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to substitute the Teutonic for the Ro- usually ready to attend the table of a mance language in their dominions; traveller, and greet him with an extemthat the measure was not at all necessary porary poem on any fubje& which he to the establishment of their power; mall prescribe, and protracted to a and that such an attempt is, in all cases, length which is only measured by his no less impracticable than absurd, be patience, are no bad representations of cause the patient indocility of the mul- the antique minstrels; particularly titude must ultimately triumph over the when they are accompanied (as free caprice and tyranny of their armed quently happens) by an attendant mupręceptors. But, having conquered a sician, who gives the tone to their rekingdom, and wishing to retain his citative, and fills up the pauses beconqueft, he introduced a code of laws tween the stanzas by a few notes on which placed his power on a military his instrument. The third character, bafis; and he introduced it in the lan- or difour, is also to be found in many guage in which it was originally com- parts of Italy, but particularly at Ve. piled, and which was familiar to that nice; where, mounted on a temporary army to which he looked for his secu- fcaffolding, or sometimes on a ftool or rity. By encouraging the study of barrel, he recites, from memory, whole French in the schools, he gave his fub- cantos of Ariosto. jects the means of underftanding the “ The situation of a minstrel pre. laws which he expected them to obey. scribed to him the choice of his lubHe did this, perhaps, tyrannically and ject. Addreffing himself to an audience harshly; but it is not proved that he who lived only for the purpofe of did it with the view of making the fighting, and who considered their Norman the universal language of his time as of little value when otherwise subjects, or that he expected them, at employed, he was fure of being liften. their return from school, to talk French ed to with patience and credulity, so in their own families: he might, with long as he could tell of heroes and en: equal wisdom, have supposed that they chanters: and he could be at no lofa would converse habitually in 'Latin, for either, because the histories of all which they learnt in the same schools. the heroes and enchanters that the Even during the reign of Edward the world had produced, were to be found Confessor, the Anglo-Saxon had ceased in a few volumes, of easy accefs. to be cultivated; and after the con " As vanity is not easily subdued, a queft, it was sure to become more and people who are not quite satisfied with more barbarous, because it was the their present inftgnificance, will often language of an opprefied and enslaved be tempted to indemnify themselves people; but it continued to exift. In- by a retrospective warfare on their deed, the obscurity of our earliest enemies; and will be the more prodipoets is well known to arise from this gal in affigning triumphs to their heroic Tource; and the great influx of French ancestors, becaufe those who in former words which was ultimately intro- ages contested the battle, can no longer duced, and thus formed the Anglo- be brought forward to dispute the Norman or English language, was so claim of victory. This will explain the far from being a consequence of the numerous triumphs of King Arthur: tyrannical policy of the Conqueror, we have already seen, that a book conthat it was most rapid at the very pe- taining the relation of his exploits, riod when that policy was abandoned; and of those of his knights of the round that is to fay, a little before the tiine table, and of his faithful encbantur; of Minot, Gower, and Chancer; and Merlin, together with the antecedent was the natural result of increasing in- history of the British kings, from the tercourse betiseen the Norian mobles destruction of Troy, was purchased in and their English valtals.” Vol. i. p. 36. Brittany, about the year 1100, by
“ Though the mindrel character be Walter, archdeacon of Oxford, now loft both in England and France, learned antiquary of those days, and the traces of it are not universally ef. confided to Geoffrey of Monmouth, faced. In Wales, the modern harper Welsh Benedictine monk, who trans is occasionally found to possess the ac- fated it into Latin, with some additions complifliments of the ancient bard: and interpolations. The French tran? and among the Italiani, the improvisas lations of Wace and Rufticien de Pile, vori of Rome and Florence, who are and the Saxon and English versions of
Layamon and Robert Brunne, laid mance; and materials for the fuper. open this mass of histou a to readers of structure were readily found in an age every description.
