The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1989,
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The late 19th century Skeat edition with copious scholarly notes and a good introduction to the texts.
The text is in the public domain.
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§ 1. In the Third Edition of my volume of Chaucer Selections, containing the Prioress’s Tale, &c., published by the Clarendon Press in 1880, I included an essay to shew ‘why the Romaunt of the Rose is not Chaucer’s,’ meaning thereby the particular English version of Le Roman de la Rose which happens to be preserved. I have since seen reason to modify this opinion as regards a comparatively short portion of it at the beginning (here printed in large type), but the arguments then put forward remain as valid as ever as regards the main part of it (here printed in smaller type, and in double columns). Some of these arguments had been previously put forward by me in a letter to the Academy, Aug. 10, 1878, p. 143. I ought to add that the chief of them are not original, but borrowed from Mr. Henry Bradshaw, whose profound knowledge of all matters relating to Chaucer has been acknowledged by all students.
§ 2. That Chaucer translated the French poem called Le Roman de la Rose, or at least some part of it1, no one doubts; for he tells us so himself in the Prologue of his Legend of Good Women (A 255, B 329), and the very frequent references to it, in many of his poems, shew that many parts of it were familiarly known to him. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the particular version of it which happens to be preserved, is the very one which he made; for it was a poem familiar to many others besides him, and it is Edition: current; Page:  extremely probable that Middle English versions of it were numerous. In fact, it will presently appear that the English version printed in this volume actually consists of three separate fragments, all by different hands.
The English version, which I shall here, for brevity, call ‘the translation,’ has far less claim to be considered as Chaucer’s than unthinking people imagine. Modern readers find it included in many editions of his Works, and fancy that such a fact is conclusive; but it is the merest prudence to enquire how it came there. The answer is, that it first appeared in Thynne’s edition of 1532, a collection of Chaucer’s (supposed) works made more than a hundred and thirty years after his death. Such an attribution is obviously valueless; we must examine the matter for ourselves, and on independent grounds.
§ 3. A critical examination of the internal evidence at once shews that by far the larger part of ‘the translation’ cannot possibly be Chaucer’s; for the language of it contradicts most of his habits, and presents peculiarities such as we never find in his genuine poems. I shewed this in my ‘Essay’ by the use of several unfailing tests, the nature of which I shall explain presently. The only weak point in my argument was, that I then considered ‘the translation’ as being the production of one author, and thought it sufficient to draw my examples (as I unconsciously, for the most part, did) from the central portion of the whole.
§ 4. The next step in this investigation was made by Dr. Lindner. In a painstaking article printed in Englische Studien, xi. 163, he made it appear highly probable that at least two fragments of ‘the translation’ are by different hands. That there are two fragments, at least, is easily discerned; for after l. 5810 there is a great gap, equivalent to an omission of more than 5000 lines.
§ 5. Still more recently, Dr. Max Kaluza has pointed out that there is another distinct break in the poem near l. 1700. The style of translation, not to speak of its accuracy, is much better in the first 1700 lines than in the subsequent portions. We may notice, in particular, that the French word boutons is translated by knoppes in ll. 1675, 1683, 1685, 1691, 1702, whilst, in l. 1721 and subsequent passages, the same word is merely Englished by botoun or botouns. A closer study of the passage extending from l. 1702 to l. 1721 shews that there is a very marked break at the end of l. 1705. Here the French text has (ed. Méon, l. 1676):—Edition: current; Page: 
The English version has:—
It will be observed that the sentence in the two former lines is incomplete; dide is a mere auxiliary verb, and the real verb of the sentence is lost; whilst the two latter lines lead off with a new sentence altogether. It is still more interesting to observe that, at this very point, we come upon a false rime. The word aboute was then pronounced (abuu·tǝ), where (uu) denotes the sound of ou in soup, and (ǝ) denotes an obscure vowel, like the a in China. But the vowel o in swote was then pronounced like the German o in G. so (nearly E. o in so), so that it was quite unlike the M.E. ou; and the rime is no better than if we were to rime the mod. E. boot with the mod. E. goat. It is clear that there has been a join here, and a rather clumsy one. The supply of ‘copy’ of the first translation ran short, perhaps because the rest of it had been torn away and lost, and the missing matter was supplied from some other source. We thus obtain, as the result to be tested, the following arrangement:—
|Fragment A.—Lines 1-1705.||French text, 1-1678.|
|Fragment B.—Lines 1706-5810.||French text, 1679-5169.|
|Fragment C.—Lines 5811-7698.||French text, 10716-12564.|
It should be noted, further, that l. 7698 by no means reaches to the end. It merely corresponds to l. 12564 of the French text, leaving 9510 lines untouched towards the end, besides the gap of 5547 lines between Fragments B and C. In fact, the three fragments, conjointly, only represent 7018 lines of the original, leaving 15056 lines (more than double that number) wholly untranslated.
Test I.—Proportion of English to French.—As regards these fragments, one thing strikes us at once, viz. the much greater diffuseness of the translation in fragment B, as may be seen from the following table:—Edition: current; Page: 
|A.—||English, 1705 lines; French, 1678; as 101·6 to 100.|
|B.—||English, 4105 lines; French, 3491; as 117·5 to 100.|
|C.—||English, 1888 lines; French, 1849; as 102·1 to 100.|
Thus, in A and C, the translation runs nearly line for line; but in B, the translator employs, on an average, 11 lines and three-quarters for every 10 of the original.
§ 7. Test II.—Dialect.—But the striking characteristic of Fragment B is the use in it of a Northern dialect. That this is due to the author, and not merely to the scribe, is obvious from the employment of Northern forms in rimes, where any change would destroy the rime altogether. This may be called the Dialect-test. Examples abound, and I only mention some of the most striking.
1. Use of the Northern pres. part. in -and. In l. 2263, we have wel sittand (for wel sitting), riming with hand. In l. 2708, we have wel doand (for wel doing), riming with fand. Even fand is a Northern form. Chaucer uses fond, riming with hond (Cant. Ta. A 4116, 4221, &c.), lond (A 702, &c.); cf. the subj. form fond-e, riming with hond-e, lond-e, bond-e (B 3521).
2. In l. 1853, we have the rimes thar, mar (though miswritten thore, more in MS. G.), where the Chaucerian forms there, more, would not rime at all. These are well-known Northern forms, as in Barbour’s Bruce. So again, in l. 2215, we find mar, ar (though mar is written as more in MS. G.). In l. 2397, we find stat, hat; where hat is the Northern form of Chaucer’s hoot, adj., ‘hot.’ So also, in 5399, we have North. wat instead of Ch. wot or woot, riming with estat. In l. 5542, we find the Northern certis (in place of Chaucer’s certes), riming with is.
3. Chaucer (or his scribes) admit the use of the Northern til, in place of the Southern to, very sparingly; it occurs, e.g. in Cant. Ta. A 1478, before a vowel. But it never occurs after its case, nor at the end of a line. Yet, in fragment B, we twice find him til used finally, 4594, 4852.
4. The use of ado (for at do), in the sense of ‘to do,’ is also Northern; see the New E. Dict. It occurs in l. 5080, riming with go.
5. The dropping of the inflexional e, in the infin. mood or gerund, is also Northern. In fragment B, this is very common; as examples, take the rimes lyf, dryf, 1873; feet, lete (= leet), 1981; sit, flit, 2371; may, convay, 2427; may, assay, 453; set, get, 2615; spring, thing, 2627; ly, by, 2629; ly, erly, 2645; &c. The Chaucerian Edition: current; Page:  forms are dryv-e, let-e, flit-te, convey-e, assay-e, get-e, spring-e, ly-e. That the Northern forms are not due to the scribe, is obvious; for he usually avoids them where he can. Thus in l. 2309, he writes sitting instead of sittand; but in l. 2263, he could not avoid the form sittand, because of the rime.
§ 8. Test III.—The Riming of -y with -y-ë.—With two intentional exceptions (both in the ballad metre of Sir Thopas, see note to Cant. Ta. B 2092), Chaucer never allows such a word as trewely (which etymologically ends in -y) to rime with French substantives in -y-ë, such as fol-y-ë, Ielos-y-ë (Ital. follia, gelosia). But in fragment B, examples abound; e. g. I, malady(e)1, 1849; hastily, company(e), 1861; generally, vilany(e), 2179; worthy, curtesy(e), 2209; foly(e), by, 2493, 2521; curtesy(e), gladly, 2985; foly(e), utterly, 3171; foly(e), hastily, 3241; and many more.
This famous test, first proposed by Mr. Bradshaw, is a very simple but effective one; it separates the spurious from the genuine works of Chaucer with ease and certainty in all but a few cases, viz. cases wherein a spurious poem happens to satisfy the test; and these are rare indeed.
§ 9. Test IV.—Assonant rimes. Those who know nothing about the pronunciation of Middle English, and require an easy test, appreciable by any child who has a good ear, may observe this. Chaucer does not employ mere assonances, i. e. rimes in which only the vowel-sounds correspond. He does not rime take with shape, nor fame with lane. But the author of fragment B had no ear for this. He actually has such rimes as these: kepe, eke, 2125; shape, make, 2259; escape, make, 2753; take, scape, 3165; storm, corn, 4343; doun, tourn, 5469.
Other strange rimes.—Other rimes which occur here, but not in Chaucer, are these and others like them: aboute, swote, 1705 (already noticed); desyre, nere, 1785, 2441; thar (Ch. there), to-shar, 1857; Ioynt, queynt2, 2037; soon (Ch. son-e), doon, 2377; abrede, forweried, 2563; anney (Ch. annoy), awey, 2675; desyre, manere, 2779; Ioye, convoye (Ch. conveye), 2915, &c. It is needless to multiply instances.Edition: current; Page: 
§ 10. It would be easy to employ further tests; we might, for example, make a minute critical examination of the method in which the final -e is grammatically employed. But the results are always the same. We shall always find irrefragable proof that fragment B exhibits usages far different from those which occur in the undoubted works of Chaucer, and cannot possibly have proceeded from his pen. Repeated investigations, made by me during the past thirteen years, have always come round to this result, and it is not possible for future criticism to alter it.
Hence our first result is this. Fragment B, consisting of ll. 1706-5810 (4105 lines), containing more than fragments A and C together, and therefore more than half of ‘the translation,’ is not Chaucer’s, but was composed by an author who, to say the least, frequently employed Northern English forms and phrases. Moreover, his translation is too diffuse; and, though spirited, it is not always accurate.
I shall now speak of fragment C. The first noticeable point about it is, that it does not exhibit many of the peculiarities of B. There is nothing to indicate, with any certainty, a Northern origin, nor to connect it with B. In fact, we may readily conclude that B and C are by different authors. The sole question that remains, as far as we are now concerned, is this. Can we attribute it to Chaucer?
The answer, in this case, is not quite so easily given, because the differences between it and Chaucer’s genuine works are less glaring and obvious than in the case above. Nevertheless, we at once find some good reasons for refraining to attribute it to our author.
§ 12. Rime-tests.—If, for instance, we apply the simple but effective test of the rimes of words ending in -y with those ending in -y-e, we at once find that this fragment fails to satisfy the text.
Examples: covertly, Ipocrisy(e), 6112; company(e), outerly, 6301; loteby, company(e), 6339; why, tregetry(e), 6373; company(e), I, 6875; mekely, trechery(e), 7319. These six instances, in less than 1900 lines, ought to make us hesitate.
If we look a little more closely, we find other indications which should make us hesitate still more. At l. 5919, we find hors (horse) riming with wors (worse); but Chaucer rimes wors with curs (Cant. Ta. Edition: current; Page:  A 4349), and with pervers (Book Duch. 813). At l. 6045, we find fare, are; but Chaucer never uses are at the end of a line; he always uses been. At l. 6105, we find atte last, agast; but Chaucer only has atte last-e (which is never monosyllabic). At l. 6429, we find paci-ence, venge-aunce, a false rime which it would be libellous to attribute to Chaucer; and, at l. 6469, we find force, croce, which is still worse, and makes it doubtful whether it is worth while to go on. However, if we go a little further, we find the pl. form wrought riming with nought, 6565; but Chaucer usually has wrought-e, which would destroy the rime. This, however, is not decisive, since Chaucer has bisought for bisoughte, Cant. Ta. A. 4117, and brought for broughte, id. F. 1273. But when, at l. 6679, we find preched riming with teched, we feel at once that this is nothing in which Chaucer had a hand, for he certainly uses the form taughte (Prologue, 497), and as certainly does not invent such a form as praughte to rime with it. Another unpleasant feature is the use of the form Abstinaunce in l. 7483, to gain a rime to penaunce, whilst in l. 7505, only 22 lines lower down, we find Abstinence, to rime with sentence; but the original has similar variations.
§ 13. I will just mention, in conclusion, one more peculiarity to be found in fragment C. In the Cant. Tales, B 480 (and elsewhere), Chaucer uses such rimes as clerkes, derk is, and the like; but not very frequently. The author of fragment C was evidently much taken with this peculiarity, and gives us plenty of examples of it. Such are: requestis, honést is, 6039; places, place is, 6119; nede is, dedis, 6659; apert is, certis, 6799; chaieris, dere is, 6915; enquestes, honést is, 6977; prophetis, prophete is, 7093; ypocritis, spite is, 7253. Here are eight instances in less than 1900 lines. However, there are five examples (at ll. 19, 75, 387, 621, 1349) in the Hous of Fame, which contains 2158 lines in the same metre as our ‘translation’; and there are 19 instances in the Cant. Tales.
We should also notice that the character called Bialacoil throughout Fragment B is invariably called Fair-Welcoming in C.
We should also remark how Dr. Lindner (Engl. Studien, xi. 172) came to the conclusion that Chaucer certainly never wrote fragment C. As to the rest he doubted, and with some reason; for he had not before him the idea of splitting lines 1-5810 into two fragments.
§ 14. A consideration of the above-mentioned facts, and of others similar to them, leads us to our second result, which is this, Fragment C, containing 1888 lines, and corresponding to ll. 10716-12564 Edition: current; Page:  of the French original, is neither by the author of fragment B, nor by Chaucer, but is not so glaringly unlike Chaucer’s work as in the case of fragment B.
It remains to consider fragment A. The first test to apply is that of rimes in -y and -y-e; and, when we remember how indiscriminately these are used in fragments B and C, it is at least instructive to observe the perfect regularity with which they are employed in fragment A. The student who is unacquainted with the subtle distinctions which this test introduces, and who probably is, on that account, predisposed to ignore it, may learn something new by the mere perusal of the examples here given.
1. Words that should, etymologically, end in -y (and not in -y-e) are here found riming together, and never rime with a word of the other class.
Examples: covertly, openly, 19; redily, erly, 93; by, I, 111; bisily, redily, 143; by, I, 163; I, by, 207; povrely, courtepy1, 219; beggarly, by, 223; enemy, hardily, 269; awry2, baggingly, 291; certeinly, tenderly, 331; prively, sikerly, 371; redily, by, 379; Pope-holy, prively, 415; I, openly, 501; queyntely, fetisly, 569; fetisly, richely, 577; only, uncouthly, 583; I, namely, 595; sikerly, erthely, 647; lustily, semely, 747; parfitly, sotilly, 771; queyntely, prively, 783; fetisly, richely, 837; sotilly, I, 1119; enemy3, tristely, 1165; sotilly, therby, 1183; newely, by, 1205; fetisly, trewely, 1235; I, by, 1273; trewely, comunly, 1307; lustily, sikerly, 1319; merily, hastely, 1329; I, sikerly, 1549; I, craftely, 1567; openly, therby, 1585; diversely, verily, 1629; openly, by, 1637. Thirty-eight examples.
We here notice how frequently words in -ly rime together; but this peculiarity is Chaucerian; cf. semely, fetisly, C. T. prol. A 123, &c.
2. Words that, etymologically, should end in -y-e, rime together. These are of two sorts: (a) French substantives; and (b) words in -y, with an inflexional -e added.
Examples: (a) felony-e, vilany-e, 165; envy-e, masonry-e, 301; Edition: current; Page:  company-e, curtesy-e, 639; melody-e, reverdy-e, 719; curtesy-e, company-e, 957; vilany-e, felony-e, 977; envy-e, company-e, 1069; chivalry-e, maistry-e, 1207; villany-e, sukkeny-e, 1231; envye, Pavie, 1653.
(b) dy-e, infin. mood, dry-e, dissyllabic adj. (A. S. drȳge), 1565.
(a) and (b) mixed: melody-e, F. sb., dy-e, infin. mood, 675; espy-e, gerund, curtesy-e, F. sb., 795; hy-e, dat. adj., maistry-e, 841; dy-e, gerund, flatery-e, F. sb., 1063; curtesy-e, F. sb., hy-e, dat. case, pl. adj., 1251; dy-e, infin. mood, remedy-e, F. sb., 1479. Seventeen examples. (In all, fifty-five examples.)
Thus, in more than fifty cases, the Chaucerian habit is maintained, and there is no instance to the contrary. Even the least trained reader may now fairly begin to believe that there is some value in this proposed test, and may see one reason for supposing that fragment A may be genuine.
§ 16. A still closer examination of other rimes tends to confirm this. There are no Northern forms (as in B), no merely assonant rimes (as in B), nor any false or bad or un-Chaucerian rimes (as in both B and C), except such as can be accounted for. The last remark refers to the fact that the scribe or the printer of Thynne’s edition frequently misspells words so as to obscure the rime, whereas they rime perfectly when properly spelt; a fact which tells remarkably in favour of the possible genuineness of the fragment. Thus, at l. 29, Thynne prints befal, and at l. 30, al. Both forms are wrong; read befalle, alle. Here Thynne has, however, preserved the rime by making a double mistake; as in several other places. A more important instance is at l. 249, where the Glasgow MS. has farede, herede, a bad rime; but Thynne correctly has ferde, herde, as in Chaucer, Cant. Ta. A 1371. So again, at ll. 499, 673, where the Glasgow MS. is right (except in putting herd for herde in l. 673).
At l. 505, there is a false rime; but it is clearly due to a misreading, as explained in the notes. A similar difficulty, at l. 1341, is explicable in the same way.
§ 17. So far, there is no reason why fragment A may not be Chaucer’s; and the more closely we examine it, the more probable does this supposition become. Dr. Kaluza has noticed, for instance, that the style of translation in fragment A is distinctly better, clearer, and more accurate than in fragment B. I find also another significant fact, viz. that in my essay written to shew that ‘the translation’ is not Chaucer’s (written at a time when I unfortunately Edition: current; Page:  regarded the whole translation as being the work of one writer, a position which is no longer tenable), nearly all my arguments were drawn from certain peculiarities contained in fragments B and C, especially the former. I have therefore nothing, of any consequence, to retract; nor do I even now find that I made any serious mistake.
§ 18. The third result may, accordingly, be arrived at thus. Seeing that Chaucer really translated the ‘Roman de la Rose,’ and that three fragments of English translations have come down to us, of which two cannot be his, whilst the third may be, we may provisionally accept fragment A as genuine; and we find that, the more closely we examine it, the more probable does its genuineness become.
§ 19. Summary.—Having now discussed the three fragments A, B, C, successively and separately (though in a different order), we may conveniently sum up the three results as follows.
1. Fragment A appears to be a real portion of Chaucer’s own translation. Its occurrence, at the beginning, is, after all, just what we should expect. The scribe or editor would naturally follow it as far as it was extant; and when it failed, would as naturally piece it out with any other translation or translations to which he could gain access. This fragment ceases suddenly, at the end of l. 1705, in the middle of an incomplete sentence. The junction with the succeeding portion is clumsily managed, for it falsely assumes that the previous sentence is complete, and leads off with a false rime.
2. Fragment B is obviously from some other source, and is at once dissociated from both the other fragments by the facts (a) that it was originally written in a Northumbrian dialect, though this is somewhat concealed by the manipulation of the spelling by a later scribe; (b) that it was written in a more diffuse style, the matter being expanded to the extent, on an average, of nearly twelve lines to ten; (c) that many licences appear in the rimes, which sometimes degenerate into mere assonances; and (d) that it is less exact and less correct in its method of rendering the original.
3. After fragment B, there is a large gap in the story, more than 5000 lines of the original being missing. Hence Fragment C is from yet a third source, not much of which seems to have been accessible. It neither joins on to Fragment B, nor carries the story much further; and it comes to an end somewhat suddenly, at a point more than 9000 lines from the end of the original. It is, Edition: current; Page:  however, both more correct than Fragment B, and more in Chaucer’s style; though, at the same time, I cannot accept it as his.
§ 20. There is little that is surprising in this result. That translations of this then famous and popular French poem should have been attempted by many hands, is just what we should expect. At the same time, the enormous length of the original may very well have deterred even the most persevering of the translators from ever arriving at the far end of it. Chaucer’s translation was evidently the work of his younger years, and the frequent use which he made of the French poem in his later works may have made him careless of his own version, if indeed he ever finished it, which may be doubted. All this, however, is mere speculation, and all that concerns us now is the net result. It is clear, that, in the 1705 lines here printed in the larger type, we have recovered all of Chaucer’s work that we can ever hope to recover. With this we must needs rest satisfied, and it is a great gain to have even so much of it; the more so, when we remember how much reason there was to fear that the whole of Chaucer’s work was lost. It was not until Dr. Kaluza happily hit upon the resolution of lines 1-5810 into two fragments, that Chaucer’s portion was at last discovered.
