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CHAUCER'S WORKS, VOLUME 3 (OF 7) ***




Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Keith Edkins and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net





Transcriber's note: Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).
[=a] signifies "a with macron"; [)a] "a with breve"; and so forth. [gh]
represents yogh, [*e] the schwa. A carat character is used to denote
superscription: a single character following the carat is superscripted
(example: XIII^e).

In this edition the two versions of the Prologue to the Legend are each
assembled for continuous reading. Skeat's commentary on the Astrolabe
(mentioned in the text as "Footnotes") has been similarly separated from
Chaucer's text.

Project Gutenberg has Volume VI of Skeat's edition, which contains a
Glossary covering the texts in this volume. See:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43097

* * * * *

[Illustration: MS. FAIRFAX 16. LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN, 414-450

_Frontispiece***_]




THE COMPLETE WORKS

OF

GEOFFREY CHAUCER

_EDITED, FROM NUMEROUS MANUSCRIPTS_

BY THE

REV. WALTER W. SKEAT, M.A.

LITT.D., LL.D., D.C.L., PH.D.

ELRINGTON AND BOSWORTH PROFESSOR OF ANGLO-SAXON
AND FELLOW OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

* * *


THE HOUSE OF FAME: THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN
THE TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOURCES OF THE CANTERBURY TALES

'He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame.'
_Legend of Good Women_; 417.

'Who-so that wol his large volume seke
Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupyde.'
_Canterbury Tales_; B 60.

'His Astrelabie, longinge for his art.'
_Canterbury Tales_; A 3209.

SECOND EDITION

Oxford

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

M DCCCC

* * * * * *




Oxford

PRINTED AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
BY HORACE HART, M.A.
PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY

* * * * * *




CONTENTS.


PAGE

INTRODUCTION TO THE HOUSE OF FAME. - § 1. Authorship. § 2. Influence
of Dante. § 3. Testimony of Lydgate. § 4. Influence of Ovid.
§ 5. Date of the Poem. § 6. Metre. § 7. Imitations.
§ 8. Authorities. § 9. Some Emendations vii

INTRODUCTION TO THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN. - § 1. Date of the Poem.
§ 2. The Two Forms of the Prologue. § 3. Comparison of these.
§ 4. The Subject of the Legend. § 5. The Daisy. § 6. Agaton.
§ 7. Chief Sources of the Legend. § 8. The Prologue; Legends of
(1) Cleopatra; (2) Thisbe; (3) Dido; (4) Hypsipyle and Medea;
(5) Lucretia; (6) Ariadne; (7) Philomela; (8) Phyllis;
(9) Hypermnestra. § 9. Gower's Confessio Amantis. § 10. Metre.
§ 11. 'Clipped' Lines. § 12. Description of the MSS.
§ 13. Description of the Printed Editions. § 14. Some Improvements
in my Edition of 1889. § 15. Conclusion xvi

INTRODUCTION TO A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE. - § 1. Description of
the MSS. §§ 2-16. MSS. A., B., C., D., E., F., G., H., I., K., L.,
M., N., O., P. § 17. MSS. Q., R., S., T., U., W., X.
§ 18. Thynne's Edition. § 19. The two Classes of MSS. § 20. The
last five Sections (spurious). § 21. Gap between Sections 40
and 41. § 22. Gap between Sections 43 and 44. § 23. Conclusion 40.
§ 24. Extant portion of the Treatise. § 25. Sources. § 26. Various
Editions. § 27. Works on the Subject. § 28. Description of the
Astrolabe Planisphere. § 29. Uses of the Astrolabe Planisphere.
§ 30. Stars marked on the Rete. § 31. Astrological Notes.
§ 32. Description of the Plates lvii

