« السابقةمتابعة »
A BATTLE Alisander before is ryde, And many gentle a knight him myde;1 As for to gather his meinie free, He abideth under a tree : Forty thousand of chivalry He taketh in his company, He dasheth him then fast forthward, And the other cometh afterward. He seeth his knightës in mischief, He taketh it greatly a grief, He takes Bultyphala by the side, So as a swallow he 'ginneth forth glide. A duke of Persia soon he met, And with his lancë he him grett. He pierceth his breny, cleaveth his shieldë, The heartë tokeneth the yrnë; The duke fell downë to the ground, And starf? quickly in that stound: Alisander aloud then said, Other toll never I ne paid, Yet ye
shallen of mine pay, Ere I go more assay. Another lance in hand he hent, Against the prince of Tyre he went He .... him thorough the breast and thare And out of saddle and crouthe him bare, And I
for soothë thing He brake his neck in the falling.
with muchel wonder,
1 Myde:' with.—2 ‘Bultyphal:' Bucephalus.—3 Starf:' died.—4 • Heved :' head.—5 · Lete:' left.— «Ord :' point.—7'Felawen :' fellows
Alysander made a cry hardy,
Be in dash'd with all their route, &c. Davie was also the author of an original poem, entitled, · Visions in Verse,' and of the ‘Battle of Jerusalem,' in which he versifies a French romance. In this production Pilate is represented as challenging our Lord to single combat !
In 1349, died Richard Rollo, a hermit, and a verse-writer. He lived a secluded life near the nunnery of Hampole in Yorkshire, and wrote a number of devotional pieces, most of them
dull. In 1350, Lawrence Minot produced some short nar1• Vavasour:' subject. 2. Cunteck:' strife.—3 Gregeys:' Greeks.—4 Honteys:' shame.—5 «Kidden:' thought.—6 • Distrere:' horse.- -7 "Little thraw:' short time.
18 • Heved:' head.—9 · Lavedy:' lady.—10 • Amy:' paramour.–11 · Yled:' led along, maimed.—12 • Many fair pensel bebled :' many a banner sprinkled with blood.–13 · Liklaking:' clashing.
rative ballads on the victories of Edward III., beginning with Halidon Hill, and ending with the siege of Guisnes Castle. His works lay till the end of the last century obscure in a MS. of the Cotton Collection, which was supposed to be a transcript of the Works of Chaucer. On a spare leaf of the MS. there had been accidentally written a name, probably that of its original possessor, Richard Chawsir.' This the getter-up of the Cotton catalogue imagined to be the name of Geoffrey Chaucer. Mr Tyrwhitt, while foraging for materials to his edition of The Canterbury Tales,' accidentally found out who the real writer was; and Ritson afterwards published Minot's ballads, which are ten in number, written in the northern dialect, and in an alliterative style, and with considerable spirit and liveliness. He has been called the Tyrtæus of his age.
We come now to the immediate predecessor of ChaucerRobert Langlande. He was a secular priest, born at Mortimer's Cleobury, in Shropshire, and educated at Oriel College, Oxford. He wrote, towards the end of the fourteenth century, a very remarkable work, entitled, “Visions of William concerning Piers Plowman.' The general object of this poem is to denounce the abuses of society, and to inculcate, upon both clergy and laity, their respective duties. One William is represented as falling asleep among the Malvern Hills, and sees in his dream a succession of visions, in which great ingenuity, great boldness, and here and there a powerful vein of poetry, are displayed. Truth is described as a magnificent tower, and Falsehood as a deep dungeon. In one canto Religion descends, and gives a long harangue about what should be the conduct of society and of individuals. Bribery and Falsehood, in another part of the poem, seek a marriage with each other, and inake their way to the courts of justice, where they find many friends. Some very whimsical passages are introduced. The Power of Grace confers upon Piers Plowman, who stands for the Christian Life, four stout oxen, to cultivate the field of Truth. These are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the last of whom is described as the gentlest of the team. She afterwards assigns him the like number of stots or bullocks, to harrow what the evangelists had ploughed, and this new horned team consists of Saint or Stot Ambrose, Stot Austin, Stot Gregory, and Stot Jerome.
Apart from its fantastic structure, 'Piers Plowman' was not only a sign of the times, but did great service in its day. His voice rings like that of Israel's minor prophets-like Nahum or Hosea—in a dark and corrupt age. He proclaims liberal and independent sentiments, he attacks slavery and superstition, and he predicts the doom of the Papacy as with a thunder-knell. Chaucer must have felt roused to his share of the reformatory work by the success of 'Piers Plowman;' Spenser is suspected to have read and borrowed from him; and even Milton, in his description of a lazar-house in ‘Paradise Lost,' had him probably in his eye. (See our last extract fromPiers.')
On account of the great merit and peculiarity of this work we proceed to make rather copious extracts.
Thus robed in russet, I roamed about
Masters of the Minors, men of greatë wit. 1: Meten:' dream. _2 •Sweven:' dream.—3 «Swonken:' toiled.—4 ‘Freyned:' inquired.—5 • Wysh :'inform.—6 • Lenged:' lived.—7. Minors:' the friars minors
I halsed them hendely, as I had learned,
1 'Halsed them hendely: saluted them kindly.—2 'Do me to wit:' make me to know.–3 Kinnes:' sorts of.—4 'Sythes:' times. -5 Wyshen:' inform, teach.6«Saddë:' sober, good.-7. Forvisne:' similitude.—8 • Raght:' reach.–9Latches:' laziness._10 • Drenchë:' drown.