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abbot Whethamstede to collect valuable books for him '. Some of Whethamstede’s tracts, manuscript copies of which often occur in our libraries, are dedicated to the duke? : who presented many of them, particularly a fine copy of Whethamstede's GRANARIUM', an immense work, which Leland calls ingens volumen, to the new library'. The copy of Valerius Maximus, which I mentioned before, has a curious table or index made by Whethamstede . Many other abbots paid their court to the duke by sending him presents of books, whose margins were adorned with the most exquisite paintings '. Gilbert Kymer, physician to king Henry the sixth, among other ecclesiastic promotions, dean of Salisbury, and chancellor of the university of Oxfordo, inscribed to duke Humphrey his famous medical system Diaetarium de sanitatis cuftodia, in the year 1424'. I do not mean to anticipate when I remark, that Lydgate, a poet mentioned hereafter, translated Eoccacio's book de CASIBUS VIRORUM ILLUSTRIUM at the recommendation and command, and under the protection and superintendence, of duke Humphrey: whose condescension in conversing with learned ecclefiastics, and diligence in study, the translator displays at large, and in the strongest expressions of panegyric. He compares the duke to Julius Cefar, who amidst the weightiest cares of ftate, was not ashamed to enter the rhetorical school of
y Leland, ibid. 442. 432.
See also Hollinih. Chron. f. 488. b. And f. 1234. 1235. 1080. 868. 662. Weever Fun. Mon. p. 562. 574. Whethamstede erected in his life-time the beautiful tabernacle or shrine of ftone, now remaining, over the tomb of duke Humphrey in faint Alban's abbey church. Hearne’s OTTERB. ut fupr. p. cxxi. seq. See also ibid. p. cxix. cxvi.
z See Whethamstede, De viris illuftribus, Brit. Muf. MSS. Cotton. Tiber. D. vi. i. OTH. B. iv. And Hearne, Pref. Pet. Langtoft. p. xix. feq.
a Registr. Univ. Oxon. F f. 68.
d - Multos codices, pulcherrime picios,
© By the recommendatory letters of duke Humphrey. Registr. Univ. Oxon. F. fol. 75. Epift. 180.
+ See Hearne's Append. ad Libr. Nigr. Scaccar. p. 550. And Præfat. p. 34.
Cicero at Rome'. Nor was his patronage confined only to English scholars. His favour was solicited by the most celebrated writers of France and Italy, many of whom he bountifully rewarded". Leonard Aretine, one of the first restorers of the Greek tongue in Italy, which he learned of Emanuel Chrysoloras, and of polite literature in general, dedicates to this universal patron his elegant Latin translation of Aristotle's Politics. The copy presented to the duke by the translator, most elegantly illuminated, is now in the Bodleian library at Oxford'. To the same noble encourager of learning, Petrus Candidus, the friend of Laurentius Valla, and secretary to the great Cosmo duke of Milan, inscribed by the advice of the archbishop of Milan, a Latin version of Plato's REPUBLIC". An illuminated manuscript of this translation is in the British museum, perhaps the copy presented, with two epistles prefixed, from the duke to Petrus Candidus'. Petrus de Monte, another learned Italian, of Venice, in the dedication of his treatise de VirtutUM ET VITIORUM DIFFERENTIA to the duke of Glocester, mentions
& PROL. Sign. A. ii. A. iii. edit. Wayland, ut supr. He adds,
And hath joye with clarkes to commune,
courage never dothe appall
My rude langage to my lordes grace.
“ terra dom. Joh. Lydgate missa ad ducem « Glocestrie in tempore translationis Bochafii, “ pro oportunitate pecunie.'
» MSS. ibid.
5. fol. 6. See also ibid. 131. fol.
b. of the duke's marriage.
h Leland, Script. p. 442.
i See MSS. Bodl. D. i. 8. 10. And Leland, Script. p. 443. k Leland, Script. p. 442.
And Mur. Ashmol. 789. f. 54. 56. Where are also two of the duke's epistles to Petrus Candidus.
P. Candidi Decembris, Duci Mediolani a secretis, Transatio POLITIÆ Platonis,ad Hum fredum Gloucestrie Ducem, &c. Cui præfiguntur duæ Epiftolæ Ducis Gloceftriæ ad P. Candidum. Most elegantly written. Membran. ad fin. “ Ceft livre est
a moy Humfrey Duc de Gloceftre du don “ P. Candidus secretarie du duc de Mylan.” Catal. MSS. Angl. tom. ii. pag. 212, Num. 68;8. [Sce MSS. Harl. 1705. fol.]
the latter's ardent attachment to books of all kinds, and the fingular avidity with which he pursued every species of literature“. A tract, entitled COMPARATIO STUDIORUM ET Rei MILITARIS, written by Lapus de Castellione, a Florentine civilian, and a great translator into Latin of the Greek classics, is also inscribed to the duke, at the desire of Zeno archbishop of Bayeux. I must not forget, that our illustrious duke invited into England the learned Italian, Tito Livio of Foro-Juli, whom he naturalised, and constituted his poet and orator". Humphrey also retained learned foreigners in his service, for the purpose of transcribing, and of translating from Greek into Latin. One of these was Antonio de Beccaria, a Veronese, a translator into Latin prose of the Greek poem of Dionysius Afer de SITU ORBIS °: whom the duke employed to translate into Latin fix tracts of Athanasius. This translation, inscribed to the duke, is now among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum, and at the end, in his own hand-writing, is the following insertion: “ C'est livre est a moi Homphrey Duc le Gloucestre : le quel
je fis translater de Grec en Latin par un de mes secretaires “ Antoyne de Beccara, nè de Verone."