In what has preceded, we have drawn our conclusions from the most helpful form of evidence—the internal evidence. It remains to look at the external form of the poem, and to enquire how it has come down to us.
The apparent sources are two, viz. Thynne’s edition of 1532 (reprinted in 1542, 1550, 1561, and at later dates), and a MS. in the Hunterian collection at Glasgow. But a very slight examination shews that these are nearly duplicate copies, both borrowed from one and the same original, which is now no longer extant. I shall denote these sources, for convenience, by the symbols Th., G., and O., meaning, respectively, Thynne, Glasgow MS., and the (lost) Original.
The resemblance of Th. and G. is very close; however, each sometimes corrects small faults in the other, and the collation of them is, on this account, frequently helpful. Both are remarkable for an extraordinary misarrangement of the material, in which respect they closely agree; and we are enabled, from this circumstance, Edition: current; Page:  to say, definitely, that the C-portion of O. (i. e. their common original) was written (doubtless on vellum) in quires containing 8 leaves (or 16 pages) each, there being, on an average, 24 lines upon every page. Of these quires, the fourth had its leaves transposed, by mistake, when the MS. was bound, in such a manner that the middle pair of leaves of this quire was displaced, so as to come next the two outer pair of leaves; and this displacement was never suspected till of late years, nor ever (so far as I am aware1) fully appreciated and explained till now2. This displacement of the material was first noticed in Bell’s edition, where the editor found it out by the simple process of comparing the English ‘translation’ with the French ‘Roman’; but he gives no account of how it came about. But a closer investigation is useful as showing how exactly ‘Th.’ and ‘G.’ agree in following an original displacement in ‘O.’, or rather in the still older MS. from which the C-portion of O. was copied.
In the fourth sheet (as said above), the pair of middle leaves, containing its 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th pages (G, H, I, K, with the contents recorded in note 2 below) was subtracted from the middle of the quire, and placed so that the 7th page (G) followed the 2nd (B), whilst at the same time, the 10th page (K) came to precede the 15th page (P). The resulting order of pages was, necessarily, A, B, G, H, C, D, E, F, L, M, N, O, I, K, P, Q; as is easily seen by help of a small paper model. And the resulting order of the lines was, accordingly, 6965-6988, 6989-7012, 7109-7133, 7134-7158, 7013-7036, 7037-60, 7061-84, 7085-7108, 7209-7232, 7233-7256, 7257-7280, 7281-7304, 7159-7183, 7184-7208, 7305-7328, 7329-7352; or, collecting the successive numbers, . . . -7012, 7109-7158, 7013-7108, 7209-7304, 7159-7208, 7305, &c. And this is precisely the order found, both in Th. and G.Edition: current; Page: 
We see further that the fourth and last quire of this C-portion of O. consisted of 7 leaves only, the rest being torn away. For 7 leaves containing 48 lines apiece give a total of 336 lines, which, added to 7352, make up 7688 lines; and, as 10 of the pages seem to have had 25 lines, we thus obtain 7698 lines as the number found in O.
The A-portion of O. was probably copied from a MS. containing usually 25 lines on a page, and occasionally 26. Four quires at 50 lines to the leaf give 32 × 50, or 1600 lines; and 2 leaves more give 100 lines, or 1700 lines in all. If 5 of the pages had 26 lines, we should thus make up the number, viz. 1705. Of the B-portion we can tell nothing, as we do not know how it was made to join on.
As O. was necessarily older than G., and G. is judged by experts1 to be hardly later than 1440, it is probable that O. was written out not much later than 1430; we cannot say how much earlier, if earlier it was.
§ 22. G. (the Glasgow MS.) is a well-written MS., on vellum; the size of each page being about 11 inches by 7½, with wide margins, especially at the bottom. Each page contains about 24 lines, and each quire contains 8 leaves. The first quire is imperfect, the 1st leaf (ll. 1-44) and the 8th (ll. 333-380) being lost. Nine other leaves are also lost, containing ll. 1387-1482, 2395-2442, 3595-3690, and 7385-7576; for the contents of which (as of the former two) Th. remains the sole authority. The date of the MS. is about 1440; and its class-mark is V. 3. 7.
It begins at l. 45—‘So mochel pris,’ &c. At the top of the first extant leaf is the name of Thomas Griggs, a former owner. On a slip of parchment at the beginning is a note by A. Askew (from whom Hunter bought the MS.) to this effect:—‘Tho. Martinus. Ex dono dom’ Iacobi Sturgeon de Bury scī Edmundi in agro Suffolc: Artis Chirurgicæ Periti. Nov. 9, 1720.’ It ends very abruptly in the following manner:—
The third of these lines is incorrect, and the fourth is corrupt and imperfect; moreover, Thynne’s copy gives four more lines after them. It would thus appear that G. was copied from O. at a later period than the MS. used by Thynne and now lost, viz. at a period when O. was somewhat damaged or torn at the end of its last page. A careful and exact copy of this MS. is now (in 1891) being printed for the Chaucer Society, edited by Dr. Kaluza.
§ 23. Th.—The version printed in Thynne’s edition, 1532, and reprinted in 1542, 1550, 1561, &c. The first four editions, at least, are very much alike. The particular edition at first used by me for constructing the present text is that which I call the edition of 1550. (It is really undated, but that is about the date of it.) Its variations from the earlier editions are trifling, and I afterwards reduced all the readings to the standard of the first edition (1532). The MS. used by Thynne was obviously a copy of ‘O.’, as explained above; and it shews indications of being copied at an earlier date than ‘G.’, i. e. before 1440. On the whole, ‘Th.’ appears to me more correct than ‘G.’, and I have found it very serviceable. We learn from it, for example, that the scribe of ‘G.’ frequently dropped the prefix y- in past participles, giving l. 890 in the form ‘For nought clad in silk was he,’ instead of y-clad. Cf. ll. 892, 897, 900, &c.; see the foot-notes.
‘Th.’ supplies the deficiencies in G., viz. ll. 1-44, 333-380, &c., as well as four lines at the end; and suggests numerous corrections.
§ 24. The various later reprints of the ‘Romaunt,’ as in Speght (1598) and other editions, are merely less correct copies of ‘Th.’, and are not worth consulting. The only exceptions are the editions by Bell and Morris. Bell’s text was the first for which ‘G.’ was consulted, and he follows the MS. as his general guide, filling up the deficiencies from Speght’s edition, which he describes as ‘corrupt and half-modernised.’ Why he chose Speght in preference to Thynne, he does not tell us. In consequence, he has left lines incomplete in a large number of instances, owing to putting too much faith in the MS., and neglecting the better printed sources. Thus, in l. 890, he gives us ‘clad’ instead of ‘y-clad’; where any of the printed texts would have set him right.
Morris’s edition is ‘printed from the unique MS. in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow’; but contains numerous corrections, apparently from Thynne. Thus, in l. 890, he reads ‘y-clad’; the y- being printed in italics to shew that it is not in the MS.
The present edition principally follows ‘G.’, but it has been collated with ‘Th.’ throughout. Besides this, a large number of spellings in Fragment A. have been slightly amended on definite principles, the rejected spellings being given in the footnotes, whenever they are of the slightest interest or importance. Silent alterations are changes such as i for y in king for kyng (l. 10), and whylom for whilom (in the same line), to distinguish vowel-length; the use of v for consonantal u in avisioun for auisioun (l. 9); the use of ee for (long) e in Iolitee for Iolite (l. 52) for the sake of clearness; and a few other alterations of the like kind, which make the text easier to read without at all affecting its accuracy. I have also altered the suffix -is into -es in such words as hertes for hertis (l. 76); and changed the suffixes -id and -ith into the more usual -ed and -eth, both of which are common in the MS., usually giving notice; and in other similar minute ways have made the text more like the usual texts of Chaucer in appearance. But in Fragments B and C such changes have been made more sparingly.
I have also corrected numerous absolute blunders, especially in the use of the final e. For example, in l. 125, I have no hesitation in printing wissh for wysshe, because the use of final e at the end of a strong past tense, in the first person singular, is obviously absurd. Owing to the care with which the two authorities, ‘G.’ and Th.’, have been collated, and my constant reference to the French original, I have no hesitation in saying that the present edition, if fairly judged, will be found to be more correct than its predecessors. For Dr. Kaluza’s help I am most grateful.
§ 26. For example, in l. 1188, all the editions have sarlynysh, there being no such word. It is an obvious error for Sarsinesshe (riming with fresshe); for the F. text has Sarrazinesche, i. e. Saracenic.
In l. 1201, the authorities and Bell have gousfaucoun, which Morris alters to gounfaucoun in his text, and to gownfaucoun in his glossary. But all of these are ‘ghost-words,’ i. e. non-existent. Seeing that the original has gonfanon, it is clear that Chaucer wrote gonfanoun, riming with renoun.
In l. 1379, late editions have lorey; in l. 1313, Bell has loreryes, which Morris alters to loreyes. There is no such word as lorey. Thynne has laurer, laurelles. Considering that loreres rimes with Edition: current; Page:  oliveres, it is obvious that the right forms are lorer and loreres (French, loriers); see laurer in Stratmann.
In l. 1420, where the authorities have veluet, the modern editions have velvet. But the u (also written ou) was at that time a vowel, and velu-et (or velou-et) was trisyllabic, as the rhythm shews. The modern velvet seems to have arisen from a mistake.
Several other restorations of the text are pointed out in the notes, and I need not say more about them here.
N.B. After l. 4658, the lines in Morris’s edition are misnumbered. His l. 4670 is really l. 4667; and so on. Also, 5700 is printed in the wrong place; and so is 6010; but without throwing out the numbering. Also, 6210 is only nine lines after 6200, throwing out the subsequent numbering, so that his l. 6220 is really 6216. At his l. 6232, 6231 is printed, and so counted; thus, his 6240 is really 6237. His 6380 is eleven lines after 6370, and is really 6378. After l. 7172, I insert two lines by translation, to fill up a slight gap. This makes his l. 7180 agree with my l. 7180, and brings his numbering right again.
For a few of the Notes, I am indebted to Bell’s edition; but most of the work in them is my own.
For some account of the famous French poem entitled ‘Le Roman de la Rose,’ see Morley’s English Writers, 1889, iv. 1. It was commenced by Guillaume de Lorris, born at Lorris, in the valley of the Loire, who wrote it at the age of five-and-twenty, probably between the years 1200 and 12301. He must have died young, as he left the poem incomplete, though it then extended to 4070 lines. It was continued, a little more than 40 years after Guillaume’s death, by Jean de Meun (or Meung), born (as he tells us) at Meung-sur-Loire, and surnamed le Clopinel (i. e. the hobbler, the lame). See, for these facts, the French text, ll. 10601, 10603, 10626. He added 18004 lines, so that the whole poem finally extended to the enormous length of 22074 lines.
Jean de Meun was a man of a very different temperament from his predecessor. Guillaume de Lorris merely planned a fanciful allegorical love-poem, in which the loved one was represented as a Rose in a beautiful garden, and the lover as one who desired Edition: current; Page:  to pluck it, but was hindered by various allegorical personages, such as Danger, Shame, Jealousy, and Fear, though assisted by others, such as Bel Accueil (Fair Reception), Frankness, Pity, and the like. But Jean de Meun took up the subject in a keener and more earnest spirit, inserting some powerful pieces of satire against the degraded state of many women of the day and against various corruptions of the church. This infused a newer life into the poem, and made it extremely popular and successful. We may look upon the former part, down to l. 4432 of the translation, as a pretty and courtly description of a fanciful dream, whilst the remaining portion intersperses with the general description many forcible remarks, of a satirical nature, on the manners of the time, and affords numerous specimens of the author’s erudition. Jean de Meun was the author of several other pieces, including a poem which he called his ‘Testament.’ He probably lived into the beginning of the fourteenth century, and died about 1318.
§ 28. Professor Morley gives a brief analysis of the whole poem, which will be found to be a useful guide through the labyrinth of this rambling poem. The chief points in it are the following.
The poet’s dream begins, after a brief introduction, with a description of allegorical personages, as seen painted on the outside of the walls of a garden, viz. Hate and Felony, Covetousness, &c.; ll. 147-474 of the translation.
We may next note a description of Idleness, the young girl who opens the door of the garden (531-599); of Sir Mirth (600-644); of the garden itself (645-732); again, of Sir Mirth, the lady Gladness, Cupid, or the God of Love, with his two bows and ten arrows, and his bachelor, named Sweet-looking (733-998). Next comes a company of dancers, such as Beauty, Riches, Largesse (Bounty), Frankness, Courtesy, and Idleness again (999-1308). The poet next describes the trees in the garden (1349-1408), and the wells in the same (1409-1454); especially the well of Narcissus, whose story is duly told (1455-1648). The Rose-tree (1649-1690). The Rose-bud (1691-1714).
At l. 1705, Fragment A ends.
§ 29. Just at this point, the descriptions cease for a while, and the action, so to speak, begins. The God of Love seeks to wound the poet, or lover, with his arrows, and succeeds in doing so; after which he calls upon the lover to yield himself up as a prisoner, which he does (1715-2086). Love locks up the lover’s heart, and gives him Edition: current; Page:  full instructions for his behaviour (2087-2950); after which Love vanishes (2951-2966). The Rose-tree is defended by a hedge; the lover seeks the assistance of Bialacoil or Belacoil (i. e. Fair-Reception), but is warned off by Danger, Wicked-Tongue, and Shame (2967-3166); and at last, Fair-Reception flees away (3167-3188). At this juncture, Reason comes to the lover, and gives him good advice; but he rejects it, and she leaves him to himself (3189-3334).
He now seeks the help of a Friend, and Danger allows him to come a little nearer, but tells him he must not pass within the hedge (3335-3498). Frankness and Pity now assist him, and he enters the garden, rejoined by Fair-Reception (3499-3626). The Rose appears more beautiful than ever, and the lover, aided by Venus, kisses it (3627-3772). This leads to trouble; Wicked-tongue and Jealousy raise opposition, Danger is reproved, and becomes more watchful than before (3773-4144). Jealousy builds a strong tower of stone, to guard the Rose-tree; the gates of the tower are guarded by Danger, Shame, Dread, and Wicked-tongue (4145-4276); and Fair-Reception is imprisoned within it (4277-4314). The lover mourns, and is inclined to despair (4315-4432).
§ 30. At this point, the work of G. de Lorris ceases, and Jean de Meun begins by echoing the word ‘despair,’ and declaring that he will have none of it. The lover reconsiders his position (4433-4614). Reason (in somewhat of a new character) revisits the lover, and again instructs him, declaring how love is made up of contrarieties, and discussing the folly of youth and the self-restraint of old-age (4615-5134). The lover again rejects Reason’s advice, who continues her argument, gives a definition of Friendship, and discusses the variability of Fortune (5135-5560), the value of Poverty (5561-5696), and the vanity of Covetousness (5697-5810).
§ 31. Here ends Fragment B, and a large gap occurs in the translation. The omitted portion of the French text continues the discourse of Reason, with examples from the stories of Virginia, Nero, and Crœsus, and references to the fall of Manfred (conquered by Charles of Anjou) and the fate of Conradin. But all this is wasted on the lover, whom Reason quits once more. The lover applies a second time to his Friend, who recommends bounty or bribery. Here Jean de Meun discourses on prodigality, on women who take presents, on the Age of Gold, and on jealous husbands, with much satire interspersed, and many allusions, as for example, to Penelope, Lucretia, Abelard, Hercules, and others.Edition: current; Page: 
At last Love pities the lover, and descends to help him; and, with the further assistance of Bounty, Honour, and other barons of Love’s court, proceeds to lay siege to the castle in which Jealousy has imprisoned Fair-Reception.
§ 32. Here begins Fragment C; in which the ranks of the besiegers are joined by other assistants of a doubtful and treacherous character, viz. False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence (5811-5876). Love discusses buying and selling, and the use of bounty and riches (5877-6016). Love’s Barons ask Love to take False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence into his service (6017-6057). Love consents, but bids False-Semblant confess his true character (6058-6081). False-Semblant replies by truly exposing his own hypocrisy, with keen attacks upon religious hypocrites (6082-7334). Love now begins the assault upon the castle of Jealousy (7335-7352). A digression follows, regarding the outward appearance of False-Semblant and Constrained-Abstinence (7353-7420). The assailants advance to the gate guarded by Wicked-Tongue, who is harangued by Constrained-Abstinence (7421-7605), and by False-Semblant (7606-7696). And here the English version ends.
The above sketch gives a sufficient notion of the general contents of the poem. Of course the lover is ultimately successful, and carries off the Rose in triumph.
§ 33. It deserves to be noted, in conclusion, that, as the three Fragments of the English version, all taken together, represent less than a third of the French poem, we must not be surprised to find, as we do, that Chaucer’s numerous allusions to, and citations from, the French poem, usually lie outside that part of it that happens to be translated. Still more often, they lie outside the part of it translated in Fragment A. Hence it seldom happens that we can compare his quotations with his own translation. In the chief instances where we can do so, we find that he has not repeated his own version verbatim, but has somewhat varied his expressions. I refer, in particular, to the Book of the Duchess, 284-6, as compared with Rom. Rose, 7-10; the same, 340-1, beside R.R., 130-1; the same, 410-2, beside R.R., 61-2; and the same, 419-426, 429-432, beside R.R., 1391-1403.
§ 34. In the present edition I have supplied the original French text, in the lower part of each page, as far as the end of Fragment A, where Chaucer’s work ends. This text is exactly copied from the edition by M. Méon, published at Paris in four volumes in Edition: current; Page:  18131. I omit, however, the occasional versified headings, which appear as summaries and are of no consequence. Throughout the notes I refer to the lines as numbered in this edition. The later edition by M. Michel is practically useless for the purpose of reference, as the numbering of the lines in it is strangely incorrect. For example, line 3408 is called 4008, and the whole number of lines is made out to be 22817, which is largely in excess of the truth.
Fragments B and C are printed in smaller type, to mark their distinction from Fragment A; and the corresponding French text is omitted, to save space.
§ 1. It has been usual, in editions of Chaucer’s Works, to mingle with those which he is known to have written, a heterogeneous jumble of poems by Gower, Lydgate, Hoccleve, Henrysoun, and various anonymous writers (some of quite late date), and then to accept a quotation from any one of them as being a quotation ‘from Chaucer.’ Some principle of selection is obviously desirable; and the first question that arises is, naturally, this: which of the Minor Poems are genuine? The list here given partly coincides with that adopted by Dr. Furnivall in the publications of the Chaucer Society. I have, however, added six, here numbered vi, xi, xii, xxi, xxii, and xxiii; my reasons for doing so are given below, where each poem is discussed separately. At the same time, I have omitted the poem entitled ‘The Mother of God,’ which is known to have been written by Hoccleve. The only known copy of it is in a MS. now in the library of the late Sir Thomas Phillipps, which contains sixteen poems, all of which are by the same hand, viz. that of Hoccleve. After all, it is only a translation; still, it is well and carefully written, and the imitation of Chaucer’s style is good. In determining which poems have the best right to be reckoned as Chaucer’s, we have to consider both the external and the internal evidence.
We will therefore consider, in the first place, the external evidence generally.Edition: current; Page: 
The most important evidence is that afforded by the poet himself. In an Introduction prefixed to the Man of Law’s Prologue (Cant. Tales, B 57), he says—
‘In youth he made of Ceys and Alcion’—
a story which is preserved at the beginning of the Book of the Duchesse.
In the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women (see vol. iii.), he refers to his translation of the Romaunce of the Rose, and to his Troilus; and, according to MS. Fairfax 16, ll. 417-423, he says—
The rest of the passage does not immediately concern us, excepting ll. 427, 428, where we find—
In the copy of the same Prologue, as extant in MS. Gg. 4. 27, in the Cambridge University Library, there are two additional lines, doubtless genuine, to this effect—
There is also a remarkable passage at the end of his Persones Tale, the genuineness of which has been doubted by some, but it appears in the MSS., and I do not know of any sound reason for rejecting it. According to the Ellesmere MS., he here mentions—‘the book of Troilus, the book also of Fame, the book of the xxv. Ladies1, the book of the Duchesse, the book of seint Valentynes day of the parlement of briddes . . . the book of the Leoun . . . and many a song,’ &c.
Besides this, in the House of Fame, l. 729, he mentions his own name, viz. ‘Geffrey.’ We thus may be quite certain as to the genuineness of this poem, the longest and most important of all the Minor Poems2, and we may at once add to the list the Book of Edition: current; Page:  the Duchesse, the next in order of length, and the Parliament of Foules, which is the third in the same order.
We also learn that he composed some poems which have not come down to us, concerning which a few words may be useful.
1. ‘Origines vpon the Maudeleyne’ must have been a translation from a piece attributed to Origen. In consequence, probably, of this remark of the poet, the old editions insert a piece called the ‘Lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine,’ which has no pretence to be considered Chaucer’s, and may be summarily dismissed. It is sufficient to notice that it contains a considerable number of rimes such as are never found in his genuine works, as, for example, the dissyllabic dy-e1 riming with why (st. 13); the plural adjective ken-e riming with y-ën, i. e. eyes, which would, with this Chaucerian pronunciation, be no rime at all (st. 19); and thirdly, disgised riming with rived, which is a mere assonance, and saves us from the trouble of further investigation (st. 25). See below, p. 37.
2. ‘The wrechede engendrynge of mankynde’ is obviously meant to describe a translation or imitation of the treatise by Pope Innocent III, entitled De Miseria Conditionis Humanae. The same treatise is referred to by Richard Rolle de Hampole, in his Pricke of Conscience, l. 498. It should be noted, however, that a few stanzas of this work have been preserved, by being incorporated (as quotations) in the Canterbury Tales, viz. in B 99-121, 421-7, 771-7, 925-31, 1135-8; cf. C 537-40, 551-2. See notes to these passages.
3. ‘The book of the Leoun,’ i. e. of the lion, was probably a translation of the poem called Le Dit du Lion by Machault; see the note to l. 1024 of the Book of the Duchesse in the present volume.
The next piece of evidence is that given in what is known as ‘Lydgate’s list.’ This is contained in a long passage in the prologue to his poem known as the ‘Fall of Princes,’ translated from the French version (by Laurens de Premierfait) of the Latin book by Boccaccio, entitled ‘De Casibus Virorum Illustrium2.’ In this Edition: current; Page:  Lydgate commends his ‘maister Chaucer,’ and mentions many of his works, as, e. g. Troilus and Creseide, the translation of Boethius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae, the treatise on the Astrolabe addressed to his ‘sonne that called was Lowys,’ the Legend of Good Women, and the Canterbury Tales. The whole passage is given in Morris’s edition of Chaucer, vol. i. pp. 79-81; but I shall only cite so much of it as refers to the Minor Poems, and I take the opportunity of doing so directly, from an undated black-letter edition published by John Wayland.
It is clear to me that Lydgate is, at first, simply repeating the information which we have already had upon Chaucer’s own authority; he begins by merely following Chaucer’s own language in the extracts above cited. Possibly he knew no more than we do of ‘Orygene vpon the Maudelayn,’ and of the ‘boke of the Lyon.’ At any rate, Edition: current; Page:  he tells us no more about them. Naturally, in speaking of the Minor Poems, we should expect to find him following, as regards the three chief poems, the order of length; that is, we should expect to find here a notice of (1) the House of Fame; (2) the Book of the Duchesse; and (3) the Parliament of Foules. We are naturally disposed to exclaim with Ten Brink (Studien, p. 152)—‘Why did he leave out the House of Fame?’ But we need not say with him, that ‘to this question I know of no answer.’ For it is perfectly clear to me, though I cannot find that any one else seems to have thought of it, that ‘Dant in English’ and ‘The House of Fame’ are one and the same poem, described in the same position and connexion. If anything about the House of Fame is clear at all, it is that (as Ten Brink so clearly points out, in his Studien, p. 89) the influence of Dante is more obvious in this poem than in any other. I would even go further and say that it is the only poem which owes its chief inspiration to Dante in the whole of English literature during, at least, the Middle-English period. There is absolutely nothing else to which such a name as ‘Dante in English’ can with any fitness be applied. The phrase ‘himselfe doth so expresse’ is rather dubious; but I take it to mean: ‘(I give it that name, for) he, i. e. Chaucer, expresses himself like Dante (therein).’ In any case, I refuse to take any other view until some competent critic will undertake to tell me, what poem of Chaucer’s, other than the House of Fame, can possibly be intended.
To which argument I have to add a second, viz. that Lydgate mentions the House of Fame in yet another way; for he refers to it at least three times, in clear terms, in other passages of the same poem, i. e. of the Fall of Princes.
Lydgate describes the Parliament of Foules in terms which clearly shew that he had read it. He also enables us to add to our list the Complaint of Anelida and the Complaint of Mars; for it is the latter poem which contains the story of the broche of Thebes. We have, accordingly, complete authority for the genuineness of the House of Fame and the four longest of the Minor Poems, which, as arranged in order of length, are these: The House of Fame (2158 lines); Book of the Duchesse (1334 lines); Parliament of Foules (699 lines); Anelida and Arcite (357 lines); and Complaint of Mars (298 lines). This gives us a total of 4846 lines, furnishing a very fair standard of comparison whereby to consider the claims to genuineness of other poems. Lydgate further tells us that Chaucer
The next best evidence is that afforded by notes in the existing MSS.; and here, in particular, we should first consider the remarks by Chaucer’s great admirer, John Shirley, who took considerable pains to copy out and preserve his poems, and is said by Stowe to have died Oct. 21, 1456, at the great age of ninety, so that he was born more than 30 years before Chaucer died. On his authority, we may attribute to Chaucer the A. B. C.; the Complaint to Pity; the Complaint of Mars (according to a heading in MS. T.); the Complaint of Anelida (according to a heading in MS. Addit. 16165); the Lines to Adam, called in MS. T. ‘Chauciers Wordes a. Geffrey vn-to Adam his owen scryveyne’; Fortune; Truth; Gentilesse; Lak of Stedfastnesse; the Compleint of Venus; and the Compleint to his Empty Purse. The MSS. due to Shirley are the Sion College MS., Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 20, Addit. 16165, Ashmole 59, Harl. 78, Harl. 2251, and Harl. 7333. See also § 23, p. 75.
The Fairfax MS. 16, a very fair MS. of the fifteenth century, contains several of the Minor Poems; and in this the name of Chaucer is written at the end of the poem on Truth and of the Compleint to his Purse; it also appears in the title of Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan; in that of Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton; in that of the Compleint of Chaucer to his empty Purse, and in that of ‘Proverbe of Chaucer.’Edition: current; Page: 
Again, the Pepys MS. no. 2006 attributes to Chaucer the A. B. C., the title there given being ‘Pryer a nostre Dame, per Chaucer’; as well as the Compleint to his Purse, the title being ‘La Compleint de Chaucer a sa Bourse Voide.’ It also has the title ‘Lenvoy de Chaucer a Scogan.’ See also p. 80, note 2.
The ‘Former Age’ is entitled ‘Chawcer vp-on this fyfte metur of the second book’ in the Cambridge MS. Ii. 3. 21; and at the end of the same poem is written ‘Finit etas prima. Chaucers’ in the Cambridge MS. Hh. 4. 12. The poem on Fortune is also marked ‘Causer’ in the former of these MSS.; indeed, these two poems practically belong to Chaucer’s translation of Boethius, though probably written at a somewhat later period. After all, the most striking testimony to their authenticity is the fact that, in MS. Ii. 3. 21, these two poems are inserted in the very midst of the prose text of ‘Boethius,’ between the fifth metre and the sixth prose of Book II.
The Cambridge MS. Gg. 4. 27, which contains an excellent copy of the Canterbury Tales, attributes to Chaucer the Parliament of Foules; and gives us the title ‘Litera directa de Scogon per G. C.’ Of course ‘G. C.’ is Geoffrey Chaucer.
From Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, p. 13, we learn that there is a verse translation of De Deguileville’s Pèlerinage do la Vie Humaine, attributed to Lydgate, in MS. Cotton, Vitellius C. XIII. (leaf 256), in which the ‘A. B. C.’ is distinctly attributed to Chaucer1.
The Balade ‘To Rosamounde’ is assigned to Chaucer in the unique copy of it in the Rawlinson MS. ‘A Compleint to his Lady’ is assigned to Chaucer in the only complete copy of it.
We ought also to assign some value to the manner in which the poems appear in the MS. copies. This can only be appreciated by inspection of the MSS. themselves. Any one who will look for himself at the copies of Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, Truth, and Against Women Inconstaunt in MS. Cotton, Cleop. D. 7, will see that the scribe clearly regarded the last of these as genuine, as well as the rest. And the same may be said of some other poems which are not absolutely marked with Chaucer’s name. This important Edition: current; Page:  argument is easily derided by those who cannot read MSS., but it remains valuable all the same.
At p. 116 of the same Trial Forewords is a description by Mr. Bradshaw of a very rare edition by Caxton of some of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. It contains: (1) Parliament of Foules; (2) a treatise by Scogan, in which Chaucer’s ‘Gentilesse’ is introduced; (3) a single stanza of 7 lines, beginning—‘Wyth empty honde men may no hawkes lure’; (4) Chaucer’s ‘Truth,’ entitled—‘The good counceyl of Chawcer’; (5) the poem on ‘Fortune’; and (6) part of Lenvoy to Scogan, viz. the first three stanzas. The volume is imperfect at the end. As to the article No. 3, it was probably included because the first line of it is quoted from l. 415 of the Wyf of Bathes Prologue (Cant. Ta. 5997, vol. iv. p. 332).
At p. 118 of the same is another description, also by Mr. Bradshaw, of a small quarto volume printed by Caxton, consisting of only ten leaves. It contains, according to him: (1) Anelida and Arcite, ll. 1-210; (2) The Compleint of Anelida, being the continuation of the former, ll. 211-350, where the poem ends; (3) The Compleint of Chaucer vnto his empty purse, with an Envoy headed—‘Thenuoye of Chaucer vnto the kynge’; (4) Three1 couplets, beginning—‘Whan feyth failleth in prestes sawes,’ and ending—‘Be brought to grete confusioun’; (5) Two couplets, beginning—‘Hit falleth for euery gentilman,’ and ending—‘And the soth in his presence’; (6) Two couplets, beginning—‘Hit cometh by kynde of gentil blode,’ and ending—‘The werk of wisedom berith witnes’; followed by—‘Et sic est finis.’ The last three articles only make fourteen lines in all, and are of little importance2.
The first collected edition of Chaucer’s Works is that edited by W. Thynne in 1532, but there were earlier editions of his separate poems. The best account of these is that which I here copy from a note on p. 70 of Furnivall’s edition of F. Thynne’s ‘Animaduersions vpon the Annotacions and Corrections of some imperfections of impressiones Edition: current; Page:  of Chaucer’s Workes’; published for the Chaucer Society in 1875.
Only one edition of Chaucer’s Works had been published before the date of Thynne’s, 1532, and that was Pynson’s in 1526, without a general title, but containing three parts, with separate signatures, and seemingly intended to sell separately; 1. the boke of Caunterbury tales; 2. the boke of Fame . . . with dyuers other of his workes [i. e. Assemble of Foules1, La Belle Dame2, Morall Prouerbes]; 3. the boke of Troylus and Cryseyde. But of separate works of Chaucer before 1532, the following had been published:—
Canterbury Tales. 1. Caxton, about 1477-8, from a poor MS.; 2. Caxton, ab. 1483, from a better MS.; 3. Pynson, ab. 1493; 4. Wynkyn de Worde, 1498; 5. Pynson, 1526.
Book of Fame. 1. Caxton, ab. 1483; 2. Pynson, 1526.
Troylus. 1. Caxton, ab. 1483; 2. Wynkyn de Worde, 1517; 3. Pyn son, 1526.
Parliament of Foules3. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8; 2. Pynson, 1526, 3. Wynkyn de Worde, 1530.
Gentilnesse3 (in Scogan’s poem). 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.
Truth3. (The good counceyl of chawcer.) 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.
Fortune3. (Balade of the vilage (sic) without peyntyng.) 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.
Envoy to Skogan3. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8 (all lost, after the third stanza).
Anelida and Arcyte4. 1. Caxton, ab. 1477-8.
Purse4. (The compleynt of Chaucer vnto his empty purse.) 1. Cax ton, ab. 1477-8.
Mars; Venus; Marriage (Lenvoy to Bukton). 1. Julian Notary, 1499-1502.
After Thynne’s first edition of the Works in 1532 (printed by Thomas Godfray), came his second in 1542 (for John Reynes and Wyllyam Bonham), to which he added ‘The Plowman’s Tale’ after the Parson’s Tale, i. e. at the end.Edition: current; Page: 
Then came a reprint for the booksellers (Wm. Bonham, R. Kele, T. Petit, Robert Toye), about 1550, which put the Plowman’s Tale before the Parson’s. This was followed by an edition in 1561 for the booksellers (Ihon Kyngston, Henry Bradsha, citizen and grocer of London, &c.), to which, when more than half printed, Stowe contributed some fresh pieces, the spurious Court of Love, Lydgate’s Sage of Thebes, and other poems. Next came Speght’s edition of 1598—on which William Thynne comments in his Animadversions—which added the spurious ‘Dreme,’ and ‘Flower and Leaf.’ This was followed by Speght’s second edition, in 1602, in which Francis Thynne helped him, and to which were added Chaucer’s ‘A. B. C.’, and the spurious ‘Jack Upland1.’ Jack Upland had been before printed, with Chaucer’s name on the title-page, about 1536-40 (London, J. Gough, no date, 8vo.).
In an Appendix to the Preface to Tyrwhitt’s edition of the Canterbury Tales, there is a similar account of the early editions of Chaucer, to which the reader may refer. He quotes the whole of Caxton’s preface to his second edition of the Canterbury Tales, shewing how Caxton reprinted the book because he had meanwhile come upon a more correct MS. than that which he had first followed.
If we now briefly consider all the earlier editions, we find that they may be thus tabulated.
Separate Works. Various editions before 1532; see the list above, on p. 28.
Collected Works. Pynson’s edition of 1526, containing only a portion, as above; La Belle Dame being spurious. Also the following:—
1. Ed. by Wm. Thynne; London, 1532. Folio. Pr. by Godfray.
2. Reprinted, with additional matter; London, 1542. Folio.
The chief addition is the spurious Plowman’s Tale.
3. Reprinted, with the matter rearranged; London, no date, about 1550. Folio. (Of this edition I possess a copy.)
Here the Plowman’s Tale is put before the Parson’s. Moreover, the three pieces numbered 66-68 below (p. 45), are inserted at the end of the Table of Contents.
4. Reprinted, with large additions by John Stowe. London, 1561. Folio. (See further below, p. 31). I possess a copy.Edition: current; Page: 
5. Reprinted, with additions and alterations by Thomas Speght; London, 1598. Folio.
Here, for the first time, appear ‘Chaucer’s Dream’ and ‘The Flower and the Leaf’; both are spurious.
6. Reprinted, with further additions and alterations by Thomas Speght; London, 1602. Folio.
Here, for the first time, appear the spurious Jack Upland1 and the genuine A. B. C.
7. Reprinted, with slight additions; London, 1687. Folio.
8. Reprinted, with additions and great alterations in spelling, by John Urry; London, 1721. Folio.
This edition is the worst that has appeared. It is not necessary for our purpose to enumerate the numerous later editions. An entirely new edition of the Canterbury Tales was produced by Thomas Tyrwhitt in 1775-8, in 5 vols., 8vo.; to which all later editions have been much indebted2.
The manner in which these editions were copied one from the other renders it no very difficult task to describe the whole contents of them accurately. The only important addition in the editions of 1542 and 1550 is the spurious Plowman’s Tale, which in no way concerns us. Again, the only important additional poems after 1561 are the spurious Chaucer’s Dream, The Flower and the Leaf, and the genuine A. B. C. The two representative editions are really those of 1532 and 1561. Now the edition of 1561 consists of two parts; the former consists of a reprint from former editions, and so differs but little from the edition of 1532; whilst the latter part consists of additional matter furnished by John Stowe. Hence a careful examination of the edition of 1561 is, practically, nearly sufficient to give us all the information which we need. I shall therefore give a complete table of the contents of this edition.
1. Caunterburie Tales. (The Prologue begins on a page with the signature a 2, the first quire of six leaves not being numbered; the Knightes Tale begins on a page with the signature b ii, and marked Fol. i. The spurious Plowman’s Tale precedes the Parson’s Tale.)
2. The Romaunt of the Rose2. Fol. cxvi.
3. Troilus and Creseide. Fol. cli., back.
4. The testament of Creseide. [By Robert Henryson.] Fol. cxciiii. Followed by its continuation, called The Complaint of Creseide; by the same.
5. The Legende of Good Women. Fol. cxcvij.
6. A goodlie balade of Chaucer; beginning—‘Mother of norture, best beloued of all.’ Fol. ccx.
7. Boecius de Consolatione Philosophie. Fol. ccx., back.
8. The dreame of Chaucer. [The Book of the Duchesse.] Fol. ccxliiii.
9. Begins—‘My master. &c. When of Christ our kyng.’ [Lenvoy to Buckton.] Fol. ccxliiii3.
10. The assemble of Foules. [Parlement of Foules.] Fol. ccxliiii., back.
11. The Floure of Curtesie, made by Ihon lidgate. Fol. ccxlviij. Followed by a Balade, which forms part of it.
12. How pyte is deed, etc. [Complaint unto Pite.] Fol. ccxlix., back.
13. La belle Dame sans Mercy. [By Sir R. Ros.] Fol. ccl.
14. Of Quene Annelida and false Arcite. Fol. cclv.
15. The assemble of ladies. Fol. ccxlvij.
16. The conclucions of the Astrolabie. Fol. cclxi.Edition: current; Page: 
17. The complaint of the blacke Knight. [By Lydgate; see p. 35, note 3.] Fol. cclxx.
18. A praise of Women. Begins—‘Al tho the lyste of women euill to speke.’ Fol. cclxxiii.1, back.
19. The House of Fame. Fol. cclxxiiij., back.
20. The Testament of Loue (in prose). Fol. cclxxxiiij., back.
21. The lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine. Fol. cccxviij.
22. The remedie of Loue. Fol. cccxxj., back.
23, 24. The complaint of Mars and Venus. Fol. cccxxiiij., back. (Printed as one poem; but there is a new title—The complaint of Venus—at the beginning of the latter.)
25. The letter of Cupide. [By Hoccleve; dated 1402.] Fol. cccxxvj., back.
26. A Ballade in commendacion of our Ladie. Fol. cccxxix. [By Lydgate; see p. 38.]
27. Ihon Gower vnto the noble King Henry the .iiij. Fol. cccxxx., back. [By Gower.]
28. A saiyng of dan Ihon. [By Lydgate.] Fol. cccxxxii., back2.
29. Yet of the same. [By Lydgate.] On the same page.
30. Balade de bon consail. Begins—If it be fall that God the list visite. (Only 7 lines.) On the same page.
31. Of the Cuckowe and the Nightingale. Fol. cccxxxiij. [By Hoccleve?]
32. Balade with Envoy (no title). Begins—‘O leude booke with thy foule rudenesse.’ Fol. cccxxxiiij., back.
33. Scogan, vnto the Lordes and Gentilmen of the Kinges house. (This poem, by H. Scogan, quotes Chaucer’s ‘Gentilesse’ in full.) Fol. cccxxxiiij., back.
34. Begins—‘Somtyme the worlde so stedfast was and stable.’ [Lak of Stedfastnesse.] Fol. cccxxxv., back.
35. Good counsail of Chaucer. [Truth.] Same page.
36. Balade of the village (sic) without paintyng. [Fortune.] Fol. cccxxxvj.
37. Begins—‘Tobroken been the statutes hie in heauen’; headed Lenuoye. [Lenvoy to Scogan.] Fol. cccxxxvj., back.
38. Poem in two stanzas of seven lines each. Begins—‘Go foorthe kyng, rule thee by Sapience.’ Same page.
39. Chaucer to his emptie purse. Same page.Edition: current; Page: 
40. A balade of good counseile translated out of Latin verses in-to Englishe, by Dan Ihon lidgat cleped the monke of Buri. Begins—‘COnsyder well euery circumstaunce.’ Fol. cccxxxvij.
41. A balade in the Praise and commendacion of master Geffray Chauser for his golden eloquence. (Only 7 lines.) Same leaf, back. [See p. 56.]
At the top of fol. cccxl. is the following remark:—
¶ Here foloweth certaine woorkes of Geffray Chauser, whiche hath not heretofore been printed, and are gathered and added to this booke by Ihon Stowe.
42. A balade made by Chaucer, teching what is gentilnes1. [Gentilesse.] Fol. cccxl.
43. A Prouerbe [read Prouerbs] agaynst couitise and negligence. [Proverbs.] Same page.
44. A balade which Chaucer made agaynst women vnconstaunt. Same page. [Certainly genuine, in my opinion; but here relegated to an Appendix, to appease such as cannot readily apprehend my reasons. Cf. p. 26.]
45. A balade which Chaucer made in the praise or rather dispraise, of women for their doublenes. [By Lydgate.] Begins—‘This world is full of variaunce.’ Same page.
46. This werke folowinge was compiled by Chaucer, and is caled the craft of louers. Fol. cccxli. [Written in 1448.]
47. A Balade. Begins—‘Of their nature they greatly them delite.’ Fol. cccxli., back. [Quotes from no. 56.]
48. The .x. Commaundementes of Loue. Fol. cccxlij.
49. The .ix. Ladies worthie. Fol. cccxlij., back.
50. [Virelai; no title.] Begins—‘Alone walkyng.’ Fol. cccxliij.
