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time. It is unnecessary to enter into particulars here' concerning any of them, as they do not appear to

composed by the Litter, whp has also left us another work in French prose. tSee this article in Tanner^ Bibl. Br;'/.]---Even as late as the time of Chaucer Gower wrote his Speculum Medltantis in French, but whether in verse or prose is uncertain. John Stowe, who was a diligent searcher after mss. had never seen this work, [Anr.ah, p. 32C,] nor does either Bale er Pitts set down the beginning of it, as they generally do of the books which they have had in their hands. However one French poem of Gower's has been preserved. In ms. Harl. 3^60, it is connected with the Cons eft a Amanth by the following rubrick % "Puisqu'H ad dit ddevart'en Engloispar voic d'cflampte la "sotic dc cellui qui par amours airne par especial, dirra ore %t apres en Francois a tout hi rnonde en general une traitie fc■* lone les auctours, pour cffampler les amantsmarrJez,au fin "q'ils la sol dc leurs feints espousaillespourront par fine lolalte ".gUarder, et al honcur de dieu falvement tenir." Pr. Le crea~ tour de toute creature. It contains $$ stanzas of 7 verses each, in the last of which is the following apology for the language $

Al' universitedc tout 1c monde

Johan Gower cesle Ealadc cnyoie,

£t si jeo nai de Francois la faconde,

Pardoned moi qe jeo decco fotsvoicj i »_. 1

Jen suis Engloii, si quier par tiele voie

Eiire excuse.

Chaucer himself seems to have had no great opinion oftho performances of his countrymen in French, [Prof. to TcJ. of Love, id. 1541.] '* Certes," (fays he) ** there ben some that ** speke thyr poysy mater in Frenche, os whythe speche the *' Frenche men have an good a fantasye as we have in hearing *,' of French mennes EngJyihe." And he afterwards concludes with his usual good senle ; " Let then clerkes endyten in l.ac,tyn,for they have the propertye of science and the know*' inge in that facultye, and lette Frenchmen in theyr Frenche ** also endyte theyr queynt termef, for it is kyiuliy to theyr •* inouthes, and let us Ihewe our fantafyei in suche wurdes u "we lcrncdcn of our dames tonge."

have invented or imported from abroad any new modes of Versification by which the art could be at all advanced (j6), or even to have improved those

(56) It was necessary to qualify the assertion that the rhymer* of this period " did not invent or import from abroad any new ** modes of Versification," as in fact Robert of Brunne (in the passage referred to in n. 54,) has mentioned three or four forts of verse different from any which we have hitherto met with, and which appear to have been much cultivated (if not introduced) by the writers who flourished a little before himself:he calls them Cowee,Strangere,Eiiterlace,andBafton. Mr.Bridges, in a sensible letter to Thomas Hearne Z-^If*t0 Pffs. to Peter Langt. p. ciil,] pointed out these terms as particularly needing an explanation; but Thomas chose rather to stuff his book with accounts of the nunnery at Little Gidding,c3Jc.wIu"chcost him only the labour of transcribing. There can be little doubt, I think, that the rhymes called CowCe and Entcrlacee were derived from the t'crsm Caudati wdinterlaqueati of the Latin rhymers of that age. Though Robert of Brunne, in his TroJoguc, professes not to attempt these eleganciesof composition, yet lie has intermixed several passages in rhyme Couweej [See p. z6t>, 173, <*, 7, 8, 9, it aW\ and almost all the latter part of hii wort from the conquest is written in rhyme Euterlacee, each couplet rhyming-in the middle as well as at the end. [This was the nature of the Versus Intcrlaqueaft, according to the following specimen, ms. Harl. ipoz. j

Plausu* Grecoruin ] Ituc eccia et via claudit |
Intuiacelorum ] virgo ditjmffiina laiulio.]

1 cannot pretend to define the exact form of the rhyme called Ballon, but I dare fay it received its appellation from the Carmelite Robert Ballon, a celebrated Latin rhymer in the reigjis of Edward I. and II. [$ceTanncr,Bibt. Brit, in v. and Hearne's Pref. ta Fordux, p, 216, et feq.] His verses upon the batth* of Bannockbum, in 1313, are printed in the Appendix to For'6iin,p. 1570; they afford instances of all the whimsical comfciui'.icHa ofrhymcs which can well be conceived to fiiida place which were before in use. On the contrary, as their works were intended for the ear more than for the eye, to be recited rather than read, they were apt to be more attentive to their rhymes than to the exactness of their metres; from a presumption, I suppose, that the defeO or redundance of a syllable might be easily covered in the recitation, especially if accompanied, as it often was, by some musical in* strument.

§ 6. Such was, in general, the state of English poe* try at the time when Chaucer probably made his first essays. The vise of rhyme was established, not exclusively,(for the author of TheVifionsof Pierce Ploughman wrote after the year 13,50 (.57) without rhyme)

In the Latin heroic* metre. A4 to rhyme Strangere, I suspect (upon considering the whole passage in Robert of Brunne) that is was rather a general name, including1 all softs ot' uncommon rhymes, than appropriated to any particular species.

