(Vv. 6777-6798.) My lord Yvain hears and understands that his cause is going well, and that he will be peacefully reconciled with her. So he says: "Lady, one ought to have mercy on a sinner. I have had to pay, and dearly to pay, for my mad act. It was madness that made me stay away, and I now admit my guilt and sin. I have been bold, indeed, in daring to present myself to you; but if you will deign to keep me now, I never again shall do you any wrong." She replied: "I will surely consent to that; for if I did not do all I could to establish peace between you and me, I should be guilty of perjury. So, if you please, I grant your request." "Lady," says he, "so truly as God in this mortal life could not otherwise restore me to happiness, so may the Holy Spirit bless me five hundred times!"
(Vv. 6799-6813.) Now my lord Yvain is reconciled, and you may believe that, in spite of the trouble he has endured, he was never so happy for anything. All has turned out well at last; for he is beloved and treasured by his lady, and she by him. His troubles no longer are in his mind; for he forgets them all in the joy he feels with his precious wife. And Lunete, for her part, is happy too: all her desires are satisfied when once she had made an enduring peace between my polite lord Yvain and his sweetheart so dear and so elegant.
(Vv. 6814-6818.) Thus Chretien concludes his romance of the Knight with the Lion; for I never heard any more told of it, nor will you ever hear any further particulars, unless some one wishes to add some lies.
ENDNOTES: NOTE: Endnotes supplied by Prof. Foerster are indicated by "(F.)"; all other endnotes are supplied by W.W. Comfort.
(1) "cele feste, qui tant coste, Qu'an doit clamer la pantecoste." This rhyme is frequently met in mediaeval narrative poems. (F.) (2) The contemporary degeneracy of lovers and of the art of love is a favourite theme of mediaeval poets. (3) Cf. "Roman de la Rose", 9661, for the stinking manure pit. (F.) (4) The forest of Broceliande is in Brittany, and in it Chretien places the marvellous spring of Barenton, of which we read in the sequel. In his version the poet forgets that the sea separates the court at Carduel from the forest of Broceliande. His readers, however, probably passed over this "lapsus". The most famous passage relating to this forest and its spring is found in Wace, "Le Roman de Rou et des dues de Normandie", vv. 6395-6420, 2 vols. (Heilbronn, 1877-79). Cf. further the informing note by W.L. Holland, "Chretien von Troies", p. 152 f. (Tubingen, 1854). (5) This grotesque portrait of the "vilain" is perfectly conventional in aristocratic poetry, and is also applied to some Saracens in the epic poems. Cf. W.W. Comfort in "Pub. of the Modern Language Association of America", xxi. 494 f., and in "The Dublin Review", July 1911. (6) For the description of the magic fountain, cf. W.A. Nitze, "The Fountain Defended" in "Modern Philology", vii. 145-164; G.L. Hamilton, "Storm-making Springs", etc., in "Romantic Review", ii. 355-375; A.F. Grimme in "Germania", xxxiii. 38; O.M. Johnston in "Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association", xxxiii., p. lxxxiii. f. (7) Eugen Kolbing, "Christian von Troyes Yvain und die Brandanuslegende" in "Ztsch. fur vergleichende Literaturgeschichte" (Neue Folge, xi. Brand, 1897), pp. 442- 448, has pointed out other striking allusions in the Latin "Navigatio S. Brandans" (ed. Wahlund, Upsala, 1900) and elsewhere in Celtic legend to trees teeming with singing birds, in which the souls of the blessed are incorporated. A more general reference to trees, animated by the souls of the dead, is found in J.G. Frazer, "The Golden Bough" (2nd ed. 1900), vol. I., p. 178 f. (8) Cf. A. Tobler in "Ztsch. fur romanische Philologie", iv. 80- 85, who gives many other instances of boasting after meals. See next note. (9) Noradin is the Sultan Nureddin Mahmud (reigned 1146-1173), a contemporary of the poet; Forre is a legendary Saracen king of Naples, mentioned in the epic poems (cf. E. Langlois, "Table des noms propres de toute nature compris dans les chansons de geste", Paris, 1904; Albert Counson, "Noms epiques entres dans le vocabulaire commun" in "Romanische Forschungen", xxiii. 401-413). These names are mentioned here in connection with the brave exploits which Christian knights, while in their cups, may boast that they will accomplish (F.). This practice of boasting was called indulging in "gabs" (=Eng. "gab"), a good instance of which will be found in "Le Voyage de Charlemagne a Jeruslaem" (ed. Koschwitz), v. 447 ff. (10) It is evident in this passage that Chretien's version is not clear; the reader cannot be sure in what sort of an apartment Yvain is secreted. The passage is perfectly clear, however, in the Welsh "Owein", as shown by A.C.L. Brown in "Romanic Review", iii. 143-172, "On the Independent Character of the Welsh `Owain'", where he argues convincingly for an original older than either the extant French of Welsh versions. (11) The damsel's surprise and fright at the sight of Yvain, which puzzled Professor Foerster, is satisfactorily explained by J. Acher in "Ztsch. fur franzosische Sprache und Literatur", xxxv. 150. (12) For magic rings, cf. A. Hertel, "Verzauberte Oertlichkeiten", etc. (Hanover, 1908); D.B. Easter, "The Magic Elements in the romans d'aventure and the romans bretons" (Baltimore, 1906). (13) Much has been written on the widespread belief that a dead person's wounds would bleed afresh in the presence of his murderer. The passage in our text is interesting as being the earliest literary reference to the belief. Other instances will be found in Shakespear ("King Richard III., Act. I., Sc. 2), Cervantes ("Don Quixote"), Scott ("Ballads"), and Schiller ("Braut von Messina"). In the 15th and 16th centuries especially, the bleeding of the dead became in Italy, Germany, France, and Spain an absolute or contributory