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Horn and others which he believes to belong to the preceding century. Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle, as printed, is in long lines of fourteen syllables, which, however, are generally divisible into two of eight and six, and were perhaps intended to be so written and read. The language appears to be marked by the peculiarities of West Country English. Ample specimens of Robert of Gloucester are given by Warton and Ellis; we shall not encumber our limited space with extracts which are recommended by no attraction either in the matter or manner. We will only transcribe, as a sample of the language at the commencement of the reign of Edward I., and for the sake of the curious evidence it supplies in confirmation of a fact to which we have more than once had occasion to draw attention, the short passage about the prevalence of the French tongue in England down even to this date, more than two centuries after the Conquest:—

"Thus come lo! Engelonde into Normannes honde,
And the Normans ne couthe speke tho bote her owe speche,
And speke French as dude atom, and here chyldren dude
al so teche,

So that hey men of thys lond, that of her blod come,
Holdeth alle thulke speche that hii of hem nome.
Vor bote a man couthe French, me tolthof hym well lute;
Ac lowe men holdeth to Englyss and to her kunde speche

Ich wene ther be ne man in world contreyes none
That ne holdeth to her kunde speche, but Engelond one.
Ac wel me wot vor to conne bothe wel yt ys,
Vor the more that a man con the more worth he ys."

That is, literally:—Thus, lo! England came into the hand of the Normans; and the Normans could not speak then but their own speech, and spoke French as they did at home, and their children did all so teach; so that high men of this land, that of their blood come, retain all the same speech that they of them took. For, unless a man know French, men talk of him little; and lowmen hold to English, and to their natural speech yet. I imagine there be no people in any country of the world that do not hold to their natural speech, but in England alone. But well I wot it is well for to know both; for the more that a man knows, the more worth he is.


Along with this Chronicle may be mentioned the similar performance of Robert Mannyng, otherwise called Robert de Brunne (from his birth-place,* Brunne, or Bourne, near Deping, or Market Deeping, in Lincolnshire), although it belongs to a date more than half a century later. The work of Robert de Brunne is in two parts, both translated from the French; the first, coming down to the death of Cadwallader, from Wace's Brut; the second, extending to the death of Edward I., from the French or Romance chronicle written by Piers, or Peter, de Langtoft, a canon regular of St. Austin, at Bridlington, in Yorkshire, who has been mentioned iu a former page, and who appears to have lived at the same time with De Brunne. Langtoft, whose chronicle, though it has not been printed, is preserved in more than one manuscript, begins with Brutus; but De Brunne, for sufficient reasons it is probable, preferred Wace for the earlier portion of the story, and only took to his own

* See a valuable note on De Brunne in Sir Frederick Madden's 'Havelok.' Introduction, p. 13.

countryman and contemporary when deserted by his elder Norman guide. It is the latter part of his work, however, which, owing to the subject, has been thought most valuable or interesting in modern times; it has been printed by Hearne, under the title of ' Peter Langtoft's Chronicle (as illustrated and improved by Robert of Brunne), from the death of Cadwalader to the end of K. Edward the First's reign; transcribed, and now first published, from a MS. in the Inner Temple Library,' 2 vols. 8vo., Oxford, 1725. This part, like the original French of Langtoft, is in Alexandrine verse of twelve syllables; the earlier part, which remains in manuscript, is in the same octosyllabic verse in which its original, VVace's chronicle, is written. The work is stated to have been finished in 1338. Ritson (Bibliographia Poetica, p. 33) is very wroth with Warton for describing De Brunne as having '' scarcely more poetry than Robert of Gloucester;"-—"which only proves," quoth Ritson, "his want of taste or judgment." It maybe admitted that De Brunne's chronicle exhibits the language in a considerably more advanced state than that of Gloucester, and also that he appears to have more natural fluency than his predecessor; his work also possesses greater interest from his occasionally speaking in his own person, and from his more frequent expansion and improvement of his French original by new matter; but for poetry, it would probably require a "taste or judgment " equal to Ritson's own to detect much of it. It is in the Prologue prefixed to the first part of his Chronicle that the famous passage occurs about the romance of Sir Tristrem, its strange or quaint English, and its authors, Thomas and Ercildoune (assumed to be the same per

son), and Kendalc, which has given rise to so much speculation and controversy. De Brunne is also the author of two other rhyming translations; one, of the Latin prose treatise of his contemporary, the Cardinal Bonaventura, ' Dc Coena et Passione Domini, et Pcenis S. Mariae Virginis,' which title he converts into ' Medytaciuns of the Soper of our Lorde Jhesu, and also of his Passyun, and eke of the Peynes of hys swete Modyr mayden Marye;' the other a very free paraphrase of what has commonly been described as the ' Manuel de Peche' (or Manual of Sin) of Bishop Grosthead, but is, in fact, the work with the same title written by William de Wadington.* Copious extracts from these, and also from other translations of which it is thought that Dc Brunne may possibly be the author, are given by Warton, who, if he has not sufficiently appreciated the poetical merits of this writer, has at any rate awarded him a space which ought to satisfy his most ardent admirers/!1


Other obscure writers in verse of the earlier part of the fourteenth century were Richard Rolle, often called Richard of Hampole, or Richard Hampole, a hermit of the order of St. Augustine, who lived in or near the nunnery of Hampole, four miles from Doncaster, and after his death, in 1349, was honoured as a saint, and who is the author, or reputed author, of various metrical paraphrases of parts of Scripture, and other prolix theological effusions, all of which that are preserved (Ritson has enumerated seventeen of them) slumber in manuscript,

* See ante, p. 190; and note by Price to Warton, i. 62. t Hist. of Eng. Poet., i. pp. 62—103.

and are not likely to be disturbed; and Adam Davie, who rather preceded Rolle, being reckoned the only poet belonging to the reign of Edward II., and to whom are also attributed a number of religious pieces, preserved only in one manuscript, much damaged, in the Bodleian, besides the metrical romance of the Life of Alexander, of which two copies exist, one in the Bodleian, the other in the library of Lincoln's Inn; but there is every reason for believing that this last-mentioned work, which is printed in Weber's collection under the title of ' Kyng Alisaunder," and is one of the most spirited of our early romances, is by another author. There is no ground for assigning it to Davie except the circumstance of the Bodleian copy being bound up with his Visions, Legends, Scripture Histories, and other much more pious than poetical lucubrations; and its style is as little in his way as its subject.


Putting aside the authors of some of the best of the early metrical romances, whose names are generally or universally unknown, perhaps the earliest writer of English verse who deserves the name of a poet is Lawrence Minot, who lived and wrote about the middle of the fourteenth century, and of the reign of Edward III. His ten poems in celebration of the battles and victories of that king, preserved in the Cotton MS., Galba E. ix., which the old catalogue had described as a manuscript of Chaucer, the compiler having been misled by the name of some former proprietor, Richard Chamfer, inscribed on the volume, were discovered by Tyrwhitt while collecting materials for his edition of the Canterbury

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