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1561. The author introduces it as an additional Canterbury tale. After a severe sickness, having a design to visit the shrine of Thomas a Beckett at Canterbury, he arrives in that city while Chaucer's pilgrims were assembled there for the fame purpose; and by mere accident, not suspecting to find so numerous and respectable a company, goes to their inn. There is some humour in our monk's travelling figure .
· In a cope of black, and not of grene,
He sees, standing in the hall of the inn, the convivial host of the tabard, full of his own importance; who without the least introduction or hesitation thus addresses our author, quite unprepared for such an abrupt salutation.
Upon your head a wonder thredbare hood':-
Edit. 1687. fol. ad CALC. CHAUCER'S WORKs. pag. 623. col. 1. Prol.
See supr. vol. i. p. 164. notes, h. • Ibid.
that some nut-brown ale after supper will be of service, and that a quantity of the feed of annis, cummin, or coriander, taken before going to bed, will remove flatulencies. But above all, says the host, chearful company will be your best physician. You shall not only sup with me and my companions this evening, but return with us to-morrow to London ; yet on condition, that you will submit to one of the indispensable rules of our society, which is to tell an entertaining story while we are travelling.
What, looke up, Monke! For by 'cockes blood,
Our monk, unable to withstand this profusion of kindness and festivity, accepts the host's invitation, and sups with the pilgrims. The next morning, as they are all riding from Canterbury to Ospringe, the host reminds his friend Dan John of what he had mentioned in the evening, and without farther ceremony calls for a story. Lydgate obeys
* God's. ? Dawn. Chuse. i Can, or Know. * Continue. Pag. 622. col. 2. seq. Vol. II. L
his commands, and recites the tragical destruction of the city of Thebes - As the story is very long, a pause is made in descending a very steep hill near the Thrope "of Brougbton on the Blee; when our author, who was not furnished with that accommodation for knowing the time of the day, which modern improvements in science have given to the traveller, discovers by an accurate examination of his calendar, I fuppose some sort of graduated scale, in which the sun's horary progress along the equator was marked, that it is nine in the morning
It has been said, but without any authority or probability, that Chaucer first wrote this story in a Latin narrative, which Lydgate afterwards translated into English verse. Our author's originals are Guido Colonna, Statius, and Seneca the tragedian”. Nicholas Trevet, an Englishman, a Dominican friar of London, who flourished about the year 1330, has left a commentary on Seneca's tragedies': and he was so favorite a poet as to have been illustrated by Thomas Aquinas'. He was printed at Venice so early as the year 1482. Lydgate in this poem often refers to myne auctor, who, I suppose, is either Statius, or Colonna'. He fometimes cites Boccacio's Latin tracts: particularly the GENEALOGIÆ Deorum, a work which at the restoration of learning greatly contributed to familiarise the classical stories, De CASIBUS VIRORUM ILLUSTRIUM, the ground-work of the FALL OF Princes just mentioned, and DE CLARIS MUL!ERIBUS, in which pope Joan is one of the heroines'. From the first, he has taken the story of Amphion building the
walls of Thebes by the help of Mercury's harp, and the interpretation of that fable, together with the "fictions about Lycurgus king of Thrace". From the second, as I recollect, the accoutrements of Polymites *; and from the third, part of the tale of Isophile'. He also characterises Boccacio for a talent, by which he is not now so generally known, for his poetry; and styles him,“
among poetes in “ Itaile stalled.” But Boccacio's THESEID was yet. in vogue. He says, that when Oedipus was married, none of the Muses were present, as they were at the wedding of SAPIENCE with ELOQUENCE, described by that poet whilom so Sage, Matrician inamed de Capella. This is Marcianus Mineus Felix de Capella, who lived about the year 470, and whose Latin prosaico-metrical work, de Nuptiis Philologia et Mercurii, in two books, an introduction to his seven books, or system, of the SEVEN SCIENCES, I have mentioned before * : a writer highly extolled by Scotus Erigena ", Peter of Blois”, John of Salisbury, and other early authors in corrupt Latinity“; and of such eminent estimation in the dark centuries, as to be taught in the seminaries of philological education as a classico. Among the royal manuscripts in the British museum, a manuscript occurs written about the eleventh century, which is a commentary on these nine books of Capella,
Lydgate says, that this was the same Pag. 648. col. 1. feq. Lycurgus who came as an ally with Pala Pag. 651. col. 1. mon to Athens against his brother Arcite, a See supr. vol. 1. p. 391: drawn by four white bulls, and crowned • De Divis. Natur. lib. iii. p. 147. 148. with a wreath of gold. Pag. 650. col. 2. Epift. 101. See Kn. Tale, Urry's Ch. p. 17. v. d See Alcuin. De Sept. Artib. p. 1256. 2131. seq. col. 1.
