|Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916.|
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
|Of Its Inhabitants|
|By William Camden (15511623)|
From Remains concerning Britain
THIS warlike, victorious, stiff, stout, and vigorous nation, after it had as it were taken root here about one hundred and sixty years, and spread his branches far and wide, being mellowed and mollified by the mildness of the soil and sweet air, was prepared in fulness of time for the first spiritual blessing of God, I mean our regeneration in Christ, and our ingrafting into His mystical body by holy baptism. Which Beda, our ecclesiastical historian, recounteth in this manner, and I hope you will give it the reading. Gregory the great bishop of Rome, on a time saw beautiful boys to be sold in the market at Rome, and demanded from whence they were; answer was made him, out of the Isle of Britain. Then asked he again, whether they were Christians or no? they said no. Alas for pity, said Gregory, that the foul fiend should be lord of such fair folks, and that they which carry such grace in their countenances, should be void of grace in their hearts. Then he would know of them by what name their nation was called, and they told him, Angleshmen. And justly be they so called (quoth he) for they have angelic faces, and seem meet to be made coheirs with the angels in Heaven.