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is that of William of Tyre (1 180), who says: “We pass over, intentionally, the fable of the Swan, although many people regard it as a fact, that from it he (Godfrey de Bouillon) had his origin, because this story seems destitute of truth.” Next to him to speak of the story is Helinandus (circ. 1 220), quoted by Vincent de Beauvais ?: “In the diocese of Cologne, a famous and vast palace overhangs the Rhine, it is called Juvamen. Thither when once many princes were assembled, suddenly there came up a skiff, drawn by a swan attached to it by a silver chain. Then a strange and unknown knight leaped out before all, and the swan returned with the boat. The knight afterwards married, and had children. At length, when dwelling in this palace, he saw the swan return again with the boat and chain : he at once re-entered the vessel, and was never seen again; but his progeny remain to this day."
A genealogy of the house of Flanders, in a MS. of the thirteenth century, states: "Eustachius venit ad Buillon ad domum ducissæ, quæ uxor erat militis, qui vocabatur miles Cigni.” Jacob van
Specul. Nat. ii. 127. * Reiffenberg, Le Chevalier au Cygne. Bruxelles, 1846
Maerlant (b. 1235), in his “Spieghel Historiael *,' alludes to it
Logenaers niesdaet an doen,
Dat si van der Swane siin coemen." And Nicolaes de Klerc, who wrote in 1318, thus refers to it in his “Brabantine Gests:" "Formerly the Dukes of Brabant have been much belied in that it is said of them that they came with a swan 5." And Jan Veldenar (1480) says: “Now, once upon a time, this noble Jungfrau of Cleves was on the banks by Nymwegen, and it was clear weather, and she gazed up the Rhine, and saw a strange sight: for there came sailing down a white swan with a gold chain about its neck, and by this it drew a little skiff ..."—and so on.
There is an Icelandic saga of Helis, the Knight of the Swan, translated from the French by the Monk Robert, in 1226. In the Paris royal library is a romance upon this subject, consisting of about 30,000 lines, begun by a Renax or Renant, and
Maerlant, Fig. 1. 29.
finished by a Gandor de Douay. In the British Museum is a volume of French romances, contain: ing, among others, “L'Ystoire du Chevalier au Signe,” told in not less than 3000 lines.
The“ Chevelere Assigne," a shorter poem on the same subject, was reprinted by M. Utterson for the Roxburghe Club, from a MS. in the Cottonian library, which has been quoted by Percy and Warton as an early specimen of alliterative versification. It is certainly not later than the reign of Henry VI.
The next prose romance of Helias is that of Pierre Desrey, entitled “Les faictz et gestes du preux Godsffroy de Boulion, aussi plusieurs croniques et histoires ;" Paris, without date.
“ La Genealogie avecques les gestes et nobles faitz darmes du tres preux et renomme prince Godeffroy de Boulion : et de ses chevalereux freres Baudouin et Eustace: yssus et descendus de la tres noble et illustre lignee du vertueux Chevalier au Cyne ;" Paris, Jean Petit, 1504; also Lyons, 1580. This book was partly translated into English, and printed by Wynkyn de Worde, “The hystory of Hilyas Knight of the Swann, imprynted by Wynkyn de Worde,” &ç., 1512; and in full by Caxton, under the title, “The last Siege and Conqueste of Jherusalem, with many histories therein comprised;" Westmester, fol. 1480.
It is from the first thirty-eight chapters of the French "Faits et Gestes," that Robert Copland translated his Helias, which he dedicated “to the puyssant and illustrious prynce, lorde Edwarde, duke of Buckynghame," because he was lineally descended from the Knight of the Swan. This duke was beheaded, May 17th, 152 1.
We need hardly follow the story in other translations.
The romance, as we have it, is a compilation of at least two distinct myths. The one is that of the Swan-children, the other of the Swan-knight. The compiler of the romance has pieced the first legend to the second, in order to explain it. In its original form, the knight who came to Neumagen, or Cleves, in the swan-led boat, and went away again, was unaccounted for : who he was, no man knew; and Heywood, in his “Hierarchies of the Blessed Angels,” 1635, suggests that he was one of the evil spirits called incubi; but the romancer solved the mystery by prefixing to the story of his marriage with the duchess a story of transformation, similar to that of Fionmala, referred to in the previous article.
We shall put aside the story of the swan-children, and confine our attention to the genuine myth.
The home of the fable was that border-land where Germans and Kelts met, where the Nibelungen legends were brought in contact with the romances of Arthur and the Sangreal.
Lohengrin belongs to the round table; the hero who releases Beatrice of Cleves is called Elias Grail. Pighius relates that in ancient annals it is recorded that Elias came from the blessed land of the earthly paradise, which is called Graele. And the name Helias, Helius, Elis, or Salvius, is but a corruption of the Keltic ala, eala, ealadh, a swan. I believe the story of the Knight of the Swan to be a myth of local Brabantine origin. That it is not the invention of the romancer is evident from the variations in the tale, some of which we must now consider.
The Duke of Limburg and Brabant died leaving an only daughter, Else or Elsam. On his deathbed he committed her to the care of Frederick von Telramund, a brave knight, who had overcome a dragon in Sweden. After the duke's death, Frede
6 Hercules Prodicus, Colon. 1609.