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under the title of LIVRE D' ENEIDOS COMPHLE ran XVIRGILD, by Guillaume de Roy. But that translation was printed at Lyons in 1483, and appears to have been finished, not many years before. Among the tranflator's. hifltorical- additions, are the description of the first fonndat-ion of Troy by- Priam, and. the succession of Ascanius and his descendants after the death of Turnus. He introdzuceaa digresiion upon Boccacio, for giving in his FALL O-F PRINCES an account of the death of Dido, different from that; in the fourthi book of the Eneid. Among his omissions, he passes over Eneas's descent into hell, as a tale manifestly forged, and, not to be believed by any rational reader: as if many other parts of thetrarz. flator's story were not equally fictitious and: incredible. s
The conclusion- intended to. be drawn from this long (liagresslon is obvious. By means of theseFrench- translations, our countrymen, who understood French much. better: than Latin, became acquainted with many "usesul books which they would not otherwise have known. With. such. affis; tances, a commodious access to thelclafiics was. opened, and the knowledge of antient literature facilitated and familiz arised in England, at a much- earlien periodzthan ieimaginedz; and at a time, when little more than the productions of speculative monks, and irrefragrabte doctors, could, be obtained or were studied. Very few Englishmen, II will: venture to pronounce, had read' Livy before the- translation, of. Bfisrcheur was imported by the regent duke of Bedford. It is certain that many, of- the Roman poets and historians- were now read in England, ini the original. But the Latin lan-v
guage was for themofi part confined; to a, few e_cclesiastics._ 'When these authors, therefore, appear-ed in a language. almost as intelligible as the English, they. fellintOthe handsof illiterate and common' readers, and contributed to sow the feeds of a national erudition, and to.- form a: popular tastc..
' lt was translated, and printed, by Canon, 1490. Even
Even the French versions 'of the religious, philosophical, historical, and allegorical compositions of those more en'lightened Latin writers who flourished in the middle ages, had their use, till better books came into vogue: pregnant as they were with absurdities, they communicated instruction on various and new subjects, enlarged the field of information, and promoted the love of reading, by gratifying' that growing literary curiosity which now began to want materials for the exercise of its operations. How greatly our poets in general availed themselves of these treasures, We may collect from this circumstance only: even such writers as Chaucer and Lydgate, men of education and learning, 'when they transiate a Latin author, appear to execute their work through the medium of a French version. It is needless to pursue this history of French translation any farther. Ihave given my reason for introducing it at all. In the "next" age, a great and universal revolution in literature ensued ; and the English themselves began to turntheir thoughts to translation.
These French versions 'enabled caxton, our first printer, to enrich the state of letters in this cotmtry with many valuable publicatiOns. Hefound it no difficult task, either by himself, or the help of his friends, to turn a considerable number of these pieces into English, which he Printed. Antient learning had as yet made too little progress among us, to encourage this enterprising and industrious artist to publish the Roman authors in their original language ' : and had not the French furnished him with these materials, it is not likely, that Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, and many other good writers, would by the means of his press have been circulated in the English tongue, so early as the close of the H E first poet that occurs in the reign of king Edward
* iIt is, however, remarkable, that From England. These were, Box-ratus a"
the year 1471, in which Caxton began to print, down to the year 1540, during which period the English press flourished greatly under the conduct of many industrious, ingenious, and eVen learned artists, only the very few following claflics, some os which hardly deserve that name, were printed in
Conshlatione; both Latin and English, so:l Caxton, without date. The Latin EsoPIAN Fables, in verse, for Wynkyn do Worde, '503. nto. [And oncc or twice asterwards.j Tent-mer, with the Comment of Badius Ascensius, for the same, 1504. 4to. Vrncu's Bvcoucs, for 2 the the same, 1512. 4to. [Again, '533. 4to.] TULLY's OFFlCES, Latin and English, the translation by Whittington, 1533. 4to. The university of Oxford, during this period, produced only the first Book of TULLY's EprsTLes, at the charge of cardinal Wolsey, without date, or printer's name. Cambrid e not a sin le claflic.
fifteenth century '.
No Greek boo , of any iind, had yet appeared from an English press. I believe the first Greek characters used in any work printed in England, are in Linacer's tranflation of Galen tle Temperammlir, printed at Cambridge in lzzr, 4to. A few Greek words, and abbreviatures, are here and there introduced. The printer was John Siberch, a German, a friend of Erasmus, who styles himselfprimu: UTMUSVJE linguz in Anglia impressr. There are Greek characters in some of his other booksof this date. But he printed no entire Greek book. In Linacer's treatise De wem/am Structure Latini strma'zir, printed by Pinson in 1524, many Greek characters are intermixed. ln the sixth book are seven Greek lines together. But the printer apologises for his imperfections and unskillfulness in the Greek types; which, he says, were but recently cast. and not in a sufficient quantity for such a work. The passage is curious. " sEquo animo seras " siqua: literce, in exemplis Hellenismi, " vel ram': vel sþiririlnu careant. His " enim non shti: instructur erat typogra" phus, videlicet rrrrm ab eo fusi: cha" racteribus Grazcis, ncc parate: ei ropia X' qua ad hoc agendum opus est." About
extraction, and educated in the family of lord Henry Percy ': and, at twenty-five years of age, hazarded his fortunes as a volunteer at the decisive battle of Shrcwsbury, fought against the Scots in the year 1403. He appears to have been indefatigable in examining original records, chiefly with a design of ascertaining the fcalty due from the Scottish kings to the crown of England: and he carried many instruments from Scotland, for the elucidation of this important enquiry, at-the hazard of his life, which he delivered at different times to the fifth and sixth Henry, and to Edward the fourth '. These investigations seem to have fixed his mind on the study of our national antiquities and history. At length he cloathed his researches in rhyme, which he dedicated under that form to king Edward the fourth, and with the title of The Chrom'de qf England unto the reigns qsz'ng Edward _ the fourth in 'ver/V. The copy probably presented to the king, although it exhibits at the end the arms of Henry Percy earl of Northumberland, most elegantly transcribed on vellum, and adorned with superb illuminations, is preserved
than the most skillful Irish or highland harper. Major does not enumerate the poem I have here cited. Major, st'r. Scor. lib. vi. cap. xiv. fol. 135. edit. 1521. 4to. Doctor Percy' has one of James's CANTILENB, in which there is much merit.
" One William Peeris, a priest, and secretary to the fifth earl of Northumberland, wrote in verse, William Prtrir'r distant: of the Ltrd Pea-(ix. Pr. Prol. " Cronykills " and annuel books of kyngs." Brit. Mus. MSS. ch. 18 D. 9. Then immediately follows (ro,) in the same manuscript, perhaps written by the same author, a collection of metrical proverbs painted in several chambers os Lekingsield and Wresille, antient feats of the Percy family. r
" Henry the sixth granted immunities to Harding in several patents for procuring the Scottish evidences. The earliest is dated an. reg, xviii. [1440.] There is a_ me
morandum in the exchequer, that, in '453.
albot, treasurer of England, and c an-
'L Printed, at London, 1543. 4to. by Grafton, ,who has prefixed a dedication Of three leaves in verse to Thomas duke os Norfolk. A continua'ion in prose from Edward the fourth to Henry the eighth is added, probably by Graftou. But see Graston's Preface to his ABRlDGEMENT o' 'run Cnnomcu or ENGLAND, edit. 1579*