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comprehends a variety of other subjects; as a description of the kingdom of the Mercians ", the lives of saint Etheldred and saint Sexburgh', the foundation of the city of Chester and a chronicle of our kings'. It is collected from Bede, Alfred of Beverly, Malmesbury, Girardus Cambrensis, Higden's Polychronicon, and the passionaries of the female saints, Werburgh, Etheldred, and Sexburgh, which were kept for

z Lib. i. cap.


* Lib. i. c. ii.
y Lib. i. cap. xviii. xix.

iii. · Lib. ii. cap. xv. The fashion of writing metrical Chronicles of the kings of Eugland grew very fashionable in this century. See supr. vol. i. p. 92. Many of these are evidently composed for the harp: but they are mostly mere genealogical deductions. Hearne has printed, from the Heralds office, a PETEGREE of our kings, from William the conqueror to Henry the fixth, written in 1448. [Appendix to Rob. Glouceftr. vol. ii. p. 585. see p. 588.] This is a specimen. Then regnyd Harry nought full wyse, The son of Mold (Maud] the emperyse. In hys tyme then feynt Thomas At Caunterbury marteryd was. He held Rosomund the sheen, Gret forwe hit was for the queen : At Wodestoke for hure he made a toure, That is called ROSEMOUNDES BOURE.And fithen regnyd his sone Richerd, A man that was never aferd : He werred ofte tyme and wyse Worthily upon goddis enemyse. And sithen he was shoten, alas ! Atte castle Gailard there he was. Atte Fonte Everarde he lithe there : He regnyd almost two yere.. In Johne is tyme, as y understonde, Was entredyted alle Engelonde; He was fulle wrothe and

grym, For prestus would nought fynge before

hym, &c. Lydgate has left the best chronicle of the kind, and most approaching to poetry. The regnynge of kyngys after the conqueft by the monk of Bury. MSS. Fairf. Bibl. Bodl. 16. (And MSS. Afhinol. 59. ii. MSS.

Vol. II.

Harl. 2251. 3. And a beautiful copy, with pictures of the kings, MSS. Cotton.JULIUS, E. 5.) Never printed. (Unless printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1530. 4to.

« This myghty Wyllyam duke of Normandy.”] This is one of the stanzas. [See MSS. Bodl. B. 3. 1999. 6.]

RICARDUS PRIMUS. Rychard the next by successyon, First of that name, strong, hardy, and

notable, Was crouned kynge, called Cur de lyon, With Saryzonys hedys served atte table : Sleyn at Galard by death full lamentable: The space regned fully ix yere; His hert buryed in Roon, atte highe autere, Compare MSS. Harl. 372. 5. There was partly a political view in these deductions : to ascertain the right of our kings to the crowns of France, Castile, Leon, and the dutchy of Normandy. See MSS. Harl. 326. 2.-116. 11. fol

. 142. I know not whether it be worth observing, that about this time a practice prevailed of constructing long parchment-rolls in Latin, of the Pedigree of our kings. Of this kind is the Pedigree of British kings from Adam 10 Henry the fixth, written about the year 1450, by Roger Alban, a Carmelite friar of London. It begins, “ Considerans chronico“ rum prolixitatem.” The original copy, presented to Henry the fixth by the compiler, is now in Queen's college library at Oxford. MSS. [22.] B. 5. 3. There are two copies in Winchester college library, and another in the Bodleian. Among bishop More's manuscripts, there is a parchment-roll of the Pedigree of our kings from Ethelred to Henry the fourth, in French, with pictures of the several mo


A a

public edification in the choir of the church of our poet's monastery. Bradshaw is not so fond of relating visions and miracles as his argument seems to promise. Although concerned with three saints, he deals more in plain facts than in the fictions of religious romance ; and, on the whole, his performance is rather historical than legendary. This is remarkable, in an age, when it was the fashion to turn history into legend“. His fabulous origin of Chester is not

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narchs. MSS. 495. And, in the fame collection, .a Pedigree from Harold to Henry the fourth, with elegant illuminations. MSS. 479. In the same rage of genealogifing, Alban abovementioned framed the Descent of Jesus Chrift, from Adam through the Levitical and regal tribes, the Jewish patriarchs, judges, kings, prophets, and priests. The original roll, as it seems, on vellum, beautifully illuminated, is in MSS. More, ut fupr. 495. But this was partly copied from Peter of Poictou, a disciple of Lombard about the year 1170, who, for the benefit of the poorer clergy, was the first that found out the method of forming, and reducing into parchment-rolls, hisTORICAL Trees of the old teftament. Alberic. in Chron. p. 441. See MSS. Denb. 1627. 1. Rot. membr.

