Notes and Illustrations Referred to in the Foregoing Essay.
( A) The Minstrels, &c.] The word Minstrel does not appear to have been in use here before the Nornian Conquest; whereas it had long before that time been adopted in France.[ 1] MENESTREL, so early as the eighth century, was a title given to the Maestro di Capella of K. Pepin, the father of Charlemagne; and afterwards to the Coryphæus, or leader of any band of musicians. [Vide Burney's Hist. of Music, ii. 268.] This term Menestrel, Menestrier, was thus expressed in Latin, Ministellus, Ministrellus, Ministrallus, Menesterellus, &c. [Vide Gloss. Du Cange, & Supplem]
Menage derives the French words above mentioned from Ministerialis or Ministeriarius, barbarous Latin terms, used in the Middle Ages to express a workman or artificer (still called in Languedoc Ministral), as if there men were styled ARTIFICERS or PEERFORMERS by way of excellence.-- Vide Diction. Etym. But the origin of the name is given perhaps more truly by Du Cange:
MINISTELLI . . . quos vulgo Menestreux vel Menestriers appellamus, quod minoribus aulæ Ministris accenserentur," [Gloss. iv. p. 769.] Accordingly, we are told, the word Minister is sometimes used pro Ministellus [ibid.], and as instance is produced which I shall insert at large in the next paragraph.
Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from the record of the 9th of Edward IV., quoted above, by which Haliday and others are erected into a perpetual Gild, &c.-- See the original in Rymer, xi. 642. By part of this record it is recited to be their duty "to pray (exorare: which it is presented they did by assisting in the chant, and musical accompaniment, &c.) in the King's chapel, and particularly for the departed souls of the King and Queen, when they shall die," &c. The same also appears from the passage in the Supplem. to Du Cange, alluded to above. "MINISTER . . . pro Ministellus Joculator."[ 2] -- Vetus Ceremoniale MS. B. M. deauratæ Tolos. "Item, etiam congregabuntur Piscatores, qui debent interesse isto die in processione cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus: quia ipsi Piscatores tenentur habere iste die Joculatores, seu Mimos, ob honorem Crucis -- et vadunt primi ante processionem cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus semper pulsantibus usque ad Ecclesiam S. Stephani." [Gloss. 773.] This may perhaps account for the clerical appearance of the Minstrels, who seem to have been distinguished by the Tonsure, which was one of the inferior marks of the clerical character[ 3] Thus Geoffrey of Monmouth, speaking of one who acted the part of a Minstrel, says, "Rasit capillos suos et barbam]." (See note K.) Again, a writer in the reign of Elizabeth, describing the habit of an ancient Minstrel, speaks of his head as "rounded Tonster-wise" (which I venture to read Tonsure-wise), "his beard smugly shaven." -- See above.
It must, however, be observed, that notwithstanding such clerical appearance of the Minstrels, and though they might be sometimes countenanced by such of the clergy as were of more relaxed morals, their sportive talents rendered them generally obnoxious to the more rigid ecclesiastics, and to such of the religious orders as were of more severe discipline; whose writings commonly abound with heavy complaints of the great encouragement shown to those men by the princes and nobles, and who can seldom afford them a better name than that of Scurræ Famelici, Nebulones, &c., of which innumerable instances may be seen in Du Cange. It was even an established order in some of the monasteries, that no Minstrel should ever be suffered to enter the gates[ 4].
We have, however, innumerable particulars of the good cheer and great rewards given to the Minstrels in many of the convents, which are collected by T. Warton (i. 91, &c.) and others. But one instance, quoted from Wood's Hist. Antiq. Univ. Ox. i. 67 (sub an. 1224), deserves particular mention. Two itinerant priests, on a supposition of their being Mimi or Minstrels, gained admittance. But the cellarer, sacrist, and others of the brethren, who had hoped to have been entertained by their diverting arts, &c., when they found them to be only two indigent ecclesiastics, who could only administer spiritual consolation, and were consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat them and turned them out of the monastery. (Ibid. p. 92.) The passage furnishes an additional proof that a minstrel might, by his dress or appearance, be mistaken for an ecclesiastic.
( B) The Minstrels use mimickry and action, and other means of diverting, &c.] It is observable, that our old monkish historians do not use the words Cantator, Citharædus, Musicus, or the like, to express a Minstrel in Latin, so frequently as Mimus, Histrio, Joculator, or some other word that implies gesture. Hence it might be inferred, that the Minstrels set off their songs with all the arts of gesticulation, &c.; or, according to the ingenious hypothesis of Dr. Brown, united the powers of melody, poem, and dance.-- See his History of the Rise of Poetry, &c.
But indeed all the old writers describe them as exercising various arts of this kind. Joinville, in his Life of St. Lewis, speaks of some Armenian Minstrels, who were very dexterous tumblers and posture-masters. "Avec le Prince vinrent trois Menestriers de la Grande Hyermenie (Armenia). . . et avoint trois cors.-- Quand ils encommenceoient a corner, vous dissiez que ce sont les voix de cygnes, . . . et fesoient les plus douces melodies.-- Ils fesoient trois marveilleus saus, car on leur metoit une touaille desous les piez, et tournoient tout debout. . . Les Deux tournoient les testes arieres," &c.-- See the extract at large, in the Hon. D. Barrington's Observations on the Anc. Statutes, 4to, 2d edit. p. 273, omitted in the last impression.
This may also account for that remarkable clause in the press-warrant of Henry VI., "De Ministrallis propter solatium Regis providendis," by which it is required, that the boys, to be provided "in arte Ministrallatus instructos," should also be "membris naturalibus elegantes." (Observ. on the Anc. Stat. 4th edit. p. 337.)
Although by Minstrel was properly understood, in English, one who sung to the harp, or some other instrument of music, verses composed by himself or others, yet the term was also applied by our old writers to such as professed either music or singing separately, and perhaps to such as practised any of the sportive arts connected with these[ 5]. Music, however, being the leading idea, was at length peculiarly called Minstrelsy, and the name of Minstrel at last confined to the musician only.
In the French language all these arts were included under the general name of Menestraudie, Menestraudise, Jonglerie, &c. [Med. Lat. Menestelloram Ars, Ars Joculatoria, &c.]--"On peut comprendre sous le nom de Jonglerie tout cc qui appartient aux anciens chansonniers Provenceaux, Normands, Picards, &c. Le corps de la Jonglerie etoit forme des Trouveres, ou Troubadours, qui composoient les chansons, et parmi lesquels it y avoit des Improvisateurs, comme on en trouve et Italie; des Chanteurs, ou Chanteres, qui executoient ou chantoient ces compositions; des Conteurs qui faisoient en vers ou en prose les contes, les recits, les histoires; des Jongleurs ou Menestrels qui accompagnoient de leurs instruments.-- L'art de ces Chantres ou Chansonniers, etoit nommé la Science Gaie, Gay Saber." (Pref. Anthologie Franc. 1765, 8vo, p.17.)-- See also the curious Fauchet (De l'Orig. de la Lang. Fr. p. 72, c.), "Bientost apres la division de ce grand empire Francois en tant de petites royaumes, duchez, et comtez, au lieu des Poetes commencerent a se faire cognoistre les Trouverres, et, Chanterres, Contëours, et Juglëours: qui sont Trouveurs, Chantres, Conteurs, Jongleurs, ou Jugleurs, c'est a dire, Menestriers chantans avec la viole."
We see, then, that Jongleur, Jugleur (Lat. Joculator, Juglator), was a peculiar name appropriated to the Minstrels. "Les Jongleurs ne faisoient que chanter les poesies sur leurs instruments. On les appelloit aussi Menestrels: "says Fontenelle, in his Hist. du Théat. Franc., prefixed to his life of Corneille.
( C) Successors of the ancient Bards.] That the Minstrels in many respects bore a strong resemblance both to the British Bards and to the Danish Scalds, appear from this, that the old monkish writers express them all, without ditinction, by the same names in Latin. Thus Geoffrey of Monmouth, himself a Welshman, speaking of an old pagan British king, who excelled in singing and music so far as to be esteemed by his countrymen the patron deity of the Bards, uses the phrase Deus Joculatorum; which is the peculiar name given to the English and French Minstrels.[ 6] In like manner, William Malmesbury, speaking of a Danish king's assuming the profession of a Scald, expresses it by Professus Mimum; which was another same given to the Minstrels in Middle Latinity.(N) Indeed Du Cange, in his Glossary, quotes a writer, who positively asserts that the Minstrels of the Middle Ages were the same with the ancient Bards. I shall give a large extract from this learned glossographer, as he relates many curious particulars concerning the profession and arts of the Minstrels; whom, after the monks, he stigmatizes by the name of Scurræ; though he acknowledges their songs often tended to inspire virtue.
"Ministelli, dicti præsertim Scurræ, Mimi, Joculatores." . . . "Ejusmodi Scurrarum munus erat principes non suis duntaxat ludricis oblectare, sed et eorum aures variis avorum, adeoque ipsorum principum laudibus, non sine assentatione, cum cantilenis et musicis instrumentis demulcere . . .
"Interdum etiam virorum insignium et heroum gesta, aut explicatar et jocunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis inflexione, fidibusque decantabant, quo sic dominorum, cæterorumque qui his intererant ludicris, nobilium animus ad virtutem capessendam, et summorum virorum, imitationem, accenderent: quod fuit olim apud Gallus Bardorum ministerium, ut auctor est Tacitus. Neque enim alios a Ministellis, veterum Gallorum Bardos fuisse pluribus probat Henricus Valesius ad 15 Ammiani . . . Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini.
"Qui vent avoir renom des bons et des vaillans
Il doit aler souvent a la pluie et au champs
Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fr Rollans,
Les Quatre fils Haimon, et Charlon li plus grans,
Li du Lions de Bourges, et Gulons de Connans,
Perceval li Galois, Lancelot, et Tristans,
Alexandres, Artus, Godfroi li Sachans,
De quoy cils MENESTRIERS font los nobles ROMANS."
"Nicolaus de Braia describens solenne convivum, quo post inaugurationem suam proceres excepit Lud. VIII. rex Francorum, ait inter ipsius convivii apparatum, in medium prodiisse Mimum, qui regis laudes ad cytharam decantavit."
Our author then gives the lines at length, which begin thus,
"Dumque fovent genium geniali munere Bacchi,
Hectare commixto curas removente Lyæo
Principis a facie, citharæ celeberrimus arte
Assurgit Mimus, ars musica quem decoravit.
Hic ergo chorda resonante subintulit ista:
Inclyte rex regum, probitatis, stemmate vernans
Quem vigor et virtus extollit in æthera famæ," &c.
The rest may be seen in Du Cange, who thus proceeds, "Mitto reliqua similia, ex quibus omnino patet ejusmodi Mimorum et Ministellorum cantilenas ad virtutem principes excitasse . . . Id præsertim in pugnæ precinctu, dominis suis occinebant, ut martium ardorem in eorum animus concitarent: cujusmodi cantum Cantilenum Rollandi appellat Wil. Malmesb. lib. 3.-- Aimoinus, lib. 4. de Mirac. S. Bened. c. 37. 'Tanta vero illis securitas... ut Scurram se precedere facerent, qui musico instrumento res fortiter gestas et priorum bella præcineret, quatenus his acrius incitarentur." &c. As the writer was a monk, we shall not wonder at his calling the minstrel scurram.
This word scurra, or some one similar, is represented in the Glossaries as the proper meaning of Leccator, (Fr. Leccour,) the ancient term by which the Minstrel appears to be expressed in the grant to Dutton, quoted above. On this head I shall produce a very curious passage, which is twice quoted in Du Ganges's Glossary (sc. ad verb. Menestellus et ad verb. Lecator)--"Philippus Mouskes in Philip. Aug. fingit Carolum M. Provincie comitatum Scurris et Mimis suis olim donasse, indeque postea tantum in lute regione poetarum munerum excrevisse.
"Quar quant li buens Rois Karlemaigne
Ot toute mise a son demaine
Provence, qui mult iert plentive
De vins, de bois, d'aigue, derive,
As LECCOURS, as MENESTREUS
Qui sont auques luxurieus
Le donna toute et departi."
( D) The Poet and the Minstrel early with us became two persons.] The word Scald comprehended both characters among the Danes, nor do I know that they had any peculiar name for either of them separate. But it was not so with the Anglo-Saxons. They called a poet Sceop, and Leodhthyhta: the last of these comes from Leodh, a song; and the former answers to our old word Maker (Gr. Ποιητής [Poietes]), being derived from Scippan or Sceopan, formare, facere, fingere, creare (Ang. to shape). As for the Minstrel, they distinguished him by the peculiar appellation of Lligman, and perhaps by the more simple title of Hearpere, Harper. [See below, Notes (H) (I).] This last title, at least, is often given to a Minstrel by our most ancient English rhymists.-- See in this work, King Estmere, Glasgerion, &c.
( E) Minstrels . . . at the houses of the great, &c.] Du Cange affirms, that in the Middle Ages the courts of princes swarmed so much with this kind of men, and such large sums were expended in maintaining and rewarding them, that they often drained the royal treasuries: especially, he adds, of such as wore delighted with their flatteries ("prasertim qui ejusmodi Ministellorum assentationibus delectabantur.") He then confirms his assertion by several passages out of monastic writers, who sharply inveigh against this extravagance. Of these I shall here select only one or two, which show what kind of rewards were bestowed on these old Songsters.
"Rigordus de Gestis Philippi Aug. ann. 1185. Cum in curiis regum seu aliorum principum, frequens turba Histrionum convenire soleat, ut ab eis aurum, argentum, equos, seu vestes,[ 7] quos persæpe mutare consueverunt principes, ab eis extorqueant, verba joculatoria variis adulationibus plena proferre nituntur. Et ut magis placeant, quicquid de ipsis principibus probabiliter fingi potest, videlicet omnes delitias et lepores, et visit dignas urbanitates et cæteras ineptias, trutinantibus buccis in medium eructere non erubescunt. Vidimus quondam quosdam principes, qui vestes diu excogitatas, et variis forum picturationibus artificiose elaboratas, pro quibus forsan 20 vel 30 marcas argenti consumpserant, vix revolutis septem diebus, Histrionibus, ministris diaboli, ad primam vocem dedisse," &c.
