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St. Augustine on the Trinity.
Epistles of Paul glossed.
St. Augustine's City of God.
Kylwardesby upon the Letter of the Sentences.
Questions concerning Crimes.
Perfection of the Spiritual Life.
Brother Thomas' Sum of Divinity, in four volumes.
Decrees and Decretals.
A Book of Perspective.
Distinctions of Maurice.
Books of Natural History, in two volumes.
Book on the Properties of Things.[315]

Subsequent to this, in the time of one book-loving abbot, an addition of
forty-nine volumes was made to the collection by his munificence and the
diligence of his scribes; and time has allowed the modern bibliophile to
gaze on a catalogue of these treasures. I wish the monkish annalist had
recorded the life of this early bibliomaniac, but unfortunately we know
little of him. But they were no mean nor paltry volumes that he
transcribed. It is with pleasure I see the catalogue commenced by a copy
of the Holy Scriptures; and the many commentaries upon them by the
fathers of the church enumerated after it, prove my Lord Abbot to have
been a diligent student of the Bible. Nor did he seek God alone in his
written word; but wisely understood that his Creator spoke to him also
by visible works; and probably loved to observe the great wisdom and
design of his God in the animated world; for a Pliny's Natural History
stands conspicuous on the list, as the reader will perceive.

Pliny's Natural History.
Cassiodorus upon the Psalms.
Three great Missals.
Two Reading Books.
A Breviary for the Infirmary.
Jerome upon Jeremiah and Isaiah.
Origen upon the Old Testament.
Origen's Homilies.
Origen upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans.
Jerome upon the Epistles to the Galatians, to Ephesians, to
Titus, and to Philemon.
Lives of the Fathers.
Collations of the Fathers.
Breviary for the Hospital.
An Antiphon.
Pars una Moralium.
Cyprian's Works.
Liber dictus Paradisus.
Jerome against Jovinian.
Ambrose against Novatian.
Seven Volumes of the Passions of the Saints for the circle
of the whole year.
Lives of the Cæsars.
Acts of the Britons.
Acts of the English.
Acts of the Franks.
Radbert on the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Book of the Abbot of Clarevalle _de Amando Deo_.
Hugo de S. Victore de duodecim gradibus Humilitatis et de Oratione.
Physiomania Lapedarum et Liber Petri Alsinii in uno volumine.
Rhetoric, two volumes.
Quintilian _de Causes_, in one volume.
Augustine upon the Lord's Prayer and upon the Psalm
_Miserero mei Deus_.
A Benedictional.
Decreta Cainotensis Episcopi.
Jerome upon the Twelve Prophets, and upon the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
Augustine upon the Trinity.
Augustine upon Genesis.
Isidore's Etymology.
Augustine on the Words of our Lord.
Hugo on the Sacraments.
Cassinus on the Incarnation of our Lord.
Anselm's _Cui Deus Homo_.[316]

The reader, I think, will allow that the catalogue enumerates but little
unsuitable for a christian's study; he may not admire the principles
contained in some of them, or the superstition with which many of them
are loaded; but after all there were but few volumes among them from
which a Bible reading monk might not have gleaned something good and
profitable. These books were transcribed about the end of the thirteenth
century, after the catalogue of the monastic library mentioned above was

Walter Taunton, elected in the year 1322, gave to the library several
volumes; and his successor, Adam Sodbury,[317] elected in the same year,
increased it with a copy of the whole Bible,[318] a Scholastic history,
Lives of Saints, a work on the Properties of Things, two costly Psalters,
and a most beautifully bound Benedictional.

But doubtless many a bookworm nameless in the page of history, dwelled
within those walls apart from worldly solicitude and strife; relieving
what would otherwise have been an insupportable monotony, with sweet
converse, with books, or the avocations of a scribe.

