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rassed, and practicable copy than this before us, will not be produced: although it is for the most part unpointed, and obscured with abbreviations, and with those mispellings which flowed from a scribe unacquainted with the French language.

To say no more, however, of the value which these little pieces may derive from being so scarce and so little known, they have much real and intrinsic merit. They are tender, pathetic, and poetical; and place our old poet Gower in a more advantageous point of view than that in which he has hitherto been usually seen. I know not if any even among

the French poets themselves, of this period, have left a set of more finished sonnets: for they were probably written when Gower was a young man, about the year 1350. Nor had yet any English poet treated the passion of love with equal delicacy of sentiment, and elegance of composition. I will transcribe four of these balades as correctly and intelligibly as I am able: although I must confess, there are some lines which I do not exactly comprehend.

BALADE XXXVI.

Pour comparer ce jolif temps de Maij,
Jeole dirrai semblable a Paradis;
Car lors chantont et merle et papegai,
Les champs sont vert, les herbes sont floris;
Lors est Nature dame du paijs:
Dont Venus poignt l'amant au tiel assai,

Qencontre amour nest qui poet dire Nai.
Quant tout ceo voi, et que ieo penserai,
Coment Nature ad tout le monde suspris,

Dont pour le temps se fait minote et gai,
Et ieo des autres suis souleni horspris,
Com al qui sanz amie est vrais amis,
Nest pas mervaile lors si ieo mesmai,

Qencontre amour nest qui poet dire Nai.
En lieu de rose, urtie cuillerai,

Dont mes chapeals ferrai par tiel devis,
Qe tout ioie et confort ieo lerrai,
Si celle soule eu qui iai mon coer mis,

Selonc le ponit qe iai sovent requis,
Ne deigne alegger les griefs mals qe iai,

Qencontre amour nest qui poet dire Nai. Pour pite querre et pourchacer intris,

Va ten balade ou ieo tenvoierai,
Qore en certain ieo lai tresbien apris

Qencontre amour nest qui poet dire Nai.

BALADE XXXIV.

Saint Valentin, l'Amour, et la Nature,
Des touts oiseals ad en gouernement,
Dont chascun deaux, semblable a sa mesure,
Un compaigne honeste a son talent
Eslist, tout dun accord et dun assent,
Pour celle soule laist a covenir;
Toutes les autres car nature aprent

V li coers est le corps falt obeir.
Ma doulce Dame, ensi ieo vous assure,

Qe ieo vous ai eslieu semblablement,
Sur toutes autres estes à dessure
De mon amour si tresentierement,
Qe riens y falt pourquoi ioiousement,
De coer et corps ieo vous voldrai servir,
Car de reson cest une experiment,

V li coers est le corps falt obeir.
Pour remembrer iadis celle aventure

De Alceone et ceix ensement,
Com dieus muoit en oisel lour figure,
Ma volente serroit tout tielement
Qe sans envie et danger de la gent,
Nous porroions ensemble pour loisir
Voler tout francs en votre esbatement

V li coers est le corps falt obeir.
Ma bel oisel, vers qui mon pensement

Seu vole ades sanz null contretenir
Preu cest escript car ieo sai voirement
V li coers est le corps falt obeir.

BALADE XLIII.
Plus tricherous ge Jason a Medee,
A Deianire ou q' Ercules estoit,
Plus q' Eneas q' avoit Dido lassee,
Plus qe Theseus q' Adriagnez amoit,
Ou Demophon quant Phillis oublioit,
Te trieus, helas, qamer iadis soloie,
Dont chanterai desore en mon endroit

Cest ma dolour qe fuist amicois ma joie.
Unques Ector qama Pantasilee”,

En tiele haste a Troie ne sarmoít,
Qe tu tout mid nes deniz le lit couche
Amis as toutes quelques venir doit,
Ne poet chaloir mais qune femme y soit,
Si es comun plus de la halte voie,
Helas, qe la fortune me deçoit,

Cest ma dolour qe fuist amicois ma joie.
De Lanceloto si fuissetz remembre,

Et de Tristans, com il se countenoit,
Generides', Fflorent", Par Tonope,
Chascun des ceaux sa loialtie guardoit;
Mais tu, helas, qest ieo qe te forsvoit
De moi qa toi iamais mill iour falsoie,
Tu es a large et ieo sui en destroit,

Cest ma dolour qe fuist amicois ma joie.

? Ariadne.

