Page:Cousins's Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature.djvu/17

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Dictionary of English Literature

in a slavish fashion, but editing and adding from his own stores. In all his work his main desire was the good of his people. Among the books he translated or edited were (1) The Handbook, a collection of extracts on religious subjects; (2) The Cura Pastoralis, or Herdsman's book of Gregory the Great, with a preface by himself which is the first English prose; (3) Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English; (4) The English Chronicle, which, already brought up to 855, he continued up to the date of writing; it is probably by his own hand; (5) Orosius's History of the World, which he adapted for English readers with many historical and geographical additions; (6) the De Consolatione Philosophiæ of Boethius; and (7) a translation of some of the Psalms. He also made a collection of the best laws of his predecessors, Ethelbert, Ine, and Offa. It has been said "although King Alfred lived a thousand years ago, a thousand years hence, if there be England then, his memory will yet be precious to his country."

Ælfric (955–c. 1022).—Called Grammaticus (10th century), sometimes confounded with two other persons of the same name, Æ. of Canterbury and Æ. of York, was a monk at Winchester, and afterwards Abbot of Cerne and Eynsham successively. He has left works which shed an important light on the doctrine and practice of the early Church in England, including two books of homilies (990-94), a Grammar, Glossary, Passiones Sanctorum (Sufferings of the Saints), translations of parts of the Bible with omissions and interpolations, Canones Ælfrici, and other theological treatises. His writings had an influence on the formation of English prose. He filled in his age somewhat the same position that Bede did in his, that of a compiler and populariser of existing knowledge.

Aguilar, Grace (1816–1847).—Novelist and writer on Jewish history and religion, was b. at Hackney of Jewish parents of Spanish descent. She was delicate from childhood, and early showed great interest in history, especially Jewish. The death of her f. threw her on her own resources. After a few dramas and poems she pub. in America in 1842 Spirit of Judaism, and in 1845 The Jewish Faith and The Women of Israel. She is, however, best known by her novels, of which the chief are Home Influence (1847) and A Mother's Recompense (1850). Her health gave way in 1847, and she d. in that year at Frankfort.

Aikin, John (1747–1822).—Miscellaneous writer, s. of Dr. John A., Unitarian divine, b. at Kibworth, studied medicine at Edinburgh and London, and received degree of M.D. at Leyden. He began practice at Yarmouth but, one of his pamphlets having given offence, he removed to London, where he obtained some success in his profession, devoting all his leisure to literature, to which his contributions were incessant. These consisted of pamphlets, translations, and miscellaneous works, some in conjunction with his sister, Mrs. Barbauld. Among his chief works are England Delineated, General Biography in 10 vols., and lives of Selden and Ussher.

Aikin, Lucy (1781–1864).—Historical and miscellaneous writer, dau. of above and niece of Mrs. Barbauld (q.v.). After