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Fate of the Celtic element in Britain.

done before them, in driving the Celtic marauder back upon his own natural strongholds. To-day we may see the confirmation of this in the fact that the present inhabitants of those mountain regions, who are of pure Celtic blood, retain the language of their British ancestors, and form a race as completely distinct from the English people properly so-called, as the Finn or Lett from the Slavonic occupier of his rightful heritage. At the same time, these mountainous districts became the home of legend: Celtic the Saxon and Norman, from their frontier forlegend and superstition. tresses, saw the misty peaks and hilltops with a superstitious fear. Thus legends grew up round the great summits of the Grampians, like the mysterious mountain Schiehallion: strange peaks like the Monmouthshire "Holy Mountain" were connected with the Devil; and the lofty hills round Dolgelly, with narrow valleys between them, gave rise to the common saying, current until Telford pierced the Snowdonian highlands with his great road, that "the Devil dwelt in the middle of Wales." Conversely, the isolated existence of the Celt among these mountains made him a romantic and impressionable being, who saw visions and dreamed dreams : the Irishman, from time immemorial, revelled in the most exquisite and delicate fancies, in a fairy mythology which, with a certain amount of terror and mystery, combines a wonderful humour, half playful, half tearful, in its tales of Banshees, Fairies, Leprechauns, and wise women. The Welshman, melancholy and deeply religious, produced, in process of time, an unrivalled body of romantic and sacred poetry; while, in the seventeenth century, Ellis Wynn's Visions of the Sleeping Bard proved a supreme testimony to the wealth and strangeness of the national imagination. The Highlander, still more sad and less musical, concocted pitiful and heart-rending legends, and became famous for his miraculous power of secondsight. His character may be thoroughly studied in the wild and stormy tales which cluster round the fall of the Stewart dynasty. The level and consequently more easily accessible part of Scotland was peopled by the Anglo-Saxon race, whose manners and customs may be studied there as easily as in England itself. We are highly mistaken in regarding all Scotsmen as Celts alike: Highlander and Lowlander alike would repudiate the insinuation, and William Wallace, a native of the Border, would decline the tartan which posterity has given him. The Romanised Britons or Cymry, occupying the West of England from the Channel to the Clyde, shrank before the invader; some, in the face of persecution, fled to Armorica. The less vigorous moral constitution of the Celt, whether friendly or hostile, was absorbed by the greater energy of the Teuton, or gradually disappeared with the fatal certainty inherent, by an inevitable law, in the contact of two unequal nationalities.

Division of race in Scotland.

Eventually, after a long struggle, he was confined to Wales and the counties of Devon and Cornwall. The primeval Celt has retained his separate existence on the territory of Great Britain simply on account of a peculiar combination of geographical conditions.

$5. The true parentage, therefore, of the English nation is to be traced to the Teutonic race-the race, one of whose tribes had taken part in the fierce wars of the century before Christ, and had menaced the Roman Republic. The northern invaders spoke a Low Germanic dialect, akin to the modern Dutch, but with many Scandinavian forms Anglo-Saxon language. and words. Its character, like that of the men who used it, was at once practical and imaginative, and required only the influence of civilisation to become a noble vehicle of every kind of expression. In modern English, the ideas which address themselves to the emotions, and those which bring man into relation with the chief objects of nature and the sentiments of simple existence the ideas, in short, which appeal to the "absolute man" and directly touch the spirit-are expressed for the most part, in simple words of Teutonic origin. The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity under St. Augus tine (597 A.D.) and the devoted band of missionaries who streamed into England in his wake, not only re-established the religion popular from apostolic times among the Romanised Celts and stamped out by the heathen invaders, but brought the heathens themselves into contact with more intellectual forms of life and a higher type of civilisation. The transfer of their religion from the gods of Asgard to our Blessed Saviour, while it softened their manners, exposed their literature to the modifying influences of the corrupt but more civilised Latin literature of the Lower Empire. The language showed rapid signs of improvement. The rude saga and war-song were superseded by compositions on almost every branch of knowledge, legal works, historical chronicles, ecclesiastical and theological disquisitions, together with a large Anglo-Saxon body of poetry, in which a very peculiar metrical BEOWULF. system was adapted to subjects derived either from the Scriptures or from the lives of the saints. The curious, but rather tedious, versified paraphrases of the Bible by Cædmongenerally attributed to the middle of the seventh century—were long considered to be the most ancient of the more noteworthy Saxon poems; but, in the present century, the discovery of the manuscript of the lay of Beowulf has furnished us with a specimen of Anglo-Saxon poetry decidedly more ancient and far more interesting. Its composition certainly belongs to a period far earlier than English Christianity and its continental influence, and is therefore free from any traces of the imitation of Lower Empire rhetoric which prevents Cædmon's poem from being altogether representative of the national spirit. Beowulf, in its picturesque vigour one of the most interesting monuments

