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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 splendour 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 HlSTORIA 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, Icannot ascertain *. Ihave before observed', that Colonna formed his Trojan History from Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis " z 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
everal Grecian leaders with their forces to the Trojan coast.
t' MSS. Digb. 232. " faithful, relators os what they saw,) are K Princip. " Lieet eOtidie vetera recen- * transferred into this book by Guido, of " tioribus obruantm." " Colonna, a judge.-And although a ' Of a Spanish version, by Petro Nunez " certain Roman, Cornelius by name, the Degaldo, see Nic. Anton. Bibl. Hispan. * nephew of the great Sallustius, trantom. ii. p. '79. " slatcd Dares and Dictys into Latin , yet, ' See supr. vol. i. p. 127. Notes. Yet " attempting to _bc concise, he has very he says, having finished his version, B. v. ' improperly om1tted those particulars of Signat. EE. i. * " the history, which would have pgoved Ih s L . si " most agreeable to the reader. my ave no morso att'atgtrag ate' ' own book therefore every article belongAft" Dytes' ws' an ny o' ing to the Trojan story will be compreAgain, he despairs of translating Guido's " hended."-And in his Postscript. " And Latin elegantly. B. ii. c. x. See also B. ' IGuido de Colonna have followed the iii. Sign. R. iii. There was a French " said Dictys in every particular; for this translation of Dares printed, Cadom.1573. " reason, because Dictys made his work See WORKS or 'rue LEARNED. A. 1703. " perfect and complete in every thing.p. 222. ' And I should have decorated this history * Ibid. p. '26. " with more metaphors and omaments of " As Colonna's boak is extremely scarce, " style, and by incidental digresiions, and the subject interesting, I will translate " which are the picture: of composition. a few lines from Colonna's Prologue and " But deterred by the difficulty of the work, Postscript. From the Prologue. " These " &c." Guido has indeed made Dictys
" things, originally written by the Gre*' cran ictys and the Phrygian Dares,(who " were present in the Trojan War, and
nothing more than the ground-work of his story. All this is translatedin Lydgate's Prologue.
Myne auctor telleth how Agamarssnnon,
In another place Homer, notwithstanding all bis rbetoryke and
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 Constantinopolitan exiles, had' translated the Iliad into Latin prose, with part of the Odyssey, at the desire of Boccacio', about the year 1360. This appears from Petrarch's Epistles to,his friendBoccaciobz in which, among other curious circumstances, the former requests Boccacio to send him to Venice that sipart 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 CirceIn 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 jacqpes 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 exist
ing in Europe, till'about the time the Greeks were driven.
by the Turks from Constantinople'. Long after Boccacio's time, the knowledge of the Greek tongue, and consequently of Homer, was confined only to a few scholars. Yet some ingenious French critics have infinuated, that Homer was familiar in France very early 3 and that Christina of Pisa, in a poem never printed, written in the year 1398, and entitled L' EPlTRE D' OTHEA A HECTOR ', borrowed the word Othea, or WlSDOM, from w Seat in Homer, a formal appellation by which that poet often invocates Minervag.
This poem is replete with descriptions of rural beauty, formedv by a selection of very poetical and picturesque circumstances, and cloathed in the most perspicuous and musical numbers. The colour-ing of our poet's " mornings is often remarkably rich and splendid. i