldron. Professor Rhys (pp. 85-95) shows
reason for looking upon Bran (as he is presented in the Mabinogi of
Branwen) as the representative of an old Celtic god, Cernunnos, that
Celtic Dis from whom, as Cæsar reports, the Gauls claimed descent, and
who, as god of the otherworld and the shades was also god of knowledge and
riches. We are thus brought back again to the fundamental conception of
the Grail quest.

It is to this tale that I would turn for one of the possible explanations
of Perceval's silence at the Court of the Fisher King. That the romance
writers did not understand this incident is evident from the explanation
they give.

Gonemans' moral advice to his nephew on the evil of curiosity may have its
foundation in a possible feature of the original, about which I shall
speak presently; or it may simply be an expedient of Chrestien's or of his
immediate model. In either case its present form is obviously neither old
nor genuine. The silence of Perceval may, perhaps, be referred to the same
myth-root as Fionn's concealment of his name whilst in the service of
Finn-eges.[134] This prohibition might extend not only to the disclosing
of his name by the mortal visitor to the realm of the shades, but to the
utterance of any words at all. As he might not eat or drink in the
underworld, so he might not speak lest he lose the power to return to the
land of the living. One tale we have seen (_supra_, p. 195) does contain
this very injunction to say no word whilst in company of the dwellers in
the Bespelled Castle. In this case we should have to assume that two
varying redactions of the theme have been maladroitly fused into one in
the romances--that, namely, which bids the visitor to the otherworld
abstain from a certain act, and that which, on the contrary, bids him
perform a certain act, failure of compliance with the injunction being
punished in either case. The positive injunction of one form of the story
is used as an explanation of the hero's failure in another.

An alternative hypothesis is that whilst the hero's unreadiness of speech,
the cause of his want of success at his first visit, comes wholly from the
unspelling quest, the motive by which the romances seek to account for
that unreadiness comes from the feud quest. The latter, as has been shown,
is closely akin to many task-stories; and it is a frequent feature in such
stories, especially in the Celtic ones, that the hero has to accomplish
his quest in spite of all sorts of odd restrictions which are laid upon
him by an enemy, generally by a step-mother or some other evil-disposed
relative. In the language of Irish mythic tradition Perceval would be
under _geasa_ to ask no questions, and Gonemans' advice would be the last
faint echo of such an incident. The form which such prohibitions take in
Celtic folk-tales is very curious. The _gess_ is generally embodied in a
magical formula, the language of which is very old and frequently
unintelligible to the narrators themselves. As a rule, the hero, by advice
of a friendly supernatural being, lays a counterspell upon his enemy.
Thus, in "How the Great Tuairsgeul was put to Death" (Scot. Celt. Rev. I.,
p. 70) the magician "lays it as crosses and charms that water leave not
your shoe until you found out how the Great Tuairsgeul was put to death."
The hero retorts by laying the same charms that the magician leave not the
hillock until he return. In Campbell, No. XLVII., Mac Iain Direach, the
stepmother, "sets it as crosses, and as spells, and as the decay of the
year upon thee; that thou be not without a pool of water in thy shoe, and
that thou be wet, cold, and soiled until, etc.;" and the hero bespells
her, "that thou be standing with the one foot on the great house and the
other foot on the castle: and that thy face be to the tempest whatever
wind blows, until I return back." The formula in Campbell, No. LI, the
Fair Gruagach is very archaic. "I lay thee under spells, and under
crosses, under holy herdsmen of quiet travelling, wandering woman, the
little calf, most feeble and powerless, to take thy head and thine ear and
thy wearing of life from off thee if thou takest rest by night or day;
where thou takest thy breakfast that thou take not thy dinner, and where
thou takest thy dinner that thou take not thy supper, in whatsoever place
thou be, until thou findest out in what place I may be under the four
brown quarters of the globe."

These instances will suffice to show the nature of the _gess_ in Celtic
folk-lore, but some references to older Irish literature are necessary to
show its great importance in the social and religious life of the race.
O'Donovan (Book of Rights, p. xlv.) explains the word _geasa_ as "any
thing or act forbidden because of the ill luck that would result from its
doing;" also "a spell, a charm, a prohibition, an interdiction or
hindrance." This explanation occurs in the introduction to a poem on the
restrictions (_geasa_) and prerogatives (_buada_) of the Kings of Eire,
found in the Book of Ballymote (late fourteenth century) and Book of Lecan
(early fifteenth century). The poem is ascribed to Cuan O'Lochain (A.D.
1024), and, from the historical allusions contained in it, O'Donovan looks
upon it as in substance due to that poet, and as embodying much older
traditions. Some of these _geasa_ may be quoted. For the King of Eire,
"that the sun should rise upon him on his bed in Magh Teamhrach;" for the
King of Leinster, "to go round Tuath Laighean left hand-wise on
Wednesday;" for the King of Munster, "to remain, to enjoy the feast of
Loch Lein from one Monday to another;" for the King of Connaught, "to go
in a speckled garment on a grey speckled steed to the heath of Luchaid;"
for the King of Ulster, "to listen to the fluttering of the flocks of
birds of Luin Saileach after sunset."[135] Even these instances do not
exhaust the force or adequately connote the nature of this curious
institution. In the Irish hero-tales _geasa_ attach themselves to the hero
from his birth up, and are the means by which fate compasses the downfall
of the otherwise invincible champion; thus it is a _gess_ of Diarmaid that
he never hunt a swine, and when he is artfully trapped into doing it by
Fionn he meets his death; it is a _gess_ of Cuchulainn's that he never
refuse food offered him by women, and as he goes to his last fight he
accepts the poisoned meal of the witches though he full well knows it will
be fatal to him.[136] But, besides this, _geasa_ may also be an appeal to
the hero's honour as well as a magic charm laid upon him, and it is
sometimes difficult to see by which of the two motives the hero is moved.
Thus Graine, wife of Fionn, lays _geasa_ upon Diarmaid that he carry her
off from her husband, and though he is in the last degree unwilling he
must comply.[137]

Enough has been said to show that we have in the _geasa_ a cause quite
sufficient to explain the mysterious prohibition to ask questions laid
upon Perceval, if the first explanation I have offered of this prohibition
be thought inadequate.


    Summing up of the elements of the older portion of the
    cycle--Parallelism with Celtic tradition--The Christian element in the
    cycle: the two forms of the Early History; Brons form older--Brons and
    Bran--The Bran conversion legend--The Joseph conversion legend: Joseph
    in apocryphal literature--Glastonbury--The head in the platter and the
    Veronica portrait--The Bran legend the starting point of the Christian
    transformation of the legend--Substitution of Joseph for
    Bran--Objections to this hypothesis--Hypothetical sketch of the growth
    of the legend.

I have now finished the examination of all those incidents in the Grail
Quest romances which are obviously derived from some other sources than
Christian legend, and which are, indeed, referred by pronounced adherents
of the Christian-origin hypothesis to Celtic tradition. I have also
claimed a Celtic origin for features hitherto referred to Christian
legend. This examination will, I trust, convince many that nearly all the
incidents connected with the Quest of the Grail are Celtic in their
origin, and that thus alone can we account for the way in which they
appear in the romances. The latter are, as we have seen, in the highest
degree inconsistent in their account of the mystic vessel and its
fortunes; the most cursory examination shows the legend to be composed of
two parts, which have no real connection with each other; the older of
these parts, the Quest, can easily be freed from the traces of Christian
symbolism; this older part is itself no homogeneous or consistent tale,
but a complex of incidents diverse in origin and character. These
incidents are: the rearing of the hero in ignorance of the world and of
men; his visit to the court of the King, his uncle; his slaying of his
father's murderer, the trial made of him by means of the broken sword; his
service with the Fisher King; his quest in search of the sword and of the
vessel by means of which he is to avenge the death or wounding of his
kinsman; his accomplishment of this task by the aid of a kinsman who is
under spells from which he will not be loosed until the quest be ended;
the adventure of the stag-hunt, in which the bespelled kinsman tests the
hero's skill and courage; the hero's visit to the Castle of Talismans; the
prohibition under which he labours; his failure to accomplish certain
acts; the effects of his failure; his visit to the Magic Castle, the lord
of which is under the enchantment of death-in-life; his visit to the
Castle of Maidens; his visit to the Castle Perillous; and his deliverance
of the captive damsels by means of the trials which he successfully
undergoes. To one and all of these incidents Celtic parallels have been
adduced; these have in each case been drawn from stories which present a
general similarity of outline with the Grail romances, or share with them
similar guiding conceptions, whilst at the same time they are so far
disconnected with them that no hypothesis of borrowing can account for the
features they have in common. The inconsistencies of the romances have
been explained by the fusion into one of two originally distinct groups of
stories, and this explanation is confirmed by the fact that traces of this
fusion may readily be found in the parallel Celtic tales. These latter,
when studied by scholars who never thought of comparing them with the
Grail romances, have been found to contain mythical elements which other
scholars had detected independently in the romances. Those features of the
romances which have perplexed previous students, the Fisher King and the
omitted question, have been explained from the same group of Celtic
traditions, and in accordance with the same scheme of mythical
interpretation which have been used to throw light upon the remainder of
the cycle. Finally, the one Celtic version of the Grail Quest, the
Mabinogi, which presents no admixture of Christian symbolism, has been
shown, when cleared of certain easily distinguishable interpolations, to
be genuine in character, and to present the oldest form of one of the
stories which enters into the romances.

I have tried not to force these parallels, nor to go one step beyond what
the facts warrant. I have also tried to bear in mind that a parallel is of
no real value unless it throws light upon the puzzling features in the
development of the romances. I thus rest my case, not so much upon the
accumulative effect of the similarities which I have pointed out between
the romances and Celtic tradition, as upon the fact that this reference of
the romances to certain definite cycles of Celtic myth and legend makes us
understand, what otherwise we cannot do, how they came by their present
shape. It now remains to be seen if this reference, can in any way explain
the Christian element in the legend, which I have hitherto left almost
entirely out of account. Birch-Hirschfeld's hypothesis is condemned, in my
opinion, by its failure to account for the Celtic element; although I do
not think an explanation of a late and intruding feature is as incumbent
upon me as that of the original Celtic basis of the legend is upon him, I
yet feel that an hypothesis which has nothing to say on such a vital point
can hardly be considered satisfactory. It is the Christian transformation
of the old Celtic myths and folk-tales which gave them their wide vogue in
the Middle Ages, which endowed the theme with such fascination for the
preachers and philosophers who used it as a vehicle for their teaching,
and which has endeared it to all lovers of mystic symbolism. The question
how and why the Celtic tales which I have tried, not unsuccessfully I
trust, to disentangle from the romances were ever brought into contact
with Christ and His disciples, and how the old mystic vessel of healing,
increase, and knowledge became at last the sacramental cup, must,
therefore, be faced. The hypotheses set forth in the preceding page might
be accepted in their entirety, and the merit of this transformation still
be claimed, as Birch-Hirschfeld claims it, for the North French poets, to
whom we owe the present versions of the romances. On first reading
Birch-Hirschfeld's book, I thought this claim one of the flaws in his
argument, and, as will be seen by reference to Chapter IV., other
investigators, who accept the Christian origin of the larger part of the
legend, hold that it has been shaped in these islands, or in accordance
with Celtic traditions now lost. I think we can go a step farther. A
number of myths and tales have been used to illustrate the romances. In
them may be found the personages through whom probably took place the
first contact between Celtic mythic tradition and Christian legend.

We must revert for one moment to the results obtained in Chapter III. by
an examination of the way in which the Grail and its fortunes are
mentioned in the romances. We there distinguished two forms of the
distinctively Christian portion of the legend, the Early History. In both
Joseph is the first possessor and user of the holy vessel, but in one its
farther fortunes are likewise bound up with him or with his seed. He, or
his son, it is who leads the Grail host to Britain, who converts the
island, and by whom the precious vessel is handed down through a chosen
line of kings in anticipation of the promised Knight's coming. In the
other form, on the contrary, Joseph has nothing to do with Britain, which
is converted by Brons and his son, Alain; Brons is the guardian of the
holy vessel, and, in one version, the fisher of the mystic fish, whilst in
another his son takes this part. There is repeated insistence upon the
connection between the Grail host and Avalon. Finally Brons is the
possessor of "secret words," and may not die until he has revealed them to
his grandson.

This account is, we saw, later in form than the Joseph one. As we have it,
it was written after the greater portion of the Conte du Graal, after that
redaction of the Early History made use of by the author of the Queste and
of the first draft of the Grand St. Graal. Its influence only makes itself
felt in the later stages of development of the legend. But none the less
it clearly represents an older and purer form of the Early History than
that of the Queste and of Chrestien's continuators. It has not been
doctored into harmony with the full-blown Arthurian legend as the Joseph
Early History has. It is still chiefly, if not wholly, a legend, the main
purport of which is to recount the conversion of Britain.

Such a legend is surely more likely to have been shaped by Welsh or Breton
monks than by North French _trouvères_. And when we notice the Celtic
names of the personages, and their connection with the Celtic paradise,
Avalon, there can remain little, if any, doubt respecting the first home
of the story. We may thus look upon Brons, owner of a mystic vessel,
fisher of a mystic fish, as the hero of an early conversion legend. But
the name Brons has at once suggested to most students of the cycle that of
Bran. The latter is, as we saw in the last Chapter, the representative of
an old Celtic god of the otherworld. He is the owner of the cauldron of
renovation. He is also the hero in Welsh tradition of a conversion legend,
and is commonly known as Bran the Blessed. Unfortunately the only
explanation we have of this epithet occurs in a late triad, to which it is
not safe to assign an earlier date than the fourteenth century. He is
described therein as son of Llyr Llediath, "as one of the three blissful
Rulers of the Island of Britain, who first brought the faith of Christ to
the nation of the Cymry from Rome, where he was seven years a hostage for
his son Caradawc."[138] But if late in form this triad may well embody an
old tradition. It gives the significant descent of Bran from Llyr, and
thereby equates him with Mannanan Mac Lir, with whom he presents otherwise
so many points of contact. It is quite true that the Bran legend, as is
pointed out to me by Professor Rhys, is mentioned neither in the earliest
genealogies nor in Geoffrey. But it should be noted that the Grand St.
Graal does bring one member of the Brons group, Petrus, into contact with
King Luces, the Lucius to whom Geoffrey ascribes the conversion. Again,
the epithet "blessed" is applied to Bran in the Mabinogi of Branwen,
daughter of Llyr. I have placed this tale as a whole as far back as the
eleventh-tenth centuries, and my arguments have met with no opposition,
and have won the approval of such authorities as Professor Windisch and
Monsieur Gaidoz. But the Mabinogi, as we have it, was written down in the
fourteenth century; the last transcriber abridged it, and at times did not
apparently understand what he was transcribing. By his time the full-blown
Bran legend of the triad was in existence, and it may be contended that
the epithet was due to him and did not figure in his model. On the other
hand, Stephens (Lit. of the Cymry, p. 425) quotes a triad of Kynddelw, a
poet of the twelfth century, referring to the three blessed families of
the Isle of Britain, one of which is declared by a later tradition to be
that of Bran.[139] Again, the triads of Arthur and his Warriors, printed
by Mr. Skene, Four Ancient Books, Vol. II., p. 457, from MS. Hengwrt, 566,
of the beginning of the fourteenth century, and probably at least fifty
years older, mentions the "blessed head of Bran."[140] On the whole, in
spite of the silence of older sources, I look upon the epithet and the
legend which it presupposes as old, and I see in a confusion between Bran,
Lord of the Cauldron, and Bran the Blessed, the first step of the
transformation of the Peredur _sage_ into the Quest of the Holy Grail. In
the first capacity Bran corresponds to the Lord of the Castle of
Talismans. From the way in which the fish is dwelt upon in his legend, it
may, indeed, be conjectured that he stood to Peredur in some such relation
as Finn-eges to Fionn. As hero of a conversion legend he came into contact
with Joseph. We do not know how or at what date the legend of the
conversion of Britain by Joseph originated. It is found enjoying wide
popularity in the latter half of the twelfth century, the very time in
which the romances were assuming their present shape. Wülcker (Das
Evangelium Nicodemi in der abendländischen Literatur, Paderborn, 1872)
shows that the legend is not met with before William of Malmesbury; and
Zarncke, as already stated (_supra_, p. 107), has argued that the passage
in William is a late interpolation due to the popularity of the
romances.[141] But to accept Zarncke's contention merely shifts back the
difficulty. If William did not first note and give currency to the
tradition, the unknown predecessor of Robert de Borron and of the authors
of the Queste and Grand St. Graal did so; and the question still remains
how did he come by the tradition, and what led him to associate it with
Glastonbury. Birch-Hirschfeld, it is true, makes short work of this
difficulty. The fact that there is no earlier legend in which Joseph
figures as the Apostle of Britain is to him proof that Borron evolved the
conception of the Grail out of the canonical and apocryphal writings in
which Joseph appears, and then devised the passage to Britain in order to
incorporate the Arthurian romances with the legend he had invented. It is
needless to repeat that this theory, unacceptable on _a priori_ grounds,
is still more so when tested by facts.

But Joseph under other aspects than that of Apostle of Britain is worthy
of notice. The main source whence the legend writers drew their knowledge
of him was the Evangelium Nicodemi, the history of which has been
investigated by Wülcker. The earliest allusion in western literature to
this apocryphal gospel is that of Gregory of Tours (Wülcker, p. 23), but
no other trace of its influence is to be met with in France until we come
to the Grail romances, and to mystery-plays which relate Christ's
Harrowing of Hell. In Provence, Italy, and Germany the thirteenth and
twelfth centuries are the earliest to which this gospel can be traced. In
England, on the contrary, it was known as far back as the latter quarter
of the eighth century; Cynewulf based upon it a poem on the Harrowing of
Hell, and alludes to it in the Crist; the ninth century poem, "Christ and
Satan," likewise shows knowledge of it, and there is a West-Saxon
translation dating from the early eleventh century.

Whence this knowledge and popularity of the gospel in England several
centuries before it entered prominently into the literature of any other
European people? Wülcker can only point by way of answer to the early
spread of Christianity in these Islands, and to the possibility of this
gospel having reached England before it did France or Germany. He also
insists upon the early development of Anglo-Saxon literature.

Whether the fact that the apocryphal writings which told of Joseph were
known here when they were unknown on the Continent be held to warrant or
no the existence of a specifically British Joseph legend, they at all
events prove that he was a familiar and favourite legendary figure on
British soil. It would be rash to go any farther, and to argue from the
inadequacy of the reasons by which Wülcker seeks to account for the early
knowledge of the Evangelium Nicodemi in England, that Joseph enjoyed
particular favour among the British Christians, and that it was from them
the tidings of him spread among their Saxon conquerors.

The legendary popularity of Joseph in these islands, though not in any
special capacity of Apostle of Britain, is thus attested. Let us admit for
argument's sake that the conversion legend did first take shape in the
twelfth century, is it not more likely to have done so here, where the
apocryphal writings about him were widely spread, than in France, where
they were practically unknown? And why if Borron, or any other French
poet, wanted to connect the Holy Vessel legend which he had imagined with
Arthur, should he go out of his way to invent the personages of Brons and
Alain? The story as found in the Queste would surely have been a far more
natural one for him. And why the insistence upon Avalon? We have plain
proof that Borron did not understand the word, as he explains it by a
ridiculous pun (_supra_, p. 78).[142]

These difficulties are met in a large measure if we look upon Bran
(Brons) as the starting point of the Christian transformation of the
legend. In any case we may say that a conversion legend, whether
associated with Joseph or anyone else, would almost inevitably have
gravitated towards Glastonbury, but there are special reasons why this
should be the case with a Bran legend. Avalon is certainly the Welsh
equivalent of the Irish Tír na n-Og, the land of youth, the land beyond
the waves, the Celtic paradise. When or how this Cymric myth was localised
at Glastonbury we know not.[143] We only know that Glastonbury was one of
the first places in the island to be devoted to Christian worship. Is it
too rash a conjecture that the Christian church may have taken the place
of some Celtic temple or holy spot specially dedicated to the cult of the
dead, and of that Lord of the Shades from which the Celts feigned their
descent? The position of Glastonbury, not far from that western sea beyond
which lie the happy isles of the dead, would favour such an hypothesis.
Although direct proof is wanting, I believe that the localisation is old
and genuine: Bran, ruler of the otherworld, of Avalon, would thus come
into natural contact with Glastonbury; and if, as I assume, Joseph took
his place in the conversion legend the association would extend to him.
The after development of the legend would then be almost a matter of
course. Bran, the ruler in Avalon, would pass on his magic gear (cauldron,
spear, and sword, as in the case of the Tuatha de Dannan) to Bran the
Blessed, who would in his turn transfer them to Joseph. And once the
latter had entered into the legend, he would not fail to recall that last
scene of the Lord's life with which he was so closely associated, not by
any pseudo-gospel but by the canonical writings themselves, and thus the
gear of the old Celtic gods became transformed into such objects as were
most prominent in the story of the Passion and of the scene that
immediately preceded it. The spear became that one wherewith Christ's side
was pierced. As for the vessel, the sacramental nature is the last stage
of its Christian development; its original object was merely to explain
the sustenance of Joseph in prison, and to provide a miraculous
refreshment for the Grail host, as is shown by the Early History portion
of the Conte du Graal and by the Queste. In a dim and confused way the
circumstances of the Resurrection helped to effect the change of the pagan
resuscitation-cauldron into a symbol of the risen Lord. And some now lost
feature of the original legend--some insistence upon the _contents_ of the
vessel, some assimilation of them to blood--may have suggested the use to
which the vessel was first put.

This hypothesis assumes many things. It assumes a Bran conversion legend,
of which the only evidence of anything like the same date as the romances
is a single epithet; it assumes that the hero of this legend was
originally an old Celtic divinity; it assumes a Joseph conversion legend,
for which there is really no other evidence than that of the romances; it
assumes the amalgamation of the two legends, and that Joseph took over in
a large measure the _rôle_ and characteristics of Brons. And when it is
recollected that the primary assumption, the identification of the two
Brans, rests in a large measure upon the appearance of the fish in the
Brons legend, that this fish is nowhere in Celtic tradition associated
with Bran, that it is associated on the other hand with a being, Fionn,
whom we have compared with Peredur, but that it is absent from the
Peredur-saga, the hypothesis must be admitted to be of a tentative nature.
I fully appreciate the force of the objections that can be urged against
it; at the same time it has the merit of accounting for many puzzling
features in the legend. When in the same story two personages can be
distinguished whose _rôle_ is more or less of the same nature, when the
one personage is subordinated in one version and has disappeared
altogether from the other, it is quite legitimate to conclude that two
originally independent accounts have become blended, and that one has
absorbed the other. The hypothesis is on safe ground so far. It thus
explains the presence of Brons in the legend, as well as his absence from
some versions of it; it has something to say in explanation of the
connection with Glastonbury; it explains in what way the Celtic traditions
were started on their path of transformation; and it provides for that
transformation taking the very course it did. There is nothing to be urged
against it on _a priori_ grounds; once admit the premisses, and the rest
follows easily and naturally. Its conjectural character (the main
objection to it) is shared in an even higher degree by the other
hypotheses, which have essayed to account for the growth and origin of the
legend, and _they_ have the disadvantage of being inherently impossible.

In the light of the foregoing investigations and hypotheses we may now
amplify the sketch history of the whole cycle given in Chapter III. The
Peredur-saga probably came into existence in much its later form at an
early date in the Middle Ages. A number of older mythical tales centered
in a, perhaps, historical personage. The circumstances of his life and
adventures may have given them not only cohesion, but may also have
coloured and distorted them; nevertheless they remained, in the main,
mythical tales of the same kind as those found all over the world. One of
these tales was undoubtedly a Cymric variant of the Celtic form of the
Expulsion and Return formula; another dealt with the hero's journey to the
Land of Shades; traces of many others are to be found in the Mabinogi.
Another Celtic worthy, Gwalchmai, was early associated with Peredur, and
the two stood in some such relation to each other as the twin brethren of
a widely spread folk-tale group. Curiously enough, whilst comparatively
few incidents in the Peredur-saga were worked up into the version which
served as immediate model to the North French romances, that version
contained many adventures of Gwalchmai's which have not been preserved in
Welsh. We can trace three main crystallizations of the original saga-mass;
one represented by the Proto-Mabinogi contained the feud quest, and,
probably, some only of the other adventures found in the present Mabinogi;
the second, based more on the lines of the Expulsion and Return formula,
is represented by the Thornton MS. romance; in the third the feud quest
was mixed up with the hero's visit to the Bespelled Castle, and those
portions of the Gwalchmai-saga which told of his visit to Castle Perillous
as well as to the Bespelled Castle. Whilst the Proto-Mabinogi was probably
in prose, the Proto-Conte du Graal was probably in verse, a collection of
short _lais_ like those of Marie de France. Meanwhile, one of the chief
personages of the older mythic world which appear in the Peredur-saga,
Bran, the Lord of the Land of Shades, of the Bespelled Castle, of the
cauldron of healing, increase and wisdom, and of the knowledge-giving
salmon, had become the Apostle of Britain, his pagan attributes thus
suffering a Christian change, which was perfected when Joseph took the
place of Brons, bringing with him his gospel associations and the
apocryphal legends that had clustered round his name. Thus a portion of
the saga was Christianised, whilst the other portion lost its old, fixed
popular character, owing to the fusion of originally distinct elements,
and the consequent unsettling both of the outlines and of the details of
the story. Incidents and features which in the earlier folk-tale stage
were sharply defined and intelligible became vague and mysterious. In this
state, and bearing upon it the peculiarly weird and fantastic impress of
Celtic mythic tradition, the story, or story-mass rather, lay ready to the
hand of courtly poet or of clerical mystic. At first Christian symbolism
was introduced in a slight and meagre way--the Brons-Joseph legend
supplied the Christian meaning of the talismans, and that was all. But the
Joseph legend was soon vigorously developed by the author of the work
which underlies the Queste and the Grand St. Graal. He may either not have
known or have deliberately discarded Brons, the old Celtic hero of the
conversion, as he certainly deliberately thrust down from his place of
pre-eminence Perceval, the Celtic hero of the Quest, substituting for him
a new hero, Galahad, and for the adventures of the Conte du Graal, based
as they were upon no guiding conceptions, fresh adventures intended to
glorify physical chastity. With all his mystic fervour he failed to see
the full capacities of the theme, his presentment of the Grail itself
being in especial either over-material or over-spiritual. But his work
exercised a profound influence, as is seen in the case of Chrestien's
continuators. Robert de Borron, on the other hand, if to him the merit
must be assigned, if he was not simply transcribing an older, forgotten
version, was a more original thinker, if a less gifted writer. Although he
was not able to entirely harmonise the conflicting accounts of which he
made use, he yet succeeded in keeping close to the old lines of the legend
whilst giving a consistent symbolical meaning to all its details. His work
came too late, however, to exercise the influence it should have done upon
the development of the legend; the writers who knew it were mere heapers
together of adventures, and the very man who composed a sequel to it
abandoned Robert's main conception.

