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ADDENDA. - Geoffrey Chaucer, Notes to the Canterbury Tales (Works vol. 5) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. Vol. 5.
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Note: to vol. i. p. ix. I am informed that it appears, from a charter in the British Museum, that one Galfridus de Chaucere is a witness to a grant of land to Hatfield Broad Oak Priory, co. Essex, about 1300. This shews that the poet was not the first of his surname to bear the name of Geoffrey.
Rom. Rose, 923. Turke bowes, Turkish bows. The form Turke can hardly be right, as the adjective is required. The original copy probably had ‘Turkis,’ with the is written as a contraction; this would easily be misread as ‘Turke,’ i. e. as if the contraction stood for e. The French text has ars turquois, as the reader can see.
Cotgrave gives: ‘Arc turquois, the Turkish long-bow.’ But the Turkish long-bow was short, as compared with the English. Strutt speaks of his seeing the Turkish ambassador shoot; this was in the year 1800. ‘The bow he used was much shorter than those belonging to the English archers; and his arrows were of the bolt kind, with round heads made of wood’; Sports and Pastimes, bk. ii. c. i. § 17. Cf. ‘with bowes turkoys,’ Percy Folio MS., ed. Hales and Furnivall, ii. 458.
III. (Book of the Duchesse), 1318, 1319. The lines are:—
There can be no doubt that (as has been suggested by the Bishop of Oxford) these apparently otiose lines contain punning allusions to the whole subject of the poem. Long-castell (put for Lon-castell, or the castle on the Lune) was another name for Lancaster; compare the modern Lonsdale as a name for the valley of the Lune, and see Barbour’s Bruce, xvii. 285, 582. Whyte alludes to Blanche. Thus the former line expresses Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster.
In the second line, the riche hil refers to Richmond in Yorkshire; and the whole line expresses John, Earl of Richmond. John of Gaunt had been created Earl of Richmond (vol. i. p. xviii).
Boethius. For some corrections, see vol. ii. p. lxxix.
Troilus. For some corrections and additions, see vol. ii. pp. lxxix, lxxx.
For an Additional Note to Bk. iii. 674, see vol. ii. p. 506.
Legend of Good Women. For an Additional Note to ll. 1896–8, see vol. iii. p. lvi.
Vol. III. pp. 421, 422. Sources of the Prioresses Tale. It is tolerably clear that Chaucer really got the former part of this story from one of the Miracles of our Lady, by Gautier de Coinci or Coincy1 . And I have now little doubt that he adapted the latter part of it from another story in the same collection (and therefore in the same MS.), by the same author. It so happens that the latter story is printed in Bartsch and Horning’s collection in ‘La Langue et la Littérature Françaises’; Paris, 1887; col. 367. It is there entitled ‘De Clerico Sancte Virgini devoto, in cuius iam mortui ore flos inuentus est.’ It is rather a stupid and pointless story, to the following effect. There was a wicked cleric at Chartres, who gave himself up to all kinds of debauchery; but he had one merit. He never passed an image of Our Lady without kneeling down and saying a prayer. Some enemies killed him; and it was at once resolved to bury him in a ditch, as an outcast; and this was done. But Our Lady appeared to one of the chief clergy, and commanded that he should be buried again, in the holiest spot in the cemetery. When the body was recovered, it was found that the tongue of the corpse remained uncorrupted, being as red as a rose, and a miraculous flower was blossoming in his mouth. He was reburied in holy ground, with many tears from the pious. It was also observed that his tongue still slowly moved, as if endeavouring to sing the Virgin’s praises.
This is rather a clumsy assumption; for the tongue might have been trying to swear. Hence Chaucer gives it a real voice; and substitutes a small grain in place of the flower; probably because there was a well-known legend about the three grains found by Seth under Adam’s tongue (above, p. 180, note to l. 1852). Chaucer’s tale is really made up, with great skill, from a combination of these two poems by Gautier de Coinci; and it is highly remarkable that, in the Vernon MS., there is a version of the story which says that five roses were found in the child’s head; one in his mouth, two in his eyes, and two in his ears. In the Legend of Alphonsus of Lincoln (see vol. iii. p. 421), the child has a precious stone in place of a tongue; but this legend was composed in 1459, and was probably copied from Chaucer. I think it highly probable that Chaucer combined the two ‘Miracles’ himself; though of course some one else may have done it before him. In any case, it is worth while pointing out that we must combine the two stories by de Coinci, before we obtain the whole of Chaucer’s poem.
