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See what is said in page 1. concerning the “Sisters of the fraternity of Minstrels ;” see also a passage quoted by Dr. Burney (ii. 315) from Muratori, of the Chorus of women singing through the streets, accompanied with musical instruments in 1268.
Had the female described by Walsingham been a Tombestere, or Dancing-woman, (see Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. 307, and v. Gloss.) that historian would probably have used the word Saltatrix. (See T. Warton, i. 240, note m.)
These Saltutrices were prohibited from exhibiting in churches and church-yards along with Joculatores, Histriones, with whom they were sometimes classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who censured, in the severest terms, all these sportive characters. (Vide T. Warton, in loco citato. et vide supra not. (2) (F) &c.)
And here I would observe, that although Fauchet and other subsequent writers affect to arrange the several members of the minstrel profession under the different classes of Troverres (or Troubadours) Chanterres, Conteours, and Jugleurs, &c. (vide page lxiv.) as if they were distinct and separate orders of men, clearly distinguished from each other by these appropriate terms, we find no sufficient grounds for this in the oldest writers; but the general names in Latin, Histrio, Mimus, Joculator, Ministrullus, &c. in French, Menestrier, Menestrel, Jongleur, Jugleur, &c., and in English, Jogeleur, Jugler, Minstrel, and the like, seem to be given them indiscriminately. And one or other of these names seems to have been sometimes applied to every species of men whose business it was to entertain or diveit (joculari,) whether with poesy, singing, music, or gesticulation, singly, or with a mixture of all these. Yet as all men of this sort were considered as belonging to one class, order, or community, (many of the above arts being sometimes exercised by the same person,) they had all of them doubtless the same privileges, and it equally throws light upon the general his. tory of the profession, to show what favour or encouragement was given, at any particular period of time, to any one branch of it. I have not therefore thought it needful to inquire, whether, in the various passages quoted in these pages, the word Minstrel, &c. is always to be understood in its exact and proper meaning of a Singer
the Harp, &c.
That men of very different arts and talents were included under the common name of Minstrels, &c., appears from a variety of authorities. Thus we have Menestrels de Trompes, and Menestrels de Bouche, in the Suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appears still more evident from an old French Rhyrer, whom I shall quote at large.
« Le Quens* manda les Menestrels;
Et si a fett crier entre els,
Fabliaux et Contes, 12mo. tom. ii. p. 161. And what species of entertainment was afforded by the ancient Juggleurs, we learn from the following citation from an old Romance, written in 1230.
“ Quand les tables ostees furent
C'il juggleurs in pies esturent
Et gestes chanté nos ont.” Sir J. Hawkins, ii. 44. from Andr. Du Chene. See also Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. p 299.
All the before-mentioned sports went by the general name of Ministralcia, Ministellorum Ludicra, &c.—" Charta an. 1377, apud Rynier, vii. p. 160. Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat D. Rex in cameram suam cum Prælatis, Magnatibus, et Proceribus prædictis : et deinceps Magnates, Milites, et Domini, aliique Generosi diem illum, usque ad tempus cænæ, in tripudiis, coreis, et solempnibus Ministrulciis, præ gaudio solempnitatis illius continuarunt.''. (Du Cange, Gloss. 773.) [This was at the Coronation of King Richard II.]
It was common for the Minstrels to dance, as well as to harp and sing, (see above, note (E) p. lxvii). Thus in the old romance of Tirante el Blanco ; Val. 1511, the 14th cap. lib. ii, begins thus, “ Despues que las Mesas fueron alçadas vinieron los Ministriles; y delante del Rey, y de la Reyna dançaron un rato : y despues truxeron colacion." * Le Compte.
+ Fait. # Sornette [a gibe, a jest, or flouting.) Ś Janglerie, babillage, raillerie.
They also, probably, among their other feats, played tricks of sleight of hand : hence the word Jugler came to signify a performer of Legerdemain ; and it was sometimes used in this sense (to which it is now appropriated) even so early as the time of Chaucer, who in his Squire's Tule (ii. 108) speaks of the horse of brass, as
like An apparence ymade by som magike,
As JOGELOURS plaien at thise festes grete.” See also the Frere's Tale, 1. p. 279, v. 7049.
(A2) Females playing on the Harp.] Thus in the old romance of Syr Degore, (or Degree, vol. iii, no. 22, p. 33,) we have [Sign. D, i.)
The lady, that was so faire and bright,
For to hear the harpes sowne.” The fourth line being omitted in the pr. copy, is supplied from the folio MS.
In the Squyr of Lowe Degree, (vol. iii. no. 24, p. 34,) the king says to his daughter, [Sign. D. i.]
· Ye were wont to barpe and syng,
And be the meryest in chamber comyng.” In the Carle of Carlisle, (vol. iii. no. 10, p. 30,) we have the following passage. [Folio MS. p. 451, v. 217.]
“ Downe came a lady faire and free,
And sett her on the Carles knee:
Both of paramours and louinge amonge." And in the romance of Eger and Grime, (vol. iii. no. 12, p. 30,) we have (ibid. p. 127, col. 2.) in part i. ver. 263.
