For the maintenance of which their conceit, they alleage both Virgil in that verse of his, Et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos: And Britans people quite disjoyn'd from all the world besides. Because Britaine, saith Servius Honoratus, was in times past joyned to the maine. And also Claudian, who in imitation of him wrote thus: Britaine, a land, which severed is from this our [Roman] world.
That the providence of God hath ordained divers things to one and the same end, who knoweth not? Howbeit, this age of ours hath now at length by many and sundry voyages, found out in some sort the true dimension and just compasse of the whole Isle, For, from the point Tarvision unto the cape Belerium, the reaches and crooked turnings of the sea-banks along the West considered, there are reckoned much about DCCCXII miles: As for Schitinius Chius, I have no reason once to name him, who having in Apollonius among other wonders tolde us strange tales of fruits growing in Britaine without kernels, and of grapes without stone and seed, hath bounded it within the precinct of CCC stadia and no more.
Climate, and include it within the They thinke also the longest day there, to be So that, according to this site, Britaine is seated aswell for aire as soile, in a right fruitfull and most milde place. The aire so kinde and temperate, that not only the Summers be not excessive hote, by reason of continuall gentle windes that abate their heat which as they refresh the fruits of the earth, so they yeeld a most holsome and pleasing contentment both to man and beast but the Winters also are passing milde: Whereupon it is, that Minutius Foelix, proving that God by his providence hath a speciall regard of the severall parts of the world as well as of the whole, saith, That Britaine though it want other whiles the aspect of the Sunne, yet refreshed it is with the warmth of the sea flowing round about it.
Neither neede you to marvell at his speech, concerning the warmth of the sea. Caesar likewise writeth thus; The places in Britaine be more temperate by reason that the weather is not so cold than in France.
Semblably Cornelius Tacitus; No extremitie there is of cold: For the aire, as Strabo writeth, is subject rather to showres of raine, than to snow. Contrariwise, an infinite multitude there is of tame cattell with udders strutting full of milke, and loaden with fleeces: Moreover, the singular love and motherly affection of Nature to this Island, a Poet of good antiquitie hath by way of a speech made unto Britaine lively expressed thus, in this Epigram, which some have judged not unworthy to be divulged.
Quicquid amat luxus, quicquid desiderat usus, Ex te proveniet, vel aliunde tibi. For aire, so mild and temperate right pleasing is thy seat; Where reigneth neither chilling cold, nor yet excessive heat. What ever vaine excesse affects, what may mans need content, Shall come from thee, or else to thee, from other lands be sent.
Neither can we hope to attaine unto any certaintie heerein, more than all other nations, which setting those aside that have their originall avouched unto them out of holy Scripture as well as wee, touching their point, abide in great darkenesse, errour and ignorance. And how, to speake truly, can it otherwise be? For the first inhabitours of countreys had other cares and thoughts to busie and trouble their heads, than to deliver their beginnings unto posteritie.
And say, they had been most willing so to do, yet possibly could they not, seeing their life was so uncivill, so rude, so full of warres, and therefore void of all literature; which keeping companie with a civill life, by peace and repose, is onely able to preserve the memorie of things, and to make over the same to the succeeding ages. But, to let passe all the rest, one Geffrey Ap Arthur, of Monmouth among us whom I would not pronounce in this behalfe liable to this suspicion in the raigne of K.
Henrie the Second, published an Historie of Britaine, and that out of the British tongue, as hee saith himselfe: Thus farre Geffrey [of Monmouth].
Yet others there bee, that fetch the name of Britaine from some other causes. Pomponius Laetus reporteth, that the Britons out of Armorica in France, gave it that name. These are all the opinions to my knowledge that have beene received touching the name of Britaine. And verily, in these and such like cases, an easier matter it is to impeach the false, than to teach and maintaine a truth.
That the drinke called Brithin was ever in use among our countrymen, can hardly be proved: But to come now to our owne countrimens conjectures. But as touching those reports of Brutus; were they true, certaine, and undoubted, there is no cause why any man should bestow farther study and labor in searching out the beginning of the Britaines: For mine owne part, it is not my intent, I assure you, to discredit and confute that story which goes of him, for the upholding whereof, I call Truth to record I have from time to time streined to the heighth, all that little wit of mine.
For that were, to strive with the streame and currant of time; and to struggle against an opinion commonly and long since received. How then may I, a man of so meane parts, and small reckoning, be so bold, as to sit in examination of a matter so important, and thereof definitively to determine? Let every man, for me, judge as it pleaseth him; and of what opinion soever the Reader shall be of, verily I will not make it a point much material.
And this they averre by the authoritie of Varro, the most learned writer of all the Romans: Gildas, being himselfe a wise and learned Britaine, who lived a thousand yeares since, hath not one word of this Brutus, and doubteth whether the old Britaines had any records or writings, whereby they might convey unto posteritie, their own beginning and Historie; professing that he wrote, by the relation which hee had from beyond-sea, and not by any direction out of the writings of his owne country, or any records left by writers: Ninius also, disciple of Eluodugus, taking in hand to write a Chronicle, eight hundred yeares agoe, complaineth that the great Masters and Doctors of Britaine, had no skill, and left no memoriall in writing: And before that time verily not one man, as they say, made any mention at all of the said Brutus.
They adde thus much moreover, that about the same time, the Scotish writers falsely devised Scota the Egyptian Pharaoes daughter to bee the Foundresse of their nation.