The history of the Legend of the Holy Grail is, thus, the history of the
gradual transformation of old Celtic folk-tales into a poem charged with
Christian symbolism and mysticism. This transformation, at first the
inevitable outcome of its pre-Christian development, was hastened later by
the perception that it was a fitting vehicle for certain moral and
spiritual ideas. These have been touched upon incidentally in the course
of these studies, but they and their manifestation in modern as well as in
mediæval literature deserve fuller notice.


    Popularity of the Arthurian Romance--Reasons for that
    Popularity--Affinities of the Mediæval Romances with early Celtic
    Literature; Importance of the Individual Hero; Knighthood; the _rôle_
    of Woman; the Celtic Fairy and the Mediæval Lady; the Supernatural--M.
    Renan's views--The Quest in English Literature, Malory--The earliest
    form of the Legend, Chrestien, his continuators--The Queste and its
    Ideal--The Sex-Relations in the Middle Ages--Criticism of Mr.
    Furnivall's estimate of the moral import of the Queste--The Merits of
    the Queste--The Chastity Ideal in the later versions--Modern English
    Treatments: Tennyson, Hawker--Possible Source of the Chastity Ideal in
    Popular Tradition--The Perceval Quest in Wolfram; his Moral
    Conception; the Question; Parzival and Conduiramur--The Parzival Quest
    and Faust--Wagner's Parsifal--The Christian element in the
    Legend--Ethical Ideas in the folk-tale originals of the Grail
    Romances: the Great Fool, the Sleeping Beauty--Conclusion.

Few legends have attained such wide celebrity, or been accepted as so
thoroughly symbolical of one master conception, as that of the Holy Grail.
Poets and thinkers from mediæval times to our own days have used it as a
type of the loftiest goal of man's effort. There must be something in the
romances which first embodied this conception to account for the enduring
favour it has enjoyed. Nor is it that we read into the old legend meanings
and teachings undreamt of before our day. At a comparatively early stage
in the legend's existence its capacities were perceived, and the works
which were the outcome of that perception became the breviary and the
exemplar of their age. There are reasons, both general and special, why
the Celtic mythic tales grew as they did, and had such overwhelming vogue
in their new shapes. In no portion of the vast Arthurian cycle is it more
needful or more instructive to see what these reasons were than in that
which recounts the fortunes of the Grail.

The tales of Peredur and Gwalchmai, bound up with the Arthurian romance,
shared its success, than which nothing in all literary history is more
marvellous. It was in the year 1145 that Geoffrey of Monmouth first made
the legendary history of Britain accessible to the lettered class of
England and Continent. He thereby opened up to the world at large a new
continent of romantic story, and exercised upon the development of
literature an influence comparable in its kind to that of Columbus'
achievement upon the course of geographical discovery and political
effort. Twenty years had not passed before the British heroes were
household names throughout Europe, and by the close of the century nearly
every existing literature had assimilated and reproduced the story of
Arthur and his Knights. Charlemagne and Alexander, the sagas of Teutonic
tribes, the tale of Imperial Rome itself, though still affording subject
matter to the wandering jongleur or monkish annalist, paled before the
fame of the British King. The instinct which led the twelfth and
thirteenth centuries thus to place the Arthurian story above all others
was a true one. It was charged with the spirit of romance, and they were
pre-eminently the ages of the romantic temper. The West had turned back
towards the East, and, although the intent was hostile, the minds of the
western men had been fecundated, their imagination fired by contact with
the mother of all religions and all cultures. The achievements of the
Crusaders became the standard of attainment to the loftiest and boldest
minds of Western Christendom. For these men Alexander himself lacked
courage and Roland daring. The fathers had stormed Jerusalem, and the
sons' youth had been nourished on tales of Araby the Blest and Ophir the
Golden of strife with the Paynim, of the sorceries and devilries of the
East. Nothing seemed impossible to a generation which knew of toils and
quests greater than any minstrel had sung, which had beheld in the East
sights as wondrous and fearful as any the jongleur could tell of.
Moreover, the age was that of Knight Errantry, and of that phase of love
in which every Knight must qualify himself for the reception of his lady's
favours by the performance of some feat of skill and daring. Such an age
and such men demanded a special literature, and they found it in
adaptations of Celtic tales.

The mythic heroic literature of all races is in many respects alike. The
sagas not only of Greek or Persian, of Celt or Hindu, of Slav or Teuton,
but also of Algonquin or Japanese, are largely made up of the same
incidents set in the same framework. But each race shapes this common
material in its own way, sets upon it its own stamp. And no race has done
this more unmistakably than the Celtic. Stories which go back to the first
century, stories taken down from the lips of living peasants, have a
kinship of tone and style, a common ring which no one who has studied this
literature can fail to recognise. What stamps the whole of it is the
prevailing and abiding spirit of romance. To rightly urge the Celtic
character of the Arthurian romances would require the minute analysis of
many hundred passages, and it would only be proving a case admitted by
everyone who knows all the facts. It will be more to the point to dwell
briefly upon those outward features which early (_i.e._, pre-eleventh
century) Celtic heroic literature has in common with the North French
romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, especially as we thus
gain a clue to much that is problematic in the formal and moral growth of
the Arthurian cycle in general and of the Grail cycle in particular.

In Celtic tradition, as little as in mediæval romance, do we find a record
of race-struggles such as meets us in the Nibelungenlied, in the Dietrich
saga, or the Carolingian cycle.[144] In its place we have a glorification
of the individual hero. The reason is not far to seek. The Celtic tribes,
whether of Ireland or Britain, were surrounded by men of their own speech,
of like institutions and manners. The shock of opposing nations, of rival
civilisations, could not enter into their race-tradition. The
story-teller had as his chief theme the prowess and skill of the
individual "brave," the part he took in the conflicts which clan
incessantly waged with clan, or his encounters with those powers of an
older mythic world which lived on in the folk-fancy. To borrow Mr.
Fitzgerald's convenient terminology, the "constants" of this tradition may
be the same as in that of other Aryan races, the "resultants" are not. To
give one instance: the conception of a chief surrounded by a picked band
of warriors is common to all heroic tradition, but nowhere is it of such
marked importance, nowhere does it so mould and shape the story as in the
cycles of Conchobor and the Knights of the Red Branch, of Fionn and the
Fianna, and of Arthur and his Knights. The careers of any of the early
Irish heroes, the single-handed raids of Cét mac Magach or Conall
Cearnach, above all the fortunes of Cuchullain, his hero's training in the
Amazon-isle, his strife with Curoi mac Daire, his expeditions to
fairy-land, his final holding of the ford against all the warriors of
Erinn, breathe the same spirit of adventure for its own sake, manifest the
same subordination of all else in the story to the one hero, that are such
marked characteristics of the Arthurian romance.

Again, in the bands of picked braves who surround Conchobor or Fionn, in
the rules by which they are governed, the trials which precede and
determine admission into them, the duties and privileges which attach to
them, we have, it seems to me, a far closer analogue to the knighthood of
mediæval romance than may be found either in the Peers of Carolingian saga
or in the chosen warriors who throng the halls of Walhalla.

In the present connection the part played by woman in Celtic tradition is
perhaps of most import to us. In no respect is the difference more marked
than in this between the twelfth century romances, whether French or
German, and the earlier heroic literature of either nation. The absence of
feminine interest in the earlier _chansons de geste_ has often been noted.
The case is different with Teutonic heroic literature, in which woman's
_rôle_ is always great, sometimes pre-eminently so. But a comparison of
the two strains of traditions, Celtic and Teutonic, one with the other,
and again with the romances, may help to account for much that is
otherwise inexplicable to us in the mediæval presentment of the
sex-feelings and sex-relations.

The love of man, and immortal, or, if mortal, semi-divine maid is a
"constant" of heroic tradition. Teuton and Celt have handled this theme,
however, in a very different spirit. In the legends of the former the man
plays the chief part; he woos, sometimes he forces the fairy maiden to
become the mistress of his hearth. As a rule, overmastered by the prowess
and beauty of the hero, she is nothing loth. But sometimes, as does
Brunhild, she feels the change a degradation and resents it. It is
otherwise with the fairy mistresses of the Celtic hero; they abide in
their own place, and they allure or compel the mortal lover to resort to
them. Connla and Bran and Oisin must all leave this earth and sail across
ocean or lake before they can rejoin their lady love; even Cuchullain,
mightiest of all the heroes, is constrained, struggle as he may, to go and
dwell with the fairy queen Fand, who has woed him. Throughout, the
immortal mistress retains her superiority; when the mortal tires and
returns to earth she remains, ever wise and fair, ready to welcome and
enchant a new generation of heroes. She chooses whom she will, and is no
man's slave; herself she offers freely, but she abandons neither her
liberty nor her divine nature. This type of womanhood, capricious,
independent, severed from ordinary domestic life, is assuredly the
original of the Vivians, the Orgueilleuses, the Ladies of the Fountain of
the romances; it is also one which must have commended itself to the
knightly devotees of mediæval romantic love. Their "_dame d'amour_" was,
as a rule, another man's wife; she raised in their minds no thought of
home or child. In the tone of their feelings towards her, in the character
of their intercourse with her, they were closer akin to Oisin and Neave,
to Cuchullain and Fand, than to Siegfried and Brunhild, or to Roland and
Aude. Even where the love-story passes wholly among mortals, the woman's
_rôle_ is more accentuated than in the Teutonic sagas. She is no mere
lay-figure upon a fire-bound rock like Brunhild or Menglad, ready, when
the destined hero appears, to fall straightway into his arms. Emer, the
one maiden of Erinn whom Cuchullain condescends to woo, is eager to show
herself in all things worthy of him; she tests his wit as well as his
courage, she makes him accept her conditions.[145] In the great tragic
tale of ancient Ireland, the Fate of the Sons of Usnech, Deirdre--born
like Helen or Gudrun, to be a cause of strife among men, of sorrow and
ruin to whomsoever she loves--Deirdre takes her fate into her own hands,
and woos Noisi with outspoken passionate frankness. The whole story is
conceived and told in a far more "romantic" strain than is the case with
parallel stories from Norse tradition, the loves of Helgi and Sigrun, or
those of Sigurd and Brunhild-Gudrun. And if the lament of Deirdre over her
slain love lacks the grandeur and the intensity with which the Norse
heroines bewail their dead lords, it has, on the other hand, an intimate,
a personal touch we should hardly have looked for in an eleventh century
Irish epic.[146]

Another link between the Celtic sagas and the romances is their treatment
of the supernatural. Heroic-traditional literature is made up of mythical
elements, of scenes, incidents, and formulas which have done service in
that account of man's dealings with and conceptions of the visible world
which we call mythology. All such literature derives ultimately from an
early, wholly animistic stage of culture. Small marvel, then, if in the
hero-tales of every race there figure wonder-working talismans and
bespelled weapons, if almost every great saga has, as part of its
_dramatis personæ_, objects belonging to what we should now call the
inanimate world. Upon these a species of life is conferred, most often by
power of magic, but at times, it would seem, in virtue of the older
conception which held all things to be endowed with like life. All heroic
literatures do not, however, accentuate equally and similarly this magic
side of their common stock. Celtic tradition is not only rich and varied
beyond all others in this respect, it often thus secures its chief
artistic effects. The talismans of Celtic romance, the fairy branch of
Cormac, the Ga-bulg of Cuchullain, the sounding-hammer of Fionn, the
treasures of the Boar Trwyth after which Prince Kilhwch sought, the
glaives of light of the living folk-tale, have one and all a weird,
fantastic, half-human existence, which haunts and thrills the imagination.
No Celtic story-teller could have "mulled" the Nibelung-hoard as the poet
of the Nibelungenlied has done. How different in this respect the twelfth
century romances are from the earlier German or French sagas, how close to
the Irish tales is apparent to whomsoever reads them with attention.[147]

I do not for one moment imply that the romantic literature of the Middle
Ages was what it was, wholly or even mainly in virtue of its Celtic
affinities. That literature was the outcome of the age, and something akin
to it would have sprung up had Celtic tradition remained unknown to the
Continent. The conception of feudal knighthood as a favoured class, in
which men of different nations met on a common footing; the conception of
knightly love as something altogether disassociated from domestic life,
must in any case have led to the constitution of such a society as we find
portrayed in the romances. What is claimed is that the spirit of the age,
akin to the Celtic, recognised in Celtic tales the food it was hungering
for. It transformed them to suit its own needs and ideas, but it carried
out the transformation on the whole in essential agreement with tradition.
In some cases a radical change is made; such a one is presented to us in
the Grail cycle.

The legend thus started with the advantages of belonging to the popular
literature of the time, and of association through Brons with Christian
tradition. Its incidents were varied, and owing to the blending of diverse
strains of story vague enough to be plastic. The formal development of the
cycle has been traced in the earlier chapters of these studies; that of
its ideal conceptions will be found to follow similar lines. Various
ethical intentions can be distinguished, and there is not more difference
between the versions in the conduct of the story than in the ideals they
set forth.

To some readers it may have seemed well nigh sacrilegious to trace that

              ... vanished Vase of Heaven
  That held like Christ's own Heart an Hin of Blood,

to the magic vessels of pagan deities. In England the Grail-legend is
hardly known save in that form which it has assumed in the Queste. This
French romance was one of those which Malory embodied in his _rifacimento_
of the Arthurian cycle, and, thanks to Malory, it has become a portion of
English speech and thought.[148] In our own days our greatest poet has
expressed the quintessence of what is best and purest in the old romance
in lines of imperishable beauty. As we follow Sir Galahad by secret shrine
and lonely mountain mere until

  Ah, blessed vision! Blood of God,
  The spirit beats her mortal bars,
  As down dark tides the glory slides,
  And star-like mingles with the stars.

we are under a spell that may not be resisted. And yet of the two main
paths which the legend has trodden that of Galahad is the least fruitful
and the least beautiful. Compared with the Perceval Quest in its highest
literary embodiment the Galahad Quest is false and antiquated on the
ethical side, lifeless on the æsthetic side.

As it first meets us in literature the legend has barely emerged from its
pure and simple narrative stage. There is a temptation to exaggerate
Chrestien's skill of conception when speculating how he would have
finished his work, but we know enough, probably, to correctly gauge his
intentions. It has been said he meant to portray the ideal knight in
Perceval. As was formerly the wont of authors he presents his hero in a
good light, and he may be credited with a perception of the opportunity
afforded him by his subject for placing that hero in positions wherein a
knight could best distinguish himself. In so far his work may be accepted
as his picture of a worthy knight. But I can discover in it no scheme of a
quest after the highest good to be set forth by means of the incidents at
his command. Perceval is brave as a matter of course, punctual in obeying
the counsels of his mother and of his teachers, Gonemans and the
hermit-uncle, unaffectedly repentant when he is convicted of having
neglected his religious duties. But it cannot be said that the hermit's
exhortations or the hero's repentance, confession, and absolution mark, or
are intended to mark, a definite stage in a progress towards spiritual
perfection. The explanation of the hero's silence as a consequence of his
sin in leaving his mother, shows how little real thought has been bestowed
upon the subject. This explanation, whether wholly Chrestien's, as I am
tempted to think, or complacently reproduced from his model, gives the
measure of his skill in constructing an allegory. Beyond insistence upon
such points (the hero's docility) as were indicated to him by his model,
or, as in the case of his religious opinions, were a matter of course in a
work of the time, Chrestien gives Perceval no higher morality, no loftier
aims than those of the day. The ideal of chastity, soon to become of such
importance in the development of the legend, is nowhere set forth.
Perceval, like Gawain, takes full advantage of what _bonnes fortunes_ come
in his way. And if the Quest connotes no spiritual ideal, still less does
it one of temporal sovereignty. Had Chrestien finished his story he would
have made Perceval heal the Maimed King and win his kingdom, but that
kingdom would not have been a type of the highest earthly magnificence. We
have seen reason to hold that Chrestien made one great change in the story
as he found it in his model; he assigns the Fisher-King's illness to a
wound received in battle. This he did, I think, simply with a view to
shortening the story by leaving out the whole of the Partinal episode. No
mystical conception was floating in his mind. Yet, as we shall see, the
shape which he gave to this incident strongly influenced some of the later
versions, and gave the hint for the most philosophical _motif_ to be found
in the whole cycle.

The immediate continuators of Chrestien lift the legend to no higher
level. I incline to think that Gautier, with less skill of narrative and
far greater prolixity, yet trod closely in Chrestien's footsteps. In the
love episodes he is as full of charm as the more celebrated poet. The
second meeting of Perceval and Blanchefleur is told with that graceful
laughing _naïveté_ of which French literature of the period has the
secret. But of a plan, an animating conception even such slight traces as
Chrestien had introduced into the story are lacking. Here, as in
Chrestien, the mysterious talismans themselves in no way help forward the
story. Chrestien certainly had the Christian signification of them in his
mind, but makes no use of it. The Vessel of the Last Supper, the Spear
that pierced Christ's side might be any magic spear or vessel as far as he
is concerned. The original Pagan essence is retained; the name alone is

Thus far had the legend grown when it came into the hands of the author of
the Queste. The subject matter had been partly shaped and trimmed by a
master of narrative, the connection with Christian tradition had been
somewhat accentuated. It was open to the author of the Queste to take the
story as it stood, and to read into its incidents a deep symbolical
meaning based upon the Christian character of the holy talismans. He
preferred to act otherwise. He broke entirely with the traditional
framework, dispossessed the original hero, and left not an incident of his
model untouched. But his method of proceeding may be likened to a shuffle
rather than to a transformation. The incidents reappear in other
connection, but do not reveal the author's plan any more than is the case
in the Conte du Graal. The Christian character of the talismans is dwelt
upon with almost wearisome iteration, the sacramental act supplies the
matter of many and of the finest scenes, and yet the essence of the
talismans is unchanged. The Holy Grail, the Cup of the Last Supper, the
Sacramental Chalice is still when it appears the magic food-producing
vessel of the old Pagan sagas. What is the author's idea? Undoubtedly to
show that the attainment of the highest spiritual good is not a thing of
this world; only by renouncing every human desire, only by passing into a
land intermediary between this earth and heaven, is the Quest achieved. In
the story of the prosecution of that Quest some attempt may be traced at
portraying the cardinal virtues and deadly sins by means of the adventures
of the questers, and of the innumerable exhortations addressed to them.
But no skill is shown in the conduct of this plan, which is carried out
chiefly by the introduction of numerous allegorical scenes which are made
a peg for lengthy dogmatic and moral expositions. In this respect the
author compares unfavourably with Robert de Borron, who shapes his story
in full accord with his conception of the Grail itself, a conception
deriving directly from the symbolic Christian nature he attributed to it,
and who makes even such unpromising incidents as that of the Magic Fisher
subserve his guiding idea.[149]

If the author's way of carrying out his conception cannot be praised, how
does it stand with the conception itself? The fact that the Quest is
wholly disassociated from this earth at once indicates the standpoint of
the romance. The first effect of the Quest's proclamation is to break up
the Table Round, that type of the noblest human society of the day, and
its final achievement brings cheer or strengthening to no living man. The
successful questers alone in their unhuman realm have any joy of the
Grail. The spirit in which they prosecute their quest is best exemplified
by Sir Bors. When he comes to the magic tower and is tempted of the
maidens, who threaten to cast themselves down and be dashed to pieces
unless he yield them his love, he is sorry for them, but unmoved, thinking
it better "they lose their souls than he his." So little had the Christian
writer apprehended the signification of Christ's most profound saying. The
character of the principal hero is in consonancy with this aim, wholly
remote from the life of man on earth. A shadowy perfection at the outset,
he remains a shadowy perfection throughout, a bloodless and unreal
creature, as fit when he first appears upon the scene as when he quits it,
to accomplish a quest, purposeless, inasmuch as it only removes him from a
world in which he has neither part nor share. Such human interest as there
is in the story is supplied by Lancelot, who takes over many of the
adventures of Perceval or Gawain in the Conte du Graal. In him we note
contrition for past sin, strivings after a higher life with which we can
sympathise. In fine, such moral teaching as the Queste affords is given us
rather by sinful Lancelot than by sinless Galahad.

But the aversion to this world takes a stronger form in the Queste, and
one which is the vital conception of the work, in the insistence upon the
need for physical chastity. To rightly understand the author's position we
must glance at the state of manners revealed by the romances, and in
especial at the sex-relations as they were conceived of by the most
refined and civilised men and women of the day. The French romances are,
as a rule, too entirely narrative to enable a clear realisation of what
these were. Wolfram, with his keener and more sympathetic eye for
individual character--Wolfram, who loves to analyse the sentiments and to
depict the outward manifestations of feeling of his personages--is our
best guide here. The manners and customs of the day can be found in the
French romances; the feelings which underlie them must be sought for in
the German poet.

The marked feature of the sex-relations in the days of chivalry was the
institution of _minnedienst_ (love-service). The knight bound himself to
serve a particular lady, matron or maid. To approve himself brave, hardy,
daring, patient, and discreet was his part of the bargain, and when
fulfilled the lady must fulfil hers and pay her servant. The relation must
not for one moment be looked upon as platonic; the last favours were in
every case exacted, or rather were freely granted, as the lady, whether
maid or wedded wife, thought it no wrong thus to reward her knight. It
would have been "bad form" to deny payment when the service had been
rendered, and the offender guilty of such conduct would have been scouted
by her fellow-women as well as by all men. Nothing is more instructive in
this connection than the delightfully told episode of Gawain and
Orgueilleuse. The latter is unwedded, a great and noble lady, but she has
already had several favoured lovers, as indeed she frankly tells Gawain.
He proffers his service, which she hardly accepts, but heaps upon him all
manner of indignity and insult, which he bears with the patient and
resourceful courtesy, his characteristic in mediæval romance. Whilst the
time of probation lasts, no harsh word, no impatient gesture, escapes him.
But when he has accomplished the feat of the Ford Perillous he feels that
he has done enough, and taking his lady-love to task he lectures her, as a
grave middle-aged man might some headstrong girl, upon the duties of a
well-bred woman and upon the wrong she has done knighthood in his person.
To point the moral he winds up, at mid-day in the open forest, with a
proposition which the repentant scornful one can only parry by the naïve
remark, "Seldom she had found it warm in the embrace of a mail-clad arm."
Not only was it the lady's duty to yield after a proper delay, but at
times she might even make the first advances and be none the worse thought
of. Blanchefleur comes to Perceval's bed with scarce an apology.[150]
Orgueilleuse, overcome with admiration at the Red Knight's prowess, offers
him her love. True, she has doubts as to the propriety of her conduct, but
when she submits them to Gawain, the favoured lover for the time being, he
unhesitatingly approves her--Perceval's fame was such that had he accepted
her proffered love she could have suffered naught in honour.

Customs such as these, and a state of feelings such as they imply, are so
remote from us, that it is difficult to realise them, particularly in view
of the many false statements respecting the nature of chivalrous love
which have obtained currency. But we must bear in mind that the age was
pre-eminently one of individual prowess. The warlike virtues were all in
all. That a man should be brave, hardy, and skilful in the use of his
weapons was the essential in a time when the single hero was almost of as
much account as in the days of Achilles, Siegfried, or Cuchullain. That
_minnedienst_ tended to this end, as did other institutions of the day
which we find equally blamable, is its historical excuse. Even then many
felt its evils and perceived its anti-social character. Some, too, there
were who saw how deeply it degraded the ideal of love.