PLATES ILLUSTRATING THE DESCRIPTION OF THE ASTROLABE lxxxi

THE HOUS OF FAME: BOOK I. 1
THE HOUS OF FAME: BOOK II. 16
THE HOUS OF FAME: BOOK III. 33

THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN: THE PROLOGUE 65
I. THE LEGEND OF CLEOPATRA 106
II. THE LEGEND OF THISBE 110
III. THE LEGEND OF DIDO 117
IV. THE LEGEND OF HYPSIPYLE AND MEDEA 131
V. THE LEGEND OF LUCRETIA 140
VI. THE LEGEND OF ARIADNE 147
VII. THE LEGEND OF PHILOMELA 158
VIII. THE LEGEND OF PHYLLIS 164
IX. THE LEGEND OF HYPERMNESTRA 169

A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE 175

CRITICAL NOTES TO A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE 233

NOTES TO THE HOUSE OF FAME 243

NOTES TO THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN 288

NOTES TO A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE 352

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOURCES OF THE CANTERBURY TALES 370




INTRODUCTION TO THE HOUSE OF FAME


§ 1. It is needless to say that this Poem is genuine, as Chaucer himself
claims it twice over; once in his Prologue to the Legend of Good Women, l.
417, and again by the insertion in the poem itself of the name _Geffrey_
(l. 729)[1].

§ 2. INFLUENCE OF DANTE. The influence of Dante is here very marked, and
has been thoroughly discussed by Rambeau in Englische Studien, iii. 209, in
an article far too important to be neglected. I can only say here that the
author points out both general and particular likenesses between the two
poems. In general, both are visions; both are in three books; in both, the
authors seek abstraction from surrounding troubles by venturing into the
realm of imagination. As Dante is led by Vergil, so Chaucer is upborne by
an eagle. Dante begins his third book, Il Paradiso, with an invocation to
Apollo, and Chaucer likewise begins his third book with the same; moreover,
Chaucer's invocation is little more than a translation of Dante's.

Among the particular resemblances, we may notice the method of commencing
each division of the Poem with an invocation[2]. Again, both poets mark the
exact date of commencing their poems; Dante descended into the Inferno on
Good Friday, 1300 (Inf. xxi. 112); Chaucer began his work on the 10th of
December, the year being, probably, 1383 (see note to l. 111).

Chaucer sees the desert of Lybia (l. 488), corresponding to similar waste
spaces mentioned by Dante; see note to l. 482. Chaucer's eagle is also
Dante's eagle; see note to l. 500. Chaucer gives an account of Phaethon (l.
942) and of Icarus (l. 920), much like those given by Dante (Inf. xvii.
107, 109); both accounts, however, may have been taken from Ovid[3].
Chaucer's account of the eagle's lecture to him (l. 729) resembles Dante's
Paradiso, i. 109-117. Chaucer's steep rock of ice (l. 1130) corresponds to
Dante's steep rock (Purg. iii. 47). If Chaucer cannot describe all the
beauty of the House of Fame (l. 1168), Dante is equally unable to describe
Paradise (Par. i. 6). Chaucer copies from Dante his description of Statius,
and follows his mistake in saying that he was born at Toulouse; see note to
l. 1460. The description of the house of Rumour is also imitated from
Dante; see note to l. 2034. Chaucer's error of making Marsyas a female
arose from his misunderstanding the Italian form Marsia in Dante; see note
to l. 1229.

These are but some of the points discussed in Rambeau's article; it is
difficult to give, in a summary, a just idea of the careful way in which
the resemblances between these two great poets are pointed out. I am quite
aware that many of the alleged parallel passages are too trivial to be
relied upon, and that the author's case would have been strengthened,
rather than weakened, by several judicious omissions; but we may fairly
accept the conclusion, that Chaucer is more indebted to Dante in this poem
than in any other; perhaps more than in all his other works put together.

It is no longer possible to question Chaucer's knowledge of Italian; and it
is useless to search for the original of The House of Fame in Provençal
literature, as Warton vaguely suggests that we should do (see note to l.
1928). At the same time, I can see no help to be obtained from a perusal of
Petrarch's Trionfo della Fama, to which some refer us.

