Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/227

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Lord Bryce

IT may be said of Lord Bryce multis ille bonis flebilis occidit. In the pages of this Review we may justly, and with a natural piety, add nullis flebilior quam historicis. He was a man 'universal in all things', touching life at many points, and adorning what he touched: he was traveller, jurisprudent, statesman, and publicist; but there are many to whom he will always be remembered most especially as a lover of history and historical knowledge. It may almost seem that it was by an accident—the winning of the Arnold Prize, nearly sixty years ago, by an essay on the Holy Roman Empire—that his thoughts were turned to history. If it were so, it was a most fortunate and auspicious accident; for through all the course of a long life history was henceforward to be an abiding possession and a perennial interest in his mind. Busily occupied as he was in multifarious activities, historical studies were rather the occupation of his leisure than the business of his working day. But the occupations of leisure can be the noblest of occupations; and the pursuits to which the mind turns in moments of freedom may be followed with a zest and a fervour which it is hard to maintain in the dull recurrence of daily routine. It is certain, at any rate, that Lord Bryce always brought an eager and alert vitality to the study of historical problems, and always found a genuine delight in the company of historians. Two instances occur to the mind which deserve to be recorded. Some eighteen years ago Lord Bryce was engaged in the preparation of a new edition of the Holy Roman Empire, and it was the good fortune of the present writer to be associated with him as his assistant. At the end of August 1904 he was just about to leave London for the United States, but his mind was running with unabated energy on medieval questions. A letter of 19 August, written on the eve of his departure, raises a crop of quaestiones—the date of Nicolaus Burgundus; what is to be said about Isaac Angelus and Bonaventura; what is the best edition of Gerhoh; what manner of bibliography should be appended; whether a chronological table of events is desirable, and how it should be constructed. The second instance is curiously analogous, and much more striking. A dinner was being arranged at the end of 1905, in honour of Mr. R. L. Poole,