The Letter Of Peregrinus

the pole star is concealed through the troubled state of the atmosphere." 1

Alexander Neckam was born at St. Albans in 1157, joined the Augustinian Order and taught in the University of Paris from 1180 to 1187, after which he returned to England to take charge of a College of his Order at Dunstable. He was elected Abbot of Cirencester in 1213 and died at Kemsey, near Worcester, in 1217.

The satirical poem of Guyot de Provins, written about 1208, contains the following passage:

The mariners employ an art which cannot deceive,

By the property of the lodestone,

An ugly stone and brown,

To which iron joints itself willingly

They havej they attend to where it points

After they have applied a needle to it 5

And they lay the latter on a straw

And put it simply in the water

Where the straw makes it float.

Then the point turns direct

To the star with such certainty

That no man will ever doubt itp

Nor will it ever go wrong.

When the sea is dark and hazy,

That one sees neither star nor moon,

Then they put a light by the needle

And have no fear of losing their way.

The point turns towards the star ;

*The Chronicles and Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages, by Thomas Wright (1863).

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