תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

1

In another part of the Prologue we have these pathetic lines, which seem to flow warm from the heart, to the memory

of the immortal Chaucer, who I believe was rather Occleve's model than his master, or perhaps the patron and encourager of his studies.

But weleawaye, so is myne hertè wo
That the honour of English tonge is dede,
Of which I wont was han counsel and rede!
O mayster dere, and fadir reverent,
My mayster Chaucer, floure of eloquence,
Mirrour of fructuous entendement,
O universal fadir in science,
Alas that thou thine excellent prudence
In thy bed mortel mighest not bequethe,
What eyled" Deth ? Alas why would he sle' the !
O Deth that didist nought harm singulere
In slaughtre of him, but all the lond it smertith:
But nathelesse yit hastowe no powere
His name to sle. His hie vertue astertith
Unslayn from thee, which aye us lifely hertith
With boke[s] of his ornatè enditing,

That is to all this lond enlumyning.
Occleve seems to have written some of these verses imme-
diately on Chaucer's death, and to have introduced them long
afterwards into this Prologue.

It is in one of the royal manuscripts of this poem in the British Museum that Occleve has left a drawing of Chaucer : ac

d hast thou. sage forms a part of the “ Dialogus inter * MSS. Rawlins. 647. fol. This poem Occlyf et mendicum," and which in the has at the end "Explicit Ægidius de Museum MSS. precedes the translation Regimine Principum" in MSS. Laud. of Ægidius.—Mr. Ritson in his Bibl. K. 78. Bibl. Bodi. See also ibid. MSS. Poet. enumerates seventeen pieces of Selden. Supr. 53. Digb. 185. MSS. Occleve contained in a MS, once beAshmol. 40. MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. l. longing to Dr. Askew, but which after17 D. xviii. MSS. Harl. 4826. 7. and wards became the property of Mr. Ma4866. In some of these a sort of dia

From this MS, he adds: “ Six of logue is prefixed between a father and a peculiar stupidity were selected and pub

Occleve, in the Prologue cited in lished by its late owner, in 1796. 4to." the text, mentions Jacobus de Cussolis -EDIT. (Casulis) as one of his authors. [ This pas f MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. I.

с

Cailed.

son.

son.

VOL. II.

2 A

cording to which, Chaucer's portraiture was made on his monument, in the chapel of Saint Blase in Westminster-abbey, by the benefaction of Nicholas Brigham, in the year 1556%. And from this drawing, in 1598, John Speed procured the print of Chaucer prefixed to Speght's edition of his Works; which has been since copied in a most finished engraving by Vertue". Yet it must be remembered, that the same drawing occurs in an Harleian manuscript written about Occleve's age', and in another of the Cottonian department". Occleve himself mentions this drawing in his ConsolaTIO SERVILIS. It exactly resembles the curious picture on board of our venerable bard, preserved in the Bodleian gallery at Oxford. I have a very old picture of Chaucer on board, much like Occleve's, formerly kept in Chaucer's house, a quadrangular stone-mansion, at Woodstock in Oxfordshire; which commanded a prospect of the ancient magnificent royal palace, and of many beautiful scenes in the adjacent park: and whose last remains, chiefly consisting of what was called Chaucer's bed-chamber, with an old carved oaken roof, evidently original, were demolished about fifteen years ago. Among the ruins they found an ancient gold coin of the city of Florence! Before the grand rebellion, there was in the windows of the church of Woodstock, an escucheon in painted glass of the arms of Sir Payne Rouet, a knight of Henault, whose daughter Chaucer married.

Occleve, in this poem, and in others, often celebrates Humphrey duke of Glocester“; who at the dawn of science was a singular promoter of literature, and, however unqualified for political intrigues, the common patron of the scholars of the times. A sketch of his character in that view, is therefore too

* He was of Caversham in Oxford- mon in England. Chaucer, PARDON. shire. Educated at Hart-Hall in Ox- Tale, v. 2290. p. 135. col. 2. “For that ford, and studied the law. He died at the FLORAINS ben so faire and bright." Westminster, 1559.

