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does not vary from the preceding. At the end of the Vision, the signatures of which run to Ii2, the Crede is added, for the first time, in the same volume with the Vision, being, as the title states, neuer imprinted with the booke before." The title, Pierce, the Ploughman's Crede, is on a separate leaf, on the reverse of which are the seven lines of address " To the Reader," which we have given in our account of Wolfe's edition. Then follows the poem, running to Sig. D 3, and on the last page the printer has repeated the glossary of “certayn hard woordes, used in this booke," which was given in the former edition of Wolfe. It is remarkahle that very few copies of this volume (of the few which are known to exist) contain the Crede at the end, although it is mentioned as a part of its contents on the title-page. Both Mr. Malone and Dr. Farmer have remarked that in all their researches they had never been able to meet with a copy of this edition which contained it. Copies of the Crede are, however, sometimes found separate from the Vision, of which one was sold in Mr. Heber's sale, pt. iv, No. 1222. A copy of this edition with the Crede sold at Sir Mark M. Sykes's sale, pt. ii, No. 783, for 3l. 18.; and the same copy again at Mr. Heber's do., pt. iv, No. 1220, for 31. 11s.; Nassau's do., pt. ii, No. 759, for 6l. ; Hanrott's do., pt. iii, No. 1561, for 4l. 4s.
Roscoe's copy, 1321, had formerly belonged to Pope, and contained, in his own hand-wrtting, the Argument of the Crede, as given at length by Warton in his Hist. Eng. Poet., vol. ii, p. 123.; and by Mr. Ellis in his Specim. Early Eng. Poet., vol. i, p. 159. It had afterwards belonged to Bishop Warburton, who, in 1770, presented it to the Rev. Thomas Warton, and although much stained, and the Crede was made up with manuscript, it sold at Mr. Roscoe's sale for 51. 178. 6d. The present fine copy sold at the Marquis of Blandford's sale, No. 3355, for 71.; and is
Bound in Dark Green Morocco, with joints, gilt leaves.
PIERCE PLOUGHMAN.- Visio Willi de Petro Ploughman, item
Visiones ejusdem de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest. Or, The Vision of William concerning Peirs Plouhman, and the Visions of the same concerning the Origin Progress, and Perfection of the Christian Life. Ascribed to Robert Langland, a Secular Priest of the County of Salop; and written in, or immediately after, the year MCCCLXII. Printed from a M.S. contemporary with the Author, collated with two others of great Antiquity, and exhibiting the original Text; Together with an Introductory Discourse, a perpetual Commentary, Annotations, and a Glossary.
By Thomas Dunham Whitaker, L.L.D. F.S.A. Vicar of Whalley, and Rector of Heysham in Lancashire.
London: Printed for John Murray, Albemarle Street. By Joseph Harding, Printer, St. John's Square, London. MDCCCXIII. 4to, blk. lett.
The text of this very splendid edition is unfortunately taken from an inferior manuscript formerly in the collection of Sir R. Smyth, afterwards in that of Mr. Heber, pt. ii, 973, MSS. (by whom it was lent to Dr. Whitaker), and now in the British Museum, MSS. addit., 10,574; and the editor has fallen into a great number of inaccuracies, some of the most serious of which have been noticed by Sir Fredk. Madden and Mr. Wright. The latter writer is of opinion that Dr. Whitaker has entirely mistaken the dialect in which the work was originally composed, which he calls “a semiSaxon jargon in the midst of which he was brought up, and hears daily spoken on the confines of Lancashire and the West Riding of the County of York,” but which, if Langland was the author, could not have been the dialect of a Shropshire man. And it has been observed by one who was a native of that county, and well versed in its dialect, that many words occur in the poem peculiar to that dialect, which the writer could trace in no other county. Dr. Whitaker also, from motives of delicacy, has omitted some few passages relating to the lives and manners of the monks and priests, on account of their licentiousness, which may be found in the earlier editions by Crowley and Rogers.
This magnificent edition, which was originally published at eight guineas, is printed in black letter, in large quarto size, with elegant woodcut initial letters, and other cuts, and contains not only a long and learned preface or introduction by its accomplished editor, comprising an analysis of the entire poem, but is also enriched at the bottom of each page of the text with a laborious and elaborate paraphrase or commentary, “ principally intended to trace the connection of the author's argument, and to develope the progress of his ideas.” It is also still further illustrated by some annotations, and by a glossary at the end.
