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The loose gallantry of these troubadours may remind us of the poetry during the reign of our second Charles ; nor were the manners of one court unlike those of the other, unless that those of the court of Poictou were more abandoned of the two.
Be that as it may, we may fairly, I think, conclude, if we compare the two periods, there were men as wicked during the early period, as during the latter; and not only so, but wicked in vices of exactly the same character.
If we seek for vices of another character, we read, at the same era, concerning a neighbouring kingdom to Poictou, that “all the people of rank were so blinded with avarice, that it might be truly said of them, (according to Juvenal,)
Not one regards the method, how he gains,
But, fix'd his resolution, gain he must. “The more they discoursed about right, the greater their injuries. Those who were called the justiciaries, were the head of all injustice. The sheriffs and magistrates, whose duty was justice and judgment, were more atrocious than the very thieves and robbers, and were more cruel than others, even the most cruel. The king himself, when he had leased his domains as dear as was possible, transferred them immediately to another that offered him more, and then again to another, neglecting always his former agreement, and labouring still for bargains that were greater and more profitable.”!
Such were the good old times of good old England (for it is of England we have been reading) during the reign of our conqueror, William.
And yet if we measure greatness (as is too often the case with heroes) by any other measure than that of moral rectitude, we cannot but admit that he must have been great, who could conquer a country so much larger than his own, and transmit the permanent possession of it to his family. The numerous Norman families with which he filled this island, and the very few Saxon ones which he suffered to remain, sufficiently shew us the extent of this revolution.
As to his taste, (for it is taste we investigate, as often as we are able) there is a curious fact related of him by John of Salisbury, a learned writer, who lived as early as the times of Stephen and Henry the Second.
This author informs us, that William, after he was once settled in the peaceable possession of his kingdom, sent ambassadors to foreign nations, that they should collect for him, out of all the celebrated mansions, whatever should appear to them magnificent or admirable.
? See Henrici Huntindoniensis Histor. from Juvenal is, 1. vii. p. 212, inter Scriptores post Bedam, Unde habeat, quærit nemo, sed portet edit. London. 1594, beginning from the habere. words, Principes omnes, &c. The verse
Our author cannot help allowing that this was the laudable project of a great man, desirous of pouring into his own dominions all that was excellent in others."
It does not appear what these rarities were, but it sufficiently shews the Conqueror to have had a genius superior to the barbarity of his age.
One may imagine he was not ignorant of Ovid, and the ancient mythology, by his answer to Philip king of France.
William, as he became old, grew to an unwieldy bulk. The king of France, in a manner not very polite, asked of him, (with reference to this bulk,)“ When, as he had been so long in breeding, he expected to be brought to bed?” “Whenever that happens, replied William, “it will be, as Semele was, in flames and thunder. France soon after that felt his devastations."
His son Rufus seems more nearly to have approached the character of the times.
We have a sample of his manners in the following narrative. Being immensely fond of expense in dress, when one of his attendants brought him new shoes, and was putting them on, he demanded, “How much they cost ?” “Three shillings, sir,” replied his attendant. “Son of a whore,” says Rufus, "at so pitiful a price to provide shoes for a king! Go and purchase me some for a mark of silver." ;
Matthew Paris writes, that he was once told of a formidable dream, relative to his death, which had been dreamed by a certain monk. Rufus, on hearing it, burst into laughter, and said, “The man is a monk, and monk-like has dreamed, to get a little money; give him a hundred shillings, that he may not think he has been dreaming for nothing."k
His historian, Malmesbury, after having related other facts of him, adds, “ that he had neither application enough, nor leisure, ever to attend to letters." I
It was not so with his brother, Henry the First. He (as this historian informs us") spent his youth in the schools of liberal
& Simile aliquid fecisse visus est rex An- Semeles, respondit, cum flammis et fulmine. glorum Vilhelmus Primus, cujus virtuti Nor- Panciroll. Nova Reperta, tit. X. p. 219. mannia et tandem major Britannia cessit. edit. Francofurt. 1631. See this fact someAssumpto namque regni diademate, et pace what differently told by Matthew Paris. composita, legatos misit ad exteras nationes, p. 13. edit. fol. London, 1640. The deut a præclaris omnium domibus, quicquid vastations here mentioned are related in the eis magnificum aut mirificum videretur, afferrent. Defluxit ergo in insulam opulen- William of Malmesbury, p. 69. The tam, et quæ fere sola bonis suis est in orbe words of Rufus were, Fili meretricis, ex contenta, quicquid magnificentiæ, imo luxu- quo habet rex caligas tam exilis pretii! riæ potuit inveniri. Laudabile quidem fuit Vade et affer mihi emptas marca argenti. magni viri propositum, qui virtutes omnium * Matthew Paris, p. 53. Rufus's words orbi suo volebat infundere. Joan. Sarisb. de were, Monachus est, et lucri causa monaNugis Curialium, p. 480. edit. Lugd. 8vo. chiliter somniavit: da ei centum solidos, ne 1595.
videatur inaniter somniasse. h Quærente, sc. Philippo, numquidnam 1 William of Malmesbury, p. 70. tandem pareret Guilielmus, qui tam diu m Ibid. p. 87. geesisset uterum: se pariturum, sed instar
science, and so greedily imbibed the sweets of literature, that in after-times, (as the same writer rather floridly relates,) no tumults of war, no agitation of cares, could ever expel them from his illustrious mind.
Soon after we meet the well-known saying of Plato, that it was then states would be happy, if philosophers were to reign, or kings were to philosophize. Our historian, having given this sentiment, tells us, (to use his own expressions,) that Henry fortified his youth with literature in a view to the kingdom; and ventured even in his father's hearing, to throw out the proverb, Rex illiteratus, asinus coronatus, “ that an illiterate king was but an ass crowned."