An astronomical tract, entitled by Leland TABULÆ DirecTIONUM, is falsely supposed to have been written by duke Humphrey”. But it was compiled at the duke's instance, and according to tables which himself had constructed, called by the anonymous author in his preface, Tabulas illustrisimi principis et nobilissimi domini mei Humfredi, &c". In the library of Gresham college, however, there is a scheme of calculations in
- MSS. Nowic. More. 257. Bibl. publ. nique des Roys de France jusques a la Cantabrig.
“ mort de S. Loys, l'an. 1270."
.At the * Author of the Vita Henrici quinti, print- end is written with the duke of Gloucester's ed by Hearne, Oxon. 1716. And of other hand, “ C est livre eft a moy Homfrey duc pieces. See Hollinsh. iii. 585..
" de Gloucestre du don des executeurs le • Printed at Venice 1477. Ibid. 1498. " Sr de Faunhore.” 16 G. vi. Paris. 1501. Bafil. 1534. 4to.
9 See Hollingsh. Chron. fub. ann. 1461. P MSS. Reg. 5 F. 4to. ii. In the same f. 662. col. 2. library is a fine folio manuscript of “Chro MSS. More, 820. Vol. II.
astronomy, which bear his name'. Astronomy was then a favourite science : nor is to be doubted, that he was intimately acquainted with the politer branches of knowledge, which now began to acquire estimation, and which his liberal and judicious attention greatly contributed to restore,
I close this section with an apology for Chaucer, Gower, and Occleve; who are supposed, by the severer etymologists, to have corrupted the purity of the English language, by affecting to introduce so many foreign words and phrases, But if we attend only to the politics of the times, we shall find these poets, as also some of their successors, much less blameable in this respect, than the critics imagine. Our wars with France, which began in the reign of Edward the third, were of long continuance. The principal nobility of England, at this period, resided in France, with their families, for many years. John king of France kept his court in England; 10 which, exclusive of these French lords who were his fellow-prisoners, or necessary attendants, the chief nobles of his kingdom must have occasionally resorted. Edward the black prince made an expedition into Spain. John of Gaunt duke of Lancaster, and his brother the duke of York, were matched with the daughters of Don Pedro king of Castile. All these circumstances must have concurred to produce a perceptible change in the language of the court. It is rational therefore, and it is equitable to suppose, that instead of coining new words, they only complied with the common and fashionable modes of speech. Would Chaucer's poems have been the delight of those courts in which he lived, had they been filled with unintelligible pedantries ? The cotemporaries of these poets never complained of their obscurity. But whether defensible on these principles or not, they much improved the vernacular style by the use of this exotic phraseology. It was thus that our primitive diction was enlarged and enriched. The English language owes its copiousness, elegance, and harmony, to these innovations.
• MSS. Grelb. 66. See MSS. Alhmol. 856.
Consider Chaucer as a genial day in an English spring. A
brilliant sun enlivens the face of nature with an unusual lustre: the sudden appearance of cloudless skies, and the unexpected warmth of a tepid atmosphere, after the gloom and the inclemencies of a tedious winter, fill our hearts with the visionary prospect of a speedy summer : and we fondly anticipate a long continuance of gentle gales and vernal serenity. But winter returns with redoubled horrors: the clouds condense more formidably than before; and those tender buds, and early blossoms, which were called forth by the transient gleam of a temporary sun-shine, are nipped by frosts, and torn by tempests.
Most of the poets that immediately succeeded Chaucer, seem rather relapsing into barbarism, than availing themselves of those striking ornaments which his judgment and imagination had disclosed. They appear to have been insensible to his vigour of versification, and his flights of fancy. It was not indeed likely that a poet should soon arise equal to Chaucer : and it must be remembered, that the national distractions which ensued, had no small share in obstructing the exercise of thofe studies which delight in peace and repose. His successors, however, approach him in no degree of proportion. Among these, John Lydgate is the poet who follows him at the shortest interval.
I have placed Lydgate in the reign of Henry the sixth, and he seems to have arrived at his highest point of eminence about the year 1430'. Many of his poems, however,
* In a copy of Lydgate's Chronicle of En his Quene and Modir are remembered. MSS. glish Kings, there is a stanza of Edward the Harl. ibid. 9. fol. 10.
But these pieces fourth. MSS. Harl. 2251. 3. In his poem could not well be written by Lydgate. For Ab inimicis noftris, &c. Edward the fourth, he was ordained a subdeacon, 1389. DeaH 2