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were so many, and the bodies all whole withouten how ye shulen behave you in gathering of your rotting. But I trow that fiends made thein seem to riches, and in what manner ye shulen usen 'em. be so whole, withouten rotting. But that might not First, ye shulen geten 'em withouten great desire, by be to my avys, that so many should have entered good leisure, sokingly, and not over hastily, for a man 80 newly, ne so many newly slain, without stinking that is too desiring to get riches abandoneth him first and rotting. And many of them were in habit of | to theft and to all other evils ; and therefore saith Christian men ; but I trowe well, that it were of such Solomon, He that hasteth him too busily to wax rich, that went in for covetyse? of the treasure that was he shall be non innocent : he saith also, that the there, and had overmuch feebleness in faith ; so that riches that hastily cometh to a man, soon and lightly their hearts ne might not endure in the belief for goeth and passeth from a man, but that riches that dread. And therefore were we the more devout a cometh little and little, waxeth alway and multiplieth. great deal ; and yet we were cast down, and beaten And, sir, ye shulen get riches by your wit and by your down many times to the hard earth, by winds and travail, unto your profit, and that withouten wrong or thunders, and tempests ; but evermore, God, of his harm doing to any other person ; for the law saith, grace, helped us. And so we passed that perilous vale, There maketh no man himself rich, if he do harm tó without peril, and without incumbrance. Thanked be another wight; that is to say, that Nature defendeth Almighty God.
and forbiddeth by right, that no man make himself
rich unto the harm of another person. And Tullius GEOFFREY CHAUCER.
saith, That no sorrow, ne no dread of death, ne noCHAUCER, though eminent chicfly as a poet, de- thing that may fall unto a man, is so muckle agains serves to be mentioned also as a prose writer. nature as a man to increase his own profit to harm of His longest unversified production is an allegorical another man. And though the great men and the and meditative work called The Testament of Love, mighty men geten riches more lightly than thou, yet written chiefly for the purpose of defending his cha- shalt thou not ben idle ne slow to do thy profit, for racter against certain imputations which had been thou shalt in all wise flee idleness ; for Solomon saith, cast upon it. Two of the Canterbury Tales are in That idleness teacheth a man to do many evils ; and prose; and from the first, entitled the Tale of Meli- the same Solomon saith, That he that travaileth and beus, is extracted the following passage, not less re- busieth himself to tillen his lond, shall eat bread, but markable for the great amount of ancient wisdom he that is idle, and casteth him to no business ne ocwhich it contains, than for the clearness and sim- cupation, shall fall into poverty, and die for hunger. plicity of the diction :
And he that is idle and slow can never find coven
able time for to do his profit ; for there is a versifier [On Riches.]
saith, that the idle man excuseth him in winter beWhen Prudence had heard her husband avaunt him-cause of the great cold, and in summer then by enself of his riches and of his money, dispreising the power cheson of the heat. For these causes, saith Caton, of his adversaries, she spake and said in this wise : waketh and inclineth you not over muckle to sleep, Certes, dear sir, I grant you that ye ben rich and for over muckle rest nourisheth and causeth many mighty, and that riches ben good to 'em that han well vices; and therefore saith St Jerome, Doeth some ygetten 'em, and that well can usen 'em ; for, right good deeds, that the devil, which is our enemy, ne as the body of a man may not liven withouten soul, find you not unoccupied, for the devil he taketh not no more may it liven withouten temporal goods, and lightly unto his werking such as he findeth occupied by riches may a man get him great friends; and in good works. therefore saith Pamphilus, If a neatherd's daughter Then thus in getting riches ye musten flee idleness ; be rich, she may chese of a thousand men which she wol and afterward ye shulen usen the riches which ye han take to her husband ; for of a thousand men one wol geten by your wit and by your travail, in such mannot forsaken her ne refusen her. And this Pamphilus ner, than men hold you not too scarce, ne too sparing, baith also, If thou be right happy, that is to sayn, if ne fool-large, that is to say, over large a spender ; for thou be right rich, thou shalt find a great number of right as men blamen an avaritious man because of his fellows and friends ; and if thy fortune change, that scarcity and chinchery, in the same wise he is to blame thou wax poor, farewell friendship and fellowship, for that spendeth over largely ; and therefore saith Caton, thou shalt be all alone withouten any company, but use (he saith) the riches that thou hast ygeten in such if it be the company of poor folk. And yet saith manner, that