صور الصفحة

been given to Mr. Thyhne's edition on that account* Accordingly it was it-vend times reprinted a* the

•■ Works withonecolumneon aside, had a talc called The Pil*' grim's Tale, which was more odious to the clergie than the *' speach of the Ploughman. The tale began thus, InLir.colne'* JbWefqst by afttirie'—Sfandetb a religious tsi(se9 ivko deth it "Jtenue. The argument of which tale, as also the occasion "thereof, and the cause why it wap left out of Chaucer's •* Works, shall hereafter be shewed. Is God permit, rn M. Fran. "TJiynne'i Comment upon Ch. and the tale it seise published^ ■' iffOjibly it can be found."—It must be allowed that this description of Mr. Thynne's first edition," with one columbe on a, "..tf./t\and a tale called The Pilgrim1! r.rse^does net suit the edition printed by God fray, which is in two columns, and has no Pilgrim'* tale : but I observe that Mr Speght docs not pretend to have seen this hook $ he even doubts whether the tale can be found. If therefore I should be able to prove that the t.Jc which he speaks of could not possibly be in Mr. Thynne's first edition, I presume no great stress will be laid upon the otherjjartof his evidence, in which he supposes that edition to

have been printed with only one column on a tide.- Itap-r

pears very strangest first sightthatThePloiighmarjS Tale (according'toLeIand)shouJd have been suppressed in Mr.Thy tine** edit. <juia male i sac er datum more! i'ch;menter iscrefaiit, and that he should have inserted this Pilgrim's Tale, which as Mr. Spcght tells us was still more odious to tbe'eterg-c, A few yean after, when the reformation was further advanced. In 1542, ThePlouphman's Tale isinserted among Chaucer's Works and The Pilgrim's Tale is suppressed ! Eut there is no occasion to insist upon these little Improbabilftie*. Though Mr, gpeg'ht did pot know whereto find The Pilgrim's Talc, ai:d,t!ie printer of the edit, in TsiS? assures us that hehad.fearchtd for it "in the "publick librariesostjoih Universities," and also" in allprl"vate libraries that he could have access unto,'' I have had the good fortune to meet with a copy *; it U entitled The Vjtgrymfe Tale% and begins thus;

'* 'fi.e c.riy nf which I speak it in the black Utter, Bad Ceettf to Live •nee ui34c part os a volume of misceilaccoui poem* in Bvo, 1 be ftrft standard edition of Chaucer's Works, without any material alteration, except the insertion of The Plough.

In Lineolnefliyr, fast by the fcne,
'J her llant an hows, and you yt ken,
And callyd Sempynha<n of religion,
And is us an old foundation, fffc.

There can be no doubt, I think, that this Is the piece of which Mr. Speght had received some confused intelligence: it seems to have been mentioned by Bale among Chaucer's Works in in the following manner, Narrations* dit'er/o'rum, lib. i. M

comitatu Lincoliuenfi suit Scrip*. Brit.p. 5id, edit. 1559.

But it is impossible that any one who had read it should ascribe it to Chaucer; he is quoted in it twice by name, foL 3?, and sol. 45, and in the latter place the reference seems to be made to a printed book. The reader mall judge

He snyii he 'luril not It disclose,

liut bail me reyd The Romant of the Rose,

Tbe tbred tease fast, from the end,

To tbe fecund page ther he did me send-,

He prayd me thes vi ftaTis for to markc,

Wniche be Chaucer'! aivn hand wacke.

T Thm tnoche w'oll our boke sygnify

That while Peter hath maflery, &V.

sThcn follow four more lines from Chaucer's R.R. v.7253—?, ed. Urr.] It is not usual, at least, to cite mss. by the lease and the page. But is this citation was really made from a printed, book The Pilgrim's Tale must have been written aster Mr. Thynne's edition, for Chaucer's translation of Tlie Romant os the Rose was first printed in that edition. Another passage will fix the date of this composition still more clearly. In sol. 39, 40, are the following lines;

leaf is numbered jtxxi, and the last xlv. Tbe Pilgrim's Tale begins aDout the middle of sol. xxxi. and ccmtiruiei to the cud of the fragment, where it breaks oil imperfect. The Rril leaf has a running titK- ■■ 'Venui Tbe Court P/—and contains the ten last lines of one poem, and another whole poem of twenty lines, before The Pilgrim's Talc.— This curious fragment was purchased at the auction os Mr. West's li- ■ brary.in alot (No #1040) ofsundry fragments of old black- htier bouks, by Mr. Hetbert of Gulstoa'i Square, who very obligingly permitted, me to examine it.

man's Tale in 1543, of which I hive spoken in the

Discourse, Vfc- n. Jl.

As my business here is solely with The Canterbun' Tales, I (hall take no notice of the several miscellaneous pieces by-Chauccr r:nd others winch were ■flddtd to them by Mr. Thynne in his edition, and afterwards by Stowe and Speght in the editions of 1561, IJ97, and 1602. With respect to The Canterbury Tales, I am under a necessity of. observing .that upon the whole they received noadvanWge from the edit, of 15 %%: its material variations from Caxton's second edition are all I think for the worse : it confounds- the order of The Squier's s/J and The Frankeletn's (§■) Tales, which Caxton in his second edition had set right: it gives The Frankelein's Prologue to the Merchant, in addition to its own proper Prologue (A) : it produces for the first time two Prologues, the one to The Doctour's, and the other to 'ilie Shipman's Tale, which are both evidently spurious (i); and it brings back the lines of ribaldry (*)

P.*ri/n ITcrktk anil Jafc Straw,
And now of late our abler the dawe.

