Charles D'Orleans and Thomas Park's copy of the Specimens of the Early English Poets.
The note in question is pasted between pages 308 and 309 of Volume I, in the middle of Ellis's discussion of a fifteenth-century poet, Charles d'Orleans. Charles is the author of a very large, very fine, and relatively little-read body of French and English poetry written during his twenty-five-year captivity in England after the battle of Agincourt, found (respectively) in Bibliotheque Nationale fonds francais 24548 and in British Library Harley manuscript 682.(3) The French side of the bilingual oeuvre has been steadily and respectfully canonized as part of the latest-medieval French tradition, but the English poems have not found a similarly clear or comfortable place in English critical categories. A few are anthologized as late-medieval or 'transitional', but the many lyrics whose techniques resemble those of Wyatt or Sidney more than those of Gower or Lydgate are not widely discussed or anthologized.(4) Charles's bibliographers, in fact, have said that his English poems were not printed until the 1827 Roxburghe club edition,(5) but I have so far found several earlier printings of selections with critical commentary.(6) Ellis and Park, the two people between whom this presentation copy was passed, are key figures in the early history of the reception of this curious old poetry. Park, in fact, is the editor whose interventions seek to elevate Charles's English work from a fairly obscure position to a prominent, privileged place in the 'Royal Authors of England' section of Walpole's Works.(7) The faded, fragile hand-written note in the Folger copy records part of the thinking that led to Park's rather daring editorial interventions with regard to Charles's poetry.(8) Park's literary assessment, as recorded in this stray note, connects Charles d'Orleans firmly with what we now think of as English 'Renaissance' poetics.
I transcribe here, I believe for the first time, what I can read of the writing on the Folger leaves. (Underlining, punctuation, spacing, lineation, and spelling are Park's; square brackets indicate uncertain or illegible letters.(9))
The following extract from a vol. of "Love poems" in Harl. MSS: 682. ascertains the author.
"Unto the excellent power and nobles Of god Cupide and Venus the goddes Bisechith this vnto yowre regally most humbly yowre servaunt Charlis Duk of Orlyaunce which saue yowre grace therto most unworthy That [suget] ly Unto youwre most digne & royall obeyshaunce youwre plesaunce And hath therin dispendid largely his tyme of yowthe in the self governaunce owt displesaunce In all he [ought] for payne or greef trewly.
At the top of the next, facing, inserted leaf is written very lightly in pencil:
[In] Puttenham for another extr.
And in ink:
Another specimen. from the MS. poems of Cha. D. of Orleans, in Bibl. Harl. 682.
"Who is the cause herof then is hit ye, Ye: nay it is my [freel] hert, Hert: nay my [fonnyd] love parde, Love: nay my [rakill] lookis stert Whie: nay for this y may aduert That ther nys noon kan do so wel y wis. But false tongis, in sugre terme covert, Of wikkid folke therof wol say amys And maugre them, lo! this y yow ensure; Not maugre, but in spite y shal yow serve; Not only serue, but loue while y endewre; Not only loue, but drede to that y [sterve]; Not only drede, but alle [thre] to deserve, Yowre thank deserue, my lyf may not i[n] [this], But for this dame to yow y hit reserue, In spite of alle that lust to say amys
The first fragment copies lines 2716-29 of Charles's English sequence, the complicated opening stanza of the legal 'request' section that helps frame the lyric sequence.(10) The second fragment copies lines 587-91, stanzas 2 and 3 of Ballade 100. Park's choice of these two fragments and his brief, even cryptic comments reveal his early notice of some of the critical issues to which few editors have attended but which are key to positioning this work in a canon.
