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sooner acquired ideas of civility, from the opportunity which that city above all others afforded them of seeing the felicities of polished life, of observing the conveniencies arising from political economy, of mixing with characters respectable for prudence and learning, and of employing in their counsels men of superior wisdom, whose instruction and advice they found it their interest to follow. But perhaps these northern adventurers, at least their princes and leaders, were not, even at their first migrations into the south, so totally savage and uncivilised as we are commonly apt to suppose. Their enemies have been their historians, who naturally painted these violent disturbers of the general repose in the warmest colours. It is not easy to conceive, that the success of their amazing enterprizes was merely the effect of numbers and tumultuary depredation; nor can I be persuaded, that the lasting and flourishing governments which they established in various parts of Europe, could have been framed by brutal force alone, and the blind efforts of unreflecting sayages. Superior strength and courage must have contributed in a considerable degree to their rapid and extensive conquests; but at the same time, such mighty atchievements could not have been planned and executed without some extraordinary vigour of mind, uniform principles of conduct, and no common talents of political sagacity.
Although these commotions must have been particularly unfavourable to the more elegant literature, yet Latin poetry, from a concurrence of causes, had for some time begun toʻrelapse into barbarism. From the growing increase of christianity, it was deprived of its old fabulous embellishments, and chiefly employed in composing ecclesiastical hymns. Amid these impediments however, and the necessary degeneration of taste and style, a few poets supported the character of the Roman muse with tolerable dignity, during the decline of the Roman empire. These were Ausonius, Paulinus, Sidonius, Sedulius, Arator, Juvencus, Prosper, and Fortunatus. With the last, who flourished at the beginning of the sixth century,
and was bishop of Poitiers, the Roman poetry is supposed to have expired.
In the sixth century Europe began to recover some degree of tranquillity. Many barbarous countries during this period, particularly the inhabitants of Germany, of Friesland, and other northern nations, were converted to the christian faith. The religious controversies which at this time divided the Greek and Latin churches, roused the minds of men to literary enquiries. These disputes in some measure called forth abilities which otherwise would have been unknown and unemployed; and, together with the subtleties of argumentation, insensibly taught the graces of style, and the habits of composition. Many of the popes were persons of distinguished talents, and promoted useful knowledge no less by example than authority. Political union was by degrees established: and regular systems of government, which alone can ensure personal security, arose in the various provinces of Europe occupied by the Gothic tribes. The Saxons had taken possession of Britain, the Franks became masters of Gaul, the Huns of Pannonia, the Goths of Spain, and the Lombards of Italy. Hence leisure and repose diffused a mildness of manners, and introduced the arts of peace; and, awakening the human mind to a consciousness of its powers, directed its faculties to their
In the mean time, no small obstruction to the propagation or rather revival of letters was the paucity of valuable books. The libraries, particularly those of Italy, which abounded in numerous and inestimable treasures of literature, were every where destroyed by the precipitate rage and undistinguishing violence of the northern armies. Towards the close of the seventh century, even in the papal library at Rome, the number of books was so inconsiderable, that pope Saint Martin requested Sanctamand bishop of Maestricht, if possible, to supply this defect from the remotest parts of Germany. In
! Care. Sæcul. Mopoth. p. 440.
