Slike strani
PDF
ePub

a

two men. The first of these, St. | place him in the first rank among WILFRID (634-709), the staunch | medieval writers. These include an supporter of the Román rite, Arch- early work, De sex ætatibus seculi, bishop of York and apostle of Sussex, written for St. Wilfrid's approbation, passed his stormy life in the en- and a Life of St. Cuthbert and of deavour to unite the churches of the the abbots of his own monasteryAnglo-Saxon kingdoms. His own Benedict and the learned Ceolfrid ; writings are lost, but he did for but his

greatest work is the Northumbria what St. Aldhelm did Ecclesiastical History of the Anglofor Wessex. The monasteries of Saxons from their first settlement Ripon and Hexham recognised him in England, which was afterwards as their founder. But Wilfrid was translated into English by King essentially controversialist, his Alfred. He used the aid of the methods were not always of the most learned men of his time in wisest, and the impression which collecting the documents and trahe effected was, for the most part, ditions of the various kingdoms, temporary. The solid work of the and there were few great prelates time, the root of the pedigree of or monks with whom, in collecting Latin learning in Northumbria, is these details, he did not correspond. due to BENEDICT BiscoP (d. 690), Bede was surrounded by a number the founder of religious houses at of literary friends. He knew St. Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, who Wilfrid ; he received Holy Orders brought back from his indefatigable , at the hands of St. John of Beverley, roamings on the Continent number- to whom northern learning was much less treasures of literature and art. indebted ; and he was the intimate

The immediate result of Benedict's friend of a third Bishop of Hexham, energy is seen in his pupil the VENER- the erudite Acca, to whom he dedi. ABLE BEDE or BÆDA (673–735), who cated some of his works. His work, was a native of Wearmouth, and was however, was carried on by his pupil placed under Benedict's teaching at EGBERT, Archbishop of York (circ. the age of seven, six years after the 678–766), brother of Edbert, King foundation of the monastery. He of Northumbria, and founder of the became a deacon at nineteen, a greatest of all the English schools of priest at thirty, and passed his entire learning, the School of York. Egbert life in the house at Jarrow, which reformed his distracted diocese, and had been founded in 682 and formed made York Minster the wonder of one monastery together with Wear, the North, placing in it a splendid mouth, We know of one external library and raising round it a school visit which he paid to Archbishop which may be called the first Eng. Egbert at York, but otherwise he lish University. His own writings seems to have kept within the walls were chiefly on points of discipline, of his monastery. His dying moments and two of them, the Confessionale were divided between religious exer- and Pænitentiale, were written in cises and the dictation of the last Anglo-Saxon as well as in Latin. sentences of a work which he just | His work was carried on and brought lived to finish. His works embrace to perfection by his kinsman and the whole compass of the learning successor ALBERT or ETHELBERT, of the age. Numbering more than archbishop from 776 to 782. Albert forty, they may be divided into entrusted the care of the Cathedral four classes : Theological, consisting School to a young native of York and chiefly of allegorical commentaries pupil of the seminary, who had just on the Scriptures, which were com- been ordained deacon. This was the pleted after 709; Scientific Treatises, great ALCUIN (735-804), the most exhibiting the imperfect knowledge illustrious of our early Latin scholars. of science from Pliny to his own Under him the school rose to time; Grammatical works, which its greatest fame ; but, when display much learning, with some he left, its reputation sank, and, correct but lifeless Latin poems ; during the troubles of the early part and Historical compositions, which of the ninth century, it died out

an

altogether. Eanbald, a pupil of Sr. COLUMBANUS (circ. 543-615) Alcuin, succeeded Albert in 782 was an Irish Celt from the monasand sent Alcuin on a mission to tery at Bangor, on Belfast Lough, Rome. On his way back Alcuin who set out thence at the head of a met Charlemagne, and was per- mission to the eastern parts of Gaul, suaded to remain at his Court till Switzerland, and the south-west of 790, when he revisited England on Germany. He was the founder of a mission to Offa of Mercia. He the monasteries of Luxeuil in the returned to Charlemagne's Court, Vosges, and Bobbio in Lombardy. and resided there and at Tours till He wrote in Latin several theo. his death, holding a series of mag. | logical treatises, six poems, and nificent appointments. His works some letters. Another writer of the were commentaries, dogmatic and same period was ST. ADAMNANUS, practical treatises, lives of saints, Abbot of Iona, who wrote the Life of several very interesting letters, and a Si. Columba. Nearly two centuries number of Latin poems, chiefly | later Ireland sent forth JOHANNES historical. Among these are SCOTUS (d. 877), surnamed from his elegy on the destruction of Lindis- native land ERIGENA, who settled farne by the Danes, which took in France and became, by his diaplace in 793, when he had settled | lectic skill and his acquaintance permanently on the Continent, and a with ancient philosophy, one of the poem on the Bishops and Saints of founders of the philosophical sect of the Church of York, containing much Realists. The story of his coming useful information about the school. to England on Alfred's invitation is What England lost in Alcuin, the more than doubtful. The work of Continent gained; but the fact that these writers cannot be said to have the School of York was weakened, much to do with English literature ; not so much by internal decay, as but by Gildas and Nennius in Britby a kind of gradual transplantation tany were propagated the popular to France, is little to his credit as myths which in time were collected an Englishman. Patriotism was, into the legend of King Arthur. however, not so much of a virtue III. The VERNACULAR ANGLOin those days of petty kingdoms as SAXON PROSE LITERATURE conit became later on.

tains few but great names. Above (d) It must not be forgotten that all shines that of KING ALFRED these writers of Latin prose had (849-901), the story of whose early certain predecessors, who were not training and life-long self-discipline Saxons, but belonged to the old needs not to be recounted here. His Celtic race. The great Christian early love for the old national poetry, activity of Ireland made it a centre the growing neglect of Latin even of learning while England was still by the priests, and the eager desire, a pagan country, and the efforts of of which he himself tells us, that the Irish missionaries, and notably of the people might enjoy the treasures of great St. Columba, reached the West learning collected in the churches for Coast of Scotland at an early date, security from the invaders, urged and afterwards spread to the North him to the culture of the native of England. GILDAS, a noble Celt, tongue for popular instruction. lived from about 493 to 570, and, like While inviting over learned men so many of the British Celts after the to repair the decay of scholarship, Saxon invasion, fled to Armorica the king himself set the example of and founded the monastery of St. translating existing works into the Gildas de Ruis, of which, five cen- vernacular. Having learned Latin turies later, Abelard became abbot. only late in life, he did not disdain He wrote a Latin letter to his fellow the help of scholars like Asser in countrymen, declaiming against the clearing up grammatical difficulties, vices of the day, and a History while he brought to the work unof Britain. A similar history, of tiring industry, great capacity of doubtful authenticity, was written comprehending the author's general in the ninth century by Nennius. I meaning, and sound judgment upon

points needing illustration. His most went to Eynsham he wrote chiefly important translations were those in Latin, and his most important of Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the work during his later lise was the Ancient History of Orosius, Boë- life of his master, the great Ethelthius' De Consolatione Philosophia, wold. He must not be confounded and, for the use of the clergy, the with Alfric, Archbishop of CanterPastorale of St. Gregory. According bury, who died in 1006, with Alfric 10 William of Malmesbury, Alfred Puttoc, Archbishop of York, who had begun an Anglo-Saxon version died in 1051, or with Alfric, Bishop of the Psalms shortly before his of Crediton, who died in 994. death. Among other works which Alfric was the second creator of have been attributed to him with English prose; modelling himself out much authenticity, are Alfred's at first on Alfred, he developed a Proverbs, a translation of Æsop's manner of his own which became the Fables, and a metrical version of chief force in English style during the Vetres of Boëthius. Many the eleventh century.

'The prinworks were translated by his order cipal writer of the eleventh century, or after his example--for instance, other than Alfric, was WULFSTAN the Dialogues of Gregory, by Wer- | (d. 1023), Bishop of Worcester and frith, Bishop of Worcester ; but few Archbishop of York, who wrote some of these remain. The new intcl- homilies and a passionate Appeal to lectual impulse, given by Alfred's the Angles, blaming their vices and policy of calling foreign scholars irreligion for the disasters they were into the realm, was followed by suffering at the hands of the Danes. other kings down to the eve of the It remains to notice two great Conquest, and sustained the activity monuments of Anglo-Saxon prose of Anglo-Saxon literature for some literature, the Chronicle and the time.