First, Park appears aware of the authorship issue, which is not much a question in English mentions of Charles until around the time of the Roxburghe edition. Park affirms that the self-naming in the text establishes Charles's authorship, and thus assumes at least for this spot and to some degree an autobiographical mode in the text, anticipating critics of Charles like Reuben Cholakian, Norma Goodrich, and Albrecht Classen. It is curious that Park chooses this fragment as the one that 'ascertains the author', for there are three other instances of self-naming in Charles's manuscript (lines 5-6, 3044, and 4788), one of which opens the work. The choice, however, may reveal something about Park's particular reading of this poetry, for these lines, as Am points out, are notable because they cast legalistic language in poetic form, using complex lineation and rhyme patterns.(11) Until Park, 10 In Arn's edition, 223-4 and 356 7; in Harley MS 682, most attention had been paid to the musical, metrical, and personal aspects of Charles's work.(12) Park, on the other hand, notices and copies this elaborately legalistic moment, showing the side of Charles's oeuvre in which his mimesis is chiefly rhetorical and aims at incorporating other kinds of verbal art into love lyric.
The other text Park copies also displays the rhetorical side of Charles's English work, the side that has been so little discussed even in our own century. Here Park's handwritten note makes it clear that he has remarked this aspect of Charles's poetics. Park pencils in '[In] Puttenham for another extr.' The note points to a Renaissance rhetorician and critic, George Puttenham, author of the Arte of English Poesie (1589).(13) Park's note is of course a-historical or even anti-historical: there is no evidence that Puttenham read Charles's poetry, and Charles (1394-1465) could not have consulted Puttenham. The note however, concerns reception, not influence or literary cause-and-effect. Park saw fit to link Charles's poetry and Puttenham's criticism, and the link is one of considerable interest, raising questions of interpretation, period, and canon.
From our canonical hindsight, and accepting the period boundary between 'medieval' and 'Renaissance' poetry, George Puttenham (Renaissance rhetorician, concerned with tropes, schemes, formal devices, metrics, and theories of imitation and invention) and Charles d'Orleans (thought in the French canon at least to exemplify latest-medieval courtly poetics) make a most unlikely couple. But this early editor thought otherwise. It makes unexpectedly good critical sense, once fifteenth-century poet and sixteenth-century theorist are read side-by-side, as Park's fugitive note invites us to do. Although Park's cryptic note does not specify with which part of Puttenham's treatise on poetics he connects Charles's poetry, it seems most reasonable to me that he is thinking of an extended section of Book III, Chapter xviii, 'Of figures sententious, otherwise called Rhetoricall'. The two stanzas Park copies from Charles's Ballade 100 employ at least nine of the 'figures sententious' Puttenham explains and exemplifies in III.xviii.(14)
The question-and-answer sequence guiding lines 5876-80, for example, might be read as either what Puttenham calls 'symploche, or the figure of replie' (209-10) or better, as what he calls 'antipophora, or the figure of responce' in which 'we will seeme to aske a question to th'intent we will aunswere it our selves, and is a figure of argument and also of amplification' (214-16). These opening lines clearly also exemplify what Puttenham calls 'anadiplosis or the Redouble . . . another sort of repetition when with the worde by which you finish your verse, ye beginne the next verse with the same' (210). Lines 5884-8 more loosely illustrate this figure, and Puttenham might have been happier calling them the 'Clymax or the Marching Figure' (297) because of the momentum Charles gives the repeated elements. The opening lines might also be read as a correctio, which Puttenham calls 'metanoia or the Penitent'. 'Otherwhiles we speake and be sorry for it, as if we had not wel spoken, so that we seeme to call in our word againe, and to put in another fitter for the purpose' (223). Park also would have readily perceived that 'not only serve . . . not only loue . . . not only drede' is anaphoric, and without thinking necessarily of Puttenham (208). The lines also use 'merismus or the Distributer', or as Puttenham puts it later, 'merismus in the negative' (231). 'Parison, or the figure of even' (222-3) might be thought the figure Charles uses in writing such strong caesuras. Finally, the stanzas Park copies, like all of Charles's lyrics but here to a lesser extent, make use of 'epimone or loue-burden', the refrain (223). Refrains of course were prominent skeletal features of medieval ballades, rondeaux, and caroles, but Puttenham's examples point out that the refrain enjoyed a Renaissance as well. Unfolding Park's brief reference, we see that no one of Puttenham's 'figures sententious . . . or Rhetoricall' will do to exhaust the complexity of Charles's lines.
