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cannot be exactly matched in the alliterative metre. I fhall give by way of example a few lines from the modern French poets accommodated with parallels from the ancient pcem of LIFE AND DEATH; in these I shall denote the Cæsura or Pause by a perpendicular line, and the Cadence by the marks of the Latin quantity.

füccēs füt toiljoūrs 1 un enfant l'audace;
All shåll drye with the dīnts | thăt I deal with mỹ hànds.

L' bömně prudent võit trop
Yonděr dāmsel is dēath

Pillūsión fuit,
thắt drefseth her tỏ fmite.

L'intrèpidě võit mieux 1 ět le fantôme füit (x).
When hể dölefullý lãw I hỏw the dang dõwne hỸr folke.

Meme aŭx yeữx de l'injūfie | ủn injuste ěst börribl= (y).
Tiền thế caft íp & crye | tố the high kừng bf hèayền.
měnsonge conijcūrs 1 vrăi děmēurē māitre,
Thou shalt bīttěrlyě bye or ēlse the bookě fáileth.

Pour pärõitre bönněte komme 1 ện ủn mot, il faut l ètre (z).
Thús I fāred throughie å frythe | wherethě Powers wĕre mānýe.


To conclude: the metre of Pierce Plowman's Visions has no kind of affinity with what is commonly called Blank Verfe; yet has it a sort of harmony of its own, proceeding not so much from its alliteration, as from the artful disposal of its cadence, and the contrivance of its pause; so that when the ear is a little accustomed to it, it is by no means unpleasing; but claims all the merit of the French heroic numbers, only far less po. lifhed; being sweetened, instead of their final rhymes, with the internal recurrence of similar founds.

(*) Catalina, A. 3.

(y) Boileau Sat.

(2) Boil. Sat. 11.




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INCE the foregoing Essay was first printed, the

the old Alliterative Metre.
The first is in MS. (a) which begins thus:

Grist Crowned Kyng, that on Cros dideft (b),
And art Comfort of all Care, thow (c) kind go out of Cows,
With thi Halwes in Heven Heried mote thu be,
And thy Worshipful Werkes Worshiped evre,
That suche Sondry Signes Shewest unto man,
In Dremyng, in Drecchyng (d), and in Derke swevenes.

The Author from this proemium takes occasion to give an account of a Dream that happened to himself: which he introduces with the following circumstances :

Ones y me Ordayned, as y have Ofte doon,
With Frendes, and Felawes, Frendemen, and other;
And Caught me in a Company on Gorpus Christi even,
Six, other (e) Seven myle, oute of Suthampton,
To take Melodye, and Mirthes, among my Makes;
With Redyng of ROMANCES, and Revelyng among,
The Dym of the Derk nefle Drewe me into the west;
And be Gon for to spryng in the Grey day.
Than Lift y up my Lyddes, and Loked in the sky,
And Knewe by the Kende Cours, hit clered in the eft:
Blyve y Busked me down, and to Bed went,
For to Comforte my Kynde, and Cacche a Nepe.

(a) In a small 4to MS. containing 38 leaves in private hands. 16) Didit dye. (c) though. (d) being overpowerei. le) i.e. either, or.

He then describes his dream:

Methought that y Hoved on High on an Hill,
And loked Doun on a Dale Depest of othre;
Ther y Sawe in my Sighte a Selcouthe peple;
The Multitude was so Moche, it Mighte not be nombred:
Methoughte y herd a Crowned Kyng, of his Comunes axe
A Soleyne (f) Subsidie, to Susteyne bis werres.

With that a Clerk Kneled adowne and Carped these wordes,

Liege Lord, yif it you Like to Listen a while,
Som Sawes of Salomon y Thall you shewe sone.

