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I leif my Flatterie, and Fals Dissembling,
Fra him thai came, to him agane thei fall.* Some readers may perhaps be of opinion, that Makgregor was one of those Scottish lairds, who lived professedly by ra
1 fawn. m Or, Lentron, Lent. the grand antagonist of these orders,
" Who get more by making one match, says that, “ Capped (graduated] friers than by preaching a whole Lent. The that been cleped (called) masters of dimendicants gained an establishment in vinitie, have their chamber and service families, and were consulted and gave as lords and kings, and senden out idiots their advice in all cases. Chaucer's full of covetise to preche, not the gospel, FREERE
but chronicles, fables, and lesinges, to Had mad full manie a marriage
plese the peple, and to robbe them.” Of yong women, &c. PROL. V. 212.
Lewis's Life of Wiccl. p. 21. xiii.
4 these. expound.
disposed, bequeathed. explain. The mendicants not only A true churchnian, a christian on perverted the plainest texts of scripture the reformed plan, shall never get any to cover their own fraudulent purposes, thing belonging to me. but often amused their hearers with le I whole.
till, gends and religious romances. Wiccliffe,
V. 309. seq.
pine and pillage: a practice greatly facilitated, and even supported, by the feudal system. Of this sort was Edom o'Gordon, whose attack on the castle of Dunse is recorded by the Scotch minstrels, in a pathetic ballad, which begins thus.
It fell about the Martinmas,
Qhen the wind blew schril and cauld,
We maun draw to a hauld :
And quhat a hauld sall we draw to,
My mirry men and me?
To see that fair ladie. Y
Other parts of Europe, from the same situations in life, afford instances of the same practice. Froissart has left a long narrative of an eminent robber, one Amergot Marcell; who became at length so formidable and powerful, as to claim a place in the history of France. About the year 1380, he had occupied a strong castle for the space of ten years, in the province of Auvergne, in which he lived with the splendor and dominion of a petty sovereign : having amassed, by pillaging the neighbouring country, one hundred thousand francs. His depredations brought in an annual revenue of twenty thousand foreins. Afterwards he is tempted imprudently to sell his castle to one of the generals of the king for a considerable sum. Froissart introduces Marcell, after having sold his fortress, uttering the following lamentation, which strongly paints his system of depredation, the feudal anarchy, and the trade and travelling of those days. “ What a joy was it when we rode forthe at adventure, and somtyme found by the way a ryche priour, or marchaunt, or a route of mulettes, of Montpellyer, of Narbone, of Lymons, of Fongans, of Tholous, or of Carcassone, laden with clothe of Brusselles, or peltre ware comynge from the fayres, or laden with spycery from Bruges, from Damas, or
y Percy's Ball. i. 100.
from Alysaunder! Whatsoever we met, all was ours, or els raunsomed at our pleasures. Dayly we gate newe money; and the vyllaynes of Auvergne and of Lymosyn dayly provyded, and brought to our castell, whete mele, breed (bread] ready baken, otes for our horses and lytter, good wynes, beffes, and fatte mottons, pullayne, and wylde foule. We were ever furnyshed, as though we had been kings. Whan we rode forthe, all the country trembled for feare. All was oures, goynge or comynge. Howe toke we Carlaste, I and the Bourge of Companye ! and I and Perot of Bernoys toke Caluset. How dyd we scale with lytell ayde the strong castell of Marquell pertayninge to the erle Dolphyn! I kept it not past fyve dayes, but I receyved for it, on a fayre table, fyve thousand frankes; and forgave one thousand, for the love of the erle Dolphyn's chyldren. By my faithe, this was a fayrie and goodlie life!" &c. 2
But on the whole I am inclined to think, that our testator Makgregor, although a robber, was a personage of high rank, whose power and authority were such, as to require this indirect and artificial mode of abuse. For the same reason, I believe the name to be fictitious.
I take this opportunity of observing, that the old Scotch poét Blind Harry belongs to this period; and, at the same time, of correcting the mistake, which, in conformity to the common opinion, and on the evidence of Dempster and Mackenzie, I have committed, in placing him towards the close of the fourteenth centurya, John Major the Scotch historian, who was born about the year 1470, remembered Blind Harry to have been living, and to have published a poem on the achievements of Sir William Wallace, when he was a boy. He adds, that he cannot vouch for the credibility of those tales which the bards were accustomed to sing for hire in the castles of the nobilityø. I will give his own words. “Integrum librum
? See tom. ii. cap. 170. fol. 115. a. a See supr. vol. ï. p. 157. Dempster And tom. i. cap. 149. fol. 73. See also says he lived in 1361. ibid. cap. 440. fol. 313. b. Berners's • The poem as now extant has proTranslation,
bly been reformed and modernised.
