It forms part of the cycle of the chansons de geste dealing with the Crusade, and relates how Helyas, knight of the swan, is guided by the swan to the help of the duchess of Bouillon and marries her daughter Ida or Beatrix in circumstances exactly parallel to the adventures of Lohengrin and Elsa of Brabant, and with the like result.
In the British Museum contains eighteen chansons of the cycle.
The cycle of twenty or more chansons which form the geste of Guillaume reposes on the traditions of the Arab invasions of the south of France, from the battle of Poitiers (732) under Charles Martel onwards, and on the French conquest of Catalonia from the Saracens.
1170) in Foucon de Candie (Candie = Gandia in Spain ?) is the return of Guillaume from the battle; and the Italian compilation I Nerbonesi, based on these and other chansons, seems in some cases to represent an earlier tradition than the later of the French chansons, although its author Andrea di Barberino wrote towards the end of the 14th century.
The chansons de geste of the cycle of Guillaume are: Enfances Garin de Monglane (15th century) and Garin de Monglane (13th century), on which is founded the prose romance of Guerin de Monglane, printed in the 15th century by Jehan Trepperel and often later; Girars de Viane (13th century, by Bertrand de Barsur-Aube), ed.
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