The curious reader may find a similar, though at the same time a more candid account, in that most excellent writer, Presid. Fauchet (Recueil de la Lang. Fr. p. 73), who says that, like the ancient Greek 'Αοιδοι [Aoidoi], "Nos Trouverres, ainsi que ceux la, prenans leur subject sur les faits des vaillans (qu'ils appelloyent Geste, versant de Gesta Latin) alloyent . . . par les tours rejouir les Princes.. Remportans des grandes recompences des seigneurs, qui bien souvent leur donnoyent jusques aux robes qu'ils avoyent vestues: et lesquelles ces Jugleours ne failloyent de porter aux autres cours, à fin d'inviter les seigneurs a pareille liberalité. Ce qui a duré si longuement qu'il me souvient avoit veu Martin Baraton (ja viel Menestrier d'Orleans), lequel aux festes et nopees batoit un tabourin d'argent, semé des plaques aussi d'argent, gravees des armoiries de ceux a qui il avoit appris a danser:" -- Here we see that a minstrel sometimes performed the function of a dancing-master.
Fontenello even gives us to understand that these men were often rewarded with favours of a still higher kind. "Les princesses et les plus grandee dames y joignoient souvent leurs favours. Elles etoient fort foibles contres les beaux esprits."-- Hist. du Théat. We are not to wonder, then, that this profession should be followed by men of the first quality, particularly the younger sons and brothers of great houses. "Tel qui par les partages de sa famille n'avoit que la moitié ou le quart d'une vieux chateaux bien seigneurial, alloit quelque temps courir le monde en rimant, et revenoit acquerir le reste de Chateau."-- Fontanelle, Hist. du Théat. We see, then, that there was no improbable fiction in those ancient songs and romances, which are founded on the story of minstrels being beloved by kings' daughters, &c., and discovering themselves to be the sons of some sovereign prince, &c.
( F) The honours and rewards lavished upon the Minstrels were not confined to the Continent. Our own countryman, Johannes Sarisburiensis (in the time of Henry II.) declaims no less than the monks abroad, against the extravagant favour shown to these men. "Non enim more nugatorum ejus seculi in Histriones et Mimos, et hujusmodi monstra hominum, ob fames redemptionem et dilatationem nominis effunditis opus vestras," &c. [Epist. 247.][ 8]
The monks seem to grudge every act of munificence that was not applied to the benefit of themselves and their convents. They therefore bestow great applauses upon the Emperor Henry, who, at his marriage with Agnes of Poictou, in 1044, disappointed the poor Minstrels, and sent them away empty. "Infinitam Histrionum et Joculatornm multitudinem sine cibo et muneribus vacuam et mrentem abire permisit"-- Chronic. Virtziburg. For which I doubt not but he was sufficiently stigmatized in the songs and ballads of those times.-- Vid. Du Cange, Gloss. tom. iv. p. 771, &c.
( G) The annals of the Anglo-Sarons are scanty and defective.] Of the few histories now remaining that were written before the Norman Conquest, almost all are such short and naked sketches and abridgments, giving only a concise and general relation of the more remarkable events, that scarce any of the minute circumstantial particulars are to be found in them; nor do they hardly ever descend to a description of the customs, manners, or domestic economy of their Countrymen. The Saxon Chronicle, for instance, which is the best of them, and upon some accounts extremely valuable, is almost such an epitome as Lucius Floras and Eutropius have left us of the Roman history. As for Ethelward, his book is judged to be an imperfect translation of the Saxon Chronicle;[ 9] and the Pseudo-Asser, or Chronicle of St. Neot, is a poor, defective performance. How absurd would it be, then, to argue against the existence of customs or facts, from the silence of such scanty records as these! Whoever would carry his researches deep into that period of history, might safely plead the excuse of a learned writer, who had particularly studied the Ante-Norman historians. "Conjecturis (licet nusquam verisimili fundamento) aliquoties indulgemus . . . utpote ab Historicis jejune nimis et indiligenter res nostras tractantibus coacti . . . Nostri . . . nuda factorum commemoratione plerumque contenti, reliqua omnia, sive ob ipsarum rerum, sive meliorum literarum, sive Historicorum officii ignorantiam, fere intacta prætereunt."-- Vide plura in Præfat. ad Ælfr. Vitam à Spelman. Ox. 1678, fol.
( H) Minstrels and Harpers.] That the Harp (Cithara) was the common musical instrument of the Anglo-Saxon, might be inferred from the very word itself, which is not derived from the British, or any other Celtic language, but of genuine Gothic original, and current among every branch of that people, viz. Ang: Sax. Hearpe, Hearpa. Iceland, Harpa, Haurpa. Dan. and Belg. Harpe. Germ. Harpffe, Harpffa. Gal. Harpe. Span. Harpa. Ital. Arpa. [Vid. Jun. Etym.--Menage Etym., Sec.] As also from this, that the word Hearpe is constantly used, in the Anglo-Saxon versions, to express the Latin words Citharo, Lyra, and even Cymbalum; the word Psalmus itself being sometimes translated Hearp Sang, Harp Song. [Glos. Jun. R. apud Lye Anglo-Sax. Lexic.]
But the fact itself is positively proved by the express testimony of Bede, who tells us that it was usual at festival meetings for this instrument to be handed round, and each of the company to sing to it in his turn.-- See his Hist. Eccles. Anglor. lib. iv. c. 24, where, speaking of their sacred poet Cædmon, who lived in the times of the Heptarchy (ob. circ. 680), He says:--
"Nihil unquam frivoli et supervacui poematis facere potuit; sed ea tantummode, quo ad religionem pertinent, religiosam ejus linguam decebant. Siquidem in habitu sæculari, usque ad tempera provectioris ætatis eo nonnunquam in convivio, cum esset lætitiæ causa decretum ut omnes per ordinem cantare deberent, ille ubi appropinquare sibi citharam cernebat, surgebat a media cna, et egressus, ad suam domum repedebat."
I shall now subjoin King Alfred's own Anglo-Saxon translation of this passage, with a literal interlineary English version.
"He.. næfre noht leasunga, ne ideles leodhes thyrcean ne mihte. ac
He.. never no leasings, nor idle songs compose ne might; but lo!
erne dha an dha dhe to æfestnese belumpon 7 his dha æfestan
only those things which to religion [piety] belong, and his then pious
tungan gedafenode singan: Mæs he se man in theorolt hade
tongue became to sing: He was the [a] man in worldly [secular] state
Geseted odh dha tide dhe he thær of gelyfedre ylde 7 he næfne
set to the time in which he was of an advanced age; and he never
ænig leoth geleornode. 7 he fothron oft in ge beorscithe, dhnne dhær
any song learned. And he therefore OFT in an entertainment, when there
thæs blisse intinga gedemed th hi ealle sceoldan dhuph
was for merriment-sake adjudged [or decreed] that they ALL should through
endebyrdnesse be hearpan singan. dhonne he geseah dha hearpan him
their turns by [to the] HARP SING; when he saw the HARP him
nealæcan. Dhonne aras he for sceome fran dham symle, 7 home eode
approach, then arose he FOR SHAME from the supper, and home yode [went]
to his huse."
to his house.
Bed. Hist. Eccl. à. Smith, Cantab. 1722, fol. p. 597.
In this version of Alfred's it is observable, ( 1) that he has expressed the Latin word cantare by the Anglo-Saxon words "be hearpan syngan," sing to the harp, as if they were synonymous, or as if his countrymen had no idea of singing unaccompanied with the harp:( 2) that when Bede simply says, surgebat a media cæna, he assigns a motive, "aras for sceome," arose for shame: that is, either from an austerity of manners, or from his being deficient in an accomplishment which so generally prevailed among his countrymen.
( I) The word Glee, which peculiarly denoted their art &c.] This word Glee is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Ligg [Gligg], Musica, Music, Minstrelsy (Somn.). This is the common radix, whence arises such a variety of terms and phrases relating to the minstrel art, as affords the strongest internal proof, that this profession was extremely common and popular here before the Norman Conquest. Thus we have
( 1) Llith [Gliw], Mimus, a Minstrel
Lligman, gligmon, gliman, [Glee-man], Histrio, Mimus, Pantomimus; all common names in Middle Latinity for a Minstrel: and Sommer accordingly renders the original by a Minstrel, a Player on a Timbrel or Taber. He adds, a Fidler, but although the Fythel or Fiddle was an ancient instrument, by which the Jogelar or Minstrel sometimes accompanied his song (see Warton, i. 17), it is probable that Somner annexes here only a modern sense to the word, not having at all investigated the subject.
Llummen, glugmen [Glee-men]. Histriones, Minstrels. Hence
Lligmanna-yppe. Orchestra vel Pulpitus. The place where the Minstrels exhibited their performances.
( 2) But their most proper and expressive name was
Llithhleothriend. Musicus, a Minstrel; and
Llithhleothriendlica. Musicus, Musical
These two words include the full idea of the minstrel character, expressing at once their music and singing, being compounded of Llith, Musicus, Mimus, a Musician, Minstrel, and Leodh, Carmen, a song.
( 3) From the above word Lligg, the profession itself was called
Lligcræft [Glig- or Glee-craft]. Musica, Histronia, Mimica, Gesticulatio: which Somner rightly gives in English, Minstrelsy, Mimical Gesticulation, Mummery. He also adds, Stage-playing; but here again I think he substitutes an idea too modern, induced by the word Histrionia, which in Middle Latinity only signifies the minstrel art.
However, it should seem that both mimical gesticulation and a kind of rude exhibition of characters were sometimes attempted by the old minstrels: but
( 4) As musical performance was the leading idea, so
Lliothian, Cantus musicos edere; and
Lligbeam, glithbeam [Llig- or Glee-beam]. Tympanum: a Timbrel or Taber. (So Somn.) Hence
Llythian. Tympanum pulsare; and
Llith-meden, Llythiende-maden [Glee-maiden]. Tympanistria: which Somnor renders a She-Minstrel; for it should seem that they had females of this profession: one name for which was also Llythbydenestra.
( 5) Of congenial derivation to the foregoing, is
Llythc [Glywc]. Tibia, a Pipe or Flute.
Both this and the common radix, Lligg, are with great appearance of truth derived by Junius from the Icelandic Gliggur, Flatus: as supposing the first attempts at music among our Gothic ancestors, were from wind-instruments.-- Vide Jun. Etym. Ang. V. Glee.
But the Minstrels, as is hinted above, did not confine themselves to the mere exercise of their primary arts of music and song, but occasionally used many other modes of diverting. Hence, from the above root was derived, in a secondary sense,
( 1) Lleo, and thinsum glith. Facetiæ.
Lleothian, jocari; to jest, or be merry: (Somn.) and
Lleothiend, jocans; jesting, speaking merrily: (Somn.)
Lligman also signified Jocista, a Jester.
Llig-gamen [Glee-games], joci. Which Somner renders Merriments, or Merry Jests, or Tricks, or Sports; Gamboles.
( 2) Hence, again, by a common metonymy of the cause for the effect,
Llie, gaudium, alacritas, lætitia, facetiæ; Joy, Mirth, Gladness, Cheerfulness, Glee [Somner]. Which last application of the word still continues, though rather in a low debasing sense.
But however agreeable and delightful the various arts of the Minstrels might be to the Anglo-Saxon laity, there is reason to believe that, before the Norman Conquest at least, they were not much favoured by the clergy, particularly by those of monastic profession. For, not to mention that the sportive talents of these men would be considered by those austere ecclesiastics as tending to levity and licentiousness, the Pagan origin of their art would excite in the monks an insuperable prejudice against it. The Anglo-Saxon Harpers and Gleemen were the immediate successors and imitators of the Scandinavian Scalds, who were the great promoters of Pagan superstition, and fomented that spirit of cruelty and outrage in their countrymen, the Danes, which fell with such peculiar severity on the religious and their convents. Hence arose a third application of words derived from Llig, Minstrelsy, in a very unfavourable sense, and this chiefly prevails in books of religion and ecclesiastic discipline. Thus:
( 1) Llig, is Ludibrium, laughing to scorn. [ 11] So in S. Basil. Regul. 11, Hi hæfdon him to glige halthende minegunge. Ludibrio habebant salutarem ejus admonitionem ( 10). This sense of the word was perhaps not ill-founded; for as the sport of rude uncultivated minds often arises from ridicule, it is not improbable but the old Minstrels often indulged a vein of this sort, and that of no very delicate kind. So again,
Llig-man was also used to signify Scurra, a saucy Jester. (Somn.)
Llig-georn. Dicax, Scurriles jocos supra quam par est amans. Officium Episcopale, 3.
Llithian. Scurrilibus oblectamentis indulgere: Scurram agere. Canon. Edgar, 58.
( 2) Again, as the various attempts to please, practised by an order of men who owed their support to the public favour, might be considered by those grave censors as mean and debasing: Hence came from the same root,
Llither. Parasitus, Assentator; a Fawner, a Togger, a Parasite, a Flatterer(Somn.)[ 12]
To return to the Anglo-Saxon word Llig; notwithstanding the various secondary senses in which this word (as we have seen above) was so early applied: yet
The derivative Glee (though now chiefly used to express merriment and joy) long retained its first simple meaning, and is even applied by Chaucer to signify music and minstrelsy.--Vide Jun. Etym.
"For though that the best harper upon live
Would on the beste sounid jolly harpe
That evir was, with all his fingers five
Touch aie o string, or aie o warble harpe,
Were his nailes poincted never so sharpe
It shoulde makin every wight to dull
To hears is GLEE, and of his strokes ful."
Troyl. lib. ii. 1030.
Junius interprets Glees by Musica Instrumenta, in the following passages of Chaucer's Third Boke of FAME:--
". . Stoden . . the castell all aboutin
Of all manner of Mynstrales
And Jestours that tellen tales
Both of wepyun and of game,
And of all that longeth unto fame;
There herde I play on a harpe
That sowned both well and sharpe
Hym Orpheus full craftily;
And on this syde fast by
Sate the harper Orion;
And Eacides Chirion;
And other harpers many one,
And the Briton Glaskyrion."
