Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 7 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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KING JOHN AND THE ABBOT OF CAN­TERBURY.
Stories resembling that contained in the following ballad are to be met 'with in the literature of most of the nations of Europe ; for example, in the Gesta Ro-manorum, (No. XIX. and [XXXV.] of Madden's Old English Versions,') in the amusing German tale Der Phaffe Amis, 98-180, in Eulenspiegel, (Marbach, p. 28,) and the English Owlglass (31st Adventure in the recent edition), in the Grimm's Kinder-und-Haus-mar-chen, No. 152, in Sacchetti's Novels, No. 4, the Pa-tranuelo of Juan Timoneda, Alcala, 1576 (Ritson, Arte. Songs, ii. 183), the Contes a rire, i. 182, (Gent. Mag. 65, i. 35,) etc., etc. King John and the Abbot, says Grundtvig (ii. 650), is universally known in Denmark in the form of a prose tale; and a copy is printed in Gamle danske Minder (1854) No. Ill, The King and the Miller.
Wynken de Worde, printed in 1511, a little collec­tion of riddles, translated from the French, like those propounded by King John to the Abbot, with the title Demaundes Joyous. By this link the present ballad is connected with a curious class of compositions, pe­culiar to the Middle Ages—the Disputations, or Wit-Combats, of which the dialogues of Salomon and Marcolf (existing in many languages) are the most familiar, and those of Salomon and Saturn (in An­glo-Saxon) the oldest preserved specimens. These dialogues, in their earlier shape grave contests for







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