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Lydgate's poem called the LYFE or OUR LADY, printed by Caxton", is opened with these harmonious and elegant lines, which do not seem to be destitute of that eloquence which the author wishes to share with Tully, Petrarch, and Chaucer 9. He compares the holy Virgin to a star.
That towarde evyn, at midnyght, and at morowe,
Lydgate's manner is naturally verbose and diffuse. This circumstance contributed in no small degree to give a clearness and a fluency to his phraseology. For the same reason he is often tedious and languid. His chief excellence is in description, especially where the subject admits a flowery .diction. He is seldom pathetic, or animated.
In another part of this poem, where he collects arguments to convince unbelievers that Christ might be born of a pure Virgin, he thus speaks of God's omnipotence.
Bathsheba, and Rachel '. It is amazing, that in an age of the most superstitious devotion so little discrimination should have been made between sacred and profane characters and incidents. But the common sense of mankind had not yet attained a just estimate of things. Lydgate, in another piece, has versified the rubrics of the missal, which he applies to the god Cupid: and declares, with how much delight he frequently meditated on the holy legend of those constant martyrs, who were not afraid to suffer death for the faith of that omnipotent divinity '. There are instances, in which religion was even made the instrument of love. Arnaud Daniel, a celebrated troubadour of the thirteenth century, in a fit of amorous despair, promises to found a multitude of annual masses, and to dedicate perpetual tapers to the shrines of saints, for the important purpose of obtaining the affections of an obdurate mistress.
UT Lydgate's principal poems are the FALL OF PRINCES,
the SIEGE or THEBES, and the DESTRUCTION or TROY.
Of all these I shall speak distinctly. _ About the year 1360, Boccacio wrote a Latin history in ten books, entitled DE CASIBUS VIRORUM ET FEMINARUM ILLUSTRIUM. Like other chronicles of the times, it commences with Adam, and is brought down to the author's age. Its last grand event is John king of France taken prisoner by the English at the battle of Poitiers, in the year 13 59'. This book of Boccacio was soon afterwards translated into French, by one Of whom little more seems to be known, than that he was named Laurence z yet so paraphrastically, and with so many considerable additions, as
almost to be rendered a new work h. Laurence's French