« הקודםהמשך »
But as god would, of swoughs she tho abraide',
Pathetic description is one of Chaucer's peculiar excellencies.
In this poem are various imitations from Ovid, which are of too particular and minute a nature to be pointed out here, and belong to the province of a professed and formal commentator on the piece. The Platonic notion in the third book y about universal love, and the doctrine that this principle acts with equal and uniform influence both in the natural and moral world, are a translation from Boethius 2. And in the KNIGHT'S
then awaked. "sighed.
glanced. * 1. iv, v. 1205.
v. 1750. 2 Consolat. Philosoph, L. ii. Met. ult.
iii. Met. 2. Spenser is full of the sam doctrine. See Fairy Queen, i. ix. 1. iv. I. 34. 35, &c. &c.
I could point out many other imitations from Boethius in his poem.
Tale he mentions, from the same favorite system of philosophy, the Faire CHAINE OF Loves. It is worth observing, that the reader is referred to Dares Phrygius, instead of Homer, for a display of the atchievements of Troilus.
His worthi dedis who so list him here,
Rede Dares, he can tel hem all ifere. a Our author, from his excessive fondness for Statius, has been guilty of a very diverting and what may be called a double anachronism. He represents Cresside, with two of her female companions, sitting in a pavid parlour, and reading the THEBAID of Statius", which is called the Geste of the Siege of Thebes, and the Romance of Thebisd. In another place, Cassandra translates the Arguments of the twelve books of the THEBAID. In the fourth book of this poem, Pandarus endeavours to comfort Troilus with arguments concerning the doctrine of predestination, taken from Bradwardine, a learned archbishop and theologist, and nearly Chaucer's cotemporary.
This poem, although almost as long as the Eneid, was intended to be sung to the harp, as well as read.
And redde where so thou be, or ellis songes. It is dedicated to the morall Gower, and to the philosophical Strode. Gower will occur as a poet hereafter. Strode was
v. 2990. Urr.
often cited by Du Cange and Carpena L. iv. v. 1770.
tier. Gl. Lat. This is Parthenopeus, a b L. ii. v. 81.
CL. ü. v. 84. hero of the Theban story. It was trans. L. ii. v. 100. Bishop Amphiorax is lated into English, and called Pertomentioned, ib. v. 104. Pandarus says NAPE. See vol. i. p. 126. v. 106:
[The romance of Partonepex de Blois, All this I know my selve,
cited by Du Cange, has no connexion And all the assiege of Thebes, and all with the Theban story. See Mr. Rose's the care;
version after Le Grand.-Edit.]
° L. v. v. 1490. I will add here, that For herof ben ther makid bokis twelve.
Cresside proposes the trial of the Ordeal In his Dreme, Chaucer to pass the night to Troilus. L. iii. v. 1048. Troilus, duaway, rather than play at chess, calls for ring the times of truce, amuses himself a Romaunce ; in which “ were writtin with hawking. L. iii. v. 1785. fables of quenis livis and of kings, and f In his book DE CAUSA Dei, published many othir thingis smale.” This proves by Sir Henry Savile, 1617. He touches to be Ovid. v. 52. seq. See Man. of on this controversy, Nonne's Pr. T. v. L. T. v. 54. Urr. There was an old 1349. Urr. See also Tr. Cr. L. iv. y. French Romance called PakToNEPEX, 961. seq.
& L. ult. v. 1796.
eminent for his scholastic knowledge, and tutor to Chaucer's son Lewis at Merton college in Oxford.
Whether the House of Fame is Chaucer's invention, or suggested by any French or Italian poet, I cannot determine. But I am apt to think it was originally a Provencial composition,-among other proofs, from this passage :
And ther came out so gret a noise,
I trow, to Rome sikerly. The Oyse is a river in Picardy, which falls into the river Seine, not many leagues from Paris. An Englishman would not have expressed distance by such an unfamiliar illustration. Unless we reconcile the matter, by supposing that Chaucer wrote this poem during his travels. There is another passage where the ideas are those of a foreign romance. To the trumpeters of renown the poet adds,
All that usid clarion In Casteloigne or Arragon. Casteloigne is Catalonia in Spaink. The martial musicians of English tournaments, so celebrated in story, were a more natural and obvious allusion for an English poet'.
