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This fortunate youth was born in Cheshire; and having given satisfaction to his master, “ a merchant on the Bridge," he was sent for three years to Turkey as factor. In less than a year after his arrival in that country, at a tournament * he brought to the ground
“ One score of knights most hardy,” who had ventured to deny Queen
“ Elizabeth to be the pearl
Of princely majesty.”
Thereat began to frown,
To pull this youngster down." The “ English boy,” nothing daunted by the rank of his opponent, returned with interest the “ boasting speeches” of the heir apparent :
" And therewithal he gave him
A box upon the ear,
As plainly doth appear.
I am no English boy
The prince of Turks destroy." The monarch's trouble was by no means diminished by the loss of his son; and, as a fitting punishment for him who had caused it,
“ He swore that he should die The cruell'st death that ever man
Beheld with mortal eye.” Two lions, which had not eaten a morsel of food for ten days, were prepared : at the appointed time there was a strong muster of“ all the noble ladies and barons of the land,”
“ To see this 'prentice slain, And buried in the hungry maws
Of those fierce lions twain.”
* A Mr. Smith, whose « Travels and Adventures in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America,” between the years 1593 and 1629, are noticed in Dibdin's “ Library Companion,” p. 384, note, appears to have much distinguished himself in this manner, since he “ vanquishes several great champions at tournaments." See the note referred to.
“ For when the hungry lions
Had cast on him their eyes,
With the echo of their cries :
His body to devour,
With all his might and power :
Their hearts he tore in sunder,
To all the people's wonder.” At this unexpected issue of the exhibition, his majesty's terror fully equalled his hate : he suddenly changed his tone,
“ And said it was some angel
Sent down from heaven above.” The courteous young man entirely disclaimed the slightest pretension to angelic nature, in a manner which greatly edified the Turkish monarch, who makes a very penitent speech:
“ So taking up this young man,
He pardon’d him his life,
To be his wedded wife:
And live in quiet peace,
In joy and love's increase.” That in times of yore it was by no means unexampled, for a London apprentice to wed with the blood royal, is abundantly shown in T. Heywood's “ Foure Prentises of London, with the Conquest of Jerusalem,” in which Eustace, the grocer's 'prentice, is introduced wooing the daughter of the King of France. Warton's opinion, that Beaumont and Fletcher's comedy of the “ Knight of the Burning Pestle” was expressly intended to cast ridicule upon Heywood's play, is controverted by the editor of the new edition of Dodsley's « Old Plays,” vol. vi. p. 401, where the play is to be found.
Heywood's drama is mentioned by name in Act IV. of that comedy.
“ Boy. Besides, it will shew ill-favouredly to have a grocer's prentice to court a king's daughter.
“ Cit. Will it so, sir? You are well read in histories! I pray you, what was Sir Dagonet? Was he not prentice to a grocer in London ? Read the play of The Four Prentices of London, where they toss their pikes so ....
The phrase of “ tossing their pikes” will be best explained by a reference to the fac-simile of the original title-page, “ Old Plays,” ut supra, p. 395.
An able letter, upon the violations of the regular chronology of the times represented in Peveril of the Peak, appeared in the “ Kaleidoscope," a kind of literary newspaper published at Liverpool. The same work contains the narrative of the Siege of Lathom-house, with valuable notes : these two articles might be printed in a small volume with advantage. We wish also to point out, to such of our readers as may not hitherto have noticed it, an excellent “ Letter from Posterity to the Author of Waverley,” in an early number of the Metropolitan Quarterly Magazine.
Quentin DURWARD. Motto to vol. ii. chap. i.
The Miseries of Enforced Marriage. If our memory do not greatly deceive us, no such lines occur in the only “ Old Play” bearing that title, with which we are acquainted. “ The Miseries of Inforst Marriage," by George Wilkins, is reprinted in vol. v. of the recent edition of Ďodsley's “ Old Plays."
- ii. ix. p. 195. “ It was a squyer of lowe degré,
That loved the king's doughter of Hungrè,” occurs in p. 145, vol. iii. of Ritson's “ Ancient English Metrical Romances," Lond. 1802.
ii. x. p. 230.