literature:

Metre.

of early literature, is not inferior in energy and conciseness to the Nibelungenlied, although far beneath it in extent of plot and development of character. Its subject is the expedition of Prince Beowulf, a lineal descendant of Odin, with the object of ridding Hrothgar, the Lord and builder of a palace called in the saga Heorot, from a demon or monster, called the Grendel, which secretly enters the hall at night and destroys some of the king's sleeping warriors. This primitive vampire is probably a poetical personification of some poisonous marsh-damp, for, in the poem, it issues from a neighbouring fen-fen, it must be remembered, is a Saxon word, from fynegean (to be rotten), and implies a malodorous, rotten place and takes refuge in it again when Beowulf, after a furious conflict, gives it its death-wound and drives it back. Beowulf's voyage in his "foamy-necked" ship over the "swanroad" of the ocean, his arrival at the foreign court, and his narrative of his own exploits, are, in the telling, very like the ancient Scandinavian sagas. The versification, like that of Saxon poetry in general, is exceedingly peculiar, and the system of its construction for a long time defied the ingenuity of philologists. The Anglo-Saxons did not study the regular recurrence of syllables as the base of their versestill less that employment of similarly sounding terminations of lines or parts of lines which we call rhyme. Their simple requisite essential of verse was that in any two successive lines -which might be of any length-there should be at least three words beginning with the same letter. This odd and primitive system is called alliteration, and was used, with certain modifications, in later works, such as The Vision of Piers Plowman. The language in which these works are composed is popularly called Anglo-Saxon; but in the works themselves it is always styled English, and the country England, or the The word land of the Angles. By the term Anglo-Saxons we distinguish the Saxons of England from the Saxons of the Continent, without implying any combination of Angles and Saxons, which would be ridiculous. But why the term English was in time applied exclusively to this Saxon language is not very clear. Some writers have supposed that the Saxons were only a section of the Angles, and, consequently, that the Anglian and Saxon colonists always recognised the name Anglian as the proper title of the nation. Another hypothesis is that, as the inhabitants of the island became first known to the Holy See through the Anglian captives who were carried to Rome in the sixth century, the name of this tribe was given by the Romans to the whole people, and that the Christian missionaries to Britain would naturally continue to use it as the name both of the people and of the country. The famous story of St. Gregory and the British captives-non Angli, sed angeli— may be cited in support of this. At all events, the story of King Egbert's decree, imposing the name of England upon the

English.

country, is unsupported by contemporary or any credible testimony, and it is more natural to suppose that the names England and English had already been adopted as collective terms. It is now very common to discard the term Anglo-Saxon altogether, and employ English as the name of the language from the earliest date to the present day. However, as has been already observed in a previous work of the present series, "a change of nomenclature like this would expose us to the inconvenience, not merely of embracing within one designation objects which have been conventionally separated, but of confounding things logically distinct; for, though our modern English is built upon and mainly derived from the AngloSaxon, the two dialects are now so discrepant that the fullest knowledge of one would not alone suffice to render the other intelligible to either the eye or the ear." For all practical purposes they are two separate languages, as different from one another as modern English is from Dutch.

