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in giving him the certainly unmerited importance of such a convert. It did reputation of having added the art of not take place, however, until Digby quackery to his other multifarious ac- had devoted two years to the study of complishments. But we fancy that no controversial works, which, as he himone could read through Sir Kenelme's self confesses, were all on one side! a “ Discourse of the Cure of Wounds circumstance from which it seems reaby the Powder of Sympathy," and sonable to infer that he began by wishing reflect carefully upon the incidents to be converted. A correspondence that are recorded by himself and followed, between Archbishop Laud others concerning this supposed dis- and Digby, upon the subject of his covery and its application, without change of faith. Laud's letter, reacquitting Digby of the charge of in- printed in the notes to the Biographia sincerity, and, therefore, of quackery. Britannica, is a valuable document. With a very large share of credulity It proves the high consideration in he was certainly chargeable, but not which Digby was held by men of the with a larger one than has fallen to profoundest learning and most powerthe lot of many a man with whom the ful faculties, and illustrates his chasubject of our essay might well have racter in a striking manner by the courted comparison. Another circum opposition of completely contrasting stance which has injured Digby's re- qualities. The immediate fruits of his putation in the same manner is equally conversion were writings in its defence invalid. After his decease one Hart- and explanation. “A Conference with man, his operator, gave the name of a Lady about the Choice of a Religion" his celebrated master to two or three was published at Paris in the year collections of quack recipes in cookery, 1638. This production contains no medicine, &c. in order to secure their remarkable display of theological acsale. But no one who is at all ac- quirements; but it must be rememquainted with the character of Digby's bered that it was most likely written mind and pursuits could be imposed purposely down to the popular underupon by these productions, which went standing, in order to justify to the through several editions, and were world at large his change of faith. Sir translated into two or three languages Kenelme, however, put forth his full upon the strength of the name which strength in a correspondence, which was attached to them.

was published many years after it had We have no more than a very im- taken place, under the title of “ Letters perfect record of the events in Digby's between the Lord George Digby and Sir life from 1625 to 1628, the date of the Kenelme Digby concerning Religion." victory at Scandaroon ; and again, In this correspondence nothing new from this date, we know nothing con- was said on either side, but the theolocerning him until 1632, about which gical reading evinced in it, by Digby, time he came into possession of the is very extensive. It must be convaluable library of MSS. and printed fessed, however, that his noble oppobooks which had been bequeathed to nent, with less learning, had the best of him by his old tutor, Thomas Allen. the argument, which was carried on by The manner in which he disposed of both parties with a completely gentlethis important legacy does Sir Kenelme manly air, that is the more charming Digby as much honour in our eyes as for being almost unique in theolois done him by the Scandaroon affair. gical controversy. The correspondHe almost immediately bestowed upon ence failed to produce any alteration the Bodleian library a possession which of opinion in either party, and the disno individual of his time knew better cussion was concluded by mutual dehow to make use of than himself. clarations that their final difference

The facts with which we are ac- should in no way interrupt or diminish quainted do not seem to justify the the friendship which subsisted between opinion that Digby's conversion to the them at the commencement of the arRoman Catholic faith could have oc- gument. curred before the year 1636. This In 1638 Sir Keleme Digby was emconversion was wrought by the zea- ployed, in conjunction with Mr. Walter lous persuasion of eminent Catholics, Montague, to induce the Catholics : who must have been well aware of the assist the King with pecuniary su