8 Concil. Tom. xv. pag. 285. edit. Paris, 1641.
the year 855, Lupus, abbot of Ferrieres in France, sent two of his monks to pope Benedict the third, to beg a copy of CICERO DE ORATORE, and QUINTILIAN'S INSTITUTES", and some other books: “for, says the abbot, although we have part of these books, yet there is no whole or complete copy of them in all Francei.” Albert abbot of Gemblours, who with incredible labour and immense expense had collected an hundred volumes on theological and fifty on profane subjects, imagined he had formed a splendid libraryk. About the year 790, Charlemagne granted an unlimited right* of hunting to the
There are very early manuscripts authors, were recovered from oblivion, of Quintilian's Institutes, as we shall and brought into general notice by being see below; and he appears to have been printed in the fifteenth century. Fr. Baa favourite author with some writers of barus Venetus, Collaudat. ad Pogg. dat. the middle ages. He is quoted by John Venet. 1417. 7 Jul. See also Giornale of Salisbury, a writer of the eleventh de Letterati d'Italia, tom. ix. p. 178. X. century. Polycrat. vii. 14. iii. 7. x. 1. p. 417. And Leonard. Aretin. Epist. &c. And by Vincent of Beauvais, a lib, iv. p. 160. Chaucer mentions the writer of the thirteenth. Specul. Hist. Argonautics of Valerius Flaccus, aš x. 11. ix. 125. His declamations are I have observed SecT. iii. p. 129. infr. said to have been abridged by our coun Colomesius affirms that Silius Italicus tryman Adelardus Bathoniensis, and is one of the classics discovered by Pogdedicated to the bishop of Bayeux, about gius in the tower of the monastery of the year 1130. See Catal. Bibl. Leidens. Saint Gaul, Ad Gyrald. de Poeta p. 381. A.D. 1716. Poggius Floren- Dial. iv. p. 240. But Philippo Rosso, iinus, an eminent restorer of classical in his Ritrato di Roma anticu, mentions literature, says, that in the year 1446 a very antieņt manuscript of this poet he found a much more correct copy of brought from Spain into the Vatican, Quintilian's Institutes than had been having a picture of Hannibal, il quale yet seen in Italy, almost perishing, at hoggi si ritrova nella predilla libraria, the bottom of a dark neglected tower of p. 83. the monastery of Saint Gall, in France, (From the following passage in one togetker with the three first books and of Poggius's letters to Niccolo Niccoli, balf the fourth of Valerius Flaccus's it appears that he had also travelled into Argonautics, and Asconius Pedianus's England for the same purpose:
“ Mittas comment on eight orations of Tully. ad me oro Bucolicam Calphurnii et porSee Poggii Opp. p. 309. Amst. 1720. tiunculam Petronii quas misi tibi ex Bri8ve. The very copy of Quintilian, tanniâ." See Ambr. Traversari Lat. found by Poggius, is said to have been Epist. &c. i. Præf. p. 49. It is probable, in lord Sunderland's noble library now that upon this occasion he met with the at Blenheim. Poggius, in his dia- copy of Quintilian above mentioned. logue De Infelicitate Principum, says Douce.] of himself, that he travelled all over Ger · Murator. Antiq. Ital. iii. p. 835. many in search of books. It is certain And Lup. Ep. ad Baron. ad an. 856. that by his means Quintilian, Tertullian, 1. 8, 9, 10. Asconius Pedianus, Lucretius, Sallust, * Fleury, Hist. Eccl. 2. Iriïi. c. 52. Silius Italicus, Columella, Manilius, • [This permission was not granted Tully's Qrations, Ammianus Marcelli. until after much entreaty on the part of nus, Valerius Flaccus, and some of the the monks, and an assurance that the Latin grammarians, and other ancient flesh of the deer would be the means of
abbot and monks of Sithiu, for making their gloves and girdles of the skins of the deer they killed, and covers for their books!. We may imagine that these religious were more fond of hunting than reading *. It is certain that they were obliged to hunt before they could read: and at least it is probable, that under these circumstances, and of such materials, they did not manufacture many volumes. At the beginning of the tenth century books were so scarce in Spain, that one and the same copy of the bible, Saint Jerom's Epistles, and some volumes of ecclesiastical offices and martyrologies, often served several different monasteries. Among the constitutions given to the monks of England by archbishop Lanfranc, in the year 1072, the following injunction occurs. At the beginning of Lent, the librarian is ordered to deliver a book to each of the religious: a whole year was allowed for the perusal of this book: and at the returning Lent, those monks who had neglected to read the books they had respectively received, are commanded to prostrate themselves before the abbot, and to supplicate his indulgence". This regulation was partly occasioned by the low state of literature which Lanfranc found in the English mona
