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guages*, in which he made so rapid a progress, that he wrote a Latin, a Greek, and an Italian Grammar. He makes great complaints of the ignorance of his times, and fays, that the Regular Priests studied chiefly scholastic divinity, and that the Secular Priests applied themselves to the study of the Roman law, but never turned their thoughts to philosophy. The learned Dr. Freind, in his History of Physic, very justly calls this extraordinary man " the ** miracle of the age in which he lived;" and fays, that he was the greatest mechanical genius that had appeared since the days of Archimedes. Roger Bacon, in a Treatise upon Optical Glasses, describes the Camera Obscura, with all sorts of glasses that magnify or diminish any object, bring it nearer to the eye, or remove it farther; and Dr. Freind says, that the telescope was evidently known to him. "Some of these, and "his other mathematical instruments," adds that learned Writer, "cost 200I. or 300I."
* How much the study of the learned languages was neglected in his time, Roger Bacon himself informs us; for in a letter to his patron Clement the Fourth, he tells him, that there were not four among the Italians who understood the grammatical rudiments of Greek, Latin, and Italian; and he adds, that even the Latin tongue, for the beauty and correctness of it, was scarcely known to any one. He fays, that the Scholars, as they were then called, were fitter for the cradle than for the chair.
and and Bacon says himself, that in twenty years he spent 2000I. in books and in tools; a prodigious sum for such kinds of expences in his day!
Bacon was almost the only Astronomer of his age; for he took notice of an error in the Calendar with respect to the aberration of the solar year; and proposed to his patron, Clement the Fourth, a plan for correcting it in 1267, which was adopted three hundred years afterwards by Gregory XIII.
Bacon was a chymist also, and wrote upon medicine. There is still in print a work of his, on retarding the advances of old age, and on preserving the faculties clear and entire to the remotest period of life; but, with a littleness unworthy of so great a mind as his was, he fays, "that he does not choose to express himself so "clearly as he might have done respecting diet "and medicines, lest what he writes should fall "into the hands of the Infidels."
Gunpowder, or at least a powder that had the fame effect, seems to have been known to him, if he were not the inventor of it; for, in a letter to John Parisiensis, he fays,
"In omnem dijiantiam qaam volumus, pojfumus ** artificialiter componere ignem comburentem, ex B 2 ** sale "sale petra et aliis, viz. sulphure & carbonum "pulveirem. Prater bane, (scilicet combujiionem,) "sunt alia Jlupenda, nam foni velut tonitus et cor"ruscationes fieri poffunt in dire, immo majore bor** rore quam ilia qua fiunt per naturam:—By our "skill we can compose an artisicial fire, burning "to any distance we please, made from sait"petre and other things, as sulphur and char"coal powder. Besides this power of com** bustion> it possesses other wonderful pro"perties; for sounds like those of thunder and "coruscations can be made in the air, more "horrid than those occasioned by Nature."
EDWARD THE THIRD.
"This Monarch," says a French Historian, "was desirous that his son, Edward the Black "Prince, should have all the honour of the "glorious day at Cressy. He wished to teach "him to be victorious, and he entrusted him "to two Noblemen very proper for that pur"pose. He said to him, after the battle, Beau "sis, Dieu vous doit bonne perseverance; vous ** etes mon fils, car loyaument vous etes acquite en "ce jour,ft etes digne de terre tenir."
Aimeri di Pavia, an Italian by whom Edward the Third was educated, was entrusted by him with the government of Calais, then lately taken from the French. He had agreed for a certain sum to restore it to them; and Geoffroy de Charny, the Governor of St. Omer, was on a day sixed to bring the money, and enter the town. On the day appointed, he came with some chosen troops, placed them near Calais, and sent in the money to the Governor. A delay took place, under pretence that the money was wrong; and Edward the Third, to whom Aimeri had discovered the whole transaction, rushed out on horseback, disguised, with some horsemen, to attack the French troops. Among them was a Knight celebrated for his bravery, named Eustache de Ribaumont. The King, desirous to try his strength with him, cried out, "A moi, Ribaumont!" The valiant French Knight immediately flew at him with great violence, and unhorsed him. Edward, remounting, attacked him again with great bravery, but could make no impression upon him: at last, Ribaumont finding himself alone, his friends and companions having fled, surrendered himself to Edward, without knowing that he had the honour of being made prisoner by a Sovereign. Edward conducted him to the Castle of Calais, where, among some other soldiers, he B 3 found found the Governor of St. Omer. "For you, "Sir," said he to Charny, " I have very little "reason to love you, for you wished to get "from me for sixty thousand crowns, what had "cost me much more. For you, Messire Ribau"mont Eustache, of all the Knights in the "world that I have ever seen, you best know "how to attack your enemy, and to defend "yourself. I never in my life was engaged in "any combat, in which I had more to do to "defend myself than I have had just now with "you. I give you very readily the glory of it, "and that of being above all the Knights of my "Court, as I am in honour obliged to do by a "just judgment." At the fame time the generous Prince, taking from his own head a coronet of pearls, which he had worn, placed it on that of Ribaumont, and told him to wear it for that year, as a mark of his courage. "I know," added Edward, ** Messire Eustache, that you "are gay, fond of the ladies, and delight in f* their company; so wherever you go, always "mention that I gave you this coronet. I re"lease you from your prison, and you may quit "Calais to-morrow, if you please."