Gulielmi Wallacei Henricus, a nativitate luminibus captus, meæ infantiæ tempore cudit: et quæ vulgo dicebantur carmine vulgari, in quo peritus erat, conscripsit. Ego autem talibus scriptis solum in parte fidem impertior; quippe qui HISTORIARUM RECITATIONE CORAM PRINCIPIBUS victum et vestitum, quo dignus erat, nactus est.” And that, in this poem, Blind Harry has intermixed much fable with true history, will appear from some proofs collected by sir David Dalrymple, in his judicious and accurate annals of Scotland, lately published a.
I cannot return to the English poets without a hint, that a well-executed history of the Scotch poetry from the thirteenth century, would be a valuable accession to the general literary history of Britain. The subject is pregnant with much curious and instructive information, is highly deserving of a minute and regular research, has never yet been uniformly examined in its full extent, and the materials are both accessible and ample. Even the bare lives of the vernacular poets of Scotland have never yet been written with tolerable care; and at present are only known from the meagre outlines of Dempster and Mackenzie. The Scotch appear to have had an early propensity to theatrical representations; and it is probable, that in the prosecution of such a design, among several other interesting and unexpected discoveries, many anecdotes, conducing to illustrate the rise and progress of our ancient drama, might be drawn from obscurity.
• Hist. Magn. BRITAN. I.. iv. c. XV. Mack. tom. i. 423. Dempst. lib. viii. f. 74. a. edit. Ascens. 1521. 4to. Com- p. 349. pare Hollinsh. Scot. ii. p. 414. And a See p. 245. edit. 1776. 4to.
Most of the poems of John Skelton were written in the reign of king Henry the Eighth. But as he was laureated at Oxford about the year 1489, I consider him as belonging to the fifteenth centry.
Skelton, having studied in both our universities, was promoted to the rectory of Diss in Norfolk. But for his buf• See supr. vol. ii. p. 440.
This is not in any collection of his poems. At least before the year 1507. For He mentions it in his Crowne OF LAW. at the end of his TRENTALE for old John RELL, P. 47.
“ And of MAGNIFICENCE, Clarke, there is this colophon. “ Auctore a notable mater," &c. Pinson also Skelton rectore de Dis. Finis, &c. printed a piece of Skelton, not in any Apud Trumpinton, script. per Curatum collection, “ How yong scholars now a ejusdem quinto die Jan. A. D. 1507.” days emboldened in the dy blowne blast See the PITHY. PLEASAUNT AND PROFIT- of the moche vayne glorious,” &c. WithABLE WORKES OF Maister SKELTON, re out date, 4to. There are also, not in his printed at London, 1736, 12mo. pag. 272. Works, Epitaph of Jasper duke of BedHe was ordained both deacon and priest ford, Lond. 4to. And, Miseries of Enin the year 1498. On the title of the gland under Henry Seventh, Lond. 4to. monastery de Graciis near the tower of See two of his epitaphs in Camden's London. REGISTR. Savage. Episc. EPITAPHIA REGUM, &c. Lond. 1600. Lond. There is a poem by Skelton on 4to. See a distich in Hollinsh. iij. 878. the death of king Edward the Fourth, And Stanzas présented to Henry the who died A. D. 1483. WORKES, ut supr. Seventh, in 1488, at Windsor, in Ashp. 100. This is taken into the MIRROUR mole's Ord. Gart, chap. xxi. Sect. vii. OF MAGISTRATES.
A great number of Skelton's Skelton's poems were first printed at pieces remain unprinted. See MSS. London, 1512. 8vo. A more complete Harl. 367. 36. fol. 101. seq.-2252. 51. edition by Thomas Marshe appeared in fol. 134. seq. MSS. Reg. 18. D. 4. 5. 1568. 12mo. From which the modern MSS. C.C.C. Cambr. G. ix. MSS. edition, in 1736, was copied. Many Cotton. Vitell. E. x. 28. And MSS. pieces of this collection have appeared Cathedr. Linc. In the Crowne OF separately. We have also, CERTAINE LAWRELL, Skellon recites many of his BOKES OF Skelrox. For W. Bonham, own pieces. p. 47. seq. The soverayne 1547. 12mo. Again, viz. Five of his Interlude of Virtue. The Rosiar. Prince poems, for John Day, 1583. 12mo. Arthur's creacion. Of Perfidia. DiaAnother collection for A. Scolocker, logues of Ymaginacion. The comedy of 1582. 12mo. Another of two pieces, Achademios. Tullis familiars, that is, a without date, for A. Kytson. Another, translation of Tully's Familiar Epistles. viz. Merie Tales, for T. Colwell, 1575. Of good Advisement. The Recule against 12mo. MAGNIFICENCE, a goodly Inter- Guguine. See p. 47. 162. The Pupingay. lude and a mery devysed and made by A noble pamphelet of soveraintie. The mayster Skelton, poet laureate, late deceas- Play of Magnificence, above mentioned. ed, was printed by Rastell, in 1533. 4to. Maters of Myrth to maistres Margery.