After mentioning these, the great masters of the art, he proceeds:
"And small Harpers with her Glees
Sat under them in divers sees."
* * * * *
Again, a little below, the poet having enumerated the performers on all the different sorts of instruments, adds,
"There sawn I syt in other sees
Playing upon other sundry Glees
Which that I cannot neven[ 13]
More than stares ben in heven," &c.
Upon the above lines I shall only make a few observations:
( 1) That by Jestours, I suppose we are to understand Gestours; scil. the relaters of Gests (Lat. Gesta), or stories of adventures both comic and tragical, whether true or feigned; I am inclined to add, whether in prose or verse. [Compare the record below, in note subjoined to (V2).] Of the stories in prose, I conceive we have specimens in that singular book the Gesta Romanorum, and this will account for its seemingly improper title. These were evidently what the French called Conteours, or Story Tellers, and to them we are probably indebted for the first prose Romances of chivalry; which may be considered as specimens of their manner.
( 2) That the "Briton Glaskyrion," whoever he was, is apparently the same person with our famous harper Glasgerion, of whom the reader will find a tragical ballad in vol. ii. no. vii. b. ii. In that song may be seen an instance of what was advanced above in note (E), of the dignity of the minstrel profession, or at least of the artifice with which the minstrels endeavoured to set off its importance.
Thus "a king's son is represented as appearing in the character of a harper or minstrel in the court of another king. He wears a collar (or gold chain) as a person of illustrious rank, rides on horseback, and is admitted to the embraces of a king's daughter."
The Minstrels lost no opportunity of doing honour to their art.
( 3) As for the word Glees, it is to this day used in a musical sense, and applied to a peculiar piece of composition. Who has not seen the advertisements proposing a reward to him who should produce the best Catch, Canon, or Glee?
( K) Comes from the pen of Geoffrey of Monmouth.] Geoffrey's own words are, "Cum ergo alterius modi aditum [Bodulphus] non haberet, rasit capillos suos et barbam,[ 14] cultumque Joculatoris cum Cythara fecit. Deinde intra castra deambulans, modulis quos in Lyra componebat, sese Cytharistam exhibebat."-- Galf. Monum. Hist. 4to, 1508, lib. vii. c. 1. That Joculator signifies precisely a Minstrel, appears not only from this passage, where it is used as a word of like import to Citharista, or harper (which was the old English word for Minstrel), but also from another passage of the same author, where it is applied as equivalent to Cantor.-- See lib. i. cap. 22, where, speaking of an ancient (perhaps fabulous) British king, he says, "Hic omnes Cantores quos præcedens ætas habuerat et in modulis et in omnibus musicis instrumentis excedebat; ita ut Deus Joculatorum videretur." Whatever credit is due to Geoffrey as a relater of facts, he is certainly as good authority as any for the signification of words.
( L) Two remarkable facts.] Both of these facts are recorded by William of Malmesbury; amt the first of them, relating to Alfred, by Ingulphus also. Now Igulphus (afterwards Abbot of Croyland) was near forty years of age at the time of the Conquest[ 15]; and consequently was as proper a judge of the Saxon manners as if he had actually written his history before that event; he is therefore to be considered as an Ante-Norman writer; so that, whether the fact concerning Alfred be true or not, we are assured from his testimony, that the Joculator or Minstrel was a common character among the Anglo-Saxons. The same also may be inferred from the relation of William of Malmesbury, who outlived Ingolphus but thirty-three years.[ 16] Both these writers had doubtless recourse to innumerable records and authentic memorials of the Anglo-Saxon times which never descended down to us; their testimony therefore is too positive and full to he overturned by the mere silence of the two or three slight Anglo-Saxon epitomes that are now remaining:-- Vide note (G).
As for Asser Menevensis, who has given a somewhat more particular detail of Alfred's actions, and yet takes no notice of the following story, it will not be difficult to account for his silence, if we consider that he was a rigid monk, and that the Minstrels, however acceptable to the laity, were never much respected by men of the more strict monastic profession, especially before the Norman Conquest, when they would be considered as brethren of the Pagan Scalds[ 17]. Asser therefore might not regard Alfred's skill in Minstrelsy in a very favorable light; and might be induced to drop the circumstance related below, as reflecting, in his opinion, no great honour on his patron.
The learned editor of Alfred's life in Latin, after having examined the scene of action in person, and weighed all the circumstances of the event, determines, from the whole collective evidence, that Alfred could never have gained the victory he did, if he had not with his own eyes previously seen the disposition of the enemy by such a stratagem as is here described.-- Vide Annot. in Ælfr. Mag. Vitum, p. 33. Oxon. 1678, fol.
( M) Alfred . . . assumed the dress and character of a Minstrel.] "Fingens se joculatorem, assumpta cithara," &c.-- Ingulphi Hist. p. 869. "Sub specie Mimi . . . ut Joculatoriæ professor artis."-- Gum. Malmesb. l. ii, c. iv. p. 43. That both Joculator and mimus signify literally a Minstrel, see proved in notes (B) (K) (N) (Q) &c. See also note (GG).
Malmesbury adds, "Unius tantum fidelissimi fruebatur conscientia." As this confidant does not appear to have assumed the disguise of a Minstrel himself, I conclude that he only appeared as the Minstrel's attendant. Now that the Minstrel had sometimes his servant or attendant to carry his harp, and even to sing to his music, we have many instances in the old metrical romances, and even some in this present collection.-- See King Estmere; Glasgerion, &c. Among the French and Provencal bards, the Trouverre, or Inventor, was generally attended with his singer, who sometimes also played on the harp, or other musical instrument. "Quelque fois durant le repas d'un prince on voyoit arriver un Trouverre inconu avec ses Menestrels ou Jongleours, et il leur faisoit chanter sur leurs harpes ou vielles les vers qu'il avoit composés. Ceux qui faisoient les SONS aussi bien que les MOTS etoient les plus estimés"-- Fontenelle, Hist. du Théatre.
That Alfred excelled in music is positively asserted by Bale, who doubtless had it from some ancient MS., many of which subsisted in his time that are now lost: as also by Sir J. Spelman, who, we may conclude, had good authority for this anecdote, as he is known to have compiled his life of Alfred from authentic materials collected by his learned father: this writer informs us hat Alfred "provided himself of musicians, not common, or such as knew but the practick part, but men skilful in the art itself, whose skill and service he yet further improved with his own instruction," p. 199. This proves Alfred at least to have understood the theory of music; and how could this have been acquired without practising on some instrument? which we have seen above, note (H), was so extremely common with the Anglo-Saxons, even in much ruder times, that Alfred himself plainly tells us, it was shameful to be ignorant of it. And this commonness might be one reason why Asser did not think it of consequence enough to be particularly mentioned in his short life of that great monarch. This rigid monk may also have esteemed it a slight and frivolous accomplishment, savouring only of worldly vanity. He has, however, particularly recorded Alfred's fondness for the oral Anglo-Saxon poems and songs ["Saxonica poemata die nocteque adiens . . . memoriter retinebat," p. 16. "Carmina Saxonica memoriter discere," &c. p. 43, et ib.]. Now the poems learnt by rote, among all ancient unpolished nations, are ever songs chanted by the reciter, and accompanied with instrumental melody[ 18]
( N) With his harp in his hand, and dressed like a Minstrel.] "Assumpta manu cithara . . . professus M. . . Jussus abire pretium Cantus accepit."-- Malmesb. l. ii. c. 6. We see here that which was rewarded was (not any mimicry or tricks, but) his singing (Cantus); this proves, beyond dispute, what was the nature of the entertainment Aulaff afforded then. Perhaps it is needless by this time to prove to the reader that Mimus, in Middle Latinity, signifies a Minstrel, and Mimia, Minstrelsy, or the Minstrel-art. Should he doubt it, let him cast his eye over the two following extracts from Du Cange:-
"MIMUS: Musicus, qui instrumentis musicis canit. Leges Palatinæ Jacobi II. Reg. Majoric. In domibus principum, ut tradit antiquas, Mimi seu Joculatores licite possunt esse. Nam illorun officium tribuit lætitiam . . . Quapropter volumus et ordinamus, quod in nostra curia Mimi debeant esse quinque, quorum duo sint tubicinatores, et tertius sit tebelerius [i.e. a player on the tabor . Lit. remiss. ann. 1374. Ad Mimos cornicitantes, seu bucinantes accesserunt."
"MIMIA, Ludes Mimicus, Instrumentum [potius, Ars Joculatoria]. Ann. 1482 . . . mimia et cantu victum acquiro."--Du Cange, Gloss, tom. iv. 1762. Supp. c. 1225.
( O) To have been a Dane.] The northern historians produce such instances of the great respect shown to the Danish Scalds in the courts of our Anglo-Saxon kings, on account of their musical and poetic talents (notwithstanding they were of so hateful a nation), that if a similar order of men had not existed here before, we cannot doubt but the profession would have been taken up by such of the natives as had a genius for poetry and music.
"Extant rhythmi hoc ipso [Islandico] idiomate Angliæ, Hyberniæque Regibus oblati et liberaliter compensati, &c. Itaque hinc colligi potest linguam Danicam in aulis vicinorum regum principumque familiarem fuisse, non secus ac hodie in aulis principum peregrina idiomata in deliciis habere cernimus. Imprimis Vita Egilli Skallagrimii id invicto argumento adstruit. Quippe qui interrogatus ab Adalsteino, Angliam rege, quomodo manus Eirici Blodoxii, Northumbriæ regis, postquam in ejus potestatem venerat, evasisset, cujus filium propinquosque occiderat . . . rei statim ordinem metro, nunc satis obscuro, exposuit, nequaquam ita narraturus non intelligenti."-- Vide plura apud Torfæii Prefat. ad Orcad. Hist. fol.
This same Egill was no less distinguished for his valor and skill as a soldier, than for his poetic and singing talents as a Scald; and he was such a favourite with our king Athelstan, that he at one time presented him with "duobus annulis et scriniis, duobus bene magnis argento repletis . . . Quinetiam hoc addidit, ut Egillus quidvis præterea a se petens, obtineret; bona mobilia, sive immobilia, præbendam vel præfecturas. Egillus porro regium munificentiam gratus excipiens, Carmen Encomiasticon, a se lingua Norvegica (quæ tum his regnis communis) compositum, regi dicat; ac pro eo, duas marcas auri puri (pondus marcæ . . . 8 uncias æquabat) honorarii loco retulit."-- Arngr. Jon. Rer. Islandic. lib. ii. p. 129.
See more of Egill, in the "Five Pieces of Runic Poetry," p. 45, whose poem (there translated) is the most ancient piece all in rhyme that is, I conceive, now to be found in any European language, except Latin.-- See Egill's Islandic original, printed at the end of the English version in the said Five Pieces, &c.
( P) If the Saxons had not been accustomed to have Minstrels of their own . . . and to show favour and respect to the Danish Scalds,] if this had not been the case, we may rest assured, at least, that the stories given in the text could never have been recorded by writers who lived so near the Anglo-Saxon times as Malmesbury and Ingulphus, who, though they might be deceived as to particular facts, could not be so as to the general manners and customs which prevailed so near their own times among their ancestors.
( Q) In Domesday Book, &c.] Extract. ex Libro Domesday: et vide Anstis Ord. Gart. ii. 304.
Fol. 162. Col.1. Berdic Joculator Regis habit iii billas, et ibi v. car. nil redd.
That Joculator is properly a Minstrel, might be inferred from the two foregoing passages of Geoffrey of Monmouth (v. note K), where the word is used as equivalent to Citharista in one place, and to Cantor in the other: this union forms the precise idea of the character.
But more positive proofs have already been offered -- See also Du Cange's Gloss. vol. iii. c. 1543. "JOGULATOR pro Joculator. Consilium Masil. an. 1381. Nullus Ministreys, Jogulator, audeat pinsare vel sonare instrumentum cujuscumque generis," &c., &c.
As the Minstrel was termed in French Jongleur and Jugleur, so he was called in Spanish Jutglar and Juglar. "Tenemos canciones y versos para recitar mui antiquos y memorias ciertas de nos Juglares, que assistian en los banquetes, como los que pinta Homero."-- Prolog. a las Comed. de Cervantes, 1749, 4to.
"El anno 1328, en las siestas de la Coronacion del Rey, Don Alonso el IV. de Aragon, . . . [ 20] el Juglar Ramaset canto una Villanesca de la Composition del . . . infante [Don Pedro]: y otro Juglar, llamado Novellet, recito y represento en voz y sin canter mas de 600 versos, que hizo el Infante en el metro que llamaban Rima Vulgar."-- Ibid.
"Los Trobadores inventaron la Gaya Ciencia . . . estos Trobadores eran assi todos de la primera Nobleza.-- Es verdad, quem ya entonces se havian entrometido entre las diversiones Cortesanos, los Cantadores, los Cantores, los Juglares, los Truanes, y los Bufones."--Ibid.
In England, the King's Juglar continued to have an establishment in the royal household down to the reign of Henry VIII. [Vide note (CC).] But in what sense the title was there applied does not appear. In Barklay's Egloges, written circ. 1514, Juglars and Pipers are mentioned together. Egl. iv.-- Vide T. Warton's Hist. ii. 254.
( R) A valiant warrior, named Taillefer, &c.] See Du Cange, who produces this as an instance,--"Quod Ministellorum menus interdum præstabant milites probatissimi. Le Roman De Vacce, MS.
Quant il virent Normans venir
Mout veissiee Engleiz fremir . . .
Taillefer qui mout bienu chantoit,
Sur un cheval, qui tost alloit,
Devant euls aloit chantant
De Kallemaigne et de Roullant,
Et d'Olivier de Vassaux
Qui moururent en Rainschevaux."
"Qui quidem Taillefer a Gulielmo obtinuit ut primes in hostes irruret, inter quos fortiter dimicando occubuit.-- Gloss. tom. iv. 769, 770, 771.
