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manuscripts in the British Museum we find a very antient collection of two hundred and fifteen stories, romantic, allegorical, religious, and legendary, which were evidently compiled by a professed preacher, for the use of monastic societies. Some of these appear to have been committed to writing from the recitals of bards and minstrels: others to have been invented and written by troubadours and monks ". In the year 1389, a grand system of divinity appeared at Paris, afterwards translated by Caxton under the title of the Court of SAPYENce, which abounds with a multitude of historical examples, parables, and apologues; and which the writer wisely supposes, to be much more likely to interest the attention and excite the devotion of the people, than the authority of science, and the parade of theology. In consequence of the expediency of this mode of of instrućtion, the Legends of the Saints were received into the ritual, and rehearsed in the course of public worship. For religious romances were nearly allied to songs of chivalry; and the same gross ignorance of the people, which in the early centuries of christianity created a necessity of introducing the visible pomp of theatrical ceremonies into the churches, was taught the duties of devotion, by being amused with the achievements of spiritual knight-errantry, and impressed with the examples of pious heroism. In more cultivated periods, the DecaMeRoN of Boccace, and other books of that kind, ought to be confidered as the remnant of a species of writing which was founded on the fimplicity of mankind, and was adapted to the exigencies of the infancy of society.

Many obsolete colle&tions of this sort still remain, both printed and manuscript, containing narratives either fićtitious or historical,

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* MSS. Harl. 463. membran, fol. * Milton. At a Vacation Exercise, &c.

Among But among the antient story-books of this charaćter, a Latin compilation entitled GE's TA Rom AN or UM seems to have been the favorite. This piece has been before incidentally noticed: but as it operated powerfully on the general body of our old poetry, affording a variety of inventions not only to Chaucer, Gower, and Lydgate, but to their distant successors, I have judged it of {ufficient importance to be examined at large in a separate dissertation: which has been designedly reserved for this place, for the purpose both of recapitulation and illustration, and of giving the reader a more commodious opportunity of surveying at leisure, from this intermediate point of view, and under one comprehensive detail, a connected display of the materials and original subječts of many of our past and future poets. Indeed, in the times with which we are now about to be concerned, it seems to have been growing more into esteem. At the commencement of typography, Wynkyn de Worde published this book in English. This translation waste printed, by one Robinson, in 1577. And afterwards, of the same translation there were fix impressions before the year 1601 °. There is an edition in black letter so late as the year 1689. About the year 1596, an English version appeared of “Epitomes des cent “Histol Res TRAGIQUEs, partie extraićtes des Actes Des “ RoMAINs et autres, &c.” From the popularity, or rather familiarity, of this work in the reign of queen Elisabeth, the title of Gest A GRAYor UM was affixed to the history of the aćts of the Christmas Prince at Grays-inn, in 1594 °. In Sir GILEs GoosecAP, an anonymous comedy, presented by the Children of the Chapel in the year 1606, we have, “Then “ for your lordship's quips and quick jests, why Gest A Ro“ MAN or UM were nothing to them ".” And in George Chapman's MAY-DAY, a comedy, printed at London in 1611, a man of the highest literary taste for the pieces in vogue is cha* See supr. vol. ii. p. 18. seq. f Lond. Printed for John Windet. 1606. račterised, “One that has read Marcus Aurelius, GE's TA Ro“ MAN or UM, the Mirrour of Magistrates, &c.—to be led by “ the nose like a blind beare that has read nothing * !” The critics and collectors in black-letter, I believe, could produce many other proofs. The GE's TA Rom AN or UM were first printed without date, but as it is supposed before or about the year 1473, in folio, with this title, Incipiunt Histor Ie NoTABILEs colle&fe ex G estis Rom ANo R U M et quibusdam aliis libris cum applicationibus eorundem". This edition has one hundred and fifty-two chapters, or GE's T's, and one hundred and seventeen leaves'. It is in the Gothic letter, and in two columns. The first chapter is of king Pompey, and the last of prince, or king, Cleonicus. The initials are written in red and blue ink. This edition, slightly mutilated, is among bishop Tanner's printed books in the Bodleian library. The reverend and learned doćtor Farmer, master of Emanuel college in Cambridge, has the second edition, as it seems, printed at Louvain, in quarto, the same or the subsequent year, by John de Westfalia, under the title, Ex GE's TIs RoMAN or UM Historie NoTABILEs de viciis virtutibusque trađantes cum applicationibus moralisatis et mysticit. And with this colophon, Gest A Rom A NoruM cum quibusdam aliis HisToR11s eisdem annexis ad MoR ALITATEs dilucide redačía hic finem Aabent. Quae, diligenter correółis allorum viciis, impressit joannes de Westfalia in alma Vniversitate Louvaniens. It has one hundred and eighty-one chapters *. That is, twenty-nine more than are contained in the former edition: the first of the additional chapters being the story of Antiochus, or the substance of the romance of Apollon Ius of TYRE. The initials are inserted in red ink'. Another followed soon afterwards, in quarto, Ex GE's TIs Rom AN or UM Historie notabiles moralizata, per Girardum Lieu, Gou D.A., 1480. The next edition, with the use of which I have been politely favoured by George Mason esquire, of Aldenham-Lodge in Hertfordshire, was printed in folio, and in the year 1488, with this title, Gest A Rhom ANor UM cum Applicationibus moralisatis et misticis. The colophon is, Ex Gest Is Romanor UM cum pluribus applicatis Historiis de virtutibus et viciis mystice ad intellecium transumptis Recollectorii jinis. Anno nre salutis Mccc.cLxxx viij kalendas vero februarii xviij. A general, and alphabetical, table, are subjoined. The book, which is printed in two columns, and in the Gothic charaćter, abounding with abbreviations, contains ninety-three leaves. The initials are written or flourished in red and blue, and all the capitals in the body of the text are miniated with a pen. There were many other later editions". I must add, that the GE's TA Rom AN or UM were translated into Dutch, so early as the year 1484. There is an old French version in the British Museum. This work is compiled from the obsolete Latin chronicles of the later Roman or rather German story, heightened by romantic inventions, from Legends of the Saints, oriental apologues, and many of the shorter fićtitious narratives which came into Europe with the Arabian literature, and were familiar in the ages of ignorance and imagination. The classics are sometimes cited for authorities; but these are of the lower order, such as Valerius Maximus, Macrobius, Aulus Gallius, Seneca, Pliny, and Boethius. To every tale a MoR ALI's ATI on is subjoined, reducing it into a christian or moral lesson. Most of the oriental apologues are taken from the ClericaLIs D1scIPLINA, or a latin Dialogue between an Arabian Philosopher and Edric" his son, never printed", written by Peter Alphonsus, a baptized Jew, at the beginning of the twelfth century, and colle&ted from Arabian fables, apothegms, and examples”. Some are also borrowed from an old Latin translation of the CALILAH U DAMNAH, a celebrated sett of eastern fables, to which Alphonsus was indebted. On the whole, this is the colle&tion in which a curious enquirer might expect to find the original of Chaucer's Cambuscan :