In his other 120 English poems, Charles relies on many other such devices, to a degree and with a variety that invites reconsideration of the rhetorical efforts in this first English lyric sequence. Since Puttenham heavily exemplifies such figures and devices by quoting and citing classical and Renaissance poets, not 'medieval' ones, Park's note indicates that, at least in jotting this note to himself, he considers Charles's work not alongside that of Chaucer or Charles's near-contemporaries Gower, Hoccleve, or Lydgate, but alongside that of the Earl of Oxford, Wyatt, Sidney, Elizabeth I (and the classical authors they imitated). Park, in other words, saw across the early emerging period lines to these rhetorical and formally complex aspects of Charles's lyrics, and saw fit, despite Charles's borderline family connections with the English throne, to include him as one of Walpole's 'Royal Authors of England'.(15)
Unlike other early canon-founding critics, Park apparently found the English poetry of Charles d'Orleans not only 'sweet' or merely an antique curiosity; he considered the work in terms of English critical theory. Park treated the verse neither as primarily songlike and 'the poetry of a foreigner' (Ritson, 1792, p. lxvii) or as 'attempts to versify in our language' that 'added no grace to it' (Walpole, 1798, 1.562, 1.564). He found it not 'operose and finical' (Stevenson, 246), and apparently disagreed with Ellis about the selections and Ellis's emphasis on an association with James I (Ellis, 311-12). Instead Park perceived in the poetry of Charles d'Orleans an anticipatory affinity with Renaissance rhetorical poetics. This Folger copy shows us the editor's understanding of the verbal complexity of this poetry, and his willingness to adjust the English canon not on the basis of received opinion, nor on nationalistic grounds, but because of features of the verse itself. Park's connection of a fifteenth-century ballade with a sixteenth-century rhetorical guide may remind us that at least some English canon founders did not divide the canon along Burkhardtian lines. The traditional period distinction between 'medieval' and 'Renaissance' has in many critical quarters been replaced with the term 'early modern', and Park's note may remind us that such categories are not fixed or impermeable, but rely on particular constructions of similitude and difference that are worth (re-)discovering.
A. E. B. COLDIRON The Johns Hopkins University Towson University
1 London: G. and W. Nicol, 1801. Folger shelf numbers PR1205/E385/As. Col. Other editions 1790, 1803 - are held at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library. Thanks to Laetitia Yeandle of the Folger and to the librarians at Alderman's Rare Book Room for their generous help. Professor Yeandle points out that 'Park gave the three-volume work to John Bliss . . . it has two different bookplates of William Henry Bliss (1835 1909). In 1871 it belonged to [Sir] J[ohn] D[uke] Coleridge, soon to become Baron Coleridge' (private correspondence, January 1997).
2 Ellis's Specimens provides selections of early modern poetic works with interpretive commentary. Thomas Park's revised edition of Walpole's Catalogue and Works reveals the early shape of a number of issues in the development of our literary canon. Horace Walpole, Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1759; Edinburgh: 1796); The Works of Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford, 5 vols (London: G. and G. Robinson and J, Edwards, 1798); revised edition by Thomas Park, Works of Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford (London: John Scott, 1803 and 1806). Note 6 explains where relevant discussions occur in these editions.
3 The former edited by Pierre Champion, Charles d'Orleans: Poesies, 2 vols (Paris: Champion, 1923; rpt 1971). The English poems have been recently edited by Mary-Jo Am, Fortunes Stabilnes: Charles of Orleans's English Book of Love (Binghamton, NY: MRTS, 1995).
4 This is the subject of a larger study in progress.
5 George Watson-Taylor, Poems, written in English, by Charles Duke of Orleans. . . (London: Nicol, 1827).
6 A few of the early critical editors who print and discuss Charles's English poetry (asterisks indicate editions in which discussion of Charles appears): Joseph Ritson, Ancient Songs and Ballads from the time of King Henry the Third to the Revolution (London, 1790, *1792, *1829, ed. Hazlitt, *1877); Mile de Keralio, Collection des meilleurs ouvrages francois . . ., II (Paris, *1787); George Ellis, Specimens of the Early English Poets (London, 1790, *1801, *1803); Horace Walpole, The Works of Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford, I (London, *1798), 562-7; Thomas Park (ed.), Works of Horatio Walpole . . ., I (London, *1803, *1806), 174 8; and Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books (*many editions; I use New York, 1887), 229 74.
