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French verse

One compares his lady geries. Their true aim and end is to o all kinds of prec ous stones and hit out at the monks. In ever, French dowers; others sing truly amg rous country or country which imitates bongs, at times sensual :

France, the most manifest use of conBytuene Mershe and Aueril,

vents is to furnish material for spright When spray biginneth to springe, ly and scandalous stories. One writes. The lutel foul hath hire wyl

for instance, of the kind of life the On hyre lud to synge, Ich líbbe in louelonginge

monks lead at the abbey of Cocagne : For semlokest of alle thynge

“ There is a wel fair abbei,
He may mu blysse bringe,

Of white monkes
Icham in hire baundoun,

Ther beth bowris and halles :
An hendy jap ichabbe yhent,

Al of pasteiis beth the wallis,
Ichot from heaene it is me sent.

Of fleis, of fisse, and rich met,
From alle wynımen my love is lent,

The likfullist that man may et.
And lyht on Alisoun." *

Fluren cakes beth the schingles allez
Ano'her sings :

Of cherche, cloister, boure, and halle.

The pinnes beth fat podinges - Suete lemmon, y preye the, of loue one Rich met to princes and kinges.

speche, Whil y lyue in world so wyde other sulle y

Though paradis be miri and

bright

Cokaign is of fairir sight. seche.

Another abbei is therbi, With thy loue, my siete leof, mi bliss thou

Forsoth a gret fair nunnerie. mihtes eche

When the someris dai is hote A suete cos of thy mouth mihte be

my

The young nunnes takith a bote. leche." +

And doth ham forth in that river Is not this the lively and warm imagi

Both with ores and with stere. nation of the south ? they speak of

And euch monk him takith on,

And snellich berrith forth har prei springtime and of love, “ the fine and

To the mochil grei abbei, lovely weather,” like trouvères, even And techith the nunnes an oreisun, like troubadours. The dirty, smoke- With iambleue up and down." grimed cottage, the black feudal castle,

This is the triumph of gluttony ani where all but the master lie higgledy- feeding. Moreover

many things piggledy on the straw in the great stone could be mentioned in the middle ages, hall, the cold rain, the muddy earth,

which are now unmentionable. But it make the return of the sun and the

was the poems of chivalry which repwarm air delicious.

resented to him the bright side of his " Sumer is i-cumen in,

own mode of life, that the baron preLhude sing cuccu :

ferred to have translated. He desired Groweth sed, and bloweth med, And springeth the wde nu.

that his trouvère should set before his Sing cuccu, cuccu.

eyes the magnificence which he disAwe bleteth after lomb, Llouth after calue cu,

played, and the luxury and enjoyments Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth:

which he has introduced from France Murie sing cuccu,

Life at that time, without and even Cuccu, cuccu.

during war, was a great pageant, a Wel singes thu cuccu ;

brilliant and tumultuous kind of féte. Ne swik thu nauer nu. Sing, cuccu nu,

When Henry II. travelled, he took Sing, cuccu. 1

with him a great number of horsemen, llere are glowing pictures, such as foot-soldiers, baggage-wagons, tents Guillaume de Lorris was writing, at pack-horses, comedians, courtesans, the same time even richer and more and their overseers, cooks, confection lifelike, perhaps because the poet ers, posture-makers, dancers, barbers, found here for inspiration that love oi go - betweens, hangers-cn.* In the country life which in England is deep morning when they start, the assem. and national. Others, more imitative, blage begins to shout, sing, hustle each attempt pleasantries like those of ther, make racket and rout, Rutebeuf and the fabliaux, frank hell were let loose.” William Longquips, and even' satirical loose wag. cha'nps, even in time of peace, would * About 1278. Warton, i. 28.

notravel without a thousand horses t Ibid. i. 31. Warton, i. 30. by way of escort.

When Archbishop | Poem of the Owl and Nightingale, who dispute as to which has the finest voice.

· Letter of Peter of Blois.