One would not expect to find any mention ofPerkin Warbeck in a work attributed to Chaucer; but passing that over, I think it is plain that cur coblcr^ in the second line, means the leader of the Lincolnshire rebels in 15 $5, who, as Holllnlhed tells us, page 94!, "called himself Captaine Cobler, but was Indeed a monk named Doctor Mackarell." The Pilgrim's Tale therefore was not written till after 1536, and consequently could not possibly be in Mr. Thynne's first edit, which, aa has bcea shewn above, was printed at hltjl in 1532.

(f) See the Discourse, iS'c. t) 2 3, and note on ver. 1015*3.

(?) Ibid. § ac, and note on ver. 10985.

(b) See the same section and note.

(/) Scethemin all theedit. since 1532. ..

(i) See the note on ver. ICU27. The lines themselves are in all the common editions.

in The Merchant's. Tale which Caxlion-nshis second edition hsd rejected upon the authority of his good «nanuii.Ttpt. —::■ r . , • .•:;.* ■: i- ■•'. '■ • However, thi* edition of I j-.ti, with all it* impersections,had tin: luck, as I have £ud,'to Iji: considered as the standard edition, and to tie copied not only by the bookseller's in their several edits: (/) of 1542, I546, I5j5,and.lj6l, but alfc by Mr. Speght (tlic Ærst editor in ifo'rm after Mr. Thynne who set his name talus work).in 1597 and jnua. in the Dechcat. to Sir Robert Cecil, prefixed to this lad edition, he -{peaks indeed of having " reformed the whole work, *' both by/iold written copies and by.Ma. William "Thynne's praiseworthy labours;" but I cannot find that he has departed in any material point from those edit ions whicb,.J^have lu j) posed to he derived from Mr. Thynne's; in the very material:points abovementioned, in which those edits, vary from Caxton's second, he has followed them: nor have I observed any such verbal varieties as would iiidncc one to believe that he had cdnsulted any good œs. They who have read his Preface will probably not regret that he did not do more towards correcting the text of Chaucer.

In this state The Canterbury Talcs remained (œ)

(/) There are some other editions mentioned by Aincs without date, but it-is probable that upon inspection they would appear to be oue,or other us the editions whole dates ire here given. It seems to have been usual to print bonks in partner\stiip, and for each, partner to print his own same to Us ihare ostlieunpredipn.dee^fnfj.p. ici.. A Bible is (aid to be printed ia 155.1by: Nicholas Hiil—" at the colt and charges otcer.*' tayne l&Micstinennc of the occupacyon, zvlmsc naiiui be up&n "their &lE«."

ytn) It-may be proper just to take nntte*:that Mr. Speght's edit, was reprinted in i<537> with an advertisement at the end,


C&e Content** t

Introduction. The different judgments of the Language and Versifies, t ion of Chaucer Hated. Plan of this Essay in three parts. I. To vindU cate Chaucer from the charge of having corrupted the English Language by too great a mixture of French with it. 1. To make some observations upon the real slate of our Language in his time. 3.T& apply thufe olifervations and other* towards illustrating the real nature of bia Versification.

Part the first. The French Language introduced into England before the conquest* fit.; confirmed and propagated by the new establishments at the conquest, 9 2.; was the ordinary Language of the court, | 3. * was carried into the provinces by the great barons and military commanders, I 4.1 and especially by the clergy, $ 5. ; who both secular and regular were chiefly foreigners, } 6\; the French Language continued to be much used a* late as the reign of Edward III. f 7. ; con. elusion, that the mixture of French In Chaucer's writing* was not swing to any affectation of his, but to the causes above-mentioned, which in his time had generally introduced the Norman-Saxon instead of the Saxon dialect, the same mixture being observable in other contemporary authors,? 8.

Part tbesecand. The proposed observations upon the English Language confined to the actual state of it in the time of Chaucer, J I. * and divided sa as to consider separately the Saxon and Norman part* os it,', 1. tl.o rum part considered in grammatical order: i. The prepositive article- 1. Nouns substantive aud adjective. 3. Pronouns. .(.. Verbs and participles. 5. The indeclinable parts of speech, J 3. The Norman part considered generally, } 4 ; and more particularly with respect to nr-uns substantive and adjective, verbs and participles, j 5.; additional causes of the introduction of a great number of French terms in the English Language, j 6.

Part the third. Preliminary observations upon English poetry. The sunn of English poetry probably borrowed from the Normans, there being no traces of rhyme or metre among the :*axons before the conquell The metres and rhyme of modern poetry derived from the La* tin,) I.; progress of English poetry to the reign of Henry II. t early attempts at rhyming,{2. Few English poets known between the reign of Henry II. and that of Henry III. \ 3. The Ormulum written in verses of fifteen syllables without rhyme, $4. The number ofrhymcTa increased between the last mentioned period and the time when Chaucer began to write, ) 5. State of our poetry at that time, f 0. Account «f the metres then in use, y 7.; of those used hy Chaucer, j 6. The scrotek metre probably introduced by him cither from France mx

« السابقةمتابعة »