« הקודםהמשך »
Ne was there none of the Muses nine,
Burning • “Death was the only refuge, or remedy." t“ Oaths which proved false in the end." Pag. 629. col. i.
The bare conception of the attendance of this allegorical groupe on these incestuous espousals, is highly poetical : and although some of the personifications are not presented with the addition of any picturesque attributes, yet others are marked with the powerful pencil of Chaucer.
This poem is the THEBAID of a troubadour. The old classical tale of Thebes is here cloathed with feudal manners, enlarged with new fiĉions of the Gothic species, and furnished with the descriptions, circumstances, and machineries, appropriated to a romarice of chivalry. The Sphinx is a terrible dragon, placed by a necromancer to guard a mountain, and to murther all travellers passing by". Tydeus being wounded fees a caitle on a rock, whose high towers and crested pinnacles of polished fione giitter by the light of the moon : he gains admittance, is laid in a sumptuous bed of cloth of gold, and healed of his wounds by a king's daughter*. Tydeus and Polymite tilt at midnight for a lodging, before the gate of the palace of king Adrastus; who is awakened with the din of the strokes of their weapons, which shake all the palace, and descends into the court with a long train by torch-light: he orders the two combatants to be difarmed, and cloathed in rich mantles studded with pearls; and they are conducted to repose by many a stair to a stately tower, after being served with a refection of hypocras from golden goblets. The next day they are both espoused to the king's two daughters, and entertained with tournaments, feasting, revels, and masques'. Afterwards Tydeus, having a message to deliver to Eteocles king of Thebes, enters the hall of the royal palace, completely armed and on horseback, in the midst of a magnificent festival ?. This palace, like a Norman fortress, or feudal castle, is
* Pag. 627. col. 2.
Pag. 640. col. 2. feq.
y Pag. 633. col. 1. feq. Concerning the drefiles, perhaps in the masques, we have
this line. pag. 635. col. 2.
guarded with barbicans, portcullisses, chains, and fosses“. Adrastus wishes to close his old age in the repose of rural diversions, of hawking and hunting.
The situation of Polymite, benighted in a solitary wilderness, is thus forcibly described.
Holding his way, of hertè nothing light,
Till it was passed almost midnight hour". When Oedipus consults concerning his kindred the oracle of Apollo, whose image stood on a golden chariot with four wheels burned bright and Sheen, animated with a fiend, the manner in which he receives his answer is touched with spirit and imagination.
And when Edipus by great devotion
• Pag. 644. col. 2.
• Pag. 635. col. 1.
Afraid. Fatigued. P. 631. col. 2.
In this poem, exclusive of that general one already mentioned, there are some curious mixtures of manners, and of classics and scripture. The nativity of Oedipus at his birth is calculated by the most learned astronomers and physicians'. Eteocles defends the walls of Thebes with great guns. And the priest" Amphiorax, or Amphiaraus, is styled a bishop', whose wife is also mentioned. At a council held at Thebes, concerning the right of succession to the throne, Esdras and Solomon are cited: and the history of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem is introduced. The moral intended by this calamitous tale consists in shewing the pernicious effects of war : the diabolical nature of which our author still further illustrates by observing, that discord received its origin in hell, and that the first battle ever fought was that of Lucifer and his legion of rebel angels '. But that the argument may have the fullest confirmation, Saint Luke is then quoted to prove, that avarice, ambition, and envy, are the primary sources of contention; and that Christ came into the world to destroy these malignant principles, and to propagate universal charity.
At the close of the poem, the mediation of the holy virgin is invoked, to procure peace in this life, and salvation in the next. Yet it should be remembered, that this piece is written by a monk, and addressed to pilgrims
Pag. 626. col. 2. Pag. 625. col. 1.
& Pag. 644. col. 2. Great and small, and some as large as tonnes.
h As in Chaucer.
• Pag. 645. col. 1.
- Lydgate was near fifty when this poem
HE third of Lydgate's poems which I proposed to
consider, is the TROY BOKE, or the DestRUCTION OF Troy. It was first printed at the command of king Henry the eighth, in the year 1513, by Richard Pinson, with this title, “ THE HYSTORY SEGE AND DESTRUCCION OF TROYE. “ The table or rubrisshe of the content of the chapitres, &c. Here
after foloweth the TROYE BOKE, otherwise called the SEGE OF " TROYE. Translated by John LYDGATE monke of Bury, and
emprunted at the commaundement of oure souveraygne lorde the
kynge Henry the eighth, by Richarde Pinson, &c. the yere “ of our lorde god a M.ccccc. and xiii".” Another, and a much more correct edition followed, by Thomas Marshes under the care of one John Braham, in the year 1555°. It was begun in the year 1414, the last year of the reign of king Henry the fourth. It was written at that prince's
* Among other curious decorations in the a Grecian, both souldiours and present at title page, there are soldiers firing great “ and in all the fayd warres, and digested guns at the city of Troy. Caxton, in his “ in Latyn by the learned Guydo de CoRECUYLE
HYSTORYES “ lumpnis, and fythes translated into EngTroye, did not translate the account of “ lyshe verfe by John Lydgate moncke of the final destruction of the city from his Burye and newly imprinted.” The coFrench author Rauol le Feure, “ for as lophon, “ Imprinted at London in Flete“ muche as that worshipfull and religious “ ftrete at the sygne of the Princes Armes “ man Dan John Lydgate monke of Burye by Thomas Marshe. Anno. do. M.d.l.v.” “ did translate it but late, after whose This book was modernised, and printed in "s worke I feare to take upon me, &c.” five-lined stanzas, under the title, “ The At the end of B. ii.
“ LIFE AND Death of Hector, &c. • With this title. « The auncient his “ written by John Lydgate monk of Berry, " torie, and only true and fyncere croni “ &c. At London, printed by Thomas 'S cle, of the warres betwixte the Gre “ Purfoot. Anno Dom. 1614.” fol. But " cians and the Troyans, and subsequently I suspect this to be a second edition. Prin“ of the fyrst evercyon of the auncient and cip.“ In Thessalie king Peleus once did “ famouse cyte of Troye under Laomedon raigne.” See Farmer's Essay, p. 39.
the king, and of the last and fynall de 40. edit. 1767. This spurious Troyestructyon of the fame under Pryam : Boxe is cited by Fuller, Winstanley, and wrytten by Daretus a Troyan and Dictus others, as Lydgate's genuine work. Vol. II.