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rude, and curious, I stand abashed. But, in my judgment, the common terms that be daily used ben lighter1 to be understand than the old and ancient English."
He therefore concluded, "for a mean between both; and to reduce and translate into our English, not over rude ne curious, but in such terms as should be understood, by God's grace, according to his copy."
Caxton introduces his own performance with a short prologue. Incipit liber ultimus.
"Thence following this fore written book of Polychronicon, I have emprized to ordain this new book, by the sufferance of Almighty God, to continue the said work briefly; and to set in historical things such as I have can get, from the time that he left, that was in the year of our Lord one thousand three hundred and seven and fifty, unto the year of our said Lord, a thousand four hundred and sixty, and to the first year of the reign of king Edward IV."
This additional book consists of thirty-three chapters, and concludes thus:" And here I make an end of this little work, as nigh as I can find, after the form of the work tofore made by Ranulph, monk of Chester. And whereas there
is fault, I beseech them that shall read it, to correct it: for if I could have found more stories, I would have set in it more; but the substance that I can find and know, I have shortly set hem in this book, to the intent, such things as have been done syth the death, or end of the said book of Polychronicon, should be had in remembrance, and not put in oblivion, ne forgetting; praying all them that shall see this simple work to pardon me of my simple and rude writing. Ended the second day of July, the 22d year of the reign of king Edward IV. and of the incarnation of our Lord a thousand four hundred four score and twain. Finished by Caxton."
Higden had filled his margins with chronological tables, in double and triple columns. These were probably omitted in the copy which Caxton followed, as they were left unprinted by him. In some of the printed copies, therefore, those tables are found written throughout with red ink, perhaps with his own hand.
Wynkin de Worde, in his edition of the English Polychronicon, in 1495, says, that in imitation of his master Caxton, "He had added such stories as he could find, from the end that RanuJph finished his book, which was in 1357, unto the year 1495, which ben 138 year." In the Cottonian library is a manuscript of the latter part of this history, which ends in 1326, and is continued by some unknown hand, t6 the 15th of king Richard II. or 1392.
We owe considerable obligations to Trevisa, in his being one of the first to give a literary currency to his native language. He was not merely tbe translator of the Polychronicon, but of the Old and New Testament, and at the instance of the same munificent patron, Lord Berkely; though it does not appear that any copy of this translation now remains. It is mentioned by Caxton, in the preface to his edition of the English Polychronicon. He was moreover the translator of several other works; as Bartholomew Hautville, de Proprietatibus Rerum, lib. 19, printed by Wynkin de Worde, 1494, folio: and Vegetius de Arte Militari. See also more of his translations in, MSS. Harl J90Q,
John Wicliffe, the memorable English Reformer, was born in the parish of WiclifTe, near Richmond, in Yorkshire. He was educated at Oxford, where he obtained distinguished academical honours, having been elevated successively to the Mastership of Baliol College, to the Warden ship of Canterbury Hall, and to the Professorship of Divinity in that University. This last promotion he obtained in 1372.
In his professorial capacity, he found his province invaded, and the privileges of the University violated, by the pretensions of the Mendicants; and at first only gratified his just resentment by throwing out some censures upon the several orders of friars; in which, however, he could not forbear touching upon the usurpations of the pope, their great patron and abettor. For this he was deprived of the wardenship of his college by the archbishop of Canterbury, who substituted a monk in his place; upon which he appealed to the pope, who, by way of rebuke for the freedom with which he had treated the monastic orders, confirmed the archiepiscopal sentence. Wicliffe, now more exasperated than ever, gave full scope to his indignation, and attacked without distinction, both in his sermons and other pieces, not only the whole body of the monks, but the encroachments and tyranny of the church of Rome, with other ecclesiastical corruptions. In the year 1365, we find the name of Wicliffe first mentioned in the annals of our country. It was on occasion of the demand of pope Urban V. for the payment of the arrears of the tribute of one thousand marks per annum, imposed upon the country by king John; and the payment of which had been neglected since the year 1333. Wicliffe seized this opportunity to write against the papal demand, in opposition to an English monk, who had published in its defence. This recommended him to the particular notice of the king, Edward III. who conferred upon him several benefices, and employed him in various embassies. He was one of the commissioners in the ecclesiastical congress at Bruges, in the year 1374, which was appointed to settle the long-dispnted question of the papal provisions and reservations. Here, from his intercourse