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(Date of issue, Mar. 1891.)
More Odd Texts
Chaucers Minor Poems.
F. J. FURNIVALL, M.A., Hon. Dr. Phil.
57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL.
Reprinted with the permission of Oxford University Press
Berkeley Square House, London, W. 1
250 1967 no.77
first Series, No. LXXVII.
Reprinted from a copy in the collections of
The New York Public Library
First reprinting, 1967, Johnson Reprint Corporation
Printed in the United States of America
AFTER I finisht the Odd Texts of Chaucers Minor Poems in 1880, I copied five more at Cheltenham in 1882 from the Phillipps MS. 9053, and Mr. George Parker sent me four from the Bodleian. I put them aside in the hope that others would turn up, and forgot all about them till Prof. Skeat sent me his excellent edition of the Minor Poems on Dec. 20, 1888. His admission of the Harleian78 copy of the continuation of the Pity as genuine, reminded me that I had another copy of it from the Phillipps MS., and this showd (as Prof. Skeat pointed out) a unique last verse. It became therefore advisable to print the laid-by copies; and here they are.
No doubt the Pity-continuation—here cald by Shirley's name for the whole poem “The Balade of Pitee'-ought to be printed as three separate poems: 1. in 7-line stanzas, 2. in terza-rima, imperfect, 3. in 10-line stanzas ; but as they are all on the same subject, and the MSS. run them into one another, there is no great harm in keeping them under one head, in separate sections.
When I first printed the Harleian copy in our Odd Texts Appendix, pp. ii.-v., it seemd to fall off so towards the end that I didn't feel sure that it was Chaucer's, nor did Hy. Bradshaw. But as the two MSS. of it give it to Chaucer, and both are evidently from a Shirley copy, or transcripts of one, and its rymes keep Chaucer's laws, we may well hold this poem genuine, independent of our wish to make it so, on account of its witness to Chaucer's try at Dante's terza-rima.