chapter  VIII
2 Pages

Of Learning

As for our Gauls, it was not so with them. For even from the old time of the golden age they had the use of letters, yea (by the leave of those godly dottors who do call them barbarous) before the Greeks and Latins. For Xenophon (who· speaketh largely of them, and of their beginning in his Aiquivoques)/7 doth witness unto us that the letters which Cadmus brought to the Greeks were not so much like to the Phcenician letters, as the Galatees were, that is the Gauls. Wherein Cresar did Aiquivocate in saying that the Druids did use of Greek letters in private matters; for contrariwise the Greeks have used of the Gallic letters. And Berose saith that the third King of the Gauls, after the flood, named Sorron, did institute universities in these parts; and Diodorus doth add that there was in the Gauls philosophers and divines, called Saronides (much more ancient than the Druids), which were greatly reverenced, and unto whom all the people did


obey. The same authors do say that Bardus, first King of the Gauls, did invent both rhymes and music, brought in poets and rhethoricians, who were called bards, whereof Cresar and Strabo make mention. But the same Diodorus writeth that poets were among them in such reverence that, when two armies were ready to strike, having their swords drawn and the javelins in hand to give the onset, those poets coming, everyone did surcease and put up their weapons; so much doth wrath give place to wisdom, yea, among the wildest barbarians, and so much doth Mars reverence the Muses, saith the author. So I hope that our most Christian, most august, and most victorious king Henry the Fourth, after the thundering of besieging of towns and battles is ceased, reverencing the Muses and honouring them, as he hath already done, not only he will reduce his eldest daughter to her ancient glory, and give unto her being a royal daughter, the propriety of that basilisk, fastened to the temple of Apollo, who, by an hidden virtue, did hinder that the spiders should weave their web along his walls; but will also establish his New France, and bring to the bosom of the Church so many poor souls which that country beareth, all starved for the want of the word of God, who are as a prey unto hell; and that for to do this he will give means to conduct thither Christian Sarronides and bards bearing the flower-de-luce in their hearts, who will instruct and bring to civility those barbarous people, and will bring them to his obedience.