THE story of Peredur exists in the French language in two different forms: one of these is a Metrical Romance, by Chrestien de Troyes, entitled "Perceval le Galois," of which several MSS. are deposited in the Bibliothèque du Roi; the other is a Prose Composition, and has appeared in print. This last is of small folio size, bearing the date of Paris, March 20, 1529. Copies of it are extremely rare.
Of the English Metrical Romance of Perceval, only one ancient copy is known to be extant. It is contained in a very curious folio MS. on paper, belonging to the library of Lincoln Cathedral, and which from the name of its transcriber, Robert de Thornton, a monk who lived in the 15th century, is commonly known by the name of the Thornton MS. Sir Frederick Madden, in his Introduction to the Romance of Sir Gawaine, gives a particular description of the MS. and its contents.
I possess a transcript of it, which, by the kind permission of the Chapter, I made in 1840.
Amongst the various Romances of the Round Table none appears to have enjoyed a larger share of popularity in Germany than that of Perceval. It is the subject of a poem written by Wolfram von Eschenbach, about the year 1200, which he professedly derived from a French original totally distinct from that of Chrestien. The author's name is given as Kyot, or Guyot, of Provence; apparently a different person from Guyot of Provins, whose satirical poem, written at the same period, is well known in old French literature. Kyot seems to have been acquainted with the wild fictions of the Arabic story-tellers in Spain, and to have blended them in his own work with the Welsh legends which, either in Latin or French form, had already made their way to Southern France, and were eagerly listened to at the court of Anjou.
Numerous MS. copies of Wolfram's poem are in existence, and a printed edition, now of extreme rarity, appeared as early as the
end of the 15th century. It is also comprised in Myller's Selection of Ancient Poems, and in Karl Lachmann's edition of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Works. Berlin, 1833. 8vo. Mr. Albert Schulz (San Marte) has published a modern German translation of it. Magdeburg, 1836. 8vo.
The Romance of Peredur is found in Icelandic under the title of the Saga of Perceval, of which there are copies in the British Museum and in the Royal Library at Stockholm.