As to Bradshaw's history of the foundation of Chester, it may be classed with the FOUNDATION OF THE GLOUCESTER, a poem of twenty-two Aanzas, written in the year 1534, by the laft abbot William Malverne, printed by Hearne, Ubi fupr. p. 378. This piece is mentioned by Harpsfield, Hist. Eccles. ANGL. P. 264. Princip.

16 In sundrie “ fayer volumes of antiquitie.” MSS. Harl. 539. 14. fol. 111.

For as declareth the true PASSIONARY, A boke where her holie lyfe wrytten is, Which boke remayneth in Chester mo

naftery. Lib. i. c. vü. Signat. Cü. And again, ibid. I folow the legend and true hystory After an humble file and from it lytell vary.



Mony wynter witerly
Or Crift weore boren of vre ladi,
A rich kynge, hizte AHASWERE,
That ftif was on ftede and stere;
Mighti kynge he was, i wis,
He livede muchel in weolye ant blis,
His bliffe may i nat telle zou,
How lange hit weore to schewe hit nou ;
But thing that tovcheth to vre matere
I wol zou telle, gif ze wol here.
The kyng lovede a knight so wele,
That he commaunded men should knele
Bifore him, in vche a streete,
Over all ther men mihte him meete ;
Amon was the knihtes nome,
On him fell muchel worldus schome,
Ffor in this ilke kynges lande
Was moche folke of Jewes wonande,
Of heore kynd the kyng hym tok
A qwene to wyve, as telleth the bok, &c.

In the British Museum, there is a long commentitious narrative of the Creation of


so much to be imputed to his own want of veracity, as to the authority of his voucher Ranulph Higden, a celebrated chronicler, his countryman, and a monk of his own abbey“. He supposes that Chester, called by the antient Britons CAIR

vol. i. p. 243.

Adam and Eve, their Sufferings and Repentance, Death and Burial. MSS. Harl. 1704. 5. fol. 18. This is from a Latin piece on the same subject, ibid. 495. 12. fol. 43. imperf. In the English, Peter Comeftor, the maifter of fories, author of the biftoria Scholaftica, who flourished about the year 1170, is quoted. fol. 26. But he is not mentioned in the Latin, at fol. 49.

In Chaucer's Miller's Tale, we have this passage, v. 3538. Haft thou not herd, quod Nicholas also, The forwe of Noe with his felawship, Or that he might get his wif to ship? I know not whether this anecdote about Noah is in any similar supposititious book of Genesis. It occurs, however, in the Chester Wbitfun Playes, where the authors, according to the established indulgence allowed to dramatic poets, perhaps thought themselves at liberty to enlarge on the Tacred ftory. MSS. Harl. 2013. This altercation between Noah and his wife, takes up almost the whole third pageaunt of these interludes. Noah, having reproached his wife for her usual frowardness of temper, at last conjures her to come on board the ark, for fear of drowning. His wife infifts on his failing without her ; and swears by Christ and faint Jobn, that she will not embark, till some of her old female companions are ready to go with her. She adds, that if he is in such a hurry, he may fail alone, and fetch himself a new wife. At length Shem, with the help of his brothers, forces her into the vefsel; and while

very cordially welcomes her on board, she gives him a box on the ear.

There is an apocryphal book, of the expulfion of Adam from Paradise, and of Seth's pilgrimage to Paradise, &c. &c. MSS. Ecclef. Cathedr. Winton. 4.

• There is the greatest probability, that Ralph Higden, hitherto known as a grave historian and theologist, was the coin

piler of the Chester-plays, mentioned above,

In one of the Harleian copies [2013. 1.) under the Proclamation for performing these plays in the year 1522, this note occurs, in the hand of the third Randal Holme, one of the Chefter antiquaries. “ Sir John Arnway

was mayor, A. D. 1327, and 1328. " At which tyme these playes were writ“ ten by RANDALL HIGGENET, a monke “ of Chester abbey, &c.” In a Prologue to these plays, when they were presented in the year 1600, are these lines, ibid. 2. That some tymes ther was mayor of this

citie Sir John Arnway knight: who moft wor

thilie Contented hymselfe to fett out in playe, The Devife of one Done RONDALL, Moonke

of Chefter abbaye. Done Rondall is Dan [dominus] Randal. In another of the Harleian copies of these plays, written in the year 1607, this note appears, seemingly written in the year 1628. [MSS. Harl. 2124.) “ The Whitsun playes first “ made by one Don Rondle Heggenet, a “ monke of Chester abbey: who was thrise “ at Rome before he could obtaine leave “ of the pope to have them in the English

tongue. Our chronicler's name in the text, sometimes written Hikeden, and Higgeden, was easily corrupted into . Higgenet, or Heggenet : and Randal is Ranulph or Randolph, Ralph. He died, having been, a monk of Chester abbey fixty-four years, in the year 1363. In Piers Plowman, a frier says, that he is well acquainted with the “ rimes of RANDALL OF CHESTER." fol. 26. edit. 1550. I take this paffage to allude to this very person, and to his compofitions of this kind, for which he was probably foon famous. In an anony." mous CHRONICON, he is ftyled Ranulphus Ceftrenfis, which is nothing more RANDALL OF CHESTER. MS. Ric. James, A a 2

xi. 8.