51. A Ballade. Begins—‘In the season of Feuerere when it was full colde.’ Same page.
52. A Ballade. Begins—‘O Mercifull and o merciable.’ Fol. cccxliij., back. [Made up of scraps from late poems; see p. 57.]
53. Here foloweth how Mercurie with Pallas, Venus and Minarua, appered to Paris of Troie, he slepyng by a fountain. Fol. cccxliiij.
54. A balade pleasaunte. Begins—‘I haue a Ladie where so she Edition: current; Page:  bee.’ Same page. At the end—‘Explicit the discriuyng of a faire Ladie.’
55. An other Balade. Begins—‘O Mossie Quince, hangyng by your stalke.’ Fol. cccxliiij., back.
56. A balade, warnyng men to beware of deceitptfnll women (sic). Begins—‘LOke well aboute ye that louers bee.’ Same page. [By Lydgate.]
57. These verses next folowing were compiled by Geffray Chauser, and in the writen copies foloweth at the ende of the complainte of petee. Begins—‘THe long nyghtes when euery [c]reature.’ [This is the ‘Compleint to his Lady,’ as I venture to call it.] Fol. cccxlv1.
58. A balade declaring that wemens chastite Doeth moche excel all treasure worldly. Begins—‘IN womanhede as auctours al write.’ Back of same leaf.
59. The Court of Loue. Begins—‘WIth temerous herte, and trembling hand of drede.’ Fol. cccxlviij.
60. Chaucers woordes vnto his owne Scriuener2. Fol. ccclv., back. At the end—Thus endeth the workes of Geffray Chaucer. (This is followed by 34 Latin verses, entitled Epitaphium Galfridi Chaucer, &c.)
61. The Storie of Thebes. [By Lydgate.] Fol. ccclvj.
Of the 41 pieces in Part I. of the above, we must of course accept as Chaucer’s the four poems entitled Canterbury Tales, Troilus, Legend of Good Women, and House of Fame; also the prose translation of Boethius, and the prose treatise on the Astrolabie. The remaining number of Minor Poems (excluding the Romaunt of the Rose) is 34; out of which number I accept the 13 numbered above with the numbers 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 23, 24, 33 (so far as it quotes Chaucer), 34, 35, 36, 37, and 39. Every one of these has already been shewn to be genuine on sufficient external evidence, and it is not likely that their genuineness will be doubted. In the present volume they Edition: current; Page:  appear, respectively, as nos. III, XVII, V, II, VII, IV, XVIII, XIV, XV, XIII, X, XVI, XIX. Of the remaining 21, several may be dismissed in a few words. No. 4 is well known to have been written by Robert Henryson. Nos. 11, 28, 29, and 40 are distinctly claimed for Lydgate in all the editions; and no. 27 is similarly claimed for Gower. No. 25 was written by Hoccleve1; and the last line gives the date—‘A thousande, foure hundred and seconde,’ i.e. 1402, or two years after Chaucer’s death. No. 13 is translated from Alain Chartier, who was only four years old when Chaucer died; see p. 28, note 2. Tyrwhitt remarks that, in MS. Harl. 372, this poem is expressly attributed to a Sir Richard Ros2. No one can suppose that no. 41 is by Chaucer, seeing that the first line is—‘Maister Geffray Chauser, that now lithe in graue.’ Mr. Bradshaw once assured me that no. 17 is ascribed, on MS. authority, to Lydgate; and no one who reads it with care can doubt that this is correct3. It is, in a measure, an imitation of the Book of the Duchesse; and it contains some interesting references to Chaucer, as in the lines—‘Of Arcite, or of him Palemoun,’ and ‘Of Thebes eke the false Arcite.’ No. 20, i. e. the Testament of Love, is in prose, and does not here concern us; still it is worth pointing out that it contains a passage (near the end) such as we cannot suppose that Chaucer would have written concerning himself4.
After thus removing from consideration nos. 4, 11, 13, 17, 20, 25, 27, 28, 29, 40, and 41, half of the remaining 21 pieces have been considered. The only ones left over for consideration are nos. 6, 15, 18, 21, 22, 26, 30, 31, 32, 38. As to no. 6, there is some Edition: current; Page:  external evidence in its favour, which will be duly considered; but as to the rest, there is absolutely nothing to connect them with Chaucer beyond their almost accidental appearance in an edition by Wm. Thynne, published in 1532, i. e. one hundred and thirty-two years after Chaucer’s death; and it has just been demonstrated that Thynne is obviously wrong in at least eleven instances, and that he wittingly and purposely chose to throw into his edition poems which he knew to have been written by Lydgate or by Gower! It is ridiculous to attach much importance to such testimony as this. And now let me discuss, as briefly as I can, the above-named poems separately.
6. A goodlie balade of Chaucer; begins—‘Mother of norture, best beloued of all’; printed in Morris’s edition, vi. 275; and in Bell’s edition, iii. 413. I have little to say against this poem; yet the rime of supposeth with riseth (st. 8) is somewhat startling. It is clearly addressed to a lady named Margaret1, as appears from her being likened to the daisy, and called the sun’s daughter. I suspect it was merely attributed to Chaucer by association with the opening lines of the Legend of Good Women. The suggestion, in Bell’s Chaucer, that it possibly refers to the Countess of Pembroke, is one of those bad guesses which are discreditable. Tyrwhitt shews, in note n to his ‘Appendix to the Preface,’ that she must have died not later than 1370, whereas this Balade must be much later than that date; and I agree with him in supposing that le Dit de la fleur de lis et de la Marguerite, by Guillaume de Machault (printed in Tarbé’s edition, 1849, p. 123), and the Dittié de la flour de la Margherite, by Froissart, may furnish us with the true key to those mystical compliments which Chaucer and others were accustomed to pay to the daisy.
I wish to add that I am convinced that one stanza, probably the sixth is missing. It ought to form a triple Balade, i. e. three Balades of 21 lines each, each with its own refrain; but the second is imperfect. There seems to be some affectation about the letters beginning the stanzas which I cannot solve; these are M, M, M (probably for Margaret) in the first Balade; D, D in the second; and J, C, Q in the third. The poet goes out of his way to bring in these letters. The result looks like Margaret de Jacques; but this guess does not help us.Edition: current; Page: 
The poem is rather artificial, especially in such inversions as It receyve, Cauteles whoso useth, and Quaketh my penne; these things are not in Chaucer’s manner. In the second stanza there is a faulty rime; for we there find shal, smal, answering to the dissyllabic rimes alle, calle, appalle, befalle, in stanzas 1 and 3. Lydgate has: ‘My pen quake,’ &c.; Troy Book, ch. x., fol. F2, back.
15. The assemble of Ladies. This poem Tyrwhitt decisively rejects. There is absolutely nothing to connect it with Chaucer. It purports to have been written by ‘a gentlewoman’; and perhaps it was. It ends with the rime of done, pp., with sone (soon); which in Chaucer are spelt doon and son-e respectively, and never rime. Most of the later editions omit this poem. It is conveniently printed in Chalmers’ English Poets, vol. i. p. 526; and consists of 108 7-line stanzas. For further remarks, see notes on The Flower and the Leaf (p. 44).
At p. 203 of the Ryme-Index to Chaucer’s Minor Poems (Chaucer Society), I have printed a Ryme-Index to this poem, shewing that the number of non-Chaucerian rimes in it is about 60.
18. A praise of Women. In no way connected with Chaucer. Rejected by Tyrwhitt. Printed in Bell’s edition, iv. 416, and in Chalmers’ English Poets, vol. i. p. 344; also in Morris’s Aldine edition, vol. vi. p. 278. In twenty-five 7-line stanzas. The rime of lie (to tell a lie) with sie (I saw), in st. 20, is suspicious; Chaucer has ly-e, sy. The rime of queen-e (usually dissyllabic in Chaucer) with beene (miswritten for been, they be, st. 23) is also suspicious. It contains the adjective sere, i. e. various (st. 11), which Chaucer never uses.
21. The lamentacion of Marie Magdaleine. Printed in Bell’s Chaucer, iv. 395; and in Chalmers, i. 532. Tyrwhitt’s remarks are admirable. He says, in his Glossary, s. v. Origenes:—‘In the list of Chaucer’s Works, in Legend of Good Women, l. 427, he says of himself:—
meaning, I suppose, a translation, into prose or verse, of the Homily de Maria Magdalena, which has been commonly, though falsely, attributed to Origen; v. Opp. Origenis, T. ii. p. 291, ed. Paris, 1604. I cannot believe that the poem entitled The Lamentation of Marie Magdaleine, which is in all the [older] editions of Chaucer, is really that work of his. It can hardly be considered as a translation, or even as an imitation, of the Homily; and the composition, in every Edition: current; Page:  respect, is infinitely meaner than the worst of his genuine pieces. To those who are interested in Chaucer’s rimes I will merely point out the following: die, why (Ch. dy-e, why); kene, iyen (Ch. ken-e, y-ën); disguised, to-rived, a mere assonance; crie, incessauntly (Ch. cry-ë, incessauntly); slaine, paine (Ch. slein, pein-e); y-fet, let (Ch. y-fet, let-te); accept, bewept (Ch. accept-e, bewept); die, mihi (Ch. dy-e, mihi). To those interested in Chaucer’s language, let me point out ‘dogges rabiate’—‘embesile his presence’—‘my woful herte is inflamed so huge’—‘my soveraine and very gentilman.’ See st. 34, 39, 54, 99.
22. The remedie of Loue. Printed in Chalmers’ British Poets, i. 539. In sixty-two 7-line stanzas. Rejected by Tyrwhitt. The language is extremely late; it seems to have been written in the 16th century. It contains such words as incongruitie, deduction, allective, can’t (for cannot), scribable (fit for writing on), olibane, pant, babé (baby), cokold (which Chaucer spells cokewold), ortographie, ethimologie, ethimologise (verb). The provincial word lait, to search for, is well known to belong to the Northern dialect. Dr. Murray, s. v. allective, dates this piece about a.d. 1560; but it must be somewhat earlier than this, as it was printed in 1532. I should date it about 1530.
26. A Ballade in commendacion of our Ladie. Tyrwhitt remarks that ‘a poem with the same beginning is ascribed to Lydgate, under the title of Invocation to our Lady; see Tanner, s. v. Lydgate.’ The poem consists of thirty-five 7-line stanzas. It has all the marks of Lydgate’s style, and imitates Chaucer’s language. Thus the line—‘I have none English conuenient and digne’ is an echo of the Man of Law’s Tale, l. 778—‘O Donegild, I ne haue noon English digne.’ Some of the lines imitate Chaucer’s A. B. C. But the most remarkable thing is his quotation of the first line of Chaucer’s Merciless Beauty, which he applies to the Virgin Mary! See note to that poem, l. 1.
A poem called an ‘Invocation to our Lady’ is ascribed to Lydgate in MS. Ashmole 59, fol. 39, back. It agrees with the present Ballade; which settles the question.
30. Balade de bon consail. Not in previous editions. Printed in Chalmers, i. 552. Only 7 lines, and here they are, duly edited:—
In l. 1, ed. 1561 has the; 2. aduersite; 3. Thanke; lorde; I supply fond, i.e. endeavour; thy-selfe; 4. (scans ill); 5. Founde; 6. Make.
31. Of the Cuckowe and the Nightingale. Printed in Bell’s Chaucer, iv. 334; and in Morris’s Chaucer, iv. 75. Not uncommon in MSS.; there is a copy in MS. Ff. 1. 6 in the Cambridge University Library; another in MS. Fairfax 16; another in MS. Bodley 638; another in MS. Tanner 346; and a fifth (imperfect) in MS. Arch. Selden B. 24, in the Bodleian Library. A sixth is in MS. Harl. 7333, in the British Museum. From some of these, Morris’s better text was constructed; see his edition, pref. p. ix.
It is worth a note, by the way, that it is not the same poem as one entitled The Nightingale, extant in MS. no. 203 in Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and in MS. Cotton, Calig. A. ii., fol. 59, and attributed to Lydgate.
That the first two lines are by Chaucer, we cannot doubt, for they are quoted from the Knightes Tale, ll. 927, 928. Chaucer often quotes his own lines, but it is not likely that he would take them as the subject of a new poem. On the other hand, this is just what we should expect one of his imitators to do. The present poem is a very fair imitation of Chaucer’s style, and follows his peculiarities of metre far more closely than is usually the case with Lydgate. The notion, near the end, of holding a parliament of birds, with the Eagle for lord, is evidently borrowed from Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules. Whilst admitting that the present poem is more worthy of Chaucer than most of the others with which it has been proposed to burden his reputation, I can see no sufficient reason for connecting him with it; and the external evidence connects it, in fact, with Hoccleve. For the copy in MS. Bodley 638 calls it ‘The boke of Cupide god of loue,’ at fol. 11, back; whilst Hoccleve’s Letter of Cupid is called ‘The lettre of Cupide god of loue’ in the same, fol. 38, back. The copy in the Fairfax MS. ends with the colophon—Explicit liber Cupidinis. The rimes are mostly Chaucerian; but the rime of day with the gerund to assay-e in st. 11 is suspicious; so also is that of now with the gerund to rescow-e in st. 46. In st. 13, grene rimes with been, whereas gren-e, in Chaucer, is always dissyllabic. Chaucer’s biographers have been anxious to father this poem upon him, merely because it mentions Woodstock in l. 285.
One point about this poem is its very peculiar metre; the 5-line stanza, riming a a b b a, is certainly rare. If the question arises, whence Edition: current; Page:  is it copied, the answer is clear, viz. from Chaucer’s Envoy to his Compleint to his Purse. This is a further reason for dating it later than 1399.
32. Balade with envoy; ‘O leude book,’ &c. Printed in Bell’s Chaucer, iv. 347, and in Morris’s Chaucer, iv. 85, as if it were part of The Cuckoo and the Nightingale; but obviously unconnected with it. A Balade in the usual form, viz. three 7-line stanzas, with a refrain; the refrain is—‘For of all good she is the best living.’ The envoy consists of only six lines, instead of seven, rimed a b a b c c, and that for a sufficient reason, which has not been hitherto observed. The initial letters of the lines form, in fact, an anagram on the name Alison; which is therefore the name of the lady to whom the Balade is addressed. There is a copy of this poem in MS. Fairfax 16, and another in MS. Tanner 346. It is therefore as old as the 15th century. But to attribute to Chaucer the fourth line of the Envoy seems hazardous. It runs thus—‘Suspiries whiche I effunde in silence.’ Perhaps it is Hoccleve’s.
38. Poem in two 7-line stanzas. There is nothing to connect this with Chaucer; and it is utterly unworthy of him. I now quote the whole poem, just as it stands in the edition of 1561:—
In l. 7, ed. 1532 has almesse instead of almose. Surely it must be Lydgate’s. Many of his poems exhibit similar catalogues, if I may so term them.
I have now gone through all the poems published in 1532 and copied into the later editions (with the exception of nos. 66-68, for which see p. 45); and I see no way of augmenting the list of Chaucer’s Minor Poems any further from this source.
It is hardly worth while to discuss at length all the poems which it pleased John Stowe to fling together into the edition of 1561. But a few remarks may be useful.
Nos. 42, 43, and 60 are admittedly genuine; and are printed below, nos. XIV., XX., and VIII. I believe nos. 44 and 57 to be so also1; they are discussed below, and are printed as nos. XXI. and VI. No. 61 is, of course, Lydgate’s. Besides this, no. 45 is correctly ascribed to Lydgate in the MSS.; there are copies of it in MS. Fairfax 16 and in MS. Ashmole 59. No. 56 is also Lydgate’s, and is so marked in MS. Harl. 2251. As to no. 46, called the Craft of Lovers, it is dated by help of two lines in the last stanza, which are thus printed by Stowe:—
This seems to give the date as 1348; whereas the language is palpably that of the fifteenth century. Whether Stowe or his printer thought fit to alter the date intentionally, I cannot say. Still, the fact is, that in the MS. marked R. 3. 19 in Trinity College Library, at fol. 156, the reading is ‘CCCCXL & VIII yere,’ so that the true date is rather 1448, or nearly half a century after Chaucer’s death2. The same MS., which I suppose belonged to Stowe, contains several other of these pieces, viz. nos. 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, and perhaps others. The language and, in some cases, the ruggedness of the metre, forbid us to suppose that Chaucer can have had anything to do with them, and some are palpably of a much later date; one or more of these considerations at once exclude all the rest of Stowe’s additions. It may, however, be noted that no. 47 quotes the line ‘Beware alwaye, the blind eats many a fly,’ which occurs as a refrain in no. 56, and it is therefore later than the time of Lydgate. The author of no. 48 says he is ‘a man vnknowne. Many lines in no. 49 are of abnormal length; it begins with—‘Profulgent in preciousnes, O Sinope the queen.’ The same is true of no. 51, which is addressed to a Margaret, and begins with—‘In the season of Feuerere when it was full colde.’ Of no. 52, Edition: current; Page:  Tyrwhitt says that the four first stanzas are found in different parts of an imperfect poem upon the Fall of Man, in MS. Harl. 2251; whilst the 11th stanza makes part of an Envoy, which in the same MS. is annexed to the poem entitled the Craft of Lovers. No. 53 is a poor affair. No. 54, called a Balade Pleasaunte, is very unpleasant and scurrilous, and alludes to the wedding of ‘queene Iane1’ as a circumstance that happened many years ago. No. 55 is scurrilous, odious, and stupid. I doubt if no. 58 is good enough for Lydgate. No. 59 belongs to the sixteenth century.
All the poems here rejected were rejected by Tyrwhitt, with two strange exceptions, viz. nos 50 and 59, the Virelai and the Court of Love. Of both of these, the language is quite late. The Virelai is interesting from a metrical point of view, because such poems are scarce; the only similar poem that I can call to mind is the Balet (or rather Virelai) composed by Lord Rivers during his imprisonment in 1483, and printed by Percy in his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. Percy says that Lord Rivers copies the Virelai mentioned above, which he assumes to be Chaucer’s; but it is quite as likely that the copying was in the other direction, and that Lord Rivers copied some genuine Virelai (either Chaucer’s or in French) that is now lost2. The final rime of end with find is bad enough; but the supposition that the language is of the 14th century is ridiculous. Still the Virelai is good in its way, though it can hardly be older than 1500, and may be still later.
Of all poems that have been falsely ascribed to Chaucer, I know of none more amazing than The Court of Love. The language is palpably that of the 16th century, and there are absolutely no examples of the occurrence in it of a final -e that is fully pronounced, and forms a syllable! Yet there are critics who lose their heads over it, and will not give it up. Tyrwhitt says—‘I am induced by the internal evidence (!) to consider it as one of Chaucer’s genuine productions.’ As if the ‘internal evidence’ of a poem containing no sonant final -e is not enough to condemn it at once. The original MS. copy exists in MS. R. 3. 19 in Trinity College, and the writing is later than 1500. The poem itself has all the smoothness of the Tudor period3; it excels the style of Hawes, and would do credit Edition: current; Page:  to Sackville. One reference is too interesting to be passed over. In the second stanza, the poet regrets that he has neither the eloquence of Tully, the power of Virgil, nor the ‘craft of Galfride.’ Tyrwhitt explains Galfride as ‘Geoffrey of Monmouth,’ though it is difficult to understand on what ground he could have been here thought of. Bell’s ‘Chaucer’ explains Galfride as ‘Geoffrey of Vinsauf,’ which is still more curious; for Geoffrey of Vinsauf is the very Gaufride whom Chaucer holds up to eternal ridicule in the Nonne Prestes Tale (l. 526).
I have no doubt at all that the Galfrid here referred to is no other than Geoffrey Chaucer, who was called, indifferently, Galfrid or Geoffrey. This appears from the testimony of Lydgate, who speaks, in his ‘Troy-book,’ of ‘Noble Galfryde, chefe Poete of Brytayne,’ and again, of ‘My mayster Galfride’; see Lydgate’s Siege of Troye, bk. ii. ch. 15, and bk. iii. ch. 25; ed. 1557, fol. K 2, col. 1, and fol. R 2, back, col. 2. Hence we are not surprised to find that the author makes frequent reference to Chaucer’s Works, viz. to Anelida (l. 235), the Death of Pity (701), Troilus (872), the Legend of Good Women (104, 873), and the Parl. of Foules (near the end). The two allusions to the Legend of Good Women at once make the poem later than 1385; and in fact, it must be quite a century later than that date. There are more than 70 rimes that differ from those employed by Chaucer. The Poet introduces to our notice personages named Philogenet, Philobone, and Rosial. Of these, at least the two former savour of the time of the Renaissance; for, although Chaucer uses the name Philostrate in the Knightes Tale (A 1428, 1558, 1728), he merely copies this name from Boccaccio; and it is amusing to find that Boccaccio himself did not understand it1.