* Printed, or reprinted, in 1688. 4to. 4to. 3, 2 raēterised, * Aét iii. pag. 39.

* Much the same title occurs to a ma. muscript of this work in the Vatican, “Historiae Notabiles colle&tae ex Gestis “Romanorum et quibusdam aliis libris “cum explicationibus eorundem.” Mont

fauc. Bibl. MAN uscr. tom. i. pag. 17.
Num. 172.
* Without initials, paging, signatures,
or catch-words.
* The first is of king Pompey, as be-
fore. The last is entitled De Adul-

TeRio.
serted

* It has signatures to Kk. * For which see supr. vol. ii. p. 15.

sopher

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Our author frequently cites Gest A Romanor UM, the title of his own work. By which I understand no particular book of that name, but the Roman History in general. Thus in the title of the SAINT ALBAN's CHR on ICLE, printed by Caxton, Titus Livyus de Gestis Rom ANor UM is recited. In the year 1544, Lucius Florus was printed at Paris under the same title ". In the British Museum we find “Les FAIs DE “ Rom AINs jusques a la fin de l' empire Domician, selon “ Orose, Justin, Lucan, &c.” A plain historical dedućtion *. The RomuleoN, an old manuscript history of Rome from the foundation of the city to Constantine the Great, is also called de Gest Is Romanoru M. This manuscript occurs both in Latin and French: and a French copy, among the royal ma

* Epric was the name of ENoch among the Arabians, to whom they attribute many fabulous compositions. Herbelot, in V. Lydgate's Chorle and the B1R D, mentioned above, is taken from the Cl ER ic Al is Disciplin A of Alphonsus.

* MSS. HARL. 3861. And in many other libraries. It occurs in old French verse, MSS. Dic B. 86. membran. “ Le

“Romaunz de Peres Aunfour coment il apri/?
“et chaffia son fill belement.” [See supr.
vol. ii. EMEND. and ADD. at pag. io9.]
P See Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, vol. iv.
p. 325. seq.
* Milton’s Il Pense Roso.
* Apud Vascosan. 4to.
* MSS. REG. 20 C i.

nuscripts,

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