Upon the whole, if this account of these new modes of Versification (hall be allowed to be any thing like the truth, I hoj»e I Ihall be thought justified in having added, " that the arteouW not be at all advanced by them."

(?7j This is plaiti from sol. siS, edit. 1 yjo, where the yeas I3?o is named as a yeas of great scarcity. Indeed from the mention of the kitten in the tale of the Rattons, fob 3, 4,1 should suspect that the author wrote at the Tery end of the reign of Edward III. when Richard was become heir-apparent. -—The Visions of si. e. concerning-} Pierce Ploughman are generally ascribed to one Robert Langland; but the best mC that I have seen make the Christian name of the author William, without mentioning his surname: so in mf* Cotton, I'sfp. B. xv'i, at the end os page 1, U this rubftekf " Hie Incipit fo•* cundus pa-flu* de vifione tfilL'lmi de Petro Plouhman." And 1n ver. 5 of p. 2, inltead of " Amt s,iyde, (ot\ne,JIc?eJt tbtm F" the tns, has " Artdsaytki Vf\T\z,siepejt tlnu?" See also the account of ms. H.iri, ;37<*, in the Harleian catalogue.—I cai> bntTery generally, so that in this respect he had little to do but to imitate hi i predecessors. The metrical part of our poetry was capable of more improvement, by the polishing of the measures already in use, as well as by the introducing of new modes of Versification, and how far Chaucer actually contributed to the improvement of it in both or cither of these particulars we are row to consider.

§ 7. With respect to the regular rfletrcs then in us: they may be reduced, I think, to sour. Fiist, the

net help observing th.it these; Visions have been printed from fj faulty aiidiinpcrfcci a inf. that the author, whoever he was, would find itUibicult to recognize his own work. However, the judgment of the learned Dt«3.ors!lickcs.i;id Percy, [Grjtn. J. S. p. 117.—£-"/• es Anc* Pact. v. it. p. isio,j wii.Ii respect to tlie law* of his YeruJication is confirmed by the mss. Each of Ju» verses is in tad a ditiich composed os two verses after the Sa von form, without rhyme, and not reducible to any certain metre- I do not mean to fay that a few of bis versed may not be picked out consisting of fourteen and fifteen syllable*, and resembling the metre used in the Ormulum, and there are hill more of twelve and thirteen syllable*, which might pass fur very tolerable alexandrines j but then, on the other hand, there w a great number ofhii verses (wan anted for genuine by the belt mis.) which cannot by any mode of pronunciation be extended beyond nine or ten syllables ; so tliat it is impossible to imagine tlut his verse wa* intended to consist os any determinate number of syllables. It is as clear that his accents, upon which the harmony ot modern rythms depends, are not disposed according to any regular system. The siril division ot a verse is often troclvaick, ar-i the last iambick, and vice vers.. The only rule which he seems really to have prescribed to himself is wh.it has been taken notice of by his firtt editor, viz. "to have three wordes at the leaile in every verse whiche be•'ginnewitb some one letter." Crmwkys Pref. to edit. J550, !rdarnel, N

lone iambick metre (58), consisting of not more tliarf fifteen nor less than-fourteen-syllables, and broken

(j8) The most perfect example of this metrchas been given above, (n. 5*,) from the Ormulum. Each verse is composed of fifteen syllables, and broken by a cæsuraon the eighth, whiclv always terminates a word. The accents are fb. disposed upon the even syllables, particularly theetghth and fourteenth, as to, produce the true iambick cadence.—-The learne*reader will recollect that the Political Verses ;as they are called; ofTzctzci and others, who wrote when the Greek versification was become ryihmical instead ot metrical, are chicly of this form, pee Bu Cause, v. Politic! versus.] And it is remarkable that anout the time of our Orm Ciuilo d'Alcamo, a poet of Sicily, where the Creek was still a living language, IMmtf. F.iUcg. G-. 1. vi,3 made use of these verses of fifteen syllable*, intermixed with hendecasyllables, in the only production of his which has been preserved. [Roccolta ddl'AUscci, p. 4SS— NS.J The first stanza it quoted by Crescimbeni, {tjlor.d. V. P.I. i. p. ^,] who however labours very much to persuade us that the 'verses in question ought not to tc considered as verses ot' fifteen syllables, but as containing eacli of them two veifcs, the one of eight and the other of seven syllables. If this were allowed the nature of the verse would not be altered; [Sec before, n. 54,] but the supposition is highly improbable, as by that distribution there would he three verses in each stanza not rhyming. In what follows Crefcimbeui shews very plainly that he had not adverted to the real nature of Ciullo's mea-' sure, for he compare? it with the noted tetrameter, Gallij: Cœfcirfubegit, Nkomctlei Ce/trcm,which is a trochaick, whereas these verses of Ciuilo are evidently iambicks, like those of 0rm._I suspect that if we could recover the genuine text of Robert of Gloucester he would be sound to have written in this metre: it was used byWarncr in his Albion's England (another chronicle in verse) in the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign; and Gafcoigne about the fame time {Intrusion concerning 'he muting of Verse in Eng.Jrgnature V ii,] speaks of the couplet, consisting csouc verse os twelve and another of fvur

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