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1577 - Holinshed, Raphael - Chronicles (3)

Allusion
Date 1577
Author Holinshed, Raphael et al.
Title Holinshed's Chronicles
Mentions Tales of Robin Hood; Ariosto's jests in Orlando Furioso

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-16. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-19.

Allusion

Heere also is eftsoones to bee considered the valure of the Brittishe Souldiers, who following this last remembred Constantine the vsurper, did put the Romayne state in great daunger, and by force brake through into Spayne, vanquishing those that kept the streights of ye mountaynes betwixt Spayne and Gallia, nowe called France, an exployt of no small consequence, sith thereby the number of Barbarous nations gote free passage to enter into Spayne, whereof ensued many battayles, sackings of Cities and townes, and wasting of the countreys accordingly as the furious rage of those fierce people was moued to put their crueltie in practise. If therefore the Britayne writers hadde considered and marked the valiant exploytes and noble enterprises which the Brittish aydes, armyes and legions atchieued in seruice of the Romayne Emperours (by whome whilest they had the gouernement ouer thys Isle, there were at sundry times notable numbers cõueyed forth into the parties of beyonde the Seas, as by Albinus and Constantius, also by his sonne Constantine the great, by Maximus, and by this Constantine, both of them vsurpers) if (I say) the Brittish writers had taken good note of the numbers of the Brittishe youth thus conueyed ouer from hence, and what notable exploytes they boldly attempted, and no lesse manfully atchieued, they needed not to haue giuen eare vnto the fabulous reportes forged by their Bardes of Arthur and other their Princes worthy indeede of high cõmendation. And pitie it is, that theyr fame shoulde bee brought by suche meanes out of credite by the incredible and fonde fables whyche haue bin deuised of their actes so vnlike to be true, as the tales of Robin Hood, or the iestes written by Ariost the Italian in his booke entituled Orlando Furioso, sith the same writers had otherwise true matter ynough to write of concernyng the worthy feates by their countreymen in those dayes in forraine parties boldly enterprised and no lesse valiantly accomplished, as also ye warres whiche nowe and then they maynteyned against the Romaynes here at home, in times whẽ they felte themselues oppressed by their tyrannical gouernement, as by yt which is written before of Caratacus, Voadicia, Cartimãdua, Venusius, Galgagus or Galdus (as some name him) and diuers other, who for their noble valiancies deserue as much prayse, as by tong or pen is able to be expressed. [...][1]

Source notes

Words in italics here are in Roman type and italics in the 1577 printed text. I have silently replaced long 's' by ordinary 's', 'J' by 'I'. I have likewise silently omitted hyphens that occur at line endings. The passage recurs, with only trivial changes of spelling, in the 1587 edition, which, however, differs as to the way it divides the text into paragraphs. It prints the first paragraph cited above as one with the preceding paragraph, but on the other hand, it also has a paragraph division not found in the 1577 text:

[...] Here also is eftsoones to be considered the valure of the British souldiers, who following this last remembred Constantine the vsurper, did put the Romane state in great danger, and by force brake through into Spaine, vanquishing those that kept the streicts of the mounteins betwixt Spaine and Gallia, now called France, an exploit of no small consequence, sith thereby the number of barbarous nations got frée passage to enter into Spaine, whereof insued manie battels, sacking of cities and townes, and wasting of the countries, accordinglie as the furious rage of those fierce people was mooued to put their crueltie in practise.

¶If therefore the Britaine writers had considered and marked the valiant exploits and noble enterprises which the Brittish aids, armies and legions atchiued in seruice of the Romane emperours (by whome whilest they had the gouernement ouer this Ile, there were at sundrie times notable numbers conueied foorth into the parties of beyond the seas, as by Albinus and Constantius, also by his sonne Constantine the great, by Maximus, and by this Constantine, both of them vsurpers) if (I saie) the British writers had taken good note of the numbers of the British youth thus conueied ouer from hence, & what notable exploits they boldlie attempted, & no lesse manfullie atchiued, they néeded not to haue giuen eare vnto the fabulous reports forged by their Bards, of Arthur and other their princes, woorthie in déed of verie high commendation.

And pitie it is, that their fame should be brought by such meanes out of credit, by the incredible and fond fables which haue béene deuised of their acts so vnlike to be true, as the tales of Robin Hood, or the gests written by Ariost the Italian in his booke intituled Orlando furioso, sith the same writers had otherwise true matter inough to write of concerning the worthie feats by their countriemen in those daies in forren parts boldlie enterprised, and no lesse valiantlie accomplished, as also the warres which now and then they mainteined against the Romans here at home, in times when they felt themselues oppressed by their tyrannicall gouernment, as by that which is written before of Caratacus, Boadicia, Cartimandua, Uenusius, Galgagus, or Galdus (as some name him) and diuers other, who for their noble valiancies deserue as much praise, as by toong or pen is able to be expressed. [...][2]

Readers wishing to look up passages cited on IRHB in the original editions should be careful to note the book and chapter names etc. cited in IRHB's source references. The collations of the 1577 and 1587 editions of Holinshed are quite confusing, some sequences being paginated, some having leaf numbers, some neither. Note also that although the 1577 edition is in four volumes and that of 1587 in six, they were often bound (issued?) in two, respectively three, volumes. This is often reflected in PDFs of early editions.

Lists

Editions

Background

Also see

Notes

  1. Holinshed, Raphael: [Wolfe, Reyner]; [Harrison, William]; [Stanyhurst, Richard]. The Firste volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. Conteyning, the description and Chronicles of England, from the first inhabiting vnto the conquest. The description and Chronicles of Scotland, from the first originall of the Scottes nation, till the yeare of our Lorde. 1571. The description and Chronicles of Yrelande, likewise from the firste originall of that nation, vntill the yeare. 1547 (London, [1577]), vol. I, The Historie of Englande: Maximianus, or rather Maximus, p. 99.
  2. See The Holinshed Project: The Texts, with minor corrections by IRHB. I have silently omitted hyphens at line endings and substituted ordinary 's' for long 's' as in the text of the 1577 edition.