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PETRONYLLA.— The Lyfe of a Virgyn called Petronylla.
Empryntyd by Rychard Pynson. n. d. 4to, pp. 8. Of this very early specimen of Pynson's press, mention is made by Dibdin in his Typog. Antiq., vol. ii, p. 538, and in the Bibl. Ang. Poet, p. 538. It consists of four leaves only, the first being occupied with Pynson's device or monogram, and is printed in Gothic letter. The poem is written in eightline stanzas, and describes the perfect life of a holy virgin called Petronylla, the daughter of Saint Peter, who being afflicted with sickness, bore it with so much patience, and lived in such virtuous innocence, that she was accepted in the Lord's sight, and numbered as one of the five wise virgins that bore their lamps before Jesus; and ever abiding in virtue
This Petronylla might cleyme of very right
To hir spouse oure blessyd Lorde Jesu. The legend then relates that Peter, sitting at table with his disciples, was upbraided by Titus, that while he made others whole, he left his own daughter in her sickness, on which he bade her arise from her bed, and serve them at the table, but afterwards commanded her to bed again of her sickness, as a further trial of her humility for Christ's sake.
Earl Flaccus, a rich nobleman, desiring to marry her, she gave answer that he should, on the day of her wedding, bring matrons, wives, and maidens to convey her to his dwelling. Flaccus overjoyed at this apparent acceptance of his proposal, made ready for her reception, while she lay wasting away in sickness, along with Fellicula, a confidant, who was privy to her secrets. Flaccus, being deluded of his purpose, was brought to her bedside by a priest named Nychomede, only to see her die. Fellicula living seven days after, was slain by Flaccus in revenge, together with Nychomede, and his body cast into the Tiber. Their martyrdom being " with rosys rubyfyed," while
With white lylles was holy Petronylla
Then comes the “Oracio" or applications, commencing :
Petronilla virgyn of great vertue
Callyd for thy merytes myrrour of pacience. Herbert's description of this little poem, vol. I, p. 285 (which is copied verbatim by Dibdin), was taken from a copy in the collection of the late George Mason, Esq. There was another, or the same, in the library of Major Pearson, which was bought by Horne Tooke in 1788, for 31. 198., and at his sale, No. 444, produced 61. 28. 6d. Mr. Towneley's copy, pt. i, No. 631, sold for 6l. 68.; this was the one described in the Bibl. Ang. Poet., which was afterwards in the extensive collection of Mr. Heber, pt. iv, No. 1810, from whence it passed into that of the late B. H. Bright, Esq., at the sale of whose library in 1845, No. 4369, it was purchased by its present owner.
Bound by Charles Lewis,
PhiliPOTT, (THOMAS) - Poems. By Thomas Philipott, Master of
Arts, (Sometimes) of Clare-Hall in Cambridge.
London Printed by R. A. for Henry Shepheard, and William Ley, and are to be sold at the Bible in Tower-street, and at Paul's Chain, neer Doctors Commons. 1646. 8vo, pp. 64.
The volume is dedicated “To the Right Honourable, as well by the merit of vertue, as desert of birth, Mildmay, Earle of Westmerland, Baron Despenser, and Bergherst.” After this is a metrical address “ To the Reader," and verses “ To the Authour" styled “Encomiasticon,” signed “Philomusus, T. C.” At the end of the book is a Table of Contents. The volume consists of a number of short poems and elegies on various subjects, amounting to fifty in all, among which may be enumerated the following," To Sir Henry New, upon his re-edifying the Church of Charleton in Kent”; “On the death of Mr. Francis Thornhill, slain in a single Duell"; “On the death of Sir Simon Harcourt, slain at the taking in of CarigsMain Castle in Ireland "; “On the death of Mr. George Sandys”; “An Elegie offered up to the Memorie of Anne, Countesse of Caernarvon” “An Elegie on Robert, Earle of Caernarvon, slain at the battell of Newberie"; “On the death of the much admired and much lamented, Mr. Francis Quarles”; “A thankfull acknowledgement to those Benefactours that contributed to the re-edifying of Clare-Hall in Cambridge." The following may be taken as a favourable specimen of the author's powers of versification from “ A Divine Hymne":
O thou who art all light, from whose pure beames
The infant day-light streames,
Those mystick Characters,
Do owe their stocke of Light;
Like a Bridegroom does appeare,
With Lights Embroidery drest,
That Planet with each Ray
Of thy Celestiall fire
A flame blowne up in me
Into the dark horison
Into a pious rill
The prospect of my soule,
Amidst its Christalline,
Learn to spell Christs Crosse aright.