A protest against this morality was indeed desirable. Such a one the
Queste does supply. But it is not enough to protest in a matter so
profoundly affecting mankind as the moral ideas which govern the
sex-relations. Not only must the protest be made in a right spirit, and on
the right lines, but a truer and loftier ideal must be set up in place of
the one attacked. In how far the Queste fulfils these conditions we shall
see. Meanwhile, as a sample of the feelings with which many Englishmen
have regarded it, and as an attempt to explain its historical and ethical
_raison d'être_, I cannot do better than quote Mr. Furnivall's
enthusiastic words: "What is the lesson of it all? Is the example of
Galahad and his unwavering pursuit of the highest spiritual object set
before him, nothing to us? Is that of Perceval, pure and tempted, on the
point of yielding, yet saved by the sight of the symbol of his Faith, to
be of no avail to us? Is the tale of Bohors, who has once sinned, but by a
faithful life ... at last tasting spiritual food, and returning to devote
his days to God and Good--is this no lesson to us?... On another point,
too, this whole Arthur story may teach us. Monkish, to some extent, the
exaltation of bodily chastity above almost every other earthly virtue is;
but the feeling is a true one; it is founded on a deep reverence for
woman, which is the most refining and one of the noblest sentiments of
man's nature, one which no man can break through without suffering harm to
his spiritual life."

It would be hard to find a more striking instance of how the "editorial
idol" may override perception and judgment. He who draws such lofty and
noble teachings from the Queste del Saint Graal, must first bring them
himself. He must read modern religion, modern morality into the mediæval
allegory, and on one point he must entirely falsify the mediæval
conception. Whether this is desirable is a question we can have no
hesitation in deciding negatively. It is better to find out what the
author really meant than to interpret his symbolism in our own fashion.

The author of the Queste places the object and conditions of his mystic
quest wholly outside the sphere of human action or interest; in a similar
spirit he insists, as an indispensable requirement in the successful
quester, upon a qualification necessarily denied to the vast majority of
mankind. His work is a glorification of physical chastity. "Blessed are
the pure--in body--for they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven," is the
text upon which he preaches. In such a case everything depends upon the
spirit of the preacher, and good intent is not enough to win praise. His
conception, says Mr. Furnivall, is founded upon a deep reverence for
woman. This is, indeed, such a precious thing that had the mediæval
ascetic really felt it we could have forgiven the stupidity which ignores
all that constitutes the special dignity and pathos of womanhood. But he
felt nothing of the kind. Woman is for him the means whereby sin came into
the world, the arch stumbling-block, the tool the devil finds readiest to
his hands when he would overcome man. Only in favour of the Virgin Mother,
and of those who like her are vowed to mystical maidenhood, does the
author pardon woman at all. One single instance will suffice to
characterize the mediæval standpoint. When the Quest of the Holy Grail was
first proclaimed in Arthur's Court there was great commotion, and the
ladies would fain have joined therein, "car cascune dame ou damoiselle
(qui) fust espousée ou amie, dist à son chiualer qu'ele yroit od lui en la
queste." But a hermit comes forward to forbid this; "No dame or damsel is
to accompany her knight lest he fall into deadly sin." Wife or leman, it
was all one for the author of the Queste; woman could not but be an
occasion for deadly sin, and the sin, though in the one case less in
degree (and even this is uncertain), was the same in kind. Fully one-half
of the romance is one long exemplification of the essential vileness of
the sex-relation, worked out with the minute and ingenious nastiness of a
Jesuit moral theologian. The author was of his time; it was natural he
should think and write as he did, and it would be uncritical to blame him
for his degrading view of womanhood or for his narrow and sickly view of
life. But when we are bidden to seek example of him, it is well to state
the facts as they are.[151]

If his transformation of the story has been rudely effected without regard
to its inherent possibilities, if the spirit of his ideal proves to be
miserably ascetic and narrow, what then remains to the Queste, and how may
we account for its popularity in its own day, and for the abiding
influence which its version of the legend has exercised over posterity.
Its literary qualities are at times great; certain scenes, especially such
as set forth the sacramental nature of the Grail, are touched with a
mystical fervour which haunts the imagination. It has given some of the
most picturesque features to this most picturesque of legends. But I see
in the idea of the mystic quest proclaimed to and shared in by the whole
Table Round the real secret of the writer's success. This has struck the
imagination of so many generations and given the Queste an undeserved
fame. In truth the conception of Arthur's court, laying aside ordinary
cares and joys, given wholly up to one overmastering spiritual aim, is a
noble one. It is, I think, only in a slight degree the outcome of definite
thought and intent but was dictated to the writer by the form into which
he had recast the story. Galahad had supplanted Perceval, but the latter
could not be suppressed entirely. The achievement of the quest involved
the passing away out of this world of the chief heroes, hence a third less
perfect one is joined to them to bring back tidings to earth of the
marvels he had witnessed. Lancelot, to whom are assigned so many of
Perceval's adventures, cannot be denied a share in the quest; it is the
same with Gawain, whose character in the older romance fits him, moreover,
excellently for the _rôle_ of "dreadful example." By this time the
Arthurian legend was fully grown, and the mention of these Knights called
up the names of others with whom they were invariably connected by the
romance writers. Well nigh every hero of importance was thus drawn into
the magic circle, and the mystic Quest assumed, almost inevitably, the
shape it did.

This conception, to which, if I am right, the author of the Queste was led
half unconsciously, seems to us the most admirable thing in his work. It
was, however, his ideal of virginity which struck the idea of his
contemporaries, and which left its mark upon after versions. An age with
such a gross ideal of love may have needed an equally gross ideal of
purity. Physical chastity plays henceforth the leading part in the moral
development of the cycle. With Robert de Borron it is the sin of the flesh
which brings down upon the Grail host the wrath of Heaven, and
necessitates the display of the Grail's wondrous power. Here may be noted
the struggle of the new conception with the older form of the story.
Alain, the virgin knight, would rather be flayed than marry, and yet he
does marry in obedience to the original model. Robert is consistent in all
that relates to the symbolism of the Grail, but in other respects, as we
have already seen, he is easily thrown off his guard. In the
Didot-Perceval, written as a sequel to Robert's poem, the same struggle
between old and new continues, and the reconciling spirit goes to work in
naïve and unskilful style. The incidents of the Conte du Graal are kept,
although they accord but ill with the hero's ascetic spirit. In the
portion of the Conte du Graal itself which goes under Manessier's name,
along with adventures taken direct from Chrestien's model, and far less
Christianised than in the earlier poet's work, many occur which are
simply transferred from the Queste. No attempt is made at reconciling
these jarring elements, and the effect of the contrast is at times almost
comic. In two of the later romances of the cycle the fusion has been more
complete, and the result is, in consequence, more interesting. The prose
Perceval le Gallois keeps the original hero of the Quest as far as name
and kinship are concerned, but it gives him the aggressive virginity and
the proselytising zeal of Galahad. Gerbert's finish to the Conte du Graal
is, perhaps, the strangest outcome of the double set of influences to
which the later writers were exposed. Without doubt his model differed
from the version used by Gautier and Manessier. It is more Celtic in tone,
and is curiously akin to the hypothetical lost source of Wolfram von
Eschenbach. The hero's absence from his lady-love is insisted upon, and
the need of returning to her before he can find peace. The genuineness of
this feature admits of little doubt. Many folk-tales tell of the severance
of lover and beloved, and of their toilful wanderings until they meet
again; such a tale easily lends itself to the idea that separation is
caused by guilt, and that, whilst severed, one or other lover must suffer
misfortune. Often, as in the case of Diarmaid and the Daughter of King
Under the Waves (_supra_, p. 194), definite mention is made of the guilt,
as a rule an infringed taboo. Such an incident could scarcely fail to
assume the ethical shape Gerbert has given it. Thus he had only to listen
to his model, to take his incidents as he found them, and he had the
matter for a moral conception wholly in harmony with them. The chastity
ideal has been too strong for him. His lovers do come together, but only
to exemplify the virtue of continence in the repulsive story of their
bridal night. After Gerbert the cycle lengthens, but does not develop. The
Queste retains its supremacy, and through Malory its dominant conception
entered deeply into the consciousness of the English race.

How far the author of the Queste must be credited with the new ideal he
brought into the legend is worth enquiry. Like so much else therein, it
may have its roots in the folk and hero tales which underlie the romances.
The Castle of Talismans visited by Perceval is the Land of Shades. In
popular tradition the incident takes the form of entry into the hollow
hill-side where the fairy king holds his court and hoards untold riches.
Poverty and simplicity are the frequent qualifications of the successful
quester; oftener still some mystic birthright, the being a Sunday's child
for instance, or a seventh son; or again freedom from sin is required,
and, perhaps, most frequently maidenhood.[152] The stress which so many
peoples lay upon virginity in the holy prophetic maidens, who can
transport themselves into the otherworld and bring thence the commands of
the god, may be noted in the same connection. No Celtic tale I have
examined with a view to throwing light upon the Grail romances insists
upon this idea, but some version, now lost, may possibly have done so.
Celtic tradition gave the romance writers of the Middle Ages material and
form for the picture of human love; it may also have given them a hint of
the opposing ideal of chastity.[153]

All this time it should be noted that no real progress is made in the
symbolical machinery of the legend. The Holy Grail becomes superlatively
sacrosanct, but it retains its pristine pagan essence, even in the only
version, the Grand St. Graal, which knew of Borron and of his mystical

Such, then, had been the growth of the legend in one direction. The
original incidents were either transformed, mutilated, or, where they kept
their first shape, underwent no ethical deepening or widening. The
talismans themselves had been transferred from Celtic to Christian
mythology, but their fate was still bound up with the otherworld. He who
would seek them must turn his back upon this earth from which the Palace
Spiritual and the City of Sarras were even more remote than Avalon or
Tir-na n-Og. Was no other course open? Could not framework and incidents
of the Celtic tales be retained, and yet, raised to a loftier, wider
level, become a fit vehicle for philosophic thought and moral exhortation?
One side of popular tradition figured the hero as wresting the talismans
from the otherworld powers for the benefit of his fellow men. Could not
this form of the myth be made to yield a human, practical conception of
the Quest and Winning of the Holy Grail?

We are luckily not reduced to conjecture in this matter. A work largely
fulfilling these hypothetical requirements exists in the Parzival of
Wolfram von Eschenbach. On the whole it is the most interesting individual
work of modern European literature prior to the Divina Commedia, and its
author has a better claim than any other mediæval poet to be called a man
of genius. He must, of course, be measured by the standard of his time. It
would be useless to expect from him that homogeneity of narrative, that
artistic proportion of style first met with 150 years later in Italy, and
which from Italy passed into all European literatures. Compared with the
unknown poets who gave their present shape to the Nibelungenlied or to the
Chanson de Roland he is an individual writer, but he is far from deserving
this epithet even in the sense that Chaucer deserves it. His subject
dominates him. Even when his philosophic mind is conceiving it under a new
aspect he anxiously holds to the traditional form. Hence great
inconsistencies in his treatment of the theme, hence, too, the frequent
difficulty in interpreting his meaning, the frequent doubt as to how far
the interpretation is correct. Here, as in the discussion respecting the
_origines_ of the Grail legend, resort must often be had to conjecture,
and any solution of the fascinating problems involved is necessarily and
largely subjective.

Wolfram's relation to his predecessors must be taken into account in
estimating the value of the Parzival. The earlier portion of his work
differs entirely, as we have seen, from any existing French romance; so
does the finish in so far as it agrees with the opening. The greater part
of the story is closely parallel to Chrestien; there are points of
contact, peculiar to these two writers, with Gerbert. Little invention,
properly so called, of incident can be traced in the Parzival. The part
common to it and Chrestien is incomparably fuller and more interesting in
the German poet, but the main outlines are the same. Wolfram has, however,
been at some pains to let us know what was his conception of the legend.
That much is allowed to remain at variance therewith is a clear proof of
his timidity of invention.

Doubt, he says, is the most potent corrupter of the soul. Whoso gives
himself over to unfaith and unsteadfastness treadeth in truth the downward
path. God Himself is very faithfulness. Strife against Him, doubt of Him,
is the highest sin. But humility and repentance may expiate it, and he who
thus repents may be chosen by God for the Grail Kingship, the summit of
earthly holiness. Peace of soul and all earthly power are the chosen
one's; alone, unlawful desire and the company of sinners are denied him by
the Grail.

How is this leading conception worked out? The framework and the march of
incidents are the same as in the Conte du Graal. One capital change at
once, however, lifts the story to a higher level. The Fisher King suffers
from a wound received in the cause of unlawful love, in disobedience to
those heavenly commands which govern the Grail community. The healing
question can be put only by one worthy to take up the high office Amfortas
has dishonoured, in virtue of having passed through the strife of doubt,
and become reconciled to God by repentance and humble trust. If Parzival
neglected to put the question on his first arrival at the Grail Castle, it
was that in the conceit of youth he fancied all wisdom was his. Childish
insistence upon his mother's counsels had brought down reproof upon him;
he had learnt the world's wisdom from Gurnemanz, he had shown himself in
defence of Conduiramur a valiant knight, worthy of power and woman's love.
When brought into contact with the torturing sorrow of Amfortas, he is too
full of himself, of his teacher's wisdom, to rightly use the opportunity.

The profound significance of the question which at once releases the
sinner, and announces the one way in which the sin may be cancelled,
namely, by the coming of a worthier successor, is due, if we may credit
Birch-Hirschfeld, to an accident. Wolfram only knew Chrestien. The latter
never explains the real nature of the Grail, and the German poet's
knowledge of French was too slight to put him on the right track. The
question, "Whom serve they with the Grail?" which he found in Chrestien,
was necessarily meaningless to him, and he replaced it by his, "Uncle,
what is it tortures thee?" The change _may_ be the result of accident as
is so much else in this marvellous legend, but it required a man of genius
to turn the accident to such account. It is the insistence upon charity as
the herald and token of spiritual perfection that makes the grandeur of
Wolfram's poem, and raises it so immeasureably above the Queste.

The same human spirit is visible in the delineation of the Grail Kingship
as the type of the highest good. Wolfram's theology is distinctively
antinomian--no man may win the Grail in his own strength; it choseth whom
it will--and has been claimed on the one hand[154] as a reflex of orthodox
Catholic belief, on the other as a herald of the Lutheran doctrine of
grace.[155] Theological experts may be left to fight out this question
among themselves. Apart from this, Wolfram has a practical sense of the
value of human effort. With him the Quest is not to be achieved by utter
isolation from this earth and its struggles. The chief function of the
Grail Kingdom is to supply an abiding type of a divinely ordered Society;
it also trains up leaders for those communities which lack them. It is a
civilising power as well as a Palace Spiritual.

In the relation of man to Heaven, Wolfram, whilst fully accepting the
doctrines of his age, appeals to the modern spirit with far greater power
and directness than the Queste. In the other great question of the legend,
the relation of man to woman, he is likewise nearer to us, although it
must be confessed that he builds better than he knows. To the love ideal
of his day, based wholly upon passion and vanity and severed from all
family feeling, he opposes the wedded love of Parzival and Conduiramur.
The hero's recollection of the mother of his children is the one saving
influence throughout the years of doubt and discouragement which follow
Kundrie's reproaches. Whilst still staggering under this blow, so cruelly
undeserved as it seems to him, he can wish his friend and comrade, Gawain,
a woman chaste and good, whom he may love and who shall be his guardian
angel. The thought of Conduiramur holds him aloof from the offered love of
Orgeluse. In his last and bitterest fight, with his unknown brother, when
it had nigh gone with him to his death, he recalls her and renews the
combat with fresh strength. She it is for whom he wins the highest earthly
crown, of which her pure, womanly heart makes her worthy. Reunion with her
and with his children is Parzival's first taste of the joy that is
henceforth to be his.

Passages may easily be multiplied that tally ill with the ideas of the
poem as here briefly set forth. But the existence of these ideas is patent
to the unprejudiced reader. Despite its many shortcomings, the poem which
contains them is the noblest and most human outcome of that mingled strain
of Celtic fancy and Christian symbolism whose history we have traced.[156]

In Wolfram, equally with the majority of the French romance writers, there
is little consistency in the formal use of the mystic talismans. Be the
reason what it may, Wolfram certainly never thought of associating the
Grail with the Last Supper. But its religious character is, at times, as
marked with him as with Robert de Borron or the author of the Queste. It
is the actual vehicle of the Deity's commands; it restrains from sin; it
suffers no unchaste servant; it may be seen of no heathen; the simple
beholding of it preserves men from death. This last characteristic would
be thought in modern times a sufficient tribute to the original nature of
the old pagan cauldron of increase and rejuvenescence. But Wolfram was of
his time, and followed his models faithfully. Along with the lofty
spiritual attributes of his Grail, he pictures in drastic fashion its
food-dispensing powers. The mystic stone, fallen from Heaven itself,
renewed each Good Friday by direct action of the Spirit, becomes all at
once a mere victual producing machine. We can see how little Wolfram liked
this feature of his model, and how he felt the contrast between it and his
own more spiritual conception. But here, as elsewhere in the poem, he
allowed much to stand against which his better judgment protested. His own
share in the development of the legend must be gauged by what is
distinctively his, not by what he has in common with others. Judged thus,
he must be said to have developed the Christian symbolic side of the
legend as much as the human philosophic side. If in Robert de Borron the
Grail touches its highest symbolic level through its identification with
the body of the dead and risen Lord, we can trace in Wolfram the germ of
that approximation of the Grail-Quester to the earthly career of the
Saviour which Wagner was to develop more than 600 years later.[157]

What influence Wolfram's poem, with its practical, human enthusiasm, its
true and noble sexual morality, might have had on English literature is an
interesting speculation. It would have appealed, one would think, to our
race with its utilitarian ethical instinct, with its lofty ideal of wedded
love. The true man, Parzival, should, in the fitness of things, be the
English hero of the Quest, rather than the visionary ascetic Galahad.
Mediæval England was dominated by France and knew nothing of Germany, and
when in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries we can trace German
influence on English thought and writ, taste had changed, and the Parzival
was well-nigh forgotten in its own land. It remained so almost until our
own days. The Quest after Perfection still haunted the German mind, but it
was conceived of on altogether different lines from those of the twelfth
century poet. The nation of scholars pictured the quester as a student,
not as a knight. When it took shape in the dreary period of Protestant
scholasticism the quest is wholly cursed. Faust's pursuit of knowledge is
unlawful, a rebellion against God, which dooms him irrevocably. Not until
Goethe's day is the full significance of the legend perceived, is the
theme widened to embrace the totality of human striving. Thus the last
glimpse we have of Faust is of one devoted to the service of man; the last
words of the poem are a recognition of the divine element in the love of
man and woman.[158]

In Germany, as in England, the old legend has appealed afresh to poets and
thinkers, and then, as was natural, they turned to Germany's greatest
mediæval poet. Wagner's Parsifal would, in any case, be interesting as an
expression of one of the strongest dramatic geniuses of the century.
Considered purely as a work of literature, apart from the music, it has
rare beauty and profound significance. The essentially dramatic bent of
Wagner's mind, the stage destination of the poem, must be borne in mind
when considering it. Wolfram's conception--youthful folly and inexperience
chastised by reproof, followed by doubt and strife, cancelled by the
faithful steadfastness of the full-grown man--is obviously unsuited for
dramatic purposes. At no one point of Wolfram's poem do we find that clash
of motives and of characters which the stage requires. In building up
_his_ conception Wagner has utilised every hint of his predecessor with
wonderful ingenuity. Klinschor, the magician, becomes with him the active
opponent of the Grail King, Amfortas, from whom he has wrested the holy
spear by the aid of Kundry's unholy beauty. Kundry is Wagner's great
contribution to the legend. She is the Herodias whom Christ for her
laughter doomed to wander till He come again. Subject to the powers of
evil, she must tempt and lure to their destruction the Grail warriors. And
yet she would find release and salvation could a man resist her love
spell.[159] She knows this. The scene between the unwilling temptress,
whose success would but doom her afresh, and the virgin Parsifal thus
becomes tragic in the extreme. How does this affect Amfortas and the
Grail? In this way. Parsifal is the "pure fool," knowing nought of sin or
suffering. It had been foretold of him he should become "wise by
fellow-suffering," and so it proves. The overmastering rush of desire
unseals his eyes, clears his mind. Heart-wounded by the shaft of passion,
he feels Amfortas' torture thrill through him. The pain of the physical
wound is his, but far more, the agony of the sinner who has been unworthy
his high trust, and who, soiled by carnal sin, must yet daily come in
contact with the Grail, symbol of the highest purity and holiness. The
strength which comes of the new-born knowledge enables him to resist
sensual longing, and thereby to release both Kundry and Amfortas.

In the latest version of the Perceval Quest, as in the Galahad Quest, the
ideal of chastity is thus paramount. This result is due to Wagner's
dramatic treatment of the theme. The conception that knowledge of sin and
fellowship in suffering are requisite to enable man to resist temptation,
and that thus alone does he acquire the needful strength to assist his
fellows, however true and profound, can obviously only be worked out on
the stage through the medium of one form of sin and suffering. The long
psychological process of Wolfram's poem, the slow growth of the unthinking
youth into the steadfast, faithful man, is replaced by a mystic,
transcendental conversion. From out a world of human endeavour, human
motive, we have stepped into one wholly ascetic and symbolical. The love
of man for woman only appears in the guise of forbidden desire; the aims
and needs of this world are not even thought of. Every incident has been
remoulded in accord with Christian tradition. Wagner fully accepts the
sacramental nature of the Grail, and the Grail feast is with him a
faithful reproduction of the Last Supper. Holiness and purity are the
essence of the Grail, which is cleared from every taint of its pagan
origin. And whilst Wagner, following the French models, identifies the
Grail with the most sacred object of Christian worship, he also,
developing hints of Wolfram's, reshapes the career of his Grail-seeker in
accord with that of Christ. Parsifal, the releaser of sin-stricken Kundry,
of sin-stricken Amfortas--Parsifal, the restorer of peace and holiness to
the Grail Kingdom--becomes a symbol of the Saviour.

In the reasoned, artistic growth of the legend, the plastic, living
element is that supplied by Christian tradition. From the moment that the
Celtic lord of the underworld is identified with the evangelist of Britain
we see the older complex of tales acquire consistency, life, and meaning.
Even where the direct influence of the intruding element is slightest, as
in the Conte du Graal, we can still perceive that it is responsible for
the germs of after development. Sometimes violently and unintelligently,
sometimes with a keen feeling for the possibilities of the original
romance, sometimes with the boldest introduction of new matter, sometimes
with slavish adherence to pre-Christian conceptions, the transformation of
the Celtic tales goes on. The cauldron of increase and renovation, the
glaive of light, the magic fish, the visit to the otherworld, all are
gradually metamorphosed until at last the talisman of the Irish gods
becomes the symbol of the risen Lord, its seeker a type of Christ in His
divinest attributes.

The ethical teaching of the legend becomes also purely Christian as the
Middle Ages conceived Christianity. Renunciation of the world and of the
flesh is its key-note. Once only in Wolfram do we find an ideal human in
its essence, though dogmatic in form; the path thus opened is not trodden
further, and the legend remains as a whole, on the moral side, a monument
of Christian asceticism.

We have seen reason to surmise that the folk-tales which underlie the
romances themselves gave the hint for the most characteristic
manifestation of this ascetic ideal. It is worth enquiry if these tales
have developed themselves independently from the Christianised legend, and
if such development shows any trace of ethical conceptions comparable with
those of the legend. Can we gather from the tales as fashioned by the folk
teaching similar to that of the preachers, philosophers, and artists by
whom the legend has been shaped? Few enquiries can be more interesting
than one which traces such a conception as the Quest after the highest
good as pictured by the rudest and most primitive members of the race.

Many of the tales which formed a part of the (hypothetical) Welsh original
of the earliest Grail romances have been shown to come under the Aryan
Expulsion and Return Formula (_supra_, Ch. VI). Among most races this
formula has connected itself with the national heroes, and has given rise
to hero-tales in which the historical element outweighs the ethical.
Sometimes, as in the tale of Perseus, the incidents are so related as to
bring out an ethical _motif_; Perseus is certainly thought of as avenging
his mother's undeserved wrongs. I cannot trace anything of the kind among
the Celts. All the incidents of the formula in Celtic tradition which I
know of are purely historical in character. This element of the old
Saga-mass thus yields nothing for the present enquiry. Others are more
fruitful. Perceval is akin not only to Fionn, but also to the Great Fool.
The Lay of the Great Fool was found to tally closely with adventures in
the Mabinogi and in the Conte du Graal (_supra_, Ch. VI). It also sets
forth a moral conception that admits of profitable comparison with that of
the Grail romances.

Ultimately, the Lay is, I have little doubt, one of the many forms in
which a mortal's visit to the otherworld was related. Wandering into the
Glen of Glamour, the hero and his love encounter a magician; the hero
drinks of the proffered cup, despite his love's remonstrances, and
forthwith loses his two legs. This is obviously a form of the
widely-spread myth which forbids the visitant to the otherworld to partake
of aught there under penalty of never returning to earth. But this
mythical _motif_ has taken an ethical shape in popular fancy. According to
Kennedy's version, it is the hero's excess in draining the cup to the
dregs which calls for punishment. This change is of the same nature as
that noted with regard to a similar incident in the Grail romances. There,
the old mythic taboo of sleeping or speaking in the otherworld called at
last for an explanation, and found one in Wolfram's philosophic
conception. The parallel does not end here. Perceval may retrieve his
fault, and so may the Great Fool; Wolfram makes his hero win salvation by
steadfast faith, the folk-tale makes its hero in the face of every form of
temptation a pattern of steadfast loyalty to the absent friend and to the
pledged word. It may, or may not, be considered to the advantage of the
folk-tale that, unlike the mediæval romance, it deals neither in mysticism
nor in asceticism. The sin and atonement of the Great Fool are such as the
popular mind can grasp; he is an example of human weakness and human
strength. The woman he loves is no temptress, no representative of the
evil principle--on the contrary, she is ever by his side to counsel and to
cheer him.

