« PreviousContinue »
With al his knyghtes everilkane,
The king and his men ilkane
jury and customary tenants. LAMB-ALE is still used at the village of Kirtlington in Oxfordshire, for an annual feast or celebrity at lamb-shearing. WHITSON-ALE is the common name in the midland counties for the rural sports and feasting at Whitsontide. CLERK-ALE occurs in Aubrey's manuscript History of Wiltshire: "In the Easter holidays was the CLARKESALE, for his private benefit and the solace of the neighbourhood." MSS. Mus. Ashm. Oxon. CHURCH-ALE was a feast established for the repair of the church, or in honour of the church-saint, &c. In Dodsworth's Manuscripts, there is an old indenture, made before the Reformation, which not only shows the design of the Church-ale, but explains this particular use and application of the word Ale. The parishioners of Elveston and Okebrook, in Derbyshire, agree jointly, "to brew four ALES, and every ALE of one quarter of malt, betwixt this and the feast of saint John Baptist next coming. And that every inhabitant of the said town of Okebrook shall be at the several ALES. And every husband and his wife shall pay two pence, every cottager one penny, and all the inhabitants of Elveston shall have and receive all the profits and advantages coming of the said ALES, to the use and behoof of the said church of Elveston. And the inhabitants of Elveston shall brew eight ALES betwixt this and the feast of saint John Baptist, at the which ALES the inhabitants of Okebrook shall come and pay as before rehersed. And if he be away at one ALE, to pay at the toder ALE for both," &c. MSS. Bibl. Bodl. vol. 148. f. 97. See also our Church-Canons, given in 1603. Can. 88. The application of what is here collected to the word BRI
1 give-ales, or gift-ales.
DALE, is obvious. But Mr. Astle has a curious record, about 1575, which proves the BRIDE-ALE synonymous with the WEDDYN-ALE. During the course of queen Elizabeth's entertainments at Kenilworthcastle, in 1575, a BRYDE-ALE was celebrated with a great variety of shows and sports. Laneham's Letter, dated the same year. fol. xxvi. seq. What was the nature of the merriment of the CHURCH-ALE, we learn from the WITCHES-SONG in Jonson's Masque of Queens at Whitehall in 1609, where one of the Witches boasts to have killed and stole the fat of an infant, begotten by a piper at a CHURCH-ALE. S. 6.
Among bishop Tanner's manuscript additions to Cowell's Law-Glossary in the Bodleian library, is the following Note, from his own Collections. [Lit. V.] "A.D. 1468. Prior Cant. et Commissarii visitationem fecerunt (diocesi Cant. vacante per mortem archiepiscopi) et ibi publicatum erat, quod Potationes factæ in ecclesiis, vulgariter dictæ YEVEALYS1, vel BREDEALYS, non essent ulterius in usu sub pœna excommunicationis majoris."
Had the learned author of the Dissertation on BARLEY WINE been as well acquainted with the British as the Grecian literature, this long note would perhaps have been unnecessary.
h wicked is here, accursed; in which sense it is used by Shakspeare's Caliban, Tempest, act i. sc. 2.
When he was dight in seker wede,
Sir Kay, I grante the thine askyng.
Sir Ywaine is victorious, who discovers himself to king Arthur after the battle.
And sone sir Ywaine gan him tell
With the knight how that he sped,
* waited on.
See Tyrwh. Gl. Ch.
Thai hailsed him ful curtaysly,
And blessed be he that the brynges!
so large a train of knights.
tapestry spread on the walls.
gallantries, jewels. Davie says, that
in one of Alexander's battles, many a lady
Of maidens was thar so gude wane*,
The king stays here eight days, entertained with various sports.
And ilk day thai had solace sere
This Lay, or Song, like the romance
Cum ele avint vus cunteray,
A la Pentecuste en estè,
E al cuntes2, e al baruns,
That is, "Here begins the Lay of Launval.-[I will relate to you.] The Adventure of a certain Lay, made of a gentle vassal, whom in Bretaigne they called Launval. The brave and courteous king Arthur sojourned at Kardoyl, for making war against the Scots and Picts, who destroyed the country. He found them in the land of Logres, where they committed frequent outrages. The king was there at the feast of Pentecost, where he gave rich gifts to the counts and barons, and the knights of the round table," &c.
