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AN ORIGINAL BALLAD BY CHAUCER.
This little fonnet, which hath escaped all the editors of Chaucer's works, is now printed for the first time from an ancient MS. in the Pepyfan library, that contains many other poems of its venerable author. The verfification is of that species, which the French call RONDEAU, very natu. rally englished by our honest countrymen Round O. Tho' 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 poefy may therefore be pardoned one poor folitary RONDEAU.-Geofrey Chaucer died O&. 25, 1400, aged 72.
I may the beaute of them not sustene,
And but your words will helen haftely
deth the trouth dual be sene. Youre two eyn, &c.
II, I, So
Giltlefs my deth thus have ye purchased;
So hath youre beaute, &c.
He may answere, and sey this and that,
Syn I fro love escaped, &c.
THE WOO EING, WINNING, AND WEDDING of TIBBE, THE REEY'S DAUGHTER THERE.” It does honour to the good sense of this nation, that while all Europe was captivate:l with the bewitching charms of Chivalry and Romance, two of our writers in the rudest times could see thro' the false glare that furrounded them, and discover whatever was absurd in them both. Chaucer wrote his Rhyme of fir Thopas in ridicule of the latter ; and in the following poeni we have a humorous burlesque of the former. Without pretending to decide, whether the institution of chivalry was upon the whole ufeful or pernicious in the rude ages, a question that has lately employed many good writers * evidently encouraged a vindiétive fpirit, 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 againft it, and the
State was often prevailed on to attempt its fupprefion. 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 in. troduced, with admirable humour; a parcel of clowns, imi. tating 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 scucheons and devices—the oaths taken on entering the lifts-the various accidents of the encounter ---the vicior leading of the
* See (Mr. Hurd's] Letters on Chivalry, 8vo. 1952. Memoirs de la Chevalerie, par M. de la Curne des Palais, 1759, 2 tom. izmo. xc. 3
frize,-mand, the magnificent feasting, with all the other Solemn fopperies that usually attender the pompous Turnament. And how acutely the jharpness of the author's humour must have been felt in those days
, we may learn, from what we can perceive of its keennefs now, when time kas so much blunted the edge of his ridicule.
THE TURNAMENT OF TOTTENHAM was firm printed from an ancient MS. in 1631, 4to, by the rev. Whilhem Bedwel, rector of Tottenham, who was one of the translators of the Bible, and afterwards Bishop of Kilmore in Ireland, where he lived and died, with the highest reputation of Sanco tity, in 1641. He tells us, it was written by Gilbert Pilking, ton, thought to have been some time parson of the same parish, and author of another piece, intitled, Patio Domini Jesu Chrifti. Bedwell, who was eminently skilled in the oriental and other languages, appears to have been but little conver. Jant 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 beleeve," says he, that this Turna.
ment was acted before this proclamation of K. Edward. " For how durft any to attempt to do that, although in sport, 66 which was so straightly forbidaen, both by the civill and " ecclefiafticali power? For although they fought not with “ lances, yet, as our authour sayth, It was no childrens game.' And what would have become of him, thinke
you, which should have hayne another in this manner of " jeafting? Would be 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 Turna. ments were in use down to the reign of Elizabeth.
In the first editions of this work, Bedwell's copy was reprinted here, with some few conjectural emendations; but jas Bedwell seemed to have reduced the orthography at least, if not the phraseology, to the standard of his own time, it was with great pleasure that the Editor was informed of
ancient MS. copy preferved in the Museum (Harl. MSS. 5396.] wbich appeared to have been transcribed in the reign of K. Hen. VI. about 1456. This obliging information the Editor owed to the friendship of Tho. TYRWHITT, efq. and he has chiefly followed that more authentic Trans fcript, improved however by some readings from Bedwell's Book.
O Fall the kene conquerours to carpe it were kynde;
Of Hawkyn, of Herry,
And ftalworth in dede.
It befel in Totenham on a dere day,
Ther hopped Hawkyn,
And all were trewe drynkers.
Tyl the day was gon and evyn-fong past,
Ver. 20. It is not very clear in the MS. whether it fould be conts, or