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and spontaneously took their part in laying the deep and strong foundations of modern English renown. On all these grounds, the English language is here considered as commencing with what is usually called Anglo-Saxon. A sufficient sample has been given of this earliest form of the language to allow those who study it in connection with the concise Anglo-Saxon Grammar, given in the Introduction, to form a fair estimate of its proper
relation to modern English. Dr. Craik’s authority has been followed in considering the two great transformations which the language underwent between A.D. 1150 and 1350 as revolutions. This word aptly designates the important movements which converted a language, synthetical in its construction, and homogeneous in its vocabulary, into one that was analytical in the one respect, and composite in the other, and which nevertheless left its personal identity unaffected. The first revolution, which stripped away most of its inflections, and destroyed its system of artificial gender, contributed greatly to its freedom and power; while the second, which with Norman words introduced also Norman intelligence and taste, immensely extended its range of expression, constituting what Dr. Trench so aptly calls “the happy marriage in our tongue of the languages of the north and south,” -the blending of Romance elegance and refinement with Gothic simplicity and strength.
Besides furnishing a chronological view of the history of the English langilage, it has been the editor's aim to illustrate by means of the extracts themselves the various powers of our mother-tongue. These have been carefully chosen, not less for the sake of the material than of the workmanship, not less for the worthiness of the thoughts than for the style in which they are presented ; and they furnish, it is believed, a matchless exhibition of strength, beauty, grace, energy, and freedom of language.
It is scarcely necessary to say that these specimens are intended to be studied, not merely read over. They are not designed to gratify a passing curiosity, but to train the youthful mind to a perception of the value and importance of lan
guage generally, and of our own noble language especially; to show how it has been wielded on occasion by those eminent masters who appreciated the instrument they used, and wished others to appreciate it too. It can hardly be said that such appreciation is common. Our language itself, its remarkable history, its unique characteristics, have only lately begun to receive the attention they deserve. Little encouragement is given to such studies at our chief universities, and it has been left to foreigners, in time past, to enlighten the world as to the beauties both of our language and literature. There are, however, at last, hopeful symptoms of a healthy reaction.
The editor's obligations to the works of Trench, Craik, Latham, Marsh, Spalding, Angus, Adams, Max Müller, Wedgewood, Morley, Miss Whately, Taylor, Crabbe, to the Philological Society's Proceedings, as well as to the remarkable English grammars in German by Koch, and Fiedler and Sachs, will be obvious to all who are acquainted with the history of the English language and literature.
Lastly, he has to express his thanks to Messrs. Longman and Co., Mr. Murray, Messrs. A. and C. Black, and Messrs. Chapman and Hall, as also to Messrs. Dickens, Ruskin, Carlyle, Helps, and Kinglake, for their kind permission to make extracts from the copyright texts of which they are the proprietors.
4, KILDARE GARDENS, BAYSWATER.
October 23, 1867.
Beginning of Henry III.'s Proclamation, dated 1258, gene
rally considered the earliest specimen of true English.
Shemofure godef Aviksme Bmo on Thateneloonde. Lhoquerdon polo muss Onbon form
nomeam and coil on chirold grend uzvetnge to alle hele hal le Pasodle and deabede om Trunsten on fachowo
Bac Horten se fH alle Barthollen and bunt B** ** Prepedefinen alle opez Peimo are ddlof heon Bolle Beof ishofen Burong and Burg Bet loanded Poffe on Bro Bunencherhabbeb wen and Hulle don'm fe forfneffe of gode and on bre treo bfe for feher of Beloonde Burs Be Befugte of Pan to forgifende pode fumen. Bes Redefort and clefemde i alle pinge abuten athide And We Raaten alle tre treoße ñ ße treoß Bebte heo Pfogen.Bat heo fredefaktliche Rellen and Mbepen to healden and to herren Be vetneffeffa Beon mabede and Beon to mabuon fuirg fan to foron. berderadelmen
The same in Modern Characters. Henr, þurg Godes fultume King on Engleneloande Lhoaverd on Yrloand Duk on Norm' on Aquitain' and Eorl on Aniow, send igretinge to alle hise halde ilærde and ileawede on Huntendon' Schir.
Đat witen ge wel alle þæt we willen and unnen þæt þæt ure rædesmen alle oper pe moare dæl of heom þat beo8 ichosen þurg us and þurg þæt loandes folk on ure kuneriche habbed idon and schullen don in þe worpnesse of Gode and on ure treowþe for þe freme of þe loande þurg þe besigte of þan to foreniseide rædesmen beo stedefæst and ilestinde inn alle thinge abuten ænde. And we haaten alle ure treowe inn be treow be þat heo us ogen þæt heo stedefæstliche heilden and sweren to healden and to werien þe isetnesses that beon innakede and beon to makien þurg þan toforeniseide rædesmen.-See the Translation at p. 22.