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to “ The knight of Curtesy")*, and la dame de Faïel (Gabrielle de Vergi, or de Levergies), here callid " the lady of Faguell," are celebrateëd loveërs, and the subject of a metrical romance in French of the thirteenth century, stil extant in the national library at Paris (Num. 195). †
This amiable and accomplish'd hero was a poet of fingular merit for his age, several of his passionate and tender songs being preserve'd, and in the hands of the publick. He appears to have accompany'd his lord, uncle, and name-fake, Raoul fire de Couci, in 1190, to the holy-land, where the latter was Nain, at the siege of Acre, in the following year. He has been generally, but improperly, confounded, as the poet, and loveër of the fair Gabrielle, with his chastellain, who receive'd his mortal wound at the same fiege. It is, however, fay'd, in the ancient romance, that he did not arrive in Palestine, with king Richard, til after the capture of Acre, where his uncle Raoul had been kii’d. The husband of this unfortunate lady was Aubert de Faïel, lord of the castle and feignory of that name, near the town of St. Quintin. See Fauchet, Recueil de l'origine de la langue & poëse Françoise, 1581, and “ Memoires historiques sur Raoul de Coucy," Paris, 1781 (the latter of which works contains his fongs), and Le Grand, Fabliaux ou contés, D, 142. It is say'd, in the French romance, that Fažel, fearing left the relations of his wife should avenge her death, cause'd
* His name was Raoul, though mistakëenly call’d, both by Fauchet, and the French romance, Regnaud or Regnault.
of Le Grand, who lowers this MS. to the fifteenth, allows it may be the copy of one of an earlyer age.
her to be inter'd with a great deal of honour, and de. parted for the holy-land. The remembrance, howe ever, of his barbarity pursuie'd him every where : after he return'd home he was never seen to laugh, and survive'd his wife but a few years.
This anecdote is, allso, told by Howell, from the relation of a knowing gentleman whose society he lighted upon in his return in a coach from Paris to Rouen, in a letter, To his “honoured friend and fa. ther Mr. Ben. Johnson,” in 1635, in which he calls the loveër “ one captain Coucy, a gallant gentleman, of an ancient extraction, and keeper of Coucy-castle, which," he says, “is yet standing, and in good repair." The gentleman aded that this sad story was painted in Coucy-castle, and remain'd fresh to that day. In the above Memoires is a small view of it.
The present poem, some sort of translation, it is presume'd, from the French (but not, it seems, the Roman du chastellain de Coucy & de la dame de Faïel, before-mention'd, unless with great libertys), is now republish'd from an old quarto pamphlet in blackletter, and without date, “ Imprynted at London by me Willyam Copland,” before 1568. The ful title is “ Here begynneth a litell treatise of the knight of Curtesy and the lady of Faguell.” The copy made use of, in the Bodleian-library, is the onely one known to exist.
An elegant romance, on the unfortunate loves of Gabrielle de Vergi and Raoul de Coucy, was writen by the late duke de la Valliere ; which, it seems probable, is the “ beautiful old ballad” mention'd to have been seen by the editour of “ Reliques of ancient English poetry,” III, xlii. The story appears to be stil preserve'd by tradition at St. Quintin and Faïel.
The romance of La châtelaine de Vergy, which seems to have been confounded, by Froissart and others, with that of Le châtelain de Coucy, is an entirely different story. See Fabliaux ou contes, D, 49.
An anecdote, similar, in its main circumstanceës, to this of Raoul de Coucy, is relateëd of William de Cabestaing, a Catalan or Provençal poet of the same age. See Histoire litteraire des troubadours, I, 134. Boccaccio has made it the subject of one of his novels (Gior. 4, No. 9).
V. 32. This lorde to serve with humylité.]
The authour seems to have made use of an original which, in this respect, confounded the two storys of Raoul de Coucy and William de Cabestaing. The latter, indeed, applys for, and obtains, a service as valet or page with Raymond de Castel Roussillon, the husband of his mistress; but neither the old romance nor Fauchets chronicle relates any such event of Raoul. He was castellan, in fact, of his uncles castle of Coucy, whence he occasionally visited the fair Gabrielle, whose residence of Faïel was at no great distance, so that he could go and return in the course of the night : though it appears, at the same time, from an extract of the old romance, that, being once on a visit to Faïel, he was press’d by Aubert to remain there in his absence.
V. 177. A payre of Jheres &c.]
This incident is notice'd both in the French ro. mance and the chronicle citeëd by Fauchet. “ La dame de Faïel,” says the latter, “ quand elle sçeut qu'il s'en
devoit aller, fist un lags de foye moult bel & bien fait, & y avoit de ses cheveux ouvrés parmi la foye; dont l'oeuvre Semblot moult belle & riche : dont il lioit un bourrelet moult riche par dessus fon heaume : & avoit longs pendans par derriere, a gros boutons de perles.”
V. 222. So when he came to Lumberdye.]
This adventure with the dragon is unnotice'd both in the extracts from the French romance, and by Fauchet.
V.277. Towarde the Rodes.]
The name of this page is Gobert in the French romance. He had been in the service of Aubert.