« הקודםהמשך »
Ysioune honde the lettre he nom",
The pope himself the lettre redde,
“Alas!” he seide, “is Edward ded?
The pope of Peyters stod at is masse
say in romance and ryme.” Chron. Was ded and lay on bere, Edward of
p. 340. edit ut supr. Ingeland. - The Pope the tother day wist it in the He said with hevy chere, in spirit he it court of Rome. fond.
The Pope on the morn bifor the clergi He adds, that the Pope granted five
cana years of pardon to those who would pray And tolde tham biforn, the floure of for his soul. * in his. * took. Cristendam less. " men. "there. * began.
He wolde ha rered up ful heyge
Wel longe we mowe clepep and crie,
That the pope should here pronounce the funeral panegyric of Edward the First, is by no means surprising, if we consider the predominant ideas of the age. And in the true spirit of these ideas, the poet makes this illustrious monarch's atchievements in the Holy Land, his principal and leading topic. But there is a particular circumstance alluded to in these stanzas, relating to the crusading character of Edward", together with its consequences, which needs explanation. Edward, in the decline of life, had vowed a second expedition to Jerusalem; but finding his end approach, in his last moments he devoted the prodigious sum of thirty thousand pounds to provide one hundred and forty knights", who should carry his heart into Palestine. But this appointment of the dying king was never executed. Our elegist, and the chroniclers, impute the crime of withholding so pious a legacy to the advice of the king of France, whose daughter Isabel was married to the succeeding king. But it is more probable to suppose, that Edward the Second, and his profligate minion Piers Gaveston, dissipated the money in their luxurious and expensive pleasures.
* Edward the Second, born in Carnarvon castle.
t MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 73. In a Miscellany called the Muses Library, compiled, as I have been #j. by an ingenious lady of the name of Cooper, there is an elegy on the death of Henry the First, “wrote immediately after his
death, the author unknown.” p. 4. Lond. Pr. for T. Davies, 1738. octavo. But this piece, which has great merit, could not have been written till some centuries afterwards. From the classical allusions and general colour of the phraseology, to say nothing more, it with greater probability belongs to Henry the Eighth. It escaped me till just before this work went to press, that Dr. Percy had printed this elegy, Ball. ii. 9.
* [It appears that king Edward the First, about the year 1271, took his HARPER with him to the Holy Land. This officer was a close and constant attendant of his master: for when Edward was wounded with a poisoned knife at Ptolemais, the harper, cithareda suus, hearing the struggle, rushed into the royal apartment, and killed the assassin. CHRoN. Walt. Hemingford, cap. xxxv. p. 591.
Apud V Histor. ANGLIc. ScamproR. vol. ii. Oxon. 1687. fol.—ADDITIons.
[After the king himself had slain the assassin [his harper] had the singular courage to brain a dead man with a trivet or tripod, for which act of heroism he was justly reprimanded by Edward. Ritson.]
"The poet says eighty.
WE have seen, in the preceding section, that the character of our poetical composition began to be changed about the reign of the first Edward: that either fictitious adventures were substituted by the minstrels in the place of historical and traditionary facts, or reality disguised by the misrepresentations of invention; and that a taste for ornamental and even exotic expression gradually prevailed over the rude simplicity of the native English phraseology. This change, which with our language affected our poetry, had been growing for some time; and among other causes was occasioned by the introduction and increase of the tales of chivalry. The ideas of chivalry, in an imperfect degree, had been of old established among the Gothic tribes. The fashion of challenging to single combat, the pride of seeking dangerous adventures, and the spirit of avenging and protecting the fair sex, seem to have been peculiar to the Northern nations in the most uncultivated state of Europe. All these customs were afterwards encouraged and confirmed by corresponding circumstances in the feudal constitution. At length the Crusades excited a new spirit of enterprise, and introduced into the courts and ceremonies of European princes a higher degree of splendor and parade, caught from the riches and magnificence of eastern cities”. These oriental expeditions established a taste for hyperbolical description, and propagated an infinity of marvellous tales, which men returning from distant countries easily imposed on credulous and ignorant minds. The unparalleled emulation with which the nations of Christendom universally embraced this holy cause, the pride with which emperors, kings, barons, earls, bishops, and knights, strove to excel each other on this interesting occasion, not only in prowess and heroism, but in sumptuous equipages, gorgeous banners, armorial cognisances, splendid pavilions, and other expensive articles of a similar nature, diffused a love of war, and a fondness for military pomp. Hence their very diversions became warlike, and the martial enthusiasm of the times appeared in tilts and tournaments. These practices and opinions co-operated with the kindred superstitions of dragons", dwarfs, fairies, giants, and enchanters, which the traditions of the Gothic scalders had already planted; and produced that extraordinary species of composition which has been called RoMANCE. Before these expeditions into the East became fashionable, the principal and leading subjects of the old fablers were the atchievements of king Arthur with his knights of the round table, and of Charlemagne with his twelve peers. But in the romances written after the holy war, a new set of champions, of conquests and of countries, were introduced. Trebizonde took place of Rouncevalles, and Godfrey of Bulloigne, Solyman, Nouraddin, the caliphs, the souldans, and the cities of AEgypt and Syria, became the favourite topics". The trou
* I cannot help transcribing here a curious passage from old Fauchet. He is speaking of Louis the young, king of France about the year 1150. “Le quel fut le premier roy de sa maison, qui monstra dehors ses richesses allant en
Jerusalem. Aussi la France commença de son temps a s'embellir de bastimens plus magnifiques: prendre plaisir a piermieres, et autres delicatesses goustus en Levant par luy, ou les seigneurs qui avoientja fait ce voyage. Desorte qu'on
peut dire qu'il a este le premier tenant
position,” there are few of its positions
The popularity of Arthur's story anterior to the first Crusade, is abundantly manifested by the language of William of Malmesbury and Alanus de Insulis;
who refer to it as a fable of common notoriety and general belief among the people. Had it arisen within their own days, we may be certain that Malmesbury, who rejected it as beneath the dignity of history, would not have suffered an objection so well founded, as the novelty of its appearance, to have escaped his censure; nor can the narrative of
Alanus be reconciled with the general