Laws. The Saxon Chronicle is a The English prose, inaugurated record of the history of the people, by Alfred, was brought a step compiled at first, according to one further by ALFRIC (circ. 955-1025), statement, by Plegmund, Archbishop a monk of Winchester and pupil of of Canterbury. Down to 891, it is Ethelwold. He became Abbot of written by one hand-some conjecEynsham about 1005, and died there, ture that of Alfred himself, who had but most of his work in English certainly encouraged its compilation. was produced at Winchester. While Thence it was continued, as a conin charge of the monastery at Cerne temporary record, in various styles, Abbas, from 987 to 989, he seems to to the middle of the twelfth century, have practised himself in writing, and breaks off abruptly, after a and his eighty Homilies were pub- career of increasing dulness, in the lished before 994 His chief work first year of Henry II (1154). The was the translation of the Pentateuch three main portions are known as the and of other books of the Old Testa- | Winchester Annals, which go down ment, including Judith, which had to 1070 and then begin to be writ. also been treated in verse by the ten in Latin, the Worcester Annals, continuators of Cædmon. He wrote which go down to 1079, and the numerous other theological treatises Peterborough Annals, which collated both in English and Latin. As a previous editions and completed the grammarian and as a teacher at work. As a whole, the Chronicle Winchester, he laboured to revive is dry and lifeless, full of gaps, and the neglected study of Latin by his displays towards the end a singular Latin Grammar (from Donatus and want of historical talent or selection. Priscian), his Glossary, and his Col- The fragments of the Anglo. loquium (a conversation book). This Saxon Laws go back as early as last was republished by his name. the reign of Ethelbert, King of sake and pupil ALFRIC BATA, Kent, but the laws of this date (A. 1005). "To catalogue Alfric's are reduced to the language of a numerous English and Latin works later age. Alfred, who began the would be a long task. After he i work, collating the three separate

were

codes of Kent, Wessex, and Mercia, | ence, that while, in the later Resays that, with the advice of his naissance, inspiration was drawn Witan, he rejected what did not from the great poets and orators, please him, but added little of his the Arabs of this date were chiefly own.

The work was then sub-attracted by the physical, logical, mitted to, and adopted by, the and metaphysical works of Aristotle Witan. His chief followers in these and his school. The Aristotelian labours were Athelstan, Ethelred logic and spirit of systematising were the Unready, and Canute. The eagerly applied to theology, especiprevious code of Wessex had been ally in France. The monasteries that of Ina, who probably had been of Caen and Bec in Normandy assisted by St. Aldhelm ; the author became distinguished seats of the of the code of Kent had been Ethel. new science; and in them bert; while Offa had performed the trained Lanfranc and St. Anscim, same service for Mercia.

the first great lights of Anglo-Nor

man learning. Indeed St. Anselm B.-ANGLO-NORMAN LITER

is often regarded as the founder of ATURE.

the scholastic philosophy, which was

the fruit of the new movement. But, A. D. 1066-1350.

although his position in its history The influence of the Norman is critical, he is only a connecting Conquest upon the country was at link. The old method of treating once destructive and reconstructive. theology followed by the Fathers The ordinance which forbade the rested on the foundation of faith Saxon clergy to aspire to any in the dogmatic statements of Scripecclesiastical dignity confined the ture. The scholastic philosophy asremnants of literary activity to the pired to establish a complete system monasteries, except in the case of l of truth by a chain of irrefragable those who were willing to adapt reasoning. St. Anselm used the themselves to the new state of method of stating and combating things. By the middle of the objections only with a view to the twelfth century the Anglo-Saxon establishment of separate doctrines. learning gradually died out, its | But PETER ABELARD (1079-1150). chief work being the completion | breaking away from Si. Anselm's of the Saxon Chronicle in the premises, used the same methods monastery of Peterborough. The with a bold originality. He was opchief works of learning were com- posed by ST. BERNARD (1091-1153). posed in Latin, while for lighter Abbot of Clairvaux, who took his compositions the English adopted stand on the old patristic ground. the language of their conquerors. However, the real founder of ScholasOn the other hand, the Normans | ticism, the first of the Schoolmen, introduced a new and most potent was not the pupil of St. Bernard, the element of intellectual activity. The last of the Fathers, but of Abelard. fifty years preceding the Conquest This was PETER THE LOMBARD, had witnessed a great revival of who published in 1151 his Four learning on the Continent, and Books of the Sentences, and is known this was stimulated by that inter- on that account as the “Master of course between Europeans and the Sentences." “Scholasticism," Arabs which continucd all through it has been said, “made a false start the era of the Crusades. The Arabs, in the school of Bec; its true comimbued with the Greek learning of mencement dates a little later, and the conquered East, transmitted it from Paris." Peter the Lombard to Europe, and thus this revival of became, in process of time, Bishop letters, culminating in what has of Paris ; and the University of been called the twelfth century Paris, growing in numbers and imRenaissance, owed its source, like portance until it far outstripped its the brighter revival in the fifteenth original limits as a Cathedral School, century, to the ancient Greeks. became the focus of European the. There was, however, this differ- ology. In England there is no trace