LLEON, or the city of Legions, was founded by Leon Gaur, a
giant, corrupted from LEON Vaur, or the great legion.

The founder of this citie, as sayth Polychronicon,
Was Leon Gaur, a myghte stronge gyaunt,
Which buildid caves and dongeons manie a one,
No goodlie buildyng, ne proper, ne pleasant.

He adds, with an equal attention to etymology:

But kinge Leir a Britan fine and valiaunt,
Was founder of Chester by pleasaunt buildyng,
And was named Guar Leir by the kyngo.

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But à greater degree of credulity would perhaps have afforded him a better claim to the character of a poet : and, at least, we should have conceived a more advantageous opinion of his imagination, had he been less frugal of those traditionary fables, in which ignorance and superstition had cloathed every part of his argument. This piece was first printed by Pinson in the year 1521. “ Here begynneth the

holy lyfe of SAYNT WERBURGE, very frutefull for all “ cristen people to rede f.” He traces the genealogy of saint Werburg with much historical accuracy.

xi. 8. Bibl. Bodl. And again we have,
nendi fermone:." MSS. Bodl. fup. N. 2.
Art. 10. And in


other places.
By the way, if it be true that these
Mysteries were composed in the year
1328, and there was so much difficulty in
obtaining the pope's permission that they
might be presented in English, a presump-
tive proof arises, that all our MYSTERIES
before that period were in Latin. These
plays will therefore have the merit of being
the first English interludes,

· Lib. ii. c. iii.

In octavo. With a wooden cut of the
Saint. Princip

“ When Phebus had ronne
“his cours in Sagittari.” At the begin-
ning is an English copy of verses, by ). T.
And at the end two others,

& A defcrypoyon of the geanalogy of SAYNT
This noble prynces, the doughter of Syon,
The floure of vertu, and vyrgyn gloryous,
Blessed saynt Werburge, full of devocyon,
Descended by auncetry, and tytle famous,
Of foure myghty kynges, noble and vyc-


The most splendid passage of this poem, is the following description of the feast made by king Ulpher in the hall of the abbey of Ely, when his daughter Werburgh was admitted to the veil in that monastery. Among other curious anecdotes of antient manners, the subjects of the tapestry, with which the hall was hung, and of the songs sung by the minstrels, on this solemn occasion, are given at large ".

Kynge Wulfer her father at this ghostly spousage
Prepared great tryumphes, and solempnyte;
Made a royall feest, as custome is of maryage,
Sende for his frendes, after good humanyte
Kepte a noble housholde, Thewed great lyberalyte
Both to ryche and poore, that to this feest wolde come,
No man was denyed, every man was wellcome.

Her uncles and auntes, were present there all
Ethelred and Merwalde, and Mercelly also
Thre blessed kynges, whome sayntes we do call
Saint Keneswyd, saint Keneburg, their sisters both two
And of her noble lynage, many other mo
Were redy that season, with reverence and honour
At this noble tryumphe, to do all theyr devour.


Reynynge in his lande, by true succeffyon,
As her lyfe historyall*, maketh declaracyon.

The year of our lorde, from the natyuyte
Fyue hundreth xiiii. and iii. score,
Whan Auftyn was sende, from saynt Gre-

To conuert this regyon, unto our sauyoure
The noble kyng Cryda than reygned with

honoure Upon the Mercyens, whiche kynge was

father Unto kynge Wybba, and Quadriburge his

fyfter. This Wybba gate Penda, kynge of


Which Penda subdued, fyue kynges of this

regyon Reygnvnge thyrty yere, in worshyp and Was grauntfather to Werburge, by lynyall

succeffyon By his quene Kyneswith, had a noble ge

Fyne valeant prynces, Penda and kynge

Kynge Ethelred, faynt Marceyl, saynt Mar-

walde in fere f.
B « Of the great solempnyte kynge Wul-
“ fer made at the ghostly maryage of Saynt
“Werburge his doughter, to all his lovers,
“ cofyns, and frendes.” Ca. xvi. L. i.
+ Edil. Pinf. 1521.


• That is, her Legend.

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