Sidor som bilder

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."

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 Tale (ii. 108), speaks of the horse of brass, as


An apparence ymade by som magike,

As JOGELOURS plaien at thise festes grete."

See also the Frere's Tale, 1. p. 279, v. 7049.

(AA2) Females playing on the Harp.] Thus in the old romance of Syr Degore (or Degree, vol. iii. no. 22, p. 28), we have [Sign. D. i.],

"The lady, that was so faire and bright,

Upon her bed she sate down ryght;

She harped notes swete and fine.
[Her mayds filled a piece of wine.]

And Syr Degore sate him downe,
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. 29), the king says to his daughter [Sign. D. i.]

"Ye were wont to harpe and syng,

And be the meryest in chamber comyng."

In the Carle of Carlisle (vol. iii. no. 10, p. 25), 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:

One whiles shee harped another whiles song,

Both of paramours and louinge amonge."

And in the romance of Eger and Grime (vol. iii. no. 12, p. 26), we have [ibid. p. 127, col. 2], in part i. ver. 263,

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A similar passage occurs in part iv. ver. 129 (page 136). But these instances are sufficient.

(BB) A Charter

to appoint a King of the Minstrels.] Entitled, Carta Le Roy de Ministraulx (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 (EE2).

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. pag. 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 l'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. The solution 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.... .... comme 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.

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"Icy endroict est cil Livre finez

Qui des enfans Oger est appellez
Or vueille Diex qu'il soit parachevez

En tel maniere kestre n'en puist blamez
Le Roy Adams [r. Adenes] ki il'est remez.

"Et en celuy de Cleomades,

"Ce Livre de Cleomades

Rimé-je le Roy Adenes

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 name 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.

(BB2) 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. Regibus, cuilibet eorum, xl. s. Regi Pagio de Hollandia, &c. Under Ed. II. we likewise find other entries, Regi Roberto et aliis Ministrallis facientibus Menistrallias [Ministralcias, qu.] suas coram Rege. [Bibl. Cotton. Nero, c. 8. p. 84. b. Comp. Garderob.] That King granted Willielmo de Morlee dicto Roy de North, Ministrallo Regis, domos quæ fuerunt Johannis le Boteler dicti Roy Brunhaud [Pat. de terr. forisfact. 16E. III.]." He adds below (p. 304), a similar instance of a Rex Juglatorum, and that the "King of the Minstrels" at length was styled in France Roy des Violons (Furetiere Diction. Univers.), as with us, "King of the Fiddlers;" on which subject see below, note (EE2).

(BB3) The Statute 4 Hen. IV. (1402), c. 27, runs in these terms, "Item, pur eschuir plusieurs diseases et mischiefs qont advenuz devaunt ces heures en la terre de Gales par plusieurs Westours,Rymours, Minstralx, et autres Vacabondes,

ordeignez est et establiz qe nul Westour, Rymour, Ministral ne Vacabond soit aucunement sustenuz en la terre de Gales pur faire kymorthas ou coillage sur la commune poeple illoeques." This is among the severe laws against the Welsh, passed during the resentment occasioned by the outrages committed under Owen Glendour; and as the Welsh Bards had excited their countrymen to rebellion against the English government, it is not to be wondered that the Act is conceived in terms of the utmost indignation and contempt against this class of men, who are described as Rymours, Ministralx, which are apparently here used as only synonymous terms to express the Welsh Bards with the usual exuberance of our Acts of Parliament; for if their Ministralx had been mere musicians, they would not have required the vigilance of the English legislature to suppress them. It was their songs exciting their countrymen to insurrection which produced "les diseases et mischiefs en la terre de Gales."

It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same application of the terms does not still more clearly appear in the Commission issued in 1567, and printed in Evan Evans's Specimens of Welch Poetry, 1764, 4to. p. v. for bestowing the SILVER HARP on "the chief of that faculty." For after setting forth "that vagrant and idle persons, naming themselves Minstrels, Rythmers, and Bards, had lately grown into such intolerable multitude within the Principality in North Wales, that not only gentlemen and others by their shameless disorders are oftentimes disquieted in their habitations, but also expert Minstrels and Musicians in tonge and cunynge thereby much discouraged," &c. and "hindred [of] livings and preferment," &c., it appoints a time and place, wherein all

persons that intend to maintain their living by name or colour of Minstrels, Rythmers, or Bards," within five shires of N. Wales, "shall appear to show their learnings accordingly," &c. And the Commissioners are required to admit such as shall be found worthy, into and under the degrees heretofore in use, so that they may "use, exercise, and follow the sciences and faculties of their professions in such decent Percy. 1.


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