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the tenth century we see King Edgar | Charlemagne, was fruitess. There give a manor to a bishop, on condition was an impassable wall between the that he will put into Saxon the monas- old learned literature and the present tic regulation written in Latin by Saint chaotic barbarism. Incapable, ye! Benedict. Alfred himself was almost compelled, to fit into the ancient mould, the last man of culture ; he, like they gave it a twist. Unable to repro Charlemagne, became so only by dint duce ideas, they reproduced a metre. of determination and patience. In vain | They tried to eclipse their rivals is the great spirits of this age endeavor versification by the refinement of their to link themselves to the relics of the composition, and the prestige of a dal fine, ancient civilization, and to raise ficulty overcome. So, in our own col. themselves above the chaotic and mud- leges, the good scholars imitate the dy ignorance in which the others clever divisions and symmetry of Aounder. They rise almost alone, and Claudian rather than the ease and on their death the rest sink again variety of Virgil. They put their feet into the mire. It is the human beast in irons, and showed their smartness by that remains master; the mind cannot running in shackles; they weighted find a place amidst the outbursts and themselves with rules of modern rhyme the desires of the Aesh, gluttony and and rules of ancient metre; they added
de fire. Even in the littie circle the necessity of beginning each verse where he moves, his labor comes to with the same letter that began the nought. The model which he proposed last. A few, like Adhelm, wrote square to himself oppresses and enchains him acrostics, in which the first line, rein a cramping imitation; he aspires peated at the end, was found also to but to be a good copyist; he produces the left and righ, of the piece. Thus a gathering of centos which he calls made up the most and last letters of Latin verses; he applies himself to the each verse, it firms a border to the liscovery of expressions, sanctioned by whole piece, and the morsel of verse is good models; he succeeds only in like a piece of tapestry. Strange literelaborating an emphatic, spoiled Latin, ary tricks, which changed the poet into bristling with incongruities. In place an artisan. Try bear witness to the of ideas, the most profound amongst difficulties which then impeded culture them serve up the defunct doctrines of and nature, and spoiled at once the defunct authors. They compile relig. Latin form and the Saxon genius. ious manuals and philosophical man- Beyond this barrier, which drew an uals from the Fathers. Erigena, the impassable line between civilization and nuost learned, goes to the extent of re- barbarism, there was another, no less producing the old complicated dreams impassable, between the Latin and of Alexandrian metaphysics. How far Saxon genius. The strong German these speculations and reminiscences imagination, in which glowing and ob soar above the barbarous crowd which scure visions suddenly meet and abrupt howls and bustles in the depths below, iy overflow, was in contrast with the no words can express. There was a reasoning spirit, in which ideas gather certain king of Kent in the seventh cen. and are developed only in a regular tury who could not write. Imagine order; so that if the barbarian, in his bachelors of theology discussing before classical attempts, retained any part of an audience of wagoners, not Parisian his primitive instincts, he succeeded wagoners, but such as survive in only in producing a grotesque and Auvergne or in the Vosges. Among frightful monster. One of them, this ese clerks, who think like studious very Adhelm, a relative of King Ina, scholars in accordance with their favor- who sang on the town-bridge profano ite authors, and are doubly separated and sacred hymns alternately, too much from the world as scholars and monks, imbued with Saxon poesy, simply to Alfred alone, by his position as a lay: imitate the antique models, adorned man and a practical man, descends in his Latin prose and verse with all the his Saxon translations and his Saxon “ English magnificence."* You might verses to th: common level ; and we compare him to a barbarian who seizes have seen that his effort, like that of • William of Malmesbury's expression,
a fute from the skilled hands of a
VIII. player of Ar.gustus' court, in order to blow on it with inflated lungs, as if it Such was this race, the last born of were the bellowing horn of an aurochs. the sister races, which, in the decay of The sober speech of the Roman ora. the other two, the Latin and the Greck, tars and senators becomes in his hands brings to the world a new civilization. fill of exaggerated and incoherent with a new character and genius. In images; he violently connects words, ferior to these in many respects, it sur. uniting them in a sudden and extrava. passes them in not a few. Amidst the gant manner; he heaps up his colors, woods and mire and snows under a and atters extraordinary and unintelligi- sad, inclement sky, gross instincts have ble nonsense, like that of the later gained the day during this long bar. Ska ds; in short, he is a latinized barism. The German has not acquired Ska:d, dragging into his new tongue gay humor, unreserved facility, the feel the ornaments of Scandinavian poetry, ing for harmonious beauty ; his great such as alliteration, by dint of which he phlegmatic body continues savage and congregates in one of his epistles fifteen stiff, greedy and brutal; his rude and consecutive words, all beginning with unpliable mind is still inclined to sav. the same letter, and in order to make agery, and restive under culture. Duli up his fifteen, he introduces a barbar. and congealed, his ideas cannot expand nus Græcism amongst the Latin words.* with facility and freedom, with a natural Amongst the others, the writers of sequence and an instinctive regularity. legends, you will meet many times with But this spirit, void of the sentiment deformation of Latin, distorted by the of the beautiful, is all the more apt for outburst of a too vivid imagination ; the sentiment of the true. The deep it breaks out even in their scholastic and incisive impression which he re and scientific writing. Here is part of ceives from contact with objects, and a dialogue between Alcuin and prince which as yet he can only express by : Pepin, a son of Charlemagne, and he cry, will afterwards liberate him from uses like formulas the little poetic and the Latin rhetoric, and will vent itself sold phrases which abound in the na- on things rather than on words. More. 'ional poetry.
