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fhould be DRYGHTE, Sax. lord, i. e. anno domini. Before every
Vision the manner and circumstances of his falling asleep, are distinctly described ; before one of them, in particular, Pierce Plowman, is supposed, with equal humour and satire, to fall asleep, while he is bidding his beads. In the course of the poem, the satire is carried on by means of several allegoric personages, such as Mede, Simony, Conscience, Sloth, &c. The learned Selden * mentions this author with honour. Drayton, in his Legend of Cromwell, has modernised a humourous paffage from him; and by Hickes he is frequently stiled, Celeberrimus ille fatyrographus, morum vindex acerrimus, &c. Leland seems
& to have confounded this poem with Chaucer's Plowman's Tale. Speaking of two editins of Chaucer, he adds, “ Sed Petri Aratoris Fabula, quæ communi doctorum consensu Chaucero, tanquam vero parenti, attribuitur, in utraque editione, quia malos facerdotum mores vehementer increpavit, suppresa eft +." Chaucer indeed, in the Plowman's Tale seems to have copied from our author.
There is another poem, entitled, PIERCE THE PLOUGHMAN's Crede, intirely different from the VISIONS OF PIERCE PLOUGHMAN, though written in the same sort of verse and language. Hearne men
* Notes on Polyolb. f. 11,
t Comment, de Script. Brit. c. 55. Ff
tions an edition of the Crede, “ London, R. Wolfe, 1553,” 4to. in four sheets *. But I have seen this Crede annexed to Owen Rogers's edition of Pierce Plowman's Visions, 1561, Feb. 21, 4to.
This edition is sometimes found without the Crede. Beginning of the Crede :
Cros and Curteis Christ this beginning spede.
It contains a curious description of the stateliness of a monastery, which the author visits t, part of which is cited above. Some other satyrical pieces on the Religious, before the reformation, bear the adopted name of PIERCE THE PLOUGHMAN.
Stowe, an annotator on Chaucer, and in general accurate in these matters, has thought it worth recording in his History of England, that, “ In the “ yeere 1342, John Malvern, fellow of Oriell col
lege in Oxford, made and finished his book, en" titled, The Visions of Pierce Ploughman 1.” But it could not be written or published so early, as appears from the paslage quoted in the beginning of this note. With regard to which, Bale says, that this work was finished, 1369, when John Chichester was Mayor of London. But Hearne observes *, that there were two dear years, in which Chichester was Mayor of London, viz, 1350, and 1370. What may throw some further light on the time in which our author lived and wrote, is, that Oriel college was not founded 'till the year 1324, or 26, of which he was a fellow.
* G. Neubrig. Spicil. &c. vol. 3. p. 770.
+ Pag. 4.
B. v. c. ix. f. XXXV.
The horses of the son,
Towards the western Brim begin to draw.
BRIM is often used for margin or bank of a stream by our author, and the old poets. Also by Milton, in Comus,
By dimpled brook, or fountain-BRIMT.
Fountain-BRIM seems to have been a common expreffion. It is used by Drayton:
Sporting with Hebe by a fountain-BRIM I.
And in Warner's Albion's England,
As this fame fond felfe-pleasing youth food at a FOUN
* MSS. note to Crowley's edit. 1550.
| Bar, W. 6. 36.
We have ocean-BRIM in the Paradise-loft,
With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-BRIM*.
B. v. c. X. f. xxix.
And for more horror, and more crueltie,
We are apt to conceive something very wonderful of those mysterious things which are thus said to be unknown to us, and to be out of the reach and compass of man's knowledge and apprehension. Thus a cave is said to be,
A dreadfull depth, how deepe no man can tell.
5. 9. 6.
If the poet had limited the depth of this cave to a very great, but to a certain number of fathoms, the fancy could still have supposed and added more; but, as no determinate measure is assigned, our imagination is left at liberty to exert its utmoft arbitrary stretch, to add fathom to fathom, and depth to depth, till it is loft in it's own attempt to grasp the idea of that which is unbounded or infinite. Omne ignotum
pro MAGNIFICO eft, says Tacitus, somewhere ; a . writer of the strongest imagination.
From a Concealment of this kind arises the Sublime, in the following passage.
There Merlin stay'd,
This is finely heightened by the consternation of the beholders.
Which suddein fitt, and half extatick ftoure
3. 3. 49.
Here is a striking instance of the force of additional figures. The whole is a fine subject for a picture.
B. v. c. X. f. xxxiii.
It should rather be “ tumbling SENSELESSE downe." We have the same metathetical form again :
But as he lay upon the humbled grass. 6. 7. 26. Where humbled should be made to agree with he rather than with grass.