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That Alisaunder wan by heigh maistrye,
gye, And out of joye bringe men into sorwe.
De Barnabo comite Mediolano.
De Hugilino comite Pise.
at the beginning of the Canterbury Tales (1. 51). This prince was assassinated in 1639.
15885–Of Melayn grete Barnabo. Bernabo Visconti, duke of Milan, was deposed by bis nephew and thrown into prison, where he died in 1385. This tragedy must have occurred 80 recently when Chaucer wrote, that we do not wonder at his not knowing the circumstances of his death.
16886—scourge. I have adopted this reading from the Lansd. MS., in place of strength, given by the Harl. MS., wbich seems evidently incorrect.
15893—Of the erl Hugilin. The story of Hugilin of Pise had been told by Dante, in the Inferno, canto 33, whom Chaucer quotes directly as his authority.
Theldest skarsly fyf yer was of age;
Dampnyd he was to deye in that prisoun,
And on a day bifel that in that hour
His yongest sone, that thre yer was of age,
crepe. Ther is no thing save bred that me were lever.”
Thus day by day this child bigan to crie,
And kist his fader, and dyde the same day.
51930 And sayde, “ Fortune, alas and waylaway! Thin false querel al my woo I wyte."
His childer wende that it for hongir was, That he his armes grew, and nought for wo, And sayden, “ Fader, do nought so, allas ! But rather et the fleisch upon us tuo. Oure fleisch thou gave us, oure fleissh thou take us fro, And ete y-nough;" right thus thay to him seyde. And after that, withinne a day or tuo, Thay layde hem in his lappe adoun and deyde.
15940 Himself despeired eek for honger starf. Thus ended is this mighty eorl of Pise; For his estate fortune fro him carf. Of this tregede it ought y-nough suffise ; Who so wil it hiere in lenger wise, Rede the gret poet of Itaile That highte Daunt, for he can it devise, Fro poynt to poynt nought oon word wil he fayle.
De Nerone. Although Nero were als vicious
fend that lith ful lowe adoun, Yit he, as tellith us Swethoneus, This wyde world had in subjeccioun,
16932– The Lansd. MS. has whele, which is perhaps the better reading.
15949--Although Nero. Although Chaucer quotes Suetonius, his account of Nero is really taken from the Roman de la Rose, and from Boethius, de Consolat. Philos., lib. ii, met. 6.
Bothe est and west and septemtrioun.
More delycat, more pompous of array,
He Rome brent for his delicacie ;
15953—and septemtrioun. This line stands as here printed in the Harl. and Lansd. MSS. Tyrwhitt inserts south (south and septemtrion), and observes : “ The MSS. read north; but there can be no doubt of the propriety of the correction, which was made, I believe, in Ed. Urr. In the Rom. de la R., from whence great part of this tragedy of Nero is translated, the passage stands thus, 6501.
Ce desloyal, que je te dy,
Tint-il la jurisdicion." 15963-willes. The Lansd. MS. has lustes, the reading adopted by Tyrwhitt. I am inclined to prefer the reading of the Harl. Ms., which avoids the repetition of the word from the previous line.
16970_hire wombe slyt he. So the Harl, and Lansd. MSS.; Tyr. whitt reads, he hire wombe let slitte.
No teer out of his eyen for that sight
This Seneca, of which that I devyse,
an emperour mot neede
15976-on hir dede beauté. The word dede, omitted in the Harl. MS., is evidently necessary for the sense and measure. Chaucer is translating the words of Boethius, lib.ü, met. 6,
“Ora non tinxit lacrymis, sed esse
Censor extincti potuit decoris"; which he has given thus in his prose version of Boethius, “ Ne no tere wette his face, but he was so harde harted, that he might be domesman, or judge, of her dedde beauté". In both, domesman represents the Latin