« AnteriorContinua »
each. The house of Dædalus was thronged with pilgrims, pardoners, couriers, and messengers, and I heard strange things. In one corner men were telling stories about love, and there was a crush of men running to hear them. At last I saw a man whom I knew not; but he seemed to be one who had great authority-(here the poem ends, being incomplete; 11. 1868-2158).
The general idea of the poem was plainly suggested by the description of Fame in Vergil, the house of Fame as described near the beginning of the twelfth book of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and various hints in Dante's Divina Commedia. For a close and searching comparison between the House of Fame and Dante's great poem, see the article by A. Rambeau in Engl. Studien, iii. 209.
1. For this method of commencing a poem with a dream, compare The Book of the Duchesse, Parl. of Foules, and The Romance of the Rose. WoB
For discourses on dreams, compare the Nonne Preestes Tale, and the remarks of Pandarus in Troilus, v. 358–385. Chaucer here propounds several problems; first, what causes dreams (a question answered at some length in the Nonne Preestes Tale, B 4116); why some come true and some do not (discussed in the same, B 4161); and what are the various sorts of dreams (see note to l. 7 below).
There is another passage in Le Roman de la Rose, which bears some resemblance to the present passage. It begins at l. 18699:
"Ne ne revoil dire des songes,
De tout ce ne m'entremetrai.' 2. This long sentence ends at line 52.
7. This opens up the question as to the divers sorts of dreams. Chaucer here evidently follows Macrobius, who, in his Commentary on the Somnium Scipionis, lib. i. c. 3, distinguishes five kinds of dreams, viz. somnium, visio, oraculum, insomnium, and visum. The fourth kind, insomnium, was also called fantasma; and this provided Chaucer with the word fantome in l. 11. In the same line, oracies answers to the Lat. oracula. Cf. Ten Brink, Studien, p. 101.
18. The gendres, the (various) kinds. This again refers to Macrobius, who subdivides the kind of dream which he calls somnium into five species, viz. proprium, alienum, commune, publicum, and generale, according to the things to which they relate. Distaunce of tymes, i.e. whether the thing dreamt of will happen soon, or a long time afterwards.
20. “Why this is a greater (more efficient) cause than that.'
21. This alludes to the four chief complexions of men; cf. Nonne Preestes Tale, B 4114. The four complexions were the sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholy, and choleric; and each complexion was likely to have certain sorts of dreams. Thus, in the Nonne Preestes Tale, B 4120, the choleric man is said to dream of arrows, fire, fierce carnivorous beasts, strife, and dogs; whilst the melancholy man will dream of bulls and bears and black devils.
22. Reflexiouns, the reflections or thoughts to which each man is most addicted ; see Parl. of Foules, 99-105.
24. “Because of too great feebleness of their brain (caused) by abstinence,' &c.
43. Of propre kynde, owing to its own nature.
53. ' As respects this matter, may good befall the great clerks that treat of it.' Of these great clerks, Macrobius was one, and Jean de Meun another. Vincent of Beauvais has plenty to say about dreams in his Speculum Naturale, lib. xxvi.; and he refers us to Aristotle, Gregory (Moralia, lib. viii.), Johannes de Rupella, Priscianus (ad Cosdroe regem Persarum), Augustinus (in Libro de diuinatione dæmonum), Hieronimus (super Matheum, lib. ii.), Thomas de Aquino, Albertus, &c.
58. Repeated (nearly) from l. 1.
63. I here give the text as restored by Willert, who shows how the corruptions in 11. 62 and 63 arose. First of all dide was shifted into l. 62, giving as dide ); as in Caxton's print. Next, an additional now was put in place of dide in l. 63; as in P., B., F., and Th., and dide was dropped alltogether. After this, F. turned the now of 1. 64 into yow, and Cx. omitted it. See also note to l. 111.
64. “Which, as I can (best) now remember.'
69. Morpheus; see Book of Duch. 137. From Ovid, Met. xi. 592-612; esp. II. 602, 3:
'Saxo tamen exit ab imo
Riuus aquae Lethes.' 73. 'Est prope Cimmerios,' &c.; Met. xi. 592. 75. See Ovid, Met. xi. 613-5; 633. 76. That . . hir is equivalent to whose ; cf. Kn. Tale, 1852. 81. Cf. ‘Colui, che tutto move,' i. e. He who moves all; Parad. i. 1. 88. Read povert; cf. Clerkes Tale, E 816.
92. MSS. misdeme; I read misdemen, to avoid an hiatus.
98. “That, whether he dream when bare-footed or when shod’; whether in bed by night or in a chair by day; i. e. in every case. The that is idiomatically repeated in l. 99.
105. The dream of Cræsus, king of Lydia, and his death vpon a gallows, form the subject of the last story in the Monkes Tale. Chaucer got it from the Rom. de la Rose, which accounts for the form Lyde. The passage occurs at 1. 6513 :
Qu'el vous vuet faire au gibet pendre.'
111. Here again, as in l. 63, is a mention of Dec. 10. Ten Brink (Studien, p. 151) suggests that it may have been a Thursday; cf. the mention of Jupiter in ll. 608, 642, 661. If so, the year was 1383.
115. ‘Like one that was weary with having overwalked himself by going two miles on pilgrimage.' The difficulty was not in the walking two miles, but in doing so under difficulties, such as going barefoot for penance.
117. Corseynt; O.F. cors seint, lit. holy body; hence a saint or sainted person, or the shrine where a saint was laid. See Robert of Brunne, Handlyng Synne, 87395
' And hys ymage ful feyre depeynte,
Ryzt as he were a cors seynt.' See also P. Plowman, B. v. 539; Morte Arthure, 1164; and (the spurious) Chaucer's Dream, 942.