"Les anciennes chroniques nous apprennent, qu'en premier rang de l'Armee Normande, un écuyer nommé Taillefer, monté sur un cheval armé, chanta la Chanson de Roland, qui fut si long tems dans les bouches des Francois, sans qu'il soit resté le moindre fragment. Le Taillefer apres avoir entonné la chanson que les soldats répétoient, se jetta le premier parmi les Anglois, et fut tué"--Voltaire, Add. Hist. Univ. p. 69.
The reader will see an attempt to restore the Chanson de Roland, with musical notes, in Dr. Burney's Hist. ii. p. 276.-- See more concerning the Song of Roland, vol. ii. p. 57, note.
( S) An eminent French writer, &c.] "M. l'Eveque de la Ravalière, qui avoit fait beaucoup de recherches sur nos anciennes Chansons, prétend que c'est a la Normandie que nous devons nos premiers Chansonniers, non a la Provence, et qu'il y avoit parmi nous des Chansons en langue vulgaire avant celles de Provençaus, mais postérieurement au Regne de Phillippe I., ou a l'an 1100." [v. Révolutions de la Langue Franceoise, à la suite des Poeseies du Roi de Navarre.] "Ce seroit une antériorité de plus d'une demi siècle à l'epoque des premiers troubadours, que leur historien Jean de Nostredame fixe à l'an 1162," &c. -- Pref. a l'Anthologie Franc., 8vo, 1785.
This subject hath since been taken up and prosecuted at length in the Prefaces, &c., to M. Le Grand's "Fabliaux ou Contes du xiie et du xiie Siècle, Paris, 1788." 5 tom. 12mo, who seems pretty clearly to have established the priority and superior excellence of the old Rimeurs of the north of France over the Troubadours of Provence, &c.
( S2) Their own native Gleemen or Minstrels must be allowed to exist.] Of this we have proof positive in the old metrical Romance of Horn-Child, which although from the mention of Sarazens, &c., it must have been written at least after the first Crusade in 1198, yet, from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom, can scarce be dated later than within a century after the Conquest. This, as appears from its very exordium, was intended to be sung to a popular audience, whether it was composed by, or for, a Gleeman or Minstrel. But it carries all the internal marks of being the production of such a composer. It appears of genuine English growth; for after a careful examination, I cannot discover any allusion to French or Norman customs, manners, composition, or phraseology; no quotation "as the Romance sayth:" not a name or local reference which was likely to occur to a French Rimeur. The proper names are all of Northern extraction. Child Horn is the son of Allof (i.e. Olaf or Olave), king of Suddene (I suppose Sweden), by his queen Godylde or Godylt. Athulf and Fykenyld are the names of subjects. Eylmer or Aylmere is King of Westnesse (a part of Ireland), Rymenyld is his daughter; as Erminyld is of another king Thurstan; whose sons are Athyld and Beryld. Athelbrus is steward of King Aylmer, &c., &c. All these savour only of a Northern origin, and the whole piece is exactly such a performance as one would expect from a Gleeman or Minstrel of the north of England, who had derived his art and his ideas from his Scaldic predecessors there. So that this probably is the original from which was translated the old French fragment of Dan Horn, in the Harleian MS. 527, mentioned by Tyrwhitt (Chaucer iv. p. 68,) and by T. Warton (Hist. i. 38), whose extract from Horn-Child is extremely incorrect.
Compare the style of Horn-Child with the Anglo-Saxon specimens in short verses and rhyme, which are assigned to thee century succeeding the Conquest, in Hicke's Thesaurus, tom. i. cap. 24, pp. 224 and 231.
( T) The different production of the sedentary composer and the rambling minstrel.] Among the old metrical romances,a very few are addressed to readers, or mention reading; these appear to have been composed by writers at their desk, and exhibit marks of more elaborate structure and invention. Such is Eglamour of Artas, of which I find in a. MS. copy in the Cotton Library, A. 2, folio 3, the Second Fitte thus concludes,
". . . thus ferr have I red."
Such is Ipomydon, of which one of the divisions (Sign. E. ii. b. in pr. copy) ends thus,
"Let hym go, God him spede
Tyll efte-soon we of him reed [i.e. read]."
So in Amys and Amylion[ 21], in stanza 3d we have
"In Geste as we rede,"
and similar phrases occur in stanzas 34, 125, 1411, 198, &.c.
These are all studied compositions, in which the story is invented with more skill and ingenuity, and the style and colouring are of superior cast to such as can with sufficient probability be attributed to the minstrels themselves.
Of this class I conceive the romance of Horn-Child (mentioned in the last note (S2), which, from the naked unadorned simplicity of the story, I would attribute to such an origin.
But more evidently is such the Squire of Lowe Degree, in which is no reference, to any French original, nothing like the phrase, which so frequently occurs in others, "as the Romance sayth,"[ 22] or the like. And it is just such a rambling performance as one would expect from an itinerant bard. And
Such also is A lyttel Geste of Robyn Hode, &c., in 8 Fyttes, of which are extant two editions, 4to, in black-letter, described more fully in the introduction to Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne below.-- This is not only of undoubted English growth, but, from the constant satire aimed at abbots and their convents, &c., could not possibly have been composed by any monk in his cell.
Other instances might be produced; but especially of the former kind is Syr Launfal (vol. ii. no. 11), the 121st stanza of which has
"In Romances as we rede."
This is one of the best invented stories of that kind, and I believe the only one in which is inserted the name of the author.
( T2) Royer or Raherus, the King's Minstrel.] He is recorded by Leland under both these names, in his Collectanea, scil. vol. i. p. 61.
"Hospitale S. Bartholomæi in West Smithfelde in London. Royer Mimus Regis fundator."
"Hosp. Sti. Barthol. Londini.
Raherus Mimus Regis H. 1, primus fundator, an. 1102, 3 H. 1, qui fundavit etiam Priorat. Sti. Barthol."-- Ibid. p. 99.
That Mimus is properly a Minstrel in the sense affixed to the word in this Essay, one extract from the accounts [Lat. Computis] of the priory of Maxtock, near Coventry, in 1441, will sufficiently show. -- Scil. "Dat. Sex. Mimis Dni. Clynton cantantibus, citharisantibus, ludentibus," &c. iiiis. (T. Warton, ii. 106, note q.) The same year the Prior gave to a doctor prædicans, for a sermon preached to them, only 6d.
In the Monasticon, tom. ii. pp. 166, 167, is a curious history of the founder of this priory, and the cause of its erection, which seems exactly such a composition as one of those which were manufactured by Dr. Stone, the famous legend-maker, in 1380 (see T. Warton's curious account of him in vol. ii. p. 190, note), who required no materials to assist him in composing his Narratives, &c.; for in this legend are no particulars given of the founder, but a recital of miraculous visions exciting him to this pious work, of its having been before revealed to King Edward the Confessor, and predicted by three Grecians, &c. Even his minstrel profession is not mentioned, whether from ignorance or design, as the profession was perhaps falling into discredit when this legend was written. There is only a general indistinct account that he frequented royal and noble houses, where he ingratiated himself suavitate joculari. (This last is the only word that seems to have any appropriated meaning.) This will account for the indistinct incoherent account given by Stow. "Rahere, a pleasant-witted gentleman, and therefore in his time called the King's Minstrel."-- Survey of Lond. Ed. 1598, p. 308.
( U) In the early times, every Harper was expected to sing.] See on this subject King Alfred's Version of Cædmon, above in note (H). So in Horn-Child, King Allof orders his steward Athelbrus to
"-- teche him of harpe and of song."
In the Squire of Lowe Degree, the King offers to his daughter,
"Ye shall have harpe, sautry,[ 23] and song."
And Chaucer, in his description of the Limitour, or Mendicant Friar, speaks of harping as inseparable from singing (i. p. 11, ver. 268),
"-- in his harping, whan that he hadde songe."
( U2) As the most accomplished, &c.] See Hoveden, p. 103, in the following passage, which had erroneously been applied to King Richard himself, till Mr. Tyrwhitt (Chaucer, iv. page 62) showed it to belong to his Chancellor. "Hic ad augmentum et famam sui nominis, emendicata carmina, et rhythmos adulatorios comparabat; et de regno Francorum Cantores et Joculatores muneribus allexerat, ut de illo canerent in plateis: et jam dicebatur ubique, quod non erat talis in orbe."-- For other particulars relating to this Chancellor, see T. Warton's Hist. vol. ii. Addit. to p. 113 of vol. i.
( U3) Both the Norman and English languages would be heard at the houses of the great.] A remarkable proof of this is, that the most diligent inquirers after ancient English rhymes, find the earliest they can discover in the mouths of the Norman nobles. Such as that of Robert, Earl of Leicester, and his Flemings in 1173, temp. Hen. II. (little more than a century after the Conquest) recorded by Lambarde in his Dictionary of England, p. 36.
"Hoppe Wyliken, hoppe Wyliken,
Ingland is thine and myne."
And that noted boast of Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, in the same reign of King Henry II., vide Camden's Britannia (art. Suffolk), 1607, folio:
"Were I in my castle of Bungey
Upon the riuer of Waueney
I would ne care for the king of Cockeney."
Indeed many of our old metrical romances, whether originally English, or translated from the French to be sung to an English audience, are addressed to persons of high rank, as appears from their beginning thus,--"Listen, Lordings;" and the like. These were prior to the time of Chaucer, as appears from vol. ii.Metrical Romances Note 8., et seqq. And yet to his time our Norman nobles are supposed to have adhered to their French language.
( V) That intercommunity, &c. between the French and English Minstrels, &c.] This might, perhaps, in a great measure, be referred even to the Norman Conquest, when the victors brought with them all their original opinions and fables; which could not fail to be adopted by the English Minstrels and others, who solicited their favour. This interchange, &c., between the Minstrels of the two nations, would be aferwards promoted by the great intercourse produced among all the nations of Christendom in the general crusades, and by that spirit of chivalry which led knights and their attendants, the Heralds and Minstrels, &c., to ramble about continually, from one court to another, in order to he present at solemn turnaments and other feats of arms.
( V2) Is not the only instance, &c.] The constant admission granted to Minstrels was so established a privilege, that it became a ready expedient to writers of fiction. Thus, in the old romance of Horn-Child, the Princess Rymenyld being confined in an inaccessible castle, the prince, her lover, and some assistant knights, with concealed tools, assume the minstrel character; and approaching the castle with their "Gleyinge"or Minstrelsy, are heard by the lord of it, who being informed they were "harpeirs, jogelers, and fythelers,[ 24]" has them admitted, when
"Horn set him abenche [i.e. on a bench]
Is [i.e. his] harpe he yet gan clenche
He made Rymenild a lay "
This sets the princess a-weeping, and leads to the catastrophe; for he immediately advances to "the Borde" or table, kills the ravisher, and releases the lady.
( V3) . . . assumed the dress and character of a Harper, &c.] We have this curious Histiorette in the records of Lacock Nunnery, in Wiltshire, which had been founded by this Countess of Salisbury.-- See Vincent's Discovery of Errors in Brooke's Catalogue of Nobility, &c., folio, pp. 445, 446, &c. Take the following extract (and see Dugdale's Baron. i. p. 175):
"Ela uxor Gullielmi Longespee primi, nata fuit apud Ambresbiraim, patre et matre Normannis.
"Pater itaque ejus defectus senio migravit ad Christum, A.D. 1196. Mater ejus ante biennium obit . . . Interea Domina charissima clam per cognatos adducta fuit in Normanniam, et ibidem sub tuta et arcta custodia nutrita. Eodem tempore in Anglia fuit quidam miles nomine Gulielmus Talbot, qui induit se habitum Peregrini [Anglice, A Pilgrim] in Normanniam transfretavit et moratus per duos annos, huc atque illuc vagans, ad explorandam dominam Elam Sarum. Et illa inventa, exuit habitam peregrini, et indarit se quasi Cytharisator et Curiam ubi morabatur intravit. Et ut erat home Jocosus, in testis Antiquorum valde peritus, ibidem gratanter fuit acceptus quasi familiaris. Et quando tempus, aptum invenit in Angliam repatriavit, habens secum istam venerabilem Dominam Elam et hæredem comitatus Sarum; et eam Regi Richardum præsentavit. Ac ille lætissime cum suscepit, et Fratri suo Guillemo Longespee maritavit . . .
"A.D. 1226, Dominus Guill. Longespee primus nonas Marti. obiit. Ela vero uxor ejus 7 annis supervixit . . . Una die DUO monasteria fundavit primo mane xvi. Kal. Maii, A.D. 1232, apud Lacock, in quo sanctæ, degunt Canonissæ . . . Et Menton post nonam, anno vero ætatis sue xlv." &c.
( W) For the preceding account, Dugdale refers to Monast. Angl. i. [r. ii.] p. 185, but gives it as enlarged by D. Powel, in his Hist. of Cambria, p. 196, who is known to have followed ancient Welsh MSS. The words in the Monasticon are,--"Qui accersitis Sutoribus Cestriæ et Histrionibus, festinanter cum exercitu suo venit domino suo facere succursum Walenses vero videntes multitudinem magnam venientem, relicta obsidione fugerunt . . . Et propter hoc dedit Comes antedictus . . . Constabulario dominationem Sutorum et Histrionum. Constabularius vero retinuit sibi et hæredibus suis dominationem Sutorum: et Histrionum dedit vero Seneschallo." (So the passage should apparently be pointed; but either et or vero seems redundant.)