as if

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à Becket cime to France, he entered | exploit worthy of their m' tresses. Our the town with two hundred knights, a of the very exuberancy of spirit they number of barons and nobles, and an practised the art of poetry; out of the army of servants, all richly armed and buoyancy of their imagination they equipped, he himself being provided made a sport of life. Edward III. with four-and-twenty suits; two hun- built at Windsor a hall and a round dred and fifty children walk in front, table; and at one of his tourneys in singing national songs; then dogs, then London, sixty ladies, seated on palfreys, carriages, then a dozen pack-horses, led, as in a fairy tale, each her knight each ridden by an ape and a man ; then by a golden chain. Was not this the equerries with shields and war-horses ; triumph of the gallant and fri: olous then more equerries, falconers, a suite | French fashions ? Edward's wife of domestics, knights, priests ; lastly, Philippa sat as a model to ine artists the archbishop himself, with his private for their Madonnas. She appeared on friends. Imagine these processions, the field of battle; listened to Froissart, and also these entertainments; for the who provided her with moral-plays, Normans, after the Conquest, “ bor-love-stories, and "things fair to listen cowed from the Saxons the habit of to." At once goddess, heroine, and excess 'n eating and drinking.” * At scholar, and all this so agreeably, was the marriage of Richard Plantagenet, she not a true queen of reñined chivalry? Ear, of Cornwall, they provided thirty Now, as also in France under Louis cí thousand dishes. They also contin- Orleans and the Dukes of Burgundy, ued to be gallant, and punctiliously per- this most elegant and romanesque formed the great precept of the love civilization came into full bloom, void courts ; for in the middle age the sense of common sense, given up to passion, of love was no more idle than the others. bent on pleasure, immoral and brilliant, Moreover, tournaments were plentiful; but, like its neighbors of Italy and a sort of opera prepared for their own Provence, for lack of serious intention, entertainment. So ran their life, full it could not last. of adventure and adornment, in the Of all these marvels the narrators open air and in the sunlight, with show make display in their stories. Here is of cavalcades and arms; they act a a picture of the vessel which took the pageant, and act it with enjoyment. mother of King Richard into Eng Thus the King of Scots, having come land ;to London with a hundred knights, at “ Swlk on ne seygh they never non ; the coronation of Edward I., they all. All it was whyt of huel-bon, dismounted, and made over their horses And every nayl with gold begrave :

Off pure gold was the stave. and superb caparisons to the people ;

Her mast was of yvory ; as did also five English lords, imitating Off samyte the say) wytterly. their example. In the midst of war Her ropes wer off tuely sylk, they took their pleasure. Edward III.,

Al so whyt as ony mylk.

That noble schyp was al withoute, in one of his expeditions against the

With clothys of golde sprede aboute ; King of France, took with him thirty And her loof and her wyndas, falconers, and made his campaign

Off asure forsothe it was.alternately hunting and fighting. I On such subjects they never run dry. Another :ime, says Froissart, the When the King of Hungary wishes to knights who joined the army carried a console his afflicted daughter, he pro plaster over one eye, having vowed not poses to take her to the chase in the inremove it until they had performed an following style :-* William of Malmesbury.

• Tomorrow ye shall in hunting fare : 7 At the installation-feast of George Nevill, Aud ride, my daughter, in a chair ; Archbishop of York, the brother of Guy of It shall be covered with velvet res Warwick, there were consumed, 104 oxen and 6 And cloths of fine gold al. about your head wild bulls, 1000 sheep, 304 calves, as inany With damask white and azure blue, hogs, 2000 swive, 500 stags, bucks, and does, Well diapered with lilies new. 204 kids, 22, So2 wild or tame fowl, 300 quarters Your pommels shall be ended with gold, of corn, 300 tuns of ale, 100 of wine, a pipe of Your chains enamelled many a fold, bypocras, 12 porpoises and seals.

Your mantle of rich degree, | These prodigalities and refinements grew to excess under his grandson Richard II.

Warton, i. 156.

71

Purple pall ani ermine free.

Amid such fancies and splendors Jennets of Spain that ben so light, Trap ed to the ground with velvet bright

the poets delight and lose themselves Ye shall have harp, sautry, and song,

and the wolf, like the embroideries of And other mirths you amorg.,

their canvas, bears the mark of this Ve shall have Ramney and Malespine, love of decoration. They weave it ou! Both hippocras and Vernage wine ; Montrese and wine of Greek,

of adventures, of extraordinary and Both Algrade and despice eke,

surprising events. Now it is the life Antioch and Bastarde,

of King Horn, who, tiirown into a Pyment also and garnarde ;

boat when a lad, is wrecked upon th: Wive of Greek and Muscadel, Both clare, pyment, and Rochelle,

coast of England, and, becomir.. The reed your stomach to defy,

knight, reconquers the kingdom of his And pots of osey set you by.

father. Now it is the history of Sir You shall have venison ybake,

Guy, who rescues enchanted knights, The best wild fowl that may be take ; A leish of harehound with you to streek,

cuts down the giant Colbrand, chal. And hart, and bind, and other like. lenges and kills the Sultan in his tent. Ye shall be set at such a tryst,

It is not for me to recount these That hart and hynd shall come to you fist, poems, which are nct English, but oniy You áisease to drive you fro, To liear the bugles there yblow.

translations; still, here as in France, Homeward thus shall ye ride,

there are many of them ; they fill the On hawking by the river's side,

imagination of the young society, and With gosshawk and with gentle falcon, With bugle-horn and merlion.

they grow in exaggeration, untií, fall. When you come home your menie among,

ing to the lowest depth of insipidity Ye shall have revel, dance, and song ; and improbability, they are buried forLittle children, great and small,

ever by Cervantes.

