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And to superadd a work as an ornament, and ft right comely garland to the enterprizes aforesaid, I have selected stuff to be distributed into three books, the which J purpose thus to entitle, De Nobilitatc Britannicd. Whereof the first shall declare the names of kings, queens, with their children; dukes, earls, lords, captains, and rulers in this realm, to the coming of the Saxons; and their conquest. The second shall be of the Saxons and Danes, to the victory of king William the Great. The third from ^.he Normans, to the reign of your most noble grace, descending lineally of the Briton, Saxon, and Nor? man kings. So that all noblemen shall clearly perceive their lineal parentele,
The "New Year's Gift,",Lond. 1549,, was edited by John Bale, with notes; who also added of his own, "A Register of the Names of English Writers/' whom the second part of his work, De Scriptoribus Britannia, shall comprehend. It has been also reprinted by Hearne, jn the first volume of the " Itinerary" of our author.
3. Cc:nmentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, jiuctore Joanne Lelando Londinate, Oxon. 1709, Svols. 8vo.; commonly bound in one. This was edited by Mr. Anthony Hall, and forms the fourth volume of the author's "Collections," and contains the lives and characters of most of the eminent writers of England. A great part qf this work has been transcribed by Bale, in his Scriptorum Britannia Catalogus; and is often referred to by Pits, after Bale.
It should be observed, that Leland, as likewise Bale and Pits, give an account of many learned Britons who florished long before, and about the time of the Roman invasion; but these, for the most part, from internal evidence alone, we may pronounce to be legendary. There is a story of one Perdix, or Partridge, a British prophet, who, according to these writers, florished in the year 700 before Christ, and was cotemporary with Isaiah. The story is mentioned at some length by Henry.
4. " The Itinerary of John Leland, the antiquary," was published by the industrious Hearne, Oxford, 1710, in 9 volumes, 8vo.; of which a second edition was printed in 174.5> with improvements and additions, the MS. having been re-examined with great care, many parts supplied and amended, and many passages transferred to their proper places.
Leland, in his description of the kingdom, has restored the ancient names of places in Britain. The antiquities and civil history of the nation, are comprised in fifty books, corresponding with the then number of shires in England and Wales. The survey of the British Isles, is contained in six books; and finally, an account of the nobility of Britain in three; agreeably to his own account above extracted.
5. Johanni Lelandi Antlquarii de Rebus Britannicm Collectanea. Ex Autographis Descripsit ediditque Tho. Hearne, A. M. Oxoniensis, qui et appendicem subjecit, totumque opus, (in 6 volumina distributum,) notis et indice donavit, Oxon. 1715, 8vo.
6. Codrus, sive Laus et Defensio Gallofridi Arturii Monumetensis, contra Polydorum Virgilium. A defence of Geoffrey of Monmouth, against Polydore Virgil. Printed in the sixth volume of the " Collectanea."
A few other pieces of Leland in MS. are reposited in the Cottonian and other libraries. Various others are likewise, ascribed to him by_Bale and Pits, which had probably never any existence.—The works of Leland furnish a fountain whence all succeeding antiquaties have largely drawn. Among these may be particularly enumerated Bale, in his Catalogue of English Writers; Camden, in his Britannia; Burton, in his Description of Leicestershire; and sir W. Dugdale, in his Antiquities of Warwickshire.
Leland, in addition to his eminence as an antiquarian, is said to have been a master in poetry and oratory; but this encomium is conferred by Bale, a brother antiquarian, who moreover affirms, (probably with more truth,) "that England never saw, and he believed, never would see, a man to him in all things to be compared, (in respect of antiquities,) for undoubtedly he was in these matters, wonderful and peerless, so that as concerning them, England had yet never a greater loss."
John Harding, armiger, was nobly descended, and born somewhere in the north of England } though the particular time of his birth is not specified by Bale, who is my authority for these few particulars. He first served, in his military capacity, under Robert Umfreville; then under the duke of York, afterwards Edward IV. of England. The precise time of his death seems to be also unknown; but he was living, an old man, about the beginning of Edward's reign, or in 1461.
He was author of a metrical history of England, from its fabulous origin to the commencement of the reign of that prince, to whom it was dedicated. His narrative is very succinct to the time of Henry IV. but afterwards becomes more copious. The work was