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besides the already mentioned Traveller's Song, an allegorical poem entitled the Phoenix, paraphrased from the Carmen de Phenice, ascribed to the Latin father, Lactantius (d. circa 325); an Address of the Soul to the Body; the Song or Lament of Dear the Bard; a Life of St. Juliana, a martyr of the days of Maximian, by Cynewulf, a poet of the eighth century, and several hymns and other religious effusions. The second miscellany, the codex Vercellensis, so called from its discovery, in 1823, in a monastery at Vercelli, in Piedmont, contains a number of sermons, and, among other verses, a Life of St. Helen, or the Legend of the Finding of the Cross, by the author of the St. Juliana, in the Exeter Book, and the Legend of St. Andrew.
The only other Old English poem of importance that remains to be noticed is the remarkable fragment discovered by Mr. J. J. Conybeare, at the end of a MS. volume of homilies in the Bodleian library, and which goes by the name of The Grave. A version of it will be found in our Appendix of Extracts.* It may, perhaps, bo assigned to the beginning of the eleventh century.
(B) Writees In Latin Vebse.—Aldhelm (656-709), Abbot of Malmesbury, and first bishop of Sherborne, is the earliest of the Saxon writers in Latin verse. He has already been referred to as a composer of songs in the vernacular, but none of his productions in that way are extant. His principal Latin poems are De Laude Virginum, De Octo Principalibus Vitiis, and Mnigmata. His style is diffuse, pompous, and fantastic. Bede (673-735), who follows him, wrote, in hexameters, a life of that good Bishop of Durham, of whom the memory and traditions are still lovingly preserved in the north:
'But fain St. Hilda's nuns would learn
Bede also wrote some Latin hymns; but his verse is not equal to his prose. Alculn (753?-804) wrote many Latin poems to his pupil Charlemagne.
7. The Prose Writers.—These, again, like the metrical writers, may be divided into writers in Latin and English.
(A) Writees In English Prose. — Of these Xing Alfred (849-901) by his translations of Boethius (Ore the Consolation of Philosophy), of Orosius (Chronicle of the World, from the Creation to A.D. 416), J and of Bede (Ecclesiastical History) merits the foremost
» See Appendix A, Extract IV.
t Scott's Marmion, canto II. xvi. X See Appendix A, Extract II.
place. Alft-ic, Archbishop of Canterbury, also called Grammaticus (925-1006), the compiler of a Latin-English grammar and vocabulary, and of a number of Homilies, is the only other noticeable name in this division. There exists, however, a very valuable work in vernacular prose,—the Anglo-saxon or Saxon Chronicle, begun about 850 and continued to 1154. It is usually spoken of in the singular, but, in reality, it consists of several sets of annals (apparently based upon a common original, copied and continued in various monasteries,) which carry the record of English history from the invasion of Julius Caesar down to the accession of Henry II. Its authors are entirely unknown, although King Alfred and the Archbishops Dunstan and Plegmund have been named as probable contributors to its pages. But there is really little or no evidence to connect them with its composition. As already remarked, it contains some noble fragments of the early English ballads. A specimen from its concluding pages is given in our first Appendix* as an example of Broken English (see Table, p. 8); but the extract from Alfred's version of Orosius is a sufficient example of the literary Original English in use when its earlier portions were compiled. Another prose work is a translation of the fabulous story of Apollonius of Tyre, discovered among the MSS. at Cambridge. The original is a romance of great antiquity, and from those portions of it treated in Gower's Confessio Amantis, and a contemporary translation, Shakespeare is supposed to have derived the materials for his comedy of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
(B) Writers In Latin Prose.—Aldhelm, already so frequently mentioned, comes into this class by the prose treatise in praise of virginity, by which he preceded his metrical work on the same subject. It is a diffuse and bombastic production, resembling in style 'the pedantic English, full of alliteration and all sorts of barbarous quaintness, that was fashionable among our theological writers in the reigns of Elizabeth and James the First.'f The style of Bede, the greatest of the Latin writers before the Conquest, is, on the contrary, 'seldom eloquent, and often homely, but clear, precise, and useful.' \ Of his numerous writings the Historic, Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, which holds a prominent place in early English records, is the chief. Two of Bede's pupils, Alcuin and Johannes Scotus Erigena (d. 881 ? ), wrote also in Latin; but, though English by birth, they resided chiefly in France. Erigena
• See Appendix A, Extract V.
t Craik, Enq. Lit. and Language, 1871, i. 29.
j Turner, UM. o/ the Anglo-Saxons, 1852, Hi. 355.
was a distinguished Greek scholar, and the author, among other works, of a famous metaphysical dialogue, De Divisione Naturm, which Pope Honorius III. condemned by Bull as 'abounding in the worms of heretical depravity.' Among the remaining Latin writers of this period may be noticed: Asser, Bishop of Sherborne (d. 910), to whom a Life of Alfred is ascribed; Ethelwerd, who wrote a Chronicon from the beginning of the world to 975, based upon the Saxon Chronicle; Wilfred of York (634-709); Sddius Stephanus, who wrote Wilfred's life; and STennlus, who passes as the author of an Hutoria Britonum, which had, probably, more authors than one.
