Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/33

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xxv
THE LIFE OF BEDE.

enjoyed, the principal was his own ardour in the pursuit of learning; and let us remember, that the rules of the monastic institutions did not leave the student the uncontrolled disposal of his own time. Many offices, not wholly menial, were performed by the brethren; he himself instances Biscop the founder, and says, he, like the rest of the brothers, delighted to exercise himself in winnowing the corn, and thrashing it, in giving milk to the lambs and calves, in the bakehouse, in the garden, in the kitchen, and in the other employments of the monastery; a considerable portion of the day was spent in discharging the duties required by the monastic rules, and in the daily service and psalmody of the church. All his leisure time was not even then occupied in reading; part was devoted to writing and to the instruction of others. His own words are here in point. "Cunctum vitæ tempus in ejusdem Monasterii habitatione peragens, omnem meditandis Scripturis operam dedi; atque inter observantiam disciplinæ regularis et quotidianam cantandi in ecclesia curam, semper aut discere, aut docere, aut scribere dulce habui." —"All my life I spent in that same Monastery, giving my whole attention to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and in the intervals between the hours of regular discipline and the duties of singing in the church, I took pleasure in learning, or teaching, or writing something."