« הקודםהמשך »
The second Acteos the bright,
gone so swift upon the heven, &c.
Our author closes this courfe of the Aristotelic philosophy with a fyftem of politics': not taken from Aristotle's genuine treatise on that subject, but from the first chapter of a spurious compilation entitled, SECRETUM SECRETORUM ARISTOTELIS, addreffed under the name of Aristotle to his
pupil Alexander the Great, and printed at Bononia in the year 1516. A work, treated as genuine, and explained with a learned glofs, by Roger Bacon': and of the highest reputation in Gower's age, as it was transcribed, and illustrated with a commentary, for the use of king Edward the third, by his chaplain Walter de Millemete, prebendary of the collegiate church of Glafeney in Cornwalls. Under this head, our author takes an opportunity of giving advice to a weak yet amiable prince, his patron king Richard the second, on a subject of the most difficult and delicate nature, with much freedom and dignity. It might also be proved, that Gower, through this detail of the sciences, copied in many
other articles the SECRETUM SECRETORUM; which is a sort of an abridgement of the Ariftotelic philosophy, filled with many Arabian innovations and absurdities, and enriched with an appendix concerning the choice of wines, phlebotomy, justice, public notaries, tournaments, and physiognomy, rather than from the Latin translations of Aristotle. It is evident, that he copied from this work the doctrine of the three chemical
b Fourth. c Lib. vii. f.
b. col. 1. 2.
See supr. vol. i. p. 132. Notes, X.
& Tanner Bibl. p. 527. It is cited by Bradwardine, a famous English theologist, in his grand work de CAUSA DEL. He
stones, mentioned above. That part of our author's astronomy, in which he speaks of the magician Nectabanus instructing Alexander the Great, when a youth, in the knowledge of the fifteen stars, and their respective plants and precious stones, appropriated to the operations of natural magic', seems to be borrowed from Callisthenes, the fabulous writer of the life of Alexanderk. Yet
wonderful inventions, which occur in this romance of Alexander, are also to be found in the Secretum Secretorum: particularly the fiction of Alexander's Stentorian horn, mentioned above, which was heard at the distance of sixty miles', and of which Kircher has given a curious representation in his PHONURGIA, copied from an antient picture of this gigantic instrument, belonging to a manuscript of the SECRETUM SECRETORUM, preserved in the Vatican library ".
It is pretended by the mystic writers, that Aristotle in his old age reviewed his books, and digested his philosophy into one system or body, which he sent, in the form of an epistle, to Alexander. This is the supposititious tract of which I have been speaking; and it is thus described by Lydgate, who has translated a part of it.
Title of this boke Lapis PHILOSOPHORUM,
p. 223. Notes, f.
" There is an Epistle under the name of Alexander the Great, De Lapide Philofophoruin, among the Scriptores CHEMICI artis aurifera, Bafil. 1593. tom. i. And edit. 1610. See below, Notek.
I have mentioned a Latin romance of Alexander's life, as printed by Frederick Corfellis, about 1468. fupr. vol. i. p. 131. On examination, that impression is said to be finished Decemb. 17, 1468. Unluckily, the feventeenth day of December was a Sunday that year. A manifeft proof that the nine of Corsellis was forged.
Lib. vii. f. 148. a. feq.
h Or from fictitious books attributed to Alexander the Great, De jeptom Herbis dopo. tem Planetarum, &c. See Fabric. Bibl. Gr. tom. ii.
206. See fupr. vol. i. p. 129. And
Callisthenes is mentioned twice in this poem, Lib. vii. f. 139. b. col. 2. And vi. f. 139. b. col.
See a chapter of Callisthenes and Alexander, in Lydgate's Fall OF PRINCES, B. iv. ch. 1. feq. fol. 99 edit. ut intr.
1 See supr. vol. i. p. 132.
Pag. 140. See SECRETUM SECRETORUM, Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Bodl. D. i. 5. Cap. penult. lib. 5.
The which booke direct to the kyng
Feeble of age.
Alysandre of the stonys P.” It was early translated into French prose', and printed in English,
« The SECRET OF “ ARISTOTYLE, with the GOVERNALE OF Princes and
every « maner of estate, with rules for helth of body and soul, very “ gode to teche children to rede English, newly translated
out of French, and emprented by Robert and William “ Copland, 1528." This work will occur again under Occleve and Lidgate. There is also another forgery consecrated with the name of Aristotle, and often quoted by the astrologers, which Gower might have used : it is de REGIMINIBUS COELESTIBUS, which had been early translated from Arabic into Latin'.
Considered in a general view, the Confessio AMANTIS may be pronounced to be no unpleasing miscellany of those shorter tales which delighted the readers of the middle age. Most of these are now forgotten, together with the voluminous chronicles in which they were recorded. The book which appears to have accommodated our author with the largest quantity of materials in this article, was probably a chronicle entitled PANTHEON, or MEMORIÆ SECULORUM,
» Peace, • According to
MSS. Bibl. Bodl. Laud. B. 24. K. 53. Part of this manuscript is printed by Ashmole, THEATR. CHEMIC. ut fupr. p. 397. See Julius Bartolocc. tom. i. Bibl. Rabbinic. P. 475. And Joann. a Lent, Theol. Judaic. p. 6.
