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RHODES, (HUGH.) — The Book of Nurture for men seruants and
Children (with Stans puer ad mensam) newly corrected, very utile and necessary unto all youth. [Colophon.] Imprinted at London in Paules Church Yarde at the Signe of the Lamb by Abraham Veale. n.d. 4to, pp. 24, blk. lett.
Another extremely rare edition of this popular tract, not noticed by bibliographers, probably printed not much later than the preceding. It varies considerably from that impression, as will be perceived from a comparison of the commencement of the poetical portion, the orthography of which is more modern than that of the former.
Al ye that would learn and then would be called wise
Such as of custome use it in youth, in age they will begin, We may here also mention another still more rare and valuable edition of this curious volume, quite unknown, printed by Thomas East, in oblong 4to, black letler, 1568, with several woodcuts, a copy of which, in the collection of the late Mr. Bright, No. 4718, sold for 161. 168. This production from the press of East is much earlier than any other registered work by him, and a great curiosity. The present edition begins like the last, on the first page sig. A.1., but has only twelve leaves, whereas the former has thirteen. It is somewhat soiled on the first and last leaf, but is otherwise quite perfect.
It should be observed that the “Stans puer ad mensam” is an imitation of one version of a poem under the same title, and printed several times in the sixteenth century. Compare it with a copy in the Reliquiæ Antiquæ, vol. i, p. 156, which commences:
My dere childe first thiself enable
Half bound in Russia.
Richard I.- Kynge Rycharde cuer du lyon.
Colophon. Thus endeth the story of ye noble kõge Rycharde cure de lyon. Imprynted at London in the Fletestrete at yo sygne of ye sonne by Wynkyn de Worde. The yere of our lorde M.ccccc. and xxviii (1528). 4to, blk. lett.
Of the valuable and interesting English metrical romance of “Kynge Rycharde cuer du lyon,” three early editions are known to us - two printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 4to, blk. lett., 1509 and 1528, and one by William Copland, 4to, blk. lett., without date. They are each of them of the most extreme rarity. The present edition of this curious poem is of more importance than most of the ancient impressions of the metrical romances by our early printers, inasmuch as no perfect manuscript of it has yet been discovered; and it is almost unnecessary to observe that the text, being printed from MSS., or rather, perhaps, reprinted from one which was taken from a manuscript, is of great authenticity. The warlike exploits and chivalric virtues of the King of the Lion Heart were long great favourites of the English public, and the legend of the Lyon was a common article of the popular historical creed in the time of Shakespeare, who mentions, in the play of King John,
Richard that robb'd the lion of his heart
And fought the holy wars in Palestine.
Needs must you lay your heart at his dispose
The awless lion could not wage the fight
The romance was originally composed in the Anglo-Norman language, and has been ascribed by Hearne, though probably without much reason, to the pen of Robert de Brunne; but it was translated into English verse at a very early period, an imperfect copy of the fourteenth century being preserved in the Auchinlech MS. in the Advocate's Library at Edinburgh. A later copy, also imperfect, is contained in a valuable MS. preserved in the library of Caius College, Cambridge, and was used by Weber in his edition of the work printed in his Metrical Romances, 1819, vol. ii, 8vo, the deficiencies having been supplied from an early printed edition, and a fragment belonging to the late Mr. Douce, now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, No. ccxxviii. There is also a fourth manuscript, but imperfect like the others, being a mere fragment only, in the Harleian collection in the British Museum, No. 4690.
The title is printed in black letter, within a riband, over a woodcut frontispiece of King Richard in armour on horseback attended by his squire. On the reverse of the title is “ The prologue," as follows:
Lorde kynge of glorye
In fraunce these rymes were wrought
God gyue them good endynge. It is more than probable that, as Warton observes, the leisure of monastic life may have contributed to the production of this metrical romance; and that though originally derived from a French or Norman prototype, as nearly all our romances were, it was probably translated by a monk in some religious house. It is well known that the libraries of our monasteries abounded with tales and romances, and in the published contents of more than one of them we read of the Gesta Ricardi Regis, &c. We see from the prologue just quoted, the subjects named of some of those tales and romances which “men rede in ryme” in those days; but, above all, the Crusades introduced a new era and a new spirit and interest in our early heroic poetry. Many were the legends written about the Lion-hearted King so celebrated for his ardent love of chivalry; and his warlıke achievements in the Holy Land were a favourite theme of the minstrels, whom he so munificently patronized and encouraged with his favour, and loaded with honours and rewards.
The work is divided into sixteen chapters, most of which are headed with a curious woodcut illustrative of the chief event therein described. The subjects of the chapters are here given : “Here begynneth the hystorye of kynge Rycharde cure du lyon, and fyrst
of his byrth. “How kynge Rycharde made a Justynge. “How knyge Rycharde toke shyppyoge. “Of the loue bytwene ye kynges doughter and kynge Rycharde, and after
how y® kynge Rycharde slewe a lyon, and how he ete ye herte of the lyon all rawe, wherfore he had ye name, stronge Rycharde cure
“How kynge Rycharde sent for his ransome. “How the kynge of fraunce betrayed kynge Rycharde. “ How thre of kynge Rychardes shyppes were perysshed in the see, and
how the emperour put his men in pryson. “ How kynge Rycharde gaue batayll to the emperour and how ye empe
rour fledde awaye for fere that he had, and there was slayne many of
the emperours folke, and after that he wente streyght to Acrys. “ How kynge Rycharde cutte a two a grete chayne, and how an Arche
bysshop tolde hym the sorowe that they had suffre[d] afore. “How kynge Rycharde wan ye cyte of Acrys. “Yet of an other batayll, and how kynge Rycharde wan it, and also wan
the cyte of Arsour. “ How kynge Rycharde asseyged the cyte of babyloyne, and how he wan
it, and of two deuylles, that one in lykenes of (a) mare, and that other in lykenes of a colte, wherof ye sowdan sente ye colte to kynge
Rycharde. “How kynge Rycharde and the kynge of fraunce were wrothe togyder,
and how ye kynge of fraunce wente home to his londe. “How kynge Rycharde and his men made the walles of a cyte wbiche
hyght chalens, and how the duke of astryche departed from him, bycause of yo rebuke he gaue hym bycause he wolde not do as he
dyde, and how kynge Rycharde wan the castell of daron. “How kynge Rycharde smote downe an ymage of marble, and how he
slewe fyue sarasynes that were within ye sayd image, and of many
other maters. “How kynge Rycharde was slayne before the castell gaylande, and how
the castell was wonne, and all were slayne that were therin.” The peculiar circumstance from which the romance is designated, and to which Shakespeare was indebted for the allusion above quoted, is related in the fourth chapter of the poem. This achievement, which gave to Richard his distinguishing appellation, is related at large by Bishop Percy in his Essay on the Ancient Metrical Romances, in the third volume of the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, p. 17, edition 1812, and as it is one of the most striking events ascribed to King Richard, and will afford a favourable example of this interesting romance, it will probably not be unacceptable to the Reader.
King Richard, with two other knights, Foulke Doyley and Thomas of Multon, on their return from the Holy Land, travelling in disguise as