« הקודםהמשך »
to be saint Edmund, seated on a throne under a canopy, and grasping an arrow 6.
The work is not improperly styled a set of tragedies. It is not merely a narrative of men eminent for their rank and misfortunes. The plan is perfectly dramatic, and partly suggested by the pageants of the times. Every personage is supposed to appear before the poet, and to relate his respective sufferings : and the figures of these spectres are sometimes finely drawn. Hence a source is opened for moving compassion, and for a display of imagination. In some of the lives the author replies to the speaker, and a sort of dialogue is introduced for conducting the story. Brunchild, a queen of France, who murthered all her children, and was afterwards hewn in pieces, appears thus.
She came, arayed nothing like a quene,
Yet in some of these interesting interviews, our poet excites pity of another kind. When Adam appears, he familiarly accosts the author with the salutation of Cosyn Bochas. i
Nor does our dramatist deal only in real characters and historical personages. Boccacio standing pensive in his library, is alarmed at the sudden entrance of the gigantic and monstrous image of FORTUNE, whose agency has so powerful and universal an influence in human affairs, and especially in effecting those vicissitudes which are the subject of this work. There is a Gothic greatness in her figure, with some touches of the grotesque. An attribute of the early poetry of all nations, before ideas of selection have taken place. I must add, that it
& MSS, Har). 1766. fol. 5.
style he calls Ixion Juno's secretary. B. i. ch. xii. fol. xxi, b. col. 2.
was Boethius's admired allegory on the CONSOLATION OF PhiLOSOPHY, which introduced personification into the poetry of the middle ages.
Whyle Bochas pensyfe stode in his lybrarye,
k on either side.
Her hundred hands, her burning eyes, and disheveled tresses, are sublimely conceived. After a long silence, with a stern countenance she addresses Bochas, who is greatly terrified at her horrible appearance; and having made a long harangue on the revolutions and changes which it is her business to produce among men of the most prosperous condition and the most elevated station, she calls up Caius Marius, and presents him to the poet.
Blacke was his wede, and his habyte also,
In slaughter and murdre set at his plesaunce. She then teaches Bochas how to describe his life, and disappears.
These wordès saydė, Fortune made an ende,
At her departing she shewed a great lyght.” In another place, Dante, "of Florence the laureate poete, demure of loke fullfilled with patience," appears to Bochas; and commands him to write the tale of Gualter duke of Florence, whose days for his tiranny, lechery, and covetyse, ended in mischefe. Dante then vanishes, and only duke Gualter is feft alone with the poeta. Petrarch is also introduced for the same purpose'.
• Ibid. f. cxxxviii. b. col. 2. cularly commended. B. iv. Prol. fol. P Ibid. fol. cxxxix. a. col. 2.
xciji. a. col. 1. 9 B. ix. fol. xxxiv. b. col. 1. 2. In B. viii. fol. 1. Prol. a. b. He menanother place Dante's three books on tions all Petrarch's works, Prol. B. iv. heaven, purgatory, and hell, are parti- fol. 93. a. col. 1.
The following golden couplet, concerning the prodigies which preceded the civil wars between Cesar and Pompey, indicates dawnings of that poetical colouring of expression, and of that facility of versification, which mark the poetry of the present times.
Serpents and adders, scaled sylver-bryght,
Were over Rome sene flying al the nyght.
Fortitude then stode stedfast in his might,
Girte with his sworde of truthe and equity."
Appollo first yshewed his presence,
Which in ther coming made a terrible soun.“
God hath a thousand handès to chastyse,
A thousand arlblasts bent in his dongeon. W
* B. vi. fol. 147. a. col. 1,
y B. i. ch. 11. fol. xxi. b. col. 2. B. ii. B. vii. fol. 161. b. col. 1.
ch. 6. fol. xlv, a. col. 1. B. ii. ch. 14. " B. iv. ch. 22. fol. cxiij. a. col. 1. fol. lxxxi. b. col. 1. Ibid. ch. 25. fol.
tower; castle. B, 1. ch. 3. fol. vi. Ixxxix. a. col. 2. B. iv. ch. 11. fol, üïi. b. a. col. 1.
col. 1. See Pron, B. i. * B. i. ch. 9. fol. xviii, a. col. 1.
an old croniclere,” Josephus, Valerius Maximus, saint Jerom's chronicle, Boethiusa, Plato on the immortality of the soula, and Fulgentius the mythologist 6. He mentions “noble Persius,” Prosper's epigrams, Vegetius's book on Tactics, which was highly esteemed, as its subject coincided with the chivalry of the times, and which had been just translated into French by John of Meun and Christina of Pisa, and into English by John Trevisa", "the grene chaplet of Esop and Juvenal," Euripides in his tyme a great tragician, because he wrote many tragedies,” and another called Clarke Demosthenes e. For a catalogue of Tully's works, he refers to the SPECULUM HISTORIALE", or Myrrour Hystoriall, of Vyncentius Bellovacensis; and says, that he wrote twelve books of Orations, and several morall ditties 6. Aristotle is introduced as teaching Alexander and Callisthenes philosophy”. With regard to Homer, he observes, that “Grete Omerus, in Isidore ye may see, founde amonge Grekes the crafte of eloquencei.” By Isidore he means the ORIGINES, or ETYMOLOGIES of Isidore His
z B. ii. ch. 15. fol. li. a. col. 1. col. 2. gate, monk of Bury, and Fowler bygan Ibid. ch. 16. fol. lii. a. col. 2. Ibid.ch.2. his prolog in this wyse. Where floure of fol. xlii. a. col. 1. Ibid. ch. 50. fol. lxii. knighthood the bataile doth refuse."
fol. 386. b. col. 1. B. viii. ch. 24. fol. xliii. a. MSS. Laud. K. 53. The Prologue col. 2.
consists of ten stanzas : in which he a B. iii, ch, 5. fol. lxxi. a. col. I. compares himself to a dwarf entering • B. ix. ch. 1. fol. xx. a. col. 1. From the lists when the knight is foiled. But whom Boccacio largely transcribes in his it is the yong Fowler, in MSS. Laud. GENEALOGIÆ DEORUM, hereafter men B. xxiv. In the Harleian copy of this tioned.
piece I find the following note, at fol. 236. MSS. Digb. Bibl. Bodl. 233. Prin “Here deyde the translatour a noble cip..“ In olde tyme it was the manere. poete Dan Johne Lydgate, and his foFinished at the command of his patron lowere began his prologe in this wise. Thomas lord Berkeley. See supra, Per Benedictum Burghe. Where floure
of,” &c. MSS. Harl. 2251. 117. Where d Prol. B. iv. fol. 92. a. col. 2. 93. a. Tolowere may be a corruption of Folwer, col. 1.
or Fowler. But it must be observed, e B. ii. ch. 22. fol. 54. b. col. 2. that there was a Benedict Burghe, coeval * See supra, vol. i. p. 137.
with Lydgate, and preferred to many 6 B. vi. ch. 15. fol. 151. b. col. l. dignities in the church, who translated
h B. iv. ch. 9. fol. xcix. seq. This is into English verse, for the use of lord from Aristotle's SECRETUM SECRETORUM, Bourchier son of the earl of Essex, Ca-. which Lydgate, as I have mentioned TONIS moralia carmina, altered and printabove, translated. But he did not finish ed by Caxton, 1483. fol. More will be the translation : for about the middle of said of Burgh's work in its proper place. it we have this note. “ Here dyed this i B. ii. ch. 15. fol. 51. a. col. 2. translator and notable poet John Lyd