1754 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Lane

Thomas Warton, in Observations on the Faerie Queene (1754) 114-15n.



In the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, there is a completion of this tale, by John Lane, in MS. It is number'd in the catalogue and in the first leaf 6937, but on the back, 53. quarto. The title of this MS. is as follows, CHAUCER'S PILLER; being his master-piece, called the SQUIER'S TALE; which hath been given for lost for almost these three hundred yeares, but now found out, and brought to light, by JOHN LANE, 1630. I conceived great expectations of this manuscript, on reading the following passage in Philips. "JOHN LANE, a fine old Queen Elizabeth's gentleman, who was living within my remembrance, and whose several poems, had they not had the ill luck to remain unpublished, when much better meriting than many that are in print, might possibly have gained him a name not inferior (if not equal) to Drayton, and others of the next rank to SPENSER; but they are all to be produced in MSS., namely, his POETICAL VISION, his ALARM TO POETS, his TWELVE MONTHS, his GUY OF WARWICK, (an heroic poem, at least as much as many others that are so entitled), and lastly, his SUPPLEMENT to CHAUCER'S SQUIRE'S TALE." Theat. Poet. Mod. Poets, pag. 112. But I was greatly disappointed; for Lane's performance, upon perusal, appear'd to be, not only a very inartificial imitation of Chaucer's manner, but a weak effort of invention.