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panied by his sons Edwin and Ethelward, to the ' “ The children of the thanes, educated in the abbey. The monks were speedily assembled. neighboring monasteries, imbibed an early reMy beloved,' said he, ' you will soon lose your spect, if not a passion for literature. Even the friend and protector. My strength is gone; I women caught the general enthusiasm: semiam stolen from myself. But I am not afraid to naries of learning were established in their die. When life grows tedious death is welcome. | convents; they conversed with their absent
To-day I shall confess before you the many friends in the language of ancient Rome ; and errors of my life. Think not that I wish you frequently exchanged the labors of the distaff to solicit a prolongation of my existence. My and needle for the more pleasing and more request is that you protect my departure by elegant beauties of the Latin poets." your prayers, and place your merits in the balance against my defects. When my soul | Nor were these efforts attended with shall have quitted my body, honor your father's
slight results; for the whole continent was corpse with a decent funeral, grant him a constant share in your prayers, and recommend
enriched by the stores of learning that had his memory to the charity and gratitude of your been collected, and were still clustering in successors. At the conclusion of this address, the monasteries of England ; particularly the aged thane threw himself on the pavement in the seminary at York, the list of whose before the altar, and, with a voice interrupted
works may not prove uninteresting to those with frequent sighs, publicly confessed the sins
who fondly hang over what the friend of of his past years, and earnestly implored the mercies of his Redeemer. The monks were
Alcuin* reverently terms his “libros, caras dissolved in tears. As soon as their sensibility
super omnia gazas”—his guides in a darkpermitted them to begin, they chanted over him ened age. the seven psalms of penitence, and the prior Germanus . read the prayer of absolution.
“Illic invenies veterum vestigia patrum With the assistance of Edwin and Ethelward Quidquid habet pro se latio Romanus in orbe; he arose ; and supporting himself against a Græcia vel quidquid transmisit clara latinis; column, exhorted the brotherhood to a punctual Ilebraicus vel quod populus bibit ore superno; observance of their rule, and forbade his sons, Africa lucifluo vel quidquid lumine sparsit. under their father's malediction, to molest them Quod pater Hieronymus, quod sensit Hilarius, in the possession of the lands which he had 1 atque bestowed on the abbey. Then, having embraced | Ambrosius præsul, simul Augustinus, et ipse each monk, and asked his blessing, he returned Sanctus Athanasius, quod Orosius edit virtus, to his residence in the neighborhood. This Quidquid Gregorius summus docet, et Leo was his last visit. Within a few weeks he ex papa: pired. His body was interred, with proper Basilius quidquid, Fulgentius atque coruscant. solemnity, in the church, and his memory was Cassiodorus item, Chrysostomus atque Joannes. long cherished with gratitude by the monks of Quidquid et Athelmus docuit, quid Beda Ramsey.” P. 152.
Quæ Victorinus scripsere, Boëtius, atque These were beautiful and affecting in
Historici veteres, Pompeius, Plinius, ipse
Acer Aristoteles, rhetor quoque Tullius ingens: stances of attachment to the departing
Quid quoque Sedulius, vel quid canit ipse spirits of their friends, and this incident
Juvencus. seems to evince a chaste and cultivated Alcuinus et Clemens, Prosper, Paulinus, tone of moral sentiment among the Anglo Avator, Saxons. No people ever became illustrious Quid Fortunatus vel quid Lactantius edunt, in the annals of the fine arts, or intellect. Quæ Maro Virgilius, Statius, Lucanus, et
auctor ually conspicuous, who failed to mark upon their souls this (not universal, as has been
Artis Grammaticæ, vel quid scripsere magistri.
Quid Probus, atque Phocas, Donatus Priscianus sometimes maintained) respect for the dead. The polished Greeks retained many of Servius, Enticus, Pompeius, Comminianus, their beautiful solemnities after Christianity Invenies alios perplures." had taught them that the body was insen
(Chap. x., p. 191.) sible to the fond endearments they lavished upon it; and our Anglo-Saxon forefathers
Nor shall we fail to admire the taste were not less obedient to the voice of nature. which formed the following schedule of How gratifying to find the frail memen
studies in the same seminary : toes of their history confirmatory of this
“ His dans Grammaticæ rationis graviter artes, -to connect with it their zeal to become fully versed in all the learning of the age. * Aelbert, Archbishop of York.