This poem contains great strokes of Gothic imagination, yet bordering often on the most ideal.and capricious extravagance. The poet, in a vision, sees a temple of glass,
In which were more images
- L. ii. v. 838. (See infra Sect. xviii. But he says, that the Galaxy is called Note +, from the Additions. ]
Watlyng-strete. B. ii. v. 431. He swears i B. iii. v. 157.
by Thomas Becket, B. iii. v. 41. In See MARCHAUNT's Tale, v. 1231. one place he is addressed by the name of p. 70. Urr. He mentions a rock higher GEOFFREY. B. ii. v. 221. But in two than any in Spain. B. iii. v. 27. But others by that of PETER. B. ii. v. 526, this I believe was an English proverb. B. iii. v. 909. Among the musicians,
"He mentions a plate of gold, “ As he mentions" Pipirs of all the Duche fine as duckett in Venise." B. iii. v. 258. tong.” B. ü. v. 144. VOL. II.
Sette in more riche tabernacles,
Of golde work than I sawe evir.“
Faste by the sonne on hie,
That nevir man sawe suche a sight, &c. The eagle descends, seizes the poet in his talons, and mounting again, conveys him to the House of Fame; which is situated, like that of Ovid, between earth and sea. In their passage thither, they fly above the stars; which our author leaves, with clouds, tempests, hail, and snow, far beneath him. This aerial journey is partly copied from Ovid's Phaeton in the chariot of the sun. But the poet apologises for this extravagant
mjewels. n B. i. v. 120. of the poets and romance-writers of the • Where he mentions Virgil's hell, he middle ages, that Ovid's stories adorned likewise refers to Claudian De Raptu the walls. In one of the courts of the Proserpinæ, and Dante's Inferno. v. 450. palace of Nonesuch, all Ovid's Meta-' There is a translation of a few lines from morphoses were cut in stone under the Dante, whom he calls “the wise poet of windows. Hearne, Coll. MSS.55. p. 64. Florence,” in the Wife of Bath's Tale, But the Epistles seem to have been v. 1125. p. 84. Urr. The story of Hu- the favorite work, the subject of which golin of Pisa, a subject which Sir Joshua coincided with the gallantry of the Reynolds has lately painted in a capital times. style, is translated from Dante, “the grete poete of Italic that hight Dante," * The eagle says to the poet, that this in the MONKES TALE, v. 877. A sen- house stands tence from Dante is cited in the LE
“ Right so as thine owne boke tellith." GENDE OP Good WOMEN, V. 360. In the FREERE's Tale, Dante is compared with B. ii. v. 204. That is, Ovid's Metamor. Virgil, v. 256.
phoses. See Met. L. xii, v. 40, &c. P It was not only in the fairy palaces
* B. i. v. 496. seq.
fiction, and explains his meaning, by alledging the authority of Boethius; who says, that Contemplation may soar on the wings of Philosophy above every element. He likewise recollects, in the midst of his course, the description of the heavens, given by Marcianus Capella in his book De Nuptiis Philologia et Mercurii', and Alanus in his Anticlaudianu. At his arrival in the confines of the House of Fame, he is alarmed with confused murmurs issuing from thence, like distant thunders or billows. This circumstance is also borrowed from Ovid's temple". He is left by the eagle near the house, which is built of materials bright as polished glass, and stands on a rock of ice of excessive height, and almost inaccessible. All the southern side of this rock was covered with engravings of the names of famous men, which were perpetually melting away by the heat of the sun. The northern side of the rock was alike covered with names; but being here shaded from the warmth of the sun, the characters remained unmelted and uneffaced. The structure of the house is thus imagined.
- Me thoughtin by sainct Gile,
In these lines, and in some others which occur hereafter, the poet perhaps alludes to the many new decorations in archi
+ See The MARCHAUNT'S TALE, V. w See Met. xii. 39. And Virg. Æn. 1248. p. 70. Urr. And Lidg. Stor. iv. 173. Val. Flacc. i. 117. Lucan, i., Theb, fol. 357.
469. "A famous book in the middle ages.
* chamber. There is an old French translation of it. y turrets. Bibl. Reg. Paris. MSS. Cod. 7632. 2 B. iii. v. 211.