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Malmsbury, Ceolfrid, abbot of Wearmouth, and Felix fram eallum synnum with-innan, dheah dhe hit with-
of Croyland-bring down the list of Anglo-Saxon from all sins inwardly, though he out-
writers to BEDE, usually called the Venerable Bede, utan his hiw ne awende. Eac swylce tha halige
who may be allowed to stand at the head of the class. wardly his shape not change. Even the holy
He seems to have spent a modest studious life, unche- fant wæter, dhe is ge-haten lifes wyl-spring, is ge-lic
quered by incident of any kind, at the monastery of font water, which is called life's fountain, is like

Wearmouth, where on hiwe odhrum wæterum, & is under dheod bros-
he died in 735. in shape (to) other waters, and is subject to
His works, consist- nunge ;

dhæs halgan gastes miht
ing of Scriptural ruption; but the Holy Ghost's might
translations and ge-nealæcth tham brosnigendlicum wætere, dhurh
commentaries, reli-

(to) the corruptible water through
gious treatises, bio sacerda bletsunge, & hit mæg sythan
graphies, and an (the) priests' blessing, and it may afterwards
ecclesiastical his- lichaman & sawle athwean franı callum synnum,
tory of the Anglo body and soul wash from all sin,
Saxons, which is dhurh gastlice mihte.
the only one useful through ghostly might.
in the present age,
were forty-four in Cynewulf, bishop of Winchester, Wulfstan, arch-
number; and it is bishop of York, and some others, bring down the list
related that he dic-of Anglo-Saxon authors to the Conquest, giving to
tated to his amanu- this portion of our literature a duration of nearly five
ensis, and com- hundred years, or about the space between Chaucer

pleted a book, on and our own day. During this tine, there were many
Chair of Bede.

the very day of his seats of learning in England, many writers, and many death. Almost all the writings of these men were in books; although, in the main, these have now become Latin, which renders it less necessary to speak parti- matter of curiosity to the antiquary only. The literacularly of them in this place. Our subsequent lite- ture may be said to have had a kind of protracted rary history is formed of comparatively obscure existence till the breaking up of the language in the names, until it presents to us the enlightened and latter part of the twelfth century; but it was graced amiable King ALFRED (848-901).* in whom learning by no names of distinction. We are here called upon and authorship graced the royal state, without in- to advert to the historical production usually called terfering with its proper duties. He translated the the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which consists of a view historical works of Orosius and Bede, and some reli- of early English history, written, it is believed, by a gious and moral treatises, perhaps also Æsop's Fables series of authors, commencing soon after the time of and the Psalms of David, into the Anglo-Saxon tongue, Alfred, and continued till the reign of Henry II. designing thereby to extend their utility among his Altogether, considering the general state of Western people. No original compositions certainly his have Europe in the middle ages, the literature of our been preserved, excepting the reflections of his own, Anglo-Saxon forefathers may be regarded as a which he takes leave here and there to introduce creditable feature of our national history, and as into his translations. The character of this monarch, something of which we might justly be proud, if we embracing so much gentleness, along with manly did not allow ourselves to remain in such ignorance vigour and dignity, and displaying pure tastes, cal- of it. culated to be beneficial to others as well as himself, seems as if it would have graced the most civilised

INTRODUCTION OF NORMAN FRENCH.
age nearly as much as it did one of the rudest. The Conquest, by which a Norman government and

After Alfred, the next important name is that of nobility were imposed upon Saxon England, led to a
ALFRIC, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1006. great change in the language. Norman French, one

