תמונות בעמוד

Began to smyte, so persyng ever in one,
On every partè where that I dyde gon,
That I ne mightè, nothing as I wolde
Aboutè me consydre, and beholde,
The wondre esters », for brightnesse of the sonne:
Tyll at the lastè, certayne skyes donne
With wyndeo ychased, han their course ywent,
Before the stremes of Titan and iblent P,
So that I myght within and without,
Where so I wolde, behelden me about,
For to report the facyon and manere
Of all this place, that was circuler,
In cumpace-wyse rounde by yntale ywrought :
And whan I had longe goon, and well sought,
I founde a wicket, and entred yn as faste
Into the temple, and myne eyen caste

On every side, &c. 9 The walls of this wonderful temple were richly pictured with the following historical portraitures; from Virgil, Ovid, king Arthur's romance, and Chaucer.

I sawe depeynted upon a wall",
From est to west ful many a fayre ymage,
Of sondry lovers, lyke as they were of age
I set in ordre after they were true;
With lyfely colours, wonders fresshe of hewe,
And as methought I saw som syt and som stande,
And some knelyng, with bylless in theyr hande,
And some with complaynt woful and pitious,
With dolefull chere, to put to Venus,
So as she sate fletynge in the see,

Upon theyr wo for to have pite. The wonderful chambers of this 9 This text is given from Berthelett's temple.

edition, collateci with MSS. Fairfax. xvi. dun, dark.

* From Pr. Cop. and MSS. Fairf. xvi. °i. e. collected.

as before. blinded, darkened the sun.

• bills of complaint.


And fyrst of all I sawe there of Cartage
Dido the quene, so goodly of visage,
That gan complayne her auenture and caas,
Howe she disceyued was of Aeneas,
For all his hestes and his othes sworne,
And sayd helas that she was borne,
Whan she sawe that dede she must be.

And next her I sawe the complaynt of Medee,
Howe that she was falsed of Jason.
And nygh by Venus sawe I syt Addon,
And all the maner howe the bore hym sloughe,
For whom she wepte and had pite inoughe.

There sawe I also howe Penelope,
For she so long ne myght her lorde se,
Was of colour both pale and grene.

And alder next was the fresshe quene;
I mean Alceste, the noble true wife,
And for Admete howe she lost her lyfe;
And for her trouthe, if I shall nat lye,
Howe she was turned into a daysye.

There was also Grisildis innocence,
And all hir mekenesse and hir pacience.

There was eke Ysaude, and many other mo,
And all the tourment and all the cruell wo
That she had for Tristram all her lyue;
And howe that Tysbe her hert dyd ryue
With thylke swerde of syr Pyramus.

And all maner, howe that Theseus
The minotaure slewe, amyd the hous
That was forwrynked by craft of Dedalus,
Whan that he was in prison shyt in Crete, &c.

And uppermore men depeinten might see,
Howe with her ring goodlie Canace
Of every foule the leden and the song
Could understand, as she hem walkt among:

[blocks in formation]

And how her brother so often holpen was

In his mischefe by the stede of brass." We must acknowledge, that all the picturesque invention which appears in this composition, entirely belongs to Chaucer. Yet there was some merit in daring to depart from the dull taste of the times, and in chusing Chaucer for a model, after his sublime fancies had been so long forgotten, and had given place for almost a century, to legends, homilies, and chronicles in verse.

In the mean time, there is reason to believe, that Chaucer himself copied these imageries from the romance of GUIGEMAR, one of the metrical Tales, or Lars, of Bretagne", translated from the Armorican original into French, by Marie, a French poetess, about the thirteenth century: in which the walls of a chamber are painted with Venus, and the Art of love from Ovid. Although, perhaps, Chaucer might not look further than the temples in Boccacio's Theseid for these ornaments. At the same time it is to be remembered, that the imagination of these old poets must have been assisted in this respect, from the mode which antiently prevailed, of entirely covering the walls of the more magnificent apartments, in castles and palaces, with stories from scripture, history, the classics, and romance. I have already given instances of this practice, and I will here add more". In the year 1277, Otho, duke of Milan, having restored the peace of that city by a signal victory, built a noble castle, in which he ordered every particular circumstance of that victory to be painted. Paulus Jovius relates, that these paintings remained, in the great vaulted chamber of the castle, fresh and unimpaired, so late as the year 1547.

+ See Chaucer's SQUIER'S TALE. " See supr. vol. ii. p. 189. To the

"Fol. 141. MSS. Harl. 978. See passages adduced from Chaucer these supr. DISSERTAT. i.

may be added, CHAUCER'S DREME, A passage in Ovid's REMEDIUM AMORIS concerning Achilles's spear, is

In a chamber paint supposed to be alluded to by a trouba

Full of stories' old and divers. dour, Bernard Ventadour, who lived about the year 1150. Hist. TROUBAD.

Again, ibid. v. 2167. p. 27. This Mons. Millot calls, “Un For there n' as no lady ne creture, trait d'erudition singulier dans un trou. Save on the wals old portraiture badour.” It is not, however, impossible, Of horsemen, hawkis, and houndes, &c. that he might get this fiction from some Compare Dante's PURGATORIO, C. x. of the early romances about Troy. pag. 105. seq. edit. Ald.

v. 1920.

