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In Italy reigning with gret chevalry right fervent,
Yet mochil more was to commende thy grete benignitie
O ye Trojanis, for this noble quene, Penthesila,
Which that against the proude Grekis made defension;
To lashe the Grekis to ground, and with their hert is joie
O thou most rigorous quene, Thamyris invincible,
* A queen of the Amazons, who was slain by Achilles at the siege of Troy.
+ Thomyris, Tameris, or Tomeris. Chaucer must have been sadly put to it for female worthies, when he elevated this fury to the rank of one. She was a queen of the Massagetæ, who, having defeated Cyrus and killed, according to Justin, two hundred thousand of the Persians, cut off his head and flung it into a vessel full of blood, exclaiming "satiate yourself with the blood for which you thirsted and of which you were always insatiable,”—satia te sanguine, quem sitisti, cujusque insatiabilis semper fuisti." (JUSTINI HIST. Lib. i. Cap. v.) Herodotus however has recorded that she condemned him to be crucified, which does not much mend the matter, though to be sure the Persian monarch had slain her son and Heaven knows how many of her barbarous subjects in a night-attack, which may be some excuse for her Scythian ferocity.
M. i.e. MILLIA, thousands-twenty two thousand of his host were
The famous loude trumpe ymade of gold yforgid so bright,
Many an high toure she raisid, and ybilt touris long,
Lo, here Semiramis, the quene of grete Babilon !
The most generous gem and the flour of lovily favor,
Also the ladie Menalippe, thy sister so dere
Whose martial power there was no man that coud withstand,
* ENVIRON is here used adverbially-about-" the trump of fame hath blown about her glory."
Whether a Worthy or not, the Lacedæmonian Lampido, as the poet should have written her name, was placed by fortune in a singular position, being the daughter of a Spartan king, the wife of a Spartan king, and the mother of a Spartan king-"Una fæminarum in omni ævo Lampido, Lacadæmonia, reperitur, quæ regis filia, regis uxor, regis mater fuit," says Pliny, (Historia Nat. Lib. vii. Cap. 52,) for which he has been taken to task by his commentators, who certainly have brought together not a few cases of the same description. See Lemaire's excellent edition of the Latin Classics-Vol. lx.-p. 316. Excursus ;-as well as the notes upon the text, p. 152. As respects the genealogy in question, Lampido was the daughter of Leotychides, the wife of Archidamus, and the mother of Agis, all Spartan monarchs.
i.e. Zoroaster, a king of Bactria.
§ Speght, in his edition of Chaucer, reads " she slue in Ethiop." There must be some typographical blunder.
The poet is any thing but clear in this passage. To whom does "sister dere" refer? certainly not to the Semiramis of the preceding stanzas, for she lived long after the time of Theseus. He must there
For thorough the wide world there was not yfound her pere ;*
And she sorely chastised him, and conquirid his lande;
The proude Grekis mightilie also she did assaile
And overcame, and vanquish'd them bravely in bataile.
A CERTAIN Lord of Argouges, near Bayeux, was protected by a fairy, whose name has not come down to us. She helped him to overcome a giant, and in the end crowned all her benefits by marrying him and bringing him immense wealth, while the only condition she exacted in requital of so much kindness was that he should never pronounce before her the word, death. He promised, and as the fairy was young, rich, handsome, and intelligent, they for a long time lived very happily together upon their feudal manor. One day, however, it so happened that they were to assist at a tourney in their chateau at Bayeux. The lady's palfrey stood in waiting for her at the castle-gate, but she was too much occupied with her toilette and was not yet ready. At last she made her appearance, as brilliant by her natural charms as by her dress, when the Lord of Argouges, somewhat impatient, it may be supposed, at the delay exclaimed, "Fair dame, you would be a good one to go in search of death, for fore mean, though the construction of the sentence is abrupt and ungrammatical, to break off from speaking of Menalippe, of whom he could know little or nothing, that he may relate the deeds, or what he chooses to consider the deeds, of her sister Antiope, the queen of the Amazons. By exactly reversing the facts of history he has exalted the lady into a conqueror; the truth is that Hercules in his attack upon these female warriors made a prisoner of her and bestowed her on his friend Theseus, according to the usual Greek mode of treating captives. This Antiope is the Hippolyte of Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Dream.
* i. e. peer, equal.
you are a long time in preparing yourself." Scarcely had he uttered the fatal word than the fairy disappeared, leaving the print of her hand above the castle-gate. Every night, however, she returns, and flits about the seigniory with loud shrieks, crying from time to time, "Death! Death!"
Two circumstances appear to have given rise to this fabulous tradition. The first is the victory that Robert D'Argouges gained over a German of very lofty stature, named Brun, during the siege of Bayeux in 1106; and the second is the arms of the house of Argouges, which had Faith for a crest, under the figure of a female, with the device or war-cry, "à la fé!" pronounced by the people “à la fée."
But the idea of a forbidden fruit-of something that is not to be done, or not to be enjoyed, under a certain penalty-prevails in one form or another throughout all the fairy mythology of the East, and was probably connected with the forbidden apple of the Hebrew paradise. The notion, though somewhat differently illustrated, is exactly the same in principle. It seems more particularly to have been the case in unions contracted between mortals and fairies, the indulgence of curiosity on some point of no great importance in itself being invariably prohibited on pain of forfeiting the unusual state of felicity. Thus we find it in the story of Melusina, and in so many others, the mere outlines of which would require a volume to themselves.
J. BILLING, PRINTER AND STEREOTYPER, WOKING, SURREY.