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Quotation from The Pastyme of Plasure Especially,I don't know "sprynge, ryall, chefe and orygynal".

"O Mayster Lydgate! the most dulcet sprynge
Of famous rethoryke, with balade ryall
The chefe orygynal."
—"The Pastyme of Plasure," by Stephen Hawes, 1509.

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Middle English is one of my favorite things to read aloud. Try saying the words phonetically (at a decent pace), and you'll find it often sounds close to Modern English with a peculiar accent. It makes determining the meaning fairly easy in some cases. –  Zairja Oct 16 '12 at 17:36
    
I am vastly curious to know what course of reading is leading to your very interesting but quite eccentric series of questions! –  StoneyB Oct 17 '12 at 3:59

2 Answers 2

"O Master Lydgate! the sweetest source of famous rhetoric, and of ballad royal the chief originator."

Rhyme royal was a standard form of English narrative verse from Chaucer down to the fifteenth century: seven lines, usually of five but occasionally of four iambic feet, rhyming a-b-a-b-b-cc.

Ballad royal was an English variant of the French 'fixed form' ballade: four stanzas of rhyme royal, with all four stanzas using the same rhymes and ending in the same refrain.

However, nomenclature was flexible in the days of Lydgate and his successors; Hawes is probably speaking of Lydgate's huge output of rhyme royal rather than of works in the short form. The stage directions to Lydgate's Bycorne and Chychevache employ the term balade for what we would call stanza, e.g. First there shal stonde an ymage in poete-wyse seying thees thre balades, which is followed by three stanzas of rhyme royal.

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Sprynge = spring (as in source of a river)

Ryall = real

Chefe = chief

Orygynal = orginal

So, a little freely, 'O Master Lydgate! the sweetest spring of famous rhetoric, the main original writer of real song.'

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What language is this? –  Daniel Fein Oct 16 '12 at 10:08
    
Middle English. –  Barrie England Oct 16 '12 at 10:56
    
-1 deserved for getting ryall wrong. –  Barrie England Oct 16 '12 at 16:15
1  
Actually, Barrie, you didn't get ryall wrong; you're just a little dated. :) See OED "† real, a.¹ (and sb.² ) Obs." Its adjectival sense is "Royal, regal, kingly." We just don't use real in that way any longer in English. Note that Spanish preserves both senses yet, where real means both royal and the contemporary English sense of "Royal, regal, kingly." –  tchrist Oct 16 '12 at 16:58

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