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jecture of Prior, who thought that the curiosity which he was presenting to the world would derive proportionable value from its antiquity, who was better employed than in the petty labour of ascertaining dates, and who knew much more of modern than ancient poetry.

The NOT-BROWNE MAYDE first appeared in Arnolde's CHRONICLE, or CUSTOMS OF LONDON, which was first printed about the year 1521. This is perhaps the most heterogeneous and multifarious miscellany that ever existed. The collector sets out with a catalogue of the mayors and sheriffs, the customs and charters, of the city of London. Soon afterwards we have receipts to pickle sturgeon, to make vinegar, ink, and gunpowder; how to raise parsley in an hour; the arts of brewery and soap-making; an estimate of the livings in London; an account of the last visitation of saint Magnus's church; the weight of Essex cheese, and a letter to cardinal Wolsey. The NOT-BROWNE MAYDE is introduced, between an estimate of some subsidies paid into the exchequer, and directions for buying goods in Flanders. In a word, it seems to have been this compiler's plan, by way of making up a volume, to print together all the notices and papers, whether ancient or modern, which he could amass, of every sort and subject. It is supposed, that he intended an antiquarian repertory: but as many recent materials were admitted, that idea was not at least uniformly observed; nor can any argument be drawn from that supposition, that this poem existed long before, and was inserted as a piece of antiquity.

The editor of the PROLUSIONS infers, from an identity of rhythmus and orthography, and an affinity of words and phrases, that this poem appeared after sir Thomas More's JEST OF THE SERJEANT AND FReer, which, as I have observed, was written about the year 1500. This reasoning, were not other arguments obvious, would be inconclusive, and might be turned to the opposite side of the question. But it is evident from the language of the NOTBROWNE MAYDE, that it was not written earlier than the beginning, at least, of the sixteenth century*. There is hardly an obsolete word, or that requires a glossary, in the whole piece; and many parts of Surrey and Wyat are much more difficult to be understood. Reduce any two stanzas to modern orthography, and they shall hardly wear the appearance of ancient poetry. The reader shall try the experiment on the two following, which occur accidentally d


Yet take good hede, for ever I drede
That ye could nat sustayne,
The thornie wayes, the depe valèis,
The snowe, the frost, the rayne,

tributed to the late George Steevens, Esq.; but I heard from Mr. Isaac Reed that it was culled by Baldwin from the communications of Mr. Steevens in the St. James's Chronicle, and put forth with a preface by William Cooke, Esq.-PARK.]

• Prolusions, or Select Pieces of Ancient Poetry, Lond. 1760. 8vo. Pref. p. vii., [edited by E. Capell.-PARK.]

[But might it not be modernized to the style of 1500, in the edition of 1521? Herbert MS. Note.-PARK.] d V. 168.

The colde, the hete: for, dry or wete,
We must lodge on the playne;
And us abofee none other rofe
But a brake bush or twayne.
Which sone sholde greve you, I believe;
And ye wolde gladly than,
That I had to the grene wode go

Alone a banyshed man.


Among the wylde dere, such an archère,
As men say that ye be,
May ye not fayle of good vitayle
Where is so great plentè:
And water clere of the ryvère
Shall be full swete to me;
With which in hele, I shall ryght wele
Endure, as ye shall see:

And, or we go, a bedde or two

I can provyde anone.

For, in my mynde, of all mankynde

I love but you alone.

The simplicity of which passage Prior has thus decorated and dilated.


Those limbs, in lawn and softest silk array'd,
From sun-beams guarded, and of winds afraid;
Can they bear angry Jove? can they resist
The parching dog-star, and the bleak north-east?
When, chill'd by adverse snows and beating rain,
We tread with weary steps the longsome plain;
When with hard toil we seek our evening food,
Berries and acorns from the neighbouring wood;
And find among the cliffs no other house,
But the thin covert of some gather'd boughs;
Wilt thou not then reluctant send thine eye
Around the dreary waste; and weeping try
(Though then, alas! that trial be too late)
To find thy father's hospitable gate,

And seats, where ease and plenty brooding sate?
Those seats, whence long excluded thou must mourn;
That gate, for ever barr'd to thy return:

Wilt thou not then bewail ill-fated love,

And hate a banish'd man, condemn'd in woods to rove?

e i. e. above.



Thy rise of fortune did I only wed,
From its decline determined to recede;
Did I but purpose to embark with thee
On the smooth surface of a summer's sea;
While gentle Zephyrs play in prosperous gales,
And Fortune's favour fills the swelling sails;
But would forsake the ship, and make the shore,
When the winds whistle, and the tempests roar?
No, Henry, no one sacred oath has tied
Our loves; one destiny our life shall guide;
Nor wild nor deep our common way divide.
When from the cave thou risest with the day,
To beat the woods, and rouse the bounding prey,
The cave with moss and branches I'll adorn,
And cheerful sit, to wait my lord's return:
And, when thou frequent bring'st the smitten deer
(For seldom, archers say, thy arrows err),
I'll fetch quick fuel from the neighbouring wood,
And strike the sparkling flint, and dress the food;
With humble duty and officious haste,

I'll cull the farthest mead for thy repast;

The choicest herbs I to thy board will bring,
And draw thy water from the freshest spring:
And, when at night with weary toil opprest,
Soft slumbers thou enjoy'st, and wholesome rest;
Watchful I'll guard thee, and with midnight prayer
Weary the gods to keep thee in their care;
And joyous ask, at morn's returning ray,
If thou hast health, and I may bless the day.
My thoughts shall fix, my latest wish depend,
On thee, guide, guardian, kinsman, father, friend:
By all these sacred names be Henry known
To Emma's heart; and grateful let him own,

That she, of all mankind, could love but him alone!