3 Penthesilea. is also in our author's CONFESSIO AMAN• Sir Lancelot's intrigue with Ge Tis, Lib. iii. fol. 48. a. col. 1. seq. Lib. neura, king Arthur's queen, and sirviiifol. 175. a. col. 2. seq. And in the Tristram with Bel Isoulde, incidents in Gesta ROMANORUY. [See supr. p.934. ] Arthur's romance, are made the subject Percy (Num. 2. ) recites a romance callof one of the stories of the French poem ed LE BONE FLORENCE DE. Rome, which just cited, viz.

begins, Commes sont la cronique et listoire

As ferre as men ride or gon. De Lancelot et Tristrans ensement, &c. I know not if this be Shakespeare's

• This name, of which I know nothing, Florentins, or Florentio, Tam. Shr. i. 5. must be corruptly written.

Be she as foul as was FLORENTIUS' love. & Chaucer's WIFE OF BATHES TALE • That is Partenope, or Parthenopeus, is founded on the story of Florent, a one of Statius's heroes, on whom there is knight of Rome, who delivers the king an old French romance. See supr. vol. i. of Sicily's daughter from the enchant- p. 142. (where this statement is corwients of her stepmother. His story rected.]

Des toutz les mals tu qes le plus maloit,

Ceste compleignte a ton oraille envoie
Sante me laist, et langour me recoit,
Cest ma dolour qe fuist amicois ma joie.

BALADE XX.
Si com la nief, quant le fort vent tempeste,
Pur halte mier se torne aci et la,
Ma dame, ensi mon coer manit en tempeste,
Quant le danger de vo parole orra,
Le nief qe votre bouche soufflera,
Me fait sigler sur le peril de vie,

Qest en danger falt quil mera supplie.
Rois Ulyxes, sicom nous dist la Geste,

Vers son paiis de Troie qui sigla,
Not tiel paour du peril et moleste,
Quant les Sereines en la mier passa,
Et le danger de Circes eschapa,
Qe le paour nest plus de ma partie,

Qest en danger falt quil mera supplie.
Danger qui tolt damour toute la feste,

Unques un mot de confort ne sona,
Ainz plus cruel qe nest la fiere beste
Au point quant danger me respondera.
La chiere porte et quant le nai dirra,
Plusque la mort mestoie celle oie

Qest en danger falt quil mera supplie.
Vers vous, ma bone dame, horspris cella,

Qe danger manit en votre compainie,
Cest balade en mon message irra

Qest en danger falt quil mera supplie. For the use, and indeed the knowledge, of this manuscript, I am obliged to the unsolicited kindness of Lord Trentham; a favour which his lordship was pleased to confer with the most polite condescension,

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ONE of the reasons which rendered the classic authors of the lower empire more popular than those of a purer age, was because they were Christians. Among these, no Roman writer appears to have been more studied and esteemed, from the beginning to the close of the barbarous centuries, than Boethius. Yet it is certain, that his allegorical personifications and his visionary philosophy, founded on the abstractions of the Platonic school, greatly concurred to make him a favourite. His CONSOLATION of PHILOSOPHY was translated into the Saxon tongue by king Alfred, the father of learning and civility in the midst of a rude and intractable people; and illustrated with a commentary by Asser bishop of Saint David's, a prelate patronised by Alfred for his singular accomplishments in literature, about the year 890. Bishop Grosthead is said to have left annotations on this admired system of morality. There is a very ancient manuscript of it in the Laurentian library, with an inscription prefixed in Saxon characters. There are few of those distinguished ecclesiastics, whose erudition illuminated the thickest gloom of ignorance and superstition with uncommon lustre, but who either have cited this performance, or honoured it with a panegyrica. It has had many imitators. Ec

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It is observable, that this SPIRIT OF ABSTINENCE, PATIENCE, CHASTITY, Cox. PERSONIFICATION tinctures the writings CORD, &c. Saint Cyprian relates, that of some of the christian fathers, about, the church appeared in a vision, in vior rather before, this period, Most of sione per noctem, to Colerinus; the agents in the SHEPHERD of HERMAS manded him to assume the office of are ideal beings. An ancient lady con- Reader, which he in humility had deverses with Hermas, and tells him that clined. Cyprian. Epist. xxxix. edit. she is the CHURCH OF GOD. Afterwards Oxon. The church appearing as a wo. several virgins appear and discourse with man they perhaps had from the Scriphim; and when he desires to be informed ture, Rev. xii, 1. Esdras, &c. who they are, he is told by the Sher • Mabillon. Itin. Ital. p. 221. HIRD-ANGEĮ, that they are Faith, ? He is much commended as a catho

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