Polydore Vergil.

Polydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum online

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POLYDORE VERGIL'S ENGLISH HISTORY,



FBOM AM EARLY TBANSLAnON



PRBSERVBD AMONG THB MSS. OF THB OLD ROYAL UBRARY
IN THB BRITISH MUSBUM.



VOL. I.

CONTAINING THE FIRST EIGHT BOOKS,

COMPBISINO

THE PERIOD PRIOR TO THE NORMAN CONQUEST.

EDITED BY

SIR HENRY ELLIS, K.H.

** Ornatissinie Polydore, Opera tua sank eleganter et feliciter excuBi.*'

Brtumi BpUt./ol. Lugd, Bmi. 1706, Bp. dcclx. 5 Sept. 1525.






LONDON:

PRINTED FOR THE CAMDEN SOCIETY, .

B\ JOHN BOWYER NICHOLS AND SON^ PARLIAMENT STREET.

M.DCCC.XLVI.



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>/''-V



[no. XXXVI.]



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COUNCIL

OF

THE CAMDEN SOCIETY

FOR THE YEAR 1846.



Pretidmt,
THE RIGHT HON. LORD BRATBROOKE, F.SA.

THOMAS AMTOT, ESa F.R.S., Treas.S.A. Director.

BERIAH BOTFIELD, ESQ. M.P., F.R.S., F.S.A.

JOHN PAYNE COLLIER, ESQ. F.SJL Treasurer.

C. PURTON COOPER, ESa ac, D.C.L., F.R.S., F.S.A.

WILLIAM DURRANT COOPER, ESa F.S.A.

BOLTON CORNET, ESa

SIR HENRT ELLIS, E.H., F.R.S., SecSA.

THE REV. JOSEPH HUNTER, F.S.A.

PETER LEVESQUE, ESa F.S.A.

SIR FRANCIS PALGRAVE, K.H., F.R.S.

THOMAS JOSEPH PETTIGREW, ESa F.R.S., F.S.A.

THOMAS STAPLETON, ESQ. F.S.A.

WILLIAM J. THOMS, ESa F.SA., Secretary.

ALBERT WAY, ESQ. M.A., Dir.SA.

THOMAS WRIGHT, ESa M.A., FJS.A.



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The Council of the Camdbn Society desire it to be under-
stood that they are not answerable for any opinions or observa-
tions that may appear in the Society's publications ; the Editors
of the several works being alone responsible for the same.



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PREFACE.



Thb Three last Reigns in this Translation of Polydore
Vergil's History have already formed a separate Volume of
the Camden Society's Publications. The interest they
created led the Council to believe that an edition of the
whole was desirable ; not only as affording a faithful ver-
sion of a work hitherto confined to the Latin tongue^ but
as preserving a beautiful Translation^ made at a period
when our language was beginning to assume the character
of modem elegance.

The present Volmne extends from the earliest traditions
of our History to the close of the Anglo-Saxon period. A
second^ to be published after an interval^ will carry it
on to the end of the reign of Henry the Third. And a
third Volume will take it to the close of the reign of
Henry the Fifth, at which the Volume of the Three Reigns,
already published, commences.

Since the Preface to that volume was written, two or
three further incidents of Polydore Vergil's personal



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VI PREFACE.

history have been ascertained. There can be no doubt now
that he arrived in England in 1501 ; the date is fixed by
the contents of a letter from Henry the Eighth to Pope
Leo the Tenth in 1 513, in which, recommending Polydore,
who was about to pay a visit to his parents in Italy, to
the Pope's gracious notice, it expressly states that he
had been in England twelve years. The Letter will be
found in the Appendix, Number L, copied from one of
the volumes of the Vatican Transcripts made for the
Commissioners upon the Public Records, and lately depo-
sited in the British Museum.

Prom a passage, before over-looked, in the Register of
Bishop Smyth of Lincoln, it appears that the patron who
presented Polydore Vergil to the rectory of Church
Langton in Leicestershire, Nov. 6, 1503, was Sir Nicholas
Griffin, knt.