Well, years rolled on, and this fair sanctuary remained in all its
beauty, encouraging the trembling christian, and fostering with a
mother's care the literature and learning of the time. Thus it stood till
that period, so dark and unpropitious for monkish ascendency, when
Protestant fury ran wild, and destruction thundered upon the heads of
those poor old monks! A sad and cruel revenge for enlightened minds to
wreck on mistaken piety and superstitious zeal. How widely was the fine
library scattered then. Even a few years after its dissolution, when
Leland spent some days exploring the book treasures reposing there, it
had been broken up, and many of them lost; yet still it must have been a
noble library, for he tells us that it was "scarcely equalled in all
Britain;" and adds, in the spirit of a true bibliomaniac, that he no
sooner passed the threshold than the very sight of so many sacred remains
of antiquity struck him with awe and astonishment. The reader will
naturally wish that he had given us a list of what he found there; but he
merely enumerates a selection of thirty-nine, among which we find a
Grammatica Eriticis, formerly belonging to Saint Dunstan; a life of Saint
Wilfrid; a Saxon version of Orosius, and the writings of William of
Malmsbury.[319] The antiquary will now search in vain for any vestige of
the abbey library; even the spot on which it stood is unknown to the

No christian, let his creed be what it may, who has learnt from his
master the principles of charity and love, will refuse a tear to the
memory of Richard Whiting, the last of Glastonbury's abbots. Poor old
man! Surely those white locks and tottering limbs ought to have melted a
Christian heart; but what charity or love dwelt within the soul of that
rapacious monarch? Too old to relinquish his long cherished
superstitions; too firm to renounce his religious principles, Whiting
offered a firm opposition to the reformation. The fury of the tyrant
Henry was aroused, and that grey headed monk was condemned to a barbarous
death. As a protestant I blush to write it, yet so it was; after a hasty
trial, if trial it can be called, he was dragged on a hurdle to a common
gallows erected on Torr Hill, and there, in the face of a brutal mob,
with two of his companion monks, was he hung! Protestant zeal stopped not
here, for when life had fled they cut his body down, and dividing it into
quarters, sent one to each of the four principal towns; and as a last
indignity to that mutilated clay, stuck his head on the gate of the old
abbey, over which he had presided with judicious care in the last days
of his troubled life. It was Whiting's wish to bid adieu in person to his
monastery, in which in more prosperous times he had spent many a quiet
hour; it is said that even this, the dying prayer of that poor old man,
they refused to grant.[320]

On viewing the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, so mournful to look upon, yet
so splendid in its decay, we cannot help exclaiming with Michael
Dayton, -

"On whom for this sad waste, should justice lay the crime."

Whilst in the west we cannot pass unnoticed the monastery of Malmsbury,
one of the largest in England, and which possessed at one time an
extensive and valuable library; but it was sadly ransacked at the
Reformation, and its vellum treasures sold to the bakers to heat their
stoves, or applied to the vilest use; not even a catalogue was preserved
to tell the curious of a more enlightened age, what books the old monks
read there; but perhaps, and the blood runs cold as the thought arises in
the mind, a perfect Livy was among them, for a rare _amator librorum_
belonging to this monastery, quotes one of the lost Decades.[321] I
allude to William of Malmsbury, one of the most enthusiastic
bibliomaniacs of his age. From his youth he dwelt within the abbey walls,
and received his education there. His constant study and indefatigable
industry in collecting and perusing books, was only equalled by his
prudence and by his talents; he soon rose in the estimation of his fellow
monks, who appointed him their librarian, and ultimately offered him the
abbacy, which he refused with Christian humility, fearing too, lest its
contingent duties would debar him from a full enjoyment of his favorite
avocation; but of his book passion let William of Malmsbury speak for
himself: "A long period has elapsed since, as well through the care of my
parents as my own industry, I became familiar with books. This pleasure
possessed me from my childhood; this source of delight has grown with my
years; indeed, I was so instructed by my father, that had I turned aside
to other pursuits, I should have considered it as jeopardy to my soul,
and discredit to my character. Wherefore, mindful of the adage, 'covet
what is necessary,' I constrained my early age to desire eagerly that
which it was disgraceful not to possess. I gave indeed my attention to
various branches of literature, but in different degrees. Logic, for
instance, which gives arms to eloquence, I contented myself with barely
learning: medicine, which ministers to the health of the body, I studied
with somewhat more attention. But now, having scrupulously examined the
various branches of ethics, I bow down to its majesty, because it
spontaneously inverts itself to those who study it, and directs their
minds to moral practice, history more especially; which by a certain
agreeable recapitulation of past events, excites its readers by example,
to frame their lives to the pursuit of good or to aversion from evil.
When, therefore, at my own expense I had procured some historians of
foreign nations, I proceeded during my domestic leisure, to inquire if
anything concerning our own country could be found worthy of handing down
to posterity. Hence it arose, that not content with the writings of
ancient times, I began myself to compose, not indeed to display my
learning, which is comparatively nothing, but to bring to light events
lying concealed in the confused mass of antiquity. In consequence,
rejecting vague opinions, I have studiously sought for chronicles far and
near, though I confess I have scarcely profited anything by this
industry; for perusing them all I still remained poor in information,
though I ceased not my researches as long as I could find anything to

Having read this passage, I think my readers will admit that William of
Malmsbury well deserves a place among the bibliomaniacs of the middle
ages. As an historian his merit is too generally known and acknowledged
to require an elucidation here. He combines in most cases a strict
attention to fact, with the rare attributes of philosophic reflection,
and sometimes the bloom of eloquence. But simplicity of narrative
constitute the greatest and sometimes the only charm in the composition
of the monkish chroniclers. William of Malmsbury aimed at a more
ambitious style, and attempted to adorn, as he admits himself, his
English history with Roman art; this he does sometimes with tolerable
elegance, but too often at the cost of necessary detail. Yet still we
must place him at the head of the middle age historians, for he was
diligent and critical, though perhaps not always impartial; and in
matters connected with Romish doctrine, his testimony is not always to be
relied upon without additional authority; his account of those who held
opinions somewhat adverse to the orthodoxy of Rome is often equivocal; we
may even suspect him of interpolating their writings, at least of Alfric,
whose homilies had excited the fears of the Norman ecclesiastics. His
works were compiled from many sources now unknown; and from the works of
Bede, the Saxon chronicles, and Florilegus, he occasionally transcribes
with little alteration.

But is it not distressing to find that this talented author, so superior
in other respects to the crude compilers of monkish history, cannot rise
above the superstition of the age? Is it not deplorable that a mind so
gifted could rely with fanatical zeal upon the verity of all those foul
lies of Rome called "Holy" miracles; or that he could conceive how God
would vouchsafe to make his saints ridiculous in the eyes of man, by such
gross absurdities as tradition records, but which Rome deemed worthy of
canonization; but it was then, as now, so difficult to conquer the
prejudices of early teaching. With all our philosophy and our science,
great men cannot do it now; even so in the days of old; they were brought
up in the midst of superstition; sucked it as it were from their mother's
breast, and fondly cradled in its belief; and as soon as the infant mind
could think, parental piety dedicated it to God; not, however, as a light
to shine before men, but as a candle under a bushel; for to serve God and
to serve monachism were synonymous expressions in those days.

The west of England was honored by many a monkish bibliophile in the
middle ages. The annals of Gloucester abbey record the names of several.
Prior Peter, who became abbot in the year 1104, is said to have enclosed
the monastery with a stone wall, and greatly enriched it with many books
"_copia librorum_."[323] A few years after (A. D. 1113), Godeman the
Prior was made abbot, and the Saxon Chronicle records that during his
time the tower was set on fire by lightning and the whole monastery was
burnt; so that all the valuable things therein were destroyed except a
"few books and three priest's mass-hackles."[324] Abbot Gamage gave many
books to the library in the year 1306;[325] and Richard de Stowe, during
the same century, gave the monks a small collection in nine or ten
volumes; a list of them is preserved in an old manuscript.[326]

But earlier than this in the eleventh century, a bishop of Exeter stands
remarkable as an _amator librorum_. Leofric, the last bishop of Crediton,
and "sometime lord chancellor of England,"[327] received permission from
Edward the Confessor to translate the seat of his diocese to the city of
Exeter in the year 1050. "He was brought up and studied in
_Lotharingos_," says William of Malmsbury,[328] and he manifested his
learning and fondness for study by collecting books. Of the nature of his
collections we are enabled to judge by the volumes he gave to the church
of Exeter. The glimpse thus obtained lead us to consider him a curious
book-collector; and it is so interesting to look upon a catalogue of a
bishop's private library in that early time, and to behold his tastes and
his pursuits reflected and mirrored forth therein, that I am sure the
reader will be gratified by its perusal.[329] After enumerating some
broad lands and a glittering array of sumptuous ornaments, he is recorded
to have given to the church "Two complete mass books; 1 Collectarium; 2
Books of Epistles (_Pistel Bec_[330]); 2 complete _Sang Bec_; 1 Book of
_night sang_; 1 Book _unus liber_, a Breviary or Tropery; 2 Psalters; 3
Psalters according to the Roman copies; 2 Antiphoners; A precious book of
blessings; 3 others; 1 Book of Christ _in English_; 2 Summer Reading bec;
1 Winter ditto; Rules and Canons; 1 Martyrology; 1 Canons in Latin; 1
Confessional _in English_; 1 Book of Homilies and Hymns for Winter and
Summer; 1 Boethius on the Consolation of Philosophy, _in English_ (King
Alfred's translation); 1 Great Book of Poetry in English; 1 Capitular; 1
Book of very ancient nocturnal _sangs_; 1 Pistel bec; 2 Ancient ræding
bec; 1 for the use of the priest; also the following books in Latin,
viz., 1 Pastoral of Gregory; 1 Dialogues of Gregory; 1 Book of the Four
Prophets; 1 Boethius Consolation of Philosophy; 1 Book of the offices of
Amalar; 1 Isagoge of Porphyry; 1 Passional; 1 book of Prosper; 1 book of
Prudentius the Martyr; 1 Prudentius; 1 Prudentius (_de Mrib._); 1 other
book; 1 Ezechael the Prophet; 1 Isaiah the Prophet; 1 Song of Songs; 1
Isidore Etymology; 1 Isidore on the New and Old Testament; 1 Lives of the
Apostles; 1 Works of Bede; 1 Bede on the Apocalypse; 1 Bede's Exposition
on the Seven Canonical Epistles; 1 book of Isidore on the Miracles of
Christ; 1 book of Orosius; 1 book of Machabees; 1 book of Persius; 1
Sedulus; 1 Avator; 1 book of Statius with a gloss."

Such were the books forming a part of the private library of a bishop of
Exeter in the year of grace 1073. Few indeed when compared with the vast
multitudes assembled and amassed together in the ages of printed
literature. But these sixty or seventy volumes, collected in those times
of dearth, and each produced by the tedious process of the pen, were of
an excessive value, and mark their owner as distinctly an _amator
librorum_, as the enormous piles heaped together in modern times would do
a Magliabechi. Nor was Leofric an ordinary collector; he loved to
preserve the idiomatic poetry of those old Saxon days; his ancient _sang
bec_, or song books, would now be deemed a curious and precious relic of
Saxon literature. One of these has fortunately escaped the ravages of
time and the fate of war. "The great boc of English Poetry" is still
preserved at Exeter - one of the finest relics of Anglo Saxon poetry
extant. Mark too those early translations which we cannot but regard with
infinite pleasure, and which satisfactorily prove that the Gospels and
Church Service was at least partly read and sung in the Saxon church in
the common language of the people; let the Roman Catholics say what they
will.[331] But without saying much of his church books, we cannot but be
pleased to find the Christian Boethius in his library with Bede, Gregory,
Isidore, Prosper, Orosius, Prudentius, Sedulus, Persius and Statius;
these are authors which retrieve the studies of Leofric from the charge
of mere monastic lore.

