תמונות בעמוד


THE Tale of the Nonnes Priest is perhaps a story of English growth. The story of the cock and the fox is evidently borrowed from a collection of Esopean and other fables, written by Marie a French poetess, whose Lals are preserved in MSS. Harl. * Beside the absolute resemblance, it appears still more probable that Chaucer copied from Marie, because no such fable is to be found either in the Greek Esop, or in any of the Latin Esopean compilations of the dark agest. All the manuscripts of Marie's fables in the British Museum prove, that she translated her work “de l’Anglois en Roman.” Probably her English original was Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Esop modernised, and still bearing his name. She professes to follow the version of a king; who, in the best of the Harleian copies, is called LI REIS ALUREDỊ. She appears, from passages in her Lars, to have understood English. I will give her Epilogue to the Fables from MSS. JAMES. viii. p. 23. Bibl. Bodl.

Al finement de cest escrit
Qu'en romanz ai treite e dit
Me numerai pour remembraunce
Marie ai nun sui de France
Pur cel estre que clerc plusur
Prendreient sur eus mun labeur
Ne voit que nul sur li sa die
Eil feit que fol que sei ublie
Pur amur le cunte Wllame
Le plus vaillant de nul realme

(ut infr. see f. 139.] + See MSS. Harl. 978. f. 76.). İ (MSS. Harl. 978. supr. citat. ]

$ (See Chaucer's CantERB. TALES, vol. iv. p. 179.]

Meinlemir de ceste livre feire
E des Engleis en romanz treire
Esop apelum cest livre
Quil translata e fist escrire
Del Gru en Latin le turna
Le Reiz Alurez que mut lama
Le translata puis en Engleis
E jeo lai rimee en Franceis
Si cum jeo poi plus proprement

Ore pri a dieu omnipotent, &c. The figment of Dan Burnell's Ass is taken from a Latin poem entitled SPECULUM STULTORUM, a written by Nigellus de Wireker, monk and precentor of Canterbury cathedral, a profound theologist, who flourished about the year 12006. The narrative of the two pilgrims is borrowed from Valerius Maximus. It is also related by Cicero, a less known and a less favourite author. There is much humour in the description of the prodigious confusion which happened in the farm-yard after the fox had conveyed away the cock.

-After him they ran,
And eke with staves many another man.
Ran Colle our dogge, and Talbot, and Gerlond,
And Malkin with her distaf in hire hond.
Ran cow and calf, and eke the very hogges.-
The dokes crieden as men wold hem quelle',

for fere flewen over the trees, Out of the hive came the swarme of bees. 5 Even Jack Strawe's insurrection, a recent transaction, was not attended with so much noise and disturbance.


v. 1427. p. 172. Urr.

laarn's ass in the Chester WHITSUN • Or John of Salisbury. Printed at Plays. MSS. HARL. 2013. ADDICologn in 1449.

Tions. ] [It is entitled BURNELLUS, sive Spre v. 1100. culum Stultorum, and was written about See Val. Max. i. 7. And Cic. de the year 1190. See Leyser. PoET. MED. Divinat. i. 27. Ævi, p. 772. It is a common manu names of dogs.

f kill. script. Burnell is a nick-name for Ba v. 1496.


So hidous was the noise, ah Benedicite !
Certes he Jacke Strawe, and his meine,

Ne maden never shoutes half so shrille, &c.” The importance and affectation of sagacity with which dame Partlett communicates her medical advice, and displays her knowledge in physic, is a ridicule on the state of medicine and its professors. I

In another strain, the cock is thus beautifully described, and not without some striking and picturesque allusions to the manners of the times.

-A cok highte chaunteclere,
In all the land of crowing n'as his pere.
His vois was merier than the mery orgon
On masse-daies that in the cherches

Wel sikerer' was his crowing in his logem
Than is a clok, or any abbey orloge.-
His combe was redder than the fin corall,
Enbattelled" as it were a castel wall,
His bill was black and as the jet it shone,
Like asure were his legges, and his toneo:
His nailes whiter than the lilie flour,

And like the burned gold was his colour. ” In this poem the fox is compared to the three arch-traitors Judas Iscariot, Virgil's Sinon, and Ganilion who betrayed the Christian army under Charlemagne to the Saracens, and is mentioned by archbishop Turpin. 9 Here also are cited, as writers of high note or authority, Cato, Physiologus or Pliny* the elder, Boethius on music, the author of the legend of the life of saint Kenelme, Josephus, the historian of Sir Lancelot du Lake, Saint Austin, bishop Bradwardine, Jeffrey Vinesauf who wrote a monody in Latin verse on the death of king Richard the First, Ecclesiastes, Virgil, and Macrobius.

hv. 1509. This is a proof that the v. 1941. See also Monk. T. v. 806. CANTERBURY TALES were not written * [Dr. Warton afterwards discovered till after the year 1981.

that by Physiologus, Florinus was in. organ. clearer, (surer. Ritson.), tended, and not Pliny; and has corrected pen; yard. " embattelled his mistake in Section XXVII. vol. iii. p. 5.


