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“HOW A MAN OF THE COUNTRY TOLD HIM OF A MAR
VELLOUS GIANT, AND HOW HE FOUGHT AND CONQUERED HIM.
“ Then came to him a husbandman of the country, and told him how there was, in the country of Constantine, beside Britain, a great giant, which had slain, murthered, and devoured much people of the country, and had been sustained seven years with the children of the commons of that land, insomuch that all the children be all slain and destroyed. And now late he hath taken the Duchess of Brittany, as she rode with her men, and had led her to his lodging, which is in a mountain : and many people followed her, more than five hundred ; but all they might not rescue her, but they left her shrieking and crying lamentably ; wherefore I suppose that he hath slain her in fulfilling his foul lust; she was wife unto your cousin, Sir Howel, the which was full nigh of your blood. Now, as ye are a rightful king, have pity on this lady, and revenge us all as ye are a valiant conqueror.
6 Alas !' said King Arthur, 'this is a great mischief; I had rather than the best realm that I have that I had been a furlong before him, for to have rescued that lady. Now, fellow,' said King Arthur, canst thou bring me there whereas this giant haunteth ?'
“Yea, Sir,' said the good man; “lo, yonder whereas ye see the two great fires, there shall ye not fail to find him, and more treasure, as I suppose, than is in all the realm of France.'
“When King Arthur had understood this piteous case,
cunning close with their fellow-combatant; the fruit whereof is his fair fall, or foil at the least. It is figuratively applicable to the deceitful dealing of such, who secretly design their overthrow whom they openly embrace.” – Ed.
he returned into his tent, and called unto him Sir Kaye and Sir Bedivere, and commanded them secretly to make ready horse and harness for himself, and for them twain ; for after evensong he would ride on pilgrimage, with them two only, unto Saint Mighel's Mount. And then anon they made them ready, and armed them at all points, and took their horses and their shields ; and so they three departed thence, and rode forth as fast as they might, till they came unto the furlong of that mount, and there they alighted, and the king commanded them to tarry there, and said he would himself go up to that mount.
“ And so he ascended up the mount till he came to a great fire, and there found he a careful widow wringing her hands and making great sorrow, sitting by a grave new made. And then King Arthur saluted her, and demanded her wherefore she made such lamentation. Unto whom she answered and said, “Sir Knight, speak soft, for yonder is a devil; if he hear thee speak he will come and destroy thee. I hold thee unhappy : what dost thou here in this mountain ? for if ye were such fifty as ye be, ye were not able to make resistance against this devil : here lieth a duchess dead, which was the fairest lady of the world, wife unto Sir Howel of Britain.'
« « Dame,' said the King, 'I come from the great conqueror, King Arthur, for to treat with that tyrant for his liege people.'
«Fie upon such treaties,' said the widow; "he setteth nought by the King, nor by no man else; but and if thou hath brought King Arthur's wife, Dame Guenever, he shall be gladder than if thou hadst given him half France. Beware ; approach him not too nigh; for he hath overcome and vanquished fifteen kings, and hath made him a coat full of precious stones, embroidered with their beards, which they sent him to have his love for salvation of their people this last Christmas, and if thou wilt speak with him at yonder great fire, he is at supper.'
“Well,' said King Arthur, ‘I will accomplish my message for all your fearful words,' and went forth by the crest of that hill, and saw where he sat at supper gnawing on a limb of a man, baking his broad limbs by the fire, and breechless, and three damsels turning three broaches, whereon was broached twelve young children, late born, like young birds.
“When King Arthur beheld that piteous sight, he had great compassion on them, so that his heart bled for sorrow, and hailed him, saying in this wise: 'He that all the world wieldeth give thee short life and shameful death, and the devil have thy soul! Why hast thou murthered these young innocent children, and this duchess ? Therefore arise and dress thee, thou glutton, for this day shalt thou die of my hands.'
“Then anon the giant start up, and took a great club in his hand, and smote at the King that his coronal fell to the earth. And King Arthur hit him again, that he carved his belly, and that his entrails fell down to the ground. Then the giant with great anguish threw away his club of iron and caught the King in his arms, that he crushed his ribs. Then the three damsels kneeled down, and called unto our Lord Jesus Christ, for help and comfort of the noble King Arthur. And then King Arthur weltered and wrung, that he was one while under, and another while above ; and so weltering and wallowing, they rolled down the hill, till they came to the sea-mark; and as they so tumbled and weltered, King Arthur smote him with his dagger, and it fortuned they came unto the place whereas the two knights were that kept King Arthur's
horse. Then when they saw the King fast in the giant's arms, they came and loosed him; and then King Arthur commanded Sir Kaye to smite off the giant's head, and to set it upon a truncheon of a spear, and bear it to Sir Howel, and tell him that his enemy is slain ; and after let his head be bound to a barbican, that all the people may see and behold it ; and go ye two to the mountain, and fetch me my shield, and my sword, and also the great club of iron; and as for the treasure, take it to you, for ye shall find there goods without number; so that I have his kirtle and the club, I desire no more. This was the fiercest giant that ever I met with, save one in the mount of Araby, which I overcame; but this was greater and fiercer.'" *
*“Of the two proposed books, respecting which you ask me the particulars," writes Leigh Hunt to John Forster, “one is 'The Fabulous World,' the chief portion of which, though not under that title, or, indeed, under any general one, appeared many years ago in the 'New Monthly Magazine,' as articles on Satyrs, Nymphs, Giants, Mermaids, &c. They were written with my customary painstaking, interspersed with quotations from poets of divers languages (translated when necessary), and very much approved. Everybody, to whom their incorporation into a volume was talked of, seemed to hail the notion ; and, in truth, there is no such book in the language, nor, I believe, in any other. I propose to complete what was wanting to it in the New Monthly,' and to add the miraculous goods and chattels belonging to my fabulous people, such as Enchanted Spears, Flying Sophas, Illimitable Tents that pack up in nutshells, &c.” “The Fabulous World” was never published, and the articles that were to have formed the greater part of the volume are here first collected together. - ED.
GOG AND MAGOG, AND THE WALL OF
SHADOW seems to fall upon our paper at the very mention of the words, “Gog and Magog,” — fine, mouth-filling, mysterious names; and of whom? Nobody knows. The names,
we doubt not, have helped to keep up the interest; but the mystery is a mighty one of itself, and is found in reverend places. The grand prophet Ezekiel has a long mention of Gog and Magog, and describes them as a terrible people; but nobody has yet discovered who they are. They have been thought to be Goths, Celts, Germans, Tartars, &c.; but the most received opinion is, that they are Scythians; and there is a curious chapter in Bochart, which would corroborate a notion that is said to have prevailed among the Turks, and to which late events have given additional color : to wit, that the Russians are a part of their family.* At all events, dear reader, Gog and Magog are not the giants of Guildhall ; albeit the latter, like the former, are unappropriated phenomena — supposed, we believe, to represent an ancient Briton and a Roman, and to be the relics of some quondam city pageant.
It seems agreed, however, that although nobody knows who Gog and Magog are, they are mixed up somehow
*“Geographia Sacra,” cap. 13. [The reader will find a pleasant passage concerning Bochart in the article on “ Bricklayers and an Old Book,” in “The Seer.” Hallam, too, in the “Literature of Europe,” has a good word for the fine old scholar. – ED.)