men have no matter ne cause to call this Pamphilus, moreover, that they that ben bond thee nother wretch ne chinch, for it is a great shame and thrall of liniage shuln be made worthy and noble to a man to have a poor heart and a rich purse: he by riches. And right so as by riches there comen saith also, The goods that thou hast ygeten, use 'em many goods, right so by poverty come there many by measure, that is to sayen, spend measureably, for harms and evils ; and therefore clepeth Cassiodore, they that solily wasten and despenden the goods that poverty the mother of ruin, that is to sayn, the mother they han, when they han no more proper of 'eir own, of overthrowing or falling down ; and therefore saith that ney shapen 'em to take the goods of another Piers Alfonse, One of the greatest adversities of the man. I say, then, that ye shulen flee avarice, using world is when a free man by kind, or of birth, is con- your riches in such manner, that men sayen not that strained by poverty to eaten the alms of his enemy. your riches ben yburied, but that ye have 'em in your And the same saith Innocent in one of his books; he might and in your wielding ; for a wise man reproveth saith that sorrowful and mishappy is the condition of the avaritious man, and saith thus in two verse, a poor beggar, for if he ax not his meat he dieth of Whereto and why burieth a man his goods by his hunger, and if he ax he dieth for shame ; and algates great avarice, and knoweth well that needs must he necessity constraineth him to ax; and therefore saith die, for death is the end of every man as in this preSolomon, That better it is to die than for to have such sent life? And for what cause or encheson joineth poverty ; and, as the same Solomon saith, Better it is he him, or knitteth he himn so fast unto his goods, that to die of bitter death, than for to liven in such wise. By all his wits mowen not disseveren him or departen these reasons that I have said unto you, and by many him fro his goods, and knoweth well, or ought to know, other reasons that I could say, I grant you that riches that when he is dead he shall nothing bear with him ben good to 'em that well geten 'em, and to him that out of this world ! and therefore saith St Augustine, well usen tho' riches ; and therefore wol I show you that the avaritious man is likened unto hell, that the
more it swalloweth the more desire it hath to swallow 1 Advice, understanding. 3 Covetousness. 8 Except. and devour. And as well as ye wold eschew to be
called an avaritious man or an chinch, as well should and brought into great personal danger ; but, partly ye keep you and govern you in such wise, that men through accidental circumstances, and partly through call you not fool-large ; therefore, saith Tullius, The goods of thine house ne should not ben bid ne kept so close, but that they might ben opened by pity and debonnairety, that is to sayen, to give 'em part that han great need ; ne they goods shoulden not ben so open to be every man's goods.
Afterward, in getting of your riches, and in using of 'em, ye shulen alway have three things in your heart, that is to say, our Lord God, conscience, and good name. First ye shulen have God in your heart, and for no riches ye shulen do nothing which may in any manner displease God that is your creator and maker ; for, after the word of Solomon, it is better to have a little good, with love of God, than to have muckle good and lese the love of his Lord God; and the prophet saith, that better it is to ben a good man and have little good and treasure, than to be holden a shrew and have great riches. And yet I say furthermore, that ye shulden always do your business to get your riches, so that ye get 'em with a good conscience. And the apostle saith, that there nis thing in this world, of which we shulden have so great joy, as when our conscience beareth us good witness ; and the wise man saith, The substance of a man is full good when sin is not in a man's conscience. Afterward, in getting of your riches and in using of 'em, ye must have great business and great diligence that your good name be alway kept and conserved ; for Solomon saith, that better it is and more it availeth a man to have a good name than for to have great riches ; and therefore he saith in another place, Do great diligence (saith he) in keeping of thy friends and of thy good name, for it shall longer abide with
Wickliffe. thee than any treasure, be it never so precious ; and certainly he should not be called a gentleman that, the friendship of the Duke of Lancaster (the friend after God and good conscience all things left, ne doth of Chaucer, and probably also of Gower), he escaped his diligence and business to keepen his good name ; every danger, and at last died in a quiet country and Cassiodore saith, that it is a sign of a gentle rectory, though not before he had been compelled heart, when a man loveth and desireth to have a good
And he that trusteth him so muckle in his good conscience, that he despiseth or setteth at Dought his good name or los, and recketh not though be kept not his good name, nis but a cruel churl.
