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Lancelot of the Laik from Cambridge University Library MS.


printed for the Society by W. Blackwood and Sons & illustrated by three fold-out facsimiles of the original manuscript & a 36-page introduction. The romance known as 'Lancelot of the Laik' survives in only one manuscript, Cambridge University Kk.1.5, and even there it is incomplete (only three Books and a Prologue remain), ending abruptly in the middle of the 3487th line. The ms. dates from very late in the fifteenth century & the writing of the poem has generally been placed not much earlier. Derived from the French prose Lancelot (c. 1215–30) the poem was written in a Scottish dialect, although that appearing in the Cambridge manuscript is far from uniform. Book 2 features an extensive “Advice to Princes” section in which King Arthur is given instruction on good kingship, which may be a response to the problems of the reign of James III of Scotland, & certainly seems to belong to a tradition of political advice which enjoyed continuous currency in Scotland between about 1450 and about 1580. Contents & Errata lists to the front; Glossary to the rear.