" What is winter ? the over, under the constraint of climate banishment of summer. What is spring and solitude, by the habit of resistance he painter of the earth. What is the and effort, his ideal is changed. Manly ear ? the world's chariot. What is and moral instincts have gained the he sun ? the splendor of the world, empire over him ; and amongst them he beauty of heaven, the grace of the need of independence, the disposirature, the honor of day, the distribu- tion for serious and strict manners, the tor of the hours. What is the sea ? inclination for devotion and veneration, the path of audacity, the boundary of the worship of heroism. Here are the the earth, the receptacle of the rivers, foundations and the elements of a civil. the fountain of showers. More, he ization, slower but sounder, less careends his instructions with enigmas, in ful of what is agreeable and elegant, the spirit of the Skalds, such as we more based on justice and truth.* still find in the old manuscripts with Hitherto at least the race is intact she barbarian songs. It was the last intact in its primitive coarseness; the feature of the sational genius, which, Roman cultivation could neither de when it labors to understand a matter, velop nor deform it. If Christianity neglects dry, clear, consecutive deduc- took root, it was owing to natural tion, employ grotesque, remote, oft- affinities, but it produced no change in repeated imagery, and replaces analysis the native genius. Now approaches a by intuition.
new conquest, which is to bring this
time men, as well as ideas. The Saxons, * Primitus (pantorum procerum prætorumque meanwhile, after the wont of German pio potissimum paternogue præsertim privilegio) panegyricum poemataque passim prosatori sub * In Iceland, the country of the fiercest seapolo promulgantes, stridula vocum symphonia kings, crimes are unknown ; prisors have been ac melodiæ cantile, næque carmine modulaturi turned to other uses ; fines are the only punieb hymnizemus.
races, vigorous and fertile, have with. I and the robbers. They had plantea in the past six centuries multiplied their feet in the soil, and the moving enormously. They were now about chaos of the general subsidence had two millions, and the Norman army become fixed by the effort of their numbered sixty thousand.* In vain great hearts and of their arms. At these Normans become transformed, the mouths of the rivers, in the defiles gallicized; by their origin, and sub of the mountains, on the margin of the stantially in themselves they are still waste borders, at all perilous passes. the relatives of those whom they con- they had built their forts, each for him quered. In vain they imported their self, each on his own land, each with nanners and their poesy, and intro his faithful band; and they had lived duced into the language a third part of like a scattered but watchful army, 'n its words; this language continues al camped and confederate in their cas together German in element and in tles, sword in hand, in front of the substance.t Though the grammar enemy. Beneath this discipline a for changed, it changed integrally, by an midable people had been formed, internal action, in the same sense as fierce hearts in strong bodies,* intoler its continental cognates. At the end ant of restraint, longing for violent of three hundred years the conquerors deeds, born for constant warfare bethemselves were conquered ; their cause steeped in permanent warfare, speech became English ; and owing to heroes and robbers, who, as an escape frequent intermarriage, the English from their solitude, plunged into adblood ended by gaining the predomi- i ventures, and went, that they might nance over the Norman blood in their conquer a country or win Paradise, to veins. The race finally remains Saxon. Sicily, to Portugal, to Spain, to LivoIf the old poetic genius disappears af- nia, to Palestine, to England. ter the Conquest, it is as a river disappears, and flows for a while under
II. ground. In five centuries it will emerge once more. I
On the 27th of September, 1066, at the mouth of the Somme, there was a great sight to be seen : four hundred
large sailing vessels, more than a thouCHAPTER II.
sand transports, and sixty thousand
men, were on the point of embarking. The Normans.