Vol. III. pp. 502, 503. The statement that the French treatise by Frère Lorens, entitled La Somme des Vices et des Vertus, ‘has never been printed,’ is incorrect. However, the book is scarce. Mr. Bradley tells me that there is a copy of it in the British Museum, printed by Anthoine Verard ‘sus le pont notre dame,’ Paris. It is undated, but it is said to have been printed in 1495.
The Canterbury Tales, and especially the Prologue, are so full of allusions and expressions that either require or invite illustrations, that no commentary upon them can be considered exhaustive. Consequently, those points only have, for the most part, been considered where the expressions used are for any reason difficult, obscure, or likely to be misunderstood; for it frequently happens that, by a change in meaning, the modern form or use of a word suggests a wrong impression.
A considerable number of words and phrases which occur in Chaucer have already been explained by me in the Notes to Piers the Plowman. Hence, in many cases, additional illustrations and references can easily be had by consulting the ‘Index to the Explanations in the Notes’ printed in P. Plowman, vol. iv. pp. 464–491.
The ‘Index of Books referred to in the Notes’ to the same, vol. iv. pp. 492–502, gives a long list of books, most of which are useful for the illustration of Chaucer also. I add here a few additional notes, taken almost at random, for two of which I am indebted to Professor Earle.
A. 30. Zupitza (Notes to Guy of Warwick, 855, p. 361) further illustrates this line. ‘There can be no doubt that the pp. goon is to be supplied.’ He quotes ‘to reste eode þa sunne,’ Layamon, 28328; ‘until the son was gon to rest,’ Iwaine, 3612, ed. Ritson (Met. Romances, i. 151); also from J. Grimm, Mythology, p. 702, who treats of the M. H. G. phrase ze reste gān.
A. 179. It is shown (vol. v. p. 22) that the simile about the fish out of water occurs in the Life of St. Anthony. Chaucer clearly took it from Jehan de Meung (or Jean de Meun); but the French poet probably took it from the Life of St. Anthony in the Legenda Aurea. We find it even in Caxton’s Golden Legende:—‘for lyke as fysshes that haue ben longe in the water whan they come in-to drye londe they muste dye, in lyke wyse the monkes that goon out of theyr cloystre or selles, yf they conuerse longe wyth seculiers they must nedes lose theyr holynesse and leue theyr good lyf.’
A. 387.With the beste, ‘as well as possible,’ but originally ‘among the best.’ So in Zupitza, notes to Guy of Warwick, l. 1496. He quotes Mätzner’s Grammatik, II. 2. 434; King Horn, 1326, knight with the beste; &c. Cf. with the furste, King Horn, 1119.
A. 467.She coude muche of wandring by the weye; i. e. she knew much which she had learnt through being so great a traveller.—J. Earle.
I have explained it above, p. 44, by—‘She knew much about travelling.’ The original will bear either interpretation; all depends upon the meaning of the word of.
A. 655. See Freeman, vol. v. p. 497, and his quotation from John of Salisbury, Ep. 146 (Giles, i. 260):—‘Erat, ut memini, genus hominum, qui in ecclesia Dei archidiaconorum censentur nomine, quibus vestra discretio omnem salutis viam querebatur esse praeclusam. Nam, ut dicere consuevistis, diligunt munera, sequuntur retributiones, ad injurias proni sunt, calumniis gaudent, peccata populi comedunt et bibunt, quibus vivitur ex rapto, ut non sit hospes ab hospite tutus.’—J. Earle. [From Freeman’s Hist. of the Norman Conquest, ed. 1867–79.]
Cf. the Somnours Tale; especially D. 1315, 1317, and the notes.
A. 1155. For par amour, see all the instances referred to in the Glossary. The fact that it sometimes means ‘with all affection,’ or ‘affectionately,’ is well illustrated by a passage in the Coventry Mysteries, p. 50, where it is put into the mouth of Abraham, when addressing Isaac. ‘Thu art my suete childe, and par amoure Ful wele in herte do I the loue.’
A. 1452.Seven yeer is an old proverbial expression for a long time; see Seven-year in Halliwell; P. Plowman, C. vii. 214, xi. 73; Zupitza’s notes to Guy of Warwick (l. 8667); &c. The curious thing is that Chaucer understood himself literally: ‘It fel that in the seventhe yeer, in May’; A. 1462.
A. 2749. Some further illustration of the word expulsive as a technical term may be found in old treatises. Thus Brunetto Latini, in his Livres dou Tresor, livre i. part iii. chap. 103, says that the four virtues which sustain life are the appetitive (due to the element of fire), the retentive (due to earth), the digestive (due to air), and the expulsive (due to water). Hence we have an appetite for food; we retain it; we digest it; and expel it. ‘L’aigue est froide et moiste, et fait la vertu expulsive, ce est qu’ele chace fuer la viande quant ele est cuite.’ Sir Thos. Elyot, Castel of Helth, 1539, p. 10, says there are three Powers, animal, spiritual, and natural. Of these, it is the natural power which ‘appetiteth, retayneth, digesteth, expelleth’; whereas it is the ‘power animall’ that ‘ordeyneth, discerneth, and composeth; that moueth by voluntarye mocyon,’ &c. Of the four ‘operations,’ he says that ‘expulsion [is] by colde and moyste.’ The whole of this sort of jargon is full of inconsistencies.
A. 3287.Do wey, i. e. take away. So also go wey occurs for ‘go away.’ See these phrases plentifully illustrated in Zupitza’s notes to Guy of Warwick, l. 3097.
B. 124. After all, this line is probably merely a reproduction from Le Roman de la Rose, l. 10438:—
‘Tu n’a pas geté ambesas.’
B. 1983. The phrase in toune is, as I have said, practically otiose, and means nothing, being merely introduced as a tag. So again in londe, in l. 2077. For further illustrations see Zupitza’s notes to Guy of Warwick, l. 5841.
B. 3917. A correspondent kindly reminds me that the story of Cyrus in Vincent of Beauvais came originally from Herodotus, who tells it, not of Cyrus, but of Polycrates of Samos; see Herodotus, bk. iii. capp. 124, 125. In Herodotus, the vision is seen by the daughter.
C. 406. In the long note at pp. 272–274, I have shewn that the sense is ‘though their souls go a-gathering blackberries,’ i. e. wander wherever they please. Mr. E. M. Spence suggests for comparison the well-known words of Falstaff (1 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 448):—‘Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries?’
C. 570. In the Accounts of Henry, Earl of Derby, on his return from Prussia in 1391, the following item occurs for March:—‘Et per manus eiusdem pro ij barrellis ferreres [vessels for carrying wine on horseback] vini de Lepe, viz. lj stope per ipsum emptis ibidem, ij nobles’; printed for the Camden Society, ed. L. Toulmin Smith, p. 95. Miss Toulmin Smith quotes from Henderson’s History of Wines, 1824, the note that Lepe wine is ‘a strong white wine of Spain,’ and that Lepe is ‘a small town on the sea-coast, between Ayamont and Palos, long celebrated for figs, raisins, and wine.’ Its position was favourable, as it is in the part of Andalucia nearest to England. See Lepe in Pinero’s Spanish Dictionary, ed. 1740.
D. 110. The word fore occurs also, but with the Southern spelling vore, in P. Plowman, C. vii. 118; on which see my note.
D. 325. At line 180 above (see the note), the Wife is plainly alluding to one of the passages in Le Roman de la Rose in which the Almageste is mentioned; and I have no doubt that she here refers to the other (l. 18772). For though the passage quoted by Jean de Meun, as from the Almagest, is really quite different, there is a general reference, in the context, to the idea of contentment:—
‘Car soffisance fait richece,’ &c.
And just below:—
‘Cil qui nous escrit l’Almageste.’
F. 226. Many examples are given in Godefroy of the use of Fr. maistre with the adjectival sense of ‘principal’ or ‘chief.’ Thus we find la mestre yglise, la mestre tor, la maistre rue, la maistre cité, la maistre tente. See Maister in the Glossarial Index.
F. 233. Tyrwhitt remarks that a ‘treatise on Perspective, under his name [i. e. of Aristotle], is mentioned by Vincent of Beauvais, in the thirteenth century (Speculum Historiale, lib. iii. c. 84):—“Extat etiam liber, qui dicitur Perspectiva Aristotelis.” ’ See the word Aristotle in Tyrwhitt’s Glossary to Chaucer.
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[1 ]Unluckily misprinted Poincy (vol. iii. p. 422).