The Age of Fable eBook

Thomas Bulfinch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 980 pages of information about The Age of Fable.

Mark ordered the lovers to be buried in his own chapel.  From the tomb of Tristram there sprung a vine, which went along the walls, and descended into the grave of the queen.  It was cut down three times, but each time sprung up again more vigorous than before, and this wonderful plant has ever since shaded the tombs of Tristram and Isoude.

Spenser introduces Sir Tristram in his “Faery Queene.”  In Book VI., Canto ii., Sir Calidore encounters in the forest a young hunter, whom he thus describes: 

    “Him steadfastly he marked, and saw to be
    A goodly youth of amiable grace,
    Yet but a slender slip, that scarce did see
    Yet seventeen yeares; but tall and faire of face,
    That sure he deemed him borne of noble race. 
    All in a woodman’s jacket he was clad
    Of Lincoln greene, belayed with silver lace;
    And on his head an hood with aglets sprad,
    And by his side his hunter’s horne he hanging had.

[Footnote:  Aglets, points or tags]

    “Buskins he wore of costliest cordawayne,
    Pinckt upon gold, and paled part per part,
    As then the guize was for each gentle swayne. 
    In his right hand he held a trembling dart,
    Whose fellow he before had sent apart;
    And in his left he held a sharp bore-speare,
    With which he wont to launch the salvage heart
    Of many a lyon, and of many a beare,
  That first unto his hand in chase did happen neare.”

[Footnote:  Pinckt upon gold, etc., adorned with golden points, or eyelets, and regularly intersected with stripes.  Paled (in heraldry), striped]

CHAPTER XVIII

PERCEVAL

The father and two elder brothers of Perceval had fallen in battle or tournaments, and hence, as the last hope of his family, his mother retired with him into a solitary region, where he was brought up in total ignorance of arms and chivalry.  He was allowed no weapon but “a lyttel Scots spere,” which was the only thing of all “her lordes faire gere” that his mother carried to the wood with her.  In the use of this he became so skilful, that he could kill with it not only the animals of the chase for the table, but even birds on the wing.  At length, however, Perceval was roused to a desire of military renown by seeing in the forest five knights who were in complete armor.  He said to his mother, “Mother, what are those yonder?” “They are angels, my son,” said she.  “By my faith, I will go and become an angel with them.”  And Perceval went to the road and met them.  “Tell me, good lad,” said one of them, “sawest thou a knight pass this way either today or yesterday?” “I know not,” said he, “what a knight is.”  “Such an one as I am,” said the knight.  “If thou wilt tell me what I ask thee, I will tell thee what thou askest me.”  “Gladly will I do so,” said Sir Owain,

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The Age of Fable from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.