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author of a valuable work, ‘De Regibus Anglorum,' a general liistory of England from the period of the Saxon invasion to the 26th Henry I. in 1126, and a continuation to 1143, with a liistory of the church, and other works (this monk of Malmesbury is the most able and original of the early liistorians); HENRY OF HUNTINGDON (died after 1154) wrote a history of England to the period of Stephen; GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS, or GERALDDE BARRI" (circa 1146-1222), preached the crusade to the Welsh in 1188, and wrote ‘Itinerarium Cambriæ and Topogrupliia Hibernia;' ROGERDE HOVEDEN (clied after 1202) wrote 'Aunales Rerum Anglicarum,' 732 to 1202; MATTHEW OF Paris (died about 1259) wrote ‘Historia Angliæ ad ultimum annum Henrici III. ;' and MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER, a Benedictine monk who flourished in the fourteenth century, author of 'Flores Historiarum ab exord io Mundi usque ad 1307.'
Wace's legendary poem was expanded into 32,250_lines by a monk, LAYAMON, who deseribes himself as a priest of Ernley, near Redstone, on the Severn. His auditions to the work of Wace were made partly from Bede, but chiefly from Welsh and other traditional sources, with passages by Layamon himself. The date of the poem, when completed, is about the year 1205. Sir Frederick Mailden, who published an edition of it (1847), says, that in many passages of the poem the spirit and style of the Anglo-Saxon writers have been preserved. It embodicil the current language of the time, and has very few Norman words. The versification combines the alliteration characteristic of Anglo-Saxon poetry with the rhyming couplets of the French. The structure of the verse, however, is by no means regular. Two manuscripts of the poem exist, ove twenty or thirty years later than the other, and there is a considerable difference in the text. We subjoin a specimen, with Sir Frederick Madden's translation of the earlier text: Early Text.
Laweman was [i] hote :
lef him beo drihte: he wonede at Emleye,
he wonede at Ernleie, at ædheien are chirechen, wid than gode crithte, uppen Seuarne stathe
uppen Senarne : sel thar him thuhte:
merie ther him thohte: on fest Radestone
fastebi Radestone ther he bock radde.
ther he bokes radde.
Hit com him on mode,
the rihtnesse tell, wat heo ihoten weoren.
wat the men hi-hot weren, and wonene heo comen,
and wanene hi comen, tha Englene londe
the Eugene lond rest ahten
ærest afden efter than flode
after tliin flode the from drihteuc com,
that fram god com, the al her a-quelde
that al ere acwelde quic that he funde.
cwic that hit funde,
There was a priest on carth (or in the land), who was named Layamon; he was son of Leovenath, may the Lord be gracious to him !-hedwelt at Ernley, at a noble church upou Severn's bank-good it there seemed to him-near Radestone, where he books read. It came to him in mind, and in his chief thought, that he would tell the noble deeds of the English, what they were named, and whence they came, who first possessed th. English land, after the flood that came from the Lord, that destroyed here all that it found alive.
About the same time was produced a metrical work, the ORMULUM, so called after the name of its author, Orm or Ormin. This poem, or rather series of poems, for it consists of homilies and lessons from the New Testament–is also of great length, extending to nearly 10,000 lines, or couplets of fifteen syllables. It has one mark of progress in the language-the alliterative system is abandoned, though this did not become general, and Ormin's English has a more modern air than that of Layamon. Ile dedicates his work to his brother:
Nu, brotherr Wallterr, brotherr min Now, brother Walter, brother mine Affterr the fishes kinde;
After the flesh's kind (or nature]; Annd brotherr min i Crisstenddom
And brother mine in Christendoin Thurrh fulluhht and thurrh trowwthe; Through baptisin and through truth; Annd brotherr min i Godess hus.
And brother mine in God's house.
A treatise termed “The Ancren Riwle,' or Female Anchorite's Rule, is referred to the same period- not later than 1205. It is in eight parts, written by an ecclesiastic, on the duties of a monastic life. The work was edited by the Rev. James Morton in 1853, and is attributed by him to a Bishop Poor, who died in 1237. One peculiarity of the work is the great number of the Norman-French words it contains. The writer tells the anchorite: "Ye ne schulen eten vleschs ne seim, buien ine muchele secnesse; other hwoso is ever feble eteth potage blii heliche; and wunieth ou to lutel drunch. (Ye shall not eat flesh nor lard, except in much sickness; but the feebie may eat pottage blithely, and accustom themselves to a little drink.)
