Roswall and Lillian

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Roswall and Lillian is a medieval Scottish chivalric romance.[1] A late appearing tale, it nevertheless draws heavily on folkloric motifs for its account of an exiled prince, reduced to poverty, who rises from it to win a princess.

Synopsis[edit]

Roswall frees some of his father's prisoners, and so is exiled. The treacherous steward who accompanies him threatens to murder him if he does not hand over all his possession and swear to become his servant; then he abandons him to find a finer servant. A woman takes Roswall in and sends him to school with her son; he does so well as to impress the master, who brought him to the king to take into service. The king's daughter Lillian fell in love with him.

A tourney is held, to honor Lillian's marriage with the treacherous steward. Roswall goes hunting, but a white knight finds him and gives him a horse and armor to fight with, and he wins but flees before recognition; the next day, a gray knight; the third, a green knight.

The night before the wedding, the knights come and salute the king and queen and Lillian, but not the steward. When asked why, given that he's their king's son, they say they do not see their king's son, but then they find him. The king asks, and Roswall tells his story. The steward is hanged, and Roswall marries Lillian and rewards the old woman who had given him shelter.

History[edit]

It is "certainly as early as the sixteenth century and perhaps [belonging] to the fifteenth" but found only in printed editions, the earliest dating to 1663.[2]

The ballad The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward, too closely related not to be derived, was entered into the Stationers' Register in 1580.[3]

Sir Walter Scott recounted that within living memory of his time, an old person wandered Edinburgh, singing Roswall and Lillian.[1]

Motifs[edit]

Despite its late origin, the tale is rife with motifs deriving from folklore.[4] The rescue of the prisoners, his exile, and their assistance to him is clearly recognizable in such fairy tales as Iron Hans, The Gold-bearded Man, and The Hairy Man,[4] and this friendship is central to the plot.[5]

The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward contains both the treacherous steward and the marriage to the steward interrupted for that of the man he supplanted.[3] Both it and The Goose Girl turn on the revelation that the true royal has been supplanted by a treacherous servant.[6]

Fighting in the three different suits of armor at the tourney resemble those of Ipomedon and Sir Gowther

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p290 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  2. ^ Rickert, Edith. 1908. Early English Romances: Done in to Modern English by Edith Rickert: Romances of Friendship. Chatto and Windus.
  3. ^ a b Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p290-1 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  4. ^ a b Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p291 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  5. ^ Rickert, Edith. 1908. Early English Romances: Done in to Modern English by Edith Rickert: Romances of Friendship, "Introduction". Chatto and Windus.
  6. ^ Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p292 New York Burt Franklin,1963

External links[edit]