« السابقةمتابعة »
“Men to walke togithers, twaine and twaine,
And every howse covered was with lead." &c.—Marsh, 1555. Two or three other differences were found, upon a second and closer examination, but with respect to these, one only excepted, it would be difficult to say on which side the change had taken place. In the case of that one, awhaped, stunned, as in Marsh, it is evident that the transcriber's
“ Copie, auld, mankit and mutillait," had failed him, and he made no bad guess in ay wepit, still wept, which he supplied. It may be a question whether another, Batallede, in the Douce MS., is the original word or changed. It is bretexed in Marsh. Another, engins, in Douce, is most likely the original word, which in Marsh has .been changed or glossed into great gonnes. One word alone may have been intentionally changed in the case of yates of zetten brasse ', molten or fused brass, which in Marsh are gates of shining brass.' The word occurs in Douglas as yett and zyt; but it is also in the Ormulum, 17418. It occurs as yetting in our poem, 1. 8175; and yettin of the gun' occurs in the Royal Chamberlain's Accounts, Scotland.
By some, Huchowne of the Aule Ryale may be considered only a myth or ghostly shade, while coolly appropriated as an English poet by others; although Wyntown designates him so as evidently to be recognized by his fellow countrymen and contemporary readers, and he eulogizes and defends his writings with an affectionate warmth and zeal by no means natural towards a Southron. Lydgate is not a myth, however; while most of the works ascribed to him, and especially his well-known Troy Book, are no myths either. Of the latter we know of five different MSS., from all of i which we have various extracts, and there are scores of others; while, in addition, there are two printed versions of the work, viz. those of Pynson and Marsh. There can be no doubt, then, of the solidity of our ground here, and, reasoning from the known to the unknown, may we not conclude that what has taken place in this
case, in the transcription of an English work into the Scottish form or dress, will not be very unlike what would take place, were the order reversed, in the transcription of a Scottish work into the English form or dress? Here we know our author, we know his language, and we see what changes a Scottish transcriber makes in the expression of it. Now, if so very few words be changed, if changed they be, with one exception, in such a lengthened specimen, may we not conclude that, in the case of a Scottish author's work transcribed by an Englishman or by Englishmen, there would be similar stability, so to speak, in its wording or language, whatever became of the spelling or external forms? If so, then we are warranted in concluding from the many undeniable Scottish words, &c., in the Morte Arthure, that it is the work of a Scottish man whose language has been externally disguised somewhat in spelling, or changed, if you will, by Midland forms, but which, for all that, still remains substantially the language of its original author. In this connection, we may give in an appendix five or six specimens, which will hear out our contention most satisfactorily.
We return, however, to the remarks of Sir F. Madden. After a very careful and repeated examination of the passage in Wyntown from which he quotes, we are more and more convinced of the correctness of his opinion, and that the Morte Arthure, copied by Thornton, and printed by the Society, is the Gret Gest of Arthure, the Gest Hystoriale and the Gest of Broyttys Auld Story, to which Wyntown was expressly alluding as the work of Huchowne of the Axle Ryale. The passage in Wyntown, Lib. V. cap. xii. 1. 251–362, thus begins :
" And quhen this Leo was Emperowre,
Kyng of Brettane wes Arthowre,
! We may indicate a few such examples here. M. A. 1. 276—282; 292, &c. ; 339—349; 360 ; 367 ; 377 ; 403; 468; 519–521; 526; 704, &c. ; 916, &c. &c.
And all the Ilys in the Se
Subject ware to his Powste :" &c.
“Qwene that the kynge Arthure by conqueste hade wonnyne
... He was prynce holdyne,
Fra Swynne unto Swether-wyke, with his swerde kene." It will be observed that, with one exception, and that more apparent than real, all the countries, provinces, &c., mentioned by Wyntown, occur in the Morte Arthure, and in such order or curious conjunction, that it is impossible this could have happened by chance or mere coincidence. The one passage must have been compiled from the other. Then follows mention by Wyntown of “The hawtane message til Arthure send, that wrythyn in the Brwte is kend.”
