Page images

Was born bifore the procession;
Thar folowd mani a moder son.
Bifore the cors rade a knyght
On his stede that was ful wight9;
In his armurs wele arayd,

With sper and target gudely grayd.
Than sir Ywayn herd the cry
And the dole of that fayr lady, &c.

Sir Ywayne desires the damsel's permission to look at the lady of the deceased knight through a window. He falls in love with her. passes her time in praying for his soul.


[merged small][ocr errors]

Unto his saul was sho ful hulde":
Opon a sawter al of gulde3,
To say the sal-mast fast sho bigan.

The damsel", whose name is Lunet, promises sir Ywaine an interview with the Lady. She uses many arguments to the Lady, and with much art, to show the necessity of her marrying again, for the defence of her castle.


bound, obligated. [faithful.]

psaltery, a harp, of gold. [Psalter.RITSON.]

* soul mass, the mass of requiem. "There is a damsel of this name in Morte Arthur, B. vii. ch. xvi.

The maiden redies hyr ful rath",
Bilive sho gert syr Ywaine bath3,
And cled hym sethin in gude scarlet,
Forordy wele, and with gold fret';

early, soon.

* made him bathe immediately. y furrured, furred.

In another part of this romance, a knight is dressed by a lady.

[blocks in formation]

Of tong scho was trew and renable,
And of her semblant7 soft and stabile;
Ful fain I wald, if that I might,
Have woned with that swete wight.

In Morte Arthur, Sir Launcelot going into a nunnery is unarmed in the abbess's chamber. B. xiii. ch. i. In Morte Arthur, sir Galahad is disarmed, and clothed "in a cote of red sendall and a mantell furred with fyne ERMYNES," &c. B. xiii. ch. i. In the British Lay, or romance, of Launval (MSS. Cott. Vespas. B. 14. 1.) we have,

Un cher mantel de BLANCHE ERMINE, Couvert de purpre Alexandrine.

2 courteously she.

7 look.

There is a statute, made in 1337, prohibiting any under 1007. per annum to wear fur. I suppose the richest fur was ermine; which, before the manufactures of gold and silver, was the greatest article of finery in dress. But it continued in use long afterwards, as appears by ancient portraits. In the Statutes of Cardinal Wolsey's College at Oxford, given in the year 1525, the students are enjoined, "Ne magis pre

[blocks in formation]

A girdel ful riche for the nanes,
Of perry and of preciows stanes.
Sho talde him al how he sold do
Whan that he come the lady to.

He is conducted to her chamber.

Bot yit sir Ywayne had grete drede,
When he unto chamber yede;
The chamber, flore, and als the bed,
With klothes of gold was al over spreda.

tiosis aut sumptuosis utantur PELLIBUS." De Vestitu, &c. fol. 49. MSS. Cott. Tit. F. iii. This injunction is a proof that rich furs were at that time a luxury of the secular life. In an old poem written in the reign of Henry the Sixth, about 1436, entitled the English Policie, exhorting all England to keepe the sea, a curious and valuable record of the state of our traffic and mercantile navigation at that period, it appears that our trade with Ireland, for furs only, was then very considerable. Speaking of Ireland, the writer says,

-Martens goode been her marchandie,
Hertes hides, and other of venerie,
Skinnes of otter, squirrell, and Irish hare;
Of sheepe, lambe, and foxe, is her chaffare.

See Hacklvyt's Voiages, vol. i. p. 199. edit. 1598.

At the sacking of a town in Normandy, Froissart says, "There was founde so moche rychesse, that the boyes and vyllaynes of the hooste sette nothynge by goode FURRED gownes." Berner's Transl. tom. i. fol. lx. a.

a In the manners of romance, it was not any indelicacy for a lady to pay amorous courtship to a knight. Thus in Davie's Geste of Alexander, written in 1312, queen Candace openly endeavours to win Alexander to her love. MS. penes me, p. 271. [Cod. Hospit. Linc. 150.] She shews Alexander, not only her palace, but her bedchamber.

Quoth the quene,
Go we now myn esteris to seone1:

20 she.

1 to see my apartments. 8 prepared.

