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English History, even in the earlier part ot it, contains many things not mentioned by any contemporary writer.* The compilation of English History by Thomas Otterbourne, a Franciscan friar, from the landing of Brutus to the year 1420, is held in small estimation. f A much more valuable performance is the 'Chronicon,' of John de Whethamstede, Abbot of St. Alban's, although it only extends from the year 1441 to 1461. { Whethamstede was a person of judgment as well as of considerable learning. He was an especial favourite with Duke Humphrey, who was accustomed to visit him in his monastery, where the monks, however, accused their abbot of spending too much of his time in study and in writing books, though he was a most liberal benefactor to their establishment. But probably neither the libraries he built and furnished both at St. Alban's and at Oxford, the organs and pictures with which he adorned the church and chapels of his monastery, nor the extensive additions which he made to its buildings, compensated in their estimation for tastes and habits so different from their own. Another of the Latin historians of this period, whose name is connected with Duke Humphrey, is the Italian Titus Livius Forojuliensis, as he calls himself, the author of a Life of Henry V.§ He was invited to England by the duke, who appointed him to be his poet and orator. His Life of Henry V., however, is very little else than an abridgment of the

* Published together by Archbishop Parker, fol. Lon. 1574. Also in Camden's Anglica, &c. fol. Francof. 1603. f Published by Hearne, in 2 vols. 8vo. Oxon. 1732. % Published by Hearne, along with Otterbourne. § Published by Hearne, 8vo. Oxon. 1716.

work on ihc same subject by Thomas de Elmham,* Prior of Linton, whose barbarous style does not prevent his performance from being one of great historical value. The Italian affects to imitate the style of the illustrious ancient whose name he assumes; but he is, it must be confessed, a very modern Livy. Another of these annalists is William Botoner, or William of Worcester, the author of a chronicle extending from 1324 to 1491, which is nearly all a compilation, and of very little value.f Botoner is also the author of the translation of Cicero's Treatise on Old Age, already mentioned as one of Caxton's publications. The last of this class of writers we shall mention is John Rossus, or Rouse, of Warwick, the author of what he calls a History of the Kings of England,;); which, nevertheless, commences with the creation of the world. Although it does not contain much that is interesting till the author comes down to his own age, the latter part of the fifteenth century, it furnishes some curious details both of the events and the manners of that time.


Two French writers, Monstrelet and Comines, may be considered as in some sort belonging to this period of English history. Monstrelet, whose narrative extends from 1400 to 1452 (with a supplement coming- down to 1467 by another hand), is a very faithful but not a very

* Published by Hearne, 8vo. Oxon. 1727. t Published by Hearne, in the Appendix to the Liber Niger Scaccarii, 2 vols. 8vo. Oxon. 1728. t Published by Hearne, 8vo. Oxon. 1716.

lively chronicler of the contentions of the Houses of Orleans and Burgundy, and of the Wars of the English in France, in his own day. Comines, an actor to a considerable extent in the affairs which he relates, is a writer of a superior stamp. His Memoirs extend from 1464 to 1498, a period comprehending nearly the whole reign of Louis XI. of France, whom Comines may be said to make his hero, and whose singular character gives much of a dramatic life to the narrative of the historian. Comines has none of the chivalrous enthusiasm of Froissart, and no other excitement of a very warm or imaginative character to make up for the want of it; but observation, sagacity, and an unaffected, straight-forward way of writing give him a great power of carrying his reader along with him. He is the best authority for the French transactions of the reign of our Edward IV.


This period also affords us two or three English chroniclers. The series of our modern English chronicles may perhaps be most properly considered as commencing with John de Trevisa's translation of Higden, with various additions, which, as already mentioned, was finished in 1387, and was printed, with a continuation to 1460, by Caxton, in 1482. After Trevisa comes John Harding, who belongs to the present period; his metrical 'Chronicle of England' coming down to the reign of Edward IV.* The metre is melancholy enough; but the part of the work relating to the

* First printed by Grafton in 1543. The most recent edition is that by Sir H. Ellis, 4to. Lond. 1812.

author's own times is not without value. Harding is chiefly notorious as the author, or at least the collector and producer, of a great number of charters and other documents attesting acts of fealty done by the Scotnh to the English kings, which are now universally admitted to be forgeries. Caxton himself must be reckoned our next English chronicler, as the author both of the continuation of Trevisa and also of the concluding part of the volume entitled 'The Chronicles of England,' published by him in 1480,—the body of which is translated from a Latin chronicle by Douglas, a monk of Glastonbury, who lived in the preceding century. Neither of these performances, however, is calculated to add to the fame of the celebrated printer. To this period we may also in part assign the better known 'Concordance of Histories' of Robert Fabyan, citizen and draper of London; though the author only died in 1512, nor was his work printed till a few years later. Fabyan's history, which begins with Brutus and comes down to his own time, is in the greater part merely a translation from preceding chroniclers; its chief value consists in a number of notices it has preserved relating to the city of London.*

The most numerous class of writers in the mother tongue, however, are the poets, by courtesy so called. We must refer to the learned and curious pages of Warton, or to

* First published in 1516. The last edition is that of Sir H. Ellis, Lond. 4to. 1811.

the still more elaborate researches of Ritson,* for the names of a crowd of worthless and forgotten versifiers that fill up the annals of our national minstrelsy from Chaucer to Lord Surrey. The last-mentioned antiquary has furnished a list of about seventy English poets who flourished in this interval. The first known writer of any considerable quantity of verse after Chaucer, is Thomas Occleve. Warton places him about the year 1420. He is the author of many minor pieces, which mostly remain in manuscript—although "six of peculiar stupidity" says Riston, "were selected and published" by Dr. Askew in 1796;—and also of a longer poem, entitled 'De Regimine Principum,' (On the Government of Princes) chiefly founded on a Latin work, with the same title, written in the thirteenth century by an Italian ecclesiastic Egidius, styled the Doctor Fundatissimus, and on the Latin treatise on the game of chess of Jacobus de Casulis, another Italian writer of the same age—the latter being the original of the 'Game of the Chess,' translated by Caxton from the French, and printed by him in 1474. Occleve's poem has never been published—and is chiefly remembered for a drawing of Chaucer by the hand of Occleve, which is found in one of the manuscripts of it now in the British Museum.f Occleve repeatedly speaks of Chaucer as his master and poetic father, and was no doubt personally acquainted with the great poet. All that Occleve appears to have

* Bibliographia Poetica.

f Harl.MS. 4866. This portrait, which is a half-length, is coloured. There is a full-length portrait in another copy of Occleve's Poems in Koyal MS. 17 D. vi.—See Life of Chaucer by Sir Harris Nicolas, pp. 104, &c.

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