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twelve years, and was ignorant of the lowest elements of literature; but hearing some Saxon poems read to him, his genius was first aroused, and this species of erudition expanded those noble and elevated sentiments which he had received from nature. Encouraged by the queen, his mother, and assisted by a penetrating genius, be soon learned to read these compositions, and proceeded from them to a knowledge of Latin authors, whose works directed his taste, and rectified his ambition. Upon his accession to the throne, in the year 871, he found the nation sunk into the grossest ignorance, and barbarism proceeding from the disorders in the government, and from the ravages of the Danes; and he himself complained that “ all knowledge and learning were extinguished in the English nation, insomuch, that there were very few to the south of the Humber who understood the common prayers of the Church, or were capable of translating a single sentence of Latin into English; but to the south of the Thames, I cannot recollect so much as one who could do this.” To remedy this deficiency, he collected such men of learning as were dispersed within the realm ; and by the allurement of high salaries, attracted scholars from abroad. But though the means of instruction were ready, no general inclination was manifested; and we therefore read of a law, by which all freeholders possessed of two hides of land, or more, were enjoined to send their children to school; and in order to supply a still more powerful inducement, he promised preferment, whether in church or state, to such only as should have made some proficiency in learning*.
Among the various schools which were establisbed by Alfred, that of Oxford is said to have been founded, or at least to have been renovated, by bim; and he endowed it with many privileges, immunities, and revenues. The example of the prince, as it ever happens, was soon followed by the nobility. They also erected schools; and as Alfred was seen to delight in the society of learned men, the same society became the fashionable appendage of persons in the highest rank. By these and similar expedients, a happy change became gradually more apparent; and Alfred had reason to congratulate himself on the progress which learning, under his patronage, had already made in England.
The assiduity with which this incomparable prince, in the midst of his public avocations, pursued his literary labors, is almost incredible. His time was divided into three equal portions; and of these, a third was given to study and devotion. He is said to have translated the pastoral of Gregory the First, Boetius de Consolatione, and Bede's Ecclesiastical History, into the Saxon language. Sensible that his illiterate subjects were not much susceptible of speculative instruction, he endeavoured to convey his morality by parables and stories, and is said to have translated the fables of Æsop from the Greek.
* Berington's Literary History of the Middle Ages, book iii.
Of all the pleasing arts, poetry was the most admired and cultivated during this period :— the greatest princes were no less ambitious of the laurel than of the crown. Alfred was the prince of poets, as well as the best of kings, and employed his poetic talents to enlighten the minds and civilize the manners of his subjects. “ The merits of this prince, both in private and public life,” says Hume, “ may be set in opposition to that of any monarch or citizen which the annals of any age or nation can present to us. He seems, indeed, to be the model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of sage or wise man, philosophers have been fond of delineating rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing it really existing. So happily were all his virtues tempered together; so justly were they blended, and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper boundaries ! He knew how to reconcile the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate perseverance with the easiest flexibility; the most sincere justice with the greatest lenity; the greatest vigor in commanding, with the most perfect affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining talents for action. His civil and military virtues are almost equally the objects of our admiration, excepting only that the former being more rare among princes, as well as more useful, seem chiefly to challenge our applause. Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him every bodily accomplishment, vigor of limbs, dignity of shape and air, with a pleasing, engaging, and open countenance. Fortune alone, by throwing him into that barbarous age, deprived him of historians worthy to transmit his fame to posterity; and we wish to see him delineated in more lively colors, and with more particular strokes, that we may at least perceive some of those small sparks and blemishes from which, as a man, it is impossible he could be entirely exempted.” At the death of Alfred, which took place in the year 901, the torch of science, which he had taken so much pains to illume, was totally extinguished, and the demon of ignorance and superstition spread a dreadful pall over the barbarous sons of prostrate Europe. He and a few others, whom history has delighted to hold up to our admiration, and whom it has embalmed with grateful praise, were but as meteors that flash on the surrounding gloom, are gazed at for a moment with stupid wonder, and are then lost in the darkness of returning night. “The succeeding age," says a learned writer, “ for its barbarism and darkness inay be called the age of iron ; for its dulness and stupidity, the age of lead; and for its blindness and ignorance, the age of darkness t."
The following are the only persons who excelled in, or contributed to the advancement of, learning in England during the eleventh century, viz.
• Hume's Hist. vol. i. pages 100, 101.
+ See on the Life of Alfred, the old English historians, particularly Asserius Menevensus, De Rebus Gestis Alfred. Also Leland, De Scrip. Brit., who is very copious.