We have now to consider the additions made by Speght in 1598. These were only two, viz. Chaucer’s Dream and The Flower and the Leaf.Edition: current; Page: 
62. Chaucer’s Dream. A long poem of 2206 short lines, in metre similar to that of The House of Fame; accepted by Tyrwhitt, and in all the editions. But there is no early trace of it; and we are not bound to accept as Chaucer’s a poem first ascribed to him in 1598, and of which the MS. (at Longleat) was written about 1550. The language is of late date, and the sonant final -e is decidedly scarce. The poem is badly named, and may have been so named by Speght; the proper title is ‘The Isle of Ladies.’ We find such rimes as be, companie (Ch. be, company-e); know, low, i.e. law (Ch. know-e, law-e); grene, yene, i.e. eyes (Ch. gren-e, y-ën); plesaunce, fesaunce (Ch. plesaunc-e, fesaunts); ywis, kisse (Ch. ywis, kis-se); and when we come to destroied riming with conclude, it is time to stop. The tediousness of this poem is appalling1.
63. The Flower and the Leaf. This is rather a pretty poem, in 7-line stanzas. The language is that of the fifteenth century. It professes to be written by a gentlewoman, like the Assemble of Ladies; and perhaps it was2. Very likely, the same ‘gentlewoman’ wrote both these poems. If so, the Flower and the Leaf is the better finished, and probably the later of the two. It contains the word henchman, for which the earliest dated quotation which I have yet found is 1415 (Royal Wills, ed. Nichols, p. 220). An interesting reference is given in the lines—
The order of the Garter was established in 1349; and we should expect that more than half a century would elapse before it would be natural to refer to the Knights as old knights, who did worthily in their time. Of course the poem cannot be Chaucer’s, and it is hardly necessary to look for rimes such as he never uses; yet such may easily be found, such as grew, pt. t. sing., riming with the dissyllabic hew-e, new-e; sid-e with espide, pp. (Ch. espy-ed); eie, eye Edition: current; Page:  (Ch. y-ë) with sie, saw (Ch. sy); and pleasure1 with desire; after which we may stop.
In 1602, Speght issued another edition, in which, according to Bohn’s edition of Lowndes’ Bibliographer’s Manual, two more pieces were added, viz. the prose treatise against Friars called Jack Upland, and the genuine poem entitled ‘A. B. C.’ But this is not all; for I find, in a still later edition, that of 1687, which is said to be a ‘reimpression of Speght’s edition of 1602,’ that, at the very end of all the prefatory matter, on what was probably a spare blank leaf, three more poems appear, which might as well have been consigned to oblivion. But the editors of Chaucer evidently thought that a thing once added must be added for ever, and so these three productions are retained in Bell’s Chaucer, and must therefore be noticed with the rest. I find, however, that they had been printed previously, viz. at the end of the Table of Contents in ed. 1542 and ed. 1550, where they are introduced quite casually, without a word of explanation. Moreover, they are copied from MS. Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 15, a MS. which also contains the Canterbury Tales; and no doubt, this fact suggested their insertion. See Todd’s Illustrations of Chaucer, p. 120.
64. Jack Upland. An invective against friars, in prose, worth printing, but obviously not Chaucer’s.
65. Chaucer’s A. B. C. Genuine; here printed as poem no. I.
66. Eight goodly questions with their answers; printed in Bell’s Chaucer, vol. iv. p. 421; nine 7-line stanzas. In st. 3, tree rimes with profer; but tree is an obvious misprint for cofer! In st. 5, the gerund to lie (Ch. ly-e) rimes with honestie (Ch. honestee). This is quite enough to condemn it. But it may be Lydgate’s.
67. To the Kings most noble Grace, and to the Lords and Knights of the Garter; pr. as above, p. 424; eight 8-line stanzas. In MS. Phillipps 8151, and written by Hoccleve; it much resembles his poem printed in Anglia, v. 23. The date may be 1416. The ‘King’ is Henry V.
68. Sayings. Really three separate pieces. They are all found on the fly-leaf of the small quarto edition of Caxton, described above, p. 27. When Caxton printed Chaucer’s Anelida and Purse on a quire of ten leaves, it so happened that he only filled up nine of them. But, after adding explicit at the bottom of the ninth leaf, to shew that he had come to the end of his Chaucer, he thought it a Edition: current; Page:  pity to waste space, and so added three popular sayings on the front of leaf 10, leaving the back of it still blank. Here is what he printed:—
The first of these sayings was probably a bit of popular rime, of the character quoted in Shakespeare’s King Lear, iii. 2. 81. Shakespeare calls his lines Merlin’s prophecy; and it has pleased the editors of Chaucer to call the first six lines Chaucer’s Prophecy1. They appear in Bell’s Chaucer, vol. iii. p. 427, in an ‘improved’ form, not worth discussing; and the last eight lines are also printed in the same, vol. iv. p. 426. Why they are separated, is mysterious. Those who think them genuine may thank me for giving them Caxton’s spelling instead of Speght’s.
In Morris’s edition are some pieces which either do not appear in previous editions, or were first printed later than 1700.
69. Roundel; pr. in vol. vi. p. 304. The same as Merciless Beaute; here printed as no. XI. It first appeared, however, in Percy’s Reliques of English Poetry. See p. 80 below.
70. The Former Age; pr. in vol. vi. p. 300, for the first time. Here printed as no IX. See p. 78.
71. Prosperity; pr. in vol. vi. p. 296, for the first time. This is taken from MS. Arch. Selden B. 24, fol. 119, where it follows Edition: current; Page:  Chaucer’s Poem on ‘Truth.’ It has but one stanza of eight lines, and I here give it precisely as it stands in this Scottish MS.:—
I have no belief in the genuineness of this piece, though it is not ill written. In general, the ascription of a piece to Chaucer in a MS. is valuable. But the scribe of this particular MS. was reckless. It is he who made the mistake of marking Hoccleve’s ‘Mother of God’ with the misleading remark—‘Explicit oracio Galfridi Chaucere.’ At fol. 119, back, he gives us a poem beginning ‘Deuise prowes and eke humylitee’ in seven 7-line stanzas, and here again at the end is the absurd remark—‘Quod Chaucer quhen he was rycht auisit.’ But he was himself quite ‘wrongly advised’; for it is plainly not Chaucer’s at all. His next feat is to mark Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Black Knight by saying—‘Here endith the Maying and disporte of Chaucere’; which shews how the editors were misled as to this poem. Nor is this all; for he gives us, at fol. 137, back, another poem in six 8-line stanzas, beginning ‘O hie Emperice and quene celestial’; and here again at the end is his stupid—‘Quod Chaucere.’ The date of this MS. appears to be 1472; so it is of no high authority; and, unless we make some verbal alteration, we shall have to explain how Chaucer came to write oftsiss in two syllables instead of ofte sythe in four; see his Can. Yem. Tale, Group G, l. 1031.
72. Leaulte vault Richesse; pr. in vol. vi. p. 302, for the first time. This is from the same MS., fol. 138, and is as follows:—
On this poem, I have three remarks to make. The first is that not even the reckless Scottish scribe attributes it to Chaucer. The second is that Chaucer’s forms are content and lent without a final e, and repent-e and rent-e with a final -e, so that the poem cannot be his; although content, repent, rent, and lent rime well enough in the Northern dialect. The third is that if I could be sure that the above lines were by a well-known author, I should at once ascribe them to King James I., who might very well have written these and the lines called Prosperity above. It is somewhat of a coincidence that the very MS. here discussed is that in which the unique copy of the Kingis Quair is preserved.
73. Proverbs of Chaucer; printed in vol. vi. p. 303. The first eight lines are genuine; here printed as no. XX. But two 7-line stanzas are added, which are spurious. In MS. Addit. 16165, Shirley tells us that they were ‘made by Halsham Esquyer’; but they seem to be Lydgate’s, unless he added to them. See Lydgate’s Minor Poems (Percy Soc. 1840), pp. 193 and 74. And see pp. 52, 57.
It thus appears that, of the 73 pieces formerly attributed to Chaucer, not more than 26, and a part of a 27th, can be genuine. These are: Canterbury Tales, Troilus, Legend of Good Women, House of Fame, about a quarter of The Romaunt of the Rose, the Minor Poems printed in the present volume and numbered I-XI, XIII-XXI, and two pieces in prose.
After the preceding somewhat tedious, but necessary discussion of the contents of the black-letter and other editions (in many of which poems were as recklessly attributed to Chaucer as medieval proverbs used to be to King Solomon), it is some relief to turn to the manuscripts, which usually afford much better texts, and are altogether more trustworthy.
The following is a list of the MSS. which have been followed. I must here acknowledge my great debt to Dr. Furnivall, whose excellent, careful, and exact reproduction in print of the various MSS. leaves nothing to be desired, and is a great boon to all Chaucer scholars. They are nearly all1 printed among the Chaucer Edition: current; Page:  Society’s publications. At the same time, I desire to say that I have myself consulted most of the MSS., and have thus gleaned a few hints which could hardly have been otherwise acquired; it was by this process that I became acquainted with the poems numbered XXII. and XXIII., which are probably genuine, and with the poem numbered XII., which is certainly so. An editor should always look at the MSS. for himself, if he can possibly contrive to do so.
N.B. The roman numbers following the name of each MS. denote the numbers of the poems in the present edition.
A.—Ashmole 59, Bodleian Library (Shirley’s).—X. XIV. XVIII.
Ad.—Addit. 16165, British Museum.—VII. XX. XXIII.
Add.—Addit. 22139, British Museum.—XIII. XIV. XV. XIX.
Ar.—Arch. Selden B. 24, Bodleian Library.—IV. V. XIII. XVIII.
Arch.—Arch. Selden B. 10, Bodleian Library.—X. XIII.
At.—Addit. 10340, British Museum.—XIII.
B.—Bodley 638 (Oxford).—I. II. III. V. VII. X. XXII.
Bannatyne MS. 1568, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.—XV.
Bedford MS. (Bedford Library).—I.
C.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ff. 5. 30.—I.
Corpus.—Corpus Chr. Coll., Oxford, 203.—XIII.
Ct.—Cotton, Cleopatra D. 7; Brit. Mus.—XIII. XIV. XV. XXI.
Cx.—Caxton’s editions; see above (p. 27).—V. VII. X. XIII. XIV. XVI. (part); XIX.
D.—Digby 181, Bodleian Library.—V. VII.
E.—Ellesmere MS. (also has the Cant. Tales).—XIII.
ed. 1561.—Stowe’s edition, 1561.—VI. VIII. XX. XXI., &c.
F.—Fairfax 16, Bodleian Library.—I. II. III. IV. V. VII. X. XIII. (two copies); XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. XIX. XX. XXI. XXII.
Ff.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ef. 1. 6.—II. V. VII. (part); XVIII. XIX.
Gg.1—Cambridge Univ. Library, Gg. 4. 27.—I. V. XIII. XVI.
Gl.—Glasgow, Hunterian Museum, Q. 2. 25.—I.
H.—Harleian 2251, Brit. Mus.—I. X. XIV. XIX.Edition: current; Page: 
Ha.—Harleian 7578, Brit. Mus.—I. II. XIV. XV. XX. XXI.
Harl.—Harleian 7333, Brit. Mus.—IV. V. VII. XIII. XIV. XV. XIX. XXII.
Harleian 78, Brit. Mus. (Shirley’s). See Sh. below.
Harleian 372, Brit. Mus.—VII.
Hat.—Hatton 73, Bodleian Library.—XIII. XV.
Hh.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Hh. 4. 12.—V (part); IX.
I.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ii. 3. 21.—IX. X.
Jo.—St. John’s College, Cambridge, G. 21.—I.
Ju.—Julian Notary’s edition (see p. 28).—IV. XVII. XVIII.
Kk.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Kk. 1. 5.—XIII.
L.—Laud 740, Bodleian Library.—I.
Lansdowne 699, Brit. Mus.—X. XIII.
Laud.—Laud 416, Bodleian Library.—V (part).
Lt.—Longleat MS. 258 (Marquis of Bath).—II. IV. V. VII.
O.—St. John’s College, Oxford (no. lvii.); fol. 22, bk.—V.
P.—Pepys 2006, Magd. Coll., Cambridge.—I. (two copies); IV V. VII (part); X. XI. XIII. XVI. XVIII. (two copies); XIX.
Ph.—Phillipps 9053 (Cheltenham).—II. VI. VII. (part); XIX.
Phil.—Phillipps 8299 (Cheltenham).—XIII.
R.—Rawlinson Poet. 163, Bodleian Library.—XII.
Sh.—Shirley’s MS. Harl. 78, Brit. Mus.—II. VI.
Sion College MS. (Shirley’s).—I.
T.—Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 3. 20.—IV. VII (part); VIII. X. XIII. (two copies); XIV. XV. XVIII.
Th.—W. Thynne’s edition, 1532.—III. XV. XVII., &c.
Tn.—Tanner 346, Bodleian Library.—II. III. IV. V. VII. XVIII.
Trin.—Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 3. 19.—II. V.
Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 14. 51.—XIV. XV.
Conversely, I here give a list of the Poems in the present volume, shewing from which MSS. each one is derived. I mention first the MSS. of most importance. I also note the number of lines in each piece.
II. Pite (119).—Tn. F. B. Sh. Ff. Trin.; also Ha. Lt. Ph.
III. Duchess (1334).—F. Tn. B. Th.
IV. Mars (298).—F. Tn. Ju. Harl. T. Ar.; also P.1 Lt.Edition: current; Page: 
V. Parl. Foules (699).—F. Gg. Trin. Cx. Harl. O. Ff. Tn. D.; also Ar. B. Lt. P.; Hh. (365 lines); Laud (142 lines).
VI. Compleint to his Lady (133).—Ph. Sh.; ed. 1561.
VII. Anelida (357).—Harl. F. Tn. D. Cx.; also B. Lt. Ad.; Harl. 372; partly in T. Ff. P. Ph.
VIII. Lines to Adam (7).—T.; ed. 1561.
IX. Former Age (64).—I. Hh.
X. Fortune (79).—I. A. T. F. B. H.; also P. Cx.; Arch.; Lansd. 699.
XI. Merciless Beaute (39).—P.
XII. To Rosemounde (24).—R.
XIV. Gentilesse (21).—A. T. Harl. Ct. Ha. Add. Cx; also H. and Trinity.
XV. Lak of Stedfastnesse (28).—Harl. T. Ct. F. Add.; also Th. Ha.; Hat., Trinity, and Bannatyne.
XVI. To Scogan (49).—Gg. F. P.; also Cx. (21 lines).
XVII. To Bukton (32).—F. Th.; also Ju.
XVIII. Venus (82).—T. A. Tn. F. Ff.; also Ar. Ju. P.3
XIX. Purse (26).—F. Harl. Ff. P. Add.; also H. Cx. Ph.
XX. Proverbs (8).—F. Ha. Ad.; ed. 1561.
XXI. Against Women Unconstaunt (21).—Ct. F. Ha.; ed. 1561.
XXII. An Amorous Complaint (91).—Harl. F. B.
XXIII. Balade of Complaint (21).—Ad.
Some of these MSS. deserve a few special remarks.
Shirley’s MSS. are—A. Ad. H. Harl. Sh. Sion, and T.
MSS. in Scottish spelling are—Ar. Bannatyne. Kk.; L. shews Northern tendencies.
F. (Fairfax 16) is a valuable MS.; not only does it contain as many as sixteen of these Minor Poems, but it is a fairly written MS. of the fifteenth century. The spelling does not very materially Edition: current; Page:  differ from that of such an excellent MS. as the Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales, excepting in the fact that a great number of final e’s are added in wrong places, and are dropped where they are required. This is a matter that can be to a large extent rectified, and I have endeavoured to do so, taking it in many instances as the standard text. Next to this misuse of final e’s, which is merely due to the fact that it was written out at a time when the true use of them was already lost, its most remarkable characteristic is the scribe’s excessive love of the letter y in place of i; he writes hyt ys instead of hit is, and the like. In a great number of instances I have restored i, where the vowel is short. When the text of the Fairfax MS. is thus restored, it is by no means a bad one. It also contains fair copies of many poems by Hoccleve and Lydgate, such as the former’s Letter of Cupide1, and the latter’s Complaint of the Black Knight, Temple of Glass, and Balade against Women’s Doubleness, being the very piece which is introduced into Stowe’s edition, and is numbered 45 above (see p. 33). We are also enabled, by comparing this MS. with MS. Harl. 7578, to solve another riddle, viz. why it is that Chaucer’s Proverbs, as printed in Morris’s and Bell’s editions, are followed by two 7-line stanzas which have nothing whatever to do with them. In MS. Harl. 7578 these two stanzas immediately follow, and MS. F. immediately precede Chaucer’s Proverbs, and therefore were near enough to them to give an excuse for throwing them in together. However, both these stanzas are by Lydgate, and are mere fragments2. The former of them, beginning ‘The worlde so wide, thaire so remuable,’ really belongs to a poem of 18 stanzas, printed in Halliwell’s edition of Lydgate’s Minor Poems (Percy Soc.), p. 193. The latter of them, beginning ‘The more I goo, the ferther I am behinde,’ belongs to a poem of 11 stanzas, printed in the same, p. 74. Perhaps this will serve as a hint to future editors of Chaucer, from whose works it is high time to exclude poems known to be by some other hand.
In this MS. there is also a curious and rather long poem upon the game of chess; the board is called the cheker, and the pieces are the kyng, the quene or the fers (described on fol. 294), the rokys (duo Edition: current; Page:  Roci), the knyghtys, the Awfyns (duo alfini), and the povnys (pedini). This is interesting in connection with the Book of the Duchess; see note to l. 654 of that poem. The author tells us how ‘he plaid at the chesse,’ and ‘was mated of a Ferse.’
B. (Bodley 638) is very closely related to MS. F.; in the case of some of the poems, both must have been drawn from a common source. MS. B. is not a mere copy of F., for it sometimes has the correct reading where F. is wrong; as, e. g. in the case of the reading Bret in the House of Fame, l. 1208. It contains seven of these Minor Poems, as well as The boke of Cupide god of loue (Cuckoo and Nightingale), Hoccleve’s Lettre of Cupide god of loue, Lydgate’s Temple of Glass (oddly called Temple of Bras (!), a mistake which occurs in MS. F. also), his Ordre of Folys, printed in Halliwell’s Minor Poems of Lydgate, p. 164, and his Complaint of the Black Knight, imperfect at the beginning.
A. (Shirley’s MS. Ashmole 59) is remarkable for containing a large number of pieces by Lydgate, most of which are marked as his. It corroborates the statement in MS. F. that he wrote the Balade against Women’s Doubleness. It contains the whole of Scogan’s poem in which Chaucer’s Gentilesse is quoted: see the complete print of it, from this MS., in the Chaucer Society’s publications.
Another poem in this MS. requires a few words. At the back of leaf 38 is a poem entitled ‘The Cronycle made by Chaucier,’ with a second title to this effect:—‘Here nowe folowe the names of the nyene worshipfullest Ladyes that in alle cronycles and storyal bokes haue beo founden of trouthe of constaunce and vertuous or reproched (sic) womanhode by Chaucier.’ The poem consists of nine stanzas of eight lines (in the ordinary heroic metre), and is printed in Furnivall’s Odd Text of Chaucer’s Minor Poems, Part I. It would be a gross libel to ascribe this poem to Chaucer, as it is very poor, and contains execrable rimes (such as prysoun, bycome; apply-e, pyte; thee, dy-e). But we may easily see that the title is likely to give rise to a misconception. It does not really mean that the poem itself is by Chaucer, but that it gives a brief epitome of the ‘Cronicle made by Chaucier’ of ‘the nyene worshipfullest Ladyes.’ And, in fact, it does this. Each stanza briefly describes one of the nine women celebrated in Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women. It is sufficient to add that the author makes a ludicrous mistake, which is quite enough to acquit Chaucer of having had any hand in this wholly Edition: current; Page:  valueless production; for he actually addresses ‘quene Alceste’ as sorrowing for ‘Seyse her husbande.’ Seyse is Chaucer’s Ceyx, and Alceste is the author’s comic substitution for Alcyone; see Book of the Duchess, l. 220. This is not a fault of the scribe; for Alceste rimes with byheste, whereas Alcione does not. I much suspect that Shirley wrote this poem himself. His verses, in MS. Addit. 16165, are very poor.
Tn. (Tanner 346) is a fair MS. of the 15th century, and contains, besides six of the Minor Poems, the Legend of Good Women, Hoccleve’s Letter of Cupid (called litera Cupidinis dei Amoris directa subditis suis Amatoribus), the Cuckoo and Nightingale (called the god of loue), Lydgate’s Temple of Glas and Black Knight, &c. One of them is the Ballad no. 32 discussed above (p. 40). At fol. 73 is a poem in thirteen 8-line stanzas, beginning ‘As ofte as syghes ben in herte trewe.’ One stanza begins with these lines:—
I quote this for the sake of the extremely rare Chaucerian word spelt radevore in the Legend of Good Women. The same line occurs in another copy of the same poem in MS. Ff., fol. 12, back.
Ar. (Arch. Seld. B. 24) is a Scottish MS., apparently written in 1472, and contains, amongst other things, the unique copy of the Kingis Quair, by James I. of Scotland. This is the MS. wherein the scribe attributes pieces to Chaucer quite recklessly: see p. 47. It is also the authority for the pieces called Prosperity and Leaulte vault Richesse. Here, once more, we find the Letter of Cupid and the Cuckoo and Nightingale; it is remarkable how often these poems occur in the same MS. It also contains Troilus and the Legend of Good Women.
