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island of Avalon for the dying Arthur to be taken to by the Ladies of the Lake-nothing, in short, of that mediæval chivalry which adorns the expansive pages of Sir Thomas Malony, and glows with concentrated lustre in Tennyson's Idylls.' Without all these attributes, not only what is palpably fable, but what is told in the form of grave history concerning the reign of British Arthur, loses its form, its substance, and all the elements of material existence, and it becomes absolutely necessary that King Arthur should pair off with his rival Odin to join Hercules, Apollo, Romulus, and a few other eminences in Cloudland.
The powerfully chivalrous tone of the Arthurian literature naturally suggests that we should look at those great founders of chivalry, the Normans, as likely to be connected with it if any surrounding conditions justify such a supposition. Without undertaking, according to the established practice of antiquaries, to present for this difficulty an absolute solution, sacred both from confutation and from doubt, we offer it as on the whole a rational conjecture, that after the severance from Rome, and the arrival of the Saxons, the Welsh sank rapidly into barbarism, both secular and religious, and were resuscitated by their connexion with the Normans, to whose attractive influence the impulsive inhabitants of Wales appear to have been peculiarly susceptible. A resuscitated civilisation under their new leaders would account for those characteristics which are held to stamp an extreme antiquity on Welsh literature by a reference to barbarous and even heathenish customs. Where civilisation is new, matters of recent origin will possess the attributes that confer a hoar antiquity in old countries. When the New Zealanders reach the standard of civilisation to be fairly anticipated from their rapid progress, men meeting in good society will betray very recent traces of the darkest usages of savage life, when they adjust with each other genealogical questions as to whose grandfather was the eaten and whose was the eater.
Of the connexion of the Normans with the Welsh, before the final annexation of their territory and its forcible subjection to the English judicatory and executive, we have a pleasant and expressive picture in the Itinerary of Giraldus Cambrensis, or Du Barri. He was himself the representative of a Norman family, but with plenty of Welsh blood in his veins, and his story is of a progress through Wales along with Archbishop Baldwin, for the purpose of recruiting for the Crusades. Family and district contests then abounded, but there is no trace of a national hatred between the Welsh and the Norman. That seems to have come afterwards, with the final annexation.
And that the hatred of the oppressor should have obtained its tone and emphasis from himself is not unexampled in history. The oppressions of the Edwards made Scotland show a thoroughly English independence in her hatred of English domination, and the most restless and unquiet of Irishmen have arisen even among the descendants of the English settlers.
It is worth noting that the earlier entries in the Brut y • Tywysogion, or Chronicle of the Princes,' speak of the Normans or French in a spirit of neutrality, if not of amity. That work is now accessible, edited to perfection, and with an excellently distinct English translation - a mighty addition to its general usefulness—among those chronicles and memorials of the empire which are printed under the auspices of the Master of the Rolls. This Brut is no Arthurian romance, but a sober chronicle, the bulk of it written by contemporaries, and only a very few brief entries earlier than the Norman conquest. We mention these peculiarities because, desirous of furnishing the reader with a typical passage exhibiting the preposterous claims to antiquity of the Welsh romantic literature, we find, and it is with regret, an easy choice of such a morsel in the preface to this official edition of the Chronicle of the Brut.' Here is a summary, to understand the significancy of which it is necessary to remember that the era of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, is variously dated from the year 1780 to 480 before the birth of Christ:-
• The summary of the preceding authorities then, so far as they bear upon the question we are investigating, is this : that previous to the time of Prydain there was no uniform and regular method of recording occurrences ; that subsequently periods of time were computed from his era; that this mode was continued until after the introduction of Christianity into the island, when, to some extent, the year of Christ was adopted; that the bards for the most part adhered to the old rule of Cová Chyvriv until the time of Arthur, when events that occurred before the Christian era were enjoined to be dated according to the age of the world, and subsequent events from the Nativity; that Howel the Good ordained chronological records to be dated from the year of Christ's coming in the flesh; and that, until a comparatively late period, the bards were in the habit of dating the holding of their congress sometimes simply from the era of Prydain, sometimes from that and the era of Christ conjointly, though it would seem that other events have been chronicled by them invariably after the Christian mode, and there is every reason to believe that a few of the historical Triads are genuine memorials of Druidic times; for though they might not have been committed to writing until perhaps the twelfth century, yet it is very probable that they were respectively compiled when the last event of each was still fresh in the memory. Internal evidence points to the remotest antiquity. Being thus framed, they would be publicly recited at the periodic festivals of the bards, and the repeated recitation would be the sure means of preventing all interpolation and corruption. Indeed, written literature might be more easily tampered with in those days than oral traditions, thus, as it were, nationally stereotyped. The only circumstance that would affect their transmission would be the impracticability of meeting in a national convention, as, no doubt, was the case during parts of the Roman domination. Whenever that difficulty offered itself, the duty of preserving such records devolved upon individual members of the Bardic Institute, meeting in groups of twos or threes, and interchanging communications couched in the language of secrecy.' (Brut y Tywysogion, p. xii.)
