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ingly because it furnishes a convincing proof how able Chaucer was to work up an excellent Tale out of very small materials.
Chanter quida plus derement.
Ceo funt li fol tut li plefur,
Teisent quant il doivent parler. The resemblance of Chaucer's Tale to this fable is obvious, and it is the more probable that he really copied from Marie, because no such fable is to be found either in the Greek Æsop or in any of the Latin compilations (that I have seen) which went about in the dark ages under the name of Æfop. Whether it was invented by Marie, or whether the translated it, with the reit of her fables, from the Anglo-Saxon vertion of Æfop by King. Alfred, as the says herself, I cannot pretend to determine. 'Though no Anglo-Saxon version of Æsop be now (as I can find) extant, there may liave been one formerly, which may have patsed (likemanyother translations into thatlanguage) undertlie mame of Alfred; and it may be urged in support of the probability of Marie's positive affertion, that the appears, from pallao
$ 37. The sixteen lines which are printed at the end of The Nonna's Preette's Tale might perhaps more properly be conidered as the beginning of the Prologuetothe succeeding Tale, if it were certain what Tale was intendid to succeed. In both Dr. Askew's mil. the last of theit lines is read thus,
Seide unto Ibu Nunns as ye thul leer and there are fix more lines to introduce her 'Tale; but as thefe fix lincs are manifcfily forged for the purpode I have choien rather to adhere to the other mil. whichacknowledge themickies defective in this part, and give us The Nonne's Tale as I have done, without any introduâion. It is very probable, I think, thai Chaucer himself had not determined whether he Should connect The Nonne's Tale with that of The Nonnc's Prevít, or whether he should interpose a 'Tale or two, or perhaps more, between them.
The Tuw of the Nunne is almost literally translated from the life of St. Cecilia in the Legenida Aurea of Jacobus Januensis. It is mentioned by Chancer as a te paraie work in his Legende of Good Women, (ver. 426,] under the title of The i.ife of Seint Cecile, and it fullritains evidunt marks that it was not originally compofid in the form of a Tale to be spoken by the
ges in lier lais, to liave had fome knowledge of Englifu. I must obferve ihat the name of the king, whose Englith verfion the profefles to follow, is differently fiated in different mfl. In the best mf. Hurl. 978, it is plainly li reis Allured; in a later mf. Vefp. D. xiv, it is Li reis Henris. Pasquier (Recherches, I. viii. c.i,) calls him Li roy Suuert; and Du Cheme (as quoted by Menage, v. Roman) Li rois Mires : but all the copies agree in making Maric declare that the tranilated her work de l'Ange lois en kom in. A Latin Ælop, ms. Reg. 15 A. vii, has the same tory ofan Inglith version by order of a Rex Anglice Afrus.
Nonne (30.) However there can be no doubt that Chaucer meant to incorporate it into this collection of Canterbury Tales, as the Prologue of the Chanone's Yeman expressly refers to it.
$38. The introduction of The Chanone's Yemen totell a Tale at a time when so many of the original characters remain to be called upon appears a little extraordinary. It thould feem that fome sudden resentment had determined Chaucer to interrupt the regu:lar course of his Work in order to insert a latire againit the alchymists. That their pretended science was much cultivated about this time (31,) and produced its ulual
(30) The whole introduâion is in the flyle of a perfon writing, and not of one speaking. If we compare it with the introduđion to The Prioresfe's Tale the difference will be very itri king. See particularly ver. 15546;
Yet pray I you that reden that I write and in ver. 15530 the relater, or rather writer, of the Tale, in all the mss. (except one of middling authority is called Untvorshy son of Eve. Such little inaccuracies are strong proofs of an unfinished work. See before, p.171.
(31) The firft confiderable coinage of gold in this country was hegun by Edward Ill in the year 1343, and according to Camden (in his Remains, art. Money:) " the alchymifts did af“firm (as an unwritten verity) that the rosenobles which were « coined foon after were made toy proje&ion or multiplication " alchymical of Ray:nond buily in the Tower of London.” in proof of this, betides the tradition of the rabbies in that fa"culty,” they alledged “the infcription, Fejus autem iraniens “permedium eorum ibat;" which they profoundly expounded, es gejus pafjed invisible and in mojt secret manner by the middes of Pbarifees, so that gold was made by invisible and secret arin nid the ignorant. But others say that text was the only amulet used in that credulous warfaring age to escape dangers in baitles. Thus Camden. I rather believe it was an amulet er charm principally used against th:eves, upon the authority of the following passage of Sir John Mandeville, c. x.p. 137;“ And Volume 1.
evils, may fairly be inferred from the act which was passed foon after, 5 Hen. IV. c. iv, to make it felony to multiply gold or silver, or to use the art of multiplication.
$ 39. In the Prologue to Tbe Manciples Tale the pilgrims are fopposed to be arrived at a little town called Bob-up-and-down, Under-the-Blee, in Canterburyway. I cannot find a town of that name in any map, but it must have lain between Boughton (the place
an half myle fto Nazarethe is the lepe of oure Lord; for the “ jewes ladden him upon an highe roche for to make him lepe “ down and have flayn him; but Jesa passed amonges hem, and " lepte upon another roche; and yit ben the steppes of his feet " sene in the rochie where he alivghte. And therefore seyn sum * men wlan thei dreden hem ofthefes on ony weye, or of ene“ myes, Jejues autem transiens per me tium itlorum ibat ; that is
tu seyne, fesus forfothe paljnge be the myddes of bombe wente; " in tukene and mynde that oure Lord pafled thorghe out the * Jewes crueltee, and fcaped fafly fro hem; so surely mowe mer “posen the perile of thefes." See also Coral. ml. Harl. n. 2966. It muft te owned that a spell againfi thieves was the moft ferviceable if not the most elegant inscription that could be put úpon gold coin.-Athimole, in his Theatrum Chernicum, p. 443, has rescated this ridiculous ftory concerning Lully with additional circumttances, as if he really believed it, though Lally, by the beft accounts, had been dead above twenty years before Edward Ill. began to coin gold.---The fame author (Mero curiophilus Anglicus, as lie ftyjes himself has inferted among fris Itirmetique MyAeries, [p. 213,) an old Englith poem under the title of Hermes Bird, which he says in his Notes, p. 467,)* was thonght to have been written originally by Raymund Lul. ly, or at least made Englith hy Cremer, [shbol of Wifi minjer, ant filolar 10 Lully, p. 465.] 'The truth is that the poem'is one of Lydgate's, and had been printed by Caxton under its truc title, The Chorle and the Bird, and the fable on whicit is built is related by Petrus Alphonfus [de Clericali Disiplinâ, mf. Reg. 10 B. xii,] who lived above two hundred years be
fast mentioned) and Canterbury. The fable of the Crow, which is the subjeciof The Manciple's Tale, has been related by to many authors, from Ovid down to Gower, that it is impossible to say whom Chaucer principally followed. His skill in new-dressing an old itory was never perhaps more successfully exerted, i
$ 40. After the Tale of the Nianciple the common editions, lince 1942 (32,) place what is called The.
(32) In the edition of 1542, when 'The Plouman's Tale was first printed, it was placed after The Perfon's Tale. Thic editor, whoever he was, had nut aflurance enough it thould reem) to tluft it into the bowly of the work. In the lubiequenteditions however, as it had probably been well received by tile publick, upon account of its violent invectives agaiott the church of Rome, it was advanced to a more honourable llation, next to The Manciple's Tale and before The Perton's. The only account which we have vf any ms. of this Tale is from Mr. Speglit, who tays [Note pretixec to Plowiran's 'Take.] that he had “ scene it in written hand in John Stowc's librarie in * a booke or such antiquitie as leaned to have been written z neare to Chaucer's time.” He does not tay that it was among The Canterbury Tales, or that it had Chaucer's name to it. We can therefore only judge of it by the internal evidence, and upon that I have no ici uple to declare my own opinion that it has not ile least resemblance to Chaucer's manncr either of utiting or thinking in his other Works. Thougl he and Boccace llave laughed at some of the abuses of religion and the disorders of eccleliaftical perions, it is quite in cuible that ei. ther of thein, or even Wicklufe hinteit. would have railed at the whole government of the church in tlietiyle of this P19:** man's Tale. If they had been disposed to such an attempt tlicir times would not have borneit; but it is probable that Chaucer (though he has been preiled into the service of Protettantiim by fome zealous writers) was as good a Catholick as inen of lijs underftanding and rank in life isave generally been. Thenieceflity of auricular confeffion, one of the great fcandals of Papery, cannot be more krongly inculcated than it is in the col.