The sun shone splendidly after long
rain ; trumpets sounded, the cries of 1.
this armed multitude rose to heaven, A CENTURY and a half had passed on shore, in the wide-spreading river, on
as far as the eye could see, on the the Continent since, amid the universal the sea which opens out thence troad decay and dissolution, a new society and shining, masts and sails extended had been formed, and new men had
Brave men had at length * See, amidst other delineations of theu made a stand against the Norsemen manners, the first accounts of the first Crusade.
Godfrey clove a Saracen down to his waist.-ID * Following Doomsday Book, Mr. Turner Palestine, a widow was compelled, up to the reckons a: three hundred thousand the heads age of sixty, to marry again, because no fial of families mentioned. If each family consisted could remain without a defender.-A Spanish of five persons, that would make one million five leader said to his exhausted soldiers after a hundred thousand people. He adds five hun-battle, “You are too weary and too much dred thousand for the four northern counties, wounded, but come and fight with me against for London and several large towns, for the this other band; the fresh wounds which we nonks and provincial clergy not enumerated. shall receive will make us forget those which We must accept these figures with caution.
At this time, says he General Still they agree with those of Mackintosh, Chronicle of Spain, kings, counts, and nobles George Chalmers, and several others. Many and all the knights, that they might be ever facts show that the Saxon population was very ready, kept their horses in the chamber where Qumerous, and quite out of proportion to the they slept with their wives. Norman population.
For difference in numbers of the fieei ang † Warton, History of English Poetry, 1840 men, see Freeman, Hist. of the Norn. Cong. : vols. preface.
vols. 1867. iij. 28 387.–Ta.
like a forest; the enormous fleet set semblage of barbarians, refugees, rob out wafted by the south wind.* The bers, immigrants, spoke Romance or people which it carried were said to French so quickiy, that the second have come from Norway, and they Duke, wishing to have his son taught might have been taken for kinsmen of Danish, had to send him to Bayeux, the Saxons, with whom they were to where it was still spoken. The great hght; but there were with them a masses always form the race in the multitude of adventurers, crowding end, and generally the genius and lanfrom all quarters, far and rear, from guage. Thus this people, so transnorth and south, from Maine and An- formed, quickly became polished; the oy, from Poitou and Brittany, from composite race showed itself of a ready Ile-de-France and Flanders, from genius, far more wary than the Saxons Aquitaine and Burgundy; † and, in across the Channel, closely resembling short, the expedition itself was French. their neighbors of Picardy, Champagne
How comes it that having kept its and Ile-de-France. “The Saxons," says name, it had changed its nature? and an old writer, * “ vied with each other what series of renovations had made a in their drinking feats, and wasted Latin out of a German people ? The their income by day and night in feastreason is that this people, when they ing, whilst they lived in wretched came to Neustria, were neither a na- hovels; the French and Normans, on tional body, nor a pure race. They the other hand, living inexpensively in were but a band; and as such, marrying their fine large houses, were besides the women of the country, they intro- refined in their food and studiously duced foreign blood into their children. careful in their dress.” The former, They were a Scandinavian band, but still weighted by the German phlegm, swelled by all the bold knaves and all were gluttons and drunkards, now and the wretched desperadoes who wan. then aroused by poetical enthusiasm ; dered about the conquered country: I the latter, made sprightlier by their and as such they received foreign blood transplantation and their alloy, felt the into their veins. Moreover, if the no- cravings of the mind already making madic band was mixed, the settled themselves manifest “ You might see band was much more so; and peace amongst them churches in every village by its transfusions, like war by its re- and monasteries in the cities, towering cruits, had changed the character of on high, and built in a style unknown the primitive blood. When Rollo, before, first in Normandy, and later having divided the land amongst his in England. Taste had come to them followers, hung the thieves and their at once-that is, the desire to please abettors, people from every country the eye, and to express a thought by gathered to him. Security, good stern outward representation, which justice, were so rare, that they were quite a new idea : the circular arch was enough to re-people a land. ß He in- raised on one or on a cluster of col. vited strangers, say the old writers, umns; elegant mouldings were placed "and made one people out of so many about the windows; the rose window folk of different natures.' This as- made its appearance, simple yet, like * For all the details, see Anglo-Norman
the Aower which gives it its name Chronicles, iii. 4, as quoted by Aug. Thierry: “ rose des buissons ;” and the Norman I have myself seen the locality and the country style unfolded itself, original yet pro
† Of three columns of attack at Hastings, portioned between the Gothic, whose two were composed of auxiliaries. Moreover, richness it foreshadowed, and the Ro.he chroniclers are not at fault point; they agree in stating that England was mance, whose solidity it recalled. conquered by Frenchmen.