4 be.

5 she.

ther men, read therein, as MS. Laud. I. 74. Bibl. Bodl.
Troy was in the tapestry, or painted on the walls of the hall.
10 The rafters were.
13 saw.


14 rich clothes. ing or tapestry, before mentioned, pliment to Alexander. 19 knew.

23 none like it.

28 wouldest not.

24 believe. 29 like.


Oure mete schol, thar bytweone 2,
Ygraithed and redy beone 4,
Scheo ladde him to an halle of nobleys,
Then he dude of his harneys":
Of Troye was ther men7 the storye
How Gregoys had the victorye:
Theo bemes ther weore 10 of bras.
Theo wyndowes weoren of riche glass 11:
Theo pinnes 12 weore of ivorye.
The king went with the ladye,
Himself alone, from bour to bour,
And syze 13 muche riche tresour,
Gold and seolver, and preciouse stones,
Baudekyns 14 made for the nones 15,
Mantellis, robes, and pavelounes 16,
Of golde and seolver riche foysounes 17;
And heo 18 him asked, par amour,
Zef he syze ever suche a tresour.
And he said, in his contray
Tresour he wiste 19 of grete noblay.
Heo 20 thozte more that heo saide.
To anothir stude 21 sheo he gan him lede,
That hir owne chambre was,
In al this world richer none nas.
Theo atyr 22 was therein so riche
In al thys world nys him non lyche 23.
Heo ladde him to a stage,
And him schewed one ymage,
And saide, Alexander leif thou me 24,
This ymage is made after the 25;
Y dude hit in ymagoure 26,
And caste hit after thy vigoure 27:
This othir zeir, tho thou nolde 28
To me come for love ne for golde,
Het is the ylyche 29, leove brother 30,
So any faucon31 is anothir.

O Alisaunder, of grete renoun,
Thou taken art in my prisoun!

2 our dinner shall, meanwhile. put off his armour.

7 for 8 the story of 9 Greeks. 12 of the windows.

18 she.

painted glass. 15 that is, for the occasion: so the paintrepresenting the Greeks victorious, was in compavilions. 17 stores. 21 stede. lodging. 22 the furniture. 25 thee. 26 imagery. 27 figure. 30 dear brother, or friend. 31 as one

After this interview, she is reconciled to him, as he only in self-defence had slain her husband, and she promises him marriage.

Than hastily she went to Hall,
Thar abade hir barons all,
For to hald thair parlement,
And maric hir by thair asent.

They agree to the marriage.

Than the lady went ogayne
Unto chameber to sir Ywaine;
Sir, sho said, so God me save,
Other lorde wil I nane have:
If I the left I did noght right,

A king son, and a noble knyght.
Now has the maiden done hir thoght",
Syr Ywayne out of anger broght.
The Lady led him unto Hall,
Ogainsf him rase the barons all,
And al thai said ful sekerly,
This Knight sal wed the Lady:
And ilkane said thamself bitwene,
So fair a man had thai noght sene,
For his bewte in hal and bowr:
Him semes to be an emperowr.
We wald that thai war trowth plight,
And weded sone this ilk nyght.
The lady set hir on the deseh,
And cumand al to hald thaire pese1;
And bad hir steward sumwhat say,
Ork men went fra cowrt away.
The steward said, Sirs, understandes,
Werl is waxen m in thir landes;

[blocks in formation]

32 catched.

falcon. In MSS. Laud, I. 174. ut supr. it is peny, for falcon. 3 her lace. 34 Here, y is the Saxon i. See Hearne's Gl. Rob. Glouc. p. 738. 35 be left, stay, even. 36 neither affrighted nor angry.

knights. O know.

The king Arthur es redy dight
To be her byn this fowre-tenyght:
He and his menye" ha thoght
To win this land if thai moght:
Thai wate° ful wele, that he es ded
That was lord here in this stedep:
None es so wight wapins to welde,
Ne that so boldly mai us belde,
And wemen may maintene no stowr',
Thai most nedes have a governowr:
Tharfor mi lady most nede
Be weded hastily for drede",
And to na lord wil sho take tent',
Bot if it be by yowr assent.
Than the lordes al on raw u
Held them wele payd of this saw".
Al assented hyr untill

To tak a lord at hyr owyn will.