This learned prelate was a voluminous writer, and, of the modifications of Latin which arose in the
like Alfred, entertained a strong wish to enlighten the middle ages, was now the language of education, of
people ; he wrote much in his native tongue, particu- the law courts, and of the upper classes generally,
larly a collection of homilies, a translation of the first while Saxon shared the degradation which the
seven books of the Bible, and some religious treatises. people at large experienced under their conquerors.
He was also the author of a grammar of the Latin Though depressed, yet, as the speech of the great
tongue, which has given him the sub-name of the body of the people, it could not be extinguished.
Grammarian.' Alfric himself' declares that he wrote Having numbers on its side, it maintained its ground
in Anglo-Saxon, and in that avoided the use of all as the substance of the popular language, the Norman
obscure words, in order that he might be understood infusing only about one word for every three of the
by unlettered people. As he was really successful in more vulgar tongue. But it was destined, in the
writing simply, we select a specimen of Anglo-Saxon course of the twelfth century, to undergo great
prose from his Paschal homily, adding an interlinear grammatical changes. Its sounds were greatly
translation:-

altered, syllables were cut short in the pronunciation, Hæthen cild bith ge-fullod, ac hit ne brået na and the terminations and inflections of words were (A) heathen child is christened, yet he altereth not softened down until they were entirely lost. Dr his hiw with-utan, dheah dhe hit beo with-innan Johnson expresses his opinion, that the Normans kis shape without, though he be within

affected the Anglo-Saxon more in this manner than awend. Hit bith ge-broht synfull dhurh Adames by the introduction of new words. So great was changed. He is brought sinful through Adam's the change, that the original Anglo-Saxon must forgægednysse to tham fant fate. Ac hit bith athwogen have become, in the first half of the thirteenth disobedience to the font-ressel. But he is washed

century, more difficult to be understood than the

diction of Chaucer is to us. The language which * Where double dates are thus given, it will be understood resulted was the commencement of the present Engthat the first is the year of the birth, and the second the year lish. Its origin will afterwards be traced more of the death, of the individual mentioned.

minutely.

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shall possess

occasions, it happened to be Cædmon's turn to keep Then spake he words :
guard at the stable during the night, and, overcome * This narrow place is most unlike
with vexation, he quitted the table and retired to that other that we formerly knew,
his post of duty, where, laying himself down, he fell high in heaven's kingdom,
into a sound slumber. In the midst of his sleep, a which my master bestowed on me,
stranger appeared to him, and, saluting him by his though we it, for the All-powerful,
name, said, “ Cædmon, sing me something.”. Cæd may not possess.
mon answered, “I know nothing to sing ; for my We must cede our realm ;
incapacity in this respect was the cause of my leav yet hath he not done rightly,
ing the hall to come hither.” Nay," said the that he hath struck us down
stranger, “but thou hast something to sing.” “What to the fiery abyss
must I sing ?” said Cædmon. Sing the Creation,” of the hot hell,
was the reply, and thereupon Cadmon began to sing bereft us of heaven's kingdom,
verses “ which he had never heard before," and hath decreed
which are said to have been as follows:

to people it

with mankind. Nu we sceolan herian* Now we shall praise

That is to me of sorrows the greatest, heofon-ríces weard, the guardian of heaven,

that Adam, metodes mihte, the might of the creator,

who was wrought of earth, and his mod-ge-thonc, and his counsel, wera wuldor fæder ! the glory-father of men !

my strong seat ; swa he wundra ge-hwæs, how he of all wonders,

that it shall be to him in delight, ece dryhten, the eternal lord,

and we endure this torment, oord onstealde. formed the beginning.

misery in this hell. He ærest ge-scéop He first created

Oh ! had I the power of my hands * * ylda bearnum for the children of men

then with this host Iheofon to hrófe, heaven as a roof,

But around me lie halig scyppend! the holy creator !

iron bonds ; tha middan-geard then the world

presseth this cord of chain ; mon-cynnes weard, the guardian of mankind,

I am powerless! ece dryhten, the eternal lord,

me have so hard æfter teode, produced afterwards,

the clasps of hell firum foldan, the earth for men,

so firmly grasped ! frea ælmihtig ! the almighty master !

