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command, and is dedicated to his successor. It was finished in the year 1420. In the Bodleian library there is a manuscript of this poem elegantly illuminated, with the picture of a monk presenting a book to a king'. From the fplendour of the decorations, it appears to be the copy which Lydgate gave to Henry the fifth.
This poem is professedly a translation or paraphrase of Guido de Colonna's romance, entitled Historia TROJANA ! But whether from Colonna’s original Latin, or from a French version' mentioned in Lygdate's Prologue, and which existed soon after the year 1300, I cannot ascertain'. I have before observed', that Colonna formed his Trojan History from Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretenfis "; who perpetually occur as authorities in Lydgate's translation. Homer is however referred to in this work; particularly in the catalogue, or enumeration, of the ships which brought the
P MSS. Digb. 232.
· Princip. “ Licet cotidie vetera recen** tioribus obruantur.”
Of a Spanish version, by Petro Nunez Degaldo, lee Nic. Anton. Bibl. Hispan. tom. ii. p. 179.
s See supr. vol. i. p. 127. Notes. Yet he says, having finished his version, B. v. Signat. EE. i.
I have no more of Latin to translate,
After Dytes, Dares, and Gaydo. Again, he despairs of translating Guido's Latin elegantly. B. ii. c. X. See also B. iii. Sign. R. iii. There was a French tranflation of Dares printed, Cadom. 1573. See WORKS OF THE LEARNED. A. 1703.
« faithful, relators of what they saw,) are • transferred into this book by Guido, of “ Colonna, a judge. — And although a “ certain Roman, Cornelius by name, the “ nephew of the great Sallustius, tran“ Nated Dares and Dictys into Latin
, yet, attempting to be concise, he has very
improperly omitted those particulars of " the history, which would have proved “ most agreeable to the reader. In my
book therefore every article belong“ ing to the Trojan story will be compre“ hended."--And in his Postscript.“ And “ I Guido de Colonna have followed the “ said Dictys in every particular; for this “ reason, because Dictys made his work
perfect and complete in every thing." And I should have decorated this history “ with more metaphors and ornaments of “ ftyle, and by incidental digressions, “ which are the pictures of composition. “ But deterred by the difficulty of the work, " &c.” Guido has indeed made Di&tys nothing more than the ground-work of his. story. All this is translated in Lydgate's Prologue.
' Ibid. p. 126.
" As Colonna's book is extremely scarce, and the subject interesting, I will translate a few lines from Colonna's Prologue and Poftfcript. From the Prologue. These " things, originally written by the Gre“ cian Dictys and the Phrygian Dares,(who " were present in the Trojan war, and
everal Grecian leaders with their forces to the Trojan coast.
Myne auctor telleth how Agamamnon,
The worthi kynge, an hundred shippis brought
Full many shippès was in this navye,
That such a nombre of shippes fawe to forne*.
* From Diet. Cretenf. lib. i. c. xvii. p. of Homeris Ayle, in other respects a true
V, 389. Urr. edit.
Both in Russian, One faied that Omere made lies,
And feinyng in his poetries ;
And was to the Grekès favorable,
torians whom he professes to follow. Yet it is not, in the mean time, impossible, that Lydgate might have seen the Iliad, at least in a Latin translation. Leontius Pilatus, already mentioned, one of the learned Conftantinopolitan exiles, had translated the Miad into Latin profe, with part of the Odyssey, at the desire of Boccacio', about the year 1360. This appears from Petrarch's Epistles to his friend Boccacio: in which, among other curious circumstances, the former requests Boccacio to send him to Venice that part of Leontius's new Latin version of the Odyssey, in which Ulysses's descent into hell, and the vestibule of Erebus, are described. He wishes also to see, how Homer, blind and an Asiatic, had described the lake of Averno and the mountain of Circe. In another part of these letters, he acknowledges the receipt of the Latin Homer; and mentions with how much satisfaction and joy the report of its arrival in the public library at Venice was received, by all the Greek and Latin scholars of that city.". The Iliad was also translated into French verse, by Jacques Milet, a licentiate of laws, about the year 1430 '. Yet I cannot believe that Lydgate had ever consulted these translations, although he had travelled in France and Italy. One may venture to pronounce peremptorily, that he did not understand, as he probably never had seen, the original. After the migration of the Roman emperors to Greece, Boccacio was the first European that could read Homer'; nor was there perhaps a copy of either of Homer's poems existing in Europe, till about the time the Greeks were driven
* It is a slight error in Vigneul Marville, with great perfpicuity, and from the best that this translation was procured by Pe
authorities. De GRÆC. ILLUSTR. lib. i. trarch. Mel. Litt. tom. i. p. 21.
The c. 1. p. 2. feq. very ingenious and accurate author of Me Senil. lib. iii. Cap. 5. MOIRES POUR LA Vie de PETRARQUE, is · Hody, ubi fupr. p. 5. 6. 7. 9. The mistaken in saying that Hody supposes this Latin Iliad in prose was published under version to have been made by Petrarch the name of Laurentius Valla, with some himself. liv. vi. tom. iii. p. 633. On the flight alterations, in 1497. contrary, Hody has adjusted this matter Mem. de Litt. xvii. p. 761. ed. 4to.
by the Turks from Constantinople'. Long after Boccacio's
poem is replete with descriptions of rural beauty, formed by a selection of very poetical and picturesque circumstances, and cloathed in the most perspicuous and musical numbers. The colouring of our poet's mornings is often remarkably rich and splendid.
When that the rowes and the rayes redde
Museum, this piece is entitled La Cheva-
& Mons. L'Abbè Sallier, Mem. Litt. xvii.
e See Boccat. Geneal. Dbor. xv. 6. 7. Theodorus archbishop of Canterbury in the seventh century brought from Rome into England a manuscript of Homer ; which is now said to be in Bennet library at Cam. bridge. See the Second DISSERTATION. In it is written with a modern hand, Hic liber quondam THEODORI archiepifcopi Cant. But probably this Theodore is TheODORE Gaza, whose book, or whose transcript, it might have been. Hody, abi fupr. Lib. i. c. 3. p. 59. 60.
* In the royal manuscripts of the British
n Streaks of light. A very common
And with the brightnes of his bemès shene,
Again, among more pictures of the same subject.
When Aurorà the sylver droppès shene,
The spring is thus described, renewing the buds or blossoms of the groves, and the flowers of the meadows.
And them whom winter's blastes have shaken bare
Frequently in these florid landscapes we find the same idea differently expressed. Yet this circumstance, while it weakened the description, taught a copiousness of diction, and a variety of poetical phraseology. There is great foftness and facility in the following delineation of a delicious retreat.