We shall see below, in note (Z), the proper import of the word Histriones: but it is very remarkable that this is not the word used in the grant of the Constable De Lacy to Dutton, but "Magisterium omnium Leccatorum et Meretricium totius Cestreshire, sicut liberius illum [sic] Magisterium teneo de Comite" (vid. Blount's Ancient Tenures, p. 156). Now, as under this grant the heirs of Dutton confessedly held for many ages a magisterial jurisdiction over all the Minstrels and Musicians of that county, and as it could not be conveyed by the word Meretrices, the natural inference is that the Minstrels were expressed by the term Leccatores. It is true, Du Cange, compiling his Glossary, could only find in the writers he consulted this word used in the abusive sense, often applied to every synonym of the sportive and dissolute Minstrel, viz., Scurra, vaniloquus, parasitus epulo, &c. (This I conceive to be the proper arrangement of these explanations, which only express the character given to the minstrel elsewhere: see Du Cange passim, and notes (C) (E) (F) (I), &c.) But he quotes an ancient MS. in French metre, wherein the Leccour (Lat. Leccator) and the Minstrel are joined together, as receiving from Charlemagne a grant of the territory of Provence, and from whom the Provencal Troubadours were derived, &c.-- See the passage above in note (C).
The exception in favour of the family of Dutton is thus expressed in the Statute, Anno 39 Eliz. chap. iv. entitled, "An Act for punishment of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars."
"§ II . . . All Fencers, Bearwards, Common Players of Enterludes, and Minstrels, wandering abroad (other than Players of Enterludes belonging to any Baron of this Realm, or any other honourable Personage of greater degree, to be authorised to play under the hand and seal of arms of such Baron or Personage): all Juglers, Tinkers, Pedlers, &c . . . shall be adjudged and deemed Rogues, Vagabonds, and Sturdy Beggars, &c.
"§ X. Provided always, that this Act, or any thing therein contained, or any authority thereby given, shall not in any wise extend to disinherit, prejudice, or hinder, John Dutton, of Dutton, in the county of Chester, Esquire, his heirs or assigns, for, touching or concerning any liberty, preheminence, authority, jurisdiction, or inheritance, which the said John Dutton now lawfully useth, or hath, or lawfully may or ought to use within the County-Palatine of Chester, and the County of the City of Chester, or either of them, by reason of any ancient Charters of any Kings of this Land, or by reason of any prescription, usage, or title whatsoever."
The same clauses are renewed in the last Act on this subject, passed in the reign of Geo. III.
( X) Edward I . . . At the knighting of his son, &c.] See Nic. Triveti Annales, Oxon. 1719, 8vo, p. 342.
"In festo Pentecostes Rex filium suum armis militaribus cinxit, et cum eo Comites Warenniæ et Arundeliæ, aliosque, quorum numerus ducentos et quadraginta dicitur excessisse. Eodem die cum sedisset Rex Ministrellorum Multitudo, portantium multiplici ornatu amictum, ut milites præcipue novos invitarrent, et inducerent, ad vovendum factum armorum aliquod coram signo."
( Y) By an express regulation, &c.] See in Hearne's Append. ad Lelandi Collectan. vol. vi. p. 36, "A Dietarie, Writtes published after the Ordinance of Earles and Barons, Anno Dom. 1315."
"Edward, by the grace of God, &c., to Sheriffes, &c., greetyng. Forasmuch as . . . many idle persons, under colour of Mynstrelsie, and going in messages, and other faigned busines, have ben and yet be receaved in other mens houses to meate and drynke, and be not therwith contented yf they be not largely consydered with gyftes of the Lordes of the houses, &c . . . WE wyllyng to restrayne such outrageous enterprises and idleness, &c., have ordeyned . . . that to the houses of Prelates, Earles, and Barons, none resort to meate and drynke, unlesse he be a Mynstrel, and of these Minstrels that there come none, except it be three or four Minstrels of Honour at the most in one day, unlesse he be desired of the Lorde of the House. And to the houses of meaner men that none come unlesse he be desired, and that such as shall come so, holde themselves contented with meate and drynke, and with such curtesie as the Maister of the House wyl shewe unto them of his owne good wyll, without their askyng of any thyng. And yf any one do agaynst this Ordinaunce, at the first tyme he to lose his Minstrelsie, and at the second tyme to forsweare his craft, and never to be receaved for a Minstrel in any house . . . Yeven at Langley the vi. day of August, in the ix. yeare of our reigne."
These abuses rose again to as great a height as ever in little more than a century after, in consequence, I suppose, of the licentiousness that crept in during the civil wars of York and Lancaster. This appears from the Charter 9 E. IV., to William Haliday,referred to above. "Ex querulosa insinuatione . . . Ministrallorum nostrorum accepimus qualiter nonnulli rudes agricolæ et artifices diversarum misterarum regni nostri Angliæ, finxerunt se fore Ministrallos, quorum aligui Liberatam nostram eis minime datam portarent, seipsos etiam fingentes esse Minstrallos nostros proprios, cuius quidem Liberatæ ac dictæ artis sive occupationis Ministrallorum colore, in diversis partibus regni nostri prædicti grandes pecuniarum exactiones de ligeis nostris deceptive colligunt," &c.
Abuses of this kind prevailed much later in Wales, as appears from the famous Commission issued out in 9 Eliz. (1567), for bestowing the SILVER HARP on the best Minstrel, Rythmer, or Bard, in the principality of North Wales; of which a fuller account will be given below in note (BB3).
( Z) It is thus related by Stow.] See his Survey of London, &c., fol. 1633, p. 521. [Acc. of Westm. Hall.] Stow had this passage from Walsingham's Hist. Ang . . . "Intravit quædam mulier ornata Histrionali habitu, equum bonum insidens Histrionaliter phaleratum, quæ mensas more Histrionum circuivit; et tandem ad Regis mensam per gradus ascendit, et quandam literam corum rege posuit, et retracto fræno (salutatis ubique discumbentibus) prout venerat ita recessit," &c.-- Anglia Norm. Script. &c., Franc., 1603, fol. p. 109.
It may be observed here, that Minstrels and others often rode on horseback up to the royal table, when the kings were feasting in their great halls.
The answer of the porters (when they were afterwards blamed for admitting her) also deserves attention: "Non esse moris domus regie Histriones ab ingressu quomodolibet prohibere," &c. Walsingh.
That Stow rightly translated the Latin word Histrio here by Minstrel, meaning a musician that sung, and whose subjects were stories of chivalry, admits of easy proof; for in the Gesta Romanorum chap. cxi., Mercury is represented as coming to Argus in the character of a Minstrel; when he "incepit, more Histrionico, fabulas dicere, et plerumque cantare."-- T. Warton, iii. p. li. And Muratori cites a passage in an old Italian chronicle, wherein mention is made of a stage erected at Milan:--"Super quo Histriones cantabant, sicut modo cantatur de Rolando et Oliverio."--Antick Ital. ii. p. 6. (Observ. on the Statutes, 4th Edit. p. 362.)
See also notes (E), and (F)
( AA) There should seem to have been women of this profession.] This may be inferred from the variety of names appropriated to them in the Middle Ages, viz. Anglo-Sax. Llithmedhen [Gleemaiden], &c., glythiendhemadhen, glythbythenestra (vide supra, Note (H)), Fr. Jengleresse, Med. Lat. Joculatrix, Ministralissa, Fmina Ministeralis, &c.-- Vide Du Cange, Gloss. and Suppl.
See what is said above concerning the "Sisters of the fraternity of Minstrels;" see also a passage quoted by Dr. Burney (ii. 315) from Muratori, of the Chorus of women singing through the streets accompanied with musical instruments, in 1268.
Had the female described by Walsingham been a Tombestere, or Dancing-woman (see Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. 307, and v. Gloss.), that historian would probably have used the word Saltatrix.-- See T. Warton, i. 240, note m.
These Saltatrices were prohibited from exhibiting in churches and churchyards along with Joculatares, Histriones, with whom they were sometimes classed, especially by the rigid ecclesiastics, who censured, in the severest terms, all these sportive characters.-- Vide T. Warton, in loco citato, et vide supra, notes (E) (F), &c.
And here I would observe, that although Fauchet and other subsequent writers affect to arrange the several memhers of the minstrel profession under the different classes of Troverres (or Troubadours), Chanterres, Conteours, and Jugleurs, &c., as if they were distinct.mid separate orders of men, clearly distinguished from each other by these appropriate terms, we find insufficient grounds for this in the oldest writers; but the general names in Latin, Histrio, Mimus, Joculator, Ministrallus, &c.; in French, Menestrier, Menestrel, Jongleur, Jugleur, &c.; and in English, Jogeleur, Jugler, Minstrel, and the like, seem to be given them indiscriminately. And one or other of these names seems to have been sometimes applied to every species of men whose business it was to entertain or divert (joculari), whether with poesy, singing, music, or gesticulation, singly, or with a mixture of all these. Yet as all men of this sort were considered as belonging to one class, order, or community (many of the above arts being sometimes exercised by the same person), they had all of them doubtless the same privileges, and it equally throws light upon the general history of the profession, to show what favour or encouragement was given, at any particular period of time, to any one branch of it. I have not, therefore, thought it needful to inquire, whether, in the various passages quoted in these pages, the word Minstrel, &c., is always to be understood in its exact and proper meaning of a Singer to the Harp, &c.
That men of very different arts and talents were included under the common name of Minstrels, &c.appears from a variety of authorities. Thus we have Menestrels de Trompes, and Menestrels de Bouche, in the Suppl. to Du Cange, c. 1227, and it appears still more evident from an old French Rhymer, whom I shall quote at large.
"Les quens[ 25] manda les Menestrels;
Et si a fet, crier entre els,
Qui la meillor truffe[ 26] sauroit
Dire, ne faire qu'il auroit
Sa robe d'escarlate neuve.
L'uns menestrels a l'autre reuve
Fere son mestier, tells qu'il sot
Li uns fet l'yvre, li autre sot;
Li uns chante, l'autre note;
Et li autres dit la riote;
Et li autres la jenglerie;[ 27]
Cil qui sevent de jonglerie
Vielent par devant le conte
Aucuns ja qui fabliaus conte
Il i ot dit mainte riseé", &c.
Fabliaux et Contes, 1mo., tom 11. p.161
And what species of entertainment was afforded by the ancient Juggleurs, we learn from the following citation from an old Romance, written in 1230:-
"Quand les tables ostees furent
C'il juggleurs in pies esturent
S'ont vielles, et harpes prisees,
Chansons, sons, vers, et reprises
Et gestes chanté nos ont."
Sir A. Hawkins, ii. 44, from Andr. Du Chene.-- See also Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, iv. p. 299.
All the before-mentioned sports went by the general name of Ministralcia, Ministellorum, Ludicra, &c.--"Charta an. 1377, apud Rymer, vii. p. 160. 'Peracto autem prandio, ascendebat D. Rex in cameram suam cum Prælatis, Magnatibus, et Proceribus, prædictis: et deinceps Magnates, Milites, et Domini, aliique Generosi diem illum, usque ad tempus Cnæ, in tripudiis, coreis, et solempnibus Ministralciis, præ gaudio solempnitatis illius continuarunt-- Du Cange, Gloss. 773. [This was at the Coronation of King Richard II.]
It was common for the Minstrels to dance, as well as to harp and sing (see above, note (E).) Thus in the old romance of Tirante el Blanco; Val. 1511, the 14th cap. lib. ii. begins thus, "Despues qua las mesas fueron alçadas vinieron los Ministriles; y delante del Rey, y de la Reyna dançaron un rato: y despues truxeron colacion."
They also, probably, among their other feats, played tricks of sleight of hand: hence the word Jugler came to signify a performer of Legerdemain; and it was sometimes used in this sense (to which it is now appropriated) even so early as the time of Chaucer, who, in his Squire's Tale (ii. 108) speaks of the horse of brass, as
An apparence ymade by som magicke,
As JOGELOURS plaien at thise festes grete."
See also the Frere's Tale, I. p. 270, v. 7010.
( AA2) Females playing on the Harp.] Thus in the old romance of Syr Degore (or Degree, vol ii. On the Metrical Romances, no. 22), we have [Sign. D. i.],
"The lady, that was so faire and bright,
Upon her bed she sate down ryght;
She harped notes swete and fine,
[Her mayde filled a piece of wine.]
And Syr Degore sate him downe,
For to hear the harpes sownne."
The fourth line being omitted in the pr. copy, is supplied from the folio MS.
In the Squyr of Lowe Degree (vol ii. On the Metrical Romances, no. 24), the king says to his daughter [Sign. D. i.],
"Ye were wont to harpe and syng,
And be the meryest in chanber comyng."
In the Carle of Carlisle (vol ii. On the Metrical Romances, no. 10), we have the following passage. [Folio MS. p. 451, v. 217.]
"Downe came a lady faire and free,
And sett her on the Carles knee:
One whiles shee harped, another whiles song,
Both of paramours and louinge amonge."
And in the romance of Eger and Grime (vol ii. On the Metrical Romances, no. 12), we have [Ibid. p. 127, col. 2], in part i. ver. 263,
"The ladye fayre of hew and hyde
Shee sate downe by the bed side,
Shee, laid a souter [psaltry] vpon her knee,
Thereon shee plaid full lovesomelye.
... And her 2 maydens sweetlye sange."
A similar passage occurs in part iv. ver. 120 (page 136). But these instances are sufficient.
( BB) A Charter . . . to appoint a King of the Minstrels.] Entitled Carta Le Roy de Ministraulx (in Latin, Histriones, vide Plott, p. 437). A copy of this charter is printed in Monast. Anglic. i. 355, and in Blount's Law Diction. 1717 (art. King).
That this was a most respectable officer, both here and on the Continent, will appear from the passages quoted below, and therefore it could only lave been in modern times, when the proper meaning of the original terms Ministraulz, and Historiones, was forgot, that he was called King of the Fiddlers; on which subject see below, note (EE2).
Concerning the King of the Minstrels we have the following curious passage collected by Du Cange, Gloss. iv. 773.
"Rex Ministellorum; supremus inter Ministelos: de cujus munere, potestate in exteros Ministellos agit Charta Henrici IV. Regis Angliæ in Monast. Anglicano, tom. i. pag. 355.-- Charta originalis an. 1338. Je Robert Caveron Roy des Menestreuls du Royaume de France. Aliæ ann. 1357 et 1362. Copin de Brequin Roy des Menestres du Royaume de France. Computum de auxiliis pro redemptione Regis Johanhis, ann. 1307. Pour une Courronne d' Argent qu'il donna le jour de la Tiphaine au Roy des Menestrels.