The passage in the Morte Arthure, l. 78, &c., in which the embassy of the Senator of Rome is described, was as certainly before Wyntown when he thus alluded to it in his chronicle. It is in this passage that we meet with the line,
“Sir Lucius Iberius, the Emperour of Rome”which Wyntown made the text of the defence of his own cunnandness, or accurate learning, and of the defence, not excuse, of Huchowne's “suthfastness or historical fidelity.
“ Had he cald Lucyus procurature,
That had mare grevyd the cadens,
Be the message that he send.” The old chronicler defends the propriety of this designation of Lucius as Emperor manifestly upon the ground that Imperator originally meant supreme leader, commander, or general of the Roman army, and even when the name was borne by the Cæsars and their successors, as Supreme Rulers of the Roman Empire, it continued to include this its original meaning, as referring to the most important of their powers and functions. In other words, Huchowne, according to Wyntown, applied the term Emperor to Lucius, as the best English equivalent of Imperator, and intended that it should have, not so much its later compound meaning of supreme magistrate and leader, as its simple original one of General. Or, if both functions of magistrate and general were to be included, then, in his case, most of the latter was indicated. Accordingly Wyntown says, “Ane Emperoure in propyrtè a Commawndoure suld callyd be.” &c.
In connection with this designation of Lucius as emperor by Huchowne, and Wyntown's defence of its propriety, it is most important to remark, that in the Destruction of Troy, when the Greeks “walit hom ”—chose Agamemnon as their leader, 1. 3670,
“ Thai ordant hym Emperourk by opyn assent." Almost invariably thereafter in the poem he is designated “Emperor.” When he resigns, 8927—8950, and Palamedes is chosen in his stead, in like manner,
“Palomydon for prise the pert kynges toke,
And ordant hym Emperour by oppyn assent,
The ost for to honour, and agh hym as lord.” At the death of Palamedes, slain by Paris with a poisoned arrow, the Greek lords again
“Grauntid Agamynon the gre for to have,
Ches hym for chieftain & chargit hymn therwith.” And when again spoken of by title, he is designated, as before,
Emperoure,” 9795. This almost invariable use of the term on the part of our author is not, and cannot be, a mere coincidence only. Is not this an undesigned proof that he and Huchowne are one and the same person? May not Wyntown, when defending Huchowne for his use of the term in the case of Lucius, have been well acquainted with our larger poem and its author, and so, with a most significant meaning and authority, have written,
“ Ane Emperour in propyrtè
A Coinmawndoure suld callyd be " ? The remaining portion of the passage in Wyntown that we have been discussing is mainly a general view or summary of contents of Huchowne's Gret Gest, concluding with Mordred's treason, Arthur's mortal wound, and the appointment and succession of Schyr Constantine, “hys awyne cusyne," as “king of Brettane hale." This summary, in the order of events, their conclusion, &c., remarkably coincides with the matters treated of in the Morte Arthure. Indeed, the whole passage I regard as just one continuous and convincing proof that the Morte Arthure of Thornton is the Gret Gest of Arthur. Wyntown, in this passage, begins at the same point and in the same way, and goes over the same ground as the Morte Arthure; he describes and criticizes the work, characterizes the author and his style in such a manner, and gives so accurate an idea of the whole, that I question if it would be easy or possible to produce a review, of the same compass or bulk, from our modern periodical press, that would be equally comprehensive, or that with equal effect would describe a work and equal correctness designate its author.
To conclude, the abundant internal evidence furnished by the language of the Morte Arthure, joined to that which we may gather from the passage of Wyntown, makes up a body of proof as to the nationality and authorship of the work, we think, conclusive and satisfactory. If this be so, then it must follow that in the Morte Arthure, the Pystil of Sweet Susane, and Sir Gawane and the Green Knight, as Sir F. Madden remarks, we have the three works mentioned by Wyntown as the productions of Huchowne. But more, in the Stately Poem we have another work of his, and it may be to that.work—the Destruction of Troy—that Wyntown refers in the line,