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A

DISSERTATION

ON

ROMARCH

AND

Minstrels y.

BY

JOSEPH RITSON.

TO WHICH IS APPENDED

THE ANCIENT METRICAL ROMANCE

OF

Ywaine and Gawin.

EDINBURGH:
E. & G. GOLDSMID.

1891.

THE NEW YORK
FIBLIC LIBRASY
37007

Top R, LENOX AND
LII* "OUNDATIONS,

This Edition is limited to 400 copies on demy 8vo, and 100 copies (Large

Paper) on demy 4to paper.

[graphic][merged small]

'HE nature, importance, and utility of such a publication

as the present have been displayed to so much advantage by a writer of the highest eminence for his acquaintance with the subject, and for his ingenuity and taste, that it would be almost an act of injustice to the undertaking not to make use of such a powerful and elegant recommendation, to which no attempt of the present editor could possibly be equal.

As many of these METRICAL HISTORIES and ROMANCES contain a considerable portion of poetic merit, and throw a great light on the manners and opinions of former times, it were to be wished that some of the best of them were rescued from oblivion. A judicious collection of them, accurately published, with proper illustrations, would be an important accession to our stock of ancient English literature. Many of them exhibit no mean attempts at epic poetry, and though full of the exploded fictions of chivalry, frequently display great and inventive powers in the bards who composed them. They are at least generally equal to any other poetry of the same age. They cannot indeed be put in competition with the nervous productions of so universal and commanding a genius as Chaucer ; but they have a simplicity that makes them be read with less interruption, and be more easily understood; and they are far more spirited and entertaining than the tedious allegories of Gower, or the dull and prolix legends of Lydgate ; yet, while so much stress is laid upon the writings of these last, by such as treat of English poetry, the old metrical romances, though far more popular in their time, are hardly known to exist. . . . . Should the public encourage the revival of some of those ancient epic songs of chivalry, they

ure repur no 11.00

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