When it is remembered that the two off-shoots, romantic-legendary and
popular, from the one traditional stem have grown up in perfect
independence of each other, the kinship of moral idea is startling. The
folk-lorist has often cause to wonder at the spontaneous flower-like
character of the object of his study; folk-tradition seems to obey fixed
laws of growth and to be no product of man's free thought and speech. The
few partisans of the theory that folk-tradition is only a later and
weakened echo of the higher culture of the race are invited to study the
present case. A Celtic tale, after supplying an important element to the
Christianised Grail legend, has gone on its way entirely unaffected by the
new shape which that legend assumed, and yet it has worked out a moral
conception of fundamental likeness to one set forth in the legend. It
would be difficult to find a more perfect instance of the spontaneous,
evolutional character of tradition contended for by what, in default of a
better name, must be called the anthropological school of folk-lorists.

We must quit Celtic ground to find another example of an element in the
originals of the Grail romances, embodying a popular ethical idea. This
instance is such an interesting one that I cannot pass it by in silence.
As was shown in Chapter VII, one of the many forms of the hero's visit to
the otherworld has for object the release of maidens held captive by an
evil power. A formal connection was established between this section of
the romance and the folk-tale of the Sleeping Beauty. As a whole, too,
this tale admits of comparison with the legend. Its origin is mythic
without a doubt. Whether it be regarded as a day or as a year myth, as the
rescue of the dawn from night, or of the incarnate spring from the bonds
of winter, it equally pictures a victory of the lord of light and heat and
life over the powers of darkness, cold, and death. With admirable fidelity
folk-tradition has preserved the myth, so that its true nature can be
recognised without fail. It would be wrong, though, to conclude that
retention of the mythic framework implied any recognition of its mythic
character on the part of those who told or listened to the story. Some
investigators, indeed, hold it idle to consider it otherwise than as a
tale told merely for amusement. But a story, to live, must appeal to moral
as well as to æsthetic emotions. In the folk-mind this story sets forth,
dimly though it may be, that search for the highest human felicity which
is likewise a theme of the Grail romances. What better picture of this
quest could be found than the old mythic symbol of the awakening of life
and increase beneath the kiss of the sun-god. The hero of the folk-tale
makes his way through the briars and tangle of the forest that he may
restore to the deserted castle life and plenty; so much has the tale
retained of the original mythic signification. As regards the quester
himself, the maiden he thus woos is his reward and the noblest prize earth
has to offer him. Where the romance writers made power, or riches, or
learning, or personal salvation the goal of man's effort, the folk-tale
bids him seek happiness in the common human affections.

Such, all too briefly sketched, has been the fate and story of these
tales, first shaped in a period of culture wellnigh pre-historic, gifted
by reason of their Celtic setting with a charm that commended them to the
romantic spirit of the middle ages, and made them fit vehicles for the
embodiment of mediæval ideas. Quickened by Christian symbolism they came
to express and typify the noblest and the most mystic longings of man. The
legend, as the poets and thinkers of the twelfth century fashioned it, has
still a lesson and a meaning for us. It may be likened to one of the
divine maidens of Irish tradition. She lives across the western sea. Ever
and again heroes, filled with mysterious yearning for the truth and beauty
of the infinite and undying, make sail to join her if they may. They pass
away and others succeed them, but she remains ever young and fair. So long
as the thirst of man for the ideal endures, her spell will not be
weakened, her charm will not be lessened. But each generation works out
this Quest in its own spirit. This much may be predicted with some
confidence: henceforth, whosoever would do full justice to the legend must
take pattern by Wolfram von Eschenbach rather than by any of his rivals;
he must deal with human needs and human longings; his ideal must be the
widening of human good and human joy. Above all, he must give reverent yet
full expression to all the aspirations, all the energies of man and of




The various arguments for and against the use of any other French source
than Chrestien by Wolfram have been clearly summed up by G. Bötticher, Die
Wolfram Literatur seit Lachmann, Berlin, 1880. The chief representative of
the negative opinion is Birch-Hirschfeld, who first gives, Chapter VIII.
of his work, a useful collection of passages relating to the Grail, the
Castle, and the Quest, from both authors. His chief argument is this:--The
Grail in all the romances except in Wolfram is a cup or vessel, but in
Wolfram a stone, a peculiarity only to be explained by Wolfram's ignorance
of any source than Chrestien, and by the fact that the latter, in
accordance with his usual practice of leaving objects and persons in as
mysterious an atmosphere as possible, nowhere gives a clear description of
the Grail. He undoubtedly would have done so if he had finished his work.
Such indications as he gave led Wolfram, who did not understand the word
_Graal_, to think it was a stone. It is inconceivable that Kyot, if such a
personage existed, should have so far departed from all other versions as
not to picture the Grail as a vessel, inconceivable, again, that his
account of it should have been just as vague as Chrestien's, that he
should have afforded Wolfram no hint of the real nature of the object. In
Chrestien Perceval's question refers to the Grail, but Wolfram, missing
the significance of the holy vessel owing to the meagreness of the
information respecting it given to him by Chrestien, was compelled to
transform the whole incident, and to refer it solely to the sufferings of
the wounded King. Again, Chrestien meant to utilise the sword, and to
bring Gawain to the Grail Castle; but his unfinished work did not carry
out his intention, and in Wolfram Gawain also fails to come to the Grail
Castle; the sword is passed over in silence in the latter part of the
poem.--Simrock, jealous for the credit of Wolfram, claimed for him the
invention of all that could not be traced to Chrestien, resting the claim
chiefly upon consideration of a sentimental patriotic nature.--In
opposition to these views, although the fact is not denied that Wolfram
followed Chrestien closely for the parts common to both, it is urged to be
incredible that he, a German poet, should invent a prologue to Chrestien's
unfinished work connecting with an Angevin princely genealogical legend.
It was also pointed out, with greatest fulness by Bartsch, Die Eigennamen
im Parcival und Titurel, Germanist. Studien, II., 114, _et seq._, that the
German poet gives a vast number of proper names which are not to be found
in Chrestien, and that these are nearly all of French, and especially
Southern French and Provençal origin.--Simrock endeavoured to meet this
argument in the fifth edition of his translation, but with little
success.--Bötticher, whilst admitting the weight of Birch-Hirschfeld's
arguments, points out the difficulties which his theory involves. If
Wolfram simply misunderstood Chrestien and did not differ from him
personally, why should he be at the trouble of inventing an elaborately
feigned source to justify a simple addition to the original story? If he
only knew of the Grail from Chrestien, what gave him the idea of endowing
it, as he did, with mystic properties? Martin points out in addition (Zs.
f. d. A., V. 87) that Wolfram has the same connection of the Grail and
Swan Knight story as Gerbert, whom, _ex hypothesi_, he could not have
known, and who certainly did not know him.--In his Zur Gralsage, Martin
returned to the question of proper names, and showed that a varying
redaction of a large part of the romance is vouched for by the different
names which Heinrich von dem Türlin applies to personages met with both in
Chrestien and in Wolfram. If, then, one French version, that followed by
Heinrich, who is obviously a translator, is lost, why not another?

The first thorough comparison of Chrestien and Wolfram is to be found in
Otto Küpp's Unmittelbaren Quellen des Parzival, (Zs. f. d. Ph. XVII., l).
He argues for Kyot's existence. Some of the points he mentions in which
the two poems differ, and in which Wolfram's account has a more archaic
character, may be cited: The mention of Gurnemanz's sons; the food
producing properties of the Grail on Parzival's first visit; the
reproaches of the varlet to Parzival on his leaving the Grail Castle, "You
are a goose, had you but moved your lips and asked the host! Now you have
lost great praise;"[160] the statement that the broken sword is to be made
whole by dipping in the Lake Lac, and the mention of a sword charm by
virtue of which Parzival can become lord of the Grail Castle; the mention
that no one seeing the Grail could die within eight days. In addition Küpp
finds that many of the names in Wolfram are more archaic than those of
Chrestien. On the other hand, Küpp has not noticed that Chrestien has
preserved a more archaic feature in the prohibition laid upon Gauvain not
to leave for seven days the castle after he had undergone the adventure of
the bed.

Küpp has not noticed that some of the special points he singles out in
Wolfram are likewise to be found in Chrestien's continuators, _e.g._, the
mention of the sons of Gurnemanz, by Gerbert.

I believe I have the first pointed out the insistence by both Wolfram and
Gerbert upon the hero's love to and duty towards his wife.

The name of Parzival's uncle in Wolfram, Gurnemanz, is nearer to the form
in Gerbert, Gornumant, than to that in Chrestien, Gonemant.

The matter may be summed up thus: it is very improbable that Wolfram
should have invented those parts of the story found in him alone; the
parts common to him and Chrestien are frequently more archaic in his case;
there are numerous points of contact between him and Gerbert. All this
speaks for another French source than Chrestien. On the other hand, it is
almost inconceivable that such a source should have presented the Grail as
Wolfram presents it.

I cannot affect to consider the question decidedly settled one way or the
other, and have, therefore, preferred to make no use of Wolfram. I would
only point out that if the contentions of the foregoing studies be
admitted, they strongly favour the genuineness of the non-Chrestien
section of Wolfram's poem,[161] though I admit they throw no light upon
his special presentment of the Grail itself.



I believe the only parallel to this prologue to be the one furnished by
that form of the Brandan legend of which Schröder has printed a German
version (Sanct Brandan) at Erlangen, in 1871, from a MS. of the fourteenth
century, but the first composition of which he places (p. 15) in the last
quarter of the twelfth century. The text in question will be found pp. 51,
_et seq._: Brandan, a servant of God, seeks out marvels in rare books, he
finds that two paradises were on earth, that another world was situated
under this one, so that when it is here night it is day there, and of a
fish so big that forests grew on his back, also that the grace of God
allowed some respite every Saturday night to the torments of Judas. Angry
at all these things he burnt the book. But the voice of God spake to him,
"Dear friend Brandan thou hast done wrong, and through thy wrath I see My
wonders lost." The holy Christ bade him fare nine years on the ocean,
until he see whether these marvels were real or a lie. Thereafter Brandan
makes ready a ship to set forth on his travels.

This version was very popular in Germany. Schröder prints a Low German
adaptation, and a chap book one, frequently reprinted during the
fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. But besides this form
there was another, now lost, which can be partially recovered from the
allusions to it in the Wartburg Krieg, a German poem of the thirteenth and
early fourteenth century, and which is as follows:--An angel brings
Brandan a book from heaven: Brandan finds so many incredible things in it
that he taxes book and angel with lying, and burns the book. For his
unfaith he must wander till he find it. God's grace grants him this at
last; an angel gives him the sign of two fires burning, which are the eyes
of an ox, upon whose tongue he shall find the book. He hands it to
Uranias, who brings it to _Scotland_ (_i.e._, of course Ireland) Schröder,
p. 9.

The closeness of the parallel cannot be denied, and it raises many
interesting questions, which I can here only allude to. The Isle of
Brandan has always been recognized as a Christian variant of the Celtic
Tír-na n-Og, the Land of the Shades, Avalon. Schröder has some instructive
remarks on this subject, p. 11. The voyage of Brandan may thus be
compared with that of Bran, the son of Febal (_supra_, p. 232), both being
versions of the wide-spread myth of a mortal's visit to the otherworld. It
is not a little remarkable that in the Latin legend, which differs from
the German form by the absence of the above-cited prologue, there is an
account (missing in the German), of a "conopeus" ("cover" or "canopy,")
_cf._ Ducange and Diez, _sub voce_; the old French version translates it
by "Pavillon of the colour of silver but harder than marble, and a column
therein of clearest crystal." And on the fourth day they find a window and
therein a "calix" of the same nature as the "conopeus" and a "patena" of
the colour of the column (Schröder, p. 27, and Note 41).

Thus there is a formal connection between the Brandan legend and the Grail
romances in the prologue common to two works of each cycle, and there is a
likeness of subject-matter between the Brandan legend and the older Celtic
traditions which I have assumed to be the basis of the romances. But
German literature likewise supplies evidence of a connection between
Brandan and Bran. Professor Karl Pearson has referred me to a passage in
the Pfaffe Amis, a thirteenth century South German poem, composed by Der
Stricker, the hero of which, a prototype of Eulenspiegel, goes through the
world gulling and tricking his contemporaries. In a certain town he
persuades the good people to entrust to him their money, by telling them
that he has in his possession a very precious relic, the head of St.
Brandan, which has commanded him to build a cathedral (Lambl's Edition,
Leipzig, 1872, p. 32). The preservation of the head of Bran is a special
feature in the Mabinogi. I have instanced parallels from Celtic tradition
(Branwen, p. 14), and Professor Rhys has since (Hibb. Lect., p. 94)
connected the whole with Celtic mythological beliefs. This chance
reference in a German poem is the only trace to my knowledge of an earlier
legend in which, it may be, Bran and Brandan, the visitor to and the lord
of the otherworld, were one and the same person.

It is highly desirable that every form of or allusion to the Brandan
legend should be examined afresh, as, perhaps, able to throw fresh light
upon the origin and growth of the Grail legend. In Pseudo-Chrestien
Perceval's mother goes on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Brandan.



[This Index is to the Summaries contained in Chapter II, and the
references are not to page and line, but to Version and Incident. The
Versions are distinguished by the following abbreviations:--

Conte du Graal =Co=, Pseudo-Chrestien =PC=, Chrestien =C=, Gautier =G=,
Manessier =Ma=, Gerbert =Ge=, Wolfram =W=, Heinrich von dem Türlin =H=,
Mabinogi of Peredur =M=, Thornton MS. Sir Perceval =T=, Didot-Perceval
=D=, Borron's poem =B=, Queste =Q= (=Q={1} and =Q={2} refer to the
different drafts of the romance distinguished p. 83) Grand St. Graal =GG=.
With the less important entries, or when the entries are confined to one
version, a simple number reference is given. But in the case of the more
important personages, notably Perceval, Gawain, and Galahad, an attempt
has been made to show the life history, by grouping together references to
the same incident from different versions; in this case each incident
group is separated from other groups by a long dash ----. Any speciality
in the incident presented by a version is bracketed _before_ the reference
initial, and, when deemed advisable, reference has been made to allied as
well as to similar incidents. This detail, to save space, is, as a rule,
given only once, as under Perceval, and not duplicated under other
headings, the number reference alone being given in the latter cases. The
fullest entry is Perceval, which practically comprises such entries as
Fisher King, Grail, Sword, Lance, etc.]

=ABEL= =Q=37, =GG=24.



=ADAM= =Q=37, =GG=24.

=ADDANC OF LAKE= =M=16, 19.

=AGARAN= =Q=23.


=AGUIGRENONS= =Co=, _Kingrun_ =W=, anonymous =M=, =C=6, =W=, =M=8.

=ALAINS=, Celidoine's son =GG=43.

=ALAINS= or =ALEIN= (=li Gros= =D=, =Q=, =GG=) =B=12----=Dprol=, 1, 6, 12,
=Q=26, =GG=30, 43, 45, 51, 58, 59.

=ALEINE=, Gawain's niece, =D=1.

=ALFASEM= =GG=51, 58.

=AMANGONS= =PC=1, 2, 4.

=AMFORTAS=, see Fisher King.


=ANGHARAD= Law Eurawc, =M=12, 14.

=ANTIKONIE=, see Facile Damsel.


=ARIDES= of Cavalon =Ma=14, 16 (a King of Cavalon mentioned =C=12
corresponds to _Vergulat_ of Askalon in =W=).

=ARTHUR= =PC=2, 3, 5, =C=1, =Dprol=----arrival of Perceval at his court
=C=3, =W=, =M=3, =T=4, =Dprol=----=C=6, 9, 10, =W=, =M=9, 10, 11----=M=13,
14----=C=11, =W=, =M=20----=T=7----=C=18, =W=----=G=1, =W=----=G=2, 3, 6,
9, 11, 13, 16, 19, 20, =Ma=10, 16, 23, =Ge=5, =H=, =D=1, 3, 5, 8, 14, 16,
=M=25, =Q=3, 5, 13, =GG=33, 45, 48.


=AVALON= or =AVARON= =B=12, 13, =D=9.

=BAGOMMEDES= =G=19, 20.

=BANDAMAGUS= =Q=5, 6, 43.

=BANS= =Q=26, =GG=30, 59.

=BEAU MAUVAIS=, le, =G=11, =D=8.


=BLAISE= =Dprol=, 14.

=BLANCHEFLEUR= =Co=, Conduiramur =W=, anonymous =M=, _cf._ Lufamour
=T=----Perceval's cousin =Co=, =W=----first meeting with Perceval =C=6,
=W=, =M=8----second meeting with Perceval =G=10----third meeting
=Ma=13-16----third meeting and marriage with Perceval =Ge=8-10, _cf._ =W=.

=BLIHIS= =PC=1 = Blaise?


=BLIOCADRANS= (of Wales, Perceval's father), =PC=6.

=BORS, BOHORS, BOORT= =Q=1, 3, 13, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, =Ma=18----=Q=35,

=BRANDALIS= =G=1, 2.

=BRIOS= =G=16.

=BRONS, BRON=, or =HEBRON=. =B=7, 8, 12, 14, =Dprol=, 6, 16, =GG=41, 42,
_cf._ p. 19.

=BRUILLANT= =GG=58 = Urlain =Q=35.


=CAIN= =Q=37, =GG=24.

=CAIPHAS= =GG=2, 3.

=CAIUS= =GG=3.

=CALIDES= =Ma=9.

=CALOGRENANT= =Q=33. =CALOGRINANT= =Ma=18----_Calocreant_ in =H=, one of
the three Grail-seekers.



=CARDUEL= =C=3----_Carduel_ of Nantes =G=1.



=CAVALON= =C=12----=Ma=14, 16.

=CELIDOINE= =GG=22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33, 39, 59, =Q=26.

=CHANAAN= =GG=45, 47.

=CHESSBOARD CASTLE= =G=7, =D=4, =M=24----=G=14----=G=18, =D=13.

=CHRIST= =B=1-3, 5, 6, 8, 11, =Q=7, 10, 13, 15, 20, 26, 50, =Dprol=, 16,
=Ge=15, =GG=1-4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 21, 23, 30, 37, 41, 45.

=CLAMADEX= =C=6, Clamide =W=, the earl =M=8 = the Sowdane =T=7.

=CLARISSE= =Co= Mons MS. or _Clarissant_ Montpellier MS., ITONJE
=W=----=C=18, =G=1, =W=.


=CLAUDIUS=, son of Claudas =Q={2}51.

=CORBENIC= =Q=, =GG=, =CORBIÈRE= =Ma=23, =Q=13, 43, 48, =GG=51.


=COWARD KNIGHT= =Ma=17, 19.

=CRUDEL= =Q=6, 15, =Ge=15, =GG=36-38.

=DAVID= =Q=37.

=DODINEL= =Ma=14.

=ELIEZER= =Q=27.

=EMPTY SEAT=, see Seat Perillous.

=ENYGEUS=, =ENYSGEUS=, or =ANYSGEUS= =B=7, 8, 11, 12.

=EREC= =D=2.

=ERNOUS= =Q=39.

=ESCORANT= =Q={2}51.

=ESCOS= =GG=47.




=EVALACH.= Evalach li mescouncus =GG=, Eualac =Q= (Anelac 26), Evelac
=Ma=, =Ge=. Overcoming Tholomes =GG=6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, =Q=6, 15, 26,
=Ma=3, =Ge=15, name changed to _Mordrains_, which see.

=EVE= =Q=37, =GG=24.

=FACILE DAMSEL=, Anonymous =Co=, =H=, =M=, _Antikonie_ =W=, =C=14, =W=,
=H=, =M=21.


=FELIX= =GG=3, 11.

=FISHER KING.= Anonymous =Co=, Amfortas =W=, Brons =B=, =D=, Alain =GG=.
Anonymous (?), =Q={1}, Pelles =Q={2}. In =M= the Fisher corresponds to
Gonemans. In all the French works of the cycle the adjective rich is
commonly applied to the Fisher. Splendour of court =PC=1----learned in
black art =PC=3----old and sick =Dprol=, First meeting with Perceval =C=7,
=W=, =D=11, _cf._ =PC=3, =M=6----=C=8, =W=, _cf._ =D=2, 12----=C=11, =W=,
_cf._ =D=15, =M=21----=G=7, 8, 9, 16, 18, 19, 20----Second meeting with
Perceval =G=22, =Ma=1-7 or =Ge=1-5, =D=16, _cf._ =M=25----=Ma=10----Third
meeting with Perceval =Ma=22, =Ge=22, =W=----Grandfather of Galahad
=Q={1}2, 26. See also Maimed King.

    Surname given to Brons =B=12, to Alain =GG=43.

    Vessel given to him =D=1----commanded to go to the West =D=6.

=FLEGENTYNE= =GG=22, 29, 31, 37, 59.


=GALAHAD= (GALAAD). _Father_: Lancelot =Q=, =GG=----_Mother_: daughter of
King Pelles =Q={1}, =GG=, or Fisher King =Q={2}----Seat Perillous
=Q=2----Sword =Q=3----Quest proclaimed =Q=5----Evelac's Shield =Q=6,
=GG=50----Devil-inhabited tomb =Q=7, _cf._ =Ge=17----Melians'
discomforture =Q=8----Castle of Maidens =Q=9----overcoming of Lancelot and
Perceval =Q=11----destined achiever of Quest =Q=13----rescue of Perceval
=Q=16----Genealogy =Q=26, =GG=21, 30, 58----likening to a spotless bull
=Q=29----overcoming of Gawain =Q=34----stay on ship =Q=35, 36----sword
=Q=36----Maimed King =Q={2} 36----capture of Castle Carchelois
=Q=39----stag and lions =Q=40, _cf._ =GG=45----castle of the evil custom
=Q=41----stay with father =Q=42----healing of Mordrains =Q=44, _cf._
=GG=39----cooling of fountain =Q=45----making white the Cross
=GG=40----release of Symeu =Q=46, =GG=49----making whole sword
=GG=44----release of Moys =GG=46----five years' wanderings
=Q=47----arrival at King Peleur's =Q={1}, Maimed King's =Q={2}, witnessing
of Grail and healing of Maimed King =Q=48-50----Sarras, crowning, death
=Q=51, 52.

=GALAHAD= (GALAAD) son of Joseph =GG=8, 31, 34----King of Hocelice and
ancestor of Urien =GG=49----founding of abbey for Symeu =GG=49.


=GANORT= =GG=33, 35.

=GARALAS= =G=13.

=GAWAIN.= Gauvain =Co=, =Q=, =GG=, Gwalchmai =M=, Gawan =W=, Gawein =H=,
Gawayne or Wawayne =T=----of the seed of Joseph of Arimathea =GG=48,
Arthur's nephew =Co=, =Q=----conquers Blihos Bliheris =PC=2----allusion to
his finding the Grail =PC=3----one of the knights met by Perceval in wood
=M=1, =T=2----helps Perceval to disarm Red Knight =T=4----meeting with
Perceval after blood-drops incident =C=10, =W=, =M=11----vow to release
imprisoned maiden =C=11, =M=20----reproached by Guigambresil =C=12,
(Kingrimur) =W=, (anonymous) =M=20----tournament at Tiebaut's =C=13,
(Lippaot) =W=, (Leigamar) =H=, _cf._ =D=15, where Perceval is hero but
Gawain best knight after him----adventure with the facile damsel =C=14,
(Antikonie) =W=, =H=, =M=21----injunction to seek bleeding lance =C=14,
=W=, (Grail) =H=----adventure with Griogoras =C=16, (Urjan) =W=, (Lohenis)
=H=----meeting with scornful damsel, Orgeuilleuse, arrival at ferryman's
=C=16, =W=----Magic Castle =C=17, =W=, _cf._ =GG=51----may not leave
castle =C=17----second meeting with Orgueilleuse =C=18, =W=,
(Mancipicelle) =H=----Ford Perillous, Guiromelant =C=18, (Gramoflanz) =W=,
(Giremelanz) =H=----marriage with Orgueilleuse =W=, (?) =C=18----arrival
of Arthur to witness combat with Guiromelant =C=18 continued by =G=1, =W=,
=H=----fight with Perceval =W=, _cf._ =T=7----reconciliation with
Guiromelant =G=1, =W=, =H=----departure on Grail Quest and winning various
talismans =H=----[first arrival at Grail Castle according to Montpellier
MS. of =Co=]----Brun de Branlant, Brandalis =G=1 and 2----slaying of
unknown knight and Quest to avenge him =G=3----Chapel of Black Hand
=G=3----arrival at Grail Castle (first according to Mons MS. of =Co=),
half successful =G=3, wholly successful =H=, _cf._ =M=25 found by Peredur
at Castle of Talismans, and reference in =Q=51 Welsh version----greetings
of country folk =G=3, _cf._ =Ge=3----meeting with his son =G=4----Mount
Dolorous Quest =G=19----renewed Grail Quest, reproached for conduct at
Fisher King's, slaying of Margon =Ma=10----rescue of Lyonel
=Ma=18----rescue by Perceval =Ge=16.

    Joins in search for Grail with remainder of Table Round =D={2}, =Q=,
    betraying knowledge of Maimed King =Q=5.

    Meeting with Ywain, Gheheris and confession to hermit =Q=10.

    Meeting with Hector de Mares =Q=29.

    Overcoming at Galahad's hand =Q=34.


=GIFLÈS= =C=11, =G=2.

=GONEMANS= or =GONEMANT= =Co=, Gornumant =Ge=, Gurnemanz =W=, Fisher Uncle
=M=, =C=5, =W=, =M=5, uncle to Blanchefleur =C=6, =C=7, =W=, second
meeting with Perceval =Ge=8-9, _cf._ =T=6.


