Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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6                 THE BOT AND THE MANTLE.
Horn andRimnild (Ritson, Metrical Romances, iii. 301,) as well as in one or two ballads in this collection, the stone of a ring; in a German ballad, Die Krone der Konigin von Afion, (Erlach, Volkslieder der Deutschen, i. 132,) a golden crown, that will fit the head of no in­continent husband. Without pretending to exhaust the subject, we may add three instances of a different kind: the Valley in the romance of Lancelot, which being entered by a faithless lover would hold him im­prisoned forever; the Cave in Amadis of Gaul, from which the disloyal were driven by torrents of flame ; and the Well in Horn and Rimnild, (ibid.) which was to show the shadow of Horn, if he proved false.
In conclusion, we will barely allude to the singular anecdote related by Herodotus, (ii. Ill,) of Phero, the son of Sesostris, in which the experience of King Mare and King Arthur is so curiously anticipated. In the early ages, as Dunlop has remarked, some experiment for ascertaining the fidelity of women, in defect of evi­dence, seems really to have been resorted to. " By the Levitical law," (Numbers v. 11-31,) continues that accurate writer, " there was prescribed a mode of trial, which consisted in the suspected person drinking wa­ter in the tabernacle. The mythological fable of the trial by the Stygian fountain, which disgraced the guilty by the waters rising so as to cover the laurel wreath of the unchaste female who dared the exami­nation, probably had its origin in some of the early in­stitutions of Greece or Egypt. Hence the notion was adopted in the Greek romances, the heroines of which were invariably subjected to a magical test of this na­ture, which is one of the few particulars in which any similarity of incident can be traced between the Greek







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III