Here is a vast fire Cædmon then awoke ; and he was not only able to

above and underneath ;

never did I see repeat the lines which he had made in his sleep, but he continued them in a strain of admirable versifica

a loathlier landskip; tion. In the morning, he hastened to the town

the flame abateth not,

hot over hell. reeve, or bailiff, of Whitby, who carried him before the Abbess Hilda; and there, in the presence of

Me hath the clasping of these rings,

this hard polished band, some of the learned men of the place, he told his story, and they were all of opinion that he had re

impeded in my course,

debarred me from my way. ceived the gift of song from heaven. They then expounded to him in his mother tongue a portion

My feet are bound, of Scripture, which he was required to repeat in

my hands manacled ;

of these hell doors are verse. Cædmon went home with his task, and the next morning he produced a poem which excelled

the ways obstructed ; in beauty all that they were accustomed to hear.

so that with aught I cannot

from these limb-bonds escape. He afterwards yielded to the earnest solicitations of

About me lie the Abbess Hilda, and became a monk of her house; aud she ordered him to transfer into verse the whole

huge gratings

of hard iron, of the sacred history. We are told that he was con

forged with heat, tinually occupied in repeating to himself what he

with which me God heard, and, " like a clean animal, ruminating it, he

hath fastened by the neck. turned it into most sweet verse."' + Cædmon thus

Thus perceive I that he knoweth my mind, composed many poems on the Bible histories, and

and that he knew also, on miscellaneous religious subjects, and some of

the Lord of hosts, these have been preserved. His account of the Fall

that should us through Adam of Man is somewhat like that given in Paradise Lost,

evil befall, and one passage in it might almost be supposed to

about the realm of heaven, have been the foundation of a corresponding one in

where I had power of my hands.'* Milton's sublime epic. It is that in which Satan is described as reviving from the consternation of his The specimen of Cædmon above given in the overthrow. A modern translation into English fol- original language may serve as a general one of lows:

Anglo-Saxon poetry. It will be observed that it is

neither in measured feet, like Latin verse, nor [Satan's Speech.]

rhymed, but that the sole peculiarity which distinBoiled within him

guishes it from prose is what Mr Wright calls a very his thought about his heart;

regular alliteration, so arranged, that in every couplet Hot was without him

there should be two principal words in the line behis dire punishment.

ginning with the same letter, which letter must also

be the initial of the first word on which the stress * In our specimens of the Anglo-Saxon, modern letters are of the voice falls in the second line. substituted for those peculiar characters employed in that lan

A few names of inferior note--Aldhelm, abbot of guage to express th, dh, and u. + Wright.

* Thorpe's edition of Cædmon, 1832.

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Malmsbury, Ceolfrid, abbot of Wearmouth, and Felix fram eallum synnum with-innan, dheah dhe hit withof Croyland-bring down the list of Anglo-Saxon from all

sins

inwardly, though he outwriters to BEDE, usually called the Venerable Bede, utan his hiw ne awende. Eac swylce tha halige who may be allowed to stand at the head of the class. wardly his shape not change. Even

the holy He seems to have spent a modest studious life, unche- fant wæter, dhe is ge-haten lifes wyl-spring, is ge-lic quered by incident of any kind, at the monastery of font water, which is called life's fountain, is like

Wearmouth, where on hiwe odhrum wæterum, & is under dheod broshe died in 735. in shape (to) other waters, and is subject to corHis works, consist- nunge ;

dhæs

halgan gastes miht ing of Scriptural ruption; but the Holy Ghosts might !

translations and ge-nealacth tham brosnigendlicum wætere, dhurh
commentaries, reli-

(to) the
corruptible

water through
gious treatises, bio sacerda bletsunge, & hit mæg sythan
graphies, and an (the) priests' blessing, and it may afterwards
ecclesiastical his- lichaman & sawle athwean franı eallum synnum,
tory of the Anglo body and soul wash from all sin,
Saxons, which is dhurh gastlice mihte.
the only one useful through ghostly might.
in the present age,
were forty-four in Cynewulf, bishop of Winchester, Wulfstan, arch-
number ; and it is bishop of York, and some others, bring down the list
related that he dic-of Anglo-Saxon authors to the Conquest, giving to
tated to his amanu- this portion of our literature a duration of nearly five
ensis, and com- hundred years, or about the space between Chaucer

pleted a book, on and our own day. During this tinre, there were many Chair of Bede.

the very day of his seats of learning in England, many writers, and many death. Almost all the writings of these men were in books; although, in the main, these have now become Latin, which renders it less necessary to speak parti- matter of curiosity to the antiquary only. The literacularly of them in this place. Our subsequent lite- ture may be said to have had a kind of protracted rary history is formed of comparatively obscure existence till the breaking up of the language in the names, until it presents to us the enlightened and latter part of the twelfth century; but it was graced amiable King ALFRED (848-901).* in whom learning by no names of distinction. We are here called upon and authorship graced the royal state, without in- to advert to the historical production usually called terfering with its proper duties. He translated the the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which consists of a view historical works of Orosius and Bede, and some reli- of early English history, written, it is believed, by a gious and moral treatises, perhaps also Æsop's Fables series of authors, commencing soon after the time of and the Psalms of David, into the Anglo-Saxon tongue, Alfred, and continued till the reign of Henry II. designing thereby to extend their utility among his Altogether, considering the general state of Western people. No original compositions certainly his have Europe in the middle ages, the literature of our been preserved, excepting the reflections of his own, Anglo-Saxon forefathers may be regarded as a which he takes leave here and there to introduce creditable feature of our national history, and as into his translations. The character of this monarch, something of which we might justly be proud, if we embracing so much gentleness, along with manly did not allow ourselves to remain in such ignorance vigour and dignity, and displaying pure tastes, cal- of it. culated to be beneficial to others as well as himself, seems as if it would have graced the most civilised age nearly as much as it did one of the rudest. The Conquest, by which a Norman government and

After Alfred, the next important name is that of nobility were imposed upon Saxon England, led to a ALFRIC, archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1006. great change in the language. Norman French, one This learned prelate was a volumincus writer, and, of the modifications of Latin which arose in the like Alfred, entertained a strong wish to enlighten the middle ages, was now the language of education, of people; he wrote much in his native tongue, particu- the law courts, and of the upper classes generally, larly a collection of homilies, a translation of the first while Saxon shared the degradation which the seven books of the Bible, and some religious treatises. people at large experienced under their conquerors.

He was also the author of a grammar of the Latin Though depressed, yet, as the speech of the great i tongue, which has given him the sub-name of the body of the people, it could not be extinguished.

Grammarian.' Alfric himself declares that he wrote Having numbers on its side, it maintained its ground in Anglo-Saxon, and in that avoided the use of all as the substance of the popular language, the Norman obscure words, in order that he might be understood infusing only about one word for every three of the by unlettered people. As he was really successful in more vulgar tongue. But it was destined, in the writing simply, we select a specimen of Anglo-Saxon course of the twelfth century, to undergo great prose from his Paschal homily, adding an interlinear grammatical changes. Its sounds were greatly translation :

altered, syllables were cut short in the pronunciation, Hæthen cild bith çe-fullod, ac hit ne bræt na and the terminations and inflections of words were (4) heathen child is christened, yet he altereth not softened down until they were entirely lost. De his hiw with-utan, dheah dhe hit beo with-innan Johnson expresses his opinion, that the Normans kis shape without, though he be within

affected the Anglo-Saxon more in this manner than awend. Hit bith ge-broht synfull dhurh Adames by the introduction of new words. So great was changed. He is brought sinful through Adam's the change, that the original Anglo-Saxon must forgægednysse to tham fant fate. Ac hit bith athwogen have become, in the first half of the thirteenth disobedience to the font-ressel. But he is washed century, more difficult to be understood than the

diction of Chaucer is to us. The language which * Where double dates are thus given, it will be understood resulted was the commencement of the present Engthat the first is the year of the birth, and the second the year lish. Its origin will afterwards be traced more of the death, of the individual mentioned.

minutely

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INTRODUCTION OF NORMAN FRENCH.