§ 3. TESTIMONY OF LYDGATE. It is remarkable that Lydgate does not expressly
mention The House of Fame by name, in his list of Chaucer's works. I have
already discussed this point in the Introduction to vol. i. pp. 23, 24,
where I shew that Lydgate, nevertheless, refers to this work at least
thrice in the course of the poem in which his list occurs; and, at the same
time, he speaks of a poem by Chaucer which he calls 'Dant in English,' to
which there is nothing to correspond, unless it can be identified with The
House of Fame[4]. We know, however, that Lydgate's testimony as to this
point is wholly immaterial; so that the discussion as to the true
interpretation of his words is a mere matter of curiosity.

§ 4. INFLUENCE OF OVID. It must, on the other hand, be obvious to all
readers, that the general notion of a House of Fame was adopted from a
passage in Ovid's Metamorphoses, xii. 39-63. The proof of this appears from
the great care with which Chaucer works in all the details occurring in
that passage. He also keeps an eye on the celebrated description of Fame in
Vergil's Æneid, iv. 173-183; even to the unlucky rendering of 'pernicibus
alis' by 'partriches winges,' in l. 1392[5].

I here quote the passage from Ovid at length, as it is very useful for
frequent reference (cf. Ho. Fame, 711-24, 672-99, 1025-41, 1951-76,
2034-77): -

'Orbe locus medio est inter terrasque, fretumque,
Caelestesque plagas, triplicis confinia mundi;
Unde quod est usquam, quamuis regionibus absit,
Inspicitur penetratque cauas uox omnis ad aures.
FAMA tenet, summaque domum sibi legit in arce;
Innumerosque aditus, ac mille foramina tectis
Addidit, et nullis inclusit limina portis.
Nocte dieque patent. Tota est ex aere sonanti;
Tota fremit, uocesque refert, iteratque quod audit.
Nulla quies intus, nullaque silentia parte.
Nec tamen est clamor, sed paruae murmura uocis;
Qualia de pelagi, si quis procul audiat, undis
Esse solent; qualemue sonum, cum Iupiter atras
Increpuit nubes, extrema tonitrua reddunt.
Atria turba tenet; ueniunt leue uulgus, euntque;
Mixtaque cum ueris passim commenta uagantur
Millia rumorum, confusaque uerba uolutant.
E quibus hi uacuas implent sermonibus aures;
Hi narrata ferunt alio; mensuraque ficti
Crescit, et auditis aliquid nouus adicit auctor.
Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius Error,
Vanaque Laetitia est, consternatique Timores,
Seditioque repens, dubioque auctore Susurri.
Ipsa quid in caelo rerum, pelagoque geratur,
Et tellure uidet, totumque inquirit in orbem.'

A few other references to Ovid are pointed out in the Notes.

By way of further illustration, I here quote the whole of Golding's
translation of the above passage from Ovid: -

'Amid the world tweene heauen and earth, and sea, there is a place,
Set from the bounds of each of them indifferently in space,
From whence is seene what-euer thing is practizde any-where,
Although the Realme be neere so farre: and roundly to the eare
Commes whatsoeuer spoken is; Fame hath his dwelling there,
Who in the top of all the house is lodged in a towre.
A thousand entries, glades, and holes are framed in this bowre.
There are no doores to shut. The doores stand open night and day.
The house is all of sounding brasse, and roreth euery way,
Reporting double euery word it heareth people say.
There is no rest within, there is no silence any-where.
Yet is there not a yelling out: but humming, as it were
The sound of surges being heard farre off, or like the sound
That at the end of thunderclaps long after doth redound
When _Ioue_ doth make the clouds to crack. Within the courts is preace
Of common people, which to come and go do neuer ceace.
And millions both of troths and lies run gadding euery-where,
And wordes confuselie flie in heapes, of which some fill the eare
That heard not of them erst, and some cole-cariers part do play,
To spread abroade the things they heard, and euer by the way
The thing that was inuented growes much greater than before,
And euery one that gets it by the end addes somewhat more.
Light credit dwelleth there, there dwells rash error, there doth dwell
Vaine ioy: there dwelleth hartlesse feare, and brute that loues to tell
Uncertaine newes vpon report, whereof he doth not knowe
The author, and sedition who fresh rumors loues to sowe.
This Fame beholdeth what is done in heauen, on sea, and land,
And what is wrought in all the world he layes to vnderstand.'