The writer then gives a solemn lecture to kings on the art of governing. From the demand of subsidies ' to fudleyno his werres,' I am inclined to believe this poem composed in the reign of K. HENRY Vth, as the MS. appears from a subsequent entry to have been written before the oth of Henry VI. The whole poem contains but 146 lines,

The Alliterative Metre was no lefs popular among the old Scotiilli poets, than with their brethren on this fide the Tweed, lu Maitland's Collection of ancient Scottish Poems, Ms. in the Pepysian library, is a very long poem in this fpecies of vertification, thus inscribed:

Hur begins the Tretis of the Iwa Marriit Wemen, and the

We do, compylit be Mailier WILLIAM DUNBAR (8).
Upon the Midsummer evven Mirriest of nichts
“ I Muvit furthalane quhen as Midnight was past

(t) folemn.

igi Snce the above was written, this poem hath been printed inz 6: Ancient Scottish Preins, &c. from the MS. Collections Sir R. “ Mittland, of Lethington, kvight, of London, 1986," 2 vols. 1 2 mo. The two first lines are here corrected by that edition.

“ Befyd

“Befyd ane Gudlie Grene Garth (b), full of Gay flouris
« Hegeit (i) of ane Huge Hicht with Hawthorne treeis
“ Quairon ane Bird on ane Bransche so Birst out hir notis
" That nevirane Blythfuller Bird was on the Beuche (k)hard&c.

The Author pretends to over-hear three gossips fitting in an arbour, and revealing all their secret methods of alluring and governing the other sex; it is a severe and humorous satire on bad women, and nothing inferior to Chaucer's Prologue to his Wife of Bath's Tale. As DUNBAR lived till about the middle of the sixteenth cen. tury, this poem was probably composed after SCOTTISH FIELD (described above, in p. 277.) which is the latest fpecimen I have met with written in England. This poem contains about five hundred lines.

But the current use of the Alliterative Metre in Scotland, appears more particularly from those popular vulgar prophecies, which are still printed for the use of the lower people in Scotland, under the names of THOMAS the Rymer, Marvellous MERLING, &c, This collection seems to have been put together after the accession of James I. to the crown of England, and most of the pieces in it are in the metre of Piercs Plowman's Visions. The first of them begins thus:

“ Merling sayes in his book, who will Read Right,
« Although his Sayings be uncouth, they shall be true fouruk.
“ In the seventh chapter, read Whoso Vill,
* One thousand and more after Christ's birth, &c."

And the Prophesie of BEID:
« Betwixt the chief of Summer and the Sad winter ;
“ Before the Heat of summer IIappen shall a war
“ That Europ's lands Earnestly shall be wrought

“ And Earnest Envy Mall last but a while, &c."
(6) Garden (i) Hedged. (*) Bough.

So again the Prophesie of BERLINGTON:
« When the Ruby is Raised, Rest is there none,
< But much Rancour Thall Rise in River and plain
" Much Sorrow is Seen through a Suth-hound
" That beares Hornes in his Head like a wyld Hart, &c."
In like Metre is the Prophesie of WALDHAVE:
“ Upon Lowdon Law alone as I Lay,
Looking to the Lennox, as me Lief thought,
“ The first Morning of May, Medicine to seek
“ For Malice and Melody that Moved me fore, &c."

And lastly, that intitled, The Prophesie of GILDAS.

" When holy kirk is Wracked and will has no Wit
And Pastors are Pluckt, and Pild without Pity
" When Idolatry Is In Ens and Re

“ And spiritual paftours are vexed away, &c." It will be observed in the foregoing specimens, that the Alliteration is extremely neglected, except in the third and fourth instances; although all the rest are written in imitation of the cadence, used in this kind of metre. It may perhaps appear from an attentive perusal, that the poems ascribed to Berlington and Waldhave are more ancient than the others; indeed the first and fifth appear evidently to have been new modelled, if not intirely compoied about the beginning of the last century, and are probably the latest attempts ever made in this species of verse.

In this and the foregoing Essay are mentioned all the specimens I have met with of the Alliterative Metre without rhyme: but instances occur sometimes in old Manuscripts, of poems written both with final rhymes and the internal cadence and alliterations of the Metre of Pierce Plowman.



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