when anecdotes and apologues were “A second work, equally abound- thought very necessary cven to dising in marvellous adventures, and ap- courses delivered from the pulpit, and parently written about the same time when all the fables that could be with Geoffrey of Monmouth's chro- gleaned from ancient writings, or from nicle, is the history of Charlemagne the relations of travellers, were colo and the twelve peers of France, forged lected into story-books, and preserved under the name of Turpin, a monk of by the learned for that purpose." the eighth century, who, for his fer- Vol. i. p. 132. vices against the Saracens, was raised to the archbishopric of Rheims. The
PRIVATE real author was perhaps a Spaniard. This work was translated from Latin
ENGLISH DURING THE REIGN OF
HENRY VI. into French, by Michael de Hains, in 1207
“ THAT we may not be encum« The third source of romantic fic- bered by the accumulation of our mation, was the history of Troy. Ho- terials, it is obviously necessary to take mer's works were unknown at the fome opportunity of reviewing those period of which we are speaking, but which we have collected; of compar. the ftory was kept alive in two Latin ing them with such descriptions of pieces, which passed under the names national manners as are furnished by of Dares Phrygius, and Di&tys Creten- our profefied historians; and of confis; and from these, as we have already necting them with such farther partie feen, a French poem on the Trojan 'culars, as are to be gleaned from war had been compiled by Benoit de fources of incidental information. For St. More, the contemporary and rival of this necessary digression, there is no Wace. A more improved compilation period more convenient than that on from the same fources, under the title which we are pow entering; becaute of Hiftoria de Bello Trojano, compre, the interval between the reigns of hending the Theban and Argonautic Henry. V. and Henry VIII. which comstories, from Ovid, Statius, and Vale. prehends near a century, although unrius Flaccus, was written by Guido de commonly rich in Scotch poets of disColonna, a native of Messina, about tinguisheti excellence, does not furnith the year 1260.
us with a single name among the natives “ Alexander the Great was known of England deferving of much notice. to the writers of romance, not only by Our survey must, of course, be very translations from Quintus Curtius, a rapid, and rather desultory, but it will writer much admired in the middle at least break the monotony of the ages, but also by a bistory much better narrative, and preclude, for the future, fuited to the purposes of the historians the necellity of introducing many deof chivalry, originally written in Persic, tached observations, which, when our and translated into Greek, under the extracts become more amefing, would assumed name of Callifthenes, by Si- prove a disagreeable interruption ta meon Seth, keeper of the wardrobe at the reader. Conftantinople, under the Emperor “ To begin with the lower classes of Michael Ducas, about the year 1070. society. Such a narrative could not fail of ob “ It is generally agreed, that before taining a very general circulation. A the Norman conquest, and for a long Latin translation of it is quoted by time after, nearly all the lands of the Giraldus Cambrentis; and the famous kingilom were cultivated by ferts, Roman d'Alexandre, written (as Fau- whose situation was, in many respects, chet tells us) about the year 1200, by scarcely distinguishable from abfolute four confederates en jonglerie,' ap- Navery. It may, however, be inferred pears to be partly a paraphrate of that from the very curious extract already translation.
quoted from Pierce Ploughman, that These four works may be confi- about the middle of the fourteenth dered as the foundation on which was century, and probably much earlier, crected the vast Gothic fabric of ro the labouring poor, though still fers
with respect to their feudal lords, were • baken apple chyboles and charrell, perfectly free, with respect to their until the retum of the harvest again immediate employers. The poet says, enabled them to waste their time in Labourers that have no land to live
idleness and profufion.
“ Even the farmers themselves, the on, but their hands--
order to which Pierce the Ploughman . But if they be highly hired else will
apparently belonged, do not seem to they chide.
have fared very sumptuously; during During a great part of the year, in some part of the year; for he declare
, deed, they were glad to work for a that his whole provision confifts in mere subsistence; but when provisions (two green cheeses, fome curds and were plentiful, they could only be in- cream, and an oat cake: but he adds, duced to work at all, by the tempta- that after Lammas, he might dight tion of excessive wages. Against this his dinner as he likes. The particuindolence, the author inveighs with lars of his wealth are, a cow and calf, great vehemence; but his remon and a cart-mare, which he keeps for trances were probably ineffectual, be- the púrpofe of carrying manure upon cause a stupid insensibility, and a heed- his land. These articles, perhaps, were less profusion, are the natural charac. designed to give an exact statement of teristics of an opprefled and degraded his condition in fociéty; for they feem people.
to agree with what Sir John Fòrtescue “ Besides, their conduct feeṁs to considers as fufficient for the maintehave arisen, in some measure, from the nance of a yeoman. imperfect state of agriculture. Animal “ It is very honourable to the good food formed a considerable part of the fense of the English nation, that our support of the people; but as the two best early poets, Chaucer, and the whole of the manure was used on the author of Pierce Ploughman, have arable lands, and it was impossible that highly extolled this useful body of men, large numbers of cattle could sublift while the French minftrels of the during the cold season on the natural twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth pastures, they were Naughtered and centuries, universally seem to approve salted in autumn for a winter provision. the supercilious contempt with which This is a reason adduced by Sir John the nobles affected to treat them. The Fortescue for rejecting the gabelle or abfurd prejudices of chivalry on this falt-tax, as a source of revenue for subject are not ill expressed by Lydgate, England. In France,' says he, the where he makes Achilles express his * people falten but little meat, except apprchension that, • their bacon, and therefore would buy • little falt; but yet they be artyd
furious and wood, ' (compelled) to buy more fałt than
Full likely is that all the noble blood they would.---This rule and order Throughout this worlde shall destroyed would be sore abhorred in England,
be; • as well by the merchants, that be
And a rural folk (and that were great 6 wonted to have their freedom in buy
pity), •ing and selling of salt, as by the peo.