The writing of this manuscript of Launval seems about 1300. The composition is undoubtedly much earlier. There is another, MSS. Harl. 978. §112. This I have cited in the First Dissertation. From this French Launval is translated, but with great additions, the English Launfall, of which I have given several extracts in the Third Dissertation prefixed to the first volume. [See also supr. vol. ii. p. 323, NOTE A.]
I presume this romance of Ywain and Gawayne is translated from a French one of the same title, and in the reign of Henry the Sixth; but not by Thomas Chestre, who translated, or rather paraphrased, Launval, or Sir Launfall, and who seems to have been master of a more copious and poetic style. It is not however unlikely, that Chestre translated from a more modern French copy of Launval, heightened
1 Logres, or Loegria, from Locrine, was the middle part of Britain.
2 counts. So in Sir Robert of Gloucester, we have Contass for countess. On which word his editor Hearne observes, that king James the First used to call a Countess a cuntys; and he quotes one of James's letters, "Come and bring the three Cuntys [for countesses] with you." Gloss. p. 635.
The Notbrowne Mayde. Not older than the sixteenth century. Artful contrivance of the story. Misrepresented by Prior. Metrical Romances, Guy, syr Bevys, and Kynge Apolyn, printed in the reign of Henry. The Scole house, a Satire. Christmas Carols. Religious Libels in rhyme. Merlin's Prophecies. Laurence Minot. Occasional disquisition on the late continuance of the use of waxen tablets. Pageantries of Henry's Court. Dawn of Taste.
I FEAR I shall be pronounced a heretic to modern criticism, in retracting what I have said in a preceding page, and in placing the NOTBROWNE MAYDE under some part of this reign*. Prior, who, about the year 1718, paraphrased this poem, without improving its native beauties, supposes it to have been three hundred years old. It appears from two letters preserved in the British Museum, written by Prior to Wanley, lord Oxford's librarian, that Prior consulted Wanley about this ancient ballada. It is, however, certain, that Wanley, an antiquarian of unquestionable skill and judgement in these niceties, whatever directions and information he might have imparted to Prior on this subject, could never have communicated such a decision. He certainly in these letters gives no such opinion". This is therefore the hasty con
and improved from the old simple Armorican tale of which I have here produced a short extract. [See supr. vol. ii. p. 306. note *.] [The original of [Ywaine and Gawin] is Le chevalier au Lion, by Chrestien or Christian de Troyes, an eminent French poet who died in 1191; [and] the only ancient copy of the [English version] is contained in the Cotton MS. Galba, E. ix. which seems to have been written in the time of Richard II., or towards the close of the fourteenth century.-RITSON.] The same perhaps may be said of the English metrical romance Emare, who marries the king of Galys, or Wales, originally an Armorican tale, before quoted. MSS. Cott. Calig. A. 2. fol. 69. [See Diss. III, prefixed to the first volume,] [and Mr. Ritson's Metrical Romances, vol. ii. where it is printed.-PRICE.] The last stanza confirms what has been advanced in the First Dissertation, concerning the connection between Cornwall and Bretagne, or Armorica. fol. ult.
A grette feste thar was holde
As testymonieth thys story: Thys is on of BRYTAYNE LAYES, That was used in olde dayes,
Men callys playn the GARYE
I believe the last line means, "Made for an
Who was the translator of Emare, is not known. I presume it was translated in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and very probably by Thomas Chestre, the translator of Launval.
*[i. e. the reign of Henry VIII., but Herbert says he possessed an edition which was printed about 1502, i. e. the 18th year of Henry VII.-PARK.] a MSS. Harl. 3777.
These letters are printed in the Additions to Pope's Works, in two volumes, published about two years ago. [Namely in 1776. This publication has been at