9 Mém. de Litt. tom. xvii. p. 737. 4-10.
i Octavo. A work called Aristotle's Po. LITIQUES, or DISCOURSES OF GOVERNMINT, from the French of Louis le Roy,
printed by Adam Iip, in folio, in the year 1527, and dedicated to fir Robert Sidney, is Aristotle's genuine work. In Gresham college library there is “ Alexandri M. Epistolæ ad preceptorem Aristotelem, Anglice face." MSS. 52, But I believ it Occleve's or Lydgate's poem on the fab. ject, hereafter mentioned.
s Hotting. Bibl.. Orient. p. 255. See Pic, Mirandulan, contra Astrolog. lib. i.
p. 284. C
compiled in Latin, partly in prose and partly in verse, by Godfrey of Viterbo, a chaplain and notary to three German emperours, who died in the year 1190'. It commences, according to the established practice of the historians of this age, with the creation of the world, and is brought down to the year 1186. It was first printed at Bafil, in the year 1569". The learned Muratori has not scrupled to insert the five last fections of this universal history in the seventh tome of his writers on Italy". The subject of this work, to use the laborious compiler's own expressions, is the whole Old and New Testament; and all the emperours and kings, which have existed from the beginning of the world to his own times: of whom the origin, end, names, and atchievements, are commemorated. The authors which our chronicler professes to have consulted for the gentile story, are only Josephus, Dion Cassius, Strabo, Orofius, Hegesippus ', Suetonius, Solinus, and Julius Africanus : among which, not one of the purer Roman historians occurs. Gower also seems to have used another chronicle written by the fame Godfrey, never printed, called SPECULUM Regum, or the Mirrour of Kings, which is almost as multifarious as the last; containing a genealogy of all the potentates, Trojan and German, from Noah's flood to the reign of the emperour Henry the fixth, according to the chronicles of the venerable Bede, Eusebius, and Ambrosius”. There are befides, two ancient
+ See sup. vol. i. p. 351. Notes, h. And Jacob. Quetif. i. p. 740.
u In folio. Again, among Scriptor. de Reb. Germanicis, by Pistorius. Francof. fol. 1384. And Hanov. 1613. Laftly in new edit. of Pistorius's collection by Stru. vius, Ratisbon. 1726. fol. There is a chronicle, I believe sometimes confounded with Godfrey's PantHEON, called the PANTALEONE, from the creation to the year 1162, about which time it was compiled by the Benedictine monks of Saint
Pantaleon at Cologn, printed by Eccard,
w P. 346.
* In proem.
collectors of marvellous and delectable occurrences to which our author is indebted, Caffiodorus and Isidorus. These are mentioned as two of the chroniclers which Caxton used in compiling his CRONICLES OF ENGLAND". Caffiodorus 'wrote, at the command of the Gothic king Theodoric, a work named CHRONICON Breve, commencing with our first parents, and deduced to the year 519, chiefly deduced from Eufebius's ecclesiastic history, the chronicles of Prosper and Jerom, and Aurelius Victor's Origin of the Roman nation. An Italian translation by Lodovico Dolce was printed in 1561". Ifidorus, called Hispalensis, cited by Davie and Chaucere, in the seventh century, framed from the same author a CRONICON, from Adam to the time of the emperor Heraclius, first printed in the year 1477, and translated into Italian under the title of CRONICA D'Isidoro, so soon after as the year 1480".
These comprehensive systems of all sacred and profane events, which in the middle ages multiplied to an excessive degree, superseded the use of the classics and other established authors, whose materials they gave in a commodious abridgement, and in whose place, by selecting those stories only which suited the taste of the times, they substituted a more agreeable kind of reading: nor was it by these means only, that they greatly contributed to retard the acquisition of those orna
f • Bale, apud Lewis's CAXTON, p. xvii. Stampata nel Friuli. It is sometimes poft pref. And in the prologue to the called Chronica DE SEX MUNDI ÆTATIFRUCTUS TEMPORUM, printed at St.
IMAGO MUNDI, and ABBREVLATIO Alban's in 1483, one of the authors is TEMPORUM. It was continued by Isidorus “ Caffiodorus of the actys of emperours and Pacensis from 610 to 754. This conţinua“ bisshoppys."
tion was printed in 1634, fol. Pampelon. " See Confes. AMANT. lib. vii. f. 156. Under the title “ Epitome Imperatorum b. col. 1. And our author to king Henry, “ vel Arabum Ephemeridos una cum HisUrry's Ch. p. 542. V. 330.
“ paniæ Chronico.” It has often been printed. See OPERA Isidore has likewise left a history or Caffiodori, duobus tomis, Rothomag. 1679. chronicle of the Goths, copied also by our fol.
author, from the year 176, to the death of d Compendio di Sesto Ruffo, con la king Sisebut in the year 628. It was early CRONICA DI CASSIODORO, de Fatti de printed. See it in Grotius's COLLECTIO Romani, &c. In Venezia, per il Giollo, Rerum GOTHICARUM, pag. 707. Amft. 1361. 4-to.
1655. 8-vo. • See fupr. vol. i. p. 230, Notes, u.