port in his war preparations against in the most flattering manner by men the Scots. The part taken by Digby of science and learning. He visited in this matter drew upon him a train Des Cartes, who is said to have recog. of difficulties, which ended with his im- nised him by his conversation, and a prisonment in Winchester House, by learned friendship immediately arose the Parliament, upon the breaking out between these celebrated men. of the civil war. During his confine- In 1644 Digby's principal work was ment, which lasted until 1643, Sir published in Paris. "It is in two parts : Kenelme was visited by various dis- the first entitled “A Treatise of the tinguished personages. The “gentle Nature of Bodies;" the second, "A muses" seem to have been an abund- Treatise declaring the Operations and ant source of consolation to him for Nature of Man's Soul, out of which the loss of his liberty. Two of his the Iminortality of reasonable Souls subsequently published works were is evinced.” As a system of philowritten at this time, namely, his sophy this work is no longer of any “ Observations upon the Religio Medici value, founded as it is upon assumpof Sir Thomas Browne," and his “ Ob- tions the majority of which have been servations on the 22nd Stanza in the exploded by the results of the Baconian ninth canto of the Second Book of system. The book, however, is crowded Spenser's Faëry Queen." Both of with remarks and logical investigathese productions are in the form tions of high philosophical interest, of letters, and appear to have been and succeeding philosophers have borthrown off' with extreme rapidity. It rowed much from this source, too often seems scarcely to be credited, however, without acknowledgment. that the first of these was the work of We pass over incidents which give so short a time as it would appear from no light concerning the character of Digby's statement, “what I writ was Digby, and find him employed by the employment but of one sitting; Henrietta Maria, Dowager of Eng. and there was not twenty-four hours land, in transactions with Pope Innobetween my receiving my Lord of cent the Second. It seems that his Dorset's letter and the finishing of Holiness was not sufliciently seen in my answer to him ; and yet part of the character of the gentleman with that time was taken up in procuring whom he had to do. Some words apthe book which he desired me to read, pear to have escaped him whereby the and give him an account of; for till honour of Sir Kenelme was called in then I was so unhappy as never to question, which explains the ill-natured have heard of that worthy discourse." statement of Aubrey, that at first "he The “ Observations" make about 160 was mightily admired, but after a time octavo pages, and would occupy a he grew high and hectored at his Holirapid transcriber full twenty-four ness, and gave him the lie." hours in copying them. We must When Cromwell became Protector, therefore conclude that large additions Digby returned to England, from had been made to the original letter whence he had been banished by an before the time of its publication. The order of the Parliament. He proposed “ Observations " upon Spenser is a to the Protector a project for reconvery rare tract. Its contents have ciling the Catholics with the Protecbeen reprinted in Todd's edition of torate. Cromwell, with whom Digby Spenser: they do not appear to us to had obtained favour, entered into his merit the praises which have been be- views. This course necessarily gave stowed upon them. The profundities the greatest offence to the Royalist for which these “ Observations" have party, to whom Sir Kenelme had been applauded are little more than hitherto devoted his services. A letter repetitions of a few Pythagorean no. of Digby's, written to Secretary Thurtions,-current enough among men of loe in 1656, contains the warinest cxlearning in Digby's time,-concerning pressions of attachment to the cause the symbolism of mathematical forms. of his new master. His change of po

In 1643 Digby was liberated, tlırough litical faith seems, however, to have the intercession of the Queen Dowager been not less sincere than was that of of France. He immediately repaired his religion. Ile outlived the Comito the French court, and was welcomed monwealth, and in 1660 returned to England from the last of his numerous and to whatever he gave his attention visits to the continent. He was well he illustrated and adorned it. His received at the court of Charles the philosophical speculations have surSecond, but was never afterwards en- vived the bickerings with which they gaged in any state transactions. The were assailed : his solitary essay as a remaining portion of his remarkable military commander was crowned with life was spent in the learned leisure signal success; his eloquence is conwhich he had always loved. He was spicuous in every production of his a member and councillor of the Royal pen; and to the extent of his knowSociety, before whom he read a very ledge of divinity his works on the subcurious paper upon the Vegetation of ject bear ample testimony. The poPlants.

liteness for which he was eminent was Upon his birth - day, the 11th of not artificial, but arose from the only June, 1665, died this extraordinary true source, an amiable disposition; man, who, with all his faults, was pos- and in an age distinguished above all sessed of qualities which justify the others for political as well as polemical praises wherewith Sir Harris Nicolas controversy, he has the enviable merit concludes his introduction to the “Pri- of having conveyed his arguments in vate Memoirs."

language wholly free from bigotry and " Whether contemplated as a philo personal vituperation. In the most sopher, a theologian, an orator, a comprehensive meaning of the term, courtier, or a soldier, his exquisite ta. Sir Kenelme Digby was a gentleman." lents are alike conspicuous. Endowed We shall complete this sketch in by nature with an understanding of our next number, by giving a brief great depth and versatility, he studied account of Digby's principal writings, almost every branch of human science, with occasional quotations from them,



nected with the personal history of IN his edition of Layamon, Sir Fre- Layamon, and the peculiarities of his deric Madden has given a list of the grammar and dialect, perhaps I may writers who preceded him in their be allowed to ask the attention of your comments upon his author. After al. readers, while I examine how far the luding to the imperfect or erroneous results of Sir Frederic Madden's labours statements of our older critics—Usher, are entitled to the praise of originality, Nicolson, Wanley, and Tanner,-he which he thus claims for them. adds,

