Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/48

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when the allusion is explained. This is indirect testimony to the genuineness of the document. As to the word "presbyterum," priest, being interpolated by Malmesbury, he might have done so very innocently, knowing that Bede was afterwards a priest, and at the moment not reflecting that he was not one at the time.

It is a most obvious error for an historian to describe a man in his youth by the titles which he received at a later period of his life.

But let us now examine the solution of this difficulty, which has been proposed from the Cottonian MS. The text of that document, which, having suffered from fire, is now under process of restoration and cannot be inspected, is said to be as follows:—

Ut—absque ulla remoratione religiosum Dei nostri famulum venerabilis tui monasterii ad veneranda limina Apostolorum, &c. non moreris dirigere.

According to the proposed solution it will be necessary to translate this passage:—

That you do not delay to send some religious servant of God of your venerable monastery to the hallowed threshold of the Apostles, &c.

To this interpretation there is one insuperable objection; in a passage where no individual has been previously mentioned, "devotum Dei nostri famulum" cannot mean some or a devout servant of God : the insertion of quendam is absolutely necessary. It must mean "the or that devout servant of God," and to make this intelligible some proper