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accuracy of Grimm's opinion is however doubted by Willems, who asserts that Willem van Utenhoven was the real author: adding, that Madoc was not the author, for that the name of such a writer cannot be found—that, in the passage where Madoc occurs, it cannot be the name of a man, and merely designates a poem ; and lastly, that the article de is never used before the Dutch proper names.
These objections are not, however, conclusive. The argument that Madoc cannot be the name of the writer, because no poet of that name is known, applies as directly against its being the title of a poem; for no poem so designated has been handed down to us. And, with regard to the article de never being used before Dutch proper names, we can only say that, in Hoffmann von Fallersleben's History of Flemish Poetry, mention is made of Jan de Clerc, Niclaes de Clerc, Andreas de Smit, and Jan de Weert van Ijpre.*
Be the author of the Flemish “ Reinaert" Willem van Utenhoven, or Willem die Matoc, a point which further investigation can alone decide, his work, which contains 3474 verses, is one displaying considerable genius and spirit, and may justly claim the merit of exhibiting a number of the most pleasing and spirited adventures in Reynard's history, skilfully worked up into one connected, well arranged, and perfect whole, as the reader will readily admit when told that it
* Hoffman's Horæ Belgicæ, part 1, p. 21, &c.
corresponds with the first twenty chapters of the present reprint. Willem, who states his work to have been undertaken at the solicitation of a lady, whose name however he does not specify, confessedly employed for his purpose French materials, such certainly as have not come down to us, but which were no doubt current, at the time he wrote, in French Flanders and Artois, whence he could have little difficulty in procuring them. But, whatever those materials may have been, the manner in which he has employed them justifies to the fullest his claim to the character of a skilful and successful writer. In his work, the history of Reynard is told in light and agreeable language; the narrative is well sustained, there is nothing omitted, nothing unnecessarily introduced, but the incidents appear to spring naturally one from another, and the interest which we feel at the opening of the poem keeps gradually increasing as we approach its termination.
To this poem of Willem's, a continuation (consisting of upwards of four thousand verses, and of which a fragment comprising one thousand and thirty-eight lines was first printed by Grimm) was subsequently added by some writer whose name is entirely unknown. The effect of this addition, which relates a number of adventures of very different degrees of interest, told too in a very inferior style, tends, as may readily be conceived, to weaken the impression produced by Willem's well-contrived history. Nevertheless, the two works appear to have been very early regarded as only
one. The transcribers probably united them as a matter of course ; and after the invention of printing they were both, to the entire suppression of Matoc's fame and name, reduced into prose: and the story on its appearance in this form was received with such universal favour, that in a short time the older poems from which it was derived were entirely forgotten. It is not known who was the adapter of this prose version, the first edition of which was published at Gouda, by Gheraert Leeu, in 1470, under the title of Die Historie van Reinaert die Vos, with the following colophon on the recto of fol. cx. “ Heir eyndet die hystorie van Reynaert die Vos ende is gheprent ter goude in hollant by mi gheraert leeu den seuentienden dach in augusto Int iaer M.cccc en LxxIx Deo Gratias.? This edition is of extreme rarity, only two copies being known-one at the Hague, the other in the matchless library of the Right Honourable Thomas Grenville, and for the use of which the editor of this reprint is indebted to the liberality of that distinguished collector. This prose version was again printed at Gouda in 1485, and again in 1783 in 12mo. at Lubeck and Leipsic, under the editorship of Ludweg Suhl,“ Stadts-bibliothekar in Lubeck.” At the close of this introduction, the reader will find the opening chapter of Gerard Leeu's version, which I have thought it right to give, not only as an extract from a volume of extreme rarity, but as furnishing the curious enquirer into the affinity which exists between our language and the Flemish, with the means
of comparing Caxton's version with that from which he translated.* To this, for similar reasons, has also been added the parallel passage in the original metrical version.t
$ xvi. Before we proceed to the history of the Reynardine fables existing in English literature, to which this mention of Gerard Leeu's and Caxton's versions naturally lead, it will be necessary to refer to that version of Reynard's story to which we have already alluded, as one which, through its borrowed charms, has for a long time usurped a place in public estimation to which its own merits by no means entitle it.
This is the Low German Reineke de Fos attributed by some to Heinrich van Alkmar, “Schulmeister und Zuchtlehrer des herzogs von Lothrigen," and by others to Nicolaus Baumann, who having fallen into disgrace at the court of the Duke of Julick, afterwards entered into the service of Duke Magnus of Mecklenburgh and died at Rostock in 1526. The former opinion is maintained by Gottsched, f Scheltema, s and Schel
* Appendix, No. II. † Appendix, No. III.
| Heinrichs von Alkmar Reineke der Fuchs mit schonen Kupfern, nach der Ausgabe von 1498 ins Hochdeutsche ubersetz von J. C. Gottsched. Leipsic und Amsterdam, 1752, sm. folio. The plates of this edition are by Albert van Elverdingen, and are the same which grace the Pleasant History of Reynard the Fox, lately issued by Felix Summerly.
§ Reintje de Vos vun Heindrick van Alkmaar door Jacobus Schel
ler.* The latter by Grimmt and Hoffman von Tallersleben. I
These unsettled claims to the authorship of the Low German “ Reineke” have proved a fruitful source of literary controversy, but need not now detain us. The work itself certainly created a great sensation. Much has formerly been written about it; more we venture to predict than ever will be again. The bringing to light of the Flemish Reinaert will assuredly pluck it from the throne which it has so long and so unjustly occupied. Yet it cannot be denied that Reynard's fame has been greatly extended by means of this version, which has been looked up to for centuries, as by far the most important production to which his history has given rise. The most popular it assuredly has been, as is shown not only by the innumerable editions of it which have from time to time appeared, but also from the various translations which it has undergone.
The bibliographical history of the Reineke and the translations of it, would alone occupy a small volume. Such therefore it would be useless to attempt in this
tema. Haerlem, 1826, 8vo. This contains the Low German text with a Dutch translation by Scheltema.
* Reineke de Fos fan Hinrek fan Alkmar upt nye utgegeven unde forklared dorg Dr. K. F. A. Scheller. Brunswick, 1825, 8vo.
† Grimm. Reinhart Fuchs, s. clxvi. et seq.
| Reineke Vos. Nach der Lübecker Ausgabe vom Jahre 1498 mit einleitung, glossar und anmerkungen von Hoffman von Fallersleben. Breslau, 1834, 8vo.