« ZurückWeiter »
under ä bush in the field, the king's hërdman passed by, and seeing this bishop with his company sitting, in the weather, desired him to his house to take there such poor lodging as he had. Whereof the bishop being glad and fain, yode unto the house of the said herdman, the which received him with glad cheer. And for him and his company, willed his wife to kill his only calf, and to dress it for his guests supper; the which was also done. When the holy man had supped, he called to him his hostess, willing and desiring her, that she should diligently gather together all the bones of the dead calf; and them so gathered, to wrap together within the skin of the said calf. And then it lay in the stall before the rack near unto the dame. Which done accord' ing to the commandment of the holy man, shortly after the calf was restored to life; and forthwith ate hay with the dam at the rack. At which marvel all the house was greatly astonished, and yielded thanking unto Almighty God, and to that holy bio shop.
Upon the morrow, this holy bishop took with him the herdman, and yode unto the presence of the king, and axed of him in sharp wise, why that over-night he had denied to him lodging. Wherewith the king was so abashed, that he had no power to give unto the holy man answer. Then, St Ger
main said to him: I charge thee, in the name of the Lord God, that thou and thine depart from this palace, and resign it and the rule of thy land to him that is more worthy this room than thou art. The which all thing by power divine was observed and done ; and the said herdman, by the holy bishop's authority, was set into the same
dignity; of whom after descended all the kings of -- Britain.
· Of the character of Fabian, as an historian, Warton, in his History of English Poetry, gives the following account: Our author is the dullest of compilers. He is equally attentive to the mayors of London, and to the monarchs of England; and seems to have thought the dinners at Guildhall, and the pageantries of the eity companies, more interesting transactions than our victories in France and our struggles for publie liberty at home. One of Fabian's historical anecdotes, under the important reign of Henry V. is, that a new weather-cock was placed on the top of St. Paul's steeple. The earlier ehapters of these childish annals faithfully rècord all those fabulous traditions which generally supply the place of historic monuments, in describing the origin of a great nation." VOL. I.
REVIVAL OF LETTERS.
We are now arrived on the confines of light. The revival of classical learning about the middle of this century, (the 15th,) created a new æra in literature and in human affairs, auspicious to every species of improvement. From the influence of this event upon the subsequent progress of knowledge, and particularly of the English language, it may be proper, before envering on the reign of Henry VIII. to give á cursory view of the subject, as far at least as it relates to the introduction of the Grecian and Roman learning into England.
: The connection between the ancient and modern learning, was never entirely dissolved. Amidst the violence and general insecurity' which prevailed in the middle ages, the Romish clergy, invested by superstition with a mysterious and sanctified authority, which kept the vulgar in
awe, enjoyed that security and leisure, which are essential to intellectual pursuits. The monastic libraries contained all the literature of the times; and a few out of-the numbers who were intellectually idle, were prompted either from inherent activity of character, or simply as a remedy for listlessness, to read, and afterwards to write. We are thus indebted to the monkish writers for those few rays of light which gleam through the darkness of that savage period. Though the taste and stile of the monkish historians are as barbarous as the age in which they lived; yet, from their frequent allusions to ancient history, and their quotations of ancient authors, it is evident that the more dignified and intelligent churchmen were familiar with the Roman learning. But this learning was confined to the cloister. The profane world was sunk in ignorance and barbarism:
About the middle of the fourteenth century, Dante, Petrarca, with his pupil and friend, Boccace, in Italy; and soon after, Chaucer and Gower, in England, by the cultivation of their vernacular languages, commenced a new æra in literary taste, and contributed to enlarge the sphere of intellectual pleasures. Per trarca was organized for the higher and more refined emotions; and his genius, inspired by the most pure and exalted passion, express, ed his glowing feelings in language of cor, respondent truth and delicacy. The strings of the human heart, vibrating in harmony, acknowledged the touch of nature; and the poetry of Petrarca creating a finer intellectual tact, produced in a few minds, a distaste for romanticimagery and the peculiarities of Gothic manners. This incipient diffusion of a juster sentiment, prepared the way for the complete establishment of classical refinement in the succeeding century. · From the time when the Greek language first became an object of curiosity in England, to the period of Cheke and Smith, those of our countrymen whom literary ardour stimulated to the acquisition of Grecian learning, were come pelled to resort to Italy, and even to Greece. It appears that there were some symptoms of the revival of the Roman and Grecian classics in England about the time, and even before the capture of Constantinople (1453) impelled the learned Greeks to a refuge in Italy. Among these early classical scholars, I shall mention only a few who were the most distinguished, or the