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ments of style, and other arts of composition, which an attention to the genuine models would have afforded, but by being written without any ideas of elegance, and in the most barbarous phraseology. Yet productive as they were of these and other inconvenient consequences, they were not without their use in the rude periods of literature. By gradually weaning the minds of readers from monkish legends, they introduced a relish for real and rational history; and kindling an ardour of inquiring into the transactions of past ages, at length awakened a curiosity to obtain a more accurate and authentic knowledge of important events by searching the original authors. Nor are they to be entirely neglected in modern and more polished ages. For, besides that they contain curious pictures of the credulity and ignorance of our ancestors, they frequently preserve facts transcribed from books which have not descended to posterity. It is extremely probable, that the plan on which they are all constructed, that of deducing a perpetual history from the creation to the writer's age, was partly taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, and partly from the Bible.

In the mean time there are three histories of a less general nature, which Gower seems more immediately to have followed in some of his tales. These are Colonna's Romance of Troy, the Romance of Sir Lancelot, and the Gesta ROMANORUM.

From Colonna's Romance, which he calls Tbe Tale of Troie, The Boke of Troie', and sometimes The Cronike", he has taken

& Of Palamedes and Nauplius, “ The In the story of the Theban chief Ca. boke of Troie whoso rede." Lib. ii. fol. 52. paneus, “ This knight as the CRONIKE b. col. 2. The Atory of Jason and Medea, ã seine." Lib. 1. f. 18. b. col. 2. Of "' whereof the tale in speciall is in the Achilles and Teucer, “In a CRONIQUE I boke of Troie writte.” Lib. v. fol. 101. as fynde thus.” Lib. iii. fol. 62. a. col. 1.

Of the Syrens seen by Ulysses, Of Peleus and Phocus, “As the CRONIQUE " which in the tale of Troie I finde.” 'Lib. • seithe.” Lib. iii. f. 61. b. col. 1. Of Of the eloquence of

Ulyffes and Penelope, “ In a CRONIQUE Ulysses, “ As in the boke of Troie is “ Í finde writte.” Lib. iv. f. 63. b. col. 2. tv funde.” Lib. vü. f. 150. a. col. 1. He mentions also the CRONIQUE for tales &c. &c. See Supr, vol. a. p. 127.

of other nations.“ In the CRONIQUE

a. col. 2.

j. f. io. b. col. 1.


all that relates to the Trojan and Grecian story, or, in Milton's language, The Tale of TROY DIVINE. This piece was first printed at Cologne in the year 1477'. At Colonia an Italian translation appeared in the same year, and one at Venice in 1481. It was translated into Italian fo early as 1324, by Philipp Ceffi a Florentine *. By some writers it is called the British as well as the Trojan story'; and there are manuscripts in which it is entitled the history of Medea and Jason". In most of the Italian translations it is called LA STORIA DELLA GUERRA DI TROJA. This history is repeatedly called the TROIE BOKE by Lydgate, who translated it into English verse".

As to the romance of fir Lancelot, our author, among others on the subject, refers to a volume of which he was the hero: perhaps that of Robert Borron, altered soon afterwards by Godefroy de Leigny, under the title of le ROMAN DE LA CHARETTE, and printed with additions at Paris by Antony Verard, in the year 1494.

" as I finde, Cham was he which first the “ letters fonde, and wrote in Hebrew “ with his honde, of naturall philosophie." Lib. iv. fol. 76. a col. 1. For Darius's four questions, Lib. vii. fol. 151. b. col. 1. For Perillus's brazen bull. f. &c. &c. See below.

In quarto. HISTORIA TROJANA, a Guidone de Columpna Mefanenfi Judice edita 1287. Impresa per Arnoldum Therburnem Coloniæ commorantem, 1477. Die penult. Nov. I am mistaken in what I have said, supr. vol. i. p. 126. There is another edition at Oxford by Rood, 1480, 4-to. Two at Strasburgh 1486, and 1489. fol. Ames calls him Columella. Hist. Print. p. 204.

* See Haym's Bibl. Italian. p. 35. edit. Venez. 1741. 4-to. I am not sure whether Haym's Italian translation in the year 1477 is not the Latin of that year. They are both in quarto, and by Arnoldo Terbone. A

Florence edition of the translation in 1610,
quarto, is said to be moft scarce.

i Sandius and Hallerwood, in their Sup-
plement to Voffius's Latin Historians, sup-
pose Colonna's Trojan and British chroni-
cle the same. In Theodoric Engelhusen's
about the year 1420, where the author
speaks of Troy, he cites Colonna de Bello
Trojano. In the Preface he mentions Co-
Engelhusen's first edition, Helmst. 1671,
4-to. Or rather, Scriptor. Brunfvic. Leib
nitii, tom. p. 977

See also Fabyan and other historians.

m See supr. vol. i. p. 138. Notes. I will occur again under Lydgate.

Tragedies of Bochas, B. i. ch. xvi. How the translatoure wrote a booke of the frege of Troy, called TROYE BOXE. And ib. St. 7. 17. 20. edit. Wayland. fol. XXX.. b. xxxina. And in Lydg. Destr. of Troy


For if thou wilt the bokes rede
Of LAUNCELOT and other mo,
Then might thou seen how it was tho
Of armes, for this wolde atteine
To love, which, withouten peine
Maie not be gette of idleness :
And that I take to witnesse
An old Cronike in speciall
The which in to memoriall
Is write for his loves fake,

How that a Knight shall undertake'. He alludes to a story about sir Tristram, which he supposes to be universally known, related in this romance.