=GRAIL=, Early History of. Last Supper cup given to Joseph =B=2, 3, 4,
=GG=2, =Q=50, =Ma=3----Solace of Joseph =B=5, 6, =GG=2, =D=16, =Ma=3
(Montpellier MS.)----Grail and Fish =B=8, 9 _cf._ =GG=43----Directs Joseph
what to do with Alain =B=12, _cf._ =GG=42, confided to Brons =B=14,15,
=Dprol= 6, (Alain) =GG=51----=D=6, 10----feeds host =GG=5, =Q=13, also
=GG=32----Blinding of Nasciens =GG=16, 21, 23, 30, passage to England 31,
=D=6, =Q=6, 13, 15----Crudel =GG=38, =Q=15, =Ge=15----Blinding of
Mordrains =GG=38, 39, 42, only feeds the sinless 43, 44, refuses meat to
Chanaan and Symeu 47, resting-place, Castle Corbenic =GG=51.

    Book of, revealed to hermit =GG=2.

=GRAIL=, Quest of _by Perceval_: first seen at Fisher King's =PC=3, =C=7,
=W=, =D=11----properties of =C=8, =W=, =D=12----=C=11, =W=----=C=15,
=W=----lights up forest =G=14----=G=21----seen for second time
=G=22-=Ma=1-7 or =Ge=1-3, =D=16----heals Hector and Perceval
=Ma=20----taken from earth =Ge=6, _cf._ =W=----opposed by witch, =Ge=8,
9----connection with Shield =Ge=13----seen for third time =Ma=23, 24,
=Ge=22; _by Gawain_: =H= and =G=3; _by Lancelot_: =Q=12, 22, 43; _by
Galahad_: =Q=2, feeds Arthur's court =Q=4, quest proclaimed =Q=5, feeds
host =Q=13, =GG=32, denied to Gawain and Hector =Q=29, 30, accomplished

=GRAIL-MESSENGER=, see Loathly Damsel.

=GRAMOFLANZ= see Guiromelant.

=GRIOGORAS= =C=16 = Lohenis =H=.

=GUIROMELANT= =Co=, Gramoflanz =W=, Giremelanz =H=, =C=18-=G=1, =W=, =H=.

=HECTOR= (de =MARES= =Q=) =Q=29, 34, 43, =Ma=20.

=HELAIN= =Q=27.


=HELYAB= =GG=2, 8, 34.

=HELYAS= =Q=26 = Ysaies =GG=30, 38.


=HUDEN= =PC=4.


=JONAANS= =Q=26, =JONANS= =GG=30, =JONAS= =GG=59.

=JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA.= D'Arymathye =B=, de Arimathie =GG=, d'Abarimathie
or d'Arimathie =Q=, de Barimacie =G=, and =Ma= (Montpellier MS.), Josep
(without mention of town =Ma=, Mons MS.), de Barismachie =Ge=----care of
Christ's body, captivity, solace, release =B=2-7, =GG=2, 3, =D=16, _cf._
=Q=6, =Ma=2----stay in Sarras =GG=4-11, =Q=6, 26, =Ge=15,
=Ma=3----=B=7----Passage to England =GG=31, =Q=6----feeding by Grail
=GG=32, =Q=13, _cf._ =B=8, 9----Moys =B=11, 12, =Dprol=, _cf._
=GG=41----=B=12-15----=GG=34, 36, =Q=15, =Ge=15----=GG=38, 44, 45, 48,
50--=D=1, 6, 12.

=JOSEPHES=, =JOSEPHE=, =JOSEPHUS=, or =JOSAPHES=, son of Joseph of
Arimathea, =GG=2, 5, 9, 10, 11 =Q=6, 13, 14, 16, 17, 31 =Q=6, 13 and 32,
36 =Q=6, 38 =Q=6 and 15, 40, 41 =Q=13 _cf._ =D=6, 42, 43, 45, 46, 49, 50
=Q=6, =Q=50, 51.

=JOSUE= =GG=51, 58.

=KALAFIER= =GG=20, 22.


=KAY.= Kex =Co=----=T=2----=C=3, =W=, =M=3----=C=4, =W=, =M=4----=C=6,
=C=9----=C=10, =W=, =M=11----=M=14----=T=7----=G=3, 19, =Ma=10, =Ge=21,
=D=8----one of the three Grail-questers =H=.


=LABAN= =Q=35 (query variant of Lambar?).

=LABEL= =GG=26.

=LABEL'S DAUGHTER= =GG=28, 29, 37, 39.

=LAMBAR= or =LABRAN= =Q=35, =LAMBOR= =GG=58.

=LANCE= (Spear) =PC=3, 4, =C=7, 8, =M=6, =C=11, 14, 15, =G=3, 22, =Ma=1,
2, 24, =Ge=22, =H=, =D=11, 12, 16, =Q=50, 51, =GG=9, 15, 16.

=LANCELOT=, Lancelot of Lake's grandfather =Q=26, =GG=30, 59.

=LANCELOT.= Galahad's father =Q=, =GG=, =Q=1, 2, 4 (_cf._ =C=11), 5, 11,
12 (_cf._ =C=7 and =G=3), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 (_cf._ =GG=58) 27, 28, 29,
42, 43, =GG=30, 33, 40, 45, 58, 59, =PC=4.


=LIONEL Q=1, 3, attacks Bors =Q=33, =Ma=18.

=LOATHLY DAMSEL.= Anonymous =Co=, Kundrie =W=, Perceval's cousin =M=,
reproaches Perceval =C=11, =W=, =M=20----announces end of Quest, =Ma=23,

=LOGRES= =PC=1, =G=3, =Q=12, 35, 47.

=LOHENIS= =H= = Griogoras =C=16.


=LONGIS= =PC=4, =Ma=2, =D=16.

=LOT= =GG=48.

=LUCES= =GG=48.

=LUFAMOUR= =T=7, _cf._ Blanchefleur.

=MAIDENS' CASTLE= =PC=5, =G=12=a=, =Ge=6----=Q=9.

=MAIMED= or =LAME KING=. Same personage as Fisher King. Designated in this
way _only_ =M=, almost entirely so =Q={2} (5, 13, also =Q={1} 36, 39, 47,
50), never so =B=, =D=. =GG=58 applies the designation to Pelleans.

=MANAAL= =GG=58.

=MANCIPICELLE=, see Orgueilleuse.

=MARGON= =Ma=10.

=MARIE LA VENISSIENNE= =GG=3 = Verrine, =B=6, =W=.

=MARPUS= (=WARPUS= =Q=26) =GG=30, 59.

=MEAUX= =GG=11.

=MELIANS=, Galahad's companion =Q=8, 10.

=MELIANS DE LIS= =C=13, =D=15.

=MERLIN= (see p. 64D) =G=20, =Dprol=, 14, 15, =Q=13.

=MORDRAINS= =GG=, Mordains =Q=, _once_ Noodrans =Ma=, _once_ Mordrach
=Ge=----Baptism =GG=14, 15, =Q=6, 26, =Ma=3 =Ge=15----=GG=16, 17, vision
of descendants 18, =Q=26----=GG=19, 20, stay on island 21, _cf._
=Q=19----=GG=27, =Q=36----=GG=29 Crudel, and blinding by Grail 37, 38,
=Q=15, =Ge=15----retires to hermitage =GG=39, =Q=44----his shield =GG=50,


=MORDRET= =Ge=6, 7.


=MORONEUS= =Q={2}26.


=MOUNT DOLOROUS= =G=19, 20, =Ge=5.

=MOYS=, =MOYSES= (=B=). Seat Perillous =B=10, 11, 12, =Dprol=, 1, =GG=41,

=NASCIENS= =GG=, =Q=, Natiien =Ma=----Baptism =GG=14, =Q=6, 26,
=Ma=3----Blinded by Grail =GG=16----=GG=18, 19, 20, 21, 22, turning isle
and Solomon's ship, 23-27, =Q=35-37----=GG=28, 29, 30, 32, 33, Crudel 37,
38, (called Seraphe) =Q=15----=GG=39----his tomb =GG=50----death
=GG=59----appears as hermit in Arthur's time =Q=4, 5, 6, 29.

=NASCIENS=, son of Celidoine, =GG=39.

=NASCIENS=, grandson of Celidoine =GG=30, 59.

=NICODEMUS= =B=3, 4, 5.

=NOIRONS=, _i.e._, Nero =GG=3.

=ORCANZ= =GG=48.

=ORGUEILLEUSE.= Orguellouse =C=, Orgeluse =W= = Mancipicelle =H=,
=C=16----=G=1, =W=, =H=.

=OWAIN= =M=, =EWAYNE= =T=, =YONES= =C=4, =YWAIN= "li aoutres" =Q=6, 9, 10,
29, =GG=49----meets Perceval =M=1, =T=2----helps him =M=3, =C=4.

=PARTINAL= =Ma=5, 8, 21, 22.


=PELEUR= =Q={1}5, 47, 48.


=PELLEHEM= =Q={2}35.

=PELLES= =Q={2}1-3, 14, 27, 36, 44, 48, 50, =GG=59.

=PERCEVAL= =Co=, =D=, =Q=, =GG=; PARZIVAL =W=, =H=; PEREDUR =M=;
PERCYVELLE =T=.--_Father_: Bliocadrans =PC=; anonymous =Co=, =Q=; Alain
=D=; Gahmuret =W=; Evrawe =M=; Percyvelle =T=; Pellehem =Q={2}. _Mother_:
Anonymous =Co=, =D=, =Q=, =M=; Herzeloyde =W=; Acheflour (Arthur's sister)
=T=----brought up in wood =C=1, =W=, =M=, =T=1----meets knights (5) =C=1,
=W=, (3) =M=1, =T=2----leaves mother =C=1, =W=, =D=, =M=1, =T=2----first
meeting with lady of tent =C=2, (Ieschute) =W=, =M=2, =T=3----arrival at
Arthur's Court =C=3, =W=, =D=, =M=3, =T=4----laughing prophetic damsel
=C=3, =W=, dwarves =M=3----slays _red_ knight =C=4, (Ither of Gaheviez)
=W=, (colour not specified) =M=3, =T=4----overcomes 16 Knights
=M=4----burns witch =T=5----arrival at house of first uncle, Gonemans
=C=5, Gurnemanz =W=, Anonymous =M=5, and (different adventure partly
corresponding to =Ge=8) =T=6----first arrival at castle of lady love,
Blanchefleur =C=5, Conduiramur =W=, Anonymous =M=8, Lufamour =T=7----first
arrival at Fisher King's =C=7, =W=, =D=11, =M=6----is reproached by
wayside damsel, cousin: (Anonymous) =C=8, (Sigune) =W=, =D=12, foster
sister =M=7----second meeting with lady of tent =C=9, =W=,
=M=9----overcoming of Sorceresses of Gloucester =M=10----blood drops in
the snow =C=10, =W=, =M=11----Adventures with Angharad Law Eurawc; at the
castle of the huge grey man; serpent on the gold ring; Mound of Mourning;
Addanc of the Lake; Countess of Achievements =M=12-19----reproaches of the
loathly damsel =C=11, (Kundrie) =W=, =M=20----Good Friday incident and
confession to uncle =C=15, (Trevrezent) =W=, =D=14, =M=22----the Castle of
the Horn =G=6----the Castle of the Chessboard =G=7, =D=4, =M=24----meeting
with brother of Red Knight =G=8----Ford _amorous_ =G=9, _perillous_
=D=9----second meeting with Blanchefleur =G=10----meeting with Rosette and
Le Beau Mauvais =G=11, =D=8----meeting with sister and visit to hermit
=G=12, =D=5 and 6----the Castle of Maidens =G=12=a=----meeting with the
hound-stealing damsel =G=13, =D=13, =M=24----meeting with the damsel of
the white mule =G=14----tournament at Castle Orguellous =G=16 = =D=15
(Melianz de Lis) and =M=19 (?)----Deliverance of knight in tomb
=G=17----second visit to the Castle of the Chessboard =G=18,
=D=13----delivery of Bagommedes =G=19----arrival at Mount Dolorous
=G=20----the Black Hand in the Chapel =G=21----second arrival at Grail
Castle =G=22-=Ma=1-7 and =Ge=1, =D=16, (with final overcoming of
Sorceresses of Gloucester) =M=25.

    Puts on red armour for love of Aleine, accomplishes the feat of the
    Seat Perillous, and sets forth on Quest =D=1 and 2.

    Slays the red knight, Orgoillous Delandes, =D=3.

    Overcomes Black Knight, slays giant and finds mother =T=9.

Perceval and Saigremors =Ma=8----Second visit to Chapel of the Black Hand
=Ma=11----the demon horse =Ma=12, =Q=18----Stay on the island =Q=19, and
20, and temptation by damsel 21, =Ma=13----Delivery of Dodinel's lady love
=Ma=14----Tribuet =Ma=15----third meeting with Blanchefleur
=Ma=16----meeting with coward knight =Ma=17----combat with Hector
=Ma=20----slaying of Partinal =Ma=21----third arrival at Grail Castle
=Ma=22----learns death of his uncle the Fisher King from loathly damsel
=Ma=23, =W=----retires into wilderness =Q=52, =Ma=24----dies =Q=52, goes
to Palestine and dies (?) =T=.

    Encounter, unknown to either, with Galahad =Q=11. Meeting with recluse
    aunt =Q=13.

    Assistance at the hands of the Red Knight =Q=16.

    Adventure of the ship =Q=33, essay to draw sword =Q=35.

    Receives Galahad's sword =Q=41, bears Galahad company for five years
    =Q=47----adjusts the sword at the Court of Pelles =Q={2}48.

Breaking of sword at the Gate of Paradise =Ge=2----Blessings of the
country folk for putting question =Ge=3----Mending of sword at forge of
the serpent =Ge=4----Accomplishment of the feat of the Perillous Seat
=Ge=5----adventures at sister's Castle, with Mordret, and at cousin's,
Castle of Maidens =Ge=6----encounter with Kex, Gauvain, and Tristan =Ge=7,
_cf._ =T=7----meeting with Gornumant =Ge=8 (_cf._ =T=6) and fight with the
resuscitating hag----third arrival at Blanchefleur's Castle, marriage
=Ge=9----deliverance of maiden, abolition of evil custom, knight on fire
=Ge=10-12----obtains the promised shield =G=13----combat with the Dragon
King =Ge=14----arrival at abbey and story of Mordrains =Ge=15,
=Q=15----the swan-drawn coffin =Ge=16----Devil in tomb =Ge=17, _cf._
=Q=7----deliverance of maiden from fountain =Ge=18----punishment of
traitress damsel =Ge=19----combat with giant =Ge=20, _cf._
=T=9----encounters Kex =Ge=21----third arrival at Grail Castle =Ge=22.

=PERCEVAL'S AUNT= =Q=13, 14.

=PERCEVAL'S SISTER=, daughter to Pellehem =Q={2}, =G=12, =D=5-7, =Q=35,
36, 38, 41, 42----_cf._ =M=7.

=PERCEVAL'S UNCLE=, see Gonemans, Fisher King.


=PETRUS= =B=8, 12, 13, 14, =PETER= =GG=43, =PIERRON= =GG=45, 47, 48.


=PILATE= =B=1, =GG=2, =B=3, 6.



=RED KNIGHT.= Slain by Perceval =C=3, 4, =T=1, 5, who takes his arms, and
is mistaken for him =C=6, =T=6, transferred to Galahad when latter takes
Perceval's place =Q=14, 16----=G=8, 9.

=ROSETTE=, Loathly Maiden, =G=11, =D=8.

=SAIGREMORS= =C=10, =Ma=8, 9, 18, =D=2.

=SARRAQUITE= =GG=13, 16, 22, 28, 29, 59.

=SARRAS= =GG=5, 11, 13, 15, 18, =Ma=3, =Q=26, 41, 50, =GG=30.

=SEAT PERILLOUS= (empty) =B=10, =Dprol=, 1----=Q=2, =GG=41, =Ge=5, =Q=13.

=SERAPHE= =GG=, =Q=, =Ge=, _once_ Salafrès =Ma=----Battle with Tholomes
=GG=12, 14, =Q=6, 26, =Ma=3, =Ge=15, renamed _Nasciens_, which see.


=SOLOMON'S SHIP= =Q=35-38, =GG=24, 27, 30, 58.

=SOLOMON'S SWORD= =Q=35, 38, =GG=27, _cf._ =Q=48.


=STAG HUNT= =G=7, 8, 16, 18, =D=4, 13, =M=24.

=SWORD= =PC=3, =C=7, 8, =M=6, =G=3, 12, 22, =Ma=5, 22, =Ge=1, 2, 4, 15,
22, =H=, =Q=2, 3, 48, =GG=33, 44, 58. See also Solomon's sword.

=SYMEU= =Q=46, =GG=31, 47, 49.

=THOLOMES= =Q=6, =Ge=15, =GG=11, 12, 14.


=TIBERIUS CÆSAR= =GG=3, 11, =Ma=3.

=TITUS= =GG=3.

=TREBUCET= or =TRIBUET= =C=8, =W=, =Ma=15.


=URLAIN= or =URBAN= =Q=35 = Bruillant =GG=58.

=UTHER PENDRAGON= =GG=9, _cf._ p. 64D.

=VERRINE= =B=6 = Marie la Venissienne =GG=3.

=VESPASIAN= =B=6, =GG=3, 4, =Ma=3, =Q=7.

=WASTE CITY=, King of the, =Ge=8.

=WASTE LAND= =PC=1, (forest) 6, =Q=13, 35, =GG=58.

=YSAIES= =GG=30, 59 = Helyas, =Q=26.

=YWAIN=, see Owain.


[This Index comprises the whole of the work with exception of the
Summaries, for which see Index I. The references are to the pages. The
entries apply solely to the page number or page group-number which they
immediately precede, and not to all the pages between themselves and the
next entry. In the majority of cases a simple number reference is given,
and the fuller entries are to those points which the author wishes
specially to emphasise.]

  Abundia and Herodias, 100.

  Adonis, 101.

  Alain (son of Brons), 66, 77, 79, 82, 83, 84, 89, 109, 112, 123,
    as Fisher King, 208, 210, 218, 222, 245.

  Amfortas, Fisher King in Wolfram, 249,
    in Wagner's Parsifal, 253-55, 263.

  Aminadap, 84.

  Arbois de Jubainville, 184-85, 188, 192-93.

  Arthur, Arthur saga, Arthurian romance or legend, 108, 114, 116, 117,
    Martin's interpretation of, 122-24, 130, 134, 136, 144, 147, 148, 153,
          155, 156, 188,
    A's waiting, 197-98,
    A and Potter Thompson, 198, 205, 218, 219, 221, 222,
    popularity of, 228-29,
    Celtic character of, 230, 231, 236, 243, 244, 245.

  Avalon (Avaron), 77,
    punning explanation of, 78,
    parallel to the Grail, 122-23 and 188,
    with the Magic Castle, 191, 198, 218, 222,
    connection with Glastonbury, 223, 248,
    parallel with Brandan's isle, 264.

  Baldur, 100.

  Ban, 83, 84.

  Baring-Gould, 98.

  Bartsch, 261.

  Battle of Magh Rath, 185, 186.

  Bergmann's San Grëal, 104.

  Bespelled Castle in Celtic tradition, 190-206.

  Birch-Hirschfeld, 4, 5, 6, 38, 52, 64_d_, 84,
    full analysis of his work, 108-121,
    Martin's criticism, 121-23, 124,
    objections to his hypothesis, 125-126, 128, 132, 133, 134, 137, 138,
          145, 151, 168, 171, 174, 207, 217, 220, 250,
    Wolfram and Chrestien, 261-62.

  Blaise, 113.

  Blanchefleur, 92, 114, 115, 133,
    comparison of Chrestien and Mabinogi, 135, 140, 147, 204, 238,
    example of sex-relations of the time, 241.

  Blood-drops in the snow, 137-38.

  Books of Rights and Geasa, 213.

  Borron, Robert de, author of the Joseph d'Arimathie, bibliographical
          details, 2,
    MS. statements respecting, 4-6, 19,
    passage of Grail to England, 79-80, 94, 95, 96,
    Hucher's views, 105-6,
    relation to other versions according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 111-115,
          116, 118-20,
    Martin's views, 121-124, 125, 131, 171,
    secret words, 186, 188,
    Fisher King in, 207-9, 220, 221, 222,
    his conception, 239,
    chastity ideal in, 245, 247, 251, 252.

  Bors, 66,
    exemplification of spirit of Queste, 239.

  Bötticher, Wolfram and Chrestien, 261.

  Bran (the Blessed), 108,
    and Cernunnos, 211,
    connection with conversion of Britain, 218-20, 226,
    connection with Brandan legend, 265.

  Bran the Son of Febal, 192, 194, 232, 265.

  Brandan legend, 264-65.

  Branwen (Mabinogi of), 76, 97, 108, 167, 168,
    cauldron, 186, 211, 219, 260.

  Britain, evangelisation of, 80, 91, 95, 105-106, 107, 124, 218,
    connection with the Brons and Joseph legends, 219-24.

  Brons, 66, 70, 72, 75, 77,
    special form of Early History, 78-79, 80, 81,
    two accounts respecting, 82-83, 84, 85, 86, 88,
    in the Didot-Perceval, 89, 91, 93, 94, 95, 106, 109, 112, 113, 123,
          124, 125, 182,
    as Fisher King, 208-11,
    as Apostle of Britain, 218-26, 235.

  Bruillans, 84.

  Brunhild, 232.

  Bundling, 135.

  Caesarius of Heisterbach, 122.

  Campbell, J. F., 102-03, 152, 159-60,
    cup of healing, 187, 210.

    No. 1 Young King of Easaidh Ruadh, 187;
    No. 10 The Three Soldiers, 195-96;
    No. 41 The Widow and her Daughters, 187;
    No. 47 Mac Iain Direach, 187, 212;
    No. 51 The Fair Gruagach, 213;
    No. 52 The Knight of the Red Shield, 156-57,
      the resuscitating carlin, 166-67;
    No. 58 The Rider of Grianaig, 157, 209;
    No. 76 Conall Gulban, 167, 187;
    No. 82 How the Een was set up, 158, 189;
    No. 84 Manus, 189-90;
    No. 86 The Daughter of King Under the Waves, 194-95, 246.

  Campbell, J. G., Muilearteach, 167.

  Catheloys, 84.

  Celidoine, 83, 84.

  Celtic tradition, origin of or elements in Grail legend, 7,
    how affected by placing of versions, 68-69,
    opinions of previous investigators, 97-107,
    Birch-Hirschfeld, 111-113-14-15-17-20,
    Martin, 121-24,
    Hertz, 125,
    Grail apparently foreign to, 151, 164-65,
    Carlin in, 167-69, 170-71, 181, 183-84,
    Vessel in, 184-88,
    Sword in, 188-90, 191, 195, 197, 199, 208,
    origin of legend, 215-18, 223-27,
    relation to mediæval romance, 230,
    individualism in, 231,
    woman in, 231-33,
    the supernatural in, 234, 235,
    chastity ideal, 247, 248, 251,
    transformation of, 255, 265.

  Ceridwen, 186, 210-11.

  Cernunnos, 211.

  Cét mac Magach, 231.

  Chanson de Roland, 248.

  Charlemagne, Carolingian Saga, 197, 229, 230, 231.

  Chastity ideal in the Queste, 243-44,
    in later versions, 245-46,
    in popular and Celtic tradition, 246-47.

  Chessboard Castle, 127-30, 139-41.

  Chrestien, bibliographical description, 1, 2,
    statements of MSS. respecting, 4, 5, 8, 66, 69, 70, 74, 76, 80, 81,
          85, 86, 91, 92, 93, 95,
    views of previous investigators, 98-108,
    Birch-Hirschfeld, 108-121, 122, 124, 125, 126,
    relation to Didot-Perceval, 127-131,
    to Mabinogi, 132-145,
    nature of model, 145-46,
    relation to Sir Perceval, 147-51,
    relation to Great Fool, 155-56-58-59, 164, 168,
    visit to Grail Castle in, 171-74, 175,
    represents mainly feud quest, 180-82, 199, 207, 208, 211, 218,
    his ideal, 237-38, 245, 249, 250,
    relation to Wolfram, 261-63.

  Christian origin of or elements in Grail legend, Christian tradition,
          legend, etc.;
    as affected by placing of versions, 68, 80, 123, 143, 146, 165,
          170-73, 179, 181, 186, 209,
    as affected by my hypothesis, 215-18, 220, 224, 226-27,
    relation to the talismans, 238-39, 251-52,
    influence on the legend as a whole, 255.

  Chronological arrangement of versions, 6,
    Author's, 95-96,
    Zarncke's, 107,
    Birch-Hirschfelds', 120-21.

  Conall Cearnach, 231.

  Conan's delusions, 200.

  Conchobor, 192, 231, 233.

  Conduiramur, 204,
    and Parzival, 249-51.

  Connla, 188, 194, 196, 232.

  Constituent elements in the romances, 215-16.

  Corbenic, 83, 84.

  Cormac's visit to the otherworld, 193-94, 234.

  Counsels, the, in the romances, 150.

  Crestiens, p. 83 = Nasciens, p. 84.

  Cuchulainn, 153, 185, 188, 189,
    conception of, 192,
    _gess_ of, 214,
    parallel of legend to mediæval romances, 231-34.

  Cumhall, father of Fionn, 158-59.

  Curoi mac Daire, 231.

  Cynewulf, 221.

  Dagda, the, and the cauldron, 184-85, 192.

  Deirdre, 137,
    and the Sons of Usnech, 233.

  Diarmaid, 202,
    _gess_ of, 214.

  Didot-Perceval, prose sequel to Borron's poem, numbered as C 2, 65, 66,
          68, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 82,
    the Quest in, 89-91, 92, 93, 94, 96,
    Zarncke's opinion of, 107,
    Authorship of according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 112-15, 117, 120, 121,
          125, 126,
    relationship to Conte du Graal, 127-30,
    origin of, 131, 138, 139,
    stag hunt in, 141-42, 145-46, 172-73, 179, 182, 191, 198-99, 208, 245.

  Dietrich Saga, 230.

  Domanig, Parzival-Studien, 250.

  Duvau, 192.

  Dwarves incident in Chrestien and Mabinogi, 134.

  Elton, 219.

  Emer, wooing of, 232-33.

  Encyclopædia Britannica, 126.

  England, arrival of Grail in 76-80,
    Birch-Hirschfeld 116,
    Joseph legend in 221-22.

  Enygeus (Brons' wife), 81, 82.

  Evangelium Nicodemi, 221-22.

  Espinogre, 142.

  Expulsion and Return Formula (Aryan), 144, 153-54, 156, 159, 163-64,
          190, 210, 225, 256.

  Fand, 232.

  Faust, 253.

  Fenian saga or cycle, sword in, 188-90, 230.

  Feud-Quest in the romances and in Celtic tradition, 181-90.

  Finn-eges, 209-11, 220.

  Fionn (Finn), Fionn-saga, 153-54, 157,
    connection with Great Fool and boyhood of Peredur, 158-59, 163-64,
    Fionn's enchantment, 186-87,
    and sword, 189-90, 195,
    in the otherworld, 200-03,
    and salmon, 209-11, 214, 220, 224, 231, 234, 256.

  Fish, according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 112,
    Martin, 123-24, 224.
    See also Salmon.

  Fisher King, Fisher or Rich Fisher, 77, 78,
    as Grail-Keeper, 80-86,
    relation the Promised Knight, 87-89, 107, 110, 113, 115,
    accounted for by Birch-Hirschfeld, 117, 123, 124, 134, 138, 139, 140,
          142, 143, 144, 180, 206,
    Author's explanation of, 207-11, 237,
    in Wolfram, 249.

  Fisher King's daughter, 140-42.

  Fisher King's father, 74, 81, 110, 191.

  Fitzgerald, 198, 231.

  Fomori, 188, 230.

  Förster on Peredur, 132.

  Frederick II, 122,
    in the Kyffhäuser, 196-97.

  Frederick I (Barbarossa), 196-97.

  Furnivall, 2, 3, 102-03,
    estimate of Queste criticised, 242-43.

  Gaelic talismans = Grail and lance, 103.

  Gaidoz, 219.

  Galahad, Galahad Quest, 66, 67, 83-86,
    as Promised Knight, 90-94, 102, 104, 106, 108, 109, 113, 131, 149, 226,
    comparison with Perceval Quest, 236,
    morality of, 240, 245-46, 252, 254.

  Gaston Paris on relation between Chrestien and Mabinogi, 132.

  Gautier (de Doulens), Pseudo-Gautier, numbered A II., 1-2,
    statements respecting in MS., 4,
    Berne MS. of, 19, 69-70, 72, 74-75, 76-77, 81, 87, 92-95, 101, 106,
          110, 113, 114, 120-21,
    relation to Didot-Perceval, 128-30,
    to Mabinogi ,133 and 140-44, 145, 146,
    visit to Grail Castle in, 171-72,
    Gawain Quest in, 174 and 178-79, 182, 189, 199, 237, 246.

  Gautier (Walter) de Montbeliart and Borron, 5, 103, 105, 120, 121.

  Gawain (Gauvain), 2, 67, 69,
    visit to Grail King, 87, 92, 101,
    Martin's view of, 122 and 124, 125, 164, 172,
    special form of Quest, 176-78, 180, 189, 191,
    visit to Magic Castle, 199-200,
    in Heinrich, 203-05, 237,
    and Orgueilleuse, 240-41, 245, 251, 261-62.

  Geasa, 212-14.

  Geoffrey of Monmouth, 91, 119, 219, 229.

  Gerald (Giraldus Cambrensis), testimony respecting Map's authorship,
          117-18, 122.

  Gerbert, numbered A IV., 1, 5, 69,
    love _motif_ in, 92, 95, 110, 121, 126,
    the witch who brings the dead to life in, 165-69, 172, 174-75, 179,
          180, 199,
    chastity ideal in, 246, 249,
    relation to Wolfram, 262-63.

  Gervasius of Tilbury, 122, 197.

  Glastonbury, Skeat's view, 105,
    Zarncke, 107, 220,
    and Avalon, 223-25.

  Goethe, 253.

  Gonemans, 130-34,
    and Fisher King, 138, 140,
    and the witch, 165-68,
    advice to Perceval, 211-12.
    See also Gurnemanz.

  Goon Desert, 81, 142.

  Grail, 66,
    hypothetical Christian origin of, 68,
    first possessor of, 69-70,
    solace of Joseph, 70-72,
    connection with Sacrament, 71 and 73,
    and Trinity, 72,
    properties and effect of, 74-76,
    name, 76,
    arrival in England, 76-79, 83-84, 89-90, 94, 96, 99, 100-112,
    phraseology used by romances in mentioning it, 113, 114-16,
    symbol of Christ's body, 117, 120,
    symbol of Avalon, 123, 124-26, 136, 140-142,
    absence of from Mabinogi and Thornton Sir P., 164,
    apparently foreign to Celtic legend, 165, 169,
    various forms of visit to castle of, 170-79,
    double nature of, 182-83,
    parallel to magic vessel of Celtic tradition, 185-96,
    and Fionn, 202, 218, 221,
    mode of transformation, 224, 245, 247,
    in Wolfram, 250-52,
    in Wagner, 254-55, 261-63.

  Grail (Early History of), two forms, 65-66,
    Joseph form, 67,
    relation to Christian origin hypothesis, 68, 69,
    Brons form, 80, 86,
    two forms in French romances, 93-94,
    later than Queste, 93, 95-96, 103,
    according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 108-21, 151, 208,
    origin of, 218 and 224.

  Grail (Quest of), two forms, 65-67,
    Perceval form, 67,
    relation to Celtic origin hypothesis, 68, 69, 80, 83, 86,
    object of according to different versions, 88-90,
    original form of, 91, 92,
    Perceval form older, 93-94, 95-96, 105-06, 109-26, 131, 138,
    Mabinogi form of, 139-44, 151,
    inconsistency of accounts respecting, 180-81,
    two formulas fused in, 181,
    constituent elements in, 215-16,
    mode of transformation, 220, 237-39, 243, 245, 248, 251, 252.

  Grail legend, romance or cycle, origin of according to Birch-Hirschfeld,
          120, 159,
    Christian element in, 217,
    genesis and growth of, 225-27,
    popularity of, 228, 230,
    development of ethical ideas in, 235 _et seq._, 248,
    future of, 259, 265.

  Grail-Keeper and Promised Knight, 80-81.

  Grail-Messenger and Rosette, 114.
    See also Loathly Damsel.

  Graine, 214.

  Gramoflanz, 193.

  Grand St. Graal, numbered E 3, authorship ascribed to Borron, 5,
    Helinandus' testimony, 52, 65-67, 70, 72-73, 75-76, 79,
    conflicting accounts respecting Promised Knight in, 84-86, 90, 91, 93,
          94-96, 99, 102-112, 117,
    authorship of, 119-20, 121, 126, 146, 207-08, 219, 220, 247,
    prologue of and Brandan legend, 264-65.

  Great Fool, lay or tale of the, 101-02, 144,
    prose opening, 152-53,
    comparison with romances, 154-56,
    originality of, 158,
    relation to Fionn legend, 159,
    Lay, 159-162, 163, 164,
    ethical import of, 256-57.

  Gregory of Tours and Evangelium Nicodemi, 221.

  Greloguevaus, 81.

  Grimm, No. 122, Der Krautesel, 195, 197, 198, 204-05, 247.

  Gudrun, 233.

  Guinevere, 83.

  Gurnemanz, 113, 115, 249, 262-63.
    See also Gonemans.

  Guyot = Kiot, 104.

  Gwalchmai, 225-26, 228.
    See Gawain.

  Gwion and Fionn, 210.

  Hahn, J. G. von, 153-54.

  Halliwell, 98, 147.

  Haunted Castle, 204-05.

  Hawker, 244.

  Hebron, 108 = Brons, which see.

  Hector, 187.

  Heinrich von dem Türlin, numbered K, 4,
    citation of Chrestien, 6, 69, 91,
    Martin's view of, 122, 125,
    visit to Grail Castle in, 172-73 and 178,
    double origin, 182, 191,
    special form of Quest, 198-99 and 203,
    parallel with Sleeping Beauty, 203.

  Hélie de Borron, 105-06,
    testimony of, 118-19, 121.

  Helinandus, 52, 95, 103, 121.

  Helyas, 83 = Ysaics, 84.

  Hennessy, 159.

  Henry II, 118-19.

  Herodias, 100, 254.

  Hertz' views, 124-25.

  How the Great Tuairsgeul etc., 212.

  Hucher, 2,
    attempt to harmonise conflicting accounts in Borron, 82,
    statement of views, 105-06,
    criticised by Birch-Hirschfeld, 111 and 118, 130,
    and cauldron, 184.

  Iduna, apples of, 182.

  John the Baptist, 100.

  Jonaans, 83, 84.

  Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph legend, 65-67, 69, 70,
    and Grail, 70-73, 74, 77,
    and England, 78-80, 81, 82, 84, 88, 89, 90, 93, 94, 99, 100, 104-109,
          112-117, 124, 146,
    and the Fisher, 208, 218,
    Apocryphal legend of, 220-24, 226.

  Joseph, Metrical, poem by Robert de Borron, numbered B 2, author of, 5,
          65-66, 68, 70-73, 74-76, 77-80,
    two accounts in, 81-82, 88, 91, 93-94, 102-103,
    relation to Didot-Perceval according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 112-14, 125.

  Josephes (son of Joseph), and Veronica, 79, 84-86, 109.

  Josue, 66, 84, 85.

  Kay, 130.

  Keating and the treasures of the Tuatha de Danann, 184.

  Kennedy's Fellow with the Goat-skin, 134,
    Castle Knock, 159,
    Great Fool, 159-61,
    Son of Bad Counsel, 199-200,
    Fionn's visit to Cuana, 201,
    haunted castle tale, 204, 257.

  Kiot, 6,
    San Marte's view, 99-100, 107-08, 121,
    and Wolfram, 261-63.

  Klinschor, 253, 263.

  Knight Errantry, 229.

  Knighthood, prototype of in Celtic tradition, 231.

  Knights of the Red Branch, 231.

  Knowles' Said and Saiyid, 196.

  Koch, Kyffhäuser Sage, 197.

  Köhler, 195.

  Kundry in Wagner, 254-55, 263.
    See Loathly Damsel.

  Küpp on Pseudo-Chrestien, 8, 126,
    and the branch, 193, 262.

  Kynddelw, 219.

  Lambar, 83-84, 86, 183.

  Lame King, see Maimed King.

  Lance, 109,
    and Grail legend according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 111, 113, 121.

  Lancelot, 83, 84, 108, 110, 112, 118, 119, 123, 172-173, 180, 240, 245.

  Latin original of French romances probable, 122.

  Liebrecht, 197-98.

  Llyr Llediath, 219-20.

  Loathly Damsel, 87,
    and Rosette, 114,
    in Mabinogi and Chrestien, 136,
    hero's cousin, 139-41,
    double origin of in romances, 205-06,
    and Wagner, 254.

  Longis, 70.

  Luces de Gast, 118-19.

  Luces (Lucius), 91, 219.

  Lufamour, 147.

  Lug Lamhfhada, 184, 189, 192.

  Mabinogi of Peredur (generally Mabinogi sometimes Peredur) numbered H 3,
          5, 66, 68, 69,
    Villemarqué on, 97-98, 89,
    Simrock on, 100, 101,
    Nash, 102, 104,
    Hucher, 106,
    lateness of according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 114-115, 125-26,
    relation to Conte du Graal, 131-37,
    dwarves incident in, 134,
    greater delicacy in Blanchefleur incident, 135,
    blood drops incident, 137-38,
    differences with Chrestien, 138-39,
    machinery of Quest in, 139-42,
    relation to Manessier, 142-44,
    origin and development of, 143-145,
    special indebtedness to Chrestien, 145, 146,
    relation to Sir Perceval, 148-49,
    counsels in, 150,
    apparent absence of Grail from, 151,
    comparison with Great Fool tale, 154-57,
    with Great Fool Lay, 161-62, 164,
    with Gerbert's witch incident, 168-69, 171,
    visit to Talismans Castle in, 172-73 and 176, 180, 181, 183, 184, 190,
    fusion of numerous Celtic tales in, 225-26,
    Sex-relations in, 241, 256.

  Maidens' Castle, parallels to in Celtic tradition, 191-94.

  Maimed or Lame or Sick King, 66, 83-88, 90, 91, 109,
    parallel with Arthur, 122,
    probable absence from Proto Mabinogi, 145,
    belongs to Feud Quest, 198,
    parallel to Fionn, 202, 237.

  Malory, 236.

  Manaal, 84.

  Manannan mac Lir, 192-94, 208,
    and Bran, 219.

  Manessier, numbered A III, 1-2,
    date etc., 4-5, 69-71, 73-74, 77, 81, 88, 92, 95, 110, 121, 138,
    relation to the Mabinogi, 142-46, 168-69, 171, 175,
    disregard of question, 180-82, 199, 245-46.

  Manus, 189-90.

  Mapes or Map, 5, 104, 105,
    not author of Queste or Grand St. Graal according to Birch-Hirschfeld,

  Martin's views, 121-26,
    Kyffhäuser hypothesis criticised, 197, 198,
    Wolfram and Gerbert, 262.

  Meaux, 120.

  Menglad, 232.

  Merlin, 92, 114, 124.

  Merlin, Borron's poem, 2, 64D, 105, 106, 112-13, 117.

  Meyer, Kuno, 209, 233.

  Minnedienst, 240-41.

  Modred, 122.

  Montsalvatch, 66.

  Mordrains, 90, 109-10, 120, 173.

  Morgan la Fay, 122.

  Morvan lez Breiz, 148, 158, 162.

  Moys or Moses, 88-90, 106, 109, 112, 116.

  Mythic conceptions in the romances, 205.

  Nasciens, 76, 83, 85, 120.

  Nash, 102.

  Nibelungenlied, 230, 234, 248.

  Nicodemus, 71.

  Noisi, 137, 233.

  O'Daly, 159-61, 163.

  Odin, 100-01.

  O'Donovan, 185, 209, 213.

  Oengus of the Brug, 191-92,
    and swanmaid, 196.

  O'Flanagan, 233.

  Ogma, 188.

  Oisin, 195, 200,
    and Gwion, 210, 232.

  O'Kearney, 201.

  Orgueilleuse, Celtic character of, 124 and 232,
    illustrates mediæval morality, 240-41, 263.

  Osiris, 101.

  Pagan essence of Grail etc. in the Christianised romances, 238.

  Partinal, 81, 88, 142-43.

  Parzival, 101, 252-53.
    See Perceval and Wolfram.

  Paulin-Paris, 5,
    explanation of word Grail, 103, 111, 116-17, 119.

  Pearson on the Veronica legend, 222,
    and St. Brandan, 265.

  Peleur, 83.

  Pelleans or Pellehem, 83-86, 90.

  Pelles, 83-86, 90.

  Perceval, Perceval-Quest, type hero of Quest, 66-67, 72, 78,
    relation to the Grail-keeper, 80-86, 88-89, 91-92,
    oldest hero of Quest, 93, 94, 98, 101, 102-04,
    according to Birch-Hirschfeld, 110-119, 125,
    in Didot-Perceval and Conte du Graal, 127-31,
    in Mabinogi and Conte du Graal, 131-45,
    relation to (bespelled) cousin, 139-42,
    relation of existing versions to earliest form, 146,
    in the Thornton MS. romance, 147-51,
    hero of Expulsion and Return Formula, 153-56,
    parallel with Highland folk-tales, 157-58,
    relation to Twin Brethren folk-tale and dualism in, 162-64, 169,
    versions of Quest, 171-76,
    visit to the Maidens' Castle, 178-79, 180, 181,
    significance of Didot-Perceval form, 182, 187,
    and sword, 189,
    Castle of Maidens, 191, 195, 199,
    parallel with Diarmaid, 202,
    possible hero of Haunted Castle form, 204-05,
    relation to Fisher, 207,
    his silence, 211-14, 226,
    superiority to Galahad Quest, 236, 237-38, 240-41, 245, 247, 254, 256,
    See also Parzival and Peredur.

  Perceval's aunt, 79.

  Perceval's sister, 83-84, 163.

  Perceval's uncle, 78.

  Perceval le Gallois, numbered G 3, authorship, 6, 65-66, 69, 104, 121,
          126, 246.

  Peredur (hero of Mabinogi = Perceval), Peredur-saga, 106,
    mother of, 115, 132-36,
    parallel to Tom of the Goat-skin, 134,
    the sword test, 138,
    hero of the stag hunt, 139-42, 143,
    original form of saga, 144-45, 153-54, 157, 162, 163, 164, 168-69,
    and Fionn, 187 and 203, 220,
    fish absent from, 224,
    genesis and growth of, 225-227, 228,
    Blanchefleur incident in, 241.
    See Perceval.

  Peronnik l'idiot, 125, 158.

  Perseus, 256.

  Petrus, 77, 82, 88-90, 106, 109, 112,
    connection with Geoffrey conversion legend, 219.

  Pfaffe Amis, 265.

  Pilate, 65, 70.

  Potter Thompson and Arthur, 198, 262.

  Potvin, 1, 2, 6,
    his views, 104, 174, 177.

  Prester John, 100.

  Procopius, 191.

  Promised or Good Knight, and Grail Keeper, 80-86,
    Galahad as, 85-86
    work of, 86-91,
    qualifications of, 92-93, 107, 109.

  Prophecy incident in Grail romances, 156.

  Pseudo-Chrestien, 8, 209.

  Pseudo-Gautier, numbered AII_a_, 2, 15-16, 70, 72, 74, 77, 79, 81, 95.

  Pseudo-Manessier, numbered AIII_a_, 2, 19, 72-73.

  Queste del St. Graal, numbered D 2-3, varying redactions distinguished
          typographically, 38, 65-67, 72, 75-76, 79,
    three drafts of, 83-86, 90-91,
    glorification of virginity in, 93, 95, 103, 107,
    relation to Grand St. Graal, 108-09,
    to Conte du Graal, 110-11, 112, 113,
    authorship of, 117-20, 121, 126, 131, 146,
    visit to Grail Castle in, 172-73, 180, 183, 186, 207, 218, 220, 222,
          224, 226, 236,
    ideal of, 238-40 and 243-44,
    ideal criticised, 243-44,
    merits of, 244-45, 246,
    inferiority to Wolfram, 250, 251.

  Question, Birch-Hirschfeld's opinion, 171, 180,
    belongs to Unspelling Quest, 181-82, 191, 196, 203,
    Wolfram's presentment, 249-50.

  Red Knight, 147-49, 155-56, 162, 189.

  Renan on Celtic poetry, 234-35.

  Rhys, 198, 209, 211,
    Bran legend, 219-20, 265.

  Rich Fisher or King. See Fisher King.

  Riseut, 141.

  Robert de Borron. See Borron.

  Rochat, 19,
    his views, 101-02.

  Roland, 229, 232.

  Roménie, 118.

  Rosette, 130, 141.
    See Loathly Damsel.

  Salmon of Wisdom, 209-10.

  San Marte, views, 99-100, 101-02,
    and Wolfram, 250-5.

  Sarras, 72, 77, 79.

  Schröder, Brandan legend, 264-65.

  Seat, empty or Perillous, 81-82, 88-90.

  Secret words, 73, 89, 179.

  Seraphe, 108.

  Sex-relations in Middle Ages, 240-42.

  Siegfried, 157, 162, 203, 210, 232-33.

  Simei, 90.

  Simrock, views, 100-101, 103, 132, 134, 164, 251, 261-62.

  Skeat, 104.

  Skene, 219-20.

  Sleep and the Magic Castle myth, 202-03.

  Sleeping Beauty, parallel with Heinrich's version, 203,
    ethical import of, 258.

  Solomon's sword, 84.
    See Sword.

  Sons of Usnech, 137, 233.

  Sorceresses of Gloucester, 101, 139, 156.

  Spontaneity of folk tradition, 254, 257-58.

  Stag Hunt in Conte du Graal and Mabinogi, 139-40,
    in Didot-Perceval, 141,
    parallel with Lay of Great Fool, 162.

  Steinbach on Sir Perceval, 147-50.

  Stephens, 219-20.

  Stokes, 188, 200, 233.

  Suetonius, 116.

  Sword, 113, 142,
    belongs more to Feud Quest, 180-82,
    found also in Unspelling Quest, 183,
    of Lug, 184,
    in Celtic myth, 187-90, 198-99.

  Taboo and Geasa, 214.

  Taliesin, 97, 186,
    and Oisin, 210-11.

  Templars, 100.

  Tennyson, 236, 244.

  Tethra, 188.

  Thor, Irish parallels to, 200-01.

  Thornton MS. Sir Perceval (often simply Sir Perceval), numbered I 4, 66,
          68-69, 101-02, 125, 126,
    Steinbach's theory of, 147-50,
    criticised, 149,
    absence of Grail from, 151,
    connection with Great Fool tale, 154-58, 162, 164-65,
    witch incident, 169, 190, 225.

  Tír-na n-Og, 191, 195, 223, 248, 264.

  Titurel, 66.

  Titus, 107.

  Trinity, symbolizing of, 88.

  Tuatha de Danann, treasures of, 184-85, 189-92, 223, 230.

  Two Brothers tale, 157, 162-63.

  Ultonian cycle, 185.

  Unspelling Quest, 181,
    Celtic parallels to, 190-206, 208.

  Urban (Urlain), 83, 84, 183.

  Van Santen, 252.

  Vanishing of Bespelled Castle, 202-03.

  Veronica (Verrine), 79, 116,
    Ward's theory, 222.

  Vespasian, 107, 116.

  Vessel in Celtic myth, 184,
    in Ultonian cycle, 185,
    in Welsh myth, 186,
    in Celtic folk-tales, 187.
    See Grail.

  Villemarqué, views 97-98, 101, 131, 148.

  Virginity, 247.

  Wagner, 252-54.

  Ward, 220, 222.

  Wartburg Krieg and Brandan legend, 264.

  William of Malmesbury, 105,
    Zarncke's opinion of, 107, 115,
    Ward's opinion of, 220.

  Windisch, 188, 219.

  Witch who brings the dead to life, 165-69.

  Wolfram von Eschenbach, numbered F 3, sources, 6, 25-26, 65-67, 69,
    and Gerbert, 92, 99-102, 104, 107, 121-25, 150, 157,
    brother incident in, 164, 172-73,
    branch in, 193,
    magician lord, 199,
    account of mediæval morality, 240-41, 246,
    ideal of, 248-52, 254, 255, 256,
    pattern for future growth of legend, 261,
    relation to Chrestien, 261-63.

  Woman in Celtic tradition, 231-33.

  Wülcker, Evangelium Nicodemi, 220-21.

  Zarncke, views, 106-07, 115, 132, 220.



[1] Fully described by Potvin, VI, lxix, etc.

[2] Potvin, VI, lxxv, etc.

[3] Birch-Hirschfeld: Die Sage vom Gral, 8vo., Leipzig, 1877, p. 81.

[4] Birch-Hirschfeld, p. 89.

[5] Birch-Hirschfeld, p. 110.

[6] Birch-Hirschfeld, p. 232, quoting the colophon of a Paris MS., after
Paulin Paris, Cat. des MSS. français, vol. ii, pp. 361, etc.

[7] Birch-Hirschfeld, p. 143.

[8] This prologue is certainly not Chrestien's work; but there is no
reason to doubt that it embodies a genuine tradition, and affords valuable
hints for a reconstruction of the original form of the story. _Cf._ Otto
Küpp in Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, vol. xvii., No. 1.

[9] Potvin's text, from the Mons MS., is taken as basis.

[10] Several MSS. here intercalate the history of Joseph of Arimathea:
Joseph of Barimacie had the dish made; with it he caught the blood running
from the Saviour's body as it hung on the Cross, he afterwards begged the
body of Pilate; for the devotion showed the Grail he was denounced to the
Jews, thrown into prison, delivered thence by the Lord, exiled together
with the sister of Nicodemus, who had an image of the Lord. Joseph and his
companions came to the promised land, the White Isle, a part of England.
There they warred against them of the land. When Joseph was short of food
he prayed to the Creator to send him the Grail wherein he had gathered the
holy blood, after which to them that sat at table the Grail brought bread
and wine and meat in plenty. At his death, Joseph begged the Grail might
remain with his seed, and thus it was that no one, of however high
condition, might see it save he was of Joseph's blood. The Rich Fisher was
of that kin, and so was Greloguevaus, from whom came Perceval.

It is hardly necessary to point out that this must be an interpolation, as
if Gauvain had really learnt all there was to be told concerning the
Grail, there would have been no point in the reproaches addressed him by
the countryfolk. The gist of the episode is that he falls asleep before
the tale is all told.

[11] The existence of this fragment shows the necessity of collating all
the MSS. of the Conte du Graal and the impossibility of arriving at
definite conclusions respecting the growth of the work before this is
done. The writer of this version evidently knew nothing of Queste or Grand
St. Graal, whilst he had knowledge of Borron's poem, a fact the more
remarkable since none of the other poets engaged upon the Conte du Graal
knew of Borron, so far, at least, as can be gathered from printed sources.
It is hopeless in the present state of knowledge to do more than map out
approximately the leading sections of the work.

[12] It is by no means clear to me that Gerbert's portion of the Conte du
Graal is an interpolation. I am rather inclined to look upon it as an
independent finish. As will be shown later on, it has several features in
common with both Mabinogi and Wolfram, features pointing to a common

[13] In the solitary MS. which gives this version, it follows, as has
already been stated, prose versions of Robert de Borron's undoubted poems,
"Joseph of Arimathea" and "Merlin."

[14] Birch-Hirschfeld, in his Summary (p. 37, l. 22) or his MS. authority,
B.M., xix, E. iii., has transposed the relationships.

[15] And buried it, adds B. H. in his Summary, whether on MS. authority or
not I cannot say, but the Welsh translation has--"there was a period of
240 years" (an obvious mistake on the part of the translator) "after the
passion of J. C. when Jos. of A. came; he who buried J. C. and drew him
down from the cross."

[16] Thus was Evelach called as a Christian, adds B. H. Here W. agrees
with Furnivall.

[17] Here Birch-Hirschfeld's Summary agrees with W.

[18] B. H. agrees with W.

[19] According to B. H., the recluse tells him he has fought with his
friends, whereupon, ashamed, he hurries off.

[20] B. H. here agrees with W.

[21] B. H. has _five_ candles.

[22] B. H.: "When will the Holy Vessel come to still the pain I feel?
Never suffered man as I."

[23] B. H. agrees with W.

[24] B. H. agrees with Furnivall.

[25] B. H., the _ninth_.

[26] B. H., the vision is that of a crowned old man, who with two knights
worships the cross.

[27] B. H., Nasciens.

[28] B. H. has all this passage, save that the references to the vision at
the cross-ways seem omitted.

[29] B. H., the latter.

[30] B. H., in Chaldee.

[31] B. H., Labran slays Urban.

[32] The 1488 text has Urban.

[33] B. H., Thus was the King wounded, and he was Galahad's grandfather.

[34] It does not appear from B. H.'s Summary whether his text agrees with
F. or W.

[35] B. H., seven knights.

[36] B. H., that was the Castle of Corbenic where the Holy Grail was kept.

[37] B. H., the Castle of the Maimed King.

[38] B. H., ten. Obviously a mistake on the part of his text, as the nine
with the three Grail questers make up twelve, the number of Christ's

[39] B. H., three.

[40] B. H. agrees with F.

[41] One cannot see from B. H. whether his text agrees with F. or W.

[42] B. H. agrees with F.

[43] It will be advisable to give here the well-known passage from the
chronicle of Helinandus, which has been held by most investigators to be
of first-rate importance in determining the date of the Grand St. Graal.
The chronicle ends in the year 1204, and must therefore have been finished
in that or the following year, and as the passage in question occurs in
the earlier portion of the work it may be dated about two years earlier
(Birch-Hirschfeld, p. 33). "Hoc tempore (717-719) in Britannia cuidam
heremitae demonstrata fuit mirabilis quaedam visio per angelum de Joseph
decurione nobili, qui corpus domini deposuit de cruce et de catino illo
vel paropside, in quo dominus caenavit cum discipulis suis, de quo ab
eodem heremita descripta est historia quae dicitur gradale. Gradalis autem
vel gradale gallice dicitur scutella lata et aliquantulum profunda, in qua
preciosae dapes divitibus solent apponi gradatim, unus morsellus post
alium in diversis ordinibus. Dicitur et vulgari nomine greal, quia grata
et acceptabilis est in ea comedenti, tum propter continens, quia forte
argentea est vel de alia preciosa materia, tum propter contentum .i.
ordinem multiplicem dapium preciosarum. Hanc historiam latine scriptam
invenire non potui sed tantum gallice scripta habetur a quibusdem
proceribus, nec facile, ut aiunt, tota inveniri potest."

The Grand St. Graal is the only work of the cycle now existing to which
Helinandus' words could refer; but it is a question whether he may not
have had in view a work from which the Grand St. Graal took over its
introduction. Helinandus mentions the punning origin of the word "greal"
(_infra_, p. 76), which is only hinted at in the Grand St. Graal, but
fully developed elsewhere, _e.g._, in the Didot-Perceval and in Borron's

Another point of great interest raised by this introduction will be found
dealt with in Appendix B.

[44] The MS. followed by Furnivall has an illustration, in which Joseph is
represented as sitting under the Cross and collecting the blood from the
sides and feet in the basin.

[45] MS. reading.

[46] I have not thought it necessary to give a summary of the prose
romance Perceval le Gallois. One will be found in Birch-Hirschfeld, pp.
123-134. The version, though offering many interesting features, is too
late and unoriginal to be of use in the present investigation.

[47] _Cf._ p. 78 as to this passage.

[48] It is forty-two years, according to D. Queste (p. 119), after the
Passion that Joseph comes to Sarras.

[49] It is plain that B I is abridged in the passage dealt with, from the
following fact: Joseph (v. 2,448, etc.) praying to Christ for help,
reminds Him of His command, that when he (Joseph) wanted help he should
come "devant ce veissel precieus Où est votre sans glorieus." Now Christ's
words to Joseph in the prison say nothing whatever about any such
recommendation; but E, Grand St. Graal, does contain a scene between our
Lord and Joseph, in which the latter is bidden, "Et quant tu vauras à moi
parler si ouuerras l'arche en quel lieu que tu soies" (I, 38-39) from
which the conclusion may be drawn that B I represents an abridged and
garbled form of the prototype of E.

[50] In the Mabinogi of Branwen, the daughter of Llyr, the warriors cast
into the cauldron of renovation come forth on the morrow fighting men as
good as they were before, except that they are not able to speak (Mab., p.

[51] The version summarised by Birch-Hirschfeld.

[52] Curiously enough this very text here prints Urban as the name of the
Maimed King; Urban is the antagonist of Lambar, the father of the Maimed
King in the original draft of the Queste, and his mention in this place in
the 1488 text seems due to a misprint. In the episode there is a direct
conflict of testimony between the first and second drafts, Lambar slaving
Urlain in the former, Urlain Lambar in the latter.

[53] This account agrees with that of the second draft of the Queste, in
which Urlain slays Lambar.

[54] Only _one_ beholder of the Quest is alluded to, although in the
Queste, from which the Grand St. Graal drew its account, _three_ behold
the wonders of the Grail.

[55] This, of course, belongs to the second of the two accounts we have
found in the poem respecting the Promised Knight, the one which makes him
the grandson and not the son merely of Brons.

[56] The object of the Quest according to Heinrich von dem Türlin will be
found dealt with in Chapter VII.

[57] This is one of a remarkable series of points of contact between
Gerbert and Wolfram von Eschenbach.

[58] It almost looks as if the author of C were following here a version
in which the hero only has to go once to the Grail Castle; nothing is said
about Perceval's first unsuccessful visit, and Merlin addresses Perceval
as if he were telling him for the first time about matters concerning
which he must be already fully instructed.

[59] It is remarkable, considering the scanty material at his disposal,
how accurate Schulz' analysis is, and how correct much of his

[60] Wagner has admirably utilised this hint of Simrock's in his Parsifal,
when his Kundry (the loathly damsel of Chrestien and the Mabinogi) is
Herodias. _Cf._ _infra_, Ch. X.

[61] Excepting, of course, the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century
Paris imprints, which represented as a rule, however, the latest and most
interpolated forms, and Mons. Fr. Michel's edition of Borron's poem.

[62] Hucher's argument from v. 2817 (_supra_ p. 106) that the poem knew of
the Grand St. Graal is, however, not met.

[63] _Vide_ p. 200, for Birch-Hirschfeld's summary comparison of the two
works, and _cf._ _infra_ p. 127.

[64] _Cf._ _infra_ p. 128, for a criticism of this statement.

[65] Opera V. 410: Unde et vir ille eloquio clarus W. Mapus, Oxoniensis
archidiaconus (cujus animae propitietur Deus) solita verborum facetia et
urbanitate praecipua dicere pluris et nos in hunc modum convenire solebat:
"Multa, Magister Geralde, scripsistis et multum adhue scribitis, et nos
multa diximus. Vos scripta dedistis et nos verba."

[66] Printed in full, Hucher, I. 156, etc.

[67] Printed by Hucher, I. p. 35, etc.

[68] The remainder of Birch-Hirschfeld's work is devoted to proving that
Chrestien was the only source of Wolfram von Eschenbach, the latter's Kiot
being imagined by him to justify his departure from Chrestien's version;
departures occasioned by his dissatisfaction with the French poet's
treatment of the subject on its moral and spiritual side. This element in
the Grail problem will be found briefly dealt with, Appendix A.

[69] I have not thought it necessary, or even advisable, to notice what
the "Encyclopædia Britannica" (Part XLI, pp. 34, 35) and some other
English "authorities" say about the Grail legends.

[70] They are brought together by Hucher, vol. i, p. 383, etc.

[71] In the preface to the second volume of his edition of Chrestien's
works (Halle, 1887), W. Förster distinguishes Peredur from the Lady of the
Fountain and from Geraint, which he looks upon as simple copies of
Chrestien's poems dealing with the same subjects. Peredur has, he thinks,
some Welsh features.

[72] It is perhaps only a coincidence that in Gautier the "pucelle de
malaire" is named Riseut la Bloie, and that Rosette la Blonde is the name
of the loathly damsel whom Perceval meets in company of the Beau Mauvais,
and whom Birch-Hirschfeld supposes to have suggested to Chrestien _his_
loathly damsel, the Grail messenger. But from the three versions one gets
the following:--Riseut (Gautier), loathly damsel (Didot-Perceval), Grail
messenger (Chrestien), = Peredur's cousin, who in the Mabinogi is the
loathly Grail messenger, and the protagonist in the stag-hunt.

[73] I have not thought it necessary to discuss seriously the hypothesis
that Chrestien may have used the Mabinogi as we now have it. The foregoing
statement of the facts is sufficient to negative it.

[74] THE COUNSELS. _Chrestien_ (v. 1,725, etc.): aid dames and damsels,
for he who honoureth them not, his honour is dead; serve them likewise;
displease them not in aught; one has much from kissing a maid if she will
to lie with you, but if she forbid, leave it alone; if she have ring, or
wristband, and for love or at your prayer give it, 'tis well you take it.
Never have comradeship with one for long without seeking his name; speak
ever to worthy men and go with them; ever pray in churches and monasteries
(then follows a dissertation on churches and places of worship generally).
_Mabinogi_ (p. 83): wherever a church, repeat there thy Paternoster; if
thou see meat and drink, and none offer, take; if thou hear an outcry,
especially of a woman, go towards it; if thou see a jewel, take and give
to another to obtain praise thereby; pay thy court to a fair woman,
_whether she will or no_, thus shalt thou render thyself a better man than
before. (In the italicised passage the Mabinogi gives the direct opposite
of Chrestien, whom he has evidently misunderstood.) _Sir Perceval_ (p.
16): "Luke thou be of mesure Bothe in haulle and boure, And fonde to be
fre." "There thou meteste with a knyghte, Do thi hode off, I highte, and
haylse hym in hy" (He interprets the counsel to be of measure by only
taking half the food and drink he finds at the board of the lady of the
tent. The kissing of the lady of the tent which follows is in no way
connected with his mother's counsel.) _Wolfram_: "Follow not untrodden
paths; bear thyself ever becomingly; deny no man thy greeting; accept the
teaching of a greybeard; if ring and greeting of a fair woman are to be
won strive thereafter, kiss her and embrace her dear body, for that gives
luck and courage, if so she be chaste and worthy." Beside the mother's
counsels Perceval is admonished by Gonemans or the personage corresponding
to him. In _Chrestien_ (2,838, _et seq._) he is to deny mercy to no knight
pleading for it; to take heed he be not over-talkful; to aid and counsel
dames and damsels and all others needing his counsel; to go often to
church; not to quote his mother's advice, rather to refer to him
(Gonemans). In the _Mabinogi_ he is to leave the habits and discourse of
his mother; if he see aught to cause him wonder not to ask its meaning. In
_Wolfram_ he is not to have his mother always on his lips; to keep a
modest bearing; to help all in need, but to give wisely, not heedlessly;
and in especial not to ask too much; to deny no man asking mercy; when he
has laid by his arms to let no traces thereof be seen, but to wash hands
and face from stain of rust, thereby shall ladies be pleased; to hold
women in love and honour; never to seek to deceive them (as he might do
many), for false love is fleeting and men and women are one as are sun and
daylight.--There seems to me an evident progression in the ethical
character of these counsels. Originally they were doubtless purely
practical and somewhat primitive of their nature. As it is, Chrestien's
words sound very strange to modern ears.

[75] In the notes to my two articles in the "Folk-Lore Record" will be
found a number of references establishing this fact.

[76] The hero renews his strength after his various combats by rubbing
himself with the contents of a vessel of balsam. He has moreover to enter
a house the door of which closes to of itself (like the Grail Castle
Portcullis in Wolfram), and which kills him. He is brought to life by the
friendly raven. The mysterious carlin also appears, "there was a turn of
her nails about her elbows, and a twist of her hoary hair about her toes,
and she was not joyous to look upon." She turns the hero's companions into
stone, and to unspell them he must seek a bottle of living water and rub
it upon them, when they will come out alive. This is like the final
incident in many stories of the Two Brothers class. _Cf._ note, p. 162.

[77] O'Daly's version consists of 158 quatrains; Campbell's of 63. The
correspondence between them, generally very close (frequently verbal), is
shown by the following table:--

  O'D., 1, 2.          C., 1, 2.
     --                C., 3.
  O'D., 3.             C., 4.
  O'D., 4-15.            --
  O'D., 16.            C., 4.
  O'D., 17-24.         C., 5-12.
  O'D., 25.              --
     --                C., 13-15.
  O'D., 26-47.         C., 16-36.
  O'D., 48-56.           --
  O'D., 57-61.         C., 37-40.
  O'D., 62.              --
  O'D., 63-65.         C., 41-43.
  O'D., 66.            C., 45.
  O'D., 67.            C., 44.
  O'D., 68, 69.        C., 46, 47.
  O'D., 70.            C., 49.
  O'D., 71.            C., 48.
     --                C., 50.
  O'D., 72.            C., 52.
  O'D., 73.              --
  O'D., 74.            C., 53.
  O'D., 75.            C., 54.
  O'D., 76-80.         C., 55-59.
  O'D., 81-134.          --
  O'D., 135, 136.      C., 60, 61.
     --                C., 62.
  O'D., 137.             --
  O'D., 138.           C., 63.
  O'D., 139-158.         --

[78] Of this widely spread group, Grimm's No. 60, Die zwei Brüder, may be
taken as a type. The brethren eat heart and liver of the gold bird and
thereby get infinite riches, are schemed against by a goldsmith, who would
have kept the gold bird for himself, seek their fortunes throughout the
world accompanied by helping beasts, part at crossways, leaving a life
token to tell each one how the other fares; the one delivers a princess
from a dragon, is cheated of the fruit of the exploit by the Red Knight,
whom after a year he confounds, wins the princess, and, after a while,
hunting a magic hind, falls victim to a witch. His brother, learning his
fate through the life token, comes to the same town, is taken for the
young king even by the princess, but keeps faith to his brother by laying
a bare sword twixt them twain at night. He then delivers from the witch's
spells his brother, who, learning the error caused by the likeness, and
thinking advantage had been taken of it, in a fit of passion slays him,
but afterwards, hearing the truth, brings him back to life again. Grimm
has pointed out in his notes the likeness between this story and that of
Siegfried (adventures with Mimir, Fafnir, Brunhilde, and Gunnar). In India
the tale figures in Somadeva's Katha Sarit Sagara (Brockhaus' translation,
ii., 142, _et seq._). The one brother is transformed into a demon through
accidental sprinkling from a body burning on a bier. He is in the end
released from this condition by his brother's performing certain exploits,
but there is no similarity of detail. Other variants are _Zingerle_ (p.
131) where the incident occurs of the hero's winning the king's favour by
making his bear dance before him; this I am inclined to look upon as a
weakened recollection of the incident of a hero's making a princess
_laugh_, either by playing antics himself or making an animal of his play
them (_see_ _supra_, p. 134, Kennedy's Irish Tale). Grimm also quotes
_Meier_ 29 and 58, but these are only variants of the dragon-killing
incident. In the variant of 29, given p. 306, the hero makes the king
laugh, and in both stories occurs the familiar incident of the hero coming
unknown into a tournament and overcoming all enemies, as in Peredur (Inc.
9). _Wolf._, p. 369, is closer, and here the hero is counselled by a grey
mannikin whom he will unspell if he succeeds. _Stier_, No. I. (not p. 67,
as Grimm erroneously indicates) follows almost precisely the same course
as Grimm's 60, save that there are three brothers. _Graal_, p. 195, has
the magic gold bird opening, but none of the subsequent adventures tally.
_Schott_, No. 11, is also cited by Grimm, but mistakenly; it belongs to
the faithful-servant group. Very close variants come from Sweden
(Cavallius-Oberleitner, V_a_, V_b_) and Italy (Pentamerone, I. 7 and I.
9). The Swedish tales have the miraculous conception opening, which is a
prominent feature in tales belonging to the Expulsion and Return group
(_e.g._, Perseus, Cu-Chulaind, and Taliesin), but present otherwise very
nearly the same incidents as Grimm. The second of the Italian versions has
the miraculous conception opening so characteristic of this group of
folk-tales, and of the allied formula group, the attainment of riches
consequent upon eating the heart of a sea dragon, the tournament incident
(though without the disguise of the hero), the stag hunt, wherein the
stag, an inimical wizard haunting the wood, is a cannibal and keeps the
captured hero for eating. In the story of the delivery by the second
brother, the separating sword incident occurs. The first version opens
with what is apparently a distorted and weakened form of the hero's
clearing a haunted house of its diabolical inmates (_see_ _infra_ Ch.
VII., Gawain) and then follows very closely Grimm's Two Brothers, save
that the alluring witch is young and fair, the whole tale being made to
point the moral, "more luck than wit." Straparola, _a_ 3, is a variant of
the dragon fight incident alone. It is impossible not to be struck by the
fact that in this widely spread group of tales are to be found some of the
most characteristic incidents of the Perceval and allied Great Fool group.
The only version, however, which brings the two groups into formal contact
is O'Daly's form of the Great Fool.

[79] The brother feature appears likewise in Wolfram von Eschenbach, where
Parzival's final and hardest struggle is against the unknown brother, as
the Great Fool's is against the Gruagach. This may be added to other
indications that Wolfram _did_ have some other version before him besides

[80] I cannot but think that these words have connection with the incident
in the English Sir Perceval of the hero's throwing into the flames and
thus destroying his witch enemy.

[81] I must refer to my Mabinogion Studies, I. Branwen for a discussion of
the relation of this tale with Branwen and with the Teutonic Heldensage.

[82] Another parallel is afforded by the tale of Conall Gulban (Campbell,
III., 274). Conall, stretched wounded on the field, sees "when night grew
dark a great Turkish carlin, and she had a white glaive of light with
which she could see seven miles behind her and seven miles before her; and
she had a flask of balsam carrying it." The dead men are brought to life
by having three drops of balsam put into their mouths. The hero wins both
flask and glaive.

[83] _Cf._ my Branwen for remarks on the mythological aspect of the
ballad. It should be noted that most of the ballads traditionally current
in the Highlands are of semi-literary origin, _i.e._, would seem to go
back to the compositions of mediæval Irish bards, who often sprinkled over
the native tradition a profusion of classical and historical names. I do
not think the foreign influence went farther than the "names" of some
personages, and such as it is is more at work in the ballads than in the

[84] This may seem to conflict with the statement made above (p. 145),
that the Mabinogi probably took over the maimed uncle from Chrestien. But
there were in all probability several forms of the story; that hinted at
in Chrestien and found in Manessier had its probable counterpart in Celtic
tradition as well as that found in Gerbert. It is hardly possible to
determine what was the form found in the proto-Mabinogi, the possibility
of its having been exactly the same as that of Gerbert is in no way
affected by the fact that the Mabinogi, as we now have it, has in this
respect been influenced by Chrestien. Meanwhile Birch-Hirschfeld's
hypothesis that Gerbert's section of the Conte du Graal is an
interpolation between Gautier and Manessier is laid open to grave doubt.
It is far more likely that Gerbert's work was an independent and original
attempt to provide an ending for Chrestien's unfinished poem, and that he
had before him a different version of the original from that used by
Gautier and Manessier.

[85] It occurs also in Peredur (Inc. 16), where the hero comes to the
Castle of the Youths, who, fighting every day against the Addanc of the
Cave, are each day slain, and each day brought to life by being anointed
in a vessel of warm water and with precious balsam.

[86] For the second time, if Gerbert's continuation be really intended for
our present text of Gautier, and if Potvin's summary of Gerbert is to be
relied upon; Birch-Hirschfeld seemingly differs from him here, and makes
the King at once mention the flaw.

[87] It may be worth notice that v. 35,473 is the same as Chrestien, v.

[88] It is evident that, although in the MS. in which this version is
found it is followed by Manessier's section, the poem was intended by
Gerbert to end here.

[89] Told at other times, and notably by Gautier himself (Inc. 21), of
Perceval, where the feature of a dead knight lying on the altar is added.

[90] According to the Montpellier MS., which here agrees substantially
with Potvin's text (the Mons MS.), this is Gauvain's second visit to the
Grail Castle. At his first visit he had been subjected to the sword test
and had slept. The mystic procession is made up as follows:--Squire with
lance; maidens with plate; two squires with candlesticks; fair maiden
weeping, in her hands a "graal;" four squires with the bier, on which lies
the knight and the broken sword. Gauvain would fain learn about these
things, but is bidden first to make the sword whole. On his failure he is

  Vous n'avez par encore tant fet
  D'armes, que vous doiez savoir, etc.,

and then goes to sleep. His awakening finds him in a marsh.

[91] It may be conjectured that the magic vessel which preserves to this
enchanted folk the semblance of life passes into the hero's possession
when he asks about it, and that deprived of it their existence comes to an
end, as would that of the Anses without the Apples of Iduna. I put this
into a note, as I have no evidence in support of the theory. But read in
the light of this conjecture some hitherto unnoticed legend may supply the
necessary link of testimony.

[92] Nearly all the objections to the view suggested in the text may be
put aside as due to insufficient recognition of the extent to which the
two formulas have been mingled, but there is one which seems to me of real
moment. The wasting of the land which I have looked upon as belonging to
the unspelling formula, is traced by the Queste to the blow struck by King
Lambar against King Urlain, a story which, as we have seen, is very
similar to that which forms the groundwork of one at least of the models
followed by the Conte du Graal in its version of the feud quest. It does
not seem likely that the Queste story is a mere echo of that found in the
Conte du Graal, nor that the fusion existed so far back as in a model
common to both. But the second alternative is possible.

[93] I do not follow M. Hucher upon the (as it seems to me) very insecure
ground of Gaulish numismatic art. The object which he finds figured in
pre-Christian coins may be a cauldron--and it may not--and even if it is a
cauldron it may have no such significance as he ascribes to it.

[94] _Cf._ as to Lug D'Arbois de Jubainville, Cycle Mythologique
Irlandais; Paris, 1884, p. 178. He was revered by all Celtic races, and
has left his trace in the name of several towns, chief among them
Lug-dunum = Lyons. In so far as the Celts had departmental gods, he was
the god of handicraft and trade; but _cf._ as to this Rhys, Hibb. Lect.,
p. 427-28.

[95] _Cf._ D'Arbois de Jubainville, _op. cit._, p. 269-290. The Dagda--the
good god--seems to have been head of the Irish Olympus. A legend anterior
to the eleventh century, and belonging probably to the oldest stratum of
Celtic myth, ascribes to him power over the earth: without his aid the
sons of Miledh could get neither corn nor milk. It is, therefore, no
wonder to find him possessor of the magic cauldron, which may be looked
upon as a symbol of fertility, and, as such, akin to similar symbols in
the mythology of nearly every people.

[96] _Cf._ as to the mythic character of the Tuatha de Danann, D'Arbois de
Jubainville, _op. cit._, and my review of his work, Folk-Lore Journal,
June, 1884.

[97] I at one time thought that the prohibition to reveal the "secret
words," which is such an important element in Robert de Borron's version,
might be referred to the same myth-root as the instances in the text.
There is little or no evidence to sustain such a hazardous hypothesis.
Nevertheless it is worth while drawing attention in this place to that
prohibition, for which I can offer no adequate explanation.

[98] Powers of darkness and death. Tethra their king reigns in an island
home. It is from thence that the maiden comes to lure away Connla of the
Golden Hair, as is told in the Leabhar na-h-Uidhre, even as the Grail
messenger comes to seek Perceval--"'tis a land in which is neither death
nor old age--a plain of never ending pleasure," the counterpart, in fact,
of that Avalon to which Arthur is carried off across the lake by the fay
maiden, that Avalon which, as we see in Robert de Borron, was the earliest
home of the Grail-host.

[99] _Cf._ D'Arbois de Jubainville, _op. cit._ p. 188.

