Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art
Wright, Thomas Fairholt, Frederick William
Persistente ID:
of Caricature 
amufe themfelves and make jokes, and fay things b0I11 
of folly." 
Si qfi tel rujiume en France, 5 Paris e a' Cnrrres, 
Qmznd Franceisfunt rulclziez, quefle giuunt e gnbenr, 
E ji dieizt mhl5u're e_fZz-ver efllage. 
But Charlemagne expofiulated in vain, and they were only faved from 
the confequence of their impruclence by the intervention of fo many 
miracles from above? 
In fuch trials of fkill as this, an individual mutt continually have arifen 
who excelled in fome at leatt of the qualities needful for raifiug mirth and 
making him a good companion, by {howing himfelf more brilliant in wit, 
or more biting in farcafms, or more impudent in hisjokes, and he would thus 
become the favourite mirth-maker of the court, the boon companion of 
tl1e chieftain and his followers in their hours of relaxation. We find fuch 
an individual not unufually introduced in the early romances and in the 
mythology of nations, and he fometimes unites the character of court 
orator with the other. Such a perfonage was the Sir Kay of the cycle of 
the romances of king Arthur. I have remarked in a former chapter that 
Hunferth, in the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf, is defcribed as holding 
a fornewhat Iimilar pofition at the court of king Hrothgar. To go 
farther back in the mythology of our forefathers, the Loki of Scandinavian 
fable appears fornetimes to have performed a Iimilar character in the 
atfembly of his fellow deities; and we know that, among the Greeks, 
Homer on one occafion introduces Vulcan acting the part of joker 
(-ye7kwro-rmtbg) to the gods of Olympus. But all thefe have no relationfhip 
whatever to the court-fool of modern times. 
The" German Writer Fliigel, in his " Hifcory of Court Fo0ls,"T has 
thrown this fubjedt into much confufion by introducing a great mafs of 
irrelevant matter; and thofe who have fince compiled from Fliigel, have 
made the confufion Gill greater. Much of this confufion has arifen from 
'1' " Charlemagne, an Anglo-Norman Poem of the Twelfth Century, now first 
published, by Francisque Michel," 12mo., 8vo., London, 1836. 
1" " Geschichte der Hoinarren, von Karl Friedrich Fliigel," 8v0. Liegnitz und 
Leipzig, 1789.


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