« السابقةمتابعة »
He has reigned long in contrar my highness.'
thirty-four years previous to 1356, he travelled in A blyth bishop soon, present in that place ;
eastern countries, and on his return to England, wrote Of Canterbury he then was righteous lord ;
an account of all he had seen, mixed up with innuAgain' the king he made this richt record,
merable fables, derived from preceding historians And said, “Myself shall hear his confession,
and romancers, as well as from hearsay. His book If I have micht in contrar of thy crown.
was originally written in Latin, then translated into An thou through force will stop me of this thing, French, and finally into English, that every man I vow to God, who is my righteous king,
of my nacioun may undirstonde it.' It is of little That all England I shall her interdite,
use as a description of foreign climes, but valuable And make it known thou art a heretic.
as a monument of the language, and of the imperThe sacrament of kirk I shall him give :
fect learning and reason, and homely ideas, of the Syne take thy choice, to starved or let him live.
age which produced it. The name of the author has It were mair weil, in worship of thy crown,
become identified with our idea of a mendacious To keep sic ane in life in thy bandoun,
babbler ; but this is in a great measure an injustice. Than all the land and good that thou hast reived,
Mandeville, with the credulity of the age, embodied But cowardice thee ay fra honour dreived.
in his work every wild grandam tale and monkish Thou has thy life rougin 2 in wrangeous deed ; fiction which came in his way ; but it has been That shall be seen on thee or on thy seed.'
found, that where he quotes preceding authors, or The king gart 3 charge they should the bishop ta,
writes from his own observation, he makes no effort But sad lords counsellit to let him ga.
at either embellishment or exaggeration. Hence it All Englishmen said that his desire was richt.
is not uncommon to find him in one page giving a To Wallace then he rakit in their sicht
sensible account of something which he saw, and in And sadly heard his confession till ane end :
the next repeating with equal seriousness the story Humbly to God his sprite he there commend
of Gog and Magog, the tale of men with tails, or the Lowly him served with hearty devotion
account of the Madagascar bird which could carry Upon his knees and said ane orison.
elephants through the air. He gives, upon the A psalter-book Wallace had on him ever
whole, a pleasing and interesting account of the Fra his childheid--fra it wald nocht dissever ;
Mohamedan nations amongst whom he sojourned. Better he trowit in wyage 4 for to speed.
Considering the exasperation which was likely to But then he was dispalyed of his weed.5
have been occasioned by the recent crusades, those This grace he asked at Lord Clifford, that knicht,
nations appear to have treated the Christian traTo let him have his psalter-book in sicht.
veller with surprising liberality and kindness. He He gart a priest it open before hip hald,
is himself of a much more liberal spirit than many While they till him had done all that they wald. Stedfast he read for ought they did him there ;
pious persons of more recent times, and dwells with Feil 6 Southrons said that Wallace felt na sair.
pleasure upon the numerous Christian sects who Guid devotion, sae, was his beginning,
lived peaceably under the Saracen dominion. “And Conteined therewith, and fair was his ending.
ye shall understand,' says he, “that of all these
countries, and of all these isles, and of all these While speech and sprite at anis all can fare To lasting bliss, we trow, for evermair.
diverse folk, that I have spoken of before, and of diverse laws and of diverse beliefs that they han [have]; yet there is none of them all but that they
han some reason within them and understanding, PROSE WRITERS OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY. articles of our faith and some good points of our
but gif it be the fewer; and that they han certain In the general history of literature, poetry takes belief; and that they believen in God, that formed all precedence of prose. At first, when the memory
things and made the world, and clepen him God of
Nature. was the chief means of preserving literature, men
But yet they can not speken perseem to have found it necessary that composition feytly (for there is no man to techen them); but should take a form different from ordinary discourse only that they can devise by their natural wit.' -a form involving certain measures, breaks, and Further, in reference to the superior moral conduct pauses--not only as appropriate to its being some
of the Mohamedan nations, he relates a conversathing higher and finer than common speech, but in tion with the Sultan of Egypt, which may be here order that it might be the more easily remembered. given, not only as a specimen of his language, but Hence, while we cannot trace poetry to its origin, with the view of turning this writer of the fourwe know that the first prose dates from the sixth teenth century to some account in instructing the
nineteenth:century before the Christian era, when it was assumed, in Greece, as the form of certain narratives
(A Mohamedan's Lecture on Christian Vices.] differing from poetry in scarcely any other respect. In England, as in all other countries, prose was a
(Original Spelling. And therfore I shalle telle you what the form of composition scarcely practised for several Soudan toldo me upon a day, in his chambre. He leet voyden centuries, during which poetry was comparatively he wolde spake with me in conseille. And there he asked me,
out of his chambre alle maner of men, lordes and othere; for much cultivated. The first specimens of it, en
how the Cristene men governed hem in oure contree. And I titled to any consideration, date from the reign of seyde him, righte wel, thonked be God. And he seyde, treulyche Edward III.
nay; for ye Cristene men ne recthen righte noghte how un.
trewly to serve God. Ye scholde geven ensample, &c.] SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE. Sir John MANDEVILLE is usually held as the first me upon a day, in his chamber. He let voiden out of
And therefore I shall tell you what the Soudan told English prose writer. He was born at St Albans in his chamber all manner of men, lords, and other; the year 1300, and received the liberal education for he would speak with me in counsel. And there he requisite for the profession of medicine. During the asked me how the Christian men governed 'em in our
country. And I said (to) him, 'Right well, thonked The necessary consequence of an interdict.
be God.' And he said (to) me, ‘Truly nay, for ye 3 Caused. * Expedition-his journey to the other world.
Christian men ne reckon right not how untruly to 5 Clothes 6 Many. serve God. Ye should given ensample to the lewed
people for to do well, and ye given 'em ensample to vale is plenty of gold and silver ; wherefore many i don evil. For the commons, upon festival days, when misbelieving men, and many Christian men also, gon
they shoulden go to church to serve God, then gon in often time, for to have of the treasure that there is,
they to taverns, and ben there in gluttony all the day but few comen again ; and namely, of the misbelieving | and all night, and eaten and drinken, as bcasts that men, ne of the Christian men nouther;" for they ben
bare no reason, and wit not when they have enow. anon strangled of devils. And in mid place of that And therewithal they ben so proud, that they knowen vale, under a rock, is an head of the visage of a devil
Dot how to ben clothed ; now long, now short, now bodily, full horrible and dreadful to see; and it li strait, now large, now sworded, now daggered, and in showeth not but the head, to the shoulders. But there
all manner guises, They shoulden ben simple, meek, is no inan in the world so hardy, Christian man ne
and true, and full of alms-deed, as Jesu was, in whom other, but that he would ben adrad” for to behold it ; il they trow; but they ben all the contrary, and ever and that it would seemeu him to die for dread ; so is i inclined to the evil, and to don evil. And they ben it hideous for to behold. For he beholdeth every
so covetous, that for a little silver they sellen ’eir man so sharply with dreadful eyen4 that ben evermore daughters, 'eir sisters, and 'eir own wives, to putten moving and sparkling as fire, and changeth ana 'em to lechery. And one withdraweth the wife of an- steereth so often in divers manner, with so horrible other; and none of 'em holdeth faith to another, but countenance, that no man dare not nighens towards they defoulen 'eir law, that Jesu Christ betook 'em him. And froti him cometh smoke and stink, and keep for 'eir salvation. And thus for 'eir sins, han fire, and so much abomination, that unethez no man [have) they lost all this lond that we holden. For 'eir may there endure. But the good Christian men, that sins here, Lath God taken 'em in our honds, not only ben stable in the faith, entren well withouten peril: by strength of ourself, but for 'eir sins. For we for they will first shriven 'em, and marken hem with knowen well in very sooth, that when ye serve God, the token of the Holy Cross ; so that the fiends ne han God will help you ; and when he is with you, no man no9 power over 'em. But albeit that they ben withmay be against you. And that know we well by our outen peril, zit nathelesł0 ne ben they not withouten prophecies, that Christian men shall winnen this lond dread, when that they seen the devils visibly and bodily again out of our honds, when they serven God more all about 'em, that maken full many divers assautsil devoutly. But as long as they ben of foul and un- and menaces in air and in earth, and agasten 12 'em clean living (as they ben now), we have no dread of with strokes of thunder-blasts and of tempests. And 'ein in no kind; for here God will not helpen 'em in the most dread is, that God will taken vengeance then, no wise.'
of that men han misdone again13 his will. And ye And then I asked him how he knew the state of should understand, that when my fellows and I weren Christian men. And he answered me, that he knew in that vale, we weren in great thought whether that all the state of the commons also by his messengers, we dursten putten our bodies in aventure, to gon in or that he sent to all londs, in manner as they were mer- non, in the protection of God. And some of our felchants of precious stones, of cloths of gold, and of lows accordedenl4 to enter, and some noght.15 So there other things, for to knowen the manner of every were with us two worthy men, friars minors that were country amongs Christian men. And then he let of Lombardy, that said, that if any man would enter, clepel in all the lords that he made voiden first out of they would go in with us. And when they had said his chamber; and there he showed me four that were so, upon the gracious trust of God and of 'em, 16 we let great lords in the country, that tolden me of my sing mass ; and made every man to be shriven and country, and of many other Christian countries, as well houseld ;'7 and then we entered fourteen persons ; but as if they had been of the same country ; and they spak at our going out, we were but nine. And so we wisten18 French right well, and the Soudan also, whereof I had never, whether that our fellows were lost, or elles!! great marvel. Alas, that it is great slander to our turned again for dread ; but we ne saw them never faith and to our laws, when folk that ben withouten aiter ; and tho20 were two men of Greece and three of law shall reproven us, and undernemen? us of our sins. Spain ; and our other fellows that would not go in with And they that shoulden ben converted to Christ and us, they went by another coast to ben before us, and to the law of Jesu, by our good exanıple and by our so they were. And thus we passed that perilous vale, acceptable life to God, ben through our wickedness and found therein gold and silver, and precious stones, and evil living, far fro us ; and strangers fro the holy and rich jewels great plenty, both here and there, as and very3 belief shall thus appellen us and holden us us seemed ; but whether that it was, as us seemed, I for wicked levirs and cursed. And truly they say vot nere ; 1 for I touched none, because that the devils sooth. For the Saracens ben good and faithful. For be so subtle to make a thing to seem otherwise than they keepen entirely the commandment of the holy it is, for to deceive mankind; and therefore I touched book Alcoran, that God sent 'em by his messager none; and also because that I would not be put out Bahomet ; to the which, as they sayen, St Gabriel, of my devotion : for I was more devout than ever I the angel, oftentime told the will of God.
was before or after, and all for the dread of fiends,
that I saw in divers figures ; and also for the great [T'he Devil's Head in the Valley Perilous.]
multitude of dead bodies that I saw there lying by Beside that isle of Mistorak, upon the left side, the way, by all the vale, as though there had been a nigh to the river Phison, is a marvellous thing. battle between two kings, and the mightiest of the There is a vale between the mountains, that dureth country, and that the greater part had been discomnigh a four mile. And some clepen4 it the Vale En- titted and slain. And I trow22 that unethe should any chanted, some clepen it the Vale of Devils, and some country have so much people within him, as lay slain clepen it the Vale Perilous ; in that vale hcaren5 men in that vale, as us thought ; the which was an hideous oftentime great tempests and thunders, and great sight to seen.23 And I marvelled much, that there murmurs and noises, all day and nights ; and great noise as it were sound of tabors and of nakeress and
8 Afraid. 4 Eyes. trumps, as though it were of a great feast. This vale
10 Yet nevertheless.
11 Assaults. 12 Terrify. 13 Against. 14 Agreed.
16 Themselves. 1 Can.
8 Tear. 17 To be confessed, and to have the Lord's Supper administered 6. Nakeres Nacara (Du Cange), a kind of brazen drum used in the cavalry.
21 I never knew. 22 Believe.
8 Confess themselves.
9 Have no.
were so many, and the bodies all whole withouten how ye shulen behave you in gathering of your rotting. But I trow that fiends made them seem to riches, and in what manner ye shulen usen 'em. be so whole, withouten rotting. But that might not First, ye shulen geten 'em withouten great desire, by be to my avys,l that so many should have entered good leisure, sokingly, and not over hastily, for a man 80 newly, ne so many newly slain, without stinking that is too desiring to get riches abandoneth him first and rotting. And many of them were in habit of to theft and to all other evils ; and therefore saith Christian men ; but I trowe well, that it were of such Solomon, He that hasteth him too busily to wax rich, that went in for covetyse? of the treasure that was he shall be non innocent : he saith also, that the there, and had overmuch feebleness in faith ; so that riches that hastily cometh to a man, soon and lightly their hearts ne might not endure in the belief for goeth and passeth from a man, but that riches that dread. And therefore were we the more devout a cometh little and little, waxeth alway and multiplieth. great deal ; and yet we were cast down, and beaten And, sir, ye shulen get riches by your wit and by your down many times to the hard earth, by winds and travail, unto your profit, and that withouten wrong or thunders, and tempests; but evernare, God, of his harm doing to any other person ; for the law saith, grace, helped us. And so we passed that perilous vale, There maketh no man himself rich, if he do harm tó without peril, and without incumbrance. Thanked be another wight ; that is to say, that Nature defendeth Almighty God.
and forbiddeth by right, that no man make himself rich unto the harm of another person. And Tullius
saith, That no sorrow, ne no dread of death, ne noCHAUCER, though eminent chiefly as a poet, de- thing that may fall unto a man, is so muckle agains serves to be mentioned also as a prose writer. nature as a man to increase his own profit to harm of His longest unversified production is an allegorical another man. And though the great men and the and meditative work called The Testament of Love, mighty men geten riches more lightly than thou, yet written chiefly for the purpose of defen«ling his cha- shalt thou not ben idle ne slow to do thy profit, for racter against certain imputations which had been thou shalt in all wise flee idleness ; for Solomon saith, cast upon it. Two of the Canterbury Tales are in That idleness teacheth a man to do many evils ; and prose; and from the first, entitled the Tale of Meli- the same Solomon saith, That he that travaileth and beus, is extracted the following passage, not less re- busieth himself to tillen his lond, shall eat bread, but markable for the great amount of ancient wisdom he that is idle, and casteth him to no business ne ocwhich it contains, than for the clearness and sim- cupation, shall fall into poverty, and die for hunger. plicity of the diction :
And he that is idle and slow can never find coven
able time for to do his profit ; for there is a versifier [On Riches.]
saith, that the idle man excuseth him in winter beWhen Prudence had heard her husband avaunt him. cause of the great cold, and in summer then by enself of his riches and of his money, dispreising the power cheson of the heat. For these causes, saith Caton, of his adversaries, she spake and said in this wise : waketh and inclineth you not over muckle to sleep, Certes, dear sir, 1 grant you that ye ben rich and for over muckle rest nourisheth and causeth many mighty, and that riches ben good to 'em that han well vices; and therefore saith St Jerome, Doeth some ygetten 'em, and that well can usen 'em ; for, right good deeds, that the devil, which is our enemy, ne as the body of a man may not liven withouten soul, find you not unoccupied, for the devil he taketh not no more may it liven withouten temporal goods, and lightly unto his werking such as he findeth occupied by riches may a man get him great friends, and in good works. therefore saith Pamphilus, If a neatherd's daughter
Then thus in getting riches ye musten flee idleness ; be rich, she may chese of a thousand men which she wol and afterward ye shulen usen the riches which ye han take to her husband ; for of a thousand men one wol geten by your wit and by your travail, in such mannot forsaken her ne refusen her. And this Pamphilus ner, than men hold you not too searce, ne too sparing, saith also, If thou be right happy, that is to sayn, if ne fool-large, that is to say, over large a spender ; for thou be right rich, thou shalt find a great number of right as men blamen an avaritious man because of his fellows and friends ; and if thy fortune change, that scarcity and chinchery, in the same wise he is to blame thou wax poor, farewell friendship and fellowship, for that spendeth over largely ; and therefore saith Caton, thou shalt be all alone withouten any company, but use (he saith) the riches that thou hast ygeten in such if it be the company of poor folk. And yet saith manner, that men have no matter ne cause to call this Pamphilus, moreover, that they that ben bond thee nother wretch ne chinch, for it is a great shame and thrall of liniage shuln be inade worthy and noble to a man to have a poor heart and a rich purse : he by riches. And right so as by riches there comen saith also, The goods that thou hast ygeten, use 'em many goods, right so by poverty come there many by measure, that is to sayen, spend measureably, for harms and evils ; and therefore clepeth Cassiodore, they that solily wasten and despenden the goods that poverty the mother of ruin, that is to sayn, the mother they han, when they han no more proper of 'eir own, of overthrowing or falling down ; and therefore saith that they shapen 'em to take the goods of another Piers Alfonse, One of the greatest adversities of the man. I say, then, that ye shulen flee avarice, using world is when a free man by kind, or of birth, is con- your riches in such manner, that men sayen not that strained by poverty to eaten the alms of his enemy. your riches ben yburied, but that ye have 'em in your And the same saith Innocent in one of his books; he inight and in your wielding ; for a wise man reproveth saith that sorrowful and mishappy is the condition of the avaritious man, and saith thus in two verse, a poor beggar, for if he ax not his meat he dieth of Whereto and why burieth a man his goods by his hunger, and if he ax he dieth for shame; and algates great avarice, and knoweth well that needs must he necessity constraineth him to ax; and therefore saith die, for death is the end of every man as in this preSolomon, That better it is to die than for to have such sent life? And for what cause or encheson joineth poverty; and, as the same Solomon saith, Better it is he him, or knitteth he him so fast unto his goods, that to die of bitter death, than for to liven in such wise. By him fro his goods, and knoweth well, or ought to know,
all his wits mowen not disseveren him or departen these reasons that I have said unto you, and by many other reasons that I could say, I grant you that riches that when he is dead he shall nothing bear with him ben good to 'em that well geten 'em, and to him that out of this world ? and therefore saith St Augustine, well usen tho’ riches ; and therefore wol I show you that the avaritious man is likened unto hell, that the called an avaritious man or an chinch, as well should and brought into great personal danger ; but, partly ye keep you and govern you in such wise, that men through accidental circumstances, and partly through call you not fool-large ; therefore, saith Tullius, The goods of thine house ne should not ben lid ne kept so close, but that they might ben opened by pity and debonnairety, that is to sayen, to give 'em part that han great need ; ne they goods shoulden not ben so open to be every man's goods.
more it swalloweth the more desire it hath to swallow 1 Advice, understanding. 3 Covetousness. 8 Except. / and devour. And as well as ye wold eschew to be
Afterward, in getting of your riches, and in using of 'em, ye shulen alway have three things in your heart, that is to say, our Lord God, conscience, and good name. First ye shulen have God in your heart, and for no riches ye shulen do nothing which may in any manner displease God that is your creator and maker; for, after the word of Solomon, it is better to have a little good, with love of God, than to have muckle good and lese the love of his Lord God ; and the prophet saith, that better it is to ben a good man and have little good and treasure, than to be holden a shrew and have great riches. And yet I say furthermore, that ye shulden always do your business to get your riches, so that ye get 'em with a good conscience. And the apostle saith, that there nis thing in this world, of which we shulden have so great joy, as when our conscience beareth us good witness ; and the wise man saith, The substance of a man is full good when sin is not in a man's conscience. Afterward, in getting of your riches and in using of 'em, ye must have great business and great diligence that your good name be alway kept and conserved ; for Solomon saith, that better it is and more it availeth a man to have a good name than for to have great riches ; and therefore he saith in another place, Do great diligence (saith he) in keeping of thy friends and of thy good name, for it shall longer abide with
Wickliffe. thee than any treasure, be it never so precious ; and certainly he should not be called a gentleman that, the friendship of the Duke of Lancaster (the friend after God and good conscience all things left, ne doth of Chaucer, and probably also of Gower), he escaped his diligence and business to keepen his good name ; every danger, and at last died in a quiet country and Cassiodore saith, that it is a sign of a gentle rectory, though not before he had been compeiled heart, when a man loveth and desireth to have a good name. * And he that trusteth him so muckle in his good conscience, that he despiseth or setteth at nought his good name or los, and recketh not though he kept not his good name, nis a cruel churl.
