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Tristrem deleth atvinne; A cheker e he fond bi a cheire, He dede als so the wise, He asked who wold play;
He yaf has he gan winne The mariner spac bonair,
In raf; m “ Child, what wiltow lay?-- Of playe ar he wald blinne,” “Oyain & an hauke of noble air, Sex haukes he yat and yaf.. Tventi schillinges to say;
XXXI. Whether so mates other fair,
Rohant toke leue to ga, p
His sones he cleped 9 oway;
The fairest hauke he gan ta", The mariner swore his faye, h That Tristrem wan that day, For sothe ich held their tille. i
With him he left ma
Pans for to play;
The mariner swore also,
That pans wold he lay,
An stounde : s
Tristrem wan that day,
Of him an hundred pounde. The education of Sir Tristrem, comprising the art of war, with the mysteries of the chase, skill in music, poetry, and the few sedentary games used by the feudal nobility, united all that was necessary, or even decent to be known, by a youth of noble birth.-Huon of Bourdeaux, disguised as a minstrel's page, gives the following account of his qualifications to a heathen Soldan: “Sire, dit Huon, je sais muer un epervier, voire un falcen, chasser le cerf, voire le sanglier, et corner quand la bête est prinse, faire la droicture aux chiens, trancher au festin d'un grand roi ou seigneur, et des tables et echecs en sais autant, et plus que homme qui vive." “ Oh! Oh!" se dit Yvoirin, “ces ne sont mie la les faits de valet de menestrier, bien duiroient ils a gentil Damoiseau.”
The most splendid game of chess occurs in the romance of “ Sir Gaheret.” That champion was entertained in the enchanted castle of a beautiful fairy, who engaged him in a party at chess in a large hall, where flags of black and white marble formed the chequer, and the pieces, consisting of massive statues of gold and silver, moved at the touch of the magic rod held by the player. Sir Gaheret, being defeated, was obliged to remain the fairy's prisoner, but was afterwards liberated by his cousin Gawin, who check-mated the mistress of the enchanted chess-board.—A similar adventure occurs in the romance of “Lancelot du Lac," 2de partie, fol. 101.*-_That the knowledge of chess during the 13th century was far from being contemptible, may be inferred not only from an attentive perusal of the following pages, but likewise from the corroborating testimony of contemporary writers. Boccacio, who lived in the 14th century, tells us that chess had then become a usual amusement at Florence ; and we are also informed that in the year 1266, a Saracen named Buzecca, came to Florence, and in the Palace del Popolo, before Count Guido Norello, played on three chess-boards at one time, with the first masters in Florence, playing with two by memory, and with the third by sight : two games he won, and the third he made a drawn game by perpetual check.
e Chess-board. Spake courteously: Débonnaire-Fr. 8 Against.
k Their pledge. 1
Sir Walter Scott, in his notes to Sir Tristrem, supposes this to be a term of Chess, now disused; the long Assize, however, was a favourite game at that period. m Speedily. n Would stop. • He got and gave.
P Go. 9 Called.
• At that time ; an expletive. * It is not in romance alone that we trace the partiality of our ancestors for this amusement. It was early known to the northern people, and skill in this interest ing game was one of the accomplishments of a Scandinavian hero: in the Laws of Howel Dha, a chess-board is allotted as the reward of the king's principal bard. Vide Sir Tristrem, edited by Sir Walter Scott.
The laity, however, were not the only admirers of this interesting game, for it appears to have formed one of the recreations of Monachism : thus in the statutes of the Savoy Hospital, it was enacted, -"Statuimus, &c. quod nullus magister, vicemagister, capellanus, perpetuus vel conductilius, aut aliquis alius minister, vel servitor hospitalis prædicti, pro tempore existens, ad talos, cartas, vel aliquos alios jocos illicitos et prohibitos, infra hospitale prædictum, clam vel palam, quoquo modo ludet. Poterint enim omni tempore ludere ad scaccos,” &c. MS. Cott. Cleop. c. v. xxiiii. a. And the most usual time of the day when the monks were permitted to recreate themselves in this manner, was probably after dinner ; for we are told,
The zung monkes each daie,
MS. Harl. 913, fol. 4. Robert Holcot *, the learned Dominican friar, wrote a book on chess, and of course played the game. Jacopo Dacciesolo, or Jacobus de Cæsolis, another Dominican, wrote on chess before the year 1200 ; his book is entitled “ liber moralis de scaccor," but contains no rules for playing.
* Mr. Turner, in his History of England, vol. ii. p. 591, says, “ Among those authors whose researches have been the most extensive and successful, Holcot the Dominican friar, who flourished about 1330, deserves particular notice. He not only wrote some Latin commentaries on part of the Scriptures, which are remarkable for the great range of classical authors whom he quotes, and for his repeated encomiums on knowledge and literature ; but he also composed, under the name, and therefore most probably with the sanction of the Bishop of Durham, (the English prelate to whom Petrarch addressed the letter which was never answered,) the work entitled Philo-biblon ; the object of which peculiarly was, to excite a love of general study; an encouragement of new books; a desire to collect them; a taste for the liberal arts ; indulgence for poetry; and an increased facility to students to read the books that were obtained." The work is 492 of the Harl. MSS. and commences with the following lines : Incipit prologus in philibiblon Ric'i dunelmenc' ep'i que' libr' co’posuit Robt Holcote de ordi'e p'dicator' s'b no'i'e d'c'i ep'i. Vniu'sis xpi fidelib' ad quos sc'pti p’se'tes p’uen'i't Ricard' Ep's salute' in d’no sempit'nā, &c. At the end of this prologue, which occupies four pages of the MS., follow the contents :
Incipiunt capitula philibiblon Ricardi dunelmensis Episcopi. I Quare thesaurus Sapientiæ potissimè sit in libris
1 Qualiter amor libris rationabiliter debeatur.. Qualiter in libris emendis sit pretium estimandum.. Querimonia librorum contra clericos jam promotos
4 Querimonia librorum contra religiosos possessionatos
5 Querimonia librorum contra religiosos mendicantes
6 Querimonia librorum contra bella...
7 De multiplici oportunitate quam habuimus librorum copiam conquirendi 8 Quare licet opera veterum amplius amaremus non tum dampnamus studia modernorum...
9 De successia perfectione librorum..
10 Quare libros liberalium artium protulimus liberalibus viris.
11 Quare libros gramaticales tanta diligentia curavimus revocare.
12 Quare non omnino vileximus fabulas poetartım
13 Qui deberent esse potissimi librorum dilectores
14 Quot commoda confert amor librorum...
A copy of this treatise (in small 4to.) very beautifully written, is in the British Museum, MS. Harl. No. 1275. This work was translated into French by Jehan de Vignay, a monk, a copy of which is also in the British Museum; the MS. has these lines in it,—“Et suiret du jeu des eschez fut translate de latin en francois pour se roy iehan de france premier de ce nom par frere iehan de vignay, hospitalier de lord de hault pas,” &c. It is from this French version that Caxton translated his edition, printed in 1474 with the first metal types used in England.
I shall now proceed to describe the very curious MSS. on chess, which have been consulted in drawing up the present essay; and then afterwards pursue my inquiry into the state of the game in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries.
(To be continued.)
SONNETS FROM FILICAJA.
Gave with its trunk a shelter and a shade-
High, as in earth its roots were deeply laid-
Whence Virtue sought support amidst her woes,
From the far West to where the Caspian flows-
And in its mighty ruin buries all
That in the shelter of its shadow lay.
Fight with the strangers ?-fierce alike, to me
The wreck of perish'd empire? – When to thee
Was this thy glorious promise, this thy vow?
Degenerate Sloth: 'midst blood, and groans, and cries,
Too soon th’avenging sword shall bid thee rise,
Qui sit meritorius libros novos scribere et veteres renovare..
16 De debita honestate circa librorum custodiam adhibenda.
17 Quare tantam librorum colleximus copiam ad communem profectum scolarum et non solum ad propriam voluptatem .
18 De modo communicandi studentibus omnibus libros nostros
19 Exhortatio scolarium ad rependenda pro nobis sufiragia debitæ pietatis...... 20
I have preferred giving the Latin divested of its ablureviations for the sake of classical readers, who 1 hope will pardon my digressing into so loug a note-the MS. is well worth a careful perusal,
LETTERS FROM SPAIN.
BY DON LEUCADIO DOBLADO.