Illis rhetoricæ infundens refluamina linguæ, Te duce deserti variis involvimur undis,
Incerti qualem mereamur tangere portum. Illos Aonio docuit concinnere cantu,
Sidera dum lucent, trudit dum nubila ventus, Castalida instituens alios resonare cicuta, Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque Et juga Parnassi lyricis percurrere plantis.
manebunt." Ast alios fecit præfatus nosse magister Harmoniam cæli, solis lunæque labores;
At the earnest solicitation of CharleQuinque poli zonas, erantia sidera septem,
magne, Alcuin left Britain ; but that he Astrorum leges, ortus simul atque recessus;
often pined for “his own loved islandÆrios motus pelagi, terræque tremorem,
home,” that his affections fondly reverted Naturas hominum, pecudum, volucrumque
to the land of his childhood, is evinced by ferarum, Diversas numeri species, variasque figuras,
the following extract from his letter to the Paschalique dedit solemnia certa recursu, clergy of York, (an extract whose trusting Maxime scripturæ pandens mysteria sacræ.” faith and innocent simplicity lend a double
charm to the respect we cherish for its
author :) The great master-spirits of this ageat once “ the types and the expression” of “Ego vester ero sive in vita, sive in morte. its better features—were St. Aldhelm | Et, forte miserebitur mei Deus, ut cujus infanAlcuin and “the venerable Bede;" who,
tiam aluistis, ejus senectutem sepeliatis. Et si spurning the inglorious ease of a monastic
alius corpori deputabitur locus, tamen animæ,
qualemcunque habitaturæ errit per vestras sanclife, passed their days in ministering to the
tas, Deo denante, intercessiones requies." (P. mental cravings of their awakened coun 209, note.) trymen. They spoke, they wrote, they taught, fervently and cheerfully;* and,
This desire was not secured. Far from
This desire was having performed the work allotted them, its shores he sank to rest : and the zephyrs passed away, leaving those who were of a more burning clime swept over his worthy to succeed them; those who were | lonely, honored tomb. Truly does he seem to quickened with the energy of piety and have been gifted with that far-sweeping, learning, whose souls were attuned to a foreseeing vision, which conld look beyond grateful veneration for the benefactors
his nation's Future-to have been sustained whose names and virtues they ever loved and supported by the unwearving guidance to cherish. It was the age when Roman
of a Deity ever watchful of his servants. arts and Roman mind had just impressed So that Charlemagne not only solicited his (in the “civil codes”) their characters in services, but his advice; became his “own Western Europe; and the Latin language familiar friend ;” and this condescension was the depository of almost everything from one who had been the first styled in science or religion that had escaped the
“ Emperor of the West,”* and was the shocks of barbaric invasion. To the Anglo- l champion of the feudal system—at a period. Saxon scholars, then, the Latin became
too, when the whole Christian world acfamiliar “as household words ;” and, at a quiesced in the doctrine of “the divine time when the wild Franks were but just right of kings”—was something of a roused from the sleep of ages by the en
tribute-a tribute to the Christian and the ergy and spirit of Charlemagne, England scholar. The following lines will picture was irradiated by the beams of a morning forth more than we can express :whose glory has experienced no dimness, although the tide of a thousand years has “ Mens mea mellifluo, fateor, congaudet amore, changed all else. We mentioned Aelbert. Doctor amate, tui : volui quapropter in odis, He was preceded by Egbert, in whose O venerande, tuam musis solare, senectam: praise we have the following effusion of Jam meliora tenes sanctæ vestigia vitæ, Alcuin, the sweet bard of Anglo-Saxon
Donec ætherii venias ad culmina regni, Britain :
Congaudens sanctis, Christo sociatus in ævum,
Meque tuis precibus, tecum rape, quæso magister * O pater, O pastor, vitæ spes maxima nostræ :
Ad pia, quæ tendis, miserantis culmina regis."