"Regestum, Magnorum Dierum Trecensium an. 1206. Super quod Joannes dictus Charmillons Juglator, cui Dominus Rex per suas literas tanquam Regem Juglatorum in civitate Trecensi Magisterium Juglatorum, quemadmodum suæ placeret volantati, concesserat" -- Gloss. c. 1587.
There is a very curious passage in Pasquier's Recherches de la France, Paris, 1633, folio, liv. 7, ch. v. p. 611, wherein he appears to be at a loss how to account for the title of Le Roy, assumed by the old composers of metrical romances: in one of which the author expressly declares himself to have been a Minstrel. The solution of the difficulty, that he had been Le Roy des Menestrels, will be esteemed more probable than what Pasquier here advances; for I have never seen the title of Prince given to a Minstrel, &c. scil. "A nos vieux Poetes . . . comme . . . fust qu'ils eussent certain jeux de prix en leurs Poesies, ils . . . honoroient du nome, tantot de Roy, tantot de Prince celuy qui avoit de mieux faict comme nous voyons entre les Archers, Arbalestiers, et Harquebusiers estre fait le semblable. Ainsi l'Autheur du Roman d'Oger le Danois s'appelle Roy.
"'Icy endroict est cil Livre fine
Qui des enfans Oger est appellez
Or vueille Diex qu'il soil parachevez
En tel maniere kestrel n'en puist blamez
Le Roy Adams [r. Ardenes] ki il'est remez.'
"Et en celuy de Cleomades,
"'Ce Livre de Cleomades
Rimé-je le Roy Adenes
Menestre au bon Duc Henry.'
"Mot de Roy, qui seroit tres-mal approprié à un Menestrier, si d'ailleurs on ne le rapportoit à un jeu du prix: Et de faict il semble que de nostre temps, il y en eust encores quelque remarques, en ce que le mot de Jouingleur s'estant par succession de temps tourné en batelage, nous avons vu en nostre jeunesse les Joingleurs se trouver à certain jour tous les ans en la ville de Chauny en Picardie, pour faire monstre de leur mestrier devant le monde, à qui mieux. Et ce que j'en dis icy n'est pas pour vilipender ces anciens Rimeurs, ainsi pour monstrer qu'il n'y a chose si belle qui ne s'anéantisse avec le temps."
We see here that, in the time of Pasquier, the poor Minstrel was sunk into low estimation in France, as he was then or afterwards in England; but by apology for comparing the Jouingleurs, who assembled to exercise their faculty, in his youth, to the ancient Rimeurs, it is plain they exerted their skill in rhyme.
As for king Adenes, or Adenez (whose name in the first passage above is corruptly printed Adams), he is recorded in the Bibliotheque des Romans, Amst. 1734, 12mo, vol. i. p. 232, to have composed the two romances in verse above mentioned, and a third, entitled Le Roman de Bertin; all three being preserved a MS. written about 1270. His Bon Duc Henry, I conceive to have been Henry Duke of Brabant.
( BB2) King of the Minstrels, etc.] See Anstis's Register of the Order of the Garter, ii. p. 303, who tells us, "The President or Governour of the Minstrels had the like denomination of Roy in France and Burgundy; and in England, John of Gaunt constituted such an officer by a patent; and long before his time payments were made by the Crown to [a] King of the Minstrels by Edw. 1. Regi Roberto Ministrallo scutifero ad armo commoranti ad vadia Regis anno 5to [Bibl. Cotton. Vestas. c. 16. f. 3], as likewise [Libro Garderob. 25 E. I.] Ministrallis in die nuptiarun Comitissæ Holland filio Regis, Regi Pago, Johanni Vidulatori, &c. Morello Regi, &c. Druetto Monthaut, et Jacketto de Scot. Regibis, cuilibet eorum, xl. s. Regi Pagio de Hollandia, &c. Under Ed. II. we likewise find other entries, Regi Roberto et aliis Ministrallis facientibus Menistrallias [Ministralcias, qu.] suas coram Rege. [Bibl. Cotton. Nero, c. 8, p. 84, b. Comp. Garderob.] That King granted Willielmo de Morlee dicto Roy de North, Ministrallo Regis, domos quæ fuerunt Johannis le Boteler dici Roy Brunhaud [Pat. de terr. forisfact. 16 E. III.]." He adds below (p. 304) a similar instance of a Rex Juglotorum, and that the "King of the Minstrels" at length was styled in France Roy des Violons (Furetiere Diction. Univers.), as with us, "King of the Fiddlers;" on which subject see below, note (EE2).
( BB3) The Statute 4 Hen. IV, (1402), c. 27, runs in these terms, "Item, pur eschuir plusieurs diseases et mischiefs quant advenuz devaunt ces heures en la terre de Gales par plusieurs Westours Rymours, Minstralx et autres Vacabondes, ordeignez est et establiz que nul Westour, Rymour Ministral ne Vacabond soit aucunement sustenuz en la terre de Gales pus faire kymorthas ou coillage sur la commune poeple illoeques." This is among the severe laws against the Welsh, passed during the resentment occasioned by the outrages committed under Owen Glendour; and as the Welsh Bards had excited their countrymen to rebellion against the English government, it is not to be wondered that the Act is conceived in terms of the utmost indignation and contempt against this class of men, who are described as Rymours, Ministralx, which are apparently here used as only synonymous terms to express the Welsh Bards with the usual exuberance of our Acts of Parliament; for if their Minstralx had been mere nmsicians, they would not have required the vigilance of the English legislature to suppress them. It was their songs exciting their countrymen to insurrection which produced "les diseases et mischiefs en la terre de Gales."
It is also submitted to the reader, whether the same application of the terms does not still more clearly appear in the Commission issued in 1567, and printed in Evan Evans's Specimens of Welch Poetry, 1764, 4to, p. v., for bestowing the SILVER HARP on "the chief of that faculty." For after setting forth "that vagrant and idle persons, naming themselves Minstrels, Rythmers, and Bards, had lately grown into such intolerable multitude within the Principality in North Wales, that not only gentlemen and others by their shameless disorders are oftentimes disquieted in their habitations, but also expert Minstrels and Musicians in tonge and cunynge thereby much discouraged," &c., and "hindred [of] livings and preferment," &c., it appoints a time and place, wherein all "persons that intend to maintain their living by name or colour of Minstrels, Rythmers, or Bards," within five shires of N. Wales, "shall appear to show their learnings accordingly," &c. And the Commissioners are required to admit such as shall be found worthy, into and under the degrees heretofore in use, so that they may "use, exercise, and follow the sciences and faculties of their professions in such decent order as shall appertain to each of their degrees." And the rest are to return to some honest labour, &c., upon pain to be taken as sturdy and idle vagabonds, &c.
( BB4) Holingshed translated this passage from Tho. de Elmham's "Vita et Gesta Henrici V." scil. "Soli Omnipotenti Deo se velle victoriam imputari . . . in tantum, quod cantus de suo triumpho fieri, seu per Citharistas vel alias quoscunque cantari penitus prohibebat." [Edit. Hearnii, 1727, p. 72.] As in his version Holingshed attributes the making as well as singing ditties to Minstrels, it is plain he knew that men of this profession had been accustomed to do both.
( CC) The Houshold Book, &c.] See
"Of the Noumbre of all my Lords Servaunts."
"Item, Mynstralls in Houshold iij. viz. A Taberett, a Luyte, and a Rebecc." [The rebeck was a kind of fiddle with three strings.]
Sect. XLIV. 3.
"Rewardis to his Lordshipis Servaunts," &c.
"Item, My Lorde usith ande accustomyth to gyf yerly, when his Lordschipp is at home, to his Mynstraills that be daly in his Houshold, as his Tabret, Lute, ande Rebeck, upon New-Yeres-day in the mornynge when they doe play at my Lordis chambre doure for his Lordschipe and my Lady, xx. s. Viz. xiij. s. iiij. d. for my Lorde, and vj. s. viij. d. for my Lady, if sche be at my Lords fyndynge, and not at hir owen; and for playing at my Lordis sone and heir chaumbre doure, the Lord Percy, ij. s. And for playinge at the chaumbre doures of my Lords yonger Sonnes, my yonge Maisters, after viii. d. the pece for every of then.-- xxiij. s. iiij. d."
Sect. XLIV. 2.
"Rewardis to be yeven to strangers, as Players, Mynstraills, or any other," &c.
"Furst, my Lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf to the Kings Jugler; . . . When they custome to come unte hym yerely, vj. s. viij. d.
"Item, my Lord usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely the Kynge or the Queenes Barwarde, if they have one, when they custom to come unto hym yerely,-- vj. s. viij. d.
Item, my Lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly to every Erlis Mynstrellis, when they custome to come to hym yerely, iij. s. iiij. d. Ande if they come to my Lord seldome, ones in ij. or iij. yeres, than vj. s. viij. d.
Item, my Lorde usith and accustomythto gife yerely to an Erls Mynstrall, if he be his speciall lorde, frende, or kynsman, if they come yerely to his Lordschipe . . . Ande if they come 'to my lord' seldome, ones in ii. or iii. yeres, vj. s. viij. d."
* * * * * * * * * * *
"Item, my Lorde useth ande accustomyth to gyf yerely a Dookes or Erlis Trumpetts, if they com vj. together to his Lordshipp, viz. if they come yerly, vj. s. viij. d. Ande if they come but in ij. or iij. yeres, than x. s.
"Item, my Lorde useth and accustometh yerly, when his Lordship is at home, to gyf to iij of the Kyngs Shams, when they com to my Lorde yerely x. s."
* * * * * * * * * * *
I cannot conclude this Note without observing, that in this enumeration the family Minstrels seem to have been musicians only, and yet both the Earl's Trumpets and the King's Shawms are evidently distinguished from the Earl's Minstrels and the King's Jugler. Now we find Jugglers still coupled with Pipers in Barclay's Egloges, circ. 1514. (Warton, ii. 354.)
( CC2) The honours and rewards conferred on Minstrels, &c., in the Middle Ages, were excessive, as will be seen by many instances in these volumes; vid. notes (E) (F), &c. Butmore particularly with regard to English Minstrels, &c., see T. Warton's Hist. of Eng. Poetry, i. p. 89-92, 116, &c.; ii. 105, 106, 254, &c. Dr. Burney's Hist. of Music, ii. p. 316-319, 397-399, 427, 428.
On this head, it inay be sufficient to add the following passage from the Fleta, lib. ii. c. 23. "Officium Elemosinarij est, Equos relictos, Robas, Pecuniam, et alia ad Elemosinam largiter recipere et fideliter distribuere; debut etiam Regem super Elemosinæ largitione crebris summonitionibus stimulare et præcipue diebus Sanctorum, et rogare ne Robas seas quæ magni sunt precij Histrionibus, Blanditoribus, Adulatoribus, Accusatoribus, vel Menestrallis, sed ad Elemosinæ suæ incrementum jubeat largiri." Et in c. 72, "Ministralli, vel Adulatoris."
( DD) A species of men who did not sing, &c.] It appears from the passage of Erasmus here referred to, that there still existed in England of that species of Jongleurs or Minstrels, whom the French called by the peculiar name of Conteours, or reciters in prose; it is in his Ecclesiastes, where he is speaking of such preachers as imitated the tone of beggars or mountebanks --"Apud Anglos est simile genus hominum, quales apud Italos sunt Circulatores [Mountebanks] de quibus modo dictum est; qui irrumpunt in convivia Magnatum, aut in Cauponas Vinarias; et argumentum aliquod, quod edidicerunt, recitant; puta mortem omnibus dominari, aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quoniam ea lingua monosyllabis fere constat, quemadmodum Germanica; atque illi [sc. this peculiar species of Reciters] studio vitant cantum, nobis (sc. Erasmus, who did not understand a word of English) latrare videntur verius quam loqui."-- Opera, tom. v. c. 958. (Jortin, vol. ii. p. 193.) As Erasmus was correcting the vice of preachers, it was more to his point to bring an instance from the moral reciters of prose than from the chanters of rhyme; though the latter would probably be more popular, and therefore more common.
( EE) This character is supposed to have been suggested by descriptions of Minstrels in the romance of Morte Arthur; but none, it seems, have been found which come nearer to it than the following, which I shall produce, not only that the reader may judge of the resemblance, but to show how nearly the idea of the Minstrel character given in this Essay corresponds with that of our old writers.
Sir Lancelot having been affronted by a threatening abusive letter, which Mark King of Cornwall had sent to Queen Guenever, wherein he "spake shame by her, and Sir Lancelot," is comforted by a knight named Sir Dinadan, who tells him, "I will make a Lay for him, and when it is made, I shall make an harper to sing it before him. So anon he went and made it, and taught it an harper, that hyght Elyot; and when hee could it, hee taught it to many Harpers. And so . . . the Harpers went straight unto Wales and Cornwaile to sing the Lay . . . which was the worst Lay that ever Harper sung with harpe, or with any other instrument. And [at a] great feast that King Marke made for joy of [a] victorie which hee had . . . came Eliot the Harper; . . . and because he was a curious Harper, men heard him sing the same Lay that Sir Dinadan had made, the which spake the most vilanie by King Marke of his treason, that ever man heard. When the Harper had sung his song to the end, King Marke was wonderous wroth with him, and said, 'Thou Harper, how durst thou be so bold to sing this song before me? Sir, said Eliot, wit you well I am a Minstrell, and I must doe as I am commanded of these Lords that I bear the arms of. And, Sir King, wit you well that Sir Dinadan a knight of the Round Table made this song, and he made me to sing it before you. Thou saiest well, said King Marke, I charge thee that thou hie thee fast out of my sight. So the Harper departed," &c. [Part ii. c. 113, ed. 1634. See also part iii. c. 5.]
( EE2) This Act seems to have put an end to the profession, &c] Although I conceive that the character ceased to exist, yet the appellation might be continued, and applied to Fiddlers, or other common musicians: which will account for the mistakes of Sir Peter Leicester, or other modern writers. (See his Historical Antiquities of Cheshire, 1673, p. 141.)
