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OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER
A NEW TEXT
THOMAS WRIGHT, ESQ. M.A. F.S.A. ETC.
Corresponding Member of the Institute of France (Academie
des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres)
VOLUME THE FIRST
PRINTED FOR THE PERCY SOCIETY
BY T. RICHARDS, ST. MARTIN'S LANE
The Percy Society.
THE RIGHT HON, LORD BRAYBROOKE, F.S.A.
THOMAS AMYOT, Esq. F.R.S., TREAS. S.A.
WILLIAM HENRY BLACK, Esq.
J. PAYNE COLLIER, Esq. F.S.A.
BOLTON CORNEY, Esq.
T. CROFTON CROKER, Esq. F.S.A., M.R I.A.
J. H. DIXON, Esq.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FAIRHOLT, Esq. F.S.A.
JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, Esq. F.R.S., F.S.A.
CAPTAIN JOHNS, R.M.
J. S. MOORE, Esq.
T. J. PETTIGREW, Esq. F.R.S., F.S.A.
JAMES PRIOR, Esq. F.S.A.
WILLIAM SANDYS, Esq. F.S.A.
THOMAS WRIGHT, Esq. M.A., F.S.A., Secretary f: Treasurer.
For about two centuries after the Norman conquest, Anglo-Norman was almost exclusively the language of literature in this country. The few exceptions belong to the last expiring remains of an older and totally different Anglo-Saxon style, or to the first attempts of a new English one, formed upon a Norman model. Of the two grand monuments of the poetry of this period, Layamon belongs to the former of these classes, and the singular poem entitled the Ormulum to the latter. After the middle of the thirteenth century, the attempts at poetical composition in English became more frequent and more successful, and previous to the age of Chaucer we have several poems of a very remarkable character, and some good imitations of the harmony and spirit of the French versification of the time.
During this latter period, there had been a great movement in intelligence and art throughout