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EDITED BY

W. J. LINTON AND R. H. STODDARD

CHAUCER TO BURNS

NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

1883

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INTRODUCTION.

THE origins of English Verse are to be sought in various directions, recondite as well as obvious; for while there is no difficulty in following it from Chaucer down, we must remember that when it reached Chaucer it was not a rill but a river,had been increased by many affluents, each with a spring or well-head of its own.

—a river whose volume

the minstrels,

The first singers were or glee-men, who chanted at feasts and

festivals and accompanied themselves on the harp.

Who they ure, for their names and their songs have alike per

were and what they sung we have to conject

ished.

We only know that their profession was a rec

The first

ognized one, and that grave dignitaries of the Church thought it an honor to be skilled therein. poet whose name has reached us is Cædmon. There is a touch of the marvellous in his story as it is related by Bede, and a touch of the romantic as it is related by

Morley.

What

to be authentic in it is that he

appears

lived in the seventh century, and was a tenant on some

ed than his equals, Wright tells us, that he had not

learned any poetry, and when the harp was

even

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