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premiers Chansonniers, non à la Provence, et qu'il y avoit parmi nous des Chansons en langue vulgaire avant celles de Provençaus, mais postérieurement au Regne de Philippe I., ou à l'an 1100." (v. Révolutions de la Langue Françoise, à la suite des Poesies du Roi de Navarre.] “ Ce seroit une antériorité de plus d'une demi siecle à l'époque des premiers Troubadours, que leur historien Jean de Nostredame fise à l'an 1162,” &c. Pref. à l'Anthologie Franç., 8vo. 1765.
This subject hath since been taken up and prosecuted at length in the Prefaces, &c. to M. Le Grand's “ Fabliaux ou Contes du xiie et du xiiie Siecle, Paris, 1788.” 5 tom. 12mo., who seems pretty clearly to have established the priority and superior excellence of the old Rimeurs of the north of France over the Troubadours of Provence, &c.
(s 2) Their own native Gleemen or Minstrels must be allowed to erist.] Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical Romance of Horn-Child, (vol. iii., no. 1, pa. 25,) which although from the mention of Sarazens, &c. it must have been written at least after the first Crusade in 1096, yet, from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom, can scarce be dated later than within a century after the Conquest. This, as appears from its very exordium, was intended to be sung to a popular audience, whether it was composed by, or for, a Gleeman or Minstrel. But it carries all the internal marks of being the production of such a composer. It appears of genuine English growth ; for, after a careful examination, I cannot discover any allusion to French or Norman customs, manners, composition, or phraseology : no quotation" as the Romance sayth :' not a name or local reference which was likely to occur to a French Rimeur. The proper names are all of Northern extraction. Child Horn is the son of Allof (i.e. Olaf or Olave) king of Sudenne, (I suppose Sweden,) by his queen Godylde or Godylt. Athulf and Fykenyld are the names of subjects. Eylmer or Aylmere is king of Westnesse, (a part of Ireland,) Rymenyld is his daughter; as Erminyld is of another king Thurstan ; whose sons are Athyld and Beryld. Athelbrus is steward of King Aylıner, &c. &c. All these savour only of a Northern origin, and the whole piece is exactly such a performance as one would expect from a Gleeman or Minstrel of the north of England, who had derived his art and his ideas from his Scaldic predecessors there. So that this probably is the original from which was translated the old French fragment of Dan Horn, in the Harleian MS. 527, mentioned by Tyrwhitt, (Chaucer, iv. p. 68,) and by T. Warton (Hist.i. 38,) whose extract from Horn-Child is extremely incorrect. Compare the style of Child-Horn with the Anglo-Saxon specimens in short verses and rhyme, which are assigned to the century succeeding the Conquest, in Hicke's Thesaurus, tom. i. cap. 24, Pp. 224 and 231.
(T) The different production of the sedentary composer and the rambling minstrel.] Among the old metrical romances, a very few are addressed to readers, or mention reading : these appear to have been composed by writers at their desk, and exhibit marks of more elaborate structure and invention. Such is Eglamour of Artas, (vol. iii. no. 20, p. 32,) of which I find in a MS. copy in the Cotton library, A. 2, folio 3, the Second Fitte thus concludes,
thus ferr have I red. Such is Ipomydon (vol. iii, no. 23, page 33,) of which one of the divisions (Sign. E. ii. b. in pr. copy) ends thus,
Let hym go, God bim spede
Tyll efte-soone we of him reed, [i. e. read.] So in Amys and Amylion,* (vol. iii. no. 31, p. 35,) in stanza 3d we have
In Geste as we rede, and similar phrases occur in stanzas 34, 125, 140, 196, &c.
These are all studied compositions, in which the story is invented with more skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of superior cast to such as can with sufficient probability be attributed to the minstrels themselves.
Of this class I conceive the romance of Horn Child (mentioned in the last note (s 2) and in vol. iii., no. 1, p. 25,) which, from the naked unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute to such an origin.
But more evidently is such the Squire of Lowe Degree, (vol. iii. no. 24, p. 34,) in which is no reference to any French original, nothing like the phrase, which so frequently occurs in others,
* It ought to have been observed in its proper place in vol. ii. no. 31, page 35, that Amys and Amylion were no otherwise “ Bro. thers," than eing fast friends : as was suggested by the learned Dr. Samuel Pegge, who was so obliging as to favour the Essayist formerly with a curious transcript of this poem, accompanied with valuable illustrations, &c.; and that it was his opinion, that both the fragment of the Lady Bellesent, mentioned in the same no. 31, and also the mutilated Tale, no. 37, (page 37,) were only imperfect copies of the above romance of Amys and Amylion, which contains the two lines quoted in no. 37.
“ as the Romance sayth,” or the like. And it is just such a rambling performance as one would expect from an itinerant bard. And
Such also is A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode, &c., in 8 Fyttes, of which are extant two editions, 4to., in black letter, described more fully in page 85 of this volume. - This is not only of undoubted English growth, but, from the constant satire aimed at abbots and their convents, &c. could not possibly have been composed by any monk in his cell.
Other instances might be produced ; but especially of the former kind is Syr Launfal, (vol. iii. no. 2, p. 30,) the 121st stanza of which has
In Romances as we rede. This is one of the best invented stories of that kind, and I believe the only one in which is inserted the name of the author.
(1 2) Royer or Raherus the King's Minstrel.] He is recorded by Leland under both these names, in his Collectanea, scil. vol. i.
61. Hospitale S. Barthtolomæi in West Smithfelde in London. Royer Mimus Regis fuudator."
Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini. “Raherus Mimus Regis H. 1. primus fundator, an. 1102,13 H. 1, qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti. Barthol.” Ibid. p. 99.
* Wherever the word Romance occurs in these metrical narratives, it bath been thought to afford decisive proof of a translation from the Romance or French language. Accordingly it is so urged by T. Warton, (i. 146, note) from two passages in the pr. copy of Sir Eglamour, viz. sign. Ei,
In Romaunce as we rede.
In Romaunce this cronycle is.
As I herd a Clerke rede.
In Rome this Gest cronycled ys. So that I believe references to “ the Romaunce," or the like, were often mere expletive phrases inserted by the oral Reciters; one of whom I conceive had altered or corrupted the old Syr Eglamour in the manner that the copy was printed.
That Mimus is properly a Minstrel in the sense affixed to the word in this essay, one extract from the accounts (Lat. Computis) of the priory of Maxtock, near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently show.-Scil. “ Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, cithari. santibus, ludentibus,” &c. iiiis. (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q.) The same year the Prior gave to a doctor prædicans, for a sermon preached to them, only 6d.
In the Monasticon, tom. ii. p. 166, 167, is a curious history of the fouuder of this priory, and the cause of its erection, which seems exactly such a composition as one those which were manufactured by Dr. Stone, the famous legend-maker, in 1380 ; (see T. Warton's curious account of him, in vol. ii. p. 190, pote,) who required no materials to assist him in composing his Narratives, &c.; for in this legend are no particulars given of the founder, but a recital of miraculous visions exciting him to this pious work, of its having been before revealed to King Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, &c. Even his minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when this legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that he frequented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself suavitate joculuri. (This last is the only word that seems to have any appropriated meaning.) This will account for the indistinct incoherent account given by Stow. Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman, and therefore in his time called the King's Minstrel.” Survey of Lond. Ed. 1598, p.
(v) In the eurly times, every Harper was expected to sing.) See on this subject King Alfred's Version of Cædmon, above in note (H) page lxx. So in Horn-Child, King Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to
teche him of barpe and of song. In the Squire of Lowe Degree, the King offers to his daughter,
Ye shall have harpe, sautry,* and song. * The Harp (Lat. Cithara) differed from the Sautry, or Psaltry (Lat. Psalterium) in that the former was a stringed instrument, and the latter was mounted with wire: there was also some difference in the construction of the bellies, &c. See “ Bartholomæus de proprietatibus rerum,” as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, in Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. ii. p. 285.
And Chaucer, in his description of the Limitour or Mendicant Friar, speaks of harping as inseparable from singing, (i. p. 11, ver. 268.)
in bis harping, whan that he hadde songe.
(v %) As the most accomplished, '&c.] See Hoveden, p. 103, in the following passage, which had erroneously been applied to King Richard himself, till Mr. Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, iv. page 62,) showed it to belong to his Chancelor. “ Hic ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, emendicata carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios comparabat ; et de regno Francorum Cantores et Joculatores muneribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in plateis : et jam dicebatur ubique, quod non erat talis in orbe.” For other particulars relating to this Chancelor, see T. Warton's Hist. vol. ii. Addit. to p. 113 of vol. i.
(u 3) Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at the houses of the great.] A remarkable proof of this is, that the most diligent inquirers after ancient English rhymes, find the earliest they can discover in the mouths of the Norman nobles. Such as that of Robert Earl of Leicester, and his Flemings in 1173, temp. Hen. II. (little more than a century after the Conquest) recorded by Lambarde in his Dictionary of England, p. 36.
Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken
Iugland is thine and myne,” &c. And that noted boast of Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the same reign of King Henry II., vide Camdeni Britannia, (art. Suffolk) 1607, folio.
“ Were I in my castle of Bungey
V pon the riuer of Waueney
I would ne care for the king of Cockeney.” Indeed many of our old metrical romances, whether originally English, or translated from the French to be sung to an English audience, are addressed to persons of high rank, as appears from their beginning thus,-—"Listen, Lordings,” and the like. These were prior to the time of Chaucer, as appears from vol. iii. p. 28,
And yet to his time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to their French language.
(v) That intercommunity, 8c. between the French and English Minstrels, &c.] This might perhaps, in a great measure, be re