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33, &c. For normal lines, with feminine rimes, see 1, 2, 9, 15, 18, &c. Elision is common, as of e in turne (1), in somme (6), in Devyne (14); &c. Sometimes there is a middle pause, where a final syllable need not always be elided. Thus we may read:
By abstinencë-or by seknesse' (25):
'In his substáuncë-is but air' (768). Two short syllables, rapidly pronounced, may take the place of one:
'I noot; but who-so of these miracles' (12):
• By avisiouns, or bý figúres’ (47). The first foot frequently consists of a single syllable ; see 26, 35, 40, 44 ; so also in l. 3, where, in modern English, we should prefer Unto.
The final e, followed by a consonant, is usually sounded, and has its usual grammatical values. Thus we have thinke, infin. (15); bote, old accus. of a fem. sb. (32); swich-e, plural (35); oft-e, adverbial (35); soft-e, with essential final e (A.S. sõfte); find-e, pres. pl. indic. (43); com-e, gerund (45) : gret-e, pl. (53); mak-e, infin. (56); rod-e, dat. form used as a new nom., of which there are many examples in Chaucer (57); blind-e, def. adj. (138). The endings -ed, en, es, usually form a distinct syllable ; so also -eth, which, however, occasionally becomes 'th; cf. comth (71). A few common words, written with final e, are monosyllabic; as thise (these); also shulde (should), and the like, occasionally. Remember that the old accent is frequently different from the modern; as in oracles,
in oracles, mirácles (11, 12): distaúnc-e (18), aventures, figúres (47, 48): povért (88): malicious (93): &c. The endings -i-al, -i-oun, i-ous, usually form two distinct syllables.
For further remarks on Metre and Grammar, see vol. v.
§ 7. IMITATIONS. The chief imitations of the House of Fame are The Temple of Glas, by Lydgate?; The Palice of Honour, by Gawain Douglas; The Garland of Laurell, by John Skelton; and
By this, I only mean that Lydgate seems to have been indebted to Chaucer for the general idea of his poem, and even for the title of it (cf. Ho. Fame, 120). For a full account of all its sources, see the admirable edition of Lydgate's Temple of Glas by Dr. J. Schick, p. cxv. (Early Eng. Text Society).
The Temple of Fame, by Pope. Pope's poem should not be compared with Chaucer's; it is very different in character, and is best appreciated by forgetting its origin.
§ 8. AUTHORITIES. The authorities for the text are few and poor; hence it is hardly possible to produce a thoroughly satisfactory text. There are three MSS. of the fifteenth century, viz. F. (Fairfax MS. 16, in the Bodleian Library); B. (MS. Bodley, 638, in the same); P. (MS. Pepys 2006, in Magdalene College, Cambridge). The last of these is imperfect, ending at 1. 1843. There are two early printed editions of some value, viz. Cx. (Caxton's edition, undated); and Th. (Thynne's edition, 1532). None of the later editions are of much value, except the critical edition by Hans Willert (Berlin, 1883). Of these, F. and B., which are much alike, form a first group; P. and Cx. form a second group; whilst Th. partly agrees with Cx., and partly with F. The text is chiefly from F., with collations of the other sources, as given in the footnotes, which record only the more important variations.
$ 9. SOME EMENDATIONS. In constructing the text, a good deal of emendation has been necessary; and I have adopted many hints from Willert's edition above mentioned; though perhaps I may be allowed to add that, in many cases, I had arrived at the same emendations independently, especially where they were obvious. Among the emendations in spelling, I may particularise misdemen (92), where all the authorities have mysdeme or misdeme ; Dispyt, in place of Dispyte (96); barfoot, for barefoot or barefote (98); proces (as in P.) for processe, as in the rest (251); delyt, profyt, for delyte, profyte (309, 310); sleighte for sleight (462); brighte ', sighte, for bright, sight (503, 504); wighte, highte, for wight, hight (739, 740); fyn, Delphyn (as in Cx.), for fyne, Delphyne (1005, 1006); magyk, syk, for magyke, syke (1269, 1270); losenges, for losynges (1317), and frenges (as in F.) for frynges, as in the rest (1318); dispyt for dispite (1716); laughe for laugh (Cx. lawhe, 1809); delyt for delyte (P. delit, 1831); thengyn (as in Th.) for thengyne (1934); othere for other (2151, footnote).
· Misprinted 'bright,' as the final e has ‘dropped out' at press ; of course it should be the adverbial form, with final e. In 1. 507, the form is 'brighte' again, where it is the plural adjective. And, owing to this repetition, MSS. F. and B. actually omit lines 504-7.
These are only a few of the instances where nearly all the authorities are at fault.