With taste, just as natural and just It was a Rouen fisherman, a soldier of Rollo, who killed the Duke of France at the
as quickly, was developed the spirit of mouth of the Eure. Hastings, the famous sea
inquiry Nations 2:; like children; king, was a laborer's son from the neighbor. hood of Troyes.
• William of Malmesbury, 9 “In the tenth century,"
says Stendhal, “a + Churches in London, Sarum, Norwich, man wished for two things: ist, not to be slain; Durham, Chichester Peterborough, Rochester zd, to have a good leather coat.' See Fonte Hereford, Gloucester, Oxford, etc.--Williar nelle's Chronicle.
with sour.e the tongue is readily loos- I loved conversations, tales of adventure ened, and they comprehend at once ; | Side by side with their Latin chron with others it is loosened with difficulty iclers, Henry of Huntingdon, William and they are slow of comprehension. of Malmesbury, thoughtful men already The men we are here speaking of had who could not only relate, but criticize educated theinselves nimbly as French here and there, were rhyming chron. men do. They were the first in France icles in the vulgar tongue, as those of who unravelled the language, regula- Geoffroy Gaimar, Bénoit de Sa'ate ting it and writing it so well, that to Maure, Robert Wace. Do not im this day we understand their codes agine that their verse-writers were and their poems. In a century and a sterile of words or lacking in details half they were so far cultivated as to They were talkers, tale-tellers, speaker and the Saxons“ unlettered and rude." * above all, ready of tongrie, and neve, That was the excuse they made for stinted in speech. Not singers by any banishing them from the abbeys and means; they speak - this is their all valuable ecclesiastical offices. And, strong point, in their poems as in their in fact, this excuse was rational, foi chronicles. They were the earliest they instinctively hated gross stupidity. who wrote the Song of Roland ; upon Between the Conquest and the death this they accumulated a multitude of of King John, they established five songs concerning Charlemagne and hundred and fifty-seven schools in his peers, concerning Arthur and England. Henry Beauclerk, son of Merlin, the Greeks and Romans, King the Conqueror, was trained in the Horn, Guy of Warwick, every prince sciences ; so were Henry II. and his and every people. Their minstrels three sons : Richard, the eldest of these. (trouvères), like their knights, draw in was a poet. Lanfranc, first Norman abundance from Welsh, Franks, and Archbishop of Canterbury, a subtle Latins, and descend upon East and logician, abiy argued the Real Pres./West, in the wide field of adventure. ence ; Anselm, his successor, the first They addressed themselves to a spirit thinker of the age, thought he had dis- of inquiry, as the Saxons to enthusiasm, covered a new proof of the existence and dilute in their long, clear, and of God, and tried to make religion flowing narratives the lively colors of philosophical by adopting as his maxim, German and Breton traditions ; bat. "Crede ut intelligas." The notion tles, surprises, single combats, embas. was doubtless grand, especially in the sies, speeches, processions, ceremonies, eleventh century; and they could not huntings, a variety of amusing events, have gone more promptly to work. Of employ their ready and wandering im course the science I speak of was but aginations. At first, in the Song of Ra scholastic, and these terrible folios slay land, it is still kept in check; it walks more understandings than they confirm. with long strides, but only walks. But people must begin as they can; Presently its wings have grown ; inci. and syllogism, even in Latin, even in dents are multiplied; giants and mon. theology, is yet an exercise of the mind sters abound, the natural disappears, and a proof of the understanding. the song of the jongleur grows a poem Among the continental priests who under the hands of the trouvère ; he settled in England, one established a would speak, like Nestor of old, five, library; another, founder of a school, even six years running, and not grow made the scholars perform the play of tired or stop. Forty thousand verses Saint Catherine; a third wrote in pol- are not too much to satisfy their gab ished Latin, "epigrams as pointed as ble; a facile mind, copious, inquisitive, those of Martial.” Such were the rec- descriptive, such is the genius of the reations of an intelligent race, eager for race. The Gauls, their fathers, used ideas, of ready and Aexible genius, to delay travellers on the road to make whose clear thought was not clouded, them tell their stories, and boasted like that of the Saxon brain, by drunken like these, “ of fighting well and talk ballucinations, and the vapors of a ing with ease.” greedy and well-filled stomach They With chivalric poetry, they are not • Ordericus vita is.
wanting in chivalry; principally, it may