Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/26

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xviii
THE LIFE OF BEDE.

date of his birth:—"This is the present state of Britain, about 285 years since the coming of the Saxons, and in the seven hundred and thirty-first year of our Lord's incarnation." To this he subjoins a short Chronology which comes down to 731, and was continued to 734, either by another hand or by Bede himself, at a later period just before his death: he then gives a short account of the principal events of his own life, and says that he has attained (attigisse) the fifty-ninth year of his life. Gehle, in his recent publication on the life of Bede, has not scrupled to fix the year 672, interpreting Bede's expression that he had attained his fifty-ninth year as implying that he was entering on his sixtieth. On the other hand, another learned critic,[1] whose opinion has been adopted by Stevenson in his Introduction [p. vii], has endeavoured to show that 674 is the true date. But in so unimportant a particular it is hardly worth while to weigh the conflicting opinions; and the intermediate date, so long ago settled by Mabillon, and apparently so naturally resulting from Bede's own words, is perhaps the best that can be adopted.

It is always to be regretted, when little is known of the early life of eminent men, as in all cases where many facts have been handed down to elucidate the early history of such, something or other


  1. Pagi Critic, in Baron. Ann. A.D. 693, § 8.