proof of guilt in the eyes of the law. The suspected culprit might be subjected to this ordeal as part of the inquisitional method to determine guilt. For theories of the origin of this belief and of its use in legal trials, as well as for more extended bibliography, cf. Karl Lehmann in "Germanistische Abhandlungen fur Konrad von Maurer" (Gottingen, 1893), pp. 21-45; C.V. Christensen, "Baareproven" (Copenhagen, 1900). (14) W.L. Holland in his note for this passage recalls Schiller's "Jungfrau von Orleans", Act III. Sc. 7, and Shakespeare, first part of "King Henry IV.", Act V. Sc. 4: "When that this body did contain a spirit, A kingdom for it was too small a bound; But now two paces of the vilest earth Is room enough." (15) Foerster regards this excuse for Kay's defeat as ironical. (16) It is hoped that the following passage may have retained in the translation some of the gay animation which clothes this description of a royal entry into a mediaeval town. (17) This idea forms the dominating motive, it will be recalled, in "Erec et Enide" (cf. note to "Erec", v. 2576). (18) The parallel between Yvain's and Roland's madness will occur to readers of Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso", though in the former case Yvain's madness seems to be rather a retribution for his failure to keep his promise, while Roland's madness arises from excess of love. (19) Argonne is the name of a hilly and well-wooded district in the north-east of France, lying between the Meuse and the Aisne. (20) An allusion to the well-known epic tradition embodied in the "Chanson de Roland". It was common for mediaeval poets to give names to both the horses and the swords of their heroes. (21) For the faithful lion in the Latin bestiaries and mediaeval romances, see the long note of W.L. Holland, "Chretien von Troies" (Tubingen, 1854), p. 161 f., and G. Baist in Zeitschrift fur romanische Philologie, xxi. 402-405. To the examples there cited may be added the episodes in "Octavian" (15th century), published in the "Romanische Bibliothek" (Heilbronn, 1883). (22) This is the first of three references in this poem to the abduction of Guinevere as fully narrated in the poem of "Lancelot". The other references are in v. 3918 and v.4740 f. (23) Yvain here states the theory of the judicial trial by combat. For another instance see "Lancelot", v. 4963 f. Cf. M. Pfeffer in "Ztsch. fur romanische Philogie", ix. 1- 74, and L. Jordan, id. Xxix. 385-401. (24) A similar description of a distressed damsel wandering at night in a forest is found in "Berte aus grans pies", by Adenet le Roi (13th century). (25) The lion is forgotten for the moment, but will appear again v. 5446. (F.) (26) This entire passage belongs in the catagory of widespread myths which tell of a tribute of youths or maidens paid to some cruel monster, from which some hero finally obtains deliverance. Instances are presented in the adventures of Theseus and Tristan. (27) The old French monetary table was as follows: 10 as = 1 denier; 12 deniers = 1 sol; 20 sous = 1 livre (28) It appears to be the poet's prerogative in all epochs of social history to bemoan the degeneracy of true love in his own generation. (29) The sleeves of shirts were detachable, and were sewed on afresh when a clean garment was put on. (F.) (30) This was an axiom of feudal society, and occurs more frequently in feudal literature than any other statement of mediaeval social relations.
LANCELOT or, The Knight of the Cart
(Vv. 1-30.) Since my lady of Champagne wishes me to undertake to write a romance, (1) I shall very gladly do so, being so devoted to her service as to do anything in the world for her, without any intention of flattery. But if one were to introduce any flattery upon such an occasion, he might say, and I would subscribe to it, that this lady surpasses all others who are alive, just as the south wind which blows in May or April is more lovely than any other wind. But upon my word, I am not one to wish to flatter my lady. I will simply say: "The Countess is worth as many queens as a gem is worth of pearls and sards." Nay I shall make no comparison, and yet it is true in spite of me; I will say, however, that her command has more to do with this work than any thought or pains that I may expend upon it. Here Chretien begins his book about the Knight of the Cart. The material and the treatment of it are given and furnished to him by the Countess, and he is simply trying to carry out her concern and intention. Here he begins the story.
(Vv. 31-172.) Upon a certain Ascension Day King Arthur had come from Caerleon, and had held a very magnificent court at Camelot as was fitting on such a day. (2) After the feast the King did not quit his noble companions, of whom there were many in the hall. The Queen was present, too, and with her many a courteous lady able to converse in French. And Kay, who had furnished the meal, was eating with the others who had served the food. While Kay was sitting there at meat, behold there came to court a knight, well equipped and fully armed, and thus the knight appeared before the King as he sat among his lords. He gave him no greeting, but spoke out thus: "King Arthur, I hold in captivity knights, ladies, and damsels who belong to thy dominion and household; but it is not because of any intention to restore them to thee that I make reference to them here; rather do I wish to proclaim and serve thee notice that thou hast not the strength or the resources to enable thee to secure them again. And be assured that thou shalt die before thou canst ever succour them." The King replies that he must needs endure what he has not the power to change; nevertheless, he is filled with grief. Then the knight makes as if to go away, and turns about, without tarrying longer before the King; but after reaching the door of the hall, he does not go down the stairs, but stops and speaks from there