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tecture, which began to prevail about his time, and gave rise
And of a sute were al the touris,
With many a smal turret hie.
Fairir is none, though it were for a king,
The galeries be al right wel ywrought.
Within the niches formed in the pinnacles stood all round the castle,
All manir of minstrelis,
Both of weping gand eke of game.
* v. 81. p. 572. Urr.
See Dart's WESTMINST. ABBEY, i. 80. b v. 158.
Timothy Thomas was of Christ Church • [Chancer's Life in Urry's edition. Oxford, and died in 1757.-ADDITIONS.) William Thomas digested this Life from • Claus. 8. Ric. II. collections by Dart. His brother, Dr. 1 Pat. 14. Ric. II. Apud Tanner, Timothy Thomas, wrote or compiled the Bibl. p. 166. Note e. Glossary and Preface to that edition. This word is above explained.
were accompanied with the most renowned harpers, among which were Orpheus, Arion, Chiron, and the Briton Glaskerion Behind these were placed, “ by many a thousand time twelve," players on various instruments of music. Among the trumpeters are named Joab, Virgil's Misenus, and Theodamasf. About these pinnacles were also marshalled the most famous magicians, juglers, witches, prophetesses, sorceresses, and professors of natural magic, which ever existed in antient or modern times : such as Medea, Circe, Calliope, Hermes", Limotheus, and Simon Magus'. At entering the hall he sees an infinite multitude of heralds, on the surcoats of whom were richly embroidered the armorial ensigns of the most redoubted
Concerning this harper, see Percy's Macrobes." v. 7. Chaucer quotes him in Ballads.
his DREME, v. 284. In the NONNES See also The MARCHAUNT's Tale, Priest's Tale, v. 1238. p. 171. Urr. v. 1236. seq. p. 70. Urr.
In the ASSEMBLIE OF Fowles, v. 111. & See the FrankELEIN'S TALE, where see also ibid. v. 31. He wrote a comseveral feats are described, as exhibited ment on Tully's Somnium SCIPIONIS, at a feast done by natural magic, a fa- and in these passages he is referred to on vorite science of the Arabians. Chaucer account of that piece. Petrarch, in a there calls it “ An art which sotill tra- letter to Nicolas Sigeros, a learned getoris plaie." v. 2696. p. 110. Urr. Of Greek of Constantinople, quotes Macrothis more will be said hereafter.
bius, as a Latin author of all others the "None of the works of the first Her- most familiar to Nicolas. It is to prove mes Trismegistus now remain. See Core that Homer is the fountain of all invennel. Agrip. Van. Scient. cap. xlviii. The tion. This is in 1354. Famil. Let. ix. 2. astrological and other philosophical There is a manuscript of the first, and pieces under that name are supposititious. part of the second book of Macrobius, See Fabr. Biblioth. Gr. xii. 708. And elegantly written, as it seems, in France, Chan. Yeu. Tale, v. 1455. p. 126. Urr. about the year 800. MSS. Cotton. Vse Some of these pieces were published un TELL. C. üi. Cod. Membr. fol. viii, fol. der the fictitious names of Abel, Enoch, 138. M. Planudes, a ConstantinopoliAbraham, Solomon, Saint Paul, and of tan monk of the fourteenth century, is many of the patriarcbs and fathers. Cor- said to have translated Macrobius into nel. Agripp. De Van. Scient. cap. xlv. Greek. But see Fabric. Bibl. Gr. x. 534. Whoadds, that these trifles were followed It is remarkable, that in the above letter, by Alphonsus king of Castile, Robert Petrarch apologises for calling Plato the Grosthead, Bacon, and Apponus. He Prince of Philosophers, after Cicero, Sementions Zabulus and Barnabas of Cy- neca, Apuleius, Plotinus, Saint Amprus as famous writers in magic. See brose, and Saint Austin. also Gower's Confess, Amant. p. 134. i Among these he mentions Juglers, b. 149. b. edit. 1554. fol. per Berthc- that is, in the present sense of the word, lette. In speaking of antient authors, those who practised Legerdemain : a powho were known or celebrated in the pular science in Chaucer's time. Thus middle ages, it may be remarked, that in Squ. T. v. 239. Urr. Macrobius was one.
Ile is mentioned by William de Lorris in the Romay DE As jugelours playin at these festis grete. LA Rose, v. 9. Ung aucteur qui ot It was an appendage of the occult sciences nom Macrobe." A line literally trans- studied and introduced into Europe by lated by Chaucer, “ An author that higit the Arabians.
champions that ever tourneyed in Africa, Europe, or Asia. The floor and roof of the hall were covered with thick plates of gold studded with the costliest gems. At the upper end, on a lofty shrine made of carbuncle, sate Fame. Her figure is like those in Virgil and Ovid. Above her, as if sustained on her shoulders, sate Alexander and Hercules. From the throne to the gates of the hall, ran a range of pillars with respective inscriptions. On the first pillar made of lead and iron, stood Josephus, the Jewish historian, “ That of the Jewis gestis told,” with seven other writers on the same subject. On the second pillar, made of iron, and painted all over with the blood of tigers, stood Statius. On another higher than the rest stood Homer, Dares Phrygius, Livy', Lollius, Guido of Columna, and Geoffry of Monmouth, writers of the Trojan story. On a pillar of “ tinnid iron clere,” stood Virgil: and next him on a pillar of copper, appeared Ovid. The figure of Lucan was placed on a pillar of iron “wroght full sternly,” accompanied with many Roman historians. On a pillar of sulphur stood Claudian, so symbolised, because he wrote of Pluto and Proserpine.
