Monday 6 April 2020

Metrical Romances of Middle English ,Short notes on Metrical Romances

Metrical Romances of Middle English ,Short notes on Metrical Romances
Metrical Romances Short Notes


The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 AD., had many far reaching consequences . One of the most important outcome of the conquest was the introduction of romances in England The Normans had imposed their language and culture over the vanquished Anglo-Saxon by the eleventh century the heroic conditions that were responsible in creating and sustaining the Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry were no larger present. As such the vernacular literature declined and was easily over shadowed by the superior Osctosyllabic verse of the French troubadours or wandering minstrels the advent of the French troubadours replaced the Anglo-Saxon based or Gleeman ' and introduced the metrical romances which became to popular that it overshadowed all other forms of literary expressions .

 Short Note on Metrical Romances of Middle English Period

The Metrical Romances usually dealt with the kings of love , chivalry and religion , pervaded by the spirit or romance and were narrated as poems or series of poem . By the thirteen century France has become the whole of lyric poetry and romance. The heroic deeds of Charlemagne and his knights formed the basis of these romances. These romances were originally short song celebrating the deeds of familiar heroic character later the various songs concerning one new were gathered together and the Geste became an epic. Thus , the most popular of there heroic deeds centered around Charlemagne and his knights and one of the chief romances is the Chanson De Roland. The popularity of these romances in England inspired the production of a great number of romances dealing with the heroic figures of France , ancient classical civilization and also Celtic and English periods.

The division of subject matter distinguish the romances from each other .Thus , a subject of matter of France consisted with romances dealing with the exploits of Charlemagne and his knights likewise , the romances or matter of Rome are concerned with the deeds of the classical hero’s the two great cycles of these romances deal with the exploits of Alexander , the great warrior of the Trojan war and the characters of Ovid . Similarly , the romances classified under the matter of Britain have the Arthurian legends. Among the many cycles of these romances like the stories of Merlin , the quest of the holy grail , the death of Arthur and the most famous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight .

The matter of England deal with the stories of English hero’s like Robinhood , Guy of Warwick. All English romances were initially either copies or translations of french versions. However, the later English romances became more concerned with incidents or action than with simple courtly love as seen in the French romances. Inspite of these the English Romances are truly romantic in the sense that they maintain their remoteness from reality , like all other romances they are only concerned with the ethics of medieval chivalry. It creates a wall that is populated by knight who considered it their moral obligation to defend beautiful ladies and weaker persons. The women are always beautiful and virtuous while the villain could be giants , dragons evil magicians , and all enemies of church and state .

The general form of romance is more or less similar. It emphasise on love , religion and duty as defined by chivalry. It depends upon exaggerated descriptions of things and situations often provided long catalogues. The common man and his life does not find their place in them. The original French romances were composed in a definite verse where the meter was exact and rhymes and assonance were used to achieve a musical clarity . In England this metrical system came in contact with the uneven lines , of the Anglo-Saxon versification with strong accent and alliteration. In due course of time a gradual union of French and Saxons brought about an amazing change in English language making it capable of employing a variety of verse forms.


Anglo-Saxon Poetry Characteristics      Anglo-Saxon Literature notes

Major Theme of Anglo-Saxon          
Aelfric and Alfred Contribution to
Anglo-Saxon Prose

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