« הקודםהמשך »
Of selyness ", whyche flyethe with the nyghte ;
Ah, woe-bementynge wordes ; what wordes can showe !
So faieing, lyke twa levyn-blasted trees,
In a Dialogue, or ECLOGUE, spoken by two ladies, are these lines.
Sprytes of the blaste, the pious Nygelle sedde,
Richard of lyonn's harte to fyghte is gonne,
• Happiness. Chaucer, Tr. Cres. iii. 815.
Glassy. P Bank. 9 Meads.
The barkis heofods coupe the lymed oftreme :
Conteke' the dynninge’ayre, and reche · the skies.
I am of opinion, that none of these pieces are genuine. The Execution of Sir CHARLES BAUDwin is now allowed to be modern, even by those who maintain all the other poems to be antient'. The ODE TO ELLA, and the EPISTLE to Lydgate, with his ANSWER, were written on one piece of parchment; and, as pretended, in Rowlie's own hand. This was shewn to an ingenious critic and intelligent antiquary of my acquaintance ; who assures me, that the writing was a gross and palpable forgery. It was not even skilfully counterfeited. The form of the letters, although artfully contrived to wear an antiquated appearance, differed very essentially from every one of our early alphabets.
Nor were the characters uniform and consistent: part of the same manuscript exhibiting some letters shaped
in one of Rowlie's manuscripts, called the * Waters.
Yellow Roll, perhaps the same, found * Oak. Ship:
in Cannynge's cheft, but now loft. See y Contend with.
Stowe's CHRON. by Howes, edit. fol. 1615. 2 Noisy.
p. 406. col. 2. And Speed's, p. 669. col. a Reach
2. edit. 1611. Stowe says, that king Edb Seated.
ward the fourth was at Bristol, on a pro• It contains 98 stanzas, and was printed gress through England, in the barvef seaat London, in the year 1772. 4to. I am told, Jon of the year 1462. And that he was that in the abovementioned chest, belonging most royally received. Ibid. p. 416. col.
2. to Radcliffe-church, an antient Record was Cannynge was then mayor of Bristol. Sir discovered, containing the expences for Ed Charles Baldwin is said to have been exeward the fourth to see the execution of fir cuted at Bristol, in the presence of Edward Charles Baldwin ; with a description of a the fourth, in the year 1463. MS. Wantn. canopy under which the king late at this Bibl. Bodi. ut supr. The same king was execution. This Record seems to have at Bristol, and lodged in saint Augustine's given rise to the poem. A bond which fir
abbey, in 1472, when he received a large Charles Baldwin gave to king Henry the gratuity from the citizens for carrying on fixth, I suppose about seizing the earl of the war against France. Wantner, ibid. Warwick, is said to have been mentioned
154 Τ Η Ε HISTORY OF
• At the fame time, another manuscript on parchment, written, as pretended, by Rowlie, was fhewn to this gentleman : which, tallying in every respect with the Ode to ELLA, plainly appeared to be forged, in the same manner, and by the fame modern hand. It was in prose; and
contained an account of Saxon coins, and
As to internal arguments, an unnatural affectation of antient spelling and of obfolete words, not belonging to the period assigned to the poems, strikes us at first sight. Of these old words combinations are frequently formed, which never yet existed in the unpolished state of the English language : and sometimes the antiquated diction is most inartificially misapplied, by an improper contexture with the present modes of speech. The attentive reader will also difcern, that our poet sometimes forgets his affumed cha racter, and does not always act his part with consistency: for the chorus, or interlude, of the damfel who drownsherself, which I have cited at length from the TRAGEDY of ELLA, is much more intelligible, and free from uncouth expressions, than the general phraseology of thefe compofitions. In the BATTLE OF HASTINGS, said to be translated from the Saxon, Stonehenge is called a Druidical temple. The battle of Hastings was fought in the year 1066. We will grant the Saxon original to have been written foon afterwards: about which time, no other notion prevailed concerning this miraculous monument, than the suppofition which had been delivered down by long and constant tradition, that it was erected in memory of Hengift's massacre. This was the established and uniform opinion of the Welsh and Armorican bards, who moft probably received it from the Saxon minstrels: and that this was the popular belief at the time of the battle of Hastings, appears from the evidence of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote his history not more than eighty years after that memorable event. And in this doctrine Robert of Gloucester and all the monkish chroniclers agree. That the Druids constructed this ftupendous pile for a place of worship, was a discovery referved for the fagacity of a wiser age, and the laborious difeussion of modern antiquaries. In the Epistle to Lydgate, prefixed to the TRAGEDY, our poet condemns the absurdity and impropriety of the religious dramas, and re
commends SOME GREAT STORY OF HUMAN MANNERS, as most suitable for theatrical representation. But this idea is the result of that taste and discrimination, which could only belong to a more advanced period of society'.
But, above all, the cast of thought, the complexion of the sentiments, and the structure of the composition, evidently prove these pieces not antient. The Ode To ELLA, for instance, has exactly the air of modern poetry; such, I mean, as is written at this day, only disguised with antique spelling and phraseology. That Rowlie was an accomplished literary character, a scholar, an historian, and an antiquarian, if contended for, I will not deny'. Nor is it impossible that he might write English poetry. But that he is the writer of the poems which I have here cited, and
• It would be tedious and trilling to de Where the king orders, “ Ac quod tota fcend to minute particulars. But I will “ Villa noftra Bristolliæ exnunc et deinceps mention one or two. In the ODE TO “imperpetuum fit Civitas, ipsamque CsELLA, the poet fupposes, that the spectre “ VITATEM BRISTOLLIR appellari et of Ella fometimes appears in the minfter, nominari, volumus et decernimus, &c." that is Bristol-cathedral. But when Rowlie Foed. tom. xv. p. 749. Bristol was prois supposed to have lived, the present ca claimed a city, an. 35 Henr. viii. MS. thedral of Bristol was nothing more than Wantner, ur supr. In which manuscript, to an Auguftine monastery, in which Henry that period it is constantly called a town. the eighth established long afterwards a bi The description of Cannynge's feast, is shop, and a dean and chapter, in the year called an ACCOUNTB of CANNYNGE'S 1542. Minster is a word almost appro FEAST. I do not think, that so early as priated to Cathedrals: and I will venture the year 1470, the word Accounte had loft to say, that the church of this monaftery, its literal and original sense of a computus, before the present foundation took place, or computation, and was used in a looser never was called Bristol-minster, or Tbe min acceptation for narrative or detail. Nor fter. The inattention to this circumstance, had it even then lost its true spelling achas produced another unfortunate anachro compt, in which its proper and primary fig. nism in some of Rowlie's papers. Where, nification is preserved and implied. in his panegyric on Cannynge he says, f He is also said to have been an emi. “ The favouryte of godde, the fryende of nent mechanic and mathematician. I am “ the chyrche, the companyonne of kynges, informed, that one of Rowlie's manuscripts " and the fadre of bys natyve citie, the discovered in Cannynge’s iron chest, was “ grete and good Wyllyamme Canynge." a plan for supporting the tower of the TemBristol was never styled a City till the ple-church in Bristol, which had greatly erection of its bishoprick in 1542. See declined from its perpendicular. In a late Willis's Notit. PARLIAMENT. p. 43. reparation of that church, fome subterraLond. 1750. See also king Henry's Patent neous works were found, minutely corresfor creating the bishoprick of Bristolpin Ryponding with this manuscript. mer, dat. Jun. 4. A. D. 1542. An, reg. 34