Our author expressly Honorius Augustodunus, de Philosophia refers to Chaucer's KNIGHT's Tale Mundi, lib. ii. cap. 5.
And the book of about Theseus, and with some address, Thomas Cantipratanus attributed to Boos As ye have before heard it related in ethius, De Disciplina Scholarium. Compare
passing through Deptford, &c.” pag. Barth. ad Claudian. p. 32. 568. col. 1.
e Barth. ad Briton. p. 110.
“ Medii Pag. 623. col. 2. 624. col. 1. 651. “ ævi scholas tenuit, adolescentibus præ
“ lectus, &c.” See Wilibaldus, Epift. * Pag. 634. col. 2.
147. tom. ii. Vet. Monum. Marten. p. 334.
compiled by Duncant an Irish bishop', and given to his scholars in the monastery of saint Remigius S. They were early translated into Latin leonine rhymes, and are often imitated by Saxo Grammaticus“. Gregory of Tours has the vanity. to hope, that no readers will think his Latinity barbarous : not even those, who have refined their taste, and enriched their understanding with a complete knowledge of every species of literature, by studying attentively this treatise of Marcianus. Alexander Necham, a learned abbot of Cirencester, and a voluminous Latin writer about the year 1210, wrote annotations on Marcianus, which are yet preserved. He was first printed in the year 1499, and other editions appeared soon afterwards. This piece of Marcianus, dictated by the ideal philosophy of Plato, is supposed to have led the way to Boethius's celebrated CONSOLATION OF PHILOSOPHY ".
The marriage of SAPIEnce and ELOQUENCE, or Mercury and Philology, as described by Marcianus, at which Clio and Calliope with all their sisters assisted, and from which DISCORD and Sedition, the great enemies of literature, were excluded, is artfully introduced, and beautifully contrafted with that of Oedipus and Jocasta, which was celebrated by an assemblage of the most hideous beings.
* Leland says he saw this work in the library of Worcester abbey. Coll. iii.
dred years old, is mentioned by Bernard a Pez. Thesaur. Anecdot. tom. iii. p. 620. But by some writers of the early ages he is censured as obscure. Galfredus Canonicus, who flourished about 1170, declares, “ Non
petimus nos, aut lascivire cum Sidonio, aut vernare cum Hortensio, aut involvere
cum Marciano.” Apud Marten. ubi supr. tom. i. p. 506. He will occur again.
k Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Digb. 221. And in other places. As did Scotus Erigena, Labb. Bibl. Nov. Manuscr. p. 45. And others of that period.
m See Mabillon. Itin. Ital.
& MSS. Reg. 15 A. xxxiii. Liber olim S. Remig. Studio Gifardi fcriptus. Labb. Bibl. Nov. Manuscr. p. 66. In imitation of the first part of this work, a Frenchman, Jo. Boræus, wrote NuptiÆ JURISPHILOLOGIA,
Paris. 1651. 4to.
Stephan. in Prolegomen. c. xix. And in the Notes, paflim. 'He is adduced by Fulgentius. i Hift. Fr. lib. x. ad calc.
A manuscript of Marcianus, more than seven hun