What would peoShall sing as does the nightingale. Then shall ye go to your evensong,

ple say of a society which had no With tenors and trebles

literature but the opera with its un.

among Threescore of copes of damask bright, realities? Yet it was a literature of Full of pearls they shall be pight.

this kind which formed the intellectual Your censors shall be of gold, Indent with azure many a fold ;

food of the middle ages. //People then Your quire nor organ song shall want,

did not ask for truth, but entertainWith contre-note and descant.

ment, and that vehement and hollow, The other half on organs playing,. full of glare and startling events. With young

children full fain singing. Then shall ye go to your supper,

They asked for impossible voyages, And sit in tents in green arber,

extravagant challenges, a racket of With cloth of arras pight to the ground, contests, a confusion of magnificence With sapphires set of diamond. A hundred knights, truly told,

and entanglement of chances. For inShall play with bowls in alleys cold

trospective history they had no liking, Your disease to drive away;

cared nothing for the adventures of To see the fishes in pools play,

the heart, devoted their attention to To a drawbridge then shall ye, Th' one half of stone, th' other of tree ;

the outside. They remained children A barge shall meet you full right,

to the last, with eyes glued to a series With twenty-four oars full bright,

of exaggerated and colored images With trumpets and with clarion,

and, for lack of thinking, did not per The fresh water to row up and down.

ceive that they had learnt nothing. Forty torches burning bright At your bridge to bring you light.

What was there beneath this fancı Into your chamber they shall you bring, ful dream? Brutal and evil human With much mirth and more liking.

passions, unchained at first by religious Your blankets shall be of fustian, Your sheets shall be of cloth of Rennes.

fury, then delivered up to their own Your head sheet shall be of pery pight, devices, and, beneath a show of exter With diamonds set and rubies bright. nal courtesy, as vile as ever. Look When you are laid in bed so soft,

at the popular king, Richard Cour de A cage of gold shall hang aloft, With long paper fair burning,

Lion, and reckon up his butcheries and Ap 1 cloves that be sweet smelling.

murders : “King Richard,” says a Frınkincense and olibanum,

poem,“ is the best king ever mentioned Taat when ye sleep the taste may come ;

in song."* I have no objection; bu And if ye no rest can take, All night minstrels for you shall wake." * Warton, i. 123 :

" In Fraunce these rhymes were wrolis, *Warton, i. 176, spelling modernized.

Every Englyshe ne koew it not.'

if he has the heart of a lion, he has the slaughters of the Wars of the also that brute's appetite. One day, Roses. In both countries feudal ·nde under the walls of Acre, being con- pendence endea in civil war, anc. the valescent, he had a great desire for middle age founders under its vices. some pork. There was no pork. They Chivalrous courtesy, which cleaked killed a young Saracen, fresh and ten- the native ferocity, disappears like der, cooked and salted him, and the some hangings suddenly consumed by king ate him and found him very good; the breaking out of a fire; at that time whereupon he desired to see the head in England they killed nobles in pref of the pig. The cook brought it in erence, and prisoners too, even chl trembling The king falls a laughing, dren, with insults, in cold bloud. an.l says the army has nothing to fear What, then, did man learn in this civile iron famine, having provisior.s ready ization and by this literature? How at hand. He takes the town, and was he humanized? What precepts presently Saladın's ambassadors come of justice, habits of reflection, store of

sue for pardon cor the prisoners tris judgn onts, did this culture interRichard has thirty of the most now.. between his desires and his acDe headed, and bids his cook boil the tions, in order to moderate his passing? heads, and serve one to each ambas- He dreamed, he imagined a sort of sador, with a ticket bearing the name elegant ceremonial in order the better and family of the dead man. Mean- to address lords and ladies ; he dis. while, in their presence, he eats his covered the gallant code of little Jehan own with a relish, bids them tell Sala de Saintré. But where is the true din how the Christians make war, and education ? Wherein has Froissart ask him if it is true that they fear him. profited by all his vast experience ? Then he orders the sixty thousand He was a fine specimen of a babbling prisoners to be led into the plain : child; what they called his poesy, “ They were led into the place full even.

the poésie neuve, is only a refined gabThere they heard angels of heaven ; ble, a senile puerility. Some rhetoThey said : “ Seigneures, tuez, tuez! ricians, like Christine de Pisan, try to Spares hem nought, and beheadeth these!” round their periods after an ancient King Richard heard the angels' voice, And thanked God and the holy cross.'

model ; but all their literature amounts

to nothing. No one can think. Sir Thereupon they behead them all. John Maundeville, who travelled all When he took a town, it was his wont over the world a hundred and fifty to murder every one, even children

years after Villehardouin, is as con: and women. Such was the devotion tracted in his ideas as Villehardouin of the middle ages, not only in roman himself. Extraordinary legends and ces, as here, but in history; At the fables, every sort of credulity and ignotaking of Jerusalem the whole popula- rance, abound in his book. When he tion, seventy thousand persons, were wishes to explain why Palestine has massacred.