But good books about this time were beginning to be sought after with
avidity. The Cluniac monks, who were introduced into England about the
year 1077, more than one hundred and sixty years after their foundation,
gave a powerful impetus to monastic learning; which received additional
force by the enlightened efforts of the Cistercians, instituted in 1098,
and spread into Britain about the year 1128. These two great branches of
the Benedictine order, by their great love of learning, and by their zeal
in collecting books, effected a great change in the monkish literature of
England. "They were not only curious and attentive in forming numerous
libraries, but with indefatigable assiduity transcribed the volumes of
the ancients, _l'assiduité infatigable à transcrire les livres des
anciens_, say the Benedictines of St. Maur,"[332] who perhaps however may
be suspected of regarding their ancient brethren in rather too favorable
a light. But certain it is, that the state of literature became much
improved, and the many celebrated scholars who flourished in the twelfth
century spread a taste for reading far and wide, and by their example
caused the monks to look more eagerly after books. Peter of Blois,
Archdeacon of London, is one of the most pleasing instances of this
period, and his writings have even now a freshness and vivacity about
them which surprise as they interest the reader. This illustrious
student, and truly worthy man, was born at Blois in the early part of the
twelfth century. His parents, who were wealthy and noble, were desirous
of bestowing upon their son an education befitting their own rank; for
this purpose he was sent to Paris to receive instruction in the general
branches of scholastic knowledge. He paid particular attention to poetry,
and studied rhetoric with still greater ardor.[333] But being designed
for the bar, he left Paris for Bologna, there to study civil law; and
succeeded in mastering all the dry technicalities of legal science. He
then returned to Paris to study scholastic divinity,[334] in which he
became eminently proficient, and was ever excessively fond. He remained
at Paris studying deeply himself, and instructing others for many years.
About the year 1167 he went with Stephen, Count de Perche, into Sicily,
and was appointed tutor to the young King William II., made keeper of his
private seal, and for two years conducted his education.[335] Soon after
leaving Sicily, he was invited by Henry II. into England,[336] and made
Archdeacon of Bath. It was during the time he held that office that he
wrote most of these letters, from which we obtain a knowledge of the
above facts, and which he collected together at the particular desire of
King Henry; who ever regarded him with the utmost kindness, and bestowed
upon him his lasting friendship. I know not a more interesting or a more
historically valuable volume than these epistolary collections of
Archdeacon Peter. They seem to bring those old times before us, to seat
us by the fire-sides of our Norman forefathers, and in a pleasant, quiet
manner enter into a gossip on the passing events of the day; and being
written by a student and an _amator librorum_, they moreover unfold to us
the state of learning among the ecclesiastics at least of the twelfth
century; and if we were to take our worthy archdeacon as a specimen, they
possessed a far better taste for these matters than we usually give them
credit for. Peter of Blois was no ordinary man; a churchman, he was free
from the prejudices of churchmen - a visitant of courts and the associate
of royalty, he was yet free from the sycophancy of a courtier - and when
he saw pride and ungodliness in the church, or in high places, he feared
not to use his pen in stern reproof at these abominations. It is both
curious and extraordinary, when we bear in mind the prejudices of the
age, to find him writing to a bishop upon the looseness of his conduct,
and reproving him for his inattention to the affairs of his diocese, and
upbraiding another for displaying an unseemly fondness for hunting,[337]
and other sports of the field; which he says is so disreputable to one of
his holy calling, and quotes an instance of Pope Nicholas suspending and
excluding from the church Bishop Lanfred for a similar offence; which he
considers even more disgraceful in Walter, Lord Bishop of Winchester, to
whom he is writing, on account of his advanced age; he being at that time
eighty years old. We are constantly reminded in reading his letters that
we have those of an indefatigable student before us; almost every page
bears some allusion to his books or to his studies, and prove how well
and deeply read he was in Latin literature; not merely the theological
writings of the church, but the classics also. In one of his letters he
speaks of his own studies, and tells us that when he learnt the art of
versification and correct style, he did not spend his time on legends and
fables, but took his models from Livy, Quintus Curtius, Trogus Pompeius,
Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and other classics; in the same letter he
gives some directions to the Archdeacon of Nantes, who had undertaken the
education of his nephews, as to the manner of their study. He had
received from the archdeacon a flattering account of the progress made by
one of them named William, to which he thus replies - "You speak," says
he, "of William - his great penetration and ingenious disposition, who,
without grammar or the authors of science, which are both so desirable,
has mastered the subtilties of logic, so as to be esteemed a famous
logician, as I learn by your letter. But this is not the foundation of a
correct knowledge - these subtilties which you so highly extol, are
manifoldly pernicious, as Seneca truly affirms, - _Odibilius nihil est
subtilitate ubi est soloe subtilitas_. What indeed is the use of these
things in which you say he spends his days - either at home, in the army,
at the bar, in the cloister, in the church, in the court, or indeed in
any position whatever, except, I suppose, the schools?" Seneca says, in
writing to Lucalius, "_Quid est, inquit acutius arista et in quo est
utiles!_"[338] In many letters we find him quoting the classics with the
greatest ease, and the most appropriate application to his subject; in
one he refers to Ovid, Persius, and Seneca,[339] and in others, when
writing in a most interesting and amusing manner of poetic fame and
literary study, he extracts from Terence, Ovid, Juvenal, Horace, Plato,
Cicero, Valerius Maximus, Seneca, etc.[340] In another, besides a
constant use of Scripture, which proves how deeply read too he was in
Holy Writ, he quotes with amazing prodigality from Juvenal, Frontius,
Vigetius, Dio, Virgil, Ovid, Justin, Horace, and Plutarch.[341] Indeed,

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