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as a book

bishop's chaplains; and from the library of the episcopal CHAP. II. residence the author of the De Causa Dei enriched the His exertions pages of his treatise. A certain community of error between collector. the bishop and his chaplain would, indeed, suggest that they drew from common stores, for both are to be found referring in their writings to a sorry poem, De Vetula, as the work of Ovid'. In accumulating his collection, with all the advantages of royal sanction and his own high position, the English prelate had spared no effort. His agents explored the chief towns of France, Germany, and Italy. He had himself conducted the search in Paris and among the more important monasteries in England; and at the magic of his gold, many a religious house and many a foundation school had yielded up from its dark recesses and from mouldering chests some neglected, half-forgotten volume, gnawed by the mice, eaten by the moth and the worm, and covered with mildew and with dust.



Trinity Col

It is gratifying to find that, unlike many libraries that ar have represented the literary zeal of a lifetime, the stores afterwards which Richard of Bury had collected were not scattered lege, Oxford. at his death. At the close of the thirteenth century the monks of Durham had founded for their order at Oxford a college, first known as Durham and afterwards as Trinity College, and to this foundation he bequeathed his library3. The society was required to preserve the volumes in chests, and the rules laid down for their use and preservation are interesting as affording the earliest instance of the existence of the pledge system in our universities, and also as another

1 Among other apocryphal books and writers whom Bradwardine cites, besides, of course, the omnipresent Dionysius, we have the Vacca of Plato, the Pamander of Hermes, and the Secreta Secretorum of Aristotle.

2 Some of these books, on the dissolution of the College by Henry VIII, are said to have been transferred to Duke Humphrey's Library, and some to Balliol College. Macray, Annals of the Bodleian, p. 5. The University Library at Oxford was menced in 1367, on the funds and


valuable collection bequeathed by
Thomas Cobham, bishop of Worces-
ter, in the year 1320, together with
those bequeathed by Richard of Bury.
The original statute for the regula
tion of the library is given by Mr
Anstey (Monumenta Academica, II
227). The books were to be chained,
' in convenient order,' so as to be
accessible to the students. Part of
the library, amounting in value to
forty pounds, was sold, in order to
raise a salary for the librarian.

for its pre


CHAP. II. proof of the extent to which the regulations that obtained Regulations at Paris were reproduced at Oxford'. Five scholars deputed

by the master of the Hall were to have the custody of the books, of whom the entire number, or three, but not fewer, were competent to lend the volumes for use and inspection only; no volumes were to be allowed to go beyond the walls of the Hall to be copied or transcribed. No book was to be lent to any but the scholars of the Hall unless there was a duplicate in the library, and then only when security had been given exceeding the value of the book itself. The scholars were allowed free access to the library and use of the books, the scholar's name and the day on which he took away any volume having been duly registered”.

The lives of the three eminent men whose labours we have thus briefly reviewed, all terminated at but a short interval from the close of the half century. Richard of CHAP. II. Bury diéd at his palace at Auckland in the year 1315; William of Occam, in exile at Munich, in 1347; Thomas Bradwardine, after holding the see of Canterbury for a few months, was carried off by the prevalent epidemic, the plague of Florence, in 1349'. While recognising the peculiar excellence of each, we must be careful lest their conspicuous merit blind us to the real character of the age in which they lived. There have been writers who, with that caprice which is to be met with in every age, however superior to preceding times, have professed to believe that the England of the fourteenth century excelled the England of the sixteenth'; but a very cursory glance through the pages of the Philobiblon suffices to show us that the author, enthusiast though he undoubtedly was, had formed no very hopeful estimate of the culture and the men of his own day. The censures of Bacon, which have already occupied our attention, are forcibly corroborated by Richard of Bury when he tells us how he is endeavouring to remedy the almost universal ignorance of grammar by the preparation of ma

Character of the culture of the fourteenth century.

1 The regulations prescribed by taste, and the high position which Richard of Bury appear to have been he occupied in the literary world, almost identical with those of the gave him easy access to this instituSorbonne. M, Victor de Clerc, after tion, where, once admitted, he would describing the latter, says, 'L'évêque not fail to visit the library and learn de Durham, dans la donation qu'il from its officers the rules for its mafait de ses livres, in 1344, à l'univer- nagement.' Critical Notice, prefixed sité d'Oxford, reproduit presque lit

to the Philobiblon, p. 37. téralement les mêmes articles, et ad- 2 Philobiblon, c. xix. The amount met aussi, avec de sages restrictions,

of illustration this treatise has rele principe du prêt. Déjà vers la fin cently received at other hands rendu x® siècle les livres de l'église cathé. ders a more lengthened notice here, drale de Clermont pouvaient être prê- less necessary. Professor Morley has tes à des particuliers. L'évêque de given a careful epitome of its conCaraillon, Philippe de Cabassole, en tents in his English Writers, Vol. II 1372, n'interdit à personne l'usage de pt. 1, pp. 43–57. Dean Hook has ceux qu'il légue à son chapitre; mais also happily touched on some of its il veut qu'ils soient enchaînés.' État most interesting features in his life des Lettres au Quatorzième Siècle, i of Bradwardine, (Lives of the Arch345. M. Cocheris (I quote Mr Hand's bishops, Vol. iv). The original work translation) remarks as follows:- has been elaborately edited by M. • They (the regulations of the Sor- Cocheris, (Paris, 1856,) from the bonne) are more minute than those MSS. at the Imperial Library of of the bishop of Durham, but do not Paris, with valuable biographical, materially differ from them. The

bibliographical, and literary excurfirst article prescribes a system of

suses ; there is an American translapledges, and the second directs the tion of this edition (Albany, 1861), election of the custodian or libra- to which the editor has added the rians by the socii. These two fun- English translation by John B. Inglis, damental articles are to be found (London, 1832); this latter translain Richard of Bury's scheme and are tion is a very inaccurate performits essential features. It is there

I have used the MS. in the fore quite impossible not to perceive

Harleian Collection, No. 492, which the imitation. It is, besides, easy appears in some respects superior in to explain this borrowing by Bury accuracy to those to which M.Cocheris from the Sorbonne. His literary

had access.


1 Dr Lechler has distinguished the evangelicæ medulla est eritque. scope and bent of Bradwardine's Neque Luthero proximis annis ante writings from those of his great con- pugnam de indulgentiis commissam temporary in the following pregnant in mentem venit, aut ecclesiæ Ro. sentences :— Bradwardinus enim, si manæ aut pontifici certe Romano quid videmus, neque doctoribus illis adversari, neque Bradwardinus umscholasticis adnumerandus est, qui quam de impugnanda Roma cogitavit. fidelissimi interpretes atque strenui Verum uterque ea fuit pietate erga patroni Romanæ medii ævi ecclesiæ gratiam Dei, quæ cum re pontificia omniumque etiam errorum ejus de- non possit prorsus convenire. Et fensores extiterunt, neque illis viris, temporis tantum fuit, ut dissensus qui Romæ adversarii in publicum eo usque latens in lucem proferretur. prodierunt, sive, ut Occamus, imperii Itaque nulli dubitamus Bradwardi. nomine cum sacerdotio pugnam com- num nostrum illis adnumerare viris, mittebant, sive doctrinæ discipli- qui “testes veritatis" et prænuntii næque Romanæ capita quædam op- Reformationis nuncupati sunt.' Compugnabant. Bradwardinus neque in mentatio, etc. p. 18. Romæ decreta et instituta ita jura- 2 Thomas James, librarian of the verat, ut Romam Romæ causa vene- Bodleian in 1599, in a manuscript raretur, neque ullo modo consilium letter to Lord Lumley, preserved at cepit arma Romæ inferre. Nihilo. the British Museum, in a copy of the minus sententia illa de gratia Dei edition of the Philobiblon which he per Christum gratis salvante et pec- published in the same year, speaks catores justificante, quæ medulla of his own time as 'an iron age,' quasi Bradwardini fuit, cum Romana while of Bury he says 'vixit in illo ecclesiæ minime omnium convenit. aureo seculo cum illis priscis et bonis Imo doctrina illa eadem est, quæ a hominibus.' Reformatoribus tessera data, ecclesiæ

as described

CHAP. Il nuals for the students,—when he contrasts the ardour of

antiquity in the pursuit of learning with the superficial impatience that marks the cultivation of letters among his contemporaries,--and especially when he thus characterises, in language which might almost pass for a passage from the Opus Tertium, the prevalent characteristics of the students

who composed the great majority at Oxford and at Paris :The students and forasmuch as,' he writes, they are not grounded in by Richard their first rudiments at the proper time, they build a totterof Bury,

ing edifice on an insecure foundation, and then when grown up they are ashamed to learn that which they should have acquired when of tender years, and thus must needs ever pay the penalty of having too hastily vaulted into the possession of authority to which they had no claim. For these, and like reasons, our young students fail to gain by their scanty lucubrations that sound learning to which the ancients attained, however they may occupy honorable posts, be called by titles, be invested with the garb of office, or be solemnly inducted into the seats of their seniors. Snatched from their cradles and bastily weaned, they get a smattering of the rules of Priscian and Donatus; in their teens and beardless they chatter childishly concerning the Categories and the Perihermenias in the composition of which Aristotle spent his whole soul?.'

In no way less emphatic is his testimony to the decline of

. the mendicant orders, whom he describes as altogether busied cant orders with the pleasures of the table, the love of dress, in which

they disregarded all the restrictions of their order, and with the erection of splendid edifices?. Amid all their wide-spread activity, learning was falling into neglect; they still proselytised with undiminished vigour, but they no longer helped on the intellectual progress of the age. There is indeed one 1 Philobiblon, c. 9.

circa labentis corporis indigentias ?• Sed (proh dolor) tam hos quam occupati, ut sint epule splendidæ, alios istorum sectantes effigiem, a vestesque contra regulam delicatæ, paterna cultura librorum subtrahit necnon et ædificiorum fabricæ, ut triplex cura: cura superflua; ventris castrorum propugnacula, tali proceviz. vestium, et domorum. Sic sunt ritate, quæ paupertati non convenit enim (neglecta Salvatoris providen- exaltatæ. c. 1. Querimonium Librotia, quem Psalmista circa pauperem rum contra Religiosos Mendicantes. et mendicum promittit esse solicitum)

His testimony to the

passage which, taken in its isolated sense, might seem to in- CHAP. II. dicate that he regarded the Mendicants with high favour,-it is that wherein he bears testimony to the aid he had received from them in his researches, and to the invaluable literary stores of which their foundations were the repositories ; but on a comparison of these encomiastic expressions with other portions of the Philobiblon it will be seen that the praise belongs rather to the workers of a prior generation, and modifies but very slightly the impression conveyed in other portions of the treatise.

It is however but just to notice that the religious orders, the mounder and more especially the monastic foundations, were already universities beginning to feel the effects of influences beyond their con- education. trol. We have already seen' that the decline of the episcopal schools on the continent has been attributed, whether rightly or not, to the superior attractions of the universities, and it would certainly seem that Oxford and Cambridge must be regarded as to some extent the cause, the innocent cause, of the similarly rapid decline of the monastic orders in popular estimation in England. Without denying that, from the inherent defect of their constitution, those orders must in all probability have degenerated, just as all other orders had degenerated in every preceding age, we may yet allow that their fate overtook them with more rapid strides owing to the correspondingly rapid encroachments made by the new centres of learning upon their province as instructors of the people, and to the loss of that occupation which, amid their many shortcomings, had given something of dignity to their office. Warton appears to us to have here pointed out the Warton's connexion of cause and effect very justly As the universities,' he says, 'began to flourish, in consequence of the distinctions and honours which they conferred on scholars, the establishment of colleges, the introduction of new systems of science, the universal ardour which prevailed of breeding almost all persons to letters, and the abolition of that exclusive right of teaching which the monasteries had so long claim'd; the monasteries, of course, grew inattentive to stu

seded by the


1 See pp. 68–71.

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