« הקודםהמשך »
the ladies ; not by a panegyric on their beauty, nor encomiums on those amiable accomplishments, by which they refine our sensibilities, and give elegance to life ; but by a display of that religious fortitude with which some women have suffered martyrdom; or of that inflexible chastity, by means of which others have been snatched up alive into heaven, in a state of genuine virginity. Among other striking examples which the calendar affords, he mentions the transcendent grace of the eleven thousand virgins who were martyred at Cologne in Germany. In the mean time, female saints, as I suspect, in the barbarous ages were regarded with a greater degree of respect, on account of thofe exaggerated ideas of gallantry which chivalry inspired ; and it is not improbable that the distinguished honours paid to the virgin Mary might have partly proceeded from this principle.
Among the anachronistic improprieties which this poem contains, some of which have been pointed out, the most conspicuous is the fiction of Hector's fepulchre, or tomb; which also merits our attention for another reason, as it affords us an opportunity of adding some other notices of the modes of antient architecture to those already mentioned. The poet from Colonna supposes, that Hector was buried in the principal church of Troy, near the high altar, within a magnificent oratory, erected for that purpose, exactly resembling the Gothic shrines of our cathedrals, yet charged with many romantic decorations.
With crafty archys rayfyd wonder clene,
The structure is supported by angels of gold. The steps are of crystall. Within, is not only an image of Hector in solid gold; but his body embalmed, and exhibited to view with the resemblance of real life, by means of a precious liquor circulating through every part in golden tubes artificially disposed, and operating on the principles of vegeta-, tion. This is from the chemistry of the times. Before the body were four inextinguishible lamps in golden sockets. To complete the work, Priam founds a regular chantry of priests, whom he accommodates with mansions near the church, and endows with revenues, to sing in this oratory for the soul of his son Hector.
In the Bodleian library, there is a prodigious folio manuscript on vellum, a translation of Colonna's Trojan HISTORY into verse"; which has been confounded with Lydgate's TROYE-BOKE now before us. But it is an entirely different work, and is written in the short minstrel-metre. I have given a specimen of the Prologue, above. It appears to me to be Lydgate's Troye-Boke divested of the octave stanza; and reduced into a measure which might more commodiously be sung to the harp'. It is not likely that Lydgate is its
B. iii. c. xxviii. Joseph of Exeter in authority for supposing it to be written by his Latin poem entitled ANTIOCHEIS, or Lydgate, than that, in the beginning of the CRUSADE, has borrowed from this the Bodleian manuscript now before us, a tomb of Hector, in his brilliant description hand-writing, of about the reign of James of the mausoleum of Teuthras. lib. iv. 451. the first, afigns it to that poet. I will give I have quoted the passage in the Second a few lines from the poem itself: whick DISSERTATION. Signat. i.
begins with Jason's expedition to Cholcos, MSS. Laud. K. 76. fol.
the constant prelude to the Trojan story in • Supr. vol. i. p. 119. 120.
all the writers of this school. It may, however, be thought, that In Colkos ile a cite was, this poem is rather a translation or imita. That men called hanne Jaconitas ; tion of some French original, as the writer Ffair, and mekel, large, and long, often refers to The Romance. If this be With walles huge and wondir strong, the case, it is not immediately formed from Fful of toures, and heye paleis, the TROY E-BOKE of Lydgate, as I have Off rich knyztes, and burgeis : suggested in the text. I believe it to be A kyng that tyine hete + Eetes about Lydgate's age ; but there is no other Gouerned than that lond in pes 1,
author: that he should either thus transform his own composition, or write a new piece on the subject. That it was a poem in some considerable estimation, appears from the size and splendour of the manuscript : and this circumstance
With his baronage, and his meynè,
In clothe of golde as kynges he cladde, &c. Afterwards, the forceress Medea, the king's daughter, is thus characterised.
Sche couthe the science of clergy,
Dares the heraud of Troye says,
That was of Rome a notary.
In the manere I schall telle.
That is “my author, or romance, follows • Colonna.” (See supr. vol. i. p. 127.) Dares the heraud is Dares Phrygius, and Dites Dictys Cretenfis.
This poem, in the Bodleian manuscript aforesaid, is finished, as I have partly observed, with an invocation to god, to save the author, and the readers, or hearers ; and ends with this line,
Seythe alle Amen for charite. But this rubric immediately follows, at the beginning of a page. “ Hic bellum de Troye “ finit et Greci tranfierunt verfus patriam “ Tuam.” Then follow several lineated pages of vellum, without writing. I have never seen any other manuscript of this piece.
induces me to believe, that it was at a very early period ascribed to Lydgate. On the other hand, it is extraordinary that the name of the writer of so prolix and laborious a work, respectable and conspicuous at least on account of its length, should have never transpired. The language accords with Lydgate's age, and is of the reign of Henry the fixth : and to the fame age I refer the hand-writing, which is exca cuted with remarkable elegance and beauty.
Wo more poets remain to be mentioned under the
reign of Henry the sixth, if mere translation merit that appellation. These are Hugh Campeden and Thomas Chester.
The first was a great traveller, and translated into English verse the French romance of SIDRAC. This translation, a book of uncommon rarity, was printed with the following title, at the expence of Robert Saltwood, a monk of saint Austin's convent at Canterbury, in the year 1510.
- The “ Historie of king Boccus and SYDRACKE how he confoundyd « his lerned men, and in the sight of them dronke stronge
venyme in the name of the trinite and dyd him no hurt. “ Alfo his divynite that he lerned of the boke of Noe. “ Also his profesyes that he had by revelation of the angel. “ Also his aunsweris to the questyons of wysdom both “ morall and naturall with muche wysdom contayned in
[the] noumber ccclxv. Translated by Hugo of Caum
peden out of French into Englisshe, &c*. There is no fort of elegance in the diction, nor harmony in the versification. It is in the minstrel-metre'.
& See fupr. vol. i. p. 143.
h With a wooden cut of Bocchus, and Sidracke. There is a fine manuscript of this translation, Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Laud.
The kynge Bochus hym be thought