Charl. apud Al. (ibid. p. 210.) Te sine nos ferimur turbata per æquora mundi,
* As says one of them, “Semper aut discere, aut 1 * [A. D. 800.] Hallam, “ Middle Ages,” Part I. docere, aut scribere dulce habui."
| Chap. I., pp. 21, 22.
It was his to give a beautiful and touch- , amid their blazing shrines and the lifeless ing example of the reality of religion. To corses of their countrymen. Such was the him might the words of Bryant be ad devotion which has given to posterity the dressed in all their spirituality ; for he name of St. Elphege, and many others,
whose pious zeal met no mercy at the “So lired that when his summons came to join hands of the ferocious monsters that The innumerable caravan that moves
cursed the land. This irruption of the To that mysterious realm where each shall take His chamber in the silent balls of death,
Danes (which occurred A. D. 836, and beHe went not like the quarry slave at night came most oppressive in 876) was a severe Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and blow to those who viewed their religion soothed
with reverential awe, who acknowledged By an unfaltering trust, approached his grave its ministers as messengers of the maLike one who wraps the drapery of his couch
jesty on High, and whose hearts were About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
tuned to the softest strains of penitential His last hours were spent in rapt com
sorrow. munion with the saints long since departed;
The inquiry may here arise, why the or, more frequently, in reflections on his
Britons did not merge with the Danes, as own approaching death. For this end he
they had before, to some extent, done with often wandered to the spot selected for his
| the Saxons? We can only conjecture resting place, and, great to the last, mused |
that, after Christianity had refined their upon the frailty of life. Even after death
manners, and elevated the tone of sentihis works did follow him. His epitaph,
ment, they could not mingle with their feinscribed on a brazen tablet fixed in the
rocious invaders ; but, abhorrent as their wall, is characterized by such a pensive
practices were to the Anglo-Saxons, the beauty and harmonious philosophy, that
influence of force might have subdued we cannot be censured for quoting it here:
them were it not that each sovereignty
seems to have been endued with a princi“ Hic, rogo, pauxillum veniens subsiste viator, ple of vilalily—an impulse, elastic as the Et inea scrutator pectore dicta tuo.
reality imbodied in it, of resistance—which Ut tua, deque meis, cognoscas fata figuris ; | the waves of conquest, though they might Vertitur en species, ut mea, sicque tua.
overwhelm, could never quench. Of this Quod nunc es, fueram, famosus in orbe viator,
spirit (universal in its expansion) Alfred Et quod nunc ego sum, tuque futurus eris. Delicias mundi cassa sectabar amore:
was the champion—of this tendency he is Nunc cinis et pulvis, vermibus atque cibus.
the most fitting impersonation. It was Quapropter potiùs animam curare memento, “the illustrious Alfred ” who, in the leiQuam carmen ; quoniam hæc manet, illa perit. sure hours snatched from the cares of a Cur tibi nova paras ? Quam parvo cernisin antro kingdom saved by his energy, found time Me tenet hic requies, sic tua parva fiet.
to translate the works of Boethius, whose Cur Tyrio corpus inhias vestire ostro,
own taste, while his arm guided the reQuod mox esuriens pulvere vermis edet ? Ut flores pereunt vento veniente minaci,
awakened spirit of Anglo-Saxon freedom, Sic tua namque caro, gloria tota perit.
purified the decaying sources of AngloTu mihi redde vicem, lector, rogo carminis hujus,
Saxon literatnre. Thus, when the Roman Et die, da veniam, Christe, tuo famulo. arms were no longer seen in Britain, the wriObsecro nulla manus violet pia jura sepulchri tings of her illustrious senator were translaPersonet angelica donec ab arce tuba.
ted and disseminated by Alfred; and Eng. Qui jaces in tumulo, terræ de pulvere surge,
land's once rude barbarians were found to Magnus adest judex militibus innumeris. Alchuin nomen erat sophiam mihi semperamanti
cherish the spirit of freedom when “the sevPro quo funde preces mente legens, titulum.”