JOHN WICKLIFFE. JOHN WICKLIFFE [1324-1384] was a learned ecclesiastic and professor of theology in Baliol College, Oxford, where, soon after the year 1372, he began to challenge certain doctrines and practices of the Romish church, which for ages had held unquestioned sway in England. The mental capacity
TANTUM and vigour requisite for this purpose, must have been of a very uncommon kind ; and Wickliffe will ever, accordingly, be considered as one of the greatest names in our history. In contending against the Romish doctrines and the papal power, and in defending himself against the vengeance of the ecclesiastical courts, he produced many controversial works, some of which were in English. But his greatest work, and that which was qualified to be
Chair of Wickliffe. most effectual in reforming the faith of his countrymen, was a translation
of the Old and New Testa- to retract some of his reputed heresies. Upwards of ments, which he executed in his latter years, with forty years after his death, in consequence of a dethe assistance of a few friends, and which, though but the announcement has been made, that Mr Forshall and taken from the Latin medium, instead of the origi- Mr Madden, both of the British Museum, are now engaged in nal Hebrew and Greek, and though performed in a preparing an edition, which is to issue from the University timid spirit with regard to idioms, is a valuable press of Oxford. Mr Baber, after much research, has come to relic of the age, both in a literary and theological the conclusion, that no English translation of the entire Bible view.* Wickliffe was several times cited for heresy, preceded that of Wickliffe. (See · Historical Account of the
Saxon and English versions of the Scriptures previous to the • Wickliffe's translation of the New Testament has been opening of the fifteenth century,' prefixed by Mr Baber to twice printed, by Mr Lewis in 1731, and Mr Baber in 1810. his edition of the New Testament, p. Lxviii.) Portions of it His version of the Old Testament still remains in manuscript; I had, however, been translated at various times.
cree of the Council of Constance, his bones were For he hath behulden the mekenesse of his handdisinterred and burnt, and the ashes thrown into a mayden: for lo for this alle generatiouns schulen seye brook. “This brook,' says Fuller, the church his- that I am blessid. torian, in a passage which brings quaintness to the For he that is mighti hath don to ne grete thingis, borders of sublimity, hath conveyed his ashes into and his name is holy. Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow And his mercy is fro kyndrede into kyndredis to seas, they into the main ocean: and thus the ashes men that dreden him. of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which He hath made myght in his arm, he scatteride is now dispersed all the world over.'
proude men with the thoughte of his herte. As a specimen of the language of Wickliffe, his He sette doun myghty men fro seete, and enhauntranslation of that portion of Scripture which con- side meke men. He hath fulfillid hungry men with tains the Magnificat, may be presented
goodis, and he has left riche men voide.
He heuynge mynde of his mercy took up Israel [The Magnificat.]
his child. And Marye seyde, My soul magnifieth the Lord. As he hath spokun to oure fadris, to Abraham, and And my spiryt hath gladid in God myn helthe. to his seed into worlds.
FROM 1400 TO 1558.
walking in the adjacent garden. This lady, a daughPOETS.
ter of the Earl of Somerset, was afterwards married HILE such to the young king, whom she accompanied to Scotminds as Chaucer's take shape, in
measure, from the state of learning and civilisation which may prevail in their time, it is very clear that they are
never altogether created or brought into exercise by such circumstances. The rise of such men is the accident of nature, and whole ages may pass without producing them. From the death of Chaucer in 1400, nearly two hundred years elapsed in England, before any poet comparable to him arose, and yet those two centuries were more enlightened than the times of Chaucer. This long period, however, produced several poets not destitute of merit.
JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND. Among these was JAMES I. of Scotland, whose mind and its productions, notwithstanding his being a native of that country, must be considered as of English growth. James had been taken prisoner in his boyhood by Henry IV. of England, and spent the nineteen years preceding 1424 in that country, where he was instructed in all the learning and polite ac
James L. of Scotland. complishments of the age, and appears, in particular, to have carefully studied the writings of Chaucer. land. While in possession of his kingdom, he is The only certain production of this young sovereign said to have written several poems descriptive of is a long poem, called The King's Quhair, or Book, humorous rustic scenes ; but these cannot be cerin which he describes the circumstances of an attach- tainly traced to him. He was assassinated at Perth ment which he formed, while a prisoner in Windsor in the year 1437, aged forty-two. Castle, to a young English princess whom he saw The King's Quhair contains poetry superior to