In everie mans mouth it is
How Tristram was of love dronke
With Bele Isolde, whan this dronke
The drinke which Bragweine him betoke,

Er that kyng Marke, &c '.
And again, in the assembly of lovers.

Ther was Tristram which was beloved
With Bele Isolde, and Lancelot
Stood with Gonnor, and Galahot

With his lady'. The oldest edition of the Gesta ROMANORUM, a manuscript of which I have seen in almost Saxon characters, I believe to be this. Incipiunt. Hystorie NOTABILES, colle&te ex Gestis RoMANORUM, et quibusdam aliis libris cum applicationibus eorundem*.

• Lib. iv. f. 74. a. col. 2.
· Lib. vi. f. 130. b. col. 2.
9 Geneura, Arthur's queen.
: Lib. viii. f. 188. a. col. 1.

Princip. “ Pompeius regnavit dives, “ &c. Fin.” “ Quidam vero princeps

“ nomine Cleonicus, &c. Karislimi, ifte

princeps elt xps, &c. Ofcula blandientis, “ &c.” It is in folio, in double columns, without initials, pages, fignatures, or catchwords. Anglie is mentioned in chapters,

155. 161.

It is without date or place, but fupposed by the critics in typographical antiquities to have been printed before or about the year 1473. Then followed a second edition at Louvain by John de Westfalia, with this title: Ex Gestis ROMANORUM HISTORIE NOTABILES de viciis virtutibusque tractantes cum applicationibus moralisatis et mysticis. At the end this colophon appears: Gesta ROMANORUM cum quibusdam aliis historiis eisdem annexis ad moralitates dilucide redueta bic finem babent. Quæ diligenter, correctis aliorum viciis, impressit Joannes de Westfalia, alma in Univers. Louvanienh'. This edition has twenty-nine chapters more than there are in the former: and the first of these additional chapters is the story of Antiochus, related in our author. It is probably of the year 1473. Another followed soon afterwards, by Gestis ROMANORUM HISTORIE NOTABILES morali zata per Girardum Lieu. Gouda, 1480". The next " is at Louvain, Gesta ROMANORUM, cum applicationibus moralisatis ac mysticis.---At the end.---Ex Gestis ROMANORUM cum pluribus applicatis HYSTORIIs de virtutibus et vitiis mistice ad intelle&tum tranfumptis recolletorii finis. Anno nostræ salutis 1494. In die sancti Adriani martyris*.

It was one of my reasons for giving these titles and colophons so much at large, that the reader might more fully comprehend the nature and design of a performance which operated so powerfully on the present state of our poetry. Servius says that the Eneis was sometimes called GESTA POPULI ROMANIY. Ammianus Marcellinus, who wrote about the year 450, mentions a work called the GestorUM VOLUMEN, which according to custom, was folemnly recited to

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the emperour". Here perhaps we may perceive the ground-
work of the title.

In this mixture of moralisation and narrative, the Gesta
ROMANORUM somewhat resembles the plan of Gower's poem.
In the rubric of the story of Julius and the poor knight, our
author alludes to this book in the expression, Hic secundum
Gestà, &c . . When he speaks of the emperours of Rome
paying reverence to a virgin, he says he found this custom
mentioned, “ Of Rome among the Gestes olde.”

6. Yet he adds, that the GEstes took it from Valerius Maximus. The story of Tarquin and his son Arrous is ushered in with this line, “ So as these olde Gestes seyne ." The tale of Antiochus, as I have hinted, is in the Gesta ROMANORUM; although for some parts of it Gower was perhaps indebted to Godfrey's Pantheon abovementioned". The foundation of Shakespeare's story of the three casketts in the Merchant OF VENICE, is to be found in this favourite collection : this is likewise in our author, yet in a different form, who cites a Cronike " for his authority. I make no apology for giving the passage somewhat at large, as the source of this elegant little


" In a

z Imperatori de more recitatum," Hift. xxix. i. In the title of the SAINT ALBANS CHRONICLE, printed 1483, Ti. tus Livyus de Gestis ROMANORUM is recited.

a Lib. viii. f. 153. a. col. 1. And in
other rubrics. In the rubric there is also
GesȚA ALEXANDRI, lib. iij. f. 61. a.
col. 1. -And in the story of Sardanapalus,
“ These olde GESTES tellen us,” lib. ij.
167. a. col. 1.

6 Lib. v. f. 118. a. col. 2.
• Lib. vii, f. 169. a. col. 1.
d See supr. vol i. p. 150. Notes, h.

e He refers to a CRONIKE for other
stories, as the ftory of Lucius king of
Rome, and the king's fool. " In a Cros

NIKE it telleth us." Lib. vii. f. 165. a. col. 2.

Of the translation of the Ro. man empire to the Lombards.

“ 'This

“ made an emperour anon, whose name, the
“ CHRONICLE telleth was Othes.” Prol.
fol. 5. b. col. 2. Of Constantine's leprosy.
" For in CRONIKE thus I rede." Lib. iii.
f. 46. b. col. 2. For which he also cites
“ the bokes of Latine,” ib. f. 45. a. col. 1.
In the story of Caius Fabricius,
CRONIQUE I fynde thus.” Lib. vii. f.
157. a. col. 2. Of the foothsayer and the

of Rome. " As in CRONIKE it
is witholde.” Which the CHRO-

NIKE hath autorized.” Lib. vii. f. 154.
b. col. 1. f. 155. b. col. 2.
rour's son who serves the Soldan of Persia.
" There was as the CRONIQUE seith, an

emperour, &c.” Lib. ii. f.41. b. col. 1.
For the story of Carmidotoirus consul of
Rome, he refers to these olde bokes, Lib.
vii. f. 157. b. col. 2. &c. &c.

Of the empee


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