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the contrary. I have before observed, that the Saxon poem cited by Hickes, consisting of one hundred and ninety-one stanzas, is written in stanzas in the Bodleian, and in Alexandrines in the Trinity manuscript at Cambridge. How it came originally from the poet I will not pretend to determine.
Our early poetry often appears in satirical pieces on the established and eminent professions. And the writers, as we have already seen, succeeded not amiss when they cloathed their satire in allegory. But nothing can be conceived more scurrilous and illiberal than their satires when they descend to mere invective. In the British Museum, among other examples which I could mention, we have a satirical ballad on the lawyers, and another on the clergy, or rather some particular bishop. The latter begins thus:
Hyrd-men hatieth ant vch mones hyne,
Nys no wyt in is nolle. f The elder French poetry abounds in allegorical satire: and I doubt not that the author of the satire on the monastic pro fession, cited above, copied some French satire on the subject. Satire was one species of the poetry of the Provencial troubadours Anselm Fayditt a troubadour of the eleventh century, who will again be mentioned, wrote a sort of satirical drama called the HERESY of the FATHERS, HEREGIA DEL PREYRES, a ridicule on the council which condemned the Albigenses. The papal legates often fell under the lash of these poets; whose favour they were obliged to court, but in vain, by the promise of ample gratuities 6. Hugues de Bercy, a French monk, wrote in the twelfth century a very lively and severe satire; in which e MSS. ut supr. f. 70. b.
his usual order of transcription[This stanza forfns a part of the satire Edit.] on the lawyers. Warton was led into Ibid. f. 71. the mistake by the transcriber having 6 Fontenelle, Hist. Theatr. Fr. p. 18. deviated in the present instance from edit. 1742.
no person, not even himself, was spared, and which he called the BIBLE, as containing nothing but truth ".
In the Harleian manuscripts I find an antient French poem, yet respecting England, which is a humorous panegyric on & new religious order called LE ORDRE DE BEL Eyse. This is the exordium:
Qui vodra a moi entendre
Qe mout est delitous [e] bel. The poet ingeniously feigns, that his new monastic order consists of the most eminent nobility and gentry of both sexes, who inhabit the monasteries assigned to it promiscuously; and that no person is excluded from this establishment who can support the rank of a gentleman. They are bound by their statutes to live in perpetual idleness and luxury: and the satirist refers them for a pattern or rule of practice in these important articles, to the monasteries of Sempringham in Lincolnshire, Beverley in Yorkshire, the Knights Hospitalers, and many other religious orders then flourishing in Englandi.
When we consider the feudal manners, and the magnificence of our Norman ancestors, their love of military glory, the enthusiasm with which they engaged in the Crusades, and the wonders to which they must have been familiarised from those eastern enterprises, we naturally suppose, what will hereafter be more particularly proved, that their retinues abounded with minstrels and harpers, and that their chief entertainment was to listen to the recital of romantic and martial adventures. But I have been much disappointed in my searches after the metrical tales which must have prevailed in their times. Most of those old heroic songs are perished, together with the stately
h See Fauchett, Rec. p. 151.
Seignor de Berze" is a more courtly [The piece here alluded to was not composition, and forms a part of the written by De Bercy. It will be found same collection, p. 194. The earlier in the second volume of Barbazan's Fa- French antiquaries have frequently conbliaux p. 307, and is called “ Bible founded these two productions. —EDIT.] Gui de Provins," La Bible au i MSS. ibid. f. 121.
castles in whose halls they were sung. Yet they are not so totally lost as we may be apt to imagine. Many of them still partly exist in the old English metrical romances, which will be mentioned in their proper places; yet divested of their original form, polished in their style, adorned with new incidents, successively modernised by repeated transcription and recitation, and retaining little more than the outlines of the original composition. This has not been the case of the legendary and other religious poems written soon after the Conquest, manuscripts of which abound in our libraries. From the nature of their subject they were less popular and common; and being less frequently recited, became less liable to perpetual innovation or alteration.
The most ancient English metrical romance which I can discover, is entitled the GESTE OF KING HORN. It was evidently written after the Crusades had begun, is mentioned by Chaucers, and probably still remains in its original state. I will first give the substance of the story, and afterwards add some specimens of the composition. But I must premise, that this story occurs in very old French metre in the manuscripts of the British Museum', so that probably it is a translation: a circumstance which will throw light on an argument pursued hereafter, proving that most of our metrical romances are translated from the French.
Mury, king of the Saracens, lands in the kingdom of Suddene, where he kills the king named Allof. The Godylt, escapes; but Mury seizes on her son Horne, a beautiful youth aged fifteen years, and puts him into a galley, with two of his play-fellows, Athulph and Fykenyld: the vessel being driven on the coast of the kingdom of Westnesse, the young prince is found by Aylmer king of that country, brougnt to court, and delivered to Athelbrus his steward, to be educated in hawking, harping, tilting, and other courtly accomplishments. Here the princess Rymenild falls in love with
* Rim. Thop. 3402. Urr.
I MSS. Harl. 527. b. f. 59. Cod. membr.
him, declares her passion, and is betrothed. Horne, in consequence of this engagement, leaves the princess for seven years; to demonstrate, according to the ritual of chivalry, that by seeking and accomplishing dangerous enterprises he deserved her affection. He proves a most valorous and invincible knight: and at the end of seven years, having killed king Mury, recovered his father's kingdom, and atchieved many signal exploits, recovers the princess Rymenild from the hands of his treacherous knight and companion Fykenyld; carries her in triumph to his own country, and there reigns with her in great splendor and prosperity. The poem itself begins and proceeds thus:
Alle heo ben blythe,
Alle richemenne sones,
But I hasten to that part of the story where prince Horne appears at the court of the king of Westnesse.
The kyng com into halle,
"So Robert de Brunne of king Marian. Hearne's Rob. Gloc. p. 622.
-Marian faire in chere