re-establishing the health of their sick [The Latin version which is here folbrethren, as well as for the other reasons lowed, is as usual inaccurate. The oriabove mentioned. That monks were ad- ginal text forbids a less disgraceful indicted to the pleasures of the chase, ap- dulgence than “compotation," and con, pears from Chaucer's description of the tains a ludicrous play of words, hardly monk in his Canterbury Tales. -- Douce.] admissible in our present legal enactI Mabillon, De Re Dipl. p. 611. ments: ne tæflere, ac plegge on his bo
[Hunting appears to have been ex cum swa his hade gebirath : i. e, nor pressly forbidden the religious of all de- tabler (player at tables), but let him play nominations, as a profane amusement in his books as becomes his order (hood). altogether 'incompatible with their pro- Edit.] fession. They obtained, however, this Fleury, ubi supr. 1. liv. c. 54. See indulgence under certain restrictions, other instances in Hist. Lit. Fr. par particularly set forth in their charters. Rel. Benedict. vii. 3. It was a privilege allowed even to nuns. "“ Unusquisque reddat librum qui ad See more on this subject in M. le Grand's legendum sibi alio anno fuerat commenVie privée des Français, tom. i. p. 323. datus : et qui cognoverat se non legisse By the laws of Eadgar, priests were pro- librum, quem recepit, prostratus culpam hibited from hunting, hawking, and dicat, et indulgentiam petat. Iterum lidrinking : “ Docemus etiam ut sacerdos brorum custos unicuique fratrum alium non sit venator, neque accipitrarius, librum tribuat ad legendum.” Wilkins. neque potator. Sed incumbat libris suis Concil. i. 332. See also the order of the sicut ordinem ipsius decet.” Wilkins's Provincial chapter, De occupatione moIeges Anglo-Saxon. p. 86.- Douce.) nachoruns. Reyner, Append. p. 129.
steries. But at the same time it was a matter of necessity, and is in great measure to be referred to the scarcity of copies of useful and suitable authors. In an inventory of the goods of John de Pontissara, bishop of Winchester, contained in his capital palace of Wulvesey, all the books which appear are nothing more than “Septendecem pecie librorum de diversis Scienciiso.” This was in the year 1294. The same prelate, in the year 1299, borrows of his cathedral convent of St. Swithin at Winchester, BIBLIAM BENE GLOSSATAM, that is, the Bible, with marginal Annotations, in two large folio volumes : but gives a bond for due return of the loan, drawn up with great solemnity. This Bible had been bequeathed to the convent the same year by Pontissara's predecessor, bishop Nicholas de Ely: and in consideration of so important a bequest, that is, “pro bona Biblia dicti episcopi bene glosata,” and one hundred marks in money, the monks founded a daily mass for the soul of the donor. When a single book was bequeathed to a friend or relation, it was seldom without many restrictions and stipulations'. If any person gave a book to a religious house, he believed that so valuable a donation merited eternal salvation, and he offered it on the altar with great ceremony. The most formidable anathemas were peremptorily denounced against those who should dare to alienate a book
• Registr. Pontissar. f. 126. MS. juscunque judicis ecclesiastici et secula
P“Omnibus Christi fidelibus presen- ris quem predictus Prior et conventus tes literas visuris vel inspecturis, Johan- duxerit eligendum, quod possint eosdem nes dei gracia Wynton episcopus, salu- executores per omnimodam districtionem tem in domino. Noveritis nos ex com- compellere, quousque dicta Biblia dictis modato recepisse a dilectis filiis nostris filiis et fratribus sit restituta. In cujus Priore et conventu ecclesie nostre Wyn- rei testimonium, sigillum, &c. Dat. ton, unam Bibliam, in duobus volumi- , apud Wulveseye, vi. Kal. Maii, anno nibus bene glosatam, que aliquando fuit 1299.” Registr. Pontissar. ut supr. bone memorie domini Nicolai Wynton f. 193. episcopi predecessoris nostri, termino 9 Ibid, f. 19. perpetuo, seu quamdiu nobis placuerit, r As thus: “ Do Henrico Morie scoinspiciendam, tenendam, et habendam. lari meo, si contingat eum presbyterari : Ad cujus Restitutionem eisdem fideliter aliter erit liber domini Johannis Sory, et sine dolo faciendam, obligamus nos sic quod non vendatur, sed transeat inter per presentes: quam si in vita nostra cognatos meos, si fuerint aliqui inventi: non restituerimus eisdem, obligamus sin autem, ab uno presbytero ad alium.” executores nostros, et omnia bona nostra Written at the end of Latin Homeliss on mobilia et immobilia, ecclesiastica et the Canticles, MSS. Reg. 5. C. iii. 24. mundana, cohercioni et districtioni cu Brit. Mus.