Minot, Laurence

, an ancient English poet, who flourished in the fourteenth century, but appears to have been unknown to Leland, Bale, Pits, and Tanner, was lately discovered by Tyrwhitt, and edited by Mr. Ritson in 1794, 8vo. The discovery was owing to a remarkable circumstance. Some former possessor of the manuscript in which his poems are contained had written his name, Richard Chawser, on one of the supernumerary leaves. The compiler of the Cotton catalogue, printed at Oxford in 1696, converted this signature into Geoffrey Chaucer, and therefore described the volume in these words, “Chaucer. Exemplar emendate scriptum.” Mr. Tyrwhitt, whilst he was preparing his edition of the Canterbury Tales, consulted this manuscript, and thus discovered the poems of Laurence Minot. The versification of this poet is uncommonly easy and harmonious for the period in which he lived, and an alliteration, as studied as that of Pierce Plowman, runs through all his varieties of metre. He has not the dull prolixity of many early authors; nor do we find | in his remains those pictures of ancient times and manners, from whica early writers derive their greatest value. In the easy flow of his language he certainly equals Chaucer but here the merit of Laurence Minot ends, although Mr. Ritson endeavours to carry it much farther. 1


Ritson’s edit. Crit. Rev. and Brit. Crit. for 1797.