[ocr errors]

“Extantque adhuc in maximo testudinatoque conclavi, incorruptæ præliorum cum veris ducum vultibus imagines, Latinis elegis singula rerum elogia indicantibus *.” That the castles and palaces of England were thus ornamented at a very early period, and in the most splendid style, appears from the following notices. Langton, bishop of Litchfield, commanded the coronation, marriages, wars, and funeral, of his patron king Edward the First, to be painted in the great hall of his episcopal palace, which he had newly builty. This must have been about the year 1912. The following anecdote relating to the old royal palace at Westminster, never yet was published. In the year 1322, one Symeon, a friar minor, and a doctor in theclogy, wrote an ITINERARY, in which is this curious passage. He is speaking of Westminster Abbey. “Eidem monasterio quasi immediate conjungitur illud famosissimum palatium regium Anglorum, in quo illa VULGATA CAMERA, in cujus parietibus sunt omnes HISTORIÆ BELLICÆ TOTIUS BIBLIÆ ineffabiliter depicta, atque in Gallico completissime et perfectissime constanter conscriptæ, in non modica intuentium admiratione, et maxima regali magnificentia z.”Near this monastery stands the most famons royal palace of England; in which is that celebrated chamber, on whose walls all the warlike histories of the whole Bible are painted with inexpressible skill, and explained by a regular and complete series of texts, beautifully written in French over each battle, to the no small admiration of the beholder, and the increase of royal magnificence a.”

* Vit. Vicecomit. Mediolan. OTHO. paintings must have been done between P. 56. edit. Paris, 1549. 4to.

the years 1299 and 1822. It was again Y Erdswicke's Staffordshire, p. 101. destroyed by fire in 1512, and never af

*“Itinerarium Symeonis et fratris Hu- terwards re-edified. Stowe, ibid. p. 389. gonis Iluminatoris er Hibernia in terram About the year 1500, the walls of the sanctam, A.D. MCCCXXI.” MSS. C. C. Virgin Mary's chapel, built by prior C. Cantabr. G. 6. Princip. “Culmine Silkestede, in the cathedral of Wincheshonoris spreto." It comprehends a jour- ter, were elegantly painted with the miney through England, and describes racles, and other stories, of the New many curiosities now lost. See supr. Testament, in small figures; many deyol. i. p. 118.

licate traces of which now remain. • This palace was consumed by fire in Falcandus the old historian of Sicily, 1299, but immediately rebuilt, I suppose, who wrote about the year 1200, says, by Edward the First. Stowe's LONDON, that the chapel in the royal palace at p. 379. 387. edit. 1599. So that these Palermo, hadits walls decorated “de la

This ornament of a royal palace, while it conveys a curious history of the arts, admirably exemplifies the chivalry and the devotion of the times, united. That part of the Old Testament, indeed, which records the Jewish wars, was almost regarded as a book of chivalry: and their chief heroes, Joshua and David, the latter of whom killed a giant, are often recited among the champions of romance. In France, the battles of the kings of Israel with the Philistines and Assyrians, were wrought into a grand volume, under the title of “ Plusieurs Batailles des roys d'Israel en contre les Philistines et Assyriens b."

With regard to the form of Hawes's poem, I am of opinion, that Visions, which are so common in the poetry of the middle ages, partly took their rise from Tully's SOMNIUM SCIPIONIS. Had this composition descended to posterity among Tully's six books de REPUBLICA, to the last of which it originally belonged, perhaps it would have been overlooked and neglected. But being preserved, and illustrated with a prolix commentary, by Macrobius, it quickly attracted the attention of readers, who were fond of the marvellous, and with whom Macrobius was a more admired classic than Tully. It was printed, subjoined to Tully's Offices, in the infancy of the typographic artd. It was translated into Greek by Maximus Planudes"; and is fre

pillulis quadris, partim aureis, partim tori, ANTICH. ITALIAX. Tom. i. Diss. diversicoloribus veteris ac novi Testa- xxiv. p. 279. Nap. 1752. 4to. menti depictam historiam continenti • MSS. Reg. (Brit. Mus.) 19 D. 7. bus." Sicil. Histor. p. 10. edit. Paris. fol. Among the Harleian manuscripts, 1550. 4to. But this was mosaic work, there is an Arabic book, containing the which, chiefly by means of the Crusades, Psalms of David, with an additional was communicated to all parts of Europe plasm, on the slaughter of the giant from the Byzantine Greeks; and with Goliah. MSS. Harl. 5476. See above. which all the churches, and other public .' But they were extant about the year edifices at Constantinople, were adorned. 1000, for they are cited by Gerbert. Erist. de COMPARAT. Vet. et Nov. Epist. 83. And by Peter of Poitou, who Romæ. p. 122. Man. Chrysolor. See died in 1197. See Barth. Advers. xxxi. supr. vol. ii. p. 189. Leo Ostiensis says, 5. 58. Leland says, that Tully de REbat one of the abbots of Cassino in Italy, PUBLICA was consumed by fire, among in he eleventh century, sent messengers other books, in the library of William to Constantinople, to bring over artificers Selling, a learned abbot of saint Austin's in Mosaic, to ornament the church of at Canterbury, who died in 1494. the monastery, after Rome or Italy had SCRIPT. CELLINGUS. lost that art for five hundred years. He 4 Venet. 1472. fol. Apud Vindel. calls Rome magistra Latinitas. Chron. Spiram. Cassin. lib. iii. c. 27. Compare Mura e Lambeccius mentious a Greek ma

« הקודםהמשך »