A tale in prose or verse the incidents of which are hung upon
what is marvellous and fictitious. These tales were originally written
in the Romance language (q.v.), and the expression, “In Romance
we read,” came in time to refer to the tale, and not to the language in
which it was told.
Romance of chivalry
may be divided into three groups: (1) that relating to Arthur and
his Round Table; (2) that relating to Charlemagne and his paladins; (3)
that relating to Amadis and Palmerin. In the first are but few fairies;
in the second they are shown in all their glory; in the third (which
belongs to Spanish literature) we have no fairies, but the enchantress
Urganda la Desconecida.
It is misleading to call such poetical tales as the Bride of
Abydos, Lalla Rookh, and the Chansons of the Mouvères, etc., Romances.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894