Edward the Third, in 1944, altered it In Urry's edit. 1721, fol.

from a lower value to 6s. and 8d. The I MSS. Harl. 4866. The drawing is particular piece I have mentioned seems at fol. 91.

about that value. * MSS. Cotton. OTH. A. 18.

m As he does John of Gaunt. 1 I think a FLOREIN, antiently com

closely connected with our subject to be censured as an unnecessary digression. About the year 1440, he gave to the university of Oxford a library containing six hundred volumes, only one hundred and twenty of which were valued at more than one thousand pounds. These books are called Novi Tractatus, or New Treatises, in the university-register", and said to be admirandi apparatus. They were the most splendid and costly copies that could be procured, finely written on vellum, and elegantly embellished with miniatures and illuminations. Among the rest was a translation into French of Ovid's Metamorphoses P. Only a single specimen of these valuable volumes was suffered to remain : it is a beautiful manuscript in folio of Valerius Maximus, enriched with the most elegant decorations, and written in Duke Humphrey's age, evidently with a design of being placed in this sumptuous collection. All the rest of the books, which, like this, being highly ornamented, looked like missals, and conveyed ideas of popish superstition, were destroyed or removed by the pious visitors of the university in the reign of Edward the Sixth, whose zeal was equalled only by their ignorance, or perhaps by their avarice. A great number of classics, in this grand work of reformation, were condemned as antichristian”. In the library of Oriel college at Oxford, we find a manuscript Commentary on Genesis, written by John Capgrave, a monk of saint Austin's monastery at Canterbury, a learned theologist of the fourteenth century. It is the author's autograph, and the work is dedicated to Humphrey duke of Glocester. In the superb initial letter of the dedicatory epistle is a curious illumination of the author Capgrave, humbly presenting his book to his patron the duke, who is seated, and covered with a sort of hat. At the end is this entry, in the hand-writing of duke Humphrey. “Cest livre est a moy Humfrey duc de Gloucestre du don de frere Jehan Capgrave, quy le me fist presenter a mon manoyr de Pensherst le

Reg. F. fol. 52. 53. b. Epist. 142. 9 Some however had been before sto• Ibid. fol. 57. b. 60. a. Epist. 148. len or mutilated. Leland, Coll. iii. p. 58. P Leland, Coll. iii. p. 58. edit. 1770. edit. 1770.

jour ... de l'an. MCCCXXXVIII'.” This is one of the books which Humphrey gave to his new library at Oxford, destroyed or dispersed by the active reformers of the young Edward'. John Whethamstede, a learned abbot of Saint Alban’s, and a lover of scholars, but accused by his monks for neglecting their affairs, while he was too deeply engaged in studious employments and in procuring transcripts of useful books', notwithstanding his unwearied assiduity in beautifying and enriching their monastery“, was in high favour with this munificent princex. The duke was fond of visiting this monastery, and employed abbot Whethamstede to collect valuable books for himy. Some of Whethamstede's tracts, manuscript copies of which often occur in our libraries, are dedicated to the duke 2: who presented many of them, particularly a fine copy of Whet

[ocr errors]

"Cod. MSS. 92.

if it was some magnificent publio edifice. Не

gave also Capgrave super Exo “God grant,” says he, “that this work DUM ET REGUM LIBROS. Registr. Univ. in our days may receive a happy conOxon. fol. 67. b.

summation !” Ibid.

P.

cxvi. 'Supra, vol. i. See DissERTAT. i. "Among other things, he expended We are told in this abbot's Gesta, that forty pounds in adorning the roof and soon after his installment he built a walls of the virgin Mary's chapel with library for his abbey, a design which pictures. Gest. ut supr. p. cx. He gave had long employed his contemplation. to the choir of the church an organ; Ha covered it with lead ; and expend- than which, says my chronicler, there ed on the bare walls, besides desks, was not one to be found in any mnonasglasing, and em battelling, or, to use tery in England, more beautiful in apthe expressions of my chronologer, de pearance, more pleasing for its harmony, ducta vitriacione, crestacione, positione or more curious in its construction. It descorum, upwards of one mundred and cost upwards of fifty pounds. Ibid. twenty pounds. Apnd Hearne's Ot- p. cxxviii. His new buildings were in. TER BOURNE, vol. i. Præfat. Append. numerable: and the MASTER OF THE p. cxxiii. ed. Oxon. 1732. (Hearne Wolks was of his institution, with an in the place quoted has : "ultra sum- ample salary. Ibid. p. cxij. mā centū g!. qoginta librar.” Ritsos. ] Leland, Script. Brit. p. 4:37. He founded also a library for all the stu Y Leland, ibid. 442. 432. See also denis of his monastery at Oxford. Ibid. Hollinsh. Chron. f. 488. b. And f. 1234. p. cxiii. And to each of these students 1235. 100. 868. 662. Weever Fun. he allowed an annual pension, at his Mon. p. 562. 574. Whethamstede erectown expence, of thirteen shillings and ed in his life-time the beautiful taberfour-pence. Ibid. p. cxviii. See also nacle or shrine of stone, now remaining,

