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COMPENDIUM

OF

ENGLISH LITERATURE.

SIR JOHN MANDEATLLE. 1300—1371.

Tes first prose writer which occurs in the annals of English Literature, is toe ancient and renowned traveller, Sir John Mandeville. Ho was born at St Albans,1 about the year 1300. Stimulated by an unconquerable curiosity to see foreign countries, he departed Horn England in 1322, and continued abroad for thirty-four years; during which time his person and appearanco had so changed, that, on his return, his friends, who had supposed him dead, did not know him. But so fixed was his habit of roving, that he set out a second time from his own country, and died at Leige, (Belgium,) November 17,1371. John Bale, in his catalogue of British writers, gives him the following fine character, as translated by Hakluyt:—

"John Mandcvil Knight, borne in die Towne of S. Albans, was so well given to the study of Learning from his childhood, that he seemed to plant a good part of his felicitie in the same: for he supposed, that the honour of his Birth would nothing availe him, except he could render the same more honourable, by his knowledge in good letters. Having therefore well grounded himselfe in Religion, by reading the Scriptures, he applied his Studies to the Art of Physicke, a Profession worthy a noble Wit: but amongst other things, he was ravished with a mightie desire to see the greater parts of the World, as Asia and Africa. Having therefore provided all things necessary for his journey, he departed from his Countrey in the yeere of Christ 1322; and, as another Ulysses, returned home, after the space of thirty-four yeeres, and was then knowen to a very fewe. In the time of his Travaile he was in Scythia, the greater and lesse Armenia, Egypt, both Libyas, Arabia, Syria, Media, Mesopotamia, Persia, Chalda-a, Greece, Illyrium, Tartarie, and divers other Kingdomes of the World: and having gotten by this mcanes the knowledge of the Languages, least so many and great varieties, and things miraculous, whereof himielf bad bene an eie witnes, should perish in oblivion, ho committed his whole Travell of thirty-four yeeres to writing, in three divers tongues, English, French, and Latins.* Being arrived again in England, and having seene the wickednes of that age, he gave out this Speech: 'In our time, (said he) it may be spoken more truly then of olde, that Ventre is gone, the Church is under foote, the Clergio is in errour, the Devill raigneth, and Simonie bearcth the away.'"

1 A town of Hertfordshire, nbont twenty mllei north of Lntidon.
1 They were pubUihed In 1350.
B 2« 17

John Mandeville was indeed a remarkable man; and though England has aince distinguished herself above all oilier nations for the number and the cl aracter of her voyagers and travellers, who, for the sake of enlarging the bounds of geographical knowledge, have pushed their way into every part of the world, yet, considering the time and circumstances in which he wrote, to none must Sir John Mandeville give place. We must bear continually in mind that ho wrote nearly live hundred years ago—one hundred years before printing was introduced into England—in an age of great ignorance, and eager for the marvellous and the wonderful in relation to other lands so little known. That he has told many ridiculous stories is no doubt true; but such he generally prefaces with "tlici seyn," or "men seyn but I have not sene it." But if we charge these against him, we must also give him credit for those accounts which, for a long time, rested on his single and unsupported authority, but which later discoveries and inquiries have abundantly confirmed;—such as the cultivation of pepper—the burning of widows on the funeral pile of tlieir husbands—the trees which bear wool, of which clothing is made—the carrier pigeons—the gymnosophists—the Chinese predilection for small feet— the artificial egg-hatching in Egypt—the south pole star, and other astronomical appearances, from which he argues for the spherical form of the earth— the crocodile—the hippopotamus—the giraffe, and many other singular productions of nature. "His book," says an elegant writer, "is to an Englishman doubly valuable, as establishing the title of his country to claim as its own, die first example of the liberal and independent gentleman, travelling over the world in the disinterested pursuit of knowledge; unsullied in his reputation, and honored and respected wherever he went for his talents and personal accomplishments."1

FROM THE PROLOGUE."

And for als moche3 as it is longe tyme passed, that ther was no generalle Passage ne Vyage over the See; and many Men desiren for to here speke of the holy Lond, and han4 thereof gret Solace and Comfort; I John Maundevylle, Knyght, alle he it I be not worthi, that was born in Englond, in the Town of Seynt Albones, passed the See, in the Zeer of our Lord Jesu Crist MCCCXXII, in the Day of Seynt Michelle; and hidre to5 have been longe tyme over the See, and have seyn and gon thorghe manye dyverse Londes, and many Provynces and Kingdomes and lies, and have passed thorghe Tartarye, Percye, Ermonye* the litylle and the grete; thorghe Lybye, Caldee and a gret partie of Ethiope; thorghe Amazoyne, Inde the lasse and the more, a

1 Read—an Interesting article on his travel* In the Retrmpectiae Review, 111, 269: also, No. 354 of the Toiler, in which Addison has ridiculed, with inflnite humor, the propensity of sir John towards the marvellous.

2 In printing these extracts from Mandeville, the edition or J. O. HalilwcU, London, 1830, published fiom a manuscript about three hundred years old, has been carefully followed. The language, thcreroie, la such aa our ancestors used more than three centuries ago, and it is here given not only as a curiosity, but from the belief that It will be read with more satlsfacUon, and convey a much better Mea of the progress which the English language has since made, than if It were modernized. Before Uie art of prtnUng was discovered, there was no scUled method of spelling; tlie same word therefore, will be found spelled dill* rent ways.

l As much. « Have. » Hitherto. a armeuja.

19

MANDEVILLE.

FEDWARD III. li hn Mandeville was indeed a remarkable man; and though England has e distinguished herself above all other nations for the number and the

ter of her voyagers and travellers, who, for the sake of enlarging the was of geographical knowledge, have pushed their way into every part of woud, yet, considering the time and circumstances in which he wrote, to

must Sir John Marleville give place. We must bear continually in

that he wrote nearly five hundred years ago one hundred years before cing was introduced into England in an age of great ignorance, and - for the marvellous and the wonderful in relation to other lands so little

the That he has told many ridiculous stories is no doubt true; but such m y prefaces with thei seyn," or "men seyn but I have not sene it."

we charge these against him, we must also give him credit for those ts which, for a long time, rested on his single and unsupported authority, sta fater discoveries and inquiries have abundantly confirmed; such coloration of pepper-the burning of widows on the funeral pile of wands--the trees which bear wool, of which clothing is made the seongthe gymnosophistshowthe Chinese predilection for small feetal egg-batching in Egypi-the south pule star, and other astronomirances, from which he argues for the spherical form of the earth wilthe hippopotamus--the giratie, and many other singular proi nature. «His book," says an elegant writer, is to an Englishman

1327–1377.]

MANDEVILLE. gret partie ; and thorghe out many othere Iles, that ben abouten Inde; where dwellen many dyverse Folkes, and of dyverse Maneres and Lawes, and of dyverse Schappes? of men. Of whiche Londes and Iles, I schalle speke more pleynly hereaftre. And I schalle devise zou sum partie of thinges that there ben, whan time schalle ben, aftre it may best come to my mynde; and specyally for hem, that wylle and are in purpos for to visite the Holy Citee of Jerusalem, and the holy Places that are thereaboute. And I schalle telle the Weye, that thei schulle holden thidre. For 1 have often tymes passed and ryden' the way, with gode Companye of many Lordes : God be thonked.

And zee schulles undirstonde, that I have put this Boke out of Latyn into Frensche, and translated it azen out of Frensche into Englyssche, that every Man of my Nacioun may undirstonde it. But Lordes and Knyghtes and othere noble and worthi Men, that connes Latyn but litylle, and han ben bezonde the See, knowen and undirstonden, zif I erre in devisynge, for forzetynge, or elles ;y that thei mowe redresse it and amende it. For thinges passed out of longe tyme from a Mannes mynde or from his syght, turnen sone in forzetynge : Because that Mynde of Man ne may not ben comprehended ne witheholden, for the Freeltee of Mankynde,

THE CHINESE. The gret Kyng hathe every day, 50 fair Damyseles, alle Maydenes, that serven him ereremore at his Mete. And whan he is at the Table, thei bryngen him hys Mete at every tyme, 5 and 5 to gedre. And in bryngynge hire10 Servyse, thei syngen a Song. And aftre that, thei kutten his Mete, and putten it in his Mouthe: for he touchethe no thing ne handlethe nought, but holdethe evere more his Hondes before him, upon the Table. For he hathe so longe Nayles, that he may take no thing, ne handle no thing. For the Noblesse of that Contree is to have longe Nayles, and to make hem growen alle weys to ben as longe as men may. And there ben mange in that Contree, that han hire

L'uable, as establishing the title of his country to claim as its own, the Inle of the liberal and independent gentleman, travelling over the The disinterested pursuit of knowledge; unsullied in his reputation, ed and respected wherever he went for his talents and personal

Jiments."1

FROM THE PROLOGUE."
Hals moches as it is longe tyme passed, that ther was
Ille Passage ne Vyage over the See; and many Men
to here speke of the holy Lond, and han' thereof gret
I Comfort ; I John Maunderylle, Knyght, alle be it I be

that was born in Englond, in the Town of Seynt
esed the See, in the Zeer of our Lord Jesu Crist
lm in the Day of Seynt Michelle; and hidre to have

tyme over the See, and have seyn and gon thorghe rse Londes, and many Provynces and Kingdomes and bre passed thorghe Tartarye, Percye, Ermonye the The rrete: thorghe Lybye, Caldee and a gret partie Ithorche Amazoyne, Inde the lasse and the more, a

te on his travels in the Retrospective Revirno, fil, 269: Also, NO. 954 of

oldiroled, with indnite humor, the propensity of Sir John towards

edition of carecally folloin is here slive much

on of 1.0. Halliwell, London, 1839, pube

sting article on his travels in the Addison has ridiculed, with indult

scroto hundred years, three centuries as faction, and convey an

more than tercerith more salinan if it were oame word

extracts from Mandeville, lhe edition of J.O. Hallfrrell London, 1er

hant there hundred years old, has been carefully followed. The lanem ancestors used more than three centuries ago, and it la her se

of that it will be read with more satisfaction, and convey a much nelish langue has since made, then if it were modernized.

1 Shaper. . Ridden. & Should. Again. 5 Know. 6 Forgetting. 7 Else. 8 May. $ At a period when Europe could hardly boast of three leisurely wayfarers stealing over the face of the universe; when the Orient still remained but a Land of Fairy, and the "map of the world" Was yet ananished; at a time when it required a whole life to traverse a space which three years might now terminate, Sir John Mandeville, the Bruce of the fourteenth century, set forth to enter unheard or regions. His probity remains unimpeached, for the accuracy of what he relates from his own personal observation has been conormed by subsequent travellers. But when he had to do scribe the locality of Paradise, he fairly acknowledges that he "cannot speak of it properly, for I was not there: & is far beyond, but as I have heard say of wise men, it is on the highest part of the eseth, nigb to the circle of the moon." So popular were his travels, that of no book, with the excepUs of the Scriptnres, can more manuscripts of that time be found. Read-an article in D'Israel',

anilier of Literature, vol. 1., and Ilalkvoelt: Introduction to Munde ville's Travels.

16 Their.

no settled method of spling; the same word

& Armenkul

6 likierto

Script about the hundreds

dar ancestory used put trom the belief that it will be baress which the English Language har en munt was discovered, there was Do sottled method of and spelled didi rent ware

Nayles so longe, that thei envyronne alle the Hond: and that is gret Noblesse. And the Noblesse of the Women, is for to hav smale Feet and litille: and therfore anon as thei ben born, they leet bynde hire Feet so streyte, that thei may not growen half as nature wolde: And alle weys theise Damyseles, that I spak of beforn, syngen alle the tyme that this riche man etethe: and when that he etethe no more of his firste Cours, thanne other 5 and 5 of faire Damyseles bryngen him his seconde Cours, alle weys syngynge, as thei dide beforn. And so thei don contynuelly every day, to the ertde of his Mete. And in this manere he ledethe his Lif. And so dide thei before him, that weren his Auncestres; and so schulle thei that comen aftre him, with outen doynge of ony Dedes of Armes: but lyven evere more thus in ese, as a Swyn, that is fedde in Sty, for to ben made fatte.

THE SPHERICAL FORM OF THE EARTH.1

In that Lond,* ne in many othere bezonde that, no man may see the Sterre transmontane,8 that is clept the Sterre of the See, that is unmevable, and that is toward the Northe, that we clcpen the Lode Sterre.* But men seen another Sterre, the contrarie to him, that is toward the Southe, that is clept5 Antartyk. And right as the Schip men taken here Avys" here, and governe hem be the Lode Sterre, right so don Schip men bezonde the parties, be the Sterre of the Southe, the whiche Sterre apperethe not to us. And this Sterre, that is toward the Northe, that wee clepen the Lode Sterre, ne ippearethe not to hem. For whiche cause, men may wel perceyve, that the Lond and the See ben of rownde schapp and forme. For the partie of the Firmament schewethe in o7 Contree, that schewethe not in another Contree. And men may well preven be experience and sotyle" compassement of Wytt, that zif a man fond passages be Schippes, that wolde go to serchen the World, men myghte go be Schippe alle aboute the World, and aboven and benethen. And zif I hadde had Companye and Schippynge, for to go more bezonde, I trowe" wel in certeyn, that wee scholde have seen alle the roundnesse of the Firmament alle aboute.

But how it semethe to symple men unlerned, that men ne raowe10 not go undre the Erthe, and also that men scholde falle toward the Hevene, from undre! But that may not be, upon

1 This, It seems to me, la a most curious and remarkable passage, for we must remember that It was written nearly one hundred and fifty year* before the discovery of America. It proves, beyond a doubt, that Mandevllle had a distinct Idea of the rotundity of the earth, and probably of the New World, and that. If he had had the means, he would undoubtedly nave anticipated, by more than a .ientury, the brilliant discovery of Columbus.

s Africa. 3 The [>ole star. * That la, the star to which the loadstone or magnet itolnls.

9 Called ° Advice. 7 One. I SubUe. » Think. 10 May not, that is, cannot. lesse,1 than wee move falle toward Hevene, fro the Erthe, where wee ben. For fro what partie of the Erthe, that men duelle,8 outher aboven or benethen, it semethe alweys to hem that duellen, that thei gon more righte than ony other folk. And righte as it semethe to us, that thei ben undre us, righte so it semethe hem, that wee ben undre hem. For zif a man myghte falle fro the Erthe unto the Firmament; be grettere resoun, the Erthe and the See, that ben so grete and so hevy, scholde fallen to the Firmament: but that may not be.

JOHN WICLIF. 1324—1384.

Joax Wicur, the Morning Star of the Reformation, "honored of God to be the first Preacher of a general Reformation to all Europe ;"* was born in the little village of Wiclif, near Richmond, in the northern part of Yorkshire, about the year 1324. Where he received the rudiments of his education is not known, but at a suitable age he entered the University of Oxford, where he soon distinguished himself, not only in the scholastic philosophy of the times, in which he surpassed all his contemporaries, but also in the study and interpretation of the Scriptures; so that he acquired the title of Evangelical or Gospel Doctor. In 1361 he was promoted to the headship of Canterbury Hal], and soon after, from witnessing the ecclesiastical corruptions which so extensively prevailed, he began to attack, both in his sermons and other pieces, not only the whole body of Monks, but also the encroachments and tyranny of the church of Rome.

He had now fairly entered into that arena which he was to quit only with his life. To enter, however, into the particulars of his eventful life—the con tinned and most bitter persecutions he ever experienced at the hands of eccle siastical power—his fearless and manly defences of himself.—the bulls issued against him by the Pope—his appearance before august convocations to an swer for himself, touching the same—his providential escapes from the snares set for him by his enemies—to enter into these and other numerous and eventful incidents of liis most active life, would be quite impracticable in the limited space prescribed for these biographical sketches.4

Milton, in his »Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing," thus remarks: "Had it not been for the obstinate perverseness of our Prelates against the divine and admirable spirit of Wiclif, to suppress him as a schismatic or innovator, perhaps neither the Bohemian Husse and Jerome, no, nor the name of Luther or of Calvin, had ever been known." And Milton is undoubtedly right Far be it from us to say any tiling that would detract, in the least degree, from the merits of tho great German Reformer. The name of Luther is endeared to the whole Protestant world, and will ever be cherished as long as holy zeal, and moral courage, and untiring ardor in the

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