We know nothing of the authors of these poems, which treat of the heroic adventures of the great warriors and lovely ladies of the chivalric age in strains of artless but often exquisite beauty.
The boy is brought up as his own by Roald, or Rual, seneschal of the kingdom, who has him carefully trained in all chivalric and courtly arts.
22 a noted, rides on purely chivalric ventures, such as aiding distressed damsels, seeking the Grail, &c. His expeditions are all more or less warlike.
The king is a hero of the chivalric type common in contemporary romance; freedom is a "noble thing" to be sought and won at all costs; the opponents of such freedom are shown in the dark colours which history and poetic propriety require; but there is none of the complacency of the merely provincial habit of mind.
But while the banner was square the pennon, which resembled it in other respects, was either pointed or forked at its extremity, and the pencel, which was considerably less than the others, always terminated in a single tail or streamer.6 If indeed we look at the scale of chivalric subordination from another point of view, it seems to be more properly divisible into four than into three stages, of which two may be called provisional and two final.
It was subsequently given by Joseph to his brother-inlaw Brons, whose grandson Perceval is destined to be the final winner and guardian of the relic. The Merlin forms the connecting thread between this definitely ecclesiastical romance and the chivalric atmosphere of Arthur's court; and finally, in the Perceval, the hero, son of Alain and grandson to Brons, is warned by Merlin of the quest which awaits him and which he achieves after various adventures.
He had traversed the fertile country of Flanders; he had visited the rich commercial and industrial republics of Bruges and Ghent, which had escaped the disasters of the Hundred Years War; and, finally, he had enjoyed a hospitality as princely as it was self-interested at Brussels and at Dijon, the two capitals, where he had seen the brilliancy of a court unique in Europe for the ideal of chivalric life it offered.
Charles VIII., a prince with neither intelligence nor resolution, his head stuffed with chivalric romance, was scarcely freed from his sisters control when he sought in Italy a fatal distraction from the struggle with the house of Austria.
The question now was how to occupy the military activity of a young, handsome, chivalric and gallant prince, ondoyant et divers, intoxicated by his first victory and his tardy accession to fortune.