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We have here an early attempt at Elegy. EDWARD I. died July 7, 1307, in the 35th year of his reign, and 69th of his age. This poem appears to have been composed soon after his death. According to the modes of thinking peculiar to those times, the writer dwells more upon his devotion, than his skill in government, and pays less attention to. the martial and political abilities of this great manarch, in which he had no equal, than to some little weaknesses of superfiition, which he had in common with all his cotemporaries, The king had in the decline of life vowed an expedition to the holy land, but finding his end approach, he dedicated the sum of 32,000l. to the maintenance of a large body of knights ( 140 Say historians, 80 says our poét,) who were to carry his heart with them into Palestine. This dying command of the king was never performed. Our poet, with the honest prejudices of an Englishman, attributes this failure to the advice of the king of France, whoje daughter Isabel Çur young monarch immediately married. . But the truth is, Edward and his destructive favourite Piers Gaveston spent the money upon their pleasures. -To do the greater honcur to the memory of his heroc, our poet puts his eloge in the mouth of the Pope; with the same poeiic licence, as a more modern bard would have introduced Britannia, or the Gexius of Europe pouring forth his praises.
This antique Elegy is extracted from the same MS von kaime, as the preceding article; is found with the same peculiarities of writing and orthography; and tho' written at nçar the distance of half a century contains little or no
variation of idiom : whereas the next following poem by Chaucer, which was probably written not more than 50 or 60 years after this, exhibits almost a new language. This seems to countenance the opinion of some antiquaries that this great poet made considerable innovations in his mother tongue, and introduced many terms, and new modes of Speech from other languages.
LLE, that beoth of huerte trewe,
A stounde herkneth to my song
That maketh me syke, ant sorewe among;
That he fo fone shall ligge stille.
Al Englond ahte for te knowe
Of wham that song is, that y fynge;
Zent al this world is nome con springe :
Ant in werre war ant wys,
Of Cristendome he ber the prys.
Byfore that oure kyng wes ded,
He spek ase mon that wes in care,
“ Y charge ou by oure sware,
“ That ye to Engelonde be trewe.
• Y deze, y ne may lyyen na more;
« For he is nest to buen y-core.
Ich biqueth myn herte aryht,
" That hit be write at mi devys, *6 Over the fee that Hue * be diht,
“ With fourscore knyhtes al of prys, « In werre that buen war ant wys,
Azein the hethene for te fyhte, 6. To wynne the croiz that lowe lys,
Myself ycholde zef that y myhte."
Kyng of Fraunce, thou hevedeft finne,'
That thou the counsail woldest fonde,
To wende to the holy londe :
All Engelond to zeme ant wyffe,
To wynnen us heveriche bliffe.
The messager to the pope com,
And seyde that oure kyng wes ded:
Ywis his herte wes ful gret:
This is probably the name of some person, who was to profide amer obis business.
Ver. 33. funne. MS. Vir, 35. kyng Edward. MS. Pur: 43. ys is probably a contraction of in hys or ya his,
The Pope him self the lettre redde,
Ant spec a word of gret honour. “ Alas ! he feid, is Edward ded?
66 Of Cristendome he ber the flour."
The Pope to is chaumbre wende,
For dol ne mihte he speke na more; Ant after cardinals he sende,
That muche couthen of Cristes lore, Bothe the lasse, ant eke the more,
Bed hem bothe rede ant synge: Gret deol me myhte fe thore,
Mony mon is honde wrynge.
The Pope of Peyters stod at is masse
With ful gret solempnetè, Ther me con the foule blesse :
Kyng Edward honoured thou be: ♡ God love thi fone come after the,
Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne, The holy crois y-mad of tre, “ So fain thou woldest hit hav y-wonne.
Ver. 55: M+, 1. 4. M. t. fo in Robert of Gloucester poffin.
“ He wolde ha reted up ful heyze
“ Oure banners, that bușth broht to grounde ; “ Wel! longe we mowe clepę and crie
“ Er we a such kyng han y-founde.”
Nou is Edward of Carnarvan
King of Engelond al aplyht,
Then is fader, ne laffe of myht,
And understonde good counsail,
Of gode knyhtes darh him nout fail.
Thah mi tonge were mad of stel,
Ant min herte yzote of bras,
That with kyng Edward was :
In uch bataille thou hadeft prys;
That ever wes, ant ever ys.*
* Here follow in the original three lines more, which, as evidently spurious, we chuse to throw to the bottom of the Page, viz.
That lasteth ay withouten ende,
Bidde we God, ant oure Ledy to thilke blisse Jesus us sende. Amen.