The History of English Poetry, from the Close of the Eleventh to the Commencement of the Eighteenth Century; To Which Are Prefixed Two Dissertations. I. on the Origin of Romantic Fiction in Europe. II. on the Introduction of Volume 1
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1840 edition. Excerpt: ...religious, and legendary, which were evidently compiled by a professed preacher, for the use of monastic societies. Some of these appear to have been committed to writing from the recitals of bards and minstrels; others to have been invented and written by troubadours and monksb. In the year 1389, a grand system of divinity appeared at Paris, afterwards translated by Caxton under the title of the Court Of Sapyence, which abounds with a multitude of historical examples, parables, and apologues; and which the writer wisely supposes to be much more likely to interest the attention and excite the devotion of the people, than the authority of science, and the parade of theology. In consequence-of the expediency of this mode of instruction, the Legends of the Saints were received into the ritual, and rehearsed in the course of public worship. For religious romances were Nearly allied to songs of chivalry; and the same gross ignorance of the people, which in the early centuries of Christianity created a necessity of introducing the Specul. Hist. lib. iv. c. viii. fol. 31 b. b MSS. Harl. 463. membran. fol. edit. Ven. 1591. visible pomp of theatrical ceremonies into the churches, was taught the duties of devotion, by being amused with the achievements of spiritual knight-errantry, and impressed with the examples of pious heroism. In more cultivated periods, the Decameron of Boccace, and other books of that kind, ought to be considered as the remnant of a species of writing which was founded on the simplicity of mankind, and was adapted to the exigencies of the infancy of society. Many obsolete collections of this sort still remain, both printed and manuscript, containing narratives either fictitious or historical, Of king and heroes old Such as the wise...
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