D. (Digby 181) contains, besides two of the Minor Poems, an imperfect copy of Troilus; also the Letter of Cupid and Complaint of the Black Knight. At fol. 52 is a piece entitled ‘Here Bochas repreuyth hem that yeue hasti credence to euery reporte or tale’; and it begins—‘All-though so be in euery maner age’; in nineteen 7-line stanzas. This is doubtless a part of chapter 13 of Book I. of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes.
R. (Rawlinson, Poet. 163) contains a copy of Chaucer’s Troilus, followed by the Balade to Rosemounde. Both pieces are marked ‘Tregentyll’ or ‘Tregentil’ to the left hand, and ‘Chaucer’ to the right.
Ff. (Ff. 1. 6) contains, besides five of the Minor Poems, many other pieces. One is a copy of Pyramus and Thisbe, being part of the Legend of Good Women. There are four extracts from various parts of Gower’s Confessio Amantis; the Cuckoo and Nightingale and Letter of Cupid; the Romance of Sir Degrevaunt; La Belle Dame sans Merci. Some pieces from this MS. are printed in Reliquiae Antiquae, i. 23, 169, 202; and two more, called The Parliament of Love and The Seven Deadly Sins, are printed in Political, Religious, and Love Poems, ed. Furnivall (E. E. T. S.), pp. 48, 215. We also find here a copy of Lydgate’s Ballad of Good Counsail, printed in the old editions of Chaucer (piece no. 40; see above, p. 33).
Gg. (Gg. 4. 27) is the MS. which contains so excellent a copy of the Canterbury Tales, printed as the ‘Cambridge MS.’ in the Chaucer Society’s publications. Four leaves are lost at the beginning. On leaf 5 is Chaucer’s A. B. C.; on leaf 7, back, the Envoy to Scogan; and on leaf 8, back, Chaucer’s Truth, entitled Balade de bone conseyl. This is followed by a rather pretty poem, in 15 8-line stanzas, which is interesting as quoting from Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules. Examples are: ‘Qui bien ayme tard oublye’ (l. 32; cf. P. F. 679): ‘The fesaunt, scornere of the cok Be nihter-tyme in frostis colde’ (ll. 49, 50; cf. P. F. 357); ‘Than spak the frosty feldefare’ (l. 89; cf. P. F. 364). Line 41 runs—‘Robert redbrest and the wrenne’; which throws some light on the etymology of robin. This valuable MS. also contains Troilus and the Legend of Good Women, with the unique earlier form of the Prologue; The Parlement of Foules; and Lydgate’s Temple of Glas. At fol. 467 is a Supplicacio amantis, a long piece of no great value, but the first four lines give pretty clear evidence that the author was well acquainted with Chaucer’s Anelida, and aspired to imitate it.
It seems to be a continuation of the Temple of Glas, and is probably Lydgate’s own.
Hh. (Camb. Univ. Lib. Hh. 4. 12) contains much of Lydgate, and is fully described in the Catalogue.
P. (Pepys 2006) consists of 391 pages, and contains Lydgate’s Edition: current; Page:  Complaint of the Black Knight, and Temple of Glass, part of the Legend of Good Women, the A. B. C., House of Fame, Mars and Venus (two copies), Fortune, Parlement of Foules, The Legend of the Three Kings of Cologne, The War between Caesar and Pompey, a Translation of parts of Cato, the Tale of Melibeus and Parson’s Tale, Anelida, Envoy to Scogan, A. B. C. (again), Purse, Truth, and Merciless Beauty.
Trin. (Trin. Coll. Camb. R. 3. 19) not only contains two of the Minor Poems, but a large number of other pieces, including the Legend of Good Women and many of Lydgate’s Poems. In particular, it is the source of most of Stowe’s additions to Chaucer: I may mention The Craft of Lovers, dated 1448 in the MS. (fol. 156), but 1348 in Stowe; the Ten Commandments of Love, Nine Ladies worthy, Virelai (fol. 160), Balade beginning In the seson of Feuerer (fol. 160), Goddesses and Paris (fol. 161, back), A balade plesaunte (fol. 205), O Mossie Quince (fol. 205), Balade beginning Loke well aboute (fol. 207); and The Court of Love; see the pieces numbered 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59 (p. 33). The piece numbered 41 also occurs here, at the end of the Parliament of Foules, and is headed ‘Verba translatoris.’ One poem, by G. Ashby, is dated 1463, and I suppose most of the pieces are in a handwriting of a later date, not far from 1500. It is clear that Stowe had no better reason for inserting pieces in his edition of Chaucer than their occurrence in this MS. to which he had access. If he had had access to any other MS. of the same character, the additions in his book would have been different, and The Court of Love would never have been ‘Chaucer’s.’ Yet this is the sort of evidence which some accept as being quite sufficient to prove that Chaucer learnt the language of a century after his own date, in order to qualify himself for writing that poem.
Ad. (MS. Addit. 16165). One of Shirley’s MSS., marked with his name in large letters. It contains a copy of Chaucer’s Boethius; Trevisa’s translation of the gospel of Nichodemus; the Maistre of the game (on hunting); the Compleint of the Black Knight and the Dreme of a Lover, both by Lydgate. The latter is the same poem, I suppose, as The Temple of Glas. It is here we learn from Shirley that the Complaint of the Black Knight is Lydgate’s. Not only is it headed, on some pages, as ‘The complaynte of a knight made by Edition: current; Page:  Lidegate,’ but on fol. 3 he refers to the same poem, speaking of it as being a complaint—
Here also we find two separate fragments of Anelida2; the two stanzas mentioned above (p. 52, l. 20), called by Shirley ‘two verses made in wyse of balade by Halsham, Esquyer’; Chaucer’s Proverbs; the poem no. 45 above (p. 33), attributed in this MS. to Lydgate; &c. At fol. 256, back, is the Balade of compleynte printed in this volume as poem no. XXIII.
Add. (MS. Addit. 22139). This is a fine folio MS., containing Gower’s Confessio Amantis. At fol. 138 are Chaucer’s Purse, Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastnesse, and Truth.
At. (MS. Addit. 10340). Contains Chaucer’s Boethius (foll. 1-40); also Truth, with the unique envoy, and the description of the ‘Persone,’ from the Canterbury Tales, on fol. 41, recto3.
Ct. (MS. Cotton, Cleopatra, D. 7). The Chaucer poems are all on leaves 188, 189. They are all ballads, viz. Gentilesse, Lak of Stedfastness, Truth, and Against Women Unconstaunt. All four are in the same hand; and we may remark that the last of the four is thus, in a manner, linked with the rest; see p. 58, l. 5, p. 26, l. 29.
H. (MS. Harl. 2251). Shirley’s MS. contains a large number of pieces, chiefly by Lydgate. Also Chaucer’s Prioresses Tale, Fortune (fol. 46), Gentilesse (fol. 48, back), A. B. C. (fol. 49), and Purse (fol. 271). The Craft of Lovers also occurs, and is dated 1459 in this copy. Poem no. 56 (p. 34) also occurs here, and is marked as Lydgate’s. We also see from this MS. that the first four stanzas of no. 52 (p. 33) form part of a poem on the Fall of Man, in which Truth, Mercy, Righteousness, and Peace are introduced as allegorical personages. The four stanzas form part of Mercy’s plea, and this is why the word mercy occurs ten times. At fol. 153, back (formerly 158, back), we actually find a copy of Henry Scogan’s poem in which Chaucer’s Gentilesse is not quoted, the requisite stanzas being entirely omitted. At fol. 249, back, Lydgate quotes the line ‘this world is a thurghfare ful of woo,’ and Edition: current; Page:  says it is from Chaucer’s ‘tragedyes.’ It is from the Knightes Tale, l. 1989 (A 2847).
Ha. (Harl. 7578). Contains Lydgate’s Proverbs; Chaucer’s Pite (fol. 13, back), Gentilesse and Lak of Stedfastnesse (fol. 17), immediately followed by the Balade against Women unconstaunt, precisely in the place where we should expect to find it; also Chaucer’s Proverbs, immediately followed by the wholly unconnected stanzas discussed above; p. 52, l. 20. At fol. 20, back, are six stanzas of Chaucer’s A. B. C.
Harl. (MS. Harl. 7333). This is a fine folio MS., and contains numerous pieces. At fol. 37, recto, begins a copy of the Canterbury Tales, with a short prose Proem by Shirley; this page has been reproduced in facsimile for the Chaucer Society. At fol. 129, back, begins the Parliament of Foules, at the end of which is the stanza which appears as poem no. 41 in Stowe’s edition (see p. 33). Then follow the Broche of Thebes, i. e. the Complaint of Mars, and Anelida. It also contains some of the Gesta Romanorum and of Hoccleve’s De Regimine Principum. But the most remarkable thing in this MS. is the occurrence, at fol. 136, of a poem hitherto (as I believe) unprinted, yet obviously (in my opinion) written by Chaucer; see no. XXII. in the present volume. Other copies occur in F. and B.
Sh. (MS. Harl. 78; one of Shirley’s MSS.). At fol. 80 begins the Complaint to Pity; on fol. 82 the last stanza of this poem is immediately followed by the poem here printed as no. VI; the only mark of separation is a star-like mark placed upon the line which is drawn to separate one stanza from another. At the end of fol. 83, back, l. 123 of the poem occurs at the bottom of the page, and fol. 84 is gone; so that the last stanza of 10 lines and the ascription to Chaucer in the colophon do not appear in this MS.
MS. Harl. 372. This MS. contains many poems by Lydgate. Also a copy of Anelida; followed by La Belle Dame sans mercy, ‘translatid out of Frenche by Sir Richard Ros,’ &c.
MS. Lansdowne 699. This MS. contains numerous poems by Lydgate, such as Guy of Warwick, the Dance of Macabre, the Horse, Sheep, and Goose, &c.; and copies of Chaucer’s Fortune and Truth.
This piece was first printed in Speght’s edition of 1602, with this title: ‘Chaucer’s A. B. C. called La Priere de Nostre Dame: made. Edition: current; Page:  as some say, at the Request of Blanch, Duchesse of Lancaster, as a praier for her priuat vse, being a woman in her religion very deuout.’ This is probably a mere guess, founded on the fact that Chaucer wrote the Book of the Duchess. It cannot be literally true, because it is not strictly ‘made,’ or composed, but only translated. Still, it is just possible that it was translated for her pleasure (rather than use); and if so, must have been written between 1359 and 1369. A probable date is about 1366. In any case, it may well stand first in chronological order, being a translation just of that unambitious character which requires no great experience. Indeed, the translation shews one mark of want of skill; each stanza begins by following the original for a line or two, after which the stanza is completed rather according to the requirements of rime than with an endeavour to render the original at all closely. There are no less than thirteen MS. copies of it; and its genuineness is attested both by Lydgate and Shirley1. The latter marks it with Chaucer’s name in the Sion College MS. Lydgate’s testimony is curious, and requires a few words of explanation.
Guillaume De Deguilleville, a Cistercian monk in the royal abbey of Chalis2, in the year 1330 or 13313, wrote a poem entitled Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine. Of this there are two extant English translations, one in prose and one in verse, the latter being attributed to Lydgate. Of the prose translation4 four copies exist, viz. in the MSS. which I call C., Gl., Jo., and L. In all of these, Chaucer’s A. B. C. is inserted, in order to give a verse rendering of a similar prayer in verse in the original. Of Lydgate’s verse translation there is a copy in MS. Cotton, Vitell. C. xiii. (see foll. 255, 256); and when he comes to the place where the verse prayer occurs in his original, he says that, instead of translating the prayer himself, he will quote Chaucer’s translation, observing:—
Curiously enough, he does not do so; a blank space was left in the MS. Edition: current; Page:  for the scribe to copy it out, but it was never filled in1. However, it places the genuineness of the poem beyond doubt; and the internal evidence confirms it; though it was probably, as was said, quite an early work.
In order to illustrate the poem fully, I print beneath it the French original, which I copy from the print of it in Furnivall’s One-text Print of Chaucer’s Minor Poems, Part I. p. 84.
It is taken from Guillaume De Deguilleville’s Pèlerinage de l’Ame, Part I, Le Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine. Edited from the MS. 1645, Fonds Français, in the National Library, Paris (A), and collated with the MSS. 1649 (B), 376 (C), and 377 (D), in the same collection, by Paul Meyer. I omit, however, the collations; the reader only wants a good text.
Chaucer did not translate the last two stanzas. I therefore give them here.
MS. C. affords, on the whole, the best text, and is therefore followed, all variations from it being duly noted in the footnotes, Edition: current; Page:  except (occasionally) when i is put for y, or y for i. The scribes are very capricious in the use of these letters, using them indifferently; but it is best to use i when the vowel is short (as a general rule), and y when it is long. Thus, it is is better than yt ys, and wyse than wise, in order to shew that the vowel is long in the latter case. I also use y at the end of a word, as usual; as in lady, my. When the spelling of the MS. is thus slightly amended, it gives a fair text, which can easily be read with the old and true pronunciation.
We may roughly divide the better MSS. into two sets, thus: (a) C. Gl. L. Jo.; (b) F. B. Gg. The rest I have not collated. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 100.
The metre of this poem is worthy of notice. Chaucer uses it again, in the Former Age (IX), Lenvoy to Bukton (XVII), and in the Monkes Tale. More complex examples of it, with repeated rimes, are seen in the Balade to Rosemounde (XII), Fortune (X), and Venus (XVIII). See also the two stanzas on p. 47.
The word compleynt answers to the O. F. complaint, sb. masc., as distinguished from O. F. complainte, sb. fem., and was the technical name, as it were, for a love-poem of a mournful tone, usually addressed to the unpitying loved one. See Godefroy’s Old French Dictionary1. Dr. Furnivall’s account of this poem begins as follows: ‘In seventeen 7-line stanzas: 1 of Proem, 7 of Story, and 9 of Complaint, arranged in three Terns [sets of three] of stanzas; first printed by Thynne in 1532 . . . The poem looks not easy to construe; but it is clearly a Complaint to Pity, as 5 MSS. read, and not of Pity, as Shirley reads in MS. Harl. 78. This Pity once lived in the heart of the loved-one of the poet . . . But in his mistress’s heart dwells also Pity’s rival, Cruelty; and when the poet, after waiting many years2, seeks to declare his love, even before he can do so, he finds that Pity for him is dead in his mistress’s heart, Cruelty has prevailed, and deprived him of her.’ His theory is, that this poem is Chaucer’s earliest original work, and relates to his own feelings of hopeless love; also, that Chaucer was not married till 1374, when he married his namesake Philippa Chaucer3. If Edition: current; Page:  this be so, a probable conjectural date for this poem is about 1367. I have remarked, in the note to l. 14, that the allegory of the poem is somewhat confused; and this implies a certain want of skill and clearness, which makes the supposition of its being an early work the more probable1. It is extremely difficult to determine to what extent the sentiments are artificial. If a French poem of a similar character should one day be found, it would not be very surprising. Meanwhile, it is worth observing that the notion of personifying Pity is taken from Chaucer’s favourite author Statius; see the Thebaid, bk. xi. 458-496, and compare the context, ll. 1-457. It is this which enables us to explain the word Herenus in l. 92, which is an error for Herines, the form used by Chaucer to denote the Erinnyes or Furies2. The Erinnyes are mentioned in Statius, Theb. xi. 345 (cf. ll. 58, 60, 383); and Statius leads up to the point of the story where it is an even chance whether there will be peace or war. The Furies urge on the combatants to war; and at this crisis, the only power who can overrule them is Pietas, personified by Statius for this express purpose (ll. 458, 465, 466). The struggle between Pity and Cruelty in Chaucer’s poem is parallel to the struggle between Pietas and the fury Tisiphone as told in Statius. Pity is called Herines quene, or queen of the Furies, because she alone is supposed to be able to control them. See my notes to ll. 57, 64, and 92.
The poem is extant in nine MSS. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MS. ‘Sh.,’ and the internal evidence confirms this. There is a fairly good copy in MS. F., on which my edition of it is based. There is, further, an excellent critical edition of this poem by Prof. Ten Brink, in Essays on Chaucer, Part II, p. 170 (Chaucer Soc.); this I carefully consulted after making my own copy, and I found that the differences were very slight. The least valuable MSS. seem to be Ff., Ph., and Lt. Omitting these, the MSS. may be divided into three sets, viz. A, Ba, and Bb, the two last going back to a common source B. These are: (A.)—Sh. Ha.; (Ba.)—F. B.; (Bb.)—Tn. Trin. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 96.
In this poem we have the earliest example, in English, of the famous 7-line stanza.
Here we are on firm ground. The genuineness of this poem has never been doubted. It is agreed that the word Whyte in l. 948, which is given as the name of the lady lately dead, is a translation of Blanche, and that the reference is to the wife of the Duke of Lancaster (John of Gaunt), who died Sept. 12, 1369, at the age of twenty-nine, her husband being then of the same age. As the poem would naturally be written soon after this event, the date must be near the end of 1369. In fact, John of Gaunt married again in 1372, whereas he is represented in the poem as being inconsolable. Chaucer’s own testimony, in the Legend of Good Women, l. 418, is that he made ‘the deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse’; and again, in the Introduction to the Man of Law’s Prologue, l. 57, that ‘In youthe he made of Ceys and Alcion.’ In 1369, Chaucer was already twenty-nine years of age (taking the year of his birth to be 1340, not 1328), which is rather past the period of youth; and the fact that he thus mentions ‘Ceys and Alcion’ as if it were the name of an independent poem, renders it almost certain that such was once the case. He clearly thought it too good to be lost, and so took the opportunity of inserting it in a more ambitious effort. The original ‘Ceys and Alcion’ evidently ended at l. 220; where it began, we cannot say, for the poem was doubtless revised and somewhat altered. Ll. 215, 216 hint that a part of it was suppressed. The two subjects were easily connected, the sorrow of Alcyone for the sudden and unexpected loss of her husband being the counterpart of the sorrow of the duke for the loss of his wife. The poem of ‘Ceys and Alcion’ shews Chaucer under the influence of Ovid, just as part of his Complaint to Pity was suggested by Statius; but in the later part of the poem of the Book of the Duchesse we see him strongly influenced by French authors, chiefly Guillaume de Machault and the authors of Le Roman de la Rose. His familiarity with the latter poem (as pointed out in the notes) is such as to prove that he had already been previously employed in making his translation of that extremely lengthy work, and possibly quotes lines from his own translation1.Edition: current; Page: 
The relationship between the MSS. and Thynne’s edition has been investigated by Koch, in Anglia, vol. iv. Anzeiger, p. 95, and by Max Lange, in his excellent dissertation entitled Untersuchungen über Chaucer’s Boke of the Duchesse, Halle, 1883. They both agree in representing the scheme of relationship so as to give the following result:
Here α represents a lost original MS., and β and γ are lost MSS. derived from it. Thynne follows β; whilst γ is followed by the Tanner MS. and a lost MS. δ. The Fairfax and Bodley MSS., which are much alike, are copies of δ. The MS. γ had lost a leaf, containing ll. 31-96; hence the same omission occurs in the three MSS. derived from it. However, a much later hand has filled in the gap in MS. F, though it remains blank in the other two MSS. On the whole, the authorities for this poem are almost unusually poor; I have, in general, followed MS. F, but have carefully amended it where the other copies seemed to give a better result. Lange gives a useful set of ‘Konjecturen,’ many of which I have adopted. I have also adopted, thankfully, some suggestions made by Koch and Ten Brink; others I decline, with thanks.
This poem is written in the common metre of four accents, which was already in use before Chaucer’s time, as in the poem of Havelok the Dane, Robert of Brunne’s Handling Synne, Hampole’s Pricke of Conscience, &c. Chaucer only used it once afterwards, viz. in his House of Fame. It is the metre employed also in his translation (as far as we have it) of the French Roman de la Rose.
Lydgate tells us that this poem is Chaucer’s, referring to it as containing the story of ‘the broche which that Vulcanus At Thebes wrought,’ &c. Internal evidence clearly shews that it was written by the author of the Treatise on the Astrolabie. In MS. Harl. 7333, Shirley gives it the title ‘The broche of Thebes, as of the love of Mars and Venus.’ Bale oddly refers to this poem as De Vulcam veru, but broche is here an ornament, not a spit. With the exception of two lines and a half (ll. 13-15), the whole poem is supposed to be sung by a bird, and upon St. Valentine’s day. Such a contrivance Edition: current; Page:  shews a certain lack of skill, and is an indication of a comparatively early date. The poem begins in the ordinary 7-line stanza, rimed a b a b b c c; but the Complaint itself is in 9-line stanzas, rimed a a b a a b b c c, and exhibits a considerable advance in rhythmical skill. This stanza, unique in Chaucer, was copied by Douglas (Palace of Honour, part 3), and by Sir D. Lyndesay (Prol. to Testament of Papyngo).
