Sidor som bilder

invented with more skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of superior cast to such as can with sufficient probability be attributed to the minstrels themselves.

Of this class I conceive the romance of Horn-Child (mentioned in the last note (s2) and in vol. iii. no. 1, p. 22), which, from the naked unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute to such an origin.

But more evidently is such the Squire of Lowe Degree (vol. iii. no. 24, p. 29), in which is no reference to any French original, nothing like the phrase, which so frequently occurs in others, “as the Romance sayth3," or the like. And it is just such a rambling performance as one would expect from an itinerant bard.


Such also is A lyttel Geste of Robyn Hode, &c., in 8 Fyttes, of which are extant two editions, 4to., in black-letter, described more fully in page 69 of this volume. This is not only of undoubted English growth, but, from the constant satire aimed at abbots and their convents, &c., could not possibly have been composed by any monk in his cell.

Other instances might be produced; but especially of the former kind is Syr Launfal (vol. iii. no. 11, p. 26), the 121st

stanza of which has

In Romances as we rede.

This is one of the best invented stories of that kind, and I

3 Wherever the word Romance occurs in these metrical narratives, it hath been thought to afford decisive proof of a translation from the Romance or French language. Accordingly it is so urged by T. Warton (i. 146, note), from two passages in the pr. copy of Sir Eglamour, viz. sign. E 1.

Again in fol. ult.

In Romaunce as we rede.

In Romaunce this cronycle is.

But in the Cotton MS. of the original, the first passage is

And the other thus,

As I herd a Clerke rede.

In Rome this Gest cronycled ys.

So that I believe references to "the Romaunce," or the like, were often mere expletive phrases inserted by the oral Reciters; one of whom I conceive had altered or corrupted the old "Syr Eglamour" in the manner that the copy was printed.

Percy. 1.


believe the only one in which is inserted the name of the author.

(T2) Royer or Raherus the King's Minstrel.] He is recorded by Leland under both these names, in his Collectanea, scil. vol. i. p. 61.

"Hospitale S. Bartholomæi in West Smithfelde in London. Royer Mimus Regis fundator."

"Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini.

"Raherus Mimus Regis H. 1. primus fundator, an. 1102, 3 H. 1, qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti. Barthol." Ibid. p. 99. That Mimus is properly a Minstrel in the sense affixed to the word in this essay, one extract from the accounts [Lat. Computis] of the priory of Maxtock, near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently show. - Scil. "Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, citharisantibus, ludentibus," &c. iiiis. (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q.) The same year, the Prior gave to a doctor prædicans, for a sermon preached to them, only 6d.

In the Monasticon, tom. ii. pp. 166, 167, is a curious history of the founder of this priory, and the cause of its erection, which seems exactly such a composition as one of those which were manufactured by Dr. Stone, the famous legend-maker, in 1380 (see T. Warton's curious account of him, in vol. ii. p. 190, note), who required no materials to assist him in composing his Narratives, &c.; for in this legend are no particulars given of the founder, but a recital of miraculous visions exciting him to this pious work, of its having been before revealed to King Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, &c. Even his minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when this legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that he frequented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself suavitate joculari. (This last is the only word that seems to have any appropriated meaning.) This will account for the indistinct incoherent account given by Stow. "Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman, and therefore

in his time called the King's Minstrel." Survey of Lond. Ed. 1598, p. 308.

(u) In the early times, every Harper was expected to sing.] See on this subject King Alfred's Version of Cadmon, above in note (a), page lxiii.

So in Horn-Child, King Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to

-teche him of harpe and of song.

In the Squire of Lowe Degree, the King offers to his daughter,

Ye shall have harpe, sautry, and song.

And Chaucer, in his description of the Limitour or Mendicant Friar, speaks of harping as inseparable from singing (i. p. 11, ver. 268),

-in his harping, whan that he hadde songe.

(v2) As the most accomplished, &c.] See Hoveden, p. 103, in the following passage, which had erroneously been applied to King Richard himself, till Mr. Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, iv. page 62) showed it to belong to his Chancelor. "Hic ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, emendicata carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios comparabat; et de regno Francorum Cantores et Joculatores muneribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in plateis: et jam dicebatur ubique, quod non erat talis in orbe." For other particulars relating to this Chancelor, see T. Warton's Hist. vol. ii. Addit. to p. 113 of vol. i.