§ 5. DATE OF THE POEM. Ten Brink, in his Chaucer Studien, pp. 120, 121,
concludes that The House of Fame was, in all probability, composed shortly
after Troilus, as the opening lines reproduce, in effect, a passage
concerning dreams which appears in the last Book of Troilus, ll. 358-385.
We may also observe the following lines in Troilus, from Book I, 517-8: -

'Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce
Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce.'

These lines, jestingly applied to Troilus by Pandarus, are in the House of
Fame, 639, 640, applied by Chaucer to himself: -

'Although thou mayst go in the daunce
Of hem that him list not avaunce.'

Again, the House of Fame preceded the Legend of Good Women, because he here
complains of the hardship of his official duties (652-660); whereas, in the
Prologue to the Legend, he rejoices at obtaining some release from them. We
may also note the quotation from Boethius (note to l. 972). As Boethius and
Troilus seem to have been written together, somewhere about 1380, and took
up a considerable time, and the apparent date of the Legend is 1385, the
probable date of the House of Fame is about 1383 or 1384. Ten Brink further
remarks that the references to Jupiter suggest to the reader that the 10th
of December was a Thursday (see note to 111). This would give 1383 for
beginning the poem; and perhaps no fitter date than the end of 1383 and the
spring of 1384 can be found.

§ 6. METRE. Many of Chaucer's metres were introduced by him from the
French; but the four-accent metre, with rime as here employed, was commonly
known before Chaucer's time. It was used by Robert of Brunne in 1303, in
the Cursor Mundi, and in Havelok. It is, however, of French origin, and
occurs in the very lengthy poem of Le Roman de la Rose. Chaucer only
employed it thrice: (1) in translating the Roman de la Rose; (2) in the
Book of the Duchesse; and (3) in the present poem.

For normal lines, with masculine rimes, see 7, 8, 13, 14, 29, 33, &c. For
normal lines, with feminine rimes, see 1, 2, 9, 15, 18, &c. Elision is
common, as of _e_ in _turne_ (1), in _somme_ (6), in _Devyne_ (14); &c.
Sometimes there is a middle pause, where a final syllable need not always
be elided. Thus we may read: -

'By abstinencë - or by seknesse' (25):
'In studie - or melancolious' (30):
'And fro unhappë - and ech disese' (89):
'In his substáuncë - is but air' (768).

Two short syllables, rapidly pronounced, may take the place of one: -

'I noot; but who-_so of_ these mirácles' (12):
'_By a_visiouns, or bý figúres' (47).

The first foot frequently consists of a single syllable; see 26, 35, 40,
44; so also in l. 3, where, in modern English, we should prefer _Unto_.

The final _e_, followed by a consonant, is usually sounded, and has its
usual grammatical values. Thus we have _think-e_, infin. (15); _bot-e_, old
accus. of a fem. sb. (32); _swich-e_, plural (35); _oft-e_, adverbial (35);
_soft-e_, with essential final _e_ (A.S. _s[=o]fte_); _find-e_, pres. pl.
indic. (43); _com-e_, gerund (45): _gret-e_, pl. (53); _mak-e_, infin.
(56); _rod-e_, dat. form used as a new nom., of which there are many
examples in Chaucer (57); _blind-e_, def. adj. (138). The endings _-ed_,
_-en_, _-es_, usually form a distinct syllable; so also _-eth_, which,
however, occasionally becomes _'th_; cf. _comth_ (71). A few common words,
written with final _e_, are monosyllabic; as _thise_ (these); also _shulde_
(should), and the like, occasionally. Remember that the old accent is
frequently different from the modern; as in _orácles_, _mirácles_ (11, 12):
_distaúnc-e_ (18), _aventúres_, _figúres_ (47, 48): _povért_ (88):
_málicióus_ (93): &c. The endings _-i-al_, _-i-oun_, _-i-ous_, usually form
two distinct syllables.

