His work is a kind of commonplace book kept without scientific discrimination.
Sometimes, though not very often, the sections are in no proper sense essays, but merely commonplace book entries of singular facts or quotations, with hardly any comment.
Apart from the lost Handboc or Encheiridion, which seems to have been merely a commonplace-book kept by the king, the earliest work to be translated was the Dialogues of Gregory, a book enormously popular in the middle ages.
On historical subjects the most considerable are Rerum memorandarum libri, a miscellany from a student's commonplace-book, and De viris illustribus, an epitome of the biographies of Roman worthies.
And in this same commonplace book the following entry made by Newton himself, many years afterwards, gives a further account of the nature of his work during the period when he was an undergraduate: " July 4, 1699.
Newton must have left college before August 1665, as his name does not appear in the list of those who received extra commons on that occasion, and he tells us himself in the extract from his commonplace book already quoted that he was " forced from Cambridge by the plague " in the summer of that year.
During his residence in Wales a hyper-Calvinistic work entitled A Body of Divinity; or the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion, was published under his name by John Downham; and, although he repudiated the authorship in a letter to the editor, stating that the manuscript from which it was printed was merely a commonplace-book into which he had transcribed the opinions of Cartwright and other English divines, often disapproving of them and finding them dissonant from his own judgment, yet it has been persistently cited ever since as Usher's genuine work, and as lending his authority to positions which he had long abandoned, if he ever maintained them.
4), printed by Giles and Migne, also in Original Lives of Anglo-Saxons (Caxton Soc., 1854); but the best authority is William of Malmesbury, who in the fifth book, devoted to St Aldhelm, of the Gesta Pontificum proposes to fill up the outline of Faritius, using the church records, the traditions of Aldhelm's miracles preserved by the monks of Malmesbury, and the lost "Handboc" or commonplace book of King Alfred.
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