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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 154



PROMOTIONS ABROAD. 148 tribution to the materials for national, literary, and social history. John of Salisbury, Peter of Blois, Arnulf of Lisieux, Thomas Becket, Gilbert Foliot, the monks of Canterbury, furnish a series of thick volumes, the many-sided interest of which is not easily exhausted. These collections contain news from every part of Christendom ; some of them, although only a few, are really news letters, containing all that the writers could pick up, like the news letters of later times. All, however, contain evidence by which the literary culture, as well as the political interest felt at the time, may be tested. The citations of the Latin poets which occur so very frequently are amusing, and often amusingly inappropriate. There is something touchingly comic in the monk of Canterbury who will bring in Ovid's Art of Love as a treasury of stock quotations. Lucan's Pharsalia, Claudian, Statius, even Silius Italicus, but Ovid most of all, notably more than Virgil and Horace, seem to, have been the storehouse of" proverbs. Shall we be so cruel as to say that the frequency with which particular passages are quoted suggests that the writers betook themselves to a Margarita Poetica, a dictionary of quotations, rather than to the authors themselves ? No, it is only true in the very penny-a-lining letters of inferior men. Certainly the best writers, like John of Salisbury, could both read and criticise the originals; But again I am straying from the point. The next head which I mentioned as illustrating the process by which international intercourse worked in a direction favourable to literary progress, was the otherwise curious and interesting point, the number of Englishmen promoted in foreign churches ; and, by interchange of good offices, the cases in which foreigners of note were promoted 'iti the English Church. I say, in both cases, men of note, because no doubt many Frenchmen, and even Italians, of whom nothing else is known, were enriched with English


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