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recall the reader's attention to the poetry and language of the last century, by exhibiting some extracts from the manuscript romance of Ywain and GAWAIN, which has some great outlines of Gothic painting, and appears to have been written in the reign of king Henry the fixth". I premise, that but few circumstances happened, which contributed to the improvement of our language, within that and the present period.
The following is the adventure of the enchanted forest attempted by sir Colgrevance, which he relates to the knights of the round table at Cardiff in Wales *.
On golden gates that glent as glas. Again,
But mylde as mayden sene at mas.
The poem begins,
Perle plesant to princes raye,
So clanly clos in golde so cler".
In the same manuscript is an alliterative poem without rhyme, exactly in the verfi. fication of Pierce PLOWMAN, of equal or higher antiquity, viz.
Olde Abraham in erde over he fyttes,
Even by for his house doore under an oke
Bryzt blikked the bem p of the brod
heven In the hyze hete 9 therof Abraham bides. The hand-writing of these two laft-mentioned pieces cannot be later than Edward the third. (See supr. Vol. i. p. 312.] W MSS. Cotton. Galb. E. ix.
He made a feste, the sothe to fay,
Opon the Witsonenday,
At Kerdyf, that es in Wales,
And efter mete thar in the hales",
Ful gret and gay was the assemble
Of lordes and ladies of that contre,
And als of knightes, war and wyse,
And dameseles of mykel pryse,
Ilkan with other made grete gamen,
And grete solas, als thai war fámen,
Fast thai carped, and curtaylli,
Of dedes of arms and of veneri,
And of gude knyghtes, &c.
It is a piece of confiderable length, and contains a variety of Gests. Sir YWAIN is fir Ewalne, or Owen, in Morte ARTHUR, None of thele adventures belong to that romance. But see B. iv. c. 17. 27. etc. The story of the lion and the dragon in this romance, is told of a Christian champion in the Holy War, by Berchorius, Reductor. p.661. See supr. Diss. p. lxxxvii. And Gest. ROMANOR. ch, civ. 'The lion being delivered from the dragon by fir Ywain, ever afterwards accompanies and defends him in the greatest dangers. Hence Spenser's Una attended by a lion. F. Qu. i. iii. 7. See fir Percival's lion in MORTE ARTHUR, B. xiv. c. 6. The dark ages
many stories and traditions of the lion's grati. tude and generosity to man.
Hence in Shakespeare, Troilus says, TR. CRESS, A& V. Sc. iii.
Brother you have a vice of mercy in you
Which better fits a lion than a man.
m Glanced. Shone. * Cleanly. A pearl beautifully inclosed or sett in gold.
P Bright shone the beam. 9 High heat, i Halls.
A fayre forest sone I fand",
Me thought mi hapthare fel ful hard
For thar was mani a wide bayard,
Lions, beres, both bul and bare,
That rewfully gan rope and rare
Away I drogh me, and with that, ,
I sawe sone whar a man fat
On a lawnd, the fowlest wight,
That ever zit man faw in fyght :
He was a lathly' creatur,
For fowl he was out of mesur ;
A wonder mace & in hand he hade,
And fone mi way to him I made 3
His hevyd”, me thoght, was als grete
Als of a rowncy or a nete".
Unto his belt hanghis hare';
And eft that byheld I mare",
To his forhede byheld I than
Was bradder" than twa large span ;
He had eres als P an olyfant,
And was wel more than a geant,
His face was ful brade and flat,
His nase' was cutted as a cat,
His browes war like litel buskes',
And his tethe like bare tuskes
A ful grete bulge open his bak,
Thar was noght made with outen lac";
His chin was fast until his brest,
On his mace he
Also it was a wonder wede*
That the cherle' yn zede”,
Nowther of wolne of line,
Was the wede that he went yn.
When he me fagh, he ftode up right,
I frayned him if he wolde fight,
For tharto was I in gude will,
Bot also a beste than stode he still :
I hopid' that he no wittes kowth,
Ne reson for to speke with mowth.
To him I (pak ful hardily,
And said, What ertow“, belamy'?
He said ogain, I am a man.
I said, Swilk saw I never nane'.
What ertow m alsone ", said he ?
I said, Swilk als •
I said, What dose you here allane ??
He said, I kepe this' bestes ilkane'.
I said, That es mervaile, think me,
For I herd never of man bot the,
In wildernes, ne in forestes,
That kepeing had of wilde bestes,
Bot' thai war bunden fast in halde ".
He sayd, Of thirses "none so balde,
Nowther by day ne by night,
Anes* to pas out of mi sight:
I fayd, How so; tel me thi still.
Per fay, he said, gladly I will.
He said, In al this fair forest
Es thar non so wilde best,
That renne' dar”, bot stil stand
Whan I am to him cumand ;
And ay when that I will him fango
With my fingers that er d strang,
• him cri on swilk manere,
That al the bestes when thai him here,
Obout me than cum thai all,
And to mi fete fast thai fall
On thair maner, merci to cry.
Bot onderstond now redyli,
Olyvef es & thar lifand " no ma',
Bot I, that durft amang
That he ne fold fone be altorent!
Bot thai ar at my comandment,
To me thai cum whan I tham call,
And I am maister of tham all.
Than he asked onone right,
What man I was? I said, a knyght,
That foght avents in that lande,
My body to afai " and fand ";
And I the pray of thi kounsayle
You teche me to sum mervayle '.
* Once. y Runs. 2 There. · Stands ftill, • Coming c Take. • Are strong. e Cause. [ Alive.
· All rent to pieces.
a Fend, defend,
• Tell me of soine wonder. So Alexander, in the deserts of India, meets two P
He said, I can no wonders tell,
Bot her befyde es a Well ;
Wend yeder', and do als I say,
You passes noght al quite oway,
Folow forth this ilk ftrete,
And sone sum mervayles fal you mete :
The well es under the faireft Tre
That ever was in this cuntre ;
By that Well hinges' a Bacyne.
That es of golde gude and fyne,
With a cheyne, trewly to tell,
That will reche in to the Well.
Thare as a Chapel nere thar by,
That nobil es and ful lufely:
By the well standes a Stane",
Take the bacyn sone onane",
And cast on water with thi hand,
And sone you fal se new tithand":
A storme sal rise and a tempest,
Al obout, by est and west,
You sal here' mani thonor a blast
Al obout the the blawand fast,
And thar fal cum fike flete and rayne
That unnese fal
stand ogayne : Of lightnes fal you fe a lowe, Unnethes you sal thi selvan' knowe;
old cheorlis, or churls, from whom he de.
fires to learn,
Any merveilles by this wayes,
That y myzte do in story,
That men han in memorie.
They tell him, that a little farther he will
see the Trees of the Sun and Moon, &c.
GESTE OF ALEXANDER, MS. p. 231.
9 Way. Road.
• A helmet, or bafon.
w Perhaps, In hand.
* Tidings. Wonders.