As the text of Dr. Whitaker's varies so considerably, both from the early editions by Crowley, and also the latest one by Mr. Wright, noticed in the succeeding article, it will be necessary to give a short extract from the opening of the poem, in order to exhibit the nature and importance of these variations, and to enable anyone possessing manuscripts of this poem to judge of the difference between the two texts :
In a some seyson, whan softe was the sonne
Worchynge and wandrynge. as the worlde asketh Notwithstanding the inaccuracies and defects to which we have so freely alluded, this, which is, bibliographically speaking, the most handsome edition yet published, will still have some literary value, were it only for the introduction, or merely from the laborious paraphrase, which, though not always to be depended upon, is an useful assistance to the general reader, and we think the example might be followed with good effect in many antiquarian works. The text itself, as we have before observed, is unquestionably an uncritical one.
Dr. Whitaker, we believe, had at one time intended to have printed an edition of this poem, with the same accompaniments, in a smaller form, and with roman type instead of black letter, but the design was afterwards given up when a small portion of it was already printed.
PIERS PLOUGHMAN. - The vision and the creed of Piers Plough
man newly imprinted. With Notes and a Glossary. By Thomas Wright, M.A., F.R.S., &c. In Two Volumes. Sm. 8vo. London. William Pickering. MDCCCXXXXII.
Charles Whittingham Printer Chiswick.
The text of this convenient and valuable edition, embracing both the Vision and the Creed, which may be considered as containing the only text of the Vision of Piers Ploughman entitled to any critical authority, is taken from a very ancient MS. in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, undoubtedly contemporary with the author of the poem, with a few various readings from another manuscript in the same library. Mr. Wright has judiciously printed from one good manuscript, instead of making up a text from a variety, which must necessarily be accomplished in defiance of grammar, when we are dealing with English manuscripts of the middle ages, where no two scribes would employ always the same idiom. This edition contains also an able and well written introduction by Mr. Wright, together with some few notes, and has the advantage of possessing a very good and copious glossary. Dr. Whitaker's edition, independently of its inaccuracies, was too large and expensive for general use, and could only find a place in the libraries of the wealthy; the literary world in general, and the admirers of this specimen of our early national poetry in particular, are therefore highly indebted to the labours of Mr. Wright, not only for affording a good text of this work, one of the earliest original poems of any length in our language, but also for the portable and convenient size and inexpensive form in which it has been given to the reader. We
may mention that the text of a MS. in the Bodleian library (MS. Rawl. Poet, 38) is very similar to that printed by Mr. Wright.
The Creed is printed from the first edition by Reynold Wolfe in 1553, both of the only two known manuscripts of this poem having been written after the date of this printed edition, “from which," says Mr. Wright, “they appear to have been copied.” He has differed from former editors in not printing the verses in long lines, as they stand in the manuscripts and are given in the preceding editions, but has printed the lines in couplets; and we are quite disposed to agree with him in thinking that “the alliterative verse reads much more harmoniously in the short couplets than in the long lines.”
VOL. V. PART I.
Having already in the previous articles on this subject quoted a few lines from the commencement of the poem, with the view of shewing the various readings of the different texts employed by each editor, it
may be as
well to give a short specimen of the text of the version used by Mr. Wright, in order that the reader may see the variations from the former editions, and especially from that by Dr. Whitaker: In a somer seson
Than gan I meten
A merveillous swevene
That I was in a wildernesse
Wiste I nevere where,
And as I biheeld into the eest
An heigh to the sonne,
I seigh a tour on a toft
A deep dale bynethe,
A dongeon therinne,
With depe diches and derke
And dredfulle of sighte.
A fair feeld ful of folk
Fond I ther bitwene,
Of alle manere of men
The meene and the riche,
Werchynge and wandrynge ·
As the world asketh.
It sweyed so murye. The present copy is printed on green paper, being one of six copies only printed upon coloured paper, and is bound by Hayday,
In White Vellum extra, gilt leaves.
PIERCE PLOUGHMAN'S CREDE. — Pierce the Ploughmans Crede.
[Colophon.] Imprinted at London by Reynold Wolfe.
Anno Domini M.D.LIII. (1553.) 4to, pp. 32, blk. lett. It must not be concluded, because the Crede of Pierce Ploughman was printed in the same volume with one of the editions of the Vision, and in imitation of the same form of verse, that therefore it was the production of the same author, as this poem is of much later date, and was not composed till after the death of Wickliffe, which took place in 138 1. Mr. Wright, in his new edition of the Crede, from the mention of Wickliffe, and the per