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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 395

XV.] A BUSY AGE. talk or many contemplative jottings. Few very busy men keep minute or accurate diaries ; few very busy ages possess very picturesque or very circumstantial chronicles. The early printers and the early discoverers left material enough for the next generation to dispute about, but did little in record of their own exploits. Many navigators lived and died and perished from memory before Columbus, and even the continent which he discovered is not called by his name. The inventor of printing is still unknown, and we cannot tell when, or very distinctly where, even Caxton set up the first English press ; they were too busy. And yet more might be expected in the way of history. Caxton himself was a compiler of history; the old monasteries, like Crowland, still contained men capable of writing annals, and of combining annals into chronicles, and of drawing out of chronicles the lessons of History. There is no a priori reason why the English history of the age should be sought in Bernard Andreas of Toulouse, or in Polydore Vergil of Urbino, or from the relations of foreign ambassadors. We conclude that the really important things, in which the critical change was, were things that did not come easily into historical contemporaneous exposition. Perhaps too it was hardly safe to write history when the printing-press might diffuse it to distances that would be dangerous ; kings and courts would read, and woe to those who wrote what would not please them ; or perhaps the revival of ancient literature engrossed the minds of those who, without such employment, might have continued the roll of ancient scholars. It was not history alone, but theology and science also, that languished under the sudden revival of classical learning; men lost themselves in the history of early Rome who might have told us something worth knowing about their own England; or satisfied themselves with simple attempts to write fine Latin, not troubling themselves much as to whether

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