Imagens das páginas

of St. Hugh as " Hugo primus,"1 which proves certainly that he was writing after the consecration of Hugh de Wells, the second bishop of the name, December 20, 1209. As we have already seen, the volume containing these two Lives was presented to archbishop Langton, not later than the autumn of 1214: and this Life of St. Hugh cannot have been written long before this last limit; because, in the last chapter of Distinc. II., Giraldus says that he has been describing only miracles of St. Hugh which occurred before the interdict now

Infra, 135. " tam diuturnum," and that he leaves to others to describe the miracles since the interdict commenced.

Infra, 136. Moreover he says that Hugh de Wells will no doubt amply reward such writers of the later miracles. This he could not have said before Hugh de Wells's occupation of the bishopric in 1213.2 We may safely conclude that it was towards the end of the interdict when he wrote this Life, and probably circa A.D. 1213.

The third Dis- This is true, however, only of the two faction an after first Distinctions, which comprised the whole treatise as first written. The third Distinction, desctibing some miracles of St. Hugh during the Interdict, was an after addition, made by Giraldus at the request of his friend Roger, dean of Lincoln.3 Roger de Roldeston, a zealous believer in his friend and patron St. Hugh and his miracles, was dean until 1223. His name is the only clue given us, and it is in reality no clue whatever, as to the exact date of this addition to the treatise. When this third Distinction was added it is therefore impossible exactly to say: it may have

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

been before the presentation to Langton, and it may not have been until one or two or more years afterwards. We may be sure, however, that it was added before 121!>, when active measures were in fast forwardness for Hugh's canonization: had such been the case when Giraldus wrote this third Distinction, he would most certainly have somehow made mention of it.

Giraldus's means Giraldus, as wo have already seen, was Supra, xi. of mformation. residing at Lincoln during about three of the last years of Hugh's pontificate, 1196-1199. Somewhat therefore certainly, perhaps much, of what he tells us about him, in the first Distinction of this Life, as well as in the Life of Remigius issued before Hugh's death, is the record of his own personal knowledge of Hugh, and his virtues, and his doings. Once, in the case of Hugh's pet swan, he says that he himself was a infra, is, witness to what he describes. But whatever may have 18, been his own direct acquaintance with St. Hugh himself, he must have been in continual intercourse, during his stay at Lincoln, with the dean and canons and other members of the church, and occasionally no doubt, if not often, with the immediate members of Hugh's household. He had, no doubt, most excellent means of information, as to the later years of Hugh when bishop of Lincoln. Of the earlier years of Hugh's life, in Burgundy or at Witham, he says ver}' little. As to the account of Hugh's miracles in Distinctions II. and III., it is clear that he simply drew from the Register of Miracles kept by the custodians of Hugh's tomb, copying from it almost closely,—quite closely, we may believe, as to the facts stated, — though with some improving embellishments of diction from his scholastic pen.

We know almost nothing of how or where Giraldus's latter years were passed, after his retirement from the St. David's conflict in December 1203. This life of St. Hugh makes it very likely that he returned to Lincoln, and spent again some time amongst his old friends there However good his memory, and no doubt it was a very good one, of what he had heard and seen in his residence at Lincoln in 1196-99, yet he writes much that seems to speak of an after familiarity with Lincoln, especially as regards the miracles which he relates. Nowhere else could he have found the materials at his hand for these miracles. If he did not again visit Lincoln, and draw himself from what he found there recorded, he must have had a copy of the register of Hugh's tomb sent to him by Roger the dean, or by some other of his Lincoln friends.

Marginal addi- Besides the addition of the third Distioni. tinction to the treatise as first issued,

there are two marginal additions, each only of a single word, which are perhaps worth [mention. The first is the addition of the name Auselmus to the archbishop of Ragusa, who was one of the archbishops present at Hugh's funeral. This addition seems wrong. Other contemporary authorities, so far as I know—and he is several times spoken of—all call him Bernardus when they mention his name (114, n. 4.)

The second addition is of the word "primo" to the mention of John's expedition into Poitou in 1206 (137, n. 3). He made a second expedition into Poitou in February 1214, before which time his expedition of 1206 would not be called his first. This addition therefore was not made before the spring of 1214. It is an additional proof that the treatise was first issued circa 1213.

Value of this No doubt there is much that is valuable treatise. and interesting in the ancedotes of St.

Hugh that Giraldus gives us in this treatise first Distinction. Many of them are not to be found elsewhere, except in the Metrical Life which only closely follows him. Where he is in common with independent authorities, it is plain that he is telling us sober truth, according to his best information; and what he tells us, that no other contemporary writer Joes, we may accept as such. This treatise is, in fact, except some small part from his own acquaintance with St. Hugh, a simple compilation of what he was told and found recorded at Lincoln. It has none of his usual classical and scholastic vagaries; it seems to have heen penned without his heart or scholarly labour in it. He was not the man really to appreciate such a man as St. Hugh, notwithstanding his expressed admiration and reverence of him; and this life seems to me to have been the work of a man who was doing a task set him, not the work of a labour of love.

[At this point Mr. Dimock's own manuscript ends. On the historical value of Giraldus' Life of St. Hugh, and on the pieces which he has printed in the Appendix, he has left no materials, except where some of them are incidentally spoken of when he is treating of Giraldus' Lives of the other bishops of Lincoln. From this point therefore I have to go on with such notices of them as I am able to put together, which from the nature of the case must be of a strictly historical kind.—E. A. F.]

General character In estimating the historical value of of Giraldus and his any work of Giraldus Cambrensis, we writmgs. must remember the twofold character

of the man with whom we are dealing. We are dealing with one who was vain, garrulous, careless as to minute accuracy, even so far careless as to truth as to be, to say the least, ready to accept statements which told against an enemy without carefully weighing the evidence for them. We are dealing with one who was not very scrupulous as to consistency, and who felt no special shame at contradicting himself. But we are also dealing with one of the most learned men of a learned age, with one who, whatever we say as to the soundness of his judgement, came behind few in the sharpness of his wits— with one who looked with a keen, if not an impartial, eye on all the events and controversies of his own time—with one, above all, who had mastered more languages than most men of his time, and who had looked at them with an approach to a scientific view which still fewer men of his time shared with him. I have elsewhere ventured to call him " the father of comparative philology,"1 and I see no reason to withdraw the title. A work of Giraldus then has a twofold value, or rather, even if it is worthless on one side, it is sure to be precious on the other. He may be telling a spiteful tale or repeating a frivolous legend; but in the way of telling it he is sure to use some incidental expression, to bring in some incidental illustration, which adds to our knowledge, very often of facts, always of the way in which men looked at facts. In this way, though the substance of a writing of Giraldus may be of very little historical value, there is always something to be learned from the form into which he throws its substance. In the present Life of Character of his St. Hugh we see Giraldus at once at Life of St. Hugh. his best antl at nis WOrst. He is at

his worst because he is at his best. Because he was telling sober truth, or what he received as such—because ho was simply setting down what he had heard and read and, to some extent, seen—his work is, in one sense, of higher historical value than most of his works. But because he wrote in this way, he wrote, to repeat Mr. Dimock's phrase, "without heart or scholarly labour." Had he been praising himself or reviling somebody else, the heart and the scholarly labour would have been given, and we should have had a work, morally far less creditable to its author, far less to be trusted by his readers, but which would have been far richer in those incidental touches and references which in his other writings set the man and his age before us in such a living way. Giraldus seems to have found at Lincoln only friends

1 Sec Norman Conquest, vol. v., good his claim to the title iu Comp. 579. I think that I have made parative Politics, 486.

« AnteriorContinuar »