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going and returning. Alluding to the well-known custom, he says:
'Ye goon to Canterbury; God you speede,
The blisful martir quyte you youre meode!
Ye schapen you to talen and to pleye.' Here the Harleian reads to talken and to play,' which misses the special significance of the allusion. They were accustomed not only to talk, but to tell stories; and the verb talen, common in Chaucer's day, and used in the same way by Gower, exactly expresses this. Again, at the outset of the • * Knight's Tale,' the eldest of the princesses, in telling Theseus the pitiful story of their calamity, says:
· And alle we that ben in this array,
While that the sege ther aboute lay.' Here the Harleian reads leften, which in describing such overwhelming desolation is weak and poor compared with losten. Did space allow, many additional instances of the superiority of the associated texts in distinctive and appropriate terms and phrases might easily be given. There are lines, moreover, in which some special subtilty of allusion, some reserved grace of feeling, or latent gleam of irony, vanishes amidst the commonplace expletives of the Harleian text. But we have no room for multiplied examples, and must leave this part of the subject without further illustration. What we have said may serve to indicate the improvements that may be made in the best existing text by the critical use of the manuscripts the Chaucer Society are now publishing.
Quite as much still remains to be done for the illustration as for the text of Chaucer's poetical works. There are in his writings almost innumerable points of philological, literary, or historical interest that require to be elucidated. Chaucer was not only familiar with every phase of contemporary life, but profoundly read in all existing literature. He knew by intimate personal experience the tastes and habits, the pursuits and recreations, the superstitions and beliefs, of all ranks and classes amongst his own countrymen ; and his public employments had enlarged the field of his observation so as to include almost every country in Europe. He had seen active military service abroad, and had taken part in splendid public ceremonials at home; had lived habitually in courts, camps, and great cities, as well as in the congenial retirement of country
VOL. CXXXII. NO, CCLXIX.
life. The whole world of nature and human experience was in this way mirrored in his sunny intellect, while the higher influences of both had melted serenely into the quiet depths of his curiously meditative and observant mind. As a natural result there is a mellowed fulness in his maturer delineations; a joyous animation, a living truth, a variety and completeness of detail in his pictures of life that obscure at first the purely literary or academical accomplishments of his mind; or rather, perhaps, it would be more correct to say that in his later works the learning and knowledge of life are so fused by imaginative sympathy into a new poetical whole, that there is at first no distinct consciousness of the separate elements. The appreciative reader of Chaucer is so enchanted by his descriptive power and constructive art--so carried on and absorbed in the enjoyment of the work as a whole—that he does not pause to notice the felicity of allusive detail, the golden threads derived from elder looms, that are wrought with exquisite skill into the texture, and help to give richness and brilliancy to the new fabric. On closer examination, however, the range and minuteness of Chaucer's learning becomes clearly apparent. He employed materials derived from all existing literatures home and foreign ; not only the early English chronicles and stories, the Norman-French romances and fables, the new epic and lyrical poetry of Italy, and the whole range of Latin literature, including not only the classics proper, as well as the science and art, the history and philosophy of the time, but also Byzantine legends and brilliant fragments of Eastern romance, that had passed into Europe in the wake of the returning Crusaders. The adequate illustration of Chaucer thus requires, in addition to a minute acquaintance with the state of the language in his day, a full knowledge of contemporary literature and history. No single editor has as yet united these requirements. Tyrwhitt, who studied with some care the literature and history of the fourteenth century, was comparatively ignorant of Chaucer's language; while recent editors, such as Mr. Wright and Mr. Morris, who are well acquainted with Chaucer's language, have attempted hardly anything in the way of literary or historical illustration.
But the primary requirement of all expository criticism of Chaucer is undoubtedly the full interpretation of his language. While extended literary and historical illustration may perhaps be regarded as critical luxuries, the first and most essential condition of any intelligent study of his poetry is that its obscurities of phrase and diction should as far as possible be explained.
There is still, however, a great deal to be done for the elucidation of Chaucer's language; and, unfortunately, Mr. Morris, who of living scholars is in many respects best qualified for the work, has confined his labours in this direction to a revision of previous glossaries. So far as it goes, this part of the undertaking, it need scarcely be said, is carefully done. Mr. Morris has corrected many of his predecessors blunders, and supplied many
' of their omissions; but it is to be regretted that he should have adopted the old meagre type of glossary, a mere wordlist, giving only the most general meaning of an archaic term, often not the most specific or appropriate, with one or more references to examples of its use. Moreover, in discharging this comparatively humble task Mr. Morris is not always successful, his Glossary being in some respects both erroneous and defective. Many archaic words are omitted, while the explanation of many others is either imperfect or altogether mistaken. In the following passage, for example, taken from the detailed description of the way in which the false Canon, by pretended alchemy, juggled the simple-minded priest out of his money and his goods :
* And in his sleeve, as ye byforen-hond
And in the pannes botome he hath it last,' Mr. Morris mistakes heyne for hyne, and glosses it accordingly • fellow,' knave.' Heyne, however, has no connexion with hyne, being a totally different word both in origin and meaning. It is the substantive of which we still retain the adjective heinous, and means, in harmony with the other strong epithets applied to the false Canon, that pitiful swindler, that hateful wretch. Other opprobrious terms applied to the Canon are • fox,' thief,' 'root of treachery;' and in such a connexion there is a peculiar appropriateness in hain, as it was specially employed to designate the covetous and grasping, those who clutch at ill-gotten gains. The word continued to be used for two centuries after Chaucer's day in the same sense. Thus Udall, in his anecdotes of Demosthenes, says :
-Certain ‘ persones estemyng and saiyng that Demades had now geven 'over to bee suche an haine, as he had been in tyme past. · Yea marie, quoth Demosthenes, for now ye see him ful • paunched, as lyons are. For Demades was covetous and
gredie of money, and in deede the lyons are more gentle • when their bealyes are well filled.' The word hain, used not
. unfrequently by Udall in the same sense, is of some interest, as it has, we believe, escaped the notice not only of all Chaucer editors and commentators, but of all our English lexicographers.
Again, Mr. Morris is altogether wrong in his interpretation of the verb hamel, in the following stanza from • Troilus and · Cressid':
* For thus ferforth I have thy worke bigonne,
ye have herde bifore, al he him tolde.' Mr. Morris glosses hameled, 'cut off, but the verb hamel never at any time had this meaning. It signifies to cripple, hamper, impede, and was primarily applied to the partial laming of mastiffs kept by foresters, or within the precincts of a royal forest, to prevent their chasing the deer. The hameling was effected in various ways, often by cutting the ball of the dog's foot, sometimes by removing three of the claws; and in early times, especially, by partially hamstringing them. The result was, that though still able to go about and follow their master, and retaining all their formidable power of jaw, the dogs lost their native swiftness of foot, and were no longer able to chase the venison in the royal forests. From this technical
. use the verb came to be applied generally to any kind of natural or artificial crippling, to the tethering, clogging, and hobbling of animals to prevent their wandering; and, finally, to fastening by the ankle, one of the most usual means by which restraint of this sort was effected. In this sense it is used by Langland to describe the luxurious Franciscan friars who had evaded the severer precepts of their master by wearing hosen and shoes instead of going barefoot :
* Fraunceys bad his brethren
Y-hameled by the ancle.' Chaucer uses the word in its technical sense, and the metaphor it embodies is peculiarly appropriate. Troilus's sorrow,
. the bitterness of agonizing doubt, the sickening pain of hope deferred, is represented as pursuing him with relentless cruelty, persecuting him night and day, following close on his heels, and ready every instant to seize and rend him afresh. The moment
the company had left, Troilus with aching heart turns eagerly to Pandarus, asking, 'Is there any new ground of hope or * comfort?' Pandarus, after torturing him with the injunction to go quietly to rest, relieves his pain by assuring him that he had done something, that at any rate his sorrow was partially crippled, and would no longer pursue him with such a swift and eager foot
Algate a foot is hameled of thi sorwe.' The force and significance of the metaphor is however lost in Mr. Morris's gloss, the happy allusion being reduced to a piece of figurative but unmeaning butchery. Again, Mr. Morris is surely wrong in explaining pigsnie to mean pansy. There has been, it is true, considerable discussion
' about the origin of the word, and some as to its real meaning, but there can be no doubt about its constant use as a term of affection, a diminutive of endearment. It was employed in the sense of pet or darling, applied especially to young children and maidens, from Chaucer's time almost to our own, and is still used provincially in much the same way. The word is thus well known; and why Mr. Morris should have glossed it in this peculiar way, except from the accident of its being used in connexion with a flower, it is difficult to imagine. Apart from any word of explanation, we must say the interpretation of pansy looks like a daring and not very happy conjecture.
Besides the words in Mr. Morris's Glossary whose interpretation is positively erroneous, we have marked a considerable number so partially and imperfectly glossed as to convey at least only a very vague, if not an inaccurate, notion of their real meaning. But without noticing these we must pass on to Mr. Morris's omissions—the archaic words and senses he has altogether overlooked. These are numerous, and in some cases of considerable importance. Amongst the less important omissions are the words clergion, sewes, reddore, solar, argoyle, forcrachan, guldes, resalgar, ronges, grissil, ferly, as a noun, and apert as an adjective. There is something to be said about each of these words. The first, clergion, which means simply scholar, was wholly mistaken by Mr. Bell, who has a long irrelevant note designed to show that the little clergion,' or schoolboy, was probably, like Samuel, devoted to the priesthood from his infancy. Some of the other words, too, are of interest on special grounds, and all ought of course to find a place in any glossary of Chaucer.
But some of Mr. Morris's more important omissions are of