« PreviousContinue »
Nicolas, Life of Chaucer: “If the authenticity of this were unimpeachable, it would be one of the most interesting passages Chaucer ever wrote.” . . . . “unsafe to reject it as a forgery.” . . . . “great hesitation in accepting it.” Wright, 1847 ed. Of the Cant. Tales, introd. p. xxii, thinks that the Retractation was “perhaps introduced by the person who arranged the text after Chaucer's death.” Hertzberg, p. 672 of his Canterbury Geschichten, “work of a wellmeaning but clumsy zealot” . . . . “spurious.” Simon as cited above, 1876, says, “He who adulterated the Parson's Tale crowned his ignoble work by adding the Retractation.” Ward, Life of Chaucer, p. 56, “The extraordinary tag (if it may be called by so irreverent a name) to the extant Canterbury Tales.” Morley, Eng. Writers V: 346, “fabulous.” Hales, Dict. Nat. Biog., art. Chaucer, “One would rejoice if this morbid passage . . . . could be shown to be the interpolation of some monk, but as it is, we must suppose that to Chaucer there came an hour of reaction and weakness.” Hales thinks we cannot blink the evidence of Gascoigne. Lounsbury, Studies I : 413-15, III :40, holds opinion similar to Hales. Skeat, III : 503, V : 475, thinks that the Retractation was interpolated, as Tyrwhitt suggested, but by Chaucer himself. Pollard, Chaucer Primer, pp. 125-126, “has a genuine ring.” Liddell, Acad. 1896 II: 116, is against its genuineness. Kittredge, Mod. Phil. I : 13, notes a parallel case against those who consider the Retractation incredible. Tatlock, Devel. and Chronol. p. 25 note, terms it “certainly genuine.”
Notes: For a fantasy suggested by the Retractation, see Dum
Regnat Dolor. A Legend of Geoffrey Chaucer. By Layton Crippen. New York, 1895. Privately printed, on vellum, 50 copies only; very wide margins, and fanciful letterpress. A prose narrative of an interview between Chaucer and a priest, who reproves him for lustful language, and proffers him the Retractation to sign, threatening him with the pains of hell if he refuses. This document is left with Chaucer, and he muses wearily over it; in his sleep that night he dies, and the Retractation is found unsigned beside his bed. go
H. Pictures of the Pilgrims
The illustrations of the Ellesmere MS of the Canterbury Tales, and what remain of the illuminations of the Cambridge Gg MS are reproduced by the Chaucer Society with the Six-Text. The Ellesmere pictures are also reproduced in each of the separate prints of the six texts, and with the prints of Harley 7334 and Cambridge Dd; the two latter contain the Gg pictures as well. All these are drawn by W. H. Hooper. They are also reproduced in Saunders' Canterbury Tales, in Mrs. Haweis’ Chaucer for Schools, and in Garnett and Gosse’s English Literature, vol. I. An illumination of the pilgrims leaving Canterbury on the return journey is in MS Royal 18 D ii, a copy of Lydgate's Story of Thebes; it is reproduced by T. Wright in his 1847 Canterbury Tales vol. I, in Wülker's Gesch. der engl. Lit. (after p. 155), in Garnett and Gosse's Engl. Lit. vol. I to face p. 150, and as frontispiece to Skeat's 1904 modernization of the Knight's Tale. A photographic plate from the original is also in my possession. In MS Rawlinson poet. 223 there are figures of the Friar and of Melibeus. Caxton's second ed. of the Tales, ca. 1484, contains woodcuts of the pilgrims; that of the Shipman, with a few lines of text, is reprod. in the Bibliographical Society’s Transactions vol. VI to face p. 38. Gordon Duff, in his William Caxton, has reprod. the cut of the Squire; in Pollard's Early Illustrated Books p. 222 and in Garnett and Gosse's English Literature I: 152 is reprod. the page bearing the cut of the Canon's Yeoman. The cut of the pilgrims all seated at table is reprod. by de Worde in his print of Lydgate's Assembly of the Gods, facsimiled by the Cambridge University Press, 1906; in Simonds’ Student's Hist. of Eng. Lit., in Mather's ed. of the Prologue, and in Jusserand's English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare, the same cut is reproduced. See Dibdin, Typogr. Antiq. I: 300. The woodcuts of the second Caxton are used in the Pynson Canterbury Tales of 1492, also in the de Worde of 1498; and there are woodcuts in the Thynne ed. of the Works of 1542. The undated Thynne has however but two cuts, differing from those of 1542. The cuts of the I484 Caxton also appear in one of the issues of the Works of 1561, q.v. See Quaritch, Catalogue No. 234. Other eds. illustrated with pictures of the pilgrims are: the Urry Chaucer of 1721; the Bell of 1782, with its vignette frontispieces drawn by Stothard, also in the Cooke of 1798; the Cumberland Chaucer, q. v.; and several of the Routledge Chaucers, by Corbould. See also in especial the Kelmscott Chaucer. Pictures of the pilgrims are to be found in the various Chaucers for Children, see under that heading; and note especially those
drawn for the Mackaye modernization of the Canterbury Tales by the late Walter Appleton Clark, which were also reprod. by Fox, Duffield and Co. on a calendar for 1907. J. H. Mortimer's Chaucer Drawings were published in 1787, see Furnivall in N. and Q. 1880 II: 325, cp. 355. The original drawings are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington; according to information kindly furnished me by Mr. H. M. Cundall of the Board of Education, these drawings and the engravings from them include: January and May; The Sompnour, the Devil, and an Old Woman ; The Three Gamblers and Time; The Coke and Perkin; The Frere and Thomas; The Miller of Trumpington and Two Scholars; Palamon and Arcite; Nicholas the Carpenter and Robin ; The Departure of the Canterbury Pilgrims. The engravers were J. K. Sherwin, E. Williams, Sharp, and Jacob Hogg. In 1806 Thomas Stothard received from R. H. Cromek a commission to paint the Canterbury Pilgrims. Cromek had previously seen a design by William Blake on the subject, for which he had unsuccessfully negotiated; Stothard accepted the commission in ignorance of Blake's work, but the result was a rupture between Stothard and Blake, who had until then been friends and occasional collaborators. Stothard's work was exhibited in 1807 and was a decided success; an elaborate critical description of it by W. Carey was pubd. in 1808. Blake laid the matter before the public in an exhibition of his own work, for which he wrote a descriptive catalogue, Oct. 1809; this catalogue is reprinted in Gilchrist's Life of Blake, 1880, II : 137 ff.; the picture follows, p. 144. See also Chaucer’s Prologue and Characters from the Canterbury Tales, Lond. 1812, 12mo., with Blake's picture as frontispiece. The engraving from Stothard’s picture, done by the Schiavonettis, by Engleheart, and by Heath, was pubd. October 1817. Stothard's picture is reprod. in Garnett and Gosse's Engl. Lit. vol. I, in Robertson Nicoll’s Bookman Illustrated Hist. of Eng. Lit., vol. I, to face p. I2 (part of the picture only). Edward Corbould, who illustrated the Routledge Chaucer, q. v., also painted The Pilgrims Leaving the Tabard Inn; this was engraved by Wagstaffe, and forms a picture 32 by 22% inches. Wall paintings are in Eaton Hall, the seat of the Duke of Westminster, painted by H. S. Marks, R. A.; in Mr. George Gould's summer home at Lakewood, N. J., painted by Robert Van Vorst Sewell, reprods. obtainable through Klackner of New York City. In 1900 was unveiled the stained glass window in St. Saviour’s, Southwark. For description of the window in Westminster Abbey see Temp. Pref. pp. I33–36. A drawing of the Pilgrims by Paul Hardy was published by the Chaucer Society with No. XCI supplement of their 1st Series, q. v.
. SECTION IV WORKS OTHER THAN THE CANTERBURY TALES
THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN, THE TROILUS AND
According to Furnivall, PT p. 407, Bradshaw used the term Minor Poems to mean those of one movement, the ABC, the Former Age, Words to Adam, Mother of God, Proverbs, Truth, Complaint of Venus, Scogan, Bukton, Gentilesse, Stedtastnesse, Fortune, Purse. The others Bradshaw classed as Stories and Complaints, that is, Pity, the Mars with the complaint of Mars, Anelida and Arcite with its complaint of Anelida ; or as Narrative Poems, the Duchesse, the Troilus, the Parlement of Fou!es, the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women.