Then also it was, that some misspending their wit and time, yea and offring violent abuse unto the truth, forged out of their owne braines, for the Irish, their Hiberus; for the Danes, their Danus; for the Brabanders, their Brabo; for the Goths, their Gothus; and for the Saxons, their Saxo; as it were the Stock-fathers of the said nations. Whereas the Frenchmen, quoth Turnibus a right learned man, stand highly upon their descent from the Trojanes, they doe it in emulation of the Romans, whom they seeing to beare themselves proud of that Pedigree and noble stocke, would needs take unto themselves also the like reputation: And for that the Scots, such as be of the wiser sort, have cast off their Scota; and truth it selfe hath chased away Hiberus, Danus, Brabo, and the rest of these counterfeit Demi-gods, and Worthies of the same stampe: Why the Britans should so much sticke unto their Brutus, as the name-giver of their Island, and to the Trojane originall, they greatly wonder: Furthermore, they avouch, that very many out of the grave Senate of great Clerks, by name, Boccace, Vives, Hadr.
Albanes, a most judicious man; who in his Granarie wrote of this point long since in this manner: First, because their is no where mention made in the Roman stories, either of killing the father, or of the said birth, or yet of putting away the sonne. And thirdly, Sylvius Posthumus, whom perhaps Geffrey meaneth, was the sonne of Aeneas by his wife Lavinia; and hee begetting his sonne Aeneas in the eight and thirtieeh yeare of his reigne, ended the course of his life by naturall death.
The Kingdome therefore, now called England, was not heeretofore, as many will have it, named Britaine of Brutus the sonne of Sylvius. Wherefore, it is in their opinion a vaine peice of worke, and ridiculous enough, to challenge noble bloud, and yet to want a probable ground of their challenge.
In a second rancke they place William of Newborough a writer of much greater authoritie, who too too sharply charged Geffrey the Compiler of the British history, for his untruth, so soone as ever it came forth, in these words: A certaine writer quoth he, in these our daies hath risen up, who deviseth foolish fictions and tales of the Britaines, and in a vaine humour of his owne, extolleth them farre above the valorous Macedonians and Romans both: And a little after: Others there bee, who in this narration of Brutus, laugh at the foolish Topographie set downe by this Geffrey; as also how falsly hee hath produced Homer as a witnesse: As for these observations and judgements of other men, which I have recited, I beseech you, let no man commence action against mee, a plaine meaning man, and an ingenuous student of the truth, as though I impeached that narration of Brutus; forasmuch as it hath been alwaies I hope lawfull for every man in such like matters, both to thinke what he will, and also to relate what others have thought.
For mine owne part, let Brutus be taken for the father, and founder of the British nation; I will not be of a contrary mind. Let the Britaines resolve still of their originall, to have proceeded from the Trojans into which stocke, as I will hereafter prove, they may truely ingraffe themselves I will not gain-stand it.
By which words neverthelesse, S. Augustine gathereth, that the said most learned Varro confesseth although not stoutly nor confidently, yet covertly that these opinions are altogether truthlesse. That some of their posteritie came to this Isle after the families were by little and little spred and dispersed abroad, both reason it selfe, and also the authoritie of Theophilus Antiochenus, doe joyntly prove.
When as, saith hee, in old time, there were few men in Arabia and Chaldaea, after the division of tongues they encreased and multiplied more and more.
Heereupon some departed toward the East, some gat them to the spacious and open main-land: Of which very many afterward became changed, the rest remaine as they were. For, the name of Cimbrians or Cimerians filled in some sort this part of the world: For even they call themselves ordinarily Kumero, Cymro and Kumeri: Neither acknowledge they any other names: That the Germans came of Aschenaz, the Turks from Togorma, sonnes of Gomer, the learned doe verily thinke, because the Jewes even at this day call these, Togormah; like as the former, Aschenas.
For, the name accordeth passing well: For Gomer in the Hebrew tongue, betokeneth utmost Bordering. Neither let any man by way of reproch, object unto our Cumeri or Cimbri, what Sext. Pompeius hath writen, That theeves in the French tongue are called Cimbri. But because those nations were so given, therefore they that are such beare their names. Neither let any man marvell, wherefore I call not Berosus heere to take my part, out of whom writers in these daies furnish themselves with so great meanes.
Certes, to speake my mind at once, the edge of that Berosus his authoritie, who commonly goeth under that name, is in my account so Blunt and dull, that I together with the best learned of our age, as namely Volaterran, Vives, Antonius Augustinus, Melchior Canus, and especially Gaspar Varrerius, thinke it to be nothing else, but a ridiculous figment of some craftie foister and jugling deceiver; which Varrerius in his Censure of Berosus Printed at Rome, is soone able to remove out of the Readers minds that errour of theirs so deepely setled, concerning this writer.
This is mine opinion and conjecture rather of the Britans originall: For in things of so great Antiquitie, a man may more easily proceede by guesse, than upon grounded reason pronounce sentence either way. And that I may this doe, let me, I pray you, with favourable good leave range abroad for a while at my pleasure. That they were named also Cimbri, may be gathered out of Cicero and Appian.
Those Barbarians whom Marius defeated, Cicero plainely termeth Gauls. Marius, quoth he, repressed the armies of the Gauls, entring in great numbers into Italy.
But all Historiographers witnesse, that they were Cimbrians: The Celts or Gauls, quoth he, whom they call Cimbrians. And for no other purpose was this done; but that the nations when they should over-abound, might discover and describe some places to passe unto and disburthen themselves; so long, untill the universall world were to the glory of the Creator replenished with Inhabitants every where.
Wee ought therefore to bee perswaded, that the ancient Gomerians of Gaule now France either chased away by the pursuit of others, or cast out for lessening of the multitude, or else inflamed with a desire to travell and see farre countries, a thing naturally inbred in men crossed the sea and came over first into this Isle, which from the continent they were able to kenne.
Neither doe writers fetch the originall and infancie as it were of the Britaines from any other place, than their neighbour country Gaul.
The inner parts of Britaine, saith Caesar, is inhabited of them, whom they themselves report out of their records to have beene borne in the Island: