« PreviousContinue »
Picture of the Life of a Woman of Fashion,
JONATHAX SWIFT, .
BIR RICHARD BLACKMORB, .
next day after her Death, to one Mrs Bargrave, at
The Poet and the Rose,
Society Compared to a Bowl of Punch,
SIR Jorn VANBRUGH,
From Wraxims concerning Patriotism,
Page DR JOHN ARBUTINOT, . . 642 Prejudices and Opinions,
658 The History of John Bull, .
From Maxims Concerning Patriotism,
659 Usefulness of Mathematical Learning.
646 LORD BOLINGBROKE, ..
HISTORICAL, CRITICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL National Partiality and Prejudice,
WRITERS. Absurdity of Useless Learning, .
648 Unreasonableness of Complaints of the Shortness of LAWRENCE ECHARD, Human Life, . . . .
648 JOHN STRYPE, . . . . . 659 Pleasures of a Patriot,
PORTER AND KENNETT,
660 Wise, Distinguished from Cunning Ministers,
650 RICHARD BENTLEY, . .
660 LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU, . .
Authority of Reason in Religious Matters, To E. W. Montagu, Esq.-In prospect of Marriage,
DR FRANCIS ATTERBURY, . To the Same-On Matrimonial Happiness,
Usefulness of Church Music,
661 To Mr Pope-Eastern Manners and Language,
DR SAMUEL CLARKE,
662 To Mrs S. C.-Inoculation for the Small-pox,
652 Natural and Essential Difference of Right and Wrong To Lady Rich-France in 1718, .
665 To the Countess of Bute-Consoling her in A Miction,
DR BENJAMIN HOADLY,
665 To the Same-On Female Education, 663 The Kingdom of Christ not of this World,
665 Ironical View of Protestant Infallibility, .
666 CHARLES LESLIE,
667 METAPHYSICIANS. William Whiston,
Anecdote of the Discovery of the Newtonian PhiloEARL OF SHAFTESBURY,
sophy, . .
· · · · · 668 Platonic Representation of the Scale of Beauty and DR PHILIP DODDRIDGE,
. . . 663 Love,
655 The Dangerous Illness of a Daughter, .. BISHOP BERKELEY, . 656 Happy Devotional Feelings of Doddridge, .
671 Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in
Vindication of Religious Opinions, America, . .
657 | Dr William Nicolson -- DR MATTHEW TINDAL-DR Industry,
HUMPHREY PRIDEAUX, .
CYCLOPÆDIA OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
age presents us with historical chronicles, theologi. ANGLO-SAXON WRITERS.
cal treatiscs, religious, political, and narrative poetry,
in great abundance, written both in Latin and in the HE ENGLISH native tongue.* LANGUAGE is The earliest name in the list of Anglo-Saxon essentially a writers is that of Gildas, generally described as a branch of the missionary of British parentage, living in the first Teutonic, the half of the sixth century, and the author of a Latin language spo-tract on early British history. Owing to the obken by the scurity of this portion of our annals, it has been the inhabitants of somewhat extraordinary fate of Gildas to be reprecentral Eu- sented, first as flourishing at two periods more than a rope immedi-century distant from each other; then as two differately before ent men of the same name, living at different times;
the dawn of and finally as no man at all, for his very existence
Jhistory, and is now doubted. Nennius is another name of this which constitutes the foun- age, which, after being long connected with a small dation of the modern Ger- historical work, written, like that of Gildas, in Latin, man, Danish, and Dutch. has latterly been pronounced supposititious. The Introduced by the Anglo- first unquestionably real author of distinction is Saxons in the fifth century, ST COLUMBANUS, å native of Ireland, and a man it gradually spread, with the of vigorous ability, who contributed greatly to people who spoke it, over the advancement of Christianity in various parts of nearly the whole of England; Western Europe, and died in 615. He wrote reli
the Celtic, which had been gious treatises and Latin poetry. As yet, no eduthe language of the aboriginal people, shrinking cated writer composed in his vernacular tongue : it before it into Wales, Cornwall, and other remote was generally despised by the literary class, as was parts of the island, as the Indian tongues are now the case at some later periods of our history, and retiring before the advance of the British settlers Latin was held to be the only language fit for reguin North America.*
lar composition. From its first establishment, the Anglo-Saxon The first Anglo-Saxon writer of note, who comtongue experienced little change for five centuries, posed in his own language, and of whom there are the chief accessions which it received being Latin any remains, is CÆDMON, a monk of Whitby, who terms introduced by Christian missionaries. Dur-died about 680. Cædmon was a genius of the class ing this period, literature flourished to a much headed by Burns, a poet of nature's making, sprung greater extent than might be expected, when we from the bosom of the common people, and little consider the generally rude condition of the people. indebted to education. It appears that he at one It was chiefly cultivated by individuals of the reli- time acted in the capacity of a cow-herd. The cirgious orders, a few of whom can easily be discerned, cumstances under which his talents were first dethrough their obscure biography, to have been men veloped, are narrated by Bede with a strong cast of of no mean genius. During the eighth century, the marvellous, under which it is possible, however, books were multiplied immensely by the labours of to trace a basis of natural truth. We are told that these men, and through their efforts learning de- he was so much less instructed than most of his scended into the upper classes of lay society. This equals, that he had not even learnt any poetry ; so
that he was frequently obliged to retire, in order to It is now believed that the British language was not so
| hide his shame, when the harp was moved towards immediately or entirely extinguished by the Saxons as was
him in the hall, where at supper it was customary generally stated by our historians down to the last age. But
for each person to sing in turn. On one of these certainly it is true in the main, that the Saxon succeeded the British language in all parts of England, except Wales, Corn | * Biographia Britannica Literaria : Anglo-Saxon Period. By wall, and some other districts of less note.
| Thomas Wright, M.A.
occasions, it happened to be Cadmon'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, “ Cadmon, sing me something." Cad
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 Cadıon 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-rices 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,
shall possess wera wuldor fæder ! the glory-father of men !
my strong seat; swa he wundra ge-hwäs, 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 I-heofon 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 almihtig! the almighty master !
Here is a vast fire Cædmon then awoke ; and he was not only able to
above and underneath; repeat the lines which he had made in his sleep, but
never did I see 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, reeve, or bailiff, of Whitby, who carried him before
hot over hell. the Abbess Hilda ; and there, in the presence of
Me hath the clasping of these rings, some of the learned men of the place, he told his
this hard polished band,
impeded in my course, story, and they were all of opinion that he had re
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,
my hands manacled ; of Scripture, which he was required to repeat in
of these hell doors are verse. Cædmon went home with his task, and the
the ways obstructed ; next morning he produced a poem which excelled
so that with aught I cannot in beauty all that they were accustomed to hear.
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;
huge gratings and she ordered him to transfer into verse the whole
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."' + Cadmon 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
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
te 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 s. Wright.
* Thorpe's edition of Cædmon, 1832.
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 sinsinuardly, 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. Eren 80 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, wlieren hiwe odhrum wæterum, & is under dheod bros-
pleted a book, on and our own day. During this time, 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 into 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 bave 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 loimself, 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 bræt 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-tan, dheah dhe hit beo with-innan
Johnson expresses his opinion, that the Normans his 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-vessel. 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 tbe death, of the individual mentioned.