LANFRANC*. -Among the admirers of Lanfranc, was William, the young Duke of Normandy, the bastard son of Duke Robert, surnamed the Devil. He admitted him to the most familiar confidence; he was directed by his advice, and raised him to the government of a new abbey, which he founded in the city of Caen. Whilst Lanfranc was at Caen, he engaged in the Berengerian controversyt; and was occupied in this and in the concerns of his convent, when Duke William having conquered England, invited the learned abbot, in the year 1070, to undertake the charge of the English church. He was called to the See of Canterbury, which he declined, seriously observing, that he was a stranger to the language of the country, and that its manners were barbarous. These manners he might hope to civilize; but his objection, founded on his ignorance of the vernacular idiom of the people, was strong, though it is well known how little it was heeded in the appointment of ecclesiastical superiors. Much is said of the piety of Lanfranc, of the confidence which was reposed in him by the king, and of his zealous endeavours to reform the loose manners of the monks. Speaking of the monks of his own time, the historian of Malmsbury says : “ Their minds are still formed on the model of Lapfranc; his memory is dear to them; a warm devotion to God, to strangers a pleasing affability, still remain; nor shall ages see extinguished what in him was a benevolence of heart, comprising the human race, and felt by each one that approached him.” “The province of Kent,” concludes the historian, “ as long as time sball last, will not cease to speak of the labors of Lanfranc; nor the Latin world to admire in his disciples the extent of his doctrinet."
His works, which are chiefly theological, are written in good Latin. These are Commentaries upon the Epistle of St. Paul; A Commentary on the Psalms; A Treatise on Confession; and a collection of Letters, to Pope Alexander the Second, to Hildebrand while Archdeacon of Rome, and to several bishops of England and Normandy.
INGULPHUS, abbot of Croyland, was contemporary and friend of Lanfranc. He was an Englishman, received his first education at Westminster, and completed it at Oxford. He became acquainted with the Conqueror in a visit which the latter made to the court of King Edward; gained his good will, and returned with him into Normandy, where he continued to enjoy his favor, and to exercise great power. He joined a band of pilgrims, and travelled to Jerusalem, and he has related the incidents of the journey. On his return, he
* He was a native of Pavia. He lost his parents in early life, when, quitting his native city, he travelled in search of learning; and after some years returned, richly accomplished in the profane sciences, and in the knowledge of laws. He afterwards retired to the monastery of Bec, with a view, it seems, of secluding himself from the world, and of prosecuting the contemplations of a sublime philosophy. But his retreat was soon discovered ; and so high was his reputation, and so ardent the general thirst of knowledge, that the confluence of pupils to attend his lectures almost exceeds belief. He died in the year 1089..
+ On the manner of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Berenger admitted the real presence, but denied the change of substance.
| De Gest. Pontif. I. i.---De Gest. Reg. 1. iii. Ingulf. Hist.
became a monk in a monastery of Normandy, from which he was transferred by King William in 1076 to the government of Croyland. He wrote an excellent history of his own abbey, into which he introduced much of the general history of the kingdom, with a variety of curious anecdotes not to be found any where else. He died in the year 1109.
ANSELM.-Was born at Aost, in Saxony, in the year 1033. He was educated at Bec for some years under Lanfranc, and afterwards promoted to the place of abbot. It is related, that he imbibed the whole spirit of his master: assisted him in his lectures; and after his departure to Caen, took upon himself the important charge of instruction, by which means the various elements of science, and the fame of the Norman School, were more widely diffused*. In 1092, he was invited over to England by Hugh, Earl of Chester ; and in 1093, was raised to the primacy of England. He was the first archbishop who restrained the English clergy from marrying; for which, he was banished by William ; but recalled by Henry, at his coming to the crown. He refused to consecrate bishops invested by the king, flatly denying it to be the king's prerogative; for this he was again banished, until the pope and king agreeing, he was recalled in 1107. He wrought many miracles, if we believe the author of his life, both before and after his death, which happened at Canterbury, in the 76th year of his age, anno 1109." He was canonized in the reign of Henry VII.
Anselm, though we may disregard him as a saint, was undoubtedly a very learned man, and contributed to the introduction of the scholastic mode of writing, in which the subtleties of logic were applied to theology. Among his metaphysical works, is a treatise on the existence of God, written in the manner afterwards resumed by Des Cartes. His works have been printed in different years, and at various places; but the largest and best edition is that published by Father Gerberan, at Paris, in the year 1675. It was divided into three parts: the first contains dogmatical tracts called “ Monologia;" the second contains practical and devotional pieces; and the third is composed of his letters t.
T. H. K.
· A PLEASANT RIDE,
OR GILPIN REDIV VUS.
He vow'd he ne'er had spent a jollier day.
+ Dupin, vol. vij.
But days must end, and Night---the dirty fellow---
Away they bowl’d, and soon our hero sunk
J. M. LACEY..