JOHN WICKLIFFE, JOHN WICKLIFTE (1324-1384] was a learned ecclesiastic and professor of theology in Baliol College, Oxford, where, soon after the year 1372, he began to challenge certain doctrines and practices of the Romish church, which for ages had held unquestioned sway in England. The mental capacity
BRAVA and vigour requisite for this purpose, must have been of a very uncommon kind ; and Wickliffe will ever, accordingly, be considered as one of the greatest names in our history. In contending against the Romish doctrines and the papal power, and in defending himself against the vengeance of the ecclesiastical courts, he produced many controversial works, some of which were in English. But his greatest work, and that which was qualified to be
Chair of Wickliffe. most effectual in reforming the faith of his country to retract some of his reputed heresies. Upwards of men, was a translation of the Old and New Testaments, which he executed in his latter years, with forty years after his death, in consequence of a dethe assistance of a few friends, and which, though but the announcement has been made, that Mr Forshall and taken from the Latin medium, instead of the origi- Mr Madden, both of the British Museum, are now engaged in nal Hebrew and Greek, and though performed in a preparing an edition, which is to issue from the University timid spirit with regard to idioms, is a valuable press of Oxford. Mr Baber, after much research, has come to relic of the age, both in a literary and theological the conclusion, that no English translation of the entire Bible view.* Wickliffe was several times cited for heresy, preceded that of Wickliffe. (See Historical Account of the
Saxon and English versions of the Scriptures previous to the • Wickliffe's translation of the New Testament has been opening of the fifteenth century,' prefixed by Mr Baber to twice printed, by Mr Lewis in 1731, and Mr Baber in 1810. his edition of the New Testament, p. lxviii.) Portions of it His version of the Old Testament still remains in manuscript; I had, however, been translated at various times.
cree of the Council of Constance, his bones were For he hath behulden the mekenesse of his handdisinterred and burnt, and the ashes thrown into a mayden: for lo for this alle generatiouns schulen seye brook. • This brook,' says Fuller, the church his- that I ain blessid. torian, in a passage which brings quaintness to the For be that is mighti hath don to ne grete thingis, borders of sublimity, hath conveyed his ashes into and his name is holy. Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow And his mercy is fro kyndrede into kyndredis to seas, they into the main ocean : and thus the ashes men that dreden him. of Wickliffe are the emblem of bis doctrine, which He hath made myght in his arm, he scatteride is now dispersed all the world over.'
proude men with the thoughte of his herte. As a specimen of the language of Wickliffe, his He sette doun myghty men fro seete, and enhauntranslation of that portion of Scripture which con- side meke men. He hath fulfillid hungry men with tains the Magnificat, may be presented
goodis, and he has left riche men voide.
He heuynge mynde of his mercy took up Israel [The Magnificat.)
his child. And Marye seyde, My soul magnifieth the Lord. As he hath spokun to oure fadris, to Abraham, and And my spiryt hath gladid in God myn helthe. to his seed into worlds.
FROM 1400 TO 1558.
walking in the adjacent garden. This lady, a daugh
ter of the Earl of Somerset, was afterwards married HILE such to the young king, whom she accompanied to Scotminds Chaucer's take shape, in
ure, from the state of learning and civilisation which may prevail in their time, it is very clear that they are
never altogether created or brought into exercise by such circumstances. The rise of such men is the accident of nature, and whole ages may pass without producing them. From the death of Chaucer in 1400, nearly two hundred years elapsed in England, before any poet comparable to him arose, and yet those two centuries were more enlightened than the times of Chaucer. This long period, however, produced several poets not destitute of merit.
JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND. Among these was JAMES I. of Scotland, whose mind and its productions, notwithstanding his being a native of that country, must be considered as of English growth. James had been taken prisoner in his boyhood by Henry IV. of England, and spent the nineteen years preceding 1424 in that country, where he was instructed in all the learning and polite ac
James L of Scotland. complishments of the age, and appears, in particular, to have carefully studied the writings of Chaucer. land. While in possession of his kingdom, he is The only certain production of this young sovereign said to have written several poems descriptive of is a long poem, called The King's Quhair, or Book, humorous rustic scenes ; but these cannot be cerin which he describes the circumstances of an attach- tainly traced to him. He was assassinated at Perth ment which he formed, while a prisoner in Windsor in the year 1437, aged forty-two. Castle, to a young English princess whom he saw The King's Quhair contains poetry superior to
any besides that of Chaucer, produced in England Of her array the form if I shall write, before the reign of Elizabeth—as will be testified by Towards her golden hair and rich attire, the following verses :
In fretwise couchitl with pearlis white
And great balas? leaming3 as the fire, (James I., a Prisoner in Windsor, first sees Lady Jane With mony ane emeraut and fair sapphire; Beaufort, who afterwards was his Qucen.]
And on her head a chaplet fresh of hue, Bewailing in my chamber, thus alone,
Of plumis parted red, and white, and blue. Despaired of all joy and remedy,
Full of quaking spangis bright as gold, For-tired of my thought, and woe-begone,
Forged of shape like to the amorets, And to the window gan I walk in hy?
So new, so fresh, so pleasant to behold, To see the world and folk that went forbye, ?