Saxon

For a long period the Saxon colonisation of Britain was carried on by detached Teutonic tribes, who established themselves in vacant districts, or ousted less warlike occupants from their homes; and in this way gradually arose The Angloa number of independent states and kingdoms. The monarchy. seven kingdoms into which England was divided were united by a kind of irregular defensive bond, and are known collectively as the Heptarchy; their names remain in the titles of some of our counties-e.g. Northumberland, Kent, Sussex. In the regular course of things, the great south-western kingdom of Wessex, comprising Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Berkshire, and Hampshire, growing by degrees more powerful, absorbed the others or rendered them subordinate ornaments of one crown. This important event took place under Egbert, early in the ninth century. From this period to the middle of the eleventh century and the Norman Conquest, the history of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy presents a confused and melancholy picture of bloody incursions and fierce resistance to the barbarous and pagan Danes, who endeavoured to treat the English as the English had treated the Danish Celts. Almost the only brilliant figure in this age is the well-nigh perfect type of patriot, warrior, king, and philosopher, in the person of the illustrious Alfred, whose virtues would appear to posterity almost fabulous were they not handed down in the minute and accurate records of a biographer who knew and served him well. Even Alfred was powerless to stem the tide of Danish invasion: his treaty of Wedmore (878) was broken after a very few years. Meanwhile, the Danish ravages played incalculable havoc with the main sources of learning and literature-the monasteries. In 870, Hinguar and Hubba defeated and slew the East Anglian king Edmund, and burned the episcopal city of Thetford. St. Etheldreda's shrine and monastery at Ely were sacked, the

invasions.

names.

abbey of Crowland was pillaged; at Peterborough, the wealthy "Golden Borough" of the Saxons, the monks were scattered. Churches were burned and their chronicles destroyed. In the great Saxon church of Sidnaceaster, now called Stow— the mother church of the northern part of the diocese of Lincoln -the marks of Danish fire may still be seen upon the piers of the tower. But, although much damage was thus done, the two fierce races, so obstinately contending for the mastery, were very nearly allied in blood, and their amalgamation would have produced no very material change in the language or institutions of the country. In those parts of England, chiefly in the north and east, where colonies of Danish and Danes established themselves, either by conquest or Saxon placesettlement, the philologist may trace, in the rustic idiom, and still more clearly in the names of families or places, evident marks of a Scandinavian instead of an AngloSaxon population. Examples of this will be found in some portions of the Scottish coast, on the east coast of Ireland, on the coast of Yorkshire-e.g. in the names of Runswick Bay and Whitby; in Lincolnshire and the adjacent country-e.g. Scawby, Firsby, Skegness, and innumerable other places; and in parts of Norfolk-e.g. Hunstanton. The sea-king Havelock, who bequeathed his name to an illustrious family, is said to have founded the Danish town of Grimsby. Saxon memorials, preserved in the names of men, families, and places, and in numerous architectural monuments, are so common that there are very few parts of England in which the majority of the names are not pure Saxon. Our important towns, Bristol, Nottingham, Shrewsbury, preserve their Saxon names beneath a very shallow disguise a name like Cirencester, the Saxon version of the Roman Corinium, is practically unaltered. The whole middle and lower class of our population bear unmistakable marks of Saxon blood; and, with certain reservations, the sound and spirit of the popular language is essentially Saxon. Such dialects as the Somerset patois, or the closely allied speech of Dorset, finely illustrated in the poetry of William Barnes and the novels of Thomas Hardy, form the bridge between the Anglo-Saxon language and the refinement of the later English tongue.

element in

English.

§ 6. It would be an error, nevertheless, to suppose that all words of Latin origin which are to be found even in the earlier period of the English language were the direct result Norman of the Norman-French element, and were introduced from the year 1066 onwards. Latin was cultivated in the monasteries; it came to be employed in the services of the Church; and, simply as the liturgical language, must have incorporated a large number of Latin words in the Saxon tongue. For example, the word Mass, as a synonym for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, was very early derived from the "Ite, missa est," of the Liturgy; and round the Church and its services were collected an enormous number of purely

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