That bare up all the fame of hell;
That queen is of the darkè pine. ” The hall was filled with the writers of antient tales and romances, whose subjects and names were too numerous to be recounted. In the mean time crouds from every nation and of every condition filled the hall, and each presented his claim to the queen. A messenger is dispatched to summon Eolus from his cave in Thrace; who is ordered to bring his two cla
* In the composition of these pillars, Chaucer, See Vie de Petrarque, iii, Chaucer displays his chemical know- p. 547. ledge.
m Was not not this intended to cha. i Dares Phrygius and Livy are both racterise Lucan? Quintilian says of Lucited in Chaucer's DREME, v, 1070. 1084. can, “ Oratoribus magis quam poetis anChaucer is fond of quoting Livy. He numerandus." Instit. Orat. L. x, c. 1. was also much admired by Petrarch ; B. ii. v. 419. Chaucer alludes to who, while at Paris, assisted in transla- this poem of Claudian in the Marting him into French. This circum- CHAUNT's Tale, where he calls Pluto, the stance might make Livy a favourite with king of "fayrie." v. 1744. p. 73. Urr.
rions called SLANDER and PRAISE, and his trumpeter Triton. The praises of each petitioner are then resounded, according to the partial or capricious appointment of Fame; and equal merits obtain
different success. There is much satire and humour in these requests and rewards, and in the disgraces and honours which are indiscriminately distributed by the queen, without discernment and by chance. The poet then enters the house or labyrinth of RUMOUR. It was built of sallow twigs, like a cage, and therefore admitted every sound. Its doors were also more numerous than leaves on the trees, and always stood open. These are romantic exaggerations of Ovid's inventions on the same subject. It was moreover sixty miles in length, and perpetually turning round. From this house, says the poet, issued tidings of every kind, like fountains and rivers from the sea. Its inhabitants, who were eternally employed in hearing or telling news, together with the rise of reports, and the formation of lies, are then humourously described : the company is chiefly composed of sailors, pilgrims, and pardoners. At length our author is awakened at seeing a venerable personage of great authority: and thus the Vision abruptly concludes.
Pope has imitated this piece, with his usual elegance of diction and harmony of versification. But in the mean time, he has not only misrepresented the story, but marred the character of the poem. He has endeavoured to correct it's extravagancies, by new refinements and additions of another cast : but he did not consider, that extravagancies are essential to a poem of such a structure, and even constitute it's beauties. An attempt to unite order and exactness of imagery with a subject formed on principles so professedly romantic and anomalous, is like giving Corinthian pillars to a Gothic palace. When I read Pope's elegant imitation of this piece, I think I am walking among the modern monuments unsuitably placed in Westminster-abbey.
NOTHING can be more ingeniously contrived than the occasion on which Chaucer's CANTERBURY Tales are supposed to be recited. A company of pilgrims, on their journey to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, lodge at the Tabarde-inn in Southwark. Although strangers to each other, they are assembled in one room at supper, as was then the custom;
agree, not only to travel together the next morning, but to relieve the fatigue of the journey by telling each a story? Chaucer undoubtedly intended to imitate Boccacio, whose DECAMERON was then the most popular of books, in writing a set of tales. But the circumstance invented by Boccacio, as the cause which gave rise to his DECAMERON, or the relation of his hundred stories, is by no means so happily conceived as that of Chaucer for a similar purpose.
Boccacio supposes, that when the plague began to abate at Florence, ten young persons of both sexes retired to a country house, two miles from the city, with a design of enjoying fresh air, and passing ten days agreeably. Their principal and established amusement, instead of playing at chess after dinner, was for each to tell a tale. One superiority, which, among others, Chaucer's plan afforded above that of Boccacio, was the opportunity of displaying a variety of striking and dramatic characters, which would not have easily met but on such
• There is an inn at Burford in Ox b It is remarkable, that Boccacio chose fordshire, which accommodated pilgriins a Greek title, that is, Arranu af ov, for his on their road to Saint Edward's shrine Tales. He has also given Greek names in the abbey of Gloucester. A long to the ladies and gentlemen who recite room, with a series of Gothic windows, the tales. His Eclogues are full of still remains, which was their refectory. Greek words. This was natural at the Leland mentions such another, Itin, revival of the Greek language. ji. 70,