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Your head-shete shal be of pery pyght“,
All nyght mynstrels for you shall wake.
bridge, Bibl. Publ. 690. 36. Syr DeBecause that I am new com to toun ? With praty.... wold I fayne round, [This romance has been published in I have a shert of reyns with sleves pe- a work entitled “ Select Pieces of Earneaunt,
ly Popular Poetry, reprinted from the A lase of sylke for my lady Constant- Black Letter," and is analysed by Mr. I woll, or even, be shaven for to seme Ellis in his “ Specimens.” From a
fragment of it preserved in the AuchinSo also in Skelton's MAGNIFICENCE, a
leck MSS. it is clear that the poem in Morality written much about the same
its present form is an unskilful rifacitime, f. xx. b.
mento of an earlier version, since the Your skynne, that was wrapped in shertes mode of pronouncing the hero's name.
writer was even ignorant of the true
Throughout Copland's edition - with
one exception—it is a word of two sylla
bles, rhyming with 'before '; but in p. 135 0 “ Inlaid with jewels." Chaucer, of the reprint we obtain its true accentuaKn. T. v. 2938. p. 22. Urr.
tion as exhibited in the Auchinleck MSS. And then with cloth of gold and with As was the yonge knyght Syr Degoré,
perie. And in numberless other places.
But none wyst what man was he. Sign. D. ii. seq. At the close of the The name is intended to express, as the romance it is said that the king, in the author tells us (line 230), "a thing (or midst of a great feast which lasted forty person) almost lost,” Dégaré or L'édays, created the squire king in his room; garé.- EDIT.) in the presence of his TWELVE LORDS.
& Sign. B. ii.
Degore went furth his waye,
As the minstrel profession became a science, and the audience grew more civilised, refinements began to be studied, and the romantic poet sought to gain new attention, and to
recommend his story, by giving it the advantage of a plan. Most of the old metrical romances are, from their nature, supposed to be incoherent rhapsodies. Yet many of them have a regular integrity, in which every part contributes to produce an intended end. Through various obstacles and difficulties one point is kept in view, till the final and general catastrophe is brought about by a pleasing and unexpected surprise. As a specimen of the rest, and as it lies in a narrow compass, I will develop the plan of the fable now before us, which preserves at least a coincidence of events, and an uniformity of design.
A king's daughter of England, extremely beautiful, is solicited in marriage by numerous potentates of various kingdoms. The king her father vows, that of all these suitors, that champion alone shall win his daughter who can unhorse him at a tournament. This they all attempt, but in vain. The king every year assisted at an anniversary mass for the soul of his deceased
who was interred in an abbey at some distance from his castle. In the journey thither, the princess strays from her damsels in a solitary forest: she is discovered by a knight in rich armour, who by many solicitations prevails over her chastity, and, at parting, gives her a sword without a point, which he charges her to keep safe; together with a pair of gloves, which will fit no hands but her own 8. At length she finds the road to her father's castle, where, after some time, to avoid discovery, she is secretly delivered of a boy. Soon after the delivery, the princess having carefully placed the child in a cradle, with twenty pounds in gold, ten pounds in silver, the gloves given her by the strange knight, and a letter, consigns him to one of her maidens, who carries him by night, and leaves him in a wood, near a hermitage, which she discerned by the light of the moon. The hermit in the morn
& Gloves were antiently a costly article cum lapidibus pretiosis ponderant. xliiis. of dress, and richly decorated. Theyo et üid. ob. Et de ii. paribus chirothewere sometimes adorned with precious carum cum LAPIDIBUS. This golden stones. Rot. Pip. an. 53. Henr. iii. comb, set with jewels, realises the won(A.D. 1267.) “Et de i. pectine auri ders of romance.
ing discovers the child; reads the letter, by which it appears that the gloves will fit no lady but the boy's mother, educates him till he is twenty years of age, and at parting gives him the gloves found with him in the cradle, telling him that they will fit no lady but his own mother. The youth, who is called Degore, sets forward to seek adventures, and saves an earl from a terrible dragon, which he kills. The earl invites him to his palace, dubs him a knight, gives him a horse and armour, and offers him half his territory. Sir Degore refuses to accept this offer, unless the gloves, which he had received from his foster-father the hermit, will fit any lady of his court. All the ladies of the earl's court are called before him, and among the rest the earl's daughter, but upon trial the gloves will fit none of them. He therefore takes leave of the earl, proceeds on his adventures, and meets with a large train of knights; he is informed that they were going to tourney with the king of England, who had promised his daughter to that knight who could conquer him in single combat. They tell him of the many barons and earls whom the king had foiled in several trials. Sir Degore, however, enters the lists, overthrows the king, and obtains the princess. As the knight is a perfect stranger, she submits to her father's commands with much reluctance. He marries her; but in the midst of the solemnities which preceded the consummation, recollects the gloves which the hermit had given him, and proposes to make an experiment with them on the hands of his bride. The princess, on seeing the gloves, changed colour, claimed them for her own, and drew them on with the greatest ease.
She declares to Sir Degore that she was his mother, and gives him an account of his birth : she told him that the knight his father gave her a pointless sword, which was to be delivered to no person but the son that should be born of their stolen embraces. Sir Degore draws the sword, and contemplates its breadth and length with wonder: is suddenly seized with a desire of finding out his father. He sets forward on this search, and on his way enters a castle, where he is entertained at supper by fifteen beautiful damsels. The
lady of the castle invites him to her bed, but in vain; and he is lulled asleep by the sound of a harp. Various artifices are used to divert him from his pursuit, and the lady even engages him to encounter a giant in her cause". But Sir Degore rejects all her temptations, and pursues his journey. In a forest he meets a knight richly accoutred, who demands the reason why Sir Degore presumed to enter his forest without permission. A combat ensues.
In the midst of the contest, the combatants being both unhorsed, the strange knight observing the sword of his adversary not only to be remarkably long and broad, but without a point, begs a truce for a moment. He fits the sword to a point which he had always kept, and which had formerly broken off in an encounter with a giant; and by this circumstance discovers Sir Degore to be his son. They both return into England, and Sir Degore's father is married to the princess his mother.
The romance of Kyng ROBERT OF Sicily begins and proceeds thusi.
[Here is of kyng Robert of Cicyle,
h All the romances have such an ob-, copied from the Harl. MS. 525, with stacle as this. They have all an enchan- the exception of the passages in brackets, tress, who detains the knight from his which have been taken from Warton's quest by objects of pleasure ; and who transcript of the Vernon MS. Mr. Ellis, is nothing more than the Calypso of who has analysed it, concurs with WarHomer, the Dido of Virgil, and the ton in opinion that the history of the Armida of Tasso.
Emperor Jovinian in the 59th chapter i MS. Vernon, ut supr. Bibl. Bodl. of the Gesta Romanorum is nearly idenf. 299. It is also in Caius College Camb. tical with this romance. ” He further MSS. Class. E 174. 4. and Bibl. adds: “The incidents, however, are not Publ. Cambr. MSS. More, 690. 35. exactly similar; and in some of these the and Brit. Mus. MSS. Harl. 525. 2. Latin prose has a manifest advantage f. 35. Cod. membran. Never printed. over the minstrel poem.”—Edır.) [The extracts in this edition have been
zyng, MS. Vernon. VOL. II.