Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

version made by a king of England, by which she probably means an Anglo-Saxon collection attributed to Alfred the Great, although another theory is that she refers to a work by Henry I.—were first brought into notice by Tyrwhitt (Introductory Discourse to the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, notes 24 and 29); they were afterwards made the subject of a paper by the Abbe de la Rue, in the Archaeologia (vol. xiii. pp. 35-67, published in 1797); and they have since been published by M. B. de Roquefort under the title of ' Poesies de Marie de France, ou Recueil de Lais, Fables, et autres productions de cette emme celebre,' 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1820. An account, including nearly a complete translation, of the 'Lais,' which are twelve in number (besides two which M. de Roquefort has printed, apparently without any authority for assigning them to Marie), is given by Ellis in his 'Early English Metrical Romances' (Appendix ii. to 'Introduction,' pp. 143-200*); and the reader may also consult what has been written about Marie by Ritson, in a note to the romance of Emare (Ancient English Metrical Romances, iii. 330), by Mr. Price, in a long and elaborate note upon Warton (Hist. of Eng. Poet., i. lxxiv.-lxxxvi.), and by the Abbe de la Rue (in his Essais Historiques, iii. 47-100). Le Grand d'Aussy has given prose versions or paraphrases of forty-three of Marie's Fables in his work entitled ' Fabliaux ou Contest

* He has also printed, in vol. iii. pp. 291-307, an account, communicated by Sir Walter Scott, of an early English translation of one of them, the 'Lai le Freisne,' contained in the Auchinlech MS. in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh.

du xiime et du xiiiTM Siecles, &c.' ' Marie is mentioned as his contemporary by Denis Pyram, or Pyramus, who was also probably a native of France, but lived at the court of Henry III., and was in his earlier years the author of many serventois, anacreontic songs, and other gay pieces, but whose only remaining compositions are two religious poems written in the sobriety and penitence of his old age: the first, on the life and martyrdom of St. Edmond, in 3286 verses; the second, in 714 verses, on the miracles of the same royal saint.* Another trouveur of this date was no less a person than the famous Grossetete, Bishop of Lincoln, who was an Englishman, a native of Suffolk. He is the author of a religious romance of 1748 lines on the favourite subject of the Fall and Restoration of Man, which is sometimes called the 'Chastel d'Amour' (by which expression the Virgin Mary is meant), sometimes the ' Roman des Romans;' and there is also attributed to him another French poem of much greater length, which M. de la Rue thinks is the same that is preserved in one of the royal manuscripts at the British Museum (MS. Reg. 16 E. ix.), and is in that copy entitled 'Traite des Peches et des Vertus,' although spoken of by other copyists as the ' Manual.' It consists of more than 7000 verses. The title by which Grossetete's second work is commonly mentioned is the ' Manuel des Peches;' but the only known French poem bearing this title appears to be the work of a later writer, William of Wadington, who lived in the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century. It is a translation,

* See De la Rue, Essais Historiques, iii. 101-105.

but with much additional matter, from a Latin poem entitled JFloretus, which was printed both in folio at London, and in 4to. at Caen, in the same year, 1512.* Wadington's 'Manuel,' which contains nearly 10,000 verses,f exists in several manuscripts; of which two in the Harleian collection have at the end a farewell address to the reader, explaining his object in undertaking the translation. It was, he says, with the view of making the beauties of the Floretus be felt by a people who ran eagerly after everything written in French verse, and that the work might be understood by great and small; which proves, observes the Abbe de la Rue, that the knowledge of the French language was then generally difiiised in England. Wadington also asks his readers to pardon the faults he may have committed, whether in expression or in regard to the laws of rhyme, on the ground that being an Englishman by birth it was impossible that he should write French verse with perfect purity and correctness.

ROMANCE OP ALEXANDER.—THOMAS OP KENT.—HAVELOK LE DANOIS.—CHARDRY.—ADAM DE ROS.—HELIE OF WINCHESTER.—CONTINUATOR OF WACE.—PIERRE DU

RIES.—GODFREY OP WATERFORD. ROBERT BIKEZ.

PURGATORY OF ST. PATRICK. WALTER OF EXETER.

PETER DE LANGTOFT.

A peculiar subject which engaged many of the French poets of the thirteenth century was the history of Alex

* De la Rue, Essais, iii. 226. In a paper in the Archceologia, vol. xiii. pp. 230, &c . (read in 1798, published in 1800), this date is given 1520.

f De la Rue, Essais, iii. 231. In the Archaiologia (vol. xiii.) he says nearly G000.

ander the Great; about a dozen trouveurs of France and England are enumerated who devoted themselves to this singular chapter of the romance of chivalry, and several of their performances still survive, although they can scarcely in any case be assigned with any certainty to their proper authors. One 'Roman d'Alexandre' is attributed, at least in some copies, to a Thomas of Kent, who is placed by some authorities in the twelfth century ; * by others, about the beginning of the fourteenth ;f and who, it has been suggested, may possibly be the author of the French romance of ' Le Roi Horn," and also the ' Thomas ' referred to by Robert de Brunne as the original narrator of the story of Sir Tristrem, which upon this supposition must have first appeared in Norman French.f Another celebrated early French romance is that of 'Havelok le Danois'—founded on a well-known story of the Saxon era, relating to the town of Grimsby in Lincolnshire—which has been very ably edited for the Roxburgh Club by Sir Frederick Madden, along with a somewhat shorter relation of the same adventures which is found in Gaimar's continuation of Waco's Brut, and a much longer English poem on the same subject: § M. de la Rue, however, seems to have shown

* Sec M. Vanpraat, Catalogue de la Valliere, ii. 160. t De la Rue, Essais, ii. 352.

X See ' Remarks on Sir W. Scott's Sir Tristrem' (known to be by Sir Frederick Madden) in Gent. Mag. for October, 1833 (vol. ciii., part ii., p. 308); and also the Introduction to Havelok by the same gentleman, p. xlvii.

§ 'The Ancient English Romance of Havelok the Dane, accompanied by the French text; with an introduction, notes, and a glossary.' 4to. London, 1828. See also * Examination of the " Remarks on the Glossary to the anthat the learned editor is mistaken in attributing to the separate 'Roman' (which extends to 1106 lines) the priority in point of time over the version given by Gaimar (containing 818 lines); and to have proved that it belongs not to the earlier part of the twelfth, but to the thirteenth century.*

Other trouveurs of this period, connected with England cither by birth, residence, or the subjects of their poetry, are, Chardry, supposed to have been born in Gloucestershire in the thirteenth century, the author of several religious romances,—one (of 2924 verses) on the lives of Saint Barlaam and St. Josaphat, another (of 1750 verses) on the legend of the Seven Sleepers, a third (of about 2000 verses) entitled ' Le Petit Plet,' being a dispute between an old and a young man on the happiness and misery of human life ;f Adam de Ros, an English monk of the same age, from whom we have a poem on the legend of the descent of St. Paul to the infernal regions ;% Helie of Winchester, the translator of the Distichs of Cato, for the use, as he says, of those of the English who, not understanding Latin, spoke only the Romance

cient Metrical Romance of Havelok the Dane, in a Letter to Francis Douce, Esq., F.A.S., by S. W. Singer," addressed to Henry Petrie, Esq, Keeper of Ins Majesty's Records in the Tower of London, by the Editor of Havelok.' 4to. Lond. 1829. The French Romance, with a translation or part of Sir Frederick Madden's Introduction, was republished, in crown 8vo, at Paris, in 1833, by M. Francisque Michel, with the title of ' Lai d'Havelok le Danois; treizieme Siecle." The publication is dedicated to the Abbe de la Rue, by "son admirateur et son ami."

* Essais Historiques, iii. 114-120.

t See Do la Hue Essais iii. 127-138.

j Id. 13U-H5.

« AnteriorContinuar »