Layamon's dialect exhibits all the “ And although many writers of later leading features of our Western Engdate, as Tyrwhitt, Ellis, Ritson, Mitford, lish ; but at the same time is distinCampbell, Turner, and Conybeare, have guished by peculiarities, which make severally commented on, or quoted from, it a matter of great interest to ascerLayamon's poem, yet its peculiar value in tain the district in which it was spoken. a philological point of view appears to He tells us that he lived at Ernley. have remained bat little known up to the non-Severn: and, as the southern part period when the Society of Antiquaries

of Gloucestershire is the only district determined on its publication. Having premised thus much, it is requisite to turn

near the Severn in which any remains to the work itself, and inquire, as far as

of a Western dialect now linger, the we are able, 1. Who was the author. 2.

historians of our literature have gene. From what sources his work was compiled. rally fixed his residence in this county. 3. The period of its composition; and Here Layamon was located by Mr. lastly, the style and metrical structure of Hallam, Lit. of Eur. i. 60, and by Mr. the poem, as well as the dialect in which Stevenson in his edition of the Hule it is written, and grammatical forms." and Niztengale, a work which apPref. viji.

peared in the year 1838, and I believe As soine years ago I expended much a month or two after the History of thought and labour on matters con- English Rhythms was published,

In writing the latter work I felt the Bede's English book; 2ndly, the Latin full importance of this question, and book of St. Albin and St. Austin ; and diligently sought for Ernley in the 3rdly, the book of the Frankish clerk district where the general consent of Wace. The 'English book' is probably our antiquaries had hitherto placed it.

Alfred's translation of the Ecclesiastical But, though the South of Gloucester

History, but I do not know what work of shire was not unfamiliar to me, no

St. Austin is here referred to. When the

two MSS. are published, as they shortly trace of Ernley or of Radestone (ano

will be, we may perhaps learn how far the ther locality mentioned by Layamon)

author was indebted to Wace's History. could be met with. Accordingly, in “In my first notice of Layamon's poem noticing the peculiarities of Layamon's I was in doubt as to the locality of Ernley, language, I stated with hesitation, that but on further search there was found a it might “ perhaps (at least in sub- Redstone Ferry, close to Areley Regis, in stance) be considered as the dialect of North Worcestershire. On turning to South Gloucestershire,” Engl. Rh. ï. Nash, it appeared that similarity of names 111; and in mentioning Ernley ob

had already led him to claim Layamon as

a Worcestershire poet, and doubtless with served, that I could “ find no parish or hamlet of this name on the banks of

good reason, as Areley was formerly written

Armleag. the Severn," ii, 113, note. Afterwards,

"terwards, “It may now perhaps be a question, however, I renewed the search, and at what kind of dialect was originally spoken last succeeded in finding Layamon's in Worcestershire ? Layamon may have residence, and in a locality which gave brought his peculiarities of speech from the discovery a high degree of histori. Gloucestershire ; but, if he were a native cal value. As my last chapter con- of Ernley or its neighbourhood, the tained a list of our early poets,* ante. Southern Dialect probably reached to the rior to the fifteenth century, I had an

line of watershed between the Trent and opportunity afforded me of laying be

Severn, and one of the most distinguished

of the Mercian tribes, the Wicware, must fore the reader the results I had ar

have been Sexein origin." Engl. Rh. ii. 408. rived at. “ Layamon son of Levenath (or, ac.

The “ History of English Rhythms" cording to the Otho MS., of Luke) lived was published in the beginning of the as priest with the good knight' of Ernley, year 1838, and the writers who innear Radestone, on the banks of Severo. terested themselves in the history of Here it appears be read a book which in. our literature quickly availed theme spired the happy thought of writing a selves of the information contained in British history. He travelled in search of the preceding extract. Among the MSS., and took for his authorities, Ist, earliest was Mr. Hallam. In 1839 apthe Eoglish book which Bede wrote; peared the three last volumes of his 2ndly, the Latin book of St. Albin (Alc- work on the Literature of Europe, con win) ;t and 3rdly, the book of our Eng- taining a list of li corricanda " for the lish apostle St. Austin. In the Caligula

amendment of all the four volumes, MS. the list is somewhat different ; Ist,

the first of which had already been * The reader will bear with me while I

published in 1837. Nearly at the mention that this was the first attempt made

beginning of the list is the following to give anything like a continuous account

entry: "60, l. 11. Layamon was a

entry: 00, l. 11. of our earlier literature; and that, as a secular priest, and, I believe, in a vilfirst attempt, it was attended with no in. lage now called Arley, on the Severn, considerable difficulties. I may add that near Bewdley, in Worcestershire, but every one of my statements (even to my itself in the county of Stafford. The blunders) has been pillaged, or, in other supposition, therefore, in p. 61, that he words, appropriated, without acknowledge was of the same county as Robert of ment by subsequent writers.

Gloucester, must be abandoned." Mr. of I was as much puzzled as Sir Frederick

Hallam is unfortunate in his correction Madden bimself to discover the “ Latin book of St. Albin ;' and it seemed to me

of my statement. He looked in his that some of the difficulties attending the

map and found an Areley situated, as inquiry might be got over by assuming

he describes it, in the county of Stafthe Albinus, here mentioned, to be the

ford ; but if he had looked a little to celebrated Alcwin, who sometimes bore the south of Bewdley he would have that name. The notion however has been seen the Areley Regis, of which I was long since given up.

speaking, in Worcestershire. I may also venture to suggest that it would “ The sources from which Layamon have been as well if the work which compiled his work are stated by himself furnished him with the information to be three in number, namely, a book in had been referred to.

English, made by Saint Bede, another in The following are the principal

Latin, made by Saint Albin and Austin, points in Layamon's story as gathered

and a third, made by a French clerk, Wace,

&c. by Sir Frederic Madden from “the

The first of the authorities here men

tioned is generally understood to be the work itself :"

Anglo-Saxon translation of Bede's Eccle. “Of the author we possess, unfortu. siastical History, attributed to Alfred, &c. nately, only the scanty information given The second work, ascribed to Saint Albin us by himself in the prefatory lines to his and Austin, is more difficult to identify, poem. In these he tells us that his name &c. The third authority named is the was Lazamon (in the later text broadened Anglo-Norman metrical chronicle of the in sound to Laweman), and the name of Brut, translated from the well-known Hishis father Leovenath (Leuca in the later toria Britonum of Geoffrey of Monmouth, text), that he was a priest, and lived by Wace," &c. (Pref. viii.) (wonede) at Ernleze, at a church on the “In respect to the dialect in which banks of the Severn, near Radstone, where Layamon's work is written, we can have he read books.' Several writers have little difficulty in assuming it to be that inferred from this passage that Ernley or of North Worcestershire, the locality in Redstone was the place of his birth, but which he lived. But as both texts of the there seems no ground whatever for such poem in their present state exhibit the a supposition. His profession as a priest, forms of a strong Western idiom, the fol. and his residence at the church of Ernley, lowing interesting question immediately are both explained by the line which fol arises : How such a dialect should have lows,—ther he bock radde,'-i. e, where been current in one of the chief counties he was accustomed to read the services of of the kingdom of Mercia ? The origin the church; and, unless we so interpret of this kingdom, as Sir Francis Palgrave it, there will appear no apparent connec- has remarked, is very obscure ; but there tion between his occupation and the place is reason to believe that a mixed race of of his abode.* From the mention of Red- people contributed to form and occupy it. stone, it might perhaps be inferred that We may therefore conclude either that the church alluded to was the ancient the Hwiccas were of Saxon rather than chapel attached to the hermitage over. Angle origin, or that, subsequent to the hanging the western bank of the Severn, union of Mercia with the kingdom of at Redstone Ferry," &c.

Wessex, the Western dialect gradually ex“ Before quitting this branch of the in- tended itself from the south of the Thames quiry it must be observed that the later as far as the courses of the Severn, the text of the poem omits all mention of the Wye, the Tame, and the Avon, and more church, and substitutes the reading—'he or less pervaded the counties of Glouces. dwelt at Ernley with the good knight upon tershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Severn.' This' reading has been adopted Warwickshire, and Oxfordshire." (Pref. by Mr. Guest; but it would seem to be xxv.) altogether a false interpretation, or a mere Although Sir Frederic Madden has invention of the compiler of the later text.

forgotten to inform us that “the in

forse At all events, it is not of sufficient autho

teresting question” which he raises rity to supersede the statement in the

had been already raised and answered, earlier copy.t

the reader will hardly need to be re* It will be time enough to examine minded how close is the correspondence Sir Frederic Madden's philology, when which exists between these two ache adduces examples in which "to read counts. It may, however, be well to books" signifies to read the church ser- enter somewhat into detail. vice. As to his logic, I would ask, Why Sir Frederic Madden tells us that may we not as well connect Layamon's several writers supposed “ Ernley or reading of books with his desire to write Redstone" to be the birth-place of a history, as with the purposes of his re- Lavamon. Now of the five writers sidence at Ernley ? + I would ask Sir Frederic Madden,

whom he quotes only one mentions the why are these two statements necessarily inconsistent with each other? Why may MS. in the thirteenth century may surely not the parson of Arley have lived as an have been as well acquainted with Laya. inmate with “the good knight" at the mon's personal history as Sir Frederic manor-house? The monk who wrote the Madden in the nineteenth. Gant, Mag. Yol. XXIX.

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