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can never be superseded by the philosophical and elaborate style of the Modern Historian.
Centuries have passed away since the invention of printing; and whilst the press has groaned under the reimpressions of works, which claimed no other merit than excessive rarity to account for their resuscitation, no attempt has hitherto been made to rescue these important aids to English History from the tomb of a dead language. The recent establishment of an English Historical Society, the success of which has more than realized the most sanguine expectations of its founders, has awakened a curiosity respecting our early Monkish Chroniclers, which promises to open to our view the most important discoveries respecting the great causes of England's prosperity, both in Church and State. To render these invaluable Works, published by the Historic:il Society in the original Latin, more generally useful, a Series of Translations of the most interesting Writers is now proposed, to be completed in Twelve Volumes, Octavo, for which Subscribers1 Names will be received by every Bookseller. Should the undertaking meet, the approbation of the Public, preparations have already been made to add a Second Series, containing the Histories of Roger of Wendover, Matthew Paris, William Rishanger, and Matthew of Westminster. Every work will be sold separately, but as the number printed is limited to 500 copies, the Publisher can only pledge himself to supply the complete Series to those Gentlemen who honour bio by placing their names on the Subscription List, which already contains 2.30 Subscribers. He has the gratification to announce, amongst these, the following—
PATRONS OF THE WORK.
HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY THE QUEEN.
HIS GRACE THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH, K.G.
WORKS ALREADY PUBLISHED.
£ I. d.
GEOFFREY of MONMOUTH'S BRITISH HISTORY, translated by A. Thomson, and revised by J. A. Giles, LL.D., 8vo., half-bound morocco 0 10 0
BEDE'S CHURCH HISTORY of BRITAIN, revised from the Version of Stevens, by J. A. Giles, LL.D., 8vo., half-bound morocco 0 12 0
RICHARD of DEVIZES' CHRONICLE of the REIGN of RICHARD I., and RICHARD OF CIRENCESTER'S DESCRIPTION of BRITAIN, 8vo., half-bound morocco . .080
GILDAS' EPISTLE RESPECTING BRITAIN; and NENNIUS' BRITISH HISTORY, translated by J. A. Giles, LL.D., 8vo., half-bound morocco 0 8 0
[turn over] IN THE PRESS.
BEDE'S ECCLESIASTICAL BIOGRAPHIES, and LETTERS, nearly ready.
WILLIAM of MALMESBVRY'S ACTS and DEEDS of the KINGS of
ENGLAND, and MEMOIRS of HIS OWN TIME, 8to.
The SAXON CHRONICLES, now first published, as originally compiled, 8vo.
HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS and FRAGMENTS; INGULPIIUS; GESTA
*** Each Volume is illustrated with Facsimiles of the original MSS.
This Selection will be found to contain the most important of our Early Monkish Chroniclers., commencing with the first records of our History, and forming a regal&T Chronological Series of Events, chiefly narrated by eyewitnesses. The work, when completed, will be rendered more useful by the addition of Chronological Tables, in which the variations of the various writers will be reconciled, and the real period assigned to each event.
ANALYSIS OF THE SERIES.
I. Whatever there may be of truth or fiction in the amusing Narrative of Geoffrey Of Monmouth, it must be borne in mind that, on its first appearance, it "perfectly electrified the Literary public of Europe." The style is easy and flowing, and it immediately attained a degree of popularity never equalled either in ancient or
modern times. Alnred of Beverley, indeed, informs us, "that it was looked upon as a mark of rusticity not to have read the book, and that he blushed upon hearing every body praise it before he had read it; but that his poverty for some time denied him the gratification." "At length," he adds, "I sought it, and when I found it, I studied it diligently." Geoffrey of Monmouth is the Father of our Narrative Poetry, to whom Wace, Gaimar, and Bencoit de St. Maure owe their celebrity, and whose pages have furnished Shakspearewith his Lear, Cordelia, and Cymbeline, adding thus the impress of his Genius to the Literary merits of the Monk of Monmouth. Drayton's Polyolbion is scarcely more than a poetical paraphrase of the " British History," whilst Milton and Dryden borrow largely from the old Monkish Chronicler. Holinshed, Grafton, and a host of less celebrated Historians, following Giraldus Cambrensis, give his Narrative as authentic in their "Histories before the Conquest." In conclusion, we may remark, in the words of Bolton (Hypercritica, p. 205), "Out of this very story have titles been framed in open Parliament, both in England and Ireland, for the Rights of the Crown of England, even to entire Kingdoms," thus rendering it necessary as a work of reference to the Historical Inquirer. Geoffreys Work commences with the Destruction of Troy, and brings the History down to the death of Athelstan.
II. The most ancient British Historian is Gildas. "It does not well appear," says Bishop Nicolson, " that there was ever more than one Historian of this name. He was a Monk of Bangor, about the middle of the sixth century; a sorrowful spectator of the miseries and almost utter ruin of his countrymen, by a people under whose banners they hoped for peace." His History is a record of the lamentable state of Britain in his day, A.D. 550, briefly narrating, by way of Introduction, the events from the time of Boadicea.
III. It seems to be a point difficult to clear up, at what period Nennius flourished. If we take the authority of Bishop Nicolson, lie was Abbot of Bangor, about the year 620. This, however, seems to be contradicted by himself, for he says in the prologue: " This History teas compiled in the. 858i/* year of the Lord, and in the 2ilh year of Mervin, King of Britain." This, however, matters but little in estimating the value of his History, "whose chief importance consists in its being, not an historic record of events with which the writer was cither personally acquainted, or for which he had coeval written evidence, but as a depository of traditionary information, in the preservation of which the Celtic nations have been always peculiarly interested."
IV. Venerable Bede's historical labours were chiefly devoted to the History of the Church, from its first establishment in England. Besides his Ecclesiastical HisTory, however, it has been thought advisable to give, in the present Series, his Lives Of The Abbots Of Weremouth And J Arrow, the Life'of St. Cuthbert, Lives of thcSaints, and his Letters. All these works, without losing sight of their chief object, record secular events, noticing, particularly, the introduction of the useful arts into England; and, from the easy and flowing style in which they are composed, have always been held in great esteem by literary men. His History commences with Julius Cmsai\ and comes down to the year of our Lord 731. Bede died in 735, aged 62 years.
V. Asser wrote the Life of King A Ifred up to his Abth year, A.D. 893. The continuation to his death and the Epitaph are by other hands—the latter by Henry of Huntingdon. There is a truthfulness throughout the Narrative, alike honourable to this great king and his friend; for our author, who lived on terms of intimacy with his sovereign, was promoted by him to the Bishopric