תמונות בעמוד

Ysi oune honde the lettre he nom”,

Ywis is herte wes ful gret:
The pope himself the lettre redde,

And spec a word of gret honour.
“Alas !” he seide, “is Edward ded?

Of Cristendome he ber the flour !"

The pope to is chaumbre wende

For del ne mihte he speke na more;
Ant after cardinales he sende

That muche couthen of Cristes lore,
Both the lassel ant eke the more

Bed hem both rede ant synge:
Gret deol me myhte se thore",

Many mon is honde wrynge.


The pope of Peyters stod at is masse

With ful gret solempnete,
Ther me cono the soule blesse:

“Kyng Edward, honoured thou be:
God leve thi sone come after the,

Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne,
The holy crois ymad of tre

So fain thou woldest hit hav ywonne.

“Jerusalem, thou hast ilore

The flour of al chivalerie,
Nou kyng Edward liveth na more,

Alas, that he yet shulde deye! 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

fond. court of Rome. The Pope on the morn bifor the clergi He adds, that the Pope granted five

years of pardon to those who would pray And tolde tham biforn, the floure of for his soul.

i in his. Cristendam

A there. began.


I took.

I less.

[ocr errors]


He wolde ha rered up ful heyge

Our baners that bueth broht to grounde:
Wel longe we mowe clepe P and crie,

Er we such a kyng hav yfounde !"


Now is Edward of Carnarvan,

Kyng of Engelond al aplyht!;
God lete him ner be worse man

Then is fader ne lasse of myht,
To holden is pore men to ryht

Ant understonde good counsail,
Al Engelond for to wisse ant diht

Of gode knightes darh him nout fail.


Thah mi tonge were mad of stel

Ant min herte yzote of bras
The godness myht y never telle

That with kyng Edward was.
Kyng as thou are cleped conquerour

In vch bataile thou hadest pris,
God bringe thi soule to the honour

That ever wes and ever ys,
[That lesteth ay withouten ende
Bidde we God ant oure ledy

To thilke blisse Jesus us sende. Amen.]

That the pope should here pronounce the funeral panegyric of Edward the First, is by no means surprising, if we consider

P call.

death, the author unknown.”p. 4. Lond. 9 Edward the Second, born in Car- Pr. for T. Davies, 1738. octavo. But narvon castle.

this piece, which has great merit, could 'completely

not have been written till some centuries • thar, there.

afterwards. From the classical allusions MSS. Harl. 2253. f. 73. In a Mis- and general colour of the phraseology, cellany called the Muses Library, com- to say nothing more, it with greater propiled, as I have been informed, by an bability belongs to Henry the Eighth. ingenious lady of the name of Cooper, It escaped me till just

before this work there is an elegy on the death of Henry went to press, that Dr. Percy had printed the First, “ wrote immediately after his this elegy, Ball. ij. 9.

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.

* [It appears that king Edward the Apud V HISTOR. ANGLIC. SCRIPTOR. Vol. First, about the year 1271, took bis Har- ii. Oxon. 1687. fol.-- ADDITIONS.) PER with him to the Holy Land. This [After the king himself had slain the officer was a close and constant attend- assassin (his harper) had the singular ant of his master : for when Edward was courage to brain a dead man with a triwounded with a poisoned knife at Ptole- vet or tripod, for which act of heroism mais, the harper, cithareda suus, hearing he was justly reprimanded by Edward. the struggle, rushed into the royal apart- Ritson.] ment, and killed the assassin. Chron. • The poet says eighty. Walt. Hemingford, cap. XXXV. p. 591.


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 intro duction 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 coun

* I cannot help transcribing here a Jerusalem. Aussi la France commença curious passage from old Fauchet. He de son temps a s'embellir de bastimens is speaking of Louis the young, king of plus magnifiques : prendre plaisir a pierFrance about the year 1150. « Le quel rieres, et autres delicatesses goustus en fut le premier roy de sa maison, qui Levant par luy, ou les seigneurs qui monstra dehors ses richesses allant en avoient ja fait ce voyage. De sorte qu'on

tries 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 Ægypt and Syria, became the favourite topics *. The troupeut dire qu'il a este le premier tenant position," there are few of its positions Cour de grand Roy: estant si magni- which a more temperate spirit of critifique, que sa femme dedaignant la sim- cism might not reconcile with the truth. plicité de ses predecesseurs, luy fit ele- The popularity of Arthur's story antever une sepulture d'argent, au lieu de rior to the first Crusade, is abundantly pierre.” Recueil de la Lang. et Poes. manifested by the language of William Fr. ch. viii. p. 76. edit. 1581. He adds, of Malmesbury and Alanus de Insulis; that a great number of French romances who refer to it as a fable of common nowere composed about this period. toriety and general belief among the

b See Kircher's Mund. Subterran. people. Had it arisen within their own vüi. § 4. He mentions a knight of days, we may be certain that MalmesRhodes made grand master of the order bury, who rejected it as beneath the digfor killing a dragon, 1345.

nity of history, would not have suffered • [Though this passage has been the an objection so well founded, as the nosubject of severe animadversion, and velty of its appearance, to have escaped characterized as containing nothing but his censure ; nor can the narrative of “ random assertion, falsehood and im- Alanus be reconciled with the general

« הקודםהמשך »