Than said the lady onone right,
How hald ye yow payd of this knight?

He profers hym on al wyse

To myne honor and my servyse,
And sertes, sirs, the soth to say,
I saw him never, or this day;
Bot talde unto me has it bene
He es the kyng son Uriene:
He es cumen of hegh parage,
And wonder doghty of vasselage",
War and wise, and ful curtayse,
He yernes me to wife alwayse;
And nere the lese, I wate, he might
Have wele better, and so war right.
With a voice halely thai sayd,
Madame, ful wele we hald us payd:
Bot hastes fast al that ye may,
That ye war wedded this ilk day:

P mansion, castle.

9 active to wield weapons.

8 fight.


· attention.

on a row.

▼ opinion, word. It is of extensive signification, Emare, MS. ut supr.

I have herd minstrelles syng in SAW.



So Rob. Brunne, of Stonehenge, edit. Hearne, p. cxci.

[blocks in formation]

And grete prayer gan thai make
On alwise, that sho suld hym take.
Sone unto the kirk thai went,
And war wedded in thair present;
Thar wedded Ywaine in plevyne
The riche lady ALUNDYNE,
The dukes doghter of Landuit,
Els had hyr lande bene destruyt.
Thus thai made the maryage
Omang al the riche barnaged:
Thai made ful mekyl mirth that day,
Ful grete festes on gude aray;

Grete mirthes made thai in that stede,
And al forgetyn es now the dede
Of him that was thair lord fre;
Thai say that this es worth swilk thre.
And that thai lufed him mekil mor
Than him that lord was thare byfor.
The bridal sat, for soth to tell,
Til king Arthur come to the well

See Du Fresne. PLE

C Fr. Plevine. VINA.

d baronage.

⚫ death.

1 Bridal is Saxon for the nuptial feast. So in Davie's Geste of Alexander. MS. fol. 41. penes me,

He wist nouzt of this BRIDALE,
Ne no man tolde him the tale.

In Gamelyn, or the Coke's Tale, v. 1267.
At every BRIDALE he would sing and hop.
Spenser, Faerie Qu. B. v. C. ii. st. 3.
-Where and when the BRIDALE cheare
Should be solemnised.-

And, vi. x. 13.

-Theseus her unto his BRIDALE bore.
See also Spenser's Prothalamion.

The word has been applied adjectively,
for CONNUBIAL. Perhaps Milton remem-
bered or retained its original use in the
following passage of Samson Agonistes,

ver. 1196.

And in your city held my nuptial feast:
But your ill-meaning politician lords,
Under pretence of BRIDAL friends and

Appointed to await me thirty spies.

"Under pretence of friends and guests invited to the BRIDAL." But in Paradise. Lost, he speaks of the evening star hastening to light the BRIDAL LAMP, which in

another part of the same poem he calls the NUPTIAL TORCH. viii. 520. xi. 590. I presume this Saxon BRIDALE is BrideAle, the FEAST in honour of the bride or marriage. ALE, simply put, is the feast or the merry-making, as in Pierce Plowman, fol. xxxii. b. edit. 1550. 4to.

And then satten some and songe at the
ALE [nale].

Again, fol. xxvi. b.

I am occupied everie daye, holye daye
and other,
With idle tales at the ALE, and other-
while in churches.

So Chaucer of his Freere, Urr. p. 87. v. 85.
And they were only glad to fill his purse,
And maden him grete festis at the NALE.

Nale is ALE. "They feasted him, or entertained him, with particular respect, at the parish-feast," &c. Again, Plowman's Tale, p. 125. v. 2110.

At the Wrestling, and at the Wake, And the chief chaunters at the NALE. See more instances, supr. vol. i. p. 56. That ALE is festival, appears from its sense in composition; as, among others, in the words Leet-ale, Lamb-ale, Whitson-ale, Clerk-ale, and Church-ale. LEET-ALE, in some parts of England, signifies the dinner at a court-leet of a manor for the

« PreviousContinue »