7 Discussion of Charles appears in an Appendix to the section of Walpole's Works (1798) devoted to the Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors (vol. 5, 562 7). Walpole calls Charles 'a little eccentric addition' to his appendix of aristocrats, 'a curiosity' and a 'long-neglected prince'. There is a problem 'of dating here: Walpole writes, on p. 567, that 'This addition was written before the revolution in France in 1789 . . .' yet his discussion of Charles does not appear in the edition of 1796. In his revised editions of the Works *1803, 1806), Park considerably expands the material on Charles and moves it to the first volume's first and most important section, 'Royal Authors'. This prime section is composed of a chronological series of essays about seventeen English monarchs and their poems, at the end of which, out of chronological order, appears Park's expanded discussion of Charles.
8 Park's treatment of Charles is complex. He seems fascinated with Charles's biography and elsewhere writes an imaginative sonnet about it. He also cites Ellis and Ritson, as well as a reference to Charles in the Paston letters. Like Ellis, he considers British Library MS Royal fo. 16 ii as well as Harley 682. The present article concerns, however, only one aspect of Park's approach to Charles.
9 Arn's edition, transcribed from Harley 682 but adding punctuation, records these lines as follows:
Unto the excellent power and nobles Of god Cupide and Venus pe goddes Bisechith this vnto yowre regally Most humbly Yowre servaunt, Charlis Duk of Orlyaunce, Which (saue yowre grace) therto most vnworthi That suget ly Vnto yowre most digne and royall obeyshaunce That most willith do, to his puysshaunce, [sic] Yowre plesaunce And hath therin dispendid largely His tyme of yowthe in the self governaunce Owt displesaunce In all he ought, for payne or greef trewly
Who is the cause herof then? Is hit ye? Ye? nay, it is my freel hert! Heft? nay my fonnyd loue, parde! Loue? nay, my rakill lookis stert! Lokis? nay, for this y may aduert: That ther his noon kan do so wel, ywis, But false tongis in sugre terme covert Of wikkid folke thefor wol say amys!
But [sic] maugre them - lo this y yow ensure: Not maugre, but in spite y shal yow serue. - Not only serue, but loue while y endewre. - Not only loue, but drede to that y sterue, - Not only drede, but alle thre to deserue Yowre thank Deserue? My lijf may not in this, But for this dome [sic] to yow y hit reserue In spite of alle that lust to say amys!
10 In Arn's edition, 223-4 and 356-7; in Harley MS 682, fos [52.sup.v] and [135.sup.r] respectively.
11 Arn, 478. 'Charles handles the syntactical difficulties of versifying a pseudolegal document (complicated by his use of short lines requiring frequent rhymes) easily. . . .' Am mentions the relation of this passage to the ars dictaminis tradition as well.
12 True of critical comments by Keralio, Ritson, and even Ellis.
13 Facsimile ed. Edward Arber (London: Constable, 1906); facsimile rpt., ed. Baxter Hathaway (Kent State University Press, 1970).
14 That chapter explores sixty-one rhetorical figures using terms in ways rather different from those we generally accept now. Puttenham draws examples from Chaucer, Sidney, Oxford, Queen Elizabeth, and a copious variety of others.
15 Charles, son of Valentina Visconti of Milan and Louis d'Orleans, and nephew of Charles V, was cousin of Henry V; he also married Isabella, widow of Richard II. His son was Louis XII, his nephew Francois 1. French Royally, yes; not so clearly an English Royal Poet.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Notes and Queries|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1997|
|Previous Article:||A source for Malory's Gaheris.|
|Next Article:||Sir Philip Sidney's letter to Charles de l'Ecluse in 1577: a rectification.|