passed into the hands of various pos. Thus even in chivalrous stories the sessors instead of continuing under one fierce and unbridled instincts of the government, he says that it is because bloodthirsty brute break out. The God would not that it should continue authentic narratives show it. Henry longer in the hands of traitors and sinU. irritated at a page, attempted to ners, whether Christians or others. He ear out his eyes.* 'John Lackla.d let has seen at Jerusalem, on the steps of wenty-three hostages die in prison of the temple, the footmarks of the ase Gunger. Edward II caused at one time which our Lord rode on Palm Sunday. twenty-eight nobles to be hanged and He describes the Ethiopians as a peo disembowelled, and was himself put ple who have only on foot, but so to death by the insertion of a red-hot large that they can make use of it as a 'ron into his bowels. Look in Froissart

He instances

parasol. for the debaucheries and murders in " where be people as big as gyants, of

one island France as well as in England, of the 28 feet long, and have no cloathing but Hund.ed Years' War, and then for beasts' skins ;” then another island, * Sce Lingard s Hisinry, ii. 55, note 4.-TR. “where there are many evil and four

aquer

;

ture.

women, but have precious stones in crown a cluster of foreign branches their eyes, and have such force that if True, it had suffered, but at last the they beisold ar.y man with wrath, they wound closed, the saps mingled. Even slay him with beholding, as the basilisk the hard, stiff ligatures with which the dot!! The good man relates; that is Conqueror bound it, henceforth com all : doubt and common sense scarcely tributed to its fixity and vigor. The exist in the world he lives in. He has land was mapped out ; every title veri neither judgment nor reflection ; he fied, defined in writing ;* every right piles facts one on top of another, with or tenure valued ; every man registered no further connection; his book is as to his locality, and also his condi simply a mirror which reproduces rec- tion, duties, descent, and resources, so ollections of his eyes and ears. “And that the whole nation was enveloped all those who will say a Pater and an in a network of which not a mesh Ave Maria in my behalf, I give them would break. Its future development an interest and a share in all the holy had to be within these limits. Its conpilgrimages I eve, made in my life.”' stitution was settled, and in this positive Thai is his farewell, and accords with ar.. Agent enclosure men were comall the rest. Neither public morality pelled co unfold themselves and to act. nor public knowledge has gained any Solidarity and strife; these were the thing from these three centuries of cul- two effects of the great and orderly

This French culture, copied in establishment which shaped and held vain throughout Europe, has but super- together, on one side the aristocracy of ficially adorned mankind, and the var- the conquerors, on the other the nish with which it decked them, is conquered people ; even as in Rome already tarnished everywhere or scales the systematic fusing of conquered off. It was worse in England, where peoples into the plebs, and the conthe thing was more superficial and the strained organization of the patricians application worse than in France, in contrast with the plebs, enrolled where foreign hands laid it on, and the private individuals in two orders, where it could only half cover the whose opposition and union formed the Saxon crust, where that crust was worn state. Thus, here as in Rome, the away and rough. That is the reason national character was moulded and why, during three centuries, through completed by the habit of corporate out the whole first feudal age, the action, the respect for written law, literature of the Normans in England, political and practical aptitude, the made up of imitations, translations, and development of combative and patient clumsy copies, ends in nothing.

energy. It was the Domesday Book

which, binding this young society in a VI.

rigid discipline, made of the Saxon the

Englishman of our own day. Meantime, what has become of the

Gradually and slowly, amidst the conquere people? Has the old stock, gloomy complainings of the chroni on which the brilliant continental flow- clers, we find the new man fashioned ers were grafted, engendered no literary by action, like a child who cries be. shout of its own ? Did it continue cause steel stays, though they improve barren during all this time under the his figure, give him pain. However Norman axe, which stripped it of all reduced and downtrodden the Saxon! its buds ? It grew very feebly, but it were, they did not all sink into the grew nevertheless.

The subjugated populace. Some,t almost in every race is not a dismembered nation, dislocated, uprooted, sluggish, like the * Domesday Book. Froude's Hist. of En populations of the Continent, which, land, 1858, i, 13 : Through all these arrango after the long Roman oppression, were England should have his definite place and def

ments a single aim is visible, that every man in given up to the cnrestrained invasion inite duty assigned to him, and that no human of bartarians ; it increased, remained being should be at liverty to lead at his owo fixed in its own soil, full of sap : its pleasure an unaccountable existence. The dis members were not displaced; it was

cipline of an army was transferred to the detaile

of social life.” simply lopped in order to receive on its † Domesday Book, “tenants-in-chief."

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