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In Gower also, as often as the poor man sells the pretious stone, on returning home, he finds it again among the money in his purse.
The acquisition of riches, and the multiplication of treasure, by invisible agency, is a frequent and favorite fiction of the „Arabian romance. Thus, among the presents given to Sir Launfal by the Lady Triamore, daughter of the king of Faeric.
I will the zeve an Alver",
With fayre ymages thre:
In wat place shalt thou be? CHAP. xx. King Darius's legacy to his three sons. To the eldest he bequeathes all his paternal inheritance : to the second, all that he had acquired by conquest : and to the third, a ring and necklace, both of gold, and a rich cloth. All the three last gifts were endued with magical virtues. Whoever wore the ring on his finger, gained the love or favour of all whom he desired to please. Whoever hung the necklace over his breast, obtained all his heart could desire. Whoever fate down on the cloth, could be instantly transported to any part of the world which he chose.
From this beautiful tale, of which the opening only is here given, Occleve, commonly called Chaucer's disciple, framed a poem in the octave stanza, which was printed in the year 1614, by William Browne, in his set of Eclogues called the ShepHEARDS Pipe. Qccleve has literally followed the book before us, and has even tranļlated into English prose the MORALISATION annexed'. He has given no sort of embellishment to his I Give thee,
y Viz. MSS. SELD. Sup. 53. Where is u Perhaps Almer, or Almere, a cabinet a prologue of many farzas not printed by
Browne. See alio MSS. Dics. 18. MSS. * SYR LAUNFAL. MSS. Cott. CALIG, LAVD. K. 78. [Sce fupr. vol. il. 58.] A. 2. fol.35. b.
w Get. Find.
original, and by no means deserves the praises which Browne in the following elegant pastoral lyrics has bestowed on his performance, and which more justly belong to the genuine Gothic, or rather Arabian, inventor.
Well I wot, the man that first
The history of Darius, who gave this legacy to his three sons, is incorporated with that of Alexander, which has been decorated with innumerable fictions by the Arabian writers. There is also a separate romance on Darius. And on Philip of Macedon:
CHAP. cxxiv. Of the knights who intercede for their friend with a king, by coming to his court, each half on horse back and half on foot.
This is the last novel in the Cento NOVELLE ANTICHE.
CHAP. cxxvi. Macrobius is cited for the address and humour of an ingenuous boy named Papirius.
This is one of the most lively stories in Macrobius *.
CHAP. cxxviii. The forged testament of the wicked knight, under the reign of Maximian.
CHAP. cxxix. A young prince is sent on his travels. His three friends.
CHAP. cxxxii. The four physicians.
CHAP. cxxxv. The story of Lucretia, from faint Austin's CITY OF God.
A more classical authority for this story, had it been at hand, would have been sighted for faint Austin's City of God, which was the favorite fpiritual romance; and which, as the transition from religion to gallantry was antiently very easy, gave rise to the famous old French romance called the City of LADIES.
CHAP. cxxxvii. The Roman emperor who is banished for his impartial distribution of justice. From the CRONICA of Eusebius.
CHAP. cxxxviii. King Medro.
CHAP. cxxxix. King Alexander, by means of a mirrour, kills a cockatrice, whose look had destroyed the greatest part of
Aelian, in his Various History, mentions a serpent which appearing from the mouth of a cavern, stopped the march of Alexander's army through a spacious desert. The wild beasts, serpents, and birds, which Alexander encountered in marching through India, were most extravagantly imagined * SATURNAL. Lib. i. c. 6. pag. 147. Londin. 1694.
by the oriental fabulists, and form the chief wonders of that monarch's romance .
CHAP. cxl. The emperor Eraclius reconciles two knights.
This story is told by Seneca of Cneius Piso . It occurs in Chaucer's SOMPNOUR'S TALE, as taken from Senec, or Seneca
CHAP. cxli. A knight who had diffipated all his substance in frequenting tournaments, under the reign of Fulgentius, is reduced to extreme poverty. A serpent haunted a chamber of his house ; who being constantly fed with milk by the knight, in return made his benefactor rich. The knight's ingratitude and imprudence in killing the serpent, who was supposed to guard a treasure concealed in his chamber.
Medea's dragon guarding the golden fleece is founded on the oriental idea of treasure being guarded by ferpents. We are told in Vincent of Beauvais, that there are mountains of solid gold in India guarded by dragons and griffins
CHAP. cxliii. A certain king ordained a law, that if was suddenly to be put to death, at sun-rising a trumpet should be founded before his gate. The king made a great feast for all his nobles, at which the most skilful musicians were present'. But amidst the general festivity, the king was sad and silent. All the guests were surprised and perplexed at the king's melancholy; but at length his brother ventured to ask him the cause.
b In Vincent of Beauvais, there is a long fabulous History of Alexander, tranfcribed partly from Simeon Seth. Spec. Hist. Lib. iv. c. i. f. 41. a. seq. edit. Ven. 1591. fol.
c De IR A. Lib. i. c. 8. d Ver. 7600. 'Tyrwh. • Specul. Hist. Lib. i. c. 64. fol. 9. b. - In the days of chivalry, a concert of a variety of instruments of music conftant. ly made a part of the solemnity of a splendid feast. Of this many instances have been given. I will here add another, from the unprinted metrical romance of EMARE, MSS. Cott. CALIG, A. 2. fol. 71, a,
Syre Ladore latte make a fette,
With his lord the kynge ;
Both harpe, and fydyllynge :
By fore that nobull kynge ;
She femed non erdly thynge, &c.
The king replied, “ Go home, and
answer “ tomorrow.” The king ordered his trumpeters to sound early the next morning before his brother's gate, and to bring him with them to judgement. The brother, on hearing this unexpected dreadful summons, was seized with horror, and came before the king in a black robe. The king commanded a deep pit to be made, and a chair composed of the most frail materials, and supported by four flight legs, to be placed inclining over the edge of the pit. In this the brother, being stripped naked, was seated. Over his head a sharp sword was hung by a small thread of filk. Around him four men were stationed with swords exceedingly sharp, who were to wait for the king's word, and then to kill him. In the mean time, a table covered with the most costly dishes was spread before him, accompanied with all sorts of music. Then said the king, “ My “ brother, why are you so sad? Can you be dejected, in the midst " of this delicious music, and with all these choice dainties ?” He answered, “ How can I be glad, when I have this morning “ heard the trumpet of death at my doors, and while I am “ feated in this tottering chair ? If I make the smallest mo• tion, it will break, and I shall fall into the pit, from which “ I shall never arise again. · If I lift my head, the suspended “.sword will penetrate my brain ; while these four tormentors
only wait your command to put me to death.” The king replied, “ Now I will answer your question, why I was sad
yesterday. I am exactly in your situation. I am seated, like you, in a frail and perishable chair, ready to tumble to pieces every moment, and to throw me into the infernal
pit. Divine judgement, like this sharp sword, hangs over my “ head : and I am surrounded, like you, with four executioners. “ That before me is Death, whose coming I cannot tell; that “ behind me, my Sins, which are prepared to accuse me before “ the tribunal of God; that on the right, the Devil, who is
ever watching for his prey; and that on the left, the Worm, “ who is now hungering after my flesh. Go in peace, my