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known through Pisa to be a iealous fool, therefore with these tales I brought him into this paradice, which indeed are follies of mine own braine: for trust me, by the faith of a gentleman, I neuer spake to the woman, was never in her companye, neither doo I know her if I see her. At this they all fell in a laughing at Mutio, who was ashamed that Lionello had so scoft him: but all was well,-they were made friends; but the iest went so to his hart, that he shortly after died, and Lionello enioyed the ladye and for that they two were the death of the old man, now are they plagued in purgatory, and he whips them with nettles."
It is observable that in the foregoing novel (which, I believe, Shakspeare had read,) there is no trace of the buck-basket.-In the first tale of The Fortunate, the Deceived, and the Unfortunate Lovers, (of which I have an edition printed in 1684, but the novels it contains had probably appeared in English in our author's time,) a young student of Bologne is taught by an old doctor how to make love; and his first essay is practised on his instructor's wife. The jealous husband having tracked his pupil to his house, enters unexpectedly, fully persuaded that he should detect the lady and her lover together; but the gallant is protected from his fury by being concealed under a heap of linen half-dried; and afterwards informs him, (not knowing that his tutor was likewise his mistress's husband,) what a lucky escape he had. It is therefore, I think, highly probable that Shakspeare had read both stories. MALONE.
Sir Hugh Evans,] See p. 7, and 8.
The question whether priests were formerly knights in consequence of being called Sir, still remains to be decided. Examples that those of the lower class were so called are very numerous and hence it may be fairly inferred that they at least were not knights, nor is there perhaps a single instance of the order of knighthood being conferred upon ecclesiastics of any degree.
Having casually, however, met with a note in Dyer's Reports, which seems at first view not only to contain some authority for the custom of knighting priests by Abbots, in consequence of a charter granted to the Abbot of Reading for that purpose, but likewise the opinion of two learned judges, founded thereupon, that priests were anciently knights, I have been induced to enter a little more fully upon this discussion, and to examine the validity of those opinions. The extract from Dyer is a marginal note in p. 216. B. in the following words: "Trin. 3 Jac. Blanc le Roy Holcraft and Gibbons, cas Popham dit que il ad view un ancient charter grant al Abbot de Reading per Roy d'Angliterre, a fair knight, sur que son conceit fuit que l'Abbot fait, ecclesiastical
persons, knights, d'illonque come a luy le nosmes de Sir John and Sir Will que est done al ascun Clerks a cest jour fuit derive quel opinion Coke Attorney-General applaud disont que fueront milites cælestes et milites terrestres." It is proper to mention here that all the reports have been diligently searched for this case of Holcraft and Gibbons, in hopes of finding some further illustration, but without success.
The charter then above-mentioned appears upon further enquiry to have been the foundation charter of Reading Abbey, and to have been granted by Henry I. in 1125. The words of it referred to by Chief Justice Popham, and upon which he founded his opinion, are as follow: "Nec faciat milites nisi in sacra veste Christi, in qua parvulos suscipere modeste caveat. Maturos autem seu discretos tam clericos quam laicos provide suscipiat." This passage is likewise cited by Selden in his notes upon Eadmer, p. 206, and to illustrate the word "clericos" he refers to Mathew Paris for an account of a priest called John Gatesdene, who was created a knight by Henry III. but not until after he had resigned all his benefices, " as he ought to have done," says the historian, who in another place relating the disgrace of Peter de Rivallis, Treasurer to Henry III. (see p. 405, edit. 1640,) has clearly shown how incompatible it was that the clergy should bear arms, as the profession of a knight required; and as a further proof may be added the well known story related by the same historian, of Richard I. and the warlike Bishop of Beauvais. I conceive that the word "clericos" refers to such of the clergy who should apply for the order of knighthood under the usual restriction of quitting their former profession; and from Selden's note upon the passage it may be collected that this was his own opinion; or it may possibly allude to those particular knights who were considered as religious or ecclesiastical, such as the knights of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, &c. concerning whom see Ashmole's Order of the Garter, p. 49, 51.