At the end of the copy of this poem in MS. T., Shirley appends the following note:—‘Thus eondethe here this complaint, whiche some men sayne was made by [i. e. with respect to] my lady of York, doughter to the kyng of Spaygne, and my lord huntingdon, some tyme Duc of Excestre.’ This tradition may be correct, but the intrigue between them was discreditable enough, and would have been better passed over in silence than celebrated in a poem, in which Mars and Venus fitly represent them. In the heading to the poem in the same MS., Shirley tells us further, that it was written to please John of Gaunt. The heading is:—‘Loo, yee louers, gladethe and comfortethe you of thallyance etrayted1 bytwene the hardy and furyous Mars the god of armes and Venus the double [i. e. fickle] goddesse of loue; made by Geffrey Chaucier, at the comandement of the renommed and excellent Prynce my lord the Duc Iohn of Lancastre.’ The lady was John of Gaunt’s sister-in-law. John of Gaunt married, as his second wife, in 1372, Constance, elder daughter of Pedro, king of Castile; whilst his brother Edmund, afterwards duke of York, married Isabel, her sister. In Dugdale’s Baronage, ii. 154, we read that this Isabel, ‘having been somewhat wanton in her younger years, at length became a hearty penitent; and departing this life in 1394, was buried in the Friers Preachers at Langele,’ i. e. King’s Langley in Hertfordshire; cf. Chauncy’s Hertfordshire, p. 455; Camden’s Anglica, p. 350. It is possible that Chaucer addressed his Envoy to the Complaint of Venus to the same lady, as he calls her ‘Princess.’
Mars is, accordingly, intended to represent John Holande, half-brother to Richard II, Earl of Huntingdon, and afterwards Duke of Exeter. He actually married John of Gaunt’s daughter, Elizabeth, whose mother was the Blaunche celebrated in the Book of the Duchess.
If this tradition be true, the date of the poem must be not very many years after 1372, when the Princess Isabel came to England. Edition: current; Page:  We may date it, conjecturally, about 1374. See further in Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, pp. 78-90. I may add that an attempt has been made to solve the problem of the date of this poem by astronomy (see Anglia, ix. 582). It is said that Mars and Venus were in conjunction on April 14, 1379. This is not wholly satisfactory; for Chaucer seems to refer to the 12th of April as the time of conjunction. If we accept this result, then the year was 1379. The date 1373-9 is near enough.
The poem is remarkable for its astronomical allusions, which are fully explained in the notes. The story of Mars and Venus was doubtless taken from Ovid, Metam. iv. 170-189. The story of the brooch of Thebes is from Statius, ii. 265, &c.; see note to l. 245.
I shall here add a guess of mine which possibly throws some light on Chaucer’s reason for referring to the brooch of Thebes. It is somewhat curious that the Princess Isabel, in a will made twelve years before her death, and dated Dec. 6, 1382, left, amongst other legacies, ‘to the Duke of Lancaster, a Tablet of Jasper which the King of Armonie gave her’; see Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, p. 82. Here Armonie means, of course, Armenia; but it is also suggestive of Harmonia, the name of the first owner of the brooch of Thebes. It seems just possible that the brooch of Thebes was intended to refer to this tablet of jasper, which was doubtless of considerable value and may have been talked about as being a curiosity.
MSS. F. Tn. and Lt. are much alike; the rest vary. I follow F. mainly, in constructing the text.
This poem is undoubtedly genuine; both Chaucer and Lydgate mention it. It is remarkable as being the first of the Minor Poems which exhibits the influence upon Chaucer of Italian literature, and was therefore probably written somewhat later than the Complaint of Mars. It is also the first of the Minor Poems in which touches of true humour occur; see ll. 498-500, 508, 514-6, 563-575, 589-616. Dr. Furnivall (Trial Forewords, p. 53) notes that the MSS. fall into two principal groups; in the first he places Gg., Trin., Cx., Harl., O., the former part of Ff., (part of) Ar., and the fragments in Hh. and Laud 416; in the second he places F., Tn., D., and the latter part of Ff. Lt. also belongs to the second group. See further Edition: current; Page:  in Anglia, vol. iv. Anzeiger, p. 97. The whole poem, except the Roundel in ll. 680-692, is in Chaucer’s favourite 7-line stanza, often called the ballad-stanza, or simply balade in the MSS.
The poem itself may be roughly divided into four parts. The first part, ll. 1-84, is mainly occupied with an epitome of the general contents of Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis. The second part, ll. 85-175, shews several instances of the influence of Dante, though the stanza containing ll. 99-105 is translated from Claudian. The third part, ll. 176-294, is almost wholly translated or imitated from Boccaccio’s Teseide. And the fourth part, ll. 295 to the end, is occupied with the real subject of the poem, the main idea being taken, as Chaucer himself tells us, from Alanus de Insulis. The passages relating to the Somnium Scipionis are duly pointed out in the notes; and so are the references to Dante and Claudian. The history of the third and fourth parts requires further explanation.
We have already seen that Chaucer himself tells us, in the Prol. to the Legend, 420, that he made—‘al the love of Palamon and Arcyte Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte.’ (N.B. This does not mean that Chaucer’s version of the story was ‘little known,’ but that Boccaccio speaks of the story as being little known—‘che Latino autor non par ne dica’; see note to Anelida, l. 8.) Now, in the first note on Anelida and Arcite, it is explained how this story of Palamon and Arcite was necessarily translated, more or less closely, from Boccaccio’s Teseide, and was doubtless written in the 7-line stanza; also that fragments of it are preserved to us (1) in sixteen stanzas of the Parliament of Foules, (2) in the first ten stanzas of Anelida, and (3) in three stanzas of Troilus. At a later period, the whole poem was re-written in a different metre, and now forms the Knightes Tale. The sixteen stanzas here referred to begin at l. 183 (the previous stanza being also imitated from a different part of the Teseide, bk. xi. st. 24), and end at l. 294. Chaucer has somewhat altered the order; see note to l. 183. I here quote, from Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, pp. 60-66, a translation by Mr. W. M. Rossetti, of Boccaccio’s Teseide, bk. vii. stanzas 51-66; and I give, beneath it, the Italian text, from an edition published at Milan in 1819. This passage can be compared with Chaucer’s imitation of it at the reader’s leisure.
I note, beforehand, that, in the first line of this translation, the word whom refers to Vaghezza, i. e. Grace, Allurement; whilst she is the prayer of Palemo, personified.Edition: current; Page: 
At l. 298 we are introduced to a queen, who in l. 303 is said to be the noble goddess Nature. The general idea is taken from Aleyn’s Pleynt of Kynde (l. 316), i. e. from the Planctus Naturae of Alanus de Insulis; see note to l. 298 of the poem. I here quote the most essential passage from the Anglo-Latin Satirical Poets, ed. T. Wright, ii. 437. It describes the garment worn by the goddess Nature, on which various birds were represented. The phrase animalium Edition: current; Page:  concilium may have suggested the name given by Chaucer to our poem. But see the remark on p. 75, l. 21.
‘Haec autem [vestis] nimis subtilizata, subterfugiens oculorum indaginem, ad tantam materiae tenuitatem advenerat, ut ejus aerisque eandem crederes esse naturam, in qua, prout oculis pictura imaginabatur, animalium celebratur concilium. Illic aquila, primo juvenem, secundo senem, induens, tertio iterum reciprocata priorem, in Adonidem revertebatur a Nestore. Illic ancipiter (sic), civitatis praefectus aeriae, violenta tyrannide a subditis redditus exposcebat. Illic milvus, venatoris induens personam, venatione furtiva larvam gerebat ancipitris. Illic falco in ardeam bellum excitabat civile, non tamen aequali lance divisum. Non enim illud pugnae debet appellatione censeri, ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum. Illic struthio, vita seculari postposita, vitam solitariam agens, quasi heremita factus, desertarum solitudines incolebat. Illic olor, sui funeris praeco, mellitae citherizationis organo vitae prophetabat apocopam. Illic in pavone tantum pulcritudinis compluit Natura thesaurum, ut eam postea crederes mendicasse. Illic phoenix, in se mortuus, redivivus in alio, quodam Naturae miraculo, se sua morte a mortuis suscitabat. Illic avis concordiae (ciconia) prolem decimando Naturae persolvebat tributum. Illic passeres in atomum pygmeae humilitatis relegati degebant, grus ex opposito in giganteae quantitatis evadebat excessum.
‘Illic phasianus, natalis insulae perpessus angustias, principum futurus deliciae, nostros evolabat in orbes. Illic gallus, tanquam vulgaris astrologus, suae vocis horologio horarum loquebatur discrimina. Illic gallus silvestris, privatioris galli deridens desidiam, peregre proficiscens, nemorales peragrabat provincias. Illic bubo, propheta miseriae, psalmodias funereae lamentationis praecinebat. Illic noctua tantae deformitatis sterquilinio sordescebat, ut in ejus formatione Naturam crederes fuisse somnolentam. Illic cornix, ventura prognosticans, nugatorio concitabatur garritu. Illic pica, dubio picturara colore, curam logices perennebat insomnem. Illic monedula, latrocinio laudabili reculas thesaurizans, innatae avaritiae argumenta monstrabat. Illic columba, dulci malo inebriata Diones, laborabat Cypridis in palaestra. Illic corvus, zelotypiae abhorrens dedecus, suos foetus non sua esse pignora fatebatur, usque dum comperto nigri argumento coloris, hoc quasi secum disputans comprobat. Illic perdix nunc aeriae potestatis insultus, nunc venatorum sophismata, nunc canum latratus propheticos abhorrebat. Illic anas cum ansere, sub eodem jure vivendi, hiemabat in patria fluviali. Illic turtur, suo viduata consorte, amorem epilogare dedignans, in altero bigamiae refutabat solatia. Illic psittacus cum sui gutturis incude vocis monetam fabricabat humanae. Illic coturnicem, figurae draconis ignorantem fallaciam, imaginariae vocis decipiebant sophismata. Illic picus, propriae architectus domunculae, sui rostri dolabro clausulam fabricabat in ilice. Illic curruca, novercam exuens, materno pietatis ubere alienam cuculi prolem adoptabat in filium; quae tamen capitali praemiata stipendio, privignum agnoscens, filium ignorabat. Illic hirundo, a sua peregrinatione reversa, sub trabe nidi lutabat hospitium. Illic philomena, deflorationis querelam reintegrans, harmoniaca tympanizans dulcedine, puritatis dedecus excusabat. Illic alauda, quasi nobilis citharista, non studii artificio, sed Naturae magisterio, musicae praedocta scientiam, citharam praesentabat in ore . . . . Haec animalia, quamvis illic quasi allegorice viverent, ibi tamen esse videbantur ad litteram.’
As to the date of this poem, Ten Brink (Studien, p. 127) shews that it must have been written later than 1373; and further, that it Edition: current; Page:  was probably written earlier than Troilus, which seems to have been finished in 1383. It may therefore have been written in 1382, in which case it may very well refer to the betrothal (in 1381) of King Richard II to Queen Anne of Bohemia. See, on this subject, Dr. Koch’s discussion of the question in Essays on Chaucer, p. 407, published by the Chaucer Society. Prof. Ward (who follows Koch) in his Life of Chaucer, p. 86, says:—‘Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the great Emperor Charles IV., and sister of King Wenceslas, had been successively betrothed to a Bavarian prince and to a Margrave of Meissen, before—after negotiations which, according to Froissart, lasted a year1—her hand was given to young King Richard II. of England. This sufficiently explains the general scope of the Assembly of Fowls, an allegorical poem written on or about St. Valentine’s Day, 13812—eleven months or nearly a year after which date the marriage took place3.’
I here note that Lydgate’s Flour of Curtesie is a palpable imitation of the Parliament of Foules; so also is the earlier part of his Complaint of the Black Knight.
On the other hand, it is interesting to find, in the Poésies de Marie de France, ed. Roquefort, Paris, 1820, that Fable 22 (vol. i. p. 130) is entitled:—‘Li parlemens des Oiseax por faire Roi.’ In this fable, the Birds reject the Cuckoo, and choose the Eagle as king.
We may fairly say that this poem is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley, since in MS. Harl. 78 it is copied out by him as if it were a continuation of the Complaint to Pity, and the pages are, throughout, headed with the words—‘The Balade of Pytee. By Chauciers.’ Stowe implies that he had seen more than one MS. copy of this poem, and says that ‘these verses were compiled by Geffray Chauser,’ for which he may have found authority in the MSS.4 Moreover, the Edition: current; Page:  internal evidence settles the matter. It is evident that we have here a succession of metrical experiments, the last of which exhibits a ten-line stanza resembling the nine-line stanza of his Anelida; in fact, we here have that Complaint in a crude form, which was afterwards elaborated; see the references, in the Notes, to the corresponding passages in that poem. But a very great and unique interest is attached to lines 16 to 43. For here we have the sole example, in English literature of that period, of the use of terza rima, obviously copied from Dante; and Chaucer was the only writer who then had a real acquaintance with that author. I know of no other example of the use of this metre before the time of Lord Surrey and Sir Thomas Wiat, when Englishmen once more sought acquaintance with Italian poetry. Consequently, we have here the pleasure of seeing how Chaucer handled Dante’s metre; and the two fragments here preserved shew that he might have handled it quite successfully if he had persevered in doing so.
It is to be regretted that Shirley’s spelling is so indifferent; he was rather an amateur than a professional scribe. Some of his peculiarities may be noticed, as they occur not only here, but also in the two last pieces, nos. XXII. and XXIII. He constantly adds a final e in the wrong place, producing such forms as fallethe, howe, frome, and the like, and drops it where it is necessary, as in hert (for herte). He is fond of eo for ee or long e, as in beo, neodethe. He writes ellas for allas; also e in place of the prefix y-, as in eknytte for y-knit. This last peculiarity is extremely uncommon. I have removed the odd effect which these vagaries produce, and I adopt the ordinary spelling of MSS. that resemble in type the Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales.
This piece exhibits three distinct metres, viz. the 7-line stanza, terza rima, and the 10-line stanza. Of the last, which is extremely rare, we have here the earliest example. Lines 56 and 59 are lost, and some others are imperfect.
The genuineness of this poem is obvious enough, and is vouched for both by Lydgate and Shirley, as shewn above. It is further Edition: current; Page:  discussed in the Notes. I may add that Lydgate incidentally refers to it in his Complaint of the Black Knight, l. 379:—‘Of Thebes eke the false Arcite.’ Much later allusions are the following:—
The first three stanzas are from Boccaccio’s Teseide, as shewn in the Notes; so also are stanzas 8, 9, and 10. Stanzas 4-7 are partly from Statius. The origin of ll. 71-210 is at present unknown. It is difficult to date this poem, but it must be placed after 1373, because of its quotations from the Teseide, or rather from Chaucer’s own Palamon and Arcite. The mention of ‘the quene of Ermony’ in l. 72 suggests that Chaucer’s thoughts may have been turned towards Armenia by the curious fact that, in 1384, the King of Armenia came to England about Christmas time, stayed two months, and was hospitably entertained by King Richard at Eltham; see Fabyan’s Chronicles, ed. Ellis, p. 532. At an earlier time, viz. in 1362, Walsingham says that some knights of Armenia appeared at a tournament in Smithfield. In the Transactions of the Cambridge Philological Society, May 13, 1886, there is a short paper by Prof. Cowell, from which we learn that Mr. Bradshaw believed the name of Anelida to be identical ‘with Anáhita (Ἀναΐτις), the ancient goddess of Persia and Armenia. . . He supposed that Chaucer got the name Anelida from a misreading of the name Anaetidem or Anaetida in some Latin MS., the t being mistaken for l.’ We must remember that Creseide represents a Greek accusative form Χρυσηΐδα, of which the gen. Χρυσηΐδος occurs in Homer, Il. i. 111; and perhaps the form Dalida (for Dalilah) in the Septuagint is also due to association with Greek accusatives in -ιδα. The genitive Anaetidos occurs in Pliny, xxxiii. 4; in Holland’s translation of Pliny, ii. 470, she appears as ‘the goddesse Diana syrnamed Anaitis.’ It may be as well to explain to those who are unaccustomed to MSS. of the fourteenth century, that it was then usual to write e in place of ae or æ, so that the name would usually be written, in the accusative case, Anetida. This suggests that Anelida should be spelt with but one n; and such is the practice of all the better MSS.Edition: current; Page: 
It remains to be added that one source of the part of the poem called the Complaint (ll. 211-350) is the piece printed in this volume as no. VI. That piece is, in fact, a kind of exercise in metrical experiments, and exhibits specimens of a 10-line stanza, resembling the nine-line stanza of this Complaint. Chaucer seems to have elaborated this into a longer Complaint, with additional varieties in the metre; and then to have written the preceding story by way of introduction. One line (vi. 50) is repeated without alteration (vii. 237); another (vi. 35) is only altered in the first and last words (vii. 222). Other resemblances are pointed out in the Notes.
It is also worth while to notice how the character of the speaking falcon in the second part of the Squire’s Tale is precisely that of Anelida. The parallel lines are pointed out in the Notes. The principal MSS. may be thus grouped: Aa.—F.B. Ab.—Tn. D. Lt. B.—Harl. Cx. Here A and B are two groups, of which the former is subdivided into Aa and Ab. See Koch, in Anglia, iv. b. 102.
This is evidently a genuine poem, written by the author of the translation of Boethius and of the story of Troilus.
First printed in 1866, in Morris’s Chaucer, from a transcript made by Mr. Bradshaw, who pointed out its genuineness. It is ascribed to Chaucer in both MSS., and belongs, in fact, to his translation of Boethius, though probably written at a later date. In MS. I. the poem is headed:—‘Chawcer vp-on this fyfte metur of the second book.’ In MS. Hh., the colophon is: ‘Finit Etas prima: Chaucers.’ Dr. Koch thinks that the five poems here numbered IX. X. XIII-XV. ‘form a cyclus, as it were, being free transcriptions of different passages in Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae.’ There is, in fact, a probability that these were all written at about the same period, and that rather a late one, some years after the prose translation of Boethius had been completed; and a probable date for this completion is somewhere about 1380.
Both MS. copies are from the same source, as both of them omit the same line, viz. l. 56; which I have had to supply by conjecture. Neither of the MSS. are well spelt, nor are they very Edition: current; Page:  satisfactory. The mistake in riming l. 47 with l. 43 instead of l. 45 may very well have been due to an oversight on the part of the poet himself. But the poem is a beautiful one, and admirably expressed; and its inclusion among the Minor Poems is a considerable gain.
Dr. Furnivall has printed the Latin text of Boethius, lib. ii. met. 5, from MS. I., as well as Chaucer’s prose version of the same, for the sake of comparison with the text of the poem. The likeness hardly extends beyond the first four stanzas. I here transcribe that part of the prose version which is parallel to the poem, omitting a few sentences which do not appear there at all; for the complete text, see vol. ii.
‘Blisful was the first age of men. They helden hem apayed with the metes that the trewe feldes broughten furthe. They ne distroyede nor deceivede not hem-self with outrage. They weren wont lightly to slaken hir hunger at even with acornes of okes. [Stanza 2.] They ne coude nat medly1 the yifte of Bachus to the clere hony; that is to seyn, they coude make no piment nor clarree. [Stanza 3.] . . they coude nat deyen whyte fleeses2 of Serien contree with the blode of a maner shelfisshe that men finden in Tyrie, with whiche blode men deyen purpur. [Stanza 6.] They slepen hoolsum slepes upon the gras, and dronken of the renninge wateres [cf. l. 8]; and layen under the shadwes of the heye pyn-trees. [Stanza 3, continued.] Ne no gest ne no straungere ne carf yit the heye see with ores or with shippes; ne they ne hadde seyn yit none newe strondes, to leden marchaundyse in-to dyverse contrees. Tho weren the cruel clariouns ful hust3 and ful stille. . . [Stanza 4.] For wherto or whiche woodnesse of enemys wolde first moeven armes, whan they seyen cruel woundes, ne none medes4 be of blood y-shad5? . . Allas! what was he that first dalf6 up the gobetes7 or the weightes of gold covered under erthe, and the precious stones that wolden han ben hid? He dalf up precious perils; . . . for the preciousnesse of swiche thinge, hath many man ben in peril.’
The metre is the same as that of the ABC.
Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. A. and T.; also marked as Chaucer’s in MSS. F. and I. In MS. I., this poem and Edition: current; Page:  the preceding are actually introduced into Chaucer’s translation of Boethius, between the fifth metre and the sixth prose of the second book, as has been already said. The metre is the same as that of the ABC and The Former Age, but the same rimes run through three stanzas. The Envoy forms a 7-line stanza, but has only two rimes; the formula is ababbab. For further remarks, see the Notes.
The unique copy of this poem is in MS. P1. It is the last poem in the MS., and is in excellent company, as it immediately follows several other of Chaucer’s genuine poems2. This is probably why Bp. Percy attributed it to Chaucer, who himself tells us that he wrote ‘balades, roundels, virelayes.’ It is significant that Mätzner, in his Altenglische Sprachproben, i. 347, chose this poem alone as a specimen of the Minor Poems. It is, in fact, most happily expressed, and the internal evidence places its authenticity beyond question. The three roundels express three ‘movements,’ in the poet’s usual manner; and his mastery of metre is shewn in the use of the same rime in -en-e in the first and third roundels, requiring no less than ten different words for the purpose; whilst in the second roundel the corresponding lines end in -eyn-e, producing much the same effect, if (as is probable) the old sounds of e and ey were not very different. We at once recognise the Chaucerian phrases I do no fors (see Cant. Ta. D 1234, 1512), and I counte him not a bene (see Troil. v. 363).