- p. 231.
Have become men by marriage.”—Ibid. 1. 373-4. It is believed that no MS. of this poem exists; the only known copy is in the British Museum (Garrick's Plays, K. vol. 9), printed by Copland, 4to. without date; but between the years 1560 and 1569,-" and from the apparent modernization of the printed copy, [the poem] seems of much greater antiquity.”
Ritson's Notes, p. 344. Mr. Ellis places it in the reign of Henry VI. i.e. between 1421 and 1461; see his “Specimens of English Poetry,” i. p. 338, where he has extracted a speech of the king of Hungary, extending to above one hundred lines, in which are recited all the amusements known to the fair sex during the middle ages : this curious and tempting enumeration the Princess terminates with the following abrupt and laconic answer ;
“Gramercy, father, so mote i thè *,
1. 853-4, Ed. Ritson. It must be confessed that Quentin, in fortitude and energetic decision, is far superior to his equally fortunate prototype, who pours forth a most pitiable appeal (lines 534-545) to his ladylove, upon finding himself involved in an ambuscade, when going to take leave of the princess. We must allow that the odds were considerable against him, as thirty-four knights, with the steward, who in most romances is depicted as an abominable traitor, at their head, had stationed themselves in the neighbourhood of the lady's chamber
“Armed with a great company,
For treason walketh wonder wyde t."-1.518--520. From this speech the squire's character appears to have suffered materially, as the reader may learn from Ritson's note upon v. 541.
“Undo your dore, my lady swete.” “From this repeated exclamation of the poor terrify'd squire, he seems to have acquired it as a nickname, the printer's colophon being— Thus endeth-Undo your dore, otherwise called the sqyr of lowe degre.'”
"By this prompt courage Quentin in a great measure avoids the reproach urged against his predecessors, in the “ Letters on the Author of Waverley:" see letter viii. p. 197, et seq. of the second edition, 1822.
The literal and verbal variations between the lines given above, and as quoted in the novel, lead us to suppose that the adaptation of passages to the existing circumstances of the novels, which has been already remarked, is not altogether wilful. It is easy to conceive that the fanciful and indistinct combinations of a richly stored poetical memory may readily have been blended upon occasion, to assume a form not possessed by the originals.
* Mote I thè-may I thrive. A very common expression in early poems of this class.
† This remarkable line perhaps admits of two interpretations. It may have reference to the approach of the squire; or, what seems more probable, and is certainly more forcible, to the ambushed party.
VOL. 1,-PART I.
- This hypothesis, of course, falls immediately to the ground, in case it should happen that the MS. stores, in the delightful little octangular turret-room at Hautlieu (Introd. to Quentin Durward, p. lviii.) or one sparkling and invaluable copy of the“ Strasbourg romaunt”-perchance contained among the ceimelia of a certain bibliotheca abscondita, to borrow a title from Sir Thomas Browne, which has already given to the world the poetical triflings* of a cavalier, claiming, from his “playfulness” and “ ease of expression,” to rank considerably above the“ mob of gentlemen who write with ease,” authorize the various readings.
Should this copy be moreover on vellum, and uncut, as Dr. Dibdin says, it will have the rare fortune of satisfying, either substantially or virtually, the eight qualifications, of which any one is sufficient to make a book desirable in the eyes of a collector. To obviate the possibility of a doubt, the historian has particularly mentioned what Chaucer terms the “ letteres blake" (Frere's Tale, 6946); and should any envious caviller venture to suggest that it is not upon large paper, the insinuation will probably excite no very painful feeling, in the breast of the more than thrice-happy possessor. How far the copy may be “illustrated,” must remain for the present a moot point.
- i. chap. xiii. p. 315.
&c. &c. Barbour's Bruce, i. 225, et seq. This extract is made from p. 9 of the rare edition of “The Acts and Life of the most meritorious Conqueror, Robert Bruce, King of Scotland. Edinb. printed by Andrew Anderson, and are to
* We allude to the “ Triviall Poems and Triolets” of one Patrick Casey. See the concluding paragraph of the preface to the publication of his poems. + Failyee—fail you,
Yarned-yearned, eagerly desired, longed for.