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That muche couthen of Cristes lore.
Both the lasse (a) ant eke the more
Bed hem both red ant synge :


The pope of Peyters stod at is masse

With ful gret solempnete,
Ther me con (b) the soulè blisse:

“ Kyng Edward, honoured thou be :
“ God love thi sone come after the,

“ Bringe to ende that thou hast bygonne, “ The holy crois ymade of tre

« So fain thou woldest hit have ywonne.

“ Jerusalem, thou hast ilore

“ The flourè of al chivalrie,
« Now kyng Edward liveth na more,

“ Alas, that he yet shuldè deye!
“ He wolde ha rered up ful heyge

“ Our baners that bueth broht to grounde : “ Wel longe we may clepe (c) and crie,

“ Er we such a kyng have yfounde!"

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In this reign, English, though still a rugged and disjointed language, began to be generally cul. tivated, and gradually to become more refined and

(a) Less.

(6) Began.

(c) Call.

copious; and the fictions of romance and chivalry, by this time interwoven with the Arabesque ornaments and wild fantasies introduced by the Crusaders, gradually displaced in general favour the dull versified chronicles and homilies of an earlier period.

The reign of the Second Edward was distinguished by an English poet of greater pretensions than any of his predecessors, if the claim of Adam Davie to the authorship of the Life of Alexander the Great is allowed. This early writer describes himself as the Marshal of Stratford le Bow, near London. His first production was a sort of pious and loyal vision, so complimentary to Edward, that the Marshal probably expected to be something yet greater. So completely did the manners of chivalry pervade men's minds at this time, that this author, in a poem entitled the Battle of Jerusalem, makes Pi. late challenge our Saviour to single combat !

The procession of Olympias, in the Life of Alexander, whoever be its author, may serve as a specimen of the splendour of the early metrical romance, which now became generally known in England. The power of these compositions is nearly altogether descriptive. They show no capacity of moral discrimination, and few touches of pathos. One chief is distinguished from another by the colour of his steed, or by his hair being yalewe or jete ; for all ride and joust about equally well ; and, save some prodigious favourite, as Cæur




de Lion, Arthur, or Tristrem, kill about equal numbers at any odds.

A mule, all so white as milk,
With saddle of gold, sambuc (a) of silk,
Was y-brought to the queen,
And many bell of silver sheen,
Y-fastened on orfraies of mound (b)
That hangen near down to ground.
Forth she fared mid her rout;
A thousand ladies of rich suit.
A sparrow-hawk that was honest
So sat on the lady's fist.
Four trumps tofore her blew;
All the town be-hanged was,
Against the lady Olympias.
Orgues, chymbes, each manner glee, (c)
Was drynan (d) ayen (e) that lady free.
Withouten the town's murey (f)
Was mered (g) each manner play.
There was knights tornaying,

* also wrestling.
Of lions' chace, and bear-baiting,
A bay of boar, of bull slayting.
All the city was behung
With rich samyts (h) and pelles (i) long.
Dame Olympias, mid this press
Single rode, all mantle-less.
Her yellow hair was fair-attired,
Mid rich string of gold, wired ;
It helid (j) her abouten all
To her gentil middle small :


(a) A saddle-cloth, or housing. Fr.
(6) Orfrais, aurifrigium, is gold embroidery.
(c) Organs, cymbals, and all sorts of music.
(d) Ringing. (e) Against ; in the presence of.
(S) Walls. (8) Seen; gazed at.

(h) Satins.
(6) Palls, or perhaps furs.

(j) Hid,

Bright and sheen was her face;
Every fair-head in her was.

In this same old romance, in which the manners of chivalry are constantly ingrafted on classical his. tory, is found the well-known couplet in its true reading :

Merry swithe it is in halle,
When the berdes waveth alle.

Among the poets of the Second Edward's reign was Robert Barton, a Carmelite friar, who accompanied the king into Scotland, to sing his anticipated triumph over the Scots, and who, according to a well-known tradition, being made prisoner, was ransomed by celebrating the victory of Robert de Bruce ; thus, like Balaam, constrained to bless those whom he had come to curse.

The adventures of the Scottish hero sung by Barbour, archdeacon of Aberdeen, and those of Wallace, commemorated by a nameless minstrel known as Blind Harry, prove, that in the early part of the fourteenth century, and prior to the period of Chaucer, poetry was at least as diligently and successfully cultivated in Scotland as in the adjoining country. It is thus the old archdeacon describes the return of Summer :

This was in the midst of May,
When birdès sing on ilka spray,
Melland their notes with seemly soun,
For softness of the sweet seasoun;
And leaves of the branches spreeds,
And bloomis bright beside them breeds,

And fieldis strewed are with flowers,
Well savouring of seir colours,
And all things waxeth blythe and gay.





The following description of Wallace's bivouac, though not in the boldest style of the Blind Bard, may challenge comparison with any composition of his age; the spelling has been considerably mod. ernised : Into a vale, by a small river fair, On either side where wild deer made repair, Set watches out that wisely could them keep, To supper went, and timeously they sleep. Of meat and sleep they cease with suffisaunce. The night was mirk; overdrave the darksome chance ; The merry day sprang from the orient With beamis bright illuminate the occident.

The clearè rede among the rockis rang,
Through green branches where the byrds blythly sang,
With joyous voice in heavenly harmony;
When Wallace thought it was no time to lie;
He crossed himself, syne suddenly arose
To take the air, out of his pallioun goes.
Maister John Blair was ready to revess,
In good intent syne bouned to the mass.
When it was done Wallace 'gan him array
In his armore, which goodly was and gay.
His shining shoes that burnisht was full bein;
His leg-harness he clapped on so clean ;
Pullane grees he braced on full fast;
A close birnie with many siker clasp ;
Breastplate, brasars that worthy were in wear;
Beside him forth Jop could his basnet bear;
His glittering gloves that graven on either side:
He seemed well in battle to abide.
His good girdle, and syne his burly brand;
A staff of steel he gripped in his hand.
The host him blest ! &c.

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