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of an alchemist, who projected a bridge of gold over the river Thames near London, crowned with pinnacles of gold, which being studded with carbuncles, diffused a blaze of light in the dark". I will add a few lines only, as a specimen of his versification.
Wherefore he would set up in higth
Norton's heroes in the occult sciences are Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Raymond Lully, to whose specious promises of supplying the coinage of England with inexhaustible mines of philosophical gold, king Edward the Third became an illustrious dupe
George Ripley, Norton's cotemporary, was accomplished in many parts of erudition; and still maintains his reputation as a learned chemist of the lower ages. He was a canon regular of the monastery of Bridlington in Yorkshire, a great traveller, and studied both in France and Italy. At his return from abroad, pope Innocent the Eighth absolved him from the observance of the rules of his order, that he might prosecute his studies with more convenience and freedom. But his convent not concurring with this very liberal indulgence, he turned
m Pag. 26.
his long stay at Rhodes, gave the knights Pag. 26.
of Malta 100,0001. annually, towards • Ashmol. ubi supr. p. 443. 467. And maintaining the war against the Turks. Camden's Rem. p. 242. edit. 1674. By Ubi supr. p. 458. Ashmole could not the way, Raymond Lully is said to have have made this incredible assertion, with died at eighty years of age, in the year out supposing a circumstance equally 1915. Whart. App. Cave, cap. p. 6. incredible, that Ripley was in actual pos
P Ashmole says, that Ripley, during session of the Philosopher's Stone.
Carmelite at saint Botolph's in Lincolnshire, and died an anachorite in that fraternity in the year 1490°. His chemical poems are nothing more than the doctrines of alchemy cloathed in plain language, and a very rugged versification. The capital performance is THE COMPOUND OF ALCHEMIE, written in the
year 1471". It is in the octave metre, and dedicated to Edward the Fourth. Ripley has left a few other compositions on his favourite science, printed by Ashmole, who was an enthusiast in this abused species of philosophy. One of them, the MEDULLA, written in 1476, is dedicated to archbishop Nevil". These pieces have no other merit, than that of serving to develope the history of chemistry in England.
· Ashmol. p. 455. seq. Bale, viii. 49. dered to be painted in Westminster abPits. p. 677.
bey, upon an arch where the waxen kings * Ashmol. THEATR. CHEM. p. 193. It and queens are placed : but that it was was first printed in 1591. 4to. Reprinted obliterated with a plasterer's brush by by Ashmole, THEATR. CHEM. ut supr. the puritans in Oliver's time. He also
It has been thrice translated mentions a large and beautiful window, into Latin, Ashm. ut supr. p. 465. See behind the pulpit in the neighbouring Ibid. p. 108. 110. 122. Most of Rip- church of saint Margaret, painted with ley's Latin works were printed by Lud. the same subject, and destroyed by the Comhachius, Cassel. 1619. 12mo. same ignorant zealots, who mistook these
* He mentions the abbey church at innocent hieroglyphics for some story in Westminster as unfinished. Pag. 154. a popish legend. Ashmol. ibid. 211. st. 27. P. 156. and st. 34.
466. 467. Compare Widmore's Hist. + Ashmole conjectures, than an En- WESTMINSTER-ACBEY, p. 174. seq. edit. glish chemical piece in the octave stanza, 1751. 4to. which he has printed, called HERMES's u Ashmol. p. 989. See also p. 374. Bird, no unpoetical fiction, was trans
seg: lated from Raymond Lully, by Cremer, It will be sufficient to throw some of abbot of Westminster, a great chemist : the obscurer rhymers of this period into and adds, that Cremer brought Lully the Notes. Osbern Bokenbam wrote or into England, and introduced him to translated metrical lives of the saints, the notice of Edward the Third, about about 1445. Sec supra, vol. i. p. 15. the year 1334. Ashmol. ubi supra, Note. Gilbert Banester wrote in Enp. 213. 467. The writer of Hermes's glish verse the Miracle of saint Thomas, Bird, however, appears by the versifica in the year 1467. CCCC. MSS. Q. viii. tion and language, to have lived at least See supra, vol. i. p. 79. No:e. And an hundred years after that period. He Lel. Collectax. tom. i. (p. ii.) pag. 510. informs us, that he made the translation edit. 1770. Wydville earl of Rivers, al“owte of the Frensche." Ibid. p. 214. ready mentioned, translated into En[It was translated by Lydgate from a glish distichs, The morale Proverbes of French Fabliau. See Way's Fabliaux, Crystyne of Pyse, printed by Caxton, vol. i. It had been previously printed 1477. They consist of two sheets in by Caxton, De Worde, &c. under the title folio. This is a couplet ; of the Chorle and the Byrde.-Edit.] Little vailleth good example to see Ashimole mentions a curious picture of For him that wole not the contrarie flee. the Grand MYSTERIES OF THE PHilosoPher's Stone, which abbot Cremer or This nobleinan's only original piece is a VOL. II.
