1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Norden

Thomas Hearne to Mr. Norden, 1726; Reliquae Hearniae, ed. Bliss (1869) 2:256-57.



Mr. Norden's character is well known form what is already printed of his Speculum Britanniae. Yet I think nothing of his that I have seen equals his Topographical and Historical Description of Cornwall, that you lodg'd with me for a few days. But the mapps being wanting in the MS. I cannot judge of the whole. He took a right method to trace the originall of places, by making himself acquainted, in some degree, with the Saxon tongue. Nor did he neglect even the Brittish language. Even Geffry of Monmouth was, in many respects, a favourite author with him. And that justly, since 'tis certain, that Geffrey is in many things an author of credit. The most early accounts in other countries, as well as our own, were brought down by tradition. And therefore 'tis rather a wonder, that there are no more inconsistencies in Geffry. Mr. Norden being sensible of this, hath modestly apologized for him. And so, without doubt, had he seen it, he would have done for the British Chronicle in Jesus College Library, which contains more historical facts than are in Geffry, and ought to be printed by such as are versed in the British language. There are many other pieces as yet unpublished of Norden. I hope these may be retrieved also, and I think his Preparative to the whole should be reprinted, as it was first published at London in 1596 in 31 pages in 8vo. But this little thing I never yet saw, only I have some MSS. extracts from it, that were given me by a friend. But I leave this, and other matters of this kind, to more proper judges than, Sir,

your most obliged

humble servant,

Tho. Hearne.

Edmund Hall, Oxford,

Sept 6. 1726.