The plumis eke like to the flower jonets, 4 As, for the time, though I of mirthis food
And other of shape, like to the flower jonets ;
And above all this, there was, well I wot,
About her neck, white as the fire amail,5
A goodly chain of small orfevory, Railed about, and so with trees set
Whereby there hung a ruby, without fail, Was all the place, and hawthorn hedges knet,
Like to ane heart shapen verily, That lyf was none walking there forbye,
That as a spark of low,7 so wantonly That might within scarce any wight espy
Seemed burning upon her white throat, So thick the boughis and the leavis green
Now if there was good party,8 God it wot. Beshaded all the alleys that there were,
And for to walk that fresh May's morrow, And mids of every arbour might be seen
Ane hook she had upon her tissue white, The sharpe greene sweete juniper,
That goodlier had not been seen to-forow,9 Growing so fair with branches here and there,
As I suppose ; and girt she was alite, 10 That as it seemed to a lyf without,
Thus halflings loose for haste, to such delight The boughis spread the arbour all about.
It was to see her youth in goodlihede, And on the smalle greene twistis3 sat,
That for rudeness to speak thereof I dread. The little sweete nightingale, and sung
In her was youth, beauty, with humble aport, So loud and clear, the hymnis consecrat
Bounty, richess, and womanly feature, Of lovis use, now soft, now loud among,
God better wot than my pen can report: That all the gardens and the wallis rung
Wisdonı, largess, estate, and cunning 11 sure,
In every point so guided her measure,
In word, in deed, in shape, in countenance,
That nature might no more her child avance !
And when she walked had a little thraw
Her fair fresh face, as white as any snaw, The blood of all my body to my heart.
She turned has, and furth her wayis went ;
But tho began mine aches and torment, And though I stood abasit tho a lite, 5
To see her part and follow I na might;
Methought the day was turned into night.
JOHN THE CHAPLAIN, THOMAS OCCLEVE, a lawyer, There was no token in her sweete face.
and John LYDGATE, were the chief immediate folAnd in my head I drew right hastily,
lowers of Chaucer and Gower. The performances And eftesoons I leant it out again,
of the two first are of little account. Lydgate, who And saw her walk that very womanly,
was a monk of Bury, flourished about the year 1430. With no wight mo', but only women twain.
His poetical compositions range over a great variety Then gan I study in myself, and sayn,6
of styles. . His muse,' says Warton, was of uni* Ah, sweet ! are ye a worldly creature,
versal access; and he was not only the poet of the Or heavenly thing in likeness of nature !
monastery, but of the world in general. If a dis
guising was intended by the company of goldsmiths, Or are ye god Cupidis own princess,
a mask before his majesty at Eltham, a Maygame And comin are to loose me out of band !
for the sheriffs and aldermen of London, a mumming Or are ye very Nature the goddess,
before the Lord Mayor, a procession of pageants That hare depainted with your heavenly hand,
from the Creation for the festival of Corpus Christi, This garden jull of forcers as they stand ?
or a carol for the Coronation, Lydgate was consulted, What shall I think, alas ! what reverence
and gave the poetry. The principal works of this Shall I mister7 unto your excellence ?
versatile writer are entitled, The History of Thebes, If ye a goddess be, and that ye like
The Fall of Princes, and The Destruction of Troy. He To do me pain, I may it not astart :8
had travelled in France and Italy, and studied the If ye be warldly wight, that doth me sike, 9
poetry of those countries ; and though his own writWhy list 10 God make you so, my dearest heart, To do a seely il prisoner this smart,
1 Inlaid like fretwork. ? A kind of precious stone. That loves you all, and wot of nought but wo?
3 Glittering. * A kind of lily. It is conjectured that And therefore mercy, sweet ! sin' it is so.'
the royal poet may here allude covertly to the name of his mis
tress, which, in the diminutive, was Janet or Jonet.-Thom1 Haste. 9 Past. 3 Twigs 4 Went and came.
son's Edition of King's Quhair. Ayr, 1824. 6 Coafounded for a little while.
7 Minister. 5 Enamel 6 Gold work. 7 Flamo. 8 Match. • Fly. > Makes me sigh. 10 Pleased. 11 Wretched. 9 Before.
ings contain only a few good passages, he is allowed One bade me buy a hood to cover my head ;
There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy ; few who acquired any tincture of letters in that age.
Yea by cock ! nay by cock ! some began cry; In the words of Mr Warton, “ there is great soft- Some sung of Jenkin and Julian for their meed; ness and facility” in the following passage of Lyd- But, for lack of money, I might not speed. gate's Destruction of Troy :
Then into Cornhill anon I yode, [Description of a Sylvan Retreat.]