Very characteristic is the use of the dissyllabic word sen-e (l. 10), which is an adjective, and means ‘manifest,’ from the A. S. geséne, (gesýne), and not the past participle, which is y-seen. Chaucer rimes it with clen-e (Prol. to C. T. 134), and with gren-e (Kn. Tale, A 2298). The phrase though he sterve for the peyne (l. 23) reminds us of for to dyen in the peyne (Kn. Ta. A 1133).
But the most curious thing about this poem is the incidental testimony of Lydgate, in his Ballade in Commendacion of our Ladie; Edition: current; Page:  see poem no. 26 above, discussed at p. 38. I here quote st. 22 in full, from ed. 1561, fol. 330:
I ought to add that this poem is the only one which I have admitted into the set of Minor Poems (nos. I-XX) with incomplete external evidence. If it is not Chaucer’s, it is by some one who contrived to surpass him in his own style. And this is sufficient excuse for its appearance here.
Moreover, Lydgate’s testimony is external evidence, in a high degree. Even the allusion in l. 27 to the Roman de la Rose points in the same direction; and so does Chaucer’s statement that he wrote roundels. Excepting that in the Parl. of Foules, ll. 680-692, and the three here given, no roundels of his have ever been found1.
This poem was discovered by me in the Bodleian Library on the 2nd of April, 1891. It is written on a fly-leaf at the end of MS. Rawlinson Poet. 163, which also contains a copy of Chaucer’s Troilus. At the end of the ‘Troilus’ is the colophon: ‘Here endith the book of Troylus and of Cresseyde.’ This colophon is preceded by ‘Tregentyll,’ and followed by ‘Chaucer.’ On the next leaf (no. 114) is the Balade, without any title, at the foot of which is ‘Tregentil’—‘Chaucer,’ the two names being written at a considerable distance apart. I believe ‘Tregentil’ to represent the name of the scribe2. In any case, ‘Chaucer’ represents the name of the author. It is a happy specimen of his humour.
This famous poem is attributed to Chaucer in MS. F., also (thrice) by Shirley, who in one of the copies in MS. T. (in which it occurs twice) calls it a ‘Balade that Chaucier made on his deethbedde’; which is probably a mere bad guess1. The MSS. may be divided into two groups; the four best are in the first group, viz. At., E., Gg., Ct., and the rest (mostly) in the second group. Those of the first group have the readings Tempest (8), Know thy contree (19), and Hold the hye wey (20); whilst the rest have, in the same places, Peyne (8), Look up on hy (19), and Weyve thy lust (20). It is remarkable that the Envoy occurs in MS. At. only. It may have been suppressed owing to a misunderstanding of the word vache (cow), the true sense of which is a little obscure. The reference is to Boethius, bk. v. met. 5, where it is explained that quadrupeds look down upon the earth, whilst man alone looks up towards heaven; cf. lok up in l. 19 of the poem. The sense is therefore, that we should cease to look down, and learn to look up like true men; ‘only the linage of man,’ says Chaucer, in his translation of Boethius, ‘heveth heyeste his heye heved2 . . this figure amonesteth3 thee, that axest the hevene with thy righte visage, and hast areysed thy fore-heved to beren up a-heigh thy corage, so that thy thoght ne be nat y-hevied4 ne put lowe under fote.’
It is curious that this Balade not only occurs as an independent poem, as in MSS. T., Harl., Ct., and others, but is also quoted bodily in a poem by Henry Scogan in MS. A. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. T. and Harl.; and still more satisfactory is the account given of it by Scogan. The title of Scogan’s poem is:—‘A moral balade made by Henry Scogan squyer. Here folowethe nexst a moral balade to my lorde the Prince, to my lord of Clarence, to my lord of Bedford, and to my lorde of Gloucestre; by Henry Scogan, at a souper of feorthe merchande (sic) in the vyntre in London, at the hous of Lowys Iohan.’ It is printed in all the Edition: current; Page:  old editions of Chaucer; see poem no. 33, p. 32. Scogan tells us that he was ‘fader,’ i.e. tutor, to the four sons of Henry IV. above-mentioned1. His ballad is in twenty-one 8-line stanzas, and he inserts Chaucer’s Gentilesse, distinguished by being in 7-line stanzas, between the 13th and 14th stanzas of his own work. He refers to Chaucer in the 9th stanza thus (in MS. A.):—
This is a reference to ll. 16, 17 of Chaucer’s poem. Again, in his 13th stanza, he says:—
He here refers to lines 15-17, and lines 1-4 of Chaucer’s poem; and then proceeds to quote it in full. Having done so, he adds:—
Scogan’s advice is all good; and, though he accuses himself of having misspent his youth, this may very well mean no more than such an expression means in the mouth of a good man. He is doubtless the very person to whom Chaucer’s ‘Lenvoy a Scogan’ was addressed, and Chaucer (l. 21) there gives him an excellent character for wisdom of speech. Accordingly, he is not to be confused with the Thomas Scogan or Scogin to whom is attributed an idle book called ‘Scoggins Iests,’ which were said to have been ‘gathered’ by Andrew Boord or Borde, author of the Introduction of Knowledge2. When Edition: current; Page:  Shakespeare, in 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2. 33, says that Sir John Falstaff broke Scogan’s head, he was no doubt thinking of the supposed author of the jest-book, and may have been led, by observation of the name in a black-letter edition of Chaucer, to suppose that he lived in the time of Henry IV. This was quite enough for his purpose, though it is probable that the jester lived in the time of Edward IV.; see Tyrwhitt’s note on the Envoy to Scogan. On the other hand, we find Ben Jonson taking his ideas about Scogan solely from Henry Scogan’s poem and Chaucer’s Envoy, without any reference to the jester. See his Masque of the Fortunate Isles, in which Scogan is first described and afterwards introduced. The description tells us nothing more than we know already.
As for Lewis John (p. 82), Tyrwhitt says he was a Welshman, ‘who was naturalised by Act of Parliament, 2 Hen. V., and who was concerned with Thomas Chaucer in the execution of the office of chief butler; Rot. Parl. 2 Hen. V. n. 18.’
Caxton’s printed edition of this poem seems to follow a better source than any of the MSS.
Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley in MSS. Harl. and T., and sent to King Richard at Windsor, according to the same authority. The general idea of it is from Boethius; see the Notes. Shirley refers it to the last years of Richard II., say 1397-9. We find something very like it in Piers Plowman, C. iv. 203-210, where Richard is told that bribery and wicked connivance at extortion have almost brought it about —
‘That no lond loveth the, and yut leest thyn owene.’
In any case, the date can hardly vary between wider limits than between 1393 and 1399. Richard held a tournament at Windsor in 13991, which was but thinly attended; ‘the greater part of the knights and squires of England were disgusted with the king.’
Of this poem, MS. Ct. seems to give the best text.
This piece is attributed to Chaucer in all three MSS., viz. F., P., and Gg.; and is obviously genuine. The probable date of it is towards the end of 1393; see the Notes.
For some account of Scogan, see above (p. 83).
This piece is certainly genuine. In MS. F., the title is—‘Lenvoy de Chaucer a Bukton.’ In Julian Notary’s edition it is—‘Here foloweth the counceyll of Chaucer touching Maryag, &c. whiche was sente te (sic) Bucketon, &c.’ In all the other early printed editions it is inserted without any title immediately after the Book of the Duchess.
The poem is one of Chaucer’s latest productions, and may safely be dated about the end of the year 1396. This appears from the reference, in l. 23, to the great misfortune it would be to any Englishmen ‘to be take in Fryse,’ i. e. to be taken prisoner in Friesland. There is but one occasion on which this reference could have had any point, viz. during or just after the expedition of William of Hainault to Friesland, as narrated by Froissart in his Chronicles, bk. iv. capp. 78, 79. He tells that William of Hainault applied to Richard II. for assistance, who sent him ‘some men-at-arms and two hundred archers, under the command of three English lords1.’ The expedition set out in August, 1396, and stayed in Friesland about five weeks, till the beginning of October, when ‘the weather began to be very cold and to rain almost daily.’ The great danger of being taken prisoner in Friesland was because the Frieslanders fought so desperately that they were seldom taken prisoners themselves. Then ‘the Frieslanders offered their prisoners in exchange, man for man; but, when their enemies had none to give in return, they put them to death.’ Besides this, the prisoners had to endure all the miseries of a bad and cold season, in an inclement climate. Hence the propriety of Chaucer’s allusion fully appears. From l. 8, we learn that Chaucer was now a widower; for the word eft means ‘again.’ His wife is presumed to have died in the latter part of 1387. We should also observe the allusion to the Wife of Bath’s Tale in l. 29.
This poem is usually printed as if it formed part of the Complaint of Mars; but it is really distinct. It is attributed to Chaucer by Shirley both in MS. T. and in MS. A. It is not original, but translated from the French, as appears from l. 82. Shirley tells us that the author of the French poem was Sir Otes de Graunson, a worthy knight of Savoy. He is mentioned as receiving from King Richard the grant of an annuity of 126l. 13s. 4d. on 17 Nov. 1393; see Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, p. 123. The association of this poem with the Complaint of Mars renders it probable that the Venus of this poem is the same as the Venus of the other, i. e. the Princess Isabel of Spain, and Duchess of York. This fits well with the word Princess at the beginning of the Envoy; and as she died in 1394, whilst Chaucer, on the other hand, complains of his advancing years, we must date the poem about 1393, i. e. just about the time when Graunson received his annuity. Chaucer, if born about 1340, was not really more than 53, but we must remember that, in those days, men often aged quickly. John of Gaunt, who is represented by Shakespeare as a very old man, only lived to the age of 59; and the Black Prince died quite worn out, at the age of 46. Compare the notes to ll. 73, 76, 79, and 82.
Much new light has lately been thrown upon this poem by Dr. A. Piaget, who contributed an article to Romania, tome xix., on ‘Oton de Granson et ses Poésies,’ in 1890. The author succeeded in discovering a large number of Granson’s poems, including, to our great gain, the three Balades of which Chaucer’s ‘Compleynt of Venus’ is a translation. I am thus enabled to give the original French beneath the English version, for the sake of comparison.
He has also given us an interesting account of Granson himself, for which I must refer my readers to his article. It appears that Froissart mentions Granson at least four times (twice in bk. i. c. 303, a. d. 1372, once in c. 305, and once in c. 331, a. d. 1379), as fighting on the side of the English; see Johnes’ translation. He was in Savoy from 1389 to 1391; but, in the latter year, was accused of being concerned in the death of Amadeus VII., count of Savoy, in consequence of which he returned to England, and in 1393 his estates in Savoy were confiscated. It was on this occasion that Richard II. assigned to him the pension above mentioned. With the hope of clearing himself from the serious charge laid against him. Edition: current; Page:  Granson fought a judicial duel, at Bourg-en-Bresse, on Aug. 7, 1397, in which, however, he was slain.
Now that we have the original before us, we can see clearly, as Dr. Piaget says, that Chaucer has certainly not translated the original Balades ‘word for word’ throughout. He does so sometimes, as in ll. 27, 28, 30, 31, in which the closeness of the translation is marvellous; but, usually, he paraphrases the original to a considerable extent. In the first Balade, he has even altered the general motive; in the original, Granson sings the praises of his lady; in Chaucer, it is a lady who praises the worthiness of her lover.
It also becomes probable that the title ‘The Compleynt of Venus,’ which seems to have been suggested by Shirley, is by no means a fitting one. It is not suitable for Venus, unless the ‘Venus’ be a mortal; neither is it a continuous ‘Compleynt,’ being simply a linking together of three separate and distinct Balades.
It is clear to me that, when Chaucer added his Envoy, he made the difficulties of following the original ‘word by word’ and of preserving the original metre his excuse; and that what really troubled him was the difficulty of adapting the French, especially Balade I., so as to be acceptable to the ‘Princess’ who enjoined him to translate these Balades. In particular, he evidently aimed at giving them a sort of connection, so that one should follow the other naturally; which accounts for the changes in the first of them. It is significant, perhaps, that the allusion to ‘youth’ (F. jeunesce) in l. 70 is entirely dropped.
On the whole, I think we may still accept the theory that this poem was written at the request (practically, the command) of Isabel, duchess of York, the probable ‘Venus’ of the ‘Compleynt of Mars.’ Chaucer seems to have thrown the three Balades together, linking them so as to express a lady’s constancy in love, and choosing such language as he deemed would be most acceptable to the princess. He then ingeniously, and not without some humour, protests that any apparent alterations are due to his own dulness and the difficulties of translating ‘word for word,’ and of preserving the rimes.
In l. 31, the F. text shews us that we must read Pleyne, not Pleye (as in the MSS.). This was pointed out by Mr. Paget Toynbee.
Attributed to Chaucer by Shirley, in MS. Harl. 7333; by Caxton; by the scribes of MSS. F., P., and Ff.; and by early editors. I do Edition: current; Page:  not know on what grounds Speght removed Chaucer’s name, and substituted that of T. Occleve; there seems to be no authority for this change. I think it highly probable that the poem itself is older than the Envoy; see note to l. 17. In any case, the Envoy is almost certainly Chaucer’s latest extant composition.
Attributed to Chaucer in MSS. F. and Ha.; see further in the Notes. From the nature of the case, we cannot assign any probable date to this composition. Yet it was, perhaps, written after, rather than before, the Tale of Melibeus.
For the genuineness of this Balade, we have chiefly the internal evidence to trust to; but this seems to me to be sufficiently strong. The Balade is perfect in construction, having but three rimes (-esse, -ace, -ene), and a refrain. The ‘mood’ of it strongly resembles that of Lak of Stedfastnesse; the lines run with perfect smoothness, and the rimes are all Chaucerian. It is difficult to suppose that Lydgate, or even Hoccleve, who was a better metrician, could have produced so good an imitation of Chaucer’s style. But we are not without strong external evidence; for the general idea of the poem, and what is more important, the whole of the refrain, are taken from Chaucer’s favourite author Machault (ed. Tarbé, p. 56); whose refrain is—‘En lieu de bleu, Damë, vous vestez vert.’ Again, the poem is only found in company with other poems by Chaucer. Such collocation frequently means nothing, but those who actually consult1 MSS. Ct. and Ha. will see how close is its association with the Chaucerian poems in those MSS. I have said that it occurs in MSS. F., Ct., and Ha. Now in MS. Ct. we find, on the back of fol. 188 and on fol. 189, just four poems in the same hand. These are (1) Gentilesse; (2) Lak of Stedfastnesse; (3) Truth; and (4) Against Women Unconstaunt. As three of these are admittedly genuine, there is evidence that the fourth is the same. We may also notice that, in this MS., the poems on Lak of Stedfastnesse and Against Women Unconstaunt are not far apart. On searching Edition: current; Page:  MS. Ha. (Harl. 7578), I again found three of these poems in company, viz. (1) Gentilesse; (2) Lak of Stedfastnesse; and (3) Against Women Unconstaunt; the last being, in my view, precisely in its right place. (This copy of the poem was unknown to me in 1887.)
Whilst searching through the various MSS. containing Minor Poems by Chaucer in the British Museum, my attention was arrested by this piece, which, as far as I know, has never before been printed. It is in Shirley’s handwriting, but he does not claim it for Chaucer. However, the internal evidence seems to me irresistible; the melody is Chaucer’s, and his peculiar touches appear in it over and over again. There is, moreover, in the last stanza, a direct reference to the Parliament of Foules1.
I cannot explain the oracular notice of time in the heading; even if we alter May to day, it contradicts l. 85, which mentions ‘seint Valentines day.’ The heading is—‘And next folowyng begynnith an amerowse compleynte made at wyndesore in the laste May tofore Nouembre’ (sic). The date is inexplicable2; but the mention of locality is interesting. Chaucer became a ‘valet of the king’s chamber’ in 1367, and must frequently have been at Windsor, where the institution of the Order of the Garter was annually celebrated on St. George’s Day (April 23). Some of the parallelisms in expression between the present poem and other passages in Chaucer’s Works are pointed out in the Notes.
This Complaint should be compared with the complaint uttered by Dorigen in the Cant. Tales, F. 1311-1325, which is little else than the same thing in a compressed form. There is also much resemblance to the ‘complaints’ in Troilus; see the references in the Notes.
Since first printing the text in 1888, I found that it is precisely the same poem as one extant in MSS. F. and B., with the title ‘Complaynt Damours.’ I had noticed the latter some time previously, and had made a note that it ought to be closely examined; but unfortunately I forgot to do so, or I should have seen at once Edition: current; Page:  that it had strong claims to being considered genuine. These claims are considerably strengthened by the fact of the appearance of the poem in these two Chaucerian MSS., the former of which contains no less than sixteen, and the latter seven of the Minor Poems, besides the Legend and the Hous of Fame.
In reprinting the text in the present volume, I take occasion to give all the more important results of a collation of the text with these MSS. In most places, their readings are inferior to those in the text; but in other places they suggest corrections.
In MS. F. the fourth stanza is mutilated; the latter half of lines 24-28 is missing.
In B., below the word Explicit, another and later hand has scrawled ‘be me Humfrey Flemyng.’ ‘Be me’ merely means—‘this signature is mine.’ It is a mere scribble, and does not necessarily relate to the poem at all.
The readings of F. and B. do not help us much; for the text in Harl., on the whole, is better.
It is not at all improbable that a better copy of this poem may yet be found.
This poem, which has not been printed before, as far as I am aware, occurs in Shirley’s MS. Addit. 16165, at fol. 256, back. It is merely headed ‘Balade of compleynte,’ without any note of its being Chaucer’s. But I had not read more than four lines of it before I at once recognised the well-known melodious flow which Chaucer’s imitators (except sometimes Hoccleve) so seldom succeed in reproducing. And when I had only finished reading the first stanza, I decided at once to copy it out, not doubting that it would fulfil all the usual tests of metre, rime, and language; which it certainly does. It is far more correct in wording than the preceding poem, and does not require that we should either omit or supply a single word. But in l. 20 the last word should surely be dere rather than here; and the last word in l. 11 is indistinct. I read it as reewe afterwards altered to newe; and newe makes very good sense. I may notice that Shirley’s n’s are very peculiar: the first upstroke is very long, commencing below the line; and this peculiarity renders the reading tolerably certain. Some lines resemble lines in no. VI., as is pointed out in the Notes. Altogether, it is a beautiful poem, and its recovery is a clear gain.
I regret that this Introduction has run to so great a length; but it was incumbent on me to shew reasons for the rejection or acceptance of the very large number of pieces which have hitherto been included in editions of Chaucer’s Works. I have now only to add that I have, of course, been greatly indebted to the works of others; so much so indeed that I can hardly particularise them. I must, however, mention very gratefully the names of Dr. Furnivall, Professor Ten Brink, Dr. Koch, Dr. Willert, Max Lange, Rambeau, and various contributors to the publications of the Chaucer Society; and though I have consulted for myself such books as Le Roman de la Rose, the Teseide, the Thebaid of Statius, the poems of Machault, and a great many more, and have inserted in the Notes a large number of references which I discovered, or re-discovered, for myself, I beg leave distinctly to disclaim any merit, not doubting that most of what I have said may very likely have been said by others, and said better. Want of leisure renders it impossible for me to give to others their due meed of recognition in many instances; for I have often found it less troublesome to consult original authorities for myself than to hunt up what others have said relative to the passage under consideration.
I have relegated Poems no. XXI., XXII., and XXIII. to an Appendix, because they are not expressly attributed to Chaucer in the MSS. Such evidence has its value, but it is possible to make too much of it; and I agree with Dr. Koch, that, despite the MSS., the genuineness of no XX. is doubtful; for the rime of compas with embrace is suspicious. It is constantly the case that poems, well known to be Chaucer’s, are not marked as his in the MS. copies; and we must really depend upon a prolonged and intelligent study of the internal evidence. This is why I admit poems nos. XXI-XXIII into the collection; and I hope it will be conceded that I am free from recklessness in this matter. Certainly my methods differ from those of John Stowe, and I believe them to be more worthy of respect.
G. = Glasgow MS.; Th. = Thynne’s ed. (1532).
1-44. Lost in G.; from Th.
69-72. Imperfect in G.
117-120. Imperfect in G.
333-380. Lost in G.; from Th.
381. G. begins again.
564. Some lines lost?
866. Two lines lost.
892. From Th.; G. om.
1243; see 1235.
1386-1482. Lost in G.
1483. G. begins again.
1553. From Th.; not in G.
1655. G. att (for and).
1668. Both bere.
1705, 6. A false rime; l. 1705 is incomplete in sense, as the sentence has no verb. Here the genuine portion ends. L. 1706 is by another hand.
1758. Both two (!).
Transpose 1913, 4?
2395-2442. Not in G.; from Th.
2443. G. begins again.