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Two hundred days is grauntid of pardoun,
Writ and registred afforn his holy shryne,
Which for our feyth suffrede passioun,
Blysfyd Edmund, kyng, martyr, and virgyne.

This is our poet's l'envoye.

Go littel book, be ferfull, quaak for drede,
For to appere in so hyhe presence o.

Lydgate's poem called the LYFE OF 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 ! He compares the holy Virgin to a star.

O thoughtfull hertè, plonged in distresse
With Nombre of flouth, this long wynter's night!
Out of the Nepe of mortal hevinesse
Awake anon, and loke upon the light
Of thilkè sterre, that with her bemys bright,
And with the shynynge of her stremes meryè,
Is wont to glad all our hemisperie'!

This sterre in beautie passith Pleiades,
Bothe of shynynge, and eke of stremes clere,
Bootes, and Arctur, and also lades,
And Esperus, whan that it doth appere :
For this is Spica, with her brightè spere ',

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That towarde evyn, at midnyght, and at morowe,
Downe from hevyn adawith 'al our forowe.

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And dryeth up the bytter terys wete
Of Aurora, after the morowe graye,
That she in wepying dothe on floures flete',
In lusty Aprill, and in fresshè Maye :
And causeth Phebus, the bryght fomers daye,
Wyth his wayne gold-yborned", bryght and fayre,
To enchase the mystès of our cloudy ayre.
Now fayrè sterre, O sterre of sterrys all !
Whose lyght to se the angels do delyte,
So let the gold-dewe of thy grace yfall
Into my breste, lyke scalys fayre and whyte,

Me to enspire!
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 de-
scription, especially where the subject admits a flowery
diction. He is feldom 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.

And he that made the high and cristal heven,
The firmament, and also every sphere,
The golden ax-tre', and the sterres feven,
Citherea, so lusty for to' appere,

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TORIALE, the name Maria is ful fayre u Float. Drop

igraven on a red rose, in lettris of BOURNID * Burnished with gold. So in Lydgate's gold. MSS. Harl. 2251. 39. fol. 71. b. Legend on Dan Joos a monk, taken from * Prologue. Vincentius Bellovacenfis's Speculum His y Of the sun.


And reddè Marse”, with his sterne here ;
Myght he not eke 'onely for our sake
Wythyn a mayde of man his “ kyndè take ?

For he that doth the tender braunches sprynge,
And the fresshe flouris in the gretè mede,
That were in wynter dede and eke droupynge,
Of bawmè all yvoyd and leftyhede;
Myght he not make his grayne to growe and sede,
Within her brest, that was both mayd and wyfe,
Whereof is made the sothfast breade of lyfe?

We are surprised to find verses of so modern a cast as the following at such an early period; which in this sagacious: age we should judge to be a forgery, was not their genuineness authenticated, and their antiquity confirmed by the venerable types of Caxton, and a multitude of unquestionable manuscripts.

Like as the dewe discendeth on the rose
With fylver drops".-

Our Saviour's crucifixion is expressed by this remarkable: metaphor.

Whan he of purple did his baner sprede
On Calvarye abroad upon the rode,

To save mankynde . .

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Our author, in the course of his panegyric on the Virgin: Mary, affirms, that she exceeded Hester in meekness, and Judith: in wisdom; and in beauty, Helen, Polyxena, Lucretia, Dido,,

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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.

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UT Lydgate's principal poems are the Fall of Princes,

the SIEGE OF THEBES, and the DESTRUCTION OF 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 1359". This book of Boccacio was soon afterwards tranAlated into French, by one of whom little more seems to be known, than that he was named Laurence; yet so paraphrastically, and with so many considerable additions, as almost to be rendered a new work. Laurence's French

4544. fol.

a Printed at Ausbourg. And at Paris,

It is amazing, that Voffius should not know the number of books of which this work consisted, and that it was ever printed. De Hift. Lat. lib. ii. cap. ii. It was translated into Italian by Betufli, in Firenza, 1566. 8vo. 2 volum.

b In Lydgate's PROLOGUE, B. i. fol. i. a col. 1. edit. ut infr.

He that sumtime did his diligence
The boke of Bochas in French to translate

Out of Latin, he called was LAURENCE. He says that Laurence (in his Prologue) declares, that he avails himself of the privilege of skillful artificers; who may chaunge and turne, by good discretion, frapes and forms, and newly them devise, make and unmoke, &c. And that old authors may be rendered more agreeable, by being cloathed in new ornaments of language, and improved with new inventions. Ibid. a.col.s. He adds, that it was Laurence's design, in

his translation into French, to amende, cor-
reet, and declare, and not to spare thinges
touched shortly. Ibid. col. 2. Afterwards
he calls him this noble translatour. Ibid. b.
col. 1. In another place, where a panegy-
ric on France is introduced, he says that
this passage is not Boccacio's, but added,
By one LAURENCE, which was translatour
Of this processe, to commende France ;
To prayle that lande was all his pleasaunce.
B. ix. ch. 28. fol. 31. a. col. 1. edit ut infr.
Our author, in the Prologue above-cited,
seems to speak as if there had been a pro
vious translation of Boccacio's book into
French. Ut supr. a. col. 1.
Thus Laurence from him envy excluded
Though toforne him translated was this book.
But I suspect he only means, that Boccacio's
original work was nothing more than a
collection or compilation from more an-
cient authors.


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