en-hilled city” owned the sway of ferocious (Pp. 210, 317.) | tyrants. It was he, who, after consolida
ting the government, and classifying the Nor did his successors in England be- / varied tribes of his countrymen, founded come recreant to their religious faith. one of those magnificent universities which When the ferocious Danes overran the have never been surpassed either in talcountry they found the abbots and their ents, piety, or unchanging devotion to prinmonks ready to lay down their lives for ciple. * Here, doubtless, was the starting the truth, and manfully meeting death,
* Hallam, Middle Ages, p. 524.
point of Anglo-Saxon energy, and Anglo- | learning and civilization ; who, conquering Saxon piety. By his side we place one, the nations of the continent, and reviving who, in the tone of his mind, at least, is ancient barbarism there, found no quiet analogous : Alfred—Washington; the ex rule in English soil, in Saxon character no treme links (as it were) to a chain of pow base subserviency to their brutal exactions erful, brave, and high-souled men—the nat and systematic oppression. The results ural offshoots or personifications of an inde are known. Continental genius, learning structible renovation of social polity which and refinement were clouded by the unhas never maintained its stability among any mitigated barbarism of “the dark ages,” other people, or flourished for any length while on the shores of Iceland sprang up, of time in the vales of any other race, and in England glowed, the flame of pure whether Greek or Roman, whether Gothic religion and civil progress.* Here was the or Frank. In both there is the same unity beginning of those systems, here the of aim, precision of purpose, and indomita- birth of those feelings, which seem to have ble perseverance in laboring for its fulfil-clung to England's soil, and which rejoice ment; while their intuitive perception of us in their more refined and successful dethe most fitting means for every exigency / velopments of the nineteenth century. in the accomplishment of their designs, is But here the meed of praise must cease. equally conspicuous. Alfred's throne, how- Britain, torn by the violence of contending ever, was wrested from his immediate de factions, with her soil drenched in the best scendants. Washington's residence, and blood of her kings and people, was a prize birth-place, and name are enshrined in the too tempting to the ambitious restlessness affections of a grateful people. Alfred !the of William the Norman ; and, under the delight of a darkened age-the father of a sanction of the “church,” (not now the revering people—the warrior, statesman, honest, unassuming friend, but the soi-disant Christian, man-great, sublimely great master of the Anglo-Saxons,) he deterin all.
mined to effect its conquest—a conquest But a few hundred years, then, had over the spirit, rights and feelings, the passed before the subjection of England to whole national existence of the Anglothe Danes was visibly and successfully ac-Saxons—which, though almost total, it complished by the elevation of Canute to were not altogether judicious to consider the throne.* Yet he achieved no secure an entire annihilation of their civil liberpossession for his successors, year after ties. From this period the church beyear was but varied by the attempts of came more closely allied (and, where it each party to place their own chieftain on could not reign, more enslaved) to the the throne; but demonstrated the impo- power of the king; the people less detence of Danish force to enslave Anglo- pendent on either; while the nobles were Saxon mind, or annihilate Anglo-Saxon en-gradually losing their ancient strength, and terprise.
“the middle class ” (now the bulwark of
England's greatness) was revived and per“ As the animosity between the Danes and mitted a share in the councils as well as Saxons is to be considered as the real, though in the expense of government In this tri. often unseen cause of these contests for the throne which appeared to originate in the ambi
| ple development, although few instances tion of individuals, so the final prevalence of
typifying the silent progress of that the Saxons is to be attributed to their superior agency, (the power of public opinion,) now ity in numbers and civilization, and to their im so vital and brilliant, were displayed, it patience of a barbarous yoke, which is better was not the less operative, nor the less appreserved by the history and remembrance of preciated. The “tiers état” have been the more improved people.” (Mackintosh.)
ever since gradually elevating themselves, From the frosty peaks of Norway swarmed
until the period of our own political origin, down the bands of pirates who overran Eu
when the democratic principle was prorope, and afterwards peopled the desolate
claimed to the world as the natural and shores of Iceland with arms and arts, with
inalienable safeguard of human authority,
of governmental supremacy. *A.D. 1016. The struggle between the two races began about 979.
* Mackintosh, vol. I, p. 84.