(v3) Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at the houses of the great.] A remarkable proof of this is, that the most diligent inquirers after ancient English rhymes, find the earliest they can discover in the mouths of the Norman nobles. Such as that of Robert Earl of Leicester and

4 The Harp (Lat. Cithara) differed from the Sautry, or Psaltry (Lat. Psalterium), in that the former was a stringed instrument, and the latter was mounted with wire: there was also some difference in the construction of the bellies, &c. See "Bartholomæus de proprietatibus rerum," as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, in Sir J. Hawkins's Hist. ii. p. 285.

his Flemings in 1173, temp. Hen. II. (little more than a century after the Conquest) recorded by Lambarde in his Dictionary of England, p. 36.

"Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken

Ingland is thine and myne," &c.

And that noted boast of Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the same reign of King Henry II., vide Camdeni Britannia (art. Suffolk), 1607, folio.

"Were I in my castle of Bungey

Vpon the riuer of Waueney

I would ne care for the king of Cockeney."

Indeed many of our old metrical romances, whether originally English, or translated from the French to be sung to an English audience, are addressed to persons of high rank, as appears from their beginning thus,-"Listen, Lordings," and the like. These were prior to the time of Chaucer, as appears from vol. iii. p. 25, et seqq. And yet to his time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to their French language.

(v) That intercommunity, &c. between the French and English Minstrels, &c.] This might, perhaps, in a great measure, be referred even to the Norman conquest, when the victors brought with them all their original opinions and fables; which could not fail to be adopted by the English Minstrels and others, who solicited their favour. This interchange, &c. between the Minstrels of the two nations, would be afterwards promoted by the great intercourse produced among all the nations of Christendom in the general Crusades, and by that spirit of chivalry which led Knights and their attendants, the Heralds and Minstrels, &c., to ramble about continually, from one court to another, in order to be present at solemn turnaments and other feats of arms.

(v2) Is not the only instance, &c.] The constant admission granted to Minstrels was so established a privilege, that it became a ready expedient to writers of fiction. Thus, in the

old romance of Horn-Child, the Princess Rymenyld being confined in an inaccessible castle, the prince, her lover, and some assistant knights, with concealed arms, assume the minstrel character; and approaching the castle with their "Gleyinge" or Minstrelsy, are heard by the lord of it, who being informed they were "harpeirs, jogelers, and fythelers 5," has them admitted, when

"Horn sette him abenche [i. e. on a bench]

Is [i. e. his] harpe he gan clenche

He made Rymenild a lay."

This sets the princess a-weeping, and leads to the catastrophe; for he immediately advances to "the Borde" or table, kills the ravisher, and releases the lady.

(v3).. assumed the dress and character of a Harper, &c.] We have this curious Historiette in the records of Lacock Nunnery, in Wiltshire, which had been founded by this Countess of Salisbury. See Vincent's Discovery of Errors in Brooke's Catalogue of Nobility, &c. folio, pp. 445, 446, &c. Take the following extract (and see Dugdale's Baron. i. p. 175):

"Ela uxor Gullielmi Longespee primi, nata fuit apud Ambresbiriam, patre et matre Normannis.

"Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum, A. D. 1196. Mater ejus ante biennium obiit. . . . . Interea Domina charissima clam per cognatos adducta fuit in Normanniam, et ibidem sub tutâ et arctâ custodiâ nutrita. Eodem

5 JOGELER (Lat. Joculator) was a very ancient name for a Minstrel. Of what nature the performance of the Joculator was, we may learn from the Register of St. Swithin's Priory at Winchester (T. Warton, i. 69). "Et cantabat JOCULATOR quidam nomine Herebertus Canticum Colbrondi, necnon Gestum Emme regine a judicio ignis liberate, in aula Prioris." His instrument was sometimes the FYTHELE, or Fiddle, Lat. Fidicula: which occurs in the Angio-Saxon Lexicon. On this subject we have a curious passage from a MS. of the Lives of the Saints in metre, supposed to be earlier than the year 1200 (T. Warton's Hist. i. p. 17), viz.

"Christofre him served longe

The kynge loved melodye much of fithele and of songe:

So that his Jogeler on a day beforen him gon to pleye faste,
And in a tyme he nemped in his song the devil at laste."

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