A grand transcript of the over the tomb of duke Humphrey in Postilla of Nicholas de Lyra on the saint Alban's abbey church. Hearne's bible was begun during his abbacy, and OTTERR, ut supr. p. cxxi. seq. See also at his command, with the most splendid ibid. p. cxix. cxvi. ornaments and hand-writing. The monk 2 See Whethamstede, De viris illustrin who records this important anecdote, bus, Brit. Mus. MSS. Cotton. TheR. lived soon after him, and speaks of this D. vi. i. OTH. B. iv. And Hearne, great undertaking, then unfinished, as Pref. Pet. Langtoft. p. xix. seq.

p. crxix.

hamstede's GRANARIUM', an immense work, which Leland calls ingens volumen, to the new library. The copy of Valerius Maximus, which I mentioned before, has a curious table or index made by Whethamstede. Many other abbots paid their court to the duke by sending him presents of books, whose margins were adorned with the most exquisite paintingsd. Gilbert Kymer, physician to king Henry the Sixth, among other ecclesiastic promotions, dean of Salisbury, and chancellor of the university of Oxford“, inscribed to duke Humphrey his famous medical system Diaetarium de sanitatis custodia, in the year 1424'. I do not mean to anticipate when I remark, that Lydgate, a poet mentioned hereafter, translated Boccacio's book De CASIBUS VIRORUM ILLUSTRIUM at the recommendation and command, and under the protection and superintendence, of duke Humphrey: whose condescension in conversing with learned ecclesiastics, and diligence in study, the translator displays at large, and in the strongest expressions of panegyric. He compares the duke to Julius Cesar, who amidst the weightiest cares of state, was not ashamed to enter the rhetorical school of Cicero at Romes. Nor was his patronage confined only to English scholars. His favour was solicited by the most celebrated writers of France and Italy, many of whom he boun

Registr. Univ. Oxon. F. f. 68. He studieth ever to have intelligence, * Leland, ubi modo infr.

Readyng of bokes.• MSS. Bodl. NE. vii. ii,

And with support of his magnificence, d“Multos codices, pulcherrime prictos, Under the wings of his protection. ab abbatibus dono accepit.” The Duke I shall proceed in this translation wrote in the frontispieces of his books, Lowly submittyng, every houre and Moux BIEN MONDAIN. Leland, Coll.

space, jii. p. 58. edit. ut supr.

My rude langage to my lordes grace. By the recommendatory letters of duke Humphrey. Registr. Univ. Oxon.

See also fol. xxxvüi. b. col. 2. Lydgate F. fol. 75. Epist. 180.

has an epitaph on the duke, MSS. AshSee Hearne's Append. ad Libr. mol. 59. 2. MSS. Harl. 2251. 6. fol. 7. Nigr. Scaccar. p.550. And Præfat.p. 34. There is a curious letter of Lydgate, in

& Prol. Sign. A. ii. A. iii. edit. Way- which he sends for a supply of money land, ut supr. He adds,

to the duke, while he was translating

Bochas. « Litterra dom. Joh. i ydAnd hath joye with clarkes to commune, gate missa ad ducem Glocestrie in tenAnd no man is more expert in langage, pore translutinis Bochasii, pro oportuniStable in study.

tute pecunie." MSS. ibid, 5. fol. 6. See His courage never dothe appall

also ibid. 191. fol. 279. b. of the duke's To study in bokes of antiquitie. - marriage.

[ocr errors]

e

« הקודםהמשך »