[ocr errors]

i v. 1070.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Our author's JANUARY AND May, or the MARCHAUNT'S Tale, seems to be an old Lombard story. But many passages in it are evidently taken from the POLYCRATICON of John of Salisbury. De molestiis et oneribus conjugiorum secundum Hieronymum et alios philosophos. Et de pernicie libidinis. Et de mulieris Ephesinæ et similium fide.' And by the way, about forty verses belonging to this argument are translated from the same chapter of the POLYCRATicon, in the Wife or Bath's Prologues. In the mean time it is not improbable, that this tale might have originally been Oriental. A Persian tale is just published which it extremely resembles'; and it has much of the allegory of an Eastern apologue.

The following description of the wedding-feast of January and May is conceived and expressed with a distinguished degree of poetical elegance.

Thus ben they wedded with solempnite,
And at the feste sitteth he and she,
With other worthy folk upon the deis 4 :

Al ful of joye and blisse is the paleis, * L. viii. c. 11. fol. 193. b. edit. 1513. wards, is the celebrated Eloisa. Trot

Mention is made in this Prologue tula is mentioned, v. 677. Among the of St. Jerom and Theophrast, on that manuscripts of Merton College in Oxsubject, v. 671. 674. The author of the ford, is, « Trottula Mulier Salernitana Polycraticon quotes Theophrastus from de passionibus mulierum.” There is Jerom, viz. “Fertur auctore Hieronimo also extant, “Trottula, seu potius Erotis aureolus Theophrasti libellus de non du- medici muliebrium liber.” Basil. 1586. cenda uxore." fol. 194. a. Chaucer like- 4to. See also Montfauc. Catal. MSS. wise, on this occasion, cites Valerie, p. 385. And Fabric. Bibl. Gr. xiis. v. 671. This is not the favorite historian p. 439. of the middle ages, Valerius Maximus. By Mr. Dow, ch. xv. p. 252. It is a book written by Walter Mapes, [The ludicrous adventure of the Pear archdeacon of Oxford, under the assumed Tree, in JANUARY AND May, is taken name of Valerius, entitled, Valerius ad from a collection of Fables in Latin Rufinum de non ducenda urore. This elegiacs, written by one Adolphus in the piece is in the Bodleian library with a year 1915. Leyser. Hist. Poet. Med. large Gloss. MSS. Digb. 166. ij. 147. Ævi, p. 2008. The same fable is among Mapes perhaps adopted this name, be- the Fables of Alphonse, in Caxton's Esop. cause one Valerius had written a trea- - Additions.). tise on the same subject, inserted in St. "I have explained this word, vol.i.p.43. Jerom's works. Some copies of this But will here add some new illustrations Prologue, instead of “ Valerie and of it. Undoubtedly the high table in a Theophrast,” read Paraphrast. If that public refectory, as appears from these be the true reading, which I do not be- words in Mathew Paris, “ Priore pranlieve, Chaucer alludes to the gloss above dente ad MAGNAM MENSAM quam Dais mentioned. Helowis, cited just after- vulgo appellamus." In Vit. Abbat. S.


And ful of instruments and of vitaille,
The most daynteous of all Itaille.
Before hem stood swiche instruments of soun,
That Orpheus, ne of Thebes Amphion
Ne maden never swiche a melodie;
At every cours in cam loude minstralcie,
That never Joab tromped w, for to here,
Ne he Theodamas yet half so clere,
At Thebes, whan the citee was in doute,
Bacchus the win hem skinketh 2 al aboute,
And Venus laugheth upon every wight,
For January was become hire knight,
And wolde bothe assaien his corage
In libertee and eke in mariage,
And with hire firebronde in hire hond aboute
Danceth before the bride and al the route.
And certainly I dare right wel say this,
Ymeneus that god of wedding is
Saw never his life so mery a wedded man.
Hold thou thy pees, thou poet Marciano,
That writest us that ilke wedding mery

Of hire Philologie and him Mercurie, Albani, p. 92. And again the same fore which was floored with planks, was writer says, that a cup, with a foot, or called the dais (the rest being either the stand, was not permitted in the hall of bare ground, or at best paved with stone); the monastery, « Nisi tantum in majori and being raised above the level of the MENSA quam Dais appellamus." Addi- other parts, it was often called the high tam. p. 148. There is an old French dais. As the principal table was always word, Dais, which signifies a throne, or placed upon a dais, it began very soon, canopy, usually placed over the head of by a natural abuse of words, to be called the principal person at a magnificent itself a dais; and people were said to sit feast. Hence it was transferred to the at the dais, instead of at the table upon table at which he sate. In the antient the dais. Menage, whose authority seems French Roman de Garin ;

to have led later antiquaries to interpret Au plus haut Dals sist roy Anseis.

dais a canopy, has evidently confounded

deis with ders, (which] as he observes, Either at the first table, or, which is meant properly the hangings at the back much the same thing, under the highest of the company. But as the same hangcanopy.

ings were often drawn over, so as to form (I apprehend that (dais) originally a kind of canopy over their heads, the signified the wooden floor (d'ais Fr. de whole was called a ders.-T.) assibus Lat.) which was laid at the upper

W « such as Joab never,” &c. end of the hall, as we still see it in college halls &c. That part of the room there * See supr. p. 227, VOL. II.


y danger.

z ill, pour.

« הקודםהמשך »