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Oure banners, that bueth broht to grounde;
Wel! longe we mowe clepe and crie
Er we a such kyng han y-founde.”
Nou is Edward of Carnarvan
V. 55, 59, me, i. e. men; so in Robert of Gloucester, passim.
Kyng, as thou art cleped conquerour,
2 Here follow in the original three lines more, which, as seemingly redundant, are thus appended, viz.
That lasteth ay withouten ende,
Bidde we God, ant oure Ledy to thilke blisse
An original Ballad by Chaucer.
THIS little sonnet, which hath escaped all the editors of Chaucer's works, is now printed for the first time from an ancient MS. in the Pepysian library, that contains many other poems of its venerable author. The versification is of that species which the French call Rondeau, very naturally Englished by our honest countrymen Round0. Though so early adopted by them, our ancestors had not the honour of inventing it: Chaucer picked it up, along with other better things, among the neighbouring nations. A fondness for laborious trifles hath always prevailed in the dark ages of literature. The Greek poets have had their wings and axes: the great father of English poesy may therefore be pardoned one poor solitary rondeau. Geofrey Chaucer died Oct. 25, 1400, aged 72.
YOURE two eyn will sle me sodenly
may the beaute of them not sustene,
So wendeth it thorowout my herte kene.
And but your words will helen hastely
Upon my trouth I sey yow feithfully,
So hath youre beauty fro your herte chased
Giltless my deth thus have ye purchased;
Alas, that nature hath in yow compassed So grete beaute, that no man may atteyn To mercy, though he sterve for the peyn. So hath youre beaute, &c.
Syn I fro love escaped am so fat,
He may answere, and sey this and that,
Love hath my name i-strike out of his sclat,
1 This, MS.
The Turnament of Tottenham.
OR, THE WOOEING, WINNING, AND WEDDING OF TIBBE, THE REEY'S
It does honour to the good sense of this nation, that while all Europe was captivated with the bewitching charms of chivalry and romance, two of our writers in the rudest times could see through the false glare that surrounded them, and discover whatever was absurd in them both. Chaucer wrote his Rhyme of Sir Thopas in ridicule of the latter; and in the following poem we have a humorous burlesque of the former. Without pretending to decide whether the institution of chivalry was upon the whole useful or pernicious in the rude ages, a question that has lately employed many good writers1, it evidently encouraged a vindictive spirit, and gave such force to the custom of duelling, that there is little hope of its being abolished. This, together with the fatal consequences which often attended the diversion of the Turnament, was sufficient to render it obnoxious to the graver part of mankind. Accordingly the Church early denounced its censures against it, and the State was often prevailed on to attempt its suppression. But fashion and opinion are superior to authority and the proclamations against tilting were as little regarded in those times, as the laws against duelling are in these. This did not escape the discernment of our poet, who easily perceived that inveterate opinions must be attacked by other weapons besides proclamations and censures; he accordingly made use of the keen one of RIDICULE. With this view he has here introduced with admirable humour a parcel of clowns, imitating all the solemnities of the Tourney. Here we have the regular challenge the appointed day-the lady for the prize the formal preparations the display of armour the scutcheons and devices
1 See [Mr. Hurd's] Letters on Chivalry, 8vo. 1762. Mémoire de la Che. valerie, par M. de la Curne des Palais, 1759, 2 tom. 12mo, &c.
-the oaths taken on entering the lists — the various accidents of the encounter-the victor leading off the prize-and the magnificent feasting with all the other solemn fopperies that usually attended the pompous turnament. And how acutely the sharpness of the author's humour must have been felt in those days, we may learn from what we can perceive of its keenness now, when time has so much blunted the edge of his ridicule.
The Turnament of Tottenham was first printed from an ancient MS. in 1631, 4to., by the Rev. Whilhem Bedwell, rector of Tottenham, who was one of the translators of the Bible. He tells us it was written by Gilbert Pilkington, thought to have been some time parson of the same parish, and author of another piece, entitled Passio Domini Jesu Christi. Bedwell, who was eminently skilled in the oriental and other languages, appears to have been but little conversant with the ancient writers in his own; and he so little entered into the spirit of the poem he was publishing, that he contends for its being a serious narrative of a real event, and thinks it must have been written before the time of Edward III., because turnaments were prohibited in that reign. "I do verily believe," says he, "that this Turnament was acted before this proclamation of King Edward. For how durst any to attempt to do that, although in sport, which was so straightly forbidden, both by the civil and ecclesiasticall power? For although they fought not with lances, yet, as our author sayth, 'It was no children's game.' And what would have become of him, thinke you, which should have slayne another in this manner of jeasting? Would he not, trow you, have been hang'd for it in earnest? yea, and have bene buried like a dogge?" It is, however, well known that turnaments were in use down to the reign of Elizabeth.
In the former editions of this work, Bedwell's copy was reprinted here, with some few conjectural emendations; but as Bedwell seemed to have reduced the orthography at least, if not the phraseology, to the standard of his own time, it