תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Unto his lord to hope him from mischaunce,
As witnesseth his Boke of Governaunce',
Of which, and of Giles his REGIMENT'
Of prince's plotmele, think I to tranflete, &c.
My dere mayster, god his soul quite',
And fader Chaucer fayne would have me taught,
But I was dule", and learned lyte or naught.
Alas my worthie maister honorable,
This londis verray tresour and richesse,
Deth by thy deth hathe harme irreparable:
Unto us done: his vengeable duresse *
Dispoiled hath this lond of the sweetnesse
Of rhetoryke, for unto Tullius
Was never man so like amongest us.
Alas! who was here in phylosophy
To Aristotle in owre tonge but thow?
The steppis of Virgile in poesie
Thou suedest ? eke : men knowè well inowe
That combre-world that thou, my mayster, Nowe':
Wold I slaine were! Deth was too hastife
To renne on thee, and reve thee of thy life:
She might have tarried her vengeaunce awhile
To that some man had egal to thee be:
Nay, let that be: she knew well that this ille
May never man forth bryng like unto thee,
And her of offis nedis do mote she;
God bade her so, I trust for all the best,
O mayster, mayster, god thy soulè rest!

* Aristotle's Secretum SecreTORUM.
• Ægidius de REGIMINE PRINCIPUM.
* Aquitt, Save.
- Dull.
* Cruelty.
y There.
z Followedst.

a He calls death the encumbrance of the world. The expression seems to be taken. from Chaucer, where Troilus says of himself, “ I combre-world, that maie of no“thing serve." Tr. Cress. p. 307. . 279. Urr. edit. b Slew.

In

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

In another part of the Prologue we have these pathetic lines, which seem to flow warm from the heart, to the memory

of the immortal Chaucer, who I believe was rather Occleve's model than his master, or perhaps the patron and encourager of his studies.

But weleawaye, so is myne hertè wo
That the honour of English tonge is dede,
Of which I wont was han counsel and rede!
O mayster dere, and fadir reverent,
My mayster Chaucer, floure of eloquence,
Mirrour of fructuous entendement,
O universal fadir in science,
Alas that thou thine excellent prudence
In thy bed mortel mighest not bequethe,
What eyled Deth? Alas why would he Ne' the!
O Deth that didist nought harm singulere
In slaughtre of him, but all the lond it smertith:
But nathelesse yit hastoweno powere
His name to sle. His hie vertue aftertith
Unsayn from thee, which aye us lifely hertith
With boke of his ornatè enditing,

That is to all this lond enlumyningo. Occleve seems to have written some of these verses immediately on Chaucer's death, and to have introduced them long afterwards into this Prologue. It is in one of the royal manuscripts of this

poem

in the British Museum that Occleve has left a drawing of Chaucer :

• Ailed.

MSS. Harl. 4826. 7. and 4,866. In some d Haft thou.

of these a fort of dialogue is prefixed bee MSS. Rawlins. 647. fol. This poem tween a father and a son. Occleve, in the has at the end “ Explicit Ægidius de Re Prologue cited in the text, mentions Ja“ gimine Principum” in MSS. Laud. K. cobus de Cassolis [Casulis] as one of his 78. Bibl. Bodl. See also ibid. MSS. Selden. authors. Supr. 53. Digb. 185. MSS. Afhmol. 40. * MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. 1. MSS. Reg. 17 D. vi. 1. 17 D. xviii.

G2

according

according to which, Chaucer's portraiture was made on his monument, in the chapel of Saint Blase in Westminsterabbey, by the benefaction of Nicholas Brigham, in the year 1556%. And from this drawing, in 1598, John Speed procured the print of Chaucer prefixed to Speght's edition of his works; which has been since copied in a most finished engraving by Vertue“. Yet it must be remembered, that the same drawing occurs in an Harleian manuscript written about Occleve's age', and in another of the Cottonian department". Occleve himself mentions this drawing in his ConsoLATIO Servilis. It exactly resembles the curious picture on board of our venerable bard, preserved in the Bodleian gallery at Oxford. I have a very old picture of Chaucer on board, much like Occleve’s, formerly kept in Chaucer's house, a quadrangular stone-mansion, at Woodstock in Oxfordshire ; which commanded a prospect of the ancient magnificent royal palace, and of many beautiful scenes in the adjacent park: and whose last remains, chiefly consisting of what was called Chaucer's bed-chamber, with an old carved oaken roof, evidently original, were demolished about fifteen years ago. Among the ruins, they found an ancient gold coin of the city of Florence'. Before the grand rebellion, there was in the windows of the church of Woodstock, an escucheon in painted glass of the arms of fir Payne Rouet, a knight of Henault, whose daughter Chaucer married.

