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EARLY ENGLISH POETRY,
AND POPULAR LITERATURE
OF THE MIDDLE AGES.
EDITED FROM ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS
AND SCARCE PUBLICATIONS.
4 5 3 B 7
PRINTED FOR THE PERCY SOCIETY,
HV T HfCH'VRnS. ST. MARTINS I.ANE.
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
A SELECTION FROM THE MINOR POEMS OF
EDITED B\ J. O. HALHWELL, ESQ. F.U.S., F.S.A. ETC.
EARLY NAVAL BALLADS OF ENGLAND.
EDITED BY J. O. HALLIWELL, ESQ. F.K.S., F.S.A. ETC.
A SEARCH FOR MONEY, BY WILLIAM ROWLEY.
EDITED BY J. PAYNE COLLIER, ESQ. F.S.A.
THE MAD PRANKS AND MERRY JESTS OF
i;i)1tj:)> by j. pakne collilk, esq. I'.s.i.
DAN JOHN LYDGATE.
JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, ESQ. F.R.S.
F.R.A.S. M.R.S.L. F.S.A.L. & E. M.R.S.X.A. &c. &c. &c.
SECBETARY OF THE CAMBRIDGE ANTIQUARIAN SOCtETT, AND OP THE
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OP SCIENCE ; AND CORRESPONDING MEMBER
OF THE ROYAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION' OF FRANCE.
" Mayster Lydgate ! the most dulcet sprynge
Of famous rethoryke, wytli balade ryall
The chefe orygynal."
Th" Paatyme of Plenvre. by Stephen Han es.
PRINTED FOR THE PERCY SOCIETY,
BY C. RICHARDS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE.
â‚¬f)t \^ttt^ ^otitt^.
J. A. CAHUSAC, Esq. F.S.A.
WILLIAM CHAPPELL, Esq. F.S.A.
JOHN PAYNE COLLIER, Esq. F.S.A.
T. CROFTON CEOKER, Esq. F.S.A.
REV. ALEXANDER DYCE.
RICHARD HALLI\VELL, Esq. F.S.A.
JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, Esq. F.R.S. Treasurer.
WILLIAM JERDAN, Esq. F.S.A.
SAMUEL LOVER, Esq.
CHARLES MACKAY, Esq.
E. F. RIMBAULT, Esq. Stcrelary.
THOMAS WRIGHT, Esq. M.A. F.S.A.
Dan John Lydgate, monk of Bury St. Edmund's,
the immediate follower of Geoffry Chaucer, was
one of the most prolific writers this country has
ever produced. Ritson, in his " Bibliographia
Poetica," enumerates no less a number than two
hundred and fifty-one pieces which acknowledge
him for their author; and this list is far from
being complete. To furnish, indeed, a correct
catalogue of all his works would require more
time than the editor of the present volume has
had at his disposal, and he therefore contents
himself with referring to Ritson's useful little
work, and to Warton's " History of English
Poetry," for particulars concerning the life and
writings of our author.
Materials for an account of Lydgate's life are
scanty; and his " Testament," although curious
as an early specimen of autobiography, doe1s not
contain any direct facts. That he preferred play
to work when he was at school, and was fond of
" telling cherrystones" and stealing apples, are
perhaps to be considered more as characteristics
of the age in which he lived, than of any pecu-
liarities in his own taste. He was bom, as he
himself tells us,* at Lidgate ; and this fact
appears to have escaped the notice of modern
\vriters. It does not appear that any memorial
of him is in our Record Offices. â€¢}â– We are even
uncertain of the time of his death ; but it is
very improbable that he survived as long as
the year 1482, although most writers place the
date of his death in that year.J In the first
place, he \ATote a poem addressed to Abbat
Curteys,^ " In myn oold dayes ;" and this abbat
died in 1446, which shows that he must have
attained an advanced age then. Again, he was
a friend of Chaucer's, who died in 1400, and says
that he composed one poem under his immediate
directions. It is no proof of his surviving to the
accession of Edward, because a stanza on that
sovereign is found in the poet's brief chronicle of
the kings, in MS. Harl. 2251 ; for it is well known
that such additions were often made by the tran-
* "I was born in Lydegate."â€” MS. Harl. 2251, fol.283.
t MS. Birch, 4245,'fol. 60.
X Ritson's Bibliof/raphica Poetica, p. 89.
Â§ MS. Harl. 2255, fol. 43.
scribers of manuscripts;* and in MS. Bib. Reg.
18 D. ii, the same poem is continued to the reign
of Henry VIII. From the MSS. which remain
of his writings, I should be inclined to believe
that he died before Edward\s accession, and there
appears to be every adjunct of external proba-
bility. In MS. Harl. 116, fol. 170, occurs the
following epitaph, written probably soon after his
death, and is probably the original inscription
which graced his tomb : â€”
Epitaphium Johannis Lidgate, monachi de Byri.
" Lidgate Cristoticoii Edmundinn, Maro Brittanis,
Boccasiousque viros psallit ; et hie cinis est.
" Haee tria praecipua opera fecit: â€” vij. libros de Cliristo ;
librum de vita Saucti Edmundi; et Boccasium de viris illus-
tribus ; cum multis aliis."t
Ritson observes that it is highly probable that
some of the minor poems ascribed to Lydgate,
are not by him ; and that, on the other hand, he
may be the author of several pieces given anony-
mously in manuscripts. The style, indeed, is
* So in a manuscript copy of Lydgate's life of St. Edmund
at Oxford, MS. Ashm. 46, the prologue is accommodated to
t In the ArchcEologia, vol.iv. p. 131, is given the following
epitaph : â€”
" Mortuus seclo, superis superstes,
Hie jacet Lyilgat tumulatus uma :
Qui ftiit quondam Celebris Britannec
scarcely nufficient to determine the authorship,
unaided by contemporary rubrics. Benedict Burgh,
it is well known, was his pupil, and has most
closely imitated hiiu. This latter writer finished
Lydgate's translation of the Secreta ^ecretorum,
which was left incomplete by the hand of death :
" Here deyed this translatour, a nobil poete, and
the yonge folowere gan his prologe on this wyse,""
which, as curious and serving for a comparison, I
here insert : â€”
[From MS. Sloan. 2464, fol. 36-38.]
Tendienesse of age and lak of elloquence,
This feerful matere savyng supportacioun,
Me hath constreyned to put in suspence,
From yow, my lord, to whoom recomendacioun,
I mekly do sende with al subjeccioun,
The dulnesse of my penne yow besechyng t'enlumyne.
Which am nat aqueynted "nith the miisys nyne.
Wher flour of knyghthood the batayUe doth refuse.
What shulde the dwerffe entre into the place ?
Bareyn in sentence shulde hynisylf excuse.
And by presumpcyoun nat shewe out his face ;
Off John Lydgate how shulde I the sotyl trace,
Folwe in secrees, celestial and dyvyne?
Sith I am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne.
Frenescys sent from the lady Nature,
For a conclusyoun hir joume to conveye,
As of Anthyclaudyan rehersyth the scripture,
Be sevene sustrys in her passage took the weye,
GynnjTig at griuuper, as for lok and keye,
In ordre and proporsyoun fidwyng the doctryne,
Which was wel aqueynted with the musys nyne
These sevene sustiyn sovereyn and entieere,
Yif I my peime to this matere doo applye,
The nyne musys hlame shal in maneere,
That they un labouryd stant on my partye,
I yaffe noon attendaunce, I may it nat denye,
How shulde I thanne my matere doo combyne,
Which am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne ?
These sustrys cheyned in parfight unyte,
Departe may not by natural resoun,
Ech with othir hath eternite,
How shulde I thanne use persuasioun,
Of my purpoos to have conclusyoun,
In ech science fayUyng degre and signe,
For lak of aqueyntaunce of the musys nyne.
Yif I shulde talke in scyencys tryvyal,
Gynnyng at grameer, in signes and figurys,
Or of metrys the feet to make equal,
Be tyme and proporcioun kepyng my mesurys,
This lady lyst nat to parte the tresourys,
Of liire substaunce to my childhood incondigne,
Which am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne.
This mateer to conveye by trewe conclusyoun,
Veritees of logyk certys I must applye,
Wheer undir flourys restith the scorpioun,
Wbich I fere to take for my partye,
Premyssys congrew which can nat applye.
Of old philisoffres to folwe the doctryne,
Sith I am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne.
I have Â«"ith Tully gadryd no fressh flours.
The chaar of Fronescis to paynte in dewe raanere,
With Petir Petrarke of rethoryk no colours,
Of teeriiiys ne sentence in my ^vrytj-ng doth appere,
Arismetryk nor musyk my dulnesse doo not clere,
How shulde I thanne by geometrje drawe rjght lyne,
^\Tiich am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne ?
Off astronomye the secrecs invisible,
Unknowe with Tiiolomye I faylle cogiiicioun,
Which by invencyoun to me l)C impossible,
Withoute doctoiirs and pxposicioim ;
Or of this sevene to make a declaracioun,
Atftir your entent this treetys to combj'ne,
Which am nat aqueynted â– n-ith the musys iiyne.
These thynges peysed myn hand make to quake,
Thre causys considred in especial,
First of this book the difficulte to take,
Secunde of the persone, the magnificence royal,
To whom I wrj'te into tremlyng cause me fal.
Of dirk ignoraunce feryng the engyne,
Which am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne.
The thiydde cause in the audight countable.
Entitled and roUyd of my reraembraunce,
Is that detractours, odyous and detestable,
Unto Allecto knet be aflyaunce,
With sotyl menys shal make perturbaunce,
Aflermyng to my witt to moche that I enclyne,
The werk to a taste not knowyng the musys nyne.
Thus atwen tweyne pereel of the see,
Sylla and Karybdys put in desperacioun ,
What to resceyve and which for to flee,
Constreyned I am to make dubj-tacioun,
The sharp corosye of firetj-ng detractioun.
First I feere to my partye shal enclyne,
Sith I am nat aqueynted with the musys nyne.
The secund pereel by computacioun,
In whiche I stande this is incertayn,
Feer and dreed of indignaciouu,
Of youre lordship which doth nat dysdeyn,
Me to exhorte to wryte in termys pleyn,
A part of secrees celestial and divyne,
Leflt of John Lydgate wel knowyng the musys nyne.
Thus set in pereel fayl I my socour.
Me dotli coumi'orte a proverbe in myn entent,
Eche tale is endj'd as it liath favour,
Wlierfore to dreed no lengere I vryl assent,
But breeffly fulfille your comaundement.
In modir tounge this matere to combyne,
Wliich faulfe support knowe not the rausys nyne.
The few notes which are added at the end of
this vohime have been selected from materials at
hand, and without any attempt at continuous
illustration, which, in a work of this nature, might
be extended to any assignable length.
J. 0. HALLIWELL.
35, Alfred Place, London.
20th September, 1840.
1. The entry of Henry the Sixth into London after his coronation
in France . . . . .1
2. On the mutabihty of human afi'airs . . . .22
3. Advice to an okl gentleman who wished for a young wife . 27
4. Ballad on the forked headdresses of ladies . .46
5. Lydgate's application to the Duke of Gloucester for money 49
6 The ballad of Jack Hare . . . . .52
7. The inconsistency of men's actions . . .55
8. A satirical ballad on the times . . . . .58
9. A call to devotion . . . . . .60
10. The legend of Dan Joos . . . . . .62
11. Rules for presennng health . . . .66
12. The moral of the legend of Dido . . .69
13. Legend of Wullrike, a priest of AViltshire . . .72
14. Legend of a monk of Paris . . . .73
15. On the instability of human affairs . . . .74
1 6. Devotions of the fouls . . . . . .78
17. On moderation . . . . . . .80
18. A poem against itlleness, and the history of Sardanapalus . 84
19. The procession at the feast of Corpus Christi . . .95
20. London Lackpenny . . . .103
21. The tale of the lady prioress and her three suitors . . 107
22. Moral of the fable of the horse, the goose, and the sheep . 117
23. On the wretchedness of worldly affairs .... 122
24. Bycorne and Cliichevache ..... 129
25. The legend ol' St. .Viistin at Coinptoii
20. Advice to tittle-tattlers
27. A poem against selflove .
28. The order of fools
29. As straight as a rani's horn
30. The concords of company
31. St. Ursula and the eleven thousand virgi
32. The chorle and the bird
33. On the mutability of human alFairs
34. A satirical description of his lady
35. A prayer to St. Leonard, made at York
36. The deserts of tlievish millers and baker
37. Measure is treasure
38. Ballad on presenting an eagle to the king and queen on
of their marriage
39. The triump of virtue
40. A lover's complaint
41. A ditty upon improvement
42. Thank God for all thiug.s
43. Make amendes .
LYDGATE'S MINOR POEMS.
THE ENTRY OF HENRY THE SIXTH INTO
LONDON AFTER HIS CORONATION
The following poem gives a very minute description of the
manner in which Henry the Sixth was received in London after
his coronation, and of the pageant upon that occasion. Three
copies of it exist in MS. in the British Museum, viz. MS. Harl.
565, fol. 114-124; MS. Cotton. Julius, B. ii. fol. 87-98; and_
MS. Cotton. Cleop. C. iv. fol. 38-48. From the two first of these'
MSS. an edition was printed by Sir Harris Nicolas (London
Chronicle, p. 235-250) ; but the third MS. has entirely escaped
the notice of antiquaries, and, as it presents a more complete text
than the other two, we give it verbatim.
About one-third of this article, taken from MS. Harl. 565, is
printed in Malcolm's " London," vol. ii. p. 89 ; but it conveys, as
Sir H. Nicolas justly observes, " a very imperfect idea of the
whole composition ; for not only has the orthography of the ex-
tract been modernized, but the most interesting descriptions do
not occur." The following extract from a continuation of the
Brute Chronicle in MS. Harl. 3730, contains a brief account
of the argument of onr poem: " This same yere, the vj. day of
Decembre, Kyng Henry the vj. was crouned Kyng of Fraunce at
Paris in the church of oure Lady, with gret solempnite ; there
beyng present the Cardinalle of Englond, the Duke of Bedford,
and many other lordis of Fraunce and of Englond ; and after this
coronacion and grett lest holdyn at Parys, the Kyng retornyd
from thens to Rone, and so toward Caleis. And ther, the ix.
day of Feveryere, londed at Dover, whom alle the comons of Kent
mett at Beramdoun, between Canterbury and Dover, alle in rede
2 LYDGATE S MINOR POEMS.
hodys. And so com fortli tyll he com to the Blake-heth, where
he was mett with the niaier Jhon Welles, with alle the craftes of
London, clad alle in white. And so thei brought hym to London
the xxj. day of the same moneth." Now as Lydgate says that
Henry entered London " on a thursday," and " toward the end
of wyndy Februarie," the 21st of February, which fell on a
Thursday, was doubtless the correct date at which the circum-
stance took place. We refer the reader also to the minute account
of the ceremony given in Fabyan's Chronicle, (London, 1559,
p. 423-7) in which will be found several of the verses used in the
pageants. Another curious account of it is preserved in a manu-
script at Lambeth Palace, and will be included in a volume I am
now editing for the Camden Society. The " Rejoice to London"
at the end of this poem, is also preserved in another of the
Cottonian manuscripts, in a separate form.
PUR LE ROY.
Toward the ende of wyndy F"ebruarie,
Whan Phebus whas in the flPysshe croune,
Out of the signe, wiche callyd is aquary.
New kalendys were enteryd and begone
Of Marchis komyng, and the mery sone
Upon a Thursday sched his bemys bryght
Upon Londone, to make them glad and lyght.
The stormy reyne of alle ther highenes
Where passid away, and alle her old grevaunee.
For the vj.**^ Herry, roote of her gladnes,
Ther hertes joy, ther worldis suffisaunce,
Be trew dissent crouned Kyng of Fraunce ;
The hevyn rejoyseng the day of his repayre,
Made his komyng the wedyr to be so fFayre.
LYDGATE S MINOR POEMS. 3
A tyme, I trow, of God for him provyded.
In alle the hevenys ther whas no clowd seyne ;
From other dayes that day whas so devyded,
And fFraunchesid fFrom mystes and ffrom reyne ;
The ayre attempered, the wyndes smowth and playne,
The citezeins thorowou5t the citee,
Halewyd that day withe grete solempnyte.
And lyke for Davyd aftyr his victory
Reyjoyssed whas alle Jerusalem,
So this citee with lawde, preyse, and glorye,
For joy moustered lyke the sone beme.
To yeve ensample thorowou3t this rerae ;
Alle of assent wPioso cane concey ve,
Ther noble Kyng were glad to resseyve.
Ther clothing whas of colour fulle covenable ;
The noble Mayer clad in reed velewet,
The Schrevys, the Aldermen, fulle notable,
In fFurred clokys, the colour scarlett ;
In statly wise whan thei were mett,
Eche oone welle horsed, made no delay,
But withe her mayer rood forthe in her way.
The citezens eche one of the citee.
In her entent that thei were pure and clene ;
Chees hem of white a fulle fayre lyvere.
In every craft as it whas welle sene ;
To shew the trouthe that they did mene.
Toward the Kyng had made hem feithefully,
In sondery devise embroudered richely.
4 lydoate's minor poems.
And for to remembre of other alyeris,
Fyrst Jeneveyes, thoughe they were straungeris,
Florentynes, and Venycyens,
And Esterlinges, glad in her maneres,
Conveyed withe sergeauntes and other officeres,
Estatly horsed, aftyr the maier riding,
Passid the subbarbis to raete withe the Kyng.
To the Elak-hethe whan the did atteyne,
The nieyer, of prudens in especialle,
Made hem hove in rengis twayne,
A strete betwene eche party lyke a walle,
Alle clad in white, and the most principalle
Atforne in reed, withe thaire mayre ryding,
Tyll tyme that he saughe [the Kyng] komyng.
Than withe his sporys he toke his horsse anone,
That to behold it whas a noble sighte.
How lyke a man he to the Kyng is gone,
Righte well cheryd of hert, glad, and lighte ;
Obeyeng to him, as him owght of righte :
And aftyr that he knonnyngly abbarayed,
And to the Kyng evyn thus he sayd ;
" Sovereign lord and noble Kyng, ^e be welcome oute
of 5oure reame of Fraunce, into ihis blissed rerae of
Englond, and in especialle unto your most notable Citee
of London, otherwyse callyd youre chambyr. We
thankyng God of the good and gracios arenyng of
yowre croune of Fraunce, beseching his mereyfull grace
to send yow prosperite and many 5eris, to the comfort
of alle youre lovyng peple."
LYDGATE S MINOR POEMS. 5
But for CO teliyng alle the circumstaunces.
Of every thinge shewid in sentence,
Noble devices, diverse ordinances,
Conveyed be scripture witlie fulle grete excellense ;
Alie to declare, I have noone eloquence ;
Wherfore I pray to alle that schalle it reede.
For to correcte where as thei see nede.
Fyrst whan he whas passid the Fabor,
Enteryng the brygge of this noble cite,
Ther whas a piler reysed lyke a toure,
And theron stood a sturdy champion.
Of looke and chere sterne as a lyon ;
His swerd upreryd, proudly gave manace,
Alle foren enmyes from the Kyng to enchase.
And in defence of his state rialle,
The geaunt wold abyde eche aventure.
And all assautis that were uiartialle
For his sake he proudly wold endure ;
In tokyn wherof he had a scripture
On outher side declaryng his entent,
AViche seyd thus, be good avisement : â€”
" Alltho that bethe enmyes to the Kyng,
I schalle hem clothe withe confusione ;
Make him myghti be vertuos levyng,
His mortalle foon to oppressen and bere adoune,
And him to encresin as Cristis champion ;
Alle myscheffes from him to abrigge.
Withe the grace of God, att the entryng of the brygge."
lydgate's minor poems.
Twoo antelopis stondyng on outhor sj'de,
Withe the armys of Englond and of Fraunce,
In tokenyng that God schalle for him provide,
As he hathe title be juste enheritaunce,
To regne in pees, plente, and plesaunce ;
Sesing of werre, that men mowghe ride and gonne.
As trewe liegis, ther hertis made bothe oone.
Ferthermore, so as the Kyng gan ride,
Midde of the brigge ther whas a toure over loft ;
The lord of lordis beyng ay his gyde,
As he hathe be and yet wolle be fuUe ofte ;
The tour arrayed withe velwettes softe,
Clothis of gold, silke, and tapcery,
As apperteinethe to his regally.
And att his commyng, of excellent beaute,
Be[n]yng of port, most womanly of chere,
Ther yssed oute empresses thre,
Theire here displayed, as Phebus in her spere.
Withe crounettes of gold and stonys clere ;
Att whos outecomyng they gaff suche a lyghte.
That the beholders were stonyed in ther sighte.
The ffirst of hem callyd whas nature,
As sche that hathe under her demeyne
Man, best; and foule, and every creature.
Eke hevyn, and erthe, and every creature,
Withein the bondys of her goldyn cheyne.
This empresse of custura dothe embrace ;
And next her koravthe hir suster callid grace.
LYDGATE S MINOR POEMS.
Passing famos, and of the grete reverence,
Most desired in all regiouns ;
For where that ever schewithe her presence,
Eche bryngithe gladnes to citees and tounnes.
Of alle welfare sche haldithe the possessiouns,
For, I dar say, prosperite in no place
No while abidithe, but yef ther be grace.
In tokyn that grace schuld long contenewe,
Unto the kyng sche schewd her full benigne ;
And next her come the emperesse Fortune,
To apperyng him with many a noble signe.
And riall tokyns, to schew that he was digne,
Of God disposid as grace list to ordeyne,
Upon his heede to were crownys tweyne.
Thes thre ladyes, alle of one entent.
Three gostly giftes, hevenly and devyne,
Unto the kyng anone they did present,
And to his highenes thei did anon enclyne.
And what thei weryn pleynly to termyne ;
Grace gaff him first at his comyng.
Two riche gifFtis, sciens and connyng.
Nature gaff him eke strength, and fayrenes,
For to be lovyd and dred of every wighte ;
Fortune gaff him eke prosperite, and richesse,
Withe scripture appering in ther sighte,
To him applyed of verray dew righte,
" First understond and willfully procede,
And long to reigne," the scripture sayd indede.
LYDGATEfS MINOR F'OEMS.
This is to mene who so iiruIerstoixJ arighte,
Thow schalt be fbrtuii<' iiavc? long prosperite ;
And be nature thou schalt have strenghtp,and myghte,
Forthe to procede in long f'elicitc ;
And grace also liathe graunted unto the,
Vertuosly long in thi rialle citee,
Withe cepture and crouns to regne in equite.
On the righte bond of this empresse
Stode vij. maydens verray celestialle ;
Lyke Phebus bemys shone her goldyn tresses,
Uppon her hedis eche havyng a cornalle.
Of port and chere semyng inmortalle.
In sighte transendyng alle erthely creatures.
So aungelyk thei weryn of ther figures.
Alle clad in white, in tokyn of clennes,
Lyke pure virginis as in ther ententis,
Schewyng owghtewarde in hevenly fFresshe bryghtenes;
Stremyd with sonnes were alle her garmentis,
Afforne provyded for pur innocentis :
Most columbyne of chere and of lokyng,
Mekely roos up at comyne of the kyng.
They had on bawderykys alle of safFer hewe,
Goyng owtward gave the kyng salue,
Hym presentyng withe her gyftes newe,
Lyke as them thoghte it whas unto them dewe ;
Wiche gostely gyftes here in ordyr sewe,
Downe discendyng as sylver dewe from hevyn,
Alle grace include withein thes gyfftes vij.
lydgate's minor poems.
Thes rialle gifFtes been of verteu most
Gostly coragis, most sovereigly delyte,
Thes gyfFtes callyd of the Holy Goste,
Outeward ffigured ben vij. dowys white,
Seyeng to hym, lyke as clerkes wryghte,
" God the tfulfylle withe intelligence,
And withe a spyrut of goostly sapience.