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torical kind relating to England, and communicated THE NORMAN POETS OF ENGLAND.

them to Geoffrey, by whom they were put into the The first literary productions which call for at form of a regular historical work, and introduced tention after the Conquest, are a class which may for the first time to the learned world, as far as a be considered as in a great measure foreign to the learned world then existed. As little else than a country and its language. Before the invasion of bundle of incredible stories, some of which may be England by William, poetical literature had begun slightly founded on fact, this production is of small to be cultivated in France with considerable marks worth ; but it supplied a ground for Wace's poem, of spirit and taste. The language, which from its and proved an unfailing resource for the writers of origin was named Romane (lingua Romana),* was romantic narrative for the ensuing two centuries ; separated into two great divisions, that of the south, nor even in a later age was its influence exhausted which is represented popularly by the Provençal, for from it Shakspeare drew the story of Lear, and and that of the north, which was subdivided into Sackville that of Ferrex and Porrex, while Drayton French and Anglo-Norman, the latter dialect being reproduces much of it in his Polyolbion, and it has that chiefly confined to our island. The poets of given occasion to many allusions in the poems of the south were called in their dialect trobadores, or Milton and others. * troubadours, and those of the north were distinguished Maistre Wace also composed a History of the Norby the same title, written in their language trouveres. mans, under the title of the Roman de Rou, that is, In Provence, there arose a series of elegant versifiers, the Romance of Rollo, first Duke of Normandy, who employed their talents in composing romantic and some other works. Henry II., from admiration and complimentary poems, full of warlike and ama- of his writings, bestowed upon him a canonry in the tory sentiment, which many of them made a busi- cathedral of Bayeux. Benoit, a contemporary of ness of reciting before assemblages of the great. Wace, and author of a History of the Dukes of NorNorman poets, writing with more plainness and sim- mandy; and Guernes, an ecclesiastic of Pont St plicity, were celebrated even before those of Pro- Maxence, in Picardy, who wrote a metrical life of vence; and one, named Taillefer, was the first man Thomas à Becket, are the other two Norman poets of to break the English ranks at the battle of Hastings. most eminence whose genius or whose writings can From the preference of the Norman kings of Eng- be connected with the history of English literature. land for the poets of their own country, and the These writers composed most frequently in rhymed general depression of Anglo-Saxon, it results that couplets, each line containing eight syllables.t the distinguished literary names of the first two centuries after the Conquest are those of NORMAN COMMENCEMENT OF THE PRESENT FORM OF ENGLISH. Poets, men who were as frequently natives of Of the century following the Conquest, the only France as of England. Philippe de Thaun, author other compositions that have come down to us as of treatises on popular science in verse; Thorold, the production of individuals living in, or connected who wrote the fine romance of Roland; Samson

* Ellis's Metrical Romances. de Nanteuil, who translated the proverbs of Solonon into French verse; Geoffroi Gaimar, author

† Ellis's Specimens, i., 35-59. A short passage from Wace's of a chronicle of the Anglo-Saxon kings ; and David, place at King Arthur's coronation, will give an idea of the

description of the ceremonies and sports presumed to have taken a trouveere of considerable eminence, whose works writings of the Norman poets. It is extracted from Mr Ellis's are lost, were the most noted predecessors of one of work, with his notes :much greater celebrity, named Maistre WACE, a

• Quant li rois leva del mangier, native of Jersey. About 1160, Wace wrote, in his

Alé sunt tuit esbanoier, 1 native French, a narrative poem entitled Le Brut

De la cité es champs issirent; D'Angleterre (Brutus of England). The chief hero

A plusors gieux se despartirent. was an imaginary son of Æneas of Troy, who was

Li uns alerent bohorder, represented as having founded the state of Britain

Et les incau.r' chevalx monstrer: many centuries before the Christian era. This was

Li autre alerent escremir, no creation of the fancy of the Norman poet. He

Ou pierres getier, ou saillir. only translated a serious history, written a few years

