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fashionable cultivation of the French language. We may mention that a beautiful early Anglo-Norman MS. of Guy of Warwick is preserved in the Arundel collection in the College of Arms. It is certain, according to Dugdale, that the story of the famous Guy Earl of Warwick was existing in tapestry on the walls of Warwick castle in the year 1398, when it is mentioned in a special grant, made by Richard II., to Thomas Holland, earl of Kent. Mr. Warton is of opinion, however, that the language of these metrical romances underwent considerable changes, at a later period, in their transcription from the more ancient and simple narratives. The romance of Sir Guy, the authorship of which has been attributed, by Bale and others, to Walter of Exeter, a Franciscan friar, but without any certainty, was first printed in French at Paris by Anthoine Couteau for Francois Regnault. 7. March 1525, small folio, in Gothic letter, of which a copy sold at the Roxburghe sale, No. 6143, for 331. 128., and at the White Knight's do., No. 1968, for 271. 68. Of this rare edition, which is ornamented with several wood engravings, the editor possesses a beautiful copy, bound by Bauzonnet, from the collection of the Prince of Esseling. An English edition of it in verse appeared about three years later, from the press of William Copland, 4to, black letter, without date. A perfect copy of this edition was purchased by Mr. Heber at the Roxburghe sale, No. 3228, for 43l. 18., and at the sale of the library of the latter in 1834, pt. iv, No. 961, was resold for 251. A later edition was printed by John Cawood in 4to, no date, in verse, and numerous abridgments of this romance, both in prose and verse, published in the common chap book form, have appeared at various times since.
Of the present version by Rowland, which varies in some degree from the older copies, the first edition was printed in 1607, 4to, and was followed by others, viz., by Edw. Allde, 4to, without date, in 1654, 1667, 1679 and 1682, and probably more frequently still; all of them, from the great popularity of the work, are now of considerable rarity, and generally bring high prices. The title-page is chiefly filled with a large woodcut, representing the hero Sir Guy on horseback, in full armour, with a large plume of feathers on his helmet, and another on his horse's head, holding a boar's head on his spear, and a lion walking tamely by his side. There are also six other woodcuts in the volume, of coarse design and execution, illustrative of the principal events of the narrative. It has a prose dedication to Philip, Earl of Montgomery, Lord Herbert of Shurland, followed by a poetical address “To the Noble English Nation," another of three stanzas, “To the Honourable Ladies of England," and " The Argument” of the poem. The first of these
thus alludes to the style of literature which then prevailed of epigrams and satires and verses addressed to patrons for hire.
Renowned English! wbom our Lines invite
To view the Acts of Warwick's worthy Knight
Whose deed of old, writ with an antient Pen
Have now out-worn the memories of men
Most strange in this same Poet-plenty-age,
When Epigrams and Satyrs biting, rage :
Where Paper is imployed every day
To carry Verse about the Town for pay:
That Stories should intomb'd with Worthies lye,
And Fame, through age exstinct, obscurely dye.
Deign to accept what Recreations hours
Have spent upon this Countrey-man of ours :
It seems too far unkind, that in these dayes
We toyl so much in other Nations praise,
That we neglect the famousing of our own
Which over-matchfull unto them were known.
ENGLAND hath bred such men of Valour try'd,
Could match all Kingdoms in the world beside. The poem is composed in six-line stanzas, and is divided into twelve cantos, each of them preceded by a heading of four lines. Like most of the other works of the same author, it betrays strong inarks of haste and carelessness, which is apparent in many parts, and especially in the second encounter of Guy with Colbrond the giant in the twelfth canto, whom he had already slain in the sixth, and had sent his head to the emperor. But although betokening evident signs of haste, some of the descriptions are written with considerable force and skill, as witness the spirited accouut of Guy's rencontre with the dragon.
Passing the Desart now, where shady trees
Embrac'd each other in their green-leav'd arms
Where Lady Eccho's dwelling best agrees
And little birds sing fearless of their barms :
They chanc'd to find a silver-streaming spring,
Which water to them was a pleasant thing.
There with the crystal streams they cool their heat,
And slake their thirst they had endured long;
There did they make the herbs and roots their meat,
To satisfie for Nature's hungry wrong:
But on a sudden at a noise they wonder,
A Lyon roar'd as if great Jore did thunder.
Heraud (quoth Guy) to horse, let's be prepar'd,
And leave our dinner till another day :
Here is a sound, I never was so scar'd,
I'le seek it out, it comes from yonder way:
Some Monster, or some Devil makes a noise,
For on my life, it is no humane voice.
So forth he rides, and underneath a hill
He finds a Dragon with a Lyon met:
Brave sport (said he) I pray fight on your fill,
And then upon the strongest I will set :
Which of the twain that first aside doth start,
I am a friend that will maintain his part.