That the king his father, from perceiving his son's abilities, had something like a presentiment of his future dignity, may appear from the following story.
When Henry was young, one of his brothers having injured him, he complained of his ill-treatment to his father with tears. “Do not cry, child,” says his father, “for thou, too, shalt be king."
As Henry was a learned prince, we may suppose he was educated by learned men; and perhaps, if we attend to the account given by Ingulphus of his own education in the time of Edward the Confessor, it is probable there may have been among the clergy a succession of learned men from the time of Venerable Bede.
It is certain that, in England at least, during these middle ages, learning never flourished more, than from the time of Henry the First to the reign of his grandson Henry the Second, and some years after.
The learned historian of the life of Henry the Second, (I mean the first lord Lyttleton,) has put this beyond dispute.
Perhaps, too, the times which followed were adverse to the cause of literature. The crusades had made the laity greater barbarians, if possible, than they were before. Their cruelty had been stimulated by acting against Greeks, whom they hated for schismatics, and against Saracens, whom they hated for infidels; although it was from these alone they were likely to learn, had they understood (which few of them did) a syllable of Greek or Arabic.
Add to this, the inquisition being then established in all its terrors, the clergy (from whom only the cause of letters could hope any thing) found their genius insensibly checked by its gloomy terrors.
This depraved period (which lasted for a century or two) did not mend till the invention of printing, and the taking of Constantinople. Then it was that these, and other hidden causes, roused the genius of Italy, and restored to mankind those arts and that literature which to Western Europe had been so long unknown.
n William of Malmesbury, p. 87. B. author in the same page, that is, p. 87. B.
o The words of William were, Ne fleas, P Page 500, 501. fili ; quoniam et tu rex eris. See the same 4 See before, p. 502.
Before I conclude this chapter, I cannot but remark, that, during these inauspicious times, so generally tasteless, there were even Latins as well as Greeks' whom the very ruins of antique arts carried to enthusiastic admiration.
Hildebert, archbishop of Tours, who died in the year 1139, in a fine poem, which he wrote upon the city of Rome, among others has the following verses, in praise of the then remaining statues and antiquities :
Non tamen annorum series, nec flamma, nec ensis,
Ad plenum potuit tale abolere decus.
Et cupiunt fictis vultibus esse pares.
Quo miranda deum signa creavit homo.
Artificum studio, quam deitate sua.' It is worth observing, that the Latinity of these verses is in general pure, and that they are wholly free from the Leonine jingle.
They are thus attempted in English, for the sake of those who do not read the original.
But neither passing years, nor fire, nor sword
SCHOOLMEN-THEIR RISE, AND CHARACTER-THEIR TITLES OF HONOUR
-REMARKS ON SUCH TITLES-ABELARD AND HELOISAJOHN OF SALISBURY-ADMIRABLE QUOTATIONS FROM HIS TWO CELEBRATED WORKS-GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS-WALTER MAPPS--RICHARD COUR DE LEON—HIS TRANSACTIONS WITH SALADIN-HIS DEATH, AND THE SINGULAR INTERVIEW WHICH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDED IT.
We are now to consider the state of literature with respect to other geniuses, both before the conquest and after it, so low as to the times of our first Richard.
See before, what has been quoted from Nicetas the Choniate, p. 301, &c.
* Forsan Cultus.
• William of Malmesbury, p. 76. Fabricii Bibliotheca med. ct infim, ætat. in voce Hildebert.
It was during this period began the race of schoolmen; a race much admired and followed in their day. Their subtlety was great ; and though that subtlety might sometimes have led them into refinements rather frivolous, yet have they given eminent samples of penetrating ingenuity.
They began in the eleventh century, and lasted to the fourteenth, when new causes leading to new events, they gradually decreased, and were no more.
That they had some merit must be allowed, when we are told that the learned bishop Sanderson used constantly to read the Secunda Secundae of Thomas Aquinas;" and that this treatise, together with Aristotle's Rhetoric, and Cicero's Offices, were three books which he always had with him, and never ceased to peruse.
The scholastic tract must have been no bad one, which was so well associated.
Various epithets at the time were bestowed upon these schoolmen. There was the irrefragable doctor, the subtle, the seraphic, the angelic, &c.
There is certainly something exaggerated in the pomp of these appellations. And yet, if we reflect on our modern titles of honour, on our common superscriptions of epistles, on our common modes of concluding them, and mark how gravely we admit all this; may we not suppose those other epithets appear ridiculous, not so much from their being absurd, as from their being unusual ?
Before we quit these schoolmen, we cannot omit the famous Peter Abelard, who, when he taught at Paris, was followed by thousands, and was considered almost as an oracle in discussing the abstrusest of subjects. At present he is better known for his unfortunate amour with the celebrated Heloisa, his disciple, his mistress, and at length his wife.
Her ingenuity and learning were celebrated also, and their epistolary correspondence, remarkably curious, is still extant. The religion of the times drove them at length to finish their days in two separate convents.
When Abelard died, (which happened about the year 1134,) his body was carried to Heloisa, who buried it in the convent of the Paraclete, where she
My countryman, John of Salisbury, comes next, who lived in the reign of Stephen and Henry the Second. He appears to have been conversant in all the Latin classics, whom he not only quotes, but appears to understand, to relish, and to admire.
u This able and acute man died, aged History, and Cave's Hist. Lit. vol. ii. p. 275. forty-eight years, in the year 1274.
y An octavo edition of their letters in *For a fuller account of these schoolmen, Latin was published at London, in the year see Scholasticæ Theologiæ Syntagma, by 1718. Prideaux bishop of Worcester, Mosheiun's z See Philosophical Arrangements, p. 382.