- They certainly contributed' nothing to the state of our poetry Balet of four stanzas, preserved by Rouse, fc. &c. See Percy, ubi supra, p. 81. a cotemporary historian, Ross. Hist. This is but a modern version of an earp. 213. edit. Hearn. apud Leland. Itin. lier poem published by Mr. Ritson untom. x. edit. Oxon. 1745. I refer also der the title of the “ Kyng and the Barthe NOTBROWNE MAYDЕ to this period. ker."-Edır.] Hearne affirms, that in [Warton retracted this opinion, Vid, in- this piece there are some “romantic asfra, Sect. XLIV.)-See Capel's PROLU- sertions :-otherwise 'tis a book of value, sions, p. 23. seq. edit. 1760. And Percy's and more authority is to be given to it Anc. Ball. vol. ii. p. 26. seq. edit. than is given to poetical books of LATE 1767. Of the same date is perhaps the YEARS." Hearne's Leland, ut supra, DELECTABLE HISTORIE of king Edward vol. ii. p. 103, the Fourth and the Tanner of Tamworth,
SECTION XXVI. .
BUT a want of genius will be no longer imputed to this period of our poetical history, if the poems lately discovered at Bristol, and said to have been written by Thomas Rowlie, a secular priest of that place, about the year one thousand four hundred and seventy, are genuine.
It must be acknowledged, that there are some circumstances which incline us to suspect these pieces to be a modern forgery, On the other hand, as there is some degree of plausibility in the history of their discovery, as they possess considerable merit, and are held to be the real productions of Rowlie by many respectable critics; it is my duty to give them a place in this series of our poetry, if it was for no other reason than that the world might be furnished with an opportunity of examining their authenticity. By exhibiting therefore the most specious evidences, which I have been able to collect, concerning the manner in which they were brought to light", and by producing such specimens, as in another respect cannot be deemed. unacceptable; I will endeavour, not only to gratify the curiosity of the public on a subject that has long engaged the general attention, and has never yet been fairly or fully stated, but to supply the more inquisitive reader with every argument, both external and internal, for determining the merits of this interesting controversy. I shall take the liberty to add my own opinion, on a point at least doubtful : but with the greatest deference to decisions of much higher authority.
About the year 1470, William Cannynge, an opulent merchant and an alderman of Bristol, afterwards an ecclesiastic,
a I acknowledge myself greatly in- ton of Bath, for facilitating my enquiries debted to the ingenious Doctor Harring- on this subject.
and dean of Westbury college, erected the magnificent church of Saint Mary of Redcliffe, or Radcliff, near Bristolb. In a muniment-room over the northern portico of the church, the founder placed an iron chest, secured by six different locks; which seems to have been principally intended to receive instruments relating to his new structure, and perhaps to his other charities“, inventories of vestments and ornaments, accompts of church-wardens, and other parochial evidences. He is said to have directed, that this venerable chest should be annually visited and opened by the mayor and other chief magistrates of Bristol, attended by the vicar and church-wardens of the parish: and that a feast should be celebrated every year, on the day of visitation. But this order, that part at least which relates to the inspection of the chest, was soon neglected.
In the year 1768, when the present new bridge at Bristol was finished and opened for passengers, an account of the ceremonies observed on occasion of opening the old bridge, appeared in one of the Bristol Journals; taken, as it was declared, from an antient manuscript'. Curiosity was naturally raised to know from whence it came. At length, after much inquiry concerning the person who sent this singular memoir to the newspaper, it was discovered that he was a youth about seventeen years old, whose name was Chatterton; and whose father had been sexton of Radcliffe church for many years, and also mas
• He is said to have rebuilt Westbury ? The old bridge was built about the college. Dugd. WARWICKSH. p.634. edit. year 1248. History of Bristol, MS. 1730. And Atkyns, GLOCESTERSH. p. 802. Archiv. Bodl. C. iii. By Abel Wantner. On his monument in Radcliffe church, Archdeacon Furney, in the year 1755, he is twice represented, both in an al- left by will to the Bodleian library, large derman's and a priest's habit. He was collections, by various hands, relating to five times mayor of Bristol. See God- the history and antiquities of the city, win's Bish. p. 446. [But see edit. fol. church, and county of Gloucester, which p. 467.]
are now preserved there, Archiv. C. ut © It is said there were four chests; but supr. At the end of N. iii. is the mathis is a circumstance of no consequence. nuscript HISTORY just mentioned, sup
. These will be mentioned below. posed to have been compiled by Abel
e See an inventory of ornaments given Wantner, of Minchin-Hampton in Gloto this church by the founder, Jul. 4, cestershire, who published proposals and 1470, formerly kept in this chest, and specimens for a history of that county, printed by Mr. Walpole, Anecd. Paint.i. in 1683.