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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 142



136 HENRY IL [VI. In truth, I would call your attention to a point which I have never seen fully set out ; the fact that the same age that originated the forms in which our national and constitu-i tional life began to mould itself, was also an age of great I literary activity; of very learned and acute men, and ofl culture enough to appreciate and conserve the fruits of their 1 labours. We all know the debt that England owes to the great men of the thirteenth century, to its political, religious, and scholastic life: Simon de Montfort, Grosseteste, Edward I, and the rest; but I do not remember ever to have seen an estimate of the debt that the thirteenth owed to the twelfth, save and except in the recognition of Henry II's constitutional work. I can now only attempt an outline of any such view as is needed for the purpose, but I think that, when I have briefly reviewed the period, you will allow that in other matters besides constitutional, the glories of the latter age were the result of, and not much in themselves superior to, the glories of the former. I will begin with the king himself, for, as the medieval / writers were never tired of quoting, 'vulgi turba movetur ν regis ad exemplar.' Henry II was by his very descent a champion of literary culture. Not to speak of his grandfather, Henry Beauclerc, whose clerkship was very probably of a very elementary sort, he was the lineal descendant or that Fulk the Good who had told King Lothar that ' Rex illiteratus' was 'asinus coronatus.' He shared too those hereditary characteristics which so strongly marked his two uncles, Baldwin III and Amalric I, Kings of Jerusalem. Both of these princes were, according to William of Tyre, good scholars, and both extremely fond of history. Baldwin was the better professor; Amalric the better examiner; Baldwin the more serious and orthodox, Amalric the more superficial ; but both were students of history, and given to


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