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WILLIAM OF NEWBURGH.
William of Newburgh (in Latin Gulielmus Neubrigensis), so called from the monastery of Newburgh, in Yorkshire, to which he belonged,—although his proper name is said to have been Little, whence he sometimes designates himself Petit, or Parvus,—has had the luck to have the five books of his English History from the Conquest to the year 1197 printed separately more than once; first in 12mo., at Antwerp in 1597; a second time, with notes by J. Picard, in 8vo., at Paris in 1610; and again, under the care of the industrious Thomas Hearne, in 3 vols. 8vo., at Oxford in 1719. It is also in the collection of Jerome Commelinus. The work of Neubrigensis is much more what we now understand by a history than those of either Hoveden or Huntingdon; in the superior purity of its Latinity it ranks with that of Malmesbury; and it has the same comparatively artistic character in other respects. But his merit lies rather in his manner than in his matter; he has disposed the chief events of the times of which he treats into a regular and readable narrative, but has not contributed many new facts. He is famous as having been, so far as is known, the first writer after Geoffrey of Monmouth who refused to adopt the story of the Trojan descent of the old Britons, and the other "figments," as he calls them, of the Welsh, historians, which moreover he accuses Geoffrey of having made still more absurd and monstrous by his own "impudent and impertinent lies." Whether he knew enough of the original chronicle which Geoffrey professed to translate, or of the language in which it was written, to be entitled to express an opinion upon this latter point, docs not appear. The Welsh maintain that he had a personal spite at their whole nation: "This William," says Dr. Powell, "put in for the bishopric of St. Asaph upon the death of the said Geoffrey, and, being disappointed, fell into a mad humour of decrying the whole principality of Wales, its history, antiquity, and all that belongs to it." It must be admitted, too, that, if not guilty of the same dishonesty and forgery which he imputes to Geoffrey, William of Newburgh is himself, in credulity at least, a match for the most fabulous of our old chroniclers.
BENEDICTUS ABBAS.—RALPH DE DICETO.—GERVASE OP CANTERBURY.
One of the most valuable of our chronicles of the twelfth century is that of the Abbot Benedict, embracing the space from A.d. 1170 to 1192, which was published by Hearne in 2 vols. 8vo., at Oxford in 1735, under the title of 'Benedictus Abbas Petroburgensis de Vita ct Rebus Gestis Henrici II. et Ricardi I.' Benedict, though a partizan of Becket, and one of his biographers, was so highly esteemed by Henry II., who had both the eye to discern and the magnanimity to appreciate merit and ability wherever they were to be found, that he was by his direction elected Abbot of Peterborough in 1177; and in 1191, after Richard had come to the throne, he was advanced to be Keeper of the great seal, in which high office he died in 1193.
Ralph de Diceto, Archdeacon of London, who probably died soon after the commencement of the thirteenth century, is the author of two chronicles; the first entitled 'Abbreviationes Chronicorum,' and extending from A.d. 589 to 1148; the second, continuing the narrative, upon a larger scale, to A.d. 1199. Both are published in the Collection of the 'Scriptores X.,' where they occupy together not quite 300 columns. They are followed by a brief outline of the course of the controversy between King Henry and Becket—' Series Causae inter Henricum Regem et Thomam Archiepiscopum'—which may also perhaps have been drawn up by Diceto. A compendium of the early British history from Brutus to the death of Cadwallader, after Geoffrey of Monmouth, by this writer (Historia Compendiosa de Regibus Britonum), is given in his collection entitled 'Scriptores XV.' by Gale, who says that he had seen a better manuscript of the 'Abbreviationes Chronicorum' than that used by Twysden. He adds a short tract of two or three pages from a manuscript in the Arundel Collection (now in the British Museum) entitled ' De Partitione Provincias in Schiras et Episcopatus et Regna,' which he entitles as by Diceto, although in his preface he describes it as by an unknown writer. There is a short history of the Archbishops of Canterbury to the year 1200 by this Diceto in the second volume of Wharton's Anglia Sacra. Bishop Nicolson complains of it as not only of little value, from its brevity, but as " stuffed with matters foreign to the purpose."
The Chronicle of Gervase of Canterbury—' Gervasii Monachi Dorobernensis, sive Cantuarensis, Chronica'— from the accession of Henry I. in A.d. 1100 (or 1122 as he reckons, "secundum Evangelium ") to the end of the reign of Richard I. and of the century, is published in the collection of the 'Scriptores X.' (col. 1338-1628); together with three shorter pieces by the same writer:— the first, an account of the burning, A.d. 1174, and subsequent restoration of Canterbury Cathedral (Tractatus de Combustione et Reparatione Dorobernensis Ecclesiae); the second, on the contest between the monks of Canterbury and Archbishop Baldwin (Imaginationes de Discordiis inter Monachos Cantuarienses et Archiepiscopum Baldwinum); the third, a history of the Archbishops of Canterbury (Actus Pontificum Cantuariensis Ecclesia?) from Augustine to Hubert Walter, who died in 1205, and whom Gervase probably did not long survive. Leland, who gives this writer a high character for his diligent study and accurate and extensive knowledge of the national antiquities, speaks of his History as commencing with the earliest British times, and including the whole of the Saxon period ('' tum Britannorum ab origine historiam, tum Saxonum et Normannorum fortia facta deduxit"). He takes great pains in the portion we have of it to present a correct and distinct chronology; but it is principally occupied with ecclesiastical affairs.
VINESAtlF.—RICHARD OF DEVISES. JOSCELIN DE BRAKE
An account of the expedition of Richard Coeur de Lion to the Holy Land, in six books, by Geoffrey Vinisauf, has been published under the title of' Itinerarium Regis Anglorum Richardi, et aliorum, in terram Hierosolymorum,' by Gale in his' Scriptores Quinque' (pp. 245—429). A portion of the same work had been previously printed by Bongarsius in his ' Gesta Dei per Francos,' 1611, as a Fragment of the History of Jerusalem (Hierosolimitanoe Historiae Fragmentum) from A.d. 1171 to 1190, by an unknown writer, probably an Englishman. Geoffrey, or Walter, Vinisauf, or Vinsaufe, or Vinesalf (in Latin de Vino Salvo), was an Englishman by birth, although of Norman parentage, and accompanied Richard on his crusade. His prose is spirited and eloquent, and he was also one of the best Latin poets of his day. His principal poetical work, entitled ' De Nova Poetria' (On the New Poetry), has been several times printed : it " is dedicated," Warton observes, "to Pope Innocent the Third ; and its intention was to recommend and illustrate the new and legitimate mode of versification which had lately begun to flourish in Europe, in opposition to the Leonine or barbarous species." This work, published soon after the death of King Richard, contains an elaborate lamentation over that event, which is quoted in what is called Bromton's Chronicle * (written in the reign of Edward III.), and, as both Camden f and Selden % have noted, is referred to by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales, § although only the latter seems to have understood the delicate ridicule of the allusion. The " craft of Galfride" (so he names Vinesauf) is also celebrated by the great English poet, apparently with less irreverence, in his Court of Love,|| no doubt composed at a much less advanced period of his life.
Another valuable contemporary history of the early part of the reign of Richard the First (from A.d. 1189 to 1192), comprehending the transactions in England as well as abroad, the Chronicle of Richard of Devises,
* In the Scriptores X. col. 1280. The author's name is misprinted Galfridus de Nine Salvo. t Remains, 7th edit. p. 414. % Prafat. ad Scriptores X. p. xli. § Nonne's Preestis Tale, v. 15,353, &c. || v. 11.