תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

terms, I am inclined to think it of rather higher antiquity. In deference, however, to so great an authority, I am obliged to mention it here; and especially as it exhibits a regular lyric strophe of four lines, the second and fourth of which rhyme together: although these four lines may be perhaps resolved into two Alexandrines; a measure concerning which more will be said hereafter, and of which it will be sufficient to remark at present, that it appears to have been used very early. For I cannot recollect any strophes of this sort in the elder Runic or Saxon poetry; nor in any of the old Frankish poems, particularly of Otfrid, a monk of Weissenburgh, who turned the evangelical history into Frankish verse about the ninth century, and has left several hymns in that languagef; of Stricker, who celebrated the achievements of Charlemagne 8; and of the anonymous author of the metrical life of Anno archbishop of Cologn. The following stanza is a specimen.

! See Petr. Lambec. Commentar. Ulmæ 1727-8. 3 vol. in fol.” The Thede Bibl. Cæsar. Vindebon. pag. 418. saurus of Schilter is a real mine of Fran457.

cic literature. The text is founded on 8 See Petr. Lambec. ubi supr. lib. ii. a careful collation of all the MSS. cap. 5. There is a circumstance belong- to which he could obtain access; and ing to the antient Frankish versification, these, with one exception perhaps the which, as it greatly illustrates the sub- life of Saint Anno-are highly valuable ject of alliteration, deserves notice here. for their antiquity and correctness. In Otfrid's dedication of his evangelical the subsequent editions of this haphistory to Lewis the First, king of the piest effort of the Francic Muse, by oriental France, consists of four-lined Hegewisch, Goldman, and Besseldt, stanzas in rhyming couplets : but the Schilter's oversight has been abundantly first and last line of every stanza begin remedied. Stricker's poem, or rather and end with the same letter: and the the Strickers (a name which some have letters of the title of the dedication re- interpreted the writer), is written in the spectively, and the word of the last line Swabian dialect; and was composed toof every tetrastic. Flacius Illyricus wards the close of the thirteenth century. published this work of Otfrid at Basil, It is a feeble amplification of an earlier 1571. But I think it has been since more romance, which Warton probably incorrectly printed by Johannes Schilte- tended to cite, when he used the Stricrus. It was written about the year 880.

kers' name.

Both poems will be found Otfrid was the disciple of Rhabanus in Schilter ; but the latter, though usu Maurus.

ally styled a Francio production, ex(Schilter's book was published under hibits a language rapidly merging into this title: “SCHILTERI Thesaurus anti- the Swabian, if it be not in fact an early quitatum Teutonicarum, exhibens mo- specimen of that dialect in a rude unnunenta veterum Francorum, Alaman- cultivated state. - Edit.] norum vernacula et Latina, cum addi St. xiv. tamentis et notis Joan. Georg. Schertzii.

i Sende god biforen him man
The while he may to hevene,
For betere is on elmesse bifore

Thanne ben after seuenek. That is, “ Let a man send his good works before him to heaven while he can: for one alms-giving before death is of more value than seven afterwards." The verses perhaps might have been thus written, as two Alexandrines.

Send god biforen him man the while he may to hevene,

For betere is on almesse biforen, than ben after sevene'. Yet alternate rhyming, applied without regularity, and as rhymes accidentally presented themselves, was not uncommon in our early poetry, as will appear from other examples.

Hickes has printed a satire on the monastic profession; which clearly exemplifies the Saxon adulterated by the Norman, and was evidently written soon after the Conquest, at least before the reign of Henry the Second. The poet begins with describing the land of indolence or luxury.

Fur in see, bi west Spaynge,
Is a lond ihote Cokaygne:
Ther nis lond under hevenriche a
Of wel of godnis hit iliche.
Thoy paradis bi miri and brigt
Cokaygn is of fairir sigt.
What is ther in paradis
Bot grass, and flure, and grene ris?
Thoy ther be joy, and gret dute,
Ther nis met, bot frute.

i Sende god biforen him man, * MSS. Digb. A 4. membran. pe hpıle he mai to heuene;

1 As I recollect, the whole poem For betere is on elmerje bifonen is thus exhibited in the Trinity manuĐanne ben after jeuene.

script. This is perhaps the true reading, from a heaven. Sax. the Trinity manuscript at Cambridge,

merry, cheerful.

Although Pawritten about the reign of Henry the radise is chearful and bright, Cokayne is Second, or Richard the First, Cod. a much more beautiful place." membran. 8vo. Tractat. 1. See Abr. 101, Orig. Wheloc. Eccles. Hist. Bed. p. 25. 114. d.pleasure.

b

[ocr errors]

Ther nis halle, bure, no bench;
But watir manis thurst to quench, &c.

In the following lines there is a vein of satirical imagination and some talent at description. The luxury of the monks is represented under the idea of a monastery constructed of various kinds of delicious and costly viands.

Ther is a wel fair abbei,
Of white monkes and of grei,
Ther beth boures and halles :
All of pasteus beth the walles,
Of fleis of fisse, and a rich met,
The likefullist that man mai et.
Fluren cakes beth the schingles alle,
Of church, cloister, bours, and halle.
The pinnes 8 beth fat podinges
Rich met to princes and to kinges.-
Ther is a cloyster fair and ligt,
Brod and lang of sembli sigt.
The pilers of that cloister alle
Beth iturned of cristale,
With harlas and capital
Of grene jaspe and red coral.
In the
praer

is a tree
Swithe likeful for to se,
The rote is gingeur and galingale,
The siouns beth al sed wale.
Trie maces beth the flure,
The rind canel of swete odure:
The frute gilofre of gode smakke,
Of cucubes ther nis no lakke.
There beth iii willis in the abbei
Of tracle and halwei,

buttery, (a chamber. ] | Shingles. « The tiles, or covering of the house, are of rich cakes,"

& the pinnacles.
h fountains.

Of baume and eke piement',
Ever ernend* to rigt rent';
Of thai stremis al the molde,
Stonis pretiuse" and golde,
Ther is saphir, and uniune,
Carbuncle and astiune,
Smaragde, lugre, and prassiune,
Beril, onyx, toposiune,
Amethiste and crisolite,
Calcedun and epetite".
Ther beth' birddes mani and fale
Throstill, thruisse, and nigtingale,
Chalandre, and wodwale,
And othir briddes without tale,
That stinteth never bi her migt
Miri to sing dai and nigt.

[Nonnulla desunt.]
Yite I do yow mo to witte,
The gees irostid on the spitte,
Fleey to that abbai, God hit wot,

And gredith°, gees al hote al hote, &c. Our author then makes a pertinent transition to a convent of nuns; which he supposes to be very commodiously situated at no great distance, and in the same fortunate region of indolence, ease, and affluence.

An other abbai is ther bi
For soth a gret nunnerie;
Up a river of swet milk
Whar is plente grete of silk.
When the summeris dai is hote,

The yung nunnes takith a bote · This word will be explained at large * Our old poets are never so happy as hereafter.

* running. Sax. when they can get into a catalogue of 'course. Sax. m The Arabian phi- things or names. See Observat. on the losophy imported into Europe was full Fairy Queen, i. p. 140. of the doctrine of precious stones. a crieth. Gallo-Franc. (Anglo-Sax.)

And doth ham forth in that river
Both with oris and with stere:
Whan hi beth fur from the abbei
Hi makith him nakid for to plei,
And leith dune in to the brimme
And doth him sleilich for to swimme:
The yung monkes that hi seeth
Hi doth ham up and forth hi fleeth,
And comith to the nunnes anon,
And euch monk him takith on,
And snellich P berith forth har prei
To the mochill grei abbei”,
And techith the nonnes an oreisun

With jambleus' up and duns.
P quick, quickly. Gallo-Franc. [ An- Squizeres in vche syde,
glo-Saxon.]

In the wones d so wyde: ! to the great abbey of Grey Hur schul we longee abyde, Monks."

Auntresf to heare. * lascivious motions, gambols. Fr. Thene swithe spekethe he, gambiller.

Til a ladi so fre, * Hickes. Thes. i. Par. i. p. 231 seq. And biddeth that he welcum be,

[A French fabliau, bearing a near “ Sire Water my feere 4." resemblance to this poem, and possibly Ther was bordsi i clothed clene the production upon which the English With schirek clothes and schene, minstrel founded his song, has been pub- Seppel a wasschen.“, i wene, lished in the new edition of Barbazan's And wente to the sete : Fabliaux et Contes, Paris 1808, vol. iv. Riche metes was forth brouht, p. 175.-Edit.]

To all men that gode thouht: [The secular indulgences, particularly The cristen mon wolde nouht the luxury, of a female convent, are in Drynke nor ete. tended to be represented in the following Ther was wyn ful clere passage of an antient poem, called Ă In mony a feir masere", Disputation bytwene a Crystene mon and a And other drynkes that weore dere, Jeu, written before the year 1300. MS. In coupes o ful gret: Vernon, fol. 301.

Siththe was schewed him bi Till a Nonneri thei came,

Murththe and munstralsy”,
But I knowe not the name;

And preyed hem do gladly,
Ther was mony a derworthea dame With ryal rechet?
In dyapre dereb

Bi the bordes up thei stode, &c. Addit.]

b

с

d

dear-worthy. diaper fine.

squires, attendants.

rooms, apartments. e shall we long.

f adventures. & swiftly, immediately. my companion, my love. He is called afterwards “ Sire [Sir] Walter of Berwick." 1 tables. * sheer, clean. Or sithe, i. e. often. (afterwards : but perhaps we should read seththe thei, “afterwards they."-Edit.] m washed. mazer, great cup. cups.

P afterwards there was sport and minstrelsy. 9 i. e. recept, reception. But see Chaucer's Rom. R. v. 6509 :

“ Him, woulde I comfort and rechete." And To. Cress. iii. 550.

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »