Verse Chronicles : of Medieval English period

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      There were a large number of verse chronicles in the middle ages. These chronicles are imaginary. The writers called them chronicles, but really they belong to the category of romances.

Layamon's Brut written about 1205 has come down in two manuscripts. Layamon reveals himself as a priest. The poem begins with the destruction of Troy and the flight of Aeneas into Italy.
Verse Chronicles

      Layamon's Brut written about 1205 has come down in two manuscripts. Layamon reveals himself as a priest. The poem begins with the destruction of Troy and the flight of Aeneas into Italy. Brutus, a grandson of Brutus sets out with his people to find a new land in the west. Then follows the founding of the Briton Kingdom. The last part of the poem which is over thirty thousand lines in length deals with the history of Arthur and the Knights of his Round Table.,

      Layamon mentions Bede's Ecclesiastical History in the old English translation as the source of his poem. The Latin version of this book also provides him with materials. But in the main, he concentrates on Wace's Roman de Brut. Layamon describes the battles and the warriors vividly. This attains epic vigour in the description of the wrestling match between Corineas and the giant. It is a remarkable metrical chronicle with genuine poetic worth. The poem is historically important because it supplies with much material later English literature. The Arthurian legend makes its first appearance in English in this work. It also gives the stories of Leir, Kinbelin, Cloten and Arviragus. It is the work of the first writer of magnitude in middle English. He retains much of old English tradition and in addition he is the first to make extensive use of French material. Layamon uses the Alliterative metre with the additions of assonance and rhyme. Sometimes alliteration and rhyme appear together.

      Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle was written in 1300 and is known by the name of its author. The author draws largely on the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth, William Malmesbury and other chronicles. It is a chronicle of Britain but it mainly deals with the stories of Arthur for which the author draws on Wace's Brut. Its metre is an adaptation of the two half-lines of old English poetry into one long line. Robert Manning's story of England is a rhymed chronicle of England. It begins with Noah and the Deluge, and ends with the death of Edward. The first part translates closely Wace's Brut while the second is based on the chronicle of Pierre de Longtoft, an Anglo-Norman work.

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