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BlegaBRIDE LANGAURIDE.-Philip Comineus observeth, that to have a short name is a great advantage to a favourite, because a king may readily remember and quickly call him. If so the writer aforesaid is ill qualified for a favourite. But let him then pronounce his own name, for others will not trouble themselves therewith. He attained to be a great scholar, doctor of both laws, and archdeacon of the church of Llandaff. He, to the honour of his country, and use of posterity, translated the laws of Howell, the most modest king of Wales; and flourished 914.*
SALEPHILAX the BARD.-This mungrel name seemeth to have in it an eye or cast of Greek and Latin ; but we are assured of his Welch extraction. In inquiring after his works, my success hath been the same with the painful thresher of mill-dewed wheat, gaining little more than straw and chaff. All the grain I can get is this, that he set forth a Genealogy of the Britains, and flourished about the year 920.†
GWALTERUS CALENIUS (may we not English him Walter of Calen?) was a Cambrian by his nativity. though preferred to be archdeacon of Oxford. He is highly prized, for his great learning, by Leland and others. This was he who took the pains to go over into Britanny in France, and thence retrieved an ancient manuscript of the British princes, from Brutus to Cadwalader. Nor was his labour more in recovering, than his courtesy in communicating, this rarity to Jeffrey of Monmouth, to translate the same into Latin. Nor was this Walter himself idle, continuing the same chronicle for four hundred years together, until his own time. He flourished anno Domini 1120, under king Henry the First.
GUALO BRYTANNUS, born in Wales, was from his infancy a servant to the Muses, and lover of poetry. That he might enjoy himself the better herein, he retired into a private place, from the noise of all people;§ and became an anchorite, for his fancy, not devotion, according to the poet :
Carmina secessum scribentis et otia quærunt.
"Verses justly do request
Their writer's privacy and rest."
Here his pen fell foul on the monks, whose covetousness in that age was so great, that of that subject,
Difficile est Satiram non scribere.
""Twas hard for any then to write,
He wrote also invectives against their wantonness and impos
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. ii. num. 23.
† Idem, Cent. ii. num. 29.
Idem, num. 65.
§ Idem, Cent. iii. num.5.
tures; and yet it seems did it with that cautiousness, that he incurred no danger. Indeed he is commended by John of Salisbury and others, quod esset prudens et doctus. He flourished anno Domini 1170, under king Henry the Second.
WILLIAM BRETON was born (saith Bale and Pits, the latter alleging one Willot for his author) in Wales; bred a Franciscan at Grimsby in Lincolnshire. I will not quarrel his Cambrian extraction; but may safely remind the reader, that there was an ancient family of the Bretons at Ketton in Rutland next Lincolnshire, where this William had his education.
But let this Breton be Brito (believing the allusion in sound not the worst evidence for his Welch original); sure it is, he was a great scholar, and deep divine; the writer of many books both in verse and prose; and of all, his master-piece was an Exposition of all the hard words of the Bible, which thus begins:
Difficiles studio partes, quas Biblia* gestat,
Dante juvamen eo, nihil insuperabile restat, &c.
"Hard places which the Bible doth contain,
I study to expound; but all in vain,
Without God's help, who darkness doth explain,
Such the reputation of his book, that, in the controversy betwixt Standish bishop of Saint Asaph and Erasmus [contest unequal] the former appeals to Breton's book, about the interpretation of a place in Scripture.† This William died at Grimsby, anno Domini 1356.
UTRED BOLTON was born, saith Leland, ex transabrinâ gente. Now though parts of Salop, Worcester, and Gloucestershire, with all Herefordshire, be beyond Severn, yet in such doubtful nativities England giveth up the cast, rather than to make a contest to measure it. Troublesome times made him leave his country, and travel to Durham, where he became a Benedictine. He had a rare natural happiness, that the promptness and pleasantness of his parts commended all things that he did or said. This so far ingratiated him with the abbot of his convent, that he obtained leave to go to Oxford, to file his nature the brighter by learning.
Hither he came in the heat of the difference betwixt WickIliffe and his adversaries. Bolton sided with both, and with neither; consenting in some things with Wickliffe, dissenting in others, as his conscience directed him.
William Jordan, a Dominican, (and northern man) was so madded hereat, that he fell foul on Bolton, both with his writing and preaching. Bolton, angry hereat, expressed himself
A nominative case singular, according to the barbarism of that age.-F. + Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. v. num. 89. Idem, num. 53.
more openly for Wickliffe, especially in that his smart book, "Pro Veris Monachis," (for true monks, or monks indeed), parellel with Saint Paul's widows indeed, which were to be honoured, showing what sanctity and industry was required of them. Hereat the anger of Jordan did overflow, endeavouring (and almost effecting) to get Bolton excommunicated for a heretic. This learned man flourished under king Richard the Second 1330.
JOHN GWENT was born in Wales ;t bred a Franciscan in Oxford, till he became Provincial of his order throughout all Britain. He wrote a learned comment on "Lambard's Common Places," and is charactered a person "qui in penitiore recognitæ prudentiæ cognitione se vel admirabilem ostenderet." Here endeth Leland's writing of him, and beginneth Bale's railing on him, pretending himself to be the truest touchstone of spirits, and trying men thereby. Yet doth he not charge our Gwent with any thing peculiar to him alone, but common to the rest of his order, telling us (what we knew before) " that all mendicants were acted with an ill genius, being sophisters, cavillers, &c.;" this bee being no more guilty than the whole hive therein. He died at Hereford, in the verge of his native country, 1348.