118. “To make that soft (or easy) which was formerly hard.' The allusion is humorous enough; viz. to the bonds of matrimony. Here again Chaucer follows Jean de Meun, Rom. de la Rose, 8871:
Mariages est maus liens,
i.e. “Marriage is an evil bond-so may St. Julian aid me, who harbours wandering pilgrims; and St. Leonard, who frees from their fetters (lit. un-irons) such prisoners as are very repentant, when he sees them giving themselves the lie (or recalling their word).' The ‘prisoners' are married people, who have repented, and would recall their plighted vow.
St. Leonard was the patron-saint of captives, and it was charitably hoped that he would extend his protection to the wretched people who had unadvisedly entered into wedlock, and soon prayed to get out of it again. They would thus exchange the hard bond for the soft condition of freedom. 'St. Julian is the patron of pilgrims; St. Leonard and St. Barbara protect captives'; Brand, Pop. Antiquities, i. 359. And, at p. 363 of the same, Brand quotes from Barnabee Googe :‘But Leonerd of the prisoners doth the bandes asunder pull, And breaks the prison-doores and chaines, wherewith his church is
St. Leonard's day is Nov. 6.
119. The MSS. have slept-e, which is dissyllabic. Read sleep, as in C. T. Prol. 397.
120. Hence the title of one of Lydgate's poems, The Temple of Glass, which is an imitation of the present poem.
130. Cf. the description of Venus' temple (Cant. Tales, A 1918), which is imitated from that in Boccaccio's Teseide.
133. Cf. naked fleting in the large see ... And on hir heed, ful semely for to see, A rose garland, fresh and wel smellinge’; Cant. Tales, A 1956.
137. ‘Hir dowves'; C. T., A 1962. "Cupido'; id. 1963.
138. Vulcano, Vulcan ; note the Italian forms of these names. Boccaccio's Teseide has Cupido (vii. 54), and Vulcano (vii. 43). His face was brown with working at the forge.
141, 2. Cf. Dante, Inf. iii. 10, 11.
143. A large portion of the rest of this First Book is taken up with a summary of the earlier part of Vergil's Aeneid. We have here a translation of the well-known opening lines :
'Arma uirumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
155. Made the hors broght, caused the horse to be brought. On this idiom, see the note to Man of Lawes Tale, B 171.
158. Ilioun, Ilium. Ilium is only a poetical name for Troy; but the medieval writers often use it in the restricted sense of the citadel of Troy, where was the temple of Apollo and the palace of Priam.
Thus, in the alliterative Troy-book, 11958, ylion certainly has this sense; and Caxton speaks of 'the palays of ylyon’; see Spec. of English, ed. Skeat, p. 94. See also the parallel passage in the Nonne Preestes Tale, B 4546. Still more clearly, in the Leg. Good Women (Dido, 13), Chaucer says, of 'the tour of Ilioun,' that it of the citee was the cheef dungeoun. In l. 163 below, it is called castel.
160. Polites, Polites ; Aen. ii. 526. Also spelt Polite in Troil. iv. 53. 163. Brende, was on fire ; used intransitively, as in l. 537. 164-73. See Aen. ii. 589-733. 174. Read this, rather than his. Cf. Aen. ij. 736.
177. Iulus and Ascanius were one and the same person ; see Æn. i. 267. Perhaps Ch. was misled by the wording of Æn. iv. 274. (On the other hand, Brutus was not the same person as Cassius; see Monkes Tale, B 3887). Hence, Koch proposes to read That hight instead of And eek; but we have no authority for this. However, Chaucer has it right in his Legend of Good Women, 941 ; and in 1. 192 below, we find sone, not sones; hence I. 178 may be merely parenthetical.
182. Wente, foot-path ; Aen. ii. 737. Cf. Book Duch. 398.
184. 'So that she was dead, but I know not how.' Vergil does not say how she died.
185. Gost, ghost ; see Aen. ii. 772. 189. Repeated from l. 180.
198. Here Chaucer returns to the first book of the Æneid, which he follows down to l. 255.
204. “To blow forth, (with winds) of all kinds'; cf. Æn. i. 85.
219. Ioves, Jove, Jupiter. This curious form occurs again, ll. 586, 597, 630; see note to l. 586. Boccaccio has Giove.
226. Achatee (trisyllabic), Achates, Æn. i. 312 ; where the abl. form Achate occurs.
239. The story of Dido is told at length in Le Rom. de la Rose, 13378; in The Legend of Good Women; and in Gower, Conf. Amantis, bk. iv., ed. Pauli, ii. 4. Chaucer now passes on to the fourth book of the Æneid, till he comes to l. 268 below.
265. “Més ja ne verrés d'aparence Conclurre bonne consequence'; Rom. Rose, 12343.
272. 'It is not all gold that glistens.' A proverb which Chaucer took from Alanus de Insulis ; see note to Can. Yem. Tale, G 962.
273. 'For, as sure as I hope to have good use of my head.' Brouke is, practically, in the optative mood. Cf.' So mote I brouke wel myn eyen tweye’; Cant. Ta., B 4490 ; so also E 2308. The phrase occurs several times in the Tale of Gamelyn ; see note to l. 334 of that poem.
280-3. These four lines occur in Thynne's edition only, but are probably quite genuine. It is easy to see why they dropped out; viz. owing to the repetition of the word finde at the end of ll. 279 and 283. This is a very coinmon cause of such omissions. See note to