Tielx i avoit qui dars lancoent, before in Latin by a monk named GEOFFREY OF Mon

Et tielx i avoit qui lutoent ;

Chascun del gieu s'entremetoit, MOUTH, in which the atfairs of Britain were traced

Qui entremetre se savoit. with all possible gravity through a series of ima

Cil qui son compaignon vainquoit, ginary kings, beginning with Brutus of Troy, and

Et qui d'aucun gieu pris avoit, ending with Cadwallader, who was said to have

Estoit sempres au roi mené, lived in the year 689 of the Christian era.

Et à tous les autres monstré ; This history is a very remarkable work, on account

Et li rois del sien li donoit, of its origin, and its effects on subsequent literature.

Tant donc cil liez s'en aloit. The Britons, settled in Wales, Cornwall, and Bre

Les dames sor les murs aloent, tagne, were distinguished at this time on account of

Por esgarder ceulx qui joient the numberless fanciful and fabulous legends which

Qui ami avoit en la place, they possessed -a traditionary kind of literature

Tost li tornost l'oil ou la faco.

Trois jorz dura la feiste ainsi; resembling that which has since been found amongst

Quand vint au quart, au mercredi, the kindred people of the Scottish Highlands. For

Li rois les bacheliers ficufab centuries past, Europe had been supplied with tale

Enors deliverez devisa, and fable from the teeming fountain of Bretagne, as

Lor servise a celx rendi, it now is with music from Italy, and metaphysics

Qui por terre l'orent servi: from Germany. Walter Calenius, archdean of Ox

Bois dona, et chastelerioz, ford, collected some of these of a professedly his

Et evesquiez, et abbaiez.

A ceulx qui d'autres terres estoient, * Any book written in this tongue was cited as the livre

Qui par amor au roi venoent, Romans (liber Romanus), and most frequently as simply the

Dona coupes, dona destriers, Romans: as a great portion of these were works of fiction, the

Dona de ses avers plus chers. &c.' term has since given rise to the word now in general use, 1 To amuse themselves. 2 To just. 3 Fleet (isnel). To leap

6 Fieffa, gave fiefs • He gave them livries of lands

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ourana.

with, England, are works written in Latin by learned
ecclesiastics, the principal of whom were John of [Extract from the Saxon Chronicle, 1154.]
Salisbury, Peter of Blois, Joseph of Exeter, and
GEOFFREY of MONMOUTH, the last being the author

On this yær værd the King Stephen ded, and of the History of England just alluded to, which is bebyried there his wif and his sune wæron bebyried æt supposed to have been written about the year 1138. Tauresfeld. That ministre hi makiden. Tha the About 1154, according to Dr Johnson, the Saxon king was ded, tha was the eorl beionde sæ. And ne began to take a form in which

the beginning of the durste nan man don other bute god for the micel eie present English may plainly be discovered.' It

of him. Tha he to Engleland come, tha was he underdoes not, as already hinted, contain many Norman fangen mid micel wortscipe ; and to king bletcæd in

Lundine, on the Sunnen dæi beforen mid-winter-dæi. words, but its grammatical structure is considerably altered. There is a metrical Saxon or English trans- was the King Stephen dead, and buried where his

Literally translated thus :—' A. D. 1154. In this year lation, by one LAYAMON, a priest of Ernely, on the wife and his son were buried, at Touresfield. That Severn, from the Brut d'Angleterre of Wace. Its date minister they made. is not ascertained; but if it be, as surmised by some was the earl beyond sea. And not durst no man do

When the king was dead, then writers, a composition of the latter part of the twelfth other but good for the great awe of him. When he century, we must consider it as throwing a valuable to England came, then was he received with great light on the history of our language at perhaps the worship ; and to king consecrated in London, on the most important period of its existence. A specimen, Sunday before mid-winter-day (Christmas day).' in which the passage already given from Wace is translated, is presented in the sequel. With refe. rence to a larger extract given

by Mr Ellis, of which (Extract from the account of the Proceedings at Arthur's the other is a portion, that gentleman remarks — As

Coronation, given by Layamon, in his translation of

Wace, executed about 1180.] * it does not contain any word which we are under the necessity of referring to a French origin, we cannot

Tha the kingt igeten? hafde but consider it as simple and unmixed, though very

And al his mon-weorede, barbarous, Saxon. At the same time,' he continues,

Tha bugan3 out of burhge the orthography of this manuscript, in which we see,

Theines swithen balde. for the first time, the admission of the soft g, toge

Alle tha kinges, ther with the Saxong, as well as some other peculiari.

And heore here-thringes.4 ties, seems to prove that the pronunciation of our lan

Alle tha biscopes, guage had already undergone a considerable change.

And alle tha clarckes, Indeed, the whole style of this composition, which

Alle the eorles, is broken into a series of short unconnected sentences,

And alle tha beornes. and in which the construction is as plain and artless

Alle tha theines, as possible, and perfectly free from inversions, ap

Alle the sweines, pears to indicate that little more than the substitu

Peire iscrudde, tion of a few French for the present Saxon words

Helde geond felde. was now necessary to produce a resemblance to that

Summe heo gunnen7 æruen, Anglo-Norman, or English, of which we possess a

Summe heo gunnen urnen, few specimens, supposed to have been written in the

Summe heo gunnen lepen, early part of the thirteenth century. Layamon's

Summe heo gunnen sceoten, 10 versification is also no less remarkable than his lan

Summe heo wrestleden guage. Sometimes he seems anxious to imitate the

And wither-gome makeden, 11 rhymes, and to adopt the regular number of syllables,

Summe heo on velde which he had observed in his original ; at other

Pleouweden under scelde, 12 times he disregards both, either because he did not

Summe heo driven balles consider the laws of metre, or the consonance of

Wide geond the feldes. final sounds, as essential to the gratification of his

Moni ane kunnes gomen readers; or because he was unable to adapt them

Ther heo gunnen drinen.13 throughout so long a work, from the want of models

And wha swa mihte iwenne in his native language on which to form his style.

Wurthscipe of his gomene,14 The latter is perhaps the most probable supposition ;

Hine mel5 ladde mide songe but, at all events, it is apparent that the recurrence

At foren than leod kinge ; of his rhymes is much too frequent to be the result

And the king, for his gomene, of chance ; so that, upon the whole, it seems reason

Gaf him geren16 gode. able to infer, that Layamon's work was composed at, or very near, the period when the Saxons and Nor

* The notes are by Mr Ellis, with corrections. mans in this country began to unite into one nation,

+ The original of this passage, by Wace, is given in an earlier and to adopt a common language.'

page.

9 Multitude of attendants. Sax. SPECIMENS OF ANGLO-SAXON AND ENGLISH

3 Fled.--Then fed out of the town the people very quickly. PREVIOUS TO 1300.

Their throngs of servants. 5 Fairly dressed.
We have already seen short specimens of the 6 Held (their way) through the fields.
Anglo-Saxon prose and verse of the period prior to

7 Began. 8 To discharge arrows. the Conquest. Perhaps the best means of making

10 To shoot or throw darts. clear the transition of the language into its present

11 Made, or played at, wilher-games, Sax. (games of emulaform, is to present a continuation of these specimens, tion), that is, justed.

12 Some they on field played under shield ; that is, fought extending between the time of the Conquest and the

with swords. reign of Edward I. It is not to be expected that

ny a kind of game there they gan urge.' Dringen these specimens will be of much use to the reader, on

(Dutch), is to urge, press, or drive. account of the ideas which they convey; but, con 14 And whoso might win worship by his gaming. sidered merely as objects, or as pictures, they will 16 • Him they led with song before the people's king.' Me, not be without their effect in illustrating the history a word synonymous with the French on. of our literature.

16 Gave him givings, gifts.

1 Eaten.

9 To run.

13.

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