JOHN EDE was (saith Bale) genere Wallus, by extraction a Welchman, immediately adding patriá Herefordensi, by his country a Herefordshire man. We now, for quietness sake, resign him wholly to the former. Yet was he a person worth contending for. Leland saith much in little of him, when praising him to be "vir illustris famâ, eruditione, et religione." He wrote several comments on Aristotle, Peter Lambard, and the Revelation. He was chief of the Franciscans' convent in Hereford, where he was buried, in the reign of king Henry the Fourth, 1406.
DAVID BOYS.-Let not Kent pretend unto him, wherein his surname is so ancient and numerous, our author assuring us of his British extraction.§ He studied in Oxford (saith Leland), no less to his own honour than the profit of others reaping much benefit by his books. Having his breeding at Oxford, he had a bounty for Cambridge; and, compassing the writings of John Barningham his fellow-Carmelite, he got them fairly transcribed in four volumes, and bestowed them on the library in Cambridge, where Bale beheld them in his time. He was very familiar (understand it in a good way) with Eleanor Cobham, duchess of Gloucester, whence we collect him at least a parcel-Wickliffite. Of the many books he wrote,
1 Tim. v. 3. † Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. v. num. 81,
fain would I see that intituled "Of Double Immortality," whether intending thereby the immortality of soul and body, or of the memory here and soul hereafter. I would likewise satisfy myself in his book about "The Madness of the Hagarens," whether the Mahometans be not meant thereby, pretending themselves descended from Sarah, when indeed they are the issue of the bond-woman. He was prefect of the Carmelites in Gloucester, where he died 1450. Let me add, that his surname is Latined Boethius; and so Wales hath her David Boethius, whom in some respects she may vie with Hector Boethius of Scotland.
SINCE THE REFORMATION.
Sir JOHN RHESE, alias AP RYSE, Knight, was born in Wales; noble by his lineage, but more by his learning. He was well versed in the British antiquities, and would not leave a hoof of his country's honour behind, which could be brought up to go along with him. Now so it was that Polydore Vergil, that proud Italian, bare a pique to the British, from their ancient independency from the Pope. Besides, he could not so easily compass the Welch records into his clutches, that so he might send them the same way with many English manuscripts, which he had burnt to ashes. This made him slight the credit of Welch authors, whom our Sir John was a zealot to assert, being also a champion to vindicate the story of king Arthur. Besides, he wrote "A Treatise of the Eucharist;" and, by the good words Bale bestoweth upon him,* we believe him a favourer of the Reformation, flourishing under king Edward the Sixth, 1550.
JOHN GRIFFIN was born in Wales ;† bred first a Cistercian friar in Hales Abbey in Gloucestershire. After the dissolution of his convent, he became a painful and profitable preacher. He suited the pulpit with sermons for all seasons, having his Conciones Estivales et Brumales, which he preached in English, and wrote in Latin; flourishing under king Edward the Sixth, anno Domini 1550.
HUGH BROUGHTON was born in Wales, but very nigh unto Shropshire. He used to speak much of his gentility, and of his arms, which were the owls, presaging, as he said, his addiction to the study of Greek, because those were the birds of Minerva, and the emblem of Athens. I dare not deny his gentle extraction; but it was probable that his parents were fallen to great decay, as by the ensuing story will appear.
When Mr. Barnard Gilpin, that apostolic man, was going his annual journey to Oxford, from his living at Houghton in the
Bale, de Scriptoribus Britannicis, Cent. ix. num. 57. † Pits, de Angliæ Scriptoribus, ætat. 16, anno 1550.
north, he spied by the way-side a youth, one while walking, another while running; of whom Mr. Gilpin demanded whence he came. He answered, out of Wales, and that he was a-going to Oxford with intent to be a scholar.*
Mr. Gilpin, perceiving him pregnant in the Latin, and having some smattering in the Greek tongue, carried him home to Houghton, where being much improved in the languages, he sent him to Christ's College in Cambridge. It was not long before his worth preferred him fellow of the house.
This was that Broughton so famous for his skill in the Hebrew; a great ornament of that university, and who had been a greater, had the heat of his brain and peremptoriness of his judgment been tempered with more moderation; being ready to quarrel with any who did not presently and perfectly embrace his opinions. He wrote many books, whereof one, called "The Consent of Times," carrieth the general commendation.
As his industry was very commendable, so his ingratitude must be condemned, if it be true what I read; that when master Gilpin, his Mæcenas (by whose care, and on whose cost he was bred, till he was able to breed himself), grew old, he procured him to be troubled and molested by doctor Barnes, bishop of Durham, in expectation of his parsonage, as some shrewdly suspect.†
At last he was fixed in the city of London, where he taught many citizens and their apprentices the Hebrew tongue. He was much flocked after for his preaching, though his sermons were generally on subjects rather for curiosity than edification. I conjecture his death to be about the year of our Lord 1600.
HUGH HOLLAND was born in Wales, and bred first a scholar in Westminster, then fellow in Trinity College in Cambridge. No bad English but a most excellent Latin poet. Indeed he was addicted to the new-old religion: new, in comparison of truth itself; yet old, because confessed of long continuance. He travelled beyond the seas, and in Italy (conceiving himself without ear-reach of the English) let fly freely against the credit of queen Elizabeth. Hence he went to Jerusalem, though there he was not made, or he would not own himself, Knight of the Sepulchre. In his return he touched at Constantinople, where Sir Thomas Glover, ambassador for king James, called him to an account for his scandalum reginæ at Rome, and the former over-freedom of his tongue cost him the confinement for a time in prison. Enlarged at last, returning into England with his good parts bettered by learning, and great learning increased with experience in travel; he expected presently to be chosen clerk of the council at least; but, preferment not answering his expectation, he grumbled out the rest of his life in visible
Bishop Carleton, in the Life of Mr. Gilpin. † Idem, ibidem.