The Dragon winds his crooked knotted tail
About the Lyons legs, to cast him so:
The Lyon fastens on his rugged scale,
And nimbly doth avoid that overthrow :
Then tooth and nail, they cruelly tear and bite,
Maintaining long a fierce and bloody fight.
At last the Lyon faintly turns aside,
And looks about, as if he would be gone;
Nay then (quoth Guy) Dragon, have at your hide,
Defend thy Devils face, Ile lay it on.
With that couragiously to work he goes,
And deals the Dragon very manly blows.
The ugly beast, with slaggy wings displai'd,
Comes at him mainly, with most dreadful paws,
Whose very looks might make a man afraid
So terrible seem'd his devouring jaws :
Wide gaping, grisly, like the mouth of Hell,
More horrible then pen or tongue can tell.
His blazing eyes did burn like living fire,
And forth his smoaking gorge came sulphur smoke
Aloft his speckled breast he lifted higher
Then Guy could reach at length of weapons stroke:
Thus in most ireful mood himself he bore,
And gave a cry as Seas are wont to rore.
With that his mortal sting he stretched out,
Exceeding far the sharpest point of steel;
Then turns and winds his scaly tail about
The Horses legs, more nimble than an Eele:
With that Guy hews upon him with his blade,
And three mens strength to every stroke he laid.
One fatal blow he gave him in the side,
From thence did issue streams of swarthy blood;
The Sword had made a passage broad and wide,
That deep into the Monster's gore Guy stood:
Then with a second blow he overtook him
Which made the Dragon turn to have forsook him.
Nay then, quoth he, thou hast not long to live,
I see thou faintest at the point to fall;
Then such a stroak of death he did him give
That down comes Dragon, crying out withall
So horrible, the sound did more affright
The Conqueror, then all the dreadful fight.
The eleventh canto, commencing with a description of Guy's "painful pilgrim life," contains some fine thoughts expressed in adequate language, and will afford us a favourable specimen of the poem.
Behold the man that sought contentions out,
Whose recreation was in angry arms;
And for his Venus rang'd the world about,
To find out dreadful combats, fierce alarms.
From former disposition alienate,
Shuns all occasion may procure debate.
In his own wrongs by vow he will not strike,
Let injury impose what strife can do,
Abuses shall not force him to dislike
For he hath now fram'd Nature thereunto:
And taken patience by the hand for's guide,
To lead his thoughts where meekness doth abide.
No worldly joy can giue his mind content,
Delights are gone, as they had never been:
His only care is how he may repent
His spending Youth about the serving sin :
And fashion Age to look like contrite sorrow,
That little time to come, which life doth borrow.
His looks were sad, complexion pale and wan,
His diet of the meanest, hard and spare:
His life he led like a religious man,
His Habit, poor and homely, thin and bare;
His dignities and honors were forgot,
His Warwicks Earldom he regarded not.
Sometimes he would go search into a grave,
And there be finds a rotten dead man's skull ;
And with the same a conference would have,
Examining each vanity at full:
And then himself would answer for the head,
His own objection in the dead mans stead.
If thou hast bin some Monarch, where's the Queen P
Or who in fear of thy stern look's do stand ?
Death hath made Conquest of my great renown;
My golden Scepter, in a fleshly hand
Is taken from me by another King,
And I in dust am made a rotten thing.
Hast thou been some great Counsellor of State,
Whose potent wit did rule a mighty Realm ?
Where is the Policy thou hadst of late ?
Consum'd and gone, even like an idle dream.
I bave not so much wit as will suffice
To kill the worms that in my coffin lies.
Perhaps thou wast some beauteous Ladies face,
For whom right strange adventures haue bin wrought
Even such as (when it was my loving case)
For my dear kindest Pholice I have fought.
Perhaps about this skull there was a skin
Fairer then Hellens was enclosed in.
And on this scalp, so wormy eaten bare,
(Where nothing now but bone we may behold)
Where Nature's ornaments, such locks of hair,
As might induce the eye to deem them gold ;
And chrystal Eyne to those two hollow caves ;
And here such lips, as love, for kissing craves.
But where's the substance of this beauty sent,
So lovely, precious in the sight of men ?
With powerful death, unto the dust it went ;
Grew loathsome, filthy, came to nothing then.
And what a picture of it doth remain
To tell the wise, All beauty is but vain.
Such memories he often would prefer,
Of mortal frailty, and the force of death :
To teach the flesh how apt it is to err,
And poste repentance off, till latest breath.
Thus would he in the worlds contempt reprove,
All that seduce the soul from heavenly love.