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Pope. Besides which, he founded the first professorship in Italy of the Syriac and Chaldaic languages in the university of Bologna.
With regard to the politics of the times, Leo had two leading objects in view: the maintenance of that balance of power, which might protect Italy from the overbearing influence of any foreign potentate; and the aggrandisement, of the house of Medici. To effect these ends, and to consolidate his own power, it must be confessed that he stopped at no measures, however rapacious or unjust, at no line of conduct, however treacherous or criminal. Yet he regarded with little less than contempt, (and in this respect his sagacity may be fairly questioned,) those beginnings of the Reformation under Luther, which afterwards produced such important consequences throughout Europe. Even when his interference with the doctrines promulgated by the German doctor was at length deemed necessary, he was inclined to adopt a lenient course. It was during the progress of that future contest which he justly viewed in a more serious light, that he conferred on our Henry VIII. the title of "Defender of the Faith," for his appearance on the side of the Church as a controversial writer. But, in the very midst of polemical and political warfarein the full indulgence of his tastes for art, learn
ing, and magnificence—and in the unmitigated thirst for aggrandisement, both as regarded his see and family-he was seized with an illness, which put a period to his life in a few days, on the first of December, 1521, when in the fortysixth of his age.
It must not be denied that this Pontiff, however worthy (from circumstances unconnected with his moral character) to appear prominently in the pages of biography, was stained with many of the worst vices, and practised several of the worst crimes, that had disgraced his predecessors. And it has been not improperly observed, that even his patronage of learning wanted justice and discrimination; since it excluded Ariosto and Erasmus, two of the greatest men of the age, and included such worthless characters as Aretin and Niso, not to speak of a number of less known writers, whose merit rose no higher than that of being able to pen amorous Italian sonnets, or panegyrical Latin verses. With respect to the arts, too, it has been very justly remarked, that when he ascended the papal throne they were at their meridian. He found greater talents than he employed, and greater works commenced than he completed. Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Angelo, and Raffaello, performed their master-pieces before his accession; Bramante, the architect of St. Peter's, died in the second year of his pontificate;
and Da Vinci and Michael Angelo shared none of his favours. It is from his attachment to Raffaello, that he derives his strongest claims as a patron of art; yet even some part of his conduct towards this artist makes us question if he had a very refined taste. Raffaello made thirteen cartoons of religious subjects, to complete the decoration of the Hall of Constantine; and had sent them to Flanders, to be returned in worsted copies, without any care to preserve the originals; neither was any inquiry made concerning them after the subjects were manufactured into tapestry. By accident, seven of these cartoons are yet to be seen in this country, and may enable us to appreciate the judgment in painting of the Pontiff who could so easily forget them. Yet Leo must not be deprived of the merit that really belongs to him. He did much for the age, and for posterity, by drawing together the learned of his time; forming eminent schools; and, above all perhaps, by promoting the art of printing, at that period of incalculable importance to the advancement of literature. In these respects, and on account of the share he had in precipitating the Refor mation, his short pontificate of eight years and eight months must be allowed to form one of the most interesting periods in papal history, and well worthy the elegant illustration it has (from Roscoe in particular) received.
OF ENGLISH ANTIQUITY.
GREENSTEAD CHURCH, (near Chipping Ongar) Essex. Is perhaps the single remaining example in the kingdom of the wooden churches of Saxon times. This singular edifice is entirely, composed of wood; the walls, the tower, and the porch, being alike constructed of that material. The walls are formed of the trunks of large chesnut trees, split or sawn asunder. These are set upright, close to each other, being let into a rill and plate, and fastened at the top with wooden pins. On the south side are sixteen of these massive timbers, and two door-posts; on the north twenty-one, and two vacancies filled up with plaister.-There is a tradition among the inhabitants of the vil lage, that the corpse of a king once rested in this church, Such popular oral records frequently deserve more attention than is bestowed on them. Let the antiquary but clear his brow, and consult his store of recollections, and he may discover that more is
conveyed than meets the ear" in this simple saying of the villagers. In a manuscript preserved in the library of Lambeth Palace, we are told that "in 1010, St. Edmund was taken by Bishop Aylwin to London; but in the third year following, was carried back to St. Edmund's Bury, and that a certain person, at Stapleford, received his body on its return." Another manuscript, cited in the Monasticon, relates this circumstance; "St. Edmund's body was received at Ongar, where a wooden chapel, erected to his memory, remains to this day." Now it is to be observed, that the ancient road from London into Suffolk lay through Greenstead and Stapleford; and Greenstead is contiguous to Ongar. It seems not improbable, therefore, that this rough and unpolished fabric was first erected as a sort of shrine for the body of St. Edmund, on its return from London to Bury: and that, being permitted to remain in memory of that event, it became, with the subsequent additions of the porch and tower, a parish-church. Though the places mentioned as those at which the body was received, and the chapel erected, differ in these manuscripts-and though neither of them speak of Greenstead-inaccuracies in the serespects might easily arise from the contiguity of the several spots, and other circumstances which