The above instances merely relate to questions of spelling. Still more serious are the defects in the MSS. and printed texts as regards the sense; but all instances of emendation are duly specified in the footnotes, and are frequently further discussed in the Notes at the end. Thus, in l. 329, it is necessary to supply 1. In 370, allas should be Eneas. In 513, Willert rightly puts selly, i. e. wonderful, for sely, blessed. In 557, the metre is easily restored, by reading so agast for agast so. In 621, we must read lyte is, not lytel is, if we want a rime to dytees. In 827, I restore the word mansioun; the usual readings are tautological. In 911, I restore toun for token, and adopt the only reading of 1.
912 that gives any sense. In 1007, the only possible reading is Atlantes. In 1044, Morris's edition has biten, correctly ; though MS. F. has beten, and there is no indication that a correction has been made. In 1114, the right word is site ; cf. the Treatise on the Astrolabe (see Note). In 1135, read bilt (i. e. buildeth); bilte gives neither sense nor rhythm. In 1173, supply be. Ll. 1177, 1178 have been set right by Willert. In 1189, the right word is Babewinnes!. In 1208, read Bret (as in B.). In 1233, read famous. In 1236, read Reyes?. In 1303, read hatte, i. e. are named. In 1351, read Fulle, not Fyne. In 1372, adopt the reading of Cx. Th. P., or there is no nominative to streighte; and in 1373, read wonderliche.
read tharmes (=the armes). In 1425, I supply and hy, to fill out the line. In 1483, I supply dan; if, however, poete is made trisyllabic, then l. 1499 should not contain daun. In 1494, for high the, read highte (as in l. 744). In 1527, for into read in. In 1570, read Up peyne. In 1666, 1701, and 1720, for werkes read werk. In 1702, read clew (see note)?. In 1717, lyen is an error for lyuen, i.e. live. In 1750, read To, not The. In 1775, supply ye; or there is no sense. In 1793, supply they for a like reason.
In 1804, 5, supply the, and al; for the scansion. In 1897, read
Morris has rabewyures, from MS. F.; but there is no such word in his Glossary. See the New E. Dictionary, s. v. Baboon.
Morris has Reues; but his Glossary has : ' Reues, or reyes, sb. a kind of dance. Of course it is plural.
3 Morris has clywe; and his Glossary has' Clywe, v. to turn or twist'; but no such verb is known. See Claw, v. $ 3, in the New E. Dict.
wiste, not wot. In 1940, hattes should be hottes; this emendation has been accepted by several scholars. In 1936, the right word is falwe, not salwe (as in Morris). In 1960, there should be no comma at the end of the line, as in most editions; and in 1961, 2 read werre, reste (not werres, restes). In 1975, mis and governement are distinct words. In 2017, frot' is an error for froyt; it is better to read fruit at once ; this correction is due to Koch. In 2021, suppress in after yaf. In 2049, for he read the other (Willert). In 2059, wondermost is all one word. In 2076, I read word; Morris reads mothe, but does not explain it, and it gives no sense. In 2156, I supply nevene.
I mention these as examples of necessary emendations of which the usual editions take no notice.
I also take occasion to draw attention to the careful articles on this poem by Dr. J. Koch, in Anglia, vol. vii. App. 24-30, and Englische Studien, xv. 409-415; and the remarks by Willert in Anglia, vii. App. 203-7. The best general account of the poem is that in Ten Brink's History of English Literature.
In conclusion, I add a few last words.'
L. 399. We learn, from Troil. i. 654, that Chaucer actually supposed Oënone' to have four syllables. This restores the metre. Read :-And Paris to Oënone.
503. Read 'brighte,' with final e ; bright' is a misprint. 859. Compare Cant. Tales, F 726.
1119. “To climbe hit,' i. e. to climb the rock; still a common idiom.
2115. Compare Cant. Tales, A 2078. Perhaps read 'wanie.'
· Morris has frot; but it does not appear in the Glossary.
§ 1. DATE OF THE POEM: A.D. 1385. The Legend of Good Women presents several points of peculiar, I might almost say of unique interest. It is the immediate precursor of the Canterbury Tales, and enables us to see how the poet was led on towards the composition of that immortal poem. This is easily seen, upon consideration of the date at which it was composed.
The question of the date has been well investigated by Ten Brink; but it may be observed beforehand that the allusion to the 'queen’in l. 496 has long ago been noticed, and it has been thence inferred, by Tyrwhitt, that the Prologue must have been written after 1382, the year when Richard II. married his first wife, the 'good queen Anne.' But Ten Brink's remarks enable us to look at the question much more closely.
He shows that Chaucer's work can be clearly divided into three chief periods, the chronology of which he presents in the following form
FIRST PERIOD. 1366 (at latest). The Romaunt of the Rose. 1369. The Book of the Duchesse. 1372. (end of the period).
I do not here endorse all Ten Brink's dates. I give his scheme for what it is worth, as it is certainly deserving of consideration.