“ The ladye fayre of hew and byde
Shee sate downe by the bed side
And her 2 maydens sweetlye sange.” A similar passage occurs in part iv. ver. 129, (page 136.) But these instances are sufficient.
(BB) A Charter .
to appoint u King of the Minstrels.] Entitled Carta Le Roy de Ministrault, (in Latin Histriones, vide Plott, p. 437.) A copy of this charter is printed in Monast. Anglic. i. 355, and in Blount's Law Diction. 1717. (art. King.)
That this was a most respectable officer, both here and on the Continent, will appear from the passages quoted below, and therefore it could only have been in modern times, when the proper meaning of the original terms Ministraulz, and Histriones, was forgot, that he was called King of the Fiddlers ; on which subject see below, note (E E 2).
Concerning the King of the Minstrels we have the following curious passages collected by Du Cange, Gloss. iv. 773.
“ Rex Ministellorum ; supremus inter Ministellos : de cujus munere, potestate in cæteros Ministellos agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliæ in Monast. Anglicano, tom. i. page 355.—Charta originalis an. 1338. Je Robert Caveron Roy des Menestreuls du Royaume de France. Aliæ ann. 1357 et 1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des Menestres du Royaume de France. Computum de auxiliis pro redemptione Regis Johannis, ann. 1367. Pour une Couronne d' Argent qu'il donna le jour de la Tiphaine au Roy des Menestrels.
Regestum Magnorum Dierum Trecensium an. 1296. Super quod Joannes dictus Charmillons Juglator, cui Dominus Rex per suas literas tanquam Regem Juglatorum in civitate Trecensi Magisterium Juglatorum, quemadmodum suæ placeret voluntati, concesserat." Gloss. c. 1587.
There is a very curious passage in Pasquier's Recherches de la France, Paris, 1633, folio, liv. 7, ch. v. p. 611, wherein he appears to be at a loss how to account for the title of Le Roy, assumed by the old composers of metrical romances : in one of which the author expressly declares himself to have been a Minstrel. lution of the difficulty, that he had been Le Roy des Menestrels, will be esteemed more probable than what Pasquier here advances; for I have never seen the title of Prince given to a Minstrel, &c. scil. “A nos vieux Poetes .
fust qu'ils eussent certain jeux de prix en leurs Poesies, ils .... honoroient du nome, tantot de Roy, tantot de Prince, celuy qui avoit le mieux faict comme nous voyons entre les Archers, Arbalestiers, et Harquebusiers estre fait le semblable. Ainsi l'Autheur du Roman d'Oger le Danois s'appelle Roy.
Icy endroict est cil Livre finez
En tel maniere kestre n'en puist blamez
Le Roy Adams (r. Ardenes) ki il est rimez. “ Et en celuy de Cleomades,
“ Ce Livre de Cleomades
Menestre au bon Duc Henry. “ Mot de Roy, qui seroit très-mal approprié à un Menestrier, si d'ailleurs on ne le rapportoit à un jeu du priz: Et de faict il semble que de nostre temps, il y en eust encores quelque remarques, en ce que le mot de Jouingleur s'estant par succession de temps tourné en batelage, nous avons veu en nostre jeunesse les Jouingleurs se trouver à certain jour tous les ans en la ville de Chauny en Picardie, pour faire monstre de leur mestrier devant le monde, à qui mieux. Et ce que j'en dis icy n'est pas pour vilipender ces anciens Rimeurs, ainsi pour monstrer qu'il n'y a chose si belle qui ne s'anéantisse avec le temps."
We see here that, in the time of Pasquier, the poor Minstrel was sunk into as low estimation in France, as he was then or afterwards in England ; but by his apology for comparing the Jouingleurs, who assembled to exercise their faculty, in his youth, to the ancient Rimeurs, it is plain they exerted their skill in rhyme.
As for king Adenes, or Adenez, (whose pame in the first passage above is corruptly printed Adams,) he is recorded in the Bibliothèque des Romans, Amst. 1734. 12mo. vol. i. page 232, to have composed the two romances in verse above mentioned, and a third entitled Le Roman de Bertin ; all three being preserved in a MS. written about 1270. His Bon Duc Henry, I conceive to have been Henry Duke of Brabant.
(B. B 2) King of the Minstrels, &c.] See Anstis's Register of the Order of the Garter, ii. p. 303, who tells us, “ The President or Governour of the Minstrels had the like denomination of Roy in France and Burgundy; and in England, John of Gaunt constituted such an officer by a patent; and long before his time payments were made by the Crown to [a] King of the Minstrels by Edw. I. Regi Roberto Ministrallo scutifero ad arma commoranti ad vadia Regis anno 5to. [Bibl. Cotton. Vespas. c. 16. f. 3.) as likewise [Libro Garderob. 25 E. I.] Ministrallis in die nuptiarum Comitissæ Holland filiæ Regis, Regi Pago, Johanni Vidulatori, &c. Morello Regi, &c. Druetto Monthaut, et Jacketto de Scot. Regi. bus, cuilibet eorum, xl. s. Regi Pagio de Hollandia, &c. Under Ed. II. we likewise find other entries, Regi Roberto et aliis Mi