Seville, 1805. When the last census was made, in 1787, the number of Spanish females confined to the cloister, for life, amounted to thirty-two thousand. That in a country where wealth is small and ill distributed, and industry languishes under innumerable restraints, there should be a great number of portionless gentlewomen unable to find a suitable match, and consequently glad of a dignified asylum, where they might secure peace and competence, if not happiness, is so perfectly natural, that the founders and supporters of any institution intended to fulfil these objects would deserve to be reckoned among the friends of humanity. But the cruel and wicked church law, which, aided by external force, binds the nuns with perpetual vows, makes the convents for females the Bastilles of superstition, where many a victim lingers through a long life of despair or insanity. Though I do not mean to enter into a point of Theological controversy, I find it impossible to dwell for a moment on this subject without expressing my utter abhorrence and detestation of the cold indifference with which our church looks on the glaring evil consequences of some of its laws, when, according to her own doctrines, they might be either repealed or amended without relinquishing any of her claims. The authority of the Roman Pontiff, in all matters of church government, is not questioned among Catholics. Yet, from a proud affectation of infallibility, even upon such points as the most violent partisans of that absurd pretension have never ventured to place within its reach, the church of Rome has been so sparing of the power to reform her laws, that it might be suspected she wished to abandon it by prescription. Always ready to bind, the heirs of Saint Peter have shewn themselves extremely averse to the more humane office of loosing on eurth, except when it served the purposes of gain or ambition. The time, I believe, will never come when the church of Rome will agree to make concessions on what are called matters of faith. But I cannot discover the least shadow of reason or interest for the obstinacy which preserves unaltered the barbarous laws relating to the religious vows of females ; unless it be that vile animal jealousy, which persons, deprived of the pleasures of love, are apt to mistake for zeal in the cause of chastity : such zeal as your Queen Elizabeth felt for the purity of her maids.
The Nunneries in this town amount to twenty-nine. Of these, some are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Friars, whose rule of religious life they profess; and some under that of the Episcopal See. The last generally follow the monastic rules of Saint Benedict, Saint Bernard, or Saint Jerom; and it is remarkable, that the same superiority which is observable in the secular above the regular clergy, is found in the nuns under the episcopal jurisdiction. Some of the last inhabit large convents, whose courts and gardens allow the inhabitants ample space for exercise and amusement. Instead of narrow cells, the muns live in a comfortable suite of apartments, often at the head of a small family of younger nuns whom they have educated, or of pupils, not under re
VOL. IV, NO. XVI.
ligious vows, whom thetr parents place there for instruction. The life, in fact, of these communities, is rather collegiate than monastic; and were it not for the tyrannical law which deprives the professed nuns of their liberty, such establishments would be far from objectionable. The dress of these nuns is still that which the Duenas, or elderly matrons, wore when the convents were founded, with the addition of a large mantle, black, white, or blue, according to the custom of the order, which they use at the choir. From a head-dress not unlike that which, if I may venture upon such matters, I believe you call a mob-cap, hangs the black veil. A rosary, or chaplet of black beads with a cross at the end, is seen hanging over the neck and shoulders, or loosely coiled on a leather strap, which tightens the tunic or gown to the waist. A slip of cloth of the breadth of the shoulders, called the scapulary, hangs down to the feet both before and behind, probably with a view to conceal every outline of the female shape.
The mildness of these monastic rules being unsatisfactory to the fiery spirit of bigotry, many convents have been founded under the title of Reformed, where, without the least regard to the sex of the votaries, young and delicate females are subjected to a life of privation and hardship, as the only infallible method of obtaining the favour of Heaven. Their dress is a tunic of sackcloth, tied round the waist with a knotted rope. The rule allows them no linen either for clothing or bedding. Woollen of the coarsest kind frets their bodies, day and night, even during the burning summers of the South of Spain. A mantle of the same sackcloth is the only addition which the nuns make to their dress in winter, while their feet, shod with open sandals, and without either socks or stockings, are exposed to the sharp winter blasts, and the deadening chill of the brick floors. A band of coarse linen, two inches in breadth, is worn by the Capuchin nuns, bound tight six or eight times round the head, in remembrance, it is said, of the crown of thorns; and such is the barbarous spirit of the rule, that it does not allow this band to be taken off even under an access of fever. A young woman that takes the veil in any of the reformed convents renounces the sight of her nearest relations. The utmost indulgence as to communication with parents and brothers extends to a short conversation once a month, in the presence of one of the elder nuns, behind a thick curtain spread on the
inner side of the iron grating, which completely intercepts the view. The religious vows, however, among the Capuchin nuns put a final end to all communication between parents and children.
To those unacquainted with the character of our species of Chris. tianity, it will be difficult to conceive what motive can influence the mind of a young creature of sixteen thus to sacrifice herself upon the altars of these Molochs whom we call Saints and Patriarchs. To me these horrid effects of superstition appear so natural, that I only wonder when I see so many of our religious young females still out of the convent. Remorse and mental horrors goad some young men into the strictest monasteries, while more amiable, though equally mistaken views, lead our females to a similar course of life. We are taught to believe self-inflicted pain to be acceptable to the Deity, both as an atonement for crime, and a token of thankfulness. The female character, among us, is a compound of the most ardent feelings-vehement to deliriousness, generous to devotedness. Wbat wonder, then,