And the keeping of that precious gem pated mind, at the same time that the purest is no easy matter. With mental strength, feelings of social life have been welcomed and incessant devotion, it requires a moral and encouraged. Upon closing this first stamen, a substratum, which history seems portion of a few discursive glances at the to record as peculiar to our own race; home of our ancestors previous to the for, while the other nations who sprang time of William the Conqueror, some from the ancient Goths (and more remotely sketches of the efforts made by the papal from the Germans described by Tacitus) hierarchy to erect here a consolidated emhave suffered their civil liberties to dwindle pire, subject to the central influence at from age to age, or seen them overturned Rome, may be appropriate in passing over by the grasping hands of ambitious nobles, his troubled reign. and have yielded to the unchecked cen- The sweep of six hundred years since tralization of usurping pontiffs, (the favor- the Saxons first landed, has disclosed to ite object which scourged emperors and our view scenes of quiet happiness, of repeople during the pontificate of the monk ligious purity, and social cultivation, deof Cluny” and his successors ;*) while veloped by the genius of uncorrupted France, t and Austria, and Spain | are less Christianity, mingled and shaded with tufree than when under the sway of those
mult, or civil and moral degeneracy. The early (barbaric) chieftains; the stock plant thorns and roses, fitly blended, met on the ed on British soil has permanently advanced branch which bore the hopes of a blissful to the full fruition of spiritual and physi- future. Henceforth, however, Romish incal liberty. In brief, where the people
fluence became the grand agent of unnumare less free in these Roman Catho-bered evils. Introduced and sanctioned lic countries, in England they are far by William, whose naturally vigorous mind more so than they were some thousand years
prevented an indiscriminating subjection to ago. Thus these branches of the same
its precepts, it soon overmastered the puny race, starting from the same point, and
spirits of his successors, soon reigned as from the same places, (not inaptly denom- | the lord over prostrate Britain, where it inated officine gentium,) have met with a had been lately known as but the ally of different fate; for, in one the progress has its conqueror.* We speak not unadvisedbeen towards despotism, exemplifying it- ly when we maintain that there never was self by an absorption of popular influence a plan more carefully schemed-one, too, and the rights of the individual into un- almost beyond the reach of human foresight bounded ecclesiastical authority or kingly to detect that met so signal a failure as prerogative ;8 while, in the other, each suc- the efforts of Rome to bend the simple cessive era has advanced true constitu- faith, and crush the independent piety of tional freedom, has developed and emanci our ancestors. Some evidence of this
might be presented, but it is useless to * North American Review, Jan. 1815.
point out what is traced on each eventful + Hallam, p. 105-106, (leg. power of 'les etats generaux' lost.)
page of England's earlier history. In For a clear view of the predominance attained every other country where Roman arts by the Castilian cortes in the interval from the mid
and the Romish faith have prevailed, it has dle of the twelfth to the close of the fourteenth century, we refer to Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, benumbed the spirit and poisoned the Introduction, vol. I. pp. 45-58. Their intrepid spirii is traced by Hallam, p. 215, et seq. The Aragonese cortes, it seems, enjoyed still greater influence,
its throne, even to this day, the brighter
its throne, even to and more unequivocal privileges, and yet they were | day of man's advancement. It is this nearly contemporary with the Castilian. (Commons admitted, A.D. 1133, Hallam, p. 224, in notis.)
s spiritual energy which has cheered the
P uas For its causes see the same learned authors.) fainting hopes—which has guided, inform(Prescott, pp. xcvi.-cv., et seq. Hallam, pp. 218 ed. and embellished the exertions of those, 227.) These have been lost now, and Spain is ever on the eve of convulsion. The power of her who, from century to century, have striven cortes is merely nominal, and the government as to secure to the masses their natural rights, much enslaved to papal influence as the people are impatient of its yoke.--Am. Rev. (For. Mis.) May, 1 * Mack. Hist. vol. I. p. 87 ; also 138, 144. 1816, p. 559.
+ “The Statutes of Mortmain” (tempore Edw. $ We have not included Denmark in this list; but I) “were introduced to check the overgrown her history affords an unequivocal testimony to the wealth of the hierarchy." Hallam, p. 301. 2 truth of the position. Vide Dr. Baird's Visit, chap Kent, pp. 281, 282. The British clergy refused subters on History of Denmark.
| mission to the Church of Rome in 637.