With respect to the custom of ecclesiastics conferring the order of knighthood, it certainly prevailed in this country before the conquest, as appears from Ingulphus, and was extremely disliked by the Normans; and therefore at a council held at Westminster in the third year of Henry I. it was ordained, "Ne Abbates faciant milites." See Eadmeri Hist. 68. and Selden's note, p. 207. However it appears that notwithstanding this prohibition, which may at the same time serve to show the great improbability that the order of knighthood was conferred upon ecclesiastics, some of the ceremonies at the creation of knights still continued to be performed by Abbots, as the taking the sword from the altar, &c. which may be seen at large in Selden's Titles of Honour, part ii. chap. v. and Dugd. Warw. 531, and accordingly this charter, which is dated twenty-three years after the
council at Westminster, amongst other things directs the Abbot, "Nec faciat milites nisi in sacra veste Christi," &c. Lord Coke's acquiescence in Popham's opinion is founded upon a similar misconception, and his quaint remark " que fueront milites cælestes et milites terrestres," can only excite a smile. The marginal quotation from Fuller's Church History, b. vi. p. 352. "Moe Sirs than knights" referred to in a former note by Sir J. Hawkins, certainly means-" that these Sirs were not knights," and Fuller accounts for the title by supposing them ungraduated priests.
Before I dismiss this comment upon the opinions of the learned judges, I am bound to observe that Popham's opinion is also referred to, but in a very careless manner, in Godbold's Reports, p. 399, in these words: "Popham once Chief Justice of this court said that he had seen a commission directed unto a bishop to knight all the parsons within his diocese, and that was the cause that they were called Sir John, Sir Thomas, and so they continued to be called until the reign of Elizabeth." The idea of knighting all the parsons in a diocese is too ludicrous to need a serious refutation; and the inaccuracy of the assertion, that the title Sir lasted till the reign of Elizabeth, thereby implying that it then ceased, is sufficiently obvious, not only from the words of Popham in the other quotation que est done al ascuns clerks cest jour," but from the proof given by Sir John Hawkins of its existence at a much later period.
Having thus, I trust, refuted the opinion that the title of Sir was given to priests in consequence of their being knights, I shall venture to account for it in another manner.
This custom then was most probably borrowed from the French, amongst whom the title Domnus is often appropriated to ecclesiastics, more particularly to the Benedictines, Carthusians, and Cistercians. It appears to have been originally a title of honour and respect, and was perhaps, at first, in this kingdom as in France, applied to particular orders, and became afterwards general as well among the secular as the regular clergy. The reason of preferring Domnus to Dominus was, that the latter belonged to the Supreme Being, and the other was considered as a subordinate title, according to an old verse:
Cœlestem Dominum, terrestrem dicito Domnum.
Hence, Dom, Damp, Dan, Sire, and, lastly, Sir; for authorities are not wanting to show that all these titles were given to ecclesiastics; but I shall forbear to produce them, having, I fear, already trespassed too far upon the reader's patience with this long note. DoOUCE.
And sundry other Heathen nations had their Priests instead of Princes, as Kings to gouerne, as Presbiter Iohn is at this present: and to this day the high Courts of Parliament in England do consist by ancient custome of calling to that honorable Court of
the Lords spirituall and temporall, vnderstood by the Lords spirituall, the Archbishops and Bishops, as the most ancient inuested Barrons (and some of them Earles and others Graces) of this land, and therefore alwaies first in place next vnder our Soueraigne King, Queene, Emperor and Empresse, Lord and Lady (for there is no difference of sexe in Regall Maiesty). This being so, and that by the lawes Armoriall, Ciuill, and of armes, a Priest in his place in ciuill conuersation is alwayes before any Esquire, as being a Knights fellow by his holy orders: and the third of the three syrs, which only were in request of old (no Barron, Vicount, Earle nor Marquesse being then in vse) to wit, Sir King, Sir Knight, and Sir Priest; this word Dominus in Latine being a nowne substantive common to them all, as Dominus meus Rex, Dominus meus Joab, Dominus Sacerdos: and afterwards when honors began to take their subordination one vnder another, and titles of princely dignity to be hereditarie to succeeding posterity (which hapned vpon the fall of the Romane Empire) then Dominus was in Latine applied to all noble and generous harts, euen from the King to the meanest Priest or temporall person of gentle bloud, coate-armor perfect, and ancetry. But Sir in English was restraind to these foure, Sir Knight, Sir Priest, Sir Graduate, and in common speech Sir Esquire: so as alwayes since distinction of titles were, Sir Priest was euer the second. And, if a Priest or Graduate be a Doctor of Diuinity or Preacher allowed, then is his place before any ordinary Knight; if higher aduanced and authorised, then doth his place allow him a congie with esteeme to be had of him accordingly."
A Decacordon of Ten Quodlibeticall Questions concerning