CHAPTER II. FROM THE NORMAN CONQUEST TO CHAUCER.
8. THE LANGUAGE OF THE NORMANS; LANGUE D'OYL, LANGUE D'OC.—9. PROGRESS OP THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.—10. TIIE LITERATURE OF THE ANGLONORMANS; TROUVERES, TROUBADOURS.—II. THE ARTHURIAN ROMANCES, THE 'MABINOGION.' —12. WRITERS IN LATIN.—13. WRITERS IN FRENCH. —14. WRITERS IN ENGLISH.
8. The language of the Normans.—In the preceding chapter mention was made of the establishment in England of the Scandinavians or Danes (see p. 10, s. 5). In the districts formerly comprised in the ancient Danelagh (Dane-law) which Alfred ceded to them, traces of their speech still linger in the names of localities, and in the dialects of the peasantry. But their arrival produced no marked or lasting influence upon the language spoken by the Saxons. They do not seem to have extended their limits; and, speaking, as they did, a tongue differing little more than dialectically from that of those around them—for the Old Norse, or Danish, and the Anglo-Saxon, or English, spring from a common Gothic stock (see Table, p. 5)— they easily relinquished it to adopt the language of their neighbours. By the time of the Norman Conquest a complete fusion of races and speech appears to have been effected.
With the Norman Conquest, however, came another and a widely different language. It is true that the Northmen under Rollo, or Rolf the Ganger, who, in 912, had extorted the cession of Normandy from Charles the Simple, were Scandinavians, like those who, in 878, had obtained the Danelagh from Alfred, and Scandinavians moreover, who had first endeavoured to find a settlement in England. But whereas, in the latter ease, they had adopted a language derived from a Gothic stock, and not materially differing from their own, in the former they had learned a Southern dialect of an entirely different descent, and issuing from the Classical or Greco-Latin group of the Aryan or Indo-European Family of Languages. (See Table, p. 5).
This was the Romance (Romane or lingua Romana) tongue of France. In former times it was divided into two great dialects, taking their titles from their different modes of expressing assent— the Langue D'oyl (Northern or Norman-French) and the Langue D'oc (Occitanian or Provencal), Oyl and Oc corresponding in either case to our affirmative 'Yes.'. The former was spoken to the north, and the latter to the south, of the River Loire. The French brought over by the Normans was, of course, a modification of the Langue d'Oyl; but when, in 1154, those portions of South-Western France which Henry II. had acquired with Eleanor of Guienne were added to the English territories, the Langue a" Oc also became known in this country, and Henry's son, the Troubadour King, Richard I., is said to have written poems in the Southern Dialect. A Sirvcnte or Military poem, attributed to him, and said to have been composed in his German prison, has been preserved.* The following is the first verse in Provencal and Norman-French respectively :—
Ja mils horn pres non dira sa razon
LANGUE D OYL.
La! nus horns pris ne dira sa raison
9. Progress of the English language.—At first, the language of the conquerors proved stronger than that of the conquered; and although the Saxon Chronicle, a work in the vernacular (see p. 14, s. 7), comes down as far as 1154, the English Language, for a long period after the date of the Norman Conquest, ceased to be employed in literature, or by the governing classes. Normans filled the Ecclesiastical, State, and Court offices; Normans for the most part held the land; and the military were Norman. Latin was the language of the laws and of the learned; in popular literature, the trouveres or minstnls of the Normans displaced the native scops or gleemen, and the eider English was for the time suppressed and ignored. Yet, to use the happy simile of Mr. Campbell.t 'the influence of the Norman Conquest upon the language of England was like that of a great inundation, which at first buries the face of the landscape under its waters, but which, at last subsiding, leaves behind it the elements of new beauty and fertility.' There still existed among the inferior classes an unquenchable
* Sismondi's Lit. of the South of Europe, Bohn's ed. i. 116. The Provencal verse has been corrected from Raynouard, Poiaiei des Troubadoun, iv. 183. t Euan on English Foetry, 1848, 1.