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the ladies; not by a panegyrie 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
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 those 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 sepulchre, 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, ye charged with many romantic decorations. '
With crafty archys raysyd wonder clene,
So marveylous was the celature:
That al the rose, and closure envyrowne,
Fret ful of stony's rich and precious, &c.
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 arti
ficially disposed, and operating on the principles of vegetaz
tion. This is from the chemistry of the times. Before the body were four inextinguishible lamps in golden sockets. To complete the work, Priam sounds 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 manuz script on vellum, a translation of Colonna's TROJAN HISTORY into verse*I ; 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 commodioufly be sung to the harp '. It is not likely that Lydgate is its
* B. c. xxviii. Joseph of Exetcr in his Latin poem entitled ANTXOCHEU, or the Cnuune, has borrowed from this tomb of Hector, in his brilliant description of the mausoleum of Teuthras. lib. iv. 451. I have quoted the passage in the SECOND DHSERTATION- Signat. i.
i MSS. Land. K. 76. fol.
' Supr. vol. i. p. '19. '20.
' It may, however, be thought, that this poem is rather a translation or imitation of some French original, as the writer often refers to The Romance. If this be the case, it is not immediately formed from the TKOYE-BOKE ofL'dgate, as I have suggested in the text. believe it to be about Lydgate's age; but there is no other
authority sor supposing it to be written by Lydgate, than that, in the beginning of the odleian manuscript now before us, a hand-writing, of about the reign of james the first, assigns it to that poet. l will give a few lines from the poem itself: which begins with Jason's expedition to Cholcos, the constant prelude to the Trojan story in all the writers of this school.
In Colkos ile a cite was,
That men called hannc Jaconitas ;
Ffair, and mekel', large, and long,
With walles huge and wondir strong,
F ful of toures, and heye paleis,
Off rich knyztes, and burgeis:
A kyng that tyme hete f Eetes
Gouerned than that lond in pea I, With ' Oxen.
1 High, named. t Ptfls'.
With his baronage, and his meyne,
F for al aboute that riche toun
Stode wodes, and parkis, enviroun,
Fful of semely-rennyng welles,
As the ROMAU N c e the sothe 1] telles,
To that cite [of Eetes
Zode ' Jason an Hercules,
And al the ffelawes that he hadde
In clothe of golde as kynges he cladde, &e.
Afterwards, the sorceress Medea, the king's
Sche couthe the science of clergy,
Sche coude with conjurisouns, _
Sche couthe also, in selcouthe wise,
As it schold howses overthrowe.
Sche couth turne, verament,
All wcders I, and the firmament, &e.
The reader, in some of these lines, observes the appeal to T/Je romance for authority. This is common throughout the poem, as I have hinted. But at the close,
u Truth. 5 star.
*'-' . -'-'
And he that this romarince wroght and made; Lord in heven thow him glade.
If this piece is translated from a French romance, it is not from the antient metrical one of Benoit, to whom, I believe, Colonna is much indebted; but perhaps from some later French romance, which copied, or translated, Colonna's book. This, among
Seythe alle Amcn for charite.
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 sixth: and to the same age I refer the hand-writing, which is executed with remarkable elegance and beauty.
W-O more poets remain to be mentioned under the reign of Henry the sixth, if mere translation merit
book of uncommon rarity, was printed with the following, title, at the expence of Robert Saltwood, a monk of saint
The kynge Bochus hym be thought
And for to mayntene his were
A ycnst a kyn that was hys foo
And it was right at the incomyng
The masons with grete laboure
On morn when Bochus hit herde