In this sense it is used in an Ordinance in the times of Cromwell (1658), wherein it is enacted, that if any of the "persons commonly called Fidlers or Minstrels shall at any time be taken playing, fidling, and making music in any inn, ale-house, or tavern, or shall be taken proffering themselves, or desiring, or entreating any . . . to hear them play or make music in any of the places aforesaid;" they are to be "adjudged and declared to be rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars."
This will also account why John of Gaunt's King of the Minstrels at length came to he called, like le Roy des Violons in France, vide note (BB2), King of the Fiddlers. See the common ballad entitled, "The Pedigree, Education, and Marriage of Robinhood with Clorinda, Queen of Tutbury Feast:" which, though prefixed to the modern collection on that subject,[ 28] seems of much later
date than most of the others; for the writer appears to be totally ignorant of all the old traditions concerning this celebrated outlaw, and has given him a very elegant bride instead of his old noted lemman "Maid Marian;" who, together with his chaplain, "Frier Tuck," were his favourite companions, and probably on that account figured in the old Morice dance; as may be seen by the engraving in Mr. Steevens's and Mr. Malone's editions of Shakspeare: by whom she is mentioned, 1 Hen. IV., act iii. sc. 3. (See also Warton, i. 245, ii. 237.) Whereas, from this ballad's concluding with an exhortation to "pray for the King," and "that he may get children," &c., it is evidently posterior to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and can scarce be older than the reign of King Charles I.; for King James I. had no issue after his accession to the throne of England. It may even have been written since the Restoration, and only express the wishes of the nation for issue on the marriage of their favourite King Charles II., on his marriage with the Infanta of Portugal. I think it is not found in the Pepys Collection.
( FF) Historical song, or ballad.] The English word ballad is evidently from the French, balade, as the latter is from the Italian ballata; which the Crusca Dictionary defines, canzone, che si canto ballando,"A song which is sung during a dance." So Dr. Burney [ii. 342], who refers to a collection of Ballette published by Gastaldi, and printed at Antwerp in 1596 [iii. 226].
But the word appears to have had an earlier origin, for in the decline of the Roman empire these trivial songs were called balistea and saltatiunculæ. Ballisteum, Salmasius says, is properly ballistium. Gr.βαλλιστειον,[Ballisteion] "αρο τον βαλλιζω . . . βαλλιστια [apo ton ballizo . . . ballistia] Saltatio . . . Ballistium igitur est quod vulgo vocamus ballet; nam inde deducta vox nostra."-- Salmas. Not. in Hist. Ang. Scriptores, vi, p. 349.
In the Life of the Emperor Aurelian by Fl. Vopiscus may be seen two of these ballistea, as slang by the boys skipping and dancing, on account of a great slaughter made by the emperor with his own hand in the Sarmatic war. The first is,
"Mille, mille, mille decollavimus,
Unus homo mille decollavimus,
Mille vivat, qui mille occidit.
Tantum vini habet nemo
Quantum fudit sanguinis."
The other was
"Mille Sarmatas, mille Francos
Selem et semel occidimus,
Mille Persas quærimus."
Salmasius (in loc.) shows that the trivial poets of that time were wont to form their metre of Trochaic Tetrametre Catalectics, divided into distichs. [Ibid. p. 350.] This becoming the metre of the hymns in the church service, to which the monks at length superadded rhyming terminations, was the origin of the common trochaic metre in the modern languages. This observation I owe to the learned author of Irish Antiquities, 4to.
( FF2) Little Miscellanies named Garlands, &c.] In the Pepysian and other libraries are preserved a great number of these in black-letter, 12mo, under the following quaint and affected titles, viz.,
1. A Crowne Garland of Goulden Roses gathered out of England's Royal Garden, &c., by Richard Johnson, 1512. [In the Bodleian Library.] 2. The Golden Garland of Princely Delight.-- 3. The Garland of Good-will, by T. D. 1631.-- 4. The Royal Garland of Love and Delight, by T. D.-- 5. The Garland of Delight, &c., by Tho. Delone.-- 6. The Garland of Love and Mirth, by Thomas Lanfier.-- 7. Cupid's Garland set round with Guilded Roses.-- 8. The Garland of Withered Roses, by Martin Parker, 1656.-- 9. The Shepherd's Garland of Love, Loyalty, &c.-- 10. The Country Garland.-- 11. The Golden Garland of Mirth and Merriment.-- 12. The Lover's Garland.-- 13. Neptune's fair Garland.-- 14. England's fair Garland.-- 15. Robin Hood's Garland.--16. The Maiden's Garland.-- 17. A Loyal Garland of Mirth and Pastime.-- 18. A Royal Garland of New Songs.-- 19. The Jovial Garland, 8th edit. 1691. --&c., &c., &c.
This sort of petty-publications had anciently the name of Penny-Merriments: as little religious tracts of the same size were called Penny-Godlinesses. In the Pepysian Library are multitudes of both kinds.
( GG) The term Minstrel was not confined to a mere musician in this country any more than on the Continent.] The discussion of the question whether the term Minstrel was applied in England to singers and composers of songs, &c., or confined to the performers on musical instruments, was properly reserved for this place, because much light hath already been thrown upon the subject in the preceding notes, to which it will be sufficient to refer the reader.
That on the Continent the Minstrel was understood not to be a mere musician, but a singer of verses, has been shown in notes (B), (C), (R), (AA), &c.[ 29] And that he was also a maker of them, is evident from the passage in (C), where the most noted romances are said to be of the composition of these men. And in (BB), we have the titles of some of which a Minstrel was the author, who has himself left his name upon record.
The old English names for one of this profession were Gleeman, Jogeler, and latterly Minstrel; not to mention Harper, &c. In French he was called Jongleur or Jugleur, Menestrel or Menestrier. The writers of the Middle Ages expressed the character in Latin by the words Joculator, Mimus, Histrio, Ministrellus, &c. These terms, however modern critics may endeavour to distinguish and apply them to different classes, and although they may be sometimes mentioned ss if they were distinct, I cannot find, after a very strict research, to have had any settled appropriate difference, but they appear to have been used indiscriminately by the oldest writers, especially in England; where the most general and comprehensive name was latterly Minstrel, Lat. Ministrellus, &c.
Thus Joculator (Eng. Jogeler, or Juglar) is used as synonymous to Citharista, note (K), and to Cantor (ibid.) and to Minstrel. (Vide infra.) We have also positive proof that the subjects of his songs were gestes and romantic tales. (V2), note.
So Mimus is used as synonymous to Joculator (M). He was rewarded for his singing (N), and he both sang, harped, and dealt in that sport (T2), which is elsewhere called Ars Joculatoria (M), ubi supra.
Again, Histrio is also proved to have been a singer (Z), and to have gained rewards by his Verba Joculatoria (E). And Histriones is the term by which the French word Ministraulx is must frequently rendered into Latin (W), (BB), &c.
The fact therefore is sufficiently established, that this order of men were in England, as well as on the Continent, singers, so that it only becomes a dispute about words, whether here, under the more general name of Minstrels, they are described as having sung.
But in proof of this, we have only to turn to so common a book as T. Warton's History of English Poetry, where we shall find extracted from records the following instances:-
Ex. Registr. Priorat. S. Swithin Winton. (sub anno 1374) "In festo Alwyni Epi. . . . Et durante pietancia in Aula Conventus sex Ministralli, cum quatuor Citharisatoribus, faciebant Ministralcias suas. Et post cenam, in magna camera arcuata Dom. Prioris cantabant idem Gestum in qua Camera suspendebatur, ut moris est, magnum dorsale Prioris habens picturas trium Regum Colein. Veniebant autem dicti Joculatores a Castello Domini Regis et ex familia Epi." (vol. ii. p. 174.) Here the Minstrels and Harpers are expressly called Joculatores; and as the Harpers had musical instruments, the singing must have been by the Minstrels, or by both conjointly.
For that Minstrels sang we have undeniable proof in the following entry in the accompt roll of the priory of Bicester, in Oxfordshire (under the year 1432). "Dat. Sex Ministrallis de Bokyngham cantantibus in refectorio Martyrium Septem Dormientium in Festo Epiphanie, iv. s." (Vol. ii. p. 175.)
In like manner our old English writers abound with passages wherein the Minstrel is represented as singing. To mention only a few:
In the old Romance of Emaré which from the obsoleteness of the style, the nakedness of the story, the barrenness of incidents, and some other particulars, I should judge to be next in point of time to Hornchild, we have
--"I have herd Menstrelles syng yn sawe"
In a poem of Adam Davie (who flourished about 1312) we have this Distich,
"Merry it is in halle to here the harpe,
The Minstrelles synge, the Jogelours carpe."
T. Warton, i. p. 225.
So William of Nassyngton (c. 1480) as quoted by Mr. Tyrwhitt, (Chaucer, iv. 319),
"--I will make no vain carpinge
Of dedes of arrays ne of amours
As dos Mynstrelles and Jestours [Gestours]
That makys carpinge in many a place
Of Octaviane and Isembrase,
And of many other Jestes [Gestes]
And namely whan they come to festes.[ 30]
See also the description of the Minstrel in Note (EE) from Morte Arthur, which appears to have been compiled about the time of this last writer. See T. Warton, ii. 235.
By proving that Minstrels were singers of the old romantic songs and gestes, &c. we have in effect proved them to have been the makers at least of some of them. For the names of their authors being not preserved, to whom can we so probably ascribe the composition of many of these old popular rhymes, as to the men who devoted all their time and talents to the recitation of them? especially as in the rhymes themselves Minstrels are often represented as the makers or composers.
Thus in the oldest of all, Horn-Child, having assumed the character of a Harper or Jogeler, is in consequence said (fo. 92) to have
"made Rymenild [his mistress] a lay.
In the old Romance of Emaré, we have this exhortation to Minstrels, as composers, otherwise they could not have been at liberty to choose their subjects, (st. 2).
"Menstrelles that walken fer and wyde
Her and ther in every aside
In mony a dyverse londe
Sholde ut her bygynnyng
Speke of that rightwes kyng
That made both see and londe, &c."
And in the old Song or Geste of Guy and Colbronde (Notes on Metrical Romances No. iv.) the Minstrel thus speaks of himself in the first person:
"When meate and drinke is great plentye
Then lords and ladyes still wil be
And sitt and solace lythe
Then itt is time for MEE to speake
Of keene knights and kempes great
Such carping for to kythe."
We have seen already that the Welsh Bards, who were undoubtedly composers of the songs they chanted to the Harp, could not be distinguished by our legislators from our own Rimers, Minstrels. Vid. (BB3).
And that the Provençal Troubadour of our King Richard, who is called by M. Favine Jongleur, and by M. Fauchet Menestrel, is by the old English translator termed a Rimer or Minstrel when he is mentioning the fact of his composing some verses.
And lastly, that Holinshed, translating the prohibition of King Henry V., forbidding any songs to be composed on his victory, or to be sung by Harpers or others, roundly gives it, he would not permit "any ditties to be made and sung by Minstrels on his glorious victory," &c. Vid. Note (BB4).
Now that this order of men, at first called Gleemen, then Juglers, and afterwards more generally Minstrels, existed here from the Conquest, who entertained their hearers with chanting to the harp or other instrument songs and tales of chivalry, or as they were called gests[ 31] and romances in verse in the English language, is proved by the existence of the very compositions they so chanted, which are still preserved in great abundance; and exhibit a regular series from the time our language was almost Saxon, till after its improvements in the age of Chaucer, who enumerates many of them. And as the Norman French was in the time of this bard still the courtly language, it shows that the English was not thereby excluded from affording entertainment to our nobility, who are so often addressed therein by the title of Lordings: and sometimes more positively "Lords and ladies."
And though many of these were translated from the French, others are evidently of English origin,[ 32] which appear in their turns to have afforded versions into that language; a sufficient proof of that inter-community between the French and English Minstrels, which hath been mentioned in a preceding page. Even the abundance of such translations into English, being all adapted for popular recitation, sufficiently establishes the fact, that the English Minstrels had a great demand for such compositions, which they were glad to supply whether from their own native stores, or from other languages.
We have seen above that the Joculator, Mimus, Histrio, whether these characters were the same, or had any real difference, were all called Minstrels; as was also the Harper,[ 33] when the term implied a singer, if not a composer, of songs, &c. By degrees the name of Minstrel was extended to vocal and instrumental musicians of every kind: and as in the establishment of royal and noble houses, the latter would necessarily be most numerous, so we are not to wonder that the band of music (entered under the general name of Minstrels) should consist of instrumental performers chiefly, if not altogether: for, as the composer or singer of heroic tales to the harp would necessarily be a solitary performer, we must not expect to find him in the band along with the trumpeters, fluters, &c.
However, as we sometimes find mention of "Minstrels of Music:"[ 34] so at other times we hear of "expert Minstrels and musicians of tongue and cunning" (BB3)[ 35]; meaning doubtless by the former singers, and probably by the latter phrase composers of songs. Even "Minstrels Music" seems to be applied to the species of verse used by Minstrels in the passage quoted below.[ 36]
But although, from the predominancy of instrumental music, minstrelsy was at length chiefly to be understood in this sense, yet it was still applied to the poetry of Minstrels so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth, as appears in the following extract from Puttenham's Arte of Eng. Poesie, p. 9. Who, speaking of the first composers of Latin verses in rhyme, says, "all that they wrote to the favor or prayse of Princes they did it in such manner of Minstralsie; and thought themselves no small fooles, when they could make their verses go all in ryme,"
I shall conclude this subject with the following description of Minstrelcy given by John Lidgate at the beginning of the fifteenth century, as it shows what a variety of entertainments were then comprehended under this term, together with every kind of instrumental music then in use.
"-- Al maner MYNSTRALCYE,
That any man kan specifye.
Ffor there were Rotys of Almayne,
And eke of Arragon, and Spayne
SONGES, Stampes, and eke Daunces;
Divers plente of plesaunces:
And many unkouth NOTYS NEW
OF SWICHE FOLKE AS LOVID TREUE.[ 37]
And instrumentys, that did excelle,
Many moo than I kan telle,
Harpys, Fythales, and eke Rotys
Well according to her (i.e. their) notys,
Lutys, Ribibles, and Geternes,
More for estatys, than tavernes:
Orgay[n]s, Cytolis, Monacordys.--
There were Trumpes, and Trumpettes,
Lowde Shall[m]ys, and Doucettes.
