Page images

Not WILKES, our freedom's holy martyr, more;
Nor his firm Phalanx, of the common shore.

For this in Norwood's patrimonial groves,
The tawny father with his offspring roves;
When fummer funs lead flow the fultry day,
In moffy caves, where welling waters play,
Fann'd by each gale that cools the fervid fky,
With this in ragged luxury they lie.
Oft at the fun the dufky elfins strain
The fable eye, then, fnugging, fleep again :
Oft, as the dews of cooler evening fall,
For their prophetic mother's mantle call.

Far other cares that wandering mother wait,
The mouth, and oft the minifter of fate!
From her to hear, in ev'ning's friendly fhade,
Of future fortune, flies the village maid,
Draws her long-hoarded copper from its hold;
And rufty halfpence purchafe hopes of gold,

But, ah! ye maids, beware the Gypfey's lures!
She opens not the womb of time, but yours."
Oft has her hands the hapless MARIAN wrung,'
MARIAN, whom GAY in fweetcft ftrains has fung!
The parfon's maid-fore cause had the to rue
The Gypfey's tongue; the parfon's daughter too.
Long had that anxious daughter figh'd to know
What Vellum's fprucy clerk, the valley's beau,
Meant by thofe glances, which at church he ftole,
Her father nodding to the pfalm's flow drawl;
Long had the figh'd, at length a prophet came,
By many a fure prediction known to Fame,
TO MARIAN known, and all fhe told for true :
She knew the future, for the past she knew.

Where, in the darkling fhed, the moon's dim rays
Beam'd on the ruins of a one-horse chaise,
Villaria fat, while faithful MARIAN brought
The wayward prophet of the woe the fought.
Twice did her hands, the income of the week,
On either fide, the crooked fix-pence feek;

Twice were thofe hands withdrawn from either fide,
To ftop the titt'ring laugh, the blush to hide.
The wayward prophet made no long delay,
No novice the in Fortune's devious way!
"Ere yet, fhe cried, ten rolling months are o'er,
"Muft ye be mothers; maids, at leaft, no more.
"With you fhall foon, O lady fair, prevail
"A gentle youth, the flower of this fair vale.
"TO MARIAN, once of Colin Clout the fcorn,
"Shall Bumkin come, and Bumkinets be born."
'Smote to the heart, the maidens marvell'd fore,
That ten fhort months had fuch events in store;
But holding firm, what village-maids believe,
That Strife with Fate is milking in a fieve;


To prove their prophet true, tho' to their coft,
They juftly thought no time was to be loft.

Thefe foes to youth, that feek with dang`rous art,
To aid the native weakness of the heart;

Thefe mifcreants from thy harmless village drive,
As wafps felonious from the lab'ring hive.'

Here we are forry to find ourselves at the end of this first part of the intended poem; but we cannot take leave of the unknown Author, without heartily thanking him for the pleafure he has given us in the perufal of this little though, beautiful production; nor without expreffing our hope that he will proceed in his laudable defign, and compleatly finish the portrait of his worthy and amiable Country Justice.

ART. XI. Warton's Hiftory of English Poetry, Vol. 1. concluded. See onr laft Month's Review.

UR Readers have already been prefented with an account of the two preliminary differtations which form a part of this work. We now proceed to the hiftory itself, a fummary view of which will conclude this article.

This hiftory commences from the Conqueft, when the Saxon language underwent a third revolution, and after having been originally impregnated with the British, and afterwards with the Danish, was now adulterated by the Norman.

Accordingly the first poem, of which any notable specimen is here exhibited, appears under that mixed form of language, and feems to have been written foon after the Conqueft. It is a fatire on the monaftic profeffion, and the Poet begins with defcribing the land of Indolence and Luxury.

• Fur in fee, bi weft Spaynge,
Is a lond ihote Cokaygne:
Ther nis lond under hevenriche
Of wel of godnis hit iliche.
Thoy paradis bi miri † and bright
Cokaygn is of fairir figt.

What is ther in paradis

But grafs, and fleur, and greneris ?
Thoy ther be joy ‡, and gret dute §,
Ther nis met, bot frute.

Ther nis halle, bure, no bench;

But watir manis thurft to quench, &c.