of the new learning before the Con- , and the Oxford students, which quest, although she helped to prepare caused a migration. The importance its way by sending forth such men of Oxford during the Middle Ages as Erigena and Alcuin. Erigena, was much greater than that of Cam. indeed, as early as the ninth century, bridge ; but it is obvious that, when had employed philosophical methods the prohibition on Parisian study in religious discussion. But he was was removed, the prestige of the a neo-Platonist: the Schoolmen were English University remained in. Aristotelians. The new learning not ferior to that of Paris. Oxford, only entered in the train of the in fact, during the first century of its Conqueror, but was fostered by his existence, was regarded as a portal personal influence. William, and to the great continental Universities nearly all his successors down to of Paris and Bologna. English Henry III, were themselves well students resorted to these in large educated, and patronised literature numbers, and formed at Paris one and art. It seems to have been the of the “ four nations." Classical illiteracy of the Saxon bishops and learning revived in the Universities, abbots, and not merely political and was extended in the thirteenth motives, that caused their deposi- century from the Latin poets to tion; their places were filled by Greek and even Hebrew.

This was the most learned of the Norman in a great measure due to the inecclesiastics. Lanfranc and St. An- Auence of the great Schoolman, selm themselves occupied the see of ROBERT GROSSETESTE, Bishop of Canterbury. HERMAN, Bishop of Lincoln from 1235 to 1253, in whose Salisbury, founded a great library; immense diocese the University of GODFREY,' prior of St. Swithun's at Oxford was situated. About the Winchester, wrote Latin epigrams same time the invention of the art in the style of Martial; and GEOF- of making paper from linen rags FREY, an eminent scholar from more than made up for the growthe University of Paris, founded ing lack of parchment and gave a school at Dunstable, and acted, a new mechanical impulse to litera. with his scholars, a drama of his ture. own on the Life of St. Katharine. Meanwhile, the tenacity with which Numerous as were the Saxon monas- the English language held its ground teries, no less than 557 new religious among the common people caused houses were founded between the the ultimate fruit of these moveConquest and the reign of John. All ments to appear in the formation of these, as well as the great secular of a truly English literature during cathedrals like Lincoln, had schools the thirteenth and fourteenth cenfor those who were destined to the turies. Church, while general schools were It remains to mention the classes founded in the towns and villages. of literature and the chief writers of The Universities of Oxford and the period. As literature was cultiCambridge sprang into existence, vated almost entirely by the clergy by a series of political and social and the minstrels, nearly all the circumstances, in the course of the prose works were in Latin and the twelfth century. The origin of Ox. poetry in Norman-French, excluding, ford seems to have been the quarrel however, the contemporaneous Semibetween Henry II and the University Saxon literature (see below, C). An of Paris on account of the support age of violence and oppression pergiven by the Parisian doctors to mitted but little popular literature, Becket. Henry issued a statute in the proper sense. prohibiting Englishmen from study- I. ANGLO-NORMAN AND ANGLOing at Paris, and, as the first men- SAXON LITERATURE IN LATIN. tion of Oxford as a University occurs 1. Theologians and Schoolmen.soon after this, the theory 'seems LANFRANC (circ. 1005-1089) was a more than merely probable. Simi- Lombard of Pavia, where, after larly, Cambridge is supposed to have studying in other Italian Universities, originated in a quarrel between John | he practised as a pleader. Removing

« PrejšnjaNaprej »