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inveterate compilers." Of course, if the History of Croyland by Ingulphus be rejected, its continuation to A.D. 1118, attributed to Peter of Blois, which was also contained in the Cotton and Sir John Marsham's codices, and is published in Fulman's Collection, must be included in the same sentence, its pretended author having died long before the date at which, upon this supposition, the work he professes to continue was written.


Putting Ingulphus and his continuator aside, our oldest historian of the Conquest will be William of Poitiers (Guillelmus Pictavensis, Pictaviensis, or Pictavinus), whose Life of the Conqueror (Gesta Guillelmi Ducis Normannorum et Regis Anglorum) was published by Duchesne in his Historia Normannorum Scriptores, Paris, 1619, and has been reprinted by Baron Maseres in his useful selection from that scarce volume, Lon. 1808. A new edition is also announced as in preparation by the Historical Society; and a translation into French, originally published at Caen in 1826, is included in M. Guizot's Collection des Mémoires relatifs à l'Histoire de France, jusqu'au 13e siècle,' 31 vols. 8vo., Paris, 1820-35. Unfortunately the only known MS. of the work, which is in the Cotton Library at the British Museum, is imperfect: Ordericus Vitalis (writing in the beginning of the next century) expressly describes the narrative as ending with the death of Earl Edwin in 1070, but what we have of it comes down only to March, or April, 1067. The beginning is also wanting. What remains, however, which includes the English and Norman story from the death of Canute in 1035, when

the Norman duke was only eight years old, to his coronation as king of England after the victory of Hastings, and the first acts of his reign, is of the highest value. William of Poitiers was not an Englishman; he was a native of Normandy, and derived his surname of Pictaviensis from having received his education at Poitiers; but he appears to have accompanied his hero and patron on his expedition to England, and in that as well as in the other parts of his story, to relate for the most part what he had seen with his own eyes. He had been in close attendance upon or connexion with the Conqueror for the greater part of their lives, having first served under him as a soldier, and having afterwards been made his chaplain-if indeed he may not, like Friar Tuck with Robin Hood in the next age, have officiated at the same time in both these capacities. No one, therefore, could have enjoyed better opportunities of observing and appreciating William in all aspects of his character, public and domestic, as a sovereign and as a man; and Pictaviensis had both head and heart enough of his own to comprehend the high nature with which he was thus brought into contact. His biography of the Conqueror is throughout a cordial and sympathizing narrative—a full-length picture of a great man drawn at least with no timid hand. Yet there is no profession or apparent design of defence or panegyric, and but little direct expression of admiration; that feeling is too natural, too habitual, too much a matter of course with the worthy chaplain to be very often or very emphatically expressed; with no misgivings either of his subject or of his reader, he contents himself for the most part with stating facts, and leaving them to speak for them

selves. The work, it may be added, is written with considerable ambition of eloquence; Pictaviensis had had a learned education to begin with, which his campaigning did not knock out of him, so that, when he returned in his old age to his native country and was made archdeacon of Lisieux, he was esteemed quite a shining light of scholarship in the Norman church. In the judgment of Ordericus Vitalis his Latin is an imitation of that of Sallust; and in the same subtle and artistic style, we are told, he also wrote much verse, none of which, however, appears to be now extant. The statement elsew here made by Ordericus, we may remark by the by, that circumstances prevented William of Poitiers from bringing down his history, as he had intended to do, to the death of the Conqueror (whom it may be inferred he survived), negatives Camden's conjecture that a remarkable fragment, taken from an ancient book belonging to the monastery of St. Stephen at Caen, which he has printed in his collection, containing an account of the Conqueror's last hours, and of his death and funeral, may probably be the composition of this writer. At any rate, it is no part of the present work. Nor indeed does the style resemble that of Pictaviensis. It is, however, a curious and striking narrative. The English reader will find a translation of it in Stow's Chronicle.


Ordericus Vitalis is the author of a general Ecclesiastical History, beginning from the Creation and coming down to A.D. 1141, the whole of which, consisting of thirteen books, and occupying above 600 folio pages, or


more than the half of his collection, Duchesne has printed. A new edition of the entire work, by M. A. le Provost, has recently been at least begun under the auspices of the Société de l'Histoire de France, 8vo. Paris, 1834, &c. Ordericus, or Ordricus, who eventually became a monk of the monastery of Uticum, or St. Evroult, in Normandy, was of English birth; he was born at a village which he calls Attingesham (Atcham) on the Severn, in Shropshire, in 1075; and, although he had been carried to the Continent to be educated for the ecclesiastical profession when he was only in his eleventh year, and spent all the rest of his life abroad, he continued to take a special interest in the affairs of his native country, and of its Norman sovereigns, with whom his father, whom he calls Odelerius, the son of Constantius of Orleans, had probably been nearly connected as principal counsellor (præcipuo consiliario), whatever that may mean, to Roger Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury, who was one of the followers of the Conqueror. He is accordingly very full in his account of English transactions from the epoch of the Norman Conquest; and his history is particularly valuable in the portion of it from A.D. 1066 to 1070, as in some sort supplying what is lost of that of Pictaviensis, whose narrative he professes generally to have followed, although not without both omissions and variations. This portion of the History of Ordericus Vitalis, making about a thirteenth part of the whole, has been reprinted by Maseres in his 'Selecta Monumenta;' and there is a French translation of the entire work in the collection of ancient French Mémoires' published at Paris under the superintendence of M. Guizot. (Vols. 25, 26, 27, and 28.)


Another valuable portion of the English history of this period by a contemporary writer, which Duchesne has published, is the tract entitled Gesta Stephani,' filling about fifty of his pages. It is by a partizan of Stephen, but is probably the fairest, as it is the fullest and most distinct, account we have of his turbulent reign.

In Duchesne's Collection is likewise the History, in eight books, of the Dukes of Normandy, by William, the monk of Jumieges, surnamed Calculus-Willelmi Calculi Gemmeticensis Monachi Historia Normannorum-which Camden had printed before, from a worse manuscript and less correctly, in his Anglica, Normannica, &c. Of this also there is a French translation in M. Guizot's Collection (vol. 29): it was originally published at Caen, along with William of Poitiers, in 1826. Gemmeticensis in the earlier part of his work, down to the accession of Duke Richard II., the great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, in 996, is little more than an abridger of the earlier Norman historian Dudo (also in Duchesne); but there are a few facts not elsewhere to be found in the sequel, which brings down the narrative of Norman and English affairs to his own time, and which is farther continued through the reigns of the Conqueror and his two sons, apparently by another hand; for Gemmeticensis dedicates his work to the Conqueror, and Ordericus Vitalis expressly states that he finished it with the battle of Hastings.

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