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GAWAYNE is translated from a French tween Cornwall and Bretagne, or Arone of the same title, and in the reign morica. fol. ult. of Henry the Sixth ; but not by Thomas Chestre, who translated, or rather para
A grette foste thar was holde
Of erles and barons bolde, phrased, LAUNVAL, or Sir LAUNFALL, and who seems to have been master of
As testymonieth thys story : a more copious and poetic style. It is
Thys is on of BRYTAYNE LAYES,
That was used in olde dayes, not however unlikely, that Chestre translated from a more modern French copy
Men callys playn the GARYE. of Launval, heightened and improved I believe the last line means, “ Made from the old simple Armorican tale of for an entertainment,”—“Which men which I have here produced a short ex call playing the GARYE.” The reader tract. (See supr. vol. ii. p. 409.) [The may perhaps recollect, that the old Cororiginal of (Ywaine and Gawin) is Le nish Miracle interlude was called the chevalier au Lion, by Chrestien or Chris- Guary Mirakil, that is, the Miracle Play. tian de Troyes, an eminent French poet [See supr. vol. ii. p. 70.] In Cornish, who died in 1191; [and] the only an Plán an guare is the level place, the cient copy of the [Ènglish version) is plain of sport and pastime, the theatre contained in the Cotton MS. Galba. of games, &c. Guare is a Cornish verb, E. ix. which seems to have been written to sport, to play. In affinity with which, in the time of Richard II., or towards is probably Garish, gay, splendid. Milthe close of the fourteenth century.- ton, IL Pens. v. 141. Day's garish Ritson.] The same perhaps may be eye. Shakespeare, Rom. Jul. iii. 4. said of the English metrical romance The garish sun. King RICHARD THE EMARE, who marries the king of Galys, THIRD. A garish flag. Compare Lye, or Wales, originally an Armorican tale, Sax. Dict. V. zean rian. 'To dress before quoted. MSS. Cott. Calif. A. 2. fine. fol. 69. (See Diss. III. prefixed to the Who was the translator of Evare, it is first volume.] [and Mr. Ritson's Metri not known. I presume it was translated cal Romances, vol. ï. where it is printed. in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and -Edır.] The last stanza confirms what very probably by Thomas Chestre, the has been advanced in the First Disser- translator of LAUNVAL, TATION, concerning the connection be
SECTION XLIV. .
I FEAR I shall be pronounced a heretic to modern criticism, in retracting what I have said in a preceding page, and in placing the NoTBROWNE MAyde under some part of this reign*. Prior, who, about the year 1718, paraphrased this poem, without improving its native beauties, supposes it to have been three hundred years old. It appears from two letters preserved in the British Museum, written by Prior to Wanley, lord Oxford's librarian, that Prior consulted Wanley about this antient ballada. It is, however, certain, that Wanley, an antiquarian of unquestionable skill and judgement in these niceties, whatever directions and information he might have imparted to Prior on this subject, could never have communicated such a decision. He certainly in these letters gives no such opinion. This is therefore the hasty conjecture of Prior; who thought that the curiosity which he was presenting to the world, would derive proportionable value from its antiquity, who was better employed than in the petty labour of ascertaining dates, and who knew much more of modern than antient poetry.
The NoT-BROWNE MAYDЕ first appeared in Arnolde's CHRONICLE, or Customs OF LONDON, which was first printed about the year 1521. This is perhaps the most heterogeneous and multifarious miscellany that ever existed. The collector
* [i. e. the reign of Henry VIII., but [Namely in 1776. This publication Herbert says he possessed an edition has been attributed to the late George which was printed about 1502, i. e. the Steevens, Esq. ; but I heard from Mr. 18th year of Henry VII.–Park.] Isaac Reed that it was culled by Baldwin a MSS. Harl. 3777.
from the communications of Mr. Steevens These letters are printed in the Ad- in the St. James's Chronicle, and put DITIONS TO Pore's WORKs, in two vo forth with a preface by William Cooke, lumes, published about two years ago. Esq.-Park.]
sets out with a catalogue of the mayors and sheriffs, the customs and charters, of the city of London. Soon afterwards we have receipts to pickle sturgeon, to make vinegar, ink, and gunpowder; how to raise parsley in an hour; the arts of brewery and soap-making; an estimate of the livings in London; an account of the last visitation of saint Magnus's church; the weight of Essex cheese, and a letter to cardinal Wolsey. The NoT-BROWNE MAYDE is introduced, between an estimate of some subsidies paid into the exchequer, and directions for buying goods in Flanders. In a word, it seems to have been this compiler's plan, by way of making up a volume, to print together all the notices and papers, whether antient or modern, which he could amass, of every sort and subject. It is supposed, that he intended an antiquarian repertory: but as many recent materials were admitted, that idea was not at least uniformly observed; nor can any argument be drawn from that supposition, that this poem existed long before, and was inserted as a piece of antiquity.
The editor of the PROLusions infers, from an identity of rhythmus and orthography, and an affinity of words and phrases, that this poem appeared after sir Thomas More's JEST OF THE SERJEANT AND FREER, which, as I have observed, was written about the year 1500. This reasoning, were not other arguments obvious, would be inconclusive, and might be turned to the opposite side of the question. But it is evident from the language of the NoTBROWNE MAYDЕ, that it was not written earlier than the beginning, at least, of the sixteenth century*. There is hardly an obsolete word, or that requires a glossary, in the whole piece: and many parts of Surry and Wyat are much more difficult to be understood. Reduce any two stanzas to modern orthography, and they shall hardly wear the appearance of antient poetry. The reader shall try the experiment on the two following, which occur accidentally d.
* PROLUSIONS, or select pieces of an the style of 1500, in the edition of 1521 ? tient Poetry, Lond. 1760. 8vo. Pref. Herbert MS. Note. -Park.] p. vii., [edited by E. Capell. -- PARK.]
d V. 168. • (But might it not be modernized to
Yet take good hede, for ever I drede
That ye could nat sustayne,
The snowe, the frost, the rayne,
We must lodge on the playne;
But a brake bush, or twayne.
And ye wolde gladly than,
Where is so grete plentè:
Shall be full swete to me;
Endure, as ye shall see:
I can provyde anone.
I love but you alone.
The simplicity of which passage Prior has thus decorated and
When, chilld by adverse snows and beating rain,
Thy rise of fortune did I only wed,