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sisting of extracts from respectable authors, will exhibit not only the change of words and modes of expression, but give the style peculiar to each.
Dr. Henry, speaking of the progress of learning in the period between 1066 and 1216, says, “ The art of making paper, which was invented in the course of this period, contributed also to the revival of, and more general application to, learning, by rendering the acquisition of books much less difficult and expensive than it had formerly been.
“ We have not the satisfaction of knowing to whom we are indebted for that most useful invention; but it appears that our paper was at first made of cotton; and, on that account, called charta bombycina, or cotton paper; and that towards the end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth century, it began to be made of linen rags, as it is at present."
The following Saxon version of the Lord's prayer is said to have been written about the
year 700 ; and will sufficiently explain the source of our language, even as it exists at the present moment: the two succeeding quotations are from the leger book of St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, and a deed of Henry VII.:
“ Urin Fader thic arth in heofnas, sic gehalgud thin noma; to cymeth thin ryc; sic thin willa sue is in heofnas, and in eortho; urin hlaf ofirwistlic sel us to daig, und forgefe us seylda urna, sue we
forgefan scyldgum urum, and no inlead usig in custnung, Ah gefrig usick from ifle."
“ To them that with feithfull desire knoke at the doyr of the spowse, assistant angelys shal opyn the gates of heaven recyvyng and offeryng to God the prayers and vowys of feithfull peple.”
“ For as much as the same oure Souverayne Lord the Kyng hath, by long experience, perceyved, and often seen, that, for lakke of grounded learned men in the lawes of God, Virtue emonges religious men is litle used, Religion is greatly confounded, and few or noe hable persons founde in dyvers houses of religion, lakkyng learned men, to be the heddes of the same houses, to the high displeasure of God, and great subversion of religion."
It should be observed, that great skill and excellence were attained in writing the volumes with which the libraries of princes, nobles, and monasteries abounded; some were written with liquified gold on the most beautiful vellum, and the other colours used were particularly clear and perfect: the characters had no other fault than that which attached to their established shape; and it may be very generally perceived, that the pen was condacted without the least embarrassment.
Many of our antient MSS. are decorated with exquisite coloured drawings heightened with gilding, and all of them contain some productions of the pencil.
Froissart describes a volume which he presented to King Richard II. “I presented it to him," says this writer, “in his chamber; for I had it with me, and laid it on his bed : he opened it, and looked into it with much pleasure. He ought to have been pleased, for it was handsomely written and illuminated, and bound in crimson velvet, with ten silver gilt studs, and roses of the same in the middle with two large clasps of silver gilt, richly worked with roses in the centre
“The King asked me what the book treated of; I replied, “Of love:
He was pleased with the answer; and dipped into several places, reading parts aloud; for he read and spoke French perfectly well; and then gave it to one of his knights called Sir Richard Credon, to carry to his oratory, , and made me many acknowledgements for it.”
“ Before printing was,” says an antient author, “ there was book-binding; for what MSS. were then in being were made public, by transcribing them by certain clerks writing a good hand, and made livelihood thereof. The written books were conveyed to the binder, who bound them after what manner the owner directed him.
“ As authors and books increased, so did his profit by his trade, insomuch that some of these binders grew. rich, and purchased so many MSS. as to furnish a shop indifferently according to those times, and, dying, left their sons well stocked;
but printing coming in, broke the neck of the writing-clerks, but yet gave a considerable lift to the rising book-binder, who not only bound for others but himself, and printing his own copies, had work enough to do to bind his own books. Thus he became a bookseller, and transferred binding to others."
“ The Boke, named the Governour," written by Sir Thomas Elyot, contains a passage, which demonstrates that carelessness and a bad education had produced a custom of innovating on our language before the time of Henry VIII.
“ It shal be expedient, that a noble mans son, in his infancy," observes Sir Thomas, “have with him continually only such as may accustom him by little and little to speak pure and elegant Latin. Semblably the nurses and other women about him, if it be possible to do the same; or, at the least way, that they speak none English, but that which is clean, polite, perfectly, and articularly pronounced, omitting no letter or syllable, as foolish women oftentimes do of a wantonness, whereby divers noblemen, and gentlemen's children (as I do at this day know) have attained corrupt and foul pronunciation.”
Persons were to be found in the reign of Henry VIII. who thought very differently from Sir Thomas, and those he thus notices: “ These persons that so much contemn learning, that they would that gentlemens children should have no part or very little thereof, but rather should spend their youth alway (I say, not only in hunting and hawking, which, moderately used, as solaces ought to be, I intend not to dispraise), but in those idle. pastimes, which, for the use that is therein, the commandment of the prince, and the universal consent of the people, expressed in statutes and laws, do prohibit; I mean, playing at dice and other
games named unlawful. “ These persons, I say, I would should remember, or else now. learn, if they never else heard it, that the noble Philip, King of Macedonia, who subdued all Greece, above all the good fortunes that ever he had, most rejoiced, that his son Alexander was born in the time that Aristotle the philosopher flourished, by whose instruction he might attain to most excellent learning.”
“Good Lord!” exclaims Sir Thomas, “how many good and clean wits of children be now a days perished by ignorant schoolmasters ? How little substantial doctrine is apprehended by the fewness of good grammarians ? Notwithstanding I know, that there be some well learned which have taught, and also do teach; but God knoweth a few, and they with small effect, having thereto no comfort.
“Their aptest and most proper scholars, afterthey be well instructed in speaking Latin, and under