In the following lines there in a vein of fatirical imagination and fome talent at defcription. The luxury of the monks is reprefented under the idea of a monaftery constructed of various kinds of delicious and coftly viands.

Heaven. Sax.

Merry, chearful. "Although Paradife is chearful and bright, Cokayne is a mach more beautiful place,"

Rev. July, 177+•

101. Orig.


§ Pleasure.

Buttery. • Ther

Ther is a wel fair abbei

Of white monkes and of grei,
Ther beth boures and halles :
All of pafleus beth the walles,
Of fleis of fiffee, and a rich met,
The likefullift that man mai et.
Fluren cakes beth the fchingles alle,
Of church, cloifter, bours, and halle.
The pinnest beth fat podinges
Rich met to princes and to kinges.-
Ther is a cloyfter fair and ligt,
Brod and lang of fembli figt.
The pilers of that cloister alle
Beth iturned of criftale,
With harlas and capital
Of grene jafpe and red coral.
In the praer is a tree
Swithe likeful for to fe,

The rote is gingeur and galingale,
The fiouns beth al fed wale.
Trie maces beth the flare,

The rind canel of fwete odure:
The frute gilofṛe of gode fmakke,
Of cucubes ther nis no lakke.-
There beth iiii willis ‡ in the abbei
Of tracle and halwei,


Of baume and eke piement §,
Ever ernend to rigt rent ;
Of thai ftremis al the molde,
Stonis pretiufett and golde,
Ther is faphir, and uniune,
Carbuncle and aftiune,
Smaragde, lugre, and praffiune,
Beril, onyx, topofiune,
Amethifte and crifolite,
Calcedum and epetite II.

Ther beth birddes mani and fale

Throftill, thruiffe, and nigtingale,
Chalandre, and wodwale,

And othir briddes without tale,
That ftinteth never bi her migt
Miri to fing dai and nigt.

[Nonnulla defunt.]

Shingles." The tiles, or covering of the houfe, are of rich cakes."

+ The pinnacles.


This word will be explained at large hereafter.

H Running. Sax.

*Course. Sax.

tt The Arabian philofophy imported into Europe, was full of the doctrine of precious ftones.

11 Our old poets are never fo happy as when they can get into a catalogue of things or names, Sce Obfervat, on the Fairy Queen, i. p. 140,

Yite I do yow mo to witte,

The gees iroftid on the spittee,

Fleey to that abbai, god hit wot,

And gredith, gees al hote al hote, &c.

Our Author then makes a pertinent tranfition to a convent of nons; which he fuppofes to be very commodiously fituated at no great diftance, and in the fame fortunate region of indolence, ease, and affluence.

An other abbai is ther bi
For foth a gret nunnerie;
Up a river of fwet milk
Whar is plente grete of filk.
When the fummeris dai is hote,
The yung nunnes takith a bote
And doth ham forth in that river
Both with oris and with ftere:
Whan hi beth fur from the abbei
Hi makith him nakid for to plei,
And leith dune in to the brimme
And doth him fleilich for to fwimme:
The yung monkes that hi feeth
Hi doth ham up and forth hi fleeth,
And comith to the nunnes anon,
And euch monk him takith on,
And fnellicht berith forth har prei
To the mochill grei abbci ‡,

And techith the nonnes an oreifun
With jambleus § up and dun .

This poem was defigned to be fung at public feftivals **: a practice, of which many inftances occur in this work; and concerning which it may be fufficient to remark at prefent, that a JOCULATOR or bard, was an officer belonging to the court of William the Conqueror ++.'

Mr. Warton has, in the first section of his history, prefented us with a great variety of extracts from the Norman-Saxon poetry, in which we may trace the origin and structure of many modern ftanzas and modes of verfification; but of the rude and inartificial ftyle of that primary fchool of our poetry, we need give no other fpecimen.

After a review of the ftate and condition of the English mufe, from the conqueft to the close of the twelfth century, during

Gallo Franc.

"To the great Abbey of Grey Monks."

+ Quick, quickly. Gallo-Franc.

**As appears from this line.

Lafcivious motions. Gambols. Fr. Gambiller.
Hickef, Thefaur. i, Part i. p. 231. f^q..