Shall have lordip, and wholly gople, that ulen much more to falt their
vernance: • meats than do the French men.' (For- And churlis eke, with sorrow and miltefcuc on Monarchy, cap. x.)
chance, “ But it appears, that, partly from In every land shall lordis be alone, the improvidence usual to a barbarcus When gentlemen Thall Nayen be each ftate of fociety, and partly from the want of those internal mcans of com “ There is a curious chapter in Sir munication, which tend to diffuse ge- John Fortelcue's Treatise de Laudibus veral abundance, thcfeitores of animal Legum Angliæ, which seems to prove food, as well as the grain, were often that the smaller landholders in England consumed before the reproduction of a usually enjoyed more comforts than, freth tock. Hence, in the above-men- from the general language of historians, tioned extracts from Pierce Plough- we Mhould be led to imagine; for he man, the poor are represented as re afferts, that there is scarce a small duced to : Layts of beans and bran,' village in which you may not find a and to 'feed hunger with beans and • knight, an esquire, or some fubftantial
! boufebolder, commonly called a fank- most is to be seen in the fenny coun,
lepre, all men or considerable estates: • tries and northern parts, unto this
there are others who are called free day, where, for lack of wood, they bolders, and many yeomen of estates are enforced to continue this ancient ! sufficient to make a substantial jury.' manner of building. So in the open (Chap. xxix.) This wealth' he attri ' and champain countries, they are enbutes principally to the enclosure of forced, for want of stuff, to use no our pafture lands.
'Puds at all, but only frank-posts, “ The same writer thus describes the "and such principals ; with here and comparative poverty of the French 'there a girding, whereunto they fasten common people: “The same commons • their splints or raddles, and then caft be fo impoverished and destroyed, it all over with thick clay, to keep that they may unneth (scarcely) live. S out the wind, which otherwise would "They drink water; they eat apples,
them. Certes, this rude kind with bread right brown, made of rye. • of building made the Spaniards, in 'They eat no Aeth, but if be seldom a Queen Mary's days, to wonder, but ! little lard, or of the entrails or heads chiefly when they saw what large diet
of beasts slain for the nobles and mera was used in many of these so homely chants of the land. They wearen no cottages; insomuch, that one of nb woollen, but if it be a poor coat un • small reputation amongst them, said der their outermost garment, made after this manner: “These English,” of great canvass, and call it a frock. 'quoth he, “ have their houses made • Their hofen be of like canvass, and of sticks and dirt, but they fare compassen not their knee, wherefore they "monly so well as the king":' (Harbe gartered, and their thighs bare. rison's Description of England, preTheir wives and children gon bare- fixed to Holinihed, p. 187.) • foot; they may in none other wise “ We have already seen that glazed ' live. For some of them that was windows + are always mentioned by 'wont to pay to his lord for his tene our early poets, with an air of affecta'ment which he hireth by the year, a tion, which evinces their rarity; so that
scute (a crown), payeth now to the we are not surprised at being told that . king, over that scute, five scutes. the yeomen and farmers were perfectly • Wherethrough they be artyd (com- cor tented with windows of lattice. . pelled) by neceffity fó to watch, labour, Rooms provided with chimnies are also
and grub in the ground for their fuf- noticed as a luxury, by the anthor of tenance, that their nature is much Pierce Ploughman; but it is difficult
wafted, and the kind of them brought to read with gravity, the sagacious 'to nought. They gon crooked, and obfervations of Harrison, on the ill are feeble, not able to fight, &c.' consequences attending the enjoyment (Fortescue on Monarchy, chap. iii.) of warmth, without the risk of suffo
“ But though the lower orders of cation. Now,' says he, have we people in England were so advantage- ' many chimnies, and yet our tenderously diftinguished from those of other lings complain of rheums, catarrhs, nations, by a superiority in food and 6 and poses (colds in the head). Then clothing, their domestic buildings seem had we none but reredosjes 5, an our to have been much inferior to those on • heads did never ache. For as the the continent; and this inferiority con • smoke in those days was supposed to tinued even down to the reign of “be a fufficient hardening for the timber Queen Elizabeth, as appears from the of the house, so it was reputed a far confeffion of Harrison;
better medicine to keep the good man “ In old time,' says he, 'the houses 6 and his family from the quacke of the Britons were slightly set up (ague), or pole; wherewith, as then, with a few posts, and many raddles very few were oft acquainted.' (De( hurdles), with stable and all offices scription of England, p.212.) under one roof; the like whereof al "After witnesling the indignation * “ The upright beams. Sax."?