An English version of 'Genesis and Exodus,' extending to above 4,000 lines, is about the same date; and an original poem, "The Owl and the Nightingale' (1250-1260) is ascribed to NICHOLAS DE GUILDFORD, It opens thus : Ich was in one sumere dale,
I was in one summer dale, In one suthe dithele halo;
In a very secret hollow; I herd ich holde greta talo
I heard each hold great tale Au hule and one nihtingale [strong, An owl and one nightingale [strong, That plait was stiff, and starc, and That plain was stiff, and stark, and Sum wile soft and lude among.
Somewhile soft and loud among.
Summer is coming in,
Loud sing, cuckoo !
And springeth the wood uow.
Sing cuckoo, cuckoo.
Awe bleteth after lomb,
Ewe bleateth after lamb,
Loweth after calf cow,
Merry sing, cuckoo !
Well sing thou, cuckoo,
Nor cease to sing now,
Sing cuckoo, cuckoo. Among the old “romances of pris' (price or praise) referred to by Chaucer, is supposed to be the 'Squire of Low Degree.' The daughter of the King of Hungary liad fallen into a staie of melancholy from the supposed loss of the squire, her lover, and the king comforts his daughter by promising her many presents and luxuries : To-morrow ye shall in hunting fare; (1) With gosshawk and with gentle falcón, And yede, (:) my doughter, in a chair; With bugle-horn aud mersión. It shall be covered with velvet red, When you come home your menzie And cloths of fine gold all about your among, (7) head,
Ye shall have revel, dances, and song; With damask white and azure blue, Little children, great and small, Well diapered (3) with lilies new.
Shall sing as dois the nightingale. Your pommels shall be ended with gold, Then shali ye go to your even song, Your chains enamelled many a fold, With tenors and trebles amoug. Your inantle of rich degree,
Threescore of copes of damask bright, Purple pall and ermine free.
Full of pearls they shall be pight. (8) Jennets of Spain, that ben so wight, Your censers shall be of gold, Trapped to the ground with velvet bright. Indent with azure many a fold. Ye shall have harp, sautry, and song, Your quire nor organ song shall want, And other mirths you among.
With contre-note and descant. Ye shall have Rumney and Malespine, The other half on organs playing, Both Hippocras and Vernage wine; With young children full lain singing. Montrese and wine of Greek,
Then shall ye go to your supper, Both Algrade and despice (4) eke,
And sit in tents in green arber, Antioch and Bastard,
With cloth of arras pight to the ground, Pyment (5) also and garnard;
With sapphires set of diamond.
A hundred knights, truly toid,
Your disease to drive away ;
To see the fishes in pools play, You shall have venison y-bake,
To a drawbridge then shall ye, The best wild fowl that may be take; Th' one half of stone, th’ other of tree;, A leish of harehound with you to A barge shall meet you full right, streek, (6)
With twenty-four oars full bright, And hart, and hind, and other like. With trumpets and with clarion, Yeshall be set at such a tryst,
The fresh water to row up and down. .. That hart and hind shall come to you Forty torches burning bright,, first.
At your bridges to bring you light. Your disease to drive
Into your chamber they shall you bring, To hear the bugles there y-blow.
With much mirth and more liking. Homeward thus shall ye ride,
Your blankets shall be of fustian, On-hawking by the river's side,
Your sheets shall be of cloth of Rennes, EARLY ENGLISH WRITERS. The century and a half from 1250 to 1400 has been designated the Early or Old English period of our language. A division into dia
* Verteth, goes to harbour among the fern.-WARTON. 1 Go a-hunting.
2 Go. 4 Spiced wine.
5 A drink of wine, honey, and spices. 7 Household.
lects also became more marked. There were the Northern (including the Lowlands of Scotland), the Midland, and the Southern; or as they have been historically termed, the Northumbrian, Mercian, and West Saxon dialects.
THOMAS OF ERCILDOUN.