Lordinges gode and hende, &c.

It is in MSS. More, Cantabrig. 784, f. 1.

tt His lands are cited in Doomsday Book. "GLOUCESTERSCIRE. Berdic, Joculator Regis, habet ili, villas et ibi v, car, nil redd." See Anftis, Or, Gart, ii. 304.

E 2


which time fhe feems to have made but flow progrefs in im provement, the Hiftorian proceeds to a period when our language began vifibly to lofe its antient barbarifm and obscurity, and to approach more nearly to the dialect of modern times.

[ocr errors]

Proceeding hiftorically he fays, I must not pass over the reign of Henry the Third, who died in the year 1272, without obferving, that this monarch entertained in his court a poet with a certain falary, whofe name was Henry de Avranches *. And although this poet was a Frenchman, and most probably wrote in French, yet this first inftance of an officer who was afterwards, yet with fufficient impropriety, denominated a poet laureate in the English court, deservedly claims particular notice in the course of these annals. He is called Mafter Henry the Verfifier : which appellation perhaps implies a different character from the royal A intrel or foculator. The King's treasurers are ordered to pay this Mafter Henry one hundred fhillings, which I suppose to have been a year's ftipend, in the year 1251 I. And again the fame precept occurs under the year 1249 §. Our master Henry, it seems, had in fome of his verfes reflected on the rufticity of the Cornish men. This infult was refented in a Latin fatire now remaining, written by Michael Blaunpayne, a native of Cornwall, and recited by the author in the prefence of Hugh Abbot of Westminster, Hugh de Mortimer official of the Archbishop of Can. terbury, the Bishop elect of Winchester, and the Bishop of Rochefter .

See Carew's Surv. Cornw. p. 58. edit. 1602.


+ Henry of Huntingdon fays, that Walo Verfificator wrote a panegyric on Henry the Firft. And that the fame Walo Verfificator, wrote a poem on the park which that King made at Woodstock. Apud Leland's Collectan. vol. ii. 303. i. 197, edit. 1770. Perhaps he was in the department of Henry mentioned in the text. Gualo, a Latin poet, who flourished about this time, is mentioned by Bale, iii. 5. and Pitts, p. 233 He is commended in the POLICRATICON. A copy of his Latin hexametrical fatire on the monks is printed by Mathias Flacius, among mifcellaneous Latin poems De corrupto Ecclefiæ ftaru, p. 489. Bafil. 1557. oct.

"Magiftro Henrico Verfificatori" See Madox, Hift. Excheq. p. 268.

Ibid. p. 74. In MSS. Digb Bib! Bodl. I find, in John of Hovenden's Salutationes quinquaginta Mariæ, “Mag. Henricus, VERSIFICATOR MAGNUS, de B. Virgine, &c.'

MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Arch. Bodl. 29 in pergam. 4to. viz. "Verfus magiftri Michaelis Cornubienfis contra Mag. Henricum Abricenfem coram dom. Hugone abbate Weftmon. et aliis." fol. 81. b. Princ. "ARCHIPOETA vide quod non fit cura tibi de." See alfo fol. 83. b. Again, fol. 85.

Pendo poeta prius te diximus ARCHIPOETAM,

Quam pro poftico nunc dicimus effe poetam,,
Imo poeticulum, &c.

Arcbipoeta means here the king's chief poet.

In another place our Cornish fatirift thus attacks mafter Henry's perfon.


Eft tibi gamba capri, crus pafferis, et latus apri;

Os leporis, catuli nafus, dens et gena muli:

Frons vetulæ, tauri caput, et color undique mauri.

In a blank page of the Bodleian manufcript, from which thefe extracts are made, is written, "Ife liber conftat ffratri Johanni de Wallis monacho Ramefeye." The elegantly enriched, with a device. This manufcript contains, among other things, Planctus de Excidio Troja, by Hugo Prior de Montacuto, in rhyming hex ameters and pentameters, viz. fol. 89. Camden cites other Latin verfes of Michael. Blaunpain, whom he calls "Merry Michael the Cornish poet." Rem. p. 10. See alfo p. 489. edit. 1674. He wrote many other Latin pieces, both in profe and verse.

« PreviousContinue »