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LE VOYAGE DU CHEVALIER ERRANT
A French allegorical romance, entitled Le Voyage du Chevalier errant, was
printed at Antwerp in 1557.1 Other editions followed from the same press in
1572 and 1595.2 There is a copy of the edition of the latter year at the National
Library of Wales. The work itself was written in the thirteenth century by a
French religious, Jean de Carthenay, Cartheny, or Cartigny. It was translated
into English by William Goodyear under the title of The Voyage of the Wandring
Knight. At least four editions of the English version appeared between 1581
and 1626.3 The earliest English edition in the National Library is that of 1650.
The British Museum Catalogue records a further edition in 1661 and a new trans-
lation from the French edition of 1572 by A. J. Hanmer in 1889. The same
Catalogue refers to a German translation published in 1602 and a Welsh translation
(Y Marchog Crwydrad: hen ffuglith Gymreig) edited by D. Silvan Evans in 1864.
Chancellor Daniel Silvan Evans was the owner of an incomplete manuscript
text of the Welsh translation. He had acquired it from the library of W. H.
Mounsey. This manuscript was the only source of the text which he published in
Y Brython printed at Tremadoc in 1 862-3.* The type was re-imposed and issued
as a pamphlet in the same format with the addition of a title page and a prefatory
note under the joint imprints of Robert Isaac Jones (Tremadog) and W. Spurrell
(Caerfyrddin) in 1864. The Chancellor was aware of another Welsh version in
the Llanover library but he made no attempt to collate the two manuscripts. He
had no idea about the origin of the text and its earlier existence in French and
English, though he made unsuccessful enquiries of learned men in England, France,
and Wales for versions of it in English, French, or Latin.
The manuscript printed by Silvan Evans was described by Dr. J. Gwenogvryn
Evans as Llanwrin MS. 2.5 He dated it about 1600. The manuscript disappeared
and did not reach the National Library of Wales with the other Llanwrin Manu-
scripts in the Cwrt Mawr collection at the death of Principal J. H. Davies in 1926.
In February of this year it was offered for sale at the auction rooms of Messrs.
Sotheby and was purchased for the National Library.6 By a strange coincidence
one of the next batch of manuscripts purchased by the National Library, a group
of manuscripts from the collection of David Powell ('Dewi Nantbran') at Belmont
Abbey in Herefordshire, contained a late seventeenth century manuscript of the
same text.7 The existence of this manuscript was known to very few Welsh
scholars who had received the kind hospitality of the monks of Belmont.
The National Library already possessed the only three other known manu-
scripts of this Welsh translation. They are Llanstephan MS. 178, Llanover
1 Catalogue Gendral des Livres Imprimis de la Bihliothhque Nationale.
2 British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books.
3 Pollard and Redgrave; A Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed in England
4 Vol. V, pp. 1-17, 138-153, 257-67, 361-74.
5 Reports on MSS. in the Welsh Language, Vol. II, p. 370.
6 N.L.W. MS. 15533B. 7 N.L.W. MS. 15541A.
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