Furnivall himself uses the term Minor Poems in a wider sense, to include all of Chaucer but the Canterbury Tales. See PT p. 407. On the Contents leaf of the PT, dated October 1879, he says, speaking of his arrangement of the Minor Poems: “The Poems not in chronological order are the englisht ABC, which may be Chaucer's earliest work, and is certainly of his First Period; the Complaint to Pite, which is assuredly Chaucer’s first original Minor Poem, and before his Blaunche of 1369, and the Parlement of Foules, which Dr. John Koch has well argued to be of the year 1381. . . . . If we put the ABC, Pity, and Mars in Chaucer's First Period, the Mother of God, Anelida, |Former Age, and Adam in the Second ; the Parlement, Fame, and Legend in the third, and the remaining Ballads and Poems of Reflection and Later Age in the fourth, we shall have as good a classification of the Minor Poems as I can at present get at.”
Skeat, in his revised ed. of the Minor Poems, p. vii, says that he includes all of Chaucer's genuine poetical works with the exception of . . . . the Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Cressida, and the Legend of Good Women. He does not there print any part of the Romaunt of the Rose; but on pp. xxiv-xxv he first rejects it, and then, in his revised ed., adds a sentence accepting lines I-1705. . In the Globe Chaucer there are classed as Earlier Minor Poems: the Book of the Duchesse, Pity, the ABC, Mars, the Complaint to his Lady, Anelida, and the Parlement of Foules. As Later Minor Poems are printed: To Rosemounde, Former Age, Fortune, Truth, Gentilesse, Stedrastnesse, Scogan, Bukton, Venus, Purse, Proverbs. Five Doubtful Minor Poems are also included in the volume. The Words to Adam are placed separately, following Troilus and Boece.
A. The Manuscripts
In the following list the manuscripts of all the poems other than the Cant. Tales are mentioned or described, but not manuscripts of the Astrolabe or the Boethius; for MSS of those works see under their respective headings. Descriptions printed in Anglia, Englische Studien, or Modern Language Notes, are not here reproduced. The descriptions of editors have been meagre. Thomas, in his preface to the Urry Chaucer, mentioned briefly some MSS; and Bell, in the 1854 Chaucer, alluded occasionally to peculiarities in a codex. Skeat, T : 48-58 and Minor Poems x1 ff., is very unsatisfactory in his hasty and summary remarks, which called forth from Flügel, Anglia 22 : 51 off. (1899), a censure accompanied by a collection of facts from the pages of the Chaucer Society prints, etc. A list of MSS, but without annotation, had previously been made by Koch, Anglia 4 : Anz. I I 2-1 17 (1881). Catalogues of the British Museum MSS, the Oxford MSS, the Cambridge MSS, may be found as referred to in Section III B here. In the lists of contents of the separate MSS, the Chaucerian minor poems may be found discussed, in alphabetical order, in Section IV here; the non-Chaucerian works which have at any time been printed as genuine are discussed, in alphabetical order, in Section V here. For a note on the Editing of the Minor Poems, see Mod. Lang. Notes 23 : 20.
(1) In the British Museum
Additionals 9832: See Catalogue of Additions . . . . etc., and Skeat III : xlix. An incomplete copy of the Legend of Good Women; printed Ch. Soc. SPT pp. 59 ft.
Additionals 1034o: A copy of Chaucer's Boece, on vellum, in double columns, written in a small, conventional hand, with archaic characters, and very dark ink. Of 40 leaves, with flyleaves at end which contain, in another and more current hand, also early XV century, Chaucer's Truth. Printed Athen. 1867 II: 333; in Ch. Soc. PT p. 407, One-Text Print p. 293. In the Appendix to Morris' revision of the Aldine Chaucer; see notes on the poem below. The second column of the same page contains the description of the Parson, from the Gen. Prol.; the verso and the other flyleaves are scribbled. This page is reprod. Ch. Soc. Autotypes; there dated of the first third of the XV century. Note on the MS in Skeat I : 57, II : xlii-iii. The entire MS was ed. by Morris, EETS. Furnivall, in Forewords to Ch. Soc. Autotypes, says that the existence of the additional stanza to Truth in this MS makes it “one of the greatest Chaucer treasures in Great Britain”; but see under the discussion of the poem below.
Additionals 12044: A Troilus MS; see Skeat II: lxxiv.