Occleve, in this poem, and in others, often celebrates Humphrey duke of Glocester"; who at the dawn of science

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

was a singular promoter of literature, and, however unqualified for political intrigues, the common patron of the fcholars of the times. A sketch of his character in that view, is therefore too closely connected with our subject to be censured as an unnecessary digression. About the year 1440, he gave to the university of Oxford a library containing fix hundred volumes, only one hundred and twenty of which were valued at more than one thousand pounds. These books are called Novi Tractatus, or New Treatises, in the universityregister', and said to be admirandi apparatus °. They were the most fplendid and costly copies that could be procured, finely written on vellum, and elegantly embellished with miniatures and illuminations. Among the rest was a translation into French of Ovid's Metamorphoses”. Only a fingle specimen of these valuable volumes was suffered to remain : it is a beautiful manuscript in folio of Valerius Maximus, enriched with the most elegant decorations, and written in Duke Humphrey's age, evidently with a design of being placed in this sumptuous collection. All the rest of the books, which, like this, being highly ornamented, looked like missals, and conveyed ideas of popish superstition, were destroyed or removed by the pious visitors of the university in the reign of Edward the fixth, whose zeal was equalled only by their ignorance, or perhaps by their avarice. A great number of classics, in this grand work of reformation, were condemned as antichristian”. In the library of Oriel college at Oxford, we find a manuscript Commentary on Genesis, written by John Capgrave, a monk of faint Austin's monastery at Canterbury, a learned theologist of the fourteenth century. It is the author's autograph, and the work is dedicated to Humphrey duke of Glocester. In the superb

* Reg. F. fol. 52. 53. b. Epist. 142. • Ibid. fol. 57. b. 60. a. Epift. 148,

Leland. coll. iii. p. 58. edit. 1770.

9 Some however had been before stolen or mutilated. Leland, coll. iii. p. 58. edit. 1770.

initial

initial letter of the dedicatory epistle is a curious illumination of the author Capgrave, humbly presenting his book to his

patron the duke, who is feated, and covered with a sort of hat. At the end is this entry, in the hand-writing of duke Humphrey. C'est livre est a moy Humfrey duc de Glouceftre du don de frere Jeban Capgrave, quy le me fijt presenter a mon manoyr

de Pensherst le jour ... de ľan. Mcccxxxvin'. This is one of the books which Humphrey gave to his new library at Oxford, destroyed or dispersed by the active reformers of the young Edward'. John Whethamstede, a learned abbot of faint Alban’s, and a lover of scholars, but accused by his monks for neglecting their affairs, while he was too deeply engaged in studious employments and in procuring transcripts of useful books', notwithstanding his unwearied afsiduity in beautifying and enriching their monastery", was in high favour with this munificent prince *. The duke was fond of visiting this monastery, and employed

t

u

s Cod. MSS. 32.

s He gave also Capgrave super ExoDUM ET REGUM LIBROS. Registr. Univ. Oxon. F. fol. 67. b.

Supr. vol. i. See Dissertat. i. Signat. F. 2. We are told in this abbot's Gesta, that soon after his installment he built a library for his abbey, a design which had long employed his contemplation. He covered it with lead; and expended on the bare walls, besides desks, glaling, and embattelling, or, to use the expressions of my chronologer, educta vitriacione, crestacione, pofitione defcorum, upwards of one hundred and twenty pounds. Apud Hearne's Or. TERBOURNE, vol. i. Præfat. Append. p. cxxiii. ed. Oxon. 1732. He founded alio a library for all the students of his monaftery at Oxford. Ibid. p. cxiii. And to each of these students he allowed an annual penfion, at his own expence, of thirteen shillings and four-pence. Ibid. p. cxviii. See also p. cxxix. A grand transcript of the Postilla of Nicholas de Lyra on the bible

was begun daring his abbacy, and at his command, with the most splendid ornaments and hand-writing. The monk who records this important anecdote, lived soon after him, and speaks of this great undertaking, then unfinished, as if it was some magnificent public edifice.“ God grant, says he, “ that this work in our days may receive a “happy consummation !" Ibid.

p.

cxvi. Among other things, he expended forty pounds in adorning the roof and walls of the virgin Mary's chapel with pictures. Gest. ut supr. p. cx.

He gave to the choir of the church an organ; than which, says my chronicler, there was not one to be found in any monastery in England, more beautiful in appearance, more pleasing for its harmony, or more curious in its construction. It cost upwards of fifty pounds. Ibid. p. cxxviii. His new buildings were innumerable : and the MASTER OF THE Works was of his institution, with an ample falary. Ibid. p. cxiii. * Leland, Script. Brit. p. 437.

abbot

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »