Works of Gildas Preface

Works of Gildas Preface is in Works of Gildas.

Of Gildas, the supposed author of this work, little or nothing is known. Mr. Stevenson, in the Preface to his edition of the original Latin, lately published by the English Historical Society, says: “We are unable to speak with certainty as to his parentage, his country, or even his name, the period when he lived, or the works of which he was the author. Such a statement is surely sufficient to excuse us at present from saying more on the subject, than that he is supposed to have lived and have written what remains under his name during some part of the sixth century. It may not be irrelevant to inform the reader that he may shortly expect some valuable elucidations from the pen of Mr. Wright, who has kindly communicated to the translator his intention to reduce the History of Gildas to so shadowy a state of existence that no more than a nominis umbra will remain. Of the present translation, the first or historic half is entirely new; in the rest, consisting almost entirely of texts from Scripture, the translator has thought it quite sufficient to follow the old translation of Habington, correcting whatever errors he could detect, and in some degree relieving the quaint and obsolete character of the language. It has been remarked by Polydore Virgil, that Gildas quotes no other book but the Bible; and it may be added, that his quotations are in other words than those of the Vulgate or common authorized translation. The title of the old translation is as follows : “The epistle of Gildas the most ancient British Author: who flourished in the yeere of our Lord, 546. And who by his great erudition, Sanctitie, and wisdome, acquired the name ot Sapiens. Faithfully translated out of the original! Latine.” London, 12mo. 1638.