Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/51

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xliii
THE LIFE OF BEDE.

would have used language so candid as that he has employed."[1] "In the Cotton MS. (Tiberius, A. xv. fol. 6) the passage occurs thus: 'Dei famulum N. venerabilis tui monasterii.' These words have been read incorrectly, as it seems 'Dei nostri famulum.' From the fact of the letter N. being found in the Cotton MS. for the name of the person summoned to Rome, it might be inferred that, in the transcript from which the writer copied, the name had been accidentally omitted, and that the passage was not clear:—some word appears wanting to complete the construction of the sentence, as it stands in Tib. A. xv."[2]

It is quite as likely that Bede should have been specified as any other person, for he was then about twenty-eight years old, and was already beginning to be well known for his extraordinary erudition, particularly in the Scriptures. It appears, therefore, on the whole, the wisest plan to adopt the explanation of Wilkins and Gaehle, who suggest that the death of Sergius, which took place shortly after the writing of the above letter, was the reason why Bede did not take the required journey. The Cottonian MS. above referred to, has not, as we have just seen, been appealed to for the first time. Usher quotes it (apud Wilkins) and says that the word "presby-


  1. Vol. I. p. 85.
  2. Vol. I. p. 87.