For further remarks on Metre and Grammar, see vol. v.

§ 7. IMITATIONS. The chief imitations of the House of Fame are The Temple
of Glas, by Lydgate[6]; The Palice of Honour, by Gawain Douglas; The
Garland of Laurell, by John Skelton; and The Temple of Fame, by Pope.
Pope's poem should not be compared with Chaucer's; it is very different in
character, and is best appreciated by forgetting its origin.

§ 8. AUTHORITIES. The authorities for the text are few and poor; hence it
is hardly possible to produce a thoroughly satisfactory text. There are
three MSS. of the fifteenth century, viz. F. (Fairfax MS. 16, in the
Bodleian Library); B. (MS. Bodley, 638, in the same); P. (MS. Pepys 2006,
in Magdalene College, Cambridge). The last of these is imperfect, ending at
l. 1843. There are two early printed editions of some value, viz. Cx.
(Caxton's edition, undated); and Th. (Thynne's edition, 1532). None of the
later editions are of much value, except the critical edition by Hans
Willert (Berlin, 1883). Of these, F. and B., which are much alike, form a
first group; P. and Cx. form a second group; whilst Th. partly agrees with
Cx., and partly with F. The text is chiefly from F., with collations of the
other sources, as given in the footnotes, which record only the more
important variations.

§ 9. SOME EMENDATIONS. In constructing the text, a good deal of emendation
has been necessary; and I have adopted many hints from Willert's edition
above mentioned; though perhaps I may be allowed to add that, in many
cases, I had arrived at the same emendations independently, especially
where they were obvious. Among the emendations in spelling, I may
particularise _misdemen_ (92), where all the authorities have _mysdeme_ or
_misdeme_; _Dispyt_, in place of _Dispyte_ (96); _barfoot_, for _barefoot_
or _barefote_ (98); _proces_ (as in P.) for _processe_, as in the rest
(251); _delyt_, _profyt_, for _delyte_, _profyte_ (309, 310); _sleighte_
for _sleight_ (462); _brighte_[7], _sighte_, for _bright_, _sight_ (503,
504); _wighte_, _highte_, for _wight_, _hight_ (739, 740); _fyn_, _Delphyn_
(as in Cx.), for _fyne_, _Delphyne_ (1005, 1006); _magyk_, _syk_, for
_magyke_, _syke_ (1269, 1270); _losenges_, for _losynges_ (1317), and
_frenges_ (as in F.) for _frynges_, as in the rest (1318); _dispyt_ for
_dispite_ (1716); _laughe_ for _laugh_ (Cx. _lawhe_, 1809); _delyt_ for
_delyte_ (P. _delit_, 1831); _thengyn_ (as in Th.) for _thengyne_ (1934);
_othere_ for _other_ (2151, footnote). These are only a few of the
instances where nearly all the authorities are at fault.

The above instances merely relate to questions of spelling. Still more
serious are the defects in the MSS. and printed texts as regards the sense;
but all instances of emendation are duly specified in the footnotes, and
are frequently further discussed in the Notes at the end. Thus, in l. 329,
it is necessary to supply _I_. In 370, _allas_ should be _Eneas_. In 513,
Willert rightly puts _selly_, i.e. wonderful, for _sely_, blessed. In 557,
the metre is easily restored, by reading _so agast_ for _agast so_. In 621,
we must read _lyte is_, not _lytel is_, if we want a rime to _dytees_. In
827, I restore the word _mansioun_; the usual readings are tautological. In
911, I restore _toun_ for _token_, and adopt the only reading of l. 912
that gives any sense. In 1007, the only possible reading is _Atlantes_. In
1044, Morris's edition has _biten_, correctly; though MS. F. has _beten_,
and there is no indication that a correction has been made. In 1114, the
right word is _site_; cf. the Treatise on the Astrolabe (see Note). In
1135, read _bilt_ (i.e. buildeth); _bilte_ gives neither sense nor rhythm.
In 1173, supply _be_. Ll. 1177, 1178 have been set right by Willert. In
1189, the right word is _Babewinnes_[8]. In 1208, read _Bret_ (as in B.).
In 1233, read _famous_. In 1236, read _Reyes_[9]. In 1303, read _hatte_,
i.e. are named. In 1351, read _Fulle_, not _Fyne_. In 1372, adopt the
reading of Cx. Th. P., or there is no nominative to _streighte_; and in
1373, read _wonderliche_. In 1411, read _tharmes_ (= _the armes_). In 1425,
I supply _and hy_, to fill out the line. In 1483, I supply _dan_; if,
however, _poete_ is made trisyllabic, then l. 1499 should not contain
_daun_. In 1494, for _high the_, read _highte_ (as in l. 744). In 1527, for
_into_ read _in_. In 1570, read _Up peyne_. In 1666, 1701, and 1720, for
_werkes_ read _werk_. In 1702, read _clew_ (see note)[10]. In 1717, _lyen_
is an error for _lyuen_, i.e. live. In 1750, read _To_, not _The_. In 1775,
supply _ye_; or there is no sense. In 1793, supply _they_ for a like
reason. In 1804, 5, supply _the_, and _al_; for the scansion. In 1897, read
_wiste_, not _wot_. In 1940, _hattes_ should be _hottes_; this emendation
has been accepted by several scholars. In 1936, the right word is _falwe_,
not _salwe_ (as in Morris). In 1960, there should be no comma at the end of
the line, as in most editions; and in 1961, 2 read _werre_, _reste_ (not
_werres_, _restes_). In 1975, _mis_ and _governement_ are distinct words.
In 2017, _frot_[11] is an error for _froyt_; it is better to read _fruit_
at once; this correction is due to Koch. In 2021, suppress _in_ after
_yaf_. In 2049, for _he_ read _the other_ (Willert). In 2059, _wondermost_
is all one word. In 2076, I read _word_; Morris reads _mothe_, but does not
explain it, and it gives no sense. In 2156, I supply _nevene_.

I mention these as examples of necessary emendations of which the usual
editions take no notice.

I also take occasion to draw attention to the careful articles on this poem
by Dr. J. Koch, in Anglia, vol. vii. App. 24-30, and Englische Studien, xv.
409-415; and the remarks by Willert in Anglia, vii. App. 203-7. The best
general account of the poem is that in Ten Brink's History of English
Literature.




In conclusion, I add a few 'last words.'

L. 399. We learn, from Troil. i. 654, that Chaucer actually supposed
'Oënone' to have four syllables. This restores the metre. Read: - And Paris
to Oënone.

503. Read 'brighte,' with final _e_; 'bright' is a misprint.

859. Compare Cant. Tales, F 726.

1119. 'To climbe hit,' i.e. to climb the rock; still a common idiom.

2115. Compare Cant. Tales, A 2078. Perhaps read 'wanie.'




INTRODUCTION TO THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN.


§ 1. DATE OF THE POEM: A.D. 1385. The Legend of Good Women presents several
points of peculiar, I might almost say of unique interest. It is the
immediate precursor of the Canterbury Tales, and enables us to see how the
poet was led on towards the composition of that immortal poem. This is
easily seen, upon consideration of the date at which it was composed.

The question of the date has been well investigated by Ten Brink; but it
may be observed beforehand that the allusion to the 'queen' in l. 496 has
long ago been noticed, and it has been thence inferred, by Tyrwhitt, that
the Prologue must have been written _after_ 1382, the year when Richard II.
married his first wife, the 'good queen Anne.' But Ten Brink's remarks
enable us to look at the question much more closely.

He shows that Chaucer's work can be clearly divided into three chief
periods, the chronology of which he presents in the following form[12].

FIRST PERIOD.

1366 (at latest). The Romaunt of the Rose.
1369. The Book of the Duchesse.
1372. (end of the period).

SECOND PERIOD.

1373. The Lyf of Seint Cecile.
The Assembly of Foules.
Palamon and Arcite.
Translation of Boethius.
Troilus and Creseide.
1384. The House of Fame.

THIRD PERIOD.



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