T. Warton, ii. 225, note ( *).
END OF THE ESSAY
The foregoing Essay on the Ancient Minstrels has been very much enlarged and improved since the first Edition, with respect to the Anglo-Saxon Minstrels, in consequence of some objections proposed by the reverend and learned Mr. Pegge, which the reader may find in the second volume of the ARCHÆOLOGIA, printed by the Antiquarian Society; but which that gentleman has since retracted in the most liberal and candid manner in the third volume of the ARCHÆOLOGIA, No. xxxiv. p. 310.
And in consequence of similar objections respecting the English Minstrels after the Conquest, the subsequent part hath been much enlarged, and additional light thrown upon the subject; which, to prevent cavil, hath been extended to Minstrelsy in all its branches, as it was established in England, whether by natives or foreigners.
1. The Anglo-Saxon and primary English name for this character was Gleeman [see Note (I) sect. 1], so that, wherever the term Minstrel is in these pages applied to it before the Conquest, it must be understood to be only by anticipation. Another early name for this profession in English was Jogeler, or Jocular, Lat. Joculator. [See note (V2), and note (Q).] To prevent confusion, we have chiefly used the more general word Minstrel: which (as the author of the Observ. on the Statutes hath suggested to the Editor), might have been originally derived from a diminutive of the Lat. Minister: scil. Ministerellus, Ministrellus.
2. Ministers seems to be used for Minstrels in the Account of the Inthronization of Abp. Neville (An. 6 Edw. IV.). "Then all the Chaplyns must say grace, and the Ministers do sing."-- Vide Lelandi Collectanea, by Hearne, vol. vi. p. 13.
3. It has however been suggested to the Editor by the learned and ingenious author of 'Irish Antiquities," 4to, that the ancient Mimi among the Romans had their heads and beards shaven, as is shown by Salmasius in Notis ad Hist. August. Scriptores VI. Paris, 1620, fol. p. 985. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, though it afterwards might make the Minstrels sometimes pass for Ecclesiastics, as appears from the instance given below. Dr. Burney tells us that Histriones and Mimi abounded in France in the time of Charlemagne (ii. 221), so that their profession was handed down in regular succession from the time of the Romans, and therewith some leading distinctions of their habit or appearance; yet with a change In their arts of pleasing, which latterly were most confined to singing and music.
4. Yet in St. Mary's church in Beverley, one of the columns hat this inscription:-- "Thys pillar made the Mynstrylls:" having its capital decorated with figures of five men in short coats, one of whom holds an instrument resembling a lute.-- See Sir J. Hawkins, Hist. ii. 298.
5. Vide infra, note (AA).
6. Vide notes (B) (K) (Q).
7. The Minstrels in France were received with great magnificence in the 14th century. Froissart, describing a Christmas entertainment given by the Comte de Foix, tells us that "there were many Mynstrels, as well of hys own as of straungers, and eache of them dyd their devoyre in their faculties. The same day the Erle of Foix gave to Heraulds and Minstrelles, the som of fyve hundred frankes; and gave to the Duke of Tourayns Mynstreles Gownes of Clothe of Gold furred with Ermyne valued at two hundred Frankes."-- B. iii. c. 31, Eng. Trans. Lond. 1525. (Mr. C.)
8. Et vide Pollcraticon, cap. viii,, &c.
9. Vide Nicholson's Eng. Hist. Lib. &c.
10. Gleeman continued to be the name given to a Minstrel both in England and Scotland almost as long as this order of men continued.
In De Brunne's metrical version of Bishop Grosthead's Manuel de Peche, A.D. 1303 (see Warton, 5. 61), we have this,
-- Gode men, ye shall lere
When ye any Gleman, here."
Fabyan (in his Chronicle, 1133, f. 32); translating the passage from Geoffrey of Monmouth, quoted below in note (K), renders Deus Joculatorum, by God of Gleemen.-- Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet. Diss. 1. Fabyan died in 1592.
Dunbar, who lived in the same century, describing, in one of his poems, entitled "The Daunce," what passed in the infernal regions "amangis the Feyndis," says,
"Na Menstrills playit to thame, but dowt
For Gle-men thaire were haldin out,
Be day and eke by nycht."
See Poems from Bannatynes MS. Edinb. 1770, 12mo, p. 30. Maitland's MS. at Cambridge reads here, Glewe men.
11. To gleek, is used in Shakspeare for 'to make sport, to jest' &c.
12. The preceding list of Anglo-Saxon words, so full and copious beyond anything that ever yet appeared in print on this subject, was extracted from Mr. Lye's curious Anglo-Saxon lexicon, in MS., but the arrangement here is the Editor's own. It had, however, received the sanction of Mr. Lye's approbation, and would doubtless have been received into his printed copy, had he lived to publish it himself.
It should also be observed, for the sake of future researches, that without the assistance of the old English interpretations given by Somner, in his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, the Editor of this book never could have discovered that Glee signified Minstrelsy, or Gligman a Minstrel.
13. Neven, i.e. name.
14. Geoffrey of Monmouth is probably here describing the appearance of the Joculatores or Minstrels, as it was in his own time. For they apparently derived this part of their dress, &c., from the Mimi of the ancient Romans, who had their heads and beards shaven (see above, note 3): as they likewise did the mimickry, and other arts of diverting, which they superadded to the composing and singing to the harp heroic songs, &c., which they inherited from their own progenitors the Bards and Scalds of the ancient Celtic and Gothic nations. The Longobardi had, like other Northern people, brought these with them into Italy. For in the year 774, when Charlemagne entered Italy and found his passage impeded, he was met by a minstrel of Lombardy, whose song promised him success and victory. "Contigit Joculatorem ex Longobardom gente ad Carolum venire, et Cantiunculam a se compositam, rotando in conspectus suprum cantare."-- Tom ii. p. 2, Chron. Monast. Noval. lib. iii. cap. x. p. 717. (T. Warton's Hist vol. ii. Emend. of vol. i. p. ll3.)
15. Natus 1030, scripsit 1091, obiit 1109. --Tanner.
16. Obiit anno 1142, --Tanner.
17. Both Ingulph. and Will. of Malmesb. had been very conversant among the Normans, who appear not to have had such prejudices against the Minstrels as the Anglo-Saxons had.
18. Thus Leodh, the Saxon word for a Poem, is properly a Song, and its derivative Lied signifies a Ballad to this day in the Gennan tongue: and Cantere, we have seen above, is by Alfred himself rendered Be hearpan singan.
19. The Tabour or Tabourin was a common instrument with the French Minstrels, as it had also been with the Anglo-Saxon (vide p. x11.): thus in an ancient Fr. MS. in the Marl. Collection (2253, 75) a Minstrel is described as riding on horseback and bearing his tabour:
"Entour son col porta son Tabour,
Depeynt de Or, e riche Açour. "
--See also a passage in Menage's Diction Etym. [v. MENESTRIERS], where Tabours is used as synonymous to Menestriers.
Another frequent instrument with them was the Viele. This, I am told, is the name of an instrument at this day, which differs from a guitar, in that the player turns round a handle at the top of the instrument, and with his other hand plays on some keys that touch the chords and produce the sound.
See Dr. Burney 's account of the Vielle, vol. ii. p. 263, who thinks it the same with the Rote, or wheel. See p. 270 in the note.
"Il ot un Jougleor a Sens,
Qui navoit pas sovent robe entiere;
Sovent estoit sans sa Viele."
--Fabliaux et Cont. ii. 184, 185.
20. "Romanset Jutglar canta alt veux . . . devant lo senyor Rey."-- Chron. d'Aragon, apud Du Cange, iv. 771.
21. It ought to have been observed in vol. ii, Metrical Romances no. 31, that Amys and Amylion were no otherwise "brothers," than as being fast friends: as was suggested by the learned Dr. Samuel Pegge, who was so obliging as to favour the Essayist formerly with a curious transcript of this poem, accompanied with valuable illustrations, &c.; and that it was his opinion, that both the fragment of the Lady Bellesent, mentioned in the same no. 31, and also the mutilated Tale, no. 37, were only imperfect copies of the above romance of Amys and Amylion, which contains the two lines quoted in no. 37.
22. Wherever the word Romance occurs in these metrical narratives, it hath been thought to afford decisive proof of a translation from the Romance or French language. Accordingly it is so urged by T. Warton (i. 146, note), from two passages in the pr. copy of Sir Eglamour, viz. sign. E. 1,
"In Romaunce as we rede."
Again in fol. ult.
"In Romaunce this cronycle is."
But in the Cotton MS. of the original, the first passage is
"As I herd a Clerke rede."
And the other thus,
"In Rome this Gest cronycled ys."
So that I believe references to "the Romaunce," or the like, were often mere expletive phrases inserted by the oral Reciters; one of whom I conceive had altered or corrupted the old Syr Eglamour in the manner that the copy was printed.
23. The Harp (Lat. Cithara) differed from the Sautry, or Psaltry (Lat. Psalterium), in that the former was a stringed instrument, and the latter was mounted with wire: there was also some difference in the construction of the bellies, &c. See "Bartholomæus de proprietatibus rerum," as Englished by Trevisa and Batman, ed. 1584, in Sir J. Hawkins' Hist. ii. p. 285.
24. JOGELER (Lat Joculator) was a very ancient name for a Minstrel. Of what nature the performance of the Joculator was we may lern from the Register of St. Swithin's Priory at Winhester (T.Warton i. 69.) "Et cantabat JOCULATOR quidam nominee Herbertus Canticum Colbrondi, necnon Gestum Emme regine a judico ignis liberate, in aula Prioris." His instrument was sometimes the FYTHELE, or Fiddle, Lat. Fidicula: which occurs in the Anglo-Saxon lexicon. On this subject we have a curious passage from an MS. of the Lives of the Saints in metre, supposed to be earlier than the year 1200 (T. Warton's Hist. i. p. 17), viz.
Christofre him served longe
The kinge loved melodye much of fithele and of songe
So that his Jogeler on a day beforen him gon to play faste
And in a tyme he nempned in his song the devil at laste."
25. Le Compte.
26. Sornette. [A gibe, a jest, or flouting]
27. Janglerie, babillage, raillerie.
28. If the twenty-four songs in what is now called Robin Hood's Garland, many are so modern as not to be found in Pepys's Collection, completed only in 1700. In the folio MS. are ancient fragments of the following, viz.-- Robin Hood and the Beggar.-- Robin Hood and the Butcher.-- Robin Hood and Fryer Tucke.-- Robin Hood and the Pindar.-- Robin Hood and Queen Catharine, In two parts.-- Little John and the four Beggars, and "Robin Hode his Death" This last, which is very curious, has no resemblance to any that have been published; and the others are extremely different from the printed copies; but they unfortunately were in the beginning of the MS., where half of every leaf hath been torn away.
29. That the French Minstrel was a singer and composer, &c., appears from many passages translated by M. le Grand, in Fabliaux et Contes, &c. See tom i. p. 37, 4; ii, 306, 313 et seq.; III. 266, &c. Yet this writer, like other French critics, endeavours to reduce to disctinct and separate classes the men of this profession, under the precise names of Fablier, Conteur, Menetrier, Menestrel, and Jongleur, (tom. i. Pref. p. xcvii.),whereas his own Tales confute all these nice distinctions, or prove at least that the title of Menetrier, or Minstrel, was applied to them all.
30. The fondness of the English (even the most illiterate) to hear tales and rhymes, is much dwelt on by Rob. de Brunne, in 1330. (Warton, i. p. 59, 65, 75.) All rhymes were then sung to the harp: even Troilus and Cresseide, though almost as long as the Æneid, was to be "redde or else songe." -- 1. ult. (Warton, i. 388).
31. GESTS at length came to signify adventures or incidents in general. So in a narrative of the Journey into Scotland, of Queen Margaret and her attendants, on her marriage with King James IV. in 1503 (in Appendix to Leland. Collect. iv. p. 265.) we are promised an account "of their Gestys and manners during the said voyage."
32. The Romance of Richard Cur de Lion (No. 25.) I should judge to be of English origin from the names Wardrewe and Eldrede, &c. vol. ii. p. 176. As is also Eger and Grime, (No. 12) wherein a knight is named Sir Gray Steel, and a lady who excels in surgery is called Loospaine, or Lose-pain: these surely are not derived from France.
33. See the Romance of Sir Isenbras (vol. ii. No. 14. p. 99), sign. a.
"Harpers loved him in Hall
With other Minstrels all."
34. T. Warton, ii. 258. Note ( a) from Leland's Collect. (vol. iv. Append. edit. 1774, p. 267).
35. The curious author of the "Tour in Wales, 1773," 4to. p. 435, I find to have read these words "in toune and contrey;" which I can scarce imagine to have been applicable to Wales at that time. Nor can I agree with him in the representation he has given (p. 367) concerning the Cymmorth or meeting, wherein the Bards exerted their powers to excite their countrymen to war; as if it were by a deduction of the particulars he enumerates, and as it should seem in the way of harangue, &c. After which, "the band of Minstrels . . . struck up; the harp, the crwth, and the pipe filled the measures of enthusiasm, which the others had begun to inspire." Whereas it is well known, that the Bard chanted his enthusiastic effusions to the harp; and as for the term Minstrel, it was not, I conceive, at all used by the Welsh; and in English it comprehended both the Bard and the Musician.
36. "Your ordinarie rimers use very much their measures in the odde, as nine and eleven, and the sharpe accent upon the last sillable, which therefore makes him go ill favouredly and like 'a MINSTRELS MUSICKE.'"--(Puttenham's Arte of Eng. Poesie, 1589, p. 59.) This must mean his vocal music, otherwise it appears not applicable to the subject.
37. By this phrase I understand, new tales or narrative rhymes composed by the Minstrels on the subject of true and faithful Lovers, &c.