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clever divisions and symmetry of Claudian rather than the ease and variety of Virgil. They put their feet in irons, and showed their smartness by running in shackles; they weighted themselves with rules of modern rhyme and rules of ancient metre; they added the necessity of beginning each verse with the same letter that began the last. A few, like Adhelm, wrote square acrostics, in which the first line, repeated at the end, was found also to the left and righ of the piece. Thus made up of the st and last letters of each verse, it fms a border to the whole piece, and the morsel of verse is like a piece of tapestry. Strange literary tricks, which changed the poet into an artisan. Tity bear witness to the difficulties which then impeded culture and nature, and spoiled at once the Latin form and the Saxon genius.
the tenth century we see King Edgar | Charlemagne, was fruitless. Ther 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, yet 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 in the great spirits of this age endeavor versification by the refinement of the ir to link themselves to the relics of the composition, and the prestige of a dif 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 flounder. They rise almost alone, and on their death the rest sink again into the mire. It is the human beast that remains master; the mind cannot find a place amidst the outbursts and the desires of the flesh, gluttony and brute force. Even in the littie circle where he moves, his labor comes to nought. The model which he proposed to himself oppresses and enchains him in a cramping imitation; he aspires but to be a good copyist; he produces a gathering of centos which he calls Latin verses; he applies himself to the discovery of expressions, sanctioned by good models; he succeeds only in elaborating an emphatic, spoiled Latin, bristling with incongruities. In place of ideas, the most profound amongst them serve up the defunct doctrines of defunct authors. They compile relig. ious manuals and philosophical man- Beyond this barrier, which drew an uals from the Fathers. Erigena, the impassable line between civilization and most 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, y 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 hese clerks, who think like studious very Adhelm, a relative of King Ina, scholars in accordance with their favor- who sang on the town-bridge profane 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 the 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 flute from the skilled hands of a player of Augustus' 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 Greek, ters and senators becomes in his hands brings to the world a new civilization fall 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 utters 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 Skald, 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. Dull up his fifteen, he introduces a barbar- and congealed, his ideas cannot expand ous 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 reand 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 bold 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 disposinature, the honor of day, the distribution 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 civilthe 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 the barbarian songs. It was the last intact in its primitive coarseness; the feature of the national 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 by intuition.
* Primitus (pantorum procerum prætorumque pio potissimum paternoque præsertim privilegio) panegyricum poemataque passim prosatori sub polo promulgantes, stridula vocum symphonia ac melodiæ cantile, næque carmine modulaturi hymnizemus.
the native genius. Now approaches a new conquest, which is to bring this time men, as well as ideas. The Saxons, meanwhile, after the wont of German
*In Iceland, the country of the fiercest seakings, crimes are unknown; prisors have been turned to other uses; fines are the only punish
and the robbers. They had plantea their feet in the soil, and the moving chaos of the general subsidence had become fixed by the effort of their great hearts and of their arms. At the mouths of the rivers, in the defiles of the mountains, on the margin of the waste borders, at all perilous passes. they had built their forts, each for him self, each on his own land, each with his faithful band; and they had lived like a scattered but watchful army, n camped and confederate in their cas tles, sword in hand, in front of the enemy. Beneath this discipline a formidable people had been formed, fierce hearts in strong bodies,* intoler ant of restraint, longing for violent deeds, born for constant warfare because steeped in permanent warfare, heroes and robbers, who, as an escape from their solitude, plunged into ad
races, vigorous and fertile, have within the past six centuries multiplied enormously. They were now about two millions, and the Norman army numbered sixty thousand.* In vain these Normans become transformed, gallicized; by their origin, and substantially in themselves they are still the relatives of those whom they conquered. In vain they imported their manners and their poesy, and introduced into the language a third part of its words; this language continues altogether German in element and in substance.f Though the grammar changed, it changed integrally, by an internal action, in the same sense as its continental cognates. At the end of three hundred years the conquerors themselves were conquered; their speech became English; and owing to frequent intermarriage, the English blood ended by gaining the predomi-ventures, and went, that they might nance over the Norman blood in their veins. The race finally remains Saxon. If the old poetic genius disappears after the Conquest, it is as a river disappears, and flows for a while underground. In five centuries it will emerge once more.‡
A CENTURY and a half had passed on the Continent since, amid the universal decay and dissolution, a new society had been formed, and new men had risen up. Brave men had at length made a stand against the Norsemen
Following Doomsday Book, Mr. Turner reckons at three hundred thousand the heads of families mentioned. If each family consisted of five persons, that would make one million five hundred thousand people. He adds five hundred thousand for the four northern counties, for London and several large towns, for the monks and provincial clergy not enumerated. We must accept these figures with caution. till they agree with those of Mackintosh, George Chalmers, and several others. Many facts show that the Saxon population was very numerous, and quite out of proportion to the Norman population.
+ Warton, History of English Poetry, 1840, ¡ vols. preface. 1 Ibid.
conquer a country or win Paradise, to Sicily, to Portugal, to Spain, to Livonia, to Palestine, to England.
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 thousand transports, and sixty thousand men, were on the point of embarking.f The sun shone splendidly after long rain; trumpets sounded, the cries of this armed multitude rose to heaven, shore, in the wide-spreading river, on as far as the eye could see, on the the sea which opens out thence troad and shining, masts and sails extended
See, amidst other delineations of their manners, the first accounts of the first Crusade. Godfrey clove a Saracen down to his waist. -In Palestine, a widow was compelled, up to the age of sixty, to marry again, because no fiel could remain without a defender.-A Spanish leader said to his exhausted soldiers after a battle, "You are too weary and too much wounded, but come and fight with me against this other band; the fresh wounds which we shall receive will make us forget those which we have."
At this time, says he General Chronicle of Spain, kings, counts, and nobles and all the knights, that they might be ever ready, kept their horses in the chamber where they slept with their wives.
+ For difference in numbers of the flee and men, see Freemax, Hist. of the Norm. Cong. 2 vols. 1867. iii. 28 387.-T2.
like a forest; the enormous fleet set out wafted by the south wind. The people which it carried were said to have come from Norway, and they might have been taken for kinsmen of the Saxons, with whom they were to hght; but there were with them a multitude of adventurers, crowding from all quarters, far and rear, from north and south, from Maine and Anou, from Poitou and Brittany, from le-de-France and Flanders, from Aquitaine and Burgundy; † and, in short, the expedition itself was French. How comes it that having kept its name, it had changed its nature? and what series of renovations had made a Latin out of a German people? The reason is that this people, when they came to Neustria, were neither a national body, nor a pure race. They were but a band; and as such, marrying the women of the country, they introduced foreign blood into their children. They were a Scandinavian band, but swelled by all the bold knaves and all the wretched desperadoes who wandered about the conquered country: and as such they received foreign blood into their veins. Moreover, if the nomadic band was mixed, the settled band was much more so; and peace by its transfusions, like war by its recruits, had changed the character of the primitive blood. When Rollo, having divided the land amongst his followers, hung the thieves and their abettors, people from every country gathered to him. Security, good stern justice, were so rare, that they were enough to re-people a land. § He invited strangers, say the old writers, "and made one people out of so many folk of different natures." This as
For all the details, see Anglo-Norman Chronicles, iii. 4, as quoted by Aug. Thierry. I have myself teen the locality and the country. Of three columns of attack at Hastings, two were composed of auxiliaries. Moreover, he chroniclers are not at fault upon this critical point; they agree in stating that England was conquered by Frenchmen.
It was a Rouen fisherman, a soldier of
Rollo, who killed the Duke of France at the mouth of the Eure. Hastings, the famous seaking, was a laborer's son from the neighborhood of Troyes.
"In the tenth century," says Stendhal, ": man wished for two things: 1st, not to be slain; 2d, to have a good leather coat." See Fontenelle's Chronicle.
semblage of barbarians, refugees, robbers, immigrants, spoke Romance of French so quickiy, that the second Duke, wishing to have his son taught Danish, had to send him to Bayeux, where it was still spoken. The great masses always form the race in the end, and generally the genius and language.
Thus this people, so transformed, quickly became polished; the composite race showed itself of a ready genius, far more wary than the Saxons across the Channel, closely resembling their neighbors of Picardy, Champagne and Ile-de-France. "The Saxons," says an old writer,* "vied with each other in their drinking feats, and wasted their income by day and night in feasting, whilst they lived in wretched hovels; the French and Normans, on the other hand, living inexpensively in their fine large houses, were besides refined in their food and studiously careful in their dress." The former, still weighted by the German phlegm, were gluttons and drunkards, now and then aroused by poetical enthusiasm ; the latter, made sprightlier by their transplantation and their alloy, felt the cravings of the mind already making themselves manifest "You might see amongst them churches in every village and monasteries in the cities, towering on high, and built in a style unknown before," first in Normandy, and later in England.† Taste had come to them at once-that is, the desire to please the eye, and to express a thought by outward representation, which quite a new idea: the circular arch was raised on one or on a cluster of columns; elegant mouldings were placed about the windows; the rose window made its appearance, simple yet, like the flower which gives it its name
rose des buissons; " and the Norman style unfolded itself, original yet proportioned between the Gothic, whose richness it foreshadowed, and the Romance, whose solidity it recalled.