Another incident of Polydore*s life, mentioned in
Ruddiman*s Preface to Gawin Douglas's Translation of
Virgil, was also overlooked. In 1509, intent upon the
production of his History, which he had then begun under
the auspices of Henry the Seventh, he wrote a letter .to
James the Foiuili of Scotland, wherein he requested that
his Majesty would be pleased to send him a Catalogue of
the Scots Kings, and memoirs of their most remarkable
actions, especially where interwoven with the English
history, in which he promised to do all honour and justice
to the Scots nation. The letter was printed by Ruddiman



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PRBFACB. Vll

in 1722 and 1724 :* a more perfect copy, however, from
the original, still remaining in the Advocates' Library at
Edinbui^h, has been obtained through the kind assist-
ance of David Laing, Esq., and will be found in the Ap-
pendix, Number II.

Ruddiman, however, says, *' We incline to believe that
he met with little encouragement, and that his Majesty
could not expect an impartial account of our afiioirs from
a Foreigner, addicted to the interest of his enemies ; so he
would not be obliged to him for what might be done more
for his and the nation's honour, and to better advantage,
by one of his own subjects. And for this perhaps it was
tiiat Hector Boetius shortly after set about the writing of
our history.'*

l^hat James the Fourth declined to do, the Bishop of
Dunkeld supplied to Polydore at a later day.-f-

In the Preface to the Volume already published, a frag-
ment of a note to Wolsey is mentioned,:]: in which the
writer advises him to caution the King against Polydore as
well as against the Cardinal S. CShrysogoni, otherwise named
Hadrian de CSastello, and recommending the interception
of their letters. From whom it came did not then appear ;

* EpistolsB Jacobi Quarti, Jacobi Quinti, et Mariae Regum Scotorum,
eorumque Tutorom et Regni Gubernatorum — ab anno 1505 ad annum
1545. Edinb. in aedibus ThonuB Ruddimanni, 1722, 1724. 2 vols. 8vo.

t See the Preface to the volume containing the Three Reigns, p. vii., and
pp. 105, 106, 107 of the present volume.

X Pag.ix.



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Vlll PREFACE.

but a letter in the State Paper Office, in the same hand-
writing, and upon the same subject, shows it to have
come from Andreas Ammonius, the king*s Latin-Secretary,
who, subsequently, upon Polydore's imprisonment, suc-
ceeded him as Sub-collector of the Peter-Pence. Henry
the Eighth's letter to Pope Leo X., recommending Am-
monius for the appointment to the Sub-coUectorship, is
remaining in the same repository, and will be found in
the Appendix, Num. IIL Ammonius succeeded to the
office; but at no great distance of time, in 15 17^ died
of the Sweating Sickness.*

Polydore Vergil, as has been stated in the former Pre-
face, and as Henry the Eighth's letter shows, was im-
prisoned. He had written to his relation the Cardinal
S. Chrysogoni ^'pessima quaeque" both as related to
Wolsey and to the King. What the slander was, appears
no where ; but a letter from Polydore to Wolsey, which
he wrote from his prison, and which is still remaining
among the papers of the latter, is a curious specimen at
once of his fright on this occasion : and of the adulation,
almost blasphemous, with which he sought to soften
Wolsey's resentment. He seized the moment when
Wolsey was made Cardinal, at once to compliment him,

* His death is thus noticed in a letter from Joannes Sixtinus to Eras-
mus — <' Hodie amicus noster Andreas Ammonius sepultus est, sudaria
peste (qua plerique ma^i nominis viri peri^re) sublatus ; sit felix bonusque
ipsius animaB Deus, quo die concessit naturae."



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PREFACE. IX

and to entreat for his own release. This also is given in
the Appendix^ Num. IV.

That Polydore had recovered favour before 1522 is
evidenced in a passage of Collier's Ecclesiastical History,
in which the subsidy granted by the clergy in Cardinal
Wolsey*s Convocation in that year is mentioned. He
says, ^^ By this grant, all Foreigners beneficed in England
were double charged : that is, they were to pay the full
of their annual revenue in five years' time. The Bishop
of Worcester and Landaff, Poltdorb Vergil, Peter the
Carmelite, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Silvester Darius, and
Peter Vannes had the benefit of an exception, and were
obliged to pay no higher than the natives.''*

That Polydore Vein's History is entirely without
mistakes cannot be asserted, but they are very few.
In p. 1 7 of the present volume, he mixes the history of
Anglesey with that of the Isle of Man, only in conse-
quence of both being called, in Latin, Mona. At p. 56
he considers the Trinobantes as Essex men; and else-
where, p. 73, denies that Trinovant meant London. He
places it at Colchester.

The Objections of his contemporaries to his History, as

ell as of some who followed them, have been ahready
sufficiently refuted in the former Preface. /His con-
templating the exploits of Arthur, of Brennus, and of

* Collier, Eccl. Hist. ii. 18.



Cw<



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X PREFACE.

Brutus as fabulous, raised a loud cry against his work in
his own day ; and for the repudiation of Geoffrey of Mon-
mouth's history, Polydore Vergil was considered almost as
a man deprived of reason. Such were the prejudices of
the ThneJ

Nevertheless, the reader who has leisure to go through
the present Volume will find that his long and earnest
endeavour was to write what he himself terms " a sincere
History." His delineations in local description, his care
in weighing facts and testimonies, the good sense of his
remarks, all show him to have been a Historian beyond
his Age, both in his power of discrimination and in his
acquirements.



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APPENDIX.



Num. I.



Hentiei Octavi Regis Anglia ad Leonem X. CommmdatUiay pro Poly-

doro VergiUo Urbinate redeunte in PcUriam parentes inviiuro,

Ann. 1518.

[Ex Litteris aatognphis Henrioi, Aim. xiT. cap*. 11. n* 8.] ,

BeatiBsime Pbter, post hmnilliinam commendationem, et devotissima
pedum oscula beatorum. Fuit in hoc nostro regno, pliirimos jam annos,
venerabills vir Dominus Polydorus Vergillius, Urbinas, Wellen. Ecclesio
archidiaconus, et vestrae Apostolica Camer» in hoc regno Vice-collector,
quern eximia eruditione, tum vero modestia, circumspectione, et gravitate
preditos, at quamqoam quibuadam de causis hand mediocriter optaremus,
Collectorem, sicuti non multos ante annos moris fiiit, hie apud nos presentem
habere; ipse tamen licet vicarius et substitutas huic nostro desiderio maxima
ex parte satisfecerit, nee minori omamento utUitatique tarn Domino Col-
lectori quam ipsi officio CoUectorisB fuerit.

Qaare et clane memoriao olim nostro patri, et nobis, percams semper
extitit. Is yero nuper nobis significavit, post annos xij. quos in hoc nostro
Regno, et quidem uti nos testes somus, baud ex qua sua cum laude ^t
patriam, parentes, ac res suas, nostra cum venia et commeatu revisere ; atque
inde ad yestram Beatitudinem se conferre, ejusque sanctissimos pedes deos-
culari se cupere. Cujus justissimo veto nos ita annuimus, ut sine nostra
oommendatione discedere noluerimus. Ideoque vestram sanctitatem impense
rogamus, ut dictum D. Polydorum ad se venientem, tum nostra tum suarum
▼irtutum gpratia, benigpie admittere, sibique presdpue commendatum habere
dignetur, quod erit nobis plurimum gratum. £x Regia nostra apud West-
monasterium, die xxvj. Februarii, M.D.XII.
E.V.S*>-

devotissimus atque obsequentissimus filius, Dei gratia Rex
AnglisB et FrancisB ac Dominus Hibemias,

Henricus.



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APPENDIX.



Num. II.

Polydorus VergiUusy Jaeoho Quarto Scotorum Regi.

Sacra Regia Majestas, humiUimam commendatioDem. Cum nullo sim
neque servitio neque officio cognitus Majestati vestrsB, paucis propterea
perstringam qui sim, et simul que in presenti fherit ad eandem Majestatem
▼estram scribendi causa. Cum enim superioribus annis, dum Patavii agerem,
in primo nostri ingenioli tyrocinio scripserim libellum unum Adagiorum, et
deiude tres libellos de Inventoribus rerum, et illos rogatu Duels mei
Urbinatisy yiri tam Grasc^ quam Latin^ docti, ediderim, qui nunc (quales-
cunque sunt) in manibus bominum versantur, legunturque passim ; et mox
QuaBsturaa Pontificiffi cura mihi demaudata, in Angliam Tenerim, ut cupidns
novarum rerum coapi diligentissime situm terrsB amoenissimum, opes in-
numeras, bominum mores spectatissimos oontemplari, item Annales Britan-
norum atque Anglorum antiquissimoe versare manu, lectitare, ac scripta
scriptis conferre: ubi tot et tanta tum Regum, turn aliorum illustrium
virorum Gesta memoratu digna reperi, ut non potuerim non valde mirari
auctores Grsecos veteresque Latinos, et prssertim Cssarem et Comelium
Tacitum, qui bic quandoque fuerunt* tam pauca de hujusmodi inclyta Insula
prodidisse. Simul quoque dolui, quod ipsi Annales ita varii, confusi,
ambigui, sine ordine (quae in primis abhorret Historia) sunt, ut non modo
ea praeclara facinora exteros boinines, sed ipsos juxta incoks laterent.
Quare ego, quem ubi per negotia licuit literario otio frui semper ab
ineunte atate (ut dictum est) plurimum juvit, sum arbitratus me esse operte
pretium facturum, in res tum Britannorum tum Anglorum gestas carptim
perscriberem. Itaque opus etsi nostris viribus impar aggressus, jam prope
consumavL Caeterum cum una sit Insula, pari studio curavi de rebus
quoque Scotorum, que etiam praeclara sunt, obiter suo loco memorare : sed
illud non serrato ordine feci, cum nullum habuerim quem sequeremur
scriptorem. Super qua re sum saepius Dominum Gilbertum capellanum
Majestatis vestrae allocutus, bortatusque ut curaret saltem nomina R^^um
Scotiffi edocere, [quo de iUis suns in nostra bistoria locus (prout cupimus)



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APPENPix. xai

meminisae dignosoeretur :] qaod tamen baeteavs desideravimua. Nunc
igitur Majestatem Tc^traoiy quaa nequaquam minua benefaoere quam dioere
iioyity oro^ uti dignatury aut Amiales (si qui siot) aut Nomina R^gam suo
ordtne scripta ad me mittere> et imprimis qua» tua sunt, sea tuorom inclyta
lacta iuerinty bos edocere, qui in reoognitione operis de rebus* kujusmodi
memorabilibus Uitiisaitmpter meatioQaad faciemus. Et quaxnquam aoneo
sumus ingenio aut doetrina pra^diti^ qui vakamus res regni Majeatatia
Testna iUuatrar^ id taiaeu haud dubie prestabimus, quod nili^ honoris vel
decoris per insdtiam aut incuriam nostram amittent^ qua^ ubi supremam
manum open iiaposuerimua, Mijestas Testra pers|Hcue dignoecet: que
diu bene Taleat. Londini^ die xiij Decembris. M JO, nono.
E. M. V.
Senrulus Polydobus Vir6II«ius Urbma»f ArchidiacoBus Yellen.

Sacr» R^iffi Majestati Seotia.



Num. hi.

King Henry VIII, to Pope Leo X, recommending Ammonius to be the
ettccessor ofPolydore Vergil as Sub-Collector of the Peter Pence.

[Prom the Orig. in the State Paper Office, Mite. Corrup, 8 Ser. toI. tii. 5.]

Beatissime Pater, post humillimam commendationem ac devotissima pedum
oscula beatorum. Etsi magno affectu semper et cura Magistrum Andream
Ammonium, nostrum a Latinis Secretarium, vestrae S^ commendaverimus,
eamque studiosissime rogaverimusut CoUectoris Officiumin hoc noetro Regno,
prsBcipue nostro rogatu, a se eidem nostro Secretario promissum et datum, ac
nonnullis suis ad nos Brevibus, ut putavimus, confirmatum ab omnibus litibus
et controversiis explicare dignaretur, id nobis multo obnixius faciendum nunc



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ZIV APPENDIX.

esse censemus quum tarn de conservanda nostne apud vestram S*^''^ GratiiB
existiinatione ag^ videamus. Cui haud dubie plurimum detraheretor si Car-
dinalis Hadrianua uii conator sea quispiam alius beneficiam singulari nostra
gratia a vestra S^^ conoessmn et datum infirmaret seu immutaret, quam-
quam dictum Cardinalem Hadrianum magb decebat binis presertim nostris
Literis instanter rogatum nostro desiderio ac postulationi se acoommodare, eo
magis quam alias R^^ D. Petro Grypho episcopo nunc (ut audivimus)
Forofivien. cupidissime cessit, quum nihilo minus juris quam nunc sibi
Tendicat haberet^ verum de predicto Cardinale olim viderimus. Interim ejus
instigatorem Polydorum Yergilium ob banc atque alias causas, sed iuprimis
quia conjunctionem inter vestram 8*^"^ et nos^ cujus maxime sumus zelo-
tipi, verbis suis labefiictare ac minuere contendebat, in carcere conjectum
suae illic temeritatis peniis luere cogemus. De dicta autem CoUectoria finem
rogandi vestram S^^™ nullum sumus facturi, donee ipsam pro solita et eadem
summa sua eiga nos benignitate patemaque indulgentia predictum offidum
in nostram specialem gratiam eidem nostro Secretario promissum datum, et
ut diximus confirmatumy sue potestatis plenitudine corroboraverit, et ab
onmibus litibus controversiisque expediverit, quod ut vestra S^^ efficere
aliisque maximis innumerisque suis in nos benificiis accumukre dignetur
etiam atque etiam vehementissime rogamus. Qu» fsBliciss. ac diutiss.
valeaU Ex Palatio nostro Grenwici die xxij. Maij, M.D.xv.

£. V. Sanctitatis devotissimus atque obsequentissimus filius, Dei Gratia
Rex Anglis et Frauds ac Dominus Hibemie.

Sanctissimo Clementissimoque Domino nostro PapSB.



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APPENDIX. XT



Num. IV.



PolydovB Vergil to Cardinal WoUey^Jrom hu Prison.
[State Paper OiBoe, Wolaey'k Coiresp. Tol. i. 201.]

yfis

Mazbne ac reverendissime Pontifez, et Columna Ecdedae Dei finniBsimay
humiUimam commendationem. Aadivi et ego Senrus tuns, qui in umbra mortis
adhuc jaceoy de ingenti gloria tua, et quanto mortalium omnium &vore in
eioelso Cardinalia throno D. tua R"*^ elevata sit, quaB huic supremo Ordini
plus fere dignitatis pnebetquam acdpit ab eoy tanta Ji. est virtus tua. Ego
inter alios quoque gaudeo et gratulor, et quando licebit tuam M^'"'^ coram
adorare et contemplari, tunc profecto ezultabit spiritus meus in te deo salutari
meo. R™^ domine Deus indulgentisBy Deus pietatis, fac eandem misericordiam
tuam cum humili servo tuo. Remisit nuper mihi tua benignitas culpam, per
viscera misericordias Dei remittere et pomam, ut perfecta sint munera tua,
sicut et D. tua R"^ perfbcta est. Jam adventat tempus quo 6alvat<Hr noster
Christus de calo in terram desoendit ad reconciliandum peocatores Deo
patri, sic tu Presul maxime dignaris in hoc tempore gratis me ab ista umbra
mortis dextera tuae clementin extrahere, et in lucem sanctam restituere, ut
nascenti Domino nostro, per te, ego quoque renatus gratias agere, ae pro tua
D. R"^ mente quieta et spiritu leto simul eundem D. Jhesum Christum
orare valeam, quod dum spiritus hos reget artus perpetuo £iciam.