The military spirit then abroad, and the chivalrous enthusiasm of the Normans, were displayed in the literature of the day no less than in tournaments or in war and crusades. The mixed English language became a vehicle for romantic metrical tales, derived from the French. The name of one minstrel, THOMAS THE RIYMER, or THOMAS OF ERCILDOUN, is great in traditional story. He was a person of some consideration, owner of an estate, which he transmitted to liis son, and he died shortly before 1299. Thomas, besides being a seer or prophet, is supposed to have been the author of our first metrical romance. An English rhyming chronicler, Robert de Brunne, refers to “Sir Tristrem,' a 'sedgeing tale,' or story for recitation, by Thomas of Ercildoun, which was esteemed above all other tales, if recited as written by the author. Few of the minstrels, however, gave it as it was made, in quaint or difficult English, but corrupte l and lowered it in the course of recitation. It was a matter of regret that this genuine version of 'Sir Tristrem' bad been lost, and great satisfaction was expressed when Mr. (afterwards Sir) Walter Scott, in 1804, published what he conceived to be a faithful copy of it, though modified in language in passing orally through different generations. This copy is contained in an old collection in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, called, from the name of its donor, the Auchinleck Maniiscript, beivg presented by Lord' Auchinleck, father of James Boswell, the biographer of Johnson. The story of Sir Tristrem was familiar to poetical an iiquaries. It was one of the ancient British legends taken up by the Norman minstrels. The style of the poem is elliptical and concise. It is divided into three 'fyttes' or cantos, and the following stanza will shew the style and orthography of the Auchinleck Manuscript:
Thai seyd that best was he
To maiden Blaunche Flour. To win the maistrie; Sir Walter's theory as to the originality and Scottish Origin of the poem has not been generally accepted. It is believed to be the production of some minstrel who had lieard Thomas of Ercildoun recite his romance. . Mr. Garnet, a high authoriíy on early English dialects, concludes that the present 'Sir Tristrem' is a modernised copy of an old Northumbrian romance, which was probably written between 1260 and 1300, and derived from a Norman or Anglo-Norman source,
Glad a man was he
Thai asked who was fre
but the author may have availed himself of the previous labours of Ercildoun on the same theme.
An elaborate work of about 20,000 lines, 'The Romance of King Alexander,' appears to have been written previous to 1300. It has been ascribed, but erroneously, to ADAM DĀVIE, marshal of Suratford-leBow, near London. Davie, however, was a voluminous versifier, and wrote Visions,' The Battle of Jerusalem, &c.
Two romances, 'Havelok the Dane,' and William and the Werwolf,' have been edited (1828 and 1832) by an able antiquary, Sir Frederick Maduer. The story of Havelok relates the adventures of an orphan child, sul of a Danish king; the author is unknown.
Extract from Havelok. Hwan he was husled (1) and shriuen, When he was housled and shriven, His quiste maked and for him gyuen, His bequests made and for himn given, His knictes dede he alle site,
His knights he made all sit, For throw them he wolde wife
For from them he would wit. How micte yem hise children yunge Who should keep his children young Till that he couthen speken wit tunge; Till they knew how to speak with tonguc; Speken, and gangen, ou horse riden, To speak, and walk, and on horse ride, Knictes and sweynes bi here siden. Knights and servants by their side. He spoken there offe, and chosen sone They spoke thereof, and chosen soon A riche man was, that, under mone Was a rich man, that, undur moon, Was the trewest that he wende
Was the truest that they kennedGodard, the kinges oune frende;
Godard, the king's own friend; and seyden, he moucthe hem best loke And saying he might best o'erlook Yif that he hem undertoke,
If their charge ne undertook, Till bise sone mouthe bere
Till his son might [himself) bear Helm on heued, and leden ut here Helm on head, and lead out there (In his hand a spear stark),
(In his hand a spar stark), And king ben maked of Denmark. And king be made of Denmark.
The 'Geste of King Horn,' the romantic bistory of 'Guy of Warwick'(supposed to have been written about 1292 by a Cornish friar, WALTER OF EXETER), “Sir Bevis of Southampton, Richard Cour de Lion,' "The King of Tars,' 'La Morte Arthur,' • Sir Eylamour and a lot of other metrical romances, belong to this period, and most of them were subsequently modernised when the art of printing was introduced. Chaucer, in his ‘Rhime of Sire Thopas, has parodied the style of these compositions, and malle 'mine host' in the Canterbury Tales' abuse all such drafty rhyming' as destitute of mirth or doctrine.
The principal metrical chroniclers were two ecclesiastics—ROBERT OF GLOUCESTER and ROBERT DE BRUNNE. The former was a monk of Gloucester, who lived in the reigns of Irenry III. and Ex!ward I. His chief work is a rhymed chronicle of England from the legendary age of Brutus to the close of Henry III.'s reign, partly taken from the fabulous history of Geoffrey of Monmouthi, and written in the long line (or couplet) of fourteen syllables. This monk also wrote poems on the 'Martyrdom of Thomas á Becket,' and the “Life of 1 When he had the sacrament administered to him, and been shriven or confessed.