With taste, just as natural and just as quickly, was developed the spirit of inquiry. Nations a like children;
* William of Malmesbury.
† Churches in London, Sarum, Norwich, Durham, Chichester Peterborough, Rochester Hereford, Gloucester, Oxford, etc.-William of Malmesbury.
loved conversations, tales of adventure Side by side with their Latin chron iclers, Henry of Huntingdon, William of Malmesbury, thoughtful men already who could not only relate, but criticize here and there, were rhyming chron icles in the vulgar tongue, as those of Geoffroy Gaimar, Bénoît de Sate Maure, Robert Wace. Do not im agine that their verse-writers were sterile of words or lacking in details They were talkers, tale-tellers, speaker above all, ready of tongue, and neve stinted in speech. Not singers by any means; they speak- this is their strong point, in their poems as in their chronicles. They were the earliest who wrote the Song of Roland; upon this they accumulated a multitude of songs concerning Charlemagne and his peers, concerning Arthur and Merlin, the Greeks and Romans, King Horn, Guy of Warwick, every prince and every people. Their minstrels (trouvères), like their knights, draw in abundance from Welsh, Franks, and Latins, and descend upon East and
with some the tongue is readily loos- | ened, and they comprehend at once; with others it is loosened with difficulty and they are slow of comprehension. The men we are here speaking of had educated themselves nimbly, as Frenchmen do. They were the first in France who unravelled the language, regulating it and writing it so well, that to this day we understand their codes and their poems. In a century and a half they were so far cultivated as to and the Saxons" unlettered and rude."* That was the excuse they made for banishing them from the abbeys and all valuable ecclesiastical offices. And, in fact, this excuse was rational, for they instinctively hated gross stupidity. Between the Conquest and the death of King John, they established five hundred and fifty-seven schools in England. Henry Beauclerk, son of the Conqueror, was trained in the sciences; so were Henry II. and his three sons: Richard, the eldest of these, was a poet. Lanfranc, first Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, a subtle logician, ably argued the Real Pres-West, in the wide field of adventure. ence; Anselm, his successor, the first thinker of the age, thought he had discovered a new proof of the existence of God, and tried to make religion philosophical by adopting as his maxim, "Crede ut intelligas." The notion was doubtless grand, especially in the eleventh century; and they could not have gone more promptly to work. Of course the science I speak of was but scholastic, and these terrible folios slay more understandings than they confirm. But people must begin as they can; and syllogism, even in Latin, even in theology, is yet an exercise of the mind and a proof of the understanding. Among the continental priests who settled in England, one established a library; another, founder of a school, made the scholars perform the play of Saint Catherine; a third wrote in polished Latin, "epigrams as pointed as those of Martial." Such were the recreations of an intelligent race, eager for ideas, of ready and flexible genius, whose clear thought was not clouded, ike that of the Saxon brain, by drunken hallucinations, and the vapors of a greedy and well-filled stomach They
* Ordericus vita is.
They addressed themselves to a spirit of inquiry, as the Saxons to enthusiasm, and dilute in their long, clear, and flowing narratives the lively colors of German and Breton traditions; bat. tles, surprises, single combats, embassies, speeches, processions, ceremonies, huntings, a variety of amusing events, employ their ready and wandering im aginations. At first, in the Song of Ro land, it is still kept in check; it walks with long strides, but only walks. Presently its wings have grown; inci dents are multiplied; giants and mon. sters abound, the natural disappears, the song of the jongleur grows a poem under the hands of the trouvère; he would speak, like Nestor of old, five, even six years running, and not grow tired or stop. Forty thousand verses are not too much to satisfy their gab ble; a facile mind, copious, inquisitive, descriptive, such is the genius of the race. The Gauls, their fathers, used to delay travellers on the road to make them tell their stories, and boasted like these, "of fighting well and talk ing with ease."
With chivalric poetry, they are not wanting in chivalry; principally, it may