What degree of credit this poem maintained among our earlier ancestors, I cannot determine. I suspect the sentiment was too refined for the general taste. Yet it is enumerated among the popular tales and ballads by Laneham, in his narrative of queen Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenilworth castle in 1575. I have never seen it in manuscript. I believe it was never reprinted from Arnolde's Chronicle, where it first appeared in 1521, till so late as the year 1707. It was that year revived in a collection called the MONTHLY MISCELLANY*,

f Fol. 34.
[Read the Muses Mercury for June

1707, according to Dr. Percy. See Reliques of Engl. Poetry, ii. 27.-PARK.]

or MEMOIRS FOR THE CURIOUS, and prefaced with a little essay on our ancient poets and poetry, in which it is said to have been three hundred years old. Fortunately for modern poetry, this republication suggested it to the notice of Prior, who perhaps from the same source might have adopted or confirmed his hypothesis, that it was coeval with the commencement of the fifteenth century.

Whoever was the original inventor of this little dramatic dialogue, he has shown no common skill in contriving a plan, which powerfully detains our attention, and interests the passions, by a constant succession of suspense and pleasure, of anxiety and satisfaction. Betwixt hopes perpetually disappointed, and solicitude perpetually relieved, we know not how to determine the event of a debate, in which new difficulties still continue to be raised, and are almost as soon removed. In the midst of this vicissitude of feelings, a striking contrast of character is artfully formed, and uniformly supported, between the seeming unkindness and ingratitude of the man, and the unconquerable attachment and fidelity of the woman, whose amiable compliance unexpectedly defeats every objection, and continually furnishes new matter for our love and compassion. At length, our fears subside in the triumph of suffering innocence and patient sincerity. The Man, whose hard speeches had given us so much pain, suddenly surprises us with a change of sentiment, and becomes equally an object of our admiration and esteem. In the disentanglement of this distressful tale, we are happy to find, that all his cruelty was tenderness, and his inconstancy the most invariable truth; his levity an ingenious artifice, and his perversity the friendly disguise of the firmest affection. He is no longer an unfortunate exile, the profligate companion of the thieves and ruffians of the forest, but an opulent earl of Westmoreland; and promises, that the lady, who is a baron's daughter, and whose constancy he had proved by such a series of embarrassing proposals, shall instantly be made the partner of his riches and honours. Nor should we forget to commend the invention of the poet, in imagining the modes of trying the lady's patience, and in feigning so many new situations; which, at the same time, open a way to description, and to a variety of new scenes and images.

I cannot help observing here, by the way, that Prior has misconceived and essentially marred his poet's design, by softening the sternness of the Man, which could not be intended to admit of any degree of relaxation. Henry's hypocrisy is not characteristically nor consistently sustained. He frequently talks in too respectful and complaisant a style. Sometimes he calls Emma my tender maid, and my beauteous Emma; he fondly dwells on the ambrosial plenty of her flowing ringlets gracefully wreathed with variegated ribands, and expatiates with rapture on the charms of her snowy bosom, her slender waist, and harmony of shape. In the ancient poem, the concealed lover never abates his affectation of rigour and reserve, nor ever drops an expression which

may tend to betray any traces of tenderness. He retains his severity to the last, in order to give force to the conclusion of the piece, and to heighten the effect of the final declaration of his love. Thus, by diminishing the opposition of interests, and by giving too great a degree of uniformity to both characters, the distress is in some measure destroyed by Prior. For this reason, Henry, during the course of the dialogue, is less an object of our aversion, and Emma of our pity. But these are the unavoidable consequences of Prior's plan, who presupposes a long connection between the lovers, which is attended with the warmest professions of a reciprocal passion. Yet this very plan suggested another reason why Prior should have more closely copied the cast of his original. After so many mutual promises and protestations, to have made Henry more obdurate, would have enhanced the sufferings and the sincerity of the amiable Emma.

It is highly probable that the metrical romances of RICHARD CUER DE L n, Guy earl of WARWICK, and SYR BEVYS OF SOUTHAMPTON, were modernised in this reign from more ancient and simple narrations*. The first was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, in 1528h. The second without date, but about the same time, by William Copland. I mean that which begins thus,

[S]Ithen the tyme that God was borne,
And crystendome was set and sworne.

With this colophon, "Here endeth the booke of the most victoryous prynce Guy earle of Warwyk. Imprinted at London in Lothbury, over against saynt Margaret's church by Wyllyam Copland'." Richard Pinson printed SIR BEVYS without date. Many quarto prose romances were printed between the years 1510 and 1540k. Of these, KYNGE APPOLYN of THYRE is not one of the worst.

In the year 1542, as it seems, Robert Wyer printed, “ Here begynneth a lytell boke named the SCOLE HOWSE, wherein every man may rede a goodly Prayer of the condycyons of woment." Within the leaf

[These three romances were pronounced by Ritson to be extant in MSS. above 300 years old; and one of them, at least (Sir Bevis), excepting the typographical incorrectness of the old printed copy, differs no otherwise from it than in its orthography and the slight variations inseparable from repeated transcription. The ancient MS. copy of Richard Cuer de Lion is as long at least as the old editions. But some MS. copies are so totally different from each other, as not to have two lines in common; being translations from the French by different hands. This is the case with respect to Sir Guy; there are two distinct translations, both very old, one of which is line for line the same with the printed copy; but it will not be found that the phraseology or style is

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