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Temple Library, being given, with other MSS. to that Society by the last Will of William Petyt, Esq;. late Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London: And Mr. Anstis being one of his Trustees, I have, by his means, procur’d it for you, in order to be printed.
It seems to be a perfect MS. from the beginning to the End, and written about the same time that the Author liv'd, viz. at the beginning of Edw. 3d's. Reign. You'll find in it severall Things worthy of Remark.
First, it appears, that he liv'd sometime in the Monastery of Sicill or Sizle in Lincolnshire, a mixt Monastery of Nunns and Friers : And that he calls himself Robert Manning of Brunne, now Bourne, a Town also in Lincolnshire, where was a Monastery. He calls himself also Danz Robert of Malton.
2dly. The Prologues acquaint us, that Pers (or Peter) de Langtoft, Canon of Bridlington, wrote the Original History in French Rhime. One part whereof, viz. from Eneas to Cadwallader, was taken from Geffry of Monmouth, and abridg'd by the said Peter, but translated more at large into French by Mayster Wace, which Mayster Wace is follow'd cheifly by the Translator; but in the other part, viz. to the End of Edw. I. he tells the story according to Langtoft.
-341y. There is an exact account of his being Author of this Translation by a Note at the End of both the first and second Parts, together with the Time when it was wrote."
Athly. There are some particular Passages of History found in the Translator, that are not in the Original, viz. That King :John died at Hauhe (or Haugh) in Lincolnshire. That Wentilian, the daughter of Lewellyn, being an Infant about two years old when her Father was beheaded, was profess'd and died a Nun in the Convent at Sempringham. And that Gladous, her Couzin-German, daughter of David brother of Lewellyn, died also a Nun in the Monastery of Sixle, both of them being in the County of Lincoln.' You'll find also in most Passages the Translator to be more copious and large than his Original.
5thly. In his Prologues he' takes notice of severall sorts of Old English Verse, viz. Couwe, Stranger, Enterlace, and Baston. The first of which (Couwe) he gives Instances of and Marks in the Margin. He also mentions severall Tales of Erceldoun, Kendale and Tristrem, all which were very well known in those Days. But I find none of them expounded in our Modern Glossaries, which therefore, as well as o. ther antient Terms and Words, will need an Explanation. h 3
6thly: The Historian speaks very freely of the Vices of the Court of Rome, particularly Pope Boniface.
There is a MS. in French Metre of Peter de Langtoft in the Cotton Library, Julius A. In the first Page whereof are these Remarks in modern Hands: -5. “ Hanc P. Langtoft in Gallicam prosam ver- tit Auctor Scalæ Chronicæ. Leyland. “ Multa continet notabilia, quæ apud vul
gatos Historicos haud facile invenies. « T. G.”
(i. e. Thomas Gale.) “ Aliud Exemplar extat in Collegio Heral
“ dorum. Extat Versio Anglicana in
“ Lambethana Bibl. T. Ĝ." In the Elenchus of the said Cotton Library MS. 'tis rightly observ'd, that this Historian is very prolix or spatious in the Life of Edw. I.
The second part of the Chronicle begins with these four Latin Verses:
Incipiunt Gesta, quæ sunt Anglis manifesta,
Petrus dictabit quod sibi Beda dabit. At the end of the Volume (after a Tale or Romance in French of five Leaves, which intervene) are three other Verses, which seem to referr to the same Peter de Langtoft.
« Artus Scriptoris careant gravitate doloris.
“ Culpa datur Petro deficiente Metro.
Num. VII. Vide Præf. g. x, XIV.
Mr. Bridges) from the first to the second Part of his
Explicit historia Britannia, transposita in linguam maternam per Robertum. Incipiunt Gesta Anglorum secundum Petrum de Langtoft, transposita per eundem R. Mennyng.
OW haf I told of þe Bretons,
Of kỳnges & som barons.
Siben Brutus first it fond,
2. & now of Inglis wille we telle, ml.
Sen þe Bretons here gan duelle,
pat toke þe lönd þorgh Gode's heste,
soms pat on pis langage spoken is. c A
So sais clerkes & men of France.