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cacio", about the year 1360. This appears from Petrarch's Epistles to his friend Boccacio: in which, among other curious circumstances, the former requests Boccacio to send him to Venice that part of Leontius's new Latin version of the Odyssey, in which Ulysses's descent into hell, and the vestibule of Erebus, are described. He wishes also to see, how Homer, blind and an Asiatic, had described the lake of Averno and the mountain of Circe. In another part of these letters, he acknowledges the receipt of the Latin Homer; and mentions with how much satisfaction and joy the report of its arrival in the public library at Venice was received, by all the Greek and Latin scholars of that city. The Iliad was also translated into French verse, by Jacques Milet, a licentiate of laws, about the year 1430d. Yet I cannot believe that Lydgate had ever consulted these translations, although he had travelled in France and Italy. One may venture to pronounce peremptorily, that he did not understand, as he probably never had seen, the original. After the migration of the Roman emperors to Greece, Boccacio was the first European that could read Homer; nor was there perhaps a copy of either of Homer's poems existing in Europe, till about the time the Greeks were driven by the Turks from Constantinople. Long after Boccacio's time, the knowledge of the Greek tongue, and consequently of Homer, was confined only to a few scholars. Yet some ingenious French critics have insinuated, that Homer
* It is a slight error in Vigneul Mar. Valla, with some slight alterations, in ville, that this translation was procured 1497. by Petrarch. Mel. Litt. tom. I. p. 21. Mem. de Litt. xvii. p. 761. ed. 4to. The very ingenious and accurate author e See Boccat. GENEAL. DEOR. XV. of MEMOIRES POUR LA VIE DE PETRARQUE, 6. 7. Theodorus archbishop of Canteris mistaken in saying that Hody supposes bury in the seventh century brought this version to have been made by Pe- from Rome into England a manuscript trarch himself. lib. vi. tom. iii. p. 633. of Homer; which is now said to be in On the contrary, Hody has adjusted this Bennet library at Cambridge. See the matter with great perspicuity, and from Second Dissertation. In it is written the best authorities. De Grac. ILLUSTR. with a modern band, Hic liber quondam lib. i. c. 1. p. & seq.
THEODORI archiepiscopi Cant. Senil. lib. iii. cap. 5.
bably this Theodore is THEODORE Gaza, Hody, ubi supra, p. 5. 6. 7. 9. whose book, or whose transcript, it The Latin Iliad in prose was publish- might have been. Hody, ubi supra, ed under the name of Laurentius Lib. i. c. 3. p. 59. 60.
was familiar in France very early; and that Christina of Pisa, in a poem never printed, written in the year 1998, and entitled L'EPITRE D'OTHEA A HECTOR', borrowed the word Othea, or Wisdom, from w Sex in Homer, a formal appellation by which that poet often invocates Minerva 8.
This poem is replete with descriptions of rural beauty, formed by a selection of very poetical and picturesque circumstances, and cloathed in the most perspicuous and musical numbers. The colouring of our poetsh mornings is often remarkably rich and splendid.
When that the rowesh and the
Upon their stalkes gan playn' their leaves wide.m
When Aurorà the sylver droppès shene,
In the royal manuscripts of the Bri- word in Lydgate. Chaucer, Kn. T. v. tish Museum, this piece is entitled LA 597. col. 2. Urr. p. 455. CHEVALERIE SPIRITUELLE de ce monde. 17 E. iv. 2.
And while the twilight and the rowis red
Of Phebus light. & Mons. L'Abbè Sallier, Mem. Litt. xvii. p. 518.
* chase. streaks of light. A very common open.
B. i. c. vi,
That is to sayè, when the dewe so soote,
With sundry notes her sorowe to "transmuè. ° The spring is thus described, renewing the buds or blossoms of the groves, and the flowers of the meadows.
And them whom winter's blastes have shaken bare
grene. Frequently in these florid landscapes we find the same idea differently expressed. Yet this circumstance, while it weakened the description, taught a copiousness of diction, and a variety of poetical phraseology. There is great softness and facility in the following delineation of a delicious retreat.
Tyll at the last, amonge the bowės glade,
• B. iii. c. xxii.
4 B. ii. cap. xii.
The circumstance of the pebbles and gravel of a transparent stream glittering against the sun, which is uncommon, has much of the brilliancy of the Italian poetry. It recalls to my memory a passage in Theocritus, which has been lately restored to its pristine beauty.
Εύρον αεανναον κραναν υπο λισσαδι πετρη, ,
They found a perpetual spring, under a high rock,
There is much elegance of sentiment and expression in the portrait of Creseide weeping when she parts with Troilus.
And from her eyn the teare's round drops tryll,
Ryght so her chek's moystè were and wete. The following verses are worthy of attention in another style of writing, and have great strength and spirit. A knight brings a steed to Hector in the midst of the battle.
And brought to Hector. Sothly there he stoode
Aboxeug. Idyll. xxii. v. 37. • mingled.
'. B. iii. c. xxv. So again of Polyxcna, B. iv, c. XXX.
And aye she rentè with her fingers
smale Her golden heyrc upon her blacke
The which in haste fal knightly he bestrode,
And them amonge like Mars himselfe he rode. The strokes on the helmets are thus expressed, striking fire amid the plumes.
But strokys felle, that men might herden rynge,
Of foyle of golde, of fethers white and grene. The touches of feudal manners, which our author affords, are innumerable: for the Trojan story, and with no great difficulty, is here entirely accommodated to the ideas of romance. Hardly any adventure of the champions of the round table was more chimerical and unmeaning than this of our Grecian chiefs : and the cause of their expedition to Troy was quite in the spirit of chivalry, as it was occasioned by a lady. When Jason arrives at Colchos, he is entertained by king Oetes in a Gothic castle. Amadis or Lancelot were never conducted to their fairy chambers with more ceremony and solemnity. He is led through many a hall and many a tower, by many a stair, to a sumptuous apartment, whose walls, richly painted with the histories of antient heroes, glittered with gold and azure.
Through many a halle, and many a riche toure,
Spyces and wyne.? " B. iii. c. xxü.
Wher the postis ter embulioned with W B. ii. c. xviii.
saphir's indy blewe Greece, degree, step, stair, gradus. Englased glitteringe, &c. y Painted ; orr. Englased. Skelton's
2 B. i. c. v. See Colonna, Signat. b. CROWNE OF LAWRELL, P. 24. edit. 1736.