1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Minot, Laurence

MINOT, LAURENCE (fl. 1333-1352), English poet, the author of eleven battle-songs, first published by Joseph Ritson in 1795 as Poems on Interesting Events in the reign of King Edward III. They had been discovered by Thomas Tyrwhitt in a MS. (Cotton Galba, E. IX., British Museum) which bore on the flyleaf the misleading inscription: “Chaucer, Exemplar emendate scriptum.” It dates from the beginning of the 15th century. The authorship of Laurence Minot's eleven songs is fixed by the opening of the fifth: “Minot with mowth had menid to make,” and in VII. 20, “Now Laurence Minot will begin.” The poems were evidently written contemporaneously with the events they describe. The first celebrates the English triumph at Halidon Hill (1333), and the last the capture of Guines (1352). The writer is animated by an ardent personal admiration for Edward III. and a savage joy in the triumphs of the English over their enemies. The technical difficulty of his metres and the comparatively even quality of the work led to the inference that Minot had written other songs, but none have come to light. Nothing whatever is known of his life, but the minuteness of his information suggests that he accompanied Edward on some of his campaigns. Though his name proves him to have been of Norman birth, he writes vigorous and idiomatic English of the northern dialect with some admixture of midland forms. His poems are instinct with a fierce national feeling, which has been accepted as an index of the union of interests between the Norman and English elements arising out of common dangers and common successes.

There are excellent editions of Minot's poems by Wilhelm Scholle (Quellen und Forschungen, vol. lii., Strasburg, 1884), with notes on etymology and metre, and by Mr J. Hall (Clarendon Press, 2nd ed., 1897). Mr Hall is inclined to include as his work the “Hymn to Jesus Christ and the Virgin” (Religious Pieces, Early English Text Society, No. 26, p. 76), on the grounds of similarity of style and language. See also T. Wright, Political Poems and Songs (Rolls series, 1859).