Where was much stolen gear among ; Till at the last, among the bowes glade,
I saw where hung mine owne hood, Of adventure, I caught a pleasant shade;
That I had lost among the throng; Full smooth, and plain, and lusty for to seen,
To buy my own hood I thought it wrong : And soft as velvet was the yonge green:
I knew it well, as I did my creed ; Where from my horse I did alight as fast,
But, for lack of money, I could not speed. And on the bow aloft his reine cast.
The taverner took me by the sleeve, So faint and mate of weariness I was,
“Sir,' saith he, will you our wine assay ! That I me laid adown upon the grass,
I answered, “That can not much me grieve, Upon a brinke, shortly for to tell,
A penny can do no more than it may; Beside the river of a crystal well ;
I drank a pint, and for it did pay ;
Yet, sore a-hungered from thence I yede,
The reigns of Edward IV., Richard III., and Henry
VII., extending between the years 1461 and 1509, A fugitive poem of Lydgate, called the London Lyck- were barren of true poetry, though there was no penny, is curious for the particulars it gives respect- lack of obscure versifiers. It is remarkable, that ing the city of London in the early part of the this period produced in Scotland a race of genuine fifteenth century. The poet has come to town in poets, who, in the words of Mr Warton, displayed search of legal redress for some wrong, and visits, in a degree of sentiment and spirit, a command of phrasuccession, the King's Bench, the Court of Common seology, and a fertility of imagination, not to be Pleas, the Court of Chancery, and Westminster found in any English poet since Chaucer and LydHall.
gate.' Perhaps the explanation of this seeming The London Lyckpenny.
mystery is, that the influences which operated upon
Chaucer a century before, were only now coming Within the hall, neither rich, nor yet poor
with their full force upon the less favourably situWould do for me ought, although I should die : ated nation which dwelt north of the Tweed. OverWhich seeing, I gat me out of the door,
looking some obscurer names, those of Henryson, Where Flemings began on me for to cry,
Dunbar, and Douglas, are to be mentioned with • Master, what will you copen? or buy ?
peculiar respect. Fine felt hats ? or spectacles to read ? Lay down your silver, and here you may speed.'
ROBERT HENRYSON. Then to Westminster gate I presently went,
Of this poet there are no personal memorials, When the sun was at high prime :
except that he was a schoolmaster at Dunfermline, Cooks to me they took good intent, 2
and died some time before 1508. His principal poem And proffered me bread, with ale, and wine,
is The Testament of Cresseid, being a sequel to Ribs of beef, both fat and full fine ;
Chaucer's romantic poem, Troylus and Cresseide. A fair cloth they gan for to spread,
He wrote a series of fables, thirteen in number, and But, wanting money, I might not be sped.
some miscellaneous poems, chiefly of a moral cha
racter. One of his fables is the common story of Then unto London I did me hie,
the Town Mouse and Country Mouse, which he treats Of all the land it beareth the price ;
with much humour and characteristic description, Hot peascods !' one began to cry,
and concludes with a beautifully expressed moral. "Strawberry ripe, and cherries in the rise !'3
One bade me come near and buy some spice ; [Dinner given by the Town Mouse to the Country Mouse.] Pepper, and saffron they gan me beed ;4
their harboury was tane But, for lack of money, I might not speed.
Intill a spence, where victual was plenty, Then to the Cheap I gan me drawn,
Baith cheese and butter on lang shelves richt hie, Where much people I saw for to stand ;
With fish and flesh enough, baith fresh and salt, One offered me velvet, silk, and lawn,
And pockis full of groats, baith meal and malt. Another he taketh me by the hand,
After, when they disposit were to dine, * Here is Paris thread, the finest in the land !
Withouten grace they wuish? and went to meat, I never was used to such things, indeed ;
On every dish that cookmen can divine, And, wanting money, I might not speed.
Mutton and beef stricken out in telyies grit; Then went I forth by London Stone, 5
Ane lordis fare thus can they counterfeit, Throughout all Canwick Street :
Except ane thing--they drank the water clear Drapers much cloth me offered anon ;
Instead of wine, but yet they made gude cheer. Then comes me one cried hot sheep's feet ;' With blyth upcast and merry countenance, One cried mackerel, rushes green, another gan greet, The elder sister then spier'd at her guest,
Gif that sho thoucht by reason difference Koopen. (Flem.) is to buy. . Took notice ; paid attention.
Betwixt that chalmer and her sairy? nest. 3 On the twig. 4 Offer. 5 A fragment of
Yea, dame,' quoth sho, 'but how lang will this last ?" London stone is still preserved in Cannon Street, formerly called Canwick, or Candlewick Street.