Igitur bone R°^ Domine miserere dto mei, qui afflictus sum et humi-
liatus sum valde ; et salvum me &c, qui salvare in perpetuum potes. Mise-
rere inquam quia miserandi ac salvandi quia venit Tempus. Amen.

E.V.R"MD.

Humilis creatura

R. Domino Deo meo D. Car^ Eboracen. dig>>^. Polydorus.



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THE CRONICLE



POLYDORE YIRGIL.



THB FIRST BOOKE OF POLIDORE VIBGILL OP THB HISTORY

OF ENGLAND.

The whole countrie of Britaine (which at this daie, as it were Britaine
in dowble name, is called Englande and Scotlande), beinge an ^^^^
Ilonde in the ocean sea buttinge over agaynste the Frenche partes,
shore, is divided into iiij. partes ; whereof the one is inhabited of
Englishmen, the other of Scottes, the third of Wallshemen, the
fowerthe of Cornishe people. Which all diflFer emonge them
selves, either in tongue, either in manners, or ells in lawes and
ordinaunces. Englond, so called of Englishmen the inhabitauntes, England
beinge farre the greateste parte, is divided into xxxix. Shiers, i^to xxxix.
which commonlie men call cownties : of the which x., that is to Sheiers.
weete Kente, Sussex, Surrey, Southehamton, Bareckshier, Wil-
shire, Dorsetshire, Somersetshier, Devonshire, and Comewail, con-
teine the firste parte of the ilond, which enclininge towarde the
sowthe liethe betwene the Sea and the river Thames ; then even
unto the river of Trente, which ronneth throughethe middeste
of Englonde, there are sixetene other counties; whereof vj.
(beinge in the formeste frontiers) are bente towardes the easte,
namelie Estesexe, Middelsex, Hertfordshiere, Sowthfolk, Nor-
flblke, Cambridgeshire ; the latter, beinge x, which are more neare

CAMD. soc. B



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2 HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

to the middell of the soyle^ are these, Bedfordshiere, Huntington-
shiere, Buckinghamshire, Oxefordshire (albeit parte thereof ron-
nethe in lenghte one this side Thames), Northehamtonshire, Rot-
landshire, Lecestershire, Nottingamshire, Warwickeshire, and Lin-
colneshire : behinde these are vj., which bownde towardes Walles
and the weste partes, Glocestershire, Herefordshire, Woorcester-
shire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Chesseshire. Aboute the
middell, and as it were the navell of the riolme, followethe
Darbey, Torcke, Lancastre, and Cumberlande (on the lefte bande
towarde the weste), and Westhumberlande ; but on the other side
Durham and Northehumberlande, declininge towards the northe,
seemethe more to be apperteining to the Scottishe teritorie.
These counties are proporcionallie distributed into the jurisdie-
xvij. Dio- tion of xvij. busshopps, usuallie called diocesse, and that in this
manner : The bisshopricke of Canterburie and Rochester con-
tenith the frutefull province of Kente ; the diocesse of London
comprehendith Estesexe, Middelsaxe, and parte of Hertfordshire ;
the sea of Chichester conteineth Sowthsaxe; Winchester diooesse
hath Sowthehamton, Surrey, and the He of Weyghte ; Saresburie
hathe in it Dorcester, Barckshire, and Wiltshire; Exoeter bis-
shopricke hathe Devonshire and Comewall ; the bisshopricke of
Bathe and Wells, united as one, conteineth Somersette; Worciter
diocesse comprehendethe Glocestershire, Woordtershire^ and
parte of Warwickshire ; the diocesse of Hereforde kathe parte of
Shropshire and Hereforde; the bisshopricke of Coventree and
licbefielde united, conteineth Chesshiere, Staffordshire, Derbie-



Online LibraryPolydore VergilPolydore Vergil's English history, from an early translation preserved among the mss. of the old royal library in the British museum → online text (page 1 of 30)