The Rev. John Williams Ab Ithel, Rector of Llanymowddwy, who is the author of these remarks, draws largely on our credulity. But Scotland has resigned a long catalogue of fictitious kings, and Ireland has thrown adrift a still larger bulk of fabulous history. Wales will have to follow the example, although she holds her precious deposit of marvels, not only for herself, but in trust, as it were, for the whole island of Britain. There are few instances where the resignation of cherished historical fable has so ample a compensation in literary glory. That the gorgeous collection of romance invented or repeated by Geoffrey of Monmouth went at once to the heart of chivalrous Europe, and spread over the literature of almost every Christian land a spirit which had its origin in Wales, cannot be doubted. Whoever desires to behold the full efficiency of this influence, brought to his comprehension in translations alike remarkable for their learning and their genius, let him go to the three volumes of the Mabinogium of Lady Charlotte Guest.
But the inference to be drawn from the facts we have been collecting, and from the absence of all tangible contemporary evidence, compels us, however reluctantly, to efface from the pages of history those stately and shadowy forms which have Aitted for centuries through the groves of Avalon, and peopled the sanctuaries of an extinct religion. Had the Druids and Bards really existed in those periods in which they have been described, had they really exercised the powers imputed to them over the religion, the literature, and the arts of a great people or of immense tribes, it is scarcely possible to conceive that all positive evidence of their authority would have disappeared. We think ourselves justified, then, in concluding that the place they really fill in history is indefinite and obscure ; and that the attempt to give a more precise form to these traditions by ingenious conjectures has been for the most part unsuccessful.
Art. III.- History of the Modern Styles of Architecture :
being a Sequel to the Handbook of Architecture. By JAMES FERGUSSON, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British
Architects. London: 1862. MR FERGUSSON has worthily completed an important
work. He has traced the history of architecture in every country of the world, from its crude infancy through the several stages of its greatness and decay. Few will deny that the undertaking required great courage and no scanty measure of judgment, taste, and learning; but none, perhaps, will read his History of the Modern Styles without feeling that, although it fully sustains his reputation, Mr. Fergusson has found the sequel of his work the less congenial portion of his task. In his Handbook of Architecture he had to deal with styles which were the result of a real growth and a genuine developement of art: but it was not this circumstance alone which imparted to his earlier volumes their peculiar charm. In a series of brilliant sketches he displayed the characteristics and the spirit which marked the art of Greece and Rome, of Assyria, Persia, and Egypt; and his pictures were, on the whole, no less truthful than brilliant. If, while reviewing his Handbook *, we disputed the theory which affiliated Greek architecture on that of Egypt, and if we objected still more strongly to his account of the Christian styles as the least satisfactory portion of the work, we welcomed with gratitude the admirable treatise on Eastern Art, in which Mr. Fergusson has had no rival. With the Asiatic styles in general, and preeminently with those of India, he is thoroughly familiar; and the only regret in the minds of English readers is, that he had not examined at greater length buildings of which they know so little. If in his volume on Christian Art we found much valuable criticism, in his chapters on Asiatic architecture we were indebted to him for a real addition to our stock of knowledge. In his present volume Mr. Fergusson goes over no such new ground. Renaissance works are scattered about over well-nigh the whole face of the civilised globe. We may see entablatures and pediments and peristylar temples, without the trouble of going to the countries in which these forms were first adopted. The change in his subject has had its effect on the author's feelings. The
* Ed. Rev., No. ccxiii.
tone of the Handbook was more than cheerful; the tone of the present volume is not altogether inspiriting. A melancholy catalogue enumerates the signs of a disease well-nigh past curing; and the only remedy proposed is one which it seems impossible to apply. It is no exaggeration to say, that he has allowed his artistic taste to make him needlessly censorious, and led him to treat the whole subject in a way which barely escapes the charge of being crotchety. His general survey of modern art has brought him to the conclusion that all architectural styles, including the first stage of the Renaissance, were truthful, while all later styles have been imitative or copying. In the former, ornamentation either grew naturally out of the construction,
or was such as was best suited to express the uses or objects • to which the building was to be applied ;' but since the Reformation, with the exception of mere utilitarian designs, probably not one truthful building has been erected in Europe. Still ornamental forms, although avowedly borrowed, may be rightly applied. The classical shaft and capital, used as a support, is as much in its right place as a Gothic pier. Attached to a wall, where it supports nothing, it is put to a use for which it is not adapted, and which is therefore wrong. The application of this test draws a broad line between the first stage of the Renaissance and all later styles. As long as the architects applied classical ornaments rightly, their art was in a healthy and hopeful condition: as soon as bits of entablature were thrust in where they were not wanted, or columns were converted into mere ornamental appendages, the doom of the style was sealed. But the era of the Renaissance opened with the sojourn of Brunelleschi in Rome during the early part of the fifteenth century. If this date enables Mr. Fergusson to treat as belonging to this style some of the finest palaces of Florence and Venice, it cuts down the true Renaissance to a short life indeed. Brunelleschi returned to Florence in 1420: he died in 1444. During the interval he erected buildings in which pieces of entablature were thrust between the pier and arch, and so left to his successors the most fatal gift of Classic Art to modern times ' (p. 42.). A period of twenty years leaves for the true Renaissance, as for the Geometrical Gothic style, little more than a philosophical existence. But the scanty limits within which alone he can find buildings deserving genuine praise, widen proportionately the field for trenchant criticism. Mr. Fergusson is a severe censor, and he is impartial in his severity. To copy a Greek or a Roman building is in his eyes scarcely less abominable than to copy a Gothic one. Columns and entablatures, pediments and pilasters, are almost as vehemently