[100] When Cuchulainn was opposing the warriors of Ireland in their
invasion of Ulster one of his feats is to make smooth chariot-poles out of
rough branches of trees by passing them through his clenched hand, so that
however bent and knotted they were they came from his hands even,
straight, and smooth. _Tain bo Cualgne_, quoted by Windisch, Rev. Celt.,
Vol. V.

[101] This epithet recalls Lug, of whom it is the stock designation. Now
Lug was _par excellence_ the craftsman's god; he, too, at the battle of
Mag Tured acted as a sort of armourer-general to the Tuatha de Danann. A
dim reminiscence of this may be traced in the words which the folk-tale
applies to Ullamh l.f., "he was the one special man for taking their

[102] _Cf._ my Aryan Expulsion and Return formula, pp. 8, 13, for variants
of these incidents in other stories belonging to this cycle and in the
allied folk-tales.

[103] This incident is only found in the living Fionn-_sage_, being absent
from all the older versions, and yet, as the comparison with the allied
Perceval sage shows, it is an original and essential feature. How do the
advocates of the theory that the Ossianic cycle is a recent mass of
legend, growing out of the lives and circumstances of historical men,
account for this development along the lines of a formula with which, _ex
hypothesi_, the legend has nothing to do? The Fionn-_sage_, it is said,
has been doctored in imitation of the Cuchulainn-_sage_, but the assertion
(which though boldly made has next to no real foundation) cannot be made
in the case of the Conte du Graal. Mediæval Irish bards and unlettered
Highland peasants did not conspire together to make Fionn's adventures
agree with those of Perceval.

[104] In the Gawain form of the feud quest found in Gautier, the knight
whose death he sets forth to avenge is slain by the cast of a dart. Can
this be brought into connection with the fact that Perceval slays with a
cast of his dart the Red Knight, who, according to the Thornton romance,
is his father's slayer.

[105] This prose tale precedes an oral version of one of the commonest
Fenian poems, which in its present shape obviously goes back to the days
when the Irish were fighting against Norse invaders. The poem, which still
lives in Ireland as well as in the Highlands, belongs to that later stage
of development of the Fenian cycle, in which Fionn and his men are
depicted as warring against the Norsemen. It is totally dissimilar from
the prose story summarised above, and I am inclined to look upon the prose
as belonging to a far earlier stage in the growth of the cycle, a stage in
which the heroes were purely mythical and their exploits those of mythical
heroes generally.

[106] The prohibition seems to be an echo of the widely-spread one which
forbids the visitor to the otherworld tasting the food of the dead, which,
if he break, he is forfeit to the shades. The most famous instance of this
myth is that of Persephone.

[107] _Cf._ Procopius quoted by Elton, Origins of English History, p. 84.

[108] Prof. Rhys, Hibbert Lectures for 1886, looks upon him as a Celtic
Zeus. He dispossessed his father of the Brug by fraud, as Zeus
dispossessed Kronos by force.

[109] D'Arbois de Jubainville, _op. cit._, p. 275. Rhys, _op. cit._, p.

[110] M. Duvau, Revue Celtique, Vol. IX., No. 1, has translated the
varying versions of the story.

[111] Like many of the older Irish tales the present form is confused and
obscure, but it is easy to arrive at the original.

[112] The part in brackets is found in one version only of the story. Of
the two versions each has retained certain archaic features not to be
found in the other.

[113] Summarised by D'Arbois de Jubainville, _op. cit._, p. 323.

[114] D'Arbois de Jubainville, p. 326.

[115] Otto Küpp, Z.f.D. Phil. xvii, i, 68, examining Wolfram's version
sees in the branch guarded by Gramoflanz and broken by Parzival a trace of
the original myth underlying the story. Gramoflanz is connected with the
Magic Castle (one of the inmates of which is his sister), or with the
otherworld. Küpp's conjecture derives much force from the importance given
to the branch in the Irish tales as part of the gear of the otherworld.

[116] This recalls the fact that Oengus of the Brug fell in love with a
swanmaid. See text and translation Revue Celtique, Vol. III., pp. 341,
_et. seq._ The story is alluded to in the catalogue of epic tales (dating
from the tenth century) found in the Book of Leinster.

[117] In a variant from Kashmir (Knowles' Folk-tales of Kashmir, London,
1888, p. 75, _et. seq._), Saiyid and Said, this tale is found embedded in
a twin-brethren one.

[118] Frederick (I.) Barbarossa is a mistake, as old as the seventeenth
century (_cf._ Koch, Sage vom Kaiser Friedrich in Kyffhäuser, Leipzig,
1886), for Frederick II., the first German Emperor of whom the legend was
told. The mistake was caused by the fact that Frederick took the place of
a German red-bearded god, probably Thor, hence the later identification
with the _red-bearded_ Frederick, instead of with that great opponent of
the Papacy whose death away in Italy the German party refused for many
years to credit.

[119] Unless the passage relating to Carl the Great quoted by Grimm (D.M.,
III., 286) from Mon. Germ. Hist., Vol. VIII., 215, "inde fabulosum illud
confictum de Carolo Magno, quasi de mortuis in id ipsum resuscitato, et
alio nescio quo nihilominus redivivo," be older.

[120] Liebrecht's edition of the Otia Imperialia, Hanover, 1856, p. 12,
and note p. 55.

[121] Martin Zur Gralsage, p. 31, arguing from the historical connection
of Frederick II. with Sicily, thinks that the localisation of this
Arthurian legend in that isle was the reason of its being associated with
the Hohenstauffen; in other words, the famous German legend would be an
indirect offshot of the Arthurian cycle. I cannot follow Martin here. I
see no reason for doubting the genuineness of the traditions collected by
Kuhn and Schwartz, or for disbelieving that Teutons had this myth as well
as Celts. It is no part of my thesis to exalt Celtic tradition at the
expense of German; almost all the parallels I have adduced between the
romances and Celtic mythology and folk-lore could be matched from those of
Germany. But the romances are historically associated with Celtic
tradition, and the parallels found in the latter are closer and more
numerous than those which could be recovered from German tradition. It is,
therefore, the most simple course to refer the romances to the former
instead of to the latter.

[122] See Grimm, D.M., Ch. XXXII.; Fitzgerald, Rev. Celt., IV., 198; and
the references in Liebrecht, _op. cit._

[123] Personally communicated by the Rev. Mr. Sorby, of Sheffield.

[124] In Chrestien the part of the Magician Lord is little insisted upon.
But in Wolfram he is a very important personage. It may here be noted that
the effects which are to follow in Chrestien the doing away with the
enchantments of this Castle, answer far more accurately to the description
given by the loathly Grail-Maiden of the benefits which would have accrued
had Perceval put the question at the Court of the Fisher King than to
anything actually described as the effect of that question being put,
either by Gautier, Manessier, or Gerbert. This castle seems, too, to be
the one in which lodge the Knights, each having his lady love with him,
which the loathly maiden announces to be her home.

[125] Kennedy follows in the main Oss. Soc., Vol. II, pp. 118, _et. seq._,
an eighteenth century version translated by Mr. O'Kearney. This particular
episode is found, pp. 147, _et. seq._ I follow the Oss. Soc. version in
preference to Kennedy's where they differ.

[126] The story as found in Heinrich may be compared with the folk-tale of
the Sleeping Beauty. She is a maiden sunk in a death-in-life sleep
together with all her belongings until she be awakened by the kiss of the
destined prince. May we not conjecture that in an older form of the story
than any we now possess, the court of the princess vanished when the
releasing kiss restored her to real life and left her alone with the
prince? The comparison has this further interest, that the folk-tale is a
variant of an old myth which figures prominently in the hero-tales of the
Teutonic race (Lay of Skirni, Lay of Swipday and Menglad, Saga of Sigurd
and Brunhild), and that in its most famous form Siegfried, answering in
Teutonic myth to Fionn, is its hero. But Peredur is a Cymric Fionn, so
that the parallel between the two heroes, Celtic and Teutonic, is closer
than at first appears when Siegfried is compared only to his Gaelic

[127] I have not examined Gawain's visit to the Magic Castle in detail, in
the first place because it only bears indirectly upon the Grail-Quest, and
then because I hope before very long to study the personality of Gawain in
the romances, and to throw light upon it from Celtic mythic tradition in
the same way that I have tried in the foregoing pages to do in the case of

[128] Kennedy, Legendary Fictions, p. 154, _et. seq._

[129] Grimm, Vol. III., p. 9 (note to Märchen von einem der auszog das
Fürchten zu lernen), gives a number of variants. It should be noted that
in this story there is the same mixture of incidents of the Magic Castle
and Haunted Castle forms as in the romances. Moreover, one of the trials
to which the hero's courage is subjected is the bringing into the room of
a coffin in which lies a dead man, just as in Gawain's visit to the Grail
Castle. Again, as Grimm notes, but mistakenly refers to Perceval instead
of to Gawain, the hero has to undergo the adventures of the magic bed,
which, when he lays himself down in it, dashes violently about through the
castle and finally turns topsy turvy. In connection with this story, and
with the whole series of mythical conceptions noted in the Grail romances,
Chapter XXXII. of the Deutsche Mythologie deserves careful study. Grimm
compares Conduiramur's (Blanchefleur's) nightly visit to Percival's
chamber to the appearance at the bedside of the delivering hero of that
white maiden, who is so frequently figured as the inmate of the Haunted
Castle. As niece of the Lord of the Grail Castle, Blanchefleur is also a
denizen of the otherworld, but I hardly think that the episode of
Perceval's delivering her from her enemies can be looked upon as a version
of the removal of the spells of the Haunted Castle. In a recent number of
the Revue des Traditions Populaires (III., p. 103), there is a good Breton
version of the Bespelled Castle sunk under the waves. A fair princess is
therein held captive; once a year the waves part and permit access, and he
who is bold enough to seize the right moment wins princess and castle,
which are restored to earth.

[130] Whether it be the Castle of the Fisher King, _i.e._, the Castle of
the Perceval Quest; or the Magic Castle, _i.e._, the Castle of the Gawain

[131] For fuller information about this mysterious fish, see Rhys, Hibbert
Lectures, pp. 553-54.

[132] In an already quoted tale of Campbell's (LVIII., the Rider of
Grianaig) allusion is made to the "black fisherman working at his tricks."
Campbell remarks that a similar character appears in other tales. Can this
wizard fisher be brought into contact with the Rich Fisher of
Pseudo-Chrestien (_supra_, p. 8), who knew much of black art, and could
change his semblance a hundred times?

[133] Complete text, edited by Kuno Meyer, Revue Celt., Vol. V. Major
portion of text with English translation by Dr. J. O'Donovan, Oss. Soc.,
Vol. IV. The tract as a whole is only known to us from a fifteenth century
MS.; but the earlier portion of it appears in the L.n.H., in a strongly
euhemerised form, only such incidents being admitted as could be presented
historically, and these being divested of all supernatural character. See
my paper, "Folk-Lore Record," Vol. IV., for a discussion of the genuine
and early character of the tract.

[134] A reason for this concealment may be found in the idea, so
frequently met with in a certain stage of human development, that the name
is an essential portion of the personality, and must not be mentioned,
especially to possible enemies or to beings possessed of magical powers,
lest they should make hurtful use of it.

[135] _Cf._ the whole of the Book of Rights for an exemplification of the
way in which the pre-Christian Irishman was hedged and bound and fettered
by this amazingly complicated system of what he might and what he might
not do.

[136] They offer him dog's-flesh cooked on rowan spits, and, it has been
conjectured that the _gess_ has a totemistic basis, Culann's Hound
(Cuchulainn) being forbidden to partake of the flesh of his totem.

[137] It is only within the last 100 years that our knowledge of savage
and semi-savage races has furnished us with a parallel to the "geasa" in
the "taboo" of the Polynesian. I am not advancing too much in the
statement that this institution, although traces of it exist among all
Aryan races, had not the same importance among any as among the Irish
Gael. It is another proof of the primitive character of Irish social life,
a character which may, perhaps, be ascribed to the assimilation by the
invading Celts of the beliefs and practices of much ruder races.

[138] Mr. Elton (Origins, pp. 291, 292) looks upon Bran and Caradoc as
original war gods. Caradoc, he thinks, was confounded with Caractacus,
Bran with Brennus, and hence the two personages were sent to Rome in
imitation of the presumed historical prototypes.

[139] Kynddelw's triad does not really refer to the "blessed" families at
all, but to the "faithful" or "loyal" families. Stephen's mistake arose
from the fact of the name Madawc occurring in two sets of triads, one
relating to the "lordly" families of Britain in which the family of Llyr
Llediath also figures, and one to the faithful families. In both triads
the name is probably a mistake for Mabon. (Note communicated by Professor

I let the statement in the text stand, to exhort myself and others to that
fear of trusting authorities which in scholarship is the beginning of

[140] Professor Rhys tells me this passage can only mean "Blessed Bran's

[141] Mr. Ward endorses Zarncke's contention. According to him there is no
trace of any connection between Joseph and the evangelisation of Britain
which can be said to be older than the romances. The statements of the "De
ant. eccl. Glast." are, he thinks, no guide to the knowledge or opinions
of William of Malmesbury.

[142] I may here notice a theory to which my attention has only just been
called. It is found cited in a work of great research, _Die Fronica_, by
Professor Karl Pearson, Strassburg, 1887. The author quotes an opinion of
Mr. Jenner, of the British Museum, that the head in the platter of the
Mabinogi may be derived from a Veronica portrait. Professor Pearson
expresses doubt, because such a procession of the Veronica portrait and
the Passion Instruments as the scene in the Mabinogi would, _ex
hypothesi_, imply is not known to him before the fourteenth century,
whereas the Mabinogi must be attributed, at latest, to the middle of the
thirteenth century. Mr. H. L. D. Ward informs me that the suggestion was
his. Noting the connection of the Veronica and Grail legends, testified to
by Borron, it occurred to him that the whole scene at the Wounded King's
might be derived from the former legends. The Wounded King, healed by the
Grail, would thus be a counterpart of the leprous Vespasian healed by the
Veronica portrait, which some wandering "jongleur" turned boldly into an
actual head. But it must be noted that in Borron, our authority for the
connection of the two legends, there is no Wounded King at all; in the
Conte du Graal the Maimed King is not healed by any special talisman, but
by the death of his enemy, the visible sign of which is that enemy's head,
whilst in the "procession" (which Mr. Ward thinks to have been intended as
a vision), the Grail is certainly a vessel, and has no connection whatever
with any head or portrait. The theory thus requires that the version which
gives the oldest form of the hypothetical remodelled Veronica legend
omitted the very feature which was its sole _raison d'être_.

[143] Mr. Ward thinks the localisation a late one, and that practically
there is no authority for it of an older date than the romances. He points
out in especial that Geoffrey's Vita Merlini, which has so much to say
about the "insula pomorum" in no way connects it with Glastonbury. There
is considerable doubt as the etymology of Glastonbury, but there is
substantial unanimity of opinion among Celtic scholars of the present day
in referring it to a Celtic rather than to a Saxon source. Be this as it
may, the fact remains that at sometime in the course of the twelfth
century the old Christian site of Glastonbury took, as it were, the place
of the Celtic paradise, and it seems far more likely that the
transformation was effected in virtue of some local tradition than wholly
through the medium of foreign romances.

[144] The pre-Christian Irish annals, which are for the most part
euhemerised mythology, contain also a certain amount of race history; thus
the struggle between the powers of light and darkness typified by the
antagonism between Tuatha de Danann and Fomori, is doubled by that between
the fair invading Celts and the short dark aborigines. But the latter has
only left the barest trace of its existence in the national sagas. Not
until we come to that secondary stage of the Fenian saga, which must have
been shaped in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and which represents
the Fenians as warring against the harrying Northmen, does the foreign
element reappear in Irish tradition.

[145] The Tochmarc Emer, or the Wooing of Emer by Cuchullain, has been
translated by Professor Kuno Meyer in the Archæological Review, Nos. 1-4
(London, 1888). The original text is found partly in the Leabhar na
h-Uidhre, partly in later MSS.

[146] The fate of the Sons of Usnech is known to us in two main
redactions, one found in the Book of Leinster (compiled in the middle of
the twelfth century from older MS.) printed by Windisch, Irische Texte
(first series) pp. 67-82, and translated by M. Poinsignon, Revue des
Traditions Populaires, III, pp. 201-207. A text printed and translated by
J. O'Flanagan (Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin, 1808, pp.
146-177), agrees substantially with this. The second redaction has only
been found in later MSS. Mr. Whitley Stokes has given text and translation
from a fifteenth century MS. (Irische Texte, II. 2, pp. 109-178), and
O'Flanagan has edited a very similar version (_loc. cit._ pp. 16-135).
This second version is fuller and more romantic; in it alone is to be
found Deirdre's lament on leaving Scotland, one of the earliest instances
in post-classic literature of personal sympathy with Nature.

But the earlier version, though it bear like so much else in the oldest
Irish MS. obvious traces of abridgment and euhemerism, is also full of the
most delicate romantic touches. Part of Deirdre's lament over the slain
Noisi may be paraphrased thus:--"Fair one, loved one, flower of beauty;
beloved, upright and strong; beloved, noble and modest warrior. When we
wandered through the woods of Ireland, sweet with thee was the night's
sleep! Fair one, blue-eyed, beloved of thy wife, lovely to me at the
trysting place came thy clear voice through the woods. I cannot sleep;
half the night my spirit wanders far among throngs of men. I cannot eat or
smile. Break not to-day my heart; soon enough shall I lie within my grave.
Strong are the waves of the sea, but stronger is sorrow, Conchobor."

[147] M. Renan's article "De la Poésie des Races Celtiques" (Revue des
Deux Mondes, 1854, pp. 473-506) only came into my hands after the bulk of
this chapter was printed, or I should hardly have dared to state in my own
words those conclusions in which we agree. It may be useful to indicate
those points in which I think this suggestive essay no longer represents
the present state of knowledge. When M. Renan wrote, the nature of popular
tradition had been little investigated in France--hence a tendency to
attribute solely to the Celtic genius what is common to all popular
tradition. Little or nothing was then known in France of early Irish
history or literature--hence the wild, primitive character of Celtic
civilization is ignored. The "bardic" literature of Wales was still
assigned wholesale to the age of its alleged authors--hence a false
estimate of the relations between the profane and ecclesiastical writings
of the Welsh. Finally the three Mabinogion (The Lady of the Fountain,
Geraint, Peredur), which correspond to poems of Chrestien's, are
unhesitatingly accepted as their originals. The influence of Welsh fiction
in determining the courtly and refined nature of mediæval romance is, in
consequence, greatly exaggerated. It is much to be wished that M. Renan
would give us another review of Celtic literature based on the work of the
last thirty years. His lucid and sympathetic criticism would be most
welcome in a department of study which has been rather too exclusively
left to the specialist.

[148] Malory is a wonderful example of the power of style. He is a most
unintelligent compiler. He frequently chooses out of the many versions of
the legend, the longest, most wearisome, and least beautiful; his own
contributions to the story are beneath contempt as a rule. But his
language is exactly what it ought to be, and his has remained in
consequence the classic English version of the Arthur story.

[149] See p. 112 for a brief summary of Borron's conception; Sin the cause
of want among the people; the separation of the pure from the impure by
means of the fish (symbol of Christ); punishment of the self-willed false
disciple; reward of Brons by charge of the Grail; symbolising of the
Trinity by the three tables and three Grail Keepers.

[150] The greater delicacy of the Welsh tale has already been noted. "To
make him such a offer before I am wooed by him, that, truly, can I not
do," says the counterpart of Blanchefleur in the Mabinogi. "Go my sister
and sleep," answers Peredur, "nor will I depart from thee until I do that
which thou requirest." I cannot help looking upon the prominence which the
Welsh story-teller has given to this scene as his protest against the
strange and to him repulsive ways of knightly love. The older, mythic
nature of Peredur's beloved, who might woo without forfeiting womanly
modesty, in virtue of her goddesshood, had died away in the narrator's
mind, the new ideal of courtly passion had not won acceptance from him.

[151] The perplexities which beset the modern reader of the Queste are
reflected in the Laureate's retelling of the legend. Nowhere else in the
Idylls has he departed so widely from his model. Much of the incident is
due to him, and replaces with advantage the nauseous disquisitions upon
chastity which occupy so large a space in the Queste. The artist's
instinct, rather than the scholar's respect for the oldest form of the
story, led him to practically restore Perceval to his rightful place as
hero of the quest. _His_ fortunes we can follow with an interest that
passing shadow, Galahad, wholly fails to evoke. Nor, as may easily be
seen, is the fundamental conception of the twelfth century romance to the
Laureate's taste. Arthur is his ideal of manhood, and Arthur's energies
are practical and human in aim and in execution. What the "blameless king"
speaks when he first learns of the quest represents, we may guess, the
author's real attitude towards the whole fantastic business.

It is much to be regretted by all lovers of English poetry that Hawker's
Quest of the Sangraal was never completed. The first and only chant is a
magnificent fragment; with the exception of the Laureate's Sir Galahad,
the finest piece of pure literature in the cycle. Hawker, alone, perhaps
of moderns, could have kept the mediæval tone and spirit, and yet brought
the Quest into contact with the needs and ideas of to-day.

[152] _Cf._ Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, II, 811, and his references.

[153] The ideas held by many peoples in a primitive stage of culture
respecting virginity are worthy careful study. Some physiological basis
may be found for them in the phenomena of hysteria, which must necessarily
have appeared to such peoples evidences of divine or demoniac possession,
and at that stage are hardly likely to have been met with save among
unmarried women. In the French witch trials these phenomena are often
presented by nuns, in whose case they were probably the outcome of a life
at once celibate and inactive. On the other hand the persons accused of
witchcraft were as a rule of the most abandoned character, and it is a,
morally speaking, degraded class which has furnished Professor Charcot and
his pupils with the subjects in whom they have identified all the
phenomena that confront the student of witch trials.

[154] Domanig, Parzival-Studien, I, II, 1878-80.

[155] San-Marte, Parzival-Studien, I-III, 1861-63.

[156] Some readers may be anxious to read Wolfram's work to whom
twelfth-century German would offer great difficulties. A few words on the
translation into modern German may, therefore, not be out of place.
San-Marte's original translation (1839-41) is full of gross blunders and
mistranslations, and, what is worse, of passages foisted into the text to
support the translator's own interpretation of the poem as a whole.
Simrock's, which followed, is extremely close, but difficult and
unpleasing. San Marte's second edition, corrected from Simrock, is a great
advance upon the first; but even here the translator has too often allowed
his own gloss to replace Wolfram's statement. A thoroughly faithful yet
pleasing rendering is a desideratum.

[157] J. Van Santen, Zur Beurtheilung Wolfram von Eschenbach, Wesel, 1882,
has attacked Wolfram for his acceptance of the morality of the day, and
has, on that ground, denied him any ethical or philosophic merit. The
pamphlet is useful for its references, but otherwise worthless. The fact
that Wolfram does accept _Minnedienst_ only gives greater value to his
picture of a nobler and purer ideal of love, whilst to refuse recognition
of his other qualities on this account is much as who should deny Dante's
claim to be regarded as a teacher and thinker because of his acceptance of
the hideous mediæval hell.

[158] In the Geheimnisse Goethe shows some slight trace of the Parzival
legend, and the words in which the teaching of the poem are summed up:
"Von der Gewalt, die alle Wesen bindet, Befreit _der_ Mensch sich der sich
überwindet," may be looked upon as an eighteenth century rendering of
Wolfram's conception.

[159] We may here note an admirable example of the inevitable, spontaneous
character of the growth of certain conceptions, especially of such as have
been partly shaped by the folk-mind. There is nothing in Wolfram or in the
French romances to show that the fortunes of the loathly damsel (Wagner's
Kundry) are in any way bound up with the success of the Quest. But we have
seen that the Celtic folk-tales represent the loathly damsel as the real
protagonist of the story. She cannot be freed unless the hero do his task.
Precisely the same situation as in Wagner, who was thus led back to the
primitive _donnée_, although he can only have known intermediary stages in
which its signification had been quite lost.

[160] _Cf._ the reproaches addressed to Potter Thompson (_supra_, p. 198).
That the visitor to the Bespelled Castle should be reproached, at once,
for his failure to do as he ought, seems to be a feature of the earliest
forms of the story. _Cf._ Campbell's Three Soldiers (_supra_, p. 196). If
Wolfram had another source than Chrestien it was one which partook more of
the unspelling than of the feud quest formula. Hence the presence of the
feature here.

[161] In Wolfram's work there is a much closer connection between the
Gawain quest and the remainder of the poem than in Chrestien.
Orgueilleuse, to win whose love Gawain accomplishes his feats, is a former
love of Amfortas, the Grail King, who won for her a rich treasure and was
wounded in her service. Klinschor, too, the lord of the Magic Castle, is
brought into contact with Orgueilleuse, whom he helps against Gramoflanz.
It is difficult to say whether this testifies to an earlier or later stage
of growth of the legend. The winning of Orgueilleuse as the consequence of
accomplishing the feat of the Ford Perillous and plucking the branch is
strongly insisted upon by Wolfram and not mentioned by Chrestien, though
it is possible he might have intended to wed the two had he finished his
poem. In this respect, however, and taking these two works as they stand,
Wolfram's account seems decidedly the earlier. In another point, too, he
seems to have preserved the older form. Besides his Kundrie la Sorcière
(the loathly damsel) he has a Kundrie la Belle, whom I take to be the
loathly damsel released from the transforming spell.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

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