† “ Anderson (History of Commerce, vol. i. p: 90, edit. 1964) says, that they were first introduced into England A.D. 1180.”
† “ Reredosses"; this word is sometimes used to express some part of a chimney, and sometimes as a substitute for one. It seems to mean a plate of iron, or perhaps a coating of brick, to enable the wall to resist the flame.”
avhich this author has vented against « laine,' and planter le mai.' The the tenderlings of his time, the reader fame season appears to have been chosen may possibly learn with some furprise, by English lovers, for the purpose of that from the latter end of the thir- crying after their ladies grace. teenth, to near the fixteenth century, “ In houses, of which the walls were persons of all ranks, and of both sexes, made of clay, and the floors of the fame were universally in the habit of Nleeping materials, and where the stabling was quite naked. This custom is often al- under the same roof with the dwelling luded' to by Chaucer, Gower, Lyd rooms, the furniture was not likely to mate, and all our ancient writers. In be costly. Of this the author just the 'Squire of Low Degree,' there is quoted, received, from fome ancient a curious instance,
neighbours, the following description : She rore, that lady dere,
Our fathers (yea and we ourselves), To take her leave of that squyere
« have lien full oft upon ftraw pallets, All fo naked as she was born,
on rough mats, covered only with a She stood her chamber door beforn. • sheet, under coverlets maid of dag. “ In the · Aresta Amorum,' a lady
Swain, or hopharlots * (I use their own who had stipulated to throw a nolegay
terms), and a good round log under to her lover, on a particular night on
their heads, instead of a bolster or each week, complains of the difficulty
pillow. If it were to that our fathers, the found in escaping to the window,
'or the good man of the house, bad, rou par füis etoit tevte nue par l'espace
• within seven years after his marriage, . de deux groffes heures. This strange
purchased a mattress or fock bed, practice prevailed at a time when the
and thereto a fack of chaff to reft his day-dress of both sexetwas much warm
- head upon, he thought himself to be er than at present; being generally bor
'as well lodged as the lord of the dered, and often lined with furs; inso
town; who, peradventure, lay seldom much that numberless warrens were
in a bed of down or whole feathers. established in the neighbourhood of
As for servants, if they had any sheet London, for the purpose of fupplying had they any under their bodies, to
• above them, it was well; for seldom its inhabitants with ratbets' skins. “ Perhaps it was this warmth of
• keep them from the pricking straws clothing that enabled our ancestors, in
. that ran oft through the canvass of defiance of a northern climate, to fe
the pallet, and rased their hardened
hides. (P. 188.) renade their mistresses with as much perseverance, as if they had lived under building, was from clay to lath and
“ The progress of improvement in the torrid zone. Chaucer thought he had given us the date of his dream plaster, which was formed into panels with fufficient exactness, when he de foors or pargets(as Harrison calls them
between the principal timbers: to scribed it as happening About such hour as lovers weep
i. e. parquets), coated with plaster of after their ladies grace.
Paris; and to ceilings overlaid with
mortar, and washed with lime or plas. “ In France, as appears from the ter of delectable whiteness.' Coun: work already quoted, the lovers were try houses were generally covered with sometimes bound to conduct " les ta shingles; but in towns, the danger of • bourins et les bas meneftriers,' to the fires obliged the inhabitants to adopt doors of their miftreffes, between mid- the use of tile or Nate. These latter night and daybreak, on every festival buildings were very solid, and confifted throughout the year; though the prin- of many stories projecting cipal season for such gallantry was the other, so that the windows, on oppo. beginning of May, when the windows fite fides of the street, nearly met. were ornamented with pots of marjo- The walls of our houses an the inner ram, and maypoles hung with garlands • fides,' fays Harrison, be either hang carried through the streets, and raised ed with tapestry, arras-works or paint
. before every door in fucceífion. Thised cloths, wherein either divers his
. was called, “ reveiller les pots de maria- tories, or herbs, beafts, knots, and
dag. Sax. (from whence diggle or draggle), any thing pendent, a fored, : The term therefore means any fa:cked materials, like
those worn by the pooreft country people.”