1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Guillaume de Palerme

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GUILLAUME DE PALERME (William of Palerne), hero of romance. The French verse romance was written at the desire of a Countess Yolande, generally identified with Yolande, daughter of Baldwin IV., count of Flanders. The English poem in alliterative verse was written about 1350 by a poet called William, at the desire of Humphrey Bohun, earl of Hereford, (d. 1361). Guillaume, a foundling supposed to be of low degree, is brought up at the court of the emperor of Rome, and loves his daughter Melior who is destined for a Greek prince. The lovers flee into the woods disguised in bear-skins. Alfonso, who is Guillaume’s cousin and a Spanish prince, has been changed into a wolf by his step-mother’s enchantments. He provides food and protection for the fugitives, and Guillaume eventually triumphs over Alfonso’s father, and wins back from him his kingdom. The benevolent werwolf is disenchanted, and marries Guillaume’s sister.

See Guillaume de Palerne, ed. H. Michelant (Soc. d. anc. textes fr., 1876); Hist. litt. de la France, xxii. 829; William of Palerme, ed. Sir F. Madden (Roxburghe Club, 1832), and W. W. Skeat (E. E. Text Soc., extra series No. 1, 1867); M. Kaluza, in Eng. Studien (Heilbronn, iv. 196). The prose version of the French romance, printed by N. Bonfons, passed through several editions.