The casquet of the rock,
The thirst of Israel ;
That lies wrapt up within
Two fountaines in my eyes,
First fed and kindled there.
See a brief notice of this volume in the Restituta, vol. i, p. 232. the son of John Philipot, Somerset Herald, who also published several works, and is supposed to have been the compiler of the Villare Cantianum, or Description of Kent, fol., 1659. Bindley's copy of these poems sold at his sale, pt. ii, No. 2278, for 21. 128. 6d. A copy in the Bibl. Ang. Poet., p. 563, in Morocco, is marked at 31. 38., and a second at 21. 168.
Bound in Maroon coloured Morocco — gilt leaves.
PIERCE PLOWMAN'S VISION.- The Vision of Pierce Plowman, now
fyrst imprynted by Roberte Crowley, dwellyng in Ely rentes in Holburne. Anno Domini. 1550.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendū solum.
It will be unnecessary, after what has been already written upon the subject, by such men as Warton, Percy, Ritson, Tyrwhitt, Ellis, Campbell, Whitaker, and Wright, to offer many remarks upon the poem itself, or upon the curious structure of the versification of “The Vision of Pierce Plowman." It is generally reputed, on the authority of Robert Crowley, its earliest editor, to have been written by Robert Langelande, or Longland, “A Shropshere man, borne in Cleybirie, aboute viii myles from Maluerne hilles," i.e., at Cleobury Mortimer, in Shropshire, who, after receiving his education at Oxford, became a monk at Malvern Abbey. And there is a very early note in a copy of the poem, preserved in the library of Trinity College, Dublin (cited by Mr. Wright, Introd., p. ix.), which attributes the authorship to William de Langland, son of one Stacy de Rokayle. This is decisive in our opinion that Langland was the name of the author, whichever authority we may be inclined to adopt for the Christian name. But though the question as to its authorship is involved in some uncertainty, “ several local allusions and other circumstances,” says Mr. Wright, its latest editor, “seem to prove that it was composed on the borders of Wales, and that its author resided in the neighbourhood of Maluerne hilles." It is supposed also, from allusions made to events which happened at that period, to have been written about the year 1362, in the reign of Edward III. The work is divided into twenty distinct “Passus" or sections, recording a series of visions, which the author supposes to have appeared to him when fallen asleep by the side of a stream on the Malvern hills. Under this allegorical form, and in a spirit of religious satire, the author has, with great humour and the keenest ridicule, censured the vices of the different orders of men, and especially of the clergy, both regular and secular, against whose corruptions, immoralities, and superstitions, he inveighs with great severity. “His work,” says Mr. Ellis, “ may be considered as a long moral and religious discourse; and, as such is full of good sense and piety, but it is farther rendered interesting by a succession of incidents, enlivened sometimes by strong satire, and sometimes by the keenest ridicule on the vices of all orders of men, and particularly of the religious. It is ornamented also by many fine specimens of descriptive poetry, in which the genius of the author appears to great advantage."
The Vision of Pierce Plowman is written in a species of versification, adopted from the old Anglo-Saxon and Gothic poets, consisting of a perpetually recurring alliteration, without rhyme, one of the rules of which is, that each distich or couplet should contain three principal words beginning with the same letter or sound, two of them being, generally, placed in the first line or hemistich, and one in the second. “This imposed constraint,” Mr. Warton has remarked, “ of seeking identical initials, and the affectation of obsolete English, by demanding a constant and necessary departure from the natural and obvious forms of expression, while it circumscribed the powers of our author's genius, contributed also to render his manner extremely perplexed, and to disgust the reader with obscurities.” But it has been well observed, in opposition to Warton, that the author's alliteration is no more embarrassing a restraint to his ear or fancy than rhyme, or than any other well-arranged system of versification; and that if the construction of the verse be only noted, “ the metre," as Crowley, the first editor of the poem, justly observes, “shall be very pleasant to reade.” And with regard to the affectation of obsolete English, the work being composed for common readers, “ the English,” says Crowley, “is according to the time it was written in, and the sence somewhat darcke, but not so harde but that it may be understande of suche as will not